Tuesday, December 2, 2014

(Pre) Ask Me a Question: Die Hard 2 w/ Steven E. de Souza

What's your favorite Holiday movie?  A Christmas Story? It's a Wonderful LifeScrooged?  Nah, I'm talking about action movies set at Christmas time!  Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight, I Come In Peace, The Last Boy Scout and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang come to mind; i.e. Joel Silver, Shane Black, Renny Harlin and Richard Donner created their own wonderful sub-genre to celebrate peace on earth, goodwill towards men as well as extreme violence, machine guns, one-liners and explosion filled mayhem.

This December, The Arclight Cinemas is hosting multiple screenings of Holiday set classics dramatic, funny and action packed.  I'll be hosting Die Hard 2: Die Harder with special guest screenwriter Steven E de Souza on hand for Q&A.  Unlike The Van Damme Double Dip, Dolph Night or The Carl Weathers Tribute, The Arclight Presents Die Hard 2 was not curated by Dammaged Goods.  While I did secure the guest, I won't be doing my usual trivia, prizes and custom tee shirt giveaway as the event is only a couple weeks away.  In a strange bit of repertory screening coincidence, DH2 helmer Renny Harlin has 3 films showing in Los Angeles this month.  This Thursday is The Adventures of Ford Fairlane at The Egyptian in Hollywood complete with Andrew Dice Clay and screenwriter Daniel Waters in attendance for a night I wish I had programmed.  The same evening in Sherman Oaks, Harlin's "amnesiac assassin" tale  The Long Kiss Goodnight starring Gena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson is also playing.  Mr. Harlin was cool enough to respond to my invitation to speak at DH2 but awesome/sadly he's shooting a film overseas.  Super buff and intense villain William Sadler lives in New York full time while I'm still working on lining up some additional guests.

Screenwriter Steven E de Souza is a billion dollar man, as in, his films have grossed that much around the globe in a star studded career dating back to the early 80's when he moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia.  He quickly landed on a game show where he won a car then was able to talk some producers into reading his writing samples which led to a job at Universal.  There he worked on KNIGHT RIDER, writing and producing 20 episodes in the first season.  From there features came a calling and he became a go to guy for scripts combining action, humor and character.  His scripts were picked up by mega stars of the eras: Commando and The Running Man for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Die Hard, it's sequel and Hudson Hawk starring Bruce Willis, Beverly Hills Cop III with Eddie Murphy, Judge Dredd for Sylvester Stallone then two with our guy Jean-Claude Van Damme; Street Fighter, where he also directed, and the crazy nano-bombs and counterfeiters in Hong Kong tale, Knock Off.   de Souza jumped back to television periodically, developing animated sci-fi-action mash up, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs as well as globe trotting action explorer series Adventure, Inc. starring Dammaged Goods Hall of Fame'r Michael Biehn.

The Arclight and Cinerama Dome in Hollywood is a Los Angeles landmark.  The Dome opened in 1963 when back then, it was radical concept that would cost less to construct with a shorter completion timeline than typical theaters.  The large, curved screen was meant to to utilize 3 projectors as well as 70mm print along with it's geodesic design to give films an epic, event quality experience in terms of picture and sound.  By the late 90's, stadium seat multi-plexes were all the rage and The Dome was in danger of being demolished.  It was deemed a historical landmark in 1998 then in 2002 after a 2 year renovation, reopened as part of The Arclight Cinemas Complex under Pacific Theatres.  Since then the Arclight has hosted movie premieres and special events while drawing out actors and filmmakers just wanting to catch a movie.  Every seat is assigned and an employee welcomes you at every screening.  I believe there's a 3 trailer maximum before the film with no other advertisements.  Talking and texting are grounds to be removed and guests are usually not allowed in 5 minutes after start time.  There's a full service cafe, bar, gift shop and coffee bar in the lobby as well as an upstairs bar for 21 and Over screenings where you can imbibe alcohol during the flick.  Die Hard 2 will be one of those 21+ events...

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