Inside Movies & DVD with Drew McWeeny
When the Wasteland comes, are these the guys who will rule over it?
I've made a number of jokes over the last few days about just how many jobs Evan Glodell had on his debut film, "Bellflower," but the truth is that I'm impressed. I would be impressed if he was just the lead actor and gave a performance as strong as the one he gives in the film, but to also be the writer, director, producer, and to be responsible for building the working props and the specialty camera rigs? Ridiculous.
I get the feeling that's the only way a film like "Bellflower" would ever get made, though. This is obviously a personal vision, and the handcrafted quality of the film is part of what makes it feel so special. When you see the film, you'll see the way the image matches the emotional states of the characters, the way it almost feels recovered instead of filmed.
I ran one interview during Sundance that was with the cast of the film, but there were two very notable exceptions. One was Glodell himself, and the other was Tyler Dawson, who plays Aiden. Woodrow, Glodell's character, may be the mechanical mastermind of the film, but Aiden is the constant that is always there to support Woodrow.
Their friendship is the spine of the movie, and whatever hope you may find embedded in the wrap-up to the film, it's because of the dynamic between them. Today, we've got our chat with Glodell and Dawson, and I think you can see that same dynamic at play in the conversation we had.
Oscar winning actor a 'huge fan' of the franchise
Javier Bardem may soon face off against Daniel Craig in the next James Bond film.
Credit: AP Photo
Although the deal is far from done, Javier Bardem is reportedly very "Intrigued" by the take on the Bond villain for "James Bond 23" as explained to him by director Sam Mendes, when they met about the part. The LA Times is reporting that Bardem will not commit until he reads a script, of course, but so far so good. "I'm a huge fan of the James Bond Saga," said the actor, indicating a healthy interest.
Bardem won an Oscar for his chilling role as the very bad man Anton Chigurh in the Coen Brothers "No Country for Old Men," so this casting choice would be a no brainer for Mendes, although the role may not be as straight forward evil as Chigurh. According to Bardem "I'd be playing Bond's nemesis, yes, but it's not that obvious. Everything is more nuanced, It's very intriguing."
The Actor appeared this year in "Eat Pray Love" and well as the lead in the Spanish Language film "Biutiful," for which he is nominated for an Oscar.
From a SXSW joke to a wild final film, see how 'Hobo' came together
I love that Rutger Hauer just don't give an f. It's a beautiful way to live your life.
I do my best to avoid interviews at film festivals. It's not because I have a problem sitting down to talk people about their work, but because of the finite nature of time. There's only so much you can do at a festival, and when I'm averaging four hours of sleep a night as it is, something's got to give.
But there are interviews I make time for. Some, like the "Bellflower" conversations, are because I see something at the fest and flip out for it. My upcoming conversation with Lucky McKee and Pollyanna MacIntosh about their film "The Woman" is the same way. But others, you know you want to do before you ever even get on the plane, and one such priority for me this year was spending some time with Jason Eisener, who directed "Hobo With A Shotgun," and Rutger Hauer, who is the Hobo With A Shotgun.
And it was sooooooo worth it.
I've met Jason a few times before, and after the Sundance premiere of his short film "Treevenge" a few years ago, we had a great chat standing outside the Egyptian theater on Main Street. But for this one, we did an extensive sit-down. So intensive that we've broken the full dialogue down into three six-minute videos.
Want to meet the man behind the Muppet?
Kevin Clash and Constance Marks discuss life with the little red monster in the new film 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey,' part of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
PARK CITY - By now, you may have seen my interview with Elmo, the three-year-old red monster from Sesame Street who caused an incredible stir anywhere he showed up during the festival.
The whole reason Elmo was here, of course, was for "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey," which is the documentary that Constance Marks brought to the fest, a look at the life and work of Kevin Clash, the man who gives both voice and soul to Elmo. And while the short exchange with Elmo was adorable and fun, the real conversation was the one I had with Marks and with Clash.
As I said, when I first showed up at the Yarrow and went upstairs to the conference room where we did the interview, there was a little time to talk to Clash informally, just to sort of ease into things. He and Marks both were excited about the review that our own Dan Fienberg wrote about the film, and they were also amazed by just how fervent the affection for them seemed to be at each of the screenings so far.
What Clash and I really seemed to bond immediately over, though, was our personal histories regarding Jim Henson. I told Clash how it was Jim's passing that motivated me to move to Los Angeles in the first place. I was 20 at the time, and I was marking time in Tampa, Florida, sure that there would be plenty of time for me to conquer Hollywood. Someday. Eventually. For Jim Henson, a fixture in my life since I was conscious of pop culture as a child, to simply disappear one day because of a cold seemed so far beyond the realm of acceptable that it was mere days after his passing that my co-writer Scott Swan and I were in a car with all of our possessions, on our way to Los Angeles.
A charming moment that I still can't believe happened
PARK CITY - Considering how rough much of the festival has been, and how much controversy I've found myself in, today was a lovely antidote.
Why? Well, because of a unique opportunity that came together after several days worth of negotiation, I had two very sweet and sort of moving interviews in a row. The first, which you'll see later this week, was with Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who is being honored in the new documentary "Being Elmo," and I think he's kind of wonderful. We had time to chat informally about Jim Henson and Frank Oz and we got to make "All About Eve" and Grover jokes, and immediately, I recognized in him the core values that I respond to in other guys who grew up on Henson's work. It's a philosophy, something that you just react to, and it was immediately relaxed.
At the end of that conversation, which also included Constance Marks, who directed the documentary, suddenly someone else was in the room, as if by magic, and Kevin Clash disappeared. Alex Dorn, who's been shooting all of the interviews we've done up here this week, just turned the camera on, and… well… I had a chat with Elmo.
Ben Foster: "Bunjee jumping is not my bag"
The funny thing about "The Mechanic," starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster, is that it's a movie with a hit man and a wanna-be hitman as the main characters. These are people who murder other people for a living, and yet we find ourselves completely on their side, rooting for their success. Every once in a while you question this, but for the most part you just sit back and root for them and enjoy the ride.
When I sat down with the two actors last week, I asked them about just this disconnect. "He's killing bad guys, his moral compass is 'these are bad people'" said Statham, "it allows him to erase some of the 'dirt' with the people he's killing."
Based on a 1972 film starring Charles Bronson, I asked Statham he felt a responsibility in taking on the role. "I could never be Charles Bronson, and I'm certainly not going to try."
Ben foster was put through the ringer in this film, getting beat up repeatedly and actually repelling off a skyscraper on a single wire without any safety wires. "Some people like to bunjee jumping, but that's not my bag… it was psychotic."
Watch the full interview embedded above.
"The Mechanic" opens this Friday, January 28th in theaters everywhere.
So does that mean Viggo Mortensen has a date with 'Snow White'?
Javier Bardem, currently enjoying his Oscar nomination for 'Biutiful,' is likely to be the lead in Ron Howard's multi-media adaptation of 'The Dark Tower'
Credit: AP Photo
If this happens, I think it might be one of the coolest franchise casting choices in recent memory, and I applaud Universal and Ron Howard for thinking outside the box like this.
Word is that Ron Howard has officially offered the lead role to Javier Bardem, whose surprise nomination for "Biutiful" this week must make them feel even better about the choice. Evidently, he has not said yes yet, but the conversation is happening. There were rumors in a few other places that had Christian Bale at the front of the list, but right now, it seems like Bardem's got the role in the bag.
What I find intriguing is that he's not just signing on for one movie, but for three movies as well as at least one season of television episodes. I've written before about how unusual the release plan is, but there's no other way to approach Stephen King's sprawling series. You have to think big, and this is a truly novel solution to a very real creative problem.
Bardem is an interesting choice precisely because he's not a giant box-office name. For Imagine and Universal to decide that they are placing the full weight of this franchise on an actor as well-liked as Bardem without some guarantee of box-office… that's the sort of risk I like seeing someone take.
And I think Bardem has the chops to really personify the loneliness and the sacrifice that are such a major part of Roland. Of course, casting the people around him, including the three companions who accompany him on the trip, is just as important, but I'd say Bardem is a hell of a place to start.
In addition to Bale, Viggo Mortensen was reportedly one of the top picks for the role, but it looks like he's going to end up doing "Snow White and the Huntsman" instead. At this point, Universal may end up working with both of their top Roland choices, which puts them in a very good position indeed.
We'll have more as "The Dark Tower" draws closer.
Giant SF films will not go head-to-head after all
Ridley Scott was originally going to explain the backstory to the infamous 'space jockey' from his 1979 hit 'Alien,' but now he's set to make an original SF film called 'Prometheus' instead, and now it's set for June 8, 2012
Credit: 20th Century Fox
Just looking at next year's release schedule and the passionate battles being fought over release date real estate is already giving me a headache.
I get it. 2012 is going to be a huge year, especially if you're a mainstream genre nerd. Each and every weekend will be carefully scrutinized, and there are some giant gambles the studios are making, and they want to make sure that they've got room for their films to find their audiences.
When the story broke recently that Ridley Scott will be making "Prometheus," the film that evolved out of what was once a prequel to "Alien," 20th Century Fox also announced a release date of March 9, 2012. That part of the year has become a fairly important date for the studios, and once Fox had claimed the date, suddenly Disney announced that they'll be releasing "John Carter Of Mars" on the exact same day.
So it shouldn't be a huge surprise to see that "Prometheus" has now moved, and it's sort of funny that they'd be heading to June 8, 2012 instead, since that is the date "John Carter" used to have.
It looks like Fox is getting into the Michael Fassbender business in a big way, betting on him as the young Magneto in 'X-Men First Class' and now also casting him as an android for "Prometheus."
The veteran actor on horror: 'I think l we all flirt with chaos.'
Anthony Hopkins as Father Lucas in 'The Rite'
Credit: New Line
There is something about Anthony Hopkins that puts you at ease the moment he enters the room. The man has had long and very distinguished career and if he wanted to put on airs, not a soul in the world would begrudge him. When he sat down with us at a large banquet table at the press event for 'The Rite' he smiled and got to work. How many films has this man promoted in his lifetime? How many interviews?
In the film Mr. Hopkins plays Father Lucas Trevant, a practicing exorcist who takes a skeptical young seminary student, played by Colin O'Donoghue, under his wing. The film uses the titillating subject of exorcism to look at more somber issues of faith, psychology and mental illness. Hopkins and O'Donoghue play two sides of the same coin: both have the indescribable traits that make for good priests, yet both wrestle with their faith and tend to fight their fates. Director Mikael Hafstrom gingerly treats the subject with a mostly objective eye, he presents us with dream and hallucinatory scenes which let us doubt our own eyes when we see the more involved demonic possessions. Deeper questions of faith can be boiled down to the final question of "what is real?"
Jessie Wiseman, Vincent Grashaw, and Rebekah Brandes talk about their lovely Sundance surprise
Jessie Wiseman, Vincent Grashaw, and Rebekah Brandes braved the cold to discuss their new film 'Bellflower' with HitFix at the Sundance Film Festival
PARK CITY - Before I came up here, I made my schedule based on the films I wanted to see and the handful of interviews I wanted to do. I have a psychological spasm whenever I'm sitting in an interview during a festival because I know I'm missing a movie in order to do that interview. Even if I'm interested, it still makes me twitch a bit.
But on rare occasion, I'll get to a festival, see a film, and then realize that I need to speak with the filmmakers or the cast before I leave town. That's exactly what happened when I saw "Bellflower" and fell in love with it early in the festival. I knew I needed to talk to these kids and let them tell their story.
And when I say "kids," I mean that with affection. I love meeting filmmakers and performers younger than me who are already working at such a great, sophisticated level, and being able to get them on tape and presenting that to you makes me feel like my trip to Sundance is entirely justified now. No matter what else happens.