The Curious Case of Benjamin Button star Cate Blanchett was awarded with that most exclusive of all Hollywood decorations presented within spitting distance of a technicolor-wig store, the Walk of Fame star. There to share in the honor were producer Kathleen Kennedy, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull director Steven Spielberg, and begoateed Button director himself David Fincher, who in his prepared statement likened Blanchett's luminous beauty and staggering talent to "my second rimjob. My first wasn't so hot, but the second one, I was like, 'OK—I think I get it. Yeah—this is pretty awesome.' That's how I feel about Cate Blanchett. I just get it, and I think she's pretty awesome."
The rimjob ecstasy of that first Benjamin Button screening has worn off for director David Fincher, who is said to be tormenting Paramount underlings just in time for the film's Oscar push. Studio staffers were encouraged enough in recent days to even sell the notorious taskmaster out to Page Six, which reports today that Fincher has brought his shouty perfectionist passion to Button's marketing campaign.
The studio fatwa prohibiting early reviews of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has ended, it seems, with Variety leading the critical charge online late Sunday. Prepare to be shocked by the general consensus: It's good, and will surely be nominated for Oscars! Who could have seen this coming? Nevertheless, the film has its detractors, and we hear from them — along with those slobbering at its altar — after the jump. (Light spoilers ahead.)· "David Fincher and screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) have delivered an historic achievement, a masterful piece of cinema, and a moving treatise on death, loss, loneliness and love. As the movie proceeds, and Brad Pitt as Button ages backwards, we know where he is headed: it's where we are all going. But he feels he has to go there by himself, without his loved ones. And nobody wants to die alone." — Anne Thompson, Variety · "Perhaps it’s my youthful cynicism, who knows, but I thought Fincher brought an arm’s length approach to the emotions in the film and I wanted Roth’s reaction to that. Of course, Roth doesn’t particularly agree with my take. Indeed, he was right in the middle of telling me how the bathroom was filled with sobbers after the screening when a beautiful young lady walked up to us and told him how much the movie had affected her. But he took my comment in stride. 'Fincher is the kind of director that brings you right up to the point of sentiment and then brings it back,' he said. 'There’s something to be said for that I think.' " — Kris Tapley, InContention
We don't quite think the was the rim job David Fincher had in mind in describing the Benjamin Button experience, but there you have it: Its "first major unveiling" at the DGA last night was marred by projection problems—one channel was out, giving the print a "brown and grainy look." D.P. Claudio Miranda could barely sit still as he saw his baby steep in the color-correction equivalent of raw sewage. In Contention was there, and delivers a report of what followed:
David Fincher Practices His Oscar Speech: "It was like getting my first rim job," the director reportedly explained Monday night when asked about his experience making Benjamin Button. Somewhere on the Paramount lot, meanwhile, Fincher champion and big spender Brad Grey raced to brush a funny taste out of his mouth. [The Hot Blog]
Directors...They're Just Like US! David Fincher is one of the most exacting, visionary directors in Hollywood, having made iconic films like Se7en, Fight Club, and now The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Thus, when Empire sat him down to scribble his favorite movies of all time, we expected something a little less, well, AFI-y? Hey, sure, we like Citizen Kane and Lawrence of Arabia as much as anybody. But c'mon, Finch: throw us a curveball or two! Click through for the full-sized list. [/film]
And just like that, the Telluride Film Festival is over — the sequestered Colorado tradition known for anointing and/or unveiling awards-season front-runners en route to Toronto and beyond. But with no Juno this year to charm visiting critics and distribution bosses alike, Labor Day came and went instead with rangy early takes on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Fincher's long-awaited (and reportedly just long) saga of Brad Pitt aging backwards. While we had pretty much gotten used to the film's stirring Spanish-language trailer, a few closer reads of previews emerging from the Rockies suggest the final result might be a little more complex: Extraordinary digital effects! Romance! And, alas, disappointment:
What's the only thing that could top a movie trailer featuring Brad Pitt aging backward? How about that same trailer featuring Pitt aging backward — en español? A sharp-eyed tipster today sends us our first glimpse of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the David Fincher-directed, Fitzgerald-inspired adaptation starring Pitt as a man whose life enters a complicated succession of romantic and historical phases when he ages in reverse. The English-language trailer is presently screening in advance of Indiana Jones 4, with an online launch expected in the weeks ahead; meanwhile, we'll take our grainy, "proximamente" Oscar bait where we can get it. [YouTube]
While running through LAX yesterday, temperamental star Jake Gyllenhaal made a call to both his manager and agent to complain about the size of the airport. Gyllenhaal felt that the airport was too big and that more airports should have a downhome feel like John Wayne does. Gyllenhaal then complained that the security officer who helped the actor through the airport spent too much time asking him how his flight was and not enough fending off the paparazzi. Gyllenhaal then demanded that his agents set up a meeting with Diablo Cody, mainly because he wanted to see how long it would take for him to get her naked. Gyllenhaal then paused for a moment to catch his breath and, when he did, he finally came to his senses and fell directly to the floor. Once on the floor, Gyllenhaal rested in a fetal position and whispered into his phone: "I can't do work with David O. Russell anymore. I can't. I want Fincher back. I want to do take after take for ten hours straight."
· Because our lust for all things Richard Corben knows no bounds, and in particular the fantasy-art giant's prodigiously beschlonged signature hero Den, news that the inimitable David Fincher is overseeing Paramount's Heavy Metal remake is being met with a great deal of (solo) high-fiving around Defamer HQ. [Variety]
· Sarah Michelle Gellar works! She'll be taking over for Kate Bosworth in Veronika Decides to Die, a harrowing tale of physician-assisted suicide set in and around Riverdale High. [Variety]
· The strike's over, but we were waiting for a deal like this one to really start celebrating: Sony bought 2012, an obnoxiously over-the-top end-of-the-world disaster flick that's going to cost at least $200 million for Roland Emmerich to make! Yay! The studios are back to hemorrhaging money again! [Variety]
· The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Saturn Awards nominations gave 300 the most nominations with ten, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix a close second at nine. Flabbergasted producers of The Golden Compass responded by saying, "We had fucking talking-polar-bear fights! What else could you possibly be looking for?!" [Variety]
At a special screening of his period serial killer opus Zodiac in New York last night, director David Fincher, who earlier this year was accused by a psychologically fragile collaborator of being a sadistic taskmaster who wields the weapon of seemingly endless takes like a dominatrix uses a leather paddle on the exposed hindquarters of her favorite, ball-gagged submissive, shared his technique for breaking down actors who aren't sufficiently serious about their craft. Reports the Reeler:
Fans of delicate, dreamy-eyed thespian Jake Gyllenhaal may reflexively wince in sympathy as we ask them to recall his harrowing description of the abusive conditions in which Zodiac sadist David Fincher forced his cast to toil, an experience that's left the actor with a paralyzing fear of his MacBook's "delete" key that may require years of intensive psychotherapy (involving the calming, self-negating act of continuously erasing the name "Jake" from an open Word document while discussing a performer's obligation to serve a director's vision) to cure. Curious about how accurate Gyllenhaal's account of his Zodiac ordeal may have been, The Reeler blog asked fellow Fincher plaything Mark Ruffalo about how their cinematic taskmaster ran his set:
Usually, when a reporter asks an actor about his experiences working for a Notoriously Difficult Director, the aggrieved talent bites his or her lip, takes a deep breath, then holds forth on how artistically rewarding it was to work for a "perfectionist." But in Sunday's NY Times, a still-rattled Jake Gyllenhaal couldn't resist the temptation to speak "candidly" about the emotional scars inflicted upon him by Zodiac sadist David Fincher: