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OSCARS: Werner Herzog’s Controversial Toronto/Telluride Death Penalty Doc Being Rushed Into Release In November

By | Friday October 7, 2011 @ 8:31am PDT
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: After its controversial showings at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, Werner Herzog’s dark and gripping death penalty documentary Into The Abyss, originally scheduled to be released sometime in 2012, has just been moved into the crowded November holiday corridor and will now open November 11th in New York, Los Angeles and possibly a couple of other major cities. The decision was literally forced on distributor Sundance Selects by its filmmaker, who became “obsessed” with the subject matter and demanded they release it now — particularly as the issue has turned into a hot potato due to a recent Republican presidential debate and the execution of Troy Davis. The difficulty for the distrib was Herzog’s other current doc, the 3D Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, has been a big hit and continues in theaters, and it’s likely some of those dates will now have to be pulled to make way for Abyss.

Erik Nelson, the producer on both films, explains that there was a confluence of events. “Cave is still in theaters and we had no idea it would do as well as it has done,” he said. “You’re not really supposed to put two films out at the same time by the same director (tell that to Steven Spielberg). On the other hand, what Werner wants, Werner gets. Resistance is futile. Added Nelson: “It seems now for whatever reason. everyone in the country is focused on the death penalty debate again thanks to Rick Perry and the bloodthirsty yahoos at the Republican debate, and I think Werner wants the film to be part of that discussion because timing is everything.” Read More »

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GOP Candidates Seeking Hollywood Help

UPDATE: TV and radio political pundit Dennis Miller on Monday announced that he’s endorsing Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and will headline a political fundraiser in Los Angeles. Miller also is making donations to the campaign and offering to write for Cain, the recent winner of the GOP straw poll in Florida and now the leader of the entire GOP field in a new Zogby poll of Republican primary voters. Meanwhile, the AP is reporting that Donald Trump has become a “must-stop for GOP candidates hoping to bask in the celebrity real estate mogul’s star power”. All the major Republican presidential hopefuls have sought an audience with the host of Celebrity Apprentice, looking for an endorsement or advice. Mitt Romney is scheduled to meet met with Trump on Monday in New York. Cain’s date with the Donald is said to be upcoming.

Rick Perry already dined with Trump earlier this month at fancy NYC eatery Jean Georges. Michele Bachmann visited Trump’s penthouse atop the Trump Tower in July. Sarah Palin (who’s not yet declared) shared pizza with Trump in Times Square last spring. Trump toyed with throwing his own hat into the ring but would have had to exit Celebrity Apprentice, so he declined. On the other hand, another Hollywood endorsement might not be as welcome to one Republican candidate: that of liberal filmmaker Michael Moore. Moore just told CNN’s Piers Morgan that, of the entire GOP field, “There’s only one who has sanity operating inside of … Read More »

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