Here’s an update on interviews logged since getting to Toronto for the film fest Thursday afternoon:
Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master, discussing (among other things) getting Philip Seymour Hoffman to break into an old sea shanty for one of the film’s stranger scenes. And there are many.
Michael Haneke for Amour (with a translator, but his English was fine and he started talking over his German interpreter, albeit in a gentlemanly way), on how he doesn’t allow his actors to improvise. Nein, never.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, on why he didn’t ask Bruce Willis to get his face made up to look like Gordon-Levitt’s, instead of the other way around. Deferring to his elder, Gordon-Levitt underwent three hours of prosthetic applications a day, changing the slope of his nose, the color of his eyes and the shape of his lips, so he and Willis could (kind of) convincingly appear as the same guy at different stages of their – his – life.
Colin Farrell and Martin McDonagh, star and writer/director of Seven Psychopaths, and a couple of jolly Irish lads they are, with Farrell recounting his argument to McDonagh for not casting him in In Bruges. He told McDonagh that his celebrity persona, and all the tabloid coverage of his wild carousing, would distract audiences from the film. Happily, McDonagh ignored him.
Naomi Watts, who does the impossible in The Impossible, a jolting true-life account of a British family caught in the devastation of the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami. She talked water tanks and being tossed around and terrified, albeit in the teeniest ways compared to what her real counterpart went through. And then she talked about a different type of terror: taking on the role of Princess Diana in the last years of her life – which is what Watts is doing right now.
Emma Watson and Stephen Chbosky, leading lady and writer/director of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, talking about coming of age stories, and how Watson had to make her personal teenage transition and make a bunch of Harry Potter pics at the same time. Thin as a stick, but vastly more articulate, Watson shared a couch with Chbosky, but did not share her little bowl of M&Ms.
Aaron Paul, Jessie the meth head in Breaking Bad, plays Charlie the drunkhead in Smashed. In person, he's sharp and lucid, reading his just-writ email to Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and talking about the film he’s shooting in London, an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down, with Pierce Brosnan, Imogene Poots and Toni Colette.
Dustin Hoffman, making his directorial debut at age 75 with the retired opera singers ensemble piece,Quartet, chatted about what he learned from Mike Nichols while making a little ‘60s pic called The Graduate. Basically, Nichols told Hoffman not to give it anything but his best shot every time out, every scene. Filmed in the U.K., with Tom Courtenay, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly, Quartet opens Dec. 28, and is geared towards that hot new moviegoing demographic: old folks.