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 Posted:   Jun 22, 2020 - 1:18 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Joel Schumacher, director of "The Lost Boys" and Batman films, dies at 80

 Posted:   Jun 22, 2020 - 2:15 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

I said the following on the other side of the board, but I'm copying it here because I think this side is more properly where it belongs:

"Falling Down" was flat-out amazing--probably my favorite of all his directing work.
Bloody sad to lose him.

 Posted:   Jun 22, 2020 - 4:21 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Whatever he did I could assimilate unproblematically. He seemed to have several facets through which he could tell a decent story. RIP.

 Posted:   Jun 27, 2020 - 3:13 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Joel Schumacher worked as a designer and store window dresser for one of New York's fashionable stores before getting into films as a costume designer.

In the psychological drama PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, Tuesday Weld plays "Maria," the estranged actress wife of self-absorbed film director "Carter Lang" (Adam Roarke). One day, after Maria announces that she is pregnant, Carter asks if the baby’s father is screenwriter "Les Goodwin" (Richard Anderson). Furious, Carter packs his bags and moves out of the house. Before leaving, he gives Maria the telephone number of a discreet abortionist.

Tuesday Weld in PLAY IT AS IT LAYS

Costumes were designed by Joel Schumacher. Frank Perry directed this 1972 film, which John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion scripted from her 1970 novel. The film did not have an original score.

 Posted:   Jun 27, 2020 - 3:30 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Susan Anspach co-starred with George Segal and Kris Kristofferson in the comedy-drama BLUME IN LOVE. The film opens in Venice, Italy’s Piazza San Marco, where "Stephen Blume" (Segal) wistfully strolls among the myriad lovers, considering his own love for his ex-wife "Nina" (Anspach). He recalls their passionate honeymoon near the Piazza, and their subsequent marriage in Venice, California, where Stephen is a divorce lawyer and Nina works for the county welfare office. One day six years into the marriage, Nina helps a charming drifter, "Elmo Cole" (Kristofferson), to receive welfare...

George Segal and Susan Anspach in BLUME IN LOVE

Joel Schumacher designed the decidedly early 1970s look of the costumes. Paul Mazursky directed the 1973 film, which did not have an original music score.

 Posted:   Jun 27, 2020 - 3:51 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In THE LAST OF SHEILA, a year after film gossip columnist Sheila Green is killed in a hit-and-run, her wealthy husband “Clinton” (James Coburn) invites a group of friends to spend a week on his yacht playing a scavenger hunt mystery game. The game turns out to be all too real and all too deadly.

The cast of THE LAST OF SHEILA: James Mason, Raquel Welch, Joan Hackett, Ian McShane, Dyan Cannon, and Richard Benjamin

Joel Schumacher designed the costumes for the film. Herbert Ross directed the 1973 mystery. Billy Goldenberg’s score has not had a release.

 Posted:   Jun 27, 2020 - 3:59 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Joel Schumacher had to design costumes appropriate for the year 2173, which was when a nerdish store owner (Woody Allen) is revived out of cryostasis into a future world to fight an oppressive government in SLEEPER. Allen directed and co-wrote the film. He also played clarinet with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The New Orleans Funeral and Ragtime Orchestra during the opening credits and throughout the film. The film’s score has not been released.

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in SLEEPER

Getting the elaborate sets and costumes right caused the 1973 film to run behind schedule and come in over budget, even though the final cost was still only $2 million. SLEEPER grossed over $24 million.

 Posted:   Jun 27, 2020 - 4:23 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

While waiting for his first two screenplays to get produced, Joel Schumacher managed to score a contract to make a pair of TV movies. The made-for television film VIRGINIA HILL: MISTRESS TO THE MOB officially marked his directing and screenwriting debut. The film told the story of Virginia Hill (Dyan Cannon), a former prostitute who was the girlfriend of 1940s killer and gangster Bugsy Siegel (Harvey Keitel).

The film premiered on NBC on 19 November 1974. The picture had no credited costume designer. David Shire’s score has not been released.

 Posted:   Jun 27, 2020 - 11:26 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Neil Simon’s play THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE revolves around the escalating problems of a middle-aged couple living on Second Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. “Mel Edison” (Jack Lemmon), has just lost his job after many years and now has to cope with being unemployed at middle age, during an economic recession. The action occurs during an intense summer heat wave and a prolonged garbage strike, which just exacerbates Edison's plight to no end as he and his wife “Edna” (Anne Bancroft) deal with noisy neighbors, loud sounds emanating from Manhattan streets up to their apartment, and even a burglary of their apartment during broad daylight. Mel eventually suffers a nervous breakdown from the whole affair, and it is up to the loving care of his brother “Harry” (Gene Saks, in an acting role), his sisters and Edna to bring Mel back to a firm reality.

Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft in THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE

Melvin Frank directed the film, and Joel Schumacher did the costume design. The 1975 film did only modest business at the box office. Marvin Hamlisch’s score has not had a release.

 Posted:   Jun 27, 2020 - 11:47 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Joel Schumacher’s first produced feature film screenplay was for SPARKLE, the story of three sisters who form a singing group in 1950s Harlem. Their success threatens to ruin their relationship forever. The Robert Stigwood Organisation had signed screenwriter Lonnie Elder, writer of the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for SOUNDER (1972), to write a “preliminary draft” for SPARKLE. Elder was ultimately replaced by Schumacher, who edited Elder’s draft to make a 200-page script for the film. Schumacher receives sole screenplay credit on the film.

There were over 2,000 young women who auditioned for the role of “Sparkle;” Irene Cara ended up with the role. The other members of the group, called Sister & the Sisters, were played by Lonette McKee and Dwan Smith.

The film was ostensibly “based on the early life of the Supremes” vocal group, but producer Howard Rosenman earlier said that the trio in SPARKLE was “a collage of all black groups.” Despite the comparisons of “Sister and the Sisters” to the Supremes, SPARKLE begins in 1958, and does not progress far beyond that year, whereas the Supremes did not record until 1962. Also, the mid-1960s Soul-style performances by Sister and the Sisters and Sparkle would have been anachronisms in 1958.

The 1976 film was Sam O'Steen's debut as a film director. Curtis Mayfield wrote five original songs for the film, and produced a soundtrack album for SPARKLE, but instead of using the actors who performed the music in the film, he used soul singer Aretha Franklin's voice singing to the original instrumental tracks with backing vocals by the Kitty Haywood Singers, even though Franklin had no role in SPARKLE. Her version of "Something He Can Feel" was a Top 40 hit in 1976. The LP was released by Franklin’s label, Atlantic Records, in the U.S. and by Warner Bros. elsewhere. It was reissued on CD by Rhino in 1992.

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 1:31 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Producers Art Linson and Gary Stromberg initially conceived CAR WASH as a musical comedy for the stage, hoping to repeat the success of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Tommy,” which started as albums, became stage productions and then were made into films. After two years, the producers met with Universal Pictures executive vice president Ned Tanen and decided make it into only a film.

Writer Joel Schumacher was signed to write the screenplay after Linson and Stromberg had seen his script for SPARKLE. A news item in the 19 January 1976 Hollywood Reporter stated that writers Le Roy Robinson and Bernie Rollins had been hired to "complete" Schumacher’s screenplay for CAR WASH, but neither Robinson nor Rollins appear in the onscreen credits. Reportedly, George Carlin, who appeared in the film as a taxi driver, wrote his own dialogue.

The film was a comedic take on the daily life of car-wash employees, chronicling their hopes, fears, joys, dreams, and tribulations, and introducing some eccentric customers along the way. Michael Schultz directed the 1976 film. The film takes place during a ten-hour period over the course of a day, and was shot in chronological order.

CAR WASH marked Norman Whitfield’s theatrical film debut as a film composer. He was already an accomplished music writer and producer with over 40 gold records. Whitfield's Grammy-winning score was released on an MCA 2-LP set, which included songs by Rose Royce and others. The soundtrack was re-issued on CD in 1996, and Geffen Records re-issued a vinyl set in 2015.

This movie was selected for the Palme d'Or competition at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival. It won two awards at Cannes that year, the Technical Grand Prize (Michael Schultz) and Best Music (Norman Whitfield).

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 2:23 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Joel Schumacher’s final film as costume designer was Woody Allen’s INTERIORS.

Diane Keaton in INTERIORS

Diane Keaton and Mary Beth Hurt in INTERIORS

Woody Allen directed the 1978 film, his first drama. The film used only a few songs as source music for its score.

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 3:10 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical version of THE WIZ opened 5 January 1975 at the Majestic Theatre, where it played until 25 May 1977. The show moved over to the Broadway Theatre and played through 28 January 1979. There were a total of 1,672 performances of the musical during this time. In the film version, Ted Ross and Mabel King reprise their roles of the “Lion” and “Evillene.”

Twentieth Century-Fox decided against producing a film adaptation of THE WIZ, even though they were financing its theatrical run. Despite early economic losses during an undersold U.S. tour and a negative New York Times review, Fox invested in an extensive television advertisement campaign that resulted in an upsurge in ticket sales. By February 1976, Fox had invested and recouped approximately $1.7 million.

In the wake of Fox’s refusal to back a feature film adaptation, the musical’s producer, Ken Harper, optioned the property for eighteen months, with two unidentified major Hollywood studios interested in the project. At the time, Harper was also thinking of financing the picture independently, with the support of tax-sheltered investors. Harper speculated that Fox’s disinterest in the motion picture stemmed from the studio’s belief that the musical was locked into a “Black Exploitation” genre. Although the musical’s attendance was initially African American, the audience was reportedly “75-80% white” by early 1976. Harper noted that the success of television situation comedies like “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Sanford and Son” proved the “black vernacular” had made its way into popular culture. Screen rights to THE WIZ were set to return to Fox in August 1977.

On 15 July 1976, Universal Pictures and Motown announced their acquisition of film rights. By that time, Fox’s profits from the musical were reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the studio estimated production costs of a screen version would be prohibitive. Since Fox was the “100% backer” of the musical, the Universal-Motown project was required to give that studio a sizable percentage of the film’s profits. Universal was encouraged by the musical’s newfound success at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, where it was topping box-office records, but producer Rob Cohen was the main player behind Universal’s decision to purchase the property. He had wanted to make the film as early as 1975, after seeing the musical in its first year on Broadway. Universal’s contract with Fox stipulated that principal photography could begin no later than 1 October 1977.

John Badham was hired to direct the picture within five months after the Universal-Motown deal was confirmed. Rob Cohen wanted the screen version of THE WIZ to deviate dramatically from the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer release of THE WIZARD OF OZ, as well as the stage musical. Both were set in Kansas during the turn-of-the-century, but Cohen wanted to make the production more current. However, Badham was interested in directing a more traditional WIZ, and when entertainer Diana Ross was cast as “Dorothy” in December 1976, he left the project.

The primary cast of THE WIZ: Ted Ross, Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, Michael Jackson, and Richard Pryor.

Badham was unconvinced the story would work with an adult female protagonist. Still, Cohen opted to make THE WIZ a vehicle for thirty-one-year-old Ross, who recently starred in his 1975 production, MAHOGANY. Ross was paid over $1 million for playing Dorothy. Sidney Lumet was named as Badham’s replacement.

Lumet spearheaded the plan to use New York City as the film’s location. On 11 April 1977, Daily Variety announced that Astoria Studio in Queens, NY, was reopening its soundstages for THE WIZ. The facility was originally used for silent film production in the 1920s, but was taken over by the U.S. Army Pictorial Center at the beginning of WWII, and fell out of use in 1972. In early 1977, the Federal government transferred ownership of the studio to NYC, and it was planned to be used by a non-profit organization. However, local unions and city officials hoped the studio would lure filmmakers back to NYC, and Lumet was eager to promote their cause.

Joel Schumacher's script for THE WIZ was influenced by Werner Erhard's teachings and his Erhard Seminars Training ("est") movement, since both Schumacher and Diana Ross were proponents. The speech delivered by Glinda the Good Witch at the end of the film, and the song "Believe in Yourself", are particularly laden with est-ian concepts.

Principal photography began two days behind schedule, on 3 October 1977, with a $10 million budget. The film was originally planned with fifty-two sequences; twenty were scheduled for the Astoria Studio and thirty-two on location in NYC.

Shooting began at the base of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, where the "Emerald City" sequences were performed by over 650 fashion models and professional dancers. Joel Schumacher used his connections in the fashion industry to procure the hundreds of costumes used in the Emerald City sequence.

The production then moved to the 1939 World’s Fair grounds in Flushing Meadows, Queens, which had since been renamed “New York State Pavilion.” The arena was the location for “Graffiti City,” Dorothy’s landing spot in Oz, and the playground home of the "munchkins." The filmmakers built 750 feet of walls, covered in graffiti designs that included the obscured names of cast and crewmembers.

Exterior subway scenes were filmed at the Astor Place station entrance. These sequences were followed by shooting at Shea Stadium, where Dorothy and her friends were chased by the motorcycle-driving “Flying Monkeys.” The “Poppy Alley” scene was then filmed on 8th Avenue before the cast and crew moved to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Beginning soundstage work at Astoria Studio, the filmmakers shot interiors of “Evillene’s Sweatshop” and Dorothy’s apartment. The production then relocated to Coney Island in Brooklyn, where the "Tinman" scene was shot underneath the Astroland Amusement Park’s Cyclone rollercoaster. Nearby, the filmmakers captured sequences in front of an abandoned tenement between Brooklyn’s Neptune and Mermaid Avenues. The Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets subway station, also in Brooklyn, was where the “A” train was filmed. The floors were covered in vinyl flooring to replicate the "Yellow Brick Road." Final shots of the underground chase scene were captured at the 14th Street/Sixth Avenue Station. Back at Astoria Studio, the production completed filming for the "Emerald City Motel," the “Poppy Love Perfume Factory” rooftop scene, and the “Scarecrow’s” dance number.

With most of the film finished, actor Richard Pryor arrived on set to perform his role as “The Wiz.” His “mask” was a twenty-five-foot high silver head, complete with “laser-like” spotlights that accidentally damaged Diana Ross’s eyes. She was nearly blinded by the incident and had to be hospitalized. In December 1977, entertainer Lena Horne performed her climactic number at NYC’s former Fox Studio on 54th Street. The last exterior shots were captured in front of Dorothy’s home. The front of the walk-up apartment was located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant “urban renewal district” of Brooklyn, but it stood in for a building in Harlem.

Lena Horne, flanked by Quincy Jones (far left) and Sidney Lumet (right)

The last scene of principal photography was the “Lion’s” song and dance performance, in which he springs-to-life from a marble sculpture outside the New York Public Library. This was filmed at Astoria instead of the actual location because it was logistically impossible to film an entire scene devoid of people, save the main actors, without traffic and pedestrians getting in the way of the production.

At the time of release, the production was widely criticized for its gross expenditures, inflating a budget of $10 million to upwards of $40 million, according to various sources. However, director Sidney Lumet defended the cost, which he claimed was no more than $23.4 million. Lumet noted that he was forced to work within Fox’s obligatory 1 October 1977 principal photography start date, and that it was challenging to juggle the performers’ schedules. The inability to lock down principal actors in short order made it impossible for Lumet to provide Universal with advance cost projections. Lumet’s calculation of $23.4 million did not include Universal’s overhead costs, which were in the $3 million range.

THE WIZ was the most expensive movie produced in New York City to date. In addition, a 12 October 1978 Daily Variety article speculated that the picture was the largest “film musical gamble in screen history,” since it would have to be “the biggest ‘crossover’ film ever,” appealing to white as well as black audiences. This might be particularly challenging because it was Sidney Lumet’s first musical (and, as it turned out, his only one). Due to the film’s extensive marketing campaign, THE WIZ would have to earn approximately $60 million to make a profit.

After Universal announced the premiere, audiences lined up five hours before the 8:00 p.m. show time, and all publicly available tickets sold out immediately. The predominantly African-American audience cheered the film and demanded a second viewing the same evening.

Joel Schumacher and Candice Bergen at an event for THE WIZ

THE WIZ opened on 25 October 1978 and 26 October 1978 in NYC and Los Angeles, respectively. By the second week, Universal had already negotiated a deal with CBS-TV for network television rights. Ultimately, however, the film grossed only $21 million. Universal executive Ned Tanen referred to it as a “disappointment” rather than a “failure.”

The picture marked the theatrical film debut of entertainer Michael Jackson, and his introduction to Quincy Jones. Jackson’s performance as the “Scarecrow” persuaded Jones to produce Jackson’s 1979 hit record, “Off the Wall.”

The film won six out of eight feature film categories in the NAACP’s Image Awards, including Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture (Michael Jackson), Best Supporting Actors (Lena Horne and Nipsey Russell) and Best Director. THE WIZ was also nominated for four Academy Awards in the following categories: Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, and Music (Adaptation Score).

MCA Records and Motown released the film’s soundtrack on a 2-LP set, and MCA re-issued it on CD in 1997. Diana Ross is the last remaining living star of the film.

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 9:20 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Ron Clark initially wrote a screenplay for a remake of THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957) and Universal Pictures planned to approach Jack Nicholson or Chevy Chase to star in the film. However, the project changed when Lily Tomlin signed with Universal to executive produce and star in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN, to be written and produced by Tomlin’s long-time partner, Jane Wagner. Tomlin’s attorney, Michael Tannen, was also brought onto the project as a producer, and John Landis was hired to direct. Principal photography was planned for February or March 1979 and the film was budgeted at $10 million.

In February 1979, Universal suspended production on the film, citing budgetary concerns that the planned special effects were escalating the cost to $12 million. Reportedly, Universal still had doubts regarding Tomlin’s box-office marketability after the ill-fated Universal release of MOMENT BY MOMENT in 1978. THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN was delayed so Wagner could rework the script, and it was unknown if Tomlin or Landis would be available when the production started again.

In August 1979, it was reported that Joel Schumacher would make his feature film directorial debut on THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN, with executive producer Jane Wagner, and producer Hank Moonjean. Principal photography was set to begin 13 August 1979. It was announced that Lawrence Pressman would play “Vance Kramer” in the film, however, the role was ultimately cast with Charles Grodin. Jim Carrey auditioned for the film, but Joel Schumacher turned him down because he felt Carrey was too talented to be in an ensemble.

Initially planned as a holiday 1980 release, Universal delayed the release until January 1981, citing delays due to complicated special effects. Universal was also delaying the release until after the December 1980 premiere of 9 TO 5, also starring Lily Tomlin. Universal hoped that 9 TO 5, produced by Twentieth Century-Fox, would bolster Tomlin’s commercial reputation.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN opened on 30 January 1981. The film ultimately grossed $20. 3 million. (9 TO 5 earned $137 million.) Suzanne Ciani’s score for the film has not had a release.

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 9:52 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Producer Topper Carew asked writer-director Joel Schumacher to write a screenplay about a fictitious Washington, D.C., taxi company. Schumacher spent considerable time in the city with Carew, and became acquainted with its predominant African-American and Cuban-American cultures, neither of which had ever been featured in a motion picture. The writer-director also spent a great deal of time reading about and interviewing cab drivers. Three basic scenarios emerged from his research: cab drivers who cheated passengers, passengers who cheated cab drivers, and items lost in taxicabs. Among the items lost, Schumacher included large amounts of money, babies, “Stradivarius violins, first drafts of novels, [and] drugs.” He also heard numerous stories of sexual activity among passengers, and other stories that were too bizarre to be included in the script, as no audience would find them believable. Schumacher stated that he hired actor Charlie Barnett after seeing him perform a comedy routine on a New York City street corner. Prior to that, a casting call appeared in the 25 January 1983 Daily Variety, using the film’s original title, “Capitol Cab.”

Under its new name, D.C. CAB, principal photography began 11 April 1983, and ended 2 June 1983 in Washington, D.C., in front of the White House. The production received unprecedented cooperation from the city during photography, which included security for the parade sequence, and crowd control during scenes that featured actor Mr. T, popular star of the television series, “The A-Team.” Washington, D.C., landmarks such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building, Dulles Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery were among the filming locations.

The 16 December 1983 release of D.C. CAB by its distributor, Universal Pictures, was the originally scheduled slot for THE LONELY GUY (1984), but photography on that film was not yet complete. Studio executives also wanted to capitalize on the popularity of Mr. T, demonstrated by the high ratings of his television series.

D.C. Cab opened to positive reviews. The $8 million film grossed a modest $1.56 million at 863 theaters in its first weekend. However, producer Topper Carew believed in the film’s imminent success and cited it as proof “that black producers and multiethnic movies can make it.” The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) encouraged its members to see the film, which was officially endorsed by the Beverly Hills-Hollywood chapter, and was celebrated with “D.C. Cab Days” by the African-American mayors of Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

Universal executive Robert Rehme, commenting on a challenge from the NAACP to “increase minority involvement in movies,” stated that the film proved the commercial value of making multiethnic pictures. However, the early release “ruined extensive promotional plans for the movie and cast” and created a challenge for Universal’s marketing department. Also, the film’s R-rating prevented many members of Mr. T’s young audience from attending. In spite of these obstacles, the studio spent more than $6 million in advertising, some of which targeted African-American audiences. Ultimately, the film grossed $16 million.

The 25 May 1983 Variety announced that a soundtrack album was planned, featuring performances by Irene Cara, Giorgio Moroder, Musical Youth, Tierra, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and actor Gary Busey, with several others to be added. Of these performers, only Cara and Moroder appeared on the album, although Gary Busey’s song, “Why Baby Why,” was listed in end credits. A February 1984 release was planned for the album, two months prior to the then-projected Apr 1984 release of the film.

A music video of the closing theme song, “The Dream,” performed by Irene Cara, was released in late December 1983, and Peters arranged for Geffen Records, with whom the singer was contracted, to recall her current album and include the song on the reissue. The song peaked at the No. #37 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1984. Giorgio Moroder provided the background music for the film, but only one track from the score appeared on the MCA soundtrack LP. The LP has not had a CD re-issue.

Prior to the picture’s New York opening, the film’s advertising campaign, which prominently featured an illustration of Mr. T, was replaced by a design that featured romantic leads Adam Baldwin and Jill Schoelen, with the slogan, “They won’t stop ’til they get to the top.” The change was influenced by Universal’s new senior executive vice president, Marvin Antonowsky, who created similar promotions for Columbia Pictures. Antonowsky stated that the change was “a collective decision,” explaining that the new design better represented the film.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 10:27 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

ST. ELMO’S FIRE follows the trials and tribulations of seven recent Georgetown grads struggling to build careers, maintain relationships, and transition into full-fledged adults. Each character has his/her issues. Social worker “Wendy” (Mare Winningham) gets constant pressure from her rich father to marry and join the family business. She has a crush for “Billy” (Rob Lowe), who has troubles of his own, in the form of a wife, a child, and a string of affairs. Billy accepts help from shrewd “Alec” (Judd Nelson), a Capitol Hill high roller, who sells-out to advance his career. Alec has trouble staying faithful to his girlfriend, down-to-earth “Leslie” (Ally Sheedy). Leslie offers comfort to out-of-control “Jules” (Demi Moore) and offers guidance to “Kevin” (Andrew McCarthy), who secretly harbors a crush on her. “Kirby” (Emilio Estevez), a waiter at the gang's hangout, St. Elmo's Fire, actively pursues a young lovely doctor (Andie MacDowell) who is way out of his league.

Hundreds of young actors were seen for the seven leading roles, and despite their future successes, four of the cast were unknown at the time and were required to do screen-tests for the nearly $10 million picture. According to director and co-writer Joel Schumacher, he had to fight hard to cast Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Andrew McCarthy, and Andie MacDowell. Schumacher said the studio had easily approved Rob Lowe (who was a teen idol at the time), Ally Sheedy (who had been in the hit movie WARGAMES (1983)) and Mare Winningham (who had a significant body of work in television).

Schumacher saw Demi Moore walk down the hallway in his office building and asked a colleague to run after her and find out if she was an actress. Schumacher's production office at the time was in the same place as that of John Hughes' office where Moore had just been visiting regarding a casting call. Conversely, Schumacher originally had felt that Rob Lowe wasn't right for the part of Billy. Only after repeated phone calls from his agent and a passionate speech about why he wanted the part did Rob eventually get it.

Schumacher recalled that "a lot of people turned down the script . . . the head of [a] major studio called its seven-member cast 'the most loathsome humans he had ever read on the page'." Each of the graduates holds fast to the unconditional acceptance and affection of their group, a safety net beneath them as they step into the adult world. "Our early life is a series of plateaus," explained Schumacher, who added, "adulthood is a state that you are constantly defining for yourself as you go along, hoping that an 'adult' is what other people will see. In ST. ELMO’S FIRE, we wanted to dramatize the passion and uncertainty of that time. We also wanted to make a point about self-created drama: When most of us look back on our twenties, we see that a lot of the incredible drama we went through was self-created. I hope that older people will be reminded of what they went through, and younger people will see something of themselves and their own lives. Each of the friends faces decisions that will determine his or her future".

Principal photography began 15 October 1984, with locations in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Specific locations were in the Washington D.C. neighborhoods of Georgetown and Adams-Morgan, The Burbank Studios in Los Angeles, and Truckee, NV., to film snow scenes.

Much like her character, Demi Moore (“Jules”) had a drug problem when she was cast in the film. One day, Schumacher actually demanded that she leave the set because she was really high. Moore had to go through rehab and promise to stay clean in order to play a character with a drug problem.

The interchanges between “Kevin” (Andrew McCarthy) and a hooker were based on a conversation between a hooker and a limo driver that Joel Schumacher had once overheard.

The release date of the picture was moved up from late summer 1985 to 28 June 1985, in order to compete in the prime summer market. This worked out, as the film grossed nearly $38 million. David Foster supervised the music and provided the background score. Three of his tracks appeared on the song-track album released by Atlantic.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 1:42 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Independent production/distribution company Producers Sales Organization (PSO) bought first-time screenwriters Janice Fischer and James Jeremias's script for THE LOST BOYS for $400,000 in a deal engineered by agent Nan Blitzman of J. Michael Bloom Ltd. Later Warner Bros. joined the project, taking over domestic distribution and some foreign territories.

Richard Franklin, director of PSYCHO II and CLOAK & DAGGER was at one time reportedly in line to direct. Then, executive producer Richard Donner was set to direct. Ultimately, however, Donner moved on to direct LETHAL WEAPON and handed the reins over to Joel Schumacher.

In the film, after moving to a new town, two brothers, “Michael and Sam” (Jason Patric and Corey Haim), discover that the area is a haven for vampires. In the original script, the main characters were fifth and sixth-grade school children, the “Frog” brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) were eight-year-old Cub Scouts, and “Star” (Jami Gertz) was a boy. Having just directed the successful kids’ adventure film, THE GOONIES, Donner originally intended to make THE LOST BOYS in the same vein.

Joel Schumacher hated that idea and told the producers he would only sign on if he could change the characters to teenagers, as he thought it would be much sexier and more interesting. Schumacher made the age changes and switched Star into a female love interest for Michael, and scriptwriter Jeffery Boam was primarily responsible for the film’s sexy, hip tone. When asked why he did the film, Joel Schumacher simply stated: "Vampires are hot. They're the only erotic monsters. Frankenstein is not hot."

The majority of the young cast members were relative unknowns. Corey Feldman was the exception, having previously appeared in THE GOONIES, GREMLINS, the critically acclaimed STAND BY ME, and two FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels, most notably. Schumacher noted that the studio had never heard of Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Jami Gertz, or Corey Haim.

Jami Gertz was actually recommended by Jason Patric. Joel Schumacher was originally looking for a “waifish blonde.” Gertz and Patric had both previously starred in SOLARBABIES (1986). Corey Feldman (who played “Edgar Frog”) almost wasn't in the movie. At the time, Corey struggled with drug abuse and showed up to work coming down from a cocaine binge. Schumacher was very upset that Corey kept dozing off and was unable to continue filming, so he fired him, but hired him back the next day after Corey apologized and swore to come to work prepared from then on, which he did. According to Feldman, Schumacher wanted his character to resemble the action stars of the day, so he told him to rent Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris films.

Kiefer Sutherland was originally reluctant to star in the film, until he heard that Joel Schumacher had lined up INXS and Jimmy Barnes to sing some of the songs on the soundtrack. Kiefer had spent a summer in Australia when he was a child and became fans of their music.

Keenan Wynn and John Carradine were both approached to play the role of “Grandpa,” before Bernard Hughes was cast. However, Wynn died just before filming began, and Carradine was too ill to take the role.

The film was shot in Santa Cruz and Los Angeles. The production took advantage of Santa Cruz’s famed boardwalk, which was a major setting in the film. The project signed 2,000 extras for several nights' work while shooting in Santa Cruz. Grandpa's lodge-style home was the Pogonip Country Club, built in 1921. The country club's name "Pogonip" was the Shoshone tribal name for the area's dense fog, which is prominently featured in the film. The interiors of the house, as well as those of the lost boys’ cavernous lair, were shot on Warner Bros. studio stages twelve and fifteen in Burbank, CA.

Joel Schumacher (center) on the set of THE LOST BOYS

Schumacher and production designer Bo Welch, who previously was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the 1985 film, THE COLOR PURPLE, combined real and familiar elements with surreal and bizarre elements to create unsettling environments. One example of this is the vampires’ lair, which was conceived as a Victorian-era hotel lobby that had sunken into a fault during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Schumacher explained that decorating the set with elements from varying time periods reconciled the film's modern vampires with their mythical past.

Costume designer Susan Becker, who had worked previously with Schumacher on ST. ELMO’S FIRE, took a similar approach to the costuming. Becker used clothing from various eras, including a Victorian bellboy's jacket and 1950s motorcycle gear, to construct the vampires’ wardrobes. She described the end product as "sinister and timeless."

Dream Quest Images created the film's special effects. Dream Quest combined blue screen techniques with state-of-the-art computerized motion control that, according to visual effects director Eric Brevig, involved lighting changes, camera movement, and optical composites to achieve the complex visual effects asked for by Schumacher. Brevig emphasized the laboriousness of the effects process, specifically identifying a sequence in the final showdown in which a vampire crashes into a stereo system. Brevig claimed that the effects for a ten-second sequence required “two solid weeks” to design and stage. Schumacher, a self-declared fan of vampire narratives, wanted to "do something original" with the "time-honored [vampire] tradition," and, in the process, "have fun" with the picture without resorting to camp.

Looking back on the project, Greg Cannom, who did the vampire prosthetics and effects, was candid about the challenges he encountered working on the film, particularly his occasional clashes with Joel Schumacher, but Cannom admired Schumacher for his vision, and reminisced fondly about the finished result:

"Joel Schumacher said to me, 'I've hired these sexy young kids, and I want them sexy. I don't want monsters,'" said Cannom. "So [makeup artist] Ve Neill came up to me and said, 'Why don't we do a test on the side and show it to Joel and see what he thinks?'" Cannom and Neill brought in actor Brooke McCarter to test the waters. "Joel wanted the vampires to be very stylized and streamlined," remembered Cannom. "At first, I did much bigger prosthetics, more than what's in the film, with a larger forehead and a longer face and chin and showed it to Joel. He liked it, but he thought it was too much." Even though the test wasn't perfect, Cannom was getting closer to Schumacher's vision.

"Joel was very happy with everything in the end, and that's all you can ask for. I think he's a great filmmaker and he did an incredible directing job." In fact, as a subtle homage to the director, Cannom actually designed one of the vampires to look like him, "For Edward Herrmann's makeup, I used Joel as the model. Ve Neill went to dailies one day, and as she and Joel were looking at the footage of Ed, he asks her, 'Am I crazy, or does Ed look like me?' So if you look closely, you can see Joel's face in that scene."

Around 300,000 flies escaped during the filming of a scene. The production called in an exterminator to deal with the infestation after flies began appearing in dailies for scenes in which flies were not originally supposed to appear.

Critical reception to the 1987 release was generally positive, though often with reservations. The film’s total domestic gross was $32,22,567, a healthy earning, particularly for an R-rated horror film. Thomas Newman scored the film, but only a single track of his music ended up on the Atlantic Records song-track CD.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 2:11 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

It took two years for producer William Allyn to obtain rights to Jean-Charles Tacchella’s Academy Award-nominated 1975 film, COUSIN, COUSINE, one of the highest-grossing foreign films of all time. Allyn paid a “mid-six-figure licensing fee,” and anticipated a spring-summer 1988 shoot in New York, with location shooting to include the Bronx, Pelham, Yonkers, and City Island. Stephen Metcalfe, who was hired to write the American remake, entitled COUSINS, was then the resident playwright at San Francisco’s Globe Theater.

In the film, Ted Danson stars as “Larry Kozinski,” a married dance instructor who is afraid of success. At his uncle's wedding, Larry meets the bride's daughter, “Maria” (Isabella Rossellini). Both of them are waiting for their spouses to return from "driving" and are nervous about what their mates are doing together. This fear pushes them closer together. Within minutes, the two of them are exchanging very personal feelings, and their friendship has been initiated.

Filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Entire families were hired as extras to create a relaxed and cheerful atmosphere in the scenes involving large parties. Lead actress Isabella Rossellini’s five-year-old daughter, Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann, served as an extra but was uncredited, while Ted Danson’s daughter, Kate, was credited as “Wedding killer listener.”

Joel Schumacher directed the film. Angelo Badalamenti’s score was released by Warner Bros.

Sneak previews of the film were well received. On 10 February 1989, the film opened nationwide in 535 theaters and took in $3,039,805 in its first three days of release. The May 1989 Boxoffice review reported that COUSINS had grossed a “soft $17 million” after six weeks in theatrical release. The film’s final tally was $22 million.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 2:38 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Columbia Pictures-based producer Scott Rudin outbid the studio itself by paying $400,000 for the original screenplay for FLATLINERS. Accusing Rudin of violating his studio contract, Columbia acquired the script from him for the $400,000 sales price and handed the project to Michael Douglas and Rick Bieber’s Stonebridge Entertainment. Rudin was listed in the final film as one of three executive producers.

The film involves five medical students who experiment with "near death" experiences, until the dark consequences of past tragedies begin to jeopardize their lives. Kevin Bacon was cast as the idealistic, yet pragmatic “David Labraccio,” who provides the voice of reason for the other experimenters, and who tries to right an old wrong committed in his childhood. Director Joel Schumacher said: "Labraccio is the opposite of “Nelson Wright” (Kiefer Sutherland). As the movie progresses, everyone becomes dependent on Labraccio, as a kind of center to hold them all together, especially Nelson."

Schumacher was intrigued by the spiritual and horrific aspects of FLATLINERS, and enthusiastic about the possibilities of creating a visually exciting film. Schumacher said: "FLATLINERS is a story about atonement and forgiveness involving these students who, in a sense, violate the gods and pay a price. I think we would all like to know what's in store for us after we die. There have been thousands of reports from all over the world from those who have encountered 'near death', and most of them have reported pleasant experiences. Our movie, however, is saying that you're not to tamper with death. If there is anything we're supposed to learn about it, it will be revealed when we die."

Screenwriter Peter Filardi located his story in Boston, where he wrote it. Executive producer Michael Rachmil said that he and Joel Schumacher first visited Boston, but “I won’t make this movie there. I hated the place.”

To bring visual life to Filardi's script, Schumacher and the producers, Rick Bieber and Michael Douglas, enlisted production designer Eugenio Zanetti and director of photography Jan De Bont. Schumacher said: "I told Eugenio and Jan that I wanted us all to take risks, to create our own world. This isn't a documentary. It's a fable and a fantasy, and in some ways a science fiction movie. So I wanted to surround it with a very visually exciting and interesting world." The intention was to design sets and atmosphere that would symbolically represent man's eternal struggle with death. To invent this world, the collaborative team of Schumacher, De Bont, and Zanetti all combined a variety of historical architectural styles, such as Greek, Roman, Gothic, and Renaissance, with innovative and dramatic lighting.

Following a brief period of rehearsals, Schumacher assembled the film's cast and crew in Chicago, where principal photography began on 23 October 1989. It ended at The Burbank Studios in Los Angeles on 22 January 1990. The film’s dozen Chicago locations, shot during the first two weeks of production, included the exteriors of the Lake Shore campus of Loyola University (the opening sequence) and the Museum of Science and Industry (standing in for the fictional “Taft Building” where the medical experiments take place). The interior of the building was built at The Burbank Studios. Joel Schumacher said that he constructed “a large promenade set on the lakeshore campus at Loyola University, and then used matte paintings to connect the set and the campus exterior with Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.”

FLATLINERS opened with a $10 million weekend and grossed $32.3 million in three weeks. The film’s final domestic tally was $61.5 million. The film was also an international box office success.

James Newton Howard’s score has not had an authorized release. The movie features the up-tempo rock song "Party Town", which was written and performed by Dave Stewart (David A. Stewart) of rock band Eurythmics fame. Arista Records released the song as the first single on Stewart's debut solo album, and as a music video directed by Joel Schumacher, containing footage from this movie.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 3:18 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I absolutely loved the movie COUSINS and it gorgeous score.

(Bob, I always love to read all of your posts on famous people who have passed. Thanks for doing this.)

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