On Thursday evening, The Cinema Society with Tod’s and GQ hosted a screening of Millennium Entertainment’s “What Maisie Knew” at Landmark Sunshine Cinemas. The party which continued into the early hours of Friday morning was at Gallow Green (the roof of the McKittrick Hotel), where everyone drank Qui cocktails and Ooh La La Rose.
From the film: Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgard, Joanna Vanderham, Onata Aprile, directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel; producers Daniel Crown, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, William Teitler and Charles Weinstock; executive producer Riva Marker; Steve Nickerson (President, Millennium Entertainment) walked the red carpet.
Film synopsis: A contemporary reimagining of Henry James’ novel of the same name, “What Maisie Knew” tells the story of a captivating little girl’s struggle for grace in the midst of her parents’ bitter custody battle. Told through the eyes of the titles’ heroine, Maisie navigates this ever-widening turmoil with a six-year-old’s innocence, charm and generosity of spirit. An aging rock star (Moore) and a contemporary art dealer (Steve Coogan)—Susanna and Beale are too self-involved even to notice their neglect and inadequacy as parents; their fight for Maisie is just another battle in an epic war of personalities. As they raise the stakes by taking on inappropriate new partners, the ex-nanny Margo and the much younger bartender Lincoln (Vanderham and Skarsgård), the shuffling of Maisie from household to household becomes more and more callous, the consequences more and more troubling. Always watchful, however, Maisie begins to understand that the path through this morass of adult childishness and selfish blindness will have to be of her own making.
Check out our interviews with the cast!
Q: Tell us about your character?
Onata Aprile: She’s sort of happy in the end because someone’s taking care of her. And in the beginning she’s kind of upset because her parents aren’t really paying that much attention to her.
Q: How did you get your start as an actress you are so young?
Onata Aprile: Well, my mom is an actress, too. I went in to auditions with her and then I asked her, “Can I do it, too?”
Q: What was the process like working with two directors?
Julianne Moore: Well, it’s not as different as you would think. And oddly, I’ve worked with several pairs of directors: the Coen brothers, the guys who directed “Crazy, Stupid, Love” were a pair, I worked with a pair of Swedish directors. So, you know, they’ve been working together for over 20 years now, and so they really have it down. So, It actually doesn’t feel odd at all because their communication is great and they’re always kind of one mind.
Q: Does Julianne being a mom in real life add something to her performance in the film?
Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel: Yeah. Actually, she was really good Onata in terms of just making sure she understood it was pretend and Julianne would say, “I might cry, I might yell, but it’s always pretend.”
Q: What drew you all to this film?
Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel: The idea of trying to create or make a movie from a child’s perspective, really.
Q: And then you found a really amazing child actor?
Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel: Luckily! Many, many, many actors were seen. We found her quite late in the process.
Q: How did you bond with Onata Aprile, the little girl?
Alexander Skarsgard: Every day on set. We bonded after three seconds, basically. We met at David’s house a couple weeks before we started shooting and I don’t know if you’ve talked to her, but she just has this phenomenal energy and charisma. So we bonded instantly, then we just hung out for two months. It was the best shoot ever.
Q: Do you think this film will be an image makeover for you since everyone views you as a sex symbol?
Alexander Skarsgard: It’s all about being truthful to the character and not letting vanity be part of your creative process. I don’t know if you saw “Disconnect” that opened a couple weeks ago, that guy is definitely not a hunk or sex symbol, and I didn’t see Lincoln that way either, you know, in terms of his confidence or his posture and all that stuff. It’s just about reading the script and figuring out who the guy is. And the day you let vanity take control or be part of that and change your creative instinct, then you’re in trouble.
Q: What did you love about Henry James’ novel?
Alexander Skarsgard: Well, it’s a classic. It’s a great, great book. I read it when I was a teenager. And I just thought this was a beautiful script ’cause it’s such an interesting, different take on it.
Other attendees at the premiere included: Natalie Dormer, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Zosia Mamet, Penn Badgley, Mark Feuerstein, Melissa George, Paul Haggis, Jack Huston, Alison Mosshart, Russell Simmons, Erin Heatherton, Caroline Winberg, Jessica Stam, Julie Taymor, Hamish Linklater, Isiah Whitlock, Nico Tortorella, Christian Coulson, Oren Moverman, David Wain, Kevin Ryan, Peter Cincotti, platinum Swedish group Icona Pop, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Erin Cummings, Ryan O’Nan, Hamish Bowles, Alex Lundqvist, Crystal Renn, Cory Bond, Amy Sacco, Jason Dundas, Fern Mallis, Marcus Schenkenberg, Frederique Van Der Wal, Daniel Benedict, Tristin Skyler, Roberto Lorenzini (CEO, Tod’s USA), and Cinema Society founder Andrew Saffir.
The film opened May 3 in NY, will open May 17 in LA and will expand throughout the country on May 24 and May 31.