A deft handler of both comedy and thought-provoking stories, Lenny Abrahamson was one of Ireland's premiere independent filmmakers in the late 2000s and early 2010s, best known as the director of "Ada...
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Looks like Brie Larson is going to break everyone's hearts once more. The Short Term 12 star has landed the lead role in Room, the big screen adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel about a woman and her young son trapped in a single room for years. Room is the fourth high-profile role that Larson has landed recently, after Judd Apatow's Trainwreck, Matthew Quick's Silver Linings Playbook follow-up The Good Luck of Right Now, and Mark Wahlberg's crime drama The Gambler. With such a diverse list of projects on her plate for the near future, it seems as if Larson has a number of possible career trajectories available to her. Will she choose to stick with the quiet indies that have brought her so much acclaim thus far? Will she give up dramas for a while and embrace her comedic side? Is there a major role in a big-budget franchise in her future?
We've taken a look at Larson's upcoming projects and used them to predict where we see her career headed if they become big successes. No matter what happens, you should get to know Larson's work now, so that you can brag that you knew about her first.
Room Although it’s hard to predict what direction Room will take (the novel is told from the perspective of five-year-old son), it’s clear that Larson has a difficult, emotionally intense role in front of her. We could see her career following in the footsteps of Marion Cotillard, whose Hollywood breakthrough was similarly complicated and layered, and who has gone on to play many more dark and complex characters. Since Larson was rumored to be in the running for a role in the upcoming Terminator film, she should have no problem landing a role in a major franchise, like Cotillard, although we see her in one of the more inventive big-budget films. Perhaps something along the lines of Inception? A Cotillard-like career would also allow her to continue to work in smaller indie films, as well as to mix her serious, weighty projects with lighter fare, in much the same way that Cotillard followed La Vie en Rose with Nine and Midnight in Paris with Rust and Bone. And if we don’t see Larson at the Oscars for Room, then it should only be a matter of time before she, like Cotillard, takes home a trophy.
Trainwreck With Judd Apatow at the helm and Amy Shumer writing and starring, Trainwreck is both the only outright comedy and the most mainstream of her upcoming films. Larson’s proven that she can do comedy well, having played supporting roles in 21 Jump Street and United States of Tara, so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if her breakthrough came about as the result of her showcasing those comedic chops. From there, she could stick to comedies, a la Leslie Mann, whose supporting roles in Apatow’s projects have allowed her to transition into carrying films on her own. But we think it’s more likely that Larson would emulate someone like Sandra Bullock, who has managed to do both comedy and drama. Like Bullock, Larson would probably stick to starring in big-budget comedies for some time (we see her taking on slightly weirder projects like The Heat rather than becoming a rom com darling), before finding the perfect dramatic role to help her transition back into more serious work. Thus far, Larson has managed to balance her roles in a similar fashion to Bullock, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to find a way to keep a foot in both worlds. Besides, she's so talented and charming that she could easily become the successor to Bullock’s “America's Sweetheart” title, as well as being a future Best Actress contender.
The Good Luck of Right Now Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, who wrote Silver Linings Playbook, The Good Luck of Right Now is a dramedy about four outsiders who come together to form an unlikely family as they deal with pain, loss and major tragedies. Larson would play a librarian who believes herself to have been abducted by aliens, who falls in love with Bartholomew, a 30-something man who is dealing with the death of his mother by writing letters to Richard Gere. The Good Luck of Right Now is a quirky comedy, with a script by Mike White, and so we could see her following in the footsteps of the queen of independent cinema, Parker Posey. Posey has had a long career that ranges from comedies to dramas and small, independent films to big, studio ventures, and since Larson seems to be interested in working on a wide range of projects, including Dazed and Confused and the comedies of Christopher Guest, it seems likely that she might be headed on a similar career path. Posey is also every popular show's go-to guest star, with a particularly memorable appearance on Louie and Parks and Recreaction. With stints on Community and The Kroll Show under her belt, it seems like Larson might already be following in her footsteps. Plus, Larson's got the "endearingly quirky" thing down, so she should have no trouble becoming Hollywood's new indie darling.
The Gambler In this remake of the 1974 James Caan film, Larson will play the female lead opposite Mark Wahlberg, who will take on the role of a professor whose gambling habits threaten to ruin the lives of him and everyone he care about when he gets in over his head with some loan sharks. It’s a dark, gritty supporting role, and we don't see Larson being brushed off as just another "supportive girlfriend-type." Instead, we predict it could set her on an Amy Adams-type career path, as Adams managed to transform another "girlfriend" role in The Fighter into one of the most compelling characters in the film. Although Adams was a more established actress at the time, there are a lot of similarities between her and Larson, from their breakthrough roles in quiet, realistic indies (Junebug for Adams and Short Term 12 for Larson) to their penchant for goofy, over-the-top comedies (Talladega Nights and The Muppets vs. 21 Jump Street) it seems an apt comparison. Emulating Adams would allow Larson to continue to take darker, serious roles in both big-budget and indie films without having to totally abandon her comedic side, and since critics are already predicting that she will soon be an Oscar fixture, Adams seems like an ideal career role-model for Larson.
When Michael Bay saw What Richard Did for the first time, actor Jack Reynor wasn't on his radar. Now he's the star of the upcoming Transformers 4. Reynor isn't sure exactly what convinced Bay to take a chance on him.
"I'm not 100% certain. It's not something Michael and I really talked about. I'm a bit more, 'Yes, sir. No, sir,' with Michael. I just do what he says, take the job seriously, and get it done," Reynor says.
Having seen What Richard Did at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, we can clear the fog on why Reynor might be the perfect pick to star opposite Mark Wahlberg in the upcoming sci-fi sequel: he's absolutely brilliant in it. In the Irish film directed by Cannes vet Lenny Abrahamson, Reynor stars as Richard, a typical high school senior with a picture perfect life. He's got a lovely family, a great group of friends, a steady position as a soon-to-be-pro rugby player, and he's inching closer to a relationship with the object of his affection. Basically, Richard has it made — but he's modest about it. Abrahamson's film rolls along with tender care, naturalistic and familiar in all the right ways as his character invests deeper and deeper into his relationships.
"We spent a long time working on the movie before we shot it," Reynor says of the preparation. "We spent eight months workshopping and talking extensively about what kind of film we wanted to make. I think in those workshops, where we would talk about pretty much ever aspect of our lives, we came up with the most truthful story that we could."
Reynor describes Abrahamson as a "genius" who employed techniques that created the fluid, recognizable cadence to What Richard Did's scenes. What looks and sounds like off-the-cuff acting is more like guided improvisation. "In scenes where they're badgering back and forth with one another, we had topics we set up," Reynor says. "We wanted to make it improv, but controlled improv. So we had topics: school, girls… conversations where we didn't set the words. Key points that we needed to go to where we needed to pass the ball between each other very quickly."
Abrahamson also pushed the young actor to shade Richard with his own past. In one scene, Richard recounts the traumatizing event of accidentally killing a pet gerbil by drowning it in the toilet. Yeah, that was true. "That was my own personal story. I really killed that poor thing when I was five years old. Buried him in a shot glass," he says. Abrahamson didn't want a carbon copy of Reynor to stand in for Richard, but he was striving for reality. "I think Lenny would tell you as well, it's very difficult to take an actor and force them into a performance without making it feel a little contrived," the actor explains. "So Lenny wanted to bring the character to me. So we got an amalgamation of me and the character. There are definitely elements of myself that I invest into it. Which I think lends a lot of truth into it. But at the end of the day, Richard and I are very different people."
One of the toughest scenes — the kind of gut-wrenching moment that would easily make Reynor a must-have in the eye's of Bay — comes late in the film, as Richard grabbles with the devastating consequences of "what he did." The character's life is shattered and Reynor explodes in a fury of emotion. It works because Richard's never directly reminded of his past actions. Instead, they continue to haunt every second of his life.
"We decided to use this little trigger," Reynor says. "Richard wakes up and is instantly flooded with the thoughts of everything that's happened. It's about feelings. He feels this incredible shame and guilt and terror and it's an overload." The actor says that physicality played a bigger part in bringing the scene to life than any script note or "dramatic" angle did. "But it was very much about waking up and getting into a physical posture that allowed for it to be unlocked. It's difficult to explain, but it came physically more than mentally," he says.
Transformers 4 may sound like an entirely different animal than What Richard Did, but according to Reynor… well, it is. "With Richard, I was excited to make this film with such an amazing role for an actor. Play a wide range of emotion and really invest myself in the character," he says. "With Transformers, I'm going to get to drive fast cars and have a lot of fun. That's what appeals to me about it. I want to have as much fun as possible."
Reynor says that regardless of the scale or subject matter, his goal to be truthful never wavers. The director relationships are the real variable. For instance, the conversations he has with Abrahamson are entirely different than the ones he's had with Bay in these months before shooting the film. "With Lenny, we're talking introspectively about the human condition," he says. "With Michael, we're talking blowing s**t up."
As serious-minded as Reynor sounds, his defining quality (that is quite evident on screen and off) is a desire to enjoy the work, enjoy the people around him, and enjoy the moment. His character Richard can often be seen kicking back and sipping beer while chatting to his friends. Reynor is quick to answer if he himself has a brew of choice.
"Guinness, Guinness, Guinness, Guinness," he says before ruing the fact that'll he live in America for a majority of the Transformers 4 shoot. "I can't drink it here. It's terrible. What makes me so awfully sad is seeing them put Guinness in pitchers. You can't do that! That's terrible. You pour a pint of Guinness a certain way or it's not Guinness!" So while he's happy to be in New York City for Tribeca and revving up for Bay's next blockbuster, Reynor's looking ahead when he can return to Ireland. "When I get home after Transformers there'll definitely be a bit of drinking."
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The series will compete for the title of best TV drama, while show stars Tom Vaughan Lawlor and Robert Sheehan will go head-to-head for best lead actor, and Charlie Murphy will battle for the female equivalent.
Peter Coonan and Susan Loughnane also land mentions in the supporting categories, while Love/Hate's writer Stuart Carolan and director David Caffrey are both up for top honours too.
Other nominations for the best TV drama award include hit fantasy series Game of Thrones, The Borgias and Titanic: Blood and Steel.
Meanwhile, in the movie categories, the new star of Michael Bay's upcoming Transformers sequel is already proving his credibility - Irish actor Jack Reynor has earned recognition in the shortlist for best film actor for What Richard Did, which received a total of 10 nods.
The low budget project, from director Lenny Abrahamson, is the favourite to win best film, ahead of Death of a Superhero, Shadow Dancer, Grabbers and 1970s punk biopic Good Vibrations.
Also up for film acting accolades are Colin Farrell (Seven Psychopaths), Martin McCann (Jump), Anne Marie Duff (Sanctuary), Ruth Bradley (Grabbers) and Reynor's What Richard Did co-star Roisin Murphy.
The winners of the 10th annual IFTAs, which highlight the best in Irish entertainment, will be announced at a ceremony on 9 February (13), the night before the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards on 10 February (13).
Hit TV drama The Tudors swept the board at the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs) on Sunday, winning a record-breaking seven prizes.
The period drama, about the life of British King Henry VIII, scooped the gong for Best Drama Series, while its star Jonathan Rhys Meyers was named Best Actor in a Television Drama Lead Role.
His co-stars Maria Doyle Kennedy and Nick Dunning were also recognized for their supporting roles, while the show picked up a further three awards at the ceremony at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre.
Meanwhile, Garage was also a multiple prizewinner--the movie won Best Film, Best Director for Lenny Abrahamson, Best Script for Mark O'Halloran and Best Actor in a Lead Role Film for Pat Shortt.
Daniel Day-Lewis continued his awards glory by picking up the Best International Actor gong for the critically acclaimed There Will Be Blood; German filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others won the prize for Best International Film, and young Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan was named Best Supporting Actress for her role in Atonement.
Mel Gibson was also honored at the event and was given a standing ovation as he collected the Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema Award.
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Won the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for "Garage"
Directed his first feature length film, "Adam & Paul"
Film "Frank" premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival
Directed his first short film, "3 Joes"
A deft handler of both comedy and thought-provoking stories, Lenny Abrahamson was one of Ireland's premiere independent filmmakers in the late 2000s and early 2010s, best known as the director of "Adam and Paul" (2004), "What Richard Did" (2012), and "Frank" (2014). Born on November 30, 1966, Abrahamson was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, where he attended the Trinity Dublin College. However, he did not initially pursue filmmaking, but rather followed his interests in physics and philosophy. After he graduated, he enrolled at Stanford University. Instead of fulfilling his initial goal of earning his PhD in philosophy, Abrahamson began experimenting with making short films with his 16mm camera. One of his first short films was "3 Joes" (1991), which went on to win the Best European Short award at the Cork Film Festival, as well as several other festival honors across Europe. Emboldened with his recent success, he travelled back to his home country with the intent of solely pursuing filmmaking. Although his first few gigs were directing commercials, he eventually completed his first feature-length film titled "Adam and Paul," a black comedy about two heroin addicts from Dublin. While "Adam and Paul" brought was well-received, his next film project brought him international recognition. "Garage," a film about a cloistered gas attendant, was recognized not only by the Irish Film and Television Awards, but also other international film festivals, including a win of the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. His first foray into television came when he directed an ambitious drama series titled "Prosperity" (RTÉ Two 2008). Abrahamson followed "Prosperity" with a return to film, this time with a movie adaptation of the novel Bad Day in Blackrock titled "What Richard Did," which was loosely based on real-life incident where a young Irish student was violently beaten to death outside a nightclub. In 2014, Abrahamson continued to impress with "Frank," a dark comedy about a rock musician who performs wearing a giant cartoon-figure head, which premiered in the year's Sundance Film Festival. Starring Academy Award nominees Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal and based on the real life of British post-punk musician Chris Sievey and his alter ego Frank Sidebottom, "Frank" was widely praised for its oddball and whimsical sense of humor.