Sundance interview: Watch Lucky McKee and Pollyanna McIntosh defend 'The Woman'

Sundance interview: Watch Lucky McKee and Pollyanna McIntosh defend 'The Woman'

The director and star of the controversial film weigh in on its meaning and merit

I don't feel the need to continue to defend Lucky McKee's difficult and demanding new film "The Woman," because I think audiences will figure it out on their own.  By now, you may have heard about the infamous first screening of the movie at the festival and the tumultuous events afterward, but what you may not have heard is how much better the second screening went.

Part of that is because the hubbub from the first screening kickstarted the conversation about the film, and whether you like the movie or not, at least you'll walk into it now with some sort of context for what you're about to see.  I wanted to help extend that conversation a bit, and so one of the last things I did at the festival was make sure we spent some time talking to Lucky and his lead actress, the lovely and unusual Pollyanna McIntosh.

I've already had several e-mails and comments on the site attacking the notion that a film like "The Woman" could be feminist, but I don't even think that's up for debate.  It may not be a comfortable, easy feminism that the film articulates, but there is no doubt in my mind that the movie is meant to create a feeling in the viewer that matches the unbearable powerlessness that many women feel every day of their lives.

And to illustrate just how bizarre Sundance can be, this interview was taped about a half-hour after I finished talking to Elmo.  From the most adorable little red monster in the world to the gender politics of "The Woman," Park City really was a wonderful way to kick off the film  year, and I'm sure we'll continue these conversations over the rest of 2011.

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Watch: Deep talk with James Cameron and the creators of 'Sanctum'

Watch: Deep talk with James Cameron and the creators of 'Sanctum'

HitFix talks to the filmmakers of the soggy 3D adventure

With the HitFix crew up to our knees in Park City film news, we called in the beautiful and always charming Jenna Busch to chat with the creative team behind the new 3D underwater claustrophobia-fest "Sanctum."

The film centers around a crew of cave divers that get caught in a giant underwater cave during a storm and must find their way out or face certain death as the cave is flooding. The incident is partially based on the experiences of the the films' co-writer Andrew Wight. "Our real story is we were all caught in a cave collapse after a big storm and we all survived, our fictional story kind of picks up where the real story leaves off," said Wight.

The film was shot with the cameras that James Cameron developed for use on his groundbreaking 3D film "Avatar," cameron, donning his producer hat for "Sanctum" told us that part of the reason he produces 3D films like "Sanctum" is to learn things that will make his cameras better. "it's a work in progress," said Cameron "every time we go out and shoot one of these things we learn more that will make the cameras better, lighter, smaller."

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Sundance interview: Watch Evan Glodell and Tyler Dawson discuss the building of 'Bellflower'

Sundance interview: Watch Evan Glodell and Tyler Dawson discuss the building of 'Bellflower'

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.

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<p>Javier Bardem may soon face off against Daniel Craig in the next James Bond film.</p>

Javier Bardem may soon face off against Daniel Craig in the next James Bond film.

Credit: AP Photo

Javier Bardem says he's 'intrigued' on playing the next James Bond villain

Oscar winning actor a 'huge fan' of the franchise

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.

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<p>I love that Rutger Hauer just don't give an f.&nbsp; It's a beautiful way to live your life.</p>

I love that Rutger Hauer just don't give an f.  It's a beautiful way to live your life.

Credit: HitFix

Sundance interview: Watch Rutger Hauer and Jason Eisener unload about 'Hobo With A Shotgun'

From a SXSW joke to a wild final film, see how 'Hobo' came together

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.

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<p>Kevin Clash and Constance Marks discuss life with the little red monster in the new film 'Being Elmo:&nbsp;A Puppeteer's Journey,' part of the&nbsp;2011 Sundance Film&nbsp;Festival.</p>

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.

Credit: HitFix

Sundance interview: Watch Kevin Clash and director Constance Marks discuss 'Being Elmo'

Want to meet the man behind the Muppet?

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.

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<p>OH&nbsp;MY&nbsp;GOSH!&nbsp;IT'S&nbsp;ELMO!</p>

OH MY GOSH! IT'S ELMO!

Credit: HitFix

Sundance interview: Watch as Elmo and Drew McWeeny figure out what a 'sun dance' is

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.

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Watch: Jason Statham and Ben Foster talk 'The Mechanic'

Watch: Jason Statham and Ben Foster talk 'The Mechanic'

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.
 

<p>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'</p>

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

Javier Bardem heads for 'The Dark Tower' for Ron Howard

So does that mean Viggo Mortensen has a date with 'Snow White'?

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.

<p>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&nbsp;film called 'Prometheus' instead, and now it's set for June 8, 2012</p>

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

Fox moves 'Prometheus' to summer 2012 as Michael Fassbender joins cast

Giant SF films will not go head-to-head after all

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."

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