Black Panther Lupita Nyong'o

Marvel’s Black Panther is putting together a cast worthy of a king. Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o has entered talks to join the superhero movie being written and directed by Ryan CooglerChadwick Boseman will, of course, reprise his role from Captain America: Civil War as Wakandan king / cat-themed superhero T’Challa.  Read More »

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Queen of Katwe

It’s not that Lupita Nyong’o hasn’t kept herself busy since her Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave. But we’ve barely seen her, because her two biggest recent roles, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Jungle Book, have kept her wonderfully expressive face offscreen. Fortunately, that changes this fall with Queen of Katwe.

Directed by Mira Nair, the based-on-a-true-story drama stars Nyong’o as a poor single mother raising a 10-year-old daughter, Phiona (played by newcomer Madina Nalwanga) in rural Uganda. Phiona’s life takes an unexpected turn when she meets a missionary (David Oyelowo) teaching local children how to play chess, and discovers she has a natural talent for the game. Watch the Queen of Katwe trailer after the jump.  Read More »

why Ava DuVernay turned down Black Panther

Following the stunning success of Selma, Ava DuVernay found herself in high demand, getting courted for everything from Black Panther to A Wrinkle in Time even as she set up projects at OWN and HBO. But even DuVernay can only be in so many places at once, so this week she’s taking one item off her to-do list. DuVernay has exited DreamWorks’ Intelligent Life, a sci-fi project co-written by Colin Trevorrow which has Lupita Nyong’o attached to star.  Read More »

 The Jungle Book featurette

The Jungle Book‘s voice cast is stacked with talent. Sir Ben KingsleyBill Murray, Lupita Nyong’oChristopher WalkenScarlett JohanssonIdris Elba, and more help bring director Jon Favreau‘s (Chef) ambitious, CG-heavy reimagining of the Disney animated classic to life. To learn how they did it, check out the recent The Jungle Book featurette below.

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maz kanata visual effects

I remember the good ol’ days when Rian Johnson would post an image almost every day on his Tumblr, but now that the filmmaker is working on Star Wars Episode VIII we definitely have seen less of his personal photography. He has posted a couple photos from the set of Episode VIII, though, including a shot of cinematographer Steve Yedlin on the Millennium Falcon set after concluding the first week of filming. Now Johnson’s latest shows the return of Lupita Nyong’o‘s Maz Kanata. See the photo and learn more about the possible Maz Kanata Episode 8 return, after the jump.

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the jungle book clip

I may have shrugged at the earliest teaser trailer for The Jungle Book, the one that was 98% jumping through an unfinished CGI jungle, but I’ll give credit where credit is due: the past few months have made me genuinely excited to see what director Jon Favreau does with this material. The most recent trailer is brimming with personality and charm. Those photo-realistic animal characters really do look stunning. The first clip from the film showcased strong vocal performances, killer visual effects, and strong sense of place. Yeah, I’m on board. Never bet against a Jon Favreau movie, unless the words “cowboys” and “aliens” are in the title.

And now, here’s another new clip, just in case you need some additional convincing.

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maz kanata visual effects

One of the unfortunate realities of the digital age is that most “How’d they do that?” moments in films have a single, routine answer: computers. Computer generated effects are amazing and the people who craft them are supremely talented artists who deserve your applause and affection, but let’s be honest…green screens aren’t as inherently romantic as matte paintings and movie fans are all romantics at heart.

That’s why film fandom has been so enraptured with the visual effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which blends practical, on-set wizardry with plenty of CGI. And as a new featurette reminds us, there are infinite possibilities in the digital realm. This video, which focuses on the Maz Kanata visual effects, goes a long way to injecting the appropriate amount of wonder into the modern VFX process.

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The Jungle Book poster tryptic

Update From Editor Peter Sciretta: Disney has released the third and final piece of this triptych Jungle Book poster. The full triptych can be seen above, and see the final poster up close after the jump.

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Supreme Leader Snoke Photos

During the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans were hungry for any set photos they could feast their eyes on. Now with the film in theaters and breaking box office records, there aren’t any secrets that can be learned from set photos, but that doesn’t mean they don’t offer a cool glimpse at production, including the climactic lightsaber battle. This is especially true when they come from the film’s cinematographer Dan Mindel.

In addition, the first official stills of motion capture characters Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke, brought to life respectively by Lupita Nyong’o and Andy Serkis, have been revealed as well. But keep in mind that you may not want to continue after the jump if you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, because there will be some spoiler talk. Read More »