Tim Daly Talks MADAM SECRETARY, What Attracted Him to This Character, the Vital Family Dynamic, and More

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Madam Secretary Tim Daly Tea Leoni

In the new CBS drama series Madam Secretary, Elizabeth McCord (Tèa Leoni) unexpectedly becomes the newly appointed Secretary of State and must quickly learn to handle international diplomacy, office politics and how to circumvent protocol, as she negotiates global and domestic issues, both at the White House and at home.  The show also stars Tim Daly, Keith Carradine, Geoffrey Arend, Erich Bergen, Patina Miller, Bebe Neuwirth and Zeljko Ivanek.

During this exclusive interview with Collider, actor Tim Daly (he plays supportive husband Henry McCord, who is also a professor of religion) talked about how he came to be a part of this show, what attracted him to this character, how her new career will affect their marriage, the vital family dynamic, the long arc of intrigue and mystery vs. solving dilemmas on a weekly basis, and how much he enjoys working with Téa Leoni.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Sir Ben Kingsley Talks THE BOXTROLLS, What Convinced Him to Voice an Animated Villain, His Opinion of the Shakespearean Snatcher, and More

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Sir Ben Kingsley lends his extraordinary voice to the diabolical Archibald Snatcher in LAIKA’s breathtakingly beautiful 3D stop-motion animated adventure, The Boxtrolls, loosely based on Alan Snow’s best-selling children’s book Here Be Monsters!  The mischievous, trash-collecting creatures known as Boxtrolls live beneath the cobblestoned streets of Cheesebridge where they struggle to elude the evil Snatcher who claims they have stolen an orphan (Isaac Hempstead Wright).  Snatcher is determined to exterminate them in exchange for admittance into the town’s elite White Hats.  Opening September 26th, the film also stars Elle Fanning, Nick Frost and Tracy Morgan.

At our roundtable interview, Kingsley revealed what convinced him to bring to life an animated villain, why he found Snatcher a great character to play, how the script rang true as a refreshing family film, his unique approach to voicing his character, how he found the recording experience very freeing, why he appreciated a narrative that revealed the darker side of life, his satisfaction at seeing what the animators did with his character, the parallels between Snatcher and tragic Shakespearean characters like Richard III and Iago, and his enthusiasm for his upcoming films Learning to Drive and Robot Overlords.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

James Spader Talks THE BLACKLIST Season 2, Red’s Relationship with the FBI, How the Show Surprises Him, and More

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The Blacklist Season 2 James Spader

The hit NBC drama series The Blacklist is back for Season 2, and Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) is sure to be as shady and mysterious as ever.  Along with Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), the two have been making their way through a list of politicians, mobsters, spies and international terrorists that Red has compiled over the years, some of whom have proven to be more difficult to stop than expected.

During this interview to discuss the show’s return, actor James Spader talked about the questions about who Elizabeth Keen’s father is, how Red’s relationship with the FBI has changed, always turning things on their ear, how Mary Louise Parker’s character is connected to Red, the return of Peter Stormare as Berlin, how the show surprises him, that some of the criminals will be connected to a bigger story and some will be connected to things that are much more immediate, and how much he enjoys working in both film and television.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Director Maya Forbes Talks INFINITELY POLAR BEAR, Tackling the Issue of Mental Illness, Mark Ruffalo, the Difficulty of Getting Films Made as a Woman, and More

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One of the rare films to play at both Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival was writer-director Maya Forbes’ Infinitely Polar Bear.  Based on her own childhood experiences, the film takes place in 1978 Boston and stars Mark Ruffalo as a manic-depressive father struggling to raise his young daughters while also trying to win back his wife (Zoe Saldana).  Loaded with fantastic performances and a great script that’s able to keep Ruffalo sympathetic even when he’s causing serious problems, Forbes’ debut feature really impressed me, and you should look forward to seeing it for yourself next year in theaters.

Shortly after the TIFF premiere I landed an exclusive interview with Maya Forbes.  During the interview she talked about getting to be part of Sundance and TIFF, her first cut of the film and what she cut out, the subject matter and how there is an element of fortuitousness to the timing of the movie with mental illness being talked about in the media, putting together the financing, casting Mark Ruffalo, being truthful while also making an entertaining movie, when we’ll see a trailer, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what she had to say.

Rosamund Pike Talks HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS, Working with Simon Pegg, the Film’s UK Response, David Fincher, and More

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Opening this weekend in North America is director Peter Chelsom’s dramedy Hector and the Search for Happiness.  Based on the book of the same name by François Lelord, the film stars Simon Pegg as Hector, an eccentric psychiatrist who’s going nowhere and whose patients aren’t getting any happier.  One day, he musters up the courage to set out on a quest to find out if happiness really exists.  The film also stars Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, and Jean Reno.  For more on Hector and the Search for Happiness, click here to watch the trailer, and here’s all our previous coverage.

Last week at the Toronto International Film festival I landed an exclusive interview with Rosamund Pike, who plays Hector’s wife.  She talked about being at TIFF, working with Pegg on The World’s End and then Hector, collaborating with Peter Chelsom, if there were script changes during production, if her process as an actor has changed, if she’s interested in playing a role on TV,  the experience of working with David Fincher on Gone Girl, and more.  Hit the jump for what she had to say.

Mark Ruffalo Talks INFINITELY POLAR BEAR, Daydreaming About His Characters, Getting Nervous, STAR WARS, NOW YOU SEE ME 2, SPOTLIGHT & More

by     Posted 5 days ago

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One of the rare films to play at both Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival was writer-director Maya Forbes’ Infinitely Polar Bear.  Based on her own childhood experiences, the film takes place in 1978 Boston and stars Mark Ruffalo as a manic-depressive father struggling to raise his young daughters while also trying to win back his wife (Zoe Saldana).  Loaded with fantastic performances and a great script that’s able to keep Ruffalo sympathetic even when he’s causing serious problems, Forbes’ debut feature really impressed me and you should look forward to seeing it for yourself next year in theaters.

Shortly after the TIFF premiere I landed an exclusive interview with Mark Ruffalo.  During our wide-ranging conversation, he talked about how he still gets nervous taking on roles, how he’s started pulling from dreams when putting together his characters, his preparation process for each part, how the project changed along the way, what the last few years have been like, his desire to be in Star Wars, the status of Now You See Me 2Thomas McCarthy‘s Catholic church sex scandal drama Spotlight, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to read or listen to what he had to say.

Director Isao Takahata Talks THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA, His Process, the Future of Studio Ghibli, the Popularity of Animation in Japan, and More

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One of my personal highlights from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was getting to interview director Isao Takahata for his new film The Tale of Princess Kaguya.  If you’re not familiar with his name, Isao Takahata is the co-founder of Studio Ghibli along with Hayao Miyazaki, and he previously directed Only YesterdayPom PokoMy Neighbors the Yamadas, and the war-themed Grave of the Fireflies (which I can’t recommend enough).  In his latest movie, which is based on the folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Takahata breaks away from Ghibli’s familiar animation style and tells a story that embraces the connection between nature and magic.  For more on the film, read Matt’s reviewThe Tale of Princess Kaguya will be released in North America on October 17.

During the interview Isao Takahata talked about how he picks his subject matter, how he decided on the look of the film and the style of animation, the storyboard process, why animated films are so popular in Japan with both adults and children, what he collects, the future of Studio Ghibli, his directorial process, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Director Josh Boone Talks THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, the Extended Cut, Making the Material His Own, the Painful Writing Process, and PRETENDERS

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The Fault in Our Stars is far more than just YA-appeasing schmaltz, deftly weaving romanticism with deeper philosophic undercurrents.  Josh Boone’s sophomore effort (post Stuck in Love) is a fairly straight adaptation of John Green’s novel – and keeps with the book’s strange tonal feat at once both tragic yet uplifting.  It’s sort of the feel-good movie about dying young; but Boone’s deft touch with the material and the cast somehow makes the juxtaposing tones mesh.

In the following interview with Josh Boone in anticipation of film’s Blu-ray release, he discusses the Extended Cut of The Fault in Our Stars, why he’ll never write a novel, and injecting his authorial stamp onto the adaptation.  You can read Boone’s previous thoughts and comments on his upcoming adaptations of The Stand and Lestatright here.  For the full Fault in Our Stars interview, hit the jump.

Director Adam Wingard and Screenwriter Simon Barrett Talk THE GUEST, the Fallacy of Boring Art Films, and Their Quest to Evolve

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The Guest is easily one of the best times you’ll have in a theater this year.  It’s funny, full of action, smart, and extremely stylish.  Three years ago I wouldn’t have thought Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey would be a contender as an action star/serious badass, but I would have been wrong.  He’s on fire here (as you can probably tell by the film’s trailer).  So are director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett (A Horrible Way to Die, V/H/S/2, You’re Next), who continue to mine the genre field and find interesting ways to make their material relatable and exciting.

I recently sat down with Wingard and Barrett to talk about the film.  I should note that I’ve interviewed the duo many times in the past, so I wanted to go a little bit off the beaten path with my questions here and focus solely on aspects of The Guest (and their career) that we hadn’t discussed before.  I also tried to dig a bit into what they’re next project is, but that question was answered far more successfully yesterday.  Hit the jump to check out the interview (and be sure to read Matt’s review).  The film also stars Maika MonroeLeland OrserSheila KelleyBrendan Meyer, and Lance Reddick.  The Guest opens in U.S. theaters tomorrow, September 17th.

Octavia Spencer Talks RED BAND SOCIETY, Her Character’s Journey in Season 1, Favorite Scenes, and More

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Red Band Society Octavia Spencer slice

The new Fox drama series Red Band Society is a provocative coming-of-age dramedy about a group of rule-bending friends and the adults who mentor them through the ups and downs of adolescence in Los Angeles’ Ocean Park Hospital.  The pediatric ward is run by Nurse Jackson (Octavia Spencer), a caregiver with a take-no-prisoners approach to helping these teens get the most from their lives, even when they’re facing serious life-threatening issues and illnesses.

During this recent interview to promote the show’s September 17th premiere, Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer talked about how she got involved with the show, what appealed to her about this project, her character’s journey this season, working with such a talented young cast, her favorite scenes, getting to learn more about her character, and finding the beauty in unexpected places.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

Rose McIver Talks PETALS ON THE WIND DVD, Intense Ballet Training, the Harrowing Shoot, iZOMBIE, Exploring Comedy, and More

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Petals on the Wind, the sequel to V.C. Andrews’ best-selling novel and Lifetime smash hit movie Flowers in the Attic, is now available on DVD.  Set 15 years after the end of the previous film, the second installment shows the Dollanganger children as they attempt to find their way in the world, following their escape after years of imprisonment.  But as Cathy (Rose McIver) and Christopher (Wyatt Nash) try to put their sordid past behind them, they soon discover that certain secrets can’t be left behind.  The film also stars Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Bailey Buntain, Dylan Bruce and Will Kemp.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Rose McIver talked about how she got involved with the film, taking on the role from Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) and then passing it off to the next actress, how much she knew about these books before signing on, the intense ballet training, why it was a bit of a harrowing shoot, breaking the cycle of abuse, and whether she was rooting for characters in such a horrific circumstance.  She also talked about what attracted her to The CW series iZombie, getting to explore comedy, the fun of playing this character, and getting to do a brief role in the Veronica Mars web series, Play It Again, Dick.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

Writer/Director Scott Frank Talks A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, Casting, Soderbergh’s Advice in Post-Production, the Pivotal Gun Scene, and More

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After more than a decade in development, writer/director Scott Frank has succeeded in turning best-selling novelist Lawrence Block’s signature book into a harrowing suspense thriller with an intriguing premise in A Walk Among the Tombstones.  Liam Neeson stars as Matt Scudder, a troubled former N.Y.P.D. officer turned private detective whose quest for redemption leads him to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) track down the men (David Harbour, Adam David Thompson) who brutally murdered his wife.  Adapted for the screen by Frank, the crime drama also stars Boyd Holbrook, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Sebastian Roché, Mark Consuelos, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.

At the film’s recent press day, Frank talked about how the project first came together, why it took so long to bring to the screen, what convinced Neeson to come on board, casting Stevens into the dark role of a drug trafficker, the pivotal gun scene between Liam and Astro’s characters, the decision to portray the killers and the protagonist in two very different lights, how director Alan Pakula and films like Rosemary’s Baby and Klute inspired the film’s tone, style and pace, Steven Soderbergh’s advice in post-production, and why Frank decided not to do Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report TV series.  Check out the interview after the jump:

Dan Stevens Talks A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, Evoking Sympathy for the Bad Guy, Love of 70s Thrillers, THE GUEST, and More

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It’s been two years since Dan Stevens departed Downton Abbey and he’s not lost any time actively pursuing some amazing new roles in theater, film and television.  In his latest movie, A Walk Among the Tombstones, he stars opposite Liam Neeson playing a heroin trafficker bent on revenge who hires a private investigator (Neeson) to hunt down the serial killers (David Harbour, Adam David Thompson) that brutally murdered his wife.  Opening September 19th, the crime drama also stars Boyd Holbrook, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Sebastian Roché, Mark Consuelos, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.

At the film’s recent press day, Stevens discussed why he finds it exciting to explore new and different roles, the challenge of transforming himself for each one, the appeal of playing a bad guy who’s a victim, his love of 70’s noirish thrillers like Klute, Dirty Harry, and The Conversation, his collaboration with director Scott Frank on the darkness of his character, how music helped him prepare for his role in The Guest, and what it’s been like working with his childhood heroes – Neeson, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler and John Travolta — on Tombstones, Night at the Museum:  Secret of the Tomb, The Cobbler and Criminal Activities.  Hit the jump to read the rest of the interview:

Writer-Director Adam MacDonald Talks BACKCOUNTRY, the True Story, Shooting with Real Bears, Editing Gory Scenes and More at TIFF

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It’s tough enough to make a first feature, but writer-director Adam MacDonald chose to make his with real bears.  MacDonald’s been racking up acting credits for quite a while, having appeared on a number of shows including Being Erica and Rookie Blue, but now he’s at the Toronto International Film Festival with his feature directorial debut, Backcountry.  The film stars Jeff Roop and Missy Peregrym as Alex and Jenn, a couple that opts to ditch the big city and spend some quality time together camping in the woods for the weekend.  Alex insists he knows the way to the secluded Blackfoot trail, but after one too many wrong turns, they’re completely lost and in bear territory, too.

In an effort to keep myself from gushing over the film and turning this into a mile long introduction, I’ll just direct you to my enthusiastic review of Backcountry right here.  But that being said, it should come as no surprise that I was absolutely thrilled to hop on the phone with MacDonald shortly after the film’s Toronto International Film Festival world premiere.   We got to discuss the process of getting his first feature off the ground, the true story the film is based on, what is was like working with real bears and more.  Hit the jump to check it all out.

Harry Connick Jr. Talks DOLPHIN TALE 2, Balancing His Music and Movie Career, AMERICAN IDOL and His New Album

by     Posted One week ago

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There’s something conducive about musicians becoming actors. Perhaps it’s attributable to the performance-based nature of their work – going out on a stage, entertaining millions of folks, putting on a show… The number of musicians who have transitioned to acting and done so successfully is a surprisingly large pool. David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Elvis Pressley, Frank Sinatra… The list goes on. Harry Connick Jr is not often mentioned alongside such flashier personalities, but the singer/songwriter has quietly built up a steady resume of eclectic performances be it as a serial killer in Copycat or as the romantic lead in Hope Floats.

In this week’s Dolphin Tale 2, Connick Jr reprises his role as Dr. Clay Haskett, the lead marine biologist of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Much of Connick Jr’s scenes are centered on the imbalance of at once running an aquarium while at the same time treating the animals in the most humane fashion possible. It’s one of many more adult storylines in the darker sequel. In the following round-table interview with Connick Jr, he discusses balancing his musical & theatrical career, working alongside Winter [the dolphin] and his newest job — judging on American Idol. For the full interview, hit the jump.

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