That Paul Haggis (call him London, Ontario’s favourite son) is a veritable Oscar machine. He crested the horizon for a Best Picture win for Million Dollar Baby, then one for Crash, which he wrote/directed, then a screenwriting nom for Letters From Iwo Jima, and now his latest, In the Valley of Elah, should be good for bagging a coupla big ones. Consider a scene early in the film, in which Tommy Lee Jones, a bereaved father, tells a runty kid, whose single mom is Charlize Theron, the story of David and Goliath. The Bible says the fight supposedly takes place in the valley of Elah. You can almost hear that Best Pic trophy factory working overtime.
Don’t mistake this seasonal cynicism for a dislike of this film, by the way, because it is fantastic. You’ve probably already heard about Tommy Lee Jones’s performance. He plays a dad whose son, just after returning home from a tour in Iraq, goes AWOL, so he drives downstate to the army base looking for him. Theron, the beat cop, gets the drab brown and the middle part of her hair just right. Each minor character, from Susan Sarandon’s bereaved mom to Jason Patric’s army cop, is a perfectly measured ingredient in what is bound to be a rousing success on the awards circuit.
Continue reading Jonesin’ for an Oscar
Charlize Theron has signed a multi-year deal with Italian luxury watch and jewellery brand, Breil Milano. The Oscar-winning Monster star was shot for Breil’s upcoming campaign in LA, looking pensive whilst laden with jewels and timepieces from Breil’s Eden and Eros collections. “Ms Theron was chosen not only for her natural beauty, but because she epitomises the modern woman; a mix of sensuality and determination, sophistication and down-to-earth attitude, elegance and simplicity,” said a spokesperson for the label. The new campaign will debut another “star” – the new Breil Milano mantra, “Touch, Feel, Breil” – when it breaks in the European and US press in the run up to Christmas.
Charlize Theron has heaped praise on her “incredible” boyfriend Stuart Townsend after watching him toil over his first movie script. The Oscar-winning actress reveals Townsend wrote the screenplay for Battle in Seattle at the home the couple shares in Los Angeles – and suffered the rejections and nerves as her partner attempted to shop his script around Hollywood. She says, “The amount of passion, of time and effort that he committed to writing that script really blew me away. “When you love somebody and you’re that close somebody, we always expect the worst because he had never written a script before, but we’re very good at kind of separating our work from our relationship so, as a work colleague, when he gave me the script and I read it I wanted to be as honest as I possibly could. “I’ll never forget the day when he gave it to me and the paper was still hot from coming out of the printer and I was in the kitchen. “He left because he was nervous and disappeared for three hours. I sat in the kitchen and I couldn’t stop reading it. “Then I saw him go through the struggle that a lot of first time filmmakers go through when they have a great piece of material but it’s original and it’s different. “I tip my hat to this guy because what he did was really incredible.” Theron was so impressed with the Irishman’s efforts, she insisted on taking a lead role, opposite Ray Liotta, Andre Benjamin, Woody Harrelson and Michelle Rodriguez.
Paul Haggis, the co-writer and director of the volatile Crash, essays the toll of the Iraq war in In the Valley of Elah.
That premise suggests horrific combat scenes and explosive emotions among a range of characters, all caught with the intense close-ups and jerky editing rhythms that propelled Crash.
Yet Haggis’ new film, which is set almost entirely stateside, is slow, somber and discreetly framed. It takes its cue from its central character, a retired Army sergeant who served in the military police and for whom ironclad control is first nature.
Tommy Lee Jones pours his underspoken authority into the painful role of Hank Deerfield, an unapologetic patriot who will interrupt an important errand to see that an incorrectly displayed American flag is flown properly.
Continue reading Drama examines war’s hidden toll
On December 10, 2006, singer-actor AndrÃ© Benjamin of Outkast fame donned a cardboard turtle suit and joined a group of fellow “protesters” on the streets of Seattle. Seven years before, tens of thousands of real demonstrators had descended upon the Seattle Convention Center and surrounding hotels to protest the actions of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The turtle-clad demonstrators â€” whose costumes highlighted the plight of turtles killed by shrimp nets â€” joined other anti-globalization vocalists and rallied against the leaders of the WTO, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank in sometimes violent clashes with police. Benjamin’s participation in the re-enactment of the events of November 30, 1999, was for Battle in Seattle, a feature film by first-time helmer Stuart Townsend (perhaps best known for his role as Lestat in Queen of the Damned that stars an ensemble cast including Woody Harrelson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Martin Henderson, as well as Townsend’s long-term girlfriend, Academy Awardâ€“winner Charlize Theron.
Continue reading Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend Talk ‘Battle in Seattle’