‘Nightcrawler’ is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling – where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, the likes of Bill Paxton and Riz Ahmed co-star in the film. ‘Nightcrawler’ opens on October 31st in the US and November 14th in the UK
I understand Lou’s appearance wasn’t actually stipulated in the script. Lou being wide-eyed and emaciated was something you came up with after reading the script and having discussions with Dan Gilroy….?
Jake Gyllenhaal: It wasn’t in the script, but when I met with Dan… there were a lot of references in the script to coyotes, and growing up in Los Angeles, something about Lou reminded me of a coyote. I can’t really explain to you what the first instinct was about that, but I can say that while I was reading it, I had this feeling that Lou was the type of person who was hungry. And when I met with Dan we talked about how Los Angeles is in the middle of a desert, and that’s sort of ignored (laughs), but it is. And at night these wild animals come out and they start searching for food. Anyone who’s spent time in Los Angeles will tell you that at night, especially if you’re in the hills, you’ll inevitably hear coyotes attaching some other animal or you’ll hear them howling. And when Dan and I were talking about it, it hit me and him that Lou was a coyote in a way. In fact, there were times when we thought we weren’t going to be able to get the title ‘Nightcrawler,’ and we thought we might title the movie ‘Coyote’ (laughs).
So the essence of him was that he’s a coyote, he’s hungry. You see them pouncing along the street and they look like they’ll eat anything, any scrap they could find. They smell blood and they’ll move to it… and that’s Lou. So I did make myself like a coyote and made myself hungry and I lost weight. I would run at night for a long time, for 8-15 miles. I’d run to set sometimes and I ended up isolating myself over a period of time, because that’s what they are like. They work in packs but they’re mostly alone, and even the way he looks at people and the way that he behaves, it’s very much like that. He’s preying on desperate people and that was that.
Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr. Turner’ is a look at the last quarter century of the iconic British painter J. M. W. Turner (Timothy Spall). Profoundly affected by the death of his esteemed father (Paul Jesson), loved by his housekeeper, Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson), whom he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady (Marion Bailey) with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout all this, Turner travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty. This masterpiece of a film arrives in UK cinemas on October 31st and in the US on December 19th.
You’ve worked with Mike Leigh a number of times before ‘Mr. Turner,’ and I understand you had discussions with him about this project and you started painting lessons and researching several years before filming…?
Timothy Spall: Yes. Mike first spoke to me about this film seven years ago, and he told me not to tell anyone that he was going to make a film about Turner. And then a few years later I remember him saying to me, “Right, what are you doing? We’re going to make this film in three years time, two and a half years time. I’d like you to start painting.” I started in 2010, and we were looking to shoot the film in 2013, which we did. When I agreed to it he said, “Don’t get too excited, we haven’t got the money yet, we don’t know if it will happen or not, but in principle are you prepared to do it?” And I said, “Yes, of course.” I was thrilled when he asked me.
So I started to learn how to paint two years before I started rehearsing, and we rehearsed for six months. And a brilliant portrait artist called Tim Wright gave me lessons when I wasn’t working, and he took me through all of the disciplines up until the point I was actually able to do a full size copy of a Turner painting. When I wasn’t working I’d see him two, three times a week – he lived very for close to me. I got quite heavily involved with that. So on a practical level I prepared, and then obviously I researched a lot. The great thing that I think made us the perfect match is that he was a funny-looking, fat little man…. and so am I (laughs). But as far as his soul was concerned, that took a lot of research. There was a lot of research about his art and what his inspirations were – and that was a process of working with Mike and the other cast members.
In ‘Felony,’ three detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident that leaves a child in critical condition. One is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempt to expose it. How far will these men go to disguise and unravel the truth? Starring Tom Wilkinson, Joel Edgerton, Jai Courtney, Sarah Roberts and Melissa George, ‘Felony’ is released in the UK on October 27th On Demand & Digitally, courtesy of Solo Media Films. The psychological thriller – which Edgerton also wrote and produced – is out now in the US and Australia.
This is the first time you have worked together; how did you both first meet?
Joel Edgerton: I met Joel on Skype. He was in the middle of shooting ‘Die Hard’ in Bulgaria or wherever he was and he came across our radar and talked to us about getting involved. He was perfect for the role, but I wasn’t aware of him yet. I’d heard about him being out and about doing good things.
Jai Courtney: Joel’s a lovely guy and we didn’t know each other before going to work together, but I’ve always had an enormous amount of respect for him as an actor. Moving into these other creative forays it’s great to see him blossoming. I was very excited at the possibility of working with him just based on the script I read that he’d written. Through the film itself we didn’t have a lot to do with each other, so there wasn’t a ton. We just got on like a house on fire and we’ve become good mates since. We hope to do something together again soon.
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier (Logan Lerman) thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Written and directed by David Ayer, ‘Fury’ stars Brad Pitt as Don “Wardaddy” Collier, Shia LaBeouf as Boyd Swan, Logan Lerman as Norman Ellison, Michael Peña as Trini Garcia, and Jon Bernthal as Grady Travis. The likes of Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood, Xavier Samuel and Brad William Henke co-star. Opening in the US today (October 17th), ‘Fury’ is set for release on October 24th in the UK. It will close the BFI London Film Festival on Sunday, October 19th.
- I’ll be posting a much more in-depth interview with Brad Pitt on October 24th – look out for that.
David Ayer’s movies are visceral and real, but they’re also deeply about brotherly love, fatherhood and friendship in the most extreme circumstances – in this case the brutality and the horrors of war, and the way it can strip away the human spirit and leave the participants reacting with a sort of primal instinct for survival. And I know you spoke to a number of veterans of the 2nd Armored Division who served during World War II, to get a greater idea about that time and for authenticity…?
Brad Pitt: That was invaluable. David is ferocious about authenticity. He set us up with some beautiful experiences. We got to meet several vets who were all in their 90s; they had survived D-Day landings, and the Battle of the Bulge… it was a very humbling experience to sit in their presence and listen to their stories. They had very visceral descriptions of what it was like to be in the tank: the heat, the exhaust, it was oily, the smell of death was always in the air. Most of them were under trained, they were under-equipped, they were dealing with incredible hardships and weather, lack of food, lack of sleep. And they had to push on under the most harrowing of conditions. When our films starts, as a tank crew we’re three and half years into it. We’ve been through Africa, we’ve been in France, we’ve been in Belgium, and now we’re deep in Germany. I think in the film you feel that exhaustion and that weariness and the drama of war. I feel like we got there, and I’m proud of that. It’s a very visceral experience, and you feel the process of living in the tank and this family that is forged from this experience. It’s moving as well.
A captivating mythological adventure steeped in the wondrous world of Irish folklore, ‘Song of the Sea’ speaks powerfully of a long lost respect for the balance of nature based on the loss of old traditions in modern society. A follow up to director Tomm Moore’s Academy-Award nominated ‘The Secret of Kells,’ ‘Song of the Sea’ is a gorgeous spellbinding experience that captures fantasy in its purest form. The film tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Sea-child – who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. ‘Song of the Sea’ takes inspiration from the mythological Selkies of Irish folklore, who live as seals in the sea but become humans on land. ‘Song of the Sea’ is playing at the London Film Festival on October 18th and 19th. Look out for the film in cinemas later this year.
Given a similar emphasis on Irish themes and folklore, do you consider ‘Song of the Sea’ to be a continuation of your first film, ‘The Secret of Kells’?
Tomm Moore: ‘Song of the Sea’ grew from ideas I had during the making of Kells and was developed with many of the same artistic team members, so it is in many ways a spiritual follow up rather than a real sequel or anything like that. It’s got a similar feeling in that the art style is again very handmade looking, 2D animation and the music is also again by Bruno Coulais and Kila. Also the story is based around Irish folklore and legends, but this time I wanted to focus on a younger audience, and tried to make a more personal film based on my memories of being a child in Ireland in the 1980s.
I really worked hard this time to make a film that would appeal to as broad an audience as possible. I’m pretty sure that adults and teenagers will enjoy the visuals and the music and story, but I wanted make a film like ‘The Jungle Book’ or ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ that younger audiences could enjoy and then come back to again and again as they grew up.
Set for a wide release on January 16th, 2015, ‘Testament of Youth’ is a powerful story of love, war and remembrance. The film is based on the First World War memoir by Vera Brittain, a story that has become the classic testimony of that war from a woman’s point of view. A searing journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and back again, it’s a film about young love, the futility of war and how to make sense of the darkest times. ‘Testament of Youth’ is led by Alicia Vinkander as Vera Brittain, and the stellar cast also includes the likes of Kit Harington, Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Joanna Scanlan, Hayley Atwell, Jonathan Bailey, Alexandra Roach, and Anna Chancellor.
‘Testament Of Youth’ is directed by James Kent (The Thirteenth Tale, The White Queen) and produced by David Heyman (Gravity, the Harry Potter movies) and Rosie Alison (Paddington, The Thirteenth Tale) for Heyday Films. Award-winning writer Juliette Towhidi adapted the screenplay. Tickets are still available for the public screening tonight (October 16th) at the BFI London Film Festival.
How did you become involved in ‘Testament Of Youth,’ and what was your initial reaction when you read Juliette Towhidi’s script?
Taron Egerton: Around Christmas 2013 my agent sent me Juliette Towhidi’s script and I thought it was wonderful. I then went to dinner with Rosie Alison, the producer and James Kent, the director where we talked about the project and all the people involved at that time after which I was offered the part of Edward.
I came to the story completely fresh. After talking to my friends and family about it, particularly one of my older friends who directed me in youth theatre, I bought a copy of the memoirs to read. And the script, it was so moving and it’s rare that you read something that actually affects you so much just off the page. It’s a very tragic story and what I loved about it was that it didn’t shirk away from any of the horrors of war. It was very much an anti-war story. I think it has a very empowering sense of the futility of it all and it felt a very real retelling of what happened at that time.