XIXAX Film Forum

The Director's Chair => The Director's Chair => Topic started by: Pas on April 12, 2010, 10:40:30 AM

Title: James Gray
Post by: Pas on April 12, 2010, 10:40:30 AM
Didn't find his thread if he has one...

I think he's an extremely talented director but a pretty weak writer. Especially in We Own the Night, which was basically a really fucking stupid movie that looked awesome. I mean, Joaquin Pheonix, a guy who was a bartender his whole life, becomes top cop in like a week. That's some shit straight out of a Steven Seagal movie. Did he have secret special ops training or what?

The Yards had a great mood and it also looked awesome. But the story was a bit boring, especially the parts with Whalberg's mom. Who gives a shit, have a heart attack really I don't care. Also Charlize Theron looks weird in it. For a guy who always seem to cast the same actors in his movies (good thing) I'm glad he didn't invite her back.

Especially in Two Lovers. I don't like Gwyneth all that much but it would've sucked to have Charlize Theron in her role. Now Two Lovers is definitely his best one yet. Some might say Little Odessa, I thought it was pretty damn good too, but not as much as Two Lovers.

Let's talk a bit about Little Odessa before Two Lovers. It was good, and Tim Roth and Furlong are cool actors. Tim Roth to me is like a really better Paul Giamatti. I don't like Giamatti all that much, really. He's a bit too much, with his look and all. He can play a loser good, though. Probably better than Tim Roth. But in a film like Shoot 'em up I would've preferred Tim Roth. Whatever not what I'm talking about.

So Little Odessa looks great, as usual with Gray. But for a russian mob and hitman film, it really lacks violence and shit like that. I was really pumped for a kickass film and it turned out to be some family and shame meditation or something. Kinda boring.

So Two Lovers is the best. It's weirdly the first film in my life that really blew me away by it's composition and stuff like that. I mean, it looks really, really good. The story is pretty weak in the middle part but the end is so fucking awesome it's pretty insane. Probably my favorite movie ending of the decade (I mean, it's the best except the old films when they really knew how to make a fucking good ending, take the Asphalt Jungle for example or Bob Le Flambeur)

Now apparently Gray is doing Alphabet City. I bet you it will be his best one, even better than Two Lovers. The subject is really, really good (an undercover journalist in New York writing about drugs and crime and shit)... Gray is probably writing it BUT it's adapted from a novel so the story should be good I guess. It's probably gonna star Joaquin Pheonix (hopefully) so yeah should be good.

Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 31, 2011, 07:52:36 PM
James Gray's 'Low Life' Script Draws Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner
via Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: We Own The Night writer/director James Gray is fast mobilizing his next film. It's called Low Life, and it will star Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix, with Jeremy Renner in discussions to play the third lead. The project is being packaged by CAA. Several financiers are in the mix, but I hear that Wild Bunch will likely get it.  Discussions are also taking place with domestic distributors, and that deal is expected to be sealed shortly. The Hurt Locker's Greg Shapiro is producing.

I'm told that Cotillard will play a woman attempting to immigrate from Poland. Her American dream turns into a nightmare. While sailing to Ellis Island and a new start, her sister grows deathly ill and she is forced to trade sexual favors for medicine and food to keep her sister alive. Once they land, she is warned to keep quiet about what happened. Though she does, she walks away with immigration papers that deem her a woman with bad morals. With no place to go, she falls prey to a charming sleazebag (Phoenix), who persuades her to turn tricks in New York. Renner is close to signing on to play the sleazebag's cousin, a magician who sweeps the young woman off her feet and is her best chance to escape the nightmarish life she has fallen into. This will be Gray's fourth film with Phoenix, who previously starred in The Yards, We Own The Night and most recently Two Lovers.

Shooting is to begin next year. All of the actors are busy. Cotillard is starring in The Dark Knight Rises, Renner will star in the Tony Gilroy-directed The Bourne Legacy, and Phoenix has returned to work starring in Paul Thomas Anderson's untitled drama.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on August 15, 2011, 06:08:27 PM
Brad Pitt To Become ‘The Gray Man’ In POV Assassin Thriller Directed By James Gray
via The Playlist

You might remember that Brad Pitt and James Gray were set to team up for “The Lost City Of Z,” an adventure tale excitingly billed as a “Lawrence Of Arabia”-style epic, and naturally attracted buyers and massive interest around the world. But Paramount pulled the plug late last year with rumors that the studio and Gray couldn’t come to an agreement on pay. Pitt moved on to “Cogan’s Trade” and it seemed that was it. But it looks like the pair have found something else to team up on.

Earlier this year, Gray signed on direct the assassin thriller “The Gray Man,” and he had a very unique approach to what seems on the surface to be a very ordinary run through genre material. Based on the book by Mark Greaney and penned by Adam Cozad (who also wrote the upcoming Jack Ryan reboot for Paramount), the film follows a former CIA operative-turned ultimate assassin—the part Pitt is now lining up to play—who must fight his way across Europe, and past special forces teams from around the world in order to save the life of his handler and the handler’s family after he is targeted by a powerful multinational corporation. You’ve seen that movie before right? Well, not like this. Gray plans to shoot the film from the perspective of the assassin, citing the excellent car chase sequence from “We Own The Night” as an example of what audiences can expect from the film. “Almost every shot was from Joaquin’s point of view, inside that car, and I want to make a whole movie with that POV,” Gray said in January. So yeah, that’s awesome. Gray also stressed his film would be a far cry from the run-and-gun documentary vibe of Paul Greengrass’ Bourne films.

The project is set up over at 20th Century Fox with New Regency also on board, though there’s no word yet on when this will roll. However, we guess this means the period drama “Low Life,” announced in May with Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner set to star, is on hold for now (and considering all those stars are busy with other projects, it didn’t seem like it was close to shooting anyway). As for Pitt, he’s currently shooting “World War Z” but has an open calendar after that so we could see this rolling at the end of 2011 or early next year.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Pubrick on August 15, 2011, 06:35:37 PM
starring Brad Pitt's hands?
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on October 31, 2011, 05:26:29 PM
New book “Conversations avec James Gray” to be published in France...

(http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/9906/jamesgray.jpg)

From Gray to Z
by Richard Brody
via The New Yorker

Jordan Mintzer, international man of mystery, wears many hats: he’s a tax consultant, he’s the Paris correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter, he’s one of the producers of Matt Porterfield’s remarkable first two films, “Hamilton” and “Putty Hill” (for the latter, he also co-wrote the story), and tomorrow his book “Conversations avec James Gray” will be issued by the French publisher Editions Synecdoche. Gray, of course, is the director who, in a mere quartet of films, from “Little Odessa,” in 1995, to “Two Lovers,” from 2009, has made a cinematic universe of his own, the working-class Jewish families of Brooklyn and Queens (“Two Lovers,” in particular, is one of the meteoric movies of recent years, a romantic melodrama with a surface of dreams and limits and a substratum of colossal wars of the soul). And he was scheduled to make a film based on the book “The Lost City of Z,” by David Grann, of this magazine; Brad Pitt was slated to star; and then it all fell apart.

In Libération today, there’s an excerpt from the book (presented by the critic and editor Didier Péron) in which Gray discusses this project, explaining that Pitt’s associates sent the book to him, and that it appealed to him immediately, for its conflict between “Victorian England” and the Amazonian lands:

   I also liked the idea of making a film in which civilization would be just an ersatz, a veneer of civility beneath which one would find real human nature, which is—to paraphrase Hobbes—nasty, brutish, and short.

He added that he wanted it to be “a kind of ‘Indiana Jones’ but with a hero who thinks about what’s happening to him.” But Pitt, he suggests, is no longer interested: “Producers are willing to make the film, but I can’t find an appropriate actor who’s willing to act in it.” Gray explains that the budget would be between eighty and a hundred million dollars, and he blames the studios for their unwillingness to take a chance on such a film; he’s unwilling, he says, to make a very low-budget or self-financed film, because:

   the pleasure I have in making films is connected to a certain degree of know-how. I have no desire to shoot a film with my cell phone, I think it’s a cliché. Art is, to a great extent, craft. I like a certain kind of film and a certain level of know-how.

And he explains:

   The encounter of technical and narrative know-how can be very beautiful—that’s Hitchcock, with “Notorious.” There’s no courage to making a film for two cents that no one gives a shit about. There’s no know-how in it, and it’s not really subversive. What’s really subversive is to try to change the system from within.

Gray’s films are about solitude in a group, impossible dreams of escape and the wounds that result. He thrives on the sense of opposition. The paradox is that his films, his sense of opposition, depend on insidership; and if there’s a pathos to contemporary Hollywood, it’s the absence of a “there,” the lack of an ongoing set of studio relationships; each production is ad hoc, and so the sense of family, of a circle of regular collaborators and of the complex emotional bonds it generates, has to be, for a director, more or less self-created—which means that the perpetual son has to become something of a father. And for the eternal rebel, that’s a tough thing to do.

In any case, I’m impatient to read the whole book—and I’m impatient to see Gray’s next film, whatever it may be; at Deadline.com, Mike Fleming reported a few months ago that he’d be making a movie called “Low Life” next year with Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix—a New York story. I’d guess that, if the movie turns out to be a big success (as “Two Lovers” deserved to be), Gray might find it easier to make his grand-scale Amazonian project. Note that Darren Aronofsky, after the low-budget “Black Swan” turned out to be a hit, is now able to make his version of “Noah” at an announced budget of $150 million. I guess someone liked the story ark.

Source (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2011/10/from-gray-to-z.html)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on November 02, 2011, 03:31:15 PM
Mark Wahlberg, Marion Cotillard & Zoe Saldana Eye Guillaume Canet/James Gray Project ‘Blood Ties’
James Gray’s ‘Low Life’ With Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner & Marion Cotillard Aims To Start Shooting In January 2012

via The Playlist

Given the Hollywood-friendly slickness of his directorial efforts to date, it was only a matter of time before French actor Guillaume Canet made a film in the U.S. The star of “The Beach” and “Love Me If You Dare,” among many others, stepped behind the camera to much acclaim with 2002’s Cesar-nominated “Mon Idole,” the 2007 thriller “Tell No One” (which Ben Affleck is planning to remake), and followed it up with 2010’s “Little White Lies,” all of which showed an international sensibility.

As revealed a while back, Canet’s been working on his English-language directorial debut, a remake a of the 2008 thriller “Les Liens Du Sang,” in which he starred, a 70s-set drama about two brothers, one a cop, the other a criminal fresh out of the joint. Canet’s been working on the script with “The Yards” and “We Own The Night” helmer James Gray, and according to Screen Daily, it seems that a cast is starting to come together.

Sales company Wild Bunch are close to coming on to rep Canet’s project, and it’s said that Mark Wahlberg (who worked with Gray on both “The Yards” and “We Own The Night”) is circling the role of one of the brothers, with Cotillard and “Avatar” lead Zoe Saldana also linked to the film—Cotillard, of course, being Canet’s partner, and therefore something of a no-brainer. Screen Daily say that it’s unclear if Canet will again star in the film, but we imagine that, if Wahlberg’s playing one brother, it’s unlikely, unless the director’s got a doozy of an American accent up his sleeve, although it’s possible he might take a smaller role, as originally hinted. Which means that, assuming all the linked cast members sign on, there’s still one big part to cast, and we imagine the talent will be lining up, considering the caliber of names already involved.

Wild Bunch are also backing Gray’s next picture “Low Life” (although Screen Daily say that it’s now untitled), a grim period drama starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard, Gray’s film is gearing up to shoot in January (with “Se7en” and “Midnight in Paris” lenser Darius Khondji as DoP, excitingly), so if Cotillard remains involved with both, it’ll presumably be some time afterward that Canet gets rolling on “Blood Ties” (it’s worth noting that Saldana is committed to a “Star Trek” sequel next year, so scheduling may prove to be a problem there).

Source (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/mark_wahlberg_marion_cotillard_zoe_saldana_eying_guillaume_canet_james_gray/)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on December 11, 2011, 09:13:44 AM
Conversations with James Gray is available in a bilingual English-French edition, limited to 1,000 copies -- available to order through Synecdoche Books (http://synecdoche.fr/en). Total cost is about $80 w/shipping to the USA.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on January 04, 2012, 03:21:08 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c5TUId6Q3E

Btw the US Blu-ray release of The Yards from Echo Bridge/Miramax is pretty badly butchered, but the French Blu-ray transfer is framed properly.

The Yards - Amazon France (http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B003O8107W/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_g74_i1?pf_rd_m=A1X6FK5RDHNB96&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1H8HCFNZ523K75YRPTAN&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=463375533&pf_rd_i=405320)
French Blu-ray review (http://www.ecranlarge.com/dvd_review-list-10304.php)

French Blu-ray:

(http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/5291/large504059.jpg)

US Blu-ray:

(http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/1560/413541080p.jpg)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on March 26, 2012, 09:12:32 AM
James Gray Says 'Low Life' Is "The Best Thing I've Done"; Could Possibly Be Ready For TIFF
via The Playlist

(http://i.imgur.com/LlTXC.jpg)

Over the course of four films, director James Gray has crafted four distinct New York City stories. They are films that often find very masculine yet vulnerable protagonists struggling with difficult emotional and moral terrain, in tales that enrich and transcend the genres parameter they are seemingly structured within. And Gray's next film, the recently wrapped "Low Life," promises to find the writer/director exploring some new ground. His first period movie, the picture stars regular collaborator Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard, in the story of a woman immigrating from Poland whose sister gets caught in the confines of Ellis Island. She is then forced to dabble in burlesque and vaudeville for money once she lands, but a magician comes along who hopes to save her and reunite her with her sister.

We chatted last week with James Gray as "We Own The Night" prepares to screen at BAMcinematek later today (followed by a Q&A with the director), and asked him about his next effort, and not only is he feeling very confident about the project, we may see it much, much sooner than we had anticipated.

To one degree or another, Gray's films have always touched upon the immigrant experience, particularly as it pertains to his own Russian Jewish heritage. And as he told us, this new film puts those themes he's circled around under the microscope, also allowing him to confront his own family history at the same time. "One of the central struggles that people have -- really throughout history -- is the struggle to try and fit into a larger system. Even if it's an inner city youth somewhere that joins a gang, or some middle aged wealthy white executive working somewhere in the south that needs to fit into his country club, everyone is always joining something to try and fit in. And in drama you're looking always for almost an extreme version [of that theme]," he explained. "And I remember very well, my grandparents who spoke almost no English, who spent a lot of their time really wishing they were back in Russia, which I never understood. But they clearly had trouble fitting in, and I found that very powerful and very sad and it's a very emotional idea to me, and I know how lonely they were in many respects. And I suppose I'm trying to come to grips with that."

But perhaps most excitingly, especially for Gray himself, is that this time around he has made a point to try and avoid using other films as an emotional or aesthetic inspiration -- he's essentially heading into the editing process (which begins this week) cold. "I tried on this movie in particular, to be as uninspired by movies as possible. I want it to be it's own thing. So I don't know what the inspiration is…I tried very hard to not to steal from anything --- I'm sure I did, by the way, I'm not saying I made anything brand new -- not consciously, is what I mean."

However, even as he begins to shape the film, Gray is feeling very confident about what he has to work with. And moreover, we might be seeing the results as early as this fall. "It will be done in 15 weeks from now. So I think the goal -- to the degree that I have goals like this, because I don't make goals for film festivals -- I think that the goal would probably be to try to make Venice and Toronto. Maybe not Venice because that's really quick...but I think the goal would probably be to make Toronto," he said, adding: "I think it's going to be my best work. What I shot was not just my best work, but the actors doing their best and I'm very excited about it for that reason. I'm extremely excited, like I said it's the best thing I've done."
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on March 26, 2012, 08:25:22 PM
James Gray Teases Thriller 'The Gray Man' With Brad Pitt Might Be Next
via The Playlist

(http://i.imgur.com/3vQBC.jpg)

While James Gray has become known for this thoughtful, gripping independent dramas, it was just a couple of years ago that he nearly made a splash with a big studio picture, "The Lost City Of Z" with Brad Pitt set to star. Near the end of 2010, Paramount yanked the cord on the project, and Gray left the movie and Pitt went on to work with Andrew Dominik on "Cogan's Trade." But it seems both Pitt and Gray stayed in touch. Just a couple of months later in early 2011, Gray signed to direct an adaptation of Mark Greaney's thriller "The Gray Man" and by late summer, Pitt had signed on to star. Not much has been heard since, but as Gray tells us, the project is still percolating and may be coming soon.

"That absolutely may happen in a matter of months. It really depends on Brad Pitt's schedule and it depends on my schedule and how quickly I finish up this current movie and budget and all of those kind of boring factors. But it definitely may happen, and in fact it is more likely than not to happen," he said. Penned by Adam Cozad (one of the writers on the still developing Jack Ryan reboot for Paramount) the film follows a former CIA operative-turned ultimate assassin, targeted by a powerful multinational corporation, who must fight his way across Europe and past special forces teams from around the world in order to save the life of his handler and the handler's family. But if this sounds familiar, Gray is aiming to take a fresh approach to the action.

One of the centerpiece sequences in "We Own The Night," is a rain soaked car chase of sorts, that we see unfold mostly from the perspective of Joaquin Phoenix's character as he watches what transpires around him (see the scene below). And that's something Gray would like to do on this movie, albeit with much more money and tools at his disposal. "I've never done that kind of movie before and it certainly is a very enticing thing because what you do is you get to explore a kind of existential action on a scale that you really haven't been able to pursue before. I mean I started to experiment a little bit with what it is I'd like to do with an action movie [in] 'We Own the Night,' particularly with the car chase. I didn't have a huge amount of resources on 'We Own the Night.' I mean that picture was made for $19 million dollars, and I had very little time or money to do the car chase the way I wanted it, in fact I had to truncate quite a bit of it, but I felt that it would survive intact because of the central idea of it which is that you stay inside the car, it's during a rain storm, etc. So the whole idea was to make it in that style and then hopefully that the budget, the loose threads of the budget wouldn't show," Gray explained. "But on a movie like this, you don’t have that issue. You can really expose all of the aspects of an action movie that you want. Who knows? Maybe it won't be as effective. To have all of the toys at your disposal you use them and it's not always the right thing. Sometimes to make it work means to choose not to do something. So there is that challenge, but I'd like to have that challenge, it's a different field to play on."
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Pubrick on March 26, 2012, 08:30:12 PM
It's interesting because his name is gray, but his hair is red.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Cloudy on March 27, 2012, 12:08:54 AM
^That is definitely very interesting.

But what is also interesting is that maybe Phoenix's work with PTA has elevated his game for Gray's Low Life. hmmmmmm :ponder:

Any vague, ambiguous connections to the Master will help me survive the next 6 months.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wiped_out on April 22, 2012, 04:19:51 PM
J.P has a movie with James Gray and Paul Thomas Anderson comming out! What a badass!


I really want to see him do the Percy Fawcett movie with Brad Pitt! The studio turned them down due to budget issues.Hopefully after Low Life he can secure the financing he needs.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on April 24, 2012, 05:09:41 PM
Low Life set report from French publication Libéracion, loosely translated below:

Gray Anatomy
April 24, 2012
By Jordan Mintzer

Exclusive report on the shooting of new film by James Gray, with Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard. Odyssey in the New York of 20 years.

In this vibrant borough of Queens, just a few subway stops from downtown Manhattan, which was once a bastion of Greek immigration has changed dramatically in recent years. The souvlaki stalls and other Orthodox churches have gradually given way to taco shops, boutiques converted into mosques or restaurants at night, such that Sarajevo Fast Food Corporation. And while the local population was traditionally divided for decades between the working classes of Greek, Irish and Italian, she has recently diversified dramatically, now accounting for Mexicans, Bulgarians, Syrians, Albanians and Brazilians - not to mention a few hipsters in Brooklyn who rents have become unaffordable.

But on this balmy evening in March, that's a different kind of immigrant that one crosses the streets of the neighborhood, those one has not seen for nearly a century. Dressed in three piece suits in tatters, wearing fedoras, pocket watches and hairstyles gominées: it's a small army of extras that goes to the set H of Kaufman Astoria Studios illustrious, where another army - made it to assistants production, props and makeup artists - awaits them on the set of which for now is simply named James Gray The Untitled Project. While these extras are beginning to integrate the decor - the reconstruction of a cabaret-brothel-gambling scale called Bandit's Roost Theater -, they are served in mugs vintage of the (false) beer and are distributed around large tables soiled of peanut shells and ashtrays filled to the brim, while awaiting further instructions.

A team of production assistants listen carefully to the warnings of the first assistant director, Doug Torres: "I warn you. This scene, we'll turn it from every angle. "And for good reason: it is a real pivotal scene of the film, involving the three main actors (Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner), a good fifty extras and its share of stunts and breaks. At the other end of the plateau, James Gray, he is calmly sitting in his chair director, surrounded by some of his producers and his team - most of them nervously fingering their Blackberry, anxious that it starts. A few more adjustments in the decor, a little more peanuts scattered hither and yon, and Doug Torres starts: "It is good for us." The hubbub and the animation of a sudden fall. James Gray puts his helmet and sets intensely monitors connected to two huge cameras Arriflex 35 mm installed at two opposite corners of the tray. "Quiet please!" Proclaims Doug Torres. That's when James Gray turns around and smiles, as anxious exalts: "It's always the worst time. I feel like a boxer who steps into the ring. "

This is already the fifth week of the shooting of which - in purely American - is considered an "indie", while for the rest of the world in this ambitious project to dress more like a Hollywood blockbuster. After four weeks of back and forth across New York to shoot the exterior including a day at Ellis Island, which, as an input main immigrants, is a capital place for this drama whose action takes place in 1921 The team has finally asked the studio to put in a box some of the major scenes of what will be the first period film by James Gray. The sets are divided into two pans: one side, the cabaret-brothel-gambling den, and the other, the reconstruction of a dilapidated apartment on the outskirts of the Lower East Side, which will serve the following week.

The story follows the journey of Ewa (Marion Cotillard), a young Polish immigrant fresh. Just arrived in New York (with his sister, but it is immediately sent into quarantine because of tuberculosis), she finds herself plunged into the depths of Manhattan where she meets Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix), a devious tenant who leads her into prostitution, and his cousin Orlando (Jeremy Renner), a flamboyant magician who could get him out.
"Where was he went for so much poetry?"

As with all scenarios, James Gray was inspired by some of the details related to the history of his own family, in this case a rear-grandfather who ran a saloon at the time. "It was called Chez Hurwitz. B ut where was he went for so much poetry? jokes the filmmaker. The bar was apparently frequented by a crowd of gangsters, bohemians and eccentric, and my great aunt has often told me of a certain Max was the mac Höchsten the corner. It was he who brought the girls out there. "But unlike his other films, which generally revolve around relationships - often violent - between men (fathers, brothers or son), the story is told here of a strictly feminine point of view: "I wanted to place the woman at the center, to get away from any prospect macho. This is, of course, again a tentative analysis of patriarchy, but this time in a very frontal, whereas usually the wives of my scenarios quickly become the objects of men - although they are never objects films. "

In this respect, the story of James Gray Untitled Project inevitably evokes the theme of Two Lovers (a man caught between two women), but this time it mirrored (a woman caught between two men), in a sort of dilemma Shakespearean like We Own the Night. In the evocation of these comparisons, James Gray laughs while sighing: "To be honest, I do not really realize was ... To say that one is always the same movie, this is obviously never the same story that reproduced, but rather we try again and again to talk about what really matters for himself, trying to refine a little more about each time. "

While the actors and technicians are busy in the studio air conditioning H, producer Anthony Katagas (who worked with James Gray on We Own the Night and Two Lovers) flips on the floor of monographs photographers Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine, and painters Everett Shinn and George Bellows. The latter, both representatives of the Ashcan School - literally "School of the trash," American realist painting style of the early twentieth century, best known for his depictions of flood scenes of daily life of urban working classes - have been a major source for the iconography of the film. Whether through the costumes, sets, or even how to light scenes, all these references are found in one way or another to the image. And only through this type of preliminary work by a rare precision that it is possible for James Gray to turn this period piece (partly funded by the French distributor-seller Wild Bunch) for the price of a big production indie, and only thirty-five days - leaving little room for improvisation.
"I became totally obsessed with the 20s"

"That's the key, says Anthony Katagas. Generally, producers are preparing a movie thinking "in case". They wonder: "Oh my god! What would happen if the director finally decided to shoot in broad terms rather than close-up? Are we ready for this?" We, we do not have the means to ask such questions. "In more succinct, fairly typical of his childhood in Queens, James Gray for his part described the folly of this process by the popular phrase Trying to shove 10 pounds of shit Into a 5-pound bag, literally "try to get 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag." And it works: when it came to a crucial stage and pass the streets of the Bronx today in Lower Manhattan to those of a hundred years ago, the team carefully studied the photographs and paintings reference and has succeeded in effecting the transformation of an entire city block in just a few days - where normally there would need several weeks.

This is the kind of challenges facing the daily production which, despite the presence in the credits of a winner and two Oscar nominations, has not a dollar to spare. "It was nice running 24 frames per second, notes Anthony Katagas, such films are really working frame by frame."

After finishing the script, James Gray has spent several months in multiply round trips between his home in Los Angeles, and New York, looking for potential film locations. He also visited dozens of times in the Tenement Museum on Orchard Street (Lower East Side, Manhattan) and Ellis Island to document the best of the time. "During the preparation of the film, I became totally obsessed with everything about this period, he says while the team prepares for a new decision. Especially details such as the permanent consumption of cigars, pipes and cigarettes, the absolute lack of hygiene, the fact that people had very bad teeth ... I remembered everything, but just to be able to forget everything when shooting. "As production had not the means to turn everything on location (and anyway, the Lower East Side today, totally gentrified, nothing like that of the time), James Gray has appealed to Happy Massee (already designer of Two Lovers) to create the impressive studio reconstructions that provide the framework for much of the film. His team had very little time to build upstream, but this constraint sets finally allowed themselves to keep pace with the shooting, in symbiosis with the film's characters - gradually, they have also become, according Massee, "more sophisticated, burlesque and colorful."
"I thought of Bresson"

Color, precisely, was a key element to represent the time that - because of the photos that remain to us - is generally thought in black and white. This is perhaps the biggest challenge that faced the legendary French-Iranian cinematographer Darius Khondji (Seven, Funny Games, Midnight in Paris ...): transform this world into a monochromatic palette vibrant, colorful and richly colored. While he was filming last fall in the next Woody Allen film in Italy (To Rome with Love), Darius Khondji began receiving hundreds of mail iconographic references sent by James Gray, explaining his vision of the film , the image type to which he wanted to go. One of the major inspirations was, unexpectedly, a series of erotic Polaroid taken in the 60 and 70 by the Italian architect Carlo Mollino. "This is one of the first things he sent me, remembers Dairus Khondji from a loft in lower Manhattan, during a weekend of well deserved rest. We studied all the pictures closely. We wanted to find the perfect texture to film the skin texture, and type of lighting that would give an almost religious at all. "If religion has always been part of the world of filmmaker (Russian Orthodox chants float on the first scene of Little Odessa to the bar mitzvah of Two Lovers, through the Catholic funeral of We Own the Night), she finds a special place in this new film that questions directly notions of faith and redemption . "At risk of sounding pretentious, says James Gray, Godfather II apart from which it has referred a lot - but for the scenery - I thought mainly to Bresson by preparing the film, including Diary of a priest campaign. I even looted an end to a scene in the confessional. "

According viewed the rushes in the apartment of Darius Khondji on a monitor set up specially by the laboratory, this film seems to be a real break - at least in terms of visual aesthetics - with all that the filmmaker was able to before. This impression is partly due to the sumptuous costumes created by the octogenarian Patricia Norris (who often worked with David Lynch, including Elephant Man and Lost Highway), but also something more troubling: a radiant appearance and in the air how actors on the screen, perhaps reflecting the desire of the director to move away from formal realism here who signed his previous films, to go further sought in the myth.

Back on the set H. The team is preparing for yet another take of a scene that, for two long days, will be shot at least twenty-five different angles. While Darius Khondji and lighting (the esteemed John DeBlau, who has worked on over sixty films since Sophie's Choice, by Alan J. Pakula, the early 80s) carefully regulate their light, liners replace the three stars that spin behind the scenes. Phoenix remains seated in its character, pacing in the dark; Renner leads to a magic trick that will perform on stage, while joking with the team; Cotillard joins his son, Marcel. The image of the actress cradling her baby as she is - for the purposes of the stage next - dressed as the Statue of Liberty as "vaudeville" offers a rather surreal moment of intimacy.
"That one, for sure, we keep"

Meanwhile, the extras are redirected to their site by the second assistant. Those who have nothing to do form naturally in small groups to watch YouTube videos on an iPad lying around. For anyone who has ever attended a film of this magnitude, we know how the organization's work is generally a precision and extreme rigor. The "magic" is most often absent and, in a meticulous sometimes bordering on the absurd, it often seems to have been replaced by a quasi Taylorist division of labor. It is also the case here. It was assigned a task as accurately as specific to each team member, more than 120 people, excluding post: repair bulbs stroke, operate the smoke machine to clean the broken glass As the catch or still run the return playback. This monotony broken by sudden and intense acceleration, and the extraordinary pace of shooting (with days that sometimes go 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 am), make it extremely difficult to identify in the film advance . Except for James Gray, with his usual lucidity, comments on his approach: "Everyone on board has a specific task, except the director. The film could almost do without him - we also wonders if this is not what happens on some projects. In fact, his only real job is to maintain a certain emotional temperature throughout the shoot. "

But this mission is all the more difficult it's always something new on the set - as at the moment this group of chorus girls dressed in mini dresses fringed Charleston who arrive, greeted by a swarm of makeup artists who poudrent on many exposed parts of their bodies. Yet James Gray seems to totally ignore this whirlwind of activity: "If you get involved too, and throughout, we can no longer focus when the camera rolls for good. When the first assistant said "Action!" I put my helmet and I look at the monitor. This is the only time that matters because in the end it's the only thing that will be in the film. Everything else is just noise, and you must pass to extract. "

Half an hour later, Doug Torres announced that the team is ready for shooting after the scene, who will this time include some stunts involving Renner and Phoenix. The first dose is missed quite across, and the extras are particularly out of sync with the rest of the action. "It has not yet found the right pace," says Gray, before going to talk Renner, suggesting a new way of approaching waterfalls. Gray approve, review all ran from the scene with all the players, then gives the final entries to the cameraman. Everyone falls into place for a second take. This time, the actors will go to the bottom, Renner skillfully dodging the blows of angry Phoenix, giving himself entirely to his role, demonstrated the passion that marked his faithful collaboration with Gray from The Yards. Even before Torres could say "Cut!", A huge laugh out from behind the monitor. Gray is folded in half, as if watching the Marx Brothers (whose films Coconut Explorer and Madness have also been shot in this same studio Kaufman Astoria in the late 20) . The team hurries to join him around the monitor to the board decision and whenever, Gray bursts into laughter, enjoying the vision of a scene played excellently. "That one, for sure, we keep it."

It's time for "lunch break", although it is actually 20 hours. The extras take the air out in the streets adjoining the studio. As they integrate with the local population, one can not help but see new form of the strange array of immigrants between 1921 and 2012 they met in the same suburbs. Taking advantage of this hour to get a phone call to his wife and children, Gray hurries to his desk, looking rather calm. So I ask him how he managed to remain stoic in the midst of this chaos, he stopped, thought a moment and replied: "It's funny because I was talking with Doug [Torres] this morning, and I told her that, for me, all that matters is trying to win the battle daily. This is not for the preparation - which has other issues - but rather for the filming that we must look at every morning in the face and say: "Today I must get good catches . I need a good game from the players, to reveal a truth. " It is useless to think of yesterday, whose catches are already in boxes, or tomorrow. It's day to day to think. And if we manage to compartmentalize everything well and truly forget yesterday and tomorrow, to focus only on what you have to do today, so I think the battle is already half won. "

Source (http://next.liberation.fr/cinema/2012/04/24/gray-anatomie_814063)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on April 25, 2012, 01:02:01 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/R9J9K.jpg) 

(http://i.imgur.com/zmXqY.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/2EtoF.jpg) 

(http://i.imgur.com/UzBbH.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/kkeoQ.jpg)

Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wiped_out on April 25, 2012, 11:11:03 PM
I cant wait for this!
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Drenk on September 20, 2012, 12:42:04 PM
A great Masterclass.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hnt88Z-THp0

Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Cloudy on September 26, 2012, 02:49:10 AM
Dude. That was fucking fantastic. Thank you! Makes me really excited for his next film.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: max from fearless on September 26, 2012, 12:40:54 PM
This was great. I'm going to revisit his films when I get a chance. Thank you for posting.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Ghostboy on September 27, 2012, 02:58:12 AM
James Gray is great. His commentaries on his DVDs are really awesome too - very erudite, like a really great, smart, vaguely know-it-all-but -you-forgive-him-anyway college professor. I think his movies are pretty masterful too. Two Lovers is just outstanding. People rag on We Own The Night a lot, but I loved it. A true American auteur...
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on September 27, 2012, 06:05:40 AM
I've never seen Little Odessa, but The Yards is very solid, and We Own the Night and Two Lovers are both very very good. This video looks very promising. Need to take a look at it.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: jerome on September 27, 2012, 03:07:08 PM
I love how he does impressions of all the directors he name-drops.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on September 29, 2012, 12:23:00 PM
Turns out I had already seen this, but Gray is so cool to listen to that I just saw the whole thing all over again.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on December 10, 2012, 11:40:09 AM
Marrakech '12: James Gray Still Hoping To Visit 'Lost City of Z,' Talks 'Blood Ties' & Jeremy Renner's Steve McQueen Biopic
via The Playlist

Thoughtful and erudite, there are few filmmakers as fascinating to listen to as they talk about film than James Gray. So whenever we get the chance to catch up with him, it's a treat, and we managed to spend some time with the helmer at the Marrakech International Film Festival where he was serving on the jury. We spoke at some length about his upcoming, immigrant period drama "Lowlife," (formerly "The Nightingale" --  read all about it here), but we also wondered about some of the movies he's got brewing and what may or may not be next.

Perhaps one of the most ambitious projects linked to Gray in the past few years is "The Lost City of Z," is a seemingly uncharacteristic South America-set film. Based on the book by David Grann, the epic tells the story of English soldier-turned-explorer Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, whose obsession with the Amazon and belief that an ancient civilization resided there, led him on many expeditions where he narrowly escaped death. At one point, Brad Pitt was attached to star with project set up at Paramount, and tentatively slated to shoot after "Moneyball," but it fell apart, and the actor left the project (though there's no bad blood as the pair are still planning the thriller "The Gray Man"). Nevertheless, Gray is still thinking about 'Z.'   

"I hope to still make it. I'm trying to get it together again, but the budget that came in was $140 million dollars, because it was so logistically difficult," he explained. "Part of the plan was to get a cruise ship, and have the crew on board and go down the Amazon, shoot during the day, get back on the ship and move further down." That kind of reminds us of something…"I talked to Werner Herzog about 'Fitzcarraldo' and that's not exactly a thing you want to copy," he jokes. "I was looking for a way to do it that wouldn't cause me a nervous breakdown and get everybody typhus."

But while logistics may have defeated this incarnation of the film, Gray is looking for other solutions: "Going down the Amazon, the machinery is just not there to make a movie, you have to bring everything. Maybe the answer is Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, something like that, which maybe has similar terrain, but there is production resource close by."

He also spoke briefly about two writing projects. First up, is Guillaume Canet's "Blood Ties," which shot earlier this year in New York City. It's the French filmmaker's first English language picture, which assembles Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, James Cann, Marion Cotillard and Zoe Saldana in a remake of the 2008 French thriller "Les Liens Du Sang" (which also starred Canet), telling the story of two brothers, the younger of which (Crudup) is asked by his older convict sibling (Owen), to go back into the underworld to help out his family. This is familiar territory for Gray, and while he has a co-writing credit on the picture, he humbly plays down his involvement.

"What happened was [Canet, who is a friend] needed help with, as he put it, 'the dialogues'  -- which immediately should have let me know he needed more than a little help with the dialogue -- so I helped him translate a lot of the dialogue from French and helped structure the story a little," Gray shared. "And he said 'I'm gonna give you cowriting credit!' And I said 'No, I really didn't do that much, it's your film' and he did it anyway, which was very generous of him...And then apparently the actors have improvised a lot, so I'm not sure they're saying anything I wound up writing."

Meanwhile, Gray is dipping into American cinema history, writing a currently untitled Steve McQueen biopic for his "Lowlife" star, Jeremy Renner who is producing and aiming to star. "I did it more or less as a favor to Jeremy and to honor Steve McQueen. I don’t know what’s happening with it, I suppose it will get made, they quite like it and Jeremy wants to do it," Gray said. "If they want me to do more work on it I’ll help them but right now Jeremy’s so busy… It’s coming but it’s not there yet."

We can't help but wonder whether Gray, with his detailed and meticulous approach, finds it easy to hand over a writing project to another director, as he is doing in this case. He answers immediately: "No, I got into very seriously. I was spending a lot of time with Steve McQueen's ex-wife and sort of started to live the Steve McQueen thing and began to really get involved with the subject. And then I realized I can’t get so attached."

"Lowlife" is aiming for a Cannes Film Festival premiere next spring, and we'll have even more from our interview with Gray soon.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on December 12, 2012, 03:40:06 PM
Interview: James Gray Talks Working With Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix & The Central Crisis Of American Cinema
via The Playlist

A definite high point of our Marrakech International Film Festival was not only getting the chance to talk with director James Gray (“Two Lovers,” “We Own The Night,” “Little Odessa,” “The Yards”) about his upcoming directorial and writing projects (see our previous coverage here and here), but also having the time to let the conversation spin off, through some of his past experiences, and into a more general discussion about the state of contemporary U.S. cinema. Gray’s perspective as a commentator is of course informed by the kind of filmmaker he is: in his assessment of U.S. cinema being in a state of deep crisis, it is hard not to see a man arguing forcefully for his own livelihood.

But what saves his reasoning from coming off as self-serving is that Gray is truly knowledgeable about the subject, quite beyond his own experience. That and the fact that when it comes to lamenting the squeeze on what he calls “the middle” -- the mid-budget, intelligent, adult-aimed dramas that are his stock in trade, and that form the backbone of his strongest influence, the U.S. filmmaking culture of the 1970s -- it's hard to disagree. Below, Gray’s reflections on the aforementioned subjects, a brief discussion of his other filmic preoccupations, and some further background to his forthcoming drama “Lowlife” starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner.

How did the idea for "Lowlife" germinate?

My brother and I found some old slide photos my father had taken from the mid-to-late 1970s. A few of them were photographs from a trip to Ellis Island. It has become a kind of museum now, but my father took us in 1976 right after it had reopened after closing decades before and the place was untouched to the point that there were half-filled out immigration forms on the floor. It was almost like ghosts had been there.  And we took my grandfather who came to Ellis Island in 1923, and the second he walked into the building he burst into tears.

So then I started reading about it and I read a story that was extremely interesting to me about women who came in either solo or their families had been split up, and how they would get into New York and sometimes they had to resort to very sad ends to get there, and I’d never seen it done in a movie. 40% of the United States have relatives that came in through there and yet it’s only been in a handful of films -- the opening scene from "The Godfather II," and the end of Kazan’s "America, America" and that's it.

In "Lowlife" you work with Marion Cotillard for the first time. Tell us how that came about.

I had no idea who…Marion Cotillard was. When I was in Paris for "Two Lovers," a publicist told me, "A guy named Guillaume Canet wants to have lunch with you." So we met and had lunch, I found him incredibly funny -- I didn’t know anything he had done at that stage, but we sort of bonded because a rat ran across the floor of the restaurant. And then he said, “Come meet my girlfriend” and I met this woman who looked like a silent film actress like Pola Negri or something. And I said, “Who’s your girlfriend?" and he said [French accent] ”You don’t know my girlfriend? She won an Oscar, are you stupide?”

And my wife and I became very friendly with them. One night at dinner we went to a restaurant and I told her I didn’t like some actor that she thought was great and she threw a piece of bread at my head, and I thought, “Well, you’re interesting.” So I wrote the movie ["Lowlife"] for her, having never seen her in a movie. Because she has this face, you know? She doesn’t even have to say anything, and that’s rare.

And of course in "Lowlife" you reteam for the fourth time with Joaquin Phoenix. How did you feel about antics during the "Two Lovers" press tour?

I was really angry with him, let’s be honest here. But you know, totally brilliant actors who will agree to do your film are not people who grow on trees. I was upset with him. I mean, I think he and Casey [Affleck] did something very silly, but, whatever -- it’s not for me to judge, who cares what I think? My argument was that it came on the back of the publicity tour for the film that I had made with him, which actually was fairly well received in the United States, but there was no discussion of the film. In fact the [David] Letterman appearance where he went nuts was to publicize "Two Lovers" -- he apologized to me for that and ultimately I decided that I couldn’t really care about it, because he’s a wonderful actor so in a way you forget it.

Do you feel the break has made Phoenix a stronger actor?

That's hard to say. I've always found him to be a brilliant actor. I know him so well… No, I don’t see him being stronger. I think he thinks he’s stronger. I don’t think that’s the case, he thinks he’s a better actor. My own view is that there was a quantum leap in his skill set between the first film I did with him “The Yards” to the second which was “We Own The Night.” Since then I have seen a consistent commitment to the work which is really impressive.

Your first film, "Little Odessa," got you quite some notice internationally. What effect did its success have on you?

I was very spoiled. I didn’t know what to expect. I took it to Venice, the film festival and it was a ridiculous experience because the theater was half full, and at the end of the movie there was like one clap and I thought, "Well, this is a disaster.” I got on a plane back to New York and I got off the plane and they had a sign: "Call so-and-so in Venice."

So I went to a payphone, they said, "You have to go back to Venice, you've won." So I got back on a plane, I pick up my award, Monica Vitti is giving me a kiss on the cheek and I’m thinking, "Well this is how it goes. You're 24 years old, you make a movie and Monica Vitti kisses you." And then the next movie came and that was the end of that dream.

The accepted wisdom about your films is that they're better received in Europe than in the U.S. Is that still true? Was it ever?

It’s not really true anymore. I think I’m a very American director, but I probably should have been making movies somewhere around 1976. I never left the mainstream of American movies, the American mainstream left me. Really what I’m doing is an attempt to continue the best work of the people I adore, Francis Coppola and Scorsese and Robert Altman and Stanley Kubrick and those amazing directors whose work I grew up with and loved. Because really American film was that! An American commitment to narrative with an interest in the creation of atmosphere that came probably from Japan or Asian cinema, with a commitment to thematic depth that comes from Europe... We lost that.

I think, with respect, it’s a convenient narrative that my films are better reviewed in Europe but actually the reviews for my last film in the U.S. were really good and the film was not a financial success, so I can’t blame that on the critical establishment who treated me, if anything, with kid gloves. [But the French especially] have always supported my work for reasons I can’t explain, and I love them for it. I’m very grateful.

The individual versus society seems to form an integral part of many of your narratives. Is that a conscious starting point for you?

It may seem difficult to believe, but I don’t sit down to write that… it always winds up becoming that. It’s not a conscious thing at the beginning of a creative process.  I start with a mood or an idea that comes from a personal place emotionally and the narrative concepts come much later.

And you also seem to frequently deal with the American taboo of class divisions?

Well, my wife thinks I have an obsession with social class. So I guess I have an obsession with social class. It probably stems from feeling like an outcast, you grow up a goofy-looking idiotic kid in a fairly working class neighborhood that’s fairly close to a very rich center of the universe, then I guess you feel like the outsider and that becomes a preoccupation…

I think true economic class unhappiness comes from when across the street someone has a new Cadillac and you can’t get that. If everybody lives in the same way, there's something almost narcotizing about it, but the true misery of economic class difference is knowing that you can’t have what somebody else does.

Maybe that’s bullshit. [But] it was my experience where my neighborhood was very working class, semi-attached row houses on a treeless block and two miles away was an area called Jamaica Estates, where they had very big houses on great big plots of land. I remember my mother would dream of having this decent house and we would get in the car -- I think if it now, it’s so sad -- she would say, “Let’s look at the houses” and she would take us past these big houses. Why this would be a point of pleasure for us I’ve no idea. 

Do you feel class is something not addressed enough in U.S. film?

[Class is] not discussed in American life very much -- there’s a notion that social or economic class divides don’t exist when of course they do. But that wasn't always true in film -- think of John Ford, it’s always all over his films. The idea of "Vertigo" is partly genius because of social class -- the idea is he has to make Kim Novak up to the fancier version of Kim Novak in order to rekindle his obsession. So class becomes part of that story. Today, I mean, what social class can you find if someone’s a fucking Spider-Man? What the fuck does that mean?

I'm sensing a degree of dissatisfaction with current mainstream U.S. film from you...

I think it’s in profound trouble in a way that is not reflected by people writing about cinema now. What I find troubling is, I’ll read, for example, conversations between AO Scott and Manohla Dargis [in the New York Times] and I find that they’re extremely erudite, and I love what they say.

But sometimes I feel like the subtext is them trying to convince themselves and each other that the state of cinema not so bad. And what neither of them has ever really addressed, and I have not read it anywhere else either, is the troubling disappearance of "the middle." Which is not to say the middlebrow -- that exists with flying colors. But there is tremendously interesting cinema being made that is very small, and there are very huge movies which have visually astounding material in them, but you know Truffaut said that great cinema was part truth, part spectacle, so what’s really missing is that. It’s what United Artists would have made in 1978 or something.

Like "Raging Bull" could not be a low-budget movie, it just couldn’t, there’s a certain scale that’s involved in making it, and no one would make "Raging Bull" today. The last example of the industry doing this middle movie that I’m talking about, to me would be Michael Mann’s film “The Insider” which I really like. That has scale and also a bit of truth it. What I don’t see as part of the discourse is a discussion on the economic forces that have forced out the middle. There is some discussion, some awareness, but not enough, because to me that is the central crisis of American movies: the disappearing middle of the mainstream.

So where has the audience for these films gone?

They’ve migrated to television. So there’s superb television, but it’s not for me because first of all, the two-or-three hour format is just perfect, because it replicates best our birth-life-death cycle. "The Sopranos" was genius television but it went on forever, and it never seemed to culminate in anything, and then everyone was pissed off at the ending but that’s exactly why TV cannot substitute for a great movie because the swell of the architecture of a movie is part of what makes it the most beautiful visual art form.

And it’s true, right? There’s a kind of beautiful movement to a wonderfully structured film which is not reproduce-able by the best "Breaking Bad" [episode], which, by the way, is great. But it’s not the same thing - that’s a kind of luxuriate, get the food delivered, sit down in front of the TV and for that moment, that hour, you’re in pleasure, and then you go back to your life until the next week. It’s not quite the same [as a movie], not as transformative.

Is it the fickle audience that is therefore to blame?

No, I think the studios have done a brilliant job of creating the audience it’s now attempting to satisfy. There is a difference between the satisfaction and the exploitation of public tastes. If you give -- and I’ve used this analogy many times, but it's true -- if you give somebody a Big Mac every day, and then you give them salmon sushi, their first inclination is not to say that salmon sushi is the most delicious thing they ever ate, their first inclination is to say, “That’s weird and I don’t like it.” And it’s very hard to get them back.

To you, studios have a responsibility to provide some salmon sushi amongst the Big Macs?

They do… even if [the films] are not huge hits they do. I’m not even talking artistic responsibility, forget that, but if you want to talk like a stockholder to them…and by the way, Warner Brothers did do it, they’ve done "Argo," they’ve tried to do a couple of these pictures, and Amy Pascal at Columbia has tried to do a couple of them as well, with some very good results. But the thing is that you need [everyone] to do two or three of them a year in order to maintain a broad-based interest in the product.

It’s like when American car companies in the early '70s stopped making convertibles. They were losing a few dollars making convertibles and so they said, "Let’s not do it." And all of a sudden other people were making convertibles and American car companies stopped seeming to have a broad-based product line.

Even looking at it purely in capitalistic, corporatist terms, I think if they made two or three of these kinds of pictures every year, then people like my dad and my brother -- college-educated people either in their 30s, 40s or 70s, would have a movie to go to. And it would maintain the broad-based relevance of movies.

So you believe the current culture is eroding the relevance of the movies?

I think the reason movies are no longer relevant is not because they don’t make money, because they make more money than ever. They’re not relevant because the self-appointed cognoscenti have nothing to go watch. So if you look at the numbers they’re doing great, but look at people like, you know... Norman Mailer would not have a movie to see. Norman Mailer, if he were alive, would see a movie from Europe.

But there’s a whole other swirl of issues that is not only about this, it’s not only about economics. It's all connected to a post-1968 drive toward post-structuralism, the focus on the destruction of narrative… I think telling a story is somehow [becoming] "quaint."

Does storytelling feel too unironic for our ironic times?

Yeah, I’m not exactly certain when that began. And it’s not just movies, it’s culture-wide. Look at music, the idea of melody. I would say over the last 30 years melody is not really particularly important. Isn’t that analogous to story [in film]?

I think that people have done [the destruction of narrative thing]. Derek Jarman made "Blue," and that’s it. Once he made "Blue" you can’t do anything else. Once Andy Warhol shot the Empire State Building for 8 hours what are you going to do? What more can you do? Jackson Pollock "broke the ice." And by the way I love these people. Jackson Pollock is the greatest, I’m not badmouthing these people, but cinema, for me, the meaning of it is telling a story on film.

For me, it’s an act of hubris to say that you don’t need story because it means that we would be members of the first group of human beings in the entire history of the human race that didn’t need story. And I’m not so arrogant as to suppose that’s the case.

And how do you feel about non-studio cinema, the kind you have been watching and judging here as part of a Film Festival Jury?

I see a wonderful dedication to the art form and I have been pleased with the overall quality of the movies - I’m not bored. By the way, though, I really wish that people would begin to put cameras on tripods a little more. I don’t know when the handheld camera became such a hackneyed device of the art cinema -- I feel like the Dardenne brothers did it brilliantly and everyone’s trying to steal from them now.

But what I think is lacking is an emotional commitment -- a fervent commitment to the material, a sincerity. But some people don’t like that, because we’re living in a very ironic, distanced, very “we’re smarter than the characters in the movie” era. And that’s some people’s taste.

And how would you exemplify your taste in this regard?

My taste, I mean if I had to pick one movie, which I would  never want to do, I keep thinking about "La Strada," because there’s such a total commitment to those people and the movie never puts itself above any of the people in it. It’s a very Franciscan approach to the drama, and to me that’s very beautiful.

[Author] George Eliot said "the purpose of art is to extend our sympathies" which I think is very beautiful. Kubrick wished all movies were “more daring and more sincere.” A lot of directors today are focusing on what is daring, but are not really focused on what is sincere.

James Gray's "Lowlife" stars Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner and the director hopes to debut it at Cannes next year. The picture is scheduled for release stateside in the fall of 2013.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on December 13, 2012, 02:25:43 PM
The Films of James Gray: Old Testament Narratives - Senses of Cinema (http://sensesofcinema.com/2012/feature-articles/the-films-of-james-gray-old-testament-narratives/)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on January 18, 2013, 08:12:57 PM
In 2010, an hour long documentary was made for French television called 'James Gray's Anatomy'. As far as I can tell, it's entirely unavailable, as I've looked for it on and off since it originally aired. Someone let me know if they happen to come across it. You can view the trailer here (http://www.toutlecine.com/film/videos/0039/00396309/00017901-bande-annonce-1-james-gray-s-anatomy.html).

James Gray's Anatomy (2010) - IMDB (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDMQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.imdb.com%2Ftitle%2Ftt1642242%2F&ei=3f_5UPT6McOziwKMsoGQAg&usg=AFQjCNHZgZoxnC2GdnT-HmYUA_tBasgr8w&bvm=bv.41248874,d.cGE)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Drenk on January 18, 2013, 09:07:23 PM
I've seen it, it's a great documentary. I remember him visiting his film school, talking about him asking the annoying questions during screenings, we see him at his office writing the movie with Brad Pitt (he says that it would be a challenge for Pitt). He says that Anna Karina is his favorite novel. That PTA is a friend. And we see him with his grandparents, discovering, Ellis Island's papers with his real family name. That's all I remember. It was really great.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on January 19, 2013, 06:05:58 PM
Thanks for that. You live in France, right? Any chance you could DVR it if it ever re-airs?
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Drenk on January 19, 2013, 06:38:38 PM
Yes, I can do that. I hope it will re-air during Cannes.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on January 19, 2013, 06:42:01 PM
Fantastic. Thank you!
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 01, 2013, 01:04:41 PM
Brad Pitt No Longer Attached To James Gray's Thriller 'The Gray Man'
via The Playlist

With James Gray pretty much finished with "The Immigrant," packing his bags and getting ready to head to France for its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, he's beginning to look at what might be next on his slate. When we spoke to the helmer last year, his brewing thriller "The Gray Man" was something he said could very well be his next picture. "It really depends on Brad Pitt's schedule and it depends on my schedule and how quickly I finish up this current movie and budget and all of those kind of boring factors. But it definitely may happen, and in fact it is more likely than not to happen," he said. Now, it seems that while the movie may move forward, it will need a new lead.

Jeff Sneider of The Wrap tweeted last night: "BRAD PITT no longer attached to star in THE GRAY MAN for New Regency. Director James Gray seeking new leading man..." As folks may know, the pair were originally slated to work together on "The Lost City Of Z" before it fell apart, and while this is certainly a bummer -- we think Gray and Pitt would be a great duo -- the material is still pretty fascinating stuff. Based on the book by Mark Greaney, and penned by Adam Cozad ("Jack Ryan") the film follows a former CIA operative-turned ultimate assassin, targeted by a powerful multinational corporation, who must fight his way across Europe and past special forces teams from around the world in order to save the life of his handler and the handler's family.

So, Bourne-esque? Maybe, but Gray has an approach that he hopes will change up the game. He wants to shoot the film from the perspective of the assassin, a style he utilized in the car chase sequence in "We Own The Night." As he explained in 2011: "Almost every shot was from Joaquin's point of view, inside that car, and I want to make a whole movie with that POV."
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Drenk on May 02, 2013, 03:28:58 PM
(http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/945463_10151589746692145_1396956155_n.jpg)

(http://sphotos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/207120_10151589746722145_942546701_n.jpg)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Drenk on May 16, 2013, 05:06:18 PM
A short short clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2COVgEsceU
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 17, 2013, 01:42:34 PM
James Gray Working On An Untitled Sci-Fi Thriller
via The Playlist

One of the reasons we've been so excited for Cannes this year is that the festival sees the unveiling of not one, but two new films featuring the involvement of one of our favorite directors, James Gray. The "We Own The Night" helmer is back with his first directorial effort since 2008's "Two Lovers," in the shape of period piece "The Immigrant," staring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, and he also helped Guillaume Canet pen the script to crime tale "Blood Ties," with Clive Owen and Billy Crudup.

But once the films screen in the next week, Gray's schedule is clear (beyond the usual promotional commitments). The director's been attached in recent years to two big-budget studio pictures, "The Lost City Of Z" and thriller "The Grey Man," and said not long ago that he thought that the latter might be next, but Brad Pitt dropped out of the lead role recently (having long since bailed on 'Z'), which makes it less likely. Thankfully, news has come in this morning of a new project for Gray, one that could see him moving into new genre territory.

Variety report that Brazilian financiers RT Features, who backed Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha" and Kelly Reichardt's upcoming "Night Moves," have come on to finance an untitled sci-fi thriller that Gray will write and direct. There's no other details at present, but we're sure that the filmmaker might spill some beans while at the festival in the next week. Given the renaissance of original sci-fi in the last few years, it's exciting to see people like Gray and Jeff Nichols turn to the genre, and time will tell if this turns out to be his next project.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 22, 2013, 10:25:22 PM
Watch A New Clip Of Marion Cotillard & Joaquin Phoenix In 'The Immigrant,' Plus James Gray Talks The Film's Look & Influences
via The Playlist

There are only a few days left of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, but some of the biggest films are still yet to come. Tomorrow brings Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," while Saturday includes both Roman Polanski's "Venus In Fur" and Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive." And as for Friday? Well, Friday brings the return of one of Cannes' favorite filmmakers, James Gray, back with his first film since 2008's "Two Lovers" with "The Immigrant."

We got our first brief glimpse of the period piece earlier in the week, and now a new, longer clip has arrived. It still features Marion Cotillard's refugee, Ewa, but rather than Jeremy Renner's magician, Orlando, she's paired up with Joaquin Phoenix's Bruno, Orlando's cousin, a seemingly friendly man who actually pushes her into prostitution. Even more so than the last, this establishes some stunning production design, and a gorgeous-sepia toned look, courtesy of DoP Darius Khondji. In general, it just makes us wish it were Friday already.

In the meantime, Gray's given his first quotes about the film in the press notes. To help tide you over, five key highlights are below.

On the personal nature of the film:
"My grandparents came over from Russia or Ukraine depending on what era you’re talking about, from Ostropol, a town not too far from Kiev. My grandmother’s parents were murdered during a pogrom by White Army troops. And in 1923, my grandpa and grandma came to the United States by way of Ellis Island. Of course, I heard many stories about Ellis Island and I became somewhat obsessed with it. The first time I went, in 1988, was before they had restored the island: it was almost as if it was frozen in time. It was haunting, with half-filled immigration forms on the floor... To me it seemed that it was filled with ghosts, the ghosts of my whole family. So I had wanted to make a picture that sprang from that."

On the influences:
"I thought of Robert Bresson and 'Diary Of A Country Priest', particularly for the confession scene. I wanted something austere and mythic. But the film was never meant only to be an homage to Bresson. It was also partly inspired by the traditions of opera and melodrama. Through outsized emotions and dramatic situations, there is a greater truth if you will. This is why the film is scored with Puccini, Gounod and Wagner."

On Casting Marion Cotillard:
"The big challenge obviously was her Polish, which turned out to be fantastic. One day, I asked the actress who plays her aunt what she thought of Marion’s Polish. She said it was excellent but she had a slight German accent. I confronted Marion and she said: "I know, my character is from Silesia, which is between Germany and Poland, I’m doing it on purpose." That’s how precise she is! It knocked me out."

On recreating Ellis Island in the film:
"I was shocked when I found out that there had never been a movie made in Ellis Island for what it was, an immigration center. A handful of pictures have been shot there since its restoration, but they didn’t recreate the old Ellis Island. Kazan recreated it for AMERICA, AMERICA, as did Coppola for  'The Godfather Part II', but neither of those directors had the opportunity to shoot in Ellis Island. So I had what I felt was a pretty unique opportunity, and tried to make it as accurate as possible. I read many books, and of course looked through tons of photographs and my whole family’s paperwork. When I went to Ellis Island with my grandfather, there was a woman on the tour with us who was crying. She didn’t speak much English but my grandfather spoke with her, and apparently she and her sister had been separated there. I thought that was a good premise for a story."

On the look of the film:
"I worked very well with Darius, who is a man of great sensitivity. He was my brother for a year. We took trips to museums, we looked at paintings and also at autochromes - color photographs from the early 20th century. We also looked at Polaroids from the 1960s by the architect and designer Carlo Mollino: they are the closest thing achieved by modern technology to the autochromes in terms of the color saturation and the density of blacks. Darius and I just talked a lot about color and the frame itself, what part of the set would be lit and why. My other films were meant to be naturalistic. You could always sense where the light was coming from. I abandoned that because I wanted to tell a fable."

Clip (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/watch-a-new-clip-of-marion-cotillard-joaquin-phoenix-in-the-immigrant-plus-james-gray-talks-the-films-look-influences-20130522?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 24, 2013, 03:00:42 PM
Cannes: New Clip From ‘The Immigrant’; James Gray Talks Title Changes, Working With Joaquin Phoenix & Marion Cotillard & More
via The Playlist

James Gray’s long-awaited period drama, “The Immigrant,” finally screened in Cannes early this morning. Featuring the excellent cast of Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner, “The Immigrant” centers on a conniving pimp (Phoenix) who manipulates a destitute Polish immigrant (Cotillard) into a life of prostitution. Saddled with a sick sister, she works to pay for her medicine and her dismal life seems hopeless until a curious magician (Renner) enters it.

Our reviewer called the film “carefully poised and slowly building to a resonant climax,” and that sounds like a James Gray film alright. Mostly unappreciated at home in the United States (but beloved in France), Gray generally makes melodramatic family tragedies disguised as crime dramas (“Little Odessa,” “The Yards,” “We Own The Night”), but “The Immigrant” is somewhat of a gear shift, with its 1920s period setting and having a woman as the lead character.

While Joaquin Phoenix was absent (see why below), Gray, Cotillard, Renner, DP Darius Khondji and several members of “The Immigrant” production team were on hand this morning in Cannes to meet the media and explain their intentions with this operatic, moody, and slow-burning drama. Here’s seven highlights from the press conference.

Joaquin Phoenix couldn’t be in Cannes because he’s shooting a little movie called “Inherent Vice.”
One of the first questions from the media in Canne was, where’s Joaquin? Well, he’s currently shooting the much-anticipated new movie from Paul Thomas Anderson based on the stoner/detective novel by Thomas Pynchon. “Actually, believe it or not, he wanted to come, which is a first,” Gray said. “But he’s in the middle of shooting a movie with Paul Thomas Anderson and they wouldn’t let him out. You know it’s a Friday in the middle of a shoot week so, it was impossible.”
Well, lay to rest any other theories and start celebrating that you won’t have a five year gap between PTA movies.

Marion Cotillard’s biggest challenge was learning Polish for the role.
As explained in Telluride last year, Gray met Cotillard before he had ever seen a film of hers, but was instantly taken with the actress when she threw bread at his head during a dinner, arguing over the qualities of an actor he disliked and she loved. He was instantly taken and decided to write this new movie for her (it didn’t hurt he was already co-writing “Blood Ties” with her life partner Guillaume Canet).

But Cotillard didn’t have time to pal around with Gray on set. She had her nose in a book during the entire time of production, practicing her Polish. "The biggest challenge was definitely the Polish. It's a complicated language," she said. "I had about 20 pages in Polish and I could only understand two words [at first]. But I had a fabulous teacher and no choice. When you speak Polish with an accent, that would be one thing. But I had to speak Polish with no accent, so that put a lot of pressure on me. I knew when I was making a mistake. When I was doing it good, however, I had no idea of how I was doing. It was bit unsettling."

Gray recalled in disbelief that he only wrote a few lines in Polish, but when it came time to the translation, it was always much, much longer than he expected. “In my slight defense, I would write a third of a page in dialogue... and then the [translation] would come back and it would be four pages!” he complained. “It did not correspond at all to the length of what I wrote it was so bizarre.”

The film went through three different titles -- what was up with that?
The movie was originally called, “Lowlife,” then around Telluride, it changed to “The Nightingale,” and then right before Cannes, it was announced as “The Immigrant.” Why? Gray explained. “The original title of the book was ‘Lowlife’ and I thought that was a pretty good title and apparently Luc Sante, the writer of the book ‘Low Life’ also thought it was a good title,” he said dryly to laughs.
“Too bad. But Luc Sante is totally brilliant by the way and his book... is really one of the great non-fiction books written about New York. That title by the way taken from a Public Image Limited song, so his hands aren’t clean,” he joked. “I spoke to him, I said, ‘Can I use your title?’ and he said, ‘Uhhhhh... no.’ And then I realized you can’t copyright a title so for a while it was called ‘Lowlife,’ but then I didn’t really want to get him enraged at me.”

Gray noted that there was another film called "Low Life” and both American and French distributors didn’t like the title so he said, “Fine, I’ll change it. I started called in ‘The Nightingale.’ ” As he explained in Telluride, the title came from a line of dialogue in the film, but “Everyone hated it!” he exclaimed. “Except for me,” Cotillard interjected. “You liked it too? Well, fuck it, it’s ‘The Nightingale’,” he quipped. “Everyone told me, ‘I hate that title, it stinks, I hate it.’” Gray said he “pretentiously” went through all his books, movies, operas to gain inspiration for his film and he found that, “They all had simple titles...I just thought, ‘Screw it, call it ‘The Immigrant’ and be done with it.’ Let the movie speak for itself. If people hate the film, they’re not going to hate it because of the title. If they love the film, the title is not going to win the day.”

Gray’s co-writer Ric Menello died a few months before the film’s debut in Cannes.
Menello is legendary in film cinephile circles (make sure you read this fantastic piece in the New Yorker about him (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2013/03/in-memory-of-ric-menello.html)). He was a so-called "cinematic savant"/shut in who had apparently seen every film you could think of (and more) and had a near photographic memory about all of them. He had become a friend and confidante of Gray’s and filmmakers like Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky and others as well. All of them would routinely call Menello up and tap him for his infinite encyclopedic knowledge and Gray became so close with him he actually gave him screenwriting credits on two of his films, “Two Lovers” and “The Immigrant” (though in the New Yorker article, Gray admits that was in part so Menello could get health insurance).

“Ric Menello who was incorrectly referred to as a savant, because this was a guy who knew everything about everything,” Gray said. Def Jam founder and legendary music producer Rick Rubin was the one who first put Gray in touch with Menello. “I want you to meet this guy Menello,” Gray said adopting a funny low Rick Rubin voice and recalling the conversation. “He’s amazing, he knows everything.” Gray would called Menello at any hour of the night when the TV guide wouldn’t properly display what was playing, hold the phone to the speaker and Menello would inevitably know what the movie was. “He was a human movie Shazam,” Gray said referencing the music app that will instantly tell you the title and artist of a song. “You used this guy as a reference, it was that simple.”

“But he’s gone, I miss him, I love him,” he reflected.

(http://i.imgur.com/Nyb6FhF.png)

Gray inadvertently put Joaquin Phoenix through the emotional wringer with this role.
While Joaquin Phoenix is known as a mercurial actor and person, James Gray has worked with him four times now. But the filmmaker said it wasn’t an intentional Scorsese/De Niro or Kurosawa/Mifune type of consistent collaboration. “What happens is you gravitate towards actors who feel the same way that you do about the world, about art, if I can use that dirty word, about human behavior and I realized very quickly on the first film I made with him ['The Yards'] is that he has a tremendous emotional awareness, intelligence and sensitivity,” Gray said. “My relationship now is we talk a lot, we argue a lot like brothers in a way, but its very, very enlightening. He lives for process, he lives for the moment when you can discuss the scene and break down the character that to him is everything.”

“For me that’s very rewarding,” Gray continues, “Because you’re trying to create a character of many levels, and in this case he’s playing a very terrible person, a predator, a manipulator, a constant liar who only really reveals himself in the end. And I remember he would call me up every night and say, [adopts incredibly mumbly, borderline incoherent JP voice] ‘James, James, why are you making me do this? Look at that scene I did with Marion, I had to put that little boy in front of her...James what are you doing?’ And he was very upset with me. He called it the revenge of [the fake quasi Joaquin Phoenix documentary] ‘I’m Still Here,’ because I made him such a horrendous person.”

Jeremy Renner loves James Gray, but not all his films.
“I’ve seen all of his movies, some I like better than the others, but I love James,” he laughed. “How did we come together?” Renner asked and launched into a story about meeting him at the actor's house. Gray countered later with, “Some of your performances I really liked,” Gray said. “I don’t expect you to like all of them!” Renner laughed. “Eh, some of them I liked,” the director shrugged.

(http://i.imgur.com/ieIHE6m.png)

“The Godfather Part II” weighed heavy on the movie, so Gray and his DP looked elsewhere for influences.
Set in the same time period as the flashbacks in “The Godfather Part II,” Gray and DP Darius Khondji (David Fincher's “Seven,” "Panic Room," Wong Kar Wai's "My Blueberry Nights" among others) knew the film would inevitably draw comparisons. The filmmaker said while they did watch the Francis Ford Coppola epic, and movies like “La Strada,” “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” and “Heaven’s Gate,” they started to look elsewhere for inspiration, like photographs and artwork.
“If you show a street in 1921 in the Lower East Side, there’s no way to do it accurately and not have someone go, ‘I see Godfather II!’ Because Francis just did it completely accurately," he explained. "There’s only one way to do it, he did it right. So I realized that that was coming a mile away that I had stolen from this movie or that movie, so what Darius and I ended up doing was going completely away from movies and started looking at autochrome photography [and art].”

Gray then rattled off tons of visual references, Carlo Mollino’s polaroids, the Ashcan painters Rockwell Kent, Guy Pène du Bois, John Sloane, George Bellows, Robert Henri, Reginald Marsh, Everett Shinn, William Glackens and more. Also a big influence to Gray was opera. “I thought about making something that felt like you filmed an opera with grand emotions,” he said. “Not played in hysteria all the time, not like, [starts to sing in high pitched shrieking voice] ‘Everbody’s like thiiiiiis!’ though there is a little bit of that, but really about the sincerity of the emotions.”

“One of the best quotes I ever heard about movies was from Stanley Kubrick,” Gray continued. “He said, ‘I wish movies would be more daring and more sincere,’ and I loved that and I wanted to make something that it would be so sincere that it would be kind of daring. That it was not ironic or distanced or an experiment in any way. That it was simply looking backwards to go forward. So backwards that it would hopefully feel modern, like an opera put on film.”

“The Immigrant” doesn’t have a U.S. release date yet, but The Weinstein Company will release the film sometime later this year, presumably/hopefully in the fall. Check out a new clip below.

New extended clip (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/cannes-new-clip-from-the-immigrant-james-gray-talks-title-changes-working-with-joaquin-phoenix-marion-cotillard-more-20130524?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&page=2#blogPostHeaderPanel)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 28, 2013, 03:05:52 PM
James Gray Reveals Details About His Developing Sci-Fi Thriller & The "Conceptual Brilliance" Of '2001'
via The Playlist

Following the premiere of “The Immigrant” in competition late last week (our review is here), we got to talk to director James Gray in Cannes. We’ll have more of his thoughts on the shaping of that film, on working with Marion Cotillard for the first time, and a few minor updates on some other upcoming projects later on, but one topic we spoke about in greater depth was his recently announced sci-fi film. Plot outlines have been scarce so far, but Gray revealed some exciting details about what he has in mind, and the learnings he is taking from his own favorite sci-fi film, Stanley Kubrick’s exceptional and influential “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“I want to try and do something specific and rather different, and the intention is to make a film which is almost science fact, and it takes place entirely in space,” said the director. “I had read about NASA trying to find ‘emotionally -- what’s the right word -- undeveloped’ people to travel to Mars, because being cooped up for a year and a half is very difficult. So the idea that I had was to sort of mix a kind of Conrad-ian story, a ‘Heart of Darkness,’ with the idea in which NASA has made a miscalculation about one of its astronauts, who cannot handle deep space. So the idea is a kind of mental breakdown in space, and to do it almost like Apollo footage: incredibly realistic -- so no sound in space, obviously -- and to do it distinguishing itself with the idea that, in a way, human beings need the earth."

"If you read about the astronauts who went to the moon -- the 12 who walked on it, and the others who orbited -- all suffered serious mental trauma of one kind or another," he continued. "It was almost unbearable to see the earth as a small…looking like a marble. Edgar Mitchell started to talk about aliens and Area 51; Neil Armstrong basically went to his farm in Lebanon, Ohio and never left it again; Buzz Aldrin has been open about his alcoholism and depression. So part of the story is that the infinite is unbearable, the idea of deep space is unbearable, and we need terra firma.”

Gray went to expand on the challenges he sees in the project: “ ‘2001’ which is my favorite film in the genre and one of my favorite films ever, is about man’s confrontation with the idea of the infinite and then evolving into a new species when in contact with an alien force," he said. "So in a perverse way the Kubrick film has optimism -- the star child is an optimistic conception. I’m not planning on a bummer movie at all because what happens is the astronaut basically falls in love with someone on Mars, and the rest of the crew find this out. And of course that’s a problem, because they’ve all been chosen to be incapable of that because they have a mission to execute on Saturn, so as a consequence they have to eliminate him."

However he is aware of the pitfalls of a genre in which oftentimes story and theme end up sacrificed for spectacle. "It’s a challenge to create an ending… The problem is that most science fiction films -- certainly the Kubrick film does not do this, but it comes close, I would argue, to making this mistake, which is to awe us with some kind of visual spectacle and size. But you can’t really do that, it has to be conceptual, the awe has to come from a conceptual place," he explained. "What is awesome now in a Kubrick film when you see it, is not the stargate -- which I think ages somewhat poorly -- what ages brilliantly is HAL’s takeover of the spacecraft and seeing the starchild in that white room, because that is a conceptual brilliance. He’s not trying to awe us with a 'Look at the size of the ship!' thing -- that doesn’t ever work. So it’s incumbent on me to come up with something that is conceptually awe-inspiring.”
As to casting this film, it’s too early to say as, contrary to some earlier reports, the script is not, in fact, ready yet. “No I haven’t even written it yet, I have about 400 pages of research and thoughts and conversations with people at JPL [NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory] and so forth. But the script is coming very soon because I’ve done the legwork. I have the treatment and I’ve done the grunt work so to speak," Gray said. "And now it’s about... I have the structure of the story but now I have to write it. Which should take me about four weeks and then I have to rewrite it. So hopefully by early fall I’ll have a script for that and I’ll be trying to get it made…”

With Brazil-based RT Features already attached to produce the project, and "Fringe" writer Ethan Gross on co-scripting duties, and with other potential films experiencing delays due to casting or logistics issues (more on those later), it definitely seems like once the promotional rounds for “The Immigrant” are done, this will be Gray’s focus in the near future. In the meantime, we’ll have more from this interview shortly, and will keep on eye out for The Weinstein Company to announce a release date for “The Immigrant” soon.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 31, 2013, 04:34:20 PM
Film Society Lincoln Center podcast interview (http://www.filmlinc.com/daily/entry/cannes-daily-buzz-james-gray-the-immigrant) with James Gray for The Immigrant
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on June 03, 2013, 05:12:05 PM
James Gray On 'The Immigrant,' 'The Gray Man,' 'The Lost City Of Z' And More
via The Playlist

Last week, we ran an excerpt from our Cannes Film Festival interview with director James Gray in which he spoke at length about his upcoming sci-fi project. But of course the reason he was there, and the reason we were talking at all, was to present his new film, “The Immigrant,” which premiered in competition and stars Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner (you can read our review here).

At the time of our conversation, Gray was not yet fully acquainted with the polarized reaction to his film, though he later responded in an entertainingly forthright manner to those who labelled it “too slow.” For our part, we had another very enjoyable talk with the director, even managing to squeeze in a little discussion of some of the issues facing contemporary U.S. cinema as a kind of a follow-on to the topics that had arisen during our last chat in December, as well a quick update on the status of a few of his gestating projects, aside from the sci-fi film.

There are some mild (thematic rather than narrative) spoilers in our discussion of the closing scenes of “The Immigrant,” just so you know, but that section is clearly marked.

So what’s your initial response to the reaction to "The Immigrant" so far?
I don’t know what the reaction is -- I live in a bubble. The reaction at the official screening was great but that’s always ...no I shouldn’t say it’s always great, that’s not true, but it was great, so that was nice. But in terms of other reactions I’m in a bubble. You have to tell me…

Well, I think the word so far is "divided."
That’s great. Everybody agrees on it, it sucks.

*Mildly Spoilery Section Begins*

About the end of the film -- it works in such a specific way, in shifting our perspective from Ewa to Bruno. How early on in the writing process did you envisage this shift happening?
At the very beginning. It was always part of the design. It’s an asinine thing to do in one respect -- in a way, it’s designed for multiple viewings because of that. But it was always part of the design, that the film would be about her and her point of view, and in the end he is the one who is redeemed, because he has somehow found, as disgusting as he is, the capacity to admit… everything.

And up until then everything’s a lie, everything’s a manipulation to keep himself distant, but at the end he has to admit to his self-loathing: “I set the whole thing up from the beginning and I’m a piece of shit.” It was constructed that way because it was sort of built to last, hopefully. Hopefully for repeated viewings and hopefully for a long time…I’d be curious to see what your reaction is if you ever get to see this film again.

Well, I can say that the recasting of the film, the kind of mentally spooling back and changing the focus of the story worked well for me, even on first viewing. Everything fitted.
I’m so glad to hear you say that. This is the whole challenge of the movie It’s the experiment. I didn’t want to make something that seemed, like the ending would jump out at you or anything, but [I did want] something that was very subversive in that way. That was always part of the design... I’m glad to hear that [it worked for you on that level]. If you can communicate to some people, that’s great.

*Mildly Spoilery Section Ends*

How did you approach balancing the intimacy and immediacy of the story with the potentially distancing element of the period setting?
Oddly it was very helpful to me, because you find that the period setting -- the trappings --enable you to live entirely in the world of the film, so it’s less distracting. It’s hard to describe. We shot the apartment on a stage, and that’s where most of the action takes place, and the theater as well, that was built on the same stage. So you live in an incredibly -- I mean, I sometimes slept in the studio -- you live in the world of the film. So it helped me a lot.

And then in some respects it’s not as good because the actor doesn’t feel the location, but I understand why Stanley Kubrick favored it, because you’re in the world of the film and you can’t leave it… So I felt it was almost like a process of method acting in a way. I didn’t see it as a hindrance at all.

Marion Cotillard has mentioned elsewhere that she felt like she had established a deeper relationship with you than with any of her previous directors…
She did? That’s very nice of her to say.

You’re not worried about getting a punch in the eye from her partner, and your friend, director Guillaume Canet? [whose script for “Blood Ties” Gray has a co-writing credit on]
I probably will!… And I haven’t seen “Blood Ties” yet. I was meant to, but then my daughter’s passport expired and I only arrived in Cannes an hour into his screening…

With Brad Pitt recently leaving your gestating “The Gray Man,” what’s the status on that project now?
There may be another actor who comes on board but Brad Pitt’s exiting certainly has slowed the train a bit. But there might be a way to get that done with someone else.

And how about “The Lost City of Z”? When we spoke last you were hoping to remount that.
I would love to, I have people who are willing to make the film, I have the money to make it; I don’t have an actor. Because its very specific -- it’s a British man, mid-40s and that’s hard to pair up with the budget that I need. I have people that want to make it, I just have to get the actor. It’s certainly a dream of mine to make the film. I think it’s the best script I’ve written. But the size of it is huge, the scale.

Also when we last spoke, we talked a bit about the “disappearing middle” in U.S. filmmaking terms, and how not enough people were talking about that…
And you know what? I was wrong. In 2009, A.O. Scott wrote an article about exactly what I was talking about, and I was so embarrassed, because I was wrong.

Well, one swallow doesn’t make a summer and I think you were more talking about the lack of a wider discourse around this issue.
… but I was blown away because I was sent a piece which he wrote which was not only correct but prescient and it was about the disappearance of the middle and how Paramount Vantage went away and it was very interesting for me to read all of that. And then there were a bunch of articles right around the same time that we talked from David Thomson, David Denby…

Yes, it felt kind of zeitgeisty all right.
I got a huge number of emails about it.

In fact I was wondering if since then, with people like Soderbergh talking publicly on these same issues, do you find that heartening?
Yes, Steve Soderbergh talked about it at length, I saw that… I don’t know if I would call it heartening. What I would say is that it’s like the first step in maybe some kind of movement, but we’ve so far to go, because it demands a kind of sea change in the economic structure of the movies. And all of the intelligent writing by our best critics, thinkers -- and filmmakers in the case of Steven Soderbergh -- can’t change the fundamentals. What has to happen is there has to be a kind of a break in how much it costs to market and distribute the film -- that’s what has to change. And Soderbergh talks about that at length. And until that changes it’s very difficult to see a way through.

Until that changes you think we’re going to continue to see a kind of brain drain towards TV?
There has been a huge brain drain towards TV -- it’s so good now…But you know by the same token I’m not right, because when I was on the jury in Cannes, this was 2009, I saw a lot of really good movies. They may not have been American and they may not have had scale, but they were really good. I mean, Andrea Arnold is a really talented director, she’s great. And the Haneke movie “White Ribbon” that was great, the Audiard I saw, and I saw this beautiful Palestinian film which got no awards, which pisses me off it was called “The Time That Remains” by Elia Suleiman.

So there is a lot going on, and I think that with globalization and more people making films, I think we’re gonna see great cinema happen. So I have a perverse kind of optimism at the same time as I’m pessimistic.

Perhaps Cannes is a good place to find some optimism?
Yes, Cannes is the place where you have to see that kind of film. Something with at least some degree of challenge has to be shown.

"The Immigrant" will be released by The Weinstein Company. A date has not yet been set.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on July 25, 2013, 04:48:35 PM
James Gray Heads To TV To Direct First Episode Of Sundance Channel's 'The Red Road' Starring Jason Momoa
via The Playlist

It's a bit of a weird day of unlikely circles overlapping. David Fincher and Tyler Perry might collide for "Gone Girl," and now James Gray and Jason Momoa will be working together. Yes, really. The "Two Lovers" and "The Immigrant" filmmaker is the latest director to head to the world of television and it's for a project that certainly sounds like it has potential.

Gray is slated to direct the first episode of Sundance Channel's forthcoming "The Red Road." So where do we see the promise? Well, it has script by Aaron Guzikowski ("Contraband," "Prisoners"), Sarah Condon (“Bored to Death”) and Bridget Carpenter (“Friday Night Lights”) are executive producer and showrunner, respectively, and frankly, after the excellent "Top Of The Lake" this spring we'll pay attention to whatever Sundance has cooking next for the small screen. Here's the official synopsis:


THE RED ROAD is a hard-hitting drama that revolves around a sheriff struggling to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the Ramapo Mountain Indians.  After a terrible tragedy and coverup occurs involving the sheriff’s wife, an unholy alliance is forged between the sheriff and a dangerous member of the tribe that will come back to haunt all involved.


No word yet on when filming begins, but the show already has a six-episode order so we'd reckon it's sooner rather than later. As for "The Immigrant," it's still awaiting a release date from The Weinstein Company.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on August 09, 2013, 05:05:54 PM
James Gray To Direct Based-In-Fact Boston Crime Drama 'White Devil'
via The Playlist

According to Deadline, Gray will write and direct the Boston-set crime drama "White Devil" for the studio, who are making it a priority project. It's apparently based loosely on John Willis, otherwise known as White Devil John, a white kid adopted into a Chinese family who ended up rising through the ranks of Boston's Asian crime gangs (you can read more about Willis, who was convicted of dealing oxycodone and money laundering earlier this year, here), and as such, sounds like it'll be right in Gray's wheelhouse.

Deadline describes the project as a "big scale" film and a "priority project," so hopefully it'll be moving forward with some haste. That said, with a script not yet written, we suppose it's possible that Gray's untitled sci-fi project will still come first, though that film doesn't have the crucial studio financing.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on September 04, 2013, 08:15:51 PM
Toronto: Benedict Cumberbatch To Star In ‘Lost City Of Z’ For James Gray
via Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a testament that good projects sometimes rise above development hell. Benedict Cumberbatch, who figures to be a big man on campus at the Toronto Film Festival with 12 Years A Slave, The Fifth Estate and August: Osage County getting big premieres, is negotiating to star in Lost City Of Z, which James Gray will direct from a script he adapted. Panorama Media will finance the film and handle foreign sales.

The film is based on the David Grann bestselling book. Cumberbatch is in talks to play Percy Fawcett, who in 1925 headed into the depths of the Amazon jungles in Brazil. Fawcett was there to map the jungle and, hobbled by malaria, he discovered a mythical city he called The Lost City Of Z. Scorned by peers who claimed that this ancient kingdom was a fraud, Fawcett headed back into the jungle with his son and one other, braving the dangers of disease, insects, snakes, poison darts and other hazards to reinforce his discovery. None of them were ever seen again and it remains one of the great exploration mysteries of the 20th Century.

Plan B‘s Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas (who worked with Cumberbatch on 12 Years A Slave) will produce. Plan B has been developing the project for several years, and it initially seemed like Pitt would be heading into the jungles. Cumberbatch most recently starred in Star Trek Into Darkness and has The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug coming later this year and will play Alan Turing in the Morten Tyldum-directed Imitation Game that’s backed by Black Bear Pictures. He seems an intriguing choice to play Fawcett and is certainly a fast-rising leading man.

Cumberbatch is repped by UTA and John Grant of Conway van Gelder Grant in the UK.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Sleepless on September 05, 2013, 11:38:53 AM
I assume this means we can put all those Cumberbatch in Star Wars rumors to rest?
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on October 05, 2013, 06:47:04 PM
NYFF Q&A with Joaquin Phoenix and James Gray

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qULrdvJauTQ
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: max from fearless on October 06, 2013, 01:27:17 PM
Thanks for that Wilder!

Here's a really good interview with Gray from Mubi Notebook:

http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/love-sincerity-a-conversation-with-james-gray
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on October 09, 2013, 09:11:26 PM
James Gray May Direct Jeremy Renner's Steve McQueen Biopic; Calls 'Lost City Of Z' Epic & Hallucinogenic
via The Playlist

Filmmaker James Gray has made only five films in almost 20 years. Part of that is a deliberate pace and part of it is just the film business. He had a six-year gap between his striking debut “Little Odessa” and “The Yards” and the Miramax/Harvey Weinstein experience on the latter (the ending was changed for theatrical release) led to another seven-year gap. But coming off his latest film, “The Immigrant” – starring the rather impressive cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner – Gray has numerous options at his finger tips. In fact, at the moment he has a kind of pile-up of projects that are ready to go script-wise, but need the funding green light.

And there are several options. On top of the thriller "The Gray Man" which is still gestating, the two that look the most promising that are both ready to go are “The Lost City Of Z” which now has Benedict Cumberbatch attached and a sci-fi project revealed today to be titled, “To The Stars.” Penned by Gray and Ethan Goss – who has written extensively for the TV series “Fringe” – we received lots of details about “To The Stars” last time we spoke to the filmmaker. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint and I have a lot of projects on the go because it seems like the films have a life on to their own,” Gray said, alluding to the commercial failure of most of his earlier films, but their enduring and long-lasting shelf life. “That’s what saves me,” he said, characteristically self-deprecating. “Actors seem to like the work and people at the studios seem to remember the films more fondly then they were first initially reviewed.”

While Gray told Omelete this week that his sci-fi project may shoot in mid-2014, in our interview he suggested it could be either that or “The Lost City Of Z.” In fact, he said he’ll know this November come the American Film Market if Benedict Cumberbatch’s name will be enough to earn a green light or if he’ll have to get another actor on board. Gray called the project “enormous” citing several million dollars for the marine budget alone (it’s set inside the Amazon jungle and travels down that enormous river). “I hope it’s not my 'Fitzcarraldo,' ” Gray said, referencing Werner Herzog’s own Amazon-jungle epic. As for “The Lost City of Z” he describes it as David Lean but with a “slightly more hallucinogenic feel. Because [the protagonist] went to the jungle and sorta went mad.”

“The film will be a combination of different inspirations,” he said. “When we go into the jungle the movie will hopefully find its own language, but it is an epic movie and it’s very much in the early ‘60s, 65mm epic movie style, but I have a feeling it will get a little bit more hallucinatory then that. I have huge hopes and dreams for it.”

How does that become as personal and emotional as all Gray's films are? “That’s actually the easiest part of adapting this book – it either strikes you or doesn’t,” he said, describing the lead as an outsider. “This is a character that did everything he could to fit in and in the end he didn’t, but certainly [he] discovered something amazing. And that core struggle of his moves me very much and attracts me.”

Gray also wrote a biopic-like film about the legendary actor Steve McQueen for Jeremy Renner who was an admirer of Gray’s before he worked with him on “The Immigrant.” The two of them met after “The Hurt Locker” and Renner, who is also a producer on the movie, used his newfound Oscar-nominated juice to tap the filmmaker to pen the script. And it turns out Gray may end up directing that movie as well. “He was very good to me and a great supporter of my work,” Gray said of meeting Renner. “He still wants me to do that [Steven McQueen film], I may wind up directing that at some point.”

Meanwhile, the Boston crime drama "White Devil" is actually the one script Gray needs to complete (and he’ll be visiting the main character in prison soon), but he’s into the movie’s themes, which he calls somewhat similar to “The Lost City Of Z” – at least on the surface. It’s a Boston-based crime-drama about a Caucasian kid who is adopted into a Chinese family and ends up rising through the ranks of Boston's Asian crime syndicate. "Within a year he was the highest ranking white guy in the Asian mafia,” he said. “He basically appropriated the culture for his own. It’s a similar idea. A guy rejected by his own who did everything he could to fit in elsewhere even though it was illegitimate.”

“The Immigrant” will be released in the spring of 2014 by RadiusTWC.

(http://i.imgur.com/xrLbv15.jpg)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Drenk on November 06, 2013, 04:37:57 PM
Robert Pattinson will play in The Lost City of Z!

And I'll see James Gray tomorrow for a masterclass. Unfortunately, not The Immigrant yet.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on March 29, 2014, 02:50:38 PM
Making of Little Odessa

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrT_3Bhj7JQ
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 06, 2014, 02:59:48 PM
James Gray Says ‘Lost City Of Z’ Will Shoot Next; Talks His Sci-Fi Project, Dances With Brad Pitt & More
via The Playlist

Over the course of twenty years, filmmaker James Gray has only made five movies. For comparison, if you subtract Terrence Malick’s twenty-year absence from cinema, you roughly get six of his movies in a span of about twenty-one years. However, Gray didn’t go AWOL in France for two decades; he just obsessed over the same project for years and years.

The span between debut "Little Odessa" (1994) and his sophomore film "The Yards" (2000) was six years, and another seven years passed until "We Own The Night" (2007). “It’s because I’m an insane person,” Gray said in a recent interview with The Playlist. “For all my weaknesses, I never give up on getting a movie made.” Early versions of “The Yards” had Robert De Niro and Sean Penn attached (Mark Wahlberg, James Caan and Joaquin Phoenix would eventually star) and Brad Pitt danced around the lead in “We Own The Night” for several years too.

“ ‘We Own The Night’ fell through about forty different times, and [almost] got shelved. That’s why it took me six years to make,” Gray explained. In fact, Pitt’s flirtation with James Gray’s films is almost perverse. He was attached to three projects over the years including the upcoming “The Lost City Of Z” and “The Gray Man.”

“Brad contemplated doing [‘We Own The Night’] for a while,” Gray said. “I've long sort of danced around things that he was going to do, and he was dancing around things that I was going to do but it's never come to pass for one reason or another. Then yeah, when he decided not to do [‘We Own The Night’] and it sort of went on and was about to shelved at one point. But I was very pleased to have made it the way that I finally did.”

Pitt recently detached himself from the assassin film “The Gray Man” and the filmmaker said the movie has been put to bed for good, or as he likes to say “put on mothballs. Yeah, that one’s not going to happen.”

What is going to happen and will be next following Gray’s upcoming period drama, “The Immigrant” starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, is his long-gestating adaptation of the book “The Lost City of Z” (ironically, a project that Brad Pitt’s Plan B brought to him several years ago).

“’The Lost City of Z’ looks like it will happen,” Gray said with his casual cautiousness. “That's got Benedict Cumberbatch [in the lead] who's perfectly cast. I've raised the money for that, and I may go do that in January.” (Though last night at BAMcinematek, during a Q&A which yours truly moderated, Gray said September). Co-starring Robert Pattinson, who Gray confirmed is still attached and recently also said the film would likely shoot in Jan, “The Lost City Of Z” is set in 1925 and centers on a legendary British explorer who ventured into the Amazon jungle in search of a fabled civilization and never again returned.

Gray said the shooting locations will likely be the U.K., and for the jungle sequences, Colombia. What kind of movie should we expect? Last we spoke Gray teased the movie as “epic and hallucinogenic.”

“People have asked me about ‘Apocalypse Now’ and those kinds of movies,” he admitted about reference points for the movie. “Of course those are all great and they’re a huge inspiration and so is [David] Lean. But I’m really trying, the older I get to forget the kind of approach which I've had. On the last two movies I've watched far fewer movies beforehand and I'm trying to come at the pieces as organically as I can and not think of other movies. Now of course unconsciously that shit's always going to come out, I'm always going to rip off something.”

Gray also has a sci-fi project in the works, but it’s not quite as ready as some have suggested. Using the working title of “Ad Astra” (Latin for “To The Stars”), which he insists will change, Gray explained that he’s only done one draft, though he is getting closer to a state of completion. “Ad Astra” was co-storied with Ethan Gross, a writer on J. J. Abrams’ “Fringe” who also co-conceived the foundation of the first screenplay Gray ever wrote: “Mecca," a movie set during the '70s disco boom and loosely based on Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart and his relationship with making a star out of Donna Summers in the U.S.

“It’s the first thing I ever wrote; I was 21 years old,” Gray said with a kind of horror that someone had actually remembered its existence. “Universal optioned it actually, way back in 1991, for Rob Wise to direct, the guy who did ‘Amongst Friends.’ They couldn’t get it made there and ultimately, it just got put on mothballs.” Don’t expect that one to ever come back. “I haven’t read it in twenty years,” he said. “I’m sure it’s frightening.”

Gray had also worked on a film about legendary jazz legend Miles Davis at one point. “I had been very interested in it, but it’s such a complicated undertaking, and the truth of the matter is that I felt uncomfortable being a white Jewish guy making a movie about a person who had to deal with the brutal effects of bigotry,” he told Film Comment recently. “I also thought the script was never quite there. In a way I couldn’t solve it, because in one way or another all good biopics are love stories and I couldn’t find the love there.” Before I could barely ask, he reassured me that one would never happen either.

But projects are in the works (including “White Devil” and a Steve McQueen biopic), so fingers crossed that we don't have to wait too long for more from Gray. Much more from this interview and “The Immigrant” closer to its release on May 16th.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: jenkins on May 06, 2014, 03:18:10 PM
this is a funny thing to say: somehow the immigrants has cemented gray and ok that's fine, we all agree he deserves it, so i just want to say i'm fucking bored by the routine of being impressed with yourself for how much you like the immigrants and i'm not as proud of you as you're proud of you for thinking gray has always been great

i said that to random people and based on conversations i regularly hear
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 06, 2014, 03:43:18 PM
Strange comment, dude. Carry on.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: jenkins on May 06, 2014, 03:58:16 PM
the comment or the setting? sorry about the setting. the comment like i said it's to random people, not to you, it's to this bizarre conversational tone the movie's created in the movie community. we're talking about the guy who directed two lovers, we own the night, the yards, and little odessa. those movies are good. they are. so what's the surprise here?
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 06, 2014, 04:06:07 PM
Alright. Misinterpreted you.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: jenkins on May 06, 2014, 04:27:25 PM
it's good we're having this conversation because i don't want to dissuade anyone from being pumped about this movie. the immigrants is something to celebrate, agreed

me, i saw we own the night and michael clayton on the same day, because they came out the same day, and to me we own the night was the clear winner. my friends and i continue to talk about its rainy chase scene. that right there says something. then two lovers bored into the hearts of movie fans. then videos of his interviews started appearing more and more. then there's a book about him. then, the immigrants. isn't that how these things happen?

for me it's like if lucrecia martel surprised everyone. something like that. something the cards have been saying. and i knew it was a funny thing to say so i started by saying it was a funny thing to say. k
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 06, 2014, 04:29:22 PM
k

k

k.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: jenkins on May 06, 2014, 04:59:42 PM
i like what you did there

enjoyed chatting with you reelist and mel today. fyi. there's not really a place for me to say that and i wanted to say that
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 06, 2014, 05:07:17 PM
 :yabbse-thumbup:
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Pas on May 29, 2014, 07:06:34 PM
Well I knew it first since I started the thread. Case closed.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Punch on June 11, 2014, 05:29:34 PM
does anyone want to see the interview on The Lost City of Z from his book?
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on April 09, 2015, 04:16:32 PM
Canal Plus Bites Into ‘Hard Apple’ With James Gray
via Variety

Looking to explore different genre and worlds, French pay TV giant Canal Plus is joining forces with American filmmaker James Gray to foray into “Hard Apple,” an adult-skewing animated series.

Gray, whose latest movie, the Marion Cotillard starrer “The Immigrant,” opened in competition at Cannes, will serve as executive producer and will supervise all creative aspects of the series, including the writing.

Inspired by New York-born author Jerome Charyn’s “Isaac Sidel” novels, the series opens in the 1970s and charts the rise of New York City’s premier law enforcer, detective Isaac Sidel, as he covers three decades of crime and political corruption.

“Hard Apple” brings together an A-list creative team, leading with Israeli illustrators Tomer and Asaf Hanuka, who have worked for the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, as well as Ari Folman’s film “Waltz With Bashir.” The pair will create the animation designs such as the decor and characters.

Charyn’s Isaac Sidel literary collection kicked off 40 years ago with “Blue Eyes” and have been translated into seven languages, attracting a cult following worldwide. The franchise’s latest thriller novel, “Under the Eye of God,” came out in 2012.

The series is being produced by Yonatan Israel (“Watermarks”) and Bruno Nahon (“The Churchmen”), Arnold Barkus, Adam Yaffe, Lalou Dammond, and Joaquin Baca-Asay.

Barkus and Yaffe will write the series and will be joined by a few other European scribes. A showrunner and a director will soon be attached.

Fabrice de la Patelliere, the topper of French drama and co-productions for Canal Plus, said the group was particularly proud to “venture into such a singular animated TV series for adults with someone as talented and visionary as James Gray.”

“Animation for adults is rare on television, even though it’s a very rich field of expression,” explained the mild-mannered De la Patelliere, who is notoriously demanding when it comes to scripts and has originated lots of hits and very few misses since joining Canal Plus in 2012. “We love Jerome Charyn’s crime novels, the visual universe of the Hanuka brothers and the sensibility of James Gray. This project is the unique occasion to bring together all this talents.”

Nahon pointed out that while the thriller/detective genre is widely popular in live-action drama series, it has not been explored in animation up until now.” Added Nahon, “Animation for adults has been done successfully with comedies such as ‘South Park,’ which shows us there is an audience for that kind of edgy animation material, so mixing crime drama and animation will allow us to explore a globally appreciated but very familiar genre in a completely original way.”

Per Nahon and Israel, “Gray has a unique sensibility and aesthetic that is a perfect match for the series.”

De la Patelliere has been the driving force behind Canal Plus’ Creation Originale division, which in the last few years has co-produced such hits as “The Returned” and “Braquo” and the upcoming sprawling spy thriller “Le Bureau des Legendes.”
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: OpO1832 on May 13, 2015, 10:00:38 PM
I love James Gray, I think The Yards is a masterpiece and i think his first feature is perhaps one of the greatest first movies a director can make, and he made in in his 20s! We Own the Night was a great looking movie but it need a re write but I adore that movie's look. I really dug Two Lovers ( James Gray's own cringe moments for me are when he attempts to do a nightclub scene, the music never works< two lovers  & we own the night/ the yard nightclub stuff was good_ since i am on the topic 25th hour's night club sequences hold it down, liquid liquid cavern then cyamende bra...greatness)

the immigrant was disappointing. j.p was okay , i did not buy marion being a polish immigrant...why the hell didn't he hire a polish actress for that part? I believe he thought he would bank on marion's star power and his ability to bring people in the theatre but it didn't work, she just did not come across well but the worst part was Jeremy Renner, his character was underwritten and his acting was dull. The set pieces and cinematography were astounding and lush, considering that gray had a ton of source material to have fun with ( Sante's Lowlife book is filled to the fucking brim with great stuff ) i was underwhelmed but again the movie is perhaps of the best looking films of the year.

I have HIGH hopes for Lost City of Z. I love the Percy Fawcett story, I love that Gray is going to the jungle. I am huge fan of Herzog and Fitzcarraoldo, Aguire and Cobr Verde!
What has me really excited is the fact that Cumberach is not in the movie and Charlie Hunman is! HE IS PERFECT for the role of Fawcett! I can't wait to see this movie, its the movie I am most excited for to see!

 
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on July 07, 2015, 03:18:00 PM
90-minute interview with James Gray on The Cinephiliacs (http://www.thecinephiliacs.net/2015/07/episode-61-james-gray-nights-of-cabiria.html)
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: OpO1832 on August 19, 2015, 11:08:42 AM
Any production photos of Lost City of Z this is one of my most anticipated films.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: OpO1832 on October 26, 2015, 08:12:57 PM
GET EXCITED!

a TRUE CINEMATIC EVENT

http://www.robertpattinsonau.com/2015/10/18/print-so-film-the-art-of-war-on-set-photos-and-james-gray-interview-rob-mentions-only-for-robert-pattinson-lost-city-of-z/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1212428/board/thread/129713296

this is my STAR WARS
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: OpO1832 on April 16, 2016, 12:59:16 PM
damn i missed the uploaded trailer and now its been taken down anyone download and save it?
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Drenk on April 16, 2016, 01:49:11 PM
damn i missed the uploaded trailer and now its been taken down anyone download and save it?

Don't watch it, it was a trailer to sell the movie: it showed way too much.
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on April 16, 2016, 02:59:27 PM
Here you go

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snDR7XsSkB4
Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on April 10, 2017, 05:39:56 PM
James Gray Says ‘Heart Of Darkness’-Esque Sci-Fi ‘Ad Astra’ Starring Brad Pitt Shoots This Summer
via The Playlist

A couple months back it was reported that Pitt was circling Gray’s sci-fi flick “Ad Astra,” and the director confirms the film is going ahead, with cameras rolling very soon. Finally, Pitt and Gray will get to make a movie.

“I’m terrified by it. The science-fiction genre is so tricky because there are elements of fantasy usually involved, and there are also fantastical elements. What I’m trying to do is the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie and to basically say, ‘Space is awfully hostile to us.’ It’s kind of a ‘Heart of Darkness‘ story about traveling to the outer edge of our solar system. I have a lot of hopes for it but it is certainly ambitious… It starts shooting July 17th, so not too far away,” the director told Collider.

It’s another interesting clue about the movie, which follows a slightly autistic space engineer who embarks on a one-way trip to Neptune to find out why his father’s previous mission to find signs of intelligent life failed.

Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: Drenk on April 10, 2017, 06:08:46 PM
Brad Pitt in a James Gray movie was something I was really excited about for The Lost City of Z almost ten years ago, so I'm very happen it will happen this time!

Title: Re: James Gray
Post by: wilder on May 02, 2017, 03:38:19 AM
I’ve yet to see The Lost City of Z. As much as I like Two Lovers, believe in the passion behind Gray’s intentions, and appreciate the commentary he’s able to provide around his films, unfortunately I agree with a lot of this:

Quote from: Criterion Forum user Foam
I've had James Gray films recommended to me for a long time and finally over the past month I've been able to see his last three, culminating in this one. This has been one of the most disappointing cinematic experiences I've had in a while. I want to express some of my problems with these films in a way that may come across as overly hostile to Gray and his positive reception. But my point is that I would really like to know if I'm making serious mistakes re: what to expect (particularly about his style) or if I'm getting the bulk of what's there and I just don't care for it. I'm going to speak more at a level of generality about Gray than about this film in particular. If I'm posting this in the wrong thread, my apologies.

Part of what's inescapable about the conversation around these films is that they hearken back to a great era of cinema and the 1970s Hollywood Renaissance in particular. This is part of what had me so excited about his filmography, and in fact I had put off watching any of it to save it as a kind of treat for myself. Unlike a some significant number of cinephiles I didn't grow up on Hitchcock or other golden age directors but first came to love Hollywood through the films of Coppola, Scorsese, Lumet, Ashby, etc. And... maybe these are just the wrong reference points, but I don't think Gray's recent stuff comes anywhere near even the more immature works of these directors.

When I'm watching James Gray movies I feel that he doesn't know how to handle or build to or define "big moments." At my most suspicious, I feel that he has a shyness about playing big moments as big moments, or has an aversion to narrative definition itself, or avoids both of these things, confusing that avoidance for some kind of cinematic seriousness. But this wasn't the approach of the 1970s auteurs I name. Their films are bold, even when they are quiet. Those films are not great just because they are paced more patiently than the films of today and have well-developed characters. Their pacing is dynamic, defined, robust. Their characters are drawn, yes, with subtlety--but also with clarity. They deploy seemingly detached or disinterested camera styles at moments of extreme drama to create a kind of ironic, defamiliarizing effect that did not avoid narrative intensity, but crystallized it. So, to just run through a greatest hits of New Hollywood moments: when Sonny beats up Carlo, when Carlo beats up Connie, when Travis calls Besty, when Travis shoots Sport, when Harold floats in the pool, when cheery pop music plays over a bar fight, when the camera sits at the opposite end of the room while Ned Beatty bellows. These are all moments of sharply drawn drama which play on the rhetorical "disinterestedness" of the camera.

Am I the only one who thinks that Gray's films feel downright amorphously boring in comparison? That perhaps Gray watched all these moments and only saw the stylistic detachment but not the focusing clarity of that detachment as part of an overall cinematic strategy? A strategy which relies upon the larger film's texture which should also include significant moments of more direct, openly loud techniques as well? In a way I feel at a loss to describe what I find unsatisfactory about his films at the level of detail because I don't know how to point to specific examples in his films because I, for the most part, find his filmmaking totally unmemorable. Meanwhile all the moments in the New Hollywood films I mention above were seared into my memory when I first saw them and stayed with me for months until I could see each of them again, anticipating each moment. I guess that's my complaint about the comparison to Great 1970s American Cinema in general: I have a pretty specific idea of what I like about that decade of cinema, and it's not present in Gray's films (as far as I can tell).

And maybe this is too far afield and a little paranoid: but I also slightly sense (not necessarily here, but in film criticism and film social media in general) that there is almost a taboo on criticizing Gray's films too strongly simply because there is apparently nobody else doing mid-budget films of this kind of seriousness in America. I also think that the article, posted above, that Gray lives in an apartment is sometimes being implicitly gestured towards as a way to try and shield him from criticism. "We the cinephiles need to be on board with supporting Gray's films because even if they are all missing that special something, they are at least trying to be a type of thing we are supposed to like." But it's hard for me to take this pressure (which I admit I may be exaggerating) seriously when so many people feel free to dismiss Joe Swanberg's Win It All (which I watched a day after Two Lovers and found infinitely more interesting) with the m-word. It's almost if Joe Swanberg living in an apartment should be understandable because he makes contemporary films about people who live in apartments... but because James Gray wants to have big period sets he deserves to live in a house?

I realize I may just be coming to his films with too much baggage. But if I am, I haven't seen any positive reviews (even those of Brody, who can usually make me understand the appeal of something I don't get) that really explain what makes Gray's films exceptional pieces of film craft. If one of his defenders could single out a particular scene and explain why it's so great, what's so apparently delicate about it, (in a way that's an encapsulation of why Gray's such a big deal) I would greatly appreciate that.

(For the record, I agree with the comment above that The Immigrant may be his best film. It flounders in the last act for me, but redeems itself with that magnificent final shot.)