Our new Blonde cover, revealed; Martin Scorsese has seen and lost sleep over Pearl; the stars and director of The Woman King answer their critics. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
Our New Cover: We’re excited to unveil this cover of our fall issue, featuring Blonde star Ana de Armas and writer-director Andrew Dominik. The cover story by Margeaux Sippell tells the whole story of Blonde, based on the fictionalized Marilyn Monroe novel by Joyce Carol Oates. (We’ve been rolling out excerpts of the interviews here, here and here.) The issue also features very detailed interviews with Devotion director JD Dillard and Armageddon Time director James Gray, as well as some surprises we’ll save for subscribers and supporters who pick it up at the newsstand. Here’s the cover:
The Cost of Everything: One thing we’re very excited about with this issue is that many of the people we interview are very transparent about how much their movies cost, and how they made them as scrappily as possible. One brand-new feature, Films at Any Budget, tells you how to make a horror film for $10,000, a rom-com for $20,000, and a historical epic for $30,000. You can subscribe here.
Speaking of Historical Epics: The creators of The Woman King are addressing complaints about the film’s historical accuracy and depiction of an African kingdom’s role in the slave trade. Viola Davis, the film’s star, says in a new Variety interview that movies always take dramatic license: “Most of the story is fictionalized. It has to be,” she notes. Her husband and producing partner, Julius Tennon, who also has a role in the film, adds, “We are now what we call ‘edu-tainment.’” More on this soon.
‘A Crossroads’: The film’s director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, responds to complaints that the heroines of the film, the all-female Agojie warriors, fought for the Kingdom of Dahomey, which sold off captured enemies as slaves. The film acknowledges this. Prince-Bythewood notes that “the kingdom was at a crossroads — and a legit crossroads — of half of this kingdom and its people wanting to abolish being a part of the trade and the other half wanting to keep it because it gave them their wealth.” She notes that the film uses “these women as that voice of wanting to change.” Her full comments are in this interview with Noel King, host of Vox’s Today, Explained podcast.
May I Editorialize Again?: I still haven’t seen The Woman King, but the more I hear the complaints the more I find myself shrugging. Do James Bond movies need to call out the British Empire’s history of colonialism? Do movies about Abraham Lincoln need to include his dumb ideas about Liberia? If not, why are people holding The Woman King to such a high standard? Can’t audiences be trusted to do some reading up on their own after they see a movie based on real events?
Martin Scorsese Praises Pearl: In an interview with A24 that the Pearl distributor shared with /Film, Martin Scorsese says the new Ti West horror film enthralled him… and kept him awake. “Ti West’s movies have a kind of energy that is so rare these days, powered by a pure, undiluted love for cinema,” Scorsese said. “You feel it in every frame. A prequel to X made in a diametrically opposite cinematic register (think ’50s Scope color melodramas), Pearl makes for a wild, mesmerizing, deeply — and I mean deeply — disturbing 102 minutes. West and his muse and creative partner Mia Goth really know how to toy with their audience… before they plunge the knife into our chests and start twisting.” Scorsese added: “I was enthralled, then disturbed, then so unsettled that I had trouble getting to sleep. But I couldn’t stop watching.”
Happy Birthday Sophia Loren: The screen icon turns 88 today. A quote of hers you may see floating around today is this: “”It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”
Sophia Loren is not only Italy's greatest movie star, but perhaps its finest actress as well. The winner of an Academy Award and a record seven David di Donatello Awards (the Italian equivalent of the #Oscars), Loren was born on this date in 1934. #SophiaLoren pic.twitter.com/s6HICH6g3D
— Every Oscar Ever (@EveryOscarEver) September 20, 2022
Don’t Look Up: Adam McKay, director of the Netflix global warming comedy, put some of his money where his mouth is by donating $4 million to the activist group Climate Emergency Fund, and joined its board of directors. “The Climate Emergency Fund is unique in their commitment to funding, civil, non-violent, disruptive activism,” the Oscar-winning filmmaker said in a statement to Deadline. “We are past time for politeness, past time for baby steps. I am proud to support their efforts and call on others to join me in doing everything we can to stave off the rapidly worsening impact of the climate crisis.”
Edutainment: Is also the name of a terrific Boogie Down Productions album from 1990 that includes this exquisitely perfect song that I love. I mean, maybe I shouldn’t say “love”… for reasons The Teacher will explain:
Main image: Andrew Dominik and Ana de Armas on the set of Pearl. Photo by Matt Kennedy, courtesy of Netflix. Cover design by Ryan Ward.