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November 22, 2020

Zachary Levi and Alison Pill Lead ‘Raising Arizona’ Table Read to Benefit Homeless Youth

Want to relive a Coen Brothers classic with a fresh spin and some new cast members? The Pandemic Players, a troupe of stage and screen actors volunteering their time and talents to help fellow Americans impacted by COVID-19, will host a table read of the 1987 comedy “Raising Arizona” this Wednesday, November 25. The video will launch at 11 a.m. PT, 2 p.m. ET. All proceeds will benefit Covenant House, founded in 1972 to shelter and care for young people facing homelessness. Below, check out an exclusive trailer for the read.

Troupe members participating in the table read include Zachary Levi (star of “Shazam!”), who will take on the role of Nicolas Cage’s H.I. McDunnough, and Alison Pill (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”), who will play Holly Hunter’s Ed. Joining the pair will be Dean Norris, Clancy Brown, Macon Blair, Ross Partridge, Sarah Clarke, Jeff Dowd, Leila Almas Rose, Jaime Zavallos, and Jordana Brewster.

“Like most creatives we felt powerless as the pandemic raged across the country,” said producer Darren Dean in a press release. “We wanted to use our powers for good, which in our case meant calling on our fellow artists to give of their time and talent to raise money for worthy causes and at the same time — we hope — provide some much needed entertainment to our fellow citizens during this terrible time.”

The Players are led by producers Matthew Barber, Chris Brown, Darren Dean, Frederik Ehrhardt, Myrta Vida, and IndieWire co-founder Mark Rabinowitz.

Per the Pandemic Players’ website, while productions are free of charge, viewers are strongly encouraged to donate to the curated group of charities provided that aid underserved organizations. These benefit everyone from front-line workers, to the homeless population, communities of color, and the arts. As per Screen Actors Guild rules, each production will be available for only four days, and will be shared on the Pandemic Players’ YouTube page.

Head here to donate to the campaign, and you can tune into the Pandemic Players’ website on Wednesday to watch the table read. Future Pandemic Players productions will include the ’80s cult classics “The Breakfast Club” and “Heathers,” and will benefit additional charities providing philanthropy during the pandemic.

Source: IndieWire film

November 22, 2020

Box Office Sinks to New Low as 600 Theaters Close and Few New Films Open

The weekend before Thanksgiving is one of the most desired release dates.  It’s been home to entries in the Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games franchises; in 2019, “Frozen II” opened to $130 million. This year, weekend grosses won’t pass $7 million and only “Freaky” made more than $1 million.

These numbers cap a week of bad-to-worse news for theaters. Announcements from Universal codifed its Premium VOD plans, which suggest that the new maximum window, likely adapted by other distributors, is five weekends after opening. Warner Bros. placed “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max for 30 days, along with theaters that want to play it. (The logic behind the 30-day rule is murky; perhaps the hope is by the end of January, more theaters will be open?)

With elevated government restrictions and COVID-19 cases that seem to hit new highs on a daily basis, 2,800 theaters were open this weekend. That’s down from 3,400 last weekend, and about half of the possible locations.

The average gross per complex, with 60 percent of these having eight or more screens, was around $4,000 or $500 per screen. That can’t even cover operating costs, especially with half of the revenue going to film rental.

“Croods: A New Age” (Universal) opens this Wednesday for the long holiday weekend. Alone, it should gross more than this weekend’s total. That will be the last major new release until “Wonder Woman 1984” Christmas Day, which it will share with “News of the World” from Universal, “Promising Young Woman” from Focus Features, and Sony’s “Monster Hunter.”

Theater closings took their toll on holdovers. After weeks of seeing many films hold well in the absence of competition, all dropped by at least 40 percent and some more than 50 percent. “Freaky,” which is #1 for a second weekend, dropped 56 percent.

One film that continues to show (relative) strength is “The War with Grandpa” (101). The comedy actually jumped a slot to#2 this weekend, with only a 45 percent fall. At over $16 million, it is the top gross among all releases that dared to open since “Tenet.”

Several films took advantage of the opportunity for easy access to big-circuit theaters, but the results were negligible. “Vanguard” (Gravitas Ventures), with Jackie Chan reuniting with director Stanley Tong, placed seventh, but with only $291 per theater. “The Last Vermeer” (Sony), originally a Sony Pictures Classics release when it premiered at the 2019 Telluride and Toronto festivals, landed at #9, $247 per theater. “Fate: Stay/Night: Heaven,” a Fathom presentation of a Japanese animated film, had rare access to multiple days and screenings. It took #10 with a somewhat better but still weak result ($647 PTA).

 

(from left) The Butcher (Vince Vaughn) and Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) in "Freaky," co-written and directed by Christopher Landon.

“Freaky”

Photo Credit: Brian Douglas/Univ

The Top Ten

1. Freaky (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend: #1

$1,220,000 (-56%) in 2,057 theaters (-415); PTA (per theater average): $593; Cumulative: $3,652,000

2. The War With Grandpa (101) Week 7; Last weekend: #3

$733,067 (-45%) in 1,688 theaters (-457); PTA: $434; Cumulative: $16,183,000

3. Let Him Go (Focus) Week 3; Last weekend: #2

$710,000 (-59%) in 1,907 theaters (-549); PTA: $372; Cumulative: $7,929,000

4. Come Play (Focus) Week 4; Last weekend: #4

$550,000 (-52%) in 1,364 theaters (-602); PTA: $403; Cumulative: $8,014,000

5. The Santa Clause (Disney) REISSUE

$(adj.) 461,000 in 1,581 theaters; PTA: $292; Cumulative: $(adj.) 323,800,000

6. Honest Thief (Open Road) Week 7; Last weekend: #5

$452,000 (-42%) in 1,254 theaters (-589); PTA: $360; Cumulative: $13,011,000

7. Vanguard (Gravitas Ventures) NEW

$400,000 in 1,376 theaters; PTA: $291; Cumulative: $400,000

8. Tenet (Warner Bros.) Week 13; Last weekend: #6    1223

$360,000 (-52%) in 864 theaters (-359); PTA: $417; Cumulative: $56,900,000

9. The Last Vermeer (Sony) NEW

$225,000 in 912 theaters; PTA: $247; Cumulative: $225,000

10. Fate/Stay Night: Heaven (Fathom) NEW

$(est.) 220,000 in 324 theaters; PTA: $679; Cumulative: $220,000

 

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Source: IndieWire film

November 22, 2020

John Cleese Accused of Transphobia After Tweeting ‘I Want to Be a Cambodian Police Woman’

John Cleese, famous for his outrageous turns in the “Monty Python” series and films, is now outraging trans advocates and users on Twitter after sending out a flurry of tweets over the weekend questioning trans rights, and defending “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling. Cleese remains under fire for signing a letter earlier this year in support of Rowling, whose controversial views about the trans community are well known, and which she has continued to defend in spite of backlash. Rowling has been in the crosshairs all year for her antagonistic stance.

“Deep down, I want to be a Cambodian police woman. Is that allowed, or am I being unrealistic?” the 81-year-old Cleese tweeted in response to one user who asked him, “Why the fuck can’t you just let people be who they want to be? Do you actually think there is some deep conspiracy to turn people ‘against their genders’? Or do you like her as a person and therefore there isn’t anything she can do wrong? Latter probably…”

“I’m afraid I’m not that interested in trans folks I just hope they’re happy and that people treat them kindly,” Cleese wrote. “Right now I’m more focussed on threats to democracy in America, the rampant corruption in the UK, the appalling British Press, the revelations about police brutality…”

Cleese was among the 58 signatories of a letter published in The Sunday Times in September defending Rowling against cancel culture. She drew widespread condemnation this year when she said that trans people should be defined by their biological sex, arguing that “if sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.” Rowling quit tweeting briefly but re-emerged with an essay elaborating on her views. In the piece, she dismissed her critics, arguing that detractors were harassing her for “wrongthink” and bemoaning that she should “never, ever expect a nuanced conversation” on Twitter.

Cleese continued to send out many tweets on Sunday, decrying what he believes to be the misguided emphasis on identity politics over other issues like government corruption and police brutality. Cleese remarked that his sympathies “exclude all wokes, of course. I hope they fry in their own sanctimoniousness and narcissistic posturing,” he wrote.

Among the many tweets, Cleese wrote, “When a woman who was once a man is competing against women who have always been women, I think she has an advantage, because she inherited a man’s body, which is usually bigger and stronger than a woman’s Does that prove phobia?”

Activist Charlotte Clymer tweeted in response to Cleese’s tweetstorm, “John, we are not being treated kindly. And I’m not talking about cordiality. I’m talking about discrimination in employment, housing, health care and other areas of living, all of which is exacerbated when public figures speak from ignorance and bigotry on trans rights.”

See more of the tweets below.

Source: IndieWire film

November 22, 2020

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Pioneered a New Sound for Hollywood Scores

There’s an alien nature to the scores of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Even when the pair’s compositions are connecting with the rawest of human emotions, there’s a way that these two longtime collaborators have embraced a kind of outsider approach to film music and made it more accessible.

2019 saw Reznor and Ross contribute to “Waves” and “Watchmen,” two stories that diverge in more than just the usual film/TV divide. One is an intimate family portrait set in the suburbs of South Florida while the other traverses nearly a century of institutional oppression through the lens of one Oklahoma city. Where the musical expression of that pain and uncertainty typically is the province of a robust string section or a mournful piano solo, Reznor and Ross are part of a generation that’s helping to use that same language to adapt to an increasingly digital age.

It’s been a decade since David Fincher called on Reznor and Ross to score “The Social Network,” the first project where the two crafted an ambient soundscape for a story that otherwise would have called upon something far different. The knife-like atmospheric opening and synth-laden hammer drops of “Hand Covers Bruise” seemed foreign to the kind of prestige, auteur-driven biopic that audiences might have expected from a Facebook origin story. That disorientation gave way to a dueling dance of dreams and nightmares in Fincher’s next films “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Gone Girl.” (Look no further than the latter’s “Sugar Storm” and “The Way He Looks at Me” to see how Reznor and Ross play both sides of the same coin.)

Reznor and Ross have also been noteworthy contributors to the film music landscape by not being exclusive of genre or directorial partnerships. Part of that comes from filmmakers recognizing that the marriage of artist and material works outside Sorkin dialogue and impeccable populist literary adaptations. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick enlisted the duo to score the expansive “The Vietnam War” while Fisher Stevens did the same for his climate change doc “Before the Flood.”

That versatility, not just in expanding outward to documentaries, but providing an existential rallying cry for examining the past and preventing a certain kind of future, showed that Reznor and Ross’ approach didn’t have to be segmented off solely in portraits of tortured protagonists. There’s a turmoil that lives within their work that is more universal than people may have realized at the outset of the decade. Film scores have thrived on a certain amount of tension between expectations and the final product since the silent era, but Reznor and Ross have been able to give a new generation a specific way to express that dissonance. It’s one that will make you want to punch through a brick wall one minute, then sit down and look back on your life as you cradle a broken fist.

Non-orchestral work certainly didn’t just start receiving more widespread acclaim in 2010, but “The Social Network” did feel like a crack in a tradition of scores that, when they won Oscars or Emmys, could easily be played by the musicians in the pit at the ceremony. It’s hard not to draw a line between that win and Mica Levi getting the opportunity to score “Jackie” with a pitch-bent descent into one woman’s trauma. Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka’s score for “Lion” is more traditionally melodic, but there’s a texture there that feels in line with that advance. The late Jóhann Jóhannsson took those pulsating ideas and funneled them into his scores for Denis Villeneuve’s films. And the hybrid orchestral loops of Ludwig Göransson and Nicholas Britell may not have had the breathing room to become “Black Panther” or “Succession” if there wasn’t at least an adjacent, proven template.

So even as this pair adapts their output to each successive project, one throughline seems to remain. Taking a cue from the title of one of the last Nine Inch Nails albums before Reznor and Ross became an established film presence, their scores are filled with ghosts. As the individuals within these films and shows wrestle with specific legacies of families and nations and unwieldy technological innovations, their music is a canvas drawn with the kind of simplicity you can project your own feelings onto. They’re not the first to take that kind of approach, but their success have meant that a fresh wave of musical storytellers can live inside a haunted place and find the beauty within it. —Steve Greene

 

Source: IndieWire film

November 22, 2020

Ellen Kuras Shows that Shooting from a Blueprint Can Capture Any Emotion

“There’s a resourcefulness, she’s just one of those people always making lemonade,” said Morrison, who highlighted how inspirational it was to see what Kuras did with an early DV camera on Miller’s highly acclaimed “Personal Velocity.” For Miller that unique and diverse set of skills was what helped lift her first feature, “Angela.” “Ellen understood the spiritual needs of the film, as well as the technical needs,” said Miller. “We shot ‘Angela’ on 35mm, in an economical way, with moving masters, a style which Ellen was already very adept at. She had, and still has, a keen sense of visual poetry.

Morrison also singled out the scope of Kuras’ work with Lee, which epitomizes her flexibility. “Each story they told together was completely different from the one they did before, which is collaboration in its best form,” Morrison said. Yet like most Kuras-philes, the film Morrison points to as the pinnacle of her ingenuity is “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”: “[It] broke every rule and did it with such elegance and poetry. It has a much bigger feel than what it actually was, with in-camera trickery that would now be done with a lot of effects.”

On “Eternal Sunshine,” the camera wizardry disguised the movie’s modest budget. Kuras’ cinematography is the glue holding together writer Charlie Kaufman’s narrative insanity and director Michel Gondry’s ephemeral visual poetry. The lighting serves as vital exposition — clearly delineating the different dimensions and supplying inventive transitions — which allows the complex science fiction device to melt into the background and the metaphysical poetry to rise to the top. In a film about the erasing of memories, the lighting itself has a fragility in its washed-out beauty that creates a visual texture. The result not only mirrors the film’s themes; it becomes the primary storytelling device.

Notably, Kuras’ filmography includes work at virtually every budget level — in addition to her various auteur-grade team-ups, she also shot studio projects such as “Analyze That,” “Blow,” and “The Mod Squad.” Kuras crossed over from documentaries to scripted narrative features with Tom Kalin’s 1992 Sundance breakout “Swoon,” but she’s returned to nonfiction a number of times since, shooting some of the defining nonfiction works of the last 30 years: “4 Little Girls,” “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party,” “Wormwood,” “Jane,” and “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.”

Errol Morris, in discussing the unique and highly stylized multi-perspective interviews in “Wormwood,” credited Kuras’ engineering background (she graduated with an engineering degree) and how she figured out how to create a set up that somehow kept 10 cameras — shooting the interview from vastly different angles — and numerous lights out of frame, while also allowing for the flexibility to move two cameras in reaction to what was being said. It’s an anecdote that unlocks an incredible insight to Kuras: A cinematographer whose work can feel so raw, but underneath it there is an expertly drawn blueprint making it possible. You can see it at play in “Block Party,” recently recognized by Lincoln Center as part of its 100 year celebration of the ASC, because of how effortless Kuras made the impossible shooting circumstances of make-shift outdoor concert look easy.

To date, Morrison remains the only woman ever nominated for a Best Cinematography Oscar, though Kuras was nominated for Best Documentary after taking a detour to co-direct ”The Betrayal” in 2008, and the Gotham Awards saluted her entire oeuvre in 2006. Yet there’s no award that could fully encapsulate the career one of the greatest cinematographers working today, and has been for almost 30 years. Morrison summed it up best: “Ellen is a legend for just being a fucking badass DP who has made some of the most memorable images in the last century.” —Eric Kohn

Source: IndieWire film

November 18, 2020

The Great Thanksgiving Listen Aims to Bring Families — and the Country — Together Through Listening

In a year when the holidays will look markedly different than usual, we invite students nationwide to use the new remote recording platform StoryCorps Connect to record conversations with a grandparent, teacher, mentor, or another elder.

People everywhere are being advised to reconsider their plans for the holidays as America endures a spike in COVID-19 cases. The Great Thanksgiving Listen gives families and communities a safe opportunity to come together, across generations, to listen to the stories of their loved ones. This year, we are offering StoryCorps Connect, a tool for recording and preserving conversations between loved ones, so people can connect while remaining socially distant.

With permission, each interview becomes part of American history in the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress and online at archive.storycorps.org. We’re excited to share that in 2020, we are adding transcripts of participants’ interviews powered by Google Cloud’s state-of-the-art AI technology and advanced machine-learning capabilities. With this innovation, StoryCorps’ collection of stories of our time in America is now accessible to more people via search and in written word.

Each StoryCorps conversation provides an opportunity to ask an elder about who they are, what they’ve learned in life, and how they want to be remembered. This year, it feels more important than ever to make time for these conversations.

Anyone with an interest in storytelling can participate. We actively encourage people of all ages to create your own unique oral history with an elder or loved one in your life, and to transform the holidays into a time of intergenerational sharing.
 
Bring The Great Listen Into Your Home

Source: SNPR Story Corps

November 15, 2020

‘Let Them All Talk’ Trailer: Soderbergh Takes a Trip with Streep, Bergen, and Wiest

Director Steven Soderbergh continues his foray into streaming movies with his latest, “Let Them All Talk,” a largely improvised nostalgia-tinged journey starring Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, and Dianne Wiest as old friends reuniting. Written by American short story master Deborah Eisenberg, the film debuts on HBO Max on December 10.

Per HBO’s synopsis, “Let Them All Talk” tells the story of a celebrated author (Streep) who takes a journey with some old friends (Bergen and Wiest) to have some fun and heal old wounds. Her nephew (Lucas Hedges) comes along to wrangle the ladies as well as her new literary agent (Gemma Chan) who is desperate to find out about her next book.

First details on the making of the film were detailed in an Entertainment Weekly conversation with the cast back in October, who revealed some telling behind-the-scenes secrets.

“I told [Soderbergh] he was gonna ruin everything for every director, and every production designer, and everything else, because he made the movie for 25 cents — I know that’s what I was paid,” Streep said. “Then it was made in two weeks, and it was a free ride on the boat.”

Bergen also said, “I think [Soderbergh]’s the most fearless filmmaker, and his intellect is so piercing. He was doing the camerawork, so you sort of watched his brain right behind the camera, spinning like a top. It was really interesting. And short.”

Wiest revealed the film was shot with “no equipment. The only equipment was sound equipment. Steven held the camera in a wheelchair and just rolled along. None of the lights, and the trucks, all that stuff that goes into making movies, there’s none of it. There was Steven and this new camera.”

The guerrilla filmmaking style on “Let Them All Talk” was reinforced by the lack of a script, with Soderbergh handing his ensemble basic outlines of scenarios to experiment with in terms of the dialogue.

“Improvised feel? Well, yeah, it does, because it is,” Streep said. “I mean, they would give us the outlines of a situation, and then we knew where we had to end up. But they didn’t tell us how to get there.”

Outside of “Let Them All Talk,” Oscar winner Soderbergh most recently served as executive producer on the Quibi series “Wireless” as well as “Bill and Ted Face the Music.” Soderbergh is meanwhile at work on another film for HBO Max and Warner Bros., “No Sudden Move,” starring Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Ray Liotta, and more. He’s also working on new edits of several earlier films, as he revealed to IndieWire over the summer.

Watch the first trailer for “Let Them All Talk” below.

Source: IndieWire film

November 15, 2020

‘Brave’ Oscar Winner Brenda Chapman Teases a Possible Return to Animation

With her first live-action feature film under her belt, Oscar winner Brenda Chapman is setting her sights on the next big step: a possible return to the animation world in which she first made a name for herself and broke major barriers while doing it. In 1998, Chapman became the first woman to direct an animated feature from a major studio, thanks to DreamWorks Animation’s “The Prince of Egypt,” which followed her work writing such animated Disney classics as “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Fresh off bowing her “Come Away” at Sundance, it was reported that Chapman was already teeing up her next project: a live-action hybrid feature based on Claribel Ortega’s YA novel “Ghost Squad,” but in a recent interview, the filmmaker told IndieWire she’s “kind of stepped away” from that project during the pandemic. “I decided to take a bit of a sabbatical and work on some of my own projects with my husband [fellow filmmaker Kevin Lima],” she said. “I’m writing a novel and thinking about turning it into an animated screenplay. It was the right timing for me on that, on that level. It’s never the right timing to have a pandemic, but for me, it gave me a good excuse to just step back and sort of regroup.”

So, yes, that means Chapman might be getting back into the animation fray, a choice that comes with plenty of history. The filmmaker has been honest about her experience in the industry, from her removal from Pixar passion project “Brave” (she remained credited as co-director and co-writer, but in a 2012 New York Times essay, was blunt: the experience was “devastating”) to quite memorably telling Time in 2013 that the animation world is “run by a boys club.”

Many years later, Chapman has some seen change take effect, and she’s got hope for the future of animation. “I think it’s improved, definitely,” she said about the current industry landscape. “Disney has made a lot of shifts and you have a woman [fellow filmmaker Jennifer Lee] leading the whole animation department there. DreamWorks has a lot of women running that division now. So, yeah, I see a big shift.”

The filmmaker added, “I feel like it is improving and people are just much more aware, much more sensitive to making missteps. I feel like it was a bit late for me as far as ‘Brave’ went, but it seems like a lot of improvements have been made since then. So I’m hopeful, and that’s why I’m thinking about going back into it.”

If and when that happens, don’t expect Chapman’s work to feed into even the most well-intentioned of cinematic tropes, like the enduring “badass woman” character (Chapman lightly groaned when the term was mentioned).

“Brave”

“That’s part of what I was dealing with in ‘Brave’ [with Merida], the whole idea of trying to make her that tomboy, which was never my intention,” Chapman said. “She was an athletic girl who had other aspirations than just getting married, but I never saw her as the warrior princess. How about just telling a story and focusing it around a woman?”

She added, “It’s great to have female superheroes, but can we have more stories that aren’t about that? Can we have more stories that are from a female perspective, that show women that it’s okay to be sensitive, it’s okay to be thoughtful, it’s okay to be 50, it’s okay to be a little heavy, it’s okay to be all these things that women are. We see this with men in roles all the time, so why not show the female side of that?”

Despite her experience with “Brave,” it remains an indelible part of her career and legacy. It also helped propel her to a little bit of history-making, and when the film won Best Animated Feature at the 2013 Academy Awards, Chapman (who shared the win with fellow credited co-director Mark Andrews) became the first woman to ever win the honor.

Chapman said she didn’t even realize her win was the first of its kind until afterward it was all over. “I think that whole win was so bittersweet for me. It was hard to enjoy to the fullest extent of what you would normally enjoy that moment,” she said. “It was such a surprise when I did finally realize that I was the first one to win in that category, I was like, this is just weird. It’s taken too long. It’s been nice to see more women up there since then, even though it’s still not as many, but like I say, it’s getting better. We’re in the 21st century, come on, people!”

“Come Away” is now available in select theaters and on VOD and various digital platforms.

Source: IndieWire film

November 15, 2020

Kate Mara Says She Should’ve Spoken Up During ‘Horrible’ ‘Fantastic Four’ Experience

Josh Trank’s notorious 2015 superhero tentpole “Fantastic Four” is the Marvel disaster that keeps on giving… awfulness. Though reams of NDAs have kept the filmmaker and his cast from speaking explicitly about just what went down on the 20th Century Fox debacle — Trank, for example, slept with a gun during production — yet another cryptic horror story has emerged from the wreckage. Star Kate Mara, who played Sue Storm a.k.a. Invisible Woman in the costly title, recently confessed to having a “horrible experience” while making the movie, per a new interview in Emmy Magazine.

“I had a horrible experience on ‘Fantastic Four,’” she said. “I’ve never talked about it before. I married one of my costars, so I don’t regret doing that movie at all. But do I wish I had responded differently to certain things? Yes, definitely.” (That co-star she would go on to marry is Jamie Bell.)

Mara is in headlines recently for her turn as a sexual predator in Hannah Fidell’s new series for FX on Hulu, “A Teacher.” Though she’s loath to pinpoint precisely what went down on the “Fantastic Four” set, Mara attributed to the toxic environment to sexism.

“The fact of the matter is that my two horrendous experiences with directors were male directors,” she said. “Have I not gotten along with a female director? Absolutely. And was it not the greatest work experience? Sure. But there was never a time that I felt, ‘This is happening because I’m a woman.’ Where with the male directors, it 100 percent was only happening with me; it was a power dynamic thing. “And on both of my bad experiences, the movies were 95 percent men and I was the only woman in the movie.”

She also spoke about the experience with Collider, saying, “The thing that I always go back to on that one is that I think I should have followed my instincts more. Like when my gut was telling me, ‘You probably shouldn’t let that slide, what that person just said,’ or if you’re feeling a certain way about what an energy is like and how that is affecting your performance. You’re being paid to do a certain thing and if something is in the way of that, you have the right to speak up and say, ‘I’m actually not able to do what I am here to do because of X, Y and Z.’”

Still, Mara said she doesn’t regret making “Fantastic Four,” but rather, she does “regret not having stood up for myself. I regret that for sure. Because if my daughter ended up acting and was in a situation like that where she felt like she couldn’t speak up — meanwhile, I’m a pretty tough person and I really do advocate for myself. Granted, this was a few years ago and maybe this situation was different, but if I was in that situation today, it just wouldn’t have happened or it just would have been a different environment I think. So again, good learning experience, you know?”

Source: IndieWire film

November 15, 2020

‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ First Reactions: Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman Bring Down the House

The wait is over, and first reactions to Netflix’s upcoming awards season juggernaut “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” are finally here. And they’re major, with showers of acclaim for Oscar shoo-ins Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted from the beloved play by August Wilson, the drama debuted on Saturday, November 14 as part of a sneak-peek virtual premiere in partnership with the American Film Institute. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is set to launch on Netflix everywhere December 18.

In “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” tensions and temperatures escalate throughout the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago. A band of musicians await the arrival of one trailblazing performer, the Mother of the Blues, Ma Rainey. She’s played by Viola Davis, the Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress for another August Wilson adaptation, director Denzel Washington’s “Fences.” (Washington is also a producer on “Ma Rainey’s.”) Late to the session, Ma Rainey stirs up ado with her white manager and producer over the control of her music. Meanwhile, the band waits in a claustrophobic rehearsal room, where trumpeter Levee (Boseman), with ambitions of his own, spurs his fellow musicians into revealing truths that will change all their lives.

The movie has buzz for Boseman’s posthumous (and final) performance. Netflix is planning to campaign Boseman in the Lead Actor category at the Oscars, with his turn in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” (also for Netflix) vying for Supporting Actor.

The cast of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” also includes Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, and Michael Potts.

Check out a roundup of first reactions from Twitter below.

Source: IndieWire film