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Entries in interview (159)

Friday
Feb122016

Interview: Tobias Lindholm on the Oscar Nominated 'A War' and Creating Time on Film

Writer/Director Tobias LindholmJose here. In Tobias Lindholm’s A War, the hardest battle for Danish commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) comes not in the warzone of Afghanistan, but in a courtroom back home where he faces prison time for a tactical decision that ended the lives of civilians. A thoughtful essay on the rules of humanity during wartime, the film remains largely apolitical while still engaging audience members who might question the very nature of foreign invasions, the need for war, and our roles as humans in a world that pits us against each other. Directed with confidence by Lindholm, the film remains outside any specific genre while providing a master class in how to create tension, intimacy and thrills.

A War has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and Lindholm isn’t completely unfamiliar with the experience, having also worked as a writer in the 2012 nominee The Hunt. The versatile filmmaker is next working on yet another screenplay with Thomas Vinterberg and is also writing Paul Greengrass' next film. I had the opportunity to talk with him the day after the Oscar luncheon, and he shared his insight into creating time on film, his cinematic pet peeves and the excitement of awards season.

Our interview is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb122016

Interview: Sandy Powell on Color, Character, Carol, Cinderella, and Cate

Sandy Powell on the set of CinderellaSome people rush to movies if their favorite movie star's face is prominent on the poster. Others swear allegiance to directors. Obsessive cinephiles go for all sorts of reasons. One of ours at The Film Experience is Sandy Powell. If she's the costume designer, we're there, no questions asked. We sat through The Tempest (2010) just for her and trust me that that's devotion.

Meeting her in person earlier this season to talk Carol and Cinderella, which brought her her 11th and 12th Oscar nominations and could well bring her a 4th Oscar, was a personal joy. I had talked to her once before by phone but in person we were able to look at costume stills together and had a great conversation. This cinematic MVP was a fun, lively, and personable interviewee. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. 

NATHANIEL R:  I intervewed you once a long time ago and I was really taken aback by something you said. You implied that you were surprised and amused by analytical readings of your work.

SANDY POWELL: I was talking about that today with Judy Becker and she said thing "I've learned so much about my work today!". People read things into it that you weren't consciously thinking about. But they're not bad things! You start thinking "maybe subliminally..." You start taking credit for it! 

A lot of the time you work so fast that you make snap decisions and you don't know what it's based on. I do work instinctively and intuitively. I don't sit and analyze. I don't think about the significance and "What shall I consciously put on her or him or her to convey that?"  I do what feels right. And quite often just by doing that you've got it right, you actually have given something so symbolism.

NATHANIEL R: Do you start thinking of full outfits while you're reading a script?

her answer and much more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb112016

Interview: Chivo on The Revenant, Great Auteurs, and Instagram Spying

For a man who's won two consecutive Oscars and could well make history with a third in as many years, Emmanuel Lubezki is a surprisingly humble fellow. The Mexican cinematographer, better known these days as "Chivo" since everyone is familiar with extraordinary gift and using his nickname now, shakes off my initial gushing as we meet. He is quick to cite assistants and crew members and focus pullers for the magic. But I press on. I really want to know hear how it feels for him to be a legend in his field, a two time Oscar winner and someone who's name is spoken with a certain reverence. He shakes this off, too, adamantly but graciously "I don't know what you're talking about! I don't feel that at all. But thank you!"

Some of his innocence about the kind of reviews he regularly receives could be chalked up to how completely immersed he gets in each picture. His work isn't over when a film wraps since post production can also be lengthy with different prints for IMAX and such. He's been inside The Revenant for a year. 

 I'm just coming out of the cave where I've been, I'm just starting to come back to life. 

Our interview is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb052016

Interview: Carter Burwell on Composing "Carol" and "Hail, Caesar!"

Carter Burwell gives great soundtrack. The proof is all around us. His scores are everywhere right now, in movie theaters with Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa and the Coen brothers Hail, Caesar! and in the Oscar mix; his work on Carol brought him his long long overdue first nomination for Best Original Score.

The 60 year-old composer started his music career in the punk scene but after that fateful first collaboration with the the Coens on Blood Simple (1984) he quickly become a film regular. He's composed every Coen brothers score since then with the exception of Inside Llewyn Davis. They aren't the only filmmakers who steadily rely on his gift. He's worked frequently for Bill Condon, Michael Caton-Jones, Spike Jonze, John Lee Hancock, and Todd Haynes among others.

I asked him how he keeps his work fresh with so many projects and how he approached the recent challenges of the "ridiculous" comedy of Hail, Caesar! and the restrained drama of Carol.

Our interview follows after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb042016

Interview: Alicia Vikander on Modern Girls, Talking Robots, and Scandinavian Celebrity

Vikander at the SAG Awards where she won Best Supporting ActressWhen I sat down with Alicia Vikander to discuss her career she was full of surprises, and not just in the way she answered questions. She approached in what looked like the simplest black dress, nothing special at all, until she turned around and the dress had an elaborately elegant back with a trailing bow. She promptly plopped down in a chair, opened a small bag of chips, and began munching away. She's a vision, alright, but the vision kept shifting: Unadorned Beauty, Glamorous Star, Girl Next Door. 

This hard to pin down picture shouldn't come as a surprise. In the short time we've been watching her she's been equally believable as a sly robot, a conflicted Danish queen, a debutate Russian aristocrat, a bohemian artist whose world is turned upside down, and a British writer during wartime.

But she's been so ubiquitous this year, both on screen and red carpets, that we're wondering which sides of herself she's yet to reveal. So we begin, counterintuively, with her future.

[The following interview was conducted before she won her SAG Award else we'd have talked about it.] 

NATHANIEL R: You've had so many movies released in the last few years. If you don't slow down, what's going to be left to accomplish?!? 

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb032016

Interview: 'Rams' Director Grímur Hákonarson on Working with Sheep and Icelandic Idiosyncrasy

In Grímur Hákonarson’s darkly funny Rams, two brothers who haven’t spoken in decades must unite forces to save their legacy when the government demands all their livestock must be slaughtered to contain a disease. Hidden behind long beards and stubbornness, Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) take on the impossible task of trying to outsmart the government, making for a fascinating allegory about the things we lose in the name of progress. After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard category, Rams went on to being chosen as Iceland’s Foreign Language Oscar submission. As the film opens in the US, I got a chance to sit down with Hákonarson who spoke about how his childhood shaped the film, how Cannes changed his life, and shared interesting trivia about sheep.

JOSE: Your parents used to send you to the country to work during the summers. Did you ever think of this as a punishment in any way?

interview after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan142016

Prediction Stats & Well Wishing

Focus, Nathaniel, focus. So many posts are in embryonic stages of writing so be patient. This day is so demanding but we love it. It's our Christmas (Oscar Night being our New Year's Eve). True, The Academy always delivers a few ungodly lumps of coal (like ignoring Carol in Best Picture) but you take the bad with the good or you go insane. 

First we should begin by saying "Congratulations!" to all the nominees. In the next 48 hours we'll talk about our favorite choices the Academy made, wonder about the headscratchers, say a symbolic farewell to our beloved but snubbed, and cover trivia and such.  If you missed recent interviews with some of the nominees now would be a great time to catch up with them and comment away: Jack Fisk (Production Design, The Revenant), Jacqueline West (Costume Design, The Revenant), Phyllis Nagy (Screenplay, Carol), László Nemes (Foreign Film, Son of Saul), Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Foreign Film, Mustang). More Oscar Nominee interviews are coming soon including Alicia Vikander, Sandy Powell, Chivo, and a little Star Wars: The Force Awakens

As for how I did on my predictions? I scored 79% accuracy in the big eight categories but a 74% overall. Not shabby but not great either in one of the more difficult years I've experienced as a pundit. You can see the breakdown on the nomination index page (nailed Actor and Sound Editing, biffed big time on Song & Production Design) or on this blow by blow account. 

Did the morning turn out as you'd predicted?
One things for sure: If you were betting against The Revenant you were viciously mauled by The Academy. They went for it in nearly every category they could save Best Supporting Actress where they passed on Judy the bear.  I'll confess: though I admire much of the craftwork, it's  already my great borennoyance of the season, just grunting and bleeding and sufferring and suffocatingly obssessed with its own masculinity.