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Really Important (Pop Culture) News

Death of a Hollywood producer, a great director headed to jail, and the remake of a remake.

4:45 PM, Oct 6, 2010 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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First the sad news: Stephen J. Cannell has died. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the longtime Hollywood producer passed away last week at the age of 69 due to complications from melanoma.

Really Important (Pop Culture) News

You might not recognize the name but you'll recognize his work: The Rockford Files (where Cannell employed a young writer named David Chase), 21 Jump Street (where we first discovered Johnny Depp), The A-Team (where I first glimpsed a sawed-off AK-47, which must've been filled with blanks since no one ever seemed to die on the show—instead people were simply thrown into the air), and the underrated Greatest American Hero. As Cannell once told Success magazine (and as noted by the Times), "One of my work ethic traits comes from the fact that I absolutely love what I do. I've never felt that writing was work.... I get up every morning, and I'm not going to work, I'm going to play. I get to play cops and robbers." We should all be so lucky. (You may have seen Cannell over the years without realizing it: His logo, which featured Cannell at the typewriter, ended all of his shows. In this montage, we not only see Cannell age but his office become more refined and filled with Emmys.)

And now the bad news: Director John McTiernan could go to jail. According to the Hollywood Reporter, "McTiernan was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $100,000 on Monday for lying during the wiretapping investigation of Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano and about his involvement in the wiretapping of producer Charles Roven." As one of my colleagues noted, Lindsay Lohan and Roman Polanski seem to evade serious jail time but the director of Die Hard, the remake of the Thomas Crown Affair, and The Hunt for Red October could be doing hard time? Judge Dale Fischer, in fact, has vowed McTiernan will not be sent off to some country club facility while dining on "aged cheese and fine wine." McTiernan says he isn't afraid of jail but vows to vigorously appeal.

Speaking of Charles Roven, the Hollywood exec will be a co-producer on the remake of the remake of Superman, presumably without Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey. But can they ever get it right? As noted by Entertainment Weekly and elsewhere, Zack Snyder, of 300 fame, will be directing, while Chris Nolan, the director of The Dark Knight and Inception, will be producing and has co-written the story. That may make all the difference.

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