My Freelance Work

  • With little to say and only subtle moments, Glenn Close finds her power in ‘The Wife’

    L.A. Times Envelope - 11/07/18

    Early in “The Wife,” Glenn Close’s character, Joan Castleman, joins a phone conversation between her husband, Joe (Jonathan Pryce), and the selection committee for the Nobel Prize in literature. Joe has just learned he’ll receive the award, but it’s Joan’s face the camera lingers on.

    In that moment, “Glenn does something so magnificent,” says screenwriter Jane Anderson. “There are 500 pieces of subtext going on there. Every time I come to that spot in the film I get chills watching Glenn’s work — and what she plugs into.”

    If any actor can tease out anything close to “500 pieces of subtext” from a scene, it’s Close. The 71-year-old actress has terrified us in “Fatal Attraction,” charmed us in “The Big Chill,” and revealed the heart of a monster in “Dangerous Liaisons.” But in “The Wife,” she does things she’s never attempted before — pulling them off so subtly they don’t fully resonate until much later.

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    Bonus: Glenn and her little dog at the theater!

  • Reginald VelJohnson reveals how ‘Die Hard’ helped him get cast in ‘Family Matters’ - 11/06/18

    “Die Hard” is, let’s face it, a perfect movie: You get an unbreakable Bruce Willis as everyman cop John McClane; vile European baddies fronted by future Snape Alan Rickman; a brilliant use of a fireman’s hose as bungee cord; and a rousing rendition of “Let It Snow!”

    But that’s not all the 1988 blockbuster, which has (at last count) brought us three sequels, has to offer. It also introduced much of the world to the jovial Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt. Al Powell, the one person outside the Nakatomi Plaza who believes McClane when he calls for help.

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  • Directly or indirectly, political films offer history lessons that punch at the status quo

    L.A. Times Envelope - 11/06/18

    In theory, movies are an escape – one of the few ways to get away from the relentless news headlines and social media quibbling over partisan politics that drive us to distraction.

    But that’s not going to be true this awards season. Films like “The Front Runner,” “Vice,” “On the Basis of Sex,” “Widows,” “The Favourite” and “Mary Queen of Scots” refuse to shy from the political or the personal – and that’s actually a good thing. Whether unearthing recent history like Gary Hart’s lost presidential bid; Dick Cheney’s unusual rule as vice president; the early years of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; or machine-style Chicago politics; or honing in on the court intrigue of queens Anne, Mary and Elizabeth, each of those films, respectively, tells a story that’s as relevant, if not more so, than what’s currently on CNN or Twitter.

    “Politicians are the new gangsters,” says “Widows” director/co-screenwriter Steve McQueen. “I wanted to bring those things to the surface.”

    “The dynamics of the 16th century in many ways are not so different from the dynamics we see now,” adds Beau Willimon, “Mary Queen of Scots” screenwriter. “They had the Protestants and the Catholics, we have Republicans and Democrats at each other’s throats. There are things that are shockingly familiar about what Mary and Elizabeth were experiencing — including mansplaining.”

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  • Are separate bathrooms the secret to a happy marriage? - 10/23/18

    Michelle Obama. Michael Caine. Sarah Michelle Gellar. Joan Collins. What do all of these celebrities have in common?

    They all agree that having two separate bathrooms equals one long-lived, happy marriage.

    “Listen, I know that everybody can’t have that, but it does help, quite frankly,” Collins told James Corden on “The Late, Late Show” in September. Early in October, the former first lady echoed the sentiment on TODAY.

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  • The debunking website Snopes turns 25 this year. And that’s not fake news

    L.A. Times Calendar - 10/14/18

    Remember the one about the “new deadly spider species” that was killing Americans this summer? Or those “friend complimented you” texts that were linked to sex trafficking? Or that Florida Gov. Rick Scott returned a rescue dog after he got re-elected?

    Even if you didn’t hear about those recent rumors and urban legends, it’s safe to say that has. For almost 25 years, Snopes – which averages 22 million views per month – has crafted itself into the go-to web location for confirming or debunking every rumor or urban legend your father-in-law emailed you, your sister posted on Facebook or your college buddy showed you in a Reddit meme.

    And thanks to the ongoing flood of “fake news,” political shenanigans and a persistent human desire to pass along stories that “feel true,” it’s also safe to say that Snopes, headed by founder and CEO David Mikkelson, will never run out of material.

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  • Quest for Fire

    Emmy Magazine - 9/13/18

    One of the challenges of being cast in a new adaptation of a George R. R. Martin property is this: at least some fans are probably expecting Syfy’s Nightflyers, which is based on Martin’s 1980 novella by the same name, to be a bit like A Song of Ice and Fire but in space — complete with shocking mother-of-dragons moments.

    “I love Game of Thrones,” Jodie Turner-Smith says. “But Nightflyers is something completely different. I’m not walking out of any fires naked. Yet.”

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  • Emmys: Artisans Up Their Game for High-Def Scrutiny

    Variety - 9/05/18

    Edward Berger had been so careful. The Emmy-nominated director of all five episodes of Showtime limited series “Patrick Melrose” had taken a chance by casting a brown-eyed boy as the younger Melrose, who is played as an adult by blue-eyed Benedict Cumberbatch.

    “We had a boy with blue eyes, but [Sebastian Maltz] felt like a stronger choice,” says Berger. So in post, Berger and his team tweaked his eye color to keep things consistent, and that should have been that. In the old days, nobody would have been the wiser.

    That wasn’t enough, however. “Two people picked up on the change, and were very triumphant that they’d found an eye color mistake,” sighs Berger. “There are millions of people watching and some will stop at every frame to make sure they find something that doesn’t work so they can post about it online.”

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