Following the revelation that German commercials helmer Marcus Nispel personally wrote a 64-page “Manifesto” — detailing all his likes and dislikes while shooting — more Hollywood directors have come forward and confessed that they, too, are victims of Nispel-mania.
Even auteur Steven Soderbergh, mentor of the independent new wave, has fallen prey to this latest Hollywood fad.
Daily Variety has discovered a secret 10-page document that the director of “Out of Sight” and “sex, lies, and videotape” uses as a guideline for his underlings.
Soderbergh has termed his instuction text “The Maniphesto.” Like Nispel, he outlines his preferences in detail for his staff: hotel, travel instructions, catering needs, trailer behavior, relations to talent as well as to studio heads and therapists.
Soderbergh couldn’t be reached for a comment on his handiwork. But crew members on his new film “The Limey” are buzzing about a few of the more outrageous demands that he makes:
- “Asst. always present at meetings. Smile when Steven speaks, frown when others speak. Be prepared to finish Steven’s sentences/ideas when he drifts into incoherence and/or sleep. Remember that ‘obsequious sycophant’ is an accurate description of Steven’s favorite people.”
- “Inform Steven exact moment a date falls through — he needs to stop thinking about a woman the moment she is not viable.”
- “Keep Steven abreast of whom his peers are dating, whom he’s losing women to, etc.”
- “Write break-up notes, keep them simple and direct. Keep a break-up list, and re-use concepts.”
- “Steven NEVER stays in the same city as the actors.”
- “For all pickups, the driver must meet Steven with a sign that reads RICH MAN WITH LARGE GENITALS.”
- “When returning to a familiar hotel, the same sheets are preferred.”
- “Should not talk to Steven unless he is about to be crushed by a falling object.”
- “Steven likes crunchy Jif on white bread with bananas. No one can watch Steven eat. If Steven’s teeth are found, please have them returned to the production office.”
- “Make sure all actors can open their eyes, smile and create expressions.”
- “For cattle-call casting, keep the following in mind:
Female (or Jaye Davidson type)
Doesn’t save dresses”
- “After knocking, entrants should pause 10 seconds before entering. Steven needs at least this much time to disrobe.”
- “Steven’s ‘guests’ will often ask for money. Clear with Steven.”
- “All furniture (including windows) should be covered in orange fur.”
- “Do not speak. If you have questions, write them down beforehand and fax them to Steven’s asst.”
- “Steven is a genius. Everything he says, does, ingests and secretes is Art. Trying to make him conform to standard ideas of behavior will only harm his Art and result in police intervention. The degrading humiliation and diminished sense of self you will experience is all part of Steven’s desire to break you out of your stagnant, uninspired existence, which is not Art. Get off yourself. Get onto Steven.”
Gangster movie “Limey,” which is about to start shooting, is one of the first big pics to go into production for indie distrib Artisan Entertainment. Crew members are said to be deeply distressed about this “Maniphesto.” They are eager to break out of their stagnant, uninspired, non-Artful existence, but the crunchy Jif is proving extremely hard to find.