Best known for her role as Lori Grimes on The Walking Dead and Dr. Sara Tancredi on Prison Break, Sarah Wayne Callies boasts an eclectic taste in film, and that’s what makes her list so fascinating.
Callies currently stars alongside Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in Black November, a based-on-true-events drama about a Nigerian community’s efforts to wage war against an oil corporation to keep their land from being ruined. Callies’ pure love for cinema shone through in her discussion about her Five Favorite Films: in reference to one of them, she said, “Who doesn’t love a drag queen? Dudes who wear makeup, I love it. Let’s go shopping.” Read on to see what she chose.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliott, 1994; 93% Tomatometer)
[It] would have to be up there for sheer enthusiasm. I love it for a million reasons. It’s just such a celebration. But I think I also — god not to sound like too much of a shrink — I grew up in a family with lots of divorces and things. Growing up, the first couple I knew that were really, truly like Disney movie in love and devoted to each other was a gay couple. And then one of them died — of AIDS — and I remember I was so young; I was in junior high when it happened. It was still at a time when gay culture was so judged and so reviled in so many places. The movie was such a celebration of song and dance, but also of a gay lifestyle, and it was a beautiful thing to see at that point in my life. For there to be something out there in pop culture that was celebrating and not apologizing [for] all of that — I just thought it was brilliant.
Gabbeh (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1997; 90% Tomatometer)
I’m about to sound like such a nerd. There’s a film I saw in college called Gabbeh. It’s about a Gabbeh — and I didn’t know this until I saw the film — it’s a kind of a carpet. It’s the story of this nomadic family that makes them, and it’s beautiful with all these amazing images — it’s very visual. I loved it and made my boyfriend at the time watch it — it was only like 10 minutes in. I did marry him anyway. [laughs] It’s amazing.
I loved Chocolat. The Lasse Hallstrom movie with Juliette Binoche — who’s perfect — and Johnny Depp who was at the height of being the unsung crush of my life.
Isn’t he everybody’s?
I think he is. I’d love to be more original, but the truth is I remember seeing him in Jump Street. I was like, “Yep, I’m in.”
There’s a film called Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring. I saw it at the Angelika on my birthday in New York, maybe ten years ago? It never left me — it’s such a good film. It’s tremendous and beautiful. There’s like twelve words in the whole thing. It’s about a floating monastery in the middle of a lake. There’s like three people in it. That was amazing.
The Wong Kar-wai movie. If you haven’t seen it, you must. It’s beautiful, and romantic, and sexy, and impossibly romantic — did I mention? The imagery and the lighting is gorgeous. It’s a DP’s [director of photography] dream. I think I’m a sucker for images. I don’t really need the words as much as I just want beautiful pictures of places I’ve never been and things I’ve never seen.
It’s the visuals. If you’re a visual learner, who needs dialogue sometimes?
Yeah. I feel like a bit of an asshole saying that because I’ve just written a couple movies and I’m trying to develop a career in screenwriting as well, but yeah I completely agree. It was one of the things I loved about The Walking Dead pilot when I read it — that there’s like six lines of dialogue in the first twenty minutes of that pilot. I thought it was wonderful to have a movie [In the Mood for Love] that relied so much on what we see, not what we’re told.
Black November is now open in limited release.