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Time: 02-19-2016

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

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THE ENVELOPE

T H E 8 8 T H AC A D E M Y AWA R D S LET THE NOMINEES GUIDE YOU THROUGH THEIR WORK BEFORE TONIGHT’S OSCARS.

Brian Stauffer For The Times


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COME ENJOY

TENNIS PARADISE

MARCH 7-20, 2016 INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

UNDER THE STARS!

Come watch tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova* and many more at the spectacular Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

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*Players subject to change

ANTICIPATION IS IN THE AIR

Which authors will you meet? What celebrities will you see? Watch for the festival schedule coming March 8.

CALIFORNIA NEWS GROUP THE ENVELOPE

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Unwind at the Moët and Chandon Circle of Palms with a glass of champagne; Dine at the renowned Nobu; enjoy evening music including the Bryan Brothers Band and the popular Art of Sax and more! Visit bnpparibasopen.com to order tickets or call 877.LOVE10S

MUSIC. FOOD. ART. CULTURE. FUN. APRIL 9 & 10 | USC | FREE ADMISSION #bookfest

Titanium sponsor

Silver sponsor

GET THE LATEST FESTIVAL INFO: LATIMES.COM/FESTIVALOFBOOKS

To sponsor: Contact Scott.Dallavo@latimes.com | To exhibit: Contact sales at 866-790-5813 or festival.books@img.com | To volunteer: www.troutco.com/fob


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Time: 02-19-2016

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The 88th Academy Awards will be presented Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. ABC-TV will begin its live broadcast of the red carpet arrivals at 4 p.m. Pacific time, with the awards ceremony, hosted by Chris Rock, following at 5:30.

AIMING ‘SPOTLIGHT’

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‘ROOM’ TO BREATHE

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Sylvester Stallone packs a wallop (without boxing) as Rocky in “Creed.” Will more rounds of drama follow?

Brie Larson grapples with newfound fame, surreal acting moments and a certain giant ape. She’s holding her own.

Also WRITING IN HARMONY

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EMOTIONAL PROCESS

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YOUR OSCAR BALLOT

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NOT ALL ALONE ON MARS

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Lady Gaga, Diane Warren find common ground.

“Zoolander 2”

OSCARS SHOW TO AIR ON ABC

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Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy and actor Mark Ruffalo wanted to get at “simple, unvarnished truth.”

What film or performance had an impact on you? “I’m going to sound like a homer, but I think Christian Bale and Steve Carell’s performances in ‘The Big Short’ are so good. Brad Pitt is great too, but it’s not as dynamic a character as those other guys get to play. The guy Bale is playing is almost on the spectrum — he’s good with numbers, but he can’t function in society. And Carell’s character is just this brash, loud New Yorker, complaining about everything, kind of a thorn-in-your-side kind of guy. And they’re both great.” — Will Ferrell,

DRAMATIC PUNCH

“The Revenant’s” Leonardo DiCaprio and his fellow cast and the director talk about that bear mauling and more.

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See Pete Docter’s “Inside Out” production diary.

Complete with advice on picking winners!

Matt Damon had Ridley Scott to blame and thank.

Photographs, from top, by

Kimberley French 20th Century Fox; Barry Wetcher Warner Bros.; Francine Orr Los Angeles Times Katie Falkenberg Los Angeles Times

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Ernesto Ruscio Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

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COLD, HARD TRUTH

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WHAT’S INSIDE

THE QUOTE


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THEENVELOPE.COM THE CONTENDERS

NOT ONE TO BACK DOWN By Gina Piccalo

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THE ENVELOPE

CALIFORNIA NEWS GROUP

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here are a few key things to know about Kate Winslet. She holds eye contact when she shakes your hand. She makes a strong cup of tea. She strives to be “rock steady for everybody.” And though she was once dubbed “Corset Kate” for her affinity for period dramas, this English rose gamely drops the F-bomb when nothing else will do. So it’s no surprise that Winslet chose her words carefully as she recounted the rigors of Aaron Sorkin’s 187-page “Steve Jobs” script, which the actor rapidly mastered in a Polish-Armenian-Russian accent. “It’s … daunting, I’ve got to tell you,” she said over tea recently during a quick visit to Los Angeles from her home in London. “You definitely have to get the brain into marathon running shape for sure.” With an Oscar and six nominations before her recent 40th birthday — and her seventh nomination arriving last month — it’s hard to imagine Winslet in anything but. She’s fast becoming her generation’s answer to Meryl Streep. And yet her Oscarnominated and Golden Globe-winning supporting role as Joanna Hoffman, Jobs’ longtime confidant and marketing chief, was one she lobbied hard to get. Winslet was still filming “The Dressmaker” in the Australian outback in December 2014 when she heard director Danny Boyle was about to start “Steve Jobs” rehearsals. Winslet didn’t waste any time. “I knew they hadn’t offered [the Hoffman role] to anybody,” Winslet said. “I just went for it. I thought, ‘Let’s see how much fun I can have with this.’ I got my husband to go to a wig shop and buy a few wig options. We put a short, dark-haired wig on my head. I found a few pictures of Joanna online and tried to make myself look as similar as I could.” Winslet whipped out her phone to show off the photos that she sent to producer Scott Rudin. This was not the face of Lancôme. It was a no-nonsense gal with unflat-

tering frames and a mousy brown bob. By comparison, the “Joanna Hoffman” on screen is red-carpet-ready. “Pretty good, right?” she said. “We cut that wig ourselves.” Winslet’s photos prompted Boyle to fly to Australia to meet her and then send her a link to Sorkin’s script. When she opened it on her iPad, she said, “My heart just stopped.” “I don’t particularly like blowing too much smoke up his … because he knows how good he is,” said Winslet of Sorkin, chuckling. “But I have to hand it to him. [As] Jeff Daniels said, Aaron writes the way people think. For an actor, that is really a dream.” Still, so much of what Winslet brings to her “Steve Jobs” performance wasn’t in Sorkin’s script. The screenwriter deliberately keeps stage direction to a minimum, which gave Winslet room to cultivate a natural demeanor with Michael Fassbender, who received a lead actor nomination. Boyle’s unconventional filming schedule helped too. Each of the three acts was shot chronologically with breaks for rehearsals before each act. “There’s one scene where [Jobs] lined up his speech on the floor and Danny said” — here Winslet breaks into her best Boyle impression — “ ‘Would you just, for one take, get down on your knees and pick up the bits of paper?’ And I said, ‘Oh, Danny! I’m just a bit worried it might make her look like she’s the subservient assistant. And he said, ‘But she was that sometimes.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah. Actually she was.’ ” As Joanna, Winslet is a proxy for the audience, the character who asks us to believe in Jobs’ humanity, despite all the evidence to the contrary. A trained archaeologist, Hoffman was Armenian-born, raised in Poland, spoke Russian at home and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. Though she had virtually no marketing experience, Jobs handpicked her and they remained close the rest of his life. “She’s a really wonderful, warm, friendly, loyal person and she was quite different in temperament than a lot of other people around Steve,” said Winslet. “She actually

Christina House For The Times

‘[As] Jeff Daniels said, Aaron [Sorkin] writes the way people think. For an actor, that is really a dream.’ — K ATE W INSLET , on “Steve Jobs” script said that a lot of her family members were like Steve.” Winslet spent hours recording her long talks with Hoffman to master her accent. She said Hoffman described Jobs as a generous, loving person. A hugger, even. “ ‘Steve was adorable!’ ” Winslet recalls Hoffman telling her. “ ‘Lots of hugs! Lots of closeness. Sometimes I would want to put a

knife through his chest, because he would make me crazy, but …’ ” Winslet added, “She always got to see the backstage version of Steve. And in order to access that, there had to be the warmth and softness around the edges of their friendship.”

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THEENVELOPE.COM THE CONTENDERS

SAOIRSE MAKES A BIG MOVE BY AMY KAUFMAN >>> Saoirse Ronan was an Oscar nominee at 13 for her role as the young sister in “Atonement” who, through a misunderstanding, ruins the lives of others. At 21 the Irish actress has been nominated again, for her work in “Brooklyn,” in which she plays an Irish woman on the cusp of adulthood, of discovering who she is and where she belongs — much like Ronan’s experiences. Here is an excerpt from her video conversation with The Envelope about the film directed by John Crowley with a screenplay from Nick Hornby.

Kirk McKoy

Los Angeles Times

She’s 22 but still very young in a world of adults — did you draw any parallels there? Not with work, funnily enough, because I did have my mom with me wherever I went. And I was very lucky because of her, and because of the people that I worked with, I never lost touch with childhood. It was really when I moved away from home myself and I had my first real kind of personal life experiences that was separate

Watch the video to see how the actress reacted when Dennis Quaid mangled her name. from work. I needed to move to a different place to be a 19-year-old and be anonymous and be silly and do all that. Also I was very wary of becoming a kid who had grown up in this type of industry where so often everything’s kind of done for you. Yeah. If you want your laundry cleaned, someone else will do it for you. Your food is made for you every day when you go into work. You’re picked up at a time that’s given to you by someone else. And so you don’t really have to think about any of those aspects of, you know, grown-up life. So I felt it was really important to do all that, even though I do hate bills and I hate changing my bedcovers and I hate washing clothes. And I had gone through that after I had signed up to the film. So I was really homesick when we made the film. So you must relate to Eilis a lot? I do, yeah. When you’re homesick and you are given a piece of material like that, that just captures that feeling so brilliantly in the way that Nick did, it really hits you. Sometimes I had to leave set because I was very overwhelmed.

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Lovely. So, let’s talk about “Brooklyn.” Do you want to tell us a little bit about it? “Brooklyn” is based on a Colm Tóibín novel by the same name. It’s set in the early ’50s. And it’s about this girl who moves over from Ireland to Brooklyn, New York. It’s simply about somebody’s life and what they go through in the space of about two years, and the experience that I think everyone has when they leave home, which is sort of a sense of loss and a sort of grief that starts to kick in when she kind of has to create this life for herself. And we really start to see her become a woman, become her own person.

More with Saoirse Ronan

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on the importance of getting “Brooklyn” right

/envelopevideos

What was the most important thing for you? It was very important to get it right for a lot of people. And I’ve never felt that pressure before. This was for Ireland. This was for my mom and dad. And I know if I was an audience member who had just left home and I went to see “Brooklyn” and it didn’t quite capture that experience — I wanted people to feel like we understood. And I think that’s why it affected me so much.

THE ENVELOPE

— S AOIRSE R ONAN ,

Unless it’s Ellen DeGeneres’ year where she brought the pizza out. But it wasn’t Ellen’s year. Jon Stewart was hosting and he did bring around, like, a big bucket of licorice in the commercial break, which was lovely. But only like the first three rows got the licorice and everyone else had to starve, so. And we were knackered — we were on New Zealand time. And the next day I went back to New Zealand and I was shooting the murder scene in “The Lovely Bones” with Stanley Tucci, so it was like back down into a hole [laughs]. After being at the Oscars, I went into a hole in New Zealand with Stanley and was murdered the next day.

latimes.com

amy.kaufman@latimes.com

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‘This was for Ireland. This was for my mom and dad.’

So do you have strong memories of being at the Oscars? I remember being starving at the Oscars because you don’t eat, you know, for like four hours. I know now you eat before you go to these things.


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THEENVELOPE.COM

BRYAN CRANSTON

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earned his first Academy Award nomination, for lead actor, for his performance as the titular blacklisted screenwriter of “Trumbo.”

Ricardo DeAratanha Los Angeles Times

CAREFULLY CONSIDERED By Glenn Whipp

B

ryan Cranston is waiting for an elevator the morning after the Golden Globes when a woman in her early 30s approaches him holding up her iPhone. “My husband would kill me if I didn’t get a picture with you,” she tells him. Cranston considers the woman’s request. “He would kill you?” he says, repeating her choice of words. “If you don’t mind me saying so, that concerns me.” Cranston obliges, as he does so often these days, his face immediately recognizable from his five-year stint playing Walter White, the high school chemistry teacher who becomes a drug lord (and relishes that decision) on “Breaking Bad.”


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THEENVELOPE.COM

Bryan Cranston include Dalton Trumbo, clockwise from top, the bumbling dad Hal in “Malcolm in the Middle” and vicious chemistryteacher-turnedmeth-maker Walter White in “Breaking Bad.”

Ursula Coyote AMC

‘He definitely has strong opinions on just about everything. But there’s zero ego with him. He just likes to mix it up.’ — J AY R OACH , “However, the fear-mongering he engages in doesn’t offer any solutions. Look at what he said about terrorists: ‘When we find known terrorists, we’ve got to go find their families and kill them. We’ve got to take them out.’ ” Cranston pauses, marveling. “With Trump, every type of hyperbolic, incendiary comment he makes is both refreshing in the sense of ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe he said that’ and horrifying on the other end because, ‘Oh, my God, I

director, on Bryan Cranston

can’t believe he just said that.’ ” Cranston happily relates dissenting opinions offered at “Trumbo” events, affairs typically geared more toward promotion than discussion. When audience members grab the microphone and take issue with the movie, Cranston tells them, “You know what? You’re right.” “And people are, ‘Wait. What do you mean she’s right?’ Because that’s how she felt,” Cranston says. “I can’t impose what

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

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ROLES played by

we were trying to convey upon you. You either feel it or you don’t. That’s what’s so great about art. There’s no right or wrong.” Says Roach: “I’ve met very few people, especially in our business, who are as comfortable in their own skin as Bryan is. I think his calm, ego-less confidence enables him to be nonjudgmental and un-offendable in almost every situation.” He adds that one of Cranston’s favorite lines in the film comes when Trumbo tells frequent adversary John Wayne: “We both have the right to be wrong.” Talking with the actor on several occasions through the years, the words he most frequently uses are “lucky,” “fortunate” and “grateful.” Cranston was 40 when he was cast as the bumbling dad in the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle” and just past 50 when he landed “Breaking Bad.” Now, nearing 60, fresh off the Oscar nomination for “Trumbo” and a Tony win for “All the Way,” Cranston sums up his career in one word — “fine.” “I started working exclusively as an actor when I was 25 years old, and I had a good life,” Cranston says. “I was a journeyman actor, working here and there. And I loved it. So had that not changed for me, I’d still be fine because I love what I’m doing. I didn’t have any projection or a need to hit some kind of plateau or end result in order to be happy. Obviously, the success enhances it. But it didn’t make it.”

CALIFORNIA NEWS GROUP

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle Bleecker Street

THE ENVELOPE

Fox

S7

The familiarity that people feel toward him these days has resulted in Cranston’s having some hard-and-fast rules about navigating his public life. At the Golden Globes, where he was up for lead actor in a drama for his turn as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in “Trumbo,” Cranston knew he had to leave the parties around 10:30 p.m. “That’s the dividing line between people asking for a picture or autograph politely and them throwing their arms around you and talking too close,” he says, adding that he returned to his Sherman Oaks home and was in bed with his wife of 26 years, Robin Dearden, shortly after midnight. His rules extend from the smallest of things, like the proper way to load a dishwasher, to a deep belief that change is inevitable and the only thing you can do is have the courage to embrace the moment. “Somebody asked me the other day how I felt now that I’m about to turn 60,” Cranston says, “the implication being, ‘Is it sobering to be inching closer to the grave?’ And my answer is, ‘Yes, it is. So don’t waste any time.’ ” “He definitely has strong opinions on just about everything,” says Jay Roach, who directed Cranston in “Trumbo” and HBO’s “All the Way,” the upcoming adaptation of the Broadway play that features Cranston playing Lyndon Johnson. “But there’s zero ego with him. He just likes to mix it up. He loves a good debate.” Which made Cranston a nice fit for “Trumbo,” which follows the chain-smoking, prolific writer of such classic movies as “Spartacus” and “Roman Holiday,” beginning with his confrontational appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, which landed him first in prison for contempt of Congress and then on the Hollywood blacklist. Trumbo’s story, for Cranston, is about what happens when a government overreaches and, instead of ridding society of evil, creates an infamy of its own. The film’s examination of the ways politicians play on people’s fears of the Other has obvious modern parallels, which has made the Q&A sessions following “Trumbo’s” screenings particularly lively this awards season. Donald Trump’s name has come up more than once. Cranston says he believes Trumbo would have respected the Republican presidential front-runner’s blunt nature and his refusal to be beholden to special interests. “He’s speaking what he believes, and that’s to be commended,” Cranston says.


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THEENVELOPE.COM ON WRITING

BY JOSH SINGER AND TOM MCCARTHY >>>‘SPOTLIGHT’

THEY WENT ROUND AND ROUND

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THE ENVELOPE

CALIFORNIA NEWS GROUP

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he film “Spotlight,” which depicts the Boston Globe’s investigative reporting team — nicknamed Spotlight — uncovering the local Catholic Church’s coverup of sexual abuse within its ranks, was co-written by Josh Singer and director Tom McCarthy. Here’s their take on how the script came together. Josh: For us, the story of “Spotlight” starts in 2001 with the actual Spotlight team nailing the story of a systematic coverup of clergy sex abuse in Boston. Of course, one might argue that the story began before that, with the [former priest James R.] Porter case in 1992. Or even before that, with Richard Sipe and the research he started doing in the late ’60s. So, I guess it’s not surprising that as our story moves forward, it also reaches back, pulling up moments from the past in order to shine a light on the present. Tom: Now you’re going to say that’s what a journalist does. Josh: Well, it’s kind of what a journalist does. But what I was getting at is that, for me, our story starts on Kosciuszko Circle, the rotary in Dorchester, trying to figure out which turnout was Morrissey Boulevard, the road that would take us to the Boston Globe for the first time. Tom: We’d both spent time in school in Boston but there we were, totally lost, trying to find the Globe. Josh: To be fair, the Globe’s out in Dorchester. An institution apart. Tom: But you were driving, right? Josh: I was. And you were navigating. Tom: It wasn’t our most successful collaboration. Kind of a miracle we aren’t still driving around that circle now. Josh: Which is my point. That was the beginning of a screenplay and a collaboration. I mean, sure, we’d met over Skype and in person a couple of times before that. But we hadn’t really started to work together. And while I’d taken [Globe Spotlight reporter Michael] Rezendes out to lunch four or five times to nail down

Jay L. Clendenin Los Angeles Times

“IT’S A CIRCLE. Writing, re-

Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Times

the basics of the story, those basics were just that. Basic. Tom: Amazing how much we learned in those trips to Boston. I mean, we really didn’t have a lot to go on, but all those conversations with the Spotlight reporters, other folks at the Globe, the lawyers, the survivors … each one helped us build our story, add a new layer; each one gave us another angle to dig into. Josh: And sometimes it was going back to the same people. Talking with Walter “Robby” Robinson or Sacha Pfeiffer or Mike a second, a third, a seventh time … like driving around that rotary, each time getting a bit deeper, learning something new about how the investigation unfolded. Tom: We really were investigating the investigators. In some ways, I think that process helped us understand their process — how they had pieced together the story. It also got us much closer to figuring out what the story was about. Josh: If I had a dime for every time you asked, “But what’s this story about? Why do we have to tell it now?”

Tom: You kind of wanted to kill me. Josh: Kind of? The “investigating the investigators” also had another benefit; it was a fun way to start figuring out how to work with each other.

porting, collaboration, it’s a circle,” Josh Singer, left, says, describing his work with Tom McCarthy, above.

months of 2013 writing our first draft, then we both went away to work on other projects. So when we got back together to dig in again in the spring of 2014 … Tom: We knew we loved each other.

Tom: Thank God we’ll never have to do that again. I mean, the figuring it out. But that came fairly naturally, didn’t it?

Josh: I was going to say we had a shorthand.

Josh: Oddly enough, I think it did. I say “oddly” only because half the time we were on different coasts. But between the phone and the Skype and the long-distance screen sharing, we managed to get on the same page. And sometimes the time zone thing was helpful. I like to write late (much to my wife’s chagrin), so I’d stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. writing in L.A., then I’d shoot you something.

Josh: We had a foundation. That made the rewrite process that spring … and the rewriting through prep and production, uh, productive. And fun.

Tom: I could dig in when I got up in New York and by the time you got up we could get into it together. Josh: Something else that helped is that we went round (and round) on the script more than a couple of times. We spent fall of 2012 researching, then the first six

Tom: Oh. That’s awkward.

Tom: See? There’s the love. Josh: Can I get back to my metaphor now? Tom: The rotary. Right. Josh: I’m just saying, it’s a circle. Writing, reporting, collaboration, it’s a circle. The more times you go around, the deeper you get, the closer you get … Tom: To knowing when it’s time to end the story? Josh: Pretty much.

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THEENVELOPE.COM ON WRITING

BY PHYLLIS NAGY >>>‘CAROL’

CLOSE TO HER HEART

project I held closest to my heart. And then the rights to the novel lapsed. I thought “Carol” had died. I resigned myself to its demise, however heartbroken I was. And I was fine with that. I’d lived with “Carol” longer than I’d lived with any lover; it was the first script I was paid to write. It taught me all I’d need to know — and some things I wish I never had to learn — about the craft of screenwriting. It taught me how to think on my feet and to tell the difference between how to fight for writing worth keeping rather than for writing I loved. I learned to be a diplomat in a decidedly undiplomatic industry. I figured this was a great deal more than most writers are gifted with on any project, and moved on. A year later, the call came from Liz Karlsen. She worked magic in persuading the Highsmith estate to grant her the option on the novel. She

wanted to use my screenplay as the basis for the film; Tessa Ross, as ever, had our backs. Would I join them? I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I said “no.” I’d had enough, been through far too many false starts ending in disappointment. I was no longer the same writer who naively tackled the dark heart of the novel — I feared that, a decade gone, the writer I’d become would screw up everything that was fine about the script in the first place. It took Liz a year to convince me to believe we could finally make this film. I took the leap and, much like Carol and Therese, we’ve never looked back. It was never easy, but it’s been something much better — it’s been miraculous.

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don’t work in screenplays: most notably, that Carol herself is a ghostly character, the scant details of her life relayed to the reader in shards, through Therese’s eyes — beautifully apt in the novel, so that the reader can visualize his or her own Carol. For film, a narrative life had to be created for Carol and a dynamic, shifting balance of power between the lovers substituted for the single point of view in the novel. Eleven years later, we’d been through four drafts and double that in small revisions for directors and potential financiers who came and went. Every once in a while, Tessa Ross and Film4 — the other constants over the script’s development — guided us to keep the faith. I took other jobs, wrote and directed the film “Mrs. Harris” for HBO that was produced by Liz Karlsen and Christine Vachon (both producers of “Carol”). Yet “Carol” was the

THE ENVELOPE

NAGY says she “lived with ‘Carol’ ” for many years. It taught her “all I’d need to know” about screenwriting.

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Kirk McKoy Los Angeles Times

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hen the opportunity to adapt “The Price of Salt” came to me in the late 1990s, I was young and foolish enough to have no fear of the challenges inherent in adapting Patricia Highsmith’s radical 1952 novel. After all, I’d known Highsmith pretty well over the last decade of her life. We’d even chatted about the book after she republished and re-christened it “Carol” in the early ’90s. I thought it would be easy. It’s a deceptively slim volume, easily read in an evening or two. Light on plot and motored by the almost incantatory interior monologue of its young protagonist (Therese Belivet), the prose is functional and spare, in brilliant contrast to the passionate attachment — however restrained — between Therese and the object of her desire, Carol Aird. What most excited me about tackling a script then, and still, was Highsmith’s refusal to engage in banal psychologizing about her characters’ sexual identities. Neither Therese nor Carol regrets the sexual choices each makes. Their identities are as natural to them as breathing. Neither attempts suicide. In fact, all of the novel’s lesbians — there is a third, Carol’s friend, Abby Gerhard — are more comfortable in their own skins than are the novel’s heterosexual, less settled characters. I’d never read another novel like it, and its forward-thinking qualities still seem ahead of the times. Its delicate tone, its startling but understated subversion of cultural norms — these are the qualities I most cherished and fought to preserve through the writing process. But some of the same qualities that make the novel work so well are exactly the qualities that


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Lehel Kovacs For The Times


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THEENVELOPE.COM

THOSE WEREN’T THE DAYS

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BY HUGH HART

love with folksy Italian American plumber Tony. During a day trip from the borough, they visit a vacant lot. There, like millions of other young couples at the time, Tony and Eilis imagine a bright future for themselves in the suburbs that have yet to be built. Crowley says, “Standing there in the countryside in their ’50s clothes, Tony tells Eilis, ‘Do you want to live with me out here on Long Island? There will be electricity and telephone cables.’ In that scene, as Eilis and Tony stand there like two star-struck kids with a dream in their eyes, you get the sense that this huge economic powerhouse engine is awakening and that there’s going to be a new middle class in America.” “Brooklyn’s” generosity of spirit bears little resemblance to the nightmare experienced by Dalton Trumbo on the opposite coast during the same period in “Trumbo.” Portrayed by Oscar nominee Bryan Cranston, the screenplay writer goes to jail in 1950 for contempt of Congress after a confrontational appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Out of prison, he moves his family to a

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— Mark Ricker,

production designer, “Trumbo”

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“The ’50s weren’t just about picket fences and happy white people.”

Los Angeles suburb filled with tidy single-family houses. Production designer Mark Ricker says, “It’s easy to think you can tie the ’50s up with a little bow but it’s our job as filmmakers to untie that package and look at all these different layers and varieties of experience. The ’50s weren’t just about picket fences and happy white people.” In the case of “Trumbo,” Ricker points out, “The neighbors dumped garbage and oil and dead animals in Trumbo’s pool and painted ‘Commie’ on the wall. In the 1950s, if you belonged to a fringe group of people there were ways to move through the world, but banging a loud drum could get you in trouble.” For Russian spy Rudolf Abel, portrayed by Oscarnominated Mark Rylance in best picture nominee “Bridge of Spies,” the trouble begins in sun-dappled Brooklyn during the late ’50s, when men wore hats and women stayed home. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski says, “We start in this idyllic world of 1957. Based on Life magazine photos and all this stuff that we’re reminded of through movies and paintings, our perception of the United States during that period is romanticized so we tend to think of it in a lyrical way.” But even before the story flashes forward to East Berlin circa 1962, the mood turns chilly. Much like with Trumbo, after attorney James Donovan (Tom Hanks) decides to defend the Soviet agent, a neighbor terrorizes his family by hurling a brick through the window of their cozy house. “We tend to idealize postwar America,” Kaminski says dryly. “Nobody talks about the agonies.”

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To immerse his stars in period-correct behavior, Haynes showed Blanchett and Mara the 1956 drama “Lovers and Lollipops,” centered on a New York City single mother. “There’s this kind of formality and diction and restraint in the way this character carried herself that was utterly different from how women are today,” says Haynes. “It was like having a little key to a lost femininity that was very much a product of midcentury America.” During preproduction, Blanchett and Mara came to understand the physical strictures of the period by getting into character from the outside in. “They went through the process of finding the clothes, the silhouettes, the girdles, the shoes, the wigs,” Haynes says. “You might think of all those things as being external or superficial, but they were actually very helpful because Cate and Rooney literally put their bodies into this time and place where they could feel what those constraints do to the body, the voice, the gait.” Heterosexual conventions obstruct the lovers in “Carol,” but in best picture nominee “Brooklyn,” mainstream America proves to be positively empowering for homesick Irish immigrant Eilis, played by Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan. Director John Crowley notes, “This story represents a very uncomplicated welcome for Eilis. We don’t wave the flag or anything but the assumption in this film is that America is not a threatening place. America is rather good.” Leaving behind her provincial hometown in the grip of postwar austerity measures, Eilis quickly finds her footing in 1951 Brooklyn, where she falls in

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ften pigeonholed as placid, the 1950s strike a dramatic chord for Oscar voters this year with four films that refract the decade through the experiences of women in love, an Irish immigrant, a Hollywood Communist and a Russian spy. Nominated collectively for 16 Academy Awards, “Carol,” “Brooklyn,” “Trumbo” and “Bridge of Spies” offer a group portrait of white midcentury America that goes beyond postcard-pretty visuals to depict a postwar era brimming with an optimism tinged with strict conformity and below-the-surface anxieties. ¶ Oscar nominees Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in “Carol” as a well-to-do housewife and an aspiring photographer who inch toward an affair after meeting in a Manhattan department store at Christmastime, 1952. Director Todd Haynes, acclaimed for his 2002 ’50s-set melodrama “Far From Heaven,” says, “ ‘Carol’ takes place during this pre-Eisenhower moment that offers very specific restrictions and sets of highly coded behavior. Women had fewer social freedoms than men, and their very bodies reflected the times.”


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DIRECTOR

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Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio on location.

SCREENING SERIES HIGHLIGHTS

INTO THE ELEMENTS Kimberley French 20th Century Fox

BY MARK OLSEN >>> Much has been made of the extreme conditions under which Alejandro G. Iñárritu and his cast and crew worked to film “The Revenant,” the story of frontier scout Hugh Glass, who in 1823 is left for dead by his party after he is horribly mauled by a bear. It turns out it was all true. The shoot — through snow, icy water and extreme physical exertion — really was difficult, say the actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson and Forrest Goodluck, who spoke along with their director at a recent Envelope Screening Series Q&A hosted by film writer Mark Olsen. Here are excerpts from the conversation. What was it about this story that made you want to shoot it with the real locations and the natural light? Alejandro G. Iñárritu: The fact that it really happened to Hugh Glass in 1823 is very impressive. I think it’s a very simple, straight, powerful anecdote to start with

and a way to explore many things in a period of time of the United States that hasn’t been explored in cinema in a long time. It was a great opportunity to understand who this guy was, what was the context of that, what made him alive, what can be the driving force of

revenge to get you there. And Leonardo, what was it about the story that spoke to you? Leonardo DiCaprio: It was more so being able to work with Alejandro in a film like this. This screenplay I think had been

floating around for a while and logistically was very hard to pull off from a cinematic perspective. But there was something in Alejandro’s eyes, in the way he articulated this yearning for wanting to immerse himself in nature. It was more than just doing a movie. He wanted to, by submerging


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What else did they say? Go online for the full video of “The Revenant” cast’s Q&A session.

bad guys, right? All the animals in Hollywood have human emotions. I hate that. We spent time finding what point of view will be best — to shoot this in a way that it’s kind of a National Geographic or a horrifying document from a Japanese guy in a park seeing something. But at the same time with the possibility that you all can be experiencing what Hugh Glass was experiencing. And then once we have an idea then we start talking with Leo, and Leo was saying, “What about if I do this?” and yada yada. The pace that Leo got it informed all the camera movements, like all that cracking bone and that heaviness, which, you know, you never envision as a director, but when you see somebody really

getting there. And then Leo suggests, for example, the hand thing, you know, which I think is genius because he said, “What if I try to grab him and then the hand was just horrifying?” So we were in a way discovering beat by beat together what was best. You are basically storyboarding but with human beings. Leonardo, were you surprised the first time that you saw the finished sequence? DiCaprio: Yes, absolutely. What’s so chilling about that is the moments of silence for me, you know, the tension that you feel as an audience member not knowing what the hell’s going to happen next. It was so visceral, so tactile. And it’s one of those sequences that I think will go down in cinema history because you’re literally on the edge of your seat. And he gave such life to this animal, this beast, all of these creatures … all the characters, everyone’s just trying to survive. One of the big changes in the film from the written accounts is the attention that

you give to Native peoples. Iñárritu: There’s a lot of layers that you can read [in this film] and, obviously, the heart of it is this relation of Hugh Glass and Hawk. The conflict of the father carrying a mixed race kid in those times where there’s so much prejudice, which is no different from today. And then the way that the Native Americans were presented was a huge thing that I wanted to really integrate well because that has been so interpreted, you know, they are the savages and the bad people or they are sanctified and they are pure. And I hate that because they are as complex and as contradictory as any human being. And the social context, how these trappers were literally, completely exploited and how these people impact so much pain in nature, in animals, in communities is very resonant today. We keep doing the same and that was the seed of the global warming that now is the harvest of what we planted 200 years ago.

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Now I have to ask about the bear sequence. DiCaprio: Let me start off by first saying that he watched over a hundred different clips of bear attacks before he started the sequence. Iñárritu: I became very gory after that. No, it’s true, the research of how it happens is very important because, you know, all the Hollywood films are like the bear, they are

co-writer Alejandro G. Iñárritu, discuss the film’s dramatic production at an Envelope Screening Series Q&A.

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Forrest, what was it like for you as someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience? Forrest Goodluck: I’m grateful because I didn’t know what it was to be in a soundstage or, like, a 72-degree room. So, I mean, I don’t know, it wasn’t too bad, honestly. This is as bad as it gets.

Alan Heitz

“THE REVENANT” actors, from left, Forrest Goodluck, Domhnall Gleeson and Leonardo DiCaprio, with director and

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Domhnall, did you know what you were in for? Domhnall Gleeson: No is the answer. And Alejandro tried to explain to us what we were in for and even that didn’t explain the full thing because I think it even surprised Alejandro how intense … Iñárritu: I did it in a Mexican way I explained myself. [Laughter] Iñárritu: In Spanish … perfect Spanish. Gleeson: Yeah. I should’ve learned Spanish. Every day was intense and — I was there for about seven months, and there’s a cumulative effect of the work kind of breaking you down because of the intensity of the surroundings. But everybody was there because we knew we could do something wonderful. So the days were very difficult, but it never felt anything less than worth it.

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ourselves in the elements like that, extract the poetry of what the story actually was. And I have to say, it was an endurance test for all of us. It was a very difficult undertaking, but it was incredibly exciting to be a part of a very unique, creative process like this with he and Chivo [cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki] shooting a film where, you know, we would rehearse all day long intensively and then have this hour and a half of magic light. And all the existential conversations we’d have about man versus nature, you know, the influx of capitalism, the destruction of our natural resources, what it does to mankind, greed, all these things, really shaped what “Revenant” was. And we kind of knew that by that immersion we would extract something different from what was just on the page.


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Adam McKay and Steve Carell are old friends with a shared work history and comic ethos. The director and actor talk about their relationship and the ambiguous nature of their outrage comedy, ‘The Big Short.’ McKAY AND CARELL had

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known each other for years when “Anchorman” jumpstarted their film careers.

Photographs by

Ricardo DeAratanha Los Angeles Times

SERIOUSLY FUNNY

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teve Carell and filmmaker Adam McKay go back 25 years to Chicago when Carell was tearing it up with the celebrated Second City improv group and McKay was making a name for himself as a writer and performer with the Upright Citizens Brigade. McKay eventually found his way to Second City, landing in the same company as Carell’s wife-to-be, Nancy. “Everyone knew Adam was a special talent back then, super smart, super funny, clearly the head of his class,” says Carell, who, a quarter of a century later, can still reel off McKay’s envelope-pushing work. Their paths crossed again when McKay cast Carell as dimwitted weatherman Brick Tamland in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” the 2004 absurdist farce that jump-started their film careers. Ten years later, McKay thought of Carell for the role of a cynical hedge-fund manager in “The Big Short,” a caustic, adrenalized comedy of outrage, based on the Michael Lewis bestseller about Wall Street outsiders who believed a subprime mortgage bubble existed, bet against the housing market and won big when the economy collapsed in 2008. Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt are among the other number-crunching crusaders and/or cynics. The film earned five Oscar nominations, including best picture, director and supporting actor (for Bale’s performance). It’s easy to see why Carell and McKay connect. They each take an analytical approach to comedy but are more than willing to play it loose in the service of a joke. They’re not afraid of looking stupid because sometimes that’s the point. Both men also have a reputation for being decent human beings more demanding of themselves than others. Except if you’re an unethical banker. Or a politician taking money from banks. Then you’re in trouble. They talked with The Envelope recently about their friendship and work together.

This movie asks you to root for these guys to be right and win, even though their victory means awful things for just about everyone else. McKay: I love that ambiguity. Our society, we love facts and clarity. And these were the guys who didn’t buy into the nonsense. The white noise missed them. So of course we’re rooting for them. We want truth to win. But unfortunately, halfway through they realize the truth is the system is 100 times more compromised than they imagined. And that in fact by them winning they’re actually going to lose. To this day when you meet these guys, they have this anger and this disappointment almost like a 1,000-yard stare. It’s easy to look at them and say, “Oh, they made a bunch of money. Everything’s fine.” But what I love about this story is that it’s not all about money. For these guys, it shattered their belief system.

Carell: I met Steve Eisman, the man my character is based on, and talking to him that conflict came through. This was a man who was torn between his job and his ideology. He had a lot of anger — still does.

That anger comes through and spills over to people watching the movie. It’s like the opposite of a crowd-pleaser … Carell: A crowd-infuriater! And part of that anger comes from what happened. And part of it comes from the fact that nothing was done about the fraud and idiocy and this whole thing might very well happen again. McKay: I actually saw a car ad the other day: 72 months, 0% APR, 20% cash back on the sticker price. I thought, “Wait. You buy the car and they give you $5,000 on top of that. Then you pay no interest for 72 months? There’s just no way that is good.”


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THE CHARACTER of Mark (Carell), “this angry man of principle,” is “our

avenging sword, the voice of the people” in “The Big Short,” McKay says. me.” And that’s how you got cast. Carell: Oh my God. I didn’t know. Shooting that movie felt like we were getting away with something. McKay: Ferrell and I had been trying to make it for years and being told no. So on that first day, it was, “Oh my God. They’re giving us professional cameras and beautiful sets.” It felt insane. We had never done a movie. We didn’t know movies were supposed to be stressful, that the director yells at people. You had to learn that. Now you know. McKay: Now I get to exercise my authority. People better not make eye contact! Carell: Adam will be self-deprecating, but that sense of generosity of spirit and kindness, it trickles down. Everyone knows, if nothing else, making a movie with him is going to be enjoyable. And that takes so much of the pressure off. With a movie like “The Big Short,” it’s uncharted territory. It’s absurdist and some of it

seems kind of crazy and you don’t know if it’s going to work, but it seems exciting. With him at the helm, you were supported. McKay: The thing about seeing Steve on this, I always knew he was a master comedy technician who can give you 20, 30 marvelous ways to read a line … Carell: (Affecting awe) I sound very good … McKay: … and I’ve always seen Steve very focused, but on this one he was like a grim rider. It took me a day to get in sync with him. I’d tell him, “You’re really being hard on yourself. These are good takes.” And he kept saying, “No, no. There’s more here.” And he would find more. So after that first day, I knew where he was trying to go and I could help him. I remember the scene where you learn Morgan Stanley’s down $50 billion … Carell: That was a hard one. McKay: That was a hard one. The stripper scene was a hard one. We had volume issues, it was a crowded area ...

Have you ever been the voice of the people before? Carell: Just as Brick. “Anchorman” is Brick’s dream. It’s Brick’s snow globe, if you will.

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Was that your experience too? Carell: Ummmm … McKay: It’s OK. You can say no. You can say you were pulsing with sensual desire the entire time. Carell: I tend to over-empathize with people. For example, I was at a Christmas party a few years ago and one of our neighbors got a little tipsy and decided to start singing Christmas carols. Like, solos. And she had a terrible singing voice. I went into a flop sweat. And Nancy said, “Are you OK?” I was smiling and trying to support her, but the situation made me so uncomfortable for her. So in a similar way, my heart really went out to that actress and I wanted her to feel completely safe and supported. That was my concern. McKay: That’s Steve. And that’s why he was so right for this character, this angry man of principle, someone cynical but also sad about the system just failing and hurting so many people. And the audience just loves him. They get that this guy is not going to be polite. He’s our avenging sword, the voice of the people, doing what we want to do.

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There was a naked woman … McKay: There was an attractive naked lady. Ten inches away from Steve. I’d never done nudity before. But I found it’s like being on a topless beach in France. You go, “Oh my God, I’m on a topless beach in France!” And then you immediately get over it.

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“Anchorman” marked the first time most people saw you two collaborate. Was casting Steve a no-brainer? McKay: It came down to Steve and one other guy for the role of Brick Tamland. And Will [Ferrell] and I were in the room and I said … [turning to Carell] … you know this story, right? I said, “Will, I’ve never seen Steve Carell not be funny. Not once ever.” And Will goes, “Good enough for

— A DAM M C K AY ,

“Big Short” director, on actor Steve Carell

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Going back to Chicago, did you guys first meet through Steve’s wife, Nancy? Carell: Yes. My wife-to-be. My now-wife. Then-girlfriend. McKay: Steve had an arranged marriage. So it was his wife, age 3. He knew she was going to be his wife. I had auditioned for Second City and became a scrawny, 24-year-old understudy for Steve’s cast — which he has no memory of. I remember improvising a scene with [Stephen] Colbert, playing John Wilkes Booth auditioning for a role before I shot the president. I did it like a bad De Niro, New York actor. The first time we actually worked together was in a touring company show in Dallas. He was [there] visiting Nancy. We were like, “Holy …, Steve Carell’s here. Let’s get him in something.” So we ended up doing this crazy piece where we pulled him out of the audience, like he was a regular audience member, and then just did like the Milgram experiment — that’s the shock one, right? — on him for 20 minutes. We pulled him up, humiliated him and then revealed he was part of the cast. And the audience hated us. Carell: That was what’s so special about Adam. He does things you’ve never seen before. There was a character Adam played called the “mocktor.” He would give terrible medical news to people, let them react emotionally, and then very subtly mock them. Everyone asks me if I think Adam is a surprising choice to direct [“The Big Short”]. I don’t think anyone who knows him is surprised at all. It seems a completely logical path. McKay: The form of “The Big Short” came from those improv days, doing things like breaking the fourth wall, monologues coming out of scenes, constantly shifting gears and personally addressing and challenging the audience.

‘I’ve always seen Steve very focused, but on this one he was like a grim rider.’


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THEENVELOPE.COM THE CONTENDERS

HE’S ENTERED THE ROOM you guide him through his scenes? It’s like teaching someone to ride a bike — they’ll wobble and wobble and suddenly they’re cycling into the distance. There would be scenes where he’d hold it miraculously for a page or two, but a lot of the time it was like working with a mosaic or pixels. Small chunks. Sometimes I would talk him gently through a take, not about what was happening, but how great it all was. I’d want him to de-focus and drift away and listen to me.

By Randee Dawn

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EW YORK CITY — Lenny Abrahamson is a wanted man these days. The director of “Room” may have gotten a late start in the business (he made his first feature in his late 30s), but he’s more than making up for lost time since his critically lauded adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel landed him a surprise Oscar nomination for best director. So when he was a little late for a chat with The Envelope, who could complain? After all, he wasn’t quite finished meeting with Keira Knightley yet.

“Room” is very different from your other films, like “Frank” with Michael Fassbender. How was it different for you to make it? It’s different in some senses, but there are similarities. I’m interested in discontinuities and interruptions, people having to rewrite the narrative of their lives because of sudden changes. This was me stepping into something that I knew from the beginning would have a different kind of audience and profile [from my other films], but otherwise I approach it all the same. I try to interrupt the clichés and find a fresh immediacy to the thing.

That’s a tough act to follow. So are you looking to work with Keira at some point? In principle. There is something luminous about her. I like actors, so it’s good to know who you like so that in the future you have this bank of humane, decent and talented people. A big part of filmmaking is gathering a group of people you can work with. How do you know you’ll click? It’s a gut feeling. You talk with other people who’ve worked with those actors but then you have to leap like anything else. “Room” was a particularly cohesive group, crew and cast.

Do you think you’re interested in people rewriting their own narrative because you did it yourself — abandoning a philosophy degree at Stanford to come home to Dublin to make movies? I think so. I have decided what to do with my life, and in a sense I now know who I am. But I’m always thinking there should be some huge change. I’m fascinated by people who have to reinvent themselves. I did it a few times — I was going to be a physicist before I was passionate about philosophy — and I realized that one more change and I’m going to start looking like a dilettante.

You all were tight literally and figuratively, particularly doing the shots inside Room itself, right? For Jack [Jacob Tremblay], the reality of that room was important. That’s where we were for the first four or five weeks of the shoot. I decided not to “fly out” walls, so the production designer [Ethan Tobin] and I came up with a system of panels — every four of those cork tiles that line the room was removable. We could shoot any angle, and we could do it without disrupting the integrity of the set. How important is set geography to your films? This was the most thought per square foot of set I’ve ever worked on. We had to find a way to make this 11-by-11 room feel like it had separate spaces in it. And my type of filmmaking anyway is to try to disappear or be invisible. Tremblay is amazing but young. How did

Jay L. Clendenin Los Angeles Times

LENNY ABRAHAMSON started late in the film business but has cap-

tured notice with 2014’s “Frank” and 2015’s much-talked-about “Room.”

So what changed? Now I’ve got kids [ages 4 and 7], so it was important for me to make some moves that I couldn’t reverse. Kids are the ultimate irreversible thing. That gives a certain weight to your life, and the weight is good, but there’s still part of me that thinks late at night we could sell the house and find a more authentic way of living. I keep thinking I’m going to kick the door down and walk into a brighter future. Narnia is still beyond the wardrobe.

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THEENVELOPE.COM ‘The song kind of became a conversation between two women who’d been sexually abused.’

THE SONGS

RINGS TRUE, SADLY

— L ADY G AGA ,

Warren: They were infuriating and heartbreaking, and it [ticked] me off. Until you go through that, no one knows. People tell you it’s going to get better, but until it actually happens — I mean, I’ve had my experience and … you know … with similar situations. You just want to do something. It just [ticks] you off. Gaga: It was already kind of a finished piece when I came in to work on it with Diane. We made some changes so it would speak to more people than just rape survivors. The song kind of became a conversation between two women who’d been sexually abused. Finding our common connec-

tion through this song and her sharing that with me — Diane doesn’t co-write with anybody, ever — it meant a lot to me; it was really a gift. She was saying, ‘I want to share this with you; this is ours.’ And that’s what we’re saying to people: We want to share our pain with other people. (Gaga has been open about being sexually assaulted at age 19 since revealing it during an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” in 2014.) Gaga: Diane will tell you, it was really hard for me when [the song] came out. I was really stressed out about it. Every time I listen to it, I cry. Every time I get a text

about it, I always feel sick. It’s like this thing you don’t want to face. But because she wanted to face it with me, it reminded me of what the song is for. Warren: You could teach a master class on your performance. In the movie, in the song and in the video, to me, there’s three parts. You start out as a victim, in the verse you’re more vulnerable, then they get more [ticked] off — in the movie, they’re becoming survivors — then in the last verse, you’re victorious, like the movie and the video. That’s the beauty of the film. I met the vice president the other day and he had tears in his eyes. The song touched

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uch as “Glory,” the Oscar-winning original song from “Selma,” is a stirring anthem for civil rights both past and present, “Til It Happens to You,” from the harrowing campus sexual-assault documentary “The Hunting Ground,” is also an expression of victimhood redirected into empowerment. The often gut-wrenching song, which comes from Lady Gaga and seven-time Oscar-nominated songwriter Diane Warren, has received critical praise, has logged more than 21 million views on YouTube and could win an Oscar Sunday night. A phone interview with The Envelope between Gaga and Warren quickly became a rapid-fire chat between the collaborators, leaving their interviewer to marvel at the women’s openness and strength. Noting that she hadn’t yet seen the film when she started work on the song, Warren spoke openly of her anger at such assaults and more obliquely about a personal connection. From the film’s music supervisor, Bonnie Greenberg-Goodman, she first heard some of the testimonials of rape survivors in the documentary.

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By Michael Ordoña

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Todd Williamson

him. It’s empowering. That’s why there’s 21 million views of this thing right now. Gaga: In the end of the song, it’s like, “Yeah, I was abused. So what? You don’t want to meet me in an alleyway.” Then it belongs to you. But I was just saying to someone, you don’t know how much it’s destroyed you until 10 years later. I used to be this, then I realize I’m not like that anymore because I was destroyed. But now I’m back. Warren: No one’s [messing] with you. Gaga: You’re still standing, you’re still alive. [But] when you’ve looked terror in the eye and you go numb like that, it’s like something really dies in you. And that’s something Diane really helped me with. I’m the artist on the other side, going, “I don’t know if I can reveal this, Diane,” and she’s saying, “You can.” But I had to forgive myself. I had to sit down at the piano and say, “You didn’t provoke that person. It’s not your fault.” For women to be as sexualized as we are in the media and then to be judged for wanting to be sexual beings, that, to me, is a cage. We can’t survive unless we’re beautiful, but if we’re beautiful, we’re asking for it. Warren: I’m inundated with letters and notes. This girl who grew up on my street, I thought lived the perfect life, she goes, “I was abused, I was raped when I was 12.” All these people are writing to me, saying, “Your song has freed me, I can talk about this. I’m not alone.” Gaga: I don’t have to have a serious conversation all the time. I’d just like to be able to have a glass of wine with someone and say it out loud and know someone else at the table might say, “Yeah, me too. Cheers. How’d you get over it?” I’m living my dream and that happened to me 10 years ago. So you can [still] live your dream.

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talking about “Til It Happens to You,” a song she collaborated on with Diane Warren (the two are shown at left)


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‘[Police] shot at us. Some of our friends were horribly beaten.’ — E VGENY A FINEEVSKY ,

on the dangers of filming his Ukraine-set documentary, “Winter on Fire”

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from a splinter that came from the [stun] grenades. Some people who have watched this film are calling it the “ ‘Les Mis’ of our time.” It is “Les Mis” — the barricades, the kids. But it’s our days. And it’s much more horrible. What do you hope people will take away from watching this movie? What I felt obligated to bring to the world is the importance of unity. There in Maidan, all social classes, all ages, all religions were all brought together — rich ladies in high heels got out of their Mercedes to cut sandwiches in the square. Jews, Christians, Muslims stood together without saying, “You need to believe in my God!” Priests standing on the front line before police. They were risking their lives. I think people can learn from this unity. Genaro Molina Los Angeles Times

THE DOCUMENTARIES

A MODERN ‘LES MIS’ By Chris Lee

I

n director Evgeny Afineevsky’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Winter on Fire,” the viewer is plunged into a singular cinematic experience: a revolutionary’s view of a spontaneous civil rights uprising that actually toppled a government. The riveting feature, which arrived in limited release in October and has been streaming on Netflix ever since, traces Ukraine���s burgeoning selfdetermination to integrate with Europe, beginning with peaceful student protests in 2013. But faced with unchecked brutality by special police called the Berkut — who used kidnapping, tear gas and snipers’ bullets to suppress fellow Ukrainians — demonstrations in Kiev’s Independence Square (known as Maidan) evolved into a spasm of nationalism. And a million citizens eventually mobilized against the regime of President Viktor Yanukovich to drive him into exile. Afineevsky (“Divorce: A Journey Through the Kids’ Eyes,” “Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!”) chronicled the conflict for 93 days over 2013-14 and returned with a case of secondary posttraumatic stress disorder as well as a broad outlook on the importance of unity. You were born in the former USSR, immigrated to Israel and now live in the U.S. What compelled you to go to Kiev during these demonstrations? One of my friends who produced “Divorce: A Journey Through the Kids’ Eyes” lives in Russia and was there in Maidan when it all started. This revolution was unusual. It was self-organized. Young

people with the help of social media getting together and trying to hoist themselves into this space to get the attention of the government. The first day, he called me and said, “You should come. We should try to make a movie.” I never was expecting such drama. But when I saw what was going on, I thought, “I can’t leave them.”

Tell me about the risks you and your crew of 28 cameramen faced. [Police] shot at us. Some of our friends were horribly beaten on the 1st of December. They allowed the cameras to get very close, then most of the people beaten at first were journalists. The tear gas and police batons; a horrible thing. The cold water they sprayed on us. I have a scar

What does an Oscar nomination mean to you? It’s recognition. Not for me, it’s for them. I’m telling the story through the eyes of the people who came to this square, who stood under these bullets, who stood through the cold water and gas the Berkut sprayed us with. These people came with their beliefs: in democracy and freedom. As much as it was dangerous, I was surrounded by them like a family. I only had my emotional breakdown later: I was diagnosed with secondary PTSD. I met friends and then I lost them. And then I saw footage of them being killed. An Oscar can give more importance to their story. And more people can learn. So the nomination is already a win. Netflix brought this movie to 130 countries. I’m getting Facebook messages from all over the world, from people telling me it changed their lives. If it did, it’s already a huge achievement. For a lot of Americans, I hope it’s an eye-opener about real freedom and democracy.

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DEPTH PERCEPTIONS BY SAM ADAMS >>> Not all documentaries have the power of a spontaneous revolution to carry them like “Winter on Fire.” They come in all styles with all kinds of subjects. Here’s a quick look at the other documentaries the academy recognized with nominations:

“The Look of Silence”

“Amy”

A companion piece to his staggering “The Act of Killing,” Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence” serves as an implicit answer to the question some asked of his previous movie, which focused on the perpetrators of the Indonesian mass killings of the 1960s: What about the victims? Drafthouse Films and Participant As the perpetrators featured in “Killing” have held political power ANSWERING the questions of “The Act of Killing” is the documentary’s goal. ever since — Oppenheimer likens it to a present-day Germany if the Nazis had won — coming forward remains dangerous for survivors, but in “Look,” Adi Rukun, who was born two years after his brother was slain, confronts the men who killed him, not in the name of vengeance, but of reckoning. “I was very careful to show the perpetrators not as evil,” Oppenheimer says. “We see that they are desperately trying to avoid acknowledging even to themselves that what they did was wrong. This is not to justify what they’ve done, but they are human beings that have Adi’s empathy and should have ours.”

Asif Kapadia’s “Amy,” about troubled chanteuse Amy Winehouse, reveals, in addition to her long-term drinking, that Winehouse had also suffered from extreme depression and bulimia from a very young age. Although she had found songwriting to be a rewarding outlet for dealing with those bouts of depression, living life in A24 a fishbowl was never something she sought out. AMY WINEHOUSE , right, experienced trauma amid her success. “It’s a pretty sad story for a young girl to have to experience all of that in public,” says Kapadia. “You get a quarter of a million pounds at 16 [for a recording contract], why do you think that’s going to work out well?” Kapadia, who had previously directed the award-winning “Senna,” about the late Brazilian Formula One competitor, hopes his portrait of a troubled, ordinary girl under a deluge of media scrutiny will serve as a cautionary tale, so that when it happens to the next promising young talent, their team won’t think twice before pulling them out of the limelight.

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Matthew Heineman’s “Cartel Land,” which embeds with vigilante groups on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, speaks powerfully to a political moment when the fear of outsiders and the 2nd Amendment’s militia clause are on the docket daily. “Cartel Land” begins with borderpatrolling vigilantes in Arizona, but the heart of the film is in Michoacan, Mexico, where a civilian militia dubbed the Autodefensas rises up to fight the violence of drug cartels and the complacency of a corrupt government. On both sides of the border, it becomes The Orchard clear that when self-appointed law AUTODEFENSA members in Michoaenforcement agents redraw the map, can, Mexico, fight on two fronts. the moral boundaries are written in pencil. “When I started filming, I thought I was telling this very simple story in the sense of a classic western,” Heineman says. “Good versus evil, everyday citizens rising up against the corrupt government and an evil cartel. But the more time I spent down there, it became this exploration and investigation of human behavior, almost like an ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘Lord of the Flies.’ These lines between good and evil that I thought were clear became ever more blurry.”

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In Liz Garbus’ biographical portrait, singer Nina Simone is portrayed as a complicated, sometimes troubled artist whose work has lost none of its power or relevance. A child prodigy, Simone aspired to be a classical pianist, but after being turned away from the conservatory, she found a more accepting audience in jazz clubs. The civil rights movement, and the racial violence of the ’50s and ’60s radicalized her; she wrote “Mississippi Goddam” the day of the Birmingham church bombing only after failing to build a gun. RadicalMedia / Moxie Firecracker Production / Netf lix The issues that “What Happened, Miss Simone?” deals with — the SINGER Nina Simone is depicted as a corrosive power of racism, the volatile complicated, sometimes troubled artist. interplay between artistic temperament and mental instability — never go away, but the film’s release only a few months after the Ferguson protests and the birth of Black Lives Matter makes it seem especially timely. “When we were editing,” says Garbus, “the images on CNN were the same as the images on our screen from 1966. That was something.”

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“Cartel Land”

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“What Happened, Miss Simone?”


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ALICIA VIKANDER

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says “Ex Machina,” which deals with issues surrounding artificial intelligence, and “The Danish Girl,” which concerns transgender struggles, came out at perfectly timed cultural moments.

Kirk McKoy Los Angeles Times

EACH FILM IS A NEW LOVE By Michael Ordoña

A

t 27, Swedish native Alicia Vikander still presents as something of a wide-eyed outsider in Hollywood. That she had seven feature films land on American shores last year hasn’t stopped her from being disarmingly happy to be doing what she’s doing. She’s soft-spoken, polite, extremely thoughtful. The world is her oyster and right now she’s finding an abundance of pearls. “When I came here to L.A. for the first time, it was for a screen test,” she says in her gently accented English. “I called my mom, I was like, ‘I’m at Universal, but not at the fun park. I got to go in on the other side, where the studio is.’ ” This has turned into a busy awards season for the actress, with an Oscar nomination on the strength of her arresting turn as a painter whose husband receives one of the first known gender-reassignment surgeries in “The Danish Girl.” She also earned a supporting actress nod at the Golden Globes for playing a sentient android in the much-lauded “Ex Machina.” And now she has the pleasure of bringing her parents to America to visit.


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A24

VIKANDER in, from top, “The Danish Girl” — a project that provided her with

meaningful conversations with families and loved ones of trans people — the little-seen but lauded “Testament of Youth” and writer-director Alex Garland’s sci-fi “Ex Machina,” whose script she says is the best she’s ever read.

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Laurie Sparham Sony Pictures Classics

ably hadn’t been able to put her thoughts together, but it comes out in her work. It’s almost like she’s always known. “I love that in the script: [Lili says] ‘You helped to visualize the real me.’ “I love that Gerda actually blossomed in her work in discovering Lili.” In Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina,” which she calls the best script she’s read, she made use of her classical dance training. “If you brought it just the tiniest bit over the edge of being too perfect, you lose the inconsistency and the offbeats that every human being has, even if they’re still,” she says of trying to create something subtle that would make viewers question whether a robot could be a person. Garland “gave me a very good note of something he saw early on — never to play [the sexuality], but always just to keep her doe-like, like a newborn, which she is. Then it becomes a power game. You want to care for her. Then you have the entire audience with her. “It was interesting to do press for it. The journalists who came in — every single one had a different view of the film and was sure that everyone else thought the same. One was like, ‘So, Ava, what a bitch.’ Some were like [pounding the table], ‘Man, I sympathized with her.’ It all comes down to whether you, as an audience, believe she has a consciousness or not. “If you were to see a girl in a box, in a room in the ground, far away, what would you feel? If you take it to that point, then the story is one thing. If not … we never give the answer.”

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Focus Features

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‘You read a new script and you have a new crush. And then suddenly that’s the most interesting thing.’

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“I was home at Christmas; we live in this small town outside Gothenburg, which is a fishing town, and we got to go into Gothenburg — a bigger town — and my dad got to try on a tuxedo for the first time in his life. At 65. He was so handsome. They’re going to come out to Vegas [where she is filming a ‘Bourne’ sequel with Matt Damon] and my dad’s a big ‘Bourne’ fan. “To be able to do that for my family makes me know just how lucky I am.” To get where she is, however, surely had a lot more to do with range than luck. Last year also saw stateside releases of “Son of a Gun” with Ewan McGregor, “Seventh Son” with Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, her richly realized work in the little-seen “Testament of Youth,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and the Bradley Cooper vehicle “Burnt.” The quantity of work hasn’t dulled the quality of the experience for her. “You [get immersed in] a film and of course you think that that is it,” she says. “And then you go away and you read a new script and you have a new crush. And then suddenly that’s the most interesting thing — it feels like a new love. And I have dear memories of all of them.” “Ex Machina,” which deals with issues surrounding artificial intelligence, and “The Danish Girl,” which concerns transgender struggles, came out at perfectly timed cultural moments, although each had been in the works for years. “I came on [to ‘Danish Girl’] two years ago; just to see the change in [society] over that time — such a social and cultural change, even since we finished the film — it’s wonderful,” she says. Although she cites the in-depth conversations she had with families and loved ones of trans people as among her most meaningful memories of the project, she cuts right to the heart of her character Gerda Wegener’s struggle with her husband Einar’s change into Lili Elbe. “It’s a fear that everyone has who loves someone: They always know that it’s a living thing and you can’t hold it and you never know when it might go away,” she says. “She sees the world for what it is and she sees her lover for who she is. [Gerda] sacrifices and gives, even knowing that might mean she’ll have to let that person go. “Interestingly enough, with her paintings, which is her subconscious as an artist, I think it comes out. She prob-


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THEENVELOPE.COM PRODUCTION DIARY

A PEEK ‘INSIDE’ BY REBECCA KEEGAN >>> When Pixar Animation’s

“Inside Out” was nominated for two Oscars last month — for animated feature and original screenplay — it represented the culmination of a years-long journey for director Pete Docter, who first pitched his idea for a film set inside the mind of a young girl in 2009. Over the course of making the movie, Docter kept a production diary of photos and sketches, documenting the process of hammering out the inventive story and bringing characters like Sadness and Joy to life. In an interview with The Envelope, he shared his thoughts on excerpts from that production diary.

Pixar

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GOING OFF-SITE “It’s October of 2011, and we’re at our second story off-site at the Walt Disney Family Museum, which was a great source of inspiration. Diane Disney Miller was nice enough to let us hold several meetings here. When I’m at the studio, there’s 100 people saying, ‘Hey Pete, can I talk to you for a minute?’ Doing an off-site is a way to cut out those distractions and be 100% focused on story. We go for two days and really knuckle down. From left, it’s me, my co-director, Ronnie del Carmen; editor Kevin Nolting; and head of story Josh Cooley and writer Simon Rich.”

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Photographs from

JUST GETTING STARTED “This is a Monday morning production meeting in 2010, and we’re in story reels, which means we’re just getting started on the writing process. We’re designing an entire world from scratch, so there are a lot of questions to answer about what that world looks like, what its rules are, and the story reels end up being like an extended version of the scripting process. After we make some decisions, the story artists will go off and get to work on them.”

ALL ON BOARD “Editorial manager Becky Neiman is updating the whiteboard where we keep track of how much work we have to do. With 27 sequences in the film and 178,128 storyboard drawings, there’s an insane amount of information to manage. This works better for me than email because I get so much of that. I walk past this whiteboard every day and I can see where we are at a glance.”

OOH, BABY BABY “This is our great multi-tasker, production manager Dana Murray. We had 103 babies born [studio-wide] during this show. There’s no question your life informs what you write. The whole premise of ‘Inside Out’ is, your kids are growing up. It’s nice having all the babies around. My kids are bigger now, and I miss holding babies.”


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SEEING AND SELLING “In August of 2013, producer Jonas Rivera and I go to D23, the Disney fan convention, to show a little of what we’ve been working on. The truth is, we’re standing there selling something we’re not sure we have yet. Inside I’m thinking, ‘I really hope this works.’ ”

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BITTERSWEET MELODY “By the end of 2014, we’re in our musical scoring session. I grew up playing the violin and bass, so I’m getting in on it. Looking at these is kind of bittersweet. All the pain of making the movie has washed away, and I’m feeling nostalgic.”

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CHARACTER AND CARICATURE “Story artist Domee Shi drew this caricature of Ronnie del Carmen and me in 2014. Not everybody who can draw can do caricatures, which give you a gut sense of who the characters are. One of the dangers of working at Pixar is that there are people, like Domee, who are really good at caricatures, who drawn them in meetings and have this cutthroat ability to see the things you’re most insecure about and bring them out.”

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THE PRESSURE WAS KILLER “It’s 2013, we’re going into production and our head of story, Josh Cooley, is showing the strain. We’re supposed to have everything locked on the story but we don’t. This is where the pressure gets turned up. No more mucking around.”

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THE END OF THE BEGINNINGS “In early 2013, we’ve done seven or eight different openings to the film in storyboard form. None of them feel very interesting to me and I’m pretty negative, to be honest. I’m skeptical of starting the movie where the baby is born, which seems like a cliché. But Ronnie del Carmen shows me this amazing pitch, and I’m immediately charmed by the whole thing. I am often wrong, by the way.”


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Kirk McKoy Los Angeles Times

SYLVESTER STALLONE didn’t think he could make his way back into drama after his many action-movie roles. Then came “Creed” and an Oscar nomination.

ONCE MORE WITH FEELING By Margy Rochlin

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ecently, while accepting a Critics’ Choice award for supporting actor for his reprised role in the “Rocky” spinoff “Creed,” Sylvester Stallone looked out at the crowd and mumbled, “Oh, my God,” as they collectively rose and gave him a standing ovation. A few days later, sitting in a Beverly Hills hotel room, the actor smiled at the

memory. “There seemed to be some genuine affection [for me] that I didn’t know was prevalent,” he said, in his low, toughguy rumble. What moved the audience to their feet, of course, had less to do with the latest in a string of Stallone accolades (a Golden Globe win, an Oscar nomination). It was more of an acknowledgment that in his 40year-plus career filled with box-officebreaking highs and truly cringe-worthy lows, Stallone is on the upswing again. Moreover, he reversed his fortunes by giv-

ing perhaps one of his most nuanced performances ever at the age of 69, and outside the action genre that Stallone feared he’d be confined to for the rest of his working life. “I thought there was just no way I could find my way back into drama,” said Stallone, who believes that assuming an ancillary role and leaving the stinging jabs and uppercuts to Michael B. Jordan as secondgeneration boxer Adonis Creed freed him up to focus on retired palooka Rocky Balboa’s slow-stirring melancholia. “When

you’re reliant on the physicality, you tend to speak more with your body. But I’m the most inactive person in the movie.” Trudging through “Creed” in reading glasses and a tilted pork pie hat, Stallone infuses his character with an aura of wisdom, the kind exuded by a man who has often learned things the hard way. The same can be said for the actor himself, who is ready to laugh at where some of his gut instincts have taken him. For example, of his role as a cynical father in the widely panned “Oscar,” a 1991 gangster farce and


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‘I wish I’d listened more to all those people around me.’ — S YLVESTER S TALLONE wins, he was struggling to find his footing. Looking back, he places much of the blame for the failure of his feature directorial debut “Paradise Alley” and the lambasting of Norman Jewison’s labor union drama “F.I.S.T.” on his inability to dial down his swagger. “I failed to read the rule book about humility,” is how Stallone puts it now. “My public persona was not as likable as I hoped. I tended to be a bit outspoken. I could see that would make [critics] think, ‘OK, let’s see if you can back it up with your next film.’ And obviously I didn’t.” Not much later, he was back with “Rocky II.” Three years passed before he turned “First Blood” into a surprise hit. Since then he’s toggled between his Rocky and Rambo franchises, the latter of which he calls “a double-edged blessing.” “I never planned on playing Rambo,” said Stallone. “When I first read the script, I thought, ‘This is interesting: The country creates this killing machine, then it turns on its master.’ Then I got caught up in it. I be-

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one of his few attempts at pure comedy, Stallone said, “I tried to make him seem likable. It was like trying to make Ebenezer Scrooge a nice guy. What’s the point of the story?” He spent 21⁄2 years resisting young “Creed” writer-director Ryan Coogler’s (“Fruitvale Station”) idea for a “Rocky” revival, believing it was, in his words, “a surefire disaster.” Dressed today in blue jeans, navy suede shoes and a crisp white buttondown shirt that strained at his still-bulging shoulders, Stallone said, “What happened with ‘Creed’ is nothing short of miraculous. I thought I finally paid tribute to the character that made me [with ‘Rocky Balboa’ in 2006]. Then years later, facing an avalanche of criticism — ‘What? Rocky again?’ — this kid pulls it off.” In playing an aging widower and restaurant owner who is biding his time in a lonely routine, Stallone displays sweetness, an emotion that the actor hasn’t radiated in recent memory. “When he does action movies, it can get buried in that overt masculinity that those characters have to have,” Coogler said. “But in terms of sweetness, that’s him in real life — it’s just under a few layers. He’s been through so much and has had to be so strong all the time. So it’s almost like scar tissue, emotionally.” The he-man shield started early. Back in 1978, in the wake of “Rocky’s” three Oscar

years ago: “The original ending was that the crowd explodes at the end of the fight, Rocky went the distance. Rocky doesn’t care, he’s just looking for Adrian. I see her in the distance and people pick her up and I’m crawling over people to get to her, like crowd surfing. [But] there were only about 15 people and I was practically falling through the cracks. “Four months later [director John Avildsen] said, ‘We have to go back and reshoot the ending,’ except we had no money. So they built only a quarter of a ring, just one little corner. So Rocky is going, ‘Adrian! Adrian!’ and she’s coming forward and her hat has to come off but it just wasn’t coming off. So somebody put dental floss on it and [they’d tug it] so it pulls it off. And I’m going, ‘This is never going to work.’ [The crowd] was made of relatives and about four actors. I’m looking at people I know and there’s a friend I went to school with and I’m going, ‘How is this ever going to work?’ “I’m screaming at the top of my lungs and I could hear my voice echoing back. And I’m going ‘Yo, Adrian,’ and she’s going, ‘Rocky, Rocky,’ and I’m going ‘I love you, I love you,’ and hug. And FREEZE. Well, I went home that night thinking I’d just demolished whatever chance I had. I thought, ‘I just did the worst acting in history.’ But with Bill Conti’s music, the way John Avildsen shot it, the way Talia Shire delivered the lines, it worked. “And that’s when I understood the term ‘movie magic.’ Because the reality? It was a horror movie.” — Margy Rochlin

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Creed and protege of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa, in “Creed.”

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eminiscing about his career, Sylvester Stallone is reminded of shooting the original “Rocky” nearly 40

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MICHAEL B. JORDAN, left, stars as Adonis Creed, son of the late Apollo

A ‘ROCKY’ RESHOOT

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Barry Wetcher Warner Bros.

came enamored with this less-dialoguemore-physicality. It was more of a challenge, and I didn’t see many people doing it at the time. But then it became my trademark.” If he has what he calls a “love-hate” relationship with films that rely on violent gun battles and a high body count, it is because they’ve always saved him. During one bleak career stretch, a bit part in “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” was followed by a gig co-hosting “The Contender,” a boxing competition reality TV show. “I could see the end was near,” said Stallone, who tried to pry Hollywood’s swiftly closing door back open with 2006’s indie-flavored, generally well-received “Rocky Balboa.” He said the concept for his third franchise, the macho gore-fest known as “The Expendables,” came after spotting an ad for a ’70sera rock band revival show. “I thought, ‘Why can’t I do this with old action guys?’ So I just took all these people who couldn’t get arrested and saw if we could get arrested collectively,” said Stallone, adding that while it put him back in the game, “it’s not food for the soul.” As for his future plans, if there’s an “Expendables 4” on the horizon, he said it will be Stallone-less. (“I’m officially not in it.”) Is there another installment of “Rambo” in our future? “Don’t you think that’s pushing the manila envelope?” he replied. Though when it’s discussed in the trades “Creed 2” sounds like a done deal, Stallone sounds iffy when asked about it. “The director is very important, and I don’t know how that would work,” he said referring to the fact that the sequel would be made without Coogler, who is busy with Marvel’s “Black Panther.” “If he’s not available, I certainly wouldn’t want to do it.” When informed of this, Coogler sounded as if this were new information. “I don’t know who else he’s told that to,” he said, adding that “it’s very difficult to get Sly to do something he doesn’t want to do. But it wouldn’t be the first time he’s changed his mind about something.” Though Stallone declined to get too specific about his offers post-“Creed,” he was upbeat in describing them as parts “that require real emoting, solid dramatic roles.” When asked if his years of fluctuation better prepared him for this phase in his career, he leaned forward and said in a confidential tone, “I wish I’d listened more to all those people around me who have my best interests at heart. Now I listen.”


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GRAY SCENES developed

by production designer Adam Stockhausen frame Tom Hanks in the film “Bridge of Spies.”

Jaap Buitendijk DreamWorks

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THE CRAFT

A GRIM COLD WAR LOOK By Cristy Lytal

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or 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” production designer Adam Stockhausen won his first Oscar for creating a pre-World War II Europe tinged with rosy pink nostalgia. For the Cold War thriller “Bridge of Spies,” he could win his second for rebuilding the Berlin Wall with gray mortar against even grayer skies. Stockhausen’s first film with director Steven Spielberg is inspired by the true story of insurance lawyer James Donovan, called on to defend Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in U.S. court, then exchange him for two American prisoners, a pilot and student Frederic Pryor. Stockhausen relied on locations across the U.S., Germany and Poland to create a complex international backdrop for a story about men who built bridges while nations built walls. What were your initial conversations with Spielberg and his cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski? We talked about references that were

important to Steven, but we also looked at a lot of the historical material. We were looking through thousands and thousands of images and videos of the wall construction and that period in Berlin. And we looked together at “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.” We made a plan, and we said, “Start in Berlin.” And we knew we wanted to shoot there at the real [Glienicke] Bridge. You can see it on Google, so we knew what it looked like. How did you find a location that resembled historic East Berlin? I was working with the location manager for Studio Babelsberg, and his name is Markus Bensch. And he and I were driving all over the East German countryside looking for towns that still had this severely damaged and unrenovated look to them, and we just weren’t finding it. He had a photograph from 20 years earlier of this town in Poland, the most beautiful street, the street that we ended up shooting for the scene where Pryor’s riding his bicycle down the length of the wall as it’s being built. We thought, surely this is gone by now, but just for fun — it’s like a 41⁄2-hour drive — let’s go and just see. And we went

out there, and there it was. It’s spelled Wrocław, but it’s pronounced “Vratslav,” and it used to be called Breslau. It used to be a town in eastern Germany, and then it was remapped to become part of Poland after the Second World War. And that whole section of eastern Germany — well, now Poland — has these beautiful towns with architecture that dates back into the 1500s. Magnificent buildings.

back to the East Germans, and then it was a Stasi prison until the wall fell. And it was called the Hohenschönhausen. Anyway, it’s a museum now. It has this underground area that was the old Russian prison, and so we put the Russian prison scenes there, and we used the upstairs area for the scenes where Donovan was held by the East German government. And I hope that it felt true, because it kind of was true.

What did you film there? It was really all of East Germany. Not all, but the scenes where you see the wall being built, the scenes where you see Pryor being arrested, [the scenes] where Donovan is in the train, and he looks out the window, and he sees the family trying to cross the wall, and they’re shot. And Checkpoint Charlie was there. The town allowed us to do quite a bit of construction and build a lot of scenery for those scenes as well.

Did you build a model U-2 spy plane? We worked with the Air Force, and so those U-2s that you see are real. So when you see it take off, that’s an actual U-2. We made the camera, and we made the cockpit. The planes exist, but most of the instrumentation isn’t the same as it was in this time period. It’s a bit of a detective job figuring out what each little instrument was and did when you’re not a pilot yourself. And so we had the actual U-2 pilots looking at our cockpit and trying to help us get everything in the right place and make sure that the instruments all made sense and were the appropriate ones, because we really wanted every dial and switch to be the right thing.

Where did you shoot the dismal prison scenes? There’s this prison in [former] East Berlin. And this place had been a Russian prison right after the Second World War. And then in the 1950s, the Russians gave it

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MERCILESS HISS OF MARS

OLIVER TARNEY records sounds from a copy of the function-over-form

Mars rover Curiosity at JPL in La Cañada Flintridge for “The Martian.” and unnervingly flat delivery of the computer voice informing us that he has just seconds to live all play against the violent whistle of escaping air, rising in pitch with each crack he manages to seal — a cacophony of noise that eventually dissipates as he wins this battle. Mars retreats, ready to strike again another time. Did you visit any Mars-like landscapes on Earth? I did. A couple of months before I started on the project, to get my head in that place, I took a road trip around Arizona and Utah and California, Nevada, and did a lot of recordings in Mesquite [Flat] Sand Dunes and the salt flats [in Death Valley]. Did you also visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory? Yeah. They have an exact copy of the

Curiosity rover there. It’s a different kind of rover to the one that’s used in the film, but it was still useful to get some sound effects from that. But even more useful was to see how stripped back the rover was there. Aesthetically, it’s just really bare. There’s cable ties on it and things, even though it cost a billion dollars or whatever it is. And so the best piece of information, really, from that trip is we realized everything at NASA has to be function over form. And so when we were doing all the interiors to the Hab, we wanted it to have that whirring, buzzing, rattling sound, because that’s how it is. It can’t be a nice, smooth, luxurious sound. It has to sound raw, almost austere. So there’s no comfort there at all. How did you create those sounds for the Hab?

What do you like the best about your job? Helping somebody like Ridley tell a story, and being involved on a narrative level on a film that connects with an audience so well, it’s hugely gratifying for us to be a part of that. And you take something that was shot on a set, so there’s absolutely no ambience at all, and then you develop an entire world that the audience believes.

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In your initial conversations with director Ridley Scott, what was the big vision? He wanted for the audience to feel the Mars monster — totally unrelenting, totally unforgiving. We had a persistent and hostile presence of the wind bearing down on [the NASA-built shelter] the Hab, sometimes just enough to ripple the roof. But at other times, it was roaring gusts, raging and clawing against his shelter. We worked at always having an awareness of this unsettling elemental presence, ready to remind Watney that any mistake could be catastrophic. For instance, when the air lock fails, Mars’ thin atmosphere triggers a huge, explosive depressurization, hurling Watney violently across the surface. He’s left with a fractured visor, and we hear the hiss of Mars mercilessly bleeding his oxygen supply through the cracks. The anxiety in his breathing, the panicked ripping of duct tape, the insistent beeps of the warning alarm

What other key sounds did you use throughout the film? The biggest sound that we used all the time was just the breath. We got the [space] suit from production the day after they finished filming, basically. When we got the suit, we put the helmet on. You just feel that, and you just instantly go, “Yeah, that’s what we need to convey.” And it really helps us amp the feeling of anxiety, adrenaline, because you really feel that fast breathing against the glass. We had the helmet set up as part of the dialogue editor’s rig. And so any new material that would come in, any [additional dialogue recording] or any takes that weren’t sounding helmet-y enough, we would then just have a speaker that’s actually placed inside the helmet, and then a microphone at the back of that. So we always had that same consistent sound of the claustrophobia of the helmet.

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or Oliver Tarney, the Oscarnominated sound designer and supervising sound editor of “The Martian,” the Red Planet was more than a landscape. It was a monster. “There’s no human that’s a baddie or a villain in this piece, so Mars becomes the villain,” said Tarney, whose job encompassed collecting or creating the sounds heard in the film. Tarney started his career as a guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter — following in the footsteps of his father, an English musician who produced hits for A-ha and other bands. Tarney then transitioned into sound for film, working on several of director Ridley Scott’s projects — including 2005’s “Kingdom of Heaven,” 2013’s “The Counselor” and 2014’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” — before signing on for “The Martian,” in which astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is stranded on Mars during a NASA mission.

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We basically put great big subwoofers inside filing cabinets. And then running with huge low frequency oscillations through them to vibrate and play them crazy loud in the cutting room and in the whole corridor, [we made] it feel like the whole thing was shaking the whole time with the air unit, with the life support system that’s there for him, just the throb of that. [We] introduced more creaks and squeaks to it as the film progresses, because it’s only meant to be functional for a month or two, and he’s there for significantly longer than that. So you wanted to have the feeling that it’s starting to fail. So that it amps up a little bit more how urgent it is, and how Watney has to get a solution.

By Cristy Lytal


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THEENVELOPE.COM ‘We tried to follow their paintings as an artistic guide.’ — P ACO D ELGADO ,

“The Danish Girl” costume designer on the film’s real-life artists Lili and Gerda

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THE COSTUMES

LIFE MEETS ART IN ‘GIRL’

THE FILM’S

suits and dresses, at left and right, help illustrate the journey undertaken by Eddie Redmayne’s character. The cream suit and lavender scarf in particular signal a key point of transition.

Focus Features

By Valli Herman

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ovies don’t often require costume designers to dress men as women, except for perhaps a campy drag scene. In “The Danish Girl,” costume designer Paco Delgado created clothes that had to sensitively portray a man beginning to understand his gender identity as a woman.

Eddie Redmayne plays the real-life transsexual pioneer Danish painter Ei-

nar Wegener, who became Lili Elbe in the early 20th century. As a successful landscape artist, Wegener lived a fairly conventional life with his wife, Gerda, a fellow artist played by Alicia Vikander. The film, directed by Tom Hooper, follows Wegener as he gradually and sometimes awkwardly incorporates his new identity into his thoughts, movements and attire. Clothing frequently triggers action. Delgado had several written accounts to guide him, including the 1933 “Man Into Woman: The First Sex Change,” and the fictionalized version published in 2000, “The Danish Girl” by David Ebershoff. He also studied Gerda’s artwork, particularly her many paintings and fashion illustrations of Einar as Lili. Here, Delgado shared the thinking behind his designs.

Did you copy any dresses exactly from Gerda’s paintings? There is one dress we copied 100% — though we still had to imagine it. That is in the scene where Gerda is painting a portrait of one of their friends, Ulla, a dancer at the Royal Danish Ballet. That is the dress that Einar models for Gerda [when Ulla isn’t available], and then realizes who he really is. This is a story about painters. Did you in turn “paint” them into the movie frame? We tried to follow their paintings as an artistic guide. If you see what they are creating in Denmark, and later in Paris, that is definitely reflected in the colors in their costumes. Everything in Paris is much more happy, delightful. When they are in Denmark, we dressed them ... basically in different

Focus Features

shades of blues and grays and blacks, in a palette of very soft colors. If you see the early Einar paintings and Gerda’s, they were very restrained and boring in a way. We tried to show that same kind of restraint. When they left to Paris, their palette,


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especially Gerda’s, opened quite a lot. She started to do many illustrations for Vogue and became a very successful fashion illustrator. All of her drawings and paintings of the period were really jolly with a lot of sexuality in them, with more warm colors. That is what we tried to do with the costumes, bring the energy of what was probably the happiest moment of their lives.

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RATHER THAN alter Redmayne’s

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physique with pads or other devices,the designers used the cut of clothing and the silhouette to tell his character’s tale of progression.

Was Eddie Redmayne’s physique altered with pads, shapers or other devices to effect a feminine form? From the beginning, the only thing we did was make a corset for Eddie to show a difference of shape, but we didn’t add any hip or chest padding. What [change] you see is made mainly with the cut, the silhouette and through applications of design elements [such as] fabrics on the chest area to create a little more volume or pleats in the hips to add more shape. We didn’t alter the body itself. We tried in a way to mimic what Lily would have done. She didn’t have any plastic surgery to create a more silhouetted body. She was being herself.

Fashion of that era aspired to the gamine ideal, which must have allowed some interesting opportunities for you, yes? A lot of the movie took place in the ’20s, and the silhouette of the ’20s was a flatchested woman with almost no hips. That worked to our advantage. I read that Lili was a muse of the ’20s. I don’t believe that she might have been so influential, but Lili was a very famous character of the period. She and Gerda were social and attended a lot of parties. And Gerda was very connected to the fashion industry, doing a lot of illustrations for fashion periodicals. Do you have a favorite costume in the movie? The suit in the cream color with the lavender scarf. It was a pivotal dressing moment when you see perfectly that transition. It shows that confusion — is it a man’s suit with a lot of women’s ideas, or is it a woman’s suit with a lot of men’s ideas? You can see the journey Lili was having. You can see the progression.

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colors when it came to Eddie Redmayne’s look as Einar Wegener, above.

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Agatha A. Nitecka Focus Features

COSTUME DESIGNER Paco Delgado aimed for restraint and soft, muted

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‘ROAD’ TO FUN

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DIRECTOR George Miller has no Oscar expectations: “Be happy that you’re invited to the party.”

Ricardo DeAratanha Los Angeles Times


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THEENVELOPE.COM BY MARGY ROCHLIN >>> In the future, 2015 will be recalled as the year of the triumphantly rebooted franchise, of “Star Wars” and “Rocky” springing back to life and, of course, Australian director George Miller’s stark, post-apocalyptic thrill ride, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which received 10 Oscar nominations, including best picture and director. Miller, 70, spent almost 17 years — filled with unpredictable starts, stops and rebirths — trying to revive the series that stretches back to “Mad Max,” his late-’70s no-budget action flick starring Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky. Now it’s Tom Hardy in the title role, joined by Charlize Theron as the renegade general Imperator Furiosa, Hugh Keays-Byrne as the wheezing despot Immortan Joe, and make-do war machines rumbling across a desert wasteland. ¶ From a minimal-dialogue script written by Miller, comic-book artist Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris and composed primarily of 3,500 storyboards, “Fury Road” churns with such nonstop invention and virtuosic filmmaking that it led to critical acclaim, grossed $375 million worldwide and, gratifyingly for Miller, passed his “car park” test for audiences. “The best movies are ones that follow you out of the cinema,” said the soft-spoken director recently while sitting in a Warner Bros. soundstage in Burbank. “If I’ve forgotten a movie by the time I’ve gotten to the car park, then it [can’t] be much of a movie.” What do fans of “Fury Road” tell you when they get the opportunity to talk to you? The thing that gets me is when people show me their tattoos of Immortan Joe, Max, Furiosa, Nux. I was in Japan talking to a critic who was very, very insightful about the movie and he took me into a corner and unbuttoned his shirt. He’d gotten [Immortan Joe’s skull] logo tattooed on his chest. I was so taken aback.

MILLER consults with Hugh KeaysByrne on “Mad Max” set.

Will we ever see the buzzed-about silentfilm version — black and white, no dialogue, just music — of “Fury Road”? Not in cinemas. The best version of “Road Warrior” was what we called a “slash dupe,” a cheap, black-and-white version of the movie for the composer. Something about it seemed more authentic and elemental. So I asked Eric Whipp, the [“Fury Road”] colorist, “Can I see some scenes in black and white with quite a bit of con-

trast?” They looked great. So I said to the guys at Warners, “Can we put a black-andwhite version on the DVD?” There wasn’t enough room. [It’ll end up] on another version with commentary and other features.

subject. I’ve got two stories — one of them is a bit more technically complex than the other; the other is contemporary. I don’t think it’ll be shot on an iPhone, but it won’t be big, massive cameras.

You’ve said your next film will be small, quickly made, and that “Tangerine,” Sean Baker’s indie about transgender sex workers shot entirely on an iPhone 5, inspired you. Explain. The fact that you can use your iPhone to say something you desperately want to say is wonderful. I loved [“Tangerine”]. It didn’t feel diminished by budget. The method of making it was perfectly matched with its

Do you have any rules for awards season? Don’t get carried away with expectations. It’s like with doctors: The worst thing you can do is make optimistic prognostications. [Laughs] The second thing is to remember that it’s great fun. Be happy that you’re invited to the party. Have the best time you can.

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were able to drive in and among these big battles, the camera almost skimming the ground or swooping up into the cabin and into the faces of the actors.

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Much has been ecstatically made of the use of practical stunts over CGI. What piece of new technology proved invaluable? Do you know about the Edge? It’s a powerful, four-wheel drive vehicle with a crane on top and a camera. It’s got what I call “The Three Headed Beast,” a stunt driver, a crane operator or grip who’s moving the crane and, behind the driver, a camera operator. Then there’s me, the director, sitting in the middle with a screen in front. These guys work so closely together, it’s freakish. We

Jasin Boland Warner Bros.

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You didn’t see a musician in scarlet long johns playing a flame-throwing electric guitar while strapped to a speeding truck as exciting? I’d no idea. You can’t make a film that’s as rambunctious and wild as this and not have rigorous underpinnings to the story. [The Doof Warrior] is the bugler, the bagpipe player, the music of war that was played before there was recorded or amplified sound. For me, it’s just a logical part of the world.

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Were you surprised by what moviegoers picked up on? Definitely pleasing is that the film, which could’ve been read as a simple chase movie, seemed to have so many resonances. The feminist [theme] I knew was there, but I didn’t expect that to be picked up so potently. I didn’t think that the Doof Warrior would be so popular.


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YOUR PLAY-AT-HOME

OSCAR BALLOT (WITH SOME OFFICE-POOL ASSISTANCE)

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And the Oscar goes to … ? Use this ballot to show off your Oscars savvy, with some insider tips from Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp. BEST PICTURE

L E A D AC T O R

S U P P O RT I N G AC T R E S S

❏ “The Big Short” ❏ “Bridge of Spies” ❏ “Brooklyn” ❏ “Mad Max: Fury Road” ❏ “The Martian” ❏ “The Revenant” ❏ “Room” ❏ “Spotlight”

❏ Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo” ❏ Matt Damon, “The Martian” ❏ Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” ❏ Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs” ❏ Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

❏ Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight” ❏ Rooney Mara, “Carol” ❏ Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight” ❏ Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl” ❏ Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

★ And the winner is: It’s “The Big

Short,” “Spotlight” or “The Revenant.” Let’s go with the hunch that “Big Short,” Adam McKay’s financial crisis comedy, will show up higher on more academy ballots. DIRECTOR

❏ Lenny Abrahamson, “Room” ❏ Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant” ❏ Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight” ❏ Adam McKay, “The Big Short” ❏ George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

★ And the winner is: Iñárritu. Don’t

bet against the Directors Guild winner. He’d be the first director to take consecutive Oscars since Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1950-51.

And the winner is: DiCaprio. The inevitable Oscar. He did eat raw bison liver.

And the winner is: Vikander. Between “The Danish Girl” and “Ex Machina,” she’s won the most acclaim.

L E A D AC T R E S S

❏ Cate Blanchett, “Carol” ❏ Brie Larson, “Room” ❏ Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy” ❏ Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years” ❏ Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

And the winner is: Larson had a firm grip on this Oscar from the moment that “Room” premiered at Telluride and audiences witnessed her intense turn as the movie’s protective mother.

A DA P T E D S C R E E N P L AY

❏ “The Big Short,” Charles Randolph and Adam McKay ❏ “Brooklyn,” Nick Hornby ❏ “Carol,” Phyllis Nagy ❏ “The Martian,” Drew Goddard ❏ “Room,” Emma Donoghue

And the winner is: “The Big Short” wins for taking what could have been a lecture and turning it into an anarchic, bracing broadside against Wall Street malfeasance.

S U P P O RT I N G AC T O R

❏ Christian Bale, “The Big Short” ❏ Tom Hardy, “The Revenant” ❏ Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight” ❏ Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies” ❏ Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

★ And the winner is: Stallone’s compelling comeback story (yo, 39 years between Oscar nominations) has been the category’s dominant narrative.

O R I G I NA L S C R E E N P L AY

❏ “Bridge of Spies,” Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen ❏ “Ex Machina,” Alex Garland ❏ “Inside Out,” Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen ❏ “Spotlight,” Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy ❏ “Straight Outta Compton,” Jona-

than Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

★ And the winner is: “Spotlight” for

its meticulous, understated portrait of journalists bringing to light horrors too long ignored. A N I M AT E D F E AT U R E

❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏

“Anomalisa” “Boy and the World” “Inside Out” “Shaun the Sheep Movie” “When Marnie Was There”

★ And the winner is: “Inside Out.”

What … no, I wasn’t crying! There was just something in my eye! F O R E I G N - L A N GUAG E F E AT U R E

❏ “Embrace of the Serpent” ❏ “Mustang” ❏ “Son of Saul” ❏ “Theeb” ❏ “A War”

★ And the winner is: “Son of Saul” for the way it managed to freshly illuminate the horrors of the Holocaust.


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dia’s empathetic look at the late singer Amy Winehouse has both reviews and box office on its side. “Cartel Land” could surprise if voters decide to go for an issueoriented doc.

★ And the winner is: “Mad Max.” Score one for the War Boys!

P R O DUC T I O N D E S I G N C I N E M AT O G R A P H Y

❏ “Carol,” Ed Lachman ❏ “The Hateful Eight,” Robert Richardson ❏ “Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale ❏ “The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki ❏ “Sicario,” Roger Deakins

★ And the winner is: Lubezki will be-

come the first cinematographer to win three consecutive Oscars. COSTUME DESIGN

❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏

“Carol,” Sandy Powell “Cinderella,” Sandy Powell “The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan “The Revenant,” Jacqueline West

★ And the winner is: Sandy Powell now

has a dozen Oscar nominations and three wins. I’m guessing she’ll add a fourth Oscar to the mantle for … well … it’s a toss-up. Let’s lean toward “Cinderella.” Spoiler alert: “The Danish Girl.” FILM EDITING

❏ “The Big Short,” Hank Corwin ❏ “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel ❏ “The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione ❏ “Spotlight,” Tom McArdle ❏ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

★ And the winner is: Picture and editing

used to go hand in hand. Not so much recently, but Corwin’s work in “The Big Short” is both flashy and essential, the kind of editing voters like to reward.

❏ “Bridge of Spies,” production design: Adam Stockhausen; set decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich ❏ “The Danish Girl,” production design: Eve Stewart; set decoration: Michael Standish ❏ “Mad Max: Fury Road,” production design: Colin Gibson; set decoration: Lisa Thompson ❏ “The Martian,” production design: Arthur Max; set decoration: Celia Bobak ❏ “The Revenant,” production design: Jack Fisk; set decoration: Hamish Purdy

★ And the winner is: “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Those cars! Those caves!

SCORE

❏ “Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman ❏ “Carol,” Carter Burwell ❏ “The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone ❏ “Sicario,” Johann Johannsson ❏ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

★ And the winner is: Morricone. After receiving an honorary Academy Award nine years ago, the 87-year-old composing legend wins his first proper Oscar. SONG

❏ “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”; music and lyric by the Weeknd, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio ❏ “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”; music by J. Ralph, lyric by Anohni ❏ “Simple Song #3” from “Youth”; music and lyric by David Lang

gentlemen, please welcome Golden Globe, Grammy and, now, Oscar winner Lady Gaga. S OU N D E D I T I N G

❏ “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White ❏ “The Martian,” Oliver Tarney ❏ “The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender ❏ “Sicario,” Alan Robert Murray ❏ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

★ And the winner is: The sound cate-

gories come down to a coin flip between “Mad Max’s” deafening roar and the whistling wind of “The Revenant.” Let’s go with “Mad Max” here ... S OU N D M I X I N G

❏ “Bridge of Spies,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin ❏ “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo ❏ “The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth ❏ “The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek ❏ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

★ And the winner is: ... and “The

Revenant” here for its immersive mix.

V I S UA L E F F E C T S

❏ “Ex Machina,” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett ❏ “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams ❏ “The Martian,” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner ❏ “The Revenant,” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer

nominees typically prevail over their non-nominated competitors in this category, “Mad Max” gets a slight edge over “Star Wars.” A N I M AT E D S H O RT

❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏

“Bear Story” “Prologue” “Sanjay’s Super Team” “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” “World of Tomorrow”

★ And the winner is: Even though

Pixar hasn’t won this category in 14 years, it’s hard to pick against the emotional “Sanjay’s Super Team.” But watch out for Don Hertzfeldt’s minimalist masterpiece “World of Tomorrow.” D O CU M E N TA RY S H O RT

❏ “Body Team 12” ❏ “Chau, Beyond the Lines” ❏ “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” ❏ “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” ❏ “Last Day of Freedom”

★ And the winner is: “Body Team 12.”

Backed by Paul Allen, this Tribeca festival winner about Red Cross workers collecting the Ebola dead has the highest profile among the stellar group of nominees. L I V E - AC T I O N S H O RT

❏ “Ave Maria” ❏ “Day One” ❏ “Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” ❏ “Shok” ❏ “Stutterer”

★ And the winner is: “Shok,” the first

Kosovo Oscar nominee, gets the edge for its affecting tale of friendship between two Kosovan boys and their awful encounters with Serbian troops.

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★ And the winner is: “Amy.” Asif Kapa-

★ And the winner is: Ladies and

★ And the winner is: As best picture

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❏ “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin ❏ “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared,” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr ❏ “The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

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MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

❏ “Amy” ❏ “Cartel Land” ❏ “The Look of Silence” ❏ “What Happened, Miss Simone?” ❏ “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

❏ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

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D O CU M E N TA RY

❏ “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground”; music and lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga ❏ “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”; music and lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith


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ENNIO Morricone,

left, enjoys the creative freedom Quentin Tarantino gave him.

THE COMPOSERS

SCORED FROM JUST A SCRIPT By Michael Ordoña

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here are just a select few who inarguably belong in the pantheon of great film composers; Ennio Morricone is one. However, just as the film for which he has received his sixth Oscar nomination, Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” is often misleadingly put in the small box of being a “western,” the casual moviegoer might limit Morricone to his classic spaghetti-western collaborations with Sergio Leone. “Many people mistakenly describe ‘The Hateful Eight’ as a western movie,” says the maestro through a translator. “In my opinion, it’s not a western movie, but an adventure movie set in a particular moment in American history that is after the war of secession. And [more than 30 years] after my last western score, I didn’t want to repeat myself, to resemble what I had done for Sergio Leone or the other western movies. “In my opinion, if you were to label this movie, it would be an adventure, a drama, with some irony inside.” Indeed, the “Hateful” score belongs much more to a twisty chamber mystery, as Tarantino has described his film, than an ultra-macho cowboy shootout saga. It combines harpsichord-like tiptoeing sounds and gravitas-imbuing strings with a repeating woodwinds theme straight out of a whodunit. “What I wanted to do with the two bassoons at first — and later there is a tuba and later on the contrabassoon and then the trumpet, and in the end, the male voices — I wanted to de-traumatize the dramatic content of the music,” says Morricone. “To add something lighter, more curious, more interesting. The contents of the theme remain tragic and dramatic, but the way these instruments are played,

Kevin Mazur Getty Images for Universal Music

to the extreme ranges of their timbre, makes them quite lighter and ironic.” Morricone has more than 500 scoring credits in a career spanning more than 60 years. And at 87, he’s not appreciably slowing down. Counting shorts and documentaries, he has 20 credits in the last five years. He has scored many major American and French films and composed more than 100 classical works, selling more than 70 million records globally. His exquisite work for Roland Joffé’s “The Mission” (1986) is No. 23 among AFI’s 25 Greatest Film Scores of All Time. And that doesn’t include the countless times his iconic themes have been parodied, referred to, or appropriated outright by filmmakers, including Tarantino. Morricone has previously been quoted as criticizing Tarantino’s use of his music in the auteur’s films — published reports had him saying Tarantino “places music in his films without coherence,” among other things, at a Rome university in 2013. That’s apparently all in the past, as the maestro now happily cites Tarantino’s use of his “Città Violenta” in “Django Unchained” and “Rabbia e Tarantella,” from the film “Allonsanfàn,” in “Inglourious Basterds.”

“Those were examples of which I really appreciated the way Tarantino used the music,” he says, adding, “Tarantino made something very special for this movie because the 70-millimeter version of the film starts with a musical overture; just a fixed image on the screen and you just have music. I really appreciated it. “And also, the use of the music entitled ‘Snow’ is used very effectively in all the snow-covered sequences.” At the time he was writing for the film, however, Morricone was scoring blind — he worked only from the page. “It is true, this music score has been written just on a reading of the script,” he allows, “but it was a very, very careful and accurate reading of the script. In addition to that, this script was full of many, many details. It was such a bulky script because every single sequence, every single gesture of every single actor was described in many, many details. It gave me a good idea what the film would look like. “I didn’t compose them knowing the sequences they were intended for; I just gave Mr. Tarantino the music and then Mr. Tarantino was very, very good at actually selecting the pieces of music and putting

them in the sequences and editing them in a very brilliant way, as he had done in the past with the other pieces of music I had composed for other films.” Morricone relished the freedom the auteur gave him, allowing him to compose freely, without “any special indication; he didn’t ask me for anything precise. Because of this freedom, I took the time to think carefully about what I wanted to do.” The composer received an honorary Oscar in 2007 to go along with three Golden Globes (including for “Hateful Eight”), four Grammys, five BAFTAs and 10 David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s highest film honor. “Awards in general are important for composers; they work silently, unseen, they are in the background,” he says. “But the music can be actually appreciated and duly recognized only if the director makes good use of the music. “Sometimes you can compose great music, but in the editing and cutting of the film, it is not well placed so the audience cannot listen to it, so the music is worthless.”

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THEENVELOPE.COM THE COMPOSERS

CARTER BURWELL is nominated for an Academy Award for his score for “Carol.” He also worked on “Anomalisa,” “Mr. Holmes” and “Legend.”

cense to do that.” Burwell had more than license in collaborating with Kaufman on the stop-motion “Anomalisa.” The project began 10 years ago, when Burwell was considering retiring from film composing. The composer, who had scored the Kaufman-scripted film “Adaptation,” asked the writer to come up with something he might score for staged readings. Kaufman pledged a oneact play, and “Anomalisa” was born. “In the end, the important thing in the music was to really be there with the emotional life of these characters,” says Burwell. “The music is there to coax the audience into opening their hearts to these

characters who have, although they’re puppets, opened their hearts to you.” The film’s delicate balance is embodied in tracks such as “Fregoli Bar.” It’s the kind of lounge-lizard piano-bar tinkling that could evoke laughter, but it’s also touched with moments of lonely, empty-chambered beauty. That title will also have haunting significance to viewers who investigate it — not recommended until after watching the film. “You could judge that piece as kitschy, and it is, and there are any number of ways you could dismiss the characters — Lisa [Jennifer Jason Leigh, in a quietly heart-

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arter Burwell doesn’t usually write the kind of big, sweeping music one associates with Oscar scores; he settles into the films he works on and provides colors that might have otherwise been missing from their palettes — like subtext. “Some people assume our job is to echo whatever’s going on on-screen,” says the soft-spoken composer in an interview with The Envelope. “Someone gets punched and the music goes, ‘Bwamm!’ They fall in love and the strings swell. “My favorite thing to do is to play something you’re not seeing and to contribute some new information.” Burwell has forged long collaborations with directors such as the Coen brothers, Todd Haynes, Bill Condon and writer-director Charlie Kaufman, among others. For Haynes’ drama “Carol,” the story of an emerging lesbian love amid the social repression of the 1950s, Burwell provides the sort of subtext he describes. “Todd would agree: These characters don’t really have the vocabulary necessary to say what they’re [feeling], it hasn’t been developed for them,” he says. “I think one thing Patricia Highsmith did in writing this book was to help develop it.” Burwell’s periodish gentle jazz score, for which he received his first Oscar nomination, also features the solo piano of “To Carol’s,” accompanying Therese (Rooney Mara) and Carol’s (Cate Blanchett) cab ride in a kind of emotion-drunk daze. “Todd shot it very subjectively,” says Burwell, “so I took that as an opportunity to write something that wouldn’t be of the period. It would be about how, in those situations, time dissolves and feelings build up. “It’s a piano piece, but the left hand is playing this rhythm that piles up into a cloud of notes. I used these delays to have the notes accumulate and accumulate and accumulate until you can’t really tell where the beat is anymore. That was supposed to suggest that feeling of, ‘Time no longer exists, we’re in this special state.’ “They shot it in a way that gave me li-

breaking vocal performance] constantly dismisses herself as being boring and unintelligent and ugly,” says the composer. “But that’s the point of the film, to force you to confront things and people you might dismiss and just go with them and see the beauty in them.” Of Burwell’s four scores this year, “Mr. Holmes” might be the most conventional. But that doesn’t mean the subtle music for Condon’s chronicle of the great detective’s twilight years is elementary. “It’s 1946, so he’s got his feet in two centuries,” says Burwell. “So the music is clearly pointing backwards, but sometimes it’s saying, ‘This is the 20th century,’ taking 20th century approaches to harmony and rhythm. “The main theme is Holmesian; it turns back upon itself, it has its mysteries. I think you could see it being in a Sherlock Holmes film, but it does sometimes kind of stall and fall apart because that’s what’s happening to him,” says Burwell. Meanwhile, the score for the ’60s-England-set gangster movie “Legend” is neither the British Invasion flavor one might expect (Burwell laughs as he accepts the description of it as “proto-Swinging-London-jazz-rock”), nor high-tension, shoot-’em-up music. “The relationship between the brothers is the heart of the movie, not the gangland stuff,” he says. “Reg can’t leave, not just because they have a business together, but because Ron can’t exist without him. As much as Ron’s a violent psychopath, he’s a fragile violent psychopath. I didn’t necessarily see him that way; it was [writer-director] Brian Helgeland. “I had written this theme for [the love interest], this guitar ballad, and he said, ‘Let’s put that against Ron.’ I would never have dreamed of it, but it really brought out his vulnerability and changed the way I thought of the character.” Burwell says the music is also about growing up. “Ron and Reg are living like they’re kids. It’s the great thing about being a gangster; it’s all candy — candy and violence.”

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CREATING ATMOSPHERE


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THEENVELOPE.COM THE CONTENDERS

FEELING FRESH AS A DAISY By Gregory Ellwood

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o suggest that after almost 40 years as a professional actor Jennifer Jason Leigh is excited about her first Oscar nomination for her role as Daisy Domergue in “The Hateful Eight” is something of an understatement. “The nomination from something that is so lovely to happen in my life, especially this time in my life. It’s kind of phenomenal,” Leigh says. “It also keeps the movie alive for me and it keeps all of those connections still happening like it’s not over yet. That’s nice because I’m really not ready to let go of the movie.” The Hollywood native has earned critical acclaim over her career for roles in films such as “Short Cuts,” “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle,” “Georgia” and “Margot at the Wedding,” but when she received an email that Quentin Tarantino was interested in having her audition for his latest western, she knew just how big an opportunity it was. After reading the script — which was purposely missing its third, twisty chapter — she wasn’t exactly clear on what Tarantino was looking for in Daisy, but she thought the character was “somewhat feral.” It turned out Tarantino wasn’t so sure about who Daisy was either. “He knew that I could, in his words, ‘act the … out of it’ and I’m not afraid to take a risk in terms of acting,” Leigh recalls. “He wanted us to find her very slowly and so really there was no reaching, but that I would own Daisy in such a way, know her so well that I could do sort of anything.” That was a slow process but Leigh appreciated that Daisy doesn’t speak very much until the bloody third act. “That’s something that’s easy for me because I don’t like talking that much. I like talking with my friends, obviously, and my family, but I play things very close to the chest and I’m very private.” Tarantino continuously demonstrated his confidence in Leigh’s ability, including playing guitar for the first time in her life during one of the film’s key scenes. She notes, “I think it’s one of the most brilliant things he did for me as an actress was to give me this task that was kind of insurmountable. I mean I’d never even held a guitar before.” Leigh studied diligently and eventually performed for her friend Mare Winningham,

who Leigh says “plays guitar like nobody’s business and can sing beautifully.” Winningham said the song she was playing, which required picking with both hands, wasn’t easy. “I remember Mare taking a long pause and she must have just felt the dread in my voice over the phone,” Leigh recalls. “She said, ‘But you can do it.’ I was scared and I did not want to disappoint Quentin. Quentin gave me the role of a lifetime. This was something that was important to him.” Leigh also had the good fortune of having Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s “Anomalisa” hit theaters this last year. The stopmotion animated drama was a critical darling and earned an Academy Award nomination for animated feature film. Many critics suggested Leigh deserved Oscar attention for her vocal performance in the film, which might have been a surprise benefit for her “Hateful Eight” candidacy. She’d played the endearing Lisa 10 years prior to making the feature during a live reading at UCLA’s Royce Hall, but watching the actual film for the first time was a surprisingly emotional experience. “I voiced it but I had never seen it; I’d only had the experience of playing Lisa, I never had to see her,” Leigh says. “It’s groundbreaking, I think in a way, that movie.” And yet it’s the experience of making “Hateful Eight” that seems to resonate with her the most. “There was one day I was in a stagecoach for literally four hours and the stagecoach was not heated,” she says. “It just seemed like a lot [of effort] to get out and walk to the heating tent. I just stayed there. I remember one day, I can’t feel my feet and I was thinking maybe this wasn’t the best decision, but it is the decision I made nonetheless.”

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JENNIFER

Jason Leigh calls her Oscar nomination “phenomenal.”

Kirk McKoy

Los Angeles Times


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VIEWS OF THE WORLD A quick look at the other foreign-language Oscar nominees:

‘Mustang’ | France It’s a French entry, although it was shot in Turkey and is in the Turkish language. In unrelenting melancholy, it relates the slow slide into desperation of five sisters sequestered by ultraconservative guardians. It is colored by shades of “The Virgin Suicides,” last year’s quirky documentary “The Wolf Pack” and even a chronically depressed “Pride and Prejudice.”

By Michael Ordoña

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he Holocaust is a wound that can never seem to heal, and some would argue that it should never be allowed to — that keeping it fresh keeps it from ever happening again. In “Son of Saul,” the Oscar-nominated film from Hungary, director László Nemes newly illuminates those horrors by going inside the very heart of Auschwitz. The titular Saul is a member of the Sonderkommando, groups of prisoners at Auschwitz and other death camps who were forced to participate in the herding of other prisoners into the gas chambers, rifle through their belongings and dispose of their remains. Nemes, who also co-wrote the screenplay, drops the viewer into the experience, using hand-held, close-to-the-subject camerawork with short focus to reveal information only as Saul receives it. Sound de-

sign by Tamás Zányi simultaneously immerses the viewer in the soul-destroying machinery and increases the desperate disorientation that strips the prisoners of their humanity. “The very starting point was when I read the so-called Scrolls of Auschwitz, the manuscript of the Sonderkommando, which they put in the ground and were found after the war,” says Nemes. “These texts are so immersive. It transports you as a reader directly to the heart of the extermination machine. You feel it is happening here and now.” Nemes chose his first-person approach to convey “the visceral experience of the camp,” saying that usually in Holocaust films, “it’s not the situation of the individual that has been conveyed, but rather the collective experience, with some distance. The only thing that can be approached with honesty, really, in cinema is the individual. I hoped to give it human measure.” One result is a deeper understanding of how prisoners could bring themselves to

serve in the Sonderkommando. The deeply traumatized Saul emotionlessly goes about his frenzied work until a discovery sends him on a near-impossible quest. “All these things combine to deprive the individual of thinking. The individual can only feel. The ‘thinking’ comes from the postwar [looks back at history]. People become sort of robots. That was also something that guided us: how to be in the scenes and not project postwar emotion onto this.” The immediate, real-time feeling of the film necessitated realistic locations, so a concentration camp set was constructed in Eastern Europe. “I think it was difficult for everybody to be there,” says Nemes. “It was not in a studio. All the levels were interconnected. We had the feeling of being in a real place, not on a movie set. I think it was difficult, but they had a sense of mission. It was part of the experience.”

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‘A War’ | Denmark Dual focus on a well-intentioned commander of Danish soldiers in Afghanistan and his family, missing him at home — until a fateful decision both brings the family together and threatens to split it apart. The film comments on how perspectives of tragedy and justice are related to proximity.

‘Embrace of the Serpent’ | Colombia The last survivor of an Amazonian tribe interacts with European scientists at two distinct periods in his life. Shot in black and white, the tale unfolds from the unique perspective of the indigenous Karamakate.

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FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILMS

An adventure story about a Bedouin child in World War I-era Jordan who, along with his beloved older brother, must survive not only the desert but also the various human factions that are threatening their lives.

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GÉZA RÖHRIG, left, as the title character in “Son of Saul,” is a death camp prisoner and Sonderkommando member.

‘Theeb’ | Jordan

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THEENVELOPE.COM OSCAR MOMENTS

WHAT SETS THEM APART BY RANDEE DAWN >>> An Academy Award-winning performance doesn’t take place in a single scene, but the right mix of a great

acting job plus a steady hand by the director can guide a well-crafted role right into that sweetest of spots. Yet often whether a performance is extraordinary or merely good can, in fact, come down to just a matter of key moments on-screen. Here are what the producers, directors and writers behind this year’s lead acting nominees think are the moments their stars hit their marks above and beyond the call.

Cate Blanchett | “Carol”

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The setup: Carol (Blanchett) has a hard time staying quiet while her fate as a mother is discussed by a roomful of men in a lawyer’s office and finds a way to gain the moral high ground. Key scene: “When she interrupts their literal, and figurative, male narrative and says, ‘Can I speak,’ that is such an outrageous thing for her to say. She delivers a speech that is so full of defiance and vulnerability, speaking with such eloquence and clarity — while almost not being able to speak at all. It’s a master class in acting. From that moment in the film she goes into battle at great, great cost.” — Elizabeth Karlsen, producer

Weinstein Co. 20th Century Fox

Matt Damon | “The Martian” The setup: After being trapped on Mars for an extended period, botanist and astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) finally is to be rescued. Key scene: “The scene in the capsule just before he takes off at the end of the movie is the first time he’s allowed himself to break down and face his fear after facing death for as long as he did on the alien planet. It’s so emotional and human and vulnerable, yet you see him pull himself back together. Matt inhabits a full spectrum of emotion and fear and courage in that scene. He’s so human.” — Simon Kinberg, producer

Charlotte Rampling | “45 Years”

20th Century Fox

Jennifer Lawrence | “Joy” The setup: Budding entrepreneur Joy (Lawrence) is distraught and shears her hair — then strides into a hotel for a confrontation that will shape her life. Key scene: “I wanted there to be a whole, ‘I don’t need to assume there’s anything I can’t do because I’m a woman’ moment — and that’s the moment Jennifer does that. She transforms her psyche. It’s not like Jennifer does anything specific, but in a very believable real way she lets you read her soul. It’s almost like you can see her subconscious and unconscious giving her the power and strength and fearlessness to do that in that moment.” — John Davis, producer

The setup: Kate (Rampling) receives disturbing news from her longtime husband Jeff (Tom Courtenay) after the body of his former girlfriend is discovered. Key scene: “We always saw this initial reveal as a quiet explosion, and slowly throughout the film the ripples affect the characters and Kate starts to fall apart. We see on Charlotte’s face the beginnings of her doubts and fears appearing from underneath; she’s great at showing these small existential crises coming out, then being pushed back down again.” — Andrew Haigh, director

Sundance Selects


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THEENVELOPE.COM Bryan Cranston | “Trumbo”

Saoirse Ronan | “Brooklyn”

The setup: Blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) decides to finally take credit for a film he wrote (and won an Academy Award for).

The setup: After leaving her homeland of Ireland for possibly the last time, Eilis (Ronan) faces her future as an adult when a nervous young woman on her first crossing speaks with her. Key scene: “She asks if Eilis is moving to America; has she heard of Brooklyn — and you can see in Saoirse that this conversation is the last thing she needs right now. But she makes this choice to be kind. Her eyes flick down and something softens around her. You realize in that moment she’s turned into that experienced woman. It was like watch-

Brie Larson | “Room”

Caitlin Cronenberg A24

shed: That there is an outside world and they must escape into it. Key scene: “When he refuses [to believe her], she is overcome by despair and resentment — and in a moment of total nakedness, Ma is gone and we see for the first time Joy: young, helpless, totally out of her depth. Brie is magnificent here. We can feel her panic, see her hope crumble. It’s the sheer immediate truthfulness of her performance that floored me on the day, in the edit and still does today.” — Lenny Abrahamson, director

Key scene: “The intense range of emotion Leo conveys, all without any dialogue, still haunts me. He lays down next to his son to die with him, a heartbreaking moment. But Glass can’t die and Leo opens his eyes, shifting into something very primal and summoning the will to say goodbye to his son. It’s an unforgettable scene where Leo makes you feel everything Glass is going through in a very powerful and memorable way, all with his eyes.” — Mary Parent, producer

Kimberley French 20th Century Fox

Michael Fassbender | “Steve Jobs”

Eddie Redmayne | “The Danish Girl”

The setup: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) is once again asking for Steve Jobs (Fassbender) to acknowledge the Apple II team’s contributions as he introduces the iMac. But unlike their other spats, this one is happening in front of a room of Apple staff.

The setup: Einar (Redmayne) steps in to model for his wife’s painting and dons the outfit meant for the absent female model, realizing a surprising truth about himself. Key scene: “This moment was utterly key in terms of reconnecting with her authentic self. This is about a long-repressed trans self that is awakened and I told Eddie it was about balancing pain and joy, or shame and hope. But a door is opening in Lili’s mind, and the whole scene is on a knife’s edge. Eddie brilliantly balances these competing pulls and tensions, and that’s the joy of the scene.” — Tom Hooper, director

Key scene: “The scene gets at the heart of the difference between Steve and Woz and the tension that’s run through their relationship for years. Woz says, ‘The things you make are better than you are, my friend.’ And Steve says, ‘That’s the idea, my friend.’ Michael plays the scene still, calm and in control — no matter how much his integrity is attacked. It’s an electric moment.” — Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter

Francois Duhamel Universal Pictures

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The setup: Ma (Larson) has to reveal a startling truth to her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who has grown up inside a

The setup: After crawling out of the grave his son’s murderer has buried him in, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) discovers his son’s body left out in the snow.

Focus Features

latimes.com/oscarmoments Watch the scenes

Go online to see each scene singled out for the 10 lead acting nominees.

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Leonardo DiCaprio | “The Revenant”

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Hilary Bronwyn Gayle

Fox Searchlight Pictures

ing a master archer hit a bull’s-eye. I never fail to shed a tear looking at that scene.” — John Crowley, director

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Key scene: “The interview we re-created here is readily available now on YouTube. Bryan knew that his portrayal could easily be compared to the real Trumbo. We were determined not to mimic Dalton but to try to channel the man. Trumbo was an incredibly complicated man, with a wide range of both virtues and faults. To portray this larger-than-life, extraordinary artist, Bryan held nothing back. I think he blew the doors off.” — Jay Roach, director


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ELUSIVE FIGURE FASSBENDER,

caught mid-jump in New York City, says the biopic viewed Jobs as needing to have control. Photographs by

Robert Caplin For The Times

Even though Michael Fassbender played Steve Jobs, the actor freely admits that he still isn’t sure what made the iconoclastic co-founder of Apple tick By Glenn Whipp

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EW YORK CITY — Every time Michael Fassbender talks about his iPhone — and, since he played Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in the audacious biopic “Steve Jobs,” the subject comes up now and then these days — the 38-year-old actor reflexively pats the front pocket of his dark blue jeans just to make sure the device is still there. ¶ “I’ve lost so many of them,” Fassbender says, laughing and, with a wave of his hand, adding, “they come and they go.” ¶ It’s autumn in New York and we’re speaking the day after “Jobs’ ” gala screening at the New York Film Festival. Fassbender, sporting a few days’ worth of beard and wearing a T-shirt and cable-knit pullover, looks suitably disheveled from the revelry of the previous evening. ¶ He and director Danny Boyle, whose beaming enthusiasm could work wonders on the most severely sleep-deprived, have reconvened to talk about “Jobs,” which opened to rave reviews and


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“It’s having no control,” Jobs responds. “You find out you were out of the loop when the most crucial events in your life were set in motion. As long as you have control, I don’t understand people who give it up.” Says Fassbender: “That line about control, that means everything, especially because he’s saying it to John Sculley, who is this paternal figure. You want to know

about this man who dragged the world of technology into his vision? It’s right there.” But in the next breath, Fassbender freely admits that he has no idea who Jobs really was and that whatever impressions he has of the man came through Sorkin’s script as filtered through Isaacson’s book. “And I’ve met enough people now, having seen them through the prism of the media and then actually meeting them,

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when it comes to scrutiny, tech companies shouldn’t get a pass.

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DANNY BOYLE, whose film was criticized in Silicon Valley, says that

thinking, ‘Wow. That’s a different person,’ ” Fassbender says. “You take it all with a grain of salt.” That bone-deep skepticism extends to serious misgivings about technology. And Boyle, who labels Apple’s ideology of “product line as philosophy” as dangerous and calls Dave Eggers’ 2013 Orwellian tech novel “The Circle” prophetic, is right there with him. “We don’t have any problem being cynical about banks and oil and pharmaceutical companies, but somehow everything Google and Apple does is completely benign,” Boyle says. “It bears watching.” Boyle points to the movie’s first segment, the anxiety-ridden unveiling of the first Macintosh in 1984, as ground zero for this insidious consumerism. We see Jobs pointing to the little computer, telling colleagues that it resembles a friendly face with the disk slot being its goofy grin. It’s a classic example of Jobs’ determination to convince people to see things as he sees them (Andy Hertzfeld, a member of the original Mac design team, called it Jobs’ “reality distortion field”), even if, as Boyle notes, that disk slot bears little resemblance to a whimsical smile. “He wanted people to see the Macintosh as a toy because, before this, computers were perfunctory and gray and scary,” Boyle says. “But if it’s a toy, then you can develop an emotional relationship with it.” “A friend of mine put stickers on his computer that say, ‘This is a tool. It’s not a relationship,’ ” Fassbender says. He laughs. “You could say he doesn’t buy into that vision.” Fassbender doesn’t either. Going out to meals, he has a rule: no phones. If somebody at the table brings one out, the actor will politely ask them to put it away. And when he’s on vacation or working, he turns his devices off. And since he’s almost always working (“Jobs” was his third movie last year; he’ll likely have at least four in 2016), people know not to expect an immediate reply. “The levels of communication now, whether it’s texting, answering the phone, emailing, twittering … where does one find the time?” Fassbender asks. “It’s an annoyance. Bing! Bing! Bing! We’d all be in a better place mentally, I think, if we just turned them off and looked at each other.” For the record: He didn’t check his phone once in the hour we spent together.

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intense media interest but scant box-office returns. It had all the makings of an event film, only, for many, the invitation got lost somewhere along the way. We chat a little about Jobs’ creations. Boyle’s daughter gave him an iPod years ago as a gift, inscription and everything, and it’s loaded with songs from the Clash, including the filmmaker’s favorite, “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais.” (In the interest of equal time: Fassbender chooses Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.”) That thread leads to Bob Dylan, an artist Jobs worshiped and whose music is prominently featured in the film. “Are they expensive, the Dylan songs?” Fassbender asks. “He was wonderful,” Boyle answers. “He’s repaying some of Jobs’ faith in him. He gave us the songs really cheap. He helped a lot.” He pauses and frowns, turning dark. “And we’ve not had the help of a lot of people.” Indeed. Critics loved the film’s threeact dissection of the Apple co-founder’s rise and ruthlessness and the ways his genius could, simultaneously, inspire and alienate those closest to him. (The film academy responded with a lead actor nomination for Fassbender and a supporting nod for his costar Kate Winslet.) But some of Jobs’ intimates — notably, his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, and many prominent Silicon Valley figures — attacked the movie, calling it fictional and defamatory. “Apple is a huge corporation,” Boyle says of the criticism, “and they like to have control of stuff. That’s why this movie is important: Everybody’s answerable, especially a figure like this.” But answerable to what exactly? Divided into three chapters, each taking place before a product launch, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay takes Walter Isaacson’s Jobs biography and paints its title character as a brooding, complicated control freak, brilliant in understanding consumers but clueless at comprehending those close to him. Fassbender says the real clue to perceiving the film’s vision of Jobs comes in a scene in which Apple Chief Executive John Sculley (played by Jeff Daniels), who in the film functions as a father figure to Jobs, confronts him over his lingering hurt about being adopted. “It’s not like the baby is born, the parents look and say, ‘No, we’re not interested in this one,’ ” Sculley tells him. “Someone did choose you.”

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MARK Ruffalo, left, and “Spotlight” writer-director Tom McCarthy discuss their film. Francine Orr Los Angeles Times

A SPOTLIGHT ON INJUSTICE BY MICHAEL ORDOÑA >>> No car chases. No fistfights. Not even an illicit affair. The makers of “Spotlight” stuck to the facts, believing the unvarnished story of Boston Globe reporters uncovering child sex abuse within the Catholic Church would be compelling enough. ¶ “In many ways, the film is a study of craft, and that craft is professional journalism,” says Oscar-nominated director and co-writer Tom McCarthy. “We just took our inspiration from the actual reporting. We weren’t trying to, um …” ¶ “Sex it up,” offers Oscar-nominated co-star Mark Ruffalo, sitting beside his director in a booth before the bar opens at the Sunset Tower Hotel. ¶ “Yeah, or to sensationalize it in any way to make it any more entertaining,” McCarthy says. “We thought, there’s enough ‘entertainment’ value in the story, in the subject matter. And the importance of the story. ¶ “We had to be really patient and trust the audience to come to us, to come to the material. That was probably the big gamble, that we had a really strong screenplay and an incredible ensemble of actors we knew would bring a lot of humanity to this.” ¶ The bet paid off,


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— M ARK R UFFALO ,

who plays a Boston Globe reporter investigating the Catholic Church child sex-abuse scandal

Indeed, the film’s depiction of an entrenched institution actively covering up and even enabling unspeakable crimes against children has gone largely unchallenged. “Because it can’t be,” says Ruffalo, defiantly. “I don’t know one person who sat in that audience and doesn’t feel the moral authority of that movie by the time it’s over, who can say, ‘That didn’t happen.’ ” Ruffalo and McCarthy both say survivors of abuse have thanked them for the film, Ruffalo relating the words of one grateful female viewer: “ ‘When I came out,

everyone called me a liar, called me a fraud. They said it never happened. So many people were afraid to come forward because they saw the way I was treated.’ “I’ve rarely had such a positive response to a movie, and so much outrage,” says the actor. “When people see that Cardinal Law [archbishop emeritus of Boston] basically went to the Vatican to live in a palace to end his career, they can’t believe it. The outrage is constant.” McCarthy says, “A lot of us involved in this project, that sense of injustice gets us going.

“I don’t like when people cut in traffic,” he says, then the laugh dies away. “So when something this horrific and tragic, especially when it happens to vulnerable children … there’s something about the mechanism involved that allowed this to happen for so long — it’s so unjust; it’s so unfair. “The reporters felt when they were writing the stories, and we felt when we were making the movie, we thought, ‘We’ve got one shot to make this clear and make our imprint. And I hope we can get it right.’ ”

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‘I’ve rarely had such a positive response to a movie, and so much outrage.’

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Kerry Hayes Open Road Films

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as the film has collected laurels across the board, including the top Screen Actors Guild Award for its stellar ensemble work. It is now among the front-runners for the best picture Oscar, and is reverberating outside of Hollywood as well: Earlier this month, the film screened for a Vatican commission on clerical sex abuse. Despite the compelling nature of its David-versus-Goliath portrayal of “blue-collar” journalists, as Ruffalo describes them, up against the Church in the Catholic stronghold of Boston, the filmmakers still received notes about how to “improve” the film. For instance, although the characters are real people, one suggestion had been for Ruffalo’s Mike Rezendes and fellow nominee Rachel McAdams’ Sacha Pfeiffer to have an affair. Hearing this, apparently for the first time, an incredulous Ruffalo turns to his director, “Are you joking?” “We had a lot of those,” says McCarthy, confirming the unheeded advice. “We had ones that said, ‘Can you make the Church a more active antagonist?’ It made the challenge a little more high-wire in that regard, trying to find that pressure and tension without an evil priest running around knocking reporters off, you know? But again, I just kept leaning on the material.” Both men trumpet the value of investigative journalism and agree on the seriousness of the actual reporters’ demeanor, again not exactly the stuff of box-office gold. Ruffalo says his director “told us, these guys have a really flat way of talking. They don’t use language the way you guys do. “I spent a few days with [Rezendes], watching him work a really important story. All these young men were being killed at Bridgewater, this criminal state psychiatric home. He basically uncovered [the guards] were being so brutally rough with them. He changed the law, he changed that whole institution with three choice stories. “It was inspiring, and at the same time, so workaday. There’s nothing glamorous about it; it’s just one step in front of the next, all the way up the mountain. There’s no magic in it.” The filmmakers have been praised, including by the real journalists being portrayed, for capturing the essence of reporting work, complete with its occasional drudgery. “The closer you could stay to the truth, the simple, unvarnished truth, the less ability people who don’t want the story to get out in the world have of hurting it, keeping it from reaching the people,” says Ruffalo.

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FORTRESS MOUNTAIN, ALBERTA, CANADA, UNDER AURORA BOREALIS

“That was incredible. I’d never seen an aurora borealis before. We were almost at the end of the shoot, running out of snow, so we had to go up to this place called Fortress Mountain — 8,000 feet, almost to the top of the highest mountain in that area. The actors left, and while we were picking up the gear, we suddenly started seeing the aurora borealis. It was pretty spectacular. I ran to the camera Ski-Doo, and I realized the camera was already going down the mountain. Suddenly, we started seeing the green reflection of the aurora borealis in these massive walls that are thousands of feet tall. It looked incredibly mysterious. You cannot even think about it if you are doing a movie in the studio, that you are going to shoot the reflection of the aurora borealis in the wall of a mountain. It’s an incredible miracle that happened right in front of us.”

Photographs by

Emmanuel Lubezki

SHARING THE THRILL OF IT ALL BY SAM ADAMS >>> Even those who didn’t embrace the brutality of “The Revenant,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s frontier story of survival, surely will concede that the movie’s images are stunning — and, as captured by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and his crew, are a must to experience on the big screen. But if the 193,000 people who follow Lubezki on Instagram are any indication, his images can be just as powerful on a smartphone. Lubezki, who after consecutive Oscar wins for “Gravity” and “Birdman” could be the first cinematographer to take home the prize three years in a row, uses the photo-sharing site as a visual on-set diary, catching moments between filming that enrich and expand his movies’ already heady visuals. Looking at these stills created while shooting “The Revenant” in Canada and Argentina (and, for the most part, titled here as he has them on Instagram), Lubezki reflects in an interview with The Envelope on the rigors of the notoriously difficult shoot, the ephemerality of nature’s beauty, and why the best moments are often the ones when the cameras aren’t rolling.

SUN LIT CLOUDS

“We were waiting for Leo and his team to come to the set to rehearse, and suddenly these incredible clouds, this incredible light happened right in front of us. Again, it’s those moments that you are not really shooting. You are just waiting to make the movie.”


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“We were looking for a burned forest. There are big areas in that part of Canada that were burnt by a big fire that happened just a couple years ago, but they are very hard to access, so we had to rent a helicopter to fly around and get to this place. What I love is all these different textures that you can see: the flat ice, the frozen lake in the distance, and in the foreground you have all these trees. We scouted, it was a very hard walk, because the snow was very high. It took hours to recon the place. A couple weeks later, we decided it was too hard to get the crew there, and we shot the scene somewhere else that wasn’t as beautiful as this.”

Emmanuel Lubezki/

FACES OF REVENANT #14

FOREST WITH HORSES

-27 CELSIUS

“When you work with very good people, you can see the transformation of the extras and all the people into characters — the makeup, the hair and, in this case, the incredible costumes. But there was something else this time. I felt that the people coming were much more than extras. They were people that knew the land, and people that had a lot of respect for this story. It’s hard to tell you, and that’s why I sometimes don’t like to talk about it; it’s something you can see in the photos but you cannot explain with words. This photo, it’s a man that came from the north of Argentina to work in the movie, and were shooting in the south of Argentina, in Ushuaia, so it’s thousands of miles away, and I just thought he had a very powerful face.”

“We saw this forest many times while we were driving from one location to another. It’s a very special forest because it’s sick, one that has been attacked by some insects. It’s a very weird color. The trunks look almost lead-ish, metallic, and there is no growth underneath, and they have almost no leaves. So it’s very graphic. You have a lot of depth. You can see one kilometer deep. We didn’t want to use artificial light at all. [But] there was a big bright light that we had put there just for the crew and horsemen to be able to know where we were for between the takes. So this happened before we turned that artificial light off. It’s beautiful because it’s a single source, which you are not sure what it is, if it’s an artificial light or the sun or the moon, and you can see the shadows of the trunks towards the lens and the little silhouettes of the horses.”

“It was already winter. The days were close to 0, -4, -5. We said, ‘Oh, we’re going to triumph. This winter is incredible because it’s snowing, it looks beautiful, and it’s very manageable.’ And the next day, boom, the weather changed, and it dipped into -27, even during the day. It became very hard to work. It was the first shock. It really brought fear to us because at that point, we didn’t know what to expect anymore. The river that surrounded our location started freezing into chunks of ice, and the river started to go off its course and started flooding our location. It was one of the main locations, where [the characters in the film] Fitzgerald and Bridger abandon Glass. It was a little peninsula surrounded by water, and it started to disappear. We had to evacuate the crew. And then we had a couple days where the weather got even worse.”

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“Every time we start a movie with Alejandro, we have a little ritual that he invented. It’s very beautiful and very moving. It’s not religious. It is spiritual. And it really helps everybody to know how passionate he is about the movie and it gets people close together. On top of that, we were working in native lands, and we had a couple of Native American people in the crew, who were not only acting in the movie but trying to keep us honest. Part of the day was to meet each other, and Craig Falcon, the gentleman that is doing the blessing, had invited some elder people and was blessing the movie and blessing the set and thanking the gods for allowing us to be there and protecting us.”

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BLESSINGS

“[Production designer] Jack Fisk made this small dwelling out of wood and we had some propane inside. That afternoon, we started playing with the actors and suddenly I said, “Why don’t we use fire?” So we started playing with fire, me telling them to burn the walls of the dwelling. We asked for a little more, and suddenly the dwelling caught on fire. And the moment that the fire was real, and not organized by the effects people, it started to be more magical and more interesting. Then we got a gust of wind and we couldn’t control the fire anymore. The special effects guy said if we don’t shut it down, it’s going to burn the dwelling, we won’t be able to use it again. It doesn’t matter. Let it burn.”

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DWELLING ABLAZE


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NO TIME TO SLOW DOWN By Margy Rochlin

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he reason South African-born film editor Margaret Sixel and her husband, director George Miller, slept in on the day the Oscar nominations were announced in L.A. is that they were at home in Sydney, Australia. Due to the time difference, they were up past midnight to learn they’d both been nominated. Though she’d collaborated with Miller before — Sixel edited “Babe: Pig in the City” (1998) and “Happy Feet” (2006) — “Mad Max: Fury Road” was her first action film, requiring a 10-hours-a-day, six-days-aweek schedule to shape the two hours of fast-paced excitement from roughly 470 hours of footage. When the whisperyvoiced Sixel was reached by phone recently, she spoke of her editing process, her dislike of repetition and what it’s like to live 7,500 miles from Hollywood and hear you’re up for a film editing Oscar. “It feels like we’re so far from the main action,” she said. “We’re used to it, but sometimes you still think, ‘Oh! They like us!’ ” While your husband was shooting on location in the Namib Desert of southern Africa, you were at home receiving daily shipments of footage and building the cut. Did you often discuss what footage you’d be getting? Or was it like unwrapping a present every morning? The film had been around for so long that we didn’t really have to talk a lot. We didn’t really have dailies because there was so much — there was 10 or 20 hours [worth] coming every day. You wouldn’t do any work if you watched them all. So I’d sort of triple-speed through the [footage] so I could actually do some work. How many cameras were filming at any given time? Sometimes we had 12 cameras, sometimes 20, in any given scene. [George] was incredibly grateful to [director of photography] Johnny Seale — and so was I — because there were so many options. In many ways, it created a rhythm in the film. It couldn’t have happened without all those camera angles.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

AN ABUNDANCE of cameras helped create a rhythm in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” says film editor Margaret Sixel.

Meaning? If you cover a scene with just two cameras, your cutting pattern is slower than when you’ve got five to 10 angles. For instance, when Warner Bros. Pictures Max falls off the top of the War SIXEL’S not a fan of meaningRig and Furiosa less cutting. grabs him? It was difficult to cut because you never had a master shot. But with the editing style and the action, you could do sharp cuts and quick cuts because you have so many camera angles. How closely did you follow the storyboards? I never really followed them. Believe it or not, George had to cut a lot of stuff when he was on set — and you didn’t often know what was being cut. For instance, the bogging of the War Rig. That was a huge sequence in the storyboards, but George was forced to cut big sections due to time pressures. I had heaps of the War Rig getting stuck, tires spinning, mud

spraying, and Max, Furiosa and the girls trying to lever the vehicle out of the mud, but little of the approaching war party. I thought, “There’s nothing to cut back to.” My solution eventually was to compress the whole segment and simplify it. Your husband says he wanted you to edit “Fury Road” because he wanted it to look like no other action film. He’s my biggest fan. He just likes everything I do. But I did bring my own sensibility to [“Fury Road”]. I’m not a Michael Bay fan. I don’t like meaningless cutting. It irritates me. The guys in the cutting room would laugh. Give an example. I’d cut a shot of the Interceptor out. [laughs] The V-8 Interceptor being Max’s supercharged car that first appeared in 1979 in “Mad Max”… We had a few hardcore fans in the cutting room and they’d [gasp] and say, “You can’t do that!” I’d say, “Why can’t I?” They’d say, “The fans want to see the Interceptor.” And I’d say, [groaning] “But it just slows everything down. Moving on here!” I wanted every single shot to prog-

ress the story. I don’t like repetition. And I think we applied that rule religiously throughout the film. The rule being “No similar shots”? Or ones that have no added information. I watched a film last night and they kept cutting back again and again and the expression on the actor’s face was exactly the same. I felt like, “You’ve used the shot three times already!” That’s what I don’t like. There’d better be some progress. How did your two teenage sons react to the fact that you were editing one of the most anticipated of action films? They weren’t too interested in “Happy Feet” .... It was like, “Oh, penguins.” But with this, they were fantastic. They’d come by the cutting room about 6 p.m. and watch the stuff over and over again. They were always like, “It’s going to be so good!” My eldest son, he was amazing. When we did the test audience screenings, he’d read all the comments and be like, “Yes, do that!” and “Don’t do that!” Warners kept saying, “We need him to come work with us.” He just predicted everything unbelievably well.

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For the title character, how many ages did you create? Larson: We did nine different stages. Robert, he was 47 when we shot the film. We put him back in time to be younger in three or four stages, and then we aged him. He wasn’t really ever in his own age. We made him either older or younger.

ROBERT GUSTAFSSON underwent nine stages of aging by makeup design-

ers Love Larson and Eva von Bahr for his role in “The 100-Year-Old Man.” How did you develop the different looks? Larson: We used a lot of reference, and I tried to find old people that have a similar look as he has. And we found a really good book about real 100-year-old people. And they look so fresh! Most of them looked like they were a bit over 80 or something. So that was really good because it’s easy to go a bit over the top with age makeup. But we didn’t want to overdo it. What was involved in the 100-year-old makeup? Larson: The oldest makeup involved 10 different pieces. And they were all silicone except for the nose and ears, which were gelatin. Von Bahr: Then we punched all the hair into his silicone bald cap. So that was shot in 30 days, and we had a new cap every day. Love fabricated the pieces with Oskar [Wallroth]. I punched the silicone

bald caps. It took me like half a day to do it, sometimes more. And sometimes, we just didn’t have time to do it, so I had to punch while going to set in the car. How did you create makeup that was flexible enough for him to express himself? Larson: We tend to do very, very soft pieces. We add something that’s called deadener that controls the softness of the silicone. Most people use about 150% or something like that. And we used around 220% or 230% deadener. They’re much harder to apply when the silicone is so soft, because it’s like putting on a bag of sand, almost. It’s hard to handle it. But when you’ve got it on, it moves so beautifully, it’s totally worth it. What about all those historical figures? Von Bahr: We didn’t want to use sili-

So how did it feel to get the Oscar nomination? Von Bahr: We were here in our workshop and we had the television on, and we looked when they were going to announce. And of course they read, “Mad Max.” And then all of a sudden, he just said, “And ‘The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.’ ” And we were shouting and screaming! And Oskar, he was jumping up and down! We were so happy, and we absolutely did not expect it. And we are really, really honored.

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When did you start working together? Von Bahr: That was about seven years ago. We were working on a movie and we met there. And then one thing led to another and now we’re married and have a kid! We try to work together as much as we can. Not always, but as much as we can.

Photographs from Music Box Films

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his year’s Oscar nominees for makeup and hairstyling are the quite expected “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Revenant,” along with a relatively obscure Swedish comedy. “The 100-YearOld Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” is about a man who celebrates his 100th birthday by, well, climbing out the window of a nursing home, going on the lam and tangling with a brutal biker gang. As it happens, he’s more than equipped for the adventure, having lived a Forrest Gump-like life that includes fighting in the Spanish Civil War, helping develop the atom bomb and serving as a double agent in the Cold War. The character challenged makeup designers Eva von Bahr and Love Larson not only to turn its lead actor (Robert Gustafsson) into a centenarian, but also to create a century’s worth of historical figures.

cone appliances or anything on them, just because we thought that that was not necessary, because the audience would know who it was supposed to look like. So we tried to keep it simple. We used lots of wigs, lots of hair work to achieve their looks. And then naturally, we tried to cast people as good as we can. The only one that was really difficult was Reagan. It was impossible to find a lookalike Reagan, for some reason. And we just did not have the time to do appliances to make Reagan. So we had to outsource that on another company that did him for us. But otherwise, we really wanted to keep it simple. Larson: For example, [Gorbachev] got his hairpiece. And we just gave him his birthmark forehead and tried to match the eyebrows — things that would make him recognizable as Gorbachev. [And] for example, Harry S. Truman, we made a toupee, a wig piece, and then found the Truman spectacles, glasses. It was small things. It would be very distracting to the audience if it was only a film with guys in prosthetics.

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SAM SMITH’S INSIGHTS INTO 007 Ricardo DeAratanha Los Angeles Times

By Glenn Whipp

S

am Smith eyes the cold and sinus shots before him and decides to enjoy his Earl Grey tea instead. “I’m British,” THE SINGER songwriter sees he says, “so I believe in the healing powers of a cuppa.” The singer, who won four Grammys last year, including “a bit of sadrecord and song of the year for his soulful, slow-building love anthem “Stay With Me,” has been bopping around ness” in both himself and the globe — London, Mexico City, Los Angeles — promoting his theme song for the James Bond movie, “Spec- Daniel Craig’s tre.” Smith says he’s tired and jet-lagged, but since he’s 23, the only apparent sign of exhaustion is a faint hint of James Bond. redness in his baby blues. ¶ Smith’s 007 song, “Writing’s on the Wall,” recently, remarkably, became the first Bond theme to ever top the U.K. charts. Managing to be at once intimate and epic, the song, which Smith co-wrote with Jimmy Napes and received an Oscar nomination for, is an attempt to tap the secret agent’s vulnerable side. ¶ “I feel like I was born with a bit of sadness in me — a good sadness, melancholy, not depressing,” Smith says. “And I think beneath his swagger, Bond has that as well. At least, the Daniel Craig Bond does.” ¶ Over the Earl Grey, the singer shared his thoughts on the music of the long-running film franchise, why Bond might keep a journal and where the singer-songwriter’s career is headed after being named best new artist at the 2015 Grammys.


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James Bond doesn’t strike me as a “Dear Diary” kind of guy. There’s something about Daniel Craig as Bond which is a bit more raw. You see Bond bleeding and dirty and hurt, especially in “Skyfall.” You see him in a raw, real way. “Real.” That’s the word that comes up a lot in my head. And I wanted to write a song that would show you can be the strongest, most powerful man in the world, but when it comes to love, it will defeat anyone and everyone. Unlike most Bond songs, you didn’t have to title the song after the movie. You can’t write a song called “Spectre.” You just can’t. There’s a limited number of words that rhyme: Vector. Hector. Hannibal Lecter. (Laughs) It’s a small list. That gave me the freedom to write something different. I read in an interview that you love the

— S AM S MITH ,

songwriter-singer of the Bond theme “Writing’s on the Wall”

Lana Del Rey. “Ultraviolence” is my bath album. Bath music is reflective music, music that helps you discover a little about yourself. I think that need is universal. I look at my shows and in the front row you’ll have a 14-year-old girl and then you’ll have a grandma and grandpa, and then you’ll have a 30-year-old jock.

“Live and Let Die,” Paul McCartney and Wings: “Unbelievable. I would like to see Paul McCartney in concert. I’m obsessed with ‘Blackbird.’ ”

Jocks like bath music? Even jocks have a bath and a cry.

“A View to a Kill,” Duran Duran: “I’m not too familiar with it. I have heard it. [Laughs] I just wasn’t born when it came out.”

So what’s next? I’ve asked myself: What kind of artist am I? I’ve got ambition like you wouldn’t believe, but I don’t want to be put on a conveyor belt. So I want to step away for a year and try to live a little bit so I can write about things and the music can be insanely personal like the first album.

“Nobody Does It Better,” Carly Simon: “That’s Jimmy Napes’ favorite. And I love it too.” “You Only Live Twice,” Nancy Sinatra: “The Sinatra family means a great deal to me. I love Frank. Same with Louis Armstrong and ‘We Have All the Time in the World’ [from “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”]. Frank and Louis Armstrong are timeless.” — Glenn Whipp

“WHAT KIND

of artist am I?” Smith asks. “I’ve got ambition ... but I don’t want to be put on a conveyor belt.”

Robert Gauthier Los Angeles Times

soundtrack to “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.” That’s a very specific choice! It’s just not that film. I get obsessed with film soundtracks. You know when you’re watching a film and you start to cry at something in a scene? If that happens to me, I immediately go and buy that film’s soundtrack. Maybe because it’s like a drug and you want to repeat the feeling. I love the “Avatar” soundtrack, the “Harry Potter” soundtracks, “Titanic.” There’s so many.

All of which you like listening to while you have a bath ... I love a bath. I want my music to be that soundtrack for people. Can you define the bath-music genre? I love all types of music, but when it comes to my music — and this applies to the Bond song as well — I want it to have this vulnerability. I want my music to be that album you turn to when you want a glass of wine and a cry. (Laughs) What is your go-to bath album?

When you wrote your first album, “In the Lonely Hour,” you said you’d never been in a relationship in your life. Has that changed? Yes. I had my first boyfriend last winter and that stopped. I made a massive mistake. Posting pictures on Instagram of us, which I would never do again. So that was a lesson learned. And right now I’m in a good place. I’ve met someone ... I think ... it’s very early days. It’s been part of the reason for me thinking I want to step back and live a little. I need to give myself a chance to pursue something. Maybe then on your next album the hour won’t be so lonely. I’m going to try my hardest for it not to be. I want to talk about broader things. A few of the songs I’ve written for it are not about heartbreak. I’m going to try to show something different. But it’s always going to be about love.

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Some people have criticized your song for lacking the swagger associated with 007. It’s sensitive Bond. That’s what I do. I thought it would be really different to have a song that was like a diary entry from Bond.

When The Envelope got to talking Bond songs with Sam Smith, he may have been slightly shaken, but he wasn’t particularly stirred. Asked his favorite Bond theme, he was quick to answer. “Shirley Bassey. That’s all I can say. She defined the James Bond song for me.” Bassey’s contributions to the 007 catalog: “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Moonraker.” Smith had some thoughts on a few other Bond themes as well.

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She would have been perfect for a Bond theme song. Oh, my God, she would have. Apparently, she attempted it. She would have smashed a Bond song.

THOUGHTS ON THEMES

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You’ve often been compared to her, mostly owing to the confessional nature of your music. To get compared to Adele is amazing. I’d like to think that it’s an honesty and fearlessness to talk about my life through music. Amy Winehouse had the same thing. She’s one of my idols for being truthful.

‘I thought it would be really different to have a song that was like a diary entry from Bond.’

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Shirley Bassey, “Goldfinger.” Paul McCartney, “Live and Let Die.” Nancy Sinatra, “You Only Live Twice.” Adele, “Skyfall.” How does it feel joining the long list of Bond songs? It feels very strange. When you’re British, Bond is in your blood when you’re born. And I know from being a kid that when the Bond song comes out, everyone has an opinion. And also, I’m coming off Adele. She is our generation’s Michael Jackson.


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BRIE LARSON LANDS IN A WHOLE NEW WORLD

Her hard work on ‘Room’ led to a lead actress Oscar nomination and a changed personal and professional life. By Gina Piccalo

B

rie Larson is excited about her new noisecanceling headphones, which says a lot about the actor’s life lately. She’s managed a months-long charm offensive for “Room,” a film adaptation that has changed the course of her career and made her the odds-on favorite for this year’s lead actress Oscar. Along the way, Larson is either collecting other awards or jet-setting to exotic locales where her name tops the call sheet on Warner Bros.’ $190-million tent pole “Kong: Skull Island.” “This is my first time sitting and thinking about my life in a long time,” Larson said, calling from Australia’s Gold Coast on a rare day off. “I’ve spent most of the morning star-

ing at the ocean.” Despite all appearances to the contrary, Larson considers herself a private person. She certainly plumbed the depths while preparing for her role as Ma, a sexually abused captive raising her 5-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay) in a garden shed they call “Room.” Larson not only dropped 15 pounds for the part and met regularly with physicians and sex abuse experts to immerse herself in the mind of Ma, she also endured a punishing level of self-inquiry. She spent weeks alone in her apartment, reading accounts of rape and child sex abuse, filling journals with Ma’s girlhood memories in carefully written, girlish script. Eventually, Larson stopped going outside. “I started reading about silent retreats and the effect they have on the mind,” she

said. “When you leave yourself all this space, you just start having a dialogue with yourself and I wanted to know what that voice sounded like. What were the memories [Ma] was looping on? I thought it would create some delusions. Her memory of certain things were like a game of telephone in her head.” Indeed, the experience naturally conjured up Larson’s own childhood and life after her parents’ divorce, when she and her sister shared a one-room apartment with their struggling mother. Larson had been right around Jacob’s age at the time. “There was no way there wasn’t something subconscious at play,” she said of her performance. “Jacob became less Ma’s son to me and more Ma’s inner child, the young innocent part she’s trying to protect and keep free.” In the film’s most wrenching sequence, Ma is so desperate to free her son that she vomits on him to deceive her captor into thinking the child is sick enough for a hospital. When that doesn’t work, she pretends the boy has died and rolls him inside a rug so his body can be removed. That scene summoned such raw emotion that Larson lost contact with reality, thrashing around, slipping and hitting her head, oblivious to the pain. “The escape sequence, the rolling [Ja-

cob] up in the rug, handing him over, running out to the car — I don’t have any memory of,” she said. “It’s one of those weird amnesia moments that happen to actors. You become so bizarrely present and in a moment and everything becomes so surreally real you don’t have any conscious awareness of what you’re doing.” This was uncharted territory for Larson. Up to this point, she’d built a career in comedic roles that played up her looks. She was typically the familiar face supporting the main talent, most recently alongside Amy Schumer in “Trainwreck.” Larson was Toni Collette’s sexy rebel daughter in HBO’s “United States of Tara,” Michael Cera’s bombshell ex-girlfriend in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” Jonah Hill’s love interest in “21 Jump Street” and Ben Stiller’s flirt in “Greenberg.” If you listen carefully, her resentment at being typecast all those years bleeds through her praise for “Room.” “This isn’t a film about me,” she said. “It’s not about looking at me or making me an objectified object to observe like an animal in the petting zoo. It’s a universal story about saving the child in all of us.” In 2013, Larson saved herself the fate of countless other talented blond actresses in L.A. by landing the lead in the gritty indie “Short Term 12.” Her portrayal of a troubled supervisor at a group home for foster children earned her film festival awards and the attention of “Room” director Lenny Abrahamson. “Until ‘Short Term 12,’ I wasn’t the lead in anything and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be,” said Larson, 26. “I always worried about losing my anonymity and my mystery. I worried that being the lead meant that the movie was about me. And I wanted things to be about somebody else. Another cause. I don’t really enjoy the attention to be on me.” As the froth of celebrity gathers around her, Larson is clearly struggling to take deep breaths. She recently felt compelled to reassure People magazine, “I have an awesome therapist.” However, from her oceanfront perch on the Gold Coast, her noise-canceling headphones within reach, Larson allows herself to drift into some positive self-talk. “If you can get a step past the fear that people are going to hurt you, [being famous is] actually the most loving experience,” said Larson. “You have a friend wherever you go. There’s someone who feels they have participated in your life.”

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‘Jacob became less Ma’s son to me and more Ma’s inner child, the young innocent part she’s trying to protect.’ — B RIE L ARSON ,

on “Room”

LARSON lost 15

pounds and met regularly with physicians and sex abuse experts to educate herself before playing Ma, a captive raising a son.

Katie Falkenberg Los Angeles Times

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THE ENVELOPE

LOS ANGELES TIMES

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SPIELBERG, at the

camera, watches Tom Hanks as they film their Cold War tale of ordinary people navigating extraordinary times. Photographs by

Jaap Buitendijk DreamWorks

EACH ONE IS A BRIDGE Steven Spielberg likes to roam among genres to open his thinking and stay fresh. ‘Bridge of Spies’ did that. And more.

By Rebecca Keegan

N

EW YORK CITY — On a crisp October afternoon hours before his latest film, “Bridge of Spies,” premiered to a standing ovation at the New York Film Festival, Steven Spielberg walked two miles through Central Park to an interview and shared a story about his father. In 1960, Spielberg’s father, Arnold, traveled to Moscow as part of a delegation of electrical engineers from Phoenix. The trip coincided with an incident that is the subject of “Bridge of Spies,” a historical

drama about an attorney (played by Tom Hanks) entrusted with negotiating the release of Francis Gary Powers, an American U-2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union. While in Moscow, Spielberg’s father had waited in a two-hour line to see Powers’ broken plane and flight suit, which the Russian military had put on display in a show of its might. “A military man approached my dad and his delegation and took their passports,” Spielberg said, speaking in a hotel suite overlooking the park. “They escorted my dad’s group to the front of the line. Once they got there, the guy in uniform started yelling, ‘Look at what your country is doing to us!’ I asked my dad, ‘How did

that feel?’ He said, ‘I was just watching the hand with the passports.’ ” His father’s anecdote is the kind of historical story that Spielberg, 68, loves as a filmmaker — one with ordinary people navigating extraordinary times. As a director, he has ping-ponged between such fact-driven tales as “Lincoln,” “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” and fantastical adventures like the Indiana Jones films, “War of the Worlds” and “E.T.” On “Bridge of Spies,” which is based on a screenplay by Matt Charman, and Ethan and Joel Coen, Hanks’ plain-spoken insurance attorney, James Donovan, has been hired to defend a Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel, played by English stage actor Mark Ry-


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“big friendly giant,” which stars Rylance in the title role. Shots from “The BFG,” which Spielberg filmed using performance capture, are pouring into his office from visual effects artists at Weta Digital just as he is preparing his next movie, an adaptation of the bestselling science-fiction novel “Ready Player One,” which he’s scheduled to start shooting in June. “A deep dive into one genre gives me complete objectivity on another,” Spielberg said, explaining his penchant for multitasking. “If I emerge from one and dive into the next, I suddenly have a new kind of clarity, which is wonderful because what a filmmaker fears more than anything else is loss of objectivity. If you immerse yourself you can’t see it anymore, you don’t know if it’s good or bad.” Last year was a mighty one for Spiel-

berg as a producer as well, with “Jurassic World,” the action-driven update of the science-fiction series he launched in 1993 reigning atop the box office until being nudged aside by December’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” directed by his protégé, J.J. Abrams. (“I’m happy to concede to ‘Star Wars,’ ” Spielberg said.) He’s also found a new home for his company, DreamWorks, after his distribution deal with Disney expires in July. Spielberg is happily returning to Universal, the lot where he’s kept his office for decades. “The same magnet that pulled me to Universal when I first wanted to make movies is bringing me home again,” Spielberg said in a statement at the time of the deal in December.

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was under Spielberg’s direction for the fourth time in his career on “Bridge of Spies,” after making “Saving Private Ryan,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “The Terminal” together. “I said to myself, ‘Steven’s gonna have a field day.’ That’s cinema in its most pure terms. It’s fraught with tension.” “Even in a story as factual as ‘Lincoln,’ I found a way to tell a story cinematically,” Spielberg said. “That was a challenge for me. I was in a very small box trying to find my way in. What is my contribution besides getting out of the way of great performances and guiding others to do their best work? I was able to use the camera.” Spielberg will continue his genre-hopping after “Bridge of Spies.” He is in postproduction on “The BFG,” an adaptation of a children’s book by Roald Dahl about a

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HANKS PLAYS a lawyer for a spy (Mark Rylance). Spielberg feels creative within the constraints of a fact-based tale.

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lance. Around the time Donovan is making the unpopular case for sparing Abel’s life in the U.S., Powers (Austin Stowell) is shot down over Russia, setting up a prisoner exchange in Soviet-controlled East Berlin. After opening to reviews that praised its tense tone and strong performances by Hanks and Rylance in October, “Bridge of Spies” has been one of the few adult dramas to break through at the crowded fall box office, grossing more than $72 million domestically. Spielberg, who didn’t earn an Oscar nomination for directing but as a producer shares in the film’s best picture nod, took some minor dramatic license with the story — in the movie, six bullets fly through the windows of the Donovan family home, for instance, while in reality it was only one shot fired into the house — but he said he feels most creative as a filmmaker when he is rooted in a fact-based tale. “When I do a historical drama I’m contained by the facts,” Spielberg said. “In a fantasy, there is no ceiling and there’s actually no floor. I really prefer to have my imagination contained because when my imagination is contained I’m able to find a way through the camera to tell a secondtier story.” On “Bridge of Spies,” Spielberg and his team, including production designer Adam Stockhausen and longtime cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, created two distinct worlds, one as Donovan and Abel travel in boisterous late 1950s New York and another as bricklayers build the Berlin Wall, shutting off Eastern Europe from the rest of the world. “We’re accustomed to seeing the wall coming down, but we don’t know anything about the wall going up,” Spielberg said. “It was really a wonderful exercise in creating two basic visions for the film, an American version and an Eastern European version. We discover a palette for Brooklyn, Queens, Midtown Manhattan, the stretches of legal procedural that this story begins with. And then we completely change the palette and try to re-create what it was like trapped behind the Iron Curtain in 1960.” The movie also gave Spielberg a chance to work in the spy genre, one he’s loved since reading Mad magazine’s Spy vs. Spy comic strip as a teenager and seeing the 1965 Cold War classic “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.” “So much of this movie is about waiting for a phone to ring, waiting for a car on the other side of a bridge,” said Hanks, who

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THEENVELOPE.COM ON WRITING BY NICK HORNBY >>>‘BROOKLYN’

THE WORK, THE WAIT

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‘Brooklyn’ is simple. Adapting and making it though …

T

he first draft of “Brooklyn” is dated March 2, 2011. I wrote it a year or so before I’d even read Cheryl Strayed’s memoir “Wild,” a book I adapted, the movie version of which was released at the end of 2014. Five years is almost nothing in British independent cinema terms, the equivalent of a five-hour labor in a maternity ward. But what is unusual about this project is that this first draft bears a striking similarity to the finished film, and most of the hard work was over a long time before “Brooklyn” was shot. The hard work over the next halfdecade was done by the producers — funding and the right director were both elusive. Inevitably, there were lots of small changes made, especially when I began talking to director John Crowley. The novel is simple, beautiful, affecting and quiet, and a lot of these changes were designed to amplify it without losing its delicacy; my feeling was that Colm Tóibín’s quiet, achingly beautiful literary novel could reduce a cinema audience to a blubbering, snotty wreck, like a 1940s weepie. “Brooklyn” is simple, but it has a shape that at times seemed like a joke Tóibín was playing on screenwriters who foolishly believed that they were smart enough to adapt it. “I have reached page 30 of ‘Brooklyn,’” I wrote in an email to my producers in January 2011, “the point

Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Time

‘It has a shape that at times seemed like a joke [Colm] Tóibín was playing on screenwriters who foolishly believed that they were smart enough to adapt it.’ at which, if I remember correctly, something is supposed to happen, according to screenplay experts. Well it has: Our girl has embarked on a bookkeeping course. It’s all shaping up to be a jolly exciting movie.” And there may be a romantic triangle at the heart of the 262-page book, but, like the human heart itself, it’s not at the center. Yes, our heroine, Eilis, meets her first young man, Tony, more or less ex-

actly at the halfway point, but her second, Jim, appears 40 pages from the end. In that first draft, this meant that Jim didn’t turn up until page 89 of a 109-page script. We managed to shunt him up a few more pages during the development process, but even so, every second of Domhnall Gleeson’s performance had to count, and it’s a tribute to his talent and charm that Jim offers Eilis a real and agonizing choice.

After the table reading, Domhnall made the case for an extra scene, and though actors will always make the case for an extra scene, the actor was right — Jim needed to be alone with Eilis, away from family and friends, if he was going to provide the function we needed from him. I went upstairs to an unused production office and wrote the scene there and then. It’s so much easier when the characters have been living somewhere in your head for several years. When I finished that first draft, Saoirse Ronan, the extraordinary young star of “Brooklyn,” was 16 years old. If by some miracle the money to make the film had appeared that year or the next, she would have been much too young for the part. And as it is now impossible for any of us involved in the film to imagine any other actress playing the role, or at least playing it with such heartbreaking precision, there’s something annoyingly satisfying about that long, painful development process. We were, clearly, waiting for her, without knowing it. Standing around kicking one’s heels while a teenager turns into an adult is a fresh horror to factor into the already difficult and time-consuming process of making films. Every film project I have ever been involved with begins with someone, usually a producer, closing a meeting with one word: “Exciting!” If you are at an early stage of your screenwriting career, this word could be confusing: You might come away with the impression that “exciting” means that there is excitement involved, somewhere in the process. Well, there isn’t — there’s only work and waiting. When thrills do come, it’s years later and not always where you expect them. There is a moment in “Brooklyn” when Eilis opens a drawer. On paper, this moment looked as dramatically promising as the bookkeeping course, but in the festival screenings I have attended, the audience responds to the ship-in-a-bottle scale of the movie, and invariably gasps. And that’s where the excitement comes, in the dark, in small and surprising places. It’s more than enough.

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THEENVELOPE.COM ON WRITING BY EMMA DONOGHUE >>>‘ROOM’

NOVEL IDEAS FOR A SCRIPT

could get a wide mainstream audience for this film, but only if we made it fearlessly. Much of our working time together was spent swapping anecdotes about our kids because we were always trying to find — within this weird story of a childhood in captivity — what’s universal about the experience of trying to keep them safe, yet knowing you need to train them to leave you someday. As we moved toward production, the creative circle widened and I got to meet the experts in charge of everything from scouting locations to making a realistic rotten tooth. What surprised me was how much I found myself enjoying this phase of handing over control, or rather, giving up any illusion that the screenwriter is in control. The very things that make writing fiction my first love — the privacy, intensity, autonomy — can make it a claustro-

phobic experience. In writing “Room,” the novel, I’d often felt like the captor, Old Nick, especially when I was selecting their furniture from the lower-budget options on Ikea.com. But now, collaboration was lifting the weight off my shoulders; it was the designer who had to pick the old, stained rug; the head of costume who had to decide whether Jack would sleep in pajamas or a T-shirt. One of those lines from the how-towrite-movies books finally became real to me: The script is only a blueprint. During filming, last-minute decisions have to be made because of weather or budget, an individual’s availability or the director’s flash of insight. Pushing for greater naturalism, Lenny often got the actors to improvise within a scene and I was startled by how much I liked the results. People sometimes ask me to quantify how much I had to change the book, what

percentage did I manage to keep? But that’s the language of accountancy, not adaptation. A novelist shouldn’t write the screenplay unless she embraces the chance to change everything, to try to make the same magic all over again, out of different ingredients. (For instance, “Room” the novel gives hundreds of pages of Jack’s thoughts; the film gives him an expressive child’s body. The book is one boy’s story, and his mother is shown only in flashes, through his limited perspective; the film is a twohander, with Brie Larson’s extraordinary performance bringing Ma right into the spotlight.) Adapting fiction for the screen is an act of mysterious translation, and working on “Room” taught me much about both forms that I’d never known.

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and screenwriter Emma Donoghue says she learned a lot once others were involved.

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“ROOM” novelist

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A

s soon as I’d sold my novel “Room,” I began to consider how the story of a child growing up in a locked room might work on film. Nibbles of interest from the industry had already started, but I was wary: I wasn’t going to let anyone make a voyeuristic abduction thriller or a sappy, cute-kid movie of the week out of my novel. I also knew I wanted to write the screenplay myself, not just to protect the material but because the challenge fascinated me: This story seemed a test case for what film and fiction could each do. So I took the unorthodox step of drafting my screenplay — before the novel was even published, before anyone could tell me what to do or how I should probably let a more experienced screenwriter do it. Some months after publication, I got a 10-page letter from a fellow Dubliner, director Lenny Abrahamson. It was exemplary in its intelligent analysis of the novel and its confident vision of how he’d bring it to the screen. Aspects that alarmed other filmmakers — such as the fact of the first half being confined to one room — didn’t phase Lenny at all. Over several drafts I worked with him to reshape my script, feeling I was learning film from a native speaker of that language. It wasn’t as if I was defense counsel for the book; quite often, it would be Lenny who’d say, “Let’s get back to how it was in the novel.” For instance, one of the first things I’d changed had been Jack’s long hair because I’d assumed that on screen that would be too distractingly androgynous, but the hair turned out to be yet another thing that didn’t scare Lenny. I remember him telling me that, yes, we

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LOVE’S LABOR By Glenn Whipp

I

n a conversation with The Envelope, Todd Haynes, director of the beautiful, spellbinding romance “Carol,” mentioned his three favorite scenes shared by his Oscar-nominated actresses Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Naturally, we had to ask the women about them too. Their reactions to Haynes’ choices — along with his own comments — provide a glimpse into the deliberate decisions and considerable challenges that went into making this celebrated film.

ROONEY Mara,

left, and Cate Blanchett detail the major moments of “Carol.”

Jay L. Clendenin Los Angeles Times

Scene 1: Carol drives Therese to her New Jersey home for the first time. In the novel, Patricia Highsmith writes: “They roared into the Lincoln Tunnel. A wild, inexplicable excitement mounted in Therese as she stared through the windshield. She wished the tunnel might cave in and kill them both, that their bodies might be dragged out together.” Haynes: I read that and I thought, “Yes! That is … love!” It’s what you do in

your mind when you fall in love. You’re so close to those moments that a trifle will set off a fantasy of suicide or some dramatic idea of dying with your loved one, just so you’re witnessed together for posterity. [Laughs] This scene has such an emotional potency in the story and also it has such a stylistic distinction from anything else in the film with those slow dissolves and the music mix and a state of almost intoxication that evokes what it’s like to fall in love.


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THEENVELOPE.COM It’s also a scene that created real practical problems shooting in Cincinnati because the length of the tunnel we used is about 200 yards. So we had to keep scheduling a drive through this tunnel over and over and over again. The tunnel was so short that daylight would start coming through almost immediately. So we shot it at like 4 in the morning after an already incredibly long day, using a police escort that took about 45 minutes just to do a circle and go back around again for what’s literally 30 seconds of shooting.

moment of exposure for the women. I remember asking him: “Do we need this? Are you sure?” That’s an actor’s reticence. Todd is so musical. He knew it needed that counterpoint, that release. And he was absolutely right.

Blanchett: Yes. It was tacked on to the end of a night shoot. We spent a lot of time in the car in this movie with Todd and [cinematographer] Ed [Lachman]. They were like the two old men from “The Muppets.” Always talking. [Laughs] But that one in the tunnel, they couldn’t be in the back seat and it felt a little lonely without them. Mara: It’s one of the scenes that stood out to me when I saw the film for the first time. It was different from how I imagined it. That scene, more than anything, gives you the feeling of falling in love. Blanchett: On a prosaic level, it’s quite a functional journey. But what Todd’s done with it, you’re crossing over a threshold. I didn’t realize he was going to shoot it in so many sections. He obviously realized that the characters are moving through a membrane of some kind. People talk about the chemistry and say it’s something Rooney and I manufactured, but in that instance, that was all Todd. It’s the way the sound has been mixed. You hear what the person’s saying, but it’s utterly irrelevant. Mara: Which is exactly what it’s like when you’re falling in love. You feel like everything the other person is doing is magic. They can do no wrong. Scene 2: Shortly after being caught by a private investigator hired by Carol’s husband, Therese and Carol return to the Drake Hotel. Therese feels like everything between them has been destroyed. Carol calls Therese to her bed where they em-

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THE SCENE between Therese (Rooney Mara, left) and Carol (Cate

Blanchett) that bookends the film is a favorite of director Todd Haynes’.

‘People talk about the chemistry and say it’s something Rooney and I manufactured … that was all Todd.’ — C ATE B LANCHETT ,

on one of director Todd Haynes’ favorite scenes

brace, but there’s a new element of tragedy in the lovemaking. We then learn the next morning that Carol has left. Haynes: In production, this was the first time they did kiss. We shot it before the sex scene. And both actresses will make note of the fact that I didn’t say “cut” for a long time. [Laughs] And they kept going. I was sort of enthralled watching. It was the first time Cate and Rooney made out in front of me. And I couldn’t say “cut.” I didn’t want to put them in an awkward position. I think I ultimately did. Blanchett: We just called out: “Is that enough? Can we go now?” Mara: Perv! [Laughing] It was one of the first scenes we shot together. We didn’t know each other very well. It was our first real interaction. It wasn’t awkward, but it was kind of embarrassing because we had to make out and we were

giggly and he wouldn’t yell cut because, I think, everything was still new and exciting. Blanchett: There was something slightly voyeuristic about it, but in a beautiful way. I imagine the first time you get your actors together as a director, you’re seeing what that is. It’s like your brother peeping through the door, watching you undress. It’s like: “I know you’re there!” Haynes: What the two actresses were doing in the scene, because it had such a tragic dimension, was so moving to me that I had a hard time ending. That scene kills me every time I see it. There’s a pained expression in Rooney’s face where you see the weight of implication in where they are in their lives. Blanchett: I remember the dialogue that preceded the lovemaking and Todd wanted to extend the moment into that

Blanchett: “Brief Encounter” is one of my favorite films, one that I constantly revisit. The performances are so extraordinary. I will never forget when they’re about to consummate their relationship and they have to go out from the kitchen to the fire escape and suddenly what was so beautiful has turned sordid and dirty. It’s when the world pollutes what seemed so pure and perfect. It’s very hard to keep romance alive in the modern world. Mara: What’s striking is how the roles have really flipped when you return to the scene in “Carol.” Blanchett: I still think it’s surprising when Carol asks, “So, would you like to move in with me?” and Therese says, “No. I don’t think so.” You go, “Okaaay. I guess that’s it then. There’s not a lot of wiggle room.” Mara: She’s just a straight shooter. I love that about her. Probably because I’m much more indecisive. Blanchett: I don’t know. Maybe when it comes to love, a bit of caution isn’t such a bad thing.

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Mara: You were driving and it was freezing. It was really late at night.

Haynes: This double scene and the pivot that it plays in the story — though I think in “Carol,” this pivoting in status in the relationship is given a further dimension than it is in the source we lifted it from — comes from the movie “Brief Encounter.” That movie opens with a succession of little moments where you’re wondering whose story it is and when are we going to land and find our route. I love that. The whole question of whose story this is and whose emotions are we really inside was, in my mind, definitive for the love story.

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Blanchett: Yeah, but we also shot that in so many pieces. The whole thing seems like a dream to me. I can’t remember a lot of it.

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Mara: They just played that scene [at the AFI Awards luncheon]. It’s fresh in our minds.

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Finally, the scene that bookends the film: Carol and Therese’s meeting at the Ritz. As it opens the film, we don’t understand the significance of their conversation’s abrupt ending, though we do know by the way Carol touches Therese’s shoulder as she leaves, that there is something between these two women. When the movie circles back to the scene at the end, we see that Carol is now the vulnerable one, asking Therese for a second chance.


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THEENVELOPE.COM MATT DAMON , left,

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says he worked closely with director Ridley Scott on “The Martian” — always within a few feet, in fact.

CREATIVE SPACE Kirk McKoy Los Angeles Times

By Gina Piccalo

T

o hear them talk, Ridley Scott and Matt Damon learned a lot about each other while making “The Martian” last year. They had no choice, really. Damon spent all but a week of his eight-week shoot performing alone as stranded astronaut Mark Watney. Or rather, he spent most of his time saying all his lines to Scott. ¶ “So much of your performance comes from the other person,” said Damon during a recent break in Los Angeles from filming the next Jason Bourne movie. “But that was one of the reasons I wanted to do it. In terms of the challenge [of performing solo], a lot of that was mitigated by the fact that Ridley was there the entire time. He was never more than 5 feet away from me. I didn’t feel like I was on my own.” ¶ That’s not to say that Scott was big on hand-holding his star. The British veteran was, after all, raised by a military father. He earned his chops shooting live, two-hour BBC TV


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wood’s longtime stand-in for Mars. There, Damon spent four weeks wearing a 40pound space suit with an inconsistent oxygen supply. He credits Scott with making an experience that could have been horrible relatively tolerable. “It wasn’t fun,” he said, blithely. “But we were mic’d. So you’d say, ‘Yeah, my air cut off. Roll really quickly.’ ” Scott, on a break from preparing for “Alien: Covenant” in Australia, downplayed his talent with actors. “I don’t Svengali it,” Scott said, speaking

from a hotel room a few floors below Damon. “I don’t go in and say, ‘Listen, your cat died. And your mom’s really ill.’ I once heard that from a very good actor I was directing. I tried to tell him about emotion. The actor said, ‘I’m surprised you’re telling me this because I know what to do with that. You just tell me where the camera’s going to go.’ So I always learned that, don’t tread on their ground.” Scott tends to speak as if scripting his life. When asked why he knew so quickly he wanted to direct the film adaptation of Andy Weir’s bestseller “The Martian,” the director answers by illustrating a scene. “[Twentieth Century] Fox said, ‘Listen, we got this script. Drew [Goddard]’s written it. You know Drew. You love Drew.’ “ ‘Yeah, why isn’t Drew doing it?’ “ ‘ ’Cause Drew doesn’t want to.’ “ ‘Really? Let me read this.’ “Read it. “ ‘My God, this is ready. In a word: Yes. Let’s do it.’ ” Addressing his rapport with Damon,

Scott recalled how the actor rarely left the set. Then he scripted another moment that could have been titled, “Guess Who Wants to Direct?” “I said, ‘You want to do this, don’t you?’ “He said, ‘Yeah.’ “ ‘ ’Cause your buddy George [Clooney] is doing it pretty well.’ “ ‘Yeah, don’t talk about that.’ ” Damon notes Scott was the key reason he so willingly played another stranded astronaut after his stint in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 “Interstellar.” He spent much of their shoot studying Scott’s technique. “I was looking at a shot we’d done and the camera was three-quarters over the shoulder and I said, ‘Why do I know that’s a Ridley Scott frame?’ ” Damon said. “And he said, ‘I am just trying to set this shot as simply and as truthfully as I could.’ ” Damon paused, then added, “In being completely simple and truthful, he has a language you recognize as his.”

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The director doesn’t believe in rehearsals. He gets what he wants in the first three takes.

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Aidan Monaghan 20th Century Fox

RIDLEY SCOTT , right, directs Matt Damon in Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert, the stand-in location for Mars.

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dramas in the 1960s. So now he doesn’t believe in rehearsals. He gets what he wants in the first three takes. And he rolls four cameras, four different frames, on every shot. (And yes, Scott says, there will be a director’s cut of “The Martian” with 20 minutes of unseen footage.) It turned out that Damon, who was nominated for an Oscar, loved Scott’s decisiveness and efficiency. Before any camera rolled, the two men spent a week going through the script, line by line, so Scott — who, surprisingly, did not receive a nomination for directing, although as one of the film’s producers he shares in “The Martian’s” best picture nod — could tell him exactly what he wanted in every moment. Consequently, they finished in 70 days. “The very first monologue I did was the first recording [Watney] makes,” said Damon. “It was like a one- or two-page monologue. I did it the first take and [Scott] runs into the room and he goes, ‘You and I could do two movies at once!’ ” Filming on “The Martian,” which has taken in nearly $600 million in worldwide box office, began with everyone but Damon in November 2014 in Budapest on one of the world’s largest soundstages. The rest of the cast, including Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels and Chiwetel Ejiofor, shot for about six weeks before Damon arrived. Scott created real situations for actors where he could. He used actual computer graphics rather than green screens for Mission Control scenes with Wiig, Ejiofor and Daniels. And to manifest the punishing Martian sandstorm that opens the film, he had giant fans blow 65-mile-perhour winds, along with sand and rocks, at Damon, Jessica Chastain, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Aksel Hennie and Sebastian Stan until they could barely breathe. For Damon’s climactic rescue scene, Scott surprised the actor by piping the voices of his costars into his helmet. Damon wasn’t expecting it because they had all returned to the U.S. by then. And as a result, Scott inspired one of the film’s most emotionally profound moments. “There’s a scene where I finally crack, and that really happened,” said Damon. “I was going to do my side of the dialogue and suddenly in my ear, I heard their voices. And it kind of struck me in this moment that it didn’t matter if [my character] survived. That I had human contact again. It was this real thing that happened and it was completely engineered by Ridley.” After four weeks, the production moved to the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, Holly-

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Jonathan Olley Disney

THE BALL GOWN that Cinderella (Lily James) wore had tiny Swarovski crystals covering it for that fairy-tale sparkle, costume designer Sandy Powell says.

THE COSTUMES

ONCE UPON A BALL GOWN BY VALLI HERMAN >>> Costume designer Sandy Powell is facing a formidable competitor in this year’s Oscar race — herself. Since her first Academy Award nomination for 1993’s “Orlando,” Powell has earned 12 nominations and three wins (“Shakespeare in Love,” “The Aviator” and “The Young Victoria”). This year, she’s nominated for achievement in costume design for her work on “Carol” and for “Cinderella,” the second time she’s earned double nominations in one year. The Envelope caught up with Powell during her recent visit to L.A. You are the only costume designer in the last 50 years to be nominated twice in one year, two times. The last time was in 1998 for “Velvet Goldmine” and “Shakespeare in Love.” So what is that like? It’s really, really flattering to have completely different films recognized, and by my peers because, of course, it’s colleagues who are voting. But then, it’s

weird, isn’t it? You know what it comes down to? I was really, really lucky to get two brilliant projects one after the other. For a whole new generation of fans, your Cinderella will be their definitive fairy tale ball gown. What did it take to make that gown? It was a kind of couture-level design.

There were 217 meters of fabric and four miles of thread in just the hem. We made eight versions. One dress took 20 people 500 man-hours to create. The top layer is a silk crepe in cornflower blue. The underlayers are made from a synthetic polyester called yumissima. It’s the finest, finest fabric. And it moves like smoke — or ink in water. I

wanted the top layer to have an iridescence, so it’s covered in about 10,000 tiny Swarovski crystals. There are three different layers of colors — a lilac, a greeny-blue and cornflower. Those layers all sort of flow independently of each other, which gives the dress that movement, and also, with the color kind of moving around, that water-


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What did the actress Lily James wear as shoes? The shoes she actually wears are just leather, made the same height really as the glass shoe. Then the visual effects people magically transpose the glass shoe to her, so her feet are at the correct angle at that moment. But actually the height of the heel of the glass shoe would have been impossible for her to walk around in, so underneath her dress she just wears a manageable heel on shoes that you don’t see.

an Oscar for “Cinderella” and “Carol.” color effect. Of course, it’s made beautifully but it’s a feat of structural engineering — getting the weight and balance of the corset and the crinoline just right. Swarovski was a rather generous partner then? You can’t do a fairy tale without sparkles. And you can’t do sparkles without Swarovski. When I figured that the glass slipper should be crystal, they were the obvious choice to go to. The glass slipper is the other iconic costume element. How did you and Swarovski create a glass shoe? Well, you can’t wear a glass shoe. The only shoes you can wear that are solid are clogs — and they’re ugly. The crystal shoe that we made is the one you see on screen. It’s the one that is held and it’s the one that you see on the step. Another version of it is smashed by the stepmother. There were about eight of those crystal shoes

Your glass shoe’s heel is very high, particularly compared to many of the early versions of the slipper, which has sometimes been depicted more as a ballet flat. The glass shoe had a 51⁄2 inch heel. It’s a fetish shoe. It’s the ultimate fetish shoe that only Cinderella can wear. But it was based on an original 1890s shoe that I found at a shoe museum in Northampton, [England].

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Brigitte Lacombe

SANDY POWELL is nominated for

A “CINDERELLA”

costume design. The real dress had layers of colors: lilac, greenyblue and cornflower.

It’s tricky to place “Cinderella” in a specific time period. Was it set in the 1890s? No. It was set all over the 19th century and sort of vaguely 18th century. “Once upon a time period” I call it. There was some buzz about how incredibly small the gown made James’ waist look. Some suspected tricks of construction or camera work. People think I tortured her into a small waist. They ask, “How did you do it?” Well, you have an actress with a small waist.

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Jonathan Olley Disney

SWAROVSKI MADE Cinderella’s shoes (worn via visual effects) in crystal.

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made, in different versions. There was a breakable version. There was a version that wouldn’t break if it was thrown. One that would break safely.


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THEENVELOPE.COM BEEFCAKE OR HAMBURGER?

“The Martian”

BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS By Lisa Rosen

M

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en are suffering at the cineplex this award season like never before. And we’re suffering along with them because we have to watch. Sleeping inside horse carcasses and getting mauled by bears, like Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) in “The Revenant,” or trying to survive on Mars by eating food grown in excrement, like Mark Watney (Matt Damon) in “The Martian,” may bring Oscar nods, but it isn’t pretty. One of the great pleasures of seeing a film on a big screen is getting all the huge close-ups of appealing movie stars. So “The Revenant,” starring the fetching trifecta of DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson, should be contractually obligated to show their faces, instead of covering them up with scars, dirt and the scraggliest beards this side of a Williamsburg pickle maker. To follow, a view of some of the egregious offenders this season, along with examples of films that dealt with similar subject matter in a much prettier fashion. Because we just want to do our part to objectify everyone equally.

Andy Schwartz

Warner Bros.

Oh Johnny, Johnny, Johnny (Depp, Depp, Depp). We know you hate your good looks; you dive into a pile of prosthetics every chance you get. But we love them. Bring them back — and not just in a perfume commercial. 2006’s “The Departed” gave us the same story but it focused on the handsome trio of DiCaprio, Damon and Mark Wahlberg. A story of treachery shouldn’t have to betray our trust.

Jaap Buitendijk Ben Glass

Some critics are calling “The Revenant” a beautiful film. Beautiful, no. Dirty, bloody and hirsute, yes. You want beauty? Try the Oscarwinning “Dances With Wolves” (1990). Kevin Costner had terrible facial hair at first, but he had the good sense to shave it off, which led to him hooking up with that nice Mary McDonnell. And his blowout was always perfect.

“The Hateful Eight”

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Why did Quentin Tarantino need to film this in 70mm? To give Kurt Russell’s mustache an 80-foot wingspan? Take a cue from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), for they led a gang of no-account roughnecks through a changing frontier, yet acquitted themselves handsomely the entire time. Ask yourself: Could your leading men attract Katharine Ross? No? Then give them all a bath.

With a hatchet job haircut and a metal cage on his face for part of the film, it’s no wonder Max is mad. Hardy seems to despise his beauty as much as Pitt and Depp. But the rest of us don’t, Tom. Remember that. Just cast your gaze back to the earlier “Mad Max” movies, and the once-beloved eye candy that was Mel Gibson.

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Warner Bros.

“The Revenant”

Paramount Pictures

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

“Black Mass”

Andrew Cooper

“The Big Short” This hilarious, upsetting movie chronicles the bank scandal of 2008. So why did so many of its stars sport hairstyles out of a 1970s yearbook? Steve Carell may not know how handsome he is, so his squirrel’s nest gets a pass, but the Supercuts atop Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt? Not cool, men. Back in 1987, “Wall Street” addressed soulless American greed as well, yet stars Charlie Sheen and (Oscar winner) Michael Douglas looked sleek doing so.

Warner Bros.

Matt Damon manages to shave his nasty beard off before escaping the Red Planet. You know why? Because he knows people are going to see him and he wants to look his best. Well guess what, people had to see him for the previous two hours too. When Sandra Bullock was stranded in “Gravity” (2013), she looked like a million bucks. Granted, she was only in space for a few hours. But we’ll bet that even three years in, the audience wouldn’t see her needing to shave.

Andrew Cooper

The Weinstein Co.

Getty Images

20th Century Fox

Warner Bros.


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L E A D AC TRES S

R O U N DTA B L E S

SU PP O RTI N G AC TRES S

L E A D AC TO R

Take a break from the pre-packaged interviews of Oscar season and sit down instead in a relaxed, comfortable setting with Hollywood’s top actors and directors.

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D IREC TO R

PHOTOS: LA Times, Kirk McKoy

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SEE SCHEDULE FOR ENCORE PRESENTATIONS

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ON


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