(Jan. 2020): Bleecker Street's upcoming The Assistant, starring Julia Garner (the foulmouthed criminal redneck of Netflix hit series Ozark) will arguably be the first big screen feature to evoke the endless Harvey Weinstein scandal. But news of bad behavior, exploitation and oppressive office culture at the Weinstein Bros.' Miramax Films was first reported in a December 1992 Spy Magazine piece rhetorically titled "Miramax, Miramax on the Wall, Who's the Sleaziest of Them All?"
A current Dinghy crew insider, then a staff film reporter for an industry trade publication, put the Spy piece in motion by passing along to Spy co-founder Kurt Andersen a folder of phone call complaints made to the reporter that related to Miramax and Weinstein abuses (minus any suggestions of sexual predatory machinations by the boss).
But Spy, doing what it did best, went beyond a story based on a bunch of flunky phone calls from some Miramax disgruntled and raised the stakes by exposing Harvey's mistreatment of some producers and filmmakers who came forward anonymously and for the record.
The result was a bit of a "so what?" because Spy, although a smart prestige publication, was far from mainstream as was Miramax, described in the piece as "America's hottest art-film distributor." Additionally, the piece was relegated to Spy's "Industry" gossip sidebar as reported by the magazine's devilish and pseudonymous gossipeuse "Celia Brady."
Furthermore, the bad behavior reported resembled familiar Hollywood bad boy lore, from "What Makes Sammy Run?" through to the 1994 indie Swimming With Sharks. This latter, about an abusive Hollywood studio exec and his victimized assistant and based on writer/director George Huang's own experiences at, if memory serves, Disney. Ironically, Kevin Spacey, who, hopefully, is coming out of the cold of his own @MeToo scandal, starred as the exec from hell.
Per the Dinghy crew insider who had received the early 90s Miramax phone calls, The Assistant, unlike the Spy article, uncannily captures the conditions and atmosphere that female underlings endured and described in their calls. If only that folder had gotten into the right investigative hands...
Odds 'n' Ends: If The Irishman takes the upcoming Best Picture Oscar (Dinghy's London-based Ladbrokes insider tells us it will), the win would also mark a very notable achievement for the Hamptons International Film Festival, which, with its fall 2019 offering at the Fest of Netflix's Scorsese all-star pic, The Irishman, would notch for HIFF the 10th consecutive year in a row a selection that would win the Academy's highest motion picture honor, making HiFF the only East Coast fest which such a distinction.
With diversity and convergence characterizing 2019, it should be noted that Netflix has become the newest entry into the fidgety business of film exhibition and may even be expanding its movie theater operations. The streaming giant (not yet exhibiting giant) recently took over Manhattan's famed Paris Theatre and there are whispers about an Egyptian Theatre Netflix takeover in L.A.. Lately, rumors have arisen that the erstwhile little red DVD envelope rental business is stealthily burrowing into the boonies (maybe some small suburban communities on the coasts?)...
Amazon, too, is : Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan recently shared at a BAFTA gathering she was knocked out by how Amazon has so lavishly gifted her hit series. Just for the USO scene in the Season 3 opener, the production used an astounding 850 extras (Attention SAG members! Yer all gonna make those insurance quotas!)
On the subject of SAG, actors eying the role of Prince Andrew in any of the upcoming films about the Jeffrey Epstein scandal might want to first study Tony Perkins' Norman Bates, whose twitchy facial expressions (fluttery eyelids/wandering eyes) when investigators in Psycho unnerved him with questions. The resemblance between the scions of the House of Windsor and the House of Bates is near startling...
On the subject of We Can't Wait: Danish actor Claes Bang, best known as the star of Ruben Östlund’s 2017 Oscar-nominated, Cannes Palme d'Or winning film, The Square, has been added to the cast of The Northman. The New Regency feature -- a Viking tale set in 10th century Iceland -- has been co-written and will be directed by The Lighthouse and The Witch helmer Robert Eggers. And, oh boy, Bang will have as co-stars Willem Dafoe (Eggers' Lighthouse star whom our Ladbrokes insider is tipping for an Oscar), Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman and The Witch star Anya Taylor-Joy.