6 items from 2001
Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden was warned she'd never be a success in Hollywood if she didn't alter the shape of her nose. The Pollock star was given the advice by a producer - who even recommended a surgeon to do the job. Harden, 42, says, "He said, 'Unless you get it fixed, you will never work as an actress. He handed me a card that had a plastic surgeon's name on it." The budding young actress was devastated, but in the end, she simply refused to go under the knife. She explains, "I went home and cried for a couple of hours. Then I got so angry, I decided I was going to 'show him' by hanging in there and not giving up." The hard work paid off when Harden won the Best Supporting Actress award this year for her role in Pollock. »
The spotlights fell on Robert De Niro and a very pregnant Uma Thurman on Monday night in Manhattan. The occasion, which also brought out Famke Janssen, Sopranos actress Edie Falco, Marcia Gay Harden, Glenn Close, Martin Scorsese, Diane Sawyer, Steve Buscemi and others, was the Independent Feature Project's 11th annual Gotham Awards, honoring independent movies. De Niro, 58, received the lifetime achievement award, while an acting award went to Thurman, 31. "What's not to be excited about?" Thurman's husband, actor Ethan Hawke, 30, said. "I felt happy for my wife that they were honoring her, and it comes at a great time. I mean, she's expecting her second baby. It's a great time to get an award. I don't want to speak for her but I think she really saw it as a challenge to be worthy. Whenever you take a little time off to have a baby it makes you refocus about what you want to do with the rest of your career." Asked how he and Thurman make their Hollywood marriage work, Hawke said, "We're only three years in. I'm not going to brag about anything." »
Director Mike Nichols has tapped a number of top Hollywood stars to help him stage a performance of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull in New York's Central Park as part of the summer Shakespeare In The Park dramatic program. With a new translation of the Russian classic from Tom Stoppard, Nichols lined up Meryl Streep (who also conceived the project), Natalie Portman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Kline, John Goodman, Marcia Gay Harden, and Christopher Walken in a production that's getting solid reviews for the acting and for the unusually witty script. U.S.A. Today reviewer Elysa Gardner, in giving it three out of four stars, said Nichols brought together a cast that was not only well-respected, but "perfect for the roles they play," and called it "the most consistently entertaining presentation of Chekhov, I've seen." (This story was prepared by IMDb staff.) »
Marcia Gay Harden is on a roll.
Boldly segueing from art to kitsch, she follows her serious, Oscar-winning turn in "Pollock" with an absolute blast of a performance as a pre-op male-to-female transsexual in Susan Seidelman's gender-bending farce "Gaudi Afternoon".
She's easily the best thing about this otherwise flaky comedy -- set against the whimsical backdrop of Antonio Gaudi's art nouveau architecture -- which starts off energetically but rapidly wears out its forcefully quirky welcome.
Given its Los Angeles debut at this year's Outfest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the as-yet-to-be-picked-up film will have a tough time breaking out of its niche confines in spite of a high-profile cast.
The always game Judy Davis, last seen on the small screen as Judy Garland, dresses down as Cassandra Reilly, a rather frumpy American translator working in Barcelona, Spain, where she's having trouble finding the right English words for her current literary assignment.
As if she isn't distracted enough already, along comes the enigmatic Frankie Stevens (Harden), fresh from San Francisco and striking an unmistakably '40s film noir femme fatale pose as she approaches Cassandra with an unusual job offer.
But what initially was pitched as a little translation work gets more convoluted by the minute, as Cassandra soon finds herself embroiled in a dysfunctional family drama involving Frankie's estranged spouse, Ben (Lili Taylor), their bratty daughter Delilah (Courtney Jines) and Ben's New Age-y girlfriend April (Juliette Lewis), just for starters.
With its colorful assortment of gay, bisexual and transgender characters, "Gaudi Afternoon", based on a 1990 novel of the same name by Barbara Wilson, is the kind of material that's desperately seeking Almodovar.
While Seidelman at first seems to have rediscovered that "Desperately Seeking Susan" spark, she ends up going all Spielberg, shifting awkwardly into a mawkishly sentimental third act.
By that point, even Harden can't save the show, though she comes mighty close. With her face virtually encased in pancake and her voice affecting a husky, uncertain breathiness, she's a comic bundle of sexual confusion. If you hadn't seen her before, you'd swear her role was played by a guy.
Chameleon Davis, meanwhile, whose performance here is very Anne Bancroft, is fine, too, though she is stifled by her essentially one-note character.
Also amusing is Lewis as the touchy-feely April Schauer (get it?), while Taylor is uncomfortably off as the butch Ben (formerly Bernadette).
But if the artificially offbeat film disappoints, at least its title delivers the goods. Taking full advantage of its location, "Gaudi Afternoon" serves as a handy Gaudi primer, setting numerous scenes against the striking, capricious structures that should have served as a blueprint for the picture's ramshackle design.
Director: Susan Seidelman
Screenwriters: James Myhre, Joaquin Oristrell
Based on the novel by: Barbara Wilson
Producer: Andres Vicente Gomez
Executive producer: Frida Torresblanco
Director of photography: Jose Maria Civit
Art director: Antxon Gomez
Editor: Deirdre Slevin
Costume designers: Yvonne Blake, Antonia Marques
Music: Bernardo Bonezzi
Cassandra Reilly: Judy Davis
Frankie Stevens: Marcia Gay Harden
Ben Harris: Lili Taylor
April Schauer: Juliette Lewis
Carmen: Maria Barranco
Hamilton Kincaid: Christopher Bowen
Delilah Stevens: Courtney Jines
Running time -- 93 minutes
No MPAA rating »
Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden wishes she'd had more faith in herself - because she could have made a killing in Las Vegas. The odds on the Pollock actress winning an Oscar were at 12-1 in sin city, and now she's wishing she'd taken a bet on her own abilities. She says, "Vegas had me at 12-to-1 odds. I sure do wish I had bet on myself and made a little money." But although she didn't make her fortune, Harden did manage to impress her daughter Eulada, aged two. She says, "She hauls Oscar off this little couch-side stand he has been sitting on and lugs him to her bedroom. So when a friend comes over and wants to see it, we have to go to her room, find Oscar and put him back. He's become a Pal to Eulada. The pressure to have a little brother is on, that's all I can say, because Oscar needs to go back on the shelf." »
Russell Crowe, Julia Roberts and Steven Soderbergh were honored by the Academy at last night's Oscars® ceremony. Though Russell and Julia came as no surprise, Soderbergh's Best Director win for Traffic defied the raft of wins Ang Lee had racked up, including the Golden Globe and the Directors Guild awards. Shaking up the supporting category was Marcia Gay Harden with an unexpected win for Pollock, while Benicio Del Toro capped off his streak with tonight's widely-predicted win. (Editors Note: This story was compiled by IMDb staff) »
6 items from 2001
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