I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Features Editor
NEW YORK – 2021 was certainly not shy on musicals, from Bo Burnham’s Inside, Camila Cabello in Cinderella, Jon M. Chu’s In the Heights, Andrew Garfield in Tick Tick Boom, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story to, of course, the fan-favorite Encanto. And now, we’ll continue to sing and dance with acclaimed director Joe Wright’s take on the Hollywood musical – the lyrical and visual romance Cyrano, starring Games of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, Waves‘ Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Swallow‘s Haley Bennett.
Wright has been equipped to kick up the dust on this narrative ground for some time, directing a wide range of films, including classic literary works (2005’s Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina), Oscar-winning period dramas (Atonement and Darkest Hour), gritty action-thrillers (Hanna), big-budget family adventures (Pan), and televised mind trips (Black Mirror). In many ways, ingredients from each of these works make up the fabric of Cyrano. Wright stitches together a romance and costumes to swoon over with gorgeous production design and camera work to admire. Not to mention there are a few well-choreographed action elements that display the technical wizardry that Wright is known for. (Do you remember his Dunkirk sequence in Atonement,where a single-take camera travels through hundreds of extras? Or perhaps the underground fight scene with Eric Bana in Hanna?)
This new adaptation – scripted by Erica Schmidt, with the score and songs coming from The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and Matt Berninger and Carin Besser – surrounds romantic wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac (Dinklage). Transpiring in the 17th century during the Franco-Spanish War, the hale and hearty Cyrano has the power to capture your attention in a matter of seconds, whether he’s verbally jousting and sword dueling with the town’s fools or spitting fire in the name of love.
Cyrano’s heart beats for the luminous Roxanne (Bennett), a lover of literature and fierce intellect. He’s been secretly in love with Roxanne for some time, but her eyes are locked with newly arrived King’s Guard recruit Christian (Harrison Jr.). It’s love at first sight. However, as dashing as the young Christian is, is his mind ready to keep up with Roxanne’s poetic heart? This is when Cyrano comes to Christian’s rescue by arming him with the perfect words to say.
In December, MGM Studios invited Fresh Fiction to attend a New York press event for Critics Choice Association members. Film Critic Preston Barta sat down with director Joe Wright, composers Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and stars Peter Dinklage, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Haley Bennett to discuss the symphony of emotions and the visual and spoken poetry throughout. Enjoy the interviews below, and catch Cyrano in theaters with someone special this weekend!
‘Cyrano’ cast & crew interviews:
‘Cyrano’ composers interview: