Can’t Argue with This

Karlovy Vary 2012: Helen Mirren Calls for More Women Directors

Honored for her lifetime achievement at the Czech Republic festival, the “Prime Suspect” actress urged more female filmmakers to make movies.

Where are all the women directors?

So asked Helen Mirren Friday night as she accepted a lifetime achievement award on the opening night of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival with impromptu remarks.

Paying tribute to the late Nora Ephron,who died earlier this week, Mirren called out for more women to follow her lead as one of the few successful women screenwriter/directors in the entertainment industry.

Mirren recalled her own early acting career when few women directed films.

“When I was making those (early) films, they were very, very few female directors, and there were certainly no women on set, which made taking one’s clothes off all the more difficult,” she observed.

All that has changed in recent years, Mirren continued, after Julie Taymor directed her in The Tempest, and Hurt Locker helmer Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar as best director.

“Things have moved on, but as far as I’m concerned, they haven’t moved on enough,” Mirren insisted…

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A 4th of July Message from (gulp) M-my G-generation

by Larry Brody

…Except that it’s really by John Ostrander, one of my favorite writers of comic books and other wondrous things:

John Ostrander: Displaced
by John Ostrander 

One of the brilliant moves that Stan Lee made in the early issues of The Avengers was to bring Captain America from the 40s into what was then the modern day. He had Cap frozen in ice from the end of WWII until he was thawed out. Cap hadn’t aged, Stan didn’t bring a new guy into the costume, this was the same Steve Rogers and he became a man out of time. A hero of one era moved to a time when just about everyone he knew was dead. And the world as he knew it was gone…

Most of America is celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend, even though the real Fourth isn’t for a few days. We celebrate the birth of our nation that was, as Abraham Lincoln said, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal.” That was the United States I believed in when I was young. Now? These days I find myself identifying more and more with that Steve Rogers who came out of hibernation to a whole new nation.

Maybe it’s just creeping old cootism; I’m 63, I grew up in the Fifties and came of age in the 60s. Maybe it’s just this election cycle with its hideous negativism and polarization. Maybe it’s the rise of this new era of Robber Barons. Maybe it’s this continuing recession (depression?) that drags on and on. Maybe it’s just me, where I am and how I feel right now, as I write this…

John’s thoughts, with which I, as (maybe) another old coot, agree, have been expressed by others before him, but never with such clarity and earnestness. If you’re an old fart who’s feeling like you just thawed out of the iceberg, or a brand-new millennial trying to figure out the generational warfare you so often feel embroiled in, you owe it to yourself to:

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This is the original art from John’s column, which refused to fit properly at the top of this page

Ken Levine: When Actors Have Notes…


Actors: How to give notes to writers
by Ken Levine 

Actors, here are some tips on how to convey your script concerns to writers in a way that might result in them addressing your problems without hating you, slashing your tires, or making you the butt of room jokes for seven continuous months.

One ground rule though: This is predicated on your note being a legitimate concern with the sole purpose of improving the show. There’s no hidden agenda…

[S]o, it’s just a matter of communicating your concerns in a way that will make us receptive to you and here’s the key – WANT to make those changes.

Quite simply, it’s all about showing us respect…

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Back in the day, our Laughin’ Leader, LB, was story editor of a drama series called GIBBSVILLE, starring (in this order, which should have been reversed) John Savage and Gig Young.

Shooting the first episode was, according to Brody, a disaster. “Gig couldn’t get any of his dialog right. Couldn’t wrap his mouth around all the lines we had carefully crafted to present him as the typical cool, breezy, clever Gig Young character. I mean, we’re talking 20 takes for each scene.”

LB and the executive staff didn’t know what to do, but, fortunately, Gig did. He asked for a meeting with LB. Asked, not demanded, and even went to LB’s little office. There, he explained that he knew he had a problem, and that his – Gig’s – problem was that LB was trying too hard. “Don’t worry about making me sound like Gig Young,” he told our lad. “Just please give me simple, declarative dialog and I’ll take care of the rest.”

Being that the show couldn’t continue as it was – time is money, after all – LB followed Gig’s advice, starting with the next day’s pages. And the result was that from that point on Gig was a 1 Take Wonder, with the real wonder of the situation being that he did indeed take the straightforward dialog he was being given and, “because he was one hell of an actor, he made it sound cooler, breezier, and more clever than anything I and any of the other writers had ever written before.”

The situation was saved. But as Our Friend Who’s Never Heard of Us, Ken Levine, points out, it wouldn’t have happened if a very talented star hadn’t known how to give notes to writers while “showing us respect.”


The Pilot:

Charlie Sheen on downers? Not pretty, kids. Downright ugh.

Episode 2:

Less reverence, more assholery. Much better.


Goddamn laugh track pissed me off so much I tried to kick the TV screen in. My roommate tackled me and sat on my chest till I stopped swinging. Who knew she was so strong?

Now that’s goddamn anger goddamn management!


Robin Reed: Anger Management Towels?