“INTERVIEW WITH SELMA AS A DEADHEAD CRACK MOM” -The Poker House- DVD.
I asked Selma Blair how it felt to portray a wasted mom in this severe slice-of-life drama derived directly from Lori’s teen life. Selma began, “Well the script grabs you because it’s ugly and appealing at the same time. Its Lori’s story about her uncontrollable mom filled with plenty of cuss words and comes directly from Lori’s mind and memory. However, some things were added to the script for drama when Agnes starts wielding a gun in one pivotal scene. Strange now that the film has been made, Lori now shares a better relationship with her mom who has shaken off all this terrible behavior today.” Actually now that the dark period is over in Lori’s life, she now has a wonderful relationship with her mom.” (Lori’s mom is now a successful Real Estate business woman). What does Lori’s story say to you and an audience? “Well it’s all about a mom who lets her older daughter get sexually abused by her pimp father (Bokeem Woodbine) and an unacceptable home overrun by gamblers, thieves and johns. When Agnes get’s the guts to bail from her home the plot shows that women can become empowered to change a life threatening situation. You may be hurt but your soul survives. The film also delivers hope and I enjoyed this meaty role and loved playing a messed up woman.” What about Lori as a first time director? “She was very upbeat and energetic, just a great artist, she trust your judgment and let’s you go with the scene thoroughly!” What about rehearsals on the set? “Not many rehearsals, Lori likes to capture honest moments, like my shirt flapping open accidentally. You get a flash of flesh and that’s okay- it’s honest.” Anything else you’d like to share? “Yes, I hope the audience feels the empathy and passion for these true characters and to forgive people what they did in the past. And to be thankful to be alive today, don’t let the past affect your present.” Lastly, will you work in TV again? “That’s difficult, never says never, but with Universal and their Corporate Company GE followed by NBC, there are too many studio heads to please and it becomes a very stressful job.” _____________
Metairie Movie Man
Director/Editor Jay Duplass creator of the “Indie” dramedy “Cyrus, “ the smash break out hit that’s generated over $3.4 million in just four weeks of limited release, was born in Metairie and a Jesuit High School graduate. Jay, now 37, and his brother Mark grew up watching movies and remember his first big encounter with the film industry. “I was still in the 7th grade and remember going to the Lakeside Cinema (long demolished before Katrina) and entered a candy counting contest guessing how many pieces appeared on the big screen.” Jay explained, that was hard and confusing to do, so he extrapolated the images, got the total correct, and became an instant winner. His prize was free passes to Lakeside Cinema and the opportunity to take his brother to see every single movie playing there. Movies became an obsession and started the Duplass’s love affair with the cinema.
Moving forward, Mark and Jay graduated from The University of Texas in Austin and began making short films after meeting and mingling with other aspiring filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City” -2005).They created a $3 digital film entitled “This Is John (2003)” and won critical acclaim when entered in various film festivals. With their foot or foots in the industry, the Duplass brothers dabbled in all forms of filmmaking and divided the responsibilities among themselves. Mark does all the writing and Jay handles the editing process. A string of “indie” films followed with the biggest hit “Baghead (2008)” winning critical acclaim as a cabin/horror thriller and played to packed audiences at the then Canal Place Cinema. With their stylized brand of unexpected endings the brothers finally found a larger audience outside the geek and art house circles with “Cyrus.”
“Cyrus” is a dramatic comedy and their most mainstream effort to date. After securing a major distribution deal with Fox Searchlight they were able to acquire recognizable talent like John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill (as the troublemaker Cyrus) and Marsia Tomei. Was this a dream project? “Well yes, we breezed along with digital equipment utilizing a film crew of about 60 people and completed the film in less than thirty days. “ How would you rate the cast? “Well John was a very lovable, smart and an earnest person on set and got along very well with Jonah and Marsia. Marisa was a breeze to work with. Hill, a quiet guy who did his work then left unassumingly from the set, went head-to-head with Reilly and created some memorable moments as a mamma’s boy who had problems sharing his mom (Tomei) with a new love in her life (Reilly). Congratulations to our home grown boys and be sure to look forward to their next films “Jeff Who Lives at Home (2011)” and “The Do-Deca-Pentathlon” set for release some time in 2010. ____________########
ACTRESS ASHLEY BELL CONQUERS DEMONS, CARNIVAL AND HOLLYWOOD SOUTH!
Lovely Ashley Bell returned to Hollywood South to reprise her role as the demon-possessed Nell Sweetzer in The Last Exorcism Part II (CBS Films opening today) and apparently her highly praised acting job in the first Exorcism film created in Louisiana in 2011 didn’t rid her of her satanic entities. I asked Ashley what she thought of her role as the new scream queen of horror and all the success that went with it. “Well, I couldn’t believe how such a small budget film became a huge hit with horror fans and how the poster (I did my own stunts twisting and contorting my body as well as that famous back bend since I was agile and prepared as a trained ballerina performer) became an iconic Movie poster !” That poster still frightens me even today, I added. Bell continues, “you know, we didn’t have any money for CGI Effects, so when I told the director I could do poses like that with my body, he re-wrote the script and I just added these contortions into the first film that created a following that became huge at the box office.” Did you have other training for film? “Yes, I went to NYU to study theatre and learn to play emotionally and physically demanding characters.” Ashley, you come from parents with famous backgrounds, what did they think of you in that horror poster? Ashley laughs, “my mother started the renowned Groundlings in Los Angles and my father is a famous noted voice over actor giving voice to such animated characters as The Smurfs, G.I. Joe and Transformers. My parents just smiled at that Iconic creepy poster.” You also conquered Mardi Gras and rode on a float. “Yes, it was the Krewe of Okeanos. I had my name and a big poster of The Last Exorcism Part II posted on the side of the float and my arms are still hurting from throwing all those beads and doubloons. I certainly didn’t need any cardio work out for days after the ride. It was so much fun and I loved it.” And the new film produced by Eli Roth. Give us the scoop. “ Roth is such a talent, we went for a different perspective since in the first film Nell was a sheltered farm girl who could only listed to Christian Music and never even knew what an iPad was. The new story shifts to New Orleans where she is discovering herself for the first time after being traumatized in the first film. Nell then starts a new life in The French Quarter, pacing about in the Southern gothic surroundings of Louisiana rich in ghost stories and ghoulish histories. What better place for the demon to pop up and torment Nell again in New Orleans, a place that makes her continuing story of possession even more terrifying.” Do we have any Jump-up moments in the new film? “Yes, the new director, Ed Glass-Donnelly, continues the story from Nell’s point of view and the unexpected ending is very frightening. So don’t miss it, Part II has a clear stylistic shift from the docu-style of the first film that’s deeper and darker. And touring all of New Orleans and exploring the Voodoo shops was truly a gift to work here that way.” Ashley, you are so sweet and charming, thanks for talking about your new success and congratulations receiving The Independent Spirit Award for the first film grossing nearly $ 70 million worldwide. Yes, only in Hollywood South, - where you can find true atmosphere for all genres of filmmaking! _______ COPYRIGHT ED HELD STUDIO NEWS 2/ 2013.
FILMMAKER FONTAINE OBSESS ON ADORE
I interviewed Anne Fontaine via phone from Europe and was curious how Adore came about and how she chose one of Doris Lessing’s former novella’s, to be precise, The Grandmothers, and how that morphed into the film Adore that is now on BD. Ms. Fontaine responded, “I was one of the last people to talk to Doris before her passing in London, she was a great author, she was a conformist, a woman of free thinking, and a supporter of women’s rights. Doris escaped taboos, she believed in what is natural and that is how she wrote. Of the Novella, Ms. Lessing conveyed that “The Grandmothers” was based on a true story after an encounter with an 18-year-old youth who confessed he knew of two men, the best of friends living in Australia, who were having the bizarre but binding affairs with the other man’s mother. To translate that to the screen and get today’s audience’s attention, the producers felt it was more important to build up the youth angle rather than present a title bearing the implications of the word “old.” Americans and the English feel afraid of subjects which refer to anything about old age. So the title of Adore was chosen as it implies something metaphysical and abstract.” I continued, you engaged a special cinematographer to frame the story. Ms. Fontaine: “Yes, Chistophe Beaucarne is a master framing the subjects and landscapes in cinemascope to create sensual images related to the erotic subject of four characters that fight over the impossible love connection.” Yes, the film is beautiful and atmospheric and the strong feelings of raw emotions just spills off the screen. That was quite a photographic achievement that Christophe brought to the production. Also, did you purposely end the film on an ambiguous note as to allow the viewer to make their own conclusions as to what happens to this lopsided love quadrangle? Anne concludes: “When I brought this up to Ms. Lessing, she became gibe, why do you want an ending? There was no end in my story that reveals this horrible situation about four people, young and old, who can’t separate themselves.” Justifiably so I added to my closing remarks. Anne Fontaine was born on July 15, 1959 in Luxembourg, the sister of actor ‘Jean-Chretien Sibertin-Blanc,” and is noted for her savvy production of Coco Before Chanel (2009). My life has been enriched listening to this gifted woman who shed a new perspective about the Cinema Arts and one who was inspired by a Nobel Prize Winner. ____ Copyright Ed Held Studio News. Interview took place on Friday, November 22nd 12:12 CST.______
TV HERCULES (KEVIN SORBO) TALKS ABOUT LA MADE “GOD’S NOT DEAD”
Ed Held: Mr. Hercules, how did you ever get involved with the Louisiana Indy Faith Film God’s Not Dead?
Kevin Sorbo: I had all the TV fun behind me, starring in Hercules, the Legendary Journeys for seven years then into space with Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda series, so after playing all those heroes , I decided to try different hats, different shoes and branched out into other films about life and faith. In fact, I’ve had a perfect five year relationship with the brilliant folks from Pure Flix Entertainment, who are devoted to making Family Based Films. Hollywood sees the potential for more family films, now that PF has produced over 75 films that inspire others to live bigger, love deeper and go after their God-given dreams and reaching people for Christ through high quality storytelling.
EH: God’s Not Dead became the highest grossing faith film of all time – taking in over $60 million dollars at the box office. What was your reaction to the success of the film?
KS: Everyone involved was thrilled at the B.O reception and amazed since it only cost less than $3 million to make.
EH: How did you prepare for the role of an antagonist?
KS: I played it like it was written, the tone of a bitter, over-educated man. The script was fascinating, written by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, my character was so interesting, such an atheist and who also had problems with his Christian girlfriend, became a disbeliever in general. At the start of the film, Philosophy Professor Radisson (my character) challenges his college students with a mandate to denounce God in a written statement the first day of class! That’s persecution of Religion. It is so amazing how today educators removes God from the equation. That was the very reason our ancestors left Europe, to start anew in America, and free themselves to pray as they believed. A strong point in the film, since everyone is searching for God’s existence, and I’m sure God doesn’t mind that we ponder that question, does he really exist! The film was adapted from the book published by Thomas Nelson and from a Christian band named Newsboys who recorded the song God’s Not Dead. The group appears in the film that was filmed in Houston, TX at the Reliant Arena during a live concert event.
EH: What did you like best about filming in The Big Easy?
KS: I love New Orleans, we shot the film at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and have a fondness for The Big Easy. I’ve filmed several movies in TBE as well as Shreveport and other Louisiana Parishes. I had a wonderful experience and even made a comment on location how delightful that Hercules and Superman (referring to co-star Dean Cain) were both in the same film God’s Not Dead!
EH: Thank you Kevin, your interview was very inspirational. God’s Not Dead is available on DVD and VOD. Mr Sorbo continues to make Family based films and has won praises for his performance in What If …. , a film nominated for Best Family Movie of the year 2011 by the Movie Guild Awards and Sorbo himself was nominated and received the Movie Guide Award for Most Inspirational Performance of the Year for his portrayal of “Ben Walker.” In 2013 Sorbo was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Riverside Festival. Kevin lives in Los Angeles with his wife Sam and his three young children. Kevin asked me to invite everyone to leave comments on Kevin Sorbo Official Facebook Page. ____ Interviewed by Ed Held on my birthday August 6, 2014 @ 2:30 PM Central. ____________
Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
"Something for and against everyone"
New Orleans incendiary cinema since 1986
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70113
ED HELD STUDIO IN RECORDING SESSION FOR THE SCRIPT RECORDING OF "BLOODY PERKS" FROM ONE OF MY FILM FRIENDS
Opens May 12:
AFTER THE STORM by Hirokazu Koreeda (After Life, Nobody Knows,
Maborosi, I Wish, etc.) After the death of his father, a private
detective struggles to find child support money and reconnect with his
son and ex-wife.
VIOLET, 15-year-old Jesse is the only one who witnessed the stabbing
of his friend Jonas. Now he has to face his family and friends from
the BMX riders crew and explain the unexplainable - how he feels about
May 19 through 25:
HELLO DESTROYER, Kevan Funk’s startling debut feature is an elegant
film about the inelegant realities of being an ice hockey enforcer.
If Ingmar Bergman had made a film about hockey, this would be it.
HOUNDS OF LOVE, Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted by a disturbed
couple (Emma Booth & Stephen Curry) in this indie serial killer
thriller from Australia.
Thursday, May 25 @ 7:30 pm - 5-25-77, Produced by Gary Kurtz (Star
Wars/American Graffiti) and Fred Roos (Lost in Translation) and tells
the true story of a sci-fi obsessed filmmaker Pat Johnson's epic story
of growing up in rural Illinois, falling in love, and becoming the
first person that didn’t WORK on Star Wars, to SEE Star Wars.
May 26 through June 1:
SEARCHERS (MALIGLUTIT), an Inuit reworking of John Ford’s signature
Western, transporting its intense tale of abduction and revenge from
the dusty American west to the vast snowy vistas of the Canadian
Arctic. [CANADA NOW]
KARL MARX CITY, A filmmaker journey through the former East Germany
looking into her father's 1999 suicide.
6:00 pm Thursday, June 1 - NOLA EDGE FILM & LIVE ARTS FESTIVAL
Friday june 2 @ 9:00 pm. - DENNIS GONZALEZ YELLS AT EELS (family jazz
trio from Dallas) w/ very special guest saxophonist Amadeo Rodrigues
7:30 pm Sunday, June 4 - NOLA EDGE FILM & LIVE ARTS FESTIVAL
Thursday, June 8 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm - EAT LOCAL CHALLENGE - BEER & BINGO
June 2 through 8:
WINDOW HORSES, Veteran indie animator Ann Marie Fleming’s charming
WINDOW HORSES follows an aspiring Chinese-Iranian-Canadian poet on an
unforgettable journey to a poetry festival in Iran, this animated
marvel features the voices of Canadian international stars Don
McKellar, Ellen Page, and Sandra Oh. [CANADA NOW]
Friday june 2 @ 9:00 pm. - DENNIS GONZALEZ YELLS AT EELS (family jazz
trio from Dallas) w/ very special guests.
7:30 pm Sunday, June 4 - NOLA EDGE FILM & LIVE ARTS FESTIVAL
June 9 through 15:
WEIRDOS, an offbeat and endearing coming-of-age story of teenagers in
small town Nova Scotia in 1976 from legendary director Bruce McDonald
(Pontypool, Roadkill, The Tracy Fragments, etc.) [CANADA NOW]
SOUL ON A STRING, Zhang Yang’s Western style epic based on two novels
by Tibetan writer Tashi Dawa. After discovering a sacred stone in the
mouth of a deer, a solitary Tibetan cowboy, embarks on a mission: to
bring it back to the holy Mountain of Buddha’s Handprint. Pursued by
black market traders and brothers seeking vengeance for the death of
June 16 through 22:
NELLY, The latest film from Anne Émond (Nuit #1; Our Loved Ones) who
came to Zeitgeist last June is a biopic about Quebec sex worker/author
Nelly Arcan (Putin/Whore) that blurs the edges between the author's
life and work. [CANADA NOW]
Opens June 16:
I, DANIEL BLAKE by Ken Loach, Winner BAFTA Outstanding British Film Of
The Year & Palme d’Or at Cannes, hard-hitting drama about a man caught
in the U.K.'s labyrinthine welfare system.
June 23 through 29:
KONELINE: OUR LAND BEAUTIFUL, Set deep in the traditional territory of
the Tahltan First Nation, KONELINE captures beauty and complexity as
one of Canada's vast wildernesses undergoes irrevocable change.
RAISING BERTIE, a beautiful and intimate doc following three African
American boys in rural North Carolina.
Opens June 30:
HANDSOME DEVIL, an indie film from Ireland about Ned and Conor, forced
to share a bedroom at their boarding school. The effete ginger
musician and the secretly gay rugby star form an unlikely friendship
until it's tested by the authorities.
Opens July 14:
THE LITTLE HOURS a a Medieval romp featuring Aubrey Plaza, Allison
Brie, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon and
Fred Armisen in a wildly irreverent take on Boccaccio's Decameron set
in 15th-Century Italy.
Saturday, July 15 @ 9:00 pm - ASPHALT SERENADE an original found
footage film by Carlos F. Grasso with a live original score by DMFX
plus special guest Helen Gillet.
Opens July 21:
ENDLESS POETRY by Alejandro Jodorowsky. This autobiographical film
takes over young Alejandro's life where The Dance Of Reality left off
and finds him living in the middle of the Chilean poetry scene of the
Friday, October 20 @ 7:00 pm - WILDKAT WRESTLING HALLOWEEN SPECIAL -
Premiere Screening & reception