Ang Lee is “Taking Woodstock”, but how did this movie wind up in his hands?
by Dan Bloom
HOLLYWOOD(RUSHPRNEWS)09/26/2008 — Taiwan-born film director and Oscar winner Ang Lee is tackling a new movie project, a comedy this time, about America’s famous Woodstock music festival in 1969. Titled “Taking Woodstock”, and adapted by longtime Lee collaborator James Schamus, the movie stems from a book of the same name by U.S. writer Elliot Tiber.
Tiber’s memoir, co-written with Tom Monte, was published with in 2007 and subtitled “A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life”.
It’s set for a premiere in New York on June 26, 2009, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the famous Woodstock concert .
What does the title of the book, and the movie mean? Inquiring minds on both sides of the Pacific want to know, and one industry insider told Rush PR News what he knows.
“Taking Woodstock'” means two things: Taking stock of your life and, in a sense, control of your destiny — and also taking the experience of Woodstock, and what that cultural event meant, with you for the rest of your life, according to the industry insider. A marketing maven at the publishing house in New York came up with the phrase, he added.
How did a book that few people had even heard about wind up in Ang Lee’s hands? Was it fate, karma, serendipity?
“It might sound like something out of a Hollywood drugstore story where the pretty girl is ‘discovered’ by a savvy scout, but it really happened this way,” says one of the few people who knows about the genesis of the book and the movie. “Eliot Tiber was scheduled to appear on a TV show in San Francisco in 2007 to promote the book, and while he was waiting in the green room to go on the show, Ang Lee sat down beside him, by complete chance. Lee was also scheduled to appear on the same show to promote his current film at the time, ‘Lust, Caution’. Tiber, who had never met Lee before but knew his name, struck up a conversation with the Taiwan-born helmer and then spent the next thirty minutes or so chatting about his book. Lee had asked what the book was about, so Tiber told him.”
“Later, when Lee went on the show, the host asked him where he usually gets his ideas for his movies, and Lee said that he really doesn’t go looking for stories, that they seem to come to him. And with that he turned to Tiber, who was sitting across from him on the TV set, and gave him a wink,” the insider told this reporter.
“Fast forward to nine months later … Lee finally had read the book, loved it, and felt there was a very good movie there, so he headed to upstate New York to visit the farm where Woodstock took place in 1969. That’s the inside story in a nutshell: fate, karma, destiny,” the insider added.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dan Bloom is a columnist for RUSHPRNEWS, based in Taiwan. He lives not far from Lee’s hometown in southern Taiwan. You may write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Photos: Ang Lee in Cannes – courtesy of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Woodstock- on file