Jack Dunn Says He Was Unfairly Portrayed As Villain In ‘Spotlight’

24 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AT THE MOVIES: Spotlight a tribute to persistence of investigative journalists.

BOSTON (CBS) – The new film “Spotlight” opened Friday to strong reviews around the country but one Boston man says his reputation has been ruined by the way he was portrayed. Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy weren’t necessarily digging for a scoop while researching the 2002 Boston Globe exposé of the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal for the screenplay that would become Spotlight.

“Spotlight,” the movie about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the coverup of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, had its general release on Friday and film critics agree: “Spotlight” is one of the best movies of the year.For all the severity of its subject matter, Tom McCarthy’s extraordinary journalism drama Spotlight (in theaters now) is not a movie of noble gestures and emotive Oscar-bait moments.

Ask anyone who has worked for a newspaper to name the best movie ever made about our profession, and it’s an upset when All the President’s Men isn’t the first title mentioned.That’s where you’ll find Adrian Mack’s insightful and nuanced evaluation of Tom McCarthy’s film about a Boston Globe investigation into the Catholic Church’s cover-up of pedophilic priests. Spotlight chronicles the work of dogged Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the secrecy in the archdiocese of Boston that allowed the clergy sex abuse crisis to go unreported for decades. After all, they were already standing on the shoulders of giants – the Globe’s Spotlight team of investigative journalists had won the Pulitzer Prize for their series of articles that revealed how the Boston archdiocese, led by Cardinal Bernard Law, had shielded predator priests for more than three decades, shuffling them to different parishes when they molested children and shelling out millions to victims in confidential settlements. Boston College public affairs director Jack Dunn, former Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian, former Globe publisher Richard Gilman, and victim lawyer Eric MacLeish all say their actions were misrepresented in a way that casts them in a negative light, apparently in an effort to add drama to the film. “All I want to do is to clear my name, and for the film producers to admit that they fabricated the dialogue to accommodate the narrative of the movie,” Dunn said. “They manufactured dialogue because they needed a villain, and they chose apparently to make me a villain.” Kurkjian is mentioned in the film as being dismissive of a key tipster.

The movie sickened him because he is portrayed as someone who minimized the suffering of those who were sexually abused, as someone who tried to steer Globe reporters away from the story, as someone invested in the coverup. “The things they have me saying in the movie, I never said,” Dunn said. “But worse is the way they have me saying those things, like I didn’t care about the victims, that I tried to make the story go away. Singing the praises of the superb “Spotlight,” the best cinematic love letter to newspaper journalism since “All the President’s Men,” may sound self-serving coming from a newspaper movie critic. But one scene at BC High shows Jack Dunn, an alumnus of the school, reacting to news of an abusive priest there as if he was complicit in the cover-up. Not only had the Globe published an official book documenting the Spotlight team’s findings, Betrayal, but all their articles, including the more than 600 stories published in 2002 — leading to Law’s resignation — were available online. He told the Herald yesterday he “never spoke poorly of” the tipster to his editors, and said he’s demanded an apology from the director and screenwriter. “They sort of put words in our mouth.

Plus, the screenwriters had access to many of the Globe’s key people, including those depicted in the film: Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James), Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery), and Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber). But it seems unlikely that the film, which opened to hundreds of theaters Friday (Nov. 20), will revive the general public rage and disgust with predatory priests and the church that hid them as the Globe’s stories did in 2002. You can’t do that and not have your motives and your professionalism called into question,” said Kurkijian, who declined to say if he’ll take legal action. “I’m at a loss to understand how they could have created these scenes so cavalierly.” Gilman, in an editorial in the Arizona Daily Star, said the movie has him voicing reservations he never had about how the reporting might affect the Globe’s bottom line. “Some of the fictionalizing is harmless. According to that point of analogy, Schreiber’s top boss role is similar to Jason Robards’ Oscar-winning part as the saucy, colorful Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee.

So to see a movie where members of my chosen profession are held up as heroes — hard working, earnest and dedicated to uncovering the truth — is just, well, refreshing. The idea that abuse could be rampant — yet buried from the bleach of public scrutiny — is not so surprising anymore, said Richard Boudreau, 67, who was once an altar boy and a graduate of a Jesuit high school. Some is not,” wrote Gilman, who could not be reached for comment. “The movie is dealing with real people with real names with real reputations. … But Baron, who left the Boston Globe in 2012 and incidentally now runs the Washington Post, is a quieter and more reticent personality, especially for a newsman. When the Spotlight logo appeared in the Globe, there was a good chance someone was going to be indicted, or major changes would be enacted — or the greater Boston community would learn something they never knew about their beloved city.

It’s equally devastating to his family including his son a current BC High senior who Dunn says stepped to defend his father when his class went together to see the film. “As boys do they kind of looked around and my son stood up and said ‘I need you to know my father’s a very good man’ and that my son had to defend me for doing the right thing on behalf of people that I love on behalf of the truth has been very difficult for me.” Dunn has hired a lawyer who has now issued a letter demanding that the scene be stricken from the movie and that producers admit this was a fabrication about him done for dramatic effect so that the focus can back where it belongs on the victims of clergy abuse. A decade after the Globe expose when the Catholic scandal was at full boil, allegations that Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky abused children came to light.

Injustices are done.” MacLeish, who obtained an $85 million settlement for victims, wrote on Facebook on Nov. 6 that a conversation in which Globe reporter Walter Robinson threatens to end MacLeish’s “cottage industry” of settlements never occurred. Having arrived from his previous job at the Miami Herald as the film begins, Baron is viewed with suspicion by most of his staff — and the good ol’ boy Irish Catholic culture. Nor did the scene where Pfeiffer searches the archives and brings the clipping of the December 1993 story to Robinson, proving MacLeish correct: it ran on B42 and didn’t include any of the priests’ names.

And so did allegations that university officials and others were aware of his actions but failed to protect youth in Sandusky’s nonprofit program. “’Spotlight’ shows how people like Sandusky can hide and how people can evade taking a stand, even when they know about abuse,” said Boudreau, noting the film’s recounting of how the abuse was known throughout the Boston Catholic hierarchy and beyond. The movie recounts how a team of Boston Globe investigative reporters exposed the systematic cover-up of the decades-long sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Boston area.

And a later scene, where Robinson admits to his colleagues that he had been the Metro editor back in ‘93, accepting his role in not catching the story sooner, didn’t happen either. Boudreau also recalls the early days of the scandal, when naysayers tried to blame it on homosexual priests and gay teens. “Speaking as a gay Catholic, that was painful.

Robinson graduated from BC High, and his character expresses incredulity that previous BC High administrators didn’t know about the serial abuse by one Rev. The penetrating screen presence which the actor has brought to dozens of roles during his 20 year film and TV career — including The Daytrippers, The Sum of All Fears, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Ray Donovan, not to mention his Tony-winning work on stage — has been tightly coiled in Spotlight into a stealth tiger of a man, whose calmness betrays his deep ethical conviction.

The strength of McCarthy’s script is that it does two competing things: He shows how the reporters’ legwork tracking down the coverup story was exhaustive and decidedly unglamorous, but at the same time never lets the movie get bogged down in the minutiae of reporting. Though they already knew the main beats of the story they wanted to tell, they met with the Boston attorney — who’d represented numerous plaintiffs in complaints against the Church in the early 1990s — if only to help with casting.

And Schreiber, for the miraculously ego-less way in which he communicates that, gives what just might just be the most nuanced, subtly commanding performance of his life. Intrigued by a story about an abrasive, wild-card Armenian attorney named Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), who is representing numerous families alleging their children were abused by priests, and tales of the church responding to these allegations by offering small cash settlements and transferring the offending priests to other parishes where they would have access to more children, Baron assigns the Spotlight team to investigate. If you can make a reporter finding critical court documents thrilling — and McCarthy ratchets up the tension in the expertly crafted sequence — you’ve accomplished something praiseworthy.

But not long into their chat, MacLeish dropped the bomb. “It was a little bit like the moment that’s in the movie: You had 20 priests’ [names] in Boston?” says Singer. “My reaction was quite similar to Rachel and Michael’s in that scene: That can’t possibly be true. What really makes “Spotlight” work, though, is that McCarthy — whose previous movies include the superb “The Station Agent” and “Win-Win” — never loses sight of the human story behind the sex-abuse claims. But Schreiber, 48, still felt an enormous sense of responsibility when he accepted the part. “I was immensely proud to be playing Marty Baron,” he says. “There have been a couple roles in my lifetime that I thought, ‘This is really special.’ Marty is way up on that list, right up there with Hamlet and Iago. Spotlight has been compared to Zodiac for its depiction of the journalistic process, but Zodiac used journalism as a conduit to explore the external pressures being exacted on its characters.

Artistic license means screenwriters and filmmakers can take a scene from real life and make it a composite that serves what they consider a larger truth. I was curious about any discussions that took place between Baron and Gilman and between Gilman and the Sulzberger family before the story was published. The number bumped up, however, when people could list multiple reasons for leaving: More than 1 in 5 said the scandal was “an important reason.” Still, Pope Francis has won high marks with a majority of Catholics (55 percent) who say he is doing a good or excellent job addressing the scandal. There’s a meaningless interlude where the case is briefly shut down after 9/11, and it’s far too short to say anything about the fickle nature of journalism.

I believed every inch of all four performances, from Pfeiffer’s utter indifference to her wardrobe and her dogged efforts to obtain key interviews; to Rezendes’ obnoxiously aggressive methods; to Carroll’s feelings of conflict when family and journalistic ethics collide — to the terrible eating habits of one and all. And all the actors playing the reporters — Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Brian d’Arcy James — give compelling performances, too, showing how the story affects their lives, too. But in doing so, “Spotlight,” like other films that take on real-life stories, engages in something that is anathema to journalism — making up characters and dialogue.

The caveat employed by filmmakers is that most elastic of phrases, “based on a true story.” But in the interest of transparency, that sort of disclaimer should be augmented with the words “but we reserve the right to make stuff up.” The real problem highlighted in Jack Dunn’s case is that fictional dialogue meant to highlight the obstruction thrown up by Catholic powerbrokers was put into the mouth of a real person, creating real-life consequences. One day, I hope that Hollywood takes this into account to give other publishers more courage to engage in this sometimes risky and often expensive endeavour.

But he did it brilliantly, giving the character an intensity that might unnerve even me.” Schrieber spoke to EW from the set of his forthcoming biopic about professional boxer Chuck Wepner, and talked about his approach to playing a man of great stature in the quietest of tones. The camera tracks him as he walks out of his house and down the street to the address, the extended take emphasizing the house’s close proximity to his own. It’s not easy to make an emotionally involving film in which pivotal moments are about phone calls and making copies of documents and a source circling names on a document — but save for a few overly dry moments, Spotlight prevails. I think it raises the specter of just good reporters going after a bad institution, into more of a question of societal deference and complicity toward institutional or individual power. I guess I have had, since starting Ray Donovan, I did a bunch of research into SNAP [Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests] and learned about the general timeline with the John Geoghan case and Cardinal Law, but that was long after the case broke.

Like many journalism films, Spotlight is about a conspiracy with far-reaching implications, but it’s also about the impact that conspiracy has on a local level. Journalist Sacha Pfieffer (Rachel McAdams) interviews one victim in a park, and as he starts to tear up, he acknowledges that they happen to be standing right outside a church with a playground in front of it. This is accompanied by a cut to a wide shot of their surroundings, revealing the way that the church had been lurking in the background all along. “Did you ever try to tell anyone?” she asks. “Like who,” he responds, “a priest?” The size of the conspiracy is treated as less important than the way that its size facilitates its effect on individuals. High-ranking officials with Catholic Charities, attorneys who worked for the church, even the cardinal himself — they all trust Robby will do what’s best. Though Porter had worked in the Fall River archdiocese, south of Boston, Cardinal Law became a loud critic of the media’s coverage, and in particular, what was being printed by the Globe.

The good and dedicated people who serve the church deserve better than what they have been getting day in and day out in the media. … We call down God’s power on our business leaders, and political leaders and community leaders. Because, you kind of hope that people still have appetites for that kind of story — as you also hope that people still have appetites for long-lead investigative journalism — but we all know that it’s a very tough market for that. There was always a suspicion that guys like me, guys like us, were sniping unfairly.” Matchan encountered the same resistance. “After I finished that magazine story, I thought, there’s so much more to say about this. A lot of credit for that goes to Tom and Josh, for creating an environment — and staying true to it — where there’s no need for big theatrics or banner movie moments.

I think if an actor leads in a story like this, you think, “What a great performance.” But you really come away from this movie just thinking about this incredibly important journalistic resource is in our culture. I think we found that incredibly heroic, because that also was the interaction we had with him.” Robinson has been front and center in the film’s promotion, in part because the film captures his profession at its best, at a time in 2015 when most newspapers and media outlets are slashing staff and eliminating investigative reporting. “We’re reporters and we stumble around the dark a lot,” he says. “We start out pretty damn ignorant, and we don’t even know how to ask the right questions until we sort of dig around for awhile. And by doing it that way, by having us uncover [our initial oversight], Tom makes it possible for a pretty large audience to confront something that they might otherwise avert their eyes to.”

But looking at me, sitting in his office, he was probably thinking, “What the hell is this guy who plays on Ray Donovan, whatever the hell that is, going to do with me?” And that would make anyone run for the hills. Whatever those questions that they had, about his spirituality or his sexuality or whatever, were the questions of desperate gossips trying to defend themselves from the truth.

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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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