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Up Close with Francesco Pireddu

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Movie Marker Magazine sat down with Italian actor-dancer, Francesco Pireddu to talk acting and his role in ‘Turandot’, Puccini’s grand spectacle of legendary China at the MET this October.

Can you tell us a little about your early beginnings living in Italy?

I was born and raised in Sardinia, a little island on the west coast of Italy. After completing high school, I moved to Rome with the intention to study Sociology, but my love and desire for the Arts was so strong and bright that I immediately decided to study classical ballet, improvisation and modern dance. After three years in Rome I moved to Tuscany to join Micha Van Hoecke, the renowned Belgium director and choreographer, who was directing a revival of one of the biggest Italian Operas: Rigoletto.

What inspired you to start dancing?

I always had a very strong desire to express myself through movement, and the need to explore self-expression, and body language, are still very much alive! Also, Mickail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev, the greatest dancers in the world, profoundly inspired me to dance.

Francesco Pireddu. Photo Credit: Balasole Dance Company

You have performed on some of the world’s most prominent stages including; the Royal Opera House in London and The Metropolitan Opera in New York. Can you explain some of those productions and your role within them?

Yes indeed. I performed at the prestigious Royal Opera House in London, in two major operas: Boris Godunov and La Forza del Destino. Both operas required specific and detailed choreography, especially La Forza del Destino, which is one of the most important Italian operas. La “Tarantella”, a folk dance characterized by a fast-upbeat tempo and one of the most recognized forms of traditional southern Italian music, was the theme of the choreography.

At The Metropolitan Opera in New York, I was in Aida, by Giuseppe Verdi, playing one of the Noble Soldiers in the triumphal march, and I am currently performing in the Turandot until Spring 2018. Franco Zeffirelli, the renowned Italian director, and most sought-after producer of operas, staged a magnificent and superb production of both operas. His creation wows audiences all around the world.

Both of these world-famous stages are such huge platforms for a performer. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to be a world class performer in one of these operas, as they are vast productions with an amazing ensemble cast.

You have recently transitioned into acting. Can you tell us a little about how that came about?

My transition into acting was a very important step for my growth as an artist. As a dancer I learned to explore the movement, my body language and I acquired self-discipline and a strong work ethic. When I moved to America, I trained at HB Studio, one of the most original and famous acting studios in New York, founded by Viennese actor/director Herbert Berghof. At the HB Studio, I learned how to use my voice, how to pronounce correctly the words in order to create a character entirely from scratch. The training was intense and very fulfilling.

Francesco Pireddu. Photo Credit: Ewa Ligeza Photography

Your debut appearance as an actor was in ‘Top Broker’. Can you explain your role in the film?

In Top Broker I play one of the leads, Riccardo, a dancer who’s searching for an apartment in New York. A top realtor broker shows me an apartment; she’s attracted to me and starts to flirt a little. Things progress from there. It’s a delightful comedy and I was very happy to star in such a gem.

As an actor, what other movies have you enjoyed being part of, and the characters you play?

It is hard to choose but Top Broker has a special place in my heart because it was my debut appearance as an actor. I was playing a dancer so totally in my natural element. In Dolores I played Mr. Baxter, a serious and dedicated teacher who’s having issues with a difficult student. It was quite a challenge to play a character so different from everything I have done in my career. I totally embraced the challenge and I loved playing Mr. Baxter. In Life I played Paolo, a dancer who just graduated from a very famous dance school in New York. We were shooting outdoors, in Washington Square Park, and I was dancing and telling the world (in Italian) how happy I was about my latest accomplishment! For Play Love, I play Brad, a lover who’s having an affair. I had so much fun playing Brad! The rhythm of the story is flawless and engaging. Playing Brad gave me the opportunity to use my facial expressions like I never did before because the idea was to be over the top, bright and sassy. So much fun!

You star in several TV commercials including; JA Bank, Chase, Bud Light, Mountain Dew and Pima Cotton sheets. How did you find the pace of filming a commercial to that of a movie?

The pace varies and, technically, filming a commercial requires less time and a much faster pace. However, it all depends on the budget: the bigger the budget, the better. I had the fortune to be cast in these high profile national commercial productions, where we had all the time we needed thanks to a strong budget and a very professional team of directors and producers.

Francesco Pireddu. Photo Credit: Ewa Ligeza Photography

You star in the production ‘Table of Silence’ at the Lincoln Plaza in New York. Can you explain what the production celebrates?

The Table of Silence is a dance-tribute-prayer for peace. It celebrates and honors peace all around the world.

It’s a memorable event that creates an opportunity to remember, through a powerful dance and live music, those who lost their lives on 9/11. This global tribute was seen in more than 50 countries via live stream. I am extremely proud to have starred in this production. The message is peace and something we all wish for.

What type of genre of film or TV show are you drawn to traditionally?

I am drawn to drama. However, I am not particularly attached to what I am drawn to because, as an artist, I want to be open-minded and, in the end, it’s the story that makes a difference.

Do you have a bucket list of actors and directors you would like to work with?

I would love to work with Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Their work is remarkable and magnificent. There are also a few European directors I would love to work with such as Michael Haneke, the incredibly talented German director, and Lars Von Trier, whose work is unique and powerful. So stay tuned!

When you are not acting, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy relaxing in nature. Hiking is one of my favorite activities and having a strong connection with nature keeps me grounded and connected. I also love Yoga, which I regularly practice.

What can we expect to see you doing over the next few months?

I just completed the first season of Play Love and the writers are already working on the second season – which is super exciting. I am also in the incredible opera Turandot, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where we have performances until Spring 2018.

Twitter: @francescopire4
www.imdb.com/francescopireddu

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Awards

2018 Academy Awards Live Updates #Oscars

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CLICK HERE TO REFRESH FEED

Find The List Of Nominations Here

BEST PICTURE:  THE SHAPE OF WATER

BEST ACTRESS: FRANCES MCDORMAND (THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI)

BEST ACTOR: GARY OLDMAN (DARKEST HOUR)

BEST DIRECTOR: GUILLERMO DEL TORO (THE SHAPE OF WATER)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: THE SHAPE OF WATER

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: BLADE RUNNER 2049

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: GET OUT

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: THE SILENT CHILD

BEST EDITING: DUNKIRK

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: BLADE RUNNER 2049

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: COCO

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM: DEAR BASKETBALL

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: ALLISON JANNEY (I, TONYA)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: A FANTASTIC WOMAN

0216: The performance of ‘Remember Me’ from ‘Coco’ was… interesting

PRODUCTION DESIGN: THE SHAPE OF WATER

0200: Jimmy asking Spielberg for pot…

SOUND EDITING: DUNKIRK

SOUND MIXING: DUNKIRK

DOCUMENTARY: ICARUS

0136: Best Documentary up next, presented by Best Director nominee Greta Gerwig and Laura Dern

COSTUME DESIGN: PHANTOM THREAD

HAIR AND MAKE-UP: DARKEST HOUR

0125: Next Up is Gal Gadot and Arnie Hammer for Hair and Make Up

0122: Sam Rockwell sets a time of 1minute29seconds for that Jet Ski

0115: First award of the night is for Best Supporting Actor…

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: SAM ROCKWELL (THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI)

0112: Jimmy encouraging the winners to make the night’s shortest speech and offering them a Jet-Ski as a prize

0110: ‘The longest Meryl Streep went without a nomination was from 1992 to 1995 and that was only because she was in prison’

0108: ‘We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ to make money, we make them to upset Mike Pence’

0100: And we’re off! Are you ready for the 90th Academy Awards?

 

2040(GMT): We’ll be live tweeting @MovieMarker from the red carpet at midnight (GMT) along with coverage of the ceremony itself from 1am (GMT)

Number of Nominations

The Shape of Water: 13

Dunkirk: 8

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: 7

Blade Runner 2049: 5

Lady Bird: 5

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director

Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly’s Game
Mudbound

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
Meryl Streep – The Post

Meryl Streep’s nomination is her 21st overall and her 17th in this category

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Timothée Chalamet – Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington – Roman J. Israel, Esq

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Original Song

Remember Me (from Coco)
Mystery of Love (from Call Me By Your Name)
This Is Me (from The Greatest Showman)
Mighty River (from Mudbound)
Stand Up For Something (from Marshall)

Best Documentary Short

Edith & Eddie
Heaven is a Traffic Jam
Heroin(e)
Knifeskills
Traffic Stop

1342: Christopher Plummer there, who of course didn’t even know he was going to be in All The Money In The World only a couple of months ago (reshot Kevin Spacey’s character’s scenes)

Best Documentary Feature

Faces Places
Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Leslie Manville – Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water
Best Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer – All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Insult  (Lebanon)
Loveless  (Russia)
The Square (Sweden)

1339: Mudbound’s Cinematography nomination marks the first ever female nominee in that category for Rachel Morrison

Best Animated Short Film

Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Film Editing

Baby Driver
Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Makeup and Hairstyling

Darkest Hour
Victoria and Abdul
Wonder

Best Production Design

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria and Abdul

Best Live-Action Short

Dekalb Elementary
The 11 O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
All Of Us

Original Score

Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sound Mixing

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Sound Editing

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria and Abdul

Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

1326: There’s Gal Gadot, drinking tea…

1323: While we wait, check out this great photo of grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn behind the scenes in 1956

1322: We are underway, though timings are probably going to be off as they always are with these things…

1321: Roger Deakins could get his 14th nomination for Blade Runner 2049, so far 13 and 0 wins! Is there anyone more overdue a win?

1317: Gary Oldman is tipped to pick up his first Leading Actor win for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in ‘The Darkest Hour’

1313: Just under ten minutes until the nominations begin, let us know what you’re rooting for over on twitter @MovieMarker

1307: Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri is another film expected to receive a number of nominations, with an Actress In A Leading Role nod expected for Frances McDormand and potentially Best Director and Supporting Actor noms for Martin McDonagh and Sam Rockwell respectively.

1305: The Shape Of Water is fancied by many to lead the nominations, it could yet equal the record of 14 nominations set by Titanic, All About Eve and La La Land – Read our five-star review of Guillermo Del Toro’s latest.

1300 (GMT) Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis will host the nomination ceremony, along with special guests Gal Gadot, Salma Hayek, Rosario Dawson, Priyanka Chopra, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Molly Shannon, Rebel Wilson, and Michelle Yeoh, from the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles.

The nominations will begin with the categories cinematography, costume design, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short film, live action short film, sound editing, sound mixing, and visual effects.

The nominees will then be announced for actor in a leading role, actor in a supporting role, actress in a leading role, actress in a supporting role, animated feature film, directing, documentary feature, documentary short subject, foreign language film, original song, best picture, adapted screenplay, and original screenplay. This second half of the presentation will be aired live on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

 

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Thriller Film ‘MADTOWN’ Gets Jan 5 Release

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SP Releasing has acquired the US rights to the forthcoming drama-thriller feature film MADTOWN, starring Emmy™-nominated Milo Ventimiglia (NBC’s “This Is Us”). The film will release in theaters and on-demand on January 5, through SP Releasing’s output deal with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Milo Ventimiglia in MADTOWN

Written and directed by Charles C. Moore, MADTOWN, which made official selection at the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Cleveland International Film Festival, follows a troubled young man, Briggs (Ventimiglia), who flashes back to the demons of his past when his sister is released from her twenty-year prison sentence for the murder of their parents. Briggs must confront his estranged sister and deal with the past, while fighting to protect his future and the new life he has rebuilt for himself.

Official Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/madtown/

“It is a privilege to partner with the entire SP Releasing team,” said Moore, “Their commitment to the film, and Milo’s breathtaking performance, has been evident from the get-go. The collaboration with SP Releasing provides the film an incredible opportunity to be shared with wide audiences across multiple platforms, and for this we are most grateful.”

The film also stars Rachel Melvin (Dumb and Dumber To, Sleepy Hollow), John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise, White Oleander), Bonita Friedericy (Chuck, Paranormal Activity 3), and Amanda Aday (Carnivàle, Shangri-La Suite, Pledge This!).

The film will release through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in limited theatres and on-demand January 5, with DVD release following in February 2018. The deal for the film was negotiated by Tiffany Boyle and Katherine Imp at Ramo Law.

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Behind Closed Doors with Lakshmi Devy

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Movie Marker Magazine went behind closed doors with Indian actress, writer and producer Lakshmi Devy to talk life in New York, ‘A Happy Divorce’ and hilarious new project ‘Wank Bank’.

Lakshmi Devy

Can you tell us about your early beginnings growing up in India, and how you transitioned to life in New York?

I was born in quite a conservative and traditional Indian family, with an elder brother and a younger sister. My mother is a doctor and my father is an engineer. They own a hospital in India in my hometown and are deeply involved in charity as well as city politics. I took to dance and drama at a very young age, but steered the path of most Indians, which led to a very structured pursue to become a doctor. But I guess destiny took over and by the time I had finished medical school I realized all I wanted to do was become an actor. As the years passed by, my interests grew, which led me to screenwriting and filmmaking. The transition was quite smooth and exciting. I do at times feel a bit rattled, as I stare at the Manhattan skyline at night wondering if this is home now, but I guess the answer to that is yet to reveal itself.

You have had an exceptional acting career in India so far, what inspired you to take the writing-acting journey?

Working in India has provided me with the tenacity, technical know-how and a lot of onset experience that’s only acquired through years of consistent work. I am truly grateful for the opportunities that I was given in India and it helped to steer the course here in America, with a lot more precision and speed. I also made sure that I familiarized myself with the workings in this country. I took Peter Miner’s wonderful Master Class in On Camera Acting at the T. Schrieber Studio, as well as Improv classes at UCB. I have been attending workshops by renowned casting directors, which really sheds light on most of my queries. Being an actor, screenwriter and producer helps me analyze a project in totality, that in turn feeds the particular role I was bestowed with. Screenwriting I guess, is my niche whereas penning poetry is my vice.

Lakshmi Devy

You have just wrapped working in New York with director Jamal Hodge on the TV-pilot ‘A Happy Divorce’. Can you tell us about that new show?

‘A Happy Divorce’, is a story that is based on the question “How do you forgive the unforgivable?” It revolves around the aspect of how, sometimes the worst punishment is getting all that you’ve ever wanted. Working with the director Jamal Hodge, who has been featured in Cannes Short Film Corner, Sundance, Tribeca and the Urban World Film Festival, was an absolute pleasure. He has an eye for detail and is just wonderful with actors.

What is your character like in ‘A Happy Divorce’ and how does she fit into the overall show?

I play “Rebecca” in the pilot drama. She is an ambitious lawyer, who is ruthless on a professional level, but still has a sense of vulnerability that has been toyed with.

As an actress-producer, we understand you have just started a hilarious new webs-series in New York. Can you tell us about ‘Wank Bank’ and your character?

‘Wank Bank’ is a comedic web series about a Court Mandated Masturbators Anonymous Group. It is directed and written by K.L Martin. I play an Indian girl named “Meera”, who is part of the masturbators group. She is gorgeous, smart and believes from the bottom of her heart that everyone else in the group is way beneath her level.  In spite of being able to speak perfect English, she insists on communicating only in Tamil, which is her native Indian language. She just lets the group comprehend what they can from her. I must admit, the role is quite fun to play.

Behind the Scenes of ‘Wank Bank’

You have just started your own production house. Please tell us about some of the projects in the pipeline.

Yes, I started my own production company called “FiDi Talkies, LLC.” The very first production under my banner is ‘Daro Mat’. Apart from producing the project, I have written the screenplay as well as acted in it.  The movie is in Hindi and Tamil. The story revolves around the simple thought process and feelings of most Indian girls, when despite being smart, they still lack a voice and strength due to common patriarch sexist expectations that exist in our society. It’s mostly only in undue circumstances that the true beauty and strength of a woman is revealed. The film was shot entirely in Mumbai, India, and will be submitted to all the major film festivals across the world.

Behind the Scenes of ‘Daro Mat’

What else can we expect from you over the next few months?

My next project under my production company is a short film, that I have written, called ‘Idle Hands’. It is set to be shot in New York. Currently it is in the pre-production stages. I am in the process of reading scripts and making decisions about my future projects. As an actor, I am really looking forward to collaborating with experienced directors and technicians. I am actually quite surprised, and extremely grateful, about the abundance of wonderful opportunities that have panned out for me, here in America. This whole journey is as exciting as I thought it would be. I guess, New York is home now….

Thank you, Lakshmi for taking the time to chat to us at Movie Marker. We look forward to seeing more of you on the big screen!

To learn more about Lakshmi Devy visit her website: www.lakshmidevy.com  – www.facebook.com/actresslakshmidevywww.instagram.com/lakshmidevy

 

 

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