MCN Columnists
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Wednesday, 17 September 1997

Jodie Foster is set to direct and produce Flora Plum. Disney describes the picture as All About Eve set in a circus atmosphere. Some sample dialogue: Flora: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” Ringmaster: “That isn’t the night. The elephants just walked through here!” OR Flora to the elephants: “I’m still not to be had for the price of a salted peanut!”
READER HOT BUTTON DU JOUR:
From Amy Taylor of the Northwest: One “Hot Button” I personally have, is spec scripts such as Cowboys and Aliens, or Earth Dick (no, not soft porn!), being purchased for six figures. I bet my 8-year-old could come up with a better idea than those, or at least a better title! In all honesty, however, I am certain if they were my clients, I would have laughed all the way to the bank!
Thanks for your thoughts, Amy. You’ll be thrilled to read the next item.
The Thunderbirds is being prepped as a live-action film based on the hit 1960s U.K. TV series that featured marionettes as 21st century space heroes. The Hot Button’s wooden casting suggestions: Jason Patric as Anyone Who Has To Talk, Shaquille O’Neal as Anyone Who’s Not A Freak, Matthew McConaughey as Anyone Smart and Marky Mark Wahlberg’s prosthetic device from Boogie Nights as The Ultimate Force Of Nature.
E-Mail Dave with the issues that get your button hot!

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Pride

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“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook

“Billy Wilder said to me, ‘Those of us who are hyphenates deserve a couple more beats,’ and I knew what he meant. As a director, you make sure a scene is not beat-heavy. You need just enough beats in the rhythm. Billy also used to say, ‘Whatever you do, is your mark. You don’t have to go out and impress someone. Let them look at your work.’”
~ Jerry Lewis