Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Jennifer Ehle!!!

  • Firstly a HUGE happy birthday to Jennifer Ehle! We hope she has a beautiful, wonderful and fabulous day! Click the following link to view a little tribute slideshow called 'A little look back at 2007'. Turn the speakers on as it has music. (Not necessarily very good music however!) Apologies in advance for the amateurism!

  • Also, as it is December 29th, The BC/EFA Fundraiser in honour of Ms Ehle has now finished. It has raised a total of $450 for the charity. Thank you to everyone who donated - your roubles and effort were much appreciated!

In other news:

  • TVShowsOnDVD announce that Holocaust (1978) is in plans to be released on DVD on May 27 2008, by Paramount Home Entertainment. This is what they have to say about the series, for which Rosemary Harris won a Golden Globe:
[...] The story of two Third Reich-era German families -one Jewish, one Nazi - aired on NBC in 4 parts during April 1978. It was both praised and criticized for various aspects of the realism involved, but most agree that it raised awareness among younger generations about the German attempt to exterminate Jews in concentration camps, per "Hitler's Final Solution". It covered such major events as the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and the Jewish imprisonment at, and liberation of, Auschwitz. [...]

See Amazon for some unanimous laudatory reviews from customers wanting the series to make a reappearance!

  • In a look back at the best plays of 2007, Ben Brantley considers crediting the 'successful marathon that was Tom Stoppard's three-part Coast of Utopia' with 'reorienting New York theatergoers to the pleasures of bona fide drama.' Similarly, the Star-Ledger talks of Jack O'Brien's 'splendid staging' and sums up the production as 'memorably performed by a vast and vastly gifted cast.' Blogger Paula was happily surprised, saying 'who would have thought that three plays based on 6 friends, writers and thinkers from 1840's Russia would be engaging. It was engrossing.' Regarding present and future projects meanwhile, Indiawest Online writes about the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) and briefly mentions Before the Rains while Matt Windman of amNY talks to Cymbeline's Martha Plimpton.
  • Lastly, for a bit of fun, here is a Capricorn horoscope for today from astrologer Jonathan Cainer:
[...] They say you shouldn't leap before you look. Sometimes, though, you can look too long and hard. When, for example, you find yourself standing at the edge of a diving board, it is inadvisable to spend hours gazing down at the water below, wondering what kind of a splash you are likely to make. One quick glance, followed by one brave jump, is all you require. Is your next leap of faith going to take you from a place of safety to a place of danger? If you could know for sure, it wouldn't be a leap of faith any more. [...]

Well it is more useful than mine, believe it or not! Bon anniversaire!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Sugarplum Fairy

Hello everyone! If you celebrate it, Happy Christmas, if you don't, happy holidays, and if you're not on holiday...happiness I guess!

In Santa's sack of news today...
  • Regarding the BC/EFA Fundraiser, the total has recently shot up, so well done! But, let's see if we can get it any higher in the three-ish days remaining - we entreat you to have a good rummage under that sofa for any loose roubles!

  • Secondly, Downstage Center's interview with Jack O'Brien is now available for listening! The Utopia director talks repeatedly about his links to both Rosemary Harris and her first husband, Ellis Rabb, while Utopia discussion takes place in the last ten-ish minutes. Here are some snippets from the latter:

On the background behind his involvement in Utopia:

[...] First of all, I met with Tom Stoppard and Stockard Channing over a piece called Hapgood at Lincoln Center in the Mitzi [Newhouse Theatre]...that's when I met the great Bob Crowley and that was the first of that association between Crowley and Tom and it was assumed, when The Coast of Utopia happened, that Crowley and I would be engaged to do it - assumed by Tom and assumed by everybody except Crowley and me [...]

On the time between the two productions:

[...] Don't forget I had almost four years from the moment I saw Trevor Nunn's production at the National [Theatre] to when I went into rehearsal a year was four years of thinking, of sorting through, of meeting with Tom, of concerns, of evolving of approach, of denial, of panic, of fear, of frustration, of inadequacy...before the penny dropped [...]

On the National production and the evolving of the LCT production:

[...] Tom was writing it while Trevor was already directing all deference to everyone, including Tom, I don't think they knew what the hell they had - I don't think they could; it was so big, it took the better part of three years of prep before I thought 'Oh, wait a minute - this isn't three plays, it's one three-act play, that is spread over a huge canvas; I've got to stop thinking about it in terms of its component parts and have to wrap my mind around all of it' [...]

On understanding 'difficult' plays and his slant on the 'homework beforehand' argument:

[...] I'm on the side of the audience. ... I'm not that smart. ... I'm serious. ... I don't have an a priori immediate intellectual grasp of these things... I went to see Rock 'n' Roll as an audience member...I purposely wanted to see, [could I] understand Tom's work if I don't study it? Can I do that? And you know what? Yes you can, because Tom's a great writer and he gives you what you need [...]

Like we believe that second comment Jack!

  • In the auction world, eBay has a copy of Utopia signed by Tom Stoppard with a starting bid of $150. There is no picture, but the details given by the seller are as follows: 'The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard, Grove Press, 2007, limited edition, one of 250 signed and numbered. Hardcover in slipcase. Still in shrink wrap. Very fine condition'. The auction ends on the 27th.

  • Last but not least, JournalNow, of the Winston-Salem Journal, have surmised that 'when Santa does his thing, he’ll have lumps of coal for the naughty and sugarplums for the nice.' So they have written a piece listing all the people they think are deserving of each this year. Guess who was one of their 17 sugarplum recipients? This is what they had to say:
[A sugarplum] Jennifer Ehle, who grew up in Winston-Salem and is an alumna of the N.C. School of the Arts, for carrying on a family tradition by winning a Tony for her acting - and shining light on The City of the Arts in the process. [...]

Happy Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last week for BC/EFA fundraiser!

Okay everyone, there are only SEVEN days until Ms Ehle's birthday AND our BC/EFA fundraiser comes to an end. Please think about donating in honor of Jennifer Ehle. It would be a great way to remember her birthday, and after all, 'tis the season of giving. *major guilt trip* It doesn't have to be a big donation. Every single kopeck counts!!

  • Lookie, here is a poster for Pride and Glory.

  • In an interview with Maura Reilly at Movies and Critics, Jon Voight had a chance to discuss Pride and Glory, however briefly:
    [...] Jon got to speak a bit about where his career path has taken him and where he’s going. His next project is Pride and Glory with Ed Norton and Colin Farrell. It is a New York City story written by Gavin O’Connor: powerful gritty police story filled with New York actors: “Took me right back to when I was in class and working in ‘A View from the Bridge’ off-Broadway and I felt back home in some sense doing that kind of stuff.” [...]
  • There is more quotage from Jon Voight at ReelzChannel:

    While some dads might cringe at the prospect of having hard-partying Colin Farrell (Miami Vice, Various sex tapes) for a son-in-law, Oscar winner Jon Voight jumped at the chance. In Gavin O'Connor's (Miracle) upcoming crime drama Pride and Glory, the Midnight Cowboy star plays a New York City police chief whose daughter weds a corrupt cop played by Farrell.

    In an interview last week with, Voight described Pride and Glory as "a morality piece" and raved about the film's all-star ensemble, which includes Edward Norton and Noah Emmerich.

    "It's got a lot of great acting performances, just wonderful performances from wall-to-wall," said Voight. "It reminded me of my days as a New York actor. I felt like I was going home in a sense, to my roots as a New York actor, playing a New York character."

    Pride and Glory opens March 14, 2008. Voight can next be seen alongside Nicolas Cage in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which opens nationwide this Friday.

  • Variety mentions Before the Rains' inclusion at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, but doesn't report anything new. But, you can visit the PSIFF site for information on how to purchase tickets. The schedule should be announced any day now.

  • Here's an interesting tidbit: The Coast of Utopia director Jack O'Brien is slated to direct the sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera...once it has been written. Read more about it at Playbill.

  • Playbill also announces that Tom Stoppard will be speaking at an event at the San Fransisco American Conservatory Theater on January 5, 2008.

    [...] Part of the Koret Visiting Artists Series, the one-hour conversation will take place at 10 AM. Limited tickets will go on sale to the public Dec. 31 at noon.

    "I have been an A.C.T. playwright (as I like to think of it) for over three decades," said Stoppard in a release. The company has a long history with the playwright, having produced six productions (directed by artistic director Carey Perloff), including last season's Travesties and the American premieres of Indian Ink and The Invention of Love. [...]

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Before the Rains" Comes to California!

  • Before the Rains will be shown at the 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival next month! According to the Hollywood Reporter:
    The 19th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival announced its complete 2008 lineup Tuesday, with a screening of the Audrey Tautou starrer "Priceless" set as the event's closing film. In all, the Jan. 3-14 festival will screen 222 feature films from more than 66 countries, with 69 premieres and 55 screenings of official Oscar submissions for foreign-language film. The U.S. premiere of "Before the Rains" (USA/India) will be spotlighted during its World Cinema Now Gala. [...]
    Here is the official site for the film festival, which says that the full line-up of films and events will be announced on December 23rd. Perhaps the schedule will also be released then. We'll keep you informed. (I know we have fans in the California area, so if anyone is able to go, please consider sending us a review.)

  • Indiafm has an article about Jennifer Ehle's Before the Rains co-star, Rahul Bose, who talks about filming in Kashmir:
    [...] Shooting with Santosh Sivan for the second time was an exhilarating experience for Rahul. "Last year we shot Before The Rains in Kerala which was cold enough. Now Kashmir got so much colder that Kerala seems warm in comparison. I've told Santosh our next movie together better be in a warm 7-star hotel."
  • Well, it's that time of year again. The New York Daily News looks back at the 2007 theater scene and decides what was hot and what was not. First on the list:
    Hot: CASTS THAT CLICK Extraordinary ensembles enlivened Broadway in three productions that opened during one week in December, "August: Osage County" (the best and my favorite show of 2007), "The Seafarer" and "Is He Dead?" Earlier in the year "The Coast of Utopia" crackled with its group dynamics.
    As if there was any doubt that the cast of Utopia was hot!

  • Speaking of Utopia, the Moscow Times has an article about Alexander Herzen, which also mentions Tom Stoppard and the Russian production of The Coast of Utopia.

  • Our lovely Abi just informed me that Michael Caine was on the British talk show Parkinson earlier this week, and he discussed his latest movie Is There Anybody There, which also stars Rosemary Harris. Here is what Mr. Caine had to say about the film:
    [...] It's about a little boy who's ten years old and his parents own an old people's home, and of course all he ever knows is old people. Every time he gets to know and like someone, they drop dead. So he gets a camera, a tape recorder and a flashlight, goes looking for the ghosts of his friends and obviously can't find them. Then an old magician turns up to die - which is me - and he helps him to find his friends. It's one of the funniest scripts I've ever read and one of the most touching. David Hayman is making it...I said I've read this script five times and I'm not reading it again because I'm always in tears at the end. [...]
    There is more quotage about the movie from Michael Caine at
    At present I am filming “Is There Anybody There” a small British Film with a wonderful script and a great new Director John Crowley. Set in an old people’s home with some of our best character actors; Leslie Philips, Peter Vaughan, Rosemary Harris, Thelma Barlow, Sylvia Syms plus David Morissey, Ann Marie Duff who has just played Joan of Arc. In this film she plays the lady who owns the Old Folks Home. It is the story of a little boy of 10 who keeps making friends with the old people, and of course, they keep dying so he sets out to find their Ghosts without success, until Clarence the magician turns up, played by me and helps him find his lost friends. Its one of the funniest and most touching scripts I have ever read. I am half way through, I love the Actors I am working with, the Director and my friend Producer David Hayman so I am having a wonderful time. We finish just before Christmas. I shall then go on a long holiday. I will keep you informed but in the meantime I wish you a Very Happy Christmas and New Year.
  • This is not exactly newsworthy, but I thought I would let you know that someone recently posted a trailer for Paradise Road on Youtube.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Russell Girl: Coming to a Television Near You

Hallmark has announced that The Russell Girl will be broadcast on CBS on Sunday, January 27, 2008 from 9-11pm ET/PT(USA). (Earlier than expected!) Here is the bulk of the press release, which includes some good quotage from Amber Tamblyn about her character, Sarah Russell:
[...] Sarah Russell has moved to Chicago where she works as a department store buyer. While in Chicago she receives some unsettling news, which brings her back to her small-town roots. Back home, she must deal with old wounds before she can set about healing them. Academy Award-nominee Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Color of Money, Without a Trace) and Tim DeKay (Tell Me You Love Me, Carnivale) play her parents; two-time Tony Award-winner Jennifer Ehle (The Real Thing, The Coast of Utopia) and Henry Czerny (The Tudors, Mission Impossible) play her across-the-street neighbors, the Morrisseys. Paul Wesley (Smallwood, Crossing Jordan) plays an old boyfriend who reenters Sarah’s life when she moves back home.

Describing her character in an on-set interview, Amber Tamblyn describes Sarah as “a woman of secrets. She has a past she’s run away from, and she has a ‘today’ secret that she tries to keep bottled up inside her. She’s also a woman consumed by guilt over something that happened half-a-dozen years ago.”

Tamblyn says she’s intrigued by the “Sarah” character. “I find her quite heroic,” says Tamblyn, “in a quiet kind of way. If I’d had the things happen to me that happened to Sarah, I don’t know if I’d survive the storm like she does.”

“Sarah,” says Tamblyn, “really has to dig deep within herself. She really has to struggle. And of course that’s what makes her victory all the more sweet.”

Describing the story’s themes, Amber Tamblyn says they include the importance of communication. “The film is definitely about trying to open a dialogue between family members and then trying to work things out. Also, for Sarah, it’s so important to try to reach closure with her neighbor about something terrible that happened in the past.”

“Forgiveness is another key theme,” says Tamblyn. “It is self-defeating to hold grudges,” she says, “to keep things bottled up inside you, to not let go of things you need to let go of.” [...]
Sounds intriguing, no?

The other news-worthy item is that Before the Rains will be released next year. (Sorry I can't be more specific than that!) According to the Hollywood Reporter, Before the Rains has been picked up by Roadside Attractions:
Roadside Attractions has nabbed a pair of Toronto International Film Festival world premieres: Santosh Sivan's romantic drama "Before the Rains," starring Linus Roache, and Tarsem's epic fantasy "The Fall."

"Rains" stars Roache as a British entrepreneur in 1937 colonial India who begins an extramarital affair with a local servant (Nandita Das). When their relationship is exposed, and his wife (Jennifer Ehle) returns from England, his future and the servant's life are put in jeopardy.

Doug Mankoff, Andrew Spaulding, Paul Hardart, Tom Hardart and Mark Burton produced the film from Indian director Sivan ("The Terrorist"). The film premiered in September and will be released next year. [...]
Cinematical adds:
It's got to be a bit stressful to screen your film at a fest and watch nothing happen with it for months, or even years. But all is not completely over, especially as the latest news from The Hollywood Reporter will attest. Roadside Attractions has picked up two period films that screened at TIFF -- Before the Rains, which screened this year, and The Fall, which screened in 2006. Rains is about a British man in colonial India in 1937, who has an affair with his Indian servant, while Fall is a fantasy set in the 1920s about a young girl in a hospital who is told stories about heroes on a deserted island by an injured stuntman. Both films will be released next year. [...]
And, speaking of Before the Rains, a fan who saw the movie at the Dubai International Film Festival just added a comment to an older post. Check it out.

On the Pride and Glory front, the Movie Reporter has a some new images from the movie, though there do not appear to be any of Ms Ehle.

And just for fun, Tristero sends us on a stroll down memory lane...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Birthday John Ehle!

A very happy birthday to John Ehle, who is 82 years young today!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

From North Carolina to Indiana

  • The above, from the NC Department of Cultural Resources, is a line-up of the aforementioned North Carolina Award recipients. I am sure you know that Ms Harris is 4th from the right. (You may also recognise 4th from the left; to see him interviewing the daughter of 4th from the right, click here and search 'Jennifer Ehle'. This interview is also available on DVD).
  • Secondly. the Star Wars Community announce that the second volume of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones will be available on DVD from December 18. On sale in the Star Wars Shop, the $75.99 package consists of 'a nine-disc boxed set that includes eight chapters of the digitally remastered television series, plus over 25 all-new documentaries.'
Ms Ehle appeared as Empress Zita in Adventures in the Secret Service, which is the sixth disc. A trimmed-down recap of the hour and a half long disc is as follows:

[...] Indy's duties for French Intelligence continue, and now he is teamed up with the brothers Prince Sixtus and Prince Xavier of Bourbon-Parma. At first, Jones thinks them nothing but puffed up royalty, but they may hold the key to ending the war. In their possession is a letter from the French government, which they must get to their sister, Empress Zita. Her husband, Emperor Karl I of Austria, wishes to negotiate a peace settlement separate from Germany. If that happens, Germany would lose its major ally. So Jones must escort them into Vienna, under the careful watch of the Austrian secret police...but it turns out navigating past them might be easier then braving the treacherous waters of international diplomacy. [...]

  • In other bits and bobs, Screen India have an article on the DIFF, and the George Street Playhouse Blogspot mention the January arrival of Oscar and the Pink Lady, although neither have new information. Sign on SanDiego meanwhile announce Jack O'Brien's departure from his post as Artistic Director at The Old Globe, after twenty six years. Lastly, another blogger passes comment on Possession, noting that Ms Ehle 'had this sort of ethereal, luminous quality about her' while Jeremy Northam 'was his usual hot self'. No comment!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rosemary Harris receives NC Award

Felicitations to Ms Harris, who is one of the recipients of this year's North Carolina Award! News Observer gives the particulars:

Nine North Carolinians were recognized Tuesday with the North Carolina Award, the state's highest civilian honor. More than 200 North Carolinians have been selected as recipients since the award was first issued in 1964.
Ms Harris won in the 'Fine Arts' category. Here is what they had to say about the triumphant Pink Lady:

[Harris] has supported the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem since 1967, and she serves on its board of visitors. Born in Ashby, Suffolk, England, [Harris] grew up in India and was educated in England. [Harris] made her London debut in 1952 in "The Seven Year Itch." Her stage career included roles opposite Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole and Laurence Olivier. She received a Tony Award for her role as Eleanor of Aquitaine in "The Lion in Winter," a Golden Globe for her role in the television miniseries "Holocaust" and an Emmy for her role in "Notorious Woman." Most recently, [Harris] has enjoyed popular acclaim as Aunt May in three Spider-Man movies. She is married to author John Ehle, a North Carolina Award winner in literature. [...]
Citizen Times has the same story. Start placing your bets on how long it will be before there is a third one of these awards in the family!

In other news, it is four days until the Dubai International Film Festival opens in - you've guessed it - Dubai, at which one of Ms Ehle's latest films Before the Rains will be screened. The DIFF website now has a little page for the film and lists two show times should you happen to be in the vicinity.

There are many reviews floating around regarding Ms Harris' film Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Examples include The Michigan Daily, The Arizona Republic and the Free Times. Many make laudatory comments; the Athens Exchange occupying what one might call the extreme end of the spectrum:

[...] To whomever is shipping the Oscars: give regards to the Academy and just send the box of trophies to the cast of Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead along with most of the Golden Globes, those MTV popcorn things and a couple of Grammys just to be safe. [...]
In other reviews, one blogger has written a relatively lengthy piece in Spanish about Possession, including one particular comment on Ms Ehle - 'Jennifer Ehle es una actriz muy socorrida por su físico para personajes de esta época'. If anyone's Spanish is less abysmal than mine, help on this would be appreciated, especially in light of the useful BabelFish translation: 'Jennifer Ehle is an actress very aided by its physicist for personages of this time'. Something nice though, presumably?!

Lastly, if you're interested, the Lincoln Center Theater's artistic director Andre Bishop was the latest guest on the ATW's radio program Downstage Center. There is little mention of Utopia but it is an interesting discussion about the theatre, its productions past and present, and how Mr Bishop used to work in the Delacorte's box office. Nice to know the best of them started somewhere!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One busy Pink Lady!

  • Rosemary Harris' aforementioned latest project Is There Anybody There? is now listed on IMDb. Their plot summary is as follows:
[...] Set in 1980s seaside England, this is the story of Edward, an unusual ten year old boy growing up in an old people's home run by his parents. Whilst his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat, and his father copes with the onset of mid-life crisis, Edward is busy tape-recording the elderly residents to try and discover what happens when they die. Increasingly obsessed with ghosts and the afterlife, Edward's is a rather lonely existence until he meets Clarence, the latest recruit to the home, a retired magician with a liberating streak of anarchy. Is There Anybody There? tells the surprising, touching story of this odd couple - a boy and an old man - facing life together, with Edward learning to live in the moment and Clarence coming to terms with the past. [...]

Apart from the lovely Ms Harris as Elsie, the film will also star Michael Caine and Leslie Phillips no less. Exciting stuff.

  • On the theatrical side, The George Street Playhouse announce that Oscar and the Pink Lady starring Rosemary Harris will be joining them in the New Year, after its recent run at the Old Globe in San Diego.
[...] George Street Playhouse announced today that Academy Award nominee...Rosemary Harris will star in the East Coast premiere of a new play by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt titled Oscar and the Pink Lady. This one-woman tour de force will play in New Brunswick from January 15 through February 10, 2008, with opening night set for Friday, January 18. [...]
On the lady herself:
[...] “I am thrilled and honored to be welcoming Rosemary Harris to George Street Playhouse,” said Artistic Director David Saint, “it is amazing to me to have this great lady of the theatre on our stage." [...]
[...] Internationally acclaimed director and cinematographer Santosh Sivan brings...Before the Rains, set in India in the 1930s against the backdrop of the growing nationalist movement. The film stars rugby player cum social activist and arthouse actor Rahul Bose in a conflict of loyalties between his village and his British boss. Bose is also confirmed to grace the DIFF proceedings. [...]

In other news:

  • More Intelligent Life has a excellent article by Arkady Ostrovsky (Russian Utopia translator) on the play's significance in Russia, its reception and its director, Alexei Borodin. Playbill has photos of a few of the crewtopians from the Henry Hewes Awards ceremony (see the 4th and the final two photos), The Stage's Mark Shenton comments on the Broadway shutdown (somehow managing to include a snippet of Utopia praise!) while Misha Berson of The Seattle Times talks both about the Broadway situation and Rock 'n' Roll. Lastly, The New York Times has a nice chat with Martha Plimpton, and Terry Teachout at The Wall Street Journal has a fun and interesting piece about ticket prices on Broadway. Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Taking peripheral to a new level

  • Firstly, the lovely Martha Plimpton is this week's Q&A subject for
There is some mention of Utopia for comparative purposes:

Imogen is a big role, and The Coast of Utopia was gigantic. Is memorization of all that text an issue?

It wasn't so bad for me in Coast of Utopia. The guys had it much worse in terms of having to memorize long speeches and tons of history, much of it very abstract. There's a lot in Cymbeline to memorize, so you do your best to excavate the text so that it has internal meaning for you. It's important to have a sense of the architecture not just of the play but of the person you're playing and the individual scenes. It's much harder to learn if it isn't tied to internal meaning.

On your MySpace page, you talk about how close everyone in The Coast of Utopia grew due to the scope of the plays and the length of the run.

Utopia was special and different. That would go without saying. There was nothing like it and probably won't be again for many years. We were all extremely lucky to be a part of it. It was one of those rare instances in which the circumstances of your life get to meet up with the circumstances of your art. That never happens, believe me. And when it does, it can really be life-changing.

On awards and whether they matter:

They certainly mattered in the case of Utopia. But in another sense, they were just the cherry on top of the experience. Still, it's lovely to feel like you're being appreciated. ... All the attendant stuff around the Tonys in terms of Utopia was nice on a lot of levels—historically, and for a straight play to be recognized in such a way. The awards also meant that the cast could spend more time together.

And lastly:

During Coast of Utopia's run, you and Jennifer Ehle were hilarious together. You guys are buddies?

Yes. You thought that was calculated?

See the rest of the article for lots of other interesting questions about her current role as Imogen in Cymbeline as well as an in-costume photo.

There is a slight expansion on previous info in terms of plot:
[...] As financially strapped brothers, the two plot to rob their parents' Queens, N.Y. jewelry store. ... Hoffman's overbearing character Andy can replace the embezzled funds from his employer before a scheduled audit. Hawke's weak-willed Hank can play catch-up on those late child-support payments, while mom and dad get reimbursed for their losses from the insurance company. Exacerbating the siblings' love-hate relationship is Hank's clandestine affair with Andy's trophy wife (Marisa Tomei).The perfect crime quickly turns into a colossal screw-up. The body count mounts as the vengeful family patriarch (Albert Finney) pursues justice. He's unaware the real culprits are his own sons. [...]
About the character of Hank, Hawke says:

[...] "I've never played a character that was so dumb," Ethan Hawke laughed."That's assuming that I'm smart. I'm not, but it's hard to play someone that hates himself that much. It's like a classic Greek tragedy where the protagonists always do these horrible things, unforgivable actions, but it's interesting." [...]
Lastly, the 'Actor' blog argues that mainstream theater is too intellectualised, and briefly mentions Utopia in its discussion. Gulfnews meanwhile has an article we seem to have missed regarding the DIFF and Before the Rains' involvement in it, but gives no new information.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another peripheral post

  • First, check out the slideshow of pictures of Jennifer Ehle at the Library Lions benefit at Mascha's Jennifer Ehle fansite.

  • "The Other Pride and Prejudice" has just been released as a Deluxe Two-Disc DVD Gift Set (Region 1). It reportedly includes both the widescreen and full screen versions of the film as well as extras that were formerly only available on the Region 2 edition. The film has also been released as an HD DVD.

  • Have you heard about the Broadway stagehands' strike, which began on November 10? Keep track of the latest developments at Playbill and BroadwayWorld. The strike has had a huge impact on NYC's economy. As Playbill explains, "Hotels, restaurants, gift shops, bars, taxis, pedicabs, even charitable organizations such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS all depend on the lights going up eight times a week." The BC/EFA, which solicits contributions from theatergoers at this time of year, has made an official statement:
    Of course, the strike has had a huge affect on BC/EFA's current fundraising and grant making efforts. But we are not privy to the specifics of the negotiations between the members of The League and Local One. BC/EFA's only hope is that an agreement that is fair to the concerns of both parties is struck as soon as possible so that the members of the entire industry can get back to work as quickly as possible and audiences can fill the Broadway theatres again. With that accomplished, BC/EFA can continue to work with the entire community in its annual fundraising efforts at this most important time of the year for us, the industry and indeed all of New York City. The good fortune of Broadway Cares is tied directly to the robust artistic and commercial health of all of Broadway.
    In other words, now would be a great time to lend your support to the BC/EFA! *hint hint Every Kopeck Counts hint hint*

  • For video coverage of the opening night of Rock 'n' Roll, visit BroadwayWorld and There are great clips from the play as well as interviews with Tom Stoppard, Trevor Nunn, and members of the cast.

  • Lastly, if you have $47 to spare and are in the market for bookends, take a look at eBay.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Utopia Coasts To Victory (AGAIN!)

  • The Utopian mantelpiece must surely now have collapsed! Further to Daniel Swee's prize for casting last week, the entire design crew have now picked up a 2007 Henry Hewes award in the esteemed category of 'Special Citation for Outstanding Achievement in Theater Design'. Here is Playbill's list of the clever eleven:
[...] Angelina Avallone (makeup), Mark Bennett (sound), Bob Crowley (scenery), William Cusick (projections), Paul Huntley (hair and wigs), Natasha Katz (lighting), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Scott Pask (scenery), Kenneth Posner (lighting), Tom Watson (hair and wigs) and Catherine Zuber (costumes) [...]

The Orlando Sentinel explain the special recognitive significance of the awards:

[...] The annual awards, named for the late esteemed New York theater critic Henry Hewes, recognize work that is regularly glossed over or ignored completely on the Tony Awards show -- design work from Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway. [...]

And just as it did at the Tonys, The Coast of Utopia is causing a record to be broken at these awards - for the first time in its 43-year history, the Henry Hewes Committee will confer honors 'on a record 15 talented theater artists'.

Theatermania also cover the story. The formal presentation ceremony will take place at Sardi's tomorrow, November 15. Congratulations to them all.

  • If you are not in a country in which Rosemary Harris' latest film Before the Devil Knows You're Dead has opened, you may want to watch some clips on the film's official website. There are unfortunately no glances of Ms Harris, but there is ample Ethan Hawke-age in Extract 1 and - unless I am very much mistaken - Extract 2!
  • Another week, another event - and this time it was Utopia director Jack O'Brien's turn to be on the receiving end of the accolades. He was one of two Broadway stalwarts honoured at the 23rd Primary Stages Anniversary Gala Benefit, and one of the three honorary co-chairs for the event was last week's Library Lions honoree Tom Stoppard. BroadwayWorld announces the event. Mr O'Brien is also listed as one of the upcoming interviewees for the American Theatre Wing's Downstage Center. We will of course let you know when that becomes available.
  • Penultimately, an apology: the site I previously gave as the official DIFF site is not - this is the (more sophisticated!) official DIFF site. Incidentally, if you have some spare time, spare roubles, are over fifteen and can speak English, you can go to Dubai and be a festival volunteer!
  • Lastly, a very happy birthday to ex-Utopian Martha Plimpton who turns 37 on the 16th.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rhapsody in Silver

There are more photos of Jennifer Ehle in her Greek goddess getup at the NYPL Library Lions event at Star Pulse and Wire Image. (Thanks to Annie for letting us know!) Additional photos can be found at PR Photos, including the one on the left, which is also at Exposay (minus the watermark). There is also a picture at Yahoo Movies UK.

In other news:

  • There is a piece about Pride and Glory at Cinematical, though they don't report anything new, and the Movie Blog at Media Hollywood wonders why the movie is taking so long to be released:
    [...] My only reservations are that, if I remember correctly, this movie finished filming a long time ago, and that leaves me wondering what's keeping it so long. Then again, The Assassination of Jesse James came out nearly two years after it finished filming and turned out to be a brilliant masterpiece, so I guess that shouldn't worry me too much.
  • Someone on the tagboard had trouble viewing the Pride and Glory trailer we posted. If the links we've provided don't work for you, you might want to try watching it at Youtube.
  • Jeff Lunden of NPR (National Public Radio) recently interviewed Tom Stoppard about his latest play, Rock 'n' Roll. At the NPR website, you can read the interview, listen to audio clips from the interview, and listen to audio clips from the play. Very interesting stuff!

Finally, the News & Observer reports on the "Free Men Reunion" and includes some great quotage from John Ehle:

Forty-five years of history fell away at UNC-Chapel Hill on Thursday night.

Participants in Chapel Hill's tumultuous civil rights demonstrations of the early 1960s said that, in some ways, a lot of progress has been made. In others, there's still a long way to go.

They met for a panel discussion at UNC's Wilson Library to celebrate the republication of John Ehle's 1965 book "The Free Men," which chronicles Chapel Hill's desegregation.


But Ehle said he thinks the goal of the 1960s protests was to bring about equal protection under the law for blacks.

He said he remembered watching a march in Raleigh where demonstrators gathered and sang. "It was one of the most moving things." he said. "If they wanted to integrate with me, they didn't say so. They wanted their rights."

Ehle, 81, said before the panel discussion that he was pleased his book was being reprinted by Winston-Salem publisher Press 53.

"This is a story of people," Ehle said, "many of them dead, some of them still alive. Of events in North Carolina history that were significant."

And the republication more than 40 years later is very different, he said. One difference -- "I don't get snubbed on the street."

When published, Ehle said, his book about acts of civil disobedience was not well-received -- even by Chapel Hill's progressives. "I would say it was not welcomed by many of the liberal people," he said. "It was very disruptive what the young people did, what the students did. ... They did not work within the established boundaries.

"Blocking traffic in Chapel Hill on a sports day was not really a civilized thing to do," he said slyly. [...]

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A silver-dressed Masteress!

  • The evening of November 5 was the New York Public Library's Library Lions event, for which Jennifer Ehle served as Master of Ceremonies. The above photos are from Getty Images. The only post-event article so far is from The Associated Press, although it does not mention Ms Ehle. We will let you know if any others appear!
  • Middle East Events mention that Before the Rains is in the line-up to be screened at the Dubai International Film Festival from 9-16 December 2007. Their description of the film is as follows:
Before the Rains, the English language debut of acclaimed director Santosh Sivan (The Terrorist, Asoka) portrays the dilemma of a married British colonialist in 1930’s India who is caught having an affair with his beautiful housemaid. By contrasting the beliefs and lifestyles of the local villagers and the colonialists, the film explores the predicament of people who straddle two cultures.

In an article about Sharon Stone's involvement in the festival, DNA meanwhile quotes DIFF chairman Abdul Hamid Juma as singling out the film as one of a select group:

[...] Indian films have always been of utmost importance at DIFF and ‘AIDS Jagoo’ along with other Indian films like Shivaji Chandrabhushan’s ‘Frozen’ and Adoor Gopalkrishnan’s ‘Four Women’, Santosh Sivan’s ‘Before the Rains’ will be one of the most essential screenings at the festival. [...]

See the official DIFF website for more information.

  • Related to the aforementioned Pride and Glory trailer, AceShowbiz has a brief bit of further information in terms of plot and how the film came about:
[...] It mostly centers on the character Norton plays, Ray Tierney, giving us a peek on his family of cops and his investigation on a corruption scandal that involves his own brother and brother-in-law. [...]

ComNetSlash give this plot outline:

[...] Director Gavin O’Connor collaborates with Narc director/screenwriter Joe Carnahan on this family focused police drama concerning an honest homicide detective (Edward Norton) assigned to investigate the precinct run by his potentially crooked older brother (Noah Emmerich). As the investigation begins to reveal some troubling facts about the precinct, it gradually becomes apparent that the policeman who is also the older brother’s best friend (Colin Farrell) may be the man orchestrating many of the suspected crimes. [...]

See our post from April 2006 for (brief!) quotage from director Gavin O'Connor and a few snippets about the film's creative team.

  • As Playbill notes, November 4 was the final performance of Oscar and the Pink Lady, starring Rosemary Harris. That evening was also the Broadway opening of Tom Stoppard's latest play, Rock 'n' Roll. Press-wise, see The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Sun, Newsday, North Jersey and The Star Ledger. Also, if you haven't already seen it, The New York Times' Times Topics page for Tom Stoppard has some audiovisual Utopia-related items, including an interesting serf slide show!
  • Finally, as if the collective mantlepiece was not full to the point of collapse already, The Coast of Utopia has won yet another award! The Hollywood Reporter announce that Daniel Swee has picked up the prize for dramatic theatre casting at the 23rd annual Artios Awards in Los Angeles. And while we're on the subject of congratulating Utopians, s dniom razhdjenia to Ethan Hawke, who is 37 today!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pride and Glory Trailer!

The first trailer for Jennifer Ehle's upcoming film, Pride and Glory, has been released. You can watch it at the Pride and Glory website, which also has a few photos and a brief plot summary. The trailer can also be seen at Worst Previews (disregard the site's name!) and at Trailer Spy.

[Edit: I couldn't spot Ms Ehle anywhere in the trailer, but sg (see comments) let us know that there is a glimpse of her in the final montage. It's about 2 minutes and 16 seconds into the trailer, and if you blink, you'll definitely miss it! If it helps, remember that you're trying to spot someone who is bald!]

Trailer Spot describes the movie like this:

Crime drama that follows a multi-generational police family whose moral code is tested when one of two sons (Edward Norton, Noah Emmerich) on the force investigates an incendiary case involving his older brother and brother-in-law (Colin Farrell). The case forces the family to choose between their loyalties to one another and their loyalties to the department. Also part of the cast are John Voight, Jennifer Ehle and Lake Bell.

Happy viewing!

Pink Ladies and Free Men

We're a bit short on news today, but here are a couple of things about Jennifer Ehle's lovely parents:
  • First is a fabulous radio interview with Rosemary Harris. Tom Fudge at KPBS Radio San Diego talks to Ms Harris about her role(s) in Oscar and the Pink Lady, which will play at the Old Globe Theater through Sunday, November 4th. You can listen to the interview at the KPBS website (it's about 15 minutes long). Here's the intro:
    Tom Fudge: Most Americans, today, know Rosemary Harris as the woman who played the role of Aunt May in the modern Spider-Man films. But that role is just one of many that the English-born actress has played. Above all, Harris has been a star of the British and American stage. She won a Tony award for her role in A Lion in Winter. She's inhabited many of the great Shakespearean parts. In fact her daughter, Jennifer Ehle, has become a fine and well-known actress. Now, Rosemary Harris is in San Diego, starring in a one-woman show at the Old Globe. The play is called Oscar and the Pink Lady. It's about a young boy who's dying and a hospital volunteer who befriends him.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be having a "Free Men Reunion" on November 8th, and John Ehle will be there to speak about his book:
    [...] Participants in and witnesses to desegregation protests that rocked Chapel Hill in 1963 and 1964 will come together in a program Nov. 8 at UNC's Wilson Library to recall their experiences and celebrate republication of a landmark book about the era. John Ehle's The Free Men chronicled the quest to desegregate Chapel Hill's public accommodations in the face of forceful, sometimes violent opposition. Ehle will speak about his 1965 book, reissued in February by Winston-Salem, N.C., publisher Press 53 [...] Attendees will also be able to examine archival selections from the Manuscripts Department in Wilson Library, home to the papers of Ehle, Parker, and Dunne. On view will be photographs of events depicted in The Free Men; the journal in which Parker reflected on her experiences as a student and demonstrator in 1963-64 ("On Saturday the 14th, I decided to go to jail. It was no fun at all."); and a 1964 letter Dunne wrote on a paper towel to his parents from the Orange County Jail, describing sentences imposed on him and conditions in the jail. The Bull's Head Bookshop will offer copies of The Free Men for sale at the program, which is cosponsored by the Library and Press 53. [...]

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Theatrical bits, theatrical bobs

  • Firstly, one reader went to see Oscar and the Pink Lady with a fellow fan the weekend before last and has very kindly sent us a few words about the experience:

The Old Globe complex was a beautiful place, and the staff members were quite friendly and helpful. They did their jobs well. We are now fans of The Old Globe as well as Rosemary Harris! The theater is small and contributed to our enjoyment of the show. Ms. Harris was really close to the audience the whole time. She was always moving around, so people on every side could see her face easily.

We found the play to be very endearing, and Rosemary Harris was impressive from start to finish. It really was a treat to experience her performing so many distinct roles and voices at once. Kudos to her for a job well done! She is gracious, talented, and inspiring.

It was a highlight that will stand out for each of us when we look back at 2007. We loved the entire experience and highly recommend the show to anyone who is able to see it before it closes this Sunday, November 4.

Many thanks for that, and if anyone else has seen the play or is planning to in the next four days, we would love to hear from you!

  • In the run-up to the New York opening of Rock 'n' Roll on November 4, Robert Feldberg of North Jersey speaks to Tom Stoppard about the play, while Hilton Als of The New Yorker argues for the oft-ignored generosity of the playwright:

[...] few if any reviewers of his increasingly ambitious work have ever called him generous. But how else would one describe this largely self-educated man, whose passion for books, ideas, and biography constitutes what’s thrilling about his work? Last season’s Tony Award-winning trilogy, “The Coast of Utopia,” was not only a lesson in how to put together an epic drama; without fear of being labelled pretentious, it gave audience members permission to care about history again. [...]

  • On the subject of Rock 'n' Roll, eBay have a copy of the play signed by Tom Stoppard, being auctioned for a local charity.
  • Playbill meanwhile announces that Ethan Hawke is cast in a new film, while talks to the actor about 'zen koans' and road-trips with fellow ex-Utopian Josh Hamilton. On what The Coast of Utopia meant to him meant to him, he says:
[...] It was so powerful to be involved in something like that. Part of it felt like going back to grad school in some weird Russian studies course combined with a master class in theater taught by [director] Jack O'Brien and [playwright] Tom Stoppard. Being part of a company doing the plays in rep was the most powerful element of the whole thing. If you're going to do a nine-hour play, you've gotta rehearse the hell out of it. To be part of those all-day performances—to be that tired and look out at the audiences who were staying right with us. It's why you wanted to be a performer. The toughest among us were moved by those days. [...]

On Tom Stoppard, meanwhile:

[...] You don't want to idolize people too much, but Tom Stoppard is a real heavyweight on the planet. He's got an amazing mind and an amazing intellect. So has Jack O'Brien. If you're interested in a life in the arts, these guys make you want to grow old. And in a culture that's always trying to convince you that you want to go back in time somehow, it was wonderful. [...]
  • Lastly, IMDb are listing two more release dates for Pride and Glory - France: 26 March 2008; Netherlands: 17 April 2008. The aforementioned ones were 14 March for the UK and USA.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Randomness indeed

First, Wire Image has three super cute pictures of 3.5-year-old Jennifer Ehle with her mum, Rosemary Harris, at the after party for the Sol Hurok Gala (1973). Thank you LTC for letting us know!

For all of you who enjoy creating icons, the Janites on the James blog is currently holding an icon contest:
Send in your icons to win a copy of Lori Smith's A Walk With Jane Austen! The contest will be open until Sunday, November 4th at midnight EST USA. The rules are simple: Just send me a copy of your favorite icon/s of a Jane Austen movie hero or heroine. I will choose the top icons, from which you will get to vote for your favorite. Tell me the name of the actor or actress, and the movie. If you did not create the icon, please include the attribution.
Visit the blog for more details and see the icons that have been entered thus far.

Are you looking for the perfect Lizzy Bennet Halloween costume? Complete your ensemble with a bonnet from Austentation Regency Accessories. "Charlotte" was based on a bonnet worn by Jennifer Ehle in Pride and Prejudice.

If you're interested in learning more about the Interlochen Center for the Arts, where Jennifer Ehle attended school between 1985 and 1987, read this interview at Actors Life with David Montee, Interlochen's current Director of Theatre.

There is also an interesting interview with Tom Stoppard at Time, in which the playwright discusses his latest play, Rock 'n' Roll.

According to Playbill, Rosemary Harris' play, Oscar and the Pink Lady, resumed performances on October 25th after being cancelled on the 23rd and 24th due to the raging wildfires in California. Performances will continue through November 4th.

Speaking of Rosemary Harris, her latest movie Before the Devil Knows You're Dead opened in the US (limited release) yesterday. (See IMDB for international release dates). Screener has this to say about the film:
The film has been earning raves since its debut at the New York Film Festival, with critics crediting it for erasing the memory of Lumet's cinematic sins of the last few decades: "His touch in Before the Devil is so sure, so perfectly weighted, that it’s hard to imagine him capable of making a bad movies," writes David Edelstein. Our Rex Roberts notes the film's "unrelenting perversity" but praises Hawke and Hoffman's "mesmerizing" performances that "reinforce the filmmaker’s reputation as an actors’ director." The New Yorker's David Denby chimes in on the acting as well: "While shooting his movies, Lumet grabs his actors and shakes them into giving more and more [...] In this case, his bullying panache feels right." J. Hoberman at The Village Voice sums it up neatly: "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is less Sidney Lumet's comeback than his resurrection."
A myriad of reviews (mostly positive) can be found at Time, the International Herald Tribune, Courier Post Online, PopMatters, Film Critics Blog, Film Web Blog, and MSNBC.

Also, according to, the nominees for the 17th Annual Gotham Awards were announced on Tuesday, and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was nominated for Best Ensemble Cast. The awards will be presented at Steiner Studios in New York on Tuesday, November 27, 2007. For the official press release and a list of all the nominees, visit

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The sorbet after a side of beef

Not much on the news front as the use of the Wilde quote suggests! Here are the sorbet's ingredients:

  • On a serious note, Playbill reports that today's performance of Oscar and the Pink Lady has been cancelled due to the fire emergency in California.
  • Regarding The Coast of Utopia's opening in Russia, John Freedman's aforementioned article for the St Petersburg Times is now available in published form, with a couple of production photos.
  • Playbill meanwhile discusses the previewing of Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll on Broadway. A reminder that Tom Stoppard will be taking part in a Times Talks event in New York on October 26. According to Playbill, Sir Tom will 'discuss his work and the ideas behind his new play'.
  • Last but not least, if you have a large gap that needs filling in your living room, maybe you fancy owning this - albeit unrecognisable - piece of Utopia history. It is a life-size mannequin being auctioned on eBay by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Since playing a vitally important role as a serf in the trilogy, it has appeared in a horror production - hence its present attire - and now, according to the description, 'smells slightly of patchouli'. The auction ends tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Master of Ceremonies: Jennifer Ehle!

The New York Public Library will be honoring Tom Stoppard, Martin Scorsese, John Hope Franklin, and Jhumpa Lahiri at the 10th annual Library Lions benefit, and Jennifer Ehle will serve as Master of Ceremonies! According to Playbill:
[...] Jennifer Ehle, who won a Tony for her work in Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center this past season, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Nov. 5 evening, which will feature a cocktail reception at 7 PM in Astor Hall; an 8 PM program honoring Stoppard, Scorsese, Franklin and Lahiri; and a dance party sponsored by the Library's Young Lions at 9 PM. [...]
Playbill further explains:
[...] The Library Lion honorees are those "whose accomplishments enrich our lives with beauty and knowledge, and whose work is inspired by, and represented in, the Library's collections," the Library states.

The annual benefit supports the New York Public Library's General Book Fund, allowing the institution to acquire the books and materials needed to keep the collections current for the 25 divisions of its four research centers, including the Humanities and Social Sciences Library; the Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library. [...]
Broadway World and Theater Mania report much of the same, and All That Chat has the official press release. More information about the event and the honorees can be found at the New York Public Library website. Congrats to Sir Tom! [Many thanks to everyone who sent us tips about this event.]

And, while we're on the subject, I just want to remind everyone that Tom Stoppard's latest play, Rock 'n' Roll began previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre tonight.

Tom Stoppard isn't the only Utopian in need of congratulations. Director Jack O'Brien is to be inducted in the American Theatre Hall of Fame. According to The Stage:
[...] The inductees will officially enter the Hall of Fame on January 28, 2008 at a ceremony at Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre. In order to be considered for acceptance, a person must have a theatrical career spanning at least 25 years with a minimum of five major credits. [...]
Note that Rosemary Harris was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

Ethan Hawke talks to Variety about his latest work as the director of Things We Want, and he also reminisces about his Utopia days:
[...] Hawke's last role -- Michael Bakunin in "Coast" -- earned him a Tony nomination but took its toll on the resilient actor. By the time the show closed, Hawke's voice sounded, like his character, as if he really had spent time in Siberian exile. "I spent most of last year in what really felt like some kind of grad school theater program," he says. "I spent a year in rehearsal with Tom Stoppard and (director) Jack O'Brien. And I came out of it really excited about the possibilities for theater." Hawke also notes that it was the last time he wanted to be onstage for a while. "I loved acting onstage all last year, and I have no desire to do it again for a while," he confesses. "But I still love the theater. So now I'm kind of interested in taking what I learned from Jack and Tom and seeing if I can distill that as a director." [...]
Cutie-pa-tootie Josh Hamilton, who will be starring in Things We Want, was interviewed by the Gothamist.

Screen India has another mention of Before the Rains' inclusion in the Pusan International Film Festival, as well as an interview with Jennifer Ehle's co-star Rahul Bose. Mr Bose, however, sounds slightly skeptical about the practical purposes of film festivals:
You are turning out to be quite a festival specialist. Pyaar Ke Side/Effects going to Cairo, Before The Rains to Pusan and what more?

I have been going to festivals long before it became fashionable. My very first film, English August went to the Toronto film festival and that was 14 years ago. But there is nothing special about going to film festivals. What’s the use, for the last five decades no Indian film has found a distributor in North America. Festivals mean nothing if they don’t translate into anything. [Dare we hope that Before the Rains will be the first?!]

Aren’t you happy going to all those film festivals?

It is absolute fun and a matter of great prestige to make it to the top festivals like Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto and Sundance. The rest are like pleasant trips abroad. I wasn’t aware that Pyaar Ke... was going to Cairo or Santosh Sivan’s Before the Rains was headed for Pusan. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Sivan and Saket (directors).

Finally, I'll leave you with this - a Pride and Prejudice "cheat sheet" for the BBC miniseries, created by Buttercups and Ravenwood. It is designed for "those poor guys out there stuck with girlfriends or friends that are girls who love the film and want them to love, or at the very least watch, it too." It, of course, outlines the famous scene featuring "the wet shirt that launched a thousand sighs."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A ticket to "Oscar" available!

Hello everyone, a fellow fan has asked me to announce that she has a free ticket for Oscar and the Pink Lady, starring Rosemary Harris, at the Old Globe Theatre. The ticket is for Sunday October 21 at 7:00pm (the show is approximately 90 minutes long). If you are going to be in the San Diego area and would like to see this show, please contact us at as soon as possible. Thanks!

A little Raindrop

  • First and foremost, a little video. have a news clip giving us the first glimpse of Before the Rains. There are a few words from Santosh Sivan and an (extremely!) quick shot of Ms Ehle in character.
  • Pam Kragen of the North County Times reviews Oscar and the Pink Lady, which she describes as "a showcase for Harris' subtle talents - fluid gestures, spry physicality, sparkling eyes and a mellifluous voice" viewing which she describes as 'a reward in itself'. She also elaborates on the physical demands of the play, mentioning in passing that among other things, Ms Harris is required to 'curl up on the floor and spin pirouettes to the "Nutcracker" score'!
  • Baz Bamigboye of The Daily Mail meanwhile, talking about Michael Caine, indicates Ms Harris has another project in the pipeline, of which there is no mention at present on IMDb:
[...] Caine starts filming his latest movie, 'Is There Anybody There', at Elstree studios next week. Caine plays a retired magician who befriends a young boy, played by Bill Milner. Director John Crowley has assembled a fantastic cast that includes Anne-Marie Duff (fresh from her triumph as St Joan at the National), Rosemary Harris, Thelma Barlow, David Morrissey, Elizabeth Spriggs, Sylvia Syms, Peter Vaughan and Leslie Phillips. [...]

John Crowley is the brother of Utopia's set designer Bob Crowley. Small world!

David Morgan of FilmWad gives some info regarding the film's storyline, which seems to bear at least some similarities to Ms Harris' current project:

[...] According to Caine the film is "about a little boy of ten who lives in an old people’s home owned by his mother and father. And he keeps making friends and of course every time he makes a friend, the people die. So he gets a camera and a tape recorder looking for their ghosts." Caine plays an old magician who comes home to die and he helps [the boy] find these ghosts. [...]

  • Regarding Utopia's move to Moscow, Alexander Osipovich of The Wall Street Journal argues that staging a play about Russians in Russia has meant that while the play has been transported to another country, any criticisms of historical impenetrability have not. BBC Radio's The World has an audio news item on the new show, and last but not least, Brendan Lemon - official blogger for the Lincoln Center production - briefly mentions the Russian production on his website, LemonWade.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

No man is an island

Well, you might have noticed that Michael Clayton opened in the US yesterday. (See IMDb for international release dates.) USA Today has an interesting article about the film and an explanation (pfftt) as to why Jennifer Ehle's part was cut from the movie:
[...] The hero. So to speak. The divorced Clayton has a gambling addiction, a son he barely sees and an estranged addict brother. Plus, he's deep in debt to loan sharks.

Meanwhile, Clooney's marquee smile is on a dimmer switch, replaced by a haggard scowl. There is no explosive let-off-steam moment for him. "You feel a simmering," the actor says, "a building of disgust or anger."

And no romance, either, which was expected in the old days. Scenes were shot with actress Jennifer Ehle but went unused. "The ability to have any sort of love makes your character feel less isolated," Clooney explains. "You don't worry about him as much." [...]

Apparently not everyone has caught on. Several reviewers are still listing Jennifer Ehle among the cast members, such as this one at the Houston Chronicler.

In other news, Before the Rains was shown at the Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea on October 6. Two production stills can be seen at the PIFF website:

N.E.A.A.T.O. has more information:

[...] South Korea’s Pusan International Film Festival will celebrate its 12th anniversary with a record 66 world premieres, underlining its status as the region’s prime movie forum.
. . .
Pusan, a port city on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula also known as Busan, expects more than 200,000 visitors this year, to see 275 movies from 64 countries. Added to the world premieres will be 26 films getting their first international screening and a guest list that includes Jeon Do Yeon, who won the best actress award at Cannes in May, and director Volker Schloendorff (“The Tin Drum”).
. . .
The focus this year is squarely on Asian filmmaking, in particular in Japan, China and India, organizers said.
. . .
Mani Ratnam’s “Guru,” a Bollywood movie about an ambitious man striving to climb the social ladder on his way to wealth, and Santosh Sivan’s “Before the Rains,” a story of friendship and conflict between a Briton and a local, will be the main fare from India. [...]
  • On The Russell Girl front, blogger Karen notes that they did some location shooting three blocks from her home in Port Credit. And, if you're interested, you can read more about Jennifer Ehle's co-star Amber Tamblyn at The Brock Press.

  • The 2000 Charlie Rose interview with Jennifer Ehle and Stephen Dillane has now been posted on Part I includes a clip from The Real Thing and Part II is the actual interview. (Remember that you can see an entire DVD of interviews like this if you join our lending library!) Also at youtube is a clip of Ms Ehle in This Year's Love.

  • Finally, Theater Mania has a cute photo of Rosemary Harris at the opening of A Catered Affair at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. Scroll down until you see it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oscar: 'whets one's appetite for Harris'

  • Oscar and the Pink Lady continues to elicit similarly mixed responses, with Paul Hodgins of The Orange County Register describing Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's play as 'too slight a vehicle' for Ms Harris' 'impressive suite of talents'.

Also like some reviewers before him, he fails to find the character of Oscar entirely convincing for his age:

[...] Oscar is simply too precocious and conveniently wordsmith-y to be plausible. He talks like a literary conceit, not a little boy. [...]

He is alone however in meting out the first explicit criticism of Ms Harris, saying she 'doesn't always do a crystal-clear job of delineating character', although the positive comments far outweigh the negative in regard to the actress. Hodgins praises her overall performance as 'spontaneous, natural and completely unforced', describing that as 'a treat to see in such an intimate environment.'

  • Secondly, we say 'Bereg Utopii!' as the third version of The Coast of Utopia opens in Russia. John Freedman, in a pre-publication review for The Moscow Times on October 12th, describes the long run-up to this point:
[...] Two years in the making, the "Utopia" project has enjoyed hands-on participation from Stoppard, who has visited Russia frequently to meet the troupe of the National Youth Theater and who was prominently present at third-row center for the 10-hour opening night last Saturday. To my knowledge there has never been a more thorough collaboration between a Russian theater and a major western playwright. This association has included readings, rehearsals, trips to the Russian countryside, an educational program run through several Moscow institutes and even a trip to Sparrow Hills to clean off a monument to Herzen and his friend Nikolai Ogaryov... [...]

In case you happen to be in Moscow, Freedman gives performance details - 'Bereg Utopii plays October 20 and 27 at the National Youth Theater, located at 2 Teatralnaya Ploshchad. MetroTeatralnaya. Tel. 692-0069, 692-1879, 692-6572.' And in case you can read Russian, here are two (possibly?!) relevant websites: and

  • Thirdly, Sir Tom has written a fascinating piece for Vanity Fair about Pink Floydian Syd Barrett's relation to his play Rock 'n' Roll. Mr Stoppard also makes an interesting revelation about his working habits:
[...] With each play, I tend to become fixated on one particular track and live with it for months, during the writing—my drug of choice, just to get my brain sorted. Then I'd turn off the music and start work. I wrote most of "The Coast of Utopia" between listening to "Comfortably Numb" on repeat. [...]
  • Fourthly, if there are any collectors among you, eBay has a number of items relating to Rosemary Harris, including a 1976 Playbill for The Royal Family and a copy of Life magazine from 1966 (with cover girl Jackie Kennedy!)

  • Fifthly, regarding release dates for Ms Ehle's latest projects, IMDb is now giving the USA date for The Russell Girl as February 2008, meaning it will be out prior to Pride and Glory, which is currently set for 14 March 2008 (UK and USA).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Harris: "Soul-conjuring wizardry"

(Photo by Craig Schwartz, The Old Globe)

  • Another day, another review of Oscar and the Pink Lady, and the good phrases attached to Rosemary Harris' name continue to grow in number.
Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times describes her as "one of those canny veterans who could mesmerize an audience while reading the proverbial phone book" before going into more depth about her acting abilities:

[...] When Harris acts, aspiring students of the theater should take notes. While they may not be able to match her intelligence, grace and, at 80, radiant freshness, they can learn from her greatest asset - her discipline.

The dramatic situation is one that a less experienced performer might try to milk for maximum heartbreak. Harris, on the contrary, steadfastly resists any sentimental indulgences. She portrays her characters as truthfully as she can, which means she enters the hearts and minds of those forced to confront mortality as a fact rather than as a speculative fantasy. [...]

He echos the sentiments of previous reviewers however that there are faults with the written word and that Harris is - at the very least - the redeeming feature of the show:
[...] But what [Harris] doesn't have ... is a proper play. It's really a slab of prose apportioned to characters who don't so much interact as hold forth. Fortunately, this old pro doesn't require much to work her soul-conjuring wizardry. ... The chance to enjoy Harris onstage, even in something that's not particularly effective as a drama, is always supremely worthwhile. [...]
French Culture's ultra-brief description of the play meanwhile uses the positive words 'sensitive, heartbreaking, amusing, and ultimately life-affirming'
  • Also reviewed this week was Forbidden Broadway: A Rude Awakening which is now showing at the 47th Street Theatre. The opening of this season's revue - a 25th anniversary version - took place on October 2.

For those new to the concept, Julie Reed of The Associated Press describes it as 'taking the wind out of many an overblown Broadway show', while Frank Scheck of the New York Post goes for the 'scathing yet affectionate revue spoofing the Great White Way'.

As Ben Brantley of the New York Times notes, the show was called “The Roast of Utopia” but it has since undergone a change of name. Although the mentionees are predominantly Broadway musicals, Variety mention a Utopia reference:

[...] The sketches register more hits than misses, but among the latter are half-cooked digs at "Jersey Boys" and "The Drowsy Chaperone." While it starts out amusingly, with Donegan doing a wickedly earnest Brian F. O'Byrne in "The Coast of Utopia" ("I live with my wife, my two children, and my perfect theatrical diction"), a number that pits that highbrow hit against "glitzy hash" like "Xanadu," "Mamma Mia!" and "Grease" (by far the season's ripest target) is among the more pedestrian vignettes. [...]

In other news, there are a few items relating to Ms Ehle's co-stars of past and present:

  • Playbill announce that Jack O'Brien will be one of two honorees at the Primary Stages Gala Benefit on November 12, an event which recognises 'individuals who have made significant contributions to the American theater'. Artistic director Andrew Leynse said of the Utopia director and three-time Tony Award winner:

[...] Jack O'Brien is a very talented director of new plays and musicals as well as an accomplished writer, lyricist and producer, and an avid supporter of non-profit theater. [...]

  • V. Radhika for Khaleej Times Online meanwhile speaks to Nandita Das - Ms Ehle's co-star in Before the Rains. Das briefly discusses her cinematic career and the linguistic difficulties inherent in her choices.
  • Broadway World give more details of Off-Broadway play Things We Want starring Josh Hamilton and directed by Ethan Hawke, which begins previews later this month.
  • Returning full circle to San Diego, Anne Marie Welsh of the Union-Tribune writes about Most Wanted, the current project of Utopia's Mark Bennett, and includes quotage from the composer.
  • Lastly, if you thought it would be another ten years before a Pride and Prejudice remake, think again. The BBC give brief details of a spoof movie version currently in the works that will star Stephen Fry as Mr Bennet, Carrie Fisher as Mrs 'have compassion for my nerves' Bennet, and singer Lily Allen as Lydia, although 'the traditional lead roles of Lizzie Bennett (sic) and Mr Darcy have yet to be cast'. Filming is due to begin in the spring. Interestingly, the script is being penned by Robert Farrarm, the talent behind Bedrooms and Hallways. With that fact and Stephen Fry, one's expectations are positively astronomical!