Since George Washington hit theaters in 2000, director David Gordon Green has impressed me again and again. Whether tackling a big studio comedy like Pineapple Express, an intimate drama like Snow Angels, or outrageous characters like Kenny Powers on HBO’s Eastbound & Down, Green has repeatedly shown he’s a gifted filmmaker that can handle any subject. In his new film, Joe, which just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, he tackles the story of an ex-con (Nicolas Cage) who becomes a role model to 15-year-old Gary Jones (Tye Sheridan), the oldest child of a homeless family led by a drunk father. Loaded with fantastic performances (including some incredible work by non-professional actors), Joe really impressed me at this year’s festival.
Shortly after the premiere I got to sit down with Sheridan for an exclusive video interview. He talked about being at TIFF, making Joe, working with Gordon Green and Cage, working with non-actors, the way he prepares for a role, what it was like to work for Terrence Malick on The Tree of Life, what he collects, future projects like Dark Places and The Forger, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.
After watching Prince Avalanche earlier this year, I hoped that director David Gordon Green would continue with smaller, more intimate stories. With his follow-up, Joe, he has not only built on the palette-cleanser of Prince Avalanche, but also delivered one of his best movies. Featuring tremendous performances from stars Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan as well as a cast of non-professional actors, Joe is both compassionate towards its characters and non-judgmental towards their actions. It’s a story about men teetering between honest living and losing all restraint with their violent tendencies. Casually and with great subtlety, Green examines not only the inner struggle to maintain control, but also how much responsibility we owe to others and the limits of that responsibility.
The 70th Venice Film Festival is a wrap and the award-winners have been announced. While showcasing some of the world’s top talent, the festival also serves to illustrate just how out of touch I am personally with the global cinematic world. While the overall award for Best Film (the Golden Lion) went to Gianfranco Rosi’s Sacro Gra, a couple of other notable names made the list: Tye Sheridan earned the Best Young Actor award for his work in David Gordon Green’s Joe, and Gabe Klinger’s Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater won the Best Documentary on Cinema award. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope earned the Best Screenplay Award for Stephen Frears’ Philomena.
Hit the jump to view all the winners.
Filming has commenced on the adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel Dark Places. Written and directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah’s Key), the film stars Charlize Theron as a woman who, at the age of 7, survives the massacre of her family and testifies against her brother as the murderer. Years later, when confronted by a group obsessed with solving notorious crimes, Theron’s character is forced to confront the truth about what she saw—or didn’t see. The film is told in a series of flashbacks and features an impressive cast that includes Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll (House of Cards) and Mud breakout Tye Sheridan.
In addition to the announcement that filming is underway in Shreveport, Louisiana, it was announced that Sterling Jerins (World War Z) and Shannon Kook (The Conjuring) have joined the cast in supporting roles, with Jerins playing the younger version of Theron’s character. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Today’s latest casting news can be gleaned at a glance below:
Hit the jump for more on each story.
Writer/director Jeff Nichols has been a burgeoning talent in the filmmaking world for a few years now following his one-two punch of Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, but his latest release is proving to be his most successful yet. Not only has Mud caught on with general audiences (to the tune of $26.8 million and counting), but the film provides a unique, enthralling, and almost mythic take on the coming-of-age genre that boasts a magnetic performance by Matthew McConaughey and truly stunning breakthrough work from the young Tye Sheridan. The result is one of the best films of the year, and it’s now available on home video. Hit the jump for my review of Mud on Blu-ray.
It’s never too early to start talking Oscar, right? We’re officially at the midway point of 2013, and while the bulk of awards season is normally concentrated towards the latter third of the year, there have been some strong contenders in the past that were released closer to the beginning of the year—Silence of the Lambs is probably the most famous example, having won Best Picture after being released in February of 1991. The first half of 2013 has seen at least a couple of potential Best Picture contenders, and in addition to more than a handful of standout performances in smaller indie fare, we may very well have already seen the release of the film that will go on to take home the Oscar in technical categories like Best Visual Effects or even Best Production Design.
Hit the jump to read on as we examine the possible Oscar contenders from the first half of 2013.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) is in negotiations to join Daniel Espinosa’s Child 44, an adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s Stalin-era thriller set in the Soviet Union. Hoffman would join Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman and Joel Kinnaman. Hardy stars as a Soviet military policeman who investigates a string of gruesome child murders, but soon finds that his own government is stonewalling his attempts. Deadline also reports that principal photography on the film is currently underway in Prague. Hoffman will next be seen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and A Most Wanted Man.
Hit the jump for more on the actors testing opposite Jeff Bridges for the lead in The Giver.
Here’s today’s latest casting news:
- Tye Sheridan has graduated from Mud and will move on to Grass Stains, a coming-of-age indie from writer-director Kyle Wilamowski. Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) is also in negotiations to star.
- Community co-stars Chevy Chase and Gillian Jacobs will reunite in Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Chase will reprise his role as the advice-dispensing repairman while Jacobs will take on the female lead.
- Bill Irwin (Rachel Getting Married) will join Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi film, Interstellar.
Hit the jump for more on each casting announcement.
The first image and a new synopsis have been released for David Gordon Green‘s upcoming southern thriller, Joe. Nicolas Cage stars as the titular an ex-con who “becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15 year old Gary Jones (Tye Sheridan), the oldest child of a homeless family ruled by a drunk, worthless father.” Green delivered one of his best films in years with Prince Avalanche (click here for my review), and it looks like Joe will continue the director’s return to form. I’m curious to see how Sheridan’s performance in Joe compares to his excellent work in Mud where he also plays a kid from a broken home who embraces a criminal as a role model.
Hit the jump to check out the image and synopsis. WestEnd Films is handling international sales and will be shopping the films to buyers at this month’s European Film Market.
Jeff Nichols‘ Mud almost has it all. It’s a sweet coming-of-age story, an adventure, a crime-thriller, and a romance. Lead actors Tye Sheridan and Matthew McConaughey give outstanding performances as a boy and a man, respectively, who bristle when the world won’t conform to the mythic journey they’ve envisioned. Nichols gives the movie a sweet, soft, and loving tone that takes the best of identity of the Deep South (i.e. avoids racism), and uses it as a rich backdrop for a captivating tale. The film’s only flaw comes from implicitly agreeing with the main characters’ immature belief that women are not to be trusted. To the film’s minor detriment, Nichols doesn’t examine how his characters can grow up when the script embraces such a facile and childish notion.
We saw the first two clips from writer/director Jeff Nichols’ Mud back in May of last year, but now the first trailer has been made available. Starring Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) as a fugitive drifter who finds safe harbor on an island in the Mississippi River, but is discovered and befriended by two teenage boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland). The trailer gives a great sense of the tension that builds over the course of the picture and hints at the dangerous situation the boys unwittingly become involved in. Also starring Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepherd, Michael Shannon and Sarah Paulson, Mud opens in limited release on April 26th. Hit the jump to watch the trailer.
Up-to-the-minute casting information follows below:
- Emmy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow) is in negotiations to join Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry) in You’re Not You, directed by George C. Wolfe (Nights in Rodanthe).
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) will join Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) in the indie drama A Thousand Times Good Night for co-writer/director Erik Poppe (Hawaii, Oslo).
- Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech) will be tasked with refining Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) from an American movie star into a princess in Grace of Monaco, directed by Olivier Dahan (La vie en rose).
- Finally, Tye Sheridan (Tree of Life) has joined Joe, a drama starring Nicolas Cage (National Treasure) and directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express).
Hit the jump for more on each picture.
The prestigious Cannes Film Festival kicks off next week, and we’re starting to see some promotional materials from a few of the films that will premiere at the fest. We’ve already seen a stellar trailer for the prohibition-set crime drama Lawless and a fantastic clip from director Andrew Dominik’s (The Assassination of Jesse James) Killing Them Softly. Now a few clips have surfaced for two Cannes films (both set in the South) that feature Matthew McConaughey. The first is director Lee Daniels’ (Precious) adaptation of The Paperboy, which features McConaughey and Zac Efron playing a pair of brothers who team-up to investigate the potential wrongful conviction of a death-row inmate (John Cusack).
We also have two clips from director Jeff Nichols’ (Take Shelter) deep South drama Mud, which finds McConaughey playing a fugitive hiding out on an island in Mississippi who, with the help of two young boys, tries to escape and reunite with his lost love (Reese Witherspoon). Hit the jump to check out the clips.
There is a critical sport in wrestling with Terrence Malick. Because the director doesn’t do press, and spent nineteen years not making movies, Malick is such an oddball – on top of his films not coming across in classic Hollywood narratives - that reviews often try to engage the man as much as the film. But when you make a film as personal as The Tree of Life, that’s bound to happen. Here, Malick uses a mother (Jessica Chastain) and son (Sean Penn) to delve into the pain of death and life – going so far back as the birth of planet Earth – to understand what it means to be alive. Part of that is coming to understand one’s relationship with the father (Brad Pitt). The easy dismissal is that the film is pretentious, which is just as easy as declaring the film an impenetrable masterpiece. Our review of The Tree of Life on Blu-ray follows after the jump.