Surely by now you know that there's nobody named Pink Floyd; Syd Barrett named his band after American bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. (Jethro Tull and Rilo Kiley were similarly named for obscure historical figures.) But perhaps you were once fooled, like me, into believing that these nine bands' fictional frontmen were real. Echo & the Bunnymen. Vocalist Ian McCulloch never went by the nickname… read more!
Don't get turned off by this list's vapid title: I have some mildly interesting stories to tell. You see, although I have seen my share of famous people ever since I moved to Los Angeles, 2015 has been a banner year for celebrity encounters. Here are nine of those encounters, in chronological order: David Lynch. I had popped into a tobacconist to snag a matchbox; I was preparing my… read more!
Thanks to this year's surprise publication of Harper Lee's long-lost Go Set a Watchman, Lee is no longer a member of that elite group known as "Famous Authors Who Only Wrote One Novel". The Internet is filled with lists about these people, and you'll see the same names over again: Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights), Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man), Margaret Mitchell (Gone… read more!
The main (and indeed, only) character in my new short 20 Matches hails from Vienna, Austria. When casting the film, I sought out actresses from Austria and Germany rather than endure endless Americans attempting a Viennese dialect. I just didn't have the time. Conversely, when casting Foreign Correspondents I chose an American actor, Corin Nemec, to play my Englishman, not only because he was the best-known of all the actors who… read more!
There's a line in Zoolander in which idiotic supermodel Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) looks at a scale model of a learning center and says, "What is this? A center for ants?" This is not a list for ants, though it is a list about ants. That is, movies about ants. Grab the Raid and read on. Ant-Man (2015). The inspiration for… read more!
In the 1980s, it was easy to define the previous decade by ticking off singular '70s fads: bellbottoms! disco! Leif Garrett! Likewise, when the '90s rolled around, one had no problem summing up the '80s: New Wave! Pac-Man! Moonlighting! Yet here I am in 2015, finding the current decade indistinguishable from the last. Part of this is me getting older and thus less attuned… read more!
This weekend brings the annual Gay Pride festivities to West Hollywood, where I currently live, which is arguably the gayest city in the country if not the world. As one of relatively few straight men in WeHo, my preference for women may not be obvious as I walk through "Boys Town" on my way to the public pool. Thus I find… read more!
Finding work – and acceptance – is an ongoing struggle for female film directors, both in Hollywood and elsewhere, but some are doing it. A handful of them came from the acting world, though they haven't yet directed themselves in anything (e.g., Penny Marshall, Angelina Jolie). Here are some who have. In the wake of the boffo box office garnered by Pitch Perfect 2, the directorial debut of its costar… read more!
Recently I read an article in The New Yorker, written by Oliver Sacks, about the troubled last years of actor/monologist Spalding Gray (Swimming to Cambodia). Sacks noted that, on January 11, 2004, Gray saw the Tim Burton movie Big Fish a few hours before drowning himself in New York's East River. I was reminded of the Heaven's Gate suicide cult, and how,… read more!
I often try to write a personal List of 9 around my birthday, which was yesterday, so here you go. I've never been much of an autograph hound, but over the years I've compiled a most random collection of famous signatures. More or less in chronological order: Robert Hegyes and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. It was 1975, and Welcome Back Kotter was all the rage. I… read more!
Every once in a while, a documentary filmmaker will make something notable – notable enough to make some money, secure an Oscar nomination or a win, and make said filmmaker the toast of the town. Then comes the inevitable Hollywood offer: "How about directing a real movie with real actors!" Few can resist the temptation, and while sometimes it works out – e.g., Bennett… read more!
Hollywood has, since the beginning, attracted talent from across the globe. These days, it seems like there are more British actors working in Hollywood than ever before – and most are playing American characters! Anyway, here's a quick and dirty list about those heavily-accented foreigners who, in fact, breathed their first breaths, saw their first rays of sunshine, and pooped their first poops… read more!
In 2013, I had a fruitless meeting with a talent agent, who told me to "get on Twitter, follow some showbiz people you admire, tweet at them, and your career will go places." Lame advice, but I still made a go of it. A year and a half later, with over 1,000 tweets and around 400 followers, I have not warmed to Twitter, and Twitter has not warmed… read more!
Now that I am in the throes of funding my short film 20 Matches on Indiegogo – and for those just tuning in, yes, I was the first-ever filmmaker to employ crowdfunding, back in 1998 (read more about it here) – this is a relevant list. The heyday of famous filmmakers raising money on Kickstarter and Indiegogo may be over, but crowdfunding is still a thing, and… read more!
Production designers are the unsung heroes of showbiz. If you really want to know about all the thought and care that goes into a film, then talk to these folks. They are the true "artistes" on a crew. They can tell you more about a film's characters, themes, and intentions than anyone else – even directors. Of all the crew… read more!
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were both born and raised in Queens. That makes Simon & Garfunkel a more "pureblood" New York outfit than, say, Blondie or the Velvet Underground. This made me think about the countless Los Angeles bands that, like the city itself, consist of transplants: most of the members of the Eagles, Guns N' Roses, and Maroon 5, for example,… read more!
This was the original concept for an earlier list, which evolved into Nine Famous Authors Who Only Wrote One Screenplay. Nevertheless, this is an equally interesting group of people, who embody the idea that we all have at least one screenplay in us. In these cases, exactly one. ANTHONY PERKINS, The Last of Sheila (1973). Yes, Norman Bates wrote a screenplay. What's surprising is that this murder mystery, packed with… read more!
I've never been big on brands. I haven't worn a shirt with a logo on it since high school, and can't understand why any self-respecting adult would do so today. (You are literally paying these corporations to be their walking advertisement.) However, in the spirit of the Christmas shopping season, there are some companies whose products I truly believe in… read more!
Comedian/TV show host Jon Stewart recently made his directorial debut with Rosewater, based on the memoir by Maziar Bahari. So who did he cast to play the two main Iranian players in this Tehran-set drama? Non-Iranians. He's not alone: although there are a few Persian actors working in Hollywood - House of Sand and Fog's Shohreh Aghdashloo and Iron Man's… read more!
The recently-released Gone Girl, as you may know, has a screenplay written by Gillian Flynn, author of the novel on which the film is based. It is Flynn's first produced screenplay; time will tell if it is her last. If so, she will join the illustrious ranks of these other great writers who each wrote exactly one script that became… read more!