In the time between getting nominated for Best Film and Best Director at the Independent Spirit Awards and shooting a freaking Marvel movie, Chloé Zhao hit the road with Frances McDormand and made a possible Oscar contender. No biggie.
Nomadland is the latest feature from Zhao, who was tapped to direct Eternals, the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following the breakthrough success of The Rider, a story of masculinity in crisis. She cast two-time Oscar winner McDormand as Fern, a 60-something factory worker who travels through the American West in a van to find a job. Searchlight Pictures submitted Nomadland to all the major film festivals this fall — Venice, Telluride, Toronto, and New York — which means distributor Searchlight Pictures expects big things next February on Oscar night. And if Zhao and/or McDormand do win, I hope they share this delightful story from the Hollywood Reporter.
Three months after she accepted the Oscar for best actress in a gold-hued gown, Frances McDormand was spending the night in an Econoline van in Chloé Zhao’s driveway in Ojai, regretting her decision to eat barbecue for dinner… That night in Zhao’s driveway, they had met up to figure out some practicalities of shooting in the confined space, where McDormand was going to sleep for character research. As her stomach rumbled, Zhao gently reminded the actor, “You wanted spicy chicken wings…”
McDormand continues. “And so, I literally experienced the worst, not maybe the worst thing, but a not-very-pleasant thing that could happen,” McDormand says. “I took a dump in the 5-gallon bucket. But it also was really great because we filmed some stuff.”
Now that’s method acting. Nomadland (watch the teaser trailer above) is scheduled to come out on December 4, followed by Eternals on February 12, 2021.