Two legends in one night: Mike Nichols and Stanley Donen
So a couple of weeks ago, I was way uptown shooting at the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center. It was opening night of a full week tribute to the films of Stanley Donen. Yes the director of Singin' in the Rain, Funny Face, Charade, On the Town and Damn Yankees. Still alive and sharp, in person doing an interview onstage with Mike Nichols after a screening of his film Funny Face. Talking about how he tried to make the film look like his friend Richard Avedon's photographs (Fred Astaire's 'Dick Avery' character in the film is based on Avedon - going to Paris from Grenwich Village for the fashion shows with Audrey Hepburn). Donen said the film which was made in VistaVision didn't lend itself to Avedon's minimal depth of field techniques, and the producers were annoyed at him for not showing off VistaVision to its fullest. Funny how things never change between business and art. Mike Nichols and Donen bonded over hating people who are full of themselves, amongst other things. Then after all that I got to take a picture of these two legends. Well almost as big a deal as shooting Joey and Dee Dee Ramone on the Bowery in the day. Ha!
Then this week I got to see a new/old Jim Carrey film - I Love You Phillip Morris - in an advance screening up at the Walter Reade again. The directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa were on hand (they also wrote Bad Santa). On my way uptown, I wasn't sure if I was going to see a new or old film. I'd heard of the title last year, and noticed it was dated 2009. Well, turns out it was shown at Sundance in 2009 and has never had a real distributor - or the distributor dropped out after a year, and now the film is finally coming out. Or rather Jim Carrey is finally coming out . This is the gay Jim Carrey comedy. Or more precisely the gay Jim Carrey - gay Ewan McGregor comedy! It's a wild story of a con man who swindles people to pay for his "expensive gay lifestyle". And the kicker is, that it is a true story. REALLY!
Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
I told you the directors wrote Bad Santa right? This is the Jim Carrey movie you almost never saw. I'm not sure who their target audience is, but it's a miracle that this film was made and is about to be released.
You've really got to see this to believe it. Your girlfriend's gonna love it. You might too.
Grace Dunham, Lena Dunham (Director of Tiny Furniture), and Laurie Simmons
Which brings me to the other new film you have to see - Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture. It first came onto my radar last spring when it won an award at the SXSWest Film Festival. Dunham (twenty-four) who is the daughter of photographer Laurie Simmons, has made a small self-deprecating masterpiece about returning home (to Tribeca) after completing college (Oberlin) only to feel like a loser living amongst her successful mother and beautiful younger sister (played by her real mother and sister and her slightly rounded self). I won't give away any more of the plot. You can read all about it in the NY Times review, or the great New Yorker piece last week.
Lena Dunham (center) with Laurie Simmons and Grace Dunham (left) and friend/actress Jemima Kirke
I saw Tiny Furniture last summer when it was featured at the BAM Cinemafest at the BAM Cinematek in Brooklyn (plug plug - actually I was the official BAM Cinemeafest photographer). As it turns out I had this weird connection to Dunham that she didn't know about, and so I had a personal interest in seeing the film. After shooting the picture above, I hinted at it to her, but wasn't going to reveal until after I saw the film myself. I wanted to see how much of a sense of humor she had. Dunham asked me after the film, what the connection was. And as the film passed my humor test, I told her - "Your grandfather put my braces in backwards when I was a kid" (her grandfather was my dentist - for one week). And without skipping a beat, Dunham said - "That's so funny! We've got to go tell my Mom right now. Mom - Poppy put his braces in backwards!" I thought that was very cool of her.
right yeah - Lena Dunham
So go down to the IFC theater and catch this film. Check out her hilarious blog here. Watch the preview below. Tell your friends, tell your relatives, tell your dentist.
Grace Dunham with BAM program showcasing Tiny Furniture
the sisters - Lena & Grace Dunham
Watch the preview now!!