Peter Sarsgaard Q&A: Why ‘The Magnificent Seven’ Villain Isn’t Interested In Leaving Indies Behind – Tiff 2016

  • Indiewire
Peter Sarsgaard Q&A: Why ‘The Magnificent Seven’ Villain Isn’t Interested In Leaving Indies Behind – Tiff 2016
Every great Western needs a great villain, and Peter Sarsgaard delivers an outsized one in Antoine Fuqua’s “The Magnificent Seven.” In the remake of the classic 1960 feature of the same name (itself an Americanized remake of the 1954 Akira Kurosawa feature “Seven Samurai”), Sarsgaard plays the power-hungry (and just plain mean) Bartholomew Bogue, who has taken over the tiny town of Rose Creek, all the better to capitalize on its rich local mines.

Bogue’s methods for keeping Rose Creek’s citizens in line are vicious and brutal, and he’s clearly not used to being opposed by anyone, especially small-town folk who are just trying to carve out a living for themselves during the heyday of the American West. In an attempt to stifle an uprising, Bogue sets into motion a much bigger problem, led by Haley Bennett’s Emma Cullen, who takes matters into her own hands and
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Peter Sarsgaard Riding With The Magnificent Seven; Jason Momoa Dismounts

After months of casting on MGM and Sony’s remake of The Magnificent Seven, the Western is finally gearing up to roll cameras later this month. Today brings word that perennial baddie Peter Sarsgaard is in final negotiations to play robber baron Bartholomew Bogue, the villain of the film whose cronies murder the husband (Matt Bomer) of a young woman (Haley Bennett), leading her to hire an unruly band of mercenaries to take back her town. Simultaneously, though, word has it that Jason Momoa has dropped out of the project, leaving one supporting role unclaimed.

Sarsgaard has made a career out of playing nasty psychopaths, from John Lotter in Boys Don’t Cry to the controlling Chuck Traynor in Lovelace, so he’s well-suited for the part of a murderous Western baddie.

As for Momoa, Deadline reports that he departed the pic after feeling like he “didn’t have enough to do,
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Thn Delves Into Telekinesis & Teen Angst With ‘Carrie’ Director Kimberly Peirce

Sony and Screen Gems made a very smart move in nabbing the director of the unforgettable Oscar-winning biopic Boys Don’T Cry for their contemporary retelling of Stephen King’s iconic novel Carrie. Few filmmakers have captured the torment of wanting acceptance in this world, while at the same time being labelled an outcast better than Kimberly Peirce. The harrowing and heartbreaking performance she got out of Hilary Swank for the role of Brandon Teena made her an ideal choice for the modernised update of the tortured teenager Carrie White.

With the horror remake heading to the UK from Friday, Thn had a chance to put some questions to Peirce regarding the taking on of King’s acclaimed story, previously adapted by Brian De Palma.

Could you tell us how you became involved with the project and what made you decide to take it on?

The studio came to me
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Take Three: Peter Sarsgaard

Craig here with Take Three. This week: Peter Sarsgaard

Take One: Garden State (2004)

Including Garden State as a Take Three take meant two things: watching one of Sarsgaard’s very best supporting performances again and watching the actual film again. The charm of the former outweighed the task of the latter. Despite essentially disliking the film, Sarsgaard makes it worth seeing. You get no sad, woe-is-me moping from him, nor do you get “original” moments of screechy-unique arm waving. His character, Mark, a grave digger, comes from the ‘insta-best friend’ vault of movie characters, but it’s what Sarsgaard does with it that makes all the difference. He’s essentially present to take a face full of Braff’s woefulness. During an abysmal rainy shout-a-thon into a large pit, he's on gooseberry duty, forced to awkwardly stand around whilst Braff and Portman snog each other’s faces off. But Sarsgaard lingers with style.
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From Chris Colfer to Zach Galifianakis: 12 Unconventionally Attractive Men You Should be Ogling

As much as I find his whiny, macho-aggressive public persona unappealing – and while he certainly isn't your standard-issue Hollywood hunk – I just can't help but have a thing for Shia LeBeouf. It's hard to describe what it is, exactly – the mischievous glint in his eyes, perhaps? The smart-ass grin? The way his nostrils flare when he's angry? The come-hither bedroom stare he's prone to adopting in photo spreads?

There's just something about him that I can't quite put my finger on – something that makes me swoon, even as I feel guilty doing it.

In any case, given that my shame-based Young Hollywood crush is coming out in a new film this week – you might have heard of it, a little under-the-radar independent effort called Transformers: Dark of the Moon? – I thought it might be fun to look at a few other unconventional Hollywood sex symbols – those unlikely heartthrobs who manage
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Film review: 'Brandon Teena Story'

The tale told in this low-budget, award-winning documentary is so powerful, so compelling, that it overshadows any reservations about the quality of the filmmaking and storytelllng.

Brandon Teena was a Nebraskan teenager, born Teena Brandon, who decided to live her life as a man. Moving to a small town and forging a new identity, she fooled people to a wide extent and even had several girlfriends.

But eventually her secret was revealed, with tragic results; she was raped by two local young men, who one week later killed her, along with two other victims, to prevent her from testifying. Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir's chronicle of these events is receiving its theatrical premiere at New York's Film Forum.

The 16mm film is crudely photographed and edited, and deviates little from the talking heads syndrome, but there is no denying the dramatic impact of the story and the tragic central figure who inhabits it.

The film begins in a lighthearted fashion, with testimony from Brandon's various girlfriends who affirm her sensitivity and her qualities as a terrific "boyfriend." We even hear from Brandon's killers, although the filmmakers don't reveal that fact until later on.

Brandon's story turns fateful when the small town of Falls City discovers her true identity, the result of her arrest for petty theft. Particularly incensed are two young men, ex-cons named Thomas Nissen and John Lotter, who are deeply offended at their friend's deception. They brutally beat and rape Brandon, who reports the crime to the local authorities.

She is met with suspicion and outright hostility, however, as evidenced by a chilling audiotape of the interrogation conducted by the local sheriff, who is more accusatory than comforting. One week later, Brandon, 21, is shot to death, together with a pregnant woman friend and another visitor who happened to be at the scene. Nissen and Lotter are arrested, and are now in prison.

Brandon Teena's story is so dizzying in its implications, and touches so many chords, that it has the resonance of a great novel; it has been the subject of several in-depth journalistic pieces, and, not surprisingly, a feature film is in the works.

This extremely low-budget effort, which includes interviews with many of the principals involved as well as audio excerpts from the trial, doesn't do it full justice, and is often confused and scattershot in its storytelling approach. It also relies too heavily on cliched shots of barren rural landscapes and snippets of banal country music. But it nonetheless has a great power, and deserves wide theatrical exposure before its eventual berth on video and public television.

THE Brandon Teena STORY

Zeitgeist Films

Producer, director, camera, editing: Susan Muska, Greta Olafsdottir

Executive producer: Jane Dekrone

Music: Lorrie Morgan, Dinah Washington, April Stevens, the Brown Brothers


Running time -- 90 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

Credited With | External Sites