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. [...]