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The_Hollywood_Reporter__February_07_2018

BERLIN PRE VIEW hen it

BERLIN PRE VIEW hen it comes to making a European debut, director Gus Van Sant has experienced the highs, taking home the Palme d’Or at Cannes for the Columbineesque school massacre drama Elephant in 2003. And then there were the lows, like 2015’s Sea of Trees unveiling at Cannes, where it was savaged by critics. Based on the Sundance reaction to his latest, the Joaquin Phoenix starrer Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, the 65-year-old filmmaker should receive a warm reception when the movie screens in competition at the Berlin Film Festival. The Amazon Studios title, which centers on a paraplegic cartoonist struggling with sobriety, is based on John Callahan’s memoir. The two-time Oscar nominee spoke to THR from his home in Palm Springs about his film and his relationship with the Phoenix family, which began when he directed the late River Phoenix in 1991’s My Own Private Idaho. W You directed Joaquin early in his career in To Die For and now in Don’t Worry. How would you describe his evolution as an actor? It’s very similar, but he’s 20-something years older, so he had has so much more experience in creating a role, all the experiences from the past. But otherwise, he seemed to do it in a similar way. He just gets very involved in the role — to the point where he’s kind of living the role — and then he shoots it. “It’s hard to read bad reviews, but it’s also hard to read really good reviews,” says Van Sant, photographed Jan. 19 at Sky Strada in Park City, Utah. ‘IT’S A REALLY POLARIZING MOMENT’ Gus Van Sant on his Berlin entry Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, the #MeToo movement and why working with Weinstein was ‘great’ BY TATIANA SIEGEL What was the Phoenix family’s reaction to your documentary My Own Private River [which recontextualized footage from My Own Private Idaho]? Well, it was James Franco’s creation. I gave him permission. They were very upset by it. It was something that I probably should never have done because I love the family so much. I wasn’t intending on a bad reaction, and I just handled it incorrectly. You co-directed that film with Franco. Do you think he’s being unfairly treated as he has been swept up in the #MeToo movement? I didn’t really co-direct. I allowed him to use the footage. I think that he gave me that codirector distinction. ... I don’t necessarily have a way to differentiate James’ situation with anyone else’s. There’s been accusations, and I don’t know. I’m not close enough to him. In general, what do you think of the avalanche of accusations hitting Hollywood? It’s a really polarizing moment in especially Hollywood but [also] in many different communities. And the relationship between men and women and power and influence extends to so many things. It’s a very interesting moment, and it can be very difficult as well. A 9/11 Drama and 3 More Fest Standouts ISLE OF DOGS ► Eight years after bringing his idiosyncratic wit to stop-motion animation with Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson returns to the form with this original story set in a dystopian future Japan, where a boy must venture into a canine quarantine area to rescue his beloved pet. THE LOOMING TOWER Dan Futterman and Alex Gibney are among the creators of this Hulu limited series based on Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the escalating threat of Osama bin Laden during the late 1990s and the events that led to 9/11. MUSEO Mexican director Alonso Ruizpalacios follows his distinctive look at restless youth, Gueros, with this true-crime thriller based on the 1985 robbery of 140 priceless Photographed by Austin Hargrave THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 62 FEBRUARY 7, 2018

The Best Veggie Bowls in Berlin The city of curry wurst has discovered its inner lust for quinoa and beetroot Vollbluth Vollbluth, which just opened in September, takes the veggie bowl to the next level with its seasonally adjusted selection of salads topped off with millet, black lentils or hulled wheat. Non-vegans can add a portion of pork belly, duck sausage or salmon marinated in maple syrup. Welserstrasse 10-12 Daluma Just a short cab ride from the festival center, this is the spot to get your superfood fix in Berlin. Try the legendary acai bowl or a breakfast chia pudding. Top it all off with a guilt-free cold-pressed smoothie. Weinbergsweg 3 To keep things from getting stale, My Goodness rotates its menu daily. My Goodness Also a short trip from Potsdamer Platz, this brandnew power-food spot with an adjunct yoga and spinning studio (Becycle) in the same building lets you pack in a workout and a detox meal in one go. Everything — from the breakfast sweet bowls to the lunch salads of kale, quinoa and artichoke — is fresh, surprising and delicious. Brunnenstrasse 24 — S.R. Phoenix (left) plays cartoonist John Callahan, who became a paraplegic at age 21 following a car accident. KOSSLICK: PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN/GETTY IMAGES. WORRY, ISLE: COURTESY OF BERLINALE. GOODNESS: COURTESY OF SUBJECT (2). You worked with Harvey Weinstein on 1997’s Good Will Hunting. How was your experience? It was great. He was always very hands-off. The amount of interaction was quite small. He came to the set one day, then I saw him at the screening, and then I saw him at the premiere. You’ve tackled several films featuring real people, from John Callahan to Harvey Milk, and some loosely based on real people. What’s the biggest challenge in portraying real people? Harvey Milk was a well-known person, but he’s not as well known as some [film subjects], so we had a certain amount of leeway. The same with John Callahan. I still haven’t done, say, Churchill. To me, they’re the same dramatically. They’re all directly connected to the reality, whether or not we’re using real names. You played Dr. Campbell in The Canyons, among other roles. Why do you take on these parts? The Entourage one was [supposedly me], but I don’t think they knew me very well, so they just invented a character that was more like James Cameron. I’ve accepted roles generally to see if I could actually pull it off. They’ve always been very instructional as to how actors feel on my own set. If your costume isn’t ready, it interrupts the whole flow. So I do acting as an experiment. pre-Hispanic artifacts from the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Gael Garcia Bernal stars. UNSANE After breaking his hiatus from features with 2017’s heist comedy Logan Lucky, Steven Soderbergh takes a more experimental turn with this claustrophobic psycho-thriller shot entirely on an iPhone. Claire Foy loses her crown as a woman convinced she’s being pursued by a stalker, even after she’s involuntarily committed to a mental institution. — DAVID ROONEY The Knives Come Out for a Festival Director WITH DIETER KOSSLICK’S CONTRACT RUNNING OUT AFTER 17 YEARS, INSIDERS ARE DEBATING HIS LEGACY AND SCRAMBLING TO FIND A SUCCESSOR Dieter Kosslick, with his black fedora and bright red scarf, has been the enduring symbol of the Berlin International Film Festival for the 17 years he has served as festival director. But with his contract up in May 2019, he only has two festivals left — including the one that kicks off Feb. 15. And already a battle has erupted over his legacy and what comes next. In late November, 79 directors — including art house stars Fatih Akin (In the Fade), Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann) and Oscar winner Volker Schlondorff (The Tin Drum) signed an open letter calling for a post- Kosslick transformation. When he steps down, the directors wrote, the Berlinale should “refresh and renew” the festival and think about its “fundamental direction.” Innocuous enough. But the letter, published by Spiegel magazine, has set off a wave of Dieter bashing. In November, 79 directors signed a letter calling for the Berlinale to change its focus. “The Berlinale has gotten bigger and bigger [under Kosslick], but its profile continues to diminish,” says German director Christoph Hochhausler, a signatory to the letter and, Kosslick has suggested, a driving force behind it. Kosslick dismisses his critics as “the same small group of people with the same old complaints: No American films or no European films, too big or too whatever.” But he admits that his Berlinale is less studioheavy. This year features a solitary studio title: Wes Anderson’s fest opener, Isle of Dogs, from Fox Searchlight. In his defense, Kosslick cites a poll of more than 1,000 festivalgoers by German survey group the Forsa Institute, which found nearly all were “satisfied” with the Berlinale and more than half “very satisfied” or “overwhelmingly satisfied.” “They want more films, not fewer,” says Kosslick. “They live in an entirely different world than some critics live in. … If people want a different type of festival, a smaller festival with 12 films to watch over a week, they can go somewhere else. The Berlinale isn’t a small, sweet little festival for five people.” Indeed, under Kosslick, Berlin’s oncetiny European Film Market has become the second largest film market in the world, after Cannes. The critics may complain, but the market remains robust, with no signs of companies pulling up stakes. — S.R. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 63 FEBRUARY 7, 2018