‘The Firm’ is Happening Again

The Firm was a breakthrough success for John Grisham; it was the first of his many legal thrillers to be turned into a film, and it had an all-star cast including Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Holly Hunter, Gary Busey, and Wilford Brimley. (I refuse to live in a world in which Wilford Brimley is not considered a "star," so just ride this one out with me.) Now it’s going to be an NBC show, one that comes seemingly out of nowhere, and it’s got a slightly less all-star cast led by Josh Lucas. The show isn’t a slow-burning adaptation of the novel, but rather a sequel that takes place ten years after the events in the film.

"It looks a little less like The Firm than Firm fans might have firmly hoped for," writes Vulture, alluding to a fanbase that has remained fairly under the radar for the last eighteen years. (News flash, by the way: The Firm is almost twenty years old.) Check out the two teasers for the show below:

So here’s what we can expect: somebody is trying to kill protagonist Mitch McDeere again. Someone is thrown off of a balcony. A group of lawyers in gray suits could go to prison if Mitch finds out something. 

All of this will make for riveting television, I’m sure. Fasten your seatbelts, Firmheads! 

The National Plays Mac & Milk: A Chill NYFW Kick Off Party

With a PBR can in my pocket and a glass of DeLeon Tequila in my hand, I negotiated the crowd at Milk Studios, getting tangled in groups of familiar, bold-face names I only get to glimpse but twice a year (not including resort and couture week, if I’m lucky). Last night’s Mac & Milk Fashion Week FW11 kickoff party brought out fashion week friends like Josh Lucas, Liev Schreiber, Tara Subkoff, and Vogue’s Valerie Bolster, models like Le Call and Irina Lazareanu, and ShopBop’s Kate Ciepluch, all excited to catch a performance by The National.

The Brooklyn-based band—more or less virgins on the fashion scene—was an unusual, last-minute booking confirmed by MAC & Milk’s organizer, Jenne Lombardo, at around noon the previous morning. This by-the-seat-of-your-pants attitude, along with the National’s homey, worn-in sound, set the tone for the party, belying Fashion Week’s usually high maintenance temperament.

image The party started at 9PM, but the show didn’t start until 11PM, which left some antsy, and tipsy on DeLeon margaritas: @carolhan: If the national doesn’t go on soon, I may or may not keel over and fall asleep on the floor of milk.

image Although the scene was more on the chill side, the fashion get-ups were still cause for sartorial concern: @elvainadine Missed you Mac n Milk! Only place where my weird for the office leather leggings merit stifled yawns. #nyfw Likewise, I couldn’t help but think, “Are you fucking kidding me?” after looking around at some of these “fashionistas” get-ups.

image Ironic connection? Yesterday was “National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day.”

@casey_kettleson And now I really love The National. Thanks Milk. Good party.

Photos: Patrick McMullan (Main) and I Think You’re Swell

Where Celebs Go Out: Wes Anderson, Emmy Rossum, Charlotte Ronson, & More

At Lucky magazine’s Lucky Shops:

● KATRINA BOWDEN – “I love Café Mogador in the East Village. It’s Moroccan, and they have these great fish and chicken kebabs and really cool dishes and olives and bread. It’s really good. And they have this fish soup that’s amazing, on special sometimes.”

● ANA ORTIZ – “I’m a very local person right now because I don’t have a lot of time away. So there’s this really groovy little place across the street from me called the Speak Low bar and it’s in Dumbo in Brooklyn, and it’s just underneath Rice. It’s a really funky, hip little bar. And they have the most delicious cocktails. As soon as I was able to drink after giving birth, I went down there. They have the best martini I ever had!”

At The Fantastic Mr. Fox press day:

● WES ANDERSON – “There’s a place in Los Angeles called Nishimura that’s a sushi place. That’s a great place. I would recommend that one.”

At launch party for Yoga Wii by Dreamcatcher Interactive Inc.:

● ANJA RUBIK – “Right now — it changes, of course — right now, I’m addicted to Matsuri. It’s a Japanese restaurant in the Maritime Hotel. I just love the food there. It’s incredible and the atmosphere they create there is so beautiful. I love it there. I love the Cipriani’s uptown. I love it. The food is so great. And it also has an incredible atmosphere. Da Silvano is great. Bar Pitti is amazing. It has Italian food, which is fantastic. I love Gobo. It’s all this organic food, vegetarian. It’s on Sixth Avenue near Eighth Street or Seventh Street.”

At Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars:

● SIMON DOONAN – “I love Il Cantinori. It’s around the corner from my house. The risotto primavera is killer!”

● EMMY ROSSUM – “I really like David Burke Townhouse. I love that lollypop tree that comes out at the end. There’s like a cheesecake lollypop tree. It looks like a lollypop, but it’s a ball of cheesecake on the end of stick and it’s in this holder that makes it look like a tree. I really like eating sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, at like 4am.”

● TOMMY HILFIGER – “Rebecca’s in Greenwich, Connecticut. Incredibly delicious. It’s simple, but it’s really, really high-quality food and always well done — consistent. It’s prepared very well.”

● MARK RONSON – “My favorite restaurant in New York is, probably, Gino’s uptown on 60th and Lex. The angel hair with the secret sauce. They call it that. ‘Cause when you’re a kid, and anyone tells you something’s secret, of course, you like think it’s amazing. In the whole word, I don’t know. I wish — I’m really good at answering these questions, but not on the spot.”

● DITA VON TEESE – “I love going to London to eat. I love China Tang at the Dorchester because I love the Art Deco Chinese interior. I love the Wolseley in London. And I’m not familiar with New York restaurants. It seems like they’re ever changing, so …”

At Purgatorio pop-up club:

● JOSH LUCAS – “Oh, the old school — Raoul’s is one of my all-time favorites. And there’s a place right down in my neighborhood, called Broadway East, which is a really interesting new kind of organic, sexy restaurant I like a lot. Also, down by my place, Les Enfants Terribles, you know that place? A good, little fun one. Those are my three that come to mind immediately.”

● SIMON HAMMERSTEIN – “That’s a hard question. I kind of like the 18th floor of the Standard — the bar on the 18th floor. I think he’s done a really good job with that.”

● CHRISTIAN SIRIANO – “In New York, I love the Cooper Square Hotel. We have dinner there a lot, hang out there — really, really fun. But, like hang out, hang out spots — where do we go? Oh, Bagatelle, very fabulous. I’m pretty low key, so I feel like — my couch, that’s where we go to hang out and have a party.”

At Motorola’s party for Droid phone with Verizon service:

● PATRICK HEUSINGER – “I just went to Delicatessen for the first time. I really enjoyed that. We watch Sunday and Monday football at Brother Jimmy’s on the Upper West Side. Yeah, it’s great. We’ve been going there since I was in college because I went to college here in New York, too. And then, I go to the bar, Niagara, on the Lower East Side a lot. That’s one of my haunts. I probably go there once a week. One of my best friends works there, so — it’s on 7th and Avenue A.

● JUDAH FRIEDLANDER – “I don’t drink or anything. I’m a role model for children. But I do eat. The place I really crave is called Sarajevo. It’s in Astoria — Bosnian owners. It’s basically Yugoslavian food. Awesome. That’s the place I crave more than any place. Cevapcici is the main thing. It’s kind of like ground beef and lamb on skewers, and you serve it in this fresh, homemade bread. And there’s this spread called Kajmak. It’s kind of like a sour-cream spread, except a million times better. And then you put ajvar on it, also, which is a like a tomato, red pepper, eggplant spread. And then you put raw onions on it, and you’re in heaven, baby! And you got power! And you’re ready to kick ass! It’s good stuff. The other thing they have is stuffed cabbage with tomato sauce, which they call sarma. It’s in Astoria. It’s on 34th Avenue and 38th Street. It’s so good. That’s my favorite food. I like all the ethnic, little take-out type places. Those are my favorite places.”

At launch of fashion game Style Savvy for the Nintendo DS and DSi:

● CHARLOTTE RONSON – “I love Bar Pitti on 6th Avenue. It’s nice and easy. You can sit outside when the weather is nice. You always run into someone you know. For movies, the Anjelika is nice. It’s clean. I’m drawn to movies that play there. In London, I love Holland Park, Kensington High Street — great area with lots of good shops and walking distance from my parents’ home. La Famiglia is a great restaurant.”

At launch party for Scupltz shapewear and legwear:

● ROBERT VERDI –Le Singe Vert on 7th Avenue. It means the Green Monkey. I was born in ’68, the year of the monkey. I love it. Novita, on 22nd Street, off of Park Avenue. It feels very insider; the food is fabulous. There’s a scene, but it’s not sceney. Da Silvano, because I feel like a big schmaltz when I go there ’cause I’m treated better than I really am. He’s really sweet. I’m very good friends with his wife, Marisa, who treats me like family. Since I grew up in a restaurant family, it’s a feeling I like to have when I go out to eat.

Josh Lucas on the Death of His Fast Food Dreams

Lest you think Ronald McDonald is a benevolent jester who just wants you to have a happy meal, know that he’s just the guise in which an evil empire disguises itself to appeal to the kiddies. Just ask actor, health nut, and Box partner Josh Lucas, who was basically strong-armed by Ronald and his goons out of offering up a healthy alternative to McDonald’s gunk. Mighty’s was to be the actor’s gift to us ordinary folk who can’t afford to eat organic all the time. But when prices got too high, and Ronald reared his grotesque head, Lucas’ dream basically died.

So what happened with Mighty’s? Mighty’s is in kind of a stuck phase right now. There’s a really cool restaurant down in the Lower East Side called Broadway East, and Ron Castellano, who is the guy that put that restaurant together — him and I are friends, and Mighty’s got stuck because we ran into the problem of not being able to actually get a menu that was as inexpensive as we wanted, using local, self-sustained, organic, food. A restaurant like Broadway East could do it, because their price point was a lot higher. Oddly enough, I gave a lot of our research and information to Ron and a lot of those things were instilled in Broadway East. But in terms of its being a fast food restaurant, we just can’t figure out how to make it financially possible.

Were you looking to have several locations? Well we wanted to start — actually it would have been Seattle — and our goal was to have a drive-through, and have it be exactly the same as a McDonald’s, except we knew we’d have to be a dollar or two more expensive per item, but we couldn’t figure out even how to do that. And McDonald’s is such a monopoly right now that they went so far as to buy our name — they literally attacked us to an extent.

Have you been to Better Burger NYC? Yeah, I love that place. I ate there yesterday, oddly enough.

Was your menu going to be similar to theirs? They’ve actually done a really good job of it. They haven’t done exactly the same things as we wanted, and that’s because you really can’t right now. We wanted to use free range produce and some of those things are just not yet possible. I think maybe in ten years, as the food world changes. Have you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma?

No, I haven’t. I think as the world becomes more aware of what’s happening in the food industry, people are going to demand that food changes and once that happens, prices of food will change as well. Right now, organic food is incredibly expensive, particularly meats, so if you’re saying that you want to have a competition with McDonald’s, you know McDonald’s meat is the cheapest in the world and probably the most unhealthy in the world, so we weren’t even capable of competing with that.

Josh Lucas on Selling Craigslist Sex and Masturbatory Filmmaking

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t frequent IMDb, to you Josh Lucas is still that dude from Sweet Home Alabama. If you frequent Perez Hilton, then he’s probably the guy who Rachel MacAdams is dating post-Gosling. But Lucas is now a decade-deep into a serious film career that’s seen him go from brooding indie artiste in films like Undertow and Session 9, to American hero in blowouts like Stealth and Poseidon. His latest film is tiny, but it packs a sledgehammer punch. Death in Love is grueling film directed by Boaz Yakin, about a mother (the ferocious Jacqueline Bisset) who uses her tortured past as an excuse to torment her two sons, played by Lucas and a decrepit Lukas Haas. It isn’t a fun movie (Lucas calls it masturbatory), but you probably guessed that from the title. Lucas’ plays a man so wounded that he tries dulling the pain through violent sex (there are at least six women in the first ten minutes). I spoke to the surprisingly mellow actor about the effects of taking on such a demanding role, offering up sex on Craigslist, and those damn pharmaceutical companies.

So I saw the film yesterday, and it’s a really tough watch. It’s a really tough film. I’ve had people say they fucking hate this film, to they think it’s a total masterpiece.

The reviews are echoing that sentiment too. I actually think that’s what the director was searching for in a way. He was making a film that’s filled with self-hatred, betrayal, passion and rage. He financed it based on the money he made as an executive producer of the Hostel series, and weirdly enough, there’s a direct correlation between the sort of silly entertainment value of those films, to the fucking harsh reality of this personal journey. He set out to make a film that made people feel pain and made people feel uncomfortable, and he says that there’s a great validity to that as a cinema in and of itself. He says this is not a drama, it’s a tragedy. He almost wants you to feel bad.

Does it bother you when people trash it? Honestly, I think there’s a perspective—I don’t know that I agree—but it doesn’t surprise me at all that someone would go that far with this film, or call it masturbatory. I would say the same thing about the Hostel or Saw series’. This to me is at least asking deep and serious questions about what it means to be a human being, and it’s not done just as entertainment, it’s done in a way that’s throwing these ferocious ideas in front of your face. The only reason that I would say I don’t think it is garbage by any means, is that it’s a personal story, a true story. And so I don’t think you can just say that someone’s life is garbage. You have to say I don’t agree with it, I don’t like watching it, I don’t have any connection to it whatsoever. But unfortunately, it’s the way that some people live and choose to live.

When you finished the script, what makes you say ‘this is something that I want to do?’ Boaz and I had worked together on Glory Road. He was a writer who had done the best writing on Glory Road, in terms of setting it apart from a Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer movie. So I think he knew me that way, and when I read it I didn’t understand it at all. I don’t even know that I even liked it. I felt that it was too angry and too filled with self-hatred, and yet at the same time, I knew there was a vision beneath it, there was something about it that was scaring me. And so I thought I wanted to experience that. And I also think that sometimes as an actor you’re doing things that are asking questions about your own personality that you don’t have to work out in your own life. Like you know, “what does it mean, he slaps her breast?” And like great, I did that, I don’t need to do that in real life anymore.

What was shooting those visceral sex scenes like for you? They’re pretty violent. Was it awkward? Sometimes it was this almost violent choreography where you literally would go into it, both people, and you’re both basically naked, and you’re both trying to figure out, what is it that causes two people to want to go here?

But it’s not choreographed? No, it’s fully choreographed. It kind of had to be, it was too violent otherwise. Both of us sat down and tried to figure out, why do people want to do this to each other? How do you then make it look like it’s real on camera, particularly when there are five other people in the room? It’s a really weird moment to begin with, and it’s the most private moments that people ever experience together, and there’s a camera crew there.

It’s a relatively small one I would imagine. That was the piece of it that actually made it much more safe in a way, is that you didn’t have a big crew.

So in the film, Jacqueline Bisset’s plays your mother, and because of her psychological problems, she emotionally stunts you. I know that you have unique parents who gave you a special upbringing. How has your mother affected you and the way you live your life now? Fuck, man. Almost the opposite of this. Like literally, my mother is someone who is deeply involved in not just the feminist movement, but in equality, and in birthing. Basically we were taught love. We were taught almost the opposite of this story, and we did not deal with abuse in this way at all, and again it comes down to this thing of exploring some of the darkest sides of your possible personality. I walked away from this film, even in watching it, I felt like I’m glad I explored it and I don’t have an interest in really continuing to explore it. I felt like, great, it’s an artistic experience and a lot of artists I know explore things inside their personalities that are not who they are, and like to take themselves to an edge. And my parents instilled in us quite the opposite, but they instilled in us a love of cinema that was like this, to be honest.

What kind of films are you talking about? Pauline Kael was my father’s of main passion as a cinema-goer.

Ingmar Bergman? Yeah, literally. Boaz to an extent has a very violent, edgy, you can go so far as to say masturbatory Bergman quality about him. He really does, and one of the films I know Kael thinks is one of the greatest masterpieces of all is Last Tango in Paris, and sadly I think this film doesn’t have any of the same beauty that that film has. I think this film is much more filled with pain, but there’s a similar thing to me as an actor, where it was like, well this is your Last Tango, man. And I’m glad I’m only going to do it once.

This is one of the only movies I’ve seen in a long time where there really isn’t a second of humor in it. Not one second, man.

What was that set like? Was there laughing when the camera stopped? Not much. I will say the humor was surreal, like the opening sequence, when you see I have sex with I think it’s like nine women for I think six minutes.

That must have been fun. Dude, the humor came from the fact that they did a casting call on Craigslist that basically said, “Come have mock sex with Josh Lucas for $50 and get a film credit.” Literally that’s what it was. And like 25 different women showed up.

That’s it? [Laughs]. They got $50 to basically sit around for a day in a synagogue in New York City, where we had set up seven different mock location bedrooms throughout this synagogue, and you literally shake hands with this person—you’d be butt naked—and have mock sex with them.

I wonder if some of the girls were skeptical if the ad was going to be true or not. Weirdly enough, almost all of them were surprisingly cool. They were like, “I’m a young actress, and I know this is a weird way to start, but you know…” This is not a bogus film, in the sense that there’s nothing pornographic about it. You can say the context of it makes people feel ugly, but on paper, the people involved are fairly serious artists who are setting out to make a work that is contemplating serious issues. I think that each girl coming in there—and they were literally girls between the ages of 19 and 65 years old—had different reasons for being there. We would talk briefly about it, and every one of them was surprisingly legitimate. That was the day that I would say was the funniest and also the most surreal, and the most kind of gallows humor and just fucking weird.

You have a drama on Showtime coming out called Possible Side Effects. What does it mean for your career now that you’re doing television? I’m actually not. We ended up doing a pilot, because we got this crazy group of people involved. That was something I actually asked as well, is this a good move, going into TV? And it seems to me like there’s a real breakdown these days in terms of some of better coming out of the television world, particularly Showtime and HBO. And this was fucking Tim Robbins, and Ellen Burstyn was my mother, Tim Blake Nelson—like everything about it was so, like A-film world, and the story was a story that could have only been told in a massive format. And the rumor that I heard is that the show got shut down by the pharmaceutical industry.

Oh really? Was it an expose on them? Yeah. A lot of the advertising on television these days primarily comes from pharmaceuticals because the car companies are basically dead now, so pharmaceuticals is the biggest, and the show talked about the pharmaceutical industry being involved in the manipulation of diseases, and the killing of people, to the highs and lows of what that industry does. It was a real contemplation of it, a real expose. And I heard that when it came down to it, basically they threatened to pull their advertising out of CBS.

What are some of your favorite bars and restaurants in New York? Well obviously I’m still a part of The Box, which I love. And The Box is sort of having its second generation right now. There’s a bunch of new things happening there. Obviously it’s a place that I am involved in for a number of different reasons. Simon is like my closest friend, and it’s gone through a lot of upheaval, but I think it’s back to shows that are fun and light these days. Other places in terms of nightlife, oh man, you know I’m a huge fan of the philharmonic in Central Park to be honest with you. I really am. The Summer Stage. That stuff to me, that’s what makes this city sing. The River to River festival, Celebrate Brooklyn, all that stuff. I literally am the guy that goes with balloons and a blanket at eight in the morning when everyone else shows up at six o’clock with wine and beer.

Links: Mickey Rourke’s New Face, Dr. Dave Letterman Heals Jennifer Garner

● Pretty soon we’ll have to get used to another face on Mickey Rourke. Plastic surgeon Cristian Pérez Latorre plans on fixing Mickey Rourke’s face come July. [Momento] ● Lindsay Lohan’s ex Harry Morton is embarrassed that he ever dated the “actress” and even bought her an engagement ring. [P6] ● Here’s the first look at Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man II, the sequel is set to explore how Tony Stark deals with revealing his superhero identity. [JustJared]

● Robert Zemeckis is hinting pretty heavily that he wants to revive Who Framed Roger Rabbit now that technology and special effects have caught up. [MTV] ● New couple Josh Lucas and Rachel McAdams are the latest to hop on the bike trend. They were seen riding back from a yoga class in SoHo. [FadedYouth] ● Dave Letterman took care of Jennifer Garner’s scrapped knee with some ointment on The Late Show. [INO]

New York: Top 10 Celebrity-Owned Hotspots

Scott Weiland’s Snitch is now Citrine, Tim Robbins is no longer behind the Back Room, De Niro’s Ago was critically panned, cholesterol problems await at Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality, and Arnold Schwarzenegger & co.’s Planet Hollywood is a tourist trap, all’s not lost — here’s a list of celeb-owned spots worth looking into.

10. Bowery Wine Company (Bruce Willis) – “All for wine, wine for all” — it’s their philosophy, and we agree. 9. Angels & Kings (Pete Wentz, Travis McCoy) – Not short on cheap thrills; sex in the bathroom is encouraged. 8. Michael Jordan’s The Steak House NYC (Michael Jordan) – Though business may temporally be cooling, it remains the quintessential rich man’s cafeteria. 7. Nobu (Robert De Niro) – We hear it’s a bargain compared to the Nobu’s London outpost. 6. Santos’ Party House (Andrew WK) – Music aficionados looking to pick up oddball scenesters, look no further. 5. Haven (Bershan Shaw) – Like an old rich man’s study cum cigar bar (minus the cigars, but with the scotch), the dimly lit spot is a welcome relief amidst the midtown beer-guzzler bars. 4. The Box (Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Josh Lucas on the board) – Love it, hate it, or simply grossed out by it — there’s no experience quite like it. 3. Waverly Inn (Graydon Carter) – Given that you basically have to know the Vanity Fair editor to get a table, may we suggest brushing-up on your networking skills to avoid missing-out on a fireside truffle macaroni and cheese dinner? 2. 40/40 Club (Jay-Z) – Cigars, cognac, swinging leather chairs, 50-plus flatscreens, and VIP rooms aplenty — in other words, the swank hip-hop sports bar has Jay-Z written all over it. 1. Cutting Room (Chris Noth) – Sure, the crowd’s not the hottest, and the space could use a facelift, but catching at least one Joan Rivers performance should be considered a Manhattan must.