Dozens of paparazzi were crouched like lions outside the entrances and exits of a Manhattan hotel last Friday, and not because they're big fans of Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth and really wanted to take a snap of him. The more attractive half of 'Brangelina' is in town, on break from filming A Mighty Heart in India, and she made a late agreement to show up at the junket for her latest project, The Good Shepherd. The film, which is best described as 'The WASP Godfather,' originated with Francis Ford Coppola some years ago and tumbled through many levels of development hell before finally landing at the feet of Robert De Niro. It tells the story of the birth of the CIA through a tight-knit group of ambitious boys, including Matt Damon, who first meet at Yale and then continue their secret-handshake games throughout World War II and into the Cold War. Among other things, the film marks the return of Joe Pesci to the screen after an absence of eight years.
Thanks to the barely controlled chaos of the day and the various gossip columnists who muscled into the event after catching wind of you-know-who's RSVP, Cinematical wasn't able to drum up much time with the attendees, but we were still on hand for most of the day to watch De Niro, Roth, Damon and Jolie sweat it out under the hot lights for the sake of their pet project. Here is a sampling of what went on:
Cinematical: Can you give an update on Atlas Shrugged? What sparked your interest in developing it? "I think it's a wonderful book. I'm a fan of her writing. I think it's an amazing project. It's, in many ways, a controversial and complicated project and I think it needs to be done right. There's been a lot of talk as to how that can be and 'what are the important reasons for making it?' There's a lot of really great people involved. It's being written now, and we'll see as the script comes out, how close we are. Then we'll know how close we are to possibly making it. Everybody involved, the producers involved, we all sat down around a table and we all agreed that if we couldn't do it right, if we couldn't do it justice, if along the way any one piece didn't come together like the right director or the right script, then we would all just fold it and not do it. So that's where we're at right now. We're taking it step by step, and we're going to make damn sure that it's done right."