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Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn on Fitz’s Heartbreak, Shonda’s Speeches, and Directing Rowdy Gladiators

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 Vulture got ahold of Tony Goldwyn ahead of tonight’s season-three premiere (10 p.m. on ABC) to help sort through the many feelings about their breakup. And guess what? He found it just as mind-boggling.

Olivia calls the whole thing off at the end of last season because she wants to take care of her Gladiators. When you read that, did you think, “Seriously? That’s why? Why can’t she do both?”
Oh, totally. I couldn’t believe it. I was very upset. I was upset as Fitz, and for Fitz. But I trust Shonda. It’s rare that I call Shonda to say, “I’m not feeling this. I don’t get it.” Shonda knew what she was doing but it was very hard for me to swallow. Olivia rejects me yet again. And it was such a non-specific reason.

Yes.
Yeah, so I assumed it was her fear acting out again. The worst thing was when I go and lay my head on Mellie’s lap. I couldn’t get my brain around that. Of course, that all becomes clear in the season.

Is this the season when Fitz will make some big moves to be with Olivia? Letting the clock run out is one thing but … 
I’m sure he will, and I guarantee you everything will blow up in his face every time he tries to do it. Fitz has not given up. He won’t. He’d rather die than lose Olivia, I really believe that.

For a minute there, he did have the upper hand with Mellie. That never happens!
I know, and it was so quickly taken away. It was a fantastic speech in Cyrus’s hospital room, wasn’t it? It was basically his fantasy speech, finally being able to tell Mellie the way it was gonna be in his utopian, delusional mind. It sounded so good.

What is the secret to nailing a Shonda monologue like that one?
Shonda writes very much in the same way as Aaron Sorkin. She writes these big, theatrical speeches. The rhythms of them are really natural, kind of like music, so I don’t find them that hard to do. But I find that I really have to maintain my energy level. You have to eat healthily, work out, be ready. For me — and this is a dumb, technical, actor thing — I have to be using my breath properly. I’m sure people make fun of me, but I do heavy breathing before a scene. I’m always doing breathing exercises. People must think I’m such a freak. But it’s really required.

What’s a good breathing exercise?
Do you ever do yoga? I love yoga breathing exercises; they’re very helpful. Alternate Nostril Breathing or Fire Breath. I also read novels out loud so that my diction is crisp. When you talk really fast, you gotta speak clearly and not feel like you’re enunciating everything. That can feel phony … or actor-y.

In a preview for the season-three premiere, ABC released a new clip of you and Olivia in the White House bunker. The bunker!
[Laughs.] It was pretty cool. I get this profound distress signal from Olivia. At the end of season two, our secret is out, so the White House is under fire. Olivia can’t make a move, so she sends this signal that means go to the bunker. Mainly, it’s used during a nuclear war.

Right. Exactly.
It’s suggestive of how severe this crisis is, Denise.

Can we talk about Fitz and the VP? You and Kate Burton have played husband and wife before.
We’ve played husband and wife twice, actually. Once, in this Showtime movie called Love Matters, which was twenty years ago, and then we also did a play in New York five or six years ago by Theresa Rebeck.

Of Smash fame.
Yeah, it was called The Water’s Edge at Second Stage. She murdered me in that one [laughs]. After stripping me naked onstage, she murdered me. So we’ve always had a contentious relationship, me and Kate.

So you have fun then.
It’s the best. Kate and I have known each other for 30 years. We met at my very first job at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. We were both non-equity actors. She was at Yale Drama School and I was in college. We’ve got some beautifully written scenes coming up. It’s a different dynamic between Fitz and Sally in the beginning of the year.

You don’t get many – if any? – scenes with the Gladiators. But you did get to work with them in the episode you directed from last season, “A Woman Scorned.” What was that like?
That was one of the best things about getting to direct, and it’s one of the things that makes me sad about the show. They have so many incredible actors over there and they have so much fun. We only see each other at the table reads. Olivia Pope & Associates, it’s like being in high school. It’s not at all like the White House. I mean, we have a good time in the White House, we laugh our asses off, but the Gladiators are constantly screwing around, and the ringleader is Kerry Washington. They’re just laughing all the time — screaming, teasing each other, goofing around. You cannot get them quiet to start shooting at all. One of the producers told me, “You just have to yell ‘Action!’ Don’t get them to try and quiet down.” I really felt like a schoolteacher, and they really made fun of me, but I’d literally go, “Action! Okay, start acting! Aaaaaact!” The White House? It’s more grown-up, frankly.

You’ve said your favorite scene so far is inauguration night when Olivia and Fitz make love in the oval office. Kerry has said she hates doing the sex scenes. What was filming it like?
I try not to take it personally, but she can’t stand it. What I loved about that scene, I mean, the sex part of it, it’s just absurd what we do, but it was such a fabulously conceived scene. It was inauguration night, they’re sneaking in the office together, and we have this flirty thing happening, and then it ends outrageously. Sex on the Oval Office desk. I knew the audience would just go crazy when they saw it. It was fun to do. And it was weird and graphics in one sense, but it wasn’t graphic. What were we doing was like, Whoa, really? And I go down on her. But I didn’t feel exposed. It wasn’t like some of our other sex scenes, which are more about that.

What can you say about Divergent? I know Ashley Judd, who you directed in Someone Like You, is in it as well, playing your character’s wife.
You know, I met Ashley on the first movie she ever did. It was a comedy few people have seen called Kuffs, and I did it with Christian Slater. Ashley got her SAG card on it. She had, I think, one line, and I remember her because she was this gorgeous girl. I remember going, Who’s that? Then, of course, she became a movie star. Anyways, Divergent was a fantastic reunion with her. The movie is going to be really good, I think. They’ve got a great cast of kids, and it’s pretty intense. Shailene Woodley got pretty banged up.

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‘The Square’ Interview with Ruben Östlund, Claes Bang and Elisabeth Moss

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Director Ruben Östlund is an adventurer of Swedish film and a hard man to satiate. It is seen in his Oscar-nominated film – The Square that has received much attention. Here is an excerpt from the interview with The Playlist as actors Claes Bang and Elisabeth Moss share their experience with the movie and the director.

Claes Bang: Can I tell you a funny story from Cannes?

Elisabeth Moss: Yeah.

Claes Bang: When we were [at Cannes] there was this Screen International journalist, Wendy Mitchell, and she saw the film, she loved it, and she started [rooting] for me as best actor. She put on her Facebook page she put “The Daily Bang” and posted a new photo of me every day. Invented the hashtag #BangforBond.

Elisabeth Moss: So good!

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Claes Bang : At the end of the festival, all these predictions come out, right? My agents were fanning me. “It says in Variety now that you’re gonna win. It says in the Daily Telegraph you’re gonna win. It says in The Guardian.” It said everywhere and I started fucking believing the hype. I did. I started believing the hype, because everybody was saying, “It’s an amazing film. It’s so fucking good, but you’re not gonna win the big thing because it’s too funny.” So when we got that phone call on Sunday…

The Playlist: And they told Ruben to come, too, it wasn’t just…

Claes Bang: No, no. They invite the entire crew that is there. So they said to come and I was like, “Fuck, I’m gonna get [an] award.” So when they said, “And the award for Best Actor goes to,” I was almost fucking getting my ass out of the seat and then they said, “Joaquin Phoenix.” I was like, “Okay, I’ll stay put.” Then the next prize went, the next prize went, the next prize went and there was just one left. I leaned over to Rupert and I said, “Unless they’re really fucking with us, we’re gonna get the big one.” We got the big one and I was like, really, really so fucking happy about it, and he was, and everything was exploding, and then five minutes later I was like, “Wait a fucking second. What the fuck was that? He stole my award,that fucking Swedish wanker.” (Laughs.) So what happened is that all the people that get the awards, they go off to a press conference.

Elisbeth Moss: Yeah.

The Playlist: Yeah, I was at the press conferences.

Claes Bang: There’s an amazing party that starts out on the top of the Palais overlooking this harbor with all the boats and everything. Then you go down to the beach where there’s a department of a French restaurant that’s just the most amazing food, champagne, people in tuxes. I mean, amazing. I started to get a little bit pissed. I got quite drunk and then Ruben came back from the press conference and I saw him over there, and I was like, “I’m fucking gonna hurt him now. I’m fucking gonna go over there and kick his ass.”

The Playlist: Really?

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Claes Bang: I was so mad. I was really … and I have done really, really stupid stuff when I’m drunk. So, I said to my wife, “We need to leave now.” So we left.

Elisabeth Moss: That’s the danger of believing the hype! That’s why after eight nominations I will never convince me of anything else other than that I’m gonna lose.

Claes Bang: And Ruben texted me something at [1 AM asking] “Where the fuck are you? I mean, we won and everybody’s asking for you.” I mean, everybody there had seen that film and unless you know Ruben, you don’t know that he is the guy, but everybody knew that I was sort of the lead of the film. And I was just…

Elisabeth Moss: Gone.

Claes Bang: I was gone.

The Playlist: But when you woke up the next morning with the hangover were you at least excited?

Claes Bang: I had to get up like, fuck dead early the next morning. That was one of the things. I had a show in Edinburgh that next night.

The Playlist: But when you were going to the airport, on the plane, you must have been thinking “Holy cow!” because when you make a movie you don’t necessarily think it’s going to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Claes Bang: No, and my wife, she was so fucking mad with me. She said, “We’re leaving the party of our lives. There’s boom boom boom and they all want to talk to you, and now we’re leaving.” “Yes,” I said, “This is not where I’m gonna kill a director or try and break the Palme d’Or in half to say ‘This is mine’ or something.”

Elisabeth Moss: But how Ruben Ostlund would that have been if the lead actor and the director got into a fight?

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Claes Bang: Exactly.

The Playlist: Yes!

Claes Bang: When I told him this story, because I’ve told him and I’ve told the press and everything now, he was just like, “This is the best story of the whole shoot.”

Elisabeth Moss: Yeah, it’s the greatest!

The Playlist: He’s gonna put this in a movie now. You realize this, right?

Claes Bang: It’s cool. It’s fine. It’s no problem. Listen, what I actually find quite funny is that when you think about it, it’s like, “Oh my God, no. Did I do that?” But when I tell the story people are like, “Finally, someone is coming out and saying I was really, really disappointed not to win.”

Elisabeth Moss: Right. Totally, yes.

Claes Bang: It was literally something like five or six places where it said, “He’s gonna win it.” I fucking believed it.

Elisabeth Moss: Of course. It’s dangerous!

The Playlist: By the way, I’m one of those people that do the stuff that say “these people are going to win.”

Elisabeth Moss: Right, exactly!

The Playlist: So, I guess I apologize?

Elisabeth Moss: No, by all means. It’s your job, but it’s like…

Claes Bang: I have this thing also that was like, “Okay, they really invited a rookie to Cannes. Now we’re gonna fuck with him.”

The Playlist: It’s not personal!

Claes Bang: “We’re gonna build him up, we’re gonna make him believe, and then-”

Elisabeth Moss: “We’re gonna take it away. Just to teach him a lesson.”

The Playlist: Elisabeth, you weren’t at the ceremony. Were you there for the premiere and then you left?

Elisabeth Moss: I went to Antibes which is like 45 minutes, a half an hour away or something. Nobody asked me to go to the Palme d’Or Ceremony.

The Playlist: Oh, they didn’t call and tell you? I thought they gave everyone 24 hours notice.

Claes Bang: No. For instance, if you’re in Japan and you’ve gone back to Japan and you’re getting an award, they will let you know in time so you can get on a plane.

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CHRISTO TALKS: “IT’S NOT A PROFESSION, IT’S EXISTENCE”

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Christo, you and your wife Jeanne-Claude were born on the exact same day in 1935, but in completely different countries. Do you believe in destiny?

Jeanne-Claude always said, “There are a million people born on the same day.” But it happened that we met, that’s all. That is something not unusual. But there are many things that are not destiny. You make your own destiny.

You worked together for nearly 50 years. Would you have become the same artist without her?

It’s the same question to ask, “What would happen if I were Chinese?” (Laughs) We cannot discuss these things – if, if, if – there are no ifs. After living for 80 years, there are no ifs. I can only say one if and it was that I was rather lucky to escape in 1957 to the West. I had never been outside of Bulgaria until 1956 and if I didn’t go to the West, things would have probably been different.

The Soviets had a very strict policy against modern art so you might have not made art at all.

I was drawing all the time as a little boy, like 5 or 6 years old, and it was at this age that I decided to be an artist. There was never a thought about anything else. But it’s true, in the late ’40s and early ’50s most modern art was not permitted to be seen in the Soviet Bloc countries. There were some very bad reproductions and old books… I desperately tried to go beyond Bulgaria and the Soviet Bloc, but even going to other communist countries was very difficult. Fortunately my aunt and my uncle were living in Prague and finally I succeeded in finding a way to visit them. And I was totally flabbergasted by Prague!

Why?

It was the most Western country. Even before the chance to fully escape came into view, I had already decided that I was never going to go back to Bulgaria! I was going to stay in Prague. I was young, like 21 years old, and when you’re young and you discover the relatively small freedom of the Western art in Czechoslovakia and Prague in the late ’50s, suddenly you dream of going to Paris! And this is how the stage was set for me to go to Paris.

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THE ANA ROŠ TALK: “IT HAS TO DO WITH OUR OWN PERSONALITY”

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Ms. Roš, what are the main challenges in Slovenian cuisine today?

I think Slovenia is slowly, slowly stepping on the world gastronomic map. But my generation of chefs needs to fight for every single step, and every decision is opening a new door. If you work in Italy or Germany, and you cook well, sooner or later you will get the recognition that you need — there is the Michelin Guide, there is Gault Millau, there is the L’Espresso Guide. While in Slovenia, you can be really good, but up to the moment when the international community acknowledges you, you are actually no one.

You have been the head chef of Hiša Franko in Kobarid for almost 20 years — and it wasn’t until this year that you were recognized as the number one female chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants academy.

Right, it’s a very, very slow process. Everybody travels for food to Copenhagen, London, or Paris, but who knows where Kobarid is? So it has been a long, long struggle and fight. It doesn’t have only to do with the quality of the restaurant; you have to prove that you are worth certain awards three times more than in developed countries.

“Creativity is something that does not come only from our childhood — it has a lot to do with our own personality.”

I guess the former Yugoslavia doesn’t necessarily come to mind as a haven for creativity in fine dining. What was it like growing up there in the 1990s?

Well, my mother was actually a brilliant cook. She was a journalist and a very creative person, so our meals at home were very colorful and never repeated. But if I think of the food from my childhood, I think of a simple pasta dish with homemade tomato sauce. It really was a super flavorful meal, with a drop of olive oil on the top and with no cheese. That was the most loved meal when I was a child! That is what they call, “happy food.” You know, my children would kill for it.

My parents lived through the communist regime and told me they used to get so excited over simple things like bananas because they were so rare.

Yes but you know, Yugoslavia never had a very strict organization of the country — the borders were open and we could travel. Tito was a “bon vivant” and he was letting his people have a pretty free life. So Yugoslavia had a lot of good things as well. I think Yugoslavia was a place with a lot of creative people; culture was super strong, especially in Zagreb and Belgrade. But I think that creativity is something that either is in a person or is not. Let’s say I have two children and they are both raised in the same way. The girl is super creative and totally irrational, while the boy is totally rational and not creative at all. I think it is something that does not come only from our childhood or from our upbringing or from the regime in which we lived in — it has a lot to do with our own personality.

Do you feel more creative and irrational, or the other way around?

Oh, I’m too instinctive sometimes! You see, my problem — and sometimes it is also a good thing — is that I don’t question a lot. I actually just jump in the water and swim and I am a kind of personality that is never happy with average results. At Hiša Franko, I never questioned myself about how it is going to be like, especially because I never had any prior experience of seeing how a restaurant really works and I’m completely self-taught so it was like a total experiment and we are still making corrections.

Source: The Talk

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