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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Interviews

TONI COLLETTE 

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Ben Foster (Leave No Trace)
Nadine Labaki (Capernaum)
Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai)
Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Hirokazu Koreeda (Shoplifters)

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Entries in interview (218)

Monday
Jan142019

Interview: Toni Colette on horror, grief, and her prismatic performances

by Nathaniel R

Toni Collette gives one of the year's great performances staring into the abyss of her own life in "Hereditary"Toni Collette doesn't like horror movies. We relate but there are exceptions: horror films starring Toni Collette are events. Her resistance to the genre,  she refers to both of her biggest horror hits as "classic dramas", may be the strange key to why she's so superb in them, grounding them in emotional truths while simultaneously having the kind of stylistic range as an actor that can lift right off with them into otherworldly places. 

We recently sat down after an encore screening and lively Q&A of Hereditary. Her sole Oscar nomination came early in her career as the grieving mother of little Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense (1999) and in a way, twenty years later, she's bookended that great early success with another very different grieving mother. This one's much harder to love but the performance is even better. Even if you don't love horror movies, it's impossible to miss the fact that her Annie, a self-indulgent artist and resentful mother, is a tour de force performance from an actress at the top of her game. Annie's life is traumas stacking up on traumas but Toni's performance keeps stacking brilliance upon brilliance.

Though she's played her share of narcissists or flighty women, the actress herself comes across as generous and grounded, thrilled by the collaboration of filmmaking. She rolls her eyes about herself and other actors if anyone gets too precious or self-involved about the craft. Though she loves acting dearly, she hilariously refers to it as her "day job" as we're making small talk before the interview.

In a rare turnabout, as we sat down, Toni asked the first question. So we'll begin right there....

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan132019

Interview: Nadine Labaki on directing children in her riveting Oscar contender "Capernaum"

by Nathaniel R

Nadine Labaki is three-for-three. Lebanon's most prominent filmmaker has seen all three of her films premiere at Cannes to considerable acclaim and go on to represent her country as Oscar submissions. The first two Caramel (2007) and Where Do We Go Now? (2011) became international arthouse hits. Her newest feature Capernaum, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, recently began its platform release in the US and will hopefully see the same warm reception. It's her best shot yet at an Oscar nomination, having made the finals in foreign film. Her Cannes jury prize winner focuses on the refugee crisis in Lebanon by focusing on one Syrian boy named Zain (played by Zain Al Rafeea) who is trying to survive on his own. It's a visceral must-see and should elevate Labaki's already healthy reputation as a world class director.

To my surprise, she isn't sure what she's doing next, admitting that this one has been particularly hard to let go of...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan112019

Interview: Mamoru Hosoda on his animated Oscar hopeful "Mirai"

by Nathaniel R

If Americans outside of the subculture of anime enthusiasts know anything about Japanese animation it's generally only related to Studio Ghibli. That legendary studio has been mostly dormant these last few years considering the on-again / off-again retirement of Hayao Miyazaki. It's long past time that American audiences start familiarizing themselves with other giants of the huge Japanese industry. One such artist is Mamoru Hosoda of Studio Chizu. The filmmaker, just 51, has already directed four films which won the Japanese equivalent of the Best Animated Feature Oscar: The Girl Who Lept Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast. He's yet to break through with Oscar but his latest feature, Mirai, is eligible this year and was among the nominees at the Golden Globes. It remains to be seen whether Mirai can repeat that trick to become an Oscar nominee (the new Academy rules allow non-animators to participate in the nomination process now, which will theoretically make it harder for the lower profile titles to score)  but we're hopeful.

We had the opportunity to speak to the filmmaker through a translater recently about his beautiful new film about childhood...

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Thursday
Jan102019

Interview: Ben Foster on "Leave No Trace" and Acting as Therapy

by Nathaniel R

Ben Foster discussing "Leave No Trace" last summer when it openedWhen I first met Ben Foster he was promoting Rampart (2011), a hard and angry movie about corrupt cops in which the acting was (unsurprisingly) terrific, he would barely speak about himself. Time has mellowed him, or at least made him more lighthearted about his own intensity. He ended our last interview begging for a screen comedy but sadly that project has never materialized. In person he's friendly and thoughtful and funny, never as impenetrable or scary or tragically sad as he has been is in his famous roles. In fact he's a happy new father, having had a daughter with his wife, the actress Laura Prepon, just over a year ago.

We met last month to discuss Debra Granik's award-winning drama Leave No Trace. He plays Will, a former soldier who has shut himself off from society with only his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) for companionship.When Will and Tom are found living in the woods at the beginning of the film, social workers attempt to reintegrate them into society. The daughter immediately adapts but the father is tougher to reach. Leave No Trace is moving and insightful and beautifully acted so that's where we begin as we discuss his career, his early days in acting, and what's next.

Our interview, has been edited for clarity and length...

with Director Debra Granik on set

NATHANIEL: Projects like Leave No Trace live or die based on the chemistry between the leads, so how can you prepare for a two-hander like this. Were you involved in casting? 

BEN FOSTER: I was involved in casting so far as Debra said 'I found someone I really like, and she's in New Zealand, here's the tape'. It was recorded on her phone and I watched like 30 seconds before I was like 'Oh yeah, that's it.'  

Instant approval. That's so cool.

She has a quality --you see it in person and you see it onscreen, she's lit from within. [In awe] She's one of them.

And I assume you trusted Debra a little bit on unknown actors, too, because she's famous for that Jennifer Lawrence discovery...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec052018

Toni Collette is a high-wire artist. Also loves "Roma"

by Nathaniel R

The Film Experience had the pleasure of a lengthy one-on-one chat with the inimitable Toni Collette yesterday after a screening and reception for her new horror classic Hereditary. We'll publish the whole interview in a few days but we thought we'd share a tidbit she thoughtfully e-mailed afterwards. You see during our chat, we had mentioned that they (the proverbial they) always say that actors are an insecure lot but this couldn't possibly be true of her. Wouldn't you have to be supremely confident about your gifts to attack high-wire material like Hereditary or the new miniseries Wanderlust? If you stop to think about it both of those provocative projects, one about multi-generational family trauma and the other about long-term intimacy and sexuality, essentially live or die based on the complexity of the central performance. 

Our conversation took a detour after that so she sent us this note...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov192018

Interview: Hirokazu Kore-eda on "Shoplifters," his process and working with child actors

by Murtada Elfadl

Kore-eda with his Palme d'Or for Shoplifters. Is an Oscar nomination next?

In Shoplifters Hirokazu Kore-eda (Like Father Like Son, After the Storm) tells us a story about how families unite with bonds of love and real connection rather than accidents of birth. Perhaps the best way to describe it is “humanist” as it puts connection, kindness and love at the forefront. According to the press notes, the director was inspired to write the story after learning about incidents of pension fraud in Japan - where families illegally received the pensions of parents who had already died years ago - and the severe criticism the perpetrators got.

I am wondering why people get so angry over such minor infractions even though there are many lawbreakers out there committing far more serious crimes without condemnation.

Shoplifters traces the relationships of a makeshift family that survives through petty crime, shoplifting and the grandmother's pension. Kore-eda, who wrote, directed and edited the film, won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film was a runaway commercial success in Japan and is considered a frontrunner for a nomination in this year’s Foreign Language Film Category at the Oscars. On a break from shooting his latest film with Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve and Ethan Hawke, we spoke with him on the phone about Shoplifters, his writing process, and why he’s great with child actors. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity...

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