Male Directors and Actresses

Shelley Duvall’s frantic, desperate face throughout almost the entire runtime of director Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining will forever be burned in my memory. Not only because it’s brilliant and deeply unsettling (as is the film). It’s also because amid that is the actual terror and sheer exhaustion Duvall experienced while having to deliver and re-deliver countless takes of her character being emotionally battered to the point where, to the actress’ own admission, it had become “excruciating.” Further, she felt no vindication for all that effort as the conversation around the film later centered on its male auteur. “The reviews were all about Kubrick, like I wasn’t there,” Duvall told Roger Ebert back in 1980.

This is an all too familiar position that many actresses find themselves in for the sake of authenticity, a sense of suffering that almost always serves as an impetus for the female character’s eventual empowerment. While the character’s self-actualization is an important one — apparently at whatever cost — there is much to be said about how a male filmmaker interprets and navigates female characters whose bodies are first consumed by audiences before they utter even a single line of dialogue. That said, they are either weaponized, brutalized, lusted after or a combination of all these things.

But those aren’t conditions that a male filmmaker often considers when it comes to his female muse, which indicates a lack of partnership in the portrayal that is more prevalent between a male filmmaker and a male muse. As a result, the character is at risk of becoming compromised through the male gaze. With all of this in mind, let’s explore some of the most renowned female muse/male director pairings on screen.

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Batman and Robin

Batman & Robin is an objectively terrible movie, possibly still the worst superhero movie ever made. But it’s been 20 years now…can’t we all just relax?

It’s two decades later and director Joel Schumacher is still apologizing for the garish, neon-soaked nightmare that is Batman & Robin. And while I’m willing to forgive him on some things — the ice puns are unironically great — those bat nipples still baffle me and presumably everyone else. And Schumacher realizes this, explaining the thought process that led to him creating those infamous rubber nipples. And on that front, he’s not sorry.

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Uma Thurman Turned Down a Role in ‘Lord of the Rings’

uma thurman lord of the rings

Here’s some trivia for you: while appearing as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Uma Thurman revealed that she was offered a key role in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and regrets turning it down.

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Burnt trailer

Bradley Cooper has already been nominated for an Oscar four times, and The Weinstein Company is probably hoping that he can get another nomination as a struggling chef desperately trying to make a comeback in a big way.

Burnt sees Cooper play Adam Jones, a former star chef who landed two coveted Michelin stars, and as one of the characters in the new Burnt trailer says, you have to be like Luke Skywalker in order to get just one of them. But what if he’s more like the Darth Vader of chefs? Either way, Jones now wants his third Michelin star, and he’s pulling out all the stops to make it happen. Read More »

Last week, producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen revealed that the cut of Nymphomaniac that’d make it to Danish theaters wouldn’t be the one Lars von Trier wanted to make. His director’s cut was a butt-numbing 5 1/2 hours long, prompting distributors to whittle it down to a more marketable four hours.

However, Jensen now adds that the longer version could find a release after all, if von Trier really wants it to. It’ll just have to go through alternate routes. Hit the jump to read his explanation, and to check out two more steamy posters.

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All you have to say is “Lars von Trier sex movie” to get someone interested in Nymphomaniac. The controversial director has told many visceral and beautiful stories over his career, often with a great sexual frankness, that the idea of him making full movie about sexuality just screams “potential.”

Speaking of screaming, fourteen character posters for the film have just been released that are sure to make even more people excited about the film. They show the film’s stars — actors as Shia LaBeoufJamie Bell,  Uma ThurmanWillem DafoeStellan SkarsgårdChristian Slater, and Charlotte Gainsbourg — in their most intimate moments. I believe on The League they call it “Vinegar Strokes,” the moment right before, and during orgasm. Check out these provocative posters below. Read More »

Nymphomaniac

In the first clip from Lars Von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac, two bored young women turned sex into a game. The latest snippet, however, warns that sleeping around can have its downsides. Pulled from a segment titled “Mrs. H,” it shows Joe (played as a young woman by Stacy Martin and as a grownup by Charlotte Gainsbourg) dealing with the consequences of sleeping with a married man (Hugo Speer).

His wife (Uma Thurman) is none too thrilled when she finds out, as you might imagine. She subsequently expresses her anger in most awkward way possible: by offering to show their kids “daddy’s favorite place,” the “whoring bed” on which he had his affair. Watch the scene after the jump.

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Lars von Trier may have been banned (or “banned”) from Cannes two years ago for statements made while promoting Melancholia, but that hasn’t stopped him from having a presence at the fest this year. His new film(s), the two-part Nymphomaniac, weren’t finished in time for the fest, but the release of a new image (above) and a press release are keeping Trier in the global cinema conversation as Cannes kicks off this year.

Click the pic above for a larger version and you’ll be able to see actors such as Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Udo Kier, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Stellan Skarsgård, Christian Slater, and star Charlotte Gainsbourg, as well as the director. And hit the jump for a press release from Trier’s producer, announcing a Christmas Day opening in Denmark. Magnolia has the film in the US, and hasn’t announced a release date yet. Read More »

Briefly: With seemingly everyone and their mother (particularly the mothers) fascinated by the “supermarket smut” of Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s as good a time as we’ve seen in years for attention-getting erotic fiction. Which is what Lars von Trier‘s new film(s) Nymphomaniac seems to be, at least on the surface. The two-part story will be released as four films in various markets, with some markets getting the softcore version of the “wild and poetic story of a woman’s erotic journey from birth to the age of 50,” while other markets get the hardcore version.

Charlotte Gainsbourg plays the woman, Joe, who is found beaten in an alley by an older man (Stellan Skarsgard) who nurses her back to health and hears her story. Shia LaBeoufJamie BellConnie NielsenChristian Slater , and Stacy Martin all feature in the film, and now Uma Thurman has signed on. Read More »

When a holiday movie schedule is as crowded as this year’s promises to be, it’s actually kind of a relief to see a trailer for a year-end release that looks like lighthearted, feel-good entertainment with no apparent aspirations of picking up a little gold man come February.

The romantic dramedy Playing for Keeps (formerly Playing the Field) stars Gerard Butler as onetime pro athlete George Dryer, who’s still struggling to adjust to adult life. In an attempt to do right by his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and their child, he signs on to coach the boy’s soccer team — but finds himself tempted at every turn by gorgeous soccer moms like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, and Judy Greer. (Because in Hollywood, your average suburban cul-de-sac is populated by parents who look like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, and Judy Greer.) Dennis Quaid also stars. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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