Rena Riffel Films
At last, Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven is out on the guilty pleasure-friendly format: DVD. (While original Razzie favorite Showgirls belly-flopped on the big screen, it’s still one of the highest grossing DVDs of all time).
Rena Riffel, star of Showgirls and Mulholland Drive turned camp icon, has been pulling the g-strings on her directorial oeuvre since the original wrapped back in ’94 and is celebrating the release this week.
We spoke to her about the movie’s journey from Michael Bay blockbuster to DIY erotic ‘trashterpiece’ for this Hollywood.com exclusive.
Hi Rena, thanks for talking to Hollywood.com. So, why do you think Penny/Hope - your character in Showgirls and the star of your sequel - resonated so much with fans?
She means well and wants to succeed, but everyone just thinks she's a dum-dum. She’s like the underdog we can cheer her on to make it to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. She’s kind of Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes or Some Like It Hot: very innocent, but she’s like a piece of meat in a lair of wolves.
Rena Riffel Films
What's the AA-cup version of the movie storyline?
Penny Slot drops everything and hitchhikes down the road to her dream of finally being a famous dancer on TV show Star Dancer. She finds herself in danger, running from the law and ultimately has a near-death experience.
This sequel's been in the pipeline for a long time - can you run us through its odyssey briefly?
In my late thirties, I realized I was getting too old to play myself – so I better do this now! I wrote for a year, for 12 hours a day. I wrote 28 very different drafts. I had people contact me, but nothing worked out. I went through some unfortunate drama and turmoil. On a good note, I sent my script to Paul Verhoeven [who directed the original] who said he liked it very much and gave me his blessing.
Rena Riffel Films
I was trying to raise millions of dollars, but towards the end of the uphill battle, I settled on going for a lower budget of 8 million. They read my script and did the Hollywood thing: “Reese Witherspoon will play Penny, they will bring in a big director like Michael Bay, and hire a big writer (the Coen Brothers) to come on board,” and I said, “Wait a second, then what would I do?” So, that's when I just threw in the towel and decided to make it the way I made Trasharella. All by myself, with the help of friends.
Showgirls is still in the top highest-grossing MGM DVDs of all time. Are you expecting similar wildfire sales?
I wish! It will be interesting to see how this turns out. If it doesn't make money, it's not like I’m 100 million in debt on it!
You've referred to this project as 'pulling a Barbra' - please elaborate?
Showgirls 2: Penny's From Heaven is my Yentl (which was nominated for Oscars AND Razzies). Yentl was Barbra's directorial debut, but it took 15 years for her to get it made. She also dealt with everyone thinking she was too old to play the lead role.
The critics had a field day with Showgirls, but it’s won some high-profile fans since. What’s your dream review for this?
I guess it would be like, “Showgirls 2 is perfect imperfection. A job well done by Director/ Writer/ Producer/ Editor/ Dancer/ Craft Service/ Key Grip and star, Miss Riffel. Two "thumbs" up, all "stars" clicked, we "like" buttoned it, etc.!”
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Usher's ex-wife Tameka Foster has lost her bid for primary custody of their two children after their eldest son almost drowned in the R&B superstar's swimming pool on Monday (05Aug13). The Yeah! hitmaker faced off with Foster in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday (09Aug13), days after five-year-old Usher Raymond V ended up in a hospital intensive care unit after getting his arm stuck in a pool drain while trying to retrieve a toy.
Foster, who has limited custodial rights, appealed to a judge to review their current custody arrangements amid accusations the singer had abdicated his parental responsibilities by letting his aunt, Rena Oden, and a maid look after their kids at the time of the incident.
During Friday's emergency hearing, Foster claimed the pool accident was an example of Usher's inattentiveness as a father and insisted he failed to employ a competent caretaker for their boys in leaving them with Oden.
Taking the witness stand, Foster told Judge John J. Goger, "I'm just thankful that my son is alive... I think she (Rena) is a nice person but a nanny? No."
She then broke down in tears as she admitted she was unsure if little Usher, who remains in hospital, had suffered any permanent brain or heart damage as a result of the near-fatal incident.
The singer challenged the allegations when it was his turn to give evidence, revealing he had urged doctors to keep the youngster under observation until they were completely sure he would be OK.
He also claimed the children had been thriving under his care and argued that the accident could have happened to anyone.
Judge Goger agreed with Usher and allowed the musician to maintain primary custody, although he warned the star to "keep your former spouse informed about your whereabouts and who is taking care of the kids".
After the emotional hearing, Usher attempted to smooth over relations with Foster, aka Tameka Raymond, by giving her a tender hug and repeatedly whispering, "I'm sorry" into her ear.
Mindy Mccready's ex-boyfriend has been awarded full custody of the former couple's son following the singer's shock death. Billy McKnight fought for legal custody of little Zander earlier this year (13) when his mum was found dead at her Arkansas home in February (13).
The incident occurred just weeks after the kid was placed in foster care amid fears the troubled singer was unable to look after him and his younger half-brother Zayne following the death of her boyfriend David Wilson, who committed suicide.
McKnight has been fighting to seek full legal custody of his son ever since and on Friday (12Jul13) a U.S. judge granted the dad's wishes.
In a post on Facebook.com, he wrote, "Praise God today along with a lot of support and love from family and friends I am finally bringing my son home for good this Sunday. I want to thank all of you for the prayers that's been sent to me. I cannot express with words the weight that has been lifted off my shoulders. To my beautiful wife Corey Rena-Mcknight it's a boy!"
The pair reunited at McKnight's home two days later and the overjoyed father reveals he is trying to help Zander overcome the loss of his mum.
He tells Taste of Country, "He (Zander) asked, 'Did you love my mum?' and I said, 'Yeah, you need to know that even though your mum's in heaven, she loves you very much, she's looking down on you and you were made from love and you're here for a reason.'
"There was a lot of good things to talk about Mindy McCready. So I will focus on those and when those negative things come up, I will be the father that he needs me to be and I'll protect him and stand up for her and let him know how much she cared for him, and that's the truth."
This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time led us into the enchanting world of Snow White’s past to learn more about her quest for good and meet her kind-hearted mother Queen Eva (Rena Sofer). Read on for all the devastating details from “The Queen is Dead,” in our wickedly wonderful recap!
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Big Apple Bloodshed: Neil and Henry, clearly trying to jam in as many father/son bonding moments as possible, enjoyed a slice of New York City pizza while Emma and Gold looked on longingly. Gold asked Emma to convience to Neil to come vack to Storybrooke with them, but it’s obvious that all she’s concerned with is getting back in Henry’s good graces. Things don’t improve when Emma asked if he liked the pizza and Henry quipped, “Yeah, it’s delicious, cheesy and doesn’t lie.” (Ouch! That’s pretty harsh, you little brat.)
Back at Neil's apartment building, Emma and Gold were waiting for the fellas to grab a camera—yes, suddenly this has turned into one giant sight-seeing vacation—when all of the sudden Hook burst throught the door. He shoved Emma aside sneered, “Tick-Tock! Time’s up, crocodile!” and then plunged his hook deep into Gold’s chest. And just in case The Dark One forgot why he was being attacked, Hook added, “You took Mila, my love, my happiness and now I take your life.”
Emma then smacked Hook in the head, knocked him unconscious and after a quick gasp from Neil, (“Papa?!”) they took Gold upstairs. Neil revealed that he’s known Hook for many years and he’d be able to sail the ship back to Storybrooke. Emma questioned exactly how her baby daddy knows the pirate captain and Neil explained, “It’s a long story, the short version is this world wasn’t my first one when I left home. If it was I’d be a couple hundred years old by now.” (He’s talking about Neverland y’all! Read more details about our upcoming journey here!)
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While Emma and Neil were prepping for their upcoming journey, Gold pulled Henry aside and whispered something not-so-sweet in his grandson’s ear. “You stay away from me! You caused this; you brought us back here; you did this!” he said. Henry just looked dumbfounded. Neil and Emma went to get the car that Neil was borrowing from, “a friend” when all of the sudden a super gorgeous girl ran up to Neil and kissed him. Neil and Emma shippers, meet Tamara: Neil’s fiancé.
Fairytale Land Flashbacks: Young Snow White — who look exactly like older Snow White, so bravo, ABC! — walked into the ballroom to show her mother, Queen Eva, her gown for her birthday celebration. Eva told her daughter that she had a very special gift for her, but when they walked into the bedroom they saw a handmaiden named Johanna happily trying on Snow’s tiara.
In a shocking twist young Snow snapped, “How dare you that’s mine! That’s not for a servant!” The queen was aghast at her daugther’s rudeness and calmly explained to her that even though they are “royals,” they are no better than anyone else in the kingdom. Eva explained, “When you are crowned with this on your birthday, it is a symbol that you will always hold goodness in your heart and rule justly.” The Queen’s lesson in kindness ended abruptly when she gasped and fell into a nearby chair.
The queen was deathly ill and Snow was furious that no one in the kingdom knew how to save her mother. Johanna suggested that Snow should look for the Blue Fairy and beg for a magical cure, so that night the princess went on a quest to find her. But before Snow could properly summon her, The Blue Fairy appeared and offered Snow a dark type of magical cure: a candle that could save the queen’s life by sacrificing someone else’s.
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Even though this was the only way to save her mother Snow revealed that she couldn’t disobey her mother’s wishes. “All she ever wanted was for me to be good. I can’t trade someone else’s life for hers.” A distraught Snow told her mother that she refused to use the candle, but she was devastated that her mother was leaving her. Queen Eva smiled, “As long as you hold the spirit of goodness in your heart, I shall never leave you.”
The queen passed and Snow had to celebrate her birthday wearing a beautifully ornate black dress and crying at the alter where her mother was presented in front of the kingdom. Johanna, now a mother-like figure, led a crying Snow out of the ballroom and told her it was time to let her go. Just when we thought the scene was through, the Blue Fairy arrived, but in true Once Upon a Time fashion, it was all a lie.
The Blue Fairy was actually Cora in disguise and she approached Queen Eva’s body with a sick smile on her face. It’s clear that Cora knew Eva (you’ll find out how next week!) and she sneered, “Poison looks good on you and death is most certainly your color.” Cora revealed to the corpse that her plan to make her daughter Queen was almost complete, but first she wanted to destroy Snow White. “I’ll turn Snow White’s heart back as coal that candle won’t be her final test and once I’ve darkened her soul, it wont just be you I’ve destroyed, it’ll be your legacy.”
Storybrooke Stand-Offs: It’s Snow’s birthday, and even though Charming was trying to be subtle with his celebration breakfast, she immediately told her husband that she doesn’t want any of it, especially not the mysterious birthday present that someone left for her. Snow opened the box and was shocked to see the tiara that her mother gave her many years ago with a note signed from Johanna.
Snow went to her handmaiden’s house and greeted her with a huge smile and heart-warming hug. Before she and Snow could reminese about their fairytale past, she heard a noise coming from the forest and then overheard that Regina and Cora are searching for Rumplestilskin’s Dark One dagger. Snow ran to the police station to find an unconscious Charming lying on the floor — Hook’s fault, “Apologies mate!”—and told her husband they need to find the dagger first.
RELATED: ‘Once Upon A Time' Recap: Make Believe, Monsters, And Mothers
Fast-forward just a bit and we see that Emma told her parents that Hook had hidden the dagger behind the hands of the clock in the library tower. Charming and Snow retrieved the dagger from its clever hiding spot and with a poof of purple smoke, Cora and Regina appeared demanding for the dagger. Their bargaining piece? Johanna’s heart. Snow quickly realized that it was actually Cora who killed her mother, and like her mother she would’ve wished, she gave the dagger to Cora.
Johanna was free for about 2.5 seconds before Cora used her magic to fling her though the glass and down the three story flight into the concrete below. (Ouch!) Cora sneered, “You see in the end it isn’t good or evil who wins, but power.” But the episode’s end Snow reached a very important decision: “I’m going to kill Cora.”
What did you think of “The Queen is Dead”? Do you think Snow has what it takes to overcome her quest for good and kill Cora? Cast your spell in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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Filmmakers working on upcoming sequel Live Free or Die Hard have angered aviation officials in Los Angeles by proposing to shut down sections of the 105 Freeway and Imperial Highway around the city's airport this autumn.
Bosses at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) fear the closures for the Bruce Willis movie would severely disrupt traffic, and therefore air passengers' journeys to the airport--as well as costing cargo carriers thousands of dollars.
Studio 20th Century Fox has asked Film LA for permission to shut down the roads on various days later this month and next month.
Samson Mengistu--in charge of the city agency that runs the LAX area--wrote to the president of Film L.A., Steve MacDonald, on 2 October.
In an extract printed in today's Los Angeles Times, Mengistu wrote, "The studio's proposal to close both directions of Imperial Highway from Nash Street to Aviation Boulevard would have significant impacts on LAX passengers, workers and air cargo businesses operating on the airport adjacent to Imperial Highway."
20th Century Fox claims it will do everything to minimize disruption.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Gus Van Sant, the eclectic director of such films as To Die For and Finding Forrester, will reteam with his Good Will Hunting stars Matt Damon and Casey Affleck (yes, Ben's little brother) for a new film, Jerry. According to the buzz at Cannes, the film is being kept closely under wraps, so there's not much known on the subject matter. Could be about a mouse or a TV evangelist or maybe a raunchy TV talk show host. What is known is that the project is being put together by the William Morris Agency Independent department, with co-heads Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson negotiating the deal.
Big brother Ben
Casey's big bro Ben Affleck, after battling the Japanese in the upcoming Pearl Harbor, is set to star in director Martin Brest's Gigli. Brest, who has taken a three-year hiatus since his last film, Meet Joe Black, will direct from his own script about a down-and-out hit man (Affleck) who kidnaps the mentally challenged brother of a powerful district attorney. While waiting for ransom demands, he hooks up with a free-spirited female partner, whom he assumes is a hit woman. You can't say it doesn't sound original. This marks the first time Brest has directed from his own script in 20 years, the last being 1979's Going in Style starring George Burns. And let's hope this one is more memorable.
Bakula will explore new worlds
Quantum Leap star Scott Bakula is taking another strange journey into the unknown as he has signed on to play Capt. Jonathan Archer (in company with other great names such as James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard) on Enterprise, the fifth Star Trek series. Paramount Network Television described the character of Archer to The Associated Press as a "physical and intensely curious captain" who maintains a sense of duty. He also is "a bit of a renegade and is not afraid to question orders or even disobey them if he feels in his gut that he is right." Ah, just the kind of starship captain we need.
Booked on the love "Boat"
Sometimes it pays to take your clothes off. Former Playboy playmate of the year Victoria Silvstedt and actress Vivica A. Fox (Kingdom Come) are joining the cast of the indie feature Boat Trip, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Horatio Sanz. Story centers on two men (Gooding and Sanz) who set out on a Caribbean cruise to find love and romance only to realize they are on a gay cruise. Oh no! Fox will play Gooding's fiancée and Silvstedt plays Inga, the head of a Swedish swim team. Who magically appears on the gay cruise to the Caribbean? Production starts at the end of the month in Germany.
Director Terrence Malick is back once again. He will produce a new adaptation of author Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock. The original 1947 film, directed by John Boulting, starred Richard Attenborough as a small-time gangster in the English seaside town of Brighton who self-destructs after murdering a rival. The strange and elusive Malick will not direct, even though he is officially out of seclusion after directing the 1998 war film The Thin Red Line. Before that, his last film was the 1978 Days of Heaven with Richard Gere and Sam Shepard. Rock is slated for a summer 2002 start date in the United Kingdom.
Cameron and Cousteau team up
Director-producer James Cameron must have a thing for undersea exploration. Remember all that footage of the doomed Titanic in his Oscar-winning film? Now he is teaming up with ocean explorer-environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the legendary Jacques Cousteau, to produce a series of undersea exploration specials for ABC. Ironically, the first installment will be about the remains of Titanic - which is easy enough. The series seeks to use the latest technology in oceanic photography to view areas of the deep blue sea never seen or explored before. So, now we can finally see all the weird prehistoric creatures that dwell on the ocean floor.
Kasdan, Goldman do King's "Dreamcatcher"
Director Lawrence Kasdan and writer William Goldman have teamed up with Castle Rock Productions to bring Stephen King's latest novel The Dreamcatcher to life. The story revolves around four childhood friends who share a secret bond after they perform a heroic act. Years later, as they have drifted apart, they must reunite to save the Earth from a mysterious force. Sounds a little like a conglomeration of several King stories, including Stand By Me and It. But with the talent of Kasdan and Goldman, plus the Castle Rock contingency, who've produced probably the best King adaptations such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Misery, this film has every chance to be another winner. Now, let's see whom they cast.
Kudrow looking for "Scouts"
Friends funny lady Lisa Kudrow will produce and star in the dark comedy indie Intense Girl Scouts, about a woman who leads an unofficial Girl Scout troop into doing out-of-the-norm good deeds. Yet, when some of those deeds go awry, she is ostracized and ends up becoming involved in questionable activities with her creepy neighbor-ultimately leading to murder. If anyone could pull this off, it'd be Kudrow, who showed some excellent acting chops in another independent gem The Opposite of Sex. Unfortunately, her bigger features, such as Hanging Up and Lucky Numbers, didn't fare as well. Might be the wisest for her to stick to the little guys.
P.Diddy: "I can act!"
Sure he can. Why not? Mr. bad-boy rapper Sean "P.Diddy or Puffy" Combs has done just about everything else. Having narrowly escaped prison life for real, Combs has decided to play a prisoner in the independent feature Monster's Ball, costarring with Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger, Halle Berry and Peter Boyle. The story is about a father and son (Thornton and Ledger) who work at a prison's electric chair facility. Combs will play a death row inmate who is put to death on the electric chair. Thornton's character, a racist, later falls in love with the widow, played by Berry. Combs also will appear in Jon Favreau's movie Made, out this July.
Bell calls "Who Goes There?"
Jamie Bell, of Billy Elliot, is set to star in a World War II drama Who Goes There?, based on the true story of a German U-boat that landed its crew in a Welsh village. Bell will play a boy who befriends a German soldier only to find out his friend is not really such a nice guy. Well, that's a surprise. It will be interesting to see whether the young lad is as good as he was in Billy Elliot. But no pressure, Jamie.