EXCLUSIVE: The writer/director Wachowski siblings have begun to invite actors to meet on their new film Cobalt Neural 9 about a taboo gay romance between an American and Iraqi soldier. But agents are telling me it has become yet another “top secret” project they and their actors can’t read. That means they can’t advise their clients whether to be in the pic sure to be controversial because of its “Hard R” storyline. But I’ve learned there is an increasing Hollywood obsession with keeping scripts under wraps right now because of the ease with which these copyrighted documents get published on the Internet. So much so that this is changing the way actors audition for hot button or fanboy friendly projects. More and more, reps don’t get to read full scripts. In some cases, on films like Spider-Man or The Avengers, the actors don’t, either. “CN9 is just the latest of a growing list of scripts that are being kept under lock and key,” one frustrated dealmaker tells me. “How do you do your job and advise clients when studios and filmmakers don’t want agents and managers to see scripts? If actors are lucky, they go to an office and read it with somebody watching. This kind of secrecy only used to happen with Woody Allen and maybe Steven Spielberg. But now it is rampant.”
Reps say it has happened recently on such scripts as Universal’s Battleship, the Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Apes, Thor, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Wolverine, the Twilight Saga films, and the two installments of The Hobbit. Regarding actors, agents said filmmakers are shielding scripts is focused on newcomers trying to jump start careers in superhero roles, not with big stars. I’m told that many of the actors vying to play superheroes in Marvel Comics films, Spider-Man included, didn’t get to read entire scripts when they were testing. Instead, they were given pages with villains glossed over to keep their identities fuzzy and had to rely on director Marc Webb to explain the plot and character.
It’s no mystery why this is happening: security. Producers and studio executives claim that if they email or messenger even one copy to an agency, it goes into that tenpercentery’s library — and then becomes fodder for low-level employees who trade the content of those scripts like currency. Suddenly, that copyrighted document is on the Internet. Disturbing but not illegal is having the script picked apart in a forum, or presented as a blog scoop that gives away story reveals. ”I doubt a blogger with 60 readers will ruin a movie even if they publish a script or rip it apart,” said one dealmaker who considers the increased secrecy “ridiculous” but acknowledges the bigger problem. “What is more important is the number of movies that are being leaked onto the internet before they are released.”
The box office success of Chris Nolan’s Inception demonstrates the benefit of keeping story details secret. Expect the same under cover treatment with Nolan’s next Batman and his production of a rebooted Superman. Every superhero movie gets this approach nowadays, and increasingly controversial motion pictures like the Wachowskis’ Cobalt Neural 9 whose “Hard R” gay romance storyline Deadline revealed.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At this 2010 TCA, the issue of depicting diversity on shows has become a key talking point as the broadcast networks present their new programming to the media. First, it was CBS’ Nina Tassler admitting she was disappointed with her outlet’s track record” on depicting gay and … Read More »
GLAAD released its 2009-2010 report on representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on television, in which MTV became the first network to receive an excellent rating. All broadcast networks showed improvement, with the CW for the first time topping the list with 35% of its programming featuring LGBT … Read More »
I hear Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman who’s known as the “Coming Out Guru” is developing with JUMA Entertainment an A&E project with the working title, natch, Coming Out. The concept will feature multiple public figures coming out of the closet. … Read More »
Sean Hayes has been set to host the 64th annual Tony Awards, to be broadcast June 13 from Radio City Musical Hall by CBS. Hayes is also a nominee for Promises, Promises, in the category of Best Performance by a Leading … Read More »
On the heels of its wins at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, Fox’s freshman hit Glee was named best comedy series at the 21st GLAAD Media Awards Saturday night in Los Angeles. Additionally, Tom Ford’s A Single Man won for best film (wide release) and Logo’s RuPaul’s Drag Race … Read More »
Journalist Diane Haithman filed this report for Deadline about last night’s Writers Guild of America, West, meeting for all leaders in the entertainment industry deeply interested in the realistic portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters that also happen to be black:… Read More »
GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) announced that Drew Barrymore will receive the Vanguard Award, and Wanda Sykes will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 17th.
UPDATES About Hollywood’s Coming-Out PR Guru
UPDATE: Coming-out PR guru Howard Bragman (who took actress Meredith Baxter out today) just commented about the interview to me: “As I read it, the important part of what Rupert … Read More »
LA Weekly recently ran an in-depth cover story on how showbiz flack Howard Bragman helps gay actors come out to the Industry. “In Hollywood,” Bragman told the paper’s Patrick Range McDonald, “most publicists keep their clients in the closet. … Read More »
UPDATES GLAAD: More Gay Characters On Network, Fewer On Cable
Los Angeles, CA, October 01, 2009 – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today released the 14th annual “Where We Are On TV”
… Read More »
Tomorrow, GLAAD’s 14th annual “Where We Are on TV” report, which measures the quantity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people on primetime and cable television for the the 2009-2010 TV season. I’ve learned some of the key stats will show:
– Quantity of gay and lesbian characters on primetime broadcast … Read More »
There’s another ”Gay Gate” picketing event organized by members of the WGA West’s Gay & Lesbian Writers Committee for gay and lesbian writers, talent, and other supporters today at NBC Studios in Burbank (at the Alameda Gate) from 10 AM to 1 PM.
Writer/director C. Jay Cox and Michael Medico (who heads up the blog Hot in Hollywood) are hosting “Gay Gate” at the main gate of Raleigh Studios Hollywood at 5300 Melrose Avenue today from 10 AM until 2 PM Los Angeles Times . Invited are gay and lesbian writers and actors to join … Read More »
Here’s another punch thrown in the ongoing Blu-ray vs HD-DVD format war. Tomorrow at 8 am, Wal-Mart is offering a “secret sale” of a Toshiba HD A2 HD-DVD player for a rock-bottom price of $98.87 (and $15 HD movies…) Best Buy fought … Read More »
Michael Musto has a must-read column in my sister paper, the Village Voice: Fame Is Such a Drug. . . I Mean, Drag. Hint: he was in the gay men’s version of The View.
Of course, Isaiah Washington acted like a horse’s ass. But it’s amazing to me that he has been fired from Grey’s Anatomy by its producers at ABC Television Studios when the network itself doesn’t have clean hands on the issue … Read More »