Today’s Interview: Got questions for director James Toback?

ImageOnce one of Hollywood’s Young Turks, an acclaimed screenwriter (“The Gambler,” “Bugsy”) and offbeat director (“Fingers”, “The Pick Up Artist”), James Toback’s most recent success was his quite-revealing documentary-interview with Mike Tyson (“Tyson”).

He had this idea to make a movie, sort of a “Last Tango in Paris” set in Iraq, a “Last Tango in Tikrit,” he called it. Sexual boundaries would be tested, guilt, morality and inner and outer conflicts would be explored.

It wouldn’t cost much, and he lined up Alec Baldwin and Neve Campbell (“Scream,” “The Company” “Wild Things”) as his stars.

Then he and Baldwin went to Cannes to pitch the idea and sell it.

You can see the problems, right off. No truly commercial stars, a tricky location (sex scenes shot anywhere in the Middle East?), an older director (about to turn 69) without a hit on his directing resume.

But the idea appears to have been to do the documentary about how impossible it is to make a mid-low budget movie ($15 million) in this day and age, to follow the James and Alec dog and pony show (Coarse, blunt, very witty as a team) and show the sorts of people filmmakers have to go to for money — characters, playboys, heirs and heiresses, hardnosed businessmen and cynics.

“Seduced and Abandoned,” Toback’s documentary about that process, is funny and revealing and comes to HBO Oct. 28.

He’s a great interview and a great interviewer. Questions for Mr. Toback? I am talking with him and am looking for questions beyond my, “What, are you nuts? What were you thinking?”

Comment below, and thanks for the help.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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