SAWYER CONDUCTS TOUGH INTERVIEW WITH GIBSON
Diane Sawyer, noted for her ability to land big "gets" on ABC's Primetime magazine show by purportedly assuring them of kid-glove treatment, has conducted a tough interview with Mel Gibson for Good Morning America, according to L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke. Finke cited a "Gibson insider" as saying that the actor agreed to be interviewed by Sawyer "because she'd be the hardest on him, yet she'd be fair. He needed someone who'd hit him hard. But she was f****** harder on him than I could imagine. I was cringing." At one point in the interview Sawyer asks Gibson what he thought about people in Hollywood who are urging others to refuse to work with him (because of the anti-Semitic remarks he made after he was arrested last July). He replies, "I feel sad because they've obviously been hurt and frightened and offended enough to feel that they have to do that. ... There's nothing I can do about that." Later he remarks, "What I need to do to heal myself and to be assuring and allay the fears of others and to heal them if they had any heart wounds from something I may have said. ... This is the last thing I want to be is that kind of monster." The interview is set to air on Thursday and Friday on Good Morning America. Strikingly, ABC has announced no plans to air it during primetime.
TWO MORE STUDIOS TO MAKE FILMS AVAILABLE ON ITUNES?
Two more studios are expected to join the Walt Disney Co. in selling movie downloads through Apple's iTunes store after the beginning of the year, according to Gene Munster, an analyst with research and investment firm PiperJaffray who closely follows Apple. In a note to clients on Tuesday, Munster said that he had met with executives of four of the six major studios and that two had "indicated that they expect to have content on iTunes within six months, but it may require some tweaks to Apple's pricing guidelines to get them there." Studios have balked at Apple's low-tab requirement, wary of a backlash from large retailers who have complained that they will be placed at a pricing disadvantage.
ACTOR GIVES HIS BLOOD FOR HIS ART
Actors may have contributed sweat and tears to a movie, and now Advertising Age is reporting that one actor is also contributing blood -- his own. According to the trade publication, Tobin Bell, who plays the villain in the Saw movies agreed to provide blood for use on 1,000 posters Lionsgate is using to promote the third episode of the franchise, which opens Oct. 27. Some will be sold on the Lionsgate website for $20, with the American Red Cross receiving the proceeds. "This is likely the first time real blood has been employed as a buzz builder," AdAge commented. Lionsgate is also staging a blood drive in 25 markets in connection with the film's opening. Tim Palen, Lionsgate's co-president of marketing, said, "I didn't want [the promotion] to be blatantly gimmicky. ... I didn't want to do something weird just for the sake of doing something weird."
UPHOFF QUITS AS PUBLISHER OF HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Tony Uphoff, who succeeded Robert Dowling as publisher of The Hollywood Reporter on January 1, is himself being replaced after less than ten months in the position, according to the Los Angeles Times. On October 17, the newspaper said, John Kilcullen, publisher of Billboard since 2003, will succeed Uphoff, who has been named president of a division of CMP Technology in Irvine, which publishes various trade magazines and organizes trade shows. Kilcullen will continue to hold his post at Billboard, which, like The Hollywood Reporter, is owned by the Dutch media conglomerate VNU. However, he told the Times, he plans to shift his office from New York to Los Angeles.
MOVIEGOERS DEPART FOR THE THEATER ON COLUMBUS DAY
Columbus Day proved to be a bigger day at the box office than Labor Day. According to Exhibitor Relations, Martin Scorsese's the Departed brought in another $4 million to bring its total for the four-day weekend to $30.7 million. With most kids out of school, Sony's Open Season also scored strongly, taking in an additional $2.2 million to bring its weekend gross to $17.9 million.
DISNEYLAND ISLAND SAFE FOR TOM SAWYER, SAY IMAGINEERS
Disney Imagineers, who are responsible for designing the attractions at the company's theme parks, have downplayed reports by an unofficial Disneyland website that the company is planning to turn Tom Sawyer's Island, one of the original Disneyland attractions, into a Pirates of the Caribbean Island in time for the release of next year's Pirates sequel. In an interview with the O-meon website ("for the grownup geek in all of us"), one Imagineer remarked that the project could not be completed on such short notice. Others said no one had seen any designs for such an attraction. Moreover, they noted, changing Tom Sawyer's Island would also mean changing the Americana theme surrounding it. Indeed, asked one Imagineer, "What are guests going to think of the Mark Twain [a stern-wheel riverboat] gliding around a tropical island?"