Knives and Skin Director Interview

The missing girl. She’s the center of many an American narrative. Yet for Jennifer Reeder, this figure is merely the beginning of a narrative that fades into the background of her film Knives and Skin. The real drama and intrigue of her “genre adjacent” work, as she describes the film, comes from watching how the disappearance of Carolyn Harper spirals outwards and deepens the grief of a small town mired in the quiet misery of suburbia.

Knives and Skin had a long festival run in 2019 from Berlin to Tribeca, Fantasia Festival to Fantastic Fest, and now finally arrives in theaters and on VOD courtesy of IFC Midnight. On the eve of release, I caught up with Reeder to discuss her unique work. Our conversation covered everything from her stylish, colorful aesthetic to the deadpan acting style as well as the heaviness of the material she covers.

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Whether or not you’re familiar with the name Tracy Letts, there’s a strong chance that you’ve seen him grace the big and small screen over the years. After all, this actor/playwright has been popping up in some of the most critically acclaimed films of recent years.

Letts appeared in Lady Bird and The Post in 2017. He wrote the plays Bug, Killer Joe, and August: Osage County, all of which were adapted for the big screen. On the small screen, Letts appeared in several episodes of Homeland, Divorce, and The Sinner.  And in 2019, you can catch Letts appearing in both Ford v Ferrari and Little Women.

Letts opened up over the phone about his roles in those two 2019 films, what he looks for when reading a screenplay, and his favorite sites in Chicago.

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Knives and Skin Review

If you filtered a classic character-driven film like The Last Picture Show through a giallo color palette and infused it with impending dread of a horror flick, you’d get something that looked a lot like Jennifer Reeder’s Knives and Skin. The writer-director begins her film with a missing girl, the inciting incident for any number of genres, and lets it spiral away outwards organically. It’s a thriller, a bit of noir, a lot of coming-of-age tale, always small-town domestic drama. To Reeder’s immense credit, her film glides forward with an aura of mystery but never feels like genre mix-and-match.

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Mondo has established itself as the go-to source for unique and distinctive posters depicting beloved movies. So it’s no surprise that they’ve allied themselves with Pixar, for the all-new gallery show, The Spirit of Adventure: A Pixar Poster Show. The show is now open, offering 15 all-new posters from nine different artists. Let’s take a look.

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Birds of Prey Producer Interview

Earlier this year, I visited the set of Birds of Prey, which promises to be a very different kind of DC Comic Book movie. The film is a spin-off adventure for Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but it also sees the formation of a new, all-female team of superheroes, along with an edgy, irreverent tone.

During our visit, I was able to speak to producers Sue Kroll and Bryan Unkeless, who screened some early footage for us before diving into the film’s unique energy, what director Cathy Yan brings to the project, and why Batgirl didn’t make the cut.

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Birds of Prey Movie Pitch

Birds of Prey was pitched as an “R-rated girl gang film” led by Harley Quinn, which is still an accurate description of the upcoming comic book movie. In Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina HodsonMargot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn teams up with several other crime-fighting women to take down Black Mask, a crime lord who controls Gotham City.

But there’s more to Birds of Prey than simply empowered girl gangs. With women in front of the screen and behind the screen, Birds of Prey takes on a deeper approach to female-led stories, including the most prominent issue today: the Me Too movement. In an interview with /Film’s Peter Sciretta during a visit to the set of Birds of Prey, Cathy Yan reveals how her pitch evolved to become a Me Too superhero movie.

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Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad Differences

Suicide Squad was by no means a box office failure, but it’s safe to assume no one considers it much of a success. Reviews were scathing, and the general consensus seems to be that it’s the worst of DC’s recent movies. Now here comes Birds of Prey, a film that brings back Suicide Squad‘s Harley Quinn, as played by Margot Robbie, but seems to be standing on its own two feet.

During /Film’s visit to the Birds of Prey set, director Cathy Yan spoke about the Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad differences, and how the upcoming movie forges its own path while not completely discounting the events of Suicide Squad.

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On March 12, 2019, I visited the set of Birds of Prey on the Warner Bros Studio Lot in Los Angeles. While on set, a group of journalists had the opportunity to sit down with Harley Quinn herself, Margot Robbie, to talk about the making of this new DC movie. She’s not only the star of the film, but a producer, and we talked about everything from the comic book inspirations, the evolution of Harley Quinn, the choice of characters, and much more.

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Ever since her inception, Harley Quinn has been tied to a man, at some point or another. In her debut in Batman: The Animated Series, she was introduced as the Joker’s henchman and lover, and despite the character’s wild popularity, she’s never really been able to escape that label.

But in Birds of PreyMargot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn finally gets to step out from under the shadow of her “Mistah J.” Newly single and ready to mingle, Harley doesn’t attach herself to a new man, but finds a group of similarly empowered crime-fighting women to build herself a girl gang. And although Harley takes the spotlight in Birds of Prey — which is clear in the subtitle itself, And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn — that girl gang is the core of the the upcoming Warner Bros. comic book movie.

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birds of prey poster

Even as superhero movies became more and more prominent and popular, the idea of an R-rated superhero flick seemed impossible. These were movies marketed to the widest possible audience, after all. But little by little, R-rated comic book adaptations have been trickling in. Deadpool was a smash-hit, followed by Logan, which earned itself an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. And this year, Joker defied all expectations and raked in a billion dollars. Now, Birds of Prey, a semi-sequel to Suicide Squad, might follow suit. While no Birds of Prey rating has been awarded to the film yet, the production didn’t censor itself. And according to star Margot Robbie, that was liberating.

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