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Entries in interview (161)

Wednesday
Feb172016

Interview: Josh Singer on pushing deep with Spotlight's Screenplay and his time on The West Wing

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer at the Gothams. It would not be the last award for their SPOTLIGHT screenplayAs we head toward Oscar night in an unusually complicated Oscar race, Spotlight is one of the films that's still in the thick of it. And with good reason. This finely tuned gripping account of the Boston Globe's long investigation into sex-abuse coverups was, by any measure, one of the most acclaimed films of the year.

The director Tom McCarthy is a flexible talent -- he acts, writes, and directs -- so it was something of a surprise that he shared writing duties on Spotlight with Josh Singer (The West Wing, The Fifth Estate). But that's somehow perfect since the film places such beautiful emphasis on community and teamwork. And when I began to speak with Singer about his involvement this communal spirit was also obvious. He immediately began deferring praise to the actors, and Tom's gift with them, and was so pleased that they'd been honored already this awards season. 

Here's our interview, edited for length and clarity...

NATHANIEL R: Spotlight is unusual in that the lead character is really the investigation itself

JOSH SINGER: It’s really an ensemble piece. Tom wanted this to be about the Spotlight team. It made me nervous early on, not having one or two protagonists. We have six!

NATHANIEL: Tom McCarthy doesn’t usually collaborate on his screenplays. So tell me what happened there.

 more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb162016

Adam Stockhausen: From a Budapest hotel to a "Bridge of Spies"

Adam Stockhausen won the Oscar on his first nomination for GRAND BUDAPEST HOTELEmmanuel Lubezki (who keeps winning prizes) isn't the only craft superstar repeating the Oscar rounds this year. Last year's winner for Production Design Adam Stockhausen (Grand Budapest Hotel), a 43 year old powerhouse who's amassed a very impressive resume in just a doesn't years, is back in the mix this season with the Cold War drama Bridge of Spies.

That Best Picture nominee is his first movie with Steven Spielberg but he's already worked with auteurs like Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom) on terrific projects, too. 

Here's our interview:

NATHANIEL: From Wes Anderson to Steven Spielberg! These auteurs seem very different. I imagine Wes Anderson making his own dioramas, and being like "Recreate this. Adam!". Whereas Spielberg, I don’t think of him in that 'this is what the set looks like' way at all!

ADAM STOCKHAUSEN: They have more similarities than you think. I don’t know if I want to get too deeply into what they do, because I’ll leave that for more esteemed people than myself, but I certainly see similarities. There are differences in the day to day: Wes pre plans shots and they’re carefully choreographed, Steven is slightly different in that the shots aren’t planned in advance, but the choreography is very similar. 

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

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...

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