‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ is nominated for four Oscars at the 85th Academy Awards, in the categories Best Picture, Best Director (Benh Zeitlin), Best Adapted Screenplay (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin) and Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis). At the age of 9, Wallis is the youngest ever nominee of the Academy Award for Best Actress.
In ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ Hushpuppy (Wallis), an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), in The Bathtub, a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink’s tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he’s no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack – temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.
How much does Hushpuppy differ from you? And do you think you two could be friends?
Quvenzhané Wallis: Definitely. But Hushpuppy doesn’t wear pants pretty much, and I love to wear pants in public (laughs). Also, I have a great father, but her father in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ is dying. Hushpuppy has more pets than me, I only have one. She has a lot more outside things that she can go to do, I have less things that I can go to do. She can complete whatever she wants to complete, I have to have permission to complete something, or to have adventures. I think we could be friends, she would have to wear pants though (laughs). And we both love seafood!
An ancient war is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack (Nicholas Hoult), into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom and its people, and the love of a brave princess (Eleanor Tomlinson), he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend… and gets the chance to become a legend himself. Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men 2), ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ also stars Stanley Tucci as the deceitful Lord Roderick; Ian McShane as the besieged King Brahmwell; Bill Nighy as the giants’ leader, General Fallon; and Ewan McGregor as palace guard Elmont. The film opens in cinemas on March 1st in the US and March 22nd in the UK.
What was it about Princess Isabelle that appealed to you?
Eleanor Tomlinson: She’s different from other princesses you’ve seen in other fairy tales She’s got this side to her which… she was born into her royal family, she never really wanted it. She didn’t want that life of having servants do everything for her, she wants adventure, she wants to be able to go out and not be recognised. So what you expect from a princess, that very classic, well-behaved, postured princess… Isabelle doesn’t have that (laughs). I mean, she can have it when she’s being regal. There are some great moments in the movie where she’s wearing these elegant and beautiful dresses, but then there’s definitely the other side to her that’s kickass – she doesn’t take anything from anybody, you know? She wants her own adventure, and she goes off to find it. There’s that real modern twist on the story because she’s got that edgy side to her, which was great to experiment with. There’s this feisty side that we don’t normally see in princesses, there was so much to play with. It’s really exciting to find these different levels, and trying to make her fiery but not catty, trying to make her loveable but still fierce.
Inspired by true events, ‘Snitch’ stars Dwayne Johnson as a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Desperate and determined to rescue his son at all costs, he makes a deal with the U.S. Attorney to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel on a dangerous mission- risking everything, including his family and his own life. Alongside Johnson, the impressive cast also includes the likes of Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Michael K. Williams, Melina Kanakaredes, Nadine Velazquez, Rafi Gavron, David Harbour, Benjamin Bratt and Susan Sarandon. ‘Snitch’ is pencilled in for a Febuary 22th release in the US and a April 5th release in the UK.
What were the elements about this story that sparked your interest?
Dwayne Johnson: I think it feels authentically “hard”, and it has a grounded sense of gritty reality. It has great action elements, but then you have a man who discovers he has the heart of a lion – and it doesn’t start off that way. He has a very fractured relationship with his son. He has an ex-wife, he has a new wife, he has a daughter, and he puts all of that in jeopardy by trying to infiltrate a drug cartel, a very dangerous drug cartel. Plus, ‘Snitch’ is based off true events, so a lot of those elements made it very intriguing to me. I loved the characters as well, it was written very well. I really liked my character John, he’s a hard working guy. He believes in the thought process of hard work pays.
From director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), ’Safe Haven’ is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the films ‘The Notebook’ and ‘Dear John.’ Lead by Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, the story follows a young woman (Hough) with a mysterious past who lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widowed store owner (Duhamel) forces her to confront dark secrets that haunt her. Out now in the US, ‘Safe Haven’ is set for a March 1st release in the UK. The film also stars Cobie Smulders and David Lyons.
What was it about this character Alex that intrigued you?
Josh Duhamel: He is a really good guy, but I wanted to find what goes on underneath that facade. Sometimes with characters you think are going to be simple, the more you explore, the more dynamic they get. When we meet Alex in the film he’s been a shell of himself for the last couple of years, after his wife passed away. He’s been raising these two children on his own, and not only raising his two kids on his own, he’s also running this store – and he’s probably not really dealt with the grief of her loss so well. As a result he’s had some issues with his son. But he’s a guy that doesn’t necessarily know what the right thing to do is all of the time. He’s learning as he goes, which I think is what most parents do (laughs). I liked that dynamic, that edge to him.
A supernatural love story set in the South, ‘Beautiful Creatures’ tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers: Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man longing to escape his small town, and Lena (Alice Englert), a mysterious new girl. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town. Oscar nominee Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King, P.S. I Love You) directs from his adaptation of the first novel in the best-selling series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The film also stars Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann and Emma Thompson. ‘Beautiful Creatures’ is out now. My interview with Emmy Rossum for the film can be found here, my interview with Alice Englert can be read here, and my interview with Jeremy Irons can be found here (lots more to come).
In ‘Beautiful Creatures’ you play the central character of Ethan Wate, who, having lost his mother, is saddled with adult responsibilities before his time. What was it about this particular character and story that you found appealing?
Alden Ehrenreich: When I first read the script, within three pages I knew I wanted to play the part. Ethan has this romantic restless, ambitious thing in him. He wants to travel and he wants to see the world, he wants something better. I really felt for him in that way, and that feeling of his, which is very hopeful and optimistic – and that really carries what he does throughout the story, it all stems from that feeling. You hope that when you read a script, you feel it and see it, and I really saw it. The clarity of the character’s voice hooked me. Almost everybody else is content with the small-town high school social life, but Ethan envisions something more. I really admire that hopeful optimism in spite of all he’s been through. I also liked that even though he’s been through a lot he still is full of humour and wit.
From director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), ’Safe Haven’ is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the films ‘The Notebook’ and ‘Dear John.’ Lead by Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, the story follows a young woman (Hough) with a mysterious past who lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widowed store owner (Duhamel) forces her to confront dark secrets that haunt her. ‘Safe Haven’ arrives in cinemas on Febuary 14th in the US and March 1st in the UK. The film also stars Cobie Smulders and David Lyons.
Your character Katie has a large arc in this story. Was that something that intrigued you, the idea of there being so many layers to her….?
Julianne Hough: Definitely. Katie has a huge arc, and I think that’s what I found fascinating about her. I knew that it was going to be a challenge to play guarded and mysterious. I kept trying to think about keeping her interesting with those things still in mind, and likable enough that Alex would even consider falling in love with her, and vice versa. There was a lot of layers to her. She’s a fighter and that’s one thing I really loved about her, and behind every fighter there’s often someone who’s a little bit broken. I think that’s why I resonated with Katie. Katie is not who she wants to be and not who she knows she can be. She has to change her situation. That idea of redemption is so appealing. Katie is almost two different people. She goes go from being super guarded to falling completely in love with somebody she just met.