A Special Tribute at the 48th Telluride Film Festival to powerhouse actor, Peter Dinklage, generated massive buzz before the world premiere of the new film musical, Cyrano, directed by MGM’s Joe Wright and written by Erica Schmidt (based on her 2018 play of the same name). Both stage play and screenplay are based on Edmund Rostand’s 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, incidentally credited with introducing “panache” to the English language.
The film is breathtakingly beautiful with lavish costuming, epic battles, and spirited musical numbers. The film garnered three nominations at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards (HMMA): Best Original Song – Feature Film for “Every Letter”; Best Song – Onscreen for “Whenever I Fall”; and, Best Music Themed Film, Biopic or Musical.
In Cyrano Dinklage strongly carries the weight of the lead with a remarkable melancholic voice, enhanced and embossed by Haley Bennett’s equally impressive performance as Roxanne. Both Bennett and Dinklage are reprising their roles from the 2018 Connecticut-based Goodspeed Musicals production of Cyrano.
Dinklage is a four-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones and has turned in several strong performances on the big screen in Station Agent, Elf, and I Care A Lot, and was recently Dinklage was recently announced as a Gotham Award Performer Recipient. Numerous pundits are mouthing Dinklage’s performance as Oscar-caliber – the question being is it enough for this record-setting Emmy recipient to become an Oscar recipient?
Cyrano was coming out for the holidays…For most audiences, the date has been pushed back to January 21st, 2022, as the film recently positioned itself to take advantage of the upcoming Oscar nomination season by scheduling a one-week opening run in Los Angeles beginning December 17th, followed by a back-to-back platform release and national rollout in January. Oscar nomination voting begins January 27th and wraps up the first week of February.
PETER DINKLAGE TO RECEIVE PERFORMER TRIBUTE AND THE ACTORS FUND TO RECEIVE GOTHAM IMPACT SALUTE AT 2021 GOTHAM AWARDS
Event to Take Place on Monday, November 29, 2021
New York, NY (November 17, 2021) – The Gotham Film & Media Institute announced today that actor Peter Dinklage will receive a Performer Tribute and The Actors Fund will receive the Gotham Impact Salute.
As the first major awards ceremony of the fall season, the Gotham Awards provide critical early recognition and media attention to worthy independent films and series and their writers, directors, producers, and actors. The 2021 Gotham Awards Ceremony, will take place live and in person on Monday, November 29, 2021, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute, stated:
“The roots of Peter Dinklage’s extraordinary career are firmly grounded in independent film. As his work has grown in major features and TV shows to reach audiences everywhere, Peter has remained a steadfast supporter of this community of independent artists, bringing so many iconic characters to life through his powerful, captivating, and often hilarious performances. Cyrano puts Peter’s full range as an actor on display. We are thrilled to recognize this most treasured performer who has won the hearts of audiences across the world as part of this year’s celebration.”
A constant force in the acting world, and one of the most consistently acclaimed actors of his generation, Peter Dinklage first redefined the conception of a leading man in the 2003 movie The Station Agent. Mr. Dinklage’s performance alongside Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale brought him Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit Award nominations, among other accolades. He memorably portrayed Tyrion Lannister in the global phenomenon Game of Thrones; starring in the epic television series from its 2011 premiere through its 2019 finale, he won four Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award, among other honors. He has also won a Screen Actors Guild Award, with his fellow actors from the ensemble, in the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture category for Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Dinklage most recently starred in Cyrano, which had its world premiere at the 48th Telluride Film Festival in September. Adapted from a play by Erica Schmidt, which Dinklage also starred in, the film has received rave reviews and is scheduled to be released on December 31, 2021, by United Artists Releasing. Dinklage’s other notable film work has included Reed Morano’s I Think We’re Alone Now, opposite Elle Fanning, which he also produced and which won the Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival; Tom DiCillo’s cult classic Living in Oblivion; J Blakeson’s I Care A Lot; the all-star X-Men: Days of Future Past; Avengers: Infinity War; both the UK and the U.S. iterations of the farce Death at a Funeral, directed respectively by Frank Oz and Neil LaBute; Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty; and Mark Palansky’s Rememory, with Anton Yelchin.
He starred as actor Hervé Villechaize in, and executive-produced, Sacha Gervasi’s telefilm My Dinner with Hervéo; in the latter capacity he received Emmy, Producers Guild of America, and Critics Choice Awards nominations with the producing team. Mr. Dinklage and David Ginsberg founded the production company Estuary Films in 2016. Dinklage’s extensive theater credits include A Month in the Country, for the Classic Stage Company; Things We Want, with The New Group, for which he received a Drama League Award nomination; the world premiere of Knickerbocker, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival; and the title roles in Richard III, Uncle Vanya, and Cyrano.
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in the film, theater, television, music, opera, radio, and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services. The Fund offers a broad spectrum of programs, a calendar of workshops, support groups and online resources to support the unique, essential needs of all who work in entertainment and the performing arts.
Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute, stated: “We at The Gotham are thrilled to recognize the tremendous work of The Actors Fund with our Impact Tribute in recognition of their leadership role in providing resources, care, and financial support to members of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March of 2020, the Actors Fund has provided more than $23.9 million in direct financial assistance to more than 17,100 people in need. There are few organizations in our industry that play such a pivotal role in lifting up and supporting so many performing arts and entertainment professionals by offering a wide array of essential services while addressing a variety of challenges faced by workers of all backgrounds. We are honored to recognize their incredible work supporting the many people who keep us entertained.”
In 2020, The Actors Fund helped more than 40,000 people, from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, across all of their programs and services. This is 71% more people helped in 2020 than in 2019. They also helped people from 126 different occupations (including those behind the scenes and non-union workers), a 55% increase of non-performers making use of their offerings and resources. The Actors Fund continues to respond to the needs of the entertainment community with direct financial assistance; health insurance navigation and health care; navigating employment options in a COVID economy; financial wellness services; mental health, addiction & recovery support; affordable housing opportunities and resources; and more.
It was previously announced that Kristen Stewart will receive a Performer Tribute, Eamonn Bowles the Industry Tribute, the cast of The Harder They Fall the Ensemble Tribute, and Jane Campion the Director’s Tribute.
The Premier Sponsor of the 2021 Gotham Awards is The New York Times and the Platinum Sponsor is GreenSlate. The Official Auto Partner is Cadillac, the Official Water Partner is FIJI Water, the Official Airline Partner is JetBlue, and the Official Wine Partner is Robert Hall Winery.
As the first major awards ceremony of the fall season, the Gotham Awards provide critical early recognition and media attention to worthy independent films and series and their writers, directors, producers, and actors with twelve competitive awards categories. The awards are also unique for their ability to assist in catapulting award recipients prominently into national awards season attention. The Gotham Awards Ceremony will take place on Monday, November 29, 2021, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
About The Gotham Film & Media Institute
The Gotham celebrates and nurtures independent film and media creators, providing career-building resources, access to industry influencers, and pathways to wider recognition. The organization, under the leadership of Executive Director and award-winning producer Jeffrey Sharp, fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Gotham Week, Gotham Labs, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Awards, Gotham EDU, Owning It, and Expanding Communities.
About The Gotham Awards
The Gotham Awards, one of the leading honors for independent film and television, provides early acknowledgment to groundbreaking independent films and television series. Selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film, the Gotham Awards are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community expands the audience for independent films and supports the work that The Gotham Film & Media Institute does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.
(Sourced from a press release provided by the Lede Company.)
In 1960, Director John Sturges made the original Magnificent Seven, starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, as an American Western. Sturges based his work on legendary Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa’s classic Seven Samurai. So in addition to being an end-of-summer blockbuster, Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven is a remake of a remake. Like Seven Samurai a good portion of Fuqua’s work takes place indoors and is evidenced by low-key lighting, heavy shadows and blackness.
This was Fuqua’s first attempt at a western although he claims to having had an affinity for them having watched many with his grandmother during his formative years. So when Metro Goldwyn Mayer approached him about making a western, Fuqua jumped at the opportunity. However, he wanted to make this his film with a theme to resonate with today’s audience. He didn’t have to look far to find a strong actor to lead up his core group of seven. Fuqua proposed Denzel Washington for the film’s lead, bounty hunter Sam Chisolm, having worked with Washington on Training Day and The Equalizer. Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor for his Training Day role and his on-screen partner, Ethan Hawke, received a Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination. Like Fuqua Washington had never done a western and looking back at the success the two have had together quickly came on board. Chris Pratt was identified to play gambler Josh Faraday, Chisolm’s sidekick and first to join the seven. Pratt, too, leaped at the opportunity to play a cowboy.
Soon Fuqua had an idea for his version of The Magnificent Seven as he and Washington performed research into the Old West. They discovered a wide-range of nationalities including Russians, Mexicans, and Irish. Fuqua wanted his seven to reflect this so he collaborated with screenwriters Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk to create an authentic cast of characters utilizing a diverse group of young actors in addition to Washington and Pratt: Ethan Hawke plays Goodnight Robicheaux; Vincent D’Onofrio plays Jack Horne, Native-American Martin Sensmeier plays Red Harvest; Mexican-American actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo plays Vasquez; and South Korean headliner Byung-hun Lee plays Billy Rocks.
The film is set in the town of Rose Creek where a ruthless industrialist, Batholomew Bogue, played convincingly by Peter Saarsgaard, is attempting to roust the entire town with threats, murder and mayhem for his own personal gain. The desperate town folk are at wits end when a woman, Emma Cullen, played by a tough Haley Bennett, reaches out and convinces the seven hired guns to protect and defend them from Bogue’s army of mercenaries. The men come together and find within themselves not only the will to fight and win but also the moral fortitude to do something because it is right.
Interestingly, like Kurasawa, Fuqua employs a number of camera techniques to highlight his film’s narrative. Many of his Hollywood closeups are shot just below the chin emphasizing the actors’ strong jawlines. Mauro Fiore is credited as the Cinematographer. In addition, impressive, expansive panning landscape shots are used to introduce the film with a non-diagetic score started by the iconic film score composer James Horner. Horner had over 75 projects to his name, along with two Academy Awards, and worked with Hollywood heavyweights like James Cameron, Oliver Stone, George Lucas, Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg. Horner did not live to see the completed product before his untimely death in June of 2015. However, he did manage to complete seven themes based on the film’s script and his conversations with Fuqua. Composer Simon Franglen finished the film’s impressive score in a manner and style of James Horner as a tribute to Horner.
Throughout The Magnificent Seven Antoine Fuqua attempts to comment on today’s society and what he sees as overt acts of tyranny as he keeps with the Kurosawa thematic element of programming a film with societal mirrors and a political undercurrent. Notwithstanding, while Kurosawa used the unemployed samurai to form his seven, Fuqua finds a group of fringe characters with diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Still, both film’s characters do what is right and help those in need in spite of their own self-interest. My hat goes off to Director Fuqua for a valiant and noble effort. The Magnificent Seven is a fun film. It is well done technically with plenty of action and color. And, it is made in a similar vein as a world cinema masterpiece. Highly recommended.
(Featured photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema di Venezia)