Wednesday, June 18, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: "Exclusive: Director of The Seventh Python is tabloid television pioneer and web's leading critic of"

Neil Innes biopic premieres June 26th at Egyptian Theatre

Director of The Seventh Python
is tabloid television pioneer and
web's leading critic of

HOLLYWOOD (JONAS PR) -- The director of The Seventh Python, the new musical film about Monty Python collaborator and Rutle songwriter Neil Innes- says the picture that premieres June 26th is a direct slap at the celebrity tabloid culture that he helped create in the Nineties and has spun out of control today.

Burt Kearns, a tabloid television pioneer with A

Current Affair and Hard Copy, is the author of the controversial 1999 memoir-exposé Tabloid Baby, and is known in media circles as the leading online critic of the celebrity website,

'Neil Innes represents everything that's good about show business, rock ‘n'roll, and pop culture,' says Kearns. 'TMZ is everything bad, stuffed into one noxious box. They celebrate the vapid; they mock true talent; they taunt noted artists. And they ooze in the notion of fame for fame's sake.

'Consider that to be a subtext of The Seventh Python,' Kearns says. 'Neil has spent a career avoiding what he calls ‘The Fame Game.' He loves to create. He loves to work in a number of media with talented people, but he's managed to remain under the radar without the distractions and often fatal consequences of celebrity.

'This film opens and ends on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame. What the audience will see in the hour and half in between is a portrait of an artist whose work has influenced, reflected and satirized our culture for the past forty years and who speaks to his audience one person at a time. And he's really funny. It's the antidote to all the celubutard drivel that TMZ and its offshoots have sump-pumped across pop culture culture, and I can't believe that we were the ones who spawned them."

Some might call those 'fighting words' ironic. Kearns was the first managing editor of the original tabloid television show, A Current Affair. He moved west to Hollywood in 1990 with Hard Copy, and helped transform celebrity reporting with a wicked wit and irreverence-- but not without controversy.

With a background in mainstream television and print journalism, Kearns turned his experiences into the book Tabloid Baby, a blistering exposé of the era.

'Around the time the book came out, I began working with a producer named Brett Hudson. He'd seen the tabloid world from the other side. He was a celebrity with the Hudson Brothers. His niece Kate Hudson was just beginning to feel the heat. We bonded over our love for rock ‘n' roll and Jerry Lewis. With my background in journalism and Brett's experience in entertainment, we hit on a unique formula that shows through in all our work.'

Kearns and Hudson formed Frozen Pictures and began producing a diverse and very distinct array of television and film projects, including the 2001 record-rating Court TV miniseries, Adults Only: The Secret History of The Hollywood; Showtime's My First Time docudrama series; All The Presidents' Movies with Martin Sheen for Bravo, and last year's nonfiction film, Basketball Man.

In 2006, Kearns and Hudson teamed up with Academy Award winning producer Albert S. Ruddy (The Godfather, Milion Dollar Baby) to write and produce Frozen Pictures' first feature film, Cloud 9, a beach volleyball sports comedy starring Burt Reynolds and DL Hughley.

Along the way, Kearns has also directed or produced a number of other projects, including Hollywood Animal Crusaders, on which he worked with John Travolta and Cher; the international documentary, Bin Laden's Escape; and the 2000 nonfiction film, Death of A Beatle.

'I first met Neil Innes in London, while filming the John Lennon project,' he says. 'Along with friends and colleagues, I wanted to interview the man who played Lennon in the Rutles. Neil was wary. When we asked about Lennon's legacy, he said it taught you to never trust a journalist. We put that in the doco. When we asked where he was when John was killed. Neil said he didn't like being part of a montage of remembrances. We ran Neil's objection. We also included him the montage. He liked that. And we developed a friendship that led to this film.'

Kearns denies there's any incongruity in a once-notorious tabloid producer taking on the story of an artist who's been called the most important musical satirist since the days of vaudeville.

'I came up from rock ‘n' roll, radio stations and music journalism in the Seventies' says Kearns. 'Brett was a rock ‘n' roll star. The rock ‘n' roll sensibility has informed everything we do. And it influenced tabloid television, which was a great liberator for me. We changed the way stories were told on television, and all the techniques I learned we transferred to our work with Frozen Pictures.'

Along with his film and writing work (he and Hudson are penning the book based on the film), Kearns is also editor of the Tabloid Baby news and satire site. 'It's place for media criticism, satire and good interesting stories,' he says. 'We've got people contributing from around the world, and always make room for Seventh Python stories. And we keep an eye on TMZ.'

The Seventh Python, which also features Monty Python alums John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin; acclaimed singer-songwriter Aimee Mann; and The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, among others, opens the Mods & Rockers Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, June 26th.

Neil Innes will attend the premiere and appear in a special solo performance at the Egyptian on Friday, June 27th. Both shows begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at

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