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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Watch Exclusive: Tom Hooper Talks Directing Style in The King's Speech

In a wide-ranging discussion about his directing approach on The King's Speech, Tom Hooper talks (in the video below) about framing star Colin Firth in wide-lens close-ups so that there was "nothing between him and the character." He mentions one of the visual themes in the film was finding "a visual analogue to stammering which became about framing Colin in relationship to negative space."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2011 4:17 AM
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Jim Sturgess Talks The Way Back, Heartless, Singing the Beatles

Jim Sturgess Talks The Way Back, Heartless, Singing the Beatles
Jim Sturgess was deep in the throes of working on a thriller when he auditioned for Peter Weir's The Way Back. The young Brit felt "a combination of intimidation and awe and desperation" going up for a part in a Weir film. "I had quite a strange entrance into the movie," he recalls, "because when I found out that Peter was casting for the film and wanted to see me, I was in the middle of shooting a film back in London called Heartless, where I was playing a kind of psychotic, delusional, manic-depressive, suicidal character in a comedy, a British rom-com." When he met with Weir, he had been doing two weeks of night shoots and looked terrible, and left feeling disappointed. The actor ended up putting himself on tape and sent Weir a letter. "Thank god I did that," he says now, as Weir offered him the key role of a Polish Gulag survivor who leads a gang of escapees across 4000 miles to freedom.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 18, 2011 8:04 AM
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Jacki Weaver Talks Career, Animal Kingdom's Evil Matriarch, Voicing Toy Story 4

Jacki Weaver Talks Career, Animal Kingdom's Evil Matriarch, Voicing Toy Story 4
Australian star Jacki Weaver's role as a wicked mom in Animal Kingdom has generated awards buzz since its premiere at Sundance last year. She's got several nominations to prove it, and a win at the National Board of Review Awards. Sophia Savage sat down for a flip cam interview with the veteran actress:"That's gonna take years," Jacki Weaver replies to a request for a rundown of her Australian acting career, which spans 48 years. "How long have you got?"
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 18, 2011 7:34 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Golden Globes Foreign-Language Nominees: Lessons Learned from Bier, Inarritu, Guadagnino

Golden Globes Foreign-Language Nominees: Lessons Learned from Bier, Inarritu, Guadagnino
Mike Goodridge of Screen International moderated a panel discussion with Golden Globe nominees for Best Foreign Language Film Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, Italy), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Biutiful, Spain/Mexico), Susanne Bier (In a Better World, Denmark) and Aleksei Uchitel (The Edge, Russia), hosted by the American Cinematheque at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre. The only no-show was Radu Mihaileanu (The Concert, France). Bier, Inarritu and Uchitel's films were also submitted by their countries for Oscar consideration (nominees will be announced January 25). Sophia Savage reports:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 16, 2011 9:20 AM
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LA Film Critics Award-Winner Mazursky Talks Career, Kubrick, Tempest, Hollywood

LA Film Critics Award-Winner Mazursky Talks Career, Kubrick, Tempest, Hollywood
Paul Mazursky, 80, has always been a one-of-a-kind Hollywood filmmaker. He started out as an actor, wrote (often with a partner), directed and produced his films, and he hasn't stopped. He directed a 2006 documentary about a meeting of Hassidic Jews in the Ukraine (Yippee), directs theater and is prepping a Broadway musical version of Moon Over Parador. The director flourished inside the studio system during the 70s and 80s, a time when execs allowed all sorts of things to happen that they wouldn't today. Movies didn't cost as much. A single exec actually in charge of production could greenlight a movie. We talk about this in the flip cam interview below, as well as starting off his film acting career in 1953 on Stanley Kubrick's first film, Fear and Desire, Mazursky and Julie Taymor's different takes on Shakespeare's The Tempest, and what's wrong with Hollywood today, where it's hard to imagine any studio head greenlighting a film about an old man and his cat.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 14, 2011 6:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld Talks Coens, Learning from Bridges and Damon, Horses and School

True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld Talks Coens, Learning from Bridges and Damon, Horses and School
grit (noun): firmness of character; indomitable spirit.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 8, 2011 1:20 AM
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The Coen Brothers Talk True Grit

The Coen Brothers Talk True Grit
As western True Grit has taken off as the surprise hit of the Christmas season (topping a field of weak contenders), and has emerged a strong awards contender (with recent PGA and WGA nods), the usually taciturn Joel and Ethan Coen are on the promo trail. Here's a taste of their sound bites from various interviews.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 5, 2011 6:56 AM
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Oscar Watch: Animated The Illusionist is Homage to Tati

Oscar Watch: Animated The Illusionist is Homage to Tati
Which animated film will land the third Oscar slot behind Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon? The critics have given a serious boost Sylvain Chomet's elegiac 2-D The Illusionist, which won best animated film at the European Film Awards and New York Film Critics Circle and a spotlight award from the National Board of Review. It's also nominated for five Annie Awards and best animated feature by the Golden Globes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 28, 2010 5:31 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Christmas Greetings from the Francos: Grandma Franco Fires Back at 127 Hours Avoiders

Obviously, Fox Searchlight is trying to confront head-on the issue of squeamish moviegoers not wanting to see 127 Hours, which features James Franco as hiker Aron Ralston hacking off his arm. They've deployed the "I Kept My Eyes Open for 127 Hours" campaign, and now Franco (showing his usual canny promo instincts) posts a video interview with his grandmother on Funny or Die:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 26, 2010 5:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Rudin Talks True Grit, Producing Quality Films at Studios: "It's harder than it's ever been"

Rudin Talks True Grit, Producing Quality Films at Studios: "It's harder than it's ever been"
Most weekdays, producer Scott Rudin, 52, starts off with an early breakfast meeting or two at a Madison Avenue cafe. One recent week, he met at 8 AM with Lena Dunham, the young filmmaker he plucked to adapt and direct Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, well before Tiny Furniture became a film du jour; he met me the following day at the same hour. How did he find out about Dunham? He has a deal with former assistants Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen, producers at Parts and Labor (The Exploding Girl): he covers their overhead in exchange for them sending him their talent discoveries. That's how he got to see Tiny Furniture. As he was watching it, Rudin realized that he knew Dunham's artist parents, Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham. Rudin thinks their daughter is "a total star.”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2010 5:28 AM
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  • 3 Comments

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