After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
Today marked a sunny day for The Dark Knight.
Also for a guy who grows younger as he gets older and a kid who beats all odds to win Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
The Producers Guild of America has announced its nominations for best movies, documentaries and TV shows. Nods in this movie category often foreshadow what’s to come by way of Oscar later on.
The 20th Annual PGA Awards will take place Jan. 24 at the Hollywood Paladium.
The complete list of nominees is as follows. First, for theatrical movies:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall
The Dark Knight
And for documenaries:
Man on Wire
Standard Operating Procedure
Julie Bilson Ahlberg
Trouble the Water
And for animation:
Kung Fu Panda
And for episodic TV/comedy:
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Lori Jo Nemhauser
And for episodic TV/drama:
David E. Kelley
Mark A. Baker
Todd A. Kessler
Robert Lloyd Lewis
Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
And for "nonfiction" TV:
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List
Lisa M. Tucker
This American Life
And for "live and competition" TV:
Bertram van Munster
Hayma “Screech” Washington
The Colbert Report
Stephen T. Colbert, DFA
Real Time with Bill Maher
And for "long-form" TV"
Bernard and Doris
A Raisin in the Sun
Finally, honorary awards and recipients:
Brian Grazer and Ron Howard
David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures
Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television
MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson
The Stanley Kramer Award
Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen
MORE NEWS: It's Dolly and Charlie Romijn-O'Connell!
Cattrall wrote sex book to allay female fears
Kim Cattrall wrote a sex book to allay female fears felt compelled to write a book about intimacy to demystify sex for women--and urge them not to panic of their partners are struggling to arouse them. The former Sex and the City actress, 48, teamed up with her then-husband Mark Levinson on Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm to inform others she didn't develop a strong sex drive until she reached her forties. Cattrall says, "Up until then I thought I wasn't a very sexual woman, although everyone assumed I was getting it in spades. I wanted to write the book because something had changed for me. I thought, 'My goodness, if that's my story, there must be lots of other women.'"
Hatcher ignores men for the sake of her daughter
Desperate Wives beauty Teri Hatcher has not had sex for four years and is in no hurry to snare a lover. The 40-year-old has remained celibate since splitting from husband Jon Tenney and has since devoted herself to raising their seven-year-old daughter Emerson Rose. And Hatcher found it easy to relate to her character on the hit US TV show--a sex-starved, single mother. She says, "There just isn't any space for it (sex). I don't have a boyfriend because I don't go out on dates. But it's OK - I'm not sad because of it."
Garner anxieties over always looking good
Jennifer Garner finds being in the spotlight "intimidating" and hates it when her appearance is analyzed. The Elektra actress, who is dating Ben Affleck, is overwhelmed by the pressure to turn up to celebrity galas and premieres in "cutting edge" garments. Jennifer Garner says, "I still feel intimidated by things such as film premieres. There's so much fuss about wearing the perfect dress. That can be intimidating. "I don't have the greatest fashion sense myself. Fashion taste is so much a thing of the moment that it's almost impossible to always be on the cutting edge. "I try to keep things simple and classic. I got some pretty good press for my Oscar dress last year, so now I need to do it again for the Globes and the Oscars."
Muslims upset by 24
An American-Islamic group has blasted the makers of Kiefer Sutherland's hit TV drama 24 after learning the first episode of the new season portrays a Muslim family as terrorists. Officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations were made aware of the controversial episode after upset Muslims got hold of a promotional preview of the show, which airs next week. The council's spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed says she's particularly disturbed by one scene, in which an American-Muslim teenager plots to kill Americans. She adds, "It casts a cloud of suspicion over every American Muslim family out there." Bosses at TV network Fox, who air the show, have yet to counter the comments.
Jolie and Farrell attraction almost led to romance
Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell were so close to becoming lovers they discussed the possibility of dating--but decided their personalities are too similar. The Alexanderco-stars were rumored to have started dating during the filming of the epic movie but Jolie claims they refrained from consummating their mutual attraction at the last moment. Jolie says, "Colin and I did discuss the idea of dating. He is a very interesting man and artist. "But we've also talked about how we're maybe too similar. So at this point we're just great friends."
Osbournes increase tsunami donation
Sharon Osbourne is so moved by the plight of the Asian tsunami disaster victim--she has pledged a donation of $190,000. The judge on British TV talent show X Factor initially donated $47,500, but decided to give more after watching endless "heartbreaking" news reports. Osbourne, who earned $13.3 million in 2004, says, "There are really no words to describe how devastated we are to see this unfold. This is just heartbreaking - donating money is the least we can do. We have been watching all the terrible news coverage and we wanted to give some more money. Our hearts go out to all those affected."
Branson: 'I dumped my waste on various nations'
Richard Branson had a unique way of showing his disapproval to nations who refused to allow his hot-air balloon in their air space--he dumped human waste on them. The Virgin tycoon has attempted to set a world record by flying around the world in a balloon numerous times without success, and on each occasion some countries turned down his route requests. Branson says, "We would find countries we most disliked as we were going around the world, and dump it over. So if anybody refused to allow us to fly over them, we ended up straying over by 'mistake' and they'd get our s**t. And the tycoon adds that he had to take extra care when visiting the toilet: There's a tiny tube and you have to be careful that you pull the right lever at the right time, or else your balls will get sucked straight out."
Grant gets passionate with Khan at New Year party
Hugh Grant stunned fellow partygoers by passionately kissing lover Jemima Khan in full view as they celebrated the New Year Caribbean-style. The Love Actually star and his socialite girlfriend left their $2,280-a-night villa at Barbados's Sandy Lane Hotel to party on the beach with other guests until 2am on Saturday morning. And the loved-up pair reportedly spent the romantic occasion kissing and embracing each other throughout the night. Meanwhile, Khan's sons from her nine-year marriage to cricket star Imran Khan celebrated the New Year with their father in Pakistan.
Driver's beachfront calm
Actress-turned-singer Minnie Driver loves living beside the ocean because it gives her the peace she needs to maintain her sanity. The Good Will Hunting star has a beachfront residence in Malibu, California, which she credits with helping her mentally recover after a challenging film shoot or promotional tour. She says, "I love surfing, there's something profoundly exhilarating and comforting about surfing, there's also a great peace and it's amazingly challenging. Between surfing, being with friends and making music, that's how I get healed. I don't think I would ever be able to live away from the sea again."
Star Wars star protests innocence over drunk driving
Star Wars R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker is challenging charges of drunk driving--claiming his asthma prevented him from agreeing to the breath test to determine the alcohol in his body. The 70-year-old vertically challenged actor, who played the robot in the 1977 movie, is relying on blood tests to clear him of reckless driving after he was stopped by police as he drove his Maroon Mercedes in Lancashire, England, on 17 December. Baker ended up being locked up for two hours until a doctor had carried out a blood test - after his asthma prevented him from blowing into the test bag. He says, "The police said they'd had reports from other motorists that I was veering all over the road. "I had gone for a drink after the show (Speed Dating), but only had one glass of wine. I am certain the tests will come back clear."
Beloved TV star dies
The Rocketeer star William Boyett has lost his life after a Christmas battle with pneumonia. He was 77. The beloved actor made his name on TV in America in detective shows like Dragnet and Adam-12. He got his start in show business after winning a high school Shakespeare competition, and he became a regular on radio in America. After serving in the Navy in World War II, he became a theatre star in New York and Los Angeles.
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On June 26, 1953, Marilyn Monroe received her star along Hollywood's Walk of Fame. She wrote her name in the wet cement in front of Grauman''s Chinese Theater and dotted the "i" in her first name with a rhinestone.
The blonde bombshell had quickly become Hollywood's darling, a legendary movie star, and would soon become one of the biggest silver screen icons of the 20th century.
On Friday, to celebrate what would have been Monroe's 75th birthday, cable network AMC will premiere Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days, a feature-length documentary chronicling the tragic last months in the life of Hollywood's sweetheart.
The documentary will include the premiere of the edited, 37-minute reconstruction of her final film, Something's Got to Give.
The film was a remake of the 1940 romantic comedy My Favorite Wife, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. The footage languished for nearly 40 years in 20th Century Fox's vault.
The rise to stardom wasn't easy for Monroe, born was Norma Jean Baker. Having grown up in a string of foster homes and an orphanage, she eventually found her talent in modeling. She quickly moved to Hollywood in the late 1940s to launch a movie career.
Scoring bit parts in such films as John Huston's Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve was enough for Monroe to catch the attention of many studio producers in the 1950s. Monroe's curvaceous body, platinum hair and breathless voice were just some of the traits which led studios to knock on her door with movie deals.
The American Film Institute, dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of the moving images, has included Monroe on three of its Best 100 movies list.
An AFI panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community ranked Monroe's 1959 film Some Like It Hot as No. 1 on the "Funniest Movies" list and No. 14 on its "Greatest Movies" list. She also is No. 6 on the AFI's list of "Greatest American Screen Legends" for actresses.
Her status as a sex symbol began to solidify when she graced the first issue of Playboy magazine in 1952.
"Marilyn Monroe is the playmate of all time," Elizabeth Norris, director of public relations for Playboy, said.
The actress not only appeared on the magazine's first cover, but also was its first playmate, Norris said. Monroe has been featured eight times in Playboy but she never posed for the magazine. Playboy purchased the pictures.
"She was a flagship model [for Playboy]," Morris said.
Monroe's image has been forever preserved as a result of crooning "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy or standing with a billowing skirt over a subway gate in Billy Wilder's The Seven Year Itch.
She died in August 1962 of an overdose of barbiturates. Her last completed film was The Misfits. She never completed Something's Got to Give.
Kevin Burns, executive producer of AMC's Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days, found nearly 9 ½ hours of raw footage of her last film, Something's Got to Give, in 1996.
Most of the footage was faded badly, but it was restored and color corrected using technical video technology.
After restoration, "the quality was better than we feared," Burns recalled. "There was a lot more footage than we thought existed."
Producers had to string together pieces of the film following the order they thought the plot would fall into. But the actress' performance seemed promising as she played the part of a "flesh-and-blood person," Burns said, having matured as a woman and an actress in the final years leading up to The Misfits.
"Marilyn looks beautiful, although she was not in great emotional or physical condition," Burns said. "She seemed to have difficulty remembering lines and seemed to have physical and emotional problems."
Monroe's personal physician, Dr. Hyman Engelberg, will discuss publicly for the first time in the documentary Monroe's emotional instability, chemical dependency and general poor health during the period of filming.
It is difficult to say how Something's Got to Give would have fared at the box office since it's incomplete, Burns said. Monroe wasn't present in all of the found footage. Her illnesses led to her absence from the set 17 of 30 days scheduled for shooting.
"It would have probably been one of the featherweight comedies of the 1960s," Burns said. "It would have been cute and charming."
It is hard to predict what Monroe would be doing today if she was still alive, but Burns assumed that she would continue being the charming, yet vulnerable, person that she was.
Burns pondered whether Monroe could have survived losing her looks, because she didn't have a strong personality. She was sweet yet very fragile, he said.
"It's intriguing to watch a woman like Marilyn, and yet know that she was full of doubt, insecurity and pain," Burns said. " [Marilyn's] death was part of who she was."
Burns promises that the charm which people love about Monroe will come across in the documentary.
The documentary is a part of a daylong celebration of Monroe's 75th birthday, ending at 4 a.m. EST Saturday. Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days will premiere at 8 p.m. EST.
To coincide with Monroe's birthday, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment launching Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection. The collection features the debut of Monroe's most celebrated and colorful films on DVD, such as The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop and more. Almost a million copies were pre-ordered before the collection's release.
CNN CAUGHT IN ANOTHER TAILWIND?
Rekindling memories of CNN's Operation Tailwind fiasco three years ago, the CIA has issued a statement saying that Kenneth Bucchi, who was identified as a former CIA agent by the cable network during two appearances on Monday, never worked for the agency in any capacity and that his comments on the air about being involved in CIA activities involving Columbia drug lords were "utter nonsense" and "complete fiction." Reporting on the apparent hoax, the Washington Post said Thursday that Bucchi had been discharged from the Air Force after being labeled as delusional and quoted Bucchi as saying that he had been "framed" by the Air Force during his ouster. Bucchi also reportedly acknowledged that he could not prove that he had worked for the CIA but did concede that he had never been paid by the agency. A CNN anchor read a statement by the CIA about the matter Wednesday but did not retract the story or apologize, the Post said.
WHICH SURVIVOR WILL BE THE WEAKEST LINK?
CBS announced plans Wednesday to milk yet another Survivor episode from its current Outback series for the May sweeps. The one-hour show, set to air 8 p.m. May 10, will follow the 16 contestants as they return home and, from 8:30-9 p.m.will go head-to-head against a half-hour special episode of The Missing Link, which will be featuring several of the original Survivor contestants struggling to withstand the verbal scaldings of host Anne Robinson. Meanwhile, Pax TV announced Wednesday that beginning June 1 it will air repeats of Weakest Link on Fridays, just days after the original telecast on NBC on Mondays.
"TODAY"'S HIT AND RUN
Seeming to invite criticism for emulating the very thing it was scrutinizing, NBC's The Today Show on Wednesday showed a video six times of a 16-year-old boy being hit by a car as he was allegedly attempting to mimic a stunt on the MTV showJackass. The Independence, Kan., teenager suffered numerous injuries including a broken leg. During the broadcast, Garry Edmonson, the local D.A., said that his office was considering filing charges against MTV. "Certainly they are morally culpable," he remarked. For its part, MTV said that it was "incredibly upsetting" to learn of such incidents but that MTV repeatedly has warned viewers not to attempt the dangerous stunts depicted on the show. It also noted that it had never shown a stunt on Jackass similar to the one involving the injured Kentucky boy.
"NEW YORK TIMES" PUTS TV ON HOLD
Representing a blow to the New York Times' ambition to become a force in nightly television news, the paper has been forced to shelve plans to produce an 11:00 p.m. PBS newscast, published reports said Thursday. According to the reports, the newscast, which was to have been called National Edition, has been unable to find $12 million in corporate underwriting to launch the telecast, which was to have been produced with MacNeil-Lehrer Productions.
"60 MINUTES" CHIEF NOW FAVORS TELEVISED EXECUTION
60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt, who once voiced opposition to the televising of executions, now says he has changed his mind and is in favor of televising the May 16 execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. "You put a guy on a gurney and stick a needle in his arm. People watch that on E.R. every week," Hewitt remarked in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. "What's the big deal? He goes to sleep and doesn't wake up. It doesn't seem so terrible to me." Reminded that in 1997 he said of televising McVeigh's execution, "That hungry for ratings, I'm not. ... It's in terrible taste," Hewitt replied, "I'm mush. I change on a lot of things." 60 Minutes is planning to repeat Ed Bradley's March 2000 interview with McVeigh, the only television interview with him.
WILL ACTRESS-ANCHOR MAKE IT AT CNN?
An Albuquerque, NM TV news director has sniffed at Wednesday's report that former NYPD Blue costar Andrea Thompson had been hired as an anchor and reporter for the CNN Headline News channel. Chris Berg, who heads the news department at KOB-TV, suggested that Thompson, who has worked at rival KRQE since leaving Blue, posed no competition. "I think working in Albuquerque is out of her league," he told the Albuquerque Journal. "Yes, I think she has improved as a news reporter, but she's still not good enough to work at our station." Readers of the Journal seemed to agree. In a poll conducted on the newspaper's Web site, 64 percent of the respondents answered "No" to the question, "Is KRQE-TV reporter/former NYPD Blue actress Andrea Thompson ready for CNN?"
KATHIE LEE SAYS SHE'S HAD TALKS ABOUT REPLACING ROSIE
Kathie Lee Gifford on Monday confirmed that she had had "preliminary talks" about replacing Rosie O'Donnell on Donnell's syndicated talk show beginning next June. During a conference call, Gifford said that the talks were "nothing serious, and I don't know. ... To commit to something longterm, I would be throwing myself right back in that same frying pan."
CALLS MOUNT FOR BBC CHIEF TO STEP DOWN
Word that BBC Chairman Christopher Bland has been appointed chairman of British Telecom has sparked demands that Bland relinquish his job at the publicly funded broadcasting corporation. Norman Baker, a spokesman for the Liberal Democratic party, told Britain's Guardian newspaper: "Sir Christopher Bland can't possibly do two jobs at once. He cannot give the BBC his full attention if he believes the job is that part-time. ... There is a clear conflict of interest."
NO MOVIES, NO INTERVIEWS?
If an actors' strike materializes this year, not only will TV and film studios be hard hit, but so will entertainment publications and TV shows whose stock-in-trade is running interviews with celebrities who are plugging their latest projects, the Los Angeles Times observed Thursday. Entertainment attorney Tom Hansen told the newspaper that despite actors' contractual obligations to studios to promote their films or television shows, "the union collective bargaining agreement will always trump the individual actor's agreement. ... If the guild says you cannot render publicity services, you will not be in violation of your contract."
MGM: BIG HITS, BUT BIG LOSSES
Despite back-to-back hits with Hannibal and Heartbreakers, MGM on Wednesday reported a net loss of $399.8 million in the first quarter. It attributed the result to accounting rules changes, noting that operating income (EBITDA) soared to $12.6 million from $5.2 million during the same period a year ago. In a statement, MGM Chairman and CEO Alex Yemenidjian commented, "MGM's first-quarter performance was a great start to what promises to be another strong year in 2001." The studio plans to release 20 films this year versus seven in 2000.
TRADE PAPER REPORTER QUITS AFTER HIS STORY IS QUASHED
Entertainment labor and legal reporter David Robb has quit the Hollywood Reporter after the trade paper's publisher, Robert Dowling, blocked a story that he had written concerning Reporter gossip columnist George Christy, the online media magazine Inside reported Wednesday. The story reportedly concerned an investigation by the Screen Actors Guild to determine whether Christy actually worked in numerous films and TV shows for which he had received acting credits since 1985. Those credits, Inside maintained, allowed Christy to qualify for benefits under the guild's health and pension plan. According to Inside, Dowling spiked the story over the objection of editor Anita Busch. It quoted Robb as saying that Dowling "reassigned" the story to another reporter. None of the principals in the dispute except Robb responded to Inside's requests for comment.
COLUMNIST ATTESTS "TOWN & COUNTRY" IS AS BAD AS FEARED
Syndicated columnist Liz Smith has confirmed many movie writers' speculation that Town and Country, the costly and long-delayed comedy starring Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Garry Shandling, is a disaster. Saying that she had seen the film this week -- most critics viewed it Wednesday night -- Smith concludes that "it is one of the most chaotic and puerile movies ever made, full of tasteless adultery and some downright offensive vulgarity." As for the top-flight cast, Smith remarks: "It is awful to see talented stars without a clue as to who they are supposed to be portraying or what they are supposed to be doing." (A digest of other reviews of the movie will be included in tomorrow's edition.)
BUSH WATCHING BOWDLERIZED VERSIONS OF MOVIES
President George W. Bush has ordered that scenes of graphic sex and violence be cut from movies shown on Air Force One flights, the British Web site Ananova reported Thursday, citing reporters traveling with the president. It was not clear from the report who was assigned to the bowdlerization of the films, nor what guidelines for cuts had been set. Ananova observed that Bill Clinton always ran the uncut versions of films on the presidential plane and at the White House, even those "that Mr. Clinton regularly condemned when he was talking up family values."