September 16, 2015 11:51am PT by Scott Feinberg
TIFF: Could Immigration Drama ‘Desierto’ Be a Contender?
THR’s awards analyst believes Jeffrey Dean Morgan could land a best supporting actor Oscar nom for his portrayal of a violent xenophobe in Jonas Cuaron’s heart-pounding thriller.
As the Oscar race begins to come into focus, the best actor field looks extremely crowded, but the best supporting actor field does not. That being the case, some smart distributor ought to act quickly and pick up Jonas Cuaron’s Desierto, a deeply disturbing drama about Mexicans trying to sneak into America, because in it Jeffrey Dean Morgan — supporting Gael Garcia Bernal and an ensemble of lesser-known thesps — brings to life one of the most hauntingly evil characters in the history of the movies. (The film had its world premiere and follow-up screenings this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.)
Morgan plays an embittered American redneck who drives around the border in his Confederate flag-waving pickup truck, sipping on booze and talking to his vicious dog Tracker — the most unlikable canine of all-time — as he scouts for border-crossers to pick off with his rifle. He does so with such a sense of purpose, pleasure and utter disregard for others’ humanity — despite undoubtedly being a man who values “the sanctity of life” when it comes to, say, fetuses — that he makes the nutcase played by Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men look sweet and innocent.
The most frequent criticism of Desierto has been that it never addresses what’s behind the hatred of Morgan’s character in the way that, say, 1956′s The Searchers does about what’s behind the hatred of John Wayne’s character — but, in this case, do we really need it spelled out for us? When people like Donald Trump and the Tea Party speak in such dehumanizing terms about people like the character Bernal plays in the film — a Mexican mechanic who wants only the opportunity to live with his family, and work hard for a better life, in America — is it any wonder that there are people like the character Morgan plays in the film?
Cuaron, 34, is best known as the son of Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron, a producer of Desierto, and for directing a very funny short connected to Gravity, the film for which his father won the best director Oscar in 2014. But he made a well-received feature before that, Ano Una (2007), and proves beyond a doubt with Desierto — which is gruesome but gripping, aided by a thrilling drum score — that he has a distinctive voice and talent completely of his own. Bernal, who has worked with a lot of fine filmmakers, including Alfonso on 2002′s Y Tu Mama Tambien, went out of his way before the film’s second screening to call Jonas a “great director.” Agree or disagree, he’s definitely a filmmaker to watch.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/tiff-could-immigration-drama-desierto-823156 via @thr
Posted 1 year, 2 months ago at 6:57 pm. Comments
Had to support this effort. Jeff recently lost his beautiful pup Bisou after 17 years. DonateJDM is taking notes of condolences and donations in Bisou Morgan’s name, Take a moment to stop in and leave a message of support for Jeff. #JEFFREYDEANMORGAN
Posted 1 year, 6 months ago at 11:09 am. Comments
Jeffrey accepts Zack Snyder’s #ALSIceBucketChallenge and challenges, Katie Heigl, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Liotta!
Posted 2 years, 3 months ago at 8:06 pm. Comments
History Channel has set an all-star cast for its upcoming Texas Rising miniseries.
From the producers of its ratings juggernaut Hatfields & McCoys, Emmy nominee Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Thomas Jane, Olivier Martinez, Chad Michael Murray, Michael Rapaport and Max Thieriot will star in the new drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Oscar nominee Roland Joffe (The Mission, The Killing Fields) will direct.
The eight-hour “event series,” from A+E Studios and ITV Studios America and produced by Thinkfactory, hails from Hatfields’ Leslie Greif, who will executive produce the mini. Rising, which will premiere in 2015, will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement group in North America. Part one is written by Greif, Darrell Fetty and Ted Mann, the latter of whom co-wrote Hatfields for History. Nights two, three and four will be written by Greif and Fetty.
STORY: The ‘Bible’ Effect and the Resurrection of TV Miniseries
Paxton, who earned an Emmy nomination for his role in Hatfields, will star as Sam Houston, the “father” of Texas. Fraser (The Mummy) will play Billy Anderson, a Texas Ranger with Comanche Indian Ties. Liotta (GoodFellas) is set as Lorca, an Alamo survivor seeking brutal revenge. Morgan, is was one of pilot season’s most in-demand actors, is “Deaf” Smith, a deaf and grizzled veteran Texas Ranger with an advance case of consumption. Jane (Hung) will portray James Wykoff, a homesteader who finds himself living in the middle of hostile Indian territory. Martinez (Before Night Falls) will be President Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the tyrant dictator of Mexico. Murray (One Tree Hill) will play Mirabeau Lamar, a spirited Texas soldier who helps win the battle of San Jacinto. Rapaport (Justified) is Sgt. Ephraim Knowles, a would-be deserter and coward-turned-hero. Thieriot (Bates Motel) will play Jack Hays, a volunteer freedom fighter who becomes the youngest Texas Ranger. Additional castings are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“From Hatfields & McCoysto The Bible to Vikings, History has made a major commitment to high-quality scripted historical dramas,” History exec vp and GM Dirk Hoogstra said. “The Texas Revolution is one of the most gut-wrenching and inspirational events in our history. Doing the story justice will be a massive undertaking and we’re excited to begin production with one of the best teams in the business.”
Added Greif: “It’s exciting to be back working with History and Bill Paxton, a team that made television history with Hatfields & McCoys. The battle for Texas independence was epic and really the battle for the future of America. We have Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated talent, a stellar ensemble cast is being set, and with this team, we will seek to even further redefine and elevate the term ‘event television.’ ”
Greif will exec produce for Thinkfactory, while Hoogstra, Elaine Frontain Bryant and Julian P. Hobbs are set to exec produce for History.
The three-part Hatfields mini broke basic cable ratings records for History in 2012, wrapping its run with 14.3 million total viewers. The mini earned 16 Emmy nominations (including best mini) and took home five, including lead actor for Kevin Costner. Cable networks including History and Discovery have turned to the miniseries as a way to expand into original scripted territory. History has also found success of The Bible, which paired with Hatfield, helped revitalize the mini and “event” series. The success has helped broadcast and cable networks alike lure top-name talent to more limited run fare. For its part, Rising will be a closed-ended eight-episode series, despite its billing by History as an “event” series a la CBS’ Under the Dome, the latter of which was renewed for a second season.
The casting brings Paxton back to History after he earned an Emmy nomination for his work in Hatfields. The Big Love alum is repped by UTA and Bloom Hergott.
STORY: Executive Quiz: What’s the Difference Between a Miniseries, Limited or Event Series?
For Fraser, the role marks his biggest TV commitment to date and comes more than a year after he exited the starring role in TNT’s Howard Gordon drama Legends. He’s repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment and Felker Toczek.
Liotta is repped by UTA and Untitled; Morgan (Magic City) is with UTA, Precision Entertainment and Bloom Hergott; Jane (61*) is with Paradigm; Martinez is represented by Resolution; Rapaport is with Resolution and Brillstein; and Thieriot is with Gersh and McKuin Frankel. Greif is with Kleinberg Lange.
Here’s History’s official description of Rising: “In 1836, if west of the Mississippi was considered the Wild West then Texas was hell on earth. Crushed from the outside by Mexican armadas and attacked from within by ferocious Comanche tribes — no one was safe. But this was a time of bravery, a time to die for what you believed in and a time to stand tall against the cruel rule of the Mexican General Santa Anna. From General Sam Houston, to rag tag Rangers to the legendary ‘Yellow Rose of Texas — this is a story of the human spirit rising in the face of insurmountable odds and claiming a piece of history for all eternity.”
Posted 2 years, 9 months ago at 7:15 pm. Comments
Credit for these images to various sources: IMDB, Celebrity Chatta, Getty Images, Wired Images
Posted 4 years, 9 months ago at 6:39 pm. Comments
Thesp joins the cast of indie drama
“Watchmen” star Jeffrey Dean Morgan is set to join his “Texas Killing Fields” co-star Chloe Moretz in Karyn Kusama’s gritty indie drama “The Rut.”Kevin Caruso wrote the script, which is described as a cross between “Winter’s Bone” and “Into the Wild.”
Story follows a teenage girl who aims to win her father’s approval by surrounding herself with danger and adventure as she journeys into the wilderness alone to hunt the greatest of deer.
While Morgan played a father figure to Moretz in “Texas Killing Fields,” he’ll play her actual father in “The Rut.”
Aaron Magnani will produce through his Water Bear/Aaron Magnani Prods. banner along with Martha Griffin, Kusama’s producing partner.
Moretz’s mother Teri Moretz and brother Trevor Moretz will exec produce via Treetop Prods.
Morgan will soon be seen in Open Road’s “Red Dawn” remake, Lionsgate’s horror-thriller “The Possession” and Bruce Beresford’s “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding.” Thesp also toplines Starz’s upcoming series “Magic City,” which debuts April 6.
Morgan is repped by UTA, while WME and 3 Arts rep Chloe Moretz. ICM reps Magnani and Kusama, as well as the project. Caruso is repped by ICM and managers Frankie Lindquist and Mary Cybriwsky of Scooty Woop Entertainment.
Posted 4 years, 11 months ago at 8:53 pm. Comments