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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Which screenplays are most quotable?

"Inside out FTW. 'I loved you in Fairy Dream Adventure Part 7. Okay bye. I love you!'" - Teppo

"My number one that I now say whenever the occasion is delivered by Carol: 'It will get ugly. And we are not ugly people...'"- Jones

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Entries in casting (115)

Friday
Feb052016

Colette vs. Mary Magdalene

Here's Murtada speculating very early on the 2017 Oscar race.

There’s usually a real life person in the best actress lineup. It’s not as prevalent as it is in best actor - 4 this year. But we do have Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence). Last year there were Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) and Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon). Recently we got everyone from Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) to Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) and most famously The Queen (Helen Mirren) and her 80s nemesis Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep). Now we have two more possible candidates for the 2017 Oscar race as two interesting biopics were announced this week with two actresses well known to the Academy. French writer Colette (to be played by Keira Knightley) and Jesus disciple Mary Magdalene (Rooney Mara). 

Colette in 1920s

Colette is the more intriguing figure, at least to this non-believer. Born in 1873 she was a journalist, an actress, a mime and of course most famously the writer of the novel Gigi which became an Oscar winning film and a stage musical. Colette and her first husband Willy Gauthier-Villars, also a writer, were pivotal figures in the salons of the turn of the century Paris and collaborated on several novels. The rumour is that the writing was all Colette’s - shades of Big Eyes. Colette also had sexual and romantic relationships with women. And based on the people behind this film, we know they won’t shy away from telling that story.

The film is written by Wash Westmoreland and the late Richard Glatzer (Quinceañera, Still Alice), with Westmoreland directing. It will be produced by Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen who most recently produced Carol. With lukewarm reviews for her Broadway debut in Therese Requin and a small forgettable part in Everest being her only 2015 credits, this looks like a juicy part that Knightley can sink her teeth into and possibly get her career back on the upturn it was on with 2014’s double bill of Begin Again and The Imitation Game.

While I’m not into religious movies, actresses are my religion and after Carol I would follow Rooney Mara anywhere she wants to go. She’s choosing to collaborate with Garth Davis (Top of the Lake) to tell the story of Mary Magdalene. The actress - director combo is exciting especially when it’s noted that they have recently worked together on Lion (2016) - with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel. They must have really enjoyed working together to choose to do it again so soon. Wonder who will be cast as Jesus? It’ll have to be someone fantastic if they are to replicate the explosive chemistry Mara had with her Carol co-star Cate Blanchett. This tweet says it best.

Who would you like to see play opposite Knightley and Mara as Gauthier-Villars and Jesus?

Sunday
Jan312016

Personal Ballot: Casting, Ensemble, Breakthrough

Ready to start pouring over Nathaniel's annual Film Bitch Awards? The time is now. As longtime readers probably have gleaned, in my secret alternate fantasy life I became a casting director. It's one of the three jobs in movies I always thought I'd be terrific at (the others being editing and screenwriting). This is not bragging. It's fan-fic journaling. All cinephiles are allowed, indeed encouraged (at least here), to harbor such 'in another life' fantasies! The natural pull of casting is probably what keys up the interesting in SAG's Ensemble category so much even though they don't ever seem to absorb the meaning of the word but just pick five pictures they liked. 

Now that SAG has had their say, here are the Film Bitch Nominees in the casting friendly categories:  Casting, Ensemble, and Breakthrough Performers. You'll see major shout outs to Sicario and Brooklyn in particular, both the casts and their casting directors (Francine Maisler and Fiona Weir, respectively). It's still mortifying that they were looked over in terms of communal acting whenever ensemble prizes were handed out anywhere. Diary of a Teenage Girl, which we probably haven't talked about enough, is also honored twice over. 

And a note to remember as you read them: If a performer is nominated in one of our regular Oscar-adjacent acting categories they are not eligible for Breakthrough (so no double dipping) which is why you don't see Jacob Tremblay from Room for example since he was already nominated in Leading Actor

Friday
Jan222016

Music Supervisors & Casting Directors have no Oscar category. But they do get prizes.

Here's two awards curiousity for your afternoon. Both involve guilds that differentiate their prizes not by genre but by budget (i.e. big, small, micro): Casting and Music Supervision.

The Guild of Music Supervisors has been giving out awards for six years now. The music supervisor's job entails finding pre existing music, getting rights to all the songs, overseeing all music related aspects of a production. This year their big winners were all films which various people have labelled "snubbed" over the past week: Straight Outta Compton, Carol, and Diary of a Teenage Girl. And Furious 7's "See You Again," which did not make Oscar's Original Song nominated shortlist, takes Original Song. (more about their awards here.) 

The Casting Society's "Artios" awards do things a little differently. They divide their awards both by budget and by comedy/drama. Their big budget winners: The Big Short / Straight Outta Compton. Their indie winners: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Room. Their low budget winners: Dope and The Stanford Prison Experiment.

That last one is a really great call because the film hasn't been in the conversation at all which means they were clearly thinking about its actual merit as opposed to hearing its name constantly in the "awards" circus. I've said since I saw it that one day it might read as a who's who of male stars before they were big. (More about their awards here.)

Wednesday
Jan062016

Interview: Phyllis Nagy on Patricia Highsmith, Sunset Blvd, and "Carol" 

Phyllis Nagy in Palm Springs with Cate BlanchettMonday night through Tuesday evening was a special 24 hours in the lives of Team Experience. At the NYFCC awards gala, Alec Baldwin, presenting the Best Director prize to Todd Haynes (Carol), quoted a Film Comment piece by our dear friend and podcast mate Nick Davis. That same night Phyllis Nagy was honored for Best Screenplay by the Pulitzer winning playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Lincoln) himself. Though I was not in attendance for the Carol-heavy NYFCC gala on Monday night where the film also took Best Cinematography and Best Film), I had the opportunity to congratulate Nagy the next evening on her fine work adapting the year's best film from the original 1952 Patricia Highsmith novel "The Price of Salt." The occassion was a cocktail event for the movie hosted by former and future Todd Haynes muse Julianne Moore (here are a few photos of that reunion.)

It was our second chat with the sharp and talented Phyllis Nagy, who up until Carol had been best known for her stage plays and the HBO film Mrs Harris (2006) which she wrote and directed.

Here's our original conversation which we hope you'll enjoy...

NATHANIEL: So Phyllis I started this  as kind of a joke to myself but then decided to commit to it and have literally asked every person I interviewed from Carol ... How come you're such a genius? 

PHYLLIS NAGY: Well, practice. [Laughs] In this case, yeah, practice, many years of it. Which ultimately aided it, it didn’t hurt it, it may have felt like that from time to time...

NATHANIEL: You mean the long gestation period?

PHYLLIS NAGY: Yeah, when no one wants to [make a film], it gives you the opportunity to obsessively go over it again and again on your own time, at least make it a document that you’re proud of. So, luckily...

[Patricia Highsmith's interiority, great actors, and tough rewrites after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec212015

Best of '15: Co-Star Chemistry, the Great Intangible 

These are the 15 relationships that really crackled for us on screen this year with an electric snap... or familial/platonic warmth... or sexual combustibility... or tense reserve ... or  lived-in authenticity ...or any combo thereof depending on what the relationship called for. Kudos to the actors, directors, screenwriters, and casting directors who all obviously contributed to capture lightning in a bottle. The following examples of screen chemistry told us so much about the characters within the story and sometimes outside of it from long before the events of the movie or projecting out after the narrative. Do I find it troubling that the SAG and BFCA nominations for Best Ensemble avoided ALL of these films save Spotlight? Why, yes --- yes I do! Thanks for asking. 

Note: I opted not to include Carol in the list primarily because the obsession is too strong and every single relationship in the movie is fascinating (yes even Therese & Richard's! Even Harge & Abby who only get one scene together) and it wouldn't be fair to the other pictures with its web of relationships, new, old, soured, fresh, complicated and all superbly rendered. Joy, which is better than the initial response suggests, also has fine pockets of chemistry within a bustling cast (something David O. Russell excels at) but I couldn't settle on any one relationship.

The list is presented without commentary... but for what you have to say in the comments. 

15 Sylvester Stallone & Michael B Jordan in Creed (trainer/trainee and surrogate something)

14 more couplings after the jump...

Click to read more ...