MINAMATA Updates

Discuss the latest Johnny Depp news, his career, past and future projects, and other related issues.
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AnaMaria
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MINAMATA Updates

Unread post by AnaMaria » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:08 pm

Friday, February 21

Berlinale Special Gala
Minamata by Andrew Levitas

12 noon Photo Call
12.10 pm Press Conference
(German time)

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Unread post by In-too-Depp » Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:34 pm

New stills.

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Unread post by justintime » Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:46 pm

AnaMaria wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:08 pm
Friday, February 21

Berlinale Special Gala
Minamata by Andrew Levitas

12 noon Photo Call
12.10 pm Press Conference
(German time)
According to this link - I posted it yesterday - there was (is still?) a press screening scheduled for today, Feb 20th, at the CinemaxX7 @ 18:15 (UTC time?). You have to scroll all the way down on the page to get to Minamata’s Berlinale schedule.

It is still showing on this link:

https://www.berlinale.de/en/press/press ... =202007041

I am nervously curious about the press reaction. Don’t know what 18:15 on World Time, Military Time, or Unitarium Time is for us, but the date shown is February 20th . . . Has something been changed?

Thanks for the lovely new stills, In-too-Depp! :heart3:
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Unread post by AdeleAgain » Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:03 pm

IFOD have posted that they've seen it at the screening but the premier is tomorrow and they can't say anything until tomorrow night (but they tweeted replies that it was good and they enjoyed it).

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Unread post by justintime » Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:20 pm

Thanks so much, AdeleAgain!
"Stay low." ~ JD
"I don't like it in here . . . it's terribly crowded." ~ Hatter
"There's something about Johnny that breaks your heart." ~ John Logan, ST
"Tear deeper, Mother." ~ Wilmot

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Unread post by In-too-Depp » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:07 pm

Behind the scenes pics.

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Unread post by In-too-Depp » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:12 pm



Johnny Depp on 'Minamata': "Films Like This Don't Get Made Every Day"

Article by Alex Ritman
hollywoodreporter.com
21st Feb 2020

The star was in Berlin for the world premiere of the drama about war photographer W. Eugene Smith, who helped bring to public attention a mercury poisoning in Japan carried out over a 34-year-period.

Johnny Depp hailed the power of film as he dropped into Berlin ahead of the world premiere of Minamata at the Berlin Film Festival on Friday.

The drama — directed by Andrew Levitas — sees Depp play celebrated war photographer W. Eugene Smith, who helped bring to public attention the shocking and deadly mercy poisoning by a powerful corporation in Japan that occurred over a 34-year period.

“Reading the story and learning the history of what happened in Minamata, the fact that it even happened at all, was very shocking,” he told a press conference. “The fact it continues is even more shocking. Just as a reader, as someone who is interested, I believed it was a story that needed to be told."

Depp added that he felt it was important to “harness the power of the media, or cinema” and use it to “open up people’s eyes to something that happened and happens to this day.”He also noted that “films like this don’t get made every day.”

Levitas praised his leading man for helping drive the film right from its conception. "He doesn’t like to talk about it or take credit for it, but this came from him," he said. "All the passion and all of what we were able to do in terms of pulling it together and its messaging came out of Johnny’s heart."

Co-star Akiko Iwase said she hoped Minamata would be a "stone to make waves and spread to the world," adding that the scandal should be something people "keep talking about, don’t forget about."

While the questions from the audience ducked directly mentioning Depp’s own personal life, one journalist did ask how he connected to a character who was a "broken alcoholic who found a new chapter in his life," to which Depp responded: "I think I’ve heard that story somewhere before."
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Unread post by In-too-Depp » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:23 pm



Johnny Depp on ‘the Power of the Small’ at Launch of ‘Minamata’ at Berlin Film Festival

Article by Leo Barraclough
variety.com
21st Feb 2020

Johnny Depp arrived at the Berlin Film Festival Friday to support the film “Minamata,” in which he plays celebrated war photographer W. Eugene Smith. In the film, based on real events, Smith is pitted against a powerful corporation responsible for poisoning with mercury the people of Minamata in Japan in 1971.

Also in Berlin were Minami, who plays Aileen, a young Japanese woman who persuades the burned-out Smith – an alcoholic and amphetamine addict – to take on one last assignment; Bill Nighy, who plays Bob Hayes, the editor of Life magazine, Smith’s long-suffering employer; Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays local activist Mitsuo Yamazaki; cinematographer Benoît Delhomme; and director Andrew Levitas.

At the film’s press conference, Depp said he had a “strange fascination” with Smith and his photography, which was enhanced when he’d “read a bit about his life and what he’d gone through, what he’d experienced, what he’d sacrificed to capture those moments, to capture those photos.”

At the start of the film, Smith is seen as a reclusive and tormented curmudgeon, his life blighted by post-traumatic stress disorder – the result of his wartime experiences – as well as his alcoholism and drug addiction.

“My take on Gene Smith is that it was very loud in his brain, and I imagine it didn’t calm down throughout his life,” Depp said. “When you have that kind of white noise, static, voices, a cacophony, it tends to make someone quite isolated. I always felt like he was quite locked into his own particular understanding of fate.”

Asked about the political responsibility of actors, Depp said: “Just as people, all of us are faced with huge monolithic-sized problems at times in our lives.” Depp referred to a “beautiful symbol” in the classic Chinese text the “I Ching” – or “Book of Changes” in English – which translates as “the power of the small.” When confronted with “monolithic opponents,” whether it be in the fields of the environment, health, society or politics, the combined efforts of individuals – “the power of the small” – can bring about great changes, he said.

“It starts with one. You chip away, little by little, and then that problem can be toppled,” he said. “We are specks of dust; I mean, we are the small. If there is something that needs to be dealt with that’s of such magnitude just start chipping away, and people will follow, hopefully.”

There were no questions asked at the press conference about Depp’s personal life or his legal tussles with Amber Heard, although some journalists made sly attempts to draw him out by alluding to aspects of Smith’s own troubled personality, which Depp side-stepped or ignored.

Asked about Smith’s difficult relationship with his children, Depp said: “We tried to stay focused on the story of the disaster, and only used little bits and pieces of Gene’s life to build his character.”

He said the Minamata scandal was “a story that needed to be told,” and added that he had wanted to “harness the power of media or cinema or art and use it to open people’s eyes” to such issues.
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Unread post by Theresa » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:31 pm



Berlin: Inside the Making of Johnny Depp's Passion Project, 'Minamata'

Hollywood Reporter
1:00 PM PST 2/21/2020
by Rebecca Keegan


“This is Johnny's movie,” director Andrew Levitas says, of Depp's portrayal of photographer W. Eugene Smith, who brought personal demons to his work documenting an environmental tragedy in Japan.

When Johnny Depp’s latest movie, Minamata, premieres in a special gala screening at the Berlin Film Festival on Friday, audiences will get a look at the actor playing a talented but troubled artist late in his career. It’s a role that sees Depp, who also produced the film his via his Infinitum Nihil banner, portraying a man beset by personal demons but fueled by a sense of justice.

“This is Johnny's movie,” says director Andrew Levitas. “Johnny created the film. He owns the movie. He built it. It's his passion project.”

Minimata, which is in both English and Japanese, is seeking foreign and domestic distribution in Berlin. Depp has claimed in a defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard that Heard’s allegations of domestic violence have cost him work. If Minamata secures a domestic distributor, it will be Depp’s first film that U.S. audiences have seen since Warner Bros’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in 2018.

Depp, 56, stars as photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, who traveled to Japan in 1971 for a Life magazine assignment documenting the effect of mercury poisoning on the coastal community of Minamata. Smith, who suffered from addictions to alcohol and amphetamines, helped draw attention to the environmental crisis with his photography, especially “Tomoko in Her Bath,” a startlingly intimate black-and-white portrait of a mother cradling her naked, deformed daughter, which now hangs in the Smithsonian. “Johnny felt deeply connected to Eugene and to this period in his life, to his struggle and what he accomplished and the toll that that took,” Levitas says.

Depp purchased the rights to Minamata: The Story of the Poisoning of a City, and of the People Who Chose to Carry the Burden of Courage, a 1975 book written by Smith and his wife, Aileen Mioko Smith, who is played in the film by French-Japanese actor Minami (Battle Royale). CAA’s Jack Whigham introduced Depp and Levitas, a visual artist known for his sculptures and photographs, who directed the 2014 drama Lullaby. What was supposed to be a 45-minute meeting to discuss the project at Depp’s Hollywood Hills home in 2018 instead lasted 10 hours. “We never talked about a script,” says Levitas. “We talked about ideas and feelings and reasons and theory and it just blossomed from there.”

Levitas, who wrote the script with David Kessler, Stephen Deuters and Jason Forman, traveled to Minamata in September of 2018, meeting with the surviving victims and their families. For research, he relied on 12 documentaries the Smiths shot in Japan, ultimately opting to splice the black-and-white footage alongside the contemporary work of the actors in the film. “Certain things just don't seem right to recreate, and real is real,” Levitas says. “You can't do better than something that's authentic and that's what this film had to be.”

Working with British producer Kevan van Thompson (Jojo Rabbit, The Zookeeper’s Wife), Levitas assembled the production on warehouse stages in Belgrade, Serbia and on location in the coastal town of Tivat in Montenegro, where a 13th century monastery stood in for vintage Minamata, now a modern city rebuilt since the 1970s. The cast includes Bill Nighy as a beleaguered Life magazine editor dealing with Smith’s volatile temperament, Hiroyuki Sanada as an activist leader and Jun Kunimura as the head of a polluting corporation. With the help of Japanese casting director Yôko Narahashi (Babel, Unbroken), Levitas found actors to portray the victims of the physically disfiguring Minamata disease, relying on prosthetics, false teeth and contact lenses to recreate their bodies. Consultants coached the actors on what their movements and physical limitations would be.

Although Depp’s character is the audience’s entry point to the issues in the film, it was important to the actor, Levitas says, that Smith eventually recede into the background, and the Japanese characters become the focal point. “Johnny probably says 25 words in the last 30 minutes of the movie,” says Levitas. “When he wasn’t acting he was there every day, sitting behind a monitor and paying attention and offering insight.”

The environmental message of the movie was also a resonant one for Depp and for Levitas, who notes that President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is about to roll back a rule limiting emissions of mercury and other toxins in the U.S. Their film, Levitas hopes, will remind audiences what’s at stake.

“One of the things that both Johnny and I really love about Gene Smith's work is that he can show you things that are horrible to look at and make you enjoy looking at them,” says Levitas. “He can show you something that should be brutal, but instead, you see love and humanity and kindness and hope. And he can show you everything that's great about a human being in literally the darkest corners of the world, and in the worst moments in the worst places. We wanted the film to be something that could be beautiful to watch, that you could walk away and feel good and feel uplifted and not feel just that you're looking at terrible things.”

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Unread post by Theresa » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:38 pm



Johnny Depp’s True Life Japanese Tragedy, ‘Minamata’ Gets World Premiere And First Look For Buyers – Berlin Film Festival

Deadline
By Pete Hammond
February 21, 2020 1:03pm


One of the more intriguing titles of this year’s Berlin Film Festival is the new Johnny Depp true life drama, Minamata in which Depp plays the famous Life Magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith who in 1971 undertook the most challenging and important subject of his career in travelling to the small Japanese village of Minamata which had been ravaged by an outbreak of Mercury Poisoning due to gross negligence by Japan’s Chisso Corporation, the government itself, and even the Yakuza. The important and heartbreaking movie, which I caught at CAA in Los Angeles a few days ago, documents Smith’s efforts to chronicle the tragic effects of the disease and the MInamata inhabitants’ heroic efforts to fight back. As the film shows, Smith was an enormously gifted, if difficult personality, and had to practically beg a reluctant LIFE to give him this opportunity, but the results were eye-opening and the facts of what happened to Smith, personally and professionally, form a particularly impressive outing from Depp who disappears into the role, perhaps his best in a long while (another true story in which he stars, City Of Lies is long-delayed and yet to even see a release after being on the shelf for a couple of years caught up in Global Road’s meltdown).

Shot in a coastal town in Montenegro and interiors in Belgrade, with a cast that includes Bill Nighy as Smith’s editor at LIFE but also a sterling lineup of Japanese actors all speaking in their own language, Minamata represents the second writing/directing outing for Andrew Levitas who through his Metalworks Pictures and Rogue Black financing entity has also had a prolific lineup of independent films he has produced including The White Crow, My Zoe, Georgetown, Farming, The Gateway, The Quarry , and Lullaby which represented his first directing effort in 2013. Among producing entities joining his companies on this film are Ingenious Media, Infinitum Nihil, Windhorse Entertainment, Magnolia Films UK, Hanway Films Limited, Head Gear Films Metrol Technology, and Lipsync. He was brought into this project by Depp who was anxious to get it made as Levitas told me earlier this week from London before heading to Berlin for tonight’s World Premiere.

“So, this was something that Johnny had actually wanted to do. This is Johnny’s concept, Johnny’s idea, something that he felt quite passionate about,” he said. ” I don’t want to speak for him, but I think for him it was an intersection of two things, you know, truth and justice in journalism and also people, and we’d often talk about the idea that not everybody gets representation, that there’s people in the world that nobody looks at, nobody seems to care about, no one is paying attention to, and we’re often marginalized, and that’s something I know has kept him up at night a lot over his lifetime because he comes from that kind of background, and he’s always visiting hospitals and doing things, you know, as Jack Sparrow and this sort of thing, when no one is looking because he really cares, and so the film, for him, intersected in that place, and obviously I think the world could use a story like this right now.”

Levitas said it was an easy fit after he and Depp met at a meeting set up by their mutual agents. It was supposed to last 30 minutes but went on much longer. As a celebrated sculptor and artist himself, in addition to his filmmaking activities, Levitas was just as passionate as Depp about getting this right, and about doing it now. “Firstly, as a photographer and as a fine artist, Eugene Smith is one of my heroes. He’s a guy that I’ve been engaged with his work for as long as I can remember. And also for me as a filmmaker who’s trying to do films that are great to look at that show the human condition, that talk about the human spirit, that are hopeful. That was a thing that Eugene Smith was always able to do. He was able to show you the darkest corners of the room, but show you hope and humanity and joy and love and compassion, and so, he always matched up with me quite well,” he explained. “There’s still tens of thousands of victims fighting to be heard in Minamata, but there’s millions of people around the world who aren’t being heard, and I think this film is, for me, of course, was about making a beautiful piece of cinema and being engaged as an artist but also was about making something that everyone could feel a part of.”

Levitas says that dealing with a story about how corporations can contaminate the water we drink, the food we eat, was something he could zero in on in order to bring awareness. I brought up the recent Todd Haynes film, Dark Waters which dealt with similar subject matter in a small town where DuPont dumped tons of toxic waste, but Levitas emphasizes Minamata is laser focused on Smith’s story in bringing this all to light through his exquisite and heartbreaking photos (just one year before LIFE went out of business as a weekly), as well as the town’s determination and efforts to fight against Chisso and the government. I pointed out that even before Dark Waters opened this fall , DuPont had launched a misinformation campaign to hurt that movie at the boxoffice. Levitas knows that could be coming here too.

“Well, I suspect it will get some of that. You know, I suspect some of that in front of us, but in this instance, we are telling a story that is quite well documented and we’re also seeing this world through the lens of Eugene Smith, through a specific man with a specific lens, and it happens to be a beautiful lens. It happens to be a lens that sees the best in those moments, and I think part of our approach to the filmmaking was to make a very attractive and positive movie, a movie that you’d want to see and enjoy even though it was, in some cases about some things that you might not enjoy,” he said. “But also in terms of his approach in the way that he walked through that universe, it’s not really about that corporation. It’s not really about their story. It’s about these people’s story, and so, my responsibility wasn’t really to the corporation or worrying about them in any way. It was about all of these people who fought and who are the real heroes of this story, and one of the things that I’m most proud of, and I think Johnny is as well.”

Levitas shot the film , which looks great and has a stunning musical score by Oscar winner Riyuichi Sakamoto, in just 36 days on a limited budget. “There’s a long list of people that stepped up, both in terms of putting finances into the film, and a long list of people that didn’t care about getting paid and just wanted to see the film made, and this is one of those stories. Of course, there were a ton of doors that were closed, ” he said about the difficulties of making a movie like this. “And when Johnny and I really just committed to getting it done, we knocked on doors. We called people, we found like- minded people and the big key to this was, we were not willing to take in investors or partners who wanted to mettle or water down what we were doing in anyway. We needed to make this in the most authentic, most honest, and cleanest way without any sort of outward hands getting into it, and we were able to accomplish that, and I for one am incredibly grateful to everybody that stepped up because they really did, and that’s the story of this film.”

CAA is handling North American sales of the film and Hanway is doing international. Levitas says he only just finished the movie two weeks ago and that Berlin was the first festival they submitted it too. He goes every year and loves it. “Every festival seems to have its own identity, but this one seems to be movies and ultimately as filmmakers, I think that’s where you want to be. You want to be with audiences that are the people, that are not part of a hype machine or part of something else. You want to show human beings your film. To me, it seemed like the most obvious. But also, we could have said no. We could have looked at other things, but to me, the timing was right.”

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Unread post by fireflydances » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:44 pm

Reading these truly wonderful reviews my attention was caught by the phrase "power of the small." I first heard about this concept when we were reading Damien Echols book Life After Death. The "Power of the Small" -- a Buddhist concept -- as described by Echols had to do with the power of little things to have an incredible impact on larger things that we believe we are unable to affect.

Anyway, as soon as I read that I thought of Echols and obviously the two men are still in contact with each other. Good to know.
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Unread post by SnoopyDances » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:14 pm

:thankyou: Everyone! :giddy:
Really excited for this movie. :applause2:

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Unread post by justintime » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:35 am

Unfortunately, some of the above are not "reviews", but rather just lovely articles (e.g. Pete Hammond's piece for Deadline and Rebecca Keegan's bit for THR). THR actually does have a good review written, but it's by Top Critic Deborah Young and she punked out at the end with a "No Rating"! RT then took the liberty of making the decision for her and tossed the film into the "rotten" basket.

This ia all so mundane, I know. I have never put much stock in any of these reviews myself. But when one after another of these soul-less, self-important parasites savaged The Professor - and then the film never saw the inside of a theater here in the States, I realized what a horrid, arrogant lot they are. These early reviews can be critical - especially those from so-called "Top Critics"- as they provide a blueprint for the "lock-step" mind set to follow, as well as for those who never really see the film they're rating.

Current RT tally for Minamata is 33% positive, only two out of six ratings ...BUT, one bright spot, the two positives are from two of the most vicious Depp critics: Variety and The Guardian. Also, The Playlist review by Jessica Kiang, though not yet showing up, should also count as positive (B-).
"Stay low." ~ JD
"I don't like it in here . . . it's terribly crowded." ~ Hatter
"There's something about Johnny that breaks your heart." ~ John Logan, ST
"Tear deeper, Mother." ~ Wilmot

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Unread post by gipsyblues » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:59 am

A warmhearted "thank you " to you , ladies :giveflower: and a big :hug: to Johnny and his team !!! :heart4:

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Unread post by flo116 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:33 pm

Read there is not a release date for the US yet. I really want to see this movie hope we get to. I havent seen any Johnny movies except Fantastic Beasts in a long time :bawl:
"What interested me was that he has so many faces" "But each one is completely pure & innocent" Francois Marie Banier about Johnny