Art

Lemons and lemonade

For three decades, Anna-Jane Casey has been a West End leading lady. But her new role is a good deal less glamorous.Casey is working as a delivery driver, earning £1 per parcel, after the shutdown of the arts left her – like thousands of others in the industry – unable to do the job she loves.

Since June, Casey has been working for a courier company with her husband and fellow actor, Graham MacDuff.
It is a far cry from Casey’s West End career, which has included playing Velma Kelly in Chicago, Anita in West Side Story and Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot.

“I’ve been acting since I was 10 years old, I’ve paid tax for all that time. And yet you’re telling me that my industry isn’t viable, and that I should probably retrain and do something else? Well, that’s not what I’m going to do,” Casey said. “But I have a mortgage and two kids, so I need a job right now.”

Given that acting has survived a couple of thousand years as a profession so far I don’t think it’s going to entirely closedown. It might well change of course.

As to other jobs while resting, that’s hardly unusual now, is it?

Tee Hee

After Cool Runnings I not only got sent a lot of similar sports screenplays, but also every family movie being made. It got so bad that at one point I received a script called Amanda. Without reading a word, I picked up the phone and said to my agent: “What kind of animal is it, and what’s wrong with the kid?” There was a long pause before the reply came: “It’s a horse and a brain tumour.”

Isn’t this fun about the Oscars?

The film academy has established four broad representation categories: on screen; among the crew; at the studio; and in opportunities for training and advancement in other aspects of the film’s development and release. To be considered for best picture, films will have to meet two of the four new standards, the Academy said.

Each standard has detailed subcategories as well. To meet the onscreen representation standard, a film must either have at least one lead character or a significant supporting character be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; at least 30% of secondary roles must be from two underrepresented groups; or the main storyline, theme or narrative must be focused on an underrepresented group. According to the academy, underrepresented groups include women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people or people with disabilities.

By which standard Birdman would not be eligible and Gone With The Wind would be.

Mebbe they’re going just a little far

An example of the new thinking to address perceived imperial connections to science was a paper penned by a curator and shared with staff, which claimed “science, racism, and colonial power were inherently entwined”.

The work further argues that “museums were put in place to legitimise a racist ideology”, that “covert racism exists in the gaps between the displays”, and as a result collections need to be decolonised.

The executive board of the museum is understood to be “very engaged with the many issues and questions it highlights”.

Legacies that may fall foul of the shift in opinion might be the exotic birds of Darwin and Captain Robert Fitzroy, as their shared journey to South American was “enable greater British control” of the region, according to the paper shared with staff.

Especially since, you know, Britain never did colonise nor control the region? Latin America remaining Latin. Other than British Guyana which is at the other end of that very continent.

There could also be calls for specimens gathered by Sir Joseph Banks to be addressed, as the botanist sailed with Captain James Cook on the Endeavor voyage in the service of the British Empire.

We’re getting to a corollary of pecunia non olet here. Stuffed birds are stuffed birds. How and why we got them is vastly less important than the fact we have them.

These people are weird

To a degree, every one of Disney’s recent string of live-action adaptations of its animated classics has had to justify itself — its reason for existing. The many films Disney has tried to put new spins on have ranged from beloved ’90s films whose remakes failed to serve much purpose, like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, to older films, like Dumbo and The Jungle Book, which unquestionably benefited from applying more progressive contemporary lenses to their initially problematic tellings.

They seem to think that movies – whether you consider them to be art or business – is to advance the project. Instead of, you know, to make money for shareholders?

Hmm, OK, and?

The National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House are facing financial collapse because of the pandemic and are jointly calling upon the government to throw out a lifeline.

“It is really serious now,” said Greg Doran, the artistic director of the RSC. “And if we lose our performance culture, we lose it for good.” The leaders of the theatres also warn that while they struggle to stay afloat, the whole performing arts sector is in “huge jeopardy”, and that without swift action there will be little left for audiences to see across the country when restrictions are lifted.

If this was a profitable sector laid low by he emergency then we would have one answer – temporary support until the end of the emergency perhaps. As it’s a chronically loss making sector, never does make a profit, then why bother?

Richard E Grant wants to throw gay actors out of work

No, really, he does:

Richard E Grant believes that straight actors should not play gay characters.

The Oscar-nominated star is opposed to what he sees as heterosexual performers taking the parts of their homosexual colleagues.

The portion of the acting profession that professes gayness is rather higher than that of the general population. Rather higher than that prevailing among the parts being played. Thus to insist upon casting by sexuality is to deny many gay actors work.

For this will work both ways, right? If the cis and hetero cannot take parts that are not cis and or hetero then those not cis or hetero cannot take parts which are?

From a PR email

From the team that brought you Snow White And The Seven Poofs and A Lad In Soho, we are please to announce a brand new show for 2019: Jack And His Giant Bigstalk in aid of the Terrance Higgins Trust.

Well, yes, except it’s Terrence Higgins….

This one is easy

From romcoms to Marvel blockbusters, east Asian actors are enjoying unprecedented success. What’s taken the film industry so long?

It’s a business. They’ve been waiting for East Asians to have enough money to make it worthwhile having actors for the audience – paying audience – to identify with.

If China were still poor then it would be back to Fu Manchu.

Numbers are difficult things, aren’t they?

Your story completely misconstrues the intention of the guide, which is seeking to redress the current lack of representation of the LGBT+ community in the arts.

What lack of representation?

John Gielgud and Ian McKellen give us our 2% gay among the theatrical knights, Redgrave gives us the bi- we need for balance.

Or to be a little less obtuse about it, current population numbers tell us that 2 to 3% of men are gay, 1 to 2% of women are lesbian and some few thousand out of 65 million of us are trans. And someone, somewhere, wants to try and tell us, with a straight face, that the portions, percentages, among artistes are lower than this?

Rilly?

One for Bloke on the M4

That lack of female directors. Our man from Swindon keeps telling us that the original break these days comes not from being noted but forcing people to take note:

So he did, though, of course, that was much easier said than done. The biggest hurdle standing between most first-timers and the realization of their vision has always been money, and that was no different in Youmans’ case. He cobbled together a budget by taking a little here and a little there. “I put all of my savings into the film, which was around twenty-five hundred bucks,” he recalls. “I cashed out a lot of savings bonds that I’d gotten from family members. I was working at a beignet stand in City Park that’s no longer in operation now; it turned into another Café du Monde. It was quick, and a lot of cash for a high school job. I was stacking that up in the months leading to principal photography, and then me and my producer Mose Mayer started an Indiegogo. Started pooling from my family, some of Mose’s family donated a bit too, and that was enough to get us through production. We never had extra funds. There was a lot of stuff we needed to get for free.”

That first film can indeed be made on a shoestring.

A slight problem here

“This whole country is a strip club. You got people tossing the money and people doing the dance.” So proclaims Jennifer Lopez’s wily stripper turned con artist, Ramona, in Hustlers, which raked in $33.2m (£26.6m) in the US on its opening weekend, making it J-Lo’s biggest opening weekend for a live-action movie.

Hustlers is a pretty decent film about a pretty indecent proposal – namely that Ramona and her colleague, Destiny (Constance Wu), drug and steal from their moneyed clients in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

But it’s also something else: proof that, until now, praise of J-Lo’s acting talents have been confined to a few standout performances, such as her acclaimed role opposite George Clooney in Out of Sight (1998). For every triumph (see also her 1997 turn as the Mexican-American singer Selena), Lopez has been served up a total stinker of a role by Hollywood, from Gigli (a film the Guardian described as “catastrophic”) to The Back-Up Plan, a film so by-the-numbers that they may as well have projected mathematical formulae on to cinema screens. She has often been confined to perfunctory romcom territory, cliched Latina territory or both (see the sub-Pretty Woman action of Maid in Manhattan).

I’m under the impression that actors get to choose the roles they’ll do. Thus the complaint should be that Lopez – and or her advisers – choose stinkers.

There’s snowflake for you

Summertime in San Sebastián rekindled the annual debate about the strains created by excessive tourism. This year, though, residents of the Basque provincial capital have also had to put up with our city being turned into the latest Woody Allen film set. The movie, Rifkin’s Festival, is about a couple who fall in love while in town for the San Sebastián film festival, drawing on the annual event (this year’s begins on 20 September) as the backdrop to a romantic comedy.

At a time when Allen is being shunned by many people in film, the veteran director has seemingly found a reliable ally in his Spanish partner Mediapro. The company ishandling the co-production and distribution of Rifkin’s Festival, just as it did with Allen’s previous movie endeavours Midnight in Paris and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, among others. Whatever the legitimacy of the #MeToo movement’s calls for an Allen artistic boycott, the impact his film could have on the urban fabric of the city is currently of greater concern to many of us in San Sebastián, a city which has been undergoing a metamorphosis since hosting the European capital of culture in 2016.

Cultural sorta place which hosts film festival complains about cultural film being made there.

Now that’s luvvie snowflake.

Comment of the Day

Relating to how the Festival is killing Edinburgh.

Cancel the festival then.

I’ve got a campaign slogan for you ‘Make Edinburgh Grimsby Again’

Then you’ll all be happy, happy as the residents of Grimsby who do not suffer from such afflictions as vibrant trade and culture.

From Rob H

As has been pointed out around here

A very large number of plots used in the past simply don’t work these days because cellphones. You’ve got to start inventing batteries dying, no access to electricity, wandering into an area with no coverage. Even, in a recent novel, the holding place of the good guy being built as a Faraday Cage.

That is, you’ve got to stretch credulity into order to make many plot points work:

Disney has announced that it is to remake Home Alone, almost three decades after the original version hit cinemas. Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, said the film would be revived as a result of the company’s $71.3 billion (£58.7bn) acquisition in March of 20th Century Fox, which made the Macaulay Culkin original.

Mr Iger said Disney was “focused on leveraging Fox’s vast library of great titles to further enrich the content mix”, adding that his company planned to remake popular Fox films including Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cheaper by the Dozen for “a new generation.”

The news was greeted with dismay by many fans of the original. Vice published an article headlined: “Disney Is Trying to Remake ‘Home Alone’ and Must Be Stopped”, and film executive Franklin Leonard tweeted: “Prayers up for the writers who have to solve the cell phone problem in a rebooted Home Alone.”

Well, yes.