Latest

“Often your first instincts and the mistakes you make are better than what your mind is planning […] You just have to throw yourself with faith into the director’s hands.”

Mark Rylance: From Bridge of Spies to BFG

Mark RylanceImage copyrightAP
Mark Rylance plays real-life Soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel

Mark Rylance, arguably the greatest stage actor of his generation, already has three Tonys, two Olivier awards and a TV Bafta to his name.

But he remains modest about the Oscar buzz around his latest film role as a Soviet agent in Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies.

“I try to ignore it, personally, but I’m aware that it’s going down well,” says the quietly spoken English actor, director and playwright.

“I’ve been working for a long time, but a lot of people don’t know me. I’m like a vintage car they haven’t seen before.”

In Bridge of Spies, Rylance plays real-life Soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel, who is arrested in 1950s New York and prosecuted as a spy.

Abel’s case is taken up by a principled insurance lawyer James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, who wants to ensure Abel receives a fair trial.

Donovan is plunged into the middle of a Cold War crisis when the CIA asks him to secretly negotiate a prisoner swap involving Abel and the pilot of a captured US spy plane.

‘Geordie spy’

One surprising fact about the Abel is that he was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was originally known as William August Fisher.

“The only person I met who knew about him was Sting,” Rylance says, explaining how he met the Tyneside-born former Police front man after filming was over.

“Sting knew that he was a famous Geordie Russian spy. He said, ‘I hope you’re playing him as a Geordie.’ I said the research I had was that he sounded Scottish. I dodged a bullet, because Geordie is a very difficult accent to do.

“I read that Abel and his father handed out flyers during the First World War trying to convince young English men not to sign up for it. So he’d obviously been involved very politically from a very early age before they then returned to Russia.

“I also read that he could never speak Russian without an English accent.”

Bridge of Spies - Mark Rylance and Tom HanksImage copyrightDreamWorks
Rylance (left) plays Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, who is defended in court by lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks)

Rylance was cast in Bridge of Spies after Spielberg saw him on stage in the hit all-male production of Twelfth Night, in which a cross-dressing Rylance played Olivia. His other best-known stage work includes Jerusalem and Boeing-Boeing. For 10 years, he was the artistic director of Shakepeare’s Globe.

This is Rylance’s biggest film role to date – other movies on his CV include Anonymous and The Other Boleyn Girl – and Rylance says he felt well prepared after playing Thomas Cromwell in the recent BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall.

“The 17-week shoot, playing a character who was so secret and quiet, was a very intense period of work,” he says.

“I gained a lot of confidence on that shoot about my ability to register in a camera. That made a big difference.”

The actor says that he doesn’t mind the lack of rehearsal time that comes with film.

“Often your first instincts and the mistakes you make are better than what your mind is planning,” he says. “You just have to throw yourself with faith into the director’s hands.”

In the theatre, he says, rehearsals should be about creating performances that can “grow and change” throughout the run.

“I don’t work with theatre directors who try and lock down a production for the press night and then you have to be the same every night. I just won’t do that,” he says.

“Rehearsal in theatre is more like preparing a football team to play a whole season.”

Bridge of Spies might be Rylance’s first collaboration with Spielberg, but it’s not the last.

The director was so impressed with Rylance that a week into filming he gave the actor a copy of the screenplay for his next project, a big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

“I thought he just wanted my opinion of it,” says Rylance. “I didn’t realise he was actually offering me the part of the BFG.

“I hadn’t read the book, but the script was wonderful. I had to change my plans a little bit to make myself available.”

The film was shot in Vancouver earlier this year and is now in post-production.

“It was motion-capture so my performance lives only in a computer,” Rylance says of his role, the titular Big Friendly Giant.

“I’ll be 24ft high and have big ears.”

Roles don’t come much bigger than that, but for now all eyes are on Rylance to see if his quietly powerful turn as a Soviet spy will add another statuette to his trophy cabinet.

Bridge of Spies is released in the UK on 26 November. The BFG is out in summer 2016.

MEDITERRANEAN SUNDANCE FEAT. VIOLINIST EVAN GARR

A couple of months ago a young humble violinist fan waited for me backstage after driving all day from Detroit to Toronto to see our show with Gumbi, Phillipe, Armand and Joel. His name is Evan Garr. Gumbi said “Al you have to check him out. He plays your compositions like you can’t believe.” I am always interested and happy to hear but never did I expect this! Self taught Evan blew all of us away when he suddenly started to play my music after the show in my dressing room. After knocking us out I asked where he was going that night. He said he’d be driving back all the way to Detroit. I said wait, I reached in my pocket, gave him all the money i had in my pocket and told him to meet us in Montreal: “Your playing with us tomorrow night at the prestigious Montreal Jazz festival! I would be honored to introduce you and tell your story!” The emotions were massive! Needless to say once he started to play the place rose to their feet and were instantly blown away! So now we are very happy to announce and introduce Mr. Evan Garr who will be joining our lineup as our special guest for the October leg of ELEGANT GYPSY & MORE! We’re proud and happy about what’s to come!

Dates:
10/15 San Francisco, The Regency Ballroom
10/16 Santa Cruz, Rio Theater
10/17 Las Vegas, Sunset Station,
10/19 Denver, Soiled Dove, Tickets

10/22 Dallas – Majestic Theater
10/23 Austin, One World Theatre
10/24 TBA
10/26 Chicago, The Winery (sold out)
10/ 27 Chicago- Park West 
10/28 New York City, BB King’s 
10/29 New York City, BB King’s
10/31 Boston, Berklee, presale starts Friday 8/28

O SINGURATATE PREA ZGOMOTOASA

Una dintre cartile mele preferate. O placere sa o revad in randurile de mai jos.

„Atunci când citesc, nu citesc de fapt, iau doar frazele frumoase, le savurez ca pe bomboane, ca pe un pahar de lichior pe care-l beau încet, până când simt că ideea se răspândeşte în mine, ca alcoolul. Şi astfel, se resoarbe în mine, se resoarbe în creierul şi în inima mea, făcând să-mi pulseze venele până la rădăcina vaselor sanguine.”

O sing 1Într-un spaţiu totalitar, fără libertate de mişcare, Hanta, personajul-narator, ne relatează trista sa poveste. Bun venit în pivniţa întunecată şi rece, plină de cărţi vechi şi şobolani, unde îşi duc existenţa o presă îmbătrânită şi un om menit să reducă la tăcere autori nepreţuiţi şi înscrisuri valoroase. Timp de 35 de ani Hanta a presat hârtie veche. În tot acest timp şi-a iubit munca, a salvat acele cărţi pe care le-a îndrăgit, şi şi-a frânt inima printr-o simplă apăsare de buton, conducând spre pieire restul volumelor.În timp de şobolanii duceau o luptă crâncenă pentru câştigarea unui spaţiu în pivniţă, Hanta era bântuit de fontomele cărţilor prăpădite.

Pentru Hanta, cărţile şi berea însemnau totul. Prin ele trăia, evolua sau decădea, iubea, evada din realitatea restrictivă şi copleşitoare sau se afunda în singurătatea prea zgomotoasă. Chiar dacă nu există o acţiune dinamică, cu răsturnări de situaţie, emoţiile protagonistului nostru sunt contagioase. Prin vocea sa, Hrabal a redat realitatea distorsionată a ţării sale natale Cehia, într-o perioadă întunecată. O ţară acaparată de comunism, războaie, tratamente inumane şi, nu în ultimul rând, afectată de cenzură şi controlul actelor creative, operele preţioase circulând multă vreme în samizdat. Acest lucru este foarte clar redat în următorul citat:

„Locuiesc într-un fost regat, unde a existat şi persistă încă obiceiul, chiar obsesia, să se comprime cu multă răbdare în minte gânduri şi imagini care aduc cu ele o bucurie de nedescris precum şi o tristeţe încă şi mai mare. Trăiesc între oameni care, pentru un pachet de gânduri comprimate, sunt capabili să-şi dea chiar şi viaţa.”

o sing 2

De ce citim? Cu ce rămânem din urma lecturii? Avem ceva de învăţat din cărţi? În romanul lui Habral vom găsi nenumărate răspunsuri pentru aceste întrebări, ba mai mult, ne vom simţi ca într-un carusel, purtaţi prin operele preţioase ale lui Nietzsche, Goethe, Schiller şi Kant. Scris într-un limbaj poetic, metaforic, romanul poate fi considerat un îndemn la lectură. Trăim într-o perioadă în care ne este permis să citim ce dorim, cât timp dorim, fără restricţii şi constrângeri. Nu mai trăim în contextul infernal al totalitarismului, copleşitor prin ură, teroare, discriminare şi cenzură, ci într-o societate structurată şi întreprinzătoare. Avem drepturi şi libertate de exprimare. Ar trebui să fim recunoscători pentru faptul că libertatea de creaţie nu mai este privită ca una dintre cele mai mari pericole la adresa regimului. Şi exemplul cel mai clar şi dureros ne este servit prin intermediul lui Hanta. Un om simplu, hotârat să facă faţă regimului, cu o dragoste măreaţă faţă de cărţi, dar infimă pentru a le putea salva.

Pentru a încheia într-o notă pozitivă, vă voi spune următoarele afirmaţii:Hanta iubeşte cărţile. VOI iubiţi cărţile. Si printr-o simplă asociere, VOI îl veţi iubi pe Hanta.

„Cerurile nu sunt umane, dar există ceva mai uman decât cerurile, compătimirea şi dragostea, pe care le-am uitat şi le-am rătăcit.”

“My tribe is people that like living intensely, fight intensely, love intensely…” – Guilliermo Arriaga

guillermo-arriaga-2There was a lot of background noise at the press center. I was excited and anxious, thinking that my time was limited and I wanted to ask just the „right” questions. As I approached him, still thinking about the powerful impression he made the night before, he smiled and invited me to sit next to him.

Guillermo Arriaga is a Mexican writer, author of A sweet scent of death, Retorno 201, and The Guillotine Squad  and scriptwriter of amazing movies like 21 Grams or Babel, nominated to BAFTA awards, an eclectic figure and a passionate hunter.

As I sit next to him, he tells me that he is amazed by the Romanian press and their questions, so I have a high standard to live up to, already. I reply, half-jokingly, that I hope I won’t be the one to disappoint him. Then I begin:

Alice Teodorescu: Let’s start with a tricky one first and we’ll see where it leads us… I was wondering if you could tell me how you would define mortality in relation to your art, as you tackle with a lot of huge subjects.
Guillermo Arriaga: I think I will put mortality as a very important part of life. But it’s not about mortality, it’s about life. What I’m talking about is not death, but life, a life that has an ending. So if we want to be people that embrace and enjoy life, we have to know that it finishes and that’s why I talk about mortality.

un dulce

A.T.: I’ve felt that you have to embrace death, not fear it. Be aware of it. And it relates to what you were saying last night, to risk, to go out there and live.
G.A.:If you don’t risk, you begin to die…

A.T.: But talking about ending…as you finish the day, what is the final motivation for you to keep on doing what you are doing?
G.A.: What is the final motivation? That my life is going to end. I have several skulls in my working place, from different materials. I bought one of bronze in Brazil. They all remind me that I’m going to die and that my work is going to survive me. Writing and doing films is an affirmation of life, because I am reproducing moments that I would not be able to repeat anymore. But they will go beyond me.

A.T.: What about these moments? You said that you could only write and create from your own experiences. How do you know a moment will become part of your art?
G.A.: When it doesn’t go away. When it keeps knocking you and says I have to be told, I have to be told. There are stories that I have since I was 12 years old…

A.T.: They’re in the back of your mind…
G.A.: No, they completely come back to the front of my mind.

A.T.: So, they keep pushing.
G.A.: Yeah, they keep pushing.

A.T.: But, what about memory? Is it important in what you create? I mean, the retelling of those moments…
G.A.: What is important in history in general, is not what happened, really, but how you perceive it. If there’s a car accident right now, outside, and we are 20 people watching it, there will be 20 perceptions. And how everyone perceived it, that is what’s worth it, more than the memory. I’m going to tell you about William Faulkner. Faulkner wrote a lot about lynching, and murders, and incest… and his brother said I don’t understand my brother, we live so happily, yes, there was lynching, but not that much, yes, incest, but not that much, so why did my brother perceive it like that?… we grew up in a very happy environment, what are we talking about?

A.T.: Do you think that the culture that you grew up in heavily influenced you and if you had grown up in another way, you would have been different?
G.A.: I was telling a colleague of yours that the best thing that could have happened to me was to have grown up in the street I grew up. That definitely takes my perception of life and it’s the best thing that could have happened to me. And, yes, it’s not only culture, it has to do with the life experiences you have. Hunting has completely defined who I am and has completely defined my literature.

retorno
A.T.: I was actually wondering, when did you start hunting? How did it happen?
G.A.: I wanted to become a hunter when I was like 5 years old.

A.T.: So, you knew..
G.A.: I knew. It’s funny, because my father is not a hunter. But the 3 male sons, we started hunting at some point in our life. And the 3 of us are much related to animals. One of them became a veterinary and he’s an expert in cows, the other one raised wild animals (like tigers…) and me as a hunter.

A.T.: It’s an impressing story. Well, I do believe that we are animals as well, as a species. And I’ve remembered just now that you said something about everyone finding his own tribe. Can you name your tribe?
G.A.: My tribe is people that want to be out. My tribe is people that are not afraid to risk in their life. My tribe is people that like living intensely, fight intensely, love intensely… I think that it’s about people that don’t like monotony, they don’t like to be bored.

A.T.: And they don’t like to be lived by life, probably…
Let me switch now to the creative part of life, as you said that you could write anywhere if inspiration comes…
G.A.: It’s not about inspiration, it’s about sitting in front of your computer and trying to make it work. I had to adapt to write in many environments. But for me, the perfect environment is at night, in my studio, where I’m not disturbed, where I have all of my books… I, for example, use many photographs and paintings to write, sometimes I go and read some passages… So I, also, need my books. For me, my books, my films, are the blood of my work. If I lose my books… which I have bought all of my life, I have like 6000 books… (he pauses and gestures) That’s what feeds me.

A.T.: It’s really interesting that you say you use visuals for writing. After seeing the movies, I remember strong images and I remember it felt like visual poetry, if I may say so, and what remains with me, still, is a sense of very powerful emotions, like gripping my stomach. I was wondering if you are happy if people feel that way:
G.A.: I’m very happy that people will feel things. There are even people that hate you when seeing 21 grams or Babel. They say, I hate the person who wrote this and then they meet me and they change their point of view.

A.T.: Well, it kind of happened to me as well. Not hate, but I’m really empathetic and movies like these follow me for months.
G.A.: But, that’s better. There’s something called „the parking lot movie”, when you reached your car, you forgot about the movie. I don’t want my movies to be like that. I prefer to be hated…

A.T.: But to linger…
G.A.: But to linger, exactly. Having a happy film where people will feel happy, but don’t remember it again, I don’t want that. I like to touch people, to change their perception and make their mind move.

A.T.: I can relate to that, but it’s difficult. I really admire you for wanting to tackle with this subjects that are considered taboo. And I’m really expecting to see Words with Gods.
G.A.: I hope you like it.

A.T.: I hope, as well. I think I will, because religion is one of my favourite topics.
G.A.: I can tell you, my colleagues did a great job and I’m very, very happy with the film. For me, there are masterpieces in some of those segments. Absolutely… they put everything they had, they weren’t just doing their job, they were doing something important.

A.T.: One last remark, I have a tattoo and I related to what you said that teenagers these days, because they’re in a protected environment, they need…
G.A.: Scars. They need scars.

A.T.: Yeah… It lingers already and I’m thinking that maybe I need to get out there more. (I laugh a bit)
G.A.: Yeah, because now youth is very protected. I don’t know about here, but in Mexico they are really protected now.

A.T.: No, in Romania as well. Maybe in the countryside it’s not that much…
G.A.: But they have scars, they don’t have tattoos.

A.T.: True.
G.A.: So people in the countryside, they live the hard life and they have more and more physical scars, but people who come from big cities, they live in an apartment, they go to school, they use the public transport, nothing happens, they need scars, so they get a tattoo.

A.T.: I’ve never put it in that perspective, but you opened my eyes… so thank you very much!
G.A.: No, thank you! And you were up to the standards of the great Romanian press.
A.T.: Thank you.

* * * 

Source: bookblog.ro

%d bloggers like this: