Paul Schrader calls new Covid-19 production restrictions ‘onerous’

Paul Schrader wouldn’t want to make a completely new film with the “onerous” safety protocols that have been implemented as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The First Reformed director, who is best known for writing Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull …

Paul Schrader wouldn’t want to make a completely new film with the “onerous” safety protocols that have been implemented as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The First Reformed director, who is best known for writing Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, was five days away from completing production on The Card Counter, starring Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, and Willem Dafoe, when an extra in a large crowd scene tested positive for Covid-19 and the set was shut down.

Schrader revealed on Thursday during a virtual discussion between himself, Isaac and a journalist for Deadline that they were cleared to resume filming in Mississippi on 6 July and he is glad he only has to complete five more days under the new safety guidelines.

“We’ve all read the protocols. They are onerous, to say the least,” he stated. “I would not want to start a film from scratch under those conditions, but five days, knowing exactly what you need, exactly what you want, you can work your way through that, or rather limp your way through it, which is what we’ll do. It’ll end up seeming like a kind of adventure, whereas for another production starting from scratch, it would seem like a nightmare.”

Schrader noted that they had already completed scenes involving large crowds and intimacy and he hasn’t had to rewrite any scenes to adjust to the new working conditions, although he made some tweaks to the remaining dialogue scenes after assembling a “90 per cent cut” of the film.

Isaac, who will go on to film the Dune reshoots in August, admitted it’s “really hard to imagine” what filming will be like under the new protocols.

The filmmaker made headlines in March when he expressed his outrage at being forced to stop filming in a Facebook post.

“Production halted five days before wrap by my pussified producers because an LA day player had the coronavirus,” he wrote. “Myself, I would have shot through hellfire rain to complete the film. I’m old and asthmatic, what better way to die than on the job?”

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Dee Rees reflects on The Last Thing He Wanted misfire

Dee Rees has insisted she’s “still proud” of The Last Thing He Wanted despite the negative reviews from critics. In the adaptation of Joan Didion’s book, Anne Hathaway starred as a journalist covering the 1984 U.S. presidential election who inherits h…

Dee Rees has insisted she’s “still proud” of The Last Thing He Wanted despite the negative reviews from critics.

In the adaptation of Joan Didion’s book, Anne Hathaway starred as a journalist covering the 1984 U.S. presidential election who inherits her ailing father’s position as an arms dealer for Central America.

The film, which also starred Ben Affleck, Rosie Perez, and Willem Dafoe, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, but was heavily panned, and was subsequently released quietly by Netflix on 21 February.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Mudbound director insisted she has made peace with the reaction.

“You take your knocks, you live and you learn, you try to do better,” she said. “I would make that film again. I’m still proud of it.”

However, Rees admitted she felt guilty about the flop when she considers her cast and crew.

“When you’re making a film, (your team) has to believe in you and trust you and spend six, seven months of their lives with you. All this toil and sacrifice, I didn’t make it pay off for them,” the 43-year-old shared.

And the misfire has helped Rees inform her career going forward, with her adding: “It felt like a rite of passage… Now there’s nothing to be afraid of. I know the worst that can happen.”

Rees will follow up The Last Thing He Wanted with a new adaptation of George Gershwin’s classic musical Porgy and Bess, and she admitted she was feeling the pressure to get it right.

“(It) is an iconic property… I want to do the characters justice, and I feel really honoured to work on it,” she added.

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Paul Schrader blasts producers for shutting down movie due to coronavirus

Paul Schrader has blasted producers for shutting down filming on The Card Counter after an actor was diagnosed with coronavirus.The director, who wrote Martin Scorsese’s films Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, took to Facebook to complain about the situatio…

Paul Schrader has blasted producers for shutting down filming on The Card Counter after an actor was diagnosed with coronavirus.

The director, who wrote Martin Scorsese’s films Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, took to Facebook to complain about the situation, and revealed that production had been stopped five days before it was due to finish “because an LA day player had the coronavirus”.

“Myself, I would have shot through hellfire rain to complete the film. I’m old and asthmatic, what better way to die than on the job?” he wrote in a brief post on the social media site.

And when asked by one follower about the safety of the cast and crew on the set of the film in Biloxi, Mississippi, Schrader simply replied: “It’s a good death.”

The crime drama is being produced by LB Entertainment, in association with HanWay Films, and distributed by Front Row Filmed Entertainment.

In addition to directing, the 73-year-old wrote the script for The Card Counter, which stars Oscar Isaac as a professional gambler called William Tell, who takes a young man, played by Tye Sheridan, under his wing to help him get revenge against a mutual enemy on the casino circuit.

Willem Dafoe and Tiffany Haddish are also starring in the movie, and it’s understood that the actor who tested positive is not one of the main cast members.

Schrader’s film is not the only Hollywood production to be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Production on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley movie was halted after its star Tom Hanks, as well as his wife Rita Wilson, contracted the virus, while filming on Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, was postponed as director Destin Daniel Cretton tested for it, although his results came back negative.

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The Farewell and Uncut Gems win big at Independent Spirit Awards

The Farewell and Uncut Gems were the big winners at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California on Saturday.Robert De Niro presented the Best Feature honour to The Farewell, with writer/director Lulu Wang taking to the stage and usin…

The Farewell and Uncut Gems were the big winners at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California on Saturday.

Robert De Niro presented the Best Feature honour to The Farewell, with writer/director Lulu Wang taking to the stage and using her speech to address the lack of recognition for female filmmakers during awards season.

“There’s been a lot of conversation this year about how to encourage more women in film,” she said. “You don’t have to encourage women – there are lots of women making films and in film school. Shadow programmes are great but women need the job – just give them the frickin’ job.”

The Farewell won a second prize, with Zhao Shuzhen scoring the Best Supporting Female award.

However, Uncut Gems came away with the most trophies with three – Adam Sandler for Best Male Lead, brothers Benny and Josh Safdie for Director, as well as Best Editing.

Sandler addressed his Oscars snub as he accepted his award.

“I’d like to give a shout-out to my fellow nominees, who will forever be known as the guys who lost to f**king Adam Sandler,” he joked. “You know, a few weeks back, when I was ‘snubbed by the Academy’, it reminded me when I briefly attended high school and was overlooked for the coveted yearbook superlative category, Best Looking.

“But my classmates did honour me with the allegedly less-prestigious designation of Best Personality. And tonight, as I look around this room, I realised the Independent Spirit Awards are the Best Personality awards of Hollywood.”

Renee Zellweger added to her 2019/2020 awards season haul, scoring the Best Female Lead honour for Judy, while Willem Dafoe picked up the Best Supporting Male gong for The Lighthouse.

The full list of winners at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards is as follows:

Best Feature: The Farewell

Best First Feature: Booksmart

Best Female Lead: Renee Zellweger, Judy

Best Male Lead: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Best Supporting Male: Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

Best Supporting Female: Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

Robert Altman Award: Marriage Story

Best Director: Benny & Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems

Best Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

Best First Screenplay: Fredrica Bailey & Stefon Bristol, See You Yesterday

Best Editing: Benny Safdie & Ronald Bronstein, Uncut Gems

Best Cinematography: Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse

Best International Film: Parasite

Best Documentary: American Factory

John Cassavetes Award: Give Me Liberty

Producers Award: Mollye Asher

Someone to Watch Award: Rashaad Ernesto Green, director of Premature

Truer Than Fiction Award: Nadia Shihab, director of Jaddoland

The Bonnie Award: Kelly Reichardt, American Factory

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Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson ‘worked differently’ during The Lighthouse shoot

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson took very different approaches to acting during The Lighthouse shoot.The actors star in Robert Eggers’s black-and-white horror film as two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island who slowly s…

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson took very different approaches to acting during The Lighthouse shoot.

The actors star in Robert Eggers’s black-and-white horror film as two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island who slowly start to succumb to isolation, booze, and hallucinations.

In an interview with Mr Porter, Dafoe shared that the duo took very different approaches to the project.

“Rob Pattinson worked very differently from me,” he said. “But I made no judgment on it because he had a different job. And also, I don’t need him to work the way that I work. If I want to, I can work the way he works. He’s a more reactive character. He’s acted upon. So, it was very different.”

As an example, The Grand Budapest Hotel star added that the British actor doesn’t like to rehearse and prepares for the shoot by himself, whereas he likes to do extensive rehearsals thanks to his theatre background.

Pattinson admitted he would use the rehearsal process to “cheat” against his co-star, who he initially found quite intimidating.

“I sort of used the rehearsal process (to try and) see all of Willem’s cards, which frustrated him,” the Twilight actor added. “It’s quite competitive, the two parts, and so I guess I was trying to cheat as much as I could going up against someone like Willem. As soon as I could see that he knew what I was going to do, it would make me really sad. I was trying to surprise him as well as myself every time. He seems to be able to do a scene in an infinite number of ways. I feel like I’ve only got maybe five ways to do it.”

Dafoe also shared that Pattinson would use “wacky” techniques to get into character in the moment, such as sticking his fingers down his throat and beating himself up.

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Robert Pattinson wants to lose himself in Batman role

Robert Pattinson wants to lose himself in his portrayal of Batman.The Brit is the next actor to take on the DC Comics hero and is looking to make his experience on director Matt Reeves’ upcoming blockbuster as immersive as possible. “Now that I’m start…

Robert Pattinson wants to lose himself in his portrayal of Batman.

The Brit is the next actor to take on the DC Comics hero and is looking to make his experience on director Matt Reeves’ upcoming blockbuster as immersive as possible.

“Now that I’m starting to get into it, I don’t want to approach it as kind of a big studio thing where all you’re really doing is thinking about your trailer. I want to approach it in exactly the same way (I usually do), I want it to be frightening, I want it to be something you lose yourself in,” he told the BBC. “It’s more difficult to do because it’s such a familiar character to lots of people, but I think… if you can find a way to lose yourself in it, I think that’s really exciting.”

The Twilight star found out he was going to play the crime-fighting alter ego of billionaire Bruce Wayne while filming Christopher Nolan’s mysterious new espionage drama, Tenet.

“I wanted to do something on a big stage, and so I ended up doing Chris Nolan’s movie, which I was really, really happy about at the beginning of this year. And then Batman was kind of a surprise to me,” he explained.

Pattinson is currently starring in The Lighthouse opposite Willem Dafoe and recently revealed that he was inspired by the Hollywood veteran when trying out new voices for Batman.

“Willem’s voice in this was quite inspiring for it, to be honest,” he told Access Hollywood. “It is pretty similar, the voice I’m gonna do, to Willem’s. I think Batman has a sort of piratey kind of voice – I think that will really suit it.”

The Batman, also starring Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Paul Dano as The Riddler, will be released in 2021.

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Willem Dafoe bewildered by Robert Pattinson’s ‘wacky’ method acting

Willem Dafoe was astonished by his The Lighthouse co-star Robert Pattinson’s method acting techniques.The pair appear in the Robert Eggers-directed drama, which follows Pattinson’s character Ephraim as he spends four weeks as an assistant to Dafoe’s li…

Willem Dafoe was astonished by his The Lighthouse co-star Robert Pattinson’s method acting techniques.

The pair appear in the Robert Eggers-directed drama, which follows Pattinson’s character Ephraim as he spends four weeks as an assistant to Dafoe’s lighthouse keeper.

In the movie, the remote island soon begins to take its toll on Ephraim and he descends into a world of madness and chaos, murdering a seagull and screaming about wanting steak.

Speaking to Mr Porter magazine about the Twilight star’s unusual acting technique, Dafoe explained: “He’s not interested in craft, I think. He wants to throw himself into deep water and he feels like it will only be true if he’s drowning.

“For me that seemed wacky. But I’m not trying to judge. He has a good sense of the visual, of what’s needed in a close-up. Sometimes he’d beat himself up so bad. He’d stick his fingers down his throat, things like that.”

Earlier this year, Dafoe told Variety his co-star “acts like he doesn’t know what he’s doing” on set, but insisted he uses it as a “device to allow him more freedom”.

“And I might add that Rob really wants to jump into things, sometimes with his eyes closed,” he added.

The Lighthouse hits U.S. cinemas from Friday.

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Willem Dafoe signs up for Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley

Willem Dafoe has joined the likes of Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.The upcoming project, the second movie adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name, is set in a world of carnival hus…

Willem Dafoe has joined the likes of Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.

The upcoming project, the second movie adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name, is set in a world of carnival hustlers, and tells the story of a con man named Stanton ‘Stan’ Carlisle, portrayed by Cooper, who teams up with psychologist Lilith, to be played by Blanchett, to swindle the rich before she turns the tables on him.

The Oscar nominee has been cast as Clem Hoately, a head barker at a travelling carnival who gives Carlisle a job, according to Variety.

He joins a cast which also includes Toni Collette, who will portray a mentalist named Zeena who mentors Carlisle, and Rooney Mara, who will be playing Carlisle’s love interest, Molly.

Richard Jenkins and Michael Shannon, who previously starred in del Toro’s previous film, the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, are also reportedly circling the project, while his Hellboy collaborator Ron Perlman is rumoured to have a role.

Del Toro will direct the film for Fox Searchlight from a script he co-wrote with Kim Morgan, with production set to begin at the start of 2020. Nightmare Alley was previously brought to the screen in 1947, with Tyrone Power taking on the role of Carlisle.

Dafoe is enjoying an impressive run of projects of late. He has been receiving critical praise for his performance alongside Robert Pattinson in David Eggers’s The Lighthouse and will soon be seen in Edward Norton’s directorial effort, Motherless Brooklyn, as well as political thriller The Last Thing He Wanted.

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Robert Pattinson had trouble seeing on set of The Lighthouse

Robert Pattinson had trouble seeing on the set of black-and-white movie The Lighthouse because the lights had to be so bright.In the drama, Pattinson and Willem Dafoe play two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island who slowly …

Robert Pattinson had trouble seeing on the set of black-and-white movie The Lighthouse because the lights had to be so bright.

In the drama, Pattinson and Willem Dafoe play two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island who slowly start to succumb to isolation, booze, and hallucinations. The film was shot on black-and-white film, meaning every scene had to be lit more than usual, and the British actor struggled with his vision.

“We realised, because of the combination of shooting on black-and-white negative and the 1920s lenses, you need so much light just to get anything,” Pattinson told Variety magazine. “We were doing one scene which was talking to each other over a table. The light is so bright, you couldn’t see the other actor.”

The Twilight star is known for reaching out to filmmakers he wants to work with and that was no different with The Lighthouse. He got in touch with director Robert Eggers after seeing his film The Witch to suggest a collaboration and he presented him with the film’s script.

The 33-year-old threw himself into preparation for the role by reading stories and historical books about lighthouse keepers and moved to the island of Cape Forchu, Nova Scotia, where the shoot was to take place, three months early so he could acclimatise to the location.

Dafoe also spoke with the magazine to heap praise on his “wildly self-effacing” co-star.

“If you ever talk to him about performing, he acts like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. That’s a little bit of a device to allow him more freedom,” he commented. “And I might add that Rob really wants to jump into things, sometimes with his eyes closed.”

The Lighthouse is doing the film festival rounds and is set for cinema release in October.

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Aquaman 2 officially in the works

Warner Bros. has started work on the Aquaman sequel – hiring David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick to write the script.The film, based on the DC comics character and starring Jason Momoa as the title character, with Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson,…

Warner Bros. has started work on the Aquaman sequel – hiring David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick to write the script.

The film, based on the DC comics character and starring Jason Momoa as the title character, with Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, and Nicole Kidman in supporting roles, was directed by James Wan, and became a huge hit for the movie studio.

It took $68.7 million (£60.2 million) in its opening weekend in North America, and sailed past $1 billion (£778 million) worldwide. And according to editors at The Hollywood Reporter Johnson-McGoldrick, who co-wrote the Aquaman script with Will Beall, has been given the go ahead to start work on the sequel.

Johnson-McGoldrick, who worked with director Wan on The Conjuring 2, first began working on the script for the original movie three years ago after reading the Aquaman comic books during filming for the horror.

In an interview with website Moviehole in December he explained writing the DC Comics franchise was a lot of fun.

“It was a little like getting to go play and I felt like the challenges that were faced were harder for Zach Snyder for Justice League — because he was the one who had to figure out who Aquaman was, he told the website. “Zach cast Jason (Momoa) which completely shattered people’s perceptions and we were able to steer Jason back to the classic Aquaman. I don’t think you could’ve shown him in a suit right out of the gate. He had to show Aquaman was cool.”

At present it’s unclear whether Wan will return to direct the sequel, but he is said to be in talks to return as producer.

The news of Johnson-McGoldrick’s hiring comes after Warner Bros. announced that it is developing a spinoff around Aquaman villain The Trench. Wan and Safran are reportedly set to produce the flick, which is being developed as a lower budget version of Aquaman. However, none of the main cast is set to be involved.

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