James Parrott’s The Music Box (1932), a half-hour Laurel and Hardy short, premiered April 16, 1932, according to The Post-Standard. In the slapstick duo’s masterpiece, Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel play a couple of bumbling furniture movers who deliver a player-piano to a wealthy man’s house (Professor Theodore von Schwartzenhoffen, M.D., A.D., D.D.S., F.L.D., F-F-F-and-F (Billy Gilbert)). The film earned Stan and Ollie their first Academy Award, and it debuted almost thirty-two years to the day when a pair of Syracuse deliverymen brought down a chimney with the weight of their pulleys while delivering a piano on April 22, 1900.
Is online pitching the future of the film industry?
With most of the world on lockdown due to coronavirus, filmmakers are finding themselves forced to pitch electronically for industry events such as Visions du Reel, Frontieres, as well as Sheffield Doc/Fest, which have all moved online, according to Screen Daily. United Kingdom-based script consultant and screenwriter David Pope says the COVID-19 pandemic will be an opportunity for more industry insiders to connect internationally. However, Annick Mahnert, the newly appointed market director at the Montreal-based genre forum Frontieres, says in-face meetings will still be crucial to collaboration, but online pitches will allow professionals to forge new relationships and discuss new content.
Darren Aronofsky’s “Batman” movie canceled because he wanted to cast Joaquin Phoenix
In an interview with Empire, Darren Aronofsky said Warner Bros. dismissed him from directing a Batman film in the early 2000s because he would have cast Joaquin Phoenix as Bruce Wayne whereas the studio wanted Freddie Prinze, Junior, according to New Music Express. Christopher Nolan ended up being hired to reboot the DC Comics franchise, while Phoenix would later go on to play the Caped Crusader’s archnemesis in Todd Phillips’s Joker (2019). Meanwhile, Matt Reeves’s The Batman (2021), starring Robert Pattinson, is currently in the works, with a release date scheduled for next summer (unless impacted by the coronavirus pandemic).
TCM Classic Film Festival will broadcast a “Special Home Edition” on Turner Classic Movies
The eleventh annual TCM Classic Film Festival, a multi-venue Hollywood fan event, has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Turner Classic Movies will broadcast a “Special Home Edition” of the festival from Thursday to Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Lead programmer Charlie Tabesh says it would not have been possible to exhibit all the titles they had planned for the live festival over the same four days the festival was originally scheduled, so the “Special Home Edition,” with its highlight reels, will be a unique experience. Fans can win swag through Twitter giveaways under the hashtag #TCMFF.
Quentin Tarantino’s five best (and five worst) films, according to IMDb
Because Quentin Tarantino only has ten directorial credits to his name, ranking his films per their user ratings on IMDb divides the five “best” from the five “worst,” according to Screen Rant. Indeed, Dan Peeke writes that Tarantino fans tend to love his whole filmography, and the filmmaker has yet to release one “bad” movie. From lowest to highest, the IMDb scores for Tarantino’s pictures are as follows: Death Proof (2007), at seven-point-five out of ten; Jackie Brown (1997), at seven-point-five; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), at seven-point-seven; The Hateful Eight (2015), at seven-point-eight; Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), at eight-point-zero; Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), at eight-point-one; Reservoir Dogs (1992), at eight-point-three; Inglourious Basterds (2009), at eight-point-three; Django Unchained (2012), at eight-point-four; and Pulp Fiction (1994), at eight-point-nine.
Andy Muschietti’s “The Flash” (2022) may be canceled
Video footage surfaced earlier this week of actor Ezra Miller, star of Andy Muschietti’s ill-fated The Flash (2022), allegedly choking a woman in Iceland, according to Out. During a live stream, Lords of the Long Box reported Mikey Sutton, who is known among superhero movie aficionados as a reliable source of leaked information, posted that Warner Bros. may cancel the film as well as reboot the entire DCEU pending an investigation into the clip. After appearing in David Yates’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), Miller confirmed they will be involved in a third installment of the series.
Library of Congress streaming preserved films online for free
Even though the Library of Congress is temporarily closed to the public, they are streaming more than seven thousand videos online for free, according to The New York Times. The largest library in the world was created in 1800 by the same act of Congress that moved the federal government to Washington, D.C., with President John Adams approving a five thousand-dollar budget for books. The library also invites the public to nominate titles for the National Film Registry, which adds “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” texts annually with the help of the advisory body that is the National Film Preservation Board.
James Gandolfini wanted “The Sopranos” to be a movie before passing away in 2013
Vincent Pastore, who played Salvatore Bonpensiero on HBO’s The Sopranos (1999-2007), told The Sunday Times series star James Gandolfini wanted to adapt the show to film before he died of a heart attack at fifty-one years old on vacation in Italy, according to Metro. Pastore says showrunner David Chase ended the series ambiguously on purpose so as to open The Sopranos up for a movie. Chase describes the “genius” actor as one of the greatest of all time, Gandolfini having won three Primetime Emmy Awards as well as a Golden Globe for his performance as conflicted mob boss Tony Soprano.
“Tiger King” director on the future of the Netflix documentary series
Last year, UCP signed Kate McKinnon to star in and executive produce a limited series called Joe Exotic, a scripted adaptation of a Wondery podcast, according to Page Six. However, Eric Goode, who codirected Netflix’s Tiger King (2020), says he feels like dramatization would not do the story justice, though he would cast McKinnon (or Kathy Bates) as animal rights activist Carole Baskin, and Edward Norton or Sam Rockwell as Joe Exotic. While Dax Shepard, Jared Leto, and Norton himself have been playfully lobbying for the role on social media, Goode says he has enough footage for a second season.
Film at Lincoln Center magazine to go on hiatus
On Friday, Film at Lincoln Center executive director Lesli Klainberg released a memo announcing the organization would be furloughing or laying off half of its fifty-person full-time staff and all of its part-time employees, according to Variety. While continuing to provide health insurance for the furloughed full-timers, the company (which has published Film Comment since 1962) will release the May/June issue of the cinema and arts magazine digitally, after which time it will be placed on an indefinite hiatus. As per recommendations from the Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control, the center already suspended its theater operations March 12.