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Before the Joffrey Ballet performance at the Detroit Opera House last night (some discussion of that later in another thread) a long trailer for Altman's new movie, due out in the fall, was shown.

It features the Joffrey Ballet--there were lots of backstage, onstage and not sure where shots.

Ballet seems like a good vehicle for an Altman film. I think he is a genius although he has made some unwatchable stuff also.

Not much info yet, but here is one link:


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Altman has not been working at peak strength for some time (although some people liked "Gosford Park" much more than I did, and in its way it is a virtuoso turn), so I don't think we should expect "Nashville" on pointe. And Neve Campbell does not exactly wield major star power. But it would be great to see some good ballet dancing on the big screen again.

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I thought "Gosford Park" fell somewhere between self-parody and ho-hum.

"Ready to Wear" was a lot of fun. "Short Cuts" had some brilliant moments and while extremely uneven and wretched in parts, was overall an excellent movie. "The Studio" was decent and trying to find all the cameos was fun.

"Dr T and the Women" was unwatchable (I tried).

The only works I have seen Neve Campbell in have been "Last Call" in which she played F. Scott Fitzgerald's secretary--Jeremy Irons was the drink ravaged Fitzgerald, the superb Sissy Spacek was Zelda--and "Wild Things", a movie as pornographic as you will see from a major distributor. She seems to be part of the popular culture, though. Is it due to the "Scream" movies? She is one of those instantly almost recognizable young movie actors who I find it difficult to tell from other almost reconizable young actors.

From the trailer, Malcolm MacDowell is well cast as the talented/tyranical/insane/committed artistic director, a role he could play in his sleep.

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My take on his recent movies is pretty much the same as yours (although I did make it all the way through Dr. T. You were lucky to miss the ending).

I did see Campbell in the first "Scream," and while my impression is that she belongs on the small screen, I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

It's way off topic, but "Last Call" was interesting. Irons was seriously miscast, although he did look as if he could drop dead any minute, I must say. Sissy Spacek is not my idea of Zelda, but she was excellent. ( I sort of got the impression that the secretary was mainly annoyed that Sheilah Graham was sleeping with Fitzgerald and she wasn't. )

The Fitzgeralds seem to be regulars on the cable movie circuit. There was another one a few years back with Timothy Hutton and Natasha Richardson, in which Richardson demonstrated Zelda' s dancing skills by flailing around in a chiffon shift. I was peeved on Zelda's behalf.

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I think that the title of "producer" in Hollywood has become so broad as to be meaningless.

Not long ago titles like "associate producer" (the only person who would associate with the producer) or "assistant producer" (someone's brother-in-law) would be thrown around promisciously, and "executive producer" would be someone who delivered something--often he or she was an agent.

The title of Producer, however, was sacrosanct. It meant the person who put the deal together, got everyone hired, pitched the deal to a studio and got the OK and served as buffer between the production and the studio once it started.

Now it means Neve Campbell.

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I'm not Neve Campbell's PR woman (nor even a great fan of hers), but I have read that she had ballet training as a child (possibly even at Canada's National Ballet School) and I'm sure that it was mentioned on previous threads on this topic that she was instrumental in getting the movie produced.

Actually, I think that the current set of Young Hollywood players who often started as child stars or acted on long running TV series (people like Drew Barrymore (after rehab), Sarah Michelle Gellar) seem to have a lot of business acumen and are more involved with production of their projects than could be otherwise assumed from their age. I imagine that Campbell has made enough money from Scream et al. and now wanted to make something with "artistic integrity". (I sincerely hope Gellar will make the same choice after completing her Scooby Doo obligations:D ).

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Ed - Your "associate producer" definition has made my day! But I think that "assistant producer" is for the star's hairdresser, right? And "executive producer" means "I am the one who put up some of my own money for this picture"? I actually liked Gosford Park and I am hopeful that this movie will be engaging. I am a little concerned about Neve, though, as she seems such an acting cypher (ballet training notwithstanding). Is there a release date yet?

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Mary J, it's slated for an autumn release.

GWTW has a point. Ideally we would get a real principal dancer playing a principal, and not someone with only "training," but without Campbell pushing the project there would probably be no project, so there you are. I felt similarly about "Frida" -- you had to give Hayek credit for working like a coolie to get the movie made (and she also received a producer credit, most deservedly, I'm sure) – but she just wasn't quite up to the part, and I don’t say that with any pleasure. But no Hayek, no movie.

In any case, beggars can't be choosers. For "The Turning Point," you had a successful Hollywood director who also happened to be a choreographer, married to a savvy ex-ballerina, and a successful scriptwriter who was also knowledgeable about the world he was writing about. In addition to this, you had an internationally famous defector phenom to showcase (and we might have had the young American ballerina alongside him). :(

This happy set of circumstances is unlikely to arise again any time soon, so let's take what we can get. :)

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This is from the Yahoo site:

Cast Notes: (10/16/02) Neve Campbell, whose roots are as a classically-trained ballet dancing student at the National Ballet of Canada (before she became a TV actress with "Party of Five"), has long wanted to star in and produce a dance-related movie, with a project called "Move", which would have told the story of a dancer who has recently moved to New York City, and has to choose between two companies. With "The Company" greenlit, it's likely that "Move" will be shelved (or, at least, Neve is unlikely to do both). Indeed, it is Campbell who got this one started

Like I said, NOW I know why Neve Campbell has the lead! Would love to read the screenplay for "The Move" though.

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Gosh, this movie just came up today -- I was talking to my ballet teacher about it. He was with Joffrey at the time of the reconstruction of the Diaghilev era pieces, and was semi-lamenting that he left the company just a bit too soon -- but emphasized that he didn't regret teaching us instead of being in the movie. He still talks a great deal about how incredibly authentic the company was and how it had zero tolerance for any shenanigans or a dancer's imposing of her/his own little nuances in movement or costume or hair/makeup, etc. -- that it was instant grounds for being fired.

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I wonder when that would have been, as Joffrey began putting in Diaghilev-era revivals from about 1966 with "Petrouchka" and it continued on through Joffrey's death in 1987, with "Les Noces" being the latest addition to the rep.

A dancer was fired from the company for taking action on the idea that he knew how to do a farucca better than Massine had in "Le Tricorne", but little individual variations in style were not actionable. Changing choreography will get anybody fired in any company in the world!

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Mel, I spoke again to the former dancer I mentioned and he told me that while there were indeed works from the Diaghilev era being performed in the earlier years, those were not the "lost works," but rather ones that had been handed down. He said that seven years went into the study alone in reconstructing "Sacre" before the dancers were then brought into the process.

Also, he wasn't even referring to changes in choreography, but smaller things, like the girl in "Parade" doing a variation on the hairdo, and ending up having her career jeopardized for that action.

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Ah, the Reconstructions! Yes, it did take Millicent Hodson seven years to figure out what had gone on in "Sacre", and to my eye, she seemed to have done a very fine job. The "Parade" acrobat has a very strict, if fairly prosaic, hairstyle, which is specified in the design. There was a general Joffrey hairstyle for stage, but there was some latitude in how that was applied.

(A PS. to add, if you mean the Little American Girl, that hairstyle is historically mandated by the photos of the original production. I can't think of a one of our dancers who didn't use a wig or some kind of hair appliance to do the part.)

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That would be "Jeux". It's not that it was never performed, it had a brief life in its original version, but made audiences uncomfortable. Other choreographers besides Nijinsky have tried it, and I recall a particularly successful version for NYCB by John Taras. The Nijinsky had so short a performance life that it was thought irretrievably lost. I erred in my statement that "Noces" was the most recent Diaghilev-era revival by Joffrey. They did the Hodson version of "Jeux" only a couple of years ago. The distinctive arcs of the arms in "Jeux" and the gigantic circles of the floor patterns in "Sacre" have always made me curious as to whether the doodles made by Nijinsky in his illness with all the curves weren't a sort of dance notation.

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