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Podcast - 1996 Cannes Competition Revisit

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Entries in Actors on Actors (30)

Saturday
Dec122015

Candid Charlotte Rampling

Rampling for NYTimes Magazine

Murtada here. Charlotte Rampling’s performance in 45 Years is a quiet storm of volatile emotions, holding attention with understated intimations that hint much more than show. Inexplicably left off both the Golden Globe and SAG nominations list, she might become this year’s Marion Cotillard, missing the early nominations and getting in at the Oscars. She’s already won the LA Film Critics Association best actress award and here’s hoping more regional critics notice her in the coming weeks. We will talk about the movie and performance once the movie is released.

One glorious result from being in the awards conversation is that Rampling was in Hollywood and New York recently giving good quote. And unlike her 45 Years character, Rampling is not holding back and is quite candid in these interviews.

More...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec062015

Cotillard + Fassbender = Scorching Hot

Murtada here. Are you ready for some sexy stuff at the movies? Now playing in limited release is the latest big screen version of Macbeth from director Justin Kurzel. Reviews have been mixed but there’s no denying the heat created by the performances of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in the titular parts. The screen almost combusts whenever they are together; they make Shakespeare sexy. And not just because of their considerable beauty, but rather because of what they bring out in each other. Fassbender raises Cotillard’s intensity and she is so tenderly natural that he can’t help but match her.

Sometimes one wonders how actors arrive at on-screen chemistry? Maybe it’s about surprising each other. That’s what Fassbender told the National Board of review about one of their scenes together:

 I don’t like to talk too much, with either director or actor, before doing the scene. [ ] She just picks up the ball and she runs with it, like that scene—the scorpion scene. I put my hand underneath her dress; I didn’t tell her I was going to do that, and she took it and she went with it and then she kisses me and then pulls away. She’s got this sort of repulsion, and then she reengages, and she’s like, “I love this man, I feel him, he’s sick.” All these things are happening on her face. That’s when you realize you’re in the presence of somebody great.

Here’s part of that scene, however for the exact part Fassbender is talking about you'll have to go to the movies.

It looks like Cotillard, Fassbender and Kurzel had a good time creatively; they are reuniting for Assassin’s Creed which is currently shooting.

Saturday
Oct312015

In Praise of Carey Mulligan in Suffragette

Murtada here, with a lot of love and respect for Carey Mulligan.

There's a scene late in Suffragette when Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) realizes the devastating enormity of the separation from her son. Mulligan’s face, in a second, flickers many emotions, all so overwhelming that you feel this woman’s pain in your gut. Yet she doesn’t overplay or milk the moment for maximum effect. She remains understated.

This is just one of many moments in the film in which Mulligan transcends her movie and reaches her audience with clarity and without exaggeration. Set in London in 1912, Suffragette tells the story of Watts, her education and indoctrination into the suffrage movement. When the film starts, she is working in a laundry, trying to survive a hard existence alongside her husband and young son. A chance encounter introduces her to the suffragettes and she becomes a member of their embattled movement. 

It is through Mulligan that we enter this world. Her character is a composite of many working women who were part of the movement and is built to be the audience surrogate. Her performance is so strong that the plight of these women is not only depicted effectively, but comes alive. I could not control my emotions or my tears. Mulligan’s performance is an emotional marvel and delivered with technical mastery. Her working class English accent is impeccable, her weariness and defeat is visible in her hunched back and heavy walk, her defiance rises to crescendo and is delivered with skillful control of her voice. This is why there are awards for acting.

The film is dividing critics and its reception is unfortunately lukewarm. Some accuse it of being well intentioned but conventional. "Earnest", "formulaic" and "schematic" are words used to describe Suffragette.

But the film derives most of its power from the performance at its center. Mulligan is riding on a wave of acclaim, with co-star Meryl Streep recently praising her:

"I’m in awe of your talent . . . I really am. I’m also in awe of your voice, which is like warm caramel poured over the English language. I applaud your taste in material and how you hold out for stuff. Even when you were young and didn’t have any money, you just did things that mattered. I can’t wait to see what Carey Mulligan will give us next, what new woman she’ll give birth to”.

In her earlier 2015 release Far From the Madding Crowd, Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdeen says "It's my intention to astonish you all". And you do Carey. Always.

Do you think Carey Mulligan in on her way to a second Oscar nomination?

Monday
Oct122015

Celebrity and Chill

Groggy this morning. MORE COFFEE. Please to enjoy these celebrities doing their casual things as we get our act together for the week. An exciting new week. One in which your host is not sick. What could it possibly hold? Any requests.

Let's begin with Jessica Chastain reading about Diane Keaton (as one does should)... "bookworm" 

A photo posted by Jessica Chastain (@chastainiac) on Oct 11, 2015 at 11:34am PDT

 Amanda Seyfried, Hugh Jackman, Jared Leto and more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep292015

Matt's Mouth Tastes Like Foot. And Other Truths & Lies

For those who aren't on Twitter where I got kind of worked up about Matt Damon's latest foot-in-mouth disease, a quick recap what went down is in order. Before we begin I think it's important to note that I have liked Matt Damon as an actor since School Ties (1992). I still like him as an actor and movie star and The Martian is a lot of fun. Go see it next weekend! What follows is in no way bitching about his work, his fame or even his character (I do not believe he's a homophobe, just that he doesn't quite "get" what he found himself talking about and should probably stop).

Why people (including me) got worked up about what he said after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul302015

Clouds of Sils Maria. Or, How To Act Like a Star.

With Clouds of Sils Maria on DVD now, here's Kyle Stevens on actors playing actors.

If you’re a reader of The Film Experience, then you’re probably no stranger to Juliette Binoche, who arguably has more masterpieces to her name than any other actor in cinema history. Binoche became a bona fide French star with André Téchiné’s Rendez-vous in 1985, which was written by the now celebrated director Olivier Assayas. Last year, Binoche asked Assayas to write something for her so that they might again collaborate. He came up with the astounding Clouds of Sils Maria.

Their film follows the great star Maria Enders as she struggles to accept playing Helena in Maloja Snake, a play written by her recently departed friend. The difficulty for Maria is that she first became famous playing the ingénue role, Sigrid, decades earlier, and so, the role of Helena forces her to confront her feelings about aging, feelings compounded by the fact that, within the play, Helena desires and resents Sigrid. To make matters even more baroquely complicated, Helena and Sigrid’s relationship mirrors Maria’s interactions with Val, her personal assistant, coolly played by Kristin Stewart. (Eventually, Chloe Grace-Moretz appears as a third bone-faced brunette, younger still, to play Sigrid.)

Given the laurels recently heaped upon flamboyantly reflexive turns in Blue Jasmine and Black Swan, is it too much to hope that Binoche will leave the red carpet well-worn come awards season—even if the early release and critical attention for Kristen Stewart make that seem unlikely now? [More...]

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Thursday
Jun182015

Ann Dowd: Quick Notes on Six Roles

The Film Experience is proud to turn today over to the great actress Ann Dowd. Enjoy... 

The cast of "Garden State"

- by Ann Dowd

Nathaniel tells me these are his favorite characters from my filmography and since I've taken over The Film Experience for the day, here are quick notes on each.

"Olivia" in Garden State (2004)
Loved. Zach Braff really had it together- wrote, directed, starred in. He was very clear about what he wanted which is always a pleasure.

"Cookie Kelly" in Freaks and Geeks (2000)
Hysterical. Writers, actors, everybody was talented and young and funny. I love that role - she was delicious and twisted.



 

"Sister Maureen 'Mo' Brody" in Nothing Sacred (1997)
Sister Maureen was a wonderful role, so well written, a lovely cast. I have two aunts who are Catholic Ursuline sisters so I know something about that world – how educated they are, how generous and caring and complicated they are. The way the role was conceived by Bill Cain reflected the truth about that world and it was a pleasure to work on it. 

"Sandra" in Compliance (2012)
Another beautifully written role. I have tremendous empathy for that character, not having a guidance system of her own. How derailed her life became. Great director Craig Zobel.


"Estabrooks Masters" in Masters of Sex (2013)
Oh my gosh, what I remember most about the first season is just the feeling of hitting that ground running. Michelle Ashford's writing is great. A really terrific cast - Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald. The stories were very strong and I love the character of Estabrooks. She's clear and unfaltering and also able to admit her mistakes, apologize and then move forward. Loved her.

 

"Patti" in The Leftovers (2014)
We already spoke at length about this role but there was a lot of camarederie on set with Amy, Liv, and Justin. The atmosphere was so surreal -- keep in mind that sometimes we were shooting in the middle of the night in the cul-de-sac somewhere 45 minutes out of the city -- no sense of time or space. On one of the first days of shooting the first A.D. Vebe Borge didn't speak in solidary with the Guilty Remnant. How's that for commitment?