Rumor Alert!: Bette In A P.T. Anderson Short Film?

Mister D: This little tidbit has been making its way around the net lately…hopefully I can confirm as soon as possible. BUT…it sounds quite interesting.
P.T. Anderson/Elliott Smith Film to Surface in 2008?
Jon Brion, Fiona Apple, Bette Midler, Rastafarian basketball players involved??

PhotoShop: Darrell Redmond

Everyone loves a good mystery. Quite a few people love Elliott Smith. And quite a few people love Paul Thomas Anderson as well. So here, how about a story that rolls all three into one?

According to “DVD Magazine of Rare and Unseen Short Films” Wholphin (linked via fan mecca and “definitive P.T. Anderson resource” Cigarettes and Red Vines), the beloved director of such films as Magnolia, Boogie Nights, and the forthcoming, Jonny Greenwood-scored There Will Be Blood once made a little film involving the late Elliott Smith.

In this film, wrote Wholphin, Smith plays “a Rastafarian basketball player.” Um, yeah.

While Smith’s publicist confirmed said short film exists, further details on it are scant at best. We don’t know its title, for one, nor whether it indeed, as Cigarettes and Red Vines has suggested, spun off from a proposed variety show featuring Smith pal Jon Brion.

The P.T. fansite quotes an unidentified Anderson interview from 2003 in which the director mentions a “thing we did as a test a few years back with Fiona [Apple], sweet Elliott Smith, the great Brad Mehldau, and Jon [Brion] at [Los Angeles’] Cello Studios.”

“Look for a bizarre and wonderful Bette Midler cameo,” added Anderson.

That thing, however, is “very simple, straightforward, no flashy pants– just music.” So, probably not the same as the basketball thing. Does this mean there are two P.T. Anderson-directed Elliott Smith films? Ack, my head hurts.

Whatever Anderson’s got, it’s presently stashed away in some storage unit in L.A., and the director won’t have a chance to get at it until he wraps up promotional duties surrounding There Will Be Blood. At that point, Wholphin– which originally intended to showcase the short in its Fall 2006 issue– may very well share it with the world via Issue 6, due in mid-2008. Or they may not.

This wouldn’t be a mystery without suspense, now would it?

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