The Wrap reports that screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and Mel Gibson are in the midst of a public feud regarding Gibson's aborted plans to make a film about the ancient Jewish hero Maccabbee, who led his people in a revolt that is still celebrated at Hannukah. The convoluted tale began when Gibson and Warner Brothers decided to bring the story to the screen with Gibson as Macabbee. That very notion caused controversy, given Gibson's scandalous anti-Semitic remarks in the past. Eszterhas says he was enthused about the project but had concerns when he witnessed irrational behavior on the part of Gibson that allegedly included anti-Jewish remarks and death threats against his estranged lover and mother of one of his children. When Warner Brothers received the first draft of the screenplay from Eszterhas, the studio rejected it out of hand- a severe blow to a man who had once been the hottest screenwriter in Hollywood. After the rejection, Eszterhas went public with accusations against Gibson, saying the Oscar winner never had any intention of bringing the story to the screen and had only hoped to prove he was not anti-Semitic by pretending to develop the project. Eszterhas also called Gibson an unstable person who might be capable of carrying out his threats to hurt is enemies. Gibson responded by saying that, although he used heated rhetoric, most of Eszterhas' accusations are baseless and says he is only trying to divert attention from having his script rejected by Warner Brothers. The screenwriter then granted an interview to the Wrap in which he says he has Gibson's comments on tape. Got all that? Click here for first report on the Wrap. Click here for Eszterhas interview.
The man described as the ageless teenager is no more. Dick Clark has passed away at age 82 after suffering a massive heart attack. Clark had been in poor health for years, suffering from the aftermath of a stroke as well as diabetes. Clark helped turn rock 'n roll from a fad into a global phenomenon, primarily by showcasing recording stars on his hit series American Bandstand. Over the decades, he became an icon of the international entertainment industry, though most of his achievements were done in the boardroom, not in front of TV cameras. He created and produced hit game shows and even pioneered the concept of turning New Years Eve entertainment into an event that appealed to young people worldwide. Prior to Clark, the New Years Eve programming consisted of Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadian orchestra performing at the Waldorf Astoria. Despite turning the hosting of the annual event over to Ryan Seacrest years ago, Clark made brief appearances to usher in the new year. His last such appearance was this past New Year's Eve. Clark also dabbled in feature films, starring in Because They're Young and The Young Doctors in the early 60s. He also produced some exploitation films including biker movies. For more click here
Cinema Retro London columnist Adrian Smith recently took part in a Vincent Price tribute and contributed to a major discussion of Price's horror classic from 1971, The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Click here to listen - if you dare! (The tribute runs longer than the film!)
(For Caroline Munro's memories of working with Price on the Phibes movies, see Cinema Retro issue #2)