‘The Young Pope’ Renewed for Second Season

Worried you weren’t going to get enough scenes of Jude Law wearing a white sunhat and screwing up the Catholic church? You shouldn’t be.

Ahead of it’s premiere, HBO, in partnership with the European production company Sky, has already renewed their sexy religion show for a second season. In it, Law plays a hot American cardinal named Lenny who, in a twist of fate, ends up the new pope. Just to make sure we’re on the same page: Diane Keaton is also in the show, playing a creepy nun.

The show debuts tomorrow in Europe and early 2017 in the US. For serenity’s sake, here’s the trailer again.

Music For Tomorrow Throws Jazz a Lifeline

A generation raised on rock, hip-hop, and house music is maturing, and in that process, discovering and embracing other genres of music. The Darby, with its focal point stage, has exposed the ultra hip set to blues, classics, and jazz. Much of the audience had previously only heard this sound in random cabs, old movies, or on Boardwalk Empire. Jazz is an addiction that I enjoyed for many years. I saw legends like Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis at all costs. I spent nights at Fez and Fat Tuesdays, seeking out that moment when a guy or bunch of unrelated musicians found that perfect sound in some imperfect basement. Music For Tomorrow can provide incredibly talented musicians to spice up holiday parties and other functions on the cheap. It’s a name your price and we’ll see how they can help you type thing. I caught up with Anthony DeFeo, the Executive Director of MFT, and asked him about his organization and the current state of jazz

How did MFT come about?
We launched Music For Tomorrow in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Jazz contributed $300 million to the creative economy of New Orleans, and 90 percent of musicians had left the city. A group of friends including Jude Law and Alexa Pulitzer put together a one-time concert which turned into a lifelong cause to support New Orleans music.

What does it hope to accomplish?
We help you book live music for your events. We help musicians find more gigs. Book a band, create a job. The more gigs we book, the more we can help musicians help themselves.

How did you get involved with MFT?
My friend, Chirag Garg, and I volunteered at an MFT fundraiser. Having grown up singing semi-professionally and playing the alto sax, it felt great to have music back in my life again. I was inspired by the real world impact that MFT has on musicians. We both got more involved, and Chirag is our CFO.

I’m sorry I couldn’t attend the recent event at the Fulton. I haven’t quite figured out how to be in 3 places at one time. Please tell me about it.
Thanks to the Paige Group, C2 Worldwide, and Eventbrite.com, who organized the entire event, because they believe in our cause. We were able to share with event planners an exclusive look at our new jazz booking service. Three bands from our site were showcased, including The Lauren Henderson Quartet, The Mauricio De Souza Latin Trio, and Jonathan Batiste’s Stay Human Band.

Tell me about the events.
We organize showcase events where we feature three 3 acts that you can book on our website for your own party. We fill the music with toe-tapping music, and hope that people come away wanting to book music on our website. We’ve turned soccer bars, hair salons, and flower shops into jazz clubs for a night.

What does the Band Booking Service do?
Our online jazz booking service enables you to book fantastic bands. Name your own price, book a band, enjoy great music. It’s that simple. Book a band, create a job. The more bands that we book, the more jobs we create.

So if I’m throwing a holiday party, how can MFT help me book a band? How do I go about doing this?
Visit musicfortomorrow.org and fill in your gig request, name your price. We’ll check the availability of musicians and provide you a list of who can play your gig.

What’s been the reaction from the musicians?
We’re helping musicians find meaningful work. One musician thanked us recently because we helped him pay rent for the month. That’s powerful.

What have been some recent gigs booked through MFT?
Google, the Whitney Museum and Lucid NYC have booked gigs with our booking service.  The beauty of our web service is that you can make tailor made requests. No gig is too large or too small. Book a soloist, trio, a quartet with vocalists, or a 10 piece New Orleans brass band starting at $100/hr.

What portion of the booking fee goes towards the band and what portion does MFT keep?
100% of the fees go the band.  We ask for a voluntary tip for each booking which funds our minimal operational expense, and everything past cost we’ll eventually allocate to charitable causes. We don’t want your money, we want your gigs! Consider us your jazz butler.  We’re passionate stewards of jazz music looking to generate jobs, stimulate the creative economy, and expose new people to the beauty of jazz music.

How do you choose your musicians?
Bands can easily apply to our service. We listen, review, and ultimately decide. As jazz musicians ourselves, we curate a list of the best bands in New York City. We have over 80 talented bands in the NYC area available, like the fiery Gregorio Uribe Big Band and Iris Ornig’s Quartet. We select bands based on musicianship and reputation. Right now we’re only booking music for the New York City area and Hamptons. We hope to expand to more cities across America.

That’s Quite A Cast There, ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’

So, today we learned a lot of new things about Wes Anderson’s early-20th-century European romp, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which now has a distributor (Anderson fans Fox Searchlight) and something of a plot. In addition to IMDb’s lone sentence about the tribulations of Mr. Gustave, "the hotel’s perfectly-composed concierge," Screen Daily has a bit more substantial information. 

 

"The Grand Budapest Hotel tells of a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars and his friendship with a young employee who becomes his trusted protégé. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the battle for an enormous family fortune and the slow and then sudden upheavals that transformed Europe during the first half of the 20th century."

Wartime friendships? A dysfunctional family? Curious protégés of crazy rich white dudes? Stolen art? Did I mention a dysfunctional family? This is sounding pretty Wes-tacular. But even more characteristically Wes Anderson is the cast, which includes all his favorite pals, and a lot of other marquee names that will probably make this post read like it was done just for SEO purposes.

Returning Anderson-movie alumni include Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe, as well as (deep breath) Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Wilkinson, Bob Balaban, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, F. Murray Abraham and Tony Revolori. Whew. That’s a lot of people. That’s, like, more than are going to fit on one movie poster. Is there going to be some kind of Hunger Games to determine who gets marquee billing or are they going to try and fit everyone? Wow.

[via Indiewire]

Without Warning, Lynne Ramsay Exits ‘Jane Got a Gun’ On the First Day of Production

Hey Lynne Ramsay, where’d you go? The acclaimed director of Ratcatcher and last year’s brutal drama We Need to Talk About Kevin has suddenly exited her latest project—dramatically. Jane Got a Gun, the story of a woman whose outlaw husband who turns to an ex-lover to help defend her husband and farm, was all ready to start rolling yesterday, with cast and crew down in Santa Fe, when Ramsay was nowhere to be found.

And Deadline has reported that the director has apparently taken her name off the project, and aside from recent cast changes, there seems to be no clear reason as to her motives. Michael Fassbinder was originally set to star in the film alongside Natalie Portman but was replaced by Joel Edgerton last week (after walking away from the project), with Jude Law rounding out the cast—but now it looks like the three will have to carry on without the Scottish filmmaker at the helm. And although she has made her swift and costly exit, this is not the end for the project.

Producer Scott Steindorff told Deadline that Ramsay has a pay or play deal and, "I have millions of dollars invested, we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast…I’m shocked and so disappointed someone would do this to 150 crew members who devoted so much time, energy, commitment and loyalty to a project, and then have the director not show up. It is insane somebody would do this to other people. I feel more for the crew and their families, but we are keeping the show going on, directors are flying in, and a replacement is imminent."

So the next big question is who will replace Ramsay for the Brian Duffield-penned film? We’ll be keeping you updated on this one.

Steven Soderbergh Says Film Criticism is Like Air Guitar and His Liberace Movie is ‘Pretty Gay’

Steven Soderbergh isn’t going anywhere. He may be quitting Hollywood to pursue other artistic ventures but the director who has given us 26 films since his 1989 debut, still has a lot to say for himself. "Just to be clear, I won’t be directing ‘cinema,’ for lack of a better word. But I plan to direct—theater stuff, and I’d do a TV series if something great were to come along," Soderbergh told Mary Kate Schilling in an extensive and thought-provoking interview with the 50-year-old director in conjunction with the release of his second to last film (possibly ever) Side Effects.

The article offers a pretty fascinating look into the mind of someone who has not only made some of the best films of the last few decades but has been able to morph his aesthetic into whatever genre his films play into while always giving us his signature fierce, layered, and thrlling sense of life that continues to intruige audiences. Although I reccommend you read the interview in its entirely, here are some of the highlights.

Soderbergh’s thoughts on film criticism:
It’s what Dave Hickey said: It’s air guitar, ultimately. Was it helpful to read Pauline Kael’s work when I was growing up? Absolutely. For a teenager who was beginning to look at movies as something other than just entertainment, her reviews were really interesting. But at a certain point, it’s not useful anymore. I stopped reading reviews of my own films after Traffic, and I find it hard to read any critics now because they are just so easily fooled. From a directorial standpoint, you can’t throw one by me. I know if you know what you’re doing, and, “Wow, critics”—their reading of filmmaking is very superficial. Look, nothing excites me more than a good film. It makes me want to make something good. But I have certain standards, and I don’t grade on a curve. If you want to be a director, I’m going to treat you like I treat everybody. So it’s frustrating when critics praise things that I feel are not up to snuff.

I think [Kael] reading of that stuff was pretty superficial as well. She had a great gift for setting movies in cultural context, but what set her apart from most critics—and especially a lot of critics today—was that she was at her absolute best when she loved something. And that was exciting to read. Nowadays, I find critics to be very facile when they don’t like a film, but when they do like something they get tongue-tied.

On being a filmmaker:
On the few occasions where I’ve talked to film students, one of the things I stress, in addition to learning your craft, is how you behave as a person. For the most part, our lives are about telling stories. So I ask them, “What are the stories you want people to tell about you?” Because at a certain point, your ability to get a job could turn on the stories people tell about you. The reason [then–Universal Pictures chief] Casey Silver put me up for [1998’s] Out of Sight after I’d had five flops in a row was because he liked me personally. He also knew I was a responsible filmmaker, and if I got that job, the next time he’d see me was when we screened the movie. If I’m an asshole, then I don’t get that job. Character counts. That’s a long way of saying, “If you can be known as someone who can attract talent, that’s a big plus.”

The worst development in filmmaking—particularly in the last five years—is how badly directors are treated. It’s become absolutely horrible the way the people with the money decide they can fart in the kitchen, to put it bluntly. It’s not just studios—it’s anyone who is ­financing a film. I guess I don’t understand the assumption that the director is presumptively wrong about what the audience wants or needs when they are the first audience, in a way. And probably got into making movies ­because of being in that audience. But an alarming thing I learned during Contagion is that the people who pay to make the movies and the audiences who see them are actually very much in sync. I remember during previews how upset the audience was by the Jude Law character. The fact that he created a sort of mixed reaction was viewed as a flaw in the filmmaking. Not, “Oh, that’s interesting, I’m not sure if this guy is an asshole or a hero.” People were really annoyed by that. And I thought, Wow, so ambiguity is not on the table anymore. They were angry.

On transitioning to directing theater:
We’ve talked about what skill set is transferable from one to the other. But whatever I do in the theater, the pieces have to be original pieces. In order for me to take advantage of what I can do, it would be pointless for me to do straight plays or revivals. The projects have to be something that I’ve been involved in creating from scratch, so I can use the sensibility I’ve developed as a filmmaker. I don’t have the background in pure stage craft. 

I just saw this great production at the Irish Rep—“A Celebration of Harold Pinter,” starring Julian Sands.  I like Pinter a lot, maybe because his work reminds me of my own home growing up. There was all this unspoken heaviness going on, but everything happened off camera. We knew my parents weren’t getting along, but they kept it to themselves, which was in fact a very generous thing for them to have done. And good for my career!

On the inspiration for Magic Mike and Matthew McConaughey’s character:
Saturday Night Fever was our model. It’s one of those movies people remember differently than what was actually true. Going back, we were startled by how dark it gets. This girl is being raped in the back seat of the car, and Travolta doesn’t really do anything, he just drives around. He does things that you probably wouldn’t want your protagonist doing today.

Matthew understood the part so well and had such good ideas that I had no desire to box him in. So I just said yes to everything, which turned out to be the right way to go. I think the only note I gave him, when I first pitched him the part on the phone, was that his character believed in UFOs…It wasn’t a way of diminishing the character. It was actually the opposite. My mom was a parapsychologist, so I grew up around that stuff.

On his upcoming HBO film Behind the Candelabra:
It was really fun. The world of it was just bananas. It was great to see Michael [Douglas] and Matt [Damon] jump off the cliff together. Nobody can accuse them of being shy. They just went for it. It’s pretty gay.

On other filmmakers he’s interested in:
Shane Carruth. He did the film Primer, and he’s got a terrific new movie at Sundance. And I’m acting as a presenter on the new Godfrey Reggio film [Visitors], which is exciting. I mean, this is a guy who doesn’t build a film based on other things he’s seen, like I do. It’s his own thing.

Everyone works in their own way. And as is often the case with people who are unique, the problem isn’t Terrence Malick or Quentin Tarantino, the problem is all the people who came after them and want to be Terrence Malick and Quentin Tarantino. But that’s the way it’s always been.

On his work as a painter:
I go back and forth between portraits and abstracts. I’m not really interested in landscapes or still life. I’m more attracted to faces. In fact, whenever I think of a film I’m about to make, I see a face with a certain expression on it. For my photography, I’ve been studying the work of Duane Michals. He’s famous for these photo ­sequences, which tell stories in a cinematic way. I bought a few of his books, and I’ve begun to think about sequences of my own that suggest a narrative.

I’m always curious to hear how something was made—though I have no interest in why an artist did something, or what his work means. Like with Jackson Pollock: I’m always interested in what kind of paint and canvas he used, I just don’t want to know what he meant. You’re supposed to expand your mind to fit the art, you’re not supposed to chop the art down to fit your mind.

Read the rest here.

Check Out the Thrilling New UK Trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’

Steven Soderbegh really knows how to churn ’em out. Fresh off the heat of this summer’s Magic Mike, his latest feature, the psycho-pharmaceutical thriller Side Effects, is set to open on February 8th in the U.S. We’ve seen a trailer for the film and slew of promotional material, but with the release of a new UK trailer we get a peak at a wealth of new footage, previewing the narrative more coherently while showing off the provocative, more disturbed aspects of the film. Starring Rooney Mara, Channign Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Jude Law, Side Effects tells the story of successful young couple Emily and Martin (Mara and Tatum), whose world begins to unravel when Emily is prescribed a new drug intended to treat her anxiety. The side effects in question lead the story down a dark path as they become entangled in a web of psychological turmoil.

Check out the new trailer for the film below.

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Talking With Director Joe Wright About His New ‘Anna Karenina’

Many consider Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to be the greatest novel ever written. Not surprisingly, it’s been adapted for film many times over. Today marks the opening of a new take at the classic love story, this time starring Keira Knightley as the doomed Anna, Aaron Johnson as her young lover, Vronsky, and Jude Law as Anna’s dull and cuckolded husband. But what makes the film special is director Joe Wright (who has had success with two other recent book-to-film adaptations, Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, both starring Knightley) and screenwriter Tom Stoppard’s decision to set all of the action of the gossipy 19th Century Russian aristocrats entirely on stage, giving this well-known story a fresh look.

I sat down with Wright last week for a brief chat about his desire to bring a new Anna to the screen, his love for the source material, and his conceptual take on a classic love story.

Where you just such a fan of the book that gave you the inspiration to tackle another adaptation of the book?
I just found that I was at a point in life where Levin and this mediation on love that Tolstoy had put down for us began to feel even more pertinent and relevant. I read it and just wanted to spend time with it, really. I was also a big fan of Tom Stoppard and wanted to spend time with him and learn from him, as well, so I approached him and was he interested in adapting it with me. So that was the beginning of the journey.

I’ve read that the theatricality of the film—the stage setting in which you placed the film—was a decision made fairly late in the creative process. What was the revelation that sparked that?
It came out of this desire to find a form of filmmaking that allowed me to get closer to the emotional lives of the characters. I think period films often get so caught up in historical reenactment that it distracts in the end from the characters’ lives, and people, including myself, find them quote cold and sort of distancing. I wanted to find a way of focusing on just the essence of the story and the essence of the characters. And so to do that, I thought if I stripped away the stuff that wasn’t really about the story—the physical house or the carriage, you know—then I might achieve something that had modernity and directness and a communication of the essence.

There were many musical qualities to the film, but it never felt like a filmed play. Did you have any experience in directing theater?
I don’t have any directing experience, but my parents had a puppet theatre in Islington, London. There was a theater and a workshop next to our house where the puppets and scenery were made, so it was this kind of complete little magical world that seemed to exist all on its own. And so I think this film is closer to that kind of childhood aesthetic than any I’ve made before. Another influence on the movie was Jan Svankmajer, the Czech animator that made Alice. He has this incredible kind of handmade aesthetic and is constantly playing with scale and I enjoy those kind of visual motifs.

I started reading the book after I saw the film, and I’m impressed that you’ve been able to balance the second storyline of Levin and Kitty so well.
I think that without that story, Anna’s story doesn’t make sense. The book is a meditation on love in all its many forms. Anna’s love is deeply flawed, as is Anna, really. She’s not the heroine that she’s been held up to be. She’s almost an anti-heroine—but I mean almost. For me, Levin and Kitty’s story is the point of the book. I think the title is misleading; I think it should be called “A Group of Interesting People Battling With the Challenges of Love in 1870s Russia.” But that’s not as catchy. But it’s really an ensemble piece, and Levin’s story is important because he gives us not the answers, but the resolution. He finds us at the end and takes us up and shows us that it’s a book about love and a book about humanness—about how to be human and the idea that love can teach us how to be human. And that is a kind of spiritual path, although I’m not talking about religion.

Did you look at any other previous film adaptations of the novel?
The only one I watched was the 1935 film with Greta Garbo. I was interested when I saw that film to see that they had cut Levin, and therefore they had to make Anna this kind of big romantic heroine. It is a love story, but her love is founded on something that isn’t necessarily real. So I saw how that didn’t work. There’s one kind of gender reversal moment that Tom and I took from that film, which we thought was quite fun. There’s the famous scene, where Garbo’s Anna gets off the train and emerges through the steam to see Oblonsky; in our film, we did it the other way around and had Anna get off the train and Oblonsky emerge through the steam, which we thought was kind of fun.

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Radiohead, Jude Law Will Make You Feel Guilty About The Polar Bears

Do you feel sad for polar bears? Do you feel sad for polar bears RIGHT NOW? No? Then Radiohead and Jude Law have a PSA they would like you to watch. It will have you feeling guilty right quick.

 

 

Greenpeace recruited Radiohead (for music) and Jude Law (for guilt-inducing voiceover work) for a clever yet depressing video about homeless polar bears. A fluffly and adorable wanders around some crap parts of London, scavenging the garbage heap for food and sticking his snoot in his exhaust pipe, which blows a load of exhaust in his face. Don’t stick your snoot in the exhaust pipe, stupid bear! It’s bad for you.

The message, you see, is that we must save the Arctic or else the polar bears will be homeless. And possibly lunching on small children at Charring Cross. (Although, let’s be honest: Sarah Palin would be aerial gunning the shit out of that scenario.) It’s just as depressing as it sounds. But, hey — Radiohead music!

Snooze Alert: ‘Anna Karenina’ Comes Back to the Big Screen

Hey, Russian Lit majors and Oprah Book Club members! Anna Karenina, a really long book about love and death and Russia (those three typically go hand-in-hand), has been adapted into a brand-spanking-new Oscar-baiting film by Pride and Prejucide and Atonement director Joe Wright. True to form, Wright pulls his usual leading lady Keira Knightley back into his web (after giving her a break from starring in the miserable Hanna) and has cast her in the title role. Also on board is Jude Law with a creepy mustache! 

Here’s the gushy trailer for the new adaptation:

Once again, Wright has turned out what appears to be a Chanel ad, full of heightened drama and needless camera angles and shots that only show off his technical abilities. I guess you have to make this story exciting somehow, huh? At least he didn’t follow in Baz Luhrmann’s footsteps and avoided any Jay-Z/Tolstoy mash-ups. But it will certainly be long. And sad, unless the idea of Keira Knightley throwing herself in front of a train excites you in some way. (Yes, for those of you who didn’t make it through the Cliff’s Notes, it has a very sad ending!) 

(via Indiewire)