It took one fiery speech to make people forget the ill-advised photos of Fran Drescher cavorting in Italy with Kim Kardashian a few days before the end of a contract extension that kept the biggest Hollywood guild from joining writers in the picket line. On Thursday afternoon, the actress who presides the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) proved she was the right person, at the right time, to lead fellow actors in the fight of their lives.
Drescher might as well be referring to Bob Iger. On the same day the strike was announced, the Disney CEO deemed writers' and actors' demands “unrealistic.” The top executive is estimated to pocket $27 million in 2023, in the concept of salary and bonuses. Bad timing, Bob!
SAG-AFTRA also clarified what guild members can’t do while the strike runs: showing up at premieres or conventions, engaging in press coverage for completed films, and even walking down a red carpet. That is why Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon abandoned the “Oppenheimer” premiere in London once SAG-AFTRA announced the strike.
Security guard at TIFF 2023: "I'm the star now!" / Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.
The news throws a pall over upcoming film festivals, which need stars in attendance to generate buzz. The Venice Film Festival begins on August 30, the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, and New York Film Festival on September 30. It’s time to remember that what matter is the movies. With all participating films done shooting, they are all in the clear. And there is always a chance the strike gets resolved before opening day.
Disney announced the temporary suspension of shooting for “Deadpool 3,” helmed by director Shawn Levy in London. The third film in the franchise led by Ryan Reynolds stirred up a lot of buzz in the last weeks, with the announcement of Jennifer Gardner returning to play Elektra and pictures of Hugh Jackman dressed in a comic book-worthy yellow jumpsuit instead of the grungy threads that have characterized his Wolverine.
It is very likely that the release date, set for May 3, 2024, will be delayed.
Francois-Henri Pinault is known in the film world as Mr. Salma Hayek, but his day job is as President and CEO of Kering. The multinational corporation owns many luxury brands like Balenciaga, Bottega Venetta, Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent. He is also the president of Groupe Artemis, the holding company that manages his investments.
While Hollywood faces its first mega-strike in 60 years, the French billionaire is wheeling and dealing to buy a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the biggest talent agencies in the business. The company is valued at about $7 billion dollars and includes among its clients stars like Jennifer Lopez, Ana de Armas, Andrew Garfield, Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Zazie Beetz, and Zendaya.
"I'm with her!": Pinault makes a play to be something more than Mr. Salma Hayek in Hollywood. / Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.
If the deal comes through, expect Salma Hayek to be crowned Queen of Hollywood. Or something like that. Here’s hoping with all this clout and money, Salma can do everyone a solid and foot the bill for Guillermo del Toro’s stalled dream project “At the Mountains of Madness.” Come on, Salma! Help a fellow Mexican filmmaker! Work something out, ¡por favor!
Harry Dean Stanton, king of cool. / Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.
The great American actor Harry Dean Stanton was born today in 1926. He carved a niche as a cult hero, moving gracefully between commercial films and art house fare. To get a sense of his versatility, check out blockbuster sci-fi classic “Alien” (Ridley Scott,1979), genre masterpiece “Escape from New York” (John Carpenter, 1981), underground hit “Repo Man” (Alex Cox, 1984), and Palme d’Or winner “Paris Texas” (Wim Wenders, 1984). He was a recurrent player in David Lynch’s projects, including “Wild at Heart” (1990), “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” (1992), “Inland Empire” (2006), and “Twin Peaks: The Return” (2017). He died in 2017
Faith, sex and dark, dark humor: the tao of Ingmar Bergman / Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.
Ingmar Bergman was born today in 1918. The Swedish director worked on stage and screen. During his lifetime became a towering figure in world cinema. You have to see everything he did, especially “The Seventh Seal” (1957), “Wild Strawberries” (1957), “Cries and Whispers” (1972), “Autumn Sonata” (1978), and “Fanny & Alexander” (1982). He died in 2007. If you have a few bucks to spare, take advantage of Criterion Collection’s Barnes & Noble 50% sale running throughout July, and buy their massive box set “Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema.” It is worth every penny.
His influence permeated pop culture, influencing everything from Woody Allen dramas, and "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" (Stephen Herek, 1989). You can get a clear sense of how powerful is his mystique by watching Mia Hansen-Love's "Bergman's Island" (2021).
marlon Brando + Robert De Niro = Lino Ventura / Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.
Lino Ventura was born today in 1919. The Italian actor conquered French cinema with thrillers “Touchez Pas Au Grisbi” (1954), “Elevator to the Gallows” (1958), “Classe Tous Risques” (1960), and Jean Pierre-Melville’s heart-breaking WWII resistance drama “Army of Shadows” (1969). Imagine a combination of Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro, and you are halfway there. He died in 1987.
We don’t want you to think we are a bunch of snobs, so we must congratulate the very much alive Joel Silver! The producer defined action-heavy commercial cinema in the 80s and 90s, and pushed Hollywood’s penchant for franchises with “Lethal Weapon” (1987), “Die Hard” (1988), “Predator” (1987), and “The Matrix” (1999). Some of those are still pumping out sequels, like “Matrix: Resurrections” (2021), and the “Predator” prequel “Prey” (2022).
Joel Silver, master of action. / Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.
The 71-years old producer has nine projects in the pipeline, including a remake of redneck action cult classic “Road House,” with Jake Gyllenhaal taking over the role originated by Patrick Swayze; a third entry in the “Sherlock Homes” franchise with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.
Sure, the weekend belongs to “Mission; Impossible 7 - Dead Reckoning Part 1,” but if you got the blockbuster under your belt, or are aching for something more human-scaled, Sideshow and Janus Films are opening in limited-release Turkish auteur Nury Bilge Ceylan’s “About Dry Grasses.” The contemplative drama was part of the official competition at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Merve Dizdar took the Best Actress award. Check out the trailer!
If you want to have lots of fun without leaving home, check out an unsung comedy that will expand your idea of what Tony Hale can do. The masterful comedian better known for "Arrested Development" and "Veep," plays the romantic lead in "Brave New Jersey," a bitting satire about a northeastern small town where people go crazy when they believe Orson Welles' "War of the World" radio theatre piece is actually a newscast. The movie is now streaming on Popflick.
A documentary that explores our complex relationship with nature itself and our contradictory behavior of caging what we fear may be lost.Stream Now
Want to get an email when we publish new content?Subscribe today