RTIndie: Stephen Frears Talks "The Queen" and Oscars; Almodovar And Cruz To Re-Team; Slamdance Lineup Set

by | December 5, 2006 | Comments

In making "The Queen," Stephen Frears has directed one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, and made $49 million in global box office returns to boot. RT chatted with the Brit about his new royal drama — and it’s no surprise who he thinks deserves the Best Actress Oscar.

Surprisingly few movie-goers know him by name, but they do know his films: "My Beautiful Laundrette," "Dangerous Liaisons," "The Grifters," "High Fidelity," and "Dirty Pretty Things," among others, not to mention my personal, lesser-known favorite, "The Snapper" (Mr. Frears agrees that it’s "wonderful"). With such an impressive filmography, Frears can boast a career as one of the most talented — if rarely venerated — directors of our time.


Frears’ "Mrs. Henderson Presents" (66%), "Dangerous Liasons" (95%), and "My Beautiful Laundrette" (100%)

Perhaps it’s only his eclectic taste that keeps this body of work from being more recognizable as a whole. With such an array of stories and characters, you could say his products lack a brand — really, that’s part of their charm.

As his latest film stuns critics ("The Queen" currently resides at 98 percent on the Tomatometer, making it one of our best-rated films of all time) and attracts Oscar buzz (for its direction and an impressive performance by Helen Mirren in the title role), it looks as though Frears might finally become a household name. Rotten Tomatoes caught up with Mr. Frears at the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco where he jovially discussed the British Monarchy, disastrous politicians, and the film industry across the Atlantic, among other things.

——–

Rotten Tomatoes: What were the biggest obstacles you faced while making "The Queen?"

Stephen Frears: You just sort of had to take a deep breath and do it, because no one had really done it before and it was such a cheeky idea. I mean, it’s like a soap opera really. You sort of can’t quite believe you’re standing in front, directing an actress playing the queen. It’s just not what happens in normal life.

RT: Did you have any concerns about a political reaction?

SF: Listen, we clearly got away with it. If we hadn’t made the film we’d made we would have looked pretty stupid. I thought people would say, you know, this film shouldn’t have been made, this woman should be left alone. But nobody’s actually said that.


Helen Mirren in "The Queen"

RT: Have you heard from The House of Windsor about the film?

SF: They don’t ring me up about it, they don’t leave me notes.

RT: [Laughs] What about Tony Blair?

SF: I was told he’d seen it.

RT: You’ve been Oscar-nominated for 1991’s "The Grifters" and directed an Oscar-nominated performance last year (Judi Dench in "Mrs. Henderson Presents") —

SF: I’ve had five actresses nominated.

RT: You have?

SF: King of the Actresses, me.

RT: Did you have your eye on the Oscar going into "The Queen?"

SF: If it was mine to give I’d give it to Helen…but it ain’t.


Kelly Reilly and Dame Judi in last year’s "Mrs. Henderson Presents"

RT: What one movie in your filmography do you think didn’t get the critical recognition it deserved?

SF: Hundreds of them! Hundreds of them! Dozens of them! I love "Mrs. Henderson." Dozens of them. "Hi-Lo Country" I love. "Hero" I love. Dozens of them. It’s been one long lifetime of injustice.

RT: Well, maybe you’re finally getting your redemption.

SF: [Laughs] Said the luckiest man in the world.


More Frears: "The Hi-Lo Country" (53%), "Hero" (63%), "The Snapper" (95%)

Click here to read the full interview!

ELSEWHERE IN INDIE NEWS THIS WEEK:

Almodovar and Cruz To Re-Team On "El Piel Que Habito"


Pedro and Penelope: Like Batman and Robin, like Cloak and Dagger, like Captain and Tennille…

Fresh off the success of their latest collaboration, "Volver," Pedro Almodovar says he’s planning on working with Penelope Cruz on his next flick as well. Almodovar told reporters in his native Spain that his next film, "El Piel Que Habito" ("The Skin I Live In"), will be shot in Warsaw, and will be a radical departure from his previous films. "It’s a very tough story about revenge. It has nothing to do with ‘Volver’ or my life," he said.

Aptly-named "Weirdsville" To Open Slamdance


Scott’s got his eyes on Slamdance.

The screwball dramedy "Weirdsville," starring Scott Speedman, Taryn Manning, and Wes Bentley, will be the opening night selection for this year’s Slamdance Film Festival. The fest, now in its 13th year, will run from Jan. 18 to 27 in Park City, Utah, concurrently with Sundance. The narrative and documentary films at Slamdance are made by first-time directors on budgets of $1 million or less. The festival will showcase 100 films, a number pared down from more than 3,600 submissions.

Korine Finishes "Mister Lonely"


Wener Herzog enjoys a quiet stroll through the woods.

Say what you will about Harmony Korine: he’s never been conventional. So when the enfant terrible auteur says that his latest, "Mister Lonely," is "pretty weird," that probably means it’s really weird. The film stars Samantha Morton as Marilyn Monroe, Diego Luna as Michael Jackson, Anita Pallenberg as the Queen of England, and the not-at-all-eccentric Werner Herzog. No date has been set for the film’s release; Korine’s last picture was 1999’s still-controversial "Julien Donkey-Boy."

Tomatometers For Last Week’s Limited Releases

Opening last week in limited release: "10 Items or Less," a laid-back romance starring Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega, is at 62 percent with 47 reviews; "3 Needles," a globe-spanning drama about the toll of the AIDS virus, is at 34 percent with 32 reviews; "The Architect," a tale of two families in conflict over a public housing structure, is at 18 percent with 17 reviews; and "Two Weeks," a dramedy about a family’s response to terminal illness, is at zero percent with six reviews.


"The Architect": Viola Davis may not be an architecture critic, but she knows what she doesn’t like.

Top Performing Limiteds

In last week’s indie box office battle, "Volver" grossed an average of $12,675 on 30 screens (it’s made $1.9 million in its five week run), besting the stage-to-screen adaptation "The History Boys," which averaged $10,359 on eight screens (which has mad $300,000 in its two weeks in theaters). The Bollywood drama "Dhoom 2" held tough, raking in an average of $8,104 on 63 screens (for a total of $2.1 million in two weeks), while the Jean-Luc Godard classic "Two Or Three Things I Know About Her…" made $8,050 on one screen, for a total of $47,000 in three weeks. Rounding out the top five was the relationship drama "Flannel Pajamas, which hauled in a so-so $3,716 on two screens, for a total of $42,000 in three weeks of release.


"Flannel Pajamas": Before the good times went bad.

Tag Cloud

nfl MCU Pet Sematary child's play disaster medical drama Syfy historical drama Discovery Channel Summer archives Walt Disney Pictures Turner Interview Starz technology classics fast and furious 99% Amazon Prime boxing Netflix Christmas movies National Geographic Pop TV Comedy Central NYCC Apple USA Network Nat Geo italian Marvel Studios Nominations festivals 20th Century Fox Biopics American Society of Cinematographers GoT Superheroe Countdown christmas movies science fiction TV Land Lionsgate BBC Creative Arts Emmys superhero theme song Quiz Set visit canceled TV shows werewolf what to watch comiccon hist nature sag awards DC Comics Pirates halloween casting Baby Yoda jamie lee curtis Opinion VOD Rocky chucky Song of Ice and Fire cartoon Rock Red Carpet anthology Crackle black Television Critics Association zombies Ellie Kemper Best and Worst children's TV Animation video spanish Lifetime spanish language 71st Emmy Awards documentaries spinoff FOX YouTube Infographic teaser Warner Bros. Christmas golden globes dceu Academy Awards Mary Poppins Returns San Diego Comic-Con President mutant hollywood Comedy Tomatazos SundanceTV ITV Showtime Thanksgiving SXSW south america DGA Hear Us Out Sneak Peek canceled ID mission: impossible dragons joker Mystery Marvel Lifetime Christmas movies directors award winner Women's History Month BBC America Music asian-american cancelled television YouTube Red concert indie Disney RT History HBO Go psychological thriller 24 frames Tumblr Polls and Games Film harry potter IFC Films toronto name the review justice league best franchise Musicals aliens 2018 Vudu Crunchyroll doctor who Comics on TV versus Logo Country renewed TV shows crime drama reviews natural history A&E CBS All Access finale Ovation binge Heroines australia Disney Plus Western Marvel Television Classic Film dc james bond Holidays sequel Sci-Fi Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Mary Tyler Moore cars Video Games transformers Spring TV scorecard zombie Netflix Paramount miniseries sequels remakes FXX cinemax spider-man Extras comic books Rocketman Sundance TV Black Mirror History cancelled Epix Podcast cancelled TV series TCA Winter 2020 crossover films venice RT21 travel movies CNN stop motion HBO Max DirecTV FX on Hulu book Emmys Election The CW Character Guide APB MSNBC quibi Britbox GIFs cancelled TV shows Disney Channel Television Academy social media Teen blaxploitation Valentine's Day Hallmark Christmas movies revenge spy thriller VICE documentary Mudbound Amazon Studios TBS SDCC political drama Lucasfilm festival The Witch stoner hispanic scary movies football BAFTA Chernobyl Certified Fresh 45 Esquire FX Bravo Spike critics 72 Emmy Awards worst movies Horror The Walking Dead BET Masterpiece Captain marvel Universal ABC The Arrangement Acorn TV CBS 2020 elevated horror WGN screenings Anna Paquin robots Apple TV+ Columbia Pictures IFC nbcuniversal DC streaming service adaptation Shondaland talk show Grammys french GLAAD 2019 Avengers Reality Sony Pictures OWN Shudder dark cults 2016 Pixar Trivia TV First Look TruTV Fall TV Funimation emmy awards zero dark thirty unscripted E! universal monsters crime LGBTQ reboot all-time die hard Holiday biography worst Trailer Kids & Family ratings true crime news based on movie anime vampires TCM Arrowverse The Purge independent Freeform Fox News romantic comedy AMC television Adult Swim Peacock USA TCA Awards serial killer twilight CMT halloween tv Star Trek ESPN TCA WarnerMedia rotten Schedule Martial Arts NBC E3 Elton John Drama BET Awards rotten movies we love Rom-Com cooking comics Musical period drama tv talk ghosts thriller boxoffice cops breaking bad YouTube Premium Spectrum Originals singing competition discovery romance Comic Book video on demand Trophy Talk series indiana jones Reality Competition facebook satire sitcom Superheroes Disney streaming service parents Cannes Calendar war Fantasy diversity movie Paramount Network HBO psycho Mindy Kaling sports Pop a nightmare on elm street Binge Guide Winners DC Universe foreign streaming Super Bowl First Reviews LGBT Sundance animated New York Comic Con composers X-Men The Academy TIFF batman stand-up comedy cats Hallmark comedies Winter TV PlayStation witnail Mary poppins slashers TCA 2017 007 Year in Review Amazon Cartoon Network supernatural TV renewals Box Office dogs game show ABC Family politics Marathons Ghostbusters Disney+ Disney Plus green book space 21st Century Fox fresh Action Travel Channel Food Network spain 2015 Turner Classic Movies BBC One El Rey comic MTV Dark Horse Comics docudrama rt archives Tubi YA Apple TV Plus 2017 toy story free movies Sundance Now TLC obituary 4/20 TNT Tarantino Oscars japanese Star Wars See It Skip It laika Amazon Prime Video Endgame crime thriller game of thrones criterion PBS Pride Month A24 police drama Awards Tour PaleyFest Black History Month Alien Film Festival Writers Guild of America OneApp Cosplay screen actors guild Hulu Watching Series dramedy Fox Searchlight Stephen King Photos Toys VH1 blockbuster Awards strong female leads CW Seed kids deadpool Nickelodeon Premiere Dates mockumentary latino Emmy Nominations Brie Larson richard e. Grant Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Family adventure