VERA FARMIGA REACHES FOR ‘HIGHER GROUND,’ DISCUSSES DIRECTING JOURNEY

vera5Vera Farmiga, an Oscar nominee for Jason Reitman’s nuanced drama Up in the Air, tries her hand at directing with her latest feature Higher Ground.  Based on Carolyn S. Briggs’ memoir This Dark World, the story focuses on the challenging and complex faith journey of Corinne Walker (played by Farmiga).

“The challenges really came in the editing room,” says Farmiga about the directing process.  “The film directs itself. The first impact as a director is choice. Casting is everything and so is choosing your collaborators as far as department heads.  The producers gave me a lot of slack, I just had those kind of producers.  Half of them were European and they believe in the auteur, the director’s vision.  I could communicate what my approach to the story would be and once they understood it, they kind of gave me free reign, which is unusual and far-fetched.”

Farmiga also has an interesting insight on why movie actors tend to be put on a pedestal:

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GWYNETH PALTROW’S CAREER DEMAND: “I WANT TO BE INSPIRED”

CONTAGION Gwyneth Paltrow’s film career is still going strong after 20 years, but obviously, with a family, one’s priorities tend to shift.

“I didn’t work when I had them,” says Paltrow.  “And you know, I only do one film a year.  And other than that time that I like to give myself, I’m at everything.  I pick them up every day, and take them every day.  I do everything for them.  I’m – homework, bath, everything.  When I’m home, I’m extremely 100% present and I do everything.”

Last seen in Country Strong and in a recurring role on Glee, Paltrow also stars in the virus thriller Contagion (September 9th), directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Click on the media bar and listen to Paltrow explain why she is very selective over her material:

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BOX OFFICE: ‘THE HELP’ BEATS OUT ‘COLOMBIANA,’ ‘DON’T BE AFRAID,’ REMAINS #1

emma11 The Help was the #1 film at the box-office, as Hurricane Irene played a huge part in this weekend’s overall lackluster box-office figures.  The Zoe Saldana action flick Colombiana debuted at #2 ($10.3 million), with the Guillermo Del Toro produced horror film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark landing at #3 ($8.7 million). This weekend’s top 10:

1.  The Help – Expect the sleeper hit to easily surpass the $100 million mark by next weekend (It’s at $96.6 million).  $14.33 million

2.  Colombiana – $10.3 million

3.  Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – $8.68 million

4.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Along with Bridesmaids and The Help, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has been one of this summer’s surprising box-office stalwarts.  Over the weekend, it took in$8.65 million.

5.  Our Idiot Brother – $6.588 million

6.  Spy Kids: All The Time In The World – $5.7 million

7.  The Smurfs – Critics be damned, as The Smurfs has pulled in $126 million domestically.  It remains at the top 10 with $4.8 million.

8.   Conan the Barbarian -With just $16.6 million since its release, Conan the Barbarian is one of this summer’s biggest disappointments.  It collected just $3.1 million this weekend.

9.  Fright Night – $3 million

10.  Crazy, Stupid Love – $2.9 million

**Click on the media bar and listen to Emma Stone and Viola Davis talk about the courage of their characters in The Help:

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AFFION CROCKETT GETS ‘IN THE FLOW’ WITH SKETCH SERIES

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The new sketch comedy series In The Flow With Affion Crockett airs Sunday nights (9:30 et/pt) on Fox, and it’s a project that is executive produced by Jamie Foxx.

During the Fox TCA sessions, I asked Mr. Crockett if his impersonations of Jay-Z and Drake was met with good humor from the respective artists, and thankfully, both rappers were receptive.  Click on the media bar to hear Crockett do his dead-on impersonations of the rappers:

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Crockett also gives an interesting take on why being a comic (that is, if you’re naturally funny) can get you recognized faster than plying your trade as a dramatic actor:

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This weekend’s installment features a guest appearance from Fox Sports personality (and former NFL great) Michael Strahan.

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‘WARRIOR’ NOT A “WALK IN THE PARK” FOR TOM HARDY & JOEL EDGERTON

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Although Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) and Tom Hardy are definitely on the Hollywood hot list at the moment (Edgerton is working on The Great Gatbsy, and Hardy reunites with Inception director Chris Nolan for The Dark Knight Rises), they were relative unknowns (at least stateside) when director Gavin O’Connor cast them for Warrior.

The actors play estranged siblings who have a different reason for entering a high stakes MMA match, and the project required physical dedication from the thespians (Hardy broke his ribs, toes, and wrist during production, and Edgerton tore up his knee).

Edgerton and Hardy talk about getting cast for Warrior, which opens nationwide September 9th:

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