Sunday, February 18, 2018

Episode #99 - James Urbaniak (The Apartment)

"Some of my favorite moments in acting are moments where people say, 'Did I get any messages?' Those mundane moments are just as important."

Watching an actor transform in an unexpected way—even if the particular action is so simple and its context so mundane—can be a revelatory experience, and the kind that draws us into the movies we adore. James Urbaniak has made that something of a career, giving us the quiet internal rage inside Simon Grim in Henry Fool, the secretly menacing stares of Grant in the TV series Review, and the dozens upon dozens of strange voices he's taken on for series like The Venture Brothers. In this episode, James sits down with Peter to get into the technical and philosophical ideas that drive his character actor career in a number of shows, while also discussing how his love of Classical Hollywood has influenced his decisions—including his noir homage series, A Night Called Tomorrow. Finally, the two dive into Billy Wilder's The Apartment to explore how they actors take the screwball zaniness of the script and make it melancholy, and turn the film's dramatic shifts into comedy.

0:00-2:52  Opening
3:34-9:42 Establish Shots — Contemplating Curtiz
10:28-50:19 Deep Focus — James Urbaniak
51:11-54:02  Sponsorship Section
55:33-1:15:49 Double Exposure — The Apartment (Wilder)
1:16:36-1:18:40 Close

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Notes and Links from the Conversation
—Follow James Urbaniak on Twitter and listen to A Night Called Tomorrow
—Alan K Rode's Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film (and UCLA's series)
—Watch The Venture Brothers and Review
—Some of James's hard to find films: The Sticky Fingers of Time (1997), Teknolust (2002), Advantageous (2015)
—Watch the Henry Fool trilogy and other Hartley films and shorts
—See a trailer for Hello Down There (1969)
—Read some of Anthony Labbette's reports from the George Eastman Museum
—Learn more about James's theater collaborator Karin Coonrod 
—James Agee writes about To Have and Have Not in Agee on Film (pg. 107-108)

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