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NYC’s Quad Cinema Debuts New Bertrand Tavernier Retrospective; Runs June 20-29

7 hours ago | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

Since revamping and reopening just a handful of months ago, New York City’s The Quad Cinema has become yet another top tier art house offering up some of the year’s most interesting retrospectives and film series. Be it a retrospective for filmmaker Lina Wertmuller or their superlative look at the immigrant experience through a cinematic lens, The Quad has given cinephiles rather frequent occasion to put down their hard earned cash and take in a film or two.

Now, on the occasion of the release of the director’s latest documentary, the theater is commencing yet another revelatory retrospective, this time of an underrated juggernaut of French cinema.

Rarely uttered in the same breath as the true titans of French cinema, director Bertrand Tavernier has cemented himself as one of the nation’s great cinematic artists through his human and humane portraits of various communities. After getting his start as an assistant to director Jean-Pierre Melville, Tavernier would in many ways jettison with stylistic formalism of his contemporaries for pictures that feel far more tactile and loose. Lived in is a term often thrown around with Tavernier’s work, and it’s fitting despite being something of a cliche. Yes, his pictures feel decidedly of one singular voice and worldview, yet there is an audacious energy to each frame that ultimately turns each picture into a vital document of a very specific subculture. Older than many New Wave directors, it’s clear to see that Tavernier would garner much influence from their work, yet he never lost sight of the specificity of his own aesthetic eye.

So, this retrospective couldn’t have come at a more exciting moment. Not only is Tavernier back with a new picture that is a centerpiece of sorts here, but the director is the type of undervalued auteur that is just the type of discovery cineastes crave. Take Death Watch, for example. A gorgeously composed satire that is only more relevant today as its tale of a reporter capturing the last moments of a woman’s life through the camera in his eye is as prescient as ever. Harvey Keitel stars opposite Romy Schneider, both of whom are truly fantastic here, in what plays like a minor work when taken in context of masterpieces like Coup de Torchon, but is a delightful discovery in its own right.

Speaking of Torchon, Tavernier’s masterpiece and still arguably his best picture is part of this 17 film series, as is the brilliant Round Midnight. Starring Dexter Gordon, the film introduces the viewer to a talented yet deeply troubled saxophone player in late 50’s Paris, and is one of Tavernier’s most moving and stylistically exciting works. The music here is recorded live, with Gordon playing opposite legends like Herbie Hancock and the brilliant Freddie Hubbard. It’s this type of tactile vitality that’s a staple of Tavernier’s work, proving the filmmaker to be something far more than the intellectual-turned-critic-turned-filmmaker that he is oft billed as.

But those seeking Tavernier’s critical lens won’t have to look much further than his dry but profoundly dense new film My Journey Through French Cinema. Clocking in at well over three hours, we watch as Tavernier weaves a yarn about ostensibly his experience with cinema of his homeland, going from the works of Jacques Becker to those of the New Wave generation that would come right after he began working. Looking critically at everything from Casque D’Or to Le Petit Soldat, Tavernier takes a similar route as someone like Martin Scorsese, ostensibly building a critical analysis of cinema out of a deeply personal memoir. Built around Tavernier’s own experiences seeing these respective films (even down to the specific theaters he saw them in), French Cinema doesn’t just see the personal nature of its title as a superficiality. While yes, the picture is quite dry and a lengthy watch, there’s something quietly moving about it, turning the often dull “video essay” into something far more captivating.

For more information on this retrospective, head over to The Quad online. »

- Joshua Brunsting

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Here’s What’s Leaving Netflix in July 2017

21 June 2017 11:04 AM, PDT | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

It’s that time again, folks. Netflix has announced the titles that will be leaving the streaming service next month, and you better get crackin’ as the best of the bunch are departing on July 1st. If you haven’t yet honored the great Adam West with the underrated 1966 film Batman you best get on it, while Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and the comedy classic Blazing Saddles are also leaving. On the TV side of things, there’d been talk that all of Futurama was departing the streaming service, but Netflix’s release only specifies that Season 6 of … »

- Adam Chitwood

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June 1977: When New Hollywood Got Weird

21 June 2017 9:52 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Last month, coverage of the 40th anniversary of Star Wars was understandably extensive, with pop-culture publications, daily newspapers, and TV media commemorating a film that by all rights changed the landscape of Hollywood, for better or worse. Conversely, there will likely be relatively little retrospective celebration for William Friedkin’s Sorcerer or Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York, two terrific films released roughly one month later in the week of June 19-25. Though they weren’t the first examples of New Hollywood directors following huge successes with more difficult works that flopped (Peter Bogdanovich’s secretly lovely At Long Last Love comes to mind), they stood in 1977 as back-to-back examples of talented filmmakers – one Oscar-winning, the other well on his way to becoming the most-acclaimed director of his generation – overreaching and failing after becoming a bit too full of themselves.

That is, of course, an oversimplification, just as the other charge popularized by the likes of Peter Biskind – i.e. George Lucas’ grand space opera and Steven Spielberg’s personal blockbusters killed Hollywood’s interest in movies for adults – is an oversimplification. In all truth, it isn’t surprising that audiences didn’t go for Sorcerer or New York, New York, two especially challenging-for-the-mainstream features that pushed their creators’ aesthetics to greater extremes than before while tracking in subject matter that was pessimistic even for the time. But while both films and their troubled productions saw directors burned by their ambition, they are also exceptional works showcasing how exhilarating it can be when all commercial sense goes out the window.

Friedkin’s Sorcerer can lay more claim to having been actively harmed by the arrival of Lucas’ megahit, arriving exactly one month later, on June 25, and competing for a thrill-seeking crowd. (One theater reportedly pulled Star Wars for Sorcerer for a week, only to replace it when Friedkin’s film failed to lure an audience.) The film, a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1953 masterpiece The Wages of Fear, was also hurt by its confusing title — named after one of the trucks transporting dynamite through a dangerous jungle to put out an oil fire — and a budget that ballooned from an initially planned $15 million to $22 million following a difficult production.

Friedkin, hot off the Oscar-winning The French Connection and hugely successful The Exorcist, already had a reputation for his temperament and arrogance. They were in full force on Sorcerer: he clashed with cinematographer Dick Bush, who left halfway through filming, as well as producer David Salven, whom Friedkin fired after fights over the expensive location shoots. Friedkin extensively clashed with Paramount brass, sometimes reasonably (kicking executives off set after perceived interference), sometimes amusingly but questionably (the evil oil execs pictured in the film are actually Gulf & Western’s executive board, and they repaid him by not promoting the film). The jungle shoot itself was hell, with about 50 people quitting following injury or illness while Friedkin himself contracted malaria and lost 50 pounds.

But it’s only appropriate that the making of Sorcerer was so desperate, given the story it tells. Friedkin’s worldview has always been bleak and cynical, and Sorcerer may be the purest expression of that. Its heroes are a hard-bitten New Jersey hood (a spectacularly testy Roy Scheider) hiding out after shooting a mobster’s brother, a crooked French banker (Bruno Cremer) on the run following fraud accusations, a Palestinian terrorist (Amidou) behind a Jerusalem bombing, and a Mexican hitman (Francisco Rabal) who gets in on the job after murdering the fourth driver (Karl John), apparently a fugitive Nazi. The film presents their crimes as facts and without real judgment, their rottenness just another bad part of a burned-out, brutal world.

Where The French Connection and The Exorcist gave viewers visceral thrills early on and some sense of right and wrong (even if it’s fatally compromised), the early action in Sorcerer is more painful, with suicide, terrorism, and the loss of friends and partners forming the four prologues introducing the men at this film’s center. Friedkin then drops us into squalor and despair in a small South American town where the heat and rain are nearly as oppressive as the police state, the work is dangerous and pays little, and the mud seems to soak up any sense of hope. It’s little wonder that they might take up the dangerous assignment of driving through an arduous jungle landscape with unstable explosives that could set off at any moment. When you’ve been driven into no man’s land by your sins, any way out is worth it — no matter how unlikely it is that you’ll survive.

The actual drive up to the oil well doesn’t begin until about halfway through and takes on the tone of an unusually fraught funeral march for the protagonists. Friedkin’s immediate, docurealistic style helps ground the proceedings as set-pieces grow more heightened, most memorably when the drivers guide their trucks over a deteriorating bridge as the river beneath it overflows — the most expensive sequence in the film, as well as the most difficult-to-shoot of Friedkin’s career. As Popeye Doyle’s car chase in The French Connection and Regan & Chris MacNeil getting jerked around in The Exorcist evince, Friedkin always had a gift for making scenes that were already dangerous in conception even more tactile and nerve-wracking. Here, his emphasis on the mechanics of the crossing – the snapping rope and wood – as well as the fragility of the bodies attempting to cross (particularly as one rider steps outside to guide the truck and risks getting thrown off or crushed in the process) make the danger of their situation all the more palpable.

Yet there’s a more existential doom permeating the film compared with the nihilism of his earlier efforts, a more complete melding of his hard-bitten style with expressionistic touches that peppered The Exorcist. Part of that comes from Tangerine Dream’s ethereal score, which accentuates a sense that the elements are set against the drivers. But Friedkin also lends the film’s grungy look a sort of otherworldly menace, whether the camera soars through gorgeous greenery while a fire burns in the background or Scheider envisions a stream of blood soaking the dirt.  Even the small moments of beauty (e.g. a butterfly hiding from the rain or a woman briefly dancing with Scheider) seem to tease the protagonists and underline their utter hopelessness. By the time we reach a grim conclusion, Friedkin has taken us through a world without mercy or decency, in which fate mocks even the most resilient of us.

Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York, released just a few days earlier on June 21, was less plausibly affected by the release of Star Wars, and more likely the victim of critics and audiences being put off by its mix of glossy, Vincente Minnelli-esque musicality and aggressive, John Cassavetes-influenced verisimilitude. Scorsese, with the story of a creative and personal relationship collapsing under the weight of jealousy in a postwar environment, sought to bring to the forefront the unhappiness lurking under the surface of films such as Meet Me in St. Louis and My Dream is Yours.

It, like Sorcerer, had a difficult production, with the director battling a severe cocaine addiction while breaking up with then-wife Julia Cameron and carrying out an affair with lead actress Liza Minnelli. The film’s herky-jerky rhythms and circular intensity seem to take cues from that tension, the big-band musical numbers clashing with deliberately repetitive improvisations and screaming matches. Scorsese had mixed realism with melodrama (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) and grit with florid formalism (Taxi Driver) previously, and would go on to marry his classic and New Hollywood interests more palatably in Raging Bull. But New York, New York isn’t a marriage so much as it’s a push-pull war, one that’s sometimes exhausting.

Acknowledging the unattainability of Hollywood fantasies makes it no less vital a love letter. Scorsese opens with an astonishing crane shot on V-j Day as Robert De Niro’s Jimmy gets lost in the excitement of a crowd, only to appear under an arrow that both pinpoints and isolates him. De Niro’s first interactions with Minnelli’s Francine, meanwhile, are less a meet-cute, more an ongoing, insistent harassment that eventually wears down her defenses. The entire opening sequence communicates a sense of spiritual and personal emptiness amid celebration, an early warning that not all is well in the postwar era.

De Niro continues playing Jimmy as a halfway point between his insecure, jealous bruiser in Raging Bull and his relentless, obnoxious pest in The King of Comedy, but Scorsese finds some truth in his and Francine’s romance (even as it’s rotting from the inside out) in their musical performances, with the two finding a better balance and greater chemistry as they perform “You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me.” Their partnership flourishes out of a mutual recognition of talent — or, in his case, recognition of greater possible success together. Still, that balance begins to tip whenever Francine asserts herself, as in a scene where she tries to pep up the band following one of Jimmy’s criticisms, only for him to tear her down. And the film’s most gorgeous images undermine any possibility of happiness between the two, with De Niro proposing (badly: “I love you… I mean, I don’t love you. I dig you; I like you a lot”) in front of a fake forest.

Purposefully, the film’s first two hours give more emphasis to Scorsese’s more discursive side, major arguments between Jimmy and Francine getting interrupted by Jimmy’s ability to get into a minor argument with anyone he encounters. It’s in the final third that focus shifts to the director’s inner formalist and New York, New York turns into a proper musical with the remarkably bittersweet “Happy Endings” sequence. Francine’s finally given a chance to flourish as a performer, unhindered by Jimmy’s jealousy, and Scorsese jumps into an unabashedly stagey finale not unlike that of The Band Wagon or An American in Paris.

Yet the climax still reflects the inherent unhappiness in Francine’s life, telling a story of a relationship ended by success, only to double back and conclude with a wish-fulfillment coda that only makes it more painful. We’ve already seen the truth in the lives of Francine and Jimmy, and no rousing performance of “Theme from ‘New York, New York’” is going to change that. Their final encounter twists the knife further, giving one last tease of possible reconciliation before recognizing that it’s impossible, leaving Jimmy with a final, lonely shot echoing that V-j Day opening.

Audiences and critics largely rejected New York, New York and Sorcerer, with neither film making its budget back or earning the raves their makers had come to expect, but time has been kind to both. They haven’t exactly seen widespread reevaluation as their makers’ best works — Sorcerer wouldn’t be too far off for this writer, and Scorsese’s film has its passionate advocates — but they’ve developed cult followings and at least partly shaken off their previous distinctions as merely ambitious follies. Perhaps it’s appropriate that they’re not as widely cited as Taxi Driver and The Exorcist – they’re pricklier than their more popular predecessors, better suited as advanced viewing than introductory works. They may not generate thousands upon thousands of appreciations 40 years later, but they’re there, waiting for curious viewers to make a discovery. »

- The Film Stage

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Exclusive: Judd Apatow on 'The Big Sick' and Clean Movies Censorship: 'It's Pretty Sleazy'

21 June 2017 9:00 AM, PDT | Entertainment Tonight | See recent Entertainment Tonight news »

Mentorship is not a new hat for Judd Apatow -- after all, he's the guy who helped guide a then-unknown Lena Dunham and Girls to success. Lately though, he's only increased his efforts, with Pete Holmes on Crashing, Paul Rust on Love and now Kumail Nanjiani's first feature film, The Big Sick.

"I think it's among the best movies we've ever been a part of," Apatow says of The Big Sick, out June 23. "It's »

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Why Daniel Day-Lewis' Retirement Is a Major Loss to the Movies

21 June 2017 6:20 AM, PDT | Rollingstone.com | See recent Rolling Stone news »

Daniel Day-Lewis has earned many accolades and awards over the last 35 years, but perhaps no one has more perfectly encapsulated this actor's appeal than comedian Paul F. Tompkins. Cast in a tiny part in 2007's There Will Be Blood opposite Day-Lewis, the stand-up comic later related what their first on-set encounter was like. "Now, I had been told that Daniel Day-Lewis was kind of an intense person," Tompkins says. "And he's really not. He's really … The Most Intense Person that has ever lived on Earth. He's not doing anything – he's »

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Sad news has reached us. Daniel Day Lewis is retiring from acting

21 June 2017 12:04 AM, PDT | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Triple Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis is reportedly retiring from acting. The screen legend, who won Oscars for his work in My Left Foot, in Paul Thomas Anderson’s superb There Will Be Blood, and most recently in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. He was the only performer to receive three Academy Awards. He was nominated a further two times, for Gangs Of New York for Martin Scorsese, and for the brilliant In The Name Of My Father.

A statement has been released by his spokeswoman, Leslee Dart.

Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject.”

The actor does have one project left, due for release at the end of the year. The movie in question is Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled feature set in the world of high fashion that should make its way into cinemas for December.

Such sad news, but what a legacy.

The post Sad news has reached us. Daniel Day Lewis is retiring from acting appeared first on The Hollywood News. »

- Paul Heath

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Daniel Day-Lewis Quits Acting: Here Are the Roles We’ll Treasure the Most

20 June 2017 2:59 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Daniel Day-Lewis dropped a bombshell on fans of his work worldwide when he announced that he would be retiring from acting, just a few months before the release of his purported last role, in Paul Thomas-Anderson’s upcoming “Phantom Thread.” One of the world’s most coveted actors has a surprisingly nimble filmography. Even as it stretches back to the early eighties, Day-Lewis didn’t become a big name until his breakout role in Stephen Frears’ 1985 “My Beautiful Laundrette,” followed by a series of acclaimed roles in “A Room With a View,” “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” and “My Left Foot,” which won him the first of three Academy Awards. The other Oscars arrived for back-to-back roles in “There Will Be Blood” and “Lincoln,” leaving no doubt that the versatile performer was still at the top of his game.

See MoreDaniel Day-Lewis Announces He Is Retiring From Acting

But these highlights are only a few of the astonishing achievements in the actor’s robust output. Here are the ones we’ll treasure for all time, while holding out hope that this legendary talent’s final performance will land a spot as well.

A Room With a View

It was one of his very last supporting roles, but Daniel Day-Lewis was the embodiment of Cecil Vyse in Merchant Ivory’s 1986 adaptation of E.M. Forster’s “A Room With a View.” In lesser hands, Lucy Honeychurch’s jilted suitor might have been little more than a prissy sad sack; Day-Lewis invested the character with empathy, as if Cecil knew his reach exceeded his grasp. While Lucy may have viewed their match as a prison narrowly escaped, Day-Lewis’ performance suggested a man who couldn’t get beyond his own pince-nez, but loved her so much that he let her go. —Dana Harris

The Age of Innocence” The emotions in Day-Lewis’s character are often big and ever present. But the performances that best showcase his talent are when he plays a more genteel character – his manner poised, cadence deliberate, body at rest. Yet in playing Newland Archer in Edith Wharton’s rigid 19th Century high society, he is effortless in accessing the desperate yearning that lies beneath his impossibly calm demeanor. His ability to translate complex thoughts, burning emotions and his character’s interior life through a completely placid surface is a marvel. —Chris O’Falt “Gangs of New York

There’s a titanic force lurking under each of Day-Lewis’ roles, but nowhere was that energy unleashed better than in Martin Scorsese’s 2002 city-spanning epic “Gangs of New York.” Bill the Butcher combined the actor’s ferocity with an unbridled villainous streak, an antagonist as evil as he is charming. Day-Lewis has always excelled in quiet roles, but Bill is a reminder that his flair for the theatrical is rarely equalled. Watching Bill play to an audience inside a rowdy theater or to a gathered crowd of terrified citizens, there’s a twisted thrill in seeing a true performer playing a true performer.  —Steve Greene

The Last of the Mohicans” Arguably the actor’s most dreamy, overtly romantic role, Day-Lewis’ turn in Michael Mann’s 1992 historical action-adventure is both totally swoon-worthy and emotionally satisfying. As the adopted son of the eponymous last of the Mohican tribe, Day-Lewis plays his Hawkeye as a hero in the most classic sense, but aided by the actor’s formidable chops, the role (and the film) take on added dimension and complexity. Mann’s film is a heart-pounding adventure that doesn’t skimp on the tough stuff (people are scalped and burnt alive and commit suicide in order to escape worse fates, and that’s just the wide strokes), and it’s grounded by Day-Lewis’ trademark dedication and sincerity to the essential beats of his characters. Slipping easily between breakneck adventure (few movies contain so many scenes of artful running through the woods as “Mohicans”) and dreamy leading man (his chemistry with Madeleine Stowe all but aches right off the screen), turning in one of his more overlooked performances in a long line of lauded roles. It’s a film, and a part, that satisfies even more than two decades later. —Kate Erbland “Lincoln”

Day-Lewis won this third Best Actor Oscar — more than any actor in history — for playing the title role in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” because the movie is unimaginable without him. It took years for Spielberg to convince the recalcitrant Brit to play the American icon. Always willing to wait years between cherry-picked roles, replenishing his batteries by reengaging with the world, Day-Lewis finally broke down after Tony Kushner’s sprawling script focused on January 1865, when Lincoln maneuvered Congress into passing the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which ended slavery in America. “The important thing is they got Lincoln,” Lincoln biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin told me at the L.A. premiere, “his stooped walk, his high-pitched voice, his humor.”

Day-Lewis is a draw for moviegoers because when the match is perfect between director and role, when it feels right, he gives his all. He embraces a role so totally that it consumes and overtakes him. He loses himself in the part throughout production. As usual, Day-Lewis’s preparation was intense. He worked in seclusion until he sent Spielberg tape recorder audio of his approximation of the 16h president’s reedy tenor. He nailed his first scene on-set, an eight-minute speech about the Emancipation Proclamation, on the first take with no on-set rehearsal. Day-Lewis stayed in character throughout the shoot, addressed by all as “Mr. President.” No socializing on set saves energy, Day-Lewis has said. It’s fair to say that Day-Lewis is Abraham Lincoln, and the people went to see it because the actor was in it. —Anne Thompson

My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown

Jim Sheridan’s period drama revolves about Christy Brown, the cerebral palsy-stricken painter who struggles to engage with the family around him until he discovers the one vocation he can control with his foot. However, that summary barely gets to the essence of the movie’s emotional core. It’s a naturally engaging story about perseverance against daunting physical challenges, made all the more heartbreaking by the intolerant times in which it takes place — but it would be nothing without the young Day-Lewis in the lead role, one that few actors could tackle without risking accusations of parody. Instead, he turns Brown into a vibrating, energetic creative figure battling to express his emotions and overcome the pity that surrounds him at every turn. It’s at once heartbreaking and hopeful, a testament to perseverance in which the performance embodies the themes to its core. Day-Lewis won his first Oscar for the role, and even as he continued to tackle new challenges, he already confirmed his mastery at this early stage. —Eric Kohn

My Beautiful Laundrette

From the start of his career Day-Lewis showed a penchant for muscular, angry and violent roles, starting with Stephen Frears’s searing 16 mm portrait of Margaret Thatcher’s London, “My Beautiful Laundrette,” which jumped from TV movie to arthouse phenomenon at the Edinburgh Film Festival. “I spent most of my time on the front line of London street life,” Day-Lewis said at the 2013 Santa Barbara Film Festival, “playing soccer, fighting on the school playground, and rebelling against authority and the British class system.” A controversial early exploration of sex, race and class, “My Beautiful Launderette” broke out Lewis, director Frears, rookie screenwriter Hanif Kureishi (who earned an Oscar nomination) and Working Title Films. With swaggering, sexy humor, Day-Lewis played Johnny, the street-tough ex-National Front boyfriend of Omar (Gordon Warnecke), the son of a Pakistani immigrant, who helps his childhood friend to renovate his uncle’s Battersea laundrette. Fears cast Day-Lewis after meeting him and asking him about his South London accent. Frears said: “‘You’re the son of a poet laureate, why are you speaking like that?’ He said he’d been to a comprehensive and had adopted it as a defence. Then he wrote me a letter saying he’d kill me if he wasn’t cast.” No one knew “My Beautiful Laundrette” would become an iconic film about the 1980s. —Anne Thompson

The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Day-Lewis was a perfect if unexpected choice to play Tomas, the detached lover at the center of this erotically charged adaptation of Czech novelist Milan Kundera’s most famous work. Disciplined in his practice surrounding sex and romantic attachments, Tomas bounces between Sabina (Lena Olin) and Tereza (Juliette Binoche) as both ravenous lover and aloof philosopher. Day-Lewis brings a perfect blend of lithe sexuality and mystery to Tomas, light on his feet and heavy in the head. He famously learned Czech for the part (a notoriously difficult language), and as a result his accent is spot on. What else would you expect from the man who made “method acting” a household term? —Jude Dry “There Will Be Blood

His voice lowered to a rumbling baritone beneath a scruffy mustache, Daniel Plainview becomes an extraordinary figure of capitalist intensity within a matter of minutes.  Paul Thomas-Anderson’s most audacious filmmaking feat was matched by Day-Lewis’ remarkable transformation into the scheming, relentless oil miner and the empire he cobbles together in the heat. From the virtuosic intensity of his early management of a drilling company to the psychotic extremes of his final stage, Plainview is emblematic of the darkness lurking at the center of the American dream — which is why it’s all the more extraordinary that he’s played by an Englishman.

But of course, he’s not just an Englishman, he’s Daniel Day-Lewis, an actor so capable of transforming himself that in “There Will Be Blood” he seems to be reborn before our very eyes. Hovering on the edge of camp, he manages to take a line that on paper sounds patently ridiculous — you know, something about drinking someone else’s milkshake — and turn it into an iconic moment in film history, one loaded with the rage of boundless American greed. He was a lock for Best Actor the moment the cameras stopped rolling.

Related storiesDaniel Day-Lewis Announces He Is Retiring From ActingIsabelle Huppert, Mariachi and a History Lesson: Cannes Celebrates Its 70th Year With a Lively NightMark Boal and Annapurna Pictures Are Getting Into the Documentary Business »

- Eric Kohn, Dana Harris, Kate Erbland, Steve Greene and Anne Thompson

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Daniel Day-Lewis Retires From Acting

20 June 2017 1:30 PM, PDT | Rollingstone.com | See recent Rolling Stone news »

Daniel Day-Lewis, the Oscar- and BAFTA-winning actor, has announced his retirement. The upcoming Phantom Thread, a drama that Variety reports will focus on the high-fashion industry, will be his last; the Paul Thomas Anderson–directed film will hit theaters on Christmas Day. The actor has not yet disclosed why he is quitting.

"Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor," his spokeswoman told Variety. "He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor »

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Daniel Day-Lewis Announces He Is Retiring From Acting

20 June 2017 12:43 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Three-time best actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis is retiring from acting, Variety reports. The 60-year-old star will appear in just one more film, Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming drama “Phantom Thread.” The film is set in the world of high fashion and hits theaters on December 25, 2017. Day-Lewis earned his second Oscar for best picture for Anderson’s 2008 film “There Will Be Blood.” His other two best actor wins were for Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” in 2013 and 1989’s “My Left Foot.”

Read More: Daniel Day-Lewis and Michael Fassbender: Why They Hold the Highest Metacritic Actor Scores

Day-Lewis has not given a reason for his retirement, his spokeswoman, Leslee Dart, told Variety. “Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor,” Dart said in a statement. “He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his »

- Graham Winfrey

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Shocker! Daniel Day-Lewis Quits Acting (Exclusive)

20 June 2017 12:20 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis, widely considered one of the preeminent actors of his generation, is retiring from acting, Variety has learned.

The 60-year-old star, who has played presidents, writers, and gang leaders in a career that has spanned four decades, has one final film awaiting release, an untitled drama set in the world of high fashion. It is scheduled to hit theaters on December 25, 2017 and reunites him with Paul Thomas Anderson, who directed Day-Lewis to a best actor Oscar in 2007’s “There Will Be Blood.” Day-Lewis intends to help promote the movie, according to a person familiar with his plans.

He did not give a reason for his retirement. In a statement, Day-Lewis’ spokeswoman, Leslee Dart, confirmed the news: “Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject. ”

Related

Daniel Day-Lewis: His 12 Best Films

Day-Lewis is the only performer to ever win three best actor Oscars. He was honored for the title role in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” for his turn as a rapacious oil man in “There Will Be Blood,” and for his performance as writer and artist Christy Brown in “My Left Foot.” He earned two other Academy Award nominations for “Gangs of New York” and “In the Name of the Father.”

Day-Lewis has been praised for his shape-shifting acting and versatility. He is known for going to extreme lengths for his performances, frequently remaining in character off-screen. He has also starred in musicals (“Nine”), adventure epics (“The Last of the Mohicans“), and period dramas (“The Age of Innocence”).

The method master once learned Czech to play a philandering doctor in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” listened to Eminem records to channel rage in “Gangs of New York,” and confined himself to a wheelchair for “My Left Foot” to play Brown, who had cerebral palsy.

Day-Lewis, who is the son of poet Cecil Day-Lewis and English actress Jill Balcon, made his screen debut at the age of 14 in a bit part in 1971’s “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” He first gained attention on the stage and on television before dazzling critics in 1985 with the one-two punch of “My Beautiful Laundrette” and “A Room With a View,” convincingly playing a street tough and an upper class Edwardian.

Although he has remained in high demand, Day-Lewis is also known as being extremely selective, often waiting years between projects. In the late ’90s and early aughts he appeared to give up acting for a while, reportedly working as a cobbler before Martin Scorsese convinced him to return to the screen for “Gangs of New York.”

Day-Lewis has three children and is married to writer and director Rebecca Miller.

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- Brent Lang

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Netflix’s Next Big Move? Hacking the Oscars

20 June 2017 10:50 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Watch chief content officer Ted Sarandos work the room at the recent Produced By Conference, or at the AFI tribute to Diane Keaton, and he looks like a studio chief. And with yesterday’s announcement of Lionsgate executive Julie Fontaine’s hire as head of motion picture publicity, Sarandos confirmed his intent to make Netflix Hollywood’s premier film and television studio — and that includes winning Oscars.

Fontaine is a veteran of both Disney and Miramax, and most recently ran awards campaigns on four Lionsgate releases. Last year saw 26 nominations for Best Picture nominees “La La Land” and “Hacksaw Ridge,” as well as partner CBS Films’ “Hell or High Water” and “Deepwater Horizon.” Joining her on Netflix’s Oscar visonquest are Los Angeles PR firm Ginsberg/Libby, as well as not one but two top-flight Oscar strategists in Cynthia Swartz and Lisa Taback.

Read More: Ted Sarandos, Jerry Seinfeld, and 10 Ways Netflix Blew Up the Entertainment Business

Netflix has already proven that it can swoop in to finance movies the studios don’t want to make, from David Michod’s satiric “War Machine” starring Brad Pitt to mob drama “The Irishman” from Martin Scorsese. Of course, many filmmakers want their movies to be seen on the big screen. And while most Academy voters watch Netflix, they still regard theatrical box office as the litmus test for success and failure. In 2015, Netflix gave Cary Fukunaga’s well-reviewed Telluride drama “Beasts of No Nation” a two-week Oscar qualifying release through Bleecker Street and Landmark Theatres; it earned $91,000 and no Oscar nominations.

While Sarandos remains very vocal in his commitment to the Netflix experience, it’s clear that half measures will avail him nothing as far as Oscars are concerned. And so, while former Universal president Scott Stuber now runs motion pictures, the most significant hire for Netflix’s Oscar future lies with Fontaine overseeing PR. Sarandos is a fast learner, but is this fast enough to turn $12.5 million Sundance acquisition “Mudbound,” an ambitious post-World War II southern epic starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, into an Oscar contender? That’s where Fontaine comes in: She knows how to reach Oscar voters.

Netflix plans to book the film in multiple fall film festivals in addition to its partnership with iPic, a 16-theater chain of premium theaters, for a one-week day-and-date run concurrent with its launch on the platform. That leaves Fontaine and her team with a significant challenge: How do you create an Oscar contender when virtually everyone will watch the film on their televisions? The Academy routinely plays such Netflix films as “War Machine” and “Okja” at their weekend screening and will presumably do the same for “Mudbound.”

I spoke with Sarandos after last month’s Produced By Conference around a range of topics, including a frank exchange on why Netflix wants to be in the Oscar business. Here’s our conversation.

While you are chasing Oscars effectively on the documentary side [with nominations for “The Square,” “Virunga,” and “13th,” and a win for short “White Helmets”], “Beasts of No Nation” opened in theaters two years ago and was tainted as a failure. You weren’t able, despite support from critics, to turn it into a must-see for Academy voters.

It was the coverage of the theatrical numbers. In almost every lead of “Beasts of No Nation” stories, that was the coverage. That’s the narrative. That’s very silly because we’re talking about the behavior of a couple hundred people. If it had been on three screens instead of 30, the per-screen-average would be great and it would be a hit. How ridiculous box office reporting is!

Read More: 3 Key Questions for Indie Filmmakers Building a Career in the Age of Netflix and Amazon

Straight Outta Compton,” a traditionally released movie and one of the best movies of the year, also didn’t get nominated as Best Picture. “Beasts of No Nation,” it’s not the kind of movie that gets to the top of the screener pile for voters. It’s a hard watch. The way Abraham Attah and Idris Elba were positioned, there’s a belief they both got votes as actor and supporting actor and not enough in either category to get either.

For the second time, you’ve tried to get voted onto the Academy board of governors.

I was told Spielberg tried eight times. The only influence I hope to have on that process is that the Academy remain an organization that celebrates the art of filmmaking. I worry that the things we spend time talking about are irrelevant to the fans, who don’t have any idea what ‘windows’ mean. I believe that business models and conventions should serve art and not restrain art. If we’re not to celebrate movie A or B because of its business model or window, then we’re getting out of step with the thing we are trying to celebrate.

Why do you need Oscars?

We don’t need Oscars at all. I just don’t want our filmmakers to be disqualified for it because they did their movie with us. I want their films to compete for the Oscars on equal ground.

Next: Why Sarandos believes that Oscar voting can begin at home.

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- Anne Thompson

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Netflix’s Next Big Move? Hacking the Oscars

20 June 2017 10:50 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Watch chief content officer Ted Sarandos work the room at the recent Produced By Conference, or at the AFI tribute to Diane Keaton, and he looks like a studio chief. And with yesterday’s announcement of Lionsgate executive Julie Fontaine’s hire as head of motion picture publicity, Sarandos confirmed his intent to make Netflix Hollywood’s premier film and television studio — and that includes winning Oscars.

Fontaine is a veteran of both Disney and Miramax, and most recently ran awards campaigns on four Lionsgate releases. Last year saw 26 nominations for Best Picture nominees “La La Land” and “Hacksaw Ridge,” as well as partner CBS Films’ “Hell or High Water” and “Deepwater Horizon.” Joining her on Netflix’s Oscar visonquest are Los Angeles PR firm Ginsberg/Libby, as well as not one but two top-flight Oscar strategists in Cynthia Swartz and Lisa Taback.

Read More: Ted Sarandos, Jerry Seinfeld, and »

- Anne Thompson

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All These Stories We Simply Can't Understand

20 June 2017 7:28 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Every so often, usually while walking around Toronto on a busy day, I'll be struck by the vividness and accuracy of Agnès Varda's singular portrayal of a day in the life (barely two hours, really, making it even more remarkable) spent in the various layers and spaces of the urban environment. I speak, of course, of Cléo from 5 to 7, Varda's 1962 classic and the first film of hers I fell in love with. In those instances, I'll find myself returning to the moments I've cherry-picked as my favorites over the years, skipping across the linear sequence of events that follow the titular singer (Corinne Marchand) across Paris as she waits for the results from a medical examination within the film's designated timeframe (minus half an hour, as the film famously ends at the ninety minute mark). More than for any other film, engaging in these mental replays feels very much like replaying the events of a day I had once experienced myself long ago—albeit one that I’ve been able to revisit and come to know nearly by heart, complete with all of my favorite moments and details waiting in their proper places, so often have I gone back to that June 21st in Paris, 1961.Varda has even made it relatively easy for anyone who wishes to explore and investigate to their heart's content the events of that fateful first day of summer from so long ago now, not only by making such a crisp cinematic itinerary of the various locations visited in the film itself, but also by helpfully providing a map in her book Varda par Agnès complete with a color-coded legend indicating the locations of key scenes from the film, practically inviting the reader to recreate Cléo’s journey for themselves on the streets of present-day Paris. At once attentive and relaxed in its tour of the city (mainly focused in the Left Bank), Cléo is ably conducted in a number of different registers: as an uncommonly lovely essay-poem on the ebb and flow of urban life, an at-times somber meditation on the precarious balance between life and death, and a revealing and honest study of female identity and the ways it is scrutinized and distorted in the public’s relentless gaze. In a feat of remarkable economy and resourcefulness, the film was shot in chronological order across a five-week period, beginning on the date of the story’s events, synchronized as closely as possible to the times in the day Cléo experiences them, in keeping with narrative fidelity and proper quality of light for each scene. Neatly arranged into thirteen chapters, each with its duration clearly stated so we can easily keep track in real time, Cléo’s lucid odyssey through the various public and private spaces that make up her day is observational cinema at its most fertile, free, and magically attuned to its subjects, partly the result of Varda and her team’s carefully planned and executed shoot, partly that of simply being in the right places at the right times.Together, the films of the French New Wave make up one of the most valuable and immersive audiovisual documents of a specific time and place in history—namely France in the late 1950s and early 1960s—that we have. This is especially true of the Paris-situated films, which create the alluring image of an interconnected network of overlapping stories concentrated in a single city. The sharing of certain actors, cinematographers, writers, composers, and other key artists and technicians across different films by different directors especially helped make the impression of one Paris holding an eclectic anthology of New Wave tales. This perception was further reinforced by the cheeky self-referential winks and nods that so many of the New Wave directors—Jean-Luc Godard in particular—lovingly included in their films as gestures of solidarity and support with their nouvelle vague comrades. This is why the eponymous hero of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le flambeur, noted by many as a crucial New Wave precursor, gets name-checked by Jean-Paul Belmondo in Godard’s Breathless, why Truffaut muses Marie Dubois and Jeanne Moreau both pop up in A Woman Is a Woman, with Moreau getting asked by Belmondo how Jules and Jim is coming along, and why Anna Karina’s Nana glimpses a giant poster for the same Truffaut film as she is being driven to her fate in the final moments of Vivre sa vie.Varda got in on the fun herself in Cléo from 5 to 7 not only by casting Michel Legrand, who provided the film with its robust score, as Cléo’s musical partner Bob (a part that gives the legendary composer a substantial amount of screen time and amply shows off his incandescent charm), but also by extending the invitation to Godard, Karina, Sami Frey, Eddie Constantine, Jean-Claude Brialy, producer Georges de Beauregard, and Alan Scott, who had appeared in Jacques Demy’s Lola. They all show up in Les fiancés du pont Macdonald, the silent comedy short-within-the-film that serves triple duty as a welcome diversion for our stressed heroine, a loving cinephilic tribute to the legacy of Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, and an irresistible, bite-sized New Wave party. And yet I find Cléo to be perhaps the most enchanting of all the New Wave films not for the aesthetic commonalities and cleverly devised linkages that bind it to The 400 Blows, Breathless, Paris Belongs to Us, and its other cinematic brethren, but rather for the tapestry of curious details that root it in its specific time and place and entice on the power of their inherent uniqueness and beauty. “Here,” Varda seems to say as she follows Cléo across the city, “let’s have a look at these interesting people and places on this first day of summer here in Paris, and see what we can see after watching them for a while.” The film’s opening scene continues to extend this invitation as it draws us in closer. It shows us, through the sepia-hued Eastmancolor that deviates from the rest of the film’s silvery monochrome and the “God’s eye” overhead shots (long before Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson adopted the technique as their own), the cryptic spectacle of Tarot cards being shuffled, placed down, and turned over to reveal the story of Cléo’s potential fate before we’ve even gotten a chance to properly meet Cléo herself. The slightly macabre illustrations to which Varda and cinematographer Jean Rabier dedicate their tight close-ups and the elderly card reader’s accompanying explanations of their meanings lend an air of prophecy to the events to come while also fueling Cléo’s anxiety surrounding her fate (when pressed for a clearer forecast of the future through a palm reading, the reader’s evasive response is less than inspiring). This introduction effectively locks us into Cléo’s perspective, preparing us for the next hour and a half that we will spend quietly observing as, following her distraught exit from the reader’s apartment, she grapples with her fears and insecurities, contemplates and revises her appearance and the identity behind it (tellingly, we discover late in the film that Cléo's real name is Florence), and comes to terms with the ultimately fragile nature of her own mortality. In our allotted chunk of time with her, we see the pouty girl-child subtly shift and adjust her attitude, inching a little closer towards a place of earned maturity, grace, and acceptance regarding her fate, wherever it may take her.Along the way, the film seems to expand to take in as much of the people and places around Cléo as it can. Scene by scene, her Paris makes itself felt and known through key peripheral details: a pair of lovers having an argument in a café near where Cléo sits, listening in; the procession of uniformed officers on horseback heard clip-clopping through the street on the soundtrack and seen reflected in the array of mirrors placed throughout a hat shop; a spider web of shattered mirror and a cloth pressed against a bloody wound, indicating some incident that occurred just before Cléo happened along the scene of the confused aftermath. Other stimuli fill a dazzling program of serendipitous entertainments for us to take in one by one: whirlwind rides in two taxis and a bus, an intimate musical rehearsal in Cléo’s chic, kitten-filled apartment (with Legrand, no less, clearly having a great time, his nimble fingers releasing ecstatic bursts of notes and melodies from Cléo’s piano as if they were exotic birds), the aforementioned silent short, a sculpting studio (the space alive with the indescribably pleasant sound of chisels being tapped at different tempos through soft stone), a frog swallower, a burly street performer who wiggles an iron spike through his arm, and the soothing sights and sounds of the Parc de Montsouris, among a hundred other subtle and overt pleasures scattered throughout this gently orchestrated city symphony, a heap of specificities found and sorted into a chorus of universal experience.Very much in her own way, across a body of work informed by a boundless spirit of generosity, Agnès Varda has gone about carefully collecting and preserving a marvelously varied assortment of subjects throughout her busy life, shedding fresh light on some of the most unlikely (and overlooked) people and places in the world. She refers to her self-made approach to filmmaking as ciné-criture (her own version of Alexandre Astruc's caméra-stylo), which, as we’ve come to know it through Varda’s intensely personal works, is a little like cinema, a little like writing, and uses aspects of both media to make a compassionate, genuine, and wholly original film language. Just as Antoine (Antoine Bourseiller), the dreamy young man whom Cléo encounters in the Parc de Montsouris, translates the world around them into a stream of fanciful observations and flowery speech, so too does Varda, in allegiance with poetry, ditch any semblance of objectivity, going instead for presenting the world simply as she sees it, investing it with her own unmistakable blend of charm, warmth, eloquence, and empathy, all somehow executed with nary a shred of ego or preachiness.“All these stories we simply can’t understand!” randomly exclaims a café patron to her young companion at one point late in Cléo’s journey, perhaps suddenly becoming aware, as we gradually have, of the unfathomable multitude of trajectories that trace themselves across every city every day in a dense tangle of narrative strands. In picking up Cléo’s and diligently following it with her camera for an hour and a half, Varda draws our attention to all those other strands that make up the lives of other people, leading off into their own directions, fated to become entangled with others still. Wisely, deftly, one discovered strand at a time, she helps us better appreciate, again and again, the humble miracle of so many lives coursing and thriving alongside each other, each one special and strange, each rooted in its own distinct flavor of being-ness. Cléo from 5 to 7 in turn roots us in another person’s life for its short time span and ends up giving us a whole universe, casually overflowing with meaning, life, lives, and the myriad details that shape and define them. No, we can’t understand all the stories we come across in a day. But then again, sometimes we don’t really need to understand so much as simply see. See, and accept, and appreciate what is...and then move along to whatever’s next. »

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Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy

19 June 2017 3:26 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Rome Open City, Paisan, Germany Year Zero: Filmed mostly on the streets in newly-liberated territory, Roberto Rossellini’s gripping war-related shows are blessed with new restorations but still reflect their rough origins. The second picture, the greater masterpiece, looks as if it were improvised out of sheer artistic will.

Roberto Rosselini’s War Trilogy

Rome Open City, Paisan, Germany Year Zero

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 500 (497, 498, 499)

1945-1948 / B&W / 1:37 & 1:33 flat full frame / 302 minutes / Street Date July 11, 2017 / available from the Criterion Collection 79.96

Starring: Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani; Dots Johnson, Harriet White Medin; Edmund Moeschke, Franz-Otto Krüger.

Cinematography: Ubaldo Arata; Otello Martelli; Robert Julliard.

Film Editor: Eraldo Da Roma

Original Music: Renzo Rossellini

Written by Sergio Amidei, Alberto Consiglio, Federico Fellini; Klaus Mann, Marcello Pagliero, Alfred Hayes, Vasco Pratolini; Max Kolpé, Carlo Lizzani.

Directed by Roberto Rossellini

 

Criterion released an identical-for-content DVD set of this trilogy in 2010; the new Blu-ray »

- Glenn Erickson

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Jude Law Needs Fewer Soulless Blockbusters and More Iconoclasts Like Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘The Young Pope’

19 June 2017 11:03 AM, PDT | Indiewire Television | See recent Indiewire Television news »

Welcome to Career Watch, a vocational checkup of top actors and directors, and those who hope to get there. In this edition we take on Jude Law, who’s always been hard to pin down, and his title role in HBO Emmy Contender “The Young Pope” is no exception. 

Bottom Line: As he embraces his mid-40s, Jude Law has morphed from British golden boy to globally bankable character actor. His range is wide, from tragic robot Gigolo Joe in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.” to Robert Downey, Jr.’s comedy sidekick Dr. Watson in Guy Ritchie’s blockbuster “Sherlock Holmes” franchise. Still stunningly handsome, Law is gaining grit and gravitas as he gets older. But there’s a sense he’s still holding back.

Latest Misfires: Law took on evil power-monger Vortigern opposite Charlie Hunnam as Arthur in Ritchie’s attempt to similarly update “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, »

- Anne Thompson

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‘The Young Pope’: How Jude Law Went Weird with Paolo Sorrentino for His Best Work In Years

19 June 2017 11:03 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Welcome to Career Watch, a vocational checkup of top actors and directors, and those who hope to get there. In this edition we take on Jude Law, who’s always been hard to pin down, and his title role in HBO Emmy Contender “The Young Pope” is no exception. 

Bottom Line: As he embraces his mid-40s, Jude Law has morphed from British golden boy to globally bankable character actor. His range is wide, from tragic robot Gigolo Joe in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.” to Robert Downey, Jr.’s comedy sidekick Dr. Watson in Guy Ritchie’s blockbuster “Sherlock Holmes” franchise. Still stunningly handsome, Law is gaining grit and gravitas as he gets older. But there’s a sense he’s still holding back.

Latest Misfires: Law took on evil power-monger Vortigern opposite Charlie Hunnam as Arthur in Ritchie’s attempt to similarly update “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, »

- Anne Thompson

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‘The Young Pope’: How Jude Law Went Weird with Paolo Sorrentino for His Best Work In Years

19 June 2017 11:03 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Welcome to Career Watch, a vocational checkup of top actors and directors, and those who hope to get there. In this edition we take on Jude Law, who’s always been hard to pin down, and his title role in HBO Emmy Contender “The Young Pope” is no exception. 

Bottom Line: As he embraces his mid-40s, Jude Law has morphed from British golden boy to globally bankable character actor. His range is wide, from tragic robot Gigolo Joe in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.” to Robert Downey, Jr.’s comedy sidekick Dr. Watson in Guy Ritchie’s blockbuster “Sherlock Holmes” franchise. Still stunningly handsome, Law is gaining grit and gravitas as he gets older. But there’s a sense he’s still holding back.

Latest Misfires: Law took on evil power-monger Vortigern opposite Charlie Hunnam as Arthur in Ritchie’s attempt to similarly update “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” which went down in flames with both critics and audiences. Law was the best thing in the $150-million Warner Bros. write-off, which short-circuited on anachronistic over-pixellation. Another recent disappointment was literary biopic “Genius,” in which Law scenery-chewed as volatile writer Thomas Wolfe.

Career Peaks: The child of two teachers, Law earned a Tony nomination for his first Broadway appearance opposite Kathleen Turner in the London import “Indiscretions,” and a second for the title role in “Hamlet.” Law earned a 1999 Supporting Actor nomination for Anthony Minghella’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” perfectly cast as the effortlessly charismatic European golden boy Dickie Greenleaf, adored by his girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow) and both idolized and resented by his wannabe best friend Tom Ripley (Matt Damon). The next year, Law went American and scored a Best Actor nomination in the director’s “Cold Mountain” as a Civil War soldier who deserts the Confederacy to make the long walk home to his long-suffering wife (Nicole Kidman).

Read More: 10 TV Shows Emmy Voters Need to Watch Before They Fill Out Their Ballots

Law revealed his darker side in Sam Mendes’ “Road to Perdition” as creepily morbid photographer Maguire. He cameoed as matinee idol Errol Flynn in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator,” and played the loving inventor father in “Hugo.” He let his hair grow thin as the cuckolded Karenin in Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina,” bringing empathy to the role.

Latest award contender: Law broadened his fanbase by producing, with Paolo Sorrentino, the outrageous HBO drama series “The Young Pope,” in which he headlines as Archbishop of New York Lenny Belardo, who in a surprise Vatican conclave vote becomes Pontiff Pope Pious Xiii. In the juiciest, most difficult role of his career, Law plays a brash New Yorker in spiritual crisis as a radically conservative Pope who believes that remaining shrouded in mystery is the source of his strength. But he is tested along the way, as he challenges his closest confederates, from scheming Cardinals to nurturing Sister Mary (Diane Keaton), who raised him and best friend Cardinal Dussolier (Scott Shepherd) in an orphanage. Pious resists temptations thrown his way and successfully prays for a devout young woman (Ludivine Sagnier) to conceive a child, but drives others deep into the abyss.

Law made the leap into premium television with Oscar-winning Italian filmmaker Sorrentino (“The Great Beauty”) based only on the concept. “I had an idea of the overall world and character,” he said in a telephone interview from London. “Then we met. That was it. And he started writing. He puts it all the page: the mood, the music, even some of the visuals were there, and the humor, certainly.”

What Sorrentino wants, Sorrentino gets, said Law, who trusted his director: “It’s the same with all these big-personality writer-directors and creators. If you get on board, you want their whole input; you can’t take them in another direction. It’s clear from the get-go where they want to go. I knew the interpretive element spaces in the script were going to be filled and padded out by Paolo, who is a director who tells stories with a visual eye to the way he edits and constructs the story. His point of view is very present with where he puts the camera and how it moves, which points the whole drama in another direction, and adds irony or humor not there on the page.”

Law wrote himself a road map for his character “with a clear sense of the constructed inner workings of Lenny as a child up to the man you meet in the beginning of Episode One,” he said. “I was clear about how he used his ambiguities and contradictions at times to manipulate, and where his own self-doubt and questions lay.

“Lenny’s relishing the position he’s in, the opportunity to get some answers and also to settle into this position of power,” he said. “He doesn’t take it lightly. From great power comes great stillness and introspection. He believes in the moment in what he’s saying, but that may change. The most important journey he goes on is when he acknowledges his change of opinion on homosexuality in the last episode. It’s refreshing to have a character saying ‘I was wrong.'”

Law had an understanding of this orphan pope’s longing to find his parents. “It was close to my heart,” he said, “as both of my parents were orphans. So I had years of discussion and analysis and understanding of what that’s like and what it can do. Both of my folks are well-rounded and sound, loving human beings, but they come from complicated backgrounds, so I feel a kinship with Lenny in that way.”

While the extravagantly theatrical Pontiff costumes were reality based and Vatican tailors made the clothes, said Law, “Lenny chooses at the height of his process to delve into the Medieval ritual costumes of the Catholic Church. Costumes always help to create a character, and wearing those robes adds a whole other level.”

Law said his shift from movie to television actor was a struggle, as Sorrentino was shooting 10 episodes at  Rome’s Cinecitta, with a multi-lingual crew, out of sequence. “You plan where you have been going and go back to rereading what you’ve done to keep up with where you are,” Law said. “I underestimated how hard-wired I was to the two-hour story — two months in we were a quarter of the way through, when I’d usually be thinking about the ending.”

Biggest Problem: Law is less a Hollywood marquee draw than a reliable chameleon, and is often wasted in such foreign-driven formula action fare as “Repo Men.”

Assets: The actor can be muscular and dangerous, or fey and complex. He’s capable of heroism (“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “Enemy at the Gates,” “Black Sea”) and villainy (“I Heart Huckabees,” “King Arthur”). He can do comedy (“Spy,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel”), tragedy (“Anna Karenina,” “Closer”), romance (“The Holiday”), big-budget studio adventure (“Sherlock Holmes”), and costume drama (“Genius”), and is ready to grow and change as he ages.

Current Gossip: Law has sired five children with three partners — the first three with his ex-wife Sadie Frost, who engaged him in a protracted custody battle when they divorced in 2003. He was on and off again with his “Alfie” co-star Sienna Miller, and briefly dated actress Ruth Wilson; his latest girlfriend is psychologist Phillipa Coan.

Next Step: He’s taking on younger Angus Dumbledore in the next “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” as well as another franchise turn as Dr. Watson. And Law is willing to juggle his busy schedule to shoot Season Two of “The Young Pope.” “We’re still trying to work out what it is, to be honest,” Law said. “To make a 20-hour film with Paolo is how I saw it. What’s important is to go out and nail what he had in mind. I feel we did that. Paolo’s written a fantastic idea of the evolution of all the characters, and I’m confident there’s a little bit more of Lenny to show. I don’t know that I want to play him for the rest of my life. You‘d have to call him the old pope!”

Career Advice: Law should continue to seek artistic challenges where they come, whether theater, film or television, and accept fewer big-studio action vehicles like submarine adventure “Black Sea” and more demanding character work like “The Young Pope.” Law’s mystery is an asset — we want to tap into more of him.

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- Anne Thompson

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Wong Kar-wai to Receive 2017 Lumiere Award

19 June 2017 7:42 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris – Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar-wai will receive the Lumiere Award at the 9th edition of the heritage film festival set in Lyon, France, following in the footsteps of Martin Scorsese and Catherine Deneuve.

Run by French director Bertrand Tavernier and Cannes artistic chief Thierry Fremaux, the festival said it was paying tribute to Wong for “his unclassifiable films, each with countless flares of beauty, for the trace he is leaving upon cinema history, for all that is glorious and lingering in his work, for the neon lights of Hong Kong and the snows of Manchuria, and because, after all, dark glasses” – Wong’s trademark look – “are undeniably classy.”

The festival, organized by Lyon’s Institut Lumiere, added that Wong’s films, which include “Happy Together” and “Chungking Express,” have “reached beyond the circle of moviegoers and critics, attracting a public drawn to his search for the aesthetic and poetic.”

Wong »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Bertrand Tavernier Reflects on Film History in Trailer for ‘My Journey Through French Cinema’

19 June 2017 5:46 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

If you’re looking for a film course this summer, one might be able to accomplish such a thing in the span of one sitting thanks to a new film. A new trailer has landed for My Journey Through French Cinema (Voyage à travers le cinéma français), a documentary which follows Bertrand Tavernier‘s trek through the annals of French Cinema (if you couldn’t guess from the title) from when he was a young chap through to his own career.

Charting 50 years of cinema in France, the film has been hailed by the likes of Martin Scorsese, and looks to be a touching and detailed inquiry into a specific brand of cinematic language, as well as the idea of going to the movies as a whole. See the trailer below, along with a poster and synopsis, and if you’re in NYC, head to Quad Cinema, where they will »

- Mike Mazzanti

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Event Review – The Best of Elmer Bernstein at the Royal Albert Hall

19 June 2017 3:05 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Tony Black reviews The Best of Elmer Bernstein at the Royal Albert Hall…

Over the last few years, the Royal Albert Hall has become the go-to venue for a remarkable array of film music concerts, be they live orchestra alongside viewings of a movie (such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I was lucky enough to catch last year), blending orchestral pieces with film related music concerts for franchises such as James Bond, or in this case a bevy of classic film score suites composed by the late, great Elmer Bernstein.

One of the signature film music composers of the 20th century, arguably able to stand on a podium with the John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith’s and James Horner’s of this world, Bernstein scored some of the most legendary pictures in Hollywood history, from The Ten Commandments through to Ghostbusters and beyond. Royal Albert Hall, in presenting a »

- Tony Black

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