Christian Bale portrayed Dicky Eklund in David O. Russell’s biopic ‘The Fighter,’ for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. With ‘American Hustle’ he’s received his second Academy Award nomination, his first in the Best Actor category. Bradley Cooper’s work in O. Russell’s films ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle’ earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.
A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock the United States, ‘American Hustle’ tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.
Christian, there’s a lot to your character in ‘American Hustle.’ For me, Irving Rosenfeld is a hustler and a romantic, and there’s a lot of comedy, charm, and vulnerability to him. I also liked how he admired his father as an honest man, but at the same time he’s determined to not allow that same fate to happen to him….
Christian Bale: Yeah. There was something that David and I found to be strangely optimistic about Irv. And the fact that he really was a man who just said, “Look, I’ve been born into a situation, but it’s not the situation I want. Why should I accept that? Am I just going to sit back my whole life and say, “Yeah, I was born this way, and I’m not trying to change it.” No, I’m gonna change it and I’m going to create myself.” It’s a little bit Pygmalion like. He says, “No, I’m not happy – and why should I be?” I’m going to become somebody who has a more exciting life and who has a more romantic life.” He wants to be someone who has something to really live for, and someone who wants to do stuff that exhilarates him – and who doesn’t want that? Everyone does. Just the difference is in search of this bigger truth that Irv is after; he’s willing to tell as many lies as he has to in order to get there.
Lupita Nyong’o made her feature film debut in Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’ as Patsey, for which she’s received huge acclaim. For her role Nyong’o won the Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and was nominated for the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The Academy Awards take place this coming Sunday, March 2nd.
Based on the unforgettable memoir that exposed the inner workings of slavery in the 19th Century, comes ’12 Years A Slave,’ director Steve McQueen’s mesmerizing and incredibly moving account of New York family man Solomon Northup’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) unexpected kidnapping, his dizzying journey into Louisiana’s slave plantations, and his unbreakable quest to get home to those he loves. ’12 Years a Slave’ stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, Alfre Woodard, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Negga, Adepero Oduye, Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, Sarah Paulson, Scoot McNairy, Dwight Henry, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Michael Kenneth Williams.
’12 Years a Slave’ marks your feature film debut in a role that I can’t imagine could have demanded more of an enormous emotional commitment. Without giving anything away, there’s so much complexity to Patsey…?
Lupita Nyong’o: Definitely! For me, Patsey was such an incredible woman in the script. I was so excited about the opportunity to bring her back to life. She’s described as being agile and genial and pleasantly tempered and the hardest worker, but at the same time she wishes for her death. That kind of complexity is one an actor can only dream of playing. And to know that she was a real women just made it even more humbling and more inspiring to do. For me, the thing that I loved most about Patsey is that she experiences so much pain, but she was always working through it, not wallowing in it. That kind of strength is so inspiring, and I wanted to play her with agency and dignity.
Wes Anderson’s new film, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ recounts the adventures of Gustave H. ((Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the battle for an enormous family fortune and the slow and then sudden upheavals that transformed Europe during the first half of the 20th century. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ opens on March 7th. The likes of Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Davoe, Léa Seydoux, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson also star.
From my understanding, Wes Anderson has the film pretty much planned out entirely with his script before shooting, down to the finest details. What was that experience like working with a writer-director who’s so precise and meticulous with everything?
Saoirse Ronan: It’s amazing. I think because the script is so well written, I mean, the draft that I received before we started shooting was pretty much the shooting script. He had everything ready to go and I’ve learnt since that he has this animatic thing and basically he’s drawn out the entire film, kind of story boarded it and drawn out every single shot that he’s going to do and voiced every single character and played out the beats that he wants to have when he’s shooting. He’s so meticulous and particular it’s amazing. You come on set and you know that you are safe with him.
I was actually kind of nervous at first because it is a different style of acting, and you know that going into it, so I was wondering, “Does he leave it up to you, what does he do?” But I remember meeting him in London before shooting and we went through the scenes I have with Zero, two dialogue scenes, and I did them quite natural and he said, “Yeah, yeah that’s good. Now try it quicker.” And I did it quicker and he was like, “Yeah, that was better. Now try it quicker again.” And he’d keep trying to get me to pick up the pace a little bit (laughs), and put in little pauses here and there. Suddenly he was sort of crafting the whole scene and it was amazing because he’s so clear. I’ve never come across someone like that before who’s so clear on what they want and they have it all ready to go, they just need the actors to bring it to life on screen.
In ‘The Wind Rises,’ Jiro – inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni – dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes. Nearsighted from a young age and thus unable to become a pilot, Jiro joins the aircraft division of a major Japanese engineering company in 1927. His genius is soon recognized, and he grows to become one of the world’s most accomplished airplane designers. The film chronicles much of his life, and depicts key historical events that deeply affected the course of Jiro’s life, including the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s plunge into war. He meets and falls in love with Nahoko, and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo. A tremendous innovator, Jiro leads the aviation world into the future. Miyazaki pays tribute to engineer Jiro Horikoshi and author Tatsuo Hori in his creation of the fictional character Jiro – the center of the epic tale of love, perseverance, and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world.
The animated film is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Ponyo), and is slated for limited release in North American theaters on February 21st, and expanded release on February 28th. It opens on May 9th in the UK. The cast for the dubed version is a follows: Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the main protagonist Jiro Horikoshi, while Emily Blunt plays Jiro’s love interest, Nahoko Satomi. John Krasinski voices Honjo, Jiro’s college pal and fellow aviation engineer. Martin Short plays Jiro’s grumpy boss, Kurokawa. Stanley Tucci voices Caproni, an Italian airplane creator. Mandy Patinkin plays Hattori, senior designer at Mitsubishi. William H. Macy plays Satomi, Nahoko’s father. Werner Herzog provides the voice for the mysterious Castorp. Mae Whitman voices Kayo, Jiro’s younger sister, as well as Kinu, Nahoko’s caretaker. Jennifer Grey plays Mrs. Kurokawa. Darren Criss voices Katayama, one of Jiro’s engineering colleagues. Elijah Wood plays Sone, another of Jiro’s colleagues. And lastly, Ronan Farrow voices a Mitsubishi employee.
I can imagine this was a unique project for you, to dub an already made movie – and a movie made by a master filmmaker that I know you look up to and greatly appreciate…?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: 100%. I love really good movies, and Miyazaki is clearly one of the living masters of filmmaking. I’ve been a fan of his movies for a number of years, and so when I got the call that I had the opportunity to do a voice in the English version I just jumped at the chance. I feel like when I watch his movies, ‘Spirited Away’ or ‘Princess Mononoke’ for example, you just get that feeling, you get that feeling of wonder and excitableness…. it’s like you’re four years-old again (laughs), when the world is a magical place. He sort of invites you into that lense again, and I just love that. It’s a story that I really love as well, I loved Jiro’s perspective.
In ‘3 Days to Kill,’ Kevin Costner is a dangerous international spy, who is determined to give up his high stakes life to finally build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter, whom he’s previously kept at arm’s length to keep out of danger. But first, he must complete one last mission – even if it means juggling the two toughest assignments yet: hunting down the world’s most ruthless terrorist and looking after his teenage daughter for the first time in ten years, while his wife is out of town. Also starring Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard and Connie Nielsen, McG directs from a script by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak. ‘3 Days to Kill’ opens on February 21st in the US. Expect a UK release date shortly.
What was it like to play this fun, incredibly skilled, seductive spy hunter – especially considering how unapologetic and proficient she is? Vivi’s someone who has to motivate Ethan to do what he must, while also maintaining an aura of mystery around her….
Amber Heard: She’s a lot of fun to play. Vivi exists in the world that she made for herself and she makes her own rules and you can’t ask for a better platform as an actor. She gets to call the shots without actually having to fire the gun. What I was attracted to about her was this idea that I could play with the suspension of reality. Vivi doesn’t live in the same world that we live in, and she doesn’t even live in the same world that the rest of the characters live in (laughs). That heightened sense of reality, and the freedom that comes with that, drew me to her. I also liked that she can be seductive, but that’s not where her power is. Vivi’s power is skill and knowledge, and her ability to do her job well and be unaffected by it, on an emotional level. There are many things about her that make her who she is. Being seductive is just another side effect of all the other stuff. It didn’t affect her. It was just a consequence. And I always prefer to shoot the gun than wear a wedding dress. It’s far more interesting to me.
Four Los Angeles singles get a thorough workout in the ups and downs of today’s dating world. On yet another night of playing wingman to his loud-mouthed best friend Bernie (Kevin Hart), kind-eyed Danny (Michael Ealy) meets Debbie (Joy Bryant), a beautiful, smart and successful woman who is as skittish about relationships as he is. When the chemistry proves to be undeniable, they end up falling into bed together that night …then another night, and another night.
Against the advice and warnings of Bernie, not to mention Debbie’s precocious best friend Joan (Regina Hall), Dan and Debbie make an attempt to navigate life as a couple. What these starry-eyed lovers soon find is that despite their good intentions and genuine feelings for each other, what started out as a casual and intoxicating intimacy quickly falls prey to the usual trappings of togetherness and monogamy. ‘About Last Night’ arrives in US cinemas on February 14th and in UK from March 21st.
What in particular was it about this story and your character that appealed to you when you first read the script?
Joy Bryant: I thought the script was great, it’s funny as hell, but also sweet. It’s definitely a romantic comedy. I love the fact that they added more comedic elements to this version than the original ‘About Last Night,’ so that it can stand on its own. It’s a great date movie. I think ladies are going to love it for many reasons. The dudes are going to love it for many reasons. They can go together, and everyone gets a little something out of it. We can all relate to one night stands and/or being in love, or being disappointed in relationships, being driven crazy. Those are just human, natural things that transcend race, cultures, class, all of those things. So if you want to see a good movie that’s funny about people, this is the movie for you. I really got that from the script.