Author Topic: John Sayles  (Read 1557 times)

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MacGuffin

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John Sayles
« on: April 29, 2004, 12:57:06 AM »
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John Sayles Will Write Carlisle School
Source: Variety

John Sayles will write Carlisle School, a feature about Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe, for Walden Media. Variety says the film will be produced by Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, who produced Miracle and The Rookie for Disney, with John Fusco and Jim Crabbe.

"School" will chronicle the early years of Thorpe's collegiate sports career during his years at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, a boarding school in Pennsylvania that housed Native Americans from childhood through college.

The project will also detail the college's winning football seasons in 1911 and 1912 under the direction of legendary Coach "Pop" Warner and Thorpe's pentathlon and decathlon victories at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, after which Sweden's King Gustav V dubbed him the world's greatest athlete.

Thorpe was later stripped of the medals because he'd played semi-pro baseball. The Intl. Olympic Committee restored the medals posthumously in 1982.
“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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MacGuffin

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Re: John Sayles
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2006, 01:08:37 AM »
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Sayles has ear for '50s music drama
Source: Hollywood Reporter

John Sayles has written and will direct "Honeydripper," a period musical drama starring Danny Glover, blues guitarist Keb' Mo', R&B singer Ruth Brown and Gary Clark Jr., a Texas blues guitarist. Set in 1950s Alabama, Sayles' original script centers on Tyrone (Glover), owner of the Honeydripper juke joint. When business at Tyrone's blues club begins to drop off, against his better judgment, Tyrone hires Sonny (Clark), a young electric guitarist, in a last-ditch effort to draw crowds during harvest time. "It's about that Bo Diddly moment, when music moves from the blues to rock 'n' roll," said Maggie Renzi, Sayles' longtime producing partner. "John would say he likes to make movies on subjects he doesn't already know, and he knows there's lots of room to explore here."
“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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Re: John Sayles
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2006, 09:11:30 AM »
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Wow, it's crazy there hasn't been any Sayles discussion... Anyway, 'Honeydripper' sounds like it'll be a welcome return for him to a more understated observational style after the slightly forced heightened satire of Silver City, which - though great in places - didn't finally play to his strengths.

So: favourite Sayles movies then...? I haven't seen too many, but every time I do I'm always just so SATISFIED: like I really good, carefully prepared and filling meal. His (usually) subtle acknowledgements of the roles of politics, race, economics, history, geography on people's day-to-day lives is hugely refreshing compared to the way these things are so often ignored in American filmmaking.

From what I've seen so far, Lone Star would have to be the most impressive: just so casually wide-reaching, perfectly paced and quietly devastating. Sayles makes truly grown-up movies.
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MacGuffin

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Re: John Sayles
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2007, 01:10:20 AM »
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Students sweet on Sayles' 'Honeydripper'
Source: Hollywood Reporter

NEW YORK - "Stomp the Yard" producer Will Packer and Emerging Pictures founder Ira Deutchman are teaming with Clark Atlanta University to launch a film marketing and distribution course for African-American college students across the country.

The class will be based around the marketing plan for John Sayles' upcoming musical drama "Honeydripper" starring Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Stacy Keach, Mary Steenburgen and Sean Patrick Thomas. Lectures will be organized by Clark Atlanta marketing professor Charles W. Richardson Jr., led by industry professionals, (including Rainforest Films' Packer) and distributed on the Internet.

Before Emerging Pictures releases the Sayles film in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 28, select students from participating schools will help develop and implement a grassroots marketing campaign with their professors and the film's distribution team. It will continue throughout the platform release in Atlanta and Chicago on Jan. 18 and a wide release the following month.

The course will be available at Clark Atlanta and other schools across the U.S., including other HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) institutions.

Deutchman founded Fine Line Features and has been teaching in Columbia University's Graduate Film Division for more than 20 years. "Honeydripper" premieres Sept. 10 at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“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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Re: John Sayles
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2009, 01:13:06 AM »
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John Sayles, novelist, seeks a binding agreement
The writer-filmmaker is shopping a sprawling work of historical fiction, but no big publishers are buying. Such is the cautious state of publishing today.
By Josh Getlin; Los Angeles Times

Reporting from New York -- For 40 minutes last month he held them spellbound, reading about America in 1898. John Sayles didn't just give the crowd a taste of his new novel, "Some Time in the Sun" -- he performed a comedy about tabloid newsboys in New York, playing 26 characters with thick, period accents.

"WAR!" Sayles boomed in the voice of a 13-year-old newsie thrilled ("Trilled!") that the Spanish-American War had boosted his daily street sales: "Remember the . . . Maine! Jeez, the way they played it out -- Day 1, the ship blows up. Day 2, who blew the ship up? Day 3, we think we know. Day 4, we sent down our experts!"

When it was over, the audience at City University of New York's Gotham Center gave Sayles an ovation. But then he was humbled by a question from a woman in the front row: When would the book be out?

"I've been done with it for six or seven months, and it's out to five or six publishers," he said quietly. "But we haven't had any bites yet."

John Sayles, Oscar-nominated creator of "Return of the Secaucus 7," "Lone Star," "Matewan" and other movies, is having trouble getting a book deal.

The situation is almost entirely traceable to the publishing industry's economic woes, and it's raising eyebrows, because Sayles was an accomplished fiction writer long before he made his first film. Weighing in at a whopping 1,000 typed pages, "Some Time in the Sun" is his first novel since 1990's "Los Gusanos."

"This is really astonishing," says Ron Hogan, senior editor of Galleycat.com, a website devoted to publishing news. "I mean, this is John Sayles! You'd think there would be some editor who'd be proud to say, 'I brought the new John Sayles novel to this house.' "

Anthony Arnove, Sayles' literary agent, sent the novel out on a first round of submissions last fall, and recently sent it to another group of editors. His goal is to land a deal with a deep-pockets publisher who can promote the sprawling, epic tale about racism and the dawn of U.S. imperialism.

Sayles' 1977 novel, "Union Dues," was nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. "The Anarchists' Convention," his comic short story about aging Jewish lefties, has become an American classic.

But that's ancient history in the publishing world, where an industry-wide deep freeze is getting colder by the day. The kind of deal Sayles might have landed several years ago -- when publishers might have taken on his new book for the prestige factor, or a sense that the economic gamble could be worth it -- is more difficult now.

It's a jittery moment for writers and publishers, as sales plunge (down 4.2% in the first quarter of 2009) and the big houses lay off swarms of veteran editors. As the economic collapse continues, a novel like "Some Time in the Sun" becomes an increasingly harder sell.

"When I went out with the book last fall, one of the editors I hoped would express interest did so -- but then he was laid off," says Arnove, who conceded he may eventually have to shop the book to smaller houses. "There's a feeling that the old model isn't working. And I think serious intellectual historical fiction will have a much harder time finding the home it deserves."

Sales records matter more than ever, and some publishers are reluctant to take chances on writers such as Sayles, 58, whose previous books got rave reviews but were never bestsellers. The real challenge in selling a quality title now is not getting an editor to say yes, but overcoming the many ways a skeptical house can say no.

Sayles, who has spent three decades fighting similar battles in the indie film world, seems to shrug it off. As he chats about the new novel in his Hoboken, N.J., office, he sounds chagrined but also apologetic.

"I write a book every 15 years, and by the time I have another one done, I really don't know anybody in the business," he says. "It's just not my world." When he finished "Some Time in the Sun" -- of which he's immensely proud -- he had no illusions: "There's no way a publisher is going to be influenced just by somebody mentioning my name. They'll check out the numbers of the latest title."

A tall, muscular man with graying hair, Sayles received a flurry of rejections before signing a deal for his first novel, 1975's "Pride of the Bimbos." He sold "Los Gusanos" to HarperCollins without an agent. His most recent collection of stories, "Dillinger in Hollywood," was published by Nation Books.

Luckily, his livelihood does not depend on publishing. When he's not making his own films, he's one of the most respected script doctors in Hollywood. Sayles is currently writing the pilot for an HBO series about the life of Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis and co-wrote the screenplay for "The Spiderwick Chronicles." He's worked on genre scripts such as "Piranha," "Alligator" and "The Howling" and did rewrites for "Apollo 13" and "The Fugitive."

Film work takes up so much of his time that Sayles' two most recent novels were finished during the last two Writers Guild strikes. But "Some Time in the Sun" took shape almost as an afterthought.

A sprawling tale

Some 10 years ago he began to write a movie about America's 1898 war with Spain over the Philippines, viewing it as an eerie precursor of U.S. military exploits in Vietnam. He was also fascinated by the last gasp of Reconstruction -- the era of virulent, post-Civil War racism. These two story lines fused and the script became unwieldy.

"There was no way in hell we were ever going to raise the money to make the film," Sayles says. "I felt like I was pushing way too much stuff into a two-hour-and-20-minute format, and it would work better as a miniseries. But who gets to come in and say, 'Oh, I want to make a 50-part miniseries about America at the turn of the century'?"

He finally decided the story should be a novel, which led to years of research and writing. "Some Time in the Sun" -- like his films -- blends vivid human portraits with historical events and brilliantly captures individual voices. In addition to his raucous newsboys, it spotlights African American and white soldiers fighting in the Philippines, fast-buck artists who help create the motion picture industry, and features cameos by Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, William Randolph Hearst, Damon Runyon and other historical figures.

When he delivered the final draft to Arnove, Sayles assembled the novel in seven big binders and lugged them in shopping bags. His agent began reading on the subway home. Will other readers get the same chance?

"Very often when you write a screenplay, you realize that you're kidding yourself," Sayles says. "It's a blueprint for a mansion that probably won't get built, a mansion you'll never get to live in."

Now he wonders if "Some Time in the Sun" might suffer a similar fate.

"What's a novel in this kind of climate?" he asks. "A hobby?"
“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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Re: John Sayles
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 08:10:14 AM »
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John Sayles Starts A Stealthy War Movie
Source: ComingSoon

Independent filmmaker John Sayles is somewhat of an enigma in the industry, being that he makes the movies he wants completely independently and often defying any sort of genre categorization by writing and directing films about diverse subject matters; he also has a way of staying out of the limelight in between the release of those movies.

ComingSoon.net had an extensive interview with Sayles back in late 2007 for his independently-released film Honeydripper and at the time, he told us he was writing a fiction novel based on one of his unproduced screenplays, somewhat out of frustration with the difficulties of raising money to make the film.

An anonymous source tipped us off to the fact they were involved with a movie in the Philippines and doing a bit of research, we discovered it was Sayles' latest project Baryo, his fictionalized account of the Philippines-American War that took place between the countries at the turn of the century after two American privates killed three Filipino soldiers in a suburb of Manila. The incident turned into a bloody war that lasted two years as the Philippines Army used guerilla tactics to make up for being under-equipped to face the overwhelming American forces.

In fact, this project seems to have branched out of Sayles' 1000-page historical fiction novel "Some Time in the Sun" which he spent years writing but then had problems finding a publisher to release it, a situation documented by the L.A. Times last summer. Apparently, the novel helped him raise the finances to get the project back on track as a film.

Poking around the internet we were able to learn more about Baryo which has oddly been kept quiet even on the movie sites that specialize in independent film, although news outlets in the Philippines have been all over the story in the past month. For instance, local actor Joel Torre who is heavily involved with the project both on and off screen was interviewed by some of the local newspapers including Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Manila Bulletin.

Even the casting of an in-demand American actor like Garret Dillahunt in a key role last November didn't really get mentioned in any of the normal American news outlets, but Sayles has already cast the film with another typically diverse array of actors including his regular collaborator Chris Cooper, D. J. Qualls, Yul Vazquez, Tita Cecile, James Parks and more.

Last week, Sayles even quietly started up a production blog for the movie which currently includes pictures of the locals and actors arriving from the United States to start making the movie. (We're hoping to get a comment from Sayles about the project, although he's clearly very busy right now.)

Fans of Sayles' earlier films who have never had much of a chance to watch him at work should find it interesting to see how his latest project develops, especially if it's as epic as a film like Steven Soderbergh's Ché.
“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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Re: John Sayles
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2010, 03:12:52 PM »
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John Sayles has book deal for historical novel

NEW YORK - More than a year after his agent first shopped the manuscript, filmmaker John Sayles has a deal for a long historical novel.

Sayles' fictionalized account of the U.S. occupation of the Philippines around the turn of the 20th century is tentatively titled "Some Time in the Sun." It's more than 1,000 pages in manuscript form.

It will be released in 2011 by McSweeney's, the San Francisco-based press founded by author Dave Eggers.

Sayles is best known for such films as "Eight Men Out" and "Matewan." He's also the author of several books. He has lamented that he couldn't find a publisher for his new work.

McSweeney's editor Jordan Bass said Tuesday that the novel "felt like equal parts (E.L.) Doctorow and `Deadwood'" and praised its "captivating pacing."
“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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