Press: Natalie Portman on playing popstar Celeste in Vox Lux: She’s not a monster but a victim of the era
Categories Films Press Vox Lux

Press: Natalie Portman on playing popstar Celeste in Vox Lux: She’s not a monster but a victim of the era

Natalie Portman recently opened up about her role in the upcoming Brady Corbet directorial titled Vox Lux. Marking Corbet’s second directorial venture, Vox Lux charts the journey of a singer who manages to attain fame worldwide. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and will also be screened at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival, reports Far Out.

Discussing her role as Celeste, in the film, Portman says the character is both a “victim” and a “leader” of her times. Vox Lux, notes Portman, deals with how the 20th century was distinct in its “banality of evil” while the 21st will be hailed as the “pageantry of evil”. “She’s not designed to be a monster at all,” added Portman. “She’s as much a victim of the era as a leader of the era.”

Vox Lux also stars Jude Law, Jennifer Ehle, Stacy Martin and Raffey Cassidy along with Portman.

Talking about the impact of the film on her, Portman claims it’s just like art; organic, and not something that can be coerced. She hopes that Vox Lux enables viewers to notice the goings-on around them and recognise how it affects their lives.

Celeste’s 15-year journey as a singer is depicted in Vox Lux. Having had an unfortunate childhood, Celeste achieves considerable success later on in life. Talking about the rampant gun violence and school shootings in the US, Portman added, “It (school shootings) is a type of civil war and terror in the US and what that means for every kid going to school every day and how small acts of violence can create widespread psychology torment.”

Source: Firstpost

Press: Andrew Lauren & DJ Gugenheim Talk Natalie Portman In ‘Vox Lux’ ‘High Life’ & Their ‘Shrooming’ Movie With Free Association
Categories Films Press Vox Lux

Press: Andrew Lauren & DJ Gugenheim Talk Natalie Portman In ‘Vox Lux’ ‘High Life’ & Their ‘Shrooming’ Movie With Free Association

Andrew Lauren and producing partner DJ Gugenheim are behind two of this autumn’s most anticipated movies: Natalie Portman starrer Vox Lux, which debuts in Venice next week, and Claire Denis’ Toronto-bound sci-fi High Life, starring Robert Pattinson.

In writer-director Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, Portman plays a successful pop star who is also trying to raise a teenage daughter. Jude Law and Jennifer Ehle are among co-stars while Killer Films and Bold are also producers. Denis’ English-language debut High Life focuses on a group of criminals taking part in space a mission to find alternative energy. Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth and Andre Benjamin are also among cast.

Lauren, son of designer Ralph Lauren, is part of a wave of wealthy young sons and daughters who have over the past decade set up U.S. production shops [Annapurna, K-Period Media etc]. He made his entree with Noah Baumbach’s 2005 pic The Squid And The Whale, and followed that in 2013 with James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now, investing $3M of his own coin in the latter.

His New York-based production and finance company Andrew Lauren Productions has been relatively quiet in the past five years, but Gugenheim joined three years ago and the company is now busier than ever. We spoke to the duo about their two festival buzz titles, next projects and their investment strategy going forward.

How did you get involved in Vox Lux?

Andrew Lauren: I was introduced to Brady a while ago. I was very impressed by Childhood Of A Leader. The initial script we received was with Rooney Mara in the Natalie Portman role. We were trying to work out if it made sense for us. When Natalie came on board it pushed the button for us to say yes.

DJ Gugenheim: We made an offer on the movie contingent on the director meeting. We sat down with Brady for three hours in New York and I remember coming out and saying ‘that may be the best director meeting we’ll ever have’. Brady had an answer to every question.

Scott Walker did the score and Sia the original songs. Is it all Natalie’s voice for the songs in the movie?

DJ: It’s all Natalie singing and dancing. No CGI. She was great at both. You have a haunting juxtaposition of pop and contemporary classical sound in the music. Natalie was a natural. It was effortless as soon as she got on stage. Her dancing was the same. The finale is very ambitious and it took a lot of work.

How did you come to High Life?

AL: CAA reached out to us in the first place. We received a scripment of around 60 pages. It was an unusual format. It was Claire’s vision for the film. It was quite skeletal. The script really took shape as we were filming.

DJ: This is an ambitious movie. It’s a multi-territory European sci-fi co-production in the $10M range. Andrew had seen Beau Travail with his dad when he was younger. It seemed like a unique opportunity and very different. That’s what independent film should be about.

I’m a big fan of Claire Denis’ movies. This one sounds as interesting as ever. By all accounts, the deconstructed nature of the script and process was challenging for some of the actors…

AL: I think a lot of people take a leap of faith with Claire. They might not always know what they’re getting into but they have so much respect for her track record and filmmaking that they go with it. It was challenging. There were meetings when actors wanted to get a handle on characters and were confused. They wanted to know more about how space works. We had astro-physicists come down to talk with them.

DJ: Claire purposefully didn’t need her performers to understand every beat. Part of this movie is about the unknown and about characters who don’t necessarily understand why they are where they are.

AL: Everything was a work in process for her. It can be scary for everyone else but she ultimately knows where she is going.

Let’s talk about your company. Someone told me once the only way to make a small fortune in the industry is to start with a large one. Do you think that’s true?

AL: I would respectfully disagree. I’ve done well so far. We take risks but they are calculated. The goal is not to lose, it’s to win. Someone once asked me about being a patron of the arts but I see myself as a businessman. The goal is to build a strong slate but there are no guarantees.

Your last narrative feature was The Spectacular Now in 2013. Why the hiatus?

AL: I’m very particular about the movies I get involved in. But meeting DJ and assembling our team gave me confidence to get more aggressive and make more films. [The company now has a head-count of five with business affairs guru David Boyle on board as external counsel. It is also working on TV and plays]

I want to make strong, unique films that are commercially viable but also appeal to an art-house base and have breakout potential. It was crucial to have DJ to help me understand more about the business. It has made me more bullish.

You invest your own money, is that correct?

AL: Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is. Ultimately, my track record is fairly good. I don’t make many movies but sometimes to get things going you need to take the lead. I hope people will think we’re worth taking a chance on and perhaps we can raise a fund down the line. I’m very fortunate to have money to invest and to have that autonomy.

So what’s the plan?

AL: I want to make more movies. These two opportunities were exciting. We initially said we wanted to do 2-3 films per year in the $5-15M range. But it takes some time to build that. That’s still the goal.

Does your dad ever give you business advice?

It’s all about passion. ‘Do you love this? Is this the type of movie you want to go see?’ [he says]. He jokes with me that I should make a happy movie. One day I will. But he’s supportive and proud.

What else is coming up?

DJ: We’re in post-production on an under-the-radar movie called Light Years. It’s an awesome low-budget comedy that Channing Tatum’s production company Free Association brought to us. We financed and produced it in partnership with them. The film follows a guy called Kevin who on the anniversary of his best friend’s death, takes a mushroom trip down memory lane, forcing him to relive a pivotal night from his adolescence. But when he starts tripping, within his trip he sees everyone through the form of his adult self. It’s written, directed and stars (in almost every role) Colin Thompson (It’s Us), a Vermont-based filmmaker. Also in the movie are Russell Posner (Paramount Network’s The Mist) and Makenzie Leigh (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk).

AL: It’s a movie about shrooms. If you’re ‘shrooming’, it’s possible you might see yourself in everyone. Hence Colin playing so many roles. The premise wasn’t in the plan to begin with, it was just a joke, but it made sense. We also have feature Lucky Strikes in development [which Deadline broke a story on yesterday]. DJ saw Ken Burns’ documentary on baseball. There was a segment on the G.I. World Series played in Nuremberg just after WWII. General Patton and the army was trying to keep the peace and thought why not host a baseball game. It’s a great story.

Source: Deadline

Press/Video: First Look: Natalie Portman Is a Bowie-Esque Pop Star in Mysterious Vox Lux
Categories Films Press Videos Vox Lux

Press/Video: First Look: Natalie Portman Is a Bowie-Esque Pop Star in Mysterious Vox Lux

In a scintillating exclusive teaser for the upcoming film, Portman plays Celeste, a glam-pop supernova.

Natalie Portman is going glam. In Vox Lux, the upcoming music drama making its debut at the Venice Film Festival on September 4, the Oscar-winning actress plays Celeste, a pop phoenix who climbs from tragedy to worldwide stardom. The film, directed by Brady Corbet, follows her journey over the course of 18 years, from 1999 to 2017. In an exclusive first look from the film, above, watch as Portman struts backstage in a glittery, feathery ensemble, her hair swept in a thick silver updo. In the background, throngs of fans can be heard screaming, lending the clip an otherworldly effect; she’s a Black Swan turned pop alien, en route to legions of howling followers.

The film kicks off by introducing viewers to Celeste in her teen years, where the character is played by Raffey Cassidy, late of The Killing of a Sacred Deer. After surviving a violent tragedy, she performs at a memorial service, which soon kicks off her pop career. As Celeste climbs the ladder, she’s aided along by her songwriter sister (Stacy Martin) and talent manager (Jude Law, which makes Vox Lux a Closer reunion!), eventually rising to American icon status. But by 2017, when we meet adult Celeste (Portman), she’s an embattled, scandalized star trying to stage a comeback with her sixth album, a sci-fi-inspired collection of songs titled Vox Lux. The film features original songs by Sia, one of the most effortless pop stars of our time, and an original score by Scott Walker, the experimental legend whose work has spanned various genres.

In a statement to the Venice Film Fest, Corbet explained that the film’s timeline and the way it explores how the past affects the present was inspired by his debut feature, The Childhood of a Leader. “Vox Lux is the continuation of that theme but on the other side of the century: a historical melodrama set in America between 1999 and 2017,” he said. Vox Lux does not yet have a set release date—but after taking Venice, it will make its way to the Toronto International Film Festival. Awards-season prognosticators, get your pens ready.

Source: Vanity Fair

Press: Toronto Film Festival Adds Natalie Portman Drama ‘Vox Lux’
Categories Films Press Vox Lux

Press: Toronto Film Festival Adds Natalie Portman Drama ‘Vox Lux’

The Toronto International Film Festival has added Brady Corbet’s drama “Vox Lux,” starring Natalie Portman and Jude Law, and Neil Jordan’s “Greta,” with Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert.

The festival also announced Tuesday a total of 46 titles in its Discovery program, which is devoted to up-and-coming filmmakers. The festival will screen 255 features and 88 shorts with 138 being world premieres, including “Greta.” The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival will begin on Sept. 6.

“Vox Lux” and “Greta” have been added to the Special Presentations program. “Vox Lux,” which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival, is a musical drama about a woman who achieves success after a tragic childhood. The film also stars Jennifer Ehle, Stacy Martin and Raffey Cassidy. “Greta” stars Moretz as a young woman in New York who befriends a widow, played by Huppert, who has sinister intentions.

The Discovery program includes Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s ‘Girl,” the story of a transgender teen; Adina Pintilie’s “Touch Me Not,” which won the Golden Bear and the best first feature award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival; and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s “Farming,” starring Kate Beckinsale.

The new additions:

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

“Greta,” Neil Jordan


“Vox Lux,” Brady Corbet

DISCOVERY

“aKasha,” Hajooj Kuka

“ANIARA,” Pella Kagerman and Hugo Lilja

“Blind Spot,” Tuva Novotny

“The Chambermaid,”Lila Aviles

“Complicity,” Darko Sante

“The Crossing,” Bai Xue (opening film)

“The Day I Lost My Shadow,” Soudade Kaadan

“The Dig,” Andy Tohill and Ryan Tohill

“An Elephant Sitting Still,” Hu Bo

“Emu Runner,” Imogen Thomas

“ENDZEIT – EVER AFTER,” Carolina Hellsgard

“The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia,” Arturo Infante

“Farming,” Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

“Fig Tree,” Aalam-Warqe Davidian

“Float Like a Butterfly,” Carmel Winters

“Girl,” Lukas Dhont

“Gwen,” William McGregor

“Helmet Heads,” Neto Villalobos

“Her Job,” Nikos Labot

“Icebox,” Daniel Sawka

“Jirga,” Benjamin Gilmour

“Light as Feathers,” Rosanne Pel

“Lionheart,” Genevieve Nnaji

“The Load,” Ognjen Glavonic

“Manta Ray,” Puttiphong Aroonpheng

“The Mercy of the Jungle,” Joel Karekezi

“Orange Days,” Arash Lahooti

“Our Body,” Han Ka-ram

“Parade,” Nino Zhvania

“Phoenix,” Camilla Strom Henriksen

“Rafiki,” Wanuri Kahiu

“Saf,” Ali Vatansever

“Screwdriver,” Bassam Jarbawi

“Summer Survivors,” Marija Kavtaradze

“Tel Aviv on Fire,” Sameh Zoabi

“The Third Wife,” Ash Mayfair

“Tito and the Birds,” Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar, Andre Catoto

“Too Late to Die Young,” Dominga Sotomayor

“Touch Me Not,” Adina Pintilie

“Twin Flower, Laura Luchetti

“Woman at War,” Benedikt Erlingsson

Source: Variety