Names and faces

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

■ 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.”


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