Wednesday, 2 November 2011

An affair to remember...

As Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling are in pre-production for their next outing Only God Forgives; a crime thriller that charts the rivalry between a Bangkok police detective and a gangster being settled through a Thai boxing match, i've been thinking about some of the other artistic love affairs between actors and their directors that have formed recently. After Gosling and Refn finnish said project they will collaborate once again when they embark on remaking the 1976 sci-fi thriller Logan's Run. Refn has said that he loves Ryan Gosling, not just in a professional sense but that he actually loves him. So what are the other love affairs that are happening or still happening today?

Next February the eagerly awaited new film from David Cronenberg A Dangerous Method will see Viggo Mortensen on board the ever inspiring 'Cronenberg project' for a third time. The director confirmed recently that a sequel to Eastern Promises will also happen at some point too! Michael Fassbender who will star along side Mortensen's Freud as Carl Jung in Method will also have another promising although probably equally disturbing release early next year. Shame sees Fassbender teaming up with British director Steve McQueen (not a hard name to forget) for a second time after they wowed audiences with their drama Hunger -the true story of the 1981 IRA hunger strike. Shame tackles the troubles of sex addiction in the life of a wealthy businessman and news has recently been announced that Fassbender will also star in McQueen's next film Twelve Years a Slave. Starvation, Sex addiction, and now Slavery? Let's hope the next outing is a comedy!

My favourite actor director duo is that of Paul Thomas Anderson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Arguably both the best of their generation respectfully, Hoffman has starred in each of Anderson's films save There Will Be Blood and has finished filming their new film about a WW2 veteran who starts his own belief system in 1950s America which is said to be based on the life of Scientology founder Ron L. Hubbard, although everyone involved is keen to play that aspect down. Everyone is excited for many reasons about this as yet untitled release but one main reason is that of another collaboration between Hoffman and Anderson because you can believe it's going to be special yet again.

Cinema has provided us with many examples of collaborative relationships between actors and directors, when looking at some of the greatest duos it so often seems that it can bring out the best in both parties. When thinking of this kind of artistic relationship the first that always comes to mind is the work from Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro; De Niro starred in 7 of Scorsese's films, most of which are considered the best work from both of them. Their finest work is often cited as Raging Bull (1980) their fourth time working together and a film that wouldn't have happened were it not for De Niro's adamant approach to having Scorsese on board. Scorsese claims the film saved his life as he was heading to the grave through cocaine addiction, he sobered up and went about making the film as if it might be his last, thankfully it wasn't.

Another famous example would be Ingmar Bergman and Max Von Sydow; they made 13 films together, most of which remain extremely important and iconic, most notably The Seventh Seal (1957). Billy Wilder directed Jack Lemon in 7 films, at their peak they produced works as vital as The Apartment (1960) and Some like It Hot (1959). These films helped cement Lemon as one of the all time great screen performers and Wilder as one of the greatest writer/directors.

I could talk all day about famous collaborations but just given the few great examples cited here the results speak for themselves. Some of the greatest works of cinema have come from these working and often personal relationships between an actor and director, this is why it's exciting to see new collaborations emerging now as who knows what cinematic gems and future classics we're in for soon?

A Dangerous Method is out Feb 10th 2012
Shame is out Jan 13th 2012

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