Eight years before Birdman scooped up a passel of Oscars for its depiction of an actor who’s depressed that he isn’t taken seriously anymore after too many years of portraying a superhero, there was Hollywoodland. Originally to be titled Truth, Justice and the American Way – until Warner Brothers, owner of DC Comics, threatened a lawsuit for copyright infringement – it’s a fantasia on the mysterious death in 1959 of George Reeves (Ben Affleck), the original TV Superman.
The protagonist of the 2006 neo-noir film is Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), a fictional Hollywood private detective who becomes obsessed with rumors that Reeves’ shooting death may have been murder rather than suicide. Through the investigator’s eyes, we see three different possible scenarios play out, Rashomon-style. Among the suspects are the longtime mistress recently jilted by Reeves, Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), and her husband, movie producer/fixer Eddie Mannix, played by the late great Bob Hoskins. (Oddly enough, the Mannixes, cast in a less-sinister light, were also central to the plot of the Coen Brothers’ 2016 ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Hail, Caesar!)
If you missed Hollywoodland the first time around, you’ll get another chance on Tuesday, August 18, when the fabulous Greenville Drive-In Cinema plays host to a screening presented by the Woodstock Film Festival in collaboration with Radio Woodstock. In case you missed it, drive-ins are the only safe place in these pandemic days to go see a movie the old-fashioned way: on a big screen shared with a big audience. An especially compelling incentive to trek up to the wilds of Greene County on a Tuesday evening, however, is the fact that director Allen Coulter will be on hand, in the flesh, to discuss the film and take questions.
These days, Coulter has become one of television’s most celebrated directors, best-known for his work on the groundbreaking series The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire and Sex and the City. He directed the pilot episodes of Nurse Jackie, Damages, Sons of Anarchy and Ray Donovan. Coulter has been nominated for seven Emmys, five Directors’ Guild awards and the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion. Hollywoodland was his first feature film and was nominated for a Golden Globe.
The gate opens for this special showing at 7:30 p.m., when early arrivals will have the opportunity for a socially distanced dinner and cocktails outdoors, with an expansive menu of food and beverages available for purchase. Filmmaker Katherine Dieckmann will conduct the interview with Allen Coulter preceding the 9 p.m. screening. To purchase tickets or to learn more, visit https://woodstockfilmfestival.org/events/2020/8/18/hollywoodland-special-drive-in-screening-with-director-qampa. The Greenville Drive-In Cinema is located at 10700 Route 32 in Greenville.