On May 3, the British blog bordeaux-undiscovered.co.uk published an entry stating that Brad Pitt was to star in the movie version of The Billionaire’s Vinegar. On May 4, thedrinksbusiness.com picked up the story, citing no sources, adding that David Koepp is directing and the movie is set to be released this fall. On May 8, Decanter.com, rehashed the same details, citing no source. From there, it was off to the races, retweeted and picked up by wine sites from Canada to India as well as Brad Pitt fan sites and even Robert Parker.
Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble but Brad Pitt is not going to star in the movie. And the movie is nowhere close to coming out this year.
I called David Bloomfield of Escape Artists Entertainment at his office in LA. Bloomfield is the executive producer of the film. I asked if the Brad Pitt item was true.
“It’s literally someone in the blogosphere picking up something that was published two years ago,” he said referring to the nytimes.com page that was the source of the original blog post.
And David Koepp as director? Nope. Bloomfield said, that there’s “No director. No talent. No new news.”
He added that the project is still officially in development and that it is “not dead.” But there’s nothing to report. “I hope there will be soon.”
Level 1 Entertainment has purchased the movie rights to “A Vintage Crime,” a story by Mike Steinberger about wine counterfeiting that appeared yesterday on VanityFair.com. Edward Milstein and Bill Todman Jr. co-founded Level 1, which has released two comedies (“Grandma’s Boy” and “Strange Wilderness”) as well as a thriller (“Rendition”) with houses 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and New Line Cinema.
Milstein has several ties to the story. He is a wine collector and overlapped with Kurniawan, who is at the center of the story and indicted, awaiting trial. Milstein is co-chairman of Emigrant Savings Bank; a previous suit alleged that Kurniawan defaulted on a $3 million loan to Emigrant. Milstein owns or has a stake in Remoissenet Pere et Fils, a Burgundy producer, as well as The Sorting Table, a Napa-based wine importer. He also heads his family’s real estate company with his brother.
“Eddie is a huge wine collector who knew Rudy, and likely bought a few bottles from him, and when we got a peek at this article, Eddie flipped for it and we bought it preemptively,” Todman told Deadline. “It has that Catch Me If You Can thriller aspect, where you can’t believe this guy got away with this for so long, ingratiating himself into this billionaire’s club and living the high life, at least for awhile.”
Since the project will need a screenwriter, a director, and casting decisions before it can start shooting (if, indeed, it ever makes it that far), that gives us plenty of time to weigh in with our choices. Who do you see in the leading roles? It will be interesting to see if they keep a young ethnic Chinese in the central role, or if they opt for more of a George Clooney, Johnny Depp, or Gary Oldman type. And how about Jean Reno as Laurent Ponsot? Or do you think the story is too narrow for the silver screen?
Okay, only about five years late on this. But, thanks to site reader Quizicat drawing a parallel to our recent discussion of moscato, I’ve learned that I missed an episode of “30 Rock” where wine featured prominently. Jack Donaghy is delighted to have his name on his own sparkling wine from Long Island and he shares it with Liz Lemon. They toast each other, take a sip–and then both spit it out and retch, with Liz scraping her tongue with her fingers. Jack wonders how he is ever going to sell 10,000 cases of this wine…
When Tracy likes it, Jack has the idea of getting the hip-hop star Ridikulous (played by LL Cool J) to flog the wine in a performance. In the spirit of full disclosure, Jack informs Ridikulous that Robert Parker wrote that “Donaghy Estates tastes like the urine of Satan after a hefty portion of asparagus.”
But how many points?!?
You can see the episode on Netflix streaming or buy it on Amazon or iTunes.
“Ahhhhhh, the French!… Champagne…” The outtakes of this Orson Welles ad make the rounds periodically, with this one racking up 854,000 views thus far. And, yes, it is funny when you turn on the outrageously bad closed captioning…
Check out this “Hitler yelling” parody that several people tweeted to my attention. Even if it’s 18 months old, it’s still sufficient for your Saturday LOL needs.
“You, with such a smaller part of me than you realize, we have changed the wine world.”
That’s how Gary Vaynerchuk concluded what he said was his final wine video. (He had previously announced stepping down from his position at Wine Library.) I was once a guest on Wine Library TV, aka the “Thunder Show,” and the show had a fun run for five years. I wish Gary sunny skies in his future endeavors.
But what does Gary’s departure mean for wine video? After five years of gaining lots of traction on WLTV, he has come to define the space, with his gonzo style and spitting into a Jets bucket. Wine and TV are a difficult blend to master. Gary had his own distinctive style. It will be interesting to see what others can do with wine video, from finding a business model that works to the style of entertainment.
Meanwhile, the Jets dump bucket has to go into a wine Hall of Fame.
In a memorable scene in Casino Royale, James Bond sipped Chateau Angelus on a train while meeting Vesper Lynd. The St Emilion maker of bold blend of merlot and cabernet franc paid for the placement in cash and wine.
Jean-Bernard Grenié told me today that the laws prohibiting advertising wine in France made the producer pursue a strategy of product placement in movies. Their agent in Paris had a connection to the Broccoli family, producers of the Bond film, and sent them a case. Grenié said that they “loved” the wines. Angelus paid “some cash and some wine” for the placement. Grenié did not specify the amount of either. Co-owner Hubert de Bouard had previously told decanter.com that the impact on sales was “unbelievable.”
Will it be James Bond’s wine of choice in future movies? “Yes,” Grenié replied, adding “as long as somebody doesn’t pay more than we did.”