Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski may become the last person interviewed by the Shoah Foundation, which was founded by Steven Spielberg in 1994 with the goal of filming 50,000 survivors of the Nazi Holocaust.
Polanski, according to sources at the foundation, made the request to be interviewed a few weeks before the Academy Awards ceremony this year. Details were not finalized until a few days ago.
The director of The Pianist survived the Holocaust in Krakow, Poland, and later transposed his own memories onto the true-life movie, which was set in Warsaw during World War II. He's asked the Shoah Foundation to film him in Krakow. Polanski lives in Paris.
"We will accommodate him if we have the funding," a foundation official told me yesterday, but you'd better believe that Spielberg and any number of foundation donors will contribute the funds to make this happen.
Interestingly, Polanski may be perhaps the final interviewee of the Shoah Project.
The organization completed its goal of 50,000 interviews a couple of years ago and is now concentrating on turning the materials into permanent archives. Even though they've turned down some requests since then, a source said that Polanski was too important to pass up.
Maybe Polanski had the Shoah Project in the back of his head for a long time. He refused to give interviews about The Pianist and has never spoken about his Holocaust experiences except in his out-of-print autobiography, Polanski on Polanski.
Other books, however, have tried to piece together the horrifying experiences he had as a child.
It was bound to happen. Our old friend, Madonna, is in trouble. Her new album, American Life, is being sold by retailers this week for $9.99.
It's a desperate move by Warner Music Group to try to get Madge into the top three next week. Sold at a more reasonable $12.99, American Life would be sitting on shelves til Christmas.
Madonna's worries should extend beyond just deep-discount pricing. Her recent appearances on MTV and the Today show as an acoustic artist revealed something disarming about this once-canny pulse taker.
All this time, she didn't know she couldn't sing. I always assumed she understood her voice was manipulated in the studio by master producers. The same sound was recreated in concert.
But Madonna's TV appearances are devoid of the gimmickry. Instead, the old voice — the voice that plagued her on early, early recordings — is gone. The lushness of great productions like "Like a Prayer" and "Into the Groove" is demolished.
Squeaky Madonna has reappeared. Watching her, I could only think it was like "'Singing in the Rain."'
The remixes should be coming shortly.
Despite a slow beginning and a meandering ending, the sequel to X-Men — called X2 — is going to be a big hit. Boffo is written all over it.
Bryan Singer does an uneven job of directing, but it doesn't matter. The characters, once they're allowed to be, are more fleshed out this time around. An all-star cast featuring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen springs to life with more vigor than in the first film.
However, be warned: X2 presupposes that you know what happened in the first movie, because there is no actual beginning. It just sort of picks up where Part 1 ended, like an old movie serial. For a few minutes you feel as though you're in the middle of another movie.
But then, surprisingly, the whole thing settles down. Kind of a drearily-looking intro with Bruce Davison is quickly pushed away for wild special effects and quick cutting from scene to scene.
Stewart stars again as the erudite Professor, the organizer and teacher of the X-Men and -Women. He and McKellen give the movie its weight, letting Jackman, Berry and Janssen swing into action. They are all a lot of fun, and that's all you can hope for.
Is there a down note? Only that the film sometimes skirts near events that parallel current news: the White House and President at risk, cops being blow-torched by a new character named Pyro. It can make for an uneasy feeling, but remember, it's a comic book.
Have you seen a lot of X2 before? Well, yeah. By the time it's over, you realize that you've just sat through Star Wars 10 or Superman 16. It has the feel of a Richard Donner-produced effects film from the late '70s, with an ending that ties charging fanfares to bold-faced credits.
But maybe that's because Donner, who made Superman I and II, was the executive producer. The guy knows how to put big-screen excitement together. It shows.
P.S.: Many times Rebecca Romijn-Stamos — who plays the luscious but mostly silent blue-bodied Mystique — is cut out of the frame just below her chin so that a seated McKellen can deliver her lines. Luckily, her body speaks for itself.
I don't know why, but Entertainment Tonight has put Marcia Clark on as a legal correspondent. She started this gig by analyzing the Laci Peterson case the other night.
How does this work exactly? Clark is known for one case — the O.J Simpson prosecution — and she lost it. I mean, she lost it big time. Because of Clark's basic ineptitude and short-sightedness, Simpson now lives in Florida on a tax-free, judgement-proof $250,000 pension. Meanwhile, the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman go unsolved after nearly nine years.
You'd think a legal correspondent would be someone who won a bunch of big cases, wouldn't you? If you were ever in a jam in this country, you'd call Robert Shapiro, Gerry Shargell or Roger Black — the latter got William Kennedy Smith off his rape charge. But Clark? No way.
I covered the Simpson criminal trial for New York magazine, and knew most of the journalists who worked on stories. The consensus was that Clark — as well as Chris Darden — were out of their league. They were outmatched by Shapiro, Barry Scheck and Johnnie Cochrane.
Even when faced with ways of winning the case, Clark and Darden managed to screw it up. If the Modesto prosecutors rely on Clark's advice now, Scott Peterson will soon be playing the back nine with O.J. and laughing all the way to the bank.