Hollywood Playbook: Monday's Top 5 News Items
Bad News for Bryan Singer: Second Accuser Comes Forward
A second (and this time anonymous) individual has come forward to accuse "X-Men" director Bryan Singer of sexual abuse too disturbing to detail here. This second plaintiff -- a Brit -- is also naming Gary Goddard, the Hollywood executive named in the original case.
"John Doe No. 117" claims Goddard first contacted him through social media when he was 14 and that the two of them traded nude pictures and pornographic videos of themselves. When he turned 15 or 16, John Doe claims Goddard got him drunk and they had sex. At 17, Goddard met Singer in London at an after-party for the Superman Returns premiere. After refusing a Quaalude from the director, John Doe claims Singer used a "muscle-bound man" to force the teen to perform a number of sexual acts.
John Doe says that the next morning Singer contacted him to apologize.
The details of this new lawsuit are quite specific and should therefore be easy to verify or shoot down. Data trails, emails, telephone records…
For reasons I need not explain, a second accuser is very bad news for the accused. The case is gaining momentum, which could encourage other accusers.
Jeffrey Herman, the attorney representing this John Doe and the first accuser, Michael Egan, will hold a press conference today in Beverly Hills.
Even within the context of the usual-usual in Hollywood, the charges are serious, because both Egan and this John Doe are claiming they were drugged and threatened with physical violence. The gay/straight casting couch in Hollywood is as old as Hollywood -- and this includes willing underage participants looking for something in return. If Herman's plaintiffs were merely alleging they were underage but willing, these lawsuits would be met with a lot of eye-rolling. What's being accused is, obviously, something much more serious.
The attorneys for both Goddard and Singer are denying this new charge as vehemently as they did the first lawsuit.
Top Gear: 'Catch a N***** By His Toe'
As an early-seventies kid who used "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" for all kinds of vital events (tag, dodgeball, kick the can), we used "tiger," not the N-word. I was an adult before I even learned the N-word was the original. Anyway…
Two years ago, while filming his worldwide hit show "Top Gear," host Jeremy Clarkson was filmed using the rhyme. The footage never aired, but someone got hold of it and sent it to the Daily Mirror. Watch below as Clarkson mumbles over the offending portion of the rhyme.
Clarkson says that when this particular show was being edited and assembled for broadcast, he was horrified to hear that it sounded as though he had indeed mumbled the N-word. He immediately sent a note to his production office saying that he did not use the word and that that particular take shouldn't be used.
Of course, Clarkson deserves the benefit of the doubt. He is 53-years-old, has never been accused of anything like this before (that I know of), and at the time (not after being "caught"), he took action and pleaded his innocence.
Regardless, a group of lawyers with something called Equal Justice are demanding President Obama (and 200 other countries) stop broadcasting "Top Gear."
In one way, these kinds of stories make me feel good about our society. True racism is an evil, but racism is now such a non-factor that someone who maybe-sorta-possibly mumbled a racial slur is under attack.
We have come a long way when this is all the Professionally Offended can grab hold of.
On the other hand, these kinds of witch hunts and fascist crusades are gaining popular acceptance and that is worrisome. L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling said something terrible and racist, no question, but it was a private conversation, and probably one that was recorded illegally. There are two issues in that story, but it as though Sterling lost all of his legal rights after revealing his private racist thoughts.
This Frankenstein Villaging is also one-sided. A sitting Democrat Rep. calls Clarence Thomas an "Uncle Tom" and no one cares. There's no media uproar, and this Congressman is in a position of real power. In the end, though, because he's Democrat, Bennie Thompson walks away without dealing with any of the political or reputation damage others receive.
It's "Animal Farm" out here, and it's only getting worse.
Anti-God 'Noah' Seems to Have Finally Run Out of Steam
With a $125 million production budget and a marketing budget BoxOffice.com estimates at $50 million, "Noah" appears to have run aground with a total worldwide take of $332 million. Assuming the $50 million is correct (it sounds low), "Noah" is still short of the $350 million breakeven point.
Paramount will probably keep "Noah" in theatres long enough to squeak past the $100 million domestic mark. The anti-God, bait-and-switch "biblical" epic sits right now at $99 million in North America after earning only $880 thousand on 929 screens this weekend.
Paramount and director Darren Aronofsky took a huge gamble under the assumption they could con the Christian "rubes."
Jack Bauer and Chloe Return Tonight for 13 Hours of Day Nine
As excited as I am to see Jack Bauer and Chloe return to save America tonight (the DVR is set), I'm more interested in the format: the twelve-hour summer series. It sounds kind of perfect, doesn't it? A two-hour "24" television movie wouldn't do the show justice. A full 24-episode season feels like too much.
If memory serves, HBO first came up with the around-a-dozen-episodes season of television. That number certainly cemented itself as the Goldilocks number with "The Sopranos," the first five seasons of which felt just right at 13 episodes apiece (the 6th and final season was split in two, with 21 total episodes).
The new "Fargo" series is a limited run of 10 episodes. "Under the Dome" was supposed to be limited at 13 episodes but proved so popular it was renewed for another season.
The 20+ episode season; the two-hour broadcast blocks over x-number of days with the miniseries; the two-hour television movie… It only took 50 years, but television finally cracked the code of long-form storytelling.
There is, I suspect, lot's of great television to come.
The Next 'Beverly Hills Cop' film Arrives March 25, 2016
Eddie Murphy will return as Detective Axel Foley and Brett Ratner will direct … 32 years after the original debuted in 1984 and 22 years after the last sequel, "Beverly Hills Cop III."
Eddie Murphy turns 55 in 2016.
The second "Beverly Hills Cop" was tired. Three was exhausted.
What made Martin Brest's original so timeless was its youthful energy. It was the perfect three-punch after Murphy's mouthy exuberance-mixed-with-anger blew us all away in Walter Hill's "48 Hours" (1982) and "Trading Places' (1983).
How is Dr. Doolittle going to recapture what he couldn't in the first "Beverly Hills Cop" sequel or even in 1990's "Another 48 Hours?"
Ratner might believe that after 2011's "Tower Heist," which was better than expected, he can direct Murphy back thirty years (Murphy seems to trust the director). And Murphy was pretty good in "Tower Heist," but the performance still seemed forced at times. How well would that have worn if Murphy had been the lead instead of in a supporting role?
The only interesting move Ratner could make would be to "Rocky Balboa" it -- make Axel a burned out shell of his former youthful and angry self. "Cop" is a comedy, though, and no one wants to go to the movie theatre to be reminded of their own mortality.
We want to believe time has stopped just for us; that Murphy doesn't dye the gray hairs; that Axel is still the young, renegade, athletic smartass who is never caught off guard.
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