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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 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 (71)

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...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec282013

The Triumphant Return of Jared Leto (Don't Expect a Quick Encore)

Jared Leto's first claim on our hearts was, if you trust the fictional Angela Chase, the way he leaned. I've long maintained that Jordan Catalano would not be an easy part to play - it's all suggestion and no delivery required in order to satisfy every projection. The ability to embody the most beautiful blank slate that ever walked a high school hallway is a gift, but such gifts come with expiration dates. Leto's transition from dreamy heartthrob, a part he never seemed to cherish, to daring film star, a part to which he is obviously more aesthetically inclined, was long and haphazard. Many films went nowhere. The most successful of them, a pair of thrillers from David Fincher, even seemed like a direct revolt against his own beauty (consider the cornrows in Panic Room and the entire thrust of his Fight Club role -- "I felt like destroying something beautiful").

Rock Star Actor and His Latest Creation

Instead Jared leaned into his second career as a rock star. After a long sabbatical from acting, he's returned to screens as Rayon, a transexual drug addict in the 80s set AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club. He's finally found the role to bridge that earlier divide and replace Jordan Catalano in the public imagination. To hear Leto tell it, as I did when we spoke over the phone just before he was (figuratively) buried in an avalanche of awards, we might never had had his Rayon without that time in the wilderness.

"I'm a big believer that we learn from everything we do." he explains. "I hadn't made a film in 5 or 6 years and  in that time I was doing a lot of directing and editing and a lot of creative things, touring  all over the world and on stage in front of millions of people  from Lebanon to China to Africa and beyond. I think the five or six years I took and explored life made me a better actor. I don't think I would have been able to bring Rayon to life had I not lived a life."

Not that Rayon is without precedent in his filmography... [more]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec192013

Interview: Asghar Farhadi on Globe Nominee "The Past"

Amir and Asghar Farhadi @ TIFFAmir here, to share with you my fantastic experience of interviewing the director of The Past, A Separation and About Elly. About a decade ago, when Asghar Farhadi made his first feature film after years of successful theatre and TV work, even the most optimistic fan of Iranian cinema could not imagine his stratospheric rise to International Auteur status in such a short span of time. It is heart-warming for an industry that has only gained international prominence in the past two decades to see one of its sons holding an Oscar statue. Farhadi’s popularity comes at a critical point for Iranian cinema, when festival presence is not as regular as it was in the nineties and several major filmmakers have had their careers stalled for political reasons.*

Farhadi's follow up to the Academy Award-winning classic A Separation, The Past will be representing Iran in the Best Foreign Film Oscar competition and was just nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. Farhadi's latest is a Paris-set melodrama starring two recognizable stars in The Artist's Berenice Bejo (Cannes Winner Best Actress) and Tahar Rahim as well as Iranian superstar Ali Mosaffa.** In the film, Bejo plays Marie, a French woman married to Ahmad (Mosaffa) who is in custody of their children after a breakup. When Ahmad receives a letter from his wife to return to Paris to finalize the divorce, he is confronted with Samir (Rahim), Marie’s new boyfriend, himself married with a son to a woman in a coma. And that’s just the beginning of the complications in this romantic triangle.

Click to read more ...

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