4 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, March 3, 1994
A player's view of La-La land
University alum shares inside view of Hollywood
Robert Altman's "The Player"
poisoned many of our perceptions of
Hollywood. Corrupt studio execs,
phony stars and desperate directors
are shown as dominating the industry.
PeterBenedek, a University alum and
founder of United Talent Agency,
contradicts the La-La land myth of
greed and superficiality. His agency
represents such people as Brian
DePalma, Joe Montegna and
Laurence Kasdan. Daily film staffer
Michael Barnes recently had an
opportunity to speak to a Player with
Daily: Could you briefly tell us
about your background?
Peter Benedek: I graduated from
the U. in 1970. I went to Columbia
Law School and graduated from there
in 1973 andIcameouttoLosAngeles
and worked for a variety of law firms
until 1986. I started an agency with a
partner in 1986 called Buar Benedek
that ultimately ended up being United
D: What is the greatest difficulty
you face in your job'?
PB: Getting clients jobs. I find
people work, work they enjoy ... while
at the same time, keep people's careers
moving on an upward arc.
D: You deal with--
PB: Writers and directors, a few
D: Your advice to young
PB: Making films is the most
important thing. Then get as many
people as possible to see them.
D: Through film festivals such as
PB: Yes, absolutely.
D: Your advice to young actors?
PB: Go to a major metropolitan
area where there is work and basically,
try to do good work with good people.
D: How receptive is Holly wood to
PB: Very. Every year you see new
directors coming out of Sundance.
The town is hungry for them and they
get work. I think it is hard, but I think
you can break in.
D: Do you view film more as a
form of artistic expression or more as
an economic medium?
PB: I view it as both. Iam involved
in both aspects. I am a business man
and I am involved with people who
are artists. It is called show business,
and I am involved in the show and the
D: The studios used to rule Holly-
wood back in the old days. Who does
PB: It depends on the project and
the people involved. The artists have
more control now. The agents
represent the artists who have more
ability to do things now then they
used to. Big movie stars can really get
stuff done if they want to. If Tom
Cruise wants to do a movie, it gets
made. On the other hand, if Sidney
Pollak wants to do a movie too, it gets
made. I believe the medium, by and
large, is director-driven. The movie
William Golden once
said "no one knows
anything" which, to
some extent, is true.
There is something
about movie stars
though that excites
people, and I think you
have to recognize that.
stars want to work with big directors.
D: What is your response to the
charge that the "star system"- the
need to put Bruce Willis in a movie as
opposed to someone that can really
act-deteriorates the quality of films?
PB: There is a full plate of movies
out there. There are movies for people
that are interested in movie stars. If
you want to see "The Pelican Brief,"
you can see "The Pelican Brief." On
the other hand, if you're interested in
"The Wedding Banquet," you can see
it. People tend to buy movie tickets to
see Denzel Washington and Julia
Roberts. People also buy tickets to
see "Shadowlands." William Golden
once said "no one knows anything,"
which, to some extent, is true. There
is something about movie stars though
that excites people, and I think you
have to recognize that.
D: What is your greatest "Player-
PB: I would really not be able to
come up with that off the top of my
D: No sensationalism here then?
PB: I'mjust not good at that. There
was a lot of stuff in "The Player" that
was a movie and a lot of stuff that was
true. I think it was a terrific movie.
D: There have been some
exceptional movies released this past
year: "Schindler's List,' "Short Cuts,"
"The Remains of the Day," etc. Is this
a long term growth or were we just
PB: What happened in the last six
months is good for people who like
good movies. There are more movies
being made then ever before, so there
is a wider diversity. You'll see the
studio starting classics divisions.
You'll see Miramax turning out
movies for Disney. I think there is
more money for those small movies
then there was, say, three or five years
ago. On the otherhand, the studios are
more star-driven then ever, so you'll
probably see more small movies and
big movies, and the things that will
suffer are the movies in the middle.
D: With the battle over Paramount
and the so-called, "Information
Highway" of fiber optics
technologically feasible, what lurks
in the future for the entertainment
PB: I think we are in the middle of
a revolution,.Ireally do. The evolution
of technology is causing this. In my
professional lifetime, the video
business started and its end is
foreseeable. It's going to be replaced
by video-on-demand in the home. I
don't know what people are going to
be doing with 500 channels though. A
year ago, there wasn't an ESPN2,
which I want to have. I have a satellite
dish on my roof which I use to watch
D: Your predictions for the Fab
Four in March this year?
PB: I hope the rest of the season
they play as well as they did at Purdue
last week. I think it is absolutely
possible for them to make it to
Under the auspices of the University Musical Society, the New York City Opera National Company returns to Ann
Arbor with a performance of Giacomo Puccini's tragic "Madama Butterfly." The story traces Butterfly, a 15-year-old
Japanese girl, and her marriage to an American Naval Lieutenant, Benjamin Pinkerton. Almost immediately after
they are married, Pinkerton leaves Butterfly and goes back to America, in which time Butterfly has a child and
Pinkerton remarries. Butterfly's unwavering devotion to her hiusband has moved opera audiences for centuries, and
has of late pissed off feminists because of its portrayal of women. (Hmm ... sounds like "Miss Saigon" to us.) But
it's a good cry nonetheless. And even if you're not an opera aficionado, you'll warm up instantly to the story and the.
music. This is a great first opera to see. "Madama Butterfly" plays at the Power Center tonight and Friday at 8 p.m.
and Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $42, and are available at the UMS box office in Burton Tower.
Call 7642538 for more information, and bring a hankie.
Reliving old anXieties, vicariously
My sister is graduating from high make my sister's senior year go a lot Christmas I had my first panic attack
school this year and it has had a bigger smoother than my own did. Or may be about my future. I went around fo
effect on my life than I ever thought it I'm just upset that she seems so days talking about how old I ha
would. Every couple of weeks she nonchalant about the whole thing gotten and watching the bags under
tells me about some new development when I was a basket case. . my eyes get bigger and bigger.
in her college search or about some When I was a senior I was caught My sister repeatedly looked at me
.. up in the frantic process of filling out and asked me what my problem was.
J ES SI EH AL LA DA Y college and scholarship applications, "Can't you see how old I've gotten?"
taking my SATs and ACTs and I would yell back. She would shake
desperately trying to find a date for herheadandreply,"Ohstopit.You're
prom.(Breakingupwithmy boyfriend only 20. You can't even go to the
two months before the big event didn' t bar."~
ease my mind at all.) After seeing how unconcerned my@
sen ior-relate d sc hool activ ity . It strikes me now that as much as sister seems to be about the whole
(Usually because I am asking, not my life has changed since I left high senior thing - whether it's an act or
because she volunteers any school, the more things have stayed not I don't know - I have come to
information. She seems to have an the same. Okay so now I don't need a believe I've spent my life worrying
aversion to talking about this with date for prom, but relationships have too much. After all, my sister only
anyone.) just gotten more complicated. Now, I applied to one university and she
It seems like I am more stressed don't need to worry about my test refuses to get sucked into the whole
our about my sister's collegiate future scores, only my rdsumd. And forget s tres se d-out-a bou t-c olle ge-
than she is. Every week when I talk to college aps because there's no way syndrome.
her on the phone I f ind myself asking i'm going to grad school, but what Un like when I received.
questions about financial aid and about a job? Wasn't college life acceptances to the three colleges I
housing. I feel like I have turned into supposed to be different? applied to and had weekly fights with
my mother. I guess it has taken my sister, who my mother which typically ended in a
Maybe this has something to do I always thought was supposed to flood of tears. We constantly fought
with trying to return to my own high learn from me, to teach me how to over the money which it would cost
school days. May be I am trying to rel ax about ever ything. Over for me to go to Nor th western
________________________________________________ 1University, which was more than we
ii could afford, when Michigan was
offering me a scholarship. I was
THURSDAYS completely convinced that my life
was ruined because I couldn't attend*
a sb Northwestern. Now that I look back I
CmjvlgGrrealize that coming to M ichigan was
WOMEN IN the best thing I could have done for
FREE myself. So why did I worry?
UM And that is really the point. Why
MOLSON worry about things that you can'
$ T DN BUD ICE control? Just make the best of the
.DRINKsituation you're in, no matter how
hard or challenging itmay be. Whether
you have a date for the prom or not.@
FRIDAY SATURDAY ALL Some of you may have noticed
NIGHT that I recently started a new job as
JES Jawbone Editor in Chief of the Daily. During
GRU the past three weeks, I have faced
The Voice many challenges I never thought I
would and I sometimes stop to ask if
the 40 to 50 hours a week are worth it.
The answer varies. But thanks to my
sister, I realize I just have to keep
going on and not worry about it.
"My experience at the
Daily has been very re-
warding and beneficial. I
especially like the 45 cent
Carolyn Quint, Account
RE ACCOUfiNT EXECUTIVE FOR
eBagels ePasta Salads
*Muff ins eSoups
*Frozen Yogurt oVegetable Salads
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715 N. Universityj
Health Issues and Answers These questions were taken from the Computer Health Information Program on MTS.
UM-CHIP is an anonymous server available from UMnt. At the *Which Host prompt, type: UM-CHIP.
(Q.) What are the chances of pregnancy with various types of birth control methods?
(A.) The information provided regarding effectiveness of methods is from Contraceptive Technology, 1990-92 edition.
Fertility Awareness Method 70-80%
Spermicide Alone 80%
Condom Alone 88%
Condom and Spermicide 97.5%
Contraceptive Sponge 82-94%
Cervical Cap 83%
Oral Contraceptives 97%
(birth control pills)
Norplant 99.5% HUsua & M as&rs
Depo-Provera 99.7% u is jointly produced by MSA and UHS.
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