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"This film has the catering budget of the James Bond films I did, and yet we made it to the Oscars" - voila! culture

2024-02-24T22:22:27.586Z

Highlights: Jeffrey Wright is one of the most respected and busy American actors of the last four decades. In shows like "Angels in America" ​​and its television adaptation, but also in hits like "The Hunger Games", the James Bond movies and the last incarnation of "Batman" Wright received his first Oscar nomination for "American Action" an interview with Walla! Culture. "If you look at my career, I certainly didn't do things that 'gave the audience what they wanted,'" he says.


After an illustrious career that spanned from "Angels in America" ​​to "The Hunger Games," Jeffrey Wright received his first Oscar nomination for "American Action." an interview


Trailer for the movie "American Story"/Lev cinemas

Jeffrey Wright is one of the most respected and busy American actors of the last four decades.

where did he play

Where not!

In shows like "Angels in America" ​​and its television adaptation, but also in hits like "The Hunger Games", the James Bond movies and the last incarnation of "Batman".

We also saw him playing the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the film about him, appearing in the series "Empire of Crime" and "Westworld" and recently he also joined the permanent crew of Wes Anderson and participated in "The French Connection" and "Asteroid City".



But only now, after such a long career, Wright received his first Oscar nomination.

This happened thanks to "American Fiction" starring him, which is also nominated in four other categories, including the film, and is considered a favorite to win the best adapted screenplay category.

It was produced by the Israeli-American Ram Bergman and written and directed by Cord Jefferson, which is his first feature film.



"Maybe it sounds arrogant, but when I read a script and it interests me - I always think it will interest the audience as well," says Wright in an interview with Walla!

Culture, during which he reveals himself to be a kind, generous and not arrogant person at all.

"Did I imagine that the film would have such a resonance? The truth is, to a certain extent, yes. Even before any film reaches the general public, you can see the reaction of the team working on it, and in the case of 'American Story' they reacted in an encouraging way during filming. It's not that they stood and protested Applause, but their enthusiasm was evident, and that's how I understood that it was going to be a successful and successful film."

"If you look at my career, I certainly didn't do things that 'gave the audience what they wanted.'"

Jeffrey Wright gets another statuette for "American Made"/GettyImages, Kevin Winter

The film is indeed successful - brilliant, engrossing and entertaining.

Of course, Wright's game display is also excellent.

He plays Thelonious "Monk" Ellison, an unpopular lecturer whose novels he writes don't really find an audience either.

A glance at the bestseller lists and the names of the winners of literary awards make it clear to him what the establishment and the public expect from him as a black man: to write "rough" books in street language, full of stereotypes and clichés, for example characters of black criminals.

He pretends to be one of these, and sends the book publishers a book he wrote based on his "experiences" in the world of crime.



The book was written as a joke, but the world is falling apart, and the business is out of control.

The novel becomes the talk of the day, a Hollywood producer purchases its film rights, and funniest of all: Monk is invited to serve on the jury of an important literary award solely because of the color of his skin, and is required, among other things, to judge his own ridiculous book, which of course becomes the favorite to win.



In the jury, Monk finds himself facing Sinatra, played by the excellent Issa Rae.

This is the black writer who cracked the system and writes the kind of successful books that Monk seeks to despise, but she is at peace with her decisions, even if she is not proud of them.

The two engage in a dialogue: she thinks the audience should be given what they want, and he of course thinks the opposite.



"That scene is perhaps the most significant moment in the movie," says Wright when I ask him about it.

"There's a thesis and an anti-thesis here, and the truth is somewhere in the middle. If you look at my career, I certainly haven't done things that 'give the audience what they want.' Did the audience want 'Angels in America'? Maybe only a small part of it. It was A sublime work, full of inspiration, and she was not interested in what came before - she came to create something new. At least in the theater, my partners in the work and I try to maintain some distance from the audience. We don't want to line up with it, we want it to go towards us."

More in Walla!

His Israeli accent is laughed at, but he has become one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood

To the full article

Nominated for five Oscars.

From "American Story"./Kinema Lev

You've played in some of the biggest blockbusters of recent years.

How do you compare the work on them to this film?



"We shot 'American Story' on the catering budget of the Bond films I made. The budget was small, but the film deals with big and relevant ideas - race, identity, representation. As strange as it may sound, 'American Story' allows us to discuss these charged issues in a fun way. It's a film misanthropic, and he does not discriminate against anyone in his hatred of man. He sends arrows everywhere, and has a healthy self-criticism. Monk's family also adds to the universality of the film, because it is a family as crazy and loving as any family. As one of my friends told me, the family in the film The Fun in Dysfunction".

"Humanity's ability to change is overwritten."

Jeffrey Wright/GettyImages, John Phillips

Like the hero, Wright also grew up without a father.

"I was raised by two women - my mother and her sister," he says in the conversation, which takes place on Zoom.

"My mother got cancer shortly before I received the script for 'American Story'. I'm an only child, so I took care of her, and she died quickly, which stunned us all. I have children myself, and then the corona virus also came, and we experienced a very intense period."



"I relate to the hero in the film in many ways, for better or for worse. He is a man who shuts himself in his shell, maybe not on purpose. His father committed suicide, and the absence of the father is very present in him - and in me, because my father died when I was a child. Monk did not succeed and cannot overcome the loss, And it hurts him and makes him hurt people. He's flawed, but he's trying to work on it - he's reflective and self-aware, which is a healthy thing. Basically, he writes the book as a joke, but it still has personal stuff in it. It's no coincidence that the satirical book has A scene of dialogue between father and son".



What book changed your life, and what was the last book you read?



"There are, of course, many books that have been significant in my life, but here is one that I was just talking about - Goethe's 'The Torments of Werther the Younger'. It is a book that shook my world and is still shaking, for reasons I will not go into. Recently I have been reading the thoughts of Erich Fromm. His writings are incredibly topical and explanatory the rise of totalitarian leaders these days."



Among other things, "American Story" talks about the issue of casting.

Who do you think is suitable to play you in a movie about your life?



"I'm a very specific character. In the case of 'American Story,' the screenwriter-director already thought of me when he read the book it was based on, but that doesn't happen often. For better or worse, there aren't many actors who are suitable to play me. There is one young actor who promises that I'm thinking of him, But I won't say his name because I don't want to stress him."

Favorite book: "The Agony of Young Werther".

From "American Story"/Lev Cinema

The whole movie is a satire on the awards season.

A bit ironic that he himself is nominated for so many statuettes.



"True, there is a very strong irony here. There are many things that the people who decide on awards would like to say but can't, and the film says them for them. It gives license to the self-criticism we need now."



It's a funny and funny movie, but its ending scene is rather pessimistic, isn't it?



"Since the corona virus, I have become convinced that we, the human race, are simply not built for change. We repeat the same mistakes in a circular, almost generational way. We read ancient texts and find meaning in them because we are the same people. The ability of the human race to change is overwritten."



"On a more optimistic note, something does change at the end of the film - Monk's perspective. He learned something about himself and the nature of the world. This is important and even critical. Understanding how the world works may not help you change it completely, but it is necessary to change it even a little , and a small change is better than nothing. You have to be pragmatic."

  • More on the same topic:

  • Jeffrey Wright

  • The Hunger Games

  • James Bond

  • Ram Bergman

  • Oscar

Source: walla

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