Sundance

Anna Cyzon – Unplugged featured today at Sundance

Sundance

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Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration In Show Business

Gregory Peck, how two time Academy Awards winner made me double fault – Tennis in 90210

In my  room at the very first Virgin Hotel in Chicago late at night I went between the film on Turner Classic Movie channel  'To Kill A Mockingbird', ( my first high school play I was cast in) and the Australian Open.  Here was Gregory Peck, tennis and television, oh what a story I could tell Richard Branson.  While testing out the in room system at Virgin hotel a filmmaker friend posted this on my Facebook related to another post, "...There are no accidents!".  No kidding I thought, and began writing this post, about the convergence of Gregory Peck, tennis and television into my life.

One of my 'BFF's' is Danny Sarnoff, he is as Hollywood as you get.  Danny and his grandfather David Sarnoff share something in common with Richard Branson the gift of vision to bring innovation into our lives.  It was Danny's grandfather that brought us sound into our homes with the RCA radio, and later had the vision to bring moving images into everyone's living room and he spent a lot of money to make it happen and the RCA television was born, to broadcast the voice and moving images Danny's grandfather created, NBC ( National Broadcasting Corporation ). To learn more about this just go to this link (David Sarnoff) .

Naturally having grown up in Hollywood with a family fully entrenched in the business of entertainment my friend Danny knew a lot of people, most of them I had met  including Anthony Peck  who I really liked the son of two-time Academy Award winner actor Gregory Peck.  Anthony who would occasionally drive me to the airport in his red Porsche a gift from his supermodel wife Cheryl Tiegs.  Everything to Anthony was a contest, women, tennis, anything you wanted to do it was always game on.

One  day I get a call that I have to come along to play a game of doubles tennis, it was imperative that we win and defeat Tony, I was told.  I asked Danny who was playing with Tony? and he told me it would be Cheryl.  Well that should be easy I am pretty sure we could outplay Cheryl and Tony.  I put on my tennis whites got my tennis racquets and soon Danny was at my door and off we went.  The black Mercedes-Benz with blacked out windows with the interior blaring 'Hotel California' by the Eagles and the smoke of weed made its way to the home of Gregory Peck.  As we started to go up the road to Gregory Peck's home the road narrowed a stretch limousine approached, Danny slowed the car, and pulled off the road a little to allow some room for the stretch.  As both cars where side by side the window of the limousine came down and Danny lowered his window.  The girl looking at us was one who could hold your gaze for a long time in a mini skirt, "Hi boy's" , she said "Babe" was the response. We both smiled and kept driving , " man she was hot," I said, "LA" Danny said without missing a beat.  Hey, we where in the land of milk and honey.

The Mercedes Benz still blaring 'Eagles' came to a stop outside the gate of Gregory Peck's home and Danny announced himself to the security, and the gate opened.  Cheryl Tiegs and Tony where already there, Cheryl's Mercedes-Benz 280SL was parked in the driveway.  Game on, let's get straight to the tennis court through the meandering rose garden. Gregory Peck's garden was not just a garden it was a park.

As we got to the tennis court, Tony reminded Danny where they stood in the betting and this was for double or nothing.  Soon we were into the game, it was no Australian Open, but the intensity was the same. The battle was on. The games were close and let me tell you Cheryl is no pushover and it was my serve.  I got a few good serves in and the score was 30-30 first set when Danny said;

Don't look now Khan-man, Tony's dad is coming down to watch.

Naturally I looked up, and my stomach went in a knot, there was Gregory Peck in a white robe making his way to the pool and tennis court.  Now I could not give a crap about who anyone is, but this was not just anyone, it was fucking Gregory Peck. This to me was The Guns of Navarone, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Roman Holiday, this was Ahab of Moby Dick. Everything would have been cool, if Mr. Peck had just gone to the pool, but no that was not happening, he had to come sit down to watch the game. The pressure was on, all of a sudden the tennis match felt like a five set match of Nadal. I was serving to Cheryl, my first serve caught the tape and landed on our side of the court, (please Mr. Peck go away to the pool please I prayed).  I trew the ball up, arched my back keeping my grip loose throwing my arm towards the ball at its peak, it all felt good and then that sound, ball hitting the tape. I had just double faulted, suicide in tennis, and in front of Gregory Peck.

Danny and I won the match we would later learn that Tony arranged for his dad to come down and watch in order to play mind games with us. The good old friendly, tennis matches.

Enjoy this clip of a tour of the house where this tennis match a Grand Slam if you will was played below.

 

Michael Jackson started our friendship by calling me and saying, 'I'd like to pay you a visit.' He has actually memorized all the dialogue in To Kill A Mockingbird and he was full of questions about it

Gregory Peck

Best Actor

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oscars

The day our film got Nine Oscars Nominations ‘Howards End’

Oscars 2015

 

 

Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning there are people out there who will not be sleeping tonight.  Some of those involved may not even be the actors, producers, directors, they may be just those who had a small role in the making of the film, it will not matter, anyone who has made something worthy, written words of magic, brought something to the screen that actually matters does not sleep tonight.  They will get calls tonight, text messages, Tweets, from friends and fans wishing them good luck tomorrow the day of the Oscars nominations.  How do I know all this, because I’ve been there.

Below you will be able to ready about my film deal as reported on July 14, 1987 in the Hollywood Reporter in an article by Samir Hachem.

 

I did not get into the film business to make money, I went in the business to redeem myself, a cleansing if you will.  If you have seen the movie Wall Street, that was pretty much my life in the early 80’s.  One day I decided to walk away from it all and use what I had to make a positive creative difference.  I had read an article about Merchant Ivory in Forbes magazine liked what I had read, called a few friends and asked them, “guys you want to go into the film business with me?”  They said “sure”.  The next day I picked up the phone talked to Ismail Merchant and told him point-blank, I like your films, I belive you are on the right path, and I am gonna back you.  One of the films in my deal was ‘Howards End’ (below).

The night before 1993 Oscars nominations, I went for drinks at Chateau Marmont with a few friends, one of my friends told someone about ‘Howards End’ and before I had settled into my chair drinks had started to arrive.  Soon afterwards a lady walked up to me and informed me she owned an exclusive club and said “I am so glad you don’t make this Hollywood crap, you are always welcome at my club”.  I told my buddy ” dude why did you tell her anything, we had one Golden Globe nomination and won nothing”, and quickly my friend reminded me,” The Academy Awards are in a world of their own Timothy.” I stayed up all night, calls coming expressing good luck tomorrow from those who knew I had something to do with the film.  The night passed into day and it was the big day.  It was early in the morning I need a caffeine fix so I drove to St. James’s Club on Sunset now known as the Sunset Tower hotel to watch the Oscars nominations.  Everyone at the hotel knew me, I usually was camped out there by the pool daily.  They announcements started and my heart beat faster.

“Nominated for 65th Academy Awards Best Original Music Score  is ‘Howard’s End’ oh my god , we got an Oscars nomination, everyone patted me on the back, my waiters was thrilled.  Then came Howards End’s  nominations for,’ Best Costume, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress,  Best Directing, Best Art Direction, Best Actress,  Best Adapted Screenplay, and the one you want to hear over and over because you can’t belive it, Best Picture “.

The breakfast room at the St. James’s Club exploded with cheers, and applause, and soon everyone was standing up applauding, and coming over to pat me on the back.   The room knew nothing happens without money, anyone in the film business will tell you that.

My phone was going off, people had been calling all day, I went down to The Ivy on Robertson for lunch and people were calling the restaurant looking for me, it was the most unreal, feeling, like going to the moon, this was no small matter it was “Nine Nominations including Best Picture”.

The day of the Oscars, I sat and kept the seat warm for Anthony Hopkins when he arrived to take his seat I went backstage and started to drink, it was an unreal feeling that I was there and then we won “Best Actress, Emma Thompson”, “Best Adapted Screenplay, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala” and “Best Art Direction, Luciana Arrighi and Ian Wittaker”.

When I was a kid in Toronto, on Oscars night my family would all sit around the television and I would grab one of those brass tall candle holder that every Indian house has, pretend it’s  The Academy Award and give a speech.  My mother would tell me to shut-up sit down stop dreaming ( she did not really mean stop dreaming she just wanted to see the show).  So keep dreaming people and dream big, I am telling you anything can happen in this world.  

Nothing like this may every happen again for me, this was that one moment in time that stays with you forever.  The road to the Oscars begins with the most important element of them all, a really good script.  I had backed a great creative team and I was proud of them, they had made a dream possible.

 I wish all those who have worked so hard to make a film, my very best tonight and which them luck tomorrow.  What a feeling it truly is and it makes no difference if one wins or not just to get nominated is such a big thrill, like riding a rocket into the stars, feeling so light that you could hurdle the moon, words cannot express the feeling. 

Merchant Ivory In film finance pact

Under the new agreement Khan's group will provide $5million for Merchant Ivory's five future independent films … under the new deal will be "The Three Continents," "In Custody," E. M. Forster's "Howards End," "My Head and Heart," and Carson McCullers' "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe."

By Samir Hachen , July 14, 1987, The Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter Mercahnt Ivory deal

Merchant Ivory 2

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Downton Abbey

Hollywood Loves A Party: So When I Got Fifty Million to Make Movies I Threw A Party


 

 

 

"I’ve always watched actors on the red carpet getting drunk and making idiots of themselves and now I’m happy to join their ranks" – Ethan Hawke

Hollywood is going to be in the swing of parties it all starts with the Golden Globes and picks up towards the big bash The Oscars.  One thing I am sure you will all agree with they love a good party in Hollywood.

After I had my massive fallout with Producer Ismael Merchant of Merchant Ivory Productions with whom I have a film financing deal for his companies films, I decided to go out on my own. My concept was simple, go in with some money ask the studio to match it put up the print and add money and off we go.   Well this is Hollywood we are talking about and nothing is easy especially if in 1992 you wanted to make a film for $7 million to $15 million, in their minds it was impossible.

Nevertheless, Lew Wasserman who founded MCA, later MCA/Universal looked at me said he liked the idea he just was not sure if the studio was ready for it.  Rule number one of Hollywood is to have the players in your pocket ( a social network not twitter and Facebook friends real people who can be seen and touched).   No one in Hollywood really knew me or my partners after all they never look North, Hollywood is about only Hollywood.  So who was my partner.  So I called up a few people and said he I am doing a party come meet my partners.

All aspects of the party were looked after by the great team of the he Peninsula Beverly Hills, three of my friends I had invited knew a lot of people all over the world, and they were David Bowie, Iman, and Mick Jones between them you just covered all the world of fashion, music, and film combine with Labatt, and the ties to The Rolling Stones, Toronto Blue Jays, and world of Formula One racing, something cool could happen.  Who better for all in Hollywood to hear that from but the CEO of Labatt.

When Bowie and Iman arrived they could not belive the scene, because a lot of people had turned up.  " Tim is this for any charity?" Bowie asked, "No David it's just a party", "Oh good, Iman and I are really shy, Tim, I mean we are not like Mick Jagger and Jerry,", Bowie explained and I assured him I would hold his hand and walk him around, which I did.

The Party

As reported in, The Great Life by Hollywood Reporter party columnist George Christy. - Thursday, March 12, 1992 . Below are a few clips of some of my friends who came to the party, and what they have done in film and music.  Check them out you will find them most interesting.

Earlier at the Peninsula Hotel Timothy Khan introduced his film financing partner Sid Oland of the John Labatt beer empire in Canada that owns the Toronto Blue Jays and sponsored The Rolling Stones Steels Wheels tour, as well as the concerts of David Bowie and Paul Simon.  David Bowie and fiancée Iman were on hand, as was Prince Mohammad bin Omar, the business-whiz brother of the billionaire Sultan of Brunei, who owns our Beverly Hills Hotel (which will close for two-years' worth of renovations later this year - but not to be expanded; the existing rooms will be made larger).  Schmoozing were Ingrid Oland, Edie and Lew Wasserman, Ashok Amritage, Foreigner's Mick Jones with brother Kevin, Jeremy Taylor ( who co-produced E.M. Forster's "Where Angels Fear To Tread', Hilly Elkins, Warner Bros Records president Lenny Wornoker, U.K record producer Shel Thelmy, Toronto Film liaison Naish McHugh, pleased with our Location Expo gathering during the American Film Market, "We landed three movies for filming in Toronto, as well as two TV series.

The Great Life - by George Christy - The Hollywood Reporter , March 12, 1992

To the people who were not born yet, who was Lew Wasserman? Lew Wasserman was the first person to give me a corner office to have meetings in at MCA/Universal black tower. He had no clue what he was gonna do with me and my idea to make films with budgets of $15 million, with matching funds from the studio.  One thing was certain he did not want me to go anywhere else.  Lew Wasserman and I had a lot in common he was a class act.  So here is a video of a trailer about Lew Wasserman.

David Bowie and Iman, do I really need to tell you who they are?  David and I started talking about creating our own record label, as it turned out Bowie thought I would really hit it off with the man who ran his companies and I did.  Bowie's office became my back office, for advise, creative input, ideas, concepts, and new technology.

Shel Thelmy, is a buddy of mine who had produced the first two albums for a guy called David Robert Jones ( David Bowie).  Shel went on to also produce bands such as 'Kinks' and 'The Who'.  At the party I introduced Bowie to Shel it was the first time they had reunited since Bowie's first two albums with Shel.

The Manish Boys' (at that time featuring David Bowie) version was released in 1965. The recording was produced by Shel Talmy, who was also producing the early singles and albums by The Who and The Kinks. Jimmy Page was Talmy's regular session musician and he played the guitar solo on "I Pity the Fool".

 

Kevin Jones and I first met in the Hampton's, then Kevin moved to Los Angeles, and I met his brother Mick.  I grew up on the music Mick Jones had written.  In Los Angles I ended up doing some pretty crazy stuff with these guys, borderline alcohol poisoning, leaving the house to get pizza and coming back to find only clothes lying around, the usual rock and roll stuff or anything you may have seen in Californication.

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