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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Carol is genius - we asked the team 'why'


"Peaking at the right time" - Mark

"Todd Haynes. his power his influence his acclaim and yes genius!" - Jows


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Entries in Screenplays (132)



This weekend is an important one for a myriad of reasons: Quality Best Picture candidates Brooklyn and Spotlight are expanding; The Hunger Games is wrapping up; two foreign Oscar submissions are arriving (Lithuania's lesbian romance Summer of Sangaille and France's must-see Mustang); the all star remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian film The Secret in Their Eyes is upon us; People are prepping their Thanksgiving festivities. But all of those reasons pale in comparison to the big news:

Todd Haynes' exquisite 50s romantic drama Carol starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara is now in theaters!

Sadly Carol is only on 4 screens which means many readers will have something of a wait to experience its glory. We'll hold off on going Carol-mad just yet though we're planning a whole Carol week (for real, DATES TBA) but we'll wait until more of you have seen it so we can get detailed.

But for now a little silly stanning to celebrate. You see, whilst I was in Los Angeles I was able to interview five key members of Carol's mega-talented team. As something of a goof about my own obsession but a goof that spiralled out of control and into actual reality I started each Carol interview with the same question and here are the actual answers...


Affonso Gonçalves, Editor: Sure. Let's start with that. [Laughter] I don't get called that - I'm going to tell my mom.

Judy Becker, Production Designer: Well, the question is 'why is Todd such a genius?' Todd is a genius.

Phyllis Nagy, Screenwriter: Practice. [Laughter]

Carter Burwell, Composer: Um... [long silence]

And we conclude with Sandy Powell the much lauded costume giant who has three Oscars to show for it... but curiously none from her Todd Haynes' collaborations.

NathanielR: I started this as a joke about my Carol obsession this morning but I've literally asked everyone why they're a genius today. So...

Sandy Powell: [Interrupting] You've asked every single person?

Nathaniel: Yes.

Sandy: Has anyone admitted to being a genius?

Nathaniel R: Phyllis.

Sandy: [LAUGHTER] I can say why everyone else is a genius but I don't think I can say why I am!



Full Carol interviews are coming. Stay tuned...






Annie Hall is the Funniest!

Murtada here.The Writers Guild of America released their list of the 101 funniest screenplays of all time. The screenplays were voted on by members of both the East and West coast branches of the WGA. The eligible screenplays had to be in English and at least one hour in length.

Woody Allen is by far the most popular name on the list. He has seven titles including the WGA’s top pick Annie Hall (1977) which he co-wrote with Marshall Brickman. Compartively Billy Wilder only has two titles on the list, The Apartment (1960) and Some Like it Hot (1959). Other writers scoring multiple films include Mel Brooks, Preston Sturges, Christopher Guest, Charlie Chaplin, the Coen Brothers and surprisingly Harold Ramis.

Perhaps to ward off criticism about the lack of representation of women and people of color, the WGA acknowledged the list’s heavy “white bro dudeness”:

"Comedy screenwriting has long been a playground that women and writers of color have not had enough time in. The work of Richard Pryor on Blazing Saddles, Tina Fey on Mean Girls, Amy Heckerling on Clueless, and Hagar Wilde, co-writer of Bringing Up Baby, makes you wonder what a list would be if the playground had been more inclusive all along."

That’s all well and good but even when included the stories of women were low on the list. Really The Hangover and Wedding Crashers are funnier than All About Eve and Mean Girls ? Come on !

Surely everybody looking at the list will have their own reservations and “Really!!!” moments. Tell us yours in the comments. 

The list in full after the jump:

Click to read more ...


RIP: Melissa Mathison (1950 - 2015)

Melissa Mathison, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of E.T., has passed away at 65. 

She gave us the film's iconic "E.T. phone home," but what connects each viewing is her rich understanding of the hearts and minds of children. She got to the part deep within all of us that was afraid of growing up and change, of trying to hold tightly to what would only be taken away from us. Adding this insight with natural and efficient dialogue, she turned uncomplex phrases like "Be good" and "I'll be right here" into primal moments loaded with childhood longing.

A mother of two herself, her grasp of the young mindset was also at play in her adaptations of The Black Stallion and The Indian in the Cupboard, and provided unique insight into the Dalai Lama for Kundun.

A natural fit to the fascinations of Spielberg, her gifts will be greatly missed. Coming in the year ahead, we will luckily have one last collaboration from the pair: the Roald Dahl motion-capture adaptation of The BFG. Material perfectly suited to her skills, it's a chance to celebrate her again.

RIP Melissa Mathison


'my mom's getting an Honorary and they couldn't even give me a lousy nomination for my brilliant screenplay for Postcards from the Edge' 

[Hollywood Royalty problems]


Links: Jennifer's World, Screenplay Competition, Gena's Glory

Illustration by Jennifer WilliamsActresses Actresses Actresses
<-- If you haven't yet read Jennifer Lawrence's short essay "Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars" you should.

 on the many stars who are coming out in support of JLaw on Twitter
Teen Vogue Jennifer Lawrence and other stars before they were famous posing for Abercrombie & Fitch
THR Actress Joan Leslie (Yankee Doodle Dandy, Sergeant York) has died at 90 
Tracking Board Yorgos Lanthimos' (The Lobster) next project is about Queen Anne and it's called The Favorite. The female driven film will star Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Olivia Colman  
David Poland "20 Weeks To Oscar" he thinks only four movies are locked up in Best Picture: The Martian, Spotlight, Steve Jobs and Room but here's what I found most interesting. He argues that only Brie Larson & Kate Winslet can rest easy in their respective actress fields and I can see that The rest of the fields are fluid.
AV Club Because Ryan Murphy isn't spread thin enough he's pitching an anthology series called "One Hit Wonders" to star Goop herself, Gwyneth Paltrow  

Oscar Chatter
Awards Daily on the Screenplay races. Celebrity writers + Best Picture heat 
In Contention Kris Tapley on the makeup race. Can box office bombs factor in?

General Linkage
Interview talks to Emma Donaghue the novelist who adapted her own work for the screen in Room
Criterion has an amazing conversation with the French director Arnaud Desplechin (Kings & Queen, My Golden Days). They talk Oscars, Lars von Trier (?), male versus female actors, nudity, everything. I like this bit on his relationship to Mathieu Amalric who is in most of his films:

Mathieu is hard with me. He’s really hard. You don’t know all his French films, but I saw all his French films. He always plays the same part in all the films. They’re quite good, but I remember when I proposed Kings & Queen to him, he told me: “Arnaud, the script is great, but I don’t want to play the same character as in My Sex Life. You have to prove to me that this is another character.” I have to prove to you? Come on, you play the same character in five films, why am I obliged to prove that to you? He said, “Because it’s love, so you have to prove it.”

Birth. Movies. Death Thor: Ragnarok will be Marvel's darkest. But will it introduce Valkyrie? (People will be completely be over superheroes by the time the females arrive. sigh
Empire NOooo. Now they want to make a Die Hard "origin story". Boo
Playbill two underused fine actors Aaron Tveit & Mary Elizabeth Winstead headlining a new CBS comic thriller BrainDead with a truly bizarre premise
AV Club broke down 22 references in the Hail, Caesar! trailer
MNPP Jason has some thoughts on a possible tv version of Y: The Last Man


"I had seen her when I was a teenager in Lonely Are the Brave with Kirk Douglas. I'd never seen anyone that beautiful with a certain gravitas. It was particularly unique in that time, when many women were trying to be girlish, affecting a superficial, 'I'm a pretty girl' attitude. It seemed to be the best way to succeed, but Gena did none of that. There was a directness—not that she wasn't fun and didn't smolder—but it came from a place that was both genuine and deep.

-Mia Farrow on Gena Rowlands

Elle Magazine's "Women in Hollywood" issue is available digitally now and comes out next week featuring Gena Rowlands, Alicia Vikander, Salma Hayek, Kate Winslet, Carey Mulligan, Ava DuVernay, Amy Schumer, and Dakota Johnson.


8 Best Things About "Steve Jobs" (First Impressions)

True confession: When I read Jason's breathless rave for Steve Jobs from my sick bed last week I was like "calm down, man,  it can't be that good" Cut to one week later me sitting in the theater, as the end credits rolled: "I gotta read that rave again and nod my head vigorously this time!" While I suspect I don't love it quite as much as Jason, it is inarguably one of 2015's must-see picture and we shan't be annoyed at all when it racks up Oscar nominations in January.

The film goes wide on Friday and trust that you'll want to be there. Here are my 8 favorite things about it at first glance... 

Click to read more ...


Cheers, Frannie. And Other Links

Awards Daily pays tribute to Jane Fonda (Youth) and Lily Tomlin (Grandma) as we all should. Weekly. (Daily? Hourly?)
People introduces new princess 14 year old Auli'i Cravalho who voices Disney's Moana
Jezebel "Today we are all Frances McDormand drinking wine on a toilet" Amen!

Interview Magazine has really been really topping itself lately. Now they've got Jeff Bridges talking to the iconic cinematographer Roger Deakins (Sicario). Thus begins the hard push to get him his long overdue Oscar I suppose. We interviewed him for True Grit and he was a good chat!
The Bitter Script Reader thinks The Martian screenplay is a great example of how to write obstacles for characters that engage the viewer in the same "oh shit" living of them as plans fall apart
Film School Rejects tears up over Room and appreciates the Mother & Child thread running through many films this year
i09 is (rightly) horrified by what Frank Miller has done to Superman in a new comic book cover
Variety thinks its time Oscar voters caught up to Love and Mercy and Straight Outta Compton

Taylor (left) and Rodriguez (right) the stars of TANGERINEP.S. First Trans Actress Oscar Campaign
You may have heard (from everywhere) that Magnolia Pictures is launching the first ever Oscar campaign for transgender actresses - the spirited girls from the awesome Tangerine (a film which we've recommended often). TFE actually broke this news first (albeit in early "we might do this" planning stages) but we were asked to remove the reference to it, post publication, from our James Ransome interview since he wasn't supposed to talk about just yet. We get no respect I tell you -- even when we heartily support a film from its first screening!

Anyway, if you haven't seen the film yet do so the first chance you get. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez (who plays vengeful hot-tempered Sin-Dee) will be pushed for Best Actress and Mya Taylor (her much calmer best friend Alexandra) will be campaigned as a Supporting Actress but... you know how these same gender movies go, that's total Category Fraud bullshit since you can't have one without the other. They're like a trans Thelma & Louise only with less of a crime spree and no wheels of their own; these girls have to settle for the indignities of public transport (those bus scenes. LOL) and walking in L.A.