No Tony, Pacino did not produce that Merchant of Venice; he produced Looking for Richard; an earnest, decent, if unremarkable meditation on Shakespeare in general and Richard III in particular, in 1996. And no one is knocking De Niro for doing a little self-mocking comedy, any more than anyone belittled John Gielgud for his marvelous turn in Arthur. Keats: TriBeCa Productions is a production facility, not a studio in the traditional sense. TriBeCa is the go-to place in New York City when someone wants to film there, and De Niro deserves all the plaudits in the world for helping make New York, after a long interregnum, a production-friendly city. The various film credits for TriBeCa Productions listed on IMDB are explained in the second link in my previous post; De Niro has insisted on a producer credit and a one million dollar fee for any film that he has appeared in since the early 90's.
Tony, believe me, I am pleased as punch that you have turned over a new leaf and are now sleeping with a copy of Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking under your pillow. I, however, have not got there yet. I am asking a simple question that I have asked in other contexts on this site, for which I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer. For ages artists have bemoaned that they are beholden to rich philistines to fund their art, or that their creativity is held back by the vulgar dictates of the market place. It's like a mantra running through the history of art: the poor, miserable, misunderstood artist, forced to grovel for crumbs from ignorant plutocrats, or to compromise before the bovine standards of the great unwashed masses, in order to express their great shining ahead-of-its-time vision to the world: the artist as eternal victim. That particular artistic paradigm has been entrenched our culture for a long long time. Orson Welles, our hero, besotted by the artistic possiblities of the most expensive paintbox in the world, accepted part of the paradigm, but refused to play the victim, instead choosing to turn the tools and assumptions of the oppressor to his own advantage. As an actor and a celebrity he would play by their rules, acting in whatever dreck came his way as long as it paid well. But he would put that blood money into his own most deeply cherished projects, doing it his way, expressing his own vivid, tyrannical artistic vision, the public and the money men be damned. THIS IS ORSON WELLES' GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT, beyond Citizen Kane, beyond any of the individual films - he showed how a man of talent can use the system against itself.
Yet who has followed him? Old Hollywood and the studio system is dead. Actors and directors control that town. They make ungodly amounts of money. The actors and directors are the plutocrats now; they are finally in a position that an Orson Welles would have given his eye teeth to be in. Nine million a film? Twenty million a film? Can you imagine what Welles would (not could) have given us with one twenty million dollar paycheck? My mouth waters at the thought of it. I ask again, who has followed? De Niro? Pacino? Nicholson? Coppola? Scorsese? Lucas? Spielberg? Which one of them (well, Coppola excepted) has taken a real risk with their own money to give us something that, as artists, they are passionate about? Millionaires, billionaires, and not a drop to drink. De Niro and Pacino have been coasting for the last ten years, when they should have been producing their best work, and while they have the financial cushion to do so. If Gielgud, Olivier, Richardson, et al could do tremendous, groundbreaking work into their dotage, why can't these guys, who have far fewer impediments? It is a legitimate question...
Last edited by mido505
on Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:53 am, edited 2 times in total.