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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: A Dangerous Method

'Descendants,' 'Moneyball' among Scripter Award finalists

January 12, 2012 |  7:00 am


The screenwriters of "A Dangerous Method," "The Descendants," "Jane Eyre," "Moneyball" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" -- as well as the authors of the works each is based on -- are the five finalists for the 24th annual USC Libraries Scripter Award. The announcement was made Thursday morning.

Screenwriter Christopher Hampton is a finalist for "A Dangerous Method," adapted from the nonfiction book "A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein" by John Kerr and the 2002 play "The Talking Cure" by Hampton.

Alexander Pyne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash were nominated for "The Descendants" screenplay, adapted from the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, which was an expansion of her short story "The Minor Wars."

Screenwriter Moira Buffini is a finalist for "Jane Eyre," an adaptation of the 1847 classic novel by Charlotte Bronte.

Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chevrin are finalists for their "Moneyball" screenplay, which was adapted from the  book "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" by Michael Lewis.

Rounding out the finalists are screenwriters Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," adapted from  John le Carre's spy novel of the same name.

The Scripter Award was created by the Friends of the USC Libraries in 1988 and honors the screenwriters of the "year's most accomplished cinematic adaptation as well as the authors of the written work on which the screenplay is based."

Last year, Sorkin won the Script Award for his adaptation of "The Social Network."

The Scripter selection committee chose the five finalists from 109 eligible films. The 32-member selection committee includes Times film critic Kenneth Turan.

Paul Haggis, who won the Scripter for the 2004 drama "Million Dollar Baby," is this year's recipient of the USC Scripter Literary Achievement Award.

The awards will be handed out Feb. 18 at the Times Reference Room of USC's Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library.


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--Susan King

Photo: "A Dangerous Method" is a finalist for the Scripter Award. Credit: Liam Daniel/Sony Picture Classics

Golden Globes: Viggo Mortensen discusses his methods

December 15, 2011 | 11:28 am

Viggo Mortensen

To get inside the mind of the famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud for "A Dangerous Method," Viggo Mortensen did extensive research and mulled the details with director David Cronenberg. The effort has paid off with a Golden Globe nomination for supporting actor. Mortensen spoke by phone to 24 Frames' Elena Howe about how he found out, how he feels and what else he's up to.

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E.H.: How did you find out about your nomination?

V.M.: I’m in Madrid. It’s nine hours later, but they don’t show that here anyway. I was headed to work — I’m doing a play — and a friend called and told me. I’m very grateful, but I would have been even happier if [director] David [Cronenberg] had been included. I owe it to him. He made a risky decision to cast me as Freud, and I’m glad to see his hunch paid off. I’m proud to represent “A Dangerous Method” at the Globes.

E.H.: What is the play you’re doing?

V.M.: Ariel Dorfman, who wrote that play “Death and the Maiden,”  he wrote one called “Purgatorio,” which is what I’m doing. It’s heavy on dialogue, like Freud, so I got that back to back. I haven’t been in a play for over 20 years, and there’s lots of dialogue. At first I regretted [signing on for it]. But it’s going well now.

E.H.: How did you prepare to play Sigmund Freud?

V.M.: I had real concerns that it wasn’t a good fit for me. I did it because it was David. Had another director proposed this, I wouldn’t have. But once I got my mind around how to present him — he had a good sense of humor and a sense of irony, which I could relate to — and I actually enjoyed having a lot of dialogue, and now doing the play, it’s like out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I always do a lot of research. I read everything I could that Freud had written and what his contemporaries had written and just informed myself about the period and Western Europe of the time.

E.H.: You’ve worked with David Cronenberg three times now. How did this production go?

Continue reading »

David Cronenberg: The detail-obsessed Viggo Mortensen

November 19, 2011 |  1:30 pm

Whether he's playing a small-town man hiding a secret past in "A History of Violence" or the Viennese psychoanalytic pioneer Sigmund Freud in the upcoming "A Dangerous Method," Viggo Mortensen seems to come alive in David Cronenberg movies. The two have what the Canadian auteur describes as "that strange old thing we call chemistry."

What is it that makes the actor so unique? Cronenberg describes Mortensen's preoccupation with detail before he even arrives on set. On "Method," for instance, Mortensen exchanged dozens of emails with Cronenberg about Freud's personal habits, including questions about the type and quality of cigars he smoked.

Check out Cronenberg describing the actor's meticulous work habits as he sized up the actor at The Times' Envelope screening series.


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-- Steven Zeitchik




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