By Sharon Eberson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Fences” went one for two at the Golden Globes Sunday, with Viola Davis taking […]POSTED ON: January 9, 2017
Viola Davis wins a Golden Globe for ‘Fences’
“Fences” went one for two at the Golden Globes Sunday, with Viola Davis taking home the best supporting actress award for her part in the August Wilson film.
Denzel Washington, who directed “Fences,” lost in the lead actor category to Casey Affleck, star of the tearjerker “Manchester by the Sea.”
“La La Land,” the winner of seven Golden Globes, took home the award for best picture, musical or comedy, best director, best actor, best actress, as well as best screenplay, best original score and best song for “City of Stars.” “Moonlight” took home best picture in the drama category. The top TV picks were the FX comedy “Atlanta” and the Netflix drama “The Crown.”
In “Fences,” Ms. Davis portrays Rose, wife of Mr. Washington’s Troy Maxson, a bitter former Negro League player who never got his shot at the Major Leagues. The late playwright Wilson adapted his Hill District-set play for the screen, and Paramount Pictures filmed the movie in Pittsburgh in spring 2016.
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Davis said the original Troy — referring to Troy Maxson, her screen husband and Mr. Washington’s character in “Fences” — was her father, who was born in 1936 and was a horse groomer with a fifth-grade education.
“But he had a story that deserved to be told,” she said, “and August Wilson told it.”
Both Ms. Davis and Mr. Washington won Tony Awards for the same roles in the Broadway revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play in 2010.
Ms. Davis previously had been nominated by the Globes voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association four times (twice for “How to Get Away with Murder” on ABC and the movies “The Help” and “Doubt”) before her victory Sunday. As the virtuous Rose, Ms. Davis shares significant screen time with Mr. Washington. But producers of “Fences” submitted her performance in the supporting actress category, presuming that she had a better chance there during awards season. Still, it was a tough category, with competition from Naomie Harris of “Moonlight,” Nicole Kidman of “Lion,” Octavia Spencer of “Hidden Figures” and Michelle Williams of “Manchester By the Sea.”
Two-time Oscar winner Mr. Washington already has two Golden Globes for his acting — as best actor in “The Hurricane” and supporting actor in “Glory.” Last year, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to entertainment by the international journalists who comprise the HFPA. This year, Meryl Streep won the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.
WASHINGTON – The production of Paramount Pictures’ Fences led to a major boost to Pennsylvania’s local economy, according to new […]POSTED ON: January 5, 2017
Production of Paramount Pictures’ “Fences” generated over $9.4 million for Pennsylvania’s economy
WASHINGTON – The production of Paramount Pictures’ Fences led to a major boost to Pennsylvania’s local economy, according to new figures from the studio. The film generated more than $9.4 million in local economic activity – hiring over 900 local workers, who took home more than $5.6 million in wages.
The film spent 146 days on location, including 54 days of shooting, primarily in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, with a significant portion of the production’s spending going toward a wide array of in-state businesses and industries, including:
- Over $5.6 million spent on hiring over 900 Pennsylvanians for the production (including extras, security, local production office personnel, and more).
- Over $900,000 on local rentals and purchases for set decoration, production, and other supplies.
- Nearly $700,000 on transportation, including truck and car rentals.
- Over $380,000 on local catering and other food items for the cast and crew.
- Over $360,000 on lodging.
- Over $100,000 on hardware and lumber supplies.
“Pennsylvania’s commitment to maintaining a competitive production environment continues to benefit their local businesses, individuals, and families,” said MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd. “Paramount’s film Fences not only highlights local spots in Pittsburgh on the big screen, it has brought significant economic gain to the area – thanks, in part, to the play’s original writer and Pittsburgh native, August Wilson. I am proud to see Pennsylvania leaders and Paramount join forces to boost the economy, support jobs, and create this moving film for audiences everywhere.”
Michael Matesic, the President of IATSE Local 489, which represents over 400 members, commended the production, saying, “Pennsylvania’s successful Film Tax Credit program has had a tremendous impact on our membership. The past two years, we have added around 70 new members annually. We have grown our ranks by over 350 percent in the past 10 years. The continued growth in our industry has allowed our members to support their families and buy homes. We added an average of thirty new members to our growing ranks each year since its inception in 2007, which created a steady and stable income over the past nine years. Highly successful program for our members, 98% Pennsylvania residents.”
Directed by, and starring Denzel Washington, Fences follows the story of a former baseball star now working as a garbage collector in 1950s Pittsburgh. The former star creates tension in his family when he squashes his son’s dream of playing college football.
About the MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Its members include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment
For more information, contact:
MPAA Washington, D.C.
MICHAEL MACHOSKY One of the producers of “Fences,” Todd Black, has worked closely with Denzel Washington for 20 years and […]POSTED ON: December 21, 2016
‘Fences’ project highlights writer, Pittsburgh sites
One of the producers of “Fences,” Todd Black, has worked closely with Denzel Washington for 20 years and has known the actor for 27.
They’ve had some hits, like “The Equalizer” and some good movies, like “Antoine Fisher,” but “Fences,” written by Pittsburgh native August Wilson, represents something else entirely.
“The main difference is that you don’t get to do Shakespeare much,” Black says. “We call August, ‘American Shakespeare.’ His words, dialogue and characters are so beautifully painted — as a producer, director, actor, crew-people, everybody was so excited to work on a script that was so rich and authentic to a time, and yet so universal.”
The actual filming in Pittsburgh earlier this year didn’t take long, but the project has been a long time coming.
“Paramount acquired the play more than 20 years ago from August Wilson,” Black says. “They were going to adapt it as a screenplay and get Eddie Murphy to star in it.”
“It kind of stayed dormant. Scott Rudin (producer of ‘No Country for Old Men’) developed the screenplay with August Wilson many, many years later. Then about seven years ago, Scott gave Denzel a call and decided to show him the screenplay. He said, ‘You know what? I want to do the play on Broadway.’ ”
Then, while Denzel and Black were working on “The Magnificent Seven,” it came up again.
“Denzel said, ‘I think I’m ready to make the movie version of it,’ ” Black says.
“Denzel wanted to shoot it exactly where August wrote it for, the Hill District,” Black says. “We hired a lot of Pittsburgh locals. We scouted the neighborhood and found a fantastic house, and took over that street. The neighbors were amazing people.
It’s not often you can shoot a film in the neighborhood where it was set.
“They wanted it to be real,” says Kent Jackson, the location manager for “Fences.” “There’s a chance this project could have ended up in another city. It ended up here, so I think the filmmakers wanted it to be as close to the source material as it could be, and what better place than the Hill?”
However, August Wilson’s Hill District of 1957 was a lot different than it is today.
“It can’t be what it would have been, with all the businesses and buildings,” Jackson says. “We have a hockey arena (there now). There are parts that don’t exist anymore. I think there are bits and pieces that you can put together. There are parts that are kind of stand-in for portions of the Hill that we can’t get back to anymore. We were able to find portions of the neighborhood that worked for us.
“I grew up in Pittsburgh,” Jackson says. “August Wilson is buried in the cemetery in O’Hara, behind where my parents live. Anytime you can do something in Pittsburgh that highlights or champions Pittsburgh, we always enjoy doing it. There are so many films that want us to be other places — Boston, New York, Chicago. Any time we can be ourselves is great.”
Working with Washington is, unsurprisingly, always something Black looks forward to.
“I still learn from him every day,” Black says. “He can zero in on moments, the big picture, how to do things. His brain is so passionate and compassionate. He’s an amazing teacher without even trying to be.”
They had a pretty great time in Pittsburgh, constant rain aside.
“If your weather was better, I’d consider moving there,” Black says.
“Really good restaurants. … I was struck by how wonderful the people of Pittsburgh are. The neighbors would bring us coffee and bake sweet potato pies for us. They just wanted to take care of us. The only noise problem we had was a bird. When we yelled ‘Action!’ everyone was quiet in the houses.”
Washington’s last movie shot in the Pittsburgh area, “Unstoppable” (2010), was literally about a runaway train. This was a very different type of movie to make — intimate and dialogue-driven, rather than packed with action and special effects.
Washington is working on producing nine August Wilson plays for HBO. The plan is only for him to produce, not act or direct, so far. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is the first one planned.
“Fences” actor, director and producer Denzel Washington and producer Todd Black were on hand Tuesday night to introduce a special […]POSTED ON: December 21, 2016
Denzel Washington previews ‘Fences’ for Pittsburgh audience
“Fences” actor, director and producer Denzel Washington and producer Todd Black were on hand Tuesday night to introduce a special screening at the SouthSide Works Cinema of “Fences” for the cast and crew.
The Paramount Pictures film, based on Pittsburgh-born playwright August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, was filmed in parts of Pittsburgh earlier this year. It opens in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day.
The movie stars Mr. Washington and Viola Davis, both of whom won Tony Awards for their portrayals in the same roles on Broadway in 2010. The play also won a Tony for Best Revival of a Play that year.
Hear from Denzel Washington and local actors at the “Fences” premiere in Pittsburgh.
By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette For a growing number of Pittsburgh-based artists, actors and tradespeople, home is where the […]POSTED ON: December 19, 2016
Filmmaking is booming here, creating new jobs
For a growing number of Pittsburgh-based artists, actors and tradespeople, home is where the film shoot is.
“People cannot believe I live here and make a good living in Pittsburgh,” said Patty Bell, whose resume as a makeup artist includes locally shot projects such as “Fences,” “Last Flag Flying,” “Outsiders” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”
This has been a boom year for Western Pennsylvania, with two major motion pictures and three television series filmed here, said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.
“We have brought in more than $100 million each year over the last five years, and this year we expect to be over $150 million,” she said. “But I’m basing this off early numbers. We have three television series shooting [Netflix’s “Mindhunter,” WGN America’s “Outsiders” and ABC’s “Downward Dog”]. It’s unprecedented; we’ve never seen this amount of work in our region.”
A fourth television project, the Discovery miniseries “Manifesto,” would have shot here early next year, but the lack of available tax credits took production to Georgia.
“Outsiders” will return in a few months to shoot in Monroeville and parts east of Pittsburgh, and “Downward Dog,” which gets a screening next month at the Sundance Film Festival, is expected to return, according to Ms. Keezer.
The state legislature voted to raise Pennsylvania’s tax credits to $65 million — $5 million over last year; proponents argue that more productions could well be worth another financial boost.
State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, was among the sponsors of the bill to boost the tax credits. His senatorial district includes Downtown Pittsburgh.
“The biggest pushback I got was from people who said, ‘Well, this is just for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.’ But there are other areas that have gotten films though the program.” It’s estimated the state generates 19,000 new jobs through the film industry and sustains thousands more.
“The program is sold out every year, which is a sign it’s a worthwhile investment,” said David Haddad, president of the Pennsylvania Film Industry Association. PAFIA represents film offices in numerous cities and uses a lobbyist out of Harrisburg.
All of Pennsylvania
“The most important thing is that we are relevant, in terms of communicating to the state the benefits of the program. Because we represent everyone. We don’t represent just the north, or just the east, or just the [Screen Actors Guild], or just the IA, the Teamsters.
“We represent everyone’s common interests,” said Mr. Haddad, who sits on the board of the Pittsburgh Film Office.
PAFIA organizes meetups in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and hopes to add other cities. When Cinemax’s “Banshee” was filming in Vandergrift and other parts of Western Pennsylvania, a PAFIA event featured the show’s writers, producers and some of the actors. It was open to all, and attendees included local actors and tradesmen hoping to network and break into the entertainment industry.
“Our social events are to celebrate film, enhance communication and networking,” Mr. Haddad said. “Production managers, producers, casting come to the meetings and it’s an opportunity to rub elbows in a very casual, unstructured manner.”
Mr. Haddad’s production rental company, based in Pleasant Hills, is a key player in the industry. Started by his father as an Amoco service station in 1954, the business has branched out over the years to rent trucks, trailers and other equipment for what now totals more than 3,000 TV and movie productions. It also has fleet hubs in New York, Michigan, Georgia and New Jersey.
Working in the local film industry does present challenges. It’s “boom or bust,” said Charles “Chip” Eccles, business representative of IATSE 489, the local trade union for studio mechanics.
Artists and tradesmen who have carved out a living in Western Pennsylvania in the entertainment business learn to adapt their skills to projects outside the field. Students of Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects program in Monessen, for example, learn not only how to create vampire fangs, but can find work making dentures.
Ms. Bell, who lives in Green Tree with her husband and two sons, got her start after doing makeup at a department store. She found work on a one-day commercial shoot, and was paid under $100.
“I thought it was so much money, so glamorous,” she said, laughing. “I never even dreamed of that career.”
Ms. Bell has since gone on to work as a department head in both TV and films. As a member of the hair and makeup IATSE out of New York City, she has picked up regular work here doing the makeup for commentators in town for national sportscasts of NHL, MLB and NFL games.
Getting their starts
Like craftsmen of old, TV and film industry candidates often get training through internships. Or they start small, as gofers, or as a person who holds up foot traffic to keep spectators out of a shot. There’s always the chance to move up, from the person who weaves strands of hair into a wig to the sound and lighting people.
IATSE 489 added 74 members this year, Mr. Eccles said, for a total of 441.
With the relative exception of “Mindhunter,” for which director David Fincher brought a familiar crew with him,, locals have been able to find work in key areas.
“On ‘American Pastoral,’ [filmed in Pittsburgh in 2015] they used a ton of [local workers]. That felt very welcoming,” said actor David Whalen, a New Kensington native who until recently called Pittsburgh his home base. “The crew, it’s top-notch here, and I think Ewan [McGregor, the director] knew that.”
Mr. Whalen described the local work ethic as “lunch pail.” “You do the work, you don’t complain about it and you’re grateful for it. At least, that’s how I was brought up, and you see it with everyone.”
Mr. Eccles said it makes good financial sense for productions to hire locally, but he understands operations that have established relationships with workers from other cities. When “Banshee” filmed in 2015, the show had logged three seasons shooting with almost half of the same crew in North Carolina.
“But [that] comes at an expense,” he said. “Because they pay L.A. rates when they bring people in from out of town, and they pay housing, about $1,500 [per person] extra each week. If that doesn’t discourage somebody from bringing in people from out of town, and not hiring locally, I don’t know what would.”
An expanding landscape
Ten years ago, feature filmscapes provided the most work for locals, Mr. Eccles said. The introduction of television series creates the promise for multiseason work. With the exception of a few nonscripted programs such as Lifetime’s “Dance Moms,” reality projects have been scarce.
Mr. Eccles said that “because of the feast-or-famine nature of our business, you can’t really offer an apprenticeship, because the thing about an apprenticeship is, you have to offer employment after.
“We have been trying to set things up with some of the universities in the area, and I’ve been meeting with the Three Rivers Workforce [Investment Board].”
Other programs through the Steeltown Entertainment Project have taken on two challenges: teaching the craft to a new generation, and providing options to a demographic underserved in this area.
The more work coming into the region, big projects and small, the more opportunities for locals to enter the system.
“The reason we want series work is that it’s longer-term employment. A feature film will shoot six to eight weeks and then they’re gone,” Ms. Keezer said. “A series will shoot six to eight months. The longer they’re here, they can also do what I call ‘internal workforce training,’ and promote from within.”
As director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, it is both Ms. Keezer’s vocation and avocation to talk up the film industry.
“Our people want to work at home,” she said. “We have great relationships with our elected officials, our statewide elected officials, and we can get things done in Pittsburgh and our region that other cities can’t match.”
Linda Lang didn’t know it, but her Millvale home was ready for its close up. Location scouts for the WGN […]POSTED ON: December 18, 2016
The TV Series ‘Outsiders’ Finds a Home in Millvale
Linda Lang didn’t know it, but her Millvale home was ready for its close up.
Location scouts for the WGN America, filmed-in-Pittsburgh series “Outsiders” left a letter in Lang’s door in April 2015. They wanted to consider using the exterior of the white, clapboard house as the home of Ledda Dobbs (played by former Pittsburgher Rebecca Harris), the sister of the show’s sheriff, Wade Houghton (Thomas M. Wright).
“Don’t even think about it,” said John Kelly, Lang’s partner of 20 years.
“When I read it, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ and I started to get excited,” Lang recalls a year and a half later, an “Outsiders” ball cap perched proudly atop her head.
“I just called them to see what it was about before I said no,” Lang says.
The next day, 35 people from the “Outsiders” production were on her doorstep with cameras.
“Do you mind if we look inside?” one of the crew members asked. By the time they left, “Outsiders” location manager John Adkins was sold on casting Lang’s house – exterior and interior – in the show’s first season.
“I said, ‘Why would they pick out my house?’” Lang asks. “And they said because it was homey, and that just melted me.”
Kelly says producers liked the home’s location on a hill with hills in the background, which suits “Outsiders.” The show is set in the fictional eastern Kentucky town of Blackburg.
Adkins returned to talk to Kelly, who explained his concerns. At the time the scouts arrived, he was in recovery from throat cancer and didn’t want the disruption of a film crew while his prognosis remained uncertain.
“At the same time, Linda was born and raised in Millvale,” Kelly says. “Her family goes back five generations here. This house was built in 1899 by her grandparents, and she was raised in this house. This was like the ‘Hollywood Minute’ for Linda and bragging rights at least until the day she dies and maybe after, so I said to Adkins, let’s go ahead and do this for the hell of it.”
Kelly got a good report from his doctor, and soon the “Outsiders” cameras were rolling inside and outside the Lang house in 12 of the first season’s 13 episodes.
“Outsiders” returns for its second season on WGN America on Jan. 24, and Millvale, playing Blackburg, will be even more heavily featured than in season one, according to series creator and executive producer Peter Mattei.
“We have a lot of big things happening in Millvale, and we’re very grateful to that town and the cops and the citizens because we have big marches, car chases, a big, huge parade scene where we utilize all of the people from Millvale Days who came in and helped us,” Mattei says. “Without Millvale, we would not have a show. That town has been so generous to us.”
In season two, the Farrell clan of Shay Mountain — a location played by the woods on the grounds of the Jewish Community Center of Henry Kaufmann Family Park in Monroeville — come into greater conflict with Blackburg townies and the coal company that wants to evict the Farrells to exploit the mountain’s natural resources. Blackburg’s Sheriff Houghton is stuck in the middle.
Creating eastern Kentucky in suburban Pittsburgh can be tricky in some respects — but in others, it’s easy.
“Basically, we’re the Paris of Appalachia anyway, right?” says Elizabeth Township native Barbie Pastorik, a buyer in the show’s set-decorating department. “When I drive into work, I’m driving past hollers, and it’s basically just the Appalachian chain and we’re just part of it.”
With three primary locations — Millvale, Monroeville and the stages at 31st Street Studios in the Strip District — production designer Jonathan Carlson says creating the Farrell encampment in Monroeville was the biggest initial challenge because the team had to design and construct multiple shack-like structures from the ground up in the woods.
“When we go to create the whole world of Shay Mountain, that’s the real meat and potatoes of designing the show,” Carlson says. “Nothing fits together, nothing is square, everything is done by eye and no levels were used.”
Making over Millvale is easier, with tasks ranging from changing license plates on cars from Pennsylvania to Kentucky to mounting signage, such as “Crockett County Sheriff’s Department” on the education wing of Millvale’s Holy Spirit Parish Roman Catholic Church.
“You’re just pushing and polluting the things that are already there,” Carlson says. “We age everything and make everything look greasier and grungier and dirtier. A lot of times we’re always trying to repaint white buildings or age buildings down that are way too bright. We’re aiming for the monochromatic palettes of browns and muted earth tones. That’s how we get that Kentucky vibe, eliminating all of the irritating color in our master shots.”
Set decorator Diane Yates, who is Los Angeles-based when not on location for productions such as “Outsiders,” says Pittsburgh can be a challenging place to shoot for a set decorator because of the dearth of prop houses.
“Everything we get we have to procure through Craigslist or local vendors or online,” she says. “But I have two secrets up my sleeve — one is Barbie Pastorik and the other is [set decoration ‘leadman’] Justin Pelissero. They know everybody in town on a first-name basis so they know where to get everything. We try as much as possible to keep the money within the city.”
Yates said “Outsiders” routinely rents medical equipment from Global Links and buys office furniture from University of Pittsburgh Surplus Property and fixtures from Construction Junction.
“We just recently bought a bunch of stuff for a morgue scene from Pitt Surplus and also for a forensics lab, a lot of beakers and some microscopes,” says Pelissero, a Mount Washington native who began his career as a theater stagehand.
Artwork seen in the background of TV shows and movies has to be legally cleared, meaning the production has to obtain the right to use each work. Some of the artwork used on “Outsiders” comes from companies in Los Angeles that specialize in cleared artwork, but Yates and Pastorik say they also try to use paintings and photographs by local artists — including some of the scenic artists who work on “Outsiders.”
Pastorik and Pelissero are just two of the 189 people from western Pennsylvania who are among the show’s 251-member, full-time crew. Visual artist Kyle Ethan Fischer moved to Pittsburgh in 2004 for the low cost of living, exhibiting his work at BoxHeart Gallery in Bloomfield where gallery co-founder Joshua Hogan encouraged him to try working in TV/film production. Fischer worked as a set fabricator on the film “The Last Witch Hunter,” and he’s worked on both seasons of “Outsiders,” creating giant sculptures of a wolf and a stag in season one and a 12-foot-tall coal miner made from paper mache for a parade scene in season two.
“I’m given these challenges, and then I’m filtering it through my lens and I’m garnering my own whole new set of skills and expressions,” Fischer says.
Working in film and TV in Pittsburgh helps to feed his inspiration for the art he creates in his off hours and to support that work financially, he says.
“This is an avenue you can actually make a living at and give yourself expression,” he says. “When I was doing these projects, even though they might be [guided] by the [show’s] designer, you still know it’s my work.”
Scripted cable dramas typically have a budget of about $2.5 million to $5 million per episode; with a 13-episode season, “Outsiders” cost about $60 million its first season. Much of that budget is spent locally for the series to qualify for the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit.
“Outsiders” property master Kelley Snyder, who grew up in Baldwin Township, worked in Los Angeles before moving back home about 10 years ago. She’s charged with heading up the team responsible for acquiring or building props used by the show’s actors. Toward the end of season two, she and her team were working on designs for a bat at the request of actor Ryan Hurst, who plays Li’l Foster on the series. Snyder often calls on local artisans to contribute to building the props, including metal fabricator Vaughan Washburn of Hip Iron in The Strip and leather seamstress Zoe Collins of Threadneedle Street in Sharpsburg.
“Zoe has made so many holsters for us and gun scabbards under a lot of pressure,” Snyder says. “I think we’ve had her up 48 hours straight almost.”
For season two, the “Outsiders” set builders were tasked with creating a new set on the 31st Street Studio stages: the interior of the Lang house.
“We realized in season one her house was very narrow and problematic to film in, so we recreated it on stage but made it 3 feet wider and 4 feet longer so it would allow for some elbow room,” says Carlson, the production designer. “We remodeled their house to our liking, and the audience is never going to know it’s a different house.”
Lang was tickled to see her home recreated on stage when she was invited to visit the set last spring.
“We couldn’t believe it,” says Lang, who occasionally works as an extra on “Outsiders.” “They added a bathroom we don’t have on the first floor and I said, ‘Will you do that at our house?’”
Kelly, who runs Millvale’s Kelly Art Glass Co., was especially impressed by the duplication of a stained-glass window. Kelly says “the perfect phony” printed on plastic looks real with built-up ink replicating the lead of the original. In addition, the production team took photos of the area surrounding the real Lang home to create backdrops on stage that mirror the actual location where exterior scenes are still filmed.
“They told me it cost $20,000 to reproduce photographs of the house across the street on these 20-foot-high drop cloths,” Kelly says of the backdrops, called Duratrans.
Lang relishes the fame her house has earned through “Outsiders” and the new people she’s met through the production’s presence on her block.
“They’re all so nice,” she says. “I’ve really had a bunch of fun with them.”
‘Fences’ Review: Denzel Washington & Viola Davis Deliver In Film Version Of August Wilson’s Masterpiece
‘Fences’ Review It has taken awhile, but Fences is finally on the big screen, and for that we can be thankful this […]POSTED ON: December 16, 2016
‘Fences’ Review: Denzel Washington & Viola Davis Deliver In Film Version Of August Wilson’s Masterpiece
It has taken awhile, but Fences is finally on the big screen, and for that we can be thankful this holiday season. It’s fairly shocking that no play from the great August Wilson has ever been transferred until now — and there have been rumblings about a movie version since its 1987 Broadway debut that starred James Earl Jones and won both the Tony and Pulitzer Prize. The impetus for it finally happening came with the Tony-winning 2010 Broadway revival that starred Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, who both also won lead acting Tonys. Washington felt he had to play it on stage before ever tackling the film, but that he has finally done in directing and starring along with most of the cast of his stage revival.
The cast includes Stephen Henderson, Russell Hornsby and Mykelti Williamson — all from the 2010 revival — who bring that solid experience playing these roles to the screen in powerful new ways, particularly Williamson who is quite effective playing Troy’s brother, a man suffering from some mental impairment. Veteran actor Henderson is very fine too, as is Adepo playing the young son who is trying to avoid his father’s fate; he and Washington share some strong scenes toward the end of the movie. There is also the delightful young Saniyya Sidney, who lights up the screen toward the end of the film.As I state in my video review above, I would say Fences is Wilson’s masterpiece, a powerful story set in 1950s Pittsburgh with themes ranging from race relations to family and the walls we build around ourselves. It is centered on Troy (Washington), a sanitation worker in his mid-50s who alienates his still-devoted wife Rose (Davis) and family including son Cory (Jovan Adepo). He also lives in his reveries from the past, constantly talking about his “glory days” when he was a contender, a young man with talent playing in the Negro Baseball League. Rose is his long-suffering wife who still can look at him and recall the man she fell in love with, but also realizes there is really only a shell left of their relationship despite her efforts to help him stand out of his own way.
But undoubtedly, the performance of the film, and perhaps the year, belongs to Davis with an explosive, heartbreaking force that tears the screen apart and brings you to tears. Every award will be hers — and should be.
Fences does not come across as a filmed play as much as a permanent cinematic document of a great work to which attention must be paid. Washington has opened it up a bit, but most of the action still revolves around the house, and its environs. It does not feel claustrophobic in the least, and I have to say it is a pleasure to hear dialogue — there is a lot of it — on this level from a screenplay written by Wilson himself several year ago; he died in 2005. Some may be put off at first due to the density of the conversations, but it harkens to a time when major studios regularly brought the work of great playwrights to movie theaters and audiences had attention spans longer than a gnat. It also provides Washington with the role of a very distinguished career and he knows exactly how to deliver it, without using flashy directing techniques to get in the way.
Producers are Washington, Scott Rudin and Todd Black. Paramount releases Fences in select theaters Friday, going wide Christmas Day. A must see.
Do you plan to see Fences? Let us know what you think.
‘La La Land’ and ‘Moonlight’ top the film noms, while ‘People v. O.J.’ led the TV list. The nominees for the […]POSTED ON: December 12, 2016
Golden Globes 2017: The Complete List of Nominations
‘La La Land’ and ‘Moonlight’ top the film noms, while ‘People v. O.J.’ led the TV list.
The nominees for the 2017 Golden Globe Awards have arrived.
Golden Globe winners Don Cheadle and Laura Dern and Golden Globe nominee Anna Kendrick announced the film and TV contenders Monday morning rom The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, the site of the annual awards show. (Watch video of the announcement here.)
The 74th Golden Globe Awards, which are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be hosted by Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and will air live on both coasts Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 on NBC.
The ceremony is set to honor Meryl Streep with the Cecil B. DeMille Award. The actress, who has won eight Golden Globes and has been nominated 29 times, most recently starred with Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins. The film picked up four nominations, including best picture for a musical or comedy and best actress for Streep.
Fallon will emcee the annual ceremony, following Ricky Gervaise, who returned last year after three previous stints, and his former Saturday Night Live hcastmates Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who also hosted three times. Fallon also hosted the 2010 Emmy Awards when it aired on NBC.
A full list of winners follows.
Best Motion Picture – Drama
Hell or High Water
Manchester by the Sea
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
20th Century Women
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Best Director – Motion Picture
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
John Turturro, The Night Of
Tom Hiddleston, Night Manager
Courtney B. Vance, People v. O.J. Simpson
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
La La Land
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel, Lion
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Sarah Paulson, People v. O.J. Simpson
Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
Kerry Washington, Confirmation
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
John Lithgow, The Crown
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
The Night Manager
The Night Of
The People vs. OJ Simpson
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
Issa Rae, Insecure
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Best Television Series – Comedy
Mozart in the Jungle
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Nick Nolte, Graves
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Keri Russell, The Americans
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Best Television Series – Drama
The Crown, Netflix
Game of Thrones, HBO
Stranger Things, Netflix
This Is Us, NBC
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastian, Miss Sloane
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
http://cbsloc.al/2h0vOoS PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The world according to Troy Maxon, lead character in the upcoming movie “Fences,” is simple: “A […]POSTED ON: December 6, 2016
‘Fences’ Actors Talk Film, Experience Shooting In Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The world according to Troy Maxon, lead character in the upcoming movie “Fences,” is simple: “A man is supposed to take care of his family.”
The stage version, of Fences, written by Pittsburgh native August Wilson, won a Pulitzer Prize. But now it comes to the big screen, shot in the Hill District – the community Wilson called home.
Cast members at a press event in Philadelphia Monday said the experience of shooting the moving in August Wilson’s childhood neighborhood, made it extremely unique.
“I had never really been in Pittsburgh, but felt a kinship and awareness to it after having read August’s work over the last 20 years,” said Russell Hornsby, who plays one of Denzel Washington’s sons.
Javon Adepo, who plays a second son in the movie said the Pittsburgh community embraced production in their neighborhood.
“The people welcomed us into their homes, made us feel at home. The people really opened up to us. They were completely warm. They were there with us every step of the way when we were filming. We we were up at six in the morning getting read to show, we had a long of people wait to go to work with us,” he said.
Director Denzel Washington, also plays the lead Character of Troy Maxon.
Russel Hornsby who played the same role, on Broadway with both Denzel and costar Viola Davis as he does in the movie is the oldest son – fighting to belong. Hornsby explained his role.
“I think there was a feeling of resentment towards Troy, because he didn’t have a father present,” he said.
28-year-old Javon Adepo did not appear in the Broadway version of Fences, but found this role challenge. As Denzel’s second son, with a will as strong as his on screen father.
“I think he was going through something that a lot of young men go through. Trying to find the best, most efficient way to do that, while respecting his father wishes as well,” he said.
The movie takes place in early 1960’s Pittsburgh. But Hornsby believes the message still resonates in 2016.
“The situations are still the same. A man trying to make his way. Men and women trying to make their way. Trying to do their best to be counted. To be looked at as whole.”
Filmed-in-Pittsburgh ABC comedy “Downward Dog,” which doesn’t yet have a premiere date on TV, will have episodes screened in January […]POSTED ON: December 6, 2016
‘Downward Dog’ debuting at Sundance Film Festival
Filmed-in-Pittsburgh ABC comedy “Downward Dog,” which doesn’t yet have a premiere date on TV, will have episodes screened in January at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Sundance announced its schedule today and it includes four episodes of “Downward Dog.”
Per production company Legendary:
LEGENDARY TELEVISION & ABC TO PREMIERE DOWNWARD DOG AT 2017 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
Debut set to mark first major broadcast network comedy to screen at Sundance
BURBANK, CA – December 5, 2016 – DOWNWARD DOG, a new half-hour comedy co-produced by Legendary Television and ABC Studios, will make its world premiere in the Special Events section at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, marking the first time a major broadcast network scripted comedy will be screened at the festival. The series is scheduled to air on the ABC Television Network in 2017.
The first four episodes of DOWNWARD DOG will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival followed by a special Q&A with the show’s cast, including star Allison Tolman who is best known for her Emmy and Golden Globe nominated role on the Emmy Award-winning series Fargo. The cast will also be joined by series creators, Michael Killen and Samm Hodges, and showrunners, Kat Likkel and John Hoberg.
The Sundance Film Festival takes place January 19-29, 2017, with screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and at the Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah. The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, and is increasingly debuting episodic programming like DOWNWARD DOG in the festival’s Special Events section.
Based on the original web series created by Animal Media’s Michael Killen and Samm Hodges, DOWNWARD DOG is about a struggling millennial, Nan (Allison Tolman), from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin (voiced by Samm Hodges). One session at obedience school already makes them realize that even at their worst they may be the best thing for each other.
The broadcast series for ABC was created by Michael Killen and Samm Hodges, who executive produced the series with Mosaic’s Jimmy Miller and Sam Hansen, Animal Media’s Kathy Dziubek, and showrunners Kat Likkel and John Hoberg (“Galavant,” “black-ish,” “My Name is Earl”). DOWNWARD DOG also stars Lucas Neff (“Raising Hope”) as Jason, Barry Rothbart (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) as Kevin, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste (“A Dog’s Purpose”) as Jenn.
Outside of the U.S., Legendary Television Distribution handles international distribution of DOWNWARD DOG.
Watch the first trailer for DOWNWARD DOG here: https://youtu.be/ePcQrc1vrqc
Downward Dog / U.S.A. (Showrunners: Kat Likkel, John Hoberg, Creators: Michael Killen, Samm Hodges) — The story of a struggling millennial, Nan, as observed from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. The Festival will premiere the first four episodes of the series, followed by an extended Q&A with the cast, creators and showrunners. Cast: Allison Tolman, Samm Hodges, Lucas Neff, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart. World Premiere