Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clive Owen is in Rome and nobody told me?

Okay I usually don't post twice in one day but this is important. ha

I was walking past the Pantheon the other day and saw a location shoot. I didn't realize it was the movie with Clive and Julia Roberts. I thought that movie was shooing in NYC now.

Anyhoo. Clive is here in Rome. Perhaps it's for the best I didn't know earlier. Something like the following might have happened:

Me: Hello Clive, it's Ragazza. We had dinner with (former boss) to talk about blah, blah, blah, project? How are you?

Clive: (thinking to himself) "Who is this woman and where is security?"

Brett Ratner to direct Beverly Hills Cop 4? It's official. Hollywood has run out of ideas.

Why are we doing all these sequels and remaking movies from the 80s!! I get that someone born after 1980 might not know that the remake of FAME is remake but come on. RAMBO, INDY 4, etc. enough already. I loved the original FAME. Leave it alone. ha

Then today my friend sent me the following article from Variety:

Posted: Wed., May 28, 2008, 9:00pm PT
Eddie Murphy back in 'Beverly Hills'
Brett Ratner negotiating to direct 4th 'Cop' film
By MICHAEL FLEMING

On the heels of the successful revival of the "Indiana
Jones" franchise, Paramount has set in motion a fourth
installment of "Beverly Hills Cop."
Eddie Murphy is attached to reprise his role as
Detroit detective Axel Foley, and Brett Ratner is
negotiating to direct.

Studio is aiming for a 2009 production start and a
summer 2010 release.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce. Jerry
Bruckheimer, who produced the original "Beverly Hills
Cop" trilogy with late partner Don Simpson, won't be
actively involved in the new film.

Murphy approached the studio about reviving the
franchise that cemented his status as a B.O.
mega-star. Par brass were eager to land another
picture with Murphy after he finished the Karey
Kirkpatrick-directed "NowhereLand," which Paramount
releases in June 2009.

That film was also produced by Di Bonaventura, who is
working on the summer 2009 releases "G.I. Joe" and
"Transformers 2."

The studio canvassed a number of directors before
choosing Ratner. A writer will be hired shortly.

Released in 1984, the original "Beverly Hills Cop"
grossed $316 million worldwide and spawned two
sequels. All told, the three pics grossed $712.9
million worldwide. The last was released in 1994.

Murphy is currently toplining the Brian
Robbins-directed "A Thousand Words" for DreamWorks.

Ratner has been developing the Hugh Hefner biopic
"Playboy" for Universal and Imagine.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sydney Pollack 1934 -2008

I don't believe it even though I knew he had cancer. My heart goes out to his family, friends and two of my colleagues who work at Mirage Productions the company he co-owned with Anthony Minghella who died suddenly only a few months ago.

I feel like an era is over. He and Anthony championed smart movies for adults. Writers and actors loved working with them because they had a love for the arts and life.

I've only met Mr. Pollack a few times. Once at the '92 democratic convention when he was helping my former boss with a speech and two years ago he sat down with me. I went to see him because I was beyond frustrated in my Hollywood career and was thinking about just quitting. He was gracious, kind, inspiring yet very blunt about the sad state of Hollywood and filmmaking. When I would meet with colleagues at the Mirage offices we used to look at the Oscars, set photos (look at how young Babs and Redford are!) etc. and were not jaded.

He directed less toward the end of his career but continued acting. He recently acted in Michael Clayton which his company also produced. He was hilarious on the Sopranos and Entourage.

This quote from the NYT obit jumped out at me:

In his later years, Mr. Pollack appeared to relish his role as elder statesman. At various times he was executive director of the Actors Studio West, chairman of American Cinematheque and an advocate for artists’ rights.

He increasingly sounded wistful notes about the disappearance of the Hollywood he knew in his prime. “The middle ground is now gone,” Mr. Pollack said in the fall 1998 issue of New Perspectives Quarterly. He added, with a nod to a fellow filmmaker: “It is not impossible to make mainstream films which are really good. Costa-Gavras once said that accidents can happen.”

Yes they can.

Here is a clip from Tootsie which he directed and starred in. He will be missed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Are bloggers narcissists blabbering on about nothing?

You would think so reading the feedback to this controversial article in the upcoming Sunday New York Times. It's the cover story of the magazine section.

Now maybe the article is too long or perhaps a former editor of GAWKER is not the best person to talk about privacy issues in the age of Facebook/Myspace etc. However, some of the comments are fascinating. Many people seem to take issue with the fact that the Times would do a story like this period. I wonder if these people are older without children. Ms. Gould is 24. Her generation has a completely different relationship with new media than even people only 10 years older. I thought the article did bring up some interesting issues.

Also not all bloggers are people who don't interact with real humans by hiding behind a keyboard. Most the bloggers I know are actually very smart, curious and outgoing. That could be because of the blogs I'm drawn to but to dismiss the medium out right is strange. There are millions of blogs out there some are worth reading some are not.

Those who say it's ONLY a waste of time, clearly don't read any blogs. You could waste time or you could read Field Negro's blog for a great POV on race, politics, pop culture and the American way. You could read David Lebovitz's Paris blog and learn how to make some amazing desserts. Or Apartment Therapy for some home decorating tips. Cathy Horn's Fashion Blog for the New York Times is brilliant. The successful screenwriter John August has a blog that is helpful and entertaining. The possibilities are endless.

The hottest screenwriter in Hollywood right now is Diablo Cody. No blog, no JUNO. She is writing/exec producing a Showtime series that Steven Spielberg personally chose her to write and her new movie. JENNIFER'S BODY is shooting right now. Most writers are lucky if one of their screenplays ever gets made, three in a year and a half...that is rare. A manager named Mason Novick came across her blog and liked her writing. He encouraged her to finish a script. That script was JUNO. Say what you want about her, the movie, etc. simple fact the blog was an outlet for her writing. I'm sure at the time there was no way she would have imagined that typing her thoughts at a Walmart/Starbucks in the mid-west where she had NO hollywood connections would lead to her walking across the stage this year with the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

The first time I heard of blogging I was wonder why anyone did it. I have always had a journal but that is different. Nobody read that. Of course I had not read any at that point. Some friends kept telling me I should start one. I was skeptical. Who the heck cares what I have to say and I'm too freaking busy.

I realize blogging helped me get out of the insular world of my Hollywood life. The blogs I tend to follow are usually the expats in Italy group, politics/social commentary, food, film/books, fashion, home decor/design, photography or a combination. Some of the political/social commentary ones (which also sometimes discuss pop culture and how it's connected) really give me food for thought.

Now with the move to Rome my blog has maybe become a little more focused but I like that one day I could talk about the Clintons and their role in the Democrat Party and another day post a "rap" video from WHAM! There are times when I talk about more personal things. I feel like I did that more often in Los Angeles. I was going through a very tough time and I really think blogging was a more constructive way to channel my thoughts then doing the usual Hollywood thing. You know drugs, drinking too much, becoming a sex addict or getting a facelift.

As a first generation American who spent half my childhood in NYC and the other half in suburbia I have been exposed to very different cultures. I am curious about a lot of things and blogging is a way to feed those interests. It's not a replacement for human interaction and it will never be. I think that would be sad. I don't really understand Ms. Gould's need to "overshare" all the time. Again that might be a generational thing. She wanted to be famous.

I ask my fellow bloggers what made you decide to start a blog? What do you think about the privacy of the people in your life that you write about? Do they know you have a blog? How do they feel about it?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Randomissimo - Annoying street performers.

Is it wrong that I want to cause bodily harm to a mime and a young kid?

I was having aperitivi with a friend of a friend last week. The horrible mime my friend G warned me about was "performing." One of her friends lives in the area and said the mine gets indignant when people don't give him money. He came over to our table. She spoke so quickly in Italian I didn't understand what she said but he glared at her as if he was freaking Dexter Gordon and she called him Kenny G.

If you are going to perform on the street and ask for money please have some darn talent. There is a guy who plays the violin near the Pantheon. I like his music and the effort. I always give him money.

I love children. I really do. Wish I some of my own but my eggs have expired and I have no man. As Curtis Blow would say, "these are the breaks." Anyway, there is a young boy who sings in Campo de Fiori. I live a few BLOCKS from the piazza and yet I can hear him. He sings very loudly and off key. He is horrible. He sings the same damn songs a few times a day. His pitch is really bad when he hits his "crescendo" I want to cry. I don't know who is giving him or the mime with the stank attitude money. It must be tourists.

Maybe the boy is really nice, I don't know. Yesterday I was working and could hear him yelling (it's not singing) through closed windows. I wanted to grab my Macbook, walk over to the piazza and knock him out. Every day the same songs, he's drive me crazy.

Okay back to work. Hope you have nice day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Enough with this rain, You've Got Mail, SJP on the cover of Vogue

It's still raining.

My pitch had to be rescheduled for next week. Of course it's scheduled to rain on that day as well. Boh.

I do have a ton of things to do, like work on my script, run to the bank etc. but to be honest I really don't feel like doing a darn thing in this weather. It's kind of silly, what does rain have to do with whether or not I sit in my apartment and write? If I had my things from the states I would make some soup.

Yesterday morning, it looked like it was finally clearing up a bit so I went to work out. Fifteen minutes later as I was crossing over the Tiber, I got soaked. It started to pour. ha

Anyway a little bit of sunshine (sorry, couldn't be helped) came through the mail yesterday. Via my membership in Mediabistro.com I get NEW YORK MAGAZINE (one of my favorites) and WIRED for free. I had canceled or let all my other magazine subscriptions run out but I still had a year left on VOGUE and they forward it to my Italian address no problem. I received my June issue. I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.

I do buy Italian magazines but I get so frustrated that it takes me an hour to read an article in VANITY FAIR (here it's weekly). I really wanted to read and understand the post-election interview with Veltroni. With my dictionary I was able to finish it but mamma mia what was up with all the imperfect subjunctive (congiuntivo imperfetto)? I thought okay maybe Italian ELLE would be easier. Nope not really.

Here is the cover. Yes that is Chris Noth behind her. I have to post about SATC: The Movie (why are males studio execs surprised there is buzz for this movie?) some other time. I should get to work.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lo Shopping: C.U.C.I.N.A.

The correct way to say "to shop" in Italian is "fare le spese" but most people say "lo shopping." (See Kataroma and Homebody at Heart's comments below for clarification). Unfortunately, since I am a broke Ragazza, posts with this label will be few. I am optimistic however, that things will change. It would be beyond cruel for someone who loves fashion (esp. shoes and bags) and home decor to have to walk past such great opportunities and not participate. ha.

The first time I came to Rome I stayed in a hotel near Piazza del Popolo. I was lost in the little side streets near the Spanish Steps and walked into C.U.C.I.N.A. (the Italian word for kitchen). It's like a more streamlined Williams-Sonoma or the kitchen section of Crate and Barrel, two of my favoriete stores in the states.



This is a great place to pick up some Italian made gifts for your favorite cook or something for your own kitchen.

Go in with a budget because it's easy to walk out purchasing things you didn't know you wanted or needed. When I saw all the Microplanes I was like "yes!", then I remembered I acutally have one packed in my crate.

I read that it's not a good idea to leave pasta in the box after opening. You should put it in an air tight container. Well, I saw these and thought they were perfect. Functional and fits the decor of my kitchen.



Here is the website.

C.U.C.I.N.A. (come una cucina ispira nuovi appetiti) Rough translation: How the kitchen can inspire new appetites.
Via Mario de' Fiore 65
Metro: Spagna

Monday, May 19, 2008

I love Telecom Italia!!

Okay, I don't think that is a phrase heard often and I am sure I will be salty with them in the near future. However at this moment, I love them. Why you ask? It's because after seven weeks of living in Italy I am back online.

I connected my computer to the modem (directions in Italian...I am assuming I did it correctly). When I saw the Apple page come up after clicking on my Safari browser, it was as if the heavens opened up and the angels sang. haha

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mariah and Nick Cannon. WTF?

I don't have a TV or Internet in my apt. and the supermarkets here do not sell magazines at the check out stands. That is why I am a little late asking about this wedding. In L.A. it was pretty much impossible to escape celebrity gossip. Here I have really no idea what is going on and don't miss it to be honest. How many times did I need to see Jen's face on the cover of some magazine saying "I'm over Brad". No you are not if you keep freaking talking about. Let it go Jen. Move on.

What is wrong with Mariah? Nick Cannon?! Really and no prenup?

Monday, May 12, 2008

I got no sleep last night...thanks Inter!

Roma won yesterday's match. Inter (not to be called Inter Milan, hello) did not win theirs. So now Roma is only one point behind them. Inter could have won the league title two matches ago.

There is only one more game left. If Roma draws and Inter loses, Inter wins for the third year in a row because they have done better in head-to-head match ups. If Roma wins and Inter loses not sure what will happen. I don't want to ask G. He is a BIG Inter fan. He has been stressed the last few weekends over the games. I can't even talk to him about soccer/football. Poverino. (poor thing)

There is a cafe/bar down the street. I walked over to watch part of the game. The commentary from the viewers in the bar and on the street (what I could understand of it) was priceless. In the States soccer as a pro-sport is as popular as lacrosse. Everywhere else in the world it's a religion.

People were yelling so loudly when the Inter score came up. Later, I heard fans singing the Roma anthem/song until 2 in the freaking morning. I had all the windows shut tight...it did not matter.

Next weekend is going to be bananas.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Randomissimo - film shooting on my street.

I'm back at G.'s. He went out of town and since I still have the keys to his place, he said I could come over to use the Internet.

Yesterday I took a break from work to run to the supermarcato and saw a film crew on my street. My street is very narrow, so there was no way to avoid the crew. There were all these photographers standing around. I wondered what/who were they shooting? I heard an American accent. I looked to my right and there was Dennis Hopper walking back to the video monitors. Now that is hella random.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

No pressure?

My manager wants to know when am I turing in my re-worked script outline. Uhm soon?

I had a great follow-up meeting with the production company. They want me to come back and pitch my story idea and write up a treatment. Of course I will be pitching in English.

As an exec. I have heard hundreds of pitches. Being on the other side? This is my first time. One of my favorite screenwriters sent me an email with some good tips. Be enthusiastic and don't get bogged down in the details, hit the major beats of the story.

Obviously if the pitch doesn't go well, it's boring, it's too long, you forget what to say or you only sit there and read the treatment, you kill the project. No pressure!

I split the day working on the pitch/treatment before lunch and my other project, the script after. I have a lot of writing to do. Hopefully some day (very soon) I can actually make a living from the work that I do. That would be great.

The dollar still sucks. sigh.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yes!!! I have cleared two major hurdles.

It's so sad how accomplishing a simple task these days makes me feel like just finished the New York Marathon. It's like I'm a kid again learning how to freaking speak. The other day I called Telecom Italia and ordered phone/Internet service. I missed their call earlier because I was on the phone with my landlord. I asked if anyone spoke English (after apologizing for my poor Italian), the lady said I was doing fine and let's continue. After everything was done she said "Brava!" and have a good day. The tech should be coming in a week and a half to install everything. We'll see.

Yesterday I got to the Comune (town hall) over an hour early and there was already a line! A nice women gave us numbers which was smart because the minute the doors opened everyone started running and pushing. I recognized this obnoxious guy who cut in line last week and he tried to cut in front of me again. I don't know which county he was from but I was prepared to curse him out in English and Italian figuring he might know one or the other. The same officials were working and Mr. The-Shield-look-a-like nodded at me. The line cutter was really pushing me now and I yelled "dodici!!!" (the number 12) as if my life depended on it. Mr. Shield glared at the other man who had a number in the 30s and told him to let me through.

An hour later, my number was called. On Friday I couldn't apply because I didn't have insurance, or a job in Italy that would be paying into the National System. Thanks to two very helpful expats, I found out you can buy insurance at the Post Office. I am paying in a year what I paid in two months in the U.S. for basically the same kind of plan. I pay for all doctor's visits out of pocket, this insurance is to cover only hospital/major illness costs.

The man stamped my paperwork. Spoke not a word of English. I have decided to get over my fear of speaking and making mistakes. People here have been more than happy to help me when I make the effort. If I start completely falling apart they usually will switch to English if they know it or try to find a co-worker who does.

The next step is the police have to come by my apartment to make sure I actually live where I say I do. I think after that I should be getting my residency papers.

I'm at another cafe/bar in Trastevere using their WiFi. It is so nice out, I think I'm going to walk to my meeting later today. I have a follow up meeting at a production company regarding one of my script ideas.

I just received notes on my script from my manager. One good thing about not having a TV (or the Internet) is I have no distractions as I get ready for this re-write. I hope to finish it in a month or so.

Okay back to work.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A walk around the neighborhood: The Pantheon and Piazza Farnese

I live in between these two areas. Earlier I had posted some photos of places near my L.A. apartment here.

There is no Kitson in Rome but there is this:


and across the Piazza from a 2,000 year-old building is this:


Ha. Gotta love it. I wonder if the meat at McD's here is better. We had fast food once, yes only once, when I was growing up. The day we moved into our house, my dad went to Burger King. Other than that, no McDs, no Burger King, no Jack in the Box, etc. My mom was a nurse and West Indian. She would not allow that "junk" into the house. As kids we thought she was so mean depriving us of Happy Meals.

As an adult every so often I would get Mickey D's, like twice a year. However, after seeing "Super Size Me" and reading "Fast Food Nation" there really has to be nothing other places to eat before I eat fast food burgers again.


In the other direction I bump into this:


One of the fountains in Piazza Farnese. Here is some information about this beautiful piazza, now home to the French Embassy.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

"I'm sorry we have run out of numbers."

I went to the Comune (city hall) yesterday to apply for my residency. The office opens at 8:30 a.m. At 8:40 a.m. they were out of numbers. I had to go home.

I was delayed by a man from the sanitation department trying to explain to me in Italian that I had put my garbage in the wrong place. He was very nice and helpful but instead of getting to the office a few minutes early I arrived 10 minutes later.

One of the gruff looking officials (seriously, this man looked like the guy from "The Shield" but shorter) told me to make sure I get there very early next time when I asked him what time do they really open in the morning.

After years of never speaking to anyone at my bank in L.A. (I only used the ATMs) it's funny to me to walk into my bank here and "speak" to everyone. I put speak in quotes because half the time I have no idea what they are saying after the "come sta" (how are you) question. The people who work there, including the bank manager are so nice. The women who helped me open my account told me my Italian is improving.

I stopped by the market at Campo de Fiori. I have been checking out the various stands and I have found the ones that I like the most. I could write an entire post about the tomatoes I bought yesterday. I haven't smelled or tasted tomatoes that good since I moved from home. My dad used to grow them. I now realized the ones I used to buy in the supermarket tasted like rubber.

Last night went out for an aperitivo with some friends. G. met up with us. There were so many people out last night. It took me less than 10 minutes to walk home. It's such a different vibe from Los Angeles. I do not miss the over-priced valet parking, people with stuck up attitudes who ask you "what do you do" first so they can see if you are worthy of having a conversation with and talking about the "business" all the time.