The Pinup of Williamsburg
A profile of Zooey Deschanel.
A profile of Zooey Deschanel.
An early profile of Sasha Grey.
A profile of Steve Buscemi.
On the fascination, from Hollywood to Atlanta, with zombies.
On the life and career of Chris Farley.
A profile of an up-and-coming director:
Well, according to Woody, his ascent has been a series of painful falls. Success hasn't changed him, Allen insists: he's still a schlemiel. "I'm afraid of the dark and suspicious of the light," he says. "I have an intense desire to return to the womb—anybody's." Ineptitude, Woody goes on, is a family curse.
The former Perfect Strangers star cheerfully slags Tom Cruise, Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington, among others.
On Friday Night Lights as book, film, and TV show.
A profile of Spike Lee.
To this day, no one (outside of the movie's own crew) knows how the Muppets rode bicycles in The Great Muppet Caper, the classic Henson movie from 1981. In that scene, Kermit stands up on one frog-leg on the seat of his bicycle to impress Miss Piggy, and then the whole gang joins them on their bikes, doing circles and figure eights, singing “Couldn’t We Ride?” It's a wonderful piece of filmmaking, and still a complete delight to watch because the effect relied on the ingenuity and bravado of the puppeteers and crew, not CGI wizardry. Contrast the joy and ebullience of this scene to the elegant chiaroscuro slickness of the post-Henson Muppet Christmas Carol in which we see old fogies Statler and Waldorf, as the Marley brothers, floating in mid air. No viewer is impressed; no one really thinks about it at all. And that's because when a then 29-year-old Brian Henson directed that film, he threw the rules out the window. Statler and Waldorf “float” because Goelz and Nelson, the men working the old guys, were standing behind them during filming and then were removed in post production. It’s an elegant fix—a cutting of the Gordian knot—but it is a complete break with an aesthetic 35 years in the making.
At work with Jean-Claude Carrière, screenwriter of choice for an entire generation of top-flight directors.
FRANCO: “Straight” and “gay” are fairly recent phenomena. One of the things the great book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay World, 1890–1940 is about is the way those labels have changed behavior. Between World War I and World War II, straight guys could have sex with other guys and still be perceived as straight as long as they acted masculine. Whether you were considered a “fairy” or a “queer” back then wasn’t based on sexual acts so much as outward behavior. Into the 1950s, 1960s and so on, the straight and gay thing came up based on your sexual partner. Because of those labels, you do it once and you’re gay, so you get fewer guys who are kind of in the middle zone. It sounds as though I’m advocating for an ambiguous zone or something, but I’m just interested in the way perception changes behavior.
A profile of Hollywood agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar.
An oral history of director Michael Bay.
A profile of Justin Timberlake:
This need to succeed, to become his generation’s multi-talented Sammy Davis Jr., is part of what makes him appealing to filmmakers. “I needed someone who could be a Frank Sinatra figure, someone who could walk into the room and command all the attention,” says David Fincher, of casting Timberlake as Sean Parker, the Facebook investor and rogue, in The Social Network. “I didn’t want someone who would just say, ‘I know how to play groovy.’ You can’t fake that stuff. That’s the problem with making movies about a rock star—actors have spent their lives auditioning and getting rejected, and rock stars haven’t.”
On digital animators’ quest to capture the endlessly complex human face.
A profile of Chris Evans, star of the upcoming Captain America:
At this point, which was a…number of drinks in, it was easy to forget that it really was an interview, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't cross my mind that something might happen (and that we'd go to the Oscars and get married and have babies forever until we died?). But there was always the question of how much of it was truly Chris Evans, and whom I should pretend to be in response.
A profile of filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar during the 2004 Cannes International Film Festival.
A rare interview with Gene Hackman, who says Welcome to Mooseport was his last movie, unless he “could do it in my own house.”
A profile of John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar.
On the eve of the release of The Tree of Life, a look back at the turbulent making of Terence Malick’s debut.
A profile of silent film comedian Buster Keaton:
The story of his life seems in its twists and dives borrowed from his movies, survival demanding a pure lack of sentiment.
A profile of Werner Herzog.
An interview with Heart guitarist and film composer Nancy Wilson.
On Sebastian Junger’s War and the documentary Restrepo by Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya yesterday.