When you take two of todays most admired actresses and cast them in brief but crucial roles as surprise two of the most admired actresses of their respective generations, what do you get? Two of Feud‘s most inspired more-than-cameos from Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sarah Paulson, natch.
Zeta-Jones tells Mashable she had enormous respect for British actress Olivia de Havilland, one of the most glamorous and talented actresses of the 30s and 40s, who is still remembered today for her star-making roles as Maid Marian, in 1938s The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Melanie Wilkes, well-mannered rival to Scarlett OHara in Gone With the Wind not to mention her Oscar-winning turns in 1946s To Each His Own and 1949s The Heiress.
Zeta-Jones notes that, despite the competitive fractions that were all too common and encouraged between many of the leading ladies of the era, de Havilland and Bette Davis bonded quickly and became extremely close.
It was Bette who became a friend to Olivia, first, says the actress. Olivia had a touch of royalty. She was an ex-pat; she had an exotic air she was born in Tokyo, but she lived here. She started doing Shakespeare in upstate California; she was certainly not found having a popsicle at the diner. Her name alone de Havilland!
Bette saw that she was more than a pretty face very early on and Olivia never forgot that and they became friends, adds Zeta-Jones. I think Bette wasnt threatened by Olivia and Olivia wasnt threatened by Bette. It was a great dynamic they had and they respected each other for that.
Shes a woman who didnt take a lot of BS at the time and who left [Hollywood] of her own accord, Zeta-Jones says of de Havilland, noting that when the actress had fulfilled her seven-year contract to Warner Bros and the studio tried to forcibly extend her commitment, she filed suit and won an important legal victory for all actors that is still enforced today.
Despite a two-year virtual blacklisting in Hollywood, when she returned to the screen de Havilland quickly reclaimed her box office clout and critical accolades, before retreating to a quieter, semi-retired life in France, taking occasional roles as when she stepped into help Davis save 1964s HushHush, Sweet Charlotte after Joan Crawfords acrimonious departure.
She was very happy to go out to France, to Europe, says Zeta-Jones. She wanted real stuff in her life. She went up against the studio heads. You dont do that now, but to do that then, when they were literally pawns in the chess game of Hollywood, the women she was tough! If a woman can live into her hundredth year, she must have been a lot tougher than [people thought].
De Havilland celebrated her 100th birthday in 2016 and remains a living link to Hollywoods Golden Age much like Zeta-Jones father-in-law, Kirk Douglas, whom the actress says has schooled her on the close-knit friendships of many Golden Age stars.
There were a lot of really true friendships then, says Zeta-Jones. My father-in-law had good relationships with a lot of actors: Tony Quinn, Tony Curtis, Frank Sinatra really good friendships. Women of that time were always, in the press, made to look like they were feuding; bitching. I found that a lot of strong friendships were made in those studio system years. It was like all the women were vying for the better roles; vying for the popularity contest, but they knew that they had to have each others backs.
Emerging a generation after de Havilland to become one of the most revered actresses of her own generation, Geraldine Page respected the value of professional camaraderie among actresses by the time she encountered the more manipulative Joan Crawford in 1963 and agreed to, in necessary absentia, let Crawford accept her Academy Award for Best Actress for Sweet Bird of Youth if she won a role she originated on Broadway and which provided the second of eight career nominations.
You dont become an actress and not know about the genius that is Geraldine Page, says Paulson, who played Page in Episode 5, set at the Academy Awards.
Paulson dove into her research on Page: the Lee Strasberg-trained actress was a stage sensation during her formative years in the 1950s, starring in productions of playwright N. Richard Nashs The Rainmaker and Tennessee Williams Summer and Smoke and Sweet Bird of Youth, which also led to her first Tony nomination.
While she remained a huge stage attraction throughout her career, Page also scored many Hollywood roles including Hondo, Toys In the Attic, Pete N Tillie, Interiors and A Trip to Bountiful, for which she finally claimed an Oscar, two years before her death in 1987.
I know a lot of people from New York in the theater community who told me a lot of things about her that were utterly useless to me in what was required of me in this part, in terms of what I was having to do, admits Paulson. I was serving a bigger picture story of Joans and her need, so it wasnt about Geraldine. So some of the information I had gathered, I had to kind of chuck out, because it wasnt really about that.
Paulson adds that shes itching to reprise the role, should opportunity knock: Boy, would I long to play her in a really larger fashion! Shes a fascinating woman, and an extraordinary actress, and a very proper human being I want a whole Feud about Geraldine Page and whomever shes feuding with, but I dont know who shes feuding with!
Unlike Page, de Havilland did have a public personal and professional feud of her own, as hinted at during the course of the series: a longstanding and often bitter rivalry with her only sibling, actress Joan Fontaine, who was also a Best Actress Oscar winner a contentious relationship that Zeta-Jones suggests was likely exacerbated by Hollywood.
Even today, people will say what a tough business were in, she says. But back then it was really tough, and really tough for women. And it was a popularity contest, where if you were in, you were in with the studio behind you. And they showed you in a wonderful light. And if you were out, you could be ostracized and kicked out of town, like the Blacklist. It was a real tough time.
Zeta-Jones admits that she was oblivious to the politics of the studio system when she started out. Myself, growing up I didnt know. It always sounded wonderful. I knew I wanted to be part of it. I came to Hollywood at my time; a different generation, and its not as glamorous. Its not all autographs and sunglasses, as they say. Its sad: women in Hollywood are still having a tougher go at it than men. Its changed somewhat, but its still baby steps in the whole bigger spectrum of it all.
WATCH: What film stars really think about Hollywood’s diversity issue
Hollywood has proved that it’s willing to turn literally anything into a movie, from children’s toys, to Reddit posts, to E.L. James novels. So, if you ever notice a film-worthy property that has remained conspicuously un-adapted, you can bet your ass that it’s not for lack of trying. In fact, some of the stories behind these non-adaptations would make pretty good movies of their own (mostly comedies, with some hints of psychological horror).
Gore Verbinski’s R-Rated BioShock Movie Is Dead Due To Watchmen
Video game adaptations tend to be utter garbage for one simple reason: It’s hard to turn a plot like “portly Italian steps on hundreds of turtles” into a coherent screenplay. If there’s one game that could break the curse, though, it’s BioShock. Why? Because it already has a more cogent story than most movies.
2K Games Not to mention, way more diving suit-wearing mutants with giant drills on one hand.
The game’s critically acclaimed storyline (centered on a utopic underwater city created by a combination of Walt Disney and Ayn Rand) is ripe for the taking — and there’s one director willing to do it. Gore Verbinski of Pirates Of The Caribbean fame is a big fan of BioShock‘s “cinematic potential” and “strong narrative,” and we’ve already talked about why he would actually be perfect for this adaptation (assuming he doesn’t succumb to the Burton Syndrome and casts Johnny Depp for every part).
Verbinski was all set to shoot a BioShock movie in 2009, and fittingly for someone named “Gore,” he wasn’t planning to shy away from the game’s violence and general fucked-up-ness. In his own words, he “just really, really wanted to make it a movie where, four days later, you’re still shivering and going, ‘Jesus Christ!'” The movie’s concept art confirms that, at the very least, this thing would have been visually amazing:
Verbinski wanted between $160 and $200 million to properly recreate the underwater city of Rapture, but after Zack Snyder’s dour superhero slo-mo-fest underperformed, Universal got nervous about financing such an expensive R-rated film. Verbinski wouldn’t budge on the rating or the budget, so that was it. The studio tried to keep going with another director, but the same problems came up again. Eventually, BioShock‘s creators decided they didn’t need a stinking movie anyways.
We’d love to end this entry telling you that the recent string of R-rated genre hits proved those cowardly producers wrong, but it’s not that simple: Deadpool cost only $58 million, Logan reportedly $97 million, and Mad Max: Fury Roaddidn’t exactly make it rain (by Hollywood standards). Shooting an underwater city probably won’t be affordable until we’re actually living in one, so cross your fingers for more climate change, gaming fans!
We’ll Never See Guillermo Del Toro’s At The Mountains Of Madness Because Of Freaking Prometheus
Like his creation Cthulhu, horror author H.P. Lovecraft has managed to indirectly wedge his face-tentacles into everything you love. He’s inspired such disparate works as Dungeons And Dragons, Evil Dead, and even Conan The Barbarian — and yet, very few of his works have been directly adapted into movies. For instance, there’s never been a film adaptation of his classic novella At The Mountains Of Madness, the lovely story of a bunch of scientists who stumble upon forgotten horrors during an Antarctic expedition, and end up getting slaughtered or losing their minds.
Guillermo Del Toro, no stranger to giant monsters from other dimensions, has been trying to adapt Mountains for decades, but the project has been cursed by the unthinkable evils that rule the universe: Hollywood executives. Del Toro had a script ready as early as 1998, and at various points the project managed to attract serious interest from Warner Bros., Universal, and Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Pictures. In 2010, Del Toro even convinced James Cameron to join as producer and had Tom Cruise in advanced talks to star (yes, we might have finally found out what Cruise looks like as an insane person).
The studios always ended up wussing out over the budget and dark tone, but Del Toro kept plugging away, convinced that this was something audiences had never seen before. That is, until he heard about a little movie called Prometheus. You know, the one about a bunch of scientists who stumble upon forgotten horrors during a galactic expedition, and end up getting slaughtered or crushed by slow-moving space donuts.
The similarities don’t end there: Both Prometheus and Mountains involve the scientists discovering an ancient alien race responsible for creating humanity, as well some ugly-ass monsters hell-bent on destroying said humanity. Del Toro didn’t want to cover the same ground as that film, so he announced that his project was on hold or dead. In 2013, he said he would give it one more try … and that’s the last anyone’s heard of it. Oh, well, at least there’s always the new Hellbo– Whoops.
Hamilton Won’t Be A Movie For Decades Because The Creator Just Said So
Chances are that you’ve never seen Hamilton yourself (tickets go from $175 to $2000 and are still constantly sold out), but you sure as hell have heard about it. It’s a freaking cultural phenomenon. The Founding Father-themed hip-hop musical won 11 of its record-breaking 16 Tony Awards nominations, largely for its ability to achieve the impossible: making people pay “could have bought fairly high-quality cocaine” money to see something pertaining to Alexander “National Debt Ain’t Nothing But A Thing” Hamilton.
Since Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is all about making American history more accessible to the masses, a movie adaptation would make perfect sense, right? So thinks everyone, except Lin-Manuel Miranda. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Miranda stated that if a film adaptation happens, it probably wouldn’t be for at least 20 years. Partially, he wants to make sure people come see it in theaters now (even though 99 percent of us will never have the chance) … but he also claims that the only good play-to-film adaptations are “all 20 years after the fact,” giving examples like Cabaret or Chicago.
At most, those suffering from Hamilust will have to settle for watching a filmed performance of the play, but there are two problems with that: 1) Miranda says he hasn’t decided what to do with the only recording of the original cast, joking (we think?) that he’d throw it in a vault, and 2) no one in the history of humanity has enjoyed a fixed-camera movie of a play. You might as well sneak into one of the inevitable rip-off productions that high school drama clubs will be putting on for years to come.
Steve Carell’s Real-Life Comedy About North Korea, Pyongyang, Was Shelved Because Of The Interview
North Korea has been responsible for a lot of terrible things over the years, but there was one time when they actually tried to save us from a lurking danger we ourselves didn’t fully understand: Seth Rogen’s The Interview. In what we naively thought would be the most bonkers international incident of this decade, Kim Jong-un’s regime took offense at something in the movie (presumably the part about Rogen and James Franco assassinating him, but maybe they’re just tired of stoner jokes) and allegedly hacked Sony Pictures in retaliation.
As a result, most screenings of the movie were cancelled and the film was banished to the wasteland of home video.
However, this Chinese food-fart of a movie wasn’t the most tragic casualty of the Sony hack clusterfuck: that would be Steve Carell’s Pyongyang, which was a story that actually deserved to be told.
Based on a 2004 autobiographical comic book, Pyongyang details author Guy Delisle’s experiences in the North Korean capital, where he worked as the liaison between a French animation company and a local studio. That studio’s signature creation, by the way, is an adorable propaganda series starring a squirrel and a hedgehog, imaginatively titled Squirrel And Hedgehog.
Because of his particular role, Delisle was given unprecedented access to parts of the country usually hidden from outsiders. His book is a retelling of all the bizarre things he saw and experienced in that crazy-ass regime — a concept that apparently made Gore Verbinski’s ears perk up when he heard about it. In 2013, New Regency announced Verbinski would direct a “dark comedy” based on the Delisle’s experiences, and eventually added Steve Carell as the lead. It would have been an intriguing combination of awkward situations …
The Catcher In The Rye Will Never Get A Movie Because Of A Terrible Version Of Another J.D. Salinger Story
J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye has long been considered by hipsters (and assassins) to be the greatest book against phonies ever written. Holden Caulfield’s story of self-discovery mirrors that of many a pissed-off, surly, uniquely rebellious teenager — so, all of them, basically. That probably explains why entire generations of actors, from Marlon Brando to Leonardo DiCaprio, have tried to get the movie done with themselves in the lead.
The problem is that, like his boy Caulfield, Salinger was on a bit of a crusade against the phonies of the world — and to him, no one was phonier than Hollywood (not sure how he got that impression).
Salinger didn’t always feel that way. Early in his career, he sold the rights to his short story Uncle Wiggily In Connecticut, a commentary on materialism in the post-WWII era. According to his assistant, Salinger “thought they would make a good movie,” which wasn’t an unreasonable assumption considering that the script would be written by the screenwriters of Casablanca, Julius and Philip Epstein.
So what did the Epsteins do? They changed the name to My Foolish Heart, ditched all the social commentary, and turned the story into a sappy romantic tale.
Anyway, if you excitedly thought that Salinger’s death might finally bring about a Catcher adaptation, then you’re 1) a shitty person, and 2) wrong. The people who manage his trust were fully aware of his aversion to licensing out any of his works, and will continue his crusade for generations to come. On the upside, think of all the murders from illiterate would-be killers we’re avoiding this way.
Jordan Breeding is a part-time writer, a full-time lover, and an all the time guitarist. Check out his band at Skywardband.com or on Spotify here.
Behind every awful movie is the idea for a good one. Old man Indiana Jones discovers aliens: Good in theory, bad in practice. Batman fights Superman: So simple, but so bad. Are there good versions of these movies hidden within the stinking turds that saw the light of day? Jack O’Brien hosts Soren Bowie, Daniel O’Brien, and Katie Willert of After Hours on our next live podcast to find an answer, as they discuss their ideal versions of flops, reboots, and remakes. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here!
Jesse Newton woke up in the middle of the night after his four-year-old son had crawled into bed smelling like dog shit. The smell was so horrifying, the man jumped out of the bed, only to discover that their Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner had ran over their dog’s poop, and now covered the entire house with the doggie’s turd – think rugs, floor, furniture and kid’s toys. All of this horror happened while the whole family were soundly asleep…
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Newton, who described the event as a ‘pooptastrophe’ was so shocked that it took him a year to start speaking about the incident. “It’s taken me until now to wrap my head around it and find the words to describe the horror.”
“Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop… Because if that happens, it will spread the dog poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.”
However, Newton was quick to defend his dog Evie: “This is the only time she’s done this, so it’s probably just because we forgot to let her out before we went to bed that night.” Fair enough.
Jesse Newton woke up at night after his four-year-old son had crawled into bed smelling like dog shit