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Film Q&A: On the Rocks with Sofia Coppola and Rashida Jones

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. keyworthdavid@gmail.com https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/david-keyworth/49/b3a/b83 My debut poetry pamphlet is available at www.wildpressedbooks.com/david-keyworth.html
Event:
Sofia so good
Leading actress Rashida Jones and Oscar-winning writer and director, Sofia Coppola , zoomed in, last week, for a discussion about their 2020 film On the Rocks.

The event was hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

film, cinema, BAFTA, Bill Murray, Rashida Jones Sofia Coppola, On the Rocks, Joe Utichi
Joe Utichi, Sofia Coppola and Rashida Jones. Courtesy of BAFTA.


On the Rocks focuses on a father and daughter relationship, in adulthood. It sees Coppola reunited with Bill Murray, who starred in her 2003 Oscar Winner, Lost in Translation. Murray plays Felix, a charming New York art dealer, comfortably settled into a life of sophisticated luxury. There is, though, a hint of loneliness in the way he feeds his daughter Laura's (Rashida Jones) suspicions that her husband may be having an affair with a work colleague.

The subterfuge of spying on his son-in-law enables him to spend more time alone with his daughter than might otherwise have been the case. The surveillance operation results in a car chase where Murray talks himself out of a police reprimand. It also takes Felix and Laura to Mexico as their paranoid and gently comic suspicion reaches its apex.

Speaking to host Joe Utichi, Rashida Jones like Coppola, the daughter of a famous father - said: "Bill is a force and he's iconic and he changes the atmosphere in a room."

She added that, had she not already known him, she would have been intimidated by Murray. Coppola joked that he had disappointed not to be Jones' leading man. She added that Felix was "the last era of gentlemen [of his type] of this generation."

Sofia Coppola had previously worked with both actors on the 2015 homage to classic variety shows - A Very Murray Christmas. Coppola said: "It stayed in my mind that they had such a nice rapport."

Although On the Rocks does not have quite the cinematic artistry of compelling mood of Coppola's very best work, it is arguably better small-screen lockdown viewing. Both Jones and Murray have the ability to combine empathy with comic sparkle in their acting.

Coppola - to the accompaniment of a barking dog - spoke of how On the Rocks had been influenced by comedy film classics like The Awful Truth (1937), My Favourite Wife (1940) and The Thin Man (1934).

Jones observed that in the toughest times in her life, 'making a joke' was one of the things that kept her sailing on to calmer waters.

Speaking on the day of the presidential inauguration, both Coppola and Jones spoke about how they hoped the change in the occupant of The White House would bring more unity - "more of a participation in the world again," in Coppola's words.

Jones noted that Joe Biden was the first 'cast member' of Parks & Recreation, - the local government comedy series in which she acted - to become President. He appears in 2012 in "Ms Knope Goes to Washington", where Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) meets her hero on whom she has a crush. His second cameo on the show was in 2015, with his wife and now-first lady, Dr Jill Biden.

film, cinema, BAFTA, Bill Murray, Rashida Jones Sofia Coppola, On the Rocks, Joe Utichi
Official poster for On the Rocks. By Source (WP:NFCC#4) wikipedia.org

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