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Filmmaker Freida Lee Mock talks about what Tony Kushner has written since filming ended, how audiences around the world have reacted to the film and what she's working on now.

  • December 12, 2007
Wrestling With Angels - Tony Kushner and director Freida Lee Mock. Credit: Gary Leonard

Tony Kushner and director Freida Lee Mock. Credit: Gary Leonard

Since filming on Wrestling with Angels ended with the 2004 presidential election, Tony Kushner has "retreated" to quieter activities, mainly writing. He has written the screenplay of the film Munich by Steven Spielberg, and he also wrote an English adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage. The staging of Mother Courage, which featured Meryl Streep, was presented by the Public Theater in the summer program at Central Park. It reunited the creative trio of George C. Wolfe (director), Jeanine Tesori (composer) and Tony Kushner, who is now finishing his screenplay on Abraham Lincoln, also for Steven Spielberg, and working on his long-gestating play An Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism with a Key to the Scriptures.

Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner has played worldwide since debuting at Sundance in 2006. In places as disparate as Galway, Jerusalem, Hanoi, Denver, Berlin and Manchester, the film evoked laughter, tears and thoughtful consideration of the timely and timeless themes Kushner raises in his plays. Typically, audiences say that they are inspired by Kushner because he is able to look at the possibilities of change for good, despite the difficulty of the times we live in. Audiences also often ask how Kushner feels about the film. He actually hasn't seen the film yet, but he has been assured, I believe, by the positive reaction to it from his colleagues, friends and family.

Since completing the film, I've been working on several projects, some in development and some in production. One of the projects is called Manzanar and Maestro Kent Nagano, and it's about civil liberties in our post-9/11 world explored through symphonic music and the experience of Japanese Americans in the relocation (concentration) camps during World War II. The film uses an original symphonic score, choral music featuring children's voices and spoken words to dramatize the challenges to our civil liberties in today's global conflicts. I am also working on a project in development that uses music to tell the story of the historic relationship between China and the United States since the Cultural Revolution.





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