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  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:05 am on September 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 30 Rock, , , , Darren Aranofsky, Die Hard, Jane Krakowski, John McClane, , Kenneth Cole Productions, Larry David, Louisiana, Massive Dynamic headquarters, , , , , , , , , The Birth of a Shoe Company   

    Cinematic New York 

    When you live and work in New York, you spend a huge amount of time on tv and movie sets. Most of the time the sets are abandoned by the shooting crews, but very frequently tv or movie magic is happening as you are walking by.

    Why is New York so overrepresented on screen? Part of it is because it’s New York. But it’s also because the city government is also very friendly to the moving picture industry.

    When I worked on a website for Kenneth Cole, I learned an interesting factoid: the real name of this fashion powerhouse is Kenneth Cole Productions. It turns out that in the early days they abused a perk that the city gives to movie people: ability to park their huge trailers in places where normally only city services vehicles can linger. Cole applied for a permit to shoot a movie called “The Birth of a Shoe Company”, parked a huge truck in front of a hotel where a major shoe show was taking place, and proceeded to sell enough shoes while cameras were rolling (sometimes even with film) to start a company.

    While watching a movie or a show set in New York I get a lot of “oh, hey it’s” and a lot of “hmm, where’s that?” moments. Sometimes a movie or a show becomes more memorable just because its locations are so familiar to me.

    Let me give you some examples about how cinematically impregnated my environs are. Take, for instance 30 Rock. I spent 7 years working in two buildings that are behind 30 Rock, and every little thing in, under and over Rockefeller plaza is seared in my brain. Also, I have the same last name of one of the actors (is Jane Krakowski a relative? Probably not).

    The 47-50th Street/Rockefeller Center subway station that I got out at almost every day for those 7 years (unless I missed a few stops while reading or sleeping) is the one featured in a key scene in Darren Aranofsky’s “Pi”. The Brighton Beach bus stop in “Requiem for a Dream” – one of my first American jobs was right there, handing out fliers for a gypsy psychic. One of the buildings where I worked, 1211 Avenue of the Americas was very subtly featured as Sideshow Bob’s prisoner number in a Simpson’s episode.

    Sterling Cooper corporate headquarters are famously located at a non-existing 405 Madison Avenue. On the other hand 415 Madison Avenue is a very real building where my wife used to work.

    When I go to and from work now, I pass a grating which John McClane ripped off in one of the Die Hard movies to jump on the top of a moving train. The building where I work? Well, it doubles as the Massive Dynamic headquarters on “Fringe”. They do a lot of shooting at the floor where I work. You can see our big conference room called “Jail” in a number of commercials. You know, Doctor House, he’s supposed to stay in New Jersey, but one time he slept on “my” couch at the office after shooting a commercial there. The butterflies of doom from Fringe also live in “Jail”.

    Ironically, the only famous person who went to my hight school is Larry David, the co-creator of a certain show about nothing set in New York, but shot in LA.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:25 am on March 14, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Bruce Wayne, , Commissioner, Darren Aranofsky, , , Frank Miller, Gordon, , James Gordon, ,   

    Do The Batusi 

    You know, sometimes you are better off not knowing. Earlier I lamented the horrible batmobile in the latest Batman movie. That movie was could have been a lot of things instead of the steaming pile of drek that it became.

    It was supposed to be based on Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One and written by Darren Aranofsky. It would have been a low tech, real Batman, stripped of unrealistic gadgets but with a kick ass plot. Commissioner Gordon would still be a Lieutenant fighting against GCPD corruption. Bruce Wayne would actually hurt people with crude, but effective weapons like thermite.

    And only now I found out what the Batmobile would have been like…

    “I was never planning to direct Year One. I was more interested in
    writing a screenplay with Frank Miller on Batman. My pitch was always very realistic. I wasn’t interested in fantasy, I was interested in the psychology of a real man dressing in a disguise to pay out real vengeance. The batmobile was a souped up lincoln continental with a bus engine. It was technical and rusty and extremely violent. They would have never let us have violence.”

    Darren Aronofsky answers readers’ questions at moviehole.net.

    Perfect combination, isn’t it?

    What would have been even more interesting, is the way Aranofsky would portray Batman as a real person, frustrated and angry, probably more of a Marvin Heemeyer than the familiar cool and composed caped crusader.

    To this day I can’t confirm something that I seem to remember form an IMDB page. It seem to me that I’ve seen Steve Ballmer’s name as a possible cast member in that movie. It could have been somebody’s joke but, a better person to play a Batman villain I can’t imagine. But the way the things are going, they might be bringing the Batusi back.

     
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