Carey Mulligan To Star In FilmNation, LuckChap Thriller ‘Promising Young Woman’ — EFM

Read on: Deadline.

Carey Mulligan is to star in Emerald Fennell-directed thriller Promising Young Woman which FilmNation Entertainment will launch sales on at the EFM in Berlin. UTA will rep U.S.
Shoot is due to get underway this spring on the project from writer-directo…

Zoe Kazan on Her Wildly Productive 2018: 2 Movies and a Baby

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This article about Zoe Kazan first appeared in the Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine. 

Zoe Kazan is not the only actor who also wrote a movie this year, but she’s probably the only one who wrote one film that’s in the awards race and then starred in a completely different film that’s also a contender.

And she’s definitely the only person who starred in one movie, wrote another and also had her first baby in the midst of her busy year.

But that is Zoe Kazan’s 2018. She co-wrote the quietly devastating family drama “Wildlife” with the film’s director and her partner, Paul Dano; the Richard Ford adaptation premiered at Sundance, went to Cannes and then opened in October. She played one of the lead roles in the Coen brothers’ darkly comic anthology Western “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival on August 31 and was released in November. And in late August, she gave birth to a baby girl, Alma Day, whose impending arrival she and Dano had managed to keep under wraps for her entire pregnancy.

Also Read: Paul Dano Recalls That Time Greg Kinnear Ran a Red Light Filming ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (Video)

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” / Netflix

“It’s very strange to have ‘Wildlife’ and ‘Buster Scruggs’ coming out, and then also have an infant at home and be completely immersed in that while also putting these different kind of babies into the world,” she said on one of the New York-based couple’s frequent trips to Los Angeles this fall.

Then again, Kazan has always been pretty good at multitasking. The daughter of screenwriters Nicholas Kazan (“Frances”, “Reversal of Fortune”) and Robin Swicord (“Memoirs of a Geisha”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) and the granddaughter of legendary film and theater director Elia Kazan, she wanted to be an actress as a teenager — but, she said, “My parents were dead set that I go to college, have a real education and not be a child actor. I thought that was them ruining my life.” She went to Yale, worked on her writing but also acted in the theater and wrote plays.

And when she broke into films in 2007’s “The Savages” and later appeared in the likes of “Revolutionary Road” and “It’s Complicated,” she kept acting and writing in the theater, then added her first screenwriting credit with the 2012 film “Ruby Sparks,” one of several projects in which she and Dano have appeared together.

Also Read: How Paul Dano and Carey Mulligan Adapted the Challenging Source Material of ‘Wildlife’ (Video)

Around the time they made that film, they optioned the rights to Richard Ford’s spare novel “Wildlife,” a book set in 1960 and narrated by a teenage boy whose father inexplicably leaves the family to become a volunteer firefighter and whose mother embarks on an ill-advised affair. “Paul read the book three or four times and then said, ‘You should read this, I think there’s a movie here,’” she said.

“He’s very attracted to the illusion of simplicity in art, and Ford’s prose is like that: It’s so spare and muscular — and emotional, but all the emotion’s under the surface.” They optioned the book with their own money, and Dano took a crack at writing a first draft of the screenplay.

“In his mind it was a real draft, but it was really like a 60-page treatment,” she said with a grin. “I had a lot of notes, but it took about an hour to get through five pages of note-giving. So I said, ‘I think this would be easier and simpler if I just rewrote you. I can show you better than I can tell you.’ And he agreed immediately.”

Kazan was drawn to the spare story, to the teenage protagonist who felt to her like a version of Dano, and to the mother who doesn’t make the best decisions but is also blamed for attempting to take some agency in her own life.

“She is trying to make the only decisions she can make — she’s trying to make choices for herself that aren’t prescribed for her,” she said. “And while it felt absolutely contemporary to me that a woman’s choices can be conscribed like that, it felt particular to the period, how limited her choices were and how difficult it would be to have an identity separate from the archetypes of mother and wife.”

Also Read: ‘Roma,’ ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ and ‘Bird Box’ to Open in Theaters Ahead of Netflix Debuts

“Wildlife” / IFC

Using skills she’d learned in part from her parents, Kazan worked on Dano’s original script. “He had done a lot of heavy lifting, pulling what was juicy from the book and starting to translate it into cinematic image rather than prose,” she said. “But he hadn’t done that structurally — he hadn’t thought about how the book is structured in a way that might not be conducive to dramatic structure. But I was raised by two screenwriters. My parents would pause a movie we were watching and say, ‘This is the beginning of the second act.’

“So I took Paul’s draft and I literally cut it up with scissors, put it all over our living room floor and started moving things around, trying to figure it out.”

The script attracted Kazan’s old friend Carey Mulligan, with whom she’d appeared onstage in “The Seagull” a decade earlier, as well as Jake Gyllenhaal as the father and newcomer Ed Oxenbould as Joe. But it was never an option for Kazan or Dano to also act in “Wildlife”: “Making the movie was hard enough,” she said. “I think if we had taken on one more thing, it would have broken us.”

Besides, she had the Coen brothers and “Buster Scruggs” waiting in the wings. The film consists of six different Western tales; Kazan stars in the longest of them, playing Alice Longabaugh, a timid young woman who is traveling west in a wagon train to Oregon with her brother, who has big plans for his business that also involve marrying off Alice to an associate who may or may not be interested.

Like the entire film, the episode — which is titled “The Gal Who Got Rattled” — is consumed with issues of mortality and with a grim humor characteristic of the directors.

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“They’re it for me,” said Kazan of the Coens. “I felt, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, so why not be a total nerd about it?’ So I rewatched all of their films, and I saw the connections to all of these other films. I think it’s really speaking to ‘Barton Fink’ and ‘A Serious Man’ in particular. It’s that knife’s edge, that sense of death on one side and life on the other, humor on one side and tragedy on the other.”

Kazan’s partner for many of her scenes is Bill Heck, who plays one of the leaders of the wagon train — a bit of casting that brought her great comfort. “We did ‘Angels in America’ together Off Broadway eight years ago,” she said. “When I walked in for my callback on ‘Buster Scruggs,’ I was a mess. I knew that I was doing a chemistry read with someone, but I didn’t know who, and I was so scared. But when I saw his back in the lobby, I felt this wave of relief.

“With Bill, I had a real partner. I could call him at 6 a.m. in Nebraska when we were filming and say, ‘Can we get donuts and drive around and run lines for four hours before we go to work today?”

Kazan now has a role coming up in Lone Scherfig’s “The Kindness of Strangers”, as well as two scripts that she can’t talk about yet except to say that one is for Dano to direct. “Hopefully, one of those things will come to fruition,” she said. “And then I’m also home with the baby.” She smiled. “That part feels different.”

To read more of TheWrap’s Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue, click here.

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2019 Oscar Contenders, From Rami Malek to Spike Lee (Exclusive Photos)

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Rami Malek, Spike Lee Willem Dafoe, Annie Lennox, Maggie Gyllenhaal and more are vying for Academy recognition this season. They stopped by StudioWrap for an interview and photo session.
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In ‘Wildlife’, Carey Mulligan Makes An Honest Woman Out Of The Complicated, Flawed Jeanette — Q&A

Read on: Deadline.

Few actors are gifted the opportunity of a one-two punch quite like Carey Mulligan’s this year. At Sundance in January she premiered Wildlife, Paul Dano’s directorial debut adapted from Richard Ford’s novel by Dano and Zoe Kazan. As Jeanette, the frust…

Ian McKellen Searched for His ‘Inner P-ssy’ – to Prep for ‘Cats’ Movie Musical (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

How did Sir Ian McKellen prepare for playing a feline in the upcoming film adaptation of the musical “Cats”?

“Well, at the moment, I’m looking for the inner p-ssy,” he said on Friday’s “The Graham Norton Show,” causing the audience to interrupt him with laughter before he finished his train of thought.

“The mugginess that is within us all,” he continued. “I’m not doing very well at it.”

McKellen joked that he thought of going on a “cat diet,” just eating cat food on the weekends to really get into character, but that had its drawbacks.

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“I’ve always thought that tinned cat food smells as if it might be rather tasty… it isn’t.”

McKellen will play Asparagus aka Gus the Theatre Cat, who is described as old and frail, yet revered.

“Cats” filming begins in Hertfordshire, England, next month. The film is set for release on Dec. 20, 2019.

Watch McKellen crack up his fellow guests Michael Buble and Carey Mulligan in the clip above.

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‘Wildlife’ Film Review: Carey Mulligan Excels in Paul Dano’s Family Drama

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

That Paul Dano the director suffuses nearly every frame of his first feature “Wildlife” with an almost stricken concern for its imploding protagonists — with scenes of frozen but engaged compassion — somehow befits a movie made by Paul Dano the actor, who over a handful of performances (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Love and Mercy”) has made a notable career out of embodying lonely, vulnerable souls at pains with how to move forward.

“Wildlife,” an adaptation of Richard Ford’s 1990 novel, is a study in domestic discontent set in Montana in the early 1960s, and it makes for a sterling filmmaking debut from Dano. Working from a screenplay he wrote with partner Zoe Kazan, he shows not just a keen way with actors — a commonly informed plus when a performer steps behind the camera, in this case facilitating Carey Mulligan’s finest film portrayal to date — but also an alert eye for deceptively charged visuals that combine surface beauty and nagging emptiness.

Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jeanette (Mulligan) are clean-cut suburbanites eking out a middle-class life in Great Falls: he as a charismatic golf pro, she as a dutiful housewife. Their 14-year-old, Joe (Ed Oxenbould, “Better Watch Out”), is studious and kind, admiring of his parents, even if he grasps that dad’s fervent wish that he become a football star isn’t likely to pan out. Off in the mountainous distance, runaway fires threaten, but as a female classmate mentions to Joe while he scribbles away during a safety presentation, “You don’t have to take notes. It’s the same as the bomb drill; if the fire ever gets to us, it’ll be too late.”

Watch Video: How Paul Dano and Carey Mulligan Adapted the Challenging Source Material of ‘Wildlife’

As if on cue, the lit fuse that imperils Joe’s family occurs when easygoing Jerry is fired from the golf course, sending him into a tailspin of wounded pride, humiliation, and disengagement. Jeanette, driven by a poised practicality, starts teaching swimming lessons to bring in income. Joe, meanwhile, who also pitches in by getting an afternoon job, senses the shell of their home’s existence cracking (mom’s ever-brittler voice, fights heard through the walls, a late-night glimpse of a couch made up like a bed).

When Jerry decides to join the fight against the raging fires — a gig typically handed to the town’s drifters, and one that will keep him away until the first snowfall — an exasperated Jeanette takes it as an abdication, to the extent that she doesn’t feel the need to tamp down her dissatisfaction any longer. In Jerry’s absence, she changes her look, talks more frankly with Joe about personal matters, and, shockingly, begins openly flirting with a well-to-do businessman (Bill Camp, great as always). Joe can only watch, horrified.

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Dano’s stitching of this elegantly crumbling story is exemplary, marked by a sense of gathering darkness that never tips into obvious melodrama, or an over-reliance on the tale’s many symbols. He knows how to portend with shots that tug at ideas without needing to spell out the disaster: for instance, an early, pre-fracture montage made up of Jeanette riding her bike, Jerry driving the family car, and Joe riding the bus, in which each character is facing a different direction.

Dano’s confident framing is helped greatly by cinematographer Diego Garcia, who has worked with master imagemakers Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Carlos Reygadas, and finds plenty of crisply foreboding atmosphere in those Big Sky country vistas and the judiciously deployed period suburban details.

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But what really crackles as “Wildlife” goes from family drama to a beholden kid’s nightmare is Mulligan, who in one sense takes the baton from Gyllenhaal’s figurative, then literal, disappearing act of a dad portrayal, then runs away with a performance of seething resentment, fumbling identity, and queasy mom-inappropriateness that feels like a Betty Friedan-conjured tornado of mid-century female anguish. Thankfully free of the kind of prestige showcase movie that usually only required her to be youthful, smart, and porcelain-pretty, Mulligan here is someone gloriously lived-in, acidic and vulnerable; may her Jeanette be the springboard to the deep, womanly roles she deserves.

It’s also the kind of turn you can see in the eyes of Oxenbould, who nails Joe’s heartbreaking reaction shots: when he looks at her, it’s as if he’s watching a beloved, familiar portrait painting cut up and reformed into a Cubist head-scratcher.

Just as impressive is how “Wildlife” resolves itself, with a glimmer of something that isn’t quite hope, but isn’t despair, either, regarding the resilience of certain bonds. By the end, it’s easy to imagine how a less-exacting filmmaker might have coasted on our comfortably smug distaste for the era’s gender restrictiveness, and created something more arch and safely judgmental. But that isn’t “Wildlife,” which in the hands of its filmmakers and cast is a rivetingly good, human journey, full of sparks, flame, smoke, containment, ash, and the terrible beauty that sometimes mystifyingly colors stories of desolation.

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How Paul Dano and Carey Mulligan Adapted the Challenging Source Material of ‘Wildlife’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Paul Dano gave himself quite the challenge for his directorial debut, adapting — along with co-screenwriter Zoe Kazan — Richard Ford’s bleak and meticulously structured novel “Wildlife.”

The story is about a teenage boy who has moved to Montana, only to watch his parents’ marriage deteriorate. The source material doesn’t exactly lend itself to a movie, but Dano felt that it would be perfect for his directorial debut.

“I saw a tremendous amount of love and compassion in the writing, equaled by a tremendous amount of struggle, which I also just found to be true in life, these American themes, The American Dream, the nuclear family, it’s always been something I loved and have feelings about,” Dano told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at TIFF. “The idea of making a family portrait just seemed like the right place to start for a filmmaker.”

Also Read: ‘Wildlife’ Review: Paul Dano’s Directorial Debut Is an Austere Portrait of a Family in Crisis

Carey Mulligan stars alongside Jake Gyllenhaal as the drifting-apart wife and husband, and Mulligan said she was moved playing a character who consistently makes bad decisions and watches her life fall apart as a result.

“For me the thing that really jumped out was the weird nostalgic whiplash where you suddenly realize where you are in life and you can’t quite figure out how you got there,” Mulligan told TheWrap at TIFF. “The thing that excites me about doing jobs is when they’re really nerve-racking to take on. So if I’m doing something it’s always because I’m a bit scared of it and I don’t know how to do it when I go in, and I rely on a great director to guide me through it.”

Watch a clip of our interview with Dano and Mulligan above. “Wildlife” opens in theaters on Oct. 19.

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Paul Dano On His Directing Debut ‘Wildlife’ And The Advantages Of Working From Home – Toronto Studio

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‘Girls & Boys’ Theater Review: Carey Mulligan Says the Kids Aren’t All Right

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Carey Mulligan stands in a pale blue box to deliver her first of many long monologues in Dennis Kelly’s play “Girls & Boys,” which opened Wednesday at Off Broadway’s Minetta Lane Theatre. With her elegant build and gazelle neck, she’s reminiscent of a young Audrey Hepburn, if not for the fact that she shows absolutely no desire to charm us. Her unnamed character, identified in the program as Woman, is on edge but fully under control as she takes on a variety of easy targets: executive assistants, Paris, female models, Italians who don’t believe in queues.

Mulligan, and by extension her audience, is not stuck in that blue box for long, fortunately. Es Devlin’s set opens to expose a kitchen/living room, everything bathed in that same pale blue; here and there, a book or a piece of fruit shines in full color. The woman is playing with her young daughter and her even younger son. We don’t see the two children, but Mulligan speaks to them and convincingly mimes holding and horsing around with them.

Under Lyndsey Turner’s steady direction, the remainder of “Girls & Boys” alternates between these two sets as more objects in the kitchen area and living room begin to take on more color. (Oliver Fenwick’s lighting and Luke Halls’ video design are visual wonders.)

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What the woman has to say in her blue-box monologues isn’t very scintillating or clever, which may lead you to wonder if the children, whom we never see, are real or imaginary. An upstage door does open and shut when we’re told the little girl is going to her bedroom. This macabre wonderment on our part makes the monologues easier to endure. The other thing that piques interest is how much the woman prefers her daughter to her son.

And it’s no surprise. The son has destroyed a piece of art the daughter created. When it comes to play time, the daughter imagines herself an architect. The son wants to drop nuclear bombs on her imaginary buildings. Obviously, the son is also a narcissist. When it’s nap time, he imitates a light switch and can’t be easily woken.

With the play’s title as an unsubtle clue, Kelly is telling us something about girls and boys, women and men. As for the latter, the woman’s husband turns out to be a monster from a slasher movie. He’s great sex in the beginning. The woman tells us that if you’ve never experienced this kind of phenomenal lovemaking, then take it from her: Drop your current partner immediately and go get laid. But then the husband’s career nose-dives just when the woman’s is taking off.

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“Girls & Boys” is more absorbing in retrospect, after we’ve learned for sure whether the kids are real or if they ever existed. It’s a good thing that Kelly is a man, because “Girls & Boys” is one of the most anti-male plays out there. Kelly, to his credit, makes a good argument.

What’s most disturbing about “Girls & Boys” is that the play comes to New York from London’s Royal Court Theatre, as does the Public Theater’s just-opened production of “Cyprus Avenue.” Back to back, these two plays contain more mayhem, dramatized or spoken about, than any theatergoer needs to witness in one year, much less one week.

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Carey Mulligan On The Draw Of ‘Wildlife’ And The Industry’s Failure To Reflect Complicated Women – Cannes Studio

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In Paul Dano’s Wildlife, which premiered at Cannes’ Critics Week last night after a debut in Sundance, Carey Mulligan plays Jeanette, a woman who responds to her husband’s desertion to fight a fire raging outside their small town by c…

What Paul Dano Learned As He Stepped Behind The Camera For Critics’ Week Opener ‘Wildlife’ — Cannes

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Based on Richard Ford’s 1990 novel, Wildlife marks Paul Dano’s first feature film as a writer and director. The call of Ford’s book was undeniable for Dano, who worked with Zoe Kazan to adapt it for the screen. Its tale of a family in turmoil in 1960s …

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