Seduced and Abandoned, a 2013 mock documentary about the absurdities of indie film finance that was directed by James Toback and stars Alec Baldwin, hasn’t aged well. Baldwin and a pre-#MeToo Toback (the director’s career was derailed in 2017 after hundreds of women accused him of sexual misconduct, charges that he’s denied) are seen at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, lurching from one fabulous lunch to another as they wine and dine assorted film executives and billionaires. They are supposedly trying to drum up money for a modern-day remake of the 1972 erotic drama The Last Tango in Paris set in contemporary Iraq (working title Last Tango in Tikrit). Their desired budget: $15 million to $20 million, and Baldwin to star alongside Neve Campbell.
Again and again, Baldwin and Toback get shot down. Veteran indie sales exec Mark Damon, founder of Foresight Unlimited, scoffs at the idea and calls Baldwin, then ending his 30 Rock run, a TV actor who “does not denote a theatrical movie.”
Nu Image’s Avi Lerner, another indie film heavyweight, tells the pair bluntly: “When I make a movie, all I think about is the profit.” If they want to get investors for Tikrit, he says, they should slash the budget to $4 million or $5 million.
As Baldwin learned in Seduced and Abandoned, getting money to make independent movies has never been easy. In recent years, cobbling together capital has become trickier as American producers have found it harder to fully…