November 10, 2014

Reel Love (Movie Talk with Kennedy Ryan)

I was lucky enough to have a little movie talk with author Kennedy Ryan. She is not only a wonderful author who I adore, but she is my movie buddy. I drive her crazy with my excitement for movies. She is the first person I hit up when I am watching a random movie or checking out the newest trailer for what's coming out soon!   
Q & A

Kennedy, you and I both have a love for movies. Who doesn't? I mean, there are so many good movies out there. We have a bond when it comes to urban romance movies like the classics Love and Basketball, Brown Sugar, and The Best Man. Those all have unique and touching stories that you can't help but want to watch over and over again. So I wanted to ask you what is appealing to you and get to know your movie style.
What kinds of movies appeal to you?

It varies from love story to romantic comedy to thriller to suspense. One thing that crosses all categories for me is chemistry. Whether it’s two lovers or a band of brothers, the chemistry between characters is essential. Even rivals have a dark chemistry, i.e. Pacino and DeNiro in Heat, Nicholas Cage and Travolta in Face Off.

Quiet as it’s kept, I’m such a dude sometimes when it comes to movies. I love sophomoric humor. People always think of me as really sweet, but my taste in funny movies is positively bawdy. Stepbrothers, Wedding Crashers, Superbad, Ted, Horrible Bosses, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc…Hubby and I just gut bust laugh over movies like that and watch them over and over.

What was the first movie you ever watched and did you like it?

I can’t remember the first movie I ever watched, but I know my favorite movies to watch even early on. I ADORED the classics. Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story, both with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson and Doris Day, Notorious with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Lots of Cary Grant, obviously, and I didn’t list even half of them. My sister and I lived on black and white movies growing up.

What is your all-time favorite movie?
So hard to nail down, but some of my favorites are Legends of the Fall, Braveheart, Fight Club, Gladiator, The Color Purple, The Godfather (especially part II), Love Jones, Sliver Linings Playbook, Shawshank Redemption.

Who is your favorite actor who, regardless of the movie, you have to watch?
Audrey Hepburn, in anything. I’m mildly obsessed with the woman, even posthumously. Also, Denzel Washington, especially in movies like Glory, Malcolm X and The Hurricane. I love Cate Blanchett, Daniel Day Lewis, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslett, Meryl Streep. I have to wear a bib anytime Idris Elba appears onscreen to catch my drool. It’s been that way since he was on The Wire. Recently, my feelings and cinematic appreciation have deepened significantly for Micheal Fassbender. Ryan Gosling could appear in a Campbell’s Soup commercial and I would DVR it...for obvious reasons.

I also have an entire category for Hugh Grant movies. All-stars are About A Boy, Love Actually, Notting Hill, Two Weeks Notice, Bridget Jones Diary. He is so very British and can have my biscuits and tea anytime.

As some of us fans know, you are a HUGE Aubrey Hepburn fan can you tell me why?
In addition to her enormous talent, obvious grace and style (read me gushing here!), she was sweet, humble, magnanimous. A humanitarian who never forgot her humble beginnings. She took the hunger and difficulty she experienced during WWII and leveraged it to help others, especially through her work with UNICEF. It fueled her compassion for children starving around the world. I know some might think it’s silly, but when my family really struggled early on in our Autism journey, I looked at how she leveraged painful experiences to help others. It probably, even if only a tiny bit, inspired me to start my foundation for families living with Autism. Also, Audrey is one of most recognizable and widely acknowledged icons ever. She won an academy award for her first major motion picture role in Roman Holiday in 1954, and decades later we are still talking about her for a reason.  Though humble and kind, she knew and understood herself as a brand. For example, she recognized that Givenchy designed clothes that suited her, and cultivated a nearly exclusive relationship with the designer for wardrobe in her movies and in real life, helping her trademark that style we know her for today. She controlled her image. It wasn’t that she was phony. She was notoriously genuine and authentic. She just understood her appeal, and knew how to market that. She was humble and kind, but was fiercely intelligent and shrewd. I love seeing those qualities co-habitating in this one heart-stealing waif of a woman.

And what is you favorite Audrey movie?
My favorite Audrey movie is probably Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I mean, have you seen it? What girl could resist the fashion awesomeness and the grace and vulnerability of Holly Golightly and the splendid story by Truman Capote? (But Audrey MADE that movie!) And her haunting rendition of “Moon River”. Sigh! Sabrina and Roman Holiday hold a really special place in my heart. too. Funny Face – again fashion, but then paired with Fred Astaire. Classic! I own them all, of course!

For the curious, here is my Audrey Hepburn Pinterest board!

What movie has touched you the most?
I’ll give you a list of just a few of my “bawl” flicks. Twelve Years A Slave, is most recent. It is a move I could not sit through twice. When Lupita’s character Patsy was beaten, my sister and I literally wept in the theater, and you could feel the collective horror of everyone in that room. And then to realize that we aren’t that far removed from such a thing – it ripped me open and was my last in-theater bawl. The usual suspects are on the list, too:  Steel Magnolias, Beaches, The Notebook.

Do you think that any movie has impacted your writing style?
I don’t think it is a particular movie as much as a type of movie. I write a lot of angst and emotional intensity. I enjoy movies where there is this singular focus, near borderline obsession with the person you love, or a love that defies reason and good sense. The English Patient, The Age of Innocence, Wuthering Heights, The Piano, Unfaithful.

If your books ever made it to screen, what would be the soundtrack?
I have Spotify playlists that get into the specifics, but it would be pretty diverse. I have everything from Florence + The Machine (appears on every playlist) to Al Green, Mumford and Sons, Beyonce, Talib Kweli, Julia Stone, and Kendrick Lamar. My music, like the movies I like, cover a lot of real estate. I like a little of everything.




Any movies in particular you are looking forward to?

Too often life gets in the way, and I don’t get to the theater to see movies when they’re in the theater, so there are a few I missed or probably won’t get to see until they’re on cable or DVD! Gone Girl, Belle, Addicted, Dallas Buyers Club, and Fury. I also, as you mentioned, adore Love & Basketball with almost cult-like devotion, so I’m really looking forward to Beyond the Lights, the latest from Gina Prince-Blythewood, who wrote L&B.

About Kennedy

Kennedy Ryan writes contemporary romance and women's fiction. She always give her characters their happily ever after, but loves to make them work for it! In an alternative universe and under her government issue name, Tina Dula, she is a wife to the love of her life, mom to a special, beautiful son, and a friend to those living with autism through her foundation Myles-A-Part, serving Georgia families.
Her writings on Autism have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, and she has been featured on the Montel Williams Show, NPR, Headline News and others. Ryan donates 25% of her royalties to her own foundation and to her national charitable partner, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).
Her interview series MOMMIES DO THE MOST AMAZING THINGS is featured each month in Brooke Burke's online magazine Modern Mom.

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