EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS James Toback On ‘The Gambler’ Remake: “Not Possible… Rudeness And Disrespect:” Connections #44

A story was emailed to me by a friend this afternoon. It reminded me how cruel Hollywood can be to some of the people who’ve contributed so much to it. Case in point is screenwriter James Toback. Then I read some of the reader’s comments to this story and one jerk responded by saying that it’s been a long time since Toback has had one of his screenplays made into film. As if that’s a good reason to treat him like dirt. Toback was paid for his screenplay and doesn’t control the rights, but this shouldn’t mean keeping him out of the loop on a remake. It took him totally by surprise as you will read in Nikki Finke‘s story.

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EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS 34th Aniversary of Elvis Presley’s Death Confused with his Birthday; I’m all shook Up: Connections #43

“Let’s all say, Happy Birthday, Elvis!  Well,  it has happened again!  On the campaign trail, Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachman wished the “Blue Suede Shoes,” singer, Elvis Prestley, a Happy Birthday. Wrong!   Today is the 34th aniversary of his death.

     Not too long ago, on the campaign trail Bachman said John Wayne was born in Waterloo, Iowa.  But it was John Wayne Gacy, the infamous “killer clown” of Chicago, who was born there.*

     Is Michelle Bachman confusing fiction with facts?  Maybe she shouldn’t be blaming all of our economic woes on Democrats, but instead on Republicans.  Food for thought,  isn’t  it?

Note: See my Blog dated June 29, 2011.

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EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS Beverly Hills Police Blow Up Screenwriter’s Laptop, Script: Connections #42

     SINCE LAST WEEK I’ve been mulling over a news story in my mind.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s not healthy to hide your emotions, so I’m laughing out loud  and  tears of laughter are rolling down my cheeks at the same time.

     A young writer reportedly had his movie script blown to bits by police who were afraid the briefcase he was carrying it in was dangerous.

    Apparently, this is what happened:  The writer had been pestering a particular literary agent for a while to read his stuff and took it a step further to insure his script would reach the right before.  The guy arrived at the office and deliberately left behind a briefcase he said contained a computer. He left instructions with someone in the office to deliver it to an agent, but instead, the bomb squad was called in to investigate. They blew it to kingdom come.  In this age of terrorism and paranoia, it’s a known fact that cops blow things up. But, wait, this happened in the City of Beverly Hills.

     It’s really hard to break into Showbiz. Whether you are an inspiring actor, writer, producer, singer, director or butt-kisser, getting your foot in the door is difficult if not impossible.  Do you take the road of a friendly soul, persistent, aggressive, passive-aggressive, annoying?  It’s a long list.  And, all of these are tainted with a certain amount of desperation.

     I  wonder if  the  Writers Guild of America, west, of which  I’m a member, should  get involved with this situation.  Maybe the Guild should take the paranoid literary agency to court, or at least to arbitration, a forum used by the Guild to solve disputes involving writers.

     But this story also involves those men in blue, the Beverly Hills Police. Maybe  these stalwart  protectors of  their city’s residents and property should  spend more time having coffee and donuts.  But, alas, it’s difficult to find a store that sells sugar-coated or plain donuts, or a cup of regular coffee.  “I’ll  have a ‘Decaffeinated Pike Place Roast Grande’ and an ‘Everything Bagel,’ please.” Then the Barista calls your name and you can sit back and enjoy, hoping an emergency call doesn’t come from the Police Dispatcher.

     Let’s not forget about this literary agency, franchised by the WGAw.  I propose that our Guild have second thoughts about allowing them to continue doing business.  And what about the poor slob of a writer? Maybe this agency will convince him they’ll work hard on his behalf. No matter what, he should resist any temptation to sign with them in spite of any three-picture deals they might be alluding to.

     Rejections are hard enough to deal with, but your script being blown up is another matter. This is definitely fodder for your Shrink.  Almighty God, Supreme Being, Jehovah, Buddha, Allah, please don’t let this become a trend.

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     This is from the Thursday edition (8/11/2011) Los Angeles Times:

     Beverly Hills police blew up an aspiring screenwriter’s laptop and script when investigating a suspicious package Thursday morning on Rodeo Drive.  The screenwriter, who was not identified, apparently left his briefcase — with  the  computer  and   script inside — unattended  at a literary  agency  office.  Beverly Hills Police   Lt. Tony  Lee said police,  not   knowing  what  inside  the  briefcase,  detonated  it  as safety precaution.

     Lee said the owner was distraught when he learned what happened to briefcase.

     The case was found near the intersection of  Rodeo Drive and Little Santa Monica Boulevard.

     Several  streets were  closed and nearby businesses were being evacuated, causing traffic jams in the area.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

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