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Entries in Diablo Cody (5)

Wednesday
Mar262014

Streep Finally Listens, Gets Real Director.

We've been harping on Meryl Streep's extraordinary lack of interest in working with A list directors who might actually, you know, direct her for a decade. She's finally working with one. She's now attached to Ricky and the Flash and, juvenile sounding title aside, it sounds like a potential winner.

She'll play a rock star trying to reconnect with her estranged children when her career peters out. The script is by clever Diablo Cody and in the director's chair, none other than Oscar winner Jonathan Demme. He's quite gifted with actresses having previously directed arguably career best work from actresses as diverse as Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Melanie Griffith (Something Wild), and Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs). He also guided Michelle Pfeiffer, once his favorite actress, in her best romantic comedy outing (Married to the Mob). More...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan042012

Interview: Charlize Theron on "Young Adult" and "Snow White"

Reason #103 to Love Charlize Theron: The Hello Kitty t-shirt in "Young Adult" was her idea!If I were brainstorming about the imaginary pop culture diet of fictional Mavis Gary, the self-absorbed alcoholic YA novelist at the cool heart of Young Adult I'd put this forth: She's never watched the Oscars but flips absently through fashion roundups in the magazines the day after every year. (Her beauty is only skin deep and her thought processes even shallower.) Her creators director Jason Reitman, screenwriter Diablo Cody and actress Charlize Theron, on the other hand all have a lot going on upstairs and are also intimately familiar with Hollywood's big event. If Academy voters widen their range a little to notice the brilliance of this smart acerbic comedy, who knows? They could be invited back again.

Not that any of this seems to concern Charlize Theron, who calls me herself on the night of our interview, to discuss her new role. As a producer on the film, she seems less concerned with statues and acclaim and more about finding the right audience for such a tricky unique film. "It's not a quintessential Jason Reitman film and it's not a quintessential Charlize Theron film," she says, matter of factly. Anyone expecting another Juno or Monster will be thrown. They planned carefully with pop up screenings and key theater appearances and a quick but not instantaneous wide release. Smart. Young Adult feels like just the kind of film that will grow its audience slowly (we're definitely already on board) and it's easy to imagine a Mavis cult gathering over time. 

"You have to celebrate the spirit of the movie you're making and release it into the world in that way." she says speaking like a producer. Though of course we know her first and foremost as an actress, a great oneAnd she's an enjoyable conversationalist in that regard, too, though she knows when to keep a secret about her films and her process.

 


Nathaniel R: When did you first feel you understood Mavis while reading the script. Did you have a moment of "I know this character?"

CHARLIZE THERON: It wasn't something specifically but I guess just an overall feeling. Otherwise i don't think i could have said yes to the film. She felt human to me. She felt real. This overwhelming need and want to be loved and this kind of loneliness and the horrible tool set that she has to go about getting those things.  I guess those things all kind of resonated with me? 

Nathaniel: If we were to look at your script: Is it pristine? do you write a lot of notes? How do you prepare?

CHARLIZE: How do I prepare? You know, it's a little bit like asking a magician 'How did you pull a rabbit from the hat?' I don't know if people really want to know that stuff. I think what we're trying to do ultimately is have people forget about that stuff. On top of that I don't have anything that's concrete. Every time is different. I know that I have a very obsessive compulsive mind. So when I know I'm doing something I think everything in my daily life i'm observing and filing and knowing that I might be able to use it.

From the moment I say yes it's breathing and living under my skin. I'm constantly thinking about it. And conversations with my director are sometimes important. But I don't talk about things too much. For me it's a very intimate experience and an "alone" experience. I have to go through it myself.

That's interesting since Mavis is so solitary. And writing is, too.

Diablo and Jason who are both writers know that world really well. I'm not a writer so I didn't realize how great they were at capturing that until writers came up to me and said "oh my god that's exactly my life." Everything kind of stops and disappears. There is no outside world. So, I have to give them credit for really nailing that.

Beauty is such an important issue to Young Adult but in your most famous role, Monster, your own beauty doesn't factor in. Do you think about your own beauty when playing roles like this? 

[Character Beauty, Three Consecutive Villains and that damn 'Hello Kitty' after the jump

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec102011

American Linko

Slant analyzes the new poster for Madonna's W.E. 
Empire Sacha Baron Cohen taking the Threnadier role we thought was going to Geoffrey Rush in Tom Hooper's adaptation of Les Miserables. 
In Contention Kris & Anne give their top ten films of the year 
Stale Popcorn on the plans to 'update' American Psycho. Hollywood executives can be so thick. It's a satire about the 80s. You don't "update" what something is about.

The Hairpin looks back at Love, Actually a predecessor of the current all star roundelay that is New Year's Eve
New York Magazine an inner monologue of a critic watching Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (I missed this somehow last week but it's great)
Animation Magazine has been hopping lately. Lots of features on the animated contenders including the ones we've heard the least about like the Spanish old age drama Wrinkles
YouTube Pulp Fiction in chronological order. I was totally taken by surprise by how it begins but it all came back to me.
The Wrap this news makes me giggle. Lifetime Television is planning to remake 1980's The Blue Lagoon. This is what's called a missing the point. The only reason anyone watched the original film was for the nudity. 
The AV Club chats with Diablo Cody about Young Adult. Check out this great exchange on the film's origins:

Diablo Cody: “Am I some kind of stunted woman-child that’s living vicariously through her characters?” And then I thought, “Stunted woman-child—that’s a character.”
AVC: Now you’re living vicariously through a character who’s living vicariously.
DC: Yeah, it’s like Escher.

Living through film characters. Sigh. Don't we all to some degree. If we're being honest with ourselves. 

Which film character have you found yourself living through?

Sunday
Nov202011

"Young Adult" Chat: Diablo, Charlize, Patton... and Candace?

This Friday night at the DGA Theater in Manhattan, director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody's post-Juno reunion was unveiled for guild members. The second time was also a charm so I hope they keep working together. For such a dark and discomfiting comedy (many of the best laughs come while cringing reflexively), I thought the screening went very well with no walkouts and much laughter but my guest was more skeptical. He felt like the laughter was coming from very specific pockets of the theater which may well be true since it's a movie that some people will "get" (i.e. respond to) and others will probably leave in disgust since it keeps defying expectations, driving drunkenly up to traditional beats / redemptive arcs, only to turn its nose up at them and swerve off that well-paved road again.  We weren't allowed to take pictures, so I was playing court reporter and sketching the panel which included...

From left: Moderator Candace Bushnell, actress Charlize Theron, screenwriter Diablo Cody, actor Patton Oswalt and actress Elizabeth Reiser.

I kept altering the Candace drawing, sketching beer bottles strewn about her, adding bubbles in the air, because the real life "Carrie Bradshaw" was a MESS, all slurry, mealy mouthed, self absorbed and just not pulling it together. At one point after several repeated interludes wherein she managed to go on and on about the movie or her feelings about without asking a question, she began to compare Charlize's character "Mavis Gray" with Kim Cattrall's "Samantha Jones" in Sex & The City, which proved to be too much for the already patience-tested audience.

JUST ASK A QUESTION!!!"

...one man shouted from somewhere in the middle of the theater.

But through her haze of something, Candace touched on and was maybe even a living embodiment of the point she was attempting to make: certain types of behavior and some very famous characters that we enjoy onscreen would be absolutely insufferable in real life settings. Young Adult lays this down with nuanced flair.

Despite the problematic "Q" half of the Q&A session, the "A" was terrific. Diablo Cody was clever (no surprise), Patton Oswalt was just hilarious (apparently this is not a surprise if you're familiar though I wasn't having only seen him in The United States of Tara) and Charlize and Elizabeth managed to wring laughs from the crowd, too. It's kind of disgusting that Charlize, in addition to being one of the most beautiful women in the world is also one of the most talented and has a great sense of humor. Abundance of riches, that, and the movie wouldn't have worked at all without someone of her caliber headlining.

My recorder mysteriously contains only silence for 25 minutes  --wtf? -- so I can't share the highlights I intended to (wah-wah) but [SPOILER] the funniest moment came when Patton Oswalt was discussing his nude scene with Charlize and an audience member asked if he worked out from nerves beforehand. He said that going to the gym for his body would be like building a nice awning over a pile of rubble... and nothing would have ever helped being on camera with Charlize. Why couldn't he have done a nude scene with, like, Michael Moore instead? [/SPOILER]. Another good bit was Charlize talking about how unpopular she was in high school followed by a self-deprecating 'I'm sure you all feel very sorry for me.'

Here's the Q&A guests at another event that same night. (They didn't change clothes so I assume they were back-to-back events)

Oscar Nominations?
While the whole cast of Young Adult is sharp about how to play the tricky tone, particularly Collette Wolfe in a crucial role as Patton Oswalt's sister, most of them have very small roles (it's Theron & Oswalt's party...and they do throw one.) Charlize is a deserving contender for Best Actress but given how traditionally strong her competition is (what with easy Oscar gets like biopic mimicry and career narratives like "long gestating dream role" in the mix) she's no lock. That said she nails a complicated character who is in every scene and requires both finely honed comedic skill and a nuanced dramatic undertow. Patton Oswalt has both an easier role (audience voice / surrogate... to an extent) and an easier shot at Supporting Actor. I suspect the film is far too distinctive, tightly focused and resistant to catharsis for wider Oscar play so it's all about the writer's branch.

The Original Screenplay category this year is a fascinating beast. Six of the hottest tickets in this category (Young Adult, Beginners, Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris, The Artist, Win Win) are either straight up comedies or dramas with very pronounced comedic sensibilities... so will they go there? Good news for Young Adult: Original Screenplay is a bit kinder to dramedies and comedies than other categories tend to be. You don't have to look back too far for a year that tilts comedic (the 2008 lineup includes Happy Go Lucky, Wall•E and In Bruges) though many of the years are as heavy on angsty drama as the lead acting categories tend to be. 

 

 

Thursday
Oct062011

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Young Adult"

Last time director Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody got together they gave us Juno (2007). This combined effort won them millions at the box office and four Oscar nominations. Can they strike gold twice? 

Cheers. Charlize Theron is a fierce funny bitch in "Young Adult" 

Young Adult features Oscar winning glamazon Charlize Theron as "Mavis" who returns to her hometown to win back an old boyfriend who is now a happily married father. Everyone else knows this is a terrible idea.

YES

  • A lying cheating amoral lead character who is a "psychotic prom queen bitch"? We're so there.
  • Dogs in bags, black fingernail polish... love that she's a bit dated in her badass "coolness" but totally pleased with herself about it. You can't get a bead from these two minutes whether she's aware that she's "shocking" (see also: Liza in Cabaret) or if she's oblivious to her own crazy... but either way that'll be funny.
  • Biggest LOL Moment: Mavis and the ugly baby. If the whole movie is that funny, it'll be a perennial you can watch on repeat.
  • Love the disconnect in her conversations "I'm a married man." "We can beat this thing together!"
  • Charlize's comedic talents rarely get such a work out so bring it on.

NO

  • The trailer promises The Charlize Show, but one of Juno's strengths was its fully humanized supporting cast. This doesn't suggest any depth of focus at first glance beyond its showy lead. Will Charlize be enough?
  • If Charlize ends up with Patton Oswalt, that's just going to be weird and yet totally pandering/typical of the movies where the über babes are always falling for guys who look like regular moviegoers. 

MAYBE SO

  • Jason Reitman's films are usually fairly impressive juggling acts with dramatic and comedic balls up in the air (sorry) constantly. This looks like a simple straightforward comedy. It might be more but even if it isn't won't that be welcome in the heat of Prestige Film Season surrounding by Totally Meaningful Sober Epic Dramas?

Here's the trailer

Are you a yes, no or maybe so? Charlize Theron: how ya like her now? How you like her Oscar chances once that Golden Globe is sewn up... or will Kristen Wiig's Bridesmaid trip her up there?