Scream Director Filmed Clinton’s Last Day in Office
It could be scarier than any horror film: Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street director Wes Craven has made a film of Bill Clinton’s last day in office.
Craven filmed the president as Clinton gave a tour of the White House including rooms that are off-limits to public tours.
The Lincoln Bedroom, where many political donors slept during the administration's eight years, is shown, as well as the Oval Office, the Music Room and the Yellow Room.
One source who observed the endeavor told me: "We were a little nervous in places, thinking about what went on there. At one point Clinton said something like 'back when they were trying to get rid of me' with no apparent guilt."
It’s unclear whether the anteroom where Clinton and Monica Lewinsky frolicked made the final cut — or if humidors were shown.
The idea for the one-hour movie was hatched when Craven screened his movie Music of the Heart at the White House last year.
I caught up with the director on location yesterday and he told me: "After the screening, the president invited about ten of us on a tour. It lasted about three hours — 'til 3 a.m. — and it was remarkable how much command of history he had, how he knew about every little tchotchke in the place."
Altogether Craven filmed Clinton for two-and-three-quarters hours. Then the crew went back and filmed all the previously unseen private parts of the White House, including the gym and the kitchen. "Some of that was at Hillary's request, for posterity," said Craven.
"I was thinking, 'Here I am, I've made some of the most horrific films, and now I'm in the White House,'" Craven told me. "Someone said I should have brought a Scream mask and had someone jump out in it, but that would have been the last time we would have been invited over."
The movie was made for eventual use in the Clinton Library in Arkansas and was co-produced by Jane Rosenthal and Tribeca Productions, Robert DeNiro's film company. But since the library is still some time away from being built, Wes Craven's Clinton 2001 may find another home at some point. This column's suggestion: the Smithsonian.
"The film was basically a gift to the Clintons from Harvey Weinstein," Craven said, "so I suppose he could [do] something else with it." Weinstein's Miramax Pictures is Craven's producing home, where he's made the Scream series, Music of the Heart, Dracula 2000 and is under contract for other movies as well.
Bardem Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Javier Bardem — the hot Spanish star of Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls — has made his first deal since that movie turned him into an overnight sensation. Bardem is joining the cast of the Paramount/Miramax feature The Hours, directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot).
The Hours starts shooting tomorrow — believe it or not, right in front of my house — with an all-star cast that includes Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Eileen Atkins and Allison Janney.
The movie is based on Michael Cunningham's wonderful Pulitzer Prize winning novel that was based on Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway. Bardem will play the second male lead, opposite Nicole Kidman.
Brad Pitt Can't Snatch Victory From the Jaws of Defeat
Is Brad Pitt down for the count? Or, how many turkeys do you get to have before Hollywood thinks of you as Giblet Boy?
True, he's great-looking, there's no doubt about it. He's married to a popular TV actress. He's had romances with a bunch of hot starlets including Gwyneth Paltrow. But is Brad Pitt a movie star? Can he "open" a movie?
His current movie, Snatch, is the latest in a string of busts at the box office. In two weeks, it's taken in about $15 million despite an avalanche of publicity derived from director Guy Ritchie's marriage to Madonna. Is there anyone who hasn't heard about Snatch or seen Madonna wearing the T-shirt?
Snatch has fallen from fourth to seventh place in two weeks at the box office and the prognosis is not good. In the film, Pitt bares his biggest asset, his physique, but draws none of the female audience that launched him a decade ago in Thelma and Louise.
Indeed, Pitt's only real hit came five years ago with Seven, directed by David Fincher. Worldwide, the cheaply made Seven is thought to have made approximately $316 million.
But the rest of Pitt's resumé is filled with expensive movies that had trouble breaking even. Think of them: Fight Club, Meet Joe Black, The Devil's Own, Sleepers, Twelve Monkeys, Legends of the Fall, A River Runs Through It, Kalifornia and Interview with the Vampire, the film in which Tom Cruise and a child were his love interests.
Of those, only The Devil's Own seems to have made a little money. Meet Joe Black is now considered a famous, expensive, excruciating flop, possibly even a record-holder for costliest film without special effects (although Warren Beatty's Town and Country may beat that record if it's ever released).
Some actors counter poor performance at the box office with great reviews and awards. But Pitt has managed glowing notices for just one film, Twelve Monkeys, in which he rightly earned an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award for best supporting actor. He also has a Golden Globe nomination for Legends of the Fall.
A lot of Pitt's work is underrated, in fact. In The Devil's Own he's very effective.
But some of his choices are bizarre. Rightly so, he has a Razzie for Interview with the Vampire. However, MTV did vote him most desirable male in 1995 for Seven and People magazine has dubbed him "Sexiest Man Alive" twice.
Don't count Pitt out completely. He has two big movies coming up, both with Julia Roberts. First up is The Mexican, which gets released on March 2. Right now he's finishing up The Spy Game, co-starring Robert Redford. And when he returns from that, Pitt films Ocean's Eleven for Steven Soderbergh, with Roberts, George Clooney and a vast array of stars.
You may remember Michael Viner, the former owner of Dove Audio Books, husband of sometime actress Deborah Raffin and publisher of various O.J. Simpson and Menendez brothers-related books.
This column reported that Viner admitted in court last summer that he'd had an affair with a hooker who helped write a book he published called You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again. (Viner counts among his close celebrity friends Larry King, Cindy Adams and Sidney Sheldon.)
Now here's a letter I received yesterday from Mike Schwarcz, a mover who Viner hired to help him relocate his New Millenium Press offices in L.A. (Calls to Viner were unreturned.)