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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Mike Nichols and Aaron Sorkin on "killing rage" and keeping "the process" hidden

Excerpts from a terrific conversation with Mike Nichols and Aaron Sorkin and Christopher Goodwin of the Times of London about writing. “A recent blog said the 9/11 resonances were more explicit in an earlier version of the script, which ended with Charlie Wilson on September 11, 2001, in his apartment in Washington, seeing plumes of smoke coming from the attack on the Pentagon,” Goodwin poses. Sorkin: “It’s a whole new critical world out there, where it’s not just the final product that is being judged, and it is being comparedDOM3Z2GOZ5RHLNe.jpg to various drafts that were obviously only meant for Mike to see. There were many, many hours of discussion about that scene, and I was the staunchest keep-the-scene-in guy. I watch the movie now and have never been so happy to be wrong in my life.” Nichols adds, “You know what we are really talking about, Aaron, the reason you and I have a moment of confusion and discomfort, not to say killing rage, is that we always have the problem that whatever we are working on is being judged, which is no fun. The whole point is that the process is nobody’s business. It would be like saying, ‘Thomas Mann stands at the mantelpiece to write: isn’t that sort of a strange thing to do, and to do in front of the rest of his family? He can’t sit at a desk like everybody else?’ Who gives a shit?” Sorkin: “Too many people are watching how you make the sausage now – and there is an assumption that your motives, whether it’s overcutting a scene or reshooting a scene or putting in a new scene or changing this line to that, are somehow sinister or mercenary or motivated by fear… I am all for everyone having a voice, I just don’t think everyone has earned the microphone. And that’s what the internet has done.” Nichols: “On the one hand, there is this blight of correctness, which teaches you to lie about everything that is your instinct and your feeling, and to take a dip of the pabulum and dish it out, because at least it’s correct. At the same time, you’ve got shit on television such as ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘American Idol.’ What’s going to happen to young people? I don’t know.”


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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

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~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch