Jason Reitman‘s live-read series has been a hot ticket at LACMA for a few years. The director chooses a new cast to read a well-known, sometimes classic script live on stage as a one-time performance. (We’ve covered many of these events in the past.) This year, among other films, Reitman has chosen one script with a particular appeal: The Empire Strikes Back. Most of the scripts chosen for live reads are oriented very much around character and dialogue; the event is just a bunch of people sitting on stage, after all. But the Empire Strikes Back live read will be one of the few to feature a script that is effects-heavy — meaning the audience will have to imagine a lot of what’s going on as the actors read the pages.
But the cast of characters is still tremendous, and some of the actors have now been revealed. They include Aaron Paul as Luke Skywalker, and J.K. Simmons as Darth Vader. Read More »
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Spider-Man/Juno/Whiplash star J.K. Simmons is the second actor to be officially cast in Universal and Legendary Pictures’ King Kong reboot Kong: Skull Island. Hit the jump to learn more about the JK Simmons Skull Island news.
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One of the best reasons to see the upcoming Terminator sequel/reboot Terminator: Genisys may be J.K. Simmons. The actor will blow your mind in Whiplash, and he’s likely to be a great addition to the Terminator series as well. (Because, really, when is Simmons ever not welcome? He’s entertaining even in the relatively woeful The Ladykillers.) Now Simmons is speaking up about Terminator: Genisys. He reveals something that probably won’t be too surprising for anyone who has been following along with the sci-fi series: this reboot is a love story. Read More »
As the domineering music conservatory teacher at the center of Whiplash, J.K. Simmons spews vile, mean, even brutal dialogue. Most of it is aimed at the the young drummer and would-be jazz great played by Miles Teller. Is the teacher just using a bit of old-school motivation, or is he really out of his mind? The guy’s propensity to throw things suggests the latter, but the student isn’t exactly balanced either. Each drives the other a little further over the edge.
This Whiplash international trailer isn’t rated “red” by the MPAA, because it comes out of France rather than the US. But it does feature some of the cursing Simmons spits at Teller. This is just the barest hint of how ugly he gets, though. Seriously, if you’re a fan of Simmons, especially when he shows his mean side, this movie is an absolute must-see. Read More »
J.K. Simmons torments Miles Teller in Whiplash, pushing the kid beyond his breaking point in the name of excellence. Teller plays a young drummer who aspires to greatness; Simmons plays the elite music academy instructor whose teaching methods are anything but gentle. Miss a beat, and he’ll spin a cymbal at your head like Captain America throwing his shield. This great first Whiplash trailer starts to show audiences the situation Teller’s character gets into when he attempts to rise to a level of performance that will satisfy the teacher. Read More »
Traditionally, when a movie wins either the Grand Jury and Audience Dramatic Awards at Sundance, it’s meant for big things. Then there are some really special films that win both. Precious and Fruitvale Station are two recent examples. This year’s Sundance opener Whiplash is another.
Directed by Damien Chazelle, Whiplash tells the dramatic story of Andrew (Miles Teller), a highly ambitious young drummer who finds himself under the wing of the most demanding, intimidating and influential music teacher in the country. That’s Terence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons. Those dueling passions sets up a battle of the wills as Andrew tries to prove himself for Fletcher, hoping he doesn’t have to face the frightening truth that he’s just not good enough.
You can read Russ’s Sundance review here, but in lieu of a trailer for the October 10 release, the first Whiplash clip has now made it online. In it, you’ll get a sense of the film’s incredible tension and powerful performances. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014 by Angie Han
Last month, Jai Courtney booked the role of Kyle Reese in Terminator: Genesis to complete the central trio of returning characters. (Or quartet, if you count Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Terminator.) Now it’s moving on to some other, less prominent but still crucial, roles — starting with an boozed-up detective to be played by J.K. Simmons.
Learn more about his character, and get some details on how he’ll fit into this complicated time-jumping narrative, after the jump. Read More »
The heart of Whiplash is a duel between Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, and the weapon of choice isn’t a gun or a knife, but a drum kit. The players’ duel is a concept that cuts across musical genres. It can blaze bright in jazz, when players both complement and one-up one another in an effort to push a performance to its limits. The tendency leads to performances like the “drum battles” between Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa.
Andrew, played by Teller, has definitely heard those battles; he idolizes Buddy Rich and wants to be the next great jazz drummer. In his first year at an elite music academy he finds the ne-plus-ultra of instructors: Fletcher (Simmons), a jazz pianist and draconian band conductor. What begins as a simple teacher/student scenario escalates into a full-on battle of wills as Fletcher deploys manipulative tricks to beat Teller into shape as a machine able to perform on cue. The teacher will hurl a chair as quickly as an insult; is he wildly unstable, or a genius?
Whiplash is structured like a jazz tune, with the duel as the central melody out from which spring scenes that attempt to flesh out both characters and inform their tactics. When that melody rises above everything else, the film is unique and viciously energetic; the side notes, however, are wan, and the whole is messy and less driven than either lead character. Read More »
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