Thursday, April 29, 2004


The 2004 MTV Movie Award noms are out and - I LOVE it! - Jim Caviezel is nominated for Best Male Performance for his role as Jesus in TPOTC! He is up against Tom Cruise for Last Samurai, Johnny Depp for Pirates, Adam Sandler for 50 First Dates and Bill Murray for Lost in Translation. These awards are completely fueled by the MTV audience which really, really adds to Hollywood's headache about trying to figure out who the hell likes this piece of dark, artistic, non-English, religious weirdness?! Anyway, can you imagine if Jim wins?!! I stood there and watched him lecture a secular audience at the DGA once about how everybody needed to say the rosary, go to confession and receive the "Precious Body and Blood of our Saviour as often as possible." If that happens on an MTV stage, it is defintiely, uneqivocably the official indisputable beginning of the absolute positive real end times.... Probably.

Peter Jackson, et al., are in talks to take over the production of a film based on Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. I haven't yet read the book although two different people have sent me copies. The story apparently has a spiritual element to it. It seems like a weird choice for Jackson who told me he cared about Tolkien's Christian themes "not an ounce." It also feels like a weird "out of genre" experience for a guy who made an epic bloody fantasy series and is currently prepping King Kong. Maybe Fran wants it. She seemed to me to be the most thoughtful of the Jackson creative triumvirate.

...I have a funny Christian friend who runs a "boutique" talent agency in town. She is writing a chapter for our upcoming book Greetings from the Church in Hollywood, and is going to try and explain the spiritual challenges of working in the middle of this incredibly competitive (read: "cut-throat") business. Being an agent is particularly grueling for a Christian. She said to me last night, "The fact is, I deal in human flesh!" Funny. She was relating to me that every time she grooms an actor and they start to find some real success, they get poached by one of the major agencies. It's just the way it is, and my friend has learned to accept that her job is to give the young actors she works with the most loving and principled foundation she can as they start out in the business. It's lovely, holy and saintly, and unseen except by God.

...There is a little bit of additional tension in the air in town these days as the Writers Guild is deep in contract negotiations with the networks and studios. The current Writers Guild contract expires Sunday, May 2. Most of the epidisodic television shows are on hiatus anyway, but it would affect all other television and the feature side of the business. Variety reports this week that "the two sides are nowhere near a deal." Obviously, this town runs on the work of its writers -- a strike could shut down a lot of projects and put a lot of people along with the writers out of work. Keep the negotiations in your prayers.

...The global porn industry, which is feuled principally from Los Angeles' San Fernando valley, is in crisis. One of the sex industry's "talent" has turned out to be HIV positive, and because he has had what the L.A. Times calls "work related contact" with 48 other, um, talent - ed types in his profession, the whole smut industry been shut down for six weeks. But that isn't the crisis. The crisis is that the L.A. Dept of Health just passed a regulation that the smut industry should require its, um, workers, to wear condoms - you know, as a work-related safety precaution. The industry responded with affront and outrage putting out a statement that the rules are "a violation" and "unnecessary and irresponsible." Notes porn "actress" Nina Hartley, "It's a very bad idea to regulate on set behavior." So now, OSHA is involved and, to quote Variety, is showing "a keen interest in regulating the porn industry." The industry is threatening that if the governement tries to enforce these condom regulations it could drive the entire porn industry out of the U.S.! And their point is? Hey smutty ones, don't let the door hit you on your way out!!! On some probably unvirtuous level, I love watching this weird war of power-minded municipal bureaucrats/greedy insurance companies versus greedy and perverted smut peddlers. It's so rare that evil gets divided against itself... That generally only happens to the good guys.

...ABC, NBC and CBA have all passed on the TV rights to The Passion of the Christ. FOX is now the lone broadcast netwrok considering licensing it. I heard from a friend an unconfirmed report that Mel is insisting that the film be shown without commercial interruptions. Okayyyyyyyyy.... Mel's goal seems to be one at a time to render every individual in the entire entertainment industry uncomfortable and ancy. God love him.

...While we're on the subject of "the movie", despite its X-rating which made the movie illegal for anyone under 18, TPOTC just moved into the number three "biggest box-office of all time" spot in Mexico. As of last weekend, Passion has brought in $18,000,000, behind only Titanic ($19.3 million) and Spiderman ($30 million). Of course, neither of those movies were projects in which minors would be arrested for trying to get in.

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