Thursday, December 28, 2006

Shreveport director ready to shoot first feature

A local director has been making the biggest steps of his career for some time now. After a year of fundraising and years of planning, Shreveport native Jeffrey Goodman is gearing up to shoot his first feature film.

“The Last Lullaby” begins a 22-day shoot in his hometown on Jan. 22. Its production budget is $1.5 million.

Goodman remains tight-lipped about the stars, but we recently discussed some of the hires he’s made so far: producer David Koplan, cinematographer Richard Rutkowski, production designer Elizabeth Mickle, costume designer Erika Munro, first assistant director Yann Sobezynski, and line producer Matt Leonetti Jr.

Goodman is excited to work with Koplan, who produced “Chrystal” starring Billy Bob Thornton and “Winter Passing” starring Ed Harris, Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell.

“Dave produced two movies at our exact budget level, and two movies in the South. He was able to attract A-level talent to these very small films and actually get them out there,” Goodman said. “I can’t think of a more perfect candidate.”

The creative team behind “The Last Lullaby” recently met in Shreveport. When Goodman met Rutkowski and Mickle, he gave them a few pages of notes and DVDs of “The French Connection.”

“I told them what I want for this film is what I call aesthetic naturalism, and I use ‘French Connection’ as a model of that,” Goodman said. “To me it means it is a film that is intimate, very naturalistic, very raw. But at the same time (it) maintains a sense of design, a sense of aesthetic. I keep telling them I think ‘The French Connection’ has an unprecedented look. … Usually films that claim to be cinéma vérité end up being very ugly. They are all about found lighting and found frames, and, ‘Let’s just take the camera out on the streets and see what shows up.’ ‘The French Connection’ has that sense of immediacy, but it also has a sense of beauty and maintains its aesthetic integrity.”

Goodman has scouted locations for “The Last Lullaby” himself. All scenes will be shot in Shreveport or inside a 30-mile radius.

He is confident he has pulled together a team that can create a film that measures up to their hopes. Many have worked together before.

“I’m trying to create as much of a team atmosphere as I can,” Goodman said. He later added, “What my job is right now is to get all of these people into my head and let them know what it is I’m seeing, what it is I’m thinking. Then I can let go and know that they understand, that they get it and will coach everyone around them so they get it and they can deliver everything we’re after.

“I’m not someone who believes in micromanaging. All these guys that I’ve hired know their jobs better than I do. I’m not someone that believes that to be a director is to be a master of every single domain, and every single department.”

Goodman is excited about beginning the shoot and focusing more on the creative side of “The Last Lullaby.” He is still, however, working 'round-the-clock to make sure all the details are in place.

“The process of selling never ends,” he said. “You’re selling to raise the money, you’re selling to get people to let you use their locations, you’re selling to crew members to get them to work on your film, and you’re selling to get actors to work on the project. And once again, you’re selling it to a distributor to get them to buy it. ... You’d think I’ve got money to pay these people and I’ve got a fully financed film. You’d think people would be just lining up, but it’s not that. Every time we interview a camera man, it’s me trying to convince them that this is worth putting on their reel.”

“The Last Lullaby” is co-written and based on a short story (“A Matter of Principal”) by Max Allan Collins. Collins wrote the graphic novel, “Road to Perdition,” which was turned into a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Jude Law and Paul Newman.

The screenplay for “The Last Lullaby” is co-written by Peter Biegen.

An abridged version of this story will appear in The Times next week. PHOTO BY GREG PEARSON/THE TIMES. NOT FOR REUSE.

Is it too late to ruin your Christmas?

Sorry, George. 'Tis the season to celebrate apocryphal Wookiee whining.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Met is coming to Tinseltown on Saturday

The Metropolitan Opera will beam its live, abridged production of "The Magic Flute" into theaters around the world on Saturday.

Shreveporters can get a taste of director Julie Taymor's earnest, futuristic vision of a very silly farce. I saw it two years ago at the New York opera house, and it's completely nuts.

WHAT: A live HD broadcast of Julie Taymor's production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute."
WHEN: 12:30 p.m. Dec. 30.
WHERE: Tinseltown movie theater, Shreveport.

What's the big deal? There are two, actually.

Firstly, this experiment is part of a larger trend. Movie theater chains are beginning to flesh out the relatively new market of live HD broadcasts with some intriguing offerings. When the "Blues Brothers" commemorative edition DVD was released last year, they broadcast the film in theaters nationally and beamed in interviews with some of the movie's makers. It was a good idea, even if nobody went. Rock concerts are beginning to get the same treatment.

Now, The Met is getting into the game with live opera broadcasts. For movie theater chains to be interested in attracting a niche arts audience -- or cultivating younger operagoers who don't own tuxes, evening gowns and private jets -- is big news.

Secondly, Taymor directed the gorgeous, bloody movie version of "Titus." A Shakespeare play hasn't been turned into a better movie since this 1999 sleeper.

Her take on "The Magic Flute" is infused with a sci-fi sensibility. She also has fun with Mozart’s devotion to Freemasonry. I'm guessing the camera's lens will bring her extravagant symbolism closer to the viewers' eyes.

In other words, go!

And don't worry about an exhausting running time. This "Flute" will be abridged and will last just 100 minutes. Only the good parts.

This is the first of six live broadcasts of six different shows on six different Saturdays. Click here for more info.

My favorite headline of 2006

Check out this story from CNN:

"S. Korea: See movie, not prostitute"

In an unrelated development, a source in Seoul reported an empty theater at a midnight screening of "Pretty Woman."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stuck at home for the holidays

I'll resume blogging (and exercise) on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Indie filmmakers making 'Awkward Olympics' for Christmas

Daniel Lachman, a local indie filmmaker, is teaming up with friends to make "Awkward Olympics," a parodic short. They shot it this week. They will edit it in a matter of days. I hope we all get to see it for Christmas. (No pressure, Daniel.)

Check out Lachman's picture. His turn as a sports anchor who exudes contempt for his audience looks strangely captivating. I'm excited to hear someone chew off this line from the script: "No, I’m pretty sure the Germans are going to win, they’re pretty aggressive, for instance, they’ve killed at least one person every year in the rage cage events."

I'm guessing the short will be posted on the following two websites, which are run by groups that helped make it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

'Factory Girl' will not premiere here Dec. 29

"Factory Girl" is being released on Dec. 29 in a single theater, and it won't be in Shreveport or Bossier City. Think the other L.A., rather.

Why just one theater? They are releasing it strictly to qualify for the Oscars.

This little tidbit was offered up by the offices of the Weinstein Company.

The movie is scheduled for a wider release during the first quarter of 2007. Exactly when will it arrive in Shreveport, where much of the feature was filmed? That's not determined yet. Rats!

This project has been attracting some savage media attention. Check out this recent gossip from the New York Post. It appears "Factory Girl" has been put through reshoot hell.

Take a peek at ESPN's 'Ruffian'

"Ruffian" was filmed in Bossier City during spring 2006. Click here to see a four-minute, behind-the-scenes look at the TV movie.

It will premiere on TV and DVD during the Belmont Stakes in June.

The cinematography looks solid, yes? Let's call it an early Emmy frontrunner.

Incidentally, the story of this movie's multi-platform release will be just as notable as its controversial subject. (Ruffian, the legendary filly, broke her leg during a televised match race in 1975 and was euthanized after a long and unsuccessful surgery.)

During a four-day window, ESPN Original Entertainment plans to release "Ruffian" on ABC, ESPN HD, other ESPN networks, VOD (video on demand) and DVD.

The strategy was partly employed with Steven Soderbergh's "Bubble (2006), an indie film that was released in theaters and on DVD at the same time.

While "Bubble" didn't burst the release-in-theaters-first model, the rules of the mainstream TV market might be different.

If you watched a TV movie on ABC and loved it, would you be inclined to buy the DVD just days later? ESPN is betting big that you will. Why? Simple. You probably will have seen it for free the first time.

Poster contest for 'Factory Girl'

Kathryn Usher, a blogger from the Shreveport area, recently posted details about a poster contest for "Factory Girl."

Most of the movie was shot here about a year ago. Scenes were added when the Weinsteins picked it up. Its makers are reportedly still cutting the film just days before its L.A. release date: Dec. 29.

Read a bit more on Usher's blog here.

Check out the movie's official website here, where you can find more info about the poster contest. The contest ends Jan. 31.

You can win some schwag (I want Warhol's hair or Sedgwick's mascara), plus a private screening.

If you make a poster, send it to me. I won't give you any prizes, but I might post it. Keep it clean, designers.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Heatmiser, Coldmiser square off for the little ones

The YouTube crowd is rushing to save Christmas from NBC's recent "The Year Without a Santa Claus," apparently. A friend on the prairie (you know who you are) sent me this link. Her son is digging the newish track by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Rock on, little Logan!

'Last Lullaby' is crewing up

Production for "The Last Lullaby" begins on Jan. 22. The film noir indy feature will be directed by Shreveporter Jeffrey Goodman. The script is from Max Allan Collins ("Road to Perdition").

The production is currently searching for crew members, specifically locals. If you have skills, contact the following:

Matt Leonetti
"The Last Lullaby"
600 Common Street
Shreveport, LA 71101
318.222.2422 phone
318.222.2404 fax

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Braugher nominated for Golden Globe. Go, Andre!

Shreveport has one very good reason to watch the Golden Globes. (Don't laugh.)

Actor Andre Braugher was nominated for his work in "Thief," the short-lived FX series shot in Shreveport (five episodes) and New Orleans (one episode). The actor won an Emmy for the role earlier this year.

It's partly a mystery why a critically acclaimed show intended for a full series had to be written off as a mini. Yes, not enough people watched it. But since when is popularity an accurate indicator of quality? Don't audiences eventually come around, at least sometimes?

When it comes to TV entertainment, public opinion can be downright dumb. The Emmy-awarding winning (insert chortle here) "Amazing Race" survives for years, and "Thief" kicks the early bucket? "Amazing Race" is a vacation slide show of Ugly Americanism. "Thief?" A well-written, superbly edited examination of fatherhood, morality, race, loyalty and the choices complicating them all.

The show's lack of buzz or image was a marketing nightmare, yes. But can't the same be said for the early days of "The Shield?" I wish FX and audiences would have invested more in "Thief."

The Golden Globes will air 7 p.m. Jan. 15 on NBC.

Does Shreveport have a shot at the Oscars? Sienna Miller's turn in "Factory Girl" (Dec. 29) is the last remaining hope.

Local children's theater pioneer dies

Isobel Rudy died today. She was the cofounder of the Peter Pan Players theater troupe in Shreveport. The children's theater company was, and still is, driven by her lifelong passion for putting kids on the stage. Since the company produces many Disney musicals, it's safe to say she and her many casts share a deep respect for the big screen.

Here is a link to news of her death.

If you have memories of Miss Iz, please share them here or on the website (below the story in the comments field).

Photo: Robert Ruiz/The Times.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

'Without a Santa' is a ratings stinker

Ratings for the Monday night broadcast of "The Year Without a Santa Claus" were disappointing, to put it mildly.

"Deal or No Deal" took in a solid 10.0 rating and a 15 share during the 7 o'clock slot, but the game show's (bizarrely successful) draw didn't help the Jolly One.

More than half the audience ditched NBC when "Without a Santa" took over from 8 to 10 p.m. It earned a piddly 4.7 rating and 7 share.

Ho ho no.

The TV movie was shot in Natchitoches and Shreveport.

Anybody want to share their two cents about why "Without a Santa" missed?

Source: Studio Briefing.

'Hurricane on the Bayou' IMAX movie opening Dec. 23

A new film examining the health of south Louisiana's wetlands is coming to the IMAX theater at Shreveport's Sci-Port Discovery Center. It will open Dec. 23 for a three-month run of daily screenings.

In early 2005, the makers of "Hurricane on the Bayou" began filming a "what if" documentary about the dangers hurricanes posed to the depleted wetlands and a vulnerable New Orleans.

They were planning to employ digital effects to map out damage potential until Hurricane Katrina slammed into the coast in August.

"Hurricane on the Bayou" now includes pre- and post-Katrina footage.

Mark Olsen reviewed the documentary for the Los Angeles Times in September. He wrote: "Seen on an Imax screen, the now-familiar imagery of the devastation in New Orleans and other areas takes on a new resonance as the sheer size of the affected areas is felt more fully. The format likewise brings into sharp focus the scope of wetlands being lost." For Olsen's full review, click here.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

'Homeland Security' trailer already on YouTube

This Millennium Films feature finished shooting in Shreveport in early November. What do you think?

Friday, December 08, 2006

New casting call for 'Blonde Ambition,' 'The Cleaner' and 'Microwave Park'

Emerge Casting will hold an open casting call for extras for three movies from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at B.A. Productions, 6901 W. 70th St. in Shreveport.

The movies are the currently filming “Blonde Ambition” (Jessica Simpson, Luke Wilson) and soon-to-be-filmed “The Cleaner” (Samuel L. Jackson) and “Microwave Park” (Robert De Niro, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). The last two will begin production in January.

Emerge Casting is seeking people from “all walks of life and all ethnicities.” In particular, the movies need Hispanics, Latinos and African-Americans. They need people to play executives and police officials. They also are seeking photo doubles and stand-ins for the stars.

Applicants must be age 18 or older, and senior citizens are encouraged to apply.

All applicants should bring a current photograph of themselves that measures no larger than 4-by-6 inches.

Call (318) 603-4511, send e-mail to or go to

PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Hudelson/The Times. No for reuse.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What is on TV, film or DVD?

A reader contacted me today to ask what Shreveport-based movies/TV shows she can watch on DVD. To my knowledge, just "Road House 2."

Per her prompting, here's a list of projects that have finished shooting here.

Info about release dates (both theatrical and DVD) follows. If you know something I don't, please email me.

TV miniseries
Premiered on FX on March 28, 2006
Not yet available on DVD

“Not Like Everyone Else”
TV movie
Premiered on Lifetime on July 10, 2006
Not yet available on DVD

“Road House 2: Last Call”
Feature DVD
Released to stores on July 18, 2006

“The Guardian”
Feature film
Premiered in theaters on Sept. 29, 2006
DVD to be released on Jan. 23, 2007

“The Initiation of Sarah”
TV movie
Premiered on ABC Family on Oct. 22, 2006
Not yet available on DVD

“The Year Without a Santa Claus”
TV movie
Premieres on NBC on Dec. 11, 2006

“Factory Girl”
Feature film
Premieres in theaters on Dec. 29, 2006

Feature film
Premieres in theaters on March 16, 2007

“Mr. Brooks”
Feature film
Premieres in theaters on May 11, 2007

TV movie
Premieres on ESPN, ABC in June 2007

“Homeland Security”
Feature film
Theatrical premiere date for 2007 still TBD

TV pilot
Has not been released (anybody know?)

"The American Standards"
Feature film
Has not been released (anybody know?)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Extras needed now for 'Blonde Ambition'

The movie "Blonde Ambition" is casting extras for work Thursday and Friday. For more information, contact Tara Duncil, of Emerge Casting, at (318) 525-1468 or The Shreveport-based production needs a real cyclist, a real welder and construction workers. Positions are paid. "Blonde Ambition" stars Jessica Simpson and Luke Wilson.

Monday, December 04, 2006

'Without a Santa' to get local screening on TV premiere night

File this under: "Things that make you go hmmm."

"The Year Without a Santa Claus," an NBC movie shot in Natchitoches and Shreveport, will be screened without commercials at Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium exactly one hour before its TV premiere on Dec. 11.

The local screening starts at 7 p.m. The NBC premiere starts at 8 p.m.

A sixty-minute head start might not propel Joe Couch Potato out of the house on a Monday night.

Since the TV movie used hundreds (and well more than a thousand) extras, however, I'm guessing the Municipal screening might stuff a stocking or two.

All the details are here on

Below are the basics:

8 p.m. Dec. 11.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Dec. 11. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Municipal Auditorium, 725 Elvis Presley Ave. in Shreveport.
COST: free, but tickets are required. They can be picked up at the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau, the Municipal Auditorium, the Bossier Visitor Center and the Louisiana Boardwalk’s information center. Only six tickets per adult.
INFO: (318) 222-9391.

PHOTO CREDIT: "The Year Without a Santa Claus" stars (left to right) Eddie Griffin as Jangle, John Goodman as Santa, Delta Burke as Mrs. Claus, Ethan Suplee as Jingle and Chris Kattan as Sparky. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC Photo)

Friday, December 01, 2006

De Niro, 50 Cent team up for 'Microwave Park'

De Niro
Originally uploaded by cherurgia.

Robert De Niro and rapper 50 Cent (or actor Curtis Jackson, if you prefer) will star in the tentatively titled "Microwave Park." It will shoot in both Shreveport and New Orleans, and begin production in mid January.

The project will be Millennium Films' fourth consecutive project in Louisiana.

For another update to my story, click here.