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A school shooting, a teen pop idol and Portman’s jaded diva raise questions about fame and notoriety in Brady Corbet’s social satire

It’s part satire, part social comment, all fragmented and downright inconclusive. But the biggest hint as to what Brady Corbet’s second feature actually is comes right at the end, as the credits scroll fashionably downwards instead of up. It’s “a 21st-century portrait”, we’re told. This might have been more useful at the beginning, but that’s not this director’s style. As he proved with his debut, the Michael Haneke-esque period drama The Childhood of a Leader – a study of the roots of fascism that seemed baffling when it debuted in Venice two years ago and made more sense three months later with the rise of Donald Trump – Corbet prefers to play the long game, and favours opening a conversation over narrative closure.

Corbet has always been an old head on young shoulders, and it should come as no surprise that his film about the pop world shows the spirit of the Danish provocateur Lars von Trier, for whom Corbet acted in 2011’s Melancholia. Split into chapters, with a dry narration from Willem Dafoe – another Von Trier favourite – Vox Lux charts a journey through recent history, starting in 1999 and ending in 2017. The start date proves immediately significant: in a veiled recreation of the Columbine school massacre, a troubled boy appears at a music lesson, killing the teacher instantly and spraying bullets at the teenage pupils. One girl, Celeste (Raffey Cassidy), refuses to be cowed and tries to talk the shooter down. For a second they seem to connect, then more shots are fired, catching Celeste in the neck and leaving a scar that will never heal.

The incident has unexpected repercussions. Recuperating in hospital, Celeste practises her music, tapping away on a keyboard with her sister Eleanor (Nymphomaniac’s Stacy Martin), who feels she somehow let Celeste down by not being in school that day. At a vigil for the victims, Celeste is unable to speak and instead offers a raw, plaintive, self-penned song. It immediately captures the nation’s mood (becoming, as The Narrator notes with amused disgust, “a hit”) and Celeste is thrown into show business at the age of 14.

Guided by her manager (Jude Law), a scruffy, even seedy-looking character who nevertheless always seems to have has her best interests at heart, Celeste takes the first steps into becoming a teen idol, dabbling with drugs and having a seemingly innocuous affair with a grungey rock star that will turn out to have consequences in the second half. So far, it’s been a freewheeling affair; Celeste and Eleanor’s first trip to Europe is a whirling, speeded-up Super 8 montage (a device Corbet uses throughout, to increasingly darker effect), and the girls are the best of friends. That is, until 2001, when a seismic shift in their private lives is echoed in the unseen aftermath of 9/11, where this particular chapter ends.

You might be wondering where the much-vaunted Natalie Portman figures in all this, and at around the midway point Lux Vox dramatically changes tone. It’s now 14 years later and Celeste is an adult with a teenage daughter (also played by Raffey Cassidy) from that casual fling. The transition is jarring; the meek, curious Celeste is long gone; in her place is a jaded thirtysomething diva, trying to hold on to her pop stardom after a scandal that her manager paid, apparently unsuccessfully, to go away. The colour palette is more aggressive now, and Celeste seems almost entirely transformed – a mash-up of chameleonic Lady Gaga, streetwise Madonna and autotuned Katy Perry – her hair hacked into a rock-chick quiff that will become more sculpted and artificial as the film unfolds.

This Celeste is a woman on the verge of yet another nervous breakdown, and there are hints, possibly unintended, of John Cassavetes’s Opening Night as she embarks on a series of comeback shows, starting in her hometown. Wavering between imperious arrogance and pathetic petulance, Celeste’s faltering confidence is further undermined when a terrorist cell in Europe starts to use part of her trademark iconography – a bejewelled mask – in their operations.

It all suggests that something major is coming, a finale that will finally bring these elements together with a payoff amounting to a sizeable scene or revelation. But Vox Lux is not about to resolve anything. Instead, it seems to be a series of equations, dealing most distinctly with the notion of fame in the modern world. It’s a film that asks, what is fame: promotion, manipulation or hero-worship? Can it really just be the end result of massive popularity? And how do we separate it from notoriety? It’s a good question to ask, even though, as the film readily shows, we’re far from getting the answer.

Source: The Guardian

Alright, alright, alright . Matthew McConaughey made quite the entrance last night at the RBC House for the premiere party toasting his latest TIFF offering, White Boy Rick . As he strutted into the room, in a way that only the Dazed and Confused star could, the energy immediately shifted to what can only be described as an uproar. Cameras flashing everywhere, people rushing at the invite-only event to get their snap and catch a sight, and boy, was it a sight to be had.

GALLERY: All the red-carpet fashion at TIFF 2018

Matthew wore a perfectly tailored burgundy Dolce & Gabbana suit and cozied up to his wife Camila Alves. Fellow cast members Richie Merritt, Bel Powley, RJ Cyler and Jonathan Majors were also all in attendance, as was rapper Joey Badass. I caught Matthew taking a call, clasping his phone with his heavily ringed fingers during the brief time that he was there (Perhaps a ghost call to deal with all the attention?)

Before the fever pitch of Matthew’s fete, I chatted with Jude Law at a late-afternoon cocktail hosted by Grey Goose vodka and Soho House Toronto to celebrate the North American premiere of Vox Lux, in which he reunites with his former Closer co-star Natalie Portman. In perhaps his most convincing role yet, the actor was so charming in our convo that he had me convinced his next role would be my husband. And unlike the stars who make quick cameos at their soirees, he enjoyed working the room, chatting and nibbling thin-crust pizza with Natalie before opening their circle to other attendees.

Natalie – who was wearing a sweet-as-can-be soft blush Dior couture gown – got her groove on as soon as the DJ started playing Cardi B. In a well-played move, he transitioned into “Natalie’s Rap 2.0” by The Lonely Island , a recurring SNL skit that sees the pint-sized star rap – and she couldn’t help but sing along and dance with her friends!

Meanwhile the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott were at the IT House x Producers Ball Gala presented by NKPR and Scott Brothers Entertainment, where they were mingling with producers, talent, directors and attendees. Newlywed Drew had wife Linda Phan by his side, and the brothers were quick to charm the selfie-snapping crowd by hamming it up with props from around the room (like a ping pong racket).

In what was no doubt the grandest event of the eve, Hugo Boss and Amazon Studios hosted a star-studded bash at Soho House Toronto for the cast of Beautiful Boy. All four floors of the house were in play for “it boy” Timothee Chalamet, Steve Carelland Amy Ryan, who were feted by fellow notables like Amber Heard, Armie Hammer and his wife Elizabeth Chambers, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Hari Nef, Joe Zee, Joel Edgerton, Maika Monroe, Pablo Schreiber (Yes, Lievs bro!) and Sam Taylor-Johnson. A room-stopping/you really had to be there moment occurred as former Call Me By Your Name co-stars Timothee and Armie joyfully reunited.

Before 22-year-old Timothee left, I caught him in another moment entirely: After being escorted down the stairs by a handful of security, he was taken to the closed front door of the house, where fans were waiting behind a barricade outside in great anticipation. I saw him take a deep breath as his body guard looked at him for approval, then Timothee gave the approving nod, the door was opened for him and flashes and screams erupted. Fade to black.

Source: Hello! Canada

Actress Natalie Portman opens up about her new film “Vox Lux”, sharing how she prepared to play the role of a pop superstar who overcame tragedy through music.

Source: ET Canada

Natalie Portman in Vox Lux

Now playing – Natalie Portman in ‘Vox…

Although Brady Corbet’s much anticipated “Vox Lux” seems to have gotten a lukewarm early reaction from the press at Venice Film Festival on Tuesday, the movie has gained significant traction on the Lido, by judging from how packed the morning screenings and press conference were. Meanwhile, the performance of Natalie Portman, who stars as a dysfunctional pop star who survived a school shooting as a teenager, has been applauded on social media.

The Oscar-winning, Jerusalem-born actress, who has often been outspoken about current social and political issues, said she didn’t perceive “Vox Lux” as having a political message but instead viewed it as a “reflection of the world we live it.” “If anything, it’s a portrait of our society, and the intersection between pop culture and violence and the spectacle that we equate between these two,” said Portman.

Portman said she was “interested in the psychology of what violence does to individuals (as she is) from a place (Israel) where people have encountered it for so long.”

“Unfortunately, in the U.S. we also experience violence regularly with school shootings which are, as Brady said to me before, some kind of civil wars,” said the actress, adding that even “small acts of violence can create widespread psychological torment.”

Meanwhile, the Oscar-winning actress admitted that “playing a pop star was a dream” for her and that she had been a “fan of Sia for a long time.”

Portman then said she watched several documentaries about pop stars to prepare for the role but added, with a laugher, that she was “not inspired by a particular pop star.” Another key aspect of preparing for the part was the dancing which she nailed thanks to her husband, Benjamin Millepied, a high-profile ballet dancer and choreographer with whom she worked on “Black Swan.” “I did the dancing with my husband at home which was nice. It was very fun to work together again,” said Portman.

Corbet explained that while he approached “Vox Lux” as a drama only, he had to face all the lentghy preparations of a music movie. “There was so much preparation that went into the soundrack, choreography and lip sync. It was nearly a year’s work to put the soundtrack out a year before we started shooting,” said the actor-turned-helmer who made his feature debut with “The Childhood of a Leader” in 2015.

Besides Portman and Corbet, the presser for “Vox Lux” was attended by Stacy Martin and Raffay Cassidy. The movie is being represented in international markets by Sierra/Affinity, while Endeavor Content and CAA represent the US rights.

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

Speaking at a press conference at the Venice Film Festival on Tuesday, Natalie Portman says her role in “Vox Lux” has caused her to consider “the psychological impact” of America’s recent mass shootings.

Source: ET Canada

Natalie Portman is one of the biggest names in Hollywood today. What are her greatest movies of all time? In the following slides, we rank the top 10!

Natalie Portman hit the ground running as an actress. Her first feature role in Leon: The Professional quickly shot her to stardom, but Portman was only getting started. Right after wowing us all as Mathilda in the action movie, Portman went on to star as Padme Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. 

Like many of the biggest stars today, Portman also joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe family as Jane Foster in Thor. She, however, didn’t need much help from the superhero genre, only appearing in two movies before moving on to other projects.

Are you a fan of Natalie Portman? With such great talent, it’s hard not to be! And lucky for us, the actress is not going anywhere. Portman has already starred in two films two films alone — Annihilation and The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. She will also be starring in Vox Lux, scheduled to premiere later this year, and Portman is currently filming Pale Blue Dot and is set to star in the television mini-series We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. 

Whether you have been following the actress from the beginning or only recently, we’re all fans!

In the following slides, we’re counting down Natalie Portman’s 10 greatest movies of all-time. We rank them based on more than just the movie’s box office winnings. After all, we all know the amount of money a film makes in theaters does not accurately reflect the quality of the movie. What we also considered in the ranking is the movie’s critical acclaim, plot of the story, and more.

Natalie Portman’s 10 greatest films…

View the full article on Fansided.

Natalie Portman in Vox Lux

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

Natalie Portman in 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

It’s been confirmed!

Natalie Portman has closed a deal to direct and star in an untitled biopic about the identical twin sisters who wrote advice columns as Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers.

The sisters were born in 1918. Dear Abby was launched in 1956 by Pauline Esther Friedman in the San Francisco Chronicle. Her twin sister was born Esther Pauline Friedman and won a contest in 1955 to take over the “Ask Ann Landers” advice column in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Both used straightforward styles in dispensing common-sense advice. The competing columns led to the sisters having a bitter professional rivalry that lasted the rest of their lives.

Portman will play both sisters for the project. Katie Robbins, a producer and staff writer on the TV series “The Affair,” wrote the script. Producers are Peter Saraf and Dani Melia of Big Beach Films. Saraf received a best picture Oscar nomination for “Little Miss Sunshine” and has credits on “Loving,” “The Kings of Summer,” “Safety Not Guaranteed,” and “Jack Goes Boating.”

No start date has been set for the production. Portman made her directorial debut with the 2015 Israeli drama “A Tale of Love and Darkness.” She’s starring with Jude Law in the music drama “Vox Lux,” which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival, and Xavier Dolan’s “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

Portman is represented by CAA and the law offices of George Sheanshang. Robbins is repped by UTA, Aaron Kogan, and attorney Jonathan E. Shikora. The news was first reported by Collider.

Source: Variety