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

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