Just when I think I’ve seen it all… comes this email from Hollywood-Elsewhere.com blogger Jeff Wells to 3:10 To Yuma director James Mangold. I’ve authenticated it, and I’ve shortened it (because so much of it is incomprehensible filmspeak). But I am truly sickened that Wells spends the 2nd paragraph begging Mangold to, well, see for yourself. I understand that the director was appalled by the email. As all of Hollywood should be:
From: Jeffrey Wells
August 9, 2007 9:54:59 AM PDT
To: James Mangold
Subject: 3:10 to Yuma notes
I’m just gonna be upfront with you, pardner, and tell ya right straight I can’t get on the 3:10 to Yuma train and ride shotgun this time. Not like I did with Walk the Line, I mean. Not 100% anyway. It’s clearly above-average and sometimes way above average but that ending….hoowee. Crowe [edited out because of spoilers]. Christian Bale is superb — one of his career best — and Crowe is high-end exceptional as always, and I greatly respect Bale’s angry older son. A very good actor. DiCaprio-strength emoting. What’s his name again? Don’t bother — I’ll figure it out.
I am on my knees, Mr. Mangold, saying thank you, thank you and thank you again for persuading Vinessa Shaw to do her first flat-out, boob-baring nude scene. I was in heaven as Crowe drew her on his notepad. Please tell me there’s somebody on the Yuma team who can slip me some stills of the shooting that day… please. I’m serious. I know you think like I do in this respect, so please … as one good hombre to another … you don’t have to be the guy who passes along the stills. Just tell the still photographer or the editor or whomever caught her as she posed. I’m not a sleazebag either — I don’t pass along stills to the Mr. Skin crowd or my friends. This would be just for my, myself & I. At the very least it would be great to grab some frame captures from the film itself. Or some unused footage of Shaw and Crowe doing whatever. Out-takes, perhaps.
I was hoping this would be akin to Open Range, a movie that really and truly seemed to have been made in the 1890s [contd....]
Since I’m mixed on your film it would be best for you and yours if I waited to say anything until just before it opens. I don’t want to hurt anyone or anything. I respect you and what you’ve done, but it just didn’t ring my bell like Walk the Line did… sorry. Although I really and truly do like a lot of things about it. Many things, really. That whole middle section is almost pure pleasure.
And here is Jeff Wells’ response after I asked for his explanation:
Yeah, Nikki, I have a comment — it was seriously scummy of you to have run an off-the-cuff, one-guy-to-another letter about wanting to get a jump on photos of a hot actress that may or may not turn up on Mr. Skin a few weeks or months down the road. I’m going to pass along a major shocker to you, but you’d better sit down first. Ready? Guys like naked women — actresses, amateurs, Helmut Newton models, French politicians..anywhere and under almost any circumstance. They dream about naked women, compare notes about naked women, ogle pictures of naked women. I think it’s icky to loudly proclaim such interests, why is why I confine my enthusiasms along these lines to guys I know and (ahem) trust.
Vinessa Shaw, as it happens, has long inspired unmentionable thoughts on my part — unmentionable, I should say, except when it comes to you and your column. Anyway, I was sitting at my desk one afternoon and thinking about that brief nude-sketching scene between she and Russell Crowe in 3:10 To Yuma was the bees knees, so I [edited for legal reason] asked him if there were any grabbable stills or hot outtakes (pant, pant). I really don’t see what the big effin’ deal is, except for your having posted a private e-mail that had nothing to do with anything except a surge of hormonal intemperance on my part that — silly me — I trusted would stay in Mangold’s e-mail box.
One other point — you’re a good aggressive reporter so you should always ask yourself “why?” when you’ve been sent something like this. As in who benefits and who’s angry at me about what thing I’ve recently written? You don’t have to answer this question, but you way want to kick it around in your spare time.
Let me say in conclusion that I will continue to celebrate the notion of naked women, enjoy pictures of naked women, go to movies with female nude scenes and otherwise express all those appalling libidinal dream-notions that absolutely required publishing this brilliant, earth-shaking expose on Deadline Hollywood Daily. Although I probably won’t be sharing them with James Mangold any time soon.
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.