Saturday, October 25, 1997

Interview: "Boogie Beat Putting Director In The Groove

Hollywood Reporter, Written By Martin Grove
October ??, 1997

"Boogie" business: With New Line's "Boogie Nights" having grossed about $150,000 through Thursday night at two theaters in New York in just five days, it's clearly a winner as it widens today to 30 theaters in 18 markets.

Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, "Boogie" was produced by Anderson, Lloyd Levin, John Lyons and Joanne Sellar with Lawrence Gordon executive producing. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore. The film, which New Line is distributing worldwide, cost only $15.5 million to make. It expands again Oct. 24 and goes wide Oct. 31 to about 1,000 more theaters.

"Paul's agent John Lesher (of UTA) called me and said he had this script he thought New Line, in particular, would respond to. He hadn't submitted it anywhere else. He's got pretty good taste, so I read it and just decided from that point that we should do the movie," Michael De Luca, president and chief operating officer of New Line Prods., told me.

What was it about "Boogie" that grabbed De Luca? "It seemed really original," he replied. "It wasn't traditional in terms of its length or its plotting. It had a lot of humor even though it was about this backdrop of (the adult movie business changing from the late 1970s into the early 1980s with the arrival of home video). It wasn't exploitative and there was a lot of humanity to the script with the characters. Even though they're misfits, they form this little family."

Anderson is only 27, but his career is clearly on the fast track. "The kid's a natural-born shooter," De Luca observed. "He just flew though his schedule. He really knew in his head how he was going to cut it right from the beginning. He's one of those writer-directors that you talk to and he can just articulate the whole movie."

"Boogie," which runs about 2-1/2 hours, started out even longer. "Paul always said it was going to be three hours and the film we have was cut down from three hours and 45 minutes," De Luca explained. "One time we fantasized about it being four hours with an intermission."

Although I saw "Boogie" very early, even then a buzz was circulating about Burt Reynolds' performance and its potential for Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. Reynolds, playing a porno director who sees his films as an art form, makes the role his own and is very deserving of consideration.

"He'd read it early in the process and we knew he wanted to do it," De Luca said. "Paul explored a couple other options and really got excited about the idea of Burt. We knew he was a yes already, so it was pretty easy to get him in the movie. There's something about an icon from the 1970s playing a character in the 1970s. It gave it credibility for the period (and) we thought it was kind of a neat thing."

Julianne Moore is as perfect as any actress could ever be for her role of Amber, the porno movie star and mother figure within the filmmaking family unit. "Paul wrote that part with her in mind," De Luca said. "She was the one person he wanted to go to immediately. He thought she was a great actress and the character of Amber was kind of the heart and the sentimentality of the movie and he just thought Julianne would be perfect for it."

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