Niki Caro credits Patty Jenkins with inspiring her to make live-action Mulan

Niki Caro has praised Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins for paving the way and inspiring her to helm Disney’s live-action Mulan.The New Zealand-born filmmaker, who has joined the ranks of Kathryn Bigelow, Ava DuVernay and Jenkins, who have made films…

Niki Caro has praised Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins for paving the way and inspiring her to helm Disney’s live-action Mulan.

The New Zealand-born filmmaker, who has joined the ranks of Kathryn Bigelow, Ava DuVernay and Jenkins, who have made films costing more than $100 million (£77 million), was disappointed in the almost non-existent opportunities for female directors in Hollywood when she started out.

“When I first started wanting to be a filmmaker, there was so little precedent for women doing this (big studio) work,” Caro told The Hollywood Reporter. “Patty changed the game with Wonder Woman. It was like a shot of adrenaline for me as a filmmaker.”

And for the live-action remake of the 1998 Disney animated classic, the 53-year-old hired a female-dominated crew, including cinematographer Mandy Walker, costume designer Bina Daigeler, and first assistant director Liz Tan.

Elsewhere in the interview, Caro revealed that a huge global hunt was conducted to find the perfect actress to play Mulan, with her sending a team of casting directors to almost every small village in China back in 2016.

“She’s a needle in a haystack, but we were going to find her,” she explained. “It’s impossible to make this movie without this person.”

Liu Yifei was eventually picked to play the young girl who takes her ailing father’s place in the Imperial Chinese Army to defend the country from Huns, and Caro immediately put the actress through a 90-minute physical assessment to ensure she was able to deal with the rigorous training and fight scenes during filming,

“(Liu) never complained once, never said, ‘I can’t.’ She went to her limits,” the director added.

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Martin Scorsese defends criticism of Marvel movies

Martin Scorsese has elaborated on his criticism of the Marvel movies in an opinion piece for The New York Times.The Irishman director, 76, sparked a huge backlash by calling the movies “not cinema” in an interview with Britain’s Empire magazine.Scorses…

Martin Scorsese has elaborated on his criticism of the Marvel movies in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

The Irishman director, 76, sparked a huge backlash by calling the movies “not cinema” in an interview with Britain’s Empire magazine.

Scorsese addressed the controversy in an article published in The New York Times on Monday, claiming he did not want to attack the artistry of those involved, but stating that they are not to his taste and are crowding other types of films out of cinemas.

“Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry,” the movie legend wrote in his op-ed. “You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament.

“I know that if I were younger, if I’d come of age at a later time, I might have been excited by these pictures and maybe even wanted to make one myself. But I grew up when I did and I developed a sense of movies – of what they were and what they could be – that was as far from the Marvel universe as we on Earth are from Alpha Centauri.”

The director went on to describe his love of Alfred Hitchcock’s films and compared their spectacular set-pieces to current comic book blockbusters.

However, he also stated that modern blockbuster franchises are “market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption” – unlike those of auteur directors like Spike Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, or Paul Thomas Anderson.

Defending his decision to criticise Marvel, the famed director explained that even iconic auteurs like himself were struggling to get their films into cinemas – as he’d had to turn to Netflix to make his new gangster epic The Irishman.

“We have a theatrical window, which is great,” he complains. “Would I like the picture to play on more big screens for longer periods of time? Of course I would. But no matter whom you make your movie with, the fact is that the screens in most multiplexes are crowded with franchise pictures.”

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Viola Davis to present Steve McQueen with BAFTA’s John Schlesinger Britannia Award

Viola Davis will present Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen with BAFTA’s John Schlesinger Britannia Award in October (18).According to The Hollywood Reporter, BAFTA Los Angeles announced on Thursday (16Aug18) that the British director, who won a Best…

Viola Davis will present Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen with BAFTA’s John Schlesinger Britannia Award in October (18).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, BAFTA Los Angeles announced on Thursday (16Aug18) that the British director, who won a Best Picture Oscar in 2014 for movie 12 Years a Slave, would be this year’s recipient of the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for excellence in directing at the organisation’s 2018 Britannia Awards.

The filmmaker will be presented with the honour by Viola, who is the lead actress in his highly anticipated film Widows, which premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month, at the awards event in Los Angeles in October.

Previous recipients of the award include Ava DuVernay, Sam Mendes, Danny Boyle, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and Kathryn Bigelow.

The honour comes as McQueen’s fourth feature as a director – following 12 Years a Slave, Shame and Hunger – is building significant buzz in Hollywood, with the heist movie boasting a female-led cast including Viola, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, and Elizabeth Debicki.

It is based on a 1980s British television series written by Lynda La Plante about a group of women who embark on a robbery after their husbands are killed.

The show made a big impression on the London-born director, who decided to follow up his 2013 Oscar-winning film with a woman’s story.

“I remember seeing Lynda La Plante’s TV show Widows at 13 years old,” McQueen told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The idea that these women achieved something no one thought they had the capability of doing left a big impression on me, especially at a time in my life when I was being judged in the same way,” explained McQueen, who has previously spoken of the institutional racism he experienced during his school years.

“Many years later, when I first came to Hollywood, I was struck by how many talented actresses weren’t working,” he continued. “I decided then that after I made a movie about slavery that I wanted to make a female-driven film.”

McQueen’s version has been relocated to Chicago and also stars Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, and Brian Tyree Henry.

The 2018 Britannia Awards take place 26 October at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

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