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Hollywoodland

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Hollywoodland

Hollywoodland
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Allen Coulter
Produced by Glenn Williamson
Written by Paul Bernbaum
Starring Adrien Brody
Diane Lane
Ben Affleck
Bob Hoskins
Music by Marcelo Zarvos
Cinematography Jonathan Freeman
Edited by Michael Berenbaum
Production
company
Focus Features
Miramax Films
Back Lot Pictures
TJ Film Productions
Distributed by Focus Features (USA)
Buena Vista International (international)
Release dates
  • September 8, 2006 (2006-09-08)
Running time 126 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $14 million
Box office $16,803,753

Hollywoodland is a 2006 American Ben Affleck), the star of the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman. Adrien Brody co-stars as a fictional character, Louis Simo, a private detective investigating Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), who was involved in a long romantic relationship with Reeves and was the common-law wife of MGM studio executive Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins). Reeves had ended the affair and had become engaged to a younger woman, aspiring actress Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney). Development for Hollywoodland began in 2001 when Focus Features purchased Paul Bernbaum's script titled Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Michael and Mark Polish were set to direct in with an aiming to cast Benicio del Toro in the lead role, but Focus Features placed the film in turnaround to Miramax Films the following year. Ultimately Truth, Justice, and the American Way became a joint production between the two studios and filming commenced in May 2005 with Coulter as director. Due to copyright issues with DC Comics, the film was re titled Hollywoodland, released to generally positive reviews.

Plot

In 1959, Louis Simo (Superman on television. Reeves was found dead inside his Beverly Hills home with a gunshot wound to the head, which police ruled a suicide.

Simo learns from a former police colleague that the Reeves suicide has aspects that the cops don't want to touch. Sensing the potential for making a name for himself, Simo begins investigating and notes several apparent conflicts with the official version of Reeves's death. He also bickers with Laurie over his failures as a father, particularly now when his son seems so troubled.

In a flashback to 1951, Reeves, a charming man whose acting career has stalled since appearing in Gone With the Wind, catches the eye of a beautiful woman and they end the night in each other's arms. In the morning, a newspaper photo reveals to Reeves that the woman is Toni Mannix, the wife of Eddie Mannix, the general manager of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Frightened that an affair with a studio boss's wife will destroy what's left of his career, Reeves is angry that Toni didn't tell him. She claims to have an open relationship with Mannix and tells him not to worry. The much wealthier Toni begins to buy Reeves expensive gifts such as a house, a car and jewelry.

Reeves lands the starring role in the television series Adventures of Superman, based on the comic-book hero. The role makes Reeves famous and gives him a steady income, but he longs for more "serious" work and is uncomfortable with the public's stereotype of him as Superman, resulting in snickers when he is seen on screen in the war film From Here to Eternity.

As the years pass, Reeves becomes bitter at being a kept man and at Toni for not using her clout to help his career. He burns his Superman costume to "celebrate" the program's cancellation in 1958. He also meets a young woman in New York, actress Leonore Lemmon, and leaves Toni for her. Toni is broken-hearted and furious and seethes at her "mistreatment" by Reeves.

Simo initially suspects that Leonore might have accidentally shot Reeves during an argument and imagines how the scenario might have played out. Simo goes home to be beaten by thugs, apparently working for Mannix, trying to scare him off the case. This and other evidence lead Simo to suspect that Mannix was the one who had Reeves murdered. Simo has a vision of how that killing would have occurred.

His client's wife is dead, murdered by Sinclair, who grew tired of waiting for information from the detective. A guilt-plagued Simo gets drunk, then visits his son's school, where his inebriation scares the boy. Simo goes to see Reeves' manager, Arthur Weissman, who has a home movie that Reeves had shot in hopes of promoting some wrestling work. The film depicts a sadness in Reeves, a weariness and humiliation with where his life has led. Simo's final imagined variation on Reeves' death concludes with the actor shooting himself. This is the most vivid of the three scenarios, with Simo imagining himself in the upstairs bedroom, even making eye contact briefly with Reeves.

Each of the scenes imagined by Simo begins with Reeves playing guitar and singing "Aquellos Ojos Verdes (Green Eyes)" in Spanish for his house guests. (Reeves was fluent in Spanish.) The lyrics of the popular song lament a love that can never be fulfilled. After each of the three imagined renditions, Reeves says goodnight to his guests, then retires to his bedroom upstairs, just before the gunshot.

Reeves' quest for success and Simo's realization of parallels to his own existence cause the detective to re-evaluate his life. Simo watches another home movie, this one of himself and Laurie and their son in happier days. He goes to Laurie's house wearing a suit and tie, greeting his son hopefully.

Cast

Production

Sharon Stone and Annette Benning for Toni Mannix.[8] The film was finally greenlighted when the project moved back to Focus Features in 2005, and Howard Korder was brought on to an unaccredited rewrite of Bernbaum's script.[9]

[4] Affleck watched all 108 episodes of the Adventures of Superman, met with Jack Larson, the actor who portrayed Jimmy Olsen in the TV show, read various books about Reeve's life and death, and gained 20 pounds to closely resemble the actor with contact lenses and subtle use of facial prosthesis. In addition he listened to hours of Reeves' voice on CD so he could get the same intonations and timbre.[10] Filming began in Toronto, Canada in May 2005.[11]

Focus Features was forbidden from showing the Superman 'S' in promotional materials.

During its production, Hollywoodland went through many rounds of getting clearance from Time Warner is the parent company of both Warner Bros. and DC Comics and as such has all final say in the depiction of characters relating to their properties. The film's first title was Truth, Justice, and the American Way, Superman's well-known patriotic catchphrase, but Warner Bros. threatened legal action unless the film's title was changed so as not to associate the classic slogan with Reeves's death—especially since Warner Bros. was banking the film Superman Returns which was released a few months earlier in June 2006. The filmmakers changed the title to Hollywoodland, not as a reflection of the ailing Hollywood Sign, but in reference to the general milieu of "movieland" itself. The filmmakers wished to use the familiar filmed opening of Adventures of Superman in context within Hollywoodland, but Warner Bros. refused to license clips from the show itself. The movie recreated the show's opening and substituted a re-recorded version of the opening theme.[10]

Historical liberties

Hollywoodland takes liberties with actual historical events for dramatic purposes. Several events and places are condensed to fit into the film, including:

  • During a personal appearance at a children's western show, George Reeves meets a boy with a loaded gun, who almost shoots bullets at him. Reeves talks him into giving up the gun by saying that they would bounce off him, but hurt innocent bystanders. Although Reeves repeated this story himself, researchers have never been able to find anything to corroborate the story.[12][13]
  • The depiction of Reeves's scenes in From Here to Eternity suffering audience derision at a test screening (and subsequent cutting of his scenes) is part of an urban legend. No test screenings took place, and the finished film includes all Reeves's scenes that were present in the original shooting script. No alternate cuts of the film have ever been proven to exist.[12][14][15]

Release

Hollywoodland received generally positive responses from viewers and critics, garnering a 69% fresh rating on [16] He was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, but lost to Eddie Murphy for his performance in Dreamgirls.

Hoskins and Lane have also been applauded for their performances. Critics at The Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair called this film and 2005's Brokeback Mountain (also from Focus Features) Oscar contenders, but the film never received any Oscar nominations.

The film debuted at #2 at the box office. Shot on a budget of less than $14 million, Hollywoodland grossed $14,426,251 in the United States as of October 26, 2006. A further foreign gross of $1,878,000, plus $9,140,000 in DVD rentals and a spot in the top ten DVD sales for its first three weeks of release (ref. Rentrak Corporation, 3-3-2007) allowed the movie to turn a profit.[17]

References

  1. ^ Charles Lyons (2001-12-13). "Polish brothers set Reeves bio".  
  2. ^ Matt Hurwitz (2006-12-12). "Diane Lane, ‘Hollywoodland’".  
  3. ^ Michael Fleming (2002-06-13). "M’Max shows ‘Way’".  
  4. ^ a b Paul Cullum (2007-01-19). "Ben Affleck, ‘Hollywoodland’".  
  5. ^ Jim Vejvoda (2002-08-23). "Travolta, Fraser, or MacLachlan as Superman?".  
  6. ^ Stax (2002-08-30). "Jackman as Superman?!".  
  7. ^ Kristopher Tapley (2006-08-20). "The (Tinsel) Town That Ate Superman".  
  8. ^ Jim Vejvoda (2003-12-18). "Neo or Aragon as Superman?".  
  9. ^ Justin Change (2005-05-04). "Kathleen Robertson, Robin Tunney".  
  10. ^ a b Jeffrey Ressner (2006-09-08). "Who Owns Superman?".  
  11. ^ Justin Chang (2005-05-11). "Bob Hoskins, Lois Smith, Dash Mihok".  
  12. ^ a b http://www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/hollywoodland.php
  13. ^ Donald, Elizabeth. "SuperGeek," Belleville News-Democrat, 6 June 2007
  14. ^ Variety, 17 August 2006
  15. ^ Cathy Schultz, PhD., History in The Movies. University of St. Francis, 2006
  16. ^ Michelle Kung (2006-09-20). "Ben Strikes Again!".  
  17. ^ Rentrak Corporation, 3 March 2007

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