Go to Main Content
  • Filter by ...
All Talks

Courage: Against All Odds

Peter Cowie, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Verhoeven
Tackling our main theme of this year, jury president Paul Verhoeven and jury member Maggie Gyllenhaal kick off this edition of Berlinale Talents. Working since the 1970s between the Netherlands and Hollywood, between art house and blockbuster, Dutch director and screenwriter Verhoeven (Elle) has redefined the conventions of genre filmmaking, in particular science fiction (Total Recall) and the erotic thriller (Basic Instinct). Playing the masochistic lead of the 2002 black comedy Secretary launched the career of American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who over the next decade would rise from indie queen to Hollywood A-list, lauded with a Golden Globe and a nomination for the Academy Award. From depictions of onscreen intimacy to the pitfalls of navigating an unforgiving industry, the two reflect on their most courageous moments.
Peter Cowie

A film historian and former international publishing director of Variety magazine, Peter Cowie has written more than 30 books on major figures and eras of world cinema, including Bergman, Welles, Coppola and Kurosawa. He published and edited the annual International Film Guide for 40 years and has contributed numerous commentaries to Criterion’s DVD collection. He has been a consultant to Berlinale Talents since the programme’s inception in 2003.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Celebrated American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of the outstanding talents of her generation. After studying literature at Columbia University in New York and acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, she became known for her roles in Donnie Darko (dir: Richard Kelly, 2001) and in Spike Jonze’s Berlinale Competition entry Adaptation (2002). Her big breakthrough came when she played the lead in the film Secretary (dir: Steven Shainberg, 2002). For it she received her first Golden Globe nomination and won several awards, including an IFP/Gotham Award for Breakthrough Performance. She went on to star in, e.g., Mike Newell’s Mona Lisa Smile (2003), Marc Forster’s Stranger than Fiction (2006), Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center (2006), Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008), Sam Mendes’s Away We Go (2009), and Roland Emmerich’s White House Down (2013). For her role in Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart (2009) she was nominated for an Oscar®. In 2014 she headlined the British TV series The Honourable Woman, for which she garnered a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy nomination. Gyllenhaal, who in recent years has performed on Broadway, is currently cast to star in The Deuce, a new HBO series that she is also producing.

Paul Verhoeven

After studying mathematics and physics, Paul Verhoeven turned to filmmaking in the mid-1960s. His erotic thriller TURKISH DELIGHT (1973) was a big hit in the Netherlands and garnered an Academy Awards nomination, while SOLDIER OF ORANGE (1977) was nominated for a Golden Globe. Moving to Hollywood, he made ROBOCOP (1987), TOTAL RECALL (1990), BASIC INSTINCT (1992), which was nominated for two Academy Awards, STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997) and HOLLOW MAN (2000). He then returned to the Netherlands to film BLACK BOOK (2006) and to focus on writing. Most recently, his film ELLE (2016) won two Golden Globe Awards.