Katie Couric TCA Panel Blasts Harassment Culture’s “Rapey Playbook,” “Toxic Waste Dump”

Katie Couric came to TCA to talk about her NatGeo series America Inside Out With Katie Couric premiering in April, in which she looks at people shaping conversation about hot-button topics today.  Topics, she said, will include Confederate monuments in America, the weaponization of political correctness, gender equality and sexual harassment, the Muslim community, and “white working class anxiety.”
Saturday’s Q&A was all about sexual harassment, though Couric did not take…

Katie Couric came to TCA to talk about her NatGeo series America Inside Out With Katie Couric premiering in April, in which she looks at people shaping conversation about hot-button topics today.  Topics, she said, will include Confederate monuments in America, the weaponization of political correctness, gender equality and sexual harassment, the Muslim community, and "white working class anxiety." Saturday’s Q&A was all about sexual harassment, though Couric did not take…

Good Universe Lands Uber Sex Harassment Whistleblower Susan Fowler Pic; ‘Hidden Figures’ Allison Schroeder Scripting

EXCLUSIVE: As all eyes in Hollywood focus on sexual harassment and rooting out the thugs who practiced it for years, Good Universe just beat out three other bidders to land Disruptors, the timely pitch for a movie that focuses on Susan Fowler, the Uber engineer whose blog post about sexual harassment within the juggernaut Silicon Valley ride-hailing service exposed a toxic culture of sexism and sexual harassment that eventually led to the ouster of seemingly untouchable…

EXCLUSIVE: As all eyes in Hollywood focus on sexual harassment and rooting out the thugs who practiced it for years, Good Universe just beat out three other bidders to land Disruptors, the timely pitch for a movie that focuses on Susan Fowler, the Uber engineer whose blog post about sexual harassment within the juggernaut Silicon Valley ride-hailing service exposed a toxic culture of sexism and sexual harassment that eventually led to the ouster of seemingly untouchable…

Bart & Fleming: Timely Uber Sexism Movie Package Reminds Of Harvey Weinstein Mess

Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades aDaily Variety. In this occasional column, two old friends get together and grind their axes, mostly on the movie business.
FLEMING: It might be too on the nose for Hollywood to give movie treatment to the stunning downfall of Harvey Weinstein, but how’s this for a fortuitously timed movie package just now being shopped? Remember Susan Fowler, the Uber engineer whose blog post about sexual harassment within…

Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades aDaily Variety. In this occasional column, two old friends get together and grind their axes, mostly on the movie business. FLEMING: It might be too on the nose for Hollywood to give movie treatment to the stunning downfall of Harvey Weinstein, but how's this for a fortuitously timed movie package just now being shopped? Remember Susan Fowler, the Uber engineer whose blog post about sexual harassment within…

Ewan McGregor in Talks to Star in Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’

Ewan McGregor is in talks to star in Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” TheWrap has learned.

Disney’s live-action film, which will be directed by “World War Z” and “Quantum of Solace” director Marc Forster, centers on the child from the A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” stories after he’s grown up.

McGregor will play the adult Christopher Robin, who toils as a businessman and prioritizes work above his wife and daughter. Having lost his sense of wonder, he must find it again with the help of a silly old bear.

Also Read: Disney Pushes Fifth ‘Indiana Jones’ Film to 2020

“Hidden Figures” screenwriter Allison Schroeder is writing the script. Alex Ross Perry previously wrote a draft, with Tom McCarthy working on a later revision.

“The Jungle Book” producer Brigham Taylor is producing the live-action film.

McGregor was most recently seen in Danny Boyle’s “T2 Trainspotting” and Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” with Emma Watson.

The actor also stars in the third season of FX’s hit “Fargo,” which premiered April 19, playing twins Emmit and Ray Stussy. He’s also attached to Drake Doremus’ next film “Zoe,” opposite Lea Seydoux.

Also Read: Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Lion King’ Gets Summer 2019 Release Date

“Christopher Robin” is Disney’s latest live-action project that reimagines a popular animated film or franchise. Previous and upcoming examples include “Maleficent,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” as well as upcoming versions of “Mulan” and “Aladdin.”

McGregor is repped by UTA, United Agents in the U.K. and Sloane Offer.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

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Disney Pushes Fifth ‘Indiana Jones’ Film to 2020

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Will Smith Eyed to Star as the Genie in Disney’s ‘Aladdin’

Ewan McGregor is in talks to star in Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” TheWrap has learned.

Disney’s live-action film, which will be directed by “World War Z” and “Quantum of Solace” director Marc Forster, centers on the child from the A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” stories after he’s grown up.

McGregor will play the adult Christopher Robin, who toils as a businessman and prioritizes work above his wife and daughter. Having lost his sense of wonder, he must find it again with the help of a silly old bear.

“Hidden Figures” screenwriter Allison Schroeder is writing the script. Alex Ross Perry previously wrote a draft, with Tom McCarthy working on a later revision.

“The Jungle Book” producer Brigham Taylor is producing the live-action film.

McGregor was most recently seen in Danny Boyle’s “T2 Trainspotting” and Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” with Emma Watson.

The actor also stars in the third season of FX’s hit “Fargo,” which premiered April 19, playing twins Emmit and Ray Stussy. He’s also attached to Drake Doremus’ next film “Zoe,” opposite Lea Seydoux.

“Christopher Robin” is Disney’s latest live-action project that reimagines a popular animated film or franchise. Previous and upcoming examples include “Maleficent,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” as well as upcoming versions of “Mulan” and “Aladdin.”

McGregor is repped by UTA, United Agents in the U.K. and Sloane Offer.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Disney Pushes Fifth 'Indiana Jones' Film to 2020

Disney's Live-Action 'The Lion King' Gets Summer 2019 Release Date

Will Smith Eyed to Star as the Genie in Disney's 'Aladdin'

Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters Share Worst Studio Notes: ‘So Where Are the White People?’

You might think a screenwriter who gets an Oscar nomination would be exempt from “notes” — the heavy-handed suggestions given by studio executives, producers and sometimes actors in the process of developing and shooting a film.

You’d be wrong.

Fox Searchlight execs asked for less math in three-time nominee “Hidden Figures,” screenwriters Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi said at the annual Writers Guild of America Beyond Words panel on Thursday.

Also Read: Sting, Justin Timberlake, Lin-Manuel Miranda and John Legend to Perform on Oscars

And Damien Chazelle said he was asked to scrap the climactic drum solo in his first feature, “Whiplash.”

Here are some of the most revealing stories from this year’s other writing nominees at the Audi-sponsored event.

Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)
“It was on ‘Whiplash,’ it ends with a kind of long drum solo, which was the whole point of making the movie. And the note was to get rid of all that. The note was written out — ‘He’s good at drumming. We get it.’”

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Deadpool”)
“We wrote a parody of The Sopranos called The Tomatoes. It was all fruits and vegetables in the leads. it was the Tomatoes vs. The Bananas. The note came back, ‘We love it, but do they have to be fruits and vegetables?”

Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)
“I’m trying to think of a really bad note that I’ve gotten, but for the past 20 years when executives give me notes I go into a kind of self-induced hypnotic trance in which I just nod and say… ‘Oh that’s interesting.’ I pitched a comedy once and someone said, ‘Where’s the fun?’ I said I didn’t know.

Allison Schroeder (“Hidden Figures”)
“I was really excited, I was pitching this thriller with two female leads, about espionage. [The executive] said, ‘Oh! We love it! It’s great. Can you either change it to incest or two men? I said, “If you’ll really hire me? Yes.’”

Also Read: Sony Leak: 28 Lies Hollywood Agents Tell Studio Executives About Their Actor Clients

Theodore Melfi (“Hidden Figures”)
“Most of the notes you get are from actors. They’re bad. This one studio [Fox Searchlight] person said, ‘Do we have to have so much math?’ So I pretended to be interested but, no, it’s about math. And then Kevin Costner calls me one night and says, ‘I’ve been thinking about a receding hairline.’

“I said, ‘OK. Why?’ He said, ‘I just think this guy would have a receding hairline.’ And so I call the studio because I love to torture them, and said, ‘Kevin Costner wants a receding hairline,’ and they flip out, saying ‘We want Kevin Coster just the way he is!’ So I went back to Kevin and said everyone at the the studio thinks it will make you look old. He went, ‘Oh. Can I chew gum?’”

Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)
“So, where are the white people?”
[Note: Heisserer jumped in and said, “In the audience.” He got a big laugh.]

Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”)
“It was the start of a pitch, I said ‘There’s a spy and his wife.’ The executive said, ‘There is no wife. Continue.’”

Also Read: ‘Lion’ Roars Over Competition for Top Cinematography Prize

Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”)
“I’m with [Lonergan], when I start getting notes. It just starts to sound like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon. I was in a meeting, I wrote this pilot for AMC, and we’re all sitting there and they’re giving me all their notes and I’m listening and at one point I say, ‘What the f— are you people talking about?”

And they said, ‘Taylor, you have to look for the note within the note.”  I said, ‘OK, but why don’t you just give me the note?’ They looked at me dead seriously and said, ‘Well we don’t know what the note is.’”

Todd Black (producer of “Fences”)
“We made a Western called ‘The Magnificent Seven’ [with Sony Pictures]. And the biggest note in development and shooting it was, ‘Do they have to wear cowboy hats and have facial hair?’ And I said, ‘Do you not want them not to have horses either?’ That was a huge note on a daily basis.”

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Russell Hollander to Succeed Jay Roth as DGA’s National Executive Director

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WME-IMG Executive Chris Liddell Leaves Agency to Join Donald Trump Administration

You might think a screenwriter who gets an Oscar nomination would be exempt from “notes” — the heavy-handed suggestions given by studio executives, producers and sometimes actors in the process of developing and shooting a film.

You’d be wrong.

Fox Searchlight execs asked for less math in three-time nominee “Hidden Figures,” screenwriters Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi said at the annual Writers Guild of America Beyond Words panel on Thursday.

And Damien Chazelle said he was asked to scrap the climactic drum solo in his first feature, “Whiplash.”

Here are some of the most revealing stories from this year’s other writing nominees at the Audi-sponsored event.

Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)
“It was on ‘Whiplash,’ it ends with a kind of long drum solo, which was the whole point of making the movie. And the note was to get rid of all that. The note was written out — ‘He’s good at drumming. We get it.'”

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Deadpool”)
“We wrote a parody of The Sopranos called The Tomatoes. It was all fruits and vegetables in the leads. it was the Tomatoes vs. The Bananas. The note came back, ‘We love it, but do they have to be fruits and vegetables?”

Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)
“I’m trying to think of a really bad note that I’ve gotten, but for the past 20 years when executives give me notes I go into a kind of self-induced hypnotic trance in which I just nod and say… ‘Oh that’s interesting.’ I pitched a comedy once and someone said, ‘Where’s the fun?’ I said I didn’t know.

Allison Schroeder (“Hidden Figures”)
“I was really excited, I was pitching this thriller with two female leads, about espionage. [The executive] said, ‘Oh! We love it! It’s great. Can you either change it to incest or two men? I said, “If you’ll really hire me? Yes.'”

Theodore Melfi (“Hidden Figures”)
“Most of the notes you get are from actors. They’re bad. This one studio [Fox Searchlight] person said, ‘Do we have to have so much math?’ So I pretended to be interested but, no, it’s about math. And then Kevin Costner calls me one night and says, ‘I’ve been thinking about a receding hairline.’

“I said, ‘OK. Why?’ He said, ‘I just think this guy would have a receding hairline.’ And so I call the studio because I love to torture them, and said, ‘Kevin Costner wants a receding hairline,’ and they flip out, saying ‘We want Kevin Coster just the way he is!’ So I went back to Kevin and said everyone at the the studio thinks it will make you look old. He went, ‘Oh. Can I chew gum?'”

Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)
“So, where are the white people?”
[Note: Heisserer jumped in and said, “In the audience.” He got a big laugh.]

Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”)
“It was the start of a pitch, I said ‘There’s a spy and his wife.’ The executive said, ‘There is no wife. Continue.'”

Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”)
“I’m with [Lonergan], when I start getting notes. It just starts to sound like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon. I was in a meeting, I wrote this pilot for AMC, and we’re all sitting there and they’re giving me all their notes and I’m listening and at one point I say, ‘What the f— are you people talking about?”

And they said, ‘Taylor, you have to look for the note within the note.”  I said, ‘OK, but why don’t you just give me the note?’ They looked at me dead seriously and said, ‘Well we don’t know what the note is.'”

Todd Black (producer of “Fences”)
“We made a Western called ‘The Magnificent Seven’ [with Sony Pictures]. And the biggest note in development and shooting it was, ‘Do they have to wear cowboy hats and have facial hair?’ And I said, ‘Do you not want them not to have horses either?’ That was a huge note on a daily basis.”

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Directors Guild Denounces Donald Trump's Executive Order on Immigration

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Oscars 2017: Women Claim Just 20 Percent of Non-Acting Nominations, Study Finds

Women represented only 20 percent of Academy Award nominees in the non-acting categories this year, a new study has found. And for the seventh straight year, no woman was recognized in the Best Director category.

According to a Women’s Media Center analysis, female Oscar nominees dropped 2 percentage points from last year’s nominations although hundreds of new members were invited to the Academy over the past year. The last time a woman was nominated for Best Director was Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for “The Hurt Locker.”

There were signs of progress. Director Ava DuVernay was nominated in the Documentary Feature category for “13th” and nine women were nominated as producers in the Best Picture category, an 11-year high. (Although, the study noted they were vastly outnumbered by the 21 men nominated in the category.)

Also Read: Academy Calls Possible Ban of Asghar Farhadi from Oscars ‘Extremely Troubling’

“We have a saying, ‘If you can see it, you can be it,’ but in the crucial behind-the-scenes non-acting roles, our ‘Women’s Media Center Investigation’ shows that what you see is 80 percent of all nominees are men,” Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said in a statement.

“Four out of five nominees are men — meaning male voices and perspectives are largely responsible for what we see on screen.”

Women’s Media Center

Indeed, the recent annual Celluloid Ceiling report by Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found that only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films were women.

“Clearly, women cannot get through the door and if they cannot get through the door, they cannot be recognized — and rewarded — for their excellence and impact,” Burton added. “In the meantime, and with appreciation to Michelle Obama, we ask the studio and agency executives who are okay with making a bunch of deals that exclude women to ‘Be Better.’ The perspectives, experience and voices of more than half the population deserve an equal seat at the table.”

Also Read: #OscarsSoWhite Creator April Reign Says Nominees Still Not Diverse Enough

In the writing category, the number of female nominees dipped: In the adapted screenplay category, only one female writer was nominated, Allison Schroeder for “Hidden Figures.” Last year, comparably, there were two female nominees. This year, in the original screenplay category, there are no female nominees.

However, Mica Levy, who composed the score to “Jackie,” became the first woman nominated for Original Score since 2000. And Joi McMillan, became the first African-American woman ever nominated in editing, for “Moonlight.”

After last year’s #OscarSoWhite controversy following the announcement that the Academy had shut out actors of color for the second year in a row, the Academy made major changes to its membership, which included inviting 683 new members.

According to the report, there were more people of color nominated this year than in any other year in Oscar history. This year marks the first time ever that three black actresses have been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in the same year: Viola Davis, Naomie Harris and Octavia Spencer.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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Oscars 2017: 3 Black Supporting Actresses Earn Noms for First Time Ever

Women represented only 20 percent of Academy Award nominees in the non-acting categories this year, a new study has found. And for the seventh straight year, no woman was recognized in the Best Director category.

According to a Women’s Media Center analysis, female Oscar nominees dropped 2 percentage points from last year’s nominations although hundreds of new members were invited to the Academy over the past year. The last time a woman was nominated for Best Director was Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for “The Hurt Locker.”

There were signs of progress. Director Ava DuVernay was nominated in the Documentary Feature category for “13th” and nine women were nominated as producers in the Best Picture category, an 11-year high. (Although, the study noted they were vastly outnumbered by the 21 men nominated in the category.)

“We have a saying, ‘If you can see it, you can be it,’ but in the crucial behind-the-scenes non-acting roles, our ‘Women’s Media Center Investigation’ shows that what you see is 80 percent of all nominees are men,” Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said in a statement.

“Four out of five nominees are men — meaning male voices and perspectives are largely responsible for what we see on screen.”

Women’s Media Center

Indeed, the recent annual Celluloid Ceiling report by Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found that only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films were women.

“Clearly, women cannot get through the door and if they cannot get through the door, they cannot be recognized — and rewarded — for their excellence and impact,” Burton added. “In the meantime, and with appreciation to Michelle Obama, we ask the studio and agency executives who are okay with making a bunch of deals that exclude women to ‘Be Better.’ The perspectives, experience and voices of more than half the population deserve an equal seat at the table.”

In the writing category, the number of female nominees dipped: In the adapted screenplay category, only one female writer was nominated, Allison Schroeder for “Hidden Figures.” Last year, comparably, there were two female nominees. This year, in the original screenplay category, there are no female nominees.

However, Mica Levy, who composed the score to “Jackie,” became the first woman nominated for Original Score since 2000. And Joi McMillan, became the first African-American woman ever nominated in editing, for “Moonlight.”

After last year’s #OscarSoWhite controversy following the announcement that the Academy had shut out actors of color for the second year in a row, the Academy made major changes to its membership, which included inviting 683 new members.

According to the report, there were more people of color nominated this year than in any other year in Oscar history. This year marks the first time ever that three black actresses have been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in the same year: Viola Davis, Naomie Harris and Octavia Spencer.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Syrian Heroes May Miss Oscars After Trump Travel Ban, Filmmakers Fear

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Oscars 2017: 3 Black Supporting Actresses Earn Noms for First Time Ever

NASA Runs in the Family for Oscar Nominated ‘Hidden Figures’ Screenwriter

When Allison Schroeder first saw Margot Lee Shetterley’s book proposal for “Hidden Figures,” which tells the story of African-American female mathematicians working at NASA at the height of the Space Race, she immediately knew this was a project she wanted to take on. After all, it’s in her blood — Schroeder’s grandmother was a programmer at the space agency in the 1970s.

“You imagine and you dream,” Schroeder told TheWrap after she learned of her nomination Tuesday morning. “There was a lot of talk at the time women were frustrated that they couldn’t find good roles. I wanted to tell them, ‘I’m working on something great!’”

Schroeder, who co-wrote the film with Ted Melfi, is the only female screenwriter nominated in either the Best Original Screenplay or Best Adapted Screenplay categories. She said she tried to stray from actual facts as little as possible — and she didn’t have to for many of the film’s most remarkable moments.

Also Read: No, Oscar Nominee Michelle Williams Still Hasn’t Seen ‘Manchester by the Sea’

“The truth was always so amazing that I wanted to include it,” she said. “It was often better than fiction. When I read about the dress code and what they had to wear and the bathroom on the other side of campus — it’s the kind of thing that a male boss may not even notice.”

For example, a scene where astronaut John Glenn requests Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, to double-check his trajectory before launching into space, occurred almost exactly as presented in the film.

“The line ‘have the girl run the numbers’ is totally true,” Schroeder said. “In real life that took a few days. But he really requested them and he really was impressed.”

Also Read: Oscar Nominee Michael Shannon Admits Shunning Method Approach to ‘Nocturnal Animals’ Character

Octavia Spencer picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Dorothy Vaughan. Schroeder said Spencer was one of the first people to read the script, and she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I did a little dance in my living room,” she said.

“Hidden Figures” became the first movie with multiple female leads to repeat atop the box office since 2011’s “The Help,” and Schroeder said the film’s message can provide a welcome antidote to some of the divisiveness in society.

“The fact that this is a movie about hope, and happy endings and people coming together for the common good despite their differences,” she said. “That’s huge right now. I didn’t realize how timely that would be.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

No, Oscar Nominee Michelle Williams Still Hasn’t Seen ‘Manchester by the Sea’

Oscar Nominee Andrew Garfield Says ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Character Is ‘Antidote’ to Donald Trump Values

Oscar Nominee Michael Shannon Admits Shunning Method Approach to ‘Nocturnal Animals’ Character

When Allison Schroeder first saw Margot Lee Shetterley’s book proposal for “Hidden Figures,” which tells the story of African-American female mathematicians working at NASA at the height of the Space Race, she immediately knew this was a project she wanted to take on. After all, it’s in her blood — Schroeder’s grandmother was a programmer at the space agency in the 1970s.

“You imagine and you dream,” Schroeder told TheWrap after she learned of her nomination Tuesday morning. “There was a lot of talk at the time women were frustrated that they couldn’t find good roles. I wanted to tell them, ‘I’m working on something great!'”

Schroeder, who co-wrote the film with Ted Melfi, is the only female screenwriter nominated in either the Best Original Screenplay or Best Adapted Screenplay categories. She said she tried to stray from actual facts as little as possible — and she didn’t have to for many of the film’s most remarkable moments.

“The truth was always so amazing that I wanted to include it,” she said. “It was often better than fiction. When I read about the dress code and what they had to wear and the bathroom on the other side of campus — it’s the kind of thing that a male boss may not even notice.”

For example, a scene where astronaut John Glenn requests Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, to double-check his trajectory before launching into space, occurred almost exactly as presented in the film.

“The line ‘have the girl run the numbers’ is totally true,” Schroeder said. “In real life that took a few days. But he really requested them and he really was impressed.”

Octavia Spencer picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Dorothy Vaughan. Schroeder said Spencer was one of the first people to read the script, and she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I did a little dance in my living room,” she said.

“Hidden Figures” became the first movie with multiple female leads to repeat atop the box office since 2011’s “The Help,” and Schroeder said the film’s message can provide a welcome antidote to some of the divisiveness in society.

“The fact that this is a movie about hope, and happy endings and people coming together for the common good despite their differences,” she said. “That’s huge right now. I didn’t realize how timely that would be.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

No, Oscar Nominee Michelle Williams Still Hasn't Seen 'Manchester by the Sea'

Oscar Nominee Andrew Garfield Says 'Hacksaw Ridge' Character Is 'Antidote' to Donald Trump Values

Oscar Nominee Michael Shannon Admits Shunning Method Approach to 'Nocturnal Animals' Character