From the Movieweb article:
Not only did Netflix drop Kevin Spacey from House of Cards in what perhaps was supposed to be its most important season to date in terms of bringing the story to its close, the streaming giant also canceled Spacey's Gore Vidal biopic titled Gore. Netflix disclosed its $39 million loss with the fourth-quarter earning report released on Monday. Netflix claimed they had an 'unexpected' charge for 'unreleased content' they have 'decided not to move forward with.' At this time, it's unclear what could happen to Gore, or if it will ever be released.
Hollywood Reporter and other sources online report that several supporting cast members for the Netflix Gore Vidal biopic Gore have been announced. Gore Vidal will be portrayed by Kevin Spacey. The film will be directed by Michael Hoffman (The Last Station). It is based on Jay Parini's 2015 biography Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal.
The film focuses on the period in 1982 following Gore’s loss in the California Senate primary election. He retreats to his Italian home La Rondinaia in a Bacchanalian attempt to circumvent his writer’s block and sense of ennui.
Supporting cast members include Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man, Boardwalk Empire) as Gore Vidal's longtime companion Howard Austen, Douglas Booth (Mary Shelley), Freya Mavor (The Sense of An Ending), Nikolai Kinski (Yves Saint Laurent) as Russian dancer/choreographer Rudolph Nureyev, and Griffin Dunne (Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, War Machine) as American composer Leonard Bernstein.
The film is set for release in 2018.
"History is idle gossip about a happening whose truth is lost the instant it has taken place." - Gore Vidal
Five years ago today, Vidal died at the age of 86 from complications of pneumonia.
Of course, history is more than idle gossip. Also note that Vidal cited "history," not the notion of the discrete historical fact. After all, it's not merely idle gossip that Vidal did, in fact, die five years ago today. And the myriad resources of historical analysis in general don't all come down to so much idle gossip. Vidal was being provocative, as he often was.
Nonetheless, there's more than a little truth in what Vidal says here about history, depending on what kind of history is in question.
Especially regarding history of the pre-modern era, many sources include literal gossip and essentially report it as such. But it's also true that many things reported as fact in those eras cannot easily if ever be independently verified and might well have been just gossip. One thinks of some of the salacious details related in the works of Plutarch and Suetonius.
Probably, Vidal's larger point was that the truth of the past, including received, official history, can never be completely known. There is no omnipresent and omniscient historical recorder, something capturing forever every moment of human action on earth and the thoughts of those involved. Subjectivity and fading memories factor into the imperfection of the historical record and in part decide what is and isn't recorded in the first place.
More than likely, the subjectivity of history is something Vidal hoped to stress by very often relying on the first-person point of view in his historical novels, including an epistolary approach in Julian and using using diary entries like in Burr and transcription like in and Creation.
A publicity still of Gore Vidal and Kevin Spacey for the 2009 film Shrink.
A similar article in the Hollywood Reporter oddly refers to Vidal's cliff-side villa in Ravello, La Rondinaia, as "infamous," which it neither was nor is. Hopefully, that word choice doesn't reflect inside knowledge that the project is taking some sort of salacious approach. The descriptor "renown" as used in real estate descriptions no less is actually more accurate.
The producer is Andy Paterson (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day, The Last Station) director, and Patrizia von Brandenstein, production designer; von Brandenstein became the first woman to win an Oscar for production design when she did so in 1984 for Amadeus.
Gore Vidal, July the 4th, 1997, in Ravello at his writing desk; photograph by Jill Krementz.
Vidal, who died in 2012, has been the subject of several documentaries, including Australian director Nicholas Wrathall’s 2013 documentary Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia.
features interviews with now-deceased author George Plimpton, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and The New York Review of Books Editor and Publisher Barbara Epstein, as well as author and friend Jay Parini, the executor of Vidal's literary estate. Vidal's closest friends -- including Paul Newman, JoAnne Woodward, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Eli Wallach, and Anne Jackson -- appear in the film, reading excerpts from his writings.
Vidal's 1960 play The Best Man had Broadway revivals in 2000 (Spalding Gray, Chris Noth, Charles Durning, Christine Ebersole, et al) and 2012 (John Larroquette, Eric McCormack, James Earl Jones, Candice Bergen, Angela Lansbury, et al).
Gore Vidal always insisted that President Franklin Roosevelt more or less allowed the attack on Pearl Harbor to occur. As Vidal wrote in his September 2001 essay "The End of Liberty":
I have written lately about Pearl Harbor. Now I get the same question over and over: Isn't this exactly like Sunday morning 7 December 1941?
No, it's not, I say. As far as we now know, we had no warning of last Tuesday's attack. Of course, our government has many, many secrets which our enemies always seem to know about in advance but our people are not told of until years later, if at all. President Roosevelt provoked the Japanese to attack us at Pearl Harbor. I describe the various steps he took in a book, The Golden Age. We now know what was on his mind: coming to England's aid against Japan's ally, Hitler, a virtuous plot that ended triumphantly for the human race.
In May of 2001, in the pages of The New York Review of Books, Vidal lays out his case more in depth in an exchange with Ian Buruma about the matter of Pearl Harbor. He summarizes:
Japan looked for a compromise. We looked for war. The Japanese ambassadors to the US, Kurusu and Nomura, were treated to a series of American ultimatums that concluded, November 26, with the following order: “The government of Japan will withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces from China and Indo-China” as well as renounce the tripartite Axis agreement. It was then, as Lincoln once said on a nobler occasion, the war came.
From the Facebook page GoreVidalNow: an announcement and photograph that Gore Vidal (1925 – 2012) was interred in Rock Creek Cemetery on June 24, 2016 in a small private ceremony.
“Every time a friend succeeds, something inside me dies,” Vidal famously said, and the phrase has been pressed into service as the title for the British edition of Parini’s book. But on the evidence of both Parini and Mewshaw, Vidal could be a generous, thoughtful and attentive friend to those who passed his muster, and the list of those who did was considerable, somehow including even Princess Margaret. His closest relationship was with [his longtime companion Howard] Austen, who in Parini’s book emerges as a thoroughly winning character.
Parini’s guess is that it’s [Vidal's] historical novels — especially “Julian,” “Burr” and “Lincoln” — that will last, if any do, but he also suggests that it was both Vidal’s gift and his limitation that no single literary form could contain him. The essay came closest, and it’s there that Vidal most gets to show off his wit, stylishness and erudition — to be Vidal. But as Vidal was painfully aware, unless you’re Montaigne, essays won’t make your reputation. It’s possible, in fact, that Vidal will live on most vividly not on the page but on YouTube. No other American writer has been so at home on television, a medium to which he was ideally suited and where, funny, urbane, glamorous and magisterial, he could capture the attention of millions and become the imperial self he imagined.
A good read about Gore Vidal in The Guardian: "A life in feuds: how Gore Vidal gripped a nation," by Jay Parini, poet, novelist, critic, and author of Every Time a Friend Succeeds Something Inside Me Dies: The Life of Gore Vidal (published by Little, Brown this month).
Vidal vs. Capote:
Vidal lived in New York after the war, as did Capote, and they moved in the same social circle, over which Tennessee Williams presided.
Theirs was a minor squabble, with neither side missing a chance to make a joke about the other. But the feud expanded in the 60s, after Vidal had been – according to Capote, in an interview with Playgirl – tossed out of the White House by Bobby Kennedy because he was “drunk and obnoxious”. In fact Kennedy had taken offence at Vidal’s apparent intimacy with Jacqueline Kennedy – the first lady was distantly related to Vidal by marriage – and the writer had left in a huff. Vidal sued Capote over the remark, and Capote countersued. The legal case dragged on with Vidal winning in the end, though Capote had no money by then, so it was a Pyrrhic victory.
Their wrangling continued until Capote, ill from his abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs, died in the late summer of 1984. When Vidal’s editor called from New York with news of his rival’s death, Vidal remarked after the briefest pause: “A wise career move.”
Mailer had made a huge splash with The Naked and the Dead, his bestselling novel of the Pacific war, frustrating Vidal, whose own war novel, Williwaw, had barely registered. The two young writers circled each other warily, and a complicated friendship began that would play out over the next five decades. The two had little in common. “Norman imagined himself by nature a kind of boxer – though he wasn’t, not really,” says Gay Talese, a friend to both men. “In reality, Norman was soft. But he put on this aggressive mask. Vidal had another kind of mask: cool, suave, worldly-wise. It was a good contrast with Norman. They played well together, but it was always a kind of act. They both understood the publicity value of this contest, and they let it play out in different ways.”
Vidal vs. Buckley:
Their most infamous confrontation came in 1968, events now captured in the feature-length documentary film Best of Enemies.
[ABC's live broadcast of the] Buckley-Vidal debates attracted 10 million viewers for each session and the saturation coverage turned both men into celebrities.
The evening debate [on the 28th of August] contained fireworks of a kind never before seen on prime-time American television. Buckley spoke for the older generation when he decried the lawlessness in the streets. He exuded patriotism. When asked by Smith if raising a Viet Cong flag in the midst of the Vietnam war was unduly provocative, Buckley nodded, saying it was like raising a Nazi flag in the US during the second world war. Vidal shook his head, referring again and again to the “right to assembly”. “What are we doing in Vietnam if you can’t freely express yourself in the streets of Chicago?” he wondered.
Buckley and Vidal, each deemed a “national treasure” at the time, are now largely forgotten, which is sad. And we have no one like them today, which is sadder. We do have plenty of “public intellectuals” — scholars, thinkers, and literary types who write for the middle-to-highbrow press and give lectures at the 92nd Street Y. Some of them tub-thump against religion; some take brave stands on sexual culture; some run for political office. But their disputes play out on Twitter and other social media, before an audience fragmented into a thousand niche groups. And none of them are glamorous and magnetic the way Buckley and Vidal were....
Read the article at nymag.com.
Gore Vidal and William J Buckley were on opposing sides of the 60s political divide, and Best of Enemies adroitly shows what happened when they met head on....It’s set in a pre-culture wars America, where anti-intellectualism was prevalent but two articulate, self-indulgent and arrogant debaters could pull in huge television audience while lamenting the other’s inability to grasp 'axiomatic' theories.
From John Patterson's review in The Guardian for the general release of Best of Enemies, "The Best Of Enemies: political feuding from the golden age of TV":
The intense 1968 TV debates between Gore Vidal and William F Buckley are preserved forever in a film that shows up the moronic TV screamers of today."
How one yearns for a little of their exquisitely distilled poison among the moronic TV screamers of today.