In 2011, Justin Kurzel, an Australian director, first attracted attention for his feature film debut, The Smalltown Murders, which was based on the crimes of serial killer John Bunting in South Australia. For his follow-up film, he went to Scotland and made a savage, stylized interpretation of MacBeth (2015) starring Michael Fassbinder, which was nominated for the Palme d’Oro at the Cannes Film Festival. Then Kurzel graduated to the major leagues for Assassin’s Creed (2016), a big budget fantasy adventure filmed in Malta, Spain and the UK and based on the popular video game series. The critics savaged it, moviegoers were indifferent, and it was considered one of the biggest bombs of 2016. After that, Kurzel returned to his homeland and decided to focus on a folk hero who is still a polarizing figure in his country’s history – Ned Kelly. The subsequent film, True History of the Kelly Gang (2019), is a visually dynamic and emotionally chaotic biopic which might be the most unusual interpretation yet of Australia’s infamous outlaw. Continue reading
When you’re a film actor, it’s easy to understand how one can obsess over some less than perfect facial or physical feature that is going to be magnified by the camera on the big screen. But in most cases these fears are usually unfounded and not even something the average moviegoer would notice or care about. Claudette Colbert and Jean Arthur both insisted on being shot from the left side for profiles; Colbert called the right side of her face “the dark side of the moon.” Fred Astaire used movement and positioning to distract people from what he felt were his unusually large hands and Bing Crosby dealt with his increasing baldness by wearing hats at all times (he refused to wear toupees). Orson Welles’ insecurity over the size of his nose, however, is probably the most baffling of the actor hangups I’ve read about.
*This is a slightly revised version of my post that originally appeared on TCM’s Movie Morlocks blog Continue reading