September, 2012

...now browsing by month

 

On Hobbits And Hollywood: New Line Pt.1

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

When I left New Line Cinema in 2007 I was disillusioned and angry. It seemed to me that the studio had ignored its reputation for finding talent from within and squandered the momentum created by Lord of the Rings. I spoke my concern aloud and was told everything was fine and the company was doing well. I’d seen many sobering things about the way film studios where run (New Line and elsewhere) and I wanted to share them with others. I considered writing my thoughts down when I left, but decided to wait until I’d gotten some distance.

Then in 2008 the company closed. All of my co-workers lost their jobs. Some are still floundering. My commentary now felt like sour grapes.

And now, five years later, news of the upcoming “Hobbit” films has me living in a Time-machine. The images and stories coming out of Peter-Jackson-Land take me back to the Lord of the Rings years. Those films were a decade ago, but I’m back there the moment I see a trailer or poster for the new series. And the recent announcement of two Hobbit films becoming three has found me telling anecdotes or fielding questions from those around me.

Click to continue »

Building Heroes: Armstrong vs. Armstrong

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

At the end of August, two men named Armstrong were both in the news. Neil Armstrong was mentioned because he died at the age of 82. Lance Armstrong was mentioned because of an ongoing investigation into doping during his cycling career. Very different men with completely different claims to fame and yet I’ve followed both of them with fascination.

I’m drawn to moments of individual achievement. Team sports don’t interest me. I follow things like climbing, flying, racing… activities which all have a huge support network but only one guy at the sharp end of things taking the risk and pushing for success. So here are Neil and Lance, with a shared name and personal accomplishments forty years apart. Seeing them together in a news cycle got me thinking about what makes a hero and how celebrity and success have changed.

Click to continue »