Wildlife is set in 1960s Montana and follows a family, through the eyes of the son, 14-year-old Joe (Ed Oxenbould). His father, Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) has recently been fired from his job and decides to leave his family to fight a forest fire near the Canadian border. This leaves his mother, Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) to take care of their home which sends her into an adventure of her own.
Paul Dano’s directorial debut is hauntingly beautiful. Dano and Zoe Kazan co-write a captivating and heartbreaking depiction of a family slowly falling apart. Yet, it’s Dano’s strong ability to use the camera as a lens to help us see through Joe’s eyes, projecting his pain onto the audience. Dano also uses little camera movement, which lets his remarkable Cast shine.
Oxenbould’s phenomenal performance is at the level of a seasoned veteran, bringing to life a young, confused and shattered Joe. The incomparable Gyllenhaal expresses all facets of the male ego without saying many words. His depiction of Jerry is the stuff of wonder. Mulligan is exquisite, delivering a fiery and fearless performance as the scared and heartbroken Jeanette. All of Jeanette’s flaws are on full display and Mulligan relishes in her imperfection. She is hypnotic and gives one of the best performances to date.
Wildlife screens at Sundance on Jan. 20 at 3:30PM at Eccles PC, Jan. 21 at 6:30PM at Redstone 1 PC, Jan. 22 at 9:30PM at Rose Wagner SLC, Jan. 26 at 5:30PM at Prospector PC, and Jan. 27 at 8:30AM at Prospector PC.
After ten years of marriage and multiple projects together, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon are still very much in love. They finish each other’s sentences, have similar thoughts and opinions, and have no trouble cutting off each other’s answers. When we get the opportunity to interview the pair during a recent press day in Toronto for their critically acclaimed Film The Big Sick, they are sitting together on a couch that could seat three comfortably. But with how close they are sitting together, there’s no room for a third.
The semi-autobiographical Film revolves around the relationship between Kumail (Nanjiani) and Emily (Zoe Kazan). They are happily dating, but Kumail is harbouring a secret — his strict Muslim parents are keen on him entering into an arranged marriage with a Muslim woman. Emily has very little time to process this news, as she lands in the hospital with a severe lung infection. This emergency only gets worse, leading Kumail to rethink everything about their relationship and his relationship with his parents.
Despite having iconic Comedy Producer Judd Apatow on-board from the beginning, the writing process was anything but easy. The pair would bring drafts of their screenplay to Apatow for approval, and he “would rip it to shreds and send us off on our way,” says Gordon. “And then after three years, he was like ‘Okay, I think we can get a director now’.” When asked about how much of the Film’s story happened in real life, the pair laugh and give different answers. Gordon settled the debate quickly – claiming the Film being 60% factual. “The broad strokes are pretty accurate to what happened,” Nanjiani says. “But the specifics and some of the characterizations and the order of events, that’s the stuff we changed.”
Having lived the events of the Film, Nanjiani and Gordon recalled certain moments in their lives quite differently. “In doing press, I found out that our relationship before I got sick was way more casual than I thought. That’s something I’ve been discovering that’s been super fun,” Gordon mentions. “I don’t regret saying it all,” Nanjiani says with a laugh. “Every time we found in writing this that we would have a disagreement about how we experienced some from our past. We tried to fold both perspectives into the Movie.” While their emotions would range from “That was a really happy memory” to “No that was a horrible memory”, Nanjiani was quite happy with the end result it had on the screenplay: “I think it made for a much more complicated dynamic between the main characters.”
While the appreciation and gratitude for Apatow was evident throughout our conversation (“We’d never written a movie before and Judd getting behind us and helping us through this has been very exciting” Nanjiani says), the pair also praised the Film’s female lead, Kazan. Gordon explains that after watching her audition, she felt “she was absolutely right for the part. I don’t really know what would have happened if I really wanted her and other people didn’t.” Nanjiani adds, “She has that really fun, funny side, but she’s also a very, very serious person who takes herself serious.”
For all of the enthusiasm the pair shared about the writing and casting process, both Nanjiani and Gordon were more apathetic when asked about the Film’s take on religion and culture. “We didn’t think that we really wanted to say anything with this Movie. We just wanted to tell our story,” Nanjiani explains. “If we’re writing a personal story that’s about us and [religion] is something that is part of that story, not having it in there just felt disingenuous.” Gordon was a little more direct in how she felt: “It’s just another aspect of the story.”
Religious and cultural apprehensions aside, the pair are satisfied with all of the work that went into making The Big Sick. “We wrote this Movie for three years with no money, no plan, no guarantee that it would ever become a thing. And we worked our asses off,” Gordon says. “It was really, really great to make a movie where we could pour in everything that we think about,” Nanjiani mentions. “It’s pretty great to be a part of a Movie where we can be proud of every character.” And if the spectacular limited US box office results from this past weekend are any indication, The Big Sick may just become the breakout Comedy of the summer.
Elevation Pictures release THE BIG SICK in select theatres starting Friday, June 30, 2017 and across Canada on Friday, July 14, 2017.
Real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon have turned their love story into the Film known as The Big Sick, which was a huge hit at Sundance earlier this year. After getting a limited release in the U.S. this past weekend where it is getting huge raves including endorsements from the likes of Amy Schumer, the Film soon is set to open here in Canada.
The Film centers around Nanjiani, a Comedian, known best for his work on HBO‘s Silicon Valley, who meets Emily V. Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan) one night at one of his gigs. With a looming romance and his parents set on an arranged marriage for him, things change when a medical emergency forces Kumail to spend time with Emily‘s parents. It also explores the comedy in the couple’s cultural differences. The semi-autobiographical Film is directed by Michael Showalter and co-written by the couple, while Judd Apatow produces.
In addition to press today, Nanjiani and Gordon present the Film at a special advanced screening in Toronto followed by a Q&A. We spotted them earlier upon a visit to KISS 92.5 and they were amazing to stop for a quick photo – Billy included – and they were excited that I’ll be at the screening!
Elevation Pictures x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to attend an Advance Screening of THE BIG SICK! Screenings take place as follows:
Date: June 26, 2017
Location: Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3M6)
Date: June 28, 2017
Location: Scotiabank Theatre (900 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 3G5)
Date: July 5, 2017
Location: Scotiabank Theatre Chinook (6455 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2H 0K4)
Date: July 5, 2017
Location: Scotiabank Theatre Edmonton (WEM – 8882 170 St NW #3030, Edmonton, AB T5T 4M2)
Date: July 5, 2017
Location: Scotiabank Theatre Winnipeg – Polo Park (1485 Portage Ave #100, Winnipeg, MB R3G 0W4)
Date: July 5, 2017
Location: Cineplex Cinemas Ottawa (3090 Carling Ave, Nepean, ON K2B 7K2)
Date: July 5, 2017
Location: Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane (5657 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax, NS B3J 3R4)
Date: July 5, 2017
Location: Odeon Victoria (780 Yates St, Victoria, BC V8W 1L4)
Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents.
Filmed in Toronto over the Summer of 2012, a Red Carpet Premiere in the City only would be fitting as a proper homecoming for The F Word. The Romantic-Comedy directed by Michael Dowse (Goon, Take Me Home Tonight) comes well-regarded after a debut at TIFF last Fall, with multiple nominations including Best Picture at the Canadian Screen Awards. The Film which almost didn’t get made locally, now at last is primed for an international release. From humble beginnings, it received a significant boost in profile with Megastar Daniel Radcliffe signing-on as the Male Lead in a bit of a mold-breaking move which has him trying something completely different than what we’d expect of the Harry Potter Star.
Stars Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks),Megan Park (The Secret Life of an American Teenager), Meghan Heffern (Degrassi), Screenwriter Elan Mastai and Director Dowse all came out to support The F Word – the mysterious “f” of course standing for “friendship”. Also seen zipping through the Carpet was Kazan‘s longtime partner Paul Dano (12 Years a Slave, Prisoners), present but careful not to draw too much attention to himself.
The F Word, based on the Play Toothpaste and Cigarettes, centers around Wallace (Radcliffe), a Med School Dropout who falls hopelessly in love with an Animator named Chantry (Kazan). The only problem is however that she is in a long-term relationship with Ben (Rafe Spall). This poses the question what to do when the love of your life happens to be your Best Friend.
I had the pleasure of speaking with all in attendance tonight, the Group enthusiastic to promote what appears to be a labour of love for an endearing story about finding love when gray areas are involved.
Montreal’s Dowse tells us about how he came to be involved with The F Word and how the Toronto Story almost didn’t get made in the City. “I was only involved a year and a bit outside of shooting, but it took a while”, says the Director. “It went to a couple different Producers and almost got made in the States.”. “We got it to turn around and were able to make it and once we got Dan on it, it worked really quickly and went by smoothly.”.
We ask Matsai about the decision to brand the Film a tamer What If in other territories and the decision to keep its original Title here in Canada. “Actually, my Girlfriend at the time – who’s now my Wife – named it”, he reveals to us. “I’ve always loved the Title as I think it’s cheeky and tells you about the spirit of the Movie.”. “In the U.S., the ratings might find it a bit too cheeky and edgy, which is disappointing, but on one hand it’s like renaming your Child and I’m happy my Child gets to blossom.”.
Toronto’s Meghan Heffern tells us that she’s now based in Los Angeles and walks us through her casting process and the sacrifices she made for the role of Tabby. “I auditioned and it happened that all my auditions took place while I was outside the City. It was super-stressful because I really wanted it.”. “It was shot on the day of my Best Friend’s wedding, but she’s very understanding and happy. This is such a big deal for Canada.”.
Megan Park certainly is a familiar face, having starred in The Secert Life of an American Teenager alongside now-Superstar Shailene Woodley. Although she had read for another part originally, she landed the part of Dalia – Chantry‘s bubbly and sassy Sister. “I gave it a shot and really liked Michael as a person and was on the same page in what type of a Movie he wanted to make.”. As a Canadian, she finds it refreshing that The F Word portrays Toronto as itself. She states, “It’s the first time I’ve filmed here and it was supposed to be Toronto. It was nice not to hide my Canadian accent. I’m proud to be an honourary member of the Cast.”. Park can be seen currently in brand new Series, The Lottery.
Kazan has wowed Critics as both a Writer and an Actress, including 2012 Indie Darling Ruby Sparks which she penned and co-starred in along with Partner Dano. She lights-up the screen with a complex innocence to her in The F Word. Keeping busy much of late in New York starring in the Play When We Were Young and Unafraid, she calls working with Co-Star Radcliffe “a dream come true”. Dressed in a chic piece by New York Dressmaker Honor, she accepts a compliment how smart she has been in her output of work. On whether or not she feels it’s wise for Friends to date, she admits, “It’s better just to move on. Sometimes it’s actually better to be friends than romantically involved!”.
Always impeccably-dressed – we’ve met him a couple occasions now – Radcliffe is gracious in his interviews and when probed by Bloggers about his dating past, he defers with grace. Does he feel Men and Women can just be friends? The once-highest paid Actor in Hollywood replies, “I do, yes. If romantic and sexual attraction comes into it, then it’s a different question. But I think there’s plenty of people in the World who are just friends and it doesn’t go anywhere.”. I ask him about the most fun he had in Toronto since work has brought him to our City on multiple occasions over the past couple years. “I think it’s a great City to work in. The Crew on The F Word was awesome was really fun to hang with off-set as well.”. “One of the best things in the City to do was The Hockey Hall of Fame actually” he remembers. “If you’re not into Hockey you’ll hate it, but if you are into it, you’ll love it!”. We’re guessing he is a Fan of our National Sport?
Check-out some of our Chats with the Cast, Writer and Director of The F Word below:
eOne Films release THE F WORD across Canada on Friday, August 22, 2014.
We’ve had our eye on this one for a while. After getting lots of love at TIFF ’13 and a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Picture to boot, Director Michael Dowse (Goon) returns with the charming Romantic Comedy, THE F WORD. The Title decidedly will be known as What If in other territories.
The Film, made in Toronto, centers around Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), who becomes infatuated with a Girl named Chantry (Zoe Kazan), only to discover that she’s already dating another Man, causing their relationship to be put in the doomed “friend zone”. We’ve all been there, right?
Rafe Spall, Megan Park, Mackenzie Davis and Adam Driver also star.
Watch the official Trailer, which just surfaced this past weekend:
Mr. Will and The Cast of The F Word:
eOne Films release The F Word on Friday, August 1, 2014.
At long last the TIFF ’13 Guest List has been announced and among the Marquee names we can expect to see in Toronto in two weeks are phenomenal! Although speak of Brad Pitt and George Clooney making appearances here didn’t amount to much more than rumour, this year the Female Contingent shines brightest with several of Hollywood’s A-List set to present their latest Oscar Vehicles here.
Among the Celebrities expected this year are:
Emilia Clarke, Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Tom Felton, Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scarlett Johansson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew McConaughey, Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Sarah Gadon, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Mike Myers, Emma Thompson, Kristen Wiig, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Amy Poehler, Keanu Reeves, Kate Winslet, Adam Driver, Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Owen Wilson, Ralph Fiennes, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Gyllenhaal, JudeLaw, Jessica Chastain, Jai Courtney, Mila Kunis, Pierce Brosnan, Sandra Bullock, Jason Bateman, Zac Efron, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Colin Firth, Idris Elba, Ed Harris, Michael C. Hall, Annette Benning, James McAvoy, Liam Neeson, Steven Soderbergh, Ben Foster, Anton Yelchin, Maria Bello, Jennifer Garner, Nicolas Cage, Daniel Brühl, Tom Hiddleston, Jack Huston, Hugh Jackman, Jessica Lange, Melissa Leo, Adam Levine, Catherine O’Hara, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Berenger, Tom Wilkinson, Julia Louis Dreyfuss, Clive Owen, Zach Galifianakis, Emily Watson, John Hawkes, Alan Rickman, Toni Collette, Josh Brolin, Alice Cooper, Tiger Chen, Rebecca Hall, Will Forte, Kevin Zegers, Taylor Kitsch, Juliette Binoche, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Thandie Newton, Terrence Howard, James Hetfield, Thomas Haden Church, Tim Robbins, Glenn Close, Dakota Fanning, Philip Glass and several more!
Keep checking back here as the Toronto International Film Festival makes additions as we get closer to Thursday, September 5, 2013 when TIFF ’13 kicks-off! The Festival runs till Sunday, September 15, 2013.
The official Schedule has been announced and you can now start planning your Festival right here. Download the Official Schedule right here!
Single Tickets go on sale on Sunday, September 1, 2013 on TIFF‘s Website here.
Things are about to get real exciting around here! Happy TIFF, indeed!
If you haven’t yet seen the clever and witty Ruby Sparks, you must do so soon. Real-life Partners, Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano who star in the Movie, were amazing enough to work the line of Fans waiting at the InStyle Magazine Party and both are just as sweet in-person as you’d imagine!
Kazan of course, will be in Toronto for the next while as she films The F Word opposite Daniel Radcliffe.