Martin Scorsese Making ‘Gangs of New York’ Into a TV Series, Because Why Not?

Television programs based on movies are usually hit-or-miss (actually, usually miss—for every M*A*S*H* there are a thousand My Big Fat Greek Lives), but if Martin Scorsese thinks he’s got an idea here, it may be worth listening. Gangs of New York was hyped like crazy before and upon its release but fell short of expectations during award season. It’s not his best movie by any means, not his most memorable, and maybe not even the best fodder for a TV show. But with the diverse history and dramatic tensions of mid-19th-century New York City, Scorsese saw an opportunity to revisit the world of Amsterdam Vallon and Bill the Butcher, and he’s working with Miramax and GK Films to make Gangs a TV series. As he writes

“This time and era of America’s history and heritage is rich with characters and stories that we could not fully explore in a two-hour film. A television series allows us the time and creative freedom to bring this colorful world, and all the implications it had and still does on our society, to life.”
The show, according to the Deadline report linked above, would focus on the advent of organized crime in America, not just in New York, of course, but in other major story-rich and scandal-rich cities like Chicago and New Orleans and Atlantic Ci—oh wait, he already did that one with Boardwalk Empire. Obviously, this show would be best as a varying-location ensemble sitcom, in the style of Seinfeld. Can you imagine this scene with a little slap-bass action behind it? 

Don’t Worry Guys, There’s No Beef Between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence

You can relax, Jessica Chastain is still a perfect human. Contrary to alleged reports from "insider sources" that she and Jennifer Lawrence—one of Hollywood’s current most in-demand actresses–have some serious competitive beef with one another, it appears that is simply not the case.

But of course these rumors are alive—two beautiful, successful, talented, Oscar-nominated actresses could never co-exist and praise one another, right? We can’t all be Joaquin Phoneix and Daniel Day Lewis. No, this is just unnecessary. And only adding fuel to the fire, in Jennifer Lawrence’s recent SNL appearance, as part of a sketch she said, "In Zero Dark Thirty you caught Bin Laden. So what? In Winter’s Bone I caught a squirrel—and then I ate it. Boom. Deal with that." So yes, it must be so, Lawrence really has her claws out for both Meryl Streep and Chastain alike.

And being the wonderful and level-headed woman she is, Chastain took to her Facebook page to dispell the gossip:

I find it very sad that media makes up bogus stories about women fighting in this industry. Filming The Help was the most amazing experience and yet, that is the film Im most asked about in regards to "fighting on set". Why do we support the myth that women are competitive and cannot get along?

I think all of the actresses recognized this year have given incredible performances. But more important, they’ve all shown themselves to be filled with generosity and kindness. I’ve done two photo shoots with Jennifer Lawrence over the years and have found her to be utterly charming and a great talent. I’ve told her how beautiful her film work is.

Please don’t allow the media to perpetuate the myth that women arent supportive of each other. Everytime an actress is celebrated for her great work, I cheer. For the more brilliant their performance, the more the audience demands stories about women. With support and encouragement, we help to inspire this industry to create opportunities for women. And as we all know: a great year for women in film, is just a great year for film xxjes

Let’s move on, shall we?

‘Argo’ Wins BAFTA for Best Picture, Best Director

While you were watching the Grammys, the BAFTAs, the U.K. version of the Oscars, was aired on BBC America. And hoo boy, what a mess of an awards show. I didn’t watch it, so I can only imagine the British humour happening all over the place, but I can tell you that I’ve got a pretty stiff upper lip this morning as I look at the list of winners. Argo won Best Picture and Best Director. Ben Affleck. The best director. Of the year! Ben Affleck is a better director than Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, et al. None of those chumps can possibly live up to the magnificent director Ben Affleck. Also, both Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain lost out to Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. Christolph Waltz won for Django Unchained, and Daniel Day-Lewis surprised no one when he won another award for Lincoln. And, of course, little Annie Hathaway likely annoyed people in England, too, with her insincerity upon winning Best Supporting Actress.

The full list of winners below, via EW.

Best Film: Argo
Best Director: Ben Affleck, Argo
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Best Original Screenplay: Django Unchained
Best Adapted Screenplay: Silver Linings Playbook
Best British Film: Skyfall
Best Film Not in the English Language: Amour
Best Animated Film: Brave
Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man
Best Editing: William Goldenberg, Argo
Best Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi
Best Original Music: Thomas Newman, Skyfall
Best Make-Up & Hair: Lisa Wescott, Les Misérables
Best Visual Effects: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi
Best Production Design: Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson, Les Misérables
Best Sound: Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, John Warhurst, Les Misérables
Best British Debut: Bart Layton and Dimitri Doganis, The Imposter
Orange Rising Star Award: Juno Temple
Best Animated Short: The Making of Longbird
Best Live-Action Short: Swimmer

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Check Out 35 Candid Shots From Last Night’s Golden Globes

Last night’s Golden Gloves solidified that yes, Hollywood is filled with beautiful faces and chiseled, well-crafted bodies of all shapes and sizes. But you know, behind that sheen of glamour and satin, everyone is still a little weird looking when you think about it—which only makes you love them more. And what a better way to capture that than with a candid post-award snapshot? The folks at Vulture have posted a series of 35 polaroids from last night, taken by photographer Lucas Michael, who had exclusive access to the hallway in which the stars cram into to retouch their makeup and compose themselves before sitting back down at their tables. 

Shot on the Big Shot, the same camera used by Andy Warhol in the 1970s, Michael awaited the stars entrance and captured some wonderful portraits of the stars on film. "While having his picture taken with Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno asked, "What is this, Mad Men?" The Magic Cube camera flash is much stronger than average, and after having her portrait taken, Claire Danes blinked and said, "I am actually blind right now." Check out some of our favorites below and click here for the full slideshow.

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Stage and Screen Actor Lee Pace Talks Shop

Lee Pace had me at “Hello.” Or, rather, the film equivalent, which was 2006’s The Fall. Spectacularly strange and visually arresting, that movie made an instant devotee out of me. Though the tall, dark, and handsome actor had been in the biz for a few years prior to this weird and wonderful discovery, I’ve followed the 33-year-old’s trajectory ever since—and re-watched The Fall more than a few times.

Fast forward to 2012, which has been especially packed for Pace, featuring roles in Lincoln, Breaking Dawn: Part 2, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Indeed, it’s safe to say that he’s had a good year, especially considering all three titles hit theaters (for all intents and purposes) simultaneously. This triple whammy of sorts simply must bode well on the success scale. 

From indie flicks like A Single Man and Ceremony, to blockbuster franchises, this guy’s got that special something that attracts casting directors and keeps crowds captivated. Beyond the big screen, New Yorkers can currently catch Pace as Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini in Terrence McNally’s Golden Age, a play directed by Walter Bobbie with performances through January 13 at Manhattan Theatre Club. Age audiences are granted a backstage pass to listen in and look on, taking in behind-the-scenes goings-on during opening night of Bellini’s last opera, I Puritani, at the ThéâtreItalien in Paris. Part comedy, part drama, the two-and-a-half-hour-long performance paints a living picture of what it might have been like to be there. 

The charming and approachable Pace was sweet enough to take time before taking the stage recently to talk about a few things. From his privileged yet hectic career to memorable moments, from his stance on New York to his “heartthrob” status, Pace provides a refreshingly sincere look at his life. 

So, you’ve had a super busy year…
It has been a busy year. I’m really feeling it now that the year’s coming to an end. These movies came out this past month and now we[’re] doing eight shows a week [for Golden Age]. It’s been a lot of work, so I’ll to be looking forward to a quiet new year. But, it’s been great. It’s good to be busy. There’s nothing I like more than being busy. Good characters to play and good people to work with. There’s been a lot of that this year, so I couldn’t be more grateful.

Is there any reprieve during the holiday?
Theater schedules through the holidays are relentless. I guess I figured we’d still be doing eight shows a week, but it’s tough. There’s so many shows. But, it’s good. It’s a privilege to be able to do the show for people. That people want to come is awesome.  

Given your recent roster, are there any standout moments of 2012?
Shooting scenes with Steven Spielberg in the Congress (sic) [for Lincoln], that was pretty incredible. Big scenes, lots of extras, a couple cameras moving. You really feel like, Wow, I’ll remember this. It kinda doesn’t get better than this. Then, I went to New Zealand to work on The Hobbit for a couple months. To be on those sets, which [were] equally incredible, and to collaborate on and play a character that is the product of so many people’s imaginations—Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and the costume designers—[was] very, very special. 

Any funny stories that you recall?
Funny things happened, but I always forget them. I am such an idiot. 

[Laughs] Okay, any instances on stage where you feel compelled to burst out laughing?
We really like each other a lot. All of the guys [in Golden Age] shar[e] a dressing room. We have so much fun during the half hour, talking. Ethan Phillips is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met and he keeps us going all through the half hour, so there are times I’ll look at him on stage and remember a joke he told and I have a hard time not laughing. 

I can imagine. What’s it like portraying a real life character versus a fictional one?
Both Fernando Wood [of Lincoln] and [Bellini of] Golden Age are based on real men. You want to have a certain respect for who they were. You want to find a connection to the real person. Understand them from an actor’s point of view, which is different from a historian’s point of view and different from a writer’s point of view. 

For sure.
In Golden Age, it’s a character. It isn’t a biopic of Bellini. This is a work of art. Terrence McNally is using the character to tell a story. I see it as my job to connect the dots between Terrence and me and Bellini, who wrote this beautiful music. I tried to figure out what it was about him, who he was, the details. There’s so many things that go into making a character.

I bet. Your Bellini also displays distinct mannerisms, tending to twitch and putter a bunch…
[Laughs] Twitch and putter. I’ll remember that tonight when I’m twitching and puttering. [Laughs]

It’s not intended as an insult!
No, he is very twitchy and putter-y. Where I started with my research was listening to the music and really trying to understand that music and believe that that music was coming out of me, that I’d written it. Before I started, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to create something like that, to write music as complicated as this music. Just trying to get myself into that headspace, being backstage listening to it, that’s where I really started working out the physicality and how I moved. It kind of grew from that, so that the nervous energy finds its way into keeping the beat with the opera. He’s not a neurotic man. He’s concerned about how this artistic effort is going to be received by a discerning audience of people that he respects. He wants to do something that will be meaningful to them. It’s all about the music. He takes this opera that he has created extremely seriously. 

As you do your own work…
On the good days! No, I do. When you work with people like Daniel Day-Lewis, Steven Spielberg, and Peter Jackson, you see how they take it seriously. It’s meaningful. They’re so talented. On set with Steven Spielberg, everyone felt how much that story meant to him, the story of the 16th president. Everyone on that set felt it and [was] inspired by it. And that’s how we all found ourselves on his page, because he’s inspiring. 

Wish I could have been there! So, theater versus film? Is there one you prefer?
They’re very, very different. I can’t say I prefer either one because I love both for different reasons. In film, you have very little time to get it right. And it’s not even about getting it right, because it’s important to let go of that way of thinking about it. You get what you get and move onto the next setup, onto the next scene. On stage, George C. Wolfe, who directed me in [the play] The Normal Heart, called it the actors’ revenge, because you have to step onstage every night and tell the story yourself. You just have to do it yourself. 

In a movie, you turn over your performance to the director and the editors to edit and to layer in sound and everything else that makes the performance emotional or funny or whatever. In theater, you have to land the jokes yourself. You have to understand what’s funny about it. You have to kind of feel the audience. What they’re about on any given night. With a movie, you don’t have that. You can’t do that. In The Hobbit, we can’t feel what the house is going to be like before we do it. 

Of course not. So, onto something still loftier, what’s been the greatest challenge of your career?
If I could name a challenge, it would be laughable compared to the challenges so many other people face. It’s the “funnest” job in the world. I guess the biggest challenge I could say these days is just taking it seriously. When you’re in your thirties, the parts get good for men. You get really interesting characters. That’s what I’ve noticed. Complicated men dealing with complicated things. Seeing that there’s so [much] more to investigate about the way people are, and communicat[ing] those things to an audience, that’s the challenge. You want [the] stories to be good and you want them to be truthful and that’s a challenge. 

Seeing as this is an NYC-centric outlet, where exactly are you based?
I’ve been living here while I do the play. But, I live outside the city now. I live up in the country. It was a new move. I’d lived [in New York City] for a long time, since I was 17. 

How do you like living off-island?
I like it a lot. I love New York City. I’ve spent my adult life in New York City. I have a really complicated relationship with New York City, as every New Yorker does. You can’t go through almost 15 years [here] and not have a complicated relationship with it. Part of that relationship is, I’m going to take a little break and live in the country. [Laughs]

I hear that. Lastly, any thoughts on being considered by some to be heartthrob, a sex symbol?
Oh god no. What does that mean? I have no comment about that. I don’t know what to say about that. It’s news to me. 

Who Will Be Snubbed At Next Year’s Oscars?

We are knee-deep in Awards Season, and with this morning’s announcement of the Golden Globe nominations, it seems clear that we have a predictable Oscars race on our hands. Blah blah blah Lincoln Argo Zero Dark Thirty Silver Linings Playbook, blah blah blah Anne Hathaway Joaquin Phoenix Jessica Chastain Daniel Day-Lewis. Every year there are a handful of folks who seem to go unnoticed in the wake of the heavy-hitters and the PR campaigns behind those bigger, obvious Oscar-baiting movies. Here’s a list of actors who are worth a second look. 

Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild

An audience favorite over the summer, the film has probably suffered in the awards race because it was released so early in the year. (If it’s on DVD by Christmas, odds are the academy will ignore it.) Sure, "independent movies" seem to do well at the Oscars, but… HA HA HA, just kidding. What, did you think it’s the ’90s all of a sudden? This scrappy little favorite is full of surprising turns from unprofessional, untrained actors, and, let’s face it, they’ve handed out enough awards to people of color in the last few years, so you should expect the five nominees for Best Actor to be from movies like Argo, The Master, Lincoln, et cetera. It’s a shame, however, because Henry’s performance broke my heart. Let’s just hope he continues with this late-in-life acting career and shows up in a few more movies.

Kirsten Dunst, Bachelorette

Let’s face it: Kirsten Dunst should have been nominated last year for her brilliant and dark role in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. Luckily, that setback didn’t stop her. As Regan, a viciously mean maid of honor, Dunst made a welcome return to the world of comedy. What Bachelorette offered, compared to other female-driven comedy, was an underlying meanness and bite and is woefully lacking (see, for example, Bridesmaids, which received accolades for its gross-out humor rather than its believability). Writer-director Leslye Headland examined more about wedding culture and modern womanhood in an hour and a half than most people (both men and women) can fit into two hours. Holding it all together, though, was Dunst’s pitch-perfect combination of toughness and vulnerability, a combination not usually seen so openly on film. 

Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Films made for and about teenagers are rarely any good. Even those John Hughes movies from the ’80s were more goofy than serious (with the exception, possibly, of The Breakfast Club). I was dubious about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but was really blown away with writer-director Stephen Chbosky’s ability to translate his novel. The film treats its characters like adults rather than patronizing them. Miller’s Patrick could have easily filled the Manic Dream Pixie Gay role—existing solely to bring the main character “out of his shell” by way of flamboyance and zingers. Instead, Perks allows its audience to see Patrick as a three-dimensional character by bringing out his own frustrations and needs. Miller delivers an astounding performance so early in his career that deserves to be recognized at next spring’s ceremony.

Ann Dowd, Compliance

It’s no surprise that middle-aged actresses are pigeonholed into supporting roles that lack any real substance. It’s even worse for character actors who don’t fit into the mainstream ideal of a leading lady. Compliance’s Ann Dowd, who has a long career of smaller roles in big movies (see if you can spot her in films like Philadelphia and Garden State), finally received great notice for Craig Zobel’s meditation on human behavior, earning a Best Supporting Actress award from the National Board of Review and a nod at the Independent Spirit Awards. Will she squeeze it alongside names like Helen Hunt and Anne Hathaway at the Oscars? It’s possible, but it seems unlikely. 

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Not Even The New York Critics Circle Can Convince Me To See ‘Lincoln’

Dear America, stop trying to get me to watch this movie. Do not want. DO NOT WANT. (We’re still talking like anthropomorphized cats on the internet, right?) I can’t imagine any other movie I’d rather see less than a long one about Our Greatest President starring The Greatest Living Actor Who Is Better At Playing Americans Than Most Living American Actors. Not even you, you group of New York film critics, are going to do this to me.

Sure, they didn’t give Lincoln top honors this year (they go, of course, to Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, the trailer for which I have seen a few times, and a film about which I know nothing except that it’s about Osama bin Laden and has Chris Pratt’s attempting to be serious-goofy rather than goofy-goofy and Jessica Chastain looks grumpy), but the Steven Spielberg Joint got two major awards for its leading actors: Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field. And look, I love Sally Field as much as the next gay, but I’d much rather see her revving up some union workers or dealing her flippant diabetic daughter than being sad and crazy and wearing too many ruffles.

Oh, and Tony Kushner, you say? Yeah, yeah, yeah. But unless Lincoln is about Roy Cohn dying of AIDS or singing African-American maids, I’m not interested. Because, honestly, the best part about Lincoln is all the stuff that happened after he died, and not even Robert Redford could make that story appealing. Plus, I’ve saved room in my brain for only one costume drama this season, and that will be Les Misérables. Obviously. So stop telling me to see Lincoln, you guys. It’s not gonna happen.

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

What To Expect From ‘Lincoln’

The Oscarbait floodgates open tomorrow with the release of blockbuster biopic Lincoln, a tale of our sixteenth and tallest—well, tied with Lyndon Johnson—U.S. president. And while Lincoln’s story seems a familiar one to anyone who passed a sixth-grade history class, there’s every indication that this film will work to reinvent our tired notions of history.

For example, they got the director of Jaws, this Steven Spielberg, to direct it. Now, maybe this kid does have a great and illustrious career before him, but from my perspective it seems a bit odd to hand the reins of a big picture like this to some guy who’s mainly interested in fake gore and animatronic sharks. But maybe his involvement explains the bold choice to cast the animatronic Lincoln from Disney World’s “Hall of Presidents” as Lincoln. I might have gone with a human actor; still, I’m curious about the result!

Then there’s all the action in these Civil War scenes. Word leaked in post-production that the aesthetic for these moments was to be “very steampunk, with possible magic,” so keep an eye peeled for clues that this movie is taking place in an alternate universe. Early reviews have hinted that Lincoln is a “mind-bending puzzler” not unlike the popular TV show Lost.

Finally, an NC-35 rating will keep out any moviegoers under the age of 35, not coincidentally the age requirement to be a candidate for president in the United States. Minors MAY NOT gain admittance with an over-35 chaperone. And one last heads up: theaters screening the film plan to replace their plush reclinable audience seats with 1860s-accurate straight-backed wooden chairs. Once your spine goes numb, relax and enjoy the show!

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Get Your First Glimpse of Spielberg’s Lincoln Biopic

Just in time to break through the exhausting muck of this upcoming election like a grease-fighting dish detergent made of lemony freshness and freedom, we get our first moving picture-type glimpse of Steven Spielberg’s epic biopic of our sixteenth president, Lincoln, in a teaser promoting… a promotional Google Hangout. Remember? Because this is 2012, and we have trailers for trailers for things now and Google+ is still something someone is trying to make happen.

From what brief moments we do get of the film itself, there’s some rainy, bloody period-epic-drama battle sequences, a shot of Daniel Day-Lewis looking shadowy and distinguished and a brief but promising excerpt of the Gettysburg Address. And then, after all that breathtaking eloquence and period-drama mise-en-scene, the screen goes to white to remind you about the Google Hangout happening this Thursday, featuring Spielberg and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Lincoln’s son Robert Todd. This could actually be a very interesting Google Hangout, but it needs more Lane Pryce as Ulysses S. Grant.

Lincoln begins its wide release on November 16. Watch the teaser below, you can Google Hangout with Steven Spielberg and JGL on Thursday and don’t forget to register to vote, kids. It’s what Honest Abe would have wanted.