Monday, 30 August 2010

What Does Michael Mann Wear?

Michael Mann likes to wear Scottevest

There is serious danger here of triviality, but hey... if Michael Mann likes something, I better have a good look at it! So, when on location where does Mann keep his bits and pieces and keep them warm? The tech sort I mean. Well, I suspect he likes well placed and intelligently designed pockets. Which is why he wears SCOTTEVEST. It's not only Mann who wears Scottevest, but a host of celebrities. Click here to see who.

We don't have Scottevest in the UK, but I will be putting an order in through friends... the microfibre hoodie looks good as does the iPhone hugging fleece. Apparently Mann gives his crew free Scottevest gear as gifts. Personally, I always used to love Patagonia. Nowadays I just can't afford it. I guess I will just have to join Mann's crew to renew my outdoors wardrobe. Feel free to call Michael. Just don't ask me to make your coffee... on second thoughts... 

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Mann gets his coffee... any way he wants!

The filming of Public Enemies had a real impact on the small towns Michael Mann selected for his scenes. I have enjoyed reading the anecdotes of those meeting Mann for the first time and that wonderful excitement of Hollywood coming to town. Two completely different worlds collide! Leader's of projects obviously get special treatment to smooth the rails of their important visionary work. I love this blog taken during the making of Public Enemies. Here is a small excerpt that made me chuckle:

At one point Michael asked for coffee. No one wanted to ask him cream? Sugar? Black? Decaf? So they bought 3 of each – black, cream, cream and sugar, sugar, sugar substitute… decaf with the same routine. About 20 cups of coffee so that one of them would meet his requirements. Wow… This was my first hint that this guy GETS WHAT HE WANTS!!! No questions asked!

Get the full blog experience here - it's fun to read.

Darn, I wish I could get on a Michael Mann set, just to know what it's like. I have never been on a movie set, not least a Mann movie. No, that's a slight lie. I did find my way by accident on the set of Wind in the Willows near Farnham, Surrey. But they were packing up so I saw very little. I mean guys, Wind in the blooming Willows.

Michael Mann Signature / Autograph

If you wanted to know whether you have an authentic Michael Mann autograph (there are some poor ebay versions being offered), then compare it with this. He signed a VIP guest book at London's Baglioni hotel in 2007:

Matt Zoller Seitz Video Essays on Michael Mann

Michael Mann Video Essay Part 1

Michael Mann Video Essay Part 2

Michael Mann Video Essay Part 3

Michael Mann Video Essay Part 4

Michael Mann Video Essay Part 5

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Dustin Hoffman and Michael Mann

Catching up on the news, it is great to know that the pilot episode of Mann's new TV incarnation "Luck" has already been filmed last spring and HBO have signed it up for more episodes. The Santa Anita racetrack is the heartbeat of the new series and will be transformed into what one can only imagine as a full time film set. Shooting will start September 2010 with the first televising rumoured to be around the end of 2011. It is not clear, to me at least, whether Mann will be directing the first series having already directed the pilot. I really hope he does. What fantastic value for money we get with Mann filming an entire TV episode as opposed to 90 minutes (usually longer for a Mann movie) movie time.

If you are involved in the filming it would be great to hear from you. Otherwise, all news will be posted as I find it. Here is an older article, but provides some background information - click here:

If you want to see some exclusive footage of Michael Mann directing Luck at Santa Anita, here is a great clip of him instructing his crew - click here to access the video below:

Michael Mann directing Luck

For behind the scenes shots of the shooting of "Luck", also check out Mary Forney's blog.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

On the set of "Luck"

There isn't much to chew on when finding out about the forthcoming Michael Mann pilot, "Luck", but this horse racing blog from the Santa Anita track in Los Angeles provides some personal insight. The pictures are worth a look. Let's face it, if there isn't a palm tree in a Michael Mann movie, then I am disappointed. The racing track doesn't disappoint. I love palm trees - we don't have them where I live, sigh. But look at these palms at Santa Anita track... aren't they gorgeous? Heat, Collateral, Insider, Miami Vice... my palm tree heaven.

This is from Mary Forney's Blog on horseracing. She became a "lucky" extra for the day.

Well I've just wrapped up a grueling two days of work as an extra (actually we were called "background") for the filming of Luck at Santa Anita, an HBO pilot written and produced by David Milch and directed by Michael Mann.

And let me tell you, I have nothing but respect for everyone involved in film production, from the multitude of crew members to the actors, assistant directors and director. Apparently non-stop 14 hour work days are nothing out of the ordinary for these people. It almost killed me! It was, however, an experience I wouldn't trade. For one thing, I got to work on the same set as actors Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Richard Kind, and Kevin Dunn.

The days started with a 5:30 a.m. call, and a visit to the wardrobe trailer in the dark.

To see the original blog in its entirety with pictures, click here

Mann to direct For Whom the Bell Tolls?

Geek Tyrant Article

Never believe all the hype. Mann selects his films slowly and carefully. Will it be the Robert Capa biopic? It remains uncertain as far as I can discern. See the below article:
... it was revealed that Michael Mann is still currently attached to direct an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's Spanish Civil War novel For Whom The Bell Tolls.

The project is being set up under the Warner Bros. production banner Industry, and has been gestating since 2006 ...

For Whom The Bell Tolls, most famously turned into a 1943 film starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, follows an American who leaves the United States to enlist on the Republican side in the war, travels behind enemy lines to work with Spanish guerrilla fighters, or guerrilleros, hiding in the mountains.
Read the full article and click here

Sight and Sound on Mann and Collateral

Sight & Sound Article

Mark Olsen talks to Mann about his love of LA, shooting on DV and getting what he wants.

Mark Olsen: In Collateral you seem to be exploring the aesthetics of DV. Was that one of the things that attracted you?

Michael Mann: It's useful here to make an analogy with architecture. When steel was first introduced as a building material architects disguised the structure of their buildings to look like masonry. It wasn't until Louis Sullivan's pioneering work in Chicago in the 1890s that the aesthetics of the steel structure were allowed to be expressed.
So my reason for choosing DV wasn't economy but was to do with the fact that the entire movie takes place in one city, on one night, and you can't see the city at night on motion-picture film the way you can on digital video. And I like the truth-telling feeling I receive when there's very little light on the actors' faces - I think this is the first serious major motion picture done in digital video that is photoreal, rather than using it for effects. DV is also a more painterly medium: you can see what you've done as you shoot because you have the end product sitting in front of you on a Sony high-def monitor, so I could change the contrast to affect the mood, add colour, do all kinds of things you can't do with film. Digital isn't a medium for directors who aren't interested in visualisation, who rely on a set of conventions or aesthetic pre-sets, if you like. But it's perfect for someone like David Fincher or Ridley Scott - directors who previsualise and know just what they want to achieve.

To read full article, click here

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Some new links

Just to add to the growing collection of material available for those who want to study Michael Mann, I include some new links below:

A useful perspective on Public Enemies is provided by one blogger:

YouTube has a good source of videos made by fans of some iconic scenes in Mann's movies. There are various tribute videos available, but here is one for your convenience:

Michael Mann 2010 Update

Here is a Michael Mann update for those of you (if there are any of you?!) who wondered where I have been (young family, work, bust computer... reality sigh). Since I have been away from blogging on my fond Michael Mann site there is much to show that Mann's appetite for working has not waned one little bit. The most exciting development for me is not necessarily his next movie project, but a new Mann produced TV series! I am suddenly launched back into strong memories of the original Miami Vice series which has since defined the way TV episodes are made. The cinematic Miami Vice is seared into my past and I can still remember and invoke those depth of feelings that totally changed my perception of not just television but motion pictures. As a teenager I recall discovering what I thought "cool" really meant, thinking Crockett and Tubbs were the pinnacle of everything a man could experience, not just in having the clothes and cars, but conveying emotional complexity and physical drama. It was the first program since, erhum, the A-team, Knight Rider and Airwolf (moving into manhood!), that I had to make absolutely sure I scheduled to watch each week - to miss an episode was unthinkable. This was more than a TV program - Miami Vice was an event. It was probably, unconsciously, one of the reasons I went into photography as a career plan.

It is with this background that the prospect of "Luck" is instantly exhilarating in prospect. My hope is that I can relive those same extraordinary TV experiences. Now that I am moving into "middle age" something is needed to lift me from the dusty floors of mediocre TV land where there is nothing but vampires or forensic investigators to take me away from it all - and I like neither. I need a Mann fix on a regular basis. Something that feeds me on more levels than Columbo with a DNA test kit or Buffy on steroids. Flashforward was enormous fun, but was never going to meet me on any deep emotive level. Still, I was sorry it was discontinued. 

What we need is some character driven story instead of merely plot-twist-driven-drivel. The mistake of copycats of Michael Mann is that they can imitate style but not substance. And who out there can write to a level Mann requires? Well, David Milch seems to have something Mann reckons he can work with. If I say Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, then you will immediately think substance over style. Milch wrote on both projects. Bring Mann into partnership, and we can hopefully have style and substance in the new series of Luck. And that is why I am excited. I do not know the course of events that brought this partnership, but ever since Mann made his Mercedes commercial "Lucky Star", the world of gambling seemed on his mind. Milch not only has award winning writing, but as I understand, he also owns a racing horse. Mann will appreciate Milch's creative symbiosis with his other passion. It brings deeper clarity and a heightened sense of reality that Mann can paint his own world on top of.

HBO executives haven't said much, but said enough: "Michael Mann delivered a pilot from David Milch’s brilliant script that took our breath away," states HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo." We are truly excited that these two artists, and our extraordinary cast headed by Dustin Hoffman, will be bringing 'Luck' to life." Shooting proper is to commence this Fall at the Santa Anita Park and other Los Angeles locations. Dustin Hoffman leads a stella cast, including Nick Nolte, but I anticipate they will have a decent cast of less familiar actors joining the series. The pilot stars Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Kevin Dunn, Richard Kind, Jason Gedrick, Ritchie Coster, Ian Hart, Tom Payne, Kerry Condon and Gary Stevens. Somehow I always fall into a new TV world more easily if I don't associate actors with any other role. But TV execs like a safe pair of hands to carry a project. Hoffman does however sound perfect for the role and will suit a complex character. Nolte may be used as the rough but lovable rogue we know from his other films, but I suspect and hope he will surprise us. I look forward to seeing the first screen glimpses of the pilot.

I am presuming that between Public Enemies and Luck, there hasn't been huge time available to him to develop a full scale new movie project. But Mann works hard. So what next, for the large screen? Is it Frankie Machine or the biopic about Hungarian war photographer Robert Capa? Maybe neither. Hands up, I don't know. But as soon as I do, I will let you know!

Unique pitch from Actor wanting Mann's Attention

I was amazed to see just how powerful YouTube can potentially be in promoting a cause! Check this guy out who found his way to the top of the search rankings with this video cast, advertising his availability to act on the forthcoming new Mann produced HBO series "Luck".