Welcome back to our annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival podcast! Tim and Frank recount their experience at this year’s festival. Included in the red carpet interview portion of the podcast is Roger Durling, Rami Malek, Adam McKay, Spike Lee, Viggo Mortensen, Richard E. Grant, Glenn Close, Josh Lucas, John David Washington, and Sam fucking Elliot.
Bounding across the stage during Leonard Maltin’s marvelous career-spanning discussion with Glenn Close was Sir Pip Close, the most adorable Havanese you have ever seen who, without question, stole the show. He also has his own Instagram account. Moments prior Sir Pip and Close draped in a crimson coat spent their time with each member of the press, speaking of her current film The Wife which bestowed to her numerous awards (the Golden Globe, SAG) and her seventh Academy Award nomination. Both on the carpet and with Malden, she spoke fondly of her bountiful career that is richly stocked with colorful and daring performances.
“Babe, I’m a whore,” Close giggled while recounting what Michael Douglas said to her when she lobbied for the original ending of Fatal Attraction to not be reshot and screamed at him; demanding to know what he would do in her situation. The film, but more importantly the character of Alex Frost, is important to her. She spoke at length about the deep backstory of abuse and incest that Close created for Frost, not only explaining but sympathizing with the characters motivation.
The World According to Garp was her first “big break”, which led to her being instantly cast in Lawrence Kasdan’s magnificent The Big Chill. There, is where her relationship with Bill (William) Hurt grew into an everlasting friendship (Close would later seek Bill’s counsel regarding the ending to Fatal Attraction being reshot) and made note of how she had dated Kevin Kline, and how he was then dating William Hurt’s ex-wife, Mary Beth Hurt which led to the reason for her not getting cast in the role of Sarah, Kline’s onscreen wife and central hub of the film. Most of the cast had been friends prior to filming, but she said it was Kasdan’s month-long rehearsal where the entire cast shared a house in Atlanta is what truly attributed to the ensemble’s chemistry.
She has always believed in the medium of television, stating it was something that Judi Dench and Maggie Smith took seriously in the UK, appearing on numerous BBC specials. Sarah, Plain and Tall (her first behind the scenes production), The West Wing, The Shield are all miniseries and television shows that she had appeared on, but it was not until FX’s Damages where Close made her mark. It not only was a show with two female leads but also reunited her with Bill Hurt. The show had a rabid fanbase, and when FX canceled it after the third season, diehard fans petitioned and then the series found a second life as a DirectTV exclusive for two more seasons.
Albert Nobbs was her passion project, taking nearly twenty years to get off the ground and for cameras to start rolling. Same can be said for her current film, The Wife co-staring Johnathan Pryce, but the limbo period wasn’t as long for her personally, she had only been attached to the project for five years. She absolutely loved working with Pryce, called him one of her finest acting partners, and how much he believed in the film.
As she accepted her Maltin Modern Master Award from Roger Durling, an admirable stand-in for Jeff Bridges who could not make the event, gave an impassioned speech that touched Close in a beautiful moment of many that night. As Close accepted her award and was midway through her speech, Sir Pip Close once again found his way to the middle of the stage and began to roll around and scratch his back. Close began to laugh and said that Sir Pip did the same thing during the filming of the Nobel Peace Prize scene in The Wife. As the final days of Oscar season come to a close, Glenn Close is on her way of finally taking home the gold on the seventh nomination for a performance that is very quiet, very subdued yet it is a wonderful showboat of a performance from one of cinemas finest actors.
It’s time again for our annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival podcast! Frank and Tim recap Frank’s journey this year at the festival, including seeing Emilio Estevez’s new film, ‘the public’ and Susan Kucera’s LIVING IN FUTURE PAST which was presented and narrated by Santa Barbara’s own Jeff Bridges. This year, Frank’s red carpet interviews included on this podcast are with Executive Director of the festival Roger Durling, Gary Oldman, producer Doug Urbanski, Willem Dafoe, Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Leonard Maltin, Academy Award-nominated editor of I, TONYA Tatiana Riegel, Academy Award-nominated VFX supervisor of BLADE RUNNER 2049 John Nelson, Academy Award-nominated sound editor of THE LAST JEDI Matthew Wood, GET OUT’s Daniel Kaluuya, Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro, and lastly Frank talking to Ben Mendelsohn about Podcasting Them Softly’s namesake, KILLING THEM SOFTLY.
We’re very excited to publish our 32nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival podcast. This year, Frank was able to get red carpet interviews with Executive Director of the festival, Roger Durling, film historian Leonard Maltin, Naomie Harris of MOONLIGHT, Stephen McKinnley Henderson of FENCES, David Crosby who wrote and performed an original song for LITTLE PINK HOUSE, filmmaker Derek Wayne Johnson who premiered his film, JOHN G. ALVIDSEN: KING OF THE UNDERDOGS at SBIFF, Aaron Taylor-Johnson of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, and filmmaker Damien Chazelle who wrote and directed LA LA LAND. On the latter half of the podcast, Frank is joined with Devin Godzicki who took photographs and attended panels with Frank at this year’s SBIFF. They discuss a film they saw, SEPTEMBER 12th, and end the conversation with a brief chat about LA LA LAND.
The 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival opened last night with the cathartic and uplifting documentary CHARGED: THE EDUARDO GARCIA STORY. Eduardo was shocked with 2400 volts of electricity that cost him am arm, ribs, and nearly his life. The film is an inspiring story of resilience, passion, and the eternal flame of the human spirit.
Executive Director of the festival, the ever so dashing Roger Durling, introduced the film in a candid and heartfelt speech. He spoke about the power of film, how it can not only inspire us, but also save our lives. Durling then went on to speak about how he is not only an immigrant, but also an American.
He spoke passionately and proudly of how the festival is showcasing films from fifty different countries and how cinema and the arts are so powerful, they can deconstruct walls.
CHARGED is a fascinating film, and marks the second time in the festivals thirty-two years that it has opened with a documentary. Coming up, Denzel Washington will be receiving the Leonard Maltin Modern Masters Award, celebrating Washington’s career right as he comes off his Screen Actors Guild award for FENCES, poising himself as the front runner in the Best Actor race.
There is much, much more to be excited about at this years festival. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone will be awarded Friday. In total, sixteen actors who have been nominated this year for an Academy Award will be hosted. Stay tuned for our SBIFF podcast that will feature red carpet interviews!
Our coverage of the 31st Santa Barbara International Film Festival is up! This has been our first red carpet coverage, and included are interviews with actors James Morrison, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Carl Weathers, film historian Leonard Maltin, filmmakers Benjamin Cox of STEREOTYPICALLY YOU and Tom McCarthy of SPOTLIGHT, producers Marcia Nasatir (THE BIG CHILL, COMING HOME, IRONWEED) and Sarah Green (THE NEW WORLD, THE TREE OF LIFE, TO THE WONDER, KNIGHT OF CUPS) and executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Roger Durling. We then dive in, head first, into Terrence Malick’s new film KNIGHT OF CUPS which had it’s US Premiere, and was the Centerpiece film at this years fest. We would like to thank Roger Durling and the staff of the SBIFF for accommodating Podcasting Them Softly at the festival this year. To find out more about the SBIFF please click here.
Everyone was waiting. Leonard Maltin was waiting, Roger Durling was waiting, Scott Cooper was waiting, the press was waiting, and the giant mob of screaming fans were waiting. Johnny Depp was running late, and nobody cared. Depp arrived thirty minutes late. He was set to receive the Leonard Maltin Modern Master Award from BLACK MASS director, Scott Cooper as well as participating in a much anticipated Q&A with Leonard Maltin.
He arrived in a black Cadillac SUV and once he exited he instantly disobeyed his handlers and went directly to the vast mob of his fans. He took his time signing autographs, taking photographs, and shaking each hand he could. Depp then moved to the red carpet, timidly keeping away from the press yet posing for a gracious amount of time for photos against the sleek SBIFF backdrop. He posed with Scott Cooper and then he quickly was moved to the end of the press line, but I caught his attention:
“Mr. Depp, one quick question: DONNIE BRASCO, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, and SWEENEY TODD. Which is your favorite role?”
He put his hand up to his mouth, held his chin, stared right at me through his blue Michael Mann tinted glasses and said,
“I don’t know. That’s difficult, man.”
Depp was quickly moved into the Arlington Theatre and the floodgates opened and everyone rushed in. Once the gorgeous Arlington Theatre settled down, the dapper Roger Durling took the stage and he spoke graciously, thanking everyone for being there and thanked Johnny Depp for coming.
Maltin then took the stage and he introduced Depp and an excellently edited highlight reel played. Watching a brief highlight of Depp’s career doesn’t do it justice, yet you can’t help feeling overwhelmed by his truly epic career.
Depp walked out, and the theatre erupted with applause and screaming. Depp shyly smiled. To this day, Johnny Depp is the epitome of cool. He was wearing socks with hemp leaf patterns and for about the first hour and a half of the Q&A, he meticulously hand rolled a perfect cigarillo. He then lit it and took the rest of the Q&A slowly smoking it. In California, and pretty much anywhere else, it is illegal to smoke in a public venue, but who is going to tell Johnny Depp to stop smoking?
Depp is a very sweet guy, he’s incredibly humbled. Whenever Maltin would bring up a film, whether it was one of Depp’s blockbusters or a seminal undercard performance, the audience would clap and Depp would smile and thank the audience.
The Q&A with Leonard Maltin was almost three hours long and it was wonderful. I was able to ask Leonard Maltin two quick question on the red carpet, I asked him to pick between DONNIE BRASCO, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO and SWEENEY TODD. Maltin paused for a moment and said DONNIE BRASCO. I then asked him what his favorite underrated performance of Depp’s was and he said, without hesitation, DON JUAN DEMARCO.
It took about an hour for Depp to warm up and get comfortable. He was incredibly candid about his career. He spoke frankly about how he’s a musician, who happened to become an actor to pay the rent. He spoke in depth about what a horror he was, and sometimes still is, on film sets. Maltin asked him about his relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE. Johnny Depp just started laughing.
“You know, I respect Leo a lot. He did so much work and research and preparation for that role,” and a sly smile arose on his face, “and I tortured him.”
The audience started laughing, and Depp stopped, and looked at the audience,
“No, really, I did. He liked video games. No Leo, I won’t give you a drag of my cigarette while you hide from your Mom.”
Depp briefly spoke about his work with John Waters, saying how Waters was the only filmmaker he knew who made a film based on a title. He said Waters came up with the idea of PECKER, solely for the fact that when it would be advertised it would be: John Waters’ PECKER Coming Soon.
When Depp was asked about his casting in EDWARD SCISSOR HANDS and his long and awesome collaboration with Tim Burton, Depp started laughing. He spoke about how he didn’t want to even meet with Burton, he knew he wouldn’t get the part, but his agent Tiffany talked him into it. Depp recalled walking into a diner to meet Burton. He had no idea what he looked like. He scanned the diner and saw a guy “whose hair looked like a hardware store exploded, and I knew I had to talk to him. Even if he wasn’t Tim, I still had to talk to him.” The man with the exploded hair was Tim Burton, and that was the beginning of one of the greatest collaborations in cinema history.
Leonard Maltin beamed as he showed a clip of DON JUAN DEMARCO and then asked him about that film, and working with Marlon Brando. Depp settled back in his chair and smiled, and spoke about his abundant love and admiration for Brando. He said he was a father, mentor, brother, essentially a gigantic blanket that meant the world to Depp. When Maltin asked Depp to describe what he learned from Brando, he paused looked down, and then back up at Maltin and said: justice.
Maltin asked Depp about the only film he directed, THE BRAVE that premiered at Cannes in 1997 and featured Marlon Brando in a prominent role. Maltin asked when we could see it. Depp asked the audience who wanted to buy it. He then went on to speak about the reason he shelved the film was because he didn’t want to play the distribution game, and he wanted to retain control over it.
In 2004, when Brando died, Depp was devastated and he was receiving offers about releasing THE BRAVE. He was told it was a prime time to release the film, it was an unseen Brando performance, and now was the time to release it. That’s the moment when Depp decided to put the film under lock and key. He was returning justice back to Marlon Brando. Maltin then said that releasing it now wouldn’t be an exploiting Brando’s death. Depp then said he would show THE BRAVE at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival next year, and shook Maltin’s hand on it.
So in theory, next year, Johnny Depp will be premiering his unicorn of a film, THE BRAVE, at the 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival. That remains to be seen, but seeing Depp speak, in depth, for three hours about his remarkable career was amazing. After the Q&A was over, Depp went back outside to all his screaming fans and took more photographs and signed as many autographs as he could. Johnny Depp is not only one of cinema’s best actors, but he’s truly a class act.