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New Alex of Venice Interviews

UInterview talked with Mary, Katie Nehra and Derek Luke about Alex of Venice.

The actors each gave Uinterview some insight into their characters, and revealed what they believed was at the core of the film.

Winstead plays the lead, Alex, an environmental lawyer and mother of one, whose husband, played by Messina, leaves her at the beginning of the film. Winstead revealed that her character is forced to redefine herself as “a mother, and a lawyer, and a sister, and a daughter and a new woman.”

“It’s just sort of her, I guess, sort of dealing with all of these relationships, and some new relationships, and some old relationships, and trying to figure out her new life,” Winstead added.

Anthem Magazine also talked with Mary about Venice, Faults and how she sees her career going. Click the link to read the full interview. Be sure to head to the gallery to see a new photo shoot Mary shot for them as well:

How did you get involved with Alex of Venice?

It’s a script I got through my agent like anything else. It wasn’t an offer… I immediately loved it. It was one of those things where I cried like 5 times when I first read it. I just felt really connected to the role and thought it was so beautifully written. I just had to play this part. I just felt like it was very specifically right for me. I knew I was a little bit young, so I auditioned a couple times. I tried to prove to them that I could be a mom and age up a little bit. [Laughs] We haven’t been married this long, but I’ve been with my husband for 11 years, so just imagining him leaving me was so devastating to me. Instantly, I could go there in my head.

This is Faults, directed by your husband Riley Stearns. Did you develop the film together?

He created this himself. I was definitely involved from the beginning, starting from the first 10 pages, so I was excited immediately from the beginning. I was like, “This is the movie. This is the movie that you’re going to find your filmmaking voice with.” I was so excited for him. I never imagined that we’d make it so quickly, so we got lucky. His producers read it and they wanted to make 6 months later—it was insane. I couldn’t be prouder. It was so much fun to work with him and super rewarding.

What’s left to explore? You have such a colorful filmography.

I just want to play complex, relatable characters. I want to find really good material. When I look at female characters from the ’70s from Ellen Burstyn or something like that, that would be the perfect world I would want.

Variety also raved about Mary’s performance in Alex of Venice.

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New Interviews With Mary At the Tribeca Film Festival

The Arts Guild caught up with Mary, screenwriter/actress Katie Nehra and actor Derek Luke at the Tribeca Film Festival where they talked about their new film Alex of Venice. You can check out the video interview here. chatted with Mary’s co-star in the film, Derek Luke, and he talked about how he enjoyed working with Mary. Read in full at the link above:

How was working with Mary Elizabeth?

DL: Mary reminds me of a couple of women that I have either met or had the opportunity to date. What I love about Mary is that she is complex in a sense that she’s sophisticated but she’s an artist. She comes to set to work and I think that when you come to set to work, all gender goes away and the respect evolves. I have a true respect for her. My wife threw a party for me and part of the party was doing monologues. I didn’t want to do a monologue but my wife got up and did a monologue and she blew me away. It’s the same admiration I had for Mary. There are some incredible powerful actors that happen to be women.

Also, The Sag Harbor Online did a lengthy interview with Mary where she talks about AOV and touches a little upon 2011’s The Thing and her earlier work. Be sure to click the link to read it in full:

DP: In the press notes, Chris Messina says this is a slice-of-life drama.  That means characters don’t have to change.  But the movie is about change. Everyone changes for the better.

MEW: It’s one of the major themes of the movie.

DP: About a third of the way through the movie I was liking your performance, but I was asking myself, “Do I like her character?” When you read the script for the first time, did you like Alex?

MEW: I really liked her in the script and as I played her, But there were a few moments when I was thinking, “I hope people stick with her through some of this stuff, because she’s really high-strung and nervous for a good majority of the movie.” She’s not connected, not really present, and making bad choices as well.

DP: Actors are usually protective of their characters, so were you seeing good stuff in her?

MEW: Absolutely. She’s so relatable, in terms of people that I know and love. I have a really big family, so there’s all sorts of types of people in my family. So there are Alexes in my family. Especially when you’re a mother and you’re very busy and  just trying to keep your life together, you don’t want to look at or think about or address things that aren’t going well.  Because there’s too much going on. I think that’s easy to relate to, particularly for women today who are trying to balance so many things in their lives. Alex, in some cases, would rather things just go on in their own broken ways because it’s easier than addressing the real problems.

DP: I saw most of your early movies without realizing they all starred the same actress, you. It wasn’t until The Thing that I knew who you were.  Was that a pivotal movie for you, in terms of audience?

MEW: I’ll always really love that role.  It was not a movie that did well necessarily, but I was attracted to the idea of playing a smart action heroine at the time. I still am.  I loved the character, and the project, and the director [Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.] and it’s still something that I look back on fondly.

The final screening of Alex of Venice at the Tribeca Film Festival this Saturday at 6:30 at the SVA theater on 23rd Street between 8th & 9th Avenues.


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New Review and Interview for Alex of Venice, Kill the Messenger

The Arts Guild has posted their review on Alex of Venice. As always, you can read the full review by clicking on the link:

While the direction had a level of refinement, this film offers interesting, sophisticated performances. Mary Elizabeth Winstead successfully captures the broken Alex that we expect to see, slowly piecing together both her character and her life as the film progresses. Winstead ensures there is a balance of emotion, while not hiding her characters fragmented state.

Messina has created a film that does successfully look at a characters growth out of chaos, creating a story that isn’t exaggerated and characters that aren’t just found in fiction. Everyone experiences life’s brutal complexities and this film highlights that in a sincere and artistic fashion.

Crave Online caught up with Mary as well where they talked about Alex of Venice, Kill the Messenger, Faults and her possibly coming back for Die Hard 6:


I also felt for Alex with her sister when she’s all, “Man, why do you have to take your kid to school everyday?” As if you’re the bad guy for wanting to fulfill your responsibility. Did you relate to her in that scene?

Yeah, and I know a lot of mothers in my life and mothers who have a lot on their plate and they’re really just trying to hold it together. So I could see a lot of those women that I know in Alex, and how you do snap on your family. There were times where we discussed that scene before doing it. We don’t want her to be too mean. We don’t want her to yell at her sister and people won’t like her.

I was like, “That’s so real. People in families yell at each other. They freak out on each other.” To me that scene felt very real, in that moment when you’re so stressed, you have so much on your plate and you’re just trying to get your family to help you out and they’re screwing it up. So I felt like she was very validated in screaming at her sister at that moment, even though in the long run she was maybe being taught a lesson that she needed to learn. Man, that was frustrating. I felt the frustration for sure in that scene.

The latest Die Hard 6 talk is that they might be trying to get Samuel L. Jackson back. Has there been any mention of Lucy yet?

Not to me, no. I haven’t heard anything about it but that would be cool. Samuel L. Jackson coming back would be awesome. I’d like to see that.
Maybe you can have a sizable role, something in between 4 and the cameo in 5.

Right, exactly. If it keeps getting smaller it’s just going to disappear. I’ll be on the phone in the next one maybe.
And what do you get to play in Kill the Messenger?

I get to play the editor to Jeremy Renner’s character. We sort of together come up with this story and decide to print it. It’s a true story and it’s quite a crazy, crazy one. Basically Jeremy Renner plays this journalist Gary Webb who sort of discovers this link between the government and the crack epidemic in Los Angeles and did this big expose on it, but it was for the San Jose Mercury News which was a small paper.

They realized quickly that they were in way over their head because it was a story that was way beyond them, so eventually everyone was kind of forced to recant the story or to say they got things wrong, even though the story was true and Gary Webb ultimately, well, bad things happened. I don’t want to give too much away for people who don’t know the story but it’s an incredible story and Jeremy Renner’s amazing in it. I’m really excited to be a part of it.
Is the role of the editor a big part?

It’s definitely Jeremy Renner’s movie. He’s the star and there’s a big supporting cast, so it’s a supporting role but it’s a great one. She’s his boss and he really had a young female editor boss that he had to run everything by. She did end up making some minor mistakes which is part of their downfall in the end. It’s kind of a sad story about the two of them having this huge story that could potentially make their careers and it ends up crushing them in a lot of ways.


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More Mary Interviews for Alex of Venice

Two new interviews with Mary discussing Alex of Venice have been released. The first one is with Zoomin.TV Movies. It’s a little NSFW in the language department but other than that, it’s a short interview.

Den of Geek also spoke with Mary, Katie Nehra and Derek Luke about the film. Below are some highlights, you can read it in full by clicking on the link above:

How was Chris [Messina] as a director for all of you guys?

MEW: He’s wonderful. Like Derek was saying, just getting to work with an actor-director was so great. I’ve worked with a lot of directors who have great communication, but there are those times where the communication is really not there, because they don’t know how actors approach what they do, and they don’t know how to get you to do what they want by using the right language; they don’t know how to use it. He knows exactly how to express that, because he’s an actor. So, it cuts out any sort of communication issues. And he knows what actors like to do, which is to get to play and go every direction possible. He’s like now do it this way, now do it this way, now do it this way.

Mary, Chris said at the premiere that you did the ecstasy scene so much that you threw up. Could you talk about the process of that scene?

MEW: Well—it was a mix of things that happened. The first thing that happened was that was the day they had an ice cream truck on set. Ice cream sandwiches literally this big [gestures large sandwich]. And I had two of them. I don’t know why, but that night I decided to have two giant ice cream sandwiches. And then—

KN: I had tequila on set.

MEW: Katie was drinking tequila.

KN: I was making mixed drinks.

MEW: I literally had only two sips of the tequila, but it was just enough, I think, with the ice cream. And then I didn’t really realize, the way that Chris shoots, that it was going to be crazy. I mean it looks so mellow with the music and the slow-mo, but we were jumping to really fast-paced music, and Chris kept going, “Jump! Keep jumping! Keep jumping everybody!” It was just half an hour of jumping.

You have a great a quality of mixing comedic elements with dramatic moments. I saw it in Smashed and I see it in this film. Is that hard to balance or does it come out naturally?

MEW: Thank you so much. Well, I think that’s the kind of thing I’ve grown into as I’ve gotten older and further into my career: bringing myself as much as I can, and knowing that that’s a good thing. I think when I was younger, I thought that wasn’t really acting. “No, I have to create like this mysterious person who is totally different from me! That’s the only way I’ll be a real actor!” As I’ve gotten older, I realized that it’s the opposite. That’s what people want to see. They want to see you. They want to see your personality, and your heart, and your soul, and that’s what actually makes me people relate to you. So, I finally kind of realized that and I just try to bring myself to it.

I’m just thankful people like Chris—when I watch it, I’m like “I do so many weird things!” But thankfully, someone appreciates it. There are so many faces I make where I’m like “I have no idea why I’m doing that.”


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The Playlist Review and Interview for Alex of Venice

As the title reads, The Playlist recently caught up with Mary during her time in New York for the Tribeca Film Festival and interviewed her about Alex of Venice. She also talked briefly about Kill the Messenger and the TV pilot she filmed for ABC called Exposed.

The site also gave their review on the film:

Well-intentioned and intimate, “Alex Of Venice” has its heart in the right place; its pains and struggles might be small stakes and personal, but they’re very genuine, relatable and universal. There’s a lot to admire, which is why the movie’s uneven grasp of narrative fundamentals is so frustrating. Led by a terrifically vulnerable performance by an unadorned Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the cast, which includes Derek Luke, Katie Nehra and Reg E. Cathey (Freddy From “House Of Cards”) is uniformly quite good. Don Johnson is particularly great, playing all restrained and in the pocket as Alex’s father who might be suffering from something more than just acute absent-mindedness (this would be his second great performance of 2014 after playing a impulsive lawman in “Cold In July” which screened earlier this year at Sundance).

Final Grade: B-

You can read the full review by clicking on the link above.

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More Alex of Venice Premiere Photos, Poster & Tribeca Q&A

I’ve added lots of new photos (over 100) of Mary at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of her new film Alex of Venice. Head to the gallery to check them out.

Also, I’ve added the first poster to the gallery as well.

Additionally, the Tribeca Film Festival Q&A with the cast of Alex of Venice is now online:

Filed in Alex of Venice Film Reviews Got A Girl Music/News

Mary’s Album Confirmed for Summer Release; More Venice Reviews

Earlier this month it was announced that Mary’s album would be released in June. I had asked Mary on Twitter, who said that for now, that’s the plan, but The further confirmed the news.

Two years after first revealing that she was working on music with Deltron 3030’s Dan the Automator, Mary Elizabeth Winstead says that the full length debut album of their band Got a Girl has finally been printed.

“I feel like I’ve been crying wolf for so long, saying ‘It’s coming up, it’s coming up!’” the actress told TheWrap this weekend in New York, where she’s debuting her new film “Alex of Venice” at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Dan has so many other projects so it kind of got lost in the shuffle for a while, he’s on tour right now with Deltron. But we finally have product, we did manufacture vinyl. Now it’s official that we have stuff. It’s supposed to come out in June.”

After a pause, Winstead added with a laugh, “I don’t know if it’ll stick to June, but at least it’ll be out.”

You can read the rest of the interview by clicking the link. Also, Den of Geek gave their review on Alex of Venice. Below are highlights:

First time actors-turned-helmers carry the added burden of transcending their (hopefully) respected craft for another, usually in the face of daunting skepticism. Nevertheless, veteran character actor Chris Messina vaulted easily past both hurdles for something more than a great debut with Alex of Venice; he made a great movie, period.

One of the best films to bow at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Alex of Venice would initially suggest casual familiarity with its focus on a family in upheaval and transition. But just as the title reflects a place that is less old world canals and gondolas, and more new age boardwalks and Ferris wheels, the movie finds a uniquely quizzical perspective on these timeless themes, overcoming within minutes genre conventions in favor of something startling authentic and infinitely endearing.

Alex of Venice enjoys a performer’s showcase of work from the ensemble, including a mesmerizing Winstead, who explores a new maternal side of her onscreen persona. It is a fascinatingly conflicted female character who’s allowed depths and nuances rarely glimpsed in stories told on the big screen anymore, and Winstead savors every moment with some of her best work to date.

 4/5 stars

Twitch Film also reviewed the film and praised Mary’s performance:

You could not have cast a better lead than Winstead in the role of Alex. She has matured from her early roles in horror films, to more impressive fare such as Smashed. She has grace, courage, knows how to move the audience and the camera loves her. While her resume up ’til now is a mix of blockbusters (Final Destination 3, Live Free or Die Hard) and indie favorites (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), this will change as she continues to grow into her profoundly blossoming career. This is an actress ready to do great things. As Alex, she always wears a look of determination, even when she’s exhausted and losing the new battles thrown at her: learning how to be alone, taking care of her family and keeping the job she’s worked her entire life for. Alex is a tender soul but does her damndest to keep it together. It’s an admirable trait not many can do, let alone be challenged with.

Alex of Venice is a sweet reminder that it’s OK to start over. Sometimes life needs to be shaken up a little bit. Alex of Venice is the first in a long time that feels so natural. Alex doesn’t completely fall to pieces – she does have a little fun but in the end, life goes on, she learns it’s OK to hurt and things will get better. All in all, Alex in Venice is one of the finest movies about starting over I’ve ever seen

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Film School Rejects Reviews Alex of Venice

Film School Rejects viewed Mary’s new film Alex of Venice at the Tribeca Film Festival and gave their review. You can read highlights of it below and click the link to read it in full:

Mary Elizabeth Winstead has the “one to watch” thing down pat. The former teen actress has now blossomed into one of independent film’s most reliable and relatable leading ladies and her steady rise up the cinematic ranks – from the drunken darkness of Smashed to the dark humor of Faults, with a little The Thing and A Good Day to Die Hard thrown in for a touch of blockbuster fun– has long been someone worth watching, and now. For his directorial debut, actor Chris Messina has quite wisely built a story around Winstead’s charms, setting her up as the eponymous Alex for his Alex of Venice, an amiable outing that serves as yet another reminder that Winstead is more than enough of a draw on her own.

The duo star in the domestic drama as a long-time couple fractured and felled by apparently normal grievances. Alex (Winstead) is a hardcore workaholic, and her career as an environmentally minded attorney both fills the time and doesn’t quite pay the bills. George (Messina) is stuck with home-bound duties, from getting their son Dakota (Skylar Gaertner) off to school, maintaining the house, and even caring for Alex’s dad (Don Johnson, potentially playing himself). Alex may be exacting when it comes to her job, but George appears to be the truly pragmatic one – or, at least, that seems to be the role he’s been shoved into by Alex and the demands of their home life – and when he starts exploding around Alex, their son, and his father-in-law, there’s little question that something is going to fall apart soon.

Winstead can telegraph more with a head tilt or a flicker of her eyes than most of her generation can do with a wild hand toss and a mess of expositional dialogue. She’s consistently and completely engaging as Alex, and the film suffers when we’re not around her and stuck elsewhere. Messina surely knows what he has on his hands here – after all, the best choice he possibly could have made for his first feature was to cast such a capable leading lady – but both he and the film should have held more fast to its own shooting star.

The Upside: Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance is the highlight of the film, but both Don Johnson and Katie Nehra also turn in lovely work; the film’s tone is consistent and bright; addresses big issues with an honest spirit.

Final Grade: B-

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Alex of Venice Premiere Photos, HuffPo Interview, First Review

Yesterday was the world premiere for Mary’s new film Alex of Venice which was held at the Tribeca International Film Festival. Head to the gallery to check out over 60+ photos.

Alex of Venice

Also, if you missed Mary’s interview with Huffington Post, you can view it below:

Finally, The Wrap caught the premiere of Alex of Venice and had lots of praise for Mary’s work in the film. Click on the link to read it in full.

But this is Winstead’s movie – and while her performance is understated, it reinforces what “Smashed” suggested two years ago: She is a terrific, underappreciated actress adept at bringing life, heart and humor to stories of women trying to cope in difficult circumstances sometimes of their own making, sometimes not.

Messina claims he can’t take credit for Winstead’s performance – “that’s what she did, and we were smart enough to roll the cameras and capture it” – but he also said that he was determined to create the kind of acting enviroment that he finds most satisfying – one that’s not exactly what he’s asked to do on Mindy Kaling’s sitcom “The Mindy Project” and Aaron Sorkin’s drama “The Newsroom.”

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New Tribeca Film Festival Portraits

Mary is officially in New York and is underway promoting her new dramatic film Alex of Venice. Her first stop was taking part in the Tribeca International Film Festival portraits which you can now view in the gallery!


Be sure to come back later today to check out her HuffPo Live interview where she’ll talk about the film!