Brie Larson has the usual middling credits of a young American actor trying to figure out where they belong, with small roles in the likes of Greenberg and Rampart building to 21 Jump Street. But the 24-year-old was astounding in Destin Cretton’s fine youth counselling drama Short Term 12, playing a young woman struggling with the same issue as her charges, and that impressive turn – deeply held anger rubbing up against hopefulness – has changed her career. Larson has already shot a lead role in The Gambler, a remake of the 1974 Karel Reisz drama about a New York literature professor with a gambling addiction, directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and with Mark Wahlberg as the harried man of letters, and she’s adding to her upcoming projects.
Larson has a role in Trainwreck, the forthcoming comedy from Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, This is 40) written by and co-starring comic Amy Schumer as well Tilda Swinton (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), and Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin). She’s also part of a Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, four or five other movies since we last mentioned him) Millennial ensemble, Digging For Fire, with Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Jake Johnson (Safety Not Guaranteed) and the actor who dearly wishes to be more than an elf, Orlando Bloom (Elizabethtown). And now she’s got the lead in Room, an intimate drama from Irish director Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Frank) about a woman kidnapped as a teenager and confined to a room who is now raising a five-year-old child born in captivity.
Career continues for Scott Thomas
French filmmaker Philippe Claudel will reunite with Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Only God Forgives), with whom he made the slow burn 2008 drama I’ve Loved You So Long, for Before the Winter Chill. It’s the story of a privileged Parisian couple, played by Scott Thomas and Daniel Auteuil (A Heart in Winter, Hidden), where the husband’s strange behaviour has his wife suspecting that he’s having an affair, only for her to discover an altogether different reason. The supporting cast includes Leila Bekhti (A Prophet) and Richard Berry (The Valet). Scott Thomas, by the way, has talked of retiring from acting, but keeps appearing on set ready to work: she’ll next play the exiled Czarina Alexandra in revolutionary-era Russia in The Kitchen Boy for Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters).
Gamblers on the Grind
The American filmmaking team of Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden made their name with the powerful Half Nelson, the 2006 drama that established the bona fides of Ryan Gosling with his arresting portrayal of an inner-city high school teacher with a crack habit, but their pair’s subsequent films, 2008’s Sugar and 2010’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, haven’t had the same impact. Their next production, Mississippi Grind, is the story of two professional gamblers on a trip through America’s south, and boasts a curious combination of leads, with Australia’s Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, The Dark Knight Rises) starring opposite Ryan Reynolds (Safe House, The Green Lantern). Can’t wait for the bloopers and outtakes on the DVD release for that one.
(Photo credit: Sailas Vanetti, Festival del film Locarno)