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!