Showing posts with label nicole kidman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nicole kidman. Show all posts

29 June 2013

Stoker Interview - Park Chan-Wook

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South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook is best known for his films Joint Security Area, Thirst and ‘The Vengeance Trilogy’, consisting of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003) and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). STOKER, a coming-of-age drama starring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode, is his first film in the English language…

Had you been looking to direct a film in the English language for some time or did the script for STOKER just appeal so much?

Ever since Old Boy, scripts started coming to me, English language scripts, and when it came the time when I made and released Thirst, which was partly financed by American studios, it was taking me one step closer to doing an American film, I felt. Things happened in stages I feel. It was really a combination of both — that I have been thinking about making a film in America for some time as well as having the right script to come across.

Even as a young man did you harbour an ambition to make films outside your homeland?

It was very difficult at times for me to even imagine that I would really become a film director. Thinking I would make a film in America, I couldn’t even fathom it. Looking back, it all probably started when I read some American friends a novel, which I wanted to adapt into a film and in the process of thinking about that project I thought the very story of the book, particularly if I were to adapt it, was very American. It had to be set against the backdrop of America. And that is the first time I started thinking about this concept of making films in America.

Were you surprised when you found out that a popular actor, Wentworth Miller, rather than an experienced screenwriter, had produced the STOKER screenplay?

Well, when I found out that the scriptwriter was him, I was probably as surprised as anyone else who had found out who the scriptwriter was, because he wrote under a pseudonym. But to think that a young man, no less than a popular actor, has written such a script, is probably the last thing you would guess. I would have probably been less surprised if I had been told that it was a female actor who had written it. I still consider that he is an amazing, talented person and I think myself lucky that I got to direct this script.

What were the first visual metaphors that struck you when you were reading the script?

I have to say the saddle shoes, which India loves to wear and her mother abhors. It is a very fitting little item to speak to India’s somehow old-fashioned and closed-off personality. But before all that I, at first wondered what a pair of saddle shoes looked like because in Korea we are not used to seeing these shoes. It was never part of our popular culture so I started by looking for images of these shoes online to see what they looked like exactly. After that I began to think: What if it was a birthday gift for India every year, from a mysterious figure? And on her eighteenth birthday she gets a box but it is empty. Instead of a pair of shoes there was a key, which leads to the high heels? This all adds to the saddle shoes becoming in the end one of the most important visual metaphors. As you see in the film this pair or set of shoes that she receives on her birthday every year, it follows her across the years, from a baby size set of shoes to grown up pairs of shoes and she lies on her bed surrounded by them all. It is a very clear visual metaphor to say this is a coming of age story and having gone through these trains of thought it became clear to me that the reason I had conjured up this visual metaphor is because this is very much her coming of age story. It’s that, that helps categorize the film as such. In Korea between people who love each other, they never give shoes as gifts because there is an urban myth or a jinx that when you give a pair of shoes to someone you admire, they will wear the shoes and run away. The American writer, Wentworth Miller, could never have known this, so as a Korean director it is something of an element that I added to the script — the idea that she got saddle shoes every year and she never knew who was sending them but finds out it was Uncle Charlie and that this year instead of saddle shoes, she gets high heels, which is also a metaphor and wearing those shoes, she leaves, she runs away. So this is a very Korean train of thought and idea.

How did you play up the dynamic of hunter and hunted when shooting the movie? At different times, different characters seemed in control…

This is an important element and one of the most important elements I brought to the script. And it informs every aspect of the film. Of course, Uncle Charlie’s love for the car, the jaguar, is also part of that. It is such an important motif and when I met Mia for the first time my gift to her was a sculpture of a jaguar. It is all to do with how the father taught his child to hunt because he is worried that she would end up in a similar situation that befell Uncle Charlie, because her father fears the bad blood. And in order to find a healthy outlet, which can vent any potential violent urges, that is why he taught her to hunt in the first place. Also, Uncle Charlie believes that the blood running through his and her veins is exactly the same, he believes this idea and he almost forces the idea on his niece which leads us to that scene in the forest where she is attacked and how Uncle Charlie arrives at the scene and ties the boy up and just pats the prey saying to the young predator, ‘All yours’. You can compare that to any natural predators like lions, how they would attack their prey and render them immobile and have their baby lion or tiger come in to do the killing blow — to teach this whole hunting process.

Is there anything specific that you plan for the Blu-Ray & DVD release?

Now that you mention it, the documentary will of course be there. And all the trailers I would love to be there, especially the DJ Shadow trailer. This is my favourite trailer of all time, of all my films. Also, some deleted scenes could make their way back into the DVD. I can’t think of the scenes specifically now but one scene comes to mind is when Aunty Gin [Jacki Weaver] arrives. She is putting the flowers in the vase. That is when Uncle Charlie appears. She never knew about him being there and she drops the vase and it shatters on the floor of the kitchen. That scene will make it, perhaps. Another idea that comes to mind is that Emily Wells [who contributed to the STOKER soundtrack] is coming to Korea and she is going to be performing “Becomes the Colour”, which is the song for the film when the red carpet entries are being made by the guests and so I would love that live performance to be captured and to make it on to the DVD.
Stoker will be released on DVD, BluRay on 1st July, Read Review here.

1 March 2013

GFF 2013 Review: Stoker

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If you can avoid the trailer, then for God’s sake do because here’s a film that benefits from going in blind. Park Chan Wook’s Stoker is a thing of undeniable beauty; a carefully crafted piece of art, and there’s a word I don’t go throwing around too often. Essentially it’s a story about sexual awakening against a backdrop of dysfunctional family politics, but as with most great films, it’s not in the idea: it’s the execution.

The first half hour may strain patience, but it’s worth it. Wook takes time to set up his near epic tales, but after that slow start the film starts winding tighter and tighter, releasing brief flurries of energy whilst maintaining the illusion of a melodrama.  Here is a film horrific and deeply unsettling, without giving itself over to the horror genre.  Early scenes of India in the basement are thick with suspense, and moments of mystery call up Hitchcockian influences.You’ll spend a lot of time wondering just what in buggery is going on until finally Wook delivers a fantastic phone-box realisation scene and the film, rather than falling into place, lifts.

Important to the horror aspect is Mathew Goode’s electrifying performance as India’s estranged uncle, a man who appears just after her father’s death and upsets the balance of the household. To be fair I had expected Goode would be on top form, but this is something different.  There’s so much going on under the surface, so many silent and manipulative glances that you need a second viewing to catch the subtlety, Goode’s performance is the prize of the piece. Wasikowska’s India is something of gothic beauty also, shifting from what could have been a tired Burton character to a solid Angela Carter heroine.  We should be hearing a lot more from her in the future if this is anything to go by.

As with every Clint Mansell soundtrack Stoker is a thing to behold, furthering those Hitchcock influences with epic strings whilst digging deeper into India’s slowly dawning mind state with heartfelt piano.

Wook’s keen sense of style and image are fantastic , perhaps even a career best. The Gothic grandeur of the colonial house is captured with apparent ease, every frame looks like a painting, every image is a goldmine, there’s enough symbolism here to fill a hundred books. Repetition and explanation of certain details allows Wook’s film to achieve a bizarre nostalgic quality. This works hand-in-hand with the vicious and cold quality of the night time sequences allowing the horror to take shape.

Kidman’s performance fits in somewhere here; as a detail. And a fine one.  Just as important as India or Charlie, Kidman’s performance is seductive, pathetic, and heart-breaking: her’s is the damaged thread that winds throughout, adding the most pure strain of heart-ache to Stoker.

Macabre, erotic, visually seductive, perfectly cast and performed, and flaunting a plot so thick with mystery and meaning you’ll feel your brain swell. Stoker may just be a genuine masterpiece from a genuine master.

Scott Clark


Release Date: 1st March 2013

23 February 2013

GFF 2013 Review: The Paperboy

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After a rough reception from critics at Cannes in May 2012, The Paperboy finally makes its way to the UK. Even before its general release, The Paperboy has become something of a modern trash classic thanks to director Lee Daniel's pulpy direction and eye for a scantily-clad Zac Efron.

Based on the 1995 novel by Pete Dexter, The Paperboy follows Miami Times reporter, Ward Jansen as he returns to his home of South Florida to exonerate innocent death row hick, Hilary Van Wetter (John Cussack). Alongside his younger brother, Jack (Zac Efron) and Hilary's fiancé, trashy femme fatale Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), Ward sets out to prove the condemned man's innocence.

Lee Daniels is truly a man with a vision, The Paperboy is the film that he set out to make. Filled with a darkly Gothic Southern charm, Daniels' feature is chock-full of rich atmosphere - fully transporting us to the hot, sweaty world of 1960s Florida. This swampy, heat-soaked atmosphere feels like an apt backdrop for Daniels' themes of primal desires like lust and violence to play out. These run their course through Dexters' rich palette of characters from perpetually horny teen, Jack, to over-sexed Barbie doll, Charlotte Bless.

Fans of the book may feel that Dexter's narrative structure and character development have suffered through Daniels' artistic flourishes. Dexter's novel was a brooding read with a natural narrative structure, something that sometimes feels lacking from Daniels' adaptation. On occasion, The Paperboy feels like a disjointed, patchwork of loosely connected sequences which is likely to hamper your emotional investment in the narrative and characters. This lack of emotional investment, is not to say that The Paperboy is not enjoyable, it is a lot of fun.

Daniels' feature is filled with an endearing trashy-charm from the loud aesthetics to the kitsch soundtrack. This charm carries on into the performances too. Nicole Kidman is the clear standout, bringing a large helping of Southern gumption and lashings of trashy sex-appeal to the role of Charlotte Bless. However, there is also an a sense of vulnerability in Kidman's performance - Charlotte's blatant over-sexed demeanour works as a means of masking her insecurities, allowing the actress to give one of her strongest performances in recent years.

The role of Jack also allows Zac Efron to shine, with the actor finally being given the opportunity to showcase his talents in a darker, less-family friendly role. Daniel's voyeuristic gaze of the handsome, lust-filled Jack further thrusts into the sweaty, pulpy atmosphere of The Paperboy. Praise must also go to the wonderful Macy Gray, for a stellar comic turn which also brings themes of 1960s race relations into The Paperboy's frame.

The Paperboy is a thrilling, sweat soaked Southern-Noir, rich in atmosphere and directorial vision. The varying tone, camp aesthetics and powerful performances from Kidman and Efron completely overshadow any of the narrative inconsistencies. The Paperboy is a must-see.

Andrew McArthur


Stars: Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey
Director: Lee Daniels
Certificate: 15 (UK)
Release: 18th February 2013(Glasgow Film Festival) 15th March 2013 (UK)

21 January 2013

GFF2013 - New Trailer And Clip For Park Chan-Wook's Stoker

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At last week's Glasgow Film Festival launch the film that stood out for me was the inclusion of Park Chan-Wook's Stoker and even last night's Sundance premier fairly mixed but positive reviews it's still one of our anticipated films. On this rather cold (and some places snow covered) damp afternoon  we have a new 60 second UK trailer & first clip for Stoker delivering dark, twisted creepiness in a downward spiral of mistrust and deception.

Mia Wasikowska plays India a young woman whose mourning the death of her father(Dermont Mulroney) with Nicole Kidman playing her  emotionally unstable mother Evelyn both are visited by India’s mysterious uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) whom she's intrigued with despite knowing about his existence. However when Charlie arrives it also marks the mysterious disappearance of many of the locals and over time India discovers her uncle may have an ulterior motive on why he’s here.

Probably out of the Korean directors making their English language debut this year Park Chan-Wook is probably the more familiar name amongst cinephiles largely thanks to the Vengeance trilogy which includes the brilliant Oldboy subject to a Hollyood remake from Spike Lee starring Josh Brolin. However the translation of Chan-Wook's storytelling to English language will be the test but as his previous films have been well received we have plenty of faith that Stoker will do the business when it's released.

In the first clip from Stoker we get see how much more unstable Nicole Kidman's character really is but also a question mark over India too, as she might be hiding something too like her Uncle Charlie! Stoker is set for a 1st March UK,Irish and US release date with the film playing at Glasgow Film Festival on 16th & 17th February. Stoker also stars Jacki Weaver, Lucas Til,Alden Ehrenreich with Tony and Ridley Scott as executive producers Trailer is courtesy of   Empire with clip from 

23 December 2010


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Metrodome have today released the UK Trailer for RABBIT HOLE the emotional drama directed by John Cameron Mitchell . The movie has been sweeping up the early nominations even the odd awards from the early awards ceremonies and its been a while since we could say Nicole Kidman in a good movie as its her performance as a grieving mother which is attracting alot of award attention. Also the movies director Mitchell raised a few eyebrows with his Shortbus movie which delved into the sexual relationships of New Yorkers, even Hedwig and Angry Inch a transexual punk rocker who fell in love with a rock star who stole her songs (Mitchell himself played Hedwig!), We can say Rabbit Hole may have a wider appeal than his previous though you cant deny the talent this director has.

RABBIT HOLE is due out in February 4th,2011 also stars Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Miles Teller, Sandra Oh and Jon Tenney, trailer & synopsis after the break....