Monday, November 13, 2017

Anthony Michael Hall and James Hoare Discuss 'The Lears' at #VaFilmFest 2017

Last week, at the 30th annual Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, one of the featured narrative films was The Lears.

University of Virginia English professor Mark Edmundson -- author of Why Teach?, Why Write?, and Why Read?, among other books -- led a panel discussion on the film, which is loosely based on William Shakespeare's King Lear.

The panel included the film's writer-director-cinematographer, Carl Bessai; its producer, Irwin Olian; and two of its cast members, Anthony Michael Hall ("Glenn Lear") and James Hoare ("Rory Lear").

Bessai has directed several previous films, including Emile (starring Ian McKellen), Sisters & Brothers, and  Fathers and Sons.  Irwin Olian also produced the 1999 film, Gut Feeling; he also has a cameo appearance in The Lears.  Although best known for 1980s films like The Breakfast Club, Hall has also spent a year in the cast of Saturday Night Live and has built a later career in as a character actor.  James Hoare is a newcomer -- The Lears is his first feature film -- but he has performed on stage and on television in his native Australia, where he will appear in the mini-series Picnic at Hanging Rock (based on the same novel as Peter Weir's 1975 film).

The film's cast also features Bruce Dern, Sean Astin, Aly Michalka, Victoria Smurfit, Nic Bishop, Stephen Ellis, and Ivy Matheson.

According to the Virginia Film Festival's program notes:

Mark Edmundson Anthony Michael Hall Carl Bessai
World-renowned architect Davenport Lear (Bruce Dern) summons his dysfunctional children to a weekend family retreat to test their love. Set in of one of Davenport’s signature architectural masterpieces, a quirky black comedy emerges in this modern-day reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic King Lear. Davenport announces he is to marry his younger personal assistant, setting off an explosive round of humorously devious behavior. Each of his children vies for his favor, consumed by self-interest, greed, and jealousy. The Lears raises fundamental questions about the nature of love, sexuality, family relationships, and honesty.

The video above was recorded at the Newcomb Hall Theatre on the grounds of the University of Virginia on Thursday evening, November 9, 2017.

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