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Rupert Grint on Charlie Countryman: ‘It’s me running around with a strap-on’

The Harry Potter alumnus on playing a wannabe porn star called Boris Pecker, working with Shia LaBeouf and why he’d like to destroy Goblet of Fire

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Hi, Rupert. How’s New York?

Yeah, it’s fun. I miss home sometimes because I’ve been here since July, rehearsing and previewing It’s Only a Play. It opened this month on Broadway and we don’t finish until January.

Are you staying somewhere swanky?

They’ve put me in a pretty nice apartment downtown. I’ve made myself quite at home here. I got a pet tortoise.

What’s its name?

He’s called Madeline. I named him before I found out his gender. The best thing is that you don’t really need to do anything with him. He doesn’t even need water that often. Doesn’t like to be touched either.

Your first play was Mojo with Ben Whishaw and Daniel Mays. Now you’re in a show with Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Stockard Channing. Didn’t you ever think about starting off small? Maybe a bit of am-dram?

Ha! I know, it’s pretty amazing working with all these geniuses. After Mojo ended, I didn’t want to do another play for a long time. It was fun but so exhausting. Then this came up and it was such an incredible cast, I had to do it. (1)

So you’re playing a theatre director?

Yeah, he’s a real nightmare, a completely ridiculous lord who is celebrated for his work but hates all the acclaim. He’s desperate for a bad review. On top of that, he’s a kleptomaniac and in therapy. An absolute mess.

Which aspects of that can you relate to?

Not too many, actually. I’m really the polar opposite. I can’t even relate to his look – the eye makeup and the mad hair. I dunno how ladies put up with makeup. I wear a lot of guyliner in the show. It’s really heavy duty and hard to get off.

Talking of mad hair, you once said that you weren’t allowed control of your own hair during the Harry Potter series. Did you make up for it afterwards?

Not really, no. Hang on – actually, yeah! One time. I let my mum cut my hair after the last Harry Potter film. She kind of dabbles in hairdressing. And it ended up being a total nightmare. She just kept trying to make it even and symmetrical but, in doing that, she kind of cut all my hair into a really weird shape. Ever since then, I’ve had a fear of scissors.

Does the Broadway audience have that strange habit of applauding when their favourite actor comes on stage?

Oh God, yeah! They do that all the time. It’s really weird.

Do you get applauded too?

[Sheepishly] Yeah. Though it’s more hesitant. It’s not instant like with Nathan or Stockard. There’s a bit of a delay. A ripple effect.

Oh well, better than nothing. How are the stage-door autograph hounds?

Oh, you know, they’re the usual suspects. It depends on how many Harry Potter fans come to the show that day. Usually, quite a lot.

Do you know what proportion of stuff you autograph ends up on eBay?

Um, I’m not sure. When I was doing Mojo, I signed some photos for this guy and then when I walked down the street a few minutes later, he was selling them on the street corner. He’d got them framed up really quickly first. I did think about going up to him and buying one but I chickened out.

If you were forced to destroy one of the Harry Potter movies for ever, which one would it be?

Actually, that’s quite easy: number four, Goblet of Fire. Nothing to do with the film, really. It’s a hair thing again – it’s just because of how my hair looks in it. It’s terrible. I’ve got no recollection of my hair ever looking like that.

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Tell me about your new film, The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.

This is the craziest film I’ve ever seen or been a part of. It was just ridiculous. You’ll have to be patient with me ’cos it was two years ago and I’m still trying to erase it from my mind – no, I mean piece it all together. So James Buckley from The Inbetweeners is in it and we’re best friends living in Bucharest. Shia LaBeouf comes there after his mother … no, after the ghost of his mother appears to him and tells him to find himself in Bucharest. He gets in trouble with gangsters and someone dies on his flight over – literally on his lap! This isn’t making much sense, is it?

You’re making it up as you go along, aren’t you?

It does sounds like it, doesn’t it? So Shia meets me and James in this youth hostel. I’m a wannabe porn star called Boris Pecker. My main plot is I take too much Viagra and require medical assistance. So it’s me running around with a strap-on.

What research and preparation did that entail?

I didn’t really do that much. I thought, let’s just go for it.

Did Shia LaBeouf do lots of mad things on set?

Er, yeah. Yeah, he did. I guess you’d call him a method actor. He kind of lived that part. It was … interesting. I think he’s talked about it a bit himself. Things happened which I probably shouldn’t go into.

As long as no tortoises were harmed in the making of the film.

God, no. It was a tortoise-free incident.


Original article found here:theguardian.com | October, 23rd 2014

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Rupert Grint says he’s not trying to ‘shock’ with roles

Since “Harry Potter,” Grint has played an aspiring porn star and a punk rocker in “CBGB.” But he’s not trying to “shock” people.

1375897055000-GRINT-CBGB-MOV-jy-1212Rupert Grint has tapped into some out-there characters since leaving the Harry Potter franchise in 2011.

This year Grint has appeared as the drug-taking aspiring porn star in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman. In the upcoming CBGB (out Oct. 11) he stars as the drugged-out punk rocker Cheetah Chrome.

Grint will also make his West End stage debut this year in Mojo, where he plays a drug-addled gangster.

“It’s not really that I am trying to shock people or make a big statement,” says Grint, “It’s just part of moving on.”

Grint, whose portrayal of Cheetah Chrome was unveiled in USA TODAY, drops his trousers in one CBGB scene in front of a record producer at the bar to prove that he doesn’t dye his hair.

In another scene, his bandmate from the infamous The Dead Boys engages in a sexual act with a female fan midsong.

It’s all part of capturing the real Cheetah Chrome. The rocker lived a life so hard that Grint says he was surprised that the real Chrome was on set, working as an adviser to the film.

“I couldn’t believe he was still alive given the amount of drugs he took,” says Grint.

Grint admits the prospect of playing on the West End intimidates him. His stage acting experience is limited to school plays.

“This is a completely new thing, a whole new level,” says Grint. “It does scare me. That’s kind of a reason why I want to do it.”


Original article found here:usatoday.com | AUGUST, 7th 2013

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Director Fredrik Bond and James Buckley Talk THE NECESSARY DEATH OF CHARLIE COUNTRYMAN, Filming in Budapest, and More at Sundance

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The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman is director Fredrik Bond’s first feature film. Premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, it stars Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood as a couple who meet under strange circumstances and have an impossibly strong mutual attraction. As LaBeouf’s character Charlie falls for the beautiful and grieving Gabi, he gets caught in the sights of her dangerous husband (Mads Mikkelsen) and his life comes into immediate and grave danger. The film feels like a modern fairy tale story of love and pain colliding set in the gritty world of Bucharest, Romania. It also stars Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Vincent D’Onofrio and Melissa Leo.

Shortly after the premiere of the film, I was able to sit down with director Fredrik Bond to discuss the film. We were then pleasantly surprised to be joined by star James Buckley (The Inbetweeners) for the remainder of our 30 minute interview. They discussed filming in Budapest, the unique look of the film, the closeness of the cast and gave me hints at what’s coming up next. Click after the jump to read the whole interview.

Collider: First, for people who won’t see this film for a while can you tell them in their words what the film is about.
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Fredrik Bond: The film is about a young man who loses his mom to cancer in the beginning of the movie in Chicago. And he goes on a trip, on a self-discovery journey after, for the grief of his mom by going to Eastern Europe. And falls in love with Gabriela and has a bit of a love adventure in Bucharest. Has a big love adventure in Bucharest.

This film obviously has a very unique, stylized look to it. Were there filmmakers that you were trying to emulate? What filmmakers and which genres influence your style?

Bond: Well, I think I’ve always admired sort of dynamic filmmakers, which doesn’t shy away from strong expressions. Which might be a little more theatrical at some points. So like, in France, Leo Carax, who did Lovers of Pont-Nerf, of course Tarantino. Swedish director Roy Andersson who did one of the most beautiful love stories in 1970 called A Swedish Love Story. Um, and Danny Boyle, Danny Boyle has been a huge, has had a huge effect on me. His movies, early movies like Trainspotting and those movies. So I’ve always loved the energies of those movies. But also, that they are very focused on the characters. Cause it’s not only gimmickery, it’s not only about visuals. You feel a real need, a love for the main characters. So that’s what I’ve always loved about watching movies myself. And of course that’s Luhrmann. His Moulin Rouge! is incredible, his Romeo + Juliet. Wow. You know. When I saw those, those really were transformative films for me.

Music plays a really big role in this film obviously. Do you think your experience in directing things like commercials and music videos influenced that?

Bond: I think that yeah, since I’ve been working with music videos and commercials, they are naturally very music driven and visual driven. So that feels like my natural element to be working with that. But in feature films, I also, I was worried that it was going to be too gimmickery, that it was going to be too much, too much music, too much visual flare and not letting the actors shine through. So it was always a balance for me to work with, to let the characters really take the main focus of the film and the story. And that’s what I love about the filmmakers that I mentioned, is that it’s visual but it’s also, you see that the characters are the most important thing. The actors are the most important thing. Cause if you don’t, I’m like, if I don’t care about a character, I fall asleep within five minute, when I watch movies. If I don’t care 100% about the character, I fall asleep. So that was fundamental for me, yeah.

Film or digital, and why? evan-rachel-wood-shia-labeouf-necessary-death-of-charlie-countryman-600x399

Bond: Uh, I think, I think um…I think digital. I think digital and I was terrified about it for a long time. But I think digital because it gives so much more freedom to work with the actors. Cause when you’re working with film and you hear that mag starting to roll and you know that there’s thousands of dollars just spinning around, it’s another stress element, which I don’t enjoy at all. Cause I love when the actors, and especially when you work, I was so lucky to be working with amazing actors like Shia and Evan and James Buckley and Mads Mikkelsen and Rupert Grint and Til Schweiger and those guys, so you really want to make sure that they, that I don’t have to shut off the camera because I’m running out of film or it becomes too expensive. So in that way you’re so liberated to work with digital. But it’s still… when you see Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and it’s shot on film at 75mm it’s…you know. It’s hard to compare. But I still think that digital is close enough, and I think it’s getting closer and closer to be…there’s no doubt it’s going to be taking over completely unfortunately.

Then you shot this on digital.

Bond: We shut this on digital, yeah.

On what camera?

Bond: The Alexa.

And how long was your first assembly cut?

Bond: My first…believe it or not, my first assembly cut was actually one and a half hour. Cause I wanted to make a short, snappy movie. I wanted to make it very…but um, cause I didn’t want to fall into the trap of having to kill too many of my darlings, I wanted, when I had to cut scenes, to cut down, so I actually went the other way around. So my first cut was really short, and instead of taking away things, I was adding things more and more. Which was giving more space and room for certain things.

Well I was going to ask you about seeing an extended cut, but are we gonna see the shorter cut on the DVD? necessary-death-of-charlie-countryman-shia-labeouf

Bond: No, no, I think we’re going to see the extended cut on DVD. But I know, because, this was my first movie experience but you always hear about directors coming in with a cut that is two and a half or three hours long and then there’s a big battle over which scenes to cut and what to do. So I didn’t want to go that way. I wanted instead to add stuff that I felt became more and more necessary.

What was cut then, what was deleted? Were there deleted scenes?

Bond: There was deleted scenes. That was primarily because we needed to get to Bucharest earlier in the movie. So we had a little bit longer setting in Chicago, in the Chicago part of the movie. But that was about it.

But we’ll see those on the DVD?

Bond: I hope so. Yeah yeah yeah I hope so.

Was it always Bucharest that you were going to film in?

Bond: Um, yes… I mean no. It wasn’t…originally the movie was actually set in, the script was actually set in Budapest, but then I really wanted to find a city which hadn’t been explored that much, and that we hadn’t heard so much about. And I wanted to make a fresh love letter to a city that was new to Charlie and new to the audience as well. And when we went to scout in Bucharest I just fell in love with the homeless dogs on the street. The largest population of homeless kids in the city, and just what they’ve gone through as a nation. What the city has gone through with dictatorships and corruption and stuff. It just struck a chord in me that I felt very passionate about, that I felt was perfect for the movie.

How did the history of that city influence the way that you shot there? Was it difficult to shoot, were they welcoming to you?
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Bond: No, they were super welcoming. You know, they were, if anything, almost easier a city to work with than any other city I’ve worked with. Because they’re so hungry. That was also, you want to work with hungry people that are passionate about…so when they knew that we were doing a love letter to their city, it was like wow. Yes. We will do anything to help. And like a lot of other productions just come there to use it as, for another city. But we were actually making it Bucharest for Bucharest. So they loved that we were, I think we’re really running with their energy of loving that.

What do you think is the message behind this film? What do you hope people take away from it when they see it?

Bond: That love prevails everything. I think that it’s…the movie’s really about grief, overcoming grief. And I’ve personally gone through grief myself, in terms of losing somebody very close to me, who’s still alive actually but losing still. And so that’s something that hopefully can resonate with a lot of different people I think we all have grief in different incarnations in our lives. I think if anything, if it’s short and sweet, love prevailing over grief.

(James Buckley enters and sits down next to Bond)

Bond: And his grief was working with me.


James Buckley: I’m not sure what that means.

Well welcome. Now that both of you are here, I want to ask about your [Bond’s] experience working as a first time director and your [Buckley’s] experience working with a first time director of a feature?

Buckley: There wasn’t…there wasn’t…

Bond: Go on, you can tell me. Be rough. fredrik-bond-james-buckley-the-necessary-death-of-charlie-countryman-425x600

Buckley: There wasn’t like a feeling of a first time director. Fredrik’s very experienced and has been a director for a long, long time and he’s…there wasn’t one point when I was thinking when I felt…it was a great experience. It was lots of fun from the moment I got an email from you. It was just wow, this guy is really enthusiastic. It’s just infectious, he creates a very fun place to work. Makes you feel very comfortable. Listens to suggestions. Explains what he wants as well. And these are all things you need to be a great director, so that was my experience working with you.

Bond: Well mine as a first time director was so interesting to work with such a different caliber of actors that work so differently from…we would do certain takes per scripted and then James is amazing at improvising which is a gift that you just have to utilize and work with because these diamonds just fly out of his mouth constantly. So I think there’s, how many actual killer lines that you delivered and gave? But it was a lot. I think as a first time director, as a director anyway in general, you just have to be receptive to different ways that people work and try to see where people shine the most and cater to that.

Buckley: But it’s great to be able to, because I do like improvising a bit, taking things in a different way and trying to get a different reaction, just trying to get a joke in every second. I love doing that. But there’s only certain places that you feel comfortable you can actually do that. A lot of directors, I don’t think they give you that confidence, you feel a bit limited to feel free enough to do something like that. So when you get a guy who really builds you up, really think ‘oh ok I might actually be doing a good job here’ that really makes you think your performance is just, that’s invaluable, that’s everything. That’s what you want from a director.

Bond: The first scene, with you guys in the hostel room, there’s a lot of improvisation there. And in the nightclub. There’s some great stuff there, really great stuff that we also realized that ‘that might not work as well’ and we wrote alternative lines, and then he would come with his genius thoughts and sort of gave it a new life and made it work.

What was it like, the atmosphere on set working with the other actors? People like Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood who’ve worked on very big other projects with big name directors? shia-labeouf-evan-rachel-wood-600x413

Buckley: That was one of the reasons why I wanted to do this film, because it had great people involved already so that’s a draw. Also on the flip side yeah, it is very daunting because it’s…you know, I’m famous in Britain which is like…not really…

Bond: It’s like Florida, isn’t it?

Buckley: There’s like three…there’s about four people in Britain. So.

Bond: Britain is pretty big. I’d like to remind you. You still have 56 million.

Buckley: So it became somewhere people didn’t really know me. I didn’t really have a name for myself yet. That was daunting but exciting. The thing is, then you work with Shia who’s really down to earth. He’s just like, back home you’d call him ‘a normal bloke’. You know, there’s nothing pretentious about him, he’s just a real sort of straight guy, and he was really up for it and mucking and getting muddy and getting involved. Nothing difficult, there was no like ‘he needs a bigger trailer’ or anything like that at all. He’s the complete opposite of anything like that, which straight away makes you feel really comfortable. And he’d say ‘oh how’d you feel this one going, this scene gong?’ You think, this is an amazing experience, and I’m really pleased that I got offered this part.

Bond: When everybody started working it was like being creative people, all the ‘celebrity’ part of it disappears out the window, it’s about here and now and what we’re working completely. And you know the whole cast that we had was exactly like that. Shia didn’t come with an assistant, Evan didn’t come with an assistant, it was just about the work. It was just getting it, and Mads Mikkelsen the same thing.

Buckley: And Rupert the same thing.

Bond: Rupert as well. rupert-grint-400x600

Buckley: I keep forgetting that he’s a mega, mega star.

Bond: Me too!

Buckley: It’s so easy to just forget that. Cause you just talk to him and he’s just so nice and so fun to be around, like you go for a beer with him afterwards and stuff and he’s just again, he’s just a bloke. And then you forget that his films have just smashed every record that exists and that everyone on the planet knows who he is. It was really lucky, it was so great that everyone was on the same page and wanted the same thing.

Bond: It was just a big happy family.

Buckley: No it really was.

Bond: Yeah there was sex every night. You and I had an incredible time. (They laugh)

Buckley: Oh god yeah!

I’m printing this you know. That’s on the record.

Bond: No, but you have to add the laughters! The foundation of that is that everybody, we had a script in our hands that we were crazy about making. And everybody wanted to make this script. So nobody was there for other reasons than love for Matt Drake’s script.

Did you have a favorite scene to shoot?

Buckley: Most of the stuff with Shia and Rupert, the three of us together was just like…

Bond: There’s passion and there’s arguments but it’s for the good, because we’re doing this script. So it’s not like it’s smooth as as a banana, you know?

Buckley: Smooth as a banana?

Is that a saying?

Bond: I think so.

Buckley: It’s a new one. Tweet that. Hashtag smooth as a banana.

Bond: But it’s all coming from a good place. Creative place.

From what you’re saying it sounds like a lot changed from the original script, is that true?

Bond: No…does it sound like that?

Well you’re talking about improv and things that went in new directions…

Bond: I mean we’re talking small…in the big scheme of things—

evan-rachel-wood-the-necessary-death-of-charlie-countrymanBuckley: We always knew where we had to get to. And what happened in the meantime, we just messed about with how, and had a little bit of fun, a few different takes and some stuff probably was a bit too odd and a bit too weird but it was great being on a set where you felt comfortable enough to just try something. If it doesn’t work out we do something else on the next take. It’s been definitely the most rewarding thing I’ve done as an actor so far, in my career. I really felt part of the film, whereas sometimes you just feel like a guy who’s hired to be there. So it was great.

Bond: I feel the same. Like a guy who was hired to be there. It was my best film so far.

Buckley: Definitely. It definitely is your best film so far.

Bond: But no, it was a tight schedule, so we had sort of wiggle room to try certain things in certain ways but otherwise we had a pretty, we had a pretty set plan for where we were heading. So it might sound like we were wish-washy but we—

Buckley: We still took it very seriously. And very professionally. That’s another thing as well that people like Shia bring to the table, that they’re just so, like Shia’s just so- he’s just the film. When I was talking to him I was like ‘have you got anything else after this?’ just having a conversation. And he’s like ‘no no, I have one thing, I like to just concentrate on that.’ And he froze himself so completely into it. So passionate.

Bond: You know, I didn’t see Shia on the cell phone once in the time during the whole production. He never brings up the phone. And I think it was kind of the same thing with all the actors. Everybody was so committed. Mads Mikkelson is like, he’s also the character when he comes there, he’s amazing. So I think all the actors inspired each other.

Buckley: It’s very infectious, when talking to Shia about it, how he goes about stuff, I said to him ‘yeah when we cut, I’m going to go speak to my wife, speak to my son and I can’t be this druggie backpacker.’ So we have a sort of slightly different, we disagree about when the day ends maybe. Apart from that, what an amazing way to go about your business, to just be so focused on the film, so passionate about the film and…I know Shia’s got a bit of a record of being maybe difficult but that’s weird, that’s really strange, because—

Bond: Has he? shia-labeouf-the-necessary-death-of-charlie-countryman

Buckley: I think so, yeah. That’s what I’ve been told. But he only ever does things that he thinks will make the film as great as it could possibly be.

Bond: He’s the truth police.

Buckley: That’s exactly correct. You take from his lead too, he’s a real leader in this film. And I think everyone did. Everyone took from his example and then we would be like ‘I don’t really believe this.’ Because I’m British as well and it was written by an American, so things like even just certain words don’t sound correct coming out of my mouth. So being able to say like ‘I wouldn’t really say that, that’s sort of an Americanism’ and Shia sort of gives you the confidence to be able to do that. His whole work ethic is contagious.

Very quickly,what’s next for the two of you?

Bond: I’m looking at a couple of things that I’m excited about but nothing has been decided. So I’m enjoying the festival right now, and then we’ll see what happens in the spring.

Directing?

Bond: Yeah. Not acting. I’m the director, not the actor.

Well maybe you tried features, you don’t like ‘em.

Bond: No, I mean I love this. This is what I do.

Good. And for you?

Buckley: Hopefully, I finished a film last year, again something completely different to what I’ve done before, it’s a thriller. A horror. Actually I don’t even know if I’m allowed to talk about it, because there’s a big studio involved and I think they might sue me.

Bond: Well we’re going to Berlin with this also. To the Berlin festival with this film, we’re in competition there as well. So that’s going to be the next couple weeks.

by Samantha Cheirif


Original article found here: collider.com | January 30, 2013

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Rupert Grint surprises Sundance as aspiring porn star

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PARK CITY, Utah — Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, isn’t the only Harry Potter alum breaking new ground at the Sundance Film Festival.

Rupert Grint also appears in a role that is a significant departure from his Potter persona Ron Weasley, in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.

Grint plays a drug-loving, aspiring porn star (his porn name is Boris Pecker) who befriends Shia LaBeouf in the story set in seedy Bucharest, Romania. His character enjoys powerful hits of Viagra that go well beyond the recommended dosage.

In his Countryman role, Grint, 24, has the charm that has always endeared him to his fans, but in a very different context from the eight Potter films that ran from 2001 to 2011.

“He’s so synonymous with the Harry Potter series, I think that’s why he was so keen to do this,” says Countryman director Fredrik Bond. “He’s dying to be doing different stuff outside of the series and be acknowledged for it. He’s an incredible actor. And it’s so different from what he’s done before. He had an amazing time.”

Grint is working on a project and was not able to attend Sundance for the Countryman world premiere Monday. But British comic James Buckley, who plays his best friend in the film, had nothing but praise for Grint’s departure role.

“He was great to work with. I didn’t think about Ron Weasley at all. Which is the way it should be.”

The two improvised many of their comic scenes together with LaBeouf. But the fun stopped in a scene when Buckley and Grint’s characters find themselves shirtless and glued together back-to-back by Romanian gangsters.

When Buckley was reading about the glue scene, he pondered what kind of special visual effects would be used to make them appear to be stuck together.

“But they actually just glued us together,” says Buckley. “It was really painful. And I’m a bit hairier than Rupert and it was hurting me so much. I hated it so much. And it was raining. So we were glued together in the rain.”

Adding to their woes: The glue took days to come off, sticking Buckley to his sheets at night. Buckley called Grint to ask him how he was coping. Grint responded with his own Harry Potter-like cure.

Says Buckley: “Rupert told me he was using the little vodka miniatures in the hotel bar. He said it was really helping to get the glue off.”


Original article found here:m.usatoday.com | January, 23rd 2013

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The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman: Sundance Review

2:37 AM PST 1/22/2013 by Justin Lowe
TheNecessaryDeathofCharlieCountrymanThe Bottom Line

An atmospheric feature that sets out to tackle big questions of love and destiny.

Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood star in this Bucharest-set genre hybrid.

PARK CITY – Commercials director Fredrik Bond makes a promising feature debut with this fanciful crime-drama romance that gratifyingly eschews strict genre classification. The film’s frequent violence and occasional nudity will clearly assure an “R” rating, but within that limited audience there’s plenty here to appeal to both the date crowd and crime-movie adherents, as well as fans of the two appealing leads.

Introduced in voiceover by an unseen Narrator (John Hurt), Charlie Countryman (Shia LaBeouf) is a bit of a lost soul and the death of his mother Katie (Melissa Leo) leaves him completely adrift. After she passes, he sees her in a vision and asks her for guidance – she tells him to go visit Bucharest. Lacking any other direction in his life, Charlie boards a Chicago flight headed for Romania and meets Victor (Ion Caramitru), a Romanian taxi driver on his way home to visit his daughter.

Casual conversation reveals a shared love for the hapless Chicago Cubs baseball team, but their newfound friendship is cut short when Victor peacefully passes away on the flight and Charlie experiences another vision: Victor telling him to deliver a gift that he was carrying to his daughter Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). Charlie agrees, tracking her down at the airport when he arrives and consoling her as best he can before offering to assist with the disposition of her father’s body.

Later at the opera house where he watches her play cello in the orchestra, Charlie meets Gabi’s menacing ex-husband Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen), who has unfinished business with Victor over a missing videocassette that he now plans to settle with Gabi, but she turns him away. Later that night on a circuitous wander around the city, Charlie’s convinced he’s falling in love with Gabi, but she remains aloof and mysterious about her relationship with Nigel.

By coincidence, Charlie learns more about Nigel and Gabi from Darko (Til Schweiger), another gangster and associate of Nigel’s who runs customer shakedowns at a local nightclub. Darko’s looking for the same videotape that Nigel is seeking, plunging Charlie into a standoff between Gabi and the two heavies, even as the young couple is discovering the first glimmers of romance. Charlie will clearly need to elevate his game if he’s going to help extract Gabi from her perilous situation – if in fact she even wants to be rescued.

Screenwriter Matt Drake reportedly based the script on his personal experiences in Romania, but introduces some fanciful elements to the gritty narrative, such as Charlie’s ability to converse with the recently deceased, as well as the somewhat problematic device of the Narrator’s voiceover. Many of the omniscient observations made by the unidentified character can be directly deduced from the film’s plot and theme, making his rather ponderous pronouncements about love and fate seem almost ridiculously grandiose. Overall, however, Drake manages a taut balance between action and romance that’s consistently engaging.

With a scruffy demeanor and wide-eyed enthusiasm, LaBeouf projects a degree of emotional recklessness that’s both disarming and disconcerting to watch. Woods blends so capably into the role, with her distinctly European bearing and Romanian-accented speech, that she easily conceals her American origins. As her violent and unpredictable ex, Mikkelsen is chillingly proficient and although she appears only briefly, Leo registers strongly.

Supported by a dream team of producers, including Bona Fide Productions’ Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, as well as Voltage Pictures’ Nicolas Chartier, Bond effectively incorporates the script’s more eccentric elements while keeping them grounded in the principal narrative. Production values are top-shelf overall, supported by a propulsive score and strategically incorporated special effects.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival, Premieres

Production companies: Voltage Pictures, Bona Fide Productions

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Vincent D’Onofrio, Melissa Leo, Ion Caramitru, John Hurt

Director: Fredrik Bond
Screenwriter: Matt Drake
Producers: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Craig J. Flores, William Horberg
Executive Producers: Nicolas Chartier, Patrick Newall, Dean Parisot
Director of photography: Roman Vasyanov
Production designer: Joel Collins
Costume designer: Jennifer Johnson
Music: Christophe Beck, Deadmono
Editor: Hughes Winborne

Sales: CAA

No rating, 107 minutes


Original article found here:Hollywood.com | January, 22nd 2013

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Shia LaBeouf’s Indie Career at Sundance Is Off to an Awful Start

By Brian Moylan , Hollywood.com Staff | Tuesday, January 22, 2013

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I’m going to start this review off with a spoiler. Shia LaBeouf is awful. Haha. Just kidding. That’s not a spoiler. We should all know by now that the naked music video star is pretty bad. The real spoiler is that at the end of The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, his newest movie which debuted at Sundance on Monday night, Charlie Countryman does not, in fact, die. That means this mess of a movie should really be called The Unnecessary Life of Charlie Countryman. Seeing it is, of course, unnecessary.

Remember last summer when Mr. LaBeouf made a big stink about how he thinks all studio movies suck and he’s only making indies from now on because he thinks they’re “art”? After watching this movie, we consider his declaration akin to someone saying he is only going to eat in fancy restaurants from now on and then sitting down to a dinner of Big Macs and Shamrock Shakes. Maybe Shia needs to make some better choices when considering “art.”

This first feature from commercial director Fredrik Bond tries to latch onto the “magic realism” trend we’re seeing at the festival, and Shia’s character Charlie talks to the spirit of his recently deceased mother (Melissa Leo), who tells him, for no good reason, to go to Bucharest, Romania. He does. And, while on the plane, his seat-mate dies on his shoulder. He then gets involved with the passenger’s daughter (a wasted Evan Rachel Wood with a bad haircut), the Romanian mafia, and Rupert Grint as a porn star wannabe with an erection that won’t go away and an ecstasy addiction (between this and Daniel Radcliffe‘s gay sex scene in Kill Your Darlings, the Harry Potter boys are really using Sundance to bust out of their old wizard hats).

Yes, the movie swings from one incident to the next without making much sense or giving us any motivation for the characters’ antics, other than Charlie’s love at first sight for Wood’s Gaby and some nefarious nonsense about a tape the mob wants to get a hold of. It’s like the filmmaker sat down and wrote down a list of all the things he thinks are cool (strip clubs, drugs, youth hostels, pot smoking, mobsters, the cello, beating people up, Xanax, fairies, pain killers, having sex with Evan Rachel Wood, drugs, alcohol, drugs and alcohol, smoking, donuts, and drugs) and then found a way to shoehorn them all into a movie. As if piling cool on top of cool will make more cool. No, like the guy wearing the band’s T-shirt to the concert, it just means you’re trying too hard. It’s like a collection of lame cliches that is searching for a larger meaning that it never finds. On top of that, there are the magical elements that never quite fit in, as if they were a larger part of the movie but then had to be edited out so that we could have more scenes of Gaby’s mean boyfriend threatening everyone. How many of these do we need? Isn’t 19 enough? And do we really need to see our hero running in slow motion through the streets? It’s like Run, Shia, Run, but his bob won’t get nearly the attention of Tom Tykwer’s red-headed German.

The ending of the movie (which is also the beginning) is completely abysmal. Not only do we never learn the fate of Grint’s character (who, last we saw was naked and super glued to a friend of his), but the resolution is never explained. Suddenly, the cops show up arresting everyone, and Charlie is saved, robbing us of the death we were promised and the one thing to look forward to before the credits rolled.

One of the biggest problems, of course, is LaBeouf himself. While it’s great that he wants to make different movies (especially since he can retire forever on his Transformers money), he doesn’t seem to choose quality projects or be a very versatile actor to pull them off. In this film, he mugs and runs around like he would in any other action movie. He does nothing but play Shia, and he pales in comparison to Wood, one of Hollywood’s greatest young actresses who never gets the roles she deserves. And what is going on with Shia’s body? He is all sinew, like he’s on a tofu, yoga, and wildflower diet. He looks not like a sexy symbol but sort of like an anatomy model with a bad wig on. (Oh, speaking of which, at one point in the movie he calls someone else a “greasy f**k” with a complete lack of irony. Oh, Shia.)

LaBeouf’s next role is in the very, very indie Lars von Trier movie Nymphomaniac, a movie that contains lots of real sex between the actor and, well, some other people. Let’s see how he fares in that one. But if it’s as awful as Charlie Countryman, maybe it’s time for Shia to quit indie movies as well.


Original article found here:Hollywood.com | January, 22nd 2013

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Jack Kerouac Boozes, Ron Weasley Pops Viagra, Hipsters Befriend Strippers: Sundance in Short

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman: If Guy Ritchie was a romantic at heart, he’d probably make a film just like this. Gifted with the dark humor and stylish action of Snatch, but imbued with bits of magical realism and built around a Shakespearean love story, Charlie Countryman is a genre hybridist’s dream — a see-it-in-the-theater movie as cool as it is comic, pulse-pounding as it is heart-wrenching. This is a major win for first time feature-maker Fredrik Bond, a Swedish commercial director who got his start with a Moby video back in 1999. (The bald beatsmith lends several new tracks to the excellent soundtrack, which also includes M83 and the xx.) Despite a small budget and due to a stellar script, Bond wrangled an ace production team and an A-list cast who conspire to bring this modern fable into vivid existence.

After receiving a vision of his recently deceased mother (Melissa Leo), the aimless Charlie Countryman (Shia LaBeouf) books a flight to Bucharest in search of… well, he doesn’t yet know. But death comes to his door again when a friendly Romanian man expires on his shoulder mid-air, and assigns Charlie yet another post-mortem task: to deliver a seemingly innocuous tchotchke to Victor’s dear daughter Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). When he finds her at his destination, Charlie falls instantly in love, and after a hilariously macabre sequence of events involving Victor’s corpse and a couple of hash-huffing ambulance drivers, he discovers that Gabi has a dark past.

As our hero bonds with his goofy, drug-loving hostel mates (yes, that’s Ron Weasley popping Viagra and doing pushups) and attempts to woo the cautious object of his affection, the sordid details reveal themselves. And they are, namely, a pair of über-violent gangsters: Gabi’s passionate ex-husband Nigel (Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen) and his icy compatriot Darko (Til Schweiger of Inglourious Bastards). Charlie is beat bloody over and over again yet despite facing the very real possibilities of extreme torture or horrible death, he makes a valiant stand for love that may or may not result in the film’s titular prophecy coming true.


Original article found here:Spin.com | January, 22nd 2013

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Sundance 2013: Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood on ‘Charlie Countryman’

We haven’t seen much of the new movie The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, which premieres at Sundance this week — not even the trailer is out. But we do know that it takes place in Romania and tells the story of a young man (Charlie Countryman, played by Shia LaBeouf), who falls for a Romanian girl (played by Evan Rachel Wood). The girl, however, is already spoken for by a vicious Romanian mob boss, hence the title’s prophecy. Check out a gruesome photo of LaBeouf from the film, below.

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Wood compares the film to 1993 Quentin Tarantino-penned romantic crime thriller True Romance. “It has a vibe of True Romance. It’s a passionate, tender love story surrounded by chaos, violence, and crime,” she says. And, like True Romance, it also has moments of humor. Wood said Rupert Grint’s part in the film helps the actor shed his Harry Potter stigma and added a lightness to the dark movie. “Rupert Grint is amazing in this film. It was such a brilliant idea to cast him. It’s hilarious.”

LaBeouf, who has a reputation of going the distance for roles, like drinking moonshine to learn about his character in last year’s Lawless, reportedly took acid for a scene in which Charlie Countryman sees his dead mother while in a drug-induced state. LaBeouf wouldn’t comment on the report, but did say there isn’t much he wouldn’t do for a role. “As long as I am challenged and somewhat terrified, I am attracted to the project,” LaBeouf told EW via email.

Wood says she was excited to work with her co-star, noting that he comes onto set “like a hurricane.” “It’s refreshing to work with an actor who’s willing to throw himself so deeply into the role, into the project.”

Both actors were enamored with the film’s setting, shooting for six weeks in Bucharest, Romania. While LaBeouf’s character is an American who travels to Romania, Wood had to adopt the accent, with the help of a dialect coach. ”I really tried to listen to the locals,” she says of the accent. “Kids would hear me do a scene and come up to me and start speaking Romanian to me and I wouldn’t understand. They thought I was playing a game with them,” she said.

“Romania was amazing,” LeBeouf added. ”It really is a character in the movie and brings an authenticity to the film and helps the audience to escape into the world that our characters are living in.”

Wood, who recently announced that she and husband Jamie Bell are expecting their first child, is known for her daring roles, starting with 2003′s controversial film Thirteen and running throughout her career, including last year’s HBO film Mildred Pierce. But Wood insists motherhood won’t change her choices. “I think I’ll still take whatever roles inspire me, whether they be daring or not. I think I want to keep being me.”

The Sundance Film Festival runs January 17-24 in Park City, Utah. The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman is also entered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival.


Original article found here: insidemovies.ew.com | January 18, 2013

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Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint: Playing a rock star in CBGB was refreshing

Harry Potter star Rupert Grint talks to Metro about the Olympics, faking playing the guitar for CBGB and having his own ice-cream van.

How did you end up being an Olympic torch-bearer?
It was through Lloyds. They nominated me. I’ve always loved the Olympics and it’s exciting it’s in London. It was a complete surprise but a great honour. I’ve kept the torch. I might put it on display. I’ll find a use for it. I’m not the most athletic person so it’s probably the only time I’m going to run this year. I’ve got tickets for the swimming and some athletics – I can’t remember what the events are.

Some people say spending £15billion on it is a waste of money – have you got any thoughts?
It’s a lot of money, isn’t it? But I’m a big supporter. It’s worth it.

What do you get up to in your forthcoming film CBGB?
It’s about the New York club CBGB and the punk scene of the time. I play a guitarist called Cheetah Chrome who was in a band called The Dead Boys. I had to be a rock star. It was refreshing.
He’s a snotty-nosed punk rebelling against everything and quite morose – he’s the complete opposite of Ron. I’m still finding it strange breaking out of the whole Harry Potter thing because it was such a huge part of my life.

You’ve also recently worked with Shia LaBeouf – what was that like?
That was the film before CBGB – The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman. That’s quite a strange one. Shia LaBeouf plays a character who travels around the world. It’s quite a drug-fuelled journey and he meets various crazy characters along the way.
I play a character he meets in a youth hostel. I can’t give away what he does but it was quite a transition for me.

Have you been actively looking for stuff that’s dissimilar to Ron?
The roles have just come up but it’s always quite an attractive thing to move away from things connected to the wizard world.
They’re quite low-budget films, which I enjoy. It’s a very different process to the huge machines of the Potter films. They’re more rough and ready and I feel part of the team. They don’t have the same weird hierarchy, which I found uncomfortable.

What sort of hierarchy?
Just getting a chair with your name on and having a trailer. Stuff like that. On smaller films, you’re all in it together. It’s weird how actors are put on a pedestal – we’re part of the crew like anyone else and everyone has their job to do on a film set.

What was playing a real person like for CBGB?
Cheetah Chrome was actually on set. It’s the first time I’ve played a real person and there’s a pressure to get it right. I also have to play the guitar, which I can’t do – I was faking it. I learned the chords and rough shapes but you won’t see my hands too much in the film. It’s amazing he’s still alive, given the amount of drugs he did. He’s got a young son who was a big Harry Potter fan, so it was nice to meet him.
Cheetah had some advice about my performance and I had to get his voice right – he had quite a distinctive drug-affected mumbling voice and I had to do an American accent. We’re both ginger so look similar. Hopefully people will buy it.

Do you miss Harry Potter or is it a relief its over?
I go through different feelings. It was ten years of my life and it could get a bit suffocating – everything was Harry Potter. It’s nice to step away but part of me will always miss it because it was great fun and I miss working with the same crew.

Do you watch your own performances?
Yes but not out of choice. I’ll watch things once. I only ever watched the Potter films at the premieres. I’ll watch short bits if they’re on TV. When I see clips from the first one I think I look ridiculously small. It doesn’t feel that long ago in some ways. I’m proud to be part of it but watching it is a different story.

Who have you learnt the most from working with?
Harry Potter was like going to film school. We worked with a different director for each film so got to learn their different approaches. The cast was amazing, too – Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Julie Walters – they’re all great people. You learn just from watching them work.

Did they give you any specific advice?
I had a problem with laughing during serious scenes. For some reason, I found Dumbledore’s death absolutely hilarious. Alan taught me if you completely relax your face, it’s difficult to laugh so that was good tip.

You’ve got some unusual pets – which are your favourites?
The miniature donkeys are quite cool – Shakespeare and Pandora. You can’t ride them, they’re too small but they make a cool noise.

What’s been your most extravagant purchase?
An ice cream van. I’ve had it for a while now. It’s pretty special. It’s a 1970s one and I did it up – a new paint job and it’s got all the ice cream stuff in it.
I can’t park it anywhere because people start queuing up so I keep it at home in the garage.


Original article found here: metro.co.uk | July 29, 2012

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‘Potter’ star Grint books 2 roles

Joins ‘CBGB’ and ‘The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman’

“Harry Potter” star Rupert Grint seems ready to transition into more adult roles, landing parts in “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman” and “CBGB.”
“Countryman” stars Shia LaBeouf as a normal guy who falls for a woman who’s been claimed by a violent crime boss. Evan Rachel Wood co-stars, with Fredrik Bond helming from a script by Matt Drake.

“CBGB” stars Alan Rickman as CBGB owner Hilly Kristal and the New York City club’s impact on the underground music scene, highlighting artists like the Talking Heads, the Ramones and Blondie. Grint will play Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, who played a prominent role during the club’s rise.

Randall Miller will direct from a script he co-wrote with Jody Savin.

This marks yet another actor from the “Potter” franchise who has chosen to take on smaller prestige films. Emma Watson is filming Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” and Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the series (and was in “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) recently landed one of the lead roles in Liddell Entertainment’s “Therese Raquin.”


Original article found here: www.variety.com | May 23, 2012

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