Star Trek vs. Star Wars: The Armistice

startrek-vs-starwars (Mini Media Bites)
Credit: Mini Media Bites

There has been a fan rivalry between the two biggest sci-fi franchises, Star Trek and Star Wars, since their first incarnations. Each has touched the world in their own unique way. Star Trek’s progressive and optimistic outlook of humankind’s future has inspired generations of scientists and Star Warss cutting-edge movie technology innovations have changed the look and feel of cinema forever. The two share a closer history than you might think.

Roddenberry (The Humanist)
Roddenberry Credit: The Humanist

Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek’s creator, was a pilot during World War II. He saw action and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. Later he was an officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. He had a handful of careers but Roddenberry’s passion always lied in writing. He sold short stories to aircraft magazines before building up enough credentials to become a fulltime screenwriter in Hollywood. He penned for shows such as Highway Patrol, West Point and The Virginian. After creating and producing one season of The Lieutenant in 1963, he turned his attention to a science fiction television idea that had been sitting in the back of his mind since first being inspired by Forbidden Planet (1956).

Star Trek Cast (Quora)
The original Star Trek cast Credit: Quora

The original Star Trek series lasted three seasons from 1966 to 1969. Roddenberry was a futurist who believed humanity’s best traits would out last its worst and this was reflected in the show’s stories. Captain Kirk (William Shatner), with Mr Spock (Leonard Nimoy), led the crew of the USS Enterprise on a mission of peaceful exploration into the deepest unknown corners of our galaxy. The ship embraced diversity and cultural acceptance; things such as racism and sexism had become relics of the past. Though this didn’t mean Kirk would back down from a fight. The Enterprise had notorious confrontations with evil aliens, namely Klingons and Romulans.

Star Trek achieved a lot on a small budget. It had the first interracial kiss—between Kirk and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols)—on American television. Nichols was planning to quit the series until she met fan and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. He thanked her for being such an important role model for black people all across the world. She would go on to reprise the character in The Animated Series (1973-1974) and six feature films. The show was ultimately cancelled due to low ratings.

LUCASFILM-01
Lucas and Hamill Credit: Time

George Lucas directed his first film, American Graffiti, in 1973. It performed strong at the box office and reviewed well. His next project was Star Wars. Lucas had been working on the idea for a number of years but was never satisfied. By this time Star Trek had been off the air for a while and was doing well in syndication. It was finally reaching its audience and fans were meeting in small conventions all across America. Among exploring other creative outlets, Lucas attended some Trek conventions hoping to find inspiration for his galaxy far, far away. He said Star Trek made space flight look fun.

Skywalker, Leia and Solo (Digital Spy)
Hamill, Fisher and Ford Credit: Digital Spy

Star Wars (later renamed Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope) was released in May 1977 and broke all kinds of records. It was the most successful sci-fi film since 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The film followed the story of a group of rebels, that included our heroes Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), as they fought an evil Empire hell bent on galactic domination. After the success of Star Wars, Hollywood took sci-fi as a serious and profitable genre. Many films were greenlit during the era thanks to Wars.

X-Wings during trench run (The Star Wars Report)
X-Wings during the Death Star trench run in Star Wars (1977) Credit: The Star Wars Report

The movie pioneered many new visual effects (VFX), including some cutting edge model work. Never before had spacecrafts appeared so fast and graceful while engaging in dogfights on screen. It was made possible by a new camera system. The technology was computerised and could reproduce the same angle every time while filming the model, no matter how many takes. This made it easier to blend the many shot layers together to create the final VFXs in post-production.

Falcon Model (Strange Tales)
ILM production crew working on the Millennium Falcon Credit: Strange Tales

Many of Star Wars’s visual effects were made possible by the creative team at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Lucas formed the company in 1975 as part of Lucasfilm Ltd. ILM has been at the forefront of movie technology advancement ever since. They have worked on films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Back to the Future (1985), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), Jurassic Park (1993), Titanic (1997) and numerous other award-winning movies.

After the first Star Wars, Lucas focussed on producing and has had a long and successful partnership with Steven Spielberg. The two are also very close friends. Lucas didn’t return to the director’s chair until Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in the late 1990s.

Enterprise Dry Dock (The Geek Twins)
The Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) Credit: iMDB

In the 1970s, Paramount Pictures played around with many ideas to bring Star Trek back. Phase II was to be the Enterprise’s second five-year mission going where no one had gone before. Actors were hired, sets were built and scripts were written for the TV series. After Star Wars took the world by storm, the studio decided to turn Phase II into a feature film. It would become Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). During pre-production, illustrator Ralph McQuarrie was brought onboard. He was responsible for Star Wars’s overall aesthetic and designed the look of iconic characters such as Darth Vader, C-3PO and the Storm Troopers. McQuarrie left early as he was needed for the production on the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back (1981). He returned for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in 1986. McQuarrie’s protégé, Andrew Probert, was his replacement on The Motion Picture. Probert designed the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979), the DeLorean Time Machine in the Back to the Future trilogy and the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994).

McQuarrie Darth Vader Concept (Cnet)
One of McQuarrie’s original Darth Vader concepts Credit: Cnet

ILM has worked on most of the Trek films. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) was the first collaboration. The Genesis Device introduction was the first fully computer-generated sequence in a movie.

enterprise-destruction (Ex Astris Scientia)
ILM’s impressive VFXs in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) Credit: Ex Astris Scientia

Normally in the early stages of production a designer will create artwork based on the ideas and suggestions of the director. The drawings will be presented, feedback offered and the designer will go back and either refine or create new concepts. Once the director has given their final okay, a studio replica model is created. For Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), ILM changed things up. Davis Carson, Nilo Rodis-Jamero, Steve Gawley and Bill George drew up rough sketches of ships and created small 3D models of the USS Excelsior. It was a way for director Leonard Nimoy to inspect each design from every angle. The film needed the Excelsior to be the newest and most advanced Starship in the fleet, and it had to outshine the Enterprise. Towards the end of the model work, George created one more design that was inspired by Japanese architecture. This was the one Nimoy picked. Next to the Enterprises, the Excelsior studio model has appeared in more Trek movies and TV shows than any other ship.

USS_Excelsior (Memory Alpha)
USS Excelsior Credit: Memory Alpha

Roddenberry passed away from a heart attack on October 24th, 1991. He liked and respected Star Wars. His son, Rod, was a big fan growing up.

Numerous actors have appeared in both Trek and Wars. Clive Revill voiced Emperor Palpatine in The Empire Strikes Back and was a guest actor in an episode of The Next Generation. Best remembered as Boba Fett, Jason Wingreen also played a guest doctor in the original Star Trek series. Simon Pegg, Scotty in the new Trek films, was also Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens. Deep Roy has not only played parts in Wars and Trek but has also been in Doctor Who and The X-Files.

Pegg in Make Up (Radio Times)
Pegg half in makeup in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Credit: Radio Times

Both franchises have inspired real life science. Mobile phones are reminiscent of Star Trek’s communicators and modern-day medical equipment, such as MRI machines, share many functions with Tricorders. Characters in ‘90s Trek used Personal Access Display Devices similar to today’s iPads and Tablets. After Luke Skywalker lost his hand in The Empire Strikes Back, it was replaced by a robotic one. Similar technology is now being used for people who have lost appendages.

There have been subtle nods to the other in each franchise. The Millennium Falcon shows up in the background during a space battle in Star Trek: First Contact (1996). R2-D2 made a split-second cameo in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). A Cardassian ship can be seen on a console in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-).

Falcon in First Contact (Reddit)
Millennium Falcon cameo in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) Credit: Reddit

In 2012, Disney bought the rights to Star Wars. They started making plans for a new trilogy and standalone movies. JJ Abrams became the first person to direct Trek and Wars films. He’s helmed Star Trek (2009) and Into Darkness as well as Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and, the currently untitled, Episode IX (2019).

Enterprise Space Shuttle (Space.com)
NASA’s Enterprise Credit: Space.com

Neither franchise would be what it is without its fandom. There is something special that draws us to each, or both. Trekkies/Trekkers banded together to save the original Star Trek series from an earlier cancellation. Nearly ten years later, with a strong letter writing campaign, they managed to get NASA’s prototype space shuttle’s name changed to Enterprise. It was going to be called the Constitution, which is the vessel class of the first Enterprise. In 2013, Star Wars fans petitioned the US government to make a full scale Death Star. The spin was it would help the economy and create jobs. It was estimated to have a $850 quadrillion (15 zeroes) price tag. Barrack Obama’s administration responded after 35,000 signatures had been collected. They felt the endeavour was unfeasible and that they did not support the destruction of planets. Star Trek and Star Wars have new movies and TV series in production. It’s definitely a good time to be a fan.

Roddenberry and Lucas (Trek Nation)
The only known photo of Roddenberry and Lucas Credit: Trek Nation

Sources:

Designing the USS Excelsior – The Official Star Trek Starships Collection (Eaglemoss Magazine)

Gene Roddenberry – Stat Trek.com (http://www.startrek.com/database_article/roddenberry)

George Lucas – Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Lucas)

How ‘Star Wars’ Changed the World (https://www.space.com/8917-star-wars-changed-world.html)

Industrial Light & Magic (http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Industrial_Light_%26_Magic)

No ‘Death Star’ for US Military, White House Says (https://www.space.com/19246-death-star-white-house-petition-response.html)

Ralph McQuarrie – Memory Alpha (http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Ralph_McQuarrie)

Ralph McQuarrie – Wookieepedia (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ralph_McQuarrie)

Space Shuttle Enterprise (http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Enterprise_(OV-101))

Star Trek: History & Effect on Space Technology (https://www.space.com/31802-star-trek-space-tech.html)

Star Trek vs. Star Wars – Diffen (https://www.diffen.com/difference/Star_Trek_vs_Star_Wars)

Star Trek Vs. Star Wars – The Perspective (https://www.theperspective.com/debates/entertainment/star-trek-or-star-wars/)

Star Trek vs Star Wars: the space battle that will never end (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/07/18/star-trek-vs-star-wars-the-space-battle-that-will-never-end/)

Star Wars at 40 | 5 Ways Star Wars: A New Hope Changed Everything (https://www.starwars.com/news/5-ways-star-wars-a-new-hope-changed-everything)

Star Wars – Memory Alpha (http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Star_Wars)

1994: The Year of Jim Carrey

140507b-jim-carrey-1994 (Yahoo Movies)
Credit: Yahoo Movies

Jim Carrey is synonymous with comedy. Over the last three decades, he has emerged as one of the biggest Hollywood stars of all time. His talent is matched by only a few and his unique style makes him standout among his contemporaries. In 1994, he achieved something no other actor had manage to do: Carrey had three films reach number one on the American box office. Not only was this his breakout year, but Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber are now considered classics of 1990s comedy.

Beginnings

Carrey Young (Pinterest)
Credit: Pinterest

Jim Carrey was born on January 17th, 1962, to a middle-class family in Ontario, Canada. He was an extrovert from the start, eager to perform for anyone who would watch. In school, each day teachers granted Carrey five minutes to impress staff and students. The compromise was he had to be quiet the rest of the time. Even at age ten he was confident enough to send a resume to the people at the comedy skit program The Carol Burnet Show (1967-1978) asking for work. He received a gentle rejection letter from the producers but was still very happy they wrote to him. Carrey’s parents supported him where they could. His father drove and picked him up from comedy clubs throughout his teens. Carrey dropped out of high school when he was sixteen years old.

jim-carrey-dangerfield (Celebrity Gossip)
Dangerfield and Carrey Credit: Celebrity Gossip

Carrey honed his craft at a Toronto comedy club called the Yuk Yuk’s. He was noted for having potential but still a lot to learn. Carrey continued to improve his unique style, but his impressions—celebrities such as Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley—were already gaining attention. Legendary comic Rodney Dangerfield loved Carrey and asked him to come on the road to be his support act. Carry was thrilled with the experience but, after a year, decided to give Hollywood a shot in the early 1980s. The two remained good friends until Dangerfield’s passing in 2004. Carrey got small roles over the next few years, notably in Earth Girls Are Easy (1988) along side Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and Damon Wayans. From 1990 to 1994, Carrey was a regular on In Living Color, a comedy variety show, and gained considerable exposure.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Ace (Weheartit)
Credit: We Heart It

The original character for Ace Ventura was a dopey idiot who was a Sherlock Holmes parody. When Carrey came on board, he rewrote a lot of the script to make Ventura more suited to himself. Some days Carrey spent anywhere from fifteen to sixteen hours on the set of In Living Color and then worked to the early hours of the morning on Ventura material. He received a credit for his screenplay contributions. Ventura’s iconic ‘alrighty then’ catchphrase was a saying Carrey had been using since his stand-up days.

Before Carrey was cast, producers considered Mike Myers, Alan Rickman, Rick Moranis and Johnny Depp for the role. At one point, they even thought about making the character a woman and naming her Alice Ventura. Whoopi Goldberg was their first choice.

Carrey found inspiration for the character’s movements and mannerisms in parakeets and cockatiels. Years later, he had the opportunity of asking Anthony Hopkins about his performance as Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs (1991). Hopkins had used the same technique basing Lector on animals also, a reptile in his case.

Lector 01 (iMDB)
Hopkins as Lector Credit: iMDB

On a budget of $12 million (no figures in this article have been adjusted for inflation), Ace Ventura made nearly $200 million worldwide.

The Mask

Mask Face (Amazon)
Credit: Amazon

The Mask began its life as a comic in the early 1980s. It followed the adventures of Stanley Ipkiss who, after putting on the mask, becomes an anti-superhero seeking revenge. With Warner Bros.’ success with Batman (1989), New Line Cinema wanted to copy the formula and were looking for comic book material that could be turned into a movie. They bought the rights to The Mask. The project made its way through several director’s hands before ending up with Chuck Russell. The studio was unsure about Russell’s ideas because he wanted to drastically shift tone. The comic was very dark and violent in nature while the film would be a comedy with cartoon elements. Russell told screenwriter Mike Werb to write with Carrey in mind for the part. The Mask would also have to rely heavily on CG effects that hadn’t yet been invented. Production pushed forward with an $18 million budget.

Russell 01 (iMDB)
Chuck Russel Credit: iMDB

It took four hours to apply the green makeup to Carrey. The character’s bright yellow suit was inspired by an outfit Carrey wore in his early stand-up career. He also helped to save money on effects in post-production because he could contort and stretch his face and body so naturally. He performed comedy between takes to keep the cast and crew’s stress levels down.

Other actors considered to play the Mask include Steve Martin, Matthew Broderick and Martin Short.

The film was the most expensive for New Line Cinema to make at the time. It grossed over $350 million worldwide and turned Carrey into a superstar. For a period, it was also the second highest grossing comic book movie of all time. Number one being Batman.

Its sequel, Son of the Mask (2005), which did not involve Carrey or any of the original creatives, is considered one of the worst films of all time.

Dumb and Dumber

Carrey and Daniels (iMDB)
Carrey and Daniels Credit: iMDB

The Farrelly Brothers (Peter and Bobby) had been writing and shopping scripts around Hollywood for near ten years without luck. They decided to rework an idea that would become Dumb and Dumber. The two main characters of the film were named after silent film comedian Harry Lloyd. The Farrelly Brothers had no prior directing experience and winged it most days on set. They kept waiting for producers to send someone to replace them. The two are now some of the biggest comedy directors of modern Hollywood, with films like There’s Something About Mary (1998) and Me, Myself & Irene (2001).

Bobby and Peter (iMDB)
Bobby and Peter Farrelly Credit: iMDB

Carrey was making The Mask when the script was sent to him. He liked it but insisted on Jeff Daniels playing Harry. Daniels had been acting in serious dramas and his agent said the film would destroy his career. Dumb and Dumber is his most successful to date.

Carrey had chipped a tooth when he was young. He removed the cap during filming to make his character, Lloyd, appear more idiotic.

Part of the movie was shot in the Stanley Hotel, made famous by The Shining (1980). Carrey requested to stay in Room 217 that was said to be haunted. A couple of hours after going to bed, Carrey was seen by a tour guide running and screaming from the hotel. To this date, Carrey has never gone into details about the incident.

Dumb and Dumber made $250 million worldwide.

Later Years

Carrey’s career continued to prosper in comedies such as Liar Liar (1997) and Yes Man (2008). He has also appeared in serious roles in The Truman Show (1998) and Man on the Moon (1999). He received a Golden Globe nomination for Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004). He is an avid painter and has a private studio in New York.

Carrey 01 (iMDB)
Credit: iMDB

Sources:

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective – iMDB (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109040/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_45)

Dumb and Dumber – iMDB (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109686/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_43)

Exploring The Mask – Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG2teHAFmKI&list=PLU0Cu1gVmh2ea7rbs3QZPI8S8hbN-kg1y&index=12)

Jim Carrey Biography (https://www.biography.com/people/jim-carrey-9542079)

Jim Carrey – iMDB (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000120/)

The Mask – iMDB (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110475/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_44)

Undercover Indies: Why ‘Dumb and Dumber’ is Smarter (and More Indie) Than You Think (https://www.filmindependent.org/blog/undercover-indies-dumb-dumber-smarter-indie-think/)

The Story of Mad Max’s Interceptor

Max 01 (iMBD)
Credit: iMDB

Mad Max’s iconic black-on-black car has many in universe names: ‘Interceptor’, ‘the last of the V8s’ and ‘pursuit special’. It has appeared in some way in all four films, but the original car was only used in the first two. In the story line of the first movie, Mad Max (1979), the car was created to entice Max Rockatansky to stay with the police force. But after his wife and child are horrifically murdered by the Toecutter and his gang, Max steals the car to seek vengeance. The film Mad Max was part of the Australian New Wave cinema movement—a resurgence in popularity of Aussie movies across the world in the late 1970s—and was the brainchild of director George Miller and producer Byron Kennedy. These days the car is regarded as a famous and integral piece of Australian cinema history.

Kennedy Miller and Roger Savage (Mad Max Movies)
From Right: Kennedy, Miller and composer Roger Savage Credit: Mad Max Movies

Miller and Kennedy met during a short film course and the two became inseparable almost right away. They complimented each other perfectly: Miller the quiet, creative-type director and Kennedy as the opinionated, financially-minded producer. They collaborated on a short film, Violence in the Cinema, Part 1 (1971), together that was met with acclaim and controversy. After a couple of other small projects, the duo become more ambitious and wanted to tackle a feature film. Inspired by his years as an emergency room doctor, Miller came up with the rough idea that would become Mad Max. Miller, Kennedy and a handful of close others worked on a few drafts of the script before they shopped it around. In the end, the story decided on was set in a dystopian future, after a nuclear war, and featured a highway patrolman trying to survive. While the world and society were breaking down, fuel (‘guzzolene’) had become a rare commodity and road gangs were doing whatever it took to control it. The film entered pre-production in 1976.

Mad Max Poster
Original Mad Max (1979) Poster Credit: iMDB

Mad Max had a $350,000 budget, most of it raised by Miller and Kennedy (no figures in this article have been adjusted for inflation). It was the highest grossing film with the lowest budget of all time until it was surpassed by The Blair Witch Project (1999). $20,000 of the budget went to purchasing vehicles for the movie and an additional $5,000 to modifying them. The production crew attended a car auction in Frankston, Victoria, where they bought two ex-Police Ford Falcons and a repossessed 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT hardtop coupe. Destined to become the all-black Interceptor, the GT coupe’s original colour was polar white. Only six cars in the colour were produced in Australia. Originally a Ford Mustang was proposed for Max’s car. But when Murray Smith (the film’s mechanic) pointed out that parts wouldn’t be easy to come by, Miller and Kennedy decided to go with a locally manufactured car instead.

The GT coupe was sent to Graf-X to be spray painted and modified. Based on concepts by art director Jon Dowding, the company was told to make the car look evil. Some of the modifications included a custom-made front end, cut-down flares from a Holden A9X Torana and a fitted super charger. Miller wanted the super charger seen, so it was mounted a foot higher than usual. The modification work took three months to complete.

Max 02 (iMBD)
Mel Gibson played Mad Max Credit: iMDB

Mad Max opened on April 12 and was an instant success. It did surprisingly well all over the world and talk of a sequel began. As a token of good faith and acknowledgement of his hard work, Smith was given the Interceptor. He drove it around as his every day car until realising how expensive it was to run. Smith decided to sell it but no one was interested. When Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) was officially greenlit, Smith sold the Interceptor back to Miller and Kennedy for $7,500.

The car was again modified for the second film. Two large fuel tanks were installed in the boot, the lower section of the front was removed and the suspension was raised, making it easier to drive in an outback environment. The Interceptor was also made to look more weathered—the last couple of years in the Wasteland had been hell for Max. The producers bought a 1974 Ford Fairmont and made it into a duplicate. The Fairmont was used for wide shots while the original was used in close up and interior shots. The Fairmont was the car crashed and blown up in the film.

With the production of Mad Max 2 complete, the Interceptor was destined to be destroyed. Noting the significance of the car, the scrapper kept it. It changed owners a couple of times before ending up in the front of an Adelaide scrap yard. The Interceptor sat for three years, and was in bad shape, when Mad Max super fan Bob Fursenko discovered it. He bought the car and restored it for $25,000. He contacted Murray Smith to verify the car was genuine. Smith had engraved his initials under the interior door trim. It was the real thing.

Interceptor Scrap Yard 1-2 (The Mad Max Wiki)
The Interceptor rotting in a scrap yard Credit: The Mad Max Wiki

While at a German car expo in 1992, Cars of the Stars Motor Museum owner Peter Nelson heard that the Interceptor was for sale. It had been available for a while but had no buyers. Nelson purchased the car from Fursenko and it was shipped to him in the UK. In 2011, the Interceptor moved to the Miami Auto Museum in Florida. As of 2018, the car still resides there.

mad-max-v8-dezer-miami-1 (Deano in America)
The Interceptor on display at the Miami Auto Museum Credit: Deano in America

Miller spent many years contemplating a fourth Mad Max film. He wasn’t sure if it was right to continue the franchise after Kennedy was tragically killed in a helicopter accident in 1983. In the late 1990s, Miller came up with a premise that would eventually become Mad Max: Fury Road. The film was in ‘development hell’ for near fifteen years. Production was halted in 2004 after Broken Hill, NSW, experienced an abundance of rain. The location was too green to be used for the film’s desert setting. Miller moved between jobs—directing two Happy Feet films, among other projects—before Fury Road production began again in 2012. It was released in cinemas to critical acclaim in 2015.

Razor Cola (Fury Road Vehicles)
The Razor Cola Credit: iMDB

In the early 2000s, another Interceptor was built for Fury Road but stayed in storage for over a decade until it was needed. Miller always planned to have the car in the film, but never intended for it to be the same car. There are subtle differences between it and the original. The Fury Road Interceptor was destroyed early on in the story before being rebuilt, and stripped back to bare metal, by the film’s antagonists. It was rechristened as the Razor Cola. Four cars were made and used in the movie. A popular fan theory suggests that Max’s camel wagon, seen at the start of Beyond Thunderdome (1985), the franchise’s third film, is the Interceptor’s chassis reused after it was blown up. Miller is planning additional sequels, the first with the working title Mad Max: The Wasteland.

Max 04 (iMBD)
Interceptor and Max with the You Yangs granite ridges near Werribee, VIC Credit: iMDB

Sources:

Luke Buckmaster – Miller and Max (Book)

Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe 1973 “V8 Interceptor” (http://madmax.wikia.com/wiki/Ford_Falcon_XB_GT_Coupe_1973_%22V8_Interceptor%22)

Mad Max Interceptor, 30 years on… (https://www.motormag.com.au/features/0804/mad-max-interceptor-30-years-on)

The Real Story of the Mad Max XB GT Falcon (https://www.streetmachine.com.au/features/1505/the-real-story-of-the-mad-max-xb-gt)

There’s only one original Mad Max Interceptor and it’s not in Australia (https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2015/05/15/theres-only-one-original-mad-max-interceptor-and-its-not-in-australia/)

Rides: Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time

T2c (iMDB)
Credit: iMDB

Terminator 2: 3D – Battle Across Time was a theme park attraction at Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood. As of 2018, the ride now only operates at Universal Studios Japan. James Cameron – director of the first two Terminator films – played a big part in its creation. The principle cast returned: Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, Edward Furlong as John Connor and Robert Patrick as the T-1000. The ride featured a mixture of live actors and 3-D film interaction.

The Production

In the early 1990s, designers from The Goddard Group and producers from Universal Studios met to come up with concepts for a Terminator attraction. The Goddard Group had previous success for Universal with rides such as The Adventures of Conan and Jurassic Park: The Ride, as well as other theme park attractions around the world. CEO Gary Goddard loved Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) so much when it came out that he took his entire staff to see it in the cinema. They took up an entire row of seats. He was very excited to work on the T2: 3-D project. Extensive brainstorming and storyboarding were completed before anything was proposed to Cameron.

Goddard (James Cameron Online)
Cameron, Goddard and Schwarzenegger
Credit: James Cameron Online

The director was unsure of the idea and was convinced he would be telling both companies “no” on his way to the meeting. He was very impressed with what Goddard and the rest had come up with and, not only had a few things to add, wanted to direct.

The budget for T2: 3D has been estimated at over $60 million USD ($24 million USD for the film alone). This makes it one of the most expensive theme park attractions of all time. The “near future” battle ground scenes were shot at night in the Arizona Desert and took three weeks to complete. New 3-D camera technology was invented to meet the requirements of the production. In one extreme close up shot, Schwarzenegger unintentionally damaged part of a $40,000 USD camera beam splitter with his shotgun prop. The film crew had to cut retakes short because of the incident.

T2 Theatre (The Studio Tour)
T2: 3-D Theatre Credit: The Studio Tour

While filming continued, a custom-built theatre was made at Universal Studios Florida. It featured three 15 meter wide screens, 66 speaker locations, as well as secret panels, sliding walls and hydraulic lifts that would work in sync with the film throughout the show. In post-production, editors continually tweaked the film to seamlessly match the movement of actors and stunt people. A full-size replica of the theatre was constructed in an abandoned airplane hangar where the live action choreography was rehearsed.

Winston (Wookipedia)
Stan Winston Credit: Wookipedia

Special effects, animatronics and puppetry fell to Stan Winston. Cameron and Winston had previously worked together on both Terminator films, as well as Aliens (1986). Winston’s other credits include Predator (1987), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Batman Returns (1992), Jurassic Park (1993), Iron Man (2008) and many other movies. He won academy awards for Aliens and Jurassic Park. Sadly, he passed away in 2008 from cancer.

T-70 (hollywoodhardware)
T-70 Credit: Hollywood Hardware

 Showtime…

After the audience are ushered to their seats, the show begins with a Cyberdyne Systems representative taking the stage and welcoming everyone. A brief video is played that highlights the company’s upcoming technological marvels, including a group of T-70s (a crude and simplistic precursor Terminator to Schwarzenegger’s T-800 model). The machines show off their capabilities before Sarah and John Connor highjack the video feed. They tell people to evacuate the building as they are about to blow it up. The T-1000 enters via a time portal and is followed shortly after by The Terminator on a motorcycle. The T-1000 chases The Terminator and John back through the time vortex to the 2029 battle grounds of the human and machine war. The Terminator and John evade the T-1000, Hunter Killers and Mini Hunters before infiltrating the Skynet complex. They fight the T-1000000 – a completely computer-generated chrome spider-like creature – before blowing everything up and winning the war. John is returned to the present day.

T-1000000 (Terminator Wiki)
T-1000000 Credit: Terminator Wiki

Legacy

T2 3-D opened at Universal Studios Florida on the 27th of April 1996. It received 5.1 million visitors during its first year of operation. A second attraction was opened at Universal Studios Hollywood in 1999, and a third in Japan in 2001. The attractions have been a great success, but the Hollywood ride was closed in 2012 and the Florida one in 2017. The ride at Universal Studios Japan is still going. With the release of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, T2: 3-D is no longer considered Terminator canon.

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Credit: iMDB

Sources:

Stan Winston – IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0935644/?ref_=nv_sr_1)

T2 3-D: Battle Across Time – IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117880/)

T2 3-D: Battle Across Time – Terminator Wiki (http://terminator.wikia.com/wiki/T2_3-D:_Battle_Across_Time)

T2 3D: Battle Across Time – The Story Behind the Theme Park Extravaganza at Universal Studios (https://www.flickeringmyth.com/2012/12/t2-3d-battle-across-time-story-behind/)

The Making of T2: 3-D: Breaking the Screen Barrier (Documentary, 2000)

Lillian Gish: The First Lady of American Cinema

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Credit: Los Angeles Times

Lillian Gish was one of the most influential and famous actors in Hollywood’s history. Her first film was in 1912 and a career spanning seventy-five years followed. Gish’s partnership with pioneering director D. W. Griffith is regarded as one of the greatest collaborative relationships of all time. Some of their films include Way Down East (1920), Intolerance (1916), Broken Blossoms (1919) and the controversial, and highest grossing film of the silent era, The Birth of a Nation (1915). Not only having a successful acting career, Gish was also a writer, director and producer. She received an honorary Academy Award in 1971. As the years passed, the media dubbed Gish “The First Lady of American Cinema.”

Lillian Diana Gish was born on the 14th of October, 1893, in Springfield, Ohio. Her father left when she was young. Running low on money and with nowhere else to turn, Gish’s mother, Mary, and her daughters joined a group of traveling actors. Gish and her sister, Dorothy, made their stage debuts in 1902. They proved to be extremely popular in melodramas, making $10 a week for their efforts. (No figures in this article have been adjusted for inflation.) The three women travelled all over America, taking any roles they could and saving every cent possible. It was during this period Gish met future silent screen legend Mary Pickford and the two became lifelong friends.

In 1912, Gish and Dorothy appeared before a camera for the first time in An Unseen Enemy. Pickford had previously introduced Griffith to the sisters and he decided to give them a go. On set, Griffith thought the two women were twins and found it hard to distinguish them apart at a distance. He gave them different coloured hair ribbons; blue for Gish and red for Dorothy. Griffith very much enjoyed working with the two, especially Gish. He cast them often in his one- and two-reel shorts. Gish appeared in near forty silent shorts between 1912 and 1914. She received universal acclaim for her performance as The Young Wife in The Mothering Heart (1913).

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Dorothy and Gish in An Unseen Enemy (1912) Credit: Movies Silently

As silent films became more sophisticated and had longer run times, Gish starred in many of Griffith’s signature feature films. In 1915, she was cast as Elise Stoneman in The Birth of a Nation. The film was a critical success, but drew a lot of controversy for its negative depictions of African-Americans. It had white people dressed up in blackface. Gish stayed clear from commenting on the issues, but always defended that it was never Griffith’s intention to be racist.

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Dorothy, Griffith and Gish Credit: Library of Congress

In the climax of Way Down East, Gish, Griffith and the film crew shot on a real frozen river during a blizzard. Gish had to dangle her hand and hair in freezing cold water for hours at a time. She never once complained and crew members noticed how dedicated to the role she was. Though the scene is now regarded as one of the greatest in Hollywood’s history, Gish would experience health concerns for the rest of her life. She lost partial feeling in her hand. Gish’s last film with Griffith was Orphans of the Storm in 1922.

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Gish on the ice in Way Down East (1920) Credit: Pinterest

Gish directed her first and only movie in 1920. The film, Remodelling Her Husband, starred her sister Dorothy. With no known footage existing today, it is now considered a lost film. Around this period, Gish supervised the construction of a new film studio for Griffith too.

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Photoplay Magazine (December, 1921) Credit: Famous Fix

In 1924, Gish signed a $800,000 picture deal with MGM. This made her one of the highest paid and sought after actors in Hollywood at the time. Under MGM, Gish appeared in classics such as The Scarlet Letter (1926) and The Wind (1928). She made her “talkie” film debut in One Romantic Night in 1930.

By the early 1930s, Gish and MGM’s relationship had broken down and they parted ways. She returned to the theatre and focused her attention there. Gish also had her radio debut in the early 1930s. She scarcely acted in films during this period. In 1948, Gish appeared on television for the first time. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Duel in the Sun (1946). Gish also received critical praise for The Night of the Hunter (1955).

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Gish accepting her Oscar in 1971
Credit: University of California

Gish was active in films throughout the 1960s to 1980s. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. As part of the pre-production for the western The Unforgiven (1960), director John Huston and star Bert Lancaster intended to teach Gish how to shoot. They were shocked to discover she already knew and was quicker and more accurate than them both.

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Gish and Davis in The Whales of August (1987)
Credit: IMDb

In 1987, Gish starred along side Bette Davis in The Whales of August. At 93-years-old, this made Gish the oldest actress ever to star in a leading role. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on February 27, 1993. Every year on Gish’s birthday, the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, show at least one of her films as a tribute.

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Credit: IMDb

This article was originally posted on The Sydney Feminists Blogspot on December 6th, 2017. (http://thesydneyfeminists.blogspot.com.au)

Sources:

50 Facts About Lillian Gish – The First Lady of American Cinema (http://www.boomsbeat.com/articles/105983/20160119/50-facts-lillian-gish-first-lady-american-cinema.htm)

Charles Affron – Lillian Gish: Her Legend, Her Life (Book)

Lillian Gish, 99, a Movie Star Since Movies Began, is Dead (http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/01/movies/lillian-gish-99-a-movie-star-since-movies-began-is-dead.html?pagewanted=all)

Lillian Gish – Encyclopaedia Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Lillian-Gish)

Lillian Gish – IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001273/)

Lillian Gish: The Actor’s Life for Me (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/lillian-gish-about-lillian-gish/614/)

Lillian Gish – Women Film Pioneers Project (https://wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu/pioneer/ccp-lillian-gish/)

The Official Website of Lillian Gish (https://www.lilliangish.com/)

Frances Marion: One of the First Hollywood Screenwriters

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Credit: Columbia University

Over half the scripts written during Hollywood’s silent era were written by women. The women came from a variety of backgrounds when they entered the industry. Some were actors, some came from Broadway and others started off as journalists, to name a few professions. Largely unknown to a modern film audience, Frances Marion was one of the first well established and sought-after screenwriters in American cinema. During the 1910s to late 1930s, she penned many scripts for films that are now considered classics. She wrote across many genres and even received academy awards for The Big House (1930) and The Champ (1931).

Born on the 18th of November 1888, in San Francisco, her parents named her Marion Benson Owens. She would later be inspired and take her screen credit from famous American Civil War soldier Frances Marion. She started out as a journalist, model, career artist and World War I correspondent before eventually moving to Los Angeles.

Marion’s Hollywood career began in the early 1910s when she was hired as a writing and general assistant at Lois Weber Productions. The company was started by Florence Lois Weber, herself a pioneering film director. It was here that Marion learnt about the film industry and honed her script writing skills.

Written with Anita Loos, her first screenplay was The New York Hat (1912). It was directed by the legendary D. W. Griffith and starred the day’s most well-known actress Mary Pickford. The experience was great exposure for Marion and started a powerhouse partnership (and friendship) with Pickford.

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Credit: Time Magazine

Marion and Pickford had similar mindsets and worked extremely well together. Director and acquaintance Clarence Brown noted their strong chemistry and compared their ability to create new material together as being “spontaneously combustible”. It wasn’t long before they became close friends and regularly spent time together outside of work. Pickford soon hired Marion as her exclusive writer. Some of their greatest collaborations include The Little Princess (1917), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917), Stella Maris (1918) and Pollyanna (1920).

On the production of The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), Marion and Pickford were creating comedy material that clashed with director Maurice Tourneur’s vision. He felt the subject material was too dark in nature to make funny. But because Pickford was the star and had creative authority, Tourneur’s objections were overruled. Based on a play by Eleanor Gates, the story follows a young girl – Gwen (played by Pickford) – in a middle-class family who is lonely and unwanted. Her parents make no time for her and the housing staff, who are responsible for Gwen’s wellbeing, push her around and abuse her. Producers were also not happy with the film’s final cut and thought it was in their best interests not to release it. Marion was distraught that she had possibly destroyed Pickford’s career. The two campaigned, the producers gave in and the film was distributed. It was a success and was responsible for Pickford’s trend of playing young children in comedy roles. She was twenty-four when she played 11-year-old Gwen.

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Credit: IMDb

By the 1920s, Marion was one of the most popular Hollywood screenwriters with a string of hits to her name. She was the highest paid screenwriter earning $3000 a week (no figures in this article have been adjusted for inflation), an astronomical amount never heard of before in the industry at the time. Marion gained critical acclaim for Stella Dallas (1925) and The Son of the Sheik (1926). She even had a hand in directing with Just Around the Corner (1921), The Love Light (1921) and The Song of Love (1923).

Marion retired from screenwriting in the late 1930s. She was disillusioned by the state of Hollywood screenwriting and described it as “like writing on sand with the wind blowing”. She found it very restrictive in its rigid, structured approach. At this stage in her career, she had written over 100 scripts and won countless awards. She wrote Pickford’s last starring film, Secrets (1933), before Pickford retired from acting to focus on producing. Their partnership had lasted nearly twenty years. In 1937, Marion wrote one of the first guides on American screenwriting, How to Write and Sell Film Stories. The book was taught as part of the film curriculum at the University of South California.

Marion spent her later years writing stage plays and novels. She passed away in 1972. Her academy award winning script, The Champ, was remade in 1979 and starred Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway. Marion will be played by Julia Stiles in an upcoming Mary Pickford biopic, The First (2017).

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Credit: Wikipedia

This article was originally posted on The Sydney Feminists Blogspot on August 29th, 2017. (http://thesydneyfeminists.blogspot.com.au)

Sources:

Frances Marion – Biography.com (https://www.biography.com/people/frances-marion-214110)

Frances Marion – IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0547966/)

Profile – Frances Marion (https://wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu/pioneer/ccp-frances-marion/)

Julia Stiles To Play Scribe Frances Marion In Mary Pickford Pic ‘The First’ (http://deadline.com/2013/01/julia-stiles-frances-marion-mary-pickford-the-first-418595/)

The Poor Little Rich Girl: Mary Pickford and her wordsmith. (https://trueclassics.net/2012/06/03/the-poor-little-rich-girl-mary-pickford-and-her-wordsmith/)

This Forgotten Female Screenwriter Helped Give Hollywood Its Voice (http://time.com/4186886/frances-marion/)

A Look at Best Director Films by Women

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Credit: Pinterest

Being nominated for Best Director is one of the most prestigious honours the Academy Awards has to offer. It’s the ultimate form of respect for a director’s hard work and achievements. Among the chosen are some of the greatest directors of all time, but only four women have been nominated since the Academy’s introduction in 1929. They are Lina Wertmüller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow. Out of this list, only Bigelow has won the award for The Hurt Locker in 2009.

Lina Wertmüller

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Credit: The Muse

An Italian director born on August 14 1928, Wertmüller was nominated for Seven Beauties in 1976.

The film follows the story of Pasqualino Frauso (Giancarlo Giannini) as he goes AWOL from the Italian army, during World War II, only to be captured by Germans and thrown into a prison camp.

The movie was the tenth written and directed by Wertmüller, but is her most well-known. Her films are noted for their arthouse-style and focus on political and social issues. Some of her other celebrated works include The Seduction of Mini (1972) and Swept Away (1974). Wertmüller had a number of positions in the Italian film industry – puppeteer, actress and stage manager – before she made her directing debut, The Lizards, in 1962. She learnt of her Oscar nomination while on the set of her first English-speaking film, A Night in the Rain. Unfortunately, Wertmüller’s career petered out after her Seven Beauties fame.

It was also the first foreign film nominated for consecutive Academy Awards. It lost Best Director to Rocky.

It would be another seventeen years before a woman was nominated for Best Director.

Jane Campion

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Credit: Festival Cannes

New Zealand-born director, Jane Campion, began to make an impact early on in her career. She was a household name in her native country when The Piano started to gain international recognition.

The Piano is a drama, set in the mid-nineteenth century, about a mute piano player, Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), and her daughter Flora, played by Anna Paquin.

Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on the 30th of April, 1954, to artistic parents. She showed a creative side from a young age, but went to university to study anthropology. Campion quickly changed to a film-based degree.

She has directed The Portrait of a Lady (1996) and Bright Star (2009), among others. Campion’s films are famous for their strong female ensemble casts and feminist undertones.

Though Campion didn’t win Best Director, she did receive the award for Best Original Screenplay. Steven Spielberg won with Schindler’s List. However, The Piano did win the Golden Palm at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, the highest prize awarded at the French festival. Campion is the only female filmmaker in history, so far, to do this.

Sofia Coppola

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Credit: Film Society Lincoln Center

Born on May 14th, 1971, Sofia Coppola is the daughter of legendary Hollywood director Frances Ford Coppola, who is best known for The Godfather trilogy.

Being her father’s daughter, film has always been in Coppola’s life. She played Mary Corleone in The Godfather: Part III (1990) and Saché in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). Critics labelled her Godfather performance as wooden, but Coppola knew her future lay on the other side of the camera. She has directed movies such as The Virgin Suicides (1999), Marie Antoinette (2006), Somewhere (2010) and The Bling Ring (2013).

In 2003, Coppola’s work on Lost in Translation was nominated for Best Director. Starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, it follows the adventures of Bob Harris and Charlotte – a washed up movie star and a photographer’s neglected wife – as the two form an unlikely friendship in Tokyo, Japan.

Coppola lost to Peter Jackson, with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, but left the Academy Awards with Best Original Screenplay.

Coppola received the Best Director award, for her current film, The Beguiled, at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Kathryn Bigelow

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Credit: Pinterest

Kathryn Bigelow is synonymous with action films. Her credits include Blue Steel (1989), Point Break (1991), Strange Days (1995) and K-19: The Widow Maker (2002).

Bigelow was born on November 27, 1951, in San Carlos, California. She was inspired by her father’s cartoon drawings as a child and went to university with the intention of studying painting. She graduated from Columbia University in 1979 with a Master’s Degree in film theory and criticism.

The Hurt Locker stars Jeremy Renner, as a bomb squad Sargent in the American military, and won six Academy Awards in 2009. The film won Best Picture and Bigelow became the only woman to win the Best Director award. She dedicated it to American soldiers fighting overseas.

Upon winning the award, her ex-husband, James Cameron (director of two Terminator films, Aliens and Titanic), was one of the first to congratulate her. He too was in the running for Best Director with Avatar.

Zero Dark Thirty, Bigelow’s follow up film, was nominated for five awards at the 2013 Academy Awards. It only won Best Sound Editing.

No other women have been nominated for Best Director since Bigelow’s win. Hollywood statistics have shown that opportunities for women to direct films has increased since 1980, but it is still a male dominated industry. Out of a study of the 250 highest-grossing films of 2016, only 7% were directed by women. That’s 2% down from the previous year. Big budget films can be directed by women, and perform beyond expectations, as Patty Jenkins proved with Wonder Woman. Other notable American female directors include: Penny Marshall (Big), Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World), Mimi Leder (Deep Impact) and Vicky Jenson (Shrek).

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Credit: The New York Times

This article was originally posted on The Sydney Feminists Blogspot on June 16th, 2017. (http://thesydneyfeminists.blogspot.com.au)

Sources:

A Conversation with Lina Wertmüller On Her Legacy & Being the First Woman Nominated for a Best Director Oscar (http://themuse.jezebel.com/a-conversation-with-lina-wertmuller-on-her-legacy-bei-1794383646)

Biography: Jane Campion – Film Director (http://www.theheroinecollective.com/jane-campion/)

Encyclopaedia Britannica – Lina Wertmüller (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Lina-Wertmuller)

Has a Woman Ever Won an Oscar for Best Director? (https://www.thoughtco.com/best-director-oscar-for-a-woman-4109468)

Jane Campion Biography.com (https://www.biography.com/people/jane-campion-9236601)

Jane Campion Director (https://www.nzonscreen.com/person/jane-campion/biography)

Kathryn Bigelow Biography.com (https://www.biography.com/people/kathryn-bigelow-546542)

Kathryn Bigelow makes history as first woman to win best director Oscar (https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/mar/08/kathryn-bigelow-oscars-best-director)

Oscars: No Women Nominated for Best Director — Again (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-no-women-nominated-best-director-again-967284)

Ranked: The Best Women Film Directors (and Their Films) (http://www.metacritic.com/feature/best-women-film-directors-and-movies)

Sofia Coppola Biography.com (https://www.biography.com/people/sofia-coppola-10434307)

Sofia Coppola emerges from her father’s shadow with Cannes triumph for The Beguiled (http://theconversation.com/sofia-coppola-emerges-from-her-fathers-shadow-with-cannes-triumph-for-the-beguiled-78696)

Sofia Coppola is the second woman to win best director at Cannes in 71 years (https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/29/15708830/sofia-coppola-best-director-cannes-film-festival-the-beguiled)