Project Greenlight gets an update; the iconic poster for American Beauty is a lie; meet the filmmakers who traveled the world to explore humans’ relationships with dogs — and see the dogs they met along the way.
But First: Here is why you will never know where Spiral and the other Saw movies take place.
Inclusion: Asians and Pacific Islanders had 5.9 percent of speaking roles in major Hollywood films, according to a new study from USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Only 44 of those 1,300 films, all from 2007-2019, had an Asian or Pacific Islander person in a leading role — about 3.4 percent. In 14 of the films, the lead was the same man – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Dogs: Matthew Salleh, one of the co-creators of the new exquisitely cinematic documentary We Don’t Deserve Dogs, wrote this very detailed piece for us about traveling around the world to tell stories of humans and our relationships with the kind creatures who should be our best friends — and often are. There are also lots of pictures of beautiful dogs, like the Nepalese street dog below, garlanded for Kukur Tihar — a day when dogs are worshipped as gods.
Project Greenlight Revival: Issa Rae will lead an eight-episode revival of Project Greenlight, which first debuted on HBO in 2001 and counted Ben Affleck and Matt Damon among its executive producers. The series chronicles the making of a feature film, and the new version will focus on female filmmakers. Deadline reports that Rae will appear in each episode as an executive producer, providing guidance along the way. The finished film will premiere on HBO Max.
‘Look Closer’: That’s Mad Men star Christina Hendricks’ hand on the poster for 1999’s American Beauty — but another woman’s stomach. “I used to be a model, and one of the gigs I got was to go and shoot a movie poster,” Hendricks explained on a recent episode of The Rich Eisen Show. “I had no idea what the film was. There were two models, myself and one other. We did different versions of her hand and her stomach, and my stomach and her hand, and my hand and both. And my hand made it in and her stomach made it in. … I probably got paid a hundred bucks or something.” There are truly no limits to Hollywood deception.
I’m Shocked, Shocked: She also says they were drinking “caramel-colored water” during the boozy scenes on Mad Men, explaining, “We have to memorize lines and act and do all sorts of things.” The cigarettes were also fake, and “disgusting.” I don’t know what to believe any more.
Recommendation: I’m two episodes into Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad, taking the advice of the many critics who have recommended not rushing through this extremely intense alternate- reality story of a young woman fleeing slavery. It’s mesmerizing in its empathy, control, imagery and imagination.
AT&T ‘Relief’: Deadline says Hollywood’s prevailing reaction to AT&T spinning of Warner Bros., HBO and other media assets is “relief,” writing that the deal to merge WarnerMedia and Discovery lifts the “three-year shadow cast by AT&T.” I had some thoughts yesterday, mostly, yes, relief that HBO survived with its reputation for stellar films and TV shows intact. (Did anyone see the latest episode of Mare of Easttown? Great work, everybody.)
Comment of the Day: “AT&T’s retreat from vertical media integration is all about what the stock market wants. Investors want purer plays. They didn’t have a lot of appetite for what AT&T is doing; they’d rather be in either the media business or the wireless business rather than a combination of the two,” writes Shirley Dulcey. “It will be easier for a newly independent Warner Media to attract the funding it will need to stay competitive in streaming media, a field where Netflix and Amazon are spending massive amounts of money on original programming.”
Give Us Dogs and Lush Cinematography and Try to Make Us Cry, Please: Okay, okay, here.