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Back to One, Episode 92: Adrian Martinez

He’s been called the “sidekick to the stars,” but a more apt, yet slightly less elegant description of Adrian Martinez is “scene-stealer from the stars.” Some recent thefts occur in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Focus, and Casa De Mi Padre. You can also see him in the hit ABC show Stumptown. Now he wrote, produced, directed and stars in the brilliant, timely, and deeply impacting new film iGilbert. On this episode, he talks about going “all in” to make that labor of love, how the psychological gesture plays a big part in his craft, the work ethic Philip […]

Back to One #91, a Special Episode: Rehearsal

On this special episode, I spend a few days with the cast of A City Of Refuge as they rehearse this powerful new play by Evan Cuyler-Louison for Primitive Grace Theater Ensemble in New York City. Having had no experience with theatrical rehearsal, I pose lots of questions to Louison (who also directed the production) and his incredible actors, Ylfa Edelstein, Wilton Guzman, Miah Kane, Hailey Marmolejo, Gregg Prosser, and Luke Edward Smith. If, like me, your experience is limited to film production or you just have gaps in your knowledge regarding rehearsal in general, or you’re just curious about […]

Back to One, Episode 90: Chris Eigeman

The incomparable Chris Eigeman is probably best known for the three films he made with Whit Stillman—Metropolitan (which was his very first film), Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco. The singular style of performance he delivered in those films led to great work with filmmakers and showrunners such as Noah Baumbach, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and John Frankenheimer. Lately he’s been writing and directing his own films. In this episode he talks about the importance of knowing your role in the story, the harmful effects of the disappearing table read, loving those monologues, the freedom of it NOT being game day, […]

Not (Really) a List: Recapping 2019 As Seen from the Pages of Filmmaker

2019 will soon be the past, but once it was the future — a subject explored by Joanne McNeil in her Filmmaker print and online column, Speculations. She revisited films (The Running Man, Akira, Blade Runner) specifically set in 2019, assessing not just the accuracy of their future-dreaming but also the fantasies of progress their own eras entertained. McNeil listed various aspects of the present, including policy denial around climate change, that the films missed. But considering the last quarter century, who could have predicted that filmmaking — and film culture — would have landed where it is? While there’s […]

What’s Inside Filmmaker‘s Winter 2020 Issue, On Newsstands Now

Filmmaker’s Winter 2020 issue — our most beautiful issue yet — is now on newsstands (and selling out, we hear), as well as arriving in mailboxes. What’s in it? Our cover is Uncut Gems, with me interviewing Josh and Benny Safdie about their adrenaline-fueled Adam Sandler-starring film — an interview that goes into the details of shooting the fountain scene with Sander that we have used as our cover image. Director Anna Rose Holmer interviews Greta Gerwig about her Little Women; Aaron Hunt talks with Pedro Costa about 2020 release Vitalena Varela; Paul Dallas interviews Mati Diop about Atlantics, currently […]

Back to One, Episode 89: Mary Kay Place

Mary Kay Place’s long career is filled with memorable supporting parts in films like The Big Chill, The Rainmaker, Being John Malkovich, and television shows such as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, for which she won an Emmy. Diane is her first starring role. Kent Jones wrote it with her in mind. In this episode, Place unpacks and lets us examine the DNA of that vulnerable and subtly devastating performance. She talks about the importance of “building a bridge to the unconscious” (and other Jungian approaches) in her work, finding the rhythm in a scene, not being afraid to be “bad,” and much […]

“I Had Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars Worth Of Jewelry In My Bag. Someone Could Just Steal Me.”: On-Set Prop Deneice O’Connor juggles Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems traffics in the upscale loot sold and loaned in the Diamond District. A bejeweled furby necklace and a pendant of Michael Jackson pinned to a cross are fan favorites in a claustrophobic rain of riches. But a rare black opal trumps the pile. Howard (Adam Sandler), a jeweler with debt gnawing at his heels, lifts one off the black market from the Ethiopian Jews who discovered them, and sees it delivered to his show floor inside a vacuum-sealed cooler of fish. As the gambit in some of his biggest bets yet, the opal might just clear his life’s […]

Back to One, Episode 88: Miles Robbins

When I first took notice of Miles Robbins he was a stand-out among stand-outs in the surprisingly satisfying teen comedy Blockers. Now he presents another level of his talent in the very thoughtful psychological horror film Daniel Isn’t Real. In this episode he talks about the intense, emotionally taxing experience he had creating that performance, how not being scared is a key ingredient in his work, and the importance of connecting with the duality within himself and the universe. Plus he generously shares his feelings and frustrations with this “weird” endeavor called acting and all the hoopla that surrounds it. Back […]

Back to One, Episode 86: Emily Beecham

Emily Beecham won the best actress award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her brilliantly nuanced and tightly focused performance in Jessica Hausner’s art house science fiction film Little Joe. Recently she played The Widow in the AMC series Into The Badlands, starred in Daphne, and had a memorable supporting role in Hail Caesar. In this episode she talks about the importance of connection, avoiding “attractive acting,” Mike Leigh, the strenuousness of intense physical performance, her Little Joe hair, and much more! Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and […]

Back to One, Episode 85: Stephanie Kurtzuba

Stephanie Kurtzuba plays Irene, wife of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), in The Irishman. It’s her second film with Martin Scorsese. She played stockbroker Kimmie Belzer in The Wolf of Wall Street. She talks about working with the legendary filmmaker and what sets him apart as an actor’s director. She also explains her process of extracting preconceptions made in the audition, and she gushes about her first love–the rehearsal room, but tells us why, despite her heart being on the stage, she wouldn’t give up working for the camera if she could. Plus much more! Back To One can be […]

Back to One, Episode 84: Tracy Letts

Tracy Letts has parallel successful careers as an actor and a playwright. He won a Tony Award for his performance in the Steppenwolf revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and a Pulitzer Prize for his play August: Osage County. His screen credits include Lady Bird, The Lovers, and the new movie Ford v Ferrari, in which he plays Henry Ford II. In this episode, he talks about “pretending with authority,” making friends with the camera, the “responsibility” of the leading role, and how he’s preparing to do something he’s never done–act in a play he wrote (The Minutes) on Broadway. Plus […]

Back to One, Episode 83: Devika Bhise

The Warrior Queen of Jhansi is the first Hollywood action film to have a female Indian lead. Devika Bhise not only stars in the film (opening Friday November 15th), she co-wrote it with her mother, Swati Bhise, who also directed it. In this episode, she talks about performing under stressful time restraints, how not having “the leisure to lose it” actually helped her play such a powerful leader, and the physical work required (including some “illegal” horseplay!), plus how her intense training in classical Indian dance helps her prepare for every role, and much more! Back To One can be […]

“This Little Live Show I was Doing on the Board”: DP Larry Sher on Joker

The Gotham City of Joker is a mere fraction of a degree removed from the New York City of 1981, a time and place Larry Sher knows well. The Hangover and Godzilla: King of the Monsters cinematographer grew up in nearby Teaneck, New Jersey and would sneak into the city on the bus as a teenager in the early 1980s. Sher channeled those experiences—as well as the seminal New York films of the era—to evoke the alienating urban nightmare of Gotham.  “My approach for Joker was to feed a little bit off of what the city looked like in my […]

Back to One, Episode 82: Dorian Missick

I’ve wanted to sit down with Dorian Missick for some time. The seasoned actor has six dozen credits in television shows like Southland, Luke Cage, Tell Me A Story, and movies spanning from Two Weeks Notice to this year’s Brian Banks. In this hour, he passes on pearls of wisdom acquired from his many years in the business, like his new radical approach to auditions, why he aims for 100 reads of a script before first day of production, how he and his actor wife Simone Missick support each other’s journeys, and the importance of a “team sport” mentality, plus […]

Back to One, Episode 81: Alex Wolff

He’s only 21, but going by the depth of his work and the eloquent way he talks about it, Alex Wolff feels like a seasoned veteran. “I’ve basically been on camera since the sonogram,” he says, joking about his childhood in The Naked Brothers Band with his brother, Nat, on Nickelodeon. Since then he’s knocked out a handful of impressive performances in films like Patriots Day, My Friend Dahmer, and Hereditary. Now he’s written, directed and stars in a labor of love called The Cat and The Moon. He talks about treating his actors like kings and queens on that […]

“A Scare is an Algorithm”: DP Checco Varese on It Chapter Two

Read a few Checco Varese interviews and you’ll quickly discover that the Peruvian cinematographer likes to talk about his job through similes and metaphors. He’ll compare cinematographers to chefs who shop at the same store and cook with the same ingredients, yet create distinct dishes. He’ll say that partnering with a director is like partnering in a marriage (sometimes for Varese that’s literally true–his wife Patricia Riggen is a director and frequent collaborator). He’ll tell you that a good scare is like an algorithm or that crafting a suspense sequence is akin to nurturing a plant. For It Chapter Two, […]

Back to One, Episode 79: Tim Heidecker

I didn’t know if Tim Heidecker was going to show up for this interview, or if I was going to get his boorish, abusive, dim alter ego, Tim Heidecker. Luckily Tim Heidecker leaves Tim Heidecker in the On Cinema universe. That project he started with Gregg Turkington is comprised of an ongoing series called On Cinema at the Cinema, various spin-off series including The Trial of Tim Heidecker, special episodes, segments, tweets, songs, and now the feature film Mister America. In this half hour, I ask Heidecker to lift the hood on his performance style and the evolution of his […]

Back to One, Episode 78: Cassidy Freeman

The wise and talented Cassidy Freeman plays Amber, wife of Danny McBride’s character Jesse, on the hilarious new HBO comedy series The Righteous Gemstones. She talks about the wonderful troupe mentality on that show, what acting in 60+ episodes of Smallville did to build her craft early in her career, the importance of creativity for the actor, plus much more! Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher. And if you’re enjoying what you are hearing, please subscribe and rate us! Photo credit: Catie Lafoon