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Stars to Watch: Part 3 – Movies Spotlight – March 2011

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Stars to Watch: Part 3 – Movies Spotlight – March 2011 Empty Stars to Watch: Part 3 – Movies Spotlight – March 2011

Post by Admin on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:01 am

Cinema constantly has new talent each and every year, making good films and opening audiences’ eyes to new characters, stories and worlds. March offers three more exciting performers to watch.

Mia Wasikowska

What She’s Been In:

Wasikowska, 21, landed her first acting gig in 2004 on the Australian soap All Saints, making her feature debut two years later in Suburban Mayhem for which she received a Young Actor’s AFI Award. She made her debut in the States in the HBO drama In Treatment. From there, Edward Zwick cast her in his WWII drama Defiance, a role that she is quite good in playing opposite Jamie Bell primarily. She also appears in Mira Nair’s poorly received Amelia Earhart biography (Amelia), again in a supporting role. It is not until 2010 that she would get her first leading role in Hollywood.


2010 proved to be a huge year for Wasikowska. She had a massive Hollywood hit with Alice in Wonderland and an indy hit with The Kids Are All Right, which was nominated for Best Picture at the 2011 Oscars. Winning the role of Alice in Tim Burton’s retelling was no easy task. She auditioned for the role for months, having to fly back and forth from her native Australia to England. Being a fan of Lewis Carroll’s books and the Jan Svankmajer stop motion film, Wasikowska was determined to get the role. While the film is aesthetically brilliant, the narrative is profoundly lacking leaving it feeling shallow and un-engaging. But, Wasikowska is good in her role as Alice bringing strength to the character. She is also very good in The Kids Are All Right, when she very easily could have been overshadowed by the more well know actors. Personally, I thought her performance, along with Josh Hutcherson, was the most real and meaningful of the film.

March Film:

Following up on the success she experienced in 2010, Wasikowska appears as the lead in this month’s Jane Eyre, directed by Cary Fukunaga and co-starring Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell. Fukunaga’s adaptation is still set in the period of the novel but he describes it to feel more modern. He does not want it to feel as theatrical as past films have, which lead him to cast naturalist actors like Fassbender and Wasikowska. As a kid, he was a huge fan of the Orson Welles/Joan Fontaine film. Wasikowska was reading the novel, loved it and decided to search out a version in production to be a part of, and she was lucky enough to hook up with the BBC and be cast by Fukunaga. The advanced and festival screenings have generated a lot of positive buzz.


Wasikowska has a very busy 2011 with two other releases and two to four in 2012. She stars in Gus Van Sant’s Restless about a terminally ill girl who falls in love with a boy who likes to attend funerals. Then, she is working again with In Treatment writer-director Rodrigo Garcia starring in his new film (written by Glenn Close) Albert Nobbs about life in 19th century Ireland. It has a great cast with Aaron Johnson, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Brendan Gleeson, and Close. In 2012 she is set to star in the Judd Apatow scripted crime-drama Stainless Steel about an outlaw who is hired by the CIA to take down four corrupt members of the FBI. It will be her third time working with Jamie Bell. Finally, she is starring in John Hillcoat’s The Wettest Country in the World about Depression-era bootleggers in the American South. It has a phenomenal cast with Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, and Jason Clarke (oh, and Shia LaBeouf). Wasikowska certainly has some great stuff coming up.

Career Highlights:

1.) In Treatment: Season One (2008) – supporting – available on DVD/Rent
2.) Defiance (2008)* –supporting – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
3.) The Kids Are All Right – supporting – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
4.) Alice in Wonderland – lead – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
*Editor’s picks

Michael Fassbender

What He’s Been In:

Fassbender, 33, got his first part in the Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks WWII mini-series Band of Brothers (though, I have watched it all the way through ten times and I still am shocked every time I see that he is in it, I have never recognized him). He took roles in a number of British series and TV movies before garnering his second hit in the States, albeit again in a smaller role, as Stelios in 300. Then, he decided to take roles in edgier and very interesting indy films. He is fantastic as the lead character Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen’s very good Hunger. Next, he appears briefly in the good thriller Eden Lake, starring Kelly Reilly. Continuing his streak of great films, he next co-starred in Fish Tank, another excellent British indy. He has also starred in the ‘Romans in England’ film Centurion, which is a good action thriller and was the best part of the otherwise terrible (but mildly entertaining) Jonah Hex. He has become one of my favorite new actors in the last couple years.


Fassbender’s breakthrough for American audiences, however, came in Quentin Tarantino’s fabulous film Inglourious Basterds. He plays the role of Lt. Archie Hicox, the British officer tasked with going undercover with the Basterds to infiltrate the German film premier. The part allowed Fassbender to utilize his native German. Coupled with his performances in Hunger and Fish Tank, Inglourious Basterds has catapulted him to the near top of in-demand leading men (who are also good actors, as opposed to many leading men in Hollywood who merely look good, all else lacking).

March Film:

This month Fassbender stars with Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre, taking on the role of Mr. Rochester – the tortured master of Thornfield Hall who lives with a terrible secret and past mistake. The film will probably not do big business, and thus not promote his name and face in the minds of general movie goers, but festival buzz for his performance has been very good, which will only lead to even better (and probably bigger) future roles. 2011 will likely prove to be a huge year for him, primarily as he also stars in the blockbuster prequel X-Men: Fist Class, set during the Cold War and directed by auteur Matthew Vaughn, and the likely Oscar contender A Dangerous Method about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, directed by David Cronenberg (also a modern auteur director).


In addition to X-Men: Fist Class and A Dangerous Method, Fassbender also has two more films slated for 2011 releases. The first, due in August, is Stephen Soderbergh’s Haywire about a black ops super soldier who seeks payback. The second is Shame, about Brandon a 30-something who engages in a myriad of sexual escapades only to have his lifestyle cramped when his younger sister moves in (played by Carey Mulligan). The film reunites him with director Steve McQueen (something I am quite excited about). With his five films in 2011, it is probably impossible to find an actor with a better slate. For 2012, he is set to star with Noomi Rapace in Ridley Scott’s new Horror film Prometheus, written by Lost co-showrunner Damon Lindelof.

Career Highlights:

1.) Band of Brothers (2001)* – supporting – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
2.) 300 (2006) – supporting – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
3.) Hunger (2008)* – lead – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
4.) Eden Lake (2008) – supporting – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
5.) Fish Tank (2009)* – supporting – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
6.) Inglourious Basterds (2009)* – lead – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
7.) Centurion (2009) – lead – available on Blu-ray/DVD/Rent
*Editor’s picks

Abbie Cornish

What She’s Been In:

Cornish, 28, got her start modeling at the age of thirteen. In 1997, she got her fist role on the TV series Wildside for which she won the Australian Film Institute’s Young Actor’s Award in 1999. She continued to take roles in TV and film in Australia before making a series of hits – 2004’s Somersault and 2006’s Candy, which she co-starred in with Heath Ledger and Geoffrey Rush. Both films were applauded for her fine performances, and Hollywood took notice. In 2006, she got her first Hollywood roles in Ridley Scott’s (not so great) A Good Year and Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007. She then got her first big American role in Kimberly Pierce’s politically charged war drama Stop-Loss, starring opposite Ryan Phillippe. In 2010, she took a voice role in Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.


Cornish’s breakthrough role came in Jane Campion’s 2009 indy romance Bright Star. The Oscar nominated film is about the three-year romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. She stars as Brawne playing the role with compassion and strength. It is a beautiful film that received a ton of critical acclaim, Cornish receiving a number of best actress nods. While the film certainly did not serve as a breakthrough in terms of getting her name and face out there to the masses, her performance and the film’s acclaim put her on the radar of good directors and producers leading to her getting better projects, which can be seen with her upcoming slate.

March Film:

In March Cornish has two new films coming out: first, she has a supporting role in Neil Burger’s adaptation of The Dark Fields co-starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro called Limitless. Burger is a very good, though under the radar, director (and thus I am interested to see how this turns out). The film is about a struggling writer who takes a pill that allows him to access the full potential of his brain, and therefore enables him to dominate the world of modern man. Cornish play his girlfriend Lindy. Later in the month she co-stars in Sucker Punch, again working with Zack Snyder. The film is about a young girl who is institutionalized. She retreats into her imagination to cope, dreaming of a grand action filled escape from her prison. The film looks to be a visual assault of huge action set pieces, perpetrated by attractive women fighting monsters, samurai and even Nazis. Cornish plays Sweet Pea, a fellow captive who is made to be a heroine in the fantasy world. Both films are very different, but highly anticipated and should be among the best of the month.


Cornish has two additional films scheduled for 2011 releases. The first is Madonna’s second feature film W.E, a two-tiered romance about the affair between King Edward VIII and an American divorcee Wallis Simpson (also recently seen as a subplot in The King’s Speech) and a contemporary affair between a married woman and a Russian security guard. The second is writer-director David Riker’s new indy film The Girl about a young Texas mother (played by Cornish) who after losing her child to foster care begins smuggling Mexicans across the border. There is also speculation that she is in contention for roles in Ridley Scott’s horror film Prometheus and in another hot upcoming project: The Great Gatsby (but it seems as though she lost out on both roles, but until they are actually filming nothing is certain). Really, she is still in the beginning phase of her career, but just on the precipice of becoming a big star.

Career Highlights:

1.) Candy (2006) – lead – available on DVD/Rent
2.) Stop-Loss (2008) – supporting – available on DVD/Rent
3.) Bright Star (2009) – lead – available on DVD/Rent
*Editor’s picks
Posted by Geoffrey Winssinger at 2:33 PM


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