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Yes No Maybe So - Big Eyes

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Entries in Actors on Actors (18)

Tuesday
Jul012014

Podcast Pt 1: A Smackdown Conversation w/ Melanie Lynskey

Presenting... for the first time ever a Smackdown Companion Podcast

A couple of months ago Joe suggested that we add a podcast segment or more conversation somehow to the Smackdown which by necessity has brief capsules from each panelist. And why not? There is always so much more to discuss after you've watched five Oscar-favored films from any given year.

So for this special tryout episode of the podcast (let us know if we should do it again for 1973) Nathaniel welcomes back the actress Melanie Lynskey, the original creator of the Smackdowns Brian Herrera (aka StinkyLulu), and regular podcast voices Joe Reid and Nick Davis. Our conversation ran long so it's in two segments.

Smackdown 1964 - A Companion Conversation Pt. 1
00:01 Introductions
01:00 Melanie on talking acting with other actors and one director's "witchcraft"
05:00 Zorba the Greek and undiagnosed cognitive disorders
11:45 Nick and Nathaniel share personal memories of My Fair Lady
16:20 Demystifying the mystifying Gladys Cooper nomination
19:00 The Chalk Garden. Melanie on connecting with the other actor in a scene.
24:00 Divisive Deborah Kerr (who starred in two of the features we watched)
30:00 To Be Continued...  

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments.

Smackdown 64 Companion. Part One

Wednesday
Jun112014

Linkenstein Monster

The Wire has a funny report on new Chris Martin / Gwyneth Paltrow rumors
i09 the greatest Bride of Frankenstein poster ever
/Film Andrew Stanton on the John Carter sequels that will never be 
My New Plaid Pants suggests that we all rewatch Alexander because Oliver Stone's new cut vastly improves it

Guardian Sigourney Weaver will appear in all three Avatar sequels continuing her fruitful collaboration with James Cameron 
CHUD on the Dumb and Dumber To poster
Guardian the trailer to the beautifully shot Lilting starring Ben Whishaw and one of the most handsome actors you've never heard of (I reviewed it at Sundance)
Antagony & Ecstasy one of our most loyal Best Shot supporters finally got around to Pocahontas!
The Dissolve sees a statue of Napoleon Dynamite
Vice's summer fiction issue features a short story about Lindsay Lohan by James Franco
Empire Josh Brolin will co-star with George Clooney in Hail Caesar!  a new comedy for the Coen brothers about 1950s Hollywood about scandal coverups of the stars
/Film David Fincher and Rooney Mara may reunite for Red Sparrow, a spy thriller 

Today's Watch
Though perhaps you saw it late last week (what? I can't be everywhere at once). Matt McGorry, the adorable confused soon-to-be father from Orange is the New Black "auditions" for Magic Mike 2

 

Friday
Mar072014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Grace of Monaco"

Approaching trailers for movies you're going to see no matter what (i.e. anything with your favorite actor in it) makes the Yes, No Maybe So™ question a strangely hypothetical one. Such is the case with Grace of Monaco which is currently scheduled to open on ____. No, we don't know the date yet but people will be talking about it in May after its Cannes premiere. Let's hope those of us who can't afford $1000 a night for a trip to France in the summer don't have to wait seven months* to form our own opinions; a bit of glam adult counterprogramming in the summer (look at the scenery!) would be a kind thing to do!

But where were we?

Oh yes, Princess Grace. At the beginning of the trailer we learn that she'd like to return to Hollywood -- Hitchcock wanted her for Marnie (1962) but...conflict! Her formerly charming prince won't allow for it; this is not a Disney musical and there will be no Happily Ever After...

the Yes No Maybe So breakdown is after the jump. Non-Spoiler Alert: I'm a "Yes"

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov272013

Russell vs. Mansfield: A Guide to Recognizing Your Ja(y)nes

abstew here. Dame Judi Dench returned to theaters this weekend with the Oscar-buzzing Philomena. (She gets Oscar buzz for nearly everything she's in. She even makes it happen with James Bond films!)

I had a teacher that used to say

Ask me my three favorite actresses and the answer is: Judi Dench, Judi Dench, Judi Dench.

And as great as Dame Judi is in the film, Steve Coogan (who also adapted the screenplay) is equally strong as the investigative reporter helping Philomena, Martin Sixsmith. The two play off each other well in a salty, sweet relationship.

There's a scene in the film which is bound to catch the attention of cinephiles...

They enter the convent where Philomena's son was taken from her ('The Sisters of No Mercy,' as Sixsmith snarkly calls it) to investigate what happened. On the wall in the waiting room is an autographed photo of actress Jane Russell. Coogan stares at the picture and when the Sister he's meeting with comes in, he asks, "What's Jayne Mansfield doing here?"

"I think you mean Jane Russell," the Sister corrects him.

They then have an exchange where Sixsmith tries to remember which one is which and ultimately remembers that Jayne Mansfield (not on the wall) is the one who got her head chopped off in a car accident. Which seems to be the only thing people seem to remember about poor Jayne.

But it all made me wonder: How well do you, TFE readers, know your Jane Russells from your Jayne Mansfields? Below are 10 factoids. Try to guess which fact is about Jane Russell and which is about Jayne Mansfield. After guessing, click on the read more at the bottom for the answers!

 

MANSFIELD or RUSSELL? TEN FACTOIDS
Try to guess which fact is about Russell and which is about Mansfield. After guessing, click on the 'read more' at the bottom for the answers!

1. Born in Bryn Mawr, PA with the name Vera Palmer. 

2. Was a Playboy Centerfold in the early years of the magazine and appeared in every February issue of the magazine for 4 consecutive years

3. A censorship debate with the production code about the amount of cleavage displayed in the film delayed the release of her film debut 2 years after it was filmed. It didn't get a wide release until 5 years after it was filmed!

4. Won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer - Female

5. Known for her curvy figure, Bob Hope once joked, "Culture is the ability to describe <this actress> without moving your hands."

The look of disdain on Sophia Loren's face is priceless!

6. Starred in television commercials for the Playtex Cross Your Heart Bra and the 18 hour bra line "For us full-figured gals".

7. Both actresses were each married 3 times and mothers to multiple children, but she is the mother of the Emmy award nominated star of TV's Law and Order: SVU, Mariska Hargitay.

8. Formed a gospel singing quartet called The Hollywood Christian Group. Their song, "Do Lord" reached 27 on the Billboard charts.

9. Her signature color was pink. Her Beverly Hills mansion was painted the color and named "The Pink Palace". And long before Mary Kay representatives were doing it, she drove around in a pink Cadillac.

10. Has her feet and hands immortalized in cement in front of the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

And now, a musical break before the answers. It'll be the gayest thing you'll see all day:

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug262013

Jessica + Cate, Mary Music, and Other Linkables

Awards Circuit I guest starred on their podcast Power Hour this week. We talk Oscar's actress categories and Ben Affleck
Film School Rejects Diana gets a November release date
HuffPo interviews Eric Bana (Closed Circuit) who does not like Hulk
Final Girl lists the 5 best vampires of all time. This list LOL'ed me up good
Gothamist Patton Oswalt and Joss Whedon defend Ben Affleck's casting as Batman
Bad Ass Digest chooses the 11 best movies of the summer. Amidst all the fanboy titles are Short Term 12 and Blue Jasmine so well done. 

Jessica Chastain ♥ Cate Blanchett 
This was posted on the Actress's facebook page yesterday.

Sweet. And generous. And culturally aware just as we've come to expect from Chastain who by all accounts is a lovely person and real film enthusiast as well as one of the most important actors to emerge this decade.

Exit Music
Since we've been on a Mary Poppins kick this year what with that Best Shot steppin' time party and Saving Mr Banks coming out here's a music videdo that uses only sounds from Mary Poppins for its beats and melodies... 

Thursday
Aug302012

Love Letters Pt. 2: Kathy Najimy, Rosemarie DeWitt, Xander Berkeley

Melanie Lynskey Guest Blogging!

I made a little dream list of people I respect and admire beyond all reason and sent them a little e-mail saying:

I've seen you do work that has made me want to write you a love letter because it's moved me so deeply. Who or what would you like to write a love letter to? What piece of art or artist or feeling has moved you in this way?"

Here are a few amazing responses I got. [PART ONE featured Zachary Quinto, Ahna O'Reilly and More...]

PART TWO

To the beautiful, soul-baring goddess Rosemarie DeWitt "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Rachel Getting Married OF COURSE BECAUSE I'M IN LOVE WITH IT"

Rosemarie's love letter:

Seeing Mark Rylance in "Jerusalem" is momentarily eclipsing every other performance I've seen or fallen in love with. He made me rethink what was possible as an actor and at the end of that play my body was literally quivering in anticipation of the gods coming. I felt as if I had witnessed some sacred ritual and was blown away by the transformative power of that kind of whole bodied- soul stirring-storytelling. I had long admired him but now my love for his work makes me feel like a 14 year old girl who would hang a poster of him on my bedroom wall. And in fact I have the Playbill cover hanging over my desk. :)
-ROSEMARIE DEWITT 

Sonya Walger and Adam Scott in "Tell Me You Love Me"To the glorious, strong, sexy, and really fucking brave actress Sonya Walger "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Tell Me You Love Me..."

Sonya's love letter:

I have a strange moment I think of often when I work and it was when I first became aware of this fragile line between life and art and how the best work leaves you not knowing which one you just witnessed. my grandmother was on the board of governers for a school near her house and she would diligently attend all the school plays and fetes and events even though none of her grandchildren/family attended. she took me with her to see the school play of "BUGSY MALONE". I must have been 8 or 9, and the kids peforming must have been maybe 14-15? I couldn't believe what I saw. I was blown away. I'd never seen anything so glamorous, so alive, where everyone was having so much fun. I'd been to plays in London and musicals, but nothing, nothing like this. It was completely transporting and unlike anything I'd ever seen. And at the very end, they all sang the finale, and Bugsy pulled Blousey into his lap and they were all breathless, panting as we stood and applauded, rained applause on them, and he beamed at her and pulled her in and kissed her. quickly, on the mouth, on stage. and I remember feeling so alive in that moment, so completely full of wonder, was that real? was that supposed to happen? is he allowed to kiss her? was that in the script? (although I doubt I knew the word script at that age). I think about it still.

I wonder if those kids remember that production, those kids now in their 40's with wives and children and jobs and mortgages. I wonder if it sparked anything in any of them the way it did in me. i think about it often, strangely, that one tiny moment in a school play. and I still don't know exactly why or what it means, except, that, as I said, it made me feel so alive, so engaged, so curious, so full of wonder for what they had done, pulled off, been swept up in. and more than anything, it made me long, body and soul, to be up there with them too. to be kissed on Bugsy's lap."
-SONYA WALGER 

Gillian Jacobs, Xander Berkeley, Kathy Najimy, and Matt Ross after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug302012

Love Letters Pt. 1: Zachary Quinto, Ahna O'Reilly, Chris Messina

© Nick Stepowyj[Editor's Note: Melanie Lynskey (Hello I Must Be Going) is guest blogging. We love her. And now there's a lotta love to go around. - Nathaniel R]

After my love letter to Noah Taylor I thought it might be kind of fun to write to some people for The Film Experience and ask THEM who they'd want to write a love letter to. Hopefully this is making some kind of sense. So I made a little dream list of people I respect and admire beyond all reason and I sent them a little e-mail saying:

I've seen you do work that has made me want to write you a love letter because it's moved me so deeply. Who or what would you like to write a love letter to? What piece of art or artist or feeling has moved you in this way?"

Here are a few amazing responses I got from these talented and passionate individuals!

To the magnificent & unique Zachary Quinto "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Angels In America!"

Zach's love letter:

I remember so vividly the first time i saw IL POSTINO. i was a freshman in college - completely ravenous for creative inspiration - and i found myself alone at one of the only art house movie theaters in pittsburgh at the time. i was so enraptured by the experience. the tenderness and intimacy of the story. the beauty of the landscape. the powerful exploration of love. and in particular the performance of massimo troisi. it stays with me to this day: his subtlety. his vulnerability. his openness. his humor. and as i learned more about the film and the tragedy of its star - my genuine love for the movie blossomed into something that still inspires me any time i think about it. troisi's commitment to this story ultimately cost him his life. he died just twelve hours after the film wrapped - and only days before he was meant to go to london for the heart transplant that likely would have saved him. but his connection to the project (which he also co-wrote) was so absolute and unwavering that - even in the face of his obviously weakened state - he would not back down until it was complete. and you can see it on screen. his passion and investment in the story is one of the most bittersweet manifestations i have encountered. i love that film and i love that performance. and i love the memory of the first time it all washed over me.
-ZACHARY QUINTO

To the incredibly brave & brilliant actor and director Joe Swanberg "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Nights and Weekends..."

Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig in "Nights and Weekends"

Joe's love letter:

My love letter is to Elaine May. She's one of the coolest filmmakers alive and a constant source of inspiration. I watched THE HEARTBREAK KID and the first 20 minutes of ISHTAR about 5 times each this Summer when I was prepping my new film. She's a brave, adventurous filmmaker and it's a shame she didn't make more work, but what exists fills me with love and gets me excited about making my own stuff."
-JOE SWANBERG 

To the best actress I know, the incredible Tina Holmes "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Six Feet Under..."

Tina's love letter:

There's a scene in the beautiful movie Oslo, August 31st that i can't get out of my head. the movie takes place on the last day of summer. 24 hours in which the main character is struggling to decide whether or not he can bear to go on living. it's sounds so grim, but the movie is filled with life and beauty. anyway the scene that blew me away is where he is watching some friends go for a swim at dawn after a long night's bender. he sits alone and watches them, especially this young beautiful innocent girl he has met that night. the camera stays on his face and he watches in silence and i swear to god you watch him engage with life and hope and then despair and engage and despair and engage and despair and back and forth. all that and i don't think his expression even really changes much. it's haunting. that's when i love acting. when you can see inside someone. it's not even anything they do. i don't even know how it happens really. some people just let you see their soul."
-TINA HOLMES

To the versatile, handsome, showing his heart and constantly working Chris Messina "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Celeste & Jesse Forever..."

Chris's love letter:

I instantly thought of John Cazale and his performances in all 5 of his films. Each one of them so different and nuanced. Dog Day Afternoon was mind-blowing for me as a kid. To see New York in the 70's, the heat, the anti-establishment "Attica" chant, of course watching Pacino felt at the time like finding god. And John Cazale's silence and intensity is something that I will never forget. I was afraid at any moment that he would start shooting the Employees, and then Sonny, Pacino's character asks him what country he wants to go to when the robbery is over and Sal (Cazale) says "Wyoming" not played for laughs, you instantly see into Sal's heart all his vulnerability and desperation. A complex subtle performance that continues to amaze me each time I revisit it.

What Sidney Lumet did with that story and each and everyone of those actors brought to it... this was a defining moment for me in wanting to be a storyteller."
-CHRIS MESSINA

To the insanely funny, thoughtful director, writer, actor (and also a ridiculously gifted magician), David Wain "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Wet Hot American Summer (obv); Wanderlust... "

Dear NASHVILLE,  thank you for enveloping me in your glow when I discovered you fifteen years after your release! I left our first (nearly 3 hour) date feeling exhilarated, inspired and spent. You opened my eyes to new possibilities in filmmaking, storytelling, comedy, acting, sound. You resonated with me over the last twenty years, always reminding me to be bold and to trust my voice!"
-DAVID WAIN

To the hilarious and authentic and awesome Natasha Lyonne "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Slums Of Beverly Hills, you in Night At The Golden Eagle..."

[Natasha didn't get back to me with her finished thing but I thought I'd include the things she was thinking she'd write about because they're amazing choices: ' Think I'd choose susan tyrell in fat city or bob fosse & all that jazz ... or Terrence Stamp or Toby Dammit...]

To the super funny, super sweet, unlike any other person living, the genius Michael Showalter "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: "The Baxter"...

Michael Showalter's letter:

Call me sappy but if I'm gonna write a love letter it's gotta be for romantic comedies, so my love letter is for my favorite rom-com filmmaker Richard Curtis (writer/director of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, Love Actually.) His bittersweet world of laughter, loss and love is one that I really enjoy visiting - like your favorite bookstore or coffee shop. Everyone is smart, nice and funny. They are optimistic but not necessarily "happy." They like eating good food, talking at length about their neuroses and wear warm clothing. There's never anyone in a Richard Curtis story that feels "too cool." Nope, they are just people. Friends. Acquaintances. Trying to get by, trying to be good, to be better, fallible, trying to grab at some little piece of joy and sweetness.

To the brilliant and intense and funny and great actor Michael Weston I love everything you've ever done but my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: that amazing episode of Six Feet Under where you kidnap David..."

Michael Weston's letter:

You know, there are so many actors and movies and filmmakers who have inspired me... who continue to inspire me. I think I have been really blessed to have a group of friends who are so deeply creative and fun and funny and silly, and I find that they are always my greatest inspiration and what I dwell on in loving revery-time.

But, when I go back to the beginning... where I really felt the power of film and what still makes me laugh because I was so completely moved by it... was the movie "Flash Gordon". I know that's sort of like sitting in some crazy heavenly wine cellar and asking for a bottle of two buck Chuck. But, the truth is, the year was 1980, I was like 7, and that was the moment I wanted to be a part of film. In that finale scene where he's like driving the spaceship and he's about to skewer Ming The Merciless and that awesome music is playing "Flash! Ah-haaahhh! Duhn duhn duhn!". Man... I stood on my seat and f-ing cheered. Literally. I didn't give a hoot who was looking at me because I was so in it. I whooped. And was finally brought back to earth, pulled back into my seat by some kid I was friends with at the time. See, I don't remember who I was with, but, I still find myself, returning to that moment. And I still sing that theme song to myself... and others if they'll listen."
-MICHAEL WESTON 

To the extraordinary, radiant, gorgeous and real Ahna O'Reilly "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: The Help..."

Ahna's letter:

I want to write Sissy Spacek a Love Letter for everything, especially "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Carrie". I want to be her.

-Tommy Lee Jones/Robert Duvall in "Lonesome Dove", I saw this when I was little and it has meant a lot to me ever since. I think it was the first time I understood chemistry between actors.

-On the topic of things from when I was little: Hitchcock (Almost all of them except "Frenzy" and "Marnie," those were the two sexy ones we weren't allowed to watch); Fred Astaire & Ginger Rodgers ("Barkley's of Broadway" and many others); "The Sound of Music"; Audrey Hepburn ("Roman Holiday", "Sabrina"), Judy Garland ("Meet Me in St Louis", "Easter Parade"). These people and their movies were pretty much all my parents let us watch...ahhh to be sheltered. 

-Timothy Scott, my heart breaks for him even if I only see his face for a fleeting second in a movie (just re-watched "Days of Heaven" and there he was for 3 seconds, and I loved him).

 -The author Tracy Kidder.

-Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose. I know this is an obvious one. But I could watch this on a loop, the thought of it makes me cry."
-AHNA O'REILLY 

I'm so grateful to all these amazing people!

-Melanie

P.S. UPDATE: More love letters from Rosemarie DeWitt, Kathy Najimy, etcetera

 

Tuesday
May012012

"You're So Vain" Redux w/ Johnny Depp

Did you hear that Johnny Depp is guesting on Marilyn Manson's new album? They've done a cover of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" which is one of the first two songs (along with Toto's "Rosanna") that I ever understood were actually about screen stars. (I almost typed "actresses" on accident because Warren Beatty is one of the few actors that I respond to in the same heightened way I usually reserve for actresses). For me as a kid that was really exciting to realize, that people wrote songs about stars.. That's probably why one of my favorite Old Hollywood stories as a baby movie buff was how Judy Garland boosted her own nascent fame by reworking the popular song "You Made Me Love You" for Clark Gable at a Hollywood party. It went over so well they put it right into a movie

Anyway, here's that cover.

You can't really hear Johnny Depp which is just as well I suppose. Sweeney Todd anyone?

 

It's not the first time the two have worked together of course. Here's a performance of the very best Marilyn Manson song "Beautiful People" with Depp on guitar. Marilyn can't resist that ol' 'guitar's are penises and I love fellating my band bit.'