Stranger Things photo

If you binge watched Stranger Things this past weekend, then you spent your time wisely. The series’ creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, transported Netflix’s subscribers back to the 1980s, where kids and government conspiracies run amok. The siblings wrote and directed most of the eight episodes, which, as executive producers Shawn Levy (Real Steel) and Dan Cohen (The Spectacular Now) told us, they approached as an “eight-hour movie.”

Levy directed chapter three (“Holly, Jolly”) and four (“The Body”) of Stranger Things. When I spoke with the director and Cohen, I hadn’t seen all of season one yet, so we mainly covered their collaboration with the Duffer brothers and Netflix, the show’s references, and what to expect from the future of Stranger Things.

Below, read our interview with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen.

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Ghostbusters - group

Paul Feig and Katie Dippold first met around seven years ago. Dippold was writing for Parks and Recreation at the time when Feig directed “Pawnee Zoo,” the episode in which Leslie Knope arranges a wedding between two male penguins. Years later, when Dippold was hoping Feig would direct a spec script she wrote, titled The Heat, the two met for lunch. That meeting helped lead them to where they are today.

Feig and Dippold have made their biggest film yet with Ghostbusters. The reboot stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones as the team that’ll have to save New York City from the paranormal. At the press day, Dippold was kind enough to discuss with us how she and Feig put this new team together, the film’s cameos, working with Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd, and more.

Below, read our Katie Dippold interview.

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Gareth Edwards Rogue One Interview

After the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story presentation, we got an opportunity to chat with director Gareth Edwards. During the roundtable discussion, Edwards talks about creating the Jedi mecca in the film, a new planet called Jedha, the very unique shooting methods he employed on this production, the decision to include Darth Vader in his story and what concerns come with that, and I ask if we will get any aerial battles in this Star Wars film. Hit the jump to watch the Gareth Edwards Rogue One Interview in video or text format.

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SUICIDE SQUAD

Suicide Squad is packed with characters and stars who could command a film on their own, but part of the fun is seeing this chaotic mess of personalities clash and come together and clash again. We had the opportunity on set to interview two of them together: Margot Robbie, who plays iconic fan favorite Harley Quinn, and Jai Courtney, who plays a version of Captain Boomerang that you’ve definitely never met before. The actors discussed their stunts, the “skwad” camaraderie, Jared Leto‘s Joker, and — of course — the possibility of sequels. Read our Suicide Squad Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney interview below.

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SUICIDE SQUAD

Amanda Waller may be the mastermind behind the Suicide Squad in the movie, but in real life David Ayer was the one calling the shots on the Suicide Squad set. The director seemed like a bit of a surprising choice for the film, given that most of his past work has been more gritty and grounded. But when we spoke to him on the film’s Toronto set last year, he described Suicide Squad as “the perfect assignment for me.”

We also spoke a bit about how that particular “skwad” was assembled, the Joker as the “third rail” of comic book movies, Ayer’s love of Batman, and the pressure to “not fuck it up.” Read our Suicide Squad David Ayer interview from the set below.

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Simply Irresistible

In the 1970’s, Mark Tarlov worked as a speechwriter for the Supreme Court and then as an attorney for the Justice Department. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Tarlov produced over a dozen films and, just before the millennium, directed his first (Simply Irresistible). Nowadays, as the co-founder of Maison L’Envoyé, he is best known as a wine-maker.

To the untrained eye, Mark Tarlov’s career might seem like a strange sequence of unconnected dots. But that’s not how he sees it. Not at all. Because there’s a thread that binds all of those seemingly disparate professions together: storytelling. And, above all else, Tarlov is a storyteller at heart. Which was both evident and enjoyable as we spent just over an hour chatting about all sorts of topics. From rescuing Willy Wonka and playing pick-up basketball with Peter Falk to the beauty and difficulty of telling personal stories in Hollywood.

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Battle of the Bastards

During the fifth season of Game of ThronesRepo Men director Miguel Sapochnik left a huge impression with “Hardhome.” HBO and the key talent involved with the series were clearly impressed enough to invite Sapochnik back to direct two of season six’s biggest episodes, “Battle of the Bastards” and the season finale, “The Winds of Winter.”

As with “Hardhome,” both episodes left fans buzzing. The major set piece in “Battle of the Bastards” is a high mark for the series — a brutal, unrelenting battle that’s pure chaos. The finale doesn’t feature a set piece as large in scope, but its opening sequence and pivotal character moments are just as grand to watch unfold as the battle in “Battle of the Bastards,” which Sapochnik refers to as “BOB.”

We were lucky enough to ask the director a couple of questions via email about the two episodes he directed. It should go without saying, but just in case: SPOILERS are ahead. Below, read our Miguel Sapochnik interview.

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Nicolas Winding Refn pic

Nicolas Winding Refn‘s name appears many times in The Neon Demon, in both the opening and closing credits. But even if his name weren’t mentioned, nobody would mistake this darkly funny horror movie as anything but a Refn film. This time around, however, the director behind Only God ForgivesDrive, and Bronson tells a story from a woman’s perspective — which is a first in his career.

The Neon Demon stars Elle FanningJena MaloneAbbey Lee Kershaw, Bella Heathcote, and, in a part that was shot over the course of three days, Keanu Reeves. Which one of these characters, with the possible exception of Reeves’ sleazy motel manager, is the titular demon is up to the viewer to decide. In my brief conversation with Refn, he refers to Jesse as the Neon Demon, but his story, which he co-wrote with Mary Laws and Polly Stenham, leaves plenty of room for an audience to think otherwise.

Sometimes you never fully know what to expect from Refn, as proven by our own Jacob Hall’s somewhat contentious interview with him and composer Cliff Martinez. I’ve spoken to the director a handful of times over the years, and just like his work, he’s occasionally unpredictable, but he’s also always engaged and not without a sense of humor, both about himself and his films.

Below, read our Nicolas Winding Refn interview, which has some mild spoilers for The Neon Demon.

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Gary Ross header

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 »