Names and faces
■ Pratfalls, gags or dry wit, Nicole Kidman said she’d love to give them a shot. The Oscar winner said she never gets offered comedic roles and she’d like to change that. “They always say I’m not funny,” Kidman said Saturday at a panel for TV critics, where she talked about her upcoming role in the second installment of SundanceTV’s Top of the Lake. The 50-yearold actress said she’s at a point in her life where she’s eager to try anything and isn’t worried about failure. “I’m willing to fall on my face; I’m willing to get back up again. I want to keep trying,” she said. She added that she’s learning about comedy from her 9-yearold daughter, whom she’s “sure has Lucille Ball in her.” Speaking to a group of reporters after the panel, Kidman said she grew up watching comedy shows like I Love Lucy and that her father was a fan of the satirical Mad magazine. “The thing that makes me close to people is laughing with them. I love it,” she added.
■ Ben Barenholtz’s many credits — though he dismisses them with a wave — include kick-starting the careers of David Lynch, the Coen brothers and John Sayles. He was sometimes a producer, more often a distributor and exhibitor. He decided to buy Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977) after seeing only half of it and made it a cult hit. Before that, he invented the phenomenon of the midnight movie, with El Topo (1970) selling out New York City’s Elgin Theater for six months, followed by Pink Flamingos and The Harder They Come. He also played a zombie in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Now, at 81, Barenholtz has directed his first dramatic film. “I’ll never be [Stanley] Kubrick,” he said, smiling. “But I wasn’t afraid, either.” The film, Alina, starring Darya Ekamasova, is about a wide-eyed Russian in the wilds of immigrant Manhattan. It’s an old-fashioned film, said its writer-director, a physically imposing figure who has white hair and a bristly beard. “No superheroes; no special effects,” he said. “I loved directing. I didn’t know if I’d like it. The worst thing is the paperwork! I’m still working on the paperwork.” Although Alina played at New York’s Metrograph theater on Wednesday night, it otherwise remains a film without a home. Barenholtz paid for it himself. “At my age, how could I ask someone for money?” he said. “They’d laugh at me.”