pet sematary set visit

Over the summer, I had the chance to head to the Montreal set of Pet Sematary, the new adaptation/remake of Stephen King‘s 1983 novel. What I saw there excited me beyond my wildest dreams. I’m a huge Stephen King fan, and Pet Sematary is my favorite King novel, immediately making me suspicious of any adaptation. What I came away with is the knowledge and confidence that the film is in excellent hands, and might just be the next great Stephen King movie adaptation.

(This Pet Sematary set visit report is as spoiler-free as possible. Check back with us closer to the film’s release for a more spoiler-centric report.)

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known as the writer and star of the Broadway smash Hamilton, but pretty soon, he may be just as well-known for his work in Disney musicals. After snagging an Oscar nomination for his songwriting work on Moana, Miranda steps in front of the camera in Mary Poppins Returns, where he plays a singing and dancing lamplighter named Jack. With Dick Van Dyke’s Burt nowhere to be seen, Jack gets to fill that role in Rob Marshall’s sequel to the Disney classic. It certainly helps that Jack grew up as Burt’s young protege.

When we visited the set of Mary Poppins Returns last year, we sat down with Miranda for a moderated Q&A. He spoke about the differences between working on stage musicals and film musicals, his fondness for the original movie, and getting to meet (and work with) the legendary Dick Van Dyke.

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Any actress who dares take over the role of Mary Poppins from the great Julie Andrews is asking for trouble. Few characters are so iconic, so tied to a single performer. But not every actress is Emily Blunt, the phenomenally talented performer who can play everything from English royalty to badass alien killers. If anyone can play everyone’s favorite magical nanny, it’s her.

While visiting the set of Mary Poppins Returns last year, we were able to spend a few minutes with Blunt for a moderated Q&A, where she spoke about taking over an iconic character, stumbling through dance sequences, and making Mary Poppins her own.

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Last year, I flew across the Atlantic Ocean to visit London, England. Specifically, I visited London, England so I could visit a recreation of London, England on a series of sound stages at Shepperton Studios. But this wasn’t just any recreation of London. This was the London of Mary Poppins Returns, a London full of magic and whimsy and yes, lots and lots of music.

A direct sequel to the 1964 original, Mary Poppins Returns stars Emily Blunt as the magical nanny and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, her new partner-in-song-and-dance. Rob Marshall, the director of Chicago and Into the Woods, is behind the camera and everything we saw on set suggests that this movie should be a delight.

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The Purge TV Show Characters

If there’s one thing The Purge movies have taught us, it’s that there’s no telling how someone will react when presented with criminal impunity. Throughout the films, we’ve seen everyone from the poor to the rich, the white to the black, grapple with the spaces they occupy in a capitalist and white supremacist society, and how that motivates them on the night of the Purge — when all crime, especially murder, is completely legal. But while the films have raised questions of morality in a lawless state, they don’t delve into each character’s story and the personal conflicts they’ve faced throughout this intentionally established dystopia.

That’s where the new TV adaptation comes in.

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I’m not one to champion a whole bunch of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs, but let me tell you something — when it was announced that there was going to be a TV adaptation of The Purge, I perked right up. I’m a fan of the film franchise — and its unflinching indictment of our real-life dystopia highlighting our history of violence and rage — and I was interested to see how creator James DeMonaco and producer Jason Blum would expand the story in an episodic format. After visiting their New Orleans set back in June, I can say that at this point I am truly invested.

Premiering September 4 on USA, The Purge will be a 10-episode series that follows several characters as they struggle to survive on the one night of the year when all crime — including murder — is completely legal. As the night wears on, each character is forced to reckon with their past and their own self-motivations as they determine just how far they’ll go to confront the horror around them.

The series, which revolves around the Purge’s standard 12-hour period, is written and executive produced by showrunner Thomas Kelly. Here’s everything we now know from the set visit.

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Die Hard tour

(We recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of Die Hard, arguably the greatest action movie of all time. /Film has explored the film from every angle with a whole series of articles. To conclude our coverage, we took a special tour of the film’s locations and attended a spectacular screening on the Fox lot.)

By now, everyone knows that the filmmakers behind Die Hard utilized 20th Century Fox’s Fox Plaza, a real skyscraper in Los Angeles’s Century City, to stand in for the movie’s famous Nakatomi Plaza. The building is still being used by Fox today, and typically, film journalists aren’t allowed to go inside and explore it. But this past weekend, we were among a small group of journalists invited to take a Die Hard tour showing off a ton of the locations used during the making of the movie.

To top it all off, Fox organized a 30th anniversary screening of the film on the studio lot, with the building itself towering over the audience. Check out our video and photos below.
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happytime murders

For our third and final interview from our visit to the set of The Happytime Murders, I bring you a discussion with producer/co-writer and Melissa McCarthy’s close collaborator Ben Falcone. In a roundtable interview, Falcone talked about how good the screenplay was on first read, the strange world-building of the movie, the difficulties in making an R-rated puppet comedy, making raunchy comedy that isn’t mean-spirited, how inactive puppets look like they’ve died, and how a puppet set is different from a regular set.

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happytime murders

Last October, I visited the set of Brian Henson‘s The Happytime Murders and was shocked and appalled by the puppet naughtiness. Today, I present to you our roundtable interview with human star Melissa McCarthy talked about having “real” moments with puppet characters, working with the Henson Company, wanting to make the movie after reading two pages, navigating a set built for puppets, the social message of the film, hilarious puppet bloopers, and being directed from a guy in a garbage can.

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brian henson the happytme murders

Last October, I traveled to Santa Clarita to visit the set of The Happytime Murders, the new film from Brian Henson. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge Muppets fan, and I’ve been singing the praises of Brian’s “Battleground” episode of Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King since that premiered over a decade ago. So I am very excited to see what Brian does outside of the studio that Kermit built. And judging from the trailers and what I saw on set, this movie will likely be a big surprise to those who haven’t seen his work at Puppet Up.

During our roundtable interview, Henson discussed the 10-year process of bringing the script to life, creating 40 new puppet characters, going too far with the dirty humor, blending real puppets with CGI puppets, what he learned from his father and the difficulty of puppeteering in a jacuzzi.

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