Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Brian Cox talks about the enduring nature of Michael Mann's Manhunter

Celebrating the release of Michael Mann's Manhunter on BluRay, there have been numerous articles written on this highly regarded cult classic. What appealed to me about this article is that it is a very recent interview with Brian Cox who played Lector, providing additional insight for those either new or familiar with the film. He comments about the music that back then had an 80's sound that now dates the film, which could have been avoided. In a sense I think he is right, but on another level, I actually think the music still works if creating the correct mindset and context to receive it. It is powerful stuff. Overall, Cox is very positive about the film.

Here is a quote from the article that reveals something unique about Mann's approach in Manhunter:

I think it’s interesting, though, that Mann trimmed out some of the more excessive parts of the novel, and made a much more simmering film.
He wanted to imply more, and I think he succeeded in implying evil rather than showing it. I think the opening sequence, when we go through the house while the killing’s taking place – he did it. All the videos of the families. You know their fates, but he doesn’t dwell on any of it.
It’s way, way ahead of its time. I mean, CSI and all those programmes have all virtually ripped that off, in an amazing, successful way. The chemical aspect of criminality. That whole scientific thing.
Michael [Mann] was all about the unsaid rather than the said, and [William Petersen], who every time I see the film, I think his performance gets better and better, because it’s so wrought and tight.
The full article can be read here: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/1075052/brian_cox_interview_manhunter_hannibal_the_cannibal_adaptation_michael_mann_and_brett_ratner.html

See a video analysis here:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Michael Mann and David Milch still in Luck? And HBO "Luck" forum online.

Rumours are that the tensions between Michael Mann and David Milch have maybe caused Milch to look for work elsewhere. I hope that isn't the case, because I think the two men, despite the creative difficulties in sharing a vision, have the capacity to change how we view TV, again. Just like Mann did with Miami Vice. Read this recent article to get the full scoop.

While I am posting, can I also direct you to the HBO "Luck" forum, which features all the latest news and information surrounding Luck. It is quiet there at the moment, but no doubt will explode into frenzied action once people realise how special this series is going to be. It will be huge.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Tom Payne as Leon "Bug Boy" Micheaux in Michael Mann's Luck

One of the extraordinary leaps into the now fashionable "Hollywood TV" has been made in quiet, yet blockbusting style, by British actor Tom Payne. Payne is playing the character Leon "Bug Boy" Micheaux in Michael Mann's forthcoming "Luck" coming to our screens in January. I first came across Tom Payne on TV playing a handsome, popular and self confident high school student, Brett Aspinall, in the UK TV series Waterloo Road (2007-08). He is instantly likable, in the way that you wish he wasn't, because like Justin Timberlake, he is brilliantly talented, has the looks, and can put the two together. Men hate that. I recall seeing him on screen for the first time and the immediate impression was he would be a star of the future. I wasn't alone thinking this. He was named as one of Screen International magazine's stars of tomorrow 2007.

Payne oozes screen presence, and has the confidence in his acting to take you on his journey in character. It is in Payne's  ability to bring you into his interior world that sets him apart and enabled him to impress one of the most discerning character actor directors in the world: Michael Mann. Mann has worked with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, Daniel Day Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, James Caan, William Petersen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina.... the list is long, illustrious and still not finished. More recently, Mann is adding Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and the new kid on the block: Tom Payne. Except Payne is no kid. When playing Brett in Waterloo Road his real life age was 24, but his character was a 17 year old. It is perhaps his mature, yet youthful appearance that lends strength and certain niche to Payne's offering as an actor. In Luck, he plays the horse jockey Leon and at 5'7" in height he can pull it off. The average height of a horse jockey is said to be 5'6". It is clear that Payne has the specific ingredients Mann was looking for in this anticipated role within Luck.

With Michael Mann's illustrious history of casting, the challenge is certainly on for Payne to impress as he steps onto set with Hoffman and Nolte. We only have a glimpse of Payne playing Leon in the current two versions of the Luck trailers currently released by HBO. We see him walking past the stands looking uncertain (in character) in the first trailer, and then in the second trailer we see him in the gates on horseback about to race. Both clips are enough to see, in my opinion, he has found character. Payne will have discovered Mann's passion for realism and detail, and this would be to Payne's liking, having himself wanted to add detail for his role as football legend George Best - which required more chest hair! Horse racing is a huge learning curve, and Mann's boot camp for learning skill sets required for roles is well known. Future interviews will no doubt reveal the extent of Payne's race training.

Payne didn't just jump from Waterloo Road to Luck. He appeared in a number of other TV movies and appearances. Yet intriguingly, none of these gave him the exposure that Waterloo Road provided him. Waterloo Road, whilst mainstream BBC drama, was high quality and creative. Musical montage sequences gave emotional, indepth edge to it, a style that has since been copied by other TV series. It was quality acting, excellent dialogue and fun. It is not obvious to understand how Payne landed the part in Luck, despite acknowledging his obvious talent. We don't know what golden stepping stone took him there. But what we do know is that he will be a great success. I liked him in Waterloo, and as predicted back then, the world will hear a lot more of Tom Payne, the quiet and serious actor who realizes character is more important than seeking celebrity.

Payne's passion for character acting is found in his other project, a movie which he has recently been filming in Israel: Inheritance. The sensitive tale of an Englishman having a contended love affair with a Palestinian girl.

So watch out for Tom Payne. His fame has been relatively low key. As of next January I reckon he is about to set your screens alight and become wildly famous, meaning we are sure to see him on our screens for a long time to come.



Sunday, 2 October 2011

Manhunter Essay and other miscellaneous links.

Here is a simple web link to a short essay on Manhunter, in anticipation of its release on Blu-Ray:


A list of links from another blog offering a host of reviews from all of Michael Mann's movies:


Miami Vice TV and Movie locations

Michael Mann's 2006 film Miami Vice was full of stunning locations and cinematography. For those fascinated by location, here is a fantastic site with CIA like level investigations as to where all the Miami Vice locations are at.... whoever did this web page should be working for the NSA!


Thanks to Rick who tipped me off on this link from my other site over at www.michaelmann.ning.com

If you haven't noticed, I am now on Twitter @michaelmannblog
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