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CAN: Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang



Read JoBlo's review here
Check out pics from the film here

Immediately after my lunch/roundtable interview sessions with the gang from Atom Egoyan's WHERE THE TRUTH LIES, I was invited to yet another glitzy "rap-session with the stars", this one featuring everyone from KISS, KISS, BANG, BANG including its writer/director Shane Black (writer of LETHAL WEAPON, THE LAST BOYSCOUT, LONG KISS GOODNIGHT), stars Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan, and legendary producer Joel Silver.

As I ran late out of my lunch with the former crew, I had to hail a cab in order to make it to my next appointment in time (which was apparently about 20km away). When I got there, I couldn't believe that I was actually where I was. The spot was called Hotel Du Cap, which despite its lame name, was one of the grandest hotels that I have ever seen in my entire life. A friggin' yacht with a helicopter launching pad was docked in the sea right behind it. Wow. The handtowels in its bathrooms were made of actual cotton, man-- which means that after you wash your hands and dry them, you toss an actual small towelette into the garbage-- which wasn't really a garbage, rather than a basket. My real life sucks compared to this.

The Val Kilmer "double-take"

And as I walked around aimlessly, I couldn't help but realize that I was somewhere that was way over my own station in life, but that I had been invited nonetheless, and that I would attempt to make the best of it. I knew the interviews were somewhere in the "restaurant" part of the hotel, so I walked into the massive restaurant (overseeing the ocean, of course), only to have a bunch of really, really rich folks turn around and look at my sorry ass (yeah, I was dressed in shorts, a black top, black sunglasses and a black backpack, i.e. I was a loser amongst winners). Quickly though, I noticed a semi-hip guy to my left give me a "double-take". We connected eyes for a split-second, long enough for me to realize that it was MTV Movie Award-nominated actor Val Kilmer, talking to some hottie at a table. It was "on".

The Joel Silver "snub"

Looking around, I didn't see any other reporters, so I walked out like a fool and attempted regain my composure, before attempting to find the roundtable interviews again, as I was already running late. It's at that point that I noticed a grand man walking out of the little boy's room, and across the area in which I was grazing. Knowing what little I do know about the biz, it didn't take me long to realize that it was uber-producer Joel Silver, the man behind many of the most successful action movies of all-time, including the MATRIX trilogy. Not really thinking it through, I just walked over toward him, reached out my hand and said "My name is Berge Garabedian and I run JoBlo.com". He shook my hand in turn, smiled, nodded his head (in either acknowledgement of the site or complete indifference-- my Euros are on the latter!), and said in return "Alright, nice to see you..." and continued to walk right by me like I was a plant in the corner of the room. It wasn't the greatest snub that I had ever received, but let's face it...it was a damn decent one!! Note: He didn't even say "Nice to meet you.", it was the lesser "Nice to see you." Classic stuff.

As I stood there, tail between my bums and egg on my fat face, I quickly 86'd the entire situation by walking after Silver and shouting: "The Matrix sequels sucked, dude!" Silver turned around, smiled and presented me with the greatest "flip of the bird" that I have ever received in my whole entire life. It was amazing.

Actually, the last paragraph was completely made up later that night, as I thought over what I "should have done". What I actually ended up doing was turning around, walking out of the room (with said tail between my bums) and asking one of the valets where the interviews were taking place. Apparently that made a whole lot more sense than walking up to a $3-billion dollar Hollywood producer and attempting to make small talk. Lesson learned.

My impressions of everyone

Anyway, once I got to the actual interviews, things went as smooth as silk, as I was once again, placed on a table on which the "talent" sat directly next to me in chair. Ironically, the first two on our table (which only had 4 reporters on it), were writer/director Shane Black and producer Joel Silver, the man who only minutes earlier, had handily snubbed my sorry ass. I felt a certain satisfaction in asking him questions in that session, if only because I felt somewhat redeemed for my earlier faux-pas. Then again, the man craps bigger shits than me for breakfast, so what the heck am I babbling on about. Below are a few excerpts from each of the interviews, as well as some pics that I managed to snap off, as the cast spoke about their respective experiences on the film.

Everyone was cool with their responses, although Joel Silver was obviously more business oriented as the veteran of the gang. Shane Black seemed like a decent fellow who had a nice way about him, and seemed sincerely excited about getting back into the biz (this is his first project in about 10 years-- which was my first question to him). Michelle Monaghan was obviously the greenest of the group, but cute as a button, and surprisingly much younger looking than in the movie. If you're wondering, I'm the asshole who asked her about her "nude scene" in the movie (see her response below).

Val Kilmer was bouncing off walls, grinning from ear to ear, and acting a little nutty with his Rage Against the Machine T-shirt proudly on display. He didn't come off as arrogant as folks have reported over the years, but definitely seemed to be wired on...something (perhaps just "life", who knows). He also looked me directly in the eyes with all of his responses, which was a little eerie, and yet, endearing. I also got to tell him that TOP SECRET is one of my favorite comedies of all-time. He smiled and said "Thanks."

As for Robert Downey Jr, we swung a few lines of coke together in the bathroom right before the interviews, so everything was cool after that....hahaha...I kid, of course. I kid, because I love. Actually, he joked about the fact that he's pretty much become the "designated driver" amongst his peer group over the past few years, and looked remarkably great for his age (even his few grey hairs worked!). He seemed very content to still be working and respected in the biz, and seemed to want to enjoy every damn day to its fullest. Nice dude, with the best sense of humor of the group.

Okay, enough background on everyone...check out the Q&As below...


How did you get on board this film project?

Initially, I've always loved his [Shane Black] writing. He's very self-effacing and genuine, he really cares about one thing, and that's making it a good story. He's got a lot of doubts and quirks that make his characters that are full of doubt more vivid. It's like Woody Allen, it gets more and more personal as he gets older. I think Shane's interests are very clear in his movies. And Robert [Downey Jr.] and I just started laughing immediately.

Did you do a lot of research on your character or was he mostly in the script?

I've played a couple of FBI agents, I know some detectives and I love espionage, so I know some spies too, so pretty much, the things that they do were familiar. That didn't really change my ideas about the character, because you want to be very unassuming -- this guy's in a little bit of a different area since he's made a little money now, so he can have a car that's not so anonymous, he's kind of taking advantage of Hollywood, he's a "consultant". But I wasn't quite as clear with my "gay research" for Gay Perry. I just talked to friends, my gay friends, I asked them "What would be offensive?"-- I'll do that. (laughs) 


So how did you get involved with this movie?

My gal Susan was reading this script one night and she burst out laughing. I said "What's that, what's so funny?", she said "I can't tell you." I said "Tell me!". She said "There's this guy who just got his finger cut off by a woman who he's in love with, etc...." Ultimately, I just said "What the fuck are we talking about?" And she said "It's this Shane Black script" and I said "Let me see that" and I read it and it was the most insane, funny, poignant, engaging, like literally, turning the page and there's like tears of laughter on the paper in front of you, type of script. And I said "I wonder what A-list actor is going to do that instead of me". (laughs)

It was such a great part and they tend to get snapped up by (in a deeper voice) far less deserving thespians (laughs). No, to tell you the truth, I put it out of my mind, because I didn't know where it was at, and it's my gal, and the last thing that I'm gonna do is go back to the guy who just put me in GOTHIKA, and did my first "big movie" with and be like (changes voice again) "What about that for me?". I felt like if they want me for it, they'll come. It was one of those things that went around, in development, and maybe they were gonna do it, maybe they weren't...and then suddenly, it happened.

What's your position in Hollywood nowadays?

It's funny, and I wouldn't recommend my path to anyone but the most daring and ignorant, but I've never been in such a position as I am now, not even after I was nominated for CHAPLIN, nothing. And I think, in a way, it's because I'm definitely road-tested. I'm like a Volvo. Still on the road.

How was it working with Val Kilmer, particularly in respect to the negative stories that have been written up about him over the years?

You know, it just doesn't take that much time to-- if you choose a cross-section of my peers, I'd be the designated driver. I have a fork in me with that whole lifestyle. And to me, just being present and productive and accountable and all that, that's the acid trip, that's so great and fun. So Val, I found to be, strangely, an absolute sweetheart, completely professional. But people live within certain assumptions, and the funny thing is, and usually they're right, people will say "Aaaah, she's a bitch!", and others will be like (changes voice), "Well, she's not once you get to know her." Yeah, right...she's a bitch!

But the truth is, he's friggin' Val Kilmer. I mean look all the people who  have come and gone, and he's here with me doing the leads in this movie, and he's working all the time. Just think about it, there's just 3 or 5 of us left from about 20 years ago. I mean, difficult or not, I think he's had a difficult path. As evidenced by the gals who've really wanted him on their arms over the years, he's gorgeous, he's probably too smart for his own good and he's had expectations of himself and those around him. That said, is he nuts? Probably! Did we have a good time and great chemistry? Yeah. So the funny thing is that from my perspective, he's the safest bet in town.

What's your ambition at this point in your career?

My ambition is to fully enjoy and digest how nice it is to be sitting at tables and talking to people and anticipating going to the screening of a film that's really good and that I'm proud of. And this too shall pass...I'm sure there's plenty of turkeys to come, but it's just really nice to be right here, right now. And that's it, what else can I expect. I've never been much of a planner, they say "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."


Where are you from?

I'm from Winthorpe, Iowa. Small town in north-east Iowa, about 700 people. Shane and I laughed about it, because it's a small town from the mid-west, and she moved to L.A., but I moved to New York [her character in the film].

How did you get the part?

I had to audition for it, certainly it wasn't something that was offered to me at all. So when I first read it, I was like "Wow, what a unique script." The dialogue and everyone's so clever. I just kept reading it going "Oh my gosh, this is brilliant!". And I went it and auditioned for it, then didn't hear anything for about 2 months, and then all of a sudden I was working on THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, and Joel Silver called Frank Marshall and asked if I can fly out that night to L.A. to read with Robert [Downey Jr.], and that he would have be back 12 hours later, and that's literally what happened, with 3 hours in between before I got back on the plane. And when I got off the plane, I got picked up and found out that I had the job, finished that job a day later, flew to NY for one day, then flew to L.A. and started on the movie. It was quite a whirlwind.

Was this your first nudity on screen? How was that for you?

Yes, it was. It was totally fine actually. I love the actual scene, the way it's played out. It's played out against the mirrors and I thought that was so brilliant. It certainly was a closed set. I don't really have that much to show (laughs), so it wasn't that difficult for me to do really. Everyone was really respectful. 


[To Shane] What were you doing with all of your time off and why did you decide to get back into moviemaking?

Black: It came to a point where I didn't think that writing was as fulfilling as it used to be. Just writing scripts, putting in all that effort, it's a very solitary kind of thing, churning them out and watching them vanish into the world, just wasn't enough. Thanks to this gentleman [referring to Joel Silver], I've been given the chance to pursue something that allows you to stay the course, and see the whole thing through to the end. It's fascinating, I love it, I want to do it again and you can only get better at it, and it's an amazing chance to grow and go beyond what I'd experienced before, which I'd found to be sort of unsatisfying, in the end.

[To Shane] Your influences on the script?

Black: It had been a great while, for me at least, since I'd seen a good L.A. private eye movie. As a kid, it was sort of like in the film, there's this character that never shows up, but whose presence is felt in the film, in Johnny Gossemar, that ultra-hip, ultra-cool slick private eye to who everyone else can aspire, but he's not like normal people. And these are the books that I read as a kid, that made me want to be like these heightened, more powerful, more effective, cooler people that were represented by James Bond and all of the private eyes from the 60s, in particular. Raymond Chandler, I have a love-affair with that.

As you might've noticed, all of the chapter titles in the movie are titles from Chandler books as well. But then I decided that I wanted to sum up all of the feelings that I had for all of these wonderful books that had meant so much to me, but to also put a twist on it, so they didn't quite recognize it, so that's why it's more of a romantic thriller, than it is a straight film noir. I take what I love and the fun with the romance stuff and I slam them together and see what happens. [turns to Silver] I don't know how the fuck we're gonna sell it? (laughs)

[To Joel] How did you get together with Shane on this project?

Silver: Shane and I had, pretty much, done three movies together. LETHAL WEAPON I, LETHAL 2 in '89 together, but during that movie, Shane had some pretty unconventional ideas-- he wanted Reese's character to die at the end of that movie (Shane laughs), which probably would have been the smart thing to do for the movie, but the studio felt like they wanted to continue the story. Then in 1991, we did THE LAST BOYSCOUT, which was an L.A. detective movie, but a very different take on it than KISS, KISS, BANG, BANG. For the next 10 years, he sort of had his own agenda. And I would call and say "What are you doing?", and he would say "I'm writing" or I would ask him to do things and he'd always have a reason why he couldn't.

Then he came to me a few years ago and said that I wrote this script, and I'd like to direct it and I'd like you to help me do it. And I read the script, and I thought, if we could pull this together, and make it work the way that he had written it, with the feeling of the process of movie-making, an L.A. detective movie, great dialogue and rapport, two interesting characters. I said, if we could pull that off, we can sure try! The studio was not totally enthusiastic about the movie, it was weird, unusual, it's not what you expect. And they gave us, in terms of a Hollywood movie, a small budget, I mean $15 million is not a lot of money to make a movie, so Shane had to be very specific and focused and we had to put together a cast that wouldn't give us the benefit of spending a lot of money. We were fortunate that Downey did it, and Val, and then we found Michelle, and I think it was an incredibly successful movie.

What was the reticence from the studio to make this movie?

Silver: Well, just look at the movie! (laughs) It's kind of out there! Petty thief in New York stumbles into an audition, goes to L.A. for a screen-test, and ends up falling into a murder plot with a tough detective who just happens to be gay. However, beyond that, there's just this delicious rapport between Val and Downey that is just glorious to watch them on the screen. These are two really seasoned pros who really have a chance to do what they really should have done.

When you wrote the script, did you believe that you would direct it?

No, I knew that I was going to direct it, that's why I chose to make it [low-budget]. I thought it would only cost $10 million, but it ended up costing $15 million, shows how naive I am.

KISS, KISS, BANG, BANG is likely to open nationwide in late October, 2005

Source: JoBlo.com



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