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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Watch: Social Network's Eisenberg Talks Zuckerberg, Guilt, Perfectionism and Fincher

Oscar Watch: Social Network's Eisenberg Talks Zuckerberg, Guilt, Perfectionism and Fincher
The Social Network star Jesse Eisenberg and I met for a bite at Hollywood's fabled Musso & Frank's Grill to dig into his lauded role as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The youthful New Yorker has been juggling school, theater, TV and film since he was a kid; at 27 he's got quite a few juicy film roles under his belt, from The Squid and the Whale to Adventureland and Zombieland. 2011 could well mark his debut as an Oscar contender.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 23, 2010 4:04 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Harry Potter Producer David Heyman Talks Deathly Hallows, Tentpoles, Gravity

As the seventh and penultimate Harry Potter installment was breaking records for the series, producer David Heyman reflected on producing the mighty franchise. He talked to Anthony D'Alessandro:Most producers can only dream about churning out $24 million from 3,700 midnight showings or $61.15 million in one day.  But that’s what Harry Potter producer David Heyman experiences every time he opens a new chapter in the $5.48 billion Harry Potter franchise: Breaking a new record.  The opening day for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 set a record for the series, ranking the fifth best first day bow among all films. Once an indie producer on such offbeat Parker Posey comedies as 1996’s The Daytrippers, which launched director Greg Mottola (Superbad), Heyman’s producing career took a 180 when he optioned an unpublished manuscript by author J.K. Rowling.  On Hallows opening day, he took time out to give us some insight on how the Harry Potter franchise has impacted his career and the film industry. 
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • November 23, 2010 3:26 AM
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Oscar Watch: True Grit's Joel Coen Interviews Somewhere's Sofia Coppola

It's an honorable Directors Guild tradition to have one member interview another. But Sofia Coppola landed a big fish when fellow-Oscar-winner Joel Coen agreed to interview her for Somewhere, perhaps because he respects her lack of eagerness to participate in such events. While both are accomplished writer-directors (Ethan Coen shares with Joel writing and producing credits on such films as Fargo and No Country for Old Men), neither are known for being particularly forthcoming in interviews. But it was in both of their interest to do this, as Coen is just finishing True Grit, another possible Oscar contender.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 22, 2010 9:10 AM
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Oscar Watch Q &A: Tom Hooper Talks Long Road to King's Speech

Oscar Watch Q &A: Tom Hooper Talks Long Road to King's Speech
Fest fave The King's Speech, currently the front-runner at Gurus o' Gold, this Saturday blew the roof off its packed Academy screening. The crowd applauded director Tom Hooper, writer David Seidler, Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, cinematography and score. It also nabbed the most effusive reaction so far over five years of showing films at Sneak Previews--the WGA crowd clapped Hooper down the aisle as he settled in for a Q and A. The movie debuted at Telluride (here's TOH's review) followed by audience-award-winning turns at fests in Toronto and the Hamptons. Will anything slow this film's Oscar momentum? (Well, some say it gets its history wrong.) The Weinsteins open the movie November 26--and it could reboot the company.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 22, 2010 2:21 AM
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Weekly Wrap: Chasen, Portman, Harris, Ford, Mulligan, DiCaprio, Crowe, Deathly Hallows, Remakes

QUIZThis week we announced Winners and Answers: David Thomson’s Stump-the-Film-Buff 50 Movie Questions Quiz.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 19, 2010 9:15 AM
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Oscar Watch: Ed Harris Talks Challenges of The Way Back

Oscar Watch: Ed Harris Talks Challenges of The Way Back
The Race thinks Ed Harris has a shot at a supporting actor Oscar for his role as the sole American Siberian Gulag escapee in The Way Back. So do I---as I told Kris Tapley in our recent Oscar Talk (I have now added Harris to my Oscar Predicts Chart).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 18, 2010 2:45 AM
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Trailer Watch: De Laurentiis's Barbarella, Starring Jane Fonda

Here's a 1968 trailer featuring the fabulous Jane Fonda, Barbarella, in honor of the death of veteran Italian movie producer Dino de Laurentiis. I last saw him when he attended the inaugural Academy Governor's Ball a year ago as a past recipient of the Thalberg award, to pay tribute to ailing winner John Calley, who was unable to attend. UPDATE: Here's Richard Corliss on De Laurentiis.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 12, 2010 9:05 AM
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Weekly Wrap: Award Watch, Production News, Talking to Boyle and League

OSCARS & AWARDS: While Black Swan promotional endeavors impress, the Godard anti-Semitism issue clouds his Honorary Oscar. And as The Hollywood Reporter's new glossy weekly hits the stands with its Actress Roundtable (considered in this week's Oscar Talk), Variety shuffles its editorial deck. Awards are being given to Biutiful star Javier Bardem, The Kids Are All Right's Annette Bening, Cinema Eye helps to anoint award-season documentary frontrunners and Peter Weir's The Way Back kicks off the Museum of Tolerance Film Festival. The King's Speech, with a Gala screening Friday night as part of AFI Fest 2010, leads the Gurus 'o Gold poll along with star Colin Firth and Bening.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 6, 2010 3:57 AM
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Tim League Talks Alamo, Four Lions, Badass Digest, Fantastic Fest

Austin exhibitor Tim League came to Los Angeles to promote the November 5 release of rookie director Chris Morris's fest hit Four Lions, the first film to be released by his expanding dinner-theater chain, The Alamo Drafthouse. We talked about the success of the Alamo theaters, the Austin film scene, hiring CHUD's Devin Faraci to create Alamo's new blog, Badass Digest, and why League felt compelled to launch indie distributor Drafthouse Films with a British terrorist comedy.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2010 8:48 AM
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Danny Boyle Talks 127 Hours: Intense Reality, Franco, Crowds, Rahman

In this video interview, Danny Boyle talks about his decisions on 127 Hours, including: how intense should the climactic scene with hiker Aron Ralston (James Franco) be for audiences? He has to hack through his arm's muscle and bone to extricate himself from an unmovable Utah boulder pinning him in a remote canyon, where no one knows his location. Obviously, as there have been repeated instances of audience members fainting during the scene, it is too realistic for some people. And Boyle worries about this: to him it is not a fun marketing ploy. It could in fact keep moviegoers away. But truth is, the movie pushes us to root for the stranded hiker's survival. It is a true story about isolation, endurance, and connection. (Here's the piece I wrote in Toronto, including a flip cam interview with Boyle and Franco.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2010 8:17 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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