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Entries in interview (69)

Tuesday
Dec172013

Interview: Greta Gerwig on "Frances Ha" and Movie Musicals

Greta at the "Her" premiere in LA last weekTrue stars are always spectacularly themselves onscreen, even when acing the particulars of a new character. And make no mistake, Frances Ha's Greta Gerwig is a star, despite her deceptively modest indie trappings. Even the Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation, notoriously reluctant to honor non-household names, could see it. They nominated her last week for a Golden Globe alongside little unknowns like "Meryl Streep" and "Amy Adams" for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical last week. In its own peculiar way Frances Ha is the film that most belongs in that category, being both musically inclined (Greta's Frances is a struggling modern dancer) and very very funny. The actress dances through Frances Ha, which she also co-wrote, with such endearing inimitable style that she's finally ascended, becoming the "GRETA GERWIG!" she was always going to become. 

I talked to this gifted actress recently about the somewhat arbitrary nature of movie awardage but we quickly moved on to two topics far closer to her heart: creative collaboration and movie musicals. When it came to the latter, her voice lifted with as much energy as her titular character exhibited in those spirited spinning runs down Manhattan streets in Frances Ha.

Nathaniel R: Everyone movie fan I've ever talked to about you remembers vividly the first time they saw you in something. I think this is a huge compliment to you.

GRETA GERWIG: That's really nice.  

What do you attribute that to?

I don't know. I think it's sort of "Who let her in the building?" I think it has that effect on people. [Laughter] But I'm glad I'm memorable!

[Three actors Greta loves and movie musicals after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov302013

Interview: Jonathan Groff

If you’ve read The Film Experience for any significant length of time, it won’t surprise you to hear that if there’s one type of actor that melts my heart every time, it’s a singing actor. While Hollywood doesn’t nurture the triple threats (singing, dancing, acting) as much as they did in the Golden Age when musicals were a regular occurrence rather than a once a year event, this past decade gives the musical lover reason enough to hope. Musicals are far less uncommon than they were in the dark times between All That Jazz (1979) and Moulin Rouge! (2001). There are two in theaters right this moment! Lately several musically gifted actors have been ascending.

Jonathan Groff, a treat on stage for some time, is one of the best among them. This season he’s moving up to leading man status. He’s currently serving male romantic hero duties (of a kind) as Kristoff in Disneys’ Frozen and in January he headline’s HBO’s new gay series “Looking”. I interviewed him for Towleroad but here are a couple of bits I didn’t use there for you movie musical and Frozen fans.

Nathaniel R: Can I just tell you that I thought Frozen was great fun but when it ended I realized I was still waiting for another song from you. Were you disappointed that you only got one?

Jonathan Groff: They were apologetic. ‘We tried to find another place but we feel like it didn’t work with the character and we wanted you to sing a’ -- I was like 'Guys, why are you apologizing to me. I'm singing in a Disney movie! I don't care what it is or how long it is, even if it's for 30 seconds.' The answer to that is no. I'm just thrilled to be singing at all and I'm thrilled to be in this movie at all. They were so dead on at having my character sing when he does and at no other moments. It wasn't true to who he was.

One of the great things about this movie is that as classic and recognizable as the elements are in a Disney movie, there's a lot of unexpected things, where they turn it on its head.

When you were watching it, was there any moment where you thought 'Damn, I wish I could have been Kristoff in a live action film.'

Jonathan: Oh my god, yeah. Just the sleigh ride with the wolves would have been so fun. I've always dreamt of being in an action movie. And there's such intense action sequences - falling, running, whipping that tree in the monster's face. All of that stuff would have been fun to do in real life. I was amazed at how much action there was in the movie. It was really intense.

Do you view Frozen as a stepping stone or have you ever thought “This is my breakthrough” of any of your roles?

Jonathan: No, I think each part... It sounds a little hippie but I feel like each role that comes to me or comes to anyone comes for a specific purpose, something to work through. Whether you realize it in the moment ‘I'm learning this about myself’ or ‘this is happening in my life’ or you look back in five years and think ‘That's why that was in my life’.

Any more Broadway in your future?

The theater is where my heart is so I'm dying to get back on stage. At the end of the day it's just a matter of what project. The people you're working with and the thing you're working on are the two things that matter most.

 

much more Groff at Towleroad

Friday
Nov292013

Interview: Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Wiggles Around" Toward Acting Glory

Not all actors are adept at every platform. Movies, tv and stage can require require different charismas and subtle changes in scale. In the case of bonafide television superstars like Julia Louis-Dreyfus (16 Emmy acting nominations and 4 wins from 3 different hit series) who rarely work outside their chosen platform, there’s every reason to suspect that they’ll stay put... and should! But with Enough Said, Julia Louis-Dreyfus threw us a divine curveball. Though she's never had a lead film role she carries Enough Said with a beautifully modulated mix of comic and dramatic impulses as Eva, a lonely massage therapist who second-guesses her new romance with Albert (James Gandolfini). If she isn't Golden Globe Best Actress nominated on the 12th, I'm planning to riot. 

Despite the warm reviews and indie success, she was modest about this new achievement when we spoke on the phone last week and very gracious when her work was complimented. “It means a lot to me, especially since you saw it twice”. She’d sprained her ankle earlier that same day “I’m such an ass!” but was still in good spirits, with one leg elevated and her inimitable laugh strangely comforting in its familiarity, like someone had left my TV on in the background. The publicist introducing us sounded unusually ominous "You have 15 minutes." which proved a great ice breaker.

"I feel like we have to take an SAT or something," Julia says.

"In 15 minutes, put your pencils down." I counter.

"Right?!" And we're off...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov022013

Interview / Giveaway: "Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait"

TFE's Vivien Leigh Centennial Celebration (November 2-6) 
Here's David with an interview and book giveaway 

Vivien Leigh was only nominated for two Oscars, but she won both of them. More impressively, both of her winning performances are still frequently said to be among the finest of all-time. If she’d done nothing else in her career, that would be a legacy to be proud of. It’s even more extraordinary when you consider the personal struggles that the actress went through: constantly striving to feel worthy of acting alongside the love of her life, Sir Laurence Olivier, and an undiagnosed and mistreated bipolar disorder that increasingly overtook her. In Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, Leigh scholar Kendra Bean digs into the actress’ dramatic life story, using a myriad of photographs both legendary and rare to imbue Vivien’s life with the vulnerability of her delicate beauty.

book contest and interview after the jump

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Sunday
Oct062013

Interview: Dan Shadur, Director of Before the Revolution

Amir here. It’s been nearly five months since the Hot Docs Festival took place in Toronto – and we covered it for you right here – and one of the films that has really stuck with me ever since has been Dan Shadur’s Before the Revolution. I’ve really lived with this film, not only watching it a few more times since, but showing it to as many people as I could find with a listening ear for what a unique achievement it is. The film mostly revolves around the experience of the director’s parents as Israelis living in Iran before the Islamic revolution. It’s a concept that in today’s geopolitical climate, given the bitter relationship between the two governments, seems unimaginable but in a past not so distant, was easily attainable.

Shadur’s interviewees are comprised of Israeli expats, who knew his parents personally or otherwise lived and worked in Iran at the time. Although these interviews are revelatory and totally delicious for those of you interested in world politics, what makes Before the Revolution truly special is the vast number of family videos he’s found and incorporated into the film that give an intimate and insightful perspective, not just on the lifestyle of the specific people involved, but also on the intense effects of religious fundamentalism in the everyday life of people.

New York readers have the chance to see this film next week when it plays at the Hamptons Film Festival. I had the pleasure of having a chat with the director when he brought the film to Toronto. The interview is after the jump

Click to read more ...