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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Entries in interview (141)

Monday
Jan042016

Interview: Lucinda Coxon's 11 Years With "The Danish Girl" 

One of this season's most talked about movies, The Danish Girl, set tongues wagging long before anyone had seen a single frame. Years before in fact. It wasn't just the subject matter, though the subject matter would have been enough. The Danish Girl tells the true story of married painters Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander) and Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) who struggle to come to grips with Einar's true identity, Lili Elbe. Lili was one of the first trans women to ever undergo gender confirmation surgery which was then an experimental series of surgery. It's a difficult subject to dramatize, and a difficult subject to talk about particularly given how quickly the verbiage and discourse has changed across the decades. People didn't know how to talk about it in 1930 when the story was a very current sensation in Denmark and Germany and do people really know how to talk about it now? A quick perusal of any trans story around the internet will tell you the answer is still no. 

It's always a particular challenge for heavily buzzed pictures to get out into the marketplace and form their own identity outside of everyone's pre-screening perceptions of them. Oscar winner Tom Hooper's (The King's Speech) latest is definitely no exception. Even the casting, which wouldn't have been all that controversial even a handful of years ago other than in a rubber-necking kind of "Oscar bait" way, has been the subject of spirited debates along the lines of "shouldn't a trans actor be playing the part?" But films take a long time to make. Who could have known the happy development in the past few years in regards to trans visibility in Transparent, Tangerine, Orange is the New Black

The Danish Girl's complicated gestation period is where I began when i sat down with the woman who'd been with the project the longest, its screenwriter Lucinda Coxon. Our interview is after the jump... 

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Saturday
Jan022016

Interview: Klaus Härö on Globe Nominee & Oscar Finalist 'The Fencer'

Five of the nine foreign film finalists will become Oscar nominees on January 14th. Here's Jose to talk Finland's Oscar finalist. 

Jose here. Klaus Härö’s The Fencer is based on the real life story of Endel Nelis (Märt Avandi), a fencer who escapes Leningrad in the 1950s, and goes into hiding in the town of Haapsalu, Estonia, where he becomes an essential member of the community when he starts a fencing club. Cherished by children, many of whom need a father figure after being orphaned during the Russian occupation, Nelis is also feared and loathed by others who wish he would return where he came from and leave them alone.

Härö’s film is an example of classic storytelling at its best, using gorgeous cinematography, a lush score and featuring a compelling performance by the swoon worthy Avandi, it’s no surprise that Oscar voters were moved to include it among the entries in the exclusive Foreign Film shortlist. It has also been nominated for a Golden Globe. A couple of weeks before the Oscar announcement was made,

I talked to Härö about his obsession with period films, casting Avandi and awards season. Our interview is after the jump...

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Tuesday
Dec292015

Interview: Carol's Production Design Judy Becker 

Judy Becker. Photo © Tom Uhlman at New York TimesThis won't have escaped you but we're a little bit obsessed with Todd Haynes's Carol. We tried to devote a week to it but the love can't be contained by calendars. The romantic drama about a glamorous society wife and a young shopgirl is rolling out slowly -- agonizingly slowly -- to more cities each week. It leads the Golden Globe nominations and though the Academy's decisions about the year's "best" are yet to come, there's reason to be hopeful that they'll embrace the filmmaker's triumphant return to the silver screen.

The Oscar-nominated production designer Judy Becker (American Hustle), is responsible for most everything you see onscreen in Carol from Therese's humble apartment to Frankenberg's Department Store, the Aird estate, and much more. "The props, there are close-ups on them, so I don’t know how you can say, that’s not important," she says passionately, underlining the fact that everything we see is part of 'the look'. She describes herself as a very hands-on designer and is sure this drives new members of her staff crazy but she has high praise for her frequent set decorator Heather Loeffler. "She never gets upset if I veto something but, at the same time, she brings a lot to the table and surprises me all the time with great stuff."

Though Becker is best known for her frequent collaborations with  David O. Russell this is not her first Todd Haynes film, having also designed his abstract Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There (2007). We began our chat marvelling at his genius. Though I'm Not There was a larger scale task, essentially designing multiple worlds, Carol wasn't much easier for different reasons. "Every film has its challenges," she explains. And films as gorgeously realized as Carol don't happen without a lot of planning, work, and inspiration. 

Our interview is after the jump...

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Monday
Dec282015

"The best kind of music comes from experimentation and messing up" - on Scoring 'Steve Jobs'

Daniel PembertonAs we move towards the Oscars each year the public tendency is to look back and reassess the most interesting contributions to cinema in a given year. From this impulse, a good one we'd argue, top ten lists, "best ofs" and awards traction are born. Though the legendary names of film scoring all seemed to be quite active this year -- even recently absent giants like Morricone and Williams -- some of the most innovative and exciting work was being done by the relative newcomers.

One of the buzziest among them is the 38 year old composer Daniel Pemberton. He made an award-winning name for himself in British television but his feature film work only began in force just a few years ago with highly praised work on the supernatural period drama The Awakening (2011). It's safe to say that 2015 will be regarded as his breakout year. He did stylish rethink work on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and in just a few weeks he'll presumably be at the Golden Globes where he's nominated for his innovative triple-scoring of Steve Jobs

Will an Oscar nomination follow? It's tough to say given the temperament of Oscar's notoriously insular music branch but it would not be undeserved. He recently spoke with The Film Experience about innovation, 80s synthesizers, and how he'll keep it fresh moving forward.

NATHANIEL R: So I'll be up front with you. I find music, particularly scoring, completely mysterious. I can read music and play piano a bit but it feels like a foreign language. How does a film composer even discover their talent for it? 

DANIEL PEMBERTON: I basically started messing around with on the piano when I was very young, and I just started writing music just for fun. And then one day I saved up enough money to buy myself a synthesizer and a tape recorder, and I started making music. Pretty much from that is how I got to here!

NATHANIEL R" But there are so many different careers in music. Did you imagine yourself as this type of composer or did you want to be a rock star when you were young? [More...]

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Saturday
Dec262015

Interview: The Discipline and Humanity of "Bridge of Spies" Costume Design

Mark Rylance and Spielberg on the set of "Bridge of Spies"Costume Designers are among the great unsung heroes of the cinema, regularly helping actors to define their characters and directors to create those images audiences get lost in. The latter achievement comes in tandem with the other creatives most connected to the mise-en-scène, the cinematographers and the production designers. It's perhaps not surprising that when you sit down with the behind-the-scenes professional they are often disarmingly modest, used to serving and enhancing the vision of the director. General moviegoers might not know their names but cinephiles, critics, and industry professionals are wise to learn and love them for the unique contributions they make to fine movies. 

I recently had the opportunity to speak with the Polish designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone, who designed two high profile projects this year: Scott Cooper's gangster drama Black Mass and Steven Spielberg's cold war drama Bridge of Spies. The latter was her first collaboration with Spielberg but the designer is no stranger to auteurs. She's worked with Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom) and Mira Nair (Amelia) and is best known for her work with Oscar fixture Bennett Miller having costumed all three of his narrative features (Capote, Moneyball, Foxcatcher).

It's perhaps unsurprising, given the temperament of Miller's filmography, to find her disarmingly modest and low key and not all that excited about the more glamorous aspects of costume design. At one point she even gave your host, a self-confessed costume nut, a coronary with a casually dropped "I don't care about the costumes" though she quickly revived me with an interesting explanation of what she really meant.

See for yourself in our interview after the jump...

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