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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Oliver's hijacking: Par shuts down WTC art project


The Smoking Gun headlines pages from the public filing of a lawsuit, “Paramount Sues Over Hijacked WTC Film.” The filing, in which we find Movie City Indie cited, states “The film… the first theatrical motion picture to deal with the bombing of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the heroic efforts of countless rescue workers and regular citizens… is being directed by renowned director Oliver Stone and will star, among others, Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal.” Smoking Gun writes: “Paramount Pictures is suing a… D.C. filmmaker for copyright infringement, claiming that the man used a “bootleg script” to create a knockoff version of director Oliver Stone’s upcoming film on the September 11 attacks. The studio contends in a federal lawsuit that Chris Moukarbel, 28… obtained a copy of the screenplay for World Trade Center and used the script as the basis for a 12-minute film that mirrors “a significant portion” of Stone’s work…. Paramount’s June 16 complaint, a copy of which you’ll find [at the link], charges that Moukarbel’s film, like Stone’s production, centers around a pair of rescue workers trapped in debris following the collapse of the towers. Included… are nine pages from the World Trade Center screenplay that Paramount contends were used by Moukarbel for his unnamed work, which he posted online (but has since removed)… The Paramount complaint… seeks a permanent injunction barring Moukarbel from distributing his film. [Movie City Indie, which has no connection to and has had no contact with Mourkarbel, is cited in evidence, in having linked to the downed site, as having helped “the Infringing Picture” be “distributed to the public.” The illustration is from the side-by-side comparisons in the public filing of the lawsuit; the left side is Mourkarbel, the right is StoneParViacom.]

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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield