Actors Jim Rash and Nat Faxon wowed us with their Academy Award-winning screenplay for “The Descendants” in 2012. Now they’re poised to enthrall us again with their follow up: the summer coming-of-age flick “The Way, Way Back,” a passion project that they’ve been developing for years. Not only do they make their co-directorial debut with this film, but they co-write, co-produce, and co-star in it as well.
The Way, Way Back” focuses on Duncan (Liam James), a shy teenager forced on vacation with with his mom (Toni Collette), her mean boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell), and Trent’s daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). At first, Duncan is miserable because the adults ignore him and Steph ditches him. Everything changes though after he meets Sam Rockwell’s Owen, the wise-cracking manager at Water Wizz, a local waterpark. Owen gives Duncan a crash course in cool and much-needed mentorship to help completely turn the young man’s summer around.
I sat down with the pair recently for a roundtable interview, where we discussed why they chose Massachusetts for their setting, how the project developed, what influences from their own adolescence made it into the film, and why their time in prep school prepared them for show business. Below are highlights from our conversation.
Q: The original script, was it always based in Massachusetts?
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David Chase worked in television for over 20 years writing, directing, and producing shows like “The Rockford Files” and “Northern Exposure” before he stunned viewers in 1999 with his epic mob series “The Sopranos.” The show lasted six seasons and racked up numerous awards, but it arguably made its most significant in television history with its ambiguous conclusion, which left many fans angry.
In the years since, Chase decided to explore a new avenue by writing and directing his first feature film “Not Fade Away.” His tale, which is set in the 1960s and follows a young man from New Jersey, named Doug (John Magaro) as he starts a rock band and tries to make it big. Doug faces the usual trials and tribulations including grief from his working-class cantankerous father (played by “Sopranos” alum James Gandolfini). Musician Steve Van Zandt who played Silvio on “The Sopranos” also assisted Chase, providing tunes he wrote and helping to secure rights to famous songs from the era.
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable interview with David Chase where we discussed his new film, rock n’ roll, and why wrote an ambiguous ending for his film. Below are some of the highlights of the conversation.
Q: In this movie you really focus on the music: there are close ups on the instruments and you cast no-name actors. Why was that so important to you to really focus on the music?
Q&A: ‘The Cabin In the Woods’ Stars Fran Kranz And Kristen Connolly Discuss Joss Whedon And Acting In Horror0
When Fran Kranzand Kristen Connolly first signed on for the Joss Whedon-penned horror flick The Cabin in the Woods, they immediately knew they were going to be part of something special. Helmed by Drew Goddard making his directorial debut, the film tells the story of five college friends who travel to a remote cabin in the woods for a relaxing weekend getaway. They soon discover unimaginable terrors there, and together they must survive long enough to learn the truth behind the mysterious cabin.
Originally shot in 2009 under MGM, the film sat on the shelf for two years because the studio went bankrupt. Lionsgate acquired the movie and released it this year at South by Southwest, where despite its well-traveled premise; the picture received significant praise for its brilliant mixture of horror homage and parody.
Recently two of its stars, Fran Kranz and Kristen Connolly, were in Boston to screen The Cabin in the Woods, and I was lucky enough to participate in a roundtable interview with them. Below are some of the highlights of that conversation.
Q: What was it like working with Joss Whedon?
She’s already known for her romantic fiction, but author Dana Fredsti is poised to make a splash in a totally new genre: horror. With her novel Plague Town, Fredsti introduces zombie lovers to Ashley Parker, a college student whose sleepy town is taken over by the undead. Ashley discovers that she’s a wildcard, meaning she is immune to the virus which has caused the entire mess. Teaming up with a ragtag group of soldiers and other wildcards, Ashley must destroy the infestation before it spreads to the surrounding areas.
The book, which is the first in a trilogy, has been described by Fredsti and others as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets zombies, which I think is an accurate description. Even if Buffy isn’t your thing though, there’s enough action, gore, romance, humor, and nerd culture references to satisfy you.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Dana about Plague Town, her connection to the cult classic Army of Darkness, and her thoughts on this season of The Walking Dead. Below are some of the highlights of our conversation.
Evan Crean: Let me just say for starters, I loved Plague Town.
Dana Fredsti: Yay!
EC: I was reading on your website that Plague Town is based on a previous book that you wrote for the publisher Ravenous Romance. I was wondering, what are some of the key differences between the two aside from maybe a little less saucy material? Read more…
Whether you’re into television junkie or a film nerd, you probably know Elizabeth Banks. In television the actress has had memorable turns on “30 Rock” and “Scrubs,” while her film credits include a mixture of comedic and serious efforts like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “The Next Three Days.”
This week, in the thriller “Man on a Ledge,” Banks plays a police negotiator named Lydia Mercer. When a disgraced ex-cop Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) climbs up on a New York hotel threatening to jump, Mercer is tasked with talking him down. What she doesn’t know is that the stunt is merely a smokescreen to hide his true plan. Certain shady characters discover his motives, so they set attempt to stop Nick, causing chaos to ensue.
Recently I had the chance to sit down for a roundtable interview with Banks about the movie. Below are some highlights of the conversation.
Q: One of the cool things about your character in this movie is that she’s a “police officer” and not a “police woman.” There’s not anything mentioned about her being a woman in the movie. Was that important to you to just play a character where it didn’t matter?