The M Match-Up: Tom Hardy vs Leonardo DiCaprio

How do The Revenant's two macho men measure up?

Hardy

If The Revenant is about one thing, it is conflict. Conflict between man and nature, man and bear, man and man.

In particular, it is about the conflict between its stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, who were previously on the same side as con artists in Inception (2010).

Let's see how they measure up.


CHARACTER POWERS

DiCaprio: He plays Hugh Glass, a wilderness scout who saves a bunch of fur trappers from Native Americans, but then he gets mauled by a bear. He knows the ways of the wild and has a native son.

Hardy: He is up for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar as John Fitzgerald, who is a creep. All this trapper does is complain. He is supposed to take care of Glass after the mauling, but instead leaves Glass to die.

ROUND ONE: DICAPRIO

DiCaprio is a mountain lion. Hardy is a tool.


STAR POWERS

DiCaprio: One of the biggest Hollywood stars in the world for two decades, he has appeared in one of the biggest films of all time (Titanic) and has worked with the most respected directors (Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood).

Hardy: The 38-year-old English actor's star rose slower than DiCaprio's, but risen it has. Supremely dedicated to his craft, Hardy excels in everything from gritty indie productions (Bronson) to blockbusters (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dark Knight Rises).

ROUND TWO: IT IS A DRAW
Both are super talented, rich and famous.


HANDSOMENESS

DiCaprio: One of the best-looking guys in the world, he matured from a teen dream to a leading man with ease. Now 41, he continues to date supermodels. Even as a mountain man in The Revenant, his piercing blue eyes give him an otherworldly beauty.

Hardy: With his bulging muscles and scary tattoos, he is obviously going for a macho look, but his soft lips and soulful eyes are decidedly feminine. To me, it is weird, although chicks obviously dig it. But in The Revenant, the mangy beard and half-scalped head is far from sexy.

ROUND THREE: DICAPRIO
Come on, there is no contest.


THE WINNER:

Hardy is awesome, but DiCaprio is just DiCaprio. Simply the best Hollywood has to offer.

Gold standard

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most highly decorated stars in Hollywood.

Here's a look at his acting laurels throughout his 27-year career, ranked according to the total tally of best actor and best supporting actor wins and nominations.

35: The Revenant (2015)
18 nominations, 17 wins

35 The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)
25 nominations, 10 wins

22 The Departed (2006)
11 nominations, 11 wins

18 The Aviator (2004)
12 nominations, 6 wins

11 Blood Diamond (2006)
9 nominations, 2 wins

10 Django Unchained (2012)
6 nominations, 4 wins

9 Inception (2010)
8 nominations, 1 win

The M Interview: Steve Carell is the big shot in THE BIG SHORT

Comedy actor Steve Carell shows he's a drama heavyweight in latest movie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zFyH2LR4nQ
STARS: Steve Carell (left) and Ryan Gosling (right) co-star in The Big Short.

When successful US comedic actor Steve Carell made a left turn in his career in 2014 playing a creepy convicted murderer under heavy facial prosthetics in the dark drama Foxcatcher, he was rewarded with Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

And he's continuing that lucky streak with another Golden Globe nomination for his latest film, The Big Short, based on a true story and currently showing here.

The 53-year-old is almost unrecognisable as Mark Baum, an overweight, cynical and impatient hedge fund manager with a conscience.

He's one of four outsiders who recognised the fraud, greed and stupidity of the banks and government regulators, and watched in growing disbelief as their forecast for an epic meltdown came to fruition with the global financial crisis of 2008.

That they took advantage of the situation and reaped billions in the process of betting against the collapsing US economy shows they were no heroes, but they tried to speak out about their findings and no one listened.

The Big Short is nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Adam McKay) and Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale). It also won top honours at the recent Producers Guild Awards.

Carell is unassuming in person, not a comic who is always "on".

At our interview at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills last November, we saw he'd shed the pounds and lost the unkempt look.

Not one to take his job home with him, he said: "When I'm doing a comedy, it's not wacky time at home."

He added that he's a pretty normal guy who goes home to his actress-wife Nancy Walls and their two children "because ultimately it's my job, as opposed to, I don't want it to just be who I am all the time".

Did you have an understanding of what happened when the markets crashed?

I had a cursory knowledge but I didn't understand the intricacies and the downright fraudulent activity that was going on. So that was eye-opening.

I think the last part of the film plays like a horror movie because you see it unspooling, seemingly out of control.

What was most frightening about it was when we were doing research and we were talking to analysts and traders, and they were recounting how they felt during that period. They thought it was Armageddon, the end of the world, and they didn't see it coming. And that's what they do for a living!

STARS: Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling co-star in The Big Short. PHOTO: UIP

Did you know much about the financial industry when you started filming?

I'm just an actor. I don't know much about any­thing.

I read the book (The Big Short is based on) when Adam (McKay) offered me the part. And then I had to read it again because it's so dense and complicated. But I don't pretend to know an awful lot about this. I think I learned just enough to make it viable.

Adam likes to improvise. We had to learn enough about the world so we could improvise within those characters and feel fairly confident with it.

Do you know anyone who lost their job or their house?

Yeah. One of my brothers lost his condo.

I think it affected more people than most know. So no bankers went to jail, they were all bailed out by the taxpayers, there was some outrage and then people seem to forget the situation.

Do you think The Big Short will make a difference?

It would be nice if it did. I don't want to be pretentious about it and say "yes", this is the beginning of a revolution.

But I think if it starts a little bit of a conversation, it's certainly a step in the right direction. And going to the screenings is neat because afterwards in the Q&A, I've been finding that there is sort of a palpable sense of outrage.

We did a screening with a bunch of 20-year-olds from a mall, who were really riled up about it. And that was exciting to see.

What made you pick the dramas that you have been doing lately?

I try to look for the humanity in the part. That's before the comedy or the drama. Because I never think of a movie as being necessarily a comedy or a drama, I just think of it as being a person navigating a story and relationships.

And whether it turns out to be funny or not, a character doesn't know whether they're in a comedy or a drama. So I try to approach movies in that way.

The M Interview: Don't ask Ryan Gosling about financial investments

He may play a slick Wall Street trader in The Big Short but Ryan Gosling has no interest in financial matters in reality

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hG4X5iTK8M

He's an actor who prefers to let his movies do the talking.

But publicising one's film is part of the game, so 35-year-old Canadian heart-throb Ryan Gosling is resigned to granting interviews, a task that has have grown exponentially since The Big Short's Oscar nominations.

The unlikely real star of the movie is US writer-director Adam McKay who comes from a comedy background (The Other Guys, Talladega Nights, Anchorman, Step Brothers).

His interest in the global economic meltdown led him to adapt a seemingly impossible-to-adapt book, Michael Lewis' bestseller of the same name, into a film that makes sense of concepts like credit default swaps and sub-prime mortgages in hilarious ways.

Gosling's character Jared Vennett, loosely based on a real person, is a slick Wall Street trader who narrates the story and is one of those who saw the financial crash coming.

The long-time McKay fan told M: "His movies are almost not even movies, they're like friends of mine.

"I check in on Step Brothers to see how it's doing.

"Anchorman is someone I try and catch up with when I can."

Unlike his The Big Short alter ego, Gosling has no interest in financial matters and doesn't follow the stock market.

He believes that bankers intentionally push away people with concepts like collateralised debt obligations because "it's meant to alienate you so that you feel stupid and you don't ask any questions".

EYE-ROLL

Gosling said: "I think my eyes roll when these things come up."

So how did he prepare for the role without knowing anything about the business?

"Adam is freakishly smart and very, very passionate," he explained.

"There isn't anything you can't ask him that he doesn't know.

"He provided us with a lot of help from financial analysts who were with us to answer our questions."

Since The Big Short makes it clear that history can repeat itself if major changes are not made, does he fear another economic meltdown?

"I think it's part of our own wilful ignorance in not understanding what was going on and allowing ourselves to be alienated from it that allowed it to happen," said Gosling.

"What Adam is trying to do is educate people on what happened. The only way to stop history from repeating itself is to understand how it happened in the first place and I think this is a first step in doing that."

So what investment has he made that has paid off?

"My family. I feel very lucky to have a beautiful, healthy daughter who's an angel. That's a great investment."

Gosling has a daughter Esmeralda, born in September 2014, to his US actress-girlfriend of five years, Eva Mendes.

"I don't know what to say except that I'm with the person I'm supposed to be with," he said.

Would he like a bigger family?

He replied: "One step at a time, please."

The M Interview: Concussion confession

Will Smith says he 'asked every question he could' to avoid playing doctor in American football movie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNCvaa-RogQ
Will Smith

The self-proclaimed "psychotically driven" Will Smith has achieved everything he has wished for.

His notable achievements: back-to-back box-office blockbusters, awards for his performances and acclaim for his early music career.

But not an Oscar, even though he's been nominated twice, for Ali (2001) and The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006).

The 47-year-old was definitely a contender this year with his Golden Globe-nominated performance in the drama Concussion.

But with the Academy Awards nominations excluding every actor of colour for the second year in a row, he recently announced that he is supporting his actress-wife Jada Pinkett Smith's boycott of the Feb 28 ceremony.

The hand-wringing at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is led by a black woman, has already begun, but the problem is more systemic than that.

In an industry where mostly white men are the gatekeepers and green-lighters of movies, a more fundamental change in thinking is required.

Smith should be in the room, along with other boycotters like director Spike Lee, to make a statement in person instead of being invisible.

Well before the #OscarsSoWhite controversy erupted, we met Smith at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills last November to discuss Concussion, which is currently showing here. Smith talked about making a change in his life.

TRANSITION

The charismatic US actor and father of three was as high-energy as ever, joking around till he talked about turning a corner in his life.

He said: "I'm making a transition in my life and in my career that is not completely clear to me yet. But with making a film like Concussion, I feel more useful. I'm looking forward to challenging myself and thinking of my material more as a contribution."

REAL LIFE: Will Smith plays Dr Bennet Omalu (left) in Concussion. PHOTO: AFP

Concussion is the story of Dr Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian doctor played by Smith, who discovers through performing autopsies of American football players that they are afflicted by a disorder he dubs chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE is brought about by being repeatedly concussed in the head over decades of play.

Unfortunately, diagnosis is not possible till after death, so the violent behaviour, manic episodes and subsequent suicides of many of the players were glossed over by the National Football League (NFL). It tried to suppress Dr Omalu's findings, almost destroying his career.

Smith almost did not take the part as he did not want to be known as "the guy that made the football-can-be-bad-for-your-health movie".

Also, his eldest son Trey, 24, played football for four years and he has been a fan his whole life, so Smith was deeply conflicted.

"I met with (director) Peter Landesman, who's an investigative journalist, so he was bulletproof. I was asking every question I could ask, to not have to be the person to make this movie," Smith recalls.

COMPELLED

Then there was the meeting with Dr Omalu.

"I was so compelled by his story that for me the hope that I had was to deliver this man's story to the world.

"It was much more about a man who had been treated wrongly because he was telling the truth. So I was much more compelled on that side."

And Smith's eyes were opened to the fact that spinal injury and broken limbs were not the only things to worry about when his son played the game.

"I had no idea that long-term brain damage was an issue with football. I had no idea that repetitive head trauma can cause brain damage. So my hope is that people just have the information. Everybody is going to make the decision that they need to make, but you have to have the information."

He has not heard from the NFL, but he has "talked to NFL players who are asking to see the movie".

"The science is irrefutable at this point and the movie acts as a compilation more than a revelation. Everyone can see it all together in one place. I think that the NFL and everyone involved is going to come to the table now to not resist but to begin to try to solve the problem."

Will Smith as Dr Bennet Omalu and Alec Baldwin is Dr. Julian Bailes in Concussion. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES

To prepare for the role, Smith watched five autopsies.

"I didn't want to just have seen one, I wanted to try to actually get to a place where I was comfortable with the process. I really connected with Omalu's spirituality in that process."

But in his own career, Smith is prone to self-doubt on occasion.

"I'm always feeling way short of where I want to be in terms of how I want to be able to say something. I don't consider myself smart or intelligent in that way. I consider myself a fighter. And that I keep grinding. And I am going to figure it out even with whatever I may lack on that side."

There is less doubt when it comes to his almost 20-year marriage.

On how the celebrity couple keep their long - in Hollywood terms, that is - union going, he said: "We just stay completely committed to burning away the things that we desire that are unrealistic.

"We got together with this really romantic idea of what it was going to be and it ain't that. So we climb and grow and we are both willing to say, 'Okay, I thought one thing and it's not true, let's find what is true.'"

Miley Cyrus to star in Woody Allen's TV show

Is Miley Cyrus Woody Allen's new muse?

The US singer-actress is heading back to TV for the veteran US actor-director's upcoming untitled Amazon series.

The six-episode show is set in the 1960s and will see Cyrus, 23, acting alongside Allen and veteran actress Elaine May.

Cyrus, who recently appeared in Sofia Coppola's Netflix special A Very Murray Christmas last year, has not been seen on the small screen since her Disney Channel hit show Hannah Montana ended in 2011.

 

My next few months look a lot like dis

A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

 

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