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Robert Allan Ackerman, Director of ‘The Reagans’ and ‘Life With Judy Garland,’ Dies at 77

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Robert Allan Ackerman, a director of film, TV and theater known for his work on the TV movie “The Reagans” and the miniseries “Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows,” has died. He was 77.

Ackerman died peacefully on Monday, January 10, a rep announced Thursday.

Ackerman was a five-time Emmy nominee and two-time Golden Globe nominee, and in his career he worked extensively with talent on screen and on stage such as Al Pacino, Ann Bancroft, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Richard Gere, Richard Chamberlain, John Malkovich, Victor Garber, Farrah Fawcett, Kirstie Alley and Judy Davis.

“I love Bob. I loved being around him, his aurora, his steady peace,” Al Pacino said in a statement remembering Ackerman. “To work with him was joyous. He understood the language of theater art and communicated it with such ease. His gift was intangible and there’s no way of understanding how he created. When an artist has that special gift it is unexplainable, it just happens. When he stopped directing, he started writing again and his writing also had that same magic. He will be missed.”

Ackerman started his directing career in the late 1970s for the New York Shakespeare Festival and Public Theatre, directing several of Thomas Babe’s original works. Into the ’80s he directed Broadway productions of Martin Sherman’s “Bent” starring Richard Gere and David Dukes, “Slab Boys” with Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Val Kilmer, “Extremities” starring Susan Sarandon. He’d later direct Peter Allen in “Legs Diamond” and Pacino in Oscar Wilde’s “Salome.”

He would re-team with Sarandon for the 1994 film “Safe Passage,” as well as transition to other film and long-form TV projects. In 2001 he directed “Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows” starring Judy Davis and Victor Garber, which netted him a DGA Award and Emmy nomination, among others. He’d earn his second Emmy nomination for “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone” starring Anne Bancroft and Helen Mirren.

In 2003 he directed a TV movie intended for CBS called “The Reagans” starring James Brolin and Davis, but a month before the film was to air, the film was caught in controversy when conservatives criticized the portrayal of the Reagan family and felt what was intended to be a love story of Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan was too overtly political. Much of the criticism however was aimed at scenes from a leaked script that were edited, changed or did not make it into the final film, but the TV movie ultimately aired on Showtime rather than on CBS. Despite the controversy, Ackerman still received an Emmy nomination for an Outstanding Made for Television Movie.

Robert Allan Ackerman’s son Nicholas, who was a bassist for the New York rock band The Virgins, died in 2017. Ackerman is survived by his sister Suzanne Ackerman and his niece Jennifer Lehman Cashman.

Original Article: thewrap.com

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The Hardest Costume Design Challenge on ‘Cyrano’ Had Nothing to Do With the Lead Character

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This story about the “Cyrano” costume design first appeared in the Below-the-Line Issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.

The real Cyrano de Bergerac lived in France in the 17th century, and the Edmond Rostand play that immortalized him begins in 1640. But director Joe Wright made a conscious decision to move the action up a century for his new musical “Cyrano,” which stars Peter Dinklage as the poetic swashbuckler.

“The idea was to re-create Cyrano around the mid-1700s to give the idea of lightness through the costumes,” costume designer Massimo Cantini Parrini said. “The 1600s, while a beautiful period to represent, is very set and rigid. Setting a musical in the 1700s allowed us to make everything light and airy at the same time.”

Parrini achieved that lightness by using delicate and transparent fabrics inspired by watercolors from the 1700s that he’d seen in a museum in Rome. “The colors were so watery and ethereal that I wanted to re-create them through the costumes, using more fabrics one on top of the other, with different colors,” he said.

He worked with natural fibers such as silk and linen, along with fabrics like organza that are “delicate but full-bodied at the same time.” He added, “For me, it is very important to maintain the criteria of the costume itself while capturing the essence of the historical period that I have to represent.”

Costume design for Peter Dinklage’s Cyrano

But Parrini occasionally used costumes that weren’t strictly accurate to the period. “Bringing modernity to a historical language is very important for understanding the costumes,” he said. “It is important for me that the costume is understood even by an audience that knows nothing of the past.”

He also needed to pay attention to the requirement that costumes would need to move with actors who suddenly turned into dancers. “I enjoyed using materials that aided me in creating movement,” he said. “For example, it was wonderful to see the soldiers in their rigid uniforms suddenly become light as air during the dance sequences.”

Costume sketch for the character of De Guiche

His favorite articles of clothing, though, were the ones he designed for Ben Mendelsohn’s villain, De Guiche, while the most challenging designs were for the nuns in a convent where Cyrano’s longtime secret love, Roxanne, lives after her husband is killed in battle. (Costumes for Roxanne, played by Haley Bennett, were designed by Jacqueline Durran.)

“The nuns’ costumes were very difficult because I was looking for modernity and antiquity at the same time—they caused me a great deal of suffering!” he said. “The result is beautiful, though, because the nuns are ‘aliens’ of the 1700s, maintaining an authority that the clergy requires.”

Read more from the Below-the-Line Issue here.

Photo by Jeff Vespa for TheWrap

Source Here: thewrap.com

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Original Post: omny.fm

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‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Hits $1.6 Billion at the Box Office

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Another week, another set of box office milestones to have fallen at the feet of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, continuing what’s been a regularly recurring theme ever since the multiversal blockbuster first hit theaters over a month ago.

Tom Holland’s web-slinger may have lost his box office crown to Ghostface’s return in slasher sequel Scream, but a running domestic tally in excess of $700 million has secured Spidey’s status as the star of the fourth highest-grossing domestic hit of all-time.

Source: wegotthiscovered.com

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