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Category: Michel Hazanavicius

Thomas Langmann: 'Crazy' risk pays off for 'The Artist' producer

January 23, 2012 |  1:28 pm

Thomas Langmann at the Producers Guild Awards

Thomas Langmann, producer of "The Artist" and winner of the Darryl F. Zanuck Award at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, said he took a risk on a silent movie in the hopes of being part of a unique and unconventional film.

Certainly no pressure at all for the film's writer and director, Michel Hazanavicius.

"People called me crazy, or insane, but I knew if Michel succeeded, the film would be different -- it would be special," Langmann said Saturday night. "I put a lot of pressure on Michel's shoulders, but the film turned out to be beyond our expectations."

PHOTOS: The scene at the Producers Guild Awards

The Zanuck Award honors the outstanding producer of a theatrical motion picture. Langmann, who plans to continue working with Hazanavicius on his future projects, said he wanted "The Artist" to serve as a "love letter to American cinema" and a tribute to Hollywood.

And, he said, he and Michel enjoyed every single moment of filmmaking along the way.

ALSO:

Producers Guild Awards: 'The Artist' takes home top honors

'The Artist' is the big winner at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards

Directors Roundtable: Machinery of filmmaking mars 'intimacy of a shoot'

-- Jasmine Elist

Photo: Thomas Langmann accepts the Darryl F. Zanuck Award during the 23rd annual Producers Guild Awards in Beverly Hills on Saturday. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images


Alexander Payne on directing: casting is 'first among equals'

January 21, 2012 | 11:49 am

Filmmaking is by nature a collaborative process, but when people think of a movie, it's usually the cast — more so than the editor, writer, cinematographer or even director — that pops into their head first.

Filmmakers George Clooney ("The Ides of March"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo") sat down with The Times' John Horn at the recent Envelope Directors Roundtable and talked about the importance and challenges of assembling a good cast.

For Payne, the actors are at the core of any film. He said, "No matter how well lit and shot and everything, [people will ask] 'Who's in it? Are they good? Do you believe them?' They are the primary conveyors of the tone of the film, from the director to the audience through the actors."

The cast is "indispensible," Scorsese chimed in.  "You can have different cinematographers … you can have a different director, literally, but you need the actor up there. You need them."

See more of what Payne, Scorsese and the others had to say in the video above, and check back next week for two more clips from the round table.

RELATED:

Stephen Daldry: Young Thomas Horn is 'a proper leading man'

Martin Scorsese: Doing just one shot makes a fine 'first half-day'

Alexander Payne: Machinery of filmmaking mars 'intimacy of a shoot'

— Oliver Gettell


Stephen Daldry: Young Thomas Horn is 'a proper leading man'

January 19, 2012 | 12:02 pm

Alexander Payne Michel Hazanavicius Stephen Daldry Martin Scorse and George Clooney

Never work with children or animals, says the old show-business adage — advice largely ignored by five of this year's top directors.

In a visit to the recent Envelope Directors Roundtable, filmmakers Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") and George Clooney ("The Ides of March") spoke to The Times' John Horn about some of the unique challenges of working with kids and dogs.

In the case of Daldry and Thomas Horn (no relation to John), the 14-year-old star of "Extremely Loud," the director had to work around regulated hours, schooling sessions and meal breaks. "You don't have them for long," Daldry said of child actors.

Luckily, Thomas' talent made up for the extra work. "In terms of his professionalism and dedication and his preparation and his charm on set and his clarity and intelligence — no issues at all," Daldry said of the young actor, a first-timer. "He was fantastic."

Scorsese rattled off a list of challenges he faced shooting "Hugo": two child actors (Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz), a 3-D camera rig, dogs — "and then Sacha Baron Cohen," he deadpanned.

See more of what the directors had to say in the video below, and check back for more clips from the Directors Roundtable on Friday and next week.

RELATED:

George Clooney, director: I look for films 'in my wheelhouse'

Martin Scorsese: Doing just one shot makes a fine 'first half-day'

Alexander Payne: Machinery of filmmaking mars 'intimacy of a shoot'

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Directors Alexander Payne, from left, Michel Hazanavicius, Stephen Daldry, Martin Scorsese and George Clooney gather to discuss their craft. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times


Alexander Payne: Machinery of filmmaking mars 'intimacy of a shoot'

January 18, 2012 |  2:20 pm

George Clooney, Martin Scorsese, Stephen Daldry, Michel Hazanavicius, and Alexander Payne (from left) joined The Times' John Horn (in blue shirt) to talk about the art of moviemaking at the Envelope's Directors Roundtable

Given all the moving parts involved in making a motion picture, it's inevitable that things will go wrong and bad days will be had. When that happens, it's up to the director to get things back on track.

At this year's third annual Envelope Directors Roundtable, filmmakers Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), George Clooney ("The Ides of March") and Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") shared some of their setbacks and off days with Times film reporter John Horn.

Payne groused about the logistical nightmare of shooting on the water: "For a nice little scene of a couple people spreading ashes," he said, "it's like we call out the damn National Guard."

Daldry recounted a time when David Kross, a young actor in his previous film "The Reader," broke his arm shooting a stunt that didn't even make the final cut of the movie. Fortunately, though Kross was initially expected to be out three months, "He was back the next day," Daldry said.

Some days, Scorsese said, "you don't have the spark. Something is lost." And, he added, "you know it."

To hear more about the directors' mishaps, and how they dealt with them, watch the video below. And check back for more clips from the Directors Roundtable throughout the week.

RELATED:

9/11 drama puts director Stephen Daldry to the test

George Clooney on directing: I look for films 'in my wheelhouse'

Martin Scorsese: Doing just one shot makes a fine 'first half-day'

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: George Clooney, left, Martin Scorsese, Stephen Daldry, Michel Hazanavicius, and Alexander Payne joined The Times' John Horn, third from left, to talk about the art of moviemaking. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times


Martin Scorsese: Doing just one shot makes a fine 'first half-day'

January 17, 2012 |  5:24 pm

Martin Scorsese, Stephen Daldry and George Clooney before the Envelope's Directors Roundtable
Even big-time filmmakers aren't immune to a bit of anxiety when it comes to the first day on set. One prominent director admits that all the apparatus of a Hollywood production puts him on edge: "I'm always fearing it's going to mar the intimacy of what I'm hoping to shoot."

Another finds himself grappling with self-doubt: "It's really scary for me. I think to myself, 'Why did I want that? Why did I ask all these people to make something?' "

At The Times' recent Directors Roundtable, filmmakers Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), George Clooney ("The Ides of March"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo") talked about how nerve-racking it can be to start a new film, and how they deal with it.

Daldry and Scorsese said they often ease into a shoot with tests, rehearsals or single shots. On the other hand, Payne acknowledged that sometimes one has to dive right into a big scene, as logistical issues forced him to do on "The Descendants." And Clooney shared a crafty directing trick he borrowed from Sidney Lumet.

Hear more of what they had to say in the video below. Check back for more clips throughout the week.

RELATED:

The return of Alexander Payne

Michel Hazanavicius takes a gamble on silent film

George Clooney on directing: I look for films 'in my wheelhouse'

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Martin Scorsese, Stephen Daldry and George Clooney before the Envelope's Directors Roundtable. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times


George Clooney on directing: I look for films 'in my wheelhouse'

January 16, 2012 |  4:30 pm

George Clooney and Martin Scorsese at The Envelope's directors roundtable
Every film begins with a decision — not whom to cast, where to shoot or how much to spend, but simply what to make. At The Times' third annual Directors Roundtable, five of the year's top filmmakers came together to discuss their current Oscar-contending films and their creative processes, which start with that first choice of what story to tell.

In this first excerpt from the roundtable, directors George Clooney ("The Ides of March"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo") talk to The Times' John Horn about how they decide which movies to bring to life.

"I've been lucky enough to experience different reasons for making pictures," Scorsese says. "Primarily the ones that I've always been very passionate about are the ones I've simply had to get made at one point or another, and I was pretty lucky to get them made over the years."

Hazanavicius adds, "There's a hunch, something that tells you there's a good movie to make, and there's a movie I can be comfortable with for two years or three years [while making it] and actually the rest of your life, because you have to live with it."

See all of what the directors had to say in the video below, and check back every day this week for a new clip from the roundtable.

RELATED:

Golden Globes: Martin Scorsese wins best director

9/11 drama puts director Stephen Daldry to the test

George Clooney on Alexander Payne: 'He doesn't work enough'

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: George Clooney and Martin Scorsese at the Envelope Directors Roundtable. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.


'The Artist' is the big winner at Critics' Choice Movie Awards

January 12, 2012 |  7:10 pm

Artist
The silent was golden Thursday evening at the 17th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards presented by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. with the black-and-white ode to silent film "The Artist" winning best picture, best director for Michel Hazanavicius, as well as best costume design and best score.

The awards were held at the Hollywood Palladium and telecast on cable channel VH1.

George Clooney won best actor for "The Descendants" and Viola Davis earned best actress for "The Help."

PHOTOS: Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Best and worst

Supporting actor went to 82-year-old Christopher Plummer for "Beginners," and Octavia Spencer was won the supporting actress award for "The Help." The cast of "The Help" also won best ensemble. Thomas Horn was named best young actor/actress for "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."

Woody Allen won original screenplay honors for "Midnight in Paris," and Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin — with Stan Chervin for his story — won best adapted screenplay for "Moneyball."

There was a tie in the cinematography category, with Emmanuel Lubezki ("The Tree of Life") and Janusz Kaminski ("War Horse") splitting the honors.

Dante Ferretti won best art direction for "Hugo," and Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall won for editing for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

PHOTOS: Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Winners and reactions

"Rango" took home best animated feature, and "Drive" won best action movie. Best comedy honors went to "Bridesmaids," and "A Separation" earned best foreign-language film. "George Harrison: Living in the Material World," directed by Martin Scorsese, won best documentary feature.

"Life's a Happy Song," from "The Muppets," earned best song. Other technical honors went to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2," for make-up and sound, with "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" picking up best visual effects.

The Joel Siegel Award went to Sean Penn for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of Haiti, and the Critics' Choice Music + Film Award went to Martin Scorsese.

RELATED:

PHOTOS: Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Red carpet arrivals

New York Film critics name 'The Artist' best of the year

— Susan King

Photo: "The Artist" wins best picture and three other Critics' Choice Movie Awards. Credit: The Weinstein Co.


DGA to Fincher: Sorry about last year, can we make it up to you?

January 9, 2012 |  3:47 pm

Rooney Mara stars in David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Now let us just say from the outset that it is possible that Directors Guild of America voters simply liked David Fincher's mesmerizing way with bleakness in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" more than Steven Spielberg's shout-outs to John Ford in "War Horse." Certainly, members didn't share Fincher's sentiments that "Dragon Tattoo" might be just a tad too dark for awards consideration.

But there has to be something more to today's DGA Awards nominations that put Fincher in alongside Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), doesn't there? DGA voters clearly dig Fincher, handing him his third nomination in four years. Of course, they haven't liked him enough to actually give him the award in this category, even last year when most had Fincher winning for "The Social Network." Could this year's nomination be viewed as an attempt to put that whole giving it to Tom Hooper thing behind them? Or could it merely be another signal of a changing of the guard? (Spielberg hasn't been nominated since 2005's "Munich" -- not that he has given voters much reason or occasion to look his way.)

Fincher won't win this year, either. But, taken with the Producers Guild nomination for "Tattoo," it is possible that both he and the movie will now show up among the Oscar anointed. More often than not, four of the five DGA nominees go on to receive Oscar nods. Figuring that Scorsese, Hazanavicius and Payne are locks and that Allen seems increasingly likely to receive his first director's nomination since "Bullets Over Broadway," the question now is: Will the DGA slate sweep in clean with the motion picture academy, as has happened twice in the past decade? Or can Spielberg slip in, aided by the academy's older sentimentalists?

A third option and, admittedly, one that with today's news and previous snubs from the PGA, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild seems something of a pipe dream, is that academy voters will go the auteur route and nominate Terrence Malick. "The Tree of Life" has its hard-core disciples, but they are vastly outnumbered by those who hit the eject button once the dinosaurs showed up. Oscar prognosticators have long assumed that "Tree" had enough bedrock support to win nominations for picture (provided devotees slotted it No. 1 or No. 2 on their ballots), director and cinematography. Now only director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki seems a safe bet.

RELATED:

Academy adopts new rules for documentaries

'Iron Lady,' 'Hugo' among films shortlisted for makeup Oscar

Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese receive nominations for DGA Award

 -- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Rooney Mara stars in David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Credit: Merrick Morton / Columbia TrStar


New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

November 29, 2011 | 10:50 am

The artist

"The Artist," a black-and-white silent movie, was named best picture of 2011 Tuesday morning by the New York Film Critics Circle. The film's director, Michel Hazanavicius of France, also earned best director for his valentine to the early days of Hollywood.

It is the first time the critics have given its top award to a silent film. Earlier in the morning, the film earned five nominations for the Spirit Award.

Meryl Streep was named best actress for her performance as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," which opens in L.A. on Dec. 30. It is the fifth time the New York circle has honored Streep. The last time was two years ago for "Julie & Julia."

Brad Pitt took home best actor honors for his performances as Oakland A's manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball" and as a stern father in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." It is his first honor from the critics' group. Steve Zallian and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for "Moneyball."

This year's golden girl, Jessica Chastain, was named best supporting actress for her roles in "The Tree of LIfe," "The Help" and "Take Shelter." Albert Brooks won best supporting actor for a rare dramatic turn in the film noir "Drive."

Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams' won best nonfiction film, while "Margin Call," written and directed by J.C. Chandor, was awarded best first feature. Cinematography honors went to Emmanuel Lubezki for "Tree of Life."

Foreign-language film honors went to Iran's  "A Separation," which has already won multiple awards and is the country's submission for the foreign-language film Oscar. The Chilean filmmaker Raoul Ruiz, who died in August, got a special posthumous award.

The awards will be handed out in a ceremony in Manhattan on Jan. 9.

The New York Film Critics Circle, which was founded in 1935, is the first major critics group to announce its picks for the best of the year. The organization, made up of critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines and online sites, traditionally voted after the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. But in October, the 33-member group announced it would move its awards selection ahead two weeks.

The voting was supposed to have happened on Monday, but the group didn't have the chance to screen David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," which opens Dec. 23, until Monday morning, so the voting was delayed until Tuesday. The film received no awards.

Over the decades, the New York critics' selections and those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have differed. Last year, the circle chose "The Social Network" as the top film and the academy gave "The King's Speech" the best film Oscar. The two groups agreed two years ago on "The Hurt Locker."

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures announces its selections Thursday morning.

Related

"New York Film Critics movies awards dates to see 'Dragon Tattoo'"

-- Susan King

Photo: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


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