Other projects at Cooper's Town include the untitled Mississippi Basketball Project, an atypical sports drama set on the cusp of the civil rights movement and based on Dean Colvard's tome "Mixed Emotions."
Colvard was the president of Mississippi State U. in the 1960s, when the school came under intense fire for not allowing its athletic teams to play schools that had integrated teams. Rule prevented the MSU basketball team from reaching the championships.
A conflicted character, Colvard initially supported the rule. He then abolished it, only to come under attack from state politicians and other parties.
Guinee and Ali Selim ("Sweetland") are set to adapt "Mixed Emotions" for the bigscreen. Cooper's Town is producing with Rachel Griffin.
Ramin Bahrani is the director of such films as Man Push Cart, Chop Shop and the new Goodbye Solo. He was named, somewhat controversially, as being on the vanguard of the “neo-neo realism” by A.O. Scott in the New York Times and called “the new great American director” by Roger Ebert. Colin Marshall originally conducted this conversation on the public radio show and podcast The Marketplace of Ideas.
I’ve been reading Roger Ebert for over ten years, and I’ve never seen him praise someone as much as he praises you. He’s given your films four stars, he’s put Chop Shop on his list of “the great movies”, he had this wonderful blog post about you. How must this feel, to get such accolades from a man like Ebert?
It’s very humbling, and I’m very grateful because Roger Ebert is a legendary critic, known as the most important in America for decades. I’d like to stress that it’s not just me; he’s said this about a handful of other important directors that I really learned a lot from, like Martin Scorsese, and that makes it all the more wonderful a feeling. Watching Mean Streets as a teenager was one of the most important cinematic moments of my life. It really got me interested in making movies, and what kind of movies, and how to make them. Roger has the ability to write about films in a profound way anyone could understand, and that’s a rare gift. I really appreciate all that he’s done for my films.
Ramin Bahrani is the new great American director. After three films, each a master work, he has established himself as a gifted, confident filmmaker with ideas that involve who and where we are at this time. His films pay great attention to ordinary lives that are not so ordinary at all. His subjects so far have been immigrants working hard to make a living in America. His fourth film, now in preparation, will be a Western. His hero will be named Tom. Well, he couldn't very well be named Huckleberry.
The lives they illuminate, of fictional characters most often played by nonactors from similar backgrounds, are not commonly depicted on screen: the Senegalese cabdriver in Winston-Salem, N.C., whose friendship with a customer is at the center of “Goodbye Solo”; the aspiring baseball player in “Sugar” who is transplanted from the Dominican Republic to rural Iowa; the African-American shopkeeper in a sparsely populated stretch of the Mississippi Delta whose grief is the dominant mood of “Ballast”; the two very young Korean girls abandoned by their mother in an unfamiliar provincial town in “Treeless Mountain.” But these people and their situations are nonetheless recognizable, familiar on a basic human level even if their particular predicaments are not. And if the kind of movie they inhabit is not entirely new — the common ancestor that established their species identity is a well-known Italian bicycle thief — their unassuming arrival on a few screens nonetheless seems vital, urgent and timely.
“Neo-Neo Realism,” A. O. Scott’s piece in the Sunday New York Times Magazine (and already online), about a new trend in American independent filmmaking, offers lots to think about. His argument is based mainly on the recent films “Wendy and Lucy,” “Ballast,” and “Frozen River,” as well as the films of Ramin Bahrani (whose “Goodbye Solo” will be released on March 27), made on location in diverse American locations, about working-class characters, sometimes using non-professional actors. These are films made skillfully and sincerely under difficult circumstances; they are, in many ways, admirable. But I think that Scott makes a little too much of them. His ambitious article ranges widely over the history of cinema; I think it rests on questionable premises and reaches dubious conclusions.
Prompted to find these tonight after reading this:
When the White House releases his budget proposal Monday, there will be no money for the Constellation program that was supposed to return humans to the moon by 2020. The troubled and expensive Ares I rocket that was to replace the space shuttle to ferry humans to space will be gone, along with money for its big brother, the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies needed to take humans back to the moon.
There will be no lunar landers, no moon bases, no Constellation program at all.
In their place, according to White House insiders, agency officials, industry executives and congressional sources familiar with Obama's long-awaited plans for the space agency, NASA will look at developing a new "heavy-lift" rocket that one day will take humans and robots to explore beyond low Earth orbit. But that day will be years -- possibly even a decade or more -- away.
In the meantime, the White House will direct NASA to concentrate on Earth-science projects -- principally, researching and monitoring climate change -- and on a new technology research and development program that will one day make human exploration of asteroids and the inner solar system possible.
There will also be funding for private companies to develop capsules and rockets that can be used as space taxis to take astronauts on fixed-price contracts to and from the International Space Station -- a major change in the way the agency has done business for the past 50 years.
The White House budget request, which is certain to meet fierce resistance in Congress, scraps the Bush administration's Vision for Space Exploration and signals a major reorientation of NASA, especially in the area of human spaceflight.
"We certainly don't need to go back to the moon," said one administration official.
SANTA ANA, Calif. – An international jewel thief who claims to have pocketed a small fortune in gems while shoplifting in ritzy stores from New York to Monte Carlo was arrested in Southern California for allegedly trying to steal a coat.
Doris Payne, 79, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of grand theft in Superior Court on Tuesday in Orange County, district attorney's spokeswoman Farrah Emami said.
Court officials said Payne was represented by a public defender, but the attorney could not be reached for comment.
Payne was arrested Friday after security guards said she walked out of a department store with a $1,300 Burberry trench coat, Costa Mesa police Lt. Mark Manley said.
Payne was on parole for a previous theft conviction at the time and she remained jailed without bail Tuesday.
Payne, who was born in Slab Fork, W.Va., has described a five-decade career of shoplifting in the U.S. and Europe. Authorities said she used at least 22 aliases.
Her career was detailed in a 2005 story by The Associated Press based on court records and interviews with Payne, prosecutors, detectives, FBI agents, friends and jewelry store employees.
The account said the exquisitely dressed and well-mannered Payne would waltz into a store and begin trying on diamond ring after diamond ring. When the clerk had taken out a number of fancy items and was thoroughly confused, she would steal one and casually slip out, sometimes with the ring on her finger.
The Jewelers Security Alliance, an industry trade group, sent out bulletins in the 1970s warning about her.
The daughter of an illiterate coal miner, Payne said her criminal career began when she was 23 and walked out of a Pittsburgh jewelry store with a $22,000 diamond.
"I've had regrets, and I've had a good time," she said.
Payne has served jail time in Nevada, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Colorado and Wisconsin.
The car is based on an experimental model designed by Chip Foose, which is about the closest thing I could find in the real world to the kind of cars Kirby would invent for his stories. I've seen some crazier customized cars based on the Hot Wheels toys, and those are downright bizarre-- a little too far out for this story. The Foose car you could probably drive on the highway and not scare the locals.
In the real world, you never see cars like this in Manhattan since the winter weather is so rough, but when did the real world ever get in the way of Jack Kirby's imagination?
A pannel from my teenage Human Torch vs. teenage Spider-Man story, appearing in the anniversary issue of The Fantastic Four. Here Johnny and his pal Wyatt Wingfoot tool-up Johnny's race car. I always loved those crazy machines Kirby would invent for his stories-- the Forever People had their Super-Cycle, Orion had that...whatever that thing was... and The Fantastic Four had their Fantasti-Car. Kirby's idea of a car was like someone taking one of those saucer-cupped seats from the sit-and-spin Mad Hatter ride at Disney World, re-casting it in shining steel, painting lightning bolts on the sides, and sticking giant tires, chrome pipes, and a massive jet-engine beneath the frame.
A couple of years ago, some friends and I had the good fortune to visit the M.I.T. Media Lab, which is where geniuses build the kinds of machines geniuses build when they are left alone and have proper budgets to finance their ideas. We saw experimental robots and lazers and musical instruments and computers for the blind and some other things too weird to explain without diagrams. The nanotech wing was financed by the military, and it was the only area which was off-limits, but the rest was open to us. The Media Lab is the real Baxter Building, that celebrated skyscraper where Mister Fantastic dreams up his fantastic machines in the mythical Marvel Comics universe.
In the Media Lab's automotive wing, we saw incredible designs for cars-of-the-future which were heart-breakingly far-out, strange and beautiful. They were like the kinds of things Kirby would've designed if he were born as an industrial engineer instead of a cartoonist. These were all crazy, incredible vehicles, ergonomically designed machines built around the shape of a person's reclining body in repose-- cars like sleek metal cocoons on wheels. There were other designs for cars which could fold up like lawn chairs. Still other had rounded "bubble" forms, electric engines, and a variety of three, four, or five wheeled designs built on frames which could spin freely in three-sixty rotations, making parallel parking and taking corners a breeze. There were even some which could fly. The variations went on and on, each one different and new, each one a thrill to see, each one a kind of marvellous Fantasti-Car all its own.
Me and my friends get no respect What does Scooby-Doo that we neglect? We be puttin' all our foes in check, but me and my friends get no respect.
So what? Who cares? We're doin' it how we like. I'm singin' into my mic A special underwater mic.
Who's gonna save the world? Who's gonna save the days? From Ahab, crabs who steal and eerie eels with evil rays? Who's gonna talk like Curly, since Curly isn't here? Who's gonna chase down villains and then turn around and run in fear? You know who I'm talkin' about, he's fat and short on brains and I do not mean Captain Caveman I mean Jabberjaw.
Tries to further justice without making waves, and to impress the ladies but his subtle ways get lost between the sediment and water mains... "And I will never date you 'cause you smell like bait."
So what? Who cares? When a supervillain plots, to send an army of lobster bots, to tie you up in sailor knots?
Who's gonna save the world? Who's gonna save the day? From Ahab, crabs who steal and eerie eels with evil rays? Who's gonna talk like Curly, since Curly isn't here? Who's gonna chase down villains and then turn around and run in fear? Who's gonna stand for justice, when bad guys break the law? You know who I'm talkin' about, we're Clamhead, Shelley, and Bubbles, and Biff, but if you're catchin' a whiff of fish it's Jabberjaw!