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The Hollywood Film Festival and Awards are just one stop among many for those seeking the ultimate Oscar prize – in the last three years, director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and the ensemble cast of Argo were honored and would later take home Oscars. We're taking a look at the numerous award shows in past seasons and their correlation to the main event in February. To see the infographic and the awards shows before the Oscar, read the story at Studio System News!
Michael Moore was feeling much relief as he faced a room of waiting journalists at Cannes’ famous Carlton Hotel gathered there to hear about the just- announced “sequel” to his smash hit documentary, Fahrenheit 911. He’s been here many times before including Sicko last year and he actually won the Palme d’Or for Fahrenheit plus a special jury honor for Bowling For Columbine. When we suggested this might be his good luck town (the French like him almost as much as they idolize Jerry Lewis), he said he loves Cannes but was jubilant not to have to put on a tux and take a walk up the Palais steps.
“I’m happy to be here WITHOUT a movie this time,” he says. “There’s no pressure.”
Actually he blew briefly into town to meet with buyers about his new project , a co-venture between Overture Films and Paramount Vantage and is trying to downplay early word that it was a sequel. He says the film is really about what’s happened inside the U.S. while the Bush administration has been “asleep at the wheel”, busy waging war in Iraq. It sounds like vintage Moore and promises more of the kind of thing he delivered in Roger & Me as he is sure to go after some corporations he believes have had a free ride in the last eight years. Obviously he doesn’t want to give too much away at this point as he is just getting into production and knows these companies will be warning employees to stay away from him.
Chris McGurk, chair of Overture Films who worked with Moore on his Oscar winning Columbine when he was running MGM/UA is thrilled to be back in business with him on this movie he says is going to spotlight some of the potentially irreversible actions of the past decade. Although it’s early, the key players here agree it would be nice to return to Cannes with the finished film next spring. But will the results of the November election have an effect on box office?
“Absolutely not. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It goes way beyond that,” McGurk says.
Hollywood has no plans in the works to make any film about the current international crisis that might inspire audiences "to rally for our troops" as it did following the outbreak of World War II, USA Today observed today.
It quoted Chris McGurk, MGM vice chairman and COO as saying, "Back then, the studios could throw something together in six months or less. Now, you're talking about 18 months or two years from the script stage to releasing it. The investment levels are higher, the stakes are higher and there's more quality control."
Director Oliver Stone blamed "the Wall Street crowd," telling the newspaper that they "bought into the movie business big-time, and they pumped it up and forced these companies to get bigger and bigger. ... People don't matter. It's just a corporation. That's what's scary. There's nobody at the controls. There's nobody to talk to. There's nothing personal about it."
Don't mess with Sharon Stone.
The actress has filed suit against producers Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar of C-2 Productions, the team that was to bring us the highly anticipated sequel Basic Instinct 2, claiming they breached a $14 million verbal contract.
Variety reports that Instinct 2's domestic distributor, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., announced that the film, originally set for a 2002 release, was no longer on the studio's development slate during a media conference in New York on Wednesday. MGM Chairman and CEO Alex Yemenidijian was quoted in the trade as saying to investors, "Unfortunately, it's not going to happen," but was unable to comment on the reasons.
Said MGM's vice chairman and COO, Chris McGurk, "As the domestic distributor, we are disappointed that this version of Basic Instinct 2 is not happening. We hope in the future we can put together another version of the film."
That certainly isn't any consolation to Stone.
According to the lawsuit, in exchange for reprising her role as the ice pick wielding Catherine Tramell, Stone was to receive $14 million against 15 percent of gross receipts, estimated at $93.3 million. She would also get her customary perks and have casting approval, and the production was to start before the end of 2000. However, this start date was later pushed back to February 15, 2001.
Stone claims she turned down other film offers and even moved to a health fitness spa "to achieve the physical effect requested by defendants," according to the Associated Press.
According to Variety, the complaint alleges that last December Vajna and Kassar claimed they had no contract of any kind with Stone.
"It's interesting that they deny they ever had any contract with Sharon," Stone's attorney Bert Fields told Variety. "After all, what's the first thing you do when you're making a sequel to Basic Instinct? You make a deal with Sharon Stone."
There may have been several factors involved in the floundering of the sequel.
When plans for the movie were first announced in June 2000, many were excited about the sequel to one of Kassar and Vajna's biggest hits. According to the Associated Press, the producers said, "The first film could not have been made without Sharon's mesmerizing performance, and we believe her return engagement will be even more exciting."
Stone was initially reluctant to return to the role that made her a megastar, especially after her original co-star, Michael Douglas, director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas were not involved in the project. However, she finally agreed in anticipation of working with the two producers again.
"Now that the project is in the hands of our original producers and my old friends Mario and Andy, I feel assured the project will be made with respect to the spirit of the original," Stone said at that time.
But by January, the film was looking shaky. The producers were having trouble finding a director and a male lead. Actor Bruce Greenwood was approached in January but decided to take on another role, fearing the possible actors' strike.
In March, a source close to the production told Reuters that Stone failed to give her OK to Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order), who reportedly had the backing of the film's financiers and producers as well as director John McTiernan, who had recently come on board. However, when Stone passed on Bratt, McTiernan quietly bowed out of the film. With no co-star and director, the film had little to stand on.
ProducersVajna and Kassar declined comment.