Thor Ragnarok Cate Blanchett Interview

In honor of Thor: Ragnarok, the folks at Marvel Studios are celebrating the entire month with a little holiday called Helaween, named for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female villain, Hela, the Goddess of Death.

Cate Blanchett is playing the Marvel villain in question, and /Film had the incredible opportunity to sit down with the Oscar-winning actress for an interview during our visit to the set of Thor: Ragnarok in Australia last fall. If you haven’t read our full set report, be sure to check that out. Otherwise, keep reading below to find out everything Cate Blanchett had to tell us about Hela the Goddess of Death, how her vagina made her unafraid of Loki, working with director Taika Waititi, and her possible future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Read More »

Thor Ragnarok Tom Hiddleston Interview

Director Taika Waititi has already shown us that Thor: Ragnarok won’t be your average Thor movie. Not only has the comedy been ramped up, but the filmmaker wanted to strip down the Thor franchise, essentially acting as if this were the first film in the series. But even so, it wouldn’t be a Thor movie without a certain mischievous character.

Tom Hiddleston plays Loki, the god of mischief and step-brother to the god of thunder, and at the end of Thor: The Dark World, the villain of The Avengers got everything he was hoping for. So what happens next? Tom Hiddleston revealed as much as he could about where Loki is heading next in Thor: Ragnarok in our interview with the actor on set last fall. During our chat, he talked about working with Cate Blanchett, being a rock star movie villain, and much more.

Below, read our full Thor Ragnarok Tom Hiddleston interview. Read More »

Thor Ragnarok Chris Hemsworth Inteview

In September of 2016, /Film was invited to visit the set of Thor: Ragnarok. We already dove into everything we learned during our time on the Australian set, but we also got to spend time talking to franchise star Chris Hemsworth about various aspects of the sequel.

As soon as Chris Hemsworth walked into the room, he noticed my Ghostbusters shirt (which wasn’t intentionally worn for this day), prompting him to immediately, playfully ask, “Are we friends or no?” That’s the kind of fearless charisma and personality this guy has. In our full interview, Chris Hemsworth talks about Thor’s journey in this movie, having fun with Benedict Cumberbatch on set, dealing with criticism and more.

Read our Thor Ragnarok Chris Hemsworth interview in its entirety below. Read More »

Thor Ragnarok BTS - Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth

When we sat down to talk with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi on the set of the Marvel Studios sequel in Brisbane, Australia in September of 2016, one of the first things he playfully said while holding a prop weapon from the movie was “I liken the filmmaking process to going into battle.”

If that’s the case, Taika Waititi must be one cool customer in the face of danger, and he’s not beyond dressing snappily while he’s in battle either. I joined a group of reporters to chat with the filmmaker in between takes during a climactic scene from Thor: Ragnarok (don’t worry, we don’t spoil that in the interview), and we asked him about his approach to Thor, striking a balance between his own style and the mandates of a corporate-owned movies studio, improvising with the actors, learning lessons from superhero movies, and much more.

Read our full Thor Ragnarok Taika Waititi interview below. Read More »

Thor Ragnarok Director

It was nearly two years ago that director Taika Waititi was reported to be in talks to direct Thor: Ragnarok, the third film in the god of thunder’s solo franchise. The filmmaker wasn’t the most obvious choice for the blockbuster sequel, having only directed Eagle vs SharkBoy, and the outstanding mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows. And we hadn’t even seen the fantastic Hunt for the Wilderpeople yet. But Marvel Studios knew exactly what they were doing, because everything we’ve seen from the sequel looks fantastic so far.

So why did Taika Waititi get the job? Producer Brad Winderbaum says it was Boy that ultimately convinced them he was the right person, “It had the a combination that we always are striving for at Marvel, which is a great sense of humor that ran through the whole thing, but also moments of real drama and melancholy that the characters had to deal with.” It also helps that Taika Waititi wanted to do something completely different from the first two movies, stripping down the very franchise itself to create something that felt new.

Find out what Thor Ragnarok director Taika Waititi had to say about his approach to the sequel below. Read More »

Thor Ragnarok - Hulk, Thor, Valkyrie and Loki

Back on September 14, 2016, myself and a group of online reporters found themselves hopping through space from the golden realm of Asgard to the vibrant, space trash city called Sakaar. No, we didn’t figure out how to traverse the galaxy, but we did make quite the long journey down to Brisbane, Australia to visit the set of the Marvel Studios sequel Thor: Ragnarok.

As we’ve seen in the trailers for the latest adventure following the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth), this time we find Thor a little out of his element. First, his trusty hammer Mjolnir is broken by Hela the goddess of death (Cate Blanchett), who has also started a reign of terror and destruction throughout Asgard. Then he’s been captured by a bounty hunter named Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) on a strange planet called Sakaar, given a haircut and forced to compete in gladiatorial combat against Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), which is controlled by a man called The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who’s hanging around with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). That’s the gist of what we already know about the movie. Would you like to know more?

Below, read out full Thor Ragnarok set visit report with tons of new details about the movie, but beware of potential spoilers. Read More »

coco teaser poster

What’s a Pixar movie without a lovable sidekick? Up had Dug and Kevin, Inside Out had Bing Bong, and Ratatouille had — arguably — Linguini. Of course, these sidekicks serve as more than just comic relief or witty one-liner machines. Pixar has been consistent in its generous handling of all of its characters, with some of these sidekicks receiving more of an emotional arc than other animated protagonists.

For Coco we have Dante, who has a few more layers to him than you’d expect for a street dog with only a few scraggly hairs on his head.

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skeletons in coco

Skeletons are no stranger to animation — or reanimation. One of Disney’s earliest short films, Skeleton Dance, featured some surprisingly dexterous skeletons dancing in a graveyard, and animated films throughout the years have kept up the spooky tradition, from the 1993 classic Nightmare Before Christmas to 2005’s The Corpse Bride.

It was not even the first time these bags of bones would be rendered in CGI animation, with 2014’s The Book of Life bringing skeletons into the modern age. However, this was the first time that Pixar has attempted to animate skeletons, so they tackled the challenge with the meticulous precision that the studio is known for.

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world of COCO

In Pixar’s Coco, the Land of the Dead is a stunning piece of animation, embedded with tiny pinpricks of light scattered throughout precarious towers of houses stacked upon houses. And springing out of this land are luminescent bridges made of marigold, bridging the way from the Land of the Dead to the Land of the Living.

It’s a majestic sight that’s all at once familiar and unfamiliar, as the production and set designers of Coco wanted to forge their own paths independent of animated films that evoked the afterlife before them — like The Book of Life or The Corpse Bride — but at the same time pay homage to the rich Mexican landscape in which the film is set.

“Mexico is a designer’s dream and I knew that we would feature the rich colors and textures that we saw there,” production designer Harvey Jessup said.
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COCO set visit

Is it possible to “Pixar-ify” an entire cultural tradition and transform it into a family-friendly, merchandise-ready movie? Those are the fears that some might have about Coco, Pixar’s upcoming film centers around Mexico’s beloved Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. But those fears can be put to rest, as Coco is as respectful in its treatment of Día de los Muertos as it is eager to share the joyous Mexican holiday with the rest of the world.

Coco follows a Mexican boy named Miguel (voiced by relative newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) whose overwhelming passion for music drives him to disobey his family — who, after a traumatizing incident from the past, has banned all music in their household — and attempt to prove himself as a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But a series of rash decisions causes him to be stuck in the Land of the Dead on Día de los Muertos. There, he teams up with a ragamuffin skeleton named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) on a mission to find de la Cruz, who he believes can help him return to the land of the living.

As fantastical a story as it sounds, Coco actually touches on more universal values than you would think: family, nostalgia, music, and adorable dogs. But amazingly, it tells this tale in a bilingual tongue, with the setting placed firmly in the fictional Mexican town of Santa Cecilia and its afterworld counterpart. The cast is entirely Latino, and Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout the movie — with nary a subtitle to be seen. But rather than being alienating, these aspects of multiculturalism only serves to make Coco more authentic, serving as a bridge to a culture that hasn’t often been explored in mainstream animated films.

Earlier this month, I visited Pixar to get an early glimpse of the footage of Coco, as well as insight into the process of Coco’s long journey to the big screen from its directors, animators, and artists.

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