Getting to Know Miss Sloane With John Madden

madden If you’re a fan of the film “Shakespeare in Love”, the director of that film, John Madden, has a new release this month, “Miss Sloane” and it’s fantastic.  I had an opportunity to sit and have a chat with him.  Here’s that chat.

Shari:  I want to talk primarily about your casting.  Chastain was unbelievably perfect in this role.  How did you know she was the one to cast for it?

Madden:  We’ve worked together before on this film called “The Debt”.  Nobody knew who she was when I cast her in that. She was right at the beginning of her very compressed career and so we wanted to do something together ever since then and have been trading material when it came up, but I never found anything that I thought was absolutely perfect for her that I wanted to do.  Even in the iteration of the script that I read originally, by page five I thought, ‘Oh, this is the one for her.’  So I finished it and sent it to her.

Shari:  So this was a story you felt compelled to do from the moment you read it.

Madden:  I think, to me, there are many, many terrific things about the script and the film.  The script, when it came to me was, mechanically, I’m talking about the mechanics of the storytelling were pretty much in place.  Johnny had written a very cleverly constructed piece.  I wouldn’t say the chronology isn’t exactly the way it is in the film now, certainly the elements in it, the content has developed and there was an amazing character there but it… the character essentially had not developed fully in terms of… what she did was there but what happens to her was not.  And I thought the most interesting thing about the film was to take this character who is, you know, so empowered so powerful so brilliant at what she does, so sought after, so successful but also ruthless, dangerous, heedless of the collateral damage she causes on the way to achieving the goal she sets for herself or somebody had set for her and finding out what’s going on underneath all of that and the price that she is paying personally for that because she has no life at the beginning of the story.  She eats her meals in some godforsaken place simply because it’s functional.  She buys intimacy, she has no friends, she has nothing that we would call a life outside of the world that she’s got; which seemed a fascinating thing to explore particularly in light of what happens and that– what does happen to her and what she does, and what happens as a result of that, is a massive challenge to her.  The core relationships developed as Johnny and I worked on the script … and also adapted, forensically, the political assumptions so we made sure we had those right.   

Shari:  I want to talk primarily about your casting.  Chastain was unbelievably perfect in this role.  How did you know she was the one to cast for it?

Madden:  We’ve worked together before on this film called “The Debt”.  Nobody knew who she was when I cast her in that. She was right at the beginning of her very compressed career and so we wanted to do something together ever since then and have been trading material when it came up, but I never found anything that I thought was absolutely perfect for her that I wanted to do.  Even in the iteration of the script that I read originally, by page five I thought, ‘Oh, this is the one for her.’  So I finished it and sent it to her.

Shari: She was so cold in this role.  Was it hard to get her there?

Madden:  No.  Not really because I know her and I know what she’s capable of.  We talked a great deal about how that character operated.  She’s very, very smart and because we have a lot of trust between us, that’s a very intuitive process.  She’ll say, ‘I’m not going to tell you what I’m doing in this, you tell me what you think when I’ve done it’ or ‘I don’t know what to do here, should we go this way or that way?’ 

Shari:  I know the answer before I ask but did you ever question your decision?

Madden:  No, she’s got– there are a handful of actors of both sexes in this business who just have the skills of a virtuoso mastery of their instrument, let’s say, like somebody who can play a Mozart concerto perfectly.  She’s in that league without any question whatsoever.  She can do, sort of, anything but the most extraordinary thing is that she can inhabit anything.  There are very few actors that have the range that she has.  When my film, “The Debt” came out, she had done “Tree of Life” by then, some of those came out before our film because did because for various reasons it got delayed, but she had done “The Help”, “Take Shelter”… there was a huge range in there and “Zero Dark Thirty”, obviously, is another side of her, which this has more of an infinity with, I guess.

Shari:  She’s very intimidating as Sloane.  She towers above everyone, whether it’s psychological or not I don’t know but she felt like a giant.

Madden:   She’s, realistically, small in stature but she totally dominates the entire film to the point where you would think she was an exceptionally tall woman, taller than most of them around. 

Shari:  She’s not?!

Madden:  (Laughs) No. No. No.  I mean, she wears heels, obviously in the film, as that character would and quite deliberately but no… and she has a fragility about her that belies the ferocity and so the paradox is that even though she behaves in ways that you pull back from her, shocked by, you still are rooting for her in some way.  I certainly intended that you’d be rooting for her when she begins to make mistakes, because I think it’s human nature to do so but I hadn’t quite anticipated that you might be rooting for her almost from the very beginning, which I think you are; weirdly.

Shari:  I was.

Madden:  Yes.  I’m sure.  And I think women in particular are.  And, you know, it’s partly the way we’ve written the character and it’s also partly the way she does it.

Shari:  I want to see it again and I think seeing it twice is what a lot of people will be doing.

Madden:  Good!  But it’s a different experience when you see it again because now you know so you’re surfing through it differently.

Shari:  Since this touches on the subject of the guns how do you see this film playing in America now that Trump was elected?

Madden:  It’s hard to say, you know, I think… I can’t say I’m entirely happy about this but it seems to me that, that argument is– obviously this movie is, to some extent, a fantasy even because it actually purposes that such a piece of legislation would be under consideration in congress, which was unimaginable before this event, it is now completely unimaginable that there would be any shift in this… and if anything, you might go backwards.  I think, however, the gun issue is not the subject of the film.  The subject of the film, aside from the character study, is the political process itself and, strangely, the film has become richer in terms of what it’s saying now because you’ve seen that process laid bare in such an extraordinary and, sort of, startling way and in ways that we can’t completely track and understand. 

Shari:  Guns aren’t the situation and the political message is there for us to pick up.

Madden:  I think broken politics is something of a truism now but I think it’s never been more demonstrated than right now.  When I say that, I’m very aware that half of the voting population, it was a very low turnout, have got exactly the result they hoped for and that’s an exercise in democracy that I couldn’t and wouldn’t argue with, it’s not my country… but I think we’re witnessing a massive realignment of how politics functions and I can only, myself, lament and express my dismay at where the country appears to be pointed.  The idea that climate change is going to be arrested stopped and moved backwards is shocking and deplorable to me and that is what is being proposed.  As I said, the gun issue is its own thing and I look at that as a primarily, well, exclusively, American issue; I have my own views about it but they’re not relevant in the film but I think it, strangely, the movie plays more strongly– I was shocked after the election thinking, ‘Wow!  Is anyone going to go to the movies?  I don’t feel like going to the movies right now.’  But I think Americans do go to see the movies when they’re disoriented, depressed, dismayed or even jubilant, as some presumably are… and I think it has something to say in that context and so, yeah… it casts some unexpected light on the situation or rather the situation casts an unexpected light on the film… let me put it that way. 

Be sure to read my review of “Miss Sloane”.   You can catch the movie which is out today at a theatre near you.  Jessica Chastain will surprise you with her best performance yet.  Remember, it’s not at all a movie about gun control, only the reason for Miss Sloane to be working.  It’s barely even noticed.  As Madden said, she is the subject.  It’s a great story and one not to miss, especially if you think it’ll be political leaning left or right.  As mentioned in my review, don’t wait for Netflix.  

Lion Advance Screening

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

Find your chance to receive special advance movie screening passes below. 
Phoenix, Arizona

Date: Tuesday, December 8
Location: Harkins Tempe Marketplace
Time: 7:00pm


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Jackie Advance Screening

JACKIE is a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman). JACKIE places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.

Find your chance to receive special advance movie screening passes below. 
Phoenix, Arizona

Date: Tuesday, December 7
Location: Harkins Scottsdale 101
Time: 7:00pm


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Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Date: Tuesday, December 20
Location: Regal Red Rock
Time: 7:00pm


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Collateral Beauty Advance Screening

When a successful New York advertising executive suffers a great tragedy, he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. But it’s not until his notes bring unexpected personal responses that he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived, and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty

Find your chance to receive special advance movie screening passes below. 

Phoenix, Arizona

Date: Tuesday, December 12
Location: Harkins Tempe Marketplace
Time: 7:00pm
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Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Date: Tuesday, December 12
Location: AMC Town Square
Time: 7:00pm
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Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Date: Tuesday, December 13
Location: Century Rio 24
Time: 7:00pm
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Tucson, Arizona

 

Date: Tuesday, December 12
Location: Century El Con
Time: 7:00pm
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Miss Sloane Advance Screening

In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price.

Find your chance to receive special advance movie screening passes below. 
Phoenix, Arizona

Date: Tuesday, December 6
Location: Harkins Tempe Marketplace
Time: 7:00pm


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Las Vegas, Nevada

Date: Tuesday, December 6
Location: AMC Town Square
Time: 7:00pm


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Transformers: The Last Knight Teaser Trailer

Optimus Prime finding his home planet, Cybertron, now a dead planet, which he comes to find he was responsible for killing. He finds a way to bring the planet back to life, but in order to do so he needs to find an artifact, and that artifact is on Earth.

 DIRECTED BY: MICHAEL BAY 

STARRING: MARK WAHLBERG, JOSH DUHAMEL, LAURA HADDOCK, ISABELA MONER, JERROD CARMICHAEL AND SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS

#Transformers

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Snapchat: TFMovie

 

In Theaters June 23, 2017

http://www.fandango

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Teaser Trailer

Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

Meghan Trainor Gets Smurfed

MEGHAN TRAINOR WRITES AND PERFORMS

“I’M A LADY”

FOR SONY PICTURES ANIMATION’S “SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE”

CULVER CITY, Calif., December 5, 2016 – “I’m a Lady,” a new song from the multi-platinum reigning Grammy Awards Best New Artist Meghan Trainor, will be featured in Sony Pictures Animation’s Smurfs: The Lost Village.  The song is performed & written by Meghan Trainor and produced by Martin Rene, Monsters & Strangers and Meghan Trainor.

Fans will be able to hear the song in the new year, in advance of the film’s debut in U.S. theaters on April 7, 2017.

Commenting on the announcement, Trainor said, “I love the Smurfs and was honored when they asked me to write a song for this new movie.  I was especially excited – I wrote the whole thing in one evening!”

In this fully animated, fresh new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does.  Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!  Directed by Kelly Asbury, the film is written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon, based on the characters and works of Peyo.  Produced by Jordan Kerner and Mary Ellen Bauder Andrews, the film features the voices of Demi Lovato as Smurfette, Rainn Wilson as Gargamel, Joe Manganiello as Hefty Smurf, Jack McBrayer as Clumsy Smurf, Danny Pudi as Brainy Smurf, with Mandy Patinkin as Papa Smurf.

·         Website: http://www.sonypicturesanimation.com/

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·         Twitter: http://twitter.com/sonyanimation