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LawrenceA

Smart Blonde - Judy Holliday Biopic

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I ran across this news elsewhere and thought some here may be interested.

Smart Blonde


Annaleigh Ashford (“American Crime Story: Versace,” “Bad Education”) has scored the lead role in “Smart Blonde,” a biopic about Oscar-winning “Born Yesterday” actress Judy Holliday. Gene Kirkwood (“Rocky”) is producing.

The film will focus on nightclub singer Holliday who, in her early acting career in the 1940s, fought back against the overt sexual advances of studio mogul Darryl F. Zanuck during her time as a day player at Fox. Holliday paid the price for being outspoken, eventually blacklisted in Hollywood as a communist.

http://www.darkhorizons.com/quick-news-avengers-medicine-blonde-ailes-mary/

annaleigh-ashford-judy-holliday.jpg?w=44

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What is a day player? I've heard that used for Under 5's on soap operas. But at a movie studio, what does it mean? I thought she had a contract with Fox that wasn't renewed.

At any rate this might be seen as a somewhat fictionalized biopic to advance the creation of a new MeToo sub-genre.

Will it be very commercial...?

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there shoulda been a sequel where Harry becomes ill and bedridden and she goes back to him.

 

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8 hours ago, TopBilled said:

What is a day player? I've heard that used for Under 5's on soap operas. But at a movie studio, what does it mean? I thought she had a contract with Fox that wasn't renewed.

At any rate this might be seen as a somewhat fictionalized biopic to advance the creation of a new MeToo sub-genre.

Will it be very commercial...?

Yeah, I think we can assume that some very "culturally relevant" metoo scenes are going to wind up in this one. Call it a hunch. 

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I believe day-players are still a thing. I saw it in Dave Knox's production slang book. I recall it is actors who are hired for 'special bits of business' that is slightly more complex than just walk-on extras. They are hired to do things in the backgrounds of scenes which are skilled, rather than non-skilled.

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Holliday who, in her early acting career in the 1940s, fought back against the overt sexual advances of studio mogul Darryl F. Zanuck

I read a bio about Zanuck. Apparently, the guy had the stereotypical "casting couch", an actual bedroom accessed through a door in the back of his office where many of the Fox ingenues were expected to offer themselves up to him at his beck and call. This went on for many years, decades. He would not have made it in the hastag MeToo era. Although he no doubt is a hero to Nipkow!

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Aw that

15 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Holliday paid the price for being outspoken, eventually blacklisted in Hollywood as a communist.

Sad that's what they've decided to focus upon. A great talent, gone too soon.

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10 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

Yeah, I think we can assume that some very "culturally relevant" metoo scenes are going to wind up in this one. Call it a hunch. 

Yes, I'm sure her story had not even crossed their minds until all this MeToo stuff. Why didn't anyone make a biopic about her in the 70s, 80s or 90s? Her life will just be exploited for some sort of politically-driven narrative. It won't be a totally authentic depiction, no matter how well acted or how well produced. And this kind of thing will be lucky to make $20 million, if it's a theatrical release.  

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Keen insight there. Yes indeed, everything is a potential political scandal these days since everyone can start yappin' and get millions of people to look.

Naturally the media is going to fixate very opportunely on the 'soap opera' aspects of any story--for, that's the level of public taste which is now paramount. We're headed back to an era of yellow-press and scandal-mongering which will put the 1800s to shame.

Of course today's vintage will have plenty of 'fine-tuning'. You're not gonna see any documentaries about the legions of chorus girls who slept their way to the top in Hollywood; oh no. Not that. It's only wealthy white men who ever commit any sins.

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19 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I ran across this news elsewhere and thought some here may be interested.

Smart Blonde


Annaleigh Ashford (“American Crime Story: Versace,” “Bad Education”) has scored the lead role in “Smart Blonde,” a biopic about Oscar-winning “Born Yesterday” actress Judy Holliday. Gene Kirkwood (“Rocky”) is producing.

The film will focus on nightclub singer Holliday who, in her early acting career in the 1940s, fought back against the overt sexual advances of studio mogul Darryl F. Zanuck during her time as a day player at Fox. Holliday paid the price for being outspoken, eventually blacklisted in Hollywood as a communist.

http://www.darkhorizons.com/quick-news-avengers-medicine-blonde-ailes-mary/

 

Thanks for the FYI!

This past weekend I caught the tail end of BELLS ARE RINGING (1960) and was- as always- reminded of what a great set of pipes JUDY had as she belts out I'M GOING BACK TO THE BONJOUR TRISTESSE BRASSIERE COMPANY, her rendition of which would be on the shortlist for music to be played at my funeral.

She did a Jazz album with Gerry Mulligan (sp?) who I think she was married to...?

The only film of hers I have not seen is FULL OF LIFE, i think she's uneven in BORN YESTERDAY, but gives the best performance of 1952 (and one of the best of the whole decade) in THE MARRYING KIND.

i'VE ALWAYS heard it was crippling self doubt and nuerosis that led to her brief film career and not an official blacklisting, I heard she testified before the HUAC but played the role of DUMB BLONDE thoroughly to the hilt and managed to duck it.

nonetheless, i'm greatful we've got BELLS, THE MARRYING KIND, IT SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU and THE SOLID GOLD CADILLAC.

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21 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

We're headed back to an era of yellow-press and scandal-mongering which will put the 1800s to shame.

Careful! You're close to declaring "fake news" territory....and knowing youse, I'm guessing it's not your intention.😉

 

21 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

The only film of hers I have not seen is FULL OF LIFE

i'VE ALWAYS heard it was crippling self doubt and nuerosis that led to her brief film career and not an official blacklisting, I heard she testified before the HUAC but played the role of DUMB BLONDE thoroughly to the hilt and managed to duck it.

Wow, I don't know anything about her except she was given her first break by friends Betty Comden & Adolf Green in ADAM'S RIB and her career took off. Audiences love her, not unlike how MM comes across on the screen-magical. I would think her career was slight because of available roles, and she died way too young.

I just visited her final resting place and the plot facing hers was about to receive the ashes of a man who wanted to be next to her for all eternity. I agree with you about her movies-most are very strong. I was impressed to find she originated the "dumb blonde" when I saw BORN YESTERDAY for the first time about 20 years ago.

I have this beautiful Judy Holliday poster in my living room.

 

itshouldhappenOS.jpg

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On 12/7/2018 at 7:59 AM, TopBilled said:

Her life will just be exploited for some sort of politically-driven narrative. It won't be a totally authentic depiction, no matter how well acted or how well produced. And this kind of thing will be lucky to make $20 million, if it's a theatrical release.  

$20 million is probably a generous estimate. My Weekend with Marilyn from 2011, with Michelle Williams playing Marilyn Monroe, whom, I assume, is much better remembered (or at least her image is) than Holliday, grossed only $14 million.

But, you know, to say "her life will just be exploited for some politically driven narrative" is, I think, a bit harsh. I imagine any biopic in this vein will actually accord respect and dignity to Ms. Holliday. And since no one has apparently expressed any interest in making a biopic about her in the 50 years or so prior to now, I personally will be okay with a picture that maybe has a political agenda if it respectfully honors her life and career, since no biopic about her was ever going to be made otherwise.

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On 12/7/2018 at 8:26 AM, Sgt_Markoff said:

You're not gonna see any documentaries about the legions of chorus girls who slept their way to the top in Hollywood; oh no. Not that. It's only wealthy white men who ever commit any sins.

The "sleep your way to the top" ambition was skewered in some pre-Code films like Babyface. There was a brief time when Hollywood went out of its way to present such women as tramps, but the subject matter was eliminated by strict enforcement of the Hayes Code.

In my opinion, wealthy white men hold more culpability than the women you want to blame because they wielded such immense riches and power, infinitely more than the women did. I'm actually pretty libertarian about the idea that a man and woman agree to have sexual intercourse for whatever reasons each party wants to get out of it. But forcing one to participate against one's will is always wrong, and 99.9 per cent of the time, I'm pretty sure it was wealthy white men doing the forcing. I would include coercion - i.e., you sleep with me or you don't work for Fox anymore - as forcing. 

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3 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

$20 million is probably a generous estimate. My Weekend with Marilyn from 2011, with Michelle Williams playing Marilyn Monroe, whom, I assume, is much better remembered (or at least her image is) than Holliday, grossed only $14 million.

But, you know, to say "her life will just be exploited for some politically driven narrative" is, I think, a bit harsh. I imagine any biopic in this vein will actually accord respect and dignity to Ms. Holliday. And since no one has apparently expressed any interest in making a biopic about her in the 50 years or so prior to now, I personally will be okay with a picture that maybe has a political agenda if it respectfully honors her life and career, since no biopic about her was ever going to be made otherwise.

I still think it boils down to some sort of exploitation. Using a star's life for political reasons. It cheapens what might otherwise have been a worthy subject for a bio. In some cases these types of films are meant to break even, not turn a profit. They are Oscar bait. And the Oscars become a platform to push films with Hollywood's favorite political themes to the forefront.

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I absolutely get what you're saying. I'm just saying this is probably the only circumstance under which a Holliday biopic will probably ever get made, and whatever compromises that entails, I would probably still watch it.

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7 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I'm just saying this is probably the only circumstance under which a Holliday biopic will probably ever get made, and whatever compromises that entails, I would probably still watch it.

Would you be interested in a biopic about Marilyn and how she DID sleep herself onto the big screen? I was amazed how open and common knowledge that was early in her career. She had an ongoing weekly "date" with one of the moguls who finally made sure she was given a bit part. 

That's all MM needed-just to be seen on screen. Her magic took over from there. No wonder once she was a star she became "difficult" for the moguls.

Personally, I'd prefer a Judy Holliday story centering on her talent. But like sewhite, I'll at least give this one a try.

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30 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

Would you be interested in a biopic about Marilyn and how she DID sleep herself onto the big screen? I was amazed how open and common knowledge that was early in her career. She had an ongoing weekly "date" with one of the moguls who finally made sure she was given a bit part. 

That's all MM needed-just to be seen on screen. Her magic took over from there. No wonder once she was a star she became "difficult" for the moguls.

Personally, I'd prefer a Judy Holliday story centering on her talent. But like sewhite, I'll at least give this one a try.

Your last paragraph is interesting. Movies about sports heroes always seem to be based on their talent (THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, THE STRATTON STORY, ROCKY etc.) but movies about Hollywood actresses always seem to be based on sex. This proposed biopic won't be able to get away from Holliday's sex life.

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On ‎12‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 6:09 AM, TikiSoo said:

 

Would you be interested in a biopic about Marilyn and how she DID sleep herself onto the big screen? I was amazed how open and common knowledge that was early in her career. She had an ongoing weekly "date" with one of the moguls who finally made sure she was given a bit part. 

That's all MM needed-just to be seen on screen. Her magic took over from there. No wonder once she was a star she became "difficult" for the moguls.

Personally, I'd prefer a Judy Holliday story centering on her talent. But like sewhite, I'll at least give this one a try.

Plus the OP says it focuses on "nightclub singer" Holliday and as well as battles with moguls it mentions her blacklisting, so this project may not have as narrow a focus as people are assuming, nor as much of a "political" slant. The nightclub scene could be just as problematic as Hollywood in terms of securing work, I imagine, so I for one would love to see a realistic depiction of what that was like.

Also, and here's my turn to get "political", every social movement has a tipping point when it finally gets the attention it's been needing and penetrates the wall of ignorance and misunderstanding around it. MeToo has reached that point and personally I'm perfectly willing to see that play out in the manner and in the time frame it needs to and to allow it the space it needs. I'm gay and I've been through a variation of a movement finding its legs, and I know that one of the real dangers is that it can quickly be seen as having been "covered" and should therefore just go away. Yes, it can seem like everything is being forced through that new lens, but, let's be honest, that can sometimes be because we're unfamiliar with the properties of the lens and/or that we're afraid of what we may see. In this early stage, I think MeToo needs more attention rather than less and I wouldn't object to this new understanding being brought into studies of lives which have been affected in previously unheralded ways, including the story of Judy Holliday.

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