Michael Shannon Interview the current war

Actor Michael Shannon has been a staple on the Chicago theater scene for decades, thanks in large part to his regularly appearing in productions at his own A Red Orchid Theatre company, but most of you know Shannon as a film actor, first appearing in smaller roles in such works as Groundhog Day, Chain Reaction, Pearl Harbor, Vanilla Sky, 8 Mile, and World Trade Center. Shannon caught many people’s eyes in the film adaptation of the Tracy Letts’ play Bug, in which Shannon had originally starred. But it was in the late 2000s that he really exploded and became the actor of choice for both new and established directors looking to tap into his intensity and inherent creepiness. He scored major roles in Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and Jeff Nichols’ first feature Shotgun Stories (the two have collaborated on every Nichols’ film since, including Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special, and Loving).

But it was Shannon’s Oscar-nominated turn in the Sam Mendes-director Revolutionary Road that turned a corner for the actor, who might be best known for playing Nelson Van Alden, the FBI agent turned low-level associate of Al Capone, in five seasons of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, and as General Zod in Zack Snyder’s reworking of the Superman legend in Man of Steel. Easily one of the busiest and most in-demand actors working today, Shannon was nominated for his second Academy Award for 2016’s Nocturnal Animals and made quite an impact in Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, as well as in recent miniseries like Waco and The Little Drummer Girl.

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the current war director's cut review

The Current War had its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival back in 2017. The reaction from the audience in attendance: considerably mixed, bordering on mostly negative. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon understood where this was coming from: he wasn’t happy with the film, either. The filmmaker had been rushed to finish the film in time for TIFF and delivered a cut he was unhappy with. The urging for the rush job came from the film’s producer: Harvey Weinstein. After the TIFF screening, Weinstein, as was his habit, recut the film himself – a development that only made Gomez-Rejon more miserable.

And then everything came crashing down: numerous sexual misconduct accusations against Weinstein came to light, The Weinstein Company imploded, and The Current War was pulled from its November 2017 release. Now, the film about the battle between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) is finally being released with a cut approved by Gomez-Rejon – a cut that uses a new score, adds a few new scenes, and presents a much tidier narrative. After all this time, will The Current War spark – or flicker out and go dark?

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the current war trailer new

Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon are ready to do the electric slide in The Current War, the delayed film about the battle between Thomas Edison and  George Westinghouse. The Current War debuted at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, only to be pulled from the release calendar following the many allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. Now, the film is finally ready for release, with director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon having re-edited the flick to his own satisfaction. Watch The Current War trailer below.

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the current war release date new

After premiering at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, The Current War was set to open in November of that year. The film was supposed to be a Weinstein Company release, but when the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein effectively killed TWC, The Current War was pulled from the release schedule. Now, the film – which tells the story of the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse – will finally see the light of day.

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the current war us release

Two years ago, The Current War was being primed to be a key Oscar candidate. A historical drama about the race for electricity dominance in 19th century America starring awards darlings Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon and directed by Martin Scorsese protégé Alfonso Gomez-RejonThe Current War had all the right elements to make it a frontrunner in the awards race. It was met with lukewarm reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, and that might have obstructed it, sure, but critical acclaim isn’t always a driving force come awards season. But then its distributor The Weinstein Company imploded amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal that rocked Hollywood. And The Current War disappeared.

But sparked by a Scorsese clause in the film’s contract, The Current War flickered back to life. Now the film has been acquired by 101 Studios, which will finally set The Current War US release for an overhauled cut that is 10 minutes shorter and has five additional scenes.

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The Current War Release date

The Current War, once expected to be a 2017 Oscar hopeful from the Weinstein Company, has been pulled from its 2017 release date following the on-going sexual assault revelations involving the recently-fired Harvey Weinstein. Read the news about The Current War release date below.

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the shape of water red band trailer

Another Toronto International Film Festival has been resigned to the dust, and it is time for us to look back on it and remember all the great (and not so great) films we witnessed there.

Truth be told, this year’s fest was slightly less exciting than last – the films were good, and some were even fantastic, but overall they did not pack as much of a punch as I’d been hoping. Still, it’s hard to deny the thrill one gets from attending TIFF; day after day, you spend hours upon hours watching films with audiences who are genuinely excited to be there, unlike seeing a film at your local multiplex, where the crowd could care less. If you’re covering TIFF as press, you rise at dawn, make your way down to the Scotiabank Theatre and spend almost the entire day there. It can be exhausting and draining, but it’s also wonderful.

For the sake of completion, I’ve compiled links to all the /Film reviews (written by me and Marshall Shaffer) out of this year’s TIFF, as well as a blurb or two for films that did not receive a full review. Here is every movie we saw at TIFF 2017.

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tiff

Another Toronto International Film Festival has come and gone, bringing with it a wealth of great movies and a few weirdly disappointing ones too. This usually sets the stage for the remainder of the year in film – the movies that generated buzz at TIFF will likely go on to be talked about ad nauseam come Oscar season. TIFF itself gives out awards as well, and the big winner was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which took home the Grolsch People’s Choice Award.

I didn’t see it. Sorry!

But I did travel to TIFF and take in a slew of memorable films, which I will now present special awards to for the sake of wrapping-up the fest. Some spoilers follow.

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current war tiff

The last thing cinema needs right now is another movie about a brilliant man whose brilliance is expressed through being a stubborn jerk. We already have a wealth of these artist as needlessly mean, antisocial guy portraits, and to keep adding more at this point goes well beyond beating a dead horse.

But Me and Earl and the Dying Girl director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon manages to get some great milage by taking such a setup and approaching it through a deconstructed lense with The Current War. The brilliant jerk in question this time is none other than the Wizard of Menlo Park himself, Thomas Edison. Edison, that brilliant inventor and sometimes thief, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, an actor who has made almost an entire career playing brilliant jerks. It’s typecasting to the nth degree, but it also works. Cumberbatch brings an amusing, detached air to Edison, playing the genius as an overly competitive, short-tempered savant who wants to slap his name on everything.
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The Current War Trailer

Today, electricity surges through our homes, offices and restaurants and we’re hard-pressed to get anything done without the power it provides. But back in the 19th century, electricity was in its infancy, and it was at the center of a war between two of the greatest minds of the time to see who would control the marketplace for energy. The story of that historic battle is coming to the big screen this fall.

The Current War stars Benedict Cumberbatch as inventor Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as entrepreneur and engineer George Westinghouse as the two battle to see whose idea for bringing electricity to the masses would become the primary source for power. The battle stems from Edison’s company wanting to use direct current while Westinghouse thought alternating current was the way to go, hence the title of the movie. Read More »