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)

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)

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