Josh Rottenberg at Entertainment Weekly brings four directors together to "discuss the life of the modern auteur." It’s an odd angle for a feature, vaguely "none of these people are interesting enough for their own Q&A," but it does finally inform us of what a conversation between McG and Anthony Minghella would be like:
McG: I’m not that pure of an artist. I wish I were. I’m still that kid who wants to be accepted. I can’t just walk away and make my own little films in the closet.
MINGHELLA: Don’t apologize. It sounds like you’re apologizing.
McG: I suppose if I was a little more in touch with doing it for all the right reasons, I wouldn’t care. But I still sit in the back of the room and wring my hands and want so desperately for people to feel what I was trying to do.
McG is indeed on the cusp of his bid for Seriousness â€” his unfortunately named "We Are Marshall" opens on December 22nd. Christopher Guest and Catherine Hardwicke round out the rest of the auteur interview.
How did you imagine the spaceship world of the film?
We had, at times, different controlling devices and holograms, but the more we played with it, the more we thought these are things that we can understand as a culture now, but actually might look ridiculous to us a generation down the line. So we decided to return the whole thing to an organic base. NASA has developed these biospheres, these spherical glass structures that have a balanced ecosystem that can live forever, in perpetuity. So we decided to create an environment where Tom and the Tree of Life lived in a balance. We developed the whole science of the ship, very deeply, probably too deeply because it doesn’t come across. But we thought if we had figured out how it all worked, it would sit in the background and be more truthful. So that’s how the bubble ship evolved and the organic nature of it.
As usual with Del Toro, the creature designs in Panâ€™s Labyrinth took shape in the sketchbook he always carries with him. He brings it to our interview, fingering its leather covers as we talk, bashfully awaiting an invitation to show off his work. Inside are page upon page of beautifully rendered beauties and beasts, part of a 300-page archive that spans his entire film career. â€œFour hundred pages if I had the Cronos one, which I gave away in a drunken stupor,â€ he sighs.
"To tell you the truth, I hope this movie pisses people off," says Jackson, who, along with the rest of the cast, took the "Bobby" job for personal and political reasons. "This movie couldn’t be coming out at a better time for America because, unfortunately, there are too many parallels between 1968 and 2006. Pick your hot-button topic — war overseas, massive social inequality, deepening of racial and economic divides, social robber barons."
A particularly traumatic time was his spell in a Benedictine priory boys’ school in Scotland, where he was bullied a lot: "I did take comfort in the vespers and compline. I might have become a monk if I hadn’t come out." But his spiritual urgings didn’t chime with his awareness that he was gay: "You go to hell for that – we’re all going to hell, according to the Pope, because we’ve probably all masturbated and forgotten to confess it. Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten," Mitchell says dryly, then after a perfectly timed pause, "There’s apparently a sex club called Killing Kittens."
Michael Giltz at the New York Daily News catches up with Kal Penn about…okay, about "National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj," but we love him. Also, he’ll be in that Jhumpa Lahiri adaptation next year â€” clahssay!
"Then it turns out that [director Mira Nair‘s] teenage son Zohran and his best friend, Sam, are huge ‘Harold & Kumar’ fans. They grabbed her, dragged her to a computer and said, ‘You need to watch Kal, he’s in our favorite movie, you have to audition him!’
"And every night Zohran would say, ‘Mom, did you get a hold of Kal yet?’ So if it were not for those two guys, I would not have gotten that movie."
And over at the Herald Sun, Jack Lewis chats up "Allan Smithee," the prefers-to-remain-anonymous author of "101 Movies to Avoid: The Most Overrated Films Ever!":
"I particularly hate long, slow films that you are supposed to unearth the ‘deeper meaning’ from. Cinema-going should be fun — it’s a shared experience and you should laugh, cry, tap your feet or cover your eyes.
"It’s not meant for tiresome and rather dull navel gazing or a road to being trendy (what the hell was Mulholland Drive about anyway?)
"It’s time for people to say that they don’t care about Sylvia Plath and that Gwyneth Paltrow is just plain annoying."
Those are approximately the sentiments we recall being expressed when "Sylvia" came out, so we have some doubts about the accuracy of Mr. Smithee’s sacred cowometer. Ah, but we suppose everyone need a schtick.
+ Lights, Camera, Inspiration (Entertainment Weekly)
+ TRANSCENDING DEATH (SEED)
+ When the biggest monsters are human (London Times)
+ ‘Dawson’s’ Actor Inspired by ‘Bobby’ (SF Chronicle)
+ John Cameron Mitchell: Let’s talk dirty (Independent)
+ Kal Penn goes to Hollywood (NY Daily News)
+ Classics? Don’t make me laugh (Herald Sun)