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Entries in casting (66)

Thursday
Sep112014

X(avier) Marks the Spot for Jessica Chastain

Glenn here to talk about two of my favourite people, Xavier Dolan and Jessica Chastain. We don't usually discuss casting here at The Film Experience, especially this early into a film's existence, because they can so easily fluctuate and change without a moment's notice. This, however? This is casting news we absolutely must discuss.

Dolan's most recent film (it's hard to keep track) is Mommy, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes and is getting big plaudits out of Toronto including this one from Nathaniel labelling it his best work best. Not one to rest on his 25-year-old laurels, the Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan has cast Jessica Chastain in his English-language debut!! I'm not sure how much about The Death and Life of John F. Donovan we know already, but the exceptionally coiffed Dolan says it is a satire of the industry and that Chastain will play the villain, an editor-in-chief of a gossip magazine. Jessica is getting her Miranda Priestly on and I'm sure Dolan's hyper-stylized panache will make it yet another must see for both exceptionally talented individuals. Here's what he had to say, courtesy of /bent.

It was this friend of mine -- a journalist -- who had brought to my attention that Jessica Chastain had seen Mommy in Cannes and had liked it and tweeted about it ... It dawned on me that I should ask Jessica about playing the 'villain' role in 'John F. Donovan ... I reached out to Jessica and she read the script. She loved it, and we got along like hotcakes. That's basically it. I can already foresee all the pleasure we'll have working together.

This is the tweet in question and it's yet another example of why it amuses me so much to see filmmakers actually talking about other films and filmmakers. It's a great way of predicting who will be in this industry for the long haul if they're out there seeking films beyond the usual LA/NY red carpet events. It shows they're much deeper into their craft than it being a mere "job". Kudos to Chastain.

Despite how amazing the two of them are, the news makes me doubly happy because it will surely mean that  Xavier Dolan will get even more of a name for himself and hopefully his films can start coming out in America faster than they have been (Tom at the Farm *still* doesn't have a distributor!) What their collaboration will produce who can tell, but good grief are we keen! Not even the news that Dolan wants Taylor Kitsch, too, can dampen the excitement. What about you, does Jessica or Xavier excite you more?

Wednesday
Jul302014

Why I'm Not Seeing "Lucy"

"Lucy" will be discussed soon on the podcast but at least one member of Scarjo-loving TFE refuses to see it. Here's Matthew Eng to tell you why. - Editor


I don't care if Lucy is every bit the gloriously silly and shamelessly outré action fireworks show that gung-ho summer audiences have made into a "surprise hit." I care even less that Luc Besson has managed to curb his own gonzo cheese-fest tendencies to a running time of less than 90 minutes, compared to the ceaselessly spinning tops and chiseled self-mythologizing of every Christopher Nolan movie post-Insomnia. And, though it's been tempting, I finally don't care that Besson and Co. have seemingly put the newly-rejuvenated Scarlett Johansson (so good in Under the Skin; so great in Don Jon) on a pedestal of full-out Film Goddess proportions, in a genre where movies in which women are front and center and not merely killjoy bystanders or fatal love objects is an all too well-known rarity.

That last fact has been my greatest lure towards shilling out for Lucy (aka Scarlett), but I refuse to believe that we should have to tolerate, much less applaud, any old action movie, no matter how dire the prospects, because some Hollywood bigwig has had the amazing insight to put a more-than-deserving actress at the forefront. I, too, was giddy about Angelina Jolie snatching Salt right out of Tom Cruise's hands, until I actually sat down and watched the thing, only to realize what a sorry, secondhand vehicle Jolie was actually driving. If you really want to watch a fully-realized femme figure take names and kick ass with the full support (and smarts) of the filmmakers behind her, then by all means rent/stream/buy the Alien series or the Kill Bills or the Terminators, or, for something less familiar, take a gander at Kathryn Bigelow's exquisite Strange Days, in which a bravura Angela Bassett is every bit the strong and stalwart action heroine she needs to be, while also, you know, playing a recognizable human being.

But what finally set aside any and all chances of me seeing Lucy was this image, ℅ of Rena Meownegishi, who found it and translated. [more ...]

 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul092014

you wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if i weren't still in this Blog | But cha'aar, Link, ya'aar!

Boy Culture counts down 100 best Golden Girls guest spots - movie stars of yore!
The Daily Beast has an excellent piece on Tammy and Melissa McCarthy's career and body (also body of work) by Teo Bugbee
New Yorker thorough piece on the arguments for and against VOD for indies and the question of "cultural endurance" (I'm against VOD in general but I recognize that's probably because I live in NYC where I can actually see the movies and I think moviegoing is so much more immersive than watching things at home)

Me Says considers Notes on a Scandal (2006) the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane of our time 
Bad-Ass Digest on Exodus: Gods and Kings' 'white men with bronzer' cast. Will it finally crystallize the white-wash problem for people who still don't get it? 
Nathaniel R and have you seen that tacky black&white-in-color poster?
EW Dick Jones the voice of Pinocchio dies at 87 
Radar apparently Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes are 7 months pregnant... I thought they broke up? I can't keep up with celebrity lovelives 
Cosmopolitan has a cool piece on top stuntwomen... stunts are on my mind alot given that it's blockbuster season and this piece a month back...
TFE an interview with Hollywood's top stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton
Movie Dearest interviews the screenwriter of the 80s shocker Crimes of Passion starring Kathleen Turner  

Finally, what do you make of this plea for a collaborative performance Oscar?

Outstanding Collaborative Performance: Andy Serkis and company from Press Play Video Blog on Vimeo.

 

On the one hand I absolutely agree that Andy Serkis needs an Oscar and I've been saying so since 2002. But, like Mark Harris, I don't think it needs to be a competitive one. Creating Oscar categories or changing Oscar rules due to one or two special things (like say a Batman movie directed by Chris Nolan or a really great year for animation) usually results in far more problems and undeserving honors than it's worth. I say bring back the special Oscar for cinematic achievements that don't have competitive categories. When I was a kid that was a semi-regular event and it was nearly always cool.

Thursday
Jun262014

Welcome to the Academy. 10 Interesting Invitations

The Academy welcomes its new members at an invite only event in September, just as we begin to feel the rumblings of Oscar buzz everywhere.

While not every person nominated for the first time for an Oscar in any given year is invited to join the next year (isn't that weird?) it's common practice that they are. So new names like Lupita Nyong'o, Barkhad Abdi, and more established actors like Sally Hawkins and June Squibb will all be voting for the first time this coming season after walking the red carpets as nominees. That's expected. What's far more interesting is the people invited in any given year that have not been nominated.

Here are ten names I want to highlight because they're interesting invitations for one reason or another.

Sean Bobbitt - Cinematographer (12 Years a Slave) - egregiously snubbed last year which might have done it but that's not his only beautifully shot film. He also filmed Hunger and Shame and The Place Beyond the Pines. contributing much to their moods and power.

Bradford Young - Cinematographer (Pariah, Mother of George, Aint Them Bodies Saints, Middle of Nowhere) one of the brightest stars among newer DPs. The Academy could not have chosen better. He's just brilliant.

Denis Villeneuve - Director (Prisoners, Enemy) Surprised this Canadian hasn't been invited previously given that Incendies was nominated in Foreign Film. Technically speaking the director isn't an official nominee when a movie is nominated for Foreign Language Film but here at TFE we consider it to be so since the Director accepts and sometimes keeps the Oscar.

Sonja Klaus - Production Designer/Set Decorator (The Counselor, Prometheus)- she's done pretty great work for Ridley Scott several times as well as work on big popcorn movies like X-Men First Class and the Lara Croft movies.

Casting Directors In General - 22 of them were invited (!!!) which leads me to believe AMPAS is seriously considering finally adding a Casting Oscar. People have been complaining that there isn't one within the industry for some time.

Paul Rudnick -Writer. Rudnick was such an endearing and important comic voice in the 90s (Addams Family Values, Jeffrey, In & Out) but his last feature film credit was literally The Stepford Wives ten whole years ago. So why now for the Motion Picture Academy? I don't begrudge him any honors but he doesn't even work in movies any more. (though his first project in ten years is supposedly due this year, a TV movie with Bette Midler). 

Casting Directors In General - 22 of them were invited (!!!) which leads me to believe AMPAS is seriously considering finally adding a Casting Oscar. People have been complaining that there isn't one within the industry for some time.

Beatrix Aruna Pasztor - This costume designer has never been nominated despite a filmography that includes films of wildly varied genres: Vanity Fair, Aeon Flux, Great Expectations, Brothers Bloom, To Die For and many more so she's versatile. But I'm highlighting her mostly because Nick and I like saying her name to each other. (Long story)

Josh Hutcherson in "Mockingjay Part 1" / Ben Foster in "Lone Survivor"

Josh Hutcherson & Ben Foster - Actors. Sometimes the actor invitations are real head scratchers when it comes to timing. Aren't we a bit premature on Josh (please note: I like him as an actor) and aren't we super duper late to the party on Ben Foster who has been quite acclaimed for some time. Was it Lone Survivor that did it? These things are puzzling because if you didn't want to invite him after 3:10 to Yuma what the hell is wrong with you?

Beth Grant - Actress (Small Role Goddess of Limitless Indies / Mainstream Efforts)

Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion."

 

The full press release from the Academy is after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun192014

Callas, Streep, and "Master Class"

Tyne Daly played the role on BroadwayYou've undoubtedly heard the news by now that Meryl Streep will be playing opera diva Maria Callas in the film adaptation of the play Master Class, about Callas teaching a voice class at Juilliard. Well, telefilm adaptation I guess... so ink Streep down for the Emmy whenever that arrives since Hollywood is all about over-rewarding the winners. On stage the role has been played by Fanny Ardant, Zoe Caldwell, Faye Dunaway and Tyne Daly. Master Class is, in a way, a distant cousin to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie as each involve an imperious older woman teaching students while also basically monologuing about her own glory days.

Terence McNally's play has been around since 1995 and as recently as last Winter Faye Dunaway, who played the role in a Los Angeles production, was still being interviewed about her struggle to get it on film. If Dunaway was that invested in it I'm confused about the rights issues because wouldn't she have already acquired them? 

As much as I love Streep, her dominance continues to haunt me. I'm an actressexual but I am in no way monogamous about it. (I assure you, 1000% percent that if my beloved Pfeiffer returned to the movies and got every part for a 50something woman, I'd complain, too.) And while I despair for the other supremes Streep's age who can't get around her to get their shot at golden roles (both because Hollywood always wants Streep and because Streep is more prolific now than she has been since her late twenties!), this could be truly great. Mike Nichols is Streep's best collaborator and truly gifted at guiding her. Streep has rarely been better than she was in Silkwood, Postcards from the Edge, and Angels in America. I'd list only two of her other performances as equal to that realm of pure transcendence.

Maria Callas

That said it'd be more tantalizing, at least from afar, to have a lesser lauded less ubiquitous performer and it'd definitely be fascinating to have a "has been" goddess  in the role. Consider that on Broadway one of the raves for Daly's performance said:

one of the most haunting portraits I’ve seen of life after stardom

Not that Streep doesn't have prodigious gifts of imagination but "life after stardom" is not something the three time Oscar winner has or ever will experience, despite it being a universal journey for 98% of movie actresses. 

Monday
Jun022014

Delicious Fan Moment w/ Sarah Paulson. Plus: Lupita Update!

Thanks to faithful reader Murtada for pointing this out. The tumblr Heavenly Rush recently shared a personal experience of a trip from Chicago to Sag Harbor where the author met one of TFE's favorite current actresses Sarah Paulson. The American Horror Story star has already wrapped her scenes for Todd Haynes's lesbian drama Carol (headlined by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as new lovers  - Paulson's the ex-girlfriend) and she's currently on stage in the play "Conviction" with Garrett Dillahunt at the Bay Street Theater.

Paulson on the set of "Carol"... and on stage in "Conviction"

I'm sharing a part of it that post here that I know you Oscar obsessives will love. It touches on last year's Oscar race and the next one as well as upcoming Oscar Category Fraud woes. ("M" is the author and "S" is Sarah Paulson though the conversation is obviously paraphrased from super excited fan memory.)  

M: You are gonna win the Oscar for Carol.

S: That’s sweet, but I don’t think so. 

M: I just finished the book, and if you got to do all those scenes, you are totally winning a fucking Oscar … did you get to do all of Abbys scenes from the book?

S: No, they changed the one at the bar to Cate’s house in her kitchen, and moved another one to a dinner and they created a whole new one for the movie. 

M: But did you get to do all the stuff on the phone?

S: Yes, I did do that. 

M: If you got to say “you win”, you are totally getting a nom!

S: Well, if Harvey has it his way they will put up 2. Cate and Rooney and they will forget about me 

M: but you know how when a supporting actress is in a movie for  mins., and it’s incredible and they win? I think that’s going to be you!

S: I don’t know … maybe. 

M: like how you should have won for 12 years

S: yeah, but no one is gonna give an Oscar to a white bitch that hurts Lupita. 

Ha! Love Paulson so much. So admirable that she doesn't self-censor in public or in interviews (as we discovered here at TFE when we talked to her). You can read more about this fan's adventure and meeting with the actress at Heavenly Rush.

As for Lupita Nyong'o. Word came this morning that the Star Wars Episode VII casting happened after all... just as that film starts shooting. Her role is still under wraps. I'm thrilled that someone finally cast her in *something*.  I personally think she's way better than a presumably small part in a very old franchise, but it's a start!  Still and all, Hollywood ought to be ridiculously ashamed of how long it's taken anyone to sign this beautiful talented instant celebrity on to anything that would make use of that beauty and talent. 

To put it frankly: we have a surpluss of celebrities in this workd that are good for little more than being attractive and showing up at glamorous events.  Lupita obviously has a lot more to offer than that, so it's nice that she'll be doing something in front of the camera again besides posing on a red carpet.  

Thursday
May222014

Mm Mm Oh Oh... I'm All Linked Up 

Towleroad Harvey Milk stamp unveiling live at 3PM today!
John August's screenwriting podcast talks to the professionals about writing superheroes, masculinity and rebooting past franchises. Featuring: Conan the Barbarian, Captain America and Batman among others
The AV Club suggests that the only appropriate director for the Elvis biopic is... David Lynch?

It’s an almost biblical rags-to-riches tale infused with elements of horror, farce, and even science fiction, and while many have tried to bring it to the screen, there’s yet to be a definitive biopic.

Verité looks back at naughty precode gem Jewel Robbery (1932) with William Powell and Kay Francis
Gawker more 'celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves' feat. Julia, McConaughey, and Emma Stone 
Madonnarama V magazine features Katy Perry and Madonna in conversation for their summer spectacular
In Contention I forgot to mention The Search in my Cannes collection last night, so here's Guy Lodge on that reported misfire from the team behind The Artist
Extra Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt promise that their reunion will be "experimental and raw"... though that means so many different things to different people. I think she basically means low-budget and human-oriented
Empire for a limited time you can listen to the original score of the original Godzilla (1954) by Akira Ifukube

Two Essentials
Are you a struggling actor? Bitter Gertrude's "Why You Didn't Get Cast" is a must read about the casting and the audition process and building a career in a competitive field. I used to work in Human Resources and I would tell my friends these same things many times about non-showbiz job hunts.

Remember that absurd moment when Tom Cruise jumped up and down on that couch on Oprah? Amy Nicholson in a great long read over at LA Weekly  called "How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star," posits that it didn't happen. Not in the way we remember it at all. A provocative read even if you don't believe that Cruise was our 'last real movie star' (which I do not, while conceding that movie stars that large are rare beasts.)

Friday
May022014

Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Linkdown

Art of the Title has an amazing 3-part retrospective / interview with title designer Pablo Ferro. His work includes: Bullitt, Married to the Mob, Dr Strangelove, Beetlejuice, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and so many other greats
The New Yorker "why Mean Girls is a classic" even esteemed publications got into the 10th anniversary frenzy. Good piece from Richard Brody
The Dissolve Joaquin Phoenix will headline the next Woody Allen film, the one after Magic in the Moonlight. The prolific auteur isn't slowing down his one-a-year pac. Phoenix isn't slowing down either; remember how just a few short years ago, people thought Phoenix's career was over? The joke was on us.) 

 

Vulture Bilge Ebiri sticks his neck out for "Why Adam Sandler Matters"
Paper Mag 5 Most Swintessential Moments from Tilda Swinton's career. Love this though none are her actual acting & filmography which is tops. 
Playbill Idina Menzel & Julie Andrews talk FrozenWicked and The Sound of Music Live! on "Watch What Happens Live". Julie is very magnanimous about Carrie Underwood but I love the hint of 'i'm aware you all think i'm just being diplomatic' utter vagueness of "acting is acting is acting". Ha!

I thought she was great. Listen, she made it her own. But listen: acting is acting is acting."

The Wire pontificates on Emma Stone's career now that redundant superhero movie is in theaters. Shouldn't her career be so much more by now?
Cosmopolitan interviews Amy Schumer on 'sneaky feminism,' Parker Posey, plastic surgery and Judd Apatow's Trainwreck
Pajiba this is how you assemble a damn cast. On Joe Swanberg's wonderful ensembles 
AV Club is fear of TV cancellations a thing of the past? Shows with low ratings are no longer automatically doomed and fan passion counts for far more than it once did.
Gothamist wonders if James Franco is doing okay. Get out of bed! 

Today's Must Read
Cléo wonderfully provocative piece on "Samantha" in Her (now on DVD) from Angelo Muredda:

Early on, Samantha is eager to establish herself as, if not a human, then at least something more ambitious than a machine. She proudly proclaims that what makes her her is the ability to grow through her experiences. “So basically,” she says, “in every moment I’m evolving, just like you.” The latter part of that statement reads as a veiled threat to Theodore, who seems rather stalled in his moody present state as a sad man who writes other people’s love letters for a living despite being unable to sign his own divorce papers. It is a succinct expression of the film’s male smugness: that a girlfriend who begins excited about the world and her boyfriend’s witty emails is still a girlfriend who will one day leave.