Tag Archives: Bradley Cooper

MOVIE STARS ON TV: THE NEW NORMAL #TV #COLUMN #MANSWORLD

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Man’s World Magazine in November 2015 and is the fifth article of a monthly column on international TV.


It’s been a few years since critics declared ‘TV as the new film’, and rightfully so. Nobody can claim Breaking Bad, The Wire, Mad Men or Game of Thrones to be any less cinematic than any feature film in theaters today. But with the budgets of TV shows going bonkers, and with any film that does not have the word ‘super’ in its description steadily failing to find audiences, more and more movie stars are now embracing TV as their medium of choice.

In only two years, we’ve seen Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective, Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton in Fargo, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards and Halle Berry in Extant enthralling television audiences with their magic. With fall TV premiering tons of new programming in the final months of the year, here’s looking at some more of the biggest stars coming to TV, and where you can watch them:

  1. Priyanka Chopra in Quantico
    Priyanka Chopra is one of the world’s biggest movie stars and ABC has ensured that she’s been on billboards plastered across New York, appeared on the biggest US talk shows and has received a prime time slot on TV for their new thriller series fronted by her, Quantico. First few episodes down, the show is a runaway hit, and Chopra a legitimate international star.
  1. Bradley Cooper in Limitless
    Limitless is among the most buzzed about movie-to-television remakes this year, which also include Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report and the upcoming Rush Hour. The reason? Executive producer Bradley Cooper, who starred in the movie, also makes a recurring appearance on the TV series.
  1. Wesley Snipes in The Player
    Blade is back! One of the first and most watchable comic book heroes, Wesley Snipes, one the world’s biggest action movie stars of the ‘90s, comes to TV in an action thriller designed to use his skills – being cool, suave yet badass at the same time.
  1. Kirsten Dunst in Fargo
    The original Mary Jane Watson – the girl on the other side of the iconic Spider-Man kiss – and one of America’s sweethearts of the early 2000s, Kirsten Dunst has been recently finding her feet in independent cinema. Last year, Fargo got the affable Martin Freeman to do some very twisted things… will Dunst be going grey this year?
  1. Aziz Ansari in Master of None
    One of the world’s funniest comedians, known of late for being BFFs with Jennifer Lawrence, is coming back to TV after his long stint in Parks and Recreation that propelled his career as an international star. On the back of a bestselling book and hit films, Ansari has created, produced and stars in Master of None.
  1. Clive Owen in The Knick
    If you missed the Steven Soderbergh-directed The Knick, you may have missed some of the best looking television made over the last decade, and a class act by Clive Owen, who may have finally found his calling as Dr. John Thackeray, a drug-addicted genius doctor in racially sensitive 1900s New York.
  1. Sharon Stone in Agent X
    The original femme fatale, Sharon Stone makes her TV debut with a straight up thriller this year, playing the Vice President of the United States in a series that she’s also executive producing. No Basic Instincts on display in this one.
  1. Rob Lowe in The Grinder
    Rob Lowe’s had a successful career managing both TV and movies jobs. The star of The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire and The West Wing, has no paucity of roles, so when he’s doing TV now, you know it’s handpicked. The Grinder teams him with another former TV star, Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) and as comedy’s new odd couple, they make for a must-watch show.
  1. Jamie Lee Curtis in Scream Queens
    Freaky Friday star Jamie Lee Curtis has been flirting with television with guest arcs in NCIS and New Girl over the past few years, but Ryan Murphy, the showrunner behind Glee, American Horror Story, has managed to pull her in as the lead of a comedy horror show, Scream Queens, opposite Emma Roberts. It will be freaky, alright.
  1. Tyrese Gibson in Empire
    On the back of starring in one of the most profitable franchises in movie history, The Fast and the Furious series, Gibson is coming to television in a recurring role to lend his support to the most talked about television show of the year, Empire, against episodic arcs by Chris Rock, Mariah Carrey, Pitbull and Timbaland.


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Liked/disliked the piece? Think there are more actors that I’ve not covered? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in Man’s World Magazine in the November 2015 issue.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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Interview: American filmmakers Lee Sternthal and Brian Klugman #Firstpost #Film

Mumbai Film Festival 2012: In conversation with The Words directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal 

Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal are an American writer-director duo. They wrote 2010’s Tron: Legacy and have recently written and directed their first movie, The Words, about a writer who has to deal with the consequences of plagiarising someone’s work, and that features a star-studded cast including Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde and Dennis Quaid.

The film, whose script was developed at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, also had its world premiere at the 2012 edition of the Sundance Film Festival and is now premiering at the Mumbai Film Festival. In the interview, the duo talks about the rights and wrongs of plagiarism, the process of collaboration and how Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali has inspired a scene in their movie.

 

Before we start talking about the movie, I’m interested in knowing your personal takes on plagiarism. Having made a movie on the topic, do you overanalyse your work now?

Brian Klugman (BK): Not really, because I think, we are all subconsciously inspired by the writers and artistes we see and read. But stealing someone’s work verbatim is certainly a cardinal sin for writers.

Lee Sternthal (LS): Yeah, I feel the question about plagiarism is: At what point does something become outright thievery? At what point does it go from being inspiration to being something you have copied, so to speak? I’ll give you an example here. Brian loves and speaks a lot about the films of Satyajit Ray, and they are a huge influence on him. There’s actually a scene in our movie that we ended up cutting out later, which was inspired by Ray’s Pather Panchali. In the scene, Bradley Cooper’s character is on the bus, going to work, and he’s got so much hope in it. And then later, he’s coming back on the same bus and he’s totally broken.

So here, we’re quoting Ray’s work as inspiration. We used his scenes as a, sort of, jumping off point for our own work. And so, hopefully, in being inspired, we have used that work that came before us to discover our own voice and what we are trying to say. So that’s a good thing – when your engagement with somebody’s work inspires you to push yourself to discover what you are trying to say, as opposed to copying down something to get a result – that’s  bad.

BK: I think art was anyway intended to be a dialogue, you know.

You guys you have had this script for 12 years. What was the starting point for it, and what made you both sure that this was the right project to debut with as directors?

BG: We set out as much to talk about plagiarism as we, kind of, wanted to address the realities of being an artiste and the realities of being a man, and being confronted with your own limitations. It actually started off as a conversation about writers who’ve lost their work, especially Earnest Hemingway, whose wife accidentally left some of his manuscripts on a train. So Lee and I really got into this conversation that made us think about how Hemingway would have reacted and what would have happened to the man who’d have found them? It was an incredibly fertile ground, so over the years, we kept coming back to this project.

LS: We saw a very personal connection to the film and to the character that Bradley Cooper plays in it, a young ambitious writer, who cheats himself out of the possibility of finding out how good he can be, when he plagiarises a story. We also connected to the character of the old man, played by Jeremy Irons, whose work disappeared from his life long ago, and when he confronts it again, he is also confronted with his past. It was just something very real and something we really wanted to tell. BG: And then, as we moved forward, there were elements of real life that made it more interesting for us: the film is also a kind of comment on our society in general, a comment on this desire of getting everything immediately, the desire of getting an immediate gratification. So we connected to the many layers the story had.

Isn’t it a big gamble to be co-directing with your best friend? When did you guys first click as a collaborative team?

BG: Well, we have been friends since we were kids, so, I guess, we started making stuff up together since a very young age. I think that kind of history has been incredibly helpful to us in collaborating in that we never really talked about the details of how we would go about this. We never really outlined how it would work, we never defined it…  it was just a very natural thing for us to do.

LS: You know, when it’s two people instead of one, people just want to know who wins the fights (laughs). But it’s not about that – before we actually got this film, before we did anything actually, we were constantly having all sorts of conversations and arriving at a single vision of what we both wanted to do. So when we got into filmmaking, the most important thing was to have one voice, so people arne’t getting two different messages from us. And we communicated the same that to all the people we were trying to work with, whether behind the camera or in front of the camera. We are two different people with two different perspectives, but we really respect each other and we enjoy finding the middle ground. That makes it worthwhile and that’s the joy of it.

Do you guys compartmentalize by departments or do you take a decision on everything together?

LS: We collaborate on everything together, but are there things Brian does better than me? Yeah, there a lot of things (laughs).

BK: I think, in filmmaking, no rule can be steadfast because it is such an incredibly improvisational process. But when you are on set, it’s probably the best to have one voice coming out, and one person speaking to the cast and crew. So, in general, Lee and I settle on a single message for the actors, for the cinematographer, and so on – we collaborate on everything and then go separately on delivering these messages in our own ways.

LS: Brian has a lot of experience as an actor… so he is really good with them and really understands what the actors are going through. On the other hand, I enjoy getting into the technical aspects more… whether its the design aspects, the cinematography and things like that. So there is no steadfast rule, but these are the kind of things we gravitate towards, based on our skill set and personalities.

You guys were writers for quite long, before you decided to take up direction. How did your strengths as a writer help you during direction?

BK: I think they are two different beasts but they definitely are connected. When you are a director, it is a wonderful tool in your toolbox if you are a writer as well, you know… especially when you are dealing with budgetary constraints. To be able to write yourself out of certain situations, is a wonderful skill to have.

LS:  I think, as a writer you have a certain degree of luxury of sitting and thinking about things. For example, if a problem comes up that you don’t know how to deal with, you just come back to it later. But when you are directing a film, especially a low budget film, where you don’t have as much time and money, you really don’t have that luxury. If a problem comes up, you have to come to an agreement and make a decision and go with that. And that’s kind of the thrill of it too, you know. That’s really exciting.

For a film shot in $ 6 million and in 25 days, how did you guys even manage to get such a star-studded cast?

LS: Well, no one told us that we couldn’t (chuckles)! And that’s what it was. Bradley’s our childhood friend, he liked the script and agreed to do it. And then, an executive producer on the film had worked with Jeremy irons before. She passed the script to Jeremy and when he got interested and came on board, we suddenly had two huge actors of each of their generations in an independent film! That made the movie interesting to people, and all of a sudden, Dennis Quaid wanted to come in, and then we got Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde and wonderful character actors like John Hannah and JK Simmons to come in too. So we got really fortunate – once it started happening, people just wanted to come in and be a part of it!

Bradley Cooper is both the lead actor and executive producer of the film. Isn’t that a tricky situation to be in?

BK: No, not at all. You’ll see that a lot, but in our case, it was really nice to have an actor who wanted to help your project. When you are making an independent movie, a huge portion of it is just trying to get it off the ground and getting actors to read it, especially if it’s your first film. So to have an executive producer who is also an actor in the movie and wants to help get in made was very fortunate.

LS: And you know, we’ve known each other for such a long time that there was a lot of trust between us. The foundation was collaboration and after that, things were only really good.

You’ve got two projects lined up – Break My Heart 100 Times and Johnny Depp’s Rex Mundi. Tell us about them, and also about your dream project, if you have one.

BK: Break My Heart is a young adult novel that’s got a wonderful story. It’s an emotional thriller and it’s got a lot of scope to it and we are rewriting to direct it. The Johnny Depp movie is something we are working on as writers. It’s an incredibly exciting epic piece set in alternate history, in Paris in the 1940s.

LS: It’s sort of like Raiders of the Lost Arc, it’s that kind of a fun adventure. And you know, for Brian and I, we always really enjoyed the idea of telling epic stories. So we are writing this one, but at some point of time, we’d like to direct such a movie too.

BK: Yeah, I would love to make an Indian Jones kind of a movie at some point of time. It meant so much to me as a kid but I don’t think we have the knowledge to pull that off yet.

 

Note: This interview first appeared on Firstpost.com on October 21, 2012
Link: http://www.firstpost.com/living/mumbai-film-festival-in-conversation-with-writers-of-tron-legacy-on-their-directing-debut-497670.html

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.