Pitch Perfect is finally getting a sequel, and the news couldn’t be more aca-mazing! Just one day before the announcement, we caught up with Kelley Jakle, who played Jessica in the musical comedy. She dished on what it’s like working with Rebel Wilson, and what scene made a lasting impression once the project wrapped.
“It was so fun! I mean you never know what will come out of her mouth, which is an adventure really to work with her,” she said of Wilson. “People used to ask me who’s Rebel Wilson. They’ll ask, ‘Who’s that?’ and I say, ‘She’s the girl from Bridesmaids!’ And they’ll say, ‘Ohh! My God. She’s amazing. She’s hilarious.’ And now she’s such a superstar! It was so fun to see the transition from Bridesmaids until now.”
The cast, including Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, and Anna Camp clearly are still close. Jakle admits they all had great chemistry with one another. “A really special scene was when we sang the mash-up for “Just The Way You Are” and “Just the Dream” in the empty pool. For some reason—the 10 of us girls worked so hard together and I felt like that was such a meaningful scene because in the movie we finally came together as a group and really had one mind as an acapella group. I feel it’s a really meaningful scene in a movie that’s entirely comedy based but it’s a very touching moment that we felt while filming it.”
The Pitch Perfect sequel is set for 2015, and Jakle is ready just like the rest of us. “I think Kay [Cannon] signed on to write it. She’s brilliant and I trust her!”
‘The Descendants’ Interview: Author Kaui Hart Hemmings Chats Alexander Payne, Acting Alongside George ClooneyPosted: March 15, 2012
The Descendants has resonated with audiences this season and has received well deserved recognition at the Oscars. Compared to others this year, the unique story of Matt King trying to re-connect with his children after his wife suffered a major injury showed great depth and fantastic raw acting. It gave actors like George Clooney and Judy Greer a chance to show an even bigger range than they already had and introduced new talent to the big screen like Shailene Woodley and Nick Krause.
With a win for Best Adapted Screenplay still sinking in I got the chance to speak to author Kaui Hart Hemmings on what it was like to see her novel transformed into a major motion picture. She details on working with Alexander Payne, Hawaii, and what it was like to have a minor role on set.
The Descendants is such an original plot. How long did it take to write and what was your inspiration for it?
HEMMINGS: I started writing it as a short story while I was at Sarah Lawrence in New York. I just wanted to write about Hawaii so that’s where it all started.
What were the beginning stages like for getting the novel noticed and ultimately having it end up in Alexander Payne’s hands?
It was scheduled to come out in May 2007, the book. And all books end up in producer’s hands it’s just a matter of getting them made, but it went out to a bunch of film companies and Alexander was kind of at the top of our wish list. Jim Burke, one of the producers, found it and sort of championed it.
What was your initial relationship like with Payne?
He came to Hawaii and when he decided to make it his next film he emailed me and said, “I want to make this my next film, can we meet this weekend?” So he flew out to Hawaii and we had dinner and the next day he came over to the house and we just sort of hung out for a while and then he came back and lived here for about eight months before shooting. During that time he really got to know the place, meet people and start to collect life here before he shot it.
The cast is fantastic with actors like George Clooney and Judy Greer. Did you ever think talent like that would re-create something you wrote?
I never before really thought about that but I had the privilege of seeing their casting tapes! So I saw these actors and actresses who we all know audition for these roles and the people who ended up playing the roles were indeed the best ones back in auditions. Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard blew me away in these tapes so its like I could imagine it because I saw them and it just made perfect sense that they be in these roles. And the same for George Clooney—while he didn’t have to audition of course—it just made sense that he play this role.
While writing the novel did you find yourself attached to a certain character?
I’m attached to many of the characters but one I think in particular is the father in my novel…Also Elizabeth the mother. Her children are mad at her, her husband is conflicted and through him [the father] we see her as a little child, a little girl. For me it just gives me such sympathy, especially seeing the father say goodbye to her. I really like my minor characters if I have to be proud of anything. I really like my minor characters and I really like them in the film as well. The minor characters—Beau Bridges and Robert Forster as the father—were so good. Many of the moving moments for me in the film were because of him. [Forster]
Hawaii is a character all on its own. How long did it take you to write and would you write outside of that setting in the future?
It took me about a year or less for me to write the book, which is weird and it’s never to be repeated! [Laughs] My daughter was a year old at the time when I wrote it. So whenever she would take a nap I would write like crazy! It was a desperate momentum or something. And as far as Hawaii, I’m writing a new novel right now set in Colorado. It’s set in a specific part but I would write in Hawaii again. You write what you know and what you remember and what you want to know.
The storyline is something I don’t think audiences have resonated with before, which is great. What do you think about the Oscar nominations and win for Best Adapted Screenplay?
I was there all week for the Writers Guild Awards and it’s so great. I’m not so focused on awards and celebrity and all of that but it does feel good to win something! It was really wonderful that it got so much attention and awards for the script based on the novel. So that felt really good. But I have to say the most exciting part of this whole process for me was seeing the film get made and seeing people work on this film with such energy and joy and that was before we even had any inclination of what it would become and the reviews that it would get. That was my joy and in seeing George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Alexander Payne just working and just enjoying their work.
You acted too! Many may not know that you actually played Matt King’s secretary Noe in the movie. How was it to step away from what you’re used to and jumping into the dressing room?
Yeah, I mean forget writing. I just want to act! [Laughs] No, that was so fun! I mean here I am like, “Oh God, here these people just say their lines and they get paid millions of dollars.” And there I was just like so nervous! With all they had to do and then you know me saying this shouldn’t be too hard, but I was just so nervous. It was very fun. It was just George and I in this office and behind me the whole crew. “I don’t want to waste their time.” That was what was on my mind.
Were you able to come by set whenever you wanted?
Yeah, I was. I was able to drop in whenever I wanted and Alexander would set up certain shots and say, “Does this look right to you?” I would say yes or oh gosh—one time I said, “You know that extra doesn’t really look like they are from Hawaii.” And he took the extra out! And I just thought, “Oh my God.” I felt so bad. [Laughs]
Well, I guess my passions or what I spend the most time devoted to is reading books. I love books. I go through about one a week. And the other is my children! I have a 7-year-old and a 19-month-old and a wonderful husband.
Yeah, that’s sort of my passion right now. Is doing things with them and going to the beach and traveling with them.
Interview: Judy Greer Details On Oscar Nominated ‘Descendants’ Film, Confirms Our Admiration For HerPosted: February 9, 2012
Judy Greer is that kind of actress that anyone would be truly lucky to interview. Whether the conversation be about a current project, a past role or just to chat about working hard and just following through with something you love to do. Let’s just say I consider myself quite fortunate that I was able to speak with her and I wasn’t shy admitting it.
Greer has a memorable face because it’s probably quite difficult going through a whole week without seeing her somewhere on television. For me it was The Wedding Planner in 2001 as the quirky friend Penny that hooked me. Since then she’s moved on to appearing in 13 Going on 30, The Village, Elizabethtown, 27 Dresses, Love and Other Drugs and can currently be seen in the Oscar contenderThe Descendants. Not to mention her guest spots in some of the biggest small screen hits like Arrested Development, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.
During our chat Judy revealed that she loves both television and film and searches for any kind of role. Recently she just struck a deal to star and executive produce a new ABC comedy pilot titled American Judy. Just signifying her role as a household name once again.
But enough of the girl crush moment–talking with Judy is simply the perfect way to end a day. We talked George Clooney, her passions besides acting and her scene-stealer ways. Not to mention–how L.A. really does have awful traffic.
Wow. Well, you are one of my favorite actresses and I know we only have a few minutes so I’ll get right to it.
Oh, you’re so sweet, thank you by the way.
You’re just great and your work in The Descendants shows that. What drew you to the film and your role Julie?
Well, Alexander [Payne]. [Laughs] The script is amazing, the role is amazing but I would have done anything he was directing.
What’s it been like hearing all of this Oscar buzz for it?
It’s really exciting! I agree with it and I’m excited to be part of the movie and to be doing this kind of press for a movie. It’s all new for me. It’s nice not to have to come and go, you know?
Absolutely. You can hold on to it for a bit longer. I was talking to Nick Krause on how the film is like an emotional roller coaster, up and down. What do you think audiences will take away from it?
That’s a really good question. I think it’s a movie about forgiveness. I feel like maybe audiences will take away really enjoying two hours of amazing film making or they’ll see something a little deeper in their own lives that could affect the choices they make in the future.
Would you consider yourself like your character?
I think I’m kind of like all my characters I play. I bring a lot of myself to my roles. And in this situation, I felt like I was similar to Julie. Gosh, I don’t know off the top of my head but I felt like there was, like a I had a real sense of comfort when I was playing her. She wanted to have a nice, normal life and things got really turned around for her and she was trying to deal with it the best way she knew how.
You’re married to Matthew Lillard in the movie and there’s of course George Clooney. How was it working with them?
Well, working with George is always a pleasure because he is very fun, as I’m sure you’ve heard. He’s very professional and really compassionate and I’ve worked with him before he was a director. I wouldn’t say he’s changed since he’s been a director but he’s very conscious of the process, how every actor’s process is different and he’s really mindful of that when we’re doing scenes together. And working with Matthew Lillard, it was really a pleasure. He’s so positive and happy. I really think he’s a real artist. He cares so much about acting and about his work and that’s always inspiring when I work with people who love what they do. So many people are complainers!
Yeah! So many people just complain all the time!
I get what you mean! It’s especially kind of weird when people with great careers complain. It’s nice when people are appreciative of what they have.
Yeah I always think so too. I mean there are always things to complain about, but it’s amazing to me what people come up with.
[Laughs] What’s a specific scene in the film that you’re really proud of or you just enjoyed acting in the most?
I guess I felt that the scene on the beach was very simple and I liked how simple and easy that scene came together. The scene where George Clooney’s character talks to me for the first time. There was a lightness I felt when we were shooting it that I really loved. He’s asking me what I’m doing, if I live on the island. He’s trying to get information out of me but I don’t know that. I just think he’s a man talking to me on the beach. And I really like that scene because two different people are doing two different things. You know, I’m just chatting with the guy and he’s got a whole different agenda.
What’s one memory you would take away from set?
I remember one night when we were shooting the scene on the deck and it was raining intermittently, and it would rain and we would all go inside and sit in the house and hang out and talk and then it would stop so we would go back outside and keep shooting. I remember all of us sitting in the house together and hanging out and just chatting and talking about acting and life and I just remember it being really fun.
Really! The company of actors.
You’re such a scene-stealer in every project you do. Some actors don’t like to be type casted but in every movie you seem to be somewhat of a comedic relief. What’s one of your favorite characters you’ve played?
Well I loved my role in The TV Set. That was the movie with Sigourney Weaver and David Duchovny that Jake Kasdan wrote and directed. I play David Duchovny’s manager who doesn’t know anything about Hollywood. I loved that whole job and I loved that character–just unapologetically misinformed and uneducated about what she does for a living. I also loved being Kitty Sanchez on Arrested Developmentbecause she is totally crazy. Like over the top crazy. So really with that role and that cast, anything goes.
You’ve done so many guest spots too like Modern Family. Is there a chance you’ll be back?
I loved Modern Family.
You were so hilarious!
Ah so fun! I love Modern Family. I don’t know if I’ll be back—I would love to go back. I loved playing the weirdo lady on My Name is Earl. [Laughs] She was so weird and cool. Those are the two cools ones.
Because of the comedic roles, do you consider yourself funny?
Yeah I don’t know if I’m that funny in real life…but I certainly try to be! I try to make people laugh. My publicist is nodding her head. [Laughs]
You’ve worked with so many people, so many people have worked with you. Is there anyone else you hope to collaborate with?
I’d love to be directed by George Clooney and I’d love to be in Tom McCarthy’s next movie.
What’s three passions you have besides acting?
I’m passionate about the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I’m passionate about reading. And gosh, I guess food. I’m not a good cook but I really like eating. I would like to say something way cooler. [Laughs] I really like this place in downtown L.A. called Homeboy Industries. It’s amazing; it’s a gang rehabilitation program. I think it’s a really cool organization. It’s really special and I think there are so many great charities and foundations and organizations. I support a lot of them but this one is something that is making an impact on the actual place I live.
That’s awesome. I was just going to ask what you do on your downtime when not acting.
I drive around L.A. in traffic [Laughs].
What a pain! I know you did ballet years ago. When was the moment you knew you wanted to start acting?
It happened very organically for me my whole career, so it wasn’t until a few years after I started acting that I realized how scared I was that I wouldn’t be able to do it [ballet] forever. And I was like, “Wow I really love this, I really care about this. I want this to be the thing I do with my life.” It was cool because I wasn’t so very driven in the beginning I just felt, ‘Oh I need to get jobs so I can support myself.” And yeah, I guess I had some kind of Aha moment. I was like “Okay yeah, this is it.”
You seem so natural. Did you not have lessons?
Oh no, gosh I trained like crazy! Even then I was like, ‘Oh I could always go to grad school and do something else.’
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an actress?
I think about that all the time. If I had to quit acting now and do something else I don’t know what I would do. I don’t know! I don’t have a sense of what I’m good at anymore. I can’t really use computers and I think you have to use a computer for almost everything these days. So I don’t know.
Haha, okay. So one last question. You do both film and television. Are you always looking for the next project?
I search for everything. I’m still sort of a medium list. I’m still not partial. I like good projects and good people.
Walter sure was at the right place at the right time! The lovable and very talented muppet that recently shared the screen with Jason Segel, Amy Adams and his fellow muppets spoke to me about his big breakout role. From getting noticed at the Beverly Hills Hilton to landing on set with Kermit, Walter really has kept busy. He’s been promoting The Muppets with his new friends and is without a doubt their biggest fan.
Walter kept us laughing with his unforgettable humor and creative wit. Enjoying a nice turkey with Amy Adams over the holidays and Kermit giving him advice is one small detail. Walter even touches on his adventure sequel idea and how he had to stand on a box during scenes so that he can act alongside Jason. Even though he sometimes had to excuse himself to go order a coffee for Miss Piggy.
So here is everything that Walter and I spoke about on that very memorable day. Not sure about you, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to be working alongside the muppets for years to come!
Hi, Walter. How are you?
WALTER: Hi, Stephanie. I’m great how are you? [Laughs]
Good, good. I’m so excited to talk to you. I know you’re busy so I’ll get right to it.
Now this is your very first feature film! How did you get involved? Were you excited about it? Nervous?
Yeah! [Laughs] All of the above. The story goes, I was actually swimming laps at the Beverly Hills Hilton, and this guy comes up to me [and says], “Hey kid, you ever thought of acting? You ever thought of being in movies?”
It was a real, like you know, 1930s, yeah, 1940s Hollywood story. And I met Jason. And at first, I read the script and I actually was a little paranoid cause I thought the guy had cameras in my house, like my whole life. Cause he basically wrote my life story. I mean I know in the movie I play this guy named Walter who’s a huge muppet fan, but in real life my name is Walter, and I’m a huge muppet fan!
[Laughs] How was the first day on set like? Did anyone help you get comfortable?
Oh, yeah! Well, Jason was great of course. And Kermit was there. After I got over my nerves about meeting him, he was great. He gave me the best advice I think any one gave me that entire movie. He said “Walter, if you’re hungry and you need to get a brownie from the craft table, get a box because they put them a little high up.” That advice served me for the entire run of the film.
Too funny, but such great advice! How did you feel about the film being made in general?
I was thrilled! Are you kidding? I mean you’re getting the muppets back out there. Back in the spotlight where they belong, you know? It was an ambition and a childhood dream come true!
How was it working with Jason Segel? What was one of your favorite moments on set with him?
Hmm. Gosh. There were so many. Umm, I loved doing the dramatic acting with Jason. We had to… we had this dramatic scene in the dressing room, where I’m trying to figure out my talent, and he’s trying to figure out what’s going on with his character’s relationship with Mary, played by Amy Adams. It was really wild doing something dramatic with a guy who’s sooo funny.
The other cool thing is that I got to stand on a lot of boxes. Yeah, I talked about the craft table, but a lot of the scenes–you might’ve noticed I’m only about 1’6” and Jason is 6’4”–so for a lot of scenes, he was sitting down and I was standing on a box.
What about Amy Adams? Have you ever seen Enchanted?
Oh yeah. She’s sooo talented, and so versatile. I mean, she’s great at playing these kind of you know, wide-eyed, innocent characters that are just so funny, and she’s just an amazing singer and dancer – totally like musical theater background. But then she can turn around and do something dramatic! Like the scene in The Muppets where she’s using the thesaurus to find all the different words that mean ‘alone’. Ah! That was so moving.
Were there any inside jokes on set?
Oh, you mean like practical jokes?
Hmmmm. Well, I don’t know if it was a joke – I thought it was. But every time Miss Piggy saw me–and actually it’s still true to this day–she’s like: “Who are you again?” She kept thinking I was her coffee boy.
And I gotta tell you, it’s really tough to find a double latte with no milk.
That was her order.
Who did you hang out most with on set? I bet it was really, really cool to meet Kermit.
Oh yeah! It was sooo cool to meet Kermit. Actually, I met him at my audition. And what happened in real life is exactly what happened in the film. I totally fainted.
No you didn’t! You seriously fainted when you met him?
I seriously fainted! I hit my head sooo hard on the table as I went down. Gonzo thought it was great, the way I did it. Really professional. Actually I was a little embarrassed about it until I came to and saw that Jason was sobbing. So that made me feel a little bit better. He was sobbing cause that was his first time meeting Kermit too.
So that was your first interaction?
…It was painful, embarrassing and uh, the greatest moment of my life.
Very memorable! And there was a ton of actors on the set besides Jason and Amy too.
Oh yeah, there were.
Do you have a favorite that you worked with?
Oh yeah, there were. I mean, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Animal and Dr.Teeth. A lot of famous actors!
Do you hope that there’s gonna be more Muppet films in the future?
Oh yes, definitely. Boy, I sure hope so. I mean right now I’m really busy being just a cheerleader for this one. Boy, I would love for there to be more Muppet movies. Maybe TV shows, anything. Anything with the muppets.
I hope so.
Actually, I do have an idea. Can I share it with you?
I mean, no one at Disney’s talked to me or anything. I’ve just been working on my own. But I thought it would be really cool to have like, aMuppets action adventure sequel to go along with the Bourne franchise. You know, like Bourne Identity?
Oh, yeah yeah yeah!
And I would call it: Bourne Yesterday.
That would actually be so funny. And you would want everyone from this Muppets to kind of come with you to do it right?
Oh, absolutely! Yeah! Listen, I couldn’t imagine doing anything without them!
And I know you’ve been promoting a lot for the movie. Is there any celebrities that you were kind of star struck meeting throughout the whole process?
Oh yeah, for sure. The first time I met Gonzo, I, it, I got fully tongue tied. Twisted. Like I am with you right now! Tongue tied! Gonzo gave me that. I mean, the guy is such an artist, you know? It’s like, some of this stuff I’m not–I don’t think I’m quite intelligent enough to grasp how great some of his art is. But some art is like that, you know? People appreciate it on different levels. But are you talking, like… oh, you mean like ‘people’ celebrities?
Yeah, them too!
Right. Oh I got one: Alan Arkin. How great is Alan Arkin? You know, the cool thing is that, Alan was actually a guest star on The Muppet Show back in the day.
And so, I talked to him a little bit about his experience on that. And it was just incredible. He’s such as great guy.
What did he talk about it?
Well, his experience was that, he felt like he developed some really great friendships with Kermit and Fozzie Bear and in particular Animal. He really, he really felt a connection to Animal. They just had the best time together.
That’s great. With the movie, you had mentioned a little bit of your favorite moments. Was there a certain dance number or song you liked best?
Oh gosh, you know, it’s like, it’s like choosing a favorite child. They were all great for different reasons. I mean the opening song, you know everything was great. It’s so catchy and the dancers were amazing in that. Jason and I got to sing and dance together. I got a cake dropped on my head! I got kicked across the town square! Umm, a lot of good stuff. And then of course “Man or Muppet.” I mean, how can you not like that song?
[Laughs] Jason Segel, he obviously has been a huge, huge fan. Did he ever talk to you about that? Did he give you any advice as an actor too?
Well, he did ask me to act taller, if at all possible. I’m not, never really quite sure what he meant about that. But, umm you know what, Jason actually–his advice was similar to Kermit’s in that, you know, he said ‘don’t believe your own press.’ You know, look at Kermit the Frog. He’s, Kermit’s been doing this for over 50 years. He’s still the same great guy that he’s always been. I mean he could be a total a jerk, but he’s not. He’s just, I think it’s actually true with all the muppets–what you see is what you get. They are who they are. And they’re true to themselves. And, uh, I think that’s brilliant.
So very true. They are so great. Do you have any holiday plans with them coming up?
Oh right, well I think we’re all invited over to Amy Adams’ house. Cause she cooks a mean turkey. I mean the Swedish Chef, you know he tries, but uh, I think I’d be better off with Amy’s turkey.
Sounds fun! And lastly, Ology is all about passions. What would yours be?
Well okay, a really broad one is–I’m really passionate about The Muppets. This film and The Muppets’ entire body of work. That is a huge passion of mine. Umm, a second passion that I have, I love singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s a really big passion. I know that’s kind of general. And my third passion is trying not to get killed when I do my own stunts.
That must have been tough.
I was a little nervous about my own stunts, but Gonzo made it look like fun! But it was odd, because the more advice he gave me, the more injured I seemed to get. But he said I was doing great! He had to try out the electric sets a few times before me just to make sure the voltage was high enough. It looks more realistic that way.
That was nice of him! Now, do you have any upcoming projects?
No, not yet. You know, right now I’m just busy being a cheerleader for The Muppets. There really hasn’t been time for anything else just yet. I just try to encourage folks to go out and to do themselves a favor and go see this movie. It’s going to make their life so much better. I think Jason told me, and I think that you can believe him–I think International Film Magazine voted The Muppets the best film ever. Like in history.
Wow! That’s huge!
I know, right? [Laughs]
So deserving of it too. Well, thank you so much Walter for talking with me. The movie was amazing. And good luck with everything!
Aww, Stephanie. Thank you so much.
Thank you. Have a good one.
You too! Bye, bye.
Kermit Interview: Our Favorite Green Frog Chats About His New Film And Holiday Plans With Miss PiggyPosted: December 11, 2011
Kermit the Frog is a childhood friend that most probably can’t even remember beginning to have. We’ve grown up with him and Miss Piggy and throughout the years have gained more muppets to admire and love. Kermit’s buddy Walter is just the next to be introduced into the crowd, helping Kermit get back in the public eye with Jason Segel’s new Muppets film. Kermit has been promoting the film along with his friends and he was sweet enough to take the time to chat about it.
The ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ Kermit not only spoke about his time on set with Jason, but made us laugh with his reaction to the film being made. He also touches on what he and Miss Piggy will be doing over the holidays!
So with that, we leave you with our conversation with everyone’s favorite muppet, because–what else is there really to say? His answers show exactly why we love him.
Kermit the Frog. Wow. Never did I see the day where I would be chatting with you! You’re amazing and so is The Muppets film out right now. How was it working with Jason Segel and Walter?
KERMIT: Jason Segel is amazing (and extremely tall). He’s not only a very funny actor, but the script he wrote with Nick Stoller was hilarious. We were thrilled to work with him on the movie…and it was fun being on Saturday Night Live with him, too. As for Walter: well, he fits right in. He’s not only eager, enthusiastic and ready to do anything to help, he’s also the world’s’ greatest Muppet fan. He worships the ground we walk on–which is awkward for most of us. Though Miss Piggy seems to enjoy it…a lot.
Oh, Miss Piggy. What was your reaction when you first heard that The Muppets film was going to happen?
I was excited. Anytime there’s a new movie coming out with “Muppet” in the title and one of the characters is a frog, I figure I have a pretty good shot at getting the part – or at least an audition. And Jason came to us before he wrote a word. He’d been a big fan for a long time and making a movie with us was his dream come true. And that’s what show biz and the Muppets are all about-–making dreams come true.
Well I’m so happy he had the talent and idea to create it! What was a favorite moment for you on set?
The songs. Especially the big production numbers with the whole gang up there singing and dancing together. That’s why I love the big Hollywood Boulevard scene in the new movie. It makes me smile just to think about it. Shooting that was special.
That’s so great. You’ve been keeping very busy. What will you and Miss Piggy be doing for the holidays?
Miss Piggy and I are going to a holiday party. She’s the guest of honor and I am the only other guest. Should be an interesting evening.
A fun one! What makes the two of you work so well together as a couple?
As for our relationship, I think it works because, despite all the craziness and the fact that Piggy tends to be a bit overly demonstrative in expressing her affection, when it comes right down to it….we really do care about each other.
So sweet. It definitely shows! What would you say are three other passions (Ologies) you have?
Laugh-Ology: I love to make people (as well as bears, frogs, pigs, chickens and other non-people) laugh.
Green-Ology: I’m passionate about being green, keeping the world green and being a spokesfrog for all species lower than you on the food chain.
Enthusiasm-Ology: That the passion for being passionate about life, getting excited about the possibilities of each new day and how challenges can be turned into something wonderful. I try to greet each and every day with a hearty “yaaaaaaay!”
The Descendants starring George Clooney and directed by Alexander Payne has been gaining extreme Oscar buzz within the past few months. The story of Matt King (Clooney) trying to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident becomes even more intertwined when King later finds out she’s been cheating.
The Oscar contender not only brings together a fantastic plot, but also introduces breakout actor Nick Krause to audiences. At 19, this will be Krause’s biggest role to date. He plays Sid in the film, the easy-going kid who gives a great dose of comedic relief. He also dates King’s daughter Alexandra. (Shailene Woodley) Other stars include Amara Miller, Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard.
He may be young to the business, but Nick’s performance and talking to him in general made it clear that he will be around for quite a while. His passion for acting and The Descendants was obvious, and he definitely had more of a filter than his character Sid.
The Descendants has been getting rave reviews and you seem like you’ll be quite the scene-stealer! Tell me about your role Sid.
Sid’s a very laid back kind of easy-going guy. He’s a lot like your average teenager on the Islands. He takes life as it goes and gets into the flow of things. He’s really they’re hanging with Alexandra his friend and her family. Sid has good intentions. He doesn’t have quite a very formed brain to mouth filter and so he never says quite the right thing but he always has the right thing in mind.
What drew you to the role and the film?
I was drawn to the film in general because Alexander’s name was on it. It’s Alexander Payne. You just don’t turn down a chance to work with him. And the character I was drawn to just because he’s fun, just a really fun guy and he’s fun to play.
Would you consider yourself like Sid?
Besides age, Sid and I are pretty different guys. Sid’s a lot more callous than I consider myself to be. He’s always searching for something light-hearted to say even in heavy situations and just gets into a bunch of funny moments. I usually try to think about what I say first so that would be the biggest difference.
This seems like such a break out role. What was the audition process like?
The audition process was actually kind of interesting for me. I got it as a taped audition down in Austin where I was living when I heard of it. And then woke up the next morning with my sister to film over the scenes at five in the morning before we had to drive to school and sent it to L.A. [Laughs] Forgot about it for a few months and then those few months later John Jackson, the casting director for the project, called me up to New York to come see Alexander. So I flew up and while my mom and I we were walking around New York trying to figure out something to make the audition more neat. We figured that Alexander would be really, really hungry after working at casting and so I went and got a huge bag of Cheetos, stuffed it in my front pocket and went in with it. I brought my headshots too in the audition and then handed them to the director. [Laughs]
That is hilarious! It definitely kept you in mind to cast for the role.
What was your favorite part about working on the film?
Well one thing I wanted to say about this set is that everyone was close. It was like a giant family. Everyone was so confident in what they were doing that they could really sit back and enjoy their jobs and enjoy the people. That made a great atmosphere everywhere on set.
What was it like working with George and meeting him for the first time?
It was amazing. George is an awesome actor. Not only is he the most lighthearted guy making everyone around him feeling awesome all the time, but also he has this very direct professionalism that’s just amazing to see. He’ll be joking around with us, or some of the extras and then five minutes later he’ll be doing an extremely serious scene. You can just tell he’s so prepared when he walks onto set. That was something very cool for me to watch.
He’s known for being a jokester. Did he do any pranks on set?
[Laughs] We were filming a scene on a plane and it was really crowded. We had a lot of extras and it was just very tight and stuffy in there. And I’m sitting waiting for the cameras to set up and I hear this noise behind me. I look back there and there’s George kind of giggling to him self. [Laughs] And I hear this noise again and I look back and George is playing with a fart button in the middle of a crowded plane. A little fart button on his application. [Laughs] That was just one example of fun stuff that he did around set.
What scene were you most proud of acting in?
I would have to say the scene in the hotel between Sid and Matt King. It’s very intimate and one on one between George and I. That day on set and that scene we’re both intimate because not only was I working one on one with George Clooney and it was just an amazing learning experience, it’s also one of those scenes where I really got to explore Sid in a little more depth as a character. That scene is one of my favorites.
Did you become close with anyone specific on set?
Shailene [Woodley] and I got to be really good friends. George [Clooney] and I and Amara [Miller] and I. Everyone on that set were really cool. It’s pretty neat to think about it.
That’s so nice. What will you take away from working with actors like Clooney, Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard?
Just seeing how they worked and kind of being in the corner and be that fly on the wall watching them all do their thing was really amazing. I learned so much from everyone on that set.
The cast is definitely fantastic and the film continues to get great reviews. What do you think about the Oscar buzz?
I’ve always been hopeful. It’s a really good movie and we’re all really proud of it. It would be awesome for it to get the nomination.
So what do you think viewers will enjoy most about the film?
I think audiences will take away just the satisfaction of seeing a very—it is at the heart of it—a very simple and human story. It’s kind of a rollercoaster when you watch it. You’ll laugh and then you’ll cry five minutes later and then two minutes after that you’ll be laughing again. It’s really in the simplicity of just human relationships. That’s what the films about, to me at least. And that’s what I think a lot of people are going to take away from it. There’s just a very intimate feeling with the film.
Water for Elephants is a fantastic novel that draws audiences in to the beautiful wonders that the circus has to offer underneath its ragged drapes. It also stays true to the hardship and prejudice that workers used to endure with each traveling performance.
The film adaptation about a veterinary student abandoning his course work to literally join the circus premiered in 2011 and is now being released in DVD and Blu-Ray. The storyline touches on first love and tragedy and over all, really brings to stage the enlightening idea that ‘Life Is The Most Spectacular Show On Earth.’
To get a better look at the Old-Time Circus, I spoke with author Sara Gruen about bringing her research to the big screen, what she thought of Rob Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon taking on its lead roles and what specific scenes she had a cameo in.
Loved this book! Read it in two days. What inspired you to write it?
SARA GRUEN: I was two weeks into another novel and I opened up the Sunday paper and saw a vintage photograph and I was gone at that moment. I looked up from the paper and declared to my husband that this was it! [Laughs] That this is what I was going to do next. It was a vintage photograph from the 1920s and it was black and white obviously but it was by a camera that can produce negatives by 12 and 24 inches so it was with many, many people and just an enormous amount of detail.
Was it a circus photograph?
Yes! It was an Edward J. Kelty photograph.
Where were you the day you found out Water for Elephants was going to be adapted as a film?
I don’t know because auctions happen a lot and 99% of them never turn into film. [Laughs] So I didn’t actually get very excited about that. I mean it was nice because it meant that it was that much closer to possibly opening but I don’t think I really allowed myself to believe it until they actually started shooting it. Like, ‘Wow! That’s great!’
What was it like writing it? How long did it take you and what environments inspired you during the process?
I did a lot of research because I knew nothing about the circus, and especially the Old-Time Circus. So I was in Sarasota, [Florida] a couple of times and Baraboo, Wisconsin at circus archives and the Circus World Museum. I spent a lot of time speaking to retired performers and reading was one of my main things. I was just getting historical texts. I did that for four and a half, five months and then I actually had an eighteen week delay because my horse’s foot–I had to sit outside her stall for nine weeks and nurse her back to health and keep her company. And then she turned around and stepped on my foot and crushed it. [Laughs] It was a bad foot year all around! My foot elevated for nine weeks and I got to the point where I could write. I think I wrote it in seven or eight months in total. I had a few other little interruptions in there so at one point I got so desperate with writer’s block I started painting my room instead of writing and painting the living room orange and using my very best not writing techniques. So I got my husband to put my desk in our walk in closet. I didn’t have wireless at the time so that meant no internet. [Laughs]
That is some ridiculous writer’s block. [Laughs]
I took pictures of the Old-Time Circus and put them up on my wall. I went, ‘Well no internet’ and everywhere I looked there was the circus. All I had with me was my file.
Was there anything that you found in your research that surprised you?
A lot of things surprised me about the circus and I think that was one of the reasons why I was so hooked. The idea that they were firing people by throwing them off the back of moving trains! It was completely lawless. It was an entirely different world within our world.
Did you ever go to the circus when you were younger?
If I did, I have no memory of it. It was truly just based on the photograph. Of course I went to circuses while I was writing the book.
What did you think of the casting of Rob Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon for the Jacob and Marlena roles?
I thought they were fantastic. I was really, really impressed. I had no idea–of course I’ve never been on a movie set before–and I had no idea how hard these people work. Its eighteen hour days, day after day after day and so much concentration. They don’t necessarily shoot the scenes in order so its got to be really, really difficult to do, not to act chronologically, and I think they just did a wonderful job.
Did you have any input on the casting? Were they the look of the characters you had imagined?
It was definitely the look, I wasn’t involved in the casting. I was very lucky–I was able to see the movies sets and my family got to have cameos in the movie.
That’s amazing! What scenes were all of you in?
I’m the easiest to see in it. When Rosie is by the vegetable stand I’m in the crowd looking shocked as she’s led away. One of my sons and my husband are in that scene and all of us are in the parade scene. My husband and I and our oldest son are walking on the sidewalk and our two youngest run out onto the street to walk beside the elephant.
That must have been so amazing for all of you! How many times did you visit the set?
I visited the set twice. First time it was just because they were going to tear the sets down in a few days and [Producer] Andrew Tennenbaum said, ‘Sara’s got to see this.’ So they flew me out to see it and it was just amazing. I mean we drove over in a golf cart filled with berm and I saw the circus and it was so weird because this book had been in my head for so long and suddenly I was standing in the middle of my book! [Laughs] I was really, really glad to see that. And then the next time was when we had our cameos and everyone was there. So I went twice and everyone else in my family went once.
That must have been somewhat emotional to see. Do you have a favorite character that you created?
It’s hard to say. There are characters that came easier to me and there are characters that I had to work harder for. Old Jacob, Walter and Queenie actually came to me whole and of course I love Rosie! [Laughs]
Was there a specific scene you were most proud of once having completed it?
Nothing I can say without giving away any enormous plot story lines. [Laughs]
That’s true. Definitely don’t want to spoil anything! Well do you have any plans once you get the DVD on its release day?
We’re going to go find us and freeze it on our cameos! [Laughs]
What was it like being in New York for the Ziegfeld Theatre premiere?
It was just surreal. It was amazing. It was just–I don’t even know how to describe it–it was amazing. It was wonderful.