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Entries in Michelle Pfeiffer (100)

Sunday
Jul172016

Q&A: Magnani, Cameos, Oscar Ties, and Homoeroticism

I promised a second round of Q&A this week so here we go. Seven more reader questions answered...

Mr W: Do you have any thoughts on Anna Magnani? She's one of my Top 10 Actresses of all time, but I don't think I've ever read anything on her from you.

I do not. Embarrassing to admit but I've only seen her in The Rose Tattoo (1955) which she was wonderful in. Any suggestions as to where to start?

/3rtful: Is there one unsung veteran actress you would like to see get an award season career boost through Ryan Murphy?

There's very few veterans I wouldn't want to see good a career boost. But i'll just name a dozen (and anyone reading should know I could list another 5 dozen with ease -- I shoulda been a casting director). Given that Murphy usually pulls from the 80s and 90s actressing packs (which, one assumes, reflects his formative fandoms) I wish he would throw a bone to Shelley Duvall (though maybe given her rumored mental health this isn't a good idea), Ally Sheedy, Daryl Hannah, Holly Hunter, or Lesley Ann Warren any of whom might be brilliant within his unusually creepy heightened worlds...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul072016

Lukewarm Off the Presses: Woolf, Winona, and La Pfeiffer

Things we forgot to talk about but it's never too late.

Do You Love She Loves Me?
Did any of you manage to catch the Broadway livestream of She Loves Me June 30th? It was the first ever of its kind though I've heard no details on how well it performed (i.e. if we'll see more of them). They've extended the availability to rent it until July 10th on Broadway HD

The Hours 2: The Return of Virginia Woof
Okay not really. Basically everybody committed suicide or got old in The Hours. But recently we got word that Virginia Woolf is coming back to the big screen  in the adaptation of the play Vita & Virginia which is about Woolf's friendship and affair with another female writer. The most delightful part of this news may be that the play and its screenplay adaptation were both written by the actress Dame Eileen Atkins who was in The Hours (she worked in the flower shop in the Streep section). No word on casting but allow me to have a brief fantasy about Nicole Kidman reprising her Oscar-winning role before we hear who got the plum gig. 

Winona is Back
Time Magazine recently published a solid interview with Winona Ryder on the eve of yet another comeback. This time via Stranger Things on Netflix. Of interest is a lengthy response when she's asked about the recent allegations against Johnny Depp. It's definitely the most levelheaded response we've read on any celebrity weighing in on the matter. But then we tend to like levelheaded responses and people who realize that they don't know what happened whatever their assumptions. That kind of response is almost impossible to find online from normal folks and it's also increasingly rare with celebrities.

But the best part of the interview was a question about the current nostalgia rage.

I get asked a lot, ‘What does it feel like to be a ’90s icon?’ And I’m like, ‘You think I sit around and think of myself like that?’ You can’t think about yourself in those ways, because who does that?

...I think because I started so young, I secretly wanted to be older all the time.

The interview is good but even better is that Stranger Things is getting really strong advanced buzz... especially for Winona herself who hasn't had anything work out that well for her showbiz-wise in aeons with the exception of that brief dark flash of Noni fever via her bit part in Oscar favorite Black Swan (2010).

Finally in confusing rumor alerts...
I don't normally share rumors (the internet is way too hung up on speculation when dialogue about things that actually exist is way more healthy/substantial) but I can't let this go without a mention. Remember the news that Jennifer Lawrence's Darren Aronofsky picture (working title Day 6) would co-star Javier Bardem, Domhnall Gleeson, and Michelle Pfeiffer? The story's logline is:

A couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Most of the speculation on the internet was that Michelle Pfeiffer was playing Jennifer Lawrence's mother which seemed like a leap in logic -- why would they be related given that logline? A new rumor recently sprung up that the film would be titled Mother. Pass the fainting salts could this mean Pfeiffer was the actual lead -- but no, then that rumor was debunked by Paramount. It's all very confusing and typical internet (shut up everyone!) but any news of a Pfeiffer movie actually making it into production without her bolting is thrilling. And we are apparently getting three of them in relatively short succession, which all sound way more promising than that misfire The Family (2013) which was her last time before cameras. Two are already filmed - HBO's Wizard of Lies, and the indie drama Beat-Up Little Seagull (both due later this year though specific dates aren't announced) and Day 6 the following year unless she bolts from the set mid-production.

Thursday
Jun302016

He Loves Link

Reminder: You can watch the live stream of Broadway's She Loves Me tonight (one of the major Tony nominees this year) on "Broadway HD" for only $9.99 this evening at 8:00 PM EST (though I'd get there before 7:50 PM). The show stars Laura Benanti and Jane Krakowski, two national musical comedy treasures, and some talented men, too. It's the first time in history that a Broadway show has been livestreamed and since Broadway shows aint cheap $10 is practically free. If you check it out, let us know what you thought. Our review icymi.

Links
Variety looks back at the waves made by The Devil Wears Prada 10 years back
Vox has a very sound theory as to why the blockbusters suck this year - the disappearance of second acts in the three act structure
Shout Factory Carrie (1976) is getting a spiffy new Blu-Ray for her 40th anniversary
Birth.Movies.Death on the making of Clash of the Titans. Harry Hamlin was a handful! 
IndieWire how YA stars have emerged as the saviors of American indie films 
THR A24, perhaps emboldened by their first Oscar wins last year (Room + Ex Machina) is really hitting it hard for 2016. They've already released a few notable titles this year with more to come. Now they just picked up Mike Mills 20th Century Women. Can they win Best Actress two years in a row? 
Gold Derby Alison Janney and Julia Louis-Dreyfus will both make history on Emmy night if they win
Birth.Movies.Death on the recent Cap is Hydra comic storyline and how serial storytelling works (it's only the response to serial storytelling that's really changed.) 
Pride Source a fun LGBT themed interview with our new Tarzan Alexander Skarsgård
Boy Culture today is the 30th anniversary of Madonna's "True Blue" album
MNPP Miles Teller in leopard print thong for Bleed For This 

Daniel Craig and Jason Isaacs in the London 1993 production of ANGELS IN AMERICAThis Week's Must Read
"Angels in America: The Complete Oral History" Let us all thank Slate profusely for this retrospective of Tony Kushner's two-part masterwork. Some of my favorite quotes from it.

George C. Wolfe [Director]I think so much of what I did on Part 1 was keeping the hype out of the room and letting everybody play and discover. Because the hype was monumental, the hype was ridiculous, but you can’t work from hype, and you can’t create from hype. God knows you can’t discover anything new.

Joe MantelloFor a lot of us, that production was like going from zero to 100 in our careers, going from being unknown to the play everyone was coming to see.

Marcia Gay HardenI’d walk through the West Village, and people would come up to me and say, “I took my parents to see the play, and then I told them I was gay.” Or: “I took my parents to see it, and then I told them I was dying.” And we would cry on the street. That happened once every couple of weeks.

Rocco LandesmanPersonally, I think the show is a bit long, particularly in Perestroika. I was lobbying for cuts and got none of them. Tony was very gracious. He would hear me out politely and do what he wanted to do, which was not cut. It was like a conversation with August Wilson but worse.

And on Harper Pitt's very last transcendent bit in the play, her flight to San Francisco...

Marcia Gay Harden: I’m tingling right now thinking about it. The synchronicity of the immune system of the Earth, and that can be healed by the people who are suffering with the holes in their own immune system, the tragedy of the souls of those who have been hurt forming a web of protection around the Earth. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever said—or read—in my life.

Mary-Louise ParkerWe shot it in an airplane hangar, and I was really trying to rein in my emotion. I just didn’t feel I quite reached it. I went to lunch, and I was so distraught, and I went to Mike [Nichols, who directed the miniseries] and said, “Can I do it again?” They were literally taking down the wall, and he said, “Oh, my child,” and turned to the crew and yelled, “OK, put the wall back up!”

Tony KushnerIt’s the best paragraph I’ve ever written.

 

 

Sunday
May012016

Best Actress: An "Overdue" Narrative or Fresh Blood?

The next Best Actress race hasn't remotely started so we're at the "anything goes" stage. Sally Field is the only player thus far who feels like a distinct if long shot possibility. With a Golden Globe Comedy nod highly likely for Hello My Name is Doris she'll be discussed again at year's end reminding people of her endearing star turn in the sleeper hit. But what to make of the Best Actress race. Most or all of the contenders are yet to come and there are no sure things. 

Sure, Viola Davis looks good on paper to repeat her Tony win in 2010 for Fences as the long suffering wife of a trash collector who was once a promising ball player. But there are some "what ifs" involved. Denzel Washington hasn't yet proved he's special as a director and when the revival in which they starred on Broadway hit not everyone agreed on her category placement with some theater awards deeming her "featured" (the stage's term for "supporting") rather than lead like the Tonys. And then there's the not small matter of whether the Fences will be ready in time for a release and a big Oscar push. If Viola doesn't dominate, will we have an Overdue Narrative this year or a Fresh Blood moment in Best Actress?

Consider: La Pfeiffer (3 nominations... deserved many more. Waiting to win since 1988); The Bening (4 nominations... waiting to win since 1990); Amy Adams (5 generous nominations. Waiting to win since 2005); Viola Davis (2 nominations... waiting to win since 2008). With Jessica Tandy, Hilary Swank, Rachel Weisz, and Meryl Streep winning their rightful Oscars there's ample opportunity for a "make up" year in Best Actress. 

But then again not every leading race sees a "career win" like Julianne Moore's or Leonardo DiCaprio's recently. Do you think 2016 will be an old guard year like that or a new blood situation (Negga? Pike?)? Or will it be somewhere inbetween (Emily Blunt...waiting so long for a first nomination? Jessica Chastain, twice nominated thus far?). Check the Best Actress chart and make a call in the comments. 

Friday
Apr292016

April 29th should be a national holiday

It's an open thread... with party favors. If you are throwing a birthday party in honor of Michelle Pfeiffer, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Uma Thurman today (and if you aren't, why not?), what is the party theme? food? dress code? What will you sacrifice at their altars give them for a gift tonight? 

Friday
Apr152016

Pfeiffer + Aronofsky = !!!!!!!!!!!

Pfeiffer in Beat-Up Little SeagullJust so everyone knows, I am indeed still alive. After briefly passing out. I was on a flight when news broke that Michelle Pfeiffer had signed on to the cast of the new untitled Darren Aronofsky film due in 2017 with filming to start this June.

La Pfeiffer has been MIA from the movies in a significant way since White Oleander (2002) her last Oscar worthy performance (she has famously never won despite multiple breathtaking star turns)  and the last onscreen appearance without significant breaks thereafter. She flirted with a comeback in a brief flurry of activity around 2007-2008 (Stardust & Cheri being the highlights) but it's been relatively quiet since then. But no more?...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar162016

Q&A: Australian Greats, Leading Men, and Camera Muses

It's time for reader questions. Here are 10 recently asked I'm opting to answer tonight. Join the conversation in the comments. 

INQUIRER: Who do you believe is more worthy of an acting Oscar between Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Johnny Depp, and who do you think is more likely to win one?

This would surprise anyone unfamiliar with the site but Brad Pitt towers over the other two. He's among my all time favorite movie stars. But you've crafted a tricky question because all three men have loyal camps that they've earned. Cruise is the most consistent, always laser focused on Doing His Job in whichever movie. Depp is the most inspired when he's inspired but he's also the laziest. It seems impossible to imagine now but people did not want him to play Pirates like he played it. The studio was concerned. What is he doing? Now people hire him to for Depp shtick and that's what he gives to the point of self parody! Pitt is the most uneven actor among the three but he's also the most endearing, has the best taste, has aged superbly with his talent, and has evolved the most. Years ago I felt certain that all three would eventually be crowned but it's hard to picture now. If any one of them does a moving hit drama when he's an old codger though perhaps he'll get a career achievement prize. If none of them ever win competitively I'd wager that Brad Pitt is the most likely to get an Honorary Oscar. 

This might be as good a time as any to tell you (warn you?) that April will be ACTOR MONTH here at the blog. We talk about actresses so much that it's time for a wee curveball. Any requests?

TABITHA: Why do female movie stars now largely seem to be in their 20's or 60's? There seems to be a resistance to embrace middle-aged stars (apart from Sandra Bullock or Charlize Theron).

I blame this phenomenon entirely on sexism and the patriarchy. It's intrinsically tied to the "Last F***able Day" phenomenon that Amy Schumer named so brilliantly. I think once an actress has passed that threshold of straight men being "ewww she's AGING -- how dare she?" and is now just an older person, who for better or for worse are often desexualized in art, it's easier for people to just enjoy their acting again. That's my 100% correct theory. It's also harder for female stars to age because a huge percentage of them are famous in part because of exceptional beauty which is not necessarily true (certainly not percentage wise!) with their male counterparts.

KEVIN: if you put Meryl on a strict diet of auteurs, who would you pair her with for her next 3 films?

[more Q&A after the jump]

Click to read more ...