AS HER MOM, MELANIE GRIFFITH, DESCRIBES 'BODY DOUBLE' AUDITION WITH DE PALMA
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Peele has just put me in the same leather armchair that Missy Armitage (Catherine Keener) invites Chris Washington (Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya) to sit in before she sends him falling into the Sunken Place. Missy’s floral-accented chair is just off to the left; Peele spreads out on a couch across from me.
“I definitely needed to take a couple of things from the set after the movie wrapped,” he says, smiling.
Peele knew the Missy-Chris hypnosis scene would become iconic. But he figured it would take years and, like most horror films, its appreciation would exist on a cult level. Instead “Get Out,” released the weekend “Moonlight” won the best picture Oscar last year, grossed $254 million and became a cultural phenomenon, the subject of endless discussions over its treatment of race and an Oscar powerhouse, earning Peele nominations as a director, writer and producer.
Now Peele, under the Monkeypaw Productions banner, is working hard, indulging his love for horror and the supernatural and boosting representation in genres that historically haven’t been generous toward black people. He’s producing a “Twilight Zone” reboot for CBS All Access and, with Misha Green and J.J. Abrams, an HBO series based on the novel “Lovecraft Country,” a series of interconnected stories that use various classic horror styles to examine the terrors of Jim Crow America.
And he’s writing his next movie.
“I’m in this horror, thriller, parable, ‘Twlight Zone’-y genre, probably forever,” Peele says. “I want to do what Hitchcock did, what Spielberg did, what Brian De Palma did — dark tales.”
April Wolfe: So I wanted to talk a little bit about these extras scenes.
Barbara Crampton: Yeah...
April: It's one of the things that we actually rarely talk about when it comes to Raw, but it makes it so, so good, and something you brought up, when they do the hazing rituals...
April: Ducournau personally cast all three hundred of them.
Barbara: No way...
April: Yes. Exactly. So you hear Barbara's shock at that-- that doesn't happen. There's usually a casting person who does the extras casting.
Barbara: Yeah (laughing), it's whoever's available.
Barbara: Because you don't get paid a lot!
April: No! So she personally cast all three hundred of these extras-- like, she was single-handedly constructing this veterinary school. She said she tried to keep their characters in mind, and use them in scenes that would fit with how they had appeared in other scenes, really building their characters. And, you know, it made for a better, fuller film. It felt realistic.
April: But also, it was a way to get the extras invested in the film, because they would have to be there for the full 37 days of shooting, which is a huge undertaking if you're an extra.
Barbara: Oh my God, yeah, you want to feel like you're a part of the project. That's so smart!
April: It is! And I thought it's honestly so wonderful when a director takes that kind of care with every actor on set, no matter...
Barbara: Who they are-- yeah...
April: Exactly. Even if you have a small part. I was thinking in terms of your role in De Palma's Body Double.
April: Because I had read some interviews with you where you had said that, like, they did so many takes, and he was so interested in getting the scene right, and you got to work with him on so many things. And even if some of that stuff got cut out, you were still, you know, working towards kind of a perfect moment.
Barbara: We actually did that scene all day. I mean it was all day. From different angles. Forty takes from all different angles. It was hundreds of takes. It was incredible. I will say, when I first got that film, there were two other scenes in the movie that I had dialogue in. And the night before I was to start shooting, I got a call: "Oh, oops, they cut the dialogue scenes. You only have this one scene with Craig Wasson in bed." And I thought, hmm... was this on purpose? Or, is this legitimate? But it's Brian De Palma, so I should work with him, and it was great to be with him on set, and I did it and it was super fun.
April: It was really early in your career, too.
Barbara: I think it was like the first thing I actually did on film, because I was on Days Of Our Lives for about a year, and that was my first job, and I think that was my second job.
April: What do you think you learned from that set?
Barbara: To relax, and to just have no fear. I mean, that was the first thing... because everybody was just kind of laissez-faire in a way. You know, when you're making a movie, and I just said, oh, you have to hurry up, you have to go, and you have to be right on point, and you do... and I'm sure even on a film like that, you have to be on point, but it felt like I... I could see the other actors who were on set, they... they were really calm. And relaxed, and I think you want to feel secure, and centered, and it was nice to see everybody on set just, you know, doing their job, but, and fast, but relaxed. You have to be relaxed.
Barbara: Well, I like relaxing, so that's good for me to be reminded of that all the time.
[You might think Wolfe is laughing because Crampton has brought up the title of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood song that features in Body Double, but no-- her laughter comes from picturing the actors in Raw being relaxed while making such an intense film]
The episode will feature 11 songs and be framed as a documentary about the high school theater production filmed by Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse). Entitled “A Night to Remember,” the episode will air on April 18 at 8 p.m. on the CW.
The Riverdale High Drama Department’s production of “Carrie: The Musical” is described as a “dark-yet-catchy cautionary tale exploring the gritty realities of small-town high school life.” The character of Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) serves as the show-within-the-show’s director, mixing elements from the 1974 King novel with Brian De Palma’s 1976 film adaptation, the 1988 Broadway production, the 2012 Off-Broadway revival and Kimberly Peirce’s 2013 film remake.
Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) leads the cast of the musical as Carrie White in this avant-garde production, while Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) portrays mean-girl antagonist Chris Hargensen and Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) play golden-couple Sue Snell and Tommy Ross. There will also be special appearances by Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) as the gym teacher and Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick) as Carrie’s mother.
Brian de Palma's "THE WEDDING PARTY" has apparently been pulled out from the drawer to exploit the unexpected vogue for "Greetings." "Greetings" wasn't much, heaven knows, but "The Wedding Party" is much, much less. There's not much to say about a broken-legged farce except that it isn't very funny. De Palma is exploiting the youth thing for all its alleged audacity, but I find him more canny than candid. He spends so much time avoiding the obvious mistakes of youth that his films become paralyzed by a discreet negativism. Also, it is a mistake for film-makers to start out with comedy, a discipline that requires not merely genius, but wisdom, coherence, and, yes, maturity.