On the Line

Mike and me got all pretty last night and went to New Line's 40th anniversary gala.

We have no confirmation of this, but we think Jane Fonda was tipsy. Nicole Kidman was just radiant, though still unfortunately blond, and Daniel Craig did not show. My favorite part of the night: Seeing Werner Herzog and John Waters on stage together, each waiting while the other gave a speech about starting their collaboration with New Line in the 1970s.

I know, I know, Hollywood is corporate and soulless but there are at least two stories I now know of where friends run their company with a passion that overcomes even illness, in a real way Hollywood writers could take a cue from. New Line is the home of everything from the "Texas Chainsaw" films to much of Waters' oeuvre to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Founder Bob Shaye in a downtown New York apartment where he cut out a section from his baby daughter's room to help it serve as a screening room in 1967; today they're owned but not quite ruled by TimeWarner. Anyway, he went into a partnership with an old law school buddy, Michael Lynne in 2001 and the two run the place today. So when Shaye came down with a streptococcal pneumonia and had to be put in a medical coma for six weeks in 2005, Lynne kept things going and nobody made a big fuss and eventually Shaye woke up and healed and is just fine and dandy today. That same virus, or a similar one, killed Jim Henson.

It reminded me of the trio over at Sony Pictures Classics:
Tom Bernard, Michael Barker and Marcie Bloom. Again, friends who moved
up the rings — if not together, close to it — and evolved a working
relationship over the years, when Bloom was hit with an aneurysm while
at work (she fainted at the office) at the age of 39, her partners at
the company helped her get well again, and though she's partly
paralyzed now she still holds a top position at SPC. Once Barker
explained to me that they were "a menage-a-trois without the sex."

can't say if this works anywhere else in the industry, but it does lend
a lot more depth to the alleged lack of soul behind the scenes. Many of
the folks we work with or talk to or watch in action can be like the
ones they show on "Entourage." That's pretty much par for the course.
But the ones where there's more to the personal story often prove
there's more to the films they put out — because there's a human sense
of passion behind it all. Doesn't make them saints, but it keeps them people.