BURBANK, California (Reuters) – In the leafy, idyllic setting that is the Disney Studios lot, author P.L. Travers made life hell for writers and composers and Walt Disney himself in a movie that portrays her as a withering, brick wall, toxic nightmare of a woman.
It is not quite the demeanor one would expect from the creator of one of the most beloved of children’s books, “Mary Poppins.” But Travers was so worried that Disney and his dream factory would ruin her story of the magical, flying British nanny that she subverted their work at every turn during two weeks at the Burbank studios in 1961.
BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) – Leave it to the prolific filmmaking pair Joel and Ethan Coen to create their own movie conundrum, and engineer (or maybe luck) their way out of it.
For their new film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the brothers Coen painted themselves into this corner: They needed an actor for the title role of a struggling folk singer in the early 1960s who could carry an entire movie, be in every scene, convince the audience he was a musician and play songs live in their entirety multiple times.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – British actor Idris Elba will be the first to say that he doesn’t look like Nelson Mandela.
But in playing the anti-apartheid leader and former president of South Africa in the biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” he figured that nailing his physical presence would go a long way to portraying the man.
BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) – When British comedic actor Steve Coogan first read the mournful story behind his new film “Philomena” in a newspaper, he noticed that the two people in the accompanying picture were laughing.
The photo showed Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman looking for the son she was forced to give up as a teenage girl, and former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith who had accompanied her on her search and written a book about it in 2009.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – In preparing for her first film role as a petite, hard-laboring slave in “12 Years a Slave,” actress Lupita Nyong’o sized herself up against 500 pounds of cotton, which her character Patsey picked every day.
The pile “was taller and wider and thicker than me,” says Nyong’o. “And I was presented with this woman’s loftiness.”
LOS ANGELES, Nov 18 (Reuters) – It’s Friday evening at Union
Station in downtown Los Angeles, and, like always, commuters are
catching trains to their bedroom communities and weekend
travelers are jumping on the Pacific Surfliner.
And then there’s a less harried crowd milling around the old
wooden seats under the arches of the grand waiting room,
headphones clamped down over their ears. They are told to
respect those using the station, especially the homeless who
take sanctuary there and the people running to trains.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Hollywood film industry recognized Angelina Jolie on Saturday with a humanitarian award for her work with refugees and advocating for human rights through her film career.
Actors Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin and costume designer Piero Tosi also received what are called “honorary Oscars” for their contributions to film at the annual Governors Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – As director Alexander Payne sees it, his latest film “Nebraska” is about a dying man whose son takes him into Hades to meet all the specters of the past.
Oh, and it’s a comedy, despite that dire synopsis – one that revels in lunkhead cousins who embody how awful extended family can be and in an elderly wife who lifts her skirt over a former paramour’s gravestone to show him what he missed.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Filmmaker Alex Gibney was not alone in being duped by Lance Armstrong and his strident denials that he had doped and cheated his way to cycling’s biggest prizes over the years.
But Gibney was in a unique position as the Oscar-winning documentary director who had set out to make what he called a “feel-good” film about Armstrong’s comeback in the Tour de France in 2009. Known for tackling tough subjects like torture during war and the fall of energy company Enron, Gibney could take a lighter approach to a common theme for him – winning at all costs.
LOS ANGELES, Nov 4 (Reuters) – With a soft voice and a
downward gaze, Jimi Hendrix seemed to shrink in his pastel blue
kimono-like shirt as talk show host Dick Cavett called him one
of the best guitarists in the world in 1969.
After all, his friends and family said, Hendrix was shy and
insecure. When he was performing, however, he was anything but,
laying it all out for audiences that couldn’t quite absorb the
innovation unfolding before their eyes and in their ears.