Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’

Canada AM: Loss of a comedy legend: Mike Nichols dies at 83

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 2.45.39 PMRichard’s “Canada AM” look at the life and career of Mike Nichols.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Richard on Canada AM: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s demons and legacy

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 4.10.35 PMCanada AM film critic Richard Crouse on the life and legacy of Hoffman, his lengthy battle with addiction and the impact of his death on Hollywood.
Watch the whole ting HERE!

NewsTalk 1010: Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dead at 46 by Siobhan Morris

Hoffman at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014
(Danny Moloshok/AP)

Critically-acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died Sunday from a suspected drug overdose.

The 46-year-old was found dead in his Greenwich Village home in New York Sunday morning. Hoffman has three children with his partner of 15 years, Mimi O’Donnell.

Sources tell the Associated Press Hoffman had a syringe stuck into his arm when he was found by a friend who called 911. There were also envelopes of heroin in the apartment. An autopsy to determine Hoffman’s cause of death is expected to take place Monday.

Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about his past struggles with addiction. After 23 years sober, he admitted to falling off the wagon with prescription pills and heroin. That led to a stint in rehab.

In a 2011 interview with the Guardian, Hoffman described his addictions as “pretty bad”. “I had no interest in drinking in moderation. And I still don’t”, he told the paper. “Just because all that time’s passed doesn’t mean maybe it was just a phase.”

Hoffman’s family released the following statement Sunday afternoon.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”

Movie critic Richard Crouse told Newstalk 1010 Sunday Hoffman had “an incredibly diverse career and knocked it out of the park virtually every time.”

Hoffman won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the 2005 biopic “Capote”. He received three nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category for The Master, Doubt and Charlie Wilson’s War.

Crouse says Hoffman brought a soulful-ness and a believability to his performances. “When you saw him on screen, there was nothing really false about it, you never really saw the acting.”

One of Hoffman’s breakthrough roles was as a gay member of a porno film crew in “Boogie Nights”, one of several movies Paul Thomas Anderson-directed movies that he would eventually appear in.

Hoffman often took on comic, slightly off-kilter roles in movies like “Along Came Polly”, “The Big Lebowski” and “Almost Famous”, in which he plays real life rock critic Lester Bangs. Crouse says Hoffman’s turn as Bangs is his favourite performance by the actor.

“He seems like such a huge part of it and he’s just such a great shining white light in the middle of this movie, even though it is a relatively small part. And that’s a testament to his talent”, says Crouse.

Hoffman was set to reprise his role as Plutarch Heavensbee in the next instalment of the “The Hunger Games” franchise, “Mockingjay. Showtime recently announced Hoffman would star in “Happyish,” a TV comedy series about a middle-aged man’s pursuit of happiness.

Crouse says in interviews, Hoffman wasn’t interested in talking about his craft as an actor, but would speak passionately about books.

Hoffman began his acting career on stage. He studied theatre as a teenager with the New York State Summer School of the Arts and the Circle in the Square Theatre. He then majored in drama at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Hoffman performed in revivals of “True West,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “The Seagull”, a summer production that also featured Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. In 2012, he was more than equal to one of the great roles in American theatre, Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman”.

Hoffman was three times nominated for a Tony, but never won.

EMILY BLUNT, “I have sly eyes” By Richard Crouse

emily_blunt_charlie_wilsons_war_MSUKS87.sizedThe first time most of us noticed Emily Blunt she was “’on-the-edge of sickness thin.” To play the role of Emily Chalton, the prickly first assistant to the editor in The Devil Wears Prada, Blunt had to drop pounds from her already slight frame. “It wasn’t like doughnuts were snatched out of my hand,” says the 5′ 7½” actress, but she was encouraged to slim down. So much so she would occasionally cry from hunger during the shoot. Luckily, though rake thin, she still had the energy to steal the movie from her more seasoned co-stars, Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci.

Although the character fell directly into the love-to-hate-her category, audiences found Blunt irresistible. Her mix of vulnerability and fork-tongued charm—crowned by crystal clear blue eyes and a face anchored with a cleft chin that would make Kirk Douglas envious—earned the title Best Female Scene-Stealer from Entertainment Weekly and nominations for everything from a Teen Choice Award to a Golden Globe.

The kudos and notoriety that followed her Prada performance on this side of the Atlantic were simply an echo of her much-admired, though lesser seen work, in the UK.

After dabbling in drama at age 12 to help conquer a stutter she made her professional stage debut while still in school. From there it was a short leap to the small screen and praised performances in British television period pieces. It was, however, only when she left the lace-bonnets behind and took on a role in the critically-acclaimed My Summer of Love that she really made a splash. The story of a teenage infatuation between Mona (Nathalie Press) and the manipulative and cynical Tamsin (Blunt) earned both Press and Blunt equal shares in an Evening Standard British Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer.

When asked why she is so often cast as bad girls like Tasmin she says, “I have sly eyes. When I was in school they always said, ‘Emily can never be elected Head Girl because you never know what she’s thinking.’” Just don‘t ask her to further explain her acting method. “I think it’s embarrassing to hear people talk about their process because you always sound wanky,” she says bluntly.

We can say that she has an enigmatic quality which has served her well in supporting parts as diverse as a gawky, uptight French teacher in The Jane Austen Book Club, an oversexed young women opposite Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War and as a babysitter in Dan in Real Life, all movies she says, that share “a very human heartbeat.”

Even when she appears in something less than Oscar worthy, take the 2005 miniseries Empire, for instance, a project she dismisses as “the sad little brother of Rome,” she still stands out, giving her characters both subtlety and complexity. She’s not a flashy actor; often she expresses an idea with a simple lift of an eyebrow or an understated movement, a trait she shares with her acting idol Cate Blanchett.

While she says “I want to do my own thing and not emulate anyone else,” she calls Blanchett’s chameleon-like ability to disappear into a variety of roles very brave.

The disappearing act is a trick Blunt seems to have picked up from Blanchett. Following a bravura turn in the offbeat comedy Sunshine Cleaning, and the now obligatory for stars-on-the-rise Simpson’s cameo, she took on, and disappeared into, the most challenging role of her career to date. In The Young Victoria Blunt returned to the period roles that defined the early part of her career, playing Queen Victoria from headstrong teen to Queen of the Realm to love sick widow.

“I definitely made a real play for the part because I knew it would be one of those roles that people would hound because it was so rare and so well written,” she says. “It’s hard to find a film that is shouldered by a woman about a girl like that who is so remarkable and so complex. I went in and met them and said, ‘I love it. I’m very aware that a lot of other people do as well but I’d like you to give me a chance.”

Since then she’s worked nonstop, in movies both big—like this month’s mega budget Gulliver’s Travels—and small—a 10 minute short named Curiosity, shot on a budget of £2,000. Mixed into that eclectic stew is The Wolfman, a reimagining of the 1941 Lon Chaney classic which airs on TMN and Movie Central this month. Blunt says she took the role for two reasons. First to work with co-stars Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro and secondly because her character Gwen is “the girl in a werewolf film, and that’s cool.”

One more very cool job in Emily Blunt’s white-hot career.