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 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 4:44 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Ebbe Roe Smith wrote the script for FALLING DOWN in ten weeks after he took inspiration from a news story involving a truck driver who angrily rammed cars on the highway. The script was almost sold to HBO as a telefilm, after “it had been turned down by every studio,” but Bruce Berman, President of Production at Warner Bros., stopped the sale. In the film, an ordinary man (Michael Douglas), frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them.

Director Joel Schumacher had envisioned his friend Michael Douglas in the lead role. However, Douglas planned to take a break from acting, as he had just done two films back-to-back, and desired to spend some time with his family. Douglas agreed to read the script at Schumacher's urging, and declared it one of the best he had ever read, taking the role immediately. The presence of such a popular actor as the lead allowed the film to get a much higher budget. Douglas, believing the film to be important, agreed to take a much lower salary, so the film could also have more money to be made. It was Schumacher's idea for the crew cut that Douglas has in this movie. Combined with the glasses Douglas wore, he was almost unrecognizable.

The film was shot on location in Los Angeles. Barbara Ling added a layer of social relevance to the production design by incorporating L.A. artist Michael McNielly’s political posters into the background of several scenes. For the final scene on Venice Pier, filmmakers obtained special permission to shoot, as the pier was in disrepair and had been closed to the public since 1988.

FALLING DOWN was in production on locations in Lynwood, California when the 1992 Los Angeles riots began. By April 30th, the riots were sufficiently disruptive to force filming to stop early that day. Film crews produced more footage inside of Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank as the riots continued. By May 4th, when the crew intended to resume in Pasadena, initial requests to do so were denied, causing delays. The tension around the riots was something that the filmmakers deemed to have had an effect on the finished film.

Several groups protested the film’s portrayal of racism and violence upon its release, including The Korean-American Grocers of Southern California and the National Center for Career Change, an organization for unemployed former defense workers. The Los Angeles Times published an article interviewing recently laid off aerospace workers who took offense over Michael Douglas’ character and believed the film might hurt their job prospects. A year after the film’s U.S. release, Warner Bros. Korea cancelled the mid-March release of the film in South Korea, because Korean movie critics believed it endorsed “racial violence.”

The 1993 film opened to strong box office but polarized critical reception. Vincent Canby’s New York Times review lauded Schumacher’s “nervy and exceptionally able” direction, while Variety complained of the film’s “uneven tone” and lack of nuance. However, Michael Douglas’ performance garnered consistent praise. FALLING DOWN was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. James Newton Howard’s score was released by Intrada in 2014. The film performed moderately well, grossing $41 million.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 10:09 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

BATMAN FOREVER found “Batman” (Val Kilmer) battling former district attorney “Harvey Dent,” who is now “Two-Face” (Tommy Lee Jones) and “Edward Nygma,” the “Riddler” (Jim Carrey), with help from amorous psychologist “Dr. Chase Meridian “ (Nicole Kidman) and a young circus acrobat who becomes his sidekick, “Robin” (Chris O’Donnell).

The hamburger chain McDonalds pulled out of its association with the Batman franchise after the release of 1992’s BATMAN RETURNS due to the dark subject matter and the controversy surrounding the film, even though it was a massive hit. They told Warner Bros. they would not participate in any cross-marketing campaigns with Warners on part three of the franchise if Tim Burton was the director again. So Warner's essentially fired Burton, and made Joel Schumacher the new director.

Schumacher, unlike Burton, was a Batman fan. Schumacher originally wanted to make a much darker and more serious film, that would more fully explore Bruce Wayne's growing fear that his crusade to be Batman had done more harm than good, and that Bruce was beginning to suffer from burnout. But the executives at Warner Bros. insisted on a lighter tone.

Michael Keaton met with Schumacher and declined to join the project after deciding that he did not like the direction in which Schumacher was looking to take the franchise.

In the brief time that Tim Burton was still considering doing a third Batman film, the Riddler was the only villain that he planned on using. The idea of using Two-Face did not come up until Schumacher joined the project. Schumacher also wanted Nicole Kidman to play “Poison Ivy,” but he ultimately decided that Ivy, Two-Face and the Riddler would be too many villains for Batman. Ivy (played by Uma Thurman) was saved for BATMAN & ROBIN (1997).

Val Kilmer and Joel Schumacher clashed during filming. Schumacher described Kilmer as "childish and impossible." According to Schumacher, Kilmer refused to talk to him for two weeks.

Schumacher later said in an interview about Val Kilmer "Val did me two great favors when I wanted him to be Batman. He said yes. Then he created a situation which allowed me not to have him play Batman again. They were both happy, happy instances for which I will always be grateful". Despite their poor working relationship, Schumacher later said that he felt Val Kilmer still gave a good performance as Batman.

Joel Schumacher with Batman merchandise

Tommy Lee Jones was Joel Schumacher's first choice for the role of Two-Face after working with him in THE CLIENT (1994). Jones accepted the role because his son Austin, eleven at the time, said Two-Face was his favorite character.

After Robin Williams turned down the role of the Riddler, Schumacher cast Jim Carrey because Schumacher and Warner Bros. felt that he was perfect for the part, following the success of ACE VENTURA, PET DETECTIVE (1994).

It has been reported that there were also personality clashes between Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey during filming. These annoyed Joel Schumacher to the extent that he stated he would never again work with either of them. However, he later worked with Carrey on THE NUMBER 23 (2007).

Marlon Wayans was originally slated to play Robin/Dick Grayson in the film when Tim Burton was considering directing it, but once Joel Schumacher ultimately took the helm, his vision for the character did not jive with placing Wayans in the role, and instead he cast Chris O'Donnell.

Schumacher's decision to put nipples and enlarged codpieces on the Bat-costumes, as well as an earring on Robin caused controversy - it even bothered Batman creator Bob Kane. Schumacher said he wanted the costumes to have an anatomic look, while the earring was supposed to make Robin more hip. He also claimed that the basis for the Batman and Robin suits came from statues of the gods of ancient Greece.

Schumacher wanted the design for Gotham City to have "personality", with more statues and neon lights; he cited as an influence the 1940s-50s Batman comics, 1930s New York City architecture, and modern Tokyo.

The 1995 film was a huge hit, grossing $184 million, which exceeded the returns from BATMAN RETURNS by more than $20 million. Atlantic Records released both a song CD and a score CD by Elliot Goldenthal. La-La Land issued an expanded 2-disc score set in 2012.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Joel Schumacher directed his second film from a John Grisham novel with A TIME TO KILL. In Canton, Mississippi, “Carl Lee Hailey” (Samuel L. Jackson), a blue-collar worker, has his world turned upside-down when his ten-year-old daughter Tonya is brutally assaulted by two racist thugs on a drunken spree. Fearing that the men will not receive justice in the deep south, Carl Lee takes the law into his own hands and murderers the men.

Hailey turns to an eager young lawyer, “Jake Brigance” (Matthew McConaughey) for his defense. “Ellen Roark” (Sandra Bullock), an energetic, brilliant law student at “Ole Miss,” volunteers to help in the case. Together they set out to prove that a fair trial can be heard, regardless of race.

Director Joel Schumacher originally offered the lead role to Val Kilmer during the production of BATMAN FOREVER, which is surprising since Schumacher was always very open about his strained relationship with Kilmer on the set (while still praising Kilmer's performance). However, Kilmer declined, which perhaps was the best outcome for both of them.

Matthew McConaughey was originally cast as “Freddie Lee Cobb.” After reading the script, he preferred the role of Jake Brigance. He went to Schumacher, who granted him a private screentest. The role of Cobb then went to Kiefer Sutherland, in his third film with Schumacher.

The 1996 film was a big success, earning nearly $109 million at the U.S. box office. Elliot Goldenthal’s score was released by Atlantic Classics.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Returning to the Batman franchise, Joel Schumacher directed 1997’s BATMAN & ROBIN. In the film, “Batman” (George Clooney) and “Robin” (Chris O’Donnell) try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop “Mr. Freeze” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and “Poison Ivy” (Uma Thurman) from freezing Gotham City. “Batgirl” (Alicia Silverstone) also aids in the fight.

Val Kilmer was asked by the producers if he wanted to play Batman again, but by his own admission was not interested. After experiencing difficulties working with Kilmer on BATMAN FOREVER, Joel Schumacher was insistent that the actor not return for the fourth film in the franchise. Fortunately, Kilmer wanted to make THE SAINT instead, so Schumacher was able to recast the role of Batman.

Joel Schumacher first realized that George Clooney would make a good Batman after seeing him in the film FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996) and drawing the famous cowl over Clooney's face in a newspaper advertisement for it.

Uma Thurman signed on to play Poison Ivy after Schumacher saw her on the cover of Vanity Fair; Schumacher said that he believed she was the "most beautiful woman in the world" at the time.

Schumacher’s choices for the role of Mr. Freeze ranged from Ed Harris to Patrick Stewart, and from Anthony Hopkins to Hulk Hogan. Ultimately, Schumacher decided that Mr. Freeze must be "big and strong like he was chiseled out of a glacier". Once he decided on Arnold Schwarzenegger for the role, Schumacher threatened not to direct the film if Schwarzenegger wasn't cast.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joel Schumacher, and George Clooney arrive for an event for BATMAN & ROBIN

Olivia d'Abo had been offered the role of “Barbara Wilson/Batgirl” by producer Peter Macgregor-Scott. However, Joel Schumacher rejected her for the role, due to her age at the time (27) and considering that Batgirl had to be younger than Robin. Jennifer Love Hewitt also auditioned for the role, but other production obligations prevented her from taking the part.

In the end, most of the scenes with Batgirl were cut, because Alicia Silverstone had gained a few pounds during production, and the wardrobe team had to refit her costume. When the press discovered the news, they slammed Silverstone's weight gain and mocked the actress for being "too fat" to fit into her costume. Schumacher publicly defended Silverstone during interviews and press meetings, joking "What is this girl's big sin - that she ate some pizza?" When the taunting continued, Schumacher lashed out at the reporters. He said in a magazine interview, "It was horrible. I thought it was very cruel. She was a teenager who gained a few pounds - like all of us do at certain times. I would confront female journalists and I'd say, 'With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?'"

According to John Glover, who played “Doctor Jason Woodrue,” Joel Schumacher "would sit on a crane with a megaphone and yell before each take, 'Remember, everyone, this is a cartoon'. It was hard to act because that kind of set the tone for the film."

Joel Schumacher delivered the film two weeks ahead of schedule. A June 1997 issue of Entertainment Weekly noted rumors on the internet of last-minute re-shoots, supposedly due to poor test screenings. However, Schumacher denied these claims, saying that the film did well in test screenings. It was estimated that the film cost $125 million to produce, not counting promotion and advertising costs.

When the film opened on 12 June 1977, the critics slammed it. Roger Ebert wrote in his negative review of the film (and then later stated on “At the Movies”) that "It doesn't matter who plays Batman; I think they cast Batman based on the chin," referring to what he saw as a lack of development of Batman as an interesting character in any of the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher films.)

Joel Schumacher at an event for BATMAN & ROBIN

The film took in only $107 million at the U.S. box office, the lowest total of any of the four Burton/Schumacher films. Warner Bros. released a song-track CD that had only one track from Elliot Goldenthal’s score.

When screenwriter Akiva Goldsman was blamed for ruining the movie, Joel Schumacher defended him, saying, "Akiva Goldsman was blamed for this sort of lightness and humor and fun and games, but that's not fair. I take full responsibility. I mean Akiva did write the script, but I shot it and worked with Akiva, so you know if you love a movie there are hundreds of people who made it lovable for you. If you don't like it, blame the director. That's what our names are there for."

Schumacher took responsibility for the film's failure, and didn’t lay it on the cast or crew. "I didn't do a good job. George did. Chris (O'Donnell) did. Uma (Thurman) is brilliant in it. Arnold was Arnold," he said.

Joel Schumacher said in an interview "If there's anyone that let’s say loved BATMAN FOREVER (1995) and went into BATMAN & ROBIN with great anticipation, if I disappointed them in any way, then I really want to apologize because it wasn't my intention. My intention was just to entertain them."

In later interviews, Schumacher blamed studio pressure to make the film more "toyetic" (i.e., a showcase for marketable toys and games).

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alicia Silverstone, Joel Schumacher, Chris O’Donnell, and George Clooney at an event for BATMAN & ROBIN

Schumacher solemnly predicted that he would forever be known as the man who gave the world an intense case of Batnipples. "I think that will be on my gravestone. It's how I'll be remembered," Schumacher said in an interview with Variety at The Hamptons Film Festival.

This movie was such a bomb, and ruined so many careers, there's actually a "Batman's curse" associated with it: Chris O'Donnell, Alicia Silverstone and Joel Schumacher all went into serious career slumps after this movie. The only survivors were Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney, who was starring on “ER” at the time and was able to springboard from this to other box office hits, A-list actor stardom, and Oscar-winning status.

Joel Schumacher had several meetings with Warner Bros., trying to convince them to let him make yet another Batman movie. He wanted to take the film back to its darker roots and make a "Batman: Year One" movie. Schumacher wanted to cast Kurt Russell as a young Commissioner Gordon, and Selina Kyle as a young, beautiful African-American woman living in the ghetto. Warner Bros. decided not to rehire Schumacher, and the next Batman film stayed in development limbo for more than a decade until BATMAN BEGINS (2005).

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

After finishing BATMAN & ROBIN, Joel Schumacher was supposed to do a third John Grisham adaptation, "Runaway Jury.” The property was at Warner Bros. and was supposed to star Edward Norton, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sean Connery. Schumacher, however, was suffering from burnout and took a sabbatical to Mexico. When he returned, he contacted his agency about working again - on anything but a summer blockbuster. Sony's Amy Pascal and John Calley contacted him about the film EIGHT MILLIMETER (8MM), which they described as "dangerous, " and he immediately said he'd do it. As soon as that happened, the film was green-lit. Schumacher later noted that "This was one of the most dangerous scripts that Sony has ever bought and couldn't find a director for."

In the film, Nicolas Cage stars as “Tom Welles,” a private detective working in cooperation with with the Missing Persons Bureau. One day, he is asked by a rich widow (Myra Carter) to investigate a possible snuff film found in her late husband's safe. She wants to know if it is real, and if so, to determine the identity of young half-naked girl who was supposedly killed by a man in a mask, known as the Machine. The investigation takes Tom to the porno underworld of L.A., shown to be grungy and filled with neon-green lights. He meets a porno shop clerk with rock music aspirations, “Max California” (Joaquin Phoenix), who may have connections to this depraved world.

Russell Crowe had agreed to do the film with Schumacher when the film was slated to be a "dirty, handheld gritty thriller." Crowe had one stipulation, and it was the inclusion of a scene where his character is looking at kiddie porn, throws it in the trash, and then throws a cigarette so it would start burning inside the trash can. Schumacher agreed. Then out of the blue, Nicolas Cage's agent called Schumacher and told him that Cage wanted to do the film as well. Schumacher then contacted John Calley at Sony and told him that they could do the film with Crowe as a "low budget, dirty handheld camera thriller" or a much bigger film with Cage. Calley agreed to do the film with Cage as the lead, which eventually led to a much bigger budget.

Joel Schumacher on the set of EIGHT MILLIMETER

The actress (Jenny Powell) playing the character of “Mary Ann Mathews” was originally a stripper hired to act as a stand-in. Joel Schumacher gave her the part of the victim on the snuff film as she had a suitably "haunted" look about her.

There were concerns regarding the dark subject matter, and the studio asked screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker to lighten the film's tone. But with Joel Schumacher as director, Walker felt a rewrite could be avoided. As it turned out, Schumacher supported the studio and made changes of his own, bringing in Nicholas Kazan (BICENTENNIAL MAN) to assist with the rewrite. This led to a much-publicized fallout between Schumacher and Walker, with Walker virtually disowning the film and walking away from the set. He refused to even watch it. Schumacher simply stated that Walker “was in a bubble and in demand with other projects" as a polite way of explaining his absence from the filming.

For the scene where Tom stalks the Machine at his house in Queens, New York, the house was actually found by Joel Schumacher himself as they were driving one day. Schumacher spotted the house on a dead-end street next to a cemetery near the Long Island Expressway and thought it was the perfect location for Machine's house. Schumacher said that the neighbors and owners of the house were very hospitable. In turn, he gave them signed posters of his Batman movies, and t-shirts and assorted gifts for their hospitality.

The red-light district in Hollywood where Nicolas Cage drives around and sees all types of different people was created by production designer Gary Wissner (according to Joel Schumacher) since those areas were cleaned up and nonexistent at the time in cities like New York. Schumacher's favorite scene and piece of music is where Nicolas Cage is driving through the streets of Hollywood with Mychael Danna's score sounding as if they were in the "Casbah," which was perfect for the montage.

The film was originally rated [NC-17] and took around four or five edits to get it down to an [R]-rated film. Joel Schumacher learned that he could not go forward with four consecutive scenes of simulated or graphic images. The film finally satisfied the MPAA after making the drastic cuts.

As one might expect, the film was not a huge crowd-pleaser. However, it did gross about $37 million, placing it above such 1999 prestige films as Jim Carrey’s MAN ON THE MOON, Russell Crowe’s THE INSIDER, and Tom Cruise’s MAGNOLIA. Mychael Danna’s score was released by Compass III in the U.S. and by Silva Screen in the UK.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 11:51 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In FLAWLESS, “Walt Koontz” (Robert De Niro), a homophobic guy, ends up with paralyzed vocal cords because of an unfortunate stroke. His therapy includes receiving singing lessons from neighbor “Rusty” (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is not only openly flamboyant but also a pre-op transgenderist. Both of them are equally prejudiced: Koontz against homosexuals and Rusty against close-minded straight people.

Writer-director Joel Schumacher conceived of the idea for the film from personal experience. One of his close friends suffered a series of strokes and had to relearn how to speak through singing lessons.

Robert De Niro and Joel Schumacher on the set of FLAWLESS

Philip Seymour Hoffman's line, "I'm more man than you'll ever be, and more woman than you'll ever get", was first uttered by Antonio Fargas as "Lindy" in CAR WASH (1976). Fargas's character also dressed in drag, and the movie was written by Joel Schumacher early in his career.

FLAWLESS was a poor performer at the box office, grossing just $4.5 million. Bruce Roberts had two songs and three score tracks on the soundtrack CD released by Jellybean Recordings.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 1:06 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

TIGERLAND follows a group of recruits who go through Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana's infamous Tigerland--the last stop before Vietnam for tens of thousands of young men in 1971.

Even though the film clearly establishes early on that it takes place at the real Ft. Polk, Louisiana, (including displaying a big, on-screen, entrance sign at the very beginning), the movie states that it takes place at “Ft. Lake,” Louisiana.

Colin Farrell and Joel Schumacher on the set of TIGERLAND

Director Joel Schumacher shot the picture with 16mm film to give it a gritty, documentary-like feel.

Films about the Viet Nam War had fallen out of popularity by 2000, and TIGERLAND’s widest theatrical release was only five theaters. The film grossed a paltry $150,000. One track from Nathan Larson’s score appeared on the compilation CD “Nathan Larson: Filmusik,” released by Commotion Records in 2005.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 1:15 PM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

Tigerland = 8.5/10 - Very Good Film.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 1:27 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

BAD COMPANY begins when an Ivy League-educated C.I.A. agent is killed during an operation. The Agency’s “Officer Oakes” (Anthony Hopkins) then recruits his twin brother (Chris Rock).

The film was originally titled "Black Sheep" until it was discovered that there was already a movie with that title, BLACK SHEEP (1996), which starred David Spade and Chris Farley. Apparently, no one noticed or cared that there were at least four prior films called “Bad Company.”

Joel Schumacher, Chris Rock, and Anthony Hopkins on the set of BAD COMPANY

Joel Schumacher directed the action comedy, which was one of the last movies filmed in the World Trade Center (some of the subway scenes). It was also one of several movies whose release date changed after the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. The film was originally set for release in November 2001, but was not released until June 2002. The $70 million production was a bust at the box office, grossing a little over $30 million domestically and only $36 million overseas.

Trevor Rabin’s score only claimed one track on the Hollywood Records song-track CD.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 1:30 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Tigerland = 8.5/10 - Very Good Film.

Colin Farrell won awards from both the Boston and London film critics.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 2:08 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Larry Cohen wrote the original screenplay for the 2003 thriller PHONE BOOTH. In the film, publicist “Stuart Shepard” (Colin Farrell) finds himself trapped in a phone booth, pinned down by an extortionist's sniper rifle. Unable to leave or get help from the surrounding bystanders, Stuart negotiates with the caller. The events of the film occur in real time, and the film was shot in sequence.

Cohen said at one point that he pitched the idea to Tony Curtis, who was interested, but Curtis made too many demands, so producers passed on him. Mel Gibson was set to star and even gave Cohen some helpful suggestions that wound up in the film, but he eventually backed out. The part of the sniper was originally shot with Ron Eldard; he was replaced with Kiefer Sutherland in re-shoots. Cast as the villain, Kiefer Sutherland's likeness did not appear in the original posters. His face wasn't seen in the film's advertising until the film was released on video, when his likeness was put on the cover.

Joel Schumacher was the first director attached, but dropped out to make FLAWLESS (1999) instead. Mel Gibson was then in line to direct the film but also bailed, followed by Allen Hughes and Albert Hughes. They too quit when FROM HELL (2001) received the green light. Next up was Michael Bay. When he met with Cohen and the producers, the first thing he asked was "How can we get him out of the phone booth?" By the time he quit, Schumacher had finished shooting FLAWLESS and was ready to take up the reins again.

Having worked with Colin Farrell on TIGERLAND (2000), Schumacher was keen to give the lead to Farrell. Studio executives had yet to see TIGERLAND, and so objected to this casting choice, instead campaigning for Jim Carrey to take the lead. However, they soon changed their minds when they saw Farrell's work in Schumacher's previous film.

This was the fourth collaboration between actor Kiefer Sutherland and Joel Schumacher. They worked together before in THE LOST BOYS (1987), FLATLINERS (1990) and A TIME TO KILL (1996).

Forest Whitaker, Colin Farrell, Joel Schumacher, and Kiefer Sutherland at an event for PHONE BOOTH

The movie was originally set to be released on 15 November 2002. However, this was just three weeks after the sniper attacks in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. had ended with the capture of John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. 20th Century Fox decided to delay the release of the film. It was a good decision. PHONE BOOTH opened on the weekend of 4 April 2003, in first place at the box office with a $15 million gross. The film’s final domestic tally was $46.6 million, against a budget of $13 million. Foreign receipts goosed the film's total to nearly $98 million. Meanwhile, back in November, Trauma Records had gone ahead with the release of Harry Gregson-Williams’ score CD.

Today, the film is an anachronism. There are only four phone booths remaining in all of New York City, all of them on West End Avenue - 66th Street, 90th Street, 100th Street, and 101st Street. They are being kept as artifacts to preserve the history of NYC.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 3:01 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

VERONICA GUERIN is a real-life thriller that stars Cate Blanchett as fearless Dublin reporter Veronica Guerin, who flirts with death – even after her life is threatened – to pursue the story of an evil, drug-dealing crime boss (Gerard McSorley). Brenda Fricker plays her mother, Bernie Guerin.

Danny DeVito was considering the Veronica Guerin story as a directing project. He met with her family when he was in Dublin doing promotional work for MATILDA (1996) and hoped to cast Winona Ryder in the role. But Joel Schumacher got to the project first.

Cate Blanchett and Joel Schumacher on the set of VERONICA GUERIN

Colin Farrell had a small role in the film as a “Tattooed Boy,” his third collaboration with Joel Schumacher after TIGERLAND (2000) and PHONE BOOTH (2002).

Composer Harry Gregson-Williams heard a boy (Brian O'Donnell) singing on the street for money in Dublin when he arrived to spend a few days on the set of the film. Later, he tracked the boy down again and recorded him singing six or seven folk songs acapella in a quiet alley. Gregson-Williams chose "Fields of Athenry" from the recording and added his own music around the song. O'Donnell’s voice appears on the Hollywood Records soundtrack CD of the score.

VERONICA GUERIN had a modest budget of $17 million. It was little-seen in the U.S., where it grossed only $1.5 million. (The film’s poster did it no favors.) The picture did better overseas, with a $7.9 million take, but still lost money overall. Joel Schumacher won the “Solidarity Award” at the 2003 San Sebastián International Film Festival.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 3:32 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Joel Schumacher’s lush filmization of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA reached the screen in 2004. The story tells of “Christine Daee” (Emmy Rossum), a young soprano who becomes the obsession of a disfigured and murderous musical genius (Gerard Butler) who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House. Neither Gerard Butler nor Emmy Rossum had seen the musical prior to receiving their roles.

The film version was a long time coming. The film project was originally confirmed in 1989. Terry Semel and Bob Daly, then studio bosses at Warner Bros., were "Phantom" fans and wanted it filmed. The project was ready to begin filming in 1990 and to be released in November 1991. It was set to star Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, the original stars of the stage version. However, just before filming began, Andrew Lloyd Webber divorced Brightman, and the project was put on hold.

Joel Schumacher directing THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

The screenplay was written in the south of France back in 1989 by Joel Schumacher and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Schumacher had been Lloyd Webber's choice for director since the movie project was conceived. He chose Schumacher after being impressed by the use of music in THE LOST BOYS (1987).

When the casting process began in New York, only singer-actresses under age 25 were screen-tested. Andrew Lloyd Webber was happy to go along with Joel Schumacher's insistence on youth but had a demand of his own: "He said, 'Make them unknowns, by all means, Joel, but they must be able to sing," Schumacher recalls.

Joel Schumacher and Andrew Lloyd Webber on the set of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

For the auditions, a set was built and the actors wore costume. Patrick Wilson (Raoul) was the first to be signed, then Gerard Butler (The Phantom), then Emmy Rossum (Christine). Rossum almost didn't get the part because her mother didn't want her to miss her family reunion. Luckily, Joel Schumacher was able to convince her to leave early in order to sing for Andrew Lloyd Webber. Rossum was much younger than her male counterparts, both of whom she kissed in the movie. At the time of shooting, Emmy was 17, Patrick Wilson was 30, and Gerard Butler was 34.

Michael Jackson wanted to play The Phantom in the film version. Jackson had a strong interest in musical theater and was a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage adaptation when he saw it open in New York in 1988. Jackson saw it several times and talked to Lloyd Webber backstage. However, Lloyd Webber said that although Jackson wanted to play the film version of The Phantom, Lloyd Webber felt that it was too early for "Phantom" to become a film because the stage musical had just opened at that time.

Joel Schumacher with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler at an event for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

The theatre fire was an actual fire. Joel Schumacher wanted realism, so they destroyed the theatre for the scene.

Prior to the making of the film, Gerard Butler never had a proper singing lesson, so when he was recording "Music of the Night," he said, "it was quite difficult, considering how long you have to hold the ending note." Andrew Lloyd Webber composed 15 minutes of new music for the film. Some of it was reused in his stage sequel “Love Never Dies” in 2007. The film’s score was played by a 105-piece orchestra. Sony Classical released the film’s soundtrack, in both single and double-CD versions.

The $70 million production did not do well with the critics or at the U.S. box office, grossing only $51 million. Foreign grosses were better, adding another $103 million, putting the film into the black.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 4:08 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE NUMBER 23 was a mystery in which “Walter Sparrow” (Jim Carrey) becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.

The plot is largely based on the philosophical writings of William S. Burroughs, who came to believe that the number 23 held mystical significance after encountering it during significant moments in his life. Burroughs eventually wrote the screenplay "The Last Words of Dutch Schultz" around this concept, in which he used the deathbed ramblings of mobster Dutch Schultz as a springboard for telling a story based around Schultz's life - which, in Burrough's vision, revolved around recurrences of the number 23.

Following along with this, Jim Carrey claims to have been obsessed with the number 23 long before being a part of the movie. His production company is called JC 23 Entertainment. It was a coincidence that his father was an accountant and he played the saxophone, like his character in the movie. Carrey was paid exactly $23 million for his appearance in the film.

Joel Schumacher directed the $30 million production, which grossed $78 million worldwide. Harry Gregson-Williams’ score was released by New Line Records in the U.S. and Silva Screen in the UK.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 4:32 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

BLOOD CREEK was a horror film in which a man and his brother (Henry Cavill and Dominic Purcell), on a mission of revenge, become trapped in a harrowing occult experiment dating back to the Third Reich.

Co-producer Robert Bernacchi (far left) and Joel Schumacher (far right) on the set of BLOOD CREEK

Director Joel Schumacher and screenwriter David Kajganich had a falling out over all the changes Schumacher wanted in the script (not unlike what happened between Schumacher and Andrew Kevin Walker on EIGHT MILLIMETER (1999)). Schumacher won and re-wrote parts of the script himself.

Michael Fassbender was excited to work with Schumacher, whom he cited as one of his favorite directors. The 2009 film barely had a release, earning just $211,000 at the box office, with most of that coming from overseas. David Buckley’s score has not had a release.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 4:36 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

23. An interesting number, indeed. It is the 9th prime number. With the exeptions of 2 and 3 (the very first 2 primes), all the following 6 odd numbers up to but not including 23 are primes, other than the 3 odd numbers (9, 15 & 21) that can be divided by 3. These 3 pairs are 5 & 7, 11 & 13 and 17 & 19. The square of 3 is 9.

I last saw Emmy Rossum in Cold Pursuit, the umpteenth Liam Neeson 'last man standing' flick.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 6:43 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

On the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the boarding school generation is home for vacation, their pockets flush with cash passed along by parents who want them out of their sight. Self-absorbed, beautiful, and drawn to ugly behavior, the teens are ready to party the night away, consumed with acquiring popularity and drugs. Enter “White Mike” (Chace Crawford), a promising college student destroyed by the death of his mother, taking to the business of drug dealing to pay the bills, supplied by volatile pusher “Lionel” (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). “Jessica” (Emily Meade) is a dim-bulb with plenty of cash, soon finding herself desperately hooked on TWELVE, a liquid designer drug. Also floating around this world is “Chris” (Rory Culkin), a virgin who’d love nothing more than to be deflowered by snotty heartbreaker “Sara” (Esti Ginzburg); “Claude” (Billy Magnussen), Chris’s unstable juicer of a brother; and “Molly” (Emma Roberts), an innocent teen friend of White Mike who doesn’t have a clue he’s up to no good.

Director Joel Schumacher previously worked with Emma Roberts' aunt Julia Roberts on FLATLINERS (1990) and DYING YOUNG (1991). This was the fifth collaboration between Joel Schumacher and actor Kiefer Sutherland, who narrated this film.

With its young cast, this 2010 U.S.-French co-production was brought in on a budget of only $5 million. But it barely had a U.S. release, grossing just $184,000 stateside. Overseas saw a pickup of another $2.5 million, still leaving the enterprise in the red. Harry Gregson-Williams’ score has not had a release.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 7:03 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Slick salesman “Kyle Miller” (Nicolas Cage) deals in diamonds to support his lovely wife “Sarah” (Nicole Kidman) and pretty teen daughter “Avery” (Liana Liberato). His work is interrupted one night when a quartet of burglars TRESPASS and invade the house, looking for loose diamonds and/or piles of cash. Their plan goes quickly awry when Kyle begins using his salesman’s skills to find an advantage. At first it looks like Kyle is merely trying to save his family, but eventually it becomes evident that he is trying to hide a desperate secret. Unfortunately, he's not the only one.

The 2011 film had a budget of $35 million. It was released simultaneously in theatres and on demand, with a limited theatrical run in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and seven other major markets. The U.S. theatrical release was a failure, generated grosses of only $24,094. The film was pulled from theaters after only ten days. Eighteen days later, it was on DVD. Overseas, however, the film grossed $10 million theatrically.

TRESPASS was Joel Schumacher’s final feature film. David Buckley’s score did not get a release.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 8:37 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Trespass reminds me almost overwhelmingly of Firewall, and vice-versa.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2020 - 9:45 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Joel Schumacher did not decide to pursue a career in film-making until he was in his early thirties. He cited David Lean’s 1946 version of GREAT EXPECTATIONs, which he saw as a child, with inspiring him to become a director.

Schumacher once remarked: “Sometimes I'm asked if there's homophobia in Hollywood. There's homophobia everywhere on planet Earth, just like there's racism and sexism and anti-Semitism, and such stupidity isn't checked at the gate at the movie studio. But the difference in show business is, if you can make money for people, they don't care what you do. They don't care if you screw yaks in the middle of the street. They'll even buy you a yak.”

On a more serious note: “I think I'm one of the luckiest people that ever lived. I got my dream. I got it so much bigger than even I could have dreamed it. You know, I'm just a kid whose parents died very young who was on his own and grew up behind a movie theater before TV, and I wanted to tell those stories, and look what happened.”

Because of film, we can all look at what happened. Thanks, Joel, for all the stories.

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