Leftist Boddhisatva

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Clooney to remake Network


News Item: (Washington Post)
These days, whenever anyone writes about Chayefsky's flick, which won several Oscars including Best Screenplay, the word "prescient" is always attached.

Longtime news anchor Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch, is toiling at the lowest-rated evening newscast.

He is given two weeks' notice and that night, on the evening news, tells viewers he will commit suicide on the air on his final broadcast.

He's effectively canned, but the network is persuaded to let him apologize on the air the next night and go out with dignity. Instead, he rants again and ratings go through the roof. The network, encouraged by an ambitious young executive (Faye Dunaway), gives him his own nightly segment and bills him as the mad prophet of the airwaves; ratings are stupendous at first, but then begin to lag. The network decides to hire members of a terrorist organization to assassinate him on the air.

Clooney told the AP that when he screened the film for a group of "young people," none of them recognized that it was a dark satire:

"I couldn't understand it, [then] I realized that everything Chayefsky wrote about happened. . . . And so, suddenly, the idea that the anchor is more important than the news story, and that you'd be doing sort of reality-based shows, all happened," Clooney said in the interview.

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