The Bullets: 173 “Star Wars” Writers Walk into a Room and….

Lawsuits are in the air today. Lawsuits, talk of lawsuits, rumors of lawsuits, fans of lawsuits. And they are all over ideas, as if anyone really knows where ideas come from…But for those of you not currently involved in entertainment litigation, you can sit back and enjoy the show from the sidelines.  Here it all is in today's Bullet Points, everything you need to know to survive another day of entertainment.

• HAMMER OF THE ODDS Some nerds put the power of technology to work to recreate Thor”s hammer, building a fingerprint activated giant hammer that can only be activated, apparently, by Norse gods arriving through portals from other planets.  Now that a real Thor hammer has been built remember, next time you”re at ComicCon, all those Thor hammers you see – those aren”t actual norse gods carrying them.

• MONSTER MASH NOTE THR”s very fine Lacey Rose spoke with Ryan Murphy about his upcoming OJ Simpson mini-series. In these times of charged and divisive racial dialogue and finger-on-the-outrage-boycott-burn them all down sensibilities, one can certainly understand why when taking on the single most racially divisive story of the past 50 years, FX turned to a writer with the proven light touch and calming voice of Ryan Murphy.  It”s by the same logic that if our country ever needed to send in a super-spy to infiltrate a foreign regime and defuse an enemy”s nuclear weapon, we would instantly turn to Sesame Street”s Mr. Noodle to get the job done.       

When profiling difficult people in Hollywood there are three possible routes to go down. There”s the “Nothing to see here! Move it along! People LOVE working with James Cameron/Michael Mann.,” route.  Even his detractors say he in them to do their best work!   Then there”s the: let”s tell the true story of a crazy person at work. Although this template actually became defunct from disuse somewhere around 2003 so should probably be taken off the shelf. Then there”s “Yes, he”s been difficult in the past, but this time he”s different.”  THR admirably goes down route 3 instead of route 1, which given these times, is all we can hope for and is done with wonderful color by Rose. “Those closest to Murphy agree he's softened considerably since he settled down with his photographer husband, David Miller, a Kevin Bacon look-alike whom Murphy married in 2012… the most meaningful change has been in his ability to bounce back when things don't go as well.” Nothing better than when “difficult artist/moguls” become slightly less difficult. Makes one believe in miracles again.

• THE SCRIBE HAS TOKEN Apparently, having 450 writers work on a movie script is causing problems. No, no, not the problems of having ruined movies by boiling them down into a consensus mush. The much more serious problem of how to arbitrate payment. THR reports that in the modern franchise world where writers come and go through a project on hourly shifts, studios are dealing with the unpleasant fact that when they are done with these writers, the writers don”t just go off to the forest and die somewhere like writers are supposed to, but hang around demanding, like, their name on the project. And if we filled up these credits with all these writer names – well, we all know if there”s anything that”s a buzzkill for modern audiences it”s having to look at the names of writers. (Next thing you know, they”ll make us look at their faces.

And as a bonus, if you”ve sat around wondering just how the heck those studio folks made that Transformers universe just so damn interesting, THR provides the secret process, “For Transformers, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman gathered 12 writers for two weeks on the Paramount lot to conceive ideas for spinoffs, sequels and other ways to expand the universe. They wrote treatments and pitched them to Goldsman, Steven Spielberg and Paramount and Hasbro execs. Financially, it was a good gig: Sources say, depending on their quotes, writers were paid about $200,000 for two weeks of work. And at least one team was hired to create a full script for their idea: Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, who will pen an animated film based on the Transformers' home planet of Cybertron”

• THE CITY THAT NEVER CREEPS Hollywood spent $8.7 billion dollars filming in New York last year.  Only 90 percent of it dedicated to TV shows about people working in the media business.

FREE BILLY: NBC wants to turn one of it”s 19 daily hours of the Today Show over to Billy Bush. Can anyone doubt that NBC Nightly News will follow quickly? For those of you clinging to the thread in these downfall of civilization days that “at least Billy Bush isn”t the most respected voice on public affairs in America” may want to start thread shopping.

GHOST IS CLEAR: Guillermo Del Toro can”t make it too clear that “Crimson Peak” is not a horror movie. It”s a gothic romance, you fools!  And lot”s of those come out two weeks before Halloween with skulls and ghosts on the posters.


(Full Disclosure: I don”t care what it is, I thought it was a beautiful, engrossing film that I couldn”t take my eyes off. Drew agrees!  And here”s his take)

REPORTERINGS: The most modern entertainment journalismy passage of an interview today comes at the end of a Q&A between super-producer Mark Platt and The Wrap”s indefatigable journalism as performance art practitioner  Jeff Sneider.  After blowing the story wide open on Steven Spielberg”s love of Americana, they have this illuminating exchange, which given that this is 2015, remained in the version printed online:

Is it true that you”re looking at Emily Blunt to star?
There have been no casting conversations yet.

What about the rumors that Chris Evans and Jared Leto are in talks for the male leads in “The Girl on the Train?”
Both are in negotiations. Nothing is definitive, but I”m hopeful.

Any update on “Section 6,” which hit a snag when MGM and the James Bond rights holders filed suit?
Stuff happens and that”s all resolved. The new draft of that will be in soon.

See! And they say you don't learn nothing from the trades!  We recommend that instead of talking to people in the future, the entertainment media just cut and paste this exchange into any interview they had in mind. It serves as an admirable all purpose avatar for all reporting today.

• AWARDS SEASON IS COMING With the news that James Corden is to host the Hollywood Film Awards, good people everywhere have begun sealing their windows and refreshing their final stocks of canned foods in anticipation of the long months when it will no longer be safe to read the trades.  The Oscar race is at hand and with it months of chin scratching over who will get the fifth spot in the supporting something race, dark concerns about category selection, bickering over the impact of ballot rules changes, and Exclusive!!!! email blasts on date changes in the Cheyenne Film Critics Association”s submission deadlines.

As for the Hollywood Awards, there are two ways to look at them: A shameless PR swindle on gullible trade writers with an entirely imaginary contest; or, another awards show. You be the judge!  Ballot deadlines subject to change!

DIE HARD IN A MARKETING MEETING: Drew explains why the new Die Hard prequel is the worst idea ever, even in the spectrum of terrible prequel ideas.

YOU'RE THE BEST: Is You're The Worst the best scripted comedy on the air this season?  I vote yes – and I don't even know what comes in second. Alan looks at this week's episode.

ELSEWHEREIA:  Pufnstuf is back! LSD references TBD.  Frank Darabont wants more of the money for Walking Dead (but none of the blame.)   The French side with John Carpenter over their own Luc Besson. Le cinema, he wins!  More Indiana Jones horse beating! He”s going for five!  I say, don”t stop till 100.