Ben Affleck on His Directing Success: “I got to apply some of the lessons I learned from this business that I learned from my acting career”
Talk about being (unfortunately) timely: Ben Affleck‘s latest film Argo, which he directed and also stars, focuses on a real-life story about the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, and currently the U.S. is facing similar tensions in the Middle East. It is also perhaps Affleck’s most acclaimed film, which is a tremendous accomplishment considering his two prior films, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, were also well received.
In interviews promoting the film, Affleck speaks about how he managed to direct this film (his most challenging to date) and explains why he isn’t ready to start giving directing advice. Read more
I’m not sure what’s more entertaining — the comedy of the show Community or the backstage drama that has surrounded the series over the past year. Star Joel McHale is the latest member of the cast to step forward and talk about the departure of creator and show runner Dan Harmon and co-star Chevy Chase‘s numerous comments to the media about how much he dislikes working on the show.
Though Harmon is no longer involved in the ongoing production of the series (except as a “consultant”), McHale explains that the show is so well established that his presence really isn’t needed. He says, “Really, not much has changed. A lot of writers stayed, so they know the spirit and tone of the show. And it’s our fourth year, so we have a good sense of our characters. The main difference is he’s not physically there.”
On Chase’s candid comments that called sitcoms “the lowest form of television,” McHale similarly doesn’t hold back when attacking Chase’s comments. He says, “I will tease Chevy about that stuff, and then he always goes, Oh, I was just joking! and then I’ll say, a) Hilarious, hilarious! and b) You should soak your dentures. It’s like, Chevy, why are you here? This is not a tour of duty. You are not going to be sued. And then he’s like, well you know, I like it here, I do. And I’m like, alright, well then stop saying stuff. Or, I guess, say whatever you want, but I’m gonna make fun. It gives the whole cast fodder to make fun of him.” Read more
Every movie requires some suspension of disbelief. Whether major, like with a sci-fi movie, or minor, like actors waking up with perfect hair and make-up, you have to shrug your shoulders at some point and say “it’s a movie.” I’m willing to suspend a lot when it comes to movies, but when it comes to the ways basic human relationships operate it’s a bit hard.
The Oranges (so titled because it takes place in West Orange, New Jersey with seemingly no other reason for the title) is narrated by Vanessa Walling (Elizabeth Shawkat), a 24 year old aspiring furniture designer who lives with her parents, David and Paige Walling (Hugh Laurie & Catherine Keener), though their marriage has deteriorated to the point that David sleeps in the pool house. They have another son, Toby (Adam Brody), who is mostly an afterthought. The Wallings live across the street from their best friends Terry and Cathy Ostroff (Oliver Platt & Allison Janney), whose daughter, Nina (Leighton Meester) used to be best friends with Vanessa before Nina began ignoring her in high school and then decided to travel the world on her parents’ dime. Nina, who is 24 but seemingly going on 15, is the kind of girl who fancies herself a world traveler but seems to have only learned that in Europe all the alcohol bottles have funny writing on them. Read more
It’s been some time since we have had an update on the lawsuit filed by actress Huang “Junie” Hoang against IMDb for posting her actual date of birth on the internet’s most popular movie website. Major parts of Hoang’s case were dismissed back in April, including Hoang’s charges of fraud and that Amazon.com (which is the owner of IMDb), her claim that IMDb violated the Washington Privacy Act, and, most significantly, Hoang’s asking of $1 million in damages for lost work because of her age (the judge pointed out Hoang would have to produce witnesses to testify that they did not hire her specifically because of IMDb’s revelation of her actual age, something that was very unlikely to happen). Nonetheless, Hoang’s claim that Amazon gleaned her true age from her private credit card information remained in the case.
But new developments might change all that. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hoang’s original lawyer, John Dozier, passed away unexpectedly in August and her new lawyers, led by Keith Scully of the firm Newman Du Wors, have decided to take a different approach to the suit by broadening it, focusing on how the age information revealed on IMDb hurts the industry as a whole and continuing to question whether or not IMDb’s staff commits any wrongdoing while probing for private information for its listings. This would include calling industry professionals to the stand as witnesses to talk about ageism in the industry, with Gil Junger (director of 10 Things I Hate About You and dozens of television episodes) reportedly already agreeing to take the stand. Read more
While the Oscars are generally considered the most prestigious awards in film, for actors the Screen Actors Guild Award also have special significance. Unfortunately for the actors in Fox Searchlight’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, because the low-budget film was not produced by the guidelines of SAG-AFTRA’s Low Budget Feature Agreement its actors will not be eligible for the SAG Awards.
With a budget of only $1.3 million and a desire for realism, director Benh Zeitlin cast locals in most roles, including lead actors Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry, neither of whom have ever acted before (thus they were not members of SAG-AFTRA). Fox Searchlight and the film’s international distributors could potentially restore the film’s eligibility by bringing the film into compliance with the Low Budget Feature Agreement, but that would mean all the companies would have to pay the actors more, something they’re not likely to do just to restore eligibility. Read more
Good news for Good People, the 2011 play by David Lindsay-Abaire that Frances McDormand won a Tony Award for: it will be the most-produced play in America in the 2012-2013 season. Of the 415 member theaters of The Theatre Communications Group, the largest trade group in the theater industry, 17 theaters will produce the play, which is about a recently-fired single mother trying to find a way to provide for herself and her handicapped daughter by seeking help from her former boyfriend.
There are numerous other plays that will have several productions across the country in several months. Rounded out the top ten are Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park (15), Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man (14), the Brian Yorkey-Tom Kitt musical Next to Normal (13), Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (12), last year’s list topper John Logan’s Red (11), Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still (10), Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities (10), Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherf**ker with the Hat (9), and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (8), tied with the Alex Timbers-Michael Friedman musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (8). Though originally produced in 1959, A Raisin in the Sun is frequently produced in conjunction with Clybourne Park, which is set before and after A Raisin in the Sun. Read more
Daniel Craig may only be part of Her Majesty’s Secret Service when he appears in James Bond films, but in an interview with Vanity Fair he has some good advice about fame that Prince Harry and his sister-in-law Princess Kate should think about adhering to.
Craig, who stars in next month’s James Bond film Skyfall, says, “You talk to people in the movie business who have been doing this 40 years and they all say the difference is that, back in the day, you could go and have a drink in the bar, get drunk, fall over, have a good time, relax, whatever, and no one would know about it. But now everyone’s got a camera. Not that all I want to do is get drunk in a bar, but that’s an example. So you can’t live a normal life anymore. Because it will become public knowledge that you’ve whatever—gotten drunk in a bar or skinny-dipped on a beach or something. Things that normal people do occasionally. And in a way that’s kind of—I’ve got to be high-class. I’ve done a lot of things in my life. But you have to think in that way. Which is sad, because I like bars.” Read more
It should be a no-brainer, but there were no laws on the books in California that prevented convicted child molesters from working with children in the entertainment industry. Back in April, former child actors Corey Feldman and Todd Bridges (who played Willis on Diff’rent Strokes) testified before the California legislature on the physical and sexual abuse they faced as child stars, and the various industry unions were united in their support for measures to prevent such abuse.
Finally, on Thursday, September 27, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1660, a bill which bars registered sex offenders from working with child actors and requires background checks for behind-the-scenes personnel who work directly with children, ranging from managers to photographers. Now these Hollywood personnel will be under the same strict regulations as those in many other positions that involve working with children. Read more
Bruce Willis: “Why you go to the movies is the same reason that we like to make movies: It’s all about human emotion”
In Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is only pretending to play the younger version of Bruce Willis, with Willis traveling back in time to confront his “younger self.” But if Willis could really go back in time, would he do anything differently?
Surprisingly, he tells Cheyboygan News that he thinks he actually make more mistakes. He explains, “I would go back and make more mistakes, earlier than I made them. I made a lot of mistakes early in my life, but if I had made more of them, I would have gotten to the answer to those mistakes earlier. I have a lot of anxiety about making mistakes and hurting people’s feelings. There were things I did as a brash kid that I wasn’t paying any attention to – people whose feelings I hurt.” He then adds, “You know what I’m saying. I’d rather not hurt people anymore.” Read more
Premium Rush aside, Joseph Gordon-Levitt appears in two of the best-rated action films of 2012, The Dark Knight Rises and Looper, and also stars in the likely Oscar-contending drama Lincoln due out in November. In an interview with New York magazine, Gordon-Levitt talks about the makeup he had to wear to portray a younger version of Bruce Willis in Looper and what inspired him to direct his first film, which is due out next year.
Gordon-Levitt reveals that it was a bit odd between takes when he was still in the makeup that made him look more like Willis, and when asked if he stayed in character or reverted to his usual self he says, “Probably some of both. One of my good friends visited the set and was really disturbed, didn’t want to talk to me. My mom, too. She said, ‘When I stand next to you, you feel like my son, but when I look at you, you’re this different guy.’ She found it a little odd.” Read more