Archive for the ‘INTERVIEWS’ Category

Video – Justin Bieber Sings 'One Time' .. He turned 16 and my Niece forced me to do this..Great for cheap traffic!!

Justin sings ‘One Time’ in this video. We will see how long he lasts. Stay out of trouble kid!!

This video has Justin answering questions about this song and his music.

Here he is on “The Next Star Live Finale” on TV. This was before he was big. It was a singing competition. I think He Won..

Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster


"The Dude" on Jeff Bridges: A Unique American Icon

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Jeff Dowd on Jeff Bridges: A unique American icon

February 26, 2010 |  5:58 pm

Jeff Dowd is an indie film producer and promoter who is known to one and all as the Dude, having served in large part as the inspiration for Jeff Bridges’ immortal Dude character in the Coen brothers’ “The Big Lebowski.” Dowd is always brimming with crazy ideas, political rants and is impossible to get off the phone once he gets up a full head of steam. As Roger Ebert once put it, Dowd is “tall, large and shaggy and a boil of enthusiasm.”

So when he checked in the other day, asking if he could offer a tribute to the great acting work Bridges has done over the years, I knew better than to say no. After all, pretty much wherever I go, I find Bridges fans of all stripes and sizes. When I was yakking the other day with Long Beach Press-Telegram basketball writer Frank Burlison, who’s my guru when it comes to high school basketball, just the mention of Bridges’ name sent Frank off on a 20-minute Cicero-style oration on the glories of the actor’s work over the year.

Since Bridges has been so refreshingly modest about his own craft, I thought it only fair to turn the microphone over to Mr. Dowd, who has a pretty intriguing take on what make Bridges such an unique acting talent and righteous human being. As Dowd says in his piece, Bridges has become an American icon who “fulfills the sacred function of the artist, saint, jester and the Holy Fool: helping us see through the illusions of the world.” In other words, a major dude indeed.

But don’t take my word — read what Dowd has to say for yourself:  

“I used to be somebody, now I’m somebody else” is a self-pitying lament from Bad Blake, the washed-up country singer who struggles to find his heart and soul, exquisitely portrayed by Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart.”

For movie-goers, who have been cinematically blessed watching Jeff Bridges for nearly four decades in 65 movies, “I used to be somebody, now I’m somebody else” is a reminder of how Jeff Bridges has fully inhabited such a wide array of characters and authentically captured their essence with a full palette of shades from light to dark. Bridges has taken us through a mosaic of perspectives of the uniquely American experience.

After four Academy Award nominations, it looks like Jeff Bridges may finally be singing late into the night with his new friend Oscar. Critical acclaim has been unanimous. Awards for his outstanding performance like the best actor award from his peers in the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globe have been rolling down Bridges’ lane faster than bowling balls. Yet there’s something about the appeal of Jeff Bridges and the characters he creates which goes deeper than his engaging performances, good looks, charm, humor, heart, brains and acting chops. That was the mystery that I may have stumbled into figuring out with a little help from my friends. Let’s flashback.

I vividly remember the first time I encountered Jeff Bridges in his big screen debut in “The Last Picture Show,” adapted from Larry McMurtry’s small Texas town classic American book by director Peter Bogdanovich. Bridges was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his measured portrayal of Duane Jackson.  It was the first time that Jeff didn’t come home with an Oscar — it was awarded to fellow cast member Ben Johnson for playing “Sam the Lion,” the mythological local Yoda Texan of his day. “Last Picture Show” was the first of many movies with Bridges that shed cinematic light on forever-changing America. 

A new generation of directors recognized Jeff Bridges could shape-shift into exceptional characters while creating iconic Americans the same way directors Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, John Ford and Preston Sturges did in their time with the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Joel McCrea, Henry Fonda and John Wayne–fellows who you could have a drink with and come away with something.

On Duane’s final night in Anarene, Texas, before he heads off for the Korean War, his buddy Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) takes him to the last picture show at the Royal Theatre, which is going out of business. The next morning, Duane dresses in his Army uniform, hands the car keys to his prized Mercury coupe over to Sonny. “Take care of her until I get back,” he says as he is about to get on the Trailways bus and innocently ship out to war.  Duane’s last line is “See you in a year or two if I don’t get shot.” 

When asked which of the great characters he has played people like most, Bridges exhales a laugh in B flat and exclaims “The Dude of course!” The curious nature of  “Lebowski’s” laid-back Dude becoming so beloved is what gave me a clue to solve the mystery of a deeper connection Jeff was making with people.

Up until 1998 I was moved and entertained by Jeff Bridge’s performances like everyone else. Then I got a phone call. Even though Jeff Bridges and I were both born only two weeks apart in California, it was Joel and Ethan Coen who mischievously crossed our stars while mixing up their “Dude … or His Dudeness … Duder … or El Duderino, if, you know, you’re not into the whole brevity thing…” creating an unforeseen stellar Dude cocktail which somehow would continue to burn beyond anyone’s imagination fueled by comedy as highly combustible as silver nitrate in film stock.

The Coens were making “The Big Lebowski” with John Goodman and Jeff Bridges.  But I didn’t know who was going to play my persona “The Dude.” Size-wise I’m on the cusp — it could go either way. If it was John Goodman I feared that Joel and Ethan would be taking fully loaded satirical pot shots at some Hollywood wacko. I’m a big and easy target. But I felt reassured when I learned it was Jeff Bridges who was going to play “The Dude,” because he always gets to the soul of a character — so figuring in two heaping spoonfuls of Joel and Ethan Coen’s cynicism and two slices of wry humor with Jeff at the wheel I might get lucky and be portrayed sympathetically as a fun, likable fool, not a total fool (I’m on the cusp on that one too).

The Dude in “The Big Lebowski” is not my story, it is Joel and Ethan taking a lot of of liberty with Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain’s Los Angeles crime dramas, which they fashioned into a buddies movie where most everything goes wrong while pumping the film full of laughing gas and an occasional acid trip. What remains of me that even my  friends were impressed and amused by was how Jeff Bridges’ Dude captured my body language, camaraderie, rebellious spirit, hang-loose style, mumbled ironic opinions and even my recurring flying dream. Joel and Ethan, who enjoy stacking the deck against their characters, chose to pan past my active real life and have more fun making the Dude an ill-prepared burnt-out slacker: “Quite possibly the laziest [man] in Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide.” How and why did this laid-back Dude become so admired and respected?

Even though Bridges had been doing it on screen for decades, when spending time on the set o
f “The Big Lebowski” I saw how Jeff was always as much of a supporting actor as a supported actor. Bridges’ down-home professionalism and desire and ability to connect with other great character actors like John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman are what make so many scenes in “The Big Lebowski” enjoyable to watch again and again even if you don’t watch the whole movie — you can watch a scene or sequence and get all the laughs you need for the day. That’s one reason it has become the default pop in and out movie of choice on many team and band buses and planes and a fun and familiar rest stop for weary channel surfers.

While doing shows, speaking and hanging out I have met a very diverse group of people who have shared with me a multitude of reasons why they like “The Big Lebowski.” But what I couldn’t figure out for a long time is all the folks who say to me “Dude. You are an inspiration. You changed my life,” of course by “You” they mean Jeff Bridges’ doppelganger Dude in the movie. But I wondered what it was in the Dude, a former activist who has become a pot smoking bowling slacker — not exactly an inspiring role model — that appeals to not only college students but professionals of all ages, soldiers and families. 

Much of that can be attributed to Bridges’ performance. Yet when I inquire, the answer goes beyond that and they lionize the Dude: “The Dude isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. He’s his own man.”   In a world where so many of us are muzzled at home, school or work — we appreciate the Dude “looking out for all us sinners,” as Sam Elliott’s cowboy says in the film.

It probably all starts with the mystery of Jeff Bridges and his deeper appeal. He has often played an everyman up against all odds “helping us see through the illusions of our world” — holy fools, who enlighten us frequently while tickling our funny bones. For decades Bridges has been an ever-changing mythological all-American Holy Fool fulfilling the role for us that every culture in history has created because we need those folks around to make sense of our world and our brief time upon it.

If we give the body of Jeff Bridges’ work the old Martian or “E.T.” test — what would a space alien’s impression be of America and its people be if they only watched Jeff Bridges movies? —  I think it would be a helluva a portrait: emotionally deep, textured, complex and ironic, often burning a mythological flame beneath. The body of Jeff Bridges’ America is broad and diverse as well as wonderfully specific in the characters he has played and the world they live in. We may not be at all like most of the characters but what they need, how they discover and attain it has universal appeal.

Bridges captured the transitional spirit of the ’70s in films like John Huston’s “Fat City,” the whimsical “Rancho Deluxe” and “Hearts of the West,” “Stay Hungry” and the conspiratorial “Winter Kills” with John Huston playing Bridges’ all big business father in a cautionary tale about the danger of healthcare conglomerates made three decades ago. In 1980s Bridges broad range went from dark in “Cutter’s Way” to light in his lovable “Starman.” Jeff, his brother Beau and Michelle Pfeiffer were intimate, delightful  and delicious in “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”

In the last decade of the 20th century, Bridges contends with Robin Williams’ Holy Fool in Terry Gilliam’s wild and extraordinary “The Fisher King,” does some of the best acting of his career in Peter Weir’s “Fearless” and gets a lot of laughs in “The Big Lebowski” while telling it like it is. In the new millennium he has played a president in “The Contender,” Kevin Spacey’s shrink in “K-Pax” and “Seabiscuit’s” dedicated owner, who helps the equine hero restore hope to America during the Great Depression. “Crazy Heart” ties the room together with Jeff’s nuanced and powerful performance, which Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan calls “the capstone role of his career.” Even if you are turned off by hard-drinking country musicians, don’t miss Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart,” which will fire up your heart and soul.

I believe that what goes around comes around, and after supporting so many others I think Oscar may be coming back around your way, Dude! I can’t help but wonder how much Jeff’s stable relations, starting with his parents and brother and continuing with his wife Susan, have to do with his friendly nature, success and, dare I say, happiness. I can reflect on Bob Dylan’s lyrics from “The Man in Me” that the extraordinary songwriter, singer, producer and music supervisor T Bone Burnett chose to put in “The Big Lebowski”:

 “Take a woman like you, to find the man in me. But, oh, what a wonderful feeling “

Jeff Bridges has become an American icon who has played unique characters in film after film which probe deep into the American psyche and condition. He fulfills the sacred function of the artist, saint, jester and the Holy Fool: helping us see through the illusions of the world. Jeff Bridges has helped us remember and realize that all the great things about life and its cast of characters and his films empower us with enough emotional fuel to take on yet another challenging day.

Here’s Bridges himself, singing “The Weary Kind”:


Photo of Jeff Bridges by Lorey Sebastian / Fox Searchlight

Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster


Kevin Smith on the Media's Coverage of 'Fatgate'

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Kevin Smith

February 24, 2010 | 12:30 pm


Kevin Smith has a big mouth and he knows it. When he got bounced off a Southwest Airlines flight for allegedly being too fat earlier this month, he quickly spread the news, via Twitter, complaining about the unfair treatment he felt that he’d received from the airline. And when the media treated the story as something of a lighthearted farce, the beefy 39-year-old filmmaker was soon loudly assailing the media for its snarky take on the whole event.


Smith’s propensity to shoot from the hip has also gotten him in hot water in Hollywood. Years before Warners Picture Group President Jeff Robinov hired Smith to direct “Cop Out,” the new Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan buddy comedy that opens Friday, Smith had gone out of his way to insult the studio chief after they’d had a disastrous pitch meeting.

“I don’t even remember why things went so horribly — it was just like a bad first date,” Smith told me Tuesday, punctuating virtually every anecdote in our hourlong conversation with bursts of colorfully profane language. “Afterwards, I wrote somewhere that he was a balding studio clock puncher, which kinda’ cooled our relationship for a while.”

It turns out that Robinov managed to get over the insult. When Smith was at Comic-Con a couple of years ago, promoting his film “Zak and Miri Make a Porno,” Robinov happened to see the filmmaker when he was on a panel with such hotshot directors as Judd Apatow and Zack Snyder. “They’d all made movies that had made tons more money than any of mine, but Comic-Con was my home ice,” Smith recalls. “When I came on, everyone went crazy. They were my peeps. I guess Robinov was impressed, ’cause afterward he called to set up a meeting.”

Smith was still a little nervous when he showed up on the Warners lot, but Robinov put him at ease by saying, as Smith recalls, “When I leave this job, what I really want to do is produce your talk show.” Not long afterward, Robinov sent Smith the “Cop Out” script, then known by its original title, “A Couple of Dicks.” Smith loved the script, written by the brothers Robb and Mark Cullen, which felt like a throwback to the kind of buddy pictures Smith’s dad had taken him to see as a kid in New Jersey.

“I called Robinov back and told him it was funny, but I still didn’t realize why he’d sent it to me. I said, ‘What’s the deal? Do you want me to do a cameo as Dave the fat guy? If you want me to rewrite it, I ain’t buying, because it’s already really good.’ Finally, Jeff said, ‘It’s funny that you’ve made six guesses and you haven’t guessed director yet.’ It really floored me, because I’d never read anyone else’s script with an eye on directing. I always do my own stuff.”

But Smith realized that the raucous, R-rated buddy comedy was right in his wheelhouse. “It finally clicked — this is ‘Clerks’ with cops. Just two dudes hanging around, talking to each other, with the tent-pole action sequences thrown in to make some more money. It really reminded me of ‘Fletch,’ one of my favorite Michael Ritchie movies, where it was just a funny guy talking, along with the car chases. I finally went, ‘Hey, if there’s one thing I am trained to do, it’s shoot people talking a lot.’ ”

Smith is one of the pillars of the indie film world, having written and directed such quirky (and yes, talky) low-budget films as “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy” and “Dogma.” But his career had been sputtering from a lack of inspiration in recent years, with “Jersey Girl” and “Zack and Miri” being disappointments, both with critics and at the box office. So he was ready to be a director for hire.

“A movie like ‘Fletch’ was a real role model for me,” he says. “It won’t cure brain cancer, but it goes down smooth, like a good milkshake. For years, I kept making movies that were like medicine. And finally, 15 years into my career, after ‘Zack and Miri’ collapsed at the box office, I realized I was spinning my wheels. I couldn’t write anything, I guess because I felt I didn’t have anything new to say. I mean, you have to write about your life, but what was I gonna write? That some fat guy’s movie tanked? I’m too happy now. If I’m not drawing from pain, and all I have is the rich man’s pain of privilege, then I had to find something new to do. I was staring at 40 and I was just ready to grow up.”

Smith also realized that it was getting more difficult than ever to find money for personal films. “The specialty film world is dead and dying like Krypton and I figured that I had to throw myself into the rocket and blast off the planet to survive. Steven Soderbergh had already done the hard work, showing the studio guys that these indie filmmakers could shoot good movies. And I have to say I was impressed by Robinov. I was only half right when I called him a bald clock puncher. He’s smart and really works his ass off.”

How did Smith get along with the notoriously prickly Bruce Willis? And what really bugs him about the media coverage of his dust-up with Southwest? Keep reading:

It is Robinov who has masterminded the Warners creative formula of pairing cutting-edge filmmakers with mainstream material, resulting in such successes as Chris Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” and Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” as well as clunkers like the Wachowski brothers’ “Speed Racer.” It turns out that “Cop Out” had a complicated history. The script had originally been set up at another company with Robin Williams and James Gandolfini attached to star. When that combination fell apart, Warners picked up the script, hoping to team Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, with “The Wedding Crashers” director David Dobkin at the helm.

But salary disputes and debates over the R rating caused a split, with the actors heading off to make an entirely different buddy picture called “The Other Guys,” scheduled to come out this summer from Sony. When Smith came on board, he inherited a movie budgeted at $75 million without any stars. One day the film’s producer, Mark Platt, called to ask what he thought of Bruce Willis. Smith responded with a string of unprintable expletives that he says represented a sign of great joy. Soon afterward, Tracy Morgan hopped on board. Once Smith persuaded the studio to let him make what he calls “his parents’  kind” of R-rated movie, which he describes as “one with some bad language, but not a lot of tasteless [oral sex] jokes,” the project had a new head of steam.

“We all took pay cuts to keep it R-rated, which with me meant I gave up 80% of my salary, but it was worth it,” he says, explaining that, thanks to some tax rebates, the movie cost roughly $37 million to make. He certainly wasn’t worried about his actors having good chemistry, always a key ingredient with a buddy picture. “Tracy just oozes chemistry,” he says with a hearty laugh. “He could have chemistry with a ceramic ashtray. Bruce loved him. He kept calling him kid, even though Tracy’s over 40, so there’s not really that big an age difference. But I think calling him kid meant Bruce liked him.”

Smith insists that he didn’t have any problems communicating with Willis, at least once he realized that Willis wasn’t going to do anything that he felt was out of his comfort zone. Smith illustrates the issue with an unbelievably raunchy metaphor involving a detailed description of oral sex, then teasingly said, “Try and get that into your old-media story.” I asked him if he could offer a PG-13 version of the story.

“Put it this way,” he said. “On the first day of shooting, I started to mess with Bruce, trying to get him to do something crazy, and he took out his gun and went bang — and shot me in the head. His point was pretty obvious. He’s done this part so many times that he knows what works and what doesn’t. He’s the caretaker of the Bruce Willis persona. He’s been a star for 25 years while most of his peers have fallen by the wayside, so he knows what works for his image. Basically, we all tried to make him laugh, figuring if we got Bruce just to smile once we’ve have something to tell our kids about.”

It would probably be fair to say that, judging from the rough, sometimes insulting treatment Smith got in the media after the Southwest Airlines debacle, that the filmmaker has a lot to learn about the care and feeding of his own image. Most people who were bumped from a flight for supposedly being too fat would’ve kept the incident to themselves. But not Smith, who went after Southwest with a vengeance, first on Twitter, then on his website, which has been filled with a host of heated diatribes directed at the airline.

Smith basically makes two points about the whole imbroglio: He was treated unfairly and he had every right to shout about it from the rooftops. “Look at the pictures of me at the ‘Cop Out’ premiere last night and tell me — is that dude really too fat to fly?” he says, though I’ve excised a couple of choice profanities. “Does that dude really need two seats? Southwest just messed up and then they sold the lie that I was too fat to fly to support a policy that’s unfair in a million different ways.”

What really ticked Smith off was the media reaction, which he thought was snarky, self-righteous and lazy, in the sense that nearly every story simply went for the jokes and the outrage, but only offered the most cursory examination of the airline’s actual policies. Having read all too many of the stories myself, I can’t say it was the media’s finest hour, though I suspect that most reporters felt that if Smith was treating the whole affair with broad humor, why shouldn’t they do the same.

Still, Smith remained incensed. “They’re really pathetic,” he says, punctuating his rant with even more expletives. “It really sickened me that after all the years I’ve been so open with the press that they didn’t bother to dig at all. I was unfairly bounced and discriminated against, but they never bothered to tell that story. They just went with the easy fat jokes. Every TV show imaginable asked me to go on, from Oprah to Larry King, but I turned them all down because I didn’t want to turn into Octomom. I told the Warners marketers — don’t put me in front of the cameras at the junket because you’re just gonna get four minutes of a guy screaming about an … airline.”

Smith is especially peeved at all the media people who believe that he brought this whole thing down on himself by incessantly tweeting about it instead of keeping his mouth shut. “That shows you how much the old media knows about today’s universe,” he says. “In the world of social media, where everyone has a cellphone camera, this was gonna get out whether I wanted it to or not. So I’m not letting anyone tell the story but me. Once the airline started lying, I did what any good comedian would do — use comedy to soothe my pain.”

Smith paused for a rare moment of reflection amid his no-stop rants. “I grew up fat, so I know that you have to stick up for yourself because I know that you’re gonna get called a fat guy whether you like it or not. So when you’ve been wronged, you have to speak out. It’s like asking someone whose been assaulted or raped — why’d you say something about it? It’s basically self-defense. I have to say that the whole situation sickened me. All I saw was hatred and snarkiness and cynicism.”

Fortunately, he’s had a happy experience making his first studio movie. “I’d do another one in a heartbeat,” he says. “It’s just a popcorner. I mean, no one’s gonna ask, ‘What’s the message of ‘Cop Out’? But we had a lot of fun. The studio gave us the box and all the dimensions and we found a way to fit all the good stuff in the box without breaking it, Who could ask for more?”

Photo of Kevin Smith by Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.

Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster


Interview: Martin Scorsese Talks Shutter Island

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment
“I do the best I can with every movie I make”, was the answer given by Mr Scorsese after being called the “Greatest Living Director” at the Shutter Island Press Conference in London ― pretty modest I would say. Martin Scorsese is and always will be the one of the greatest directors to ever hit the film industry. With his career spanning nearly 50 years, he has made some of the most beloved cinematic masterpieces ever created, this includes Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, finally winning his overdue Best Director Academy Award in 2007 with The Departed, and now he takes on the psychological thriller, Shutter Island.Some people questioned the film due to the move of it’s release date. Often people say that his best is in his past but they are wrong. Scorsese’s new film, shows that he is still a force to be reckoned with, and there are no signs of conventionality or flabbiness to be seen anywhere in this film. He chose this material because it was…

…the vocabulary of cinemas past and the nature of Gothic literature that opened the door. It was enticing, I didn’t know how to tell the story without utilizing that vocabulary.

The references are noticeable, the site of Gothic mansions, abandoned churches and graveyards, foreboding trees and forests, deep dark caves and cliffs, the twists and turns of a very complex thriller, the use of brooding music to emphasize the overall tone of the film and dealing with psychological fears of the leading character.

The mood and tone of the picture and the atmosphere was in my head, it’s in my blood in a way. Once I decided to make the film, I have to find my way into that mood to choose, select, emphasize moments and sound and ultimately thats when I call in my collaborators.

This is one of the very few films that Scorsese has very used an original score, as most of his scores consist of Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” or music from a particular period. Scorsese brought in composer Robbie Robertson to help create the moody score, which most consists of modern symphonic music he still did it in his own way. The score for this film “turned into an experiment and [Robertson] would send me Cd’s of different sounds” and then Scorsese was able to sync in the music to the film.

As much as I admired film scores, you know how much I have collected each film score, Bernard Herrmann who I was lucky to work with, I was extremely lucky to work with Elmer Bernstein and Howard Shore. But I always imagined films with my own score because I didn’t come from that world or period of film making.

Much like Jimmy Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Leonardo DiCaprio’s takes on the role of a tortured detective who will do anything to solve a murder. There are many echoes back to Hitchcock’s classic, both films show their leading character’s battling their own demons and haunted past, in order to solve a mystery. Both films embrace the psychological horror and violence, which makes his characters so compelling to watch. Vertigo has a special place in the director’s heart, as “it’s a film that I am obsessed with, it was a film I didn’t understand when I was 15, but it was one I kept revisiting“. He even has his own 35mm technicolor print of the film, which he screens regularly and is involved in its restoration.

Stewart’s performance in that film is an ultimate performance, as he realizes in the last 15 minutes of the picture, that gesture of his, as he loses her for the second time. You know, it is just an extraordinary thing.

Any cinephiles, film geek or critic will tell you when you’re watching a Martin Scorsese film, his films are always filmed with various references from the Golden Age of Hollywood. There are a number of influences on this film, Shock Corridor, Crossfire, Laura, I Walked With A Zombie, Out Of The Past, Let There Be Light and The Battle. but Scorsese never lets his influences take over the film.

Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor can only be conjured as a mantra because Shock Corridor is a classic work of art. It comes for the unique experience of Sam Fuller. There is always an element of Shock Corridor hovering over the picture, but never specifically because it’s in me, so it’s a part of me.

Shutter Island is a film that is so full of life, it’s truly like watching masters at work. The use of the steadicam, tracking shots, close-ups etc are used to full effect, to enhance the overall visual impact of the film. His boyish enthusiasm directing this film is so infectious and we are swept along for a very complex ride, giving no easy solutions, and introducing complex characters that do not give way to general conventions. He is the gatekeeper to mature and intelligent film making.

If you have not seen any of Martin Scorsese’s films, then shame on you. But if you want to start, Shutter Island, is a great introduction to the immense Scorsese back catalogue and will show you want it takes to make a film great.

Check out our interview with Leonardo DiCaprio where he talks about his acting career and working with the great Scorsese.

Posted via email from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster


Roger Ebert Cancer Battle – Roger Ebert Interview – Esquire

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Read More at Roger Ebert’s Journal >>

For the 281st time in the last ten months Roger Ebert is sitting down to watch a movie in the Lake Street Screening Room, on the sixteenth floor of what used to pass for a skyscraper in the Loop. Ebert’s been coming to it for nearly thirty years, along with the rest of Chicago’s increasingly venerable collection of movie critics. More than a dozen of them are here this afternoon, sitting together in the dark. Some of them look as though they plan on camping out, with their coats, blankets, lunches, and laptops spread out on the seats around them.

The critics might watch three or four movies in a single day, and they have rules and rituals along with their lunches to make it through. The small, fabric-walled room has forty-nine purple seats in it; Ebert always occupies the aisle seat in the last row, closest to the door. His wife, Chaz, in her capacity as vice-president of the Ebert Company, sits two seats over, closer to the middle, next to a little table. She’s sitting there now, drinking from a tall paper cup. Michael Phillips, Ebert’s bearded, bespectacled replacement on At the Movies, is on the other side of the room, one row down. The guy who used to write under the name Capone for Ain’t It Cool News leans against the far wall. Jonathan Rosenbaum and Peter Sobczynski, dressed in black, are down front.

“Too close for me,” Ebert writes in his small spiral notebook.

Today, Ebert’s decided he has the time and energy to watch only one film, Pedro Almod�var’s new Spanish-language movie, Broken Embraces. It stars Pen�lope Cruz. Steve Kraus, the house projectionist, is busy pulling seven reels out of a cardboard box and threading them through twin Simplex projectors.

Unlike the others, Ebert, sixty-seven, hasn’t brought much survival gear with him: a small bottle of Evian moisturizing spray with a pink cap; some Kleenex; his spiral notebook and a blue fine-tip pen. He’s wearing jeans that are falling off him at the waist, a pair of New Balance sneakers, and a blue cardigan zipped up over the bandages around his neck. His seat is worn soft and reclines a little, which he likes. He likes, too, for the seat in front of him to remain empty, so that he can prop his left foot onto its armrest; otherwise his back and shoulders can’t take the strain of a feature-length sitting anymore.

The lights go down. Kraus starts the movie. Subtitles run along the bottom of the screen. The movie is about a film director, Harry Caine, who has lost his sight. Caine reads and makes love by touch, and he writes and edits his films by sound. “Films have to be finished, even if you do it blindly,” someone in the movie says. It’s a quirky, complex, beautiful little film, and Ebert loves it. He radiates kid joy. Throughout the screening, he takes excited notes %u2014 references to other movies, snatches of dialogue, meditations on Almod�var’s symbolism and his use of the color red. Ebert scribbles constantly, his pen digging into page after page, and then he tears the pages out of his notebook and drops them to the floor around him. Maybe twenty or thirty times, the sound of paper being torn from a spiral rises from the aisle seat in the last row.

The lights come back on. Ebert stays in his chair, savoring, surrounded by his notes. It looks as though he’s sitting on top of a cloud of paper. He watches the credits, lifts himself up, and kicks his notes into a small pile with his feet. He slowly bends down to pick them up and walks with Chaz back out to the elevators. They hold hands, but they don’t say anything to each other. They spend a lot of time like that.


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Categories: INTERVIEWS

Interview – Quentin Tarantino on His Movie Influences

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

To hear Tarantino tell it, it was the time he spent watching old World War II movies that gave him the confidence to embark on “Inglourious Basterds.” “It wasn’t that I needed permission,” he explains. “But what really struck me was that these were films made by directors who’d had to flee their country because of Hitler, and yet the movies they made weren’t all terror or horror. In fact, while they definitely showed the Nazis and their cruelty, they were adventure films, whether you’re talking about ‘Hangmen Also Die’ or ‘Reunion in France’ or ‘To Be or Not to Be’ or ‘O.S.S.,’ an Alan Ladd film that’s like a prequel to ‘The Good Shepherd.’ 

“They were fun and thrilling and exciting and, most amazingly, they had a lot of comedy in them, which really made an impact on me. I mean, for every movie with a sadistic Nazi, there’s one with a Nazi who’s more of a buffoon or a figure of ridicule.”

Tarantino says he loved listening to the dialogue–what he calls the “great ’40s turns of phrases”–that permeated the films. “The slang is really cool,” he says. “People were always calling each other ‘killer dillers,’ which I kept trying to work into ‘Basterds,’ though I never found a place for it. But that’s why you watch the movie from a period–you want to hear how people really talked.”


Tarantino essentially set up a screening series of relevant films for most of his actors. For Melanie Laurent, who plays Shosanna Dreyfus, Tarantino says: “I wanted her to pretty much watch every movie about people fighting behind enemy lines. The first movie I always had in mind was ‘Operation Amsterdam’ with Peter Finch and Eva Bartok, even though Shosannah became a very different sort of character in our film.”

Tarantino had Mike Myers, who plays Ed Fenech, watch a lot of old ’40s films with Alan Napier, who often played opposite George Sanders (and ended up being immortalized as Alfred in the “Batman” TV series). “Mike would watch the movies and then ask me, ‘You want me to do that?’–meaning Alan Napier–and I’d say, ‘Yeah, do that.’ ”  

Tarantino envisioned Michael Fassbender, who plays Archie Hicox, as a George Sanders type of smoothie. “So I had him watch all the old ‘The Saint’ movies with Sanders, just to soak up his highly articulated speech and his woody manner.” 

For Diane Kruger, who plays Bridget Von Hammersmark, a sultry double agent, Tarantino steeped her in the career of Ilona Massey, a now-forgotten Hungarian singer who was brought to Hollywood when the studios were raiding Hungary and Poland for Marlena Dietrich knockoffs. Tarantino had Kruger watch Massey’s “International Lady,” a ’40s-era spy film, where it turned out that Massey wore pretty much the same outfit Tarantino’s costume designer had made up for Kruger.

“That’s an example of where I didn’t want Diane to just be Dietrich. But with my characters, I really need to know their history, so I had to figure out Bridget’s whole filmography. So in my mind, I decided that Universal had come to Bridget–the way the studios had done to Massey–and offered her a contract, but she was savvy enough to know that if she went to Universal and she didn’t hit right away, she’d be stuck doing Frankenstein movies, which is exactly like Ilona Massey’s real career!”


It begins to feel a little bit like a hall of mirrors but this is how Tarantino’s imagination really works, feeding off his fantasies inspired by his favorite old movies. One day, on the “Basterds” set, he was stymied by how to shoot part of the film’s pivotal basement tavern scene. “I thought what we’d done was kinda boring, so at the end of the day, I said, ‘Let’s do the scene like Josef von Sternberg would’ve done it.’ “

It turns out Tarantino had only recently fallen in love with Von Sternberg, in part because Tarantino had never been a Dietrich fan. But after he saw one Von Sternberg film, he couldn’t stop. The director’s seductive, opulent style began to permeate Tarantino’s imagination.

“So there I was on the set, doing this tracking shot, sweeping past all the bottles on the bar, as my characters came in to sit down and everything started popping again,” Tarantino says, his voice crackling with enthusiasm. “It was great. It was the kind of luxurious camera move that I imagined Von Sternberg would’ve done, except now I was behind the camera. I figured, if I’m gonna shoot actresses in an exquisite ’40s style, who better to look to for inspiration?”    

Photo of Quentin Tarantino by Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Scene from “Inglourious Basterds” by Francois Duhamel / The Weinstein Co.

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Anthony Hopkins on the Secret of His Spooky Success

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Anthony Hopkins is back in scary-movie mode with “The Wolfman” and the actor who was once voted the best villain in film history says he’s not really sure why he has become an icon in shadowy genres of cinema.

“I don’t know what it is, truthfully,” the 72-year-old actor said of his on-screen menace. “I think part of it is being still and all that. I don’t know. I like to kind of come in at the side door. I like to act like a submarine; just don’t do much and just let it evolve. It’s resisting the urge to push the envelope. It’s very difficult for an actor to avoid, you want to show a bit. But I think the less one shows the better.”

Hopkins won an Oscar for his role as Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs,” which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. In a tally by the American Film Institute, that character was named the greatest villain in screen history, beating out the likes of Darth Vader, the Wicked Witch of the West and Tony Montana.

Hopkins returned to the role of the brilliant cannibal in two more films, and along with his work in films such as “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Magic,” it has given a certain sinister hue to his pop-culture persona.

The actor chuckled when asked about that specialty and said that his reserved approach to villainy might be the secret of his success.

“Yes, maybe that’s my stock in trade — not doing too much,” Hopkins said. “This part in ‘Wolfman’ is made for that, I think, it’s made for my type of performance.”

In “The Wolfman,” a spooky period piece that also stars Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt, Hopkins plays Sir John Talbot, a mysterious figure whose decaying old mansion seems to be under some sort of curse. Returning to the spooky old manor is Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro), Sir John’s estranged son, who has dark memories of his mother’s bloody death. He arrives to find his brother has been gutted by some giant animal or, according to the whispers in the village, some sort of supernatural beastie.

Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro in Wolfman

Hopkins said he was drawn to the role by the tension between patriarch and prodigal son. “The relationships between fathers and sons are always very complicated. In this film, my son is very obviously a disappointment to me. He’s gone off to America to be an actor and I don’t understand that. I wanted to stretch a coldness and remoteness all the way through the movie.”

Hopkins said Sir John may have old money and land but he’s obviously a man gone to seed in the film.

“I asked [director] Joe Johnston early on if I could play this guy as a long, dirty fingernails sort of man, a man with a dirty beard, clothes that he’s worn for years and a house full of dead mice and spiders. It’s all falling apart and so is he. He’s remote, living there with this strange Sikh manservant. When he goes to the village it’s only to buy provisions and he goes in a horse and cart. This is not a man who acts like a knight or a lord or anything like that.”


Hopkins, who was born in Port Talbot, Wales, was knighted himself in 1993 but he winces if too much formality intrudes on the set, according to Johnston.

“He makes it very clear early on that he wants to be Tony and none of this Sir Anthony stuff,” Johnston said. The director added that Hopkins brought many nuances to the final film, such as showing up with a harmonica during one key scene in an insane asylum and the suggestion that his character play the piano during a sequence where bloody discoveries are made at the mansion.

“The Wolfman” is a remake of the 1941 classic “The Wolf Man,” part of the grand old vault of Universal Pictures monster classics, along with the Dracula and Frankenstein films. Hopkins confessed that his defining memory of that era was more hysterical than horrific.

“I liked the Abbott and Costello one,” he said, referring to “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” from 1948. “I think it was the only one of those old monster movies that I saw while I was kid. I love the scene where Lou Costello is in the warehouse and he sees Bela Lugosi as Dracula and he starts going ‘hhhaaahh, haaahhhh, haahhh’ Oh, he was such a clown. I was a great fan of those movies. I prefer comedy to horror, you know, as a movie fan.”

— Geoff Boucher

PHOTOS: Top, Anthony Hopkins at his home in Point Dume inMalbu in 2007 (Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times). “The Wolfman” images are from Universal Pictures. Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs” from MGM.

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