Posts Tagged ‘peter jackson’

Where Is He Now?

At this moment in time, Christoper Lee is 90 years old, and while he hasn’t been turning out movies like he used to, the fact he’s still acting is extremely impressive and exciting. It’s weird to say this about an actor who appeared in so much, but at the beginning of the 21st century, Lee had a resurgence in his career and has appeared in 22 films already. And in 2001, he appeared in the role that many modern day audiences would remember him for: Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Lord of the Rings wasn’t the only recent series he would act in though! He was just getting started. He would appear in Star Wars Episodes II and III as Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus, and would lend his voice to the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars for the same character. What’s impressive about this role is that, while there is plenty of swordplay that takes place in the film, Lee claims to have done most of the swordplay himself. For this film, Lee would have been between the age of 80-85 roughly. That just shows his dedication to his acting and how hard he works. And that he is an ageless wizard.

Lee has always been a favorite actor of director Tim Burton, and because of this, Lee has appeared in five of Burton’s films since 1999. His first appearance was a small role in the film Sleepy Hollow, but this would lead to larger roles. He was given the role of Pastor Galswells in Corpse Bride, and then played a small role in Burton’s take on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the father of Willy Wonka, dentist Dr. Wilbur Wonka. He was also in the original cut of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street — as the spirit of Sweeney Todd’s victims called The Gentleman Ghost. The role however would end up being cut from the film because Burton felt that the songs from the part were too theatrical for film. Lee has appeared in Burton’s two most recent films, voicing the Jabberwocky in Alice in Wonderland and appearing in the adaptation of Dark Shadows as Clarney. He has also leant his voice to the most recent Tim Burton film, Frankenweenie, which will be released October 5th of this year.

Lee would end up appearing in the Oscar-Nominated film Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese as Monsieur Labisse. I remember when I first watched the film, I was unaware that he was in it — but once the camera cut to him, I just knew that it couldn’t have been anyone else. Speaking as someone who only truly knew him for his role as Saruman (and I’m sure I can speak for plenty of people in my generation) — Lee is so magnificent that when he appears on our screen today, we immediately know that this is Christopher Lee in front of our eyes.

Even though Lee reached the young age of 90 recently, he still isn’t stopping. In fact, he will be appearing in what may be two of the most successful films of all time within the next year and a half. Lee will be taking on the role of Saruman again in the Peter Jackson directed films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Being such a big fan of the Lord of the Rings franchise, I absolutely cannot wait and see what comes next. An Unexpected Journey will hit theaters December 14th, and it’s a guarantee that I will be there. There and Back Again will be in theaters December 13, 2013, and, again I will guarantee that I will be there.

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

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9. The Apartment (1960)

Other Nominated Films:
The Alamo, Elmer Gantry, Suns and Lovers, The Sundowners

Billy Wilder’s follow-up to Some Like It HotThe Apartment, is a witty, sardonic, and touching film about corporate politics, adultery, integrity and love. Jack Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, a lowly office clerk who works for a New York City insurance company. When Baxter starts lending out his apartment to his philandering bosses for their romantic trysts, things start getting complicated — especially when Baxter’s big boss, Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), takes notice and wants to start using the apartment himself.  Meanwhile Baxter finds himself climbing nicely up the corporate ladder, and also takes a liking to sweet elevator operator Miss Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine). When Baxter finds out that Fran is Sheldrake’s girlfriend — it makes for sticky situations, romantic problems and more serious trouble (that shall remain nameless) — and ultimately Baxter must decide between his integrity and his career. The on-screen chemistry between Lemmon and MacLaine is great to watch as they’re both extremely quick with their deliveries and are just terrific when they’re together. MacMurray is pitch-perfect, playing against type, as the cheating, low-life Sheldrake. Jack Kruschen, who plays Dr. Dreyfuss, is the doctor-neighbor who mistakenly thinks Baxter is a ladies’ man and advises Baxter to “Be a mensch!” (human being). Ray Walston and David Lewis are amusing as slightly sordid office wolves. Kruschen was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, while Lemmon and MacLaine were nominated for Best Actor and Actress respectively. The Apartment would end up being a critical and a financial success, grossing $25 million at the box office. Wilder would go on to win Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (co-written with longtime collaborator I.A.L. Diamond), joining an elite ‘club’ that consists of only four others (Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather Part II, James L. Brooks for Terms of Endearment, Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men.)  The Apartment would also end up being the last completely black-and-white film to win Best Picture (which actually could change this year…wow.)  I would also like to say one more thing before I close: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was nominated for four Oscars this year, winning none. If Psycho would have won for Best Picture (which it was not nominated for), then Psycho would have been the #2 film on my countdown.

Nominated for 10 Oscars, Winner of 5
Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Black-and-White – Alexandre Trauner, Edward G. Boyle (WON)
Best Director – Billy Wilder (WON)
Best Film Editing – Daniel Mandell (WON)
Best Picture – Billy Wilder (WON)
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen – Billy Wilder, I.A.L Diamond (WON)
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Jack Lemmon
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Jack Kruschen
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Shirley MacLaine
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White – Joseph LaShelle

C.C. Baxter: Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were.

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