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Articles on this Page
- 08/17/17--07:30: _How Jack Black beca...
- 08/17/17--09:55: _Armie Hammer, Luca ...
- 08/17/17--10:00: _Michael Fassbender'...
- 08/17/17--11:32: _How Battle of the S...
- 08/21/17--08:28: _Ferdinand director ...
- 08/22/17--07:02: _James Franco says h...
- 08/22/17--09:36: _Kingsman: The Golde...
- 08/22/17--10:14: _Judi Dench opens up...
- 09/02/17--12:54: _Frances McDormand t...
- 09/04/17--10:07: _Frances McDormand p...
- 08/17/17--11:32: How Battle of the Sexes recreated the iconic Riggs-King tennis match
- 08/21/17--08:28: Ferdinand director explains why he cast John Cena
- 08/22/17--07:02: James Franco says he's similar to Tommy Wiseau 'in a lot of ways'
- 08/22/17--10:14: Judi Dench opens up about playing Queen Victoria again — and tattoos
It’s been more than two decades since a bearded Robin Williams emerged from the jungle, and now a new Jumanji is heading back into the wild.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle follows four teenagers who stumble upon a dusty old videogame, only to find themselves trapped in the bodies of their avatars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan. Dangerous animal encounters and tropical peril ensue.
“I thought it was a really fun way of continuing the mythology of the original,” director Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) says. “This game finds people who need it and sucks them in.” He pauses. “Literally.”
The body-swapping element means that most of the stars are playing against type: Johnson is a self-conscious gamer, Hart is a cocky football player, and Black is the most popular girl in school. So how did the 47-year-old Black tap into his inner teenage girl?
“You watch a few episodes of Teen Wolf,” he explains. “And you also listen to some John Mayer. Then you really start to feel it.”
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will hit theaters Dec. 20.
Tucked away amid the sun-kissed villas and fruit-filled orchards of northern Italy, a whirlwind romance blooms when a teenager (Interstellar actor Timothée Chalamet) falls for his academic father’s live-in assistant (Armie Hammer) in Call Me by Your Name.
While director Luca Guadagnino’s sumptuous take on André Aciman’s 2007 coming-of-age novel unfolds in moments of delicate intimacy, the onscreen electricity between the two actors is the result of a three-way affair.
“Luca set the tone,” Hammer says. “He’s one of the most sensual people I’ve ever met. I’m convinced if he could make love to everything around him, he would.”
Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) relished the setting and helped his American stars fall in love with his homeland (and their characters) during production in Crema with nightly feasts and hours of brotherly bonding.
“, there was a mutual craving to spend time together…. Their chemistry happened quite naturally and immediately,” Guadagnino says. Adds Hammer, “I can’t think of another movie where two men are so openly and honestly with each other. We made a movie that’s so tender and enjoyable, it can bridge gaps.”
With an awards-friendly release date of Nov. 24, Call Me by Your Name‘s path to Oscar could be a Moonlight stroll.
Michael Fassbender didn’t know a thing about Harry Hole — the brilliant detective in Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s series of crime novels — until he signed on to play him in The Snowman. “I’m normally a slow reader, but I flew through eight of them,” Fassbender says.
The film’s title refers to the self-proclaimed Snowman Killer, who strikes on the first snowfall of winter and leaves little snowy statues near his victims as a frosty calling card. “I guess it’s the same thing as with clowns,” Fassbender says. “Something that is supposed to bring joy becomes very creepy.” Brrrr.
The Snowman opens in theaters Oct. 20. See a new image from the film below.
Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs took to the tennis court in 1973 for an intense duel of sport, spectacle, and gender equality, and now Emma Stone and Steve Carell are bringing that grudge match to the big screen. But even though it has been 44 years, the on-court scenes in Battle of the Sexes look like they’re being broadcast live from the Astrodome.
Because the event was so heavily publicized — an estimated 90 million watched it on ABC — directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) took advantage of all the photos and video footage to make their version as accurate as possible.
“It was a luxury to have the actual event be so well documented,” Dayton says. “We began by cutting down a version of the real thing into what we imagined might be at the end of our movie.”
The since-demolished Los Angeles Memorial sports arena stood in for the Astrodome, and the filmmakers set out to recreate everything from specific points scored in the match to costumes, right down to the ’70s-era underwear. (They even got permission from Howard Cosell’s estate to use his original commentary.)
“It reinforces the spectacle of it and the pressure that they were under,” Faris explains. “You don’t really get a private moment with them during the match.”
That attention to detail also extended to the actors. Stone studied details like King’s unique tennis grip and her smile, while Carell grew his own mutton-chops and dyed his hair the exact same Clairol shade as Riggs. Having never portrayed a real person before, Stone immersed herself in old interviews and match footage.
“I was a real creep,” Stone admits with a laugh. “I still am a little bit. If we do an interview or we’re sitting and talking, I find myself just staring at her and watching how she’s moving—which I don’t need to do anymore. But that’s how I relate to her. I’m like her creepy friend now.”
Battle of the Sexes will hit theaters Sept. 22.
Munro Leaf’s best-selling children’s story Ferdinand is the basis for this animated treat about a flower-sniffing bull, but the book’s brevity challenged director Carlos Saldanha (Rio). “The book gave me great inspiration for how I wanted to start the movie and how I wanted to end,” he says. “But then there’s a whole movie in between that I had to figure out.”
Landing John Cena (Trainwreck) as his beatific bovine helped lift the character off the page. “ is this massive person,” Saldanha says. “But he’s so warm and honest and endearing that I felt like, ‘You are Ferdinand!'”
Ferdinand charges into theaters Dec. 15. See an exclusive new photo from the film above.
How similar is James Franco to Tommy Wiseau, the mysterious auteur responsible for cult film The Room, who Franco portrays in the actor-director’s upcoming movie The Disaster Artist (out Dec. 1)? More similar than the Pineapple Express star would like to admit, as Franco recently confessed to EW, when your writer spoke to him for our now-on-stands Fall Move Preview issue. In fact, Franco admitted that the experience of directing The Disaster Artist, and playing Wiseau, has inspired a sea change in the number of projects the previously prolific multi-hyphenate undertakes.
“I did a lot of soul-searching, and I did a lot of learning on this project, by playing Tommy, and seeing how similar we were in a lot of ways, I hate to admit,” he said. “And then by having Seth and his company produce the movie. Because a lot of the movies I had done before were produced by my production company, and my producer Vince Jolivette and I were just off on our own, just doing whatever, with our strange William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy adaptations. To have Seth and his company there really taught me how to be a much more responsible and conscious director. And so, yeah, I do have a bunch of projects that are back-logged, but I’ve really changed since making the film. I’ve slowed down a lot. I’m leaving for Sante Fe tomorrow to work on a western anthology series with the Coen brothers (Netflix’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) for a couple of weeks. But I haven’t acted in seven months, you know, so I’m really slowing down, and only working on things that I absolutely love at this point.”
The Disaster Artist is based on The Room actor Greg Sestero’s memoir of the same name and costars Rogen, Dave Franco, Ari Graynor, and Sharon Stone, among others.
Watch the film’s teaser trailer, above.
Among other virtues, 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service clicked with audiences thanks to the rapport of delinquent-turned-debonair spy Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and his mentor Harry (Colin Firth).
Despite Harry’s apparent violent death, the duo reunites in next month’s even more berserk sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Egerton, 27, and Firth, 56, spoke to EW about their return.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you both know that Harry was going to come back for a sequel?
TARON EGERTON: No, I don’t think anybody did.
COLIN FIRTH: was very clear on the first Kingsman. He said, “Your character dies. And brutally.” There was no bailout clause. But then there began gradual conversations about how we could resurrect him.
What possibilities were discussed?
FIRTH: I’ll say that something which was never discussed was the idea of an evil twin. That’s a cliché. Plus, the purpose wasn’t to get “Colin Firth” back. It was about finding a way back to that relationship between the characters.
EGERTON: Exactly. Eggsy and his Obi-Wan Kenobi-type dad figure. We almost didn’t get enough of that in the first film.
How did your lives change after the first film?
EGERTON: I’d never been in a movie before. My life, from a work perspective, is unrecognizable. The change has been particularly profound.
FIRTH: I remember your first days on the set of Kingsman, telling me how everything was so new, and I said, “This is pretty new to me as well.” There’s something quite strange about me being an action star. I’m only beginning to realize at my age that you shouldn’t ever think you’ve reached cruising altitude. I did not expect to be over 50 and doing a film that was so physically challenging.
EGERTON: I’ve not really spoken about this because it wasn’t something I was very keen to reveal, but it’s in the trailer now. There are moments of us fighting side by side. On the first movie, prior to us actually shooting, there would be one of us walking out of a sweaty gym room, agonized, exhausted, while the other was walking in. One of us going, “Bloody hell, that was rough!” and the other one going, “Well here I go.” I guess the thing that was fun this time was that we walked into the stunt department together. And that was really fun.
FIRTH: You’re absolutely right about that, Taron. I think it’s one of the biggest differences from the first to the second in terms of preparation.
EGERTON: It’s very nice to have you as my partner for that stuff. Because I was never the kid in school who was picked first for the rugby team.
FIRTH: I was the kid in school who was picked last for the rugby team. We are fellow amateurs. But to be thrown in again with these stunt guys who are all world champions athletes — that first month of training was not just painful but emasculating.
Kingman: The Golden Circle has a large group of great actors from the States. Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry. How does it touch upon the culture clash?
EGERTON: Aside from the talent that Mathew Vaughn was able to attract, a huge amount of the enjoyment of the movie comes from the introducing to this American sister organization and getting a whole new world to discover. It’s a new present to unwrap.
FIRTH: And because we’d explored the culture clash in the first film, there wasn’t much more fun to be had with that, in terms of the class archetypes. In the first Kingsman, you might remember, Harry is bemoaning archaic values and snobbishness. He’s the sole believer that someone from Eggsy’s background could be just as much of a gentleman. That’s been done. But again, we’re playing with the stereotypes. And just because something’s a stereotype doesn’t mean that you don’t find cases of it. And I think quite often what happens is that when people are quite conscious of their cultural difference they play them up even more. I think youre getting a bit of that game playing here.
EGERTON: You mean most Englishmen don’t walk around in pinstriped suits?
FIRTH: Pinstriped suits and umbrellas, no. And most American aren’t wearing Stetsons and cracking lassos. It’s ramped up for comic effect. But you find it plays out in reality.
In light of the current state of the world, does it comment?
EGERTON: I think Kingsman, for all its cleverness and freshness, employs broad brushstrokes to kind of convey the entertaining story it wants to. I’m a little bit phobic of making any kind of grandiose statement about the world. It’s quite whimsical. But by that token I think it has a message.
FIRTH: True. Hopefully audiences will feel something instinctively. Tribal appearances can be very different and you can end up fighting alongside each other. There is a commonality that’s more important that the differences.
Why does the chemistry between the two of you work so well?
EGERTON: Sometimes there’s just an ease between two people. It creates a level of playfulness that comes through onscreen.
FIRTH: Taron’s not afraid of making fun of me.
EGERTON: Likewise, in reverse. And I think we both instinctively respond to 99 percent of the same ideas. I can feel how Colin will respond to something before I’ve talked to him.
FIRTH: I’ll tell this story carefully so that I don’t name names, but do you remember when we were on the plane coming back from Comic-Con?
EGERTON: Oh, yes!
FIRTH: I was watching a movie and marveling at how bad a certain actor was. I wasn’t bitching, I just found this particular actor’s approach to be so jaw-dropping.
EGERTON: And I was sitting behind you. At the moment you pulled your earphones off and looked at me in disbelief, I could not breathe I was laughing so hard.
FIRTH: So there you have it. A shared sense of taste.
You can’t come more full-circle than this.
In 1997, Judi Dench appeared in her first-ever leading role in a movie — as Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown. That role kicked off the most remarkable sexagenarian-and-beyond career in the history of movies. Seven Oscar nominations (she won for 1998’s Shakespeare in Love) and nearly $2 billion in box office later, Dench finds herself portraying Victoria again, this time in Victoria & Abdul, a touching drama about the Queen’s late-life friendship with a handsome Indian Muslim man named Abdul (Ali Fazal).
“Judi is 82 years old and the biggest female star in England,” says director Stephen Frears (Florence Foster Jenkins). “That’s why she’s so phenomenal at playing a queen, because she’s adored and trusted by everyone, including the current queen.” And, Frears explains, as depicted in this sparkling moment (above) between Dench and Fazal, “she’s brilliantly funny and very, very mischievous.”
The actress cannot deny it. “I’ve got a bad reputation for giggling,” she says. “I think I have, yes. I mean, I can be a serious person, but I see humor in a great many things. I’ve always found quite difficult about keeping it straight. I’m a terrible laugher. If anything goes ever so slightly wrong, my tendency is to laugh a great deal. Somehow not being allowed to go to pieces, such as when I’m acting, makes doing so even more irresistible.”
That quality of lightness was a key to unlocking Victoria. “I just have to believe that she possessed more humor than we give her credit for, especially in this final part of her life with this wonderful young man, who she could talk to and tell jokes to. That shows such great spirit, doesn’t it, and something we don’t attach to that rather solemn view we have of her.”
As with Mrs. Brown, Dench didn’t take the role for vanity purposes. Victoria wore black for her last 40 years, after her husband’s death, and suffered health issues including obesity. “I put a lot of padding on under the corset, didn’t wear any makeup, and just got on with it,” Dench says. However, she was conscious of one thing: showing her hand.
On her 81st birthday, the actress got a tattoo that says “carpe diem” on her right wrist. “Fortunately I wore long cuffs and bracelets the whole film,” she says, letting out a sassy laugh. “And I made quite sure about that.”
However, she wouldn’t not confirm — or deny — a rumor involving her, Harvey Weinstein, and a tattoo that’s been circulating for years. He’s said (watch here) that Dench tattooed his name on her posterior in gratitude for him giving her so many opportunities in movies.
“Well, it is true that Mrs. Brown was made for television,” Dench tells EW. “And then came Harvey. It was he who saw it and said, ‘This is a movie.’ Quite suddenly it kicked off a whole movie career for me. I had done very few films before that.”
But what about the tattoo?
She lets out a fantastic throaty giggle. “Well, well, yes that is a fact that only Harvey and I know,” she says. “You’ll have to trust Harvey about that.”
Three years ago on HBO’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge, Frances McDormand reminded everyone that she’s one of the smartest, toughest, no-nonsense actors in the world. There’s connective tissue between that performance and the profane, provocative new comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
The film premieres Sept. 4 in competition at the Venice Film Festival and opens in theaters on Nov. 10. McDormand stars as Mildred, a furious mother avenging her daughter’s murder by taunting the town sheriff (Woody Harrelson) and a bigoted cop (Sam Rockwell) with inflammatory messages on billboards near her home. The movie marks the third directorial effort by famed Anglo-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, after In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths.
McDormand, who won an Oscar 20 years ago for Fargo, joined EW for an unfiltered chat about working and cursing. The extremely bold first trailer for the film had recently debuted on the internet — and that’s where the conversation with McDormand began.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your new movie has an amazing trailer.
FRANCES McDORMAND: Yes, yes. They call it “red.”
We can definitely tell that you’re playing another quite unapologetic character.Let me tell you something. I got a real taste for it after Olive Kitteridge. And also from playing Lady Macbeth onstage in the past year . There’s a quote by Red Auerbach, the basketball coach of the Boston Celtics: “The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology.” That’s a motto for me.
Ah, that definitely seems to click with your choices.
Yes, but with correct actions being the operative word. And also, you know, it’s perfect for me to do about one or two projects a year. Now that I’m 60 it’s a lot easier for me not to work than it was when I was younger. Because I have a lot of other things I like to do, like take cross-country road trips and work on local politics in the town I live in. I’m not really that interested in going back to playing small supporting roles. Unless it a f—ing good one and filming on a great location. So you can please publish that, because I’d like people to know.
Absolutely, will do.If you wouldn’t mind. But no, I will say there’s a lot of waiting for the good ones to come along, like Mildred.
Director Martin McDonagh wrote Mildred especially for you?
He wrote it for me, yep. I met him about 15 years ago, when I saw his play The Pillowman on Broadway. I said, “Hey, maybe you should write me a part.” And that’s something I don’t normally say because I’ve watched actors struggle while saying that to Joel and Ethan for 35 years. So it’s slightly despicable. But it worked.
And what did you think when you read the script?
Well, I wasn’t sure about the script but I loved the character. But I also felt that, at 59, I was too old for the part. So I told Martin that he should make Mildred a grandmother of a teenage girl who was killed, not a mother. I’m from working-class, blue-collar America, and I don’t believe that people in that socioeconomic strata wait until they’re 40 to have children. We argued for three months. Martin’s idea, as a male writer, was that a grandmother wouldn’t fight that hard for her grandchild as a mother would for her child. I told him, “Well, isn’t that idiotic?”
How did you compromise?
Well, finally I was advised by someone very close to me to just shut up and do the movie. So I did. And once I did, we never talked about it again. I just wasn’t interested in making people believe I’m any younger than I am. I have no interest in playing anything younger than 59, which is how old I was when we shot it.
Did you sense that there was political resonance in the film while you were filming it? I think that will be commented upon a lot once people see it in 2017 America.
No, that would be me appropriating a very serious conversation that’s happening between the black community and the police force. Privately, I have my own politics about that. But that did not enter into my professional life. Maybe those conversations are going to happen around Three Billboards. But Martin wrote it three years ago. That’s not what explicitly he intended.
Is he a polemicist?
No, he’s not. He’s an anarchist and I think he believes in anarchy. But I don’t think that’s what he’s promoting. I don’t think he’s that irresponsible.
How did you two get along?
He’s a true a true blue playwright in the old fashioned, delicious sense of just full-blown complex characters and themes. What’s interesting is that his plays are all informed by cinema and now the cinema he’s doing is informed by his theatrical writing. Not unlike Joel and Ethan, in that their scripts are fully formed. They don’t need actors’ improvisation. Or blueprints for some visual idea. You can read their scripts like a play and you can publish them as a screenplay. That’s so delicious for actors, especially ones like myself and Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, who all do theater.
Do you think McDonagh was drawn to you because of your affinity for the stage?
Possibly. It behooves Martin, like Joel and Ethan, to cast theatrically trained actors because we understand dramaturgically where we fit in the script. I also think that Martin’s not a filmmaker — he’s a great student of film and he surrounds himself with great filmmakers. The crew on Three Bilboards, by the way, is one of the best I’ve ever worked with. And that’s not hyperbole. I’ll totally tell you if I don’t like a crew.
I believe you.
Also, on Three Billboards, there were also some personal bests going on. For instance, I think it’s the best thing that Sam Rockwell has ever done on film. Extraordinary work by Ben Davis, the cinematographer. What can I say? Amazing props.
What kind of props?
Well, the Molotov cocktail, for example. We were blowing up real Molotov cocktails. And there’s a beetle in the beginning of the film, who unfortunately had a broken leg. But Romain Gateau, who worked in the props department, stood there and worked out how to act with the beetle. I had to flip it over and that’s not easy to do because it clings to your fingers. So we worked it out and did not waste valuable time.
Tell me about the dialogue in the film. It really pops and it’s so alive.
Profanity helps with that. But well-chosen, rhythmic profanity. Martin and I would say, “Well, does she need to say ‘motherf—er” or should it just be “f—er”? Or “mother-motherf—er.” It’s kind of like the “Ya, ya, ya” scene in Fargo. Every one of the “yas” were scripted. It’s like a musical score. That’s why I mean it’s more theatrical. I think in some places it might be a little too American Gothic, which maybe he didn’t always intend it to be. But it’s magical realism.
Did you disagree about some of the dialogue?
Sure, we’d often debate lines and profanity. Yes, almost every single day. I would say, “I don’t think this sounds like a person speaking.” Or “I want to flip these two sentences.” Or “I want to take out this verb.” Martin was open to the conversation, usually. I would say three-quarters of the time he would just shut it down and say, “Do it the way it’s written.” Then some of the time he saw the benefits of trying it my way. And then in other circumstances, we’d shoot it his way and he’d edit it the way I had suggested. So, you know, there you go. Collaboration.
What’s your favorite curse word?
Hmm, well. I swear a lot, I always have. So does my husband. Our son, surprisingly, does not swear much at all. I say “Jesus tits” a lot.
I’ve never heard that one.
Yeah, I like it. It works. It’s also a rhythmic thing.
Rhythm is important in profanity, right?
Yeah, yeah. If you take, for example, that bit at the end of the red band trailer. I’m driving by and yelling out the window of the car at the reporter. That’s a perfect example of how Martin uses profanity. It’s a beautiful sequence of words strung together and it was really timed to the second. I was driving and I was talking and synching it up with the camera. The words help me with the beats of the physical action. That was really fun.
Actress Frances McDormand is winning universal raves for her profane, humane performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The new movie by playwright-director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) premiered Monday in competition at the Venice Film Festival.
In a wide-ranging conversation with EW about the film and her career (read more here), McDormand addressed the unsentimental nature of her work, especially in recent years. The actress won an Oscar for her iconic role as a good-hearted, pregnant sheriff in 1996’s Fargo, but reminded audiences the world over of her flinty daring with HBO’s 2014 miniseries Olive Kitteridge. In that four-hour TV marvel, she played a seemingly cold-to-the-touch suicidal woman in small town Maine. The Emmy-winning performance is a master class in making an unsympathetic character into someone still utterly dynamic.
“When I played Olive, Lisa Cholokendo and I had many conversations about the character’s lack of vulnerability,” McDormand says. “It could be partly my taste. It’s just my belief that there are female characters that will benefit from not being vulnerable. And that was an ongoing debate between all of us working on it.”
McDormand found herself having very similar conversations with McDonagh while working on Three Billboards. In the film, she plays a grieving mother named Mildred who’s pushing the local police department to investigate her daughter’s murder. Her efforts include renting a billboard to taunt the cops — an act that leads to an escalating war with the town’s law enforcement.
“Martin and I, again, had some of the same conversations about vulnerability,” she says. “I believed there were places where Mildred simply can’t access her emotions. So why be afraid of that? Everybody is f—ing crying in movies all the time, even the men! For me, that’s not Greek tragedy, it’s a therapy session. It’s about neuroses and not pain and rage. There’s something healing about tears. If Mildred’s emotions are so accessible, if she can so easily go to tears, then why is she so filled with rage? Because if you can cry out the pain, you don’t need to burn down the police station. So I was interested in her being locked out of her own humanity.”
The actress cites the final moments of the reigning Best Picture Oscar winner to illustrate her point. “The last scene in Moonlight, that’s one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen on film in my lifetime. You see two men showing such tenderness towards each other. And it’s bold, it’s deep, it’s complex, it’s profound. And they do not f—ing cry!”
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opens in theaters on Nov. 10. With the reviews she’s receiving, you can expect to see a lot of McDormand all through this coming awards season. And you can also expect that if she walks on stage next March to collect her second Oscar, her eyes will be totally dry.