Today's Birthdays 11/04
1868 La Belle Otero Spanish actress, courtesan to royalty, La Folies Bergere dancer and star of a scandalous silent short performing the "Valse Brilliante". Where's her biopic? In order to inject life into that zombie-like genre (no brains, only forward motion) I really think filmmakers need to look at more obscure but still fascinating figures, further back in time. If they stop trying to win Oscars and just try to tell interesting stories, I bet they'll still win the Oscars. Try harder, Hollywood.
1913 Gig Young won the supporting actor Oscar for They Shoot Horses Don't They?, a totally brilliant and Oscar historical film. Emcee roles are sometimes gold for awards contention, right?
1918 Art Carney of Harry and Tonto Oscar-winning fame
1946 Frederick Elmes, wonderfully expressive cinematographer who made those masterful David Lynch films so beautiful (Mulholland Dr, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart). Also favored by Ang Lee. Sadly, he's never been nominated for an Oscar. Next up: Jim Sheridan's remake of the Danish film Brothers.
1960 Kathy Griffin... suck it! The comedienne turns 49 today. I keep wondering when she'll change the title of her show because she's so not a D-Lister anymore.
1969 Matthew McConaughey, romantic comedy person, sun worshipper.
Finally, since we've already broached the subject of better biopic candidates why not Robert Mapplethorpe? The famously controversial and sexually fixated photographer seems ripe for a risque movie. I don't know if you've heard this (I hadn't... or I'd forgotten it out of the inability to categorize its weirdness) but early this year Eliza Dushku (yes, her) bought the rights to his life for just such a project. Hollywood is such a strange place. The real question is how the hell you'd ever make his life into a biopic without being willing to go the NC-17 route. And who is ever willing to do that? And who would play Patti Smith? To celebrate Mapplethorpe's birthday today -- he would have been 63 -- take a black and white photograph of yourself
Would you see a Mapplethorpe biopic?