Wednesday, March 21, 2018

THE END OF HOLLYWOOD'S BLACKLIST?: RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE STATE OF THE "MYTHICAL" LIST AFTER KATHY GRIFFIN, MIRA SORVINO, ANNABELLA SCIORRA's RECENT SUCCESSES.

So, in the past week or so, Annabella Sciorra got cast in "Marvel's Luke Cage", Mira Sorvino, on top of having six films in post-production at the moment, (Wow six films, really? Wow!), has been cast in CBS's high-profile pilot, "The Code", and Kathy Griffin sold out at Carnegie Hall. All three women had basically been relegated to Hollywood's infamous Blacklist, Sciorra and Sorvino were put there by Weinstein, 'cause of him, and Kathy Griffin, basically has burned most of her bridges that she still had, after bumbling through a stupid controversy involving a photo shoot with her holding up an image of Donald Trump's decapitated head. Then she the stupid, horrible thing and apologized for it. (God, it's hard enough teaching this to Lena Dunham, don't apologize for your "gaffs," real or imagined, you're not gonna make anything better.) To be fair, Kathy Griffin is probably still on several blacklists, although I suspect that she's gonna inevitably come out of this stronger than ever, if she hasn't already. The other two are far more interesting as they along with several, several others like Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan who yeah, were Blacklisted, basically because a sick fuck violated them and they objected to it. (Sigh) Hollywood really is sick.

Is this the end of the Blacklist? Well, I'm happy that the Blacklist is losing a few of it's members, and of course gaining a few who should've been on it a long time ago, but eh, we'll see. I'm not saying that things will calm down and we'll go back to the way it was, there's no putting this toothpaste back in the tube, and there's nothing negative about that, if anything the Blacklist is gonna more accurately depict, well, the people who should be blacklisted.

And BTW, when I talk this "Blacklist", there no official list or anything, let's be frank for a second Harvey Weinstein's reach in Hollywood was strong, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't unlimited. Look at Annabella Sciorra's IMDB page, it's not like she stopped working entirely after Weinstein blacklisted her, she still got regular enough work. Same with Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd too. I mean, did they get high-profile roles in big movies, no they didn't. We know for a fact that people were using tactics to dissuade others from hiring them, They might not have been in too many movies you recognize the titles of, but they were still working. I'm not saying this was good, essentially their livelyhood was compromised and in a sense, on top of everything else, Weinstein was stealing money from them for making sure they wouldn't get other roles they may have otherwise gotten. I'm just saying that there's nobody powerful enough in the entertainment industry who could actually threaten that they'll never work in this town again, and actually mean it.

Well... (Reluctant sigh), in theory, anyway, there isn't. In practice....

Okay, so, I'm going to talk for a little bit about somebody here, without expressly talking about him, 'cause I don't want to use specific names and I don't want to give away too much about what happened to this person.... Basically, I know somebody who was blacklisted from Hollywood. He was a Professor of mine from film school and he got blacklisted essentially because he was married to somebody who got blacklisted for awhile. She was blacklisted because, and again, I'm trying to say this without revealing too much but...- let's just say that she got into a high-profile disagreement with a major producer. One who's name you'd recognize, as a producer. I don't know how many producers names you'd recognize and think "He's a producer", but this is one of those guys. Anyway after all was said and done, she barely got any work for years and he, at a certain point got even less regular work and eventually went into teaching and became one of my professors.

This is by no means the worst story I've ever heard, that goes to the story of the camera operator on "The Twilight Zone: The Movie" that testified for the prosecution in that case; he really never got to work much again 'cause of that; which in hindsight makes Spielberg's declaration about #MeToo and #TimesUp a little hollow considering he a defendant in that case...- but-eh, the point I'm trying to going to make is that the true sign of the Blacklist is if people who are either, in the right in their disputes with the uber-elites of the town, (And yes, in the case I'm not mentioning above, she was in the right) and even those who, maybe do something they believe to be right despite such pressure and maybe some legitimate disagreement or complex morality arguments get in the way, if they also end up, working again, that probably be a step in the right direction.

Honestly, while I'm happy to see people I like coming off the blacklist,  I'm mostly happy to see that the Randall Miller's of the world are still on the Blacklist than anything else. I mean, it's also nice to see The Weinstein Company filing for bankruptcy but this is a changing of the guard and it's a good one, I'm just wondering what's going to happen the next time something that's a little more iffy comes up, not that easy calls but when this new group gets challenged regarding how they're running Hollywood. That's awhile away, but you know it's gonna happen eventually. It's easy to take out the truly disgusting and wretched ones, but you know, I still see the Casey Affleck's of the world have a few projects in different layers of development and major ones at that. Have we made a decision on him or are we still trying to thread that needle? I mean, we gave Kobe Bryant of all people an Oscar last year at the most #MeToo ceremony ever, we're still struggling to figure out where the line is.

I'm not saying one way or the other is the right one, I honestly don't know what's the best thing to do there. And look, if we start diving into everybody's, I assure you we're almost certainly gonna find something about them. It might not be anything so horrible as rape or sexual assault or throwing around their power and influence to blacklist but it's inevitable, something will eventually happen and...- We don't worry about that for now.

But, since we are in this, new era, where we're gonna be microscopically analyzing such things as who gets paid how much more than their other gender'd go-stars and those added to the blacklist are gonna be those who violate the trust of others and not those who's trust was violated, hopefully, what should we get? What are we going to be looking forward too? More leading roles for women in film and television, hopefully, if for no other reason than more television than ever, but in films too, this bizarre and fictitious notion that movies have to be male-centered or male-oriented or white male-oriented in order to succeed is hopefully gonna eradicate. That requires more than just stories though, that requires storytellers that are something other than white male getting major positions, films and projects. We're starting to have that come around. Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig,... we're starting to see that change, and we're going to start seeing some of the old rules and tropes be challenged if not outright die entirely. They're still using superheroes movies as the standard base unit of currency, so some changes happen right away, and others will take a little more time. It won't be "Black Panther" or "Wonder Woman" representing the real change either, it's gonna come from something else a few years down the line and it'll come out from seemingly nowhere, whatever it'll be. Those are remnants of what was already going on in Hollywood, progressive remnants sure, but still parts of already established cinematic franchises; I'm looking out for the project that represents the next generation. (It might be "Get Out" but, I'm still gonna suspect that something else will come along later.)

The Blacklist is never officially going away. Would what happened to the Person I know, if it had happened now would've gotten him and his wife blacklisted, almost definitely not. I honestly don't know what would've happened to "The Twilight Zone: The Movie" guy if that happened today. The way I always learned it in film school was that, when you get hired, show up early, show up prepared to work, do as much as you can, legally, (Unions laws) and whatever you do, don't ever say "You'll do anything," in case you run into one or two Weinstein's who decide to test out that theory. (Also, don't cross a border to pick up a package for someone.... If you know that story...)  After that, no matter what else you do, as long as your a professional on-set, you're pretty much guaranteed to find new work eventually. This is why Lindsay Lohan is persona non grata still, not because she's a trainwreck, there's plenty of people still working regularly who are just as bad if not worst on their own time, but they don't cost productions time & money. This is why you've barely seen her in anything in years; anybody that hires her is putting up a lot of money and taking a huge risk, 'cause she's not coverable by insurance companies anymore.

That's the kind of behavior that I was taught would get you blacklisted. And it still is; see, that's not gonna change by this, but it- it is going to seem weird when somebody's taken over by their inner demons costs them a job now. "Demons" used to just be code for addiction or personal issues, things that can cause problems to others but are mostly self-contained until their not.  Those people should be blacklisted if they cross the line too, but yeah, their crossing that line and Weinstein's playing jump rope with them are very, very different. It's the kind of thing that if anybody ever heard about it and only took a look at the headline and didn't follow the nuance, it probably wouldn't be publicly too good for Hollywood.

Most of us are worried about who's the next career to suddenly drop because of how they treated others, and there's a lot of contenders out there but, I wonder who is gonna be the next one to burn these new bridges, and suddenly disappear not because they're a piece of shit human being, but because there's too much trouble costing production companies money and delays on the set. Show up late, show up unprepared, or just be a general pariah on the set that doesn't do anything horrific, but actually is just, really difficult to work with. (That does happen a lot too; that's why those texts from Peter Jackson about how Weinstein had dissuaded him from casting Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd are so damning; when that's a legitimate claim, everybody will find out and hear about it, it will eventually come around to everybody. When it's not though, that really is maliciously derailing someone's career.)  Find out who the next [NAME DELETED] or as rumored by some, the next Brittany Murphy during the last couple years of her troubled life will be. How will that look when they get, what is essentially the same treatment than some of these other names are getting?

I guess that's what we will find out eventually. Eventually, hopefully this is all years away at worst and conjecture at best. It's gonna be an interesting thing to keep an eye on anyway.


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