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December 2008


DECEMBER 22, 2008

On December 25 - Christmas Day, one of the most anticipated films of the year will be released. Directed by David Fincher ('Zodiac') and loosely adapted from the 1922 short story of the same name written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' stars Brad Pitt as a a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards. The setting is in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century. It's a time traveler's tale of the people and places he bumps into along the way, the loves he loses and finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.
Playing his mother Queenie in the film is the talented Taraji P. Henson.

Also featured in the film are Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Julia Ormond.
In speaking exclusively with Blackfilm.com, Ms. Henson, who was seen earlier this year in 'The Family That Preys', talked about her role in the film, working with Pitt and Fincher, and her upcoming projects.

It’s over ten years since Leornardo DiCaprio met Kate Winslet on the set of that famous film they did called ‘Titanic’, and folks and fans alike have been wondering when would they work together again. Separately, the two of them have been nominated numerous times for different films and have gained more respect from the peers for the work they have chosen.

Along with former Titanic co-star Kathy Bates, and Oscar winning director and Winslet’s husband, Sam Mendes, Leo and Kate are back in the same film with ‘Revolutionary Road’.

Based on a novel by Richard Yates, a young couple living in a Connecticut suburb during the mid-1950s struggle to come to terms with their personal problems while trying to raise their two children.

At a press conference in New York, DiCaprio, Winslet, Bates, and Mendes shared some thought about working with each other.

What changes have you noticed about each other since making Titanic?

LD: This was such a departure from what we'd done before. This wasn't at all treading on similar territory, and we knew that as a complete set-up for disaster having done the film we did in the past, Titanic. We knew we needed to try something completely unique. The truth of the matter is Kate has always had a pursuit of excellence in all the characters she plays. She's had an unbelievable work ethic ever since I knew her in her early 20s. She cares about the movie being great and the actors; that's all still there but what has changed I would say since that movie is she's done quite a bit of work as have I and we don't approach the film making experience like we did in our early 20s. We don't look at the director and producers involved as parental figures which is what we did in our teenage years and when we made Titanic. I think we come into movies now as equal pieces to the puzzle and bring our own ideas for what we feel the movie should be. For lack of a better term we're more like adults, whatever that word means.

KW: He's nicer than he was if that's possible, he's funnier than he was if that's possible and he's a better actor than he was even if that's possible. I just love so much playing the difficult scenes with Leo knowing the trust we have as two people knowing each other so long that there were no boundaries. That was a real gift to have. I had to stop myself from crying because I was seeing someone for whom I have so much respect doing things as an actor that I have never seen him do before and morph his face into positions that I've never seen him do before as an actor and as a person.

How did the issue of abortion resonate with you personally?

KB: My mother was born in 1907 and my father was born in 1900 and I came along to them very late in life. I was an unplanned pregnancy. My mother was 41 when she had me and I think she came close to making the same decision that (Kate Winslet's character) April makes in the film (having an abortion) but then changed her mind. I've been haunted by that all my life and by another moment when she was 76 sitting on the sofa after an argument with my father saying when do I get my turn? This movie is about when do you get your turn to live your dream. When do you give up that sense of duty and that sense of obligation (as a mother) you've been trained for and get to be the lawyer you've always wanted to be? Instead my mother poured everything into me and I feel still that I wish she could be here to share in some of the experiences I'm having now because I feel in some strange way my coming along cheated her of the life that she could have had.

What type of entertainment do you enjoy in your free time?

SM: This is what we Tivo every week which is very important. America's Got Talent, Dancing With The Stars, Gavin & Stacey on
BBC America which is fantastic, Pokemon for my son, The Catherine Tate Show and Premiere League Review Show on Sky Sports News which has soccer. I do find it difficult watching a movie when I'm making one because I think I can't make one as good as that.

KW: I'm actually not a huge movie buff. I'm always excited at this time of year when all the screeners go out because I just have weeks and evenings in of watching inspiring work. In movies I look for the ones my friends have made, quite frankly.

LD: I love theater and paintings are great and all that but to me the artistic medium of our time is film. There's nothing out there where I can dispend disbelief for two hours and absorb myself in that world and get lost, that is a pretty powerful tool. There's not many paintings out there that make me stare at it for hours at a time. I watch a lot of Turner Classic Movies. I don't have the old school reel to reel projectors for private screenings but I do have a big screen TV and a DVD player.


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