Hollywood director comes home

Kosinski to show ‘Only the Brave’

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - From this 2013 photo, former Marshalltown resident and now director Joseph Kosinski, left, poses with actor Tom Cruise at the Irish premiere of “Oblivion.” Kosinski directed Cruise in the science fiction film.

As a youth who spent his formative years in Marshalltown, Joe Kosinski watched many movies at the Orpheum Theater. Saturday, Kosinski will return as a film director.

This time the setting is a newly refurbished Orpheum Theater for a 7 p.m. public showing of “Only the Brave,” his most recent work and a major studio film release in 2017.

Kosinski will talk about the making of the film.

A special question and answer session will follow after the presentation.

“Only the Brave” stars Academy Award winners Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Connelly. They were joined by Academy Award-nominee Josh Brolin and up and coming actor Miles Teller.

In a interview earlier this year with the Times-Republican, Kosinski said he was inspired to make “Only the Brave” after reading an account of the deaths of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, killed battling a horrific blaze near Yarnell, Ariz., in 2013.

“Heroes don’t always carry guns was a point I wanted to make in the film,” Kosinski said. “I was deeply drawn to the lives of two of the firefighters, the late Eric Marsh played by Brolin and Brendan McDonough by Teller.

McDonough was the only member of the team who survived. The Hotshots, based in Prescott, Ariz., dedicated their lives protecting the Yarnell residents.

Kosinski said he spent a lot of time in Prescott soliciting comments from residents.

He talked to McDonough at length, as well as Amanda Marsh, Eric’s spouse.

“We are grateful Mr. Kosinski reached out to us,” Orpheum Executive Director Bob Untiedt said. “I think of it of his way of giving back to the community. It is really exciting, I hope it leads to other similar events.”

Kosinski, a 1992 Marshalltown High School graduate, moved to Marshalltown at age 5, and has fond memories.

“I have come to appreciate the freedom I had while growing up in Marshalltown, being able to ride my bicycle around and going to movies at the Orpheum” he said. “Having lived in Manhattan (a New York city borough) for 10 years and now the Los Angeles area, the freedom was special.”

After MHS, Kosinski attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

At Stanford he earned a degree in mechanical engineering.

Academia again called, this time to Columbia University in New York City, where he earned a Masters in Architecture.

In a 2010 interview with the T-R, Kosinski said architecture allowed him to hone his skills with computer-generated graphics, which became a valuable skill he incorporated into several short films and commercials.

Those short films opened the door with Nike and other companies.

“He really must have sold himself well,” because they (studios) gave him huge projects to do,” said film aficionado and retired educator Tom La Ville of Marshalltown. “‘Tron Legacy’ was an enormous project, followed by ‘Oblivion,’ an equally complicated task. ‘Oblivion’ was originally a short story Kosinski wrote. That was followed-up by a screen play and then the film.”

Kosinski said he wrote the story to “get his foot in the door, thinking he could make it into a film with a small cast of characters.”

His recommendation to others contemplating a film career: “Just do it. Make something. Put it out there and if it is good, it will be noticed.”

Aspiring Iowa film makers may hear that advice when they meet with Kosinski prior to the “Only the Brave” showing.

The discussion is open only to film makers, according to Produce Iowa, the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s Film Office.

“We are expecting 20 to 30 filmmakers from around the state to show up and chat with him in advance,” Untiedt said. “I am grateful to Produce Iowa for being a part of this … to help us think about people and Mr. Kosinski.

The Orpheum homecoming will be special to Kosinski.

“The first film I remember seeing in the Orpheum was “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” with my dad in the summer of 1981,” he said. “To this day it remains one of my all time favorites. Other favorites are ‘2001-A Space Odyssey’ and the 1982 “Blade Runner.”

Tickets for the “Only the Brave” showing are $10, with half of all proceeds going to a special fund for the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. For more information, contact 641-844-5920.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611, or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com