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Julian Schnabel, Peacemaker

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Page Six today refers to Julian Schnabel's next project as an adaptation of Rula Jebreal's book "about Hind Husseini, who started the Dar El-Tifl orphanage in Jerusalem." A little more digging reveals the story's original source, where interviewer Merav Yudilovitch notes that Schnabel will head to Israel in June for a little location scouting. Naturally, this being Schnabel, the finale must be seen to be believed:

JS: You're the first person to say my film made them want to live for a thousand years. That would be grilling for some people, but hey, you live in Tel Aviv. How's everything there right now?

MY: Well, last night while I was sitting at work there were bombings in the South. The problem is like you said with the invisible people - when you live in Tel Aviv, it's like living in a bubble in a way.

JS: Why?

MY: The North and the South don't exist as long as you can drink your coffee in Tel Aviv and this is something we really felt bad about during the Second Lebanon War, because people here live life as usual. It's a bit strange.

JS: Yeah. We need to fix things over there.

MY: Definitely, can you help?

JS: I'm going to work on it. That will be my next thing. Yes, I'm going to devote myself to try and make things better over there.

Look, I know I've been accused otherwise, but I love Schnabel, and stories like this are the reason why. It's tempting to visualize how this exchange might have unfolded in context: Schnabel, vigorously wiping the yellow lenses of his eyeglasses between the purple fabric of his pajama top, lowering his voice, nodding rhythmically to the war lament. Then, like a sunburst shattering cloud cover: "Can you help?" He stops nodding. He sets his frames back on the bridge of his nose and his hand on Yudilovitch's shoulder. He pauses and whispers, "Off the record: Are you fucking kidding me? I can't even get a Best Picture nomination for Diving Bell. Did you hear about that? Never mind. Yeah, sure. I can help. Where's cancer? I'll fix that, too. AIDS? Darfur? Sure, anything you need, pal. Homelessness? Famine? Just after I rebuild New Orleans. But, anyway, back on the record? OK? I'm going to work on it. That will be my next thing..." How disappointed he'll be when he realizes Miramax has no pull over Nobel Peace Prize voters.

Posted at February 12, 2008 7:18 AM

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