The New York Film Festival closed with one of its strongest films, “Birdman.”
One of last year’s New York Film Festival’s fave, “Twelve Years a Slave,” received the Academy trophy for Best Film.
The much Oscar buzzed “Birdman” is gathering steam as the awards frenzy gears up for another year.
After the screening of “Birdman” at New York City’s AMC Lincoln Square Theater, cast members and director Alejandro G. Iñárritu were available for questions. Besides the apropos title of “Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” the narrative hits home as it presents an all too real display of life like scenarios.
The questioning session began with Iñárritu explaining the ideas behind “Birdman”:
ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU: Basically it came from this battle that we all have. In this case, this personal battle that I have just turned fifty years, last year. And when you realize and make a kind of revision of the priorities that you have given to your life, some things are missing. Some things are great, and some things are not so great. And then I have been going through a retrospection of how the mechanics of my own perception has been. I thought it was incredibly interesting, what I have been learning, being aware of how the ego can work. In my case, in the creative process, my own ego had always been a huge inquisitor, a tyrant, kind of tailored that self-loathing.
It’s very rude, and sometimes can be very misleading. Sometimes when I’m doing something, I say, ‘Oh, this is great! Fantastic! You’re a genius!’ And then, twenty minutes later, I feel like a jellyfish, and I say, ‘You’re a stupid asshole! What you think is a piece of shit, that nobody will care about!’ It’s a constant bi-polar relation of my process, that I thought, ‘Oh, the ego is a tyrant.’ I thought it would be a cool thing to portray in a film. So that’s the origins.
MICHAEL KEATON: I go through what Alejandro goes through. I do the same thing. I think, ‘Oh, you’re the greatest, You’re wonderful,’ and all these wonderful things. And, like Alejandro, twenty minutes later I go, ‘No, you’re actually more than that, Michael.’ [Laughs] It keeps getting bigger. Okay, crickets.
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: I feel celebrity is sh*t, it’s dumb and I’m not interested in it. I like to be an actor and that’s it. The blurred lines I think are man made. I think celebrity is a man made thing. It’s not innate in us. We have people telling us, oh we should pay attention to these people for their own reasons. I think that everybody here is just very regular, normal, good people. And I think that’s what they’re interested in, just being actors and the celebrity part that comes with it, for me, it’s difficult to manage. I’m not interested in it whatsoever, the picture taking and all that stuff because, I’m being honest, I’d rather do my work and go home and watch Lifetime or something.
Michael, how do you see your character?
MK: What do I think about the character? The character is really, really one of the most difficult things I’ve done, not in terms of the character, necessarily, but in terms of how the film was made. And, you know, you’ve seen it now. You go, within 30 seconds, 49 seconds, you have to surf a lot of different emotions, and be a part of this giant picture, and fit into this giant picture. And because this picture is always shifting and moving, and has so many different levels, it’s really difficult. But I like that. I like difficult, most of the time.
How was it doing a superhero movie that really wasn’t a superhero movie since all of you have been in superhero movies?
MK: There’s a great moment in the movie, and for some reason I wasn’t aware of this, and I read the script of the movie that we were making. It’s so fun when Birdman makes his appearance on-screen, and then right after that, those special effects come in. It’s just out of nowhere, and I totally dig it! It’s just a little treat, a little megaplex action, superhero movie dose for you right there. Besides that, it was just another gig that happened to be really, extraordinarily demanding.
EDWARD NORTON: Michael and I went over to New York Comic Con yesterday to do a panel there and in the dark right before we went on, I looked at Michael and said, ‘Do you think this is the alternate bait and switch that’s ever been pulled on a Comic Con audience?” [Laughs]. Can you imagine you go to this actually thinking it’s a superhero movie?
“Birdman” also stars Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.
Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]