Posts tagged: interviews
Extract from draft screenplay of North by Northwest (1959), written by Ernest Lehman and directed by Alfred Hitchcock
HITCHCOCK: Now, the choir on the left and singing, and they seat themselves just as he gets to the—say, there are four rows of choir singing—just as he gets level with the end row. Now we CUT to the DOWN SHOT on the congregation and they sit, you see. And they look up and there’s nobody in the pulpit. And yet, last time we saw him, although there was a man in surplice under the stairs, he was about to put his foot on the first step to go into the pulpit. But we CUT AWAY before he gets his foot on the step.
LEHMAN: As a member of the audience here, I feel slightly cheated, Hitch, right there.
HITCHCOCK: He hasn’t put his foot on the steps—this is my point. That you now go to the congregation and they look up—the front row looking up. Now you CUT to what they see and there’s the pulpit. Now you HOLD your camera on that empty pulpit. Now you CUT BACK to your people: “Well, what’s happened?”—now you come back behind the column and the pulpit…
What a gem I just found, Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman plan Hitch’s final film:
In this audio clip we hear director Alfred Hitchcock and screenwriter Ernest Lehman developing the storyline for what would be Hitchcock’s last film, Family Plot (1976). The screenplay for what turned out to be Alfred Hitchcock’s last film, Family Plot, was written by Ernest Lehman who had previously worked with the director on North by Northwest (1959). On both films, the writer and director collaborated closely, but on Family Plot Lehman recorded their story conferences, providing unprecedented insight into their working methods. An estimated 80 hours of their conversations are preserved at the Ransom Center.
Now, in the process of writing the film, it seems that you began with a list of disparate ideas that Hitchcock mentioned as possible scenes for the movie. Could you discuss them?
Yes. They were all wonderful, and I took them all down, and I never used most of them. For some reason, Hitch wanted to do the longest dolly shot in cinema history. The idea was that the shot would begin with an assembly line, and then you’d gradually see the parts of the car added and assembled, and, all the while, the camera’s dollying for miles along with the assembly line, and then eventually there’s a completed car, all built, and it’s driven off the assembly line, and there’s a dead body in the backseat.
Did you try to work that one into the script?
Not really. It was intriguing, but it had no place in the picture. Then Hitch told me another one: there’s a speech being made at the General Assembly of the United Nations, and the speaker suddenly stops. He’s irritated, and he says he’s not going to continue until the delegate from Brazil wakes up. So a UN page goes over to the man, taps him on the shoulder, and the delegate falls over dead. But he’d been doodling — and that’s the only clue to the murder — and his doodling is a sketch of the antlers of moose. So I said, “Well, that’s intriguing — now we’ve got the United Nations, and Detroit, and what might seem like a reference to northern Canada.” And Hitch said that he’d always wanted to do a scene at Lake Louise where a family is having a reunion — a get-together — and a twelve-year-old girl takes a gun out of a baby carriage and shoots someone. I realize that all these ideas sound very peculiar and unrelated, but I took them all down and thought about them. —Creative Screenwriting (2000), “North by Northwest”: An Interview with Ernest Lehman
In this 1965 interview, Hitchcock discusses — partly in French — “La Mort aux Trousses” (French title for “North by Northwest”), and in particular the famous “that’s funny — he’s dusting crops where there ain’t no crops” scene.
- North By Northwest screenplay 1958 shooting draft for your reading pleasure (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
- Ernest Lehman’s notes
- “North by Northwest,” the Hitchcock classic, as you’ve never seen it before
Ann Nocenti made her mark in comics with her legendary run on Daredevil during the 80s. At that time she was one of the female writers in the superhero genre. After a break of a few years she is back in the genre at DC where she is about to launch Katana, a solo title for the former Outsider and Bird of Prey and soon to be Justice Leaguer.
I spoke with Nocenti about her upcoming run on the book as well as how the comics industry has changed when she first started in the business.
Sergio Leone on the set of Once Upon a Time in the West.
Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
SL: My mother was an actress. My father was an actor and a director. I am the son of filmmakers. I was born with this bow tie made of celluloid on my collar.
And why did you decide to make westerns?
SL: I had never thought of making a western even as I was making it. I think that my films are westerns only in their exterior aspects. Within them are some of my truths, which happily, I see, belong to lots of parts of the world. Not just America. My discussion is one that has gone all the way from Fistful of Dollars through Once Upon a Time in America. But if you look closely at all these films, you find in them the same meanings, the same humor, the same point of view, and, also, the same pains.
Which filmmakers influenced you, and what were your favorite films?
SL: I must be honest and say that I was under the fascination of films. I was
fascinated by all films, even the words of them. If I was to do a more-precise
analysis of the situation, I have to admit that I was more entertained by the bad films than the good ones. Because when something is beautiful, it is there; it is finished; it is done. It doesn’t have to be touched or be worked upon. But if it is badly realized and not completely expressed, sometimes that is more provocative and interesting than when you see something that is perfectly and beautifully done. But if there is an auteur who influenced me—and there is only one—that is Charlie Chaplin. And he never won an Oscar.
Interview with Sergio Leone (1987)
By Marlaine Glicksman
Previously on Cinephilia & Beyond:
Next week DC will debut the 0 issue of Sword and Sorcery which marks the return of the much beloved character Amethyst of Gemworld. Created by Dan Mishkin in the 80s, Amy Winston was a teenage girl who found out she was secretly a princess of Kingdom called Gemworld. Not only did the book featured a female lead, it was targeted at female readers. (You can read then DC editor Karen Berger on that here.) The original series and its follow-ups have a strong following as evidenced by DC issuing a Showcase collection of the comic series next month and a cartoon version for DC Nation about to debut on DC Nation.
In May DC announced that Amethyst would return to comics and be written by Christy Marx. Marx is best known for her scripting of mid 80s animated programs such as G.I. Joe and Jem. But she has also written for comics including the Marvel/Epic series from the mid 80s Sisterhood of Steel which focuses on all-female island of warriors. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend picking it up. It deftly blends strong world building, an examination of the complexity of female relationships and palace intrigue and adventure.
I was very excited to see DC name Marx as creator and I’m looking forward to reading her Amethyst. Marx chatted with me earlier this week about Sword and Sorcery, her take on the character and how comics have changed through the years.
Years ago, interviewing Elmore Leonard for American Film, I asked him why he disregarded Hemingway’s dictum “to always get the weather right.” “I don’t,” Leonard replied with a shrug, “do weather.”
There’s no need for a weather report in the coaling mining towns of Harlan County, Kentucky in Justifed, the FX series based on Leonard’s writing that’s headed towards the final episode of its third season tonight. The forecast in Harlan County is always dark.
Leonard’s Harlan and its inhabitants are the greatest creation of a career that has spanned more than 60 novels and nearly a score of films and TV shows. This is the first time he has gone with a recurring character, in this case Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, played so well by Timothy Olyphant that Leonard seems to have begun styling the literary Givens after the TV characterization: In Leonard’s recent novel, Raylan, Givens is more like Olyphant’s Givens than the Raylan of earlier books—a bit less laconic, a little more sly, and given to the witty comeback. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to call both TV and print characters a hybrid. Leonard and Olyphant are listed among the show’s producers, and the two are known to spend quality time “conferring,” as they put it when I talked to them.
In Leonard’s phrase, “Timothy is one of the few actors who delivers the lines the way I heard them when I wrote them.”
Read more. [Image: FX]
When she left DC Comics in September of last year, Janelle Asselin was one of the few female editors at the company. Asselin, who worked on the Batman line, was an editor on Birds of Prey as well as an associate editor on Batwoman, Detective, Batman and few other books. During her time at DC Comics, Asselin began work on graduate thesis in publishing at Pace University. The topic was one that I have a lot of interest in — increasing the sales of comics among women. I follow Asselin on Twitter and kept tabs on her progress over several months. With the thesis finished, I set up some time to speak to her about her findings. The following is an interview with her about the findings of her thesis and thoughts about women in comics.
Janelle, you took on this thesis when you were an editor at DC Comics, which as you say in your piece, focuses on male readers. Tell me about how you came up with the topic.
I knew when I started my masters program that I wanted to do as much as I could to turn what was a generally focused publishing program into being comics related. I often used comic companies for assignments and things like that. So I knew that I wanted my thesis to be about comics from the very beginning. My thesis advisor had me come up with two possible topics, so I chose women and comics as one and copyright and comics as the other. Through the course of doing some basic research and talking through both topics with friends and family, it became clear that while both interested me, the topic of women and comics was the one I was really passionate about. I worry that a lot of times, commentary on the topic of women and comics veers into the negative, which is so easily dismissed by people on the other side. I wanted to write something positive - something that admitted the problems in the industry (which are plentiful) but more importantly offered what I saw as solutions. And certainly being in the midst of the early days of planning the New 52 and watching, from the inside, as DC hatched marketing plans and all that as I came up with my topic was…influential.
That seems to imply you had some questions about how they were choosing their targets for the new 52. Were you surprised about the lack of targeting of female readers (i.e. the identification of the male 18-34 target)?
I wasn’t surprised, but it was hard to think - I’m working on a book like Birds of Prey which I’m OBVIOUSLY pushing to be aimed at women 18-34, and instead the whole part and parcel was aimed at one narrow demographic. I don’t think it’s a good idea to ignore a demographic that could be so valuable and which is largely so untapped at this point.
Romance Editor Chris checks in with author Julianne MacLean:
Last February, I had a chance to talk to Julianne MacLean, a USA Today bestselling Romance author from Bedford, Nova Scotia. We discussed her career development, her move to a new publisher, and her connection to the writing community. Julianne was about to see the release of a brand new trilogy, all three books of which were to drop in quick succession. She was also planning some independent e-publishing ventures.
So here we are almost a year later. I wanted to follow up with Julianne, to see how everything had shaken out. Turns out: pretty well.
Read more here.
(Image via Julia Phillips Smith’s blog)
(Trigger warning discussion of rape)
Rolling Stone has an eye-opening interview with Grant Morrison posted and the writer has some very interesting things to say about the treatment of women comics.
On Sue Dibney’s rape in Brad Metzler’s Identity Crisis:
The first time I read it I was…
There were lots of stories that came out of SDCC this year, but the one that has caught the attention of the comics community was a woman who dressed up as Batgirl to ask questions about female characters and creators at several DC Comics’ panels. I first became aware of her questions while following the live feeds of Newsarama and CBR. If you read this blog you know I have many of the same concerns she has. After seeing the reaction of some attendees and reporters about how her questions and those of others regarding female characters and creators were being handled, I compiled a post of that coverage.
That post has now become the most viewed ever for this blog. Her appearances at the panels has also generated other blog posts and many comments. She’s been called everything from a hero to a bully. But now for the first time we can hear from her.
Yesterday I caught up with Kyrax2, the “Batgirl woman” as she has become known, to find out more about what drove her to ask these questions and her thoughts on the reactions she received.