Author Topic: Neil Jordan  (Read 3344 times)

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Fernando

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Neil Jordan
« on: November 21, 2003, 01:08:50 PM »
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"Name the best thief that ever lived," challenges a more-bedgraggled-than-usual Nick Nolte in The Good Thief. Give up? "Pablo Picasso. The cat stole from everybody: Rubens, Cezanne, Matisse." It's a crime all great artists commit. What separates the masters from the frauds is the bit of themselves they add to the mix. By the same token, Neil Jordan's The Good Thief is a remake of one of the all-time classic film noir monuments, Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le Flambeur, but you wouldn't necessarily know it by looking. It feels like a Neil Jordan film.

His trick: Jordan borrows the conceit of the original and layers it with a second narrative. In the original, Bob conspires to pull off a daring casino heist, and then, as the perfectly calibrated plan sours around him, surrenders himself to Lady Luck. This time around, Bob's gambling addiction is doubled by his nasty heroin habit, the casino heist is but a ruse to distract the detectives from the gang's real robbery, and the ending features a neat little do-si-do in which the casino somehow comes out twice as broke as logic would allow.

This may be the same setup as Melville's masterpiece, but Jordan's little slice of perfection is chasing a different prize. The characters carelessly dispense their hard-boiled philosophies, running diamond-cut lines through the gutter, while the camera mimics the bleary delirium of Bob's eternal hangover. If you want to see Melville's influence on Jordan's work, you'll have to go back to his first movie. But if you want to see the tools of a master thief, then take a look at where he gets his ideas...

Le Samouraï
(1967; dir: Jean-Pierre Melville, starring: Alain Delon)
The original Bob le Flambeur is one of the most absolutely beautiful films, but the story is so tiny. That did not have a profound influence on me. Another film that Melville made, Le Samouraï, did. The pared down existentialism and the almost nameless reduction in that film was very influential on me. The first movie I made involves Stephen Rea as a saxophone player in a jazz band. He got involved in the bombing of a dance hall where he was playing, and he goes on this existential kind of, not a pursuit of revenge, but... He's sucked into the kind of maelstrom of killing after this event. Le Samouraï, with it's photographic bareness and stillness, influenced the way I thought about that film. But even in The Good Thief, I wasn't making a Melvillian film. I didn't want to imitate what he had done because I think it would be pointless in a way. I wasn't approximating the photographic style that he used at all. There's not a lot of fast cutting at all. I was basically just doing a series of riffs on what he had come up with. Basically, from the Melville movie I took the theme of a gambler and a thief who's kind of graced with luck, who goes through this effort of planning this robbery, and the effort actually provides him something different, which is a beautiful idea. Which is all I'm guilty of, robbing that.

They Live by Night
(1954; dir: Nicholas Ray, starring: Cathy O'Donnell, Farley Granger)
When I was growing up in Dublin, they had several really interesting little theaters there that showed the European art films, so I saw the Fellini films and the Buñuel films. But the first movie that made me think I could make movies was a Nicholas Ray film called They Live by Night (it was remade by Robert Altman as Thieves Like Us). It's about a couple that go on the run through portions of the West during the Depression. It was kind of a small-budget B picture that allowed Ray to try his hand as a director. I think he had been writing before that, and it was the first movie he made. It's a beautiful film, but it had an intimacy and a kind of humanness, a smallness to it that actually made me think that I could tell a story like that. Both this and Le Samouraï are terribly spare movies, so they're useful to emulate for directors who have limited means at their disposal, and I suppose they are the kind of movies that made me think -- because people didn't make movies in Ireland when I grew up -- that I could even perhaps tell stories as pared down as those.

Rashomon
(1951, dir: Akira Kurosawa, starring: Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori)
Rashomon totally changed my way of looking at things, as it did for a lot of people. The thought that you could tell a story in five different ways was something that I had never experienced in literature. I started as a novelist because Irish tradition is a literary one, and I came out of that. In a way, films were like a progressive seduction for me away from what I started out doing, which was writing short stories and novels, and Rashomon was one of those movies because it defined a kind of storytelling that could never have the same power in another form. William Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying, for example, which had several different voices, but the idea of returning to the same event and giving many different histories leading up to the same event -- and one of them being a ghost -- it was absolutely extraordinary! It was one of those movies that made me think that there were things movies could do that nothing else could do.

In a Year of 13 Moons
(1963, dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starring: Volker Spengler, Ingrid Caven)
This is one of the films that Fassbinder has done that not many people have seen, but it really would be worth unearthing. For anybody who started thinking about making movies in the late '70s, Fassbinder was an extraordinary force in European cinema. He made so many movies. He had that... the thing you obviously see in Todd Haynes' movie, [Far From Heaven], that use of Douglas Sirk's sense of melodrama. He told Hollywood stories, not in a knowing way, but in a deeply emotional way. There was a kind of irony to the forms that he chose. It's a buildup to the death of a young transsexual who has had a sex change because he was in love with this cold-hearted businessman. The businessman said to him, 'I don't like men, I like women, so f--- off and come back as a woman,' which he did, and the guy rejected him anyway. It's an extraordinarily bleak movie, but a very interesting film. I have that character in The Crying Game, you know, that was a transvestite, or a kind of woman-man. When I sat down to write it, I remember seeing this film mixed up in my memory in one of those strange ways. It's a very oddly compulsive movie.

The Saragossa Manuscript
(1965, dir: Wojciech Has, starring: Zbigniew Cybulski, Franciszek Pieczka)
There's a Polish movie I saw in London in the '70s, and I have always remembered it. It's actually very well known in Poland, where it's kind of a classic, the way people in Britain think of Lawrence of Arabia or something. It's an extraordinary movie, considering the way in which the narrative moves into stories within stories within stories. Different people guide the narrative at different stages, and different versions of reality keep turning up, but they all have equal validity in a way. That influenced me tremendously when I was making The Company of Wolves because it basically followed the same structure. When I was dealing with [writer] Angela Carter, she [came to me with] a collection of stories which was too short to make into a movie. I remember saying to Angela, 'Let's look at The Saragossa Manuscript,' because it [suggested a framework] within which we could use all of the stories that she had written, all of the versions of different fairy tales, and we can create a structure within which they can all play. That was a direct influence.

godardian

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Neil Jordan
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2003, 01:17:33 PM »
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I love Jordan's End of the Affair beyond all reason.
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Weak2ndAct

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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2003, 02:09:28 PM »
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Quote from: godardian
I love Jordan's End of the Affair beyond all reason.

Ditto.  Where has Julianne gone lately?  I used to like seeing her popping up in every other movie out there.

Still have yet to see The Good Thief, keep meaning to.  I really love, like, half of Jordan's work.  The Crying Game... shit, I forgot to put that on my 30 best list.

MacGuffin

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Neil Jordan
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2005, 03:45:31 PM »
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Jordan's Borgia Resurrected
Farrell, Johansson cast in leads.

Variety reports that writer-director Neil Jordan's long-gestating passion project Borgia has been given a new lease on life. The pic, which almost came to fruition in 2002 with Ewan McGregor and Christina Ricci starring, will now be produced by ImageMovers and Ascendant Pictures.

Colin Farrell and Scarlett Johansson have been cast in the lead roles. Farrell will portray the scheming Cesare Borgia opposite Johansson as his sister Lucrezia, "who's torn between her family duties and a desire to find true love."

Borgia follows the infamous clan's rise to power in fifteenth century Italy. "In 1492, the Pope dies and Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia emerges as the top contender to head the Vatican, despite a litter of illegitimate children. When he gets the papal throne, Rodrigo moves to consolidate his power thereby empowering and alienating various members of his family."

Filming is slated to begin in April.
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cowboykurtis

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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2005, 06:05:58 PM »
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Anyone a fan of Mona Lisa?
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Weak2ndAct

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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2005, 06:56:33 PM »
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Mona Lisa rocks.  It really is the precursor to The Crying Game (or ripoff, depending how you look at it).

JG

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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2005, 06:59:42 PM »
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I never saw the Good Thief.  Worth putting it on the netflix queue?

Ghostboy

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Neil Jordan
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2005, 07:04:35 PM »
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I liked The Good Thief, but queue it in concert with Bob le Flambeur.

JG

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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2005, 07:15:00 PM »
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I've already seen Bob--one of the most underrated French films I've seen, in my opinion.  That's partly why I want to see this.  THe only other Neil Jordan I've seen is The Crying Game, though.

killafilm

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Neil Jordan
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2005, 02:27:59 PM »
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Not even High Spirits?

MacGuffin

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Re: Neil Jordan
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2005, 11:46:47 PM »
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Borgia Imperiled?
Farrell's rehab stint could hurt pic.

According to The Sunday Times, Colin Farrell's recent admission into rehab may impact director Neil Jordan's long-in-development historical drama Borgia, which the paper says "has yet to be fully secured and could be affected by doubts about the leading man."

"They're still talking about finance for the Borgia movie," Jordan told the Times. "It probably won't help with Colin going into rehab, but I'll look into it after Christmas."

Borgia is tentatively slated to lens in Romania in April but if there are any serious delays then that could affect Scarlett Johansson's involvement, a worst case scenario for Borgia's producers. Johansson, like Farrell, has several pics lined up for 2006.

Borgia has almost come together a few times over the last few years, most recently with Ewan McGregor and Christina Ricci then cast in the lead roles.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Neil Jordan
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2006, 07:01:04 AM »
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Howard set for 'Brave'; Jordan near
Source: Hollywood Reporter

Terrence Howard and Neil Jordan are mustering the courage to take on "The Brave One." Howard is set to star opposite Jodie Foster in the revenge thriller, while Jordan is in negotiations to direct the film. Joel Silver is producing for Warner Bros. Pictures. Foster is set as the title character, a woman who recovers from a brutal attack and sets out on a dark, psychological and physical journey for revenge and justice. Howard will play a cop who has a tough choice to make. Cynthia Mort did the most recent rewrite on the project, which initially was a spec written by father-and-son team Bruce and Roderick Taylor. Michael Seitzman ("North Country") also did a rewrite.
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Re: Neil Jordan
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2006, 01:43:02 PM »
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I just watched Mona Lisa and I'm now worn out on the real-life-crime-drama scene.

This was a movie which had a terrific beginning and kept those terrfific aspects all the way through; while twisting into a pretty average story.  It was a very tonal movie, which I enjoyed, and acting was fucking great.  I liked that there were character traits which didn't materialize into plot devices - if it had done that with the Simone/Cathy story I might have liked it more.  This movie spends a large portion with loose threads and then curiously tugs a ball of them together in the end.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Neil Jordan
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2007, 02:51:51 PM »
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New Line lines up pair
Jordan, Waters set to direct films
Source: Variety
 
New Line's signed directors on a pair of high-profile projects, attaching Neil Jordan on future fantasy "Killing on Carnival Row" and Mark S. Waters on romantic comedy "The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past."

Jordan's also set to do a rewrite on "Killing on Carnival Row," which Arnold and Anne Kopelson will produce through their Kopelson Entertainment banner. New Line acquired "Carnival" in late 2005, preemptively buying Travis Beacham's spec centered on a Victorian city inhabited by humans, faeries, elves and vampires, with a detective pursuing a serial killer.

Jordan wrote and directed "Breakfast on Pluto," which recently won him Irish Film & Television Academy Awards in both categories. He also helmed Warner Bros.' upcoming "The Brave One," with Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard.

New Line tapped Matthew McConaughey last summer to topline "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," produced by Jon Shestack. Mini-major's aiming for Waters, who's in final negotiations, to begin lensing the pic early next year.

New Line acquired "Ghosts" out of turnaround from Disney, which developed it for several years. McConaughey will portray a bachelor who goes to his younger brother's wedding and gets visited by the ghosts of his past girlfriends.

Scott Moore and John Lucas penned the script. Brad Epstein who had been the production exec at Disney, will also be a producer on the movie.

Waters recently completed shooting on action-fantasy "The Spiderwick Chronicles" for Paramount and Nickelodeon. Other credits include "Mean Girls" and "Just Like Heaven."
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Re: Neil Jordan
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2007, 10:10:30 PM »
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Jordan directing 'Heart-Shaped'
Spooky film to be based on Hill's book
Source: Variety
 
Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan will adapt and direct thriller "Heart-Shaped Box" for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Akiva Goldsman is producing.

Film is based on the book of the same name by writer Joe Hill, the son of horror fiction maven Stephen King.

Hill's spooky storyline revolves around an aging rock star with a penchant for the macabre. He can't refuse an offer to buy a suit on eBay that's said to contain a ghost. After the suit arrives, he begins to realize that while he wants the ghost gone, the ghost wants him dead.

Hill's tome, published by William Morrow/HarperCollins, hit the bookstands in February and is his first novel. He is a prizewinning short story writer who previously published the anthology "20th Century Ghosts."

Warners exec VP Kevin McCormick scooped up the film rights to "Heart-Shaped Box" a year ago, based on a short logline and an early peek at the prose.

Jordan's ("The Crying Game," "Michael Collins") next directorial effort, Jodie Foster starrer "The Brave One," will be released by Warners Sept. 14.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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