#TIFF21: DAY FIVE SIGHTINGS – BEN FOSTER, VICKY KRIEPS AND BARRY LEVINSON
We’re officially into the calm of TIFF ’21 and we’re thrilled to still be alive! Yes! We admit that while this year’s Festival has been scaled back a bit, it still is equally tiring as we are putting in the same hours we normally would.
There was one major Gala tonight, for Barry Levinson‘s (Rain Man, Good Morning, Vietnam) latest, THE SURVIVOR. The Drama starring Ben Foster as a Boxer fighting to survive in WWII Concentration Camps, premiered at Roy Thomson Hall. Joining Foster at the Premiere and Afterparty for the Film was his wife, Actress Laura Prepon, while Co-Star Vicky Krieps also graced the Red Carpet. as did Levinson himself. The Cast arrived in style in special Volvo VC Series SUVs.
While we were busy screening amazing Films like BELFAST and THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE this morning, we made sure we got him early to celebrate our sweet beanie’s first birthday! If you’re not following her on IG already, please do: @beaniewong.
Chastain‘s performance in THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE was so sympathetic and compelling! We were literally left tremoring, she was so powerful. We also loved BELFAST, a gorgeous-looking ode to family and the titular city in the ’60s as political unrest was abound. More here.
We’re also so proud that we were granted time with DUNE Director Denis Villeneuve and star Rebecca Ferguson over the weekend. We can’t wait to share Dave Baldwin‘s chat with them a little closer to the October 22, 2021 (my birthday!) release of the Film.
We will be taking a day off tomorrow and be back at our Movies Wednesday! Hope you enjoy catching-up on our coverage so far!
Our Review for eagerly-awaited SPENCER, will go live Wednesday evening after its Premiere. Don’t forget to check back.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
#TIFF20: IN CONVERSATION WITH… BARRY LEVINSON AND DENZEL WASHINGTON
By David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Two living legends came together virtually on Thursday evening as part of TIFF ’20’s stellar In Conversation series – Oscar winners Barry Levinson and Denzel Washington. The event was delayed slightly, but the pair made-up for it by speaking for just under an hour with veteran film journalist Scott Feinberg about their histories in Film, directing and where the industry is heading.
And despite not having worked together, the pair have a personal connection to new Film Malcolm & Marie, the upcoming Film bought earlier this week by Netflix. The Film was shot for 16 days during the pandemic, is written and directed by Barry’s son Sam Levinson (Euphoria) and stars Denzel’s son John David Washington – as well as reuniting him with Euphoria star Zendaya. It is already on the top of our Must-See List!
On getting into the Film business:
DENZEL: “It was the only grade I could pass! I did a Musical first, and I found out that I couldn’t sing. One has to recognize one’s limitations. But it [acting] just chose me.”
BARRY: “I had no thoughts of ever, ever being in this business. It wouldn’t even occur to me. I didn’t even know anybody that was connected remotely with the business. Other than the fact that I loved films, and I would talk about them and I was fascinated by them, but it was never an ambition of mine. It wasn’t even on my radar in any way. So I kind of stumbled into it actually.”
On directorial debuts:
BARRY (on DINER): “He [legendary filmmaker Mel Brooks] was extraordinary. I used to talk about these diner guys that I knew, my friends. And he said to me one day, ‘You should write a film about them’. And he referenced Fellini’s I Vitelloni, which I hadn’t seen. So he gave me that encouragement, and that thought. And ultimately it stuck.”
DENZEL (on ANTWONE FISHER): “My producing partner Todd Black thought I would be a good Director. I didn’t believe him, so I procrastinated for about ten years, until he backed me into a corner – we had the budget, the money, the Script, we had everything. And I finally said…in fact, I was in Toronto for the Festival and Peter Rice, who was running Searchlight then, he got me to sign a napkin saying that I promised to direct. He still has it somewhere! So I was a reluctant Director, I still don’t think I know that much about it, but I’m learning more about it. And I’ve learned from the best.”
On collaborating with actors:
BARRY: “I think what happens is that there’s a moment in time and it continues through a movie, there’s a growth as it goes along. Because you are both learning. If you are locked-in, that this is it and that is that, that’s one way to go. But the other is sometimes you discover things as you go along that you can add to the character. And then it becomes richer than either one of you had envisioned.”
DENZEL: “I’ve been on movies where it was just the Director’s movie. And the Movie is bigger than that. The Movie has a life of its own and you bring all these talented people together and let them do what they do best. Now the Director is going to get the credit or the blame for it ultimately and has to steer the ship, but I want the best around me. I want to see them do great. We’re all in it together.”
On directing advice:
DENZEL (on talking to Director Joel Coen): “I said what about stealing? And he said oh, everybody steals. But steal from somebody good, steal from the best. There’s no new ideas, they’ve all been done before. So if you’re going to steal, steal from the best.”
On box office:
BARRY (when discussing Rain Man): “There is no gestation period where someone is telling somebody else and the numbers start to rise. It’s a difficult thing now to get that kind of momentum…I don’t think you get that opportunity anymore. And on the other hand, it’s hard to make those kinds of films now, and survive in the marketplace. So most of them get killed before they ever move along. It’s a different era in that regard.”
BARRY: “There’s no question – the streamers and the HBO, that’s not going to go away. It is probably only going to continue to increase as time goes along. And of course, there will still be a theatrical component, but what that content is going to be I don’t know. But the more daring storytelling is going to turn up mostly in the streamer world. It is unfortunate, because the idea of an audience to see something is incredible… Everything keeps evolving and you have to find a way to be able to do the work that you care about. And that’s all you can do. You just have to find a way to tell the story that you feel passionate about.”
On Chadwick Boseman:
DENZEL: “A gentle man. A very gentle soul. A great talent, obviously, thrust into this position. I remember going to see Black Panther. I was in New York and I went backstage, after the show. It was a red carpet and I didn’t want to go out there, so I went backstage. And I saw Chad, and I saw Ryan Coogler and then I went to watch the Movie. I remember shedding a tear because I was like man, these young guys are just gone. Like they’ve taken over. You know sooner or later you’re not going to make it all around the track and you got to get off to watch the young boys run. And watching that movie, that’s what I felt like. And like, who knew he didn’t have much life left? But he didn’t get cheated. We did. I pray for his poor wife and his family, they got cheated. But he lived a full life.”
(Photo credit: TIFF)