Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 junket

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the press junket for Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in West Hollywood. Peter Sciretta and I will be publishing individual interviews with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, writer/director James Gunn, and actors Chris Pratt and Kurt Russell here on the site in the days leading up to the film’s release next week. In the meantime, I collected ten pieces of info we gleaned at the junket’s two press conferences, which featured key members of the creative team and nearly every major member of the movie’s cast.

In addition to the folks mentioned above, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillain, Sean Gunn, and Sylvester Stallone were all in attendance. Read on to discover what we learned from the spirited group interviews.
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Brie Larson interview

There’s more than meets the eye with some of the characters in Free Fire. They can reveal shades of humanity you wouldn’t immediately expect at the start of Ben Wheatley‘s action-comedy. Some characters, on the other hand, like Vernon (Sharlto Copley), can be chalked up to “what you see is what you get.”

That’s not the case with Justine, played by Academy Award winner Brie Larson (Room), who is calmer than most during Wheatley’s 85-minute shootout. Justine tries to keep others from losing their heads as hers remains firmly planted on her shoulders.

Wheatley’s movie is contained and set mostly in one location, but it still leaves you with a sense of who the characters are outside of the abandoned warehouse. We recently sat down with Larson and discussed what sort of person Justine is outside of the film, what it’s like shooting in chronological order, and more. Spoilers for the film lie ahead.

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born in china

DisneyNature has been continuing the tradition Walt Disney started many years ago of producing animal documentaries filled with story, excitement, adventure, and fun. Their latest release, Born in China, ventures into the wilds of China to capture intimate moments with a panda and her growing cub, a young golden monkey who feels displaced by his baby sister, and a mother snow leopard struggling to raise her two cubs.

Whenever I’m watching a DisneyNature film, I sit there wondering how they create these films. The subjects are not as predictable and are much harder to photograph than the subjects of a traditional documentary. Are the stories crafted before the filmmakers head out into the wilds? Or is a narrative constructed in the editing room?

Last month, I talked with Born in China producer Roy Conli to find out the answers to these questions. Conli also serves on the Walt Disney Animation Studios Story Trust and has also produced films ranging from Treasure Planet to Frozen to Big Hero 6. As you’d expect, the nature documentary process is fascinating. Did you know that it took them 90 days to even get the first shot of the cubs in this movie? We discuss that and more in our Born in China interview.

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Ben Wheatley interview

The distinction between heroes and villains isn’t as clear in Free Fire as most action movies. And it’s partly because co-writer/director Ben Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump give all their characters lives outside of the shootout – lives you want to see them find a way to escape back to. Out of the ensemble, some eggs are more rotten than others, but for the most part, Free Fire is a movie in which we’re rooting the characters to find a solution, not kill each other.

Over the span of 85 minutes – a glorious runtime in this day and age – not one of the characters rings as false in Free Fire. Their pain feels real because they feel real. Jump and Wheatley rarely give these characters any breaks, either. The writers bring a heavy dose of physical comedy to the film to go along with some brutal carnage.

We recently sat down with Wheatley, the director behind Kill List and High-Rise, for a brief conversation about his new movie.

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guardians in infinity war

One of my biggest fears about Avengers: Infinity War is that the film might be too big for its own good. With so many moving parts in Marvel Studios’ biggest movie yet, there’s a real danger of many of the characters we love getting lost in the shuffle and ending up without much to do.

But when I spoke with actor Chris Pratt yesterday during the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 junket in West Hollywood, I asked him about Infinity War and his comments about the Guardians’ involvement assuaged some of my fears.
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Armie Hammer interview

If there’s one character who stays calm in most of Free Fire, it’s Ord. The American criminal is as well-composed as his swanky gray jacket and black turtleneck. Rarely is Ord the character shouting and screaming in director Ben Wheatley‘s (High-Rise) new, 85-minute-long shoot ’em up..

Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump don’t waste a second of Free Fire‘s runtime, which couldn’t come at a more right time before some bloated action movies arrive this summer. The film is as lively as some of its characters, most of whom you’d like to see make it out of the warehouse. Especially Ord.

We recently discussed the role with actor Armie Hammer, who also told us a bit about the character’s backstory, working with Wheatley, and more.

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Damon Lindelof interview

(This is part two of a larger interview. You can read part one right over here.)

The Leftovers isn’t playing it safe in its third and final season. Co-creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta‘s series has grown more ambitious over its three chapters and this season can get pretty bonkers, to say the least.

As out there as The Leftovers can get, it somehow manages to stay grounded. The surreal touches and bizarre turns tend to carry an emotional weight, striking deep into the heart of the characters. Last season’s “International Assassin” is a great example of that.

Lindelof takes some big swings with season 3. He recently told us about some of the risks the writers took, how the music has evolved over the series, and what he’s learned from the experience of The Leftovers.

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captain marvel directors

Yesterday, it was announced that the filmmaking team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck would direct Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios’ first solo film to star a female superhero. Today, our own Peter Sciretta sat down with Marvel Studios president and Marvel Cinematic Universe producer Kevin Feige and learned why the directors of small dramas like Half Nelson and Mississippi Grind landed this job.

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adam warlock guardians of the galaxy

When I was on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, director James Gunn mentioned that his original treatment for the sequel featured another major character. Today, during my interview with Gunn, the filmmaker finally revealed that his sequel originally had a major role for Adam Warlock, strongly indicating that Warlock will appear in Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Read on for the full story, including why he was cut out.

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Damon Lindelof interview

(This is the first half of a two-part interview. The second half will run later this week.)

The Leftovers entered its third and final season this week. The first hour was what we’ve come to expect from showrunner Damon Lindelof‘s ambitious HBO drama – the start of another ominous, darkly funny, and emotional journey for the struggling family at the heart of the Tom Perrotta adaptation. Kevin Garvey Jr. (Justin Theroux) and co. remain at the forefront of this story, not the mystery (as intriguing as it is).

There are a few questions raised at the start of season 3, but the characters continue to drive Damon Lindelof and Perrotta’s story. The new season is set three years after the events of season two, and some of them have changed and grown, but others still find themselves lost in this fish-out-of-water chapter of The Leftovers.

I was recently able to speak with Lindelof about the series and while we didn’t get into too many plot specifics, we did talk about the structure of season 3, shows that inspire the series (like Rick and Morty), and the side effects of binge-watching.

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