I really love what The Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences has been doing lately with their Academy Originals series of videos which take a look at the art and stories behind the making of the movies we love. The latest video features Casting director Marci Liroff (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Mean Girls) recounting the story of how Henry Thomas was cast as the lead in Steven Spielberg‘s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
As it turns out, Thomas was not the first choice for the role of Elliot. Liroff describes how a game of Dungeons & Dragons at screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who is finally returning to screenwriting for Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG) changed the corse of a cinema classic, leading to the audition video I’m sure you’ve seen before. Hit the jump to watch the video now.
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A movie’s budget has little correlation to success or quality. Films that costs just tens of thousands of dollars have gone on to great success; probably more films that cost tens of millions of dollars have failed horribly. It’s when films that cost hundreds of millions of dollars fail horribly that studios start worrying about their well-being.
But you have to spend money to make money and audiences today demand spectacle. Despite that demand, they also need it to be sold to them. So a film that costs $250 million might end up costing $500 million once the studio pays for TV commercials, billboards, press junkets and more. It’s a crazy, crazy business and there’s always a gamble even on the biggest properties.
When Warner Bros. decided to make J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit into movies, the gamble was a little smaller. Peter Jackson had already turned three Lord of the Rings movies into massive hits and a return to Middle Earth would certainly attract audiences. However, with a decade or so of new technology to work with, those movies were going to be expensive. They were going to be even more expensive when the decision was made to do not two, but three films in the series. Now, with the third film on its way to theaters, we have an idea of what that commitment cost. It is historically staggering. Read more about The Hobbit budget below. Read More »
On paper, James Cameron has nothing to do with 2015′s Terminator Genisys. It’s a film based on characters he created, starring an actor he cast, but that’s about it. A few months ago, he did reveal he was “loosely attached” in an advisory role, but wouldn’t be credited. He said his biggest contribution was in regards to the role of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator 5 character. But what exactly did that mean?
Apparently, a lot. In a new interview Cameron revealed his contribution to Terminator Genisys was the seed that made it possible for a 67-year-old Schwarzenegger to return to his iconic role as the T-800. Read the specifics below as well as what Cameron thought of the script and his feelings on returning to the franchise. Read More »
Posted on Monday, October 20th, 2014 by Angie Han
It’s not unheard of for actors to take home souvenirs from their projects — whether by stealing props from the set, buying them from the production company, or receiving them as gifts. But Robert Downey Jr.‘s memento from The Avengers definitely ranks up there in terms of uniqueness.
Downey reportedly received the 30-foot-tall “A” from the Stark Tower shot at the end of the 2012 movie, after asking for it as a joke. Guess he’s never heard of the saying “Be careful what you wish for.” Hit the jump for more on the Robert Downey Jr Avengers A.
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It’s just one of those things you never think about. First he was The Emperor. Then he was Senator Palpatine, followed by Chancellor Palpatine and then revealed as Darth Sidious. But never once did this Star Wars beacon of evil, the Phantom Menace himself, played perfectly by Ian McDiarmid, have a first name.
In the new canon novel Tarkin by James Luceno, that’s finally changed. After years of waiting and speculation, it can finally be revealed that Palpatine’s full name is… JOE PALPATINE. No, not really. Read Emperor Palpatine’s real first name below. Read More »
It’s hard to overstate the impact of The Blair Witch Project. These days, movies like it are a dime a dozen. Online viral marketing? Pretty passé. But fifteen years ago, a found footage movie marketed primarily through the Internet was not only radical, it was revolutionary. On a budget of just $25,000, the film grossed $250 million worldwide, making it the most profitable film in the history of cinema.
For those of us who were lucky enough to be a part of it, the impact of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez‘s film is a door into our own pasts. For those who may not have been there — who didn’t experience lining up for screenings and the confusion over what was real and what wasn’t — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has created a short little documentary about how The Blair Witch Project changed movies forever.
Below, watch a video about The Blair Witch Project history and read a first hand account of what it was like on the ground floor. Read More »
Earlier today we told you that ABC and MadTV alums Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley were planning to turn John Hughes’ 1989 comedy Uncle Buck into a new multi-camera half-hour series. I almost included TV Show adaptations of popular 1980′s and 1990′s movies as the 10th entry on my list of Current Movie Trends I Hate (read the list of nine, if you haven’t already). The only reason it didn’t make the list is that Fargo ended up being my favorite television series this year, thus as annoying as the announcements are and as horrible as it may sound, it may be too early to “hate.” But I thought now would be a good time to look back at the original Uncle Buck television show from 1990. You might not remember it because it only lasted one season and was pretty horrible.
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From what we’ve heard, J.J. Abrams was always the director Kathleen Kennedy wanted to direct Star Wars Episode VII. Abrams had the ability and the insane Star Wars fandom to please executives and fans alike. However, don’t forget, he initially turned it down. History gets murky after that, with an incredible list of A-list directors who were rumored to, and reported to, have been contacted. Brad Bird, Matthew Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Guillermo del Toro and many others were mentioned in tandem with the film. Then, of course, J.J. Abrams changed his mind and the rest his story.
Probably the most interesting name mentioned in regards to Star Wars Episode VII was David Fincher. We published a rumor about Fincher meeting with Lucasfilm in November 2012 and, it turns out, that was correct. In a new interview, Fincher confirmed he met with Kennedy about the film but has a much different view of Star Wars than what she had in mind. Read the David Fincher Star Wars 7 quote below. Read More »
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