Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thandie in the Sun

Mum said stay calm... even when I’m told I’m not black enough

BRITISH actress Thandie Newton is one of Hollywood's leading ladies.

She started her film career at just 16 and has since gone on to star in blockbusters Mission: Impossible II, Crash and 2012.

She was born in London to a Zimbabwean mother, Nyasha, and an English father, Nick, both pictured with Thandie below, but she was brought up in Penzance, Cornwall.

The 38-year-old is married to British writer and director Ol Parker. They have two daughters - Ripley, ten, and six-year-old Nico. Her new film, For Colored Girls, co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Janet Jackson, is out now.
"MY mother taught me to remain calm and decide what is worth fighting for.

Lessons learnt ... Thandie grew up in Cornwall with her
English dad Nick and Zimbabwean mum Nyasha
She had a wide experience of life, which she passed on to me. It could have been difficult being an ethnic minority in a small seaside town, but she always made me feel unique and special.

Perhaps it was the confidence she gave me which made me never think of racism. I just did not encounter it.

There has been, how shall I put it, clumsiness with racial stereotypes. I remember having a meeting with a Hollywood studio head and talking about a role when she said: 'Yeah, Thandie, but are you black enough for this role?'

There was discussion when I took a role in the film Crash and I was told: 'But is it believable that your character has a degree?' I said: 'But I do have a degree, from Cambridge.' And the reaction was: 'Yes, but you're different.'

Even black filmmakers think I am not 'street' enough. But I am an actress - I can play anything.

How do I deal with such things? I remember my mum's advice and remain calm. If I fight for something, I do it without raising my voice or losing my temper.

If I do have doubts about black roles in films, it is about how the character is portrayed. Too often it is either a gun-toting, drugged-up role - or too poetic.

As for my own life, I do wish I had behaved differently at times. I was so young when I started acting - just 16.

It was an upsetting time in many ways. I was involved in a relationship which did not work and that affected me hugely. I was much too young. It is very easy for young women to be exploited by this industry. You see a loss of innocence everywhere - even on Big Brother.

Going to university just gave me a glaze on my mask.

Even having the world's best mum at times like these does not help!

But I wouldn't be here now, would not have met my husband, would not be the person I am, if I had not gone through that.

There is nothing else in my life in which I have been engaged so intensely as my relationship and marriage. I am a real romantic and a fairytale creator. Ol is unique, precious and gifted.

When I met him, I fell in love for the first time.

As for my career, the idea that you have a grand plan is nonsense. I just take the best of what is around at the time.

I've made many mistakes. My worst fashion one was at the premiere of Jefferson In Paris. I went to get a facial. But it was a matter of tweezing and pulling and by the time of the premiere I looked as if I had been through a mosquito air raid.

My parents gave me a happy upbringing and good education. My mum has always been there for me. She's even been on location with me to look after my daughters.

When I compare my life with my mum's, I know I've had an easy time. What has been happening in Zimbabwe (where Mugabe has brought the country to its knees) is painful for my mum. She still has sisters over there.

I have been waiting to go back to visit - it is a beautiful part of the world with very friendly people, but it has got worse and worse.

So my own life has been blessed - and I fully appreciate what I have."

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Shooting Stars information

Shooting Stars
Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer host a Christmas special of the bonkers quiz, with Rolling Stone legend Ronnie Wood, Hollywood actress Thandie Newton, Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson and Gavin & Stacey star Joanna Page. Folk singers Mulligan and O'Hare perform a medley of festive songs, and Angelos Epithemiou tries to move in with one of the guests
Category Game Show/Quiz
Director Ian Trill
Producer Lisa Clark
BBC2 10:00pm-10:30pm (30 minutes) Thu 30 Dec

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Retreat Poster and more information

Currently in post-production in Wales, Retreat is an intriguing pshycological thriller produced by that looks to play on the extent to which end of the world fears effect groups. Thanks to AFM we have the first poster art to share as well as an extended synopsis.

In a last-ditch attempt to save their faltering marriage, a professional couple Martin & Kate Badenoch (Cillian Murphy & Thandie Newton) retreat to a beautiful, yet remote and unpopulated island of Dinnish, (U.K.). A place where they once shared a romantic holiday – an island that holds fond memories of happier times.

It is Autumn. The rocky, barren moors are blown by freezing winds, and the generator and radio communication in the couple’s cottage are failing. Relationships are already tense, and anxieties are pushed higher when they lose all contact with the mainland, and find themselves inexplicably stranded and cut off.

After a huge storm, a stranger is washed up on the shore. He has frightening news of cataclysmic events happening in the world outside. But who is this volatile, charismatic American dressed in uniform and carrying a gun. Is he telling the truth? Slowly, the couple become unwitting players in a ménage-a-trois.

In a series of tense twists the captive couple uses all their ingenuity to outwit the stranger and unravel the ‘truth’. But is the truth what they really want to hear? Loyalties divide and merge, paranoia runs high and conflicts bubble to the surface resulting in a violent and shocking conclusion.

Thandie Newton Loved Taking Her Role "To The Edge"

By published on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 and is filed under Entertainment. You can follow responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. ShareThis

Filed under: Interviews

It’s been a long time since Thandie Newton appeared in an ensemble film featuring mostly females. That was 1998 and the film was Jonathan Demme’s ‘Beloved.’

Now, twelve years later, Newton gets to work with her co-star Kimberly Elise again in Tyler Perry‘s film, ‘For Colored Girls,’ an adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s legendary play.

The London, England native plays Tangie, a promiscuous bartender who’s the daughter of Whoopi Goldberg‘s character and sister of Tessa Thompson‘s character.

In speaking with Black Voices, Newton talks about coming into the project knowing very little about the legendary play, and working with Elise again.

How did you come into this play initially, and how were you asked to be part of it?

Thandie Newton: The same thing happened at the same time. Tyler called me maybe 18 months ago and told me he wanted to do this piece, and I hadn’t read it or seen it being performed. I’m English, and it’s not my world, funnily enough. That was my first introduction to the piece. I read his script first, and then I read the play. I was completely intrigued by the possibilities. I could see what he wanted to do by obviously making it more contemporary, making it more accessible to the viewer, but at the same time using the poetry. I thought it was really cool, experimental and interesting. I couldn’t think of seeing it done before. In musicals people burst into song, but this is a whole different thing. I really loved the thought of performing the poetry. It was a challenge that was going to be a difficult one. You get that wrong… these moments of poetry can either elevate the material or make it laughable. From being on the set and seeing the other actors working, I know that they will provide real moments of lucid emotion.

How would you compare this character to your other roles?

TN: I’ve had a few other roles in my career where I felt challenged, satisfied, stimulated, afraid… all those things. ‘Beloved was one, ‘Crash’ was another. I’m able to really reach the edge of an emotional capacity through the character’s experiences. It’s not for my catharsis, it’s to actually take the character on an emotional journey and make that believable and to feel and experience their lives that I had never on my own. To have a completely unique moment that I have never had in my life, and probably will never have. That is pretty out there. It’s like a feeling of being possessed by a spirit medium, like a trance state. There were times with this, probably because we shot so fast, had a grueling schedule, I get home at the end of the day and I can barely remember what I’ve done, ’cause I’ve been in a really trippy state. That’s what it feels like, acting at its most complete, for me, is I’m totally out of my own experiences. It’s like being hypnotized.

Is there anything in the character you can relate to?

TN: Nothing. No, no, no.. Oh my lord. From the childhood, parenting, social background, everything’s different, and that was why it was such a satisfying, complete form of self-hypnosis. I really absorbed myself. What would it have been like to be this girl? To be abused by your grandfather, for your mother to have allowed it to happen. Your mother has coupled with a white man so she’ll have lighter-skinned babies so the grandfather will want to have sex with them? It’s just too crazy. In a way, the fact that it’s a complete universe away… listen, it’s not as if it’s any better or any worse for me, it’s another experience, that’s all, and how this woman deals with it. One of the things that’s so beautiful about playing her, and about watching a movie like this, is we cannot judge the outward behavior of people until we have walked in their shoes. As an actor that’s what you get to do. So the amount of sympathy that I can have for her is only because I have really considered what she has experienced. I feel changed by it, and I’m more like her now because I feel like she’s more like me now because she’s had the insights. It’s given her a greater sense of self-love, something I have the luxury to be able to access self-love because I haven’t been through the kind of shit she has.

You have a couple pivotal scenes, including one with Whoopi, one with Phylicia, one with Tessa, and they all stand out. How is working with this cast of amazing actresses?

TN: It was amazing. Working with Tessa Thompson, there was one scene where she tells me she needs some money and I figure out that she’s pregnant. I tell you it was one of those scenes where working with her and her level as an actress elevated what I was able to do. I’m so grateful for that. You’re only as good as the person you’re acting with, unless you’re one of those people that just do your own thing. I’ve worked with people who do that, and I’ve had to do that too when I’m not getting anything back from somebody. I really love collaborating, looking in someone’s eyes and actually being there in that moment. Whatever they do I do, what I do is what they do. To actually move as one. It’s knockout! It’s like being in a jazz quartet or something. You have to be so in tune with the other person, like a school of dolphins or geese flying. I tell you it’s the same, amazing, being in-synch with someone like that.

With Whoopi, I loved supporting her performance because she was so in her own trip in this movie. The fact that she hadn’t acted in a movie for 12-years, I couldn’t believe that information! She’s so prominent when I think about her and the work she’s done, from ‘Ghost’ to ‘The Color Purple.’ It was just amazing. It was such a privilege to be with her. She was like a fledgling, had the same insecurities as us and really grateful for the opportunity to do something she was proud of and bring her out of her acting retirement. I felt shame at the stuff I had to say to Phylicia, in the early days. By the end it was fun and I knew it was giving her stuff to respond to. At the beginning I did not feel comfortable telling her she was, “You fucking nasty bitch,” and all this. I’m like, “Whoa, don’t make me say that to Phylicia Rashad, please don’t make me!” (laughs) That’s what she’s supposed to be. There’s a movie called ‘Capote’ where this guy has murdered this family, and they were like, “Why did he do it?” He loved the family, they liked him very much, but he looked into the eyes of the father of the family, and the father looked at him with knowledge of who he was as if to say, “Why are you doing this?” That was why this boy killed him, ’cause he felt such shame to be looked at by someone he admired so much. That’s what Gilda makes Tangie feel, that’s why Tangie treats her with so much contempt. To have her gaze on her, with her pity, the shame she feels and she wants to destroy Gilda for what Gilda knows. Just to be looked at by someone you loved and admired so much. You picked on the right three scenes, I’ll tell you!

‘Beloved’ was so long ago, but how was it reminiscing with Kimberly?

TN: Oh my God. Kimberly is still to this day the most transcendental acting experience I’ve had. There’s one scene where the two sisters are talking about Beloved’s arrival. It was just electric. Nothing will ever reach that. Kim and I have one scene in the movie together, which I love, where I invite her to the party, and she says she doesn’t think so. It’s actually the one moment where Tangie is nurturing. I’m sure that has a little bit to do with the relationship I have with Kimberly, who is always going to be my sister for what we went through on ‘Beloved.’ It’s a peek at communication between two people who wouldn’t necessarily think are connected.

I know you have ‘Vanishing On 7th Street’ coming out at some point. What’s after that?

TN: I just wrapped a movie called ‘The Retreat,’ with Cillian Murphy and Jaime Bell. It’s a thriller. I loved it. It was a similarly intense movie. It’s three actors in one house. It was a really clever script, very tense; really character driven. I feel like I’m on a bit of a role, I’m enjoying acting and the work that’s been coming in. I’m really getting to explore characters that are more complex than of late. I often think, “What am I giving to the world? What’s my contribution?” I’m going through a period of, “Oh, I know what it is!” I don’t know what’s going to happen next, I’ll take a bit of time just to let the field lie fallow so whatever comes next I’ll be ready for. I’m pretty wrung out right now.

What keeps you grounded when you’re not doing the entertainment stuff?

TN: My husband and children. My babies. My girls. I have a ten-year-old, Ripley, and five-year-old Nico. I’m hugely fortunate that we have this little community and every moment is such a gift. Out of that I grow as a person and generate love and kindness, all those good things. As a family we allow that to go out to the world. What we do, how we teach our kids, how we communicate to other people. Each one of us, how healthy we keep ourselves and how we allow that energy to be spilled out around us. Having good, quiet times with them, teaching them about being a girl, being a woman. How to create health and happiness for all the people they come into contact with.

Another Coloured girls interview

Coloured Girls Interview

Exclusive: Thandie Newton on For Colored Girls Source: Edward Douglas November 2, 2010

For Colored Girls, Tyler Perry's adaptation of Ntozake Shange's acclaimed dramatic play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf," features a cavalcade of African-American actresses including Janet Jackson, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise and Phylicia Rashad but nestled among is the sole British actress of the cast, Thandie Newton. She plays a rebellious and promiscuous bartender named Tangie, who has different men in her bed every night. Her mother, played by Whoopi Goldberg, is a religious fanatic who disproves of her elder daughter's behavior and is trying her best to keep her younger daughter, played by Tessa Thompson, from ending up down the same path as her older sister. It's a really different role for Newton, who is almost unrecognizable to those who aren't aware it's her going in, and she certainly is given the chance to light a lot of emotional fireworks over the course of the film. sat down with Ms. Newton at the New York junket for Tyler Perry's film and had a perfectly lovely conversation about working with the prolific filmmaker, doing scenes with Whoopi Goldberg, and the challenges and joys of playing an unrestrained character like Tangie. When Tyler Pyler first contacted you, did he tell you which role he wanted you to play and what was your first knowledge of this project?
Newton: It was about 18 months before the movie was made, he called to talk about this project that he wanted to mount. So I read the first draft of the script, and at that time, even some of the names that are in the final piece were different. What he's done is he's taken elements from different ladies in the play and some have been condensed into one character. It's faithful to the material, but he has license. At that time, there was a character in the movie which we were talking about, which then changed and then became another character in the current movie. So it went through quite a process even before the movie was shot, three significant drafts.

CS: So you were reading all of these scripts as it was being developed?
Newton: I've seen the first one and the last one.

CS: Tangie's a really different character from what you've played. I think Beloved had a little bit of a dark side to her, but this is a really pretty nasty, bad girl. There's very few redeeming qualities I think.
Newton: It's funny that you say that, and I guess this is by virtue of having explored all the roles that you're talking about. Every role is complex, every personality. It's how much I'm able to show through the piece. Every character that I've played could reach this kind of complexity, but it's not. So I don't really see Tangie as different, it's just I was able to go further with her, you know? I suppose with "Beloved," too; I went all the way with "Beloved," into the depths of her complicatedness. Yeah, I know it is, and it was fantastic to be able to use my capacity as an actor in a deeper way, not just playing the surface of what I'm able to do, but actually really be challenged. I loved it.

CS: You come from a very different background than some of the other actresses because you were born and raised in London as opposed to New York or Philly...
Newton: Yeah, I'm not an African-American.

CS: Had you had a chance to either read or see the play? I know that it's sometimes taught here in schools.
Newton: I haven't seen the play and I never read the play, but people who are knowledgeable about theater in England knew about the play very much. I don't come from a theater background, I come from a dance background. It wasn't something that was in my wheelhouse at all. I heard about it, my husband, I guess he's an intellectual, he knew everything about it. For me, it was looking at the piece more as a reflection on humanity than on the black experience, because I think it definitely speaks about universal issues, themes and so on. That for sure is part of its strength and what we hope is that it's not just for colored girls, it's not just for colored anybody, it's for humanity.

CS: You talk about the complexity of your character, and I've talked to actors who've played out-and-out villains, and you always have to find a way into them because you can't judge your character. In hindsight, if you saw this movie and didn't play Tangie, would you be able to relate to her at all? It is hard to find anything good in her, to be honest.
Newton: Well, she funnily enough, when we were making the movie, she was light relief, because on the days I was working, I knew it was going to be just outrageous. Outrageous. We would film a scene and Tyler was very cool about letting us ad lib and be spontaneous, and I'd say there's a good 40 percent of what I'm doing is just me letting it fly and getting so immersed in what I was doing that it just kept going and Tyler would push me. "Let's do another one and just say whatever you want," and that was incredible. Everything that she exhibits is defense, protection, and she doesn't want people to get close to her. She's very intimate with men and that's partly because of her fear and aversion towards men. What I love about the movie is that you get that three dimension, you see in the relationship with Phylicia Rashad's character, you understand her vulnerability, Tangie, and her shame. You see her mother who is violent and physically abusive and shaming, and you understand why she's this sexually provocative self-sabotaging human being. If that's your mother and the way she gave love was to condemn and shame and forcefeed them this religious, shaming diatribe is just - you see why she's repelling the world.

CS: I know they refer to them, but you don't really see the father figure in this family.
Newton: Well, you hear that her grandfather raped her and he also raped her mother, so the same guy had sexually abused both of them. What's fascinating and as Whoopi said and you come to realize quite beautifully and artfully and truthfully - is that they're very similar to one another. It's like Whoopi, Tangie and Nyla are three stages along the same uninterrupted cycle. Because Whoopi has abused Tangie, and Tangie's abusing Nyla. Unless this cycle is interrupted, it's just gonna keep going and they're gonna end up being like Whoopi...

CS: It's funny because Whoopi uses religion as her defense mechanism almost.
Newton: That's white-washing everything, literally white-washing everything. You see the way she's dressed and so on. What the movie is showing through my character is that you've got to interrupt the cycle and the only way you do that is with truth and going to the dark places, the painful places and judging them. I think in terms of entertainment, there's a lot that's redeeming about Tangie, because quite frankly, to be able to say the sh*t that she says and to be able to just speak her mind even though what's in her mind, there's a lot of garbage in there, but she just does not compromise. She says it. She's not going to bed that night wondering if, "I wish I said this or that." She just speaks what she thinks, and I LOVE that about her!

CS: That's pretty cool about her, yeah. When you came onto this project, was there anyone completely blew your mind when you found out you'd be working with them? Phylicia Rashad or Whoopi or Janet Jackson? It's just such an amazing cast and I was wondering if anyone blew your mind.
Newton: No, it wasn't so much in that deifying... (gasps) It's more to collaborate with people who I've admired and been competing against for a long time. Not actively competing against. I've lost roles to Kerry Washington, and I know about Kerry Washington and we've met along the way. But as opposed to us being the only black girl in a project, which is what all of us end up being from time to time, for us all to be working together and sharing and supporting each other, as opposed to being on opposite sides of the casting couch, it's really deeply satisfying and incredible. Anika Noni Rose, I've just loved her for so many years and she is a wonderful, sophisticated, brilliant talent. Yeah, I really felt like I was in the presence of the best of how I like to identify myself. These are my role models, and I was working with them.

CS: One thing I really like about Tyler is that he gets really amazing performances out of actresses. Obviously, having a movie like this where you have so many great actresses around each other and pushing each other, that helps. As someone who has worked with great directors like Jonathan Demme, what specifically does Tyler do? Does he just make actresses comfortable? What is it Tyler does that helps actresses be able to pull out such great performances?
Newton: I think it's more by example than by what he actually does. I mean, he sets this up. He created this environment where we could... and by environment, I mean, this project. He could get this movie made. He's Tyler Perry. He could carry on doing Madea, but he chose this piece. This is not an easy piece to get people excited about necessarily because it's quite heavy, but he has presented it and he has adapted it so that it's an accessible, everyday piece of material that people can actually experience and that's amazing. Then he cast well and he let us get on with it. He gave us the freedom. I didn't feel like it was his stamp all over it, which I think you have to be very confident not to be controlling every element. He was extremely open to ideas, like for example, there's a scene with me and Whoopi and we were both giving our pieces of poetry in this same scene. I turned up in the morning and I said, "Look, hey guys, why don't we try doing it where we both say the poem at the same time?" Because I wanted it to possibly be different. I didn't want the poetry to become this sort of predictable... So much about our characters are similar that is already there, even though we're hating each other, but it's partly because of the mirror image that's going on. He was open to it, and we did it and it was dynamite. Now, another director who needs to have had all the ideas, and there's nothing wrong with this necessarily, but who is the only source from which everything can spring, that kind of artistic need to have a single vision, it might not be so possible. What I think Tyler's greatest strength in directing this piece was that he gave us the freedom and the security to experiment and to go miles beyond what's on screen and what we thought we were capable of.

CS: It's funny you say that because when people think of Tyler, he writes and directs everything, they automatically assume he's that guy who has the vision and the control.
Newton: Controlling. He was in awe. I felt like he was in awe of us, and he is in awe of that female energy. He doesn't want to harness it and control it, and have it be his and own it, it's the opposite. He wants to honor it. It's a beautifully sophisticated and ultimately empowering thing. He got the best from us, and we got the best from him as a result, out of that permissive quality to his directing.

CS: I wanted to ask about that scene with Whoopi because I'd imagine a movie like this must be really emotionally-draining.
Newton: So draining.

CS: I remember when we talked about "The Pursuit of Happyness" and you had to go and do comedy just to get it out of your system. Was this a similar thing?
Newton: I'm telling you. Honey... It was. But it was funny, I felt like I was a little bit like "Beloved" actually, I felt like I was possessed. I found it very hard to even consider playing this role, to be honest. I came onto the final project very, very late in the day. They'd already started shooting and I felt uncomfortable exploring this sexually-depraved, mean, negative energy. I almost didn't. I just knew by the material it was going to have to be truthful. This wasn't going to be a one-dimensional character, so I knew that I was gonna have to be that and be perceived that. The most difficult thing is how other people perceive you, because if you're doing a good job, you're so believable as that, people actually start to perceive and react to you as that person. I found that really, really hard initially. Actually, I find it very upsetting. I really felt very vulnerable because it's SO not who I am, at all, to have people look, or even on the set, and treat me as this person who's got all those issues, I just...

CS: Yeah, but as an actor it must be the best thing in the world to play something so different from yourself.
Newton: It is, but I found it really painful at first, but then by the end I loved it because there was a strength to what Tangie's doing every day. Every foul word that comes out of her mouth is cathartic, is crying for help, is ANGRY about what has happened to her, but she's just unconscious about it, you see, so she's angry at the world as opposed to angry specifically at who she needs to be angry with. Then you see her gradually focus on what the truth of her anger is, and then deal with it. Somewhere in there I found my own personal catharsis, finally, which was liberating.

For Colored Girls opens everywhere on Friday, November 5.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thandie's Christmas treat

Thandie will be featured in Shooting Stars on Christmas day in the UK.
It is series 7 episode 7, not sure which channel as yet the listings are not out but its usually BBC2TV.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

off subject Quinn Morgan 1976-2010

I thought you have read Quinn died after a long illness on the 4th July 2010.
I scattered most of her ashes where she wanted in London.
Her daughter has taken a few back to Jamaica and will scatter them in the Blue Mountains.
Think of her kindly

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010