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|0 Comment(s)||05/20/2016||Films | News|
Should you ever require an Oscar winner to compile cheat notes for a play, might we point you towards Geoffrey Rush, an actor who can make you rethink everyone from the Bard to the breast-beating Greeks, and who can still sound enthusiastic about his earliest stage turns in Waiting for Godot (opposite his then flatmate, Mel Gibson) and Juno and the Paycock.
The Australian actor is, accordingly, full of questions about Ireland’s centenary celebrations: “The thing that astonishes me about the O’Casey plays is the timeframe between the events and the writing,” he gushes. “It’s almost like reportage.”
The youngest of an elite group to have managed the great acting treble – having lifted the Oscar, the Emmy and the Tony – Rush is now such a familiar screen presence, one can easily forget that he was a “latecomer” to the movieverse.
A theatre veteran who trained at Queensland Theatre Company in Brisbane and L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, Rush had tread many’s a board before his big screen debut. He was 44 and the movie was Shine, the 1996 biopic of the pianist David Helfgott, and the first performance to win the Academy Award, Bafta, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Movie Award and Screen Actors Guild Award.
“When I started out the subsidised theatre scene was taking off,” he recalls. “The film industry was still very small. It simply didn’t occur to me that I had a future there. But after years of doing eight plays a year, it was time for a change.”
Rush has certainly made up for lost time with three additional Oscar nods for roles in Shakespeare in Love, Quills and The King’s Speech. Not to mention such box office stormers as Finding Nemo, Minions and the Pirates of the Caribbean series. He’s worked with Spielberg on Munich and the Coen Brothers on Intolerable Cruelty.
“I often get the squint,” he laughs. “‘It’s that guy. What’s he in again?’ Or, when I do get asked for an autograph – or more often a selfie nowadays – it’ll be dad telling their kids: ‘Look, it’s Capt. Barbossa from the Pirate movies’. And the kids have no idea what he’s talking about.”
Rush has also essayed the Marquis de Sade (Quills) and Peter Sellers (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers), a role he regards, perhaps surprisingly, as his darkest: “I almost scared myself. There’s something about all of Sellers’s contradictions that remains very unsettling.”
Next year, he’ll be squabbling once again with Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but for the moment he has returned to his theatrical roots, sort of, with The Daughter, a reworking of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, by Simon Stone.
“Simon is the enfant terrible, if you like, of Australian theatre,” says Rush. “About six or seven years ago, he was just out of drama school and he put on a version of Chekhov’s first play , Platanov. And it was classical and faithful. But entirely fresh and electrifying. I saw his Thyestes by Seneca. Nobody wants to see Seneca. It’s box-office poison. But it was mind-blowing. Then I saw his Wild Duck. So when the film version came up, I said, ‘I’ll play the duck if you want me to’.”
The Daughter, as befits its source, makes for properly searing family drama. Henry (Rush) has invited his estranged son Christian (Paul Schneider) to attend his marriage to a much younger woman (Anna Torv). The aloof patriarch’s closure of the local mill has already created much ill-feeling. And that’s before Christian reveals a certain family secret.
“I’m now in the market for patriarch roles,” Rush says. “I used to be Lear’s Fool; now I’m Lear. But this was otherwise a very different role for me. It was very muted and introspective. My agent was surprised. Which I think was a compliment.”
Next month, Rush will be rather less muted as Ra, the Sun God, in Gods of Egypt. The CG bonanza was much-maligned on its US release earlier this year.
“Let’s be honest: it bombed,” he says. “But I really admired the director, Alex Proyas, who took on the film after his adaptation of Paradise Lost fell through. And I loved that it was completely original. You can’t say that about many films nowadays.”
The Daughter opens on May 27th.
Interview by Camilla Palmer of The Guardian AUS, published today.
I was born – and spent my early years – in a small town just outside Brisbane. My paternal and maternal grandparents were all farmers, working the land. It was chilly up in the hills and we had cold winters. It felt like a retirement village at the time.
My parents separated when I was five and the divorce came through when I was nine. I was very closely attached to all my grandparents and my mum, but not so much my then estranged father. He remained a distant figure, more like an uncle. My mum has always been the person who’s encouraged me without any restrictions.
Their split didn’t really disturb me. I never felt troubled because the nurturing from my mum and my grandparents was just effortless. Although, I knew that I was a rarity in those days, coming from a single-parent family. But now families can be made up in such diverse combinations.
My older sister and I moved to Brisbane when I was eight to be with my mother’s family, but I had a constant reconnection with my hometown all my childhood and adulthood.
This was a crucial time for me – going to a new school in a new city. I established myself by becoming the class clown and one of my teachers, Miss Hammond, would always get me up in class to do skits. She was one of many key female teachers who had a massive impact on me, along with my mum and grandparents. Growing up was really all about the female figures in my life.
My sister and I were chalk and cheese growing up, but when my children were born in my early 40s, we reconnected on an extraordinary level. She’d already raised three strapping surfing lads and she’s always been a great mentor to me and my family.
The children [Rush is married to the actor Jane Menelaus, and they have two children, Angelica, 24, and James, 21] have been immersed in films and acting from infancy and are showing signs of following the family pattern. We’ve always sought normality for them. My lifestyle is peripatetic, but it always goes back to the important connection with them.
All the great plays are about family, I remember a fellow actor once saying. He was right. So they have always been a reference point during anything I’ve worked on. When I did a film about Peter Sellers, they were the same age as his children, so I had an anchor point in my own family. When I voiced a pelican in Finding Nemo, they said, “The pelican’s got your nose, Dad” – one of the cruellest critiques I’ve had.
I’m intrigued by the cut and thrust of history but it’s even better when the story’s from your own family. I once held a letter that my seven-times great-grandfather on my mum’s side had written to the King of Denmark asking permission to earn a living as a musician. The actor in me tried to imagine being that man – there was a certain frisson to that. And it’s still going on, because I’m continuing to create the next chapter of that story.
I do wonder what you actually inherit through social or familial connection or how much is down to genetics. Right up until her last year, my grandmother played in a band with her sisters, taking music into old age homes – I love that resilience. My mother was a great jive and I vividly remember her dancing.
In the day-to-day reality of life, fragments of my memories and flashes of childhood tell me that I was alerted to musicality and performance. I saw it in the ordinariness of people like my mum, who weren’t doing it for anything more than the love of it. It was just there, around me.
|0 Comment(s)||05/05/2016||Films | News|
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne will be celebrating the extraordinary animated collaboration of two-time Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton and acclaimed filmmaker Brendan Fletcher with a new exhibition, “Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose,” which opens June 21 and runs through September 18, 2016.
The exhibit in ACMI’s Gallery 2 will feature original artworks, hand-crafted paper props, photos of the animation production process and behind-the-scenes interviews with the creative team — as well as a space to watch the film in its entirety.
Produced by Aquarius Films, The Nightingale and the Rose features the voices of some of Australia’s best known actors, including Mia Wasikowska, David Wenham and Geoffrey Rush, as well as a score by singer-songwriter Sarah Blasko. It won Best Australian Short Film at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2015 and was nominated for the Crystal Bear at Berlin the same year.
Adapted from Oscar Wilde’s classic story, the 14-minute short blends Barton’s distinctive painting, papercraft, stop-motion and digital effects and manipulation (produced with some help from Method Studios) to explore the tragic fairytale story of the Nightingale, who gives up her life so that the Student can offer a red rose to the girl he admires, only for her to spurn his gift and cause him to swear off love completely.
“From the making of my paintings and drawings for the [Art&Australia] book project, to a three year (and often agonising) marathon making the animation, the Nightingale experience has been an extraordinary and multifaceted creative journey,” says Barton. “I feel so blessed to have shared the challenges of this journey with so many talented collaborators and to have created relationships that will no doubt enable many more film projects. I am truly in love with this exciting, exacting medium!”
|0 Comment(s)||05/05/2016||Films | News|
Top notch actor? $10 million. Visual effects team? $25 million Shooting in 3D? $15 million. Creating a film that brings viewers into another world? Not exactly priceless.
Over the past 10 years, movies have become more expensive than ever before, with the priciest one, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, costing Disney $300 million to produce in 2007. That’s almost $40 million more than the runner up 2012′s John Carter, a $264 million flop also by Disney. The slew of superhero and fantasy films that follow in our list of Most Expensive Movies Ever Made all cost upwards of $200 million to produce.
Our list is based only production costs—not marketing and other post-production expenses—and was sourced, unadjusted for inflation, from IMDB.
Had inflation been counted for, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End would have still been the most expensive film, costing an adjusted $341 million. Post inflation, 20th Century Fox’s 1997’s Titanic would have rounded out at $296.4 million to rank second. While the studio was originally concerned about its $200 million budget, the James Cameron film has grossed over $2.1 billion worldwide—and earned millions more on home video. Cleopatra, which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, infamously almost caused 20th Century Fox to go into bankruptcy at its 1963 price tag of $31 million.In 2016, it would have cost a steep $241 million—eye-watering but not implausible in Hollywood today.
|0 Comment(s)||04/27/2016||Films | News|
Although the fifth movie of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has already completed filming last year, a three-week extension of the production was held in Vancouver, Canada beginning on March 24, which was possibly meant to tie loose ends and plug all the loopholes in the overall filming.
It was an added cost on the part of Disney Pictures as reports have it that Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is unofficially gunning to be the most expensive movie that was produced in history. Unconfirmed reports place the movie budget to have gone past $500 million and it looks to balloon some more before its May 26, 2017 release date to global theaters.
However, reports later came out to confirm that the extended shooting in Vancouver, Canada was not meant to re-shoot some of the scenes of the film but actually it was made to accommodate the entry of Beatle’s great Sir Paul McCartney into the franchise in a cameo role most likely.
It was meant to be a quiet involvement for the iconic musician in the movie and the production team was trying their best to contain it but the information apparently found its way online and also in the media.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer along with Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg were actually the ones who called on the filming extension to add an extra big set-piece scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales built around Paul McCartney, reports Deadline.
Everybody seems to be mum on what role will McCartney be playing in the film but what seems confirmed is that the previous reports of a re-shoot are just cover for the filming of the extra scene.
McCartney actually has a long list of movie credits to his name but his participation in it was mostly in coming up with the musical scores for those films. In fact, the Beatles won an Academy Award for Best Original Score for the movie Let It Be and McCartney’s memorable acting happened when he played as himself in A Hard Day’s Night shown in 1964 and Help in 1965, both movies of which had their counterpart Beatles’ songs.
Corrective production work
Early last month, the reports of the three-week filming extension of Pirates of the Caribbean 5 in Vancouver was believed to be just corrective production work while the movie was already being edited in post-production.
Critics believe that the additional sequences shall also be shot to add the final touch to the movie.
Instead of going back to Australia, which would entail more cost, the production team decided to do it instead in nearby Canada.
Reports early last month said that Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Geoffrey Rush will be leading the other cast members who will do filming in Vancouver, Canada under the helming of Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg.
But Canadian fans were disappointed to learn eventually that filming was done in an indoor studio and not in public.
Way over the budget
Sometime in May 2015, four months before the movie wrapped up filming, Pirates of the Caribbean 5 was already US$70 million over its US$250 million budget, which only means that after four months of production, the movie could have actually doubled its given budget.
With the additional three-week filming in Vancouver, it is possible that the movie’s budget could already hit more than $500 million, making it the most expensive movie of all time.
Artslink Queensland has gone into voluntary administration because it is unable to meet its financial obligations.
The organisation, previously known as the Queensland Arts Council and still registered in that name, is funded through both federal and state grants and delivers a range of programs in youth, education and regional arts.
Artistic Director Arthur Frame who ran the organisation for 30 years announced his retirement last year.
The financial collapse of Artslink casts doubt on the Artslink schools touring program comprising 13 shows, many of them linked to curriculum requirements. Shows are scheduled to tour across the Queensland region throughout the 2016 school year.
The schools program is endorsed by actor Geoffrey Rush, who writes that he first toured with the Queensland Arts Council 44 years ago and ‘now we are old friends’.
|0 Comment(s)||04/25/2016||Films | Reviews|
One of the main strengths of debutant Simon Stone’s The Daughter is its heavily atmospheric sense of place. Swapping Henrik Ibsen’s 19th century Oslo setting from The Wild Duck (on which this is loosely based) to a rural logging town in contemporary Australia, underpins the timeless nature of these events that could easily be transposed anywhere, anytime.
A deceptively gentle opening conceals the drama’s operatic destination. A hunter (Rush) in his 60s fires a rifle and clips the wings of a duck. Another man of a similar age, Walter (Neill), takes that duck and nurses it back to health. What then follows is a story that details the ways in which the families of these two patriarchs are inextricably linked.
‘The Hunter’ is Henry, a man of some stature, whose family has been employing the small community for a century at their logging factory – although we witness this era come to an end as the plant is forced to close.
Walter, on the other hand, has done time for embezzling company funds. His son, Oliver (Leslie), works at the hunter’s plant. Both Walter and his son live together with his son’s wife (Otto) and their teenage daughter, Hedvig (Young).
The narrative wheels are set in motion when the hunter’s son, Christian (Schneider), returns home from the US, after many years, for the occasion of his father’s imminent marriage to a much younger woman. For Christian, whose mother killed herself and whose own wife is now leaving him, this marriage conjures conflicted feelings.
When he’s reunited with Oliver, his close childhood friend, he’s welcomed into that man’s family with open arms. However, confronted by the warmth and love in Walter and Oliver’s family, which so sharply contrasts with his own, Christian’s jealousy unleashes a long-guarded secret which promptly starts to unravel both families with tragic consequences.
Asides from the country of origin and the casting of Geoffrey Rush, there is a tonal resemblance to 2001’s Lantana. The photography is similarly stylised: quietly assured without ever being showy. There is no homicide, however, as this is a drama of a more ordinary nature, albeit heightened.
The universality of themes related to familial dysfunction, and the betrayal of trust, work both for and against The Daughter.
Although immediately engaging, the pitfalls of employing well-worn themes, without (presumably) an author’s grounding in personal, first-hand experience is that they form a breeding ground for tired tropes and generic dialogue.
This is true here during several scenes of familial conflict in which lines such as “You never understood me” or “Please, it’s not what you think!” are used with such frequency that Stone’s melodrama veers perilously close to soap opera. Fortunately for Stone, for the most part, his well-chosen cast can conceal inadequate writing with knockout performances.
Scenes with less obvious agendas, for example between Hedvig and her father, are charming in their playfulness, while others, overly concerned with reaching a predetermined plot point, come at the cost of their believability. Portions of dialogue are rendered awkward and forced.
Nevertheless, the actors are usually up to the challenge of nailing the emotional truth of their predicament so that Stone’s intentions are made clear, even if his execution is sometimes muddled.
Something the whole family can watch together. Sunday sees the release of Minions (2015), starring the voices of Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Steve Carell, Allison Janney, Geoffrey Rush and Steve Coogan in the animated film from Universal Pictures.
|0 Comment(s)||04/23/2016||Films | Videos|
In the last days of a dying logging town Christian (Paul Schneider) returns to his family home for his father Henry’s (Geoffrey Rush) wedding to the much younger Anna (Anna Torv). While home, Christian reconnects with his childhood friend Oliver (Ewen Leslie), who has stayed in town working at Henry’s timber mill and is now out of a job.
As Christian gets to know Oliver’s wife Charlotte (Miranda Otto), daughter Hedvig (Odessa Young) and father Walter (Sam Neill), he discovers a secret that could tear Oliver’s family apart. As he tries to right the wrongs of the past, his actions threaten to shatter the lives of those he left behind years before.