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August 13 2007

Danny's "Recount" Recast. Read about the surprising director's chair changes on Danny Strong's film "Recount." Pollack = out, Roach = in? Item and reporter's incredulity - located at the bottom of the page.

[ edited by zeitgeist-corrected name of new director- on 2007-08-13 14:17 ]

I feel so bad for Danny Strong. It could still work out, but the news doesn't sound so good.

Now Roach is paired on Recount with first-time screenwriter Danny Strong, an actor who played sidekick roles in Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then decided to pen a script about an American political crisis.

And then this crap from this columnist, who unsurprisingly thinks a journalist should be the authority behind the movie, whether or not one could actually write a movie and sell it to HBO.
According to the BBC website Sydney Pollack was forced to withdraw because of ill-health. Here is a link to the news item.

I don't have an opinion about his replacement, but I have to say the main linked item by Nikki Finke makes her sound like a five-year-old throwing a tantrum.
I think the columnist's sneering attitude toward Jay Roach is uncalled for, I see no reason to believe this director won't do an excellent job with the material. It isn't like Sydney Pollack's work is always perfectly brilliant, besides if this is being made for HBO then it doesn't require a big name director to attract an audience. HBO is pretty widely watched by people, unlike me, who get it on cable.
Ah, yeah, very objective journalism that. So because you're an actor, you are clearly stupid and completely unqualified to write about politics ? Yeah, that follows, the logic's so cast-iron I feel like i'm sinking under its intellectual weight. Ahem ;).

I guess it is basically a gossip column though so accuracy's not necessarily that high on the agenda.

(and the credibility issue is a valid concern IMO, Roach may be able to do a great job but he's untried in that arena, as is Danny Strong, so they're both gonna have to dot every i and cross every t if they want to be taken seriously)
Come on! Directors make serious, brooding films, then make horredous mockeries of film. Jay Roach is a fine director, and he needs to cut his teeth on something else aside from Austin Powers. And it didn't say that Pollack was bowing out completely, he's still an executive producer. He's got a bit of control.

What I found appalling, aside from the slight of Jay Roach and the slight of Danny Strong (this person is just cranky!) is the non-acceptance of a slight by Danny Strong:

Iím also alarmed by reports Iím hearing that Strongís first draft is very critical ó ďalmost meanĒ ó about Al Gore.

What's wrong with being critical? In this day when so many people are criticizing President Bush for his policies, speeches, actions and even his style, there's suddenly a line to be drawn when someone wants to criticize the other side? I hate the double standard, and I knew to expect it from an LA news source. being in journalism myself, I understand it is one columnist's opinion, but what an unbalanced and ill-supported opinion it is! What are the reasons for hating Roach and Strong?
In fact, IMO, it's absolutely crucial that we criticise our own "side" at least as harshly (when deserved) as we criticise the "other side" to show that political discourse should be about truth and reason rather than party political point scoring and the construction of straw-man extremist versions of the opposition.

(note Danny Strong may be on the other "side" to Al Gore, I don't know his personal politics but judging by Sydney Pollack's other stuff, i'd say he's about as liberal - in the US sense - as you can get and presumably, therefore, a democrat so it's heartening to see someone encourage a balanced approach)
Danny Strong is a Democrat with a big "D" metaphorically tattooed on his forehead. If he wants to criticize how Al Gore handled the campaign in general, or the recount issue in particular, I'm fascinated to see it. I think he'll know what he's talking about. I didn't know about Sidney Pollack's health problem, just assumed the shake-up was because of the dreaded "creative differences." Maybe the movie's really not in trouble at all.
Sometimes, you can get a far more unique and interesting perspective from someone criticizing their own side than you can from the other side (if they are honest and aware). Looking forward to seeing how this turns out. The piece is a bit fluffy and scandal-mongering, so you kinda can't take it too seriously. Being afraid to criticize (and thus offer suggestions/avenues for improvement) never leads to good things. It leads to crony-ism, laziness, and a stifled and stagnant intellectual climate. Things need to be open to debate and as transparent as possible. When/if things happen like the discovery that the algorithms NASA used for climate studies contained errors, they need to be corrected (which they now have been, sorry 1998, you are no longer the hottest year on record! Congratulations 1934!!!). You wear the cheese, it does not wear you.
Now Roach is paired on Recount with first-time screenwriter Danny Strong, an actor who played sidekick roles in Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then decided to pen a script about an American political crisis. No, Iím not kidding.

So insulting. This sort of column is what disgusts me about Hollywood and its mentality. That your work, whatever it is, and no matter how talented you may be, only has meaning if you're on some sort of perceived A-list of directors, actors or writers. I for one, hope Danny makes a great film despite this kind of put-down writing.
This writer would probably have said of Hitchcock "This guy was a draftsman and advertising designer with a local cable company, how can he possibly make a good film?".

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