|DENIS VILLENEUVEOSCAR ISAACOSCARUTA|
Denis Villeneuve has emerged as one of the best directors working today, and one person moviegoers can thank for that is Jóhann Jóhannsson. The Icelandic composer was one of Villeneuve’s most important collaborators, starting with “Prisoners” and continuing to shape the tone of Villeneuve’s work in “Sicario” and “Arrival.” Jóhannsson even worked on “Blade Runner 2049” before the pair decided a different sound was needed and Jóhannsson’s work was scrapped. Jóhannsson passed away in February 2018, tragically cutting short one of the most exciting director-composer collaborations of the last decade. Just over two years after Jóhannsson’s passing, Villeneuve has spoken to Deadline to both mark the anniversary of his friend’s passing and honor his creative genius.
“I fell in love with Johann's music instantly,” Villeneuve says. “In his work there is a solemn melancholia. For me, at its deepest core, all Johann's music is about one profound question: why does God not answer any of our phone calls? He was a true collaborator and I felt quickly, as I was working with him, that the act of creativity would not suffer from the dance between our egos. He was a creative brother to me.”
Villeneuve continues, “Johann was sincerely ambitious but very humble at the same time. He really wanted to push the boundaries of film composition. He had an extraordinary appetite for exploration. He loved taking risks and wasn't afraid of putting his feet in new soundscapes. He was an explorer.”
The kidnapping thriller “Prisoners” marked the first collaboration between Villeneuve and Jóhannsson, neither of whom had ever worked on a major Hollywood studio film before at the time. Villeneuve says the “Prisoners” score breaks his heart when he listens to it because “it is imbued with a beautiful depressive Nordic sensibility. Like when snow falls at the end of a day. His music brought a lot of humanity to this dark story.”
Jóhannsson’s “Sicario” music landed him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score, his second consecutive nomination after his work on James Marsh’s “The Theory of Everything.” For Villeneuve, the “Sicario” score is a “tour de force” that represents Jóhannsson at the peak of his powers.
“I asked Johann to create music that would be inspired by the violence and the sadness of the border between United States and Mexico,” Villeneuve says. “He came back with what is by far one of the most influential scores of recent decades.”
As for “Arrival,” the last Villeneuve film to be released with a Jóhannsson score, the filmmaker says,...
Paul Schrader‘s First Reformed follow-up The Card Counter has some new cast members. We already knew that Oscar Isaac was set to lead the film, and now Schrader himself has confirmed that Willem Dafoe, Tye Sheridan, and Tiffany Haddish will appear as well. This is not your average cast, and that’s pretty exciting. The Card Counter follows “a gambler and former serviceman who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past.”
During an interview with Metrograph, Paul Schrader opened up a bit about his new film The Card Counter:
“But now, in another week, I’m gonna go back to work. I’ve written a new script and I’m making a new film. We’re cast and we’re financed. It’s an original script, very much in the style I like to do. Nice cast. Oscar Isaac is the main guy. Tye Sheridan and Tiffany Haddish. And Willem [Dafoe’s] in it too. I love Tiffany. I’ve never met her, but I was on the phone with her for an hour. She’s a firecracker. It’s like talking to a live-wire connection. She’s very funny and, of course, she makes you funny. When someone’s sharp, that makes you get sharp because you want to keep up. So that’s all good. In my films, I’ll sort of combine two worlds that seem to have nothing to do with each other. In the new one, it’s the world series of poker and Abu Ghraib.”
The Card Counter “follows William Tell Isaac, a gambler and former serviceman who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past. Tell just wants to play cards. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk, a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel. Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk. Gaining backing from mysterious gambling financier La Linda, Tell takes Cirk with him on the road, going from casino to casino until the unlikely trio set their sights on winning the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. But keeping Cirk on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible, dragging Tell back into the darkness of his past.”
While HanWay Films has acquired international sales rights to the pic, there’s no domestic release info yet. Schrader even reveals in the interview that both Netflix and Amazon passed on the movie, which is a bit of a bummer. “My new film was turned down by Amazon and Netflix,” he says. “It’s not a question of, you know, ‘They’ll do anything.’ I’m still outside their system.”
Hopefully, Schrader will find a home for The Card Counter soon.
The 2006 Oscars will forever be remembered as the infamous ceremony where “Crash” beat “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture. Ang Lee’s groundbreaking gay romance was the critical favorite and it won three of the eight Oscars it was nominated for that year: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Headlining actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both earned Oscar nominations for their performances. The actors were asked to present during the 2007 Oscars telecast, but Gyllenhaal revealed in a recent interview with Another Man magazine via NME that Ledger turned down the opportunity because it would mean making jokes at the expense of the gay “Brokeback” love story.
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal said. “And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, 'Oh, okay... whatever.' I'm always like, ‘It's all in good fun.’ And Heath said, 'It's not a joke to me — I don't want to make any jokes about it.’”
Gyllenhaal, “That's the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, 'No. This is about love. Like, that's it, man. Like, no.'”
Ledger was nominated in the Best Actor category but lost to “Capote” star Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gyllenhaal lost to George Clooney in “Syriana” for Best Supporting Actor. “Brokeback Mountain” marked the first Oscar nominations for both actors. Ledger would go on to be nominated and win his Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor race for his role as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Ledger received the Academy Award posthumously. “Brokeback” remains Gyllenhaal’s sole Oscar nomination to date.
Gyllenhaal has previously spoken about Ledger’s disdain for “Brokeback Mountain” jokes, but this is the first time the actor has revealed his late co-star turned down the Oscars. Gyllenhaal told “Today” in July 2019 that “Brokeback” marked a pivotal moment in his career. “It opened tons of doors,” he said. “It was crazy. It was amazing. It's defined my career in different ways. [But the film] is bigger than me...It has become not ours anymore. It's the world's.”
Read Gyllenhaal’s latest interview in its entirety on the Another Man website.
Last week, Disney updated its release schedule, including new dates for nearly every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and pushing back Indiana Jones 5 an entire year. Harrison Ford will be 80 years old when it comes out. The company also announced that Artemis Fowl, a $125 million adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s novel, is going straight to Disney+, where it will rest alongside Mr. Boogedy and junk like Beauty and the Beast. That might not be the only upcoming Disney movie to be released straight on the streaming service, according to Disney executive chairman and former-CEO Bob Iger.
“There are some we’ve decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we’ve simply delayed. In some cases we’ve moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have,” Iger told Barrons, referring to Frozen 2 and Onward, among others. He continued, “In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.”
What direct-to-Disney+ movies could Iger be referring to? Nothing from the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Pixar, obviously; Mulan, Jungle Cruise, and Cruella are almost certainly off-limits, too. Maybe The One and Only Ivan, a live-action/CGI hybrid starring Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, and Danny DeVito that I’ve never heard of until now, or Raya and the Last Dragon, which actually sounds good. Then there’s The New Mutants, the most cursed movie in existence. A deal would have to be reached between Disney and HBO for the frequently-delayed X-Men universe spin-off to come out on Disney+, although, at this point, I would watch it in 10-minute chunks on Quibi.
Please someone, anyone, release The New Mutants.