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VIKINGS: SEASON 4 VOLUME 1 Arrives on Blu-ray & DVD October 4
IT IS TIME TO WIN!!!!
WHO GETS THE DOG? Comes to DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment starring Alicia Silverstone and Ryan Kwanten and, of course, the cutest dog ever!
ALL THE WAY with LBJ
and a Talk with Director Jay Roach
On Bluray this week from director Jay Roach and HBO Home Entertainment is a look inside a history time has forgotten with ALL THE WAY.
It is a day locked into American history when President John F. Kennedy was murdered by an assassin’s bullet. Swiftly, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson is taken back to Washington D.C. and on the flight he is sworn in as the 36th President of the United States.
Stepping into the Oval Office, President Johnson (Bryan Cranston) takes in his surroundings. The weight is heavy knowing that he is following in the footsteps of a beloved President yet also knowing what he does from that moment will define who he is as a leader. First Lady Bird Johnson (Melissa Leo) is also keenly aware of what has happened and becomes the strength he needs.
Action is all but immediate as the issues before him are the passage of the Civil Rights Act under the watchful eye of Martin Luther King Jr. (Anthony Mackie). Being disappointed before by politicians, King is deliberately careful in what he needs to do in working with the President.
Already up in arms are the Southern Democrats, especially when Johnson announces his plans. President Johnson knows that he needs V.P. Hubert Humphrey (Bradley Whitford) in the fold to reach the angered statesmen. From Senator Russell (Frank Langella) to Rep. Howard Smith (Ken Jenkins) to the every suspicious J. Edgar Hoover (Stephen Root), the deliberate twists and turns that this President makes are essential.
Wanting his legacy to mean something, President Johnsons War on Poverty and the out of control Vietnam War keep him fighting for the American people.
I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with director Jay Roach to not only hear about his experience in making ALL THE WAY, but his own passions about what is means in this election year and the historical underestimating of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
JJ: Hello Jay, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. How are you besides doing tons of these interviews?
JR: Hello Jeri I’m doing fine and really I don’t mind at all. I think LBJ was an interesting person really. How are you?
JJ: Not bad thanks. This piece is about the part of history that I love so I’m going to jump right in since you made that comment about LBJ, is that what drew you to the project?
JR: Absolutely, I saw the play a couple of time and was already working with Bryan [Cranston] on the film TRUMBO. I grew up around the time that LBJ was President and unfortunately most people, and I was one of them; think of him in terms of how unpopular he was during and after the Vietnam War. That was definitely part of who he was but when I was reminded of the incredible amount of things he did as President and teaming up with Congress and Civil Rights leaders, he changed out country for the better in dozens and dozens of ways. Also, Medicare and Medicaid, public education, the Arts and an unbelievable amount of constructive legislation all while providing jobs and paying for it. We didn’t have a crazy deficit! LBJ was as presidential as a person can be which is a great thing and to have the Bluray out now during the election calls to mind what is presidential? What does that mean to be presidential? Who is really qualified to be President and what does leadership look like? You watch LBJ the first couple of years of his presidency and you will see what being presidential means.
JJ: It is extremely difficult to follow in the footsteps of someone like President John F. Kennedy, and you show that very well in the scene where he walks into the Oval Office and he is just standing there taking everything in. Even down to the desk he was just looking.
JR: He was definitely an underdog and people made fun of him being from the South and being a Texan and coming from a poor education. He went to a Texas Teachers College instead of a school like the other Ivy Leaguers but he believed in the power of American’s teamed up. We team up and we get things done. In the best situations we use government to get things done. He believed government was best teaming up to get things done, to accomplish a higher quality of life and to rid the country of injustice as in the Jim Crow Laws. He believed in that. To me that is really important to be reminded that it does take faith in this system and it’s easy to tear it down. One of my favorite quotes in the film is that ‘any jackass can tear a house down but it takes a carpenter to build one back up’. He was a carpenter but he had faith in building things together, faith in being a team when it could have been easier to divide us by fear and hate. I was saying that LBJ is the anti-Trump because he had faith and knew how to get things done for people. I think LBJ would look at Trump as an amateur.
JJ: He had that Texan good-ole-boy way of speaking and I think that led people to believe that he wasn’t a smart man.
JR: He could sneak up on them. They did dismiss and underestimated him. I think you are right. I think it’s a good observation that he was so sort of every-man-ish in certain ways because he came from the middle of the country and he was funny. That’s one of the things I love of Bryan Cranston’s portrayal is that he reminds us of how funny LBJ was. We got to listen to hours and hours of tapes of LBJ and the phone calls and such and he was actually hilarious. He could tell pretty dirty jokes and he could also drive you around in a car drinking, drive to fast and act like it’s going to crash in a lake only to discover it was an amphibious car! He would do that to then have a serious conversation once the ice was broken saying things like ‘now how do we get the Civil Rights Act passed?’ That’s what I loved about his character.
JJ: Because Congress thought of him at a certain way, for him to come out and flip the tables on them that said ‘look, I know you’re concerned because it is still the good ole boys club…’ but he needed to dodge and weave to get things done.
JR: That’s what I think is sad that people devalue experience in politics. He knew that’s how you got things done. He had been a Congressman and in the US House of Representative for a dozen years and a Senator for a dozen years so he knew how to get people team up and accomplish things. That took dozens of years of experience to know how to make that happen. LBJ was a pro and I think we need pros in leadership and again that’s why I’m happy the film is coming out on Bluray. We were all committed to show what government can accomplish when people team up and work together. Robert Schenkkan adapted his play and that is a huge part of the story – what you do with power when you get it. It’s how you build your strengths and knowledge to actually achieve things and he sets a great example of what presidential looks like. In those early years he stacks up with any of our presidents.
JJ: I would have to think that every time Bryan Cranston walked on set jaws dropped. It had to be freaky!
JR: It was pretty incredible to see. We saw it in phases with our great make-up person Bill Corso and we were working on wardrobe with Daniel Orlandi down to getting the glasses right and hair. When it all came together for the camera test it was astounding. I had seen Bryan already on Broadway and he had achieved almost a perfect match but because he didn’t have the full prosthetic makeup, when he came out it was amazing. Bryan’s talent and connection with the soul of LBJ, he was channeling him absolutely. One of the people who knew LBJ back then, Larry Temple said he wasn’t seeing a great interpretation of LBJ but felt like he was actually with LBJ. That’s a compliment.
JJ: It’s not just the instant reaction but the mannerisms but the way he looks, or sits or staring out a window, you forget it’s Bryan Cranston.
JR: Bryan has let himself fall away at that point and let LBJ take over in every way. He is one of the great actors of this era. It’s a fantastic screenplay by Schenkkan but there is something truly extraordinary about what Bryan can do. I felt lucky to get to watch it all and having him go up against actors like Frank Langella and Anthony Mackie as MLK and Bradley Whitford as Humphrey? He is just surrounded by fantastic talent and had people just as committed about channeling their characters.
JJ: I had to smile thinking that Frank Langella and Bradley Whitford have had their term at the White House so they fit right into this piece.
JR: Yes, Frank had played Nixon in FROST/NIXON and Bradley was on The West Wing. You definitely get the sense of actors teaming up because there are some scenes where they go after each other but it’s all in the story of this incredible president.
JJ: Choosing Anthony Mackie to portraying Martin Luther King, there is such a quietness about him. Most characters portraying MLK are usually boisterous with the feeling of the speeches. Mackie takes the introspective side of King in this piece just as LBJ has those moments of introspection.
JR: They had a lot to get done together and LBJ could never have passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act without King’s support and collaboration. They weren’t perfectly in sync because King didn’t trust LBJ because of the leaders in the past. Even JFK didn’t deliver fully on the promise. So watching them try to figure out how they can trust each other was a really great thing. Anthony made a great choice and a wise choice like you were saying of trying to capture the quiet strength of the man because we already know his oratorical strength. He chose to try to get at that quiet strength and there are some interview available where King is quietly describing what matters to him and how he is going to go at it. Anthony really studied those and I believe he did a beautiful job capturing the thoughtful and powerful King.
JJ: The frustration level of having to start over with another president, which would make any of us frustrated. He gets to that but he does it more in an introspective way rather than combative way.
JR: I do appreciate you saying that. Just knowing with the Emmy Nominations, I mean Melissa Leo does such an amazing job as First Lady Bird Johnson.
JR: Lady Bird was an incredibly strong woman who knew how to get things done herself in a quiet way. LBJ was a flawed man and a very tough guy to live with but she accomplished a tremendous amount in her time as First Lady and set a new tone for what First Ladies could accomplish. She was the first to have her own office, staff and a very orchestrated situation that allowed her to do things like beautifying the highways. She was his collaborator in every way. I thought Melissa just nailed that strength mixed with the Southern charm and loving wife. My parents are both from Texas so I understood what that called for. It was personal for me to get that spirit right.
JJ: Yes, congratulations on all the Emmy Nominations, that’s amazing.
JR: Thank you, thank you very much. It is hard for political films to get recognition so we are so pleased to be a part of the conversation again.
JJ: The nominations are not just for one or two categories but instead cover such a vast part of what you all have accomplished. That’s the amazing part of what you have brought together, it’s a culmination of things.
JR: I appreciate that. There was so much talent on our team and I’m glad the film got noticed and I obviously thought the screenplay was incredible being based on the play from Robert Schenkkan [who is also one of the executive producers], the makeup and the music. We are really happy for the show and again, in this election time, that the Bluray gets another shot at it of raising peoples awareness of what it means to be the President of the United States. Now is a good time to be talking about LBJ.
JJ: This would be amazing to be played for students.
JR: I’m actually giving a little speech for an organization called Facing History and their commitment is making historical materials available to teachers and school kids. I’m glad you said that because I am hoping there is a way for it to be made available in some sort of edited version. It gives everyone a chance to be part of the conversation that asks the questions of what it means to be a president and how teaming up helps us get things done. It’s harder now trying to find people who believe in leadership and in government and that we are all trying to help get things done.
JJ: Finally, if you could, what would you want the readers to know about this piece in that it is not only important but also relevant to us now?
JR: This movie is about what a truly presidential person does with power when he gets it. He worked his whole life to get to this point but always knew that he wanted to do something with it. He says about getting the Civil Rights Act passed, ‘if I can’t use my power to right a horrible injustice, then what is the presidency for?’ That is sums up LBJ and to watch his very early years and see what we can do as a nation when we team up and put our faith in our system to get things done. He believed in that more and is such a fantastic topic of conversation for where we are now in this presidential election. What is leadership? What is presidential? I do think those early years of LBJ couldn’t be more timely. He did so much from November of 1963 to the reelection and he was on fire!
JJ: I enjoyed every moment of the film and appreciate your time.
Cranston as LBJ has taken a character that has been in the shadows for so long and given is a light that is incredibly bright. There isn’t a moment that is not riveting, jaw dropping, moving and motivating and I believe director Roach may be correct in saying that there was some serious LBJ channeling going on here. It is a performance worthy of all the praise Cranston is receiving.
Leo as the First Lady epitomizes the look and feel of a Southern woman of the times. From the perfection of her appearance to the ability to remain calm under pressure, Leo’s red lipstick smile was disarming – which I’m sure was the First Lady’s intention each and every time.
Mackie as Martin Luther King, Jr. took the quiet rode down his characters path. Having been disappointed by broken promises, it is not surprising that he would be on guard with the new President. It is in Mackie’s moments of thoughtfulness and calm that are the most impressive scenes.
Whitford as V.P. Humphrey seemed like a man certainly caught in the middle. It is difficult to support your Commander-in-Chief on one hand while having the Southern Leadership breathing down one’s neck! Quite the performance. Langella as Senator Russell has a voice and stare that scares me more than anything. There is such power in his facial features that he made is all seem effortless.
ALL THE WAY brings out a stellar cast that absolutely need to be recognized with Marque Richardson as Bob Moses, Aisha Hinds as Fannie Lou Hamer, Todd Weeks as Walter Jenkins, Mo McRae as Stokely Carmichael, Spencer Garrett as Walter Reuther, Tim True as Deke Deloach, Bruce Nozick as Stanley Levison, Ned Van Zandt as Senator Fullbright, Ray Wise as Sen. Dirksen, Eric Pumphrey as Dave Dennis, Dohn Norwood as Ralph Abernathy and Joe Morton as Roy Wilkins.
HBO Home Entertainment brings ground breaking programs in Bluray, DVD and Digital HD for the entire world to enjoy. GAME OF THRONES now joins those of us with media libraries that also include THE SOPRANOS, TIRLS, THE WIRE, ENTOURAGE, BAND OF BROTHERS and TRUE BLOOD. HBO Home Entertainment can be found in more than 70 territories around the world and continue to expand!
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ALL THE WAY four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Writer Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way stage production premiered in 2012 and in 2013 it ran at the American Repertory Theater in Boston with Bryan Cranston starring as LBJ. In 2014 the show came to Broadway and Cranston received a Tony Award for his performance. It is perfection that Cranston once again takes on the role for the HBO film.
As a history lover, ALL THE WAY is just perfection. From it’s casting to the cinematography, costuming, soundtrack and performances, if you want people to believe what they are watching then excel in all the above. That’s what director Roach has accomplished, putting us all into a time machine and whisking us back to see what the history books left out.
His ability to bring the story of President Johnson who is sandwiched between the beloved John F. Kennedy and the infamous Richard Nixon is getting his own shot at, as director Roach calls it, ‘being presidential’ and you’ll be educated for taking the time to see what has been sublimely put together.
In the end – he was in it all the way!
Director Jay Roach
Citizens of the Realm have spoken!
After a tight and highly competitive election season and more than 1.6 million ballots cast, Jon Snow, who ran on a platform of uniting the North, has been elected as the leader of the GoT Party, alongside running mate Lyanna Mormont.
In honor of Snow’s victory, one of Westeros’s hottest fictional bands, Valyrian Steel, recorded a new campaign song, called “Ode to Snow,” which in reality was co-written and recorded by Kyle Gass, John Konesky and John Spiker of the band Tenacious D. You can check out the song, which is debuting today,
Coming to DVD and Digital HD this October from director Damian Lee and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the dance of ICE GIRLS.
Mattie Dane (Michaela du Toit) is a young girl who is forced to put her ice skating dreams on hold when she takes a fall during a tournament. When Mom Kelley (Lara Daans) moves to the family to a new town and share a home with Aunt Ginger (Sheila McCarthy), Mattie discovers the local ice rink.
Heather (Taylor Hunsley) is on the ice practicing for her next tournament. Not happy with peeping eyes, Mom Rose (Natasha Henstridge) asks rink owner Mercury (Elvis Stojko) to make Mattie leave.
That’s when a friendship between Mattie and Mercury as he encourages her to get back on the ice. Knowing there is no way the family can afford training; the two come to an understanding. At the same time Mattie and Heather become good friends much to the dismay of Rose and Mattie befriends Darcy (Shane Harte).
Mercury also finds a sports doctor that can help Mattie and she begins training on the ice. Finally feeling comfortable in her new situation, it all begins to change when secrets and stories come to the surface, friendships are tested and families learn what is important.
Du Toit as Mattie portrays such a strong young girl dealing with many home issues. Her love of the ice is something that can’t keep her away and although scared, Du Toit gives Mattie grace. This young lady carried the film with the same smoothness as her skating.
Hunsley as Heather is a young woman with issues brought on by the stress of expectations. Bringing it all forward is done so well and with some humor in the awareness.
Daans as Mom Kelley struggles to keep the family together with the help of McCarthy as Aunt Ginger. Harte as Darcy is a young man with his own family problems and lets Mattie into his life and a wonderful friendship begins. Stojko as Mercury sees something in Mattie and wants to do whatever he can to bring back the champion he knows she is.
Henstridge as Rose is a mother who wants the best for her child but has an intense way of showing it. Putting all her focus on Heather, sometimes Mom forgets that the young skater needs the guidance and love of a mother and not the pressure of a sports-parent! Is there a chance for change?
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.
I had the opportunity to speak with Natasha Henstridge about the film ICE GIRLS. She shares insight about her character and what we all could learn from the storyline!
Hi Natasha, I’m so glad we could talk to day.
Hi Jeri, me too.
I saw the film and I have to ask you, what made you decide to want to take on this character?
People know me as being such a really mean and cruel person and I never play that in a movie so I thought it would be a great opportunity to do it [we are both laughing].
Yes, most of the roles you play you aren’t so…well…nasty?
What is so ironic that for years I wanted to play something different. I have played that tough and hard character and I needed to change it up. I’ve played a lot of Moms and done family movies being sweet. I thought I’d turn and go the other way. The way Damian Lee described the character Rose he had to convince me to say and do all these horrible things! I thought it would be cool being a sort of Cruella de Ville or a high pressured Dance Moms with the crazy competitive thing. I actually thought it would be a lot of fun. There is humor in it all and Rose just can’t help herself being that controlling mother.
It’s funny you mention Dance Moms because you are a mix of the Moms and Miller, like you rolled that up to make your character. You made me laugh a lot.
Thank you, that’s fun! There were moments where I felt a little silly but the stuff where I am teasing her about her weight and junk food I thought it was so hard to do. Then I talked to Taylor’s [Hunsley] Mom and I said some of this is far fetched right? She told me ‘not at all’ because the mothers really do put their children under a lot of pressure. It was interesting to talk to her about it.
I wondered if you had looked into that because there are so many issues these girls faced and the way the film handled it was well done.
Exactly, at points I thought that it was overkill but once I learned there were Moms that were far, far worse it helped. I have children and I’ve seen them play sports and there are those parents that take things a little to far. Kids have their dreams and aspirations but sometimes the parents get carried away.
Isn’t that exactly what your character in the film does? Goes a little too far?
Yes, exactly, living vicariously and putting undue pressure on her daughter for all the wrong reasons.
What did you think of the script when you first read it?
Having been a fan of figure skating, my Mom and I loved watching figure skating. I’m Canadian so that’s par for the course and although I didn’t figure skate I would go to the rink a lot as a kid. I think it is such a beautiful sport. When I found out that the film actually had two professional figure skaters [Hunsley and du Toit] who were going to act I knew this was going to be fun. I thought it was sweet and nice messages in the film.
It is not that Damian beats you over the head with messages; he leads the viewer to it.
Definitely, it is a family film for sure and you get a sense of where it is going seeing each of the characters have their own life realizations. There is a bit of growing up through the girl’s process and even my character does as well knowing she’s being too hard on her daughter. My character Rose learns from her own child and it happens all the time that parents do.
Your character goes back to being how I’ve seen you over the years which is sweet.
Which I really am! [laughing]
Maybe that’s why watching you play this role is so entertaining because you portrayed Rose as a hard woman who had to go through her own difficulties to be just a cool person again.
Absolutely, I mean there were comedic elements which is always fun to play as well.
You did it very well. Working with du Toit and Hunley, it had to be interesting to watch them go from the ice to the screen?
Yes, Damian really did a good job in choosing these girls watching them go from skaters to carrying a film as actresses. They did such a beautiful job. The girls did a lot of their own skating stunts. Watching Michaela fall time and time again in her scene I thought ‘these girls are tough’. They worked so hard being at the rink at 4 in the morning and at practice before we had a long day of filming. It was pretty incredible to watch their amazing work ethic, very impressive.
I didn’t know that the girls were professional skaters?
Isn’t that something? When you watch them perform it seems so natural. They took to acting with the same work ethic as their skating. They did the best they could and it is apparent in the film.
What would you like viewers to take away from the film?
We do learn a lot from our children and to learn to let go of control and focus on more important things, which is the journey not the destination, and focus on the more important things in life. There are so many connections to be made in life and we need to enjoy that more.
Thank you so much Natasha!
There are so many lessons from the film along with the moments of comedy that Natasha brought to the film. That’s what makes family films so important, especially now in this fast paced world where spending time together seems harder to do. We need family, friendships, learning and love to bring us closer together and stronger.
ICE GIRLS is a fantastic opportunity to get together with a bowl of popcorn and couch-cuddle time to watch beautiful skating, a story that is filled with messages and comedy.
In the end – dare to dream!
Come join me for films, panels, shorts and more at the SAN DIEGO FILM FESTIVAL!
For more information please go to http://www.sdfilmfest.com/ for schedule, gatherings, special guests, amazing premier films and tickets!
See you there!
Comes to Bluray and here is your chance to win a copy of your own of the acclaimed suspense film!
This week in theatres Summit Entertainment brings director Peter Berg’s film about the PB oil disaster and the courage of those aboard DEEPWATER HORIZON.
In April of 2010, a drilling rig known as DEEPWATER HORIZON owned by BP oil was a floating rig that could travel to any spot for drilling. Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) boarding the rig along with Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), and Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez).
With questions already looming about the readiness of the rig, Harrell has questions for the execs already on board. Already in conference are Vidrine (John Malkovich) and Jimmy calls them out on the inspection that seems to have been bypassed. Mike isn’t happy asking Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’Brien) who is working the pipes if the inspection has been done.
Agreeing to a pressure test, everyone on the rig waits as the first test fails. It is Vidrine who consistently tries to out-talk the crew on what BP is expecting from the rig and there is nothing wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth when later in the evening the earth decides to revolt against the rig.
The explosion brings out courage of the many to save lives!
Director Peter Berg has taken the story of Deepwater Horizon and made it into a film that tells the story bringing Mike Williams to the forefront as a hero. This isn’t the first film Berg has brought to the screen with an intense story about courageous individuals. In 2013 he directed the film LONE SURVIVOR about Marcus Luttrell (played by Mark Wahlberg) and his team on a mission to capture a Taliban leader. In 2017 has the film PATRIOTS DAY will be released about the Boston Marathon bombing and the city-wide manhunt for the terrorists.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Peter Berg about DEEPWATER HORIZON and what pushes him to tell stories of extraordinary people and events.
JJ: Thanks for talking with me today Peter.
PB: Of course Jeri, it’s my pleasure.
JJ: Tell me what interested you in wanting to take on this project?
PB: There was a 60 Minutes piece about Mike Williams and it really just got to me. I thought it was a great story and it spoke to me.
JJ: Did you realize the monumental scope of the making this film when you decided to go ahead and make the film?
PB: I did, I knew it was going to be a challenging movie and I felt absolutely ready for it. I was actually really excited to get involved and get it going.
JJ: Did you already have a cast in mind?
PB: Mark [Wahlberg] was already to go and we knew each other which was obviously part of the reason I was excited about the film.
JJ: He and Kurt Russell together are so fantastic and amazing in the film. Was Kurt some one else you knew right away needed to be in the film?
PB: Not right away but pretty quickly I thought of Kurt. I am a really big fan of his.
JJ: John Malkovich as well? I know I’m a huge fan.
PB: Absolutely, same here, I am a big fan of his work as well.
JJ: He is so amazing, his accent is pretty good.
PB: Perfect right?
JJ: Building the set, it must have caused a little bit of a shock to put together something so spectacular?
PB: It was fun!
PB: Yes, because we got to big a real big set. We got to be kids with Lincoln Logs but bigger!
JJ: That’s a pretty massive Lincoln Log Peter.
PB: Yes it was. It was a massive Lincoln Log and fun to do at the same time.
JJ: I was surprised to see you in it as well, which is a nice bonus.
PB: Thank you, it was actually fun to do it.
JJ: You took on the film and started putting it all together, did you see it was going so big. I mean you have your human characters but now you have this big other character (the rig) to control. How did you manage the double duty?
PB: It was fun too. Making movies is always super challenging and for me it is getting myself fired up and getting excited for those challenges. The set was a big challenge and executing it in New Orleans with the heat and the water and you have to be up for it. As long as you are I find it all works out pretty well.
JJ: The storyline is so intense and you didn’t sugar coat anything?
PB: My grandmother Ruth said ‘shoot straight and don’t sugar coat’.
JJ: I was wondering how you were going to get around the BP situation and thank you for being straight with the story telling.
PB: BP messed up big time and you have got to be accurate with the facts if you are going to point the finger at some of BP’s behavior.
JJ: The scene with Russell and Malkovich when they are doing the pressure test, I have to say their interaction felt so brutally honest.
PB: I appreciate that. My grandmother also said honest is the best policy so I went with that.
JJ: I think that is what makes this film bigger than just the action, that you were telling the story honesty. Now, dealing with all that mud and oil, how did you make that happen?
PB: We had this guy name Burt Dalton who is a physical production designer for films and he brought in all these gallons of mud and oil and this incredible pumping system. He was able to get heavy pressure and throw that mud around. I had my son and his friends from high school on summer break and made them clean it all up.
PB: It’s true!
JJ: It looks like the cast took a beating. You’ve got fire, mud, falling metal, water – that’s pretty intense. How long did it take you to shoot the film?
PB: It was done in sixty days or around that. It didn’t take as long as you might think, we moved pretty quickly.
JJ: Working with such Malkovich, Russell and Wahlberg who you have worked with before. How is that for you as a director to look at that cast and think ‘wow’.
PB: I look at everything and say wow! I like my cast, crew, getting to meet Mike Williams and the men and women who were on that rig. It is all a process that I like very much and I’m very grateful to have participated in all of it.
JJ: I’ve seen interviews with Mike Williams, what an amazing person.
PB: I’ll say.
JJ: You seem to really enjoy doing films working with amazing people.
PB: I like non-fiction and I’m at a point in my life where I meet people who have gone through extraordinary experiences like Mike Williams and Marcus Luttrell (from the film LONE SURVIVOR) or some of the FBI agents, police and citizens of Boston (coming soon PATRIOTS DAY) who were involved in the hunting down of those who hurt people in the Boston Marathon, those are the stories that excite me.
JJ: It gives you an opportunity tell those truths.
PB: It gives me so much inspiration. You spend time with the people who went through it and obviously it’s a more authentic experience and gives me access to that part of the process that inspires me. Every director is different and some like science fiction, I like non-fiction.
JJ: Finally Peter, what do you want the audience to walk out of the theatre understanding about DEEPWATER HORIZON?
PB: There is never any one thing. I think certainly one of the things that resonates with me is that there were eleven people who died on that rig because of corporate bullying. They could have all run and jumped into life boats and they all would have been back with their kids. They did their jobs when a lot of other people like the executives who got off that rig. These working class men stayed on that rig and they died, it cost them their lives. To me that is worth knowing.
JJ: That means everything, thank you Peter. In DEEPWATER HORIZON Peter, it is nothing like I expected yet everything I want in good and true storytelling well done sir!
PB: Thank you Jeri, thank you so much.
Once again Director Peter Berg brings a true story to the screen and does it in a big way. From set design to casting, everything about the film is big. That being said, that is only a fraction of a moment thought compared to the truly amazing story that is told shooting straight from the hip.
Not only did Berg tell the story of DEEPWATER HORIZON, but he took the time to explain it all. The performances of Wahlberg, Russell and the rest of the cast is so well done that it kept myself, as well as the screening audience totally engrossed from start to finish. This is an epic movie going experience!
In the end – inspired by the true story of real life heroes!
Director Peter Berg Talks About Film DEEPWATER HORIZON
SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2016 Begins!
San Diego International Film Festival 2016 has come once again to our fair city and this year there will be more amazing films to be shared.
Beginning Wednesday, September 28th, the Opening Night Premiere begins with the film LION as a young Indian man who was adopted by an Australian couple is determined to fine the family he barely remembers. The film stars Dev Patel from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman. After the film is the Opening Night Party held at The Westgate Hotel.
That isn’t the only highly anticipated film that will be showing at the SDIFF. Other films include TRESSPASS AGAINST US with Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson, DENIAL with Rachel Weisz and Andrew Scott, JULIETA with Emma Suarez and Adriana Ugarte, NO PAY NUDITY with Gabriel Byrne and Nathan Lane and finally AND PUNCHING THE CLOWN with Henry Phillips and Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons.
More features include AMERICAN FABLE, BLOOD STRIPE, CHRONICALLY METROPOLITAN, DEAD RAW, FEAR, INC., JOHNNY FRANK GARRET’S LAST WORDS, LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED?, NEITHER WOLD NOR DOG, OPENING NIGHT, PO and so many more.
From around the world, films have been submitted from the UK with CHASING ROBERT BARKER, from Ghana CHILDREN OF THE MOUNTAIN, and from Hungary DEMIMONDE. Also, from Norway HOUSE OF NORWAY, from Spain MA MA and THE CLIFF.
The documentaries are filled with amazing storytelling that are filled with complex human and global issues. They include After Spring, Bodyguards: Secrets Lives from the Watchtower, Citizen Soldier, Crossing Bhutan, Epiphany, In Utero, Inn Saei: The Power of Intuition, Maya Angelou and Still I Rise, The Incomparable Rose Hartman and Underfire: The Untold Story of PFC. Tony Vaccaro.
The Shorts Showcase is an opportunity for up and coming filmmakers to present their work. There are categories ranging from Independent Animation with Alike, Borrowed Time, Illegal Move, Linden Tar, Moom and Los Gatos. The category of Crossroads including A Forest, Red, Turnings, and Youth. Curious Voyage looks at Love is a Sting, Loveology, Tiny’s New Home and Wannabe.
Global Consciousness looks at Bon Voyage, Madaran, Mine, Out of the Village and Zaar. Illusion brings Alien Hunter, Everything Will Be Okay, Perchance, The Voice in the Head and You Can Go. Unexpected Endings offers Black Swell, Breakfast with Tiffany, One Good Pitch, Search History, Snake Bite and So Good to See You.
When Worlds Collide gives Cupid, Hush, Partners, Prisoners and The Firefly Girls.
Twisted Humor is one of my favorite categories with An Arms Length, Barry, Mine, The Bathtub and Wifey Redux.
There is also a Military category Heart of a Soldier that offers a look into the stories of those affected by their military experience. Shorts include American Girl, Places Like This, The Flying Greek and The Sand Box.
The Social Justice Film Track and Social Impact Panel bring a big spotlight to issues that filmmakers have the opportunity to bring to viewers. Partnering with Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon, filmmaker Thomas Morgan and Kweku Mandela, these panels bring insight from the filmmakers with in depth conversation. Also the Industry Panels include Actors Panel moderated by Ben Lyons, Meet the Critics hosted by Film Critics Jeffrey Lyons and Access Hollywood’s Scott Mantz.
Director Ted Melfi returns to the San Diego Film Festival to talk about his upcoming film HIDDEN FIGURES with a panel discussion of how the film came to life. HIDDEN FIGURES is the untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) – three African-American women working at NASA as the brains behind the launching of astronauts into space.
More of the Special Events include theHub that will have live music, art, entertainment, food trucks, complimentary beverages and games in the beer garden. It is a fun night of festivities and the Festival’s cultural addition at Horton Plaza Park.
The NIGHT OF STARS is Thursday at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego that honors those who imagination, passion and vision that influence cinematic excellence. This year Annette Bening is receiving the Gregory Peck Centennial Award, Kate Beckinsale will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award and Simon Helberg receives the Auteur Award. Jason Mitchell will receive the Rising Star Award and the Chris Brinker Award Honoree is announced the night of the Tribute.
On Saturday, October 1st, at The Westin Gaslamp Quarter, filmmakers will come together to discover who will receive the Jury Awards for the competition films with the Filmmaker Awards.
Also, at ArcLight La Jolla on Sunday, October 2, Culinary Cinema Film & Fork brings food and film together. Esteemed San Diego Chef create food and wine tastings inspired by the film being shown. ANTS ON A SHRIMP is one of the films to be tasted along with the culinary film CHEFS.
It is important to know as well that the SDIFF brings education through storytelling with FOCUS. This is a year-round education initiative working to enhance academic engagement with dynamic film screenings, collaborative workshops, in-school artist residencies and teacher training. FOCUS takes a holistic approach to learning emphasizing creativity, critical thinking and social interaction in the four core programs of Career, Creation, Artistry and Teaching. FOCUS brings the power of storytelling through film to San Diego Students!
It is amazing that the San Diego International Film Festival brings so much in the way of film and with so many categories. That means there is something for everyone! Between Downtown San Diego and ArcLight La Jolla, film lovers will have so many choices and can’t go wrong with any of them.
To see a complete list of films, features, documentaries, shorts and panels please visit www.sdfilmfest.com. While there, check out the schedule and ticket availability for each show. The site also gives you the opportunity to purchase and print your tickets!
Come join me as I moderate panels and the amazing filmmakers for what will be a thrilling and informative five day film adventure at the San Diego International Film Festival in Downtown San Diego!