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Frame Grab: Who is that guy who plays Hemingway in 'Midnight in Paris'?

May 30, 2011 |  6:57 pm

Editor's note: A-list actors may draw us into theaters, but often what's most delightful about seeing a movie is an unexpected performance from someone who's unfamiliar or only registers with faint recognition. So you leave the multiplex wondering something like, who was that gal who played the sweet shop clerk? Or where have I seen that guy who played the doorman and stole the scene?  24 Frames aims to shine a spotlight on these performers with our new feature, Frame Grab. 

Corey1 There are many perks that come with starring in a Broadway play opposite Scarlett Johansson. But for Corey Stoll, one of the biggest benefits of appearing in “A View From the Bridge” with the actress last year was getting to meet one of her A-list friends.

“I remember telling Scarlett before we started the run, ‘I know all of these famous people are going to come backstage. But I don’t care about meeting anybody other than Woody Allen,’” the actor, 35, recalled. “And then one day she came up to me and said, ‘Oh, he came yesterday, but he was too shy to come back and meet everyone.’”

Stoll was disappointed — after all, as a boy, he had plastered pictures of Allen on his wall — but as fate would have it, he’d hadn’t missed out on his chance to meet the filmmaker. A few weeks later, as Stoll was bowing during the curtain call, he noticed the legendary director in the audience. The following day, he received a call from his manager that Allen wanted to meet him.

The filmmaker was interested in Stoll for a part in his new film, “Midnight in Paris,” which stars Owen Wilson as Gil, a struggling novelist on a trip to Paris. Gil, a nostalgic, longs for 1920s Paris, when writers and artists flocked to the City of Light. Gil begins wandering the cobblestone streets late at night, and is transported back to the era he has romanticized, where he meets icons such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.

Stoll got the role of Hemingway, and his performance has caught the attention of many who’ve seen the film since its recent opening. If you’re wondering about him too …


Corey2
Where you’ve seen him: Opposite Angelina Jolie in “Salt”; as a detective on the television show “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” which was recently canceled.

How he got the part: “I showed up, and I didn’t know if it was an audition or a meeting. Woody handed me a couple of pages of dialogue and gave me a few minutes to take a look at it, and I read for him. It was really fast and easy. He came very close to offering me the role right there. He was like, ‘So, we’ll be in Paris this summer,’ and then I sort of skipped out of the room. Now, seeing Owen Wilson’s character in the movie, the way he reacts to meeting his literary heroes — I sort of felt I had a parallel experience. It was a pinch-me moment.”

How he prepared: “I read a couple biographies about Hemingway. The one book Woody told me to read was the ‘Green Hills of Africa,’ which is this sort of ostensibly nonfiction thing about him hunting big game in Africa. It’s the one where I think Hemingway comes the closest to self-parody in his writing, because it’s just so ridiculously macho and egotistical and tough. But I read pretty much everything he wrote, and it was such a treat. I actually started taking some boxing classes. I just figured this was my chance to be in a Woody Allen movie, and I actually had some time to prepare, so I wanted to fully go for it.”

How he changed his look: “I’m bald, but I had a custom wig made for this role. It was fun for somebody who hasn’t been able to grow a full head of hair for years. I’m already having discussions about different types of roles, because people have seen me with a different image in this film.”

His favorite on-set moment: “Just working with Woody Allen was something I’ll never forget. He presents himself in a lot of his movies as a sort of loser. That’s the self-image he’s cultivated, but you don’t make 41 feature films with some of the biggest actors and egos out there without having an incredibly strong sense of what you want. He was always in control.”

Where he might pop up next: “This is really the first time in a couple years where I haven’t had a job lined up, since ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles’ was canceled. I knew the numbers on the show weren’t great. It could have gone either way, and I don’t really know what all the factors were in deciding whether it should stay or not. My goal is to be in those handful of movies made for adults every year. Although, yes, I would love to do a superhero movie.”

RELATED:

Woody Allen loves Paris. Is it reciprocal?

Cannes 2011: Festival fetes Woody Allen and 'Midnight in Paris'

Movie Review: 'Midnight in Paris'

Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photos: Top, Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway in the Woody Allen movie "Midnight in Paris." Credit:  Sony Pictures Classics. Bottom: Stoll, left,  as Det. Tomas "TJ" Jaruszalski and Skeet Ulrich as Det. Rex Winters on "Law & Order: Los Angeles" Credit: Dean Hendler/NBC.
 


 
Comments () | Archives (9)

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Best wishes to you, Mr. Stoll. You've got the skills and the sense. Now we know you have the work ethic, too.

I really like Corey Stall. I thought he did a great job on "LAw & Order: Los Angeles" The show was just starting to get good until NBC canceled it. So lame.

Corey Stoll stole this film from every single other cast member.

Midnight in Paris looks solid for some tech noms come Oscar time, perhaps a writing nom for Allen, but Stoll should get some traction, too.

Corey Stoll was magnificent in "Midnight in Paris" He portrayed Ernest Hemingway with a lot of conviction.

corey stoll is priceless in this role--he was what we were talking about when we came out of the theatre. when he lowers that bluff, macho look on someone and says, out of the blue, "did you ever shoot a rhino?", it's hilarious.
also wonderful, in a smaller part, is adrien brody as dali. though he intentionally hams it up (and woody, bless him, lets him do it), he packs numerous big laughs into a few minutes of screen time.
woody has given us a gift here--seeing it, you'll never view paris in exactly the same way as before.

Corey Stoll was great in Midnight! He LOOKS almost spot on like the young (in his then 20's) Hemingway. He blows both Chris O'Donnell ("In Love & War") and Clive Owen (upcoming "Hemingway & Gelhorn" HBO film) into the weeds with his Hemingway portrayal. Corey should use his new found hirsute look to get diverse film & TV roles like Joe Pantoliano ("Midnight Run", "Sopranos") has and continues to do. Kudos to Woody Allen on attention to detail(s) in casting this relatively under the radar player for a great "cameo".

Corey Stoll Nailed Me!!!!!

I love the premise of the movie! I am not a fan of either Owen Wilson or Rachel McAdams, but I love Marion Cotillard and Adrien Brody.
I would love to visit the Renaissance period; I think it would be interesting to meet The Borgias :D
There are so many authors I wish I could meet - Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie especially.

I've posted this on a few tv forums already, but I feel that Corey Stoll would be ideal to replace Chris Meloni on Law and Order SVU.

I really loved his character on Law and Order LA, a show I feel was really mishandled and is now cancelled, and is being broadcast with all its episodes out of order.

TJ could easily move to NY, disillusioned with the LAPD, and join Special Victims.

I know it's been said that the producers want a BIG NAME for SVU, but I think that's a bad idea. Remember Jeff Goldblum on CI? No? Exactly.

Besides, Corey's been in movies and on Broadway, and he's worked with Woody Allen; what more do they want?

Come on, Corey's manager and Corey's agent! Get to it!


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