Turner Classic Movies has a new interview series, a fresh installment of Private Screenings and a special featuring the late animated genius Chuck Jones, as part of a robust slate of original programming this year.
The vintage film network will pull the curtain open on TCM Presents Elvis Mitchell: Under The Influence in July with Hollywood critic/interviewer Mitchell talking with celebrity guests about how classic film influenced their lives. Among those on the mat with Mitchell: actors Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laurence Fishburne, Bill Murray, Joan Allen and John Leguizamo, as well as Oscar-winning filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Sydney Pollack.
In September, Private Screenings, Walter Mirisch bows, as TCM host Robert Osborne conducts an intimate discussion with the Oscar-winning producer and former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in which he talks about B pictures, as well as such classics as The Magnificent Seven, West Side Story and In the Heat of the Night.
The following month, TCM premieres Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood. The special is drawn from interviews with Jones, just prior to his death in 2002. John Canemaker, who earned an Oscar for his animated short The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, led the conversations, which cover Jones’s rough childhood and abusive father and how those factors led to his work in cartoons. Further, the special features animation Canemaker created to complement the interview
There’s also plenty of original action before fall. Beginning May 7 at 8 p.m., the network will unveil "TCM Salutes Frank Sinatra," a month-long film festival on Sundays and Wednesdays. The stunt marks the 10th anniversary of the death of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.”
Among the films included in the May celebration are From Here to Eternity (1953), featuring Sinatra’s Oscar-winning performance; the musicals Pal Joey (1957), On the Town (1949) and Anchors Aweigh (1945); the Rat Pack comedies Ocean’s Eleven (1960) and Sergeants 3 (1962); ande dramas like The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), which earned him a second Oscar nomination, and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
In June, TCM will unspool the month-long retrospective "Screening Asian Americans and Identities in Motion: Asian American Film and Video," which marks the third time TCM has taken an in-depth look at ethnicity in Tinseltown.
Osborne and Dr. Peter X Feng, author of the books Screening Asian Americans and Identities in Motion: Asian American Film and Video, will provide insights. In addition, filmmaker Wayne Wang, producer Lauren Tom, actresses Ming Wen and Rosalind Chao, writer Amy Tan and actors George Takei and James Shigeta will be part of the festival.
Sunday nights at 8 p.m. in June, the network will showcase “TCM Essentials Jr.”, an opportunity for parents to introduce their progeny to such classics as National Velvet , Mutiny on the Bounty and Meet Me in St. Louis..
Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Golden Globe nominee Chris O’Donnell (Scent of a Woman), who are starring together in Picturehouse’s summer release, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, are teaming to host the strand on TCM.
“Our 2008 slate takes TCM to a whole new level, both in terms of the caliber of talent featured and the depth with which we are going to examine the art of filmmaking and the social issues influencing and influenced by cinema,” said TCM senior vice president of programming Charles Tabesh in a statement. “We look forward to bringing these exciting projects to classic movie fans of all ages.”