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WO M E N PRESENTS

in

H O L LY WO O D DECEMBER 13, 2017 OSCAR PREVIEW

G R E TA G E RW I G and

SAO I R S E RO NA N PAT T Y JEN K I N S and

GA L GAD OT DEE REES and

M A RY J. BLIGE

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WO M E N PRESENTS

in

H O L LY WO O D DECEMBER 13, 2017 OSCAR PREVIEW

DEE REES and

M A RY J. BLI G E G R E TA G E RWI G and

SAO I R S E RONA N PAT T Y JEN K I N S and

GA L GAD OT

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WO M E N PRESENTS

in

H O L LY WO O D DECEMBER 13, 2017 OSCAR PREVIEW

PAT T Y JENKINS and

GA L GA D O T DEE REES and

M A RY J. BLIGE G R E TA G E RWI G and

SAO I R S E RONA N

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“ANDREW GARFIELD AND CLAIRE FOY DELIVER TWO OF THE YEAR’S BEST PERFORMANCES.” DEADLINE

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION IN ALL CATEGORIES INCLUDING

BEST ACTOR ANDREW GARFIELD BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS CLAIRE FOY

BleeckerStreetGuilds.com

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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

2-14

C R EAT IVE DI R ECTO R

Craig Edwards

FIRST TAKE Daniela Vega is A Fantastic Woman

AS S ISTAN T E DI TO R

Matt Grobar

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

Nellie Andreeva Mike Fleming Jr.

Say Yes! to Sufjan Stevens’ Call Me by Your Name soundtrack

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

Pete Hammond

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

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 VID EO P RO DU CE RS

David Janove Andrew Merrill

16

COVER STORY: WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD Celebrating three of the year’s best female filmmakers and the actresses they work with. 18 Patty Jenkins & Gal Gadot 20 Dee Rees & Mary J. Blige 22 Greta Gerwig & Saoirse Ronan

We round up the competitors in the animation race

24

THE DIALOGUE: ACTORS Jake Gyllenhaal Kenneth Branagh Algee Smith Gary Oldman Robert Pattinson

34

S O C IAL ME DI A M AN AGE R

Scott Shilstone

FLASH MOB AwardsLine Screening Series; Molly’s Game and I, Tonya premieres

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

Andrea Wynnyk

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

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RO B E RT PAT T I N S O N P H O T O G RA P H E D BY

Dan Doperalski

12/8/17 3:25 PM


Lensing The Florida Project p. 6 | Sufjan Stevens’ greatest gift p. 8 | The Animated Feature race p. 12

SHOW STOPPER How Daniela Vega’s powerful breakthrough in A Fantastic Woman could mark a milestone for trans women BY A M Y N I C H O L S O N

DANIELA VEGA OPENS Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman as a girl in love. She plays twenty-something Marina Vidal, a Chilean singer swept up in a serious relationship with an older businessman named Orlando (Francisco Reyes). Her boyfriend is 57 and divorced with kids close to Marina’s own age. Yet, when he stares at her in a polka dot dress swaying with the microphone onstage at a salsa bar, you can see he’s smitten—and from the way she smiles at him, it’s clear

RE X /S H U T T ERSTOC K

she feels the same way.

2

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

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FOR

YOUR

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

IN

ALL

C AT E G O R I E S

INCLUDING

TIM BEVAN BEVA EVA VANN • ERIC IC FELLNER FELLN ER • LILISA BRUCEE • ANTHO ANTHONY NTHONY NY M C CARTEN TEN • DOUGLAS GLAS URBANS URBANSK URBANSKI KI WRIG IGHH T • BEST ACTOR GARY RY OLDMAN AN BEST DIRECTOR JOE WRIGH DILLANN E • RONALD DILLA NALD PICKUP UP • BEN MENDELSO MENDELSOHN O HN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR STEPHEN DILLANE SCOTT TT TH THOMASS • LILY LY JAMES ES BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS KRISTIN SCO ANTHONY THONY NY M CARTEN ARTEN TEN BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY ANTHO A.O. SCOTT, THE NEW YORK TIMES ES R IICHARD CHARD LAW LAWS AWSS O N, VAANITTY FAI R 1/2

PETEE R TRAVE R S, R O LLILI N G STO NNEE

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

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like her favorite Hollywood actress

cast. The only person she’d talk to

Bette Davis, bore straight into an audi-

was Leilo. She wanted to feel Marina’s

ence. They’re at once intimating and

alienation. During the scene where

transparent. You can see right through

Marina is forced to strip naked for the

her even when her characters are act-

cops, she struggled to keep hold of

ing tough. Learning to use them took

her emotions, in part because it was

practice—she likens it to trying to hit a

nearly 100 degrees outside, but just

high note—but once she had the idea,

steps inside the morgue, it was freez-

“I took advantage of it as best I could.”

ing cold. In the final take, she looks

Those eyes might be the key to her Academy Award chances. After all, she’s a Spanish-speaking actress in a

frozen from the inside out, her spine a column of ice. Lelio wanted to make a film about

Spanish-speaking film. Voters stuck

the social issues of modern day Chile.

reading subtitles might not be able to

But he didn’t want to make a social

catch the details in her line delivery. But

problem film, the kind of naturalistic

A Fantastic Women’s AFI premiere. So

everything Marina feels—the hurt, the

realism that can feel hectoring and

love is like yesterday’s newspaper”—

is Vega, herself. At 17, she transitioned

anger, the pride—is there on her face.

dull. He gives the worst three days

turns out to be prophetic. Fifteen

right before she graduated from high

Vega met Lelio over Skype. After fin-

minutes into the film, after dinner and

school. Her parents were supportive,

ishing his festival hit Gloria, another por-

shooting whole scenes in red and

dancing and a romantic nightcap in

but it wasn’t easy. “Latin America is

trait of a Chilean woman who refuses to

magenta. The key image of the film

his apartment, where Marina has only

very religious,” notes Vega. “The Pope is

fit in a box (which he’s currently remak-

is a shot of Marina at her absolute

recently unpacked her things, Orlando

from Argentina.”

ing in English with Julianne Moore), he

lowest; an expressionist scene where

started to think about a love story that

the actress walks headlong into a

DANCER Daniela Vega in A Fantastic Woman.

But the lyric Marina croons—“Your

dies. The panicked girlfriend rushes him

Post-transition, Vega spent that

of Marina’s life a dramatic flourish,

to the hospital where the nurses are

first year in bed. She was depressed,

starts with a death. At first, he was

hurricane-level wind that whittles her

polite and call her “miss” and “ma’am”,

and when she’d rally herself to go out-

interested in grief and goodbyes. Then,

into an unbowed diagonal line. Buster

until suddenly they stop.

side and get a job, she was continually

he considered making the lead female

Keaton would cheer.

rejected in a country with no legal pro-

transgender. Lelio didn’t think he knew

fact causes the doctors and police to

tections. (In 2016, Chile finally passed a

enough to write the character on his

its heart, a story about love. And love

demote her from grieving partner to

law prohibiting workplace discrimina-

own, so a friend introduced him to Vega

springs into view whenever it can, as in

prime suspect. Is she a prostitute? Did

tion on the basis of sexual orientation

as a cultural advisor.

a fantasy dance number where Marina

she and Orlando have a fight? Can she

or gender identity.)

Marina is transgender. That one

strip naked to prove she isn’t bruised? As for Orlando’s estranged family,

“I really love my city,” insists Vega

The two spent a year crouched over

Above all, A Fantastic Woman is, at

bursts into the air in a gold tinsel jacket.

their laptops talking about the screen-

When she and Orlando kiss at a night-

of her hometown, Santiago. Even

play, and when it was finished, Lelio

club, the image swirls with disco lights

they kick Marina out of her home, for-

so, she adds, “Trans individuals have

realized he’d written the part for her.

and rainbow colors. Yet, the film’s most

bid her from attending the funeral—for

always lived on the edge of society,”

But Vega had to think about it. Starring

emotional moment is when Marina

the grandchildren’s sakes, of course—

and despite her family’s encourage-

in this film by this major local director

goes to her third job as, yes, an opera

and steal her dog. When she demands

ment, she was in danger of slipping

would put her at the center of Chile’s

singer. She stands onstage in front of

human respect, she’s accused of

off the cliff. Then her dad suggested

conversation about LGBTQ rights. After

a paying crowd and for the first time

selfishness, pinned against walls, and

she enroll in cosmetology school, and

three days, she said yes.

in the movie, you see people treat her

worse. Even Orlando’s kindest brother,

Vega’s interest in makeup and hair

the one who takes care to call her “the

turned into to an interest in theater,

essential about making a movie where

young lady,” would rather she just go

which turned into her first film offer.

you have that time to be able to cre-

away. (Vega’s script illustrates how

A Fantastic Woman has hoisted the

ate the script,” says Vega. “That’s how

Santiago theaters for three months.

people, even the callous female detec-

28-year-old actress into a moment

the script became alive.”

“Because it was in theaters for so long,

tive assigned from the Sexual Preda-

of global recognition which brings her

She built the character from the

tors Unit who promises to “understand

closer than anyone to becoming the

center out of her own experiences, and

open a dialogue in Chile’s society sur-

and support” Marina, can say the right

first trans performer nominated for a

from pieces of women she personally

rounding transgender individuals,” says

things, but act all wrong.)

Best Actress Oscar.

knew. Vega didn’t want to model her

Vega with pride. “That’s my biggest

acting career on icons like Marilyn Mon-

desire as an artist.”

Through the trauma, Vega keeps

When Vega started acting onstage,

“There is something beautiful and

with respect. That’s Vega’s real voice. And it’s gorgeous. A Fantastic Woman played in

what the movie accomplished is to

her character’s head high. She’ll cry

an early teacher told her to find out

roe and Audrey Hepburn—she wanted

alone, crumpling to the ground in a

what made her unique—and the

to construct an original, authentic

announced that she wants to play

bathroom stall. But in public, she’s

answer had to be artistic, not biologi-

design. Marina is her own independent

every kind of character from a pregnant

polite, quiet and calm, even when the

cal. She’d started asking herself that

woman, a girl who doesn’t wear a lot

woman to a man. But now that her

dead man’s family calls her a “fucking

question years before as a child opera

of makeup and enjoys wearing casual

dreams are closer to reality, she shyly

monster” and dismisses their love as

singer—Vega has been a powerful

leather jackets. Sometimes her hair is

hedges her bets. “My ego is not as big

“perversion”. Her inner strength only

mezzo-soprano since she was 8.

messy. She’s real.

to think that I know what kind of future

makes the jerks look weak.

“Every single singer starts off imitat-

Still, the shoot wasn’t always easy.

In the past, Vega’s boldly

is going to be ahead of me.” As Marina

“She is a woman with a lot of dig-

ing other singers,” says Vega. But great

On the day Marina tracks down her

sings in her first number, “Headlines

nity, resilience, and rebellion,” says Vega

singers discover their own voice. What

lover’s corpse to say farewell, Vega

filled the front page, so you’re known

through a translator in Los Angeles for

Vega discovered was her eyes, which,

hid herself away from the rest of the

everywhere.” ★

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

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F O R YOU 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 B E S T P I C T U R E BEST DIRECTOR

BEST ACTOR

BRYAN BUCKLEY

EVAN PETERS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

SABRINA HASSAN ABDULE

“GLAD TO SEE DIRECTOR BRYAN BUCKLEY’S FILM

PIRATES OF SOMALIA AIM TO RECOGNIZE THE

INCREDIBLY

COMPLEX NATURE OF THE SOMALI PEOPLE.”

- INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE

ANDREW FELTENSTEIN & JOHN NAU

“EACH SCENE HAS A

THUMPING

MOMENTUM

COXSWAINED BY THE POWERFUL CHEMISTRY

BETWEEN ITS LEADS.” - JACOB OLLER

AL PACINO BARHKAD ABDI

BRYAN BUCKLEY

“TRACES WINNINGLY THE WAYS THAT A

CALLOW

AMERICAN

GETS SCHOOLED IN

CONCEPTS LIKE HONOR AND SACRIFICE UNTIL HE IS CONSIDERED AN EXPERT ON A COUNTRY AND A PEOPLE THAT HE GROWS TO LOVE.” - DAN CALLAHAN

IN THEATERS

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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 Actor races. Get up-to-date rankings and make your own predictions at GoldDerby.com ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Dreamy Neo-Realism

The Florida Project DP on striking a visual balance between the real and the imaginary BY MATT GROBAR FOLLOWING SEAN BAKER FROM SNOWBIRD—a 2016 short starring Abbey Lee—to The

Finding a number of surreal locations near Disney World to base the film’s “fairy-tale, ice-

found a filmmaker whose sensibilities were

creamy, soft look” around, Zabe shot with natural

totally in sync with his own. Compelled by the

light when possible, working as freely and organi-

idea of doing “a Little Rascals of the 21 century”

cally as he could, and treating the film shoot as a

shot in the neo-realist tradition, Zabe found him-

process of discovery.

self inspired by the brilliant colors of Kissimee,

“For me, it’s very liberating to have the flexibil-

which reminded him of the time he spent living in

ity and the freedom to keep the creative process

the Yucatan.

alive even during the shooting,” Zabe says. “We

“We talked about having one foot well planted

1

Gary Oldman Darkest Hour

17/10

2

Timothée Chalamet Call Me by Your Name

4/1

3

Daniel Day-Lewis Phantom Thread

5/1

4

Tom Hanks The Post

8/1

5

James Franco The Disaster Artist

16/1

6

Jake Gyllenhaal Stronger

25/1

7

Denzel Washington Roman J. Israel, Esq.

80/1

that line all through the film.”

Florida Project, cinematographer Alexis Zabe

st

ODDS

feed off reality a lot, and there has to be a dia-

in reality and the other foot planted in the imagi-

logue with reality. It’s the birds. It’s the real people

nary—the children’s slightly more fantastic view

of Kissimmee walking through frames, the rain

of reality,” the DP says of a film capturing a child’s

clouds that suddenly came up in a scene when

experience of the world, which is framed and

we were expecting a sunny day. All those little

lensed accordingly. “We wanted to really walk

elements are really what makes the film alive.”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

ODDS

1

Willem Dafoe The Florida Project

11/4

2

Sam Rockwell Three Billboards Outside Ebbing...

3/1

3

Michael Stuhlbarg Call Me by Your Name

5/1

4

Armie Hammer Call Me by Your Name

8/1

5

Richard Jenkins The Shape of Water

12/1

6

Jason Mitchell Mudbound

16/1

7

Mark Rylance Dunkirk

50/1

RADIO DAYS ARE OVER Wonder Wheel production designer Santo Loquasto on recreating the Coney Island of a bygone era WORKING WITH WOODY ALLEN for almost 40 years, production designer Santo Loquasto was charged with recreating the Coney Island of Allen’s childhood in Wonder Wheel—a place that no longer exists, changed by time and washed away by superstorms. Working from elements that

6

still exist—including the titular Wonder Wheel—a number of shots were augmented through visual effects, a process which rarely plays a significant part in a Woody Allen film. “Whenever you have those panoramic views of the beach and the boardwalk, very little of it existed,” Loquasto explains.

The major challenge, then, was the fact that so much of it takes place in exteriors. “We didn’t even have enough cars to really allow it to be lush, in terms of movement in the background,” the designer says. “Cars would be running around the block and coming back, which is not unusual, but keeps us hopping.” –M.G.

FREE-WHEELING Juno Temple in Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel

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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

Impossible Soul Luca Guadagino asked Sufjan Stevens for a song to soundtrack Call Me by Your Name. The indie maestro surprised his director by delivering two BY J O E U T I C H I

THERE ARE FEW PERFORMERS MORE ECLECTIC or prolific than Sufjan Stevens. The Detroit-born singer-songwriter has bounced between disciplines to record everything from acoustic folk to expansive electronica, solo and in collaboration with other artists. And his best-known songs, like “Chicago” and “All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands” have soundtracked everything from Little Miss Sunshine to This is Us. So it was no surprise that Luca Guadagnino thought of Stevens when he wanted a song for the soundtrack to Call Me by Your Name. Says Guadagino: “I wanted to envelop the movie in the voice of Sufjan Stevens.”

not one but two songs for the

He said he had struggled with the

soundtrack to Call Me by Your Name.

inner monologue, because it is so

The first, “Mystery of Love”, is the

primary to the novel.

backdrop for the budding romance

Right. They had retained the mono-

between Timothée Chalamet’s Elio

logue from the older Elio, and he

and Armie Hammer’s Oliver. “Oh,

initially asked me to be the voice

to see without my eyes/The first

of the older Elio; to contribute that

time that you kissed me,” he sings.

voiceover. He also asked if I wanted

“Boundless by the time I cried/I built

to appear in the movie as a bard,

your walls around me.”

performing the song, almost as a

“Visions of Gideon” comes in at

break in the narrative. I got back to

the end, as Elio reflects on the heart

him and I said, “I think this voiceover

and heartbreak of his journey. Gua-

is a mistake, and I think the inter-

dagino holds the shot on Chalamet,

ruption of me singing the song is a

playing the credits as the young man

mistake.” I think he was just think-

sits, in pain. “I have loved you for the

ing out loud. I don’t know if he was

last time,” Stevens sings, bookending

really committed to the idea. So I

the relationship.

said, “I’ll write you some songs, but that’s all I think you need from me.”

Call Me by Your Name started life

And he agreed. When I saw the first

he’s one of those rare directors who

as a novel. Had you read it when

edit, he said, “You were right, this

contributed original material to a

uses music and sound so fiercely

Luca approached you?

doesn’t need a monologue or an

feature film. “I’ve always been resis-

and with such mastery that you

I hadn’t read it. He sent it to me to

interruption.”

tant to work in film,” he says. “I think

cannot imagine the films without the

read before he sent the script, and I

it’s because I’m always a little suspi-

music.”

loved it. When he sent the script, I had

The film uses a remixed version

some problems with it because there

of one of your earlier songs, too:

was a voiceover. Did he tell you this?

“Futile Devices”. It could have

And yet Stevens has never before

cious of the role of music in cinema. But Luca is an exception, because

8

So Stevens broke with his own rule, and went further by providing

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SUFJAN STEVENS The tour, which you made into a concert film, was a confronting experience; you really invited the audience to share your pain, and relate it to their own. It’s a real testament to the power and authority of music. And thank God that we have these gifts for communicating, because otherwise we might not survive. This film, and how it moves people—this notion of the universality of love and loss—it speaks to the power of art. We have to remind ourselves that we’re full of life, full of beauty, and that we’re creative beings with a lot to share, and a lot to give each other. So much of the world is intent on dividing humanity. Categorizing. Creating factions. It’s so frustratTO BE ALONE WITH YOU Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me by Your Name.

ing, because we’re all the same, you know; we’re all living, breathing

been written for this film. Was

There are references to Oregon in

raised by my father, and when Carrie

human beings with deep feelings.

that your idea or Luca’s?

“Mystery of Love”, as there were

married Lowell, that was when she

We all have hearts, minds and souls.

That was his idea. He was entranced

throughout your album Carrie

was at her most stable, and we could

It’s a shame we can’t do more to

from the very beginning with the idea

& Lowell, which was written for

visit her. So we spent summers there

consolidate with one another, and to

of using that song. I think it’s just ser-

your mother and stepfather. Did

in the early ’80s, in Eugene. That’s

find truth and life in each other.

endipity that the nature and content

these two new songs emerge out

where the references to Oregon

of the material fits so well into the

of the same emotional space?

come from for that record.

film. It was a lucky accident.

For sure. In fact, when I first talked to

Your music also points to endless curiosity; you cross genres and

Luca, I was on tour for Carrie & Low-

Carrie & Lowell emerged out of

take different approaches, and

film, and when I wrote them I hadn’t

ell. As I was sketching these songs,

grief from your mother’s death.

the only constant is you. Why is

seen any footage, so I wasn’t sure

I was on that tour, and so they are

Did these songs require the same

that important?

how he was going to use them. I just

somehow remotely related to that

emotional extremes? We all

I think I’m fundamentally essential-

handed them over and had to trust

world. I wasn’t quite able to conjure

know the pleasure and pain of a

ist in the way that I’m so interested

that he would know what to do. And,

the Northern Italian landscape, so I

first love.

in sensation and experience and

of course, having seen all his films,

was still working in that kind of New

Agreed. The process of writing Carrie

discovery, and how these things can

and how masterful he is with music,

World landscape. It’s funny, because

& Lowell was devastating. And it

uncover a new world of sound and

there was no question in my mind he

I felt like this sort of American

really offered no catharsis or resolu-

sight. That’s kind of how it initiates

would be responsible about it.

intruder, as this American gradu-

tion or reconciliation for me.

the creative drive in me. My music is

I wrote two new songs for the

ate student [Oliver] becomes in the

actually quite formal, and based on

“Mystery of Love” and “Visions

story. Elio calls Oliver the usurper.

Did you hope it would?

traditional forms of songwriting. The

of Gideon” are bookends to this

I feel like all of Luca’s films have a

I didn’t know. Previously I was in the

sounds themselves are based on

relationship. Was that by design?

kind of foreign intruder coming into a

habit of using music as a salve, or as

that sort of desire for discovery and

Another happy accident. I feel like

landscape that isn’t their own.

a means of understanding certain

something new. I think it’s important

situations and certain relationships

to stay open to new things, and stay curious.

the universe is in charge here, or maybe it’s testament to Luca’s mas-

Were those references your

and experiences. And this time, it

tery as a director that he is so good

subtle way of continuing your

just did nothing for me. The actual

at conducting other artists to get the

50 States Project [Stevens once

tour itself, and sharing the music—

interested in writing the perfect

best out of them. I don’t know how

said he wanted to record an

assembling the show with a commu-

song, and sailing towards that.

he does it but he’s a real prophet in

album for each of the 50 States—

nity of musicians and bringing it to

Rather than be disappointed by not

that way.

he finished two] or is that dead?

these theaters and to the public—all

doing that, or feeling disillusioned by

I think he’s an essentialist, but he’s

Yeah, I suppose that’s dead to me

of that was really restorative for me.

that, I just continue onward, stead-

also so technically astute. He has

now. My work is always immersed

The personal became public, in a

fast, trying to make it work.

a very keen eye for truth, and you

in American geography, and I don’t

way that allowed me to relinquish

never really question his vision or

think that will ever go away, because

the terror of the experience.

authority. He’s also a great scholar,

I was born and bred here. Oregon is

and a great film scholar, but you

specific to Carrie & Lowell because

came out of that as well, and I was

Yeah, I’m waiting for it to descend

never feel like his knowledge gets in

that’s where Carrie and Lowell lived

able to feel like I could move beyond

upon me like some kind of religious

the way of his work.

while they were married. We were

the devastation.

experience. ★

10

I think the material for this movie

I don’t know, I think I’m always

Do you think the perfect song is out there somewhere?

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BEST ORIGINAL SONG “STAND UP FOR SOMETHING” Music by DIANE WARREN Lyrics by DIANE WARREN and COMMON Performed by ANDRA DAY Featuring COMMON

GRAMMY AWARD NOMINEE ®

BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA

“STAND UP FOR SOMETHING”

7

WRITTEN BY

DIANE WARREN AND COMMON

NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINATIONS INCLUDING

OUTSTANDING DUO, GROUP OR COLLABORATION ANDRA DAY featuring COMMON – “STAND UP FOR SOMETHING”

W I N N E R

HOLLYWOOD SONG AWARD

“STAND UP FOR SOMETHING” DIANE WARREN, COMMON AND ANDRA DAY

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ANIMATED Main image: Disney/Pixar’s Coco. Top right: The Breadwinner. Bottom right: The Lego Batman Movie.

Between The Lines An in-depth look at the leading contenders in the Best Animated Feature race BY M AT T

G RO BA R

IN THIS THE 90TH OSCAR RACE, 26 features have been approved to duke it out for the Best Animated Feature award. This year, there are several obvious frontrunners. Never count out Pixar, which has Day of the Dead themed Coco and its variety of original songs; Warner Bros. is in the fold with The Lego Batman Movie, a well-received follow-up to the massively popular Lego Movie; and 20th Century Fox has Ferdinand, a tale of a Spanish fighting bull who refuses to fight. Among this year’s slate, several lesser-known distributors have surprised audiences and received love from the critics—primarily, Good Deed Entertainment with Loving Vincent, the first fully-painted feature in history, which depicts Vincent Van Gogh’s final days in the painter’s own visual style. Meet the likeliest of contenders this year.

best-selling novel tells the story of Par-

One of the inspirations McKay

vana, a young girl in Afghanistan who is

pitched to his collaborators early in

forced to dress as a boy to provide for

his LEGO Batman journey was Basil

her family after her father is unjustly

Gogos, an American illustrator who did

imprisoned. A tale of female empow-

cover art for famous movie monsters.

erment in desperate circumstances,

“I wanted a style where you could

The Breadwinner is also a testament to

pull the camera back and mistake

the power of storytelling, as Parvana

our movie for one second with Ben

goes into her head to escape her

Affleck’s Batman,” McKay explains, “or

circumstances, with her imagination

the Tim Burton stuff.”

represented through cut-out animation, in contrast to the main storyline’s

Captain Underpants: The First Epic

hand-drawn, 2D style.

Movie

Of her art director, Reza Riahi,

“Stumbling into a book store 20 years

director Nora Twomey says, “In one

ago,” David Soren came upon the

sense, it’s very simple, the way he

Captain Underpants series by Dav

draws. He manages to evoke so much

Pilkey and was immediately enam-

character in so few lines. I knew that

ored. Given the series’ huge popular-

this was going to be something that

ity, it’s surprising that it’s taken two

was wonderful for our animators, to

decades to get a film adaptation

Coco

two worlds—contemporary Mexico

take those designs and add a subtle

made, but Soren has made up for lost

Conceiving of his story way back in

and the Land of the Dead, the latter

animation to that work.”

time. Gaining Pilkey’s trust—unlike

2011, Lee Unkrich has long been fas-

of which posed the greater challenge.

cinated with Mexican culture and the

This unearthly space’s design was

The LEGO Batman Movie

him—Soren faithfully translated the

Día de Muertos celebration, longing

ultimately modeled on the city of

A fan of Batman since childhood,

illustrator’s visual style to the screen,

to bring the vibrant color and texture

Guanajuato. “Guanajuato is a city that

director Chris McKay dove into his

which relieved him of the burden of a

of Mexico to the screen. Recognizing

rests in a bowl-shaped valley, and the

own interpretation of Bruce Wayne’s

blank slate.

that he had a lot to learn in order to

buildings are all encrusted into the hill-

world in this follow-up to The Lego

depict Mexican culture honestly and

side and they’re all painted very bright,

Movie. Working with a Gotham dream

Underpants is irreverent and burst-

accurately, Unkrich traveled to Mexico,

vivid colors,” Unkrich explains. “There

cast including Will Arnett as Batman

ing with color, mixing as many visual

intermingled with multi-generational

is nowhere else like it in the world.”

and Zach Galifianakis as the Joker,

styles and taking on as many visual

families and “took hundreds of thou-

many suitors who had come before

Like the book series, Captain

McKay aspired to be faithful to “the

gags as possible. “The movie is filled

The Breadwinner

history of Batman,” while presenting a

with lots of unconventional mixed

Amongst the most likely contend-

collision of tones, juxtaposing colorful

media,” the director says. “Really, it’s

sung by newcomer Anthony Gonzales

ers of several GKIDS entries this year,

silliness with the somber brooding of

all designed to feel like it’s the boys’

and company, Coco takes place in

this adaptation of Deborah Ellis’

Batman lore.

imaginations being brought to life in

sands of photographs.” Filled with gorgeous original music

12

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playing with the imagination,” the director says, “and I find that you can really empathize with animals. You can really connect to them. You see yourself in there, so it’s a good way to project.” Mary and the Witch’s Flower Another GKIDS film in the running, Mary and the Witch’s Flower comes from Japanese director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the mind behind The Secret World of Arrietty and the Oscar-nominated When Marnie Was There. A gorgeous 2D anime starring Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent (in the English version), the film follows Mary, a young girl who stumbles upon different ways.” Stylistically, the film

a world of witches and harnesses

incorporates “little bells and whistles”

their power. “I wanted to have it be

like flip book art and a truly original

a feature with an energetic, acts-

sock puppet sequence.

before-she-thinks kind of heroine. I wanted to be able to draw animation

The Boss Baby

with a lot of dynamic movement,” the

Like David Soren’s Captain Under-

director explains of his first endeavor

pants, Tom McGrath’s The Boss Baby

with Studio Ponoc.

is much smarter than it looks. Based

Mary is split between the young

on a picture book by Marla Frazee,

girl’s life in the English countryside,

the film sees Alec Baldwin portray-

rendered as faithfully as possible by

ing a baby who is wise beyond his

Yonebayashi and his collaborators,

years, inexplicably clothed in a suit

and the gothic style of the world of

and tie from infancy as if it were the

witches, which the director com-

most natural thing in the world. “We

pares, aesthetically, to the world of

thought if we put the baby in the suit,

Harry Potter.

the logic of it is that it could all be this kid’s imagination,” McGrath says. “It

Loving Vincent

could be like Inception for kids”.

While this feature from Dorota

Like Coco, The Boss Baby exists in

Kobiela and Hugh Welchman seems

two distinct worlds—Timothy’s world

to have come out of nowhere, it may

and that of Baby Corp., which glee-

CARTOON CHARACTERS From top: Ferdinand, The Boss Baby and Despicable Me 3.

fully reinvents the concept of where

give Coco and other frontrunners a run for their money this season, being

babies come from. “I grew up in the

the first fully-painted film in cinema

’60s and ’70s,” the director says. “For

but then taking it into this villain’s

message than Ferdinand. The slogan:

history. Following Vincent Van Gogh

Baby Corp., we had great images of

ridiculous universe,” the director

“Built To Fight, Born To Love.” Based

in his final days—viewed through the

the Johnson Wax building of the ’60s,

says. “[We’re] always looking for the

on a children’s book published in 1936

lens of those who thought they knew

and these huge columns.”

humorous twist that we can play

which was previously adapted into

him—the film is composed entirely of

with, with the villains, to give them a

an Oscar-winning Disney short, Fer-

oil paintings in the style of Van Gogh’s

more colorful edge.”

dinand follows a Spanish Fighting Bull

works, created by a team of over

(John Cena) who is a pacifist, avoid-

100 painters. In point of fact, a great

Despicable Me 3 Working his way up the animation

Despicable Me 3 also entails min-

ladder with the Minions and Despi-

ions singing opera—of course—with

ing confrontation and drawing out

number of Van Gogh’s works were

cable Me franchises alongside Pierre

the voices and ideas provided by

the ire of those around him, whose

actually recreated by these artists

Coffin, Kyle Balda picked up the

Coffin. “Pierre loves Broadway musi-

expectations weigh him down.

and integrated seamlessly into the

thread with the third installment of

cals and Gilbert-and-Sullivan-type

While director Carlos Saldanha

the latter series, with evil genius Gru

themes, so he’s very often experi-

didn’t necessarily intend to focus his

“Vincent painted his shoes,

(Steve Carell) meeting his long-lost

menting and playing with what the

career on animal-led animated fea-

painted his bedroom, painted his

brother Dru and hatching a criminal

minions can be doing,” Balda says.

tures, that’s what he’s done with films

food, his letters,” Welchman says of

like Ice Age and Rio, giving animals a

the choice of Van Gogh as their sub-

plan together. “We’re always trying to

context of a narrative feature.

find a combination in the Despicable

Ferdinand

human spirit to reflect our world back

ject. “You can actually get a picture

Me universe between something

Of the animated films this year, there

to us. “Animation is about exaggerat-

of his world in a way that’s not really

that’s relatable in a familial way,

is perhaps none with a more relevant

ing, about creating characters, about

possible with other painters.” ★

14

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THE ACTOR’S SIDE Intriguing one-on-one conversations between Deadline’s awards editor and leading actors of film & television new videos every wednesday RE X /S H U T T E RSTO CK

WATCH NOW AT DEADLINE.COM

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Women in H This year, The Oscars turns 90. In nine decades, only one woman has won Best Director. Who will be second? AMY NICHOLSON sits down with three strong contenders—and their star actresses—who together are breaking critical and box office records while proving the dynamic range of female-helmed films. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSH TELLES

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n Hollywood

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that discipline and structure for you to feel safe,

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig makes her directorial debut, casting Saoirse Ronan as the titular teen desperate to escape Sacramento

but also the love and belief to go out and do it on your own,” says Ronan. The actress had just come off of an emotionally draining run playing the vengeful witch-hunting bully in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible on Broadway eight times a week, and Gerwig intuitively understood what she needed before each scene, whether it was quiet or a note or music or just time to figure it out. “I desperately cared about getting this right, for both of us,” says Ronan, turning to Gerwig. “It’s your first film!” “I had such unshakable faith,” beams Gerwig. “I just knew. I did feel like a mom in that way of, ‘I’m not confused about this. You can be confused about it all day. I’m not.’” Gerwig infused her entire cast and crew with that same whole-hearted admiration, and in return, the set blossomed into a harmonious Hallmark family. “It’s not all like, ‘Kumbaya,’” laughs Gerwig. “Everyone’s working

ON LADY BIRD’S FIRST DAY OF FILMING,

Atonement at 13. But she had Gerwig’s diaries,

their ass off. But within that, there’s so much

Saoirse Ronan overheard a line that set the tone

which Gerwig had even kept hidden away from

mutual respect.”

of the whole shoot. Newbie director Greta Gerwig

herself while writing Lady Bird’s script. (“I tried to

bounced onto set, turned to the cinematogra-

rely on memory,” explains Gerwig. “You remember

An early flirting scene between Ronan and co-star

pher, and grinned, “This is the happiest I’ve ever

the emotion far more than you remember the

Lucas Hedges had to be shot on a high ledge so

been in my life.”

actual event, much in the same way you remem-

their legs would swing like kids. Sometimes, she’d

ber dreams.”) And more importantly, she had

direct in metaphors, conjuring up the bliss of an

sonal—though not, she stresses, autobiographi-

Gerwig’s trust. Two years ago at the Toronto Film

imaginary yogurt commercial and saying, “So

cal—story about a Sacramento-born blonde

Festival when Ronan was premiering Brooklyn, the

much of being alive is knowing that you’ll never get

(check) graduating high school shortly after 9/11

film that earned her a second Oscar nomination,

the yogurt moment.” A later scene where Ronan

(check) who squabbles with her mother, a nurse

Gerwig invited herself up to Ronan’s room to read

propositions her crush outside of a school dance

(check), and dreams of moving to Manhattan

her the finished screenplay.

wasn’t clicking until Gerwig and Ronan went for

Gerwig was in her hometown to shoot a per-

(check). Half-a-million people live in Sacra-

“I wrote a person I wasn’t sure existed,” says

For a first time filmmaker, Gerwig had a vision.

a walk. Suddenly, they realized the glitch. “We’d

mento, ten times the population of Ireland’s

Gerwig—a dreamy, moody, creative, confident,

been thinking about this all wrong,” said Gerwig.

County Carlow, where Ronan was raised, and

fragile, self-destructive, romantic, pretentious girl,

“You guys are still children. And you’re pretending

yet her return felt like a reunion. Growing up,

who throws herself from cars and shuns her birth

to be adults.” They tried the scene again and it

her friends shared the same doctor, the same

name, Christine—“and then she started to bring

worked. “As a director, taking a minute and figuring

dentist, and the same first job at an ice cream

her to life. Lady Bird was really this collaboration

that out was such a gratifying moment.”

store. When Gerwig mentions a former neighbor,

between the two of us. That character would not

Ronan beams, “I met Rose!”

be that character if not for her.”

No wonder Lady Bird calls Sacramento, “The

Still, Lady Bird isn’t one character—she’s

The opening scene where Ronan caps a fight with Metcalf by throwing herself from a car also just worked from the first take. It was towards the

Midwest of California.” Once, while the pair shot

dozens who shape-shift from scene to scene,

end of the shoot, and the fictional mother and

a quick scene outside a bank, a car pulled up and

depending on if she’s with her friends, her par-

daughter had been screaming at each other for

hollered, “My mom said to tell you to tell your mom

ents, her teachers, her first boyfriend, her second

weeks. Ronan calls Metcalf her “sparring partner”.

that she’ll see her at the med center!” Gerwig

boyfriend, or alone with herself, wondering who

For an hour, maybe two, they drove through

hadn’t seen the man behind the wheel in 16 years.

she wants to be. She shrinks around the rich kids

farmland near UC Davis and fed off the other’s

After she left home to become an indie film

at school, but clomps into drama club auditions

energy, and the backstory they’d already created.

like a show pony.

“Just from the first take, it felt like it had such a

actress, Gerwig occasionally gets stopped at coffee shops in New York, a modest level of fame that reminds her of home. “It feels like an exten-

“She’s a pretty great musical theater actor,” says Gerwig.

sion of being in Sacramento where everybody

Blurts Ronan, “Is she though?”

knows who you are,” says Gerwig. “I’ve recreated

Gerwig and Ronan are barely a decade apart

some level of community.”

foundation,” says Ronan. Gerwig agrees, with a shudder. “Even when I hear that scene now, I still get goosebumps.” As for the scene when Ronan loses her virginity

in age, but their dynamic toggles between best

to an indifferent Timothée Chalamet, the actress

friend and big sister. Gerwig affectionately calls

turns to Gerwig and giggles, “You found that really

past life. The young actress never experienced

her star “Surshe”. On set, however, Gerwig was

difficult. Timmy and I were fine.”

the ordinary, all-American teenagehood: prom,

mom. Not like Lady Bird’s fictional mother, played

college applications, parents anxiously filling out

by a phenomenal Laurie Metcalf, who wants so

“I became a dorky parent who needs to over-

financial aid, continuous panic to figure out who

much goodness for her child that she makes

explain everything!”

you are and who you should be.

them both miserable. More like the kind of mother

Ronan was literally stepping into her director’s

“I didn’t go through any of that,” admits Ronan. She’s been acting non-stop since she was 9 years old, and got her first Oscar nomination for

18

“I was a complete wreck!” Gerwig groans.

It’s Ronan’s turn to give assurance. “We had

who exists in the happy bedtime stories: positive,

you believing in everyone,” she says. “When you

supportive, kind.

know your parent loves you, you’re like, ‘I can do

“She’s like a really good parent who gives you

anything!’”

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she’s just pouring everything into this character,”

Mudbound

Dee Rees’ adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s South-set post-war tale offers Mary J. Blige the role of a lifetime

adds Rees. “That was a huge trust fall because she’s an icon, she has a brand, she has an image.” During filming, Rees called her actors by their character’s names. One day, she slipped and said, “Mary.” A supporting actor flipped out. “Wait a minute! You’re Mary?” he yelped. He hadn’t realized who he’d been sitting next to in their scene. Rees succeeded in building a safe atmosphere for her cast to navigate horrible traumas. Blige glows as she describes “this humble, assertive, team player. She’s the director, but she wants to hear how you feel.” The singer-turned-actress has been getting the bulk of awards attention, yet her hushed performance commands attention because Rees forces it to, hiding her star in the back of scenes until the audience begs for Blige to come in focus. “Miss Dee,” says Blige. “You’re director of the year—you’re director of the

MARY J. BLIGE SPENDS MUCH OF DEE REES’

which to her, in a way, means expressing other

southern tragedy Mudbound holding her tongue.

people’s selves too. “I let people see me com-

As Florence Jackson, the matriarch of a share-

ing through some of the most terrible things in

ensemble pair off for practice exercises where her

cropper family continually bossed around by the

public, because I find out that a lot of people are

characters would face each other and acknowl-

white folks who own their land, she’s swollen with

suffering just as bad.” Through Florence, viewers

edge their unspoken dynamic. With her onscreen

words she’s not allowed to say, starting with “No”

can connect to her character’s fears, especially

son Mitchell, Blige repeated variations of “You’re

to the McAllan jerk who’s always interrupting her

for her oldest son Ronsel (Jason Mitchell), a WWII

making a mistake” as he tried to deny it with

dinners to demand that she, or her husband, or

soldier, who has to fight racism in Germany and

varying certainty. With Carey Mulligan, McAllan’s

her children, obey his commands.

back home in Mississippi. When he heads off to

overwhelmed wife, they bounced the lines, “You

war, Blige can’t watch him leave—a superstition

have the power,” “No, you have the power.” And

everything, but she’ll say only a little of what

Rees’ grandmother shared that she wrote into the

with Rob Morgan, Florence’s husband Hap, the

she sees.” Instead, Blige channels Florence’s

script—and as he rides away, she grabs her stom-

fictional couple built a romance, telling each other

exasperation through her mighty silence. Though

ach, an unconscious reaction that she also does

what they liked about their faces.

during one take, as Jason Clarke’s irritating Henry

in concert. But Florence’s resilience and wisdom

McAllan once more knocks on their door, Blige

and determination seem to ripple off the screen

strategy. “When it was time for it to surface, it

couldn’t resist muttering, “What he want?” Rees

in 3D. When she smiles, we smile. The details are

surfaced.”

liked the ad-lib so much she kept it in the film.

specific, but the feelings are universal.

“She’s an observer,” says Rees. “She sees

At first, Blige’s ability to make an emotional

“Dee’s films are like my music,” says Blige.

century.” Before they started filming, Rees had the

“It’s like seed planting,” says Blige of Rees’

Blige admits she was “1 million percent nervous,” to tackle the part. But when everyone

symphony from silence seems ironic to audiences

“People watching this film are bawling because of

was assembled on Mudbound’s dirty, sticky, bug-

who know her as the R&B queen with nine Gram-

the direction she chose, and the colors; it’s so rich

buzzing set, Rees realized she hadn’t just hired an

mys, 33 hit singles and over 50 million albums

and thick and layered.”

icon—she’d hired a leader.

sold worldwide. She’s famous for expressing

Blige is known for her glamour: the blonde hair,

Laughs Rees, “If someone as huge as her is

everything; her grief, her insecurities, her hopes.

the long nails, the glamorous diva costumes. Rees

staying in it and not complaining about mosquito

This summer, she spent her Strength of a Woman

asked her to pack all that away, even the false

bites then no one else is complaining about

tour—her first major string of concerts since

eyelashes Blige has worn for decades. Blige, who

mosquito bites.”

divorcing her husband of 12 years—letting her

vibrates with emotion, sobbed when she got rid

broken heart bleed across the stage, sometimes

of her wigs, and teared up when she saw Flor-

confront another phobia: live chickens, which

until she fell to the ground.

ence’s flat, ugly shoes. The Queen was stripped

Florence grabs and kills with her bare hands.

“It’s like a therapy session,” says Rees, who saw

bare. She cried on the first day on set. “And then,

Blige didn't complain even when she had to

“I never told you this story,” confesses Blige,

Blige perform at Madison Square Garden. “She’s

I was like, ‘Mary you’ve been super dependent on

turning to Rees. “When I was a little kid, my

not just singing lines at you. She’s reliving every

material things that deem you as nice-looking,’”

grandmother killed a chicken and his head came

joy, she’s reliving every pain. She makes you feel. I

says Blige. “I said, ‘I gotta get rid of Mary—she’s

off and he was flipping and running after me. I was

knew she could do it in a more intimate setting.”

just too vain.’”

traumatized. So when I saw the chicken, I was like,

“I think my mission is to make people feel

On the second day, Blige surrendered. Soon,

‘Oh my god, really?’ Everything that I was afraid

and see and deal and heal,” says Blige. Which is

she was running around set in 100 degree

why she immediately said yes to Rees when she

Louisiana heat with her natural hair. Says Blige,

read Mudbound’s script. Working with the vibrant

“I can’t even describe how liberating it was.” She

writer-director of Pariah and Bessie, the biopic of

was forced to file for divorce during the month of

singer Bessie Smith that scored Queen Latifah

the shoot. “I think I was probably at the lowest of

like, ‘I’m not going to come here and chicken out

a Best Actress Emmy nomination? Says Blige, “I

my own personal life,” Blige admits. Yet, in a way,

over a chicken.’” Blige handled it like Florence

was like, ‘It’s a no-brainer, period.’”

she was free.

would have. She kept her feelings inside and got

Acting is the other way Blige expresses herself,

20

“It’s like Mary’s gone, Florence is there and

of, this movie made me face it.” “I didn’t know!” exclaims Rees. “But you went through it!” “Listen, I had no choice,” smiles Blige. “I was

the job done.

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Wonder Woman learns that killing Ares doesn’t

Wonder Woman Patty Jenkins became the highest grossing female director ever this year, turning the superheroic Gal Gadot into a bona fide star

rescue mankind from their hunger for violence, was one of the hardest to get right. Humans grow up knowing we’re capable of both good and evil. Wonder Woman thought we were better than that, an innocence that’s so alien to adult move-goers, it plays as ignorant. “It’s easy to get condescending,” says Jenkins. Gadot wasn’t just fighting the god of war—she had to fight the audience’s cynicism. “Big performance things, where very sensitive emotional turns matter, don’t happen overnight,” says Jenkins. She turns to Gadot and smiles. “Every once in a while they do! Like the dance!” she says, thinking of the scene where Gadot and Pine sway in a town square of liberated villagers. “That was the easiest thing!” Gadot snaps her fingers, “Like from the first take!”

THE FIRST DAY PATTY JENKINS AND GAL

the conversational scenes before the dangerous

GADOT MET, they slipped into a sushi restaurant

charge, and Wonder Woman’s frustration with

says Jenkins. “As a result, the quickness of their

and didn’t stop talking for four hours. “Both of us

continually being told no.

dynamic, the speed of little things like her

“Both she and Chris are super smart,”

were so passionate about so many topics,” says

“I didn’t think about the way I hit or I attack,”

Gadot. “Family life, World War II, the Holocaust,

says Gadot. “It was always, ‘What’s my emotional

humans, race, politics. We were upset and we

state? Why am I gonna do this?’” Jenkins would

were happy and we were thrilled.”

ask Gadot to adjust Wonder Woman’s anger,

sure that Patty was going to direct this movie,”

usually by taking it down a notch.

says Gadot, beaming. The actress gets annoyed

That conversation is still ongoing. Months after their film, Wonder Woman, became the summer’s

“She’s not vicious,” says Jenkins. Watch closely

eye movement, and reaction time, it’s amazing to me.” “I’m very, very, very lucky that the world made

when people think that Jenkins was the right

biggest hit, the pair continue to fizz with chemis-

and spot Gadot flipping her sword to whack

Wonder Woman director only because she’s a

try, so much that they speak in sync—they don’t

Germans with the non-fatal handle. Audiences

woman. “No, Patty was the right director because

just agree, they overlap, both voices filling the

are used to blockbusters that pause the plot

she knew exactly what she wants and how to

room at once like two harmonious guitars.

during action scenes so people can cheer. But

get it,” insists Gadot. Jenkins has run around sets

study Gadot’s movements and see how Wonder

since she was 20 years old, building her resume

the same thing,” says Jenkins. They dreamed of

Woman reveals dimensions of her personality

up from camera operator to short film director to

making a classic, Richard Donner-style superhero

even when she’s silently running across a field.

the highest-paid female hit-maker in, well, ever,

“We realized very quickly that we wanted to do

movie—“a tentpole of yesteryear”—that was exciting and romantic and funny and, above all, inspirational. Jenkins hadn’t hired Gadot. The star was already part of the franchise after Wonder

“The story doesn’t stop because you’re fighting,” says Jenkins. “The fighting is the story.” “Exactly!” says Gadot. “To—to—” She waves her hands searching for the right word.

thanks to her salary for the upcoming Wonder Woman 2. Plus, Jenkins never stops shooting until she has the perfect take. “Patty always gives her

Woman’s brief debut in Batman v Superman:

“Emote?” guesses Jenkins, reading her mind.

million percent,” says Gadot, so everyone on

Dawn of Justice. Yet, both knew from that

“Yes! To express yourself!” Gadot grins, slap-

set becomes equally invested, to the point that

first meeting that they were a match made in Themyscira.

ping her knees in glee. “Acting is so whole-bodied,” says Jenkins.

when the star had to film re-shoots while five months pregnant—her belly painted green so it

Laughs Gadot, “We were meant to be.”

“We’re reading a gajillion kinds of micro-clues

could be animated out—the mom-to-be willingly

Since then, they’ve only grown closer. They’d

about another human being and what they want.

threw herself on the floor for a face-slam. They

shoot six days a week, and on the seventh day,

How she’s standing, how she’s feeling, how she’s

decided not to repeat that for the second take.

get together with their kids. Late into the shoot

feeling inside, how she’s approaching, these are

On the last day of filming, Jenkins was even

after months of stunts and rain and physical

subtle things. The lines that she’s saying are only

more of a perfectionist than usual. It was Wonder

exhaustion, when Gadot’s knee would start to

one part of it.”

Woman creator William Marston’s birthday—pure

ache, Jenkins’ would, too. “The relationship got

Wonder Woman walks with confidence

coincidence—and all they needed was one final

symbiotic,” says Gadot. “If my right shoulder was

because she believes that the world is kind. And

shot of Gadot crouching on the ground. But

painful, her left shoulder was painful. She was

when it’s revealed not to be, her body language

Jenkins couldn’t stop asking for retakes. Could

mirroring my pain.”

changes. Now, her confidence is layered with

Gadot lean forward more? Could she raise her

sacrifice and resolve—emotions that Gadot

other foot? The positions got stranger and

star. But to prepare for her battle scenes, she

thought a lot about before she shot each take so

stranger. Surely, they had the footage? Jenkins

and Jenkins cared more about calibrating

that when she was in the moment, she wouldn’t

had to stifle her giggles. She just didn’t want the

Wonder Woman’s inner feelings than her stunt

have to be consciously aware of them at all.

movie to end.

choreography. Ask them about shooting the

She imagined herself wearing Wonder Woman’s

centerpiece No Man’s Land sequence, a slow-

qualities almost like a second costume. The

out laughing. Wonder Woman could have figured

motion ballet of bullets and cannons and arm

character’s inner life told her how to move.

out the problem earlier with her lasso of truth.

Gadot earned the sore muscles of an action

gauntlets and shields, and Jenkins focuses on

22

That pivotal scene in the control tower, where

“She pranked me!” yells Gadot. Both burst

But the actress doesn’t mind a bit. ★

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D THE DIALOGUE

OSCAR CO NT E NDE RS/ ACTORS

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David’s trademark is that he makes the process of making a movie so incredibly collaborative, and

GYLLENHAAL

all of us were focused on not shying away from the harder aspects of Jeff’s journey. You can’t just paint the easier picture. Luca Guadagnino describes filmmaking as alchemy—that filmmakers are charlatans and frauds essentially trying to magic an audience

As Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman, the Stronger star finally gets his superhero role BY J O E U T I C H I

connection out of the mix that they make. That’s why I’m working with Luca. We both know we’re charlatans and frauds. I’ve known him for a long time—almost a decade now. Over that decade we’ve been trying to work together, and I think I had to evolve my thinking a bit, into a place where I start to realize that filmmaking is truly about relationships. It’s taken me a couple of films to realize that the only way to do work that you’re proud of is when you have true intimacy with a filmmaker. I didn’t

WHEN JEFF BAUMAN SET OUT TO RUN the Boston Marathon on the morning of April 15, 2013, he couldn’t have imagined the way his life would change after he was caught up in the terrorist attacks at the finish line. When the bombs exploded, he lost both his legs to the blast, and was captured in a striking photograph being evacuated from the scene. That photograph, and Bauman’s relentless road to recovery, came to typify the “Boston Strong” attitude in the wake of the attacks. For Jake Gyllenhaal, playing Bauman in David Gordon Green’s Stronger could not have been more meaningful a role.

necessarily know that when we first met. His process, like mine, is very intimate and starts very early on. I always say I need a long runway. I’ve heard filmmakers refer to films as their children. I worked with Stephen Sondheim, and when I realized he didn’t have children was when I realized his pieces were his children. In the show I did, Sundays in the Park, the last song is an exaltation to art and to creation; these children he has

How did you hear about this story?

there and reachable and communicative through-

created. The experience of creating something and

I only knew about him from a photograph. From that

out shooting. But when we started to shoot, he

then sending it out into the world, they do bear a

photograph. I didn’t even really know his name very

really wasn’t there that much. He did the first day,

similarity. I speak from very little experience of hav-

well. The story had been brought to my attention.

and then after that, not much at all. David and I,

ing children, of course.

I was sent a very early draft, and I just loved the

and Todd Lieberman and Riva Marker, were all in

character. Somehow, Jeff’s spirit came through,

contact with him through it. Getting information

Art is important in that way. Art is life or

and there were a lot of qualities to him that I didn’t

from him, talking to his family. We were all pretty

death, as pretentious as that sounds.

expect. I called up Erik Feig at Lionsgate and said,

close. So it never felt like he wasn’t involved. It just

Totally. I think the problem comes in when you add

“Hey, I would love to do this.” He found David Gor-

felt like he was giving us the creative space.

commerce. That’s when fraudulence comes into

don Green, and David came back to me and said,

play. So, you can’t make big statements and say, “I

“I’d love you to do it.” It’s been a long journey from

The movie is also very honest about the strug-

owe my life to this thing,” and then make a certain

there; I brought the film to Bold Films, who finances

gle Jeff had with the “Boston Strong” label,

story that you know will sell. Then people call you

my production company, and all of a sudden we

when in moments he didn’t feel he had the

out, which I think is fine.

were producing it too. So I haven’t slept for two

strength. That must have been hard for him.

years. I’m reading this story, then meeting Jeff, and

The process of the making of the movie was

being contradictory, too. We contradict ourselves

wanting to be involved on a really core, rudimentary

always that question. Always the question of how

constantly, and I think that is part of it, but I think

level. It has become this child of mine.

much is this moment full of hope, how much is

there’s this whole movement—of actors particu-

this moment painful? What was really happening

larly, because we don’t have a say so much in the

Jeff’s story is so remarkable, it can’t be hard

here? What do we wish the moment to have been

filmmaking process—that tends to downplay the

to find reasons to persist in setting it up.

and what was the moment really?

importance of storytelling. As if it’s an act of humil-

It doesn’t stop. Any time there’s a moment where

I accredit that to the primary group of filmmak-

I think there’s something very important about

ity to say it like you say it. “What we do isn’t that

it feels like you’ve pushed as hard as you can and

ers, with David Gordon Green being at the head of

important. We’re just here to create escapism, or

there’s nowhere left to go, you keep pushing. I think

that, and then Todd Lieberman and Riva Marker

we’re here to entertain,” which we are. But I said

it pushed itself, and it continues to. It’s a story

producing the movie in that way. The production

from a young age—and maybe it was what I was

I care so much about, and when I see people’s

companies that joined up to make this movie, I

taught—that any story is political and any story has

reactions to it, it makes it worth it. If I could hold a

think we all approached the movie in that way. We

an influence.

cardboard sign outside and say, “See this movie,” I

struck that balance, always, even as we fought for

would absolutely do that.

different scenes that would do that. I think it’s because all of the people involved in

That’s the thing with this film, because all of a sudden it made me realize how important storytelling is, more than I had ever imagined, and

How involved was Jeff?

telling this story—and I think it’s why Jeff trusted us

at the same time I had Jeff joking with me, saying,

He was involved in the pre-production process and

with it—are a little averse to bullshit, and yet hopeful

“What you do is ridiculous.” I’m walking that line all

in much of the early stages, and he was always

in the world.

the time. ★

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Chris Chapman

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Kenneth

an atmosphere in which it is possible to both seriously approach your work and also have fun. They

B R A N AG H

find ways of keeping the set both serious and loose at the same time, and there’s a rhythm in their work that goes from more expansive moments to a kind of laser concentration. Chris Nolan really helped to create a still center to that storm, and I think I’ve learnt from that perspective, the way in which you can create and

The Dunkirk star and Orient Express helmer discusses his epic year behind and in front of the camera B Y M AT T G R O B A R

apply and benefit from concentration in the midst of the chaos. Is it challenging to direct and play the lead? Well, I had a lot of help. I had an associate, Rob Ashford, who I’ve co-directed with in the theater, another performance coach called Jimmy Yuill, who I’ve acted with many times—both of them are very honest about my work. Their sole job was to look at my performance and offer notes. I had

ETWEEN A STARRING TURN IN DUNKIRK and Murder on the Orient Express—a reimagining of the Agatha Christie classic, which saw him behind and in front of the camera—Kenneth Branagh has had a remarkable year. While the British Oscar nominee has been directing for about as long as he’s been acting, he tends to approach projects as an actor first, and Murder was no exception. Branagh looked at his directorial duties through the eyes of his character—the mustachioed, obsessive-compulsive detective Hercule Poirot.

B

long-standing relationships with the cinematographer, Haris Zambarloukos, and the costumer designer, Alexandra Byrne, and good long relationships with some of these actors—Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi. I had people who were willing to share thoughts about a take or a scene, knowing because of my relationship with them that that was not going to be something that threw me. Beyond Poirot, what was your take on reimagining Murder on the Orient Express? The overall approach was to try and mine the

What drew you to Dunkirk?

who is quiet, stoic, desperate not to show emotion.

emotional quality in the story. At the heart of it is

Certainly as an actor, Christopher Nolan is a direc-

Poirot, by contrast, is someone whose obsessive-

the death of an innocent, and a revenge drama

tor who I admire enormously, so to be approached

compulsive personality is very expressive. He

takes place. The emphasis was feeling underneath

by him about being in a movie was really some-

can’t help himself, so there was fun to be had in

the skin of the movie that there could be this

thing I was always going to be very interested in.

that, and yet part of what Michael Green did in

passionate, primitive kind of emotional force that

It seemed to me when I met him that Dunkirk

the screenplay was present a more interior Poirot,

was going to finally emerge in the last act of the

was clearly a very personal project for him—he

as well, somebody more melancholic, lonely and

story, so I wanted performances that would be

conveyed a tremendous amount of passion about

isolated.

open to that, that could give us all the excitement

the subject, and the treatment of the subject. I just

With the case of Dunkirk, I knew I would be

of the departure from Istanbul, all the excitement

thought: Gosh, this really feels as though it com-

helped enormously by being in the safe hands of

of being on a train in the glamorous golden age of

bines all his brilliance as a visual stylist, as some-

a wonderful filmmaker, and with Poirot, I felt the

travel. But I essentially wanted raw acting.

one who plays with time and narrative structure

screenplay and Agatha Christie’s mastery of this

in movies, with a big emotional charge of this very

kind of story were also an incredible pair of safe

of the things that I asked was that everybody

important event in British history.

hands to be in, as you explored how real you could

was prepared to do their biggest scene on their

make these characters in cinema terms. I continue

first day, so that whatever quality of apprehen-

epic—he called it an intimate epic, and I think

to feel like I’m an eternal student of the process

sion or whatever they might feel as performers,

that’s a very good description. It was a great read,

of acting and how you make it effective on screen,

they were willing to be caught by the camera for

the screenplay, and it was just kind of an easy yes.

and they both provided incredible challenges in

characters that also had a similar kind of tension

that way.

underneath them.

I thought it was unique and passionate and

Playing Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express

When that ensemble came on board, one

I knew the film could be epic and sweeping. I

must have been a very different challenge,

Are there lessons you’ve taken from film-

wanted to be in the language of filmmakers like

especially since you were directing too.

makers like Nolan that you’ve applied to your

John Sturges or John Ford or David Lean with the

In a way, the character of Poirot in Murder on the

behind-the-camera work?

big, scope-y shots, and a sense of a landscape and

Orient Express was equally compelling because

I think so. Somebody like Christopher Nolan or

travel, but I wanted the forensic gaze of 65mm

the way in which he directs the case seems linked

Danny Boyle, for instance, or Robert Altman,

to mean that in these massive close-ups where

to the directing of the film itself, and the project

they’re just a few examples of people whose

characters are being asked to tell the truth about

came to me in both capacities. I was drawn to

handling of the atmosphere on set is very key. They

something—which underneath, really emotionally

spend time with that character—he’s so unusual,

create harmony on set. Now, it doesn’t mean there

agitates them—would be something where the

very much the opposite of the character in Dunkirk

isn’t passion and temper involved, but they create

performances could be open and vulnerable. ★

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Algee

us: One day when we were running through the riots, when the Dramatics had just got off the bus and were running down the street, all of the

SMITH

sudden there’s this huge explosion that goes off in the street, and the street shakes, and everybody is going crazy—and Kathryn never told us she was going to blow anything up. They were just like, “Keep going, keep going!”. And we were

just like, “What? She’s just blowing stuff up.”

The breakthrough star of Detroit on Kathryn Bigelow’s many surprises B Y M AT T G R O B A R

That was my first time getting to be in that type of mayhem on set, so it was amazing, seeing how everything comes together, all the cars on fire. It was super crazy. What was the tone on set? I think every day was very serious, just because of what we were portraying. Even in times where we were doing scenes that weren’t that heavy, it was still serious, because we knew what we had to

NYONE WHO HAS WORKED WITH KATHRYN BIGELOW knows her vision, her ambition and her facts-first approach to epic American stories. The director’s oeuvre is filled with war stories of different shades, Detroit being the latest—and Algee Smith found himself amongst a batch of new recruits on the film, facing the horrors of race-related police brutality during the 1967 Algiers Motel incident in the titular Michigan city, a reality the actor had never himself experienced. Auditioning with sides from Jamie Foxx vehicle Ray, Smith landed the musically oriented role of Dramatics tenor Larry, with no idea of what he was in for—a war of his very own.

A

convey at the end of the day. I feel like that never really went away, even during some of the singing parts. I feel like the singing in the movie, and the music, it helps bring a little bit of tranquility to help you sit back for a second and ease off of everything that’s going crazy. But every day, man, that same energy was there. I’m super thankful for Will [Poulter] and Ben [O’Toole] and Jack [Reynor], who played the cops, because every time that we finished a scene, they were checking up on us and making sure that we were good. They were going out of their way to make sure that they weren’t going over their boundaries. So even though it was

What were your first impressions when audi-

have a lot of preparation. I just had to trust her, as

tioning for Detroit?

she trusted us as actors. But of course I was going

When I got it, I didn’t really know much about it.

online, searching anything about Detroit that I

Is the weight of the film’s history something

They weren’t really saying what it was—it was

could, and anything about that time in 1967. About

you could walk away from every day?

just Untitled Kathryn Bigelow Project. They didn’t

the riots and the tension in that time.

It was hard to step away from that. I think about

really give any details, so when I went to the first

tough, we had a support system in each other.

a month after shooting I was still feeling it, or

audition, I had auditioned with some sides from

What was it like to inhabit the film’s dark

sitting in that kind of emotion. Hearing that 12

the movie Ray. I was still kind of clueless, but then

spaces for an extended period?

hours a day for months, and going through those

I went to the second audition and Kathyrn was

It was hard, man. It was tough. I was sitting in that

emotions, it’s kind of hard to break away from

there, and she was like, “Okay, I just want you guys

emotion for about three months, trying to portray

that. But we gave our all, we told a story that

to make up a song, and I’m going to have some-

something that I really haven’t been through in my

needs to be told, and we put a mirror on society

body bust into the room. He’s going to throw you

life. I had to do my best to give Larry some justice—

and said, “Look, what happened fifty years ago

up against the wall, and you have to respond to

to really tell his story, when that’s never happened

is still happening.” I think at the end of the day, I

him.” It was that response that I feel solidified

to me. I had to go to dark places, and think about

learned how to let it go.

everyone’s character on that day.

my family in certain ways that I didn’t want to, or think about certain things to just give a glimpse

What do you think about the relevance of

Once you found out what the project entailed,

of what he actually went through. So, it was really

this film in today’s world?

how did you prepare?

tough, but like I said, Kathryn trusting me helped

Anytime that you can get truth, I feel like that’s

I went back and studied everything around that

me get through it. Because if she’s looking at me

the right time. No matter what time it comes.

time—specifically in Detroit, and a couple differ-

and saying that I can do it, then I must be doing

Anytime you can get something that’s what’s

ent riots that were taking place in America at that

something pretty all right, at least.

going on in society, and that can maybe break

time, as well. However, I didn’t really have a lot of

barriers or maybe warm the heart of those

info from Kathryn, because she didn’t want me to

The visual experience on set must have been

individuals that are cold-hearted, or at least help

know a lot. She wanted me to come on set and

surreal as well, with tanks in the streets and

someone understand a little better. I think that’s

really be living it, not trying to act it. She wanted

massive disenfranchised crowds raising hell.

the importance of what we’re doing. We’re just

me to be reacting, be saying some of those lines

Yeah, that was crazy. Just to give you a really quick

trying to get people to empathize and also to

for the first time on the day of, so I didn’t really

story, talking about how Kathryn likes to surprise

understand. ★

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Gary

the corridor from the stage. I would come out of the dressing room having already been through

OLDMAN

makeup, and there would be day players lining the corridor. Walking past them was an interesting thing because all the soldiers would suddenly stand upright and come to attention. Ladies would curtsy. People would stare at me, because the makeup was so good that you could stand an inch from me and you couldn’t tell I was wearing any.

Disappearing beneath the year’s most impressive makeup to play Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour

Did their reaction give you a sense for how

BY J OE U T IC H I

period?

much pressure Churchill was under in this Yes. Other things too. I’ll tell you a story. Because of the movie, we were allowed access to things; behind-velvet-ropes tours of Blenheim Palace and Chartwell. We went to the War Room, and the curator there let me sit in the actual war cabinet room, in the chair that Winston had sat in. He

HERE ARE TRANSFORMATIONS and then there is Gary Oldman’s Churchill in Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. The actor endured five hours in the makeup chair daily to transform into the rotund politician who rescued Britain from WWII. With the semiretired makeup legend Kazuhiro Tsuji behind the making of the mask, Oldman worked intimately to disappear into the role. On set, nobody met Gary Oldman for months. And, he says, it gave him a new appreciation for the British politician who strove to bring an end to the war.

T

wasn’t there every day. It wasn’t like they spent the entire war in the War Room. But on the arm of this wooden chair, on the left hand side, there were these huge divots that he had made with his fingernails. On the right arm, there were scratches from the family ring he wore. That, to me, was a big clue, because it is a state of mind that is now imprinted in the chair. We forget that his army was only 300,000 men, and that he was very likely to lose in Dunkirk, when Hitler’s army numbered some five million. As an actor, you pull things from all different

When the news breaks that Joe Wright is

So what next?

areas, and you use what you can. I, at one point,

doing a Churchill movie, and that he’s cast

In my mind, Kazuhiro Tsuji was the only makeup

likened him to Kubrick, who I am told could be an

you as Churchill, it’s hard not to double-take.

artist who could pull it off. Even though Kazu had

absolute teddy bear. A loyal man, and wonderful

What was your first reaction?

retired, I managed to seduce him out of retirement

with his family, and with his kids, and all the rest of

I think my reaction was much the same as yours.

and get him on board. Then we did a series of tests

it. But when he was on a set, he wanted 100%. His

Most of the work that I’ve done over the years,

to find out if it was even doable. You needed not

life was in the making of the film, and he wanted

I’ve hardly ever chased. I’m at the mercy of the

only a makeup artist, but a true artist as well as a

you 100% with him. His commitment to it was full

industry, and you’re beholden to the imaginations

makeup artist, and because of those huge, realistic

on, and if your commitment didn’t hit 100%—if you

of the people that are casting the roles. A Churchill

sculptures Kazu does, he looks at bone structure

weren’t on the train with him—he could give you

project came my way in 2014, and my reaction

and anatomy. But even he scratched his head at

a tongue lashing. He could turn, and be a demon.

was, “Don’t be utterly ridiculous.” It was never in

the start and said, “I’m not sure I can do this.” He

It was so helpful to me, because I just thought,

my consciousness, even. You could see yourself

wasn’t convinced. We did a head cast, and an early

“Yeah, here’s this guy who’s, as he says, ‘blood, toil,

playing Lear, maybe, down the road. Lear can be

sculpt on that, and it was really promising.

tears, and sweat. I am in this to win, and you’ve got

different things to different people. But when

It turned out Kazu’s studio was only half an

to be on board, and you’ve got to be with me.’”

you start with the robust silhouette of a man like

hour away from my house, so I didn’t have to travel

Churchill, with the big jowls and the double chin,

long distances to work with him. I could slip over

Did you wind up liking Churchill? Were you

it’s hard to see that.

there and see what he was up to. We went to a full

able to form an opinion on him?

Churchill look, because he had a scar on the top of

Yeah, when I was playing him, I loved him. I would

was more interesting to me, because it offered a

his head running up from his eyebrow. We went for

love going in every day, spending 12 hours in his

chance to reconnect with Eric Fellner at Working

as much detail as we could. You ended up sort of

company. My respect for him, in terms of his

Title, Joe was in the mix, and the script, I thought,

losing me in the process, so we had to pull it back

achievements, has grown. He’s risen in stock

took an interesting approach. To look at that

so that Gary and Winston would complement one

tenfold. People say, “Was he a drunk, or was he an

28-day period—that very specific moment in time.

another. It ended up as a hybrid between the two.

alcoholic?” When you look at all the achievements

When the first came by, I let it go. This piece

I wasn’t being asked to play a life; Churchill through many years. It honed it. I could see how it’d work. But the physical aspect was always going to be

over his lifetime, I don’t know many politicians who Presumably most people on set knew you solely as Churchill.

could do that, let alone alcoholics. My reading of the man, and the discovery of the

a challenge. I’m nearly 60. I would have had to put

Yeah, Joe actually didn’t see me as Gary for three

man, will continue. There’s got to be 1,000 books

on about 80 pounds, which I couldn’t do. Makeup

months. We were shooting at Ealing Studios, and

written about him. I’ve only waded through a few.

was the only answer.

they still have the same old dressing rooms, across

So my curiosity will follow long after the film. ★

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Robert

It is. I feel like it’s always got to be on the knife’s edge. I’m sort of drawn to things that are a bit odd.

PAT T I N S O N

If I described the plot to Good Time to somebody I’d say, “It’s this guy who’s mentally ill, and he’s trying to kidnap his mentally ill brother, and then they rob a bank together immediately, and then they steal and try to sell a bottle of Sprite filled with liquid acid.” If someone pitched that to me I’d be like, “That sounds fucking dope.”

The Good Time kid shuffles away his self-doubt for the role of his career in the Safdie brothers’ hit BY J OE U T IC H I

Didn’t the Safdie brothers send you to live in Harlem before the movie? Yeah, I really like the way they work. It’s how I’d want to work with everybody, where the work never stops. It’s not like you clock off at the end of the day. Even a year after we’ve finished, we’re still talking about it, and talking about the next thing. That level of enthusiasm is really infectious. I can’t stand it when you work with a director, and you call

OBERT PATTINSON HAS NEVER BEEN DISINTERESTING. Easily written off as “the guy from Twilight”, his work since that teen vampire series ended has refused to follow the path of least resistance for a young star. Instead of bankable familiarity, he turned to David Cronenberg, David Michôd and Werner Herzog for roles that would push his artistic drive. And this year, he alighted on the previously little-known Safdie brothers for the Cannes-premiering Good Time, a film that asked more of him than he has ever given. The result: one of the best performances of his career.

R

them when they’re not on set and they’re just not into it. No, you have to be into it all the time. So was this a kind of De Niro, Day-Lewis, Method-style immersion? I don’t really know how to do that. You kind of work with what you’ve got. It’s impossible to fully improvise. Everyone else was from Queens, and the main thing people talk about when they’re from the same place is shared experiences, and I didn’t know anything about that. You kind of have to make that part of the character. Where someone would ask, you end up

You reached out to the Safdie brothers after

It takes a second to realize, if you just surrender to

pretending to be this arrogant guy who’s like, “No,

seeing a still from one of their films, and nothing

it, you’re probably not going to die. You might. But

I don’t relate to you. Just because we’re from the

else. Is that right?

you’re probably going to die if you drive too slowly,

same place doesn’t mean I have to relate, so stop

It was the still of Arielle Holmes from Heaven Knows

too.

trying to relate to me.” Connie is kind of like that

What. There’s just something about that photo. I

with everybody.

love the expression on her face. I was just so certain

People described this role as a reinvention for

it was going to say that they were Czech filmmak-

you. But aren’t you just a reinventor? Going

dialogue feels authentic to me. It’s interesting, but

ers, or something, but then to find out they’re from

from Twilight to David Cronenberg and Werner

for all the improvisation, every single fucking line in

New York… My friend Brady Corbet knows everyone

Herzog isn’t exactly playing it safe.

the script is in the movie. To get to the lines we’d

in New York so he put me in touch and I sent them

I suppose the other things I’ve done haven’t been

go all over the place. So we’d do lots of improvisa-

the most extraordinarily effusive email, basically

contemporary, and I think because this was a really

tion to get up to delivering the lines, but the actual

saying, “I’m interested.” I mean, I’d never met them,

identifiable character type, people were like, “Oh.”

improvised stuff is not in the movie. It just retains

and I hadn’t even seen the film. I didn’t know if they’d

People know that world. You can go to New York and

that flavor.

even done other movies at that point. This is all in the

see it, and I think people found it weird that I might

space of about half an hour.

live in it. If a part ever came where it was like, “You

Is one of the benefits of doing a series like

The Safdies are such good writers, too. The

can play yourself,” maybe I’d find comfort in it. But I

Twilight that it buys you the ability to say,

came out about a week later, and it was incredible.

don’t think my actual personality translates particu-

“OK, now I can help you get your film made,” to

It was exactly what I was looking for; I keep looking

larly to a character type. I don’t really have a comfort

an independent filmmaker?

for that super high-intensity thing where it felt punk,

zone. I keep thinking I’m trying to do the opposite of

It’s great, and it definitely, definitely helps. But

and had this kind of out-of-control feeling to it. Josh

the last thing every time. I’d love to find out if there’s

then the directors I’ve been working with recently,

and Benny have just the most phenomenal attitudes.

a comfort zone for me to fall back on. Maybe an

they’d get it financed anyway. Cronenberg, Her-

They’re not afraid to be drastic, and they do really

incredibly insecure English person filled with self-

zog… Good Time was the first time I really realized

audacious cuts and stuff.

loathing and doubt… I don’t know how many parts

that the money came from my casting.

Fortunately, the trailer for Heaven Knows What

There’s some people you know, when you get in

like that come along [laughs].

the car with them, it feels like you’re going to die in

After Twilight, I really just wanted to go off and work with heroes, no matter how small the part

the car. They’re driving so quickly and it feels out-

But perhaps living on the knife’s edge of unfa-

was. With the Safdies, I’d really put them in the

of-control. If you do it enough times, you’re like, “Oh,

miliarity is exactly what you’re drawn to. It is

same category as the people I worked with before.

no, you’re just a good driver who drives really fast.”

your comfort zone.

Cronenberg, Herzog, and then a line to them. ★

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Dan Doperalski

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CAREY MULLIGAN

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Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 12/13/17  

Oscar Preview - WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD - Featuring: Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot & Patty Jenkins, Lady Bird's Saoirse Ronan & Greta Gerwig, and Mudb...