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Gary Oldman discusses how he creates a character

Will Harris was recently invited to New York City to take part in the press junket for Focus Features’ new thriller, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” and along with partaking in some roundtables with the cast and crew, he also got a chance to sit down for a one-on-one interview with star Gary Oldman. Though the veteran actor had plenty to discuss regarding his role as iconic spy George Smiley, he also had something interesting comments about past performances as well, like how he based the character of Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg from “The Fifth Element” on Bugs Bunny and Ross Perot, and this entertaining story about creating the look of Drexl Spivey for “True Romance.”

You know what? There’s a story behind that. I was putting together that character, and I had no rehearsal and…I was on another movie, so I actually finished on a Sunday evening, drove home, and started Drexl the next day. And I had to kind of put him together, I had to work on him while I was doing something else. Because there just wasn’t the time to meet with Tony (Scott). I wrote him a letter, sent him a note, saying, “I would like dreadlocks. What do you think?” And he said, “Yeah, great.” So I knew Stuart (Artingstall), who had been the wigmaker on “Dracula,” so he made me that wig in about 48 hours. And I went to a dentist – I was working here in New York – who made the gold teeth, and I got the eye from the prop department at the…well, it was one of the eyes I wore for “Dracula”! And I put ‘em all together and walked on the set and hoped Tony liked it.

Be sure to read the full interview on Bullz-Eye, as well as Will’s other “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” interviews with co-star Colin Firth and director Tomas Alfredson and writer Peter Straughan. And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out our celebrity spy feature, “They Were Spies.”

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

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RIP Dennis Hopper

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Dennis Hopper died today at age 74 after a lengthy and public illness. He was an icon of mid-century rebellion and an always fresh and fascinating character actor throughout a career that spanned the classic era, the American  New Wave of the late sixties and early seventies, and his often astonishing later career work in numerous films and television shows after he was finally able to conquer his longstanding issues with substance abuse during the mid-eighties. He didn’t have a lot of starring roles, but that’s show business. (The still above is from one of the very few, Curtis Harrington’s 1961 “Night Tide.” He’s very good in it.)

He was also a photographer, the director of one of the most influential (i.e., copied and later spoofed) single films ever made, “Easy Rider,”  as well as a major figure on the Los Angeles art landscape. It’s not often mentioned, but he was also probably the most proudly counter-cultural celebrity to ever openly associate himself with the Republican party, though, as recounted by Edward Copeland in his extremely detailed look at Hopper’s career, he was a true maverick to the end and voted for Obama in 2008.

Mr. Hopper was most certainly the real deal and there’s no way one post can do justice to his legacy. For now, we’ll keep things simple and just offer a few of the most iconic moments from Dennis Hopper’s amazing care, after the flip.

Read the rest of this entry »

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A tribute to Dennis Hopper

It’s good to celebrate people while they’re still here, and that certainly applies to Dennis Hopper, a man who has made his mark upon the movies like very few people in film history. From his start as a young ensemble player on innumerable television shows and some very fifties era big Hollywood productions like “Rebel without a Cause,” “Giant,” and “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (he’s at 199 credits on IMDb), to his emergence as a controversial counterculture star and filmmaker in the the late sixties, to becoming one of Hollywood’s best character actors with his beyond memorable roles in films like “Apocalypse Now,” “Blue Velvet,” “Hoosiers,” “True Romance” and numerous other films, he’s without a doubt a man to whom attention must be paid. As the director of “Easy Rider,” and the troubled but legendary “The Last Movie,” his influence on the American films of the early seventies, for both better and worse, is probably impossible to measure.

In that spirit, cinephile superstar writer and blogger turned filmmaker Matt Zoeller Seitz, formerly of The New York Times and the great group blog he founded, The House Next Door (now Slant Magazine’s official blog), has crafted the un-narrated cinema essay below for his present gig with the Museum of the Moving Image. It’s fairly long as these things go, but it is definitely worth your time.

Oh, and one thing that has been, and always will be, true about Dennis Hopper — he is most definitely not safe for work, unless, of course, you work somewhere extremely cool or extremely dangerous.

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A Chat with Saul Rubinek

Saul Rubinek is one of the most versatile characters actors in Hollywood, able to move from sitcom to serious drama without a moment’s hesitation. As a result, he’s one of the busiest guys in the business, a fact which is easily proven by taking a gander at his IMDb listing. It’s been awhile, however, since he’s taken on a role as a series regular, which should give you an idea of how special he believes his new gig, Sci-Fi’s “Warehouse 13” (premiering July 7th), to be. Bullz-Eye spoke with Rubinek about how he came aboard the series and what we can expect from his character, and we also chatted with him about his experiences on “Frasier,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “The Outer Limits,” and the legacy of “True Romance.”

* “I adore (‘Warehouse 13′), and it’s a pleasure to be able to talk about it. I’ve had so many times in my life where I’ve had to sell a show, you know, and do my due diligence as an actor and try desperately to look for something positive to say. Here I am in a kind of heaven.”

* On doing “Frasier”: “I had to pinch myself. That was one of the most amazing times I have ever had, where you feel like you are doing this little one act play, no interference from anyone, anywhere. We’re just doing this little one act play, and then 23 million people showed up.”

* “That world of Lewis Carroll, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson is a world that I threw myself into as a kid. And also, even darker, into the world of Lovecraft and Poe as well. I loved that. As a child, I was able to throw myself into a world of make believe where I actually was in that world, because as a kid, boy, it was really easy to believe it when I was doing it.”

To read more, click here…or, if you’d rather, there’s the big graphic below that’s a bigger target:

And as a Premium Hollywood bonus, here’s Saul’s death scene from one of his very first films, one which he discusses in the interview:

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