“The Wire” and “House of Cards” actor Reg E. Cathey has died

2013. Reg E. Cathey in House of Cards, Season 1 (Patrick Harbron / Netflix)

Veteran character actor, with a distinctive deep baritone voice, Reg E. Cathey has died at the age of 59, after a battle with lung cancer.

He had an extensive career in both TV and film but started being recognized for his work for David Simon and HBO in the mini-series The Corner and in the fourth and fifth seasons of The Wire, where he played newspaperman turned political operative Norman Wilson.

He also was Prison Unit Manager Martin Querns in the HBO series Oz, and boxing promoter Barry K. Word in the FX series Lights Out starring Holt McCallany.

He gained critical acclaim with his role in the Netflix series created by Beau Willimon House of Cards, as the owner of the small barbecue restaurant enjoyed by Frank Underwood, Freddy Hayes, which earned him three consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, including a win in 2015.

Cathey had already worked for David Fincher before the first two episodes of House of Cards. Almost twenty years earlier, he played the brief but “meaty” role of Dr. Santiago in the chillingly memorable post-autopsy scene in Se7en.

1995. Seven - Reg E. Cathey.jpg


Nev Pierce’s Bricks, Ghosted and LOCK IN are online now

2015. Nev Pierce.jpg

“Ten-minute short films to chill, move and amuse…”

Neville Pierce (vimeo)


Click on the posters to open each short:

2015. Neville Pierce - Bricks[Ed.]

2016. Neville Pierce - Ghosted[Ed.]

2016. Neville Pierce - Lock In 00a[Ed.]

“Being a Filmmaker Wasn’t Something It Occurred to Me… You Could Be”: Film Journalist Neville Pierce on His Path Towards Directing

Scott Macaulay
February 5, 2018

Over nearly 20 years, film journalist Neville Pierce has collected bylines at most of the U.K.’s top film publications, including Empire (where he’s a contributing editor), Total Film (where he was the editor) and The Guardian. And while he worked as a reviewer early in his career, he’s best known for his long-form profiles of actors and directors, pieces that are deep dives into the art and craft of subjects like Michael Fassbender, Mark Romanek and, most consistently, David Fincher, whose sets he has visited and written about no less than seven times.

But since 2011 Pierce has been building a parallel career that particularly resonates with us here at Filmmaker. Moving from covering films to making films, he began to write — and sell — screenplays and, in the last two years, direct short films. Parlaying connections within the U.K. acting community, Pierce has made four shorts, three of which are premiering online today. Strikingly, they are different in style and content, illustrating Pierce’s range while also indicating, perhaps, his own process of artistic discovery — an exploration of different genres and tones while working, one presumes, towards an inevitable first feature.

PIERCE: The biggest lessons probably came from my two favourite contemporary filmmakers. I interviewed Steven Soderbergh for The Informant and he talked about fantasy versus reality, “Are you going to deal with the world as it is or are you going to constantly trying to turn it into something that it’s never going to be?” That thought had a big impact both professionally and personally. Acting out of the facts, rather than out of wishes. The other thing, which I keep at the top of my digital “to do” list, as a constant reminder, is from Fincher: “The lesson of Alien 3 is ‘Take all of the responsibility, because you’re going to get all of the blame.’”

Read the full interview


ART OF THE CUT. On editing Mindhunter with Kirk Baxter, ACE and Tyler Nelson

Premiere Pro Screenshot of Mindhunter Episode 1

Steve Hullfish
December 21, 2017
ProVideo Coalition

Mindhunter is one of those binge-able shows that has people talking. I spent a few days last summer at the Fincher production facility in LA where the show is cut and met one of the show’s editors, Tyler Nelson. One of the other editors on the series is Oscar-winner, Kirk Baxter, ACE, whom I interviewed previously for his work on Gone Girl. Both Gone Girl and Mindhunter were edited in Premiere Pro. (I was not able to talk to the third editor on the series, Byron Smith, who also cut the Netflix series, Altered Carbon.)

Kirk’s filmography includes numerous collaborations with director David Fincher. He was the additional editor on Zodiac. He also edited Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl. He won back to back Oscars for Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He also cut episodes of Fincher’s House of Cards.

Tyler Nelson recently cut the feature Rememory, and was the assistant editor on Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He was also an assistant editor on House of Cards and The Good Wife.

This installment of Art of the Cut is a little different. I spoke to Kirk and Tyler separately about specific episodes of Mindhunter. Kirk spoke only about his work on Episode 10, the season finale. Tyler talked about several episodes that he cut from earlier in the season, so we’ll start with Tyler’s interview and then move to Kirk’s.

The series is available on Netflix and it may be useful to check out Episode 2, 3 and 10 prior to the interview… or cue them up as you’re reading! The series has been renewed for season 2.

Read the full interview


Nev Pierce’s Next Steps

2004 Nev Pierce - Cannes
Cannes, 2004

Nev Pierce, one of the finest British film journalists, with a career of 20 years, and now a thriving Filmmaker, has revamped his website, NevPierce.com.

A nice occasion to revisit it, read his interviews to A-list actors and filmmakers, specially the essential David Fincher set visits and career interviews for Total Film and Empire magazines, from Zodiac to Mindhunter, plus a retrospective piece on Fight Club (all fully available in PDF), watch the trailers for his short films, praised by Fincher and Mark Romanek themselves, and rejoice at the announcement that he is co-writing a TV series and developing the thriller Packaged, as co-writer and director, with executive producer… David Fincher.

2015 Bricks (Nev Pierce)1.jpg
Bricks (Short Film, 2015)


Exclusive: DP Claudio Miranda on ‘Only the Brave’, Shooting Fire, and David Fincher Stories

By Adam Chitwood
October 12, 2017

Claudio Miranda has had an interesting career thus far. After working as a gaffer on films like Se7en and Fight Club, filmmaker David Fincher (with whom he’d worked on a few commercials and music videos as a cinematographer) asked him to serve as the cinematographer for the wildly ambitious 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That VFX-intensive effort scored Miranda an Oscar nomination and led to him then shooting visually breathtaking movies like Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, and of course Life of Pi, for which he won the Best Cinematography Oscar.

Miranda’s latest film reteams him with director Joseph Kosinski for the third time and also marks something of a departure—the true story drama Only the Brave. The film revolves around one unit of local firefighters who battled the Yarnell Hill wildfire in 2013 to tragic results. Josh Brolin leads a cast that includes Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, and Jennifer Connelly.

With Only the Brave hitting theaters on October 20th, I recently got the chance to have an extended conversation with Miranda about his work on the film. He talked about his working relationship with Kosinski, the challenges of capturing real fire onscreen, shooting on location, and his approach to shooting realistic visual effects.

But I’m also a big fan of Miranda’s work in general, so the conversation veered off into his early days working as a gaffer for Fincher, and we discussed his “trial by fire” experience shooting Benjamin Button as well as what it’s like to work with Fincher and how his gaffer work with other cinematographers like Harris Savides and Dariusz Wolski has shaped his approach. Finally, with Kosinski next set to direct the Top Gun sequel Top Gun: Maverick, I asked Miranda what the prep has been like on that movie so far.

It’s a wide-ranging and refreshingly candid conversation that hopefully admirers of Miranda’s work, or just those curious about cinematography in general, will find illuminating. I certainly had a great time chatting with the talented DP.

Read the full interview


John Carroll Lynch on playing the president, a killer clown, and the Coen brothers’ warmest character

A.A. Dowd
A.V. Club

Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about.

The actor: Over two decades of big- and small-screen work, John Carroll Lynch has become one of Hollywood’s consummate “that guy” character actors, capable of punching up the margins of whatever he’s in. Theatrically trained, the Colorado native made his first big impression as eternally supportive husband Norm Gunderson in the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning Fargo, before scoring a reoccurring role as crossdressing older brother Steve on The Drew Carey Show. Since then, he’s carved out an eclectic body of film and television supporting performances, playing his imposing stature for both paternal, Gundersonian decency (such as during a moving one-episode appearance on The Walking Dead) and for supreme, skin-crawling creepiness (like in Zodiac or The Invitation). Lynch has also worked with several major directors, from Martin Scorsese to Clint Eastwood to John Woo. Recently, he’s picked up the filmmaking bug himself; his directorial debut Lucky, starring the late Harry Dean Stanton in one of his final roles, opens in New York and Los Angeles this Friday, before expanding into further markets.


Zodiac (2007)— “Arthur Leigh Allen”

First thing’s first. Is Arthur Leigh Allen the Zodiac Killer?

JCL: No, and the reason I don’t think so is twofold. First, in performing the role, David Fincher asked me to play it as an innocent man. [Pauses.] Until the end. [Laughs.]

AVC: Until that last scene with Robert Graysmith.

JCL: And then the other thing was… and this is going to sound like a weird defense, but… Arthur Leigh Allen was a pedophile. To get to be a pedophile, to really choose to do that, consciously in your life, it’s my belief that you have to run through some really severe walls of societal norms and morals. It has to be a mania, an obsession, of such grand proportions for you to ignore the health and safety of children to do it—I don’t see how you go, “I want to sleep with children and kill people.” The only way I can think of it not being that way is if he molested children—[Aside.] this is a horrible answer—and he realized that wasn’t it. He just thought it was. But I find that hard to believe. Now, that’s a terrible defense of Arthur Leigh Allen. He wasn’t the Zodiac Killer, he wasn’t a serial killer, because he was a pedophile. But I will say that the circumstantial evidence that Graysmith presented, and that David Fincher expanded upon during the making of the movie, is pretty overwhelming.

AVC: But there have been so many suspects over the years. People have made these iron, convincing cases against several people.

JCL: Sure. That’s what the movie’s about, isn’t it? I think that movie is about the virus of obsession. And I don’t think that’s stopped. The Zodiac isn’t the first one to do that, obviously. The first one I can think of us is the guy here [in Chicago]. The Devil In The White City.

AVC: Oh, right, with the death hotel. Holmes?

JCL: Yes, H.H. Holmes. That guy may be the first recorded one. Although Jack The Ripper was before that. But it’s like the myth of vampirism. There’s just something attractive to people about these men who see themselves as above humanity. To be released from the constraints of moral society. We might be seeing that play out in other ways.

AVC: David Fincher has this reputation as an intense perfectionist, sometimes demanding 50 takes to get a scene right.

JCL: As a person who came from the theater, I love that. It doesn’t bother me at all. The fact that he wanted to do it again was perfectly fine with me. I was also aware of it, so I didn’t take it personally. I didn’t think, “I suck now” because we were on 50. I think if you get to 50 with Clint Eastwood, you’re doing something wrong. [Laughs.] But Fincher is meticulous. He’s like the other masters I’ve worked with. They understand filmmaking to a degree that I could only dream of. And they are following their passion. This is a poor analogy, but Picasso was a cubist and went through a wide variety of movements in his career. He could have drawn figures better than anyone if he wanted to. He didn’t want to. So that’s what it’s like working with David Fincher. He’s after something. And it takes him 50 takes to get it.

AVC: He knows what he wants.

JCL: He knows what he’s looking for, and he knows how to get it. I also think he likes the performances of exhausted actors. He finds something interesting about that.

Read the full interview

‘Lucky’ director John Carroll Lynch talks Harry Dean Stanton’s final role

By Jason Fraley
September 26, 2017

Podcast: 28:04 min

WASHINGTON — He’s one of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood history, from “Cool Hand Luke” (1967) to “Alien” (1979), from “Paris, Texas” (1984) to “Repo Man” (1984).

Now, just days after his death at age 91, Harry Dean Stanton gives his final performance in the indie dramedy “Lucky,” marking the directorial debut of actor John Carroll Lynch (“Fargo”).


Who can forget his suspect in David Fincher’s “Zodiac” (2007)? His acting chops are on display in two scenes: first as he’s called into the police station where the cops remark, “Nice watch.” They don’t seem to notice the clue right under their noses: the watch is a “Zodiac” brand.

“[Fincher] did a great job,” Lynch said. “That [acting] foursome — Elias Koteas, Anthony Edwards, Mark Ruffalo and I — had one of the best days on set that I’ve ever had.”

His final scene is just as brilliant, as Jake Gyllenhaal’s Detective Robert Graysmith enters Lynch’s hardware store, engaging in a silent staredown that suggests he’s the killer.

“Graysmith so desperately needs to know,” Lynch said. “The scene is written like the end of ‘Moby Dick’ where Ahab is tied to the whale. Melville writes, ‘The whale looks at Ahab, and Ahab looks at the whale.’ That’s how I saw it. They recognize each other in that moment.”

Read the full interview


My Pop Life #171: Praying For Time – George Michael

Ralph Brown as Aaron “85” (Alien 3)

by magicman (Ralph Brown)
12 Oct 2016
Magicmenagerie’s Blog

That autumn I was doing a play called Earwig by Paula Milne at The Pit, somewhere under The Barbican in London with the RSC. Then I got a call from the agent for a meeting in Pinewood studios for Alien 3. This was terribly exciting. I adored the first Alien film, and was less keen on the second, but devoured it hungrily nonetheless. The combination of horror and science fiction was thrilling and brilliantly done. I gleaned a few details before the meeting – it was going to be set on a prison planet with no women except Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver. It would be directed by a young first-time director called David Fincher. Much to the irritation of the RSC I had my (pretty long) hair shorn at Fish in D’Arblay Street – a number four if I recall. I’d been going to Fish since I’d done West at The Donmar Warehouse in 1983, and they’d been close-up witnesses to the disappearing head-fur since then. Anyway, I got offered the part of Aaron, or to be more accurate, Fincher recalled me and asked me which part I fancied playing. HOW COMPLETELY THRILLING !! (I thought) IS THIS WHAT MY LIFE WILL BE LIKE NOW??? I chose Aaron. The 2nd in command. The survivor. Good part. Or so I thought. This is an extract from my diary at the time – an actor at his first Hollywood barbeque, getting burned. Nobody explains what it’s going to be like, and even if they did, I didn’t listen. Who does ?

Alien 3 – Paranoia in Pinewood

Read the full story