The Most Leaks I’ve Seen This Week Have Been From Sony….

I sat on the train this morning reading about the latest Sony Pictures leak (emails between super-producer Scott Rudin and co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Amy Pascal) as though I were watching an episode of “Young & The Restless”. I could not take my eyes off of the poor spelling and jabs at actors like Adam Driver and Michael Fassbender (as an above-the-line employee in Hollywood, how in the WORLD do you not know who Michael Fassbender is?!?).

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To think that these arguments were reams of emails, and very few phone calls were made in the interim, highlighted one major fact to me- Hollywood is just like “us” (except they receive bigger paychecks). Like worker bees of the USPS, UPS, your local strip mall, or Walmart, Hollywood executives and creatives bicker, get fired, have brilliant ideas only to be squashed by their boss(es) or swindled by their colleagues for a higher bargaining price. Deals are made and broken, tempers flared, and names (and reputations) ruined. Yes, even Angelina Jolie was called a “minimally talented spoiled brat” throughout this whole debacle. The shade in these missives are REAL. “Entourage” is REAL.

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Whoever has hacked into the Sony database is on a mission to destroy, because the Rudin vs. Pascal fight is the latest to have been brought to light on websites such as Defamer and Vulture. Not only do we know that Aaron Sorkin has never seen , but that Kevin Hart is apparently a “greedy whore“, Natalie Portman’s alias is “Lauren Brown“, and Adam Sandler films suck.

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What’s even more jacked up is that Sony executives are just as unhappy with the films they are producing as the general audience is with Hollywood movies as a whole. There’s a reason that television remains in an extended Golden Age state, because the serial storytelling of “Orange is the New Black” and “Sons of Anarchy” appear to be more satisfying than a 1 1/2 to 2 hour movie. People will go to the theaters in droves for adaptations of their favorite books, or event films, such as “Interstellar”, though.

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To think that this all started with James Franco/Seth Rogan vehicle, “The Interview“…. If you want to know how a good majority of Hollywood works, read these emails. There are many lessons to be learned here while the Internet/digital entertainment revolution continues to move along.

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Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o Continue To Kill It

Photo Credits: Cineralia/ThandieKay.com

Both director Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o were working hard at their respective artistic crafts before 12 Years A Slave, but now they have the mainstream clout and power to create and be a part of passion projects. Earlier this week, it was announced that McQueen’s next film will be about none other than Paul Robeson!

Paul Robeson was a true renaissance man who slayed at everything he set his mind to achieve. An actor, opera singer, activist, All-American football player, and scholar of law at Columbia Law School, Robeson was involved in both the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights movements. He was also investigated during the McCarthy era, accused of being a communist. He retired and passed away in my hometown of Philadelphia.

The first and only film that I ever saw Robeson star in was Oscar Micheaux’s black and white film, “Body and Soul“. This movie debuted Robeson in his first starring role on screen, at the age of 27. If you have never seen “Body and Soul” and ever get the chance to, I suggest that you take the opportunity!. It introduced me to the genius of both Micheaux and Robeson’s work in film and as an artist and film buff, it continues to inform my way of thinking about the art of directing, the business of church, and African-American identity.

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A Paul Robeson biopic helmed by Steve McQueen will be nothing short of extraordinary, especially as THE Harry Belafonte will have a part in making this film happen. What that part will entail of is unknown for the time being.

 

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McQueen has also been tapped to direct a heist thriller movie based from a 1980s British TV miniseries titled “Widows“, which you can watch on YouTube (from what I’ve seen so far, this may be another new British television obsession for me!)

Let’s not forget that McQueen is also working on his first television show to hit the States, “Codes of Conduct“, about a young Black man entering high society in New York. I. Can’t. Wait.

As for Ms. Nyong’o, she has the next Star Wars movie on her plate, as well as being the new face of Lancome Cosmetics.

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However, did you know that she has just scored another new film role in Mira Nair’s upcoming movie adaptation, “Queen of Katwe“? The film will be based on the real life of Ugandan chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi. I am certain that Nyong’o will shine in her portrayal of Mutesi and maybe it could gain her another Oscar nomination….or award!

 

McQueen and Nyong’o….keep working, informing, and inspiring. I salute you!

Visionary Mike Nichols Passes Away At The Age of 83

Director of classic films such as “The Graduate”, “The Birdcage”, and “Working Girl”, as well as being a director of stage, an actor, writer, an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) recipient, producer, and comedian, Mike Nichols passed away suddenly yesterday at the age of 83. He was a refugee of Nazi Germany and the husband of Diane Sawyer, who is also a legend in her own right.

Whoopi Goldberg could not even talk on The View today about Nichols’ passing. They were dear friends and Nichols is credited for giving Whoopi her film career:

 

 

RIP Mike Nichols. Your gifts to the world will be passed on to many generations to discover and become inspired by.

Maybe I Should Just Go Ahead And Write That John Mayer FanFic Then….

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So, a very enterprising young woman named Anna Todd writes a fan fiction story about One Directioner Harry Styles and it eventually is optioned by PARAMOUNT STUDIOS to become a movie. Oh but wait! The story will become a book first, thanks to Simon & Schuster, and we can all pick up a copy next Tuesday when it hits stores.

From “Fifty Shades of Grey” to this, I am even more inspired. I used to write “Degrassi: The Next Generation” spec scripts & “Smallville” fan fiction. I got this. Time for me to make a move! #thatwriterlife #fanficgotmelike

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