Everyone on the set of Prisoners looked exhausted. Some of that was makeup, but some of the drain and fatigue was quite real. When I visited the production, it wasn’t working on a constructed set, but in a location. A real hospital, complete with physical dimensions that aren’t all that friendly to wide lenses and large groups of film crew, was the site of the shoot towards the end of the film’s schedule back in March.
The location wasn’t helping the mood, but it wasn’t just cramped quarters that was grinding down the cast and crew. Prisoners, scripted by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Denis Villeneuve, is not a cheery film. It follows two families whose children are abducted on Thanksgiving, and examines the different coping mechanisms employed by the two adult couples as they wait for any news. Ironically it was quite nice outside on the day of our visit, but Prisoners is the sort of movie that retreats from sunshine. When the weather got good, the crew shot indoors.
The couples are played by Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello, and Viola Davis and Terrence Howard. Garbed in realistic costume and styled like people rather than movie starts, several looked like they’d been put through the wringer. Slightly more energized was Jake Gyllenhaal, playing the detective who takes charge of the missing persons case. In conversation, each outlined their approach to the difficult material, and after the break you’ll find a lightly edited oral pre-history of Prisoners, assembled from their comments. Read More »
Days after Chadwick Boseman took the lead in Tate Taylor‘s biopic of the Godfather of Soul James Brown, that film has a title and release date. It’ll be called Get On Up and will be released October 17, 2014. Also of note: Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who worked with Taylor on The Help, are being eyed for roles. Read More »
Summer only officially started a few days ago, but for those who don’t want a long procession of super-powered tentpoles, summer movie fatigue is here in full force. If you’re in that crowd the fall festival season may seem like a great promise on the horizon, and one of the first films in that season is Denis Villeneuve‘s Prisoners. The story follows a family (Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello) whose daughter is kidnapped; Terrance Howard and Viola Davis play another couple whose child is also missing. Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, and Jake Gyllenhaal factor in to the plot, too.
We just saw one fairly heavy trailer for the film a few weeks ago, but now there is already a second. Like the first look at the movie, this positions Prisoners as a tense and very promising fall entry. Read More »
The films of Denis Villeneuve stick with people. Movies like Incendies, Polytechnique, and Maelstrom demonstrate a knack for plunging recognizable characters into difficult situations (some based in reality, some purely fictional) and exploring the outcome in ways that most audiences won’t readily forget. His work is strong enough to attract an incredible cast to Prisoners, a drama in which two young girls go missing, shattering the complacent lives of their parents.
Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano are the core cast, and the film was shot by the stunningly talented Roger Deakins. This first trailer for the movie is very intense, but may also give away more than you’d like to know. (Or it gives that impression, at least; I bet there’s a lot more than we see here.) I stopped watching 2/3 through, but what I saw was enough to confirm the September release as a must-see. Check out the footage below. Read More »
A day Ender’s Game fans never thought would happen has arrived. The first teaser trailer for the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card‘s landmark sci-fi novel is finally here.
For years, Hollywood told fans the age of the characters and the complicated action sequences made the story unfilmable. Enter director Gavin Hood who, along with producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and others, willed the film to the big screen. They cast Asa Butterfield (Hugo) as the title character, a young man who is recruited to go into space and train as a military leader whose destiny is to save the world. Harrison Ford plays his gruff mentor and the rest of the cast is filled out with Oscar-calibur talent like Hailee Steinfeld, Sir Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis and Abigail Breslin.
Ender’s Game opens November 1 and, below you can see just how Hood’s vision came together. Read More »
Is Beautiful Creatures the next Twilight? The film is a YA tale of a battle between good and evil supernatural forces, focused around the adolescence of a young witch, Lena (Alice Englert), whose powers will be claimed either for the light or dark when she hits her 16th birthday.
The film adapts Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s novel of the same name (the first of a multi-book arc, naturally) and if this new footage is anything to go by the movie definitely has a chance at, um, eclipsing Twilight. Not in the supernatural teen romance category, but for pure “WTF?” factor. A new international trailer runs down a good bit of the story, and also makes the film look like a campy, kooky mess. Some of the “southern” accents here are just marvelous, and for a movie about witches there’s a hell of a lot of vamping going on. I don’t care why Emmy Rossum is screaming towards the end of the trailer; I just want to loop that moment. Read More »
Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2012 by Angie Han
Speculation over which YA property would become the next Twilight has been swirling for some time now — since the first film hit theaters in 2008, really. But with the beloved vampire series finally poised to come to a close this fall, the timing is now more ripe than ever for some other pair of star-crossed paranormal teenager lovers to swoop in and take Edward and Bella’s place.
Among the contenders are Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena (Alice Englert) of Beautiful Creatures, Richard LaGravenese‘s adaptation of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s bestselling novel. This time around, it’s the guy who’s the clueless human newcomer, and the girl who’s the mysterious, supernatural local. The surprisingly strong supporting cast includes Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, and Emmy Rossum. Watch the new trailer after the jump.
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Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 by Angie Han
Having tackled racism in Civil Rights-era Mississippi with the help of Emma Stone in last summer’s The Help, Viola Davis is now taking on the modern public education crisis with the aid of Maggie Gyllenhaal in Won’t Back Down.
Directed by Daniel Barnz (Beastly) from a script he co-wrote with Brin Hill, the apparently fact-based drama stars Gyllenhaal and Davis as a pair of determined mothers who team up to establish a charter school for struggling children in their Pittsburgh neighborhood. Oscar Isaac co-stars as a ukelele-strumming teacher who takes a romantic interest in Gyllenhaal, because he’s in everything these days. Watch the first trailer after the jump.
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Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2012 by Angie Han
Viola Davis may have lost the Oscar to Meryl Streep in one of the few upsets at this year’s ceremony, but it appears she’s taking a page out of Streep’s book for her next leading role. Davis is eyeing a role in her own political biopic, about Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.
Davis is currently developing the project with director Paris Barclay, and would produce with her husband Julius Tennon and Barclay. Also producing are Shelly Glasser and Diane Nabatoff, who optioned the rights to the biography on which the film will be based. More details after the jump.
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Michael Peña has called labor organizer Cesar Chavez his dream role, and now the actor is set to play the part in Chavez, which will be produced and directed by Diego Luna. That’s a great step up from supporting roles in films like Battle: Los Angeles, Tower Heist and The Lincoln Lawyer.
Peña will be joined by America Ferrera as Helen Chavez, and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta. Variety says the film, scripted by Keir Pearson, “depicts Chavez organizing the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history to accomplish his ultimate goal of obtaining basic human rights for over 50,000 farm workers in California.”
Chavez will start shooting in Sonora, Mexico in April. Gael Garcia Bernal and John Malkovich are also among the film’s producers. This is Luna’s second film about a public figure, as his first directorial effort was the documentary J.C. Chavez, about Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez.
After the break, Jennifer Beals produces and stars in a jazz-themed indie called The Lord of Vinyl, and the supernatural YA adaptation Beautiful Creatures gets a little addition from Project X. Read More »