(AFP) – Hollywood and its “toxic” environment are “collapsing”: this is what young director Jim Cummings intends to prove, with his new film, “the Beta test”, an explosive suspense comedy.
“Fuck Hollywood”: this is how this filmmaker of 34 years old introduced his film, co-signed with PJ McCabe, before its screening out of competition on Saturday at the Deauville American Film Festival (Calvados).
This thriller which mixes drama and comedy, blood and burlesque, is released on 13 December in French theaters.
“We wanted to prove that the system is bullshit and that we do not need it”, explains to AFP the director crowned in 2018 in Deauville for his first film “Thunder Road”.
“We made a film”, produced entirely by crowdfunding, “about this idiotic and lame agent in a landscape Hollywood collapsing, “continues the director.
Jordan Hines (Jim Cummings) co-manages an agency in Hollywood with his friend PJ (McCabe). He has like “everyone” for model “Harvey” (we imagine Weinstein).
But when he receives an anonymous letter proposing a sexual meeting in a hotel, this future groom is losing his footing. He is also humiliating with his young secretary that he lets himself be humiliated by the big potential client he covets.
The hypocrisy of the medium depicted goes beyond Hollywood . Jordan’s enthusiasm for people is so systematic that his future wife no longer knows who his bride really appreciates. “It must be exhausting to always pretend to be yourself”, she blurted out.
With his physique more Laurel than Hardy, Jim Cummings plays his character, slicked back hair and parting on the side, in a clownish fashion. And the viewer is made to laugh at this pathetic character before feeling empathy for what remains of humanity.
– “This is North Korea” –
“Hollywood, most of the time, c ‘is such an awful and toxic work environment, especially for women, “continues the filmmaker.
The two directors worked on eleven testimonies from former employees of the four Hollywood’s biggest agencies.
Jim Cummings also draws on his own experience, his second film, which was not released in France, having been produced by MGM.
Hollywood, “it’s North Korea!”, With a “culture of silence” that MeToo has not fundamentally changed, according to the young filmmaker.
The director admits, however, that his time at MGM allowed him to become known to a wider audience.
The good news according to him, it is that the Hollywood agencies are on the way to becoming as rare as travel agencies. “Nine times out of ten today when we want to reach a personality, we go through Instagram” and not through agencies, argues Jim Cummings.
This does not prevent the filmmaker to be appalled by the recovery of personal data via social networks, to sell a product or false information, another major theme of this film at 350. 00 0 dollars.
“It’s a bit like the great wild west today There is so much personal data available. It is something insane, very dangerous “which can destroy” an election “, worries the filmmaker.
Social networks are “useful for letting you know when you’re little. But some are monsters,” he adds.