In the past year, I think I've ended up interviewing Olivia Wilde three times now.
There are worse things to be paid for, all things considered.
The thing about spending an afternoon at a press event is that you end up seeing these people in their down moments, when they're not projecting their public persona for the camera, and occasionally you get a not-so-flattering look at the way people really behave. Other times, someone comes across as entirely unaffected, and you realize they're very grounded. That's Wilde. She's very comfortable with the process at this point, and she doesn't seem to be terribly high-maintenance, hanging out during breaks in the same green room where the press was gathered.
In the past year, I think I've ended up interviewing Olivia Wilde three times now.
When I read the piece over at the LA Times today about "Green Lantern 2" and the direction they're allegedly heading with it, my first thought is "They learned nothing from the first film."
I'm aware that some people actually liked the first movie. I'm mystified by it, but I accept that to some people, it was acceptable. I found the entire thing deeply frustrating for reasons I explained at length in my review when the film was released, but I also understand the inevitability of Warner Bros. trying to figure out how to squeeze more life out of the franchise.
I'm not exactly sure how it's news that Warner Bros. wants to move forward without Martin Campbell attached as director. Campbell made it quite clear, even before the first film opened, that he wasn't going to return for a sequel. Looking at the article today, though, it seems that Warner Bros. took all the wrong lessons away from the film, and it makes me think that when and if they make a sequel, it's going to be just as bad if not worse.
Comic-Con is a crazy blur of activity when you're trying to coordinate coverage, even with a team as good as the one we took this year. We did very well at dividing things up, but every now and then, you come up a little short-handed and you end up scrambling.
In our case, we found ourselves short on the TV side on Saturday night when we were offered a chance to interview the cast of "The Walking Dead," and since I enjoyed the show, I jumped in to handle the conversations on-camera. Unfortunately, we found ourselves in the middle of what seemed to be pure chaos on the part of the publicists handling the event, and even though we showed up exactly when we were supposed to, from the moment we began, we were told that the event was already running late and everyone had to go.
Maddening, really. As we stood there, we watched them march Andrew Lincoln right by us, then Jon Bernthal, then Sarah Wayne Callies. All of them were hustled into waiting cars and whisked off to a dinner with Frank Darabont. Keep in mind, at this point, we hadn't heard anything about the creative shuffle behind-the-scenes, and earlier in the day, at the "Walking Dead" panel, there had been no indication that things were about to change. It's one thing if we'd just shown up at that spot and tried to wrangle some interviews without an invitation, but we were there because they asked us to be there, and yet the closest we got to most of the cast was to watch them walk away.
You do not interview Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman sitting side-by-side. There's no way to control that room. All you can do as an interviewer is just throw them a question, sit back, and get out of their way.
A few weeks back, the three of us sat down to talk about their new film "The Change-Up," which arrives in theaters this weekend. Having the two of them together, it seemed appropriate to ask them what they observed about each other when figuring out how to play characters who switch bodies with one another. That's the whole key to this kind of movie working… you have to create two characters who are so distinct that when they do switch places, the audience can immediately see that reflected in behavior.
You'll see how wildly overpowered I was from the moment the tape started rolling. I've interviewed both of these guys repeatedly at this point, and this was the very last interview of a very long day for them and for me. I had already done all of my "Captain America" press by this point, and they had been sitting in those same two chairs since early that morning. Basically, you're looking at three people who are already halfway out the door trying to hold a conversation. As a result, they seem looser than they normally would be, and it's sort of a free-for-all.
Drake Doremus is having one of those moments that indie filmmakers dream of, and if anyone deserves it this year, he does.
The first time I heard his name was when I saw his film "Douchebag" at Sundance in 2010. I enjoyed it, but it felt like one of those movies you see on the festival circuit and know will never end up playing theaters near 99% of your readership. This year, I saw his new film "Like Crazy" at Sundance, and it floored me. As much as I liked his earlier film, I wasn't ready for "Like Crazy." It's a beautiful, incredibly well-performed piece that works because of how bluntly honest it is, how carefully it avoids cliche. I found it to be almost as powerful a punch as last year's "Blue Valentine," and in particular, it is an amazing showcase for Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones, the two young stars of the movie.
This afternoon, I got on the phone with Doremus to talk about his film and its impending release, and while it was just a short conversation, it was good to catch up with him and see how he's feeling as his film is being prepped for release by Paramount Pictures, which is very different than the fate of his last film. I asked him if there was any difference for him in terms of process as he moves from very small films to slightly bigger films, and he took a moment to consider it. "No, actually. Essentially it's all about the performances and the emotions. And this is still a tiny movie. I try to approach it the same every time out."
Welcome to The Afternoon Read.
What a morning. I've already suffered one heartbreak today, and I'm not even done with my e-mail. I can't believe it's already August. Hopefully you guys checked out The Travis McGee Book Club this morning, which was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon here at the house. There's so much going on this morning that it's worth diving right in to share it all with you.
For example, I love that Twitch has been giving the trades fits lately by publishing scoops before the trades can. There have been a few public fits as a result, and the response from Twitch has just been to get better and better and to publish more. Today's story about the possibility of a "Doctor Strange" film in 2013 from Marvel is an exciting one. Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer have evidently turned in a draft of the film that has gotten Marvel confident enough to now go out and pick a director for the film. I love "Doctor Strange" precisely because it's so weird to see them drag magic and demons and other realms into the "reality" of the Marvel Universe. And since this will be one of the Marvel Studios movies, expect to see the character layered into the exact same cinematic world that the Avengers already inhabit. There have also been rumbles lately that "Ant-Man" is finally picking up steam, with Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish still attached as writers.
THE TRAVIS MCGEE BOOK CLUB #1
"The Deep Blue Good-by"
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION DATE
WHO'S IN IT
The Alabama Tiger
There is only one place this series could begin.
That's onboard the Busted Flush, Slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Lauderdale. A 52-foot barge-type houseboat, a long-term berth. The home of Travis McGee.
There's a hunger out there right now, and I'm curious to see what happens when someone manages to satisfy it in just the right way. It's coming. It's just a matter of when and which film and what timing. I had one conversation recently with a friend who was talking about how much he wants to have an experience with a SF film that comes out of nowhere and blows his mind, something that is about ideas instead of effects. Another friend and I were debating about why some films get grass roots support and others don't and whether a "no-name" film can ever really get that kind of push.
The truth is, no film succeeds on its own, and there's no such thing as a "no-name" film once you start showing it to audiences and press. Films can be engineered as carefully as you want, but the truth is that they end up having lives of their own once they're out there in the wild, and all a filmmaker can do is hire the right publicist, cut a great trailer, enter the right festivals, and pray.
I feel like I'm publishing a photo of Bigfoot or an interview with JD Salinger here. When I woke up this morning and saw that there was allegedly a trailer online for the new film "Red Tails," I laughed at the mere idea of it. There can't be a trailer for "Red Tails" because there's no way George Lucas will finally wrap up work on "Red Tails" at any point in my lifetime. He's been talking about making this film since sometime in the early 1900s, it seems like. Okay, maybe it was the '80s when he first started talking about it, right around the same time he produced "Tucker: The Man And His Dream," and the script was in development for about 20 years.
I'll let you consider that for a moment. 20 years to develop a script.
In other words, "Red Tails" must be the greatest produced work of screenwriting of all time if they took that long nailing it down, right? Anthony Hemingway is the director who finally got picked to bring the film to life, and he's a TV vet with a pretty impressive background. "Treme." "Community." "True Blood." "Battlestar Galactica." "The Wire." He's done his time, and he's worked his way up from 2nd AD to AD to director, and "Red Tails" looks like his reward at the end of that trip.
"What a beautiful fookin' day."
With that greeting, Brendan Gleeson kicks off the dry-as-a-bone wicked Irish comedy written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, a film that lays its traps quietly, expertly performed and with a strong sense of voice and location. "The Guard" gives Brendan Gleeson one of the best roles he's ever had, and he plays it perfectly. "The Guard" is one of the highlights of the year so far, and the sort of thing that could easily get lost in a weekend like this one.
That would be a shame.
Gleeson plays Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a guy who has found his place in life and who enjoys what he's carved out for himself. He likes his community. He likes his place in it. He likes who he works with, and he likes the work itself. When there's a murder in his town on the same day he's breaking in a new guy, Garda McBride (Rory Keenan), it's the kick-off to a strange, twisted string of collisions and misunderstandings and calculated betrayals, and the way McDonagh orchestrates it all is masterful. His brother Martin McDonagh was the writer/director of "In Bruges," and he's a gifted playwright.