Florence Pugh helps Zoe Kazan revisit a film by her grandfather, Elia Kazan; an Exorcist connection; an American Psycho connection; what we saw in New Mexico, in Provincetown, and at Cine Gear. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

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A Personal Note: I’m back writing the Movie News Rundown after two weeks of Caleb Hammond and Margeaux Sippell handling it quite capably while I gallivanted around the country with MovieMaker publisher Deirdre McCarrick. Among other places, we visited Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico — the No. 1 city and No. 3 town on our list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker – and were astonished at the scope, variety and professionalism of their film industry. Also: We spent zero minutes in traffic, ate very good food, and were generally impressed with everything we saw. More on that soon. We also went to the Cine Gear Expo in Los Angeles to tell filmmakers about MovieMaker Production Services, a means of doubling your film’s budget that we’re very excited about. You can learn more about MMPS here.

Our Biggest Takeaways: 1. America remains huge and largely empty, and there is room for everyone 2. You do not need to live in Los Angeles or New York City to make great films, and given the expense of those places, you might be happier elsewhere.

Some Favorite Stuff at Cine Gear: We got to see the mind-blowing Arri Alexa 35 up close, and to understand how incredibly versatile it is. In terms of lighting, we’re in love with Creamsource’s Vortex4, which demonstrated its durability with a pretty incredible display in which the lighting panel was submerged under a perpetual waterfall. I also keep thinking about’s camera-to-cloud technology, which will radically change filmmaking in the next few years and make it much easier to film in the deserts of New Mexico, for example, while sending raw footage to an editor anywhere in the world. And I’m in love with Canon’s new RF5.2mm F2.8 L dual fisheye lens, which makes ultra-realistic VR filmmaking more accessible than ever before. It has a breathtaking 190 degree field of view. I’m linking to videos for each of these because I can’t do them justice with a few words here.

Pugh News: Florence Pugh, who is in many things, will also be in a Zoe Kazan adaptation of East of Eden for Netflix, Deadline reports. The John Steinbeck novel was rather famously adapted in 1955 by Zoe’s grandfather, Elia Kazan.

Also: There’s a thing many entertainment websites do that I don’t like: After failing to break a piece of news themselves, they aggregate it from a website that did the actual reporting and then add some Gawker-era snark that Gawker just did better in a misbegotten attempt to add value. Case in point:

So Dumb: I know, right? The easy availability of online opinions, especially bitter ones, has diluted whatever value they once had.

Elia Kazan: My main memory of Elia Kazan was when he received an honorary Oscar in 1999, at a time when there was a lot of debate about whether he deserved it because he had named names of alleged communists during the Red Scare (the historical vetting and persecution of alleged communists, not the podcast). My position at the time was that he shouldn’t be honored, because his behavior contributed to the Blacklist (the cancellation of alleged communists, not the website or NBC show). My best friend (hi Juan) took a strong separate-the-art-from-the-artist position, and gave Kazan a standing O in my tiny Pittsburgh living room. In retrospect he was right and I was wrong, and the reason he was right, probably, is that he, unlike me, had actually seen Kazan’s art at the time and wasn’t just judging the director based on his behavior from decades before. I’ve since seen many Kazan films, one of which, On the Waterfront, can be read as an astonishing parable explaining why he named names. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

More Kazan: A recent edition of the Bret Easton Ellis Podcast (the podcast,  no confusion here, right?) included a terrific interview with The Exorcist director  William Friedkin in which Friedkin talked about trying and failing to find a gig for Kazan when Friedkin was riding very high and Kazan was nearly destitute. A more recent edition, in which Ellis explains his relationship with the original Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick, is quite moving. Here is one of my favorite passages Ellis’s 1991 novel American Psycho:

American Psycho Tom Cruise bartender Bret Easton Ellis

Starfuckers: I also went to the Provincetown Film Festival last week. One of the best things I saw was the short film “Starfuckers,” by Antonio Marziale, which has notes of Mary Harron’s American Psycho adaptation… as well as the films of Michael Haneke, Marziale’s favorite director. Here is a short clip from when “Starfuckers” played at Berlinale:

More: As good as it was, “Starfuckers” was not my favorite film I saw at Provincetown. More on that soon.

Main image: Cole Doman, left, and Antonio Marziale in “Starfuckers.”