Wes Ball Maze Runner

Getting time with a director when you visit a set is a privilege. The director is busiest person on set. Their attention is constantly fragmented by a million questions, prepping for the next shot, thinking about the next day, and trying to make the current shot as good as it can be. If you talk to a director on set, you’d better jump right in.

Which is what happened on December 16, 2014 on the Alberqueque, New Mexico set of The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. After a long day on set, observing filming and talking to the stars, director Wes Ball finally had a few minutes to chat. Ball directed the first film, which was a surprise hit and spawned the sequel, based on the books by James Dashner. This time, the Gladers have escaped the maze, only to be posed with a new challenge: the outside world, which includes the evil desert referred to as The Scorch.

We’ll have our full report from set soon, but for now, check out our Wes Ball Scorch Trials interview. We discuss the scene we saw shot, the look of the film, pressures of coming back, teases toward part three, blending the final two books, location scouting, the compressed timeline, the new character Brenda, the main love triangle and more.  Read More »


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Eisenberg Stewart American Ultra

Last summer, on the New Orleans set of American Ultra, a bunch of other journalists and I played a game. Lionsgate allowed us to tweet about being on the set of the film – which is a rarity on a set visit – and the results were astounding. You see, American Ultra stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. And Stewart has a massive and rabid online following. With every tweet about being on set, we’d see who get get the most interaction, the most retweets and favorites. It was fun and I believe the winner was someone who got numbers well into the three hundreds.

You can read our full report from the set of American Ultra here but, below, you can read a transcription of the group’s interview with Eisenberg and Stewart. You get to read their playful interactions, fascinating insights and most importantly – thoughts on the film, which opens August 21. Check it out below. Read More »

Jesse Eisenberg American Ultra crop

American Ultra isn’t an easy movie to summarize. From its tone to its genre, the film lives and breathes because it rides a fine line between action, comedy, and romance. In fact, it seems the only truth on the set of American Ultra is that Wal-Mart is a great place to find deadly weapons.

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh and written by Max Landis, American Ultra stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mike, a West Virginia stoner who just wants to marry the love of his life. That’s Phoebe, played by Kristen Stewart. Things are moving towards this end until Mike is revealed as a deep-cover, highly-trained CIA agent. Suddenly, everyone is out to kill him.

Bourne with a bong this is not, however. Landis, Eisenberg, Stewart and everyone down to the prop-master and make-up effects team stand by the fact American Ultra is really a sweet, interesting, realistic romance. It just so happens to have insane action centered on an unassuming Oscar-nominee.

American Ultra opens August 21. Below read about our May 2014 American Ultra set visit, featuring Eisenberg kicking ass in a mega mart, and see two brand new posters. Read More »

Ant-Man set visit

On October 9 2014 I visited my first Marvel set. The film was Ant-Man, Marvel Studios’ latest gamble and the final film in Phase Two of the company’s influential and uber-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mention it was my first Marvel set visit because, like me, Ant-Man represents many firsts for Marvel. It’s the first time they’ve hired a director, Peyton Reed, just weeks before shooting. It’s the first time their central hero, Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd), has a family. It’s the first time we’ll see a man shrink down to ride on ant. Those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Below, read 65 things we learned over two days — days 37 and 38 of the 74-day shoot — on the Atlanta set of Ant-Man. There’s also info from a day spent at ILM on June 15, 2015. Read More »

Jurassic World interview Colin Trevorrow

On July 21st 2014, I was lucky to visit the New Orleans set of Jurassic World. (You can read a list of over 50 things I learned on the Jurassic World set here.) While on set, we got the chance to have an extensive sit-down interview with Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, which was conducted during the crew lunch break on a recreation of the famous visitors center from Jurassic Park. (A location which, in the film’s story, is now abandoned.) Producer Frank Marshall joined us late in the conversation.

Our conversation spanned a variety of topics, including the use of performance capture to create the dinosaurs in the new film, the idea of Weird Al having a song in the new film, bringing an independent style to the shoot, and the evolution of the Jurassic Park 4 script over the last ten years. We went into the reasons for the infamous production delay, input from Steven Spielberg, and what to expect from the new dino species.

There were fun details, too, like how a conversation with his son about Star Wars resulted in major change to the script, allegories to Black Fish and Sea World, the dinosaur stand-ins on set, and how Brad Bird not directing Star Wars resulted in Steven Spielberg finding Colin.

As I said before, the interview is extensive and so you’ll want to carve out some time to read this. Trust me, its good.

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Jurassic World set visit

In July 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting the set of Jurassic World. After the jump you will find a roundup of over 50 things I learned on the Jurassic World set visit, ranging from cool bits of trivia (for instance: a neat suggestion Steven Spielberg made to vastly improve an idea Colin Trevorrow pitched) to interesting information about the theme park world of the film. This is probably one of the coolest sets I’ve ever visited. We will be featuring interviews from the set elsewhere on the site, so look out for those as well.

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Colin Trevorrow Jurassic World Follow-up

Many people have wondered how Colin Trevorrow ended up directing Jurassic World. I loved his indie dramedy Safety Not Guaranteed when I saw it at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival (you can read my Sundance review here) but even I didn’t expect that film to launch his career as the director of a mega sequel/reboot the size of Jurassic World.

So how did that happen? The answer might surprise you — Colin Trevorrow got the job after a chain reaction that began with director Brad Bird turning down Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Read the whole Jurassic World Star Wars connection story after the jump.

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Entourage Movie header

A large red bow sits besides a space-age looking black Cadillac Ciel in the driveway of a Palos Verdes, CA beach house. Seating inside this elaborate and expensive gift are four friends, once again united by the powers that be. A camera hanging out of a large matte black Mercedes SUV is fixed on the wheel of the car, then slowly pulls back as the group speeds up the driveway. In our head, we might imagine Superhero by Jane’s Addiction playing. But on March 17, 2014, the 18th day out of 35 in the filming of Entourage, things are as quiet as a pin drop.

The four friends in the car are Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier), Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara). Four years have passed since the conclusion of the HBO show of the same name. Now creator Doug Ellin is finally bringing Entourage to the big screen. That in itself might be a feat, but being on set, the bigger feat is the atmosphere, which is incredibly loose, friendly and collaborative. This isn’t like any film set I’ve ever been on. It’s way more laid back, way more funny and very much in the familial spirit of a group of people – both in front of and behind the camera – coming back to a world they love.

Below, read about our Entourage movie set visit. Read More »

Michael Jackson The Goonies

Everyone knows Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, but did you know he was the king of set visits as well? A few videos have surfaced recently showing the legendary musician on the set of Brett Ratner’s Red Dragon, Richard Donner’s The Goonies and Chris Columbus’ Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

The whole thing is just super weird, which is why you should check it out below. Read More »