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Feb 08 2011

Reader Writes: David O. Russell and Keira Knightley *LIVE*

Wanted to share two recent e-mails I got from longtime TFE readers about their own cinematic-adjacent adventures seeing the stars live.

BBatsrecently took ina double feature ofCitizen RuthandFlirting With Disasterat Cinefamilyand Oscar-nominated directors David O. Russell (The Fighter) and Alexander Payne (Sideways) spoke to the crowd.

Alexander Payne and David O. Russell at the Cinefamily event

BBats writes:

I was listening toyour latest podcast(love it) and wanted to share Russell's answer to a question aboutNailedand if it will ever come out. Russell said that the production company used Nailed, Taylor Hackford'sLove Ranch, and a Philip Noyce film that would have starred Scarlett Johansson (never shot) as a shell game, shifting money between the three when it was needed. Hackford wouldn't work onLove Ranchunless he got paid first, and Russell got shut down for the final time that same week -- they had been shut down 7 or so times. When trying to get it going again, Russell shopped it around in rough state like a "two dollar whore" and nobody wanted it. He said he wanted to move on and leave all the badness behind him.

And with the success ofThe Fighter, I guess he won't be needing to beg for much work (my opinion).

BBats also recommends attending any event that Russell speaks at because he's hilarious. I can vouch for this myselfas mentioned in this post about his Museum of the Moving Image interview. Payne spoke aboutCitizen Ruth, the 1996 abortion-debate satire starring Laura Dern, which you MUST see if you haven't.
The original title forCitizen Ruthwas "The Devil Inside." Mr. Payne said two of his favorite jokes he's written are when Ruth punches the kid and the helicopter scene where Ruth shouts at her mother. (I won't spoil the joke for those who haven't seen it). The movie was given the go ahead by Harvey Weinstein in a Lincoln towncar. He was being pestered by producer Cathy Conrad and he relented saying, "Oh all right." It took five years to get the greenlight.
Meanwhile across the pond,Ramisaw the new production of孩子们的何URon stage in London during previews.
Elisabeth Moss and Keira Knightley in The Children's Hour
The star-studded affair (Keira Knightley, Ellen Burstyn, Elisabeth Moss and Carol Kane. Whew) opens officially tomorrow. As you may know this is the play which inspired the moviesThese Three(1936) andThe Children's Hour(1961),the latter starring Shirley Maclaine and Audrey Hepburn. Maclaine is now embarrassed about her participation (see the documentary:The Celluloid Closet, 1995) The play is about a school girl who spreads a lesbian rumor about two teachers at her boarding school. The rumor isn't true except that it hits too close to home for one of the teachers and sets in motion a terrible series of events.
Rami writes:
Overall I thought that the entire production was strong. The set design was effective if sparse, with the boarding school set consisting of blueish grey wood panels and a very tall bookshelf.

The first half, which could use some pacing work, focuses mainly on the young school girls. I have to admit that Hannah grated as Mary, sticking to one note of ‘lying angry little girl’ and rarely getting out of it. However, there is a wonderful pivotal scene in the first half between Moss and Carol Kane (who plays her aunt) where they discuss Karen's (Knightley's) engagement. Kane pushes and prods and Moss gets angry while trying to control her emotions, trying not to admit what she knows is true.

The second half of the play is much stronger, Ellen Burstyn does nice subtle work as the grandmother who is inclined to believe the child's lie. The final scenes are very strong. Moss is nothing short of exceptional, from her initial despair, to her confrontation with her Aunt, to the joy when she thinks they've been saved to her utterly heartbreaking confession of love. Knightley never overplays it and is mostly reactive, but the moment when she lets all her rage and fury flow out lingers after you leave the theater.
Oh how I wish I could fly to London at the moment!
Have you ever seenThe Children's HourorCitizen Ruth?

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Reader Comments (13)

I hope I have the means and they have the same cast for the Broadway transfer. To see *that* story with *those* women? Catnip!

February 8, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterWalter

I admit, the first time I found out about the existense of this play was when I read a tweet by Guy Lodge saying that he will see it.

I'm jealous too but Nathaniel, you live in New York! Broadway, off-B, off-off-B...

Sometimes we get international stars in Athens or Epidaurus but it's not as often, obviously, and Epidaurus is kinda far.

February 8, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterJames T

James T -- i know but i don't go anymore because i gots no money. so sad.

February 8, 2011 |Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I love both those movies! The Children's Hour DOES follow the gay-must-die trend, as Maclaine points out in the documentary, but it's still a vicious indictment of lies and, to an extent, homophobia. The idea of seeing it onstage with Carol Kane in Miriam Hopkins' role sounds just incredible. What great dowager casting!

Citizen Ruth is such pitch-black satire. The huffing scenes are painful to watch, but the supporting cast makes it worthwhile, especially Kurtwood Smith. Alexander Payne has to be one of the greatest comedy directors of the past 20 years; I am so excited for The Descendants!

February 8, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterAndreas

Oh now I know what my baby Keira is doing right now when she’s not making movies.
*I’m packing my bags to catch a train at platform 9 3/4 to London*

February 8, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterMikhael

On Citizen Ruth: Repeat after Les, "Keep on sniffing til your brain goes pop, keep on sniffing til your brain goes pop, keep on sniffing til your brain goes pop, keep on sniffing til your brain goes pop, keep on sniffing til your brain goes pop, keep on sniffing til your brain goes...POP!!"

February 8, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

So does this mean we got Love Ranch instead of Nailed?



February 9, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterLaika

Carol Kane was fantastic, especially in her two big scenes with Moss.

February 9, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterRami

I too am desperate for that production of The Children's Hour to transfer to Broadway. I think Moss sounds like she would be a shoo in for a Tony Award.

February 9, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterKim

I can't wait to see The Children's Hour in London! I've only seen the Maclaine version of the film but I have to say I really liked it.

February 9, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterSara

Or tour to Toronto please. I'm jealous of Guy Lodge for being able to see this.

I read a blog that apparently saw a preview of the production at the West End. One of those blogger s who think that actresses back then are better than they are know. He had a lot of snark to say about Keira and his wife for some reason. I believe in Keira. She was ridiculously amazing in Never Let Me Go and getting her chops on stage.

February 9, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterPaolo

I've seen Keira on stage before and I'll probably be seeing this too. It seems to me, however, that she picks roles that aren't particularly challenging. Reaps the benefits of doing theater - credibility, etc - without actually doing any impressive work. I love Moss, though, and have wanted to see this play done by people who really understand the material.

February 10, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterSara

我看到了玩2天前,真的很喜欢。年轻的actors were great, especially Moss. But must confess that I payed the ticket to see Ellen Burstyn. What a lady!! Just phenomenal. After the play, I saw them leaving the theatre. Keira was escorted by guards and left on a giant black truck. Mrs. Burstyn, however, left by herself, walking around Central London and taking the subway!! (yes, I followed her for a couple of blocks). I felt amazingly proud of seeing her at the stage (and taking a picture with her!) but a bit sad to see that perhaps she´s not being treated the way she really deserves...

February 10, 2011 |Unregistered CommenterRodrigo
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