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Film sets atwitter with stars' tweets
Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:46pm EDT
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By Gregg Kilday
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - When he showed up to begin shooting his new film "Five Killers" in the south of France last week, Ashton Kutcher encountered one of those unexpected glitches that regularly pop up on any movie set.
His stunt double had arrived for work with a shaved chest, so Kutcher would have to submit to a little chest waxing of his own.
Kutcher's first reaction was to turn to Twitter, the 3-year-old micro-blogging service that lets users communicate in word-bursts of 140 characters or less, which they send to one another's cell phones and computers.
"Love that they can cgi the sun in but apparently cgi doesn't have chest hair capabilities yet," Kutcher tweeted wryly.
Undaunted, the actor not only submitted to the waxing, he also captured it on video, issuing further tweets once he'd posted the video evidence on Facebook and YouTube.
Welcome to the movie set of the digital era, where even the most mundane developments are on public display.
In the old analog days -- that is to say, before cell phones, e-mail, instant messaging and blogs -- filmmakers viewed their sets as sacrosanct domains. Although hand-picked journalists occasionally were invited for a visit, sets were closed to the public -- and sometimes even to the prying eyes of studio bosses. As far as some directors were concerned, the more far-flung the location the better, since that meant the actual on-set visits from the suits would be few and far between.
Today, though, filmmakers are opening up their sets to any electronic interlopers who wander in.
Robert Luketic, who is directing "Killers," has followed Kutcher's example: As he goes about his helming chores, he issues dozens of tweets a day while also posting his own photos and videos.
"The reaction has been incredible," he said in an e-mail exchange. "I have gotten thousands of enthusiastic posts from people thanking me for the frank, unpolished look at the making of my latest film."
A few early adopters like Kevin Smith paved the way, blogging his filmmaking adventures on his own Web sites, ViewAskew.com and SilentBobSpeaks.com, then later collecting his blog postings in a book, "My Boring-Ass Life."
Such tentpole movies as "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Superman Returns" upped the ante, feeding the Web's appetite with on-set videos as such directors as Peter Jackson and Bryan Singer walked fans through the filmmaking process.
But now that Twitter is surging in popularity, it allows an even greater degree of intimacy.
"Directing is about waking up every night at 4 a.m., exhausted, and not being able to fall back asleep because your brain is screaming at you," Jon Favreau confessed in a tweet posted at 3:08 one morning last month.
Having plunged into rehearsals for Marvel's "Iron Man 2" with Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, he already was tossing and turning. Continued...
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