Wild Rose Interview

Following last fall’s world premiere at Toronto, Wild Rose made its US premiere this March during SXSW.  The US premiere came on the heels of actress Jessie Buckley being among the five finalists for the BAFTA Rising Star Award.  While she did not win, that’s a name you need to remember.

I sat down to chat with Buckley and director Tom Harper during SXSW to talk about their movie. Now, several months later, Wild Rose has hit theaters. Enjoy our conversation about making this gem of a movie how country music has gotten so popular in Scotland.

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Booksmart Cast and Crew Interview

Booksmart is the film about female friendship for a new generation.  What sets this film apart from Bridesmaids is that rather than focus on women in their 30s, the film chooses to focus on a pair of women on the eve of graduating high school.

I spoke with a number of cast and crew on the red carpet before the world premiere of SXSW.  During the post-premiere Q&A and even during an event at the Twitter House earlier that day, director Olivia Wilde spoke about those films that she looked to for influence.  Not surprisingly, two of the films mentioned were Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless.  Both of these films are set in high school and were directed by Amy Heckerling.  The influences weren’t just limited to high school comedies but also buddy cop films in the comedy and drama genres, such as Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, and Training Day.

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When I first watched Booksmart during its world premiere at SXSW, I fell in love with this high school comedy in an instant. When we talk about the films that we wished we had while growing up, this is one of them. It feels like an instant classic. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are both phenomenal in the film and I couldn’t stop laughing at every ridiculous and wonderful joke.

Booksmart screenwriter Katie Silberman (she shares screenplay credit with Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, and Susanna Fogel) spoke with /Film over the phone this week to discuss the writing process as well as favorite high school comedies. Before the world premiere, I chatted with Katie Silberman on the red carpet. Some of that conversation has been edited into the transcript of our phone conversation.

Annapurna opens Booksmart in theaters on May 24, 2019.

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apollo 11 trailer

During the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, I sat down with Apollo 11 director Todd Douglas Miller and space historian Robert Pearlman.

This is a film that I fell in love with from the moment that I saw it during the world premiere at the Ray during Sundance.  While I regret that I was unable to see the film on an IMAX screen, Apollo 11 is one of those films that you must experience on the biggest screen you can find. It’s not often that a documentary crosses over into the editing category during awards ceremonies, Apollo 11 is one of those films that I hope people strongly consider for Best Editing.

Here’s my interview with Miller and Pearlman, where we dig into how this massive undertaking came together.

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star wars resistance elijah wood

Fans attending the Star Wars: Resistance panel at Star Wars Celebration were the first to get a sneak peak at the first episode of the second season.

Executive producers Justin Ridge, Athena Portillo, and Brandon Auman were joined by cast members Christopher Sean, Suzie McGrath, Scott Lawrence, Myrna Velasco, Donald Faison, and Bobby Moynihan. The early portion of the panel was devoted to the roots of the series, the look, and the timeline.

During the panel, cast members shared some thoughts on their character,s but also what it means to be a part of the Star Wars universe. With SNL alumni Bobby Moynihan being in the cast, it also meant a reference or two to Drunk Uncle.

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Creator/executive producer Dave Filoni joined Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, and Tiya Sircar to discuss Star Wars Rebels during Star Wars Celebration. Naturally, major spoilers were discussed.

When Star Wars Rebels ended in March 2018, Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn vanished without a trace.  While fans have speculated as to what might have happened, Filoni was tight-lipped during Saturday afternoon’s panel.  While there was less dancing around other elements of the conclusion, what happened to Ezra is unlikely to be answered anytime soon, nor did we get any major announcement of a new animated series that picks up where Star Wars Rebels left off.

Filoni did however announce that The Art of Star Wars Rebels would be available this October. Here’s what else we learned.

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Star Wars The Clone Wars Season 7 Trailer

Fans attending Star Wars Celebration got a sneak peak of the new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars with showrunner Dave Filoni and the cast on hand to share details.

While the announcement of the new season took place at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the fans in attendance at Star Wars Celebration were the first to see clips and a trailer of the new season. In addition to the introduction, the trailer especially had the audience standing on their feet. It was so popular that it was shown twice on screen.  It’s very electrifying, to say the least.

Initially, Dave Filoni was joined by cast members Ashley Eckstein, Dee Bradley Baker, and Sam Witwer to discuss the new season. Later on, other cast members came out on the stage, including Matt Lanter, Catherine Taber, Tom Kane, Matthew Wood, and James Arnold Taylor.

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During Star Wars Celebration, author Timothy Zahn sat down on the Fan Stage to address his 30 years writing for Star Wars.

Star Wars Celebration celebrates everything about Star Wars from the films to the books to the droid builders and beyond.  Timothy Zahn is a beloved author in the Star Wars universe.  The Chicago native has authored 13 books, including this summer’s Thrawn: Treason.

Bria LaVorgna, a writer for StarWars.com, moderated the panel with the beloved Star Wars author.  Zahn has signed two previous non-disclosure agreements and said that breaking them would result in giving up both the first born and dominant kidney.  While it made for somewhat of an entertaining panel, it also meant him having to dance around answers when it comes to the upcoming book, Thrawn: Treason.

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teen spirit trailer new

Writer-director Max Minghella, actress Elle Fanning, and executive producer Jamie Bell were on hand to discuss Teen Spirit during the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

Teen Spirit was among a number of music-centered films to premiere last year at Toronto.  It was certainly among my favorites of the musical selections. Bleecker Street acquired the film and wisely held off releasing it until this year. Appropriately, the film would go onto make its U.S. premiere during SXSW, a festival known for its music-centric films.

Teen Spirit is in limited release today before its wide release on April 19.

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screwball interview

Screwball is a true-crime story documentary about the Biogenesis scandal that shook Major League Baseball to its core. But there’s one unique twist: child actors are used in all of the re-enactments, transforming the whole story into a deranged comedy. Miami-based filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman are Florida-centric in their filmography, so it would not surprise me in the slightest if they do a documentary on the Marlins Park at some point in the future.

I sat down with director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival to chat about their funny and surprising new doc. Screwball opens in limited release on March 29, 2019.

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