Sunday, April 27, 2008

Very little time + very little news = very short post

No flourishes or cheesy commentary today - just links, straight up.

  • Here is another photo of Jennifer Ehle at the Monte Cristo Award ceremony, courtesy of Playbill.

  • Before the Rains was the recipient of the Grand Remi Award at the WorldFest-Houston Film Festival.

  • Cinematical refers to Before the Rains as one of the highlights of the opening night of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.

  • There's a not-so-good review of Rains at IndieWIRE, where the Tribeca critics categorized the film as "Constipated Beauty."

  • However, to counter that is a positive review at YRFilms:
    Bollywood A-list cinematographer and art house director Santosh Sivan is one of the few directors who has the double duty of lensing as well as directing his own films. He returns with another stunning film after THE TERRORIST left us craving for more of his talent.This film based on a short Israeli film called "Yellow Asphalt: Red Roofs" is about the conflict an Indian man who's torn between his loyalty to the British and his native villagers after he witnesses his boss having an illicit affair with a married maid that threatens his existence in the volatile colonial India of 1930s. A great story with a sumptuous setting along with a superb cast including Linus Roache, Rahul Bose, Nandita Das and Jennifer Ehle makes this film a must see. Sivan brings his magic behind and in front of the camera and makes him one of the best directors in India.
  • I saved the best for last: The Michael Clayton shooting script is available for download at Big Screen Little Screen. (Thanks for the tip T!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rainbows, Rains and Rockefeller

Greetings all!

On Monday night, Ms Ehle was one of many well-known faces who went along to the Rockefeller Plaza's Rainbow Room to support playwright Neil Simon, who was receiving the Monte Cristo Award from the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. (Photo from Theatermania).

The Courant have more information, revealing that Ms Ehle was also more than just a spectator in the event:

[...] The 80-year-old Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer...was feted with dinner, speeches and scenes performed from his plays. ... Among the performers were Lucie Arnaz...and husband Laurence Luckinbill, who did a scene from "Chapter Two;" Jennifer Ehle was poignant in a scene from "The Good Doctor"; and Bob Dishy and Dick Latessa scored huge laughs with a scene from "The Sunshine Boys". [...]

In other news:
  • The Kudzu Gazette speak to John Ehle about the aforementioned NCSA name change:
John Ehle, a founding father of the school, thinks the name change is a “tricky” situation. “It [NCSA] is not a university,” Mr. Ehle said in a phone interview. “If it is characterized as a university it will become the only university in the system that picks its students based on auditions and portfolios.” He went on to add, “The school has a dynamic chancellor and maybe he can make it work out, but I don’t know what will happen after he leaves.”
The Carolina Mountains Literary Festival also report that Mr Ehle will be one of many authors participating in that event which is being held September 12 and 13 in Burnsville, North Carolina.
  • Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere stands up for Pride and Glory and lists Jennifer Ehle as one of those who give a 'special' performance in the film. There is only one thing that puzzles him:
[...] (Her) head is shaved in this thing - what's that about? [...]
  • And very lastly, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette have a nice piece on ex-Utopian Erika Rolfsrud, while Tom Stoppard makes Oxford University smile by speaking to their student newspaper, the Cherwell.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sarasota: In Pictures

More photos from the now ended Sarasota Film Festival are now available for viewing on Elevation. (There are four of Jennifer Ehle). As is evident, there is more pretty green florality from the Luncheon Under The Banyans, and then some pretty blue dottiness from the World Cinema Celebration. See the website for another variation on the latter.

Pictured with Ms Ehle are Before the Rains producer Mark Burton (Photo 2) and Rosemary Harris and producer/actor/director Norman Lloyd (Photo 3).

Press-wise, the Sarasota Herald Tribune report seeing a certain 'young, blond, talented actress' at the Liv Ullmann tribute luncheon, while the official Sarasota Film Festival website lists both Rosemary Harris and Ms Ehle as attendees of the ten-day event.

  • Ashok R. Chandran of the Loyola School in Trivandrum meanwhile interviews director Santosh Sivan. The Rains-related pieces are as follows:
[...] Santosh Sivan is taking Loyola to Hollywood. On 9 May, Before the Rains, his first Hollywood movie — an English language film, an American production — will hit the screens of New York and Los Angeles. I haven’t heard of any Hollywood movie set in colonial Kerala, or with Malayalam dialogues. In that sense, Santosh Sivan is probably taking Kerala (not just Loyola) to Hollywood. [...]
Sivan says:

[...] It was a dream to release a Malayalam/English film in the US. So Before the Rains is a first of its kind, presented by Merchant-Ivory. When we were to make it, the folks at Hollywood asked me, “Why Malayalam? Our research says, Hindi and Punjabi are better options, since Malayalis don’t see films and only buy pirated VCDs”!

Q. Asoka was partly inspired by your history teacher in Loyola. ... Is there a Loyola connection to Before the Rains?

A. Though the story is from the Hollywood producers, it deals with a colonial background, where there are always cultures clashing. For instance, it’s perfectly normal for us to sit in front of computers and crack our head on logic, and equally normal to sit and do religious rituals and break coconuts. I was always fascinated with the roads that wind up into the Wayanad hills, and the efforts to build them. Sort of clashing of nature and man. A road is always a leftover of the clash. And becomes timeless. So many landmarks are British. So these images trigger off. Imagining about them and their life in Kerala and our forefathers, and their relationship. The movie is about such people. Rahul Bose, who is caught in-between and the choices he has to make. So with Linus Roache, Jennifer Ehle, and Nandita [Das] who all have to make choices. It resonates today too where all have to make choices. The film explores the grey areas. No one is stereotyped black or white. [...]
  • As part of the 40th anniversary of New York Magazine, Jeremy McCarter rounds up the last forty years of New York theatre. The Coast of Utopia is one of the few recent productions that receive mention:
[...] THE COAST OF UTOPIA, 2006–2007

Arcadia and Rock ’n’ Roll are better plays, but director Jack O’Brien made Tom Stoppard’s epic about nineteenth-century Russian intellectuals a once-in-a-generation showcase for New York talent: Brían F. O’Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Billy Crudup, and Martha Plimpton, plus their co-stars, plus genius designers, plus an audience that kept the trilogy running long past Lincoln Center’s expectations. It was a milestone even before it broke the record for Tonys for a play. [...]
In other news:

  • The Daily Mail report that Pride and Prejudice screenwriter Andrew Davies is recovering at home after sadly being attacked in an altercation while walking his dog. We wish him a swift recovery.
  • One writer comments on the current name change debate surrounding North Carolina School of the Arts, attended by Ms Ehle and helped to be established by her father.
  • Rains' Rahul Bose takes part in an online conversation for IndiaFM.
  • And last but not least, for stateside fans in mourning after the culmination of The Complete Jane Austen, Jane Austen Today offer some thoughtful Austen-related alternatives.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Film Festival Round-up: Interviews and Reviews!

There are lots of goodies from the Sarasota Film Festival, where Before the Rains was screened earlier this week. First, the Herald Tribune has a short, but sweet interview with Jennifer Ehle, which is accompanied by a lovely photo. Here's one of the cutest bits:

[...] When Ehle arrived with her husband and son this week for the Sarasota Film Festival,, she discovered they were given a two-bedroom suite at the Longboat Key Club.

"So I called my folks and they came down to be with us," Ehle said. "Who wouldn't want to come down here?" she said, pointing her hand toward the lush foliage at Selby Gardens, where she was attending a luncheon honoring actress Liv Ullmann. [...]

Ms Ehle also described Before the Rains as "a beautiful film and a mighty good yarn."

There is an even better interview at Buzz Worthy. Apparently slow zinnia days are going to be replaced with busy bee days:
[...] Upon meeting me and noting the fact I had an interesting name (January) — she told me about the small flock of chicks her and husband are raising on their land in New York. She plans on raising a small colony of bees soon, too.

I was "stunned" by that. I've never met an actress that's into bees, or chickens for that matter. Interesting. [...]

Regarding the character she plays in Rains:

[...] Ehle plays Henry's wife, Laura, who is back home in England unaware of his affair.

"She's just mystified by his behavior," said Ehle, who fell in love with the script that highlights India's struggle with British colonialism.

She said there are subtle little shifts in Laura's character and before long, the events taking place come to a head. [...]

At the Bradenton Herald you can see two photos of Ms Ehle in pretty green florality which, according to the captions, were taken during the above interview. (Slides 9 and 10)

At the Tampa Bay Blog there is another interview (can you believe our good fortune?!), this time via phone. On film frothiness:

[...] Ehle's mother is Rosemary Harris, also a Tony winning actor and best-know to movie masses as "Aunt May Parker" in the Spider-Man trilogy. They played young and old versions of the same character in two movies, including Istvan Szabo's Sunshine. Since Mom made the leap (or took the fall) to popcorn cinema, and since Ehle is a lovely woman, why doesn't she play a few frothy, fluffy Bullock/Roberts/Hathaway kinds of roles?

"I don’t know why," she said laughing. "Talk to my manager. I guess people don’t think of me as frothy but God knows I have my moments.

"You know, I actually, really enjoy escapism. I’ve probably seen more escapist movies than any other kind, not that I see a lot because I’m a very happy homebody.

"(My mother) adores being part of (a blockbuster series). I don’t yearn for it. I’m sure the financial security would be lovely. But I actually know lots of people who have been part of those kinds of movies that haven’t given them that financial security. It’s not always the actors who make the most amount of money from those ventures. Sometimes they make enormous amounts. But I don’t yearn for that kind of fame.

"Maybe when I’m 70 I’ll get one of those parts, too."

Now on to the reviews:

Jay Handelman at The Herald Tribune mostly summarizes the plot, but he concludes:

[...] Roache is full of bombast as Henry pushes his road project, but also moving, as you can see his internal emotional and intellectual struggles over what to do about the affair. As his wife, Jennifer Ehle is likewise touching, particularly in a key scene when she realizes the full impact of her husband's actions.

Bose and Nandita Das as the scorned woman also add to the impact of a film that looks at Indian culture and traditions, and is surprising even as its conclusion seems almost inevitable.

Joe Leydon of The Chronicle finds the movie lacking, but praises the performances.

If you thought Before the Rains had completed the film festival circuit, think again. Last night it was showcased at the opening night of the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival. See the press release at Yahoo! for more information. And, Net News Publisher announces that the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles will be screening Rains on April 23. Don't forget that it will also be shown at Tribeca on April 29, May 1 and May 2.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It's raining in Sarasota!

Before the Rains

  • The Sarasota Film Festival is now well underway, with one screening of Before the Rains gone, and the other occuring in a few hours. If you have seen the film at Sarasota or at any other location, we would love to hear from you!

  • Radio SRQ report that Jennifer Ehle is expected to attend tonight's World Cinema Celebration, which is honoring actress Liv Ullmann and is one of many events happening all over the area as part of the Festival.

  • Meanwhile, if you live in Los Angeles, Calendar Live report what appears to be a screening-and-speaker session for the film on April 21 at the Wadsworth Theater. Guest speakers taking part include actor Rahul Bose and producer Andrew Spaulding.

  • The Hindustan Times have a quick chat to Mr. Bose while Television Point speak to Santosh Sivan about his and Bose's latest project as competition judges.

  • A reminder that you can access all the press materials for the film at the official Before the Rains site. Here are some interesting excerpts from the Production Notes on how the film came to be:

The inspiration:

[...] Co-producer Amotz Zakai showed Mankoff and Spaulding an Israeli film by Dany Verete called “The Desert Trilogy: Yellow Asphalt,” and were captivated by a 50 minute short film within it, called “Red Roofs.” This story - of an Israeli farmer who has an illicit affair with his housemaid and forces his Bedouin assistant to deal with the increasingly dangerous situation – was extremely moving to both of them, and Mankoff suggested the idea of transplanting this universal story back to 1930s colonial India. [...]

The script:

[...] Mark then introduced the team to writer Cathy Rabin, whose script “Livingstone Falls” spoke to both the tone and the themes of the project. Cathy did enormous amounts of research on life amongst Indians and the British during the tumultuous 1930s, and she delivered an exquisite and compelling script. [...]

The shoot:
[...] The film was shot in the remote region of Munnar, Kerala, hours up winding mountain roads from any city. The state is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Production designer Sunil Babu led a dedicated local art department who built an entire village (comprised of over thirty structures), a bridge, a small town and a ferry boat all from scratch. Local craftspeople hand-made everything from the costumes and the props to the drapes inside the characters’ homes. [...]
  • Among the featured selection for Broadway Cares this month is 'The Fourth Wall' - a collection of photographic portraits of actors in public spaces. Bookcourt mention that Utopians Ethan Hawke and Martha Plimpton are among those photographed.
  • Times Online interview Tom Stoppard about Hapgood, 'eerily quotable sentences' and wonky 'Rs'.
  • Lastly, Amazon are now selling the first-ever fully annotated Pride and Prejudice for just $11. Annotations include explanations of historical context, citations from Austen’s life, illustrations and maps, and literary analyses and clarifications. Happy thought indeed.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Before the Rains: The Website

Lookie! These photos are from the official website for Before the Rains. Go check it out. There are a few more photos, and the film trailer has been posted there as well.

Thank you to our Chatterbox guest who posted a link to, the website of an actor who appeared in Before the Rains. Here is how he described his experience making the movie:
My next film was again a Santosh Sivan film. With the working title "Kerala", Santosh directed it and he was also the cinematographer. It opened a new world for me. Produced by Echo Lake Productions, in the U.S., it was premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2007 under the title "Before the Rains". The film stars Linus Roach, Jennifer Eyle, Sir John Standing, Rahul Bose, Nanditha Das and Indrajit. Entirely shot in Munnar (Kerala), it showed how efficiency could be the backbone of a production. A shooting schedule that was so finely tuned to ultimate perfection before the start of the first shot, that it is hard to believe that the shooting ended after two months exactly to the minute as scheduled. A whole tribal village was set up at Munnar, with bridges, temple, public square, river that was partially diverted through the set....... the works. My role is that of Inspector Sampath, the Inspector of Police, Munnar. The story is a murder mystery that happens in Munnar, circa 1934. The two-month schedule was so business-like, with get-togethers every weekend. All the compliments must go to the producers whose grasp of logistics, timing and teamwork was something that can be compared to a space launch by NASA!!
A new review of the film has been posted at Slant Magazine, and The Hindu News has a short article about Jennifer Ehle's co-star Rahul Bose, who, we are told, will be in New York and Los Angeles next month for the film's release (May 9).

Rains has certainly been making the film festival rounds! On March 31, it was shown at the AFI Dallas International Film Festival. And, according to the Dallas Morning News, it was honored with a party:
[...] Monday night, a slew of AFI parties drew the locals out to mingle with the film crowd. Trammell S. Crow hosted a party at the Crow Collection in the Arts District honoring the movie Before the Rains . The film's star, Linus Roache (Law & Order), came by, as did the producer, Doug Mankoff, son of Dallas civic leaders Joy and Ron Mankoff. [...]
Non-Rains News:
  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, with Rosemary Harris, will be released on DVD on April 15 (Blu-ray format on May 6). Both versions are available for pre-order at
  • Speaking of DVD, one blogger wonders why all of Jennifer Ehle's scenes were not included on the Michael Clayton DVD. Good question.
    [...] There are three deleted scenes - two of which would qualify as big time spoilers and a third which introduces an entirely new character - Clayton’s lawyer girlfriend (Jennifer Ehle). From what I have read online and in the papers, Ehle had a much larger presence originally aside from this one scene but all of her scenes were deleted for time purposes. I wonder why we only get the one scene here. Would it have hurt to include ALL of this material? [...]
  • Which of Jane Austen's heroines do you have the most in common with? Take this quiz to find out...
  • Tomorrow night we will bid farewell to The Complete Jane Austen with the second half of Sense and Sensibility. Many thanks to Masterpiece for all of the Sunday night fun!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Anyone live at Jennifer Ehle Court?!

Greetings all!

April Fools' apology:

Firstly, apologies for yesterday. If I am honest, 'Pine Terrace' does not, strictly speaking, exist. Although happy thought on the cast list if it did!

Any other business:
  • If you have many rubles in the bank and are free from April 4th through 13th, here is a list of all the parties and galas that will be happening as part of the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida.

  • A reminder that Ms Ehle's film Before the Rains will be screened at the Festival on the following dates:
    - Tuesday, April 8th, 5:15pm, Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20, Theater 7.
    - Wednesday, April 9th, 5:45pm, Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20, Theater 11.

Visit the website to purchase tickets.

Pride and Prejudice:

  • Digital Spy reveal that Ms Ehle is helping children pass exams, albeit in an indirect way:
[...] One in ten pupils "cheat" in English lessons by watching film adaptations instead of reading the original books, a poll has found. Baz Luhrmann 's Romeo And Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, was revealed to be a favourite of schoolchildren forced to study Shakespeare's play. Watching the BBC adaptation of Pride And Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle was also a popular alternative to Jane Austen's book. [...]
Not that PBS minds, in fact they advocate it. In this aesthetically pleasing Teacher's Guide, they provide 'before' and 'after' viewing questions for all of Miss Austen's books. Here is an 'after':
[...] In what ways is Elizabeth out of place within her own family? In what ways does the family she was born into limit what she can do with her “lively mind”? How does she feel about her mother, father, younger sisters? What do Darcy and Pemberley represent to Elizabeth? Ask students to select a scene from the novel or film in which Elizabeth must cope with her family and write a monologue for her. What is Elizabeth thinking and feeling at that moment and why? [...]
Who knew school could be so fun?
  • meanwhile report that the Cleveland Play House have attempted a stage version of Pride and Prejudice. If you are interested to know what it looks like, this short video with Associate Artistic Director Seth Gordon will provide a taster. (The link is beneath the picture.)

Lastly, for a bit of fun:

  • Journal Now reveal that there has been a theft at 'John Ehle Court'. Which begs the question - how long before there is a 'Jennifer Ehle Court'? Let us know if one already exists. Or, better still, if you live there!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Pine Terrace"

Greetings everyone,

Good news! We now have the following brief synopsis for Ms Ehle's latest project, the Russell Girl-esque Pine Terrace, which has the tagline "One murder will change the lives of three people who live on this street". Ms Ehle plays the character of Catherine Polk:
[...] The Polks are a wealthy, middle class family living in the city of Rochester, New Hampshire. Richard Polk is an attorney working for one of the best law firms in the state, and his wife Catherine is a stay-at-home mom. Her mother Vivian lives with them, and the two have a teenage son named Aaron. The family lives in a quiet, two-story house on Pine Terrace, and their next door neighbor happens to be their pastor, the Rev. Joseph Friedman. Joseph is a single man who lives by the Bible, except that the only thing he doesn’t follow is the commandment of coveting thy neighbor. Joseph is jealous of Richard’s lifestyle, and he believes that the only way to destroy his life is by killing someone dear to him and the family. [...]
This is what the Press have had to say on the film thus far:

[...] 'Pine Terrace' is the latest film from director Terry George and it’s by far his most brilliant work and is the best film to ever brace the big screen. Terry George directs this wonderful drama film about a New Hampshire family’s aftermath when the couple’s son was brutally murdered by their minister.

The script that both George and Lonergan come up with is well-written, and it is perfectly woven together by the marvelous acting of its cast and characters. The lead performances of John Cusack and Jennifer Ehle create this amazing duo of actors, and their teamwork is some of the best since such film duos like Foster & Hopkins, Nicholson & Fletcher, Finch & Dunaway, Voight & Fonda, Nicholson & Hunt, and even Gable & Colbert.

John Cusack plays Richard Polk, a father who was determined to find his deceased son’s murderer. ... His wife Catherine, played by the talented Jennifer Ehle, is an attention seeking woman, and his absence has caused her to feel lonely and depressed. Ehle delivers her best work to date, and the scene where she sits in the living room with Joseph and tells of her loneliness while shedding tears is marvelous! [...]
The project is not as yet listed on IMDb, although we will of course let you know as soon as it is.