Quarantined viewers tuned into Saturday’s all-day, virtual ScreenCraft Screenwriting Summit were treated to a special surprise in the evening when filmmaker and TV titan J.J. Abrams crashed the party as the surprise special guest. He arrived just after his fellow “Star Wars” scribe Tony Gilroy “Rogue One” and the upcoming Cassian Andor series finished his conversation about the craft of screenwriting.
Abrams’ Q&A touched on a range of topics, from the origins of 2015’s “The Force Awakens” to scaling “the mountain,” as he called it, of writing a screenplay, and to the Golden Age of television happening now. It’s an era Abrams helped to launch with his ABC mystery series “Lost.” “I know my role in that. I’m not talking as if I had nothing to do with this,” he said.
“It’s the Golden Age of television, as they call it, even though I don’t know what television really is anymore,” Abrams said. “That’s because huge chances are being taken. Talent that might not have gotten the chance otherwise suddenly have the opportunity. For me, when I watch a show like ‘Atlanta,’ which takes the most spectacular risks in point of view, in genre, structure, and character […] every story has been told, it’s kind of all been done before,” remarking that the FX series tells its stories in unique ways.
Abrams also praised the Emmy-winning Prime Video series “Fleabag,” created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
“You see ‘Fleabag’ and you’re like, well, yes, the fourth wall has been broken [before], but not like that,” he said, referring to the protagonist’s tendency to face the camera and address the audience. “Yes, there have been amazing love stories, and stories of family, but not like that. What I love is the thing that makes you feel like, ‘Oh my god, this is so amazingly specific.'”
Abrams pivoted to discussing Hollywood’s place in a moment dominated by streaming content with originality that far exceeds what’s being reproduced on the big screen. “Hollywood used to be a place where something would happen, there’d be a movie where people would see it and think ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing. Here’s my answer to that,’ or ‘here’s my version,'” he said.
“Hollywood has become a place where, for the most part, studios say, ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing. Let’s do that literally again.’ And that’s OK, and I think that will continue, but I really hope that all the writers who are here and others in the guild are as excited as I am about this new opportunity with streaming platforms. How many different stories are going to be...
Back in 2018, when the numerous sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein were making headlines, Sons of Anarchy star Ron Perlman swooped onto Twitter with an anecdote about the time he, uh, relieved himself on his hand, and then immediately sought out the lecherous producer for a warm handshake. The viral tweet was a welcomed moment of levity and revenge during the of the #MeToo movement, and now, the actor has expanded on the infamous exchange in a lengthy interview with The Daily Beast where he explains his motivation:
I think it was around 2001, because I was making Blade II with Guillermo in Prague and had a few days off, so I ran down to the Cannes Film Festival. That’s where it happened. I never really had a relationship with Harvey but I wanted to show up to one of his charity events, and when I got on the phone with him to request a ticket, he just acted like a f*ckin’ piece-of-shit pig, like, “Who are you to ask me? Do you know who I am?” He thought I was returning the Revlon guy’s phone call [Ron Perelman], which is why he returned my phone call in the first place, and when he realized I was just the actor he just went off on me:
I said to him, “Well, it’s OK, Harvey, I managed to get a ticket between the time I called you and now, so I’ll be there tonight.” And he said, “Oh, you’ll be there? Well, make sure you shake my hand out of respect.” And I said, “Oh yeah, Harvey, I sure will.” And that’s the genesis of that story.
When asked if Weinstein noticed, Perlman said “he knew it was clammy,” and that he hopes Weinstein saw his now-viral tweet below:
Did I ever tell ya about when Harvey Weinstein told me to make sure I shook his hand at a charity event, so I stopped in the mens room and pissed all over my hand, then went straight up to him on the receiving line? I think about that every time lil donnie opens up his KFC.
— Ron Perlman @perlmutations June 25, 2018By itself, the anecdote is the stuff of legends, but it rocketed even further into viral fame after Donald Trump Jr. tried to score points on Perlman who’s been a very vocal critic of the Trump administration. While attempting to accuse Perlman of not stopping an alleged rapist, Junior clearly didn’t realize that a central element of the Weinstein accusations is that he used his wealth and influence to hide his crimes. Fortunately, Perlman was more than happy to explain the situation.
Hey young don, nice ta meetcha! And thanks for the follow! So…I never said I knew Harve was a rapist. I never worked for Harve. I wasn’t home his type. I DID know he was a prick though. A prick and a bully. And I gotta thing about that. https://t.co/3cjmnMI5y6
— Ron Perlman @perlmutations June 26, 2018And that’s why you don’t mess with a guy who isn’t afraid to...