Public Enemies (Michael Mann, 2009)

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Jeff
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Public Enemies (Michael Mann, 2009)

#1 Post by Jeff » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:16 am

Another strike-induced quickie, this time postponing Mann's Hollywood Noir. He's sticking with the '30s though.
[i][url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117977137.html?categoryid=13&cs=1]Variety[/url][/i] wrote:Michael Mann and Johnny Depp will make "Public Enemies" for Universal.

Meeting hours before the Hollywood premiere of Depp's "Sweeney Todd," the director and actor shook hands on a deal that triggers a March 10 start for "Public Enemies" in Chicago.

Drama is set during the great crime wave of 1933-34, when the government's attempts to stop Depression-era criminal legends such as John Dillilnger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd transformed J. Edgar Hoover's FBI into the country's first federal police force. Mann wrote the script, based on Bryan Burrough's 2004 tome.

Depp will play John Dillinger, considered the most notorious gangster of the era. Mann and his Forward Pass will produce with Kevin Misher and his Misher Films. Tribeca's Jane Rosenthal will be exec producer.

While Mann had been mulling several projects that included a reteam with "Collateral" star Tom Cruise on "Edwin A. Salt" at Columbia, "Public Enemies" gained momentum in the past six weeks, and became a reality when Depp became available after Warner Bros. postponed "Shantaram" due to concerns about script, costs and the prospect of shooting in India with monsoon season approaching.
Last edited by Jeff on Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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souvenir
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#2 Post by souvenir » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:48 am

Jeff wrote:Depp will play John Dillinger
Well this certainly is an interesting development. Dillinger is the most interesting of the classic gangsters, in my opinion. I wonder how it will address his "death" at the Biograph. I've heard first hand accounts that Dillinger was not killed at all there and there were certainly discrepancies between the physical attributes of the deceased and Dillinger. (That might be for Oliver Stone though!)

I thought there were also the Litvinenko projects competing between these two.

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Musashi219
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#3 Post by Musashi219 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:42 am

Jeff wrote:Another strike-induced quickie, this time postponing Mann's Hollywood Noir. He's sticking with the '30s though.
Last I heard Mann's Hollywood Noir was canned due to exorbitant budgetary concerns. The project was going upwards of $100 million and in the light of "failures" such as The Black Dahlia and Hollywoodland, the studio backed out. I'm sure it'll still get made at some point as Michael Mann isn't a pushover, but he'll need to cut down that budget.

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#4 Post by Cde. » Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:35 am

Good to see Mann working from his own script. I didn't really like Collateral as much as some of his other work.

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#5 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:32 am

I really hopes he dumps the Will Smith vehicle he's been rumored to helm, and goes ahead with this one and Frankie Machine with DeNiro.

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#6 Post by Antoine Doinel » Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:27 pm

Christian Bale joins the cast.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#7 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:13 pm

From Variety:
More join Michael Mann's Public Enemies

Date: January 28, 2008

Director Michael Mann has set Marion Cotillard to join Johnny Depp and Christian Bale in "Public Enemies."

The Depression-era crime drama gets under way in Chicago on March 10 for Universal Pictures.

Channing Tatum, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Dorff and Jason Clarke are also joining the cast.

The Oscar-nominated "La Vie en rose" star Cotillard will play Billie Frechette, the lover of the country's most notorious gangster, John Dillinger (Depp).

Tatum will play outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd, Ribisi will play Alvin Karpis, Dorff is near a deal to play Homer Van Meter, and Clarke will play John "Red" Hamilton. That quartet repped a Dillinger gang that knocked off banks all over the Midwest during the Depression.

Bale plays Melvin Purvis, who was tapped by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover to lead a manhunt that established the FBI as the country's first federal police force after the G-Men killed Dillinger outside the Biograph Theater in 1934.

The shooting script was written by Ronan Bennett, Ann Biderman and Mann. Mann will produce with Kevin Misher. Jane Rosenthal is exec producer.

U, Mann and Misher spent several years developing the film, which came together quickly after the postponement of Depp's expected spring slot, the Warner Bros. drama "Shantaram."

Cotillard is available because the Weinstein Co. postponed "Nine," the Rob Marshall-directed musical she is still expected to star in with Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren. Moving that project forward was a key reason TWC signed an interim deal with the Writer's Guild of America.

Tatum was available after United Artists halted the Oliver Stone-directed "Pinkville." Ribisi has been shooting the James Cameron-directed "Avatar,"Jada Pinkett Smith-directed "The Human Contract" as well as the Paul W.S. Anderson-directed "Death Race."

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#8 Post by John Cope » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:17 pm

This is very encouraging. An excellent cast. Nice to see Stephen Dorff in there. I always thought he would make a superb actor for Mann (I briefly thought of him for Crockett in the initial stages of the Vice project). Hard to remember that Dorff was at one time (circa 1994) being positioned for a break out stardom, or a Depp style renown, that never happened. On one hand I'm grateful that he never actually got the lead in Titanic as it may have done him no favors, but then again his subsequent career choices since that time haven't either. His best work is still in the Everett Lewis film that never saw release. If he ever truly does break through maybe someday it will.

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#9 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:33 pm

It's good to see that Michael is doing a purely Chicago film again, 27 years after Thief. My hope is that what plagued Miami Vice won't happen again, and that it's done more in the manner of his earlier work.

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#10 Post by Nothing » Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:00 am

Although Miami Vice is Mann's best film and the cutting-edge aesthetic is very much a part of that, I'm not sure digital photography and depression-era America go well together.

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#11 Post by Hai2u » Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:05 am

I wonder if Channing Tatum will have a dance number, let's hope he can "step up" to the task. #-o

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#12 Post by Belmondo » Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:10 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:It's good to see that Michael is doing a purely Chicago film again, 27 years after Thief. My hope is that what plagued Miami Vice won't happen again, and that it's done more in the manner of his earlier work.
Agreed. "Miami Vice" does not hold up under repeated viewings and the visual flash cannot cover characters who are as blank as the black Miami night which dominates the cinematography and forces one to conclude that Mann's only goal was to eliminate the pastels of the TV series and let darkness hide the underexposed characters as they engage in overexposed heroics.

Mann works best for me when he is doing something a little different, such as "The Insider" or "Last of the Mohicans" - which I especially liked. Since there are few women on this forum, it may fall to me to reveal that in some circles, "Mohicans" is much admired as a highly romantic chick flick and us macho Mann fans tend to recall the excellent action sequences and forget the strong roles from Madeline Stowe and Jodhi May.

Like the cast in the new one, like the idea of the 1930's setting, like the idea of neo noir ... just give me a script and don't make it overlong because I can't take the "Heat".

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#13 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:02 am

Nothing wrote:I'm not sure digital photography and depression-era America go well together.
That's a big concern of mine, as far as this project. As far as I know, the only film shot in HD that was any kind of period piece was Zodiac.

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#14 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:14 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Nothing wrote:I'm not sure digital photography and depression-era America go well together.
That's a big concern of mine, as far as this project. As far as I know, the only film shot in HD that was any kind of period piece was Zodiac.
...and the results were breathtaking. Don't see any reason why shifting the timeline back a few more decades would make any difference.

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#15 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:05 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Nothing wrote:I'm not sure digital photography and depression-era America go well together.
That's a big concern of mine, as far as this project. As far as I know, the only film shot in HD that was any kind of period piece was Zodiac.
...and the results were breathtaking. Don't see any reason why shifting the timeline back a few more decades would make any difference.
Exactly. And with the way technology is advancing and the kind of money I'm sure Mann will have for this film, he'll be working with top-of-the-line digital technology. Of course, he's said that he is not abandoning film stock and would use it again depending on the project.

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#16 Post by Nothing » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:36 am

It's no so much that Zodiac is breathtaking, rather that Fincher mimicks 35mm and (almost) gets away with it. Another example would be Cache, which most people don't seem to realise is HD. Mann, to his benefit, doesn't use HD that way; there is something inherently modernist in his approach which seems like it would grate in a period piece but - I'm ready to be amazed ;)

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#17 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:28 pm

It's kind of amusing how filmmaking conventions have turned unconsciously into inherent truths. We've become so used to watching period pieces on 35mm film that in our minds the historical past and the film stock in which we see its images have blended. It's similar to what happened when Marie Antoinette came out and a number of people on the board were complaining about the obvious anachronism until some clever fellow pointed out that commissioning a traditional strings-and-brass score for the movie is no less anachronistic--it's just become so conventional that we don't think of it.

Well, same goes with this. 35mm is a no less artificial and imposed method of capturing images of a recreated past than HD. No one in the past, Michael Mann's film included, would have seen themselves and their world as we as viewers seem to assume their world looked to them: that is, as we are seeing it. To them the movie of their world would have looked unnatural, provided they had not been immured by seeing many other films.

People need to start accepting that film artifice goes far, far deeper than deliberately non-realistic representation. It's inherant in the very film that captures the image. And if Michael Mann wants to alter the way we see the past, indeed the very way we see, even if on a minor level, thank god, that makes him an artist.

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#18 Post by Nothing » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:44 pm

35mm film existed in the 1930s, HD didn't. And the bottom line is that even the best digital cameras (eg. the Red) lack the dynamic range of film. I don't need film school 101, thank you very much.

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#19 Post by Antoine Doinel » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:02 am

That's a dubious argument at best. So should classic music forms (jazz, blues) only be recorded on analog tape or cut straight to lathe vinyl? Should the artists just use instruments of the era? Should Michael Mann go find a camera from the 1930s to remain "authentic"?

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#20 Post by Cold Bishop » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:06 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:That's a dubious argument at best. So should classic music forms (jazz, blues) only be recorded on analog tape or cut straight to lathe vinyl? Should the artists just use instruments of the era? Should Michael Mann go find a camera from the 1930s to remain "authentic"?
yes

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#21 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:19 am

Nothing wrote:35mm film existed in the 1930s, HD didn't. And the bottom line is that even the best digital cameras (eg. the Red) lack the dynamic range of film.
I was waiting for that answer. According to your logic, any film set in the twenties, in order to be an honest representation of that time period, must be colour tinted and silent; and any film set before the twentieth century cannot be filmed, because film did not exist back then.

I don't see how anyone can reasonably ask that filmmakers use only the technology available to the time period when making their movies.
Nothing wrote:I don't need film school 101, thank you very much.
I would settle for your getting some good sense instead.

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M
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#22 Post by M » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:07 pm

Mr_sausage wrote:It's kind of amusing how filmmaking conventions have turned unconsciously into inherent truths. We've become so used to watching period pieces on 35mm film that in our minds the historical past and the film stock in which we see its images have blended. It's similar to what happened when Marie Antoinette came out and a number of people on the board were complaining about the obvious anachronism until some clever fellow pointed out that commissioning a traditional strings-and-brass score for the movie is no less anachronistic--it's just become so conventional that we don't think of it.

Well, same goes with this. 35mm is a no less artificial and imposed method of capturing images of a recreated past than HD. No one in the past, Michael Mann's film included, would have seen themselves and their world as we as viewers seem to assume their world looked to them: that is, as we are seeing it. To them the movie of their world would have looked unnatural, provided they had not been immured by seeing many other films.

People need to start accepting that film artifice goes far, far deeper than deliberately non-realistic representation. It's inherant in the very film that captures the image. And if Michael Mann wants to alter the way we see the past, indeed the very way we see, even if on a minor level, thank god, that makes him an artist.
The MO of conventional Hollywood filmmaking has always been to achieve invisibility with respect to form. It shouldn't really be surprising that spectators over time begin to see with their inner eye as the camera eye sees. And so variations from conventions of composition or editing or style are often regarded as revisionist or self-reflexive. Although such variations call attention to the formal artifice of the convention too as much as it calls attention to itself, the variation on convention.

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#23 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:23 pm

Thinking about it now, if Michael achieves a look more similar to Collateral which blended film stock and HD seamlessly, rather than Miami Vice which was entirely HD from what I remember, he can pull it off with this film.

Also, who thinks Christian Bale is right for this particular role? I'm sure it's probably because of him being Batman right now, but he has a natural quality of playing someone on the good side of the law that will suit him well for this film in particular.

I'm also wondering who Michael will bring in to score the film.

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#24 Post by Marcel Gioberti » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:32 pm

Mr_sausage wrote:
Nothing wrote:I don't need film school 101, thank you very much.
I would settle for your getting some good sense instead.
I promise I don't mean to dogpile, but I agree with you, Sausage.

The argument Nothing makes was weak the moment he mentioned Fincher "(almost) getting away" with mimicking 35mm. I don't see Zodiac as a project that way at all and I doubt Fincher was thinking, "This will be so neat if I can JUST make it look like 35mm, I'll be set."

I think Zodiac owes a great deal to Psycho and an intertextual analysis of those two films is a worthwhile one. Maybe somebody will write that essay some day. Fincher, in the minds of many, was channeling Hitchcock a bit with Zodiac and not just aesthetically or thematically. The use of HD cameras in Zodiac, to me, is nearly as relevant as the use of a television studio in Psycho. There are moments in Psycho, particularly the first act, where the only element keeping the film from being a straightforward three-camera sitcom is the eerie subtext of Hitchcock's direction.

Zodiac struck me very much the same way. Maybe a larger audience wouldn't pick up on it as tangibly, but Fincher's use of HD still had quite the "video" feel to it, especially shots of the Chronicle newsroom where the depth of field was staggeringly deep. Despite the motion blur and de-interlaced, progressive image coming through those beefy Viper sensors, it still had a video look. Sure, it was rich, beautiful, and appropriately lit, but it was video. Maybe others will disagree?

Anhow, I thought the use of video in Zodiac gave it an appreciable 70's news story feel. Since media was the focus of the story, I thought it was a genius decision.

For some folks, it might not work to make Public Enemy in (progressive) video, but I wouldn't discount Mann's thoughtfulness as a filmmaker. If he chooses HD, it's for a damned good reason.

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#25 Post by Oedipax » Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:43 pm

I agree with Marcel on the topic of HD's use in Zodiac - a key element in a film that, in part, is all about old vs. new technology, and humanity's place within it. But I think reading into the production medium to find thematic relevance is only going to take us so far, especially in the next few years where we're likely to see more and more filmmakers shift to digital cinema (I think "video" is too loaded a term to apply to such high resolution imagery, and "HD" really doesn't do justice to 2K and 4K images).

Certainly filmmakers - at least the good ones - will continue to take the recording medium into account when beginning a film (16mm? 35mm? spherical or anamorphic? super35? DV? HD? 2K/4K? etc.) But I don't think the use of digital in itself is going to have the sort of weight it seems to have in Zodiac with many other films - in other words, not all period pieces shot on digital have to have something to do with this juxtaposition of the latest technology capturing the past. (Nevertheless, more people should be talking about Peter Watkins' La Commune (Paris, 1871)...)

And while it's true that no digital camera has yet achieved quite as much latitude as film, it's only a matter of time. I'd be very interested to see if some of digital's more vocal detractors could honestly pick out 35mm from 4K footage in a controlled screening environment. Not to mention, you could give Harris Savides the cheapest DV palmcorder around and he'd still produce something interesting.

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