Questions With: Matthew Modine
Set to appear in next year's new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, Matthew Modine continues to be one of the most intriguing actors in Hollywood.
November 14, 2011
I recently sat down with Matthew Modine to catch up with the actor and to determine how to connect the dots between his provocatively titled short film, Jesus Was a Commie, and his role as Nixon in Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming addition to the Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises. Add to that the fact that the exact nature of Modine’s role in The Dark Knight Rises has been kept under lock and key, and this is one mystery man who has a knack for remaining elusive while remaining delightfully engaging.
The scope of your work not only speaks to your talent but also to your tenacity and versatility. Is acting an art or a science?
MATTHEW MODINE: I think it’s both. It is an elegant combination of the two. You have the science of filmmaking and the art of the actors who make the film. It takes a team of dreamers to make the dream come true!
You’ve been in many films, from Full Metal Jacket to And the Band Played On. Do you have a favorite role?
MM: And the Band Played On was one of my favorite and most important roles. It was about life and death. It was about the impact of taking no action and it took the voice of the arts and HBO to tell a story that for far too long no one was willing to tell.
You are an acclaimed author as well as an actor. Do you prefer one to the other?
MM: I think sometimes people forget that even though we may be actors, we are still people. With that being said I have a range of interests, including writing. I also recognize that as an artist, I have unique opportunities to study human behavior and explore diverse places. All of this finds a place in my writing and my writing lets me explore parts of what it takes to create believable characters.
Hollywood is constantly highlighting stories of failed relationships, yet you have been married for more than 30 years. How do you make it work?
MM: Honesty! I “lie” for a living. As an actor, I am paid to not be me. But that’s not reality. In my real life, in my marriage, it is all about the truth.
The Dark Knight Rises is part of the Batman “thrillogy.” Why do you think fans find Batman so attractive and magnetic?
MM: Unlike other superheroes Batman is human—he has no super powers nor is [he] from a faraway planet. Instead he is a man who hides behind a mask to reveal his true strength and compassion. As a result, I think audiences find him mysterious with an air of familiarity.
I have been waiting to ask you this question for weeks. What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about you?
MM: Well, I hope the answer doesn’t disappoint you… But most people think I am short. I am 6-feet-4-inches tall and people tell me on a daily basis that they had no idea I was so tall.
Read more from Joshua Estrin at popmuncher.com.
Anna Kendrick is a Golden Girl
The actress on her newest project, life in LA, and who she most admires.
August 31, 2011
Who: Anna Kendrick
From: Portland, Maine
Best Known for: Her Oscar-nominated role opposite George Clooney in Up in the Air.
Latest Project: 50/50, also starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. She plays Katherine, a therapist- in-training and romantic interest to Gordon-Levitt’s character, who is battling cancer.
On Her Dramatic Youth: I started acting in community theater when I was five. Now [acting] is how I learn about myself and other people.
On Katherine's Appeal in 50/50: I really like that she’s vulnerable and unsure of herself and just doing her best. She’s very earnest.
On Her Similarities to Katherine: I’m pretty awkward, so we’re similar in that regard.
On Being on Set With Clooney vs. Rogen: They’re both goofy. I’d say George is more childlike than Seth, but both are encouraging, supportive and they definitely don’t bulls--t you.
On Her Favorite Role So Far: I really loved Ginny Ryerson in Rocket Science—she was pretty badass.
On Life in LA: I completely love what a great film community LA is. I take it for granted and then I visit my hometown [of Portland], and I don’t understand why some Korean slasher movie isn’t playing at the local cinema or there’s no [Ingmar] Bergman retrospective.
On the Actress She Most Admires: I look at someone like Patricia Clarkson and think if I could one day be half as great as she consistently is, it would be my dream.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ASHLEY BARRETT; STYLING BY NEIL RODGERS AT TRACEY MATTINGLY; HAIR BY CRAIG GANGI AT TRACEY MATTINGLY; MAKEUP BY GLORIA NOTO; DRESS, VIVIENNE WESTWOOD ANGLOMANIA; PENDANT, JAMIE WOLF; SHOT ON LOCATION AT THE RESIDENCES AT W HOLLYWOOD
Getting to Know Jim Sturgess
The actor on his newest movie, One Day, co-starring Anne Hathaway.
August 17, 2011
Who: Jim Sturgess
From: London, England
Best Known For: Playing Jude in the Julie Taymor film Across the Universe.
Latest Project: One Day, a film based on the best-selling novel by David Nicholls, also starring Anne Hathaway. It follows the relationship of two best friends—Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley—on the same date over 20 years.
On Why the Womanizing, Self-Centered Character of Dexter Appealed to Him: Here was this film that was a really strong, powerful love story. I thought if I’m ever going to do a romantic film, this is the one I’d like to be involved in. And Dexter is such a rich character to play because he’s so flawed; he’s not your archetypal leading man. He’s almost unlikable at times.
On Whether He Identified With Dexter: I related to both characters, and I thought that was why [the movie] was so cleverly written. I saw a lot of myself in Emma, and I saw a lot of myself in Dexter. Some of the irresponsible stuff he gets into is certainly something I think a lot of people have been through.
On His Band, Tragic Toys, With Girlfriend (and La Roux Keiboardist) Mickey O'Brien: [We’ve] just written a record. The main bit of it is done, and we’ve been sort of recording it in patches and pieces. We really enjoy doing it—it’s something we have together. If something came of it that would be fine, but if it doesn’t, we just like making music.
On His First Major Film Role in the Movie Musical Across the Universe: It felt like everything I had done in my life built up to that one life-changing moment—all the times I’d been in bands and the acting I’d done. It just felt right. It was a nice way to enter my first film, getting to [act and sing] and make a movie based around the music and time period I was interested in growing up.
On Being an Actor vs. a Musician: When I was 15, all I did was play music; I played in pubs all around England. I was really comfortable doing that, but I feel much more comfortable as an actor now. I never used to, but I feel like an actor now.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GIULIANO BEKOR; STYLING BY JENNY RICKER AT THE WALL GROUP; GROOMING BY ROSIE JANE JOHNSTON FOR EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS MANAGEMENT; SUIT, LOUIS VUITTON, 295 N. RODEO DR., BEVERLY HILLS; LOUISVUITTON.COM. SHIRT, NATIVE SON, CONFEDERACY, 4661 HOLLYWOOD BLVD., LA; SHOPCONFEDERACY.COM. TIE, BAND OF OUTSIDERS, OPENING CEREMONY, 451 N. LA CIENEGA BLVD., WEST HOLLYWOOD; OPENINGCEREMONY.US
Small Talk with Kristin Bauer
We talk with the True Blood star.
June 06, 2011
A Wisconsin native, Kristin Bauer traded life on a farm for a successful acting career as a seductive, bloodthirsty vampire on HBO’s True Blood. Off-screen, Bauer takes on the roles of painter, writer, wife and animal activist.
I knew I wanted to be an actress when... True Blood became a hit. Half kidding! It was actually my first day on my first set.
What I miss most about Wisconsin is... aged cheddar and wide-open spaces.
My perfect LA day involves... a matcha latte with my husband and four animals on the porch, followed by creating, acting, painting or writing.
If I were not an actress, I would be... a painter for sure, and I suspect also a writer.
To get into character, I... eat people. No, seriously, after hair and makeup and wardrobe, I look in the mirror, tap into my most direct, dry, honest self, then say those delicious lines.
Being on camera makes me feel… adrenaline.
If I could work with anyone, it would be... Robert Duvall and Ed Harris. I’d love to do a Western with them.
Working with costar Alexander Skarsgård is... a gift.
My work at the nonprofit The Amanda Foundation, which rescues dogs and cats, is important to me because... saving an innocent being from suffering and returning them to freedom and love is the greatest accomplishment.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ART STREIBER/HBO
Lorraine Nicholson: Hollywood Royalty
Jack Nicholson's daughter Lorraine is poised for big things.
May 09, 2011
Who: Lorraine Nicholson
Best Known For: World’s Greatest Dad with Robin Williams; being the daughter of Jack Nicholson and Rebecca Broussard
Latest Project: Big-screen drama Soul Surfer about 13-year-old surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack in 2003
On learning how to surf for the role: It was grueling, but so much fun-- even though I felt like I was drowning 70 percent of the time [laughs].
On sacrificing her acting career for her current studies at Brown University: It’s really important to have an education to fall back on.
On the best advice her father has given her about the entertainment industry: He always tells me to look the other person in the eye and to be truthful.
PHOTOGRAPH BY COLLIN STARK
Small Talk with Amber Lancaster
The Hard Times of RJ Berger's Amber Lancaster answers a few questions.
April 25, 2011
Amber Lancaster stars in MTV’s sitcom The Hard Times of RJ Berger, which recently kicked off a second season. On screen, Lancaster plays girl-next-door type Jenny Swanson, love interest of RJ Berger. In real life, there’s much more to this former cheerleader and model than meets the eye.
What I miss most about cheerleading with the Seattle Seahawks’ Sea Gals is... the friendships with the girls, the involvement with the community—and having the best seats in the house to every Seahawks game.
You’d be surprised to know… my first job was at a fastfood restaurant. I flipped burgers!
In high school I was... very insecure. I am much more confident in who I am now.
My perfect LA day includes... going to the beach in Malibu, scoping out a flea market and getting fresh produce from a farmers’ market.
Everyone should tune in to this season of The Hard Times of RJ Berger because... it’s better than ever. The whole school gets high, I break out in zits, and Vinny from Jersey Shore makes a guest appearance.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOSHUA KOGAN/DR PHOTO MANAGEMENT
Jamie Chung Gets Real
From reality TV to the big screen, Jamie Chung is moving up.
April 11, 2011
Name: Jamie Chung
From: San Francisco
Breakout TV roles: Cast member on MTV’s The Real World: San Diego and Real World/ Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II and appearances on Days of Our Lives and CSI:NY
Seen on the big screen in: Grown Ups and Sorority Row
Latest project: Chung is Ed Helms’ fiancée in May’s The Hangover Part II.
On the biggest difference between filming reality shows and movies: Depending on who you have on the show, reality TV can be a constant struggle for camera time.
Lessons learned from The Hangover Part II costars Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis: As outrageous as comedy can be, the more natural and honest you keep it, the funnier it is.
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAMA SANDERS; STYLING BY TAYLOR JACOBSON FOR ATELIER MANAGEMENT; HAIR BY KRISTIN ESS; MAKEUP BY AGOSTINA LOMBARDO AT EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS MANAGEMENT. TOP, EMILIO PUCCI; SHORTS, SOL
Brad Furman On The Lincoln Lawyer
The emerging director talks candidly about his new film and climbing the Hollywood ladder.
March 29, 2011
The road to Hollywood is seldom easy and The Lincoln Lawyer director Brad Furman admits he’s hit plenty of potholes on his way to success. The breakthrough director—whose first feature film was 2007’s The Take—affably jokes about his journey and its parallels to Matthew McConaughey’s character in The Lincoln Lawyer. Still, after all of the hard work, Furman admits he’s hungrier than ever to cement his place in the film world.
What are the similarities between yourself and Matt’s character, Mick Haller?
BRAD FURMAN: [Mick] is always playing the angles. That's a big part of his character; he's working the system. That was literally me trying to get into filmmaking.
Filming The Take and The Lincoln Lawyer must have been very different.
BF: [With The Take] Tyrese agreed to do the movie. Leguizamo agreed to do the movie. And, next thing you know, all we had to do was raise the money because the truth was nobody knew we didn’t really have the money. So I was convincing people to work on this movie while simultaneously raising the money. [Matthew McConaughey decided to make The Lincoln Lawyer, never mentioning it to me, and went to Lakeshore and said “I think we should hire Brad Furman.” Fortunately both my parents were attorneys and my grandfather was an attorney, so I sort of knew the world. When I was a little boy I worked for my grandfather and he would let me go to the criminal courthouse in Philadelphia and I would sit and watch the murder trials; I thought it was so cool. So between all of that knowledge, I just went in and pitched and after two and a half weeks I landed the job. You asked me about it being different, well, it was different because they had the money, they had a movie star, they were making the movie and there I was. There’s always challenges and complexities you face, they’re just different. But filmmaking, whether it’s for a thousand dollars with a group of friends or millions of dollars with a group of friends, it’s still the same thing.
The cast is a director’s dream.
BF: I just always shoot for the best actors; I never worry about names. If you can cast the movie with no names and they’re the best actors, then that’s fine. Inherently, these people are successful because they’re great actors. There a lot of people in Hollywood who call themselves actors, but they don’t really act. But these are real actors and that’s what I was shooting for.
Now that you’ve made it big, where do you like to hang out in LA?
BF: Lazy Ox Canteen is incredible. It’s hands down the best restaurant in LA. Salt's Cure is really awesome.
All Hail McHale
Joel McHale makes us laugh.
March 28, 2011
Joel McHale is an actor (NBC’s Community and the upcoming flicks Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World and The Big Year), a stand-up comedian and the man who makes us ache with laughter on The Soup, E!’s notoriously sarcastic half-hour pop- culture lampoonfest. A full slate for most, but not for McHale, who also found time to host this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. We caught up with the funnyman to talk about his endless array of projects.
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: What excited you about hosting the Film Independent Spirit Awards?
JOEL MCHALE: It’s the most unconventional and irreverent awards show, which I love. It’s also shot on the beach, so there’s always a chance an award recipient will step on a used syringe in the sand.
LAC: The Soup was recently renewed for another two years. What has been the show’s recipe for success?
JM: I think it goes back to Talk Soup, when people like Greg Kinnear and John Henson were hosting and found that this format of making fun of television was enjoyable to viewers. It does what a lot of us do at home—yell back at the TV—but now it’s a TV show of yelling back at the TV.
LAC: Do you have a particular show that is your favorite to pull clips from?
JM: It’s a moving target and depends on the time of year. When we first started, it was Being Bobby Brown, and now I would say it’s RuPaul’s Drag Race.
LAC: In real life, are you anything like Jeff Winger, your wisecracking character on Community?
JM: I’ve read that people say I’m playing myself, but I’m definitely not that guy. We don’t have the same values system. But that doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely love every minute of playing him.
LAC: Why was Spy Kids 4 a project that appealed to you?
JM: To work with the movie’s genius director, Robert Rodriguez, was something I never dreamed of, so when the opportunity arose, I jumped on it.
LAC: Describe your perfect day in LA.
JM: I would wake up and play 37 hours of video games. After that I would take my boys to Travel Town Museum or The Train Shack in Burbank, and then they would go down for their nap—which means daddy can play more video games. Dinner would be at Comme Ça or Osteria Mozza, followed by a drink at The Varnish.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JANEEN LUND
Small Talk with Shanola Hampton
Shameless star Shanola Hampton on acting and eating Southern.
March 21, 2011
South Carolina-raised Shanola Hampton stars alongside William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum and Joan Cusack in Showtime’s Shameless, a show revolving around the dysfunctional Gallagher family. We caught up with the Southern belle to talk costars, LA and what she misses about home.
I knew I wanted to act when... my mother entered my sisters and me in a talent show. I was four or five years old, dressed up like Diana Ross and lip-synching to “Missing You.”
Working with William H. Macy is... a dream. He is one of the greatest actors ever, not to mention he is the nicest human being.
I love having three sisters because... there is never a dull moment.
What I miss most about South Carolina is... the food. I love to eat. There is nothing like a Southern meal and sweet tea.
My ultimate goal is to one day... open a performing arts school.
The perfect LA weekend includes... meeting my girls for brunch at Doughboys or Toast, shopping at The Grove or the Beverly Center, and if it’s summertime, going to a movie at the Hollywood Forever cemetery.
My Shameless character, Veronica, and I are similar in the sense that... we both have a passion for life, are fiercely protective of our family and friends, and want everyone around us to be happy.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM FEDDERLY (HAMPTON)