Category: True Story

‘True Story’ is a masterpiece on truth and betrayal (review)

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“True Story,” is a film about two men: Michael Finkel and Christian Longo. It is based on the memoir of the same name. Finkel was an elite journalist working for the New York Times and traveled the world reporting for the paper. He was so used to having his work featured, that he was a bit too cocky and along with it too loose with the truth. He gets caught lying in an article he wrote about a boy working at a cocoa plantation. He used five boys to create a composite character – it may of been a good story. But it was also a lie. It was a lie that got Michael Finkel fired and ruined his reputation.

In the midst of trying to find new work in his home in Montana, Michael is tipped off by another journalist that a child killer was caught using Michael’s name as his own – this man was Christian Longo. Michael was curious to why Longo would use his name and he wrote to the killer while he awaited trial in Oregon.

The letter leads to in-person interview with Longo and during the interview Longo offers Finkel an exclusive. After trading letters back and forth, Finkel realizes that he has the makings of a good book on his hands. He is given a large advance to continue the book and as Michael’s hubris grows, his ability to see the truth clearly diminishes.

There is one person who immediately sees Longo for what he is and that is Michael’s wife Jill (Felicity Jones). She sees her husband being duped by this psychopathic murderer and it concerns her.

In the end, Longo is convicted of aggravated murder of his wife Mary Jane, his daughters Sadie and Madison and his son Zachary and he is sentenced to death. And once the trial is over, Michael finally starts to see the real truth about Christian Longo.

“True Story,” is a compelling portrait of truth and how it is used and twisted to one’s advantage. Michael lies to get a good story and Longo lies, saying he is an innocent man. The film is also an excellent example of how a narcissistic psychopath uses other people to their own benefit.

“True Story,” is the film debut of filmmaker by Robert Goold. He co-wrote the film along with directing it. Serving as one of the executive producers of the film is Academy Award winner Brad Pitt. This is an excellent debut for Goold.

Both Jonah Hill and James Franco are masterful in their interpretation of their characters. This is another fine performance for both. Hill and Franco play off each other so well and they were perfectly matched to play Finkel and Longo. Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) also give a great supporting performance here as well.

Ultimately, this film will stay with you for a while. It will have you questioning your own truth and how you may manipulate it to suit your own life.

“True Story” is rated R for language and some disturbing material and has a run-time of 99 minutes.

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[Gallery Update] Every Thing Will Be Fine & True Story screencaps add

Yesterday I add two movie still from Every Thing Will Be Fine as well has add True Story screencaps to the gallery.

INTERVIEW with James Franco, who plays Christian Longo in True Story

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James Franco admits he had “mixed feelings” about accepting the role of Christian Longo, a man who was put on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives list after murdering his wife and three children and fleeing to Mexico.

There, Longo assumed the identity of the disgraced New York Times journalist Michael Finkel, and when he was eventually arrested and extradited to the US, he asked to meet the writer.

True Story, a film co-produced by Brad Pitt, is based on Finkel’s bestselling memoir of that meeting.

“By the time Longo and Finkel [who’d fabricated interviewees in a piece about the African slave trade] met, they’d both hit bottoms of their own, and the private space that created was, for a while, a positive thing for both of them,” says Franco.

“They could confide in each other in ways they couldn’t confide in anyone, and I think they helped each other through that time. It’s just that Christian Longo has a way of creating his own mythology about himself, and he used Finkel to help him rewrite his own story.”

Despite his reservations about the character, Franco was keen to work with the British theatre director Rupert Goold, who was taking the helm on the movie.

“I saw his stage production of Macbeth in London and I’m a big fan,” says the 37-year-old actor, whose big break was in 1999, playing Daniel Desario in the cult TV series Freaks And Geeks.

It’s not the first time Franco’s played a character who’s based on a real person, but his approach has always been dependent on the movie and the person in question.

“People know what James Dean sounded like, and what he looked like and how he moved, those are all keys to his character, and capturing his outward behaviour was vital,” says the actor, who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the late Hollywood icon in a 2001 biopic.

It was the same story when it came to playing poet Allen Ginsberg in 2010’s Howl ( “His look and sound is very specific”), but with 127 Hours, the 2010 film which told the story trapped canyoneer Aron Ralston, who ended up cutting off his own arm after becoming trapped by a rock, director Danny Boyle didn’t want Ralston on set every day.

“That performance wasn’t about capturing the nuances of Aron’s physical behaviour. It was about capturing the experience he went through, in as honest a way as possible,” says Franco, who received an Academy Award nomination for the role.

“Here, again, I feel that Rupert’s approach is not to capture Longo’s behaviour to a tee, as much as to try and capture the weird psychology of the kind of person that could do something like this, and then behave the way he has since then,” he adds.

Franco has never had any interest in meeting Longo.

“This is the one case where I don’t want to meet the guy. I feel like just doing this movie is almost too much,” notes the actor, who was born in Palo Alto, California, and also has a string of producer, writer and director credits to his name.

“He killed his family, and now a movie’s being made about him that stars Jonah Hill [as Finkel] and myself. If I was making a Werner Herzog documentary about death row, yeah, I’d go and meet him. But because I’m playing him, I just want to separate myself.”

While he’s managed to find the humanity in dubious characters in the past, “with Christian, I don’t find any need to humanise him. He’s worst human being I’ve ever played. I hate this guy”, Franco admits.

Instead, he decided to “play him as he saw himself”.

“Playing it that way, combined with the knowledge of what he did, will make him a very terrifying person.

“Longo’s all surface and appears to be a regular guy, charming and nice, so I feel like I can play those sides of him. Plus, there was some disconnection between what he did and how he saw himself, so I think in this case, it’s OK that I don’t feel as attached to this world as my other roles, because I feel he wasn’t attached to himself.”

The upshot was that Franco never took the role home.

“That’s the weird thing about this,” he says, recalling filming Longo’s testimony scene during the murder trial. “I think it was five pages of dialogue, and when I got home that night, I felt that if somebody had asked me if I did a big speech that day, I wouldn’t have remembered it.

“Normally with a role, you want to connect the character to your own emotions, but this guy doesn’t have any emotions, so I just kind of walked through it.”

Now the film’s being released, the hardest aspect for Franco to accept is that the narcissistic Longo, who was sentenced to death in 2003, is achieving something akin to celebrity status.

“We’re certainly not celebrating him or giving the other side to his story or anything like that, but even though we make him the villain of the piece, he’s almost getting what he always wanted,” he notes.

“It’s that weird, insidious thing that happens when somebody does a horrible act and yes, they are punished by the law, but in the media they’re given attention. They’re made into celebrities.

“I don’t want to give him any kind of positive reinforcement whatsoever,” says Franco. “He’s done nothing but murder his family. He’s a sociopath. I just hope he finds peace in his soul.”

True Story is released in cinemas on Friday, July 17

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New clip from True Story featuring James Franco and Felicity Jones

Watch a clip from True Story starring James Franco and Jonah Hill

Ahead of its UK release next week, a new clip has arrived online from the drama True Story, starring James Franco and Jonah Hill.

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James Franco And Jonah Hill Reveal Their Views On Finkel’s Experiences In ‘True Story’

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In what could be one of the most chilling and uncomfortable true story thrillers in recent years, James Franco and Jonah Hill star in just that: ‘True Story’. And the experience has helped them relate to journalist Michael Finkel on which the film is based.
When Finkel was fired from the New York Times for fabricating a news story, he found himself without any job prospects. However, as luck would have it (good or bad, depending on how you look at it), he soon became embroiled in a high profile murder case when Christian Longo used Finkel’s name on being arrested for killing his family. This was finally a job that Finkel could take on, but little did he know how complex and unnerving his relationship with Longo would become.

‘They’re both going through massive changes and, for both people, pretty negative changes at the same exact time, when this lie brings them together’, Hill – who plays Finkel – explains. While the idea of culling one’s own family might be lost on both Hill and Franco, the pair did admit to being able to relate to Finkel on some level.

‘The subject matter is really heavy and, a lot of the movie, Mike’s by himself taking all of this in’, Hill admits. ‘I found it hard to shake that off at the end of the day. Not in a pretentious way, just thinking about these murders and what happened. It was hard to just go home and go to dinner with friends and just laugh like I usually would.’

Meanwhile, Franco explains his understanding of Finkel’s initial mistakes. ‘The real Finkel made up a source and that’s why he got in trouble’, he says. ‘But anything, any news story, any non-fiction story is something that’s shaped, it’s something that’s edited, it’s something that’s, on a certain level, created and put together for a specific purpose, mainly to – yes, to deliver news – but also to get people to watch that. We’re all storytellers; whether we’re telling the truth, or our version of the truth, or just plain lying – they’re all stories.’

Hill and Franco previously appeared in ‘This Is The End’ together as fictional versions of themselves, and are currently filming an animated comedy called ‘Sausage Party’.

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James Franco and Jonah Hill Get Serious in Dark Drama, ‘True Story’

We know James Franco and Jonah Hill as the goofy, unstoppable pair in This is the End – but now, things are taking a turn for the serious in their new dark and gritty drama, True Story.

Hill stars as Michael Finkel, a disgraced journalist who meets Christian Longo (Franco), an accused killer who has assumed Finkel’s identity.

“I think people naturally want Jonah and I to get along when they see us in a scene together,” Franco told ET. “They become interested in the relationship — just because who we are and our history and from other kinds of movies.”

“I have such huge respect for them,” said co-star Felicity Jones. “They push boundaries and they care about film so much and [they’re] always trying new things, so it’s great to work with them.”

The film is produced by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B – and served as Franco’s introduction to Pitt.

“He is so so nice,” said Franco. “He was really interested in the kind of the things I was doing.”

“He is the best boss in that he lets everyone just get on with their work,” said added Jones.

True Story is currently in theaters.

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Why James Franco Refused to Meet the Serial Killer He Played in ‘True Story’

This is meant to be a compliment: James Franco, a man of a million faces and artistic side projects, was the perfect choice to play Christian Longo , the slippery, impossible-to-read killer at the center of the upcoming docudrama True Story.

The remarkable thing is that he never met Longo despite having the opportunity to do so, as he tells Yahoo Movies in the video above.

A true two-hander of a film that first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, True Story features Franco going up against his old pal Jonah Hill, who plays the disgraced journalist Michael Finkel. In a stranger-than-fiction tale based on actual events, Longo, who is accused of murdering his wife and two children, uses Finkel’s name as an alias while hiding out in Mexico. Finkel — out of work after being caught fabricating parts of a cover story for The New York Times Magazine — flies up to Oregon where Longo is being held to interview the alleged killer as he awaits and then eventually stands trial.

Finkel wrote a book about the experience and worked closely with Hill; he even stays in contact with Longo, having formed an unconventional bond with him. But while doing his own research for the film, Franco wanted no part of the man who was later convicted of murder.

“This is probably my seventh character that is based on a real person, and sometimes I found that you need to really reference a person and sometimes you go by the script,” Franco tells Yahoo Movies. “He’s sort of already getting enough attention as it is, and he seems like somebody who might thrive on attention, and I didn’t want to give him any more.”

True Story hits theaters on April 17.

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Sundance review: ‘True Story’

Truth is stranger than fiction in the new film True Story, a cinematic blend of the journalistic morality tale Shattered Glass and a John Grisham legal thriller from the ‘90s. It has a basic structure, and while its execution may also seem familiar, the film as a whole still manages to entertain.

James Franco and Jonah Hill lead the cast of True Story, and it should be stated upfront that the film is a drama based on the real life cat-and-mouse game between a disgraced reporter and a detained prisoner. Some audiences may find it hard to get past the duo’s comedic baggage to take them seriously in a drama such as this, but the transition is easier to accept than you’d think. For starters, both men have Academy Award nominations to prove their worth in dramas, but if that’s not enough, the film makes it very clear from its first scene that the tone will be anything but comedic. Franco and Hill have come to stretch their dramatic muscles in True Story and despite the film’s shortcomings, the pair’s acting chops is not one of them.

True Story is based on ex-New York Times reporter Michael Finkel’s memoir of the same name. In the film, we are introduced to Finkel (Hill) just as he’s getting the boot at the prestigious paper for falsifying the details of his latest cover story. Expecting a Pulitzer instead of a pink slip, Finkel retreats to the countryside with his tail between his legs and the support of his girlfriend (Felicity Jones, in an underwritten role). After some time in seclusion, he’s contacted by Christian Longo (Franco), a fan of his work who also happens to be on trial for murder. With nothing else to do and a nagging curiosity tempting him at every turn, the two men meet in Longo’s detention cell and actually hit it off. But the more the two men talk, the more the hidden agendas start to reveal themselves, building to a climax most will see coming a mile away.

The film is the directorial debut of Rupert Goold and while it’s competent enough and knows how to get the job done, there isn’t any extra layer of pop or tension to bring it to life. It stagnantly goes through the motions and never comes alive. Franco and Hill do a great job of anchoring the story with the limited tools they’ve been given, but Felicity Jones is the one in the core trio to get the shaft story-wise. When the screenplay decides to beef up her character and actually get her involved in the main story, it’s way too late. By then she’s already been written-off as a one-note character, and to make matters worse, the task her character is given is the most laughable and out of left field in the movie.

True Story is entertaining in parts, but way too by-the-numbers to merit any genuine surprise or recommendation. Franco and Hill are continuing to put in solid dramatic work and I wish them well as they continue their struggle to break out of comedy jail.

Rating: B-

True Story premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and opens nationwide April 10.

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[Gallery update] Sundance Film Festival Portraits

I have add two Sundance Film Festival Portraits to the gallery.

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