Tony Gilroy interview

27 years after Tony Gilroy wrote Beirut, it’s finally reaching theaters. Long before his time on the Bourne franchise, directing Michael Clayton and Duplicity, and his work on Rogue One: A Story Wars Story, Gilroy penned a story about Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm), a troubled, grieving, and alcoholic negotiator who returns to Beruit 10 years after a personal tragedy to negotiate the freedom of a CIA agent and former friend.

When Gilroy first wrote the script for Interscope, the thriller garnered the attention of movie stars and drew some controversy, but ultimately, the expensive project went unmade. Four or five years ago, there was new interest in Beirut, so Gilroy spent a week or two revising the script before the director behind Session 9 and Transiberian, Brad Anderson, went to shoot the movie in Morocco.

Gilroy also had the chance to look back on some old writing of his, to see how his writing had changed. It was an experience the writer and director recently told us about in a wide-ranging interview about mistakes young writers make, great dialogue, writing “the best of the best” type of characters, why he doesn’t want to write true stories, and more.

Below, read our Tony Gilroy interview.

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Three Great Tony Scott Audio Commentaries

Tony Scott audio commentaries

I miss going to the movies and buying a ticket for a Tony Scott movie. There’s no voice and style like his in the theaters these days. When big-budget movies come across as interchangeable sometimes, a commercial director who polarized and told stories with aggression and grit is missed. Talk about a director who knew how to create momentum and atmosphere!

Scott also knew how to make some grimy worlds visually appealing and immersive without glossing up unpleasant subject matter. During Scott’s best commentary track, for the thriller Man on Fire, he said, “I want to touch these worlds.” Whatever world Scott was depicting, he tried to stay honest to it. His eye for attention-to-detail is impressive in every track.

Like Scott’s brother Ridley, he not only directed landmark and influential films, he also kindly recorded many exceedingly high-quality commentaries for our pleasure throughout his rich and varied career. If you want a nice dose of honesty, humor, and passion, look no further than these tracks, which are sometimes bittersweet to hear now that he is no longer with us.

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Rob Cohen interview

Director Rob Cohen has been shooting car chases, explosions, and shootouts for years now. The director behind xXx, The Fast and the Furious, and The Boy Next Door enters new territory with his latest, The Hurricane Heist, which has its shootouts and chases unfold during a category five hurricane that brings brothers, played by Toby Kebbell (A Monster Calls) and Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), together.

It’s an entirely self-aware disaster movie and exactly what a moviegoer would expect from something called The Hurricane Heist, which Cohen takes as a compliment. We recently spoke to Cohen about the challenges of making the effects-heavy film, defying physics, his thoughts on critics, the evolution of the Fast and Furious franchise, and more.

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Four Transcendent Adam McKay Audio Commentaries

Adam McKay audio commentaries

If there’s one director who takes audio commentaries to a whole other level, it’s Adam McKay. The Academy Award-nominated director has a commentary that’s a musical scored by Jon Brion (Punch-Drunk Love), one set in the year 2031, and another with a series of arguments and feuds that end with Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate feeling slighted. Few directors bring this degree of imagination to their bonus features.

I can’t recommend enough doing what the director believes only .01% of the population does: listen to these tracks. At times they’re about as funny as the movies themselves, which often go almost completely undiscussed by everybody participating. Next to nothing is revealed, but you do get a crystal clear idea of the sensibility and mind behind the work. The nonstop jokes are as strange and inventive as the gags in AnchormanThe Other Guys, and the rest of the filmmaker’s work.

All four of the Adam McKay audio commentaries recommended below can’t be spoken of highly enough.

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Red Sparrow Francis Lawrence Interview

With Red Sparrow, the gloves are coming off for director Francis Lawrence. The filmmaker behind ConstantineThe Hunger Games sequels, and the “Bad Romance” music video has made an often unsettling thriller. Mary-Louise Parker, in a “no such thing as small parts” sort of small part, brings great levity to the movie, but light popcorn fare this adaptation of author Jason Matthews‘ novel is not.

After the success of the three Hunger Games sequels, Lawrence has served up a pitch dark film about the brutal, unforgiving, and cold world of Russian Intelligence. The story begins with the immersive and eye-catching visuals expected from Lawrence. In an eight-minute sequence cutting between Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton‘s characters, the director tells a lot of story with such precision. It’s a strong hook that we recently discussed with Lawrence along with the film’s style, lessons from his music video work, collaborating with Jennifer Lawrence, and more.

Check out our Red Sparrow Francis Lawrence interview to get insight from the director on his latest film.

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Nicolas Cage interview

While a seedy motel run by Nicolas Cage sounds like a dream location for a honeymoon trip or a late night pitstop, that’s not the case in director Tim Hunter‘s thriller, Looking Glass. The actor gives a reserved, more internalized performance in the film as Ray, who takes over running a rundown motel with his wife (Robin Tunney). Spying on guests, a murder, and the arrival of an oddball sheriff ensue when Cage comes to town in the old school thriller.

Cage’s performance is a great contrast to his recent (and excellent) turn in Mom & Dad, which was one of his more over-the-top performances. Both roles create a sense of mystery, as Cage often does as a performer. He never comes off calculated, but even when he seems like he’s going off the rails, it’s all very calculated, as director Brian Taylor recently told us.

We recently spoke with Cage about wanting a character to raise questions, the musical experience of acting, his array of influences, and of course, The Weather Man, a movie I love and couldn’t help but mention.

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Writer-director Duncan Jones‘ new movie, Mute, has been a long time coming. “I’ve finally got this boulder up the hill,” he told us with a laugh and a sense of relief. The filmmaker behind MoonSource Code, and Warcraft originally envisioned his bleak, surprisingly old-school sci-fi mystery as his directorial debut, but the project faced its share of challenges over the years.

When you see the movie, it’s easy to understand why. Mute certainly isn’t a middle-of-the-road film or a story that plays it safe. The movie is a real nasty piece of work at times, but it’s also not without a sense of perverse fun and beauty. After sixteen years of Jones trying to get Mute made, the end result is a packed-to-the-brim science fiction noir that feels like it’s been waiting to be unleashed for a long time.

We recently spoke with Jones about the project’s history, his affinity for Blade Runner, twisting Paul Rudd’s nice guy image, and more.

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Four Great Marvel Movie Audio Commentaries

Marvel commentaries

Marvel has been a giant machine conquering the global box-office ever since they kicked down Hollywood’s door a decade ago with Iron Man. In less than 10 years, Marvel President Kevin Feige and all involved made the Marvel logo mean something to audiences everywhere. It’s quite an extraordinary feat, one that couldn’t have been pulled off without the long, long list of great talent they’ve hired. That talent also produces some fun audio commentaries.

Marvel’s finest movies, like this weekend’s Black Panther, have struck a balance between art and commerce, and that’s a running theme throughout the commentaries for Marvel’s movies: trying to make a popcorn movie with taste, substance, and above all, character. There’s very little talk of special effects, as most of the conversations revolve around character, but maybe that’s not surprising since the Disney-owned studio has always maintained the characters are the stars of these movies. Years of work went into getting these superheroes right, which you can hear all about in some of the Marvel commentaries recommended below.

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miguel sapochnik interview

Over the past few years, Miguel Sapochnik has been directing some of the most exciting episodes on television. Sapochnik’s Game of Thrones episodes, “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards,” are unforgettable and earned him a well-deserved Emmy. Before returning for the final season of that HBO series, the director (who has also helmed episodes of House and True Detective) worked on one of Netflix’s newest and biggest shows, Altered Carbon, an adaptation from showrunner Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island).

Sapochnik directed the first episode of the 10-episode science-fiction series, which gave him the opportunity to visualize the world 300 years into the future, shoot some brutal action, and help get the ball rolling on a noir mystery. In a recent email interview with Sapochnik, he told us about his approach to showing the future, why Blade Runner is so seminal to filmmakers, his favorite action directors, and more.

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Four Great Guillermo del Toro Audio Commentaries

Guillermo del Toro audio commentaries

There’s one word that pops up more than any other in filmmaker Guillermo del Toro‘s commentaries: love.

An Academy Award nominee this year for The Shape of Water, del Toro has nothing but affection for his worlds and characters, even some of the most monstrous of his creations. The director always finds light in the darkest corners of his filmography. As often as del Toro is lauded for his imagination, his commentaries are a reminder that, as a storyteller, he doesn’t get enough credit for the amount of empathy he displays.

The Mexican filmmaker is constantly wearing his passion and sincerity on his sleeve, partially because he’s never at a loss for words in his commentaries. I’ve listened to some of the tracks recommended below more than once, and the second time around, it was still like holding a key to unlock the mind of the visionary for two wonderful hours. Commentary tracks were made for directors like Guillermo del Toro.

Here are four must-hear Guillermo del Toro audio commentaries.

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