Maze Runner Scorch Trials 1

The only thing weirder than the big mansion in the middle of downtown Albuquerque is the post-apocalyptic party going on inside. It’s December 16, 2014, and the Gertrude and Zachary Mansion at 2nd and Lead has been transformed to a very important location in The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Wes Ball’s follow-up to the 2014 hit The Maze Runner.

From top to bottom, the interior of the mansion has been transformed to the spot where Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) is separated from his fellow Gladers on their epic quest across the scorched Earth they discovered at the end of the last film. Here he’ll be drugged, endure (or enjoy) hallucinations, kiss a girl, and eventually be reunited with the group before meeting some incredibly important new characters.

On this day, number 36 of 55 shooting days, the temperature on The Scorch Trials set is near-freezing even as the location doubles for a super-hot environment in the film. Despite that, the camaraderie of all the cast members is particularly noticeable. Each seems incredibly excited to be continuing the story of James Dashner’s novels, and especially to be doing it together.

Below, read our full Maze Runner: Scorch Trials set visit report. Read More »

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Maze Runner Scorch Trials Dylan O Brien 700

Part of the appeal of The Maze Runner franchise is the ensemble cast. The chemistry and relationships between all of the characters are what make a movie like The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials so exciting. That said, if we’re being honest, Dylan O’Brien is the star.

O’Brien is Thomas, the mysterious young man who showed up in the middle of the Maze in the first movie, lead the rest of the group out of it, and now will lead them into the Scorch come September 18. So what exactly does that mean? We asked the actor last December on the Albuquerque set of The Scorch Trials.

We talked about the pressures of a sequel, how The Maze Runner franchise compares to Divergent and The Hunger Games, the character’s interactions, what he’s proud of both in this movie and in the franchise, Mario Kart, the Legend of Zelda…and more kissing. Below, read our Dylan O’Brien Maze Runner Scorch Trials interview. Read More »

Wes Ball Maze Runner

Getting time with a director when you visit a set is a privilege. The director is busiest person on set. Their attention is constantly fragmented by a million questions, prepping for the next shot, thinking about the next day, and trying to make the current shot as good as it can be. If you talk to a director on set, you’d better jump right in.

Which is what happened on December 16, 2014 on the Alberqueque, New Mexico set of The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. After a long day on set, observing filming and talking to the stars, director Wes Ball finally had a few minutes to chat. Ball directed the first film, which was a surprise hit and spawned the sequel, based on the books by James Dashner. This time, the Gladers have escaped the maze, only to be posed with a new challenge: the outside world, which includes the evil desert referred to as The Scorch.

We’ll have our full report from set soon, but for now, check out our Wes Ball Scorch Trials interview. We discuss the scene we saw shot, the look of the film, pressures of coming back, teases toward part three, blending the final two books, location scouting, the compressed timeline, the new character Brenda, the main love triangle and more.  Read More »

SimonPeggPaul

UPDATE: We can now confirm Simon Pegg will indeed be in Star Wars: The Force Awakens — but as we speculated earlier, his face won’t be. A behind-the-scenes reel shown at Comic-Con 2015 showed Pegg on set, and wearing an alien costume without the head. So we’ll definitely see him in the movie, but we likely won’t be able to recognize him. It’s not even clear if we’ll hear his voice.  Read More »

Eisenberg Stewart American Ultra

Last summer, on the New Orleans set of American Ultra, a bunch of other journalists and I played a game. Lionsgate allowed us to tweet about being on the set of the film – which is a rarity on a set visit – and the results were astounding. You see, American Ultra stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. And Stewart has a massive and rabid online following. With every tweet about being on set, we’d see who get get the most interaction, the most retweets and favorites. It was fun and I believe the winner was someone who got numbers well into the three hundreds.

You can read our full report from the set of American Ultra here but, below, you can read a transcription of the group’s interview with Eisenberg and Stewart. You get to read their playful interactions, fascinating insights and most importantly – thoughts on the film, which opens August 21. Check it out below. Read More »

Jesse Eisenberg American Ultra crop

American Ultra isn’t an easy movie to summarize. From its tone to its genre, the film lives and breathes because it rides a fine line between action, comedy, and romance. In fact, it seems the only truth on the set of American Ultra is that Wal-Mart is a great place to find deadly weapons.

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh and written by Max Landis, American Ultra stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mike, a West Virginia stoner who just wants to marry the love of his life. That’s Phoebe, played by Kristen Stewart. Things are moving towards this end until Mike is revealed as a deep-cover, highly-trained CIA agent. Suddenly, everyone is out to kill him.

Bourne with a bong this is not, however. Landis, Eisenberg, Stewart and everyone down to the prop-master and make-up effects team stand by the fact American Ultra is really a sweet, interesting, realistic romance. It just so happens to have insane action centered on an unassuming Oscar-nominee.

American Ultra opens August 21. Below read about our May 2014 American Ultra set visit, featuring Eisenberg kicking ass in a mega mart, and see two brand new posters. Read More »

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Ant-Man set visit

On October 9 2014 I visited my first Marvel set. The film was Ant-Man, Marvel Studios’ latest gamble and the final film in Phase Two of the company’s influential and uber-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mention it was my first Marvel set visit because, like me, Ant-Man represents many firsts for Marvel. It’s the first time they’ve hired a director, Peyton Reed, just weeks before shooting. It’s the first time their central hero, Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd), has a family. It’s the first time we’ll see a man shrink down to ride on ant. Those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Below, read 65 things we learned over two days — days 37 and 38 of the 74-day shoot — on the Atlanta set of Ant-Man. There’s also info from a day spent at ILM on June 15, 2015. Read More »

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Pete Docter has been making movies for almost thirty years. In that time, he’s directed three features. Two of those have been produced by Jonas Rivera. One of those films won the Oscar for Best Animated Film. The latest one might do the same.

That latest film is Inside Out, Pixar’s 15th creation, which is now in theaters. Co-written and directed by Doctor and produced by Rivera, it follows five emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl. As a follow up to both Monsters Inc., Docter’s first film, and Up, Rivera and Docter’s first team-up, Inside Out already has a ton to live up to. Then there’s the fact it’s the first Pixar movie since 2013, and the first original property since 2012. That’s a ton of expectations on top of the already-high bar Pixar has set in the past 20 years.

Speaking with Docter and Rivera, we talked about those expectations. We also talked about how large the movie got before focusing it down, developing the story, animation challenges, Saturday Night Live, Michael Giacchino and theme parks. It’s a wide spreading conversation, which you can now read below. Read More »

Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor 700

Note: This is my final Superhero Bits. Thank you all for taking this ride with me for 869 columns. Starting Monday, Angie Han will be taking over the mantle. Now, on to the Bits!

Has Mark Millar cast the lead in Superior? How does Jesse Eisenberg describe Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman? Is that film the most anticipated of 2016? Are the reviews good for Batman: Arkham Knight? What Captain America LEGO is a Comic-Con exclusive? And is Jai Courtney complimentary about Jared Leto‘s work in Suicide Squad? Read about all that and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »