Interview on local TV

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Jul 312010
 

Did an interview with my wife on the local NBC affiliate, 11 Alive.  Here’s a clip. It’s long, almost five minutes, which is twice as long as we were told to expect. But it’s a great piece.

Did you notice when my wife’s earpiece stopped working and she couldn’t hear the question? My experience as a preacher continues to pay off in Hollywood!

Hollywood Premiere

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Jul 282010
 

This blew my mind.

I’ve been to three major film festivals for screenings: Toronto, Sundance, and Tribeca. This put all of them to shame. It was in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Walking in and seeing statues of Oscar put a lump in my throat. The red carpet last night had twice the press of any of the festivals. They were practically stacked on top of each other. At each of the festivals, there was one spot to stand for still pictures. Last night there were so many photographers we had to stand three different places so they could all get pictures. Some turned out great. Some revealed just how blotchy my skin is, so now I get why even guys get vain about their skin in this town. If I was doing this regularly, I would pay attention to my skin too. Though it does look good in this one:

Me on the left with my good friend and fellow "Get Low" writer Chris Provenzano at the Hollywood premiere

While this is the only Hollywood Premiere I’ve ever been to, several celebrities came just to see our movie. On the red carpet my wife saw Mira Sorvino. Inside she ran into John Lovitz and Christine Lahti. Walking around the theater before the screening I saw seats reserved for Billy Bob Thornton and Ryan Gosling. At the reception afterwards we had a lovely conversation with Bobby Costanzo, who was thrilled that my screenwriting comrade Chris was a “paisano.” Bobby and his wife were great fun to talk with, they are fans of great movies and really appreciate the craft of movie making. We also had the chance to talk Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, the heads of Sony Pictures Classics. Today we found out James Caan had also been there. With over a thousand seats, those are just the ones we know.

This was also the last stop on the “Get Low” press tour. It has been a crazy, crazy eleven months promoting this movie. The publicity isn’t over. I have some phone interviews coming in the next few days and some interviews around Atlanta. But the traveling is finished. Unless the unthinkable happens and the script gets nominated for an award. But that’s something to think about later.

Right now, it’s your turn. I’ve been working on this movie for ten years, and finally you can go see it. If it’s not in your area yet, I expect it will come in August. To demand it in your area, go here.  You finally have the chance to go see this amazing movie that’s taken so many incredibly talented people (and me) so long to finish. It has been an amazing ten years getting it ready for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Website and the Story of Get Low

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Jul 152010
 

First, there’s a new website up for Get Low. It’s really great, and it’s here:

Click to visit the Get Low website.

While it’s a great website, Sony got the story wrong about where the movie came from. I first heard the story at lunch with my wife’s grandfather. He’s the real Buddy Robinson, played by Lucas Black. I had the idea for a movie and emailed Chris Provenzano, an old college friend working as a screenwriter in Hollywood. We got to work creating a fictional story based on the actual event, but we only knew three things: there was a funeral for an old man who was still alive, there were rumors of a murder, and ten thousand people came. That was it, but that was all we needed to create the story of Get Low.

The process was agonizingly slow. It took us a year to get a solid screenplay together, with Chris doing the writing and two hour phone conversations virtually every night. It was another year Dean Zanuck jumped at the chance to produce it, two more before we got Aaron Schneider to direct it, and four more years after that before we got the funding. Almost ten short  years after I first heard this story, we now have an amazing movie.

Here’s the funny thing: this movie is so good, it was worth the wait.

Movie of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

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Jul 122010
 

Just watched the film version of this book (a few weeks ago I wrote about one of the main characters, Lisbeth Salander).  Reading the books was like going to another world. They take place in Sweden, and not only have I never been there, I’ve never even seen pictures. I’ve gone to Ikea, and I love Swedish meatballs and lingonberries, but that’s how much I know about Sweden. One the one hand, that made the book more fun, because it felt like I was reading about another world. Yet it made some things harder to access. It’s harder to picture something in your head when you have never seen it.

Swedish Title: "Men Who Hate Women"

I saw it when we watched the movie “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” last night. Sweden looks cold. I mean, frigid cold. Watching it made me want to put on a sweater.  In July. In Atlanta.  The landscape is a character in any story, though, and the harshness of the climate made the relationships seem more important. Plus it was good to know what the characters experience when they’re running away from bad guys. So it was good to see the world in which these books take place.

Mostly, though, I enjoyed hearing the dialogue in Swedish. I don’t speak Swedish, but subtitles are closer to the mark than dubbing. The acting, along with the subtitles, brought home nuances about the film. For instance, the Swedish title of this movie is “Men Who Hate Women.” Wow! That’s a really big difference. Also, by speaking it in Swedish, the actors can give the words the right inflection, the right tone, at just the right time. When they exclaim, it’s true to their culture. When they are confused, it’s a Swedish confusion, not an Atlanta or New York confusion. The differences are minor, but they give the movie a flavor that it wouldn’t have had if it shot in Minnesota with Hollywood actors.

Watching this movie brought the book to life in many ways. If you have read the book, watch the movie. If you haven’t read the book, read it first, then see the movie. Putting them together is a great way to experience the fullness of this great story.

Jul 052010
 

Click to visit the official website

You may not have heard of this one yet, but I hope you get the chance to see it. I saw this indie film from Tin Roof Films last week and it was great. The folks at Tin Roof aren’t afraid to say what it is: a movie about teen obesity and bullying.  It’s a well made film, with powerful performances backing up a solid story.  Jimmy Winterpock’s struggles with his self image, bullying, and girls all were portrayed in a way that I rooted for Jimmy and want him to get the girl, lose the weight, and for everyone in the movie to love him like we do. You may have a clue how it ends, but that’s not the point. Like any good film, the journey is the point, and it’s one you won’t want to miss if it comes to your area.

This film reveals a great truth about human life, which is that some people are “cool,” some people are “not,” but we all have struggles. When we can see past the categories and find common ground in our struggles, we come close to what Jesus called The Kingdom of God. It’s that place where we each value one another and live a life of love and respect for each other in harmony with God. In describing the Kingdom of God Jesus painted a bold vision of human life, and part of how we all experience that Kingdom is by bringing it to others. The Fat Boy Chronicles paints a similar vision, one that I wish would happen more and more in real life. May you be blessed to be the ones through whom God brings healing to a Jimmy Winterpock near you.

New Get Low Trailer

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Jul 022010
 

Click to view trailer

The new trailer for Get Low is out. I prefer the first one, but  it’s still great. I can’t wait for the release!