Jami Philbrick

Jami Philbrick

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Virginia Madsen is one classy lady!

The veteran actress made her film debut in the early ‘80s movie Class, and went on to work with such iconic directors as David Lynch (Dune), Rob Reiner (Ghosts of Mississippi), and Francis Ford Coppola (The Rainmaker). But it was her role in Alexander Payne’s Sideways that earned her an Academy Award-nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Madsen would eventually work with legendary director Robert Altman on A Prairie Home Companion, and then appear in a string of high profile films including Firewall, The Astronaut Farmer, and The Number 23. Her latest film entitled Walter will open in theaters on March 13th. 

Walter stars Andrew J. West (TV’s The Walking Dead) as the title character, a ticket-taker at the local cinema that believes he is the Son of God. He has agreed to decide the eternal fate of everyone he comes in to contact with. But when a ghost in purgatory (Justin Kirk) starts to haunt him, Walter begins to question everything he thought he understood about his world. Madsen plays Karen, Walter’s brokenhearted mother. In addition to West, Kirk and Madsen, the movie also features performances from Milo Ventimiglia (Wild Card), Neve Campbell (Wild Things), Peter Facinelli (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1), Jim Gaffigan (Three Kings), and William H. Macy (Rudderless), and was directed by first time feature filmmaker Anna Mastro

I recently had the honor of speaking with the absolutely delightful Virginia Madsen about her work on Walter, as well as her memories of making Sideways and A Prairie Home Companion. The Oscar-nominated actress discussed Walter, how a first time filmmaker gets an Oscar-nominee to be in their movie, what she looks for when she is choosing projects, shooting her scenes with Andrew J. West, our shared experience on Sideways, working with the great Robert Altman on A Prairie Home Companion, and the truth about director Paul Thomas Anderson’s contributions to that film. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015 10:42

IAR VIDEO: Sean Penn Talks 'The Gunman'

Opening in theaters on March 20th is the new action drama The Gunman, which was directed by Pierre Morel (Taken, From Paris with Love). The film stars two-time Academy Award-winner Sean Penn (Milk, Mystic River), Idris Elba (No Good Deed, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), Ray Winstone (The Sweeney, London Boulevard), and Academy Award-winner Javier Bardem (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men). 

IAR's Managing Editor Jami Philbrick recently attended the Los Angeles press conference for The Gunman and had the honor of speaking with Sean Penn about his work on the film. The two-time Oscar-winner discussed his new movie, his process as an actor, how its changed over the years, making a "geri-action" movie, how it's different from Taken, the film's real world political storyline, why he no longer worries about box office grosses, his love for acting and making movies, and his advise to anyone in the film industry. 

In my time as Managing Editor of IAR, I’ve had the pleasure to check several illustrious names off of my “interview wish list,” including Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Bruce Willis, Mel Brooks, William Shatner, Adam West, Stan Lee, Mike Tyson, and Oscar the Grouch. But I can now cross off my wish list the name of one of the greatest screen actors of all time … Al Pacino!

It almost seems redundant to list Mr. Pacino’s incredible body of work, but here goes anyways. The Academy Award-winner made his screen debut in The Panic in Needle Park, but it was his iconic role as Michael Corleone in The Godfather that made him a household name. He would go on to appear in some of the best movies ever made including Serpico, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, …And Justice for All, Scarface, Sea of Love, Carlito’s Way, and Heat. The actor has won four Golden Globes Awards, two Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, and been nominated for eight Oscars, finally winning Best Actor in 1993 for his performance in Scent of a Woman. Pacino’s latest film Danny Collins, which is one of his best in recent years, opens in theaters on March 20th. 

Danny Collins features Pacino as the title character, an aging rock star who decides to change his life when he discovers a 40-year old letter written to him by John Lennon. After reevaluating his life, Collins attempts to reunite with his long lost son Tom (Bobby Cannavale), and Tom’s wife (Jennifer Garner) and daughter. The musician also befriends a hotel manager named Mary (Annette Bening), and soon begins writing new material that puts him at odds with his longtime manager (Christopher Plummer) and his fans. The film was written and directed by Dan Fogelman (Last Vegas). 

I recently had the honor of sitting down with the great Al Pacino (along with a few other members of the press), to talk about his work on Danny Collins. The legendary actor spoke candidly about his new film, his process as an actor, how it’s changed over the years, what real life rock stars influenced his performance, and his signature role as Michael Corleone in The Godfather

Disney just can’t let Frozen go!

The animated musical was a runaway hit for the studio, winning Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, as well as becoming the fifth biggest grossing movie of all time. After recently announcing development of Frozen 2, Disney has produced a brand new short film entitled Frozen Fever, which was released with Cinderella and is currently playing in theaters now.

Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee once again direct Frozen Fever, with Peter Del Vecho producing. Voice actors Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad all reprise their roles from the original, while Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez composed a new song for the short. Frozen Fever takes place on Anna's (Menzel) birthday, as Elsa (Bell) and Kristoff (Groff) are determined to give her the best celebration ever. However, Elsa's icy powers may put more than just the party at risk. 

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with co-director Chris Buck and producer Peter Del Vecho to talk about their work on Frozen Fever. The Oscar-winning director and producer discussed the new short, the incredible success of the original feature, their master plan for world domination, purposely having John Travolta mispronounce Idina Menzel’s name at the Academy Awards, revisiting the Frozen characters, the Lopez’s new song, and the cute new characters from Frozen Fever that might just appear in Frozen 2.

Appearing at Paleyfest 2015 in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 14th at the Dolby Theater was the cast of The Flash, which is based on characters created by DC Comics. In attendance were executive producers Andrew Kreisberg, and Greg Berlanti, as well as cast members Grant Gustin ("Barry Allen/The Flash"), Candice Patton ("Iris West"), Jesse L. Martin (Det. Joe West"), Carlos Valdes ("Cisco Ramon"), Danielle Panabaker ("Dr. Caitlin Snow"), Rick Cornett ("Det. Eddie Thawne"), and Tom Cavanagh ("Dr. Harrison Wells/Reverse-Flash"). 

IAR's Managing Editor Jami Philbrick had the pleasure of attending the red carpet before the Paleyfest presentation at the Dolby Theater and spoke to executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, as well as actors Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, Rick Cornett, and Tom Cavanagh about their work on The Flash. The producer and actors discussed their hit series, researching the comic book source material, the actor's character arc, when Wally West will appear, the introduction of Firestorm, working with the great Victor Garber, if Cisco will become Vibe, Mark Hamill reprising his role as the Trickster, the brilliant casting of Prison Break's Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell as Captain Cold and Heat Wave, Arrow's Felicity Smoak (Emily Brit Rickards) and Ray Palmer's (Brandon Routh) upcoming visit to Central City, Eddie Thawne's secret connection to the Reverse-Flash, the inevitable confrontation between Barry Allen and Dr. Wells, and why Cavanagh is happy that he can finally tell people that Wells is the Reverse-Flash. 

Appearing at Paleyfest 2015 in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 14th at the Dolby Theater was the cast of Arrow, which is based on characters created by DC Comics. In attendance were executive producers Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti, and Marc Guggenheim, as well as cast members Stephen Amell ("Oliver Queen/Arrow"), Colton Haynes ("Roy Harper/Arsenal"), Emily Brit Rickards ("Felicity Smoak"), David Ramsey ("John Diggle"), Katie Cassidy ("Laurel Lance/Black Canary"), Willa Holland ("Thea Queen"), John Barrowman ("Malcolm Merlyn"), and Paul Blackthorne ("Quentin Lance"). 

IAR's Managing Editor Jami Philbrick had the pleasure of attending the red carpet before the Paleyfest presentation at the Dolby Theater and spoke to executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, as well as actors John Barrowman and Paul Blackthorne about their work on Arrow. The producer and actors discussed their hit series, having a plan for the show's flashback sequences, what DC characters they are allowed to use, the evolution of Barrowman and Blackthorne's characters, the loss of Sara Lance, and why Merlyn could appear on The Flash

Arguably, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins are three of the greatest boxing champions of all time! Now their story can be seen in the brilliant new documentary Champs, which was directed by Bert Marcus and opens in theaters on March 13th.

The new documentary examines the rise, fall, and rise again of Tyson, Holyfield and Hopkins, and combines interviews with all three champions, old footage, and narrative footage used to represent their early lives. The film was produced by Marcus, Tyson, Tyson’s wife Lakiha Spicer, and actor Mario Lopez (TV’s Saved By The Bell), and also includes interviews with celebrity boxing fans like Mark Wahlberg (Broken City), Denzel Washington (Flight), Mary J. Blige (The Help), 50 Cent (Freelancers), Spike Lee (Oldboy), and Ron Howard (Cinderella Man).

The three champions share a lot in common having all rose to fame in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and overcoming childhoods in poor inner city neighborhoods. While Tyson and Holyfield will forever be linked in history by the infamous “biting incident,” they also both lost their fortunes after boxing, and Tyson and Hopkins have both served lengthy prison sentences. The documentary really uses boxing and the lives of these three champions as a way to examine bigger issues in our society like poverty, race, the American prison system, and economic inequality. 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with director Bert Marcus about his work on Champs. The documentary filmmaker discussed his new movie, why he chose to look at the lives of Tyson, Holyfield and Hopkins, how he used the project as an opportunity to examine important social issues, the evolution of Mike Tyson, why Tyson and Evander Holyfield will forever be linked together in history, Bernard Hopkins incredible life story, what the World Boxing Association should do to prepare fighters for life outside of the ring, and the decision to include narrative footage in his documentary. 

Opening in theaters on March 13th is the new fairy tale adaptation Cinderella, which was written by Academy Award-nominee Chris Weitz (About a Boy) and directed by Academy Award-nominee Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn). The film stars Lily James (TV's Downton Abbey) in the title role, as well as Richard Madden (HBO's Game of Thrones) as the Prince, Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club) as the Fairy Godmother, and Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) as the Stepmother. 

I recently had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with screenwriter Chris Weitz to talk about his work on Cinderella, as well as his upcoming highly anticipated project - Star Wars: Rogue One. The Oscar-nominated writer discussed Cinderella, working with director Kenneth Branagh, drawing on other interpretations of the classic story for influence, the origin of Cinderella's name, retelling the fairy tale for a modern generation, making Cinderella and the Prince equals, Star Wars: Rogue One, and how it feels as a writer to be given the keys to George Lucas' kingdom.

Method Man is one of the founding members of the groundbreaking hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, but in recent years he has also become a very accomplished actor!

Born Clifford Smith, the Grammy-winning rapper made his big screen debut in the classic crime drama Copland, which starred Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro. He went on to appear in such films as One Eight Seven, Big Daddy, How High, Garden State, Soul Plane, The Sitter, and Red Tails, as well as the upcoming Judd Apatow comedy Trainwreck with Amy Schumer. On television, Method Man first appeared on the HBO series OZ, before co-starring in his own sitcom Method & Red with fellow rapper Redman. But it was his role as Melvin “Cheese” Wagstaff on the seminal HBO series The Wire that really began his evolution from beloved musician to accomplished actor. But now, the rapper/actor stars opposite comedic powerhouse Adam Sandler (That’s My Boy) in the new comedy fantasy The Cobbler, which opens in theaters on March 13th. 

The Cobbler was directed by Method Man’s fellow The Wire alumni actor/writer/director Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor, Win Win). The new movie follows Max Simkin (Sandler), who repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Max soon learns that sometimes walking in another man's shoes is the only way one can discover who they really are. Method Man plays one of Max’s customers whose life he soon embodies. In addition to Method Man and Sandler, the film also stars Dan Stevens (The Guest), Steve Buscemi (The Big Lebowski), Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love), and Academy Award-winner Dustin Hoffman (All the President’s Men, Tootsie). 

I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Method Man about his work on The Cobbler. The rapper turned actor discussed his new movie, being directed by his former Wire cast member Thomas McCarthy, playing dual roles, working with Adam Sandler, understanding the business, and seriously studying the craft of acting. 

Opening in theaters on March 13th is the new music documentary The Wrecking Crew, which was directed by Denny Tedesco. The film features interviews with former members of The Wrecking Crew including Tommy TedescoCarol KayeHal Blaine, Don Randi, Emil Richards, Leon Russell and Glen Campbell, as well as Brian Wilson, Nancy Sinatra, Cher, Herb Alpert, Lou Adler, Micky Dolenz, and Dick Clark

IAR's Managing Editor Jami Philbrick recently had the pleasure of traveling to the Professional Drum Shop in Los Angeles and sitting down with director Denny Tedesco, as well as former members of The Wrecking Crew including Hal Blaine, Don Randi, and Emil Richards to talk about their work on The Wrecking Crew. The documentary director and musical legends discussed the new film, why Tedesco wanted to make the movie, Blaine's epic Elvis Presley story, the incredible musicians that they've worked with, Randi's reflection on their legacy, Richards' career after The Wrecking Crew, and how the documentary has helped keep Tommy Tedesco's spirit alive.

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