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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Japanese TATTOO Horimitsu style ここ数日の仕事をまとめて

Downton Abbey - Jessica Brown Findlay

When Jessica Brown Findlay was a little girl she dreamt of being a famous ballerina and for a time her dreams looked like they were going to come true. From the moment she saw her nursery classmate in a leotard and ballet pumps she was desperate to be part of that world and ever determined, at the tender age of eight, she sat her parents down and told them she would be a professional ballerina one day.After years of training with the National Youth Ballet and the Associates of the Royal Ballet, she was asked at the age of 15 to dance with the Kirov at the Royal Opera House in London for a summer season.

“Dancing with the Kirov was incredible and at the end of year 11, I was accepted to a couple of ballet schools but chose to go to the Arts Education School because it did A-levels and you were well looked after. It was like Hogwarts for ballet! So I trained there for two years but in my final year I had three operations on my ankles and the last one went wrong. When I woke up I was told that I couldn’t dance anymore. It was heartbreaking, because I had done all that training and my body was saying no I’m not going to let you.”

Jessica’s determination and spirit could not be dampened for long though and she was soon looking around for new challenges to embrace. “I was quite angry for a long while after that but my art teacher thought I was talented and encouraged me to apply to do Fine Art at St Martin’s which I did,” she explains. Once there, Jessica happened upon acting and then began attending classes herself. What happened after that surprises Jessica more than anyone. Having been seen by a couple of casting agents she landed the lead role as Emelia in the soon to be released film Albatross directed by Niall MacCormick opposite Hollywood actress Julia Ormond.

Her first television role is playing Lady Sybil Crawley, youngest daughter of Lord Grantham played by Hugh Bonneville and grand-daughter of Violet, Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith. Not only that but she has been tipped in Screen International as ‘the new Keira Knightley’ and named in Vanity Fair as “a new talent to watch”. “The casting process was ridiculously short for me,” she explains. “I read it and called my agent right away and said, ‘please can I read for this, I absolutely adore it. I came out of the reading really happy, which is a good sign and I got a phone call about a week later offering me the part.”

(On right: Bonnie Wright, Imogen Poots, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jessica Brown Findlay, and Hannah Murray. Photo by Michael Roberts for Vanity Fair)

The read-through for any show can be a daunting process as it is often the first time the cast meet each other and get a real sense of the script. But when you are sharing a table with Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter and Hugh Bonneville, for a young actress, that process is even more daunting.“It was fun in the end but I had the most incredible butterflies. It took a while to relax into it but it was great to meet everyone before we got to set.”Downton Abbey is set in 1912-1914 and women aren’t yet allowed to have the vote. The gender differences were obvious and women were expected to take a back seat when it came to politics and voicing their opinions. Lady Sybil, Jessica explains, is “very forward thinking, she’s at that age where she’s learning who she is and consequently she’s discovering this at a time when women were becoming more vocal and less subservient”.

(Jessica, on far left with her onscreen family)

The Downton Abbey estate is at the heart of the community where the Crawley family preside over their world and the servants are there to make sure everything runs smoothly. Lady Sybil sees a kindred spirit in housemaid Gwen, (played by Rose Leslie), and realising that Gwen wants to break free of a life in service Sybil makes it her business to help her find a job outside of the estate. This leads to all sorts of trouble and danger for Sybil with more on the way when a new socialist chauffeur joins the staff in episode four. “She hears through the grapevine that Gwen has aspirations to better herself and break out of service,” says Jessica. “Sybil jumps through hoops to make sure Gwen gets to her job interviews - there’s a real closeness between these two characters and when Branson the chauffeur joins the staff later on in the series, we see even more class barriers begin to break down.”

(Right: on set with Laura Carmichael and Maggie Smith)

With a core cast of 18 actors it is inevitable that there would be a lot of laughter on set and seemingly often at the heart of that laughter is Maggie Smith.“Maggie’s sense of humour is so dry and quick - she’ll just pass by you and out pops a quip that makes you cry with laughter – she is so much fun. If I’ve learnt one thing on this job it is to laugh and not take myself too seriously.”

Downton Abbey - Rob James-Collier

Having completed a degree in Business and a Masters in Marketing, few, including Rob James-Collier, would have pictured him sitting opposite Maggie Smith at a read-through for one of television’s most anticipated dramas, written by Academy award-winner Julian Fellowes. But that is exactly where Rob found himself earlier this year.

“I was really excited the day of the read-through, but it was a double-edged sword,” says Rob. “I was fortunate and unfortunate enough to be sitting opposite Dame Maggie Smith, which is brilliant because you’re like ‘wow, it’s Maggie Smith over there’. But then it began to sink in how amazing and when it came to my turn to say my lines I have to admit it was like going through puberty again. You know that moment when you open your mouth and it comes out really deep,” he laughs. “It always used to happen when I was in German classes! I was so nervous,” he recalls.

When Rob James-Collier left ITV’s flagship soap, Coronation Street, he decided to take his time before returning to television, opting instead to wait for the right script to come along. ‘Coronation Street was an amazing experience and an opportunity I’m really grateful for, but it was the right time for me to leave the show and I wanted to try other roles,’ he says. “I was offered a number of jobs but none of them really felt right and I knew I wanted to wait for something big – I just hadn’t found the part yet.”

When the audience meet Thomas, he has been acting up as Lord Grantham’s valet. Ambitious and driven Thomas is self-serving and always on the look out for a promotion. When Mr Bates turns up out of nowhere Thomas’ resolve to get out of Downton Abbey hardens and he will stop at nothing to realise his goals. “Thomas, being the arrogant character that he is, assumes he is going to get given the job of valet, but the rug is pulled out from under his feet when a mysterious man known as Bates turns up. Not only that, but he has a disability, which makes it especially hard for Thomas because it means Bates can’t fulfill all the duties of a valet.”

Unlike a lady’s maid, being a valet in a large country house didn’t automatically mean you were exempt from other duties such as: serving at dinner when guests are invited or helping with luggage when required. When Bates turns up at Downton Abbey with an old war wound it creates mystery and intrigue among the staff but for Thomas, Bates presents a bigger problem. “Thomas plans Bates’ downfall with his partner in crime O’Brien but their efforts keep failing and Bates keeps surviving so they up the ante and we see their efforts to get rid of Bates become more sinister as the series progresses.”

Playing an unsavoury character was new to Rob but he found that, like all of the characters in Downton Abbey, Julian had written Thomas in such a three-dimensional way that there were a lot of characteristics and emotions to work with. “The fantastic thing about the scope Julian has given me is that yes, while O’Brien and Thomas are nasty pieces of work, he writes in funny lines for him as well, so you’ve got a little bit of comedy as well as those other sides to the characters,” he explains.

“I had this idea in my head of how I would like to play Thomas but when I turned up on the first day Siobhan Finneran, whose CV speaks for itself, said less is more and let the lines speak for you, which was great advice and what could have been a pantomime villain is now hopefully quite understated but still hits the mark.”

Thomas has a secret, or at least he thinks he has but there are certain members of the staff who have worked him out. “Thomas’ secret comes out towards the end of the first episode. He is a gay man and in those times, not only was it considered a sin against God, it was also illegal and frowned upon within society. I think many of the staff are aware that Thomas likes men and they kind of brush it under the carpet,” he says.

“When we discover he has been having a tempestuous love affair with the Duke of Crowborough (Charlie Cox, shown on left with Hugh Bonneville), we see a vulnerability and naivety to Thomas that we rarely see again. He is hurt and angry that this man who he thought would take him away from Downton Abbey and make him a butler, is more devious than himself and as a result Thomas lets his guard down,” he continues.

If it wasn’t for a Salford University student failing to turn up at a film shoot one rainy Sunday Rob might still be working in marketing. “By chance a friend was doing a Performing Arts degree at Salford University and they were making a film for the end of term. One of the actors dropped out and my pal thought, ‘Rob’s game for a laugh, he’ll give it a go’,” he says. “I hadn’t any acting experience, apart from the donkey in the school play with a cardboard box on my head - (which scarred me for life) - and it was a rainy Sunday afternoon but I loved every minute of it!”

After that Rob found an acting coach in the Yellow Pages and began going to classes one night a week after work. Three months later, he had an agent and an audition for the BBC’s Down To Earth with Ricky Tomlinson, which gave him his first acting role. “I made loads of mistakes on screen, but what an opportunity to have for your first TV appearance and I was really lucky to learn on the job. That’s why I appreciate everything I get, because I know how hard it is and there are loads of actors out there better than me, so I am just grateful to be in work.”

NYFW: disco-disco

Blackberry Peak: Crumbs Cupcakes

I haven't done a "peak through my blackberry pictures" post in a while, so here it is!
Cupcakes are my cup of love. Crumbs is conveniently located in the epicenter of Glendale. With a short drive, I cheat on my beloved Sprinkles with Crumbs, to satisfy my cupcake crave.  Although I tend to get the vanilla with vanilla icing, staring at the candy-covered sweets brings out my inner-child instantly. The icing is the most important touch, & deliciously compliments the taste of this spongey goodness. 
If you live in the Glendale area, I highly recommend it, because you don't have to indulge in your cupcake fix with a long drive to other cupcake bakeries in L.A. Try not to salivate staring at these photos ;)

- Maria

M.A.C makeup inspiration

North & South - the Musical?

North and South, the Musical is a stage adaptation of English author Elizabeth Gaskell's 1855 novel. A production has just been staged in Boulder, Colorado.

Music by Marcia Marchesi
Book and Lyrics by Patricia Marchesi

Marcia Marchesi was 2003 Colorado Commissioned Composer, and twice a recipient of the ASCAPLUS composition award. She studied at the Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst (Vienna, Austria) and at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her music has been performed on NPR and music venues all over the world.

Patricia Marchesi teaches English literature at Northern Arizona University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. They started writing musicals over 20 years ago while in high school, and this is their sixth musical collaboration.

Photo by Quade Smith

Official site

oh, mr. lauren, what have you done!?

ralph lauren practically screwed his whole spring 2011 collection up - it's really sad, since i always liked ralph lauren's stuff. 
this western-style collection is more than appalling, it's hideous. i've tried to single out a few of them which are not so bad, but i think i failed.
"Mr. Lauren, in a fine show on Thursday, added too much beaded fringe, lace and metallic shine in his Western collection for it to be anything other than an appreciative take on the urban cowgirl ... the cool elements strive to paint the town in beaded fringe." by NYT 

spring 2011 pret-a-porter - oscar de la renta

this season is all about floral details, light colors and feminine suits at oscar de la renta. 
i especially like the first and the last looks below - the first is amazingly glamorous to me, and on the last one, the flowers are very cute. 
" ... a beautiful and savvily controlled collection, very romantic and very Oscar." by WWD

i love these shoes.

i found this pair on sea of shoes and i adore these shoes. the details are amazing. and the heels? i mean, wow!

The Continuing and Lamentable Saga of The Suicide Brothers

And now for something completely different... well, definitely looks off the beaten path of the stuff of period dramas but features some well-known faces.
Rupert Friend, Tom Mison and Keira Knightley in a short film (8:30 minutes) that will be available on Itunes.

"It's got an amusing stop-motion animated effect going on with its snowy exterior shots as the brothers make their way to a small barn where they attempt to kill themselves every day at two in the afternoon. This includes a failed hanging and a misfiring pistol to the face. It's all rather darkly comic and it's more of a mood piece than anything else. Knightley plays a fairy that lives with the boys and is frustrated by their suicide attempts and the fact they pay her no mind. It's entirely dialogue free." Rope of Silicon

My favourite quote: Tom Mison's deadpan delivery of how he and Rupert ended up with their fashion choice. "I think we'd both felt we'd look good in liederhosen...I've got nice calves."

Behind the scenes...

Thanks to fabulosida for link to video!

Downton Abbey - Laura Carmichael

Having Hugh Bonneville playing her father, Elizabeth McGovern as her mother and Maggie Smith as her grandmother, Laura Carmichael could be forgiven for thinking she had won the lottery when she landed her first television role as Lady Edith, the second daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham.

“I was working as a receptionist in a doctor’s surgery but I was a useless secretary and was about to go on tour to Dubai playing Viola in Twelfth Night when I got a call to read for the part of Lady Edith,” she says. “I was down to the last two for the part and I had to make a decision to pull out of Twelfth Night before I’d even been offered it because the director needed the weekend to think about it,” she says, “which could have been a mistake but one I was prepared to make if it meant I was in with even the smallest chance of landing this role.”

“I couldn’t believe it when I got the part and my parents were even more surprised,” she adds, “because I hadn’t said anything they still thought I was going on tour with Twelfth Night and didn’t know until they saw that my name had been taken off the tour website. It’s fair to say I had some explaining to do,” she laughs.

Laura plays Lady Edith Crawley, the second of three daughters and the less sought after but no less ambitious. Since she never stood to inherit the estate it is of no consequence to her that the will cannot be overturned and her anger at her older sister is palpable. She resents that she always comes second to Mary and that her father and mother barely notice her. Her sole ambition is to marry well and leave the shadow of her older, more beautiful sister.

“The relationship between Edith and Mary is very difficult and strained following the death of cousin Patrick whom Edith harboured feelings for and she goes out of her way to ruin her sister’s reputation.” Lady Mary however is more than a match for Edith and there is much heartache in store for both young ladies as the series progresses. One of three sisters Laura finds it hard to imagine treating either of her sisters the way her character does. “I’m very close to my sisters…we all look different and are different but there is a bond between us that is sacred so it was interesting to play a sister whose life’s purpose is to ruin her older sister.”

Despite the on-screen animosity between them Laura, Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) and Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) became very close during filming. “Michelle, Jessica and I became pretty inseparable on set and as most of our scenes were together we ended up spending our spare time watching DVDs in someone’s trailer,” says Laura.

With cousin Patrick out of the picture all eyes in the household turn to Matthew Crawley as the new heir and Edith is no exception. When it appears that Mary has no interest in Matthew romantically Edith sets her sights on him and begins to pursue him in the hope that finally she might find love.

“I think naturally I tried to play Edith with a certain amount of empathy because she isn’t inherently a bad person – just ignored,” explains Laura. “I immediately felt sorry for her and I think Julian sets that up in the first episode with the death of Patrick and how Edith deals with it. It’s not that she’s unhappy that she’s not the prettiest,” she continues, “she thinks she loved somebody that was taken from her and nobody in the family noticed. I want to show how she got to be so awful, because I don’t think anyone is just born bad and it’s written in a way which shows they are never just mean.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better first job in any way! I think Edith’s so bullied and there’s an element of her that’s quite comic, she’s sort of pathetic in a way but I love that; not that I think people would necessarily laugh at Edith, but her vulnerability is really fun and the fact that she’s bitchy with it is hilarious.” Laura will be watching the first episode with her sisters and friends although her mum will be on her honeymoon when the first episode is transmitted. “Mum’s wedding is the day before transmission and she is absolutely gutted she’ll be away when it goes out so I’ll have to get her a DVD.”

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