Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Book Your Flights Now: Soderbergh to Make History in West Virginia

As you may or may not have heard last week, Steven Soderbergh’s new film Bubble is set to premiere next month in Parkersburg, W.V. That is not a misprint: Bubble, a class-conflict murder mystery featuring non-professional actors from the Parkersburg vicinity, will roll out the red carpet January 12 in front of the world-famous Smoot Theater.
This is not exactly Cameron Crowe coming back to Elizabethtown, Ky., to show off his latest preening, overlong ass-terpiece. Here we have an Oscar-winner kicking off his new partnership with 2929 Entertainment (the film will premiere on HDNet and DVD the same day), Magnolia Pictures boss Eamonn Bowles promising a “blast” and New York uber-publicist Donna Daniels actually sending out this e-mail yesterday:

Steven Soderbergh, HDNet Films, Magnolia Pictures, West Virginia Film Office, WTAP-TV Parkersburg, Graffiti Magazine & The Parkersburg News-Sentinel

Present The Premiere Of Steven Soderbergh’s


What: The premiere of Steven Soderbergh¹s new film BUBBLE in Parkersburg, WV

When: Thursday January 12, 2006 at 7:30pm, Arrivals begin at 7:00pm

WHO: Bubble stars Debbie Doebereiner, Dustin James Ashley, Misty Dawn Wilkins, Kyle Smith and Decker Moody, Director Steven Soderbergh, Screenwriter Coleman Hough, and additional guests TBA.

WHERE: SMOOT Theater, 213 5th Street, Parkersburg


I swear I do not mean this condescendingly, but I cannot decide if the best part of the story is this straight-faced press release soliciting coverage in West Virginia or if it is that the Smoot Theater is finally getting its red-carpet comeuppance. Was this the plan all along, or did theater chains in New York and Los Angeles tell 2929 to take its shuttered theatrical release windows and go fuck itself?
I guess we can never really know, but it does not matter: I think I have a trip down the Appalachian Trail in my future. Consider me RSVP’d.

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3 Responses to “Book Your Flights Now: Soderbergh to Make History in West Virginia”

  1. Dennis says:

    As a West Virginian, I realize that West Virginia is an unlikely place for such a premier. However, do you need to put it in such condescending terms? Are we really unworthy of such an event? Sounds a bit elitist. I am sure you are not wanting to be smattered with that “unfair” stereotype. Is it so unusual to have premiers of location-specific movies within the location itself? It seems reasonable to note the unusualness of the event, but please refrain from implying that visiting West Virgina will be a hardship on anything other than ego.

  2. Patrick says:

    I’m also a West Virginian, and I know that our Film office was damn proud to land any of the Parkersburg shoots for Bubble.
    Have you guys ever been to the Smoot? It’s gorgeous. One of the best old school venues I’ve ever been to. The premiere will be a blast.

  3. Mule says:

    Puh-leez! Visiting this area in West Virginia really isn’t unlike visiting small-to-mid-sized towns in any other state. It’s about bloody time folks outside our area have noticed our beautiful scenery, interesting people, and low business overhead. The film was shot here, so why should the premiere be in L.A.? It’s ok, though, whatever anyone wants to think–just don’t imagine the locals are all tripping over themselves as if this is a huge deal. The theater employees, all volunteers, are making appropriate preparations, but not more attentively than for any of their (terrific) regular events, business as usual. And, yes, the Smoot is gorgeous! Also adored by musicians for fabulous acoustics. I’ll bet there are even–omigosh!–photos online someplace.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon