A news roundup, as we head into the weekend. (Well, as I head into the weekend. Taking Friday off. I work a lot of evenings. This weekend I really need to buckle down and read “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” Among other things. Why am I writing such short sentences? Never mind.)
— Congratulations to everyone involved with “Safety Not Guaranteed,” which was shot this past spring in many Washington State locations (including several in Seattle) and has many locals on its crew, including co-producer Lacey Leavitt (“The Off Hours”). The film was accepted this week into the dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, which begins January 19 in Park City, Utah.
— The National Board of Review, no doubt pouting because the New York Film Critics Circle stole their thunder this year, has announced their yearend list: Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” wins for best picture and best director, with George Clooney (“The Descendants” taking best actor, Tilda Swinton (“We Need To Talk About Kevin”) best actress, Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) supporting actor, Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”) supporting actress, and “The Descendants” and “50/50” winning the screenplay awards. And who exactly are the National Board of Review, you ask? A group of “knowledgeable film enthusiasts, filmmakers, academics and students,” according to their website — and a group previously best known for publishing the year’s earliest best-of list.
— And should you need something cheery to read this afternoon, you can do a lot worse than perusing The Hollywood Reporter’s roundtable discussion (you can either read or watch on video) with George Clooney, Albert Brooks, Christopher Plummer, Christoph Waltz, Nick Nolte and Gary Oldman, a group of gentlemen who I devoutly hope will some day buy me a drink. Read and learn about Plummer’s fondness for mind-altering substances (even between acts at “King Lear”), Nolte’s secret about “48 Hours,” Brooks’ encounter with Jack Benny, and this charming reminder of why we all (but especially me) love George Clooney:
[Asked if acting is hard work] I cut tobacco for a living in Kentucky — that was hard work. I sold insurance door to door — that’s hard work. Acting is not hard work. If you’re lucky enough to be sitting at a table like this, you’ve been very lucky in your life. You caught the brass ring somewhere along the way. I’ve known a tremendous number of talented actors who didn’t get opportunities. Is it hard work? It’s long hours, but nobody wants to hear you complain. I remember I was selling women’s shoes at a department store, which is a lousy job. It sounds like it’d be great, but it wasn’t elegant shoes. It was 80-year-old women [saying], “That’s a hammertoe!” You’re like, “I don’t want to see that!” I remember I would hear of famous stars complaining in Hollywood about how hard their life was — I didn’t want to hear that. So I don’t find it difficult. I find it challenging, and sometimes I’m very bad at it, but I don’t find it hard.