Camryn Manheim blown away working with Mariska Hargitay: ‘SVU’ is ‘the fabric of her soul’

Looks like the “Law & Order” shows are finding Camryn Manheim a rather … handy person to have around.

That’s because the veteran actor, who currently rules the roost on “Law & Order” as Lt. Kate Dixon, is set to share her skills Jan. 5 on “Law & Order: SVU,” using sign language to interpret the stories of deaf sexual assault victims.

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How Sigourney Weaver brings out her inner teen in the new ‘Avatar’

In the movies, Sigourney Weaver is in charge: She’s Ripley kicking xenomorph butt (“Alien” films); presaging the apocalypse via possession (“Ghostbusters”) or making abortions possible for women in the ‘60s (“Call Jane”). She’s the character who just gets stuff done. And that was true in 2009’s “Avatar,” where she played an exobiologist who created the Avatar program.

But for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” things are a bit flipped around: While Weaver appears briefly as Dr. Augustine, mostly she is a Na’vi-human named Kiri who has special abilities — but is also a teenager, with all that entails. The Envelope spoke with Weaver from her New York home about her legacy of memorable roles, (not) watching her pal Jamie Lee Curtis’ horror films, and director James Cameron, the mischief-maker.

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How the ‘Woman King’ crew found a safe space to be heard

“The Woman King,” a historical epic about a West African unit of warriors in 1823, may feel revolutionary to audiences today — but there are still wars being waged by women and people of color today on very different fields of battle.

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood made a specific effort to hire heads of department for the film that reflected the makeup of the people on camera, which led to a collection of women and artisans of color so remarkable that cinematographer Polly Morgan recalls taking a photo of all the directors chairs for crew set up behind the camera. “There were no male [assigned] chairs,” she marvels.

The Envelope held a Zoom chat with several members of the remarkable crew: Morgan, Prince-Bythewood, editor Terilyn A. Shropshire, costume designer Gersha Phillips and VFX supervisor Sara Bennett to explore just how big a difference it makes when women are put in charge.

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What issues and surprises pop up in the edit room?

“The editing room is a roller coaster,” says Ron Howard, director of Prime Video’s “Thirteen Lives,” which was edited by James Wilcox. “It’s where as a director I feel both stupid, and kind of smart. And frustrated and dejected when something isn’t working the way I hoped it might — and thrilled when ideas come together.”

That adage about how a film is made three times — on the page, on the set and in the edit — is true. Even the most carefully storyboarded and planned-out of films turn into separate beasts once editors and directors are left to assemble them. Yet with creative, flexible thinking by skilled editors and imaginative directors, changes in the edit can create a more original final film than anyone expected.

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How Emma Thompson steps up to be the hero she never had in ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’

Emma Thompson is not afraid to be … anyone. On camera, at least. And that fearlessness extends to her two most recent roles — as a horrific headmistress in “Matilda the Musical” and as a retired teacher coming out of her shell in “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.” With Thompson, 63, it was ever thus: Whether wearing period costumes in “Sense and Sensibility” or “Howards End” (she won an Oscar for each, for screenwriting and lead actress respectively), shaving her head as a cancer patient in “Wit,” or helping Arnold Schwarzenegger get pregnant (“Junior”), Thompson elevates every role she inhabits with laser-focused wit and charm that simultaneously brooks no nonsense.

She sat down via Zoom with The Envelope to talk about getting naked, breaking taboos and finding Marlon Brando as a role model.

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Jamie Lee Curtis finds the truth, even in that thing called the multiverse

Jamie Lee Curtis does not like being scared. She does not have much interest in whatever the multiverse is. But that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a horror icon (her “Halloween” character Laurie Strode debuted in 1978 and became a powerful symbol for female survival and empowerment), comedy (“A Fish Called Wanda,” “Knives Out”) and action-packed sci-fi (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”). For the 63-year-old actor, it’s all about a story she can connect with.

Joyful and enthusiastic, she joined The Envelope at a post-“Everything” screening and panel in New York City in October to talk about truth, (not) being a nerd and selling cars with O.J. Simpson.

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This season, women can be found simmering in patriarchal systems — and fighting back

Five years ago, film producer Harvey Weinstein was outed as a serial sexual abuser in a New York Times article. Also in 2017, the #MeToo hashtag (created in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke) caught fire on social media and ignited an entire movement charged with elevating women’s voices about their own experiences with sexual harassment and abuse.

So it’s no surprise that, five years on, 2022’s Oscar season is full of films featuring women simmering in patriarchal systems and struggling to fight back against the ingrained misogyny around them. Consider “She Said,” director Maria Schrader’s fictionalized account of the story behind that New York Times investigation; co-directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer’s “God’s Creatures,” about an assault in a small Irish town; the historical tale of women warriors — and the cost of capture — “The Woman King,” directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood; and Sebastián Lelio’s adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s “The Wonder,” set in a 19th century Ireland, in which a young girl believes she no longer needs to eat. In these films, female protagonists are shown afresh, as living in a hostile world that underestimates them again and again.

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Mehcad Brooks on how his 1st police brutality experience at age 7 influences his ‘Law & Order’ character

Trouble is coming for Detective Jalen Shaw on “Law & Order” this week. And it feels like the show’s newest detective just got here!

In “The System,” the fall finale that airs Dec. 8, Shaw’s going to have to face his conduct as a police officer after a murder suspect he arrested escapes custody, and he’s accused of coercing a false confession.

But as Mehcad Brooks, who plays Detective Shaw, tells TODAY.com, the heart-to-heart Shaw is going to have with himself over how to be a policeman reflects some of his own searching when he first took on the “L&O” role.

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Sheryl Lee Ralph is all about the next generation

When Sheryl Lee Ralph opens her mouth, people listen — whether she’s playing take-no-guff kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard on “Abbott Elementary” or singing her Emmy acceptance speech in September, when she became only the second Black woman to win the award for supporting comedy actress. During her five decades in showbiz, Ralph has left her mark seemingly everywhere, from Broadway (earning a Tony nomination for “Dreamgirls”), film (“Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit”) and TV (“Moesha”). And as The Envelope learned during a Zoom chat with Ralph (who’s in New York to co-produce “Ohio State Murders” on Broadway), it’s about time people started paying attention to her song.

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How filming naked in a glass sphere for weeks was good for ‘Sandman’s’ Tom Sturridge

Tom Sturridge is a dream. As the star of Netflix’s “The Sandman,” an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved comic book series, Sturridge stepped into seemingly uncastable shoes as the lean, angst-ridden (and rightly so after being imprisoned in a glass sphere for over a century) embodiment of dreams, Lord Morpheus (a.k.a. Dream). Now Sturridge, 36, best known for Tony-nominated stage performances in “Orphans” and “Sea Wall/A Life,” is a serious player in a different awards season. He spoke with The Envelope about his endless time in that sphere, his acting family and passing on the acting bug to the next generation.

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