Matthew Perry, Sylvester Stallone, & a Cactus

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Matthew Perry’s sarcasm let the light in. Sylvester Stallone pens a new film. And a cactus leaves us stumped.

Let’s go.


MATTHEW PERRY’S SARCASM LET THE LIGHT IN

“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Leonard Cohen’s lyrics feel remarkably apt in the wake of Matthew Perry’s unforeseen passing on Saturday evening. He is reported to have drowned in his hot tub at his home in L.A.

Perry possessed an enviable acumen for razor-sharp sarcasm, which many argue was intensified by his underlying mental health struggles. His autobiography lays bare his internal battles:

“I have no fear of talking in front of twenty thousand people, but put me alone on my couch in front of a TV for the night and I get scared.”

His role in Friends became a cultural phenomenon, even assisting many in their journey to learn English. But, a ski accident in 1997 was the catalyst for his painkiller addiction.

A year later, he was reported to consume an alarming 55 pills daily, leading to rehab, where he weighed just 128lbs. What followed was a dark journey in and out of rehab centers for the rest of his adult life.

Cinema has lost too many greats from mental health struggles, like Robin Williams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Heath Ledger. It’s evident that their challenges are far too common.

As we grieve, let’s embrace empathy, understanding, and love, enabling our gifted artists to view their talent not as an escape but as a gift to humanity.

Matthew Perry said about writing his autobiography:

“Whenever I bumped into something that I didn’t really want to share, I would think of the people that I would be helping, and it would keep me going.”

A fitting dedication in his book states:

“For all of the sufferers out there. You know who you are.”

For More:

Chandler’s best sarcastic moments.

“Stand up is survival.” The Robin Williams HBO documentary Come Inside My Mind is a portal into Williams’ life with mental health struggles. Watch the trailer.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Intermission at Killers of the Flower Moon? Not on Thelma Schoonmaker’s watch.

Schoonmaker served as Martin Scorsese’s editor since his first feature in 1967. Since then, she’s edited:

“That’s a violation,” decried Schoonmaker when the news reached her that UCI Cinemas, a chain in Europe and Brazil, had the “audacity” to slip in an unauthorized 6-minute intermission during the 3.5-hour film. The studios immediately intervened, ensuring the film remained intact.

Jason Blum (Blumhouse Pictures) was belittled for pursuing Five Nights at Freddy’s, a movie that originated as a video game series. The film has made over $78 million in its box office weekend debut.

“Everyone said we could never get the movie done, including, by the way, internally in my company.”

It’s the third-biggest opening for a horror film ever behind:

  • It (2017) – $123.4M
  • It: Chapter Two (2019) $91.0M.

And Five Nights at Freddy’s was produced with only a $2o million budget.

Seems like it pays to believe in yourself. Trailer here.

Searchlight’s Magazine Dreams was removed from the release schedule as Jonathan Majors faces legal charges. We heard great things about the film at Sundance, and we hope it will eventually be made available.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Anne Hathaway has transformed into a psychologically twisted prison counselor in Eileen. Her hawkish demeanor is arresting in the trailer. It’s unlike any character we’ve ever seen her play before. The film centers around Hathaway’s corruption of a young secretary, Eileen (Thomasin McKenzieLast Night in Soho). Neon is distributing—release date: December 1st.

Sylvester Stalone steps back into the writer’s chairStallone will adapt Chuck Dixon’s crime thriller, Levon’s Trade, as a vehicle for Jason Statham to star in. The book centers around Levon Cade, a former counter-terrorism expert turned construction worker who is forced to revisit his dark past when a girl goes missing. Stalone last penned a film for Statham back in 2013. Production is scheduled to begin in London in March 2024.

Milo Machado Graner captivates in Cannes Palm d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall. [SPOLERS BELOW]

Graner plays Daniel, the visually impaired 11-year-old son of a woman on trial for her husband’s murder. He is forced to sit in the courtroom as his parents’ marriage is dissected. As he listens, his restrained discomfort is betrayed only by fleeting head movements, poignant markers of lost innocence.

Remarkably, Graner, who has no problems with his vision, embodied the role of a blind child with such verisimilitude that we believed the actor was, in fact, unable to see.

Drawing on parallels to Spielberg’s moment of discovery with the young actor from E.T., Henry Thomas, the Anatomy of a Fall director reflects on her exhaustive search for the perfect young actor. Like Spielberg, her persistence paid off. The performance is captivating.


FESTIVALS

Japanese legendary director Ozu was honored at the Tokyo Film Festival on the 120th anniversary of his birth. Wim Wenders introduced the 4K digitally restored version of Ozu’s 1959 comedy Good Morning and discussed his documentary Tokyo-ga dedicated to Ozu’s work.

Our three favorite Ozu films:

  1. Tokyo Story (1953)
  2. Late Spring (1949)
  3. An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

We believe Wong-Kar Wei’s In the Mood for Love was heavily influenced by Ozu’s An Autumn Afternoon. Some of the scene-by-scene comparisons bear a striking resemblance.

Kelly Reichardt praised Ozu’s impeccable compositions and his portrayal of the day-to-day dramas of life, emphasizing the contrast with the typical American film narrative.

Next month, join Oscar-winning director Emerald Fennell (Promising Young WomanSaltburn) at a virtual Sundance Spotlight Event. The talk, held Wednesday, November 22nd, will delve into her creative journey and multi-faceted career.

Register for free on Sundance Collab.


TECH SECTION

David Fincher won’t be using AI to DP his films anytime soon. Fincher, known for his incorporation of digital photography in Zodiac and de-aging techniques in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, opened up about the AI revolution threatening Hollywood:

“I have friends who are photographic geniuses playing with AI. And you look at it, and it always looks like sort of a low-rent version of Roger Deakins. And I understand what AI is pulling from in order to make this… I think, ultimately, the thing that we respond to in poetry, and writing, and songwriting, and photography is the personal bent.”

Fincher, though, didn’t shy away from using AI-assisted tools on The Killer. After spending hours looping dialogue with Michael Fassbender, there were a few lines he couldn’t nail:

“So Michael said it into an iPhone in an environment that was not conducive to being used as a voiceover, and we could take it and process it through the hours of voiceover that we had, and spit back out, and it was clean, and it was the music of his voice. And that’s incredibly handy to have.”

Fincher has always been at the forefront of seamlessly integrating digital technology into his filmmaking. We only hope he continues to use it responsibly.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

First-time feature director Courtney J. Camerota introduces her dark comedy Dead Guy at AFM. The film stars Michael Shannon (Midnight Special), Eva Longoria (Desperate House Wives), Luis Guzman (Boogie Nights), and many others (pictured above).

After directing just two shorts, landing such a notable ensemble cast for a debut feature is commendable. Producer Zac Adams (Mainstream) remarks:

“As dark as it’s been the past few years, I hope our film helps spread some much-needed light. It was an absolute honor and privilege in helping Courtney’s vision come to life.”

Many industry producers bemoan the influx of somber scripts. Comedies offer a refreshing chance to stand out.

Under-the-radar auteur Mexican director Michel Franco has made a name for himself at Cannes and Venice:

  • After Lucia (2012)
    • Cannes, Un Certain Regard – Winner
  • Chronic (2015)
    • Film Independent Spirit Award best feature nominee
    • Cannes, best screenplay
  • April’s Daughter (2017)
    • Cannes, Un Certain Regard – Winner
  • New Order (2020)
    • Venice, Grand Jury Prize – Silver Lion

His latest Memory hopes to make an impression on English-speaking audiences. It stars Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard, who already garnered the top acting award at the Venice Film Festival. The film revolves around a high school reunion gone awry when a man with Alzheimer’s (Sarsgaard) from Jessica Chastain’s past follows her home.

Marvel’s Game-Changer: Indie Darlings Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson ascend to direct Daredevil: Born Again.

Known for their innovative sci-fi horror micro-budget films, the duo joins new showrunner Dario Scardapane (The Punisher) in a creative overhaul of the series.

As they transition from cult favorites to mainstream studio directors, this project marks a significant next step in their journey. Marvel’s move aims to rejuvenate the series, blending its initial gritty essence with fresh storytelling.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Border crossings in conflict areas are impossibly intense. Oscar-nominated director Agnieszka Holland (Mr. Jones) turned her lens on her home country of Poland to harshly critique the Polish-Belarusian refugee situation in her film Green Border.

The Polish government denounced the film as propaganda, but the controversy drew 700,000 viewers.

In Flames illuminates Pakistani Cinema on the Global Stage. The film, directed by Zarrar Kahn, has been chosen as Pakistan’s entry for the international feature Oscar. It also premiered at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. It is a gripping Pakistani horror film that portrays the struggles of a mother and daughter in Karachi—haunted by figures from their past, both real and supernatural. This clip from the film appears benign, but a distressing zoom-out at the end gave us the chills.

The French film Origin of Evil explores the treacherous journey of a financially struggling young woman. As she reconnects with her wealthy, estranged father, she finds herself ensnared by the unexpected animosities of her newfound sisters.

Familial deception runs rampant in a Saltburn-esque mansion featuring taxidermy, cacti, and the requisite amount of French wine. Trailer here. Available for rent now on Apple TV or Amazon Prime.

Happy Monday! See you tomorrow.


ON THIS DAY


1938 A radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, narrated by Orson Welles, allegedly causes a mass panic.



Today’s edition was written by: Gabriel Miller and Spencer Carter.

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