WikiLeaks publishes Sony hack data (no spoilers)

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WikiLeaks, the group that has published leaked U.S. government documents, SAID IN AN APRIL 16 STATEMENT it has put more than 30,000 hacked Sony Pictures documents and more than 173,000 company e-mails into a searchable database.

The Sony documents first surfaced in November 2014. Part of the hacked documents concerned SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, which is being released by Sony this coming November. Stories were published in various media outlets at the time about the movie’s $300 million budget and details about its script. The hacked material also included personal information about Sony employees.

“Whilst some stories came out at the time, the original archives, which were not searchable, were removed before the public and journalists were able to do more than scratch the surface,” the group said. WikiLeaks said the material should be in the public domain because Sony “is an influential corporation…with an ability to impact laws and policies.”

WikiLeaks said Sony is “a strong lobbyist on issues around internet policy, piracy, trade agreements and copyright issues. The emails show the back and forth on lobbying and political efforts.”

Sony, in a statement quoted by THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, criticized WikiLeaks.

“We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees,” Sony said in the statement, according to THR.

M:I 5’s director says title, trailer coming soon

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise


Christopher McQuarrie, director of the Tom Cruise movie Mission: Impossible 5, last week revealed a little detail in a Q&A session on Twitter.

McQuarrie said March 7 the movie’s actual title will be revealed soon. Also, he said, a first trailer is coming soon. No specific details, however.

The director also was also asked if the movie’s ending had to be reshot. “No. We had to prep it. Shooting it now.”

Paramount moved up the movie’s release date to July 31 from Dec. 25. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reported last month that the production had “shut down for a week or so in London because the film’s ending was deemed unsatisfactory.”

In response to one question, the director said: “we are constantly rewriting and have been since day one. Not unusual. Story was a reach.”

Anyway, here are some of the tweets by the director:

Sony asks media outlets to destroy hacked documents

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No SPECTRE spoilers

Attorneys for Sony Pictures Entertainment, which includes Sony Pictures, has aksed media outlets to stop stories based on hacked Sony documents, according to stories in THE WRAP, VARIETY and THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The Hollywood Reporter posted a copy of the letter, which you can view BY CLICKING HERE.

“SPE does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the Stolen Information, and to request your cooperation in destroying the Stolen Information,” the letter to The Hollywood Reporter reads.

A script for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, was among the documents that hackers obtained and put out on the Internet. Hackers also sent out copies of memos from Sony and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer related to the script as well as memos about the movie’s budget. Sony will release SPECTRE in November 2015.

If documents aren’t destroyed, according to the letter, “SPE will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use from such use or dissemination by you.”

UPDATE: THE NEW YORK TIMES reported it also received one of the letters. The newspaper, citing “two people briefed on the matter,” also reported that Sony and the Motion PIcture Association of America, are attempting to organize a letter of support from other studio heads but such a letter hasn’t been drafted.

Writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. dies

Lorenzo Semple Jr. scripted the Batman pilot and 1966 feature movie

Lorenzo Semple Jr. scripted the Batman pilot and 1966 feature movie

Lorenzo Semple Jr., a writer best known for the 1960s Batman television show but who also did spy-related scripts including Never Say Never Again, has died at 91, according to an obituary in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Semple wrote the pilot for the 1966-68 Batman series as well as the quickly made 1966 feature film starring Adam West and Burt Ward. When executive producer William Dozier decided on a less-than-serious take, Semple devised a simple format for other writers to follow.

The opening of Part I would establish a menace. Batman and Robin would be summoned by Police Commissioner Gordon. The dynamic duo proceeded on the case, ending with a cliffhanger ending. Part II opened with a recap, the heroes escaped and eventually brought the villains to justice.

Among Semple’s memorable lines of dialogue: “What a terrible way to go-go,” and “Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

Never Say Never Again's poster

Never Say Never Again’s poster

Semple always was drawn more than once to the spy genre. In the 1950s, he worked on drafts of a script based on Casino Royale, the first 007 novel, but nothing went before the cameras. Decades later, he was the sole credited writer on Never Say Never Again, a Thunderball remake not produced by Eon Productions but starring Sean Connery. Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, writers brought in by de facto producer Connery, did uncredited rewrites.

Between Semple’s Bond work, he scripted films such as 1967’s Fathom with Raquel Welch (featuring a Maurice Binder-designed title sequence), 1974’s The Parallax View with Warren Beatty (a movie about a conspiracy to assassinate political candidates) and 1975’s Three Days of The Condor, a serious spy film with Robert Redford.

In The Hollywood Reporter’s obituary, Semple is quoted about the ups and downs of film production. Here’s a passage involving Never Say Never Again:

Semple met with Sean Connery in Marbella, Spain and sold him on his 70-page treatment for Never Say Never Again, which saw the aging actor return as 007 in the much-litigated Warner Bros. film based on Thunderball. But when some action scenes were cut as a cost-saving measure, the producers pacified an angry Connery by blaming — and then booting — Semple.

“I was quite relieved; I really didn’t want to go on with it,” he said. “I also agree a human sacrifice is required when a project goes wrong; it makes all the survivors feel very good.”

To read the entire obituary, CLICK HERE. There’s one mistake. It says Semple only wrote the first four episodes of Batman. He wrote or co-wrote 10 episodes during the first season, though he penned fewer in the final two seasons.

Christopher Jones dies at 72

Christopher Jones, center, one of Thrush's "test tube" killers in a fourth-season Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode

Christopher Jones, one of Thrush’s “test tube” killers in a fourth-season Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode

Former actor Christopher Jones has died at 72 from complications of cancer, ACCORDING TO AN OBITUARY IN THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The obituary focuses on credits such as Wild in The Streets and Ryan’s Daughter that were part of a “brief but dazzling career.” But given he mostly worked in the 1960s, Jones was drawn into the world of spy entertainment.

On television, he was the title character of The Test Tube Killer Affair, the second episode of the final season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The story centers on efforts by Thrush, the villainous organization of the show, to develop so-called perfect killers, bred for the task from a young age. Such killers have been conditioned to turn their emotions on and off as necessary.

Jones’s character, Greg Martin, kills a number of people, including three U.N.C.L.E. agents and one of his fellow “test tube killers” who has been judged to be “defective.” Martin is to blow up a dam in Greece to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Thrush project. The episode is a prime example of a much darker tone U.N.C.L.E. had in its final season.

Jones also starred in The Looking Glass War, a 1969 film directed and scripted by Frank Pierson, based on a 1965 John Le Carre novel.

UPDATE: After re-watching The Test Tube Killer, Greg Martin’s death toll was five: U.N.C.L.E. agent Miguel (pre-credits sequence), fellow “test tube” student No. 7 (Act I), an employee of the Athens airport (Act II) and two U.N.C.L.E. agents in a helicopter (Act IV). He also unsuccessfully tries to kill U.N.C.L.E. agents Solo and Kuryakin in Act I and Act III.

Some U.N.C.L.E. movie visual effects to be done in Canada

U.N.C.L.E. logo on a second unit crew T-shirt

U.N.C.L.E. logo on a second unit crew T-shirt

Cinesite, a U.K. visual effects company, is opening a Montreal facility and its first project will be The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, according to A JAN. 20 HOLLYWOOD REPORTER STORY.

An excerpt:

London-based Cinesite will open a VFX facility in Montreal’s historic quarter, with a capacity for 250 artists, it was announced on Monday.

The international expansion for Cinesite, starting in Canada, follows the sale last year of the U.K. VFX house to private equity firm Endless LLP as part of a management buyout

Cinesite will split the U.N.C.L.E. work between London and Montreal, according to the story. The movie’s home base during production was Warner Bros.’s U.K. studio at Leavesden.

The Hollywood Reporter didn’t offer much in additional details about the movie, which was filmed from early September through early December.

The movie, directed by Guy Ritchie, has a reported $75 million budget. That’s considerably less than Skyfall, Man of Steel (which had Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo in U.N.C.L.E.) or The Lone Ranger (which had Armie Hammer, who plays Illya Kuryakin in U.N.C.L.E.), all of which had budgets of $200 million or more. So it remains to be seen how elaborate the U.N.C.L.E. visual effects will be.

UPDATE: @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter informs us that BLUE BOLT, ANOTHER U.K. VISUAL EFFECTS HOUSE is doing some U.N.C.L.E. (See right margin of link in this paragraph.)

Paul Mantee, busy character actor, dies at 82

Paul Mantee

Paul Mantee

Character actor Paul Mantee, who frequently appeared on spy-oriented television shows, has died at the age of 82, according to AN OBITUARY PUBLISHED BY THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Mantee’s appearances included Mission: Impossible, I Spy and a two-part Mannix story in the 1973-74 season where Mannix volunteers to help out the U.S. in a delicate mission in South America.

Mantee also got his chance to star in a spy movie, albeit a relatively low budget one, A Man Called Dagger, where he played the title character. Here’s the trailer, with Jackson Beck (the frequent voice of Bluto on Popeye cartoons) doing the announcing:

According to MANTEE’S ENTRY ON IMDB.COM, his acting credits extended to 1998.

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