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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 (102)

Monday
Dec292014

Interview: James Marsh on (True) Storytelling from "Man on Wire" to "The Theory of Everything"

It's rare for acclaimed documentarians to make a dramatically successful leap into narrative features but with The Theory of Everything, a marital drama about Stephen and Jane Hawking, the 51 year old British filmmaker James Marsh (of Man on Wire and Project Nim fame) is finally doing just that. Man on Wire was one of the most successful documentaries of the past decade but his new affecting biopic, which is actually Marsh's fourth narrative feature, is already his most successful film having racked up an impressive $26 million and counting worldwide to date.

It's also been collecting plentiful Oscar buzz.  The Film Experience had a chance to chart with this articulate thoughtful Oscar winner so we jumped right in. Here's our conversation:

Nathaniel R: Given your filmography, both documentaries and features, The Theory of Everything is...

JAMES MARSH: Go ahead. You can say it.

Nathaniel R: Ha. Well, it's a much different direction for you. It's romantic drama and it's also old school biography. What prompted your interest?

JAMES MARSH: You’re right in terms of its scale for sure and perhaps its emotional spectrum. But it’s a true story and that’s my background in films I’ve done. It’s a story of a marriage as much as a biopic. That felt like an interesting challenge: to try and examine a relationship that evolves and changes over time given all the impediments and unusual and very difficult circumstances. It felt also that I could go somewhere that a documentary could not go in terms of the intimacy of the relationship. 

You're right that it's different but it does have curious connections with Man on Wire. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec252014

Interview: Anna Kendrick at the Palace and Summering in Ohio.

A holiday gift to you, an interview with the internet's collective girlfriend Anna Kendrick, our new Cinderella in Into the Woods which hits theaters today. Merry Christmas!

Kendrick lets me know right away that she isn't entirely comfortable with all the online fawning. When I compare her very modern kind of stardom to that of Benedict Cumberbatch she freezes "Oh god, don't say that!... It gives me anxiety. He probably can't leave his house!" Kendrick and I have both been herded into a chilly hotel suite after some scheduling confusion and me with my notes out for someone else entirely, someone far less Princess-like. It's a surprise switch but a welcome one, like expecting to remain in your pot scrubbing dress and suddenly you're at the ball in magic slippers. Excuse the analogy but I'm the one playing Cinderella this time since I've traded up. Kendrick wraps herself in the throw blanket on the couch and we immediately start taking musicals.  

Where else would we start? She's the unofficial face of the modern movie musical and the Film Experience has been waiting for someone to frame there.

NATHANIEL R: You’ve been musicals back to back to back. I imagine most managers would be like “don’t do that!” 

[more...]

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Thursday
Dec112014

ICYMI. Play Catch-Up!

December and January are always the busiest months in these parts so even if you're clicking over regularly your bound to miss something. Tragedy! 

[Quieting the inner drama queen now.] Perhaps it's not tragic, in the standard definition, but it's sad. Why miss a post you might love just because you overslept one day, partied one night, or (gasp) went offline for a full 24 hours (pull yourself together, reader, never do that again -- that's what April and August are for!). Herewith a handful of recent key posts you may have missed but shouldn't have! And the unending swath of awards news in list form.

Five Musts
Jake's Southpaw... would you rather?
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is going gray; he just hit 50
Monty smells Cake. Will Oscar? 
Podcast goes behind the Critics Awards curtain. How do those votes happen?
Amy vs. Nick. Where's your vote gone, girl?  

Awards Updates Golden Globe Nods | OFCS Mommy issues | SAG Nominees |  AFI conservativeness | Grammy detour | Help me with my "Critics Choice" ballot

Interview Jamboree
We've really been hitting the 1:1 circuit hard this year so we hope we're not overwhelming you with information so much as spoiling you with pleasure and making 2015 even more difficult for ourselves by way of 'how to top this?'. Before we move into yet more interviews (18 still to transcribe. whew) and the Year in Review Madness which begins tonight and lasts forever [insert nefarious laugh] you really should play catch up with these highlights: the inimitable actress who loves to play wild women; the legend who turned down Sex & the City; the iconoclast who won't option her own life story to the movies; the perfect specimen who plays with the superheroes; and the visionary who made that crazy convincing ape village; and last, but by no means least, the one and only shockingly versatile Carrie Coon, that newbie who humanized Ben Affleck onscreen just after wowing everyone on stage in Woolf and killing it on TV in The Leftovers.

Will all the statues one day belong to her? 

All of that and you still haven't liked us on Facebook or followed us on Twitter or donated (see sidebar) or told all your friends and relatives about us ?! What more do you want from us - Blood!?

 

Wednesday
Dec102014

Interview: Introducing Carrie Coon, 2014's Most Exciting New Actress

Carrie Coon at the premiere of Gone Girl in NYCActors who can register potently in all three acting mediums are less common than you'd think. Some movie stars are duds on stage (and vice versa) and, though it's becoming less of an issue as mediums shift and even merge, you can sometimes spot noticeable scale shifts in charisma in the actors who jump back and forth between TV and film as if one is the place they were born to live in and the other a nice place to visit. The lines may be blurring as more and more actors make a habit of doing all three but some actors seem right everywhere. It's not the medium but the acting itself that's their true home.

Carrie Coon is not a superstar (yet) -- "I'm not famous," she insists as we settle into our conversation about her breakthrough year -- but whichever medium you first caught her in, chances are you've already fallen. In a shockingly swift and continuous series of firsts over the past year and a half she's logged her first Broadway show (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Tony Nomination 2013) her first series regular TV (The Leftovers, expect nominations any second now) and her first film (Gone Girl, a huge hit, and inarguably one of the most talked about features of the year even if its awards season prospects are still hard to read).

Perhaps it's a case of mutual Midwestern ease but our hastily scheduled phone call feels not unlike meeting a very cool stranger a party who is completely chill and ready to TALK.

Our conversation on Gone Girl & The Leftovers is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec092014

Interview: James Chinlund's Evolutionary "Apes" Vision. (Plus a Look Back at "The Fountain")

Production Design James ChinlundThough today's film culture is as as overun with franchises as the decaying cities of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are with unchecked vegetation, franchise movies do have a few beautiful unique pleasures all their own. Chief among those, we'd argue, is the sheer scale of imaginative spectacle they can provide when the right people are hired behind the scenes. 

James Chinlund, the award winning production designer behind the fantastic world-building in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of those people.  Though his filmography was once mostly the domain of scrappy ambitious auteur indies, he's recently experienced a sort of super-size me effect. He credits Marvel's gamble in hiring him to design their biggest blockbuster The Avengers with reinvigorating his film career. This led directly to Dawn of the Apes, one of 2014's most acclaimed giant-sized hits. Though Chinlund undoubtedly has his share of film offers these days, he prefers the mix of small and large scale projects that his still-diverse career provides and opted out of superhero sequels from the time commitment. 

Apes, Avengers, and The Fountain are after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec032014

Interview: Toa Fraser and the 'Cool Runnings' of the foreign language race.

Glenn here. If you had ever wondered what a pre-colonial New Zealand western may look like, Toa Fraser's The Dead Lands just may be it. The film's story of revenge taken by a Maori chieftain's son after the slaughter of his tribe and family is very typical fodder for the western genre, but with its use of indigenous languages (a language that itself has been slaughtered throughout history) mixed with local mythology and lore, the film proves an entirely unique proposition. It's only the third foreign language submission in the small island nation's history, and the first to be set before white settlement. I spoke to the director last week, just a few days before his film received the biggest haul of nominations at the New Zealand Film Awards. The Dead Lands received 14 nominations and will face stiff competition from the inspirational chess drama The Dark Horse with 13. We talked about about the festival circuit, Oscar campaigning, being the underdog, historic authenticity, costuming and more.

 You have recently played at Toronto and London film festivals, and now you're a submission for the Oscar, how have these last few months of yours been taking this film around the world.

It's been amazing. We only finished the movie a few weeks before we went to Toronto and I had only seen it once in its entirety before we screened it at Toronto so it was kind of a high stakes game. We had, I think, six cast members come to Toronto and be a part of the experience, so it was a great premiere and we were very happy with the way that it was received. We were very grateful. And then to get back to London for the festival was also great. We had a great big group of Maori come down to the show and stand proudly at the side of the stage without telling us they were coming. They all had a great time. And then back to New Zealand for the premiere there, so it's been a bit of a whirlwind, but I am very proud of the movie and love talking about it. Good times.

Have you by any chance been given any education on campaigning techniques when it comes to the Oscar? Is it a big deal in New Zealand or do you take it stride?

We are the Cool Runnings of the foreign language race [laughs]. You know, I think we're only the third ever from New Zealand…

Yeah, it is, after The Orator (2011) and White Lies (2013).

Yeah, and we're up against some formidable and very established industries that make movies in languages other than English. So, we under no pretense we have… we're the underdog in this game, but in terms of strategy? No. I understand there are very strict rules and so I'm anxious not to suck up. We're from New Zealand, we're very play by the rules types.

More on Peter O'Toole, costumes, and action choreograhy after the jump...

James Rolleston, Lawrence Makoare and Toa Fraser on the set of 'The Dead Lands'

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Sunday
Nov302014

Interview: Jennifer Kent on Her "Babadook" Breakthrough and What She Learned From "Dogville"

It's been a banner year for female directors. Two female directors have continually been in the Best Director Oscar discussion, they continue to make inroads in indie cinema (see the Spirit Award first feature and first screenplay citations!) and in many countries outside of the US. And that's not all. The year's most impressive debut stint behind the camera arguably belongs to Jennifer Kent (pictured left) whose controlled, creepy, beautifully designed and acted Australian horror film The Babadook has been winning raves. After a stint on Direct TV it's just hit US theaters, albeit only three of them. May it expand swiftly to unsettle every city.

When I spoke with Ms. Kent over the phone we were experiencing and ungainly time-lag and accidentally talking over one another. A time-lag also happened when I watched her movie the first time; its unique slow build had me more frightened after the movie finished than while I was watching it. It sticks. The tag line is true

You can't get rid of the Babadook.

I mention that I'm pre-ordering the Babadook book as I'm telling this story about how the movie continues to haunt me. "Then you'd better not," she says laughing as we begin our conversation about debut filmmaking, snobber towards horror films, what she learned from Lars von Trier, and the miracles of Essie Davis' lead performance.

 

NATHANIEL: Have you had a lot of weird reactions to the film?

JENNIFER KENT: Yeah, I have. I’ve had the gamut of reactions from people seeking a roller coaster ride with jolts and scares. They've been like  'Ripped off. This isn’t a horror film!' to people like yourself. What’s most surprising to me is -- more than a  couple of people have said ‘I really didn’t like but I saw it again.' Why would you see it again?  And then changing their minds about it. [More...]

Click to read more ...