Kathryn Bigelow

85th Academy Awards Nominations Luncheon - Inside

Runny that the true American is actually a British actor but other than that, wow, check this out:

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow and Annapurna Pictures have reteamed on a film based on the non-fiction book THE TRUE AMERICAN by NEW YORK TIMES journalist Anand Giridharadas. Tom Hardy is set to star. Bigelow will direct and produce the film through her production shingle, First Light. Annapurna’s Megan Ellison, who previously worked with Bigelow as a producer on ZERO DARK THIRTY, is set to produce. Annapurna’s Matthew Budman, who co-produced ZERO DARK THIRTY, will serve as Executive Producer.

THE TRUE AMERICAN meticulously reconstructs two lives that collided in horrific fashion. In the charged, angry days after 9/11, self-styled “American Terrorist” Mark Stroman murdered two immigrants in Texas, while a third man survived being shot in the head during Stroman’s spree: Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force veteran, was working at a Dallas-area convenience store as he established himself in America.

With Stroman identified and apprehended, the tale begins its tack toward deeper emotional waters. THE TRUE AMERICAN is a richly detailed, affecting account of two men bound, as it turns out, by more than just an act of violence.

The deal was brokered by Annapurna’s Paul Hanson and Christopher Corabi with CAA, which represents Rais Uddin Bhuiyan and Anand Giridharadas, as well as Bigelow and Hardy. Anand is represented for publishing by Katherine Flynn at Kneerim Williams and Bloom. Bigelow’s attorney is Warren Dern of Sloane Offer Weber & Dern; Hardy is represented by Lindy King at United Agents in the U.K. and attorney Jason Sloane of Sloane Offer Weber & Dern.

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The New York Film Critics Circle Awards

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

If you want to win an Oscar for Best Picture now, make an old fashioned Hollywood movie.  But make sure it is easy on the eye, entertaining and not too challenging.  Don’t let there be any controversy attached to it. And never remind us of the complexities in human nature. Focus on the positive. People are good. People do good things. Isn’t the world a nice place to be?  On the flipside there’s Zero Dark Thirty, which has to be judged on its own merits as a film.  The facts about the torture — whether it happened, whether it didn’t — can be had at a different time. What we have before us is a work of art.

Zero Dark Thirty was so upsetting it seemed to go even beyond the torture debate. I began to wonder, would people have been so personally pissed off if the director of Zero Dark Thirty had been a man? Moreover, if the lead character had been played by George Clooney do you think it would have changed anything? Would the movie be less threatening? Would sticking to the status quo have enabled people to fall in line and accept it?  Would the critics have rushed to give it their top prizes to begin with but then abandon it just as fast when the water got too high?

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Bigelow rides the wave...interview is here.

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In an eloquently written column by director Kathryn Bigelow she directly addresses the many criticisms against Zero Dark Thirty:

“Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue. As for what I personally believe, which has been the subject of inquiries, accusations and speculation, I think Osama bin Laden was found due to ingenious detective work. Torture was, however, as we all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. That doesn’t mean it was the key to finding Bin Laden. It means it is a part of the story we couldn’t ignore. War, obviously, isn’t pretty, and we were not interested in portraying this military action as free of moral consequences.”

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Kathryn Bigelow, doing the best work of her career at 61.

It’s a crowded Oscar season for great films. But it’s a good thing everyone had Zero Dark Thirty’s place in line because it is easily one of the year’s most memorable.  Zero Dark Thirty joins Lincoln, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Master to tell memorable, vital American stories. It perhaps seems silly to single them out for that reason but after two years of international players in the Oscar race it’s thrilling to have some home grown talent knocking it out of the park.

I will write a more formal review later but some quick thoughts:

1. Jessica Chastain gives far and away the best performance of the year by any actress, at least here in the US — internationally, she gets competition from Emannuelle Riva and Marion Cotillard. It helps that Bigelow and Boal designed the whole movie around her character, not framing her behind, depending on, flirting with any man but instead, holding her own. She’s the smartest one in the room, the most confident and the reason we ultimately “get” Bin Laden. Last year and this year, the Oscar best picture nominees have mostly centered around a male figure whose redemption is the most important thing in the film. Well, for once the opposite is true and it’s breathtaking.

2. They don’t back off the barbarism of torture or of murder. Period. Anyone who thinks this is a movie that gives us a kill fantasy is wrong. The way Bigelow and Boal walked the line of the horrors of the Iraq war, so too do they now give us both sides of our so-called war on terror and the hunt for Bin Laden. Are the torture scenes too much? That’s the reality – the horror of it, the presumed necessity for it, and the complicated relationship our military and CIA have with it.  To have made it more palatable would have been a lie. Bigelow’s characters endure it, and so must we. It’s important to know all that it took to pull this thing off.

3. Bigelow directs the shit out of this movie. The Bin Laden raid involves some of the most exciting scenes put on film this year or any year.

4. Boal’s dialogue stands out more this time, with one zinger after another. He must take the lead in the original screenplay race, I’m guessing.

5. Bigelow wanted Chastain for the role, which meant waiting and juggling schedules. Worth the wait. Chastain is a revelation.

Is that enough hyperbole for you? I will be writing plenty more later, but I’m guessing Best Actress is a showdown between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. Both are very good. The stronger Best Picture contender may end up taking that prize but Chastain carries the whole movie. We shall see how that one plays out.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, continuing their ongoing bombardment of the Obama administration (wasting endless amounts of time and money doing so), sued the CIA and the Department of Defense to force them into showing how much access was provided to Kathryn Bigelow and Marc Boal for their upcoming film about Osama Bin Laden. Trust me, my friends, if the inefficient Bush administration had killed Osama Bin Laden as they should have done no “conservative watchdog group” would be crying foul here.

“I find this recent document discovery troubling,” said [Peter] King in a statement this morning. “The Obama Administration’s extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration with these filmmakers is a serious matter that deserves serious scrutiny.”

Peter King chairs the Homeland Security Committee, according to this source.

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