Monday, May 30, 2011

Alex Jones inspires zombies to action!

First radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones took on the Robert Rodriguez film Machete leading the Texas Film Commission to deny film incentives for it, then he helped kill TV's Two and a Half Men (or at least the Charlie Sheen version), now comes word that his radio rants actually led to the creation of a Zombie movie from fine musician Jesse Dayton. Here's what Jesse says about his film Zombex, which wraps filming today in Austin and features appearances by both Corey Feldman and Malcolm McDowell:

While on a 40-city arena tour opening for horror director/rock star Rob Zombie (a close friend who cast me as Capt. Clegg in his Harvey Weinstein-produced film Halloween 2 for which I also wrote and recorded an original soundtrack which Rob was the executive producer), I was listening to a radio show by libertarian conspiracy theorist host Alex Jones. This was purely for entertainment on the tour bus. On the third of the tour, Alex shouted “Don’t people understand that big pharmaceutical companies are in bed with the health insurance companies and the government and this Xanax is turning our country into zombies”!

Boom! Light bulb! I immediately wrote the outline for Zombex. A film that would be mostly set in New Orleans, LA but ending in Austin, TX about a greedy pharmaceutical company CEO who sells a Xanax-type pill to post Hurricane Katrina stress victims which turns them into zombies. An hour and twenty minutes fun ride with a big idea behind it. A down and out local Zydeco music star, lead character Charlie Thibideaux, brings down this Gordon Gekko-type greed head and his whole empire while zombies are simultaneously destroying everything around them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

'Good Christian Belles' goes to LA; 'Dallas' awaits verdict

This just in: Dallas-set Good Christian Belles (formerly Good Christian Bitches and also GCB) will shoot in Los Angeles, according to Janis Burklund of the Dallas Film Commission. The pilot shot in Dallas, and the show was picked up this week by ABC. "We always knew this one would be more difficult to keep here given it’s large cast and that it will be heavily shot on interior sets," Burklund said.

An ABC spokesperson said an official announcement of the filming location could come next week.

TNT did not mention the modern-day Dallas pilot at its upfront today. Burklund says no need to worry, but there are some rumblings it too may film in LA.

"The Dallas pilot just finished shooting and was produced for next season," she said. "They didn’t intend to have it in time for this season, so I wouldn’t have expected it to have been mentioned in TNT’s upfronts today. Believe we’ll know before too long about a series pickup, but can’t say exactly when. Can assure you Dallas isn’t out of it, and we are still working hard to ensure it stays here.

Sneak peek at 'Good Chrisitan Belles' pilot

Thanks to Scott who steered me to this look at the Dallas-shot pilot formerly known as Good Christian Bitches and GCB and now under the assumed name of Good Christian Belles. Annie Potts' hair is truly frightening!

Still no official word that the series will shoot in Dallas, but there are rumblings it will instead land in Los Angeles. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

'Good Christian Bitches,' er 'Belles' picked up by ABC

What I failed to tell you while my internet was down: Good Christian Bitches--now Good Christian Belles--was picked up by ABC to series.

Read more about the show here.

NOTE: We do not have confirmation yet of a Dallas shoot for the series. The pilot was shot in Dallas and the show is set there, so one can hope. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cannes can: 'Dallas Buyers Club' comes back to life

This just in from the Cannes International Film Festival: Matthew McConaughey and Hilary Swank are looking set to star in the long-planned The Dallas Buyers Club.

Here's what sez: "Content Film has acquired The Dallas Buyers Club for international sales. That puts the picture on track to finally happen ... McConaughey will play a Texas electrician named Ron Woodroof. Given six months to live by his doctors in 1986 after contracting AIDS, he hung on and lived another six years by illegally smuggling medicine into the US. He made sure a lot of other sufferers got them. The spirit of the drama paints a picture at the time of powerful and unyielding bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration."

'Little in Common' won't shoot in Austin

If you read my post earlier this week musing on whether Rob Thomas' Little in Common will shoot in Austin if picked up as a Fox series, the answer from show line producer Patricia Fass Palmer is "nope." The shoot for the show, which is set in Austin, would take place in Los Angeles. Expect word on whether the show is picked up next week. My gut says it will be given its strong cast and easy comparisons to Modern Family.

NEWS FLASH: Some sources (including Variety) say the series pickup is eminent.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Duplass sez help send 'Kevin' namesake out to world

Jay Duplass's doc Kevin is about Kevin Gant, an Austin musician in the '90s who vanished without a trace until the filmmaker tracked him down and set out to tell his story. The film premiered at SXSW and is on the film festival circuit. Duplass wants your help making sure Gant can make the journey as well since most festivals can't afford the expenses. Go to Kickstarter to see how you can donate and receive cool prizes like signed CDs and a DVD of the film.

This is what Duplass says about his doc:

"In Austin, TX in the early '90s, Kevin was my hero. He was the purest, most inspired artist I had ever seen. His fusion of all-American folk-poetry with a wild flamenco guitar style was completely original, and I went to every show of his I could.

But in 1995, Kevin disappeared completely from the music scene, and I had no idea why.

Two years ago I finally tracked him down, and we began a friendship. I learned about the painful events back in ’95 that shattered his lifelong dream of making and sharing music. I learned he had barely touched his guitar ever since, and had forgotten how to play almost all of his songs.

But then, thanks to a magical twist of fate I could never have imagined, Kevin and I found ourselves traveling halfway around the globe and back. And along the way, I watched as Kevin’s dream reignited right before my eyes.

KEVIN, my documentary debut, is that story."

By the way, Dan Eggleston reports that Duplass has asked him to portray a homeless man in a scene from the upcoming group-effort recreation of Richard Linklater's Slacker.

UT audience gets sneak peek at Linklater's 'Bernie'

Jack Black on the 'Bernie' set in Lockhart.

Word on the streets is John Pierson's Master Class at the University of Texas had a big treat last week: a full viewing of Richard Linklater's upcoming film Bernie. My tipster says the film starring Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine is impressive. Linklater said we should look for the movie to premiere at a film festival soon.

Based on a true story as chronicled in Texas Monthly, it also stars Matthew McConaughey as the district attorney out to nail Black in the title role of Bernie Tiede for the murder of MacLaine as wealthy widow Marjorie Nugent.

My source sez Linklater indicated the film had fought for financial backing and ended with a slew of executive producers (aka investors). Financing has been a continuing problem for Linklater, who of late was reported to be circling a remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet in exchange for financing for more of his 12-year project, which should be, what, in year eight now?

There are also rumblings about Liars (A-E), Linklater's almost adaptation of screenwriter Emma Forrest's book about a breakup that semi-mirrors her real-life one with Colin Farrell. Telephone-tosser and producer Scott Rudin recently said the project is still alive and may yet be made. In 2009, changes at Miramax reportedly killed chances for the film.

Here's a description of that project, which was about to shoot a while back before financing collapsed: "Liars (A-E) follows a girl who’s so swept up by President Obama’s supposedly perfect marriage to Michelle that she travels across America to the inauguration."

Can Rob Thomas bring network TV back to Austin?

No, I'm not talking about the guy from some band (or at least that band). I'm talking about Rob Thomas, the guy who grew up in San Marcos and was a teacher before some middle-school novels changed his life. The guy from the Austin band Hey Zeus. The guy behind Veronica Mars. The guy who fairly recently moved back to Austin from Los Angeles.

Most important, I'm talking about Rob Thomas the guy whose single-camera Fox pilot Little in Common is set in Austin, but didn't shoot here (that's him on the pilot set above). Here's how it's described:

"With three families united through their kids’ Little League sports, it centers on the Wellers (Rob Corddry, Paula Marshall), who move from San Jose, Calif., to Austin, Texas, but find that their adjustment won't be quite that easy considering their Latino neighbors, the Pachecos (Lombardo Boyar, Alanna Ubach), have a radically different approach to child-rearing than they do, while their other new neighborhood acquaintances, the African American Burlesons (Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union), take sports very seriously.

The question now is whether the show will be picked up (which seems likely given the cast, the folks behind it and similarities to Modern Family) and how much of the series will shoot in Austin. The first question will be answered at Fox upfronts--a dog and pony show for new shows--this coming Monday. The second is murkier. Yes, the show is set in Austin, and, yes, Thomas lives here now. But consider Kyle Killen whose short-lived Lone Star shot in Dallas and was set in Houston. Killen lives in Austin and made a last-minute attempt to move the shoot to Austin. It failed. Sometimes the creator doesn't have that much power.

But with a trained crew left over from Friday Night Lights and still no word on whether reshoots of Lifetime's Meet Jane will reap a series pickup (Lifetime had its upfronts in April), Austin is ripe for another network series. This could be it. Stay tuned.

FYI: We should also get word next Tuesday on ABC's Dallas-shot Good Christian Bitches (or whatever it's going to be called) and next Wednesday on TNT's Dallas reimagining as those networks stage upfronts.

Monday, May 9, 2011

San Antonio-set 'Desperado' disappears into development hell

I keep meaning to mention that Desperado, the San Antonio-set CBS pilot in development shall at this time remain in development. In other words, don't look for filming to commence along the Riverwalk any time soon. That's the word from the San Antonio Film Commission.

It's too bad since the show sounded promising: "Desperado is about a band of lawmen who enact cowboy-style justice on modern-day criminals in San Antonio."

And, no, San Antonio native son Robert Rodriguez had nothing to do with it, despite the title. Instead it was from CSI creator Anthony Zuiker.

Cornish is 'The Girl'; don't tell Reese Witherspoon

Call it a return to the scene of the crime. Abbie Cornish (that's her armed and dangerous in the Sucker Punch poster) is set to star in The Girl, which lens in Austin in June. The story is about: "Ashley, a young Texan mother who loses her child to foster care and begins smuggling Mexicans across the border. When her quick money scheme fails, she ends up traveling across Mexico with an orphaned eight year old girl from Oaxaca for company." It's a SAG film written and directed by David Riker (La Ciudad).

Cornish was in Austin back in 2006 to film Stop-Loss with Ryan Phillippe, who was then married to Reese Witherspoon. Cornish and Phillippe apparently hooked up and the marriage was kaput. As of last year, the hookup ended, and Cornish appears to be on the market again and back in the Capital City.

And that's the most celebrity gossip you're likely to ever find in my blog!