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The Playlist

The Playlist Profile: Melanie Lynskey Talks Hollywood, 'Hello I Must Be Going,' 'Heavenly Creatures' & More

  • By Maris James
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  • September 4, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 8 Comments
It’s coming on 20 years since Melanie Lynskey appeared in her first film, but she cannot get used to seeing herself on screen. “It’s awful. Awful,” she says in her kiwi accent, characteristically wide open and soft spoken, over iced teas in Manhattan’s East Village. She has a new movie coming out, “Hello I Must Be Going,” in which she’s the lead and is in every scene -- a first for the actor. Her work in this film is widely being referred to as her breakout performance, which could be a frustrating identification for anyone who saw her in “Heavenly Creatures,” almost two decades ago. Many are hoping the label sticks this time, but after so many years in movies and television, Lynskey refuses to have expectations about where her career is headed.

The Playlist Profile: Benh Zeitlin On Miracles, Fearless Filmmaking And ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’

  • By Maris James
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  • July 11, 2012 2:05 PM
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  • 7 Comments
When I meet with Benh Zeitlin, the 29-year-old director of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” he is on a quest for Thai food. He has been waking up in different hotels, in different cities every couple of days, and the food, he says, is always the same. We weave through the slow Soho crowds in the midst of a pre-storm heatwave. “I forgot about this,” he says, gazing at the mass of tourists. He seems a little dazed, homesick for New Orleans, which this humidity reminds him of. When we arrive at the address the publicist gave us for the Thai restaurant, it is inside a hotel.

The Playlist Profile: Todd Solondz

  • By Maris James
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  • June 8, 2012 1:00 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Todd Solondz walks through the door of a Cafe on 12th Street in Manhattan, looking, apart from his trademark lemon-yellow converse all stars, like a person in disguise. He wears a floppy khaki sun hat and oversized shades. As he walks through the room, he peels off the sunglasses and replaces them with equally large eyeglasses with thick, retro frames. He yanks off the hat to reveal his hair, which is gray and thinning and bordering on mad scientist. He looks, perhaps, like an oddball character in a Todd Solondz film. The waitress recognizes him and greets him warmly, and he does the same. He's a memorable presence. Appearance aside, he sounds a bit like your Jewish grandmother, his voice comically nasal, his words unhurried and elongated by a childhood in New Jersey, an accent that 30 years in New York City has failed to undo.

The Playlist Profile: Nicholas Stoller

  • By Maris James
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  • April 30, 2012 1:20 PM
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  • 0 Comments
One night, nearly two decades ago, Nicholas Stoller, at that time a freshman at Harvard, dragged his mattress out of his room and into the room of his suitemate. Both young men had long-distance high school girlfriends whom they missed terribly, and they'd decided to have a sleepover to bond over their shared state of longing. During the sleepover, the suitemate decided to put on his prom song, “Always” by the English synthpop duo Erasure. The two listened as a ghostly plucking of strings filled the room, accompanied by a faint, mournful moaning, then a pulsing beat and quirky, digital squiggles of synthesizer funk. And soon, a high-pitched male voice, wavering and rising with emotion, swelling at the chorus: Always/I want to be with you/and make believe with you/and live in harmony harmony oh love. The song played, and they both cried.

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