Tag Archives: Mamie Gummer

Review: Side Effects

Side-Effects-PosterFirst Steven Soderbergh terrifies us of falling ill with “Contagion” and now he makes us wary of the medication that should make us better with “Side Effects.”

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) had it good. She met a kind, handsome guy (Channing Tatum) with a flourishing career; they fell in love, got married and set out to begin a luxurious life filled with wealth and romance. Unfortunately, in an instant, her fairy tale was decimated when her husband was taken away from a lavish Connecticut estate in handcuffs, convicted of insider trading and thrown in prison. A dedicated wife, Emily holds strong, visiting Martin on a regular basis and welcoming him home with open arms after his release.

However, even though she’s thrilled to have him back, the experience is so jarring it stirs up a former issue with depression. Eager to get out of her current funk, Emily starts seeing Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) who gives her a prescription for a drug called Ablixa. While the pills do brighten her mood, they also cause Emily to get up in the middle of the night, walk around and even cook meals – all in her sleep. Brushed off as a mere side effect, Emily continues the regimen, but when her mid-slumber behavior turns violent, nobody knows who to blame – Dr. Banks, Ablixa or Emily herself.

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Interview: The Ward’s Lyndsy Fonseca

Lyndsy Fonseca has been around for quite a while, but over the past few years, her career isn’t just on the rise, but on a rocket. In 2010 we saw her in Hot Tub Time Machine, the a few months later as Katie in Kick-Ass and now she’s about to get to work on the sophomore season of the CW show Nikita. She’s certainly been busy, but nestled in there was yet another feature film, John Carpenter’s The Ward.

After wrapping Hot Tub Time Machine, Fonseca stepped into the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital as Iris, a rather intelligent and welcoming resident eagerly awaiting what she hopes to be her final evaluation. However, when a young woman named Kristen (Amber Heard) is thrown into the ward, strange things start to happen and the girls realize it’s not their freedom they need to be fighting for, but their lives.

Not only is The Ward Fonseca’s very first horror film, but it’s her first horror film with renowned director John Carpenter. Perhaps it was intimidating at one point, but now, Fonseca has only the best to say about Carpenter, attributing quite a bit of this fantastic experience to him. With The Ward’s July 8th release fast approaching, Fonseca took the time to chat about working on the film, her upcoming projects, the status of Kick-Ass 2 and even a little about The Hunger Games.

(And yes Nikita fans, I am now kicking myself for starting to watch the show after conducting this interview rather than before. Oh well; until San Diego Comic Con! For now, check out my interview with Fonseca on The Ward.)

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Interview: The Ward’s Danielle Panabaker

Danielle Panabaker is easily becoming one of my favorite actresses to interview, not just because she’s a nice and insightful person to talk to, but also because she tends to work on the kind of films I’m drawn to – horror films. And not just any horrors film, rather, pieces that offer a fun kind of scare. Back in 2009 she starred in the remake of Friday the 13th and then, last year, in one of my favorite films of 2010, The Crazies, and now she’s in John Carpenter’s The Ward.

Panabaker plays Sarah, one of four patients Kristen (Amber Heard) meets when she’s unwillingly admitted to the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital. Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca) is bright and welcoming, Zoey (Laura-Leigh) a little on the shy side, Emily (Mamie Gummer) a bit too friendly and then there’s Sarah who’s, well, not particularly nice to anyone. Regardless, when a malicious entity makes its presence known, the girls must work together to survive.

To promote the film’s July 8th release, Panabaker took some time to tell us all about her experience making The Ward from working with Carpenter and her co-cast to her own personal preparation and feelings about the horror genre in general. Check it all out and more below.

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Interview: The Ward Director John Carpenter

It’s been about ten years, but director John Carpenter is finally back behind the lens of a feature film and we’ve got Showtime’s Masters of Horror to thank. With dozens of titles to his name, Carpenter felt the need to take a step back from directing. However, when Masters of Horror summoned him to helm yet again, the experience reinvigorated the passion that, well, has terrified us all for years.

Carpenter makes his return with The Ward, a story from Michael and Shawn Rasmussen about Kristen (Amber Heard), about a young woman thrown into a psychiatric hospital. There, she not only meets the other patients, Emily, Sarah, Zoey and Iris (Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker, Laura-Leigh and Lyndsy Fonseca), but the ward’s resident evil entity, too.

After so many years, you’d think Carpenter would have this down to a science. While he does to a point, he also emphasizes the fluidity necessary when making a film. When it comes to working with a cinematographer, his actors and even burning houses down, an abundance of planning is great, but ultimately, it depends on the situation and it’s vital to be able to adapt. In honor of The Ward’s July 8th release, Carpenter told me all about his process starting with finding the right script to taking the footage to the edit bay. Check it all out in the interview below.

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Review: The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond

After earning a number of Oscar nominations and a handful of wins working with director Elia Kazan on A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Baby Doll (1956), it made sense that Tennessee Williams would write a third screenplay for the two to bring to life. The problem is, there’s really nothing to bring to life in The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. Perhaps someone realized the trouble back when Williams first completed the script, because Kazan opted to move onto other projects leaving The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond on a shelf collecting dust. Not even a super-powered Shop-Vac could clean this screenplay of its cobwebs. The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is dated and further flawed by plain old poor filmmaking.

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Interview: The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond Director Jodie Markell

Legendary playwright Tennessee Williams had a magical relationship with director Elia Kazan. They collaborated on both Baby Doll and A Street Car Named Desire, the first of which was nominated for four Academy Awards and the second, nominated for 12, winning four. The plan was to reunite for a third film, which Williams called The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, but when Kazan attended to other projects, the concept dissipated.

It wasn’t until the screenplay landed in the hands of actress-turned-director Jodie Markell, that The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond received the breath of life it was meant to get decades earlier. In her directorial debut, Markell assembled a star-studded cast to bring the character Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) to the big screen. In an effort to reestablish a reputation tarnished by her father’s mistakes and secure the fortune of her great Aunt Cornelia (Ann-Margret), Fisher calls upon a plantation worker (Chris Evans) she fancies to escort her to a series of parties. When Fisher loses a priceless teardrop diamond earring at one of the soirées, not only do Fisher’s hopes for the future crumble, but so do her chances of developing a serious relationship with her escort.

Check out what Markell told me about developing a screenplay by one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century, how her acting experience affects the way she directs her cast, and more.

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