Solondz' News

2003: 12/2/03

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More Palindromes Cast & Crew Details:

A recent update to the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) provides some new, key cast information for Palindromes. The new cast updates include newcomer Rachel Corr, actor/ comedian Judah Friedlander (check out http://www.judahfriedlander.com) as Ron Gerard, Man Show writer John Gemberling as Judah, newcomer Tyler Maynard as Jiminy and All My Children's Shayna Levine as the young lead, Aviva. No mention of Chriss Penn.
The IMDB has also been updated with a detailed cast list. To save you the trip, here it is:
Timothy Bird .... associate producer
Mike S. Ryan .... producer
Derrick Tseng .... producer

Cinematography by
Tom Richmond

Casting by
Ann Goulder
Addison McQuigg

Production Design by
David Doernberg

Costume Design by
Victoria Farrell

Makeup Department
Kabuki .... key hair stylist
Kabuki .... key makeup artist
Tania Ribalow .... makeup artist: Ellen Barkin

Production Management
Yale Chasin .... assistant production manager
Cherry Montejo .... production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Timothy Bird .... first assistant director
Heather Grierson .... second assistant director

Art Department
Scott Zweizen .... property master

Sound Department
Christof Gebert .... production sound mixer
Brion Regan .... boom operator

Other crew
Susan Ahn .... production assistant
B.J. Cresciman .... location assistant
Shannon Dennard .... location coordinator
Hope Dickson-Leach .... assistant to director
Payton Dunham .... location manager
Lance Edmands .... production assistant
Melissa Guimaraes .... key grip
Matthew Hale .... gaffer
Ken Kristensen .... assistant location manager
Arianna La Penne .... camera loader
Jody Lee Lipes .... electrician
Catherine Osborne .... additional wardrobe supervisor
Jean Pesce .... location assistant
Macall B. Polay .... still photographer
Craig Pressgrove .... first assistant camera
Linda Slater .... second assistant camera
Katie Stern .... production assistant
Alicia Van Couvering .... assistant to producers
Justin Whitaker .... best boy electric

...Note: Ellen barkin has her own, personal make-up artist. Makes ya wanna be a film star, huh?

11/15/03

"Lost" Solondz Film Appearance Released On DVD

The recent French DVD of Cedric Klapisch's debut film, Riens du Tout, includes two of his early short films as extras. Included in this collection is In Transit, a student film he shot in 1985 while attending NYU film school, along with budding filmmaker Todd Solondz. Solondz briefly appears in this film as one of three musicians (pictured below), with Rick Marcus and Cedric himself, who encounter lead actor Yuri Olchansky in NYC. The short film is in English (with unremovable French subtitles), and the main, French-language feature, while Solondz-less, does offer optional English subtitles. The DVD (R2, PAL) can be ordered from Amazon.fr (along with plenty of other places, I'm sure); so go get, Solondz completists!

intransit.jpg (27240 bytes)

8/27/03

All About The Palindromes

According to the August 12th edition of The Daily Freeman, Todd Solondz is shooting his latest film, titled in this article as The Palindromes (emphasis added), at Bard College, in the Mid-Hudson region of New York state. They're working with a budget of just $500,000, with about 70 percent of the 50-person crew made up of local film students. Said producer Mike Ryan, "We have college students doing jobs which are normally done by professionals. That's scary, but at the same time, the Bard kids have a very good base of learning and they've taken to it really well."
Even more enlightening is their description of the article: "Solondz's shoestring budget film, which stars Ellen Barkin and Jennifer Jason Leigh, chronicles a young runaway's road trip from the suburbs of New Jersey, through Ohio to the plains of Kansas and back. …The Palindromes employs multiple characters of both sexes and different ages to play the film's protagonist, a 13-year-old girl."
"This is a very experimental film," said Ryan, who put up all of the film's funding along with co-producer Derrick Tseng. "He is doing something that has never been done before. And in Hollywood it's a big problem when somebody wants to push boundaries. But Todd is somebody who makes films for himself, not for money or career."
Ryan added that The Palindromes could be released early next year, most likely in a limited run. "It's challenging material told in a challenging way. That just means that it won't be in the malls."
Finally, The IMDB has added information about another Palindromes cast member: Stephen Singer, who'll play Dr. Fleicher (who's also played doctors in Don Juan DeMarco and the Douglas family vanity affair, It Runs in the Family), is pictured below:

stephensinger.jpg (15071 bytes)

7/30/03

Another Palindromes Cast Member Unveiled

According to a July 28th report from Playbill News, New York playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis has been cast by Solondz to appear in his latest film. Guirgis has written Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train,
In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings and most recently Our Lady of 121st Street, all with the LAByrinth Theatre Company, and all off which were directed by actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Magnolia, Love Liza, and, of course, Happiness). He's also written for several of the major NYC-based cop shows.

guirgis.jpg (6862 bytes)

7/2/03

Slightly more Palindromes Info Eeked Out the Pipeline

Another casting call, this time from The Poughkeepsie Journal, yields a little more information about Solondz's latest film. The call (which, for the record, is over - the article was published on Friday the 27th, for Saturday, the 28th, from 10 AM to 2 PM at Bard College in Annandale in the student center.) was for girls of all ethnicities and types, ages 12 to 14. According to both the article and a recent IMDB update; Chris Penn (Resevoir Dogs, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) is going in to star in this film, along with the previously announced Ellen Barkin. The article added that, "[t]hey play parents to an awkward teenage daughter named Aviva... The movie is centered around Aviva, her friends, neighbors and her family where one parent is loving and another has been known to have a fierce temper."

The same IMDB update also makes some additions to the crew list: producer Derrick Tseng (Freak Talks About Sex, A Good Baby), cinematographer Tom Richmond (House of 1,000 Corpses, Chelsea Walls, Hard Rock Zombies), costume designer Victoria Farrell (Boys Don't Cry, Strangers With Candy) and first assistant director Timothy Bird (Far From Heaven, Storytelling). They've also removed Lisa Muskat (George Washington)'s name as one of the producers.  Hmmm...

6/13/03

Comparing the Old and New Happiness DVDs

Essentially, there is no difference. Contrary to previous reports, this tranfser is not anamorphic, or freshly restored, or anything else. There are no new extras - the menu and features are identical, right down to the hidden Slam and Another Day In Paradise trailers. There isn't even (as was the case with the previous version) an insert. The difference between the listed running times (the old one says "139 minutes;" the new one says "140") is nill - they're both 139.51. Just to empahsize the same-ness of these DVDs, here are screen shots taken from each:

Signature Series:
screenshotsig.jpg (65938 bytes)

Original:
screenshotold.jpg (65938 bytes)

...The only difference is the packaging, and that they got rid of the bizarre, double-sided disc feature, where the other side only featured a small txt file which read, "This side is not playable." Save your money, folks, and thanks for nothin', Lions' Gate. >:P

Oh yeah. P.s. - The "Signature Series" cover now looks like this (below), not as shown in the previous news entry (note the different sig, and Newseek quote, as opposed to Time Out's).

happinesssig2.jpg (35651 bytes)

5/19/03

Barkin To Star in Palindromes

According to The New York Daily News, Ellen Barkin has accepted a leading role in Solondz' upcoming film, Palindromes, which she promises will "start shooting this summer." Barkin, who you may remember as Penny Priddy in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension or the sexy femme fatale opposite Al Pacino in Sea of Love, has taken only very minor roles and cameos in recent years (except for that DTV cop film with Julian Sands a couple years ago), but has said, "Todd Solondz - now that's someone who could get me to happily go to work."

5/7/03

New Happiness DVD

On June 3rd, Lions Gate is due to be releasing a new DVD of Happiness as part of their "signature series." A special edition is surely too much to hope for, but it does look like this disc will be anamorphic (which the Trimark/ Vidmark disc wasn't). Most sites don't have any specs listed, yet, but I found the following on dvdplanet.com:

Retail Price: $19.99
Release Date: (6/3/2003)
Studio: Lions Gate
Year: 1998
Runtime: 140 minutes
MPAARating: Unrated
UPC: 031398826620
Languages/Subtitles:
Original Language: English
Subtitles Available: English, French, Spanish
Audio/Video Features:
Anamorphic16x9, Widescreen
Color
2.0 Dolby Surround
Audio/Video Features English Dubbed:
Product Features:
Cast/Crew Biographies

So, nothing to blow any socks off, but a welcome improvement none the less. Thanks, Lions Gate; and thanks also to "bisbeefilms" for pointing this upcoming release out to me. Here's a look at the cover:

happinesssig.jpg (50243 bytes)

Also, if you haven't already got Storytelling on DVD (perhaps you've been trapped underneath a giant boulder, or spent the last several years orbiting the Earth on a Russian space-station), you might want to pick up this rather spiffy two-disc set from France:

doubledvd.jpg (45543 bytes)

Both films are anamorphic, widescreen, and include the original English audio, along with optional (removable) French subtitles. This release is Region 2, PAL. Coolio.

3/20/03

Word On Solondz's Fifth Picture!

According to an article on Filmjerk.com, Todd Solondz is set to begin shooting his fifth film, Palindromes, for Extra Large Pictures on July 7 in the New York/ New Jersey/ Connecticut tri-state area, with Lisa Muskat and Mike Ryan to produce. While there's no word on the plot, yet, casting director Ann Goulder (who also cast Solondz's last three pictures) has cast her net for children aged seven to seventeen with disabilities of all kind, and preferably some kind of musical ability. If that's you, you can contact the production by way of:

Ann Goulder, c/o Palindromes
43-01 21st Street - Suite 330A
Long Island City, NY 11101-5001

...with photos and resumes.

Filmjerk.com also had some information on the characters, which I'll quote for you here: "'Palindromes' seems to revolve around the [sic.] Aviva Victor, her family and their friends and neighbors. Aviva is thirteen, awkward and sensitive. Her mother Joyce is warm and loving, as is her father, Steve, a regular guy who does have a fierce temper from time to time. ...In addition to casting a vision-impaired actress to play the seventeen-year-old Barbara... [a]dditional characters include Mama Sunshine, a mid-western lady, warm, emotional, maternal and big-hearted, real salt of the earth type, Bo, Mama Sunshine's husband, mid western, the head of the family, rugged but kind-hearted, Judah, sixteen year old friend of Aviva’s, luggish and serious, and Doctor Dan, another Midwesterner, a friendly family doctor who loves children and they love him, especially when he clowns around with them, very respected by his community."

I dunno. Sounds goofy, and Killer Films' non involvement may be a bad sign (though, I suppose that's due to Storytelling's final cut issues); but we'll see, 'ey? I'm optimistic!

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