Jason, I loved your montage that so bittersweetly evokes those numbingly exhausting first months of motherhood. Tell me how you put that together.
JASON REITMAN: I’m so happy you asked about that! That’s something that was on our call sheet every single day and it was really important to us that we get that right. There are so many movies that examine and portray parenting and it often comes across as slapstick. Parenting is one of these odd taboo subjects in a time when we share our most intimate details. We will describe what medication we’re taking but we still won’t share the intimacies and struggles of parenting in a real way. So we gave a questionnaire to twelve mothers and asked them to give us anything they were willing to share about the first three months of being a parent. It was through these questionnaires that we got these odd details like putting the baby on top of the dryer and the amount of moms and dads that drop their phones on their babies. We were constantly shooting it and there was an editor who worked only on that montage throughout the film.
On The Undefeated: Interviews with Black Actors who played “token” characters on television in the 1990’s, from “Seinfeld” to “Dawson’s Creek.” Important, moving, and infuriating.
n the 1990s, the wealth of black representation on television could lull you into thinking (if you turned the channel from Rodney King taking more than 50 blows from Los Angeles Police Department batons) that black lives actually did matter. But almost all of these shows were, in varying ways, an extension of segregated America. It’s there in the memories of the stars below: There were “black shows” and there were “white shows.” If you were a black actor appearing on a white show, you were usually alone.
For some of the most visible black actors coming of age in the 1990s, it’s clear that along with the triumphs came isolation, blatant racial stereotyping and biased casting calls. As for “crossing over” to the mainstream, in the mostly segregated worlds of Seinfeld, Frasier,Melrose Place, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Felicity, V.I.P., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek and more, blacks were usually relegated to bit parts or were there for a short time. The Undefeated sat down with eight of these talented women and men. These are their stories. This is history.
Interview: Ser’Darius Blain of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”
Posted on April 2, 2018 at 6:53 pm
Ser’Darius Blain plays Fridge, the high school football player whose avatar is Kevin Hart in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” one of the best family movies of 2017 and now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. I got to ask him some questions about acting and being in the film.
If you could pick any avatar of any game to represent you, what would you pick and why?
If I could pick any character from any game to represent me it would be Ryu from Streetfighter. He’s so cool and walks with so much still confidence.
In “Jumanji,” what did Fridge most need to learn from the game?
In Jumanji, Fridge most needed to learn to trust in himself and his own intelligence. He also needed to learn true teamwork and that nobody was judging him but himself…he gained huge lessons through friendship.
What is your favorite scene in the movie?
My favorite scene in the movie is when Jack Black discovers his… anatomy and had to relieve himself in the woods.
With “Jumanji” and “Charmed,” you’ve worked on two projects with a lot of fantasy and special effects. What is most fun about that and what are the challenges?
The most fun about working with special effects is that you have to really rely on your imagination to build the scene. You can’t actually see how what you’re doing will fit in ultimately and You look silly while doing it but when you see the finished product it becomes something amazing! Like getting mystically sucked into a video game and turning into green jungle dust.
When did you first realize that you wanted to act?
I always knew I wanted to act but I was really afraid to desire something that seemed so unrealistic and a long shot. I was a kid memorizing entire movies and TV episodes but I didn’t take it seriously until I was about 19. Then I moved to New York and took it head on. Best decision I ever made.
What actors have inspired you most?
Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Derek Luke and Leonardo DiCaprio inspired me the most. The rawness balanced with charisma that they all bring to the screen is awe inspiring. I want to be like them when I grow up.
What’s the best advice you have received about acting?
The best advice I’ve received about acting is “to be as uniquely and unequivocally YOU as possible. YOU are special. YOU are interesting and if you’re real, people will find it interesting.” -Della Reese (to me at 22 years old)
The Looming Tower Explores the FBI and CIA Before 9/11
Posted on March 8, 2018 at 10:32 pm
Hulu’s new series, “The Looming Tower,” is based on Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction book about the US intelligence agencies in the years before 9/11. His focus is on the rivalry between the heads of the FBI and CIA operations investigating Osama Bin Laden and the rise of Al-Qaeda and how their unwillingness to share information made it impossible to prevent the attack. In the series, adapted by “Capote” screenwriter Dan Futterman, Peter Sarsgaard plays CIA Analyst Martin Schmidt, a fictionalized character, and Jeff Daniels plays John O’Neill, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s counterterrorism operation, who was killed on 9/11 in the World Trade Center.