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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 | letterboxd

 

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Entries in interview (70)

Wednesday
Feb192014

Interview: Lupita Nyong'o on 12 Years, Non-Stop and Her Future

On Lupita Nyong'o's Instagram account she captioned this one:

Yes, a chocolate BAFTA will do quite nicely, thank you!

A golden BAFTA woulda been better but what can you do?

Recently it came to me in a flash: Lupita Nyong'o is the new Jessica Chastain!  Think about it: classically trained movie actress in her early 30s goes from complete unknown to everyone's favorite in the blink of an eye in a critically acclaimed movie (movies plural in Chastain's case) and proves herself a complete and utter natural at celebrity, red carpets, fashion, and social media. 

Of course I didn't know all this when I first sat down with Lupita in the fall in the first rush of acclaim for Twelve Years a Slave, a meeting I shamefully neglected to tell you about until now. Looking over the transcript it occurs to me that the past few months have been so eventful that pieces of our conversation barely make sense. We're conversing as if she isn't a huge celebrity. But the right role at the right time can permanently change things for an actor. [More...]

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Interview: Michael O'Connor on "Fussy" Costumes & Principal Actresses

A curious reversal: I'm discussing Oscar-voting with costume designer Michael O'Connor, an Oscar winner for The Duchess (2008) nominated again for his work on the Dickensian romantic drama The Invisible Woman and he reveals that, though he takes voting seriously, he doesn't really think it's a good thing to know too much about the behind the scenes achievements on movies, beyond what you can see and judge visually. 

Michael O'Connor and one of his Oscar-nominated designs from The Invisible Woman

That’s why I don’t teach or do classes. I don't think it would be a good experience. I want the discussion when I’m doing it because it helps me work but when you watch [a movie] you shouldn’t know the discussions. When you watch a film sometimes and stay for the Q&A it’s changed the experience because now you know some of the secrets. Some of the magic is not knowing. 

And, yet, once you get Michael O'Connor talking about his craft, he doesn't quit (a wonderful problem in an interview) and his passion for Costume Design is always front and center. I'm not at all convinced that he wouldn't make a good teacher but his students would have to be quick, as he leaps from topic to topic, sometimes without warning. 

From our vantage point in 2014 his current status as an Oscar winning costume designer seems inevitable...

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Monday
Jan272014

Interview: Joanna Scanlan on 'The Invisible Woman' and Working with Icons

Photo via Beige PlusThere's a wonderful little moment in Notes on a Scandal (2006) in which a well meaning but unwelcome teacher by the name of Sue Hodge advises her fellow schoolteachers (played by Dami Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett), who are struggling with their students to "concern yourself with the gems". I'm shamelessly borrowing that line right now to talk about the British actress who utters it, because she is one.

Joanna Scanlan co-wrote and starred in the BBC series Getting On (now enjoying an American remake) and has played witches, nurses, schoolteachers, and more yet she's largely unknown to American audiences. She's got her best cinematic showcase yet in The Invisible Woman as Catherine Dickens, the neglected depressed wife of the famous writer Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes). Her husband may neglect her and the Oscar conversation did, too (despite its ostensible purpose being to, well, concern itself with the gems) so we're picking up their slack.

She's remarkable in the movie and though the title does not literally refer to her character, we like to think it has a double meaning. The movie business is not a meritocracy but it there's any justice Joanna Scanlan won't be an 'invisible woman' much longer but will be popping up in more roles worthy of her. I eagerly telephoned her to discuss her role in this Oscar nominated picture (Best Costume Design) and her nifty habit of acting opposite true icons like Dench, Fiennes, Pfeiffer, and Blanchett. 

Our conversation is after the jump...

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Wednesday
Jan152014

Interviews, Travel

As you read this I've just arrived in LA. After settling in at the brand new hotel The Line (it's so industrial chic inside), dinner with friends and then surely a fitful night of sleep given what happens in the morning: CHRISTMAS PRESENTS (by which I mean "Oscar Nominations!")  After that blessed event, I shall strap a tux on for the first time since my high school prom (!!!) for the Critics Choice Awards. Then jet off to meet up with Glenn and Michael at Sundance where I'll try to shift focus a bit from Oscar mania to snowbank-climbing film-festing. All of this while still wrapping 2013 up with my own awards ballots and continuing to process those Oscar nominations. I'm exhausted thinking about all this but I share it with you to lean on your collective strength.  Give it to me!

My point is this: it's a good time to take stock before the next wave of excitement. Here are a dozen plus talented showbiz beauties we talked to for the 2013 film year here at The Film Experience in case you missed any. With more to come both Oscar related and non

Actors
Brie Larson (Short Term 12)
Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Joanna Scanlan (The Invisible Woman)
Jonathan Groff (Frozen)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said)
Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Sarah Paulson (12 Years a Slave
Joanna Scanlan (The Invisible Woman
Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave) 

Behind the Camera
Director Asghar Farhadi (The Past)
Costume Design Michael O'Connor (Invisible Woman)
Costume Design Patricia Norris (12 Years a Slave

Quick Chat
Colin Farrell & Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks)

Way Off Oscar's Path (But There's More To Film Than Shiny Gold)
Blood Brother, Five DancesClub SandwichPit StopVivien Leigh Bio

Have you been enjoying the interviews? Who would you love to talk to or read about?

Wednesday
Jan012014

Interview: Sally Hawkins on Cate Blanchett, Woody Allen, and Godzilla

One of the most delightful surprises of the season was the Golden Globe Supporting Actress nomination for Sally Hawkins in Woody Allen's latest hit Blue Jasmine. While Cate Blanchett rages through the movie like a force of nature as Jasmine (née Jeanette) and has won dozens of prizes, Hawkins has the less showy but difficult task of keeping the movie grounded and the mood breezy while navigating her screen sister's stormiest weathers. Blue Jasmine, which comes to DVD and BluRay on January 21st, is yet another reminder, that Hawkins is one of the stealth MVPs of current cinema.

Sally and I had spoken once before (at length) during the Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) press tour and getting reacquainted was unusually good fun; I've rarely laughed so much during an interview. To give you a sense of the easy rapport and how delightful Sally is in person, I've included a little audio segment of my favorite bit of our conversation, when we were talking about her key directors: Woody Allen (2 films together) or Mike Leigh (3 films together) again. 

Nathaniel: So anyway… Blue Jasmine. When I first saw it I thought ‘this is good’ But then it just wouldn't leave my head. So it’s moved up in my estimation.

SALLY HAWKINS: Those films that sit and resonate with you, that you keep thinking about, are really interesting.

Do you experience that when you're reading a script? Or is that something you don’t discover until you’re on set. Like ‘oh, this one is going to be good.’ [more...]

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