For director and writer Mike Mills, his latest film “Beginners” is a very personal story. It is a fictionalized account of how his elderly widowed father came out of the closet after a long marriage and was diagnosed as terminally ill with cancer.
In a video interview with senior editors Rob Licuria and Chris Beachum, Mills revealed, “The goal wasn’t to mimic my dad or do a memoir. Even though it’s a portrait of my dad, I knew the first couple of months of writing, I had to make a story to communicate it to people … to not get hung up or precious about it being my dad. I think my dad would want it that way.”
Christopher Plummer, who plays the fictional father Hal Fields, is already a frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor. He has never won an Academy Award, Golden Globe, or Screen Actors Guild Award, although he was nominated for all those prizes in 2009 for his role in “The Last Station.” Ewan McGregor plays the son Oliver Fields, and Melanie Laurent is Anna, the new girlfriend helping Oliver cope after the loss of his father.
Mills began his career as a graphic designer and artist, co-founding the production company The Directors Bureau with Roman Coppola in 1996. He has directed many television commercials, including ones for Nike, Gap, Volkswagen, and Levi’s. His music videos have included work for artists Moby, Pulp, Yoko Ono, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. His first feature film “Thumbsucker” was a hit at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
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