Page 1

PRESENTS D E C E M B E R 18 , 2019 OSCA R P RE V I E W

DAFOE & PATTINSON Dive into their partnership in Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse PAUL WALTER HAUSER Meet the breakout star picked by Clint Eastwood for Richard Jewell DEXTER FLETCHER Star Wars, the Rolling Stones and fighting for Rocketman THE DIALOGUE Bong Joon-ho Greta Gerwig Rian Johnson Olivia Wilde Lulu Wang Alma Har’el

The

Maverick Quentin Tarantino reflects on the riotous ride of Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood and ponders the future of cinema 1218 - Cover.indd 1

DEADLINE.COM/AWARDSLINE

12/13/19 10:25 AM


G O L D E N

G L O B E N O M I N A T I O N S ®

BB E SET DSI R TE C T O PR - MI A RCT I TN SUC O RR S EES E

(DRAMA)

INCLUDING

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARD NOMINATIONS INCLUDING

INCLUDING

®

OUTSTANDING CAST

B E S T D I R E C TO R - M A RT I N S C O R S E S E

“ +++++

AS GOOD A FILM AS MARTIN SCORSESE HAS EVER MADE AND ONE OF THE MOVIES BY WHICH 2019 WILL BE REMEMBERED.

WITHOUT A DOUBT, IT’S A MASTERPIECE.” WINNER BEST DIRECTOR DETROIT FILM CRITICS SOCIETY

F O R

WINNER BEST DIRECTOR NEW MEXICO FILM CRITICS

Y O U R

3

WINNER

BEST PICTURE NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW AWARDS

C O N S I D E R AT I O N

I N

2

WINNER

BEST PICTURE NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS

A L L

WINNER BEST DIRECTOR

PHILADELPHIA FILM CRITICS CIRCLE

C AT E G O R I E S

WINNER BEST DIRECTOR

SOUTHEASTERN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

I N C L U D I N G

BEST PICTURE BEST DIRECTOR – MARTIN SCORSESE

NETFLIXGUILDS.COM

Untitled-9 1

12/12/19 3:32 PM


12-27

FIRST TAKE Paul Walter Hauser’s path to playing a pariah in Richard Jewell Fresh Face: The rise of Da’Vine Roy Randolph in Dolemite Is My Name Art of Craft: Phedon Papamichael maps out a breakneck race in Ford v Ferrari On My Screen: Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman challenges and karaoke favorites

28

COVER STORY Quentin Tarantino reminisces on the cinematic landscape of his career and the genesis of Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

36

THE DIALOGUE: DIRECTORS Bong Joon-ho Alma Har’el Greta Gerwig Rian Johnson Lulu Wang Olivia Wilde

48

THE PARTNERSHIP Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson on the madness of making two-hander horror The Lighthouse in remote Nova Scotia

52

FLASH MOB Contenders New York AwardsLine Screening Series ON THE COVER Quentin Tarantino photographed exclusively for Deadline by Josh Telles ON THIS PAGE Willem Dafoe and Robert Patttinson photographed exclusively for Deadline by Chris Chapman

1218 - TOC.indd 3

12/13/19 9:57 AM


THANK YOU TO THE HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASIFA FOR ALL HONORING MISSING LINK WITH NOMI

ŋ7ƨƫƨƧƭƨ)ƢƥƦ&ƫƢƭƢƜƬ$ƬƬƨƜƢƚƭƢƨƧ ŋ<ƚơƨƨž0ƨƯƢƞƬ

Lovingly , hand-made by ated cre the studio that AND

Untitled-8 1

12/12/19 3:31 PM


ASSOCIATION, CRITICS CHOICE ASSOCIATION AND NATIONS FOR BEST ANIMATED FEATURE OF THE YEAR.

'PSNPSFPOUIJTFYUSBPSEJOBSZÃ MNBOEBTDIFEVMFPGXIFSFZPVDBOTFFJUPOUIFCJHTDSFFOHPUPNJTTJOHMJOLHVJMETDPN"MTPBWBJMBCMFUPTUSFBNOPXPO

Untitled-8 2

12/12/19 3:31 PM


©HFPA

G O L D E N

G L O B E

®

BEST ACTRESS BEST ORIGINAL

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® NOMINEE © 1995 SAG-AFTRA

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS CYNTHIA ERIVO

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION IN ALL CATEGORIES

Untitled-6 1

12/12/19 3:29 PM


A W A R D

N O M I N E E

CY N T H I A E R I VO SONG

DRAMA

“S T A N D U P”

C RIT ICS’ CHO ICE AWARD NOM INEE

BEST ACTRESS • CYNTHIA ERIVO BEST SONG • “STAND UP” WINNER BEST ORIGINAL SONG “Stand Up” Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Brian Campbell Hollywood Music in Media Awards

Untitled-6 2

WINNER BEST ACTRESS

Hollywood Breakout Actress Award Cynthia Erivo Hollywood Film Awards

12/12/19 3:29 PM


FOR

YOUR

CONSIDERATION

BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR Produced By

MARK RUFFALO,

p.g.a.

CHRISTINE VACHON,

PAMELA KOFFLER,

p.g.a.

Best Director

Best Supporting Actress

TODD HAYNES

ANNE HATHAWAY

Best Actor

Best Adapted Screenplay

MARK RUFFALO

MARIO CORREA and MATTHEW MICHAEL CARNAHAN

Best Supporting Actor TIM ROBBINS BILL CAMP VICTOR GARBER BILL PULLMAN

Untitled-6 1

p.g.a.

MARE WINNINGHAM

Based on The New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by

NATHANIEL RICH

Best Cinematography EDWARD LACHMAN, ASC

12/12/19 3:28 PM


“++++. A PERFECT FILM. RIVETING, POWERFUL AND IMPORTANT.” OBSERVER, Rex Reed

“++++. AN EXCELLENT THRILLER. THE ACTING IS OUTSTANDING.” USA TODAY, Bill Goodykoontz

Untitled-6 2

12/12/19 3:28 PM


DEADLINE.COM

Breaking News

Follow Deadline.com 24/7 for the latest breaking news in entertainment.

PRESENTS

Sign up for Alerts & Newsletters GENERAL MANAGER & CHIEF REVENUE OF F ICER

CO- EDI TORS-IN-CHIEF

Stacey Farish

Nellie Andreeva (Television) Mike Fleming Jr. (Film)

EDITOR

AWARDS EDITOR & COLUMNIST

Joe Utichi CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Craig Edwards DEPUTY EDITOR

Antonia Blyth

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Matt Grobar

SOCIAL MEDIA D I RECTOR

Scott Shilstone DESIGNER

Otavio Rabelo VIDEO PRODUCERS

EDI TOR-AT-LARGE

Peter Bart

GEN RE EDITOR

Geoff Boucher EXECU TIVE EDITOR

Michael Cieply

EDITORI AL DIRECTOR

Anthony D’Alessandro N Y BU SIN ESS EDITOR

Dade Hayes

M AN AGI N G EDITOR

EVENTS MANAGER

Dominic Patten

Patrick Hipes

SEN I OR ED ITOR & CHIEF TV CRITIC M AN AGI N G EDITOR

Erik Pedersen VICE PRESIDENT, B RAND PARTNERSH IPS

Kasey Champion

DIRECTORS, ENTERTAI N M EN T

Brianna Corrado Tiffany Windju

SENIOR ACCOUN T EXECU TI VE

London Sanders

DIGITAL SALES PL AN N ER

Jessica Cole

AD SALES COOR DI N ATOR

Malik Simmons

CO- M AN AGING EDITOR

Denise Petski

IN TERN ATIONAL EDITOR

Nancy Tartaglione

IN TERN ATIONAL CO-EDITORS

Peter White Andreas Wiseman

Michael Petre

PRODUCTION MAN AGER

PH OTO EDITOR

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR

Natalie Longman

DISTRIB UTION D I RECTOR

Andrea Wynnyk

FOLLOW DEADLINE Facebook.com/Deadline Instagram.com/Deadline Twitter.com/Deadline YouTube.com/Deadline

EMAIL US

The Actor’s Side with Pete Hammond

Meet some of the biggest and hardest working actors of today, who discuss life, upcoming projects, and their passion for film and television. deadline.com/vcategory/ the-actors-side/

Brandon Choe

CONTACT PMC LOS ANGELES 11175 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025 +1 323-617-9100 NEW YORK 475 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10017 +1 212-213-1900

NEWS: editors@deadline.com ADVERTISING: sfarish@pmc.com

George Grobar VICE CHAIRM AN

Gerry Byrne

CHIE F ACCO UNTING O FFICE R

Sarlina See

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESID E NT, BUSINESS D EVE LO PM E NT

Craig Perreault

Debashish Ghosh

SE NIO R VICE PRESID E NT, PRO D UCT

Jenny Connelly

SE NIO R VICE PRESID E NT, FINANCE

Ken DelAlcazar

SE NIO R VICE PRESID E NT, O PE RATIO NS

Tom Finn

VICE PRESID E NT, CREATIVE

Nelson Anderson

VICE PRESID E NT, PRO D UCTIO N O PE RATIO NS

Joni Antonacci

VICE PRESID E NT, TALE NT RE LATIO NS

Behind the Lens with Pete Hammond

Explore the art and craft of directors from firsttimers to veterans, and take a unique look into the world of filmmakers, from their own perspectives. deadline.com/vcategory/ behind-the-lens/

Production Value

Go behind the scenes with the talented craftsmen and women behind some of this year’s acclaimed films and television series. deadline.com/vcategory/ production-value/

Rebecca Bienstock

HEAD O F PO RTFO LIO SALES

Stephen Blackwell

VICE PRESID E NT, PM C D IGITAL ACQ UISITIO N

Gerard Brancato

VICE PRESID E NT, HUM AN RESO URCES

Anne Doyle

VICE PRESID E NT, HUM AN RESO URCES

Mara Ginsberg

VICE PRESID E NT, FINANCE

Young Ko

VICE PRESID E NT, TECHNO LO GY

Gabriel Koen

VICE PRESID E NT, GLO BAL PARTNE RSHIPS AND LICE NSING

Kevin LaBonge

VICE PRESID E NT, CUSTO M E R EXPE RIE NCE AND M ARKE TING O PE RATIO NS

Noemi Lazo

VICE PRESID E NT, REVE NUE O PE RATIO NS

Brian Levine

VICE PRESID E NT, D E PUTY GE NE RAL CO UNSE L

Judith R. Margolin

IN TERN ATIONAL FILM REPORTER

Anita Bennett Greg Evans Bruce Haring Amanda N’Duka Dino-Ray Ramos David Robb

CHIE F O PE RATING O FFICE R

M ANAGING D IRECTO R

VIDEO SER IES

Jake Kanter

ASSOCI ATE EDITORS

Jay Penske

Todd Greene

IN TERN ATIONAL TELEVISION EDITOR

Thomas Grater

CHAIRM AN & CEO

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESID E NT, BUSINESS AFFAIRS & GE NE RAL CO UNSE L

Pete Hammond

David Janove Andrew Merrill Shane Whitaker Kathy Selim

Sign up for breaking news alerts and other Deadline newsletters at: deadline.com/newsletters

Deadline Hollywood is owned and published by Penske Media Corporation

VICE PRESID E NT, GLO BAL TAX

PODCASTS

Julie Trinh

Crew Call

VICE PRESID E NT, HUM AN RESO URCES & CO RPO RATE CO M M UNICATIO NS

Deadline’s editorial director Anthony D’Alessandro focuses on below-the-line nominees. deadline.com/tag/crewcall-podcast/

New Hollywood

A platform for people of color, LGBTQ members, women, and other underrepresented voices in entertainment. deadline.com/tag/newhollywood-podcast/

Lauren Utecht

VICE PRESID E NT, TECHNICAL O PE RATIO NS

Christina Yeoh

VICE PRESID E NT, AUD IE NCE M ARKE TING & SUBSCRIPTIO NS

Julie Zhu

ASSO CIATE VICE PRESID E NT, PRO D UCT D E LIVE RY

Nici Catton

SE NIO R D IRECTO R, INTE RNATIO NAL M ARKE TS

Gurjeet Chima

SE NIO R D IRECTO R, ADVE RTISING O PE RATIO NS

Eddie Ko

SE NIO R D IRECTO R, TALE NT ACQ UISTIO N

Andy Limpus

SE NIO R D IRECTO R, D EVE LO PM E NT

Amit Sannad

SE NIO R D IRECTO R, PM C CO NTE NT

Karl Walter

SE NIO R D IRECTO R, STRATEGIC PLANNING & ACQ UISITIO NS

Mike Ye

D IRECTO R, SEO

Constance Ejuma E D ITO RIAL & BRAND D IRECTO R, INTE RNATIO NAL

Laura Ongaro

D IRECTO R, BUSINESS D EVE LO PM E NT

Deadline presents AwardsLine is published nine times a year: five issues during Emmy Season (May-August), four issues during Oscar Season (November-February).

1218 - Masthead.indd 10

Katie Passantino

SE NIO R PRO D UCT M ANAGE R

Derek Ramsay

12/13/19 9:58 AM


FO R YO U R

C O N S I D E R AT I O N

I N

ALL

C AT EG O R I ES

IN CLUDIN G

BEST PICTURE BEST DIRECTOR - NOAH BAUMBACH

6B E S T P I C T U R E

GOLDEN GLOBE® NOMINATIONS

8

CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARD NOMINATIONS INCLUDING

BEST PIC TURE B E S T D I R EC TO R - N OA H B AU M B AC H

3

(Drama)

INCLUDING

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARD® NOMINATIONS BEST ACTOR

BEST ACTRESS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

ADAM DRIVER

SCARLETT JOHANSSON

LAURA DERN

“A LIFE-AFFIRMING, PROFOUNDLY AFFECTING CLASSIC. This film feels equally personal and universal in its searing intensity and its brilliant willingness to entertain.

NOAH BAUMBACH’S DIRECTION IS FLAWLESS. The deeper his story goes, the bigger it gets.”

NETFLIXGUILDS.COM

Untitled-9 1

12/12/19 3:32 PM


Da’Vine Joy Randolph Rising p.20 | The Animation Race p.22 | Dexter Fletcher’s Onscreen Stories p.26

Jewell in the Crown It has taken Paul Walter Hauser a decade to become an overnight success with a prime lead role in Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell BY JO E U T IC H I

12

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 First Take - Opener.indd 12

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Josh Telles

12/13/19 12:05 PM


“FERNANDO MEIRELLES DELIVERS A JAW-DROPPING MASTERPIECE OF A FILM. Genius filmmaking takes what could have been an ordinary story and turns it into something illuminating,

TOUCHING, FUNNY AND COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED,

ushering audiences into far more depths than they could have thought even existed. Fernando Meirelles does exactly that in a film that is stunning on every level.”

F O R

Y O U R

C O N S I D E R A T I O N

BEST PICTURE

BEST DIRECTOR - FERNANDO MEIRELLES

NETFLIXGUILDS.COM

Untitled-9 1

12/12/19 3:33 PM


it the money. As quickly as he had arrived in Hollywood, he found himself back in Michigan. He worked at a bowling alley and a butcher shop to make ends meet. People would approach him and say, “Hey, I just saw you on TV. Why are you giving me my bowling shoes?” It was a deflating experience. “But in reality, thank God it happened this way, because I think I learned a lot. I was humbled a number of times. It made me grow up and mature, and I came to appreciate how difficult it actually is.” The story goes that the casting director on Richard Jewell pinned Hauser’s photo to the noticeboard in the production office, as a model for the type of actor they needed to play Jewell, the Virginian security officer who first spotted a suspect package that led to the bombing of the 1996 NOT GUILTY Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates and Hauser in Richard Jewell.

Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA. He had been hailed a hero, before a source at the FBI leaked to the press that they were investigating his possible complicity in the bombing. And while he would eventually be exoner-

MOST OVERNIGHT SUCCESSES TAKE ABOUT 10 YEARS,” says Paul Walter Hauser as he sits down for one of his first major interviews after the film that has put his name on lips all over Hollywood, Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell, has screened for the first time. “That’s what they say. You have to get that kind of mileage before you’re truly ready to take on a Spike Lee or a Clint Eastwood.”

ated, he endured months of scrutiny and invasions of privacy at the hands of law enforcement and the press. When Eastwood saw Hauser’s photo, the younger actor says now, he was sure he’d found his man. “I looked like I could have been his brother or his cousin,” Hauser says.

Indeed, the road that would lead

tian, so when you said God doesn’t

movie mecca for a film geek from

When he got the call from East-

him here—and to his standout sup-

hate gay people in your speech to the

Saginaw. His luck kept coming. He

wood’s team it was an offer; he

porting turns in Lee’s BlacKkKlans-

LGBTQ+ youth, that meant the world

booked roles in Community and It’s

didn’t have to audition. “I was freak-

man last year, and I, Tonya before

to me. Thank you for saying what you

Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and he

ing out. But the people he works

that—took almost exactly that long.

said and congrats on the film.’”

booked a pilot with Larry Charles.

with, like his producers Jessica Meier

In 2009, he was taking his first steps

His career was going exactly as he

and Tim Moore, they kept pulling me

in cinema on the set of Dustin Lance

ambitious move; Hauser genuinely

had dreamed on many movie nights

aside and saying, ‘He works off in-

Black’s Virginia, which starred Jennifer

wanted to express his appreciation

back home watching teen comedies

stinct. He believes in his instinct and

Connelly and Ed Harris. He had signed

and expected it would end there. But

with his buddies. He had been writ-

he’s right nine times out of 10.’”

up to be an extra on the movie, which

Black took his name down and told

ing screenplays from the age of 16

shot in his home state of Michigan.

him that there might be a meatier

and cutting his teeth with theater

A detail that was missed until the

“I just wanted to be on a movie set. I

part in the movie for him. “I ended

and stand-up comedy. “I always

movie was shown for the first time.

just wanted to experience it.”

up booking number six on the call

wanted to be that funny young guy

It is based on the Vanity Fair article

Perhaps it was his naivety to the

It hadn’t been an intentionally

There was something else, too.

sheet, behind Amy Madigan, Toby

who people were like, ‘This is the

about Jewell’s case by Marie Brennan,

protocol of a set, where extras are

Jones, Emma Roberts, all these

next Belushi or Farley.’ I watched

which contains a small note about a

generally considered better seen

people. I went from a background

John Goodman in Barton Fink, or Paul

joke Jay Leno had made during the

than heard, but while he worked on

extra to making 10 grand and hang-

Giamatti stealing a scene in My Best

initial flurry of press accusing Jewell.

that job, he saw an opportunity to

ing out with Jennifer Connelly. It was

Friend’s Wedding, and I would think,

Leno has said that Jewell “had a

approach Black, and he took it. “I

an overly idealistic, charmed first

That’s me in 10 or 12 years.”

scary resemblance to the guy who

was like, ‘I’m just going to say hi.’ He

outing in the film business.”

had just won the Oscar for Milk, and

He moved to LA shortly after

After 14 months in Hollywood,

whacked Nancy Kerrigan”. He is refer-

he was sure he was on track. And

ring to Shawn Eckhardt, the character

I loved Milk. I said, ‘Congrats on your

that, taking an apartment not far

then… “Insert poop emoji,” Hauser

Hauser would go on to play in I, Tonya,

win; I loved your speech. I’m a Chris-

from Hollywood & Highland; a

laughs. The work dried up, and with

which dramatizes the “whacking”

14

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 First Take - Opener.indd 14

12/13/19 11:18 AM


Untitled-7 1

12/12/19 3:30 PM


CLINT IS STILL STEPPING ON CRACKS IN THE SIDEWALK, READING THE PAPER WHILE DRINKING A COFFEE.” get $5 million; you can make your Garden State.’ But I kind of don’t want to. I want to prove I can crawl before I walk.” What’s on the agenda? “Probably a dark comedy set at Christmas,” Hauser hints. “Because I’m this jolly person who has a big heart, SAGE ADVICE Hauser and Rockwell receive direction from Eastwood on set.

but I’m also sort of a curmudgeon and a psychopath. I would love to tell some story that somehow represents all corners of me.” For now, though, the calls from Hollywood’s elite keep coming. He must be getting used

of Kerrigan. “That was the weirdest

looking at photographs of the guy

grandstanding as it needed to be,

to them, but it’s with an earned

thing,” says Hauser now. “It doesn’t

and reading the script, that I was this

because, by that point in the film,

sense of pride that Hauser re-

matter what you believe—and every-

dude. It doesn’t make me special.

we are desperate for Jewell to

lates a phone call he received on

one believes something different—

Everyone is the dude or woman for

be afforded a chance to raise his

Christmas Eve last year, after he

but I think there’s something to be

the moment they’re in sometimes.

voice. “There are filmmakers who

had gone home to Saginaw for

said for fate. You look at a moment

And that’s why I believe in fate and

are so absorbed by public opinion

the holiday. It was noon, and he

like that and it almost feels like God is

believe in God. I think there are

that it feels like they’re walking

was still asleep when his phone

winking at you. Nudging you.”

things that are out of your circum-

a tightrope,” Hauser says. “Now,

rang after a late night out with

stances. There are other forces, and

there’s a whole generation of

the high school buddies he’d

didn’t have much of an opportunity

The pace was breakneck. Hauser

you have to either relent and accept,

tightrope walkers. But Clint is still

grown up watching movies with.

to doubt Eastwood’s instinct. He

dive in and immerse, or you can fight

stepping on cracks in the sidewalk,

The caller ID said, “Spike Lee.”

had seen Eastwood’s last movie, The

against it and probably be more ag-

reading the paper while drinking

Mule, and wondered what it must

gravated than is necessary.”

a coffee. We need filmmakers like

calling me on Christmas Eve?”

that. Not to say you don’t have

Hauser laughs. “I told him I was in

be like to work with him, only a few

It is no spoiler, given the relentless

“I’m like, Why is Spike Lee

months before he got the call about

pressure we feel on Jewell as his life

to be self-aware. You have to be

Saginaw and he goes, ‘You know

Richard Jewell. That was last Christ-

is pulled apart by his public accusa-

empathetic. But I think there’s

why I know Saginaw, right?’ And

mas. He had six weeks between his

tion, that there is a moment in the

something to be said for making a

he starts singing the Simon &

first meeting with Eastwood and his

film at which his kettle overboils, and

classic film moment like that.”

Garfunkel song, ‘America’ at me.

first scene on set. “I’m good buddies

Hauser delivers a charged speech

with [Sam] Rockwell now that we

that encapsulates the injustice he

to step behind the camera himself.

from Saginaw.’ I’m like… What is

shot this, and he was telling me he

is facing. It is as redolent of classic

Working with one of cinema’s

happening right now? Spike Lee is

had four months to prepare for Three

Hollywood as anything in Eastwood’s

iconic movie stars on their 40th

singing Simon & Garfunkel in my

Billboards,” Hauser marvels. And then

recent oeuvre; a true, “you can’t han-

movie behind the camera has only

ear. It felt like I was still in a dream

he shrugs. “I can clap myself on the

dle the truth” beat. It was scheduled

strengthened that resolve. He has,

or something.”

back, like, ‘Look at what I did in six

late into the shoot because, says

he says, 20 feature screenplays in

In fact, he was offered a role

weeks,’ but the reality is either you

Hauser, “You can’t phone that in. It’s

the bag, ready to go. “But I kind of

in another movie; Lee’s upcoming

get it, or you don’t at some point.”

too big of a moment for that.”

want to crawl,” he says. “I would

Netflix picture Da 5 Bloods. A de-

love to make a low-budget, sub-$1

cade after Hauser began the long

Instead he trusted in the very

He appreciated that Eastwood,

Hauser still harbors ambitions

‘It took me four days to hitchhike

same instinct that led Eastwood.

and Billy Ray’s script, didn’t hold

million movie. People are like, ‘Now

journey to his overnight success,

“I knew from jump street, just from

back; that it was as unashamedly

that you’re in big movies, you can

his moment is in front of him. ★

16

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 First Take - Opener.indd 16

12/13/19 11:18 AM


VIDEO SERIES

THE ACTOR’S SIDE Intriguing one-on-one conversations between Deadline’s awards editor and leading actors of film & television

WATC H N OW AT

DEADLINE.COM/VIDEO

1127 - HOUSE ADs.indd 25

11/22/19 12:44 PM


CHARTED TERRITORY

Gold Derby’s Oscar Odds At press time, here is how Gold Derby’s experts ranked the Oscar chances in the Director and Animated Feature races. Get up-to-date rankings and make your own predictions at GoldDerby.com BEST DIRECTOR

Springtime For Hitler Jojo Rabbit’s production designer Ra Vincent reveals a different side to 1930s Germany

ON TAIKA WAITITI’S JOJO RABBIT, production designer Ra Vincent was challenged to craft a World War II film unlike any seen before. Instead of the grim and depressing interiors so often portrayed in wartime films, Vincent’s design for the home of Rosie Betzler and her son Jojo was instead influenced by the striking designs and bold colors of Art Deco he’d experienced while scouting locations in the Czech Republic. Vincent really wanted the Betzler home to “reinforce the idea that this world wasn’t just a black-and-white, dusty old place,” he says. “It was actually a strong time to be involved in the arts and culture in Germany. The German aesthetic, with the Bauhaus movement, was at its zenith, so we really wanted to look after that.” After building the Betzlers’ very stylish townhouse in a soundstage in Prague, and filling it with genuine antiquities, the designer says he then fortunately found the ideal exterior for Jojo’s street, “almost perfectly camera ready” in the town of Úštěk. “The worst house on the street [became] Jojo’s exterior,” he says, “because if we were going to fix anything about that little town, it was this one dodgy house.” And the renovations proved popular. “I think the locals were quite sad when we took the set piece away,” he says. “We had transformed the village back into its former glory days.” —Matt Grobar

Martin Scorsese The Irishman

7/2

2

Quentin Tarantino Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood

4/1

3

Sam Mendes 1917

5/1

4

Bong Joon Ho Parasite

5/1

5

Noah Baumbach Marriage Story

13/1

6

Greta Gerwig Little Women

13/1

7

Pedro Almodóvar Pain and Glory

33/1

8

Todd Phillips Joker

40/1

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

ODDS

1

Toy Story 4

10/3

2

Frozen II

4/1

3

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

9/2

4

Missing Link

7/1

5

Abominable

17/2

6

I Lost My Body

21/2

7

Klaus

22/1

8

Weathering with You

54/1

spades—and there was actually an endless number of details evident in

How costume designer Jacqueline Durran created realistic World War I clothing for 1917

these photographs.” Continuity was

FOR SAM MENDES’ 1917, costume

from Peter Jackson’s documentary

were doing mud for the whole shoot.

designer Jacqueline Durran aimed to

[They Shall Not Grow Old], and archived

They’d come to set and redo the mud,

reproduce World War I military attire

photographs from different books,” she

knowing which take they were matching

with extreme precision, immersing

says. “Through prep, we looked at jobs

to, to just get it absolutely pin-accurate,”

herself in a wealth of archival materials

in the trenches that meant that people

she explains. “Those things were critical,

to get the job done. “We took stills

wore different things, like waders,

really.” —Matt Grobar

18

1

another challenge, given that this was a one-shot film. “We had people that

IN THE TRENCHES George MacKay as Lance Corporal Schofield in 1917.

RE X /S H U T T ERSTO CK

DRESSED TO KILL

ODDS

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - First Take - Short Items.indd 18

12/13/19 9:59 AM


VIDEO SERIES

Go behind the scenes with the talented people who work on the most critically acclaimed television shows and films

WATC H N OW AT

DEADLINE.COM/VIDEO

1127 - HOUSE ADs.indd 53

11/22/19 12:45 PM


RISING STAR Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed In Dolemite Is My Name.

Fresh Face BY DAMO N WI SE

WHO

WHY

WHEN & WHERE

Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Within a year of leaving Yale, where

It’s looking like 2020 will be

Age: 33

she studied drama, Randolph

Randolph’s year, starting with two

Hometown: Los Angeles

was Tony-nominated for her

Sundance entries in January—

performance as crooked psychic

Miranda July’s Kajillionaire and

Oda Mae Brown in Ghost the

Andrew Cohn’s The Last Shift. After

With just a handful of movie credits to her name, Da’Vine Joy

Musical. Surprisingly, she had no

that, there’s new Hulu series High

Randolph was thrilled to be chosen to co-star with Eddie Murphy

clue that she’d even auditioned for

Fidelity, based on Nick Hornby’s

and Wesley Snipes in the Craig Brewer-directed Rudy Ray Moore

one of the show’s three leads. “I

novel about the staff of an indie

biopic Dolemite Is My Name. There was one small problem: next

thought it was for the understudy,”

record store. “It’s great to just play

to no information exists about the character she plays, comedian

she laughs, “and to this day it’s

something completely different

Lady Reed, AKA Queen Bee. Not even a Wikipedia page. “I was

a mystery to me.” Randolph

where I can be wild and uncensored,”

nervous that Eddie, or the powers that be, would be like, ‘You

suddenly found herself on the

she says, “just being this total music

didn’t do your research!’” she recalls. All she had to go on were

West End stage in London, and

head.” Then there’s Lee Daniels’ new

the four films Reed made with Moore in the ’70s, and Reed’s

after that, Broadway beckoned.

project, which she’s just finished

comically wooden performances gave her exactly what she

That break led to television work

shooting. “It’s called The United

needed: “She was stiff, but you could tell she really wanted to get

on The Good Wife, Veep and

States vs. Billie Holiday,” she explains,

this thing right and she wanted to take it seriously.” Then there

Empire. Strangely, Randolph never

“because there was a certain point

were the infamous ‘party records’ in which the foul-mouthed

intended to be an actor. “I’m by

in the latter 10 to 15 years of her life

Reed really let rip. “At first pass, when you hear it, you’re like,

nature a singer,” she says. “It’s

when the FBI were trying to take

‘This is wild,’” says Randolph. “For me, I saw something different.

been a really, really great journey.

down artists of color through drug

I saw that this was a woman in the early ’70s who was actually

But it has come out of rejection,

abuse. She’d become an activist

empowering and instructing women, especially women of color,

quite honestly. It’s all because I got

through her music, so they saw her

how to be independent.”

kicked out of opera school!”

as a threat.” ★

WHAT

20

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - First Take - Fresh Face.indd 20

12/13/19 10:00 AM


PHOTOGRAPH BY

1218 - First Take - Fresh Face.indd 21

Josh Telles

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

21

12/13/19 10:00 AM


KLAUS

I LOST MY BODY

Life In Pictures Will an indie animation film wrest the Oscar from those big-budget behemoth sequels? BY MATTHEW CAREY

FROZEN 2

I N T H E I N NOVAT I V E N E T F L I X

animated film I Lost My Body, a severed hand skitters across the streets of Paris trying to reunite with its missing anatomical companion. Whether that hand winds up grasping an Oscar is up to Academy voters, in a year when a record 32 contenders qualified for the Best Animated Feature race. I Lost My Body is an original film, but more than likely a sequel will come away with the Oscar: either Toy Story 4, Frozen II or How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third and final film in the Dragon series.

Walt Disney Studios once again

not to submit its photorealistic remake of The

with the fourth installment in the

Lion King in that category.

Pixar Toy Story franchise, which saw

DreamWorks’ hopes are pinned on two films,

the addition of a new character, the

including the third How to Train Your Dragon movie,

spork Forky, voiced by Tony Hale, and

another Globe nomination recipient, and named

an expanded role for Bo Peep (Annie

Best Animated Feature by the National Board of

Potts). Toy Story 3 (2010) remains

Review. Director Dean DeBlois says it was always

the only sequel to win the Academy

conceived as a trilogy.

Award for Best Animated Feature

“Toothless [the dragon] growing up was part

(Toy Story 2 hit theaters before

of the bigger picture of all three films,” DeBlois

the Animated Feature category

said at Deadline’s Contenders event in November.

was created in 2002). Toy Story 4,

“Each film, the main idea was to write each one

directed by Josh Cooley, has made

better than the last.”

more than $1 billion worldwide. Toy Story 4 faces stiff

DreamWorks’ other contender is Abominable, a coproduction with China’s Pearl Studio and one of two

competition from Disney’s Frozen II,

animated films this year that feature Yetis. Directed by

with both of them Golden Globe-

Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman, Abominable revolves

nominated for best animated film. Frozen II picks

around Yi, a girl in Shanghai who discovers a Yeti on

up the story of Nordic sisters Elsa and Anna three

her roof and endeavors to get him back to his home

years after the events of the original film, earned

high in the Himalayas.

a record-breaking $130 million in its opening

Chloe Bennet supplies the voice of Yi, while

weekend just before Thanksgiving and has quickly

vocalizations for the Yeti named Everest come

amassed more than $922 million worldwide.

from actor Joseph Izzo.

Disney could have entered a third contender

22

for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but chose

finds itself in prime contention,

“Everest didn’t speak so he really is represented

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - First Take - Column Animation.indd 22

12/13/19 10:01 AM


TOY STORY 4

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

2 makes a bid for Oscar attention, boasting a worldwide gross of more than $429 million. Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford and Tiffany Haddish lead the vocal cast, directed by Chris Renaud and Jonathan del Val. Under the United Artists Releasing banner, MGM enters the Oscar picture with The Addams Family, starring Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac. Spies in Disguise was developed by

MISSING LINK

20th Century Fox, but thanks to the Disney-Fox merger, that film has sprouted mouse ears. It will by the noises he makes, but also this beautiful humming that he does,” producer Suzanne Buirgy

Awards, including Best Animated Feature. Almost a third of the 32 animated films to

be released through Disney on Christmas Day, with Will Smith, Tom Holland and Karen Gillan in

notes. “Yi plays her violin for him and that brings

qualify for the Oscars this year were released

out this humming and so they have this incredible

by GKIDS, the New York-based distributor

relationship built on that music.”

of sophisticated indie titles. Among their top

Movie 2: The Second Part, which features the

Golden Globe-nominee Missing Link, from

the voice cast. The hopeful from Warner Bros. is The Lego

contenders is Weathering with You, helmed by

return of stars Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks.

Laika Entertainment and United Artists

renowned Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai.

The original Lego Movie became a mega-hit

Releasing, tells the story of a quest to get

The film centers on a teenage runaway who

in 2014, but surprisingly didn’t earn an Oscar

another Sasquatch back to the Himalayas. Zach

encounters an unusual girl with the power to stop

nomination for Best Animated Feature (although

Galifianakis provides the voice of Mr. Link, while

the rain and clear the sky.

its signature tune “Everything is Awesome” did

Hugh Jackson voices the English explorer who

GKIDS, known for distributing a range of

score a Best Song nod). Sony Pictures Entertainment is the

discovers the Yeti. Chris Butler directed the film,

animated films that appeal to adult sensibilities

created through stop-motion animation.

as well as children, is also behind Funan, Denis

defending champion in this category, having won

Netflix has become a significant player in

Do’s feature set amid the horrors of Cambodia’s

in 2019 with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Its

animation this year, with the aforementioned

Khmer Rouge regime. Funan won Best Feature

hopes for a repeat rest with The Angry Birds Movie

contender I Lost My Body. The French production

Film at the prestigious Annecy International

2, with voice stars Jason Sudeikis and Josh Gad.

directed by Jérémy Clapin won the Nespresso

Animated Film Festival in 2018.

Grand Prize in the International Critics’ Week

But it’s Josh Gad’s other animated contender

GKIDS’ Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles is

that could be the frontrunner. He returns as

section of the Cannes Film Festival this year, the

a rare biographical animated film about Spanish

the lovable and daffy-talking snowman Olaf

first animated film to claim that honor.

filmmaker Luis Buñuel’s effort to make the third

in Frozen II, a fixture not only in movie theaters

movie of his career, Land Without Bread. Among

this holiday season, but on store shelves from

story directed by Despicable Me co-creator Sergio

GKIDS’ other films up for Oscar consideration

Target to Walmart. The only question is whether

Pablos and Carlos Martínez López, a film set on

are Another Day of Life, Promare, Marona’s

bucktoothed Olaf will freeze out Toothless

a frozen island above the Arctic Circle. Klaus has

Fantastic Tale, and Children of the Sea.

from How to Train Your Dragon, and the multi-

Netflix also released Klaus, a Santa Claus origin

racked up seven nominations for the 2020 Annie

Universal sequel The Secret Life of Pets

pronged spork from Toy Story 4. ★

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - First Take - Column Animation.indd 23

23

12/13/19 10:01 AM


Ford v Ferrari Racetrack Stats

1

Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael’s full-time camera package for Ford v Ferrari consisted of 2 Alexa LFs and 2 Alexa Minis

The Art of Craft

The sweet spot for takes of an average shot was

Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael discusses his visual approach to riveting racetrack drama Ford v Ferrari

FvF - Storyboard page - final.pdf

1

12/12/19

2:33 PM

FvF - Storyboard page - final.pdf

1

12/12/19

2:33 PM

4 to 6

BY M AT T G ROBAR | STO RY BOARDS BY GABR IEL HAR DMAN

WE’RE ALL USED TO STUNT MOVIES. But to really keep your main character and his emotions as the center of the story, that’s what keeps the audience connected. If it’s just action, you tune out. It’s all spectacular and great, but if you’re not in the guy’s head… then it just becomes boring, no matter how good the action is.” — Phedon Papamichael

2

of an animatic.

To keep audiences engaged with

Traditional sto-

Ford v Ferrari’s action, Papamichael

ryboards were

stayed in Miles’ perspective through-

only created for

out each race, getting his cameras in

one sequence:

extremely close physical proximity to

the race at Wil-

the vehicle, with others on the track.

Around 30 picture cars were created for the film

low Springs. Rather than “popping on a long The DP ex-

lens and panning a car”, the DP

Over the course of six films, director

plains that for him, reproducing one

shot close-ups of Bale on a wide

James Mangold and cinematographer

storyboard after another can result

lens, to capture the depth of the

Phedon Papamichael have refined a

in a film that feels “sterile”. In con-

actor’s performance, while keep-

“classic, old school” approach to film-

trast, what Mangold and Papami-

ing him visually connected to the

making, focusing most of all on perfor-

chael prefer to chase with each shot

stunts happening all around him

mance, while also crafting extremely

is something “more emotional” and

as other drivers crashed or tried to

precise, cinematic compositions.

sometimes “less controlled”.

catch up. ★

With Ford v Ferrari, the pair sought to immerse viewers in the experience

25

stunt drivers were hired to bring realism to its race sequences

3

of racecar driver Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, as he traveled in a “little bucket of bolts” at breakneck speeds. Though the film’s racing sequences are lengthy and complex, the majority

The highest speed recorded by

of the shoot’s logistics were figured out

a vehicle during production was

in pre-production, through the creation

24

185mph

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - First Take - Art of Craft.indd 24

12/13/19 10:05 AM


THE

PODCAST

WWW.DEADLINE.COM

1113 - First Take - Art of Craft.indd 17

11/22/19 1:00 PM


On My Screen: Dexter Fletcher The Rocketman rocketeer on his fondness for Star Wars and the Stones, and the toughest challenge he has faced BY J OE U TI CHI

A GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATION FOR ROCKETMAN for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy caps off a banner year for actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher, whose fourth feature at the helm—or “four and a half”, quips Fletcher, after he stepped in uncredited to salvage Bohemian Rhapsody last year—was also his highest grosser to date. Fletcher, who has worked as an actor since he was a young boy in films like Bugsy Malone, had long harbored dreams to direct when he made his indie debut with Wild Bill in 2011. A few years later, he landed high on Hollywood’s watchlist after his Elton John biopic, starring Taron Egerton as the musical legend, premiered at Cannes in May. But what makes him tick? 26

MY FIRST FILM LESSON You’re going back so far; I started acting when I was a kid. It seems trite to say, “you’ve got to know your lines,” but you do. I worked with some great actors. Patrick Stewart, Jon Pertwee, Alan Rickman. All those guys were very sharing, and they were great teachers. They believe in passing on their experience, and there’s always a sliding scale of experience on a set. I remember being at the Royal Shakespeare Company with Patrick Stewart when I was 11. He was Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, clad in a loincloth. Watching him was like a masterclass.

RE X /S H U T T ERSTO CK

PHOTOG RA P H BY V I O LE TA SO F I A

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - First Take - On My Screen.indd 26

12/13/19 10:05 AM


THE BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED It came from Eric Stoltz when I told him I was going to direct a film. He passed on some advice he’d gotten from John Hughes, I think, and it was: wear comfortable shoes. You’re on your feet all day long, and I don’t know why, but as a director your feet do really hurt. I noticed it most on Rocketman. You wake up in the morning and your feet are still aching from the day before. Maybe I have the wrong pair of shoes?

DESERT ISLAND MOVIES Hard Eight; The Color of Money; Singin’ in the Rain; Aguirre, the Wrath of God… or Fitzcarraldo. Should I only take one? No, I’d take both. How many do I get? I don’t want to get bored. Can I have The Incredibles, too, for a bit of light entertainment? I love the music in that. Oh, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. And Predator. And Escape from New York. Alright, I’ll stop.

THE MOVIES THAT MAKE ME CRY I enjoy a good cry the older I get. In the theater, War Horse really broke the floodgates for me, but I don’t know if the film did. I think I was more connected to the theatrical experience. Funnily enough, Darkest Hour moved me. I don’t know why, but it was that speech at the end. I thought it was beautifully shot. And, of course, let’s not forget Porky’s. There’s something so moving about that one. OK, maybe that was a joke!

MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE As a director, you’ve got to learn to confront more and more, particularly as the films get bigger. I think maybe going head-to-head with Jim Gianopulos on certain aspects of Rocketman, like the “Benny and the Jets” sequence, would qualify. I wanted it to be especially dark, and he said, “You are ostracizing the audience; you’re actively pushing them away.” It was difficult because Jim is not just an incredibly powerful man, but incredibly likeable. It is a relationship I value highly and respect greatly. I can go to battle with producers, but when Jim’s like, “It’s long and it’s too much, I want you to re-cut it,” it’s the dictatorial nature of that note which is the thing you have to navigate around. But at the same time, it’s his money, it’s his studio, it’s his thing. And this one was hard, because Jim was right. It wasn’t hard that he was right, but sometimes you can get lost in the tunnel vision of what you think the film should be, and you’re fighting other battles. That sequence now is just the right amount; it works.

RE X /S H U T T ERSTO CK

THE THEMES I RETURN TO I think I’m most interested in parental relationships. Wild Bill was certainly about that, and Eddie the Eagle, too. That’s definitely present in Rocketman as well, so it’s starting to become a recurring theme. What is interesting for me about that is we’ve all got a mum and dad. That’s the minimum requirement for being alive. Whether they’re absent, or dead, or overbearing, or whatever their role is, they’re there.

MY KARAOKE PLAYLIST My go-to is “I Feel Good” by James Brown. I also do “Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones. Anything by Michael Bublé if I’m going for a crooner. “One Nation Under A Groove” by George Clinton. I normally go for the Stones, because they’re so good.

THE MOST FUN I’VE HAD ON SET The Bounty was a lot of fun, because the whole experience was the set. We were in Tahiti for three months with incredible people like Tony Hopkins and Mel Gibson. But Wild Bill was also fun, because it was my first time directing. I was learning as I was going along, and I had so much experience on set by then that I felt I knew what I was doing. All my actor friends would come in and do a day here and there, and it was lovely.

MY DREAM PROJECT It would be something like a Star Wars for me. I would love to do something like that. I’m not sure my trajectory is taking me in the direction where Kathleen Kennedy is going to be, like, “Let’s call Dexter Fletcher.” But if she’s reading… Kathleen, watch this space [laughs]. ★

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - First Take - On My Screen.indd 27

27

12/13/19 10:05 AM


Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s epic love letter to the golden age of motion pictures, and his more hopeful twist on the events of August 1969, when the Manson family murdered Sharon Tate and her friends, became the summer’s most discussed movie, after a splashy launch at the Cannes Film Festival. Not bad in 2019 for an R-rated picture in which the closest thing to superheroes are a fading movie star and his struggling stunt double buddy. Six months on from its launch, Quentin Tarantino talks to Joe Utichi about the Hollywood of Once Upon a Time, how he sees the town today, and where he finds himself as he looks ahead to his 30th anniversary as a filmmaker.

28

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Cover Story.indd 28

12/13/19 10:07 AM


D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Cover Story.indd 29

29

12/13/19 10:07 AM


I

n a Parisian hotel suite in late November, Quentin Tarantino is hard at work. He is in town to launch the theatrical re-release of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, with a new cut that adds additional grace notes to the version released over the summer, and he’s on a mini European tour in support of the movie’s home entertainment release. But his next task is already at hand: a novel he is writing, for which the research is laid out on the desk in front of him. A handful of books alongside a writing pad crammed with notes in his familiar block handwriting. There are other future plans afoot too, of course. Not least among them, the subject of his next—and possibly final—picture (he recently hinted there’s an idea for Kill Bill Vol. 3), and his recent personal news; he will soon become a father for the first time. For now, though, Tarantino is content to reflect on this year. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood has been an outsized success for a nonfranchise, R-rated release, grossing more than $370 million at the global box office and sparking endless debate. It has been the kind of hit that might only have been possible for a movie trailed as “the 9th from Quentin Tarantino”. Now it is a major Oscar player, with five Golden Globe nominations among a string of other plaudits. Still, Tarantino understands that the landscape the movie released in is very different from the one that greeted Reservoir Dogs, his directorial debut, when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992. He is still able to make movies on his own terms, but over the course of a 90-minute discussion, he acknowledges that others aren’t so fortunate, and wonders whether he would be able to repeat the success of Dogs if it had been released in the current landscape of cinema. First, though, with enough distance from the film’s release, spoilers abound as we talk about that ending.

Now, that other house worked out just fine; it happened to be for sale, so there wasn’t anybody living in it, and that wasn’t a problem. So, it was Bob and Bill, just knowing exactly what I wanted in my mind. And by the way, the location manager, he found one magnificent location after another. But that shot wasn’t in his head in the way it was in Bob Richardson’s head. He knew exactly what it needed to be. The weirdest thing about it, though, since it’s the end of the movie and I’d carried that shot around so long, we actually ended up doing that shot—I don’t know—maybe around week five or six. Something fairly early on in the process. How long were you up entirely? I don’t even remember now. I think it was something like three and a half months. So it was week five or six when we did that shot, and it was a little deflating to do it that soon. It was like, shit, that’s the end. How could there be any movie left to do after that [laughs]? It’s arresting, and bittersweet, because we’ve been introduced to Sharon Tate with a light touch—the idea of this bright spirit and all the promise she had ahead. And we’re left with the reality: she was stolen from her own life, and from all of us. Look, I think part of the way it works—and again, this was always in my head—is that, with the exception of Jay [Sebring], when the victims of that night come out and we see them all, it was always that we saw them from behind. They were like figurines. It’s like a cut-out of Sharon. What I didn’t expect to happen to me, and the strange thing that gets me about it, is it’s not just

Let’s begin with the end. At the climax of Once

Was it hard to get that shot exactly right?

Sharon. It’s Abigail [Folger] in that little robe. Her

Upon a Time… in Hollywood, after Cliff and Rick

It wasn’t hard to execute it. The hard part was

little blue robe became iconic to me, and so there’s

have saved the day, and Rick has been invited

finding the house that would work for it. The gate

something about Abi puttering out of the house in

into Sharon Tate’s house for a drink, the cam-

had to be exactly where the gate was. You had to

that little blue housecoat she was wearing that re-

era rises up above the house, and Cielo Drive,

be able to go through the trees. I even wrote it in

ally gets me every time I see it.

and we are lifted out of the movie, away from

the script: “It goes through the trees.” You had to

this fantasy world in which these people sur-

be able to do that, and then see into the parking lot

My understanding of the genesis of this was

vived the events of that night. Was that shot

and the entrance of the house. I even wanted that

that there were two ideas. Rick and Cliff, and

always key for you?

little welcome mat right there in the shot. But it also

the relationship between a struggling actor

Oh, absolutely. I came up with that ending quite

had to work out for the rest of the movie that Rick’s

and his long-time stuntman, and Sharon Tate

a few years ago. I had been working on this piece,

house would be right next door. Nothing we looked

and the backdrop of the summer of 1969 and

little by little, in one way or another, for about

at was exactly that. There was this thing of, well, I

the Manson family. Was there a lightbulb mo-

seven years. I think sometime after Death Proof is

can’t do what I wanted to do, but I could do this or

ment when those ideas collided?

when I first came up with the basic concept. And

that, so I’m looking at that.

Once I had that character of Cliff, it was a very

I came up with the idea for that last shot about

Frankly, to tell you the truth, it was Bob Richard-

quick leap to think, Well, what happens if they live

five years ago. When I did, frankly, it blew me

son, my cinematographer, and my first AD Bill Clark,

on Cielo Drive? What if they lived next door to Ro-

away. It was the thing that cemented that I was

who found the house. They were like, “Look, they’re

man and Sharon? Once I actually started thinking

going to do this one of these days, because I had

not coming up with the damn thing.” They got on

of it as a fully-fledged story, that came bizarrely

to film that.

Google Maps, and literally started driving through

easily. It was the first thing I came up with, actually,

the Hollywood Hills on their own at the end of a

once I had that story. There were iterations of what

where I’m walking around with a shot in my head

It’s strange, I don’t have many examples of

day, and that’s how we found both of those houses.

could have happened but merging them together

for five years; one literal shot that starts here and

Without a location guy in the car, they just rang the

came very early on.

ends there. The shot that we did was exactly the

bells. “Can we come in and look at your house?”

way it had been in my head all that time.

They said yes, and we go, “This is it, this is the one.”

30

What started me thinking about this relationship between Rick and Cliff was witnessing an older

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Cover Story.indd 30

12/13/19 10:07 AM


set, just looking across at them on the day this guy worked, and there was the actor—this old guy dressed in his outfit—sitting in a director’s chair next to this stunt guy dressed identically in the same costume. They were just sitting there, like I’m sure they’ve done for years on sets, just shooting the shit. It struck me: that’s an interesting relationship. It’s a relationship I’ve never seen dramatized before. I thought, If I ever do a movie about Hollywood, that could be a really interesting way inside it; to explore that relationship. It must have been something you’d read about, or known about before. Well, frankly, I had never thought much about it before. Other than, alright, this cinematographer likes to work with this camera assistant. Or this director has this go-to AD, and they’ve worked together a long time. Of course, I know about stuff like that, and I think it happens less now than it did before. But yes, I was very much aware that there was Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham, and there was Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins. I was aware of all that. But I had never really thought about it before. In hindsight, it seems like such fertile ground. It’s funny, even telling you this story now, it seems so obvious. Why didn’t someone do this before? It’s so rich. Even the whole concept of the fact that, yeah, they’re buddies, but on the other hand, this guy is being paid to be there. And he’s being paid to do all the things the actor supposedly does, but he really risks his life doing this. And also, he’s being paid to be his friend. He’s paid to be on set, and talk to him, and help him out, and maybe run lines with him. And probably keep him out of trouble, too. Exactly. Especially if there’s a drinking problem, which a lot of these guys had. So even talking about this now, it seems so obvious, but it was a little bit of a eureka moment. actor on a movie. He came to me and said, “Look,

IT SEEMS SO OBVIOUS. WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE DO THIS BEFORE?” PHOTOGRAPH BY

1218 - Cover Story.indd 31

Josh Telles

I got a guy, a stunt guy. He’s been my stunt guy for

It’s a melancholic relationship here too: this

the last decade or so. I haven’t busted your balls

isn’t Rick on his uppers, and Cliff tagging along

about this, because there’s nothing really for him to

for the ride. The ride is over. The fairground is

do, but you know that gag you have coming up on

moving on. You’ve dealt with melancholy quite

Thursday? He could do that. It’d be nice if we could

a lot in your career; most especially in Jackie

throw that his way.” I’m like, “Sure, sure, sure.”

Brown. But you don’t seem like a very melancholic guy, so where does that come from?

How long ago did this happen?

Yeah, I’m not very melancholy, alright [laughs]. Life

This was about eight or nine years ago, some-

is pretty good. My life has been pretty charmed

thing like that.

since I’ve been working here in Hollywood, so I don’t

So, this guy came down, and you could tell that there was a time he was a perfect double for this

really have the right to be melancholy. The thing about it is, if I didn’t throw Sharon into

actor, but you could also tell: that time had passed.

this story, it probably wouldn’t have been as melan-

It was also interesting, because this guy wasn’t

choly. I don’t know what it would have been, but just

working for me, he was working for the actor. But

putting her into it, and knowing that you’re heading

he was an interesting guy. I remember sitting on

towards that day—even if I stopped in February,

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

31

12/13/19 10:07 AM


even if I never got to August, you know August is

Yes, and the morbid thing about that was, once

going to happen—that, in itself, adds a sobering

I realized it could be a day in the life, and started

aspect to the film, especially in a film like this that

to write that, the murder that we know is going to

doesn’t really have a story.

happen was now operating as a dramatic motor

So, it was like, as I said, about four years of

to some degree. I don’t know if you feel it much

figuring out who Rick and Cliff were—between

the first day, but once we’re onto the second day,

other projects. A little bit of it was doing research

it’s like every single scene is getting you closer to

on Sharon and the Manson family, but really it was

August 8th. It was morbid, the fact that this real-

just figuring out who Rick and Cliff were. Part of

life murder was pulling the characters along.

that involved writing almost an entire film book

I was not unaware of that. I became aware

about Rick. First, I had to know his career; his

through doing it, and I had to constantly ask

filmography, and every TV show he did. I needed to

myself, “Am I pulling this off? Because if I’m

know that all fairly well. And then I had to get over

not, this could be in really bad taste.” Normally, I

that, so I wasn’t just shoving all that into the movie.

wouldn’t mind veering into bad taste, but in this

Some people might say that’s exactly what I did,

case, it mattered to me. I didn’t want to exploit

but I did have to get over it.

these victims. I don’t think I did that, but it was a

The way I did that was by writing it all out. I

question I kept having to ask myself.

had enough of the Marvin scene—the scene with Al Pacino—to put on a one-act play. Any time I

The optimism of the movie—and it’s there in

needed to figure out where Rick was, I would just

that bittersweet final shot—is that, OK, we

write it through the Marvin scene. It was never

know what happened on the night of August

going to be in the movie, but the way to find out

8th/9th 1969. But the picture paints a hopeful

about Rick was to have Marvin ask him questions.

“what if”. What if we could have lived in this

It was as thick as a novel by the time I was finished

moment forever?

with it. Never to be in the movie, but just to under-

The weird thing about thinking about that

stand Rick.

ending, and then doing it in the context of the

Then after, OK, I know who these people are,

movie, was that I wasn’t quite prepared for how

the question became: what story do I want to

I’d feel when it came. When it was just an idea

There is material in there you never intend

tell? Now it was up to me. I had a couple of ideas

in my head for a story I was writing, it was like,

to actually shoot. In that movie I remember

early on that would have been more like an Elmore

“Great, she’s saved, done.” But in the movie,

an entire sequence with Broomhilda, and a

Leonard story. These guys were like Elmore Leon-

when I watched it put together, it was like, “OK,

slave auction.

ard guys any old way, and you could imagine them

she’s saved… Dot, dot, dot.”

Oh yeah, Broomhilda had a whole story and we

in one of his novels. But then I thought, I don’t think I need a story. I

Because no, she’s not. It’s that ellipsis where

didn’t even film it. It was just too much.

you have to realize, she’s not saved. Things did

think they’re strong enough on their own. I can do

not happen this way. To tell you the truth, I never

It was there for the reader?

just a day in the life of Rick, a day in the life of Cliff,

thought about that during these five years I had

Yeah. Well, it’s funny. I think there was probably a

and a little bit a day in the life of Sharon, and just

that shot in my head. But, in context, you can’t

time that we euphemistically thought we were go-

follow them during that February. I thought the

help but turn the page.

ing to shoot it. I can’t imagine how we ever thought

characters were strong enough, and I thought the

we were going to make a movie that was watchLet me go back to what you said about

able in a movie theater with this 20- to 25-minute

the Marvin scene, and how you wrote all

section in it, but I would have put it into the script

You mentioned earlier that we all know what’s

these conversations out. I was on the set

anyway just for the reader. We even tried to cast

going to happen come August no matter what.

of Django Unchained, and I was given a

that, and we briefly thought about shooting it, but

Maybe that’s where the melancholy comes in,

script that had a lot more material in it

I’m always putting stuff into the script that I know

because we know we’re about to witness the

than the movie that eventually came out.

probably will never see the light of day, but that

death of that classic version of Hollywood,

You talked then about how you treat your

makes the script better. It’s a reading experience,

too. Or, at least, we think we will.

scripts as novels, that you adapt as you go.

and as a reading experience, it makes it fuller.

milieu I was creating was strong enough.

But then there’s a whole lot of stuff where it’s like, OK, I hope this makes it, but I don’t know. If I’m lucky enough to shoot this, and get it out of my system, maybe this scene makes it, and this one doesn’t. I can pretty much guess what’ll make

THAT’S THE REWARD FOR ME, TO SIT IN A THEATER AND HEAR THEM CHUCKLE.” 32

it for 80% of the movie, but there’s 20% that I can’t guess. You’re always surprised. There’s a couple of scenes in Hollywood that I would have bet the farm would make it into the movie, but they didn’t. A whole little section that, to me, was at one time the soul of the movie—at least when we shot it—but now it’s gone.

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Cover Story.indd 32

12/13/19 10:07 AM


before we shot it, so they had it handwritten but not typed up. But they read it and were like, “OK,

were already in chapters to some degree. With The Hateful Eight, the timing was literally a

here we go, let’s do this.” We banged it out, and

situation where Netflix offered me that option, so

they probably thought the scene would never

it was like, if they’re offering me that option, and

make the movie, but it’s a terrific scene and it

they’re even going to pay extra for it, well, I have all

did end up being crucial.

this stuff, I can do it, let me see if I like it. And I did,

It’s a heartbreaking process. It’s a little masochistic and heartbreaking to write this stuff that

and I did like it. I thought it was an interesting way to watch the movie.

you’re really happy with, and then not put it in. But at the same time, it’s also really fortunate to

All the movies you’ve made lately have been

be in a situation where I do get to shoot some of

pretty big in terms of scale and scope. What

this stuff. We do get to get it out of our system.

keeps you engaged? What keeps your enthusi-

We get to play around, and have fun doing it, and

asm going as you’re on the road to making and

it exists. If I ever want to do anything with it, that

releasing a movie on this scale?

stuff still exists.

Well, to me, look, if I were doing really turgid dramas,

I also think there’s a quality to my movies where

or minimalistic pieces, it might not be that impor-

they’re bursting at the seams with material, and

tant to me. I think most of my stuff is really, really

part of the making of the movie is sifting through it

funny. There are laughs. And sometimes I’ll call them

all. So yeah, I’m not just writing a normal script and

comedies, sometimes I won’t, but even if they’re not

RETRO COOL From left: Tarantino, DiCaprio and Pitt at Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks; Pitt as stuntman Cliff Booth.

shooting that script,

officially comedies, I think they have as many laughs

and when we do all the

as any comedy released that year, if not more. I’m

pages, we’re done. Every

hearing laughs all through the writing of it, and I’m

movie is an erstwhile

hearing laughs when we do the scene, I’m hear-

novel adaptation. And by

ing laughs when we cut it together, and I definitely

the way, there’s a reason

hear laughs when I get a reaction from an audience.

why people write scripts

They’re not just sitting there, glazing over.

as a blueprint to be

That’s my way of testing it out. That’s the

executed. I always make

reward for me, more than anything else. To sit in a

fun of it, but there’s a

theater and hear them chuckle at this line or that

very good reason they

line. To laugh about this, and then to feel the ten-

do that, and it’s the way

sion when Cliff goes to Spahn Ranch. All of a sud-

most people do it. They

den, the theater goes really quiet, you know what I

don’t do it my cockama-

mean? That’s the payoff. That’s the reward.

mie way. It would be easy to have the kind of oversized Even out of Cannes,

success you’ve had in your career and then

it made me curious

exhale. Not try as hard.

what you would do

Well, I do feel I’ve gotten a lot more jaded over the

with that material.

not quite 30 years I’ve been doing this than I was

The timing for The

in the first six years of the ’90s, when I first came

Hateful Eight landing

out. Nevertheless, the joy and the fun of making

on Netflix in episodic

movies, and of seeing them up on the screen with

Can you say what it was?

form made me wonder if there were darlings

a bunch of people who could do anything they

Well, the little girl [Julia Butters] had more things

you’d killed on Hollywood that you might one

wanted to do that day, and what they decided to

to do. She showed up a couple more times. Then,

day also return to.

do was pay money to come and see my movie…

consequently, in the August section in the third act,

Well, to me, that version on Netflix wasn’t all that

That’s exciting.

I had this narrator come in, and he’s describing this

different. Hateful Eight was already a long movie

and that, and then he describes about how Rick

anyway, and the way I looked at it was, well, this

You started out in a fertile period for inde-

can’t afford Cliff anymore, and so he has to let him

is a play. I haven’t been to the theater in years

pendent cinema in the early ’90s. It was a

go. Tom Rothman had been reading the script, and

where the play wasn’t at least three hours long.

rich—and perhaps a more optimistic—world

he called me and goes, “Hey, Quentin, this whole part

That’s the standard for a real play. I figured that

to debut in.

with the narrator saying Rick has to let Cliff go… That

for this movie as a play—especially the way I was

Yeah. I always imagined that, if I was going to break

should be a scene. It shouldn’t be narration; it should

doing it with an intermission and everything—that

into movies, I would be breaking through in inde-

be dramatized.” Believe it or not, as long as the movie

was par for the course.

pendent cinema, but that was before there was a

was already, Tom Rothman was actually asking me to

legitimate independent cinema to break into. There

add a scene. He goes, “I think you should write that,

It was a change of form, though.

were always those three or four movies a year that

and make it a scene between the two boys.”

It was a change of form, but at the same time…

really broke through and became a thing. Even if it

Well, yes, it was a change of form. I had to rejigger

only played for a week or two weeks at one of the

the chapters a little bit to make it work, but they

Laemmle theaters in Santa Monica or something,

So, I did. I think I even gave Brad [Pitt] and Leo [DiCaprio] a handwritten scene the day

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Cover Story.indd 33

33

12/13/19 10:07 AM


and it had a little ad in the Los Angeles Times, and

the page just before you get to the TV listings, and

those little capsule reviews, the critics all seem

it got a review in The New York Times, the LA Times

there’s seven or eight capsule reviews for films I’ve

pretty snotty about them, but they’ll describe

and LA Weekly, that would have been good enough.

never heard of. And sometimes they star known

interesting-sounding stories, or an interesting take

people. I’ve never heard of them, there’s no ad cor-

on a genre. You’ll think, Maybe this guy doesn’t like

went to Sundance, that a good majority of the

responding to them, and I don’t even know where

it, but it sounds like a cool movie. Maybe I won’t

films that would be premiering at Sundance would

some of these theaters are. What are all these

see it this week at the San Gabriel blah-blah-blah,

be the harbinger for an entire movement. That

movies, and where are they going?

but I’ll see it when it comes on cable. And then I

None of us knew, that year of ’92, when we

most of us were going to get released over the next

I even felt that about seven or eight years ago.

never see it show up on cable. And those are the

year. Even that other movies, that got turned down

I was on the Sundance jury and I watched all the

for Sundance that year, like Laws of Gravity, would

films at Sundance that year because I was on the

ones that actually got a theatrical release.

find releases. Or even that, the way alternative

jury. We had some movies like Frozen River. That

If the 29-year-old Quentin Tarantino were start-

music was taking off at that time, independent

was the movie that won, so that played. The movie

ing his career tomorrow, with Reservoir Dogs, do

cinema would be taking off right alongside it. That

Ballast; that won something, and that ended up

you think that movie would break out?

they would become bedfellows.

getting a theatrical release. There was another

I’ve thought about that a lot. I think the movie is a

that played, and I can’t even remember the name

good movie, but I think at its heart what it has going

How do you look at the landscape today,

of it right now. It takes place in the ’90s, and Ben

for it is the Tim Roth/Michael Madsen aspect of it.

then? You’re a celluloid guy. I don’t even know

Kingsley is a pot-smoking therapist.

If I had guys of that caliber—who they were then,

if there’s a way for a debut director now to get

now—I think that would be a thing. I could actually

the money to make a 35mm film and actually

Oh, The Wackness.

see Reservoir Dogs being picked up by one of the

get it onto a big screen.

Yeah, The Wackness. That played and there were

smaller divisions of the studios or something. I’m

Well, some guys do. It’s a fallacy that it’s less

a couple of others, but back in the ’90s, getting

being optimistic about that, but I’ve thought about it,

expensive [to shoot digital]. You’ll spend money

into Sundance was a thing. That was the holy grail.

and it’s like, no, the market that existed, that took me

somewhere, so you could spend it there, on film.

So we watched all these movies at Sundance, the

under its wing and actually gave me a platform to do

I think the sad part is that a lot of filmmakers today just don’t care. They’re happy it’s digital because then the cinematographer isn’t so much in charge, and they’re in charge. They’ve been shooting digital, making movies on their phone and in short films, and so that’s what they’re comfortable with. They’re probably intimidated or scared. “How are we going to get an image? If we don’t have enough lights, is this going to be bad?” We were all scared of that too, but we had to wear the big boy pants and plow ahead anyway. The independent market for cinema that did exist doesn’t exist anymore. It doesn’t exist the way it did when it was thriving in the ’90s, but it doesn’t even exist in the way I described it in the late ’80s, where, yeah, maybe your movie played for only one or two weeks, but it had a foothold. It owned that little real estate in the newspaper. It was playing at the Loz Feliz 2, or the Music Hall, or

premier American independent festival, and they

even one of the shoebox theaters at the Beverly

had named people like Winona Ryder and Paul

Center in Los Angeles. There were a lot of mov-

Giamatti and all those people in them, and I never

ies I saw that never played everywhere else but in

heard from most of those movies again. I never

Cinema 6 or something in the Beverly Center.

even saw them show up on cable. I thought, OK, it’ll be on Showtime 4 or something like that, but

You can’t even play at the Beverly Center any-

no, I never saw them. They never got a theatrical

more. That theater has gone.

release, and they literally got the pinnacle of what

Yeah, but that was the place. It was that newspa-

the goal was for independent cinema in the ’90s.

per ad, it was a piece of real estate. You saw their

They just disappeared.

little poster, the title treatment, and it was like, “I’m here!” Now, a newspaper ad means nothing. Now

Does it make us dinosaurs for hoping that

it’s just lost in this or that or the other.

movies exist and have a life in the theatrical

And, oddly enough, those movies are still being

space rather than just appearing one day on

made. When you read the Los Angeles Times on a

streaming and disappearing the next?

Friday, you have the big new comedy—or what-

A streaming platform is one thing, but those mov-

ever, two movies that make the front page as far

ies I’m talking about? I don’t think they’re appear-

as the reviews are concerned—and then you turn

ing on streaming platforms either. When you read

34

THE SAD PART IS THAT A LOT OF FILMMAKERS TODAY JUST DON’T CARE.”

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Cover Story.indd 34

12/13/19 10:08 AM


my movies… That market doesn’t exist anymore. When it came to Reservoir Dogs, the film I wanted to emulate as far as what I hoped it would

do movies matter anymore? Are movies important?

I talked to her about that! Well, I haven’t talked to

Are movies part of the conversation?

her about it since she did it, but I talked her into

The thing about it is, there was a time—and it

doing it [laughs]. I was like, “Have you ever done

do, and the success it might get, and how it would

lasted for my entire life—where movies were at

that?” She had some version of it, but not exactly

stand out from the crowd, was Blood Simple. That

the center of the zeitgeist. A movie would hit, and

what Sharon does in the movie. I go, “Well, Mar-

was my jumping-off point. I didn’t know if I was

become popular, and it would be at the center of

got, it’s playing at the Bruin right now. You could

going to get the reviews that Blood Simple got,

the conversation. It would be the conversation.

go next week, on a Wednesday afternoon for the

but I remembered that ad, and I trucked down to

And then there were also the movies that opened

2 o’clock show, and you could literally do what

the Beverly Center to see it. It’s an independent

in theaters and the critics didn’t quite get them,

Sharon does.” She was like, “Oh my God, I think I’ll

film, but it had a genre base. It was doing genre in

and they didn’t do so well at the box office, but

do that.” So, I knew she was going to do it.

its own way. That’s what I was hoping to emulate.

five years later, after they’d been on cable and

What the Coen brothers did with Blood Simple.

everything, the movies might as well have been big

I didn’t ask if she’d put her feet up on the

smashes because everyone has seen them and is

seat in front.

quoting them. They become part of the fabric.

Knowing her, she probably did [laughs].

When Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood came out, it spawned a million think pieces, many

So, the question of do movies matter is a big

of which seemed to blithely ignore the con-

question, and people are pontificating about that

But she said it was fascinating to watch the

text for what you were presenting. But it was

in print and in conversations in coffee houses and

people watching the movie and hear how

also the motion picture event of the year.

on podcasts the world over. That’s all depress-

they were reacting to it.

How gratifying was it to see it become this

ing, but what’s not depressing is when you make

Hear the laughs and all that stuff? Yeah.

kind of phenomenon all its own in a world of

a movie and—all that being said—you are part of

superhero pictures and franchises?

the conversation. There was an undeniable fact

That’s something you’ve been doing since

It felt wonderful. Look, I think a lot of us making mov-

that, for the first four weeks of Once Upon a Time…

the beginning of your career, right?

ies are facing a dark night of the soul. I know I am,

in Hollywood playing in its theatrical engagement,

Oh yeah. Sharon’s basically me in that situation.

everybody was talking about it. It was in the con-

I’ve even done that at the Bruin. I remember the

versation. Everybody was talking about it.

first thing of mine to play at the Bruin was True

CELLULOID CITY From left: Tarantino and Robbie at the Bruin Theater in Westwood; DiCaprio and Pitt take a ride.

You’re being very sweet about a lot of the

Romance. It was actually kind of funny, because

snotty think pieces that came out in the wake of

I was already a little known when True Romance

the movie, but it took me a long time to realize

came out, because of Reservoir Dogs. I wasn’t

something. I didn’t feel like this before, and I would

worldwide known, but some hip people knew

get mad at those things. Now, some of those

who I was.

pieces, yes, I think they’re being incredibly unfair in

So, I was on a date, and we show up at the

a lot of ways. But they’re not hurting me. They’re

Bruin. Not during the daytime; they were getting

actually, in their own, ass-backwards way, helping

ready for an evening show. I thought to myself—

me. They are keeping the conversations alive. They

and not because I’m cheap—but I thought, Well,

are creating an argument about the movie. And

I did write this movie. So, I talk to the manager,

frankly, maybe more important than a conversa-

and I go, “Look, I wrote this film. Do I have to

tion is an argument. If you’re going to have an

pay?” He goes, “What do you mean you wrote

argument, you need somebody on the opposing

it?” I go over to the poster and I go, “See? That’s

side. So, I might think they’re dicks—and definitely,

my name, Quentin Tarantino. That’s me.” He

I think some of them were very, very unfair—but

goes, “How do I know it’s you?” I go, “Well, I can

they were helping me in their own way, because

show you my driver’s license.”

the movie was worth fighting about. The movie was worth the arguments.

And then my date proceeds to work out the deal with the manager. I’m standing there, listening

It was all a little less painful to me on this movie,

to them argue, and all of a sudden, some people

those think pieces. Because to me, some of them—

come up to me, and they recognize me. I’m over

not all of them, but some of them—had their inter-

there by the poster, and these people come up

and so are a lot of us who make movies, where mov-

esting points, and you could give them their due

and go, “Oh, you’re Quentin Tarantino. Reservoir

ies were one thing to us, and they were this one thing

and everything. And many of them, they revealed

Dogs is one of my favorite movies. Will you sign my

for a long time. We are wondering if we’ll still be doing

exactly where they were coming from in the piece.

autograph?” I start signing the autograph.

it this way 15 years from now. And my guess is not.

Their unfairness was right there. They revealed it,

My date, meanwhile, is still negotiating with

I don’t know what it’s going to be like 15 years from

and they were actually rather naked in their bias.

the manager of the Bruin. And then he’s like, “Wait

now, but I don’t think this way will be the way.

a minute. What’s all this going on?” She goes, Margot Robbie told me the other day that she

“Those are his fans! He’s signing autographs for his

day—and it’s sad, but it’s also how things change—

had gone to the Bruin, which is the theater her

fans. That shows you who he is.”

you’re just talking about a delivery system for how

Sharon watches The Wrecking Crew at in the

people see stuff. Now, I think it is more than that, but

movie, to see Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.

Did you get in?

you can reduce it to that if you’re talking about the

She said it was late into the run, there were only

Yeah [laughs]. The guy’s grumbling like, “Yeah,

bigger question I’ve heard many people pontificate

a handful of people there, and she sat in almost

sure, go in, but how was I supposed to know you

on, on podcast after podcast. That’s the question of,

the exact same seat that Sharon does.

wrote the damn thing?” ★

Even more important than that, at the end of the

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Cover Story.indd 35

35

12/13/19 10:08 AM


D THE DIALOGUE

OSCAR CONTENDERS/ DIRECTORS

1218 - 1 - Dialogue Bong Joon-Ho.indd 36

12/13/19 10:18 AM


Bong

they’re very intimate. They like to spend time with one another. And then the rich

JOON-HO ★

family, the Parks, was mirrored off of the poor family—four family members. But they’re rarely together. Dark, gothic, classical houses often play major roles in horror movies. By contrast, the rich house in Parasite is

Parasite has achieved a rare feat as a foreign language picture breaking out of the international feature category BY J O E U T I C H I

bright and modern. Were you deliberately subverting what we expect? Yeah, that is what I intended. Of course, the house is the work of a very famous architect, and it features in a very elegant way in the film. You first begin with bright sunlight,

FROM THE MOMENT OF PARASITE’S WORLD PREMIERE IN CANNES,

in which a usually stoic European audience hooted and hollered at Bong Joon-ho’s movie’s twists and turns as though it was a midnight screening in Austin, the film’s trajectory has been breakneck. It would go on to win the Palme d’Or, before traveling to festivals the world over and being greeted by audiences with as much fervor as those first screenings. Now, director Bong is nominated for Best Director at the Globes, and Parasite looks set to break out of the international feature race and into Oscar’s main competition.

and then you delve deeper into the darkness of the house, like you’re going inside a cave. The horror element really comes into the picture in the latter half of the film. What was it like to share Parasite for the first time at its Cannes premiere? I was very shocked at Cannes. They applauded in the middle of the movie, two times. It was very strange. Then, after that in places like Sydney and Hanoi and Toronto, the same thing happened, again

Is it true that Parasite began as a play?

Actually, in the movie, when the young

and again. At the end of that one se-

It is true that I first conceived of this idea

son gets that strange, colored stone, he

quence, when Song [Kang-ho] brings out

as theater, but from the very beginning,

himself says, “Wow, this is very metaphori-

the bloody tissue paper, people started

it didn’t work out that way. From the first

cal.” [laughs] Usually, it’s the film critics

clapping. It was very strange; it felt like a

line, I was already thinking about the cam-

who say, “Wow, that was so metaphorical,”

live concert.

era positions. I just realized that I had to do

but you have the actor up there, announc-

this as a film, as always.

ing it himself. So, it’s very strange. That

You’d had strange experiences in

stone becomes something very important

Cannes before. When you premiered

Where did you get the idea?

in the film, and I tend to not like symbols. I

Okja there in 2017, the film got caught

Actually, in the case of The Host, one of

wanted this film to feel more physical.

up in the controversy surrounding Netflix’s first time on the Croisette.

my previous movies, I had a very clear beginning point. But in this case, it’s much

It’s true, though, that the film explores

Yeah, exactly. It was very hard to talk about

harder to describe how and when it came

deep themes like socioeconomic in-

the movie itself. People were always talking

to be. It was something like a parasite; it

equality. Is striking this kind of balance

about the streaming thing, the tension

was already inside. I just kind of discovered

between meaning and entertainment

between the French theater industry and

it. Normally, we don’t know when and how

important for you?

streaming services. It’s very much better to

a parasite comes into us, so it was similar.

For me, instinctively, humor and fun are like

be talking about the film this time around.

In 2013, during the post-production

the air I breathe. Whenever I work, there’s

of Snowpiercer, I have a very clear, early

always humor, and alongside that comes

bach. At Cannes in 2017, his movie The

memory of describing this story to some-

drama. I always try to maintain those ele-

Meyerowitz Stories was the other Netflix

one else. A story about two families—one

ments, but I always want to hide some very

movie in competition, so we shared the

rich, one poor—where the poor family infil-

sharp blade inside the social message, or

same situation. He’s made another movie

trates the rich house, at the very beginning.

something political. Something very crucial

with Netflix this year, of course. I asked

and sharp is inside there, to spark the

him, “How’s this year?” He said he was

audience’s thought.

having a great time and it’s getting better

Frequently in your films, you plant thematic material to explore within al-

In Toronto this year, I met Noah Baum-

and better. Netflix is now more flexible,

legory, or within a certain genre. What

How did the Kims and the Parks come

so Marriage Story is showing for longer in

comes first, the theme or the genre?

together in your mind?

theaters, exclusively, before streaming.

I never really define the genre that I want the

It was like laying bricks, one-by-one. So,

story to be in, or what metaphors or symbols

the Kim family is unemployed. They’re

I have a chance. It was a great experience.

I should place within the story. I always just

completely capable and smart, but they

They gave me 100%, total creative control

want to depict very interesting and enter-

just don’t have jobs, and that’s the sad

to release my director’s cut, which is quite

taining situations. I move through impulses.

part. They’re poor, but at the same time,

rare in this industry. ★

PHOTOGRAPH BY

1218 - 1 - Dialogue Bong Joon-Ho.indd 37

Michael Buckner

I really want to work with Netflix again, if

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

37

12/13/19 11:36 AM


Alma

was the motel room, and the conversations between little Otis and his dad. But

HAR’EL

as you see in the film, when he comes in and says things like, “I’m a professional schizophrenic. I’m a piece of shit,” these are actual things Shia said when he was committed, to his therapists. She basically gave me access and shared with me some of the things that he said to her, and we

The Honey Boy director on standing behind Shia LaBeouf and convincing him to play his own father BY M AT T G RO BA R

used some of them in the film. Honey Boy can’t have been an easy film to make, given that you were dealing with real-life trauma and the person

O

N HONEY BOY, DIRECTOR ALMA HAR’EL

waded through “a burning mist of pain” to hit upon the raw truth she says she values most. Coming to her via Shia LaBeouf—who began writing the script in court-ordered therapy—the film examines the turbulent coming of age of an actor estranged from his father. From the beginning, Har’el saw a story that could speak powerfully to the therapeutic value of art. But to tell it with emotional authenticity, she would have to convince her frequent collaborator to do the unthinkable: to revisit his traumatic past, from the perspective of his abuser.

who experienced it first-hand. Yeah, it was really hard. I remember my producer came to set and was like, “I’ve made 70 films, and this is the hardest film I’ve ever made. If you can survive this, you can do anything.” I remember that gave me actually a lot of hope then, because while I was doing it, I was like, “I’m not sure I can ever do this again.” And he told me, “This is not a normal film, you have to know that. You have to know that you are taking on all the responsibilities as a director, but so much more. You’ve created something here that is just so complicated to even comprehend, the meta aspect of what we’re all doing.”

You stood by Shia LaBeouf at a time in

that we still need to explore as a society,

his life when no one else would. Why do

beyond the narrative of, “We fixed this per-

How did Shia’s father react, when he

you think that is?

son, and now he should perform according

first saw the film?

I think that growing up with a lot of addic-

to our expectations.” I wanted to explore

I was extremely nervous about showing

tion around me, alcoholism, mental health

that, both in my relationship with him, as

the film to Shia, and to his dad. Shia only

issues, things like that, has given me the

an artist and a friend, but also obviously in

came to see it when I had a final cut, and I

opportunity to see that it takes time to heal

this film.

remember he had two notes. One of them

from those things. It takes time to find new

was, “We need to age [the father’s] hand

tools to deal with life, and especially a life

You convinced Shia to take on the role

when he’s hugging Noah [Jupe].” The other

like his, that is obviously very challenging in

of his own father. Why was this crucial

had to do with something in the scene

many ways, in terms of the occupation that

to you?

when he’s in the restroom at the end, and

he’s in, and the mental health issues that he

One of the things that I feel like we have

that was it. He was crying for probably 15

has, and the trauma that he endured.

a hard time doing is forgiving people for

or 20 minutes. The editors left the room,

being human. I think that by Shia playing

and we just sat there and cried for quite a

of growth. They love the narrative of ‘The

his father, there was an opportunity here to

while, without really saying anything.

Hero’s Journey,’ as we call it—somebody

expand on what he started doing in therapy.

going against all odds and finding a way to

The place that he went to in Upstate New

you never know what somebody’s going

overcome something. And they even would

York, it’s kind of a mental health/rehab

to say, and how they’re going to respond

like to think that this film is maybe a piece

facility, and the method that they had been

to being portrayed in such a way. The first

of art that has caused a transformation for

using with him, called exposure therapy,

thing I saw was two images that Shia sent

him. I often get asked, “Is he okay now?”

includes role-play. So the way this was

me of him watching his father—him cry-

[They think] the catharsis has happened,

written, he was already writing scenes, and

ing, watching his father watching it. That

the exorcism has been performed on set,

playing both his dad and himself, while

was the first time that I understood from

and now we have a person who can be

reading them to his therapist.

Shia that he really loved it, or accepted it,

I think that people love the narrative

Showing the film to his father after that,

part of society, and serve society in the

I spoke to his therapist and told her

way that society expects him. And the

what we were attempting to do, and she

somebody, it’s really interesting to see that

answer is obviously, it’s much more com-

[was] a big help to me. She, first of all,

only at the end do you really understand

plicated than that.

helped me figure out a lot of the rewrites

what their expectations were. You never

in the script, in the therapy session. At

know how they’re going to deal with seeing

first when Shia wrote this, his main focus

your perspective on their lives. ★

I’d like to think that there’s a space between accountability and compassion

38

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - 2 - Dialogue - Alma Ha'rel.indd 38

I should say. When you make a film about

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Michael Buckner

12/19/19 9:01 AM


1218 - 2 - Dialogue - Alma Ha'rel.indd 39

12/13/19 10:19 AM


G re t a

Amy’s ‘women and marriage’ speech evolved from a conversation you had

GERWIG

with Meryl Streep, right? She is obviously the queen of all things, but she’s also just so clear and intelligent about texts and filmmaking. At a lunch she said, “The thing you have to make the audience understand is it’s not just that women couldn’t vote, which they couldn’t. It’s

Rebooting Little Women involved rediscovering its truly feminist origins and injecting fun, physical comedy BY A N T O N I A B LY T H

not just that they couldn’t own property, which they couldn’t. It’s that they couldn’t own anything when they were married.” They didn’t even own their children. They could leave a bad marriage, but they would leave with nothing, not even the kids. So,

G

RETA GERWIG HAD ALWAYS LOVED LITTLE

Women, Louisa May Alcott’s tale of four Civil War-era sisters, especially its protagonist, rebellious writer Jo. “It’s impossible for me to tease out at this point if Jo March was like me, and that’s why I was drawn to her,” Gerwig says, “or if I liked Jo March, and thus I made myself like Jo March.” Following her directorial debut success with Lady Bird, Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation not only grew wings but also gathered a stellar cast, including Lady Bird’s Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Laura Dern as matriarch Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.

when you’re talking about marriage, you’re talking about the biggest decision you’ll make, because if you yoke yourself to the wrong person, you will suffer for the rest of your life. And it’s not just an economic proposition, it’s all-encompassing, and it was the decision you have to make. You have no possibilities outside of that. You’ve also talked about the gender fluidity between Jo and Laurie, who’s played by Timothée Chalamet. Jo spends the entire book saying she wishes that she was a boy, and it’s all

Had you been considering Little

the crux of my story. I wanted to explore all

over the book. Almost every other page

Women as an adaptation for a while?

that. I think I said it with enough confi-

she says she wishes she was a boy. I think

I hadn’t read it since I was 14 or 15, and

dence that they accepted my analysis.

there are lots of ways to read that. We

then I happened to read it when I was 30,

have our own particular 21st century lens

just because I thought I would re-love it.

I don’t think people liked Amy until

on it. But I mean, to go back to the Amy

My experience with the book completely

they saw your version of her.

proposition, she’s really stating a fact,

changed. First of all, there were things in

One of my experiences of reading the book

which is that boys have options and girls

the book that I hadn’t remembered at all.

was actually re-experiencing Amy as a pro-

have none. So wouldn’t it be better to be

And there were things that seemed much

found character and equal to Jo, and some-

a boy? But so much of Jo and Laurie—I

spikier and stranger and more modern

one that is a worthy opponent in some

read in an essay about Little Women, they

and very relevant, and who they were as

ways of Jo. And her lines in particular, some

said that the gender reversal is so striking,

adults suddenly became fascinating to

of them are lines that stood out to me as if

even in their names. Laurie is the boy with

me. I said, I’d like to make a film with this,

they were written in neon, as if they could

the girl’s name, and Jo is a girl with a boy’s

because now I see this completely differ-

have been said yesterday. Like, “I want to be

name. And Laurie in many ways is a dandy

ently. And I think that there’s something

great or nothing.” Which is so ambitious and

or flâneur in that kind of 19th-century style

interesting here that is completely press-

big, and such a statement from a 20-year-

of masculinity.

ing to make a film about.

old about art. It’s not a cute pursuit. It’s a

Laurie buys too many neckties, which

completely egomaniacal pursuit in the best

Jo always chastises him for. He’s really

How did you sell your idea to Sony

way. Or, “I don’t pretend to be wise, but I am

into fashion and she’s like, “You shouldn’t

and Amy Pascal in your initial meet-

observant.” You think, Holy shit, this girl sees

be that way.” He’s preening a little bit, and

ing? What did you say?

everything. She knows everything. Amy is a

Jo thinks he’s ridiculous. There’s gender

The thing I said to them was, it was so

character of profound desires and lust that

reversal stuff all over the book. What I

clear to me when I reread the book, this

she has no problem expressing. I think it’s

loved about Jo and Laurie as embodied

book is about women, ambition, money,

interesting that for years, the character we

by Saoirse and Timothée, is they’re both

and art. And it was about the intersec-

hated the most is the character who most

so physically, simultaneously handsome

tion of those things. I want to make a

expresses her desire.

and beautiful. They are each other’s mirror.

movie that focuses in on that, because to

Timothée is both handsome and beautiful.

me, that’s what this book is about. And

That was shameful for women then.

Saoirse is both handsome and beautiful.

moreover, that’s what Louisa May Alcott

Yeah. Because to want something is to be

And when they stand together, they both

liked, in fact. And this distance between

too much, too desirous. So that to me is a

look like they are occupying some middle

Louisa May Alcott and Jo March is also at

fascinating shift in how we view a woman.

gender, which is superior to all of us. ★

40

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - 3 - Dialogue - Greta Gerwig.indd 40

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Josh Telles

12/13/19 10:19 AM


1218 - 3 - Dialogue - Greta Gerwig.indd 41

12/13/19 10:19 AM


Rian

he was really looking forward to the opportunity to have some fun. So that,

JOHNSON ★

much more than the idea of somehow playing off of how the public perceives him, was the motivation. I just got the sense that he was ready to really cut loose and play with this one, and he did. How did you come to Ana de Armas for

His new film Knives Out sets an Agatha Christie-like whodunit against a modern political landscape BY J O E U T I C H I

the role of Marta? I had seen her in Blade Runner 2049, but I wasn’t really familiar with her work. It was Mary who brought her to my attention and said, “This girl is really something special, you have to look at her.” I looked at her

H

AS RIAN JOHNSON BIRTHED A NEW FRANCHISE

with Knives Out? With a $40+ million opening weekend gross over Thanksgiving, it may not have reached the dizzying highs of his last movie, 2017’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, but Knives Out is still a rare beast in 2019; an original murder mystery tale that is effortlessly drawing in audiences. Inspired by classic Agatha Christie whodunits, Johnson pays homage to the genre’s legacy while at the same time dragging it into the modern era. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine future adventures for his central detective, Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc.

work and I could tell that she was really good, but I googled Ana and saw glamour shots of her, and I was just like, “No, she’s totally wrong for it.” Then, I met with her and read her, and she was so right. Besides being just an incredibly skilled actor, she has that indefinable thing with her eyes. She’s got that Audrey Hepburn-type thing, where her eyes just bring you in, and you’re instantly on her side, and that’s what we needed for the character. It was perfect. Designing the interiors of your mystery writer’s mansion must have been a joy.

A weak whodunit betrays its artifice

How much of the film’s commentary,

It was fun. One of my favorite films is the

on a second viewing, where audi-

came from your experience of social

1970s version of Sleuth, with Laurence

ences are looking out for the film’s

media over the last couple of years?

Olivier and Michael Caine. That movie

misdirection during the mystery.

Some of the immediate political stuff

is also obviously centered on a mystery

Knives Out is quite different.

obviously sprang up out of the last couple

writer, and largely takes place inside the

Oh, thank God [laughs].

of years, but weirdly, the basic bones

mansion, but it’s like the inside of his brain.

of what it’s about—who Marta is as a

So, I gave David Crank, our production

In this case, you’re just left with

character, and how that applies to the

designer, and David Schlesinger, our set

a better understanding of all

family—I’ve had for years and years, right

decorator, that reference, and they just

the little clues you drop, and the

before the election. That’s always been in

ran with it. They completely scoured

mechanics by which you weaved

the bones of it.

Massachusetts for oddities, strange

between them.

curios, automatons and artwork, and it’s

We built little things in there, yeah. I

Did you have specific actors in mind

such a rich, beautiful tapestry they made,

think it’s important, even on the first

while writing?

which to me was a joy. I would just wander

viewing—even if there are things that

No, not really. I’ve kind of learned not to

around, seeing all the treasures they had

you’re not going to pick up until you see

do that because, inevitably, they won’t be

gathered up.

it again—that you, as an audience, are

available, and you’ll be sad. So, I just write

so tuned into it. You’re going to be pick-

the characters as a blank slate, and then

Did you document all of that stuff?

ing up so much stuff, even if you don’t

sit down with Mary Vernieu, my casting

Yeah. We have folders of photos of all this

know its relevance yet.

director, and figure out who’s available.

stuff, and a lot of it is still sitting in the

And just as a fan of whodunits, I

warehouse somewhere. So someday, if

know that that big dénouement scene

It might seem like a bit of a leap to

I ever want to just deck the house out…

at the end, where you do your reveals,

imagine Daniel Craig playing a South-

We’ll see if [my wife] Karina would kill me.

is only satisfying if it feels like you’re

ern detective like Benoit Blanc.

We’d have another murder on our hands.

connecting dots that you recognize. It’s

That’s the thing. I mean, he’s great as

the recognition scene, and that’s where

Bond. I had seen him in other things over

Surely you took the wheel of knives?

all the satisfaction comes from. So,

the years. Obviously, it was Logan Lucky

I really wanted to, but half of those knives

planting those very clearly, that’s fun,

recently, where you see he’s willing to

were rentals. It’s funny. The big, industrial

and there are some tiny things that I’m

have fun and go a little wackier. I’d seen

barbecue grate and all the knives on it,

very proud of that you probably will only

him on the stage. I just knew that he’s a

half of them were antique knives that we

catch on your second viewing.

great actor, and also, I got the sense that

rented. Priceless pieces. ★

42

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - 4 - Dialogue - Rian Johnson.indd 42

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Josh Telles

12/13/19 11:37 AM


1218 - 4 - Dialogue - Rian Johnson.indd 43

12/13/19 10:20 AM


Lulu

tributed to the fight that I fought to tell the story. So I certainly would not have been able to make this film 10 years ago, but

WANG

I also think that the world was probably not ready. I think that the political climate, everything that’s happening in the world, has forced us to look at things differently than we have in the past.

On the cultural impact of The Farewell and how it changed her own family’s dynamics BY D I N O - R AY R A M O S

Nigeria’s Lionheart was disqualified as an international film Academy entry because it’s in English. The Farewell is an American film, but mostly in Mandarin. What’s your stance on this? I think it’s a really interesting year. The Fare-

W

HEN LULU WANG’S THE FAREWELL DEBUTED

at Sundance, it immediately became the talk of Hollywood. The dramedy based on Wang’s own story about her family keeping her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis a secret goes beyond family issues. It’s also an immigration story that explores cultural identity through Awkwafina’s character, Billi. The Farewell has received numerous accolades, but for Wang, she is just happy with sharing her story with the world. Deadline talked to her about the impact of the film, Hollywood’s perception of foreign films, and how she hopes to continue to advocate for underrepresented voices.

well is an American film that happened to be in a foreign language, and the Nigerian film Lionheart is a foreign film that’s in English. And so it makes you question, well what does it mean to be American? What does it mean to be foreign? If you speak English because your country was colonized, then are you not foreign? I’m optimistic in a way now about it, because I think if you look at the big picture, it’s a really great dilemma to have because it means that films are being made that challenge the boxes. It challenges rules for different awards ceremonies. In the Golden Globes, we’re considered a foreign

The film has certainly struck a chord

How has your family responded since

language film. Now, technically that’s true,

with the Asian American commu-

its release and has it changed the fam-

we are a foreign language film. They’re not

nity, but how has the response been

ily’s dynamic?

calling it an international film or a foreign

outside of it?

My family responded really well. I mean,

film, they’re saying it’s in a foreign lan-

It’s been really great. I’ve traveled in

they’ve really come to terms with it. I think

guage. But it just means that you’re then

Europe, where a lot of the interna-

in the beginning it took some adjustment

in a category with non-Americans. So The

tional releases are starting to roll out,

on multiple levels, having such a personal

Farewell was in the category with a French

and it’s been really interesting to see,

family story out in the world.

film and Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, which is

because having made a film that so

Also, for my parents to see my career

Korean. But in many ways, I think that I’m

many people didn’t want to make and

and my life completely change because of

closer identity-wise to maybe Scorsese,

felt was going to be super niche, to see

this one project—I think that they are really

who makes films about the Italian-Ameri-

it travel to all of these countries that

proud. I think that they’ve just become

can experience and the immigrant experi-

I’ve never been to before, and have it

more used to the fact that the story is out

ence, which is what I’m doing. It’s what The

resonate with audiences so deeply has

in the world. I think it changed the dynamic

Farewell is. It’s about being an immigrant,

been very enlightening.

because the secret was within our family.

being a hyphenate. To not be recognized

They felt more okay about keeping a se-

that way is problematic. I think that a lot of

The film has played globally, but has

cret. But now that the whole world knows, I

these organizations are not prepared for it,

there been a common reaction to the

think that some members of my family feel

because when the films are not made that

film? Or is it different depending on

less okay about keeping the secret from

challenge these rules, then you can’t have

where you are in the world?

my grandma.

a conversation about it.

are from the perspective of somebody

How do you think The Farewell would

Academy, because traditionally the rules

whose family is Chinese and who has

have played if it were released 10

around foreign and international films were

then immigrated to America. But travel-

years ago?

made to recognize films that might not

ing with this film makes me realize that

It’s hard to imagine, because so much

otherwise be recognized. Films that are in

so many people have the same exact

of life is about the right thing at the right

a foreign language exclude Australia and

experience—even if the place they

time. First of all, I would not have been able

the U.K., Right? So I actually understand

come from and the place they live are

to make the film 10 years ago because of

why they took this approach to make this

very different.

age. Getting older and having more experi-

set of rules—but then here comes a film

ence, and also the state of the world con-

that challenges that. ★

I think of a lot of the themes in the film

44

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - 5 - Dialogue - Lulu Wang.indd 44

I actually respect the rules of the

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Michael Buckner

12/13/19 10:20 AM


1218 - 5 - Dialogue - Lulu Wang.indd 45

12/13/19 10:21 AM


Olivia

magical realism, and what I was trying to bring into the film, in all three scenes, was a chance to enter into the internal world of this

WILDE

character, and to really lean into the kind of impressionistic perspective of adolescence that she would have in that moment. We were shooting in the house where the big party takes place, and then I had

the water unit working in the pool. So, I was

Addressing the often undervalued demographic of young women with her directorial debut, Booksmart

running back and forth between the two units, but I knew that the pool moment was my baby.

BY A N T H O N Y D ’A L E S SA N D RO What did you want people to

A

FTER PLAYING DETERMINED FREE SPIRITS

who refuse to be boxed in, like Quorra in TRON: Legacy, Devon Finestra in HBO’s Vinyl, and ambitious Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs in this season’s Richard Jewell, Olivia Wilde expanded her resume, which already included producing Meadowland and A Vigilante, to make her feature directorial debut with revisionist teen comedy Booksmart. The pic follows two brainy high schoolers played by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, who realize they have only 24 hours before graduation to finally let loose. What ensues is a comedic caper packed with poignant musings on friendship and identity.

understand about Booksmart’s target demographic of women under 25? It’s fascinating to me, because they are such a discerning demographic, and they have so many options and they don’t want to be underestimated and patronized. I feel that what we were able to tap into was the intelligence of this demographic, who felt like they wanted to see a story about their lives. They wanted to feel represented onscreen but no longer put in a box of a superficial obsession with boys, or assimilation to pop culture. There was a certain sort of wisdom beyond their years that Beanie and Kaitlyn’s characters of Molly and Amy

Booksmart was on The Black List for a

with her through her writing. And then,

represented. I feel that tapped into what

long time. Why do you think it took so

when I met her, I asked the same question

we’re seeing now in these young women

long to get made?

I had been asking other writers, potential

who are so much more mature than at

I think the reason it hadn’t found its

collaborators: What would you do to this

least I was at that age. I think because of

home was because in many ways, society

script to not only raise the stakes, but to

Trump, and because of social media, there

wasn’t yet ready for it. I think many

introduce the concept that this movie

is a fast pace to the aging, the growth, the

times, the world has to catch up with a

should be about feeling seen and also

evolution of these young women, and by

concept before the movie can be made,

seeing others?

the time they’re 15, they understand their

and I think for this one, it was just simply

I wanted to make this about judgment,

identity in the world, their political identity,

that we were waiting for a time when

and what can we do to flip the tropes

their feminist identity, in a much clearer

audiences would really be ready for this

on their back, and her very simple and

way than past generations, or at least

story, and it would answer a question on

brilliant answer was, what if all the other

generations since the sexual revolution.

everybody’s mind, which I think it has.

kids were smart, too? I’ll never forget that

There’s now a sense of having to own your

moment where I was like, “You’ve cracked

voice and define it.

I think that the question resulting from what happened in the 2016 elections

it, that’s it.” Everything else flows from

and everything since is: What are women

that revelation. So, based on that first

After Booksmart’s release, studios

capable of, and when are they at their

conversation, I knew that we had a really

were fighting over your new project

most powerful? And the answer is, of

organic shorthand, and I knew that we

Don’t Worry Darling and your untitled

course, when they are linked, when they

understood each other’s styles really well,

holiday comedy. How did it feel?

work together, when they collaborate,

and the process was truly effortless.

I was so encouraged to witness what I

when they support each other. And so,

think is a sign of change in our industry. I

this concept suddenly felt like it was

You had to fight to keep some scenes

felt that I was being given an opportunity

scratching that exact itch.

in, which were they?

that many male directors, frankly, have

The stop-motion animation scene, the

been given—a chance to do it again. And I

dance fantasy and the pool scene.

felt that this was a sign that my work was

Tell us about meeting screenwriter Katie Silberman. What dynamic did

being appreciated not because of box

she bring to the rewrite?

That last one was your most ambitious

office numbers, but because of the effect

[Booksmart producer] Jessica Elbaum

scene to shoot.

that it’s having on audiences that did get

sent me Katie’s Set It Up screenplay and

Yes, incredibly, incredibly hard to shoot. That

to see it. And so, it was entirely shocking,

I laughed so hard, and just fell in love

scene was a sort of guiding principle. I love

and also really encouraging. ★

46

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - 6 - Dialogue - Olivia Wilde.indd 46

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Josh Telles

12/13/19 10:21 AM


1218 - 6 - Dialogue - Olivia Wilde.indd 47

12/13/19 10:21 AM


The

Partnership No. 3

ROBERT PATTINSON & WILLEM DAFOE

1218 - The Partnership.indd 48

12/13/19 10:22 AM


p

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe had never worked together before they found themselves in a remote part of Nova Scotia being battered by wind, rain and sea on the shoot for Robert Eggers’ Lovecraftian horror The Lighthouse. They came from different worlds to create the movie’s only two characters; Pattinson, a stoic, young man who takes a job as an assistant lighthouse keeper to run from his past, and Dafoe, the mile-a-minute, seasoned wickie whose eldritch monologues are all pungent slime and dread emperors. Over the course of the movie, these characters drive each other mad—or perhaps they started that way—as the harshness of the environment bears down on them. Yet there’s plenty that the two actors have in common, beginning with them each seeking out Eggers to work with, determined to find projects to rattle their own sense of security. In conversation with Joe Utichi, and featuring portraits by Chris Chapman, Pattinson and Dafoe dive deep into the black waves to relive the slithering, tentacled tales of The Lighthouse.

shortly after I’d done The Florida Project, and so I was in the mind of being fascinated with that mix. People with various different backgrounds, where you combine the theatrical with the naturalistic. As Sean Baker did in The Florida Project, Robert Eggers could take actors with great skill, and then people who had never acted before, like the children, and there’s no adjustment. They were living in the same world. That’s a real talent. What does that offer you? Dafoe: You want a challenge as an actor, but you don’t want to make a show, you know? So, you want to find a way to get the stink of acting off your performance. You want to be clean. You want to be a human being. You want to pass as the character, and it’s not necessarily through the language of acting that you want to go about that. He had a deep understanding of that. Which is curious, because he’s so accomplished technically. Pattinson: And he seems to be quite theatrical, in

How familiar were you with one another be-

Dafoe: He had a really clear structure, and he had

a way.

fore this project beckoned?

a clear visual thing. He had the bones, and then the

Dafoe: Yeah, but the challenge is to make it pass,

Willem Dafoe: Well, not so much. We’d never

meat I think he fleshed out with casting and seeing

you know? To take that language and make it feel

met. I actually met Rob at a party when I knew

what we’d bring to it.

normal. Of course, that’s where he’s brilliant too, is

we were going to be doing it together. I knew

It’s funny, we’ve talked about this movie a lot

in realizing the period. That’s what I like about The

his work some, of course, but I even looked at a

but this is something I’ve only just remembered. In

Witch too. You’re there. It’s not this academic thing

couple things more when I knew we’d be working

the script they were described as “old” and “young”.

where you’re always pointing to the period carriages

together. Not so much for work but just socially.

I was like, “Well, obviously if it’s Rob Pattinson I’m

and things.

You know, to be pleasant.

‘old’. I get that. But I don’t feel that old.” I thought,

Pattinson: He and his brother Max just kept com-

Well, OK, we’ll figure it out. But it’s strange that I’d

ing up with more and more dialogue for these char-

play this old guy.

acters. It wasn’t as simple as just writing lines to fit

I think the one thing that’s worth noting is, separately, we did the same thing in that we reached out to Robert Eggers. Rob can tell you his story, but

But then I look in the mirror, and I think, OK,

the plot. They almost had to come up with scratch

mine is that I saw The Witch and I thought, Wow,

maybe I pass. The joke’s on me. You read the script

dialogue just to figure out the period language. It

this filmmaker here. Who is the person that made

and it’s really rubbing your nose in it [laughs].

felt like, by the end, they could generate conversa-

this? So, I set up a meeting with him, and I had a

tions for months and months. Rob, why did you go after Robert Eggers?

Dafoe: I think they did. Because he said they got

Pattinson: I didn’t realize it at first. I had seen The

carried away with it and really grooved on all the

sation, he’s precise, he has great film culture. He’s

Witch in the theatre and I’d really liked it, but there was

slang. That was all before we got to it, where they

very passionate, very articulate, and sweet. So

something… It’s funny, now it’s kind of changed, this

said, “Whoa, should we pull back?”

many things. Not only did I appreciate him from his

idea of horror being a genre in which you can be much

work, but then I thought, This guy would be good

more experimental and get away with a lot. But at the

You talked there, Willem, about actors from

to work with. I said, “Let’s try to do something.”

time it really stood by itself. I just couldn’t really picture

different backgrounds. That seems true of the

myself being in something with him if it would be like

two of you. Were you conscious of approaching

The Witch again. It just didn’t really click.

this from different places?

really good time talking to him. What you see is what you get. Even in conver-

He had a couple of false starts on a few things that he talked to me about. They just never happened. And this one was very direct, because

And then I met with him in New York, and he

Pattinson: We are different. But what Willem was

really, he said, “Look, here’s the script. You’ll play

had so many different projects ready to go. It hadn’t

saying about wanting to try to get rid of the acting—to

opposite Rob Pattinson.” There was no discussion.

really registered with me until then, just the level of

act while not acting—I think that was the main thing.

“This is the way we’re going to do this. My way or

craftsmanship in The Witch. That took me a couple

Dafoe: I think we both ultimately want the same thing.

the highway.” That’s very unusual, especially for a

of years. But when I met him, it really came into

Pattinson: Yeah, assimilation, more than anything.

two-hander, for a director to say, “This is the way I

focus, just how much I liked his stuff. And when I

It is quite a frightening thing with acting, when you

see it. Yes or no?”

saw the script for The Lighthouse, seeing the detail,

know you’re with someone who has mastered the

Robert Pattinson: It’s true. I really do love going

seeing the dialect in it, and seeing that he could re-

actually technical ability of being able to convey a

to see the movie now and knowing how much of a

ally follow through on The Witch, it made me realize

particular emotion. “If I behave like this, the person

punt it truly was. To have so much certainty about

there was something there.

in front of me will know exactly what I’m trying to

the casting… Even talking about the script—I asked

Dafoe: it’s funny. As Rob is talking about it there,

express.” I think that’s really frightening; that’s the

him where it came from, what the nexus of the

I’m reminded of one of the things I liked about The

terrifying thing. Whereas, if you’re just allowing your-

idea was, and he couldn’t really articulate exactly

Witch, which was that I wasn’t at all familiar with

self to feel the situation, then the audience will take

what it was. But seeing the movie now, it seems so

the performers and, once you mixed them with

what they want out of it. That’s kind of interesting

singular. He definitely had it in his bones, exactly

children, you’re not sure who’s professional and

to me. I mean, I don’t have the ability to do it the

what he wanted to do.

seasoned and who’s someone new. I saw the film

other way, so… [laughs] D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - The Partnership.indd 49

49

12/13/19 10:22 AM


Dafoe: I’m not so sure.

have a pretty formal aesthetic, they can kind of cre-

But it’s true, it’s about doing stuff and having

ate this sort of distance to the audience. The fact

stuff happen. Having an experience that’s transpar-

that it feels so visceral, even with the aspect ratio

ent enough that the audience can feel it with you,

and the black and white, there’s something special

rather than doing a show that tells the audience

about that. When I saw some of the dailies, that

something, interprets it, like, “This is the way it is,

was my only fear, that there would be some kind of

folks. We’re going to dump it on you.”

coldness to it. And it doesn’t feel cold at all. It feels

A lot has been made of our different approaches,

very juicy.

but that stuff becomes cartoon-y. The point gets made because you’ve got to find something to talk

Have you had experiences where you’ve shot

about. And then someone picks up on that and they

stuff with a ton of coverage and you’ve felt your performance has been manipulated by

run with it. The truth is, we each had different tasks in the movie. You see the movie through his eyes, and in

ALL AT SEA Dafoe and Pattinson face off in The Lighthouse.

the edit? Dafoe: Well, it can feel that way, because it gives

the beginning, for a lot of it, he’s mostly reactive. So,

a different rhythm and they can take stuff out. I

when he talks about receiving the experience and

never think about modulating a performance for

having something happen, that’s one way. And I had

that very fact: that it’s going to be ordered later. All

to drive for a little while, at least in the beginning. So,

I think about is the individual moments. Like beads

the preparation is different. Wouldn’t you say?

on a mala, you’re building one thing at a time and

Pattinson: Absolutely. I mean, from the beginning

making sure each of them has integrity. That’s all

for you, you were getting used to the amount of

you can do. Some people, I think, try to modulate,

dialogue. There’s a ton for Willem, and not for me. You were both grappling with the technical exercise of navigating the camera, and how that was going to work in such confined spaces. Dafoe: It was so precise. I’m used to working lots of different ways, and I don’t know about you, Rob, but I’m more used to a looser camera. I mean, I’m used to Abel Ferrara, working from a scenario on the street, or Lars von Trier, where the camera’s never in the same place twice. On this there’s no coverage,

A lot has been made of our different approaches, but that stuff becomes cartoon-y.”

so everything shot is for keeps, you know? You have

–Dafoe

got to really make sure that the scene happens within that frame and that structure.

like, “Ooh, this is the arc of the character.” I can’t do that bullshit. Particularly when we’re shooting out of sequence, like we did on this. We did the burial on the second day. He was doing the… intimate scene on the first day. The self— What did they call it? Pattinson: The self-abuse [laughs]. Dafoe: As Rob said, it certainly sobered up the crew. “I get it. We’re making this kind of movie.” Pattinson: This was a weird one, because my character at least doesn’t particularly know what’s going on, ever. You are just kind of winding yourself up into a state of frenzy. There were moments where I had to realize I didn’t even know quite what was going on. I remember, when we were talking about fucking

Pattinson: You couldn’t really hide. There was no

There’s something about the aspect ratio as

halfway point. You couldn’t look away or try to get

well. When you have a closeup where there’s noth-

a little amount of light on your eye or something. It

ing either side of your face, it really does do some-

was literally, you were either in total darkness or you

thing remarkable.

Is the uncertainty sometimes the draw of the

were totally exposed. That’s what, for me anyway,

Dafoe: It’s so intentioned. It’s not like you’re unsure

job though?

brought a lot of the intensity to everything.

of where to look in the frame.

Dafoe: It’s one of the best parts. Otherwise you’re

Also, there’s something about being reactive to

This isn’t a rule, but I like films sometimes that

and all that stuff, I think Willem was quite frightened that I was going off on him or something.

just in lockstep, you know? Then it’s just a crafted

the light. There was so much light on your face, and

really feel like they express or capture the feeling of

it kind of made you feel like you had to push back

shooting. This one felt like that. There wasn’t a lot

against it somehow. Whereas normally, my go-to in

of fat, and the shots were so designed that there

I think he got the best out of Rob, and he got the

a scene is, number one, figure out how to get out of

didn’t need to be a drop of coverage. Now, Louise

best out of me. The best directors give you a good

the room as quickly as possible. Number two, try to

Ford did a beautiful job of editing the movie, but

set-up and structure to find a sweet spot. If you get

figure out how to look away [laughs].

what we shot is what you see. So, there were few

into the fabric of the thing and it works, that’s the

Dafoe: What, in case there’s a fire? [Laughs.]

surprises, in contrast to something that is overshot,

best. It’s along the same lines as getting rid of the

Pattinson: Here you had to really stand still. Stand

which can go in a lot of different ways when you see

actor stink.

still and actually do your job. Stand and fight. It

it. And it wasn’t like we were checking playback, but

Pattinson: Yeah, if you can define what you did

was terrifying.

you had a pretty good sense of the shot on the day.

afterwards, then you probably did the wrong thing.

Pattinson: I remember when you were doing your

And the nice thing when you finally see the movie, is

What it results in is these incredibly specific

big monologue, and Robert did only one shot. It

you can watch it and—

moments that stick in the memory long after

felt bold. I mean, that was a page and a half. Maybe

Dafoe: See someone else? Yeah, me too.

you see the movie. It’s somehow elevated and

even longer.

Pattinson: I really enjoyed it as a movie and felt like an

it’s hard to know how.

Dafoe: Yeah, probably longer.

audience member, which doesn’t happen every time.

Pattinson: I think even in the script that was true.

Pattinson: I don’t know any other director who

Dafoe: It’s really true. Usually, when I see a movie, the

You could feel the death-defying nature of it. It defi-

would have kept on one shot for maybe two pages.

association that I’m making is so strong. And maybe

nitely felt like you were on the edge of a cliff, getting

The thing I really like about the final movie as well,

that contradicts with what I said about how it looks

ready to jump. And where you’d land, you had no idea.

there’s something about when someone wants to

like it felt, but that is true. When I see the movie, I can

50

thing, rather than an adventure or an experience. Robert went and rankled us, in such a good way.

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - The Partnership.indd 50

12/13/19 10:22 AM


kind of lose myself and I don’t see myself up there. I

go-to place that, for a lot of people, is very satisfy-

Dafoe: Not just the body, the mind as well.

don’t see Robert Pattinson up there. I don’t have hard

ing. For the actor and for audiences.

Pattinson: Yeah. I think there’s something about

associations, like I normally do, with the filming.

But for me, just because of how I’m built, and

Robert being so meticulous and so obsessive

the sensations I like, I’m always trying to pull the rug

that he has to make these massive leaps. As

You have both chosen, in your careers, provoc-

out from under myself. I don’t think that’s human

soon as he’s made the leap, he’ll immediately

ative work. Roles that provoke a reaction in an

nature. I think you’ve got to create situations where

start building the bridge to wherever he is going

audience. Is there a drive towards that?

you’re forced to do that. I think that’s what saves

to land. He needs to take the leap first, otherwise

Dafoe: I don’t know about that. They provoke a

you from feeling like anything is a slog. Everything

he’ll build the bridge so that it’ll look like there’s

reaction in me. And I want people to like what I

becomes special and sacred and fun.

too much structure there. Doing press with him

do—when you make a movie that you really like,

When people say, “Oh, that movie must have

now, I can see the way he’s filling out the ideas

you want to get it out there. But I don’t think about

been so hard,” it’s like, yeah, we were fucking miser-

of what he meant. But at the beginning of the

provoking people ever. I don’t even really think about

able sometimes. But I’m alive now. It didn’t kill me. You

shoot, I think it was a leap of faith. And I love

provoking myself, but it’s just about getting yourself

know what I mean? It was fun. I look back on it fondly.

that. I’m reminded of working with Claire Denis,

off of your game. Particularly if you’ve been per-

Pattinson: Yeah, it’s kind of against human nature.

or other directors, where they trust their instinct

forming for a long time, you can get really corrupted.

Your body is constantly telling you to find the com-

really, really profoundly, and the direction you’re

You can really develop a schtick. You can develop a

fortable place. The safe place.

going in doesn’t need to be defined. ★ D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - The Partnership.indd 51

51

12/13/19 10:22 AM


Debra Martin Chase

Kathy Bates

F. Murray Abraham and Wesley Snipes

Rian Johnson

Olivia Wilde

Lupita Nyongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;o

Paul Walter Hauser

Ruth E. Carter

Contenders New York D E C E M B E R 7, 2 0 1 9

Laura Dern

52

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Kathy Bates

RE X /S H U T T ERSTO CK

A host of talent attended Deadlineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second annual Contenders New York event at the DGA Theater this month. See more photos at Deadline.com

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Flash Mob.indd 52

12/13/19 10:23 AM


Song Kang-ho and Bong Joon-ho

Greta Gerwig

Belinda Anderson

Ram Bergman

Olivia Wilde

Saoirse Ronan

Phedon Papamichael

Mark Ruffalo

Todd Phillips

Quentin Tarantino

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Flash Mob.indd 53

53

12/13/19 10:24 AM


Deadline presents AwardsLine Screening Series

Nora Fingscheidt John Travolta

‘System Crasher’ DECEMBER 2 / LOS ANGELES

‘The Fanatic’

Matthias Schoenaerts

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Zoya Akhtar

‘The Mustang’

‘Gully Boy’

DECEMBER 5 / LOS ANGELES

DECEMBER 4 / LOS ANGELES

54

M A RCOS DA NI E L FE RR E IRA ; T H E FA NAT IC : RE X /S H U T T E RSTO CK

N OV E M B E R 2 5 / N E W YO R K DECEMBER 3 / LOS ANGELES

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

1218 - Flash Mob.indd 54

12/13/19 11:44 AM


“EFFORTLESSLY CHARMING, DELIGHTFUL AND POIGNANT.” DAI LY M AI L

“MAGGIE SMITH IS IRREPLACEABLE.” LOS ANGE LES TIMES FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR PRODUCED BY

GARETH NEAME JULIAN FELLOWES LIZ TRUBRIDGE

BEST DIRECTOR MICHAEL ENGLER

BEST ACTRESS MICHELLE DOCKERY

BEST ACTOR HUGH BONNEVILLE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS MAGGIE SMITH LAURA CARMICHAEL JOANNE FROGGATT ELIZABETH McGOVERN IMELDA STAUNTON

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR JIM CARTER ALLEN LEECH ROBERT JAMES-COLLIER

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY JULIAN FELLOWES BASED ON THE TELEVISION SERIES CREATED BY JULIAN FELLOWES

BEST FILM EDITING MARK DAY

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY BEN SMITHARD, BSC

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN DONAL WOODS PRODUCTION DESIGNER GINA CROMWELL SET DECORATOR

BEST COSTUME DESIGN ANNA MARY SCOTT ROBBINS

BEST SOUND MIXING DAVID LASCELLES PRODUCTION SOUND MIXER NIGEL HEATH RE-RECORDING MIXER BRAD REES RE-RECORDING MIXER

BEST SOUND EDITING NIGEL HEATH SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING ANNE NOSH OLDHAM MAKEUP AND HAIR DESIGNER ELAINE BROWNE MAKEUP & HAIR SUPERVISOR

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE JOHN LUNN

Sign up at FocusInsider.com for exclusive access to early screenings, film premieres and more. © 2019 FOCUS FEATURES LLC.

1218 AL FOCUS_GATEFOLD OFF CVR3 - CVR3.indd 1

For more on this film, go to www.FocusFeaturesGuilds2019.com

12/11/19 9:46 AM


Untitled-5 1

12/12/19 3:25 PM

Profile for Deadline Hollywood

Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 12/18/19  

Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 12/18/19 Oscar Preview - Directors

Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 12/18/19  

Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 12/18/19 Oscar Preview - Directors