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Post by Admin on Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:43 pm

Top 5 Stars on the Road to Legend

Do you wonder how it was for people who were around when the greats likes Brando and Olivier were just beginning to ascend? Have you ever thought what it may have been like to catch a rising star? Just because you were born after the legendary acts of Vivian Leigh or Bette Davis were gone doesn’t mean that emerging icons aren’t still happening. In a world full of replicas and duplications, finding a genuine star can seem difficult. Here are the top 5 discoveries of the last decade who are well on their way to historical status:

Jessica Chastain
A mixture of a young Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren, Chastain is poised to bring back beauty, brains, and true acting chops to the big screen. Her presence can’t be ignored and watching her makes you wonder how much better she will be in the future. Chastain is formally trained and even her movements take over a screen. She belongs alongside the likes of Mirren as any lesser actor would be overshadowed beside her. Chastain was the perfect younger version to Mirren’s character in The Debt.

Michael Fassbender
Most people have a hard time realizing that Fassbender has been in numerous films throughout the years. His appearance drastically alters so much that it is hard to follow him unless you know his name. Even then, each role is practically another person. Fassbender has a visceral masculinity, a quiet confidence, a subtle intensity, and that special X factor that can’t be described. If Meryl Streep had a male version of herself it would be Michael Fassbender. Sir Ian McKellen could have had no better successor for the role of the young Magneto other than Fassbender.

Tom Hardy
He may look like a hunk but, if anything, this British actor is a heaping hunk of talent. From accents to body transformations, this is a man who makes most actors look like they are appearing in a school play. He lights up a screen even when trying to be incognito. Hardy is complex despite his frat boy antics. His testosterone may be in abundance but it is in scarcity compared to his gift. Don’t count him out ever.

Natalie Portman
Portman is an old soul blessed beyond belief at times. From her breathtaking beauty to her Harvard educated mind and Hebrew fluency, the world has not yet seen all she has to offer. Portman began as a child actress but quickly cemented her place among the film world’s most provocative and influential stars. This is no ordinary woman and like Davis, she will leave a legacy never to be forgotten.

Kate Winslet
I predict that one day Ms. Winslet will join Dame Judi Dench with a royal title from the Queen of England for her contributions to film. Winslet has the guile and the grace of a classic movie star. Her intelligence, depth, and profound delivery has already earned her an Oscar, Golden Globe, and much more. She is a beauty that will stand the test of time.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:43 pm

Top 5 Actors Who Went The Distance For Their Art
Jackie Morrison
How Far Would You Go?

How far would you go for a role? Would you be willing to radically alter your appearance to make audiences believe you are the person you are bringing to life? If so, you share the commitment of the following stars whose went the distance for the sake of acting. Here are the top five examples:

Christian Bale
Bale went from athletic to anorexic in The Machinist.

Michael Fassbender
To be a convincing hunger striker, Fassbender lost 50 pounds to play Bobby Sands in Hunger.

Tom Hanks
Hanks lost a serious amount of weight in both Philadelphia and Castaway.

Natalie Portman
The beauty went bald for one role and then turned into a waif for The Black Swan.

Charlize Theron

Beautiful beyond belief, Theron gained 30 pounds and wore no makeup to play a female serial killer in Monster.

Meryl Streep
The best of the best. Streep is master of disguise and accents. She is a special mention because her career endures for the very reason that she sacrifices so perfectly for her art.

The true test of an actor is how much they are willing to endure to entertain and provoke. Without their trademark looks to rely on, an actor has to deliver the best skill to make our eyes stay hooked on the screen. Acting is a craft and it calls for endurance and commitment no matter how famous you are. Sometimes actors forget that being a movie star is not the same as actually being a thespian. Fortunately, the six performers above, only know too well what it really takes to be in the league of the acting greats

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Post by Admin on Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:44 pm

Top 10 Celebrities Who Don't Rely On Their Looks But Could
Jackie Morrison
Beauty Fades But Talent Is Forever

Hollywood Stars are often the most beautiful people in the world. Many major movie stars are blessed with physical beauty that is out of this world. But for all their exquisiteness, some actors and actresses owe their career to their talent. These thespians could have coasted on their looks for years but didn’t. Longevity is most often a result of professionalism and quality work. Here are the Top 10 performers whose physical gifts are not the reason for their success:


Michael Fassbender: A German-Irish Adonis who has gone the distance to deliver the best performance possible. From losing weight to shape shifting, Fassbender is the real deal.

Ryan Gosling: Canada’s export always looks camera ready but his looks take a backseat in Drive and any film he is in.

Tom Hardy: A chameleon with intense masculinity and raw emotion in every role. Hardy is a trained actor whose accents are so American you would never believe he is British.

Hugh Jackman: Acting, singing, dancing, and natural charm makes this Australian Adonis a man who achieved his stardom the old fashioned way: he earned it.

Jude Law: His pretty face is overshadowed by his ability to make a character come alive.


Jessica Chastain: A Julliard graduate who became the ‘2011 Woman of the Year’ for Playlist Magazine.

Scarlett Johansson: Her curves and face may be a knockout but she is more a character player than just a pretty girl on film.

Natalie Portman: Poised from birth this actress is as captivating as she is talented.

Charlize Theron: South African actress Theron is a classic beauty who won an Oscar for gaining 30 pounds and no make-up for Monster.

Kate Winslet: Oscar winner Winslet has been a force to be reckoned with since she was a 17 year old starlet in Heavenly Creatures. She is an English Rose with a talent the size of the British Empire at its zenith.

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Post by Admin on Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:45 pm

John Kerr's 'A Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein' Book Review
Jackie Morrison
A woman almost lost to history or a hysteric?

A Dangerous Method is an interesting film but the book of the same title reveals much more of the complex triangle between Freud, Jung, and Spielrein. In fact, it delves much more into the history that was almost lost had it not been for discovered papers belonging to Spielrein. This is probably the most intriguing aspect of the story, that it was almost forgotten, and a woman’s role in the founding of psychoanalysis almost buried with her. There are some questions that one must ponder in reading this book. Was Spielrein inventing much of her affair with Jung? Or did Jung take much from Spielrein’s wisdom and make it his own in a quest for fame? The answer will never be known but it’s clear that the breaking point in Freud and Jung’s relationship was Spielrein.

Jung’s first patient as an analyst was an 18-year-old Russian hysteric named Sabina Spielrein. Her fixation on punishment and other bodily functions seemed to be the basis for her acting out. Jung, then under Freud’s mentorship, began to address the inner conflicts of his patient before crossing the boundaries of his profession. Spielrein did get better and in doing so began the affair that ripped apart Freud and Jung. Years later, Spelrein would become Freud’s colleague and one of the first female analysts in the 20th century. Her role in the history of psychoanalysis places her in a unique position to be seen as a pivotal figure in the theories of both Freud and Jung.

Were Sabina’s patient files ripe with material for what later became two distinct schools of thought? Were the fathers of modern psychoanalysis driven apart over a patient? How much of Sabina’s personal notes are even true rather than the ramblings of a hysteric? Sadly, Sabina died in a concentration camp in 1941 and left no known heirs or proof that she was truly involved with the young Jung. A Dangerous Method is an attempt to uncover what its author could have known about what happened in 1907 Vienna and its impact on Freud and Jung’s careers.

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Post by Admin on Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:39 pm

Jack who

Saturday January 19 2013
1 Comment

'Jack who?" was the widespread response when it was announced last week that largely unheard-of Irish actor Jack Reynor had been cast as the hero in the next Transformers movie.

Of the half-dozen or so up for the part, Reynor, star of grim D4 melodrama What Richard Did, was by far the least known.

Across Hollywood, insiders scratched their heads: had an utter neophyte truly received the nod over relatively established leading men such as Luke Grimes (seen alongside Liam Neeson in Taken) and Hunter Parrish (from the TV show Weeds)?

About to turn 21, Reynor has travelled a considerable distance in a remarkably short time. Born in Colorado, he was raised in Humphrystown, Co Wicklow, and later Blackrock, Co Dublin, attending the prestigious Belvedere College.

He is a nephew of Fair City actor Paul Reynor (Harry Molloy) and the son of human rights activist Tara O'Grady. Reynor caught the acting bug at school, performing in several stage productions.

His first major role was in Dollhouse, a low-budget tale of misbehaving teens directed by Kirsten Sheridan. The success of What Richard Did – in which he is uncanny as a rugby jock with a dark side – has won him acclaim in Ireland and Britain. He had to work hard for Transformers, going through three auditions.

"I used to watch a ridiculous amount of movies every night," he said of his love of cinema in a recent interview. "Die Hard got me into the whole thing. I think I was seven. I had a taped copy, which had been on RTÉ One. I would watch that movie three times in one day. It was mad."

Transformers director Michael Bay felt it necessary to explain his outside-the-box pick. "I hired a great new actor for Transformers 4 to star against Mark Wahlberg. Jack Reynor, he is an Irish kid that came to America with 30 bucks in his pocket," he said.

"Pretty ballsy. I spotted him in a great little Irish movie, What Richard Did. This kid is the real deal."

The news broke in the same month Daniel Day-Lewis, who, though undoubtedly British, self-identifies as Irish, received a best actor Oscar nomination for the lead role in Steven Spielberg's ponderous new Abraham Lincoln biopic.

Here are two Irish-based actors at opposite ends of the career spectrum: a beginner who has just landed a blockbuster part and a veteran in line for a record third best actor academy award. Each, in their own way, with the world at their feet.

This is remarkable but, looking to the bigger picture, not surprising. For the past 30 years, smouldering leading men have been one of the country's most successful exports.

From Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson to Colin Farrell and Michael Fassbender via Pierce Brosnan, Cillian Murphy and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, we have a remarkable track record in keeping Hollywood supplied in troubled hunks.

Meanwhile, Roscommon's Chris O'Dowd has achieved something until now considered unthinkable by graduating from the British sit-com circuit to the Hollywood comedy A-list.

"Jack Reynor is simply continuing a great tradition. Ireland has always produced fine stage and screen actors," says Chris Tilly, movie editor at entertainment website IGN.

"These Irish actors all combine acting ability with good looks, charm, and just a little bit of danger, which Hollywood seems to lap up."

"Why the Irish?" Elena Howe, editor of the Los Angeles Times movie blog 'The Envelope', mused in a recent interview with the Irish Independent.

"Good bone structure, handsome men, and a certain quiet stoicism that appeals to both men and women."

Historically, Irish men in Hollywood tended to be fast-living and irascible. For instance, Richard Harris's brash, boozy reputation was integral to his screen persona. This was true, too, of Peter O'Toole, who, while raised in Britain, projected the sort of twinkling insouciance audiences, especially in America, regard as quintessentially Irish.

Thankfully, Irish actors no longer feel it necessary to play up to the stereotype. Granted, Jonathan Rhys Meyers' rise to fame as star of The Tudors was in parallel with his ascension as a tabloid bad-boy. And for several years, Colin Farrell looked in danger of ending up acting's answer to George Best (it was only as he reached his mid-30s that he appeared to calm down).

These are the exceptions, however. You won't find Cillian Murphy lamping paparazzi outside nightclubs. When not on screen, Michael Fassbender – recent split from girlfriend Nicole Behaire notwithstanding – does a remarkable job of staying out of the papers and the gossip blogs.

Indeed, by Hollywood standards, Irish stars are uncannily accomplished at side-stepping the pitfalls of mega-fame. Maybe it's the actor in them, but they do not seem dazzled by their own success and, a rarity in the industry, come across relatively grounded. Maybe that explains the restrained, even subdued, performances they often put in.

"A lot of times you work with actors and they show up screaming, 'take me seriously! I'm ready to act!' When Michael shows up, he's just Michael. He's a regular dude," was how Charlize Theron described working with Michael Fassbender in a 2011 GQ profile.

"He's appreciative and grateful for the fortune that's come towards him. He's relaxed and easy-going. He's not heavy and he doesn't f**k up everybody else's day. He's happy to be a part of the circus."

The question this raises, of course, is why we aren't nearly as accomplished at producing female leads?

Speaking to this journalist last year, screen veteran Fionnula Flanagan shared an intriguing theory. "You have to remember when Hollywood is searching for a leading man, they are looking for a leading man to play opposite a specific woman. The leading lady has usually already been cast. And she is almost always American.

"Look at all the films – no matter who the actor is, he's inevitably opposite an American actress. We produce some really good-looking, hunky guys. What Hollywood is not on the lookout for is young, sexy, non-American women. Those sort of women abound in Hollywood."

"What's interesting is I bet many Americans don't specifically know the actors you mention are Irish, and yet there is that appeal nonetheless," adds Scott Collura, a senior editor at IGN Movies.

"I'd say that there's a certain down-to-earth quality to these actors that makes them very likable – Farrell, Fassbender and Neeson all seem like guys you could sit down with and have a beer. They're cool dudes. Or at least come across that way."

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Post by Admin on Sat May 25, 2013 12:59 am

Domhnall Gleeson becoming a leading man with IRA spy thriller “Shadow Dancer” and Richard Curtis’ “About Times” - VIDEOS
Irish Voice Arts Editor Cahir O'Doherty chats with Domhnall Gleeson
Irish Voice Arts Editor
Published Sunday, May 19, 2013, 7:10 AM
Updated Sunday, May 19, 2013, 8:59 AM

Domhnall Gleeson’s ready for his close up. Now, at the age of 29, he’s finally landing the kind of leading roles that promise to turn him into an internationally recognized Irish leading man like Michael Fassbender and Colin Farrell.

It’s not before time. When you’re an actor, having a famous father in the same business can actually be more of detriment than a leg up, since knee jerk comparisons with your more famous dad can lead casting agents to cross you off their list before they’ve even give you a chance.

But when your father is Brendan Gleeson, one of the finest screen actors Ireland has ever produced, stepping out of his shadow is probably especially challenging. So it’s to Domhnall’s credit that he has, on his own terms.

On May 31 you’ll have the opportunity to catch him in the brutally tense and atmospheric new IRA spy thriller 'Shadow Dancer' directed by Oscar winner James Marsh (Marsh’s documentary 'Man on a Wire,' told the story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit’s terrifying and illegal high-wire walk between the World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974).

Set in Belfast in the crucible year of 1993, 'Shadow Dancer' tells the story of single mother Collette McVeigh, who lives with her mother and two hard-line IRA brothers in a pressure-cooking setting where danger lurks around each corner.

When Collette is arrested for her part in planting a bomb in the London underground she’s given an ultimatum by a MI5 police officer (played by Clive Owen). Either she returns to Belfast to spy on her own family, or she goes to prison for 25 years and loses her son.

From this moment on 'Shadow Dancer' becomes an increasingly gripping, ice-cold thriller where nothing and no one is ever quite who they seem. When Collette’s brother’s operation is ambushed, suspicions fall on her circle and the danger she finds herself in grows.

As Conor McVeigh, Collette’s brother, Domhnall Gleeson gives his most gripping portrayal on screen to date. Even by the standard of the work he did in the Cohen brothers’ 'True Grit' and in Joe Wright’s 'Anna Karenina,' his performance in 'Shadow Dancer' is ground breaking.

“I really wanted to meet the guy who had made Man on a Wire, you know? That was really a lot of the reason why I got to meet with him,” Gleeson tells the Irish Voice.

“Once he started talking he was very clear about what he wanted in the film. He had a great cast as well, including Andrea Riseborough, Clive Owen, Aiden Gillen, Brid Brennan.”

After a spate of films where IRA members were usually portrayed as mustache twirling psychopaths, it’s a relief to see how grounded in the daily life of the period the film is.

“You don’t want to get involved unless it’s going to be done with humanity as opposed to just the politics. I didn’t want it to be about the good guys and the bad guys,” says Gleeson.

“Everybody has their reasons no matter how despicable you may find their actions. The director really understood that and put the best and worst of his characters forward.”

Gleeson’s onscreen older brother is played by Game of Thrones actor Aiden Gillen, whose work alongside fellow Irish actor Conleth Hill is one of the highlights of the celebrated HBO show.

“I’ve worked previously with Aiden and another great Irish actor Sean McGinley in the play by David Mamet called American Buffalo. In fact we worked together for months on that show so I knew how impressive he was before we started,” Gleeson said.

“Despite the seriousness of the story we were telling we had a good time on the show.”

Gleeson calls 'Shadow Dancer' a coiled spring of a film, and that description conveys just how gripping it becomes as the traps set by each character start springing.

But it’s Marsh’s forensic direction, and his instinctive documentary filmmaker’s distaste for any kind of pretence or artifice, that keeps it focused and tight throughout.

Gleeson is about to star in the biggest film role of his career, as the time travelling young man at the center of director Richard Curtis’ sci-fi romance story About Time.

In the film 21-year-old Tim Lake is told an incredible family secret by his father, that all the men in his family have the ability to travel in time. That means he can do something no one else can -- he can relive any moment in his life and change them until he gets them right (or even perfect). It’s fair to say Gleeson’s career as a leading man is riding on it, so how is he feeling?

“I’m feeling good, man. I’m really proud of it. I think it’s honest and funny and gorgeous and sad, it’s everything you want,” he says.

“I think it’s exactly what Richard wanted it to be. I think people will laugh and I think they will cry and that’s not a bad combination.”

At the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) this year Gleeson caused a stir when he and actor friend Francois Civil both decided to pretend they were Michael Fassbender, flashing megawatt smiles (with as many teeth as they could manage) at the rows of photographers.

“Oh yeah, Michael and his hundred tooth smile!” laughs Gleeson. “You know what that was? That’s coming from a place of pure love and admiration, you know what I mean?

“It was the IFTAs and he wasn’t able to be there and we were really sad about it. It was one of those things where we said we’re not as important as Michael, but maybe if we pretend to be him people will take our picture. And it worked!”

Gleeson works alongside Fassbender in the upcoming 'Frank,' the story of a young musician who gets involved with a rock band led by the most eccentric singer ever (played by Fassbender in a huge plastic head), with a script by the celebrated writer Jon Ronson and directed by Dubliner Lenny Abrahamson.

“It’s one of those great things where I got to work with a fantastic director and actors that I have admired for years,” says Gleeson.

“You set them up in your head so high that really they can only fail. I’ve just been really lucky in the last few years that not only have I met them, but they surpassed my expectations.”

Gleeson has had a hit of his own behind the camera as well as in front of it. His 2012 short film Noreen, starring his father Brendan as a rural Irish cop, won plaudits for the tale of two clueless Irish policemen who manage to turn an open and shut case into a bloodbath.

With the success of that will he ever tempted to write his own features?

“At the moment I have more of a roll going with the acting thing. I’m getting to work with pretty astonishing people I never dreamed I’d get to work with,” he says.

“I just want to keep that going. Maybe someday I’ll get to that, but right now I’m keeping busy.”

'Shadow Dancer' opens May 31 in New York and Los Angeles.

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