Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

SIFF Virgin Diary 2: Spacek Talks Malick, Loretta Lynn & 'Carrie'; Kassovitz's 'Rebellion' and 'The Exorcist'

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 9, 2012 at 3:51PM

SIFF honored Sissy Spacek with their Outstanding Achievement in Acting Award and held a tribute evening in her honor. Time critic Richard Corliss led the nearly two hour Q & A with Spacek, covering everything from her upbringing in Texas to what she grows on her farm in Virginia. "Grass," she said, but "not that kind of grass!"
William Friedkin's "The Exorcist"
William Friedkin's "The Exorcist"

"If it works, it's a miracle," she said of the hurdle of getting a film made and launched successfully, adding that things are much harder for actors these days. After one film, actresses are pounced on and aren't given any time to let their careers grow naturally or to reflect on what they've done. Her favorite young actress today? Jessica Chastain.

"In The Bedroom" She spoke highly of co-star Tom Wilkinson, who has "deep reservoirs of power" as an actor. She recalled doing takes with him where she would become exhausted and lose her voice, while he could continue for days. "Actors don't work alone," she said, "my performance has everything to do with the other actors in the scene, the director and the cinematographer."

My favorite moment: Spacek compared acting in a scene to catching a train. You get ready by running alongside the train tracks (preparing as much as you can for the scene), she said, accelerating as the train approaches, and then hopefully when it gets there you can just hop on and ride it. If you're lucky, it works and if not...well, you get killed. She laughed.

"Carrie" & the Remake "I'll be interested to see it," she said, but noted that the remake (with Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore) will return to the original source material (Stephen King's novel), not the 1976 classic with Brian De Palma. She did her own stunts, including getting buried for the final scene. The famous bucket-of-blood scene took over a week to shoot, but the actual blood dumping was done in two takes.

After the lovely evening with Spacek I was able to finish screening Mathieu Kassovitz's "Rebellion," which I started on my flight to Seattle. The French entry debuted at Toronto and played SIFF earlier in the festival. Kassovitz stars and adapted the screenplay from Captain Philippe Legorjus' memoirs about his counter-terrorism attempts during the 1988 New Caledonia (French territory) hostage crisis during the presidential campaign between Francois Mitterand and Jacques Chirac. It's a docu-drama with a complex plot, but ultimately an immersive look at personal and national pride, morality and wartime politics. The cinematography in "Rebellion" is stunning, its long takes impressive. Like Kassovitz's "La Haine" (1995), "Rebellion" left me shaken and impressed. I'm sad I missed it playing on the big screen.

Mathieu Kassovitz's "Rebellion"
Mathieu Kassovitz's "Rebellion"

I did attend a screening of Drew Denny's semi-autobiographical "The Most Fun I've Ever Had With My Pants On." Don't be misled by the title. Beautifully shot, this road movie tracks a woman (Denny) from California to Texas as she follows her father's wish to spread his ashes at various locations. It's whimsical, happy and sad, with stylish photography taking precedence over narrative. At the Q & A following the film, Denny spoke of how difficult it is to let such a personal work find its own life. She's soldiering on with her next project (about her mother), and feels the festival experience has helped her to thicken her skin.

After the tribute dinner for Spacek and William Friedkin I headed to see "The Exorcist" for the first time. My fears of being terrified by it were silly. I can see why it's classic horror, but my skin is thicker than I thought. I slept like a baby.

This article is related to: Seattle International Film Festival , Festivals, Interviews , Interviews, Headliners, Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life, Remake, Classics

E-Mail Updates

Festivals on TOH

Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.