"I want to do a comedy after six tragedies," Ang Lee said when we asked him why his next project would be Taking Woodstock, the story of the real life Greenwich Village–based interior designer and part-time Catskills hotel manager, Elliot Tiber, who was responsible for issuing the permit that allowed the iconic 1969 festival to take place. (That the movie might be a great comedy was suggested this morning, when Variety announced that Demetri Martin would play the lead.) At Wednesday night's benefit honoring Lee's longtime collaborator (and Focus Features boss) James Schamus, as well as Showtime's Matt Blank, at the Museum of the Moving Image, Lee was in good spirits, toasting his buddy Schamus and comparing their working relationship to that of Jenna Jameson and Jay Grdina.
Lee also gave hope to everyone who's ever wished they could deliver their story to a major director without all those irritating agents and managers in the way. "I was promoting Lust, Caution" on a TV show in San Francisco, Lee said, and Elliot Tiber "was behind me promoting his book. While we were waiting, he just pitched me a one-minute pitch. I happened to read the book afterwards, and I thought it was a movie." Rejoice, random dudes pitching your book to art-house legends! Success can be yours! "Usually that doesn't happen," Lee was careful to stress. "Usually I will take the book and throw it away in the nearest garbage can." —Alisa Gould-Simon