Ed Wood (film)


Ed Wood (film)

Infobox Film
name = Ed Wood


caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Tim Burton
producer = Tim Burton
Denise Di Novi
writer = Rudolph Grey (book)
Scott Alexander
Larry Karaszewski
starring = Johnny Depp
Martin Landau
Sarah Jessica Parker
Patricia Arquette
Jeffrey Jones
Vincent D'Onofrio
Bill Murray
music = Howard Shore
cinematography = Stefan Czapsky
editing = Chris Lebenzon
distributor = Touchstone Pictures
released = September 28, 1994
runtime = 127 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget = $18 million
gross = $5,887,457
amg_id = 1:132259
imdb_id = 0109707

"Ed Wood" is a 1994 American comedic biopic directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the cross-dressing cult movie maker Edward D. Wood, Jr. The film, shot in black and white, was based in large part on Rudolph Grey's quasi-biography "Nightmare of Ecstasy". The film concerns the period in Wood's life when he made his best-known films and also his relationship with actor Béla Lugosi, played by Martin Landau.

The film was the brainchild of screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski who originally planned to make it with college classmate Michael Lehmann. A lifelong fan of Woods' films, Burton decided to direct the biopic after his plans for "Mary Reilly" fell through. He immediately contacted Depp and asked him to star in the film as Wood and the actor agreed. Depp decided to draw inspiration for his performance from Andy Hardy, Ronald Reagan, Casey Kasem, and the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz". To prepare for portraying Lugosi, Landau watched 25 of the man's films and worked closely with legendary makeup artist Rick Baker.

The film had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival. Though a box office failure at the time of its release, grossing only USD $5.8 million in North America, it was critically hailed. Landau was widely praised for his performance, earning top honors from the Screen Actors Guild, the National Board of Review, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and winning a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.

Production

Origins

Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski had been thinking about writing a screenplay on Ed Wood's life since they were students at the University of Southern California film school.cite news
last = Salisbury
first = Mark
coauthors =
title = Burton on Burton
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Faber & Faber
date = 2000
url =
accessdate =
] Alexander even proposed making a documentary about Wood entitled, "The Man in the Angora Sweater" in his sophomore year at USC.cite news
last = Gore
first = Chris
coauthors = Jeremy Berg
title = Ed or Johnny: The Strange Case of Ed Wood
work =
pages = 36
language =
publisher = Film Threat
date = December 1994
url =
accessdate =
] However, Karaszewski figured, "there would be no one on the planet Earth who would make this movie or want to make this movie, because these aren't the sort of movies that are made." After school, they became established Hollywood screenwriters known for the "Problem Child" movie series. They wrote a ten-page treatment and pitched it to director Michael Lehmann who had also gone to USC. Karaszewski remembers that they sold it as "the guys who wrote "Problem Child" and the guy who directed "Hudson Hawk" making a movie about the worst filmmaker of all time." Lehmann showed the treatment to producer Denise DiNovi and a deal was struck where Lehmann would direct and Tim Burton and DiNovi would produce. Burton was due to direct the Jekyll and Hyde adaptation movie, "Mary Reilly", and was staying in Poughkeepsie, New York when he was approached with the offer to produce "Ed Wood".cite news
last = Smith
first = Gavin
coauthors =
title = Tim Burton: Punching Holes in Reality
work =
pages = 52-63
language =
publisher = Film Comment
date = November/December 1994
url =
accessdate =
] The director began reading "Nightmare of Ecstasy" by Rudolph Grey (ISBN 0-922915-24-5), a full-length biography, which draws on interviews from Wood's family and colleagues. He also read some of Woods' letters and was taken by how he "wrote about his films as if he was making "Citizen Kane", you know, whereas other people perceived them as, like, the worst movies ever".cite news
last = Dwyer
first = Michael
coauthors =
title = The Stuff Dreams are Made Of
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = The Irish Times
date = December 10, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Alexander and Karaszewski wrote a 147-page script in six weeks, working 14-hour days, seven days a week and this got Burton interested in directing the film.cite news
last = French
first = Lawrence
coauthors =
title = Tim Burton's "Ed Wood"
work =
pages = 32-34
language =
publisher = Cinefantastique
date = October 1994
url =
accessdate =
] The deciding factor for the filmmaker came when the studio wanted to make "Mary Reilly" sooner than he would have liked and starring Julia Roberts instead of his choice, Winona Ryder. Burton decided to abandon the project and to direct "Ed Wood" instead with Lehmann moving to direct "Airheads".

Burton and Wood

Burton admits to having always been a fan of Ed Wood, which is why the biopic is filmed with an aggrandizing bias borne of his admiration rather than derision of Wood's work.cite news
last = Thompson
first = Bob
coauthors =
title = Beyond the Fringe
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Toronto Sun
date = October 4, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Burton acknowledged that he probably portrayed Wood and his crew in an exaggeratedly sympathetic way, stating he did not want to ridicule people who had already been ridiculed for a good deal of their life. Burton decided not to depict the darker side of Wood's life because his letters never alluded to this aspect and remained upbeat. To this end, Burton wanted to make the film through Wood's eyes. He said in an interview, "I've never seen anything like them, the kind of bad poetry and redundancy - saying in, like, five sentences what it would take most normal people one...Yet still there is a sincerity to them that is very unusual, and I always found that somewhat touching; it gives them a surreal, weirdly heartfelt feeling." Burton's respect for Wood is also hinted at in his film "Edward Scissorhands" - the director has stated that he named the lead character in the film "Edward" because that's Wood's full first name. The relationship between Wood and Lugosi in the script echoes closely Burton's relationship with his own idol and two-time colleague, Vincent Price. He said in an interview, "Meeting Vincent had an incredible impact on me, the same impact Ed must have felt meeting and working with his idol."

Casting

To portray Wood, Burton called Johnny Depp and "within 10 minutes of hearing about the project, I was committed," the actor remembers.cite news
last = Arnold
first = Gary
coauthors =
title = Depp sees promise in cult filmmaker Ed Wood's story
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Washington Times
date = October 2, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] At the time, the actor was depressed about films and filmmaking. By accepting this part it gave him a "chance to stretch out and have some fun", and working with Landau, "rejuvenated my love for acting". The actor was already familiar with some of Wood's films thanks to filmmaker John Waters who had shown him "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and "Glen or Glenda". To get a handle on how to portray Wood, Depp approached Burton who suggested Andy Hardy. The actor said in an interview, "So I saw some Andy Hardy stuff. I had a couple of other things that spiced it up a bit. I came to him and I said, 'Listen, Andy Hardy, but look Ronald Reagan.' And Tim went, "'Wizard of Oz" or Casey Kasem.'...We just boiled up this stew and shot it."cite news
last = Clark
first = John
coauthors =
title = The Wood, The Bad, and The Ugly
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Premiere
date = 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Depp watched several Reagan speeches because the actor felt he had a kind of blind optimism that was perfect for the role. Depp also borrowed some of Kasem's cadence and "that utterly confident, breezy salesman quality in his voice".

To get a hold on his character, Martin Landau started with make-up tests with Rick Baker. He did not use extensive make-up applications, only enough to resemble Lugosi and allow Landau to use his face to act and express emotion.cite news
last = French
first = Lawrence
coauthors =
title = Playing Bela Lugosi
work =
pages = 24-25
language =
publisher = Cinefantastique
date = October 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Once the actor had the makeup on, he had to adjust his facial expressions in order to resemble Lugosi and work on a credible Hungarian accent. For research, the actor watched 25 of Lugosi's films and seven interviews between the years of 1931 and 1956. According to the actor, he did not want to deliver an over-the-top performance. "Lugosi was theatrical, but I never wanted the audience to feel I was an actor chewing the scenery...I felt it had to be Lugosi's theatricality, not mine."

Sarah Jessica Parker was cast as Dolores Fuller and found it a challenge to play "someone as rigid and self-conscious and has absolutely no instincts . . . It's hard to do, because you're never bland enough".cite news
last = Rea
first = Steven
coauthors =
title = Animated Actress in a Wooden Role
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = The Philadelphia Inquirer
date = October 6, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Patricia Arquette was cast in the role of Kathy O'Hara and met her real-life counterpart during filming. The actress found her to be "very graceful and very nice".cite news
last = Thompson
first = Bob
coauthors =
title = Quirky Arquette Learns to Play Normal
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Toronto Sun
date = October 4, 1994
url =
accessdate =
]

Pre-production

The film was originally in development with Columbia Pictures but when Burton wanted to shoot it in black and white, the studio wasn't going to back it because they claimed it would be a hard sell in foreign markets and on video and unless they had a first-look deal. The director insisted on total control and a month before shooting was scheduled to start, Columbia put the film in turnaround. Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, and 20th Century Fox became interested in optioning the film, but Burton went with Disney because they gave him total creative control on the condition that he work for scale.

"Ed Wood" gave Burton the opportunity to make a film that was more character-driven as opposed to style-driven. He said in an interview, "On a picture like this I find you don't need to storyboard. You're working mainly with actors, and there's no effects going on, so it's best to be more spontaneous." Shooting began in August 1993 and lasted 72 days.

Cast

*Johnny Depp as Edward D. Wood, Jr.
*Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi
*Sarah Jessica Parker as Dolores Fuller
*Patricia Arquette as Kathy O'Hara
*Jeffrey Jones as Criswell
*Vincent D'Onofrio as Orson Welles
*Bill Murray as Bunny Breckinridge
*Mike Starr as Georgie Weiss
*Max Casella as Paul Marco
*Brent Hinkley as Conrad Brooks
*Lisa Marie as Vampira
*George "The Animal" Steele as Tor Johnson
*Juliet Landau as Loretta King
*Ned Ballamy as Dr. Tom Mason
*Maurice LaMarche as Orson Welles (voice)
*Ray Baker as Doctor
*Matthew Barry as ValetThe film includes cameo appearances from actors who had worked with Wood on "Plan 9 From Outer Space". Conrad Brooks (who played one of the comic policemen) appears as a bartender, and Gregory Walcott (who played the hero) appears as one of the potential financiers of "Bride of the Monster". In addition, Paul Marco, the other comic policeman, can be spotted in the background.

Reception

"Ed Wood" had its world premiere at the 32nd New York Film Festival at the Lincoln Center. [cite news
last = Grimes
first = William
coauthors =
title = New York Film Festival to Show its First Feature by Woody Allen
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = New York Times
date = August 27, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Burton's film was also shown shortly after at the 21st Telluride Film Festival [cite news
last = McCarthy
first = Todd
coauthors =
title = Telluride to Earth: Trouble Ahead
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = September 12-18, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] and later at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.cite news |last= Carr |first= Jay |title= Carving Out an Affectionate Look at Ed Wood |publisher= Boston Globe |date= October 2, 1994 |url= http://www.timburtoncollective.com/articles/ew3.html |accessdate= 2007-05-31 ] It went on to open in two theaters on September 30, 1994, "Ed Wood" grossed $71,566 on its opening weekend. When it went into wide release on October 7, 1994 in 623 theaters, it grossed $1.9 million in its opening weekend. The film went on to gross $5.8 million in North America, well below its estimated $18 million production budget. [cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = "Ed Wood"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Box Office Mojo
date = May 31, 2007
url = http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=edwood.htm
accessdate = 2007-05-31
]

Reviews were highly positive. The film currently has a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 70 metascore on Metacritic. Roger Ebert, in his review for the "Chicago Sun-Times", wrote, "Burton has made is a film which celebrates Wood more than it mocks him, and which celebrates, too, the zany spirit of 1950s exploitation films - in which a great title, a has-been star and a lurid ad campaign were enough to get bookings for some of the oddest films ever made".cite news
last = Ebert
first = Roger
coauthors =
title = "Ed Wood"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Chicago Sun-Times
date = October 7, 1994
url = http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19941007/REVIEWS/410070301/1023
accessdate = 2008-02-08
] "USA Today" gave the film four out of four stars and declared it "Burton's best since "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", and if that doesn't tickle you, stay away from Ed Wood movies".cite news
last = Clark
first = Mike
coauthors =
title = Burton's Glorious, Gleeful "Ed Wood"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = USA Today
date = September 28, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] In her review for the "New York Times", Janet Maslin said that the film was "an unobtrusively gorgeous black-and-white film with a wide range of striking visual effects".cite news
last = Maslin
first = Janet
coauthors =
title = Ode to a Director Who Dared to Be Dreadful
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = New York Times
date = September 23, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] In his review for the "Boston Globe", Jay Carr wrote, "Burton makes "Ed Wood" glow with conviction...Never has such a loser been transformed into such a winner."cite news
last = Carr
first = Jay
coauthors =
title = With a mix of optimism and denial, Tim Burton turns "Wood" into gold
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Boston Globe
date = October 7, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] In the United Kingdom, Kim Newman, in his review for "Sight and Sound" magazine, wrote, "It is ironic that for all its anecdotal and elliptical approach, "Ed Wood" is Burton's most successful piece of proper storytelling."cite news
last = Newman
first = Kim
coauthors =
title = "Ed Wood"
work =
pages = 44-45
language =
publisher = Sight and Sound
date = May 1995
url =
accessdate =
] However, Desson Howe's review in the "Washington Post" felt that the film, "despite fleetingly good moments from Landau and Murray - is devoid of character warmth".cite news
last = Howe
first = Desson
coauthors =
title = Ed Wood: It's a Wrap
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Washington Post
date = October 7, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Despite the film being a commercial disaster, Burton is very proud of the movie. He said, "I love the movie . . . It's just that no one came. I guess if I was like everybody else, I would just blame a bad marketing campaign. But that's too easy."

Awards

"Ed Wood" was nominated for three Golden Globes: Best Musical or Comedy, Johnny Depp for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, and Martin Landau for Best Supporting Actor.cite news
last = Lowry
first = Brian
coauthors =
title = "Gump", "Pulp" Top Globe Noms
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = December 23, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Landau won in his category.cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = Golden Globe Winners
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = January 23, 1995
url =
accessdate =
] Landau and Rick Baker were nominated for and won Academy Awards for their work on the film.cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = 1994 Oscar Nominations
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = February 15, 1995
url =
accessdate =
] cite news
last = Thomas
first = Bob
coauthors =
title = Wiest, Landau Win Supporting Oscars
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Ottawa Citizen
date = March 28, 1995
url =
accessdate =
] Landau also won Best Supporting Actor at the first Screen Actors Guild Awards. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski were nominated for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen by the Writers Guild of America which was a surprise as few predicted that it would be considered.cite news
last = Cox
first = Dan
coauthors =
title = WGA Taps Quirky Pix
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = February 10, 1995
url =
accessdate =
] The National Board of Review voted Martin Landau Best Supporting Actor and Stefan Czapsky for Best Cinematography.cite news
last = Walsh
first = Thomas
coauthors =
title = N.Y. Crix Take "Quiz", Tarantino
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = December 16, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] The Los Angeles Film Critics Association also voted Landau Best Supporting Actor, Czapsky for Cinematography, and Howard Shore for Musical Score.cite news
last = McCarthy
first = Todd
coauthors =
title = L.A. Crix Pat "Pulp", Including Travolta
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = December 16, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] The National Society of Film Critics also picked "Ed Wood" for Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography.cite news
last = McCarthy
first = Todd
coauthors =
title = Nat'l Society Crix Fall for "Fiction"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Variety
date = January 9-15, 1995
url =
accessdate =
]

DVD

The DVD edition of "Ed Wood" initially had difficulty reaching store shelves in North America due to unspecified legal issues.cite news
last = Restaino
first = Mike
coauthors =
title = "Ed Wood" (Special Edition)
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = DVDFile
date = November 3, 2004
url = http://www.dvdfile.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=226&Itemid=3
accessdate = 2008-02-08
] An initial street date of August 13, 2002 was announcedcite news
last = Bracke
first = Peter M
coauthors =
title = More Superbits; Buena Vista August title specs; Columbia unveils "New Guy"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = DVDFile
date = June 3, 2002
url = http://www.dvdfile.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4551&Itemid=15
accessdate = 2008-02-08
] only to be postponedcite news
last = Bracke
first = Peter M
coauthors =
title = Street date alert; "Spock" specs; New Criterion titles; more D-VHS from Fox
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = DVDFile
date = July 25, 2002
url = http://www.dvdfile.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4585&Itemid=15
accessdate = 2008-02-08
] . A new date of February 3, 2003 was set.cite news
last = Bracke
first = Peter M
coauthors =
title = "Ed Wood"; "Rain Man" SE, more MGM; Warner TV on DVD
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = DVDFile
date = November 5, 2003
url = http://www.dvdfile.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4521&Itemid=15
accessdate = 2008-02-08
] only for it to be recalled again without explanation – though some copies quickly found their way to collectors' venues such as eBay. The DVD was finally released on October 19, 2004,cite news
last = Bracke
first = Peter M
coauthors =
title = "That's Entertainment!" box; "Ed Wood" returns; Universal classic comedy
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = DVDFile
date = July 14, 2004
url = http://www.dvdfile.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4321&Itemid=15
accessdate = 2008-02-08
] minus the transvestitism-themed featurette "When Carol Met Larry", which is highly speculated was the reason for the legal woes. (Others claimed that Burton thought the featurette mocked transvestites, counter to the themes of the film.) However, on the Dutch and British editions of the DVD (and probably the rest of region 2) this featurette is present. Another theory states that the producers did not have the legal right to release a film including the song "Que Será Será" on DVD. The song barely plays in the background of one scene, but is featured prominently in the cut sequences included. Yet another theory is that it was due to a deleted scene where Lugosi refers to 'those bastards at Universal'. This is supported in that this scene can only be found as an Easter egg on the final DVD release.

References

ee also

* Transgender in film and television
* Cross-dressing in film and television
* List of recent films in black-and-white
* List of U.S. box office bombs
* Andrew Thompson

External links

*
*
*
*
*
* [http://video.movies.go.com/edwood/ Official DVD site]


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