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JoBlo does Cannes #4


Shark Tale looking sweet! Katzenberg responds to JoBlo! My brush with Angelina Jolie! Jack Black falls off boat!

Cannes #1 / Cannes #2 / Cannes #3 / Cannes #4 / Cannes #5

There are two Dreamworks animated movies coming out this year, the first is this week's SHREK 2 and the other is the October 1st release of a little something called SHARK TALE. The animated feature has the great honor of gathering together some of the bigger "name" talents including Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, Renee Zellweger, Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese and many others. While in Cannes, I was invited to a special preview showing for about 15-20 minutes of the film in various finished and unfinished forms, as presented by one of the letters in the studio's name DREAMWORKS SKG, Jeffrey Katzenberg (yeah, he's the "K"), as well as three of the leading voices from the film, Smith, Jolie and Black. For anyone uninterested in ruining plot points for themselves, skip the section marked SCENES THAT WE WERE SHOWN below and check out the rest of the grub, including the "photo op" with the stars after the presentation, which includes my brush with Angie.


I gotta admit that this film's initial teaser had done nothing for me (click here to check out the trailer), and that was doubled on this very day after I saw the brilliant new trailer put out for Pixar's THE INCREDIBLES on the same morning as this presentation (coincidence?), but after having seen several scenes from this movie, I can honestly say that I almost as stoked about this flick, as I am about the former. It won me over with its humor, its many very cool characters, its almost blindingly lush colors, its very slick underwater urban decor, but mostly because it just felt like a very cool, funny and well-energized idea come to full effect. In other words, I don't see how this movie won't make buckets of money and develop yet another franchise for kids to bug their parents about (My prediction: the Rasta twins in the movie will become one of the hottest selling toys next Christmas).

I guess I'm one of the few people in the world who thought that FINDING NEMO was just "so-so", but the first thing that came to my mind after seeing this presentation was "SHARK TALE feels like the high-octane, cooler version of FINDING NEMO!" This film felt sharper, looser, funnier, grittier and just plain....more fun! You can see the descriptions of the scenes I saw below, but overall, they each had their own uniqueness about them, featuring a number of "in-jokes", with humor for both children and adults alike, and even a half-decent storyline featuring a mafia of sharks, a groovy fish with debt issues and plenty of hotties. Seriously, this flick looks damn fine and I rarely get excited over animated movies. Can't wait. Dreamworks does need to spice up their trailers though...their teaser trailer doesn't do the footage I saw any justice.

< includes spoilers>

With each sequence that we were shown set up by the actor/actress featured prominently in that scene, Smith made sure to yuck things up with an over-the-top reading of his introductions, Black made sure to "one-up" Smith with plenty of self-deprecation, while Jolie just sat between the two cut-ups and looked plenty hot and bothered...well, okay...maybe that was just my imagination. The point is that each star made sure to "grease" the international audience of press reps with as much talent, know-how and professionalism as they knew they possessed. A thing of beauty. I, of course, was completely oblivious to their charms and loved the clips in and of themselves (yeah sure, JoBlo!) All of the scenes put together likely made up about 15-20 minutes from the final product. The majority of the scenes were polished, but some were still in unfinished form (still animated, some missing color, etc...) since they are still editing the film as we speak.


This scene featured Robert DeNiro voicing the character of Lino, a parody of the Marlon Brando role from the GODFATHER films. In this scene, he is seen interacting with another "shady" puffer fish named Sykes, voiced delightfully speedy and typically by director Martin Scorsese (this film marks their 9th collaboration together) A funny bit between them features a question of "What?", as DeNiro retorts with a "What, what?", Scorsese with a "What?" and so on and so forth. Yeah, it sounds lame here, but it's funny in the movie. Into the underground "mob office" come bursting in Lino's two shark sons, Lenny and Frankie, voiced by Jack Black and Michael Imperioli respectively. Black is the "loser son" just trying to make his papa proud, while Frankie is the loose cannon (think Sonny).


Set up by Will Smith, this sequence was the most energetic of all the ones shown to us (save for the final action sequence a la MONSTERS INC below), with Smith's character of Oscar swimming into the local WHALE WASH (think a car wash but for whales), flirting with the secretary Angie (voiced by Zellweger), who has a secret crush on him and dancing it up with all of the fish washing the whale, to the tune of a vibrant "Car Wash". This scene also provided us with a hint of what type of urban mix they are shooting for in the movie, with some hip-hop moves and language used. This scene also featured the first shots of the Rastafarian jellyfish, voiced delectably by Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug, and set up so much more to come.


At this point in the film, it is established that Smith's character of Oscar owes DeNiro's character of Lino, 5000 clams for debts gone awry and he is off to the horse-fish races. Once there, he overhears a couple of fish talking about how the "fix is in" on one of the horses in the race, and after a funny flash-back, decides to bet his entire money owed on that one fish (a win would Net him a million clams)

Seeing Oscar and believing him to be rich, we are then introduced to Angelina Jolie's character of Lola, as she floats over to Oscar in order to seduce him. We are shown this in slow-motion to the tune of "Goldigger". Looks fun. But it isn't long before she realizes that he's not really rich, Sykes shows up, Lola bails and the Rasta Twins, along with Oscar and Sykes, go sit in their box seats in order to watch the race. When it appears as though their horse will win, Sykes and Oscar hug one another, but at the very last minute, well...it loses. Needless to say, Sykes is not amused by Oscar anymore, since he still owes them 5000 clams. This scene, again, features some fun moments from the Rasta Twins.

Oscar (Smith) on top of Lenny (Black)


The Rasta Twins have now been given the task of "getting rid" of Oscar, so they tie him up to a stick underwater and leave him to be eaten by a shark. At the same time, Jack Black's wimpy shark character of Lenny is being told by his brother Frankie to go eat the fish in order to "prove himself" (he's actually a vegetarian, but doesn't want his family to know that) As he races for Oscar, he instead, unties him, pretends to eat him and tells him to run away. When all the smoke settles, Oscar is still standing there and says "You meant now?" Pretty funny.

Frankie gets really pissed at this point and chases after Smith's character himself. After some chase, he runs into an anchor and dies. Lenny is distraught and a full view of his body over his brother's, screaming "Noooo!" is also pretty funny. He leaves and the Rasta brothers return to see Oscar over the dead shark and assume that he killed the shark. After that point, Oscar becomes known as the "Shark Slayer"-- and doesn't pretend to be otherwise. SHARKSLAYER was actually the film's original title, changed to SHARK TALE recently. I asked Jeffrey Katzenberg why they changed it below.


In this scene, we see how the duo of Oscar and Lenny eventually flesh each other out and realize that they are both in situations that they don't like, but how their circumstances can bode well if they work together. With everyone now scared of this "Shark Slayer", Lenny finds out about Oscar's lie as they attempt to do something about it. At that point, Zellweger's secretary character of Angie tries to intervene, but can't. Oscar and Lenny decide to set up a scenario in which Oscar actually DOES kill a "shark" (namely a lame-duck fight-and-death with Lenny), so that he could actually have that reputation for real (and not be bothered by DeNiro's loan-shark characters anymore) and Lenny could pretend to be dead and go live a peaceful life, out from under the high expectations of his family. They set up a ruse.


This scene is all-out action featuring an underwater urban setting, complete with neon advertising signs a la Times Square in New York, crossed with a futuristic city a la THE FIFTH ELEMENT. This sequence was particularly gorgeous to look at, with plenty of details all over the place and beautiful colors all around. The scene features the entire city on the look-out as Oscar chases and attempts to kill Lenny the shark, under the television reporting of Katie Couric's fictional fish character.

The duo eventually stop and re-confirm their "fake" fight, while everyone else looks on, including DeNiro's mobster characters. The final launching of Lenny into the never-regions is particularly well-choreographed and seen and believed by all. The other thing I really liked about this scene was its many "in-jokes" including a couple of nods to the obvious Steven Spielberg connection film, JAWS, as well as a personal cute nod to Renee Zellweger's character from JERRY MAGUIRE, as Smith literally says "You had me at hello", and they pan over to Zellwegger's character. Some of the signs were also jokes like one that looked like the Burger King insignia, but actually read "Fish King". That sort of thing.

< end of spoilers>

We were then shown a few minutes of all the "voices" in the cast yucking it up in the recording studio, including DeNiro and Scorsese, who actually did their voice-work together and seemed to have a blast doing so.


Well, okay...maybe I just asked him a simple question, but the point is...I talked to the man who could easily have my family killed in a snap of his fingers...and lived to tell about it. After the clips, the foursome gathered in the middle of the stage for questions from the supposed "press" in the audience. Such Cannes fluff-balls included one supposed journalist asking Angelina about her co-stars and which ones were "the best", which Jolie quite professionally brushed off as an obvious attempt to get her to talk sex again, while another moron actually asked the entire cast "If they could share a hot-tub with anyone, who would it be?" And that has to do with this movie...hoooooooow???

Anyway, they all pretty much laughed it off and answered the rest of the questions elegantly, while Katzenberg didn't seem all too impressed with the line of queries. The final question went to....me. Having held the mike in my hand for over 10 minutes and sweating between the legs like my first time in bed with a woman (which ironically, was the night before), I was sure that I was going to sound like a complete moron before the four big Hollywood hotshots, but muscled some strength and asked away anyway: "Hi, Berge from JoBlo.com..." (from the back of the room, I could hear Spielberg screaming "JoBlo.com...I love JoBlo.com!"-- kidding), "...and I was just wondering why you changed the title from the original SHARKSLAYER to SHARK TALE." (listen to it below)

The question was also pretty fluffy, but at least it was of interest to the film-- and actually was something I wondered about. As Black, Jolie and Smith just stared into the nothingness of my eyes (I was sitting about 6 rows up from them), Katzenberg took a minute to explain how he simply "didn't like the way the original title sounded or looked on a one-sheet" and that even though we can see the sense of it from the scenes that we were just shown, a SHARK TALE seem a better, nicer, kinder "fit" for the film (listen to his entire response below). With that, I turned to my newfound buddy from South Africa and said "Did I sound like I was nervous?". He said "Not at all", but for the life of me, I couldn't remember the question I had asked or what Mr. Katzenberg had responded a minute later. Needless to say, being a "journalist" ain't my strong suit.



Is she looking at me now, dude? Yeah, man...she's damn-well looking at you RIGHT NOW!!!

After the Q&A, everyone from the press event was invited to the Marina across the street, in order to join in a private "luncheon" with the stars of the flick, along with some drinks, pictures and a gratuitous over-the-top publicity stunt (think 3 Hollywood stars riding the back of a big-ass plastic Shark around the Cannes waters as the paparazzi scream "Angelina, Angelina, Angelina!", and you've pretty much got the gist on that) Two stories came out of this event, the first of which had Jack Black (beard and all) standing about ten feet next to me around the buffet area and ready to be asked to be taken a picture of, with me. I made the old high-school mistake of waiting too long though (there were 2 people around him and I thought I'd wait until they left to step up), and it wasn't long before about 20 people surrounded him and my chance for putting my arm around the man in celluloid, was gone forever.

Then, as a lay my sorrows into my shrimp, my newfound South African friend from earlier (Sipo!), turned to me and said "Hey Berge, turn around"-- as he said that and I turned around at the same time, I was face-to-face with a woman some have called the "most beautiful woman in the world", some have called "Angelina Jolie", but whom I refer to simply as "the woman of my dreams."

It took me a full second to grasp my bearings (i.e. grab my nuts to make sure that they were still there), and turn back to my bud Sipo and say "Dude, set me up for that next time." What was even odder about this situation was that Angela was there for one reason and one reason only: to look over the buffet table. As she stood behind me some more, I couldn't help but feel as though she was looking at my ass, but I'm not 100% sure about that. This time, I wouldn't make the same mistake twice though and even though I thought that it might be a little 'out of line' to ask the question, I knew that I just had to, otherwise, I would never forgive myself. It's funny because as I turned around to ask my question, I actually locked eyes with the lovely Ms. J and I could swear that we shared "a moment"-- either that, or she was eyeing that plate of shrimps behind me (or the one very small shrimp in my pants!)

Looking back, perhaps I should simply have asked Jolie the question directly, but instead, I decided to cozy up to the brute (aka bodyguard) who was standing next to her and asked him "Do you think I can get a picture with Ms. Jolie?", to which he quickly, and quite decisively responded, "No, she's actually just here to get her lunch, she'll be outside in a minute"--- and with that, my hopes and dreams were dashed. As I turned back to pour my even greater sorrows into my shrimp, Sipo made a gesture toward me and then pulled back. I thought he was "pulling some gay shit" on me, but he responded, "She almost fell on you." The story goes that apparently Ms. Jolie had neglected to look back as she turned away from the shrimp table, had locked her foot up against her bodyguard's shin, and was angling to falling directly onto my back, before her brutish bodyguard held her up.

That's right, Angelina Jolie almost fell (for) on me and those are the exact words that I have already asked my embalmers to carve into my gravestone upon my leave of this earth. All that said, it was a fun experience, and to be absolutely honest, we did actually lock eyes at some point (she was literally standing next to me for a few minutes) and they were goddamn gorgeous. Anyway, if you're reading this, Angie, drop me a line and let's grab a coffee the next time you shoot a flick in Montreal. Cheers!

Three stars ready to "play house" for their movie. You gotta respect that! Well, on some level, at least.

If you look real close, you can see my life's dreams dissipating before my very eyes. Right next to the shrimp cocktail.

"Would I actually date JoBlo? Well, that's a good question. I guess I would, but mostly because I have no idea who he is."

"Listen, I heard that Angelina and JoBlo had an affair while she was filming TAKING LIVES in Montreal last year, but I don't know much more than that. Besides, I have to ask Jada before I say anything else, since I can't do much without her approval."

You see the guy standing right behind Jack Black-- with the sunglasses on? That's the bodyguard who wouldn't let me take a picture with Angelina, man. What a douchebag.

"Dude, leave it the f*ck alone already. Yes, he's just a homely ol' webmaster and she's one of life's greater beauties, but that doesn't mean that Angie wouldn't date the guy. I mean, jeez, maybe he's got big wood or something, I don't know. Hang on...let me call Jada and see if I can answer any more questions."

"Listen, I'm sick and tired of answering questions about my love affair with JoBlo. It's personal and the man is actually a great catch...pun intended!"

"You know what, I'll say it for everyone to hear loud and clear: I LOVE JOBLO and I don't care who knows it."

"Hehehehe, I was just shittin' you all. I have no idea who this 'JoBlo' clown is, and better yet, I assume he's a sap. I mean, just look at my face...I'm gorgeous even when I'm making a goofy face. I'm adorable, dammit!"

A lot of people with no lives and dick pay, standing around in hours of sunlight in order to take pictures of 3 people with great lives and lots of money in the bank. Life is weird sometimes.

Jack Black/The Wolfman and his priest/rabbi.

There are a variety set of jokes that I can make for this photo, but most of them are sex-related and most of those would be funnier if Will was in the backseat...if you know what I mean?

Jack Black = the ultimate showman

Jack Black = the ultimate showman part deux

Jack Black = a great, great man

Source: JoBlo.com
Tags: Hollywood



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