Chuck Palahniuk‘s Survivor isn’t the most commercial concept for a film adaptation. For a long time now, a movie based on Palahniuk’s dark comedy has struggled to reach theaters, and back in 2007, Francis Lawrence was one of the filmmakers who gave it a shot. As the I Am Legend and Mockingjay director told us, the book is a difficult nut to crack, but he’s currently attempting to adapt it as a television series. Lawrence now has the option to the book again, and he is excited about it.
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Posted on Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 by Jack Giroux
Have you ever experienced the simple pleasures of binge-watching the show Happy Endings? If not, you’re missing out, because in a word: it’s ah-mah-zing. The ABC series is a warm blanket of a comedy with its lovable characters and kind-hearted sense of humor. Even its opening credits create a warm feeling. Created by David Caspe (Black Monday), the comedy lasted for three seasons, two years, and 57 episodes, and while that is a lot of content and fun to be had, it was still canceled too soon.
Imagine if the show came out today, though, with an advertisement proclaiming, “From the visionary directors of Avengers: Endgame,” Joe and Anthony Russo. The filmmakers executive-produced the comedy and directed a handful of episodes, so when we spoke to them at the 21 Bridges press day, of course, we had to ask them about this, their greatest achievement.
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Chances are, you’ve all been watching and appreciating Chris O’Hara‘s work for a long time without even realizing it. He’s been in the stunt world going back to the early ’90s and worked on Fight Club with frequent collaborator, stunt performer-turned-Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch. Since then, the stunt performer-turned-stunt coordinator has worked with the Wachowskis, he contributed to the John Wick films and, undoubtedly the most dangerous stunt job of them all, We Bought A Zoo. He’s brought his expertise to huge franchises, including Jurassic World and The Hunger Games. During a press day for the Blu-Ray release of Hobbs & Shaw, we got a chance to talk to him about his latest work.
After speaking with O’Hara, I actually got to recreate a stunt from the movie with the help of a few very cool stuntmen. Just as you might exactly imagine, I made Dwayne Johnson’s skills pale in comparison. “It’s like a dance,” the stuntmen would say, breaking down the specific steps required to properly kick someone in the groin. (Keep your foot flat facing downward, if you’re interested.) Experiencing the specificity of the subtlest of moves, really, made the fight scenes in Hobbs & Shaw all the more impressive and artful. It truly is like a dance — except with more liability and danger. Go too far with an elbow hit and, well, it’s not pretty. Imagine an elbow landing on a temple and try not to cringe. Even seemingly minor moves are ripe with danger. Another observation from working with these stuntmen: as shown by the Academy Awards, they just don’t get enough of the love or acclaim they deserve. One of them even remarked it was nice to see excitement and appreciation over what they do for a living.
Below, you can find a few nuggets of information we learned from speaking with O’Hara about his take on the next-level fights in the John Wick franchise, finding stuntmen to fight alongside Dwayne Johnson, and the athleticism of Jason Statham.
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Don’t say the word “grounded” to director David Leitch. The filmmaker behind Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, and most recently, Hobbs & Shaw, wants his big blockbusters to live in a fantasy land far, far away from gritty reality. He wants his escapism to look cool and stylish, not familiar. It’s probably why his sensibilities were suited for the Fast & Furious franchise, which are basically superhero movies with cars instead of capes.
Hobbs & Shaw is probably the most fantastical entry in the series, with minor elements of science-fiction and superhuman acts performed by the titular duo. Realism has no place in this franchise, which allowed Leitch to have as much fun as possible with all the franchise’s toys and staples. While staying true to the family spirit and ridiculousness of the franchise, Leitch also brought his eye-popping graphic novel style to the Fast & Furious franchise.
Recently, at a press day for the Hobbs & Shaw Blu-Ray release, the filmmaker told us about bringing his style to the series, his fondness of John Woo and Jackie Chan, and his distaste of the word “grounded.”
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Tom Segura is one of the best comedians out there right now. The Cincinnati native released his first Netflix special, Completely Normal, back in 2014, and in the five years since, his skills as a storyteller have only sharpened. Segura’s jokes continue to grow longer and funnier, making for some of the most consistently funny Netflix comedy specials available. You can often find him at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood and, most recently, all over the country and Europe for his recent tour, “Take It Down.” If you didn’t get a chance to see him perform on his latest tour, the good news is all his new material will be available this month in a new special.
Segura can also be seen in the new horror movie, Countdown, which is produced by director Sean Anders. The two worked together on Instant Family, which gave the comedian his first prominent role in a major studio comedy to date. Segura isn’t only interested in acting in comedies, though, as he told us.
During a recent conversation with the comedian, actor, and co-host of Your Mom’s House podcast, he told us about his hope to see in all kinds of movies and what’s different about his new material.
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We all know the name Jai Courtney. The Australian actor first broke out on the Starz series Spartacus and later landed roles in a string of high-profile movies like Suicide Squad, Terminator: Genisys and Jack Reacher. Between those movies, he’s gravitated towards more grounded roles in dramas like Felony, The Water Diviner, and Unbroken. He himself says it’s the intimate dramas that are more to his taste.
Movies like director Henry Alex Rubin’s Semper Fi are right up his alley. It’s a family drama that deals with the military, PTSD, and brotherhood, with a third act turn towards a prison break thriller. It’s a movie going for naturalism, not spectacle, and it’s another look at what Courtney is capable of given a strong role.
Recently, we spoke to the actor about what attracts him to certain roles, drama school in Australia, and what kept him going when he first moved to Los Angeles.
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A demon is giving the group of us thumbs up. Underneath the prosthetics, the very tall man is all smiles, hamming it up for us set visitors and his fellow co-workers. It must be uncomfortable as hell underneath all that makeup, but actor Dirk Rogers isn’t displaying any hints of annoyance. He was fooling around, asking what’s up and making wildly comical gestures.
It was just another day at the office on the horror movie Countdown, a movie about an app that lets you know the time you’ll kick the bucket. Yes, it sounds reminiscent of a fictional movie in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and a more apt comparison, the fantastic Brand New Testament, but neither of those movies had a gnarly demon with horns, did they?
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Director Todd Phillips and his longtime cinematographer Lawrence Sher knew their latest film, Joker, would have more eyes on it than usual. But neither expected the runaway success train it has become, winning a prestigious Venice Film Festival award, making over $740 million at the worldwide box-office, and attracting awards heat for its star, Joaquin Phoenix.
Sher, who’s an economics major with a background in still photography, has been working with Phillips since the Hangover trilogy. Before the duo’s first collaboration on that hit series, Sher shot Garden State and I Love You Man, to name just a few. This year, he played on a huge, beautiful canvas with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and was able to make a comic book movie that’s a throwback to the ’70s and the Martin Scorsese movies that made him want to be a cinematographer in the first place. It’s a big year for Sher, who recently talked to us about some of Joker‘s most memorable sequences, working with Joaquin Phoenix, and the line between fantasy and reality in the movie.
This interview contains major spoilers for Joker.
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There’s something to say about consistency in television. How many mighty shows have we seen fall in their final seasons? Too many, but for a show to stay true to its self, evolve, and entertain for many years, that’s a feat. It’s an accomplishment HBO’s Ballers pulled off through its five-year run on HBO, where it was the cable network’s most popular 30-minute comedy, and yet not the most popular comedy to talk about. It wasn’t ever a show to tweet about every Sunday anyway, but in spite of generally solid reviews for a solid show, there wasn’t much love for a Dwayne Johnson performance that deserved more attention. But Ballers was one of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s faves for good reason.
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Gemini Man is a globetrotting 3D action movie with assassins, motorcycle chases, and that emphasizes the value of life, so it’s no surprise that it’s directed by Ang Lee. The visionary director behind Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain once again pushes the envelope with his high-frame-rate and Will Smith-headlined cinematic experiment. Similar to many Ang Lee movies, Gemini Man has an identity crisis, repression, and father issues to go along with the popcorn entertainment, which, like his Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, is shot in 120 frames per second and 3D. This time around, the result is more immersive and tactile, less otherworldly and distancing.
It’s a new way of telling a story that, as Lee says, he’s just getting started with as he remains hopeful other filmmakers will join him in his pursuit of the sharpest image possible. 120 fps remains polarizing, but Lee remains assured he’s on the right path. Anytime an artist tries something new, it’s automatically going to distance some audiences, anyway. There are still kinks to be smoothed out and movie theaters have to catch up to Lee, but he’s also thinking about the long game: not just where the technology is now, but where it will go.
After over a decade of trying to interview him, we got 15 minutes with Lee, and although there’s some pressure to finally sit across from this filmmaking giant, when you walk in a room and are greeted by him, any nervousness dissipates fast. His calmness and modesty are impossible not to feel at ease around, but behind that calmness lies an intense desire to, as he told us, remain cutting edge.
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