WEIRDLAND: August 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Doppelgängers and Multiple Personalities: Twin Peaks, Jerry Lewis, Ansel Elgort

David Foster Wallace defined the term Lynchian in 1997 as: "this weird confluence of very dark, surreal, violent stuff and absolute, almost Norman Rockwell, banal, American stuff, which is terrain he's been working for quite a while, at least since Blue Velvet." Lynch blurs the line between the fifties and the present in all his films since Blue Velvet and makes a botch of all the Southern accents and class distinctions; but one can reasonably argue that his only true subjects are inner landscapes. Yet insofar as inner landscapes are at least partially dependent on external realities, one should note that Lynch’s moral universe is made up of mutually exclusive categories: holy fools and scumbags. Was there ever a real Diane? Were her fashion choices intended to make her a counterpart to the White Lodge’s Naido? When Cooper woke and called the gold bead from Dougie a seed, did he mean Diane when he asked Mike for another? The innate goodness of Dale Cooper, which inspires trust even in those who are meeting him fully awake for the first time, is what Dark Coop abused in his meeting with Diane more than two decades ago. “No knock, no doorbell,” she says, “he just walked in.” Then he kissed her, and she felt how wrong he was, how far he was from the upright, forthright man of honor she’d worked with. “And he saw the fear in me. And he smiled… and he smiled.”

Audrey finally arrives at the Roadhouse and finds the dance floor clearing to “Audrey’s Dance.” Something’s wrong, and it’s not that she’s wearing heels instead of saddle shoes. Audrey isn’t at the Roadhouse but in a trembling, white room. Sherilyn Fenn swaying about with a self-assured smile on her face was lovely and tinged with melancholy. It also felt like our nostalgic hunger was being fed too richly until the rug was pulled out from under us and Audrey’s time in the Roadhouse was revealed to be an illusion. Like Cooper at the end of season two, she’s left looking at her reflection in the mirror. The rough white collar of her garment suggests a hospital; the stark brightness of her surroundings suggests something stranger. And the final shot of the roadhouse band playing Audrey’s theme in reverse suggests worst of all: that Audrey, like Cooper and Laura and Diane’s doppelgänger, is in some Other Place, some place out of time, some place out of our world. Source:

"In an odd way I had trouble relating to control and to myself in The Nutty Professor. I had trouble coming out of the character of Buddy Love because I was playing a dirty, lousy bastard. I didn't like him. I didn't even like writing Buddy Love, the despicable, discourteous, uncouth rat, much less playing him. I asked myself: How do I know so well how to be a heel? Was I leaning to a side of me that really existed? Certainly I was. There was truth in him. It was also in me. So I hated him, and couldn't wait to play the alter-character, the nutty professor. Yet I had to relate to both of them and try to play them equally well." —Jerry Lewis (The Total Film-Maker, 1971)

Ansel Elgort: "My work life and my regular life are very different - I feel like it's two personalities. There's actor Ansel, where I have to play a role and be 'on'. I take photos with everybody who asks, and I try to be professional. But when I'm real-life Ansel, I'm not on all the time. When I'm home in New York, I feel like that same kid that went to high school here and nobody knew. I can still blend in, which is nice. You can't lose that, you know?"

And the 23-year-old actor loves that his girlfriend Violetta Komyshan isn't famous. He added to Women's Health magazine: "I've never been with somebody from Hollywood, so I don't know what it's like, but I like having my love be away from my work. It's nice that she knows me as me before I was influenced by success or the stress and responsibility of being an adult. I feel like everyone's at their purest when they're just a kid."

Ansel previously admitted he thinks he is a "few different people": "You know, it might be a weird actor thing, but I think of myself as a few different people. Like, I think of myself as Ansel--that's one person. And then I'm Ansel Elgort. That's another person. And then I'm DJ Ansolo. I was so excited when Steve Angello, my favourite DJ, played my song 'Totem' for the first time. I started crying. Then when I heard he was going to sign it to his label, I was freaking out." Source:

In independent film “Jonathan,” (2017), tagged as drama/sci-fi directed by Bill Oliver from a script he co-wrote with Peter Nickowitz, Ansel Elgort will portray Jonathan and his twin brother John, who have agreed to not have girlfriends for the moment. Jonathan is a successful architect while John sleeps all day and spends the night socializing and starting to fall in love with a woman, Elena (Suki Waterhouse). Jonathan forces John to end the relationship, and then starts a new relationship with Elena out of curiosity and jealousy. John ultimately catches wind of the affair, which puts his relationship with his brother at serious risk and forces Jonathan to seek the help of Dr. Mina Nariman (Patricia Clarkson).

Speaking of Elgort: Hot damn is he great as Baby. Best known as the kid with the funny name who dies in The Fault in Our Stars, the cherubic-looking 23-year-old doesn’t naturally spring to mind as the marquee name for a crime/action movie or a musical. But in Baby Driver, he’s perfect. The kid’s a walking charisma bomb, and Wright takes full advantage of that fact at every turn, whether it’s in a grin-inducing long take that follows a celebratory Baby grooving down the street to “Harlem Shuffle,” or in a heart-pumping foot chase that highlights Elgort’s towering frame, obvious athleticism, and aw-shucks charm all at the same time. Baby is naturally taciturn, but smart scripting, thoughtful musical choices, and Elgort’s natural magnetism keep the kid from being the sort of brooding bore he could easily become in less skilled hands. Elgort’s Baby is so compelling that other characters become more interesting simply from being in his orbit, particularly Debora. Source:

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller: Romantic Coolness

Baby’s need to insulate himself at all times through music is given some narrative justification (he has tinnitus stemming from a car accident in childhood) but it’s also a metaphorical condition. Socially passive and perpetually plugged-in, he’s easily pegged as a Millennial stand-in; in a world of adult role models who are either corrupt (Doc), grotesque (Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Eiza Gonzalez as criminal confederates), or else benevolently helpless (CJ Jones as Baby’s foster father), Baby’s refusal to engage is akin to a state of grace.

The guiding formal conceit of Baby Driver is that its hero, Baby (Ansel Elgort), an ace getaway driver indebted to Doc, a vicious Atlanta crime boss (Kevin Spacey), uses pop music to insulate himself from the reality of his criminal activities. Each time he takes an assignment, he makes a new iPod playlist whose contents serve simultaneously as rhythmic inspiration and a means of moral and intellectual detachment—he puts himself in a trance. Baby marks the time between his crew entering the bank they plan to rob and their emergence with satchels full of money by rocking out to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottoms;” even with the car in park, there’s a delirious sense of movement timed to the sweep of windshield wipers. The song’s stop-start propulsion carries Baby through the ensuing high-speed chase, beautifully assembled; working in bold, primary colors and cutting purposefully on movement—not only within the frame but also in time to the music—Wright mounts an action-cinema ballet. He then extends the conceit through a credit sequence that features Elgort traipsing blithely through downtown Atlanta, lost in a headphone reverie.

That the only person to really coax him out of his shell is pretty diner waitress Deborah (Lily James) is in keeping with the story’s fairy-tale arc, but it also means that Wright is swapping out one wish-fulfillment scenario for another. Baby’s dawning realization that he’s not only being exploited but also actively participating in terrible, violent crimes, cues us for an ambivalence that never quite arrives. Instead, the film buys fully into the male fantasy of an outcast inspired and finally redeemed by the love of a cute, steadfast girl whose defining trait is her interest and patience in his traumatic backstory.

Elgort's performance for the entire movie is a kind of slightly outré cuteness, as it was in Scott Pilgrim, which kidded indie-rock navel-gazing and managed to make it seem like its protagonist’s self-actualization came from somewhere inside him (expressed through the video-game image of Michael Cera pulling a sword out from his own chest cavity). The hyperbolic but totally bloodless carnage in Scott Pilgrim suited the low-stakes solipsism of its downtown Toronto milieu. Baby Driver’s gradual and unsettling drift into brutal urban violence gives the impression that Wright is, for the first time in his career, truly out of control, or else oblivious to the signals he’s giving off. And Baby’s dawning realization that his actions actually have consequences that can’t just be drowned out doesn’t mean much when the script doesn’t ever really have him get his hands dirty. A crime-doesn’t-pay coda on the way to total, unsullied redemption, embodied by a woman who’s just happy to ride shotgun. —Adam Nayman (Cineaste Magazine, Vol. XLII, No. 4)

Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller are the best thing about the Divergent saga. The few scenes in which the trio appear are far and away the films’ best; they share a snappy chemistry that feels more authentic and intimate than Woodley’s scenes with Theo James, who plays her boyfriend, Four. Teller’s smarmily charming act works here, particularly because it’s diluted with some cutting humor. And Elgort's reaction shots, even when he’s in the background, show the work of a serious, studious actor. Shailene Woodley had quite a lot to say about her co-stars and how much Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort are actually like their Insurgent characters in real life in an interview with Cosmopolitan. While Ansel Elgort is not much like his character Caleb, Shailene said that Miles Teller "doesn't have that rude, misogynistic streak that Peter encompasses, but he does have the humor." Elgort and Teller coincided again working for the Prada’s New Men Fashion Campaign, shot by Craig McDean in 2015. Both were listed as part of the Most Underappreciated Movie Acting Performances in 2014 by Wesley Morris (Grantland): "Miles Teller is a persuasively charismatic actor—the chilling, exhilarating mix of enraged arrogance and naked want. What you get from Teller in Whiplash is that music isn’t a way of life for Andrew Neiman. It is life. Teller gives you all the lacerating shrapnel and scars... Elgort is doing apex work in other people’s nadirs. He’s got a gawky goodness in The Fault in Our Stars." Source:

"Supposedly Shailene dominated the other guys in the audition, and I was the only guy able to dominate her a little bit," Elgort said: "the main reason I read the book is that I knew Shailene would ask me whether I read it. And there's no way I could lie to her face." Director Josh Boone says Elgort possesses an almost "magical purity," while author John Green puts it more plainly: "A lot of guys that came in knew how to play cool Gus," Green says, "but very few of them knew how to be fragile while still being Augustus Waters." Elgort admits that he wasn't entirely sure that he could bring alive the character's more desperate moments. But he succeeded, likening it to an out-of-body experience. "It was three hours of my life just losing it," Elgort says, tearing up a bit at the memory. "I felt like a little baby again. I couldn't stop crying, even in between takes. And it was so rewarding. At that point, it wasn't acting any more. It was just real." Source:

Elgort remembering how wrong he was about finding Ms Right according to fixed preconceptions: “Someone once told me we have in our minds who we want, and often those aren’t the people we actually want. Like once there was a girl I thought was perfect for me — I had every box checked with her. But I just didn’t feel anything.” Elgort's idea of a fun date: "Going on a long walk in Central Park and then taking the subway downtown and going out to eat and ordering oysters. After that, you walk around again and talk. It’s like you’re living in a movie." In an interview with GQ magazine (December 2014), Elgort said bluntly: “I don't really care that some trashy girl, like, now all of the sudden wants to fuck me. That's not really that interesting to me.”

Finding Violetta Komyshan gave solace to his hectic lifestyle: "If you can find a girl who you can go to an EDM concert with, have a conversation with, who will sit on the couch and watch you play GTA for three hours and then you go to bed and have amazing sex? That should be your girlfriend." These kind of half-jokey, spontaneous remarks brought the ire of Jezebel, Buzzfeed and other predominantly female-dominated social networks, although not so harshly compared to what Miles Teller was inflicted by those fan communities after his infamous Esquire (2015) interview.

In a heated PC debate, many voices claimed offense for real or imagined sexism. Teller and Elgort's irony was apparently lost on some humorless readers. In an era where most young actors are taught not to label their sexual orientation as a gesture of respect towards the gay community, Teller and Elgort, however, happily identified themselves as heterosexual, inciting backlash in form of comments such as "they should form their own celebrity anti-gay group. Why is it so important that they announce to the world they aren't gay?" Other anonymous posters inadvertently objectified both actors, alluding about Elgort: "I know a girl he slept with a few times. She's a size queen, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's a big dick." Even Shailene Woodley was not beyond the limits. An ONTD member wrote, outraged: "Miles, Shailene, and now an Ansel post, all in a row? [They are] the unholy trinity."

Evidently, Elgort's comments were mostly tongue in cheek as in the GQ interview: “Girls love it when you have some weird nerdy thing in your room. It makes you look less threatening, even though I'm, like, very threatening. I'm the most threatening guy ever.” Elgort's nerdy sensibility and suave magnetism made his fanbase keep growing (reaching over 3 million Twitter followers). Elgort's dual passion for cinema/pop music has touched a nerve. In an interview for Details magazine, Elgort examined his copy of Pin Ups, David Bowie's 1973 album of covers, sizing up Ziggy Stardust: "This guy's eternal," Elgort said. "I wonder who from today will be eternal?"

After four years of dating, the “Whiplash” actor and his model girlfriend Keleigh Sperry are engaged. Teller popped the question over the weekend, while the two were vacationing in South Africa on safari. Sperry’s sister, Christie Sperry York, was the first to break the news, sharing a handful of photos from the couple’s travels on her Instagram page. You’ve got the standard ring shot, and another where Teller sweeps Sperry off her feet. "They stayed in the beautiful Metsi Presidential Suite," a source adds, noting that the couple "enjoyed delicious meals at their leisure and incredible game drives with the head ranger John D. Ditsele."

“Can’t believe the last Sperry girl is engaged! Love both of you guys to pieces and so incredibly happy for this new chapter in your love story!” York captioned the post. “Now come home so we can celebrate.” Keleigh's sister shared snaps of the duo posing together in Africa, including pictures of the ring as well as one shot of the beauty holding a rose with a small note. The paper had: 'KS & MT 5/11/13 - 8/20/2017' - which seemingly means May 11, 2013 is the first time they met or perhaps their first date. Based on the note, the lovebirds have been together for four years and three months. Source:

In a time when many couples meet via dating apps, Miles Teller is proud to have met his fiancée in a more traditional manner. "I like human interaction. Tinder puts all of these girls in front of you, so you don't have to go to a bar and you don't have to have the balls to ask a girl for her number. Tinder expedites everything. Here's four pictures. If you want 'em, swipe to the right. Oh she said yes, too. Now you guys are texting each other and you could be hanging out within an hour...," The Spectacular Now star told ELLE. "But it's not something that I'm like, 'Oh god, they're having so much fun.'" Marriage is important to Teller, whose grandparents have been married for over 50 years. "Respect the person you're with. My philosophy is, if I'm not happier when I'm with you, then there's no reason for me to be with you," the actor told ELLE in 2014. Source:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Twin Peaks, James Dean archetype, Ansel Elgort

Is Laura Palmer’s former beau cool? James Hurley is one of the first people we meet on Twin Peaks. He’s got a leather jacket, a motorcycle, and he wants you to think he has a bad attitude. But in reality, as we quickly learn, James is a big ol’ softie, the good boy to Bobby Brigg’s criminality, just a mess of tears, big feelings, and falsetto love ballads. He was central to the plot as the story of Twin Peaks began, but as the show drifted further away from the murder of Laura Palmer, James became increasingly irrelevant. By the middle of season two, he gets himself involved in some kind of confusing noir plot. 

The show plays James entirely seriously. David Lynch clearly has a powerful love for his James Dean archetype. On the second episode of Twin Peaks: The Return, returning character Shelly (Mädchen Amick) says: “James is cool. James was always cool.” Talking to Vulture, James Marshall finally had a chance to answer the question of his coolness factor himself. “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think of myself that way or the character that way, thinking of yourself as tough. The tough guy. That’s other people’s opinions.” At least he’ll always have Shelly on his side. Source:

The Love Stories in Twin Peaks The Return — After Nadine tells Big Ed that it’s O.K. for him to get back together with Norma, Ed heads over to the Double R, where he nervously waits out Norma’s meeting with her business partner and occasional lover Walter Lawford, afraid that he may be too late to win her back. While Otis Redding’s Monterey Pop Festival performance of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” rises and falls on the soundtrack, Ed closes his eyes and eavesdrops, finally allowing himself a slight smile when Norma tells Walter that she wants to exercise her option in her contract to sell her interest in their chain of diners. It’s all like a roller coaster love story, with moments of humor and emotion. More love stories pop up as the episode goes on, and they become more and more twisted: Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) and Gersten (Alicia Witt) exhibit an intense physical and emotional infatuation with each other as they writhe around at the base of a tree, but they’re clearly not well (nor are they good people). 

Even the mysterious Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) and Charlie (Clark Middleton) relationship continued to fall apart, ending with her at his throat screaming, “I hate you!” into his face. In addition to taking his character’s name from “Sunset Boulevard,” Lynch paid homage to Billy Wilder’s movie in his “Mulholland Drive,” another study of Hollywood castoffs. (Also, both those pictures are often listed officially in film guides with the names of their respective streets shortened: “Mulholland Dr.” and “Sunset Blvd.”) In Part 4, Wally (played by Michael Cera), the son of Deputy Andy Brennan and his wife Lucy, becomes a goofily comic riff on Marlon Brando’s persona in the 1953 motorcycle-gang drama “The Wild One.” Despite Lynch’s reputation as a maverick, he actually has a lot of reverence for classic Hollywood movies. Source:

For some filmmakers today, all forms of dating, online or in person, are ripe for social critique. In Yorgos Lanthimos’s black comedy The Lobster, for example, the world of romance is portrayed as a dismal social obligation, where those who don’t find their perfect match in 45 days are literally transformed into an animal of their choosing. In the world of The Lobster, the quest for love is robbed of any poetry or eroticism, as people are matched to one another like contestants in an incredibly sad real-world game show, and those who disapprove protest by disavowing love completely, opting instead to dance alone at night, listening to music through their own individual headphones.

While The Lobster paints a portrait of modern love that is ultimately bleak, films such as Marjorie Prime or Her, which focus on our changing relationship to AI, unabashedly insist on love’s power to prevail over loneliness and disconnection, and even point to the ways the our modern love stories may not be so different from the ones that existed in the past. These gentle explorations of future kinds of love don’t offer alternatives to old ideas about love. Rather, they reiterate what about love can never be replicated, and show how in a world where romance is often portrayed as just another product you can buy, real expressions of love matter precisely because of how easy it is for them to slip away. Source:

Edgar Wright finds in the protagonist’s primal connection to cars and music a poignant symbol for his emotional isolation, his need to hold the world at bay. First, there’s the time spent on making Baby a character worth rooting for: vulnerable yet athletic, handsome yet at the same time geeky: when he isn’t driving a car sideways, he also has a strange penchant for recording bits of conversation and then turning them into experimental pieces of electronic music. Then there are the action scenes, which aren’t so much John Woo or Jerry Bruckheimer as Busby Berkeley; beneath all the designer violence and pounding music, Baby Driver’s good natured to the point of being almost quaint. Source:

Baby Driver has pulled in $175,108,441 worldwide to date. The film is a sugar missile of endorphins aimed directly at the movie dork’s pleasure center, so eager to get you on its candy-crush wavelength that resistance doesn’t just seem futile, but downright uncharitable. We’ve all imagined ourselves, while walking down the street listening to the music in our ears at maximum volume, in a private movie of our own creation, and it is quite the achievement of Wright to have essentially made that movie real. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World—still Wright’s best film—wore a lightness on its sleeve, its self-referential and pop-culture-riffing nature a healthy defense against any accusations of being overly precious. Baby Driver can feel a little 'Things to Do in a John Hughes Movie When You’re Dead', an odd mashup of quirky/gritty crime thriller and a lively, bubble-gum-colored music video. Source:

People who are sexually attracted to each other and have a lasting and successful relationship may be said to be 'well matched'. However, it has proved very difficult for psychologists to decide in exactly which ways such couples are matched. A sample of women born in the early 1920s were studied in the United States and those who became upwardly mobile through marriage were compared with the others who remained 'in their own class.' Upwardly mobile women were characterized by high physical attractiveness, a desire to impress and control others, and an avoidance of casual dating. The effect of physical attractiveness was most marked among members of the working class where it was more predictive of marriage to a man of higher class than educational attainment was. Sexual experience among college women between 1958 and 1968 arose, particularly in more casual liaisons. By 1972 three-quarters of students, male and female, had had intercourse, and the overall difference between sexes had at last vanished.

More attractive girls had been in love more often than less attractive ones, perhaps because they met more attractive men, and so found romance more rewarding. It has also been shown that girls with a stronger sex drive tend to form more frequent and intense attachments. The surveys found that women were twice as likely as men to break off a relationship in order to start a new one (with someone already on the scene), which probably follows from the custom of male initiative, if it is assumed that other men are less respectful of existing relationships than other women. 'Romantic Love' is a reaction against the earthiness of physical sex. Several studies found no relation between characters similarity and couple happiness, although one found unstably married couples differed on four traits whereas stably married couples' personalities tended to match. These traits were 'affectothymia' (which means outgoing and warm-hearted), 'surgency' (happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic), 'protension' (suspicious and self-opinionated), and individualism. —"Sexual Attraction" by Mark Cook & Robert McHenry (kindle, 2013)

Shailene Woodley on Her Feminist Evolution: "My biggest thing is really sisterhood. I would today consider myself a feminist. If females start working through the false narrative of jealousy and insecurity fed through a patriarchal society, then not only will we have more women feeling confident in themselves, but we will start introducing a type of matriarchy, which is what this world needs. We need more softness and more silence and more pause through the chaos."

There's no class subtext in The Fault in Our Stars like there was in Erich Segal's Love Story. There's no real emotional roller coaster ride here, since this is pretty much a one way ticket down into depressive depths, but the remarkable thing about the film is how it actually ends up celebrating resilience in the face of unimaginable trauma. Gus manages to make contact with Hazel's favorite author (think J.D. Salinger, only less accessible), who is living in Amsterdam. That gives The Fault in Our Stars a certain "quest" aspect, though what really moves the film are the intimate conversations between Hazel and Gus. Performances here are superb from top to bottom. 

While Shailene Woodley has come in for the lion's share of critical accolades, it's Ansel Elgort who repeatedly walks away with individual scenes. His performance matches Shailene Woodley's perfectly. Together they've created a cinematic love story for the ages. His eternal optimism is the right tonic for her self pity. Hazel blossoms under his unconditional love. When she finally lets her guard down and allows herself to love him just as much, there is no going back. The Fault in Our Stars was a huge box office success, earning $307 million worldwide on a modest $12 million budget. Source:

Over the last decade, Hollywood has failed to grow a new crop of young leading men like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Ryan Gosling, all of whom were Oscar-nominated for roles that helped establish them as the standard-bearers of their generation. As Kyle Buchanan pointed in Vulture, it’s starting to feel like we’re in the middle of a severe male young actor drought in America. Tobey Maguire, who amassed a résumé at age 25—including acclaimed movies like The Ice Storm and Wonder Boys—that would make most of today’s young actors green with envy, confessed: “If Leo and I were young now, I'd still aspire to work with great people, but those jobs don't exist anymore,” adding that a YA franchise would seem like his only opportunity. While it’s still possible to mint new male movie stars in America (Chris Pratt, Dylan O'Brien, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Alden Ehrenreich), most of them will have to compete with their British counterparts (Tom Hiddleston, Jamie Bell, Tom Hardy, Eddie Redmayne, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, etc.) There is sometimes a certain coldness when an American actress and an English actor—as Chloë Moretz alluded, possibly talking about her co-star Aaron Taylor Johnson—play off each other.

Ansel Elgort was recently paired up with English rose Lily James in Baby Driver, but their chemistry didn't suffer at all. Miles Teller, who abandoned Adrift (and for extension Shailene Woodley) has been replaced by another British import, Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games, often coming off as a lightweight playing opposite Jennnifer Lawrence). Shailene Woodley has showed natural chemistry with Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort, in part due to the spontaneous rapport (clicking in the same cultural wavelength) she shares with both even off-screen.  Source:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Michael Cera vs Ansel Elgort (Shades of Geek)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) earned only $10.6 million over its debut weekend. Scott Wampler of Comedy Examiner puts Pilgrim’s flopping down to “Michael Cera fatigue” (which Josh Tyler of Cinema Blend also touched on, calling it 'not just a flop, one of the biggest bombs'). People Hate Michael Cera, wrote Tyler": "While he has his fans, people hate Michael Cera a lot. In particular they hate that he always plays the same character and he did it again in Scott Pilgrim. Audiences are sick of it. They're sick of him. They're especially sick of him as a leading man. Maybe that's not fair. In fact I'm almost certain it isn't. I think what people are really sick of is the whole hipster subculture, a group which has been in many cases been confused by Hollywood with geeks, when they're not."

"Even more than they hate Michael Cera, mainstream America hates hipsters. And if the hipster movement has a mascot, it's Cera. The box office performance of his films has grown progressively worse. Scott Pilgrim just had the misfortune to be there at the place where the whole Michael Cera thing all bottomed out." “I’m very proud of Scott Pilgrim, and I know that for the marketing team at Universal, it was one of their favorite movies to work on, but the truth of it is that some films are a little more complicated to get the message across,” said Edgar Wright. “No matter how sophisticated you make a movie, you still have to sell it at a pitch level.”

Baby Driver, by casting Ansel Elgort as the lead, Wright has built a distinctive action movie with strong female appeal. Encouraged by test-screening scores and a raucous South by Southwest premiere, Sony moved the film’s release date up and targeted its digital marketing to appeal to both genders. “This is still a passion project for me, but at the same time, you can cut a totally commercial trailer for it that will get people in there who haven’t seen any of my movies,” said Wright. “That, for me, is a win-win: They came for the car chases but there’s some other stuff as well, and they like the other stuff.” “I’m not ruling out a sequel idea,” Wright admitted about a Baby Driver sequel: “It has been spoken about and I have some cool ideas, so we’ll see where that goes.” Wright laughed. “Then I’ll be one of those franchise guys!” Source:

Quint (Eric Vespe) here: I ran into Ansel Elgort at CinemaCon while I was gambling after a day of watching clips and presentations and stuff. He was at the blackjack tables and I had to say hi, tell him how much I loved Baby Driver and he was as cool and nice as you could imagine. Every once in a while you meet someone with so much natural charisma you know instantly they're going to be doing big things. I thought Elgort was talented, but holy shit is his charm, timing and pure likability off the charts in this movie. I'm sure Alden Ehrenreich is going to be great as Han Solo, but after seeing Elgort in Baby Driver I'm flat out shocked he didn't get the role. Elgort's Baby is not some kind of quirky asshole. He's an incredibly smart kid that's in debt to a pretty bad guy (played with relish by Kevin Spacey). 

He's a little introverted, but he has a big heart. That big ol' heart doubles in size when he finds a soulmate in Lily James' Debora and who can blame him? It's going to be very difficult for any audience member not to fall at least a little bit in love with Deb (the sexy waitress), Baby (the good 'bad boy'), and Deb & Baby as a couple. They just click and their chemistry is so strong that they'll remind you of that couple in your life that perfectly compliment each other and know it. Everybody has one of those pairs around them. Source:

Ansel Elgort may not seem like the obvious choice to play a criminal, but Baby needs to be different things to different people, and Elgort plays sweet and sensitive as convincingly as he does focused and fearless. His range has never been tested quite like this before, but he delivers. There’s something both timeless and modern about the performance (unlike Michael Cera's too modern Scott Pilgrim) and the film. Wright’s encyclopedic knowledge of classic cinema takes him to a certain point in all of his movies, allowing his awareness of what feels funky-fresh-dope to push things into entertainment overdrive. Baby Driver is unfiltered entertainment, and sometimes that’s exactly what the Doc ordered. Source:

Ansel Elgort is seen upon arrival at Haneda Airport on August 17, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.

Famous guys who travel for a living, like Ansel Elgort, know that comfort matters. They also know that the halls of any international airport in 2017 are just as visible as any red carpet. Hence Ansel Elgort's latest menswear combination: Louis Vuitton x Supreme pajama pants, a tan Officine Générale T-shirt, gleaming white sneakers, and a neon-orange leather backpack. Despite the outfit's flash, it's a practical uniform for Elgort's flight from Beijing, China, to Tokyo, Japan. The Baby Driver himself is in the middle of a worldwide tour for his film, meaning he spends most of his days on stage or on a red carpet in a suit. So when he's off duty, he's really off-duty.  Source:

It might not seem like a big deal if you like Coke while your partner likes Pepsi -- but In their study Coke vs. Pepsi: Brand Compatibility, Relationship Power, and Life Satisfaction, researchers from Duke University recently found that preferring different brands can affect our happiness in relationships more than shared interests or personality traits. The Candler Building in Atlanta, where the opening scene of Baby Driver takes place, was built by the founder of Coca Cola in 1906. Though geographically consistent for the first two minutes, the sequence eventually jumps to a different (albeit nearby) location for the next minute or so; once it reaches the freeway, things naturally speed up. Source:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ansel Elgort: Billionaire Boys Club, Thief video

Sony’s “Baby Driver” has crossed the $100 million milestone at the domestic box office after seven weeks in theaters. The actioner, starring Ansel Elgort as a talented getaway driver, has also taken in $67 million overseas. Remaining markets that have yet to open include Japan, Russia, China, Italy, and South Korea. The film was made for a relatively modest budget of $34 million and performed above expectations following its release on June 28, grossing $39 million in its first seven days. Source:

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer hinted to Wall Street that the studio isn’t ready to roll the credits on its “Hunger Games” and “Twilight” franchises. He implied, however, that the company will only go forward with fresh installments or spinoffs in the blockbuster series if they get the sign off from “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer and “Hunger Games” creator Suzanne Collins. “There are a lot more stories to be told, and we’re ready to tell them when our creators are ready to tell those stories,” Feltheimer said during a quarterly earnings call with analysts on Tuesday. Source:

When Lucasfilm announced plans for a Han Solo prequel (2018) there didn't seem to be an actor in Hollywood who didn't want a crack at playing the younger version of the character made famous by Harrison Ford. Producer Kathleen Kennedy and the film's original directing team looked at a slew of actors between the ages of 17 and 34. At one point, the short list included Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, Emory Cohen, and Blake Jenner, before the role was ultimately given to Alden Ehrenreich. 

As war surges in the factions all around her, Tris (Shailene Woodley) attempts to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Will fans of Divergent still be interested in finishing the story if their favorite characters have to be cast all over again? Shailene Woodley and supporting stars like Theo James and Ansel Elgort were a big selling point for fans in the movies, so if they’re not around for the TV series, will those same fans still tune in? We’ll find out soon enough. Source:

Model Vittoria Ceretti, plumed in scarlet feathers, wears a Dior dress, Vanson Leathers gloves and Alexander McQueen belt. Ansel Elgort wears: Levi’s jacket and jeans & Jutta Neumann New York wristband. Photographed by Mario Testino, Vogue magazine, September 2017.

Ansel Elgort's father is fashion photographer Arthur Elgort, best known for his work with Vogue magazine. Ansel's parents encouraged him to pursue what he loved, regardless of how much money he could make. At times, Elgort said, there are some frustrating things about the industry. “I don’t think making art should be a business, but it is,” he said: “And you have to remember that and you have to sort of navigate the business.” “I keep it real with my family and friends, and I try to keep it real with myself and my work,” he added.

Ansel Elgort said his girlfriend Violetta Komyshan doesn’t have to worry about his fans because “they love her too.” On meeting her: “I saw her on the street, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, that girl is so hot,’” Elgort said of his girlfriend. “At the time, I was 17 and she was like 15 ... she played hard to get, and finally, I was able to take her out on a date ... We’ve been dating for years and years.” Elgort is a romantic at heart, he admitted. Source:

Ansel Elgort dances and sings in between scenes of Thief, seducing his love interest Violetta Komyshan. Channeling Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, Elgort's character is both vain and dangerous, preening in front of a mirror to flex his muscles after sex and never showing emotion as events transpire around him. "I had created a character while writing and producing this song that was the Thief," Elgort tells Rolling Stone of his creepy alter ego: "I couldn't wait to bring him to life in the video. For the performance, we wanted something colorful and rich. We went with an all-leather outfit and neon lighting while I sang and danced, like a 1980s dance video."

Billionaire Boys Club is currently in post-production for a 2017 release, starring Ansel Elgort as Joe Hunt, Taron Egerton as Dean Karny, Kevin Spacey as Ron Levin and supporting roles from Emma Roberts and Cary Elwes. Plot: "A group of wealthy boys in Los Angeles during the early 1980s establish a 'get-rich-quick' scam that turns deadly." Judd Nelson, who played Joe Hunt in the 1987 telefilm, has signed on to play the father of Joe Hunt. Billionaire Boys Club (1987) aired on NBC and told the story of the Club's founder, Joe Hunt, who was convicted in 1987 of murdering con-man Ron Levin. The Billionaire Boys Club managed to woo a scientist into signing over the marketing rights to an energy machine and sought investor Ron Levin into a partnership.