chris weitz Cinderella interview

“Write Cinderella.” On the surface it sounds like a pretty easy task. It’s a well-known story, all the characters are pre-packaged and every major story beat is already locked in. But then you break it down. The original Disney film is about 75 minutes long, the Prince hardly speaks, the mice talk, and we learn very little about the the characters themselves. In fact, writing Cinderella, especially in live-action for for a whole new generation, is much more difficult than you’d think.

For the new Cinderella, which hits theaters March 13, writing duties were entrusted to Chris Weitz. Weitz first hit the big time when he and his brother Paul made American Pie. He’s since gone on to direct The Golden Compass, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, About a Boy and most recently A Better Life. Currently, he’s writing the 2016 Star Wars standalone movie directed by Gareth Edwards. But before that could happen, Weitz was tasked with simultaneously modernizing and keeping the heart of one of the most famous fairy tales of all time.

We spoke with Weitz about the difficulties in adapting such a well-known story, keeping it fresh, the fact he started the project with Mark Romanek and ended with Kenneth Branagh, as well as making changes to that beloved 1950s Disney cartoon. Then, of course, the conversation turned to Star Wars (which we published a few days back). Read our full Chris Weitz Cinderella interview below. Read More »

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CINDERELLA trailer

Say what you will about Maleficent and Oz the Great and Powerful, but at least they were trying to put a fresh spin on familiar tales. That’s not the case with Cinderella, Disney’s new live-action fairy tale directed by Kenneth Branagh. The new Cinderella trailer does try to make a case for itself by giving its heroine (Lily James) a bit more backbone, but for the most part it’s the same story we already know.

At least it gives us an excuse to watch Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter swan around in pretty costumes. And maybe Game of Thrones fans will be happy to see Richard Madden and Nonso Anozie looking happy and healthy. Watch the Cinderella trailer after the jump.

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Harley Quinn sideshow 2

Have Chris Pratt and Chris Evans begun paying off their Super Bowl bet? Would Kenneth Branagh direct another Marvel movie? Where can you watch two clips from LEGO Justice League VS. Bizarro League? Who makes a cameo in the first Howard the Duck? How is DC Comics shaking up their releases? Want to learn more about Doctor Strange? Read about all this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »

cinderella trailer

For Cinderella, major things happen at midnight. The same happened for all of us last night as 2014 changed to 2015. It should be an amazing year of movies and, one of the biggest ones early on the calendar, is Kenneth Branagh‘s live-action Cinderella. Starring Lily James as the title character, a star-studded supporting cast will retell one of our most beloved fairy tales. To ring in the new year, Disney released a new Cinderella trailer and featurette. Cinderella opens March 13, check out the videos below. Read More »

CINDERELLA

It seems kind of appropriate that Cinderella should be getting a makeover, since the story itself hinges on a makeover. Disney is the fairy godmother in this case, wielding magic instead of CG and turning Cinderella from a 60-year-old animated feature into a brand-new live-action fantasy.

Of course, in Cinderella’s case the transformation undeniably changes her life for the better. It’s less clear why Cinderella really needed to be retold (aside from the obviou$), but at least this new version looks pretty. Hit the jump to watch the new Cinderella international trailer starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James, and Richard MaddenRead More »

Cinderella teaser poster header

A glass slipper is the focus of attention once more this November in Disney’s live action Cinderella. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Lily James (Downton Abbey) plays the title character whose evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett) has it out for her. The girl sneaks to a Ball to meet a prince (Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden) and, well, you know the story. But you’ve never seen it like this.

Below, check out the first Cinderella trailer and teaser poster. It opens March 13, 2015. Read More »

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jackryan

I was really looking forward to seeing Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, out in theaters this weekend. I’ve been a fan of the Jack Ryan character in his film incarnations over the years, and I was curious to see what actor/director Kenneth Branagh would do with a spy thriller in the wake of his relatively successful Thor directing job. I’m sad to say that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an aggressively average film. Everything about it is generic and bland: the script, the acting, the plot, and the action.

Check out my full video review after the jump.

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Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

The best that can be said about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is that it’s mostly competent. The worst that can be said about it is that it’s nothing more than that. This is a slick, shiny film without an ounce of personality or depth. Its protagonist may hold a doctorate degree from the London School of Economics, but the film around him is the cinematic equivalent of the preppy frat boy who does just enough homework to pull a C- average.

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Jack Ryan behind the scenes

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: Shadow Recruit 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.

For nine years, producers have been trying to restart the franchise, based on the character Tom Clancy created in books like The Hunt For Red October and Patriot Games. Taking a cue from the recent James Bond films, Jack Ryan is an origin story — a pre-boot set in the now. In this versions, 9/11 has taken place, and is a huge motivator for our hero. The following is what I learned about the film from co-star Kevin Costner and director Kenneth Branagh, fresh from Thor.

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