Category: Cinema

Family drama hits new heights with August: Osage County and already predicted for big awards this season.

Playwright Tracy Letts won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for penning this piece along with a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award. After it premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in 2007 then hit Broadway at the Imperial Theater for two years. The story didn’t end there with a UK debut in London and a US national tour.

Letts then wrote the screenplay for the big screen version starring such heavy hitters as Meryl Streep and Julia Robberts. The story centers around a three story home outside of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Violet Weston, played by Streep, deals with mouth cancer, a husband that committing suicide, and the family arriving to help out. The family consists of Roberts as Violet’s daughter Barbara, Ewan McGregor plays her husband Bill, and Abigail Breslin is her daughter Jean. Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis play Violet’s other daughters with Margo Martindale as Violet’s sister, Mattie Fae married to Chris Cooper’s Charlie Aiken.

Juliette Lewis was nominated for an Oscar in Cape Fear and has continued in the biz with unforgettable roles like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Natural Born Killers.

Margot Martindale can currently be seen on CBS with The Millers, created the role of Truvy in Steel Magnolias and was in movies such as Dead Man Walking, Million Dollar Baby, and Beautiful Creatures.

Julianne Nicholson currently is in production of The Road Road for the Sundance Channel along with reprising her part on Boardwalk Empire.

Letts, Lewis, Nicholson and Martindale all arrived in Chicago for an appearance at Steppenwolf’s Women in the Arts annual luncheon and Nunn on the Run spoke with them afterwards.

Jerry Nunn: How was the Steppenwolf’s luncheon?

Tracy Letts: It was great.
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Steve Coogan

English actor Steve Coogan has starred in a variety of films over the years including Tropic Thunder, Night at the Museum, and Around the World in 80 Days.

He moved on to more dramatic roles with What Maisie Knew, and The Look of Love. He continues that trend with the film Philomena teaming up with Judi Dench.

Stephen Frears directs the true story about journalist Martin Sixsmith who helps Irish birthmother Philomena Lee find the child she had lost to adoption 50 years prior.

The story takes many twists and turns leading to the discovery of her son Anthony all the while marveling at Lee’s dignity and charm. At early festival screenings this flick took home the Venice Queer Lion Prize and the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival.

Nunn on the Run sat down with Coogan at his hotel recently to discuss the little movie that has some big things to say.

Jerry Nunn: Hello, Steve. I think it’s interesting that you started with a puppet show and a stand up comedy routine.

Steve Coogan: That is how I got started in the industry. I wound up doing stand up because that was the only work I could get.
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Joan Allen

Actress Joan Allen is known for the varied and challenging roles she has played over the years onstage, film, and television.

Born in Rochelle, Illinois this local talent studied at Eastern Illinois University where she performed with John Malkovich. She joined the Steppenwolf Theatre Company when he asked her and has been a member ever since.

Allen won a Tony Award for Burn This on Broadway then received three Academy Award nominations for the films Nixon, The Crucible, and The Contender. She starred in The Ice Storm, Face/Off and Pleasantville then took over The Bourne franchise as CIA Department Director Pamela Landy.

She now returns to her roots to reunite with Chicago’s theater scene after over two decades to Steppenwolf’s The Wheel. It’s the story of a woman named Beatriz who goes on a journey in the middle of war torn times in Spain. Nunn on the Run called her to discuss the past, present, and future of her career.

Jerry Nunn: Hello, Joan. I originally met you at a screening for your movie Off the Map.

Joan Allen: That was a while ago!
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With gay marriage finally passed in Illinois along comes a film that shows exactly why it is so important that we have equal rights.

Born from the YouTube video entitled It Could Happen To You, the documentary Bridegroom tells the story of Shane Bitney Crone and his partner Tom Bridegroom. After Bridegroom’s tragic death Crone is ostracized by his partner’s family and quickly shown how equal rights would have changed the funeral proceedings.

Director Linda Bloodworth-Thomason pieced together footage to make a film that makes audiences chuckle as well as weep by the end. Bridegroom was screened all over the world then finally for Oprah Winfrey Network and Netflix on the same day. Pick it up to show your friends and family available on DVD November 19.

November is a hot month for gay themed movies such a Dallas Buyers Club being released over the weekend. Matthew McConaughey transforms himself in this true story about Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician, who becomes HIV-positive and how it changes his life.  Jared Leto is a must see as Rayon and may be an Oscar contender this year.

While you are at Landmark Century Cinema hop over to Philomena opening November 22. Another true story based on a journalist taken on a journey with a woman named Philomena Lee played by Judi Dench a birthmother looking for her lost child. The preview gives too much away so I won’t tell you more about it but this story of adoption, nuns, and a gay fella really hit home with this Nunn.

If you need more queer cinema head over to Reeling Film Festival this week and look for interviews from the stars coming soon! Complete schedule is at

Derek Magyar

Actor Derek Magyar has bounced back and forth from film to television over the years. Many will remember him starring as the lead character X in Boy Culture. He was in the fourth season of Star Trek Enterprise playing Commander Kelby with more television in Boston Legal, Charmed, Medium, and CSI NY to name a few.

He directed and produced the year-end release of Flying Lessons starring Academy Award winner Christine Lahti and nominee Hal Holbrook. It’s the story of a woman returning home after her father’s suicide. We talked to him about it and other endeavors for the New Year.

Jerry Nunn: Hi, Derek.

Derek Magyar: Hi, I apologize for being a little late. I was up in the mountains where I had no phone reception.

JN: I wish I were up there with you. It’s cold here in Chicago. Do you hike?
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Michael Shannon

Actor Michael Shannon is making a big splash in the hit summer movie Man of Steel playing General Zod but his background is even more interesting. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky and was raised there as well as Chicago, Illinois by divorced parents. He then attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.

He became stage actor in Chicago helping to form A Red Orchid Theatre. He then worked with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Northlight Theatre. He originated the role of Peter Evans in Bug then starred in the film adaptation with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick, Jr. It was written by Steppenwolf ensemble member Tracy Letts.making a big splash in the hit summer movie Man of Steel playing General Zod but his background is even more interesting. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky and was raised there as well as Chicago, Illinois by divorced parents. He then attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.

He debuted in the movie Groundhog Day leading to several other roles in Jesus’ Son, Pearl Harbor, 8 Mile, and Vanilla Sky. Revolutionary Road earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

With HBO’s Boardwalk Empire he tackled TV before returning back to Red Orchid once again.

We caught him on the red carpet at Rockit Bar & Grill to hear about his upcoming projects and what it was like battling Superman.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Michael. That were intense fight scenes in the Man of Steel. Describe the experience.

MS: (Michael Shannon) There was a lot of training. I trained for months and months by myself then they brought me in and Russell Crowe for the fight we have at the beginning of the film. They also had Antje Traue who plays Faora come in along with Henry Cavill of course so it was just the four of us. We worked for hours and hours in a warehouse in Naperville. We did lots of conditioning and stunt moves.

JN: You are attending Wizard World in Rosemont on August 10. Are you ready for the crazy fans at the signing?

MS: So far people have been very respectful. No one has tried to rip my clothes off or anything. I am just happy people enjoy this. We put a lot of work into it and it is just nice to see people get something out of it.

JN: Talk about the new show at Red Orchid for you. I heard there is a bromance.

MS: It is a play called Simpatico. It is our first Sam Shepherd play. We have been around for 20 years and we are celebrating that anniversary with a play that is also 20 years old. It features a relationship of two old best friends that are played by me and Guy Van Swearingen, who started the company. We have also been friends for 20 years so there is a lot of parallels.

JN: When does the run start?

MS: It opens July 8.

JN: I will have to come check it out!

Visit for details on the new play. Get your gay geek on with Shannon and Zachary Quinto at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in August with more info at

Helen Reddy

Seventies hit maker Helen Reddy is returning to the spotlight at the Arcada Theatre this month. Coming out of Australia she went from troubled waters to international success with fifteen singles in the top 40. “I Am Woman” roared into households becoming an anthem for feminists. She won many awards including being the first Australian to win a Grammy. She hosted a variety show along with her numerous television appearances over the years.

In the ‘80s she worked in musicals including Anything Goes and Shirley Valentine. Afterwards she took a break from performing but now heads out on tour on her own terms. We talked about her long history and new lease on life on the phone.

Jerry Nunn: Hello, Miss Reddy. Where in the world are you?

Helen Reddy: I’m in LA where it is one minute after eight.
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