Unholy truth

Bobby Cannavale on Spotlight, "a really honest film."

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Vinyl star Bobby Cannavale on Spotlight: "I'm a huge fan of the movie."
Vinyl star Bobby Cannavale on Spotlight: "I'm a huge fan of the movie." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

At the dinner he co-hosted with Laura Linney, Kelli O’Hara and Christian Borle for Spotlight, which stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Brian d'Arcy James, Liev Schreiber and John Slattery, Bobby Cannavale spoke with me about Tom McCarthy's latest film and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho when I brought up Kent Jones' take on Hitchcock/Truffaut. He is starring in The Wolf Of Wall Street screenwriter, Terence Winter's, Vinyl with Olivia Wilde, cinematography by Reed Morano, produced by Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese. Cannavale worked with McCarthy in The Station Agent with Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Michelle Williams and Win Win with Amy Ryan and Paul Giamatti.

Bobby Cannavale at the Woody Allen Blue Jasmine lunch honoring Cate Blanchett
Bobby Cannavale at the Woody Allen Blue Jasmine lunch honoring Cate Blanchett Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Tom McCarthy's astutely paced newsroom thriller, edited rigorously by longtime collaborator Tom McArdle, does not fall into the trap of explanatory flashbacks. The Spotlight team of The Boston Globe moves forward through hard work, tackling the intricate cover-up system in place to hide the child abuse committed by Catholic priests over many years and the eventual settlement payouts by the Church.

Anne-Katrin Titze: You are hosting the dinner tonight. What is your connection to Spotlight?

Bobby Cannavale: I'm a huge fan of the movie. I mean, it's an important film. It's a really honest film. It's told in a really honest and truthful way with honest and truthful performances. And I've made a couple of movies with Tom McCarthy, that's why I agreed to host it.

AKT: I agree with you when you call it honest. No flashbacks…

BC: …No sensationalism, nothing to, like, manipulate you emotionally. Just sort of the facts, which is what these guys do, these journalists. What these guys did. They just told the story. That's what the movie does. By the end of the film, when all those names are crawling on the end - it's earned its right to roll all those names. That's when it all clicks emotionally.

AKT: Do you have a favourite scene in the movie? One that for you is at the core of it?

"If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one," says Spotlight leader Robby (Michael Keaton), as his team's progress continues to grow.

BC: You know, there's a line where he says: It takes a village to build a community, it takes a village to knock it down. Something like that, I'm paraphrasing that. The honesty of that sentiment. That's true. And in such an insulated world as there was up there in Boston, and even among those guys whose jobs are to tell the truth. They have this moment in the movie, where they say, "Oh, gosh, we missed this. We have to tell this story." There's a sort of brutal honesty in admitting that.

AKT: What are you working on at the moment? What's coming up for you?

Brian d'Arcy James with co-hosts Kelli O'Hara and Bobby Cannavale
Brian d'Arcy James with co-hosts Kelli O'Hara and Bobby Cannavale Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

BC: I have a show coming out next year called Vinyl in February.

AKT: I just did a post-screening discussion with Olivia Wilde on Meadowland.

BC: Oh, yeah? Very good movie.

AKT: She is your co-star in Vinyl and of course, producing is Martin Scorsese.

BC: Yeah. It's all good. We just wrapped. It comes on in February and I haven't seen it even. So I'm going to watch it and hopefully get as much enjoyment as I did making it. I think it's pretty good.

AKT: Have you seen Hitchcock/Truffaut?

BC: I haven't seen it but I want to see it.

AKT: Martin Scorsese is great in it. He makes very insightful comments on Hitchcock. Do you have a favorite Hitchcock movie?

BC: Hitchcock or Scorsese?

AKT: I'd like to hear both.

BC: Scorsese - I could go on and on about Marty and his movies. With Hitchcock… I think Psycho is truly like the first horror thriller.

AKT: Were you terrified when you first saw it?

BC: I was terrified. I remember being a kid and knowing that black and white movies were before my time and still being terrified watching that movie.

Read what Spotlight screenwriter Josh Singer told me at the dinner.

Coming up, director Tom McCarthy and Brian d'Arcy James in the spotlight.

Spotlight is in theatres in the US and will open in the UK on January 29, 2016.

Vinyl premieres on HBO in February 2016.

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