I walked into Muse Productions post-modern office, designed by Frank Gehry's firm, on Brooks Avenue near the Venice Beach at 2PM, November 8, 2001, for my interview with producer Chris Hanley (Buffalo 66, The Virgin Suicides, American Psycho and 14 other films).
After 20 minutes, Chris bounds up the stairs, his hair wet. About 45 years of age, he stands a muscular 6'2 and vibrates with energy.
In a big airy white room, we sit opposite each other on genuine all-cardboard chairs. Several members of Hanley's staff walk in and out, answer phones and work on computers.
"From a beachfront loft in Venice, Hanley's Muse Productions, which he runs with his wife, Roberta, has produced roughly 20 films in a mere decade, luring adventurous, often first-time directors with the promise of final cut, and attracting major actors at far below cost with challenging material unlikely to get made elsewhere." (LA Weekly, 11/14/02 article by Paul Cullum)
Chris speaks so rapidly about numerous areas in which I'm ignorant that my mind strains to keep up. Our interests and backgrounds are radically different. Many of Hanley's films (like American Psycho) frighten me.
Hanley grew up in the affluent suburb of Montclair, New Jersey, where they shoot exteriors for The Sopranos. The son of a dentist, Hanley was a dancer with the New York City Ballet and an itinerant student at Columbia and Oxford (briefly) before getting degrees in literature and philosophy at Amherst College in western Massachusetts.
Chris met his future wife Roberta in the Hampshire College's electronic-music lab, which featured the first sequencers and drum machines in the country.
Hanley founded Intergalactic Music, Inc., a company that supplied vintage Fender and Gibson guitars to rock stars. In the early 1980s, Intergalactic opened a recording studio in New York City, and initiated the first wave of electronic rap music with artists such as Africa Bambatta, Rockers Revenge, New Edition, Jellybean, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. The studio later recorded the music of The Ramones, Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Billy Idol, Bob Dylan, Tibetan Monks of Dahlai Lama, the Brecker Brothers, Michael Kamen, Charlie Sexton, David Sanborn and Bobby Brown.
In 1984, Hanley launched Rock Video International, the first company to license MTV videos for distribution in Japan and the first to bring music videos to the Eastern Bloc countries, the then-U.S.S.R. and Hungary. RVI expanded its licensing and was the first to bring the video disk jukebox to Japan, and later, the first to bring Japan's "karaoke" to the United States and the rest of the world. RVI produced 400 videos, 650 audio recordings and obtained 1,000 synchronization licenses for the karaoke project, which employed hundeds of music video directors, studio musicians and audio engineers in RVI's 48-track digital control rooms.
In 1987, Hanley formed Art Associates, Inc., to deal works by the late Andy Warhol (whom he knew) and other "pop" artists such as Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Ed Ruscha, as well as minimalists Judd, Sol Lewit, Richard Serra and Arschwagger. By 1990, Art Associates was known internationally for its representation of such edgy, contemporary artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Bickerton, Kiefer, Richard Prince, Andre Serrano and Damian Hirst.
In 1991, Hanley and his wife Roberta founded Muse Productions, Inc. to develop and produce feature films. Their first film was Split Second, starring Rutger Hauer, Peter Postlethwaite, Kim Catrall, Michael J. Pollard and Ian Drury. The company also produced Ms. Hanley's 1998 directorial debut, Woundings, which stars Guy Pearce, Johnathon Schaech and Emily Lloyd.
Roberta's father is a London banker. Chris says Harvey Weinstein came to their house in London and offered them 50% of Miramax for $6 million. The Hanleys called a friend who warned them it was a dangerous investment because Miramax had so much debt.
During the 1990s, Hanley produced Mary Herron's American Psycho and the feature film directorial debuts of Sofia Coppola's Virgin Suicides, Vincent Gallo's Buffalo '66 and Steve Buscemi's Trees Lounge. His other producing credits include James Toback's Two Girls and a Guy, Mathew Bright's films Freeway and Revenant, Michael Oblowitz's This World, Then the Fireworks and Ed Wood, Jr.'s I Woke Up Early the Day I Died, directed by Aris Iliopolis and Girl, directed by Jonathan Kahn.
Hanley owns the movie rights to more than a dozen books. A former Muse Film employee divides the Hanley's interests in to drugs, punk and crime, particularly serial killers. The 11/14/02 cover of the LA Weekly shows Chris Hanley brandishing a big knife.
Luke: "How would you describe the material that interests you?"
Chris: "At college, I was a Philosophy and English major. So from early on, I've known what I liked, whether it was Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask or Proust's Remembrance of Things Past."
Rosa writes on Amazon.com about Confessions: "If one is looking for a book with a mood for eerie rituals of introspection, this is a good stuff. If one has a knack for being buttonholed with confessions, this is a good stuff too. If one likes finding the so-called absolute answers between the real and unreal, Mishima can articulate this dichotomy with his charming details and weird allegories in this novel."
Chris: "I knew which things hit the mark in terms of my ideas of life. I don't have a problem reading a book like The Virgin Suicides, or a script, and it hits a few chords. I don't follow the fashions and try to figure out what audiences will pay for. I think about what will be nice to make. Some books like James Joyce's Ulysses or George Batai's Story of the Eye. Those are difficult books to film.
"We have this book Going Down by Jennifer Belle. It's about an 18 year old NYU drama student who falls into a vortex of call girl scenarios. Madonna beat me out bidding against it. It wasn't that I thought it was the deepest literature, I just thought it would be good filmicly. It's not American Pie but it is still pretty pop."
Luke: "It seems to be dark material that grabs you."
Chris: "Yeah. You have a tendency to like sex and to explore death. I'm not trying to lighten my day by reading things. Geez, it's really no darker than Shakespeare's MacBeth or Hamlet. People forget that most of the best stories ever told are tragic. What's Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald? Was Catcher in the Rye light? American Pie was light but would that ever be a book that either of us would want to read?"
Luke: "Where did you go to college?"
Chris: "Amherst College in Massachusetts but I went around to other places. I took a few courses at Colombia in Philosophy and a few courses in Philosophy and English at Oxford, as part of Amherst's reciprocity program."
Luke: "And when were you born?"
Chris: "No. I don't want that published anywhere. A long time ago. I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I'm doing a movie called The Family about Charles Manson's rock n'roll career (based on the by Ed Saunders, Charles Manson And The Dune Buggie Attack Battalion). Dennis Wilson financed his rock career [before Manson turned into a mass murderer]. Doris Day's son Terry Melcher owned the house Roman Polanski rented where Sharon Tate was killed. Manson did NOT go to the site of any of the murders --he is a mass murderor on the basis of conspiracy, due to his cultish mind control of his "Family."
"These murders were not something I read about. I remember when it was taking place. I think that by 1970-71, the cat was out of the bag that there was a death poet, murderer, cultist out there that's attractive and destructive to society at the same time.
"I feel that I was very much a part of the time while the directors of The Family, Don Murphy and Susan Montcord, they've just inherited the spirit of the sexual revolution."
Luke: "Was there still free love in the '70s?"
Chris: "I was a virgin at the time but that was the deal, yes. Half the movie is free love."
Luke: "Where's the movie in the production cycle?"
Chris: "Getting final cast approval from Senator Entertainment. And in these rough times for financing, we're trying to bring in a German co-production."
Luke: "What sorts of projects interest you?"
Chris: "I have this background in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of mathematics, cybernetics, physics, neuroscience, neurophysiology. I like things that play with time. I'm interested in mind-brain theory. What defines the self? A pile of neurons? The writers of novels seem to be more into science than people who turn in screenplays."
Luke: "Do you have nightmares?"
Chris: "Yes, sometimes. I don't mind nightmares. Not ones where I'm screaming. I don't wake up on the beach with the waves splashing over me. Sometimes I go into these horrific pathways in my sleep. I don't necessarily avoid that."
Luke: "Does it make you feel alive?"
Chris: "When I watch a horror thing, I just get scared. It pumps up my hormone level into fight or flight. I watch horror movies with my hands over my eyes. The first Alien movie made me feel more alive, not because it was scary, but because the imagery was tapping into something essential, like a cancer cell, as a primitive essential form.
"I liked the movie The Others because it was gothic and it reifies a whole world of dreams that people walk around with. It makes it feel that dreams could be truer reality. I like it when the house is used as a metaphor for the mind, the creepy house with all the little rooms in it and unknown horrors that you stumble into. Or medieval thinking, with castles, like Bergman films like the Seventh Seal which was about the Black Death. Ending up in the castle and having to face death and the knight does it one way. The strongest person is actually the weakest.
"Jim Thompson's novel which I bought, The Killer Inside Me, isn't so much about murder and fear and death but it has a sadomasochistic thing with the sexuality that made it interesting."
Luke: "What was your breakout film?"
Chris: "Freeway, 1996, starring Reese Witherspoon. It was highly controversial. It went out on HBO and teenagers across the nation embraced it. It shipped tons of videos. People between 15-25 yo felt it had a voice they hadn't seen even with the Pulp Fictions. In the end, Pulp Fiction appeals to the college intelligentsia, not a trashy teenager. Freeway appealed to an audience closer to the street and intelligent people liked it too for some reason.
"Freeway cost $3.1 million. Oliver Stone was executive producer so the budget went up a little.
"And Trees Lounge (1996) was interesting too. The media gave these things either controversial reviews. Roger Ebert said Freeway was one of his favorites. Tree's Lounge was a poignant look at a real person in a real place with a nothing ending. It's about a guy who drank too much and never got out. The movie never sold anything. And people thought, oh, that really is the way life is. We called it 'bleak chic.' It got a cool hip reception in the media even though it didn't knock off a lot of tickets.
"They (Freeway and Trees Lounge) were shot two weeks apart and I had two of them pumping out in the fiercely competitive independent world. I experienced the same thing with Virgin Suicides and American Psycho. Their premieres in New York were one day apart. American Psycho was on 15 magazine covers. Virgin Suicides was in Italian Vogue, French Vogue, U.S. Vogue...
"Buffalo 66 ($2.3 million directed by Vincent Gallo, starring Mickey Rourke, Christina Ricci) and Two Girls and a Guy ($1.26 million directed by James Toback and starring Robert Downey and Heather Graham) came out at the same time and got a high ranking reception in the media, from Entertainment Weekly to Premiere to the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times.
"I've produced a few films with Ed Pressman. After a while, with the low budget films of less than seven million, I've probably got the hotter reputation because I just kept churning them out. I was always on the set, getting to know the actors, staying in touch with them. Finding out who they wanted to work with and which directors. Christina Ricci's directing something with Adam, who has office space here. I've been trying to get her to direct for years.
"American Psycho was our biggest budgeted film at $7 million."
Luke: "How did you get Buffalo 66?"
Chris: "I've known Vincent Gallo since late 1983, when he recorded in my studio in New York. He was into art and I'd become an art dealer. He went into acting and I got into producing. He moved out here first. We hung out. His screenplay (Buffalo 66) circulated around town. He reluctantly sent me over a copy, because everything he does is reluctant. I read it and said, 'Are you kidding? No one else could direct this but you. It's your life.' And so he did.
"Lionsgate Entertainment (distributor) thought they were going to have a light comedy. It wasn't what they expected at first. Over the years it panned out as being more significant for doing it the way we did it. We shot the movie on Kodak Ektachrome Reversal film 35mm (and it had not ever been used before as a replacement for negative film -- it is basically a positive transparency film). Kodak had to make a special batch for us just for Buffalo 66. In 16mm format it had been used for war photography (dating back to late World War II and Vietnam etc, and also for football cinematography up until a period in the early 1980's when it was switched over to negative film).
"Vincent had grown up with the Buffalo Bills. His mother really was a Buffalo Bills freak who only had one photo of him and hundreds of them. He really spent time in jail for stealing a car. The whole painfulness of existence and his relationships was drawn from his relationship with his father.
"Ben singing that song in that one scene is actually Vincent's father's real voice from a cassette recording he'd done years earlier. Vincent's father had a great voice and never did anything with it, just sung in bars. Some of the scenes were shot in the house he lived in while growing up. Most of the people he grew up with are still there. It's that kind of town where people never get out. It's a strange jail sentence. They're all sports freaks walking around with Buffalo Bills regalia."
Luke: "I read Vincent Gallo's critical comments about you. He said, 'Chris Hanley is a fantastically bright person but a bit spaced out, which had one advantage when it came to making the film, and one disadvantage. The disadvantage was I didn't get any support from him ... I produced the movie, hired everybody, and did everything. The advantage was, his lack of focus made him incapable of getting in my way'."
Chris: "That sounds good. Truth is, I was the only co-producer on that and work 23-hour days with him threatening me at 4AM that he was going to stab me in the face if I didn't do this or that. I spent more concentrated effort on that, getting the financing, getting the crew members and keeping them in line, dealing with the unions, than I have on any other film. There's a publicity factor in letting him rant.
"I was the sole 'Producer' on Buffalo66, not co-producer --- Jordan Gertner got a 'co-producer credit --but this is NOT a producer credit per se. It goes Associate/Co-/Executive/Producer/ in that order. Vincent Gallo did NOT receive a Producer type credit (in any category). I just let him SAY he produced the whole thing (not entirely incorrect in that Vincent Gallo DOES do almost all the creative aspects of his films himself --including the poster and the music --so he cheekily always says he "produced" the movie by himself --and of course that is our game.)
Luke: "How did you get Sofia Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, to make her directorial debut for you with The Virgin Suicides?"
Chris: "I knew Jackie, her sister-in-law. Jackie was married to the son that died in the boat accident. Jackie is deeply involved with the Coppola family. Sofia and Jackie and my wife and I would go to dinner from time to time. Sofia stumbled on the book The Virgin Suicides and wrote a script for the hell of it. She looked up who owned it and lo and behold it's the friend she eats dinner with. My wife Roberta lobbied to get Sofia the directing job.
"I originally wanted Nick Gomez to direct. He wrote a script that didn't quite work. I don't like to jump from director to director. But Sofia's passion for the project became apparent to me.
"It was hard to finance the picture. The title alone was difficult. Using the words "Virgin" and "Suicides" in the same title. They wouldn't even let me register it in the state of New York. I had to call it the Virgin S. corporation. We form shell corporations every time we make a movie, to limit the liability of the movie to that property. So I tried to register Virgin Suicides Inc Productions and the state said it was pornographic. Even though at one point Disney owned the film rights to the book.
"Sofia hasn't directed her second film yet. She's had plenty of offers."
Luke: "Did you get to meet her father (Francis Ford Coppola, the famous director of The Godfather, Apocalypse Now)?"
Chris: "I just saw him last week. He showed up in a hula outfit at Jackie Coppola, Peter Getty's house for Halloween."
Luke: "What's he doing these days?"
Chris: "He's got some wine. He's got the family financially stable. He's got Zoetrope Productions and they produce movies. His son Roman directed a movie. He's had a good life in the film business. I don't know what he's directing next. He seems more concerned with giving what he achieved to the next generation. And sell some wine and make some money."
"We shot it on the Isle of Mann. It was cool hanging out with actors Ray Winstone, Guy Pearce, Charlie Creed-Miles, Emily Lloyd. Guy is Australian but he's a master of accents. He had a Liverpool accent in this movie."
Chris produced his first movie in 1992 - Rutger Hauer's Split Second. "It opened in a curfew during the riots but it went to number four theatrical gross, doing over $4 million in the first weekend. But then it fell fast because it was a crummy horror movie. It only cost $5 million to make. Then it shipped 127,000 videos when they were worth $58 each. HBO paid $4.3 for video and broadcast rights. Then we did $4.2 million in foreign, and it was a shitty movie.
"Stephen Norrington, who directed 1998's Blade, was our creature effects guy.
"Because we didn't use a bank and financed it ourselves completely, when I came to town people thought I had big money. Peter Hoffman, Mike Medavoy were saying, 'Ohh, I want $30 million'."
Luke: "Where did you come up with $5 million?"
Chris: "There are some bankers in the family.
"Two Girls and a Guy cost $1.26 million and brought in $2.1 million to Muse and our 50/50 partner Edward R Pressman Film Corp."
Luke: "Have you lost money on any of your films?"
Chris: "I don't know if I've lost money for anybody else but I've never lost money. Woundings was an Isle of Mann deal and we got them started. They have a structure where they can't lose any money. They have reciprocity in trade relations with Great Britain so they've set up a nifty tax structure. If their citizens get employed, that's good for them. And they can afford to put out money. We were one of the first three [moviemakers] to do their program. They were very happy to have Ray Winstone and Guy Pearce. Hundreds of their citizens got jobs.
"Virgin Suicides did $4 million in France and the distributor paid only $1.2 million for the rights to all of Europe. Do they tell me in their accounting reports that they made money? No."
Luke: "Do you have any war stories of your most difficult shoots?"
Chris: "Fireworks was difficult because of the director [Michael Oblowitz]. [Actor] Billy Zane and Mike Oblowitz got into fist fights till 4AM and I had to break them up. I think real art needs to grow out of some sort of chaos. Not in chaos, but right at the edge. All of evolution takes place, not out of steady state dynamics, but out of chaotic bipolar activity.
"We didn't have that on Virgin Suicides but it is more of a placid meditative thing while Buffalo 66 was just insane. And that paid off. Unfortunately Vincent Gallo will never be able to be a stable human being again but at least the movie worked out."
Luke: "When was Vincent Gallo a stable human being?"
Chris laughs. "He used to pretend he was. He'd just isolate himself from the rest of society and not interact with it. He was ok at a certain point. You could eat dinner with him and not know the truth."
Luke: "What's he doing these days?"
Chris: "You can ask him. Vincent Gallo goes to Les Deux Cafe every Monday night --so you can go there to ask him what he is up to -- it is a restaurant/club in Hollywood. I have never seen him eat there, he just stand in a dark corner and holds court to about 4-5 girls, different every week, who he partially turns his back to as he allows them to address him.
"Tennessee Williams wrote a novella called One Arm and Gallo wrote a screenplay for it. He's got his own project Brown Bunny, a top secret project where the financiers and actors don't get to read the script. Well, the actors get to read their sides before going to work that day but they don't know if their character is going to be in one scene or the protagonist in the whole movie."
Luke: "What's the purpose in that?"
Chris: "So they don't have any preconceived notion of their position in the story."
Luke: "What are you working on?"
Chris: "We're working on 20 different projects that I've listed on our internet site www.musefilm.com. I've got a little one about the sex trade and child pornography with Damian Harris directing. It's an intercutting between eight year olds absconded by sex traders and eight years later. It's dramatically poignant rather than exploitive."
Chris signs his name with a flourish on my release form, a big flamboyant and circular signature that is totally unreadable. Realizing this, he prints his name in clear block letters underneath.
Hanley finances most of his own films from sources around the world including Canal Plus. Studios sometimes step in to finance his films under a negative pickup or production deal.
Here are excerpts from a New York Post Page Six column of 10/30/00:
IT'S a safe bet that Christina Ricci won't be working with iconoclastic indie actor Vincent Gallo anytime soon.
Gallo - who co-starred with Ricci in his 1998 directorial debut "Buffalo 66" - spewed venom about the moon-faced moppet when PAGE SIX bumped into him at downtown hotspot Luahn the other night.
When we asked if he enjoyed working with Ricci, Gallo growled, "It was OK when she wasn't drunk on the set. I think she's an alcoholic - it was either that, or she was on cough syrup the whole time.
"I don't like her," Gallo continued. "She's an ungrateful c- - -. But it was OK. She's basically a puppet. I told her what to do and she did it."
Gallo also sniped about the voluptuous Ricci's fluctuating weight during filming: "She lost 17 pounds, and that was because I only let her eat one whole pizza pie every day."
Gallo, who sat at a table with [Rick] Rubin, told us that they were teaming up on a movie about Charles Manson. "It's called ‘Charlie Manson Sings,'" he said. "I play Manson. Rick is producing it. It's basically a musical. It's amazing." As if all that information wasn't enough, Gallo volunteered that he would be voting for George W. Bush, and uttered an unprintable epithet about Al Gore for good measure.
There are more great examples of scathing letters at Musefilm.com.
On January 22, 2001, David McKenna writes the producers of the 2001 film Bully: Larry Clark, Don Murphy, Fernando Sulichin:
The purpose of this letter is to inform the above parties that I, in conjunction with my attorney, am removing my name from the film Bully. I will instead be utilizing the pseudonym Zachary Long for my writing credit. The Writer's Guild has been informed of my intent to use this pseudonym.
My reasons follow. When Don Murphy gave me this book [novel by Jim Schutze] to adapt, I looked at it as a gift from the gods. Here was a story and a character study unlike anything I had ever read before. Bully was an insight into youth that hadn't been documented since Larry Clark's first film, Kids. And, unlike many, I did not feel Kids or Bully was irresponsible. Honest, poignant and terrifying maybe, but not irresponsible.
As far as the translation of Bully from book to script. I felt we had achieved greatness. After meeting with Larry in New York and conjointly making some great changes, the result, I felt, was some of the best work I had ever been associated with.
The film I watched on December 1st left me completely dumbfounded. What I witnessed was revolting, offensive and childish. I could not believe what had been done to what was once an extremely compelling and emotional story. Though I realize that at this point I have no control over what ultimately happens with this film, I can only hope that others associated with it will understand and agree with my stance.
After all, this is not a movie. It much more closely resembles a porno. It has all the qualities to verify that claim: Unbelievably gratuitous sex, no story, zero motivation, no character development, and horrible acting. I knew early on the discontent I was going to have once Bijou Phillips said "his dick was beautiful and he ate my pussy for an hour." I knew right then what the directors vision was and I immediately regretted ever giving him the script. It was clear that he had forgone drama and character development in order to gratuitously create a one dimensional pornographic whore. In the book and in the script, Ali is a character with depth and complexity. The compelling aspect of Ali is how beautiful and presentable she is on the outside, and how stupid, insecure and diabolical she is on the inside. none of this is explored in this movie. She merely exists for perverse crotch shots and grotesque sexual escapades. Virtually all scenes involving Ali are nothing short of repulsive. And to what end?
The same holds true for Lisa Connely. first of all, Rachel Miner, as sweet as she is, should not have been in this movie. She was clearly miscast. The character of Lisa demands a fat, ugly loser who's ridiculed by Bobby so bad that she's driven to kill him. Here, she's portrayed as someone who's actually beautiful and proud of her body. I can find no reason for so haphazardly destroying the character development and motivation that script provides other than for the director to showcase the half dozen or so wonderfully gratuitous shorts of her vagina. Additionally, we never see the growing hatred of Bobby that her character demands. The only scene that might be able to justify her motivation to kill, the Doberman attack scene, is nowhere to be found. Therefore, once again, what's left is no character motivation and no believability, and only several gratuitous sex scenes that leave the audience repulsed and wondering why this movie was ever made.
The direction of the other actors also greatly disappoints. Renfro is all over the place. In the beginning he's playing coy, nervous and shy (i.e. the deli, the Camaro, the Copa), ten minutes later he's singing Eminem, talking shit, and being abusive to Lisa (Note: This went down in 1992, when Eminem was still in high school). Renfro laughs through his speech about the first time he tried pot with Bobby and then offers some bullshit cry that is nothing more than a feeble attempt for sympathy.
Derek Dzvirko also hails from the Bully school of acting. The method? Pretend you're a zombie and say your lines as fast as you can.
Michael Pitt at least has some energy to his character, but where's the other dimension of Donny Semenee? Where's the sweet, caring kid who's manipulated into this by Ali? The same holds true for the Hitman. Leo Fitspatrick, who has in other films demonstrated that the is a talented actor, screams this way through every scene. Where's the humor behind the stupid camp counselor leading the kids into battle? Where's the umm's and uhh's? the only notable performance comes from Nick Stahl. The kid's a great actor, but, then, again, his likeability makes him miscast. He garners sympathy form the audience, when the reality should be that the audience detests him to such a degree that they understand what ld these kids to murder him. It's a travesty. Nearly every aspect of this story that drove me to wan t to get this movie made has been destroyed.
What is this movie truly about now? In all honesty, I think it's a $2.2 million exercise in perversion. Every scene Ali and Lisa are in, the camera is focused on their vaginas. The sexual distractions are amateurish, unnecessary and offensive. Crotch shots over pedicures, giving blow jobs in the cars (another long lasting crotch shot), pinching nipples, putting clothes pins on nipples, Lisa fucking Marty five times, Ali fucking Bobby twice, Ali fucking Donny, Ali making out with Donny, Heather rubbing Donny, Donny making out with Heather, Heather making out with Ali, where's the fucking story?!
The bottom line is that by all appearances, the intelligence of this film has been desecrated in lieu of perverse and childish intentions. What makes a movie great are the little things. It is no surprise that with these little things Bully fails miserably. Here, Iíll explore just a few that I felt contribute to the demise of this film. After the first attempt of the murder fails, Donny says to the girls "you guys need professional help." Where is Aliís epiphany of seeking out "professional help?" All you see in the next scene is the Hitman with a bunch of children saying nothing of importance to each other. Itís like theyíre trying to say something but can't think of anything. so a few face shots are inserted to kill time until the mother comes outside with the phone. Then we see Cousin Derek outside cutting grass. Not only can he hear his cell phone over the deafening machine, he automatically knows that it's Lisa. Later, when the kids arrive to seek out the help of the Hitman, a camera shot, clearly stolen from Scorsese in The Color of Money, is used and abused. Here we have one of the most important scenes with the Hitman and instead of the scene moving the story forward, the audience is left completely dizzy and again wondering why. Here I've mentioned four justifiable complaints within a period of five minutes.
It is with much sadness and regret that I remove my name from this film. It was a story very close to my heart, one that I fought long and hard for. It is not easy to let two years of hard work and perseverance go down the drain, but there is no doubt that in order to preserve my name, I must.
Buffalo 66 co-producer Jordan Gertner writes Hanley: "Chris has requested that David McKenna's letter requesting his name be removed from the film be put up on the muse web site. Clark would have the cleanest copy - my is only a fax. If Chris really wants this done - Clark you should forward your copy to Danny. Should also probably find out what kind of trouble you may be getting yourselves into."
Chris Hanley responds: "He can fuck himself. My middle name is trouble. If he does not want it published he should not send it to my name."
Chris Hanley writes JusticeForWomen@freelisaconnelly.com
Well I am the producer of the film [Bully] along with Don Murphy and Fernando Sulichin and we are completely baffled. In fact we love the controversy that your site and statements contained therein has created around the movie Bully--and the director and our selves as producers have always enjoyed the right of others to criticize our work. Don Murphy made Natural Born Killers and I made American Psycho and Larry Clark made Kids--and these films were subject to extreme controversy which we felt opened the themes of the movies to scrutiny that engendered a fair analysis of the content presented to our audiences. We have placed your website link onto our websites in fact so that the entire story of the murder of Bobby Kent and what social motivations engender the act of murder could be considered. We have never stated that the film Bully which is depicted in a contemporary setting is a reenactment of the events leading to the killing of Bobby Kent , but rather that the aesthetic of the movie that Mr Clark has created depicting a contemporary suburban Hollywood Florida mall ennui was perhaps more real than any of the truths that may be derived from scrutinizing the details of the events that took place in 1993. Mr Clark in his directing recreated a lifestyle with its own reality more real than the historical memory of past events. Bully is now.
If our movie in its controversial depiction of sexuality and drug usage and the stating of a kind of futureless teen social strata and in its complete requirement of not having any film industry "rating" , adds some focus onto the original historical crime that led to several teens and twenty year olds in the Broward Country Florida area killing a person, perhaps a person who was a bully to others around him , or perhaps not as much as we depict , we would be happy that such historical facts were disclosed. As to the death threats I am sorry to say that since I happen to be Chris Hanley, and with my correct knowledge of my producing partners Don Murphy and Fernando Sulichin, that we not only did not call in any death threats to you, but would not in that it would defeat our grand goal in making this film in the first place to do such a thing. We need your opinion in order to achieve what we believe is truly a valid effort with this movie.
Here are excerpts from MuseFilm.com's list of projects in development:
MAMA BLACK WIDOW - Iceberg Slim pens this tragic classic about a black family in Chicago during the fifties adrift in the dark world of pimpdom, crime, and violence.
THE FAMILY - The rock and roll career of Charles Manson directed by Susan Montfort and Don Murphy.
LONDON FIELDS - Martin Amis's murder story for the end of the millenium.
THE SERIAL KILLERS CLUB - In the vein of a Farley brother's film. The hilarious novel by Jeff Povey about a group of serial killers who meet once a month and ironically find out that the tables have been turned and they are now being hunted by a serial killer who only kills serial killers.
VATICAN CONNECTION this is the true story, written by Richard Hammer, of the relationship of the Vatican with the American and Italian Mafia and the elite mystical group of Masonic industrialists known in Italy simply as the P2, that lead to practice of collateralizing the Vatican's disastrous financial losses in the late 1970's with stolen and fraudulent securities to the tune of more than $900 million dollars. This criminal activity lead to the deaths of many, mostly by murder, most notably a Pope, Albino Luciani...
THE KILLER INSIDE ME - From the notorious pop pulp fiction author Jim Thompson of the most important film noire works such as Kubrick's The Killing, Pekinpah's The Getaway, Frears' The Grifters, Foley's After Dark My Sweet and many more. Andrew Dominik (dir. Chopper) set to direct. A story set in a small Texas pan handle town. This suspense classic portrays a seemingly innocuous group of individuals and creates one of the most cogent explorations of a psycho-sexual deviant's inner life. A deputy sheriff leads everyone to believe he didn't kill a hooker, when he did do it. Eventually every single person turns against him, yet he does not break.
PUSHER - This is a remake of the Danish box office hit that follows a day in the life of a drug deal gone bad.
SEVERED - The provocative true story of the infamous "Black Dahlia" murder told from the inside perspective of the actual detective who investigated the bizarre case. Ed Pressman is Producing with Floria Sigismondi set to direct.
BATHORY - Screenplay by Julie Delpy from the true story of Countess Bathory, who became a notorious serial killer in her search to preserve her beauty with the blood of young virgins. A true horror story with an a view into the occult knowledge of the period.
Nice Jewish Girl writes: I loved the film American Psycho. Luke, you parallel that guy because you don't have any feelings inside. Just like that guy (Patrick Bateman) didn't. He would say things that implied he had feelings for others (just like you do, you know, when you say you want to get married, have a family, etc, but we-your audience all knows it's lies), just like when we see Patrick Bateman in the movie saying all these understanding and compassionate things...it's a lie. The movie was really good, it shows how much men really despise women and how rich men can get away with murder and misogyny. It's dark, but not scary, and there were plenty of times I was cracking up out loud especially in the trading of business cards scenes.
I took a look at the emails post on www.musefilm.com and tried to understand the controversy around the website www.freelisaconnelly.com. Chris Hanley writes the site www.freelisaconnelly.com: Well I am the producer of the film [Bully] along with Don Murphy and Fernando Sulichin and we are completely baffled. In fact we love the controversy that your site and statements contained therein has created around the movie Bully--and the director and our selves as producers have always enjoyed the right of others to criticize our work. Don Murphy made Natural Born Killers and I made American Psycho and Larry Clark made Kids--and these films were subject to extreme controversy which we felt opened the themes of the movies to scrutiny that engendered a fair analysis of the content presented to our audiences. We have placed your website link onto our websites in fact so that the entire story of the murder of Bobby Kent and what social motivations engender the act of murder could be considered. We have never stated that the film Bully which is depicted in a contemporary setting is a reenactment of the events leading to the killing of Bobby Kent, but rather that the aesthetic of the movie that Mr Clark has created depicting a contemporary suburban Hollywood Florida mall ennui was perhaps more real than any of the truths that may be derived from scrutinizing the details of the events that took place in 1993. Mr Clark in his directing recreated a lifestyle with its own reality more real than the historical memory of past events. Bully is now. If our movie in its controversial depiction of sexuality and drug usage and the stating of a kind of futureless teen social strata and in its complete requirement of not having any film industry "rating" , adds some focus onto the original historical crime that led to several teens and twenty year olds in the Broward Country Florida area killing a person, perhaps a person who was a bully to others around him, or perhaps not as much as we depict, we would be happy that such historical facts were disclosed. As to the death threats I am sorry to say that since I happen to be Chris Hanley, and with my correct knowledge of my producing partners Don Murphy and Fernando Sulichin, that we not only did not call in any death threats to you, but would not in that it would defeat our grand goal in making this film in the first place to do such a thing. We need your opinion in order to achieve what we believe is truly a valid effort with this movie.