My Cousin Rachel: Exclusive Interview with Rachel Weisz!

My first gothic novel was Rebecca by Daphnedu Maurier, when I read it I had no idea that I would one day get the opportunity to interview the star of the film adaptation of one of her other beloved novels – My Cousin Rachel. I must admit that taking part in an interview with Rachel Weisz definitely topped some of my favorite blogging experiences ever. She’s been one of my favorite actresses since I first saw The Mummy as a kid. Since then I’ve loved so many of her other films, My Cousin Rachel being a new favorite.

image-2f9abf3a-808f-4576-aad0-4fb1a346f1df

A dark and layered romance, My Cousin Rachel tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious and beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian.  His feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling helplessly and obsessively in love with her. The film stars Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Ian Glen, and Pierfrancesco Favino.

image-01499aa2-3b0d-4fd3-90d2-7e1da8cd88c4

The interview was conducted via telephone, as Rachel was in London to meet with the press on that side of the pond. She was incredibly lovely, and even though I haven’t yet met her in person I totally have already bragged to my friends and family about speaking to her. Here’s what she had to say about My Cousin Rachel:

Question: Did you decide in your own mind, whether Rachel was really poisoning Philip or did you keep it ambiguous and therefore be able to play it more ambiguously?

Rachel Weisz: No, I did decide as to whether she was guilty or innocent. But I kept it secret from the director, he didn’t want to know if I was one way or the other. But yes, I did make a definitive decision.

Rachel Weisz My Cousin Rachel

The NYC Talon: I really loved the movie and Daphne has written so many interesting, provocative female characters. What is it that drew you to the script initially, and what did you find most compelling about the story?

RW: I liked the tale of obsession, this dark obsession, the thriller aspect, the kind of gothic atmosphere, the mystery, the tale of infatuation, the kind of did she or didn’t she element, that it was a complex character, she had lots of contradictions and couldn’t be pinned down, the fact that, it seems to have turned out that audiences are arguing about her innocence or guilt, which I think is really interesting.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about what feminism, or what you think being a feminist would’ve meant to your character?

RW: Well, in the 1850s I think to believe in sexual freedom and the freedom of sexual pleasure and the idea that what you aren’t destined for is simply marriage and that marriage would mean ownership by your husband, I think that was very, very radical for the 1850s.

Q: So what does feminism mean to you, personally, now?

RW: That’s a good question. I suppose equal rights but maybe different rights, because women are the ones who give birth so we need different supports at work in order to leave work and return to work. Men who own companies were once given birth to by women so I hope that they can understand that. So equal but maybe different rights.

Rachel Weisz Quote

Q: Given all the mystery surrounding the character’s motive, first of all, who is Rachel to you and what qualities or traits would you say that you might share in common with the character and maybe where you differ?

RW: Well I guess how you see her, I mean it depends on whether she’s guilty or innocent. But if she’s innocent then, I mean either which way, I think she’s pretty independent, free-spirited, funny, provocative, mischievous, feminist, romantic, motherly, tender, angry.

Q: Do you share a lot of those or do you differ maybe a little bit from that character?

RW: I think I’m definitely mischievous. I’m feminist. I don’t speak Italian but I wish I did. I’m not in mourning. I’m not widowed. I’m likely not living in the 1850s, I get to vote. Yes, so I mean there are things that we share and things that we don’t.

image-8270d191-2273-4bc6-a917-bec69cab8630

Q: Did you have any influences from the original film, or maybe did you even—

RW: I didn’t watch it, actually. I deliberately didn’t watch it because I didn’t want to have Olivia de Havilland’s interpretation at the back of my mind anywhere. So I’m free from, it’s like a virgin interpretation.

Q: Did you read the book as part of your preparation for your role? And I’m guessing you were already familiar with Du Maurier’s writings and I know you said Heather’s adaptations [ph] on film. So, were you already a fan of the author? Do you enjoy doing book adaptations?

RW: No I hadn’t read the book and I haven’t read any by Du Maurier even though she’s a very celebrated British writer. I just haven’t read any of her. But I did read the novel in preparation for the film and I think Roger did a fabulous adaptation. I think he brought a lot of the 20th Century, I haven’t seen the original film but, I think this is a more modern, edgy take on the film classic. The novel definitely has those elements in it. She’s a pretty radical character.

Rachel Weisz Interview

Q: So do you enjoy doing book adaptations?

RW: I do, yes. About a Boy was an adaptation of a novel, Constant Gardener was an adaptation. I just made an adaptation of a novel, it hasn’t come out yet called Disobedience, which is a contemporary classic. You may not have heard of it, by Naomi Alderman. Yes, definitely, I love to do novel adaptions.

Q: Do you typically then, to prepare for the role, read the book?

RW: Yes. The great thing about a book is it’s not, everyone imagines the book differently so it’s not like a performance which is put down in a concrete way that you could just be haunted by, disturbed by when you’re trying to make your own version. So a book is open to interpretation and to do your own personal fantasy. So yes, I always read the books. It’s always great. It’s food, lots of food for thought.

image-776be3e2-675b-42a3-98a2-49a7bb103503My Cousin Rachel film quote

Q: Can you talk about the changes that have happened in Hollywood in the 20 years that you’ve been in it?

RW: Well, I don’t know. I’m not sure. I think they were in some ways better but I haven’t seen the Olivia de Havilland version. But back in the 50s and 40s and 30s there were many more films that had leading female characters, pictured films about women, Barbara Stanwyck, Olivia de Havilland, Betty Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor. I mean it was just very normal to tell stories about women where men might’ve been not the center of the story.

I’m not a film historian so I don’t know. Maybe feminism happened and everyone got scared and they couldn’t handle women being so powerful in films. Because I think everything went pretty south there. I don’t know, in the course of my career, I don’t know. I just try and choose roles that are interesting and complicated and surprising. Yes, I’m not really aware of things changing for the better or for the worse but there are definitely less films being written by women for women, directed by women for women than there are by men for women. I’m not quite sure, I don’t have the statistics, but I’m not sure it’s that rosy.

rachel weisz movie quote

Q: This one’s just a little bit fun, just because Game of Thrones is starting up soon. Are you a Game of Thrones fan for one, and did you try to get any secrets out of Iain for the upcoming season?

RW: I’m not actually. I haven’t watched enough of Game of Thrones to talk about it intelligently. I know it’s a great series and there are avid fans out there so I wouldn’t want to compete with them. But I know my horse had been trained on Game of Thrones so my horse would have some secrets to tell.

That’s it! Pretty awesome, isn’t it? The movie is absolutely excellent – one of my favorite parts about the story is that while (and this is spoiler-y, so skip this paragraph if you haven’t seen the movie, read the book, or Wikipedia searched the story) Rachel’s role is sort of enigmatic and mysterious, there is more certainty where Phillip is involved. We never quite know for certain whether or not Rachel is predator or victim, whether or not she killed the uncle or even poisoned Phillip or set out to get her hands on his money. She’s unusual for the times, which makes her unpredictable and sort of a threat. But that doesn’t make her a murderer. Rachel’s presence creates a perfect opportunity for the masculine Phillip, who was raised by an Uncle who once saw little use for females, to reveal his own thought patterns and expectations of femininity. When things go badly, Phillip sends Rachel directly into harms way – in effect making him at least partly responsible for what happens to Rachel.

If you haven’t yet seen My Cousin Rachel, it’s in theaters now – so definitely give this thrilling gothic work view!

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The interview was conducted over the phone with a group of other journalists/bloggers. All photos are courtesy of Fox Searchlight, by Nicola Dove. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved.*

Behind-the-Scenes Look at P!nk’s Cover of “White Rabbit” for Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass Poster

Have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk? Disney has released a brand new Alice Through the Looking Glass poster and some pretty exciting behind-the-scenes footage of P!nk’s cover of “White Rabbit”! She will also be writing and recording an original song that will be heard in the movie, which is set to hit theaters this May!

Alice Through the Looking Glass returns Alice back to the world of Underland and back in time to try to save the Mad Hatter. Watch the extended trailer here:

Starring many of our favorite voices, Alice Through the Looking Glass reunites Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas and Helena Bonham Carter and introduces new characters played by Rhys Ifans and Sacha Baron Cohen. Also back are the talented voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Barbara Windsor and Paul Whitehouse, and they are joined by Toby Jones.

I cannot wait to see this movie, the 2010 Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorites!

Enter the Road to the Emerald City Sweepstakes!

FULL_GENERIC

I’ve always been a firm believer in that age old adage that it’s better to give than to receive (why do you think I love running giveaways on here? Lol!) – and now in celebration of their upcoming film “Oz The Great and Powerful”  Disney is giving you a chance to win a grand prize of a 4-day/3-night trip to Seattle, Wash., for two – in addition to a shot at loads of other prizes through their instant win game!

Inspired by the wizard’s journey, the Road to the Emerald City Sweepstakes invites fans to Tweet their New Year’s resolutions, using #DisneyOz, for a chance to win!

To enter to win all you have to do is Visit the official Oz The Great and Powerful Facebook page to watch the Tweets pave the way to the Emerald City and click on select bricks to instantly win prizes, including  $100 gift cards for HSN (Home Shopping Network), $50 Visa cards, $10 Starbucks gift cards, copies of the L. Frank Baum Book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” signed movie posters, and other “Oz The Great and Powerful” products.

This sweeps ends at the end of this month (January 31st), so I don’t know about you but I’m entering right away! Good luck and I hope to see you all in theatres when Oz The Great and Powerful opens on March 8th!

Visit the Road to the Emerald City experience, play the Instant Win game, and view Official Rules: https://www.facebook.com/OzTheGreatAndPowerful

New Posters Released for Oz The Great And Powerful!

So you guys already know that I’m pretty excited to see Oz The Great And Powerful – I remember falling in love with The Wizard of Oz when I was little (although the flying monkeys totally creeped me out), and cannot wait to see the magic that Disney has worked in creating a backstory for one of the most famous stories ever told!

FULL_GENERIC

Judging by the way the trailer and how the posters look – this film is bound to get nominated for something! Right now I’m completely enthralled with the artwork featured in the movie posters – everything looks so vivid and whimsical. Plus, I can’t wait to see Rachel Weisz as Evanora, one of the three witches (I’m guessing she’s the darker more devious one of the three) of the Land of Oz!

Starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and Zach Braff Oz The Great And Powerful is directed by Sam Raimi and slated for release on March 8, 2013. Until then, I’ve included the newest poster and a couple stills from Oz The Great And Powerful for your viewing pleasure – aren’t they beautiful?!

OZ_247b_DEBUT

037_CJ0610_comp_v5011_marketing.1012_R

045_WH0100_cdl_v1196.1075_R

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Welcome to Hotel Transylvania!

This past week Shawn and Juliet (my little brother and sister, for those of you who don’t know) were one of the few lucky kids who were invited by The MOMs to attend an advance screening of fall’s new hottest family film- Hotel Transylvania! And at the end of the film, we were all treated to an exclusive Q&A with the voice of the bride of Frankenstein – Fran Drescher!

Yummy after-school snacks that were waiting for us at the screening :)

Now, I grew up with the nasal -er- dulcet tones of Fran Fine ringing in my ears. In fact, I didn’t even have to guess which character Fran was voicing- I knew it the minute the big-haired, blue-skinned, bride of Frankenstein appeared on the screen. And being the awesomest older sister ever, I’ve gladly shared and cultivated proper Fran Fine fans in Shawn and Juliet – that way they were equally excited when they heard they were going to get to meet her in person!

Eunice (Fran Drescher) hugs Mavis (Selena Gomez) with her father Dracula (Adam Sandler) watching in HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, an animated comedy from Sony Pictures Animation.

Now for the movie. Dracula, owner of Hotel Transylvania – a lavish resort dedicated to providing a safe haven to monsters- has invited all his monster friends (hello invisible man, Frankenstein, the blob, and other classic scaries) to celebrate his daughter Mabel’s 118th birthday. However, Dracula’s plans to keep Mavis safe from the human world go awry when the hotel is visited by Jonathan – a human, who’s unlike anything Dracula ever expected.

Johnnystein (Andy Samberg) and Mavis (Selena Gomez) with Dracula (Adam Sandler) looking on in HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, an animated comedy from Sony Pictures Animation.

I have to say, Hotel Transylvania is one of those adorable films that you just can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so you can add it to your home movie collection. It was like Father of the Bride met the Halloween section in Party City, and had a movie love child. It was cute, it was funny, it was heartfelt, and it was wildly entertaining. Shawn and Juliet loved it and are demanding to see it again when it hits theaters.

After the movie, we had a chance to talk to Fran. She was so nice (and yes the voice is real) – and had a lot to say about making Hotel Transylvania, as well as her Cancer Schmancer non-profit and the Trash Cancer movement- an initiative started by Cancer Schmancer designed to support people in cleaning their home of toxins and cancer-causing agents. I don’t know about toxins, but I was having The Nanny flashbacks involving Fran, Mr.Sheffield, Sylvia, Grandma Yetta, and Gracie.

Shawn, Juliet, and I had such a great time and absolutely LOVED Hotel Transylvania! We’re seriously going to go see it again- we all gave it a five star review, so be sure to head to your local theater and see it yourself – you’ll love it! Hotel Transylvania opens the weekend of September 28th.

*Disclosure: I was invited to the advanced screening of Hotel Transylvania by the lovely Melissa and Denise of The MOMs. No other compensation was provided.

Feature Film Friday: Runaway Jury (2003)

I absolutely love thriller movies, especially if they involve journalism, the courts, and rogue justice seekers. I blame my dad. Thanks to him I’ve seen loads of cliche’ guy movies- The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, A Few Good Men, The Dirty Dozen, yup I’ve seem ‘em all. Now don’t get me wrong my mom feeds my guy movie luvin’ too; without her I would have never seen Death Wish-and ever since I saw that flick I walk around NYC with a load of quarters in a sock tucked away in my pocket. In fact, it was my mom who gave me Runaway Jury as a gift way back in middle school. You know me too well mom. I loved it.

Despite my best efforts, I find writing a brief synopsis for Runaway Jury as easy as looking for vegetarian friendly food in a butchers shop. So I snatched the tagline from the IMDb description: “A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer.” Not enough info for you? Well then, here’s the trailer:

This drama/thriller is definitely worth seeing. The cast is stellar (hello- where else will you get Hackman and Hoffman on the same screen? and don’t get me started on Rachel and John!), and the scenes are electric!

Memorable Runaway Jury Quote:

Gentlemen, trials are too important to be left up to juries.

- Rankin Fitch

Feel free to comment below! What are your favorite films? Are you a fan of thrillers- which ones?

Feature Film Friday: The Ghost and Mrs.Muir (1947)

One of the most hauntingly (pun so intended) romantic films that I’ve seen, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir stars native New Yorker Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady), and young Natalie Wood (West Side Story). Mrs. Muir, a young widow, moves to a seaside cottage with her daughter Anna and housemaid Martha. She discovers upon arrival that the house is haunted by its previous tenant and owner, Captain Daniel Gregg. Undeterred by the roguish Captain Gregg, Mrs. Muir decides to stay and forms a “unique” relationship with the ghost. But problems arise when Mrs. Muir can no longer afford the rent, and later when she becomes attracted to suave Miles Fairley.

The movie was actually made into a series in the late 60′s- but wasn’t very popular at the time, it has since accrued a dedicated following of fans. Famed composer Bernard Hermann is said to have claimed that the score he created for this film was the best of his career- outshining the one’s he created for classics like Citizen Kane, Psycho, and Taxi Driver. Gene, is of course, gorgeous and cast perfectly alongside arrogant and “crusty” Rex. And me and my sister were thrilled to see George Sanders annoy the hell out of us with another one of his devious low-life characters (if you’ve seen Rebecca then you know what I’m talking about).

Just so you know this movie doesn’t have what my sister calls “a happy ending”. However, I think it’s an adorable romantic melancholic movie that deserves to be seen. Luckily, one of YouTube’s many users has been kind enough to upload the whole thing here. If you watch it please feel free to come back and let me know what you think!

Memorable The Ghost and Mrs. Muir quote:

Confound it, madam, my language is most controlled. And as for me morals, I lived a man ‘s life and I’m not ashamed of it; and, I can assure you no woman’s ever been the worse for knowing me – and I’d like to know how many mealy-mouthed bluenoses can say the same.

- Captain Gregg

Feature Film Friday: My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

As a writer I always get a kick out of films that start with narration, because much like the first lines of a novel they instantly let the reader know if this is a book worth reading. And the first time I heard the opening lines, delivered flawlessly by actress/writer Nia Vardalos, I knew that this one was a keeper. Toula (Vardalos) responds to her fathers complaints about her elderly unmarried life with:

My dad’s been saying that to me since I was fifteen, because nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life- marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone until the day we die.

Aha! Now this is silver screen gold! Now, we know what kind of movie this is! Nia’s clever wit and brilliantly delivered lines poke fun at the quirks that families, no matter where they are from, drive us crazy with. My whole family has seen this movie so many times that we ALL know every characters lines by heart- in fact my sister can do a mean Gus Portokalos, and I an deliver Aunt Voula’s lines like a pro.

MBFGW is one of those feel-good movies that never, ever, get’s old. Casted, written, acted, and directed perfectly, this movie delivers plenty of laughs and the perfect dose of heartfelt moments.

Memorable My Big Fat Greek Wedding Quote:

When I was growing up, I knew I was different. The other girls were blonde and delicate, and I was a swarthy six-year-old with sideburns.

I pretty sure you can catch the whole thing on youtube here, but you’ll love it so much you’ll probably want to buy it. In which case, it’s usually available at target or walmart for $5.

Feature Film Friday: True Grit (1969/2010)

I always love me a good Western. So choosing True Grit to feature on this friday’s post was a no-brainer. True Grit is based off of a novel by Charles Portis about a tough US Marshall and a Texas Ranger who help track down the killer of 14 year old Maddie Ross’ father. Along with Maddie, who determinedly seeks retribution for her fathers murder, US Marshall Rooster Cogburn and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf set out for Indian country in hope’s of catching the ever elusive Tom Chaney. What’s really great is that both the 1969 version, starring John Wayne, and the 2010 version, starring Jeff Bridges, are both extremely well done movies- so whichever one you choose to watch, you ‘ll be in for a real treat ;)

Here’s the 2010 Trailer (btw, the soundtrack for this movie is ah-maze-ing):

Jeff Bridges and John Wayne play Rooster differently, as well as Hailee Steinfield and Kim Darby (Maddie Ross), so I promise if you decide to see them both you won’t be bored at all. And this is the 1969 Trailer:

Memorable True Grit Quote:

You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God. – Maddie Ross

So do you plan on seeing True Grit? Are you a fan of Westerns? What movie would you like to see next on Feature Film Friday?

Feature Film Friday: Two Weeks With Love (1950)

My sister discovered Jane Powell while perusing the DVD section at our local NY Public Library a few years ago, and since then I’ve been a HUGE Jane Powell fan. Having seen most of all the movies she’s been in I have to say Two Weeks With Love is definitely one of my favorites. Even my best friend Genesi- who doesn’t have an affinity for old flicks like I do- loved this movie.

If you’re reluctant to watch any “old films” – then I recommend you go out on a limb this once, you will NOT regret it. It’s really a cute coming of age story, that’s surprisingly still relative to a lot of girls today (catty friend Valerie for example, and well intentioned dad Horatio). This film stars Jane Powell, Ricardo Montalban (yes, from Fantasy Island!), and Debbie Reynolds. IMDb synopsis reads:

The Robinson family, father, mother and two daughters, are spending two weeks of summer vacation at a resort in the Catskills. Older daughter Patti vies with her friend, Valerie, for the affections of Demi Armendez but Patti is at a disadvantage because her father thinks she is too young for boys.

Many old movies are pretty easy to find on YouTube and other video sharing sites, but your best bet for seeing Two Weeks With Love is borrowing it from your local library or actually buying the double feature DVD on amazon- which includes equally adorable film Nancy Goes to Rio.