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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Betty Buckley (Split)

Melissa Leo (Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

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Entries in interview (193)

Tuesday
Apr182017

Interview: Betty Buckley on 'Split', Working with James McAvoy and Why She's Not a Nostalgist

By Jose Solís

Nathaniel recently included Betty Buckley’s work in Split on a list of the best performances of the first quarter of 2017 and with reason, she’s compulsively watchable as the empathetic Dr. Karen Fletcher, who seems devoted to her patients. At least the one patient we see her with; the long suffering Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) whose dissociative identity disorder has left him with almost two dozen personalities which threaten his existence and might lead him to violent behavior. In her scenes with McAvoy, Buckley displays a warmth that’s unlike anything in most modern horror films, her Dr. Fletcher becoming the film’s heroine and a timely reminder of how important it is to care for the wellbeing of those around us.

Of course this isn’t Buckley’s first foray into horror films, the fate of her character in Carrie remains among the most iconic in modern film history, and while her film appearances have been sporadic, she makes an unforgettable impression whenever she’s onscreen. Split is being released on Blu-ray today, so I had the chance to speak with Buckley about playing Dr. Fletcher, working with James McAvoy, and why she’s not a nostalgist. [Read the interview after the jump...]

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Wednesday
Apr122017

Interview: Michael O'Shea and "The Transfiguration"

By Murtada

An official selection of the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, The Transfiguration is Michael O’Shea debut as a writer / director. It follows troubled teen Milo (played by Eric Ruffin from The Good Wife and 30 Rock) who hides behind his fascination with vampire lore. When he meets the equally alienated Sophie (Chloe Levin), the two form a bond that begins to challenge Milo’s dark obsession, blurring his fantasy into reality. A thrilling but understated mix of horror and minimalist realism, it announces O'Shea as a distinct new filmmaker. We spoke with him, last week in New York.

Murtada: You’ve written a lot of scripts, how did The Transfiguration come to be your first feature?

Michael O’Shea: I had failed to raise money for a slasher film. It was too expensive and I didn't have a good proof of concept idea. In other words I didn't have a good scene or a good way of shooting something in the style of the movie, as a short film to sell it to investors. That can be something that is important to a first time filmmaker. I didn't have experience, I’m not a TV director, I’m not a commercial director.  

So when I came up with this film, literally I was thinking as I was writing what could be a proof of concept?

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Friday
Apr072017

Interview: Guillaume Gallienne and Danièle Thompson on 'Cézanne and I'

By Jose Solís.

In Cézanne and I, director Danièle Thompson chronicles the ultimate bromance: the lifelong friendship between Emile Zola (Guillaume Canet) and Paul Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) who went from being schoolmates to becoming two of the most influential artists in history. In the film we see Zola’s literary work flourish, as Cézanne struggles to make a name for himself when his contemporaries fail to see the quality of his work and mock his technique. But rather than being a condescending story about “poor genius men”, the film addresses the terrifying idea that not everyone’s talents are meant to be recognized. I sat down with Gallienne and Thompson to discuss the themes in the film and the challenges of capturing the creative process onscreen.

JOSE: Why did you want to make a film about Zola and Cézanne?

DANIÈLE THOMPSON: I was very intrigued by the fact I knew nothing about their relationship, very quickly I thought that for these two men to have met as little boys in school, and to remain friends as each of them became monumental figures of the 19th century was very intriguing. I was also intrigued by how their friendship ended, it had the roots for a dramatic story.

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Wednesday
Mar222017

Interview: Melissa Leo on Playing 'The Most Hated Woman in America'

By Jose Solís 

Few actors can command the screen like Melissa Leo. She has cemented her status as a true scene stealing chameleon in films like The Fighter, Frozen River, Mildred Pierce, and The Big Short. And while she’s mostly regarded as a character, read supporting, actor, she gets a chance to show off her leading lady chops in The Most Hated Woman in America which debuts this week on Netflix. She plays atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair who led a campaign that banned Bible readings in public schools.

Leo infuses the part with heart and courage, so that she becomes a perfect embodiment of the notion that the personal should be political. Director Tommy O’Haver uses Madalyn’s kidnapping and horrific murder, to frame a film that aims to reach everyone’s humanity, regardless of their religious beliefs. Anchored by Leo’s majestic performance, it becomes one of the most important films of the year, in terms of the conversations and debates it could, and should, spark. I had the chance to speak to Leo from SXSW where the film premiered...

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Monday
Mar132017

Interview: Ritesh Batra on "The Sense of an Ending"

Ritesh Batra, a 37 year old director from Mumbai, is in New York when we speak, not far from the editing room. He's just finished a shoot in Colorado for what will be his third feature in four years (Our Souls at Night). He hasn't yet decided where he'll be next but he has a lot of options. His debut film The Lunchbox (2013), a bittersweet romance set in Mumbai starring Irrfan Khan, put him on the map. For his follow up, a somewhat surprising move: the British literary adaptation of Julian Barnes bestseller "The Sense of an Ending," which just opened in limited release. 

The Sense of an Ending concerns a divorced shop owner Tony (Jim Broadbent / Billy Howle) who is suddenly preoccupied with memories of his youth and his first love Veronica (Charlotte Rampling / Freya Mavor) after receiving news that her mother (Emily Mortimer) has died. His ex-wife and confidante Margaret (Harriet Walter) can't understand what's throwing him so much about this news as Tony turns the memories over and over again in his head. 

We spoke with Ritesh about the difference between working with movie stars and unknowns, and how to make memory work onscreen. The interview is after the jump...

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Wednesday
Mar012017

Interview: Céline Sciamma on "My Life as a Zucchini" and life after "Girlhood"

The past couple of years have featured many conversations about the need for fresh voices of all races and genders and sexual orientations in the movies. Consider it a healthy sign for the future that when this conversation comes up, there are dozens and dozens of young directors out there to champion. Certainly one of the most exciting newish female writer/directors working is Céline Sciamma in France. In the past ten years she's established herself as a revelatory voice in the genre of coming-of-age films, starting with her César nominated debut Water Lilies (2007) and reaching a new level of critical interest and popularity with Girlhood (2014). But, in something of a left turn -- which she says is no left turn at all -- she hasn't been behind the camera this past year but behind the screenplays of two acclaimed pictures.

She cowrote Andre Techine's well received LGBT film Being 17 and this past weekend her latest film, her first to win an Oscar nomination, My Life as a Zucchini, opened in US theaters. You should definitely go see it. She adapted the screenplay for this charming melancholy story about orphans hoping to find a home from a novel by Gilles Paris. Our interview is after the jump...

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Tuesday
Feb212017

Interview: The Global Resonance of "Zootopia" and its Animal Kingdoms

Zootopia gets a lot of its pizazz from the clash of its odd couple leads but behind the scenes things are much more sympatico. When I sat down to interview the director Rich Moore (Wreck-it Ralph) and producer Clark Spencer (Wreck-it Ralph, Bolt, Lilo & Stitch) they weren't so much finishing each other's sentences as they were most definitely reciting from the same page. Rich calls Clark the 'best producer he's ever worked with' and credits him for creating a structure so that the creatives didn't have to worry about the minutae but were kept aware of it to keep them on track.

Unfortunately the third key member of their team Byron Howard, who the project originated with had bronchitis on the day we met. He'll be long since recovered by Oscar night which will likely be a happy one for the team.

Zootopia is the second project Moore and Clark have done together but when we sat down to speak over coffee the spectre of Wreck-It Ralph 2 hung like a comic cloud overhead because, as they joked, they've got deadlines! The film doesn't open until March of 2018 but that's a very short time in the production lifespan of an animated feature.

Byron Howard, Clark Spencer, and Rich Moore won the Golden Globe for Zootopia. Will they win the Oscar, too?

But for now, the wrap up of the long journey of Zootopia on Oscar night. This Disney fable about diversity and harmonious living has been successful all over the world grossing over a billion dollars globally, the fourth most successful picture of 2016 behind three films that had a built-in sequel advantage (Captain America, Finding Dory, Rogue One).

In other words, it's been quite a spectacular runaway success. Selections from our chat follow...

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Monday
Feb202017

Interview: Greig Fraser talks "Lion," his shifting style, and Jane Campion

Here's one mystery solved: Greig Fraser isn't pronounced any sort of fancy way. It's merely "Greg" with a silent extra "i". If you want to say it perfectly, though, you'll have to say it with an Aussie accent, mate.

We've been singing the praises of the cinematographer Greig Fraser for 8 years now, even if we often pronounced his name wrong while doing so. After the visually jaw-dropping calling card of Bright Star (2009) one of the new century's most undervalued and most transcendentally beautiful movies, his name appeared more and more regularly in major prestige films. Curiously though, despite his ever broadening range (he's aced virtually every genre he's hopped to and front) and quite a few critically lauded and Oscar nominated movies under his belt, he is just now enjoying his very first Oscar nomination for his evocative and resourceful lensing of the Australian hit and Best Picture nominee Lion.

Fraser (top left), Sunny Pawar, and director Garth Davis on the set of Lion

I was eager to talk to him about his ability to tackle any genre, his time with Jane Campion and the challenge of Lion. Here's our interview...

 

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