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Our Biggest Awards Season Preview Ever! The films and players you need to watch this year

PRESENTS NOVEMBER 15, 2017 AWARDS SEASON PREVIEW

Call Me by Your Name Inside the year’s most deliriously romantic tale, with director Luca Guadagnino and his cast, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg and Timothée Chalamet

Plus: Bryan C RANSTON Greta GERWIG Darren ARONOF SKY Octavia SPENC ER Jake GYLLENHAAL George C L OONEY and many more...

DEADLINE.COM/AWARDSLINE

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“JUDI DENCH GIVES A TOUCHING, MAJESTIC PERFORMANCE.” R E X

R E E D ,

N E W

Y O R K

O B S E R V E R

“JUDI DENCH IS IRRESIST IBLE.” D A V I D

R O O N E Y ,

T H E

H O L L Y W O O D

R E P O R T E R

“A CAREER HIGH T URN.” K E V I N

M A H E R ,

T H E

T I M E S

“JUDI DENCH IS A ROYAL P LEASURE.” P E T E R

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T R A V E R S ,

R O L L I N G

S T O N E

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Best Picture Best Director S T E P H E N

F R E A R S

Best Actress J U D I

D E N C H

Best Actor A L I

F A Z A L

Best Supp orting Actor E D D I E

I Z Z A R D

•

A D E E L

A K H T A R

B e s t A d a p t e d S c r e e n p l ay L E E B A S E D

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O N

T H E

B O O K

B Y

H A L L S H R A B A N I

B A S U

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PRESENTS

G EN ERA L MA N AG ER & C H IEF REV EN UE OFFIC ER

Stacey Farish ED ITOR

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FIRST TAKE Lois Smith’s decades on the big screen Fall festival winners and losers

Joe Utichi C REATIV E D IRECTOR

Craig Edwards

ASSISTA N T ED ITOR

Matt Grobar

D EA D L IN E CO- ED ITORS- IN - C H IEF

Nellie Andreeva Mike Fleming Jr.

Rounding up the documentary field

AWA RD S ED ITOR & COLUMN IST

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D EA D L IN E CON TRIBUTORS

COVER STORY Joe Utichi meets Luca Guadagnino and his Call Me by Your Name stars Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer & Michael Stuhlbarg

26-51

AWARDS SEASON PREVIEW These are the films and players you need to pay attention to this year 26 28 29 30 32 34 35 36 38 39 40 42 44 45 45 46 48 49 50 50

Jordan Peele Dunkirk The Florida Project Bryan Cranston Octavia Spencer Darren Aronofsky Dan Gilroy Noah Baumbach Suburbicon Andy Serkis Loveless Lady Bird Darkest Hour The Greatest Showman Stronger Animated Feature Phantom Thread James Franco Taylor Sheridan Three Billboards

52

FLASH MOB The Contenders presented by Deadline in LA and London, AwardsLine Screening Series

Pete Hammond

Peter Bart Anita Busch Dawn Chmielewski Anthony D’Alessandro Greg Evans Lisa de Moraes Patrick Hipes Amanda N’Duka Dominic Patten Erik Pedersen Denise Petski Dino-Ray Ramos David Robb Nancy Tartaglione Peter White V ID EO P ROD UC ERS

David Janove Andrew Merrill

SOC IA L MED IA MA N AG ER

Scott Shilstone

C H A IRMA N & C EO

Jay Penske

V IC E C H A IRMA N

Gerry Byrne

C H IEF OP ERATIN G OFFIC ER

George Grobar

EX EC UTIV E V IC E P RESID EN T, BUSIN ESS A FFA IRS A N D G EN ERA L COUN SEL

Todd Greene

EX EC UTIV E V IC E P RESID EN T, BUSIN ESS D EV ELOP MEN T

Craig Perreault

SEN IOR V IC E P RESID EN T, FIN A N C E

Ken DelAlcazar

V IC E P RESID EN T, C REATIV E

Nelson Anderson

V IC E P RESID EN T, FIL M

Carra Fenton

V IC E P RESID EN T, TV

Laura Lubrano

SEN IOR ACCOUN T EX EC UTIV ES, TEL EV ISION

Brianna Hamburger Tiffany Windju ACCOUN T MA N AG ER

London Sanders

A D SA L ES COORD IN ATORS

​Kristina Mazzeo Malik Simmons

P ROD UCTION MA N AG ER

Andrea Wynnyk

D ISTRIBUTION D IRECTOR

Michael Petre

A DV ERTISIN G IN QUIRIES

Stacey Farish ON THE COVER Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg photographed for Deadline by Michael Buckner ON THIS PAGE Brian Cranston photographed for Deadline by David Vintiner

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Building Beauty & The Beast p. 8 | Fall Festivals: Winners & Losers p. 10 | The Doc Race p. 14

Prime

POSITION

Lois Smith started on screen in East of Eden. Now, aged 87, she leads the powerful Marjorie Prime, writes Amy Nicholson THERE WAS A TIME WHEN ACTRESS LOIS SMITH FUZZED HER AGE. Not out of vanity. After all, when the top of her dark hair turned shocking white, she kept it. “Nature just decided to gray me that way,” says Smith. “I really liked the way it happened.” Until then, the problem was she looked younger than her driver’s license. At 22, Smith made her Broadway debut playing a 16-year-old drama queen. A few years later, while working out a skit on The Loretta Young Show, the director complained that Smith didn’t look old enough for one of her character’s lines. Smith quipped, “Why don’t we say I’m between 15 and 100?” She liked the ad lib so much she used it on-air in the bit, and again in interviews. Today, Smith is 87 years old and proud to say it. If the Academy recognizes her incredible dual role performances in Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime, based on Jordan Harrison’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-finalist play, she’ll tie Gloria Stuart as the oldest person ever nominated for an Oscar. And if she wins, she’ll set the record. There’s an irony in making

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

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PHOTOGRAPH BY

David Vintiner

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®

F O R

Y O U R

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

BEST PICTURE BEST ACTOR SAM ELLIOTT

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

NICK OFFERMAN

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

LAURA PREPON, KRYSTEN RITTER

BEST DIRECTOR

BRETT HALEY

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BRETT HALEY AND MARC BASCH

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY ROB C. GIVENS

BEST EDITING BRETT HALEY

“SAM ELLIOTT IS PERFECT.

‘The Hero’ is true cinematic zen.” Sara Stewart, NEW YORK POST

“SAM ELLIOTT TRULY SHINES.

A career-defining performance.” Michael Dunaway, PASTE

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REMEMBER Lois Smith in Marjorie Prime.

New York. Between auditions, Smith

Studio students circle each other

sliced salami at a deli and checked

like infatuated kids, has spawned a

hats at the Russian Tea Room. She

flurry of YouTube fan videos.) Still,

got her first job and hastily wondered

the bulk of her work has existed for a

if she should change her moniker

few months, and then vanished. “Its

to something more glamorous than

time is its time,” says Smith. “It’s over

“Lois Smith”—”Oh wait a minute, am

when it’s over.” Unlike Marjorie, she

I supposed to be doing something

doesn’t cling to the past. Before she

about this name business?” she

filmed Marjorie Prime, she originated

laughs—but decided it wasn’t worth

the role onstage, first in Los Angeles

the fuss. Besides, it was the perfect

at the Mark Taper Forum, and then

name for her kind of actress: simple,

in New York at Playwrights Horizons.

straightforward, honest. The focus

Yet, she’d never even seen herself as

was on her work, not fame.

Marjorie until Almereyda fell in love

In 1955, Smith posed for LIFE

with the idea of adapting the play.

history with Marjorie Prime. Almerey-

her posture is straighter. But really,

Magazine with four other young

da’s science fiction drama skips

it’s in the eyes—this synthetic Mar-

female Broadway stars, including

ture,” says Smith. “It’s more medita-

through the life, and afterlife, of a

jorie is so curious, her eyes almost

Jayne Mansfield, who’d just landed

tive. I think it’s sadder, definitely less

widow who purchases a hologram

seem to be lit from within. Tess says

her break-out role in Will Success

funny.” Almereyda knew Smith could

of her dead husband, Walter (John

Marjorie was vain and temperamen-

Spoil Rock Hunter? “Somebody must

straddle humor and pathos—he

Hamm), and then becomes a holo-

tal. “Smile less,” she commands, and

have gotten the idea to put us all on

directed her in Twister, where she

gram herself when her estranged

Smith obediently drops the corners

the cover,” shrugs Lois. She wore her

played Helen Hunt’s steak-slinging,

daughter (Geena Davis) has trouble

of her mouth. Is this an accurate

stage costume, an off-the-shoulder

tornado-hounded Aunt Meg. Still,

saying goodbye. Marjorie Prime is

Marjorie replica? Smith seems to

red dress, and stared directly at the

Harrison and Almereyda have “a dif-

obsessed with memory: why we

be assembling something trickier: a

camera. (The magazine lauded her

ferent sounder”, says Smith, using a

cling to moments, and how they slip

complicated woman flattened by her

“pale-faced intensity”.) Behind her,

nautical term befitting the seaside-

through our fingers anyway.

daughter’s decades of resentment.

Mansfield seems about to shiver out

set script, “which is interesting

of her strapless sequin dress.

because this material is very alive in

In the first section of the film,

“A prime is designed to be a good

“The film is a very different crea-

Smith’s human Marjorie, a former

listener, to be empathic, and to be

At 25, Smith was the oldest

violinist, is playful, but prickly, urging

learning all the time,” says Smith.

starlet in the photo and still play-

Walter to rewrite their story about

She’s describing her hologram, but

ing teenagers. Today, she’s the only

channeling Marjorie twice before,

the night he proposed. Her daugh-

she could be describing an actor.

one alive. Her longevity seems less

the lines became new all over again

ter Tess and son-in-law Jon (Tim

Marjorie’s first words would make

like a calculated career arc, than

once she started saying them to

Robbins) are glad she has Walter to

a great opening line for Smith’s

an actor who can’t resist learning

Hamm, Davis and Robbins. “A dif-

remind her to eat, and anchor her

autobiography, if she’d ever had

another role. “I don’t think I was ever

ferent actor changes it,” says Smith.

when a wave of dementia rolls in.

time to write one: “I feel like I have to

particularly a planner,” Smith admits.

“It’s like you’re playing the same

Marjorie is smart enough to know

perform around you.”

Around the time of the LIFE Maga-

piece of music, the same notes, but

zine cover, Smith told a journalist

it will be interpreted differently. The

she’s being minded, but she likes

Smith has spent most of her life

both of them.” It’s alive in her, too. Even after

Walter’s company anyway. We see

on the stage. She’s acted so long

that she hadn’t “realized all my stage

stimuli, what’s going on moment-

Smith’s face flicker through differ-

that when she refers to developing

ambitions.” She wasn’t talking about

to-moment—that’s one of the

ent emotions—delight, defiance,

her new line-learning technique in

awards or glory. She just wanted to

great joys.” Hearing Smith describe

suspicion, petulance, and finally, the

“recent years”, she means, “the last

be Nina in The Seagull. On Broadway,

acting with such intelligence and

judgement that his programmers

25 or so.” She was born Lois Arlene

she did Harold Pinter and Bertolt

zest recalls a phrase she says in her

haven’t gotten Walter’s nose exactly

Humbert in Topeka, Kansas in 1930.

Brecht and Tennessee Williams and

cameo as an empathetic nun in

right. She’s chosen a younger version

Her father worked for the telephone

Eugene O’Neill and John Steinbeck

Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird: “Don’t you

of her husband “because he was

company, but at night he directed

and Sam Shepard and Tony Kushner,

think maybe they’re the same thing,

handsome”, says Smith. Tess thinks

biblical plays for the Protestant

and yes, three different plays by

love and attention?”

it’s because her mom was happier

church. “They weren’t for entertain-

Anton Chekhov. But by the time she

before she was born.

ment,” stresses Smith, but they

got around to The Seagull, she had

I think,” says Smith. Marjorie would

After Marjorie’s death, Davis

“One wants to be well thought of,

were entertaining to her. She loved

aged out of Nina and played the

agree. And hopefully, the Academy

and Smith have a long, wonderfully

sitting in on rehearsals, and when

viperous Madame Arkadina instead.

will finally demand people pay atten-

uncomfortable scene where the

he needed a fill-in, she knew all the

angry daughter confronts a digital

lines. Finally, he gave his youngest

stage have trained her in the art of

content just to quietly concentrate

ghost. “I’m the Marjorie you still have

daughter an Old Testament costume

letting go. Film audiences remember

on her work. For now, she’s busily

things to say to,” chirps Smith as

and her own parts. Smith remem-

her as Jack Nicholson’s dour, conser-

learning sign language for her next

her character’s replacement. She’s

bers the pleasure she felt perform-

vative sister in Five Easy Pieces, or as

challenging role in Craig Lucas’ new

so close to the person we first met

ing. “That was the beginning.”

the wide-eyed and waifish barmaid

play, I Was Most Alive With You. “It’s a

who fascinates James Dean in East

very ambitious piece,” Smith beams.

that initially, we’re not supposed to

When she was 18, she married a

In a way, Smith’s decades on the

tion to an actress who’s long been

know the difference. Yet Smith gives

teacher named Wesley Smith, and

of Eden. (Smith and Dean’s cam-

“It’ll be interesting to see how it

us small hints. Her words are crisper,

the young couple soon moved to

era test, in which the two Actors’

works.” ★

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

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CHARTED TERRITORY

Gold Derby’s Oscar Odds

The Nature of the Beast

Beauty and the Beast production designer Sarah Greenwood on the challenges posed by Disney’s live-action adaptation of the classic fairy tale. BY MATT GROBAR

A FOUR-TIME OSCAR NOMINEE, production designer Sarah Greenwood had a lot to live up to, taking on a live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast—“a tale as old as time” previously spun into a Disney animated classic. Unlike costume designer Jacqueline Durran though, who took more direct inspiration from the fabric of that film, Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer relied on the reality of 1740s France as their starting point. “We’re not in fairy tale land—we’re somewhere very specific. There’s an homage paid and a DNA running through it, but it was building on my memory,” Greenwood says. “I didn’t actually specifically go back to the animation—it’s kind of my memory and my sense of the songs.” In preparation for an enormous new endeavor—working on their first-ever musical production—Greenwood and company took a tour through France, “looking at beautiful villages, and chateaus and things,” with the notion of shooting on location in a real French village. “I really quite liked the textural context of that,” the production designer

says. Ultimately, Greenwood and the art department created their own village on a UK soundstage, cherry-picking design elements from international sources of inspiration. Building on stages allowed Greenwood greater control over the sets, which could be designed to work in concert with camera and dance choreography. “Having never done a musical and big dancing numbers, there was a steep learning curve to make it work completely,” Greenwood recalls. “But it was great fun.”

At press time, here is how Gold Derby’s experts ranked the Oscar chances in the race for Best Picture. Get up-to-date rankings and make your own predictions at GoldDerby.com BEST PICTURE

ODDS

1

Dunkirk

11/2

2

The Shape of Water

8/1

3

Darkest Hour

9/1

4

The Post

9/1

5

Call Me By Your Name

9/1

6

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

10/1

7

Get Out

12/1

8

Lady Bird

16/1

9

The Florida Project

16/1

10

Phantom Thread

25/1

11

Mudbound

33/1

12

The Big Sick

40/1

13

Battle of the Sexes

100/1

14

The Greatest Showman

100/1

15

Downsizing

100/1

WONDER SCORED

Wonderstruck composer Carter Burwell discusses the craft of composing whimsy AN EXPERT AT ELEVATING IMAGES through music, composer Carter Burwell found his greatest challenge of late in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck—a film featuring a “vast amount of music” and almost wall-to-wall, whimsical score. “A lot of people these days use the minimalist idiom of people like Philip Glass in film

8

because music’s there, it’s doing something, but it’s just not doing too much,” Burwell says. “This film, I’m not working in that idiom, so figuring out how to solve that challenge was a real educational experience.” With Wonderstruck, Burwell also took on the difficult task of crafting percussion-driven themes for the two children

the film follows, both of whom happen to be deaf. Appropriately, the score is an experience of childlike wonder at the world, which employs non-instruments like combs, pieces of jewelry, and keys, and instruments not typically heard in a conventional, classical score (harp and organ), to sublime, textured effect. –Matt Grobar

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

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BILLBOARDED Martin McDonagh took a screenplay prize for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in Venice, and the audience award at Toronto.

No Clues

the fall fests. Warner Bros.’ July

the aforementioned Venice, Telluride

release, Dunkirk, is hanging strong as

and Toronto, also include the New

Why the fall festivals may not predict 2017 Oscar contenders

a near-certain Best Picture con-

York and London fests, as well as

BY P E T E H A M M O N D

tender; Universal’s February release

November’s AFI Fest.

of the smash hit horror film Get Out

LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME, strong and obvious Best Picture Oscar contenders had emerged from the so-called Fall trifecta of film festivals at Venice, Telluride and Toronto. Movies like La La Land and Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge and Arrival all staked their claim to a spot with their debuts and key fest exposure. This has been the norm, actually, for the past several seasons, as the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner, at the very least, was generally first seen at one of those festivals; that list includes Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, The Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman, Spotlight,and of course, Moonlight, after first hearing the winner was La La Land in that now infamous envelope snafu. Only 2009’s Best Picture champ, The Hurt Locker, broke that streak in the past nine years, and that was because it had opened in late June, an anomaly.

also seems to be gaining momen-

FOX SEARCHLIGHT: Battle of the

tum, as later releases fall by the

Sexes won lots of notice at its Tel-

wayside or crash at the box office;

luride debut, as well as at Toronto,

the critically acclaimed summertime

and has fueled that into respect-

romance, Call Me By Your Name was

able box office grosses to remain a

actually first seen way back at the

contender, particularly for reigning

Sundance Film Festival, even though

Best Actress champ Emma Stone as

it doesn’t open until late November,

Billie Jean King. Guillermo del Toro’s

but it also appears to be gaining

magical The Shape of Water won

momentum. The major studios are

hearts and minds at all three fests,

in the game with several so-called

from its world premiere at Venice,

blockbuster-type films they are very

and could have some added mojo

seriously pushing in many key Oscar

when it opens in December. Perhaps

categories, none of which came from

Searchlight’s best bet, though, is

the fall fests, in a list that includes

Martin McDonagh’s acclaimed Three

Logan, War for the Planet of the Apes,

Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,

Blade Runner 2049, Wonder Woman

which, after Venice, drew strong

and so on. Universal, Warner and

talk for its cast, including Frances

Disney all shied away from playing

McDormand and Sam Rockwell, and

voters are added into the mix,

the Oscar-friendly fall festival game

became the surprise winner of TIFF’s

ferent. After the debuts of numerous

thus making the traditional way of

this year. Fox had only The Mountain

People’s Choice audience award,

hopefuls at Venice, Telluride and

predicting the results a fool’s game.

Between Us at Toronto, but that is

often an indicator of eventual Oscar

Toronto, the Oscar picture is murkier

Who would have thought Moonlight

considered more of a commercial

success.

than ever. It appears the Best Picture

could pull off that kind of upset

play for them. In fact, of the majors,

race is about as wide open at this

against the juggernaut that La La

only Paramount and Sony are using

A24: Following up a Best Picture

point as it has ever been, and the

Land turned out to be (still winning

the fall fest circuit to drive some

win for Moonlight, not to mention a

possibilities for a wild upset seem

six Oscars, including Best Director)?

This season, however, feels dif-

contenders. Breaking it down by

Best Actress and Best Picture nomi-

more likely than unlikely, especially

Among the films most often

distributor, here is how their awards

nation the previous year for Room,

when the wild card factor of nearly

mentioned as frontrunners in this

season fortunes may be enhanced—

this little indie company that could

1,500 new (in the last two years)

year’s race so far, not many of the

or broken—by their participation at

is on a roll, and like it did with those

and very internationalized Academy

sure bets seem to be coming from

the fall festivals, which, in addition to

two films, used Telluride and TIFF to

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PET E HAMMOND Telluride to successfully launch Gary

White House and The Leisure Seeker,

Oldman as the current Best Actor

featuring lovely turns from veterans

front runner for his Winston Churchill

Helen Mirren and Donald Suther-

in Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour, and

land, didn’t light the house on fire

Venice to launch Dame Judi Dench’s

with awards buzz after their debuts.

latest round with the Queen in Stephen Frear’s Victoria & Abdul. Both

BLEECKER STREET: Breathe won

also played TIFF to nice response

plaudits for stars Andrew Garfield

and could be dark horse Best Picture

and Claire Foy at both TIFF and Lon-

contenders as well.

don, but went nowhere at the box office, which might hurt any subse-

ANNAPURNA: Another new

quent momentum awards-wise.

distributor, Annapurna used TIFF

STRONGEST Jake Gyllenhaal (right) with Boston bombing survivor Jeff Bauman at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

to launch Brad’s Status, as well as

AMAZON: The streamer’s new

Professor Marston and the Wonder

Richard Linkater film, Last Flag Fly-

Women, but any awards hopes for

ing, drew a mixed response after its

either were dashed by disappoint-

opening night world premiere at the

ing theatrical runs. The company is

New York Film Festival, and the same

hoping an upcoming awards-timed

fate met Woody Allen’s NYFF closer,

re-release of their maiden August

Wonder Wheel, which neverthe-

release Detroit will be able to land

less has Kate Winslet back in Best

springboard Lady Bird, the charming

comedy, I Love You Daddy will cause

them some forward momentum into

Actress contention. Neither film was

Greta Gerwig directorial debut star-

talk, as it did after its TIFF debut,

the Oscar race instead.

the slam dunk, critically, that Ama-

ring an award-worthy Saoirse Ronan,

where the upstart indie acquired it

into strong contention, to give them

and quickly put it into awards play

NEON: Yet another relatively new

a three-peat on the Oscar stage.

for a November opening. In the light

player to the Oscar game got a lot

SONY PICTURES: A gutsy deci-

It could be the first teen-oriented

of new headlines, it may struggle to

of traction with the Tonya Harding

sion to take the unfinished Denzel

film since Juno to crack the Best

stay alive with the heat on allega-

flick, I, Tonya, which they picked up

Washington-starring Roman J. Israel,

Pic code. Their other best bet, The

tions against Louis CK. A big loser

at TIFF, and which surprisingly came

Esq. into a much anticipated one-

Florida Project, debuted in Cannes,

for them was the abysmal Halle

in second for TIFF’s audience award.

night TIFF screening drew mixed

but won over Toronto—and, coupled

Berry/Daniel Craig LA Riots movie,

Strong talk here for Margot Robbie

reviews from pundits and lowered

with strong results since its opening,

Kings, which was not well received

and Allison Janney.

its chances, awards-wise, despite a

is also a possibility, if not a sure thing

after a TIFF World Premiere.

in the Best Picture race. A midnight

zon must have been hoping for.

typically fine turn from Washington. PARAMOUNT: The studio followed

Since TIFF, the film went back in to

TIFF debut for James Franco’s quirky

ENTERTAINMENT STUDIOS:

the successful pattern established

the cutting room and had 12 minutes

and amusing The Disaster Artist went

Byron Allen’s new distribution com-

last year with Arrival, by taking

excised, among other changes in

well enough to position it possibly for

pany made a splash purchasing both

Alexander Payne’s comedy Down-

advance of its November opening.

Best Adapted Screenplay and pos-

the Scott Cooper–directed West-

sizing to Venice/Telluride/Toronto,

Oscar fate TBD. All the Money in the

sibly in the Golden Globes Comedy

ern Hostiles and the controversial

but after smash reviews in Italy, saw

World, meanwhile, will hold its late-

categories—it premiered at SXSW

Chappaquiddick, detailing the Ted

the buzz simmer a bit when it hit

December date despite allegations

in March. On the down side, there is

Kennedy scandal, following the 1969

North America. Darren Aronofsky’s

against star Kevin Spacey. The film

mixed reaction for the challenging

fatal auto accident he was involved

mother! predictably drew polarizing

will hastily reshoot his scenes with

Cannes debut, The Killing of a Sacred

in. Both were pickups after TIFF

responses at Venice and TIFF, while

Christopher Plummer.

Deer, which attempted to use TIFF

reaction and announced for Oscar

George Clooney’s uneven Suburbi-

as a new launch into the race, but

qualifying runs. Chappaquiddick has

con pretty much fizzled at the same

NETFLIX: Their respective Sun-

didn’t gain much traction there.

since been moved out of the season,

two fests.

dance and Cannes debuts, Mud-

but there is hope for a Christian Bale ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS: Their

Best Actor nod for Hostiles.

stirring Boston bombing survivor

bound and The Meyerowitz Stories SONY PICTURES CLASSICS: SPC

(New and Selected), drew strong

had a gaggle of movies as usual on

support at various fall fests to

story Stronger, starring Jake Gyl-

STX: Aaron Sorkin’s directorial

the fall festival calendar this year,

continue their awards season

lenhaal in the true and inspiring story

debut, telling the true life story of

but got their strongest response

hopes, and both are primed to test

of Jeff Bauman, did well with a TIFF

poker madam Molly Bloom, Molly’s

after the TIFF North American

resistance to Netflix’s day and date

World Premiere, but fizzled shortly

Game had a successful run at TIFF

debut of Sundance find, Call Me By

release strategy that killed the Oscar

afterwards when it opened in the-

and is positioned to strike at Oscar

Your Name. There were also encour-

chances for Beasts of No Nation two

aters. Still, Gyllenhaal could pull off a

for Jessica Chastain in particular, in

aging words for Annette Bening and

years ago.

much-deserved lead actor nomina-

the crowded Best Actress race, fol-

Jamie Bell in Film Stars Don’t Die in

tion once screeners arrive.

lowing a Christmas opening.

Liverpool, which, if there is any jus-

THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY:

tice, could put them both into Oscar

Don’t ask. Even if their big TIFF hope

THE ORCHARD: Louis CK’s sharply

FOCUS FEATURES: Always an

contention. On the down side, Mark

The Current War hadn’t flopped in its

funny and daring black-and-white

Oscar season stalwart, Focus used

Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the

Toronto world premiere, don’t ask. ★

12

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REAL TO REEL Wide-ranging doc topics this year include The Syrian War (Hell on Earth), an unorthodox scientist (Jane), and Turkish cats (Kedi).

On the Docket

The Best Documentary Feature race will be as competitive as ever in 2018. BY A N T O N I A B LY T H

IN TYPICAL FASHION, this year’s Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature began at Sundance, with the festival yielding several standouts. Winner of the U.S. documentary Grand Jury Award was Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ Dina (The Orchard)–which follows autistic couple Dina Bruno and Scott Levin’s wedding preparations. STEP (Fox Searchlight) received rave reviews for its uplifting story of a transformative dance troupe at a Baltimore girls’ school, while Damon Davis and Sabaah Folayan’s Whose Streets? (Magnolia Pictures) tackled Ferguson and Black Lives Matter. Then, there was Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen’s follow-up to Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar-winning climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth—An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Paramount/Participant Media). Outside of these topical outings, a leading theme among this year’s Sundance offerings was the crisis in Syria, with three films covering the subject. From 2015 nominee Matthew Heineman, City of Ghosts (A&E/Amazon) follows a renegade group of journalists documenting ISIS at great personal risk; HBO’s Cries from Syria, from Oscar-nominated Winter on Fire helmer Evgeny Afineevsky, depicts the Syrian civil war using raw footage shot by local people, and Firas Fayyad and Steen Johannessen’s Last Men in Aleppo (Grasshopper Film), won the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury prize for its depiction. And the Syrian subject didn’t end at Sundance: In fact, the Tribecadebuting Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of Isis (National Geographic) from former Oscar nominee Sebastian Junger and Emmy winner Nick Quested (Restrepo) looks to be a frontrunner. While over one hundred docs will be running the Academy race, only 15 of those will make the December shortlist. Here’s the lowdown on who might make that first cut.

14

City of Ghosts (A&E/Amazon)

Cannes, this film from French New

Oscar nominated for Cartel Land in

Wave legend Agnès Varda and street

2015, Emmy winner Matthew Heine-

artist JR explores the friendship

man is back with this in-depth look

between the two creators despite

at Syrian activist group ‘Raqqa is

their 55-year age difference as they

Being Slaughtered Silently’—a band

work on their ‘Inside Outside Project,’

of local anonymous journalists who

traveling France and producing

got together to report on ISIS after

giant portrait photographs of locals

it conquered their home in 2014.

that they then paste onto walls and

Heineman follows them through

buildings, while conducting inter-

their terrifying and awe-inspiring

views with their subjects.

stand in the face of death threats and murder. The film was nominated

Jane (National Geographic)

for Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and

Brett Morgen’s Jane explores the life

the Critics Choice Documentary

and legacy of Jane Goodall, follow-

Award.

ing her determined mission to study chimpanzee behavior, despite being

Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria

untrained and largely ridiculed by the

and the Rise of Isis (National

male-dominated scientific commu-

Geographic)

nity. The film is taken from over 100

From Restrepo collaborators Sebas-

hours of previously unseen footage,

tian Junger and Nick Quested, Hell on

shot by photographer Hugo Van

Earth gives a broad view of the Syrian

Lawick. National Geographic sent

crisis, offering multiple viewpoints

Van Lawick to document Goodall’s

and expert interviews. It includes

work back in the ‘60s, and he would

footage of a local family driven to

eventually become her husband. The

desperation, Shia militias in Iraq, and

film covers the couple’s romance,

Al-Qaeda fighters in Aleppo, with

Goodall’s extraordinary life in the

an inevitably horrifying look at the

jungle and her revolutionary findings.

violence and brutality of ISIS. Overall, the film provides a terrifying and

Kedi (Oscilloscope)

insightful explanation of how these

Capable of turning even the least

extremists came to power.

likely cat lover, Ceyda Torun’s charming portrait of seven stray Turkish

Faces Places (Cohen Media Group)

felines is also a unique and mov-

Winner of the L’Œil d’or award at

ing look at Istanbul and its human

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F O R Y O U R C O N S I D E R AT I O N

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE A “MASTERPIECE...“ - Sonia Saraiya, “LET IT FALL is a single comprehensive history of how Los Angeles tore itself apart from 1982 to 1992, and also of a dozen or more personal tragedies. It’s like looking into the heart of all those single flames that made the conflagration.” - Stuart Klawans,

“LET IT FALL understands the value of allowing its interview subjects to talk at greater, more involving length than is usual for documentaries, a technique that illuminates the complexities of reality and gives listeners a sense of the emotional textures of these people’s lives.” - Kenneth Turan, “This is history from the inside, told by people who don’t always look like they’ve gotten past it, and it’s what makes LET IT FALL so memorable.”- Robert Abele,

LetItFallMovie.com

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D OCUMENTARY SPOTLI G HT their stoicism coming over as heartbreaking and unremitting pain. Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 (ABC) 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley’s exploration of the decadelong lead-up to the LA riots takes an unflinching look at the city’s gang culture, drug use and the shocking police tactics that built to a disastrous and tragic crescendo. Although there are several offerings this year marking the 25-year anniversary of the riots, Let It Fall is a unique historical take on the elements that preceded the crisis. Long Strange Trip (Amazon) Amir Bar-Lev takes us on the populace. Full of astute observations

ultimate Grateful Dead journey

and metaphorical musings, this

with this intensive exploration of

stealth hit packs an emotional punch

the band’s archives. Since ESPN’s

as the cats receive surprisingly

seven-hour documentary O.J.: Made

heartwarming gestures of generosity

in America won the Oscar, Long

and love.

Strange Trip—which initially screened as a four-hour movie at Sundance

Cries from Syria (HBO) Beginning with the murder and torture of young boys who wrote

before streaming as six episodes on MAKING HISTORY Last Men in Aleppo’s ‘white helmets’ perform a rescue; Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman in Jim & Andy; a scene from STEP.

Amazon—should also qualify in the doc feature category.

anti-Bashar-al-Assad graffiti, Evgeny Afineevsky’s film draws a six-year

make a film exploring how easy it

Contractually Obligated Mention

STEP (Fox Searchlight)

timeline of the war in Syria. The doc

is for professional athletes to get

of Tony Clifton (Netflix)

Winner of the U.S. Documentary

covers Assad’s brutal assault on his

away with doping. But during his

Chris Smith’s exploration of Jim

Special Jury Award for Inspira-

own people with the help of Russia,

research, Fogel happened upon

Carrey’s four-month transformation

tional Filmmaking at Sundance,

ISIS’ infiltration, and ultimately, the

evidence of a massive Russian

into comic Andy Kaufman for the

Amanda Lipitz’s debut film was

day-to-day horror of life in Syria,

doping cover-up. The resulting film

1999 biopic Man on the Moon cen-

then snapped up in a bidding war—a

employing revelatory footage taken

covers the mysterious death of

ters on behind-the-scenes footage

rare situation for a documentary.

by activists, journalists, parents,

anti-doping officials, the possible

of the shoot, taken by Kaufman’s

STEP follows the Baltimore Leader-

young children and a defected gen-

ban of all Russian athletes from the

former girlfriend, Lynne Margulies,

ship School for Young Women’s

eral. Shocking, unbearable scenes

2016 Olympics, and the unraveling

and his writing partner, Bob Zmuda.

step team―known as the ‘Lethal

make for a vital exposé of the truth

of a deeply corrupt system.

The Spike Jonze-produced doc from

Ladies’–through their senior year,

Vice Documentary Films follows

giving us a heartwarming look at the

of Syria’s situation. An Inconvenient Sequel:

Carrey as he reviews this footage

power of creative dance and team-

Dina (The Orchard)

Truth to Power

years later, reflecting on his and

work to overcome daily hardship.

Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’

(Paramount/ Participant Media)

Kaufman’s lives.

sweet and enthralling love story fol-

Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient

lows Dina Bruno as she prepares to

Truth snagged the Best Documen-

Last Men in Aleppo

(Magnolia Pictures)

marry Walmart greeter Scott Levin.

tary Feature Oscar in 2007, and this

(Grasshopper Film)

Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’

Winner of the U.S. documentary

follow-up film from Bonni Cohen

While Orlando von Einsiedel and

film tells the story of the 2014 killing

Grand Jury Award at Sundance, the

and Jon Shenk was well-received

Joanna Natasegara’s The White

of 18 year-old Michael Brown and the

film explores the autistic couple’s

at Sundance. Exploring Al Gore’s

Helmets won the 2017 Oscar for Best

subsequent outcry from the point of

tentative steps toward the altar,

continuing fight for the environment

Documentary Short, Feras Fayyad’s

view of those who were there at the

while sensitively revealing the pain-

in the face of an unsympathetic

Last Men in Aleppo proves there’s still

time. From the Ferguson uprising, to

ful and unexpected hurdles in the

Trump, the film offers some hope

much more to say about the Syrian

the global reach of the Black Lives

pair’s history.

when viewers might be expecting

rescue volunteers named for their

Matter movement, this film gives an

only doom and despair.

white protective headgear. We see

authoritative storytelling voice to the

the repetition of their nightmare task

black Ferguson community, focusing

Icarus (Netflix)

Whose Streets?

Writer, director and marathon biker

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

as they dig over and over again into

on letting activists and local citizens

Bryan Fogel originally intended to

– Featuring a Very Special,

the rubble to pull out dead children,

speak. ★

16

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Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name captures the fevered pangs of confusing desire and first romance like nothing else. With help from his two leads, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, Guadagnino tells Joe Utichi about bringing André Aciman’s touching novel to the screen.

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AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

On location in Crema and at Lake Garda, Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet soak up the Italian summer sun in Luca Guadagnino's Call Me by Your Name.

L

uca Guadagnino doesn’t fall in love easily. “It was not about falling in love,” he says of the ultimate decision he made to direct his new film, Call Me by Your Name. “I fell in love once in my life, and I have been with the same person since. So I give a great level of importance to the concept of falling in love.” Instead, perhaps, it was resignation that made

him take the helm. Guadagnino had been attached

went to another and another, and the dance of

to the adaptation of André Aciman’s delirious sum-

seduction lasted varying lengths of time with each,

mer romance for nearly a decade—first as a con-

until all of those suitors fell away. It was Spears who

sultant, then an executive producer, then a writer—

suggested perhaps his friend James Ivory should

when he finally took the plunge into directing it.

direct, with a script that Ivory and Guadagnino

Producers Peter Spears and Howard Rosenman had

could work on together.

optioned the book before it was published in 2007,

Guadagnino couldn’t deny the pleasure of

and were working with another director to mount

elevating his level of involvement with each new

the project. They had reached out to Guadagnino

turn in the road, and working with Ivory on the

because the book is set in Italy and he knew the

script was a joy. “He showed up at my place in

filmmaking landscape of his home country.

Crema, and we started working together. It took us

Over the years, he took his producers on scouts

a year of back-and-forth between Crema and New

all over Italy. “The book is about this specific place

York, and we started from scratch. It was a very

called Bordighera,” Guadagnino explains. “We

interesting script, because it was filled with the

went all through Liguria. We showed them the

typical imagery of Ivory.”

Bordighera village and a possible house that could

20

When the original director dropped out, they

But still, there was no luck for the production.

meet the storyline.” Later on, he says, “we imag-

Guadagnino put together a budget, but financiers

ined a different setting; Sicily.”

wouldn’t bite with a director nearing his 90th

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birthday. Ivory finally suggested Guadagnino join

“comfortable” with this story. “Because maybe I

him as a co-director. “But nobody believed in this

knew the people that I was talking about,” he says.

concept,” Guadagnino sighs. “It was important to

“I knew the emotional journey they were going

me to make this happen for James. I would have

through. Butterflies in the stomach is the most

loved to see his version of the film. We worked a lot.

beautiful feeling you can feel, no?”

But nobody believed two filmmakers could make a

But he is not alone in finding this kind of connec-

movie together—unless they were brothers, or a pair

tion with the story. The book's fans are diehard, and

to begin with.”

you don't have to be gay, or Jewish, or to have sum-

Guadagnino could be fast and nimble in a way

mered in Italy, to remember the stomach-churning

Ivory wasn’t practiced in. He was used to tight

joys of first desire. For those who fall for it, Call Me

shoots and compressed schedules, and that would

by Your Name makes them fall hard. So much so

be attractive to financiers. It soon became undeni-

that when their friends share those feelings, their

able: if this movie was going to go ahead, Luca Gua-

reactions make it feel like the novel is somehow

dagnino would have to step up. “I believed in this

being adulterous. Guadagnino's film had to hit that

project and I didn’t want to see it go,” he says. “That

same balance of the personal and the universal.

was the reason I did it. Everybody got paid nothing.

He made it his own when he became its director.

We did it because we wanted to do it.” So what was it about this story that inspired such fevered devotion, and yet such hesitation to take the reins? Call Me by Your Name is a love story, in its most unadulterated form. Elio is the 17-yearold boy whose narration guides us in Aciman’s novel, as he meets Oliver, a 24-year-old graduate student come to stay for the summer at Elio’s father’s Italian villa. Certainly, there is a cross-generational controversy ready to ruffle some feathers, but that feels almost incidental. As Elio and Oliver’s attraction deepens, moralistic arguments seem weightless. And, by his own admission, Guadagnino felt

“MAYBE I KNEW THE PEOPLE THAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT. I KNEW THE EMOTIONAL JOURNEY THEY WERE GOING THROUGH. BUTTERFLIES IN THE STOMACH IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FEELING YOU CAN FEEL, NO?” —LUCA GUADAGNINO DEADLINE.COM

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AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

Desire burns as Elio plays

“For me to believe in something means to be

this movie,” the actor says. “I read the script, and

the piano for Oliver inside

completely invested in it,” he says. “To be absolutely

then immediately went and read the book, and

the house Guadagnino

honest in my approach, for better and for worse.”

came to the conclusion that these were two of the

once coveted.

It’s a necessary step for any project, but especially

most beautiful and amazing pieces of source mate-

so when the subject is this achingly emotional.

rial I’d ever seen for something that could hopefully

He started where he usually does; he leaned into his cinephilia. The films that sprang to mind: Jean

There were fewer references for Guadagnino to

Renoir’s A Day in the Country, Bertolucci’s La Luna,

tap when it came to casting Timothée Chalamet as

Rohmer’s 80s films like The Green Ray and Pauline

Elio. At 21, Chalamet had already made a mark with

à la Plage (Call Me is set in 1982). Also Pialat’s À

a run on Homeland and in Christopher Nolan’s Inter-

Nos Amours, and Téchiné’s Wild Reeds. “There was

stellar. But Guadagnino found him through Peter

something about the countryside in all these films,”

Spears’ husband, agent Brian Swardstrom, who

he enthuses. “I try to make sure that I have the

had just signed the young actor. “We met and it was

pores of my imagination very open to soak in real-

instant recognition,” Guadagnino recalls. “The guy I

ity, but on the other hand, I rely very much on the

was talking with had this brooding, unbiased deter-

imagery of my cinephile upbringing, so it’s a battle

mination and ambition to be a great actor, and yet

between those two—or it’s making love between

he had this kind of soft, ingénue naiveté of a young

those two elements.”

boy. Those two things together were incredible.”

Guadagnino is heavily versed in movies—he rivals

The film rests on Chalamet’s shoulders. We

Tarantino for the ease with which he can relate

rarely break his perspective, and yet Guadagnino’s

subjects to cinema. And he’s no snob, either. When

version of the story omits the internal monologue of

he says he sought Armie Hammer for the part of

the book. Everything relies on Chalamet selling the

Oliver, he waxes lyrical about how good he is in Gore

this-way-and-that confusion of first love in glances

Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, in spite of its challeng-

and private moments. It was the biggest change

ing critical reception. “It’s a beautiful movie,” he

the director made. “I personally don’t like the first

insists, and he means it. Hammer had the movie

person account of a story in a movie,” Guadagnino

star quality that he knew the Oliver of Elio’s wistful

says, keen to stress that it suits the novelistic form

glance needed to encapsulate. “But also, there is a

better. “Sometimes I like the omniscient narrator,

sensitivity to him that is so deep.”

as in Barry Lyndon or The Age of Innocence. I tried

For Hammer, “there was no way I couldn’t do

22

become a movie.”

to think about what would happen if we had an

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omniscient narrator, and I discarded that, too.” Instead, he turned to indie musician Sufjan Stevens to ask for a song that could channel Elio's thoughts for the audience. Stevens surprised him by contributing two, “Mystery of Love” and “Visions of Gideon”, which chart the extremes of Elio’s experiences with Oliver. And he remixed a third of his own, “Futile Devices”, for the film, with lyrics that couldn’t have been more apt if they’d also been written for Call Me by Your Name. “And I would say I love you/but saying it out loud is hard/so I won’t say it at all,” he sings. “But you are the life I needed all along.” “We envelop the movie in the voice of Sufjan Stevens,” Guadagnino says. “I asked him to create songs that were, in a way, some sort of narrative for the film.” Guadagino doesn't fall in love easy, but “it’s not hard to imagine being in love with

why we connect Call Me by Your Name to our own

Sufjan, because he’s such a pure artist with such

comings-of-age. And we empathize all too easily

an incredible imagination, and an emotional world

with the crazy degrees to which his emotional per-

that is so deep.”

spective shunts him. We’ve all known the pleasure

A film script is not a play, the director insists. There is no need to burden it with unnecessary dia-

and the pain of an Oliver. “There is a universally human quality to Elio,”

logue. Film, after all, has the close-up, and the cam-

Chalamet says. “There’s a tension on the surface

era’s eye can draw the perspective of its audience.

of his existence, and he’s in a transitionary period in

If theater shouts to the gods, film whispers to the

his life, becoming a man and dealing with feelings of

front row. So there’s a quiet to Call Me by Your Name;

sexual impulse for the first time. It felt rare to read a

it says just what it needs to and no more. “I want

story about a young person who’s this complex. It’s

to empower the moment of uncertainty,” he says.

no surface representation of what young people are.

“There’s a Tim Burton movie, Batman Returns, which,

And as an actor, you seize that kind of opportunity.”

for being a movie about comic book hero, has that

There’s also a life to Elio’s relationship with

same kind of attitude; it makes that movie a master-

Oliver in the film that relies on these two leads

piece. And you have the greatest of all, Mr. Spielberg,

bringing every tool in their arsenal. It depended on

who from his height of communicating with every

their ability to find one another as friends, not just

person in the world still devotes himself to a very, very

colleagues, before cameras rolled. Guadagnino got

precise behavioral presentation of people.”

them out to the location weeks before shooting. He

As Chalamet navigated bringing the audience

adopted hometown, in a house he had once fallen

cinematography of Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, who

for and wanted to buy. “But I couldn’t afford it. I

paints the frame like a gilded memory of times

sublimated by putting it into the movie. Now I have

past—the book became his bible. “It was a tremen-

that house forever in me.” When the actors arrived they found “para-

freedom you want to give yourself when you act,

dise”, Hammer says. “I was sucked into this idyllic,

and the ability to jump off a cliff, but the greatest

perfect world there. It seems as close to perfect

responsibility in making this movie felt primarily to

as anywhere I’ve been. It’s just that much more

the people that had been fans of the book. And

relaxed and laid back. Waking up in the morning and

André Aciman even more so, because this was his

squeezing apricot juice to drink. It was about slow-

child. But I found myself going to the book in scenes

ing down and enjoying all of those little things.”

that were harder to play, and moments that didn’t make as much sense to me.” Hammer had less help from Aciman’s text than

Uniting the two actors in advance was essential to making them feel comfortable. “It was a genuine proximity our souls felt to one another in those early

his co-star. “The perspective of the book is almost

weeks,” Chalamet recalls. “The friendship sprouted

entirely Elio’s interlocution,” he says. “His feelings

very easily, very naturally, very organically. It was

towards Oliver are very subjective and capricious.

really the random luck of the universe.”

It’s the confusion of his infatuation. So for me, going

Of course actors say this kind of thing to jour-

off the book, I had to filter everything through that

nalists all the time. And they’re actors—it’s their job

understanding.”

to make it sound convincing. But as they reunite for

“It was almost like he was reading the enemy’s manifesto,” Chalamet jokes. Elio, after all, is us. He’s

—ARMIE HAMMER

had finally settled on making the film in Crema, his

into Elio’s inner world—aided by the sumptuous

dous gift,” Chalamet explains. “There’s this certain

“THERE WAS NO WAY I COULDN’T DO THIS MOVIE. I READ THE SCRIPT, AND THEN IMMEDIATELY WENT AND READ THE BOOK, AND CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THESE WERE TWO OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING PIECES OF SOURCE MATERIAL I’D EVER SEEN FOR SOMETHING."

the film’s promotional trail, there isn’t much effort or artifice between them. “Actually I was video DEADLINE.COM

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FATHER TIME

Michael Stuhlbarg plays Elio’s father in Call Me by Your Name. His advice-giving speech in the film’s final act is a showstopper. By Joe Utichi

MICHAEL STUHLBARG IS FINELY CAST in Call Me by Your Name. The quiet, unshowy determination that Stuhlbarg has brought to all of his roles, in the likes of A Serious Man, Blue Jasmine and Miss Sloane, seems to marry expertly with the world of André Aciman’s novel. Elio’s father is a presence in the story, but as Elio’s perspective remains obsessed with Oliver, we don’t get to know the man too well. Until, that is, he sits an emotionally wrecked Elio down to comfort his son on the journey he’s just taken. “Right now you may not want to feel anything … but feel something you did,” he says. “To feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!” What led to this role? I received a phone call from my agent saying that Luca was interested in the possibility of working on this together, and so I read it and I loved everything about it. I loved the idea of working with Luca because I had seen his film, I Am Love, which really knocked me out. The idea of working on a piece that James Ivory had written was a thrill, and something that rarely comes along. Did you go to the book? I did, but I didn’t start reading the book until I had already jumped on board. I didn’t know it was a novel, but I found out rather quickly that there was a great cult following to the novel as well. So, I read it and it kind of became a bible for me, as

Michael Stuhlbarg's professor father is Elio's rock, who helps his son

much as the script is during the shooting of the film.

navigate the treacherous waters of obsession.

I think a lot of what was captured had to do with Luca’s take on the film in

Yes. I had been warned by my agent there was a really beautiful speech towards

general, which was he wanted us to think upon these events that we were going

the end of the story, and so when it came along I was very taken with it. I loved the

to be dramatizing as one of those idyllic summers that one could have had in

sentiment of most, if not all of the things that he got to say. The sadness that is

their youth if they were fortunate enough. I think there was a lightness that he

referenced to the kind of life that perhaps he lived himself, or perhaps he envied his

wanted us to bring to things, and lots of laughter. I found him encouraging lots of

son, that his son had this kind of event in his life that he loved so deeply and pro-

fun throughout the entire thing; whereas, it could have in other hands been quite

foundly. I loved what he had to say, primarily about how, as we get older, we often, as

a leaden practise or come off in a different way. And, I think that spirit is captured

adults, tend to wear ourselves out somewhat with each new relationship that we get

beautifully in a lot of places in the film. That gave me a great jumping off point in

ourselves into. Offering up to his son the idea that he shouldn’t push away what he’s

terms of a father watching his son go through these kinds of things. Keeping his

feeling because we can often close ourselves off to the world, that was beautiful.

thoughts perhaps to himself but also getting to witness them at the same time.

Was it helpful to you to imagine what this man’s life might have been like in

You’re also in The Shape of Water this year, in a very different role. And The

the past?

Post, too. Has it felt like a banner year for you?

Absolutely. I think dialogue like that is a gift to an actor, or at least certainly a jumping

I feel very fortunate that these films came into my life in the ways that they did.

off place where you can allow it to work on your imagination as to what this person

I love that the work is different. That all are in separate, unique worlds. If I have

may have gone through. The choices he made. The roads he didn’t follow. Yeah, I

a choice in the matter I love to shake things up and make things as different as

think the text does most of the work for you in those instances, which is wonderful

possible, and to lose myself in whichever the world happens to be. Whether it be

when it vibrates with a past.

Northern Italy in 1983, or the kind of make-believe magical realism that Guillermo created in Baltimore, 1962 or the world of The Post too. I love challenges, and all

Not a lot is said by him until that speech, but we get a sense—mostly in looks—

of these were filled with wonderful artists to work with. It’s been a terrific group

that he is aware of what his son’s going through. And he keeps his family joyful.

of projects in the last year.

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T I M OT H É E CH A LA M ET: M I CH A E L BUC K N ER

fall in love with him right away?

M I C HA E L ST UH L BA RG : M I C HA E L BUCK N E R

Your character, Elio’s father, is the parent we all dream of having. Did you


Love blossoms as Elio and

can listen to a great symphony of Mahler and have

days sometimes,” says Chalamet. “All that volume

Oliver get close. "It feels like

a bad experience, because the conductor and the

over a short course of time can actually be less

I got a new best friend and

orchestra are not aligned to make that symphony

conducive to telling a story accurately. Luca’s films

brother out of the process,"

resonate in the ears of the listener. Or, you can be

are as sensual as they are intellectually stimulating.

says Hammer of Chalamet.

lifted to the heavens.”

And he has a confidence as a director that meant I

Filmmakers, he insists, are “charlatans. We’re imposters. So we all have to put on the best dress and make people pretend we’re not imposters. It’s

“This is just a movie that deals with pure, almost

alchemy. We make smoke and mirrors out of ele-

archetypal human emotions,” continues Hammer.

Skyping with Timmy last night,” Hammer says. “It

ments of identification for an audience to a story and

“There are no special effects and no big set pieces.

feels like I got a new best friend and brother out

characters.” He treats every movie as his first. “And

To get to experience that, and live in that, and

of the process. There was a huge amount of trust

what I learn about the experience as I grow up is not

breathe that for two months, was one of the great-

we put in one another to do this. It required a level

to panic if something is half good if not fully good.

est gifts I’ve been given in my entire life.”

of vulnerability in both of us that would only have

Cinema has the power to use only the very best pos-

been possible if we felt safe around each other,

sible of takes. Sometimes you find a glance and you

Festival in January. Guadagnino, meanwhile, has

and we did.”

know that’ll be the take and you won’t need the rest.”

been finishing Suspiria, his reimagining of Dario

The film made its debut at the Sundance Film

“Any actor who plays a role should give him

His laidback approach worked on his cast,

or herself the benefit of a window of time before

who talk of their time in Crema like they, too, had

shooting two movies in close proximity, because

shooting in which they can soak into the character,”

a whirlwind summer romance. “The process of

he’d lingered for six years between his previous

Guadagnino says. “For these specific characters,

shooting this film felt as languorous and relaxed

two works, I Am Love and A Bigger Splash. Still, he

and this story, one part was the environment, and

and laissez-faire as the movie itself,” Hammer says.

admits, “The downside of these kinds of ambitions

they had to become part of that environment.”

“Effort does not necessarily equal talent, right?

for film is that you don't have time for yourself.”

Guadagnino is no dictator. He describes film-

I’ve been on movies where it feels like everyone is

Argento’s legendary horror. He liked the idea of

Call Me by Your Name belongs to audiences now.

making as a “symbiotic work”. “It’s all about the

working really hard, but it doesn’t necessarily make

“It’s like having a child, and then the child grows up,”

point of view. How do you coordinate the efforts

anything better.”

Guadangino says. “This movie is a child out in the

T I M OT H É E CH A LA M ET: M I CH A E L BUC K N ER

of all the people to create this point of view? You

M I C HA E L ST UH L BA RG : M I C HA E L BUCK N E R

never felt any anxiety or pressure that we were running out of time.”

O1 Oscars Cover Story-03.indd 25

“On American sets you work 12-, 14-, 16-hour

world now.” ★

“IT FELT RARE TO READ A STORY ABOUT A YOUNG PERSON WHO’S THIS COMPLEX. IT’S NO SURFACE REPRESENTATION OF WHAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE. AND AS AN ACTOR, YOU SEIZE THAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITY.”—TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

11/10/17 3:49 PM


AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

jORDAN PEELE The Get Out creator on the genre hit that sparked much conversation—and Oscar buzz. By Mike Fleming Jr.

WHILE HE BUILT AN EMMY-WINNING career

made a film that was universally relatable for

are all taken care of, the audience will drop any

in socially aware comedy, those who knew

audiences. “The idea that I was able to sell this

preconceived notions, and just feel the emotions

Jordan Peele weren’t surprised when he mar-

movie to everybody, regardless of skin color and

of the protagonist and see through the eyes of

ried a polemical theme to the horror genre for his

where you’re coming from,” he says, “the fact that

that protagonist.”

feature directorial debut Get Out. Peele grew up

white and black people could walk into this movie,

a self-described movie nerd, with an encyclope-

seeing things from different perspectives, but by

original scripted ending–the one that showed

dic knowledge of horror films, and after Get Out

the middle of the movie, everybody is reacting like

the protagonist being carted off to jail. It can be

became one of the most wildly profitable films in

they’re Chris? It was more of a unifying experi-

viewed on the DVD, but the filmmaker decided

memory, with a $253 million global gross on a $4.5

ence.” But Peele hadn’t always been confident the

it was wrong to invoke his own politics at the

million budget, the film’s clever play on race rela-

outcome would be thus. “I had these nightmares

expense of the satisfying ending he felt the genre

tions in this country makes Peele the rare genre

of fights [in the theater], and creating more ani-

audience would want. “Thank goodness,” he says,

filmmaker figuring in awards season. Even though

mosity than unity,” he says. “It just speaks to the

“but it was pretty clear by the time that the cut

the last horror movie to clean up at the Oscars

power of story. If the performance and the script

with that original ending was made, that we were

There was also Peele’s decision to scrap his

was The Silence of the Lambs, Get Out is emerging as a viable contender. “Several things caught me off-guard, as to how well they worked,” Peele says. “One was the amount of conversation it started. I always hear of people leaving Get Out, and then having a two-hour long conversation with the person they saw it with.” Another aspect that pleased Peele is the tone of the project. He set out to protect it, he says, from the fact that, “On paper, what you have is something inherently unpleasant–the victimization of black people, the villains being white people. You basically have an uncomfortable racial conversation, and a reality we deal with in a very uncomfortable way, a horrific reality.” Peele

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“SEVERAL THINGS CAUGHT ME OFF-GUARD, AS TO HOW WELL THEY WORKED. ONE WAS THE AMOUNT OF CONVERSATION IT STARTED. I ALWAYS HEAR OF PEOPLE LEAVING GET OUT, AND THEN HAVING A TWOHOUR LONG CONVERSATION.” JORDAN PEELE PHOTOGRAPHED BY

Michael Buckner

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AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

Above, left to right: Peele on set with Betty Gabriel; Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya in character. in a different America than I wrote the movie in.

conversation. People are emboldened to be more

resisted the usual genre-hit move to sequelize, say-

It was pretty clear the new America was ready to

outwardly racist, but really, there has been a system

ing he hasn’t figured out a part two that would feel

engage in this conversation. Instead of being in

of racial oppression forever. That we’re engaged in a

as fresh as Get Out.

denial about racism, we have been addressing it

conversation about it, I’m optimistic it's pushing us

more. With the Black Lives Matter movement and

in a right direction.”

attention to police brutality, it was clear people had

“I haven’t decided anything yet and I am allowing the creative part to bubble up, and not force it,” he

While focused on his next film–another

says. “I know if a follow-up is meant to happen, it will.

a certain fatigue from those horrors, and needed a

politically aware thriller through the company he

I’m open to figuring out what it is. But I also don’t

hero, an escape, as well as a way to confront it. It

launched with a big Universal deal–due to start

want to let down the original and its fans. I simply

feels like things have gotten worse with the racial

production early next year, Peele at this point has

would not do something like that for the cash.”

APPROACHING CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S epic Dunkirk, chronicling the evacuation of 400,000 soldiers trapped on a French beach during a pivotal World War II moment, the director’s regular below-the-line collaborators were met with a clear brief. “The challenge was making everything as real and visceral as possible without making it sound ‘Hollywood,’” sound editor Richard King explains of Nolan’s approach. “We tried to break every rule that we could think of, in order to make the experience fresh for people.” Avoiding other war films altogether in preparation, King, editor Lee Smith and production designer Nathan Crowley instead immersed themselves in research to recreate the physical experience of the war from land, sea and air. Recreating Dunkirk’s breakwater ‘the mole’ on location in France—a “white pier that went to nowhere” extending “a kilometer out to sea,” on which thousands of soldiers stood, packed in like sardines before enemy fire—Crowley braved extreme weather. He also acquired period planes and boats from around the world (some of which participated in the real-life evacuation), so

Christopher Nolan’s epic relied on a talented team of below-the-line wizards. By Matt Grobar 28

S E AN BA KE R : M I CH A E L BUCK N E R

DUNkIRK

the crew could get “as much in-camera as possible,” which lends a sense of reality to the image, and is Nolan’s preferred way of working. In post-production, King conjured sound to further elevate Nolan’s epic images—recording enormous waves, shifting sands, spitfires and bombers—while Smith merged the three components of the story, all taking place on separate timelines, ratcheting up the tension all the way through for a true “theatrical experience.” “You’re always trying to get an emotional resonance to what you’re looking at in the story. There’s nothing worse than mindless action,” Smith says. “And people will always go with you if it looks real.”

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IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD, hot new stars could be found hanging out at the drug store. In the internet era, things are different—for the leading lady in his indie hit The

How director Sean Baker found his fresh‑faced lead. By Damon Wise

S E AN BA KE R : M I CH A E L BUCK N E R

THE FLORIDA PRO JECT

Florida Project, director Sean Baker turned to “a little app called Instagram”, where he discovered self-styled ‘weed entrepreneur’ Bria Vinaite. “I don’t know how I came across Bria’s page,” Baker recalls, “but I did, and she made me laugh. She wasn’t just the normal Instagram girl taking selfies. She had something to say. She made jokes, and she had the proper vibe I was looking for.” Vinaite, 24, admits that the offer to play the lead in Baker’s film, as a single mother struggling to stay above the poverty line, came out of nowhere. “I thought someone was playing like a weird joke on me,” she laughs, “because I looked at his Instagram page and I was like, ‘It doesn’t even say Sean Baker on it.’” Luckily, Baker had no qualms about casting Vinaite against the vastly more experienced Willem Dafoe, who plays the manager of a motel where Vinaite’s character, Halley, rents a room. “At first we were going after Hollywood actresses, but then we thought, ‘Why not? Let’s give Bria a chance.’ I like to mix it up in my casting. I like to mix seasoned actors with first-timers.”

Clockwise from top: Sean Baker; Bria Vinaite with Brooklynn Prince; Aiden Malik, Prince and Valeria Cotto. DEADLINE.COM

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Bryan Cranston: "I go into projects and I don't know if I'm going to fail or succeed."

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BRYAN CRANSTON B RYA N C R A N S T O N P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y

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The Breaking Bad star discusses his powerful new collaboration with Richard Linklater in Last Flag Flying. By Joe Utichi You play Sal Nealon in Last Flag Flying, a story

I’m going too far.” Dalton Trumbo was like that.

about a trio of Vietnam vets who reunite after

Lyndon Johnson too. I gave Rick the same speech.

years apart. What appealed to you about it?

Sometimes you overshoot, and on a character like

For me it was about knowing what we know now,

this you can overshoot. That’s why he can’t be the

and accepting what we don’t know, and what we

lead in the story. Doc is the main focus, and he’s

might never know. It explores the power of friend-

the foundation. If Steve hadn’t done the incred-

ship, and the responsibility we have to our history.

ible job he did with Doc, my character would just

What we shared in Vietnam as characters 30 years

fly off the handle. He’s anchored, so he allows my

ago, do we have a responsibility to bring that up?

character and Fish’s character to just kind of circle

Also, what was interesting, too, from my perspec-

around him.

tive—and my character’s perspective—is the value of truth. Is it so virtuous if it doesn’t help someone? It came as a direct offer, and when they sent

Richard Linklater seems to share your passion for changing things up from project

me the script they said, “They want you to play

to project.

Sal, they’re thinking of Steve Carell for Doc and

We gravitate towards the same thing. I want to try

Laurence Fishburne for the Reverend.” It was like,

something new. When, after seven years, Malcolm

“Let’s just say yes right now.” And, of course, the

in the Middle was coming to an end, I had two

agent’s going, “Now, hang on, let’s negotiate first…”

straight offers to do fun, goofy dads on TV shows. I turned them both down. I want to test myself and

What drew you to Sal?

try new things. Quite honestly, I go into projects

I love the challenge of doing something differ-

and I don’t know if I’m going to fail or succeed.

ent, and if something scares me a little—if I’m a

There’s something very exciting in that.

little nervous about it—there’s a titillation to that.

What I love about what we do is that it’s so

Richard Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan did such

inclusive to our audience. I truly believe that. It’s a

great work on this, where it so clearly defines not

community and an environment we need in these

just the characters but their points of view, and

trying times. We need a unifier as opposed to

what each is bringing to the story. It’s so clear that

something that’s divisive.

you go, “I get it. I know this guy.” I knew Sal. He’s a consumer; he wants it all. He doesn’t say no to

You’re about to star in an adaptation of

anything. “Want to go on a trip?” “Yeah.” “Want to

Network on the London stage. What’s exciting

have sex with her?” “Yeah.”

you about that?

He’s the person that when you say, “Oh, Sal’s

I was shooting a movie in London and I’d heard

coming,” everyone goes, “Ugh.” You have an exhale,

that Ivo van Hove was interested in doing Net-

because he sucks the energy out of the room

work. I got very excited immediately. I thought,

and he takes up so much room with his personal-

Ooh, Howard Beale. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not

ity that it’s exhausting. But he’s a hell of a friend.

going to take it anymore.” But I thought the timing

He’s the first one who’ll back you up. You’ve got a

wouldn’t work out. Luckily, the National Theatre

problem? Sal’s there.

pushed the play to a different time and it became possible. What excited me was the power of the

Is there a danger in going too big with him?

script itself, and the message of it in this day and

A lot of characters I do are big, and I usually tell

age. Working with Ivo, and being able to be in a

the director, “I’ve really got to go to the extreme to

play of his that you know is going to be challenging

find this guy. Please pull me back if you sense that

and compelling and thoughtful.

David Vintiner

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OCTAVIA SpENCER OCTAVI A S P EN C ER : WA L LPAP E R BAC KG ROU N D COU RT ESY FAR ROW & BAL L

The Oscar winner was a longtime fan of Guillermo del Toro before she signed up for The Shape of Water. By Anthony D’Alessandro

Tell us how The Shape of Water came to you.

be their mouthpiece.

My agent set up a meeting with Guillermo, a

Guillermo isn’t the type of director to yell out

breakfast/lunch-type thing, and what was sup-

direction in a room full of people. He pulls you

posed to be 30 minutes turned into a three-hour

aside, which is the mark of a great director. In real

conversation. We never spoke about the project

life we don’t divulge ourselves. So not know-

during that time, then during the last five minutes

ing what Sally’s motivations are with Elisa, what

he told me he wrote this part that he’d love for me

Guillermo is instructing her to do, evokes a sincere

to read. Of course, sight-unseen—I’ve been a fan

emotional response from me.

of his for decades—I was in. That’s a defining moment toward the end for How does Guillermo prep his actors? Does he

your character when you tell your husband

have you watch movies he’s inspired by?

that you won’t remain silent anymore.

He preps us each differently. There were lots of

Zelda is in a relationship with a guy who doesn’t

rehearsals over three weeks. He rehearses us as

appreciate her. He isn’t romantic and she’s

a group and then individually. I was never given

basically coddling him. Zelda would have gone

any movies to watch. He wanted me to come

to the death and never told where the creature

from a place of empowerment. If Sally Hawkins’

was. Being around Elisa, she’s madly in love and

Elisa and the creature are the voiceless, in

Zelda wouldn’t betray her in that way. He couldn’t

responding for the disenfranchised, Zelda would

understand, he didn’t have the capacity.

O C TAV I A S P E N C E R P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y

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Chris Chapman

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What was the most challenging part of

actor and was fortunate to support myself. TV is

the shoot?

your bread and butter. It used to be recurring roles

Learning my lines was challenging as I’m dys-

went to character actors, but now they’re offered

lexic, and I’m auditorily inclined. I learn my cues

to name actors. If I’m offered arcs like that I feel

by knowing other people’s lines. It was great

horrible for taking them. I seek stuff out on TV if I

working with Michael Shannon because I could

want to do a couple of episodes, but I don’t want

play off his cues to me. If I was going off more of

to take those roles that have been bread and but-

a monologue, it was difficult to learn.

ter roles for journeyman actors. The Help was a turning point after the

How did your career change after the

Oscars. Nobody knew what to expect before

Oscars?

the movie opened, so after filming there was a

People knew my name and started offering me

lull. I booked Snowpiercer before there was any

roles. Prior to that though, I made a living as an

awards conversation. Then I was getting offered every maid role. None of them were as significant or interesting or had integrity to the story.

Guillermo del Toro at work on set with Hawkins and Spencer.

Now along comes a cleaning lady role that is different from all others. This is the third time I played a woman from this era: Minny Jackson (The Help), Dorothy Vaughan (Hidden Figures),

DARREN ARONOFSKY

The one-of-a-kind director on why his latest, mother!, is just like kindergarten. By Pete Hammond

and Zelda. She feels contemporary of that time. She’s a second class citizen without civil rights,

DARREN ARONOFSKY’S mother!

but at the same time, it’s part of her personal

is that rare movie that comes along

narrative. What’s occurring on screen felt con-

every once in a while, a completely

temporary and organic and I wanted to play the

polarizing event that you have to

part for those reasons.

experience, even if you ultimately think it is a train wreck. Count me among the

In the wake of #OscarsSoWhite,

admirers of a movie that is 69% Fresh

what’s your take on the Academy’s

on Rotten Tomatoes but drew an ‘F’

strides toward diversity?

on CinemaScore. The director of such

Here’s the thing with diversity: It doesn’t just

films as The Wrestler, Black Swan, The

mean brown skin; it means African American,

Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, Noah and

Latino, Asian, overweight actors, actors with

others doesn’t care about either group,

disabilities. It means actors of different age

but wears the disparate opinions they

groups. We have to turn to other people who

tout as a badge of honor.

are underrepresented. People might say again

No less than Martin Scorsese

this year that it’s #OscarsSoWhite. While I

wrote a guest column praising mother!,

understand the outrage, I think it’s misplaced.

while condemning services like Rotten

As an actor, it’s hard to get an Oscar nomina-

Tomatoes and CinemaScore, which

tion. Awards are the end of the line. Just say,

help put movies in a neat box, noting

“Movies so white.” Just start with how mov-

that this kind of judgmentalism has

ies are being funded. If you’re lucky to be part

made opening weekend grosses into

of a group that’s award-worthy at the end of

a “bloodthirsty spectator sport” that

the year, you’re lucky. The reward is having

sets a tone hostile toward serious

the movie made, and if you get to the point of

filmmakers. “After I had a chance to see

awards, that’s great.

mother!, I was even more disturbed by this rush to judgement … People seemed

34

to be out for blood, simply because the film couldn’t be easily defined or interpreted, or reduced to a two-word description … Only a true, passionate filmmaker could have made this picture, which I’m still experiencing weeks after I saw it,” he wrote. mother! is a movie you can’t get out of your head. It stars Jennifer Lawrence in the title role as a married woman who soon finds her home and personal space invaded in ways that might only be described as surreal.

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DA N G I LROY: CH RI S C H A P M AN

“IN REAL LIFE WE DON’T DIVULGE OURSELVES. SO NOT KNOWING WHAT SALLY’S MOTIVATIONS ARE WITH ELISA, WHAT GUILLERMO IS INSTRUCTING HER TO DO, EVOKES A SINCERE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE FROM ME."


differently to the film. “It is so intense that when you walk out of it, it takes a minute to process. It is the hardest movie in the world to do Q&As for afterwards because people don’t want to make eye contact with you,” he laughs, adding that it is because it is a reflection, as well as cautionary tale. “We see ourselves in the film. We’re the people. As much as we’re identifying with [Jennifer Lawrence’s character], we’re seeing reflections of everything that’s sort of going on with ourselves. So it’s a hard thing to sort of then go say, ‘I’m definitely going to recommend this to a friend.’” Aronofsky says he doesn’t make pure

DAN GILROY

Aronofsky does, however, seem to understand why people might react

How the director crafted a new kind of role for Denzel Washington in Roman J. Israel, Esq. By Mike Fleming Jr.

genre films, although critics want to label this and films like Black Swan horror movies of a

FOR HIS SECOND FILM as a director, Roman J. Israel, Esq. helmer Dan Gilroy has written

certain sort. “The thing I loved about mother!,

another drama that hinges on a star coming out of his comfort zone. Just as Jake Gyllenhaal

for me, was that an audience can think it’s

inhabited a sociopath in Nightcrawler, so Denzel Washington is ’70s activist throwback Israel–

one type of movie, and then it becomes

an attorney whose strong morals are threatened when he takes charge following his

another type of movie, and then it becomes

law partner’s heart attack.

another type of movie, and for me I can’t

his films of being hard-nosed,” Gilroy says. “He really wanted to play

have always followed that.”

a different part, a part that allowed those sides to come out.”

Certainly, viewers and critics have been

DA N G I LROY: CH RI S C H A P M AN

“Denzel is a deeply empathetic guy in person, but he has this shell in

think of a more exciting thing in cinema, and I

Gilroy wrote the role for Washington, but didn’t know he

debating just exactly what mother! is about.

would do it. “I’ve always been interested in what happened

Is it a biblical parable, an environmental

to the mass movement protests of the ’60s and what

warning, a chamber drama, a horror film in

would that guy be like now,” the director explains. “I

the vein of Rosemary’s Baby? To listen to

spent nine months writing the script, alone, on spec,

Aronofsky, it is a little bit of it all, even if he

and had [Denzel] said no, I would have put it away

doesn't agree with my comparison to Edward

and not done the film.”

Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (at

Washington saw a lot of himself in a lawyer ill-

least for the first half, before it all literally

fitted to the materialistic billable hours-obsessed

goes to hell). “I was really playing out the

legal profession. The actor stays hidden until

allegory with these real characters, and I

he has a movie to promote, always taking to

was saying first man, first woman come

heart Sidney Poitier’s advice that if they see

into this Eden, and they show disregard,

you all week, they won’t pay to see you on the

and everyone shows a certain type of

weekend.

assumption that they’re welcome, which is

Says Gilroy: “Denzel told me from the

the assumption that we as humans feel,” he

beginning, ‘I understand working in the back

explains about his inspiration. “We’re told

room, because that’s what I do. I don’t get out or

we have dominion over nature, and often we

put any emphasis on my personal appearance. I

don’t think about Genesis 2:15, where we’re

eat junk food, I’m out of shape.’ His transformation

supposed to actually respect and tend and

into the character was organic and took a year, down

care for the garden as well. And that’s where

to the music he listened to and the suits he wore when

the problems start. The two big lessons in

Roman leaves the back room and is so out of step that his

kindergarten—share and clean up your mess—

clothes and everything else are anachronistic.”

are the two things we just never learned.” There you have it. Figuring out the meaning of Darren Aronofsky’s mother! is as

Denzel Washington in the title role

simple as a kindergarten lesson.

of Roman J. Israel, Esq. DEADLINE.COM

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NOAH BAUMBACH

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) writer/director on his deeply personal penchant for New York tales. By Matt Grobar

What inspired The Meyerowitz Stories?

What informed your choice to shoot this

One thing that I’d been thinking about for a

project on Super 16mm film?

while was what it was like, in my experience, to

I had shot The Squid and the Whale on Super 16

be in a hospital. There were certain aspects of

and I’d had a good experience on that. On this

that which I felt I hadn’t quite seen in a movie

one, what I really wanted to do was bring a kind

before—this place where the personal and the

of earthiness out in the world. I think sometimes

institutional intersect. That dovetailed with

it’s the way I see New York. I’d done three mov-

an idea that I broached with Ben Stiller first,

ies before it and shot digitally, and in returning

that maybe he and Adam [Sandler] could play

to film, I wanted to go deep into Brooklyn, and

brothers. As happens a lot of times with these

have the filminess of it be in evidence.

things, it’s seemingly disparate things that find As a filmmaker who works in the indepen-

themselves clicking into a script.

dent space and aims for theatrical distriMeyerowitz is your latest of many New

bution, how do you feel about distributing

York stories. What compels your ongoing

films through Netflix?

exploration of this place?

To be clear, I made the movie independently,

It’s where I was born and where I grew up—I

as I’ve made all my movies. Netflix acquired it

think part of it is this familiarity and emotional

from my producer in post, and we all end up

connection I have to the city. I like working on

there anyway—all movies are going to end up

streets that I walked on as a kid that I have

on these servers, and that’s great.

memories associated with, and bringing that into the stories I’m telling.

It’s great that people can find things that they’ve missed, or they wouldn’t find otherwise. I think it’s a great thing. But I think it’s a singular

The film strikes a unique tone, mining

experience, seeing a movie in the theater. I

humor and tragedy simultaneously. How

think audiences should be given the opportu-

did you strike such a balance?

nity to see things for the first time that way.

It’s sort of this thing where humor and pathos

It’s important for me to stress [about] mov-

live side by side. I guess it’s how I view the

ies like mine, and what would be considered

Top to bottom: Dustin Hoffman and Emma

world, in some way. It’s both deliberate and not.

more intimate stories than a movie like Dunkirk,

Thompson as husband and wife Harold and

Often, I think I’m writing a comedy, but I also

that it’s equally important to see movies like

Maureen; Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler and

know that it generally turns out sadder or more

mine in the theater, because you’re more emo-

Elizabeth Marvel as the Meyerowitz siblings.

serious than I intended to. But I like it that way.

tional in that way. It’s just a different thing.

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NOAH BAUMBACH PHOTOGRAPHED BY

David Vintiner

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SUBURBICON

George Clooney & Julianne Moore discuss a prejudiced American tradition. By Joe Utichi 38

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JULIANNE MOORE & GEORGE CLOONEY PHOTOGRAPHED BY

Chris Chapman

11/10/17 3:53 PM

M OO R E & C LOON E Y: WAL L PA P E R BAC KG ROU N D COU RT ESY FAR ROW & BAL L; C H AI R COU RTESY KL AUS BY N IE N KAM P E R /TO RON TO

AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW


ANDY SERkIS

The War for the Planet of the Apes actor says performance capture is far from a “drug-assisted sport”. By Joe Utichi ANDY SERKIS SAYS HE’S “hanging by

day-out on set for the entire duration of

a thread” in the run-up to the release of

the shoot, living and breathing every single

his directorial debut Breathe. Starring

moment, making acting choices that you

Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield in the

would do in the conventional sense. The

true story of a couple fighting polio, it’s

performance is not augmented or changed

a departure for Serkis, who’s won much

by a committee of animators. It is honored,

critical acclaim acting in motion capture

and the fidelity is sought to translate that

roles in such gems as Star Wars: Episode

performance. In the past, it’s almost felt

VII - The Force Awakens and War for the

like performance capture is kind of like

Matt Damon and Julianne Moore as

Planet of the Apes. Serkis will follow

drug-assisted sport. Now that’s just not

fraught couple Gardner and Margaret

Breathe by helming next year’s Jungle

true. The performance is the performance.”

Lodge (and her twin sister Rose).

Book–a performance capture extravaganza in which he plays the role of Baloo.

M OO R E & C LOON E Y: WAL L PA P E R BAC KG ROU N D COU RT ESY FAR ROW & BAL L; C H AI R COU RTESY KL AUS BY N IE N KAM P E R /TO RON TO

But this Oscar season, Serkis’s reprised

Serkis also found that playing Caesar allowed a unique take on the human condition. “If that character was a

role as the ape Caesar in War really has

human being,” he says, “it would be an

voters buzzing. Having done much to

extraordinary journey. But as an ape and

ORIGINALLY PENNED BY THE COEN brothers

legitimize performance capture as Gollum

having that kind of filter, it’s that times 10

in 1986, the George Clooney-directed Suburbicon

in The Lord of the Rings when the form was

really; because we’re able to look at the

explores 1950s suburbia, when, as Clooney says,

new, Serkis has now spent six years with

human condition through the eyes of apes,

“we actually thought everything was simple, and

Caesar over three Planet of the Apes films.

it just elevates it into something else.”

if you were a straight, white man, it was. But other

Performance capture follows every

Now, letting go of Caesar with this final

than that, it probably wasn’t. Just beneath that

tiny subtle movement made by an actor,

movie in the series has been a wrench.

veneer there was a lot of other things going on.”

which are then expertly applied to digital

“I really feel the loss of not being able to

The film depicts the dark spiraling of a family

imagery–a process Serkis describes as

play that character anymore,” Serkis says.

(Matt Damon and Julianne Moore) in the wake of a

“enabling the actor to offer the role on

“It’s been thrilling at every turn, and a

home invasion, amid prejudice against their African

set in exactly the same way if you were

real challenge; a massive challenge with

American neighbors. For Clooney, the “scapegoat-

wearing a costume and makeup”.

each movie. There are key points along

ing of Mexicans and Muslims” on the 2016 election

He’s keen to point out that this

the way where he shifts and they’ve all

campaign trail is in line with the film’s topic, since

description should not detract from

it’s about “looking in the wrong direction and

the excellence of the technical work

been incredibly fascinating to chart.”

blaming the wrong people for your woes, which

itself, but for him, he says, “There is no

capture will feature more in future

seems to be an American tradition.”

difference from an acting point of view.

filmmaking. “It’s absolutely about

For Moore, playing both Damon’s wife Rose

The approach is no different to a live-

performance,” he says. “It’s opening

and her twin sister Margaret, the film is intriguing.

action role. It’s not standing in a voice

up great avenues for next generation

“It’s kind of wonderful how it leads you in with the

booth for two hours every six months,

storytelling. So, I think the acting

sense of being clearly very entertained by these

it’s living with that character day-in and

community really needs to embrace it.”

Serkis is hopeful that performance

slightly comedic, everyday people,” she says. “As it proceeds, the tone changes and becomes darker and darker and darker until it’s really, really, really truly noir. It’s bad people doing bad things. It leaves you in a very thoughtful place.” Clooney says that telling this story is more important than ever in the current political climate. “I suppose you don’t have to be a soothsayer to realize that we’re constantly going to have to deal with these issues,” he says. “It’s too bad that we’re going to constantly have these same battles. I didn’t think we would, growing up in the ’60s in the South. I felt like after segregation was gone, we were going to move forward, and we didn’t, really. We stalled. We’ve got a lot of work to do.” DEADLINE.COM

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AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

Director Andrey Zvyagintsev on continuing to make films his way, with or without state support. By Nancy Tartaglione

LOVELESS

ANDREY ZVYAGINTSEV’S CANNES Jury Prize

militarization of society, and the feeling that they

that this idea should be realized. In a way, my last

winner Loveless is the Foreign Language entry

are surrounded by enemies.

three films are still metaphors; at least for me,

from Russia this year, and one of the frontrun-

they are attempts to comprehend the universal

ners to take a nomination. Sony Pictures Classics

How do you prefer to work with actors?

reality. Universal, but not social—or God forbid,

acquired all North and Latin American rights to

Zvyagintsev: When an actor comes to you and

political—environment.

Loveless in Cannes. This is the director’s third time

starts working with the script, the image of his

repping his country after 2003’s The Return and

character that you had in your mind gets sub-

What is it like working in Russia right now?

2014’s Oscar nominee Leviathan. The film revolves

stituted with an image of that particular actor.

Zvyagintsev: If you are talking about art and not

around Zhenya and Boris, who are going through

And this is the right way to go. An actor has to be

the political environment, then there is no specific

a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustra-

absolutely truthful—this is the only thing required

way that you can feel any changes in the past few

tion and recriminations. Already embarking on new

of him, apart from talent of course. It’s very easy

years. Russia is a huge country with many people

lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient

to understand: you need to absolutely believe in

and many stories, and we tell them as we see

to start again. But when their 12-year-old son Alyo-

what you see.

them. The one thing that changed with Loveless is

sha disappears after witnessing one of their fights, the pair must come together. Zvyagintsev’s films have been seen as criticiz-

Some actors come to casting and ask me,

we didn’t have any state financing. Our experience

“Didn’t you see my previous roles?” We do not

with Leviathan was too troublesome. But that was

work with actors like this. Their previous roles do

our decision—we never even applied for any state

ing the Russian government and yet he continues

not matter; I need the actual work with an actor in

grants this time. I just continue to do what I always

to find support from the local Oscar committee.

this particular character that has been written in

do. Continue to move forward without looking

His producer Alexander Rodnyansky explains

our script. What matters is flexibility, believability

back, without any kind of self-censorship.

why, but not before Zvyagintsev talks about the

and efficiency of an actor. Only once during my

film and the current climate of making movies in

career as a director was there an instance where

It was surprising that Leviathan was sub-

Russia.

we knew the actor even when we were writing the

mitted as Russia's Oscar entry given its

script: We knew for sure that Roman Madyanov

criticism of the state—and now you're back

Why did you need to tell the story of

would be the mayor in Leviathan. We still did audi-

with Loveless. How do you explain that?

Loveless now?

tions for this role, though.

Alexander Rodnyansky: The Russian Oscar

Andrey Zvyagintsev: Loveless is a story of

Committee, which chooses the national entry

a painful divorce of an ordinary middle-class

What ties all of your work together?

into the Oscar race, consists of film profession-

Moscow family. Their ordinariness was partly a

Zvyagintsev: What I know is that I am honest

als who, even though they might have widely

reason to choose them and not people from low

about my films, and my films are honest about

different political beliefs, still recognize Andrey

social strata, who more often treat their children

reality. The stories themselves dictate the way

for what he is: One of the best film directors

horribly. And suddenly among these seemingly

that they should be told. In The Return, we had

in contemporary Russia. With Leviathan, the

prosperous people who know life, we see that

the task of blurring the borders of space and time,

process was more challenging, but I have man-

their child became a burden for both of them.

creating a special ethereal place where the events

aged to secure in advance the support of a large

These events take place against a very specific

of the film take place. It didn’t matter where or

group of filmmakers, and that helped us trick

historical background. The film begins in October

when that story took place because the story

the system. There was an opposition campaign

of 2012, when people were full of hope and were

itself was eternal. It was completely different

against Loveless this year. People who objected

waiting for changes in the political climate, when

with Elena, where the eternal story is made very

to the film on political grounds tried to divide

they thought that the state would listen to them.

contemporary with a specific time and place;

the voters, but with the Cannes prize—with

But 2015 is the climax of their disappointment:

the story was facing the viewer. And the same

great US and UK press and fantastic screenings

The feeling that there is no hope for positive

was true for Leviathan. This was not a question of

at Toronto and Telluride—Loveless was by far the

changes, the atmosphere of aggression and the

strategy. You get the idea and it defines the way

strongest candidate.

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Aleksey Rozin (top), and Maryana Spivak with Matvey Novikov (bottom), are a family shattered by divorce in Loveless.

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AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

LADY BIRD

Greta Gerwig strikes out on her own with her very personal directorial breakthrough. By Matt Grobar AFTER A POWERFUL DEBUT on the festival circuit, at Telluride and Toronto, Greta Gerwig's first solo directorial outing, Lady Bird, has become one of the year's likeliest contenders. Best known as an actress in films like Frances Ha, Gerwig walked a 10-year road to her solo debut, working up the courage and learning from each of the high profile directors she’s worked with, including Joe Swanberg, with whom she co-directed Nights and Weekends, and Noah Baumbach, with whom she co-wrote Mistress America and Frances Ha. “I wanted to direct for a long time, but I felt like I needed a lot of experience on film sets,” Gerwig says, reflecting on her long love affair with the notion of “making things”. “I didn’t go to film school, so the way I got that was through acting and co-writing and producing.” Loosely based on Gerwig’s experiences coming of age in Sacramento, the film follows the strong-minded Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), and her rocky relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) during her senior year at high school, while she moves in and out of relationships, and hatches plans for her future. “It really came out of a desire of wanting to make project about home—what the meaning of home is, and place,” she says. “I felt like the right way to tell the story of a place was through a person who was about to leave it.” And Gerwig is thrilled her movie landed at A24, which is generating indie hit after indie hit. “I really admire what they’re doing,” she says, of their straightforward approach to championing quality cinema. “I actually can’t imagine

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Saoirse Ronan (top) and Laurie Metcalf are a perfectly-

the American landscape of independent cinema right now

pitched mother-daughter duo in Lady Bird.

without them.” G R E TA G E RW I G P H O T O G RA P H E D BY

Chris Chapman

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AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

Gary Oldman became Churchill with the help of remarkable make-up by Kazuhiro Tsuji.

DARkEST HOUR

Director Joe Wright on casting Churchill. By Damon Wise PRIME MINISTER OF THE UK for the most crucial period of its 20th Century history, Winston Churchill remains a formidable figure to many Britons. Indeed, for London-born director Joe Wright, his primary image of the politician is a brooding statue that glowers outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. It was this monolithic structure that inspired Wright to begin work on Darkest Hour, a study of Churchill’s first six months in office in 1941, as World War II reached a crisis point. Recalls Wright, “I guess I was interested in bringing the icon down from the plinth, and meeting

transformed into the wartime premier. Oldman threw himself into his research, reading book after book and visiting key places in Churchill’s life, notably the War Rooms in London’s Whitehall. “When you really start to look,” Oldman notes, “There’s more footage on him than one imagines. You only see the same images over and over again, but there’s tons of footage on him, so that was a great help.” “The more I watched and read, I realized that my idea of Churchill was through various actors’ interpretations of him, and I started seeing him in a different light. I saw this dynamo. He was 65 at the time, but he was leaping around like a 30-year-old, alive,” the actor continues. “He was just plugged in. In rehearsal, that’s what we focused on. And of course, there was humor as well in there. He had a real sparkle in the eye."

44

J OE W RI G H T: M I CH AE L B UC K NE R

To play the part, Wright knew that he needed “a transformative actor, shape shifter,” and so he reached out to a most unexpected ally—fellow Londoner Gary Oldman, who, with help from prosthetic artist Kazuhiro Tsuji,

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JAK E GY LLE N HA A L: CH RI S C HA P M A N

him face to face—trying to understand the man behind the myth, and what he might be able to teach us.”


Songwriters Benj Pasek & Justin Paul on the resurgence of the original musical. By Matt Grobar NOTCHING THEIR FIRST OSCAR win last year with La La Land, songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have been in the awards conversation ever since, winning a Tony for their Broadway hit, Dear Evan Hansen. While Damien Chazelle’s original musical put Pasek and Paul on the map, the pair had been working on a separate project a number of years prior, in one of their first attempts at cracking Hollywood—Michael Gracey’s The Greatest Showman. The story of ringmaster P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), founder of the famed Barnum & Bailey circus, The Greatest Showman, shares with La La Land a certain appreciation of showbiz glamour, though the comparisons end there. “They’re different kinds of movies, for different audiences,” Paul explains. “[Gracey] wanted the music to be contemporary.

STRONGER Jake Gyllenhaal’s triumph of humor and joy over tragedy. By Joe Utichi

We thought that was really bizarre and really intriguing, and that was one of the reasons that we really perked up.” The challenge was to create contemporary-sounding music that could jibe with a period

both his legs in the 2013 Boston marathon

Wide-ranging in style—incorporating

bombing, but ultimately reclaimed his life

numbers—the music of The Greatest Showman benefits from a healthy balance of Hollywood A-listers and

through positivity and the love of his family. “I think we made a very small, intimate story about a very big subject,” Gyllenhaal says, “which is really ultimately love, and how

Broadway belters. “Someone like Hugh

love gets you through those extraordinarily

is a bona fide Broadway star and a

narrow passages.” Gyllenhaal says the story

Hollywood star. Then, we were really

fortunate to have folks like Keala Settle, who we’ve known for a really long time in the Broadway community,” Paul JAK E GY LLE N HA A L: CH RI S C HA P M A N

story.” Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, who lost

something that was just for the radio.” gospel and spectacular ensemble

J OE W RI G H T: M I CH AE L B UC K NE R

Jake Gyllenhaal says of his latest film Stronger. “The humor and the sense of joy in the

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

production, without “trying to create

“I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH THE HUMOR,”

for Stronger, which is based on Bauman’s memoir, “had me from the minute I read it.” For Bauman, seeing it reenacted was “really tough. To see these wonderful great

notes. “We felt incredibly lucky that we

people, actors and actresses, and how tal-

had so many folks who are perceived

ented they are, it made me cry. It was just so

to be film stars who actually have tremendous talents in the musical theater world.” “A lot of people might not know Hugh being the showman that he is;

hard for me.” Bauman’s family were similarly affected, he says. “I didn’t think it was going to make me cry. I was like, 'Yeah, it’s probably just going to be funny and not that serious,' and

Gyllenhaal (pictured with

they only know the Wolverine movies,”

it really got me. It got me to a point to where I

co-star Tatiana Maslany)

the songwriter continues. “Getting to

couldn’t even do stuff for a week. It was really,

is Boston marathon

blend all those talents together was a

really hard but it turned out well and I’m really

bombing survivor Jeff

real joy for us.”

proud to say it’s my story.”

Bauman in Stronger. DEADLINE.COM

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AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

46

Animal Crackers

Boss Baby

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

The Breadwinner

Coco

Despicable Me 3

The Lego Batman Movie

Mary and the Witch's Flower

DEADLINE.COM

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BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

ss Baby

winner

le Me 3

Drawing down the top contenders for Oscar’s animated race. By Matt Grobar

WITH ONLY A HANDFUL of Oscar-nominated directors in the running for Best Animated

a magical box of animal crackers. As ever, international distributor GKIDS

Feature this year, the race feels wide open,

poses strong competition with a number of early

with no obvious frontrunners and the potential

frontrunners, including Mary and the Witch’s

for any number of up-and-coming helmers to

Flower, a Japanese anime directed by Oscar

break through.

nominee and former Studio Ghibli stalwart

Winning for Zootopia last year, Walt Disney

Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie was There)

Studios should be in the mix with Lee Unkrich’s

about a young English girl who stumbles upon a

anticipated Pixar entry Coco—a Day of the Dead-

world of witches.

themed musical feature centering on a young boy’s journey through the Land of the Dead. Another potential leader this season is 20th

Other contenders from the studio include Birdboy: The Forgotten Children, a nightmarish look at lonely animals living in a post-apocalyptic

Century Fox's Boss Baby—which sees Alec

society, and The Breadwinner, executive

Baldwin playing an egomaniacal toddler, while

produced by Angelina Jolie. A tale in the tradition

there's also their December release Ferdinand,

of Disney’s Mulan, the latter film follows a young

a tale of a fighting bull (voiced by wrestler

woman growing up in Kabul who poses as a

John Cena) who does not want to fight at all.

young man to provide for her family after her

Loving Vincent tells the Van Gogh story in

Based on a popular children’s book, previously

father is thrown in prison.

the artist's own painterly style.

adapted into an Oscar-winning 1938 Disney short, can Ferdinand take Fox as far? Warner Bros. came out this year with The

Coming off a strong year with Sing and The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination Entertainment returns with the third installment of the

Lego Batman Movie, a spin-off of the Oscar-

Despicable Me franchise, and more original music

nominated Lego Movie. The film drew strong

by Pharrell Williams, as supervillain Gru (Steve

critical praise as Will Arnett reprised the role

Carrell) meets his long-lost twin brother Dru,

of the Dark Knight, facing off against Zach

teaming up in a criminal heist for the ages.

Galifianakis’ Joker to hilarious effect in Chris McKay’s first theatrically released feature. Gorgeously adapted from a graphic novel that

With so many strong features to consider, perhaps the most striking and unique contender this year is Good Deed Entertainment’s Loving

co-director Scott Christian Sava wrote for his

Vincent, which tells the story of troubled Dutch

children, Entertainment One’s Animal Crackers

painter Vincent Van Gogh—in the painter’s own

features John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Danny

style. Hundreds of professional oil painters were

DeVito and Ian McKellen, and tells the story of a

commissioned to create a film where each frame

family whose lives are thrown into chaos upon

is—quite literally—a painting, amounting to the

the inheritance of a rundown circus, and with it,

first fully-painted animated feature in history. DEADLINE.COM

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Flower

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AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW

PHANTOM THREAD

Mystery surrounds Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest feature. By Damon Wise IN TRUE PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON FASHION—pun intended—very little is known about the director’s eighth feature film, except that it could possibly be said to form a loose trilogy with 2007’s There Will Be Blood and 2012’s The Master. Again drawing on a specific historical context, and inspired by a real-life figure—this time, pioneering clothing designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, who led a "very monanistic life, completely consumed with his work"—Phantom Thread marks a step outside the indie auteur’s usual stomping ground: America, or more specifically, California. If reports are to be believed, the film will also be the last for its leading man—after a career spanning over 30 years, winning him three Oscars and five nominations in total, Daniel Day-Lewis quietly announced his retirement from acting in June of this year. Set in London and the chilly north of England during the mid-1950s, the film stars Day-Lewis as dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock, who, together with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), is a superstar of society fashion. A natural perfectionist, Woodcock finds his control on life slipping when he meets a waitress, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who becomes his model, muse and lover. Clearly, all awards eyes will be on the magnetic Day-Lewis, although co-star Krieps is an unknown quantity, and technical nods may possibly await costume designer Mark Bridges as well as PTA’s longtime musical partner Jonny Greenwood, fresh from scoring Lynne Ramsay’s Cannes hit, You Were Never Really Here.

Vicky Krieps plays Alma, lover and muse to Daniel Day-Lewis's star dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock, in Phantom Thread.

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Franco has ambitiously directed and starred in movies based on tomes by William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy. But then four years ago, the 127 Hours Oscar nominee found Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell’s New York Times bestseller, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, and became bewitched by The Room filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, an idiosyncratic character who seemed ripped out of the pages of American literature. No, Wiseau wasn’t a tragic hero like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, rather more “the idiot savant” per Franco, “with a

blaborem estrumquis

little of [Ignatius J. Reilly from] Confederacy of Dunces.” He

Tae doluptat. Fugit

also describes Wiseau as, “like Norma Desmond in Sunset

ratissimet et deles etur?

Boulevard–someone who thinks that the movies will save them, who is very out of touch with who he is, and whose onscreen and off-screen life meld into each other.” A down-on-his-luck actor who took his directing and acting career into his own hands by making the $6M feature The Room at the start of the millennium, Wiseau wasn’t renowned for his creative talent. What was intended to be a romantic drama about a rich banker, Johnny (Wiseau), whose fiancé Lisa seduces his best friend Mark (Sestero), was riotously received as a comedy for its over-the-top acting and outrageous melodrama. Smitten with the material, and having taken in a screening of The Room in Toronto, Franco approached his The Interview colleagues Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to produce under their Point Grey Pictures. Franco tapped (500) Days of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber with funding from Good Universe, then took the project over to New Line, a studio whose executives were rabid fans of The Room. In between, Franco had to get Sestero and Wiseau’s life rights, with the contingency that the latter appear in the movie. Wiseau insisted that Johnny Depp star, though Franco yearned to play the part himself. But the ink wasn’t dry on the contract yet, and he didn’t want to say this and have the deal go sideways. Independently, Sestero made the wise casting suggestion of Franco to Wiseau. “I think he was okay with me because I played James Dean early in my career,” says Franco. “Tommy thinks he’s James Dean. And Tommy, if you’ve seen him, looks nothing like James Dean. I mean, he looks like a vampire that dyes his hair with a magic marker.” Then in an artistic stroke that only Marlon Brando would relish, Franco tipped the scales of his own absurdist theater: Franco would literally direct his actors in character as Wiseau throughout the production of The Disaster Artist. But there was a method to his madness, especially after sitting in the chair daily for two hours of facial prosthetics. “I’m directing a movie and acting in it, and playing a character who is directing a movie and acting in it. At no other time in my career am I going to do this again. Being Tommy off-camera made everything flow easier in hindsight. It helped create an atmosphere on set. That being said, I didn’t go so far overboard as Tommy: I didn’t give bad direction, I gave what I hoped was good direction.”

JAMES FRANCO PHOTOGRAPHED BY

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Chris Chapman

jAMES FRANCO

EVER THE DIE-HARD FAN OF CLASSIC NOVELS, James

The 127 Hours star explains his behind-the-madness method in The Disaster Artist. By Anthony D’Alessandro

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FOR TAYLOR SHERIDAN, his feature directorial debut Wind River completes a theme running through two previous films he wrote–Sicario and Hell or High Water. That is, the meaning of the Western frontier and outlaw culture. More specifically, the director says, Wind River centers around, “The landscape of fracking and endemic rape and drug abuse on the reservation. It’s about fatherhood and protection; it’s about the rule of law giving way to the laws of nature.” In the wake of its success at Sundance, then Cannes, where Sheridan won best director in the Un Certain Regard category, and the specialty box office, where it grossed more than $33 million, the film has come to mean so much more in a Trump era that’s spurred an inflammatory rhetoric toward women. Wind River follows a game tracker (Jeremy Renner) and FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who are on the hunt for the murderer-rapist of a Native American teenage girl on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation. Given how the film shines a light on rape and the exploitation of Native American women on reservations, it was crucial for Wind River’s creators, stars and producers to separate themselves from the Weinstein Co., the pic’s distributor, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal. They not only excised the distributor’s name from Wind River’s streaming and home entertainment releases, but from the film’s awards campaign as well. The campaign will be fully funded by Wind River’s principal financier Acacia Entertainment– an entity that is backed by the Tunica-Biloxi tribes. The Sheridan-scripted Hell or High Water received four noms at the 2017 Oscars, including Screenplay and Best Picture, while Sicario earned three Oscar nods the year prior. This time around, Best Picture, Sheridan’s direction, Renner and Olsen’s acting, as well as DP Ben Richardson’s vibrant exteriors Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen hunt the rapist-

could be potential categories for

murderer of a young Wyoming woman in Wind River.

Wind River.

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M A RT I N M C D ON AG H: CH RI S C H A P M AN

The director’s debut Wind River looks at the exploitation of women in an era of Trump (and Weinstein). By Anthony D’Alessandro

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

TAYLOR SHERIDAN

TAY LO R S H ER I DAN : M I CH A E L BUCK N E R

AWARDS SEASON PREVI EW


Frances McDormand on set in the fictional town of Ebbing, Missouri, shot in North Carolina.

Production designer Inbal Weinberg on casting the role of the fictional town at the heart of Martin McDonagh’s latest. By Matt Grobar COMING ONTO MARTIN MCDONAGH’S Three

photographic references, noting how

Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, production

the quintessential, small American

designer Inbal Weinberg was used to employing

town of yesteryear has all but

the “magic of filmmaking,” whereby shots can be

disappeared.

M A RT I N M C D ON AG H: CH RI S C H A P M AN

TAY LO R S H ER I DAN : M I CH A E L BUCK N E R

cheated to suggest a certain geography that does

of their heritage, they have photos of how the town used to be in the 1930s on the wall. Past the perimeter of the small town

“A lot of what we

is where a Walmart would

not truly exist. Having worked with the very best

would imagine as

contemporary writer/directors, like Cary Fukunaga

small town America

in the main street and

and Derek Cianfrance, Weinberg was challenged by

has vanished, or has

right around it, it is a

writer/director Martin McDonagh to return to a more

deteriorated to a point

functioning small town.”

literal-minded point of view, where spaces exist in

where Main Street

the real world just as they are seen on screen.

is not as active,” she

“It was pretty specific that the places actually

explains. “We were really

had to exist in that way, and we’re not ever going

going for a quintessential

to cheat,” Weinberg says. “We kept it very true in

Main Street that is not

terms of space, which is how you get scenes like

rundown and is not gentrified,

Mildred at the swing set, and you literally see the

and probably a bit dated. We didn’t

billboards in the background. We had scouted for

want it to be extremely contemporary,

that exact relationship. That was something that

but we also didn’t want to be too nostalgic.”

was interesting in the process.” On Billboards, the designer was tasked with

After a long scouting process across the United States, the team settled on the small town of Sylva,

be, or all the chains, but

“I think that’s what attracted us to Sylva, and once we were there and we liked the main street, it has some very prominent elements, like a big courthouse at the end of the street on a hill,” the designer continues. “You don’t see any modern buildings for miles. That kind of stuff was important to us.” When the right town was found to build a world

conceptualizing the look of a fictional, all-American

North Carolina as their home base. “What was

upon, Weinberg turned to the signage, and the little

town, conjured up in the mind of an Irish filmmaker,

interesting about it is that it’s like a functioning,

details that really dazzle. “We had to take over Main

one that was a central character in the story, with

small town. It had a healthy Main Street with mom-

Street to deal with the two main sets,” she says, “but

the appearance of being “stuck in some decade.”

and-pop businesses. Some have been there for

also, we did change a lot of storefronts to be even

In her preparations, Weinberg pulled ample

generations,” Weinberg recalls. “They’re very proud

more timeless.” ★ DEADLINE.COM

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THE CONTENDERS PRESENTED BY DEADLINE NOVEMBER 4 / LOS ANGELES Top line, from left: Jessica Chastain; Dee Rees; Michael Stuhlbarg, Timothée Chalamet, Luca Guadagnino, Armie Hammer; Jamie Bell; Michael Barker & Ethan Hawke. This block, clockwise from right: Taika Waititi; Jennifer Lawrence; Joe Wright & Gary Oldman; Loung Ung & Angelina Jolie; Andrew Garfield; James Franco; Denzel Washington; Kathryn Bigelow, Mike Fleming Jr., John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith and Questlove.

RE X /S H U T T ERSTOC K

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DisabiltyFilmChallenge.com

The Challenge Is On!

Help us inspire change.

Join our sponsors: Entertainment Diversity

People with disabilities are the most underrepresented population across entertainment and media. Yet, 57 million Americans live with a disability, making it the largest minority population today. Their stories are important, varied and largely untold.

Support the 2018 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. To get involved with the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge contact us at EDFCinfo@essc.org

Easterseals, the largest disability services organization in Southern California, is the indispensable WJXTZWHJKTWNSIN[NIZFQXFSIKFRNQNJXQN[NSL\NYMINXFGNQNYNJX<JѣWJHMFSLNSLYMJ\F^YMJ\TWQIIJ‫ܪ‬SJX and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives everyday.

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THE CONTENDERS LONDON PRESENTED BY DEADLINE OCTOBER 6 / LONDON Top line, from left: Jaden Michael & Oakes Fegley; Dustin Hoffman; Simon Beaufoy, Valerie Faris, Andrea Riseborough & Jonathan Dayton; Noah Baumbach & Adam Sandler; Michael Seresin. This block, clockwise from right: Martin McDonagh; Jason Mitchell; Richard Linklater & Bryan Cranston; Danny Cohen & Shrabani Basu; Will Poulter; Claire Foy.

RE X /S H U T T ERSTOC K

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Italian Masterpieces CANAPÉ CHESTER. DESSINÉ PAR RENZO FRAU. SALA DEL CAMINO, PALAZZO GALLARATI SCOTTI, MILANO. poltronafrau.com Los Angeles, Beverly blvd Ph. 310.858.1433 - New York, Wooster Street Ph. 212.777.7592

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DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES CHASING TITLES VOL. 1 OCTOBER 11 LOS ANGELES Brian Austin Green, Erica Eynon, Ryan Egypt, Landon Gimenez & Haas Manning.

DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES TOM OF FINLAND OCTOBER 17 LOS ANGELES Pekka Strang & Aleksi Bardy.

DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES WHITE SUN OCTOBER 23 LOS ANGELES Danny Glover & Deepak Rauniyar.

DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES AYLA: THE DAUGHTER OF WAR OCTOBER 24 LOS ANGELES Johnny Young, Sinem Öztürk, Eunja Kim, Can Ulkay, Kim Seol, Ismail Hacioglu & Chaby Han.

CRIES FROM SYRIA NOVEMBER 6 LOS ANGELES Director Evgeny Afineevsky.

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DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES

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“ ON E

OF TH E

B EST FI LM S OF TH E YEAR .” “THE CAST IS EXCELLENT.” “AN AMBITIOUS, SUPERBLY ACTED EPIC.”

GUILD MEMBERS PLEASE VISIT GUILDS.NETFLIX.COM FOR UP-TO-DATE SCREENING INFORMATION.

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Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 11/15/17  

Awards Season Preview - Featuring Call Me by Your Name's Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg.

Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 11/15/17  

Awards Season Preview - Featuring Call Me by Your Name's Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg.