W MAGAZINE – When 34-year-old Rebecca Hall first came to Cannes in 2008 for Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (in which she played Vicky), she didn’t even bring a dress to walk the carpet. “I got to Cannes and was like ‘wow, this is a huge thing…’ but I learned from my mistake!” quips Hall, who’s saving grace was Alberta Ferretti who came to the rescue at the last minute. With that behind her, the London-born actress returned to the Grand Palais, fully equipped in Dior Couture, for her film “The BFG,” Steven Spielberg’s remake of Roald Dahl’s 1982 childhood classic. Shot in Vancouver, the film follows an orphan named Sophie who teams up with the Big Friendly Giant to defend the world against evil people-eating giants. Hall plays Mary, the Queen of England’s maid, who comes to Sophie’s rescue. Hall lovingly describes her character as “a quite rotund, fleshy maid with a feather duster,” and promises that she bears no similarities to her character besides her English origin. “I brought my own idea of how I see the world to the character,” she begins. “Perhaps our warmth maybe similar, but beyond that no. She’s frightfully British and put together – she wears tweed and this crazy ’80s, early ’90s posh British hair.”
VANITY FAIR – We’re several phases deep into Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and there are still no female superheroes with their own movie and, for that matter, no female villains in a starring role. In fact, audiences will have to wait until possibly Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 2017) or definitely Thor: Ragnarok (November 2017) to see a woman in the Big Bad role. But according to Iron Man 3 writer-director Shane Black, Marvel fans could have had a female villain back in 2013 were it not for concerns over toy sales.
When asked why Rebecca Hall’s character, Maya Hansen, met such an unceremonious end in the film, when she was shot by Guy Pearce’s villainous Aldrich Killian, Black told Uproxx’s Mike Ryan:
All I’ll say is this, on the record: There was an early draft of Iron Man 3 where we had an inkling of a problem. Which is that we had a female character who was the villain in the draft. We had finished the script and we were given a no-holds-barred memo saying that cannot stand and we’ve changed our minds because, after consulting, we’ve decided that toy won’t sell as well if it’s a female. . . . So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making.
While Killian and his frustrated masculinity made for a compelling villain, Maya makes even more sense. It was her research—which Tony helped crack—that resulted in the Extremis serum that created super-soldiers. “New York called and said, ‘That’s money out of our bank,’” Black explained. “In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian—and they didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian. I liked the idea, like Remington Steele, you think it’s the man but at the end, the woman has been running the whole show. They just said, ‘No way.‘”
Black clarified that the Marvel that created Iron Man 3 is not the Marvel that exists today. “That’s not [Kevin] Feige,” he told Uproxx. “That’s Marvel corporate, but now you don’t have that problem anymore.” Last year, Disney wrested control of Marvel Studios away from eccentric billionaire Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter and gave it directly to Marvel Studios president Feige. Though a lot of the information on Perlmutter’s influence is speculative, many attribute controversial decisions like the lack of non-white, non-male leads in the M.C.U. to him. And some claim Perlmutter—who has a background in the toy business—was specifically responsible for the controversial decision to take a gendered approach to Avengers merchandise and for the conspicuous absence of Black Widow merchandise. “Yeah, Ike’s gone,” Black said. Bring on the female villains, superheroes, and toys.
Later than promised, I have at last added photos of Rebecca’s appearances at the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival for the premiere, photocall, and press conference for The BFG. Doesn’t she look incredible? I can’t wait to see what she brings to her role in the movie, as it seems like her character is being sidelined from the theatrical trailers and promotion so far.
W MAGAZINE – When 34-year-old Rebecca Hall first came to the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 for Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (in which she played Vicky), she didn’t even bring a dress to walk the carpet. “It was the first red carpet I had ever done, and when I got to Cannes and was like ‘wow, this is a huge thing…’ but I learned from my mistake!” quips Hall, whose saving grace was Alberta Ferretti, who came to the rescue at the last minute. With that behind her, the BAFTA-winning actress returns to the Grand Palais tonight, fully equipped in Dior Couture to walk the red carpet for her film The BFG, Steven Spielberg’s remake of Roald Dahl’s 1982 childhood classic. Shot in Vancouver, the film follows an orphan named Sophie who teams up with the Big Friendly Giant to defend the world against evil people-eating giants. Hall plays Mary, the Queen of England’s maid, who comes to Sophie’s rescue. Here, Hall talks everything from magical moments with Spielberg, to bonding with her eleven-year-old co-star.
The film is part animated, and part real life. How long did you spend talking to a green screen?
None actually! Towards the end of the film the green screen stops and it takes place at Buckingham Palace with the Queen of England and real people… and I’m one of the real people. I had to look at Mark Rylance, who plays the BFG, on a platform in a monster suit. For Mark it must have been incredibly alien. He was way up there isolated on this platform. In the digital version he looks like a giant.
And had you read The BFG before you were cast for the role?
Yes, I loved it. I read it when I was 5, when I had just graduated to reading by myself in my head. I remember it was a big moment for me.
Well nearly thirty years later you’re part of its legacy! Talk about the character you play.
The character I play is Mary, a quite rotund, fleshy maid with a feather duster. It’s really cartoonish. When I first read the script, I was like, “they want me for that role?” But they changed it a bit to make her the Queen’s right hand woman, who runs her life, which is fun and quite a nice plot twist.
The first official poster for Rebecca’s upcoming role in Christine has been released, and can now be found in the gallery.
Christine (Rebecca Hall) is an ambitious 29-year-old news reporter in Sarasota, Florida, circa 1974. Relentlessly motivated to succeed, she knows she has talent, but being a driven career woman in the 1970s comes with its own challenges, especially when competition for a promotion, unrequited love for a coworker, and a tumultuous home life lead to a dissolution of self.
With ratings in the cellar, WZRB’s station manager issues a mandate to deliver juicier and more exploitative stories, a style firmly at odds with Christine’s serious brand of issue-based journalism. To accomplish her goals, she must overcome her self-doubt and give the people what they want. Christine is a hypnotic and arresting portrayal of a woman at a crossroads.
THE PLAYLIST – It’s never explicitly stated that Hunter Miles is a member of the 27 Club, but that hasn’t stopped the folk musician (“folk” in terms of both his hero status and his particular brand of strummy rock) from getting grouped with other musicians who left this world too soon. The character at the heart of Sean Mewshaw’s “Tumbledown” is already dead and buried by the time the film opens — in fact, we visit his grave quite frequently, much like his many fans — but his specter looms over the entire feature, as does his cut-short legacy. A moody (maybe? or is that simply how a rocker of his ilk is perceived by the public?) singer/songwriter in the vein of Bon Iver and Elliott Smith, Hunter crafted exactly one solo album (one “perfect” album, as one character observes) before dying in an apparently freak hiking accident. He also left behind exactly one widow (Rebecca Hall) who, quite understandably, hasn’t quite gotten over losing her husband.
Hannah’s grief is already years old by the time we first meet her, but she remains steeped in it by trade: she’s trying to write Hunter’s biography. The process is trying, terrible, and not exactly fruitful, but Hannah is determined to get it done, both out of love and maybe a little bit of obligation. There’s one other problem, though, a big, bearded one, because someone else wants to write about Hunter, too, and he just might be better suited to the task.
As scholar/writer/professor Andrew McCabe, Jason Sudeikis subtly mutes his charm — he’s still occasionally smooth and genuinely engaging, but it’s all turned down a touch. What works best about Sudeikis’s work in “Tumbledown” is his easy spirit, his ability to calm a continually riled up Hannah, and to sell it with a smile. Hannah is initially wary of Andrew — fine, she’s totally terrified of him and massively rude at just about every turn — but despite those early misgivings, Andrew isn’t a creep, and when he tells Hannah, “I want to make your husband immortal,” you cannot help but believe him.
Sudeikis’ ascension to romantic leading man is just starting to ratchet up, thanks to turns in smaller features like both “Tumbledown” and the raunchy Sundance charmer “Sleeping With Other People,” but it’s pulling some solid, sensitive work out of the typically comedic actor, the kind of stuff that works necessary magic on big screen romances. Hall’s work here is less transcendent, but she shades Hannah and her copious emotions with skill, and even during Hannah’s worst moments — and, in between her lying, stealing, and occasionally dirty mouth, she’s got plenty — she emerges as a sympathetic and complex woman who refuses to conform to traditional expectations of either grief or womanhood.
Eventually, the pair decides to pen Hunter’s biography together, an endeavor that’s destined to dig up a whole mess of feelings and secrets, both old and new. The script, penned by Mewshaw and his own wife, Desiree Van Til, contains more than a few red herrings, but the film is at its best when it aims for straightforward charm, especially when Mewshaw allows Sudeikis and Hall to fumble and bumble around their feelings in equal measure. Although “Tumbledown” inevitably turns into a romance, that part of the pair’s relationship is the least earned and the least compelling portion of the film. The pair is not without chemistry, however, and while the romance doesn’t quite sing, it’s not all flat notes either.
“Tumbledown” isn’t free of many of the traps and tropes that pervade romantic comedies, but it frequently takes the time to walk through and explore them with an even, sensitive touch. (Only “frequently,” however, as the film does include one of the genre’s worst elements: underwritten supporting characters. Joe Manganiello adopts a baffling Maine accent in order to woo Hannah, while Diana Agron is confined to the “ditzy, terribly mannered” girlfriend role. Both actors deserve much better, but at least Manganiello appears to have enjoyed his role.)
Lensed by Seamus Tierney, the film makes wonderful use of the stunning Maine scenery, and the influence of nature is felt in every frame. Complete with music by Damien Jurado — who “plays” Hunter in music only, pictures that pop up in the film are of another actor — “Tumbledown” strikes a delicate, moving tone that hits more high notes than lows. [B]