Crew defections, brutal cold, a global search for snow and even a naked actor dragged on the ground — ‘Birdman’ director Alejandro G. Inarritu responds to critics of his ambitious methods: “When you see the film, you will see the scale of it. And you will say, ‘Wow.'”
A version of this story first appeared in the July 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Veteran crewmembers who have toiled on director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant say the director’s follow-up to Birdman could turn out to be epic and Oscar-worthy. Some also say that making the film has been by far the worst experience of their careers — “a living hell,” as one bluntly puts it.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as early 19th century explorer Hugh Glass, Revenant went into production in September and was supposed to wrap in March. But cameras still will be rolling into August as the budget has climbed well past $95 million, with insiders predicting it will reach or exceed $135 million. Crewmembers say they have seen huge turnover, including many who were fired and others who quit. They say the behind-the-scenes drama led Inarritu to bar producer Jim Skotchdopole, who worked with him on Birdman, from the set.
From Douglas Fairbanks and William C. deMille to Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris, Hollywood’s brightest stars have been taking center stage to honor the year’s best in film for 87 years. Being offered the role of Oscar host is considered a great honor—or burden—a vote of confidence in a person’s ability to entertain one of TV’s largest live audiences, all while keeping the pace of what some consider a painstakingly long ceremony. The role can make or break an entertainer, accepting both praise and blame in equal measure, depending on the ratings success of the televised ceremony. With so much pressure thrust upon the Oscar host, it’s easy to understand why anyone might turn it down. Popularity and a high profile aren’t enough to ensure success (ask James Franco and Anne Hathaway).
So with the Academy announcing next year’s host in the upcoming months, I thought I’d give it a little nudge. Though some stars could easily feel like a slam-dunk (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Martin Short, or even Dwayne Johnson), it’s someone else entirely whom I’d like to see take the reins. I present five reasons Kevin Hart would make the perfect Oscar host.
My go-to movie every 4th of July is Yankee Doodle Dandy, the 1942 biopic about celebrated song-and-dance man George M. Cohan. During his career, Cohan published more than 300 songs, including “Over There,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” and patriotic tunes “The Yankee Doodle Boy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” The son of Irish vaudeville performers, Cohan was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 3 (though he and his family insisted he was “born on the 4th of July”). A proud American patriot, Cohan followed in his parents’ footsteps, entertaining people for years before his death in 1942, only a few months after this film’s release. Aside from the biopic, his life was depicted in the 1968 stage musical George M!.Thanks to Cohan’s contributions to American musical theatre, a statue stands in his honor in the heart of Times Square.
Check out the first official trailer to Sleeping with Other People, starring Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie, written and directed by Leslye Headland (Bachelorette, 2012), and produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
Can two serial cheaters get a second chance at love? After a one-night stand in college, New Yorkers Lainey (Brie) and Jake (Sudeikis) meet by chance 12 years later and discover they each have the same problem: because of their monogamy-challenged ways, neither can maintain a relationship. Determined to stay friends despite their mutual attraction, they make a pact to keep it platonic, a deal that proves easier said than done. Fresh, funny, and full of witty insights about modern love, this hilariously heartfelt film “is the rare rom-com that reminds us why we love them so much in the first place” (Time Out New York). Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, Natasha Lyonne, and Jason Mantzoukas co-star.
Distributed by IFC Films, Sleeping with Other People will be released on September 11.
This summer, TCM is shedding light on some pretty dark films. The second “Summer of Darkness” (the first was in 1999) is a de facto film noir film festival, airing 24 hours of films noir every Friday this June and July. With over 100 films scheduled, the festival is hosted by Eddie Muller, producer and host of Noir City: The San Francisco Film Noir Festival and president of the Film Noir Foundation.
(Read about the entire process of making short film, “In-Kind,” by checking out the “Anatomy of a Short Film” section of this blog.)
“In-Kind” co-director Stephanie Dawson and I recently met with our composer/sound designer Jay Rothman at his studio in Hell’s Kitchen, New York for our spotting session. With limited knowledge about film music—but with an immense appreciation and respect for it—we allowed Jay to guide us a bit. We watched the film in its entirety to get a feel for it, then again scene by scene, all the while conveying the emotions we’re looking to extract from the audience—as well as what the characters are feeling—along the way. Since Jay is wearing two hats, as composer and sound designer, we discussed both crafts simultaneously, highlighting the various cues where music should begin and end, as well as the different sound effects that would help enliven the story.
Six years ago, I interviewed upstart screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski, soon after selling his debut script to Alcon Entertainment for a cool million dollars. Guzikowski wrote Prisoners on spec while working in the ad industry in New York. His story resonated with me because at the time I was also a screenwriting hopeful working at a rival NYC ad agency. (If he could do it, why couldn’t I?) Despite Alcon’s fast-tracking of the film, it was eventually delayed and didn’t bow in theatres until four years later. In the meantime, Guzikowski saw success with what would become his first feature to hit the big screen, Contraband (2012), starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale. I still haven’t seen Prisoners, but it’s resting comfortably on my DVR, thanks to HBO, on which it can currently be seen.
When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?
Director: Denis Villeneuve Screenwriter: Aaron Guzikowski Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano Distributor: Warner Bros. Runtime: 153 min.