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NOVEMBER 29, 2017 OSCAR PREVIEW / ACTRESSES

PRESENTS

Margot

Robbie charges into the Lead Actress race with her role as maligned figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.

Plus:

Jessica C H A STA I N Holly HUNTER Annette B E N I NG Sally H AW K I N S Jennifer L AW R E NC E

DEADLINE.COM/AWARDSLINE

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11/21/17 3:22 PM


B E S T C O M E DY S E R I E S O U T S TA N D I N G E N S E M B L E I N A C O M E DY S E R I E S “BLACK-ISH ... IS A GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING.” EW.COM

TUESDAYS 9|8c #blackish

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PRESENTS

GE N E RAL MANAGE R & C H IE F R EVE N U E OF F I CE R

Stacey Farish E D ITO R

Joe Utichi

4-22

C R EAT IVE DI R ECTO R

Craig Edwards

FIRST TAKE Willem Dafoe on The Florida Project

AS S ISTAN T E DI TO R

Matt Grobar

D EAD L IN E CO- E DI TORS- I N - CHI E F

Questlove on his Detroit tune

Nellie Andreeva Mike Fleming Jr.

AWAR D S E DI TO R & COLU M NI ST

Previewing the SAG and Golden Globe Awards

Pete Hammond

D EAD L IN E CON T R I BU TO RS

A look at the race for Foreign Language Film

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

24

COVER STORY Mike Fleming Jr. meets I, Tonya star Margot Robbie

36

THE DIALOGUE Jessica Chastain Holly Hunter Annette Bening Sally Hawkins Jennifer Lawrence

VID EO P RO DU CE RS

David Janove Andrew Merrill

S O C IAL ME DI A M AN AGE R

Scott Shilstone

46

FLASH MOB The Shape of Water premiere, AFI Fest, Deadline presents AwardsLine Screening Series

C H AIR MAN & CEO

Jay Penske

VIC E C H AIRM AN

Gerry Byrne

C H IE F O P E RAT I NG O F F I CE R

George Grobar

EX EC U T IVE VI CE P R ESI DE NT, BU S IN ES S A F FAI RS AN D GE N E RAL COU NSE L

Todd Greene

EX EC U T IVE VI CE P R ESI DE NT, BU S IN ES S DEVE LOP M E NT

Craig Perreault

S E N IO R VICE P R ESI DE N T, F I N ANCE

Ken DelAlcazar

VIC E P R ES IDE NT, CR EAT I VE

Nelson Anderson

VIC E P R ES IDE NT, F I LM

Carra Fenton

VIC E P R ES IDE NT, T V

Laura Lubrano

S E N IO R ACCO U N T EX ECU T I VES, T E L EVIS IO N

Brianna Hamburger Tiffany Windju ACCO U N T M ANAGE R

London Sanders

AD SAL ES CO OR DI N ATO RS

​Kristina Mazzeo Malik Simmons

P RO D U CT ION M ANAGE R D IST R IB U T I O N DI R ECTOR

Michael Petre

ADVE RT IS ING I NQ U I R I ES

Stacey Farish

S FA R I S H @ PM C.CO M 31 0 - 4 8 4 - 2 553

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA FAC EBOOK

f facebook.com/deadlinehollywood l @Deadline TWITTE R

INSTAGRAM

@Deadline

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BAC K D RO P : CAI T LI N D O HE RT Y/ P 1M .CA

Andrea Wynnyk

ON THE COVER Margot Robbie photographed for Deadline by Michael Buckner ON THIS PAGE Holly Hunter photographed for Deadline by Chris Chapman

11/21/17 3:23 PM


Questlove’s Detroit song p. 12 | Previewing SAG/Globes p. 16 | This year’s foreign field p. 20

C HA I R: K LAUS BY N I E NK AM P E R /TORO N TO

Willem’s

WISDOM

Willem Dafoe’s role as an endlessly tolerant motel manager in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project should come as little surprise to those familiar with his disparate body of work. BY DA M O N W I S E

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PHOTOGRAPH BY

Chris Chapman

11/21/17 1:32 PM


CHRIS O DOWD RAY ROMANO YOU RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR NEXT HIT.

O

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SUNSHINE STATE Dafoe and newcomer Brooklynn Prince in The Florida Project.

THERE ARE MANY SIDES TO WILLEM DAFOE. He played genteel British poet T.S. Eliot in the quietly devastating 1994 UK period drama Tom & Viv; a cider-swilling rat in Wes Anderson’s 2009 stop-motion animation The Fantastic Mr. Fox; and, early in his Hollywood career, he landed the title role of Jesus in Martin Scorsese’s controversial 1988 mini-epic The Last Temptation of Christ. But those aren’t the kind of parts that most movie audiences associate with him: it’s a likely bet that more people saw him as Peter Parker’s villainous nemesis Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man reboot than in all those other films combined. Which may explain why so many

compassionate!’” He laughs. “I’m

Schnabel and Abel Ferrara—direc-

always surprised by that. But I’ll take

tors who, in very different ways, have

it. I think that’s usually a reflection

affected the course of independent

of what movies people see. How

American cinema. And with The

they see you is very much a product

Florida Project he adds another: Sean

of what movies they’ve seen you

Baker. A bubbling-under talent on the

in. I make all kinds of movies, I play

indie scene with films such as Prince

all kinds of characters. But if you

of Broadway and Starlet, Baker broke

gravitate to a certain kind of movie,

out at Sundance in 2015 with Tan-

there’s a tendency to take an actor

gerine. Although initially ballyhooed

and attribute all his characters’ traits

as the first film shot entirely on an

to him. So the nice thing about this

iPhone, Tangerine soon gained critical

poverty-line America, as he keeps a

movie is that some people are saying

kudos for its humane depiction of LA

are lining up to compliment him on

watchful eye on reckless single mom

that it’s a new way to see me, and

street life, with its High Noon-style

his performance in Sean Baker’s

Halley (newcomer Bria Vinaite) and

they appreciate the performance.”

story of a transgender hooker hunting

indie hit The Florida Project, in which

her mercurial six-year-old daughter

On the surface, one could say

he plays Bobby, the manager of a

Brooklynn, played by scene-stealing

that Dafoe has simply made a lot of

budget motel in the streets that

non-professional Brooklynn Prince.

shrewd choices in his near 40-year

with it,” says Dafoe, “so I was always

outlie Disney World. As the avun-

“I saw Tangerine and I was taken

career. But on closer inspection,

curious as to what Sean was up to

cular Bobby, Dafoe is the glue that

I keep on hearing is, ‘Oh, we didn’t

quite a few familiar names reappear.

next. When I heard that he was cast-

binds this artful, engaging portrait of

know you could be so warm and

Names like Paul Schrader, Julian

ing The Florida Project, and that there

6

“Y’know,” says the actor, “what

down her unfaithful man.

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F O R

Y O U R

S A G

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

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture JUDI DENCH ALI FAZAL EDDIE IZZARD ADEEL AKHTAR TIM PIGGOTT-SMITH OLIVIA WILLIAMS FENELLA WOOLGAR PAUL HIGGINS ROBIN SOANS JULIAN WADHAM SIMON CALLOW MICHAEL GAMBON

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

JUDI DENCH

ALI FAZAL

EDDIE IZZARD ADEEL AKHTAR

J “

UDI DENCH IS IRRESISTIBLE.”

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

J UDI DENCH GIVES A “

CAREER-HIGH TURN.” THE TIMES

For more on this film, go to www.FocusFeaturesGuilds2017.com

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© 2017 FOCUS FEATURES LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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I felt she was very comfortable in the role, and she’s also a very strong personality. So it paralleled what we had to do in the movie. I felt kind of protective of her, but at the same time she’s a strong personality. She didn’t need any help.” Working with children wasn’t a problem either. “I don’t even remember how I worked with them because it all was so natural,” he says. “We had to take care of them, and we had to make them comfortable. So, really, you had to give them lots of room, because Sean set them up in a way

A WHOLE NEW WORLD Dafoe is the put-upon motel manager in The Florida Project.

where they weren’t being reflective, was still a role open, I got my hands

conceding scenes, so I would say that

on the script. I read it and I thought

we shot the script and then we shot

it was very good. We had a meeting,

some other things as well—invented

and I liked him very much. I didn’t

things.”

know all of his work but I liked how he

The film was shot in one of the

presented to me how we were going

many motels along that strip near

to work on this movie. So it was really

Disney World that house people on

a no-brainer.”

welfare long-term. It’s tempting to

At that meeting, Baker unveiled

assume that Dafoe is one of those

his working methods, explaining that

actors that needs to immerse himself

they would be shooting in a working

into a character’s environment in

motel, mixing professional actors

order to become him, but, surpris-

with non-traditional casting, and that

ingly, he bristles at the suggestion.

the story would be driven by real ele-

“No,” he says emphatically. “No.

“WHAT KIND OF ACTOR I AM DEPENDS ON THE PROJECT. THERE’S ALWAYS A PART OF ME THAT WANTS ME TO APPEAR TO BE A NON-ACTOR. SO THIS WAS THE PERFECT SITUATION.”

they were just being human. He was setting them up to play. They aren’t thinking about performances, they aren’t thinking about acting, they aren’t thinking even about the movie. They’re just thinking about being in this situation with these adults in this kind of structured play scenario, and Sean set that up beautifully. They were a lot of fun, they were sweet kids—and, once again, there was a parallel to the film, in the respect that, to make them feel free, we had to let them run wild. That was the idea:

ments in addition to his own scripted,

What kind of actor I am depends on

to tap into their chaotic energy and

fictional elements. “For me, that’s

the project. I mean, there’s always a

really let them have fun. So some-

sort of a dream situation to be in,”

part of me that wants to not be an

times it was challenging, but they

says Dafoe. “He had a very good story,

actor, and wants me to appear to be

were good kids. It just forced me to

some beautiful scenes, and I had an

a non-actor. So this was the perfect

be more patient than you’d normally

interesting role, in the respect that I

situation, because Sean was using a

“because I saw that they were very

structurally connect the material. I

lot of street casting, a lot of non-tra-

proud of the work that they do. And,

have an interesting task in being the

ditional casting, children, and so on.

somehow, even though it’s quite a

its big premiere in Cannes and the

one that is sort of the outsider. I’m

Real people that actually lived there

modest living, and a very difficult job,

cast enjoyed a ten-minute standing

like everybody else in the story but

that were helping us make the movie,

and some of those motels are not the

ovation, Dafoe was on the other side

also I’m a little bit outside of it.”

so it was very important for me to be

most elegant places in the world, they

of the world, in Australia, shoot-

able to disappear into the material.”

were very motivated to try to make

ing DC’s Aquaman. But, he says, he

Baker had started out with

have to be.” Disappointingly, when the film had

what he calls “a scriptment”—half

But the question of process stays

things better. They were very proud of

always knew it was special. “When

script, half treatment—but by the

in Dafoe’s mind. “What kind of actor

taking care of their people, and I think

we were shooting it, it felt special,”

time shooting started, it was a fully

am I?” he muses. “Listen, I do what-

that was very key to me. Because it

he says. “But with low-budget films,

fleshed-out script.

ever I need to do to prepare, to feel

made me start to realize that they

you never know whether it’s going

confident, to feel open and flexible.

very much identify with those people

to be seen. So when there was a

Dafoe. “It was a very good script, and

But in this case it was a world that I

and they very much feel a responsibil-

good response in Cannes, critical

we shot that script. But, of course,

didn’t really know. So I went to meet

ity to them. They know they’re only

and popular, it showed that the story

there were adjustments. You’ve got

with people who lived in motels in

about a paycheck away from that

would resonate with people. I was

to remember that Sean’s not only

the area, and it was very instructive.

situation, that precarious lifestyle.”

very happy when A24 picked it up,

the co-writer and the director, he’s

From the obvious standing point, I

also the editor. So he’s sort of taking

studied how they presented them-

however, didn’t faze Dafoe at all, not

movies and making sure that that

his cues from the life of the shoot-

selves, how they moved, how they

even the fact that his leading lady—

they find the proper audience.

ing of the movie. We were constantly

dressed, how they would talk, where

Bria Vinaite—had been cast from

getting new info, just by the fact that

they were in the world and where

Instagram. “She was great,” he says.

good. I’m glad that people are

we were shooting in this real motel, so

they came from.”

“The second I met her I thought, ‘This

responding to it.”

“That’s Sean’s trip,” explains

opportunities were presenting them-

Ultimately, though, he found

Working with non-professionals,

because they do very well at taking

“So…” he sums up. “So far, so

is great casting.’ Not just physically,

And hopefully they’re seeing yet

selves to us all the time. Sometimes

himself struck by their attitude. “That

and the fact that she was not”—he

another of this versatile actor’s many

he’d be inventing scenes, sometimes

was more important to me,” he says,

laughs—“the normal actress type.

faces. ★

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

BEST PICTURE (DR AMA)

BEST DIRECTOR MARTIN McDONAGH BEST ACTRESS (DR AMA)

FRANCES McDORMAND BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR WOODY HARRELSON • SAM ROCKWELL JOHN HAWKES • PETER DINKLAGE LUCAS HEDGES BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS ABBIE CORNISH BEST SCREENPLAY MARTIN McDONAGH BEST ORIGINAL SCORE CARTER BURWELL

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FOXSEARCHLIGHT.COM/FYC

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CHARTED TERRITORY

Gold Derby’s Oscar Odds At press time, here is how Gold Derby’s experts ranked the Oscar chances in the Lead And Supporting Actress races. Get up-to-date rankings and make your own predictions at GoldDerby.com ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Whatever the Weather

War for the Planet of the Apes VFX Supervisor Joe Letteri on adjusting to the weather conditions of a deeper, darker story. BY MATT GROBAR

AFTER FOUR OSCAR WINS for his work on

franchise, Letteri moved beyond the series’

seminal visual effects-driven films like Avatar

fundamental challenges to confront a story

and The Lord of the Rings, Joe Letteri can be

taking place in brutal weather conditions,

popularly considered an expert in the cre-

employing effects work only possible today,

ation of creatures. Letteri has been involved

as the visual effects process has evolved to

with computer generated visual effects from

merge with day-to-day production.

their first use in movies like The Abyss and

For War, Letteri stood in the rain and snow, contemplating the way in which these

Jurassic Park. And his love for the form has continued

weather conditions would imprint them-

into all three of 20th Century Fox’s updated

selves on the apes enduring them. “We run

Planet of the Apes movies, from Rise of the

these physical simulations to allow us to do

Planet of the Apes in 2011. Tasked with trans-

all that,” he says. “Then, there’s a process

lating human emotion and physicality into a

called rendering, which is basically the analog

digital army of intelligent apes, through the

of cinematography, where we have to mimic

process of performance capture, Letteri has

all the physical lighting on the set. There’s a

seen the strides of new technology over his

lot of physics and math behind reconstruct-

years in the field.

ing the physical world inside a computer in a

As Letteri will tell you, there are new chal-

way that matches lighting and performance,

lenges on every VFX-driven project—that’s

and all these processes that you have to

the exciting nature of the craft. On War for

understand and flow through to reach the

the Planet of the Apes, the latest in the new

final goal.”

ODDS

1

Frances McDormand Three Billboards Outside Ebbing...

12/5

2

Sally Hawkins The Shape of Water

3/1

3

Saoirse Ronan Lady Bird

5/1

4

Meryl Streep The Post

11/1

5

Margot Robbie I, Tonya

11/1

6

Jessica Chastain Molly’s Game

14/1

7

Judi Dench Victoria and Abdul

40/1

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

ODDS

1

Laurie Metcalf Lady Bird

11/5

2

Allison Janney I, Tonya

3/1

3

Holly Hunter The Big Sick

7/1

4

Octavia Spencer The Shape of Water

10/1

5

Melissa Leo Novitiate

14/1

6

Mary J. Blige Mudbound

14/1

7

Kristin Scott Thomas Darkest Hour

40/1

SPIRIT OF THE ’70s Battle of the Sexes cinematographer Linus Sandgren discusses his unique documentary approach to the tennis drama. AFTER WINNING AN OSCAR last year for La La Land, cinematographer Linus Sandgren moves toward naturalism with tennis drama Battle of the Sexes, creating a film about the 1970s world of tennis made with the cinematic conventions of that era. “We tried to avoid steadicams or cranes—we had some

10

cranes, but a lot of dolly-andzoom kind of storytelling, and blocking scenes with the actors,” Sandgren explains. “We designed the sets in a way that we could use very few film lights. To create the film look, we tested different ways to get grain, and a softer feel to it.” In collaboration with

directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Sandgren created a set of rules by which the film would play. “That was the idea, to have like a very ‘70s approach,” the DP says. “You sort of assign metaphors for yourself—a way of thinking— and with those rules, the film evolved.” –M.G.

PLAYING BY THE RULES Emma Stone stars in Battle of the Sexes.

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F O R

Y O U R

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

I N

A L L

C A T E G O R I E S

BEST PICTURE (DRAMA)

BEST DIRECTOR

GUILLERMO DEL TORO

BEST ACTRESS

BEST ACTOR

SALLY HAWKINS

DOUG JONES

(DRAMA)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS OCTAVIA SPENCER

(DRAMA)

BEST SCREENPLAY

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

MICHAEL SHANNON • RICHARD JENKINS MICHAEL STUHLBARG

GUILLERMO DEL TORO & VANESSA TAYLOR

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE ALEXANDRE DESPLAT

“‘THE SHAPE OF WATER’ IS AS RICHLY REALIZED, AS UNIQUELY CAPTIVATING, AS ANYTHING YOU’RE LIKELY TO SEE THIS FALL. IT’S TRANSPORTING, EVOCATIVE AND KIND.” RICHARD LAWSON,

“THE RICHLY DRAWN FIGURES ARE PLAYED BY A FIRST-RATE CAST.” DAVID ROONEY,

FOXSEARCHLIGHT.COM/FYC

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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

Angry Music Questlove channels the fears and frustrations of racial strife for Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. BY A M A N DA N ’ D U K A

were your feelings?” And I said, “I’m

That’s why I chose Bilal to sing

mad as hell, man, and I don’t know

it, because I feel like he expresses

what to do.” It was a very hard, very

anger and compassion in one fell

uncomfortable watch because it’s

swoop. It starts off soft but just

still going on.

ends angry as hell.

[Through the song] I knew who I

AS HE WROTE THE SONG “IT AIN’T FAIR” for the Kathryn Bigelow-directed period drama Detroit—about the 1967 12th Street Riots—The Roots frontman Questlove had a message for people complacent with the status quo. That message was one of anger and discontent. Featuring singer-songwriter Bilal, the song not only underscores the odious event that took place 50 years ago at the Algiers Motel, which left three black men dead at the hands of law enforcers, but also the perpetual injustices that continue to run rampant in contemporary society. With its Motown-like sound of the ’60s, and incendiary lyrics, the track highlights the songwriter’s impassioned cry for awareness.

wanted to talk to. I wanted to speak

What was the process of putting

to those that know the truth but

the song together?

don’t want to leave their comfort

[The time period] is 1967 so I

zone. To really speak out against it,

wanted to record either at Dap King,

not even as a plea but just to show

Dap Tone Studios or Diamond

emotions.

Mine, where they made the Amy

I knew Kathryn would like me to

Winehouse record and all the stuff

coddle and soothe people, but I had

that sounds like it came from the

to get these emotions out and let

’60s.

her know that, while some people

You’re on that vintage

are going to be riddled with guilt

equipment and you’re trying

and want comfort, a lot of us are

to create a song that expresses all

going to be mad as fuck.

this anger and rage, but because

I told her, “I want you to trust

you’re on time period-sensitive

me on this. The song’s going to be

material, you can’t play loud. I had

seven minutes and I’m going to do

to play the softest I ever played

How did you get involved in

just wanted me to watch it cold

something that black people don’t

but still have the song express

Detroit?

and then call her back when I saw

get a chance to do, which is express

emotions.

I got the call from Kathryn to

it to give my feelings on it. It’s a

emotions.” I saw this as a chance

watch the film and she purposely

very unusual conversation. When

to really show three-dimensional

was made in the ’50s and ’60s, this

didn’t set up the film for me. She

we talked, she was like, “So what

emotions that can appeal.

was the first time that The Roots

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Also, because the [equipment]

PHOTOGRAPH BY

Michael Buckner

11/21/17 1:42 PM


FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION IN ALL CATEGORIES INCLUDING

BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR “MARGOT

ROBBIE IS SENSATIONAL.”

“9DDAKGFB9FF=QKH=J>GJE9F;=IS “THE

GOLD.”

BEST FILM OF THE YEAR.”

A KNOCKOUT.

THE GOODFELLAS OF FIGURE SKATING.” “MARGOT ROBBIE COMMANDS THE FILM WITH

A GRIPPING, POWERFUL PERFORMANCE.”

“THE FILM SHOWCASES

A BEST-EVER PERFORMANCE BY MARGOT ROBBIE AND AN UNFORGETTABLE ALLISON JANNEY.” WINNER HOLLYWOOD FILM AWARDS

BEST ENSEMBLE

MARGOT

ROBBIE

BEST FEATURE BEST ACTRESS GOTHAM AWARDS NOMINEE

SEBASTIAN

STAN

ALLISON

JANNEY

DIRECTED BY CRAIG GILLESPIE WRITTEN BY STEVEN ROGERS

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11/16/17 12:49 PM


Q UESTLOVE

FRUSTRATIONS BUILD The 1967 Detroit riots as reconstructed in Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit.

had to record a song in front of each other simultaneously, at the same time. To have a 10-piece horn section and all of us playing at the perfect tone, we had to do two hours in a row. It was hard because once you play a song for two hours, you’re numb to it. You’ve got to take time to take a break and then come back fresh. It was hard but I think we nabbed it.

“I TOLD HER, ‘I WANT YOU TO TRUST ME ON THIS. THE SONG’S GOING TO BE SEVEN MINUTES AND I’M GOING TO DO SOMETHING THAT BLACK PEOPLE DON’T GET A CHANCE TO DO, WHICH IS EXPRESS EMOTIONS.’”

the concert that night, and he had

friends, “If you’re the type that gets

his take on the story as well. It’s the

emotionally caught up in a film, I’m

timing of the story that affected me

telling you now: There’s no hero,

the way it did, and not knowing that

there’s no resolution.”

the story even existed. I decided at that moment not to

There’s going to be an amount of frustration that you’re going to

separate myself from it. Someone’s

feel that’s not going to be resolved.

going to see this film, and I want

But I also know on the other side

this song and all of its rage to be

of the coin, there are white people

imprinted in their minds.

that are still getting a wake-up call of the events that have happened

There’s always talk about how art can lead to meaningful

to people in the last 400 years. I feel like this current

There have been some critics

conversations about

administration that we’re in right

taking issue to the telling of this

race relations and injustices. Do

now, people are now knowing an

story through non-black lenses.

you feel movies like Detroit can

inkling of what we’ve been going

I’ve wrestled with this issue and

lead to progressive movements?

through for life. For those that

initially I wasn’t going to do it.

The reason why I did [the song] is

are shocked, for those that “can’t

I knew nothing about [the

because it’s still happening today.

believe this is happening,” that’s

Algiers Motel incident]. I went

I read a review where the writer

who I’m trying to reach. Those that

backwards because I’m friends with

felt Detroit was more an emotional

feel comfortable. Those that know

George Clinton and his people. The

snuffle. I myself know that. I told

better and don’t say it, that’s who

Parliaments were actually part of

a few friends, especially my black

I’m trying to reach. ★

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FOR

YOUR

CONSIDERATION

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM ®

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CROWNING AROUND The Crown saw numerous wins throughout last year’s awards season.

Awards Season Milestones Pete Hammond breaks down the precursor races on the road to Oscar.

ON THE ROAD TO OSCAR, there are probably no two more high-profile, and thus important, stops than the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes. We probably should also throw in the Critics’ Choice Awards as well, since the latter has an uncanny track record of matching the final Oscar results, and all three of these shows are televised (the CCAs are moving to The CW this year and will follow the Globes by just four days on January 11). The other thing they all have in common is that they combine film and TV prizes and bring together both parts of the industry in that way. On the television side of the equation, and in terms of their

for Stranger Things and The Crown.

Is Us, Better Call Saul, Veep, Black-

In the case of SAG, there is an

ish, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,

Outstanding Cast award, which is

Transparent and so on. But in an

interpreted as their version of Best

effort to influence Emmy down

Picture—but because it focuses

the line, don’t be surprised to see

on an ensemble, it doesn’t always

another Big Four Network breakout

compute. Last year’s winner

hit like The Good Doctor score

was Hidden Figures, which took

key nods; or HBO’s The Deuce, or

the prize over favorites La La Land

Netflix’s acclaimed Ozark.

and Moonlight. All three, though,

On the comedy side, there could be love for the Emmy-snubbed HBO hit Insecure, Amazon’s offbeat I

were eventually nominated in the Oscars’ Best Picture category. Looking at the all-important

Love Dick, and from the Big Four,

Globes competition this year, it

CBS’s very smart and funny Big Bang

would appear to signal a wide

Theory spinoff Young Sheldon, at

open race in both of its marquee

least for its star Iain Armitage.

Picture categories, something that

Perhaps, too, NBC’s successful

appears likely for the Oscars as

return of Will & Grace.

well, as nothing has firmly broken

Of course, more urgently, all eyes

through to lead the pack. Leading

will be on these precursor award

the charge will be Christopher

shows to indicate what the real

Nolan’s Dunkirk on the Drama side,

pulse of the Oscar race will look like.

and Universal’s Get Out in Comedy/

It isn’t always easy to figure out,

Musical, even though I am not sure

Certainly, the deep pockets

especially as it relates to the Globes,

I am comfortable calling the latter

impact on the Emmys, the Globes

of Netflix, as well as Amazon—

because they split their Best Picture

horror/thriller movie a comedy.

and Critics’ Choice honors tend

and, for television only, Hulu—are

awards into separate Drama and

That, I am told, is where the studio

to push the envelope and reward

changing the game, and the effect

Comedy/Musical categories, thereby

would like to see this low-budget

whatever is the hot new thing

is felt everywhere. In terms of TV,

spreading the love more widely

Blumhouse smash placed. But this

TV-wise. SAG, on the other hand,

I expect the Globes and CCAs to

around. Similarly, the Critics’ Choice

goes against public statements

tends to be two or three beats

embrace much of what they have

Awards has numerous subcategories

from its writer/director Jordan Peele

behind, often picking the same

done previously with returnees

like comedy, sci-fi, and action

who disagreed with the comedy

shows year in and year out, although

like the aforementioned winners,

but, unlike the Globes, reserves its

designation, even facetiously calling

that might be changing on the basis

along with Westworld, Emmy-

greatest award for an overall Best

it a “documentary” to further make

of the Netflix triumphs last year

winner The Handmaid’s Tale, This

Picture.

his point about its serious nature.

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PET E HAMMOND

CRITICS’ CHOICES Clockwise from top: Dunkirk; The Shape of Water; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; and The Post.

Netflix remains an unknown,

and recent triumphs like Moonlight,

wall-to-wall pop tunes, mostly with

Press Association prides itself on

Of course, the Hollywood Foreign

particularly at the Oscars, but is

Spotlight, and 12 Years a Slave, have

the word “baby” in their lyrics. Not

being the final arbiter. Certainly, Get

likely to get a warm reception at

proven it is much easier to break

really a musical, but if the HFPA goes

Out qualifies as a bitingly clever dark

some of the earlier awards shindigs

through for the little guy. A sweep

along, that is where you will see it.

comedy, so assuming this is where it

for Dee Rees’ powerful Mudbound.

through the Globes, CCAs and SAG

More traditional musicals such as

lands, it takes on front-runner status.

SAG in particular had no problem at

can obviously be a real plus, even if

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and

This kind of recognition

all with Netflix’s first big foray into

having a Globe for Comedy/Musical

the holiday release of Hugh

for a movie that opened last

the Best Picture waters two years

doesn’t appear to carry the same

Jackman’s P.T. Barnum opus, The

February is unusual, and with July

ago with Beasts of No Nation, giving

weight as the Drama winner. Last

Greatest Showman—both movies

release Dunkirk on top of pundit

it significant attention and awards,

year, La La Land was the dominant

where the actors actually sing—are

predictions as a nomination lock

so expect Mudbound to be a strong

movie after its romp through these

also in the mix.

in Drama, it upends the common

contender, perhaps convincing the

shows, though it didn’t have the

wisdom that you have to be

Academy it is time to stop looking at

cachet of a Drama win like Moonlight.

early awards is that their nominations

released in the fall to be able to

Netflix as a threat.

But the old rule applied, even after

are all prominently advertised during

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway

the key period when Academy

play in the awards sandbox. 2017 is

On the Comedy/Musical side

What is key about all of these

proving a different model is doable

of the Globes, in addition to the

mistakenly announced La La Land as

members are watching their

as well. For Drama, other strong

aforementioned Get Out, you

Oscar’s Best Picture winner, when in

screeners most intently. And this

contenders for the Globes, as well

can count for sure on A24’s Lady

fact it was Moonlight that prevailed.

year, both the Globes, which happen

as the CCAs, are Call Me by Your

Bird, which has steadily gained

Other possibilities include the

on January 7, and the Critics’ Choice

Name, The Shape of Water, Steven

momentum since opening in early

strong Amazon summer hit The Big

Awards, which occur on January

Spielberg’s The Post, Darkest

November, and looms as a real

Sick, Battle of the Sexes, I, Tonya, The

11th, take place as Oscar nomination

Hour (which is kind of the flip

possibility to take it all for Greta

Disaster Artist, Downsizing (never

balloting is still going on. In fact, the

side of Dunkirk), Three Billboards

Gerwig’s solo directorial debut. A

count out Alexander Payne),

Globes winners are announced just

Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The

Globe win in this category for either

and Victoria & Abdul. 

two days after Oscar voting opens,

Florida Project, Molly’s Game, War

of these two films can set up a

for the Planet of the Apes (helped

serious Oscar run for Best Picture.

into the game with a big push from

In the ever-changing

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver has

which gives them the potential to be

been submitted in the Globes

more influential than usual. We’ll see

Comedy/Musical category, not so

if those all-important Oscar voters

Fox), and perhaps Paul Thomas

demographics of the Academy, little

much as a comedy but more as a

are influenced by any of the early

Anderson’s Phantom Thread.

indie-like darlings like these films,

musical, because the soundtrack is

birds. ★

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

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM • BEST ACTRESS - DIANE KRUGER OFFICIAL SELECTION • GERMANY

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between family drama and black comedy. Easy to watch, funny and thoughtful… it comes as a surprise that it packs so much emotional depth.” –DEBORAH YOUNG, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

INSPIRING AMPLE LAUGHS

as well as palpable unease. Unsettlingly perceptive as well as absurdly comedic. ‘Under the Tree’ chronicles domestic tensions left to fester; when grudges branch out like a leafy tree in a suburban backyard, everyone suffers.” –SARAH WARD, SCREEN DAILY WINNER

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GOING APE Ruben Östlund’s Swedish entry The Square; Sebastián Lelio’s Chilean A Fantastic Woman; From France, Robin Campillo’s BPM

Finding Foreign Language Here’s how the Academy’s Foreign Language race is shaping up thus far. BY NA N C Y TA RTAG L I O N E

Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies,

was nominated for an Oscar and

Marina is forced to confront his

won the Golden Globe. A family

family and society, and to fight

drama, it’s also critical of Russian

again to show them who she

society—much as was the case

is: complex, strong, forthright,

with Leviathan. It revolves around

fantastic.

a couple going through a vicious

Winning the Silver Bear Alfred

divorce and impatient to turn the

Bauer Prize, Spoor hails from Polish

page. But when their son disap-

Oscar nominee Agnieszka Hol-

pears after witnessing one of their

THE BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM RACE has again set a new record,

land and Kasia Adamik. It follows an

fights, the pair must come together.

with entries this year hailing from 92 countries. Amongst the contenders are

elderly woman who lives alone in a

Loveless too has racked up a series

a host of high-profile helmers—and one Netflix-backed picture directed by a

valley where mysterious crimes are

of prizes and was recently nomi-

bonafide global celebrity.

committed. The wintery whodunnit

nated for multiple European Film

does not have U.S. distribution.

Awards.

The Phase One and Executive Committees can be unpredictable. Last year’s shortlist created an uproar when it shockingly omitted Paul Verho-

After unleashing a “worst man-

Robin Campillo was on the

even’s French film Elle. The thriller won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign

cry” when he failed to score a nomi-

Croisette this year with BPM, his

Language Film with Isabelle Huppert snagging Best Actress. She was also

nation with 2014’s Force Majeure,

first time in Cannes as director.

nominated for an Oscar.

Ruben Östlund should have plenty

He’d previously been to the festival

to smile about this year. His Palme

as the writer and editor of 2008

was the Oscar nominee to beat. And then came Donald Trump’s travel ban.

d’Or winner, The Square, leads the

Palme d’Or winner The Class. BPM

That thrust Iranian filmmaker, and previous Oscar winner, Asghar Farhadi

nominations at the European Film

won the festival’s Grand Jury Prize

onto the world stage. He refused to attend the ceremony even if given spe-

Awards. Starring Claes Bang, Elisa-

for its early ’90s tale of an activist

cial dispensation. His film The Salesman became a symbol against the ban,

beth Moss and Dominic West, it’s a

group fighting general indifference

and against Trump, and ultimately took the Oscar home.

satirical drama set in the art world.

to the AIDS epidemic. France has

On being selected as Sweden’s rep

been nominated numerous times

Östlund says, “I really hope it’s less

for the FL Oscar, most recently with

painful this time round.” Sweden

2015’s Mustang. But it hasn’t taken

(whose Son of Saul was the 2015 laureate). The Ildikó Enyedi-directed love

had a Foreign Language Oscar

the prize since 1992’s Indochine. 

story is set in a Budapest slaughterhouse and centers on a man and woman

nomination last year with Hannes

who discover they share the same dream every night, and try to recreate it

Holm’s A Man Called Ove.

Still, for some time last year it looked as though Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann

So, predictions can sometimes be futile. But that doesn’t mean sizing up the field of frontrunners and films worthy of consideration is. Here we go. Berlin Golden Bear winner On Body and Soul is the entry from Hungary

during the day. Its other prizes include the Ecumenical Jury nod and FIPRESCI in Berlin and the Sydney Film Prize. It’s up for four European Film Awards.

Also out of Cannes this year

Yet another Cannes winner is Germany’s entry, In the Fade, from helmer Fatih Akin. Star Diane

is Russia’s submission by Andrey

Kruger won the Best Actress prize

Zvyagintsev, Loveless. The Jury Prize

in the Palais last May for the ter-

Chilean director step up after his 2013 pic Gloria didn’t make the cut. The

winner puts the director back in

rorism drama, which is her first

film stars Daniela Vega as Marina, a waitress and singer, and Francisco Reyes

the running for the third time. Most

German-language role. Kruger

as Orlando, an older man, who are in love and planning for the future. After

recently, his 2014 drama Leviathan

plays a woman whose life collapses

Also out of Berlin, Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman could see the

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O f f i c i a l O s c a r ® E n t r y — S PA I N — B E S T F O R E I G N L A N G U A G E F I L M

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“A delicately crafted, moving filmic memoir...childhood memoirs always are under threat from self-indulgence and sentimentality, but SUMMER 1993 successfully sidesteps both, establishing Simón as a talent to watch.” — JONATHAN HOLLAND, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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FO REI G N SPOTLI G HT They Killed My Father, the entry from Cambodia. The Netflix film, directed and co-written by Jolie, is about author and human rights activist Loung Ung’s life under the rule of the deadly Khmer Rouge. It premiered in Telluride and then went on to Toronto where it won strong praise. The story is told through Ung’s eyes, from the age of five, when the Khmer Rouge came to power.  First They Killed My Father’s selection as the foreign language entry marks the first time such a high-profile American director has been the representative of another country in another tongue. It is also the 6th submission ever from Cambodia, where it was released after the death of her husband

September 8 in local theaters.

and son in a bomb attack. Akin

While there isn’t a clear line on

previously repped Germany in the

the nationalities or places of birth of

Oscar race with 2007’s The Edge

directors of the roughly 1,800 films

of Heaven, which did not make the

entered in the Foreign Language

shortlist.

category since 1956, one other U.S.-

Hailing from the Directors’

born helmer stands out: Rama Bur-

Fortnight section of Cannes, A

shtein was behind the 2012 Israeli

Ciambra is Italy’s submission. Jonas

submission, Fill the Void. Since the

Carpignano’s drama is set in a small

57th Oscars in 1984, the rules for

Romani community where 14-year-

the category have stipulated that

old Pio is in a hurry to grow up.

a submitting country “must certify

When he sets out to prove his worth

that creative talent of that country

to his brother, a series of events will forever change the way he sees the world. The movie benefited

exercised artistic control of the TAKE ME TO THE RIOT Top: Diane Kruger in Fatih Akin’s In the Fade; Below: Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father

film”. Jolie has dual U.S./Cambodian citizenship.

from the emerging filmmakers fund

Christian and a Palestinian refugee,

New York and London. The pic

spearheaded by Martin Scorsese.

and eventually escalates into an

centers on a young student in Oslo,

mind among the dozens of worthy

Italy is the most successful country

intense legal battle that becomes a

overwhelmed by emotions she

films include Belgium’s dark roman-

when it comes to the FL Oscar,

matter of public opinion. Doueiri’s

doesn’t dare acknowledge when

tic thriller Racer and the Jailbird

taking 11 official and three honorary

acclaimed 1998 drama West Beirut

she finds herself drawn to another

by Michaël R. Roskam whose Bull-

prizes.

was also Lebanon’s Oscar submis-

woman, and as frightening and

head was nominated in 2012; and

sion and The Insult has a lot of heat.

inexplicable powers force them-

Argentina’s Zama, a period drama

selves into the open.

by Lucrecia Martel. Both those pre-

Amongst the Venice titles to be vying for a shortlist slot is Ziad

One of the favorites of the

Doueiri’s Lebanese production The

Venice crowd was Israel’s Foxtrot

Insult. This one took the Best Actor

by Lebanon helmer Samuel Maoz.

of Finland, the critically-acclaimed

Volpi Cup on the Lido. But upon

Covering provocative subject mat-

pic from well-regarded Finnish

cal drama A Taxi Driver from Jang

entering Lebanon after the fest, the

ter in the dance with death, grieving

director Dome Karukoski about the

Hoon. It’s the highest-grossing

French-Lebanese director made

and fate, the film created some

life and work of local artist Touko

local film of the year. But no film

headlines when he was detained

controversy in Israel for its depiction

Laaksonen. Karukoski is one to

on the list of 92 submissions has

at the Beirut airport with both of

of military service there. It opens as

keep an eye on as he was recently

made more than China’s entry Wolf

his passports confiscated. He was

an Israeli couple opens their door

hired to direct the Keanu Reeves/

Warrior 2. In fact, the combined box

later released without charge by a

to army officials who tell them their

Isla Fisher starrer The Starling. Fest

office of all the movies wouldn’t

military tribunal. The incident was

soldier son has been killed. Much of

play on the biopic of the trailblazing

even get close to its $854 million

related to Doueiri’s 2012 film The

the film deals with the young soldier

figure in post-World War II erotic art

at home. China typically goes more

Attack, which he shot partly in

as he mans an isolated checkpoint.

has included Tribeca, while at home

arthouse, but this year submitted

it’s been a box office and critical

a movie that has more in com-

success.

mon with big U.S. action titles. It’s

Israel. Lebanese citizens are banned

Joachim Trier’s Thelma is Nor-

from visiting the country. The Insult

way’s official submission. The

revolves around a minor argument

supernatural thriller has played a

that erupts between a Lebanese

series of fests including Toronto,

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From Finland, the entry is Tom

Other titles worth keeping in

Another one to keep an eye on is certainly Angelina Jolie’s First

miered in Venice. And then there’s Korea’s histori-

unlikely to advance in the race, but it’s worth a mention. ★

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MARGOT ROBBIE’S TURN AS FIGURE SKATER TONYA HARDING IN THE DARKLY COMIC I, TONYA HAS MADE HER ONE OF THIS SEASON’S MOST COMMANDING PERFORMERS. MIKE FLEMING JR. MEETS THE EVER‑ASCENDING STAR AS SHE READIES FOR THE RELEASE.

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has been a dizzying ascent for Margot Robbie, from the Australian soap opera Neighbours to Hollywood, with roles in the TV series Pan Am and in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. But she truly announces herself as an actress with chops, and a chance to medal this awards season, with I, Tonya. In the Craig Gillespie-directed film, Robbie soars as the scandalscarred US Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. She turns an historically vilified white trash tabloid figure into a defiant underdog antihero, who threw up a finger to skating judges when they ignored her superior physical skills and resisted Harding as the image of their sport. Pushed as a child by a hard-edged mother as stingy with praise as she was generous with open-hand slaps (played hilariously by Allison Janney), Harding’s story previously belonged to the gossip hounds in the tabloids. Despite winning the 1991 US Championships when she became the first woman to successfully execute the gravity-defying triple axel, Harding’s place in sports history is one of ignominy because of her suspected complicity in the clumsy attempt by her abusive husband Jeff Gillooly (played by Sebastian Stan) to hobble her elegant rival Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 Winter Olympics. Harding received a lifetime ban by the US Figure Skating Association, after pleading guilty to a charge of hindering the prosecution in the attack on Kerrigan. Despite the string of roles that have followed Wolf—such as her turn as Harley Quinn, the bright spot of Suicide Squad, which she will reprise in sequels—I, Tonya is the first film to rest solely on Robbie’s shoulders. She plunges into the ICECAPADES Right, from top: Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in I, Tonya; Allison Janney as her mother LaVona Golden; Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, Harding's husband, with Robbie.

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portrayal of an unglamorous, dirt-poor and defiant woman, who sewed her own costumes and applied her own makeup (harshly) for the sport she believed in. And Robbie captures the frightful

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intensity—and the ultimate tragedy—of the character she plays. It’s this kind of expert understanding of character that may have prompted Quentin Tarantino to pursue Robbie for the role of Sharon Tate in his next film, and it puts her squarely into the Oscar conversation this year. Gold may have eluded Tonya Harding on the ice, but she may have one more shot on Oscar night. I, Tonya follows in the tradition of edgy black comedies Fargo and To Die For, with moments like the one we experienced in Fargo, which provokes laughs when Steve Buscemi is fed through a wood chipper, and only later do you wonder if there is something seriously wrong with you. Tonya Harding, her mother, her husband and his dim cohorts provide outrageously funny moments, juxtaposed by images of the skater being battered by those closest to her. Like the triple axel, there is a high degree of difficulty here. It’s definitely dark. Allison Janney puts it well. She’s like, “It’s like laughing in church when you know that you shouldn’t, and then you’re thinking, ‘What kind of person am I to find this funny?’” It does have those moments in it. This film effectively launches your production company LuckyChap. How did you become involved on that level? The script by Steven Rogers hadn’t hit the Black List when it was sent to me, and Craig Gillespie wasn’t attached as director. It was available and we read it pretty quickly, around the same time as producer Bryan Unkeless. We tried to get a meeting with Steven and he said Bryan had just come aboard. That was great because we always co-produce; we’re a young company and not big enough yet to produce anything on our own. So I sat down with Steven and Bryan and pitched them why I should, A, play Tonya Harding, and B, produce as well. That conversation went amazingly and then it was about how we saw the script and the potential challenges, because there are so many. What were the biggest? It was so unconventional. It didn’t have a traditional structure. It was like, “What theme?” Do we need to pick a lane, or marry a couple lanes together? And who can walk that line? Very few directors can pull that off. It is a very specific tone; you’ve got the mockumentary feeling, you’ve got the very dark comedy, you’ve got real life events, you’ve got real life people. There are legal issues, already, with people who are still very much alive. You’ve got an event people remember, but have very strong feelings about. Everyone’s already made their mind up about how they feel about this person. Do you want to shift people’s minds, and in doing so, what do you want that to be? It is an indie film budget, and it is period, and includes the Olympic Games. All those things equate to being very DEADLINE.COM

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expensive. And with something so unconventional,

actual, tangible solutions for this very intangible conundrum we were struggling with. Also, he had

you’re never going to get a lot of money from financiers

worked extensively in the commercial world.

to do it. All that, and the ice skating sequences, and the fact she ages, starting from age 15 to age 44.

Why was that important? One of our other big concerns was we would be shooting so much in so little time and for so small

And 44 with a lot of mileage. You just turned 27?

amount of money. That’s a hard thing to pull off, but he’s worked so much in the commercial space

Yes. You can hire different actresses for different

that we knew he could shoot really fast, so that he could spend the time on the really important

ages, but people are going to emotionally invest in the

parts. I asked what parts he deemed most important, and the way he spoke in our initial meet-

person they see on screen, so you really want to pick

ing was exactly what we got on set. He could shoot so much in one day and I never felt rushed as

one person to play her, as much as possible. So those

an actor. We were literally sprinting across ice skating rinks to get the next shot. But I still never

were the logistical complications. But the script also

felt rushed as an actor, because the moments that really mattered, we spent so much time on.

deals with domestic violence. How do you handle that

The character moments, and really keying into the relationships. I never felt like a stone was left

appropriately? In my opinion, if you are not handling it

unturned in that respect. And we finished on time.

appropriately, that’s doing it a great disservice. Many of us remember the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan rivalry vividly. It was a soap What do you mean by “handling”?

opera, unfolding daily. I remembered Harding as a trashy roughneck, the villain in that

Sugarcoating the issue is not handling it correctly.

drama. Watching I, Tonya, I was surprised how much sympathy I felt for this girl and

But using it in an entertaining script can also be done

her struggle. What was the key to playing her as a sympathetic character, without

badly, and that’s not appropriate, either. So, there were

compromising her defiance?

concerns, and areas we had to make sure got done

That’s the thing. We never wanted her to be a victim. She’s definitely a victim of everyone’s judg-

right. But the upside was like, the sky’s the limit. It was

ment. She’s a victim of abuse. But we didn’t want her to feel like a victim. We didn’t want her to

so good. These characters are amazing; so flawed and

feel like a villain either. We just wanted her to be a person. That way, everyone can relate to her,

wrong, and yet you empathize with them in a weird

because at the end of the day, good or bad, we’re just people. I think what happened with all those

way, and you can see a bit of yourself in them at times.

six-second soundbites and splashy headlines—and the literal caricatures drawn of her—everyone

There was a real opportunity to surprise people, which

forgot that she was a person at the end of it. Everyone passed judgment so quickly without real-

to me has been the biggest compliment, when people

izing that they were playing a role in destroying her life as well. Craig was one of the first people to

come out and they say, “I am so surprised that I felt

say, “We need to see her hitting Jeff as well.” She’s got to hit back. Literally, she’s got to hit back as

this. I’m so shocked that I loved it.” Everyone keeps

well. She is a defiant person.

saying, “I just didn’t think I was going to love it, and

We shot a different ending for the film. The true ending is that she is now happily married with

I love it.” That possibility is what I saw in that script,

a lovely husband, and she has a son, who she adores more than anything in the world. We shot

the upside to surprise people like that. People hadn’t

an ending that reflected the true end of the story. And it didn’t feel right or satisfying, and I think

seen a movie like this before, and I thought if we can

it came down to that she is a defiant person. What we then instead shot was a boxing sequence

pull this off, it will be truly original. And then it came

because she did later become a celebrity boxer and then she became an actual amateur boxer.

down to finding the director who would handle these sensitive things correctly. That search was lengthy and I don’t know if we would have gone ahead had we not got Craig. I remember saying, “If we don’t find the right director for this, we shouldn’t make it at all.” He directed a wholly original indie in Lars and the Real Girl. Why him? What set him apart was, he spoke about the characters with zero judgment. Everyone else seemed to judge. You could tell when people spoke about the characters that they thought they were stupid, trashy. They thought they were funny for sure, but they were judging. Craig didn’t see them that way; he really wanted to empathize with them, to understand them. He brought a lot of technical solutions. With this script in particular, tone and achieving it was so important. Tone is so intangible that it’s a conversation that can go in circles and everyone can say, “Well I think it should be like this.” It’s very hard to articulate how you would actually execute that. He had actual solutions when we asked him. “OK, in this moment I would cut

THE MESSAGE WE WANTED AT THE END WAS, YOU CAN KNOCK HER DOWN, BUT SHE WILL GET UP AGAIN. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU KNOCK HER DOWN, SHE WILL GET UP AGAIN, WHETHER IT’S LIFE, HER FAMILY, HER HUSBAND, HER MOM, THE MEDIA, WHOEVER IT IS KICKING HER, SHE’LL STILL GET UP."

to a wide shot. I wouldn’t give a music cue to lead the audience into thinking how they should feel. I would make them feel uncomfortable right here, for this many beats, until that line happens.” He walked in with DEADLINE.COM

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Why was that better? The message we wanted at the end was, you can knock her down, but she will get up again. It doesn’t matter how many times you knock her down, she will get up again, whether it’s life, her family, her husband, her mom, the media, whoever it is kicking her, she’ll still get up. That’s why we just wanted to symbolically see her get knocked down and get up again, which was the last image of the film. Whether it's the trophy wife Naomi LaPaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street or Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, do you need to find qualities in characters you play that connect you to them, whether it is people you grew up with or family? What did you find most relatable about Tonya Harding? I had the same struggle when I was playing my character in The Wolf of Wall Street because on the page she was a very irredeemable character who just seemed like a gold digger. It took me a while to understand what she was fighting for and what I could understand about her that motivates what she wants. On the page, it seemed like she just wanted money, and that’s not really something I can see being worth fighting for. Then I delved into the character and started building it up and I realized, she’s a mom. She’s got kids and her husband is a drug addict. Her kids are in danger. So she’s fighting for her kids. That big moment at the end, which we ended up rewriting that whole sequence, came when I asked for the divorce. To me, everything she did before the kids, it was like, “Fuck you. I’m going to take what I want. If life gives me lemons, I’m going to make lemonade anyway, and why not? You guys are doing it. Why can’t I? Sure I don’t have money, but I know what I do have, so I’m going to work with that.” That was a good motivating factor for a while. But when it came to the kids, I really had something to fight for. It was protecting her kids. With Tonya, there was eventually so much I could understand about her. I’ve had scenarios with other characters where I felt, “I don’t know what I like about this character.” And then I find it. With Tonya, I focused on the fact she was an athlete and the ultimate underdog. I found that very easy to get behind. I love watching gangster films, which are essentially variations on the underdog rising to the top. There’s something there that you can really get behind. She genuinely was an athlete, an amazing skater who wasn’t getting the recognition because of all these bullshit rules that in her opinion, shouldn’t have mattered. I agree with that. The fact that she wouldn’t get the scores, even though she was the only one even trying the triple axel, just because she didn’t have a $5,000 outfit on, is bullshit. I understand her ambition. I guess I can understand her relationship with Jeff in some respects, because Sebastian made him multifaceted. He wasn’t just a villain, a bad guy. They had fun together too. They were in love. She was constantly seeking validation and he was the first person to validate her in a certain way. Again, that whole cycle of abuse kind of clouds things, because at some point you really do want her to get away from him. And the skating judge tells her that she has to be with him. She was forged with abuse, an iron hand and a lack of approval, a cycle that started with her mother, who handed the baton to Gillooly. There is evidence that abused children seek a version of their abuser in relationships. I’ve read that too. One of the traits for that character—not actual Tonya but the character I was playing—was that I wanted her to always be seeking validation because she never got it. Anytime I was sitting, I wanted to be leaning forward, pretty much in the pose that I sit in when I’m waiting for my skating scores. Just always waiting for validation, from mom, from Jeff, from the world, from the media, from anyone. Just craving love. You’ve said you didn’t know who Tonya Harding was when you read the script. How did not having that preconceived feeling about her help you? I’m so grateful I knew nothing about it. Because when I entered this, Tonya for me was a completely clean slate. I know she wouldn’t be for most people because everyone seems to HOLLYWOOD LIVES Above: scenes from I, Tonya; Margot Robbie with co-stars Julianne Nicholson and Sebastian Stan. Right: Robbie in, from top, Suicide Squad, The Legend of Tarzan and The Wolf of Wall Street.

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remember it. I’m so happy I didn’t know anything about the events or any of the people. I had never heard any of their names and I knew nothing about the figure skating world in general. You didn’t watch the Winter Olympics growing up in Australia? Not really. Not the figure skating. I’ve seen it here and there, but it’s not something I’ve followed closely.

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For the rest of us, Nancy Kerrigan was the glamourous, elegant one, and the one to feel sorry for when she was attacked. Tonya was rough around the edges, and the movie shows why, as she sews her own costumes and puts on the makeup that if anything makes her look harder. I interviewed Charlize Theron when she completed Monster. Even before she won the Academy Award, it was easy to see that playing that abused serial killer was liberating for her, a chance to show she was more than beauty. She said she was at that age where so many women like her either made their bones as actors or faded as someone younger and beautiful got those roles. She knew that Monster was important for longevity. What opportunity did you see in being able to plunge yourself into an unglamorous, flawed character? The look on your face at times was so intense. After playing glamorous in Pan Am and Wolf of Wall Street, how much of an opportunity did you see in de-glamorizing yourself? I know what you mean. It’s not the first role I’ve played where I haven’t needed to look glamorous and it’s actually not the least glamorous role I’ve played, by a long shot. I understand what you mean, but for this, I didn’t feel like, “I need to play an unglamorous role and tick that one off my list.” I felt like I’d kind of done that already I guess, but I did feel a lot of people might see this one. This wasn’t really about the opportunity to have my Monster moment, though a lot of people have said that. They’re like, “This is your Monster moment.” I was like, “Oh, I hadn’t seen it as that. Should I be offended or flattered?” I have played unglamorous before. In Suite Francaise, I have pretty much a brown Afro, my teeth were painted yellow and my skin was all blotchy and I was wearing a smock the whole film. That wasn’t that glamorous. In Z for Zachariah, I had dark hair, and we put lots of freckles on my face and I had really bad skin at the time, which was perfect because she was a teenager with dirt under the nails, baggy unflattering clothes, all that kind of stuff. I did Z for Zachariah right after The Wolf of Wall Street. Then, it felt more important to do it because I still wasn’t established yet and I’d done The Wolf of Wall Street and everyone had that in their mind. So the roles people were interested in me to play were older, glamorous, all that stuff. So, I was like, “OK, we need to adjust people’s idea of me because I’m actually younger than the role I was playing.” In the beginning of Wolf she’s 22 and I was 22 at the time. Then obviously I play up to when she’s got kids. So Z for Zachariah was a chance to play not glamorous at all. That was a script I chased for a year and a half, really to work with Craig Zobel. That all worked out well. I didn’t mean to seem superficial. For me, watching Monster made me feel how much Theron was willing to commit, and there was some of that discovery with you playing Harding and making DEADLINE.COM

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me care about her. It is a big step for me; it’s the first time I’ve played a lead role, the lead of a film where the title is also my character’s name. I have never done that before. I was Jane in Tarzan, and I wasn’t the Wolf of Wall Street, Leo was. This was a big step career wise. This was the first time that I really had the weight of the film on my shoulders. What value did you get out of meeting Harding while you were drilling down on the character? There wasn’t anything specific. I didn’t meet her until a week before we started shooting. By then, I’d done all my prep, over six months, and all that skate training. I had made all of my decisions on how I was going to play her, I’d done all of my script breakdowns, my character ops, my timelines, my research. I’d worked with my acting coach and movement coach, and I’d watched her so closely. Every bit of footage there is on her, I think I’d seen it a thousand times. I listened to her for

Did she disagree with the recreation of the attack

dialect and I knew exactly how I was going to play every scene, before I met her. I wanted to make

on Kerrigan or with the depiction of violence in the

sure I had made all of those decisions before I met her, because I didn’t want to meet her and then

household?

feel obliged to sugarcoat anything. When I met her, it didn’t alter the way I was going to play her.

She said that was all very spot on. She felt like her

There wasn’t something I saw in her that made me change the way I was going to play anything. I’d

mother was spot on. The relationships all rang very

already decided.

true with her. The scene where I’m complicit in knowing about the letters [sent to threaten Kerrigan, before

So why meet her, then?

she was attacked]? She doesn’t agree with that

I just wanted to meet her, just as a person, and just out of respect to her because I was telling

because she maintains to this day that she didn’t know

her story. I just wanted to say to her, “I’m playing a character. For me there’s a clear distinction

anything about it at all. In Jeff’s version of events, she

between you and the character Tonya, and I just want you to know that. So when you see the film,

knew about the letters. There are times in the film

hopefully it’s a little easier to watch.”

when we’re seeing Jeff’s version of events and in those cases I have to play a character who knows about the

What was her reaction to the film?

letters. She doesn’t agree with that. In those moments,

I was very nervous when she saw the film at Toronto, but I was nervous for anyone to see the film.

she said, “I didn’t know about the letters.” I’m like, “I

This was right before Toronto. Not many people had seen it yet and I was just scared to know if

know, but we’re not going to go over this again. We

people even thought it was a good film, but especially worried for her to see it. I didn’t know what

were doing Jeff’s point of view.”

kind of emotional experience that might be for her to see the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows with her life in a two-hour film. The line where I say “suck my dick” to the judges? She found that hilarious, and said, “God I wish

She wasn’t appealing to you to change anything? No, she understood. We made it very clear from the

I had said that at the time.” I think she found it emotional to watch. She said she laughed and she

beginning that we weren’t making a documentary of

cried and there’s obviously parts she doesn’t agree with, because at times we tell the story from

her life. Those exist already. This is a film, you have to

different characters' perspectives.

bear that in mind. She was great about that. What was the purpose of all the skate training? These athletes train since childhood and it’s a little dangerous. I needed it to look second nature to me and it wasn’t second nature to me. It was something that I really had

THIS WASN’T REALLY ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE MY MONSTER MOMENT, THOUGH A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT. THEY’RE LIKE, “THIS IS YOUR MONSTER MOMENT.” I WAS LIKE, “OH, I HADN’T SEEN IT AS THAT.

SHOULD I BE OFFENDED OR FLATTERED?”

to work at. I guess the hardest thing was being able to sell that the most comfortable place in the world for me is on the ice, when me as Margot, it’s like the least comfortable place because I’m terrified that I’m not going to be good enough and I’m terrified that I’m going to get injured and I’m going to screw up the 31-day filming schedule. How did you overcome that? A friend of mine is an athlete. She cycles. I asked her how people psychologically prepare for big sporting events. I was so scared of falling, getting injured and ruining the film. She helped me though all that kind of stuff, and plugging in affirmative keywords, and not negative thoughts, and envisioning what you’re going to do before you do it. All that stuff all pro-cyclists or athletes must do. That was all really helpful. Beyond that, I just trained a lot. And once you take big enough

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

B E S T D O C U M E N TA R Y

N O M I N E E

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

“A MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT.”

CRITICS’ CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARDS

PETE HAMMOND

N O M I N E E

“A daring, affecting film. It’s impossible not to care deeply. A resilient expression of love.” TIM GRIERSON

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE IDA AWARDS

N O M I N E E

BEST SONG IN A DOCUMENTARY “BEST I CAN” MICHAEL CERA FEATURING SHARON VAN ETTEN CRITICS’ CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARDS

DOC NYC SHORT LIST

A real-life romantic comedy

“COULDN’T BE MORE TIMELY OR MORE IMPORTANT TO WATCH.” BARBARA J. KING

“EMOTIONALLY RIVETING... with results that are alternately terrifying and cathartic.”

A FILM BY

JAIRUS M C LEARY

AND

GETHIN ALDOUS

© 2017 THE ORCHARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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falls and realize you’re not going to break a bone every

Which was also why we were pushing for the fourth quarter release. We’re not going to get timing

time you fall, it gets easier and it builds your confi-

this perfect ever again. Look, we knew pulling together all the marketing and distribution plans in

dence. The ice skating was really hard.

that short amount of time is insane, but everything on this film has been that way. We debated it. Should we wait until the next round of festivals? I remember saying to everyone, “The beauty

I saw the film at its Toronto premiere, filled with

of these characters and this story, and the beauty of this film, is that it’s rough around the edges.

buyers. How close was it to Harding, awaiting the

That’s just what we are. We’re scrappy and we’re imperfect and we’re rough around the edges. And

judges’ scores after a skating routine?

if we have eight months to put together the perfect, immaculate, polished campaign, it’s not going

The perfect analogy. I was Tonya waiting, sitting for-

to be true to the film anyway. We want to do it right, but the less time we have to think about our

ward with my hands clenched together, waiting for my

marketing plan, the less likely we are to fuck it up by overthinking. I say we embrace the scrappi-

score. I was so terrified. I’ve never been more nervous

ness, the fact that we’re rough around the edges, and let our marketing campaign reflect that.”

for a film to be seen ever in my life. I’d never carried the weight of a film before and one that I produced too.

I cover San Diego Comic-Con. Most women, and a lot of men for that matter, dress up

There was no one else to blame if this wasn’t received

either as Wonder Woman or Harley Quinn, your character from Suicide Squad, and one

well. It was going to be my fault. It was probably an

you’ll play in a sequel, a spinoff film with Jared Leto’s Joker, and other possible pictures.

even better feeling then, when it was well received. It

You’ve tapped into something with that character. Why has she developed such a rabid

was the best feeling ever.

following when she seems so crazy? I don’t mean that as an insult. No, she is crazy. She’s crazy and she’s educated on crazy too, which makes her even more insane.

The audience loved it. Distributors fought over it

I don’t know what it is and I’ve been trying to figure out, for years now, what it is about it her that

and the deal was made with 30WEST and Neon.

resonates with people so much. I’ve been on endless fan forums to try and find an answer to that

You were able to tell them, this is final cut, and

question and people seem to be really taken with how much she loves the Joker. That’s something.

you have to put it out before year’s end for the

It seems counterintuitive because the Joker is horrible to her. He’s abusive and always is trying to

awards race.

kill her, but she loves him unconditionally. It’s a super destructive relationship, but people love that

The turnaround has been quick, and we didn’t have

she loves him so much. They love her for loving him so much. Plus, she’s super smart and funny and

time to open up the movie and re-edit it anyway and

all those wonderful qualities, but she’s a mess. I think that’s why people love her so much. She’s

if people wanted to do that, it wasn’t going to work.

just a beautiful mess. I guess it’s why people like flawed characters so much. She’s super flawed

Fortunately there was a distributor who agreed with

and people like that.

what we wanted and was able to give it. A beautiful mess might not be such a bad description for Tonya. You have a built-in opportunity to broaden in the-

Yeah, totally. But everyone’s messy. I don’t want to play a character who’s not. It’s more fun to play

aters in the run up to the Winter Olympics.

characters who are a bit messed up. ★

ROBBIE REPORT From left: Margot Robbie in Pan Am; with Chiwetel Ejiofor in Z for Zachariah; in Australian soap opera Neighbours.

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STARZ online services are only accessible through participating partners in the U.S. and certain U.S. territories where a high-speed broadband connection is available. STARZ and related channel and service marks are the property of Starz Entertainment, LLC. Photos: American Gods © 2015 Fremantle Media North America. All rights reserved. Outlander © 2017 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Girlfriend Experience © 2017 Transactional Pictures of NY LP. All rights reserved. Power © 2017 Starz Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved. Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. PBR-7855-17

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D THE DIALOGUE

WAL LPAP E R : FA RROW & BAL L

OSCAR CONTENDERS/ ACT R ESS ES

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Jessica

So much of what Molly is dealing with is having to fix and protect men from the problems they

C H A S TA I N

made—to hold onto their secrets. It made me think of the last two months, and the choices women have had to make to tell the truth. I don’t think anyone should keep a secret if someone’s a serial abuser and people are being hurt. That’s a completely different thing. She’s just not ratting on people who confided in her; text messages where they would say things that were

The Molly’s Game star is all-in on Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut.

inappropriate. Fathers talking about how they wished they’d never had kids. Think about how

BY A M Y N I C H O L S O N

deep that goes. The one thing that really connects is what happens when an industry is dominated by one demographic and they hold the livelihood of another demographic. There’s always going to be abuses of power.

JESSICA CHASTAIN SWEARS SHE’S TERRIBLE AT POKER. Still, don’t bet against her. For Molly’s Game, the two-time Oscar nominee learned all the tricks, terms, and bluffs of ultra-high stakes gambling—we’re talking millions of dollars a hand. Not many people could afford to buy in, and game hostess Molly Bloom’s memoir of the same title named the famous people who did. But she lost her game, and her reputation, in an instant in 2014 when the men she invited in flagged the attention of the FBI. Her battle for integrity is the type of fight-the-system brawl that Aaron Sorkin couldn’t resist picking for his directorial debut. Cast as Molly, Chastain had to discover the ambitious, brilliant businesswoman who was so much more than a tabloid vixen.

there one for women? Do you know in what industry women make more than men? Porn, modeling, anything where the woman is using her body because society values a woman’s desirability more than what she has to say or what’s on her mind. We live in a patriarchal society. In Molly’s Game, it’s her family, her industry, and the government. All men ruling the roost and deciding the rules. I don’t think we have an industry where women rule it.

In Molly’s Game, your character says she

become a drug addict. She’s laughing at people’s

Is it fair to say you’re most drawn to playing

turned down invitations to turn her story into

jokes when she doesn’t think they’re funny. I think

women who are really good at their jobs?

a film. Why did the real Molly finally say yes?

there’s an emptiness to how much of herself she’s

I like to play women that I see in my everyday life.

She had many offers. There was one that was this

given away. It’s a very funny scene.

Then I go to the movies and for my entire life,

episodic thing that was super sexy and every week

That’s what’s so great about Aaron Sorkin: He

I’m going, “Huh? Why are these women so not-

was a different poker game, and some Entourage-

writes these scenes that are so funny, and then he

interesting?” So I think it’s fair to say that I’m used

style poker series that was going to be very gos-

slips in sadness, or a biting remark about what’s

to playing well-written female characters—and I’m

sipy. She wasn’t interested in doing that. When

going on in the world. In the courtroom scene where

hoping it’s something that will be contagious. That

Aaron met Molly, the first thing he said is, “Listen,

Idris [Elba] keeps switching places back and forth,

the more that writers and audience members see

if I take this on, for me it’s not about Hollywood

he says, “You’ve gotta change your clothes. You look

these women that I’m playing, it’ll inspire them to

gossip—I’m not interested in that story.” And she

like the Cinemax version of yourself.” Twice in the

create more accurate representations.

said, “I’m not interested in that either, which is

film, men are telling Molly that she needs to change

why I didn’t sell it before.”

the way she looks. It’s so weird. Even though he’s

You’ve pledged to work with one female direc-

doing it to protect her, why is there so much focus

tor a year.

on her visually?

I just couldn’t believe that the statistic wasn’t get-

When her book came out, the coverage called her the “Poker Princess”, and focused on her

WAL LPAP E R : FA RROW & BAL L

Still, it’s literally about a powerful boys club. Is

ting better. I think it was like seven percent or less

dresses, the hair. What did you make of her?

Sorkin’s screenwriting style is legendary.

of films directed in Hollywood were directed by

I judged her. The media tried to convince me who

What’s his directing style?

women. Seven. And I said, “Well, that’s not going to

Molly was and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. And

This same as his screenwriting style. When you see

cut it.” I think my percentage is 25%. Which still isn’t

then I met her and I was really surprised. She’s not

his energy, you’re like, “Wow, it’s just how he writes.”

50/50, but it’s better than seven.

this stereotype. There was a lot more going on.

The pacing is quick and fun and funny. He also

She’s a creation of society. Society values women

comes from theater—the first thing he ever wrote

Do you feel optimistic about the future?

for their sexual desirability, and she changed

was a play—so we would get together in the morn-

I do. I’ve seen the industry change just since 2011,

everything about herself to try to become suc-

ing, Idris and I, and rehearse our 10-page scene with

when my films first started coming out. There’s a

cessful in an industry dominated by rich and

Aaron and Charlotte [Bruus Christensen], our DP.

great myth that women are made to feel like they’re

powerful men.

Then the crew would come in with their coffees and

replaceable. And they’re not. So I think the more

their bagels and everyone would sit on the floor like

that we support each other, and amplify the voices

And these men tell her they love her—which in

we were in drama school. Idris and I would do our

of those that are coming forward with injustices, we

her scene with Chris O’Dowd, makes her sink.

10-minute scene, and at the end everyone would

can work together to create an industry of healing. I

That’s when she’s at the lowest of the low. She has

clap and be like, “OK; let’s film it.”

feel like that’s what’s happening. So I feel hopeful. ★

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Holly

characters was always in the air. Because the stakes were so high, I think all of the characters

HUNTER

had to be really invested, and I think that both Kumail and Ray took this on as actors who happened to be exceedingly, naturally funny people. In that way, it didn’t feel as intimidating as I thought that it might. More than her father, Emily’s mother becomes

The Big Sick actress discusses the hilarious and heartbreaking film that teaches tolerance. B Y M AT T G R O B A R

the direct antagonist to Kumail. What was it like to play those early, intense scenes in which you clash? It was fun, and that was a balancing act, that maternal protection of her daughter—that it be really comedic, but that was a specific tone that I think I was looking for. That was a balancing act that Michael Showalter and I were exploring while we were shooting, to not be too hard-hitting, but at the same time, it was a firm no. [laughs]

OW DOES AN ACTOR PREPARE to portray a real-life figure before the camera? Certainly, many actors leap at the opportunity to meet their real-life counterpart—either before or after shooting—but for The Big Sick’s Holly Hunter, the part was on the page. Based on the tragicomic first months of courtship between comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his current wife, Emily V. Gordon, who became life-threateningly ill during this time, the Michael Showalter film saw Hunter portraying Emily’s mother, confronting the sudden reality of her daughter’s illness, and the man with whom Emily had recently broken up. Playing opposite Ray Romano as Emily’s father, Hunter appreciates the film’s subtle conversation about race, and the tolerance that is badly needed in the world today.

H

You’ve worked on several classic comedies— Raising Arizona and Broadcast News come to mind. Was it nice to return to that realm? It was really fun to enter comedy again, although I did a television series called Saving Grace for four years. There was a lot of comedy in Saving Grace, so I didn’t feel that I’d experienced a drought of comedy because of that, but in feature films, it had been a while since I’d done one. It was just fun to express that part of myself. Have you had an awareness or been a fan of

Your character comes into the story not really

I’ve got to tell you, This Is 40 is an incredible piece

script for The Big Sick?

knowing Kumail—and with no desire to do so.

of directorial panache and authenticity, coupled

There was an openness to the script, and there

There were so many things that I loved about that.

with real comedy that’s organic, comedy that

was an openness to how the offer was structured.

The thing I loved the most about that piece of

comes out of character and real circumstances.

Barry Mendel, one of the producers who is a fre-

information, was that my daughter … I say, “She

It’s not made; in that movie, the comedy is born

quent collaborator with Judd Apatow, presented it

tells us everything,” and I thought that spoke

naturally. I was really kind of stunned by that movie.

as an opportunity for a really intense collaboration.

volumes about the relationship these parents had

I just thought it was so real, and then of course I

It was a truly collaborative process. They walked

with their daughter; that daughter obviously likes

found out later that it was his actual family. They

the walk, and I think that also is a testament to the

her parents, as an adult. These parents raised this

were used beyond brilliantly. It felt like nothing I’d

confidence of both Kumail and Emily Gordon, as

child into adulthood, and they still had a flourish-

seen before.

writers, that they allowed us to come in and really

ing, thriving relationship. That was a beautiful thing,

work through scenes, and rehearse. The rehearsal

and I wanted to have that grow throughout the

What do you think it means to have a film like

period was a long one for this, and a really detailed

course of the movie, so that we found out more

this come out in today’s world, with its warm,

one. That luxury is something that I don’t often

about these two women’s adult relationship with

personal and thoughtful depiction of an inter-

feel, and sometimes, directors don’t have the com-

each other. But Kumail is a really easy guy to love,

racial couple?

fort level to have that kind of rehearsal process.

and there’s something childlike about Kumail that

I’m grateful that the movie is coming out now—it’s

But Showalter really did.

totally translates to the screen. He’s guilish, and

like this movie carries a big stick, but doesn’t really

he’s also really quick-witted. It was an easy thing.

know it. It’s a movie that’s not leading with that, it’s

How did you approach the role?

leading with the love between these two people. In

I thought it was fun to start with the character,

What was it like sharing scenes with two pro-

the midst of that, it’s kind of a conversation about

really, as a fictional one. I think in the movie, Emily’s

fessional comedians? Does it bring a unique

race, and about tolerance.

parents were the most fictionally structured of any

dynamic?

other characters in the story, so [Ray] Romano and

It does and it doesn’t. I think everybody

asks people to broaden their idea about what it

I looked at that with a great amount of liberation.

approached this movie as actors, really. It wasn’t

means to be human, and to embrace what you

Ray and I both made the choice to not contact

like sketch comedy, or an excuse for them to

don’t know—the experiences of others that you

Emily’s real parents, but rather, use the movie as a

try out new stand-up material. It really wasn’t,

don’t know, that actually are more like yours than

fictional jumping-off point.

because the possible fatality of one of your lead

you might think. ★

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I think that the movie, in a beautiful, gentle way,

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Judd Apatow prior to taking on this project? What was your initial impression, reading the

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one movie. He was incredibly tough and we all bonded together—Meg Tilly, Colin Firth and

BENING

I. Milos wasn’t from the touchy-feely school of directing. If you were doing something phony, you’d hear about it. I auditioned for him over months. I read with many people in his apartment: I read with Val Kilmer, I did a test with Kevin Spacey. When we would rehearse you’d say a line like, “My, that tree is beautiful over there,”

More than 20 years in the planning, Annette Bening has the role of a lifetime in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. B Y A N T H O N Y D ’A L E S S A N D R O

and Milos would say, “No, just be natural.” Then he would say the line and give you a way of doing it. He was right. It was a period thing and we were stiff. He was always right and knew the elements of the story that needed to be told and seen. He knew a story’s point of view: He ultimately has to cut the action of the person. Valmont was being made in the wake of Dangerous Liaisons. I was up for that movie too. Valmont didn’t do well at the box office except in Finland. It was really hard for Milos, but we put our heart and soul into it and

PITFIRE, UNAPOLOGETIC, IDIOSYNCRATIC, COMPLEX AND SEXY. These are some of the femme archetypes that Annette Bening has portrayed on screen and built a solid cinematic canon upon, from the Marquise de Merteuil in Milos Forman’s feature adaption of Les Liaisons dangereuses, Valmont, to neurotic materialist housewife Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty, one of Bening’s four Oscar-nominated roles, and beyond. This season she plays a film diva, the late Gloria Grahame (It’s a Wonderful Life), as an aging starlet who finds love with a young Liverpool actor as she battles breast cancer in Paul McGuigan’s feature adaptation of Peter Turner’s memoir Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

S

he never blamed anyone. Our shoot took forever and when I got back to America, Dangerous Liaisons was already in the theater. With American Beauty you took a chance on a young Sam Mendes, who had never directed a film before, but had an excellent reputation in the theater. Would you take a chance again on someone who hasn’t stepped behind the camera? Absolutely. It’s an intuitive thing when meeting a new director. Having done a lot of auditions, I know how vulnerable one is when they’re trying

You were approached with this project some

find out details about her life. She called herself

to get a job. People in the theater are verbose:

years ago. What changed between then and

“The Replacement” or the second-tier. I find that

playwrights are writing lines for people to

now?

intriguing, combined with the fact that she lived in

speak, actors are always talking, and directors

It’s been 20-plus years. Why I was thinking about

Liverpool where she was in love with a young man

are pontificating. Really good movie directors

it then, I don’t know. I wasn’t the right age. I

who was a really great person. I wanted to respect

don’t talk a lot because they’re telling a story

wasn’t thinking, Oh, she should be in her 50s. It

the privacy of her family. She had four children and

with a camera. But it boils down to the material.

was a different writer and iteration. It was good,

this complicated life.

If there’s problems in the narrative of the

but it didn’t come together. [Producer] Barbara

screenplay, there will be problems in the film.

Broccoli knows Peter Turner, and before that,

Given the way she’s separated from her

So, the narrative has to be strong. One thing I

Gloria Grahame. She’d always been working on

family, it’s as though she’s an island.

know from experience is that if the narrative isn’t

the project. She lost the rights for a while. It was

I love that idea. She’s in England, floating out there

working, then I can’t make that work. I can only

bouncing around and Colin Vaines had been

like an island. She didn’t know anyone. Her mother

address this issue beforehand.

obsessed with the book. A few years ago Barbara

and father were both English. She acted in plays

got the rights back. At the same moment, it was,

there like The Glass Menagerie, and she wasn’t in

Your cameo on The Sopranos in Tony’s

“Let’s get this together and hire a writer and

a posh West End theater. The level of denial that

dream, playing yourself, continues to linger.

director.” It’s a very beautiful book. Anyone who

Gloria possessed was epic. Toward the end she

How did you become involved with the

reads the books becomes enwrapped from the

was incredibly ill, and she was doing a play and

show?

way Peter writes. It is tastefully written. All these

collapsed onstage. I don’t know, at what point is

It was David Chase who called me out of

years, it was sitting on my shelf.

that heroic? Nothing was going to get her down

nowhere to do that part. It was so fabulous and

[but] she was literally dying.

weird. When he sent me the part, it was just

Why did the role of Gloria Grahame speak to

those pages of the episode. When we spoke, he

you?

There’s a great part in the movie where Gloria

said that he really liked Bugsy. John Heard was a

There’s a certain mystery about Gloria. She was

recalls the advice given to her by Humphrey

detective in the scene and there was another girl,

a great film noir femme fatale and there was a

Bogart. One of your early films was Milos

who was a hooker that Tony killed. One minute in

period of time when she was very successful

Forman’s Valmont. What wisdom did he

the scene, it was the daughter, then the hooker;

and she had a scandalous life. A lot about her

impart to you early on in your career?

the whole thing was surreal. It was really fun and

isn’t known, which is interesting. It’s not easy to

He taught me so much. At the time, I’d only done

a pleasure to work with John Heard. ★

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Sally

out under this rubber suit, soaked through with water, weighing a ton.

H AW K I N S

I never saw Doug, I saw this incredible being that loved Elisa. They recognize each other, and that’s all that matters. How can you look at him and think that he’s a monster? He’s incredibly sexy. That was very important to Guillermo. He has this incredible body, and getting his bottom right was so important to Guillermo. It’s a beautiful bum

The British actress found a special connection to her character in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. BY J OE U T IC H I

[laughs]. Elisa is mute and she communicates with sign language. What was involved in learning that? It was a lot of work. I’d done a brief bit of sign language before, in a scene in a play. But it really is learning a new language. Having only a few weeks to do it in, you’re never going to be fluent, but I didn’t want to give myself away. I wanted it to feel as seamless as possible, so I could never do enough preparation. It was a period piece, as well,

SCAR LOVES A GOOD SPEECH. And in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, Sally Hawkins’ Elisa gets one of the best and most moving in recent memory. And yet, she does it without saying a word. Elisa is mute, and Hawkins had to learn period ASL for the ’60s-set tale of a cleaner (Hawkins) at a government facility who falls madly in love with an unusual creature from the deep being studied in the lab. “The way he looks at me,” she signs, “he doesn’t know what I lack, or how I am incomplete.”

O

so it was period ASL [American Sign Language], and yet also with it being an amalgamation of things she cobbled together, because of where she would probably have learned it. We discussed briefly that she’s probably learned it from a book, and spliced it together from things she’d picked up. So she had her own language within that, which gave a bit of leeway. I still wanted to be as accurate as possible, for it to have that layer of richness, so that it could be understood on another level.

How does it feel to learn Guillermo del Toro

strange thing, because her inner life is so strong

has written his new script with a lead role

and rich, and yet no one would really know about

acquire, and quickly. I had the luxury of a little bit

meant for you?

it. All the dreams, and the things she would talk

of time beforehand to do some dance practice for

It’s an incredible thing. A lot of directors do that;

to herself about. We all have that, really. And Elisa

that sequence, and I wanted to start learning ASL

they write for the voice in their head. And Guillermo

does express herself. She speaks just as clearly as

in London, as quickly as I could. I happened to be

wrote those roles for Octavia Spencer and Michael

the rest of us, just without using language.

in LA preparing the dance, and then I learned some

There were certain technical things I needed to

Shannon, too. And Doug [Jones], of course. That’s

Finding the purity of Elisa, and getting her

the kind of man he is. It’s like a gift that has landed

soul right—her energy, her essence—was such a

Once I got to Toronto, where the film was shot, it

from the skies.

delicate, fine thing. That purity of her soul was

was stepped up to another level. It’s like doing an

important. She has a real gentleness of heart, and

intense course, and you can never do enough work.

more ASL there. But it was all the foundations.

What kind of a director is he?

yet there’s a real strength within her. I feel that

He is the most remarkable person, and you feel

so strongly because I think it’s something we are

The world premiere in Venice, at the film festi-

honored to be in his presence. He inspires everyone

often really, really missing in this world. I find that

val, was an emotional experience for every-

he comes into contact with, and everyone who he

very scary, that we have become more and more

one. What went through your mind?

works with just wants to do the best for him and

cynical. True innocence, and true purity of being,

will go above and beyond to make sure his vision

has been lost.

is fulfilled. Guillermo is an important filmmaker,

It was overwhelming, and incredibly emotional, that night. I hadn’t actually seen the film in its

and a force for good in the film industry. He has

Elisa’s relationship with the creature Doug

anything with a huge audience. The pressure of

so much knowledge, and creativity in abundance.

Jones plays is so natural—the fact that he’s

that night, when you’re being watched, that was

He’s good humored, he has an incredible heart and

a creature from the deep seems almost inci-

hard. But, for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to see

he crackles with intelligence. He makes you feel like

dental. How did you work with Doug on that

it before, so that was my first experience. You’re

you could be the best version of yourself. You learn

relationship?

trying to process all you’re seeing, and then the

so much from him.

Elisa doesn’t see him in any other way than just

emotion of the night at the same time. It’s the

the being that he is, and she sees his soul. It makes

first launch of this film that means so much to you

Did you immediately know who your charac-

her recognize something in herself. It was won-

and has been a huge part of your heart. It’s more

ter, Elisa, was?

derful to work with Doug because, like Guillermo,

than I can really put into words, and the response

As soon as I knew about her, I felt I knew her. She

he’s another genius. He has an incredible ability to

was just beautiful. And it was beautiful, especially,

is an extraordinary woman, and so complex. I love

move and transform his body, but it’s his heart that

because of how it affected Guillermo. To see him

the contradictions and tensions within her. She’s

shines through. This relationship wouldn’t work

be honored in that way, with that standing ovation

not one thing or the other, she’s both. It’s a very

without Doug, and the incredible heart that sings

to him, that response meant everything. ★

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entirety until then, and I never really like to see

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piece of tape is difficult, so it turned out I couldn’t do that. So we had to figure out

L AW R E N C E

ways that Javier [Bardem] or Michelle [Pfeiffer] could give me their eyes. It was distracting and weird. How does Darren’s directing style differ from say, David O. Russell, who uses more improv?

On mother!, Mother Nature and the nature of Darren Aronofsky. B Y A N T H O N Y D ’A L E S S A N D R O

Darren is more specific. David is into creating chaos and seeing what comes from that, and often magic comes from that. Darren is very specific. He had this story burning inside of him, he created it, we show up on set, we had three months of rehearsal, so he was very specific. There was still room for discussion; on every film set there are things that come to you and you have to talk about them. But he’s very visually

T’S NOT OFTEN THAT WE SEE A YOUNG ESTABLISHED ACTRESS early on in her career make a daring 180 from the types of roles she’s built her image upon. But that is exactly what Silver Linings Playbook Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence did in Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, in which Lawrence plays the film’s title character, a woman whose virtues are overlooked by her selfish celebrity author husband. She’s expecting a baby, but life gets out of hand when too many guests descend upon their country domicile in the middle of nowhere. Says Lawrence, “I never lose myself in a movie. This is the only time I’ve lost myself. I couldn’t tell my body that none of it was real. I kept on hyperventilating.”

I

specific, very specific with the actors. We would also try different things. We’d do ten takes, and have a different reaction for each one. There’s been a lot of chaos in America. The need for female empowerment is so urgent, especially now. Does this film speak to some of the chaos that’s been going on? We made this movie way before the election. This movie speaks to the creation and decimation of the universe.

Tell us what mother! means.

house, being barefoot, feeling grounded and

It speaks to the truth in humankind, the

The most important thing to know about this

home. Our references were more biblical and

cannibalization and insatiable need and

film, before seeing it, is that it’s all allegory. It’s

universal than Rosemary’s Baby.

hunger that we have, and always have,

all metaphor that’s tied to this narrative. It’s

and what will happen if we continue

the creation and decimation of the universe,

You shot the whole movie in rehearsal

to rape and pillage the planet. If we

including biblical themes and creation of religion.

before you actually shot the movie. How did

continue to drill into the planet, and put

I represent mother Earth, and what I have is Baby

this help you and what did you discover from

the emissions in the atmosphere, and

Jesus—if we guess the religion. I play this woman

that?

the earth continues to warm, storms are

who has built this home from the ground up. I’m

It probably helped me to scare Darren. I didn’t

going to get worse, droughts are going

in a relationship with an artist who is obsessed

find the character during the rehearsal. For me

to get worse. It’s not about the election,

with needing appreciation from me first, and

the rehearsal was about talking it out with the

it’s about the world. That doesn’t make

then I’m not enough.

other actors and choreographing and getting

me feel comfortable, that the president

used to the movie’s entire language, which is

doesn’t believe in climate change. That

In preparing for the movie, did Darren

just the camera. So, getting used to those huge

makes me feel really scared for my future.

Aronofsky bring up Roman Polanski and

close-ups and moving with the cameraman was

Rosemary’s Baby as influences?

important to me. But, I didn’t find the character

The movie is controversial. Audiences

Not once actually. We talked about The Giving

until we were in Montreal. So, I’m sure Darren

who went to it in the beginning may

Tree as a reference. I was reading Jane Eyre by

was pretty worried for a few months. Everything

have thought this isn’t the kind of

happenstance at the time. It reminds me of

is from my point of view. So, it’s either my point

movie they were expecting.

this other short story The Yellow Wallpaper, this

of view, or over the shoulder with a little bit of

It’s certainly not a darling. Every time you

Victorian patriarchal. It also reminded me of

me in it, or an extreme close-up. I think there are

make a movie you hope everyone likes it.

Wide Sargasso Sea. It reminded me of these

only two masters in the whole film.

It’s your only thought. That never crossed

patriarchal relationships that men have with

our minds. It’s an assault. I think it’s

their wives: They’re very nice and then politely

How did that make you feel as a performer?

necessary. I’m proud of us, I’m proud of

take away their dignity. Those were some of my

It would have been distracting if I hadn’t gotten

Darren and I’m proud of banding together

influences. The other tool that was most helpful

used to it in rehearsal, because not being able to

to deliver something we believe in. That

to me was the house—my connection with the

look at a person is hard. Reacting instantly with a

CinemaScore [F]—we’re fine with it. ★

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THE SHAPE OF WATER PREMIERE NOVEMBER 15 / LOS ANGELES

RE X /S H U T T ERSTOC K

Clockwise from top left: Octavia Spencer and writer/director Guillermo del Toro; Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Sally Hawkins, Spencer and Richard Jenkins; Jones; Stuhlbarg; Jenkins with composer Alexandre Desplat; del Toro and The Revenant filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu; creature designer Mike Hill; Shannon; Hawkins.

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450 West 2nd Street CLAREMONT F R EE EN TRY FO R A M PA S M E M B E R S M O N - T H U R S E X C L U DI N G H O L I DAY S

SUN. NOV. 19th, 12PM OCEAN AVENUE SCREENING ROOM

MON. NOV. 20th, 6PM WILLIAM MORRIS ENDEAVOR SCREENING ROOM

1401 Ocean Ave #110 Q&A WITH DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER

9601 Wilshire Blvd. Q&A WITH DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER

MON. NOV. 27th, 7PM SOHO HOUSE WEST HOLLYWOOD 9200 Sunset Blvd.

MON. NOV. 27th, 7PM (ET) SOHO HOUSE NEW YORK 29-35 9th Ave.

AMPAS and Press please RSVP to TheDivineOrderRSVP@gmail.com

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AFI FEST NOV. 9 - NOV. 16 LOS ANGELES Top row: The Disaster Artist’s Alison Brie, Dave Franco, James Franco and Seth Rogen; Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool stars Annette Bening and Jamie Bell. This row: Get Out filmmaker Jordan Peele; Molly’s Game duo Jessica Chastain and Aaron Sorkin; Call Me by Your Name’s Timothée Chalamet; Mudbound director Dee Rees.

RE X /S H U T T ERSTOC K

Bottom row: Mudbound’s Carey Mulligan; Mary J. Blige; Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker with (center) The Leisure Seeker stars Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

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FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION - BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM - NEPAL

“Outstanding. Powerful.” —VARIETY

“A breath of fresh air from the top of the world.” —THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

FOR INFORMATION ON AMPAS AND PRESS SCREENINGS PLEASE CONTACT WHITESUNRSVP@GMAIL.COM

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DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES DETROIT | NOVEMBER 8 | LOS ANGELES From left: Will Poulter, Tyler James Williams, Laz Alonso and John Boyega; Williams and Alonso.

DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES BIRDSHOT NOVEMBER 16 LOS ANGELES Writer/director Mikhail Red.

DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES FOXTROT | NOVEMBER 15 | LOS ANGELES Writer/director Samuel Maoz.

DEADLINE PRESENTS AWARDSLINE: SCREENING SERIES THE DIVINE ORDER NOVEMBER 13 LOS ANGELES

RE X /S H U T T ERSTOC K

From left: Producer Reto Schärli, writer/ director Petra Volpe, star Marie Leuenberger; Volpe.

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F

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“Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba are

POSITIVELY ELECTRIC.” “‘Molly’s Game’ delivers one of the screen’s great female parts – a dense, dynamic, compulsively entertaining affair, whose central role makes stunning use of Chastain’s stratospheric talent.”

“CHASTAIN ROARS through the performance with a force and take-no-prisoners attitude that keeps one rapt.”

“Ferociously

ELOQUENT, immensely

ENTERTAINING.”

BASED ON A TRUE STORY

M O L LY ’ S G A M E BEST PICTURE PRODUCED BY

MARK GORDON, p.g.a. AMY PASCAL, p.g.a. MATT JACKSON, p.g.a.

BEST DIRECTOR

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BEST ACTRESS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

AARON SORKIN

AARON SORKIN

JESSICA CHASTAIN

IDRIS ELBA

KEVIN COSTNER

2017 AUDIENCE FAVORITE

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL US CINEMA GOLD

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“A sweeping, superbly acted epic. A magnificent ensemble. Writer-director Dee Rees has a remarkable gift for seeing her characters whole. An enormous vision.” Los Angeles Times

A stunning achievement.

Writer-Director Dee Rees gets indelible, in-depth performances from the actors. ‘Mudbound’ grabs you and won’t let go.” “

The best ensemble acting of the year. One of the best pictures of the year.”

“ ᗂᗂᗂᗂ. flawless.” “

A big movie, about big emotions and ideas, which writer-director Dee Rees evokes and explores through an extraordinarily rich tapestry of atmosphere, physical setting, visual detail and sensitive, subtle performances. .”

ᗂᗂᗂᗂ

CAREY

MULLIGAN

IFP GOTHAM AWARDS

WINNER BEST ENSEMBLE

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JASON

CLARKE

JASON

MITCHELL

MARY J.

BLIGE

ROB

MORGAN

HOLLYWOOD FILM AWARDS

WINNER

BREAKOUT ENSEMBLE

JONATHAN

BANKS

AND

GARRETT

HEDLUND

HOLLYWOOD FILM AWARDS

WINNER BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE MARY J. BLIGE

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER AUDIENCE FAVORITE

11/16/17 12:50 PM


NOVEMBER 29, 2017 OSCAR PREVIEW/ACTRESSES

“AN AUDACIOUS, NERVY WORK OF ART THAT COMMEMORATES HISTORY, MEMORIALIZES THE DEAD AND INVITES REFLECTION ON THE PART OF THE LIVING.

IT’S NOTHING LESS THAN MONUMENTAL.” ANN HORNADAY

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

BEST PICTURE • BEST CAST BEST DIRECTOR • BEST SCREENPLAY

NOW MORE THAN EVER

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“DIRECTOR KATHRYN BIGELOW AND SCREENWRITER MARK BOAL DELIVER A BRACING PORTRAIT OF RACE IN AMERICA THAT’S EXTREMELY POWERFUL AND IMPECCABLY CAST.” DAVID EHRLICH

“ANTHONY MACKIE IS A STANDOUT, ALGEE SMITH IS SUPERB, AND JOHN BOYEGA IS OUTSTANDING.” PETER TRAVERS

“WILL POULTER GIVES A MESMERIZING PERFORMANCE.” TY BURR

“JOHN BOYEGA TAKES COMMAND OF EVERY SCENE HE IS IN. ...DETROIT PROVES HE IS AN AMAZING ACTOR.” CARYN JAMES

Artwork © 2017 Annapurna Releasing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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www.Annapurna2017.com

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NOW MORE THAN EVER B ES T CA S T JOHN BOYEGA WILL POULTER ALGEE SMITH JACOB LATIMORE JASON MITCHELL HANNAH MURRAY KAITLYN DEVER JACK REYNOR BEN O’TOOLE NATHAN DAVIS, JR. PEYTON ALEX SMITH MALCOLM DAVID KELLEY JOSEPH DAVIDJONES WITH AND

JOHN KRASINSKI

ANTHONY MACKIE

B ES T AC T O R ALGEE SMITH

B ES T S U P P O RT I N G AC T O R JOHN BOYEGA • WILL POULTER • ANTHONY MACKIE

B ES T S U P P O RT I N G AC T R ES S HANNAH MURRAY • KAITLYN DEVER

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Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 11/29/17  
Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 11/29/17  

Oscar Preview - Featuring: Margot Robbie, star of I, Tonya. Also in this issue: Jessica Chastain, Holly Hunter, Annette Bening, Sally Hawkin...