DEAD RINGER It’s one thing to have a body double. It’s quite another to have one without a pulse. Such is the case with Carlo’s Wake, a recently wrapped indie black comedy about an Italian-American family uniting after the death of their patriarch. Instead of leaving Oscar winner Martin Landau, who plays the title character, in a coffin for most of the shoot, director Mike Valerio commissioned a look-alike corpse, with a helping head — created for Ed Wood — from makeup artist Rick Baker. If he hadn’t, says Valerio, ”it would have been 18 days of ‘Hey, Martin, don’t breathe, okay?”’ One of the film’s costars, Juliet Landau, wasn’t too comfortable with her on- and offscreen dad’s dummy. ”It took her a while before she would go up and sit next to it,” Valerio says. ”But we’re getting something out of her we wouldn’t have gotten out of any other actress.”
KNOWLES KNOWS Red-bearded cybergossip Harry Knowles may be on the dartboards of studio executives, but he’s got a fan in Tom Hanks. Knowles, whose Ain’t It Cool News website (www.aint-it-cool-news.com) posts movie buzz and reviews from test screenings, recently visited the Oscar winner on the L.A. set of The Green Mile, based on the Stephen King serial novel. Then he turned out a favorable 3,200-word feature article. ”If you’re going to test a movie and put faith in the whole testing process,” says Hanks, ”then [Knowles’] website is the greatest, greatest tool because you will be getting a completely real reaction. He’s the vox populi at its absolute best. I just don’t understand how the guy makes money.”
THE GOLDBERG VARIATION For actor-turned-auteur Adam Goldberg, it’s open season on independents. ”All indie films in this post-Tarantino world are about such garbage now,” says Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan), who blames the mainstreaming of independent film for the lack of distributor interest in his low-budget directorial debut, Scotch and Milk. ”And because it’s all so political and fiscally minded, we have to be guerrilla marketers.” Goldberg and his leading man/producing partner/best friend/fellow Saving Private Ryan grunt Giovanni Ribisi are considering screening the drama, about a group of disaffected twentysomethings, on the side of a building on Sunset Blvd. ”If no one will show the film for us,” he says, ”we’ll have to bring it” to the people. Maybe he’ll have better luck with his next effort, Neorealism, about a hypochondriac director who makes a movie about a director making movies. ”I think it’s considerably more accessible and more linear than Scotch and Milk,” Goldberg says. Yeah, sounds like a McDonald’s tie-in just waiting to happen.