An uncorseted conversation with the actresses of ‘Mrs. Maisel’

August 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

New York — Fans of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amy Sherman-Palladino’s intoxicating, award-winning TV show about a 1950s housewife launching a standup-comedy career, are used to seeing Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein and Marin Hinkle inhabit a deliciously retro, candy-colored world filled with figure-enhancing frocks and perfect prewar apartments. Each is contained and restrained within the proscribed bonds of her role in the world.Maisel actresses

So seeing these actresses (who play, respectively, Miriam “Midge” Maisel; Midge’s manager, Susie Myerson; and Midge’s mother, Rose Weissman) sitting together on a leather couch, loosely clad in muted hues and playfully posing for photos in an industrial-chic Brooklyn studio can create a sense of cognitive dissonance

At its core, “Maisel,” its third season due soon on Amazon, is about women finding their voices, and on this summer Saturday, the Emmy-nominated actresses seem pleased to share theirs in an uncorseted conversation about how far we as a society have come — and still have to go …

‘Mrs. Maisel’ actresses battle restraints on women — then and now (Los Angeles Times)

John Krasinski is a hugger

December 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

New York — As warm and intelligent as John Krasinski appears onscreen — in roles ranging from Jim on NBC’s “The Office” to the title character on Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” — he is even more so in person. Krasinski is a guy who asks questions and considers answers, who relishes engaging with people, experiences and ideas, who offers not a handshake but a hug.John Krasinski

It was that curiosity and craving to connect that prompted the actor to star in, rewrite and direct “A Quiet Place,” a horror film about a family silently struggling to survive in a world ravaged by sound-averse aliens. The movie, which also stars Krasinski’s wife, Emily Blunt, as well as child actors Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, has grossed more than $330 million worldwide since its April release.

Initially reluctant, Krasinski is now working on a sequel, set to arrive in May 2020, which he describes as “not a sequel of a character or family,” but “of a world.” He won’t say more about that, but in a quiet NYC hotel suite, happily discussed almost anything else …

Q&A: John Krasinski looked to the emotion of ‘Quiet Place,’ not the jump scares (Los Angeles Times)

Daniel Kaluuya on the real horror in ‘Get Out’

December 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

Anyone who has seen Jordan Peele’s horror/social-satire “Get Out” understands the intense appeal of Daniel Kaluuya. As Chris, a young black photographer who gets sucked into a racial nightmare — a “sunken place” — when he visits the family of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams), the British actor takes audiences to places that are honest and true and, for many, difficult and discomfiting.Kaluuya

The $4.5-million film has earned more than $252 million worldwide following its February release, been embraced by critics and is earning awards buzz, but its deeper success is the fresh perspective on race it has offered and the frank conversations about racism — the real horror at the film’s heart — it has stirred.

Energetically tucking into a passel of small plates in the funky, history-tweaking lounge at New York’s Beekman Hotel, SAG nominee Kaluuya, whose next movie is “Black Panther,” dives into just such a raw conversation with equal enthusiasm …

‘Get Out’ finally addresses a racial climate long not voiced, says star Daniel Kaluuya (Los Angeles Times)

Kristin Scott Thomas: ‘Words are important’

December 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

“Regal” may be the word to describe Kristin Scott Thomas as she sits in the warmly lighted lobby of New York City’s Lowell Hotel sipping an espresso she ordered in French. Also “cosmopolitan,” “posh,” “chic”: An animal-print coat drapes across her shoulders like an exotic cape.Kristin Scott Thomas

“Words are important to me,” the actress, most famous, perhaps, for her 1996 Oscar-nominated role in “The English Patient,” says, sometimes trying on several before settling on one she likes.

It was the script along with her admiration for the director and the woman she would be portraying that prompted Scott Thomas to overcome her initial reluctance to take the role as Winston Churchill’s wife, Clementine, in Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” alongside a remarkable turn by Gary Oldman as Churchill. The film depicts Churchill’s early weeks as prime minister, his bold decision to stand firm against the Nazis and launch Operation Dynamo, the risky rescue of soldiers from Dunkirk, and points to the role Clementine’s support played at a pivotal moment in history.

Scott Thomas, as Clemmie, isn’t on the screen that much, but she makes the most of every moment, turning in a nuanced, elegant and deeply researched performance (she devoured biographies, consulted historians and spoke with surviving relatives) that adds emotional weight and depth …

‘Darkest Hour’ mirrors modern-day dangerous times, says Kristin Scott Thomas (Los Angeles Times)

The flawed-everyman charm of Paul Giamatti

June 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

Paul Giamatti has spent two decades bringing his flawed-everyman charm to diverse roles: frustrated writer, Founding Father, even God. For two seasons, in Showtime’s “Billions,” he has brought it to Chuck Rhoades, a U.S. attorney locked in an alpha-dog struggle with hedge-fund billionaire Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis).

Paul Giamatti.jpgIn Giamatti’s first ongoing TV role (no one had ever offered him one before, he says), Chuck has a complex relationship with power — as well as with his wife, Wendy (Maggie Siff). Serenely sipping water in a quiet Brooklyn bistro, Giamatti says he enjoys exploring Chuck’s “nooks and crannies and layers” and carefully reveals a few of his own …

Paul Giamatti explores male power and the clash of egos in ‘Billions’ (Los Angeles Times)

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys throw sparks

June 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

One thing that makes FX’s lauded Cold War drama “The Americans” so compelling is the chemistry between Keri Russell, who starred in four seasons of “Felicity” in her early 20s, and Welsh actor Matthew Rhys. As Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, Russian spies living as Americans in 1980s suburbia, they make their kids’ lunches and then slip away to don disguises, seduce sources and break necks for the Motherland.

Russell and RhysBut Russell and Rhys’ electricity on the show, created by former CIA officer Joe Weisberg and just having finished its fifth season before a 10-episode sprint to a series finale, is nothing compared to the sparks they throw off in real life.

Settling into the series’ writers room in gritty Gowanus in New York’s Brooklyn, surrounded by whiteboards with scribbled plot points and grainy show stills, the couple, who have an infant son (Russell also has two children from a previous relationship), are clearly simpatico — finishing each other’s thoughts and cracking each other up …

‘The Americans’ and its stars forge on — who knew Russian spies could be so relevant? (Los Angeles Times)

Jonah Hill is not a bro

November 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

Efraim Diveroli, the character Jonah Hill plays in the summer film “War Dogs,” Todd Phillips’ based-on-a-true-story film about two Yeshiva-educated Miami twentysomethings (Miles Teller plays the other) who rake in millions with a shady business supplying arms to the U.S. military during the war in Afghanistan, is probably not a guy you’d want to meet for lunch. Loud, duplicitous and greedy in the extreme, Efraim is a character who, if initially charming, would almost certainly leave you feeling compromised: You could imagine him ordering heaps of the priciest thing on the menu and then — laughing —  leaving you holding the check.

Jonah HillHill, apart from the charm, is nothing like that. Over lunch on a rainy Thursday in New York City, at his usual table at the rustic-Italian restaurant Il Buco, the 32-year-old actor, who has memorably appeared in such films as “Superbad,” “21 Jump Street,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Moneyball,” earning Oscar nods with those last two, is polite, thoughtful and engaging. He’s the kind of guy who will hold your chair and offer you the first bite of his risotto. (“Want some?” he asks, with apparent sincerity.)

Burned by the press for not being as bro-ish as some of his roles might indicate (“People want me to be a loud comedian and it’s just, unfortunately, not who I am,” he says, ruefully — though he claims partial responsibility for a notoriously bad 2013 Rolling Stone interview he says therapy has helped him push past), Hill, who hails from Los Angeles and lives in New York, comes off as careful, perhaps a bit chastened, yet candid and generous as he entertained questions about, among other topics, a performance critics have hailed as a standout in an otherwise dismissable film …

Taking risks and not playing it safe are what draw Jonah Hill to those non-‘bro’ roles (Los Angeles Times)

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Interviews category at Amy Reiter.