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Latest The Contenders – Film News


‘Green Book’ Scribes & Composer Tell Road Trip Tales – The Contenders NY Video

Green Book

What was it like to turn Mahershala Ali into a pianist convincing enough to look like he was playing the intricate compositions of Dr Don Shirley? Green Book‘s composer Kris Bowers, whose hands were often seen in the film, explained all that as well as how Ali transformed from a slumping jazz piano prodigy into one with better posture in Deadline’s first-ever The Contenders New York awards-season event. Bowers was joined on the DGA Theater stage last month by Nick… Read


Brady Corbet Says 4-Year-Old Daughter’s School Lock-Down Drills Inspired ‘Vox Lux’ – The Contenders NY Video

Vox Lux

In Vox Lux, writer-director Brady Corbet drew from a jarring personal experience to create a film that comments broadly about the events that have come to define the 21st century. The film, which tells the story of a survivor of violent tragedy who becomes a star, was partly inspired by his 4-year-old undergoing a lock-down drill in preschool. Corbet appeared onstage at Deadline’s first The Contenders New York awards-season event to talk about confronting the issue of… Read


How The Six Vignettes In ‘The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs’ Got Their Through-Line – The Contenders NY Video

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

In The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – the Coen brothers' series of six comedy vignettes – Tim Blake Nelson plays the titular role, and onstage recently at Deadline's The Contenders New York, he described Scruggs as "a great friend, but you wouldn't want him as an enemy.” In classically quirky Coen style, Scruggs "lives by a strict code, and he ends up dying by that," Nelson said, "and he really doesn't hold it against his killer, just as he doesn't feel that anyone should… Read


‘Three Identical Strangers’ Director And Subjects On How They Arrived At A Place Of Trust – The Contenders NY Video

Three Identical Strangers

Three Identical Strangers director Tim Wardle knew that in order to gain the trust of his two primary subjects, David Kellman and Robert Shafran, he would have to be patient. He just didn’t know how patient. “I got engaged, married and had one child in the time it took to convince these guys,” Wardle joked during Deadline’s first-ever The Contenders New York award-season event. The reasons for the wariness by Kellman and Shafran are completely understandable once you… Read


‘Incredibles 2’ Director Brad Bird On Exploring “The Mundane And The Fantastic” – The Contenders NY Video

Incredibles 2

Director Brad Bird didn’t wait for the first Incredibles movie in 2004 to sweep the world, gathering up box office and critical praise, before plotting its sequel. “I had the idea when I was promoting the first film,” Bird said about the follow-up during a recent appearance at Deadline’s The Contenders New York event. Part of the concept was “what would mess Bob up” — that is, Bob Paar, aka Mr. Incredible, who is thrown when his wife, Elastigirl, becomes the go-to… Read


Barry Jenkins On ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’: “To Me It Meant Everything” – The Contenders NY Video

If Beale Street Could Talk

When Barry Jenkins brought his If Beale Street Could Talk team to Deadline's The Contenders New York, it was something of an emotional reunion, according to Colman Domingo, who plays the story's patriarch Joseph Rivers.  "Barry, thank you," he told director Barry Jenkins, "because you really did create a family. Every time we see each other, there's so much love and generosity with this cast." It makes sense that the feeling behind this production would be intensely… Read


‘First Reformed’s’ Ethan Hawke On Almost Becoming A Priest But Finding Religion In Film Instead – The Actor’s Side

Ethan Hawke

A four-time Oscar nominee with nods for both acting and screenplays, Ethan Hawke is certainly on a roll this awards season, having already racked up a leading 20-plus best actor wins from critics groups for his acclaimed role as a  minister in the midst of a spiritual crisis in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. Hawke is one of the busiest filmmakers around, and now is starring with Paul Dano on Broadway in a revival of True West. Recently. He took time away from rehearsals… Read


Maggie Gyllenhaal On Her Riveting And Disturbing Role In ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ – The Contenders NY Video

The Kindergarten Teacher

Maggie Gyllenhaal never fails to deliver no matter what role she is playing. But in the Sundance hit The Kindergarten Teacher, which Netflix picked up and made part of its presentation at Deadline’s first-ever The Contenders New York last month, she tops herself. In front of a packed invite-only audience of AMPAS and guild members at the all-day awards-season event at the DGA Theater, Gyllenhaal explains how she approached the role of a dedicated wife, mother and school… Read


Spike Lee, Heading For First Oscar Directing Nom, On Why ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Is As Urgent Now As Ever – The Contenders NY Video


Spike Lee just got his first-ever DGA nomination for Feature Film direction with his powerful, sometimes funny, sometimes highly dramatic BlacKkKlansman. It is hard to believe it is this veteran director’s first nom from the guild (he also just received his first-ever directing BAFTA nomination). But equally hard to believe: he has never been nominated for the Best Director Oscar. That has got to change this year, and it likely will with this hit film that opened on the… Read


‘Private Life’ Stars Talk Creating A “Co-Midlife Crisis” For Sundance And Netflix Hit – The Contenders NY Video

Private Life

One of the films on my Top 10 Movies of 2018 list was Private Life, so naturally I was thrilled to be able to moderate that movie’s panel during the Netflix portion of Deadline’s first-ever The Contenders New York event, held last month in the Big Apple. In front of a packed audience of invited AMPAS and key guild members, writer-director Tamara Jenkins and stars Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti and Kayli Carter talked about this brilliant, heart-wrenching dramedy about a… Read


In Debra Granik’s ‘Leave No Trace’, Thomasin McKenzie Found Chemistry & Collaboration – The Contenders NY Video

Leave No Trace

In Leave No Trace, breakout star Thomasin McKenzie plays Tom, a girl living in the woods with her post-traumatic stress-affected father (Ben Foster), and for much of the film, it’s just McKenzie and Foster sharing the screen in cramped outdoor-survival conditions. Speaking onstage at Deadline’s The Contenders New York event, McKenzie and director-writer Debra Granik discussed how they created the chemistry behind an intense father-daughter story. “What was so central for… Read


‘A Private War’ Director Matthew Heineman On Getting Close To The Story – The Contenders NY Video

A Private War

With A Private War, Oscar-nominated documentarian Matthew Heineman took on the story of real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin for his narrative feature debut. Onstage at Deadline's first The Contenders New York, Heineman discussed how, with Rosamund Pike giving what he calls an “unbelievable” performance as Colvin, he was able to perfectly blend his documentary-making skills into the experience. "There's a scene in the film where she uncovers a mass grave in Iraq and… Read