‘American Animals’: Film Review | Sundance 2018

Milena     Jan 21st, 2018     American Animals, Articles & Interviews, Videos & Trailers     0 Replies

Bart Layton’s first narrative film is a 2003-set true-crime thriller starring Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner and Jared Abrahamson.
One of the most esoteric and far-fetched crimes in 21st century annals is recounted in dazzling fashion in American Animals. Borrowing from the best but, at the same time, forging a bold style all his own, British filmmaker Bart Layton, known for his highly successful, U.S.-set 2012 documentary The Imposter, again turns to the history of bizarre American crimes to relate a story that would be hard to invent. While bowing to modern stalwarts of the genre like Michael Mann, Oliver Stone and, above all, Quentin Tarantino, Layton employs the contents of his own large bag of tricks to tell a tale both engrossing and grotesque. This is an indie that could go places.

Layton impudently signals from the outset that he’s not playing the game by the conventional rules when alternating titles announce that “This Is” and “This Is Not Based on a True Story.” Striking opening moments devoted to illustrations of birds of prey and young guys disguising themselves to look older further suggest something unusual is in the works.

And so it is, as the film charges out of the gate in 2003 to expose the roots of a heist unusual both by its very nature and by the characters and motives that lay behind it. Best buds Spencer (Barry Keoghan) and Warren (Evan Peters) have remained in hometown Lexington, Kentucky, to attend Transylvania University. They seem both bright and restless, unsure what they want to do with their lives but certainly equipped with enough smarts and advantages to make a go at whatever they might choose to pursue.

One of the prides of the school is the special collections library, which notably includes original editions of John James Audubon’s extraordinary Birds of America as well as a unique Darwin volume. For no particular reason, it dawns on the boys that it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to steal these books from under the nose of the archive’s librarian (Ann Dowd) and make a small fortune from their sale.

These amateur would-be criminals hatch their plan, deciding they need to recruit two accomplices and soon find them in fellow students Chas (Blake Jenner) and Eric (Jared Abrahamson). They then work out the logistics, which don’t look too daunting. Indeed, for professional criminals, the minimally guarded archive would likely not pose much of a challenge at all, if they would ever think to bother with it.

The basic story is bizarre enough to arrest one’s interest from the outset — well-off kids deciding to become criminals out of no pressing need — but Layton shrewdly adds another layer by gradually introducing present-day on-camera commentary from the actual foursome who schemed to pull off the heist. Perhaps it took a documentary filmmaker to cook up such a dual-perspective narrative. In the event, the device adds a great deal to the film’s impact, as the distance of time provides a more thoughtful consideration of the men’s youthful indiscretions as well as a rueful assessment that adds an almost absurdist comic edge to their increasingly amateurish behavior.

Layton displays an expert’s hand at slowly turning up the heat on the band of amateurs as they try to hatch their plot. They go to New York and beyond to line up a fence (Udo Kier, in briefly), work out disguises, the ideal timing (during finals), their escape plan and so on. But there are also plenty of exigencies they fail to consider, and when you think back on the multitude of classic heist films through the ages (The Asphalt Jungle, The Killing, Rififi, Odds Against Tomorrow, GoodFellas, Reservoir Dogs, et al.), you realize how unprepared and out of their depth this foursome is.

Some of the boys realize this, or have last-minute misgivings for other reasons, but they go ahead, adorning themselves with gray hair and beards, donning heavy coats and hats and, in a sweat, invading the special collections library. But to be sure, what can go wrong does go wrong, and Layton smartly stages the extended robbery and getaway with a combination of visceral excitement, personal panic and absurdist slapstick.

At the same time, the inclusion of on-camera commentary from the real culprits, now 14 years removed from the crime, adds a perspective unique to the genre, endowing the film with a more mature view of youthful misdeeds — as well as forcing the viewer to ponder the question of why these relatively well-off and intelligent students would voluntarily brand themselves as criminals for the rest of their lives for no reason at all.

Both as a writer and director, Layton delivers the dramatic goods here with the skill of a pro at the top of his game while adding the rueful perspective of time’s reassessment of youthful indiscretions; this has to rate among the most accomplished and fully realized big-screen debuts of recent times.

The young actors, the only immediately recognizable one being the off-beat-looking Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) as the nominal lead among rough equals, deliver with bristling, edgy work. Craft contributions, notably the editing by Nick Fenton and Chris Gill and the score by Anne Nikitin, are aces.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Evan Peters, Barkhad Abdi Seek to Educate Audiences With Premiere of ‘The Pirates of Somalia’

Milena     Dec 7th, 2017     Articles & Interviews, The Pirates of Somalia     0 Replies

The film, which held its L.A. premiere on Wednesday night, follows a young Canadian journalist who joins Somali pirates for a story.
The stars of The Pirates of Somalia, including Evan Peters, Melanie Griffith and Barkhad Abdi, gathered Wednesday night at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre for the film’s premiere.

The drama is based on the real-life story of Canadian rookie journalist Jay Bahadur, who moved to Somalia in 2008 to join the local pirates and write stories about the men’s lives. Bahadur penned a book on his journey, also titled The Pirates of Somalia, which was released in 2011.

Peters, known for his shape-shifting roles on TV’s American Horror Story, portrays Bahadur and faced many of the same challenges as the journalist described when adapting to working in Africa.

“[Director] Bryan [Buckley] really sold me on the idea of getting out there and learning about a new culture and going to Africa. It wasn’t South Africa, but it was still a huge step outside of my comfort zone and my box of America, so that was a huge draw to me, to learn and to go on an adventure similar to Jay,” the actor told The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere. “It was kind of a fish-out-of-water movie, and it was also me feeling like a fish out of water as well.”

Much of the cast is comprised of real-life Somalian refugees, which Peters said gives the film a real authenticity and aims to break down previous Hollywood misconceptions about the Somali people.

Of the educational message of the movie, the actor told THR, “You think you’re walking into one thing but you really learn what Jay learned, which is that pirates, they don’t want to be pirates, it’s because of their circumstances in their country that they’re forced into doing this. It’s about helping Somalia get a strong government so they can get a strong education and these young men can get a different outlet other than piracy. It’s about passion and empathy for the Somali culture.”

Writer and Oscar-nominated director Buckley had a very personal reason for bringing this story to the big screen, after working with the UN in African refugee camps and learning the average time spent in the camp is 17 years.

“I began my journey of figuring out how can I help them get out of these camps, and I fell in love with the Somali people along the way,” he said. “[Bahadur] shares the same vision as far as trying to expose the culture as I did, so I was like, ‘I’ve got to buy that book, I’ve got to tell his story’ — it took four years to get it to the screen.”

The director also shared a political message from his film, noting that exposing Somalian culture is more important now than ever on the eve of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

“A movie is a journey. It’s not over — the next step is getting it out there and getting people to watch this and understand a culture that we just banned from the United States,” Buckley told THR. “My lead actors next year would not be allowed to be here, to be standing on this red carpet.”

Abdi, who received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for 2014’s Captain Phillips, is one of the Somali actors who may be affected if the ban is put in place.

Adbi said that playing the role of a Somali pirate once again “is somewhat related to the Captain Phillips story.” He added, though, that “this is a wider look at the situation.”

The Pirates of Somalia, which also stars Al Pacino, hits theaters Friday.

The Hollywood Reporter

‘American Horror Story: Cult’ Trailer

Milena     Aug 22nd, 2017     American Horror Story, Articles & Interviews, Videos & Trailers     0 Replies

‘American Horror Story: Cult’ Trailer Relives 2016 Election Night

The first look at FX’s politically charged seventh season reveals a polarizing plot with Ryan Murphy horror spin.

American Horror Story: Cult is ready to relive the 2016 presidential election.

The official trailer for the FX anthology series released on Tuesday begins in Michigan 2016 on election night, with Sarah Paulson’s character screaming in horror at the results that Donald Trump has been elected president.

In another home not too far away, Evan Peters’ blue-haired maniac offers an emphatic reaction, thrusting his body up against his television screen in shrill delight.

The polar opposite responses are meant to serve as an entryway into the American divide showrunner Ryan Murphy has promised to tackle with the latest cycle of his horror anthology.

“[Cult is] about illuminating and highlighting people who don’t have a voice in our culture — people who are ignored by the current administration and who are afraid and feel terrorized that their lives are going to be taken away,” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter about this season, which has been revealing more about its cast and plot each week as the horror story inches its way closer to a Sept. 5 premiere.

Trump’s win triggers several phobia’s for leading lady Paulson’s character, who is named Ally Mayfair Richards and is married to Ivy (played by franchise newcomer Alison Pill).

“Since election night it has all been getting so much worse,” Ally tells Cheyenne Jackson’s therapist, Dr. Rudy Vincent, of her coulrophobia — a fear of clowns.

Meanwhile, Billie Lourd’s character, Winter Anderson, tells Kai Anderson (Peters) that children “fill her heart with dread” and gives Ally and Ivy’s son a Twisty the Clown doll. The clown, played by John Carroll Lynch, is a fan-favorite villain from previous cycle Freak Show and his return was all-but confirmed by Murphy in recent weeks.

“If you get people scared enough, they will set the world on fire,” Kai says amid a montage of clowns and dread. The trailer ends with Kai standing before the cult’s symbol and whispering “Join me,” a phrase that has been heavily utilized in the season’s unique and interactive marketing campaign.

The 11-episode season begins on election night, but the real events only serve as a jumping off point for the season. No actors will be taking on the roles of Trump or Hillary Clinton. Cult’s opening credit sequence, which was absent during last season’s mysterious Roanoke, showed what is presumed to be cult members donning Trump and Clinton masks amid images of bloodied American flags.

This season’s returning cast also includes Emma Roberts, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham and Adina Porter, along with newcomers Colton Haynes, Leslie Grossman and Lena Dunham (for one episode).

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

‘Dabka’ Exclusive Clip: Evan Peters And Barkhad Abdi Meet Somali Pirates

Milena     Apr 20th, 2017     Dabka, News, Videos & Trailers     0 Replies

EXCLUSIVE: Written and directed by Bryan Buckley (Asad) comes Dabka, the true story of one reporter’s risk-taking adventure that ultimately brought the world an unprecedented first-person account of the pirates of Somalia. Ahead of its world premiere in the Narrative Spotlight section at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, Deadline has an exclusive clip from the film starring Evan Peters and Barkhad Abdi.

Based on Jay Bahadur’s New York Times bestselling book The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World, Dabka centers around rookie journalist Bahadur played by Peters. When he has an inspiring chance encounter with his idol (Al Pacino), he uproots his life and moves to Somalia looking for the story of a lifetime. Hooking up with a local fixer Abdi (Barkhad Abdi), he attempts to embed himself with the local Somali pirates, only to find himself quickly in over his head. The biographical comedy-drama also co-star Melanie Griffith.

Buckley is known for his 2013 Academy Award-nominated short film Asad. His feature film debut The Bronze, about a foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist who reluctantly trains a rising Olympics aspirant, was the opening film at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was bought by Relativity for $3 million. Buckley has also helmed more than 50 spots for the Super Bowl, and his production outfit Hungry Man is one of the world’s largest commercial production companies.

Source: Deadline Hollywood

Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters to Return for ‘American Horror Story’ Season 7

Milena     Jan 21st, 2017     American Horror Story, Articles & Interviews     0 Replies

Ryan Murphy revealed the news Thursday at TCA.
Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters are sticking with the American Horror Story franchise.

The two originals of the FX anthology series, which hails from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, are returning for the seventh season, set to premiere sometime in 2017.

The seventh cycle of the AHS horror franchise was announced three episodes into Roanoke, the sixth season of the drama. Roanoke featured Paulson and Peters as a married pair of actors who fell in love on set, much to the delight of viewers of the longtime franchise. While Paulson and Peters have played many roles over the course of the franchise, the two had never been linked up romantically.

Murphy confirmed the return of the stars to a small group of reporters at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour on Thursday.

Following the marketing strategy of the sixth season — which kept details of the cast, plot and season subtitle a secret until its premiere — the seventh season will also unfold in a unique fashion, the network promised at the press tour.

After confirming the castings, Murphy would only say that the seventh season will be a “modern-day story.”

The two-season pickup, for seasons eight and nine, will likely take the 20th Century Fox Television drama through to 2019. The renewals do not necessarily mean that the interconnected franchise will conclude with season nine.

“Each new chapter is a cultural event, beloved for every new twist in imagery, style, cast and plot,” FX CEO John Landgraf said Thursday. “We are thrilled that Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and the entire creative team will continue to deliver the groundbreaking, celebrated American Horror Story for years to come.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

‘American Horror Story’ Renewed by FX for Season 7

Milena     Oct 4th, 2016     American Horror Story, News     0 Replies

FX has renewed “American Horror Story” for a seventh installment to air 2017.

The news is no surprise given the franchise’s status as a tentpole of FX’s schedule. The most recent incarnation of the 20th Century Fox TV anthology drama, “American Horror Story: Roanoke,” has averaged a total of 13 million viewers across linear and non-linear platforms since its Sept. 14 debut.

“AHS” creators/exec producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk ignited the current mania for recurring anthology series with the convention-busting success of the first edition in 2011.

“Ryan, Brad and their team of remarkable writers have done an amazing job of keeping ‘American Horror Story’ endlessly inventive, shocking and entertaining and we are honored to move ahead with them on the seventh installment,” said FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf. “The sustained success through six installments only proves how intensely the series resonates with fans. ‘AHS‘ confronts our deepest fears with unmatched suspense and style. Each new installment is a cultural event, hotly anticipated for its theme, imagery, cast and twists.”

FX noted that various episodes of “AHS” installments account for 12 of FX’s top 15 highest-rated telecast of all time. The series has also collected 15 Emmy Awards over the years, including two for “AHS” regular Jessica Lange.

Source:e Variety

Watch Actor Squirm Over Season 6 Questions

Milena     Sep 7th, 2016     Articles & Interviews, News     0 Replies

Let’s play a game: Count how many times actor says “I don’t know” about the mysterious upcoming season of hit FX show

Evan Peters‘ very own horror story is evidently being asked questions about the mysterious upcoming season of the hit FX show “American Horror Story.”

In a video for the Fall TV Preview series, TheWrap asked the 29-year-old what he can tell us about the upcoming season of Ryan Murphy‘s horror anthology, from the theme to his character on the show. The answer to all: “I don’t know.”

“They don’t tell me anything,” he said. “I’m on the show but I don’t know much.”

The one thing he did disclose, though, was that his new hair color wasn’t done on his own accord. When we asked whether his new red do was the result of his work on the upcoming season, Peters responded, “Uh, yes, I’m trying to figure out if I can say. Yes, I didn’t do this to my hair. Yeah.”

Plot details for Season 6 have been nonexistent thus far, as the show’s creators want the entire season to be a complete surprise to fans.

Despite the fact that several trailers have been released, FX president John Landgraf has said that many of them are misdirects and have nothing to do with the actual plot.

Landgraf said earlier this month that Murphy and FX “went out and made many more trailers than you’ve actually seen for hypothetical seasons of ‘American Horror Story,’ meaning different genres and different places. And one of them is accurate, and the others are just misdirects.”

A few trailers dropped that alluded to multiple potential themes, but fans gravitated towards one promo that seemed to suggest a Charles Manson-likestoryline.

It included a children’s mobile that spelled out the word “pig,” which was the same word that was spelled out in Sharon Tate’s blood after she was murdered by members of Manson’s cult back in 1969.

So far, official returning cast members include Peters, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Lady Gaga, Matt Bomer, Wes Bentley, Denis O’Hare and Cheyenne Jackson.

“American Horror Story” Season 6 is scheduled to return on September 14.

Source: The Wrap

American Horror Story Season 6 | Teasers

Milena     Jul 30th, 2016     American Horror Story, News     0 Replies

Evan Peters On ‘American Horror Story’…

Milena     Jun 21st, 2016     Articles & Interviews     0 Replies

Evan Peters On ‘American Horror Story’ And Working With Lady Gaga: “I Learned A Lot”

Ever since American Horror Story’s 2011 beginnings, Evan Peters has been an indispensable part of the action. As Tate Langdon in Murder House, Kit Walker in Asylum, Kyle Spencer in Coven, Jimmy Darling in Freak Show and James Patrick March in Hotel, Peters held his own alongside such veteran actors as Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy and Kathy Bates. Peters, for his part, is grateful to AHS’ creator Ryan Murphy for bringing him back again and again. “Ryan has always just been very giving to me when it comes to the show,” Peters says, “and has always given me amazing roles that I love.”

AHS has also brought Peters plenty of notice elsewhere–he was cast as Quicksilver in X-Men: Apocalypse after director Bryan Singer saw him on AHS, and is now set to appear in the Bryan Buckley-directed Where The White Man Runs Away, co-starring Al Pacino and Melanie Griffith.

What do you think has made you a mainstay of the show? And now you’re coming back for Season 6.
I don’t know. I really like the show. I really want to do a great job and I don’t take for granted the characters that they give me. It is a very out-there show, so I try to make it as real as I can, but all the while having a fun time with it. They’ve been very nice to me and I hope they keep inviting me back to play with their writing. I’d do it forever. I love working on the show and I love working with their writing and also with the other actors as well.

Can you hint at all about Season 6?
I don’t know what’s coming next, so no I can’t. I would love to know. When you know, let me know.

What have been your favorite roles so far in AHS?
Mr. March has been my favorite so far. I like Tate a lot and I like Mr. March. Playing the villain is really fun–especially a character as colorful as Mr. March–and just that 1930s art deco craziness that he had going on, with the whiskey drinking, smoking, suit-wearing kind of guy. It was a very fun role to play. Then also Tate was a very complex role as well. I like playing the villain, but I like trying to figure out why they are that way and trying to sympathize with them a little bit in some way. Maybe some people are innately evil, but then there’s always something that sort of pushes them over the edge and makes them act on those thoughts or feelings, so I always try to figure out what that was and try to give it some sort of justification so that I’m not just playing evil for evil’s sake.

Another constant on the show is Sarah Paulson and now she’s back again too for Season 6. How has it been working with her?
She is amazing. First of all to me, Sarah’s hilarious. She’s very funny and very quick-witted and just a lovely person. I love working with her. I love knowing her and talking to her, laughing with her. And then you get into the fact that she’s more than talented. Last year she was working on Marcia Clark (American Crime Story) and on Horror Story and I don’t know how she was doing that. That was crazy to me. But she was so professional and seasoned almost. She knows how to do it and how to get it done and just does it. It’s not always easy and she fights that and fights through that and makes it look really easy.

What’s been the most challenging thing that you could’ve pushed yourself to do as part of the series?
Well, last year was pretty difficult when I first got the role. I originally was going to play Tristan and then sort of last minute, Ryan was like, “Will you play this Mr. March guy?” And I was like, “Oh s—. I don’t know if I can do that.” He’s like, “And I want you to talk like you’re from the 1930s.” Okay. I didn’t quite know how to do that either, so I just watched a lot of My Man Godfrey and William Powell and just tried to research it to come up with a backstory that would justify me being this role. Originally I think it was written as a 40-something year-old man. I don’t look like I’m 40, and to try to play that is ridiculous, so I just tried to make it as this really young successful man, similar to a young oil tycoon or something like that, where he’s got all this money and power and he’s a total monster inside. I had a blast doing it.

How about some of those awkward scenes?
I blocked them out. I’m like, “I can’t even think about it.” There’s a scene where I’m having sex and cutting this girl up. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I was in my trailer trying to work it out. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. And then to top it all off, you have to drop your drawers and be naked while you’re doing it. It was weird. Very, very weird. At one point, they had to have me tape… never mind. I don’t even want to go there. I talked to makeup and I said, “I want to be like a shark with all those scars on them,” so they gave me some really cool back scars and that sort of helped me get out of myself and get into Mr. March. God love her, the poor girl who was on the receiving end was very gracious and made it very easy to do.

How was working with Lady Gaga? She’s relatively new to acting.
Well, I mean to me, it was exciting because she is new to acting, but she is very good at it and was willing to get into it more than a lot of veteran actors, so it was very refreshing and cool to see her dive into it. Each take was very different and sometimes a little scary because you didn’t know what you were going to get. You didn’t know if she was going to be actually hitting you or freaking out or whatnot. It was all very instinctual, which was very cool to work with and sort of get you out of your head and sort of back into the instinct of acting. It was awesome to work with her. I learned a lot.

What can you say about the film Where the White Man Runs Away?
It’s about a journalist named Jay Bahadur. It’s based on a true story about a guy who goes to Somalia by himself at age 24 to write about the Somali pirates to get a book deal. It’s sort of his trials and tribulations but also, you know, growing to love the Somali culture and learning about them and about himself. It’s a big-fish-out-of-water story. It’s also very funny.

How did you prep for the part?
I read Jay’s book and it is very interesting and very informative about the whole Somali culture. Most of the cast are Somali refugees. It was kind of amazing to work with them and learn a lot about them and integrate into their mindset.

Source: Deadline AwardsLine

Emmy Quickie: How ‘American Horror Story’ Star Evan Peters…

Milena     Jun 18th, 2016     Articles & Interviews     0 Replies

Emmy Quickie: How ‘American Horror Story’ Star Evan Peters Was Saved by a Dictionary

Actor had to pronounce “the most amazing words that I had never heard before”

“American Horror Story: Hotel” star Evan Peters revealed that he had to use a dictionary, as well as a dialect coach, to properly learn his lines for his character James March.

“I loved Mr. March’s dialogue,” Peters said during an interview with TheWrap. His lines, he said, were “the most amazing words that I had never heard before. I was using my dictionary a lot and trying to figure out how to pronounce them. Once I did, I loved them.”

Peters’ favorite line of the entire fifth season of the FX anthology series? “Felicitations to the happy couple!”

The actor plays James March, a sadistic serial killer who owns the Hotel Cortez.

“It’s sort of like a family on set, really,” he added. “We’re all sort of working together to make these really dark and insane scenes come to life.”

“It’s pretty intense, [there’s] a lot of downtime to get into character and learn your lines and chat,” he continued. “But from action to cut, it’s pretty intense, everyone takes it very seriously. It’s a great atmosphere to work in.”

And off of the set, Peters has plenty of amusing interactions with fans.

“They’re just like … ‘Did anyone ever tell you you look like that guy from ‘Horror Story?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I get that a lot!’ And then they’re like, ‘Oh okay cool, are you that guy?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah I’m that guy.’ And they’re like, ‘No way, let me see some I.D.’”

But the fans “are the reason we get all bloody and crazy, they just love it.”

Source: The Wrap

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