Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chitchat and Trailers

Hi everyone. First, some blog news:
  • Since the Chatter/shoutbox is a bit small and not always conducive to conversation, we've created a mini-forum to supplement the Chatterbox. It's called "Chat Extension," and we hope it will be a great place for Jennifer Ehle-related discussions and drive-by comments. The link is located directly below the Chatterbox on the right sidebar. Please stop by and have a looksie!

In other news:

  • The theatrical trailer for Before the Rains has been posted at IMDb. It includes great clippage of a certain someone, and the movie looks gorgeous. (The trailer has also been posted at youtube, but the sound is out of sync with the video).
  • According to the Bradenton Herald, Ms Ehle is planning to attend the Sarasota Film Festival, where Before the Rains will be screened on April 8th and 9th:
    [...] Other new guests linked with films in the festival are "28 Weeks Later" star Jeremy Renner, Tony Award-winning actress Jennifer Ehle, foreign film director Juha Wuolijoki, American banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck and writer Elvis Mitchell. Other guests include actor Joe Sirola and David Darcy. [...]
  • There is a review of Alpha Male (now available on DVD in Region 1 format) at Monsters and Critics.
  • For those of you who are following "The Complete Jane Austen" series on PBS, remember that Andrew Davies' new and "bold" adaptation of Sense and Sensibility will be shown in two parts beginning Sunday, March 30. Part 2 will be aired on Sunday, April 6. Visit the Masterpiece website to see several "Behind the Scenes" featurettes. This movie marks the end of Sunday nights with Jane - unhappy thought indeed!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rains & Belonging

Salutations all!

Firstly, here is what appears to be a marginally revamped poster for Before the Rains. Pretty, no?

The schedule for the Tribeca Film Festival has also now been released. Before the Rains will be shown on April 29, May 1 and May 2. Click here for locations and exact times.

Press-wise, Kerala Next briefly comment on the film's aforementioned wide distribution, adding also that Sivan's piece 'throws in plenty of visual surprises'. Lastly, thank you to the tagboarder who directed our eyes to this short video on the film which we may have missed from last year. (Note: Ms Ehle snippets present.)

Another reader has kindly alerted us to the short interview with Rosemary Harris which is included as part of the extras on the Belonging DVD. Rosemary Harris played May Copplestone in the 2004 television drama, and the following is what she had to say about the project. The novel referred to in the first question is Stevie Davies' The Web of Belonging.

Q: Had you read the novel?

RH: [...] I didn't know of the book before, but I think it's a masterpiece. It's so rich and free, and my sisters are now both reading it, and they keep ringing me up and enthusing about it. I actually have to give my darling older sister, Pamela, the credit for my May wearing a baseball cap!

I once brought back a silky blue one from the States. I lent it to her, and with her blazing blue eyes, she looked so gorgeous in it that I never had the heart to take it away from her, and she now wears it all the time. So I thought May's cap could be an homage to my sister. [...]

Q: Describe May.
RH: [...] May invented the term strong-willed. She's a bit of a monster really. I think she's a little bit round the bend and a complete narcissist. She only sees things from her own point of view. I've certainly known people who can be utterly charming, but ultimately care only for themselves.

I think she's a wicked character to play (especially when she starts talking about cattle dung being a serious threat to the ozone layer in the southern hemisphere!), and I adore her--I think there could be a whole play about her! I don't normally play
such colorful characters as May, and it's fun.

May is the younger sister of Brenda and obviously the difficult one. Apparently I was rather difficult as a child. I was considerably younger than my sister, yet she was terrified of me. I was called the household devil, so I have used my own experiences in playing May. [...]
Q: Would you ever want your children to care for you in your old age?
RH: [...] I don't know if I will need care later in life, but I wouldn't wish it on my daughter or son-in-law! I would like to keep going in a little bungalow, managing my myself for as long as I possibly could.

I am very interested in this new ruling being discussed about housing where developers must build houses with a bedroom on the ground floor and a bathroom just because they can't manage the stairs and things. They seem to think that this will help a lot with the problem of shuttling old people off into nursing homes.

Being an actress, one need never retire. I suppose the longer you can keep your marbles, the longer you can "stay on the branch" and the less competition there is. When I was young, people used to say, "How can you learn all those lines," and I thought, "That's the silliest question," and now I think it is the most sensible. Now when I start a new job, my brain needs to crank up and struggles to memorize for a few days, and then suddenly, something kicks in, and it's lovely to thread all those beads together and relish the mental exercise. [...]
Additionally, here are the relevant thoughts of one reviewer, who after praising Brenda Blethyn's performance, says:
[...] But the limelight in this case has to be shared with Rosemary Harris, playing the mother-in-law, who has some excellent lines and delivers them well. Both turn in top quality performances. [...]
On the story:
[...] The plot is simple: what happens when a middle-aged husband leaves his wife for a younger woman. But the result is not exactly predictable. [...]
Belonging can be purchased on Amazon, in Region 1 and Region 2.

Today's miscellanea:
  • Variety have an interesting piece about reconciling theatre and digital technology. The Coast of Utopia is mentioned, although blink and you may miss it.
  • Broadway World announce that Martha Plimpton will be one of nine co-chairs at the Drama League Awards in May. Tickets are available for the ruble-laden. The Coast of Utopia won in last season's 'Distinguished Production of a Play' category and Rosemary Harris is listed as a past recipient.
  • And finally, a nice article from the Times talks at length about Tom Stoppard's life. It is actually written by Tom Stoppard, which helps.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Film Festival Fun

As our Tagboard "Tippie" has graciously pointed out, we have good news! It has been announced that Before the Rains will be shown at both the Sarasota and Tribeca film festivals in the next couple of months.
  • The Sarasota Film Festival in Florida will begin April 4 and continue through April 13. According to the film guide at the official website, Before the Rains will be screened on April 8 and April 9. Here is what they have to say about the movie:
    The lush, humid days of colonial India provide the backdrop for Santosh Sivan's BEFORE THE RAINS. Sivan tells the story of Henry Moores (Linus Roache), a colonial entrepreneur seeking to build a road through the Indian jungle in order to expand his spice business. Moore's right hand man is T.K. (Rahulk Bose), a local who is unwittingly wrapped up in an illicit extramarital affair. Soon, rumors spread and tensions escalate against the promise of impending monsoons. BEFORE THE RAINS is an engaging period drama of the highest order.
    They also add that director Santosh Sivan is expected to attend. Click here to find out how to purchase tickets.

  • New York's Tribeca Film Festival will take place between April 23 and May 4. The film schedule has not yet been posted, but it should be available soon. For box office information, visit the Tribeca website. Also, the Hollywood Reporter has a brief article about the films that will be showcased at Tribeca:
    The Tribeca Film Festival's final Spotlight, Showcase and Restored/Rediscovered sections were unveiled Monday, featuring more pickups from other recent fests than any in Tribeca history. The fest's complete list of 122 features seems to emphasize quality over quantity, with fewer films featuring name stars and directors available for acquisition than last year and more award winners from other festivals in the mix. [...]

Lastly, I just want to remind our state-side population that The Complete Jane Austen will resume this Sunday (March 23) with the 1996 adaptation of Emma starring Kate Beckinsale. Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Ides of March

  • Playbill has posted this adorable photo of Ms Ehle with Richard Easton at the unveiling of Jack O'Brien's caricature at Sardi's Restaurant. There is also a photo of Amy Irving with Tom Stoppard. (Must have been a fun mini-Utopian reunion!)
  • You can also see larger versions of the photos we posted last time (courtesy of Wire Image) by going to Getty Images (search "Jennifer Ehle").


  • This is just hearsay at the moment, but the folks at silksoundbooks have told us that they hope to record more audiobooks with Jennifer Ehle later in the year. That would be fabulous! (If you've listened to Washington Square, pray tell us your thoughts at the forum).

Before the Rains:

  • The sad news is that yesterday would have been the release date for Pride and Glory had it not been postponed until 2009. The good news is that Before the Rains is scheduled to be released in the US in May. According to Screen India:
    [...] Films with Indian themes shot on Indian locations and tinged with an international flavour are gaining cross-over acceptance. Taking the lead here is top-rated cinematographer turned director Santosh Sivan’s fifth film, Before The Rains . . . Roadside Attractions will release Before The Rains on May 9th in New York and Los Angeles and then expand over the subsequent two weeks into over twenty US cities. [...]
  • India Glitz reports more of the same. Let's hope that it makes it to a theater near you and me!
  • Also, there is an interview clip with director Santosh Sivan at Film Catcher (from when Before the Rains was being shown at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September '07). Apologies if this has already been posted.


  • Just a reminder that Alpha Male will be released on DVD in Region 1 format on March 18. It is currently available for pre-order at
  • Mole Underfield, from the livejournal realm, watched Jennifer Ehle's deleted scene on the Michael Clayton DVD:
    [...] Basically, the scene depicts the two talking shop in her apartment (apres liaison) while she prepares dinner . Although the scene is about ten minutes, Jennifer's acting is, again, top notch . . . Though it was unnecessary for the movie, the deletion of that scene was a pity. To have kept it in would have added a pinch more spice. [...]


  • NPR dedicated a piece to A Streetcar Named Desire's tragic heroine, Blanche DuBois, and there is insightful quotage from Rosemary Harris about what it is like to play the character on stage:

[...] Actress Rosemary Harris remembers one thing in particular about Blanche DuBois.

"It's the loneliest part to live through that I've ever played on the stage," she says.

Harris played Ophelia opposite Peter O'Toole in the Hamlet that inaugurated the Royal National Theatre in 1964. Summer-blockbuster fans know her as Peter Parker's Aunt May in the Spider-Man movies. She starred as Blanche in the 1973 Lincoln Center production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

"Most people, even if they're unsympathetic characters like Lady Macbeth or somebody, at least she has ... Macbeth rooting for her," Harris says. "But there is nobody rooting for Blanche. And you go through that night after night, and it begins to get to you. It's very, very lonely up there."

What saves Blanche, and makes her tragedy more bearable, says Harris, is her humor. Harris says too many people fail to see that parts of the play — especially some of the exchanges between Blanche and Stanley — are meant to be funny.

"They're very witty," she points out. "They're very funny with each other; they spar. They strike sparks off each other. And it's obviously sexual — right from the beginning, too. But it's a sexual thing with wit." [...]

  • Remember that Jennifer Ehle made her theatrical debut in this production of Streetcar. See El Interview Part 1, Question 6:

My first public performance was as part of the ‘birthday party’ that passes-by in A Streetcar Named Desire. I was less than 2 years-old, but remember it —remember going across the back of the stage during one of the performances and seeing Mum in the quick-change room (that was supposed to be the bathroom where Blanche was having her bath) and her waving and smiling and putting her finger to her lips to remind me not to say her name aloud.

And I remember the feeling of all those hundreds of people sitting out there in the dark on the other side of the set. It was an awesome feeling but not a scary one; oddly comforting. [...]

  • The Independent has a nice article about Tom Stoppard.
  • And finally, I couldn't resist posting these worshipful words about Jennifer Ehle from a livejournaler's review of Possession:
    [...] Jennifer is, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful, talented women on the face of the Earth. Her portrayal of the fictional poetess Christabel LaMotte was so surreal. It was almost if she were not made up at all! I half expected to be able to find books about her, biographies, when I searched for her name on [...]

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dearest, softest Elizabeth!

The news fairies are evidently on holiday at the moment, but here is what little there is:

On March 6, director Jack O'Brien received his own caricature at the legendary Sardi's, and as is clear, a certain lady was in attendance! The photo is from Wireimage, who also have another very similar one. For the story itself, see Theatermania. Tom Stoppard, Amy Irving and Patricia Conolly also gave their support. Click here and scroll down for pictures of that trio.

Sticking with Utopia, Russianites might be interested to know that from March 23, Amazon are selling a marginally rejigged version of Isaiah Berlin's Political Ideas in the Romantic Age. If you have yet to tackle Russian Thinkers however, that book is now available for the astonishingly low-ruble deal of $3.20. Other worthwhile reads if you missed the extravaganza back in 2006/7 are E. H. Carr's The Romantic Exiles, and Alexander Herzen's My Past and Thoughts.

The minuscule amount of LRN:

  • The folks at the AustenBlog discuss Elizabeth Newark's Pride and Prejudice sequel The Darcy's Give a Ball, revolving around the offspring of Lizzy and Darcy.

  • And lastly, if any more proof is needed that the world is Austen-crazy, one can now purchase - courtesy of the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England - Elizabeth Bennet Hand Cream. Fragrant thought indeed. Just be careful not to accidentally mistake it for marmalade.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A (very) quick trip in the time machine!

Greetings all! Just a few little pieces today:
  • The above photos, from Summerfolk, are from the National Theatre archive. Photos we already have of the 1999 production can be found in one of our posts from April 07 and in Josie's collection. Jennifer Ehle played the character of Varvara Mikhailovna.

  • Next, the Brain Drain thoughtfully consider Wilde, more specifically the film's use of light and dark in the telling of the story. Below is the paragraph relating to Constance, although the whole piece is worthy of your fine eyes:

[...] The contrasting scenes involving Wilde’s wife, Constance (Jennifer Ehle), and Wilde’s sons tend to occur in the light of day, demonstrative of the scrutiny of a watchful social eye. In the external settings, Constance strolls through the park or gathers her children and husband from the country creek while drenched in sunlight and surrounded by lush greenery. When without Oscar, she sits in the sun on the beach. The internal settings containing her and the children are set in the soft light of white rooms, whether the bathroom while bathing the baby or the playroom where Oscar begins the tale of the Giant. Even as the children peer out at a rain storm, the light is bright.

It is when Constance enters Oscar’s world of darkness, she is often seen as an outsider to Wilde’s world. She enters his study to announce her pregnancy and is no match for his intellect. When she puts the baby down in her bedroom, a disconnect exists between her role as mother and wife. She is also the obstacle between Robbie and Oscar on their first night together. Only at Christmas does the entire family celebrate in dim light, but here Oscar is the intruder. [...]

  • Joe Carnahan, co-writer for Pride and Glory gives his thoughts about the film's spot of bother in his blog:
[...] I've known about the 'Pride and Glory' situation for some time and was hoping that it would be resolved somehow because is GREAT. Nothing is worse than the idea that a film is unreleasable when it's clearly not. I've seen the film four times now and it's just gotten better every time. So New Line either needs to nut up or cut us loose. Rally behind the movie and give it the attention and consideration it deserves or let us roll. ... Bully to Gav for going out on the line. He loves his film. It's what few people have the balls to do in this business which is confront something, head on and deal with it. It'll get sorted. The movie speaks for itself. It just needs the right hands on it now. [...]
  • If you are suffering from Utopian withdrawal symptoms, Andrew Paul for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette offers a loosely-related remedy:
[...] I have come to the conclusion that the Poles are obsessed with Dostoevsky's great novel, "The Possessed". ... The novel is in three parts and [is] well over 700 pages. I'm about half way through it and it is particularly exhilarating. Inspired by the true story of a political murder that horrified Russia in 1869, it serves as an invaluable companion piece to Stoppard's "Coast of Utopia" about the rise of modern thought. This is a fantastic subject and I highly recommend the book to those who always wanted to read Dostoevsky and, like me, never found the time. [...]