How Does Todd Phillips Really Feel About Frat Boy Types?

June 15, 2009

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The continued success of The Hangover has cemented director Todd Phillips, whose previous work includes Road Trip and Old School, as the go-to auteur for frat boy comedy.  While this is accurate enough, as his films are sure to be quoted as keg parties for generations to come, it’s pretty extraordinary considering how Phillips’s career began.

After completing the well-regarded documentary Hated while still an undergraduate film student at NYU, Phillips won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998 for his second documentary, Frat House. While it takes place in a familiar milieu for Phillips and contains some dark humor, the film is actually a pretty scathing expose on hazing rituals in fraternities.  After the big Sundance victory, it was all set to air on HBO when, depending on who you believe, either pressure from subjects’ parents and fraternity organizations, or allegations that Phillips and co-director Andrew Gurland staged scenes, dissuaded the network from ever airing it (though somehow you can view it here).

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David Carradine: A Great Storyteller

June 15, 2009

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Less than a month ago, while working on a short film in Canada, I was on my way to pick up David Carradine and take him to breakfast.  I was more than a little nervous, as I’d never worked with an actor of his magnitude before and didn’t know what to expect.  As I knocked on his door, I braced for the worst – an awkward, silent car ride, breakfast at separate tables…

Imagine my surprise, when, within moments of walking in, I was instead treated to David’s appraisal of Bob Dylan’s new album, then moments later his reminisces of his own dabblings as a songwriter.  By the time we finally made it to set a couple hours later, I had heard about everything from his childhood in Los Angeles to how he met his wife to his abiding love of good coffee.

Read the rest at BlogStage!