Movie Playlist: Nanette Burstein

Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.

Nanette Burstein is the Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker behind On The Ropes and The Kid Stays in the Picture. Her latest film American Teen follows five high school students through their senior year. I hate to oversell the movie, but it’s literally one of my favorite films of the year.

Nanette Burstein: There are certain directors whose films, I could just watch them endlessly. Alexander Paine, I’m a huge fan of.

Peter Sciretta: You know, I saw a lot of like Election in American Teen…

Nanette Burstein: Yes, Election definitely influenced this film… Like the shots of the kids when you hear their voiceovers and they’re on the bed, I totally took that from Election. There was the night before election where there’s all these dolly shots into all the main characters and their thoughts and like they’re all crane…

Peter Sciretta: It was like those crane shots.

Nanette Burstein: Yeah, those shots are amazing, and that’s what inspired me to do that.

Nanette Burstein: There’s definitely different homages in this film, like Garden State which I love there’s this scene when Hannah goes to the party and she’s alienated and the way I cut that scene was completely influenced by that scene in Garden State where he’s alienated at the party.

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While at Comic Con, I got the opportunity to sit down and talk one-on-one with Friday the 13th producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, both of whom were nice enough to give me the lowdown as to what stage of production their other upcoming remakes are currently at.

Here’s what they said about each…

The Birds – “Martin Campbell is going to be directing that. Naomi Watts has said that she wants to star in the movie. We have a treatment that we’re submitting to the studio in the next week or so. And if they sign off on that treatment, we’ll go to script, and hopefully we’ll have a script that’s shootable next summer.”

Nightmare on Elm Street – “We don’t have a deal to do that yet. We’re hoping that will happen soon. But as of today, we don’t have a deal. New Line hired a writer, Wesley Strick, to start writing it. And we have nothing to do with it except maybe ask them to hire us.”

“We’re close. A deal’s being set.”

Rosemary’s Baby – “We’re in the process of hiring a writer, to kind of update that movie. That’s the next movie that we’re making with Paramount Studios.”

For those that don’t know, Martin Campbell is the director of Casino Royale, so as far as I’m concerned, a remake of The Birds might very likely be excellent. That doesn’t necessarily mean it should be made, but I definitely have more faith in it than these other two potential projects. I can at least see a new version of The Birds existing without detracting from the original, but attempting to remake Rosemary’s Baby just seems beyond pointless. And it’s kind of hard to have any high hopes for Nightmare on Elm Street when the only name connected to it as of now is Wesley Strick, the screenwriter for The Glass House and Doom.

Movie Playlist: Brad Anderson

Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.


In this week’s Movie Playlist we interviewed director Brad Anderson, who I first discovered through the wonderful but unseen Boston indie Next Stop Wonderland, which featured Hope Davis and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. In 1997, Anderson was named by Variety as one of the “Ten Leading New Independent Directors to Watch.” His filmography includes Happy Accidents, Session 9, and The Machinist. His television credits include episodes of Homicide; The Wire; The Shield; and Surface. His new film Transsiberian, which hits theaters today, is a Hitchcockian thriller which he also co-wrote.

/Film: I just want to start off saying, I’m a big fan of all your work. I’m from Boston,

Brad Anderson:
Oh yeah, really.

/Film: so I’ve been following your career since Next Stop Wonderland.

Brad Anderson:
Oh great, wow!

/Film: So this is great, so – I want to talk to you today, I’m not sure if they briefed you but we do a feature called Movie Playlist which basically talks about your favorite movies of all time, or maybe not even just your favorite movies but movies you watch a lot, or movies you love. What are some of your favorite movies?

Brad Anderson: Favorite movies? It runs the gamut, in no particular order and no particular preference, I just caught, anything by Stanley Kubrick, I can watch those movies again and again I don’t know why, but just something about what he invests in his films and the meticulous level of detail, and choreography that I just find as a filmmaker craft of film making is so apparent in his movies that every time you watch them it’s like being taught how to make a movie, so yeah, I just caught 2001 recently again and it’s just like the kind of thing you’re clicking through the channels and you sort of catch a piece of it and you’re like yeah, I’ve seen this about 20 million times and you’re about to switch to another channel and you just find yourself watching it and the next thing you know you’ve watched it all over again.

/Film: 2001 is one of those movies that if you come across on cable, basically you’ve lost three hours of your life.

Brad Anderson: [laughs] Yeah, it’s so amazing to me that movie and all his films, but that one in particular because it’s like, you think about it the way – I don’t know what you’d call it, it’s not a thriller, it’s not a straight out sci-fi film, it’s not necessarily a straight out adventure movie, it’s just a study in visual brilliance, you know, and the way that his use of sound and his use of music and anything by Kubrick.

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“Listen, we’re going to have this remake, okay? And it’s going to be great, babe.”

With their stint at Crystal Lake going swimmingly, Platinum Dunes slithered out of the devil’s bedroom to talk about their upcoming remake of Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby a.k.a Why Not? Michael Bay Made Transformers. Producer Brad Fuller more or less explained my alternative title for their remake to STYD

“If we don’t do Rosemary’s Baby someone else is,” says Fuller. “They’re not going to pass on that. …All the shit we get for doing these things, it really just comes from being huge fans and wanting to take a shot.”

Fuller’s is the greatest justification, not just for remaking classic films, but for everything in life. What Fuller is trying to say is, “we just want to do hood rat things for our friends.” And I’m curious to know who the “they’re” he’s referring to is. Hahah. Did he get a phone call from a smoking man who said, “A Rosemary’s Baby remake has been discussed by another studio, and the actresses mentioned for Rosemary simply aren’t hot enough. And it might be PG-13.”?

“Platinum Dunes, saving moviegoers from unknown disappointment since 2008.” – thankful moviegoer

Not really sure I follow what this next quote is trying to convey…

“You would say Rosemary’s Baby supernatural story, so one of our takes is supernatural, the other is not supernatural. It takes that story and roots it in reality and that’s going to be a decision that we’re going to have to make soon as we wrap Friday the 13th …and start sitting down with Paramount as to what kind of story do they want us to tell for them and what’s the smartest way to tell that story.”

Does this mean that the original film’s spawn of Satan storyline and the coven would be excluded? I don’t know, but it’s pretty funny. Platinum Dunes is not really based in reality in my opinion, but that’s not a bad thing.

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Follow me as we once again ride the slippery mud (shit?) slide that is Hollywood’s modern remake obsession. Blowing a loud horn all across Movieland today, STYD reports that Michael Bay‘s production company, Platinum Dunes, is on the hunt for writers to pen a remake of Rosemary’s Baby, the 1968 classic horror film directed by Roman Polanski.

Platinum Dunes is already on many a horror fan’s hit-list for their upcoming remake of Friday the 13th (which I’m cool with) and their scheduled remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (which I’m not cool with). But Rosemary’s Baby remains one of the most respected and classy horror films ever made, on par with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho; a remake treatment characteristic of PD, which means high gloss T&A&S&M, is mighty hard to swallow.

The original film tells the tale of a New York married couple (Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes) that moves into an equally stunning and freaky building and befriends an odd elderly couple. The wife, Rosemary, become pregnant, and is stricken with a heavy dose of Polanski’s signature swirling paranoia. The baby, you see, is no less than the spawn of Satan, and everyone is in on it.

The Dunes’ producing team of Bradley Fuller and Andrew Form is seeing this one through the womb of hell over at Paramount. And yes, they’re also delivering the remake of Hitchcock’s The Birds. Do you think Platinum Dunes has a flashy delivery room filled with vacant cribs labeled The Exorcist, The Burning, The Thing et al.?

Discuss: Should Michael Bay play the devil, or should Satan himself make a cameo to celebrate a new creative low in Hollywood? Is there a horror film you think is perfect for P. Dunes to remake?

More Discuss: Out of curiousity, are you guys and gals tired of “remake backlash?” Not to sound like a late night infomercial, but do you find it harder and harder to give a damn, since smash-and-grab remakes of classic films are nearly inevitable these days?

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