Cate Blanchett: I’m not a lesbian, but who cares?

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cannes uncovered: day 5Halfway through the Cannes film festival and, if the press conference applause on Sunday is anything to go by, Carol is looking like one of the favorites for the Palme d’Or.

The award-winning actress had to also set the record straight about her own past, claiming she wasn’t fully quoted in a recent interview with Variety about her ‘many’ relationships with women.Two years ago, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Abdellatif Kechiche’s explicit love story about the affair between two young French women, won the Palme d’Or.When a film is as anticipated as Carol was at this year’s Cannes Film Festival—it’s probably the most talked-about competition entry, among American journalists and critics anyway—it’s strange to finally encounter the actual thing, to sit in the dark and watch what has long been a mystery finally reveal its dimensions. In stark contrast to The Sea of Trees media meet the day before, which was a more tense affair, the assembled cast and production team members of Todd Haynes’ lesbian romance were welcomed to a cacophony of cheers, especially for its main star Cate Blanchett and cinematographer Ed Lachman.

With a female-led cast and producers including Elizabeth Karson and Christine Vachon on the panel, Blanchett responded to the suggestion that the film indicated how the gender balance was improving in filmmaking. “Well, I think it needs to be very much at the center of the conversation,” she said. “There was an article in the International New York Times saying that it was ‘the year of La Femme’ [in Cannes]. It’s no surprise her sex life came up as Todd Haynes’ 1950’s era love story sees Blanchett and Rooney Mara star as two women fighting against the conformity of the time to follow their passions for each other. You hope it’s not just the year, it’s not some sort of fashionable moment.” Blanchett added that the gender debate “fell off the agenda.” She also said: “I think we lost a lot of ground.

Based on the novel ‘The Price of Salt’ by Patricia Highsmith, and backed by The Weinstein Company, Carol debuted at Cannes with critics raving about it since. It has met with a consensus of praise from critics in Cannes, with five star reviews across the board and talk of multiple Oscar nominations next year. But it’s wonderful that there are female producers who are wanting to make intelligent, entertaining films.” Referring to the film’s homosexual subject matter, Blanchett warned that, while Carol was set in the 1950s when homosexual relationships were still illegal in the U.S., it was important not to think such prejudice was now extinct. “There are still many, many countries around the world where it is illegal,” the star said. “We’re still living in deeply conservative times, and if you think otherwise you’re very foolish.” Blanchett herself called a stir earlier this week following an interview in which she appeared to admit to having had lesbian relationships in the past. “The conversation ran, ‘have you had relationships with women?’ and I said ‘yes, many times, but if you mean have I had sexual relations with women the answers ‘no’. Justin Chang in Variety said: ‘As searing as Blanchett was in her Oscar-winning turn in Blue Jasmine, she arguably achieves something even deeper here by acting in a much quieter, more underplayed register.’ The Telegraph film critic, Tim Robey, is just as euphoric in his praise of the actress as well as the film.

Then the answer is no.’ But that obviously didn’t make it.” To laughter from the crowd, Blanchett continued: “But in 2015, the point should be: who cares? Call me old fashioned but I thought one’s job as an actor was not to present one’s boring, small, microscopic universe but to make a psychological connection to another character’s experiences. Though Therese is the more passive player in the relationship, Mara gives her a graceful self-possession, a quiet confidence, that holds the film’s focus.

Yesterday we spotted this rather odd piece of street art which seems to be taking aim at jury heads the Coen brothers although if you can figure out exactly what it all means, do let us know: Well, we hate to say “we told you so” but we totally told you so. But I certainly have no interest in putting my own thoughts and opinions out there.” Blanchett said she admired the restraint exhibited by the characters in the film, who speak about the sex lives only sparingly. “[Carol’s] sexuality is a private affair. Given the pedigree it might not be a total surprise to have predicted that Carol would be the runaway awards contender of the fest but still, it’s pleasing to see just how much everyone loves Todd Haynes’s latest. His adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt stars Cate Blanchett as a housewife who falls for a virginal department store worker, played by Rooney Mara, in 50s New York.

We’re living in a deeply conservative time.” The actor confirmed that her research had involved consuming countless lesbian novels written in the middle of the last century, of which Carol appeared to be “the only one with a happy ending”. “They were outsider novels. Peter Bradshaw gave it five stars and called it “creamily sensuous” while here’s what others had to say: Many are predicting that Carol will not only triumph at Cannes (a best actress award for Blanchett, possibly even shared with Mara, is a strong possibility) but also at next year’s Oscars.

Today’s press conference for the film saw the stars and director field questions about the film and the predictably discussed sex scene between the pair. Its screenwriter, Phyllis Nagy, has spent 14 years attempting to get it made; that she finally had, she said, amounted to “a huge political statement.” In the time since Highsmith wrote the novel, “nothing has changed and everything has changed.

As I walked out of the theater and into a lovely French twilight, I found myself appreciative of the film’s formal graces, which are myriad, but didn’t quite feel like I’d been grabbed, that Carol had shaken something loose the way I had hoped it would. Blanchett also addressed the recent story where she was quoted as saying she’d had “many” same-sex relationships by saying that she’s never actually slept with women. But I’ve now had some time to think about it (the film premieres at Cannes tonight, but screened for press yesterday), and the more I do that, Carol’s restraint or reserve seems to actually be in service of a pretty big point.

Carol is less a movie about a particular relationship than it is a broader testament to the nobility of coming out, the struggle and dignity and value in it. Tonight’s big premiere will help increase the already deafening buzz and we’ll be speaking personally to Haynes and the cast over the next few days, mainly to worship at their feet.

We do not we politicise the material by just allowing people to live their lives honestly. [Gay people] are expected to make it an issue front and centre in our lives. Obviously “coming out” means something different now than it did in 1953, but given its setting, the film can be seen as a hushed but adamant appreciation of all the people who, in defiance of their times, chose to live true lives, accepting the potential consequences as the cost of, quite simply, freedom. Yesterday, Catherine Shoard attended a forum on gender equality where a variety of names, from politics and film, discussed institutional sexism in Hollywood.

The reason that the likes of Brokeback Mountain and Milk had preceded Carol was, he suspected, “because male audiences will not be excluded [by them]. It’s apparent from the moment that Carol Aird, Blanchett’s glamorous suburban sapphist, locks eyes with Therese Belivet, Rooney’s closeted, curious shopgirl, that something is going to happen. Of course these women are, as many gay people in mid-century America were, well trained at resisting this pull toward one another, dangerous as it is.

But something about Therese, with her pondering eyes and anticipatory stillness—she is waiting for something to happen to her life, and this woman in a fur coat just might be it—proves irresistible to the older, more experienced Carol. It’s a small scene, but it’s still a breathtakingly honest and succinct depiction of an important aspect of how this confusing process often works, one person finding another and in them discovering a world of clarity and possibility. There isn’t much in Carol that shows what Carol and Therese specifically like about each other—quite unlike The Lobster, there isn’t any talk of defining characteristics and compatibility—and, initially, that frustrated me. There is a fundamental, important power in same recognizing same, as much as we try not to say that in these “my sexuality doesn’t define me” times.

We enjoyed it.” Director van Sant claimed he had read one review which had felt “comprehensive” and referred to the film as “its own animal”. As their relationship deepens, through careful, guarded flirtations, Carol’s squabble with her husband becomes a war, he threatening to take sole custody of their daughter, Rindy, and wielding his knowledge of Carol’s past affair with Rindy’s “Aunt” Abby (Sarah Paulson, terrific) as a weapon. You’d assume that since we’re all (supposed) cinephiles here in Cannes, there would be a certain high(ish) standard of behaviour inside the screenings but sadly, it’s even worse than going to a Cineworld. Loud talking throughout, the distracting use of phones during key moments, aggressively OTT macho sneezing and the odd random shouting guy, such as at the end of this morning’s screening of relationship drama Mon Roi: Yet another Hollywood star publicly ignoring festival head Thierry Frémaux’s selfie ban, Sylvester Stallone looks positively cheery as he takes a picture of himself for a fan.

The best thing about Stallone’s appearance at the festival is that he’s not here to promote The Expendables 16: Expend This! but rather his collection of art, including this piece on Michael Jackson: Things at the market are getting loopier by the day and hoping to still bask in the glory of B-movie breakout Sharknado, Sky Sharks is a rather self-explanatory attempt to mix sharks with the sky. We will also be speaking to the stars of Carol, including Blanchett herself, checking out Louder Than Bombs, a drama with Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert and assembling a very special edition of the film show.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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