- The Lunch with Alison Willmore, Film Critic for BuzzFeed
- The Lunch with Matt and Tom Berninger of ‘Mistaken for Strangers’
- The Lunch, with Anne Thompson, Journalist and Author of ‘The $11-Billion Year’
- The Lunch with Chad Hartigan, Dir. of ‘This is Martin Bonner’
- The Lunch: Todd Sklar & Alex Rennie of ‘Awful Nice’
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Tag Archives: Amy Adams
Wearing a deep shade of blue — not coincidentally — Amy Adams is superbly matched with the color scheme of her latest film, the would-be blockbuster “Man of Steel,” where she plays intrepid reporter Lois Lane. we spoke with Adams in Burbank about what made her sign on to director Zach Synder’s vision, playing a strong woman and her ideas on what might be next for Lois if (or, rather, when) there’s a sequel.
MSN Movies: I’m curious, what for you is the difference between hearing that people would like for you to play Lois Lane and actually looking at the version of Lois Lane in this script, which is very different from the pop culture shadow of the character?
Amy Adams: Yeah.
Was the script what sold you on it in fact ultimately?
You know, I didn’t even get to read the script until I was cast so really my love of Superman was the first thing, sort of the … I had a great love for the character from my youth. But then I met with Zach, and Zach is so contagious. And he just was so communicative and excited and really had, he’s like, “I just want Lois to feel like she’s real. I want her to be like, you know, a reporter you just see on the street. I just want her to feel as real as possible.” The way that he spoke of her, and what he saw, and this sort of strength … and Debbie Snyder also had a really (important role) …to know that he understood what a strong woman (is), and Debbie’s very strong. And there’s this great quality that I love where you can be strong and exist in a man’s world and still be really feminine, and I feel like they really respected that with this Lois Lane.
Watching “The Muppets,” the Jason Segel-spearheaded effort to re-launch Jim Henson’s furry friends and familiar faces into the new millennium after years of corporate tussling and fallow creative hibernation, I wasn’t pulled in by having emblems of my youth shoved down my throat with the sickly-sweet toxic oil of retrograde fond remembrance and fuzzy post-modern self-awareness. Instead, I was engaged by the characters, the plot, the message and the medium of the Muppets themselves — decidedly low-tech puppets in an age when computer-generated imagery makes the imagination both limitless and, too often, lifeless on-screen.
<iframe src=”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=wwwrocchirepo-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B006JTS5OO” style=”width:120px;height:240px;” scrolling=”no” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ frameborder=”0″></iframe> I was hoping for a pretty good loving treatment of characters I loved; instead, I was reminded, through high-quality storytelling and real heart, of why I loved those characters to begin with, by an unexpectedly brilliant and touching mix of fun, feelings and felt. This isn’t nostalgia, and it isn’t irony — “The Muppets” may be one of the best films of the year, not judged as a children’s film, or a family film, but instead, simply as a film. If cinema is about taking the art and medium of motion pictures and, through technique and talent, evoking real feeling and wonder, then “The Muppets” is, unequivocally, a pure piece of cinema, one that not only rewards fans through its hard work (more than just its familiarity) but one that also strives to, and succeeds in, making new friends.
At first, though, we don’t see the Muppets — or, rather, the Muppets we know — except on TV, as Walter (a new Muppet, voiced by veteran Peter Linz) explains his youth and happiness with his brother Gary (Jason Segel, who co-wrote with Nicholas Stoller). A big part of that happiness was watching the Muppets, and as Walter explains, “As long as there were talking frogs and singing bears, Swedish chefs and boomerang fish, the world couldn’t be that bad a place.”
Congratulations on all the news about “Superman: Man of Steel” lately. You’ve cast Henry Cavill as Supes, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Ma and Pa Kent and, now, Michael Shannon as General Zod. Now, can I ask you a couple favors? Make a few recommendations?
First of all, no more news. Seriously. You haven’t even made this film, and I feel like I’ve seen it. Too much promotion can numb the appetite, and I feel like that’s what’s happening here. I don’t want to know a single thing about the plot, casting or anything after this — and while I know you and Warner Brothers are putting up a lot of cash here, you’re not going to make it back by giving the movie away in dribs and drabs.
Second, please always remember to make a film that works as a film, not as a “Part One” or as part of the WB’s plans for empire-building. I know that everyone involved wants — no, needs — to have this be a hit you can hinge other films on, whether it’s sequels or as a successful foundation for the studio’s grandiose plans for multi-superhero films. But thinking about that is only going to give you, as our friends in pro baseball say, “the yips,” where thinking too much about what’s next ruins what’s now. I know, I know — there’s an awful lot of budgeting on the table to be thinking about. But the less you think about it, seriously, the more likely you’ll be to not trip over 2014 and further out. Just make one good movie. Be all Zen.
Third, no slow-mo. No close-ups. Not too much green screen. No stuff you’ve done before. Keep it clean, light, graceful. That doesn’t mean cheesy, or weightless, or campy — but Superman has a glow to him that Batman does not, a brightness that some of your other films might not suggest you could make happen like it needs to here. And don’t be afraid to get some re-write help on David Goyer’s script. Scott Frank and Michael Tolkin did great script polishing work on “Dawn of the Dead,” your first movie; give them a call. And Brad Bird, too — the man who wrote “The Incredibles” clearly gets this stuff, and could help a lot. And, heck, even throw some money at Tina Fey for Lois Lane’s dialogue — better to spend millions on doctoring than lose tens of millions on a bad film. But again, keep the story simple — just build an arc that makes for one good movie, and polish the hell out of it.
And finally, good luck. Seriously, I mean it. You’ve made good movies. You clearly have people at Warner Brothers who like you. (Anyone who gets to make an animated owl war movie is obviously enjoying most favored nation status, you know?) And you’re getting to make a movie about Superman. My mom took me and my best friend to see “Superman II” when I was 12, and while that movie does not hold up, not entirely (and no, in some spots, not at all), there are parts of it I’ll never forget — the wonder of it, the epic super-powered urban battle scene, the way Christopher Reeve was Superman not because he could do incredible things but, rather, because he did incredible things as the maximum possible exertion of his efforts so that he might help people in need.
You get to make a movie about Superman. Now, quit leaking it drip by drab, don’t worry about the long-term ramifications, go look at some classic reference materials to get the right tone of optimism, decency and American spirit and knock it out of the park.
If any one piece of footage brought the house down at CinemaCon — in my opinion, anyway — it was the footage from Disney’s upcoming “The Muppets,” introduced by writer-star Jason Segel and Amy Adams. When I got to talk with Adams and Segel, I asked him if CinemaCon was an important step in bringing the Muppets back to the theater as an event, as opposed to their familiarity on DVD and YouTube over the years. “It is,” he said. “I hope that it’s not going to be too much of an effort. I think that when people see that we’re bringing the Muppets back to (being) these iconic figures that we remember as kids, people are going to want to go see them in the theaters for themselves and also introduce their children to the Muppets. So, I’m not too worried about that. I think we worked as hard as we could to do justice to the Muppets.”
Adams expanded on the point: “I feel like the Muppets are timeless. We really talk about that in the film, that it’s a plot point, as Jason was saying, that they’ve — I wouldn’t say fallen out of favor …” Segel stepped in: “They’ve gone their own separate ways.” Adams continued: “We definitely address that they haven’t been as out front as they used to be. That’s the goal of the story line in the film, that they’re working to come back together and to get their message out there about friendship and about dreaming big and all of that.”
And Segel feels like there’s a real hunger for the Muppets to come back. “The fact that somebody of Amy’s caliber would want to do the movie and somebody of Chris Cooper‘s caliber would want to do the movie and people would turn out to do these cameos — Academy Award winners are coming out to do cameos in this film — I think speaks to maybe (that) we’ve captured a moment where people are excited and ready for the Muppets to come back. It’s been over 10 years since the last Muppets movie. I think — with no insult to any of the previous movies — the pantheon is ‘Muppet Movie,’ ‘Muppets Take Manhattan,’ ‘Great Muppet Caper,’ and then the Muppets changed hands and something changed a little bit. I think what this movie’s trying to do is hearken back to the spirit of those original three.”
Finally, I asked recent mom Adams on a half-serious note, between the height of the average Muppet and the height of the 6-foot-4 Mr. Segel, did she get occupational neck pain? “You know what, now that you say that, I do have a crick in my neck, and I blamed it on my daughter, but I think maybe that could be definitely part of it,” she joked. Segel shrugged: “I am gigantic. There’s no two ways about it. It was actually, funny enough, logistically very difficult to get me in a frame with the Muppets, because some of them are” — Segel held his hand 2 feet off the ground — “this tall, and I’m 6 foot 4.” Adams offered how she was willing to take a bit of discomfort for the cause in terms of her wearing high heels: “It’s funny, because they were originally going to put me in flats. I was like, ‘Excuse me, I don’t think that’s going to work, because you’re never going to get us all in the same screen. It’s just not going to happen.’”
Based on the true story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward’s unlikely rise to the title — at a late age, after a career full of setbacks, with the millstone of an ex-fighter crack-addict half-brother dragging him down — “The Fighter” would, at any other time of the year, be a pretty good movie. Released in the month of December, though, it is an Oscar contender — not just a film — and, as such, it can only be viewed through that distorting golden lens. Christian Bale’s work as Ward’s half-brother Dickie Eklund — life and body wasted by crack and addiction — would, in the first three quarters of the year, be a showy diversion from the man who normally plays Bruce Wayne. Mark Wahlberg’s roles as star and producer would, outside of this time, be seen as a star pushing on a passion project, and not as the kind of willful drive that must be taken seriously by the Academy.
And “The Fighter” is, in the end, pretty good — the kind of film where the accumulation of a thousand clichés becomes more welcoming than distancing; the kind of film where the stylistic directorial touches are enough to enliven the material but not enough to bend it from its predetermined course as our hero rises, against resistance, to triumph. Originally slated to be directed by Darren Aronofsky (and, bluntly, good call, Mr. “Black Swan”), “The Fighter” is directed by David O. Russell, whose films, like “Three Kings” and “I Heart Huckabees,” may not be perfect, but are unabashedly his. And watching Russell pour his talents into the concrete container of a rags-to-riches, guts-to-glory narrative like “The Fighter” is like watching Jackson Pollock paint your living room eggshell white with a roller.
Even so, Russell makes some smart choices — like hiring HBO’s fight camera team to shoot the matches, shooting them to look not like recycled “Raging Bull,” but, rather, in a way that speaks to our collective cultural memory of how we perceive boxing in the here-and-now. Casting Amy Adams as Ward’s sweetheart also helps. Adams, freed from playing princesses and light rom-com material, shows an impressive amount of steel behind her charm and relishes the chance to get a little more immediate than her normally ethereal image.
As for Wahlberg, he’s worked with Russell before, and the director knows that Wahlberg is, at heart, a passive actor — things do not happen because of his characters on-screen, but, rather, around his characters, whether it’s running from killer plants or being chauffeured through the ’70s porn industry. (Every time Wahlberg tries to play an action hero — “Shooter,” “Max Payne,” “Planet of the Apes” — those films fail precisely because of that quality, and one would think he, or his agents, would realize it.) In “The Fighter,” Micky must choose between his venal mother (Melissa Leo) as a manager and the strung-out Dickie (Bale) as his trainer, fighting in the low-rent margins of the sport or the backing of better-funded, better-connected interests who can get him on the path to the title but refuse to work with his crazy family. It’s worth noting that the movie and Wahlberg wring two hours of film out of a real-life process of agonizing over a decision most of the audience will imagine themselves capable of having made in less than 30 seconds.
But the fights are well-shot and innovative. Wahlberg and Adams’ romance has no small amount of realism and charm. Bale’s performance is at its best not in gaunt, showy moments but in quieter arcs, like when Dickie, followed by an HBO film crew, tells everyone they’re making a movie about his comeback. We are then told that they’re actually making a documentary about crack in America. Dickie’s lies — to others, to himself — crumble in a matter of moments, and Bale makes that hurt.
“The Fighter” is at its most interesting as a comeback story about people who’ve seen too many comeback stories — Dickie, Micky, the whole family — and can’t quite wrap their heads around the gap between messy reality and the movie-fed visions that sports and cinema have fed them. Fitzgerald famously said there are no second acts in American lives, but in our age, and in “The Fighter,” there are second acts in American lives — as long as someone gets to sell tickets or take a cut. Exploring that idea more, with toughness, might have made “The Fighter” a truly Oscar-worthy film instead of merely an Oscar contender.
<br/><a href=”http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/adams-and-scrumptious-goode-on-leap-year/5l84ad5?fg=sharenoembed” mce_href=”http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/adams-and-scrumptious-goode-on-leap-year/5l84ad5?fg=sharenoembed” target=”_new”title=”Adams and ‘scrumptious’ Goode on ‘Leap Year’”>Video: Adams and ‘scrumptious’ Goode on ‘Leap Year’</a>