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Sophie Nelisse Talks About Her The Book Thief Role and What Keeps Her Grounded

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a brunch with actress Sophie Nelisse, as well as some fellow bloggers at Norma’s at The Parker Meridian. During the brunch, Nelisse talked about her role in The Book Thief, how she prepared for the role and what her future aspirations are.

The Book Thief follows Liesel (Nelisse), a young girl who, while subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. Under the stairs in her home, Liesel, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.

“I watched Schindler’s List, The Pianist, The Reader, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Life is Beautiful. In Berlin, I went to some museums and I visited some bomb shelters,” said Nelisse. ”

In addition to that, Nelisse took two weeks of German lessons to get her accent just right.

Nelisse worked with various great actors in The Book Thief, including Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. She also hopes to work with other greats in the future.

“I would love to work with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lawrence, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Leonardo Dicaprio and Johnny Depp,” she said. “As far as directors, I would love to would have loved to work with Alfred Hitchcock, Ben Affleck, Martin Scorsese.”

Although she’s making a name for herself in Hollywood, Nelisse still manages to stay grounded.

“I don’t really like Hollywood, it’s a completely different world,” Nelisse said. “It’s fun to live there for a month, but people are crazy around there. All the paparazzi don’t care about your personal space.”

The Book Thief is out now on Blu-ray and DVD!

Edited: March 11th, 2014

NYGossipGirl Interview: Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley is a jack-of-all-trades. She can play a soccer player, a Duchess, Jane’s Austen’s heroine and now Tolstoy’s masterpiece, Anna Karenina.

The film, which is set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, follows aristocrat Anna Karenina, who enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky.

NYGossipGirl chatted with Knightley during a roundtable interview about the demanding role, what it was like working with director Joe Wright again and her upcoming projects.

Can you talk about playing this complex character, because I think she’s one of the most complex ones you’ve played.

Knightley: She is. I think it was weird because I initially read the book when I was sort of in my late-teens, early-20s and my memory of it was as Anna being somebody who was sort of a victim and in the right and almost saintly and everybody else being wrong. And then all of a sudden, I read it again last summer, just before we did the film. All this is not what I remember at all and this is not the same person that I remember at all. I saw her as much darker and questioned the function of the role within the whole piece. I think because it’s called Anna Karenina you expect her to be the heroine. You expect  her to be the one that you should always sympathize with and you should be seeing through her eyes. I don’t know that that’s the function of the character within the piece. I think the one to be idolized is Levin, and if you like, the goody is Levin. Anna definitely walks the line of being the anti-heroine, not always. She is also the heroine. I thought if you’re having the Levin/Kitty storyline within the piece, which is the romance, which is the idealized kind of hope, then what’s the point of doing the same thing with Anna. So, I thought it would be more interesting if we looked at that kind of darker, more morally ambiguous kind of side to her.

Is that why you think it still resonates to this day?

Knightley: I think it resonates to this day because it’s about love and not just romance or just that happy bit, not love in the way it’s all sold to us but love as the thing that we’ve been fascinated and obsessed by for centuries. Love is that thing that we are all after and yet can destroy us and is painful and can be madness and can be joy and can be happiness. It looks at the whole thing. I think that’s why it’s so complex. It has more questions within it than it has answers because we never manage to answer the questions. Love is something that is so inexplicable and so complex and strange. I think it’s a novel that looks at all of that. I think that’s why you keep going back to it. That’s why within preparing for this, when we were talking about it, every single person, whether they were a member of the crew or the cast could go, oh yes, I relate to that because everybody had a story within their lives that was applicable to the situations. It didn’t matter that we lived in 2011 or 2012 or in 1873 that it was written because it’s about that emotion.

Check out the rest of the interview after the jump! (more…)

Edited: November 21st, 2012

NYGossipGirl Exclusive Interview: Sarah Megan Thomas

Sarah Megan Thomas is a jack of all trades. She wrote, produced and starred in Backwards, a feat that is quite an accomplishment.

Backwards centers around Abi Brooks (Thomas) a fiercely competitive 30-year-old rower who fails to make the Olympic boat for the second time. She takes a coaching job at a school, but struggles to adjust to life off the race course.

NYGossipGirl had the pleasure of chatting with Thomas about the film and what it was like working with co-star James Van Der Beek.

NYGG: When you were writing this, what was the story that you wanted to tell?

Thomas: The story I really wanted to tell was that of an Olympic athlete who almost makes it, but yet she doesn’t, and ultimately sits in the sidelines. I love sports films – they’re wonderful, but the athlete always wins in the end. I wanted it to be a story about someone who doesn’t make it.

NYGG: Women’s rowing is not often seen on film? Why did you want to change that?

Thomas: There’s never been a complete film about women’s rowing and it’s a sport that I wanted to bring to the big screen.

Check out the rest of NYGossipGirl’s exclusive interview with Sarah Megan Thomas after the jump! (more…)

Edited: September 21st, 2012

NYGossipGirl Exclusive Interview: Sebastian Stan

Political Animals is quite frankly one of my favorite shows this summer. It’s entertaining, to the point and features a great ensemble.

NYGossipGirl recently had the pleasure of chatting with Sebastian Stan, one of the show’s stars.

Political Animals follows divorced former First Lady Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver) who is currently serving as the Secretary of State. She finds an unlikely ally in a D.C. journalist who had previously dedicated herself to tearing Barrish to pieces.

Stan plays Thomas Hammond, Elaine’s troubled, openly gay son.

Check out the exclusive interview below!

NYGG: What attracted you to the pilot?

Stan: When I read the script, I was genually interested. Like, after I was done I wanted to know where it was going to go and what was going to happen with these people. And I was like this is intense already. Five more episodes, what’s going to happen next, you know? I also thought it was really well-written and really smart. That got confirmed again when I walked in and saw the screening. I knew what I saw on the page made it to the screen. It’s tough in television because sometimes you start with something and it changes. But what I essentially read is up there. I also love the cast. It’s a great group of people to work with that I want to work with.

NYGG: How did you prepare for it because your character has a lot of layers.

Stan: It’s very hard. There’s a lot of intense stuff going on and it’s exhausting sometimes, but it’s well worth it at the end of the day. The thing about my character is he’s just so unstable. He’s going from 1-10 and you’ll see that as the episodes progress. I did my research on drug addiction and alcoholism. I also researched presidential families like the Kennedys and Clintons. It gave me the idea of what it’s like to grow in the spotlight. What really helped me was that I found about what happened to Paul Newman’s son – he died of an overdose. But, the parallels are so similar it was creeping me out. Because all you know about Paul Newman is all these great things, the amazing work he’s done, his marriage and then his son died. And his son was constantly struggling with drugs and having a problem communicating and he got too lost. That helped me a lot.

Continue reading NYGossipGirl’s exclusive interview with Sebastian Stan after the jump!


Edited: July 13th, 2012

NYGossipGirl Exclusive Interview: Steve Carell

NYGossipGirl recently had the pleasure of chatting with Steve Carell via Skype about his new film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

The film tells the story of a man who finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic after news erupts of an asteroid about to hit the Earth. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart and finds comfort in a neighbor (Keira Knightley) who helps him on his journey.

To say this was our favorite interview to date is an understatement. Carell is not only hilarious in front of the camera, but behind it as well.

Check out the interview below where Carell talks about what he would do if he only had a few weeks left on earth, whether or not he’ll come back to The Office and the status of Anchorman 2!

NYGG: Can you talk about that opening scene and filming it with your wife on your anniversary?

Carrell: Yeah, it was literally our wedding anniversary. She’s playing my wife and we get the news of the end of the world and she pulls out of the car. She also shots me this look, which frankly, I’m not unfamiliar with. It’s a scary, dagger eye look. It was fun, though. It was nice to spend our anniversary together.

NYGG: If there were only 2-3 weeks left before the end of the world, where would you go and what would you hope to find?

Carrell: Certainly, I would be foraging for junk food. Things like Twinkies and Ho-Hos. Nutrition is not [important], who cares.

NYGG: What would your playlist be like?

Carrell: Maybe to actually bring it up a little bit, some Sheryl Crow or maybe some Taylor Swift, to feel a little fuzzy inside.

Check out the rest of NYGossipGirl’s interview with Steve Carell after the jump! (more…)

Edited: June 19th, 2012

NYGossipGirl Exclusive Interview: Patrick J. Adams

NYGossipGirl recently met up with Suits star Patrick J. Adams at the Suits & Style fashion show that USA Network and Mr Porter presented.

Suits comes back for its second season tonight, June 14 and Adams gave as a little snippet of what we can expect!

NYGG: What can you tell me about the upcoming season?

Adams: It’s going to be really good, that’s it [laughs]. It’s going to be a little darker in tone, we pick up right where we left off, so we don’t shy away from any of the things that we set up in the first season, which I really respect the writers for doing that. And we just keep heading in the direction that we’re going and we don’t use the difficulty of Mike’s situation as the only set of stakes, so that we’re not relying solely on that. We also bring in a lot of new characters and that’s going to change the dynamic very much of all the partners.

NYGG: What’s it like working with Gabriel Macht?

Adams: Terrible, it’s awful [laughs]. He’s amazing, he’s a great guy and so supportive. He’s been in this business a long time – a lot longer than I have so I look up to him in many ways and ask him a lot of questions and get his opinion on a lot of things. To his credit, he does the same with me, even though I’m new to the craft. We talk constantly with what’s working, what’s not working and how we can get the most out of a scene. It’s a very supportive environment.

Check out the rest of NYGossipGirl’s exclusive interview with Patrick J. Adams after the jump! (more…)

Edited: June 14th, 2012

NYGossipGirl Exclusive Interview: Greta Gerwig

NYGossipGirl recently had the please to sit down and chat with Lola Versus‘ leading lady, Greta Gerwig.

The 28-year-old actress is best known for her roles in Greenberg and Arthur.

Gerwig stars in Fox Searchlight’s Lola Versus, a film that centers around Lola, who is dumped by her boyfriend just three weeks before their wedding. She enlists her close friends for a series of adventures she hopes will help her come to terms with approaching 30 as a single woman.

NYGG: When you read the script, how much did you relate to Lola?

Gerwig: I related a lot to Lola. I think that I was just happy to see a female character that is a mess and makes big mistakes and is not just cute. She’s deeply flawed and she has big things to get over and not just cosmetic things – that’s always lame. That’s what I responded to. As a character she’s very different then I am, but I related to the realness that she was going through.

NYGG: You do a lot of indie films, are you looking to do more mainstream ones?

Gerwig: Well for me, this is mainstream [laughs]. This is totally my mainstream moment, but I love big movies. I love little movies. I have so little control over what happens, who wants to cast me, who’s interested in me. I’m totally opened to doing big things. I tend to be drawn to smaller projects and those projects are drawn to me. Maybe one day it’ll shift, but I’m fine with the way it is.

Check out the rest of the exclusive interview after the jump!


Edited: June 14th, 2012

NYGossipGirl Exclusive Interview: Krysten Ritter

A while ago, I got the pleasure to talk with actress Krysten Ritter about her new film Life Happens and her new show on ABC, Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23.

Check out NYGossipGirl’s exclusive interview with Ritter below!

NYGG: Can you talk about the film and what drew you to the role?

Ritter: Yeah, so the film is called Life Happens and it’s about two girls and one of them gets pregnant and sort of throws a wrench in their fabulous plans. I play the girl who gets pregnant. It’s a buddy comedy, Kate Bosworth is also in it playing a very funny dry character. We have a fabulous cast, Rachel Bilson, Jason Biggs, Seymour Cassel who plays my pop and Rhys Coiro from Entourage, who’s heaven.

NYGG: You also co-wrote the script. Were there any challenges getting it together?

Ritter: Basically, [director] Kat Coiro and I came up with the idea and we were sort of going the Hollywood route and going to development. All the stuff you see in the movies about it being development hell, it’s true! And then one day we said let’s just make this by ourselves with our best friends in our backyard for a nickel and that’s what we did.

NYGG: What was it like playing a pregnant lady, did you learn anything?

Ritter: We skipped that part [laughs]. It’s pre-pregnancy – before and after the birth so I didn’t have to do the bump or anything, but it was fun. It’s challenging having a baby and I think we capture how hard it is in a very realistic and fun way.

NYGG: The film features this great group of girls like you mentioned. Did you guys have a lot of fun filming together?

Ritter: Yeah it was very girly. The director’s a girl, all the producers are girls. Hair and makeup consisted of my best friends. It was a girl party and I think that’s the best kind!

NYGG: Can you talk about your new TV show?

Ritter: Apt. 23 is about a bitch in New York who cons young girls from into giving their life savings to live with her in her apartment. It’s really good , watch it!

Edited: April 11th, 2012

NYGossipGirl Exclusive Interview: Jonah Hill

NYGossipGirl recently caught up with Jonah Hill in New York.

The 28-year-old actor talked about Moneyball, whether he’s going to do more dramatic films and the status of Allen Gregory.

Check out the exclusive interview below!

NYGG: You have done so many comedic films, but you took more of a dramatic role with Moneyball this year. Are you looking to do more of these dramatic films?

JH: Yeah, I think Moneyball was the start of doing some more dramas and I’m really excited to get to do both kinds of films.

NYGG: You premiered Allen Gregory in New York a few weeks back and the show is a success. What’s the progress with it? Has it been picked up for a full season?

JH: We air our last episode in a couple of weeks and we don’t know if we we’re going to get some more episodes, but I hope we do.

NYGG: I love the show and I think it’s hilarious.

JH: I love it too. Hopefully, you’re going to see more of it soon.

Edited: December 27th, 2011

NYGossipGirl Exclusive Interview: Ari Graynor

NYGossipGirl had the pleasure of catching up with the ever-so-lovely Ari Graynor who talked about her new role in The Sitter where she worked alongside Jonah Hill.

Check out our exclusive interview below!

NYGG: So last time we spoke you did Holy Rollers and this is a different feel. What was it like working on a comedy and with Jonah?

Graynor: Working with Jonah was the greatest things ever. He’s one of my favorite people, so funny, so talented. It was like hanging out with your really good friend. It was a lot of fun.

NYGG: What’s your character like?

Graynor: I play Marisa, his very reluctant girlfriend. Kind of using him as an emotional crutch. He’s more into her than she’s into him. She’s sort of nursing her own broken heart. So she’s spending time with him to make her feel good about herself. I go hang out at a party and he’s committed to babysitting. And I use my feminine wiles to come meet me and bring me some drugs [laughs] and he brings the kids along and craziness ensues.

NYGG: And you’ve played so many comedic films in the past. Aside from Holy Rollers are you looking to do more dramatic roles?

Graynor: I am. You know, I have done a lot of dramatic roles in the course of my career, it’s just that in the past couple of years it’s been super comedy-driven. But, I have done Holy Rollers and Conviction and American Crime and I’m also doing a play right now and when it ends in March, hopefully I’ll dive into something a little bit more dramatic.

Edited: December 18th, 2011

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