Following some reviews praising Mary’s performance in All About Nina, I’ve found one more interview with her and director Eva Vives which you can [partly] read below. Click here to read it in full. Additionally, The Playlist has also written their review applauding Mary’s work. You can read that after the cut…
You’re taking on this new role as a wayward comedian. Did you ever get involved and go to the comedy clubs and get on stage?
I did but I did not get on stage—even though I intended to! I talked a big talk for awhile there. I was like, “yeah we’re gonna get out there and do some open-mics and do that.” But the thought of that made me want to throw up. I really just couldn’t do that. And the closer we got to shooting, the more scared I was getting. So I decided to approach it more from an acting perspective as playing someone who’s a really good comic because I felt that I myself wouldn’t be. So instead I watched a lot of comedy and saw a lot of shows with Eva [Vives]. We took a lot from what we saw and then we worked with other comedians in terms of trying to craft and create a character that could feel like it could come from me but isn’t me.
Was there any newfound respect or hatred you gained going through that experience?
I mean yes and no because I’ve always had huge respect for comedians. I’ve always seen it as something that seems like the most nerve-wracking, difficult thing to do. To get up on stage and ask for their laughter is to me just an incredibly vulnerable thing to do. It’s just really brave. I’ve always felt like that and I think that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to take the part. I thought it would be a great thing to at least pretend to be that kind of person to have the balls to go up and do that.
Ever since “All About Nina” had its world premiere on Sunday at the Tribeca Film Festival, critics have not been able to stop raving about not just the film and director Eva Vives’ work, but about Mary’s incredible performance in the role of Nina Geld. In the film, Mary plays a stand-up comedienne who flees to Los Angeles to escape an abusive lover and face her demons. As always, be sure to click on the provided links to read the reviews in full.
The Wrapwrites: First-time feature director Eva Vives (who co-wrote “Raising Victor Vargas”) has a lot to say and finds some provocative ways to express it all. A major late-act revelation, in particular, is likely to be a significant talking point after screenings.
But the movie’s deepest emotional impact comes from an electrifying star turn by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The reliably excellent Winstead takes charge from the moment she swaggers on screen as Nina, a 33-year-old stand-up whose brutal cynicism hides a lifetime’s worth of secrets. There’s a much trickier and more dramatic segment later in the film, which isn’t as deftly written. But it is played with stunning power by Winstead, who fully sells every up, down and reversal Nina experiences. Though the material isn’t quite ready for primetime, Winstead once again proves herself a major player.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance. “All About Nina” would not be the same without her. A comic with a fear of intimacy, a performer who vomits after their act, these are not inherently original concepts. Winstead, however, shows you them in a way that’s wholly unique. Laid bare at times both emotionally as well as physically, Winstead is asked to do it all. Two very different stand up routines showcase this as well. One is her aggressive, sexualized act, which is meant to put up a wall. The other is a full-blown confession, which is unlike any other stand up set you’ll ever see. It has stayed with me in a big way. If there was any justice, that would be her Oscar scene. Simply put, Winstead has always been a talented actress (“Smashed,” among many other examples), but this is career best work.
The premise offers plenty of room for yet another impressive performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead; balancing its darker moments with humor and warmth, the picture has a broad enough appeal to — finally, movie gods? — get Winstead onto the first-choice lists of top-tier filmmakers. Phobias and lousy decisions notwithstanding, Winstead is no typical rom-com neurotic in the role. The actress makes Nina self-aware and unapologetic, in command of her art if not her libido.
Premiering in Tribeca’s US Narrative Competition, All About Nina should travel further thanks to its of-the-moment female protagonist and Winstead’s memorable performance. It should also help bring Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane, TV’s Mercy Street and Fargo) and Vives the mainstream attention they deserve.
Winstead is so strong here that her co-stars can’t help but pale slightly in comparison. An electric turn from Mary Elizabeth Winstead pulses through this striking feature debut from short filmmaker Eva Vives, which effectively shines a light on issues of honesty, identity and equality through the story of a stand-up comedian transplanted from cacophonous New York to the more introspective LA. While the character’s resulting journey of self-discovery may follow familiar lines, it is bracing nevertheless.
Tonight in New York City, Mary attended the world premiere of her new film, All About Nina. At the event she was joined by her co-star Common and the director of the flick, Eva Vives. I’ve begun adding some photos of Mary at the event and from the after party so check back since I will continue to update. Additionally, two of the first reviews have come out. One from co-star Jay Mohr and another from unseenfilms.
Head to the gallery to check out the brand new pics. Mary looks stunning, you guys!
From the #AllaboutNina premiere screening. Respect to my family @common for being a true Leading Man. Friends, #MaryElizabethWinstead will be nominated for an #Oscar
One of the single greatest performances I’ve ever seen in film.
I’m grateful to have shared a screen with her.
That the film works as well as it does is due in large part to the cast especially Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Common who make their characters real people we really like. Winstead should be singled out and up for numerous awards with a performance that is deceptively simple (a comedian with issues? Piece of cake right?) but in fact reveals itself to be filled with very real and very raw emotion. She is not the typical by the numbers movie girl but one many of us know or are ourselves. ALL ABOUT NINA is one of the best of the early crop of films I’ve seen at Tribeca and it is highly recommended.
The positive reviews keep coming in! After an initial batch of great reviews came in from various sites, Collider kept that train rolling by giving the show 5 stars on their website. Be sure to click the link to read it in full. A small portion can be read below:
Season 3 is slow to start, but there’s a palpable sense of layering. The storytelling, the settings, the props, and the language used is all so deliberate that it is engrossing. There are great character moments like how Gloria feels she’s invisible because she can’t ever set off the motion sensor for automatic doors, or how Nikki is obsessed with bridge and sees it as her way to fame and fortune with Ray. More than anything, though, Fargo’s collection of stellar actors again this year makes every scene a delight to watch. Coon is staid and inscrutable, Winstead is electric and seductive, McGregor finds likability and venerability for this characters in ways we wouldn’t expect, and so forth. It’s a showcase that, matched with the show’s sly humor, produces exceptional television.
The first couple of reviews for season 3 of FX’s drama Fargo are in and they’re all glowing! As always, be sure to click on the links provided to read the reviews in full, as I’ll only post some highlights. The first one comes from We Got This Covered:
While season 3 is a bit more personal (a sibling rivalry versus a criminal underworld), it is no less engaging. That’s because Hawley has gathered yet another group of fantastic actors, perhaps the best yet in Fargo‘s run, to embody his absurd little world. Winstead’s brash, bubblegum-popping parolee Nikki, and Winstead is (unsurprisingly) fantastic. She’s Ray’s source of motivation, but she also begins to taint him in believably mischievous ways; as someone who has played hero roles more recently, it’s a thrill to see Winstead play a character with some increasingly questionable morals.
During the opening minutes of Season 3, I found myself sitting and praying for the safety of Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor) and Nicki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), an inherently likable and inherently mischievous couple whose providence washes away as the damning titles pop up over their little red Corvette. Like in a horror movie, fans may spend the first half-hour bargaining for the lives of every character. Ray and Nicki are instantly endearing. Shunned by high society because of their criminal associations — she’s an ex-con out on parole, and he’s her parole officer — the purity of their love steals the spotlight early and often; a powerful juxtaposition, two suspicious individuals bonded by true love, even as you see them plant the seeds of their own downfall.
November 10 by JessicaComments are off for this post
The first review for Mary’s upcoming television mini series Mercy Street has come online courtesy of The Cavalier Daily. Here’s what they had to say about the show and Mary’s performance:
“Mercy Street” is based on the lives of nonfictional historical figures like Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a nurse who struggles to reconcile her anti-Confederate sentiment with her responsibility as a nurse. She clashes with others at the hospital like Dr. Jedidiah Foster (Josh Radnor), who teaches her when people are dying, the color of their uniform does not matter: “blood isn’t blue or grey.”
“Mercy Street” expertly balances the typical thrills of a medical drama with the complicated political and social turmoil of the South during the Civil War. It does not hold back on showing the horrors of war, but it also infuses enough humor to keep the show light. “Mercy Street” is also visually stunning; it has all the sumptuous costume and set design one would expect from a PBS period piece.
The characters of “Mercy Street” are complex and dynamic, which is no small feat given the sprawling ensemble cast. These characters are brought to life through strong performances throughout the cast. As the conflicted Mary Phinney, Winstead is compelling to watch, as she skillfully portrays both Phinney’s uncertainty and determination to prove herself. She is a solid lead and someone the audience can root for.
You can read the full review by clicking on the link above.
With Alex of Venice hitting select theaters tomorrow and also being released on VOD, more new interviews and reviews about the film have been released. First up, Mary did a short interview with Too Fab. Below are highlights:
toofab: You’re on an indie roll right now, what draws you to these kinds of films?
Mary: Its just the bigger films tend to be male driven. It’s kind of hard to find like an interesting complex female role in those worlds. Not to say they aren’t great movies, but from time to time I kind of get rolled in to play the girlfriend if it’s exciting enough. A lot of times, they end up being the thing I don’t want to continue to do. My goal in a perfect world would be this movie to be a wide release.
toofab: What was it about this latest project that you loved?
Mary: I was kind of no brainer when I read it. It feels like a movie that I could’ve seen from the ‘70s or early ‘80s, back when these films were blockbusters, when stories about women trying to figure out their lives out was a really big deal. Those are the kinds of films I love and I was really excited to get to do something like that.
Twitch Film also did a lengthy interview with her. Read the full interview by clicking on the provided link:
You’ve played some broken characters dealing with real issues people face every day, Alex inALEX OF VENICE is a perfect example of one of these characters. Why are these roles important for you to play and why do you think stories like ALEX OF VENICE are important to cinema?
Man. In terms of the roles that I’m drawn to, I demand a certain complexity. Just for myself, I feel like the older I get and the further down my career I get, I just want to have roles that are exciting to me and challenging to me. I want there to be a level of complexity that, um, makes me a better actor at the end of the day. I don’t want to be bored by the characters that I play. Those are all really important things for me, in finding a role.
I think, in terms of why a film like this is needed, it’s really rare to get to see this full life represented, particularly for a female and particularly for my age-range and things like that. We get to see her as a mother and a wife and a sister and a daughter and a lawyer. We get to see how she behaves in all of these relationship and how she can be, sort of, different people within this one person.
Aisle Seat also praises Mary’s performance in the film by writing: The actress, who’s appeared in everything from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to Smashed, once again displays incredible range. She gives a very interior performance, allowing us to see not only what Alex is showing to those around her, but also what she’s feeling and keeping to herself. Because she is so good, we follow Alex with great empathy, hoping that she’s able to sort out her personal dilemmas. It also establishes beyond a doubt that Mary Elizabeth Winstead is one of the most important young actresses on the screen today.
A new promo for next week’s episode of The Returned has been put online and you can view it below. The episode will concentrate on Mary’s character Rowan. I also added screencaps of the video to the gallery.
In other news, Joblo gave Alex of Venice a really fantastic review. Here’s what they had to say:
ALEX OF VENICE is an impressive directorial debut for actor Chris Messina. Well-known for his work in movies and on The Mindy Project, Messina’s first film behind the camera is a sensitive character piece that works as another strong showcase for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who’s quickly establishing herself as one of the preeminent actresses of the American indie movie scene.
One of the best things about Winstead is that she’s such a naturalistic performer. Many of her contemporaries go for “big” performances but she’s always been far more subtle, a fact that makes her consistently believable whatever the part. She’s perfect for Alex – who’s a go-getter but is also convincingly human, in that we see her getting flustered in court, and expressing grave doubts about her ability to juggle family and work. Winstead’s as drop-dead gorgeous as any major starlet, but she’s able to convey a certain degree of shyness, making it feasible that after splitting with her hubby that she’d be awkward trying to meet men. It’s really a nuanced performance and it seems obvious that sooner or later Winstead will be acknowledged as one of the great actresses of her generation.
The movie is currently at a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and if you want to read more reviews (so far) about the film, just click on the above link.
Be sure to pre-order the film over on iTunes if you haven’t done so already! It’ll be out this Friday!
Today was press day for the cast of Faults which means some new interviews and reviews have come online. While more while be released within the next few days, here’s some new ones to keep you interested. First is an interview with Mary with Metro U.S.:
Cults are a fascinating issue, because they involve sometimes perfectly rational people subsuming their personalities for a crazy idea.
I think that’s the real horror. It’s scarier than thinking someone breaking into your house and grabbing you or something. To me the psychological horror of thinking that as strong or smart as you think you are, you’ll always be vulnerable to that kind of manipulation. That anybody could be vulnerable to that is really horrifying to me. [Laughs]
Some couples, even very close ones, find it difficult to make films together. How was it for you two?
We were really lucky in that we dipped our toes into it before; we’d done some short films together. We’ve been together for a really long time, so we know each other really well. I don’t think there was any way we could really surprise each other, like me suddenly realizing, “I didn’t know you were a tyrant on the set!” But at first it was a little weird, because we didn’t have to say much to each other. I’m used to being given direction and really talking about what the director wants. But he knows me and I know him, so we didn’t have to say much. At first that made me nervous — like, “Are you sure I’m doing what you want? [Laughs] You’re not just trusting me too much because I’m your wife?” I just had to make sure he wasn’t letting me slack off.
You’ve done very big films — two “Die Hard”s, a “Final Destination” — but you’ve lately been doing smaller, independent films, where the roles seem more challenging. Was that a conscious move on your part or just how Hollywood rolls right now?
I’m just trying to find good roles. And lately for the most part those have been in the independent world. For me it’s hard to find good roles [in big budget Hollywood films]. I’m not a huge name, and not to say they don’t exist, but the good roles tend to go to the same handful of people, and they’re all amazing. But that does make it difficult for someone like me to get those great roles. For me, to find those great roles and do great work, I’m likely going to have to look in other places. Hopefully, eventually, one of those things will open up and I’ll be able to do that. But I’m not going to sit around and wait for it.
Also, both IndieWire and ion cinema have written their reviews which you can read in full by clicking on the appropriate links. Come back soon to check out more upcoming interviews with Mary discussing Faults and The Returned!
After Mary and Riley talked to The Bitter Script Reader in part one of yesterday’s interview and how Faults came to be, part two focuses on writing and performing characters with layers, and Mary’s thoughts on issues with the writing of many roles for women. Click the link to read the full interview. Highlights below:
BSR: Mary, how are you layering your performance? It would be easy to just play Claire’s deception as sincere up until the reveal, but in watching it, it feels like you were very aware of “real Claire” and “fake Claire” and letting us get a hint that she’s wearing a mask. How do you do that?
MEW: I wanted it to feel very sincere in the beginning. I kind of realized as I was doing it how much I was enjoying all of it. At first I was worried about it, like, “Should I be having this much fun doing these emotional scenes?” Then I realized that was a good thing because ultimately Claire is having fun with this whole situation. She’s just like getting a kick out of it. I was going with sincerity, but also enjoying it.
BSR: Do you often get offered roles like this, with this complexity?
MEW: No, I don’t think that kind of material comes around very often in general. Just look at the landscape of female roles out there. I just think it’s really hard to find material that’s exciting and roles that are gonna showcase everything that you can do. And I wasn’t even sure going into this if I’d be able to bring the complexity that would make this a great role for me. Not even until I saw the movie was I like, “Okay, I can take a deep breath.”
SR: Mary, I don’t feel like you’re typecast in the sort of roles you do, but do you feel like you’re typecast in the sorts of scripts you’re sent?
MEW: That’s interesting… I think it’s changing now. The past couple years it’s been different than it was before. It’s really interesting how one project can kind of shift the perception of how people see you, even in terms of looks and stuff. I used to get “the cute girl” and now I get “rough, haggard” because of Smashed.
RS: Or after The Thing where they thought of you as really tough.
MEW: You can always tell someone saw something else I did and thought “She’d be good for this.” I still get heroine roles or action roles, and then I get more indie, rough-and-tumble, kind of messy…
Thanks to a bunch of massively underrated, underexposed actors who are given the meaty screen time they deserve to shine, Stearns makes a flawless debut as writer-director, showcasing his ability to shock even where you may have guessed the twists. The Coen brothers-esq characterisation is so captivating that you almost feel you’re being indoctrinated into some sort of cult yourself. Thanks to fearless performances, the results are darkly humorous, disturbingly convincing, and above all, manipulative. When one character asks: ‘doesn’t it feel good just to listen instead of thinking?’, it is like being awoken from hypnosis, and you realise how easily Stearns has pulled us under.