The Simpsons Al Jean Interview

The Simpsons is about to his another landmark. This season will be the animated show’s 30th. Last season saw The Simpsons pass Gunsmoke’s record for the most number of episodes produced. But much of the focus on The Simpsons recently has been on something else.

Last year, a Simpsons controversy heated up. Hari Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu aired in November 2017, criticizing the stereotypical nature of the Indian character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. The Simpsons responded in their episode “No Good Read Goes Unpunished.” The response sparked more debate than the documentary originally did, and /Film has been covering it closely.

Al Jean, showrunner for The Simpsons, sat down with /Film at the Fox party for the Television Critics Association, and he was prepared for more Apu questions. He wouldn’t budge from those earlier statements and opted to talk about the show’s milestones and some history revealed in Mike Reiss’s recent memoir Springfield Confidential. Read More »

The Gifted Season 2

Fans of Fox’s X-Men series The Gifted have waited longer than most TV series for their second season. Season 1 wrapped in January since it was only 13 episodes. So it’s been eight months since Polaris (Emma Dumont) crashed a plane and the Mutant Underground, as well as the Strucker family, split up.

The Gifted spent the summer buttering up those fans with information about the second season. The show announced Reeva Payge (Grace Byers), Erg (Michael Luwoye) and the Morlocks at Comic-Con, and revealed footage of a very pregnant Polaris  and Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White). Tonight we finally see how the second season begins.

But before that, at the Fox party for the Television Critics Association in August, show runner Matt Nix spoke with /Film for the second time after our first interview, this time with a special focus on the series premiere. Nix discussed the show’s refined focus and announced some more new mutants for us.  Read More »

Reed Morano Interview

I Think We’re Alone Now has been in limited release since last weekend, but the rest of the country will get a chance in the coming weeks as the film expands to more theaters. However, fans of Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage, actress Elle Fanning and/or post-apocalyptic movies may be surprised by the tone director Reed Morano struck with her Sundance selected feature.

Morano has been an acclaimed cinematographer of movies like Frozen River and Beyonce’s Lemonade. She’s won acclaim as a director for the pilot that launched The Handmaid’s Tale into a Hulu phenomenon, so there’s been a lot of anticipation for her follow up feature. Morano spoke with /Film by phone about what drew her to Mike Madowsky’s script for I Think We’re Alone Now and why she was never, ever going to use the pop song of the same name in the film.
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During their Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel for the Television Critics Association, Nickelodeon announced they had already greenlit a second season of the new series. That was before a sneak preview of the show and its official premiere on Nickelodeon.

Now, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres today on Nickelodeon with brand new designs for the turtles, new villains and even new music. The line-up is still classic, though: Donatello (Josh Brener), Michelangelo (Brandon Mychal Smith), Leonardo (Ben Schwartz) and Raphael (Josh Brener) team up with April O’Neill (Kat Graham) and their mentor Splinter (Eric Bauza).

After the TCA panel, executive producers Andy Suriano and Ant Ward hung around to talk with /Film a bit more about their plans for a second season, the new toys based on their new designs, Splinter’s reinvented role, and the Pinky and the Brain reunion on their show.

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The First Trailer

With The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu got the streaming service serious Emmy awards. With Castle Rock they’ve reinvented Stephen King. Now they got Sean Penn to do television with their latest series, The First.

Created by Beau Willimon, The First is about NASA’s attempts to launch the first manned shuttle to Mars. After a launch disaster, Laz Ingram (Natasha McElhone) calls Tom Hagerty (Penn) in to get the mission back on track. Tom focuses on the mission but sometimes gets distracted by his daughter Denise (Anna Jacoby-Heron) rebelling and backsliding, while they still haven’t dealt with Tom’s wife’s death.

Willimon spoke with /Film at the Hulu offices this week, joined by his partner, executive producer Jordan Tappis. They had clearly thought out answers for everything science and story related. The First premieres today on Hulu.

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a simple favor trailer

Paul Feig has become a major name in comedy over the years. His last four movies have been blockbusters: Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy and yes, Ghostbusters. To some, his latest movie, A Simple Favor, may seem like something different, but it’s more of a Paul Feig movie than you may be expecting.

Based on the novel by Darcey Bell, the story follows single mom Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), who becomes friends with Emily (Blake Lively) when their sons have a playdate. One day, Emily asks Stephanie to pick up her son during a work emergency. Emily never returns, and this is just as surprising to Emily’s husband (Henry Golding). The plot thickens and the trailer definitely teases the film’s twists and turns, but there are still moments for macabre humor and outright silliness.

Feig spoke with /Film by phone about his take on the thriller genre, what a Ghostbusters sequel might have been and development on the Play Doh movie. A Simple Favor is in theaters this Friday.

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Showtime’s new dramedy Kidding stars Jim Carrey in a dramatic role. He plays children’s television host Jeff Pickles, star of Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time, who sings songs to teach kids about life lessons, but inside he’s dealing with real pain. His son died in an automobile accident a year before, and he’s now estranged from his wife (Judy Greer) and surviving son.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind filmmaker Michel Gondry directed the pilot (which is available to watch for free online right now) and five more episodes of KiddingGondry spoke with /Film before the Kidding panel at the Television Critics Association. Kidding premiered last night and airs Sunday nights on Showtime.

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Peppermint Trailer

Peppermint is the fifth movie Pierre Morel has directed, but “from the director of Taken” will likely follow him forever. The landmark action film turned acclaimed Oscar-nominee Liam Neeson into an action hero just as prolific than Schwarzenegger and Stallone in their day.

Now, Morel is trying to do the same with Jennifer Garner. When drug dealers murder Riley North’s family, the legal system fails her. So she returns five years later to take out the cartel and the corrupt system.

Morel spoke with /Film by phone on his way to record the DVD commentary for Peppermint. He talked about the film’s action style, its take on revenge, and concerns that a villainous Mexican cartel would perpetuate negative stereotypes. Peppermint is in theaters now.

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The Nun Screenwriter Interview

Screenwriter Gary Dauberman joined the Conjuring franchise with the very first Annabelle spin-off, and has written every spin-off since including Annabelle: Creation and this week’s The Nun. In between, he had time to write It: Chapter One and then adapted the rest of the Stephen King novel for It: Chapter Two. He also wrote the Swamp Thing series for the DC Universe streaming service and an adaptation of the Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark?

The Nun tells the origin of the demonic spirit the Warrens faced in The Conjuring 2. This spin-off takes us back to 1952 in a remote convent in Romania. Father Kirk (Demian Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) visit the abbey to investigate a nun’s suicide. Spoiler alert: it’s related to The Nun.

Dauberman spoke with /Film by phone about The Nun and its place in the continuing Conjuring universe, as well as his upcoming projects for film and television.

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It's Always Sunny Creator Interview

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns for its 13th season to answer some cliffhangers. Dennis (Glenn Howerton) was moving to North Dakota to be with his son, and Charlie (Charlie Day) and the Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) were going to try to have a baby.

With Howerton’s involvement still ambiguous (one episode features a lifelike Dennis sex doll prominently), only two of the original Sunny creators were available for interviews at TCA. Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney spoke with /Film about the upcoming season.

Episodes previewed for press include the season premiere set in an escape room (with guest star Mindy Kaling), the sex doll episode, and one in which Mac comes out. Day and McElhenney told us more, and also speculated on the gang’s political preferences. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns tonight on FXX.

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