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Category: Envelope Screening Series

'The Muppets': The rules of writing for a pig and a frog [video]

December 19, 2011 |  6:00 am

Muppets2

Turns out writing a Muppet script is no easy task. Star Jason Segel and his "The Muppets" screenwriting partner Nicholas Stoller, who previously collaborated on "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Get Him to the Greek," spent four years writing a script that both honored the Jim Henson Muppet movies of the past and remained relevant today, they told an audience at the Envelope Screening Series.

That required learning the specific rules of each Muppet and simplifying a very complicated initial premise. Learn more about a rather complex writing process -- one that may have involved adult-size Muppet costumes -- in the video clip below.

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Photo: Walter the Muppet, Jason Segel and Amy Adams in "The Muppets." Credit: Scott Garfield/Disney Enterprises


'The Muppets': The 'perfect' music and Chris Cooper raps [video]

December 16, 2011 |  5:37 pm

Muppets

"The Muppets" achieved this year what many thought was impossible: It lured in both parents looking to relive their childhood while also attracting children still interested in Kermit, despite his well-worn felt. We chatted with the filmmakers behind the movie, including star, co-writer and executive producer Jason Segel, co-writer Nicholas Stoller, director James Bobin ("Flight of the Conchords") and producer Todd Lieberman as part of The Envelope Screening Series.

In the video clip below, the four men chat about the film's music, and Bobin's stellar decision to lure in Bret McKenzie, one half of his "Flight of the Conchords" duo, who also happens to be a terrific musician, and the interesting conversations Segel had with Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper about his out-of-character rap in the film.

 

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'The Muppets' are sweet and subversive: Movie review

'Muppets' director promises plenty of "anarchic stupidity"

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Jason Segel and Amy Adams join a slew of Muppets for an important meeting. Credit: Patrick Wymore/Disney Studios


'Like Crazy': Filmmaker Drake Doremus casts his leads [video]

December 14, 2011 |  3:29 pm

Like Crazy

Felicity Jones went to unusual lengths to audition for writer-director Drake Doremus' "Like Crazy," including videotaping herself in the shower for the film's concluding scene. Jones also help cast the actors who played her parents in the film. "It was important that her parents seemed like they could be her friends," she said. In this excerpt from The Envelope Screening Series, Jones, costar Anton Yelchin and Doremus discuss how they came to make the movie together.

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'Like Crazy' director Drake Doremus on his improvised approach

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The Directors: Drake Doremus, 'Like Crazy'

Felicity Jones talks about her impulsive character in 'Like Crazy'

--John Horn

Photo: Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin in "Like Crazy." Credit: Fred Hayes


'Tinker Tailor': Gary Oldman on the film's repressed sexuality [video]

December 14, 2011 |  2:52 pm

 Tinker Tailor
When you consider Cold War spying, particularly as it relates to the novels of John le Carré, sex and sexuality may not be the first things that come to mind. But the topics are very much a part of the new movie "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." As Gary Oldman, who plays master intelligence office George Smiley, discusses in this excerpt from the Envelope Screening Series, adultery and homosexuality make up a large part of the film's subtext, a reflection not only of the double lives many spies lived but also a product of the kinds of young men Britain recruited to keep world affairs in order.

 

 

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Photo: David Dencik, left, and Benedict Cumberbatch in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." Credit: Jack English

 


'Tinker Tailor': Gary Oldman overcomes his panic [video]

December 12, 2011 |  4:41 pm

Tinker Tailor
It's the kind of part that is both exhilarating and terrifying: playing a role already canonized by a great actor, in this case Sir Alec Guinness.

In the month it took Gary Oldman to commit to playing George Smiley in the new movie adaptation of John le Carré's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," the veteran of "The Dark Knight" worried about how his performance would be compared to the acting of Guinness, who played the British spy in a 1979 BBC  miniseries. "He was my nemesis," Oldman says in this excerpt from The Envelope Screening Series. Eventually, Oldman overcame his fears, and turned in what has been hailed as one of the year's top performances.

Here's the actor explaining how he convinced himself to play Smiley:

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Photo: Gary Oldman as George Smiley in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." Credit: Jack English/Focus Features


'Like Crazy' director Drake Doremus on his improvised approach

December 12, 2011 |  4:00 pm

Like Crazy
With compelling performances by Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin as two young people madly in love but struggling to maintain a long-distance relationship, the low-budget love story "Like Crazy" has earned praise from critics and won the top prize at Sundance. Writer-director Drake Doremus and his stars recently visited the Envelope Screening Series and explained how their unconventional, largely improvised approach helped shape "Like Crazy" into a tender, believable romance.

"We start with the idea of a story first, and then we spend a lot of time structuring that story and getting the story right through the outlining process," Doremus said. He added, "Through the course of rehearsal, the dialogue sort of came. But the dialogue is sort of a function of understanding the story and the characters, so the dialogue always comes last."

"The idea is that there are certain points that we would have to hit," Jones said. "There were certain things we have to say to further the plot. But it's about how to get there in the most naturalistic way possible."

See more of what Doremus, Jones and Yelchin had to say in the video below.

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Movie review: 'Like Crazy'

The Directors: Drake Doremus, 'Like Crazy'

Felicity Jones talks about her impulsive character in 'Like Crazy'

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Drake Doremus (standing) directs Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones in "Like Crazy." Credit: Fred Hayes / Paramount Pictures


'Drive': Nicolas Winding Refn discusses his grim fairy tale

December 12, 2011 |  2:59 pm

With its gleaming, neon-lit nightscapes and a cast led by Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, the car-meets-noir thriller "Drive" is often a treat for the eyes. Even so, the film is punctuated by moments of graphic violence, which some critics — including the Times' Kenneth Turan — found gratuitous.

For "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn, who recently attended the Envelope Screening Series, the film's unflinching gore is a necessary element of what he considers to be a modern fairy tale.

"The whole idea of the movie in terms of the structure really came out of the Grimms' fairy tales," Refn said. "The idea [was] that the film was basically about a man who falls in love with the purity of love."

Such fairy tales, Refn said, always start sweetly: "And then when it flips, it goes very dark and extremely violent in its tone and what you see. But in a way, you need that to counter the other."

Check out the video above for more of Refn's thoughts on violence in art — and to find out how "Pretty Woman" inspired "Drive."

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'Drive' director Nicolas Winding Refn on serenading Ryan Gosling

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'Tinker Tailor': Gary Oldman reins it in [video]

December 9, 2011 |  5:30 pm

Gary Oldman gives a very restrained performance as George Smiley, the master British spy at the center of "Tinker Tailor Solider Spy." Sometimes, Oldman says in this interview from the Envelope Screening Series, director Tomas Alfredson found Oldman's acting just a bit too subtle. Doing a scene in a movie, Oldman says, is a bit like climbing a mountain a step at a time, and in "Tinker Tailor" he wasn't always sure he could reach the summit.

RELATED:

Movie review: 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'

'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy': engaging espionage, critics say

'Tinker Tailor' director has cyclical theory about vampire craze

--John Horn


'Drive' director Nicolas Winding Refn on serenading Ryan Gosling

December 8, 2011 |  4:59 pm

Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling
Sometimes partnerships form in the unlikeliest ways. For "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling, an awkward first meeting seemed to threaten the chance of them ever working together but ultimately kindled a serious bromance. The fast friends are expected to re-team on a "Logan's Run" remake and as many as two other films.

At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series, the Danish director recalled the bizarre circumstances of his first encounter with Gosling.

"That was a very strange date," Refn said. "We had never met, but he asked if I would meet him for dinner. The only dilemma was when I came in, I had gotten the flu on the plane. I was very sick. And so we met, but to get my fever down, I had gotten these anti-flu drugs … it made me high as a kite."

Refn was so zonked and aloof that he barely made it halfway through dinner, at which point Gosling drove him home. But on that fateful ride, Refn's pitch, which consisted mostly of a spirited radio singalong to REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling," must have struck a chord with Gosling, who was already halfway in character as a wordless driver prowling the streets of Los Angeles. The rest is history. Watch Refn tell the whole story in the video below.

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'Drive' offers road thrills but loses some critics with gore

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— Oliver Gettell

Photo: "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling. Credit:  Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times


'Drive': Albert Brooks recalls a breathtaking deleted scene

December 7, 2011 |  6:30 pm

Playing the mobster and former movie producer Bernie Rose in the neo-noir thriller "Drive," Albert Brooks uses both the carrot and the stick. When the situation calls for it, Bernie will schmooze, haggle or crack a joke. But when words fail, watch out — because he won't think twice about resorting to coarser methods.

In a recent visit to the Envelope Screening Series, Brooks recounted a scene — eventually left on the cutting room floor — that demonstrated Bernie's matter-of-fact viciousness.

"This scene didn't make it into the movie," Brooks said, "but it's one of the most amazing things that ever happened to me."

He went on to describe a scene in which his character confronted a noisy neighbor and asked him to keep it down. The hapless neighbor soon learned that Bernie is not a guy to be messed with. At the encouragement of director Nicolas Winding Refn and with the blessing of actor Ben Marley, Brooks gave the scene his all, and the results were startling, to say the least. Get the whole story in the video above.

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Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn share the ride

An interview with 'Drive' director Nicholas Winding Refn

— Oliver Gettell


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