Monday, May 3, 2010

Saturday Night Screens at Tribeca Film Fest

So, The New York Times was at last night's screening of the James Franco documentary Saturday Night at Tribeca Film Fest. They posted some stray observations on their Arts Beat Blog along with a few insider scoops from the Q&A with James Franco, Kenan Thompson, Jenny Slate and Will Forte which followed the screening. Here are some of the best -

Among the moments and observations that caught our eye:
  • Most of the “SNL” cast and writers seem to operate with at least some level of sleep deprivation, owing largely to the overnight Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning writing sessions. Seth Meyers, the head writer and “Weekend Update” anchor, says he has dreams in which he is writing skits for the show. Mr. Forte says he sleeps in his office in an “SNL” blanket he was given by his mother.
  • Doug Abeles, a “Weekend Update” writer and producer, says that when he is in need of topical inspiration, he sometimes glances out his window at the NBC news ticker on the studio across the street.
  • Among the sketches that did not make it to the broadcast was a bit in which Mr. Malkovich played a commercial singer forced to perform the Empire Today Carpet jingle over and over, and Mr. Forte played his slave driver of a director. It appeared that the skit played well at the table read, but it was cut after an unsuccessful dress rehearsal.

    Afterward, Mr. Forte, who wrote the sketch, said he had made his peace with this result. “It didn’t do horribly,” he said of the skit, “it just didn’t do as well as we had hoped. You get so used to that situation. Your heart gets broken on a regular basis. And you just have to forget about it and try to come up with something new. Every once in a while, you get a second chance with something. You can’t think about it.”
  • Casey Wilson is boldly candid about sharing her feelings when her Liza Minnelli impersonation skit bombs at the table read. “My experience was, I wanted to kill myself,” Ms. Wilson tells the camera. “I wanted to die.” Her contract was not renewed after the 2008-09 season.
  • Mr. Moynihan smokes. So does Mr. Franco. Bad Mr. Moynihan! Bad Mr. Franco!
  • As the producer Steve Higgins aptly says of “SNL,” “If you’re a perfectionist, don’t come here.”
Bonus factoids from the post-screening Q & A session:
  • Prospective “SNL” cast members are asked to perform a mix of original characters and celebrity impressions in their auditions. In his audition, Mr. Forte performed impersonations of Michael McDonald and Martin Sheen.
  • Ms. Slate’s audition included an impression of Annette Bening as a tour guide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Mr. Thompson said the “SNL” host who most surprised him – and initially intimidated him – was Ludacris, who he said spent most of his sketch-pitch meeting on his two-way pager.
  • Asked if he was still working with Kel Mitchell, his former co-star from the Nickelodeon show “Kenan & Kel,” Mr. Thompson replied: “Uh, no. Next question.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Show business is pretty heavy stuff!