'Zero Dark' scribe surprised by 'volume' of noise; David O. Russell has 'Amour' moment
Goosebumps were the accessories of choice on the red carpet outside Beverly Hilton on Sunday.The cold snap that hit Los Angeles last week showed no mercy for the actresses who stubbornly refused to rethink the sleeveless, backless gowns picked out weeks (if not months) ago for the Globes fete. The temperature made many boldface names sprint down the carpet into the warmer, Champagne-fueled climate of the BevHilton’s International Ballroom. “Zero Dark Thirty” star Jessica Chastain impressed in a revealing sea-green number, but she soared past reporters on the red carpet with a wave and a shiver. Anne Hathaway didn’t even wave. Nicole Kidman was moving fast but bravely stopped to hug a reporter wearing a short faux-fur coat. “A heater!” she exclaimed. With a wink and a quick show off of her high-top gold-lame Manolo Blahniks, she was gone, dragging hubby Keith Urban (who was there on his own bona fides as a nominee for song). One prominent PR exec noted that she was wearing “silk longjohns” under her full-skirted gown, because “really, who’s going to know?” *** Although the cold was a hot topic, there were other pressing issues on the carpet — such as award-show politics and the omissions of certain helmers from Oscar’s directing race this year. Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow definitely had their cheering sections out in force. “He deserved to be nominated,” said Warner Bros. marketing chief Sue Kroll said of Affleck for “Argo.” But in the same breath, she said it was important to take the long view for someone who’s only at the outset of his directing career. “His time will come,” she said. “We’ll see a lot more of him.” And most important, “Argo” has proven to be an awards movie with that most precious commodity – real box office. “People love this movie,” she said. *** “Zero Dark Thirty” star Jason Clarke said he had to read the Oscar nominations list twice on Thursday, so great was his surprise that Bigelow wasn’t nommed in the director category. “It’s such a proficient piece of drama by her on all levels of filmmaking,” he said. But he’s heartened by the fact that the film opened over the weekend to more than arthouse levels of box office. “That means average people are seeing it, and that’s what I’m happy about.” “Zero Dark” screenwriter Mark Boal said he knew a movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden was going to make some noise but he’s still surprised at the “volume” of that noise. He’s convinced that the pic has become a “launching pad for people to express pre-existing political beliefs” even if it means “mischaracterizing the film.” That part is frustrating but what really concerns him is the potential chilling effect of the film getting so much political heat. “Nobody wants to think that if they make a work of art they have to answer for it before a government committee.” While he rides the “Zero Dark” train, Boal said he’s mulling an idea for a narrative pic about the role of money in politics. “Either that or a movie about the Senate’s intelligence oversight committee,” he quipped. *** “Life of Pi” helmer Ang Lee was the closest thing to Zen anyone could find on the chaotic carpet. He’s happy to be enjoying the fruits of his long labor on the spiritually themed pic. But as for new projects, he’s not working on anything right now. Really? Don’t you even have your eye on a few things? “Nothing,” he said, shaking his head with a wide smile. *** On the other end of the spectrum from Lee are “Homeland” exec producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. Gordon has a half-dozen TV projects in various stages of development, including a hot drama prospect for CBS that he’s co-writing with Gansa. And the “Homeland” writers room opens Monday on the Fox lot. No pressure. But is that CBS pilot written yet? “That’s kind of a sore subject,” Gansa admitted. *** “Silver Linings Playbook” director David O. Russell was in a throng of megastars, but his head was turned by Michael Haneke, the Austrian helmer of “Amour,” winner of the foreign-language film prize. Russell was doing his obligatory bit for “Silving Linings” when he asked a reporter, “Who is that” and gestured to the white-haired Haneke. When informed it was the man behind “Amour,” Russell gushed “oh-my-god” like a school girl getting a glimpse of Leonardo DiCaprio (who walked by just a few minutes later). *** The Norwegian co-directors of “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, were Sunday’s poster boys for the “it’s an honor just to be nominated” contingent. Cold weather or no, they’ve been loving every moment of their stay in Los Angeles the past few weeks, because they have spent so much of their lives watching American movies. “We’ve always dreamed about talking to Variety on the red carpet,” Roenning gushed. Happy to oblige, guys. *** Also enjoying the pageantry of the Globes fete was “Girls” auteur Lena Dunham, who goofed around taking pictures with Judd Apatow and others while she walked the carpet in a sleeveless gown showing plenty of tattoo. Apatow couldn’t take a step without getting a handshake, a “how are ya” or an air kiss. He made a point of complementing Chuck Lorre on his coffee-table book collection of title cards, and then he had a most intriguing conversation with Aziz Ansari. When he finally had a moment to chat, Apatow said he was looking forward to lensing starting soon on “Anchorman 2,” with Adam McKay directing from a script he wrote with Will Ferrell. “I’m looking forward to a year of having fun, watching them do all the work,” he said. *** The “Smash” troupers were out in force on Sunday. In keeping with the brilliant-but-arrogant director that he plays on the show, thesp Jack Davenport insisted that he had not paid a bit of attention to the critical harping about NBC’s tuner-drama in the second half of its first season. “Madness lies that way, as an actor,” he said with the gravitas that comes with a British accent. He said the show deserves credit for being a breath of fresh air. “There’s a lot of procedurals on TV but only one about Broadway,” he observed. *** Disney chief Bob Iger had an extra spring in his step at the Globes this year as the Mouse House was so well represented this year, from “Lincoln” to “Brave,” “Wreck-It-Ralph” and “Frankenweenie” on the feature side to breakthrough noms for “Nashville” stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. “Making good stuff is always our priority, whether it’s a movie, a theme park, a TV show,” he said. “That’s always our focus.”
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