A Polaroid to Remember: Shots From On Set

Even if taken yesterday, there’s a certain something about polaroid photos that evokes a sense of stillness—a frozen in time quality with the warm sense of memory. And when it comes to film sets, polaroids run rampant for the sake of continuity with make up and such, but also provide a candid look behind-the-scenes at the making of a moment and what was like to truly inhabit it. There’s simply something lingering in the instant held image that you’re not going to gain so easily from snapping a few shots with your iPhone—or at least, that’s how it feels to me.

But from back in the days of Blade Runner to the most recent of film sets, it’s a pleasure to peruse the polaroids found floating around the feature, giving us insight into the on-set life and providing our favorite actors and scenes with even more character and charm. And thanks to the good folks over at Flavorwire, who have unearthed some of the best polaroid shots from your favorite films, you can get a closer glimpse at a young Johnny Depp, a demure Audrey Hepburn, a resting Gillian Anderson and many more. Take a look at some of our favorites below and see the rest HERE.


The X-Files, Gillian Anderson



Blade Runner, Harrison Ford and Sean Young



Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s




Where The Buffalo Roam, Bill Murray and Hunter S. Thompson



Winona Ryder, Girl, Interuppted



New York, New York, Liza Minnelli and Martin Scorsese


Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Main Image: Johnny Depp, Benny & Joon

It’s Time To Stop Caring About Old Letters Written By Famous Writers

I am not shocked to learn that Hunter S. Thompson called his employer a craven, drooling, inbred swine. I am not concerned that William Styron and Norman Mailer had a (no doubt heroically drunken) falling out in 1956. I have not once wondered what Flannery O’Connor’s signature looked like, or wanted to trace the ups and downs of her peacock farm. You may burn all this correspondence when ready.

Because what do we get out of this stuff? That these authors were the outrageous characters we always held them to be? We’re talking about a group of people that wrote letters for purposes of practical communication, procrastination or sheer boredom. And when the letters are not full of quotidian detail, they grandstand with all the arrogance of a writer who knows the prose will be pored over when he’s gone. Flaubert was exactly as opulent as he intended, especially when complaining that he couldn’t for the life of him get any writing done.

Imagine the value you’d get from a bound edition of all the emails Tao Lin sent in 2009. Or wait—did you already do that, Tao? If not, let’s talk; I’d be happy with a 15 percent cut. Anyway, I’m saying that the revelations are just not there. Writers are too self-conscious to let slip the juiciest truths. That’s why the historical letters and diaries of anonymous nobodies are so much better—there’s no assumption of audience beyond the intended reader. It’s not like Jane Austen was the one scribbling the names of Chawton village’s men onto a Bangability Chart.

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Morning Links: Rick Ross Gets a Ride from DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj Imitates Lil Wayne

● According to essayist and homeowner John Jeremiah Sullivan, eight or nine people make a pilgrimage to his house each day, which is also the house where the Peytons “live” on One Tree Hill. [GQ] ● Bill Clinton isn’t afraid to make fun at himself or the Clinton Foundation in this new Funny or Die video, wherein he is joined by a “celebrity army” in mocking his “actionable climate change initiatives.” [THR] ● Rick Ross is hitching a ride home on DJ Khaled’s tour bus after suffering two seizures on two flights in one day. Easy riding, Bawse. Ruh! [TMZ]

● Nicki Minaj’s Lil Wayne impression is dead on, even though she forgot that double styrofoam cup. [Karen Civil] ● As per a post card in a new batch of correspondences from the godfather of Gonzo, a hangover cure from Hunter S. Thompson: “12 amyl nitrites (one box), in conjunction with as many beers as necessary.” [Playboy] ● David Fincher says that Scarlett Johansson was just too sexy to play the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. “Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off,” he says in this month’s Vogue, explaining that Rooney Mara’s mysterious allure was a better fit for the role. [Vogue] ● Coldplay’s Chris Martin thinks that Kanye West has changed the way we listen to music by blurring genres such that, “You don’t see so many goths, hippies, rockers and hip hoppers any more,” he said.[NME]

Gonzo Fashion Explained

I was organizing my bookshelves late last night and came across this gem from my late friend Hunter Thompson on fashion. Many have tried to explain his quirky style — myself included — but he best explained it himself in an interview with Playboy editor Tim Mohr shortly before his death, in which he reveals his penchant for dressing with a sense of humor and buying quality, practical threads. “When it comes to clothes,” he said, “It’s easier to talk about the dark side of the American dream in a clown’s garb than a clergyman’s. But dressing with a sense of humor has its drawbacks. I have a shirt covered with fishing lures — they’re silver rubber minnows. Sometimes when I’m wearing it, I’ll reach down and scratch my rib and feel this scaly shit. God, what a shock. I’m used to finding weird things wrong with me — what the fuck is that? — but not scales.” Oh yes, there’s more.

On sunglasses: “I like the way sunglasses look, but I seldom wear really dark sunglasses. I’ve found that if people can see my eyes through the lenses it’s more comfortable. I try not to have my costume be a problem for me or other people.”

On Chucks and coats: “I’ll wear Chucks with a tuxedo. Is that confrontational? There are times when I’ll wear a blazer for no particular reason. They have good pockets. It’s easy, comfortable. I love what people call my Coat of Many Colors, which I bought at Abercrombie & Fitch in the early 1970s. Every once and a while, I wish I had bought the pants, too. It’s a hunting outfit, sort of a precursor to those blaze orange outfits. It’s a very well-made coat — it has a huge game bag that folds out the back. The bag’s waterproof, plastic-lined — you can shoot a duck and pop it into the pouch. It’ll carry ice for drinks. And it doesn’t leak blood.”

And above all, the doctor suggested, always go with quality. “I’ve always bought, been treated to or stolen the highest-quality clothing I can. Shit, it saves a lot of money not having to go out and buy new shirts every year.” Still, we may never know Thompson’s recommended funeral couture for getting shot out of a cannon.

HST ‘Gonzo Tapes’ Will Hunt You Down & Slit Your Throat

imageIt seems like just yesterday that I arrived at work to find a young editorial assistant wide-eyed and shaken. “Someone called for you,” she gasped. “He said he was going to slit your throat.” Not a normal Monday-morning message in the mag business. “He said something about hunting and demanded a Porsche or something.” Ah, now it made sense. It was my friend Hunter S. Thompson. I’d been trying to convince Porsche to drive a new all-road model from Los Angeles to Woody Creek, Colorado, for Hunter to test drive and me to write up for the San Francisco Examiner Magazine. She played the message, and that familiar staccato baritone filled the conference room. “I want that Porsche. And I want it now. If I don’t get it, I will hunt you down like an animal and slit your throat.” Such love.

I’ve got lots of tapes of our chats. But I’m pretty sure none of them come close to his own personal stash of queer thoughts and bent logic of his halcyon days. Thankfully, Shout Factory is releasing The Gonzo Tapes, a five-disc audio dose of Hunter’s notes recorded between 1965 and 1975, documenting his hard ride with the Hell’s Angels to his tear through La Vegas to his fearful tour in Saigon. And this just reminds me that he’s gone. These days, 4 a.m. phone calls only mean bad news.

Celebrating Gonzo

imageWandering through the oversized penthouse of the Night Hotel Wednesday evening for the Gonzo: The Life and Works of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson screening afterparty, I couldn’t keep from wondering if one could have found Thompson here, stabbing away on a typewriter, shuffling through Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated in one of his brilliant altered states. The composure of the scene makes me think otherwise. Thompson reportedly used to request a case of Wild Turkey be waiting for him upon his hotel arrival; I order a glass of champagne

“The edge. There is no honest way to explain it, because the only people who know what it is are the ones who have gone over.” Johnny Depp narrates in the beginning of the definitive documentary by Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney. The screening drew an influential social set including Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter (who also produced the film) Brian Williams, Dominick Dunne, Tom Wolfe, and Meg Ryan. The afterparty boasts a similar assembly, with the luminous Alexandra Kerry chatting up hotelier Vikram Chatwal, and Hunter S. Thompson’s son, Juan Thompson. I’m savoring the elegance of the balmy evening in my favorite Thread Social little black dress, but I’m wishing for some sort of bat country. Coincidentally, Unruly Heirs Kristian Laliberte and Timo Weiland show face to shake things up a bit. Soon there is dancing throughout the maze of rooms, and playful trysts atop the neatly made beds. It’s no edge, nor is it bat country by Dr. Thompson’s standards, but as the Good Doctor wrote in Kingdom of Fear; “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

image Pros Dancing

image Kristian Laliberte and Timo Weiland

Photos by Patrick McMullan