As a huge fan of both Jimi Hendrix and André Benjamin (aka Andre 3000) I’ve been closely following this film for a while now. From writer-director John Ridley (Oscar-winning ’12 Years a Slave’ screenwriter), ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’ charts just over a year in a man’s life. The year James Marshall Hendrix blossomed and became Jimi Hendrix. The year he spent as a young musician trying to make it on the streets and in the clubs of London with the lovers, friends, and musical collaborators who were a part of his legendary life and inspired him. Starring André Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix, ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’ features a stellar supporting cast in Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots, Burn Gorman and Ruth Negga. The film opens in the US on September 26th and in the UK from October 24th.
As an artist yourself, someone who people would consider a trailblazer and ahead of the curve, what is about Jimi Hendrix’s artistry that has appealed to you?
André Benjamin: Hendrix to me is the greatest performer that ever lived, not just in rock, but period. He’s the greatest performer and artist that walked the planet. Since he stepped on the planet, until now, there’s no one who has trumped what he has done. He threw his whole self into what he was doing. People don’t just come out of the sky and be Hendrix. Hendrix would sit on the side of the stage and watch other people do things. All the tricks Hendrix did – the teeth, the guitar – other guitarists had done that before him. Chuck Berry and all those guys. He was a kid when he was doing it, but he knew how to soak up everything and make it his own.
Nobody on this planet is an island. Everyone is influenced by somebody but Hendrix put it all together: musicianship, passion, style, sexuality. The women loved him. It was everything. As an artist, that’s what you dream of. You dream of being a great writer, you dream of being a great musician, you dream of attracting the people you want to attract. That’s what you dream of. And he was that.
Based on Lawrence Block’s bestselling series of mystery novels, ‘A Walk among the Tombstones’ stars Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder, an ex-N.Y.P.D. cop who now works as an unlicensed private investigator operating just outside the law. When Scudder reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife, the PI learns that this is not the first time these men have committed this sort of twisted crime…nor will it be the last. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, Scudder races to track the deviants through the backstreets of New York City before they kill again. Written and directed by Scott Frank, ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ hits cinemas on September 18th. Boyd Holbrook, David Harbour, Mark Consuelos and Astro co-star.
I really enjoyed how ‘A Walk among the Tombstone’ explores Matt Scudder’s broken past and current recovery as a gateway for some thoughtful thematic material….
Liam Neeson: I loved that. That was something that really attracted me to this film and this story. It was great to get the chance to do this, which was very much one of those sorts of characters that’s not good in the relationship role and tortured. In Matt Scudder’s case, of course, he’s a recovering alcoholic. Those guys wake up in the morning, and they have to think of a reason to get up, and then, once they’re up, to not have a drink. It’s like all these little heroic battles they have that they fight with and against every day of their lives. Scott brought that out very beautifully in the film. Scudder is not larger than life. He’s just one of us really. But his career was in the police force. These guys see a side of humanity that we just don’t want to know about on a daily basis, and his training and his ethics kick in in the movie. He’s like someone doing a crossword, and there’s some clues that keep niggling at him. He’s just determined to finish it, you know? To get behind it. And he’s intrigued, like these really good detectives and cops are – they’re very very intrigued with joining up the dots.
Set in the summer of 1984 – Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decides to raise money to support the families of the striking miners. But there is a problem. The Union seems embarrassed to receive their support. But the activists are not deterred. They decide to ignore the Union and go direct to the miners. They identify a mining village in deepest Wales and set off in a mini bus to make their donation in person. And so begins the extraordinary story of two seemingly alien communities who form a surprising and ultimately triumphant partnership.
Starring the likes of Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Joseph Gilgun, Paddy Considine, George MacKay, Ben Schnetzer, Sophie Evans, Jessie Cave, Freddie Fox, Faye Marsay, Adrian Palmer, Lasco Atkins and Shane Salter, ‘Pride’ opens in the UK and Ireland today (September 12th) and in the US on September 26th. The film is directed by Matthew Warchus
I can imagine that ‘Pride’ appealed to you on a number of levels: it’s an incredible true story, it’s hilarious, there’s great characters, and then there’s also the theme of social justice, Thatcher-era community activism, a look at trade union struggles and LGBT politics in Britain…?
Bill Nighy: You’re exactly right. If anything was ever a no brainer, this was it. The script came through the door, kind of unannounced. I read it cold and it made me laugh from start to finish. I laughed throughout. Good scripts are rare, and funny scripts are almost never. Also, even after I’d read it a number of times and I was studying it, I never got through it without crying at some point. It was one of the best scripts I’ve read in my life, and I really mean that. I was desperate to be in it and I loved playing this part. The two main themes are very close to my heart. If you were asked by your grandchildren, “What developments in your lifetime made you most proud to be around for?”, one of them would be the emancipation of gay men and women in my lifetime, and the other would be the civil rights movement in America.
‘The Drop’ is a crime drama from Michaël R. Roskam, the Academy Award-nominated director of ‘Bullhead.’ Based on a screenplay from Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), ‘The Drop’ follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) through a covert scheme of funneling cash to local gangsters – “money drops” – in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), Bob finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost. The film, set for September 12th in the US and a November 14th bow in the UK and Ireland, also stars Noomi Rapace, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz and James Frecheville.
Your character Bob is the emotional center of the film, yet he demonstrates little overt emotion himself – so much of what is going on with him is under the surface. On his best day, Bob is not a terribly articulate guy, which is compounded by the fact that he has pushed everything down deep inside. What was it about Bob that intrigued you and sparked your interest?
Tom Hardy: I’m always fascinated by characters that don’t get the opportunity to speak their voice. I find that the most interesting characters are normally hidden under rocks and pushed into small corners of society where they don’t often have their voice heard. I like to look into characters that don’t normally get looked into. He’s unassuming and therefore underestimated. You never see him coming. The guy’s an Everyman with a big heart and a long story that he would never burden you with, because he prefers silence. He leads an ordinary life. And Michaël R. Roskam is a great bloke and a fantastic director. For an actor, he creates an environment that allows you to develop and facilitate the character and story by encouraging specificity and volition. The best idea always wins with Michaël. He wants to make great films with great characters and he delivers.
‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’ stars an ensemble cast including returning cast members Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Jude Ciccolella, Powers Boothe, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis. Newcomers to the series include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Jamie Chung, Dennis Haysbert, Marton Csokas, Christopher Lloyd, Julia Garner, Juno Temple, Ray Liotta, Stacy Keach, Christopher Meloni, Alexa PenaVega, Lady Gaga, Jeremy Piven and Crystal McCahill. Co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, the script is written by Miller, and is primarily based on the second book in the ‘Sin City’ series by Miller. The film arrives on August 22nd in the US and August 25th in the UK (August 22nd in London).
Eva, your character Ava Lord is sort of the classic femme fatale. And I can imagine she was a lot of fun to play, especially considering how many facets there are to her and the various fronts she puts on for different people?
Eva Green: Definitely. It’s such a multi-dimensional role. Ava is like an enchantress, a siren, she casts spells over men. She can read men’s minds and she can become whatever they want her to be. With Josh Brolin’s Dwight, it’s very interesting because there’s a true connection – he’s different from other men. He’s probably the only man she ever loved. But the thing with Ava, she’s sort of caught up with her own demons. And like you said, Ava has so many facets… she can be a damsel in distress for Dwight, with Manute she’s a goddess and with Mort, she’s the sexy kitten. As an actor, it’s great because you can show so many colors.
Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller’s visually stunning ‘Sin City’ graphic novels back to the screen in ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.’ Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants. ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’ is the follow up to Rodriguez and Miller’s 2005 groundbreaking film, ‘Sin City.’
The main cast for Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s long awaited sequel includes the original ‘Sin City’ cast members: Mickey Rourke as Marv, Jessica Alba as Nancy, Bruce Willis as Hartigan, Rosario Dawson as Gail and Jaime King as Goldie/Wendy. New cast members for the neo-noir crime action thriller include: Eva Green as Ava Lord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Johnny, Dennis Haysbert as Manute, Christopher Meloni as Mort, Jeremy Piven as Bob, Stacy Keach as Wallenquist, Jamie Chung as Miho, Ray Liotta as Joey, Juno Temple as Sally, Julia Garner as Marcy, and Josh Brolin as Dwight. The film arrives on August 22nd in the US and August 25th in the UK (August 22nd in London).
One of the new stories in this film, “The Long, Bad Night,” features your character Johnny, a young, cocky gambler. And unlike any story in the first movie, Frank Miller wrote “A Long, Bad Night” and Johnny distinctly for this film, without any preexisting graphic novel. What was is it like to collaborate with Miller and Robert Rodriguez on the development of his character.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I absolutely love that. The character of Johnny, who’s not any of the books, has sort of been a collaborative creation. I mean, it was written in the script but there weren’t any drawings and so it didn’t have as much specificity as really all the other characters in this world. So Frank was re-writing as we were going, and it’s sort of an actor’s dream to be working with filmmakers who are so collaborative and so open and eager to incorporate my creative contributions into the movie. And Johnny’s an interesting character. Johnny loves a game fo chance. He’s good with the cards and the coins. His “sin” is gambling, although there’s a lot of other “sin” that comes into play on this long, bad night (laughs).