Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies to watch this weekend including Carey Mulligan’s archeological drama “The Dig” (Netflix), Denzel Washington as a cop with a troubled past in “The Little Things” (PVOD and select theatres), Naomi Watts’ family drama “Penguin Bloom” (Netflix) and the Nicolas Cage b-movie “Jiu Jitsu” (EST, VOD, DVD).
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Carey Mulligan’s archeological drama “The Dig” (Netflix), Denzel Washington as a cop with a troubled past in “The Little Things” (PVOD and select theatres), Naomi Watts’ family drama “Penguin Bloom” (Netflix) and the Nicolas Cage b-movie “Jiu Jitsu” (EST, VOD, DVD).
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Carey Mulligan’s archeological drama “The Dig” (Netflix), Denzel Washington as a cop with a troubled past in “The Little Things” (PVOD and select theatres) and Naomi Watts’ family drama “Penguin Bloom” (Netflix).
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including Carey Mulligan’s archeological drama “The Dig” (Netflix), Denzel Washington as a cop with a troubled past in “The Little Things” (PVOD and select theatres), Naomi Watts’ family drama “Penguin Bloom” (Netflix) and the Nicolas Cage b-movie “Jiu Jitsu” (EST, VOD, DVD).
Like the archeological excavation that lies at the center of “The Dig,” a new drama starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes and now streaming on Netflix, the movie is slow and steady but reveals much if you’re patient.
Based on the 1939 unearthing of a ship burial site containing a bounty of Anglo-Saxon artefacts in Sutton Hoo, near Suffolk, England, “The Dig” stars Mulligan as Edith Pretty, a wealthy widow who hires amateur archeologist Basil Brown (Fiennes) to excavate ancient burial mounds on her property. Auto-didact Brown’s discovery of a treasure trove of priceless artefacts attracts the attention of the toffs at the British Museum, who insist on taking control of the dig. As World War II looms and Pretty’s health worsens, the job takes on a personal and professional urgency.
Unsurprisingly, “The Dig” spends a great deal of time at the excavation but, as the riches of the job reveal themselves, the interpersonal dynamics of the characters take center stage.
As the salt-of-the-earth Mr. Brown, Fiennes is a stoic figure who provides much of the film’s heart and soul. Early on, in an effective but clumsy metaphor, he is revealed to be the film’s real treasure after he is accidentally buried, swallowed up by the dig, and unearthed by his frantic co-workers. His presence is the film’s catalyst for a study of class and of respect born of hard work and study. He even becomes a father figure for Pretty’s son Robert (Archie Barnes). Fiennes plays him with an appealing mix of decency and stubbornness.
Mulligan’s chaste, but deeply felt relationship with Mr. Brown, is nicely played but as the ensemble cast grows to include the British Museum folks, the snobby Charles Phillips (Ken Stott), John Brailsford (Eamon Farren), Stuart Piggott (Ben Chaplin) and his young wife Peggy (Lily James) and Pretty’s cousin Rory Lomax (Johnny Flynn), she takes a backseat as an illicit romance blossoms. She is, predictably, very good, but as her health declines so does her dominance of the story.
“The Dig” confronts big issues but maintains an intimate feel. It’s not a story of archeology, although James is shown lovingly dusting dirt encrusted artefacts. The portrayal of class and impending war never overshadow the more relatable topics of legacy and teamwork. It’s a quiet movie, one filled with longing looks where much is left unsaid, but nothing is ambiguous.
The glass slipper fitting on Cinderella’s foot is at the core of the magic of the fairy tale. It is a plot point that cannot be removed. If you do the whole story falls apart.
Real life is different.
Lily James, star of the new Disney live action remake of the Brothers Grimm tale, says the Swarovski slipper she “wears” in the film didn’t fit.
“That is my English humour,” she says. “It didn’t fit anyone. It wasn’t that they just got the size wrong. It’s Swarovski Crystal so it would have broken. They had to CGI it onto my foot, which was a bit of a shame.”
The Downton Abbey star—she plays the rebellious Lady Rose on the hit show—is about to have her name intrinsically connected with the Disney princess, but at the audition she had her eye on another role.
“When you get the casting call for something they pick what part you’re going to go for and they wanted me for [step-sister] Anastasia,” she says. “I remember I wore this pink tie-dyed jumper that the casting director told me to burn. But I had blonde hair because of Downton and they said I should read for Ella.
“I was kind of up for playing the off centre part; the quirkier, funnier part. I paced the corridor for about twenty minutes and the breakdown of the part that Ken [Branagh] had given me kind of struck me. It said she had a generous spirit and a generous nature and an open heart and I think because I didn’t have time to over think I just went in and just read it. I think I was much better for it.”
Her first day on set she shot one of the film’s key scenes, the “love-at-first-sight” meeting between Cinderella and Prince Charming, played by Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden.
“Ken said, ‘How do you feel about shooting that scene first?’ Richard and I didn’t really know each other and Ken caught that nervous energy, that getting-to-know-you, butterflies-in-your-stomach thing. He caught it on camera and I think that was smart. It kind of sets up the whole movie. It feels in that moment that Ella is very strong.”
So how will Downton Abbey fans react to seeing her familiar face as Cinderella?
“I hope lovingly,” she laughs. “I didn’t think there were many similarities but some people have said they think are. I watched the film and in the first scene I thought, ‘Oh no! I’m playing Rose.’ Then thankfully I shed it.”
It sounds like a question from an age-old nursery rhyme, but was actually a real problem for Sandy Powell, the Academy Award-winning costume designer of the new live-action version of Cinderella.
Powell, whose Oscars for Shakespeare in Love, The Aviator and The Young Victoria decorate her mantle, gave me a sneak peek at the unique shoes given to Cinderella (played by Downton Abbey’s Lily James) by her Fairy Godmother months in advance of this weekend’s opening.
“The glass slipper had nothing to do with any shoemakers because it is made of crystal,” Powell explained.
Working with Swarovski, she designed the shoe, complete with a six-inch heel and 221 facets with their light-reflecting Crystal Blue Aurora Borealis coating, out of solid crystal.
“No one can actually put their foot in that,” she says.
“It’s a prop. In effect I was designing a prop that gets held and gets tried on but for her (to walk in) we made another shoe that was the same shape, in leather, that she could wear and then the visual effects (transformed it to) the glass on her foot.
“The glass shoe was the biggest challenge to do.
“How do you do a glass shoe that doesn’t look ugly and huge?
“Hopefully I have done it. It had to sparkle. And rather than it be made up of lots of little crystals, I thought it would be brilliant if we could make it out of one piece of crystal. We didn’t know if that would be possible.
“We spoke to Swarovski very early on and I thought it should be like a faceted, cut piece of crystal and that’s what we worked on, which took several months.
“They didn’t even know if they could do it.
“We didn’t know if it was going to be possible until the first one came hot off the press.”
Eight crystal shoes were made, but in order to save time and money, there was no left or right foot, just neutral, according to Powell.
“No one is going to notice,” she says. “Doing a pair would have taken twice as long and we never see two at the same time.”
Working with Disney to bring Cinderella to life brings Powell full circle back to the movie that set her on her career path.
She cites the Mouse House’s Mary Poppins as an early influence, adding,
“I’ve always been inspired by clothes and I have always loved films.”
These days, 40 movies and three Oscars later, Powell is still finding plenty of passion in her work.