What Just Happened
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What Just Happened is a 2008 American satirical comedy-drama directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert De Niro. The supporting cast includes Catherine Keener, Robin Wright Penn, Stanley Tucci, Moon Bloodgood, John Turturro, Sean Penn, and Bruce Willis.

What Just Happened is an independent film, produced by 2929 Productions, Art Linson Productions and Tribeca Productions, and was released on October 17, 2008.

The film is based on the 2002 book What Just Happened? Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line by Art Linson, about his experiences as a producer in Hollywood.

This film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2008.


Ben, a veteran Hollywood producer, is suffering a number of professional and personal problems. His latest film, Fiercely, has a disastrous test screening, mostly because of its ending which features the murder of its main character (played by Sean Penn, who plays himself elsewhere in the film) along with his pet dog.

Ben and his maverick British director, Jeremy Brunell, plead their case to studio executive Lou Tarnow. She accuses Ben of filming the dog s killing only so he could use it as a bargaining chip – to make it easier to negotiate against cutting other problematic scenes. Lou threatens to pull Ben s movie from Cannes and take over editing unless at least the dog s death is removed. Jeremy adamantly refuses, throwing a tantrum.

Adding to Ben s problems, he is having trouble making a clean break from Kelly, his second wife. Ben later discovers his wife is having an affair with Scott Solomon, a married screenwriter whom Ben has previously worked with. Scott has a screenplay that he s trying to get off the ground, to which Brad Pitt later becomes attached.

Lastly the studio is threatening to cancel a planned Bruce Willis movie because of the star s unwillingness to shave the large, thick beard that he has grown. Ben s career hinges on the fate of the film, but any attempt to reason with Willis inevitably meets a violent, foul-mouthed response.

Ultimately Jeremy relents and re-edits the ending of Fiercely to have the dog survive. Ben tries to get Willis s agent, Dick Bell, to reason with him and get the beard removed, but his efforts only get Dick fired. Nonetheless, Willis does eventually shave his beard off, and the film goes ahead.

A week later, Ben, Lou and Jeremy attend Cannes, hopeful that they might take a Palme d Or award. Unfortunately, and without telling Ben or Lou, Jeremy has re-edited Fiercely again, not only killing the dog, but adding nearly a full minute of bullets being shot into their bodies. While the new ending destroys the film s chances of a Palme d Or and angers many in the audience, others eagerly applaud the final version of the film, including Penn. Lou is not impressed, and immediately flies out of Cannes on the studio s private jet, leaving Ben stranded in France.

Ben eventually does make it back home, in time for a photo-shoot of Hollywood s top thirty producers with Vanity Fair, although after the magazine s publishers hear about the debacle in Cannes, Ben is relegated to the far edge of the photo, meaning he will be barely noticeable.


  • Robert De Niro as Ben
  • Kristen Stewart as Zoe
  • Sean Penn as Himself
  • Catherine Keener as Lou Tarnow
  • Bruce Willis as Himself
  • John Turturro as Dick Bell
  • Michael Wincott as Jeremy
  • Moon Bloodgood as Laura
  • Robin Wright as Kelly
  • Stanley Tucci as Scott Solomon
  • Christopher Evan Welch as Studio Marketing Guy
  • Lily Rabe as Dawn
  • Peter Jacobson as Cal

Critical reception

Based on 141 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has received an overall Rotten rating of 50%, with a weighted average score of 5.74/10. The sites consensus states: What Just Happened has some inspired comic moments, but this inside-baseball take on Hollywood lacks satirical bite.

Year 2008
ReleaseDate 2008-10-31
RuntimeMins 104
RuntimeStr 1h 44min
Plot Two weeks in the life of a fading Hollywood producer who’s having a rough time trying to get his new picture made.
Awards Awards, 1 nomination
Directors Barry Levinson
Writers Art Linson
Stars Robert De Niro, John Turturro, Stanley Tucci
Produced by Mark Allan,Victoria Cordova,Mark Cuban,Robert De Niro,Eric Kopeloff,Barry Levinson,Art Linson,Jane Rosenthal,Todd Wagner
Music by Marcelo Zarvos
Cinematography by Stéphane Fontaine
Film Editing by Hank Corwin
Casting By Cathy Sandrich Gelfond,Amanda Mackey,Corinne Renard-Bendjadi
Production Design by Stefania Cella
Art Direction by Anthony D. Parrillo
Set Decoration by Roya Parivar
Costume Design by Ann Roth
Makeup Department Mishell Chandler,Bill Corso,Lisa M. Cubero,Don Kozma,Patrick Magee,Frances Mathias,Fleur Morell,Cheryl Ann Nick,Jerry Popolis,Gerald Quist,Diana Sikes,Nuria Sitja,Dina Sliwiak,Carla White
Production Management Frédéric Bovis,B. Ted Deiker,Brian Esquivel,Paul A. Levin
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Mark Allan,Alyson Latz,Michael Lerman,Chip Signore,Yann Thomas,Peter Thorell
Art Department Kenneth Brzozowski,Andrew Max Cahn,Stephen Caldwell,Philip Canfield,Shannon Canfield,Teresa Kelly Canfield,Brendon Crigler,James Crispino,Kristen Davis,Elizabeth Flaherty,David Gere,Nicole Gonzalez,Melissa Harrison,Michael Jortner,Benjamin Leddick,Robert Ludemann,Geoffrey Mandel,Richard Vilas Montesanto,Ken Nelson,Gay Perello,Diane Rich,Miles S. Richman,Karen Ann Ryan,Diana Salzburg,Grant Sawyer,Karen Teneyck,Robert Topol,M. Tony Trotta,Daniel Turk,Brad Turner,John Warner,Julie Witherington,Jackie Zbuska,Robert Zorella
Sound Department Flo Ankah,Steve Cantamessa,Kam Chan,Marko A. Costanzo,Rich Crescenti,Tom Fleischman,Eugene Gearty,Bret Johnson,Frank Kern,Craig Kyllonen,Scott La Rue,George A. Lara,Jane McCulley,Branka Mrkic,Douglas Murray,Jessica Parks,Jan Petrov,Fred Rosenberg,Philip Stockton,Gary Thomas,Paul Tirone,Roland Vajs,Larry Wineland,Greg Zimmerman
Special Effects by Nikki Amoriasino,Chris Cline,Phil Gauvin,Josh Hakian,Kizuku Kitano,Patrick Magee,Mike Najera,Lee Romaire,David Waine
Visual Effects by Jamie Baxter,Michael Bianchi,Chris Ervin,Roger Mocenigo,Mike Uguccioni
Stunts David Gere,Peewee Piemonte,Laurence Todd Rosenthal,Trampas Thompson
Camera and Electrical Department James Atkins,Todd Avery,Melanie Banders,Arthur Blum,Eric Bornes,Kelly Britt,Andrew Chojnacki,Julian J. Delacruz,Richard Dolan,Manny Duran,James J. Ferris,Trevor Fulks,Mike Gerzevitz,Bryan Gilbert,Skip Haswell,Harry Hope,Matt Horochowski,Peter Hutchison,David Katz,Thomas D. Lairson Jr.,Eric Larson,Scott M. Leonard,Alan Markfield,Richard Masino,Michael J. Maurer,Carson E. Mayne,Jim McConkey,Michael ‘Flash’ McDonald,Brian Minzlaff,Rocco Palmieri,Jesse Panuccio,John Panuccio,Ian Pauly,Linda Phillips,Michael Pinkey,Paul Postal,Andrew Robison,Joseph Ruiz,Lowell Schulman,John Steur,Alpheus Underhill,François Vigon,Michael Wacks,Rick A. West,Ryan White,Harry Zimmerman,Jordan C. Kadovitz,Graham Klatt
Casting Department Mihal Freinquel,David H. Kramer,Jeff Olan,Cash Oshman,Jennifer Sabel,Jocelyn E. Thomas,Grant Wilfley
Costume and Wardrobe Department David Davenport,Nicole Greenbaum,Juan Lopez,Donna Maloney,Gregory B. Peña,Karen Yan
Editorial Department Cameron Arguelles,Kent Blocher,Todd Crawford,Adrian DeLude,Jim Eberle,Jerimiah Morey,Missy Papageorge,Chocez Peterson,Stefan Sonnenfeld,Sarah Dorman Sveen,Tyler Temple Higgins,Renannah Weinstein,Rob Doolittle,Jorge Tanaka,Ian Turpen
Location Management Mara Alcaly,Martin J. Cummins,Shannon Dennard,Douglas Dresser,Aaron Hurvitz,Malaika Johnson,S. Dylan Kirkland,Sean Mayo,Eric Mills,Michael Nickodem,Kyle Oliver,Terry Wong
Music Department Sebastian Arocha Morton,Christine Bergren,Daniel Coe,Jennifer L. Dunnington,Robert Elhai,Ben Holiday,Steven Kenyon,Steve Kornicki,Lawrence Manchester,Allan Mason,Ben Perowsky,Frankie Pine,Eric Poland,Robert Puff,Adam Rogers,Philip Rothman,David Sabee,Mark Stewart,Angie Teo,Missy Webb,Marcelo Zarvos,Daniel Coe
Script and Continuity Department George Camarda,Kerry Lyn McKissick
Transportation Department Robert Buckman,Neil Chisholm,Paulie DiCocco III,Paulie DiCocco,Mark Dobkousky,Geno Hart,Kirk Huston,Michael Hyde,Kevin Kelley,’Wild Bill’ Laczko,Hardy Ophuls,Fidel Pean,Brian Stackhouse
Additional Crew Jessica Aichs,Cassandra Barbour,Abigail Bean,Steev Beeson,Bonnie Belknap,Lark Bernini,Maxine Brooks,Julian Brown,Didier Brule,Patrick Bruneton,Wendy Cohen,Daniel B. Cone,Lisa Curtis,Dante,Srdjan Dobic,Damian Dydyn,Stephen J. Eads,Michelle Elkin,Casey Engelhardt,Leigh Evans,Jason Fesel,Paul Fischer,Aaron C. Fitzgerald,Kim Gibbons,Chris Gibson,Ryan Gomez,Jim Hartz,Nicole Helms,Michael Horton,Lauren Hurst,Lieve Jansen,Gregor Joackim,Timothy S. Kane,Zoa Keith,Michele LeBlanc,Jesse Liotta,Matt Lombardo,Larry Madrid,Cameron McCormick,Tory Mell,Melissa Milo,Staci Mitchell,William Newman,Amy Ostrower,Jill K. Perno,Sally Potters,Mathew Provost,Brennan Reynolds,Nina Saxon,Jillian Schmitz,Lori Scowley,William Sepulveda,Laura Sevier,Kariemah Shah,Marcel Simoneau,B.J. Smith,Zack Smith,Jason Sosnoff,Jeremiah Stafford,Eugene Stamos,Eva Vedock,Andrea Vestrand,Amy L. Weinblum,Berry Welsh,Geoff Wolfe,Allen Wong,Jeffrey Zaks,Tasha Zamsky,Alexandra Geregova
Genres Comedy, Drama
Companies 2929 Productions, Art Linson Productions, Linson Entertainment
Countries USA
Languages English, Hebrew, French
ContentRating R
ImDbRating 5.6
ImDbRatingVotes 27630
Keywords eyepatch,falling downhill,looking at oneself in a mirror,woman in a men's room,satirical