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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Do You Respond Or Just Let It Go?

Our good pal, Ouroboros, is alive and well in Hollywood tonight, as Summit offered a press release to respond the the actress who got fired of the third Twilight film.
Really.
I understand that the actress publicly whining about losing the job is not the norm, that she may lose work because of it – in the silence of Movie Space – and that Summit felt compelled to speak to the matter. But geez… maybe it would better to enjoy the silly publicity and move along. As I wrote yesterday, Ms. Howard is unlikely to sell more tickets… but she won’t likely sell less tickets either. Is Summit responding to a real public issue or just getting sucked into a public discussion of a private issue for fear of the franchise’s fans… as though whinny fans were news.
How would YOU handle it?
The release is after the jump…


summitlogo.jpg
We at Summit Entertainment are disappointed by Rachelle Lefevre

17 Responses to “Do You Respond Or Just Let It Go?”

  1. Free association thoughts before slumber…
    Whether or not said ‘controversy’ would hurt the franchise, the story of a studio sacking an up and coming actress so they could recast with a star is not a pleasant one for a studio to have to deal with. Frankly, without going into studio politics, I kinda like the bluntless and cold factual read that this press release feels like. I kinda wish more studios would be this blunt on matters like this. Having said that, I’m wondering if this was partially a fearful reaction from a very small studio that knows that it only has one real revenue stream. Anything that could damage the Twilight brand would be fatal to Summit at this point. So anything that might damage the brand must be dealt with immediately. They can’t afford to sit back as fans complain for six months (about, say, a last-minute release date change from November to July), knowing that the franchise will do just fine. They have everything to lose at this point because they have no idea how the franchise will grow past the initial curiosity/free buzz of the initial installment.

  2. LexG says:

    Cute actress and all, but…
    Damn, do I live in reverse world, or should actors/actresses drop to their knees every second of the day in humbled, shameful appreciation that they get to do this for a living, and just keep their mouth shut? When you’re an “up and coming” actor and an ENTIRE STUDIO has just written a very public letter about you in a negative light… that’s some scary machinery there and kind of scene you just might have overstepped your bounds.
    Imagine if WB acquired sequel rights to WICKED LAKE, and decided SHAWN HATOSY would be a more viable “Half-Idiot” than LUKE Y. THOMPSON. Surely Luke would know to just kinda keep his grumbling private, and not issue some PUBLIC MISSIVE about the big, evil studio.
    I’m sure Rachelle Lafevre is on the tip of the tongue of every tweener Twilight fan who knows the material inside and out, but she’s hardly a cottage industry like Sean Penn or Katherine Heigl that she should’ve been even REMOTELY opining about this shit public-wise.
    I know a lot of younger, new actors are flashy Hollywood kids with a certain degree of entitlement, but Tarantino was right when he said the people he would meet through acting in his early days never seemed reverent enough about film history, or about the industry.
    There’s just a lot of good-looking, often rich kids, who get into the game and kinda take it for granted, not realizing how SUPERNATURAL it is to have that lot in life. This scenario reminds me a little bit of those entitled kids on AMERICAN IDOL or SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE who don’t know music or dance history, are kinda deluded, and maybe know a handful of basic steps or a pop tune or two but have deluded themselves into thinking they know better than “the machine.”

  3. The InSneider says:

    Um… this one seems pretty easy to figure out, not that I give half a shit one way or the other. But Rachelle needs to FIRE her agents/management. Immediately. How do you let them schedule another movie during rehearsals/the beginning of production of Eclipse? THAT’S your bread and butter. THAT’S why you’re getting other roles. Because THAT franchise is what made you a commodity in the first place. It’s not like she’s a big star, or even THE star of the movie. A studio could bend over backwards to accommodate a star like Cruise or Pitt, but c’mon… and all for some Paul Giamatti movie? No offense to him or the rest of the folks working on Barney’s Version, but how do you let that become the priority, if you’re the one in charge of her career? Sure, you get props for getting her cast in the trilogy in the first place, but that goodwill only lasts so long. I’d say she got completely fucked because the people who should’ve been looking out for her career, weren’t. But don’t blame the studio. It’s not their fault she’ll be out of the country. She has no one to blame but Team Rachelle. Bottom line.
    P.S. I wish I could go a day without reading a single Twilight story on line. The phenomenon and the traffic it reaps disgusts me.

  4. Nicol D says:

    And yet, as a casual fan of the first Twilight movie and not having read any of the books, Lefevre did stand out in the role. The first time I watched the film and at the end when she storms down the stairs, I said to my partner; that actress really stands out. Will she have a bigger role in the series? I was glad to hear she did.
    She has the right flame haired intense look required.
    Howard on the other hand is the epitome of bland, white, vapid blandness. I have never seen her in a role where I didn’t think…if Opie wasn’t her dad, she isn’t getting that gig. She may be a nice person; but she is neither intense nor subversively sexual both qualities Lefevre brought to the role.
    As to Summit’s response…I suspect they think they legitimately got burned and that is why they issued the statement. Lefevre on the other hand probably thought she really brought something to the role and would never be recast.
    Could there be something else going on. Could Summit have wanted to get rid of her and then just used this as a convenient excuse? Could they have though Lefevre was getting to old to play the role of a teen vampire and recast for that reason?

  5. Good thing for the makers of Eclipse though is that the Bryce Dallas Howard curse can’t really make this franchise any worse than it already is so good for them!

  6. Bart Smith says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Rachelle Lefevre is better than the work she’s getting, especially TWILIGHT and its sequels?

  7. SJRubinstein says:

    The one kind of odd thing I would like to say in her defense is that, well, “Barney’s Version” is an adaptation of (the last?) Mordecai Richler novel. As a Montrealer, I’m sure this is something of a dream part for her and she took it hoping to make it work out with the “Twilight” group, but in the end, well, she made a decision.
    Complaining about said decision, of course, ain’t great as she must’ve known it could have gone down like this, though, I wonder if her agents didn’t just keep saying, “No, they won’t do that – you can do both and they’ll accomodate” and she bought it.

  8. jesse says:

    Scott, do you think this could really damage the Twilight brand, as you say, to the point where someone would not buy tickets because of loyalty to an actress they know only from Twilight movies?
    Nicol, I thought Howard was terrific in The Village, regardless of whatever feelings on the movie (and I happen to really like the first two-thirds or so of it) — though, granted, I haven’t seen her do anything quite so excellent since.

  9. Krazy Eyes says:

    I wouldn’t take Nicol’s comments on BDH too seriously . . . he probably just read somewhere that she was a liberal or that her dad is a liberal. Such is the black & while world that Nicol lives in.

  10. I don’t Jesse, but I’m an outsider looking in with nothing at stake. It wouldn’t be that unreasonable for Summit to be so protective/fearful about their one and only cash cow that they’d be quick to jump on any negative attention of this nature.
    Glad to see I’m not the only one who liked The Village. What a gorgeous score…

  11. storymark says:

    “he probably just read somewhere that she was a liberal or that her dad is a liberal. ”
    That, or she went to college.

  12. Nicol D says:

    Krazy Eyes,
    Yeah, you got me. BDH is actually the best, most complex actress that has every existed on the planet. I am just too blinded by ideology to see it.
    I know nothing of her politics and did not make an issue of it. I have thought her mediocre in pretty much everything she has done. What, you loved her turns as Mary Jane and in T4? Tell me why? Defend your views if you can. Do not just make blind accusations.
    When you make comments like that, it reflects more on how you let politics influence your views than I.
    Here endeth the lesson.

  13. LYT says:

    Nobody saw Bryce in MANDERLAY?
    I hated the ending of that movie, but it was a brave performance.

  14. yancyskancy says:

    BDH was Gwen Stacy, not Mary Jane. Not a challenging part, but she was good. I hear she’s good in Branagh’s As You Like It, which I haven’t seen. I’m interested to see her play a bad girl; maybe she’ll surprise us.
    Lefevre was pretty good as Jerry Espenson’s call girl girlfriend on Boston Legal, which is the only thing I’ve seen her in besides Twilight. Wasn’t she cast in the US pilot for Life on Mars, but dumped for Gretchen Mol? Or am I thinking of another show?
    At any rate, yes, it was a real bonehead play to accept a film that conflicted with Eclipse. Her statement makes it sound as if she and/or her “people” think it’s a piece of cake to reschedule 10 days of a major film shoot for an expendable supporting player. Of course, they obviously assumed she wouldn’t be seen as expendable. Live and learn.

  15. The Big Perm says:

    Nicol, if all you’ve seen of Bryce’s work is Spiderman 3 and T4, then maybe you shouldn’t be judging. Was ANYONE that good in those movies? Although in Spiderman she was better than Kirsten Dunst, they should have switched roles.
    InSneider, there’s probably a pretty easy solution to your problem about having to read Twilight articles online. I’ll have to think about it and come up with some ideas.

  16. Triple Option says:

    I didn

  17. Bryce Dallas Howard was good in The Village, but since then it has been only downhill. Wasted in terrible blockbusters, awful in arthouse pictures (living in the shadow of Kidman’s perf in Dogville was always going to be hard, but ouch. Manderlay was dreadful anyway, but Howard didn’t help) and now… the bloody “Twilight Saga”. Oh dear.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin