August 19, 2014

It was only a matter of time before Adam Driver booked his first major magazine cover, and thanks to GQ that time is NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Driver, who’s off in London shooting a student film, is enjoying about as much success as any actor can hope for. After the student film wraps, he’ll head to a galaxy far, far away to shoot Martin Scorsese’s religious drama, Silence. He’s also got the fourth season if Girls coming up, and recently moved out of his beautiful Brooklyn Heights apartment because the rent was probably too low. That’s how good things are for Adam Driver right now. Why then, does he hate the world and life so much? Here’s what a told GQ:

“Life’s shitty, and we’re all gonna die. You have friends, and they die. You have a disease, someone you care about has a disease, Wall Street people are scamming everyone, the poor get poorer, the rich get richer. That’s what we’re surrounded by all the time. We don’t understand why we’re here, no one’s giving us an answer, religion is vague, your parents can’t help because they’re just people, and it’s all terrible, and there’s no meaning to anything. What a terrible thing to process! Every. Day. And then you go to sleep. But then sometimes, things can suspend themselves for like a minute, and then every once in a while there’s something where you find a connection.”

If Adam Driver thinks life is so bad, he should spend a day in my shoes only that he can’t because I left them in my friend’s car last Sunday and have been wearing one-year-old boots instead. That my friends, is true misery.

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August 18, 2014

Jeff Bridges, otherwise known as The Last American Hero, has a new movie out, a dystopian drama called The Giver. Bridges had been trying to get the movie made for almost two decades, finally scoring a juggernaut cast that includes Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift, and Katie Holmes. But the movie, which is based on a YA novel from 1993, only grossed $12.8 million at the weekend box office, good enough for fifth place. So while Bridges might be feeling melancholy today—it’s not everyday the moviegoing public rejects your passion project—let’s flashback to happier times, namely his appearance last week on The Howard Stern Show, where Bridges spent much of the interview laughing a very high-pitched laugh. Stern cut together a soundbite of all of Bridges’ laughs from his appearance, and the resulting clip is adorable, strange, and hypnotic.

And here’s a short film we made with The Dude a little while back:

Jeff Bridges in “Concocting Cinema” from BULLETT MEDIA on Vimeo.

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August 15, 2014

Jeff Baena is the mind behind the heady and challenging screenplay for David O. Russell’s 2004 existential comedy, I Heart Huckabees. After the kind of setbacks that come with the Hollywood territory, Baena has finally got  his newest movie, Life After Beth, made. Starring his girlfriend Plaza, John C. Reilly, and Dane DeHaan, the film is a horror comedy about a young man whose deceased girlfriend is miraculously reincarnated. There’s just one hitch: she’s come back to life as a zombie. Distributed by A24, the film is receiving a limited theatrical run this weekend and can be watched on DirecTV now. Baena took some time to speak with us last week about the tightknit cast on set, inspiring filmmakers, and his directorial process.

A decade ago you co-wrote I Heart Huckabees with David O. Russell. What have you been up to in that time?
Writing some original stuff for studios that either gets made and I don’t get credit, or doesn’t get made. So a lot of writing primarily. 

Considering Life After Beth did get made, was the process any different?
Well I wrote back in 2003, and almost made it back in 2003, and then it fell apart. So I just shelved for 10 or 11 years. Then Aubrey’s agent mentioned that it may be something right for her, and once he said that, it kind of clicked in my head that it would be absolutely perfect. So we got her on board and then we got John C. Reilly on board and we just started filling out the roles and made it. 

Have you had any experience directing?
Yeah, I went to NYU Film School.

Was it daunting working with these talented performers as the freshman filmmaker?
It wasn’t that daunting. I don’t think directing is that hard, you just focus on the project at hand and you’re problem solving and making creative choices. And I like doing both of those things at all times so it’s really exciting. I think beforehand I was maybe worried or concerned that we didn’t have enough time or enough money. But we did a lot of preparation.

Were there any films you were drawing from or thinking of when writing Life After Beth?
I don’t know if there was anything that specifically influenced it. Movies that affected me deeply around the time I was writing it are Robert Altman and Michael Ritchie films. David Lynch and some Woody Allen. I wasn’t trying to imitate a style when I was making it. I was just trying to tell a story.

You wrote the film in 2003 and began directing in 2013, I imagine with that much time you made some alterations in between then …
You know, it was like a time capsule. When I went back and looked at it I didn’t actually change too much from when we went to film it. Obviously horror comedies have come out since. But I figured ours with a pure thing. I didn’t think it was that similar to the other movies that have come out. So I figured if I started overthinking things it would loose its original thrust. In the final draft there were really minor edits that had to be made. For instance, there were some references to George W. Bush that I had to take out.

Most directors would dream to have this sort of cast. Did you have these people in mind from the outset?
I came up with a list of people that I wanted to approach and then luckily most of the people we approached immediately responded and we really didn’t have to go to the second or third people. It was pretty much the first choices we were able to secure.

It’s rare for things to go so smoothly on a film set.
Yeah everyone was great. Everyone really loved everyone. There was a real closeness with the actors amongst each other and with me. Even when we were up at Sundance and showing the movie we all got back together. There was a warm feeling amongst everyone.

As a writer/director, who have been some of the people that inspired you to make movies?
So a laundry list of people …. Federico Fellini, Werner Herzog, David Lynch, Woody Allen, Woody Allen, Michael Richie, Robert Altman, Hal Ashby, Spike Lee.

Everyone develops their own interpretations of films, which is what makes this medium endlessly interesting. But I’m curious, what do you believe your film means and says?
For me it’s just a subjective, personal approach to a type of movie we’re so familiar with seeing on a macro-level. I wanted to delve into some of the more interpersonal dynamics and emotional terrain of dealing with such traumatic events that you often so. So I wanted to approach it from a more myopic perspective. All the stuff that you normally see becomes more peripheral and subordinated.

What’s next for you?
Well I’m adopting an autobiography by Krystle Cole called Lysergic that hopefully I’ll be shooting next summer.

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August 14, 2014

Since there doesn’t seem to be anything else of import going on around the country or the world today, let us turn our attention to the world of celebrity siblings and their exploits in the restaurant scene of New York. You will hopefully not be that familiar with the story of Kendall Jenner and her alleged cash-throwing fit from last week. According to a waitress at Mercer Kitchen, (Blaine Morris, also an actress on the MTV show Skins, which exists), Jenner and her pal Hailey Baldwin absconded without paying her bill when she was denied alcohol (she’s only 18!). Jenner is then said to have thrown a handful of cash at Baldwin when confronted, then laughed about the whole thing all the while twirling her mustache like a cartoon villain.

But it doesn’t stop there! TMZ has obtained a letter from Jenner’s lawyer in which she denies throwing the cash. http://www.tmz.com/2014/08/14/kendall-jenner-marty-singer-threw-money-waitress/

The letter, from Jenner’s lawyer, reads, in part “Although you are working as a waitress at Mercer Kitchen, I understand you are also a struggling actress…You no doubt concocted a fictionalized account of your encounter with my client in order to create publicity for yourself.”

Nice. God have mercy on all of our souls.

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August 14, 2014

First he cast the world’s only two headed woman, and now Ryan Murphy has inked the world’s shortest woman Jyoti Amge to the fourth season of his anthology series, American Horror Story. The Guinness Book of World Records has the Indian-born Amge at just over two feet tall, making her the world’s shortest woman by country mile. No word yet on who she’ll play, but the season, which is subtitled Freak Show, is set at carnival in Jupiter, Florida, in the year 1950, so we’re guessing that Amge will be playing a Ferris wheel. Murphy tweeted out a wonderful photo of Amge with Horror Story‘s high priestess Jessica Lange that we can all look at and enjoy together. 

And here is a photo of Amge with some classmates, for scaling purposes.

jyoti-amge-worlds-smallest-girl-pic-barcroft-688355140

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August 14, 2014

We hate Jimmy Fallon’s Ew! sketch. It’s stupid, annoying, and not funny. We are however, obsessed with Taylor Swift (and have the restraining order to prove it), which is why we woke up this morning feeling things like confusion and existential terror. Our one and only appeared on the The Tonight Show last night, and somehow, probably through backstage intimidation tactics, Jimmy Fallon convinced our Taylor to appear in his latest Ew! sketch, where she’s forced to play out the worst kind of nerd stereotypes. Ew is right!

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August 13, 2014

The death of Robin Williams reverberated on the late night talk show circuit last night, as fellow comedians Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers each had the chance to acknowledge the man who no doubt influenced their careers in one way or another. Fallon, fighting back tears, broke out into a pitch-perfect Williams impression and then, illustrating his “divine madness,” showed a clip of Williams’ first appearance on The Tonight Show. Meyers’ approach was a little more somber but no less sincere, urging people who need it to seek help for depression. Check them out below.

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August 12, 2014

Lauren Bacall, the Tony Award-winning, and Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominated actress has died at the age of 89. Known for frequently pairing with Humphrey Bogart in such films as 1944′s To Have and Have Not and 1946′s The Big Sleep, among many others, and for her memorable turn in the 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces, Bacall was the picture of moxie, beauty, and talent.

Read more here about her extraordinary career in Variety.

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August 12, 2014

The outpouring of grief has been overwhelming since news of Robin Williams’ death spread early yesterday evening. Actors, comedians, and filmmakers from all over have been sharing their experiences of working with Williams, but few have had the opportunity to do so when they were kids. Mara Wilson, Matthew Lawrence, and Lisa Jakub played the Hillard children in Mrs. Doubtfire, who are the reason Williams’ character disguises himself as a British nanny, so he could spend more time with them.

Each of them had their own reactions to the news of Williams’ sudden passing. Wilson, played the youngest Hillard and hasn’t acted since 2013, kept it simple with this tweet:

Jakub, who went on to star in Independence Day but hasn’t appeared in a movie since 2000, wrote a heartfelt thank you note to Williams, for standing up for her when she was kicked out of school for accepting the Mrs. Doubtfire job. Williams wrote a letter to her high school insisting Jakub be reinstated, and although it didn’t work, it showed the young actress that Williams had her back in a business where not many people did. “Even though I had not spoken with Robin in a very long time,” she wrote, “I always assumed there would be some future opportunity to tell him that his letter changed my life. It taught me that you stand up for the things that matter. And even if your attempts fail, you tried. You told the truth. You took care of your friends. You fought back.” You can see Williams’ letter to the high school below.

Screenshot 2014-08-12 at 1.06.47 PM

As for Matthew Lawrence, who seemed very excited about the prospect of a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel, does not have Twitter and has yet to make a public statement.

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August 12, 2014

Fox News anchor Shep Smith did his very best to eulogize Robin Williams with the grace and eloquence the actor deserved. He began by sharing this quote from Williams, reminding his audience that before he was a world famous comedian and actor, he was a father to three children:

“My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings. And a favorite book as a child? Growing up, it wasThe Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – I would read the whole C.S. Lewis series out loud to my kids. I was once reading to Zelda, and she said ‘don’t do any voices. Just read it as yourself.’ So I did, I just read it straight, and she said ‘that’s better.’”

But Smith couldn’t help himself. He asks a question we all ask ourselves when something this unimaginable happens: how can someone with three kids who they love so much take their own lives? Instead of letting his audience ponder such an unanswerable question, Smith offers up his own explanation, reminding everyone that yes, he is an asshole.

UPDATE: Smith has apologized:

I spent an entire hour talking about how much this man affected people’s lives and brought greatness to this world. I was just wondering aloud what could have made this man want to end it all. And it reminds us that we all have responsibility as friends and neighbors to help take responsibility to prevent this from happening. There are people who process suicide as a black-and white-issue. I don’t process anything as black-and-white.

I was sorry to read online the people who see the world in a black-and-white way, and to suggest that they might have a definitive analysis of why he did such a thing. What I wanted to do is celebrate his life and find some meaning in our own lives, since we often do know someone who is reaching out, and we have a responsibility to help that person — maybe a phone call or a door knock is in order.

But no matter how you process it: Look at what this family is going through. I would never presume to know anything about his private life. And if any of his family members and friends were to have seen me use the word “coward,” I would be horrified. I would just to apologize to the end of the earth to anyone who might think that I meant to openly call him a coward.

To the core of my being, I regret it. It just came out of my mouth. And I’m so sorry. And to anyone and their families who see that, I am sorry.

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