Celebrities

SOFIA COPPOLA: Immortalised

Movie director and Hollywood royalty Sofia Coppola explains why you won’t see her directing a blockbuster any time soon and why fashion photography was her first love. We meet her in the city that she immortalised in her most famous work.

 

If there’s a film that has come to define the urban sprawl and throbbing energy of Tokyo, at least to Western eyes, it would have to be Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Only an auteur like Coppola could have captured the sense of alienation and displacement that every visitor to the metropolis experiences. The neon-lit streets, karaoke nights, crowded crosswalks and traffic jams that make up the visual language of the Academy Award-winning movie have greatly contributed to the world’s fascination with Tokyo, and with Japan in general.

It thus felt quite surreal when, on a chilly evening last autumn, we met Coppola in a bar overlooking Tokyo’s skyline at one of the city’s swanky hotels (it wasn’t her beloved Park Hyatt, another benefactor of the still-strong influence of the film, whose most poignant scenes take place within that property).

The diminutive Coppola, who was in Tokyo to participate in the unveiling of a high-jewellery collection from Cartier is fashion’s favourite filmmaker. Whether it’s her friendship with Marc Jacobs, her widely copied, Parisian-inflected personal style, or her industry credentials (as a young girl, she interned for Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and decades later guest-edited an issue of Vogue Paris), Coppola has always straddled the worlds of the silver screen and high fashion with great aplomb, keeping a kind of aloofness and indie cred that make her stand out as a director’s director.

Her films – from her debut, The Virgin Suicides, to Marie Antoinette and The Bling Ring – are intriguing as much for their storylines as for their visual impact and languid atmosphere. Moody music, sensuous settings, slightly dishevelled and yet perfectly attired heroines, and always spot-on casting are some of the characteristics of her productions, making them catnip for creative types, who often mention her work as a source of inspiration.

Coppola, who is also behind a video made in collaboration with Cartier to celebrate the relaunch of the label’s Panthère watch, was in Cannes last month to debut her most recent creation, The Beguiled, starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. At the time of the interview, she’d just wrapped up shooting the film in Louisiana and was planning to edit it after leaving Tokyo.

 

How does it feel to be here, so many years after directing Lost in Translation?

I love Tokyo and I never get tired of it, so I’m happy to be here, and I saw a friend yesterday that I’ve known since before working on Lost in Translation. So it’s fun to discover places. I still feel like I need someone to help show me around. There’s always something to discover. Even though I’ve been here a lot, I still always feel excited to discover new places. I still feel like I never quite understand everything about it.

Where did your fascination with Japan come from?

My parents liked to come here, so when we were little we went on trips. I was small, but I remember when I was eight we took a trip to Kyoto and we had Christmas here. I remember discovering things that hadn’t come to America. I think Hello Kitty hadn’t come to America yet. I always liked the culture, but I think it was my parents. They loved it. They brought us here, and then I started spending time here in my 20s, but I wasn’t intimidated because my parents had Japanese friends and they had been there, but it’s still very foreign to me. And then when I came in my 20s, I just loved kind of discovering on my own. I love the mix of the really super-modern and then the really traditional. And also my daughter is here with me, who’s nine. And we were going around Harajuku.

You now live in Paris. How is it to be an American in Paris?

I love the culture there and just being in Europe. My father [director Francis Ford Coppola] is European and always embracing European culture. Part of me feels at home there. Also it’s exotic, and different. I love that there’s a little bit more formality in Paris than California. People don’t wear flip-flops in the street. I like that people dress up for dinner, and there’s something kind of classical there that I like. And just the culture and the beauty of the city.

You’ve always been very close to the fashion world. Where did that come from?

Ever since I was a teenager, I loved fashion. I got really interested in photography, and fashion photography taught me about photography. That was kind of the first photography that I was looking at and The Face magazine. Because of no internet [then], and I lived in another country, that was my only connection to fashion. Fashion wasn’t part of the mainstream culture, which is something that I loved. And again my parents really encouraged it because it was different from anything they did. They thought it was interesting that I liked fashion. They had a friend who worked at Chanel, and they got me an internship. They just always encouraged it, and it was always an interest of mine. But I think it was linked to photography and it was always my interest and hobby when I was young.

Is that why your films are visually striking and have a very distinctive style?

I just enjoy that part of it. What I like about film is it’s visual, but there’s music too. But yeah, the photography. Usually the plot is not very strong; it’s more about the atmosphere. I’m just more interested in that and what appeals to me and that’s what I enjoy. I feel like when you have a strong sense of your aesthetic that you like, in real life you can’t have it the way you want but in a movie you can kind of create a world that is in a style that you imagine.

You also like to take your time and only release films once every few years.

I understand people who make a movie every year. Well, I also write them, but there are people who write every year. Usually I write a film, and then by the time I put it all together and really make it, it takes a couple of years. And then afterwards I like to just think about what I’m interested in; usually it’s reaction to the movie I just did. I like to see what I’m in the mood for after that. And luckily, I can take my time and then see what I’m in the mood for, and not just plan it before I’m done. Marie Antoinette was so decorative that after that I wanted to do something really minimal. I did Somewhere and The Bling Ring and that was really a “bad taste” movie. I always think that it’s a reaction to the movie I had before.

Would you ever direct a blockbuster? 

I mean, you have to work with the big corporations with that. If you’re working on a project with a corporation, you can’t really be an artist in that world because you have so many people telling you their pet peeves. When you have so many panels of people, you have to please everyone, you can’t make something really specific or personal. So, not for me. I need to have creative freedom or else there’s no point. Like, I don’t care if it doesn’t make a ton of money. I’d rather make something that I love and hope that I don’t just do it as a job. I always put myself into it; I think there’s always my personality in there.

Do you still enjoy physically going to the movies?

Yeah, I don’t watch them on the phone. No, I have a big screen at home, a big TV screen that I watch movies on, and I like to go to the theatre. But nowadays I don’t go that often. But whenever I do I’m always happy that I did. I wish more people saw previews in the theatre. Also, movies that take some patience or that you have to focus on are movies that I’ve seen in the theatre and loved. But if I were at home I would’ve gotten kind of bored, or turned it off, or done something else. It’s hard to be distracted when you’re in a movie theatre; you can only focus on it. Or like certain movies, if I watch them at home I probably won’t make it through everything.

 

What’s your opinion about the lack of female leaders in film? Was it difficult when you started?

Back then it was pretty unusual, but I didn’t think about it because my dad always taught me the same way as my brother. I felt also that because there weren’t as many women in movies I wanted to make something that I wanted to see, with a feminine point of view.

Do you talk with your father [Francis Ford Coppola] about your films? Does he give you his input?

I’m working on a new film now. I always talk to him because he’s such a resource of knowledge. I feel so lucky that I have a great teacher that I can ask.

As a child, did you know you were going to be a director?

No, I never thought I would go into film. I don’t know why. I was interested in fashion. I went to arts school. I wanted to be a photographer. At first I wanted to be a painter. I wanted to do something artistic and visual. I’ve always been a visual person.

When did you realise that this was your calling? 

I think when I made my first short film, I felt like I made something that combined all my interests, and when I read The Virgin Suicides I wanted to make a movie of it. I wanted to change my direction and do that.

What’s your favourite part about your job?

I think the editing. I enjoy being on set because there’s the energy and you’re all there together and I love the people I work with, but it’s stressful because you’re just trying to get everything finished in time. We’re quite low budget so we’re always scrambling, but I’m excited because then you get to go somewhere like this, and New Orleans, and be out on a plantation; that’s fun.

Your films always have great music and costumes. Are you very involved in that?

Everyone works differently. Some directors are really involved in it because you kind of have to be a control freak to want to be a director, but some don’t care as much about music. They leave it to the music producer. It depends on the person, but I love it because I get to make everything exactly how I want.

You’re a very private and low-key person.

I like people who have a little mystery, that idea of mystique growing up. People who I was interested in, you didn’t know everything about them. They had mystique, and I love that. It doesn’t appeal to me to share everything. My films are personal and that’s how I share myself. But I don’t like to see what everyone’s eating. I like to have some privacy and mystery or it doesn’t appeal to me.

By Margaret Song

 

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Masterchef US winner is coming to OZONE RESTAURANT 

 

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Celebrity chef Christine Huyen Tran Hà will be presenting her gourmet dishes at Ozone restaurant, located in the Ritz-Carlton, from 28 June to 1 July. Diners will be treated to a delectable range of seasonal dishes like seafood ceviche, a Texas fried chicken sandwich and Korean Wagyu beef tacos.

What sets her apart from other celebrity chefs is that she was able to give shape to her culinary vision without being able to physically see. A rare disorder robbed her of eyesight, but she did not let her dreams die.

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In 2012, Chef Hà defeated over 30,000 home cooks across America to win the highly sought-after MasterChef US title. Gordon Ramsay, the show’s judge, commends her highly, claiming that her palate is more refined than that of many Michelin-starred chefs.

Her achievements did not stop there. She went on to add more feathers to her cap, from hosting TV cooking shows to writing cookbooks to winning the Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award in 2014. Through her success story, she hopes to inspire others – and not just those who face physical challenges, but anyone who wants to take a leap of faith.

Date: 28 June to 1 July

Time: 7pm onwards

Price: HK$980 per person for a five-course meal

Venue: Ozone, Level 118, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

Bookings must be made at least two weeks in advance.

For reservations and enquiries, please call (852) 2263 2270 or email restaurantreservation.hk@ritzcarlton.com.

Colin Farell, Will Smith, Christoph Waltz attend Chopard’s event in Cannes

Chopard recently hosted an exclusive event for gentlemen on the rooftop of the Hotel Martinez in Cannes. The Gentlemen’s Evening was the perfect occasion for debonair gents to relax and unwind with Roederer champagne, Grey Goose, Patron Anejo cocktails and cigars by Daniel Marshall.

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The event, co-hosted by London club Annabel’s and held during the Cannes Film Festival, put the spotlight on men and allowed those in attendance to relax in an extremely gentlemanly atmosphere.

The Gentlemen’s Evening was attended by Chopard co-presidents Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, as well as a number of well-known figures including Colin Farrell, Will Smith, Marion Cotillard and Christoph Waltz.

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Earlier at Cannes, Will Smith wore a Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 Black Tie watch in 18-carat white gold and Colin Farrell sported a L.U.C XPS Fairmined 18-carat rose gold watch.

 

The leading lady that needs no introduction, Meryl Streep is one of Hollywood’s most successful actors

 

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If anyone were to compile a ‘best of’ list of contemporary Hollywood actors, a name that would undoubtedly appear near the very top would be Meryl Streep. Hollywood acting royalty, she has enjoyed a long and successful career with few peers.

Since making her film debut in 1977, Streep has been nominated for 20 Academy Awards and 30 Golden Globe Awards, winning three and eight respectively – the latter a record for Golden Globe wins. In fact, if you were to tally up all the global acting awards Streep has won to date, the number would be a staggering 157. That’s quite a performance.

“I let the actions of my life stand for what I am as a human being. Contend with that, not the words,” says Streep, who with her very human performances, it must be said, is one of the finest actors of her – or for that matter any – generation. Despite her worldwide acclaim and the respect she commands as an actress, Streep remains steadfastly humble. “You can’t get spoiled if you do your own ironing,” says Streep. She also has been quoted as saying, “Expensive clothes are a waste of money.”

Never one to seek the limelight, Streep is not prone to Kanye West-esque impromptu rants or emotional outbursts. As such, when the queen of the big screen does speak – always eloquently and intelligently – people sit up and take notice.

“Everything we say signifies, everything counts, that we put out into the world. It impacts on kids, it impacts on the zeitgeist of the time,” says Streep, whose recent acceptance speech at the Golden Globes in particular had quite the impact, both from a social and political perspective.

Seizing the opportunity, Streep made a few remarks aimed at the latest President of the United States that even earned her a now-famous Twitter rebuff from Trump who called her “an overrated actress” in response. Streep’s critique of the world’s most powerful man included: “This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing,” and, “Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” which resulted in a huge round of applause.

Born Mary Louise Streep in June 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, Streep is the daughter of Mary Wolf Wilkinson and Harry William Streep – a commercial artist/art editor and pharmaceutical executive respectively – and the eldest of three siblings. At a young age, Streep displayed talent for the arts, having been selected to sing at a school recital aged 12. However, she remained uninterested in serious theatre until she acted in the play Miss Julie while attending Vassar College. Clinton J. Atkinson, Streep’s drama professor at the time, noted, “I don’t think anyone ever taught Meryl acting. She really taught herself.”

After receiving a BA at Vassar, Streep enrolled in the Yale School of Drama where she starred in over a dozen stage productions a year. Upon graduation in 1975, Streep’s first foray into the world of professional dramatics came in the theatre. Initially Streep was uninterested in the big screen until Robert De Niro’s performance in Taxi Driver inspired the young thespian to try her hand in Hollywood. Her first feature film appearance came opposite Jane Fonda in Julia in 1977 in a small role that was almost entirely edited out of the film.

“I had a bad wig and they took the words from the scene I shot with Jane and put them in my mouth in a different scene. I thought, I’ve made a terrible mistake, no more movies. I hate this business,” Streep later recalled.

Her breakthrough came when she played the role of a girlfriend of one of the protagonists of The Deer Hunter in 1978, for which she earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She did not have to wait long, however, for her first Academy Award, which she took home for her role in Kramer vs Kramer in 1979 opposite Dustin Hoffman, along with a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Streep famously left her coveted Oscar statuette in the ladies’ room after giving her acceptance speech.

Out of Africa

In 1981 Streep won her first leading role in Hollywood in The French Lieutenant’s Woman but she did not taste real success until she starred in Sophie’s Choice in 1982, for which she was lauded with critical acclaim as well as an Academy Award for Best Actress.

 

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Although it might sound like Streep enjoyed a relatively easy path to stardom, the very opposite is true – best summed up by her failed audition for King Kong. The film’s director, Dino de Laurentis, remarked in Italian to his son, “This is so ugly. Why did you bring me this?” To which Streep, who unbeknownst to De Laurentis understood Italian, replied, “I’m very sorry that I’m not beautiful as I should be but, you know – this is it.”

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“I think the most liberating thing I did early on was to free myself from any concern with my looks as they pertained to my work,” explains Streep.

It was Streep’s portrayal of Danish writer Karen Blixen in Out of Africa (1985) that catapulted the young actress to superstardom. Of her performance, critic Stanley Kaufmann wrote, “Meryl Streep is back in top form. This means her performance in Out of Africa is at the highest level of acting in film today.”

 

“I think the most liberating thing I did early on was to free myself from any concern with my looks as they pertained to my work,” explains Streep.

It was Streep’s portrayal of Danish writer Karen Blixen in Out of Africa (1985) that catapulted the young actress to superstardom. Of her performance, critic Stanley Kaufmann wrote, “Meryl Streep is back in top form. This means her performance in Out of Africa is at the highest level of acting in film today.”

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“The work itself is the reward, and if I choose challenging work, it’ll pay me back with interest. At least I’ll be interested, even if nobody else is,” says Streep. At the time, it was in fact the success of Out of Africa that prompted something of a backlash in the years that followed, particularly among critics who scoffed at the US$4 million she was then demanding for her acting services.

An unfazed Streep continued to star in a string of moderately successful pictures. “Don’t give up or give in in the face of patronising ridicule, amused distain, or being ignored,” says Streep, “You just have to keep on doing what you do… keep going. Start by starting.”

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Streep worked steadily through the ‘90s, expanding her repertoire to include comedies. A stark contrast to the otherwise serious dramatic roles she had been known for up until that point. Notable was the black comedy Death Becomes Her alongside Bruce Willis and Goldie Hawn. But her most successful film of the decade would be the Clint Eastwood-directed romantic book adaptation The Bridges of Madison County, where Streep played a middle-aged Italian farmer’s wife who engages in a love affair with a National Geographic photographer on assignment (Eastwood).

It was refreshing for women to see a middle-aged heroine of sorts being portrayed in Hollywood. Up until that point Hollywood was exclusively a young actress’ game and it has been Streep, among others, who have helped change the prevailing attitude. Says Streep: “America doesn’t reward people of my age, either in day-to-day life or for their performances.”

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Streep continues to enjoy a celebrated career. She garnered great acclaim as the beastly Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, in which she torments her hapless assistant (played by Anne Hathaway) with fiendish verve. Streep has even found time to provide voice-overs in children’s animations – most notably Fantastic Mr. Fox. She won her most recent Academy Award in 2011 for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in 2011’s The Iron Lady.

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Alongside her glittering career, Streep has also found the time to raise a family and now has three grown daughters. Although she admits: “My family really does come first. It always did and always will.”

With no signs of calling it a day, it looks like we are set to enjoy much more of Streep’s immense talent for years to come. As Streep herself says, “It is well that the earth is round, that we do not see too far ahead.”

By H.S 

 

Tudor signs David Beckham as brand ambassador

 

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David Beckham has just been unveiled as a brand ambassador for Tudor watches. Beckham is already well-known for endorsing the fashion retailer H&M with actor Kevin Hart and Haig Club whisky. And he wasn’t a bad footballer back in the day.

The last brand ambassador for Tudor was Tiger Woods when the Swiss watch company signed the then up-and-coming golfer in 1997, after he won his first major. Woods left Tudor in 2002.

To coincide with the unveiling of Beckham as the face of the brand’s new “Born to Dare” campaign, Tudor has released a campaign video portraying the ex-footballer’s rise from a young boy to an England star and ends with Beckham looking pensively into the camera, wearing the Black Bay Chrono.

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Courtesy : http://www.tudorwatch.com

 

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