Today's my birthday and it was, overall, fun. Thanks to all the wonderful people in my life, I love you all.
Totally unrelated: I had a thought about something that happened to me last night. I rode my bike from the train station to my house after work (as I'm bound to do), and it was pretty dark out (I tend to leave work well into the evening). Suddenly I felt a car slowing down next to me, and something dawned on me: I'm in NYC, in a dark road, and a car is approaching me and slowing down. Fuck! Then I hear "Excuse me, miss, but your kickstand is down, you're going to fall." I turned around and noticed the pesky kickstand. I quickly thanked the young man, whose car then sped up and went on its way. "How lovely," I thought. And it occurred to me how he could have just driven off and not given a crap, but he took the time to warn an unknown cyclist out of the kindness of his heart.
Thank you, sir, wherever you are--that was pretty cool of you!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Today's my birthday and it was, overall, fun. Thanks to all the wonderful people in my life, I love you all.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Here's a link to an interview of Marion's--this time courtesy of "The Envelope." There's a written interview and a short video of Marion at the Hollywood Film Festival. It's quite lovely and she describes the experience as akin to a "beautiful dream." Congrats, Marion. You deserve it (seriously!). And yes, Chanel rocks, but I still prefer the jeans. :)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Variety has a very interesting article about international stars like Marion Cotillard and the unique problems young studios like Picturehouse face on their road to Oscar. See below.
Plane pain a global dilemma
Studios find flying foreign stars to U.S. is pricey
By KRISTOPHER TAPLEY
When the Edith Piaf biopic "La Vie en rose" was released into theaters this summer, breakout star Marion Cotillard was met with uniform praise for her portrayal of the French chanteuse.
The rapturous performance by the 32-year-old Gallic actress was instantly targeted for Oscar consideration. But for Picturehouse, Cotillard's reception set up an all too typical awards season challenge: getting overseas talent back to the States for face time with the press and Q&A screenings.
As more foreign award-contending films and actors try to make an impression with Stateside voters, studios and publicists face similar situations of bringing talent to America from across the globe.
In this year's race, not only might Cotillard make a few lengthy plane trips, but folks such as Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Joe Wright from "Atonement" will be earning some serious frequent-flier miles. Then there's Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men"), Tom Wilkinson ("Michael Clayton"), Cate Blanchett ("Elizabeth: The Golden Age"), Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd") and the actors from "The Kite Runner."
Sometimes a major studio might have expected publicity protocol written into a star's contract, but for a specialty unit such as Picturehouse, studio sway and leverage have to take a different shape.
"We don't really have the budget to demand actors come here," Picturehouse president Bob Berney says. "It's very expensive and time-consuming to go back and forth. And sometimes the Hollywood system, with the thousand meetings and so forth, can seem foreign and off-putting. We don't look at it as leverage so much as convincing the talent involved that we're all on one team and that coming here and promoting the film is as important as making the film."
The PR onslaught during the awards season might be particularly important for an actress such as Cotillard, who is new to American auds. Plus, as Berney points out, when the makeup in the film is such a transformation of image -- think Charlize Theron in "Monster" -- Academy voters gain a particular insight by meeting her in person.
Elsewhere in the awards race, Ang Lee's NC-17-rated "Lust, Caution" has stirred the waters of kudo potential, earning high-profile wins at the Venice Film Festival. Like Cotillard, the film's lead actress, newcomer Tang Wei, is moving into the North American market for the first time.
Tang came to the States from Hangzhou, China, in October for the film's platform release. Through a translator, she learned to tubthump "Lust" in just enough words to express her fervor for the film. It's Tang's co-star, Joan Chen, who brings some insight to notions of studio leverage and the commitment of a foreign ingenue on the cusp of North American success.
"Every Chinese actor would love to work in Hollywood movies, so that's leverage enough," she says. "To experience how this mechanism works is interesting to most actors."
Currently residing in San Francisco, Chen isn't so consistently faced with the prospect of traveling from Asia to support her films. She does, however, have a second home in Shanghai and understands the hardships of traveling around the globe.
Studios and publicists are fully aware that structuring a campaign around a particular foreign actor can be troublesome if that thesp can't make a trip overseas due to a prior commitment, yet plenty of hard work can suffer if a thesp isn't able to come to the States to campaign.
Tony Angellotti, who works on awards campaigns for Universal, among other clients, boasts a fair share of experience promoting foreign entities for awards contention. He helped steer the campaigns for Miramax's "Red," "Il Postino" and "Life Is Beautiful" as well as "No Man's Land." He stresses the importance of a flexible and adaptable strategy.
"Elasticity is key, and not just in a foreign-language campaign," he observes. "Things change. Favor fades and spikes. In a situation involving a foreign star, a visit here is essential for any publicity effort. Without U.S. distribution, though, it's a matter of preference and perspective whether a visit aids and abets."
While campaigns may certainly bring an actor's name to the surface for voters and audiences to ponder, those efforts don't always ensure longevity. A campaign does what it can for a thespian when box office and awards are on the line, but it takes something much more to outlast the hype of Oscar season.
"You could fill this page with the number of spotlighted foreign stars who broke into the U.S. market on the heels of a foreign-language film and were never heard from again," Angelotti says. "Stardom sticks or it doesn't."
The Case of Marion Cotillard and the Mysterious Left Hand. Observe, if you will, the writing on Mlle. Cotillard's hand. Is it a laundry and/or grocery list? Lyrics to "It's the End of the World as we Know it?" A travel itinerary? Physical graffitti, perhaps? It must be her speech! Yes, that's the ticket.
How's this for a headline: Marion Cotillard is so committed to the environment that she writes her award-winning speeches on her hand rather than paper!Yeah, too long. Thought so.
Thank you, Anna!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The Hollywood Film Festival ceremony took place today. Here's a picture of Marion, who was awarded with the Hollywood Actress of the Year Award. Congratulations, Mlle. Cotillard.
For more pics, visit Magnifique Marion Cotillard, which has a plethora of images for your enjoyment.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Guys, if you have the opportunity to see Anton Corbijn's "Control," run and check it out! I saw it this past Friday and absolutely loved it. The cinematography is mouth-watering, the Joy Division music (performed by the actors themselves) is quite delectable, and the performances superb. I was particularly impressed with Sam Riley, who plays the doomed poet/songwriter/singer Ian Curtis with astonishing precision, complexity and love. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a nomination come Oscar time--he's that good. The always reliable Samantha Morton is excellent here. She adds so many layers to a role that might have been quite forgettable in the hands of a less-experienced actor.
Here's the preview:
It is a remarkable film directing debut by Corbijn--I can't wait to see what he does next.
Marion won several awards at a recent ceremony for her performance in "La Vie En Rose." Here's some video of her arrival (forward to around 3:25). She very kindly signs an autograph and poses with a lucky fan. Class act.
The New York Times is featuring today a lengthy interview with Marion Cotillard. The article is accompanied by some lovely images (see below).
Here's the article:
By LYNN HIRSCHBERG
In “La Vie en Rose,” you play Edith Piaf from age 17 to her death at 47. Piaf was a brilliant singer, but she was also a drug addict with a deeply dramatic personality. Was it challenging to play a woman who was so extreme in her emotions?
When I read the script, I was really scared. But, of course, I was also intrigued. The director, Olivier Dahan, wrote the script with me in mind.
I never knew why, but then he told journalists, “There was something about Marion’s eyes.” He saw some tragedy in my eyes, something terribly sad that reminded him of Piaf. And I have to say, I did feel close to her. As an actress, I could understand her behavior. That made me less afraid of playing an icon that so many people love.
In the end, a role this huge is like the biggest present. So your initial fear becomes a fake fear — just a manifestation of your ego. I didn’t want to waste my time asking myself, Will I be good or not good? I realized I just had to have less ego and do more work.
Did you shoot the film in sequence, from young Piaf to old?
No. We didn’t have a big enough budget for that. On the fourth day of shooting was one of the biggest scenes — the moment in 1960 when Piaf collapsed and canceled her performance at the Olympia theater. It was the big jump right away. From day to day, I was skipping from Piaf as a girl to Piaf at the end of her life. But it was better that way — if I had to wait for the last month to be old, I would have been paralyzed with fear.
But the makeup and hair transformations must have been grueling.
After three days of latex to age me, my skin was not there anymore. I shaved my hairline back before shooting began so that I would have a bigger forehead, and I shaved off my eyebrows. It was very disturbing to look in the mirror, but I no longer looked like myself. I could see another person emerge.
Was it personally upsetting to film Piaf’s death scene?
No. Piaf was dying again and again. When she was alive, all the journalists were ready for her death. They prepared the obituaries every week! When you play someone with so many chapters and so many moods, it reminds you that life can have great intensity and depth.
You lip-sync Piaf in the film. Did you want to do the singing yourself?
Yes and no. We really didn’t have the time for me to learn to sing the songs properly. But lip-synching is the most difficult thing to do. I had to breathe like Piaf, and I worked with a vocal coach to learn her technique. I would study how to breathe, when to be silent, how to look natural and yet emotional. I taped myself, and I hate to watch myself, but I studied those tapes again and again. It might have been easier to just sing.
Now you are going to do another musical, “Nine,” opposite Javier Bardem.
I love to sing and dance. I started in musicals when I was very young. Both my parents are stage actors, and I was fascinated by their jobs. My father was a mime. When I was 5, a director friend of my family put me in his movie. I played a little girl with a dog, but I remember my scenes and I was entranced by acting. It was a dream to me — the passion of the profession was contagious.
When I was 16, I moved to Paris with my mother, and I started getting parts in films. In France, film is a strong industry, but it’s also very complicated. The French are very proud of their performers, but they don’t want you to stray too far from France. As a little girl, my dream of acting had no frontiers. I wanted to cross the sea, to meet amazing directors, even if they were not in France. The French don’t like you to leave. But there are opportunities everywhere, and as an actress, I need to tell all kinds of stories.
When you were 28, you co-starred in “Big Fish,” directed by Tim Burton. Was it hard to learn English?
Yes. Three years ago, I flew to New York and I took a Berlitz class for 18 days. I saved my money for one year to do this. I rented an apartment
in Manhattan, and I submerged myself in English. There is such a different rhythm to the language. It’s exhausting sometimes, like singing a musical when you’re used to jazz. Even now, in Paris, I try to speak English every day. I have to learn to sound authentic in English — to not just say the correct words but to express feeling, too.
I loved living in New York. I saw such a difference from France. In France, you are supposed to pretend you don’t work, but in America, they give you respect if you work. In France, they don’t like success — for instance, they excoriate their hit movies. They only like the underdog. But in America, they appreciate success. That was interesting to me.
Did you get calls about American films after “Big Fish”?
No. In the movie, I’m a French girl who’s pregnant. So, nothing. No one in Hollywood was interested. But it did change a lot of things in France. It put me in that special, weird place in France. I had co-starred in the first three “Taxi” movies [written by Luc Besson], and they were commercial hits. After that, to have your place in French cinema, you have to prove that you are a serious actress in a noncommercial film.
[She laughs.] When Tim Burton picked me, they were impressed. In France, they see Tim Burton as a kind of film doctor, and the movie was not successful, so voilà!
Do you find it more difficult to star in a comedy or a drama?
Comedy may be harder, but tragedy is such fun! It’s not as narrow a form. It is much easier for me to understand something vast and complex, rather than something light and uncomplicated. Perhaps that makes me very French. But that sensibility is an element of the French that might be beneficial for America. Tragedy is almost always interesting.
Here are the rest of the images:
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
If you live in Los Angeles, CA, you are one lucky person! Back Stage has announced the following:
Back Stage and The Hollywood Reporter invite you to join actor Marion Cotillard for a screening of La Vie en Rose on Sunday, Oct. 21, in Los Angeles.
And it gets better...
The event will include a screening, followed by a Q&A with Cotillard. Sarah Kuhn, Back Stage West's film and TV writer, will moderate.
The event will take place on October 21, at 8 p.m., at Harmony Gold Theatre, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.
"Admission is free. To RSVP, call (310) 967-3461. Seating is limited. Please arrive early." Source
Color me jealous :) Hopefully a similar screening will take place in New York City (hint, hint!).
Monday, October 8, 2007
"It's a dream... it's a dream for those who make cinema, and a dream for those who go to the cinema. If you think of all the people who stop to watch a crew at work... it's a dream, a real entertainment." Source.
Pretty adorable, no?
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I was surfing around for some Cotillard snippets and came across a really funny image (click on it for the full size):
Thanks Eegah (from whom I blatantly lifted the image).
I might jump on the wagon myself and start doing my own Road to the Oscar comic.
Monday, October 1, 2007
So this is one of those tangents I warned you about. Just this past weekend I caught a showing of Sean Penn's "Into the Wild." Words fail me, and I really wish I could convey to you how great this film is. I was impressed with various performances, from Catherine Keener, to Kirsten Stewart, to the great Hal Holbrook (a sure-fire Oscar nominee for his work here). The music by Eddie Vedder is haunting. Sean Penn's direction...seamless.
But my highest praise goes to its young star Emile Hirsch. If I had any additional free time, I would quickly start an "Emile Hirsch's Road to Oscar" blog. He's guaranteed at least a nomination, and I'd love to see him take home the gold.
If you're fortunate enough to have a chance to see this film as it slowly widens its release, do yourself a favor and see the best American film released thus far this year. It's truly a thing of beauty.
Check out the trailer: