After helping to launch The Hunger Games franchise with a $700M hit, some would assume writer-director Gary Ross wouldn’t have much trouble making another film. And yet, following that box-office and critical success, Ross still struggled to get a passion project of his made. For a decade, the director behind Seabiscuit and Pleasantville worked on Free State of Jones, which has finally made its way to theaters.
Once the Civil War drama, which stars Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight, acquired financing, Ross still found himself doing whatever he had to do to make the film, including paying a few salaries out of his pocket and working for DGA minimum. The director — who also wrote Dave and co-wrote Big — discussed his latest film and career with us. If you want to know more about Ross’ upcoming Ocean’s 11 spinoff, Ocean’s Eight, click here.
Below, read our Gary Ross interview. Read More »
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With The Shallows, director Jaume Collet-Serra may have taken on his biggest challenge yet as a filmmaker. The director of Orphan, Non-Stop, and Run All Night made a film primarily set on the water, featuring an entirely CG antagonist, a great white shark, and a co-star that’s a seagull, whom Blake Lively‘s character names Steven Seagull. All these factors added up to a production that, Collet-Serra admits, wasn’t easy.
Collet-Serra typically relies more on practical effects, so The Shallows was a more CG-heavy experience than he was probably used to. The director was kind enough to take the time to discuss the experience of making The Shallows with us, and why the CG shark proved to be “the fear that lasts a year.”
Below, read our Jaume Collet-Serra interview.
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The Exorcist is the latest classic movie getting the TV treatment. Executive producer Jeremy Slater, who already experienced a different sort of franchise in 2015’s Fantastic Four, got out ahead of the fall premiere on Twitter. He tweeted that one reason he took on The Exorcist was so no one else would remake it. He also shared Deadline’s report that Alan Ruck had been bumped up to series regular.
Last week, Fox screened the pilot for The Exorcist to press. The show takes place in present day, though Google searches show that the Father Merrin exorcism still happened. Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera) is helping the Rance family in his church. Angela Rance (Geena Davis) thinks there’s more than just a degenerative head trauma plaguing her husband (Ruck), and her daughters are manifesting symptoms too. Ortega has vivid dreams of another exorcist, Father Marcus Lang (Ben Daniels), and the pilot features some new twists on classic Exorcist images.
We had a chance to speak with Slater during the reception for the pilot screening. Some spoilers follow, but most likely things that will be hyped up in the trailers for the show anyway. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The Neon Demon won’t be for all tastes, but the latest film from Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn is a singular and memorable experience. It’s the kind of movie that lingers in the back of your brain for days after your screening, resurfacing every so often with a startling image or strange moment. It’s very much a companion piece to Refn’s Only God Forgives, exchanging the broken and doomed masculinity of that film to explore the feminine world of professional models, superficial beauty, and other, gnarlier subjects that don’t deserve to be spoken about in polite company.
Refn himself is polite company, even when your conversation about his divisive new film (which I quite like) turns a little contentious. I sat down with the filmmaker and his frequent collaborator, composer Cliff Martinez, to discuss why all films find audiences, the future of the entertainment industry, and how making a controversial film is harder than it looks.
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A couple weeks ago, I got a chance to chat with writer/director Andrew Stanton about his new Pixar film Finding Dory. The film hit theaters this past weekend and earned an estimated $136.2 million, breaking the record for the biggest animated opening of all time. (Looks like my Summer Movie Wager pick wasn’t that stupid after all, although we’ll have to see how it does in the second weekend to see if it really has a chance to beat Captain America: Civil War this summer.)
I decided to hold off until after release to publish the full interview as we talk about some spoilers (so stop now if you haven’t seen the film). I talked with Andrew about the real and unexpected meaning behind the film’s title, how he tried (or didn’t try) to avoid the traps of “sequelitis,” how the sea lions and Sigourney Weaver got involved, and of course that story about the symbiotic relationship between the Disney’s story trust and Pixar brain trust that I shared last week. Read the full interview now, after the jump.
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A couple months back, Paul Scheer and the gang covered The Covenant on How Did This Get Made? Ever since then, Paul and I have been trying to arrange an interview with the film’s director, the great Renny Harlin, a Finnish-born filmmaker best known for helming action-packed classics like Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger.
It took a little while to coordinate the conversation, as Harlin has been stationed in China these past two years. But luckily for us, between finishing post on his upcoming Jackie Chan film Skiptrace and launching his new production company in Beijing, Harlin carved out an hour to take a stroll down memory lane.
During our chat, we talked about all sorts of things. From his mission to assemble the “sexiest cast ever” for The Covenant to his original choice to play the villain in Cliffhanger. But as interesting as details like that can be—and as wonderfully quotable as Harlin tends to be—they pale in comparison to the unexpected and over-arching story of Harlin’s career. A career that, as you will now see, never even should have been…
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Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is one of the most purely entertaining documentaries you will see this year, a tribute to the joys of cinema and the agonies of childhood. Directors Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen tell the story of Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala, two childhood friends who set out to remake Steven Spielberg‘s Raiders of the Lost Ark. When they were eleven years old. In 1982. Their efforts resulted in Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, which has found a cult following over the years. Raiders! pulls double duty, exploring the making of the original fan film and the modern attempt by Strompolos and Zala to actually finish what they began as children and complete the one scene they never managed to film: the famous brawl on the German Flying Wing.
With the film currently touring around the country for the rest of the summer (you can check out the schedule and purchase tickets here), I sat down with Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala to talk about their experiences in making “the greatest fan film ever made,” their future filmmaking endeavors, and whether or not they’re sick and tired of Raiders of the Lost Ark at this point.
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Warcraft isn’t actor Toby Kebbell’s first rodeo with motion-capture. Following up his performance in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, in which he played Koba, Kebbell stars in director Duncan Jones‘ fantasy film as Durotan, a noble orc more interested in peace than war. The Blizzard adaptation shows both sides of a war — and Durotan is unquestionably the moral compass on the orcs’ side.
It’s this nobility and thoughtfulness, as Kebbell explained to us, that informed the physicality of his performance. Below, read our Toby Kebbell interview.
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Voltron is back. Dreamworks Animation has produced the series Voltron: Legendary Defender for Netflix. In the brand new high definition series, five pilots once again obtain individual lion robots that can combine to form Voltron.
We got to speak with Voltron: Legendary Defender producers Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Mongomery at the Dreamworks Offices. Both self-professed Voltron fans, this series was a dream project for them. Read More »