Independence Day Resurgence Interview

Even though Will Smith isn’t returning for Independence Day: Resurgence, his on-screen wife Vivica A. Fox is back for the sequel, and her character Jasmine is doing everything she can to make sure their son Dylan (played by Jessie Usher) is just as strong of a man as his father.

In addition, Brent Spiner is one of the more surprising returning characters from the original movie, mostly because everyone had assumed the Area 51 scientist Dr. Okun was dead. And even though 20 years has passed, it doesn’t sound like he’s changed much over the years.

Both Brent Spiner and Vivica A. Fox sat down with me on the set of Independence Day: Resurgence last summer to talk about where we find their characters after all this time. Is Jasmine still stripping? Is Dr. Okun still a bit of a weirdo? Find out below. Read More »

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Jeff Goldblum Interview

Sitting down with Jeff Goldblum is just as delightful as you would expect it to be. The Jurassic Park and Independence Day star endlessly affable and wonderfully quirky. When I sat down with Goldblum on the set of Independence Day: Resurgence last year, he began by asking my name, and ran through “Six Degrees” connection from my name to him through actors and movies. Sadly, not all of it was recorded, but it’s probably one of the best things that has happened to me.

Anyway, after all that was done, we talked about him reuniting with director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin. This time his character David Levinson doesn’t accidentally become humanity’s last hope to defeat the aliens as he’s been named the director of Earth Space Defense. And Goldblum says that it’s his character’s inherent and organic love for the planet that drives his outside-of-the-box thinking to help keep it safe.

Plus, since it took 20 years for him to return to Independence Day, what are the odds that the 20th anniversary of The Lost World: Jurassic Park coming up next year will convince him to deal with some dinosaurs again? Find out in the Jeff Goldblum interview below. Read More »

The Jungle Book set visit

On December 11th, 2014, I visited a soundstage in downtown Los Angeles where director Jon Favreau was shooting his adaptation of The Jungle Book. As you may have noticed, Disney has begun to do a big rollout of the film, and we’ve been given the go-ahead to share something from our set visit. What I saw on set was amazing, but the studio has asked us not to talk about the technological process behind the film’s creation at this time (that will come later). So instead I present to you some of the methodology behind the adaptation.

I’ve always been a fan of Jon Favreau‘s work for the long haul, from his performances as an actor, to his more indie features like Made and Chef, and of course his larger, more accessible films like Elf and Iron Man. But when it was announced that Favreau was going to direct an adaptation of The Jungle Book, I was a little confused. It didn’t seem to fit in with his tastes. So I was interested to find out: Why did Jon Favreau want to make The Jungle Book? His answer is rooted in the power and emotion of mythic storytelling, and, among other things, Star Wars.

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THE FINEST HOURS

At a time when our big-screen heroes typically come packaged with extraordinary abilities or cutting-edge gadgets or mystical prophecies, Craig Gillespie‘s The Finest Hours looks like a throwback. It’s a no-frills tale of heroism, made all the more remarkable by the fact that these incredible events actually too place. In 1952, a brutal nor’easter savaged New England, smashing apart an oil tanker called the SS Pendleton and leaving over 30 sailors stranded at sea. Back on the Massachusetts shore, the Coast Guard got word of the disaster, and a small team of men bravely risked their own lives to help. The incident is still considered one of the greatest rescues in Coast Guard history.

In November 2014, I had the opportunity to visit the set of The Finest Hours along with a few other journalists. We spoke with a few of the talents involved, including director Gillespie, stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Kyle Gallner, and John Magaro, and producers Jim Whitaker and Dorothy Aufiero. After the jump, find out what we learned on the set of The Finest HoursRead More »

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

New York City is practically teeming with superheroes these days, but there’s always going to be a place for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The “heroes in a half-shell” have been charming fans since the 1980s, undergoing several makeovers in the meantime. Most recently, they returned to live-action with their 2014 big-screen feature — and next year these turtles will be back for more with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

Back in June, I had the opportunity to visit the New York City set of the movie. And yes, I do mean a New York City set, not a Vancouver-pretending-to-be-New-York-City set. We visited a law school dressed to look like a police station, and the effect was so convincing that I walked by the set several times trying to find it before I realized what I was looking at.

While there, I got to chat with some of the cast and crew. Among other things, they revealed what they learned from the first film, what’s gonna be different in the next film, and what they’re really looking forward to showing the world. Read my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 set visit report after the jump.  Read More »

In the Heart of the Sea (9)

Everyone knows the tale of Moby-Dick, but far fewer people know that it was inspired by a true story. And it’s that true story which serves as the basis of Ron Howard‘s new movie, In the Heart of the Sea. In 1820, a whaling ship called the Essex was destroyed after an encounter with a massive whale, leaving the crew — including captain George Pollard (played by Benjamin Walker in the movie), first mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), and cabin boy Thomas Nickerson (Tom Holland) stranded thousands of miles off the coast of South America. Howard’s film chronicles the desperation and despair that followed.

Nearly two years ago, I and several other journalists embarked on our own, much more pleasant, and far less eventful journey across the ocean to the London set of In the Heart of the Sea. On set, however, it was difficult to tell we were in London, or for that matter the year 2015, at all — we walked right onto a detailed life-size replica of a busy street in 19th century Nantucket. The irony that we American journalists had had to travel 3,500 miles to visit a fake version of an island located just 300 miles from New York was not lost on us.  Read More »

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The Finest Hours

Jack RyanStar Trek, and now Wonder Woman star Chris Pine is no stranger to hero roles, but there’s something a little different about his next one. The Finest Hours stars Pine as real-life figure Bernie Webber, who on a bitterly cold winter day in 1952 led one of the greatest rescues in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. And that’s without the aid of sci-fi gadgets, superpowered buddies, or a novelist’s imagination, mind you.

Webber is an old-fashioned kind of leading man in an old-fashioned kind of movie — one that, according to Pine, rejects modern cynicism in favor of simple, decent earnestness. The new Finest Hours trailer aims to highlight these men’s brave deeds, while keeping them grounded in a relatable sort of humanity. Check out the new Finest Hours trailer — and then read our on-set interviews with Pine and director Craig Gillespie — after the jump.
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Victor Frankenstein (1)

Cobble together a composite image based on stereotype ideas about child stars and you’d end up with something that is exactly the opposite of Daniel Radcliffe. The man who grew up in public as Harry Potter has followed that film series with a set of eccentric, sometimes adventurous jobs, playing Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings and a suspect young man in Horns. A tendency towards genre is the only tentative unifying factor.

Radcliffe’s latest film, Victor Frankenstein, is perhaps his most conventional post-Potter film yet, and even this one is hardly a typical studio picture. A revisionist vision of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein created almost explicitly as a meta-assembly of good ideas from other Frankenstein adaptations, the movie is really a two-hander that pairs Radcliffe with James McAvoy, who plays the egocentric Victor Frankenstein.

Speak to Radcliffe and you’ll enjoy the thoughts of a young man who is as passionate about his craft as he is aware of its unusual aspects. I visited the set of Victor Frankenstein at Shepperton Studios outside London over a year ago. Now, finally, we can present the talk I and a few other writers conducted with Radcliffe, in which he spoke about being tossed around by McAvoy, the relationship between Victor and Igor, and the rare but terrifying potential of being attacked by a lion on set. Read More »

Victor Frankenstein trailer

James McAvoy is stepping away from the science of mutant behavior to explore a more experimental form of early research in Victor Frankenstein. He plays the title character in the film, a new take on Mary Shelley‘s original novel and a pastiche of elements, in a way, inspired by other interpretations of the story, with the hopes of synthesizing a new whole. Appropriate, really.

McAvoy is a physical actor, one who literally likes to throw some weight around in scenes, and in Victor Frankenstein his prime partner in mad science is Daniel Radcliffe. The former Harry Potter plays Igor, if not exactly a version of Igor that looks like the one you probably have in mind, and the two sought to create a version of Frankenstein that has its own soul and personality.

A few editors and I spoke to McAvoy on the film’s set back in March 2014; our conversation, about Victor and mad science and the art of pushing around other actors, is below.
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