Interview (Written): Martin McDonagh

Conversation with the writer-director of the new movie ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’.

Kate Hagen, Director of Community at @theblcklst, goes into depth in this interview with writer-director Martin McConagh about his latest film: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson.

What inspired this film?

I saw something similar to what we see on the billboards about seventeen years ago on a bus trip through the states, and it passed me by in, like, a second, but it stayed in my mind — the idea of what kind of pain, or rage, or bravery would cause a person to put up some kind of signage like that, because it was similarly calling out the cops about a crime. And I wanted to write something for a female lead, a strong female lead, for a while — I’d done that in plays, but I hadn’t really done that at all in the films I’ve made. Once I coupled those two ideas together and once I made that person a mother, it felt like Mildred kind of sprang fully-formed onto the page.

Martin McDonagh

How do you go about creating such well-rounded characters that grow? You have this knack of redeeming characters who initially seem like complete scum-of-the-earth assholes, but you somehow manage to make them lovable and relatable to everyone in the audience.

Well, in answer to the second question, you just kind of have to see the humanity in everyone. And it’s not simple Hollywood heroes and villains — it’s hopefully something more interesting and more surprising than that, because if you’re not adhering to, “the heroes are the heroes and the villains are the villains,” you can go to anywhere, any place with them. The hero can become more villainous, and the villain can become more heroic, I guess. But in terms of the well-rounded characters, I think the thing is to think that every character could be the lead character in their own movie, as we all are the lead characters in our own movie. Like Peter Dinklage’s character, he’s really interesting and you kind of think, “what do you do in your daily life, are you thinking about Mildred all the time?” He could have a film of his own, and most of the characters are that way. And then you just reduce those people to two or three scenes, but their personality and their joy for the world is big. So it’s about that, I think, just seeing no one as secondary.

A trailer for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri:

Movie Website

For the rest of the Black List interview with Martin McDonagh, go here.

Interview (Written): Martin McDonagh was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

Academy Award Winner Martin Landau Dead at 89

Oscar Winner Martin Landau Dead at 89

Martin Landau, the Oscar-winning character actor who has worked with acclaimed directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, and Tim Burton, has died at the age of 89.

He is perhaps best known by modern audiences for his role as the down-on-his-luck Bela Lugosi in the black comedy Ed Wood, the Burton-directed biopic of the titular director of cult “bad” movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space. Landau won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role, after being nominated twice before for roles in Tucker: The Man and His Dream and Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Landau died on Saturday of “unexpected complications” following a short hospitalization at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, his publicist confirmed.

Landau had an impressive 58-year career in Hollywood that spanned both film and television, including a regular role in the original Mission: Impossible TV series, which he starred in for three seasons. After leaving the CBS series in 1969 due to contract dispute, Landau struggled to find his footing in the film industry, despite an early successful role as a threatening henchman in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller North by Northwest.

It wasn’t until decades later when he was cast as financier Abe Karatz, the partner to the titular automaker Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1987 biopic Tucker: The Man and His Dream, that Landau had a late-career breakthrough. Landau went on to receive an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win for the role, and even more award-nominated roles in the years that followed.

“Tucker resurrected me,” he told the Guardian in 2012. “Before that I did several films that should be turned into toothpicks. I was being offered, you know, professional bad guys in the evil business, total comic-strip stuff. When I got Tucker I thought, ‘Thank God, a human being.’”

Landau went on to receive another Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination in Woody Allen’s 1989 offbeat comedy Crimes and Misdemeanors, playing the murderous opthamologist Judah Rosenthal. But it wasn’t until Ed Wood in 1994 that Landau got the elusive golden statuette. His performance as the washed-up horror icon Bela Lugosi struck a chord with him and audiences, and remains one of his most memorable performances to date.

“Lugosi … had a palpable intensity and a presence that you can’t buy,” Landau said before Oscar win. “But this fuckin’ town shat on him … And I can relate to that. I’ve seen it happen a lot. I’ve seen it happen to me.”

Born in Brooklyn on June 20, 1928, Landau gave up a career as cartoonist at the New York Daily News to pursue acting.

While his film debut was in a small Korean war drama called Pork Chop Hill, Landau shot to fame when he appeared as one of the henchmen pursuing Cary Grant in North by Northwest. His sinister eyes and glossy looks caught the eyes of producers and directors, and he went on to appear in bit roles in Cleopatra (1963) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).

He found success instead on TV, winning Emmy nominations for his three seasons on Mission: Impossible, and making guest appearances on Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Famously, he turned down the role of Spock in the original Star Trek series, which eventually went to Leonard Nimoy. Landau said he doesn’t regret it however, saying “Lenny (Nimoy) was better suited for” the role.

After his Oscar win for Ed Wood, Landau took on several  character roles in high-profile films, including City Hall alongside Al Pacino, the Jim Carrey film The Majestic, and the Harrison Ford cop comedy Hollywood Homicide. He collaborated with Burton a few more times, including the animated film Frankenweenie. In 2001, Landau was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He is survived by his daughters Susie (a writer-producer) and Juliet (an actress known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer) from his marriage to Barbara Bain. Other survivors include sons-in-law Roy and Deverill, sister Elinor, granddaughter Aria, and godson Dylan.

The post Academy Award Winner Martin Landau Dead at 89 appeared first on /Film.


Martin Starr Reveals His Role in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

Martin Starr

Here’s a stone cold fact: the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming is stacked. It has Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., and Michael Keaton in lead roles, and a murderer’s row of supremely talented supporting cast members, including Marisa Tomei, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Kenneth Choi, and Donald Glover, to name a few. But one thing fans have been wondering for a while is just what the heck some of these supporting players are actually going to be doing in this movie. For many of them, information about their roles has been kept very hush-hush from the beginning.

Silicon Valley actor Martin Starr locked down a role in this movie almost a year ago, and now we finally have some details from the actor himself about the character he’ll be playing. Read on to discover more info on the Spider-Man: Homecoming Martin Starr role.

At the time of his casting, we had no clue who Starr would be playing in the next adventure for our friendly neighborhood web-head. But in an interview with The Wrap, the actor reveals that he’s a teacher at Peter Parker’s Midtown Technical High School in Queens, New York.

“I’m the academic decathlon coach and one of the teachers at the school so I have a bit of a thing in it…It’s capitalizing on popularity and a story that’s very rich and dense, so there’s a lot left to tell. And this isn’t a familiar take on it — this is a unique kind of take of a younger Spider-Man trying to figure out life again…The story has a lot of action and fun in it, but it’s also a sweet, coming-of-age story of a kid.”

It’s neat to trace Starr’s evolution from nerdy-but-lovable high school student Bill Haverchuck in 1999’s Freaks and Geeks all the way up to this part in Homecoming. The student truly has become the teacher.

Some fans might be expecting him to bring his dry, sarcastic Silicon Valley-style delivery to this role, but don’t sleep on the actor’s transition to more dramatic turns in movies like Amira & Sam, I’ll See You in My Dreams, and Operator. There may be a bit of humor to Starr’s character, but I wouldn’t be surprised if director Jon Watts wanted to flip the script and see what the actor can do as a pure authority figure instead of one who snarks his way through the school day.

To learn more about Homecoming, be sure to read everything we learned from our set visit.

Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters on July 7, 2017.

The post Martin Starr Reveals His Role in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ appeared first on /Film.


Ricky Martin Joins Versace: American Crime Story

Ricky Martin is headed to American Crime Story. Ricky Martin has joined the show's cast.

Ricky Martin is the latest addition to the cast of Versace: American Crime Story

Grammy winning television and stage actor Ricky Martin is set to play Antonio D’Amico, the longtime partner of murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace, on the upcoming Versace: American Crime Story. The series represents the third installment of the award winning limited series from Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson. Ricky Martin joins an all star cast which includes Édgar Rarmirez as Versace, Penélope Cruz as his sister Donatella and Darren Criss as serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

RELATED: Pose: Ryan Murphy to Produce 1980s Drama for FX

Ricky Martin has sold over 70 million albums and continues to perform to sold out stadium and arena audiences throughout the world. Martin is also an accomplished actor, with guest appearances on Ryan Murphy’s Glee and runs on Broadway in Evita and Les Miserables.

Martin’s tenth studio album, “A Quien Quiera Escuchar,” debuted at No. 1. The album won “Best Latin Pop Album” at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

A dedicated global advocate for tolerance, Ricky Martin’s charitable work is spearheaded through the programs of the Ricky Martin Foundation – which advocates for the wellbeing of children around the globe in critical areas such as social justice, education and health.

Currently Martin can be seen in Las Vegas at his residency in the Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. Ricky Martin’s “ALL IN,” runs through September 2017.

RELATED: FEUD: Charles and Diana Gets a 10-Episode Order from FX

Production of Versace: American Crime Story is scheduled to begin later this month to air in 2018.

Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson serve as Executive Producers on Versace: American Crime Story, which is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions.

(Photo by Gabe Ginsberg / FilmMagic)

The post Ricky Martin Joins Versace: American Crime Story appeared first on

Anthony Hopkins Calls Michael Bay a Genius in the Same Vein as Martin Scorsese

Anthony Hopkins Calls Michael Bay Genius

Director Michael Bay has been making feature films for 22 years now. He made his directorial debut with Bad Boys in 1995, and since then he’s given us spectacle after spectacle featuring explosions, super models, sweeping cameras and more. For the past decade, he’s been predominantly busy with the Transformers franchise, but this summer appears to be his last time behind the camera of the franchise (at least until an appealing spin-off for him to direct comes long).

For some fans, Michael Bay departing the Transformers franchise will be a welcome change. But those fans apparently didn’t know that we’ve had a genius behind these movies the whole time. That’s what Anthony Hopkins recently called Michael Bay in a recent interview, favorably comparing the Armageddon and Pain & Gain director to filmmakers like Martin Scorsese. Find out more below.

While appearing at CinemaCon over a week ago, Anthony Hopkins talked with Yahoo Movies about the first time he met Michael Bay to discuss the prospect of taking a role in Transformers: The Last Knight. Here’s the excerpt where the actor sings Michael Bay’s praises in a surprising way:

“He was telling me about the work he did on [the Transformers bots] – how he would refine them and go into the special effects guys and design them and get all the details of light on metal and all that. He told me all that at breakfast before I started on the film. I thought ‘This guy’s a genius. He really is.’ He’s the same ilk as Oliver Stone and Spielberg and Scorsese. Brilliance. Savants, really, they are. He’s a savant.”

While I wouldn’t exactly nod in agreement as Anthony Hopkins calls Michael Bay genius, it’s not hard to understand what the actor is getting at, especially if you’ve ever listened to the director talk about his own movies for an extended period of time. It’s Hopkins calling Bay a savant that is more telling than the frequently flippant use of the word genius in today’s society.

Michael Bay is an efficient and detail-oriented filmmaker. The sets of Michael Bay’s movies are full of crew members who are brave enough to attempt to keep up with his fast-paced sets. Bay is a director who knows exactly what he wants, and he expects his crew to give it to him to flawlessly. That’s why you hear stories of Bay getting so worked up on the set of his movies (I’ve witnessed it myself).

When it comes to the Transformers franchise, he knows every corner of the universe he’s created for the big screen, even if he’s not exactly the most well-versed person in the full mythology of the Hasbro. And he knows exactly how he wants to shoot it, from the action blocking to the multiple camera angles. That takes a special kind of obsession and creative mind to plan something so meticulously, especially a movie on as large of a scale as a Transformers blockbuster.

So while you might not think Anthony Hopkins is right to call Michael Bay a genius, the director certainly deserves some credit for pulling off what he does, even if the stories at the center of his movies don’t make the most sense. His movies may not be the most respected or revered decades from now, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a filmmaker with such passion and vigor for over the top action and spectacle shot so carefully and efficiently.

Oh, and here’s a tease of the new Transformers trailer coming this week, featuring Anthony Hopkins himself:

Transformers: The Last Knight arrives on June 23.

The post Anthony Hopkins Calls Michael Bay a Genius in the Same Vein as Martin Scorsese appeared first on /Film.


Watch: The Unique Storytelling Power of a Martin Scorsese Cameo

When Martin Scorsese appears in his films, it’s more than just a mere cameo.

Spotting director cameos is like playing the cinematic version of Where’s Waldo. Alfred Hitchcock was famous for appearing in his own films, but others like John Carpenter, Robert Rodriguez, and M. Night Shyamalan have also done so in most of their work. While these cameos are mostly trivial in nature, or an entertaining continuation of a cinematic tradition, there’s one director that has brought great significance to his time on the other side of the lens: Martin Scorsese. In this video essay from Fandor, Leigh Singer explores how the director uses his appearances on screen to add dimension and complexity to his characters and stories.

Scorsese has appeared in many of his own films, including Mean Streets, Raging Bull, and even The Wolf of Wall Street as one of the people Leonardo DiCaprio’s character dupes into buying penny stocks over the phone. But perhaps his greatest cameo, or at least the one most people remember, is as the man who gets into Travis Bickle’s cab and talks about killing his wife in Taxi Driver.

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Listen to Every Song Ever Featured in a Martin Scorsese Movie

Check out this 326 track, 20-hour Spotify playlist encompassing 25 of Scorsese’s films.

Martin Scorsese’s ear for music is just about as good as his eye for pictures. Some of his most iconic shots are accompanied by equally iconic tracks from bands like The Band, Bob Dylan, and of course, The Rolling Stones. Who can forget The Stones’ Gimme Shelter behind the husky narration of Jack Nicholson’s Frank Costello in the opening sequence of The Departed?

But Scorsese’s involvement in the music scene goes much deeper than simply having good taste. In addition to his prolific career in feature films, he’s made a number of music documentaries and concert films, including 1978’s The Last Waltz, which captured The Band’s farewell concert, spearheading the documentary series The Blues for PBS; 2005’s No Direction Home, on Bob Dylan; the majorly influential Rolling Stones doc Shine a Light; and 2011’s Living in the Material World, on George Harrison.

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