If you thought the return of Dan Harmon to Community would mean that the gang would get back to normal study group activities for at least the first couple episodes, you might be very wrong, because the newest trailer for Community is a cacophony of everything going terribly wrong in the halls of Greendale.
The trailer treats us to knowledge that Chang has masturbated on everything in the study room and that Troy has become the victim of the ass-crack bandit. All the while, there's a huge melee involving chairs strapped to ankles, and the Dean is scared that the floor has inexplicably become lava. It seems that Community has somehow gone even crazier than it was last season. The show is propping up the "Six season and a movie" catch-phrase as its rallying mantra, and if things are this insane at the beginning of Season 5, we can only imagine how bonkers things will be by the time that movie rolls around... if the show ever makes it there.
Here are our picks for who will win, and (more importantly) who should win the film awards at the 2014 Golden Globes.
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureMichael Fassbender, 12 Years a SlaveJared Leto, Dallas Buyers ClubBradley Cooper, American HustleDaniel Bruhl, RushBarkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Will Win: Michael FassbenderShould Win: Michael FassbenderThe supporting actor category has long been the domain of film's best villains, and it's hard to argue when actors continue to put forth powerful performances like Michael Fassbender's turn as the contemptible slave owner Edward Epps in 12 Years a Slave. Fassbender made his character a putrid mix of brutally cruel and embarrasingly pathetic.
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureLupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a SlaveJennifer Lawrence, American HustleJulia Roberts, August: Osage CountyJune Squibb, NebraskaSally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Will Win: Luptia Nyong'oShould Win Luptia Nyong'oLuptia Nyong'o shows an incredible amount of strength in the face of unspeakable adversity as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. The young actress gives an attention grabbing performance and proves that she can hold her own in scenes with actors like Michael Fassbender and Chiwetal Eijiofor.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, DramaChiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips Robert Redford, All Is Lost Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Will Win: Chiwetel EjioforShould Win: Robert RedfordChiwetel Ejiofor came out of nowhere and wowed critics and audiences alike with his searing performance as Solomon Northrup in 12 Years a Slave, but we think Robert Redford had the strongest performance of the year with his turn as the marooned sailor in All is Lost.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, DramaCate Blanchett, Blue JasmineSandra Bullock, GravityEmma Thompson, Saving Mr. BanksJudi Dench, PhilomenaKate Winslet, Labor Day
Will Win: Cate BlanchettShould Win: Cate BlanchettEver since she wowed audiences in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett has been the heavy favorite to win the Best Actress category. This should be an easy win for the actress, whose performance in the film is worthy of all the praise.
Best ScreenplayJohn Ridley, 12 Years a SlaveBob Nelson, NebraskaEric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American HustleJeff Pope and Steve Coogan, PhilomenaSpike Jonze, Her
Will Win: American HustleShould Win: HerWe're betting that American Hustle's witty heist script takes the top honor in this category, but we felt the most moved by Spike Jonze's searingly emotional and romantic script for Her.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or ComedyBruce Dern, NerbaskaLeonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale, American HustleOscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn DavisJoaquin Phoenix, Her
Will Win: Christian BaleShould Win: Bruce DernThis category is pretty much a toss-up, and could go any number of ways. Isaac would be a well-deserved surprise, and although DiCaprio and Phoenix have both received multiple nods in the past, it's hard to picture them winning this time around. Dern, meanwhile, has won incredible reviews and a few early awards for his performance, and could ride this nomination to a victory (and maybe even another at the Oscars). But all in all, Bale is probably the safeest choice, considering his devotion to the off-the-wall, highly emotional role in David O. Russell's latest.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy Meryl Streep, August: Osage County Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said Amy Adams, American Hustle Julie Delpy, Before Midnight Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Will Win: Meryl Streep Should Win: Greta GertwigAlmost every time that Streep is nominated for an award, she takes home the prize - and rightly so, as she is one of the best actors of our time. However, in this case, it would be nice to see the HFPA break away from the safe choice and go with Gertwig, whose performance in Frances Ha was at once charming, realistic, and extremely compelling.
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy Nebraska American Hustle The Wolf of Wall Street Inside Llewyn Davis Her
Will Win: American Hustle Should Win: Inside Llewyn DavisAmerican Hustle tied for the most Golden Globe nominations this year, making it clear that the HFPA are big fans of the film, which means it’s highly likely that the heist film will take home the prize. However, Inside Llewyn Davis has been hailed as the best Coen Brothers' movie yet, and it would be wonderful to see the moving, engaging film win.
Best DirectorAlfonso Cuaron, GravitySteve McQueen, 12 Years a SlaveDavid O. Russell, American HustlePaul Greengrass, Captain PhillipsAlexander Payne, Nebraska
Will Win: 12 Years a SlaveShould Win: 12 Years a SlaveWhile Steve McQueen's brutal slavery saga will probably take home the prize, Alfonso Cuaron created a terrifyingly authentic feeling version of space that had us wondering if the director actually threw his cameras into the stratosphere before filming. The Gravity helmer embued his film with boundless invention and techinical wizardry, while never loosing the sight of the characters at the center of his space disaster.
Best Motion Picture, Drama12 Years a SlaveGravityCaptain PhillipsRushPhilomena
Will Win: GravityShould Win: 12 Years a SlaveIn the biggest showdown of the night, we have a feeling that the HFPA will go light and choose the life-affirming blockbuster Gravity over the glum 12 Years a Slave, and leave the more serious fare for the Academy Awards. While we loved Gravity for all its CGI might, we would give the Best Picture to 12 Years a Slave, a movie that will stay in our hearts and minds for many years to come.
Best Animated Feature FilmFrozenThe CroodsDespicable Me 2
Will Win: FrozenShould Win: FrozenWith Frozen, Disney deliverd a wonderfully sweet subversion of the princess movie, and created a new set of princesses for modern era. Frozen is a brilliant film filled with drama, action, and humor, but most importantly, it places the relationship of two sister's at it's coursing heart.
Here Are Our Picks For Who Will Win, And (More Importantly) Who Should Win The Major Golden Globes' Television Awards This Year:
Best Actor DramaBryan Cranston, Breaking BadMichael Sheen, Masters of SexKevin Spacey, House of CardsJames Spader, The BlacklistLiev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Will Win: Bryan CranstonShould Win: Bryan CranstonBryan Cranston punctuated his run on Breaking Bad with an astounding mix of vulnerability and ferocity, and more than deserves the Globe for his final ten performances as Walter White. It would almost be a sin to give the award to anyone else this year.
Best Actress DramaJulianne Margulies, The Good WifeKerry Washington, ScandalTatiana Maslany, Orphan BlackRobin Wright, House of CardsTaylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black
Will Win: Julianna MarguliesShould Win: Tatiana MaslanyIf the Golden Globes were purely a numbers game, then Tatinana Maslany would win the Globe without contest for playing multiple of clones on Orphan Black, but what's really special about her performance is the craft and care she put into each character as she imbues each clone with different characteristics, accents and mannerisms that almost magically make them feel like separate characters.
Best Actor ComedyJason Bateman, Arrested DevelopmentDon Cheadle, House of LiesMichael J. Fox, The Michael J. Fox ShowJim Parsons, The Big Bang TheoryAndy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Will Win: Jim ParsonsShould Win: Jason BatemnanBateman has long played the straight man in his family of dysfunctional nit-wits on Arrested Development, and when Netflix revived the series for a long-awaited fourth season, the actor deftly slipped into this role again with ease. It's unfortunate, then, that The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons will probably come away with the award.
Best Actress ComedyZooey Deschanel, New Girl Lena Dunham, Girls Julia Louis-Dreyfus, VeepAmy Poehler, Parks and Recreation Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Will Win: Lena DunhamShould Win: Amy PoehlerLena Dunham is fantastic as the dippy and dream seeking Brooklynite Hannah Horvath, but Amy Pohler's Leslie Knope is even better as the sheer force of joy that lies at the center of the hilarious Parks and Recreation. Plus, the fact that Amy has never won the award which should be considered a war crime.
Best Supporting ActressHayden Panetierre, NashvilleJacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the EdgeJanet McTeer, White QueenMonica Potter, ParenthoodSofia Vergara, Modern Family
Will Win: Sofia VergaraShould Win: Monica PotterParenthood, NBC's little drama that could, has long deserved some attention from the award's circuit, but last season saw the show take on the topic of breast cancer with an incredible amount of weight and sincerity. It would be unforgivable not to award the show some recognition, and Monica Potter's Kristina Braverman carried the aformentioned storyline with grace and soul-shattering pathos.
Best Mini-Series or TV MovieAmerican Horror Story: CovenBehind the CandelabraDancing on the EdgeTop of LakeWhite Queen
Will Win: Behind the CandelabraShould Win: Top of the LakeTop of the Lake took the small town murder mystery in strange and darkly beautiful directions, and should take home the golden trophy, but Behind the Candelabra is certainly the more high profile nominee, and will probably take home the prize.
Best Comedy SeriesThe Big Bang TheoryModern FamilyGirlsBrooklyn Nine-NineParks and Recreation
Will Win: Parks and RecreationShould Win: Parks and RecreationThe prospect for a sixth season of Parks and Recreation are looking grimmer than ever, so if there were ever a time to award the drama, now is definitely it. We're thinking the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will be feeling a little guilty for overlooking this wonderful comedy series for all these years. It doesn't hurt that Parks and Rec is the funniest, and most consistent comedy on the list.
Best DramaBreaking BadDownton AbbeyHouse CardsMasters of SexThe Good Wife
Will Win: Breaking BadShould Win: Breaking BadBreaking Bad ended its fifth season with a swaggering confidence, and delivered one of the most exciting and sure-footed finales in recent television history. It will win this category with ease, and duly deserves the honor without question.
Richie Buxo / Splash News
A great many actors have stepped up to play the ever-changing face of John Connor, but the upcoming Terminator reboot, Terminator: Genesis, may have just found its newest savior. According to Deadline, Jason Clarke is in talks to play John Connor, the fabled leader of the human resistance who is destined to save humanity from a sentient artificial intelligence.
If Clarke is chosen for the role, he would join the ranks of Edward Furlong, Nick Stahl, Christian Bale, and Thomas Dekker, who have previously portrayed the character in the franchise’s various incarnations across film and television. The Terminator reboot has also been searching for a new Sarah Connor, John's no-nonsense mother, who was originally played with fire and gusto by Linda Hamilton. Actresses Emilia Clarke and Brie Larson have both been short-listed for the role, and since both are significantly younger than Clarke, there’s bound to be a significant amount of time travel throughout the movie, something the series has dabbled in extensively throughout its history. Arnold Schwarzenegger is also slated to reprise his role as the Terminator, but the film would be better served casting an actor that isn't so far past his sell-by date. Schwarzenegger isn't nearly as physically imposing as he was in 1984, and the series could use a break from its old patterns.
The last film in the series, Terminator: Salvation, marked the second dud in a row for the franchise that has been plagued with recycled ideas and creative misdirection since its third film. The series has had trouble stopping itself from dipping into the well of worn ideas and repeating itself. Hopefully, director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) can breathe some much needed imagination into a series that hasn’t done much (besides the short-lived Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series) to justify its existence beyond its first two excellent entries. A good first step would be casting someone else as the Terminator instead of Schwarzenegger, but Arnold's return seems like an inevitability at this point. Maybe Hollywood can manage to produce a good Terminator film before our Roombas start their campaign for human extinction.
Mission BriefingThis week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the terrorist organization Centipede pops its furry little legs into the mix once again. Three of its Extremis powered muscleheads break into a high security prison to extract an inmate named Edison Po, a former marine and tactical expert that can help Centipede go up against S.H.I.E.L.D. The S.H.I.E.L.D. gang decides to fight fire with fire by enlisting Mike Peterson (guest star J. August Richards) in his first appearance since the show's pilot.
The AgentsGuest agent Mike Peterson gets the spotlight this time. Since his near-explosive stand off with the team in the premiere, Mike has been spending his time pushing bulldozers across football fields under S.H.I.E.L.D’s watch. Coulson recruits an eager Peterson for his first special ops mission, but he’ll have to take on three other Extremis powered foes without much help from the other, more fragile members of the team.
Mission FalloutThe team tracks down Centipede to an abandoned shipping warehouse and the two sides do battle. Peterson proves his usefulness by holding his own against the three soldiers, even though he’s outnumbered, but is wounded when one of the enemies stabs him in the side with a nasty piece jagged metal. S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to take down one of the soldiers, but the man is killed remotely by the same cybernetic eye device that the organization has used previously to dispatch its cornered agents. A wounded Peterson calls his son, but discovers that he has been kidnaped by Centipede. Centipede wants to trade Peterson for his son’s safety, and S.H.I.E.L.D. sets up the trade, realizing there’s nothing they can do. During the fateful trade, Centipede reveals that they really want Coulson, and that Peterson was in on the gambit. Coulson gives himself up for the boy’s safety and Centipede whisks him away in a helicopter while the rest of the team can only stand back and watch. Peterson tries to save Coulson, but is presumably killed after Centipede lets off an explosion that rips through the night (though there is no body shown, which means, by comic book rules, that Peterson will most likely show up again at some point in the future). While flying to safety, Centipede reveals to Coulson that they are looking for the same answers that he himself has been searching for all season: How did he come back from the dead?
Mission Highlights and Lowlights— Can this be the very last “He’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?” scene in anything forever? Pretty please?
— What kind of shoe string budget are S.H.I.E.L.D. missions running on that they can’t be bothered to send more forces after three soldiers juiced up with Extremis? I guess the economy has hit everyone pretty hard. Even the massive clandestine government security organizations need to pinch their pennies.
— The scene with Peterson getting measured for his super suit by Fitz/Simmons was cringeworthy for all the wrong reasons.
The Queen film has found its frontman. Actor Ben Whishaw has officially been cast as Freddie Mercury in the upcoming Queen biopic. The film will be directed by actor turned director Dexter Fletcher. Whishaw is best known for his role as the new "Q" in the last James Bond film Skyfall, and has also appeared in the Wachowski's genre-sweeping epic Cloud Atlas. Fletcher has acted in several films over the years, but only has a couple of director's credits under his name, including the films Wild Bill and Sunshine On Leith, the latter of which was a musical and should have given Fletcher the experience in working with a film that emphasises music.
According to Deadline, The film will center on the band's formative years and rough beginnings while culminating in Queen's landmark performance at Live-Aid in 1985 which lines the halls of Rock and Roll's most iconic live performances. The film will reportedly not delve into Mercury's final years as he succumbed to complications from AIDS in 1991, but instead go out with the triuphant career-defining performance. The biopic has also gained the right to use an extensive selection of Queen's music including their most popular songs: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” “Another One Bites The Dust” and “You’re My Best Friend.”
Whishaw has made a career playing quietly calculating and nebbish individuals, so his casting as the bigger than life Freddie Mercury is interesting one. Mercury is one of pop music's most iconic figures, and Whishaw will have to crank up the bombast to eleven and grow a pretty weighty mustache in order the convincingly portray the Queen frontman's immeasurable stage presence and charisma.
In a piece of truly "amahzing" news, VH1 has attained all three seasons of Happy Endings and will air all 57 episodes in a New Year's marathon. The marathon will begin on New Year's Eve at 8 PM and run through the night and deep into New Year's Day before the show starts its regular scheduled time slot on Wednesday nights at 7 PM. This is great news for fans, but even greater news for people who never got the chance to see what all the fuss is about.
So instead of spending the last couple of hours of 2013 in a boozy stupor at some crowded bar, or snoring into a champagne glass as the calendar rolls anew, why not ring in the New Year with one of the most joyful and energetic comedies of the past few years. Here are five reasons to ditch the parties and watch VH1's Happy Endings marathon.
It's the easiest New Year's resolution ever!Forget the gym membership or trying to learn a new language or whatever other New Year's resolution you have cooked up. Instead of actually trying to better yourself this year with actual goals, why not spend New Year's watching 30 straight hours of television? Sitting on your couch for a full day and finishing Happy Endings in one comedy-filled binge will be the easiest New Year's resolution you’ve ever completed. You can worry about the bed sores later.
People will finally stop telling you to watch Happy EndingsIf you've been regularly hounded by rabid Happy Endings fans to watch their favorite show, now’s your chance to shut them up for good and finish the show in one fell swoop. You'll finally understand what all the fuss is about while also learning why exactly it's the Year of Penny, and why all your TV watching friends have spontaneously forgotten how to pronounce the word "Amazing". Unfortunately you’ll also probably become one of those people hounding everyone else to watch Happy Endings. It’s a vicious cycle.
It’s not on NetflixSince Happy Engings went off the air earlier this year, there’s been precious few ways to watch it. The show’s not on Netflix which makes binging opportunities pretty scarce. The VH1 marathon is your safest and easiest bet in watching the show.
It’s Damon Wayans Jr.’s best roleWhile Damon Wayans Jr. is consistently putting in great work as Coach on New Girl, his best work by far is his stint as the effeminate and energetic Brad Williams on Happy Endings. Happy Endings also has the added benefit of pairing up Wayans with Eliza Coupe, and the two actors have an incredible amount of comedic chemistry.
You’ll get two years worth of holiday episodes in one nightWhat better way to punctuate the 2013 holiday season than by sitting back and watching the Happy Endings go through two years of holiday episodes (The first season was a mid-season replacement so it doesn’t have any holiday episodes). Happy Endings always had consistent holiday episodes and now you’ll get two Thanksgivings, two Halloweens, and two Christmases all in one 30 hour period. It’s a New Year’s miracle.
Actor Willem Dafoe has made a career out of playing the kinds of sleazy characters you wouldn't want to meet in a back alley on the wrong night. In his latest film, Out of the Furnace, the actor uses his gifts to play John Petty, a bookie that takes Rodney Baze (Casey Affleck) under his wing and guides him through the world of underground street fighting. Dafoe plays a complex character that adds texture to Scott Cooper's portrait of a dying town trying it's best to stay above water when everything feels like it's sinking. We sat down with Dafoe to talk about his role in Out of the Furnace, what it's like working with Scott Cooper, and why playing sleazy is completely worth it dramatically.
What drew you to this particular story?I’m always very much keyed into directors. After I saw Crazy Heart, I met with Scott (Cooper) and we talked about working together and he called me up and sent me a script. By that time there were some actors attached and I liked the people attached. It really defined what he was going to do with the story. The script was strong and the character is interesting because he’s a conflicted character as well. He’s a bookie but he’s also got kind of a sweet side where he’s kind of paternal with the Baze brothers and I think it’s an interesting conflict with an interesting resolution.
You said Crazy Heart attracted you to the role. What was it like finally working with Cooper?He’s good, you know. He was an actor and he’s very positive and confident. He’s very passionate. He participated a lot in making this film happen and shaping it. It’s got his fingerprints all over it. It’s strongly his view and aesthetics. He was a strong personality on set and since he was an actor he has a special interest in performance that sometimes directors don’t have.
Your character in the film is pretty sleazy. Do you find it enjoyable playing those sorts of people? I like playing characters that are on the margins of society because they have a different code and they see the world differently. I think it’s sometimes interesting to adopt that point of view because it can kind of cleanse you from the lockstep of modern life. I like characters that have streaks of transgression or conflict or perversity and that’s because I think sometimes it’s an interesting perspective to adopt.
This film takes place in a depressed steel-mill town. Are you familiar with this sort of area?I knew Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh is an interesting place because it’s not Detroit but it did take quite a hit. When the steel-mills went into decline, everything changed. That mirrors where I grew up. I grew up in a paper-mill town. It’s not exactly the same, but I was a little bit familiar with this kind of city that had taken a hit with suburbanization and the economic downturn. So it loses population, and the people that stay are the people that can’t get out, so then you have sort of a desperate situation where people have to choreograph new strategies to live, and they start to question the traditional beliefs that kept the community together before. I think all that is part of the story that Out of the Furnace tells.
Some critics have said that this film is about the downfall of the American Dream. Do you agree with that?A little bit, a little bit because you have Russell, who's the older brother played by Christian Bale, who is kind of sticking to his guns. He’s had a little trouble in the past and he can’t make it so he’s going to go out like his father went out, and it’s not a very pleasant way because he’s on his way out with bad health problems that are partly due to his work. Then we see his brother come back after vaguely fighting for our security and our values, and he comes back and there’s no place for him here. That’s a common predicament and it is an indictment of how, for some people, the American dream is it’s vice. So, that’s all in the mix. I can’t think of too many dramatic films about blue collar people that have a slight whiff of politics recently, so I think there’s something attractive about that. The film has its Hollywood elements and it’s elevated a little by dramatic things like bare-knuckle fighting and the revenge aspect, those are Hollywood devices, but still I think what’s most important about the film is that it’s a little bit of a meditation on family, community, and conscience, and all these moral issues that people deal with when they’re scrambling when a downturn happens, and the way they used to live has to be re-examined because things have changed.
The BBC has released a new trailer for the upcoming season of Sherlock, which features the long-awaited return of the show's eponymous sleuth, but it seems like Sherlock’s return isn’t a cause of celebration for everyone at 221B Baker Street. Apparently, the various characters of Stephen Moffat’s modern day retelling of the Sherlock Holmes stories have been waiting just as long as we have to figure out how Sherlock survived his sacrificial leap at the end of Season 2. A whole two years has passed by since Sherlock's "death" and an angry looking and newly-mustachioed John Watson isn’t interested in how Sherlock did it (and that "how" better be pretty darn fantastic considering we’ve been waiting two years to find it out) but wants to know why he did it. Watson has moved on in his life, and it doesn't look like he needs Sherlock's brand of disruption mucking things up for him yet again.
Besides all of the hoopla over Sherlock's reappearance, the trailer teases an upcoming terrorist threat that's set to hit London, and it's up to Sherlock to save the city... which he'll probably do by noticing the bread crumbs on someone's jacket, or some dried mud on a shoe. Season 3 of Sherlock will premiere on January 19 on PBS.
Relativity Media via Everett Collection
Scott Cooper has a wide gaze. This "actor’s director" has a knack for seeing the potential stories that lie in the periphery of Hollywood’s lazer focused vision, and highlight people that don’t get a light shined on them all that often. In his thriller, Out of the Furnace, Cooper weaves a tale about two brothers facing a supreme evil, but he also tells the story of a declining steel mill town that shows a real affection and admiration for the community and it’s people. We sit down with Cooper to discuss the hidden America he showcases in his films, what he thinks about the direction our country is headed in, and the role that actor Woody Harrelson most wanted to shed once filming stopped.
This isn’t an area we see in Hollywood films very often. What drew you to this place?I am from the Appalachian Mountain region, which extends from Georgia to Maine. When I was promoting Crazy Heart, I spent some time in Pittsburgh and had been reading about the town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and was really moved by the city’s plight and how the city had fallen on hard times like many small towns in America. But I loved the fact that the town was filled with people that remained, that were filled with courage and a sense of optimism that life would eventually get better, and I visited, and I found the town to just drip with atmosphere. [It was] just very cinematic and people were very welcoming so I wanted to set a film there. I wrote a screenplay around those citizens in the town and infused an air of personal history. That’s why I chose that region, because we also don’t see many films about Western Pennsylvania, or certainly where Woody Harrelson’s character is from, which is the Ramapo Mountains of New Jersey.
Do you think this story could have been set anywhere else? It’s intrinsic to the people of Western Pennsylvania and that sense of human spirit and endurance and resilience, and as the grandson of a coal miner I thought it was important not to show an industry of people who were given many things, and it seemed to be the most fitting place for this character and this world.
Your script seemed to have some interesting things to say about the state of America.I wanted to tell a personal story about what America is undergoing in the past five very turbulent years: a crumbling economy, soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and having no real job prospects, having a really difficult time assimilating back into society and the fact that we live in a violent nation. I wanted to weave all that into a personal narrative that spoke really about us as Americans. There’s a cycle of working-class life that I found appealing and far under-represented in American cinema.
Out of the Furnace is much more of a thriller than your last film. Is it different shooting a movie that relies more on suspense?I didn’t approach it as a thriller, I approached it as a searingly realistic drama that happened to have very intense moments interspersed throughout. Both Crazy Heart and this film deal with the human condition and the human spirit and in this particular instance, I wanted this to be a more bracing and emotionally charged experience for not only the actors but also the viewer. I wanted the films to feel like they were directed by the same hand and to also feel like distant cousins of sort, to have a sort of melancholy end of line tone.
Woody Harrelson gives probably one of the most freighting performances of recent memory. How much of that was Woody and how much of that was on that page?It was on the page, but when you have an actor as skilled as Woody who brings just a great amount a depth and a searingly and bracingly performance, we worked very hard on crafting the evil that would reside in him, and admittedly, Woody said it was the part that he was most ready to shed when he finished shooting. If you know Woody, you know he’s a thoughtful and kind and really intelligent and sweet man, but to see him play that type of evil is a testament to his abilities as actor.
Did you ever have to tell Woody to dial it back or take it up a notch?You’re always directing and adjusting performances and trying to find the right tone and trying to fin truth. That’s my job as a filmmaker, to make everything emotionally truthful. If you see that truth on screen, then you know that I’ve done my job.