I haven’t been watching this season of Project Greenlight, but NYTimes critic Virginia Heffernan has:
Mr. Gulager is the marvelously dubious – arrogant, defeatist – director whom Mr. Damon fought to have direct this season’s choice, a slasher picture called “Feast,” which Mr. Damon considered fatuous. Bulky, pallid, anhedonic, with an incongruous taste for sunset-colored shirts, Mr. Gulager, at 47, is a slow-moving reproof to the sporty, gabby, “at the end of the day” Hollywood dudes he has come to work with.
And yet, in his own way, he is pure Hollywood. A son of Clu Gulager, a onetime Universal contract player who “revitalized his career in the 80’s in scores of horror flicks that took advantage of his ever-growing wild-eyed, eccentricities,” in the words of the Internet Movie Data Base, John is married to an actress, Diane Goldner. His mother, who died in 2003, was the actress Miriam Byrd-Nethery; she appeared in “Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,” among other pictures.
The doleful Gulager clan, including John’s brother, Tom, and some hangers-on, seems to have fashioned itself as a stronghold of integrity, or at least clinical depression, in Lalaland.
In this season’s first episode, John Gulager nearly made a masterpiece of his mumbly, incoherent pitch to Mr. Affleck, Mr. Damon, their business partner Chris Moore, and some aghast suits from Dimension, the division of Miramax that’s producing the movie this time. Unable, it seemed, to produce words, Mr. Gulager brandished instead a red and black painting, like a Rembrandt or an Anne Rice book jacket, only blacker. He said the painting was how he envisioned “Feast.” He said, “uh.”
It was as if Matt Damon had found a reason to live.
Earlier, this actor appeared ready to despair while the jivey screenwriters sold their “Feast” idea – “It gets your attention! It drives like a muscle car!” – to studio types who saw money in it. (“Making cynically made, low-budget horror films for the purpose of making a small profit are not the reason I got into ‘Greenlight,’ ” Mr. Damon told the camera.)
But now he had Mr. Gulager – a sad sack, a loner, a bigger malcontent (romantic?) than he. He beamed as he watched Mr. Gulager; he savored the sound – GYOO-luh-ger – of his mournful name. In Mr. Gulager was Mr. Damon’s chance to redeem his convictions about the primacy of freaks in the movie business, or at least to demolish, once and for all, that bygone idealism from the days of Harvard and “Good Will Hunting.”
Mr. Damon said they had chosen the worst script. “We’ve sealed our fate based on the script that we chose,” he said, himself mumbling. “And the best chance we have at salvaging that is going with the best director.” Then, gathering enthusiasm: “There’s some people who bet, like, to show. And then there are some people who bet the trifecta with their $2, and sometimes those guys win a grand.”
Mr. Moore added, “And a lot of times those guys live in their car.”
But Mr. Gulager was hired.
[Sorry. The article has disappeared behind the Times’ archive wall and there’s no free link through the RSS generator.]
UPDATE: I started watching. My thoughts on the finale and Gulager’s triumph here.