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14 TV Commercials Made By Famous Movie Directors

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It takes a long time for movies to be written, produced, shot, and edited for audiences—that's why, on average, a director releases a movie every two to three years. In between, some notable directors keep in practice by making commercials for high-end name brands including Chanel, Gucci, and Apple Computers. Here are 14 TV commercials from famous movie directors made between film projects.

1. Wes Anderson: American Express

Before the release of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Wes Anderson was part of the “My Life, My Card” campaign for American Express. Anderson was the star of the commercial as it followed him throughout a tough shooting day. Actor Jason Schwartzman and cinematographer Robert Yeoman were at the center of the commercial, along with Wes Anderson’s trademark other meticulous indie quirks.

2. Wes Anderson: Stella Artois

Anderson also did a commercial for Belgian beer brewery Stella Artois with co-director Roman Coppola. This commercial also featured Anderson’s attention to detail in re-creating French spy movies from the 60s.

3. Spike Jonze: Gap

In 2005, Gap commissioned Spike Jonze to make a new commercial that would signify a new era with the San Francisco-based clothing line. What they received was Jonze’s penchant for being anti-establishment and a prankster. Gap was not happy with the TV ad featuring Gap employees and customers destroying one of their retail stores. The commercial ran in a few cities before Gap pulled the plug.

4. David Lynch: Sony PlayStation 2

After the release of Mulholland Dr., David Lynch made an eerie commercial for Sony PlayStation 2 that resembled many elements of his 1977 film Eraserhead. While it’s unclear what this had to do with video games, Lynch made an unforgettable commercial with disturbing imagery.

5. David Lynch: Clearblue Pregnancy Test

Not all commercials are works of art. Lynch directed a surprisingly straightforward commercial for a pregnancy test. Was David Lynch really passionate about the Clearblue Brand or was the paycheck that good?

6. Sophia Coppola: Christian Dior’s Miss Dior

After the production of her upcoming film The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola directed a TV commercial for Miss Dior that premiered during the 85th Academy Award ceremony. The commercial starred Natalie Portman and captured Coppola’s trademark cinematic whimsy. The ad also featured singer Grace Jones’ rendition of “La Vie en Rose.”

7. Darren Aronofsky: Yves Saint Laurent

After the release of Black Swan in 2010, Darren Aronofsky directed a commercial for Yves Saint Laurent’s La Nuit de L’Homme cologne featuring French actor Vincent Cassel, who appeared in the aforementioned film. The commercial showcased Aronofsky’s ability to play with color and light, which reflected Cassel’s playful nature. The TV ad also features the music of Clint Mansell, a longtime Aronofsky collaborator.

8. David Fincher: Apple

In 2009, David Fincher directed a commercial for Apple’s new iPhone 3GS titled “Break In.” Fincher worked with one of his collaborators, cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, who did the photography on Fincher’s 1999 film Fight Club.

9. David Fincher: Nike

Released the same year he was nominated for an Academy Award for directing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fincher directed a TV spot for Nike that featured NFL superstars LaDainian Tomlinson and Troy Polamalu. Much like the film he was nominated for, the Nike commercial “Fate” followed the life cycle of two pro football players (only in chronological order, unlike Benjamin Button).

10. Sergio Leone: Renault 18 Diesel

In 1985, after the release of his last film Once Upon a Time in America, Italian director Sergio Leone made a commercial that showcased the power of the Renault 18 Diesel car. The commercial also showcased Leone’s love for the Western genre and featured music from collaborator Ennio Morricone. The commercial would be the last film Leone would direct; Leone died four years later in 1989.

11. Joe Wright: Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

In 2011, British director Joe Wright made a commercial for the Chanel Coco Mademoiselle fragrance, starring actress Keira Knightley—who appeared in Wright’s literary film adaptations Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina. The ad is seductive, sexy, and highly stylized. It also features singer Joss Stone’s cover of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”

12. Michael Bay: Victoria’s Secret

Director Michael Bay is known for making movies that are excessive and loud. So when he was commissioned to direct a commercial for Victoria’s Secret, why not feature one with motorcycles, explosions, and numerous leggy supermodels in lingerie. The shoot also served as a casting call: When actress Megan Fox didn’t return to the Transformers film series, the 48-year-old director replaced her with Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whitely in the movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon, who appeared in this commercial.

13. Ridley Scott: Apple Computers

Considered the greatest commercial of all time, Ridley Scott’s “1984” TV ad for Apple Computer's new Macintosh premiered during Super Bowl XVII in 1984. While the Orwellian ad only aired once, the commercial was very influential on future marketing and the overall success of Apple in the early 80s. Apple CEO Steve Jobs chose Ridley Scott to direct the TV spot because of the dystopian future world he created in the 1982 film Blade Runner.

14. Baz Luhrmann: Chanel No. 5

In 2004, Australian director Baz Luhrmann made a commercial that reunited him with his Moulin Rouge! star Nicole Kidman. Based on the William Wyler film Roman Holiday, the 3-minute commercial was lush, flamboyant, and decadent. The commercial was so extravagant that it’s considered the most expensive commercial of all time with an estimated budget of a whopping $33 million. Nicole Kidman received $3 million for appearing in the ad.

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8 Gonzo Facts About Hunter S. Thompson
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Hunter S. Thompson in Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson (2008)
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Like any real-life legend, there are many myths surrounding the life and work of Hunter S. Thompson. But in Thompson’s case, most of those stories—particularly the more outlandish ones—are absolutely true. The founder of the “Gonzo journalism” movement is one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. In celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday, here are some things you might not have known about the eccentric writer.

1. HE WAS NAMED AFTER A FAMOUS SCOTTISH SURGEON.

Hunter S. Thompson was reportedly named after one of his mother’s ancestors, a Scottish surgeon named Nigel John Hunter. But Hunter wasn't just your run-of-the-mill surgeon. In a 2004 interview with the Independent, Thompson brought along a copy of The Reluctant Surgeon, a Biography of Nigel John Hunter, a biography of his namesake, which read: "A gruff Scotsman, Hunter has been described as the most important naturalist between Aristotle and Darwin, the Shakespeare of medicine and the greatest man the British ever produced. He was the first to trace the lymphatic system. He performed the first human artificial insemination. He was the greatest collector of anatomical specimens in history. He prescribed the orthopaedic shoe that allowed Lord Byron to walk."

When pressed about what that description had to do with him, Thompson responded: "Well, I guess that might be the secret of my survival. Good genes."

2. HE MISSED HIS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION … BECAUSE HE WAS IN JAIL.

Just a few weeks before he was set to graduate from high school, at the age of 17, Thompson was charged as an accessory to robbery and sentenced to 60 days in jail. 

“One night Ralston Steenrod, who was in the Athenaeum with Hunter, was driving, and Hunter and another guy he knew were in the car,” Thompson’s childhood friend Neville Blakemore recalled of the incident. “As they were driv­ing through Cherokee Park, the other guy said, ‘Stop. I want to bum a ciga­rette from that car.’ People used to go park and neck at this spot. And the guy got out and apparently went back and mugged them. The guy who was mugged got their license number and traced the car, and within a very short time they were all three arrested.

“Just before this Hunter had been blamed for a nighttime gas-station rob­bery,” Blakemore added, “and before that he and some friends got arrested for buying booze under­age at Abe's Liquor Store on Frankfort Avenue by the tracks. So Hunter had a record, and he was already on probation. He was given an ultimatum: jail or the military. And Hunter took the Air Force. He didn't graduate with his class.”

3. IT WAS A FELLOW JOURNALIST WHO COINED THE TERM “GONZO.”

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While covering the 1968 New Hampshire primary, Thompson met fellow writer and editor Bill Carodoso, editor of The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, which is where Thompson first heard him use the word “Gonzo.” “It meant sort of ‘crazy’ or ‘off-the-wall,’” Thompson said in Anita Thompson’s Ancient Gonzo Wisdom: Interviews with Hunter S. Thompson. Two years later, in June 1970, Thompson wrote an article for Scanlan’s Monthly entitled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” which became a game-changing moment in journalism because of its offbeat, slightly manic style that was written with first-person subjectivity.

Among the many fellow journalists who praised Thompson for the piece was Cardoso, who sent a letter to Thompson that “said something like, ‘Forget all the sh*t you’ve been writing, this is it; this is pure Gonzo.’ Gonzo. Yeah, of course. That’s what I was doing all the time. Of course, I might be crazy.” Thompson ran with the word, and would use it himself for the first time a year later, in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

4. HE TYPED OUT FAMOUS NOVELS TO LEARN THE ART OF WRITING.

In order to get the “feel” of being a writer, Thompson used to retype his favorite novels in full. “[H]is true model and hero was F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Louis Menand wrote in The New Yorker. “He used to type out pages from The Great Gatsby, just to get the feeling, he said, of what it was like to write that way, and Fitzgerald’s novel was continually on his mind while he was working on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was published, after a prolonged and agonizing compositional nightmare, in 1972.”

"If you type out somebody's work, you learn a lot about it,” Thompson told Charlie Rose in 1997. “Amazingly it's like music. And from typing out parts of Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald—these were writers that were very big in my life and the lives of the people around me—so yeah, I wanted to learn from the best I guess."

5. HE RAN FOR SHERIFF IN COLORADO.

In 1970, Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado on what he called the Freak Power ticket. Among his political tactics: shaving his head so that he could refer to his opponent as his “long-haired opponent,” promising to eat mescaline while on duty, and campaigning to rename Aspen “Fat City” to deter "greed heads, land-rapers, and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name 'Aspen.'" Unfortunately, he lost.

6. HE STOLE A MEMENTO FROM ERNEST HEMINGWAY.

In 1964, three years after Ernest Hemingway committed suicide at his cabin in Ketchum, Idaho, Thompson traveled to the late author’s home in order to write “What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum?” While there, according to his widow, Hunter “got caught up in the moment” and took “a big pair of elk horns over the front door.” Last year, more than a decade after Thompson’s death, Anita returned the antlers to the Hemingway family—which is something she and Hunter had always planned to do. “They were warm and kind of tickled … they were so open and grateful, there was no weirdness,” Anita said.

7. HE ONCE USED THE INSIDE OF MUSICIAN JOHN OATES’ COLORADO CABIN AS HIS PERSONAL PARKING SPACE.

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Earlier this month, musician John Oates—the latter half of Hall & Oates—shared a story about his ranch in Woody Creek, Colorado, just outside of Aspen, which is currently on the market for $6 million. In an interview with Colorado Public Radio, Oates recalled how when he first purchased the cabin, there was a red convertible parked inside. “I happened to ask the real estate agent who owned the convertible, and he said ‘your neighbor Hunter Thompson,’” Oates said. “Why is he keeping his car in a piece of property he doesn’t own? The real estate agent looked at me and said ‘It’s Woody Creek, you’ll figure this out. It’s a different kind of place.’” After sending several letters to his neighbor to retrieve his vehicle, Oates took matters into his own hands and deposited the car on Thompson’s lawn. Oates said that the two became friends, but never mentioned the incident.

8. AT HIS FUNERAL, HIS ASHES WERE SHOT OUT OF A CANNON.

On February 20, 2005—at the age of 67—Thompson committed suicide. But Thompson wasn’t about to leave this world quietly. In August of that year, in accordance with his wishes, Thompson's ashes were shot into the air from a cannon while fireworks filled the sky.

“He loved explosions," his widow, Anita, told ESPN, which wrote that, “The private celebration included actors Bill Murray and Johnny Depp, rock bands, blowup dolls and plenty of liquor to honor Thompson, who killed himself six months ago at the age of 67.”

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15 Memorable Quotes from George A. Romero
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Hollywood has lost one of its most iconic horror innovators with the death of George A. Romero, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 77. “He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time,” his manager, Chris Roe, said in a statement.

Though he rose to prominence as the master of zombie flicks, beginning with Night of the Living Dead, Romero honed his filmmaking skills on a far less frightening set: shooting bits for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

“I still joke that 'Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy' is the scariest film I’ve ever made,” Romero once said. “What I really mean is that I was scared sh*tless while I was trying to pull it off.” (Rogers returned the favor by being a longtime champion of Romero’s work—and even called Dawn of the Dead “a lot of fun.”)

It’s that high-spirited sense of fun that made Romero’s work so iconic—and kept the New York City native busy for nearly 50 years. To celebrate his life and career, here are 15 of his most memorable quotes on everything from the humanity of zombies to the horror of Hollywood producers.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A SENSE OF HUMOR

“For a Catholic kid in parochial school, the only way to survive the beatings—by classmates, not the nuns—was to be the funny guy.”

ON THE HOLLYWOOD WAY

“If I fail, the film industry writes me off as another statistic. If I succeed, they pay me a million bucks to fly out to Hollywood and fart.”

ON BEING PIGEONHOLED

“As a filmmaker you get typecast just as much as an actor does, so I'm trapped in a genre that I love, but I'm trapped in it!”

ON ZOMBIES AS A METAPHOR

“I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.”

ON FINDING OBJECTIVITY AS A FILMMAKER

“There are so many factors when you think of your own films. You think of the people you worked on it with, and somehow forget the movie. You can't forgive the movie for a long time. It takes a few years to look at it with any objectivity and forgive its flaws.”

ON THE REAL VALUE OF THE INTERNET

“What the Internet's value is that you have access to information but you also have access to every lunatic that's out there that wants to throw up a blog.”

ON THE HORROR OF DEALING WITH PRODUCERS

“I'll never get sick of zombies. I just get sick of producers.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATION

“Collaborate, don’t dictate.”

ON THE BEAUTY OF LOW-BUDGET MOVIEMAKING

“I don't think you need to spend $40 million to be creepy. The best horror films are the ones that are much less endowed.”

ON HUMANS BEING THE REAL VILLAINS

“My zombies will never take over the world because I need the humans. The humans are the ones I dislike the most, and they're where the trouble really lies.”

ON BEING IMMUNE TO TRENDS

“Somehow I've been able to keep standing and stay in my little corner and do my little stuff and I'm not particularly affected by trends or I'm not dying to make a 3-D movie or anything like that. I'm just sort of happy to still be around.”

ON THE HUMANITY OF HORROR

“My stories are about humans and how they react, or fail to react, or react stupidly. I'm pointing the finger at us, not at the zombies. I try to respect and sympathize with the zombies as much as possible.”

ON THE ENDURING APPEAL OF HORROR

“If one horror film hits, everyone says, 'Let's go make a horror film.' It's the genre that never dies.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SURROUNDING ZOMBIES WITH STUPID PEOPLE

“A zombie film is not fun without a bunch of stupid people running around and observing how they fail to handle the situation.”

ON LIFE AFTER DEATH

“I'm like my zombies. I won't stay dead!”

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