Elle Fanning on LOW DOWN, Jazz Music, Kissing Peter Dinklage, Ben Affleck’s LIVE BY NIGHT, TRUMBO, and More

by     Posted 56 days ago

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Based on Amy-Jo Albany’s memoir about growing up in the care of her gifted but frequently absent musician father, Low Down focuses on what it was like for Amy (Elle Fanning) to turn to the love of her aging grandmother (Glenn Close) while Joe (John Hawkes) struggled as much with his heroin addiction as he did finding gigs.  In the years between 1974 and 1976, surrounded by a ragtag bunch of Hollywood outcasts and eccentrics, Amy was witness to heartbreak and tragedy, but still hung onto the love she had for her family.  Directed by Jeff Preiss, the film also stars Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage and Flea.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Elle Fanning talked about why she wanted to do this project, using her imagination to put herself in Amy’s shoes, learning about the jazz music that’s showcased in the film, having to kiss Peter Dinklage, and what most touched her about what she learned of Amy and Joe Albany.  She also talked about getting ready to shoot Live By Night (written, directed and starring Ben Affleck) next year, having just finished her work on Trumbo, in which she plays the daughter of Bryan Cranston and Diane Lane, and growing up at the same time that her roles are getting older and more complex.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

John Hawkes Talks LOW DOWN, Working With Elle Fanning, Not Glorifying Heroin, and His Next Film THE DRIFTLESS AREA

by     Posted 58 days ago

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John Hawkes delivers a superb performance in Low Down as noted jazz pianist Joe Albany who played with musical greats Charlie Parker and Miles Davis but was torn between his musical ambition, his devotion to his teenage daughter (Elle Fanning), and a debilitating heroin addiction.  The bio-pic opening October 24th is directed by experimental filmmaker Jeff Preiss in his feature debut and based on the memoirs of Albany’s daughter Amy-Jo Albany who co-wrote the screenplay with Topper Lilien.  Set in the colorful, seedy world of struggling musicians and artists in 1970’s Hollywood, the film boasts a first-rate cast that also includes Glenn Close, Lena Heady, and Peter Dinklage.

In an exclusive interview, the Oscar nominated actor spoke about how he first heard about the project after meeting with producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, the appeal of the character, his preparation, not wanting to glorify heroin, working with Fanning and Close, his collaboration with Preiss, what he looks for in the roles he chooses, his experiences growing up in a small rural town, when he first knew he wanted to be an actor, his wild ride with a guy who had just robbed a convenience store, and his upcoming projects including the Off Broadway play Lost Lake and film roles in The Driftless Area, Too Late, and Everest.  Check out our interview with John Hawkes after the jump. 

John Hawkes Talks LIFE OF CRIME, His Preparation Process, Elmore Leonard, Baltasar Kormákur’s EVEREST, and More

by     Posted 108 days ago

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Life of CrimeDaniel Schecter’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch, is now playing on VOD and in theaters.  The film features younger versions of the Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson characters from another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) filling the roles this time around.  The story features Hawkes and Bey kidnapping the trophy wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a wealthy man (Tim Robbins) only to find out he doesn’t actually want her back.  The film also stars Mark Boone JuniorIsla FisherWill Forte.  Life of Crime is loaded with juicy characters and great dialogue, and it’s definitely worth checking out.  For more on the movie, read Matt’s review or watch the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with John Hawkes.  He talked about making Life of Crime, how quickly he said yes to the project, the way he likes to work and if he did anything special for this role, Elmore Leonard, Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

LIFE OF CRIME Review

by     Posted 113 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Life of Crime opens today in limited release.]

I’ve never read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and yes, I’m ashamed. But I know from the film adaptations of his crime novels that there’s a way to do them right and wrong. They have a confidence, a swagger, a sly wink, a braggadocio, and they’re smart. They have the talk for the walk, and some directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown (based off Leonard’s Rum Punch) and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, are smart enough to bring that confidence to the screen. Those films make the uninitiated feel embarrassed that they haven’t joined the club. Even with Daniel Schechter’s cautious adaptation of Life of Crime (based on the novel The Switch) the audience can hear the author’s voice. Schechter’s direction is serviceable enough to not get in the way, he wisely trust his strong cast, accents the comedy, and lets Leonard do the talking.

Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Will Forte, and Director Daniel Schechter Talk LIFE OF CRIME, Their Chemistry Onscreen, Forte’s Giant Beard, and More

by     Posted 113 days ago

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Life of Crime is a wonderfully wicked tale filled with outrageously eccentric characters, sly comedy and surprising twists based on Elmore Leonard’s darkly funny novel, The Switch.  When a couple of low-level criminals kidnap the wife of a corrupt real estate developer, they get both more and less than they bargained for in this cool crime caper adapted for the screen and directed by Daniel Schechter.  The film stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey, Mark Boone Junior, Isla Fisher, Will Forte and Tim Robbins and will be released in theaters and VOD on August 29th.

At the film’s recent press day, Schechter, Aniston, Hawkes, and Forte talked about making a film set in the 70s, what appealed to Schechter about Leonard’s The Switch and made it perfect for adapting to the screen, the brilliance of Leonard’s dialogue, Aniston’s duo role as actor and executive producer and her future plans to direct, how Hawkes found the right balance playing a lovable criminal, the chemistry between the actors, their preparation for the physical scenes, what they learned from each other, and Forte’s upcoming role in his new Fox TV series Last Man on Earth directed by Phil Lord and  Christopher Miller.  Check out the interview after the jump.

FX Passes on Charlie Kaufman’s Pilot HOW AND WHY

by     Posted 151 days ago

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The prospect of seeing an original TV series from the mind of Charlie Kaufman was almost too good to be true.  Alas, after producing a pilot for a comedy called How and Why, FX has decided to pass on the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation. scribe’s potential series, per Deadline.  The show was to star John Hawkes as a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life.  The promising cast also included Michael Cera, Sally Hawkins, and Catherine Keener, but apparently it wasn’t up to snuff for the network.  Hit the jump for more.

John Hawkes Kidnaps Jennifer Aniston in the First LIFE OF CRIME Trailer

by     Posted 213 days ago

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The first Life of Crime trailer has been released for director Daniel Schecter’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch.  The film features younger versions of the Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson characters from another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) filling the roles this time around.  The story kicks into gear when Hawkes and Bey kidnap the trophy wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a wealthy man (Tim Robbins), only to find out her husband doesn’t actually want her back.  The pic looks to be a fun criminal-centric comedy with strong performances from the leads, and Leonard’s authorial voice comes through loud and clear.

Hit the jump to watch the Life of Crime trailer, and click here to read Matt’s review from TIFF.  The film also stars Isla Fisher, Will Forte, and Mark Boone JuniorLife of Crime opens in theaters on August 29th.

Octavia Spencer Joins Leslie Mann in LAS MADRES; Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel Lead Highsmith Adaptation; Frank Langella Joins DRIFTLESS AREA

by     Posted 225 days ago

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We’ve got a few pieces of casting to attend to this evening.  Briefly:

  • Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer will join Leslie Mann in the DreamWorks comedy Las Madres.
  • Patrick Wilson, Jessica Biel, Toby Jones (Captain America), and Imogen Poots (That Awkward Moment) have joined the cast of the untitled adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Blunderer.
  • Frank Langella will star opposite Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel in the unconventional romance The Driftless Area.

Hit the jump for more on the aforementioned films.

Universal to Release EVEREST in 3D and IMAX 3D on September 18, 2015; Film Stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, and Jake Gyllenhaal

by     Posted 273 days ago

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Universal Pictures has bumped the survival drama Everest from February 27, 2015 to September 18, 2015.  Directed by Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns), the movie focuses on two different expeditions that struggle to survive while climbing the world’s tallest mountain.  The film stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, and Jake Gyllenhaal as well as Martin Henderson, Emily Watson, Michael Kelly, and Thomas M. Wright.  Even though we’ll have to wait a little longer, the date change is encouraging since Universal might think they have an awards contender if they’ve moved the picture to the fall.  The studio will release Everest in 3D and IMAX 3D.

Right now, there’s no competition on September 18, 2015, but a week later Sony will have the family flick Hotel Transylvania 2 and Warner Bros. is releasing the comedy The Intern.  Hit the jump for the official synopsis for Everest.

John Hawkes and Michael Cera to Lead Charlie Kaufman’s FX Comedy Pilot, HOW AND WHY

by     Posted 339 days ago

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Last year, we reported that FX had ordered a pilot for How and Why, a half-hour comedy pilot from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind writer Charlie Kaufman.  Today, Deadline is reporting that the show will have two great lead actors in John Hawkes and Michael Cera.  The brief logline is that the show “tells the story of a man (Hawkes) who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life.”  Since this is from the mind of Kaufman, who also wrote Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Synecdoche, New York, I’m assuming it’s nowhere near that simple.  While neither Hawkes nor Cera are strangers to television, I’ll be excited to see how they play off each other (assuming they actually share the screen; with Kaufman, it’s best to leave expectations aside).

Kaufman will write and direct the pilot as well as executive produce, but there’s currently no air date.  Assuming the series is picked up, and FX is willing to give Kaufman as much freedom as they’ve given Louis C.K. on Louie, then How and Why could be amazing, or at least unlike anything else on television.

TIFF 2013: LIFE OF CRIME Review

by     Posted 1 year, 97 days ago

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I’ve never read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and yes, I’m ashamed.  But I know from the film adaptations of his crime novels that there’s a way to do them right and wrong.  They have a confidence, a swagger, a sly wink, a braggadocio, and they’re smart.  They have the talk for the walk, and some directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown (based off Leonard’s Rum Punch) and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, are smart enough to bring that confidence to the screen.  Those films make the uninitiated feel embarrassed that they haven’t joined the club.  Even with Daniel Schechter’s cautious adaptation of Life of Crime (based on the novel The Switch) the audience can hear Leonard speaking.  Schechter’s direction is serviceable enough to not get in the way, he wisely trust his strong cast, accents the comedy, and lets Leonard do the talking.

New Trailer for EASTBOUND & DOWN Reveals Plenty of Footage from Season 4; Plus First Images

by     Posted 1 year, 105 days ago

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HBO has released a new trailer and some debut images for the upcoming fourth season of Eastbound & Down, and they give us our first look at a fair amount of footage from the further adventures of Kenny Powers.  Danny McBride is on point, as always, as the season’s story looks to find Powers struggling with his lack of fame and purpose.  The track record of the three previous seasons bodes extremely well for this final batch of episodes, and I’m really eager to see how McBride and showrunner Jody Hill wrap the story up once and for all.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer and images.  Season four of Eastbound & Down begins on HBO Sunday, September 29th.

First Images from LIFE OF CRIME, THE RAILWAY MAN, THIRD PERSON, THE ART OF THE STEAL, and BAD WORDS

by     Posted 1 year, 149 days ago

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This morning, the Toronto International Film Festival announced its terrific line-up for their Galas and Special Presentation programs.  Among the films with new images and synopses are:

  • Life of Crime (Directed by Daniel Schechter) Starring John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey (a.k.a Mos Def), Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, Will Forte, and Mark Boone Jr.
  • The Railway Man (Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky) Starring Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, and Nicole Kidman.
  • Third Person (Directed by Paul Haggis) Starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello, Kim Basinger, and Moran Atias.
  • The Art of the Steal (Directed by Jonathan Sobol) Starring Jay Baruchel, Matt Dillon, Kurt Russell, Terence Stamp, Katheryn Winnick, Chris Diamantopoulos, Kenneth Welsh, and Jason Jones.
  • Bad Words (Directed by Jason Bateman) Starring Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, Phillip Baker Hall, Kathryn Hahn, and Rohan Chand.

Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses.  The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 – 15th.

Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Jason Clarke in Talks for Baltasar Kormakur’s EVEREST

by     Posted 1 year, 155 days ago

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Director Baltasar Kormakur (Contraband, The Deep) may have rounded up a group of doomed mountaineers.  According to Deadline, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Jason Clarke are in talks to star in Everest.  The film is based on the disastrous 1996 expedition that left eight climbers dead, and was chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s excellent non-fiction novel, Into Thin Air.  This adaptation will reportedly be “be sourced from various books and interviews with survivors.”  One of the fascinating aspects of the climb is that it claimed both novice and experienced climbers, and I’m curious to find out if the actors are playing real people or amalgams.

Earlier this year, we reported that Christian Bale was going to play the lead role, but Deadline makes no mention of him, so presumably he’s out.  The production is eyeing a November start date.  It’s also worth noting that there’s another Everest movie in production (also titled “Everest”) with Doug Liman attached to direct, but we haven’t heard anything new on the project in almost a year.  That movie is about George Mallory, and his three attempts in the early 1920s to become the first man to climb the world’s highest mountain.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK Dominates Independent Spirit Awards with 4 Wins Including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress

by     Posted 1 year, 299 days ago

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Though the 85th Academy Awards are a mere day away, tonight an awards ceremony of a different sort took place to celebrate the best of independent film.  Unsurprisingly, Oscar player Silver Linings Playbook took home the most awards of the night with four wins, including Best Picture, Best Director for David O. Russell, Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, and Best Screenplay for Russell.  The crowdpleasing pic beat out the likes of Beasts of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom for the top prize, but John Hawkes was named Best Actor for his swell work in The Sessions.  The Best First Feature prize deservingly went to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Hit the jump to read the full list of winners for the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards.

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