• Wolf of Wall Street co-stars and Oscar nominees Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are reportedly set to re-team for an Atlanta Olympics bombing drama based on the 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad of Richard Jewell.” Fox acquired the rights to the article and planned to develop it for Hill, who would play Jewell, the janitor who reported the suspicious bag and was subsequently accused of being a potential suspect in the bombing. DiCaprio would play the attorney at his side. [Deadline]
Tag: Matthew McConaughey (11-20 of 47)
If fans didn’t get a chance to see Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in their Golden Globe winning performances in Dallas Buyers Club in theaters, now they can take the Oscar nominated drama home. The Blu-ray combo pack of the film arrives in stores today and the bonus features include deleted scenes that got cut from the theatrical version, including this exclusive one below featuring McConaughey’s character trying to celebrate living more than the month he was told he had by his doctor, played by Jennifer Garner. READ FULL STORY
If your wife has set a pre-dawn alarm and the two of you are awake in bed with your youngest son to watch the Oscar nominations announcement, it really would be a bummer not to hear your name called. And yet as one name after another was ticked off, Dallas Buyers Club‘s Matthew McConaughey says he had a brief moment of anxiety. “They went through all four names and I said ‘there’s only 5,'” the first-time nominee tells EW. “Then I think I saw the shot of me as Ron Woodruff before I heard my name. Yeahhh, it was nice.”
His other two kids with Camile Alves had since woken and McConaughey was eager to get off the phone to share the news with them. “I’ve got to explain it and have the conversation,” he says. “‘Remember when Papai was doing that show in New Orleans, the one where he was really skinny? Well today they’re saying ‘Hey we want to nominate you along with these four other really talented people for being one of the best performances of the year.’ I mean, there’s a lot of good stuff.”
Dallas Buyers Club was recognized with nominations not just for Best Actor, but also Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actor Jared Leto. “Jared’s was the last name called too!” he says with a laugh. “There was definitely a point where I was like ‘ooh, ooh, ooh’ and then we heard his name and were like ‘Yes!!’
Matthew McConaughey staged a serious upset at the Golden Globes, triumphing over odds-on favorite Chiwetel Ejiofor and much-acclaimed opponents Tom Hanks and Robert Redford to win Best Actor in a Drama for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. The film now marks a new high point for McConaughey’s recent cinematic redemption: The actor shed many pounds (and the last vestige of his romcom glamour) to play Ron Woodroof, the good ol’ boy-turned-AIDS activist (and anti-government folk hero.) READ FULL STORY
Daniel Day-Lewis spoiled us. Last year, the Best Actor race was an easy call, but this time around, it’s the hardest of the Oscar fields to predict. The race is jam-packed with worthy contenders, each with an equally strong chance of finding his name in that winning envelope on March 2.
With a month to go before voting opens we could still see some shifting. Who could still sneak in? Forest Whitaker for The Butler or Joaquin Phoenix for Her have the potential to rise in the ranks. So does Oscar Isaac for his musical, downtrodden turn in Inside Llewyn Davis.
Most Academy members haven’t seen the ’70s grifter drama American Hustle yet, but since it began screening for the press earlier this week reactions have been ecstatic. Expect to see that film in as many as eight Oscar categories this year, including each of the acting fields.
Christian Bale’s comically seductive, balding, pot-bellied con artist from that film should soon be joining the list of Best Actor contenders. The question is: Who will he knock out?
Right now, if you ask voters to pick front-runners, they almost always name the five below. Each delivers an impressive performance, but also have a compelling backstory, which can help make the difference in a tough race.
READ FULL STORY
By now, you know that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto sacrificed their bodies and dropped more than 30 pounds each to play their HIV-positive characters in Dallas Buyers Club. It’s understandable that those details have been obsessed over by the media in stories and reviews, but there’s more than a spartan diet behind both men’s convincing transformations into the homophobic redneck (McConaughey) who becomes a drug-dealing savior to the demoralized gay community in the mid-1980s and the delicate transsexual (Leto) who becomes his unlikely business partner.
Ron Woodroof was a real guy, a bull-riding, drug-snorting, womanizing bastard whose ignorance and reckless sexual behavior left him HIV-positive at the height of the AIDS crisis. Given 30 days to live by the hospital, he sought a cure in the drugs that could only be found south of the border. When some of those meds actually proved effective, he saw an opportunity to make some cash and started smuggling them north, where he set up a buyers club. (A buyers club is a legal loophole of sorts that gives meds to its members — for $400 month — rather than straight-up selling drugs.) Not exactly plugged into the gay community, Woodroof recruits a transsexual named Rayon to help find consumers, and their odd-couple relationship is the heart of the film.
Both actors are in the Oscar hunt, and EW’s Chris Nashawaty wrote that what “McConaughey accomplishes here should be considered the culmination of an unlikely career overhaul that began with 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer and then continued with unselfconscious turns in Bernie, Magic Mike, and Mud. If there was any doubt that McConaughey is more than just a tawny-chested rom-com stud, there should be no question anymore.”
Leto, too, uses the role to remake his career, one that had withered and been sidetracked by the demands of a successful music career. EW’s Oscar pundit Anthony Breznican thinks the Thirty Seconds to Mars singer is the current frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor.
Dallas Buyers Club opened Nov. 1 and expands to more cities today. An even wider expansion is planned for next week. Before you head to the theaters, read what some of the nation’s leading critics think about the film. READ FULL STORY
You’ve seen the shocking photos of Matthew McConaughey, who dropped more than 40 pounds to play Ron Woodroof, the real-life AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club. But McConaughey isn’t the only star of the film who underwent a complete physical transformation. Jared Leto plays Rayon, the HIV-positive transsexual who becomes Ron’s business partner in their 1980s drug-smuggling operation to get unapproved AIDS medicines into the U.S. Leto not only dropped more than 30 pounds to play the dying drug addict — a feat he’d famously done before for Requiem for a Dream — but he stayed in-character as Rayon for the entire production of the film. “Every morning, when I stepped out of that van that took us to set, I always had my high-heels on,” says Leto. “It kind of set the clock.”
Rock fans might know Leto best as the lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars, since he hadn’t acted in more than five years while the band toured the world and he focused on making music, directing videos, and making documentaries. But anyone who got the joke at the end of the recent Audi commercial starring Claire Danes knows that Leto was famously the teenage heartthrob in the shortlived TV series My So-Called Life. After notable roles in Prefontaine, Requiem, Panic Room, and Lord of War, Leto focused more on his band, but Dallas Buyers Club offered the right role at the right time. “He always talked about an interest in playing a transgender,” says Leto’s brother, Shannon, drummer for 30 Seconds to Mars. “He’s just an artist. He does many things. I thought the role was great, so it was like, of course you’re going to do that role. I was happy for him.”
After premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, Dallas Buyers Club and its two actors have catapulted into the Oscar conversation. For McConaughey, a nomination could be the culmination of an amazing two-year stretch of critically-embraced roles that have completely remade his career. For Leto, it might be the beginning of a new chapter in his life as an actor. “I’m still in a daze from Toronto,” he says. “I think you can call it a career-altering experience. Maybe a life-changing one, we’ll see.”
Click below for an interview with Leto, and be sure to read this week’s Entertainment Weekly for more about Jared Leto and Dallas Buyers Club. READ FULL STORY
Two boys, river-rats on the mighty Mississippi, run smack into adulthood when they encounter and befriend a fugitive from the law. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn echoes throughout every frame of Jeff Nichol’s Mud, the festival hit that became one of the summer’s under-the-radar hits. An Arkansas native, Nichols was mesmerized by the river and all that it represents, both in literature and its geographic importance, and his modern-day tale conjures up all the the familiar rhythms, drawls, and characters that filled Twain’s pages. Matthew McConaughey stars as the mysterious rascal whose name is literally Mud, and Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life ) and newcomer Jacob Lofland play the two boys who cross his path when they all claim ownership of a storm-damaged boat miraculously resting in the branches of a tree on a Mississippi River island.
The movie, which arrives on Blu-ray tomorrow, co-stars Michael Shannon, Reese Witherspoon, and Sam Shepard, among others, but as Nichols tells EW, Mud was nearly DOA when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. The movie, which has drawn favorable comparisons to Stand By Me and Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World, rallied to become a festival favorite and the latest stop on the McConoughey Renaissance Tour.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In the movie, Mud is hiding out on an island where he and the boys discover a boat in a tree. Is that something of a metaphor about filmmaking — you have the vehicle of your escape, but you have to figure out how to get it in the water?
JEFF NICHOLS: That’s funny. I don’t know, as far as a metaphor for film. I’ve never seen it that way. Maybe more of a metaphor for life. The boat was a friend’s idea. There was an actual boat in a tree from a flood, and it just opened this window in my head. First off, it’s this magical amazing thing to see for these kids. Plus, it makes sense: those islands flood all the time. It’s totally fantastic, totally surreal, but it could also kind of happen. And that’s where this movie dances in between those two things. It all could happen but it’s also a little bit fantastic.
Matthew’s performance was so wonderful partially because it really embraces the relationship the audience feels like it has with him as an actor, yet tweaks it a bit. Mud is this charming rogue, but there’s a hint of danger underneath that Matthew can play so slyly at this point of his career.
Without knowing him, I wrote that character with his persona in mind. I remember speaking to his agent early on in this process, saying, “It’s like John Wayne playing Rooster Cogburn.” It takes advantage of all the good things that are John Wayne, but it funnels them into a true-blue character that he can play. So he’s not just repeating himself, but at the same time, it takes advantage of all those things that are part of why we like him.
For a long time, Matthew’s good looks almost seemed to be a blessing and a curse in the roles he was offered and how we graded them. Sometimes it seemed like we discounted him because he was so pretty and made things look so easy.
Yeah, pretty people have an uphill battle. We don’t trust them automatically. It’s almost like you have to earn our respect in the audience. At the same time, I think male actors hit their stride in their 40s a lot of times. They just need a little dirt on them and wear and tear before they really get interesting.
Tye Sheridan is the heart of the film as Ellis, a boy who’s falling in love for the first time just as his parents’ marriage is crumbling. And for any adult male, the scene that stings the most is the one in the parking lot where he’s rejected by the girl who he thinks is his girlfriend. I fear that had to have been drawn from your own adolescence.
Absolutely. I took all of the pain and angst that came from not just one but multiple high school loves and rolled it into that scene. I balled it all up and tried to punch Ellis in the stomach with it. I like to think each movie I make has at least one real punch in the gut that reaches out and gets the audience, and that scene was always intended to be that. I think most people have felt rejection like that.
But I’m guessing Tye might not have been old enough to know that pain and humiliation.
He hadn’t, which is what makes him such a damn good actor. He was like, “Nah, I’ve never had my heart broken.” But that kid is a really good actor; it’s all on his face. You could see it. I didn’t make it up. I just rolled the camera, and it started to happen. I didn’t have to yell, “Cut,” and smack him across the head or anything like that. It was literally him just taking some time and bringing all that stuff up. You’re just like, “Where does it come from?” I’m kind of in awe.
When I spoke to Tye at Sundance, he mentioned that what helped him during that scene were the teenage boys who ripped into him pretty hard.
[Laughs] Now that I take credit for. It was in the script: to have him blurt “I love you” out in front of older kids, especially older guys. But I also went up to this group of guys, and I was like, “This kid is just a little dork and y’all need to just tear him apart.” And they did. They were not actors, they were these tough farmboy kids we found in Arkansas, so they kind of kept going, I think. So yeah, I think that was a big part of that scene.
The supporting cast is pretty amazing, from Reese Witherspoon and Michael Shannon to Joe Don Baker and Ray McKinnon. But I love most that you have Sam Shepard in the film. I love all his plays and I love that he’s Chuck Yeager! How did he come aboard?
Well, I’d written it for him, and one of the best days of my life is when we got a response from Sam’s agent: “He said not to change a word.” That’s Sam Shepard, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Sam Shepard! I was very flattered that he liked the material so much. And he was awesome. He just showed up. I had to pinch myself every once and awhile. There was this one day in particular. It was one of his off days, and we were on the island in the middle of Mississippi River, and I’m sitting in the sand, eating lunch. And I look over and Chuck Yeager’s just walking up, wearing aviator sunglasses. He walks up and he goes, “Hey Jeff, can I sit with you?” “Yes, yes you can.” And he sat down and we talked. He had just shown up because he liked being on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River, and he liked us, and he just kind of wanted to be around. I called my wife that night and said, “Honey, I’ll never be cooler than this day.”
Michael Shannon has appeared in all your films, but it also seems you have a growing relationship with the cast of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Shea Whigham was in Take Shelter and Paul Sparks plays the tough guy in Mud.
I actually think HBO has a fascination with the actors in my films! Totally a lie. To be honest, I hadn’t seen Boardwalk Empire. I watched the pilot but we don’t have HBO. But Shea was in David Gordon Green’s film, All the Real Girls, and I’ve loved him ever since. I knew I wanted him in Take Shelter, and he was going to play Carver in Mud, but he was busy with Silver Linings Playbook and it just didn’t work out. The casting director showed me this clip of Paul Sparks, and I said, “This guy’s great!” And then I come to find out Paul Sparks is Mike Shannon’s best friend in New York. So when I asked him, “Do you think Paul Sparks is somebody I should pursue?” Mike was like, “He’s one of the greatest actors I know.” And that’s coming out of Mike Shannon’s mouth. So Paul showed up and we had a blast. Apparently, Paul’s character is just worlds apart [from his Boardwalk character]. But he was telling me — because he’s from Oklahoma — this was the first movie he’s got to use anything close to his natural accent. That amazed me. He was great. I want to work with Paul forever.
Your movie ended up doing relatively well at the box-office, but it was extremely difficult, it seems, to get into theaters, despite the fact that you had a well-received festival movie starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. That had to be frustrating.
Well, it started horrible and gut-wrenching, and turned out quite well. We had a sales screening the first day of Cannes and Harvey Weinstein walked out of it. People just didn’t respond. I got a call the next day from my agent. He’s like, “It didn’t go well.” Little did I know that it was worse than that because they don’t let journalists in [to the sales screenings]. So all the journalists are dying to know, “Hey, how’s the next Jeff Nichols movie?” And all the buyers are like, “Um, bad. Disaster.” So then all these journalists are stewing around all week, hearing about how terrible it is, and then we have a public screening… and it’s great. Not just because they gave us a standing ovation at the end. You could just tell in the theater: they’re laughing at the right parts, they’re jumping in their seats at the right parts. They were engaged in the film. You could just feel it in the crowd. So I was faced immediately with this strange dichotomy between, “Nobody likes your movie, kid” and “Hey, all these people love it.” It took awhile, but finally we landed with Roadside Attractions who’s partnered with Lions Gate. Roadside did a great job releasing it, really intelligent. We picked to hold it a whole year almost, and release it in the spring this year — for lots of reasons. Mainly, just to get out of the way of some of McConaughey’s other films that were coming out at the end of last year. And then it kind of started to shift. Sundance did us a big favor by taking it, and the Sundance screening went great. Then we went to SXSW, and it played through the roof. Then some really great reviews started to come out and it felt like the tables had turned, giving us the confidence to put even more money into the marketing. I thought they did exactly what this movie needed, which is a cool place to find yourself in a year after hearing crickets from your buyers’ screening.
Those issues don’t look to be concerns for your next movie, which you’re making for Warner Bros. with Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton. I’ve read “present-day sci-fi chase film inspired by 1980s John Carpenter films.” Is that about right?
Yup, yup. That’s the kind of go-to line and then you build from there. This is something I wrote, and I wrote it thinking that this could be my first studio film. It just made sense, and it really made sense at Warner Bros. They kind of saw it the same way, and if we keep the budget reasonable, then hopefully I’ll be able to make a film that is my film that remains as personal and unique to me as I want to inside that system. So far, everyone’s been amazing and it feels like I’m getting to make my movie with a studio, which is rad. I have all the faith that it will keep up. But it was, like, “Should I take this back and try and finance it independent and risk going through all this again?” Or do I take this shot. But since Warner Bros was so receptive, it felt like time to try to my hand at it. There’s a lot going on in this movie. The script is done and we start shooting in January.
Michael Shannon is with you again, so that’s a great start.
We like each other, yeah. I think we sync up together. The things I write and the way I write, I think Mike really enjoys it and enjoys saying the line, so that makes me a very very lucky guy.
You’re not tell me anything about the movie, are you?
I’ll probably sit on that a little more, but to be honest, it would be hard to even tell without getting into — it’s like pulling a thread on a sweater. I would keep talking and that would be bad.
Welcome to the Year of Leonardo DiCaprio as the American Dream! In The Wolf of Wall Street, Leo plays the nonfictional man James Gatz — a.k.a. Jay Gatsby — may have become had he been born in the ’60s rather than 1890: Jordan Belfort, a hard-partying stockbroker who, in real life, (spoiler alert!) was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison for securities fraud and money laundering in the early ’00s.
Back in the ’80s and ’90s, Belfort and his cohort — including brokers played by Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey — were living the high life: lounging on yachts, taping stacks of money to nubile young women, tossing goblets of orange juice into bushes with abandon. Their revelry is all set to the throbbing, yowling percussion of Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” — and helmed with precision by Leo’s old pal Martin Scorsese.
Could this be the film that finally gets DiCaprio that elusive Best Actor Oscar? Who knows — but either way, it looks mighty entertaining.
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