My Freelance Work

  • Some Hair and Makeup Oscar Contenders Went Prosthetic, Others Used Traditional Tricks

    Variety2/13/19

    A historical British royal drama. A biopic of an American vice president. A Swedish film about real-life trolls. All three of this year’s Academy Award nominees for hair and makeup showcase a wide range of visual effects on the faces and bodies of their stars, but there’s one subject everyone has an opinion on: the use of prosthetics, or not, in “Mary Queen of Scots,” “Vice,” and “Border.”

    “Last year, prosthetics won the Oscar,” says hair and makeup designer Jenny Shircore, nominated with Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks for “Mary,” referring to the young boy’s headpiece in “Wonder.”

    “Prosthetics are the modern way of changing a character’s look, but I felt heartened that we had used a simpler form of makeup, with brushes and sponges [in ‘Mary’], yet it was considered worthy of a nomination alongside major prosthetics,” adds the Oscar winner (1998’s “Elizabeth”).

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  • Prop or lucky charm? For character or comfort? These film items come straight from the actors

    L.A. Times Envelope1/23/19

    An emerald ring, a stuffed bear, a jacket — props and costumes always help ground actors in a film’s story, but few things are more powerful to have on set than something they personally connect with. “It’s a little whisper to yourself in the movie,” says John C. Reilly (“Stan & Ollie”). The Envelope tracked down several of the things actors carried — sometimes directly from home — onto the set and listened to what those whispers sounded like.

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  • Glenn Close, John C. Reilly and other stars on what happens to their characters after the movie ends

    L.A. Times Envelope1/09/19

    When the credits roll, a movie’s story is over — or is it? That could depend on what chair you’re in. As a first-time director (of the family drama “Wildlife”), Paul Dano says he hasn’t thought about what comes after the credits in his picture. “The final image is the ending. That’s the film for me. It’s a moment of grace.” But when he shifts into the actor’s chair and recalls playing Brian Wilson in “Love & Mercy,” it’s a different story. “You spend so much time preparing for a role and doing it, it doesn’t just disappear,” he says. That’s the case for other actors, who often spend time building their character’s backstory, figuring out their life before the events of the film take place. So why not create an “after-story” as well? The Envelope spoke with some performers who did just that. Oh, and we’re talking about film endings here. If you haven’t seen “Widows,” “Leave No Trace,” “The Sisters Brothers” or “The Wife,” and don’t want to know how they end, turn the page now.

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  • 8 magic moments: Directors reveal what scene is key to their film

    L.A. Times Envelope - 1/09/19

    All films contain a beginning, a middle and an end. But for most directors there is one key scene that ties everything together or reveals a key motivation or turning point in the story. It can be a big dramatic moment or a quiet glimpse of an actor’s face that says it all. And more often than not, it is the scene that lingers in your memory after leaving the theater. The Envelope talked with the directors of eight of this season’s award-contending films to find out what scene for them was at the core of their films.

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  • They may be young, but these teens carry a movie as easily as an iPhone

    L.A. Times Envelope - 1/08/19

    Awards season is full of prestige roles for veteran actors with big names — but just scratch below the surface of many of this year’s lineup and you’ll discover great performances from the newer, younger set. In films like “Wildlife,” “Vox Lux,” “Leave No Trace” and “Eighth Grade,” adolescent actors go up against some of Hollywood’s best and brightest — and truly give us hope for cinema’s future. Here are four leading lights who are ready for their close-ups.

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  • Foreign Actors Break Barriers

    Variety - 1/04/19

    Dec. 6 felt a bit like déjà-vu for one director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, whose German film “Never Look Away” landed just one of five berths in the Golden Globes foreign-language film category, along with fellow nominees “Shoplifters” (Japan), “Capernaum” (Lebanon), “Girl” (Belgium) and “Roma” (Mexico).

    “We’re not even five hours from the announcement, and I’m getting emails and calls from all over the world,” he marvels. “A film can remain invisible without help like this from such a powerful organization. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. gives it a voice.”

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  • Costume Designers Help Establish a Film’s Point of View at First Look

    Variety - 1/04/19

    To look at Felicity Jones as the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the opening scene of “On the Basis of Sex” is to glimpse a microcosm of the next two hours: Outfitted in a 1950s-silhouetted dress, jacket and seamed pantyhose, Ginsberg is one of the few women at a Harvard Law School introductory seminar among 450 men dressed in gray suits.

    “It’s a full ensemble that is quite feminine, but in an appropriate way for where she was,” says the film’s costume designer Isis Mussenden. “Seeing it juxtaposed like that immediately tells our audience that this is someone special. It immediately tells us we’re in another era. And that she’s a fish out of water.”

    Such is a key job of a film’s costume designer: to provide an audience shorthand so the story can begin.

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  • ‘Science Fair’ celebrates the ‘nerds,’ the kids looking ahead to solve global problems

    L.A. Times Envelope - 12/07/18

    On the surface, “Science Fair” looks like it’ll be just as earnest and straightforward as its title, focusing on the bright students of today as they compete in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair. But the entertaining, heartfelt National Geographic documentary from journalists Darren Foster and Cristina Costantini has taken on a life of its own since winning Sundance’s 2018 inaugural festival-wide audience award and now has a good chance at Academy Award attention. The filmmakers spoke with The Envelope about the film, its unexpected politicization and why science nerds are our real superheroes.

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  • For ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ director Marielle Heller, it’s time for different kinds of stories to be told

    L.A. Times Envelope - 11/28/18

    Director Marielle Heller has returned to the scene of the crime: New York City’s Argosy Book Store. To clarify: Not her crime, but the crimes of Lee Israel, an author who forged letters by legendary names and sold them as rarities in bookshops just like this one during the 1990s, and who’s the subject of Heller’s newest film, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Scenes from the film were also shot here.) But Heller, who also helmed 2015’s “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” and is about to wrap up her untitled Mr. Rogers film starring Tom Hanks, advises the Envelope: Don’t judge a book — or any of her protagonists — by their covers.

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  • Stepping behind the camera is a natural move for some actors

    L.A. Times Envelope - 11/27/18

    “I always cringed when I heard about actors who directed,” says John Krasinski. “I remember someone asking me if I would ever direct when I was on ‘The Office,’ and I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ “

    Oh, how times have changed — and not just for Krasinski, who made waves with his writer-director-actor combo this year in “A Quiet Place.” Bradley Cooper is making waves of his own for his directing debut with “A Star Is Born,” and several other actors are taking their own seats in the director’s chair. “Quiet Place” is Krasinski’s third feature outing; Marielle Heller’s second, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” was released last month even as she finishes shooting her third, the untitled Tom Hanks/Mr. Rogers movie; Australian actor Joel Edgerton released his second feature, “Boy Erased,” early this month; and both Paul Dano and Rupert Everett are making their debuts, “Wildlife” and “The Happy Prince,” respectively.

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