Oscar History

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Great Moments in Horror Actressing: Margot Kidder

"This genre gives actresses some really juicy lines and roles,but denies them the acclaim that comes from more 'serious' roles.Kidder was a gifted actress who was indelible in a few films."-Lady Edith

"She won a Genie for it - because Canadians have great taste!"-Mike in Canada

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Entries in Quick Impressions (4)

Apr 17 2015

Quick Impressions: Annie Funke's Violent Year

Quick Impressions.There are showbiz dreams embedded in nearly every frame of your favorite TV shows and films.Consider this series a celebration of SAG card holders and free advice for casting directors.

MeetAnnie Funke(It's pronounced "funky").She's only made one movie but what fortune to land such a strong one for your debut!The actress has just two scenes in J.C.Chandor'sA Most Violent Year(2014),just out on DVD & BluRay,as the unexpected heir of a rival company who Oscar Isaac's desperate businessman must turn to for help.While the cast is uniformly fine,there was just something about Annie Funke's pin-drop tense scenes in particular thatwe just couldn't stop thinking about.We had to know more...

While Funke's first movie and a buzzy breakthrough a couple of years ago in a play called "If There is I Haven't Found It Yet"which she refers to as a "game-changer"have both been heavy dramas it turns out she came up through musical comedy.Because of scheduling conflicts during the casting ofA Most Violent Yearshe thought she wouldn't get the part but here we are.And here is where we'll jump into our conversation...

NATHANIEL: I love musicals and plan to see your next one but it's exciting that you're making waves elsewhere now,too.

ANNIE FUNKE: As a kid in Oklahoma with a musical theater degree I had no idea that my career would go in any way to tv/film.It wasn't on my horizonat all.

But then you gotA Most Violent Yearfrom a self-taped audition!

When I showed up on set the first day I hadn't metanyone.That was completely like being shot out of a cannon.[Laughs]


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Dec 17 2014

Quick Impressions: "Younger Ethel Darling"in Freakshow / "Song & Dance Girl"in Magic Mike XXL

KATHY DEITCHNew Series!InQuick Impressionswe're looking at the working actor in key movie scenes.There are showbiz dreams embedded in nearly every frame of your favorite tv shows and films.Consider this series a celebration of SAG card-holders everywhere and double duty advice column for casting directors and aspiring actors.

For today's double-plus-good episode we talked to a young actress of stage and screen who I know you've already spotted on the very popularAmerican Horror Story: Freakshow.KATHY DEITCHdid flashback duty as "Younger Ethel Darling,"for Kathy Bates's doomed Bearded Lady.But all is not misery because get this: next summer Deitch willalsobe getting more than her fair share of testosterone...albeit in a far more enviable way.She'll be partying with your favorite strippers on the big screen in the eagerly awaited sequelMagic Mike XXL.

She tells us about her career-changing moment,fangirling it out while meeting Matt Bomer,and how to prepare for your big break in this exuberant conversationafter the jump...

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Nov 25 2014

Quick Impressions: "Madame Frou-Frou (Singing Voice)"in The Boxtrolls

New Series!InQuick Impressionswe'll be looking at the working actor in key movie scenes.Consider it a celebration of SAG card-holders everywhere and free advice for casting directors for people who aren't famous some cases "yet".So many showbiz dreams wander around on every film set and are embedded in each frame of your favorite movies.

Today,we're talking to actorSean Patrick Doylewho sings the title song inThe Boxtrollsin that great scene when Madame Frou-Frou takes the stage.Sir Ben Kingsleyis the voice of Archibald Snatcher / Madame Frou-Frou so Sean Patrick makes like a modern day Marni Nixon.

NATHANIEL: What is that process of "voice matching"and how did you get the part - it's so different from your other credits.

SEAN PATRICK DOYLE:  A cockney villain posing as a female Czechoslovakian show hall performer?- different indeed!Laika had auditioned many actors in LA but Heather Vergo at Atlas Talent put a call out to their commercial office in New York,seeking performers who could interpret the song but still voice match.My commercial agent Michael had seen me perform a soprano aria in the Broadway revival ofLa Cage Aux Folles.He also knew that imitating famous singers is my party trick of choice.

I signed a few confidentiality documents,but was never told that the spoken recordings I was listening to were Sir Ben Kingsley.A week or so later,there was a bite at the line giving me feedback on my audition track and a slew of references to listen to before re-recording: Mae West,Edith Piaf,British Show Hall performers.They also requested that I roughen up my sound a bit.Dario Marianelli[The Oscar-winning composer] had done some digging online and turned up a video of me playing Fruma-Sarah in the 2008-09 National Tour ofFiddler on the Roof.He was tickled that they had cast a male in the role for the first time,and advised "a little more of that wouldn't hurt."

Because I was doing a show here in New York,director Anthony Stacci and producer David Ichioka flew in from the West Coast.Co-director Graham Annable listened in from Portland and Dario from a studio in London.It was collaboration across many time zones!

NATHANIEL: It payed off.The song/scene is amazing.Did you know what it would look like?

SEAN PATRICK DOYLE:  I was sent an animatic,which is a moving storyboard with rough sketches of the characters and their movement,along with the spoken voice performances in the Cheesebridge Fair scene.When we recorded,the producers put up renderings of Snatcher and Frou Frou in the booth and also showed me footage of Ben recording his tracks in a lounge chair.When seeing the movie,the real surprise was that they had turned it into a full production number,using live choreographed dancers to aid the animators.They also had Mark Orton re-orchestrate the song with Portland band Loch Lomond,and bent some of the higher operatic notes (the ending note was originally a soprano A),so it sounded slightly different,too.I think the finished product is very clever,and fits Ben's colorful spoken performance.

NATHANIEL: Proposal: If the song isnominated for an Oscar,You and Ben Kingsley do the number in full drag.He stands at the microphone and you are behind him as a curtain opens up,the Kathy Selden to his Lina Lamont.

SEAN PATRICK DOYLE:  It might take some convincing to get Sir Kingsley into a frock,but,hey,sign me up!I know the Academy often favors a pop sound,but I'd be very happy to see Eric Idle's cheeky lyrics and Weill-esque melody recognized on that level.

NATHANIEL: Speaking of frocks, FirstLa Cageand now you're onstage inKinky Boots(such a fun show!).So should we expect to see you next season onRuPaul's Drag Race?

SEAN PATRICK DOYLE:  Haha!Well,as much as I love watching those queens battle it out,the fulfillment I get from gender-bending roles comes solely from being able to play a character wildly different from myself.Recently I was playing nebbishy Eugene inGreaseat Paper Mill Playhouse,and I just filmed an episode as a heroin addict in the final season ofNurse Jackie.The further I step away from myself,the more fun the work becomes.But as a lithe countertenor weighing in at a buck twenty,a few of my bigger jobs have involved elements of gender illusion.It's not in every actor's skill set and I've used that to my advantage,but of course the goal is always to do really varied,interesting work!Still,let me tell ya - it takes a real man to pump across a Broadway stage wearing a bikini and 7 1/2 inch heels.Come to the Hirschfeld and I'll show you!

The Boxtrolls will be released digitally on Dec 23rd with the DVD/BluRay release on January 20th,2015.You can follow Sean Patrick on twitterhere.He is currently on stage as "Angel"inKinky Boots(in the top hat and red coat,third from right by football star Michael Sam below).You can also listen to Sean Patrick's insane voice reel below if you're interested.

Previously:"Nervous Intern"inGone Girl
Next Tuesday:American Horror Story: Freakshow

Nov 18 2014

Quick Impressions: "Nervous Intern"in Gone Girl

New Series!In "Quick Impressions"we will be looking at the working actor in key movie scenes.Consider it a celebration of SAG card-holders everywhere and free advice for casting directors.Have you ever noticed how many people it takes to populate each film's world?So many showbiz dreams wander around on every film set and are embedded in each frame of your favorite movies,sometimes front and center but off to the side and in the background,too.

Today,we're talking to actor/dancerBrett Leighwho has appeared in two David Fincher movies,The Social Network(2010) andGone Girl(2014) the latter of which isstillin the top fivebox officesix weeks into its release and now the year's biggest hit outside of all those CG franchises.

NATHANIEL: Tell us about your scene inGone Girl!

BRETT LEIGH: It's towards the beginning when Nick Dunne asks Amy to marry him.I play one of the reporters at the table.  They cut the scene down but kept my line in there along with the girl sitting next to me.

NATHANIEL:  I love that scene because it feel so performative,as if Nick & Amy are essentially acting out a traditional love story moment for the press.How was the experienceandwhyare you billed as "Nervous Intern"?

BRETT: In scripts,as a general rule,you don't ‘name' characters if they aren't plot changing or show up for several pages or scenes.So when you have one liners,or help move the scene along as a character for a page or two,writers will just call them what they are:  i.e. ‘Courtier', ‘Mail carrier', ‘Nervous Intern'.I have no idea why I was called ‘Nervous Intern'.I don't seem to be nervous OR an intern.[Laughs] The other people were called like,'Fashionista','Above-it-all-Journalist'.I think it was Gillian Flynn's way of staying away from just  ‘Journalist 1,2,3,4'.

I do remember the scene work and was quite pleasantly surprised at how serious Ben Affleck is on set - very good actor,very focused.And Rosamund Pike was top notch every single take.We weren't given the full script,but in taping you could definitely tell Rosamund and Ben knew where they were in the story and where their characters were going.Of course with David Fincher at the helm it's quite impossible NOT to know where your character is and where they are going.

You're also inThe Social Network!

I play the frat guy hazing Andrew Garfield in the snow.It's about 2 minutes and I have the majority of the lines.

Did you fantasize about further terrorizing him as a supervillain when he got the Spider-Man part?

[Laughs] No,but I would really like to be in a comic-come-to-life movie.

Getting thatSocial Networkpart must have been amazing

I was coming back from overseas playing Riff/Action in the International Tour ofWest Side Story.

Brett Leigh,center with bandana in the international tour of West Side StoryMy favorite musical !

I got a call for an audition and I was like "They're making a movie about Facebook?".  It sounded kind of ‘TV movie' to me.  It all happened kind of fast.  I was called in about four times for this scene.After getting the role I found out more about who was directing and writing.  Thats when my mind was blown.David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin?!  I couldn't believe I got the role over other Hollywood hopefuls and the timing worked out so well just getting back from a major theatre tour.

I come from a theatre and ballet background so to transition into film with such an amazing director has been awesome.I feel like I have been in the corps de ballet for two Fincher films.

I hope you get a third and that we see you in a film musical some day!

Thanks for your attention dear readers.You can follow Brett Leigh on Twitter@BrettLeigh.He is also a Director/Writer and recently completed this short film "American Day".It's funny and sad simultaneously.Check it out...

COMING SOON: You tell us.Do you like this series idea?
Do you ever think about actors way down the cast list that might be one lucky break away from larger roles?