Netflix Stars Explain ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,’ ‘Private Life’ and ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ – The Contenders NY

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs actor Tim Blake Nelson first received the script for the Coen brothers-directed project back in 2002. Private Life director Tamara Jenkins revealed she wasn’t sure she wanted to broach the topic of infertility before embark…

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs actor Tim Blake Nelson first received the script for the Coen brothers-directed project back in 2002. Private Life director Tamara Jenkins revealed she wasn't sure she wanted to broach the topic of infertility before embarking on Private Life. And Maggie Gyllenhaal said she needed to own the role of an educator obsessed with her student's genius in The Kindergarten Teacher. The trio of films represented the contingent of Netflix films…

‘Three Identical Strangers’ Tackles Fame And The Dark Side of Humanity – The Contenders NY

There may not be an obvious connection between musical drama Vox Lux from writer-director Brady Corbet and documentary Three Identical Strangers by Tim Wardle. But the two share one similar quality — they defy their genre. Both titles, released b…

There may not be an obvious connection between musical drama Vox Lux from writer-director Brady Corbet and documentary Three Identical Strangers by Tim Wardle. But the two share one similar quality — they defy their genre. Both titles, released by New York-based distributor, Neon, were spotlighted back-to-back this evening at Contenders. "My previous film was about the events leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, and after that, I decided to return to…

‘The Hate U Give’ Stars Amandla Stenberg & Russell Hornsby On “The Talk” And Power Of Timely Drama – The Contenders NY

Based on the YA novel of the same name by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give tackles relevant social issues that are not just applicable to young adults. The George Tillman Jr.-directed pic adapted by the late Audrey Wells follows the story of Starr as she …

Based on the YA novel of the same name by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give tackles relevant social issues that are not just applicable to young adults. The George Tillman Jr.-directed pic adapted by the late Audrey Wells follows the story of Starr as she witnesses the killing of her best friend at the hands of a cop, making her face the pressure from her majority black neighborhood and her privileged majority white school to find her voice and stand up for what’s right. The…

‘BlacKkKlansman’: Then And Now Are Not Far Apart – The Contenders NY

Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman was anticipated even before the bio-drama won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival last May. The Focus Features release has become the Brooklyn-based filmmaker’s most successful box office title since 2006’s Insid…

Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman was anticipated even before the bio-drama won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival last May. The Focus Features release has become the Brooklyn-based filmmaker's most successful box office title since 2006's Inside Man.  Adapted from the book of the same title by Ron Stallworth, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs, CO in the '70s, Lee told the audience at The Contenders NY that the film is not merely a…

Paul Schrader, Jonah Hill Borrow From Youth in A24’s ‘First Reformed’ and ‘mid90s’ – The Contenders NY

Religion and skateboarding may provide contrasting spiritual homes to its adherents, but as revealed by veteran director Paul Schrader, writer/director of First Reformed and first-time filmmaker, Jonah Hill, writer/director of mid90s, both found inspir…

Religion and skateboarding may provide contrasting spiritual homes to its adherents, but as revealed by veteran director Paul Schrader, writer/director of First Reformed and first-time filmmaker, Jonah Hill, writer/director of mid90s, both found inspiration for their stories rooted in their upbringing. Released through A24, both First Reformed and mid90s are audience favorites that have drawn audiences to theaters this year. "I'm a product of the Christian school…

‘Ben Is Back’ Raises The Ante For Holiday Stories – The Contenders NY

A family drama is not unusual fodder for a holiday big screen story, but add elements of a suspense thriller by way of drug addiction, then the ante rises for a holiday release. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Peter Hedges took on the challenge, tapping his …

A family drama is not unusual fodder for a holiday big screen story, but add elements of a suspense thriller by way of drug addiction, then the ante rises for a holiday release. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Peter Hedges took on the challenge, tapping his son, Lucas Hedges, as the son struggling with addiction, while his mother, played by Julia Roberts, fights to help him overcome his disease. Being touched by addiction is not foreign to the senior Hedges, who said that…

Deadline’s The Contenders New York Underway As Disney Kicks Off Day Of Oscar-Worthy Hopefuls

Director Rob Marshall and the cast of Mary Poppins Returns including Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw are kicking off Deadline’s first New York edition of The Contenders, the all-day event today that highlights awar…

Director Rob Marshall and the cast of Mary Poppins Returns including Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw are kicking off Deadline’s first New York edition of The Contenders, the all-day event today that highlights award hopefuls from the major studios and indie distributors. Taking place at the DGA Theater in NYC, the invitation-only event for Oscar voters and key guild members is at capacity and will feature a day full of major talent from the…

Deadline’s The Contenders Makes New York Debut December 1; Lin-Manuel Miranda, Spike Lee, Jonah Hill Join Lineup

Deadline’s The Contenders, which began in Los Angeles eight years ago, is expanding to New York for the first time December 1. The awards-season showcase, which had its second-ever London edition in October and another sold-out L.A. event on Nove…

Deadline’s The Contenders, which began in Los Angeles eight years ago, is expanding to New York for the first time December 1. The awards-season showcase, which had its second-ever London edition in October and another sold-out L.A. event on November 3, will feature more than 20 films from 13 studios in New York. Clips and onstage conversations will feature actors, directors, producers, writers and other key figures behind the season’s contending films. Academy and guild…

Nicole Kidman Transformed For Deep-Cover Duty In Annapurna’s ‘Destroyer’ – The Contenders LA

Any fan of Nicole Kidman would have recognized the willowy, red-headed Australian actress as soon as she appeared on stage this weekend for the Annapurna presentation at Deadline’s The Contenders award-season event in Los Angeles. That wasn&#8217…

Any fan of Nicole Kidman would have recognized the willowy, red-headed Australian actress as soon as she appeared on stage this weekend for the Annapurna presentation at Deadline’s The Contenders award-season event in Los Angeles. That wasn’t the case a few minutes later, however, when the DGA Theater’s screen showed scenes from Destroyer with a visage of Kidman that was startlingly unfamiliar. In Destroyer Kidman portrays Erin Bell,  who as a young police officer…

Willem Dafoe Sees The Light In CBS Films’ ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ – The Contenders LA

The CBS Films presentation at Deadline’s The Contenders was the most intimate of the day — and perhaps the most enlightening. The allotted time for CBS was devoted to a single film, At Eternity’s Gate, and the list of panel guests lim…

The CBS Films presentation at Deadline’s The Contenders was the most intimate of the day — and perhaps the most enlightening. The allotted time for CBS was devoted to a single film, At Eternity’s Gate, and the list of panel guests limited to one name: Willem Dafoe, the three-time Academy Award nominee who looks to be back in the trophy hunt with his screen portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. At Eternity’s Gate, directed by Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) off…

A24’s ‘Hereditary’ & ‘Eighth Grade’: Tales of Madness & Middle School – The Contenders LA

The two A24 films presented today during The Contenders LA program were wildly different projects — Hereditary is a harrowing psychological tale that slides into supernatural horror while Eighth Grade is a coming-of-age tale that tugs at the hear…

The two A24 films presented today during The Contenders LA program were wildly different projects — Hereditary is a harrowing psychological tale that slides into supernatural horror while Eighth Grade is a coming-of-age tale that tugs at the heart ‚ but on closer inspection, the pair do share some common ground. Fractured families and missing mothers, for instance, are central elements in both films. Each of them is the work of a writer-director making his feature-film…

‘Roma’ Was A Journey Of Discovery For Alfonso Cuarón & The Performers In Netflix Pic — The Contenders LA

Alfonso Cuarón, writer-director-producer of the anticipated Netflix film Roma, got a laugh from the Contenders audience Saturday at the DGA Theater when moderator Joe Utichi asked him about “discovering” Yalitza Aparicio, an aspiring teacher who appear…

Alfonso Cuarón, writer-director-producer of the anticipated Netflix film Roma, got a laugh from the Contenders audience Saturday at the DGA Theater when moderator Joe Utichi asked him about "discovering" Yalitza Aparicio, an aspiring teacher who appeared in the film in her first screen role. "I didn't find her — she was always there," Cuarón said. "You were lost? I was very lucky to meet with her." He added he remains mystified by Hollywood's frequent declaration that it…

‘Bird Box’s Sandra Bullock Donned A Blindfold For Fresh Take On Motherhood – The Contenders LA

While Sandra Bullock would eventually fall in love with Bird Box—a Netflix horror-thriller based on a novel by Josh Malerman and directed by Susanne Bier—the Oscar winner had quite a different reaction to the material in her first interacti…

While Sandra Bullock would eventually fall in love with Bird Box—a Netflix horror-thriller based on a novel by Josh Malerman and directed by Susanne Bier—the Oscar winner had quite a different reaction to the material in her first interaction with it some years ago. "I thought it was intriguing, but there was something about it that didn't click,” she told Deadline’s Pete Hammond during the Netflix film’s panel at Deadline’s The Contenders award-season event Saturday at…

How Netflix’s ’22 July’ Brought A Vital Message To A Youth Audience – The Contenders LA

In tackling the real-life horror of a 2011 terrorist mass-shooting in Norway, Paul Greengrass’ Netflix film 22 July bravely approaches a topic most would be afraid to handle, considering 77 teenagers were murdered that day.
Speaking at Deadline’s The C…

In tackling the real-life horror of a 2011 terrorist mass-shooting in Norway, Paul Greengrass' Netflix film 22 July bravely approaches a topic most would be afraid to handle, considering 77 teenagers were murdered that day. Speaking at Deadline's The Contenders LA, 22 July's editor William Goldenberg (Argo, The Imitation Game) discussed the film that sensitively focuses on the struggles of a survivor left half-blind after being shot five times. "It was a subject that was…

‘A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski On Making The Horror Film “The Best Metaphor For Parenting” – The Contenders LA

“We had just had our second daughter — she was 3 weeks old when I read the script, A Quiet Place director-writer-star John Krasinski said Saturday during a panel at Deadline’s annual The Contenders awards-season event. “The idea…

“We had just had our second daughter — she was 3 weeks old when I read the script, A Quiet Place director-writer-star John Krasinski said Saturday during a panel at Deadline’s annual The Contenders awards-season event. “The idea was perfect. I saw the entire movie within 30 minutes of finishing the script because I was holding my daughter when I was reading the pages.” “I said if I can actually take this experience of these early days of parenthood, which is pure terror…

Hilary Swank & Robert Forster Take A Personal Journey With Elizabeth Chomko In ‘What They Had’ – The Contenders LA

At today’s Contenders LA, here’s what they said about What They Had, Bleecker Street’s family drama from first time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko.
“It was something that I wrote for my family,” said Chomko, appearing on a panel with stars Hilary Swa…

At today's Contenders LA, here's what they said about What They Had, Bleecker Street's family drama from first time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko. "It was something that I wrote for my family," said Chomko, appearing on a panel with stars Hilary Swank and Robert Forster. "It’s about the things that happened during my grandmother's Alzheimer's disease…a place of grief and time traveling." Chomko said she wrote the first draft seven years ago, and joked that was followed…

Sony Touts Politically Relevant Biopic ‘The Front Runner’ & A Fresh Take With ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ – The Contenders LA

Sony Pictures brought two awards-worthy gems to Deadline’s The Contenders LA on Saturday: political biopic The Front Runner and the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
A retelling of the 1988 scandal that saw Democratic Sen. Gary Hart and…

Sony Pictures brought two awards-worthy gems to Deadline’s The Contenders LA on Saturday: political biopic The Front Runner and the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. A retelling of the 1988 scandal that saw Democratic Sen. Gary Hart and presidential hopeful caught in an extramarital affair, The Front Runner seems particularly relevant in this politically fraught time, director Jason Reitman said. “I would be very happy with less relevance,” he said grimly…

With Narrative Debut ‘A Private War,’ Matthew Heineman Honors Courageous, Selfless Journalism — The Contenders LA

Growing up with a journalist for a mother and making his name as an Oscar-nominated documentarian—behind the likes of Cartel Land and City of Ghosts—Matthew Heineman makes his narrative feature debut with Aviron Pictures’ A Private War. As …

Growing up with a journalist for a mother and making his name as an Oscar-nominated documentarian—behind the likes of Cartel Land and City of GhostsMatthew Heineman makes his narrative feature debut with Aviron Pictures' A Private War. As an artist with a journalist's eye for meaningful real-world stories and a great deal of personal bravery, it's no wonder Heineman delved into this new filmmaking arena with the story of Marie Colvin, a journalist whose values mirrored…

Neon’s ‘Vox Lux’ & ‘Three Identical Strangers’ Explore Loss Of Innocence And Finding Identity – The Contenders LA

In Vox Lux, Natalie Portman plays Celeste, a mega pop star who, at a young age, survived a tragic school shooting. For writer-director Brady Corbet, he said that the Neon movie is also about the loss of innocence.
“[Celeste] acts as an avatar to …

In Vox Lux, Natalie Portman plays Celeste, a mega pop star who, at a young age, survived a tragic school shooting. For writer-director Brady Corbet, he said that the Neon movie is also about the loss of innocence. “[Celeste] acts as an avatar to define cultural moments of the era,” Corbet told Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro at Deadline The Contenders on Saturday. “It writes itself.” Corbet was joined on the stage by Portman, who also executive produced the film, as well…

‘Leave No Trace’ Director Debra Granik Talks Leaning Into Quietness Of Survivalist Drama – The Contenders LA

Bleecker Street’s Leave No Trace follows a military vet, Will (Ben Foster), and his daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), who have lived off the grid for years in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Their lives are turned upside down when …

Bleecker Street’s Leave No Trace follows a military vet, Will (Ben Foster), and his daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), who have lived off the grid for years in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Their lives are turned upside down when they are put into social services and live in conventional housing and adjust to modern life — smartphones and all. Amidst all the loudness and grandeur landscape of film, director/writer Debra Granik wanted to lean into the…

‘A Star Is Born’, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ And The Relatability Of Love & Family — The Contenders LA

Warner Bros brought out the big guns for Deadline’s Contenders LA confab with A Star Is Born director/co-writer/producer/star Bradley Cooper and cinematographer Matthew Libatique as well as stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh from…

Warner Bros brought out the big guns for Deadline’s Contenders LA confab with A Star Is Born director/co-writer/producer/star Bradley Cooper and cinematographer Matthew Libatique as well as stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh from the hit romcom Crazy Rich Asians. Cooper, who is coming off of a successful first directing outing, talked about why he chose to remake this story. “It was a culmination of certain things,” he said. “I wanted to tell a love…