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Reel World 

Ghost World; Castro Theater; Breaking into Hollywood

Wednesday, Feb 14 2001
Bring It On Terry Zwigoff sounds so chipper that I don't recognize his voice at first. The famously pessimistic Potrero Hill filmmaker is so upbeat he's even coined a tag line -- "the first teen comedy for adults" -- for Ghost World, the hotly anticipated film that he and Daniel Clowes adapted from the East Bay cartoonist's darkly funny graphic novel of adolescent alienation. Calling from the sound mixing stage at the Saul Zaentz Film Center in Berkeley, Zwigoff reports that the soundtrack includes knockoffs of 'N Sync and Britney Spears -- whose names he couldn't be bothered to know, let alone remember -- alongside tunes by 1920s jazz artists Lionel Belasco, Skip James, and King Oliver from his own collection. (Thora Birch stars, with Steve Buscemi in a supporting role as a connoisseur of old 78s modeled after the director.)

Zwigoff shot the film in L.A., and weathered a test screening for a vapid Southland crowd. "I sat right in the middle of a teenage audience," he recalls with a horrified chuckle, then incredulously rattles off one dude's comment: "It didn't have Matrix-style kung fu fighting." Zwigoff confides, "Daniel and I are going to reprint the audience reaction cards in a book we're going to do." It'll have to wait till Ghost World's May release. For pics and such, visit ghostfilm.html.

Breathless The usually effusive Ted Nasser, whose family-run company, Consolidated Theaters Inc., has leased the Castro Theater to Blumenfeld Theaters since 1988, is uncharacteristically tight-lipped these days. "The lease expires this year," he allows, refusing to be more specific. "We've been in talks with the Blumenfelds, but no decisions have been made." That may sound somewhat ominous, but Nasser insists there's no reason for Castro lovers to fret. "Current programming wouldn't change" even with a new lessee, he declares. "No one wants to tinker with success."

The Big Picture "If you're an outsider, you are at such a huge disadvantage breaking into Hollywood -- no matter how talented you are," says Daryan Zade, whose stories of '90s life as an L.A. screenwriter and producer are a litany of near-misses. More bad news: "You've got to break in by the age of 30." Hoping to save others a measure of heartbreak, Zade shares his painfully acquired wisdom in a Feb. 24-25 workshop, "Ready to Break Into Hollywood?" at the Performance Space (449 Powell). "A lot of people have either a very distorted view of Hollywood or a romantic, fantasy view," he explains. "This is a way of testing the water without making the huge commitment." The class costs $100; enrollment is capped at 20. Call (510) 486-1617 for more info.

The Road to Glory Playing Mona Lisa, the S.F.-shot Alicia Witt comedy that opened here (and nowhere else) around Halloween, has an April 17 date with your corner video store. ... Our sources report that Leonardo DiCaprio is in talks to star in I.P.O., scripted by local wordsmith Po Bronson. ... The San Francisco benefit premiere of Scout's Honor, Tom Shepard's gays-in-the-Boy Scouts documentary, is set for April 13 at the Herbst Theater, just ahead of its S.F. Film Festival screening.

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Michael Fox


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