BlackBook Interview: Natalie Walker’s Twitter Auditions Are Required Viewing

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Photography: Alex Schaefer

 

If you’re not following Natalie Walker’s Twitter movie audition videos, are you even on Twitter?

The actress and writer has blown up online for her mock auditions cleverly critiquing the lack of interesting roles for women in big budget films, while still getting to show off her impressive chops as a character actor, with performances like:

 

and…

 

Fresh off her exciting tales with the most talented high school actors in the country, we caught up with Walker about her thoughts on the film industry and how she’d create a blockbuster film with real grit. Read on.

 

How’d these videos come to be?

Voracious media consumption – I have just seen so many movies now that these tropes are all bouncing around in my head…combined with profound malaise. I’d get asked to do table reads of scripts and the call would be “Natalie, I am putting together a table read and there’s a part that’s PERFECT for you, so so funny!” – but then the role would be “crazy girl who wants to fuck the male lead so bad it’s comical.” And then I would go to some miserable audition where they didn’t like the way I dressed or said my face was too animated or something and at a certain point, I just felt like, Jesus Christ, I think I am good and all the gatekeepers are saying no, but maybe the gatekeepers are bad because I have seen some of the gatekeepers’ things and I do not like the stuff they are keeping behind those gates. The videos then killed two birds with one stone in that I got to share gripes about movies in a way that felt more productive than bellowing “I HATE THIS THING” into the Twitter void, and I got to act.

Do you have any other video ideas that have not been made yet that you can share?

Oh, absolutely, and then maybe this will get the men who routinely tweet me trope requests – despite paying me neither in money nor opportunities for career advancement – off my back for awhile, knowing I already have some on deck. I have the dead wife who exists in dreamy Vaseline-lens flashback, to show us why our hero is sad and motivate him later on. I have a white lady solving racism in a girly way in a very feminist movie written by white men. I’ve got the love interest in a movie made for nerdboys who shows she is Not Just Any Love Interest because she eyerolls a lot and makes a sarcastic comment every now and then.

Favorite actors?

Charlize Theron. Angela Bassett. Parker Posey. Emily Blunt. Viola Davis. Julianne Moore. Sandra Oh. Margo Martindale. I am unfamiliar with male actors’ work, but I hear good things!

Dream scene partners?

I could probably Single White Female Aubrey Plaza in something; it is important to me that I kiss Oscar Isaac once before I die; and I would love it if Julia Louis-Dreyfus played my mom at some point.

Favorite films?

All About Eve. Pleasantville. Boogie Nights. Wet Hot American Summer. Get Out. Defending Your Life. Drop Dead Gorgeous. Carol. Pariah. Lady Bird. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Marie Antoinette. Paddington 2. Pretty much any movie where the closing credits are set to “September” or “This Will Be.”

 

 

Favorite role you have already played onstage?

Sally Bowles in Cabaret. I did it just last year, and have not stopped thinking about it since. She’s the epitome of white feminism to me (e.g. won’t take any hard stances against racism or nationalism because she’d rather have a good time and be liked by everyone), so even though the production was set in period, it excited me to view her through that very post-2016 lens. Certainly found a few modern celebrities to draw inspiration from.

Upcoming projects?

My best friend/platonic husband Heath Saunders and I are doing a duo show at 54 Below at 9:30 on Friday, August 31st, which thrills me because he is so good at singing that I could truly abandon the stage and go to the bar across the street and people would say the show was tremendous. After that, a lot of writing here and there! And getting things in place for a show all of my very own in late autumn/early winter. People have told me to do a solo show forever, but I’ve been wary after years of being forced to attend mindnumbingly banal “and THAT’s what I’ve learned from MY time as an ACTOR in NEW YORK!” cabarets.

What initially made you want to be an actress?

My sister was born and stole all of the attention that had been rightfully mine before. I tried first to kill her – by asking to hold her and then slowly, methodically squeezing her to the point of suffocation while repeating “love the baby” – but was thwarted by our shared mother in a devastating betrayal. So then I got proactive about figuring out a different way to make everybody focus on me, and it turned out to be doing voices and recreating all the performances I saw my parents enjoy on TV.

 

 

Assemble your dream writer/ director/ cast/ plot theme for a blockbuster film you’re starring in.

Blockbuster is difficult because I am more into indies with at least one scene where a woman screams and cries behind the wheel of a parked car; but if the people want a blockbuster, here is my pitch: I am a grown-up Veruca Salt. I have spent years off the grid after a narrow escape from the Wonka Factory massacre and now I return to exact revenge on the people who wronged and punished me for being a young woman unafraid to voice my desires. I weaponize the factory against Charlie and Wonka. I shove cotton candy right into some guy’s eyeballs or something. Cars explode. I think somehow Lexi Alexander, Greta Gerwig, and Taika Waititi all join forces on the creative side of it, collaborating on the writing and directing and combining their aesthetics. Grown-up Charlie must be played by a sad sensitive boy with a punchable face, which I think Evan Peters does very well on Pose. Wonka, probably John C. Reilly, who still deserves an Oscar for Walk Hard. Oh, and as I set out on my journey I seek out and team up with fellow survivor Violet Beauregarde, and she’s played by Janelle Monae.

If you weren’t going to be an actor/writer, what would you be?

If I still have all the skills I have now, I think probably do ASMR videos on YouTube. To get monetized for rubbing sandpaper together and pretending to put makeup on someone? Phenomenal. However, if not being an actor/writer sets off a Butterfly Effect timeline, where I grow up being good at other things, then the sky is the limit! Maybe I have a driver’s license in that universe.

Important scenes/Broadway moment YouTube clips for rookies to watch?

ACTRESS ACTING ON FILM: Madeline Kahn in everything, but specifically “I’m Tired” from Blazing Saddles, for the moment when she goes to lazily place her hand on a part of the wall that is not there, so you get a sense of her laser precision.

 

Then you can watch her monologue from Paper Moon and marvel at the detailed beat work.

Then do the rightly universally beloved “flames” Clue moment because it was improvised when she forgot her exact line, so you can compare and contrast her extemporaneous brilliance with the carefully calculated performances you just watched.

“ACTRESS ACTING ON STAGE: “Alabama Song” from The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny as performed by Audra McDonald.
That little laugh after “we’ve LOST”? Coming down from the most unearthly gorgeous voice you have ever heard? Come on. She’s everything. That she is also wearing the exact same wig that the Mamma Mia universe leads us to believe Christine Baranski wore for 30 years is a bonus.

10 Moms That Will Make You Even More Grateful For Yours This Mother’s Day

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With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we’re all feeling grateful for our beloved moms. But just in case you weren’t, we decided to round up 10 of Hollywood’s most horrible mothers to make you extra happy about yours. Afterwards, we think you might want to reconsider being stingy on your gift this year.

 

Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest

 

 

Who can forget Hollywood’s most iconic bad mom? Starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest is supposedly the real life depiction of growing up with Joan. All I know is, never use wire hangers — or else.

 

Mrs. Bates in Psycho

 

 

Oh, mother. Norman Bates’ mom in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller, Psycho, kind of gets an unfair rap. Sure, the lady raised a serial killer with a serious Oedipus complex, but she’s not the real murderer in the film. Spoiler alert: Norman is — he just has a split personality and kills to please “Mother.” In reality, she was his first victim.

 

Margaret White in Carrie

 

 

Margaret White is the hyper-religious, seriously abusive and totally disturbed mother in Carrie. Not only does she eventually try to kill her daughter, but she also kept her locked in a tiny closet for most of her life. But don’t worry kiddos, ol’ Maggie gets hers in the end, when Carrie telekinetically kills her.

 

Kate McCallister in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

 

 

Kate McCallister from the Home Alone franchise left for vacation and forgot her son not once, but twice. Luckily, Kevin was practically an evil mastermind, and really good at forging weapons from household items.

 

Mrs. Vorhees in Friday the 13th

 

 

Mrs. Vorhees from the Friday the 13th movies could actually be considered a good mom, depending how you look at it. Yeah, she’s a mass murderer, but only because she wants vengeance for her son Jason.

 

Other Mother in Coraline

 

 

Talk about the grass being greener. When Coraline get sick of her mother’s incessant nagging and busy schedule, she ends up finding comfort in an alternate universe version of her mom called her “Other Mother.” Of course, Other Mother is actually a monster who lures kids to her world by being a perfect mom. Then she steals their souls.

 

Gladys Leeman in Drop Dead Gorgeous

 

 

Gladys Leeman will do anything for her daughter Becky in the 1999 dramedy Drop Dead Gorgeous — even kill her fellow beauty pageant contestants. But aside from being a ruthless killer, I imagine she was also a really awful stage mom.

 

Zinnia Wormwood in Matilda

 

 

Poor Matilda. She’s stuck with The Trunchbull at school and at home, she’s got Zinnia Wormwood for a mother. The self-centered (and generally shady) mom doesn’t let Matilda do anything. Her one redeeming moment is when she gives the kid up for adoption. But that’s only because her and her husband were trying to evade the FBI by moving to Guam, and didn’t really want to take her.

 

Mrs. Loomis in Scream 2

 

 

Like Mrs. Voorhees, Mrs. Loomis could also be seen as a good mother. Well, not really. But no one can say she wasn’t dedicated. Yes, she did leave Billy while he was in high school, but eventually returned to seek revenge on Sid after his death. “Was that a negative, disparaging remark about my Billy?”

 

Max Conners in Heartbreakers

 

 

Heartbreakers is about a mother-daughter con artist duo who marry old men to inherit their money. So, yeah, probably not the best mom to begin with. But when her daughter Page actually falls in love, Max decides to seduce him. Why? To prove no one loves Page but her. Because yeah, that makes sense.

 

So, even if you’re not totally crazy about your mom, be happy that she’s not just totally crazy. Or, you know, a serial killer. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Watch the Trailer for the New McQueen Documentary Premiering at TriBeCa This Weekend

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When it comes to fashion, there’s only ever been one Alexander McQueen. His edgy, avant-garde looks and radical runway presentations throughout the ’90s and early-to-mid-’00s constantly pushed boundaries and reinvented shapes, catapulting the volatile young designer to infamy and accolades.

When he took his own life in 2010 at just 40-years-old, the fashion world was devastated by the loss of such an inimitable genius. And McQueen, the new documentary by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, will at last give genuine insight into his life and creative process.

 

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Born in London, the designer graduated from Central Saint Martins before taking over the position of head designer at Givenchy and launching his eponymous brand. By the time he was in his thirties, he had won the “British Designer of the Year” award four different times. Beyond his innovative design approach, McQueen completely redefined fashion – and the fashion show – as we’d come to understand it. Whether he was recreating a shipwreck (S/S ’03), using models in a game of human chess (S/S ’05), or programming robots to spray-paint supermodel Shalom Harlow at the end of the runway (S/S ’99), he never saw fashion as just a way to make pretty clothes (though his designs were definitely so). For Alexander McQueen, everything was art.

In the film, Bonhôte and Ettedgui capture this through archival footage, never-before-seen photographs and interviews with the designer’s closest friends and family. Premiering this weekend at TriBeCa Film Festival, McQueen paints a powerful portrait of one of his generation’s most influential artists.

Watch the trailer, below.

 

 

Photos courtesy of ‘McQueen;’ Buy tickets here.

 

‘Boom For Real’ Chronicles Basquiat’s Life as a Homeless NYC Teen (Watch)

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Photo by Alexis Adler

 

Everyone knows the name Jean-Michel Basquiat. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, he became one of the world’s most influential artists, responsible for revolutionizing the New York art scene by popularizing street art and promoting a radical, political message. But before his paintings were selling for $110,000,00 at auction, Basquiat was living as a homeless teen in NYC’s East Village.

A new documentary, Boom For Real, explores this pivotal time in the artist’s life, which undoubtedly impacted his work and career. From the prevalence of drugs, crime and violence that he witnessed (in the documentary, director Sara Driver shows how his famous tag “SAMO” came from Basquiat seeing the “same ‘ol shit”), to his experiences with class struggle, these themes were at the center of the artist’s work until his untimely death in 1988. While most of the other films about the painter, like Tamra Davis’ 2010 Radiant Child documentary, touch on Basquiat’s career and the effect he’s had on contemporary art, Boom For Real sheds light on his life before fame, and how those experiences shaped him as an artist.

In theaters May 11. Watch the trailer, below.

 

 

10 Artists You Have To See At This Year’s Armory Show

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Nam June Paik, ‘Megatron Matrix’, photo courtesy of Ryan Somma

 

The Armory is basically the Coachella of the art world – well, sans the ecstasy and the floral headbands. But anyone who’s anyone (or has ever been at some point in time) will gather at Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan to browse New York’s largest art fair and see work from both emerging and legendary global artists.

Since that can be a bit overwhelming, we’ve done you a solid and put together a list of 10 artists you won’t want to miss at this year’s show. Trust us.

 

Douglas Coupland at Daniel Faria

 

‘Tsunami Chest,’ 2017, photo courtesy of Daniel Faria Gallery

 

Postmodern artist and fiction author Douglas Coupland is known for subverting pop culture and military imagery, in part due to his time growing up in a military family throughout the Cold War. Fascinated by Andy Warhol and the whole Pop Art movement, Coupland explores the darker side of popular culture through installation and sculpture.

Gilbert & George at Ropac

 

‘Beardache,’ 2016, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Collaborative art duo Gilbert & George are known for their highly formalized performance art practice, as well as their, um, not so formal photography work. Their ongoing photo series, referred to as The Pictures, features large scale back-lit images of everything from skinheads to semen, and a whole lot of beards.

 

Kyle Meyer at Yossi Milo

 

From ‘Interwoven,’ 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Kyle Meyer is a photographer, sculptor and mixed media artist who uses digital photography and a variety of handmade techniques, such as weaving, to explore connectivity in the digital age. For his series, Interwoven, Meyer hand-wove over photographs to celebrate flamboyance, homosexuality and femme-identifying men in a hyper-masculine culture.

 

Cammie Staros at Shulamit Nazarian

 

‘All Quiver and Shake,’ 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Sculptor Camme Staros creates handmade objects that juxtapose modernism with antiquity and craft. Joining traditional materials like clay and ceramics with modern details like neon and steel, Staros examines the “semiotic systems” that have been “created and reinforced throughout art history.”

 

Etel Adnan at Gallery Continua

 

‘Five Senses for One Death,’ 1969, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Lebanese-American poet, writer and painter Etel Adnan crafts abstract oil paintings and landscapes inspired by Japanese leporellos that extend into space “like free-hand drawings.” In 2014, Adnan’s work was also included in the Whitney Biennial.

 

Nam June Paik at Gagosian

 

‘Lion,’ 2005, photo courtesy of Gagosian

 

Probably the most exciting artist on this list (at least for us), Nam June Paik is credited with being the founder of video art. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Paik began his career as a musician as part of the Fluxus movement in 1960. After moving to New York in 1964, he began experimenting with film, combining his musical works with video sculptures constructed of wire and metal. Before his death in 2006, Paik was known as an early adopter of technology, including his famous robots built of out multiple computers. In fact, he’s also credited with using the term “electronic super highway” as early as 1974. Damn.

 

Alicja Kwade at i8 Gallery

 

‘Computer (Power Mac),’ 2017, photo courtesy of i8 Gallery

 

Polish artist Alicja Kwade works in sculpture, installation, photography and film. Throughout all of her work, however, she likes to play with value systems, transforming useless materials like wood or glass into high value pieces of art.

 

Jinshi Zhu at Pearl Lam

 

‘A Tiger Shaped Tally,’ 2016, photo courtesy of Pearl Lam Gallery

 

Painter Jinshi Zhu creates abstract oil paintings focused on texture, through endless layers of color and paint. Inspired by the German Expressionist movement and their unconventional techniques, Zhu often creates these layers using a spatula or shovel.

 

The Haas Brothers at R & Company

 

‘Socrata Floor Lamps and Furries’, photo courtesy of the artists

 

Twins Nikolai and Simon Haas have worked in pretty much every medium, from music and film to installation and visual art. Now focused mostly on their sculpture and installation work, The Haas Brothers highlight themes including sexuality, science fiction, psychedelia and politics.

Jeffrey Gibson at Roberts Projects

 

‘Power Power Power,’ 2017, photo courtesy of Roberts Projects

 

Artist Jeffrey Gibson relates his experience as a Native American growing up in a Western culture into large scale paintings and woven sculpture. Also inspired by dance and movement, from pow-wows to nightclubs and the work of Leigh Bowery, Gibson examines nostalgia, heritage and pre-colonized Native American life.

 

Oh, and if looking at all this great art makes you hungry, check out our guide to The Armory’s pop-up restaurants.

 

Watch These Spooky Previews for British Horror Film ‘Ghost Stories’

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Today may be the spookiest day of the year, but some spooks are better left for later. Take the new British horror film Ghost Stories, which debuted to rave reviews at the London Film Festival. As you might’ve guessed from the generic title, this is a film about ghost stories…but it actually looks great.

Directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, who also plays a character named Professor Goodman, the film revolves around a skeptic investigating three cases of alleged hauntings who just wants to find out the truth. Naturally, this leads to a lot of weird, scary shit.

It also leads to Sherlock actor Martin Freeman, who stars alongside Black Mirror’s Alex Lawther, Jill Halfpenny and Paul Whitehouse. The spooky little film will release on Friday the 13th, in April 2018 – so, until then, sit back and enjoy these three teaser trailers.

 

Chance the Rapper, Steve from ‘Stranger Things’ Star in a Pizza Murder Film

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You’d be forgiven for missing the news that Chance the Rapper is in a horror movie called Slice, because it’s news to us. Two years ago, the movie’s director Austin Vesley announced the project and cited The Joker as an inspiration for Chance’s character; then, a year ago, Chance posted a teaser for the film on his Twitter. Besides that, details have been scarce­ – until now.

Well, okay, so not really. The preview for the film features only literal slices (clever) from the film, but does introduce more cast members. Alongside Chance the Joker, we have Atlanta and Deadpool 2 actress Zazie Beetz and Joe Keery, who you just fawned over as Steve in the new season of Stranger Things.

So what exactly is Slice? According to Variety, it “takes place in a mysterious city, and centers around an enigmatic outlaw framed for a killing spree that targets unsuspecting pizza delivery boys.” Considering Keery’s biggest role outside of Stranger Things has been a Pizza Hut commercial, this seems like a perfect fit. Maybe now they can give us a full trailer.

 

Scare Yourself With These Chilling Horror Screenings Around NYC This Weekend

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It’s a big weekend in the (even) Big(ger) Apple, and there’s plenty of Halloween activities for every spook enthusiast. If you’re not looking to dance the night away in one of New York City’s many All Hallow’s Eve-themed parties, try one of the creepy screenings instead:

Happening around Midnight Tonight:

Alien, at IFC Center in the West Village. $15.
Spirited Away, at Landmark Sunshine on the LES. $12.
The Elephant Man, at IFC Center. $15.
The Exorcist: Extended Director’s Cutat IFC Center. $15.
The Greasy Stranglerat Nitehawk in Williamsburg. $12.
Train to Busanat IFC Center. $15.
Under the Shadow, at IFC Center. $15

PopRally presents The Exorcist, at the MoMa in midtown. $18.

Screen Slate present The Medium is the Massacrea horror film series, at the Anthology Film Archives in the East Village. $11 adults, $9 students/ seniors.

For more Halloween screenings, visit The Skint.

Disney to Make Don Quixote Film

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It looks like the Man of La Mancha will finally be getting the spotlight.

Disney is making a film adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ 1607 classic, says The Hollywood ReporterBilly Ray (The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips) is set to write the script.

Don Quixote follows the tale of an unimportant aristocrat, Alanso Quixano, who deludes himself into thinking he’s a chivalrous night, and embarks on a foolish quest with his squat neighbor, Sancho. The crew find themselves in some unexpectedly funny and dangerous situations.

The plan, then, is to make Don Quixote in a similar style to Pirates of the Caribbean, which, lest we forget, took a supernatural period piece and turned it into a billion dollar series of films and an entire franchise.

Filmmaker Terry Gilliam has unsuccessfully been attempting a Quixote film since the 1990s, first with Johnny Depp at the helm, then Ewan McGregor, and now, in his latest attempts, Adam Driver, though he’s yet to find financing, Vulture reports.