David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite film of 2010 so far (see my Sundance review here), so when I was given the opportunity to chat with Michôd a few months ago, I jumped at it. In our half-hour interview, we discussed how he first broke into the industry, the decline of bank robbers in Melbourne, Australia, the process of choosing a complete unknown to headline his film, his copious use of slow motion, and the beauty of Air Supply. I’ve released this interview on the /Filmcast feed. You can also watch the video of the interview and read a few highlights from it after the break.

Note: During this interview, we discuss some plot details that are revealed in the first 30 minutes of the film, and there’s a clearly demarcated section at the end where we talk about some of the film’s spoilers.

Animal Kingdom is already playing in New York and LA and opens on Friday in Boston and Chicago. It will expand wider to cities across the country in the weeks to come.

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The other night, Adam Quigley and I had the opportunity to chat with filmmaker Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) about his newest film, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. In our one-hour interview, Edgar discusses his feelings towards 3D, how little his movie has in common with The Expendables, the nature of his distaste for superhero origin stories, and why his film have so many shots. You can listen to the whole interview by downloading it below, and you can also subscribe to the /Filmcast to make sure you don’t miss any of our great audio content. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World hits theaters on Friday, August 13, 2010.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com. You can also call and leave a voicemail at (781) 583-1993.

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M. Night Shyamalan is a nice guy, which makes the fact that he directed one of the worst films of the year all the more painful. I got a chance to sit down and chat with The Last Airbender director after viewing the film, and it’s clear that he’s passionate about the material, and that he’s very conscious of the racebending controversy. Our discussion touches on him getting used to making a CGI-filled epic film, some material that was cut out, and how he recovered from feeling lost during the production, among other topics.

You can view a video of the interview below (worth watching if only for the moment he realizes something may have been left out of the Blu-ray), download an audio version, or read a transcript of a majority of the discussion. My review of the film, with all the heartache you’d expect from a fan of the series, will be coming soon.

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The /Filmcast Interview is a series of conversations with actors, directors, and other key figures from the entertainment industry. In this episode, David Chen speaks with Vince Gilligan, the creator and showrunner of Breaking Bad, about how The X-Files inspired him, why he finds science so appealing, and the psychology of Walter White. Breaking Bad currently airs on AMC on Sunday nights at 10 PM EST.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Want to be interviewed on the /Filmcast? Feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com. You can also call and leave a voicemail at (781) 583-1993.

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The /Filmcast Interview is a series of conversations with actors, directors, and other key figures from the entertainment industry. In this episode, I speak with actor Sam Rockwell about his role in Iron Man 2. Rockwell plays Justin Hammer, the CEO of Hammer Industries, and a direct rival to of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). In my opinion, Rockwell is one of the best things about the film. His performance as Justin Hammer is pitch perfect, a compelling combination of sleaziness, impotence, and egotism that plays off of Stark nicely.

Iron Man 2 is out in theaters on May 7, 2010.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Want to be interviewed on the /Filmcast? Feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast@gmail.com. You can also call and leave a voicemail at (781) 583-1993.

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Mark Millar is one of the most exciting people working in the entertainment industry today. Millar’s Wanted was made into an action film that grossed over $300 million worldwide and his upcoming film Kick Ass (based on a comic book that he wrote, which was then adapted for the screen by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman) is one of my favorite films of the year so far.

I had the chance to speak with Millar recently, and while I’ve always had a mental image of him as a wildly outspoken comic book writer, loaded with enthusiasm and hyperbole, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was soft-spoken and absolutely charming. We chatted about how movie studios hated the script for Kick Ass, his thoughts on Christopher Nolan’s work on recent superhero films, his aversion to violence and obscenity, why he doesn’t think his work will ever be adapted to TV, and what it’s like to make a film outside the studio system.  You can listen to our interview below, or hit the jump to read some highlights.

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[Thanks to /Filmcast listener Justin for helping me to put this interview together.  Photo above by Flickr user vee.]

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sam bayer

I’ll be honest and say that when I first heard a music video director would be doing a remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, one of the most beloved horror franchises of all time, I wasn’t too crazy about the idea. Sure, we’ve seen brilliant music video directors such as Fincher and Jonze go on to have very successful film careers, but just as often, we get overstylized filmmaking with no sense of how to make a 90-minute film cohere as a whole.

Then I read up a little bit more on director Samuel Bayer and I realized that the man has helped to define a generation of music videos, creating some of the most iconic images of all time. His music videos are stylish, visually interesting, bold, and unique. His commercials are attention-grabbing and beautifully shot and edited. If there are music video directors out there that can successfully make the transition into feature directing, Sam Bayer certainly has the potential to do so.

I had the chance to chat with Mr. Bayer for a lengthy interview. We discussed the making of his favorite music videos, what other movies he’s tried to direct over the years, why he’s remaking Nightmare, what he hopes to accomplish with his new take on Wes Craven’s classic, his next planned projects, and the legacy he hopes to leave behind. You can read the interview after the jump or download the interview via the /Filmcast below. A Nightmare on Elm Street is out in theaters on April 30, 2010.

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Samuel Bayer, thanks so much for speaking with us today at Slashfilm.com.

Thank you.

So, a lot of our listeners might know that you are going to be directing the new ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ film, but they might not know your music video work. I’m wondering if you could just talk a little bit about your career over the last 20 years, and how you got your start working in music videos.

Yeah, I was actually a painter, living in New York, and– this is back quite a few years ago– and to make ends meet, I worked on music video sets to make money. And this was back in the heyday of MTV, and music videos were very exciting, and this was when Fincher was doing stuff, and Michael Bay was doing commercial videos. And I don’t know, I just got it under my skin and got the idea that I could do videos, and moved out to Los Angeles in 1991, and knew somebody at a record company, and took them out to lunch, and bought lunch for them and didn’t buy it for myself. And when the person asked why I wasn’t eating any food and I said, “Because I can’t afford to eat, but I can afford to buy you lunch, and how about a job?” And so she gave me a music video to direct, and it was Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” That was the first thing I ever directed, and hopefully kids today remember what that is, and that started my career.
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When I look at director Mike Newell’s filmography, I’m impressed by its breadth, depth, and quality. It’s difficult for me to imagine that the same man who made Donnie Brasco also made Four Weddings and a Funeral, and also made Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Yet despite (or perhaps because of) his eclectic choices, Newell has been able to craft films that always seem able to bring out a certain sense of authenticity in their characters and in the relationships between them. In a couple of months, Newell will tackle another big-budget adaptation, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. In the past, videogame adaptations have had a pretty spotty record in terms of quality, but I’m holding out hope that Sands of Time will be one of the best videogame-to-film adaptations we’ve seen yet.

I had the opportunity recently to chat with Mr. Newell for a lengthy conversation/interview. Our discussion spanned topics far and wide; we discussed the early days of Mike’s career, why he enjoyed working in film over TV, the tax benefits of working with George Lucas, the “English-ness” he tried to bring to the Harry Potter series, how he chooses his diverse projects, and why he cast Jake Gyllenhaal in The Prince of Persia. You can read the interview below, and/or listen to the audio via the /Filmcast.

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Documentary filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady have previously demonstrated their ability to present controversial issues and people in an even-handed way. Their 2006 film, Jesus Camp, which documented a Pentacostal summer camp for children, was praised for the way it revealed the indoctrination of children by the religious right. But that film’s subjects actually stated that they had no problems with they way they were depicted, a testament to Grady and Ewing’s efforts towards verisimilitude.

The pair had a new film at Sundance this year called 12th & Delaware, which chronicles the people who work at an abortion clinic in Florida and the local religious members that try to thwart them (the title refers to a street corner where the abortion clinic and a church clinic are located opposite each other). The footage that Ewing and Grady were able to get is remarkable, and while they successfully capture the fervor on both sides of 12th & Delaware, it’s the footage of the clients that is truly stunning, as they were able to film people in the process of making one of the most potentially important decisions of their lives. As with their previous films, 12th & Delaware is illuminating and infuriating in equal parts, but always a movie that feels both well-made and fair.

After the break, my interview with Grady and Ewing, in which we talk about how they made 12th & Delaware, the reception of Jesus Camp, and their exciting next project.

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Sundance Interview: Daniel Grou, Director of 7 Days


The annual success of the Saw films has proven that there’s a huge market out there for torture-porn films, or films whose primary function is to allow viewers to revel in the physical destruction of the human body. But what would happen if you took a torture-porn film, made it using classical filmmaking techniques, populated it with talented actors, used a well-written script, and injected a healthy dose of moral ambiguity into it for good measure? You might get a movie like Daniel Grou’s 7 Days.

7 Days (originally “Les Sept Jours Du Talion”) tells the story of Bruno, a man whose daughter is raped and murdered. Torn apart by grief and burning with rage, Bruno seeks out his daughter’s killer, captures him, and proceeds to torture him over the course of a week, using increasingly brutal methods. The film is graphic and intense, using torture not only as an end in and of itself, but as a way to ask the audience whether or not torture/revenge can ever serve a productive or meaningful purpose. As Bruno’s punishment escalates, he begins to realize the implications of his actions.

I’d recommend 7 Days to anyone who likes movies that are challenging to watch and thought-provoking in nature. It’s a torture-porn film with a brain. Better yet, 7 Days is part of the Sundance Selects program, meaning you can watch the movie on video-on-demand right now. I spoke with director Daniel Grou (AKA Podz) about the process of making 7 Days and about the role of films featuring torture. Hit the jump for the interview.

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