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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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Entries in interview (211)

Thursday
Dec272012

Interview: Kerry Washington on "Django" & Diversity

Kerry Washington and I were both blindfolded if not gagged when we spoke about Django Unchained. Metaphorically, you'll understand. Neither of us had yet seen Quentin Tarantino's latest revisionist revenge flick when we found a window in her schedule to talk but talk we did.

Kerry Washington as "Broomhilda" in Django Unchained

Amusingly we had quite different feelings about not having yet seen it. I was desperate to attend a screening. Kerry was, apparently, not. When I asked her if she enjoyed watching her films she laughed with a "No!" and a shudder...

It's a process I force myself to endure. Usually not more than once.

For the rest of us the prospect of seeing one of the screen's most stunning actresses is a lot more enticing than 'something to endure'. Since Kerry's big screen roles have rarely been as sizeable as her talent, a key role from an A list auteur is something to treasure while we have it.

In Django Unchained, Kerry found herself in the unusual position of playing a relatively non-verbal part considering the dialogue heavy nature of Tarantino pictures. She plays Broomhilda von Shaft, the wife of freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx) who aims to rescue her from the sadistic plantation of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) where she currently resides.

Our conversation about Django, her TV work, and the politics of her screen career is after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec202012

Nicole Kidman Wore a Tiara To Our Interview

Nathaniel, it's Nicole!" 

[!!!] 

After the briefest of pauses in which we both waited for my bewilderment to pass -- Nicole Kidman is calling me (?) -- she let out a hearty familiar laugh, instantly delighting and relaxed. She was, as it happened, a full hour early to our scheduled interview, having just finished a day's filming on Grace of Monaco. 

Academy voters will be filling out their nomination ballots online for the first time this year -- they started voting this week and will continue through Thursday, January 3rd. One prays that this shake-up to their old school paper & pen system might also shake up their aesthetic palette. If it does, you'll hear Nicole Kidman's name read out for her genius star turn in The Paperboy. In this polarizing sweaty film, Nicole plays a tawdry beautician with a thing for violent inmates. This is not, as you have undoubtedly ascertained whilst reading about the film, the type of role which is usually nominated. This is, as you will undoubtedly discover while watching the film, the type of performance that deserves to be.

Early in our phone conversation, I shared with her my awe at her latest quick-change. "You've gone from Charlotte Bless to Grace of Monaco? Talk about an about-face!". She didn't skip a beat in her quippy response:

Kidman on the set of "Grace of Monaco"

 I'm standing here in a tiara and a white beaded dress and Cartier jewels."

As well she should.

Herewith our conversation...

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Thursday
Dec202012

The Perks of Being Logan Lerman: Son of "Noah"

"Wallflower" is probably not the right word to define Logan Lerman. Though he describes himself as "quiet" and makes more than a few self-deprecating comments, he isn't exactly a bundle of shy neurosis. Instead the twenty-year old actor has the kind of chill demeanor that comes from unfussy professional confidence. Once you stop to do the math, you realize he's already in his twelfth year of professional acting (his first screen role was one of Mel Gibson's kids in The Patriot , 2000).

Twelfth year!


Logan Lerman, photographed for Flaunt Magazine

So it's something of a perfect coincidence that his "senior year" in the public eye, if you will, would so perfectly coincide with a starring role in one of the best high school movies in ages. "Wallflower" doesn't describe him but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best illustration yet of his gifts as an actor. His soulful turn as the troubled young writer at the heart of the film won Lerman fine reviews and a well deserved nomination for "Best Young Actor" at the Critic's Choice Awards. 

This, you might say, is graduating with top honors. 

Interview after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec152012

Interview: Michel Franco, Director of Mexico's Foreign Film Submission "After Lucia"

Amir here. This year’s foreign language film race at the Oscars is so unusually packed with auteur names and festival successes that the typically middle-brow branch will really have to try hard not to get things right. Among this wealth of possibilities, one of the titles we haven’t heard much about is Mexico’s submission, After Lucia. I recently had the chance to watch the film and I was blown away by it. So much so that it now sits at the number one spot on my favourites of 2012.

It’s a confidently directed, outrageously frank study of bullying in the schools of Mexico through the experience of a teenager named Alejandra (brilliantly played by newcomer Tessa Ia). The richly conceived film reveals much while saying very little. Economically filmed and sharply edited, After Lucia is a devastating experience but an absolutely vital one. Yet, it’s too easy to see why Oscar pundits haven’t given it much thought. The voters in this branch have often preferred their social commentary sugar-coated and this type of brutality can make them feel like they’re subjected to the Ludovico technique. But before we write off its chances, let’s remember that Greece’s Dogtooth, winner of the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes -- which After Lucia also won,  found its way to the ceremony. And After Lucia might benefit from its tender subject matter and the delicate story of Alejandra and her single father who are dealing with death of the family's mother (the titular Lucia).

On the occasion of the film’s submission to the Academy, I spoke with the film’s director, Michel Franco, who took time off from post-production work on his next film to chat about After Lucia, the issue of bullying and his cinematic influences.  

AMIR: What was the starting point of the project for you? The family angle or the bullying angle?

MICHEL FRANCO: The point of the project, at first, was to deal with a father and daughter coming to terms with the death of the family’s mother. It had nothing to do with violence or bullying. As the project developed the bullying story became more important. The thing is, in life you always deal with a lot of things at the same time. The way each of these characters dealt with grief led me to the violence that exists in our society on a daily basis. Those things combined, and that’s what I thought was worth making this film about. [MORE AFTER THE JUMP]

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Saturday
Dec152012

Alan Cumming on Mutant Sequels, Drag Queens, Gay Rights

I recently had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with one of my favorite performers, Alan Cumming. I say "performer" rather than actor only because his career has been so diverse what with the albums, movies, tv, film, theatrical engagements, political activism, and all around celebrity eclecticism and experimentation. It's difficult to pin him down which is, I'm sure, something that would please him.

In my interview with Alan for Towleroad we talk about his new gay 70s drama Any Day Now (with the ever versatile Garret Dillahunt as his screen partner), The Good Wife, and his feelings about seeing himself in drag.

I look like a horse with a wig on. I'm not a pretty girl

I also spoke with him briefly about his time as Nightcrawler which I didn't include in the interview for space and context reasons. Though Cumming made a cloudy splash as the teleporting pointy-tailed mutant in X-2: X-Men United -- still the best of the X-Films -- they didn't exercize his option to bring him back for X-Men 3: The Last Stand. I told him he'd dodged a bullet missing the worst of the franchise though I wondered if he'd be up for reprising the role for the proposed Days of Future Past installment? Cumming reminded me that Nightcrawler isn't in that particular famous story arc but quickly acknowledged that utter fidelity wasn't exactly an expectation of blockbuster franchise adaptations. Though he described the X2 shoot as "arduous" he thinks he'd have an easier go of it now though he hadn't seen either of the later entries, referring to the recent X-Men First Class as only 'the Michael Fassbender'. Hey, that's how we think of it, too!

Do you watch Alan on The Good Wife? Would you love to see the return of Nightcrawler in the X-Franchise?

 

Friday
Dec072012

Interview: Ann Dowd on "Compliance" and Oscar Buzz

Ann Dowd loves the word "delicious". She describes her children this way and actors she admires, too ("Annette Bening! She's delicious and such a good actress"). And what word could possibly be a better fit to fully convey the joy of this moment in her career?

When the tiny indie Compliance debuted to surprisingly robust critical conversation this past August, Ann Dowd won the kind of reviews that Oscar dreams are made of... even from critics who didn't like the film. Her superbly layered work as "Sandra", the prickly overwhelmed fast food manager at the center of the ethically disturbing drama lingers in the memory. Proof of that is a recent well deserved nomination at the Spirit Awards. I spoke to her a few hours after the announcement of her biggest prize yet, The Best Supporting Actress Award from the National Board of Review.

NATHANIEL: Congratulations on winning the NBR Prize!

ANN DOWD: Thank you so much. I have to say I'm beside myself. Really happy.

Have you seen Ann Dowd's riveting work in Compliance yet?

NATHANIEL: Does all of this attention feel like "It's about time!"?

[Oscar buzz, Freaks and Geeks, and red carpet panic after the jump...]

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