12 Years A Slave Posters Feature Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender; Lionsgate Will Recall

Posters for 12 Years A Slave featuring large portraits of Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender with a small figure of  the film’s star Chiwetel Ejiofor are unauthorized, says the film’s studio Lionsgate; their Summit label is handling the film overseas.  A Lionsgate spokesperson told Variety:

The ’12 Years a Slave’ theatrical posters featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender that were recently released in Italy were unauthorized and were not approved by any of the producers or licensors of the film. Summit Entertainment, acting as exclusive sales agent for the licensors, is investigating and taking immediate action to stop the distribution of any unauthorized posters and to have those posters currently in the marketplace recalled.

Brad Pitt, who produced the film, plays a Canadian abolitionist who appears in last 20 minutes and speaks out against slavery. Fassbender is the sadistic slave owner. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s portrayal of  freeborn violinist Solomon Northrop, whose autobiography is the basis of the film,  has received rave reviews. In the U.S. and elsewhere,  Ejiofor is the central figure in the film’s marketing materials.

The Italian posters have pretty much rightfully upset a large portion of the interwebs, and props to Carefree Black Girl for really getting the word out.

I was at the movies the other day ( I live in Italy) and I saw the poster for 12 Years A Slave. I’ve been following the press for months and I can’t wait to watch it but REALLY?  I don’t remember Brad Pitt being the protagonist of the film or having such a pivotal role in the story to stay in the middle of the poster…

I sure don’t know anything about marketing strategy to appeal audiences but isn’t this going to far?

Pitt previously said of his taking the role of the kind Canadian who helps Northrup gain his freedom:

It helped get the thing done. I sit in a very fortunate position where I can help push things over the edge with difficult stories, and this was one of those instances. So it’s merely for that, not so much that I was certainly needed performance-wise.

Italian marketing company Fanatical About Cinema and Italian distributor BIM clearly have taken Pitt’s part too far. Fassbender, who has received a Golden Globe nomination for his role, is given the same treatment in posters with a portrait image. The film’s Italian trailer make it clear that the story is about Ejiofor’s character, so the decision to deceive moviegoers through the posters is troubling one.

Fanatical About Cinema has already removed the posters from their Flickr account, but there are images online.

Hollywood Producer Was Mossad Agent: Arnon Milchan Used Hollywood for Israeli Nuke Projects, Arms Dealing

The revelations that Hollywood producer and chair of New Regency Films Arnon Milchan, the man behind Pretty Woman, Fight Club, LA Confidential, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, was a Mossad agent, a spy, and an arms dealer are just hitting the mainstream press, but in 2011, Joseph Gelman and Meir Doron wrote a book called Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycooon–Arnon Milchan which made very little splash on Amazon:

This is the story of a secret agent, of nuclear proliferation, billion-dollar high-tech defense transactions, ideology, patriotism, love, heartbreak, and the awe inspiring Hollywood career of a mysterious mogul. In a true story that puts James Bond to shame, Confidential details with nail-biting suspense how producer Arnon Milchan evolved from his youth into one of the most important covert agents that Israeli intelligence has ever fielded…Confidential is packed with stunning new revelations and opens a window into the world of a key covert operative, who evolved into a genuine member of Hollywood’s royal elite.

Here are some the quotes bolstering the authors’ claims and those of Milchan:

Arnon is a special man. His activities gave us a huge advantage, strategically, diplomatically, and technologically. In my present position as president, I am restrained from recommending any single individual for our highest defense-related honor, but undoubtedly, Arnon Milchan is worthy of such an acknowledgment, and that’s as close to a recommendation that I, as president, can give.

–Shimon Peres, President of Israel.

Never, never tell jokes about a man with easy access to weapons of mass destruction.

–Peter Chernin, former CEO of Fox Entertainment Group.

Arnon Milchan…is a loyal and generous friend who also happens to be a great longterm and trustworthy partner.

– Rupert Murdoch, CEO, News Corporation.

Creepy much?  Milchan spoke to Israeli investigative documentary program Uvda (Fact) in an interview that will air this week on Israel’s Channel 2 (interesting timing with Iran nuke deal now agreed to). The program includes interviews with Russel Crowe, Robert DiNiro and Ben Affleck. Milchan was recruited by Israeli president Shimon Peres in the 1960s and became a liaison for the secretive Bureau of Scientific Relations and worked to further Israel’s nuclear program, handling clandestine deals involving Israeli military acquisitions in the 1970s He admits that the late producer Sydney Pollock was

a real partner

who helped him obtain arms and other military equipment for Israel and was fully aware of what he was doing. Milchan also used an unwitting Richard Dreyfuss in an attempt to recruit senior U.S. scientist and expert on nuclear weapons Arthur Biehl for Israel, inviting Biehl to Dreyfuss’ house on the premise that the two men would discuss music.

Milchan says of dual career:

I didn’t attach enough significance to the image I had created of myself. I should have confronted the image of an arms dealer. In Hollywood they don’t like working with an arms dealer, ideologically. [They don't like working] with someone who lives off selling machine guns and killing. Instead of someone talking to me about a script, I had to spend half an hour explaining that I’m not an arms dealer. If people knew how many times I risked my life, back and forth, again and again, for my country. … And suddenly, to defend myself — ‘I’m not an arms dealer, I don’t sell guns, I don’t sell rockets’ — I should have been aware of that, of what I’ll go through, and said ‘F— you. You know what? I did it for my country, and I’m proud of it.’

Milchan’s choice of films doesn’t reflect a bias towards Israel or an attempt to brainwash the public, but still this is, well, creepy. Milchan’s latest film, starring Russell Crowe is the story of Noah, directed by Darren Aronsofsky.

I’m not an expert on espionage laws, but this raises some questions:  Isn’t what Milchan did in the 1970s illegal?  And will people ever take Chuck Barris’ claims of being a CIA assassin seriously?

Photo of Arnon Milchan: Screengrab

Brad and Angelina Can Now Get Married! Ding Dong, DOMA’s Dead!

Several years ago Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced they would not get married until everyone could marry. Thank goodness the Supreme Court listened, and perhaps persuaded by the cute faces of the couples six or seven kids and the size of Angelina’s engagement ring DID THE RIGHT THING!

DOMA is dead, gone! And Prop 8? SCOTUS said, in legalese

Not our pig, not our farm.

Now 626 is more than the area code for Pasadena. It’s the day that marriage became a federal right!

PS:  While marriage equality is now a reality, there is still more work ahead. And part of that includes working to eradicate HIV. Tomorrow is National HIV Testing Day. Won’t you participate by tweeting #testme and #June27 @testmejune27 and encourage everyone to get tested. Early detection saves lives!

Brad Pitt: War on Drugs “Nonsensical, Backwards, Inept”

Brad Pitt said something yesterday night we here at FDL have known for a long time:

I think it’s safe to say that the drug war is nonsensical. It’s a backwards, inept strategy.

The actor surprised audience members at a screening of Eugene Jarecki’s The House I Live In. Jarecki and his groundbreaking film about the United States’ flawed, ineffective drug policy were featured on FDL’s Movie Night last week.

Pitt introduced Jarecki and the film, jokingly using 12-Step lingo as he stepped on stage:

Hi, everybody. I’m Brad Pitt. And I’m a drug addict,

then stating:

Actually, my drug days have long passed, but it’s certainly true that I could land in any city and any state and get you anything you wanted. Just give me 24 hours, and I’ll know where to find it. And yet we still talk about the drug war as if it’s a success.

Before the screening, Pitt and Jarecki discussed the actor’s involvement with The Wrap:

The two men talked about the failures of the war on drugs, and about Jarecki’s contention – which Pitt originally said was “too liberal even for me” – that the criminal approach to drugs was being used to keep poor and minority communities down.

“We talked about those in poverty, and what he thought was the biggest stumbling block and the biggest thing holding them down,” Pitt said. “And certainly I had my own questions about the drug war.”

“There might be something else in play here, like we witnessed with Katrina.”

Exactly. And that something else is sadly racism and loathing for the poor. Pitt asked:

We have biggest penal system in the world, we have the most people incarcerated. And out of that 2.3 million, how many are for non-violent crimes?..Half. Something’s wrong.

Yes it is.

Brad Pitt as Judge Walker, Plus Clooney, Sheen in “8″ Livestreams Saturday

You read FDL’s liveblogging of Prop 8 trial, now see the play!

“8″ Dustin Lance Black’s play about the Proposition 8 California Supreme Court trial directed by Rob Reiner will feature Brad Pitt as Judge Walker, George Clooney as David Boies and Martin Sheen as Theodore B. Olson, and will be livestreamed on YouTube from its reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles.The ticketed performance is a benefit for Americans for Equal Rights. AFER was responsible for putting together the plaintiffs’ team of  Boies and Olsen, the renowned attorneys who  faced-off in Bush v. Gore.

As Karen Ocamb points out in LGBTPOV/Frontiers:

With the 9th Circuit’s decision not to release the District Court tapes of the Perry v Brown trial – after which Judge Vaughn Walker declared Prop 8 unconstitutional – this becomes a critical vehicle to get the word out about what actually happened during the trial, apart from the spin from Protect Marriage

From AFER’s press release:

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact are pleased to announce the addition of Golden Globe-winner and Academy and Emmy Award-nominee Brad Pitt to the cast of the West Coast premiere reading of the play “8.” The reading is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.

AFER and Broadway Impact are also pleased to announce that the performance will be streamed live on YouTube, beginning at 7:45 p.m. PST.  A pre-show will begin on YouTube at 7:30 p.m. PST.  Rob Reiner, director of Saturday’s performance, recorded a video explaining the reading of the play and inviting people to watch the live stream.  The live stream of the West Coast premiere reading of “8” and Rob Reiner’s video can both be viewed at www.youtube.com/AmericanEqualRights….

More Celebs, More $ for Haiti


Not on Our Watch, a international advocacy and humanitarian assistance non-profit founded by Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman and Jerry Weintraub has made a $1 million grant to Partners In Health (PIH), which

presently has relief efforts underway providing emergency medical care for the wounded, and is addressing the critical shortage of hospitals and care centers destroyed during the disaster.

Madonna also donated $250,000 to PIH.

In Political Thriller, Russel Crowe Gets Brad Pitt’s Sloppy Seconds And Owns Them

brad-pitt-red-carpet-nc.thumbnail.jpgBrad Pitt was set to star in the English political thriller State of Play, based on the award winning British television series. But the actor and director realized something wasn’t right. Like, oh, maybe the journalist Cal McAffrey–Pitt’s part–always feels less-than around politician Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), and is secretly in love with Collins’ wife. Brad Pitt less-than? Brad Pitt not getting the girl? Both unthinkable, especially because, as director/writer Kevin Macdonald told the Guardian UK:

The journalist has receded into himself in some way, he’s unable to have stable relationships with women, he’s obsessed with work and lives in a weird, messy place piled high with papers and books. He’s a slightly closed off, schlumpy kind of person.

So, Macdonald went to Russell Crowe, who is familiar with playing disturbed, damaged characters. Crowe said yes, and State of Play got made. And it’s been updated to reflect the changing times, with a feisty young blogger and a newspaper facing shrinking circulation as a political scandal breaks.

russell_crowe.thumbnail.jpgAlong with being able to open a movie with decent box office, Crowe also brought something else to the film:

Russell thinks that almost all journalists act out of self-interest and that most journalism is deliberately misleading and inaccurate. That newspapers and journalists act from their own agenda. Which obviously partly comes from his experience of journalism and having his life reflected in newspapers.

Um, ouch.