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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Watch: T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham Talk Crazy Heart

Oscar Watch: T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham Talk Crazy Heart
After the Academy Nominees luncheon Monday at the Beverly Hilton, I repaired downstairs to do a couple of interviews pool side--along with a few other media. I flip-cammed Crazy Heart's T Bone Burnett, the tall and famous music supervisor who was instrumental in making the movie as good as it is. First, the movie wouldn't have been made without him. Burnett told old pal and jam-mate Jeff Bridges that if he would make Scott Cooper's movie, so would he. Second, Burnett insisted that the movie's backers raise enough money to do the music properly. The hand-crafted songs that fit Bridges' Bad Blake persona like a glove are what make Crazy Heart work so well. Burnett brought along songwriter Ryan Bingham, who wrote Oscar best original song front-runner "The Weary Kind."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2010 9:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Sandra Bullock Talks Blind Side, Oscars, Career Choices

After the Oscar nominees' lunch at the Beverly Hilton, I went down by the pool to interview The Blind Side best actress nominee Sandra Bullock with my flip cam. She didn't know at the start of her career, she said, that "being funny was going to be my greatest joy." She learned as she went along that comedy parts for men were better written than the ones for women, so she'd transcribe Jerry Lewis and Carol Burnett skits and perform them in front of her own home video camera. If you want women to come to box office, she warns, you have to make the movies good. "We're not going to the movie on the first weekend if they're crap," she says. "That's the difference between men and women."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2010 5:21 AM
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Depp Talks Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland Featurette

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is almost upon us. The 3-D Disney fantasy opens March 5. The LAT's Geoff Boucher asks screenwriter Linda Woolverton (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast) about adapting Lewis Carroll. She based a lot of this "sequel" on The Jabberwocky, one of my favorite poems of all time.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 11, 2010 12:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment

#Sundance: Abel's Diego Luna is Director Discovery of Fest

#Sundance: Abel's Diego Luna is Director Discovery of Fest
Of the three actor-directors who made their feature filmmaking debuts at this year's Sundance, it looks like Mark Ruffalo (Sympathy for Delicious) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Jack Goes Boating) can keep their day jobs. But Mexican star Diego Luna, with the magical family drama Abel, is the director discovery of this festival.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 30, 2010 9:51 AM
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#Sundance: Mark Lewis Gets Down with 3-D Cane Toads

#Sundance: Mark Lewis Gets Down with 3-D Cane Toads
With 1988's Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, Australian documentary filmmaker Mark Lewis (The Natural History of the Chicken) introduced Sundance audiences to the cane toad--an amphibian imported Down Under in 1935 to control sugar cane larvae. Of course, the cane toad did nothing of the kind, and turned out to be a remarkably adaptable--and toxic-- creature, capable of killing dogs and pets with its poison glands. This time with Cane Toads: The Conquest, Lewis celebrates the toad as he tries to restore the balance by suggesting it's not all the toad's fault. He takes us from the toad 16 million years ago, through Puerto Rico and Hawaii to Australia and the evolution of the new and improved 3- D "Ava-Toad."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 30, 2010 8:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment

#Sundance: Aamir Khan Talks 3 Idiots, May Release Peepli Live Himself

#Sundance: Aamir Khan Talks 3 Idiots, May Release Peepli Live Himself
How strange that I should land my first interview with my favorite Bollywood star, Aamir Khan, at Sundance. That's because he came to town as the producer of an indie political satire, Peepli Live, which is the first film from India to be accepted at Sundance-- in the world cinema competition. Khan read the script from rookie director Anusha Rizvi and agreed to back it. She cast the film largely with unknowns, including theater actor Omkar Das Manikpuri. (Here's a review from The Hollywood Reporter.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 30, 2010 3:47 AM
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  • 1 Comment

#Sundance: Cholodenko Talks The Kids Are All Right

#Sundance: Cholodenko Talks The Kids Are All Right
On Wednesday, as the LAT breathlessly reported that the Focus Features deal to acquire The Kids Are All Right for $3.5 million was virtually closed, writer-director Lisa Cholodenko was insisting that deal points were still outstanding.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 28, 2010 6:38 AM
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#Sundance: Gosling, Cianfrance Talk Blue Valentine

#Sundance: Gosling, Cianfrance Talk Blue Valentine
One of the hits of Sundance 2010, Blue Valentine will sell, eventually, and be seen around the country. It features two of the best performances of the year, from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple who are no longer in a working marriage. Writer-director Derek Cianfrance seamlessly weaves together footage of their initial romance and the two teetering on the edge of breaking up. (Here's Karina Longworth's review. )
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 28, 2010 2:48 AM
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  • 2 Comments

#Sundance: Mark and Jay Duplass Talk Cyrus

#Sundance: Mark and Jay Duplass Talk Cyrus
When Mark and Jay Duplass convinced Fox Searchlight to back their new movie Cyrus, they insisted that they be allowed to make a Duplass brothers movie: strong story, naturalistic acting, hand-held digital cameras. But they jumped from a $50,000 budget to $7 million, and hired name movie stars. In this bizarre, intimate, unpredictable and often hilarious family drama, Jonah Hill gives the performance of his career as a pampered mother’s boy who freaks when his mom (Marisa Tomei) brings home a new boyfriend (John C. Reilly).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 27, 2010 3:51 AM
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#Sundance: Jett, Currie, Stewart, Fanning Talk Runaways

#Sundance: Jett, Currie, Stewart, Fanning Talk Runaways
The Runaways hit Sundance like a freight train, thanks to the combined star power of Twilight stars Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and the characters they play in the musical biopic, "wild and braless" Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, who toured as teenagers with the first all-girl rock band in the 70s.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 26, 2010 7:47 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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