by Kevin Dreyfuss
According to trade reports, Guillermo Del Toro ("Cronos") is currently in pre-
production on his new film, to be shot in Spain, a ghost story set during the
Spanish Civil War called "El Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil's Backbone)." Del
Toro will direct from his script, written with Antonio Trazorras and David
Munoz, and stars include Javier Bardem, Marisa Paredes, Ana Torrent and
Federico Luppi.. Producers on the project include Pedro Almodovar's company
El Deseo, and the Tequila Gang, an independent outfit founded recently by Del
Toro, fellow Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, screenwriter Laura Esquivel,
producer Bertha Navarro and agent Rosa Bosch.
>> Meet Joe Gould
Also in pre-production here in New York is Stanley Tucci's next directorial
effort, an adaptation of the classic Joseph Mitchell story, "Joe Gould's
Secret," from a script by Howard A. Rodman ("Like a Hole in the Head") and
Tucci. Set to star Tucci ("The Impostors") and Ian Holm ("The Sweet
Hereafter"), the film tells the story of New Yorker writer Mitchell's strange
relationship with enigmatic, aging Bohemian Joe Gould, who spent his entire
life writing an epic, never-published oral history of New York City.
Producers include Tucci and Elizabeth Alexander from First Cold Press, as well
as Charles Weinstock ("Where the Money Is") and Michael Lieber. October Films
is distributing. Shooting begins March 15.
>> Eastside Story
Currently in pre-production and set to begin shooting this month is the indie
film "Eastside," from co-producers Kingsize Entertainment and Candlelight
Films. With actor Carlos Gallardo ("El Mariachi") signed on and locations
scoped out all over East Los Angeles and Downtown LA, the film tells the tale
of a young Latino man just out of reform school, looking to make his fortune
and finding himself in the process. Produced by Ravi Chopra of Candlelight, as
well as Roberts Gil de Montes and Lorena David (who will also direct), the
film is adapted from an idea by Chopra by writer Eric Sherman ("Bravo"). Gil
de Montes notes that the film, "...presents positive images of Latinos, but
maintains realism and earthiness." Cast and crew are still being assembled.
>> Bop Doc
Desert Dog Films, producer Cynthia Anne Geary and director Jim Larsen are deep
into production on the follow-up documentary to their exquisitely titled debut
film, "Buttcrack." The new film is a documentary about music impresario David
Byrne, "Seeking Heat: David Byrne" -- it deals with his music, his peripatetic
wanderings in the genre of world music, and his record label Luaka Bop, home
to acts such as Zap Mama and Los Amigos Invisibles. The producers are
currently showing a work print around to intrigued feature and TV entities,
with a final cut due by August to coincide with the ten-year anniversary of
the creation of Luaka Bop by Byrne.
>> Two From Fox
Continuing their long-running program of producing shorts by
up-and-coming LA and New York-based filmmakers, fXM: Movies from Fox is
starting production on two new shorts. "Bust" is a short by hot new
writer-director Amy Talkington, (award winning shorts "Number One Fan"
and "Second Skin" and the upcoming feature "Diary of a Mad Freshman"),
about a rebellious teen attempting to sneak back home after a night of
partying. "The Keening," is a creepy, fairy tale-like drama starring
Lumi Cavazos ("Bottle Rocket") from twin writer-directors Alex and
Andrew Smith (soon to start shooting on their debut feature, "The
Slaughter Rule," for Good Machine). Kim Adelman has produced all the
shorts over the life of the program for fXM, 17 altogether, and will
produce these next two as well, set to debut on the network in July and
>> Web Site To Watch
First-time writer-director-producer Brian Johnson, along with co-producer Kate
Ertmann, has put together a strange brew of wacky screwball comedy and sci-fi
swing weirdness out in Oregon called "Pop." For a taste of the recently
completed comedy, which involves physics, secret agents, hired goons,
Martians, mambo/lounge music and a Chihuahua named Terrance, check out their
website. The flick stars Elisa Donovan
("Clueless") and Peter Paige, and is currently riding the festival circuit.
The site has postings of video, audio and print materials from the film, not
to mention one hilarious picture of a little dog in a big chair.