Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 Independent Spirit Award nominees bared

Winners will be announced on February 26, 2011 in Santa Monica.

Best Picture
127 HOURS
BLACK SWAN
GREENBERG
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
WINTER’S BONE

Best Director
DARREN ARONOFSKY, Black Swan
DANNY BOYLE, 127 Hours
LISA CHOLODENKO, The Kids Are All Right
DEBRA GRANIK, Winter’s Bone
JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL, Rabbit Hole

Best First Feature
EVERYTHING STRANGE AND NEW
GET LOW
THE LAST EXORCISM
NIGHT CATCHES US
TINY FURNITURE

Best Screenplay

LISA CHOLODENKO, STUART BLUMBERG, The Kids Are All Right
DEBRA GRANIK, ANNE ROSELLINI, Winter’s Bone
NICOLE HOLOFCENER, Please Give
DAVID LINDSAY-ABAIRE, Rabbit Hole
TODD SOLONDZ, Life During Wartime

Best Female Lead
NICOLE KIDMAN, Rabbit Hole
ANNETTE BENING, The Kids Are All Right
GRETA GERWIG, Greenberg
JENNIFER LAWERENCE, Winter’s Bone
NATALIE PORTMAN, Black Swan
MICHELLE WILLIAMS, Blue Valentine

Best Male Lead
RONALD BRONSTEIN, Daddy Longlegs
AARON ECKHART, Rabbit Hole
JAMES FRANCO, 127 Hours
JOHN C. REILLY, Cyrus
BEN STILLER, Greenberg

Best Supporting Female
ASHLEY BELL, The Last Exorcism
DALE DICKEY, Winter’s Bone
ALLISON JANNEY, Life During Wartime
DAPHNE RUBIN-VEGA, Jack Goes Boating
NAOMI WATTS, Mother and Child

Best Supporting Male
JOHN HAWKES, Winter’s Bone
SAMUEL L. JACKSON, Mother and Child
BILL MURRAY, Get Low
JOHN ORTIZ, Jack Goes Boating
MARK RUFFALO, The Kids Are All Right

Best Foreign Film
THE KING'S SPEECH, Tom Hooper
KISSES, Lance Daly
MADEMOISELLE CHAMBON, Stéphane Brize
OF GODS AND MEN, Xavier Beauvois
UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Best Documentary
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, Banksy
MARWENCOL, Jeff Malmberg
RESTREPO, Sebastian Junger, Tim Hetherington
SWEETGRASS, Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
THUNDER SOUL, Mark Landsman

Best Cinematography
ADAM KIMMEL, Never Let Me Go
MATTHEW LIBATIQUE, Black Swan
JODY LEE LIPES, Tiny Furniture
MICHAEL MCDONOUGH, Winter’s Bone
HARRIS SAVIDES, Greenberg

Monday, November 29, 2010

James Franco and Anne Hathaway named Oscar hosts!

Franco, Hathaway to Host Oscar® Show

Beverly Hills, CA (November 29, 2010) – James Franco and Anne Hathaway will serve as co-hosts of the 83rd Academy Awards®, Oscar telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer announced today. Both have previously appeared on the telecast but not in hosting capacities.

"James Franco and Anne Hathaway personify the next generation of Hollywood icons— fresh, exciting and multi-talented. We hope to create an Oscar broadcast that will both showcase their incredible talents and entertain the world on February 27," said Cohen and Mischer. "We are completely thrilled that James and Anne will be joining forces with our brilliant creative team to do just that."

Franco, who currently can be seen in "127 Hours," will be making his second appearance on an Oscar telecast. His other film credits include "Eat, Pray, Love," "Date Night," "Milk" and "Pineapple Express." Franco is also known for his portrayals of Harry Osborn in the "Spider-Man" trilogy.

Hathaway will be making her fifth appearance on an Academy Awards telecast. She was recently seen in "Alice in Wonderland" and currently can be seen in "Love and Other Drugs." Hathaway's other film credits include "Bride Wars," "Becoming Jane," "The Devil Wears Prada" and "The Princess Diaries." She was nominated for an Oscar in 2008 for her lead performance in "Rachel Getting Married."

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Academy releases shortlist for Best Documentary Feature of 2010

Beverly Hills, CA (November 18, 2010) – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 83rd Academy Awards®. One hundred-one pictures had originally qualified in the category.


The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

“Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer” Alex Gibney, director (ES Productions LLC)
“Enemies of the People” Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, directors (Old Street Films)
“Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy, director (Paranoid Pictures)
“Gasland” Josh Fox, director (Gasland Productions, LLC)
“Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould” Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont, directors (White Pine Pictures)
“Inside Job” Charles Ferguson, director (Representational Pictures)
“The Lottery” Madeleine Sackler, director (Great Curve Films)
"Precious Life” Shlomi Eldar, director (Origami Productions) “Megamind”
“Quest for Honor” Mary Ann Smothers Bruni, director (Smothers Bruni Productions)
“Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films)
“This Way of Life” Thomas Burstyn, director (Cloud South Films)
“The Tillman Story” Amir Bar-Lev, director (Passion Pictures/Axis Films)
“Waiting for ‘Superman” Davis Guggenheim, director (Electric Kinney Films)
“Waste Land” Lucy Walker, director (Almega Projects)
“William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe” Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, directors (Disturbing the Universe LLC)

The Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed all the eligible documentaries for the preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thomas Jane talks about his dick!


Thomas lets it all 'Hung'
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star)

Photo is loading...
Thomas Jane's character turns to the world’s oldest profession. Only he is not called a prostitute, he is a happiness consultant.| Zoom
MANILA, Philippines - Minutes before Thomas Jane walked into our suite inside the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills one afternoon a couple of months ago, the three female journalists from our roundtable were picking among themselves who would ask the actor the ultimate question of the day: What is the size of his member?

The American actor, who burst into mainstream consciousness via the 1999 shark movie Deep Blue Sea, stars in HBO’s suggestively titled comedy-drama series Hung as a broke middle-aged high school basketball coach and history teacher who discovered that his large member would become his biggest ticket yet to a better life.

“You know, I am bigger than some and not as big as others,” he casually replied to the very first question that greeted him – this was before he could even take his seat and say hello to everybody. “I get that question all the time. I’ve never been asked another question as many times in my life. Is that the thing you want to grow up and have strangers asking you on the streets how big is your (expletive) dick?”

Women, especially those who made Hung an international HBO hit, are naturally curious to find out not just the size of the character but even of the actor himself because, as titillating as the title is, the story did not actually indicate nor even hint at anything through skillfully-staged lovemaking scenes throughout the first season run of the series the actual size of the prized member described in the show’s title.

“You get used to it, I guess,” he added. “I come up with some funny lines here and there and I kind of knew going in that it would be part of the game. It’s not a bad one; It’s kind of fun. I try to have fun with it.”
Thomas Jane with co-star in a scene from Hung, airing tonight at 10 on HBO.

But if he really had his way, he wished he’d avoid the questions altogether. “This is not my favorite part of the job. I am sure other people enjoy it. As actors, we like to have lines. We like to know what to say. Are we performing here or are we letting you in on a real person of who this actor really is or am I just telling you what you want to hear?”

In Hung, Thomas plays Ray Drecker, a former popular high school baseball star whose dream of a golden life ended in failure: his marriage to his high school cheerleading sweetheart ended in divorce while his short professional career went south before he could even make a home run. To make matters worse, his house burned down and he was forced to move back in to his parents’ house with his twins. All these happened at the beginning of the show's first season.

The show’s rather casual approach to prostitution has drawn some flak from critics accusing it of promoting the illegal trade, which the actor strongly denies. “I don’t think the show is trying to do that. Absolutely not! The prostitution thing is interesting, you know, and the title of the show is titillating but that’s not what the show is about.”

“The show is about the attempt to make honest communication between men and women, that’s what the show is about, but you can’t really put that on a billboard, can you? It won’t sell a lot of tickets but that’s what keeps people coming back.” He explained that “we are not watching porn, we are not just watching my ass – you can get that in a skinemax after midnight – we have really great writers on the show and they deliver terrific material and we hired fantastic actors to fill out a great cast.”

More than the topic of prostitution, the brilliance of the show’s writing is evidenced by how the writers skillfully used the more controversial theme to flesh out the more common yet still largely misunderstood subject of male mid-life crisis.

“I think that a healthy, awake, alive human being, halfway through his life, at some point, whether it is 38, 42 or 45 is going to be faced with some real questions that he can no longer run and hide from,” he said. “In your 20s, you think you are immortal and these questions make little or no sense. You are gonna live forever. You’re gonna have hundreds of women, as the case may be, and you are gonna have a good time! Life is a constant series of string of events because you are young and healthy and then your 30s hit and you slow down a little bit and you realize that you wake up in the morning with a few more aches and pains than you ever had in your life before and you thought you have any idea but you don’t.”

Thomas, who turns 42 in February, acknowledged that he has gone through a phase he considered as his mid-life crisis. “You don’t have to be poor or lose a job or have a parent die to have a mid-life crisis – you just have to be awake and realize that half your (expletive) life is over and how short it is and how quickly it goes by and why. Why are we here? What are we doing? And halfway through life, when your body starts to slow down and you realize your own mortality is at stake, that’s when you start asking yourself these questions – and they are important ones.

“You can avoid the questions with alcohol or dating or work, like workaholics, and you can avoid those questions all your life if you want to but if you are a sentient, sensitive, awake, present human being, these questions are going to come and they are gonna come sooner than you’d like them to. There are as many answers as there are people, the answers are for you to discover for yourself.”

Is he afraid of getting old?

“Getting older is just the inevitability of your own life. It’s not a state of mind. It’s a physical state. Your body starts to break down, you lose energy, and you don’t have the smile on your face. I don’t have limitless energy anymore. I can’t stay up till four in the morning and then wake up at 6 to go to my own job – I can’t do that! I need to get a certain number of hours of sleep or else I am not gonna function tomorrow or the next day.”

Getting old and experiencing those physical changes have made the actor take a stock of what mortality means to him. “It hits you inside. Your body starts to feel it. And this is what wakes the question in you, how much longer have I got left? Then friends start to die. They drop dead out of the blue. They wake up in the morning, have breakfasts with their husbands and then they drop dead in the corner. That’s what happens in people’s lives in their 30s and in their 40s.”

In the second Season of Hung, which premieres tonight at 10 on HBO, Thomas’ character will continue to ride his own mid-life crisis while he carries on giving therapeutic pleasures to women. Also in the cast are Anne Heche, who portrays his character’s ex-wife, and Jane Adams who portrays a struggling poet moonlighting as Ray’s pimp.

Ray Drecker’s advice to wannabe male “happiness consultants": “Wear protection. Try not to deal with complete strangers. Think about doing male on male because that’s where the money is.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Contenders for Oscar Best Animated Film named

Gregg Kilday of the Hollywood Reporter posts the following report:

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – "Tangled," "Megamind," "Despicable Me" and "Shrek Forever After" are among the 15 qualifying films vying for an Oscar nomination this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said on Monday.

But because only 15 films have been accepted for consideration, there will be no more than three animated movies nominated in the best animated feature category this year.

Under the rules for this category, in order to trigger a potential five nominees, 16 films would have had to be accepted for consideration.

The Academy gave the list of qualifying films as; "Toy Story 3", "How to Train Your Dragon", "Shrek Forever After", "Megamind", "Tangled", "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue", "Despicable Me", "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore", "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole", "The Illusionist", "Alpha and Omega", "The Dreams of Jinsha", "Idiots and Angels", "My Dog Tulip" and "Summer Wars".

Nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards will be announced on January 25.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

AP picks early Oscar frontrunners!

'King's Speech,' 'Social Network' seek Oscar glory
By David Germain, Thu Nov 11, 9:28 am ET

LOS ANGELES – Two dramas unfolding in a new world of global communications could emerge as front-runners at the Academy Awards.

Director David Fincher's "The Social Network" is set in modern times as the founders of the Web site Facebook battle over their creation. Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" takes place in the 1920s and '30s as Queen Elizabeth II's dad struggles with his speech impediment at a time when the royal family is counted on to voice reassurance through the new medium of radio.

"The Social Network" has almost universal acclaim, a hip subject and impressive box-office results since it opened Oct. 1. "The King's Speech" does not open until late November, but it's an old-fashioned awards contender, a classy period piece that has been an audience favorite at film festivals for its heart and humor.

"We didn't realize it was a comedy as well as a drama. We had no idea people enjoyed it on so many levels," said Colin Firth, who stars as the stammering King George VI, reluctantly taking the throne after his brother abdicates and finding unexpected kinship with a wily Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush).

"It ticks a lot of boxes that are notorious for being supposed nomination bait, you know — monarchs and disabilities and that sort of thing. But it has very little to do with that as far as I'm concerned. The substance of this is to do with this friendship."

"The Social Network" also deals with friendship — the unraveling kind. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Facebook mastermind Mark Zuckerberg, playing him as an abrasive, socially inept genius who ends up in ferocious legal feuds with his former best buddy (Andrew Garfield) and others claiming he stiffed them on the site's proceeds.

Fincher said he's hopeful but that Oscar talk is premature. "Social Network" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is even more tightlipped about awards.

"I just won't talk about it," Sorkin said. "I can tell you that right now, what means something to me is that people who have seen the movie seem very moved by it. It's everything we could have hoped for when we began the project."

Nominations come out Jan. 25, with the Oscars presented on Feb. 27.

Here's a look at more possibilities for best picture as well as for other top Oscar categories:

BEST PICTURE:

Assuming "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network" make the cut, eight other films will compete for the remaining slots as the Oscars go with 10 best-picture nominees again, continuing an experiment started last year that broadened the field to include mainstream hits such as "The Blind Side" and smaller productions such as "The Hurt Locker," which won for best picture.

The category was expanded partly because of "The Dark Knight," the 2008 Batman blockbuster that earned Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar but missed out on a best-picture nomination, despite rave reviews. This bodes well for "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan's followup, last summer's sci-fi smash "Inception," one of Hollywood's smartest action thrillers in years.

It also elevates the prospects for the year's top-grossing hit, Lee Unkrich's animated comedy "Toy Story 3," along with Ben Affleck's heist drama "The Town" and perhaps David Yates' "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," the next-to-last film in the fantasy franchise.

Smaller releases could slip into the field of 10, including Ozark thriller and top Sundance winner "Winter's Bone," the family comic drama "The Kids Are All Right," the survival story "127 hours," and "Never Let Me Go," a tragic tale set in an alternate reality.

Two-time best picture and director winner Clint Eastwood cannot be counted out for his afterlife drama "Hereafter," and several upcoming films have Oscar buzz after becoming favorites on the festival circuit, including the ensemble drama "Another Year," the father-daughter tale "Somewhere"; the curmudgeon chronicle "Barney's Version," and the dance drama "Black Swan."

Two films from Oscar-winning directors are on the awards radar, though they do not come out until year's end and have not been seen by Oscar watchers: Joel and Ethan Coen's new take on the Western "True Grit" and James L. Brooks' comic drama "How Do You Know."

BEST DIRECTOR:

With 10 best-picture selections, it seems like five directing slots just aren't enough to go around.

Tom Hooper for "The King's Speech," David Fincher for "The Social Network" and Christopher Nolan for "Inception" look like solid bets.

Past winners Danny Boyle for "127 Hours" and Clint Eastwood for "Hereafter" have fresh prospects, as does Darren Aronofsky for "Black Swan," Ben Affleck for "The Town" and Mike Leigh for "Another Year."

Animation continues to gain in critical esteem, so Lee Unkrich might have a shot for "Toy Story 3."

The question marks remain the filmmakers behind December's latecomers: past winners Joel and Ethan Coen for "True Grit" and James L. Brooks for "How Do You Know."

And a year after the first woman won the directing Oscar, Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker," past nominee Sofia Coppola could be back in the running for "Somewhere," along with indie longshots Lisa Cholodenko for "The Kids Are All Right" and Debra Granik for "Winter's Bone."

BEST ACTOR:

Colin Firth earned his first Oscar nomination for last year's "A Single Man," and some who have seen him as George VI in "The King's Speech" think Oscar voters should just hand him the best-actor prize. Often playing glibly sardonic characters in the past, Firth is mesmerizing as the stammering king, striking a wonderful balance between imperious and wretched.

There's plenty of glibness to be had among other contenders, including Jesse Eisenberg's savagely biting Facebook founder in "The Social Network"; James Franco as a one-man force of nature, playing a climber trapped alone in a canyon in "127 Hours"; and Paul Giamatti in the life story of a crusty producer of schlock TV in "Barney's Version."

Other possibilities: Ben Affleck, "The Town"; Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"; Jim Broadbent, "Another Year"; Matt Damon, "Hereafter"; Leonardo DiCaprio, "Inception"; Stephen Dorff, "Somewhere"; Michael Douglas, "Solitary Man" or "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"; Robert Duvall, "Get Low"; Aaron Eckhart, "Rabbit Hole"; Ryan Gosling, "Blue Valentine"; Sean Penn, "Fair Game."

Still unseen is last year's winner, Jeff Bridges, in "True Grit," and the male cast of "How Do You Know," Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson.

BEST ACTRESS:

Natalie Portman is an unholy terror in "Black Swan," which takes the give-your-all-for-dance commitment of "The Red Shoes" to deeply disturbing places. A past supporting-actress nominee for "Closer," Portman gives herself over completely to her role as a goody two-shoes ballerina whose menacing dark side emerges as she prepares for her dream role in "Swan Lake."

Annette Bening dominates "The Kids Are All Right" as the acerbic authoritarian in a family of lesbian parents, whose household unravels after they meet the sperm donor who fathered their children. Julianne Moore as Bening's spouse also has Oscar prospects, though she could end up in the supporting category.

Other possibilities: Anne Hathaway, "Love & Other Drugs"; Sally Hawkins, "Made in Dagenham"; Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"; Diane Lane, "Secretariat"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"; Helen Mirren, "The Tempest"; Carey Mulligan, "Never Let Me Go"; Ruth Sheen, "Another Year"; Hilary Swank, "Conviction"; Naomi Watts, "Fair Game"; Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine."

Still unseen are past winners Gwyneth Paltrow in "Country Strong" and Reese Witherspoon in "How Do You Know."

SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Andrew Garfield is just starting his blockbuster career in the title role of the next "Spider-Man." After acclaim and honors for the British drama "Boy A," Garfield also may be getting his first taste of awards season, Hollywood style, with excellent supporting roles as the betrayed co-founder of Facebook in "The Social Network" and a boarding school youth with a grim destiny in "Never Let Me Go."

"The Social Network" co-star Justin Timberlake also has prospects, playing the Napster creator who comes between the two best friends behind Facebook.

Other possibilities: Pierce Brosnan, "The Ghost Writer"; Vincent Cassel, "Black Swan"; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "Inception"; John Hawkes, "Winter's Bone"; Bob Hoskins, "Made in Dagenham"; Dustin Hoffman, "Barney's Version"; Tommy Lee Jones, "The Company Men"; Bill Murray, "Get Low"; Sam Rockwell, "Conviction"; Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"; Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech."

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

British actress Lesley Manville is a veteran of such Mike Leigh films as "Vera Drake" and "All or Nothing," but she is little known in Hollywood.

That's changing with Leigh's "Another Year," in which Manville is the mirror reverse of Sally Hawkins' eternal optimist in the director's 2008 film "Happy-Go-Lucky." Manville is heartbreaking as a lovelorn woman who sees everyone around her getting at least some of what they want, while she perpetually holds an empty glass.

While reviews are mixed at best for Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls," the ensemble drama does offer some excellent performances, with Loretta Devine and Kimberly Elise among the standouts.

Other possibilities: Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"; Marion Cotillard, "Inception"; Minnie Driver, "Conviction"; Cecile de France, "Hereafter"; Greta Gerwig, "Greenberg"; Gemma Jones, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger"; Keira Knightley, "Never Let Me Go"; Mila Kunis, "Black Swan"; Ellen Page, "Inception"; Rosamund Pike, "Barney's Version"; Sissy Spacek, "Get Low"; Olivia Williams, "The Ghost Writer."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My interview with the stars of "Due Date"

Zach it to 'em, Robert!
By Raymond de Asis Lo / L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star)

Robert Downey Jr. ( left) and Zach Galiafanakis.

LOS ANGELES — When actor Zach Galiafanakis took a bottle of 2006 Roth Estate wine from the mini-fridge inside the Four Seasons suite where we were holding our roundtables during the Due Date junket last week, we had no idea that he would pop open the bottle, pour each of us a glass, and, to our amazement, start drinking in the middle of the interview. We knew we were in for one delightful and funny interview — one that would become the most laughter-filled I have ever had!

“You chug it down, baby, you’re gonna be all right,” Zach’s Due Date co-star Robert Downey Jr., obviously trying to control himself from laughing, half-smilingly told the journalist from Australia when she hesitated in taking a sip from her glass. “He wants you to taste it.”

Zach, who became an overnight sensation after his breakthrough role in last year’s blockbuster comedy The Hangover, was with the celebrated actor during the interview. Both actors star in Warner Bros.’ hilarious road movie Due Date, the latest comedy from the director of The Hangover, Todd Phillips, which opens in Manila tomorrow, Nov. 5.

During the interview, as in most parts of their movie, Robert generously allowed the up-and-coming comic to steal the spotlight in the roundtable interview from him. “I don’t mind that he steals the movie five times over because he deserves it,” he said acknowledging the portly comedian’s unintentional tendency to take the limelight away from his co-stars.

To the comedian’s credit, it was likely he took the bottle of wine to mask his apparent unease with all the chaotic goings-on that is typical of a big Hollywood junket. He would ramble on for a minute or two and quickly apologize after thinking he might have spent far too long in answering a question. Robert, the veteran of the two, sat amused by his co-star’s feigned naiveté yet complete and refreshing candidness.

From the time he broke out with last year’s monster hit The Hangover, Zach has been nearly unstoppable. “I feel like it’s too much, like overexposure, but, you know, everybody who could get a work takes the work — and I enjoy it,” he asserted before adding, “I am hoping to take a breather after January for a couple of months and then maybe slow down a little bit but I gotta tell you I enjoy working. It’s never been part of my life that that much work all just flooded in.”

Robert nodded his approval before facing Zach and telling him, “Dude, all those years when you weren’t on the radar, people would say, ‘Oh, there’s this other guy, Zach Galiafanakis,’ people would all agree that you were funny and offbeat and a complete original but there was no traction behind it to go into the atmosphere and it all happened just like a lickety-split…”

“Yeah, it’s been pretty fast the past year and a half but I am pleased with it,” Zach added. “I am just telling Robert that it’s weird to be sitting with him and discuss the movie. I never would have thought that that would have been the case. I was just doing stand-up and I didn’t have the aspirations really to be doing all these kinds of things. I am so very pleased that this happened.”

What happened was pure Hollywood magic. You work nearly unknown in the sidelines for more than a decade and in just one flick of the finger you have the highest-grossing comedy of the year. Of course, it helped that he had director Todd Phillips keeping an eye on his potential before finally giving him his breakout role last year. “Zach has a great fearlessness about him and I think you have to have that as a comic actor,” he said.

Zach’s stories of his early struggling days as a wannabe actor were odd and anecdotal one would be tempted to think that the comedian was just mostly making them up if not for the traces of sincerity in his demeanor when he was relating how he persevered to break into the business.

One of the funniest stories he told us that afternoon was when he was new in New York and trying to become a stand-up comic. His first paid gig was to entertain a bunch of four-year olds at a Foot Locker shop. When he found himself running out of material to keep the kids preoccupied he resorted to what was perhaps a precursor to how crazy his career trajectory would take him later. He took out several permanent markers and invited the kids to draw or write whatever they want on his face — all for 50 bucks! After his gig, “it was raining and I was walking home and my brother, who was visiting with me, he happened to take a walk and he saw me and he just looked at my face with all the drawings on it. Every actor must have a story similar to it…”

Robert immediately exclaimed, “No, that didn’t happen to me,” before breaking into laughter.

The actors share a distinct chemistry both on and offscreen that director Phillips expressed how lucky he was to have found two perfect actors to portray two mismatched guys sharing a cross-country ride from Atlanta to L.A. — with the hilarities and all! He had both Robert and Zach when he was drafting the story.

Before we got the interview started, the two actors huddled for a minute in a corner and shared a hug before taking their seats. “This is what happens,” Robert declared when we asked what the hug was all about. “All real moments happen around a f--ing press roundtable. This is pathetic!” He did not share what they talked about and immediately changed the topic to the writing on the shirt worn by the journalist from Mexico.

Robert and Zach are neighbors in the tony neighborhood of Venice, California. Zach, in what seemed to be a puzzling story in the beginning, shared his encounter with a homeless guy he found sleeping under his car. He called the police to report the guy and when he was asked to describe the guy, he realized that his description of him was the exact description of what he looked like. He just told the police: “Look, when you get here, there’re two of us.” But it’s not the kicker of the story. “I actually felt sorry about calling on him because I know somebody from before who was the same and would wake up in strange places,” he added while giving a subtle nod towards Robert in apparent allusion to his colorful past. Robert, who has since sobered up and has been enjoying great career resurgence after doing the mega-blockbuster Iron Man, briefly pretended drawing a blank face but ultimately smiled at another of Zach’s inspired joke.

The Oscar-nominated actor is enjoying a three-year blockbuster streak. Before the success of Iron Man, he was mostly written off as a has-been after his bouts with unsavory headline-grabbing issues about drugs and alcohol addiction. That movie and its sequel cemented Robert’s superstar status in Hollywood. After Due Date, he is set to star in the sequel to last Christmas’ blockbuster hit Sherlock Holmes while Zach heads to Thailand to film the sequel to The Hangover.

“We both have sequelitis,” Robert joked before concluding the interview.

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