The greatest American play? Quite possibly Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” set in 1949 and revived last night on Broadway in a production that is outstanding. Mike Nichols directed and reinvented Miller’s classic, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, Andrew Garfield (the new movie Spider Man) as Biff, Linda Emonds as Willy’s wife Linda, and Finn Wittrock as Happy. This is a historic production, quite possibly the best ever (and there have been many great ones starring Dustin Hoffman, Brian Dennehy, Lee J. Cobb, George C. Scott).
Posts Tagged ‘Mike Nichols’
By Samuel Negin
The 5th Broadway revival (and 6th Broadway production overall) has opened on Broadway to strong reviews. Variety highly praised director Mike Nichols and the production overall, as well as the performance of Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. Film star Andrew Garfield initially came across as miscast but held his own against his more famous costars. The New York Times called the decision to “recreate the original visual and aural landscape devised by the set designer Jo Mielziner and the composer Alex North” inspired.
By Samuel Negin
Julia Roberts, who won an Academy Award in 2001 for her leading role in Erin Brokovich, is interested in coming to the Park. Ms. Roberts and director Mike Nichols (who collaborated on the films Closer and Charlie Wilson’s War) had a chat that will appear in April’s issue of Vanity Fair in which Roberts expressed interest in headlining a show for The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park Series.
Last week, I had the opportunity to spend about 20 minutes at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York with one of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey, who had just flown in from London to do a few interviews about and attend a special screening of the new film “Casino Jack” (ATO Pictures, 12/17, R, trailer), a dramedy directed by the late George Hickenlooper in which he portrays the disgraced Washington, D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and for which he recently received a Golden Globe nod — the sixth of his career — for best actor (musical or comedy). Spacey was clearly exhausted and under the weather after his travels (he sipped on a bowl of matzo ball soup throughout our time together), but he still managed to give me a wonderful interview about his remarkable life and career, and for that I am very grateful.
Last week, I posted a piece about the legendary director Stanley Donen, 86, to whom the Film Society of Lincoln Center is paying tribute over the next week, featuring audio clips from my recent interview with Donen as well as video clips of the most memorable song-and-dance numbers that he has overseen over the course of his eight decades in the business: Gene Kelly dancing with his alter-ego in “Cover Girl” (1944); Kelly dancing with Jerry the Mouse in “Anchors Aweigh” (1945); Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munschin in the opening number of “On the Town” (1949); Fred Astaire dancing on the walls and ceiling in “Royal Wedding” (1951); Kelly singin’ in the rain in “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952); Howard Keel & Co. barn dance in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954); and Kelly dancing on rollerskates in “It’s Always Fair Weather” (1955).
On Wednesday, as part of the FSLC tribute, Donen participated in an extended Q&A at the Walter Reade Theater that was moderated by director Mike Nichols. One thing I was not able to share with you in my post was a recent photograph of Donen, but now, courtesy of FSLC, I am — the photo at the top of this post is of Donen answering a question during the Q&A, and the photo below the jump is Nichols making a remark about Donen during the Q&A. Enjoy…
- Movie Line: Mike Ryan reacted to the news that “Saturday Night Live” will be hosted by best actress hopeful Anne Hathaway (“Love and Other Drugs”) on November 20 and best actor hopeful Jeff Bridges (“True Grit”) on December 18 by asking, “Can the added buzz from hosting ‘SNL’ actually help the chances of a win or even a nomination?” Seeking the answer, he “dug back through 35 years of Oscar nominees and ‘SNL’ hosts to see how often a nominee or winner hosted that same year,” and found that “27 future Oscar nominees have hosted [‘SNL’] during the same season that they were nominated or won. (Nine more… hosted during the season, but after the ceremony — call those a victory lap.) Of that 27, seven have gone on to win the award he or she was nominated for — most recently Forest Whitaker.”
- OscarWatch: Dave Karger reports that Disney has released this awards season’s first “For Your Consideration” trade ad, suggesting that voters consider nominating “Alice in Wonderland” for best picture and in 16 other categories, including best director (Tim Burton), best actor (Johnny Depp), and best supporting actress (Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway). Karger adds, “I’m told the studio’s major goal is a nomination in the best picture (comedy or musical) category at the Golden Globes… though the eye-popping film could end up factoring into some of the Academy’s technical races.”
- The Odds: Steve Pond shares the story behind one of the year’s most “imaginative and bracing film scores,” the one composed by Nine Inch Nails’s frontman Trent Reznor and producer Atticus Ross for “The Social Network.” Pond, a former music critic, writes that their effort captivates audiences with “piano-rooted, synthesizer-drenched work that is by turns plaintive and assaultive, and always adventurous and unconventional,” which was unlike anything on which the two had previously collaborated. He also reports that Reznor, upon being offered the job, initially said yes; then said no; then felt bad, so he called to apologize for saying no; and, at that point, learned that the job was still available and took it.
- Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells issues a mea culpa regarding Roger Michell’s “Morning Glory,” the awards prospects of which he previously disparaged after finding its one-sheet to be lacking, now that he has actually seeing the film. He says it’s “much better than what Paramount’s marketing has so far indicated,” describing it as “a notch or two above [screenwriter Aline Brosh] McKenna’s ‘The Devil Wears Prada’” (referring to McKenna’s hit rom-com from 2006) and “close to ‘Broadcast News’-level” (referring to the classic 1987 comedy about people who work in television), while adding that it features “Harrison Ford’s best performance in years” — one that he feels even “has a shot at best supporting actor recognition.”
- YouTube: There’s nothing quite like a Stephen Holt interview, as demonstrated by this one with best supporting actor hopeful Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”), which was apparently conducted during September’s Toronto International Film Festival but was only posted online yesterday. Rush’s face is priceless throughout, not least after he says he’s been going through a “king period,” having appeared in both a play (“Exit the King“) and now a film with “king” in the title,” to which Holt responds, “I’m in my queen period, but it’s lasted an awful long time!”
- RogerEbert.com: Roger Ebert gives three out of four stars to the third and final installment of Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium Trilogy,” “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” Ebert makes a point of praising the performance of Noomi Rapace, who has portrayed Lisbeth Salander all three films, and calls the character a “transfixing heroine… formidably smart and deeply wounded… [and] too good a character to suspend after three films.” He adds, “My guess is there must be sequels [still to come, even if Larsson is found not to have written any himself].”
- Vancouver Sun: Kat Angus and Leah Collins celebrate the aforementioned “tattooed and pierced rebel girl” Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) as “easily one of the most compelling female characters of the past several years,” noting that “society may brand the Gothically inclined as misfits, but when it comes to movies, audiences just can’t get enough.” To prove their point, they share a gallery of “10 other movie Goths who have already won their hearts.” Among them: Allison (Ally Sheedy) in “The Breakfast Club” (1985), Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) in “Edward Scissorhands” (1990), Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) in “Beetle Juice” (1988), and Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) in “The Addams Family” (1991).
- FSLC: The Film Society of Lincoln Center will pay tribute to legendary dancer/choreographer/filmmaker Stanley Donen, who is now 86, by screening a number of his most memorable works — including “On the Town” (1949), “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952), and “It’s Always Fair Weather” (1955), which he co-directed with Gene Kelly, and “Funny Face” (1957), “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954), “Charade” (1963), “Arabesque” (1966), and “Two for the Road” (1967), which he independently directed — from November 3-10. On the first evening of the series, Donen will participate in a Q&A that is to be moderated by none other than director Mike Nichols.
Photo: “SNL” host Ellen Page (who was a recent Oscar nominee for “Juno“) and cast member Andy Samberg (portraying Diablo Cody, the screenwriter of the film) during the opening segment of the show’s March 1, 2008 episode. Credit: NBC.