In today’s Movie News Roundup: Christopher Nolan wants Tenet to be the movie that brings audiences back; Robert De Niro plots a summer drive-in revival; and why The Mandalorian creators are well-suited to quarantine. Also: A horror movie that totally rejects the “Save the Cat” rules of screenwriting, and Val Kilmer’s crazy Batman story.
Sorry, Cat: The late screenwriter Blake Snyder said a screenplay needs “save the cat” moments that make you root for the protagonist — when he or she saves a cat, for example. We talked to the creators of the new horror film 1BR about their wholesale rejection of the “save the cat” concept, and many of the supposed rules of moviemaking.
Baby Yoda Is Wise Beyond His Years: The Hollywood Reporter says The Mandalorian‘s extensive use of video-wall technology — in which actors are shot in front of a video wall of scenery —lends itself well to quarantine because it doesn’t require travel. A less-expensive option is to have the actors sit in a wagon and paint trees on a background mural, connected to rollers, and turn it with a crank so it looks like the trees are moving. But don’t do it too fast or the actors will get dizzy.
July 17: Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman notes that studios are still planning to release Tenet and Mulan in July with the full knowledge that they could lose millions because of moviegoers’ fears of going to theaters. “I don’t know anyone in America who is pushing harder to get the theaters re-opened and to get his movie released than Chris Nolan,” says Imax CEO Richard Gelfond. Big films like Tenet or Mulan are the best hope of getting audiences back in the habit of seeing movies together. But July feels too soon for many in the industry, and no one wants a movie theater to spread COVID-19.
Hey, Robert De Niro Has a Great Idea: De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises is working with IMAX and AT&T on “Tribeca Drive-In,” a new drive-in entertainment series that will take place this summer at drive-in theatres nationwide. You know it’s gonna be good because they spell theaters “theatres.” It will kick off Thursday, July 25, and will feature a “curated selection of new, classic and independent films, as well as special music and sports events.” The full slate will be announced soon, but I, for one, would love to watch Tenet in my Super-Deluxe Front Seat of My Volkswagen Theatre.™
Hey, Robert De Niro Also Has Another Idea: He playfully told Stephen Colbert he’d like to play New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a movie when all this is over, but honestly I don’t want to watch a movie about this, ever. I would not watch it in a house, I would not watch it with a louse, I would not watch it in a box, I would not watch it with a fox. I would not watch it, Bobby D, don’t Irishman de-age into Cuomo for me.
Another Great Doc: All this week we’re talking about excellent documentaries that haven’t the attention they deserve due to film festival cancellations. Today: Finding Ying-Ying, in which first-time director Jiayan “Jenny” Shi traces the disappearance of Yingying Zhang, a University of Illinois student with whom Shi attended school in China. The footage Shi accesses is astonishing and infuriating, and the film offers a provocative look at the American criminal justice system through the eyes of Ying-Ying’s Chinese family.
Val Kilmer Forever: In a wonderful New York Times profile, Val Kilmer reveals that he had just visited a bat cave on the day in 1994 when his agent first asked him about playing Batman in Batman Forever. Holy Bat-cowinkydink, Val Kilmer.
If You Could Read My Mind: Gordon Lightfoot, like the late, great Bill Withers, has a song catalogue we’ve taken ridiculously for granted. My favorites include “Sundown” and “Carefree Highway,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” A new documentary about his life, named for his masterpiece, “If You Could Read My Mind,” will be released soon, and we can’t wait. (Hey, if someone someday makes a Gordon Lightfoot movie where they Irishman-style age him up and down, would your dream casting be Chris Pratt or Bryan Cranston? There’s no feature film that I know of. I’m just asking.)
Here’s the trailer for If You Could Read My Mind: