J. I. Baker makes a muscular debut in an L.A. Noir that twists and turns around Marilyn Monroe’s murky last days. Terrific research. Crisp prose. Hats off to Hammett and Chandler.
I have to look beyond overexposed hipster James Franco, and get back in touch with my inner Oz-ian. Meanwhile, on a recent interview with Michelle Williams, she told me about playing Glinda:
TA: In “Oz The Great and Powerful,” you play a younger version of Glinda the Good Witch in ‘Oz, the Great and Powerful.’ This is finally a part you can share with your daughter, Matilda.
MW: Matilda was on set almost every day. I wanted it to be a magical movie to make, and a magical movie for a child to witness. My greatest hope for that movie was to integrate my life with my work.
TA: Glinda is nearly as much of a cultural icon as Marilyn Monroe. How did you own the part?
MW: I hope that you can see shades of the great witch we know Glinda will become because we’ve all seen “The Wizard of Oz.” In some ways, here, she’s still unformed. Later, she becomes this all-seeing perfect creature. In “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” she’s still a fairy — but a little more human.
Here’s another interview for my series on “The Reel Breakdown”:
Kenneth Branagh, 51, has been rocking both ends of the movie spectrum. He’s getting Oscar buzz — and a Golden Globe nomination — for playing actor-director Sir Laurence Olivier in the art-house hit “My Week With Marilyn” opposite Michelle Williams. It’s the story of the tensions on and off the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl” (1957) as chronicled by lovesick production assistant Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne). And last summer, the Irish-born actor scored a global hit directing the Marvel comic blockbuster, “Thor.” He talked exclusively to Yahoo! Movies about Hollywood goddess Marilyn Monroe, and having a blast playing with gods — and Hollywood cash — on the set of “Thor.”
Thelma Adams: What are your impressions of Marilyn Monroe, the woman and the myth?
Kenneth Branagh: I didn’t know enough about her childhood to know that something that had happened there had produced this sadness. She always brought this extra bit of atmosphere, even when she was gushing and laughing. Was it the product of a tough childhood or emotional scarring? Or was it the sense of isolation when she was such an enormous movie star, while not getting consistent satisfaction from her personal life? I was always intrigued by that.
TA: What was your sense of Marilyn before you made the movie?
KB:The Marilyn I was most familiar with was from “Some Like It Hot“: angelic and fun and sexy and quite mature, less gushy than in the other movies. I so wanted to be in that cabin with Tony Curtis and Marilyn [when her character seduces his on a yacht]. It really carries a very strong sexual charge. It gets under the skin a bit. That was her very best to me. I just wondered about this sadness, and I was pretty sure Michelle Williams would bring it in.
TA: Obviously, Williams delivered. She’s also nominated for a Golden Globe. What do you think was her take on Marilyn?
KB: Williams was really smart to understand that the Marilyn we see in the film, who seems determined to prove that she is a great actress, arrives in England as an already fictional character, who is a woman named Marilyn, who is not Norma Jean, who doesn’t speak in that orgasmic whisper, or walk that exaggerated walk with her knees locked together. What I could see in Michelle’s eyes as I acted opposite her was Marilyn’s confusion. She presented a Marilyn who was really in search for herself — and she was looking in England to see if she could find the great actress, at the foot of the great actor. [Read on for the full interview]
The Monroe Doctrine: Michelle Williams Discusses Her Months with Marilyn
My first major Yahoo! Movies interview
Pixie powerhouse Michelle Williams, 31, is Oscar-nomination bound for her drop-dead Marilyn Monroe in the whimsical memory-piece “My Week with Marilyn.” The two-time Oscar nominee (“Blue Valentine,” “Brokeback Mountain“) talked to Yahoo! about that famous wiggle — “It was like she was doing a figure eight in a vat of honey” — while making tea. Then she was off to the set of Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” where she’s playing yet another blonde with pop culture baggage: Glinda the Good Witch.
Thelma Adams: How did you transform into Marilyn?
Michelle Williams: It was a long process. I started my prep maybe ten months in advance of shooting, I started watching her movies over and over again, listening to her voice on headphones, or playing it in the car when I drove carpool. [Click for full interview]
I want to be loved by you, by you and nobody else buy you….