jon watts behind the scenes of Spider-man: Homecoming

When filmmaker Jon Watts premiered his independent film Cop Car at the Sundance Film Festival, there is no way he could have anticipated that it would lead to him directing Spider-Man’s return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But after talking to the Spider-Man: Homecoming director on the set of Peter Parker’s first MCU solo film, it is easy to see why he got the job.

During our on-set chat, Watts explained his vision for this new Spider-Man reboot, how it will be different than Marc Webb and Sam Raimi’s films, how Captain America: Civil War changed this film, the importance to diversify Peter Parker’s world, making the villain a real person, the rumors surrounding Zendaya and much more.

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Amy Pascal Spider-Man: Homecoming Interview

Amy Pascal is one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. The former head of Sony Pictures was instrumental in making the deal that returned Peter Parker to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When I was on the set of Spider-Man: Homecoming, it seemed clear that her producer credit was not just a title – she was on set behind the monitor, playing a very active role in the creative decisions of the reboot.

But I was most surprised at how down-to-earth Pascal seemed, how honest some of her answers were and how self-deprecating she was about the previous Spider-Man installments (made under her leadership) that weren’t considered home runs. She realizes that this current situation, where Sony and Disney get to “share” Spidey, rarely ever happens in Hollywood, and seems very grateful to have been part of orchestrating it.

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Tom Holland Spider-Man: Homecoming interview

When we sat down with Tom Holland on the set of Spider-Man: Homecoming, it had only been three months since the world saw him as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. However, he was clearly already very comfortable in the role of Peter Parker.

Holland talked about the extensive audition process that got him the part, the evolution of Homecoming‘s script, how he went undercover at a high school in the Bronx to prepare for the movie, and how director Jon Watts put him and his co-stars through a coming of age film festival before shooting. The actor also spoke about Parker’s relationships with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and the Vulture (Michael Keaton), the differences between this film and the previous Spider-man movies, his favorite new Spider-Man gadget, if Peter Parker will dance in this movie, and much much more.

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spider-man homecoming trailer 39

On August 22, 2016, I traveled to Atlanta to visit the set of Spider-man: Homecoming and learned a lot about the first solo adventure of Tom Holland’s wall-crawling superhero. Let’s run through everything you could possibly want to know.

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kurt russell guardians of the galaxy interview

This Kurt Russell interview is worth your time.

Well, of course it’s worth your time. This is Kurt Russell we’re talking about! However, on-set interviews are usually not great. They usually happen under the worst possible circumstances, on a soundstage between set-ups when a tired actor has an 8 minute break. Told by the publicists not to reveal anything (even though we are embargoed and the interview won’t run until a couple months before release), the actor is forced to field questions from journalists who are just trying to get a sense of the movie and the role without having seen much at all.

It’s much easier and usually more rewarding to interview an actor at a junket after you’ve seen the movie and the talent is allowed to give substantial answers. As a result, set interviews often come off as journalists trying to pry any detail an actor will share, while the star recites the same four talking points that we’ve heard in our other interviews from the day (likely because they were on a list of talking points given by the unit publicist on the way over from the trailer).

Our interview with Kurt Russell on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 happened on the exact same circumstances, and like a few times before, we got the exact opposite result. I repeat: this Kurt Russell interview is worth your time.

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alien covenant trailer breakdown

The soundstage smells like a walkthrough haunted house you’d find in a strip mall in October. The scent of fog machines and fresh lumber and various chemicals fill the nostrils as you step into the darkness and stare at the giant web of wood and cables emerging from the shadows. Everyone around you is in one of two modes: either they’re scrambling through the darkness to beat the clock, or they’re lounging around and waiting until it’s their turn to scramble through the darkness to beat the clock.

Body parts that look suspiciously like Michael Fassbender sit in the corner, waiting for their moment in the spotlight. It only adds to the haunted house vibe.

But if you let your eyes adjust to the darkness and walk through the fog and maneuver around to the front of the giant set located in the Australian soundstage where Alien: Covenant is being filmed, you’ll be greeted with a familiar sight: it looks like the large chair of the Space Jockey, the mysterious being found long dead in the original 1979 Alien. Actually, it’s the large chair of the Engineer, the mysterious being introduced in 2012’s Prometheus. Literally. It’s supposed same chair.

It was one of several sets we visited that day…and one of several puzzle pieces in deciphering what this movie is all about.

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alien covenant prometheus 2

Let’s be honest with ourselves here: the earliest details about Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant made this film sound like a soft reboot, a way of continuing the series while dismissing as much of the divisive Prometheus as possible. However, after a day on the film’s set last year, it became very clear that this is very much a sequel to the first Alien prequel, even as it’s doubling down on being the prequel many Alien fans wanted in the first place. Let’s take a closer look.

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alien covenant characters

The Xenomorph may be the star of the Alien movies, but let’s face it: these movies wouldn’t have much staying power if the humans they were tearing apart didn’t make us care just a little bit. Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, the crew of the Nostromo, and the colonial marines on LV-426 aren’t just victims – they’re flesh-and-blood people we grow to love before they’re so violently torn away from us.

Alien: Covenant follows in the footsteps of its predecessors by offering up a strong ensemble of actors for the slaughter: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Billy CrudupDemián Bichir, and more. And now, here’s everything we learned about the doomed crew of the colony ship Covenant after visiting the set last year.

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alien covenant set visit 2

Alien: Covenant is a horror movie. Everyone wants us to know this.

It’s a sentiment that comes entirely from an honest place. The audience reaction to 2012’s Prometheus was mixed, so when Fox assembled a group of journalists in Sydney, Australia to visit the set of the latest entry in the Alien series, they seemingly sent out a memo, suggesting that everyone make sure we understood this. And by the time the day was over, we understood it – Alien: Covenant isn’t just an Alien sequel, but a gnarly, blood-soaked horror movie filled with practical monsters. It’s Ridley Scott’s return to the horror genre, everyone insisted.

And it turns out that making a Ridley Scott horror movie means lots of puppets and silicon. And gallons of blood. And spaghetti.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Super Bowl spot

While on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last year, we talked with Dave Bautista who returns as Drax The Destroyer in the sequel. We talked to Dave about how the process of applying his tattoos has completely changed, his relationship with Mantis in the new film, how Drax has changed since the first film, being more prominently used in the sequel, what it’s like working with Kurt Russell, his thoughts on the Escape From New York reboot and Drax’s sibling rivalry with Baby Groot. Read the full Dave Bautista Guardians 2 interview after the jump.
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