In Fear, arriving in select theaters today, wrings tension not from supernatural chicanery, boogeymen, or violent spectacle.
Instead, this unique British thriller turns a seemingly ordinary situation into an increasingly unnerving scenario, proving that to scare the daylights out of an audience requires little more than two people inside a car.
It's a familiar enough set-up: Lucy and Tom, a young couple still very much in the awkward getting-to-know-each-other phase set out on a minor road trip to a music festival. As they traverse rural roads, their guide and GPS fail them. They realize they're going in circles, being deliberately misled by the local signage and possibly tormented by an unseen figure following them. Slowly but surely, Lucy and Tom go from flirting to sniping to truly desperate.
To lace In Fear with a palpable and real dread, first-time feature film director Jeremy Lovering took an unusual approach. Working without a conventional screenplay, he shot in sequence and intentionally kept his lead actors, Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) and Iain De Caestecker (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) in the dark, getting genuinely fearful reactions as they more or less improvised their way through a story unfolding right in front of them.
IAR Managing Editor Jami Phibrick recently spoke to Lovering in an IAR-exclusive interview in which the writer-director discussed the aesthetics of In Fear, his small but talented cast of actors, and his experience directing an episode of Sherlock, the global phenomenon starring Benedict Cumerbatch (12 Years a Slave) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug).
Writer/director Wes Anderson has made a career of creating unique, eccentric and beloved films. Anderson first gained attention for his debut movie Bottle Rocket, and then earned critical acclaim for his next two films, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, the latter of which received an Academy Award-nomination foe Best Original Screenplay. He would eventually go on to make The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Darjeeling Limited. However, his next two films would once again earn him Academy Award-nominations, first for Best Animated Feature with Fantastic Mr. Fox, then again for Best Original Screenplay with Moonrise Kingdom. His latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, opens in theaters on March 7th.
Anderson is known for using certain actors over and over again, thus creating the “Wes Anderson Film Troupe.” Among the actors in Anderson’s ongoing ensemble include Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Seymour Cassell, Waris Ahluwalla, Alexandra Despot, all of which reunite for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Another performer who returns for his second Wes Anderson film is the equally eccentric Jeff Goldblum. The popular actor has a long and impressive resume of film work that includes Nashville, Annie Hall, The Big Chill, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Silverado, The Fly, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park, and Independence Day, as well as Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
In The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson’s usual group of actors are joined by Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Tom Wilkinson, Jude Law, Fisher Stevens, Saoirse Ronan, and Tony Revolori. The film follows the adventures of Gustave H (Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa (Revolori and Abraham), the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
I recently had the absolute pleasure of sitting down (along with a few other members of the press) to talk with Wes Anderson and Jeff Goldblum about their work in The Grand Budapest Hotel. They both discussed their new film, Anderson’s quirky style of filmmaking, his ensemble of actors, use of music, why Goldblum likes working with the director, what the actor initially thought of the script, and what Anderson thought of the recent SNL sketch poking fun at his body of work.
Together, Mr. Peabody & Sherman have hopped, skipped, and jumped through the ages, traveling through time itself to gab with the likes of Johannes Gutenberg, Genghis Khan, and Marie Antoinette.
This Friday, the world's smartest living creature and his adopted human son explore the circuits of time on the big screen for the first time in their fifty-five year history.
Peabody and his ward go all the way back to 1959, when Peabody's Improbable History was a recurring segment on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Using a device of Peabody's own invention, the WABAC machine, the duo went on educational jaunts throughout history, and their adventures influenced much of the time travel cinema of the last half-century.
Yet only now are they getting a movie of their own.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman isn't just a long overdue feature for a durable pair of pop culture artifacts, though. It's also the culmination of more than a decade of effort on the part of director Rob Minkoff.
Late last year, IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick was invited to 20th Century Fox to get an early look at Mr. Peabody & Sherman. While there, he also had the opportunity to speak with Minkoff and Ty Burrell, the Modern Family star lending his voice to Mr. Peabody in the brilliant beagle's long-awaited theatrical debut.
Danish actress Connie Nielsen first gained attention for her work in such films as The Devil’s Advocate, Permanent Midnight, and Rushmore, but it was her role as Lucilla in the Academy Award-winning film Gladiator that made her an international star. Since then she has gone on to appear in a string of popular films including One Hour Photo, The Hunted, and Basic, as well as an arc on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and the critically acclaimed series Boss.
In fact, she has recently returned to TV with a role on the popular Fox series The Following starring Kevin Bacon. Nielsen plays the sinister Lily Gray, a deranged woman with alternative motives for serial killer/cult leader Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and a vendetta against former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon). However, she can also currently be seen on the big screen opposite Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner in the box office hit 3 Days to Kill, which is currently playing in theaters now.
The film, which was directed by McG (Terminator Salvation) and written by Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional), centers on a dying Secret Service Agent named Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). He is offered an experimental drug that could save his life by a mysterious operative (Amber Heard) in exchange for one last assignment. Nielson plays Renner’s ex-wife Kristin, who must learn to trust Ethan again.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Connie Nielsen about her work in 3 Days to Kill, as well as The Following. The talented actress discussed her new movie, collaborating with director McG, balancing action and drama in the same film, acting with the great Kevin Costner, The Following, not knowing her character’s motives, working with the actor who plays both of her twin sons, and what’s in store for her character the rest of the season.
Crispin Glover is one on the most fascinating and misunderstood actors of his generation.
The son of actor Bruce Glover (Diamonds Are Forever), he began his career at a young age appearing in such popular TV series as The Facts of Life, Happy Days, Hill Street Blues, and Family Ties, but his big break came when he played George McFly in Back to the Future. Since then, he has given riveting performances in a string of critically acclaimed and successful films like At Close Range, Wild at Heart, The Doors, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Dead Man, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, Charlie’s Angels, Willard, Beowulf, Alice in Wonderland, and Hot Tub Time Machine.
However, Glover is also an accomplished director having helmed the first two films of his It? trilogy, What Is It?, and It is Fine. Everything is Fine! But for better or worse, the actor may still be best known for his infamous and mysterious appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Glover appeared on the show as his character from the film Rubin and Ed, which had not yet been released at that time, and attempted to karate-kick the talk show host. All that aside, Glover is a fascinating artist who’s career has spanned over thirty-years and now returns to the big screen with his new film The Bag Man, which opens in theaters on February 28th.
The Bag Man was co-written and directed by first time filmmaker David Grovic, and also stars John Cusack (The Raven), Dominic Purcell (Vikingdom), and two-time Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull). The film follows a criminal (Cusack) who bides his time at a seedy motel, waiting for his boss (De Niro) after killing several men and making away with a mystery bag. Glover plays the hotel desk clerk who interacts with Cusack’s character.
I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Crispin Glover about The Bag Man, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Alice in Wonderland: Into the Looking Glass, and his directorial work. Always an interesting interview, Glover candidly discussed his latest film, appearing in a movie with Robert De Niro, reuniting with John Cusack, working with director David Grovic, what he looks for from a director, choosing projects to act in, not appearing in Hot Tub Time Machine 2, wanting to be in Alice in Wonderland: Into the Looking Glass, his own directorial efforts, the It? trilogy, and directing and acting in a movie with his father.
Few series could pull off showing a corpse being doused in acid and disposed of followed by a sex scene in a 76 Oldsmobile to the sounds of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight." Not only has The Americans successfully managed to balance the gritty realism of the Cold War with an alluring, yet understated romance--it's done so with style.
Set in 1981, the thriller follows two deep-cover KGB spies (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) posing as married Washington suburbanites Elizabeth and Philip Jennings. The two have even raised two children to cement their appearance as an all-American family. When Stan (Noah Emmerich), an FBI agent, moves next door, the two must take extra precautions to mask their true identities.
Former CIA officer Joe Weisberg developed the FX hit and he frequently incorporates real spy craft tales into the storyline (like the poisoned umbrella!). I had the chance to visit the show's Gowanus, Brooklyn set this month to talk to the cast and writer Joel Fields about the acclaimed series.
It has action, romance, and wigs--lots of wigs. There's also plenty of 80's knitwear and some of the decade's most loved tunes. But while there's an element of camp to The Americans, there's also a range of haunting themes that ground it in realism.
The Cold War-set series centers on a pair of deep cover KGB agents (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell), who go by the names Philip and Elizabeth Jennings. The arranged couple, which was trained in Russia, has been living in the U.S. under the guise that they are an average married couple. They've even raised two children, who are unaware of their parents' true identities. What threatens their covert operation is the fact that they have contrasting priorities. Philip not only loves his children and fake wife, he's grown fond of America (he's rather enthusiastic about cars, malls and cowboy boots). Elizabeth, however, is an absolute daughter of the KBG and will face death before betraying her homeland.
Yet when Philip makes a monumental sacrifice for Elizabeth, she begins to develop genuine feelings for him. As a real relationship takes form, they are forced to recognize whether they are more devoted to their country or one another. To further complicate matters, their FBI agent neighbor (Noah Emmerich) has his suspicions about them and is slowly getting closer to uncovering who they really are.
I recently had the chance to speak exclusively with The Americans’ creator and former CIA officer Joe Weisberg as well as writer Joel Fields about the hit FX thriller, which goes into its second season on February 26, and has its first season currently available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Oscar-winner Kevin Costner needs no introduction … he is a modern day Hollywood legend and his resume speaks for itself.
He first gained recognition as an actor for his roles in such films as Silverado, The Untouchables, No Way Out, Bull Durham, and Field of Dreams. But it was his move behind the camera as director and producer that earned him two Academy Awards for Dances with Wolves, as well as a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Since then he has appeared in such seminal and successful movies as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, JFK, The Bodyguard, Waterworld, Tin Cup, Thirteen Days, Open Range, The Upside of Anger, and most recently Man of Steel, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and the TV mini-series Hatfields & McCoys. Now the veteran actor returns to the big screen with the new spy thriller 3 Days to Kill, which opens in theaters on February 21st.
The film, which was directed by McG (Terminator Salvation) and written by Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional), centers on a dying Secret Service Agent named Ethan Renner (Costner) trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). He is offered an experimental drug that could save his life by a mysterious operative (Amber Heard) in exchange for one last assignment. In addition to Costner, Steinfeld, and Heard, the movie also features Connie Nielson (Gladiator).
I recently had the pleasure of attending an intimate roundtable press conference, along with a few other members of the media, and spoke to Kevin Costner about his work on 3 Days to Kill, and his impressive career.
Opening just in time for Valentine’s Day, February 14th is Endless Love, which is a remake of Franco Zeffirelli’s film of the same name. The original starred a young Brooke Shields and is probably best known for its Academy Award-nominated title song by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. However, the new film stars Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) and Gabriella Wilde (Carrie) and was co-written and directed by Shana Feste (The Greatest, Country Strong).
Endless Love follows the story of a privileged girl named Jade (Wilde) and a charismatic boy named David (Pettyfer) whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by her father (Bruce Greenwood) trying to keep them apart. In addition to Pettyfer, Wilde, and Greenwood, the film also stars veteran actors Joely Richardson (Anonymous) and Robert Patrick (Gangster Squad).
I recently had a chance to sit down with director and co-writer Shana Feste to talk about her work on Endless Love. The accomplished filmmaker discussed her new movie, why the classic song from the original was not used in the new film, her knowledge of the original, the tone of the project, the cast, their performances, co-writing the screenplay, the movie’s controversial sex scene, and what type of project she would like to direct next.
As Justified continues its stellar fifth season, show creator Graham Yost continues to lend his talents to The Americans, as the hit thriller's Executive Producer.
Set in 1981, the series follows two KGB spies (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys), posing as a married couple in the suburbs of D.C. The pair, who has raised two children as part of their cover, has grown to develop real feelings towards one another and their children, which begins to hinder their ability to carry out covert missions in the name of Mother Russia. If that's not enough, their neighbor happens to be a dedicated FBI agent (Noah Emmerich) who specializes in counter intelligence.
I recently had the chance to speak exclusively with Yost on keeping fans happy, colorblind casting and how he advised The Americans creator Joe Weisberg on developing his first series.