Your correspondent talks with the co-star/co-producer/co-writer of the comedy-turned-cause célèbre about why he decided to make a movie about Kim Jong-Un in the first place, negotiating with Sony about the details of the Dear Leader’s exploding head, and what he listens for at the many, many test screenings he attends.
Leslie Savan: “You can’t stick with that kind of truthiness-based character (and play him in public appearances off the show) without some sympathy for him, and even for conservatism itself. Colbert expressed that sympathy by showing that beneath his character’s assertion of omnipotence and certitude, there’s a fragility, one that’s also buried in most of the real-life blowhards and their dittoheads. If they stop clapping, Tinker Bell will die.”
“One of the tricky things about the show, especially early on, was figuring out what the honest point of view of the show was, and then how to communicate that through the character of Stephen’s contrasting point of view. When you’re working very quickly on complicated stories, that can get hard. It always reminded me of driving in reverse. Usually, we knew our destination, but we had to drive there super-fast and backwards.”
“On Wednesday afternoon, AMC Theaters, citing “the overall confusion and uncertainty” around the film, joined Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment in dropping the film. Together, those exhibitors control more than 19,200 screens across the United States. Smaller American chains and Canada’s Cineplex Entertainment also canceled the film.”
“The threat was made in rambling emails sent to various news outlets Tuesday morning. [One] said, in part: ‘Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)'” Both cinema chains and the studio are in a difficult position, and the New York premiere has already been cancelled.
“Far from being simple, wholesome family entertainment, the film is an admiring portrait of a conniving, lying, mercenary seductress. It’s a valentine to the slave-owning South, and a poison-pen letter to the anti-slavery North. … It’s a romance that puts the hero and heroine at each other’s throats. And it’s an episodic coming-of-age story that keeps going for nearly four hours before reaching its abrupt, unresolved ending. In short, Gone with the Wind is a preposterous, almost unclassifiable mix of highly questionable elements. The wonder is not just that it’s America’s most beloved film, but that it isn’t America’s most hated.”
Aaron Sorkin: “I understand that news outlets routinely use stolen information. That’s how we got the Pentagon Papers, to use an oft-used argument. But there is nothing in these documents remotely rising to the level of public interest of the information found in the Pentagon Papers. … Every news outlet that did the bidding of the Guardians of Peace is morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable.”
Andrew Wallenstein: “Let’s get real: The hackers are playing the press as pawns. Journalists are essentially doing their bidding by taking the choicest data excerpts and waving them around for the world to see, maximizing their visibility. … While I found a lot to question about the rationales, ultimately I’ve arrived at an uneasy peace with why the leaks just can’t be ignored.”
Over the weekend, star attorney David Boies wrote numerous news outlets on Sony’s behalf to warn that any leaked Sony documents should be destroyed, not published. Could the entertainment giant win a lawsuit over this? Probably not, argues law professor Eugene Volokh – if the media respect certain boundaries.
“If there was one scene that felt like it was looming over all those years, it was the good-bye scene. I knew that the last shot of the movie would be Mason at college meeting someone – I had that in my mind for ten years, and I was looking forward to that – but I knew that the scene before it had to be the emotional break of the movie, when son parted from mom. It’s where Boyhood kind of ends emotionally, although spiritually, it continues.”
“The infrastructure of organised religion now seems to have passed to the fantasy writers and film-makers, Builders of Worlds, and we the followers obligingly immerse ourselves in their imaginings, arguing amongst ourselves about our various interpretations of their gospel with all the fervour of true believers.”
“Imagine if True Detective, which aired as eight one-hour episodes’ worth of cinema-quality entertainment, had instead been packaged as four two-hour installments of cinema-quality entertainment and released in theaters on the first Friday of every month. And imagine if, for the first three weeks after each release, the only place you could see the new installment was in a movie theater.” The answer to cinema owners’ prayers?
“Now in his 80s, the animator, director, and designer [Richard Williams] has created thousands of animated film titles and commercials and even written a book on the art of animation.” (Not to mention doing the Toons in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) “All this despite the fact that for three decades he was sacrificing other work to direct one immense film that never made it to screen, the Fantasia-esque Arabian tale called The Thief and the Cobbler.”
“The breach has caused havoc within Hollywood’s inner circles as private correspondence between powerful producers and executives have exposed internal politics and petty gripes. More importantly, the data also appeared to include spreadsheets outlining financial deals Sony had with third parties, which could hurt its standing with its partners. These details also expose how much these third parties have paid Sony for rights to certain TV shows and films.”