You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Art imitates life, sort of

GOOD MORNING: Is life imitating art or art imitating life? On the bigscreen, Universal’s “Spy Game” dramatizes CIActivities prior to 1991 — in Lebanon, Germany, Vietnam — via the fraternity of senior (about-to-retire) agent Robert Redford and his “student” Brad Pitt. And on the small screen, CBS’ “The Agency” (the CIA) tries to stay ahead of the headlines and not follow ’em with plausible stories. Amazingly, Michael Frost Beckner, who wrote “Spy Game” (with David Arata) and is an exec producer of “Agency,” tells me that in May he had written a seg in which Bin Laden had three U.S. planes hijacked. Needless to say, the script was never completed. And in an early version of “Spy Game,” a Marine barracks in the Middle East was destroyed by a terrorist. That, too never made it to final shooting script. However, there is much in the pic that carbons things that happened — and possibly indicating things to come … Doug Wick, who produced “Spy Game” with Marc Abraham, says “Universal was extremely brave” to OK the release of the Tony Scott-directed pic at this time. Coincidentally, “Black Hawk Down” is also getting a release at year’s end from Columbia. And it is directed by Ridley Scott. The brothers were shooting enormous, explosive scenes within miles of each other in Morocco! The Scotts were on hand for the preem in Westwood Monday night and talking about their experiences later at the party at the Napa Valley Grill along with the pic’s execs, and stars Brad Pitt and Catherine McCormack. Redford, not known for preem participations, did however host a benefit screening at Sundance for the North Fork Preservation Alliance, Nov. 16.

HE NEVER SLEEPS; he works around the clock,” Doug Wick said of director Tony Scott. “And his warm kindness sets the tone for the entire company.” It is an amazing accomplishment when you see (and hear) the non-stop action of the pic. Wick also admits that Redford “agonized for six months prior to the start of the film, on every line of the film. It’s no wonder he has remained on top for 40 years.” Meanwhile, Brad Pitt, at the Westwood preem with wife Jennifer Aniston and his parents, didn’t disappoint the enormous crowd of young fans: When the back rows couldn’t get a glimpse of the star, he repeatedly jumped up in the air to wave to ’em and when the Pitts spotted one young girl crying because she couldn’t get an autograph on the pix she’d brought, she was pulled out of the crowd to pose for pix with them. Pitt’s invitees included Edward Norton (“Red Dragon”) and Salma Hayek, Dermot Mulroney and Catherine Keener. The film includes a (screen) dedication to Elizabeth Scott, the late mother of the very devoted Tony and Ridley … Both the film and TV creators claim the CIA is happy with their products. As for the future on “Agency,” Breckner promises, “We will not do a show based on last year’s headlines. But I do admit the campaign in Afghanistan went a little more quickly than we expected! We do hope the public will say of future episodes, ‘This show is on the ball.’ ” The Nov. 29 seg is about a terrorist threat at the Yemni embassy. CBS apparently thinks the show’s on the ball: The web has picked it up for the full season. And has been very supportive, he emphasizes. As for the CIA, he says “They’re comfortable with the fact I get the people right. It’s not about the CIA per se, but about the people working there. I have the access (to the CIA) because at the end of the day my goal is to portray the human element honestly.” But when he started talking with them, he notes, “I think I was being looked at — when I thought I wasn’t being looked at.” Sounds like an early scene between Redford and Pitt in “Spy Game.” Wick next segues to “Peter Pan.” Breckner stays in the spy game with “Official Assassins” set in 1946 Berlin’s cold war capture of Nazi scientists.

GOOD MORNING, WORLD: Rupert Murdoch and wife Wendi Deng welcomed daughter Grace, Monday in N.Y. … Also on Monday in Gotham, Daily Variety‘s N.Y. editor Jill Goldsmith and husband Marco Valsania welcomed twins Nathaniel Goldsmith Valsania and Francesca Sarah V. at Mt. Sinai hospital … Barbara and Don Rickles are grandparents a second time as daughter Mindy and husband Ed Mann welcomed son Harrison Matthew Mann at Cedars-Sinai, Monday afternoon … Madelein and Tom Sherak’s daughter Melissa Sherak Resnick is chosen by the State of California to be one of those carrying the torch in the L.A. seg to the Salt Lake City Olympics, Jan. 15. She was chosen for her spirit in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis … Jack Carter, who has undergone five surgeries in the past two weeks, is due to go home Friday from Cedars-Sinai. He sounded feisty as ever on the phone! … The one-night (Nov. 19) performance at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center of Ernest Hemingway’s “Nick Adams,” as dramatized by A.E. Hotchner, raised over one million-$ for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps. Among those performing: Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, Danny Aiello, Kevin Kline, Brian Dennehy, Morgan Freeman, James Naughton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Joanne Woodward and Paul … Sally Kellerman is the celeb spokesperson for Angel Harvest, bringing overages of food from a myriad of events and suppliers to the hungry … And a Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

More Film

  • Dami Im and Bong Joon-Ho'Parasite' premiere,

    ‘Parasite’ Wins Sydney Film Festival

    “Parasite,” the South Korean black drama that previously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, was Sunday named as the winner of the Sydney Film Festival. After collecting a cash prize of A$60,000 ($41,200), at Sydney’s State Theatre, “Parasite” director said: “This Festival is really amazing, especially the audience…really special and extraordinary. This is the most [...]

  • China Film Group's Jiang Ping

    Shanghai: China Studio Chiefs Debate Winter Chills and U.S. Rivalry

    The Shanghai International Film Festival pulled off the impressive feat of assembling leading executives from seven of China’s top film studios. Their discussion focused on the problems that have recently beset the production sector and the industry’s relationship with Hollywood. “The film industry achieved great things in 2018, but it was also the year that [...]

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping claps while

    Propaganda Films to Dominate Chinese Theaters in Anniversary Year

    A presentation at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday shed light on the welter of propaganda films that will compete with Hollywood blockbusters for the attention of Chinese cinema goers in the second half of this year. This year is laden with political significance for China’s ruling Communist Party. It is 100 years since [...]

  • Leung Chiu-wai

    Tony Leung to Star in Shanghai Film Group's 'Fox Hunt' Police Action Film

    Hong Kong’s Tony Leung Chiu-wai and mainland China’s Duan Yihong will head the cast of the Shanghai Film Group’s upcoming “Fox Hunt.” The film is based on real live events and depicts the activities of Operation Fox Hunt, a worldwide anti-corruption initiative managed by China’s Ministry of Public Security. The operation seeks to find and [...]

  • Wings Over Everest

    Terence Chang's 'Wings Over Everest' Set to Swell China's Rescue Film Genre

    “Wings over Everest,” a new action adventure film from veteran producer Terence Chang and “Wolf Warrior 2” producer Lu Jianmin, is poised to join the burgeoning Chinese sub-genre of rescue movies.   The Chinese- and English-language film stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu (“Project Gutenberg”; “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”), Japanese actor Koji Yakusho (“Babel”; “Memoirs of a [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    China Film Marketing Firms Must Adapt To Internet Age, Says Huayi's Jerry Ye

    Huayi Brothers Pictures CEO and media group VP Jerry Ye made no mention Sunday of the abrupt cancellation of the premiere for his firm’s highly anticipated war epic “The Eight Hundred,” which was set to be the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival’s opening film the night before. Instead, he looked to the future at a panel [...]

  • The Meg

    Chinese Script Development Requires A Different Touch, Top Producers Say

    Leading film producers highlighted the challenges of developing good scripts in China and abroad at a panel during the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday. Wanda Media GM Jiang Wei (aka Wayne Jiang) recommended that producers remain aware of the real differences between the scriptwriting process for Chinese productions versus international and co-productions. The fundamental [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content