Throwback: TNT’s “Snowpiercer” at NYCC

This Sunday TNT is readying for viewers to depart on their massive eponymous train, SNOWPIERCER. Starring Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, the series is the second adaptation of the 1982 French graphic novel Le Transperceneige after it got the big screen treatment from director Bong Joon Ho in 2013. TNT describes their series as follows: “The world has become a frozen wasteland, and the only survivors are those aboard a perpetually moving train that circles the globe. See how class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival play out on Snowpiercer.”

Cast members below series concept art

Given the expansion from a film to a series, the show promises to take a more in depth look into the characters and divisions that exist in the remnants of humanity aboard the some thousand cars of this monster train. Though some nods to the film–such as a character loosely based on Tilda Swinton’s “Mason”–are to be expected. The cast joined show runner Graeme Manson this past fall on stage at New York Comic Con. You can head over to our Facebook page to check out our full album of panel photos before catching the premiere!

Jennifer Connelly (“Melanie Cavill”) and Daveed Diggs (“Layton Well”)

SNOWPIERCER debuts on 5/17 at 9pm on TNT

Media Mikes 2016 Fall/Holiday Movie Preview

Labor Day has come and gone, and unless you’re dressing up as a ghost, you better not be wearing anything white! With the end of summer comes the beginning of fall and the start of Hollywood’s “Prestige Movie Push!”

We’ll take a look at what the studios hope are their best bets to fill the multiplexes and bring home the Oscars. Once again, a big thank you to our friends at Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) for some synopsis information. Opening dates noted are subject to change at the whim of the studios. Enjoy!

OCTOBER 7

THE 13th

Documentary
Directed by: Ava DuVernay

The director of “Selma” gives us an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

OSCAR CHANCES: Will surely make the short list.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION

Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer
Directed by: Nate Parker

Set against the antebellum South, the film follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

OSCAR CHANCES: After last year’s #OSCARSOWHITE controversy, the early buzz on this film almost guaranteed a bounty of nominations. However, it was recently revealed that writer/director/star Nate Parker and his co-writer, Jean McGianni Celestin, were accused of raping a fellow college student in 1999. Though Parker was not found guilty and Celestin had his conviction overturned, their alleged victim committed suicide. Not sure how this news will affect the Academy voters.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett and Justin Theroux
Directed by: Tate Taylor

In the film, being compared to “Gone Girl,” a recently divorced woman
takes the train to work every day and imagines the lives of a young couple she
sees every day. Things get weird when the young wife disappears.

OSCAR CHANCES: Blunt is already getting raves for her performance.


OCTOBER 13

MASCOTS

Starring: Christopher Guest, Parker Posey and Jane Lynch
Directed by: Christopher Guest

Simply described as “a look into the world of competitive mascots,” this is the latest opus from the great Christopher Guest. Sadly, unless I missed it, this is the first of Guest’s films that does not include Eugene Levy.

OSCAR CHANCES: Possible screenplay nod.

 

OCTOBER 14

THE ACCOUNTANT

Starring: Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons and Anna Kendrick
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor

A forensic accountant un-cooks the books for illicit clients. What I like about the trailer is that Affleck seems to be a young genius. Maybe this is his chance to play Will Hunting?

OSCAR CHANCES: Maybe.


KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW?

Starring: Kevin Hart
Directed by: Leslie Small and Tim Story

Kevin Hart performs his comedy in front of 50,000 fans.

OSCAR CHANCES: No.


OCTOBER 21

AMERICAN PASTORAL

Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and Ewan McGregor
Directed by: Ewan McGregor

In 1968, a hardworking man, who’s been a staple in his quaint community for years, watches his seemingly perfect middle class life fall apart as his daughter’s new radical political affiliation threatens to destroy their family. Based on the novel by Philip Roth.

OSCAR CHANCES: Adapted screenplay?

IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE

Starring: John Travolta, Ethan Hawke and Karen Gillan
Directed by: Ti West

A mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody cross-hairs of revenge. Ethan Hawke’s second western this season and John Travolta in a cowboy hat for the first time since “Urban Cowboy.” Yee-hah!

OSCAR CHANCES: Sadly Western’s very rarely get recognized.

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK

Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders
Directed by: Edward Zwick

Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.

OSCAR CHANCES: Director Zwick has helmed three of my favorite films (“About Last Night,” “Glory” and “Legends of the Fall” but only has an Oscar for co-producing “Shakespeare in Love.” It’s about time this man was recognized, though I don’t think it’s going to be for a Jack Reacher film.

A MONSTER CALLS

Starring: Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver
Directed by: J.A. Bayona

A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom’s terminal illness.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects.

TYLER PERRY’S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN

Starring: Tyler Perry
Directed by: Tyler Perry

Madea winds up in the middle of mayhem when she spends a haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens. I’m scared.

OSCAR CHANCES: I’m going to go out on a limb and say “no”

OCTOBER 28

INFERNO

Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones
Directed by: Ron Howard

When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot. The second Felicity Jones film in as many weeks.

OSCAR CHANCES: Sorry, Tom, but your nomination this year is coming from “Sully”

 

NOVEMBER 4

BLEED FOR THIS

Starring: Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart
Directed by: Ben Younger

The inspirational story of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza who, after a near fatal car crash, which left him not knowing if he’d ever walk again, made one of sport’s most incredible comebacks.

OSCAR CHANCES: Both Robert DeNiro and Hillary Swank won Oscars for portraying boxers so never say never. Hell, Stallone got nominated…TWICE!

DOCTOR STRANGE

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen
Directed by: Scott Derrickson

A neurosurgeon with a destroyed career sets out to repair his hands only to find himself protecting the world from inter-dimensional threats.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects.

HACKSAW RIDGE

Starring: Andrew Garfield and Sam Worthington
Directed by: Mel Gibson

WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Mel doesn’t appear in this one but his dead-ringer son, Milo, does.

OSCAR CHANCES: Gibson (Mel, not Milo) already has an Oscar for directing so you never know. I’m sure people have forgotten what all of the hub-bub was about concerning him a few years ago.

LOVING

Starring: Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Jeff Nichols

Back in the dark ages, Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married. Apparently they had nothing better to do in Virginia at the time.

OSCAR CHANCES: Acting, picture.

TROLLS

Starring the voices of: Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake
Directed by: Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn

Remember those little plastic things with long hair that you used to put on the end of your pencil? When I was a kid we called them Kewpies but apparently they are Trolls and they have their own movie. Good for them!

OSCAR CHANCES: Maybe best hairstyling?

NOVEMBER 11

ARRIVAL

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.

OSCAR CHANCES: Picture, director, acting.

SHUT IN

Starring: Naomi Watts and Jacob Tremblay
Directed by: Farren Blackburn

A heart-pounding thriller about a widowed child psychologist who lives in an isolated existence in rural New England. Caught in a deadly winter storm, she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.

OSCAR CHANCES: Unsure, but young Mr. Tremblay should have been nominated last year for “Room.”

USS INDIANAPOLIS: MEN OF COURAGE

Starring: Nicolas Cage and Tom Sizemore
Directed by: Mario Van Peebles

The harrowing true story of the crew of the USS Indianapolis, who were stranded in the Philippine Sea for five days after delivering the atomic weapons that would eventually end WWII. If you saw “Jaws,” this is the tale that Quint tells. Other “Jaws” related facts: this was the original idea for “Jaws 2.” Also: Mario Van Peebles starred in “Jaws the Revenge.”

OSCAR CHANCES: To me it looks like a “made for TV” movie. How about Emmy chances?


NOVEMBER 18

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

Starring: Hailiee Steinfeld, Blake Jenner and Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Kelly Fremon Craig

High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother. Is that weird? When I was in high-school I wanted to date my best friend’s older sister. Hopefully Stevie Nicks got some money from this.

OSCAR CHANCES: Nada

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jon Voight and Ezra Miller
Directed by: David Yates

The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards 70 years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. Even though Harry Potter and his pals are less than 20 years old it seems like they’ve been around forever.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects, music (the great James Newton Howard)

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Starring: Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams
Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan

An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.

OSCAR CHANCES: Both Affleck and Williams have been nominated in the past so I’m not ruling anything out.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Starring: Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Tom Ford

An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale. November is Amy Adams month.

OSCAR CHANCES: Across the board


NOVEMBER 23

ALLIED

Starring: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war. Cotillard isn’t married so maybe we can look forward to reading about “Bradarion” soon.

OSCAR CHANCES: Pitt, Cotilliard and Zemeckis have been there before.

BAD SANTA 2

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates and Tony Cox
Directed by: Mark Waters

Fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie teams up once again with his angry little sidekick, Marcus, to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve.

OSCAR CHANCES: I thought Billy Bob deserved a nod for the first film but I’m going to say no.

MOANA

Starring the voices of: Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk and Nicole Scherzinger
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker, Don Hall and Chris Williams

A young woman uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui.

OSCAR CHANCES: Animated feature, original song

RULES DON’T APPLY

Starring: Warren Beatty, Lily Collins and Ed Harris
Directed by: Warren Beatty

An unconventional love story of an aspiring actress, her determined driver, and the eccentric billionaire who they work for. Beatty has been wanting to do a Howard Hughes-based film since the 1970s. Not sure if this is what he had in mind back then but, after a 15-year absence, it’s great to see him both in front of and behind the camera.

OSCAR CHANCES: Only two people have been nominated in the same year for acting, directing, writing and producing the best picture: Orson Welles and Warren Beatty. And Beatty did it TWICE!


NOVEMBER 25

LION

Starring: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman
Directed by: Garth Davis

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

OSCAR CHANCES: Many


DECEMBER 2

LA LA LAND

Starring: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
Directed by: Damien Chazelle

From the creator of “Whiplash” comes a film about a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. And it’s a musical!

OSCAR CHANCES: Early film festival buzz say’s this may be the film to watch (both on screen and at awards time!)


DECEMBER 9

MISS SLOANE

Starring: Jessica Chastain
Directed by: John Madden

An ambitious lobbyist faces off against the powerful gun lobby in an attempt to pass gun control legislation.

OSCAR CHANCES: Actress. Madden directed the Oscar-winning “Shakespeare in Love.”

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

Starring: Jason Bateman and Jennifer Anniston
Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck

When his uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down his branch, the branch manager throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client and save the day, but the party gets way out of hand.

OSCAR CHANCES: Zip

DECEMBER 16

COLLATERAL BEAUTY

Starring: Will Smith and Keira Knightley
Directed by: David Frankel

A tragic event sends a New York ad man on a downward spiral.

OSCAR CHANCES: I’ve already had to apologize to Will Smith twice for doubting he’d get nominated for “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.” There won’t be a third. Good luck Will.

FENCES

Starring: Denzel Washington and Viola Davis
Directed by: Denzel Washington

An African American father struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life. Based on the August Wilson play.

OSCAR CHANCES: YES!

THE FOUNDER

Starring: Michael Keaton and Patrick Wilson
Directed by: John Lee Hancock

The story of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. You may look at your next hamburger differently. Keaton is said to be so good that they pulled the film from it’s original release date.

OSCAR CHANCES: Keaton

A KIND OF MURDER

Starring: Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel
Directed by: Andy Goddard

In 1960s New York, Walter Stackhouse is a successful architect married to the beautiful Clara who leads a seemingly perfect life. But his fascination with an unsolved murder leads him into a spiral of chaos as he is forced to play cat-and-mouse with a clever killer and an overambitious detective, while at the same time lusting after another woman. This will be a day of decisions for Patrick Wilson fans.

OSCAR CHANCES: Don’t see any

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Starring: Felicity Jones, Jimmy Smits and Warwick Davis
Directed by: Gareth Edwards

Or, as I like to call it, “Episode 6.5” The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans to the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. Holy crap! The Death Star, Leia’s family, Darth Vader AND Wicket the Ewok? I’m already in line!

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects, make up.

DECEMBER 21

20th CENTURY WOMEN

Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Laura Wiggins
Directed by: Mike Mills

The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s.

OSCAR CHANCES: Can anyone tell me why Annette Bening hasn’t won an Oscar yet? Didn’t think so. Keep your fingers crossed.

ASSASSINS CREED

Starring: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard
Directed by: Justin Kurzel

When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society. This synopsis seems so crazy considering the cast. I wonder if the two leads made the same mistake Bill Murray did when he thought “Garfield” had been written by one of the Coen brothers!

OSCAR CHANCES: Fassbender elevates everything he’s in so I’m not saying no!

PASSENGERS

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt
Directed by: Morten Tyldum

A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early. It’s so weird to see Lawrence in a movie at the end of the year NOT directed by David O. Russell. Oh well, there’s always next year.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects, technical stuff

PATRIOTS DAY

Starring: Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan
Directed by: Peter Berg

An account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it. Sounds better than what I thought it was – knowing Wahlberg is a huge New England Patriot fan I thought it was about a day with Tom Brady. The third film by Wahlberg and director Berg and second this year.

OSCAR CHANCES: Oh yes.

SING

Starring the voices of: Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson
Directed by: Garth Jennings

A koala named Buster Moon has one final chance to restore his theater to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

OSCAR CHANCES: Animated film….maybe.

DECEMBER 25

GOLD

Starring: Matthew McConaughey and Bryce Dallas Howard
Directed by: Stephen Gaghan

An unlikely pair venture to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold. When he was outrageously thin in “Dallas Buyer’s Club” McConaughey still looked good. In this one he’s bald and….dammit!

OSCAR CHANCES: No sir.

WHY HIM?

Starring: James Franco and Bryan Cranston
Directed by: John Hamburg.

A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter’s young rich boyfriend. Based on a story by Jonah Hill. Somebody needed money.

OSCAR CHANCES: I’m ashamed that I have to include those words with this film.

DECEMBER 28

PATERSON

Starring: Adam Driver
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Set in the present in Paterson, New Jersey, this is a tale about a bus driver and poet.

OSCAR CHANCES: Love Jarmusch. Maybe a witting nod.

Paul Bettany discusses “Shelter” with stars Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie

Paul Bettany may be known as one of our finest English actors, with roles in such major films as A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander, The Da Vinci Code and of course, Marvel’s Avengers franchise. What he also is however is now a fifteen year resident of New York City with Oscar-winning wife (and Beautiful Mind co-star) Jennifer Connelly. The city, which Bettany loves, is currently facing a homeless crisis which sees 60,000 people seeking public shelters nightly. The majority of them families.

The actor had been developing a story about judgment and redemption for his feature directorial debut, but it wasn’t until Hurricane Sandy hit his home city that Bettany honed in on filtering his story through the lens of the homeless experience. The result was Shelter, which Bettany describes as a “moving optimistic story,” and stars Connelly as Hannah and Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War) as Tahir, a pair of homeless people from completely different worlds now residing in New York City. They come together to help each other face their pasts and the everyday trials of living on the streets. An impassioned, opinionated Bettany joined Connelly and Mackie this week at the New York press conference for the film.

One particular homeless couple focused Bettany on where his story would go:

Paul Bettany: “I live in a really nice apartment I moan about because I’m now a New Yorker…outside this apartment was this homeless couple. A black man and a white woman, she was blonde. And I would see them, we would see them, we would pass them on the school run. My children would say hello to them, they’d say hello to us, and that was kind of the extent of it. And I have to, I’m ashamed to say, that day by day, their poverty became more and more acceptable to me and they became invisible. Before they actually disappeared. And then Hurricane Sandy hit and we never saw them again. There was a mandatory evacuation of our area of Tribeca and they used to live in a tiny little piece of like a ‘park’–it’s laughable, it’s smaller than this room–on the corner of Canal Street and the West Side Highway. And they used to live under a plastic tarpaulin and I noticed that they seemed to complain a lot less about their circumstances than I did and I admired that. And then I really couldn’t see them anymore and I felt the instinct to write about them. But I didn’t know who they were. And then I thought, well wait a second, maybe that would be a really good way to discuss judgment because I find our response to homelessness really puzzling. It’s a peculiar response that people have.”

This “peculiar response” was loudly voiced this week by New York’s own Police Commissioner Bill Bratton who had advised city dwellers to ignore panhandlers and not spare them any change in order to get them off the streets. At the press conference Bettany, who spent three years developing the script for Shelter and by extension working with and researching organizations that support the homeless, was asked to address this idea, firing back:

Bettany: “I’m not one to say anything rude about anyone else but, that’s a fucking stupid idea. To ignore a homeless…The homeless. Especially when there’s 60,000 of them on the streets—staying in shelters—in a city that’s home to more billionaires than any city on Earth, you know…I can’t believe that someone would say ‘ignore homeless people.’ And frankly, it’s absolutely the reason I feel it’s urgent. Obviously I spent three years bleeding it into a movie that’s trying to talk about exactly that. So forgive me if I get a little bit heated about it. Because that sort of mentality just drives me up the wall.

They’ve been ignored for too long. I’ll just tell you this, if you are a family on the brink of eviction, you’re 80% less likely to be evicted If you have legal counsel. But there is no right to legal counsel in a housing court. It would cost the city $12,500 to grant that family legal counsel. The average stay in a shelter for a homeless family once they have been evicted costs the city $45,000. So not only does it seem to be morally the right thing to do, it also just seems fiscally a smart thing to do, right? You’re thinking outside the box…

All of these figures that I have my head you know because I’ve been really thinking about this for a long while, I say them in front of audiences and I can just—I know that they’re mind blowing and then kind of numbing and that’s the interesting thing about narrative. Narrative can breath life into those figures that can be baffling. And peculiarly they become more meaningful the smaller they get. Which is why Shelter is just about two people. And two people who need forgiveness and who are deserving of forgiveness. Cause you know what? It’s not just those 24,000 children [staying in shelters] because when I say it, I always I feel the audience go ‘[gasps] Not children!‘ but actually we’re all innocents. We’re all worthy of forgiveness. And we’re all fundamentally deserving of a home”

For Connelly and Mackie, working on Shelter refocused their perspectives on the struggles people face.

Jennifer Connelly: “There’s no group of people that isn’t entitled to the same basic human rights as the rest of us…It reminded me how much I need to strive to remain aware and to keep seeing those people. And to keep seeing what’s happening around the world. And to keep you know, to be conscious of how blessed we are to worry about the silly things that we worry about most of the time. When people are worrying about where they’re going to sleep and how they’re going to feed their kids and will they make it through the day. Important to think about.”

Anthony Mackie: “The level of judgment and the lack of humanity I saw in myself was disgusting. Every time I would walk past a homeless person I’d be like ‘Get up, get a job! Get off drugs!’ I never took into account what that person had been through or what happened to get that person to that place. And it just really blew my mind, you know, learning what I learned about homeless shelters and just the idea of finding a warm place to sleep at night, it reminded me of the prison system. And the idea or the lack thereof of rehabilitation in the prison system. You know just trying to get a good night sleep within incarceration… And it was just troubling and eye opening. And I never really took into account the number of families.

You know when I was a kid we used to do this feeding the hungry at my church every other Saturday and it blew my mind one day when I was you know, like scooping out food and this kid from my school was there. I was like ‘Holy sh—shibbity jibbit! That dude we go to school together!’ And somewhere between that moment of realization and appreciation for what my dad sacrificed for us to have and me becoming ‘Anthony Mackie’ I lost it. And this movie really made me realize. And it was very humbling and very sickening to see that within yourself. And so now I make my kids go and scoop chicken on the weekends. And if they don’t do the right thing, I take their shit from them and give it to other kids. [laughs]”

Connelly immersed herself in organizations that reached out to those struggling:

Connelly: “Coalition for the Homeless, that group of people were really helpful to me. I spent time with them, talking to them and visiting shelters and going out on their food runs. Which, every night they deliver meals and stop at set points around the city and people rely on those meals so you can meet people coming in. And I heard a lot–I met and watched and learned from a lot of people. There’s a place called the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, which started out just as a needle exchange program, and it still is and also has health support services and outreach programs, and overdose prevention and a number of other programs. I spent a lot time there at their location, and going on their walkabout talking to people. Yeah, people were very generous with their stories and with their time. So I was really listening to people, watching people and hearing their stories.”

As for the actual making of the film, Bettany made the considerable leap from acting to directing. I asked him if he’d turned to any of the impressive directors he’s worked with in the past (a list including Joss Whedon, Ron Howard and Peter Weir) for advice when he began this project.

Bettany: “No. No I didn’t but they were the biggest resource for me in showing them early cuts of the movie. Ron Howard, Darren Aronofsky, lots of people that I know–David Koepp, and not just directors, Joss Whedon, Johnny Depp…Just loads of people that I’ve worked with and trust and really whose–who I really admire. But I did that afterward.

You know, I really kept my eyes open as an actor, I’m really interested. You know I see it, you see it when you meet a young actor first day on set, you can see whether they’re gonna be the sort of actor who’s gonna bullshit that they know what they’re doing [laughs] or asked loads of questions. And I was really inquisitive and I wanted to know ‘hey, what’s that do?‘…I was that sort of an actor when I was them at that age. And so I’ve been watching and one of the things that I’ve really noticed with the great directors and actually I first saw this, recognized in Peter Weir, is he knows who’s telling the story. Whether it is the actors holding the responsibility or whether it’s the camera crew holding the responsibility. And if it’s the actor holding the responsibility, every take is the actor’s. And by that I mean there is no complicated techni-crane move that’s going to move in on you during your speech and come in and catch a tear rolling down your cheek and eight out of ten of them are out of focus. ‘Cause all of those takes are for the crew, because there’s this complicated camera. Every scene that is held by the actors is just simple simple camera work. Nothing can be out of focus, every take can be going to you the actor. Just generous, every take. Every take. And then when it’s the camera crew, you better be on your fucking mark. Because they’re the ones telling the story, right, they’re the ones responsible for it. So I thought about that a lot and tried to figure out who was the most important. (It was me. [laughs])”

Connelly was asked if she’d like to turn the tables and direct Bettany eventually, but it seems unlikely:

Bettany: “Do you want to direct me? I can’t imagine anything worse, I’m very difficult.”

Connelly: “I have no eminent plans to direct anything although I’d imagine it’d be something that I’d find–it intrigues me but I’m not nearly ready to, I don’t think–”

Bettany: “I’d be terrified!”

Shelter opens in limited release and on VOD November 13th