Category Archives: Film

SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS: “MOST OF THIS IS NONSENSE, MOST OF THIS IS A LIE.” ·

(Miranda Sawyer’s article appeared in the Guardian, 5/26; via Pam Green.)  

For anyone who looks toward their later years with trepidation, Sir Anthony Hopkins (“Tony, please”) is a proper tonic. He is 79, and happier than he has ever been. This is due to a mixture of things: his relationship with his wife of 15 years, Stella, who has encouraged him to keep fit, and to branch out into painting and classical composition; the calming of his inner fire, of which more later; and his work.

Hopkins loves to work. Much of his self-esteem and vigour comes from acting – “Oh, yes, work has kept me going. Work has given me my energy” – and he is in no way contemplating slowing down. You can feel a quicksilver energy about him, a restlessness. Every so often, I think he’s going to stop the interview and take flight, but actually he’s enjoying himself and keeps saying, “Ask me more! This is great!”

We meet in Rome, where he is making a Netflix film about the relationship between the last pope (Benedict) and the current one (Francis). Hopkins is playing Benedict, Jonathan Pryce is Francis. He is enjoying this – “We’re filming in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow!” – and we are both relishing the lovely view across the city from the penthouse suite in the hotel where he’s staying. Still, he declares that the film we are here to talk about, the BBC’s King Lear, filmed in England and directed by Richard Eyre, is the piece of work that has made him truly happy. “I felt, ‘Yes, I can do this.’ I can do this sort of work. I didn’t walk away. And it’s so invigorating, because I know I can do it, and I’ve got my sense of humour, my humility, and nothing’s been destroyed.”

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Photo: The Guardian

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE ART OF MONSTROUS MEN? ·

 

(Claire Dederer’s article appeared in The Paris Review, 11/20/17.)

Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, William Burroughs, Richard Wagner, Sid Vicious, V. S. Naipaul, John Galliano, Norman Mailer, Ezra Pound, Caravaggio, Floyd Mayweather, though if we start listing athletes we’ll never stop. And what about the women? The list immediately becomes much more difficult and tentative: Anne Sexton? Joan Crawford? Sylvia Plath? Does self-harm count? Okay, well, it’s back to the men I guess: Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Lead Belly, Miles Davis, Phil Spector.

They did or said something awful, and made something great. The awful thing disrupts the great work; we can’t watch or listen to or read the great work without remembering the awful thing. Flooded with knowledge of the maker’s monstrousness, we turn away, overcome by disgust. Or … we don’t. We continue watching, separating or trying to separate the artist from the art. Either way: disruption. They are monster geniuses, and I don’t know what to do about them.

We’ve all been thinking about monsters in the Trump era. For me, it began a few years ago. I was researching Roman Polanski for a book I was writing and found myself awed by his monstrousness. It was monumental, like the Grand Canyon. And yet. When I watched his movies, their beauty was another kind of monument, impervious to my knowledge of his iniquities. I had exhaustively read about his rape of thirteen-year-old Samantha Gailey; I feel sure no detail on record remained unfamiliar to me. Despite this knowledge, I was still able to consume his work. Eager to. The more I researched Polanski, the more I became drawn to his films, and I watched them again and again—especially the major ones: Repulsion, Rosemary’s BabyChinatown. Like all works of genius, they invited repetition. I ate them. They became part of me, the way something loved does.

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ANNA DEAVERE SMITH ON ‘BLACK PANTHER’: WAKANDA FOREVER! ·

(Smith’s article appeared in The New York Review of Books, 5/24.)   

Black Panther

A film directed by Ryan Coogler

April 1992: buildings burned, stores were looted, people were killed. An all-white jury in a suburb of LA had just acquitted four white police officers who had been captured on a camcorder brutally beating Rodney King, a black motorist, the year before. When the verdict was announced, no one could believe it. What ensued, depending on whom you talked to, was “a riot,” a “social explosion,” “a revolution.” Some politicians and academics, waiting to see how the dust settled, chose to call it “the events in LA.” People stood on rooftops watching the fire and smoke, terrified for their property or lives, estimating how long it would take for the violence to get to them. But the destruction stayed pretty much in South Central and areas immediately surrounding it—Koreatown and the lower Wilshire area. It never got to the shops in Beverly Hills. The cry and anthem in the street was “No Justice—No Peace!”

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BROADWAY ‘MOCKINGBIRD’ IS BACK ON TRACK, AS COURT DISPUTE ENDS ·

(Michael Paulson’s and Alexandra Alter’s article appeared in The New York Times, 5/10; via Pam Green.)  

Atticus Finch is coming to Broadway. But how closely he will resemble the iconic figure from Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” remains a mystery.

The highly anticipated stage production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is proceeding after a blistering pair of federal lawsuits over a $7 million stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” were settled on Thursday, according to a statement from the parties.

That settlement means that the play, with a new script by the prominent Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, will be allowed to go forward. The production, with Jeff Daniels starring as the heroic lawyer Atticus Finch and Bartlett Sher as its director, is scheduled to begin rehearsals in September, with previews starting in November and the show opening in December at the Shubert Theater.

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Photo: Famous Biographies

‘CLEOPATRA’: THIS MOVIE ROMANCE SCANDALIZED A NATION. NOW IT’S A DRAMA ONSTAGE. ·

 

(Michael Hoinski’s article appeared in the March 30 New York Times; via Pam Green.)

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Lawrence Wright, the author and longtime New Yorker staff writer, is not as serious as he may seem. He is not obsessed with terrorism and religion, as his recent work suggests. Sometimes he just wants a juicy sex scandal.

Indeed, before he wrote “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,”winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, and before he wrote “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief,” a 2013 National Book Award finalist, Mr. Wright was working on “Cleo,” a play about the sordid love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during the filming of the 1963 epic “Cleopatra.”

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OSCAR CONTENDER ‘SHAPE OF WATER’ ACCUSED OF RIPPING OFF 1969 PLAY BY PAUL ZINDEL ·

(from Reuters, 2/22)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “The Shape of Water,” a contender for this year’s best picture Oscar, was hit with a plagiarism lawsuit on Wednesday, alleging that its fantastical plot about a romance between a cleaning woman and a mysterious river creature was lifted directly from an American stage play.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, alleged that director Guillermo del Toro, producer Daniel Kraus and movie studio Fox Searchlight <FOXA.0> “brazenly copies the story, elements, characters and themes” from a 1969 play by the late Paul Zindel.

“The Shape of Water” has a leading 13 Oscar nominations at the March 4 Academy Awards ceremony, including nods for best picture and best director. The lawsuit was filed the day after ballots went out to some 8,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who vote on the Oscar winners.

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OSCAR WILDE BIOPIC BY EVERETT HAILS ‘CHRIST-LIKE’ GAY ICON ·

(Deborah Cole’s article appeared on Yahoo, 2/18; via the Drudge Report.

Berlin (AFP) – Gay cinema pioneer Rupert Everett said his new biopic about legendary literary dandy Oscar Wilde captures him as a “Christ-like” figure who sacrificed himself for the future global LBGTQ rights movement.

Everett penned, directed and starred in his years-long passion project about the flamboyant 19th century Irish writer, “The Happy Prince”, screening this week at the Berlin film festival.

The 58-year-old British actor focuses in the film on Wilde’s self-imposed exile after serving two years’ hard labour from 1895 on “gross indecency” charges for sex with men.

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INGMAR BERGMAN: ‘WILD STRAWBERRIES’ (LANDMARK, BBC RADIO 3) ·

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Matthew Sweet discusses Ingmar Bergman‘s Wild Strawberries with the writer Colm Toibin, the film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and the Swedish Cultural Attaché Ellen Wettmark.

Released in 1957 and inspired by Bergman’s own memories of childhood holidays in a summerhouse in the north of Sweden, Wild Strawberries tells the story of elderly professor Isak Borg, who travels from his home in Stockholm to receive an honorary doctorate. On the way, he’s visited by childhood memories. The film stars veteran actor and director Victor Sjostrom, Bibi Andersson and Ingrid Thulin.

With additional contributions from the film historian Kevin Brownlow and Jan Holmberg from the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, which administers Bergman’s archives.

The BFI in London is running a season of Ingmar Bergman films until March 1st 2018 as part of the global celebrations of the centenary of world-renowned Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman (1918 – 2007).

A Matter of Life and Death: the Films of Ingmar Bergman has been republished with a new introduction by Geoff Andrew of the BFI.

Wild Strawberries is being screened on 26 Feb, Newlyn Filmhouse; 8 March, Borderlines Film Festival; 11 March, Chapter Arts Centre.

This programme was originally recorded in December 2015.

Producer: Laura Thomas

(Main image: Ingmar Bergman. Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images.).

ROGER FRIEDMAN: STEVEN SPIELBERG IS REMAKING “WEST SIDE STORY,” PRO-FORMA CASTING CALL GOES OUT FOR LEADS ·

(Roger Friedman’s article appeared on Showbiz 411, 1/25; via the Drudge Report.)

There’s a place for Steven Spielberg, and apparently it’s on New York’s Upper West Side in the 1950s. A casting call has gone out for a remake of “West Side Story,” written by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner, author of Spielberg’s terrific “Lincoln” screenplay and, of course, “Angels in America.”

It’s a pro-forma casting call because, in the end, the new “West Side Story” is going to need stars. Big names. And because of the setting and the time we are in, it’s going to need actual Puerto Ricans or Latinos for the parts of characters like Maria, Anita, and Bernardo. There will be no fudging this in 2018. The casting call says in capital letters: MUST BE ABLE TO SPEAK SPANISH.

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