In October 2011, I got to visit the wonderful world of Oz and watch director Sam Raimi direct his preboot (prequel/reboot) of the classic L. Frank Baum book series. I learned much on the set of Oz: The Great and Powerful. Most fascinating to me was some of the things Disney had to do satisfy legal concerns over possibly violating copyrighted imagery from the classic 1939 film adaptation, owned by Warner Bros.
And while trailers for the film focus on wholly computer-generated worlds and characters, you might be shocked to learn the lengths that Sam Raimi went through to shoot a lot of the film practically. For example, it was interesting to see Raimi inventing new practical solutions to help the supporting actors create and react to live performances for characters who would eventually be created in CG — and I’m not talking about performance capture.
After the jump you can watch a video blog we recorded talking about the visit, followed by many more things I learned while on the set.
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Everything about going to the Playboy Mansion is arguably a good idea. Except watching a movie. Properly watching a movie takes concentration, quiet and darkness. But in a place with an open bar, Playmates and a history of sex, drugs and rock and roll, watching a film is a bad idea.
Last week, I was invited to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles to see Parker. The film, directed by Oscar-nominee Taylor Hackford and starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, is about a career criminal who vows revenge on a crew that left him for dead. That right there sounds like a film you’d want to see, but seeing at the Playboy Mansion just put it over the top.
The iron gate, the valet, the massive house, the Grotto, the bird sanctuary, the game room, the alcohol — even in a very controlled environment — can be all-consuming. By the time the lights went down, people were texting, talking, getting up and not coming back, and somehow it was all okay.
So instead of reviewing Parker, I figured I’d explain why the Playboy Mansion is simultaneously the best, and worst, place to watch a movie in the world. Read More »
On October 25th 2012 I found myself sitting in The White Horse pub watching a monitor showing Chris Pine run through the misty rain into a financial building. While the sequence in Jack Ryan is supposed to take place in the brand-new financial center in Moscow, Russia (a clue to the film’s antagonist) it was being filmed in Liverpool, England.
Producers have been trying to restart the franchise, based on the character novelist Tom Clancy created in books like The Hunt For Red October and Patriot Games, for nine years. Taking a cue from the recent James Bond films, Jack Ryan is an origin story — a pre-boot set in the now. 9/11 has taken place, and is a huge motivator for our hero. The following is the beginning of what I learned about the film from co-star Kevin Costner and director Kenneth Branagh, fresh from Thor.
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We weren’t going to war, we were going for a ride and the top of the tank seemed like the place to be. When presented with the option of a comfortable seat or the wind sweeping through your hair as a 1950s Austrian tank zipped around the Melody Ranch Studio in California, I preferred to be outside. Unfortunately, when my turn came up, the top of the tank was already full. So I hopped into a little hole in the armored shell, and waiting there to greet me was the massive hand of action superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger. Little did I know this seat was right next to the actor, who would soon be driving the tank. I was his co-pilot and it was an experience I’ll never forget.
Schwarzenegger was the biggest star in the world in the late ’80s and early ’90s before riding that fame into politics. He always said he’d be back, though, and now he has returned. His first starring role is Kim Jee-woon‘s The Last Stand, opening January 18. To help raise awareness of the film, Lionsgate invited a small group of journalists to ride in Schwarzenegger’s personal tank. After the jump, read about the tank, see a bunch of photos and even a few videos of the event. Read More »
This March, five things people love are all going to be on the big screen together: Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde and magic. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, is scheduled for release March 15 and earlier this year, /Film was invited to the set to see a few of these comedic geniuses work. We spoke to the director and producer, saw Carell and Buscemi work their way through a hilarious scene, and even saw the duo lowered from the ceiling to perform magic.
In the coming weeks, we’ll have the full details for the set visit but, after the jump, read a few more details to get you ready. Read More »
The Bad Robot offices are what your film company would look like if you owned one. Old movie posters and cool art decorate the walls. Props are strategically placed in the hallways. Offices are adorned with cool toys and images. There are two gorgeous outdoor spaces to chill in and it even has a secret name on the outside. Oh, hey, there’s J.J. Abrams walking around.
The head of the company is currently directing the follow-up to his 2009 hit Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, which reunites his surviving original cast and adds new blood in the form of the mysterious Benedict Cumberbatch, and Alice Eve. The film is written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof, will feature a score by Michael Giacchino, and has plenty of new aliens and action scenes for fans to enjoy.
Abrams and his team invited several journalists to their offices on December 10 to learn about the film’s props, costumes, makeup, music, and visual effects. From those presentations, we picked 15 cool things you didn’t yet know about production and story of Star Trek Into Darkness. Details on the Japanese trailer, klingons, character names, IMAX 3D, and lots about Giacchino can all be found below, along with more info about the Bad Robot offices. Read More »
All preconceived notions about the supernatural thriller Mama fly out the window when Jessica Chastain walks in the room. Before that moment, the film could be an archetypal supernatural thriller with little girls, a spectral being and a strong female lead like Naomi Watts in The Ring, Nicole Kidman in The Others or Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. But when Chastain strolls into a conference room at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, Canada in October 2011, it’s immediately clear Mama is not that.
Instead of her usual warm, blond or red head look, Chastain has a short black pixie haircut, tons of eye shadow, torn purple Mistfits t-shirt, faded black hot pants and a full sleeve octopus tattoo on her left arm. This not your typical heroine. This is a punk rock chick who’d usually be dead 20 minutes into a normal horror movie. But in director Andy Muschietti‘s Mama, based on an award-winning short film of the same name, she’s the star, a rebel unwillingly forced to look after two haunted girls who’ve been found fending for themselves after being missing for five years.
It’s day 18 of 46 on the Toronto set of Mama, a supernatural thriller produced by Guillermo Del Toro opening January 18, and the wardrobe of the star is just one of the pleasant surprises Mama has in store for us. Read More »
There’s not a cloud in the sky as the unfaltering Louisiana sun beats down on a barren piece of land in the middle of nowhere. As unforgiving and uncomfortable as the weather is, though, the sun has nothing on the man who lives here: Leatherface. The horror icon with the skin mask and chainsaw is soon coming back for his seventh film: Texas Chainsaw 3D. However, this film differs from the rest of the franchise in that it wipes the slate clean of anything that happened in the previous five sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots. They never happened. Texas Chainsaw 3D is a direct sequel Tobe Hooper’s 1974 masterpiece, picking up exactly where that film left off.
And exactly where that film left off is right where I stand on August 16, 2011. Director John Luessenhop (Takers) and his team have gone through the painstaking process of making an exact replica of the classic house of horrors seen in the original film. Everything from the skulls on the floor to the cuts in the door are precisely how a young Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) left it when she ran away screaming for her life. For the characters on set today, those events happened mere hours ago. For the people inhabiting those characters – including some of the original actors from that classic film – it’s been almost four decades. And while the franchise isn’t exactly where Tobe Hooper left it on that hot Texas day, on this hot Louisiana day, it feels like nothing has changed.
It’s day 22 of a 30 day shoot as /Film was on the set of Texas Chainsaw 3D to talk to the filmmakers, new stars and familiar faces who’ll help continue the story of Leatherface on January 4, 2013. Read More »
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