Anniversary celebrations became something of a staple at last years Tribeca Film Festival after audiences were treated to (and blown away by) a special 45th anniversary cast-and-crew reunion of Francis Coppola’s mafia epic, The Godfather. This year, however, audiences will be treated to not one, but two cast reunions from two equally impressive cinematic icons, Brian De Palma’s Scarface and Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust drama Schindler’s List. De Palma and actors Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer are set to reunite for a special screening of Scarface at the Beacon Theater on April 19th. The same venue will also host a screening of Schindler’s List on April 26th, along with a discussion panel with director Steven Spielberg and actors Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Embeth Davidtz. The 17th annual Tribeca celebration will also host Tribeca Talks: The Directors Series and Tribeca Talks: Storytellers with directors and actors like Alexander Payne, Laura Poitras, Bradley Cooper, Spike Lee, and Alec Baldwin, as well as a Tribeca Talks: The Journey panel highlighting Sarah Jessica Parker. Tickets for the 2018 celebration are on sale now.
With the biggest night in Hollywood quickly approaching, and all the controversy surrounding this year’s nominee selections, we thought it would be appropriate to look at some historical actors that have either boycotted the Oscar ceremonies, or blatantly returned the award to the Academy. The first incident that comes to mind is Marlon Brando‘s famous refusal to accept the Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather in 1973. He completely skipped the ceremony and had a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather refuse the award on his behalf in the name of Native American rights. George C. Scott also famously boycotted the Oscars when he won for Patton, even returning the award the next day when it was presented to him after the ceremony. Although it’s never really a surprise, Woody Allen has rarely ever attended an Academy Award ceremony, even though he has won numerous times for films like Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, and Hannah and Her Sisters. Paul Newman also refused to attend the Oscar ceremony when he finally won after six previous nominations and two honorary awards. And finally, John Gieglud was also absent to accept the Supporting Actor award for Arthur in 1982, later writing that, “I really detest all that mutual congratulation baloney and the invidious comparisons which they invoke.” As for this year, director Spike Lee and acting couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith already said they would boycott the ceremony, owing to the lack of ethnic diversity amongst this year’s nominees, but they have since rescinded following the Academy’s pledge to diversify its membership by 2020. Hopefully we’ll see some drastic improvements in the upcoming years, as it’s definitely been long overdue in Hollywood. Stay tuned.
Director Spike Lee‘s update of Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata set in the violent streets of modern-day Chicago titled Chi-Raq is opening in theaters today. Set primarily in Chicago’s Southside, the film utilizes modern gang violence to tell Aristophanes’ tale of a group of women who decide to keep sex from their male counterparts in order to encourage them to stop the street violence that is destroying their homes and families. Lee adapted the screenplay with writer Kevin Willmott (The Battle for Bunker Hill, Jayhawkers), which features actors Nick Cannon (Bobby, Day of the Dead), Teyonah Parris (How Do You Know, They Came Together), Wesley Snipes (Blade, Demolition Man), Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers, Unbreakable), John Cusack (The Raven, Hot Tub Time Machine), and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, Lullaby). For Hudson, the film carries a unique weight: she has lost three family members to the gun-violence dividing the streets of Chicago. Comedy veteran Dave Chappelle (The Chappelle Show, The Nutty Professor) is also expected to make an appearance. The trailer is here on MADE; check it out in theaters today.
Chicago Police investigate a shooting on Chicago’s southside.
Chicagoans may have noticed all the crazy traffic that surrounded the Wicker Park neighborhood today (June 2nd). The cause? Controversial film director Spike Lee (Malcolm X, Inside Man) is in town at the intersection of North and Milwaukee Avenue beginning principle photography for his new drama Chiraq. The film has already been the subject of much scrutiny owing to the implications of its title, and the graphic nature of the violence in Chicago that is expected to be the film’s main focus. Making up the cast are actors Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained), John Cusack (Hot Tub Time Machine, The Raven), Jeremy Piven (Old School, Entourage), Common (Now You See Me, Selma), and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, Empire), with rapper Kanye West rumored to also be in the cast. Details on the plot are still pretty vague, but the film has been in production for sometime now, and this is likely only one location that will be used for film locations. The film is due out in theaters in 2016. Stay tuned.
A few weeks back rumors began swirling that Spike Lee & Ray Allen could possibly be linking back up for “He Got Game 2”. With the NBA testing out it’s “nickname” jerseys, Ray Allen saw the perfect opportunity to showcase the legendary “J.Shuttlesworth” on the back of his jersey. This again has the rumor mills spinning as many believe this is a sign of things to come, no official word on the movie yet but it sounds like it could really happen. Keep an eye out for more info as it comes in.