missing link set visit

Stepping into Laika’s Missing Link set is like stepping into a giant dollhouse or wandering into a miniaturized movie studio. Either way, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The hybrid animation studio revolutionized the stop-motion game when it debuted its 3D-printed film Coraline in 2009. Since then, the independent stop-motion studio has been steadily innovating with each of its films, earning critical and awards success, and the respect from their peers in the technology fields, along the way.

“Everything we’ve tried a new technology, we’ve essentially had to rip out the engine in our racecar and replace it with something else,” director of rapid prototyping Brian Mclean told a group of visiting journalists at Laika’s studio in Portland, Oregon. “And the reason why we do that is normally, if not always, [we’re] driven by some creative demand.”

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dumbo set visit report

Tim Burton is distracted. He’s in the middle of directing the live-action adaptation of Dumbo, an ambitious, big-budget production that requires balancing fantastical and elaborate sets with even more fantastical visual effects. But I got the feeling that this harried appearance was just part of Burton’s nature — a million thoughts racing at once while he attempts to answer press questions. It’s a surprisingly energetic persona from a man who is famous for donning all black and a dour complexion, but maybe that’s why he always wears the grim color: he can’t be bothered to think about anything else.

“It’s hard for me to talk [about Dumbo] right now because I don’t know if it’s a comedy or a drama,” Burton hurriedly tells us in between takes. “But I’ll let you know when I’m done with it.”

Hearing Burton refer to his Dumbo live-action adaptation as a comedy might be a bit confusing — humor isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about a Tim Burton movie, or the melancholic 1941 animated movie, either. But there is an unexpected warmth emanating from the Dumbo director and from the lavish, sprawling set around which he paces.

/Film got the chance to visit the set of Dumbo in London along with a group of other journalists, where I was immediately transported back into a storybook version of 1919. Here, a modest barn interior with a dirt floor and pieces of rope sits a couple hundred feet away from an elegant, Art Deco-style apartment decorated with vintage movie posters and marble floors. There, warm pinks and faded yellows adorn the backs of children running through a brightly lit town square.

And there isn’t a Gothic Victorian castle in sight.

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Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan rounds out the last of our interviews from the set of Captain Marvel. The British-born actress plays a member of Starforce, the galactic team that Carol Danvers is part of at the start of the movie. Minn-Erva is a Kree sniper who was the star of the team before Brie Larson‘s Carol Danvers showed up, which should add some drama.

In the interview, Chan tells us a little more about Minn-Erva, her rivalry with Carol, the extensive make-up process, comparisons to the comic books, working with Goose the cat, and more.

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Djimon Hounsou as Korath

Djimon Hounsou returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain Marvel, reprising his role as Korath. You might remember we last saw Korath in Guardians of the Galaxy as a subordinate of Ronan the Accuser who travels to the planet Morag to retrieve an Orb that has been stolen by Star-Lord. While the character was killed in that film, a younger version of Korath will appear in this MCU prequel. Before he joined Ronan, ’90s-era Korath was a member of Starforce alongside Carol Danvers.

On the Los Angeles set of the film, we sat down and talked with Hounsou about Korath’s role in this film, his function in Star Force, his relationship with Carol Danvers, comparing the film to James Gunn’s work, and more.

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John Lithgow Pet Sematary Interview

In the Pet Sematary remake, John Lithgow takes on the role of Jud Crandall, played so famously by Fred Gwynne in the 1989 film. Gwynne leaned into the heavy Maine accent the character possesses in Stephen King‘s novel – but don’t expect Lithgow to copy that. During a Pet Sematary remake set visit, Lithgow discussed his approach to portraying Jud – a neighbor who inadvertently sets off a terrible chain of actions.

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pet sematary remake directors interview

Pet Sematary lives again, in the hands of directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. The duo who helmed the indie horror flick Starry Eyes are now bringing Stephen King‘s scariest book to life, and they’re not pulling their punches. During a Pet Sematary set visit in Montreal last year, Kölsch and Widmyer talked about the new movie’s faithfulness to the book, whether or not we might see some Stephen King easter eggs, and more. 

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joseph gatt dumbo interview

Joseph Gatt is used to playing the bad guy. With his striking chrome dome, high cheekbones, and thin eyebrows, it’s no wonder that Gatt has been typecast as a villain. He’s tried to kill Thor as a Frost Giant, and he’s terrorized various heroes as countless Russian mercenaries. But in Dumbo, his villain Neils Skellig (the psychotic hunter and right-hand man of Michael Keaton’s ruthless circus entrepreneur V.A. Vandemere) hits a little closer to home.

“I’m very anti-hunting and I’m involved in a lot of charities and work against hunting and big-game hunting,” Gatt said in an interview from the set of Dumbo in September 2017. “So I know a lot of people that I can reference this particular character to. None that I would want to be friends with or recommend be friends with.” But there is one influence on his character who a few people would like to be friends with: Darth Vader. “The way I like to describe Skellig, Neils Skellig, is if you imagine Michael Keaton’s character is the Emperor, I’m Darth Vader,” Gatt said. “So basically he’s the more powerful [guy] in charge of everything, and I just do his bidding.”

On /Film’s visit to the set of Dumbo, we sat down with Gatt to talk his dynamic with Keaton, and why they’re doing more than acting opposite a tennis ball.

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danny devito dumbo interview

“We gotta complete the circus trilogy.”

That’s how Tim Burton got Danny DeVito on board to play yet another circus ringleader in Dumbo, Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of the beloved 1941 animated film. The last time DeVito donned a circus ringleader outfit, he was playing the shrewd ringmaster Amos Calloway in Burton’s 2003 fantasy drama Big Fish. And before that, he was a circus gang leader of sorts in 1992’s Batman Returns. But DeVito didn’t need much convincing to work with his longtime friend and director — Dumbo marks the fourth time he has collaborated with Burton, and he doesn’t plan for it to be the last.

“I get emotional thinking about how much I care about him,” DeVito said in an interview from the set of Dumbo in September 2017. “Always spirited, always an artist, always thinking about the craft, always just painting with his mind. I feel like I’m part of…some kind of palette or color scheme in [Wassily] Kandinsky’s world or something.”

Kandinsky, the abstract Russian painter, is not too far of a stretch from the bright and vibrant colors of the circus in Dumbo, of which DeVito’s Max Medici is the ringmaster. A character from the original 1941 film, DeVito lends his own spin on the character, giving him more humanity. He’s “a guy whose back is up against the wall,” DeVito said.

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colin farrell dumbo interview

Colin Farrell is flying high. Well, maybe not as high as an elephant with giant ears, but pretty close — the Widows actor finally got to collaborate with one of his longtime favorite filmmakers, Tim Burton, for Dumbo, the live-action adaptation of the beloved 1941 animated film about a clumsy elephant that learns he has a special ability that turns him into a circus sensation. It’s the perfect kind of fairy tale adventure that would attract Farrell, who as of late has shown a preference for offbeat mystical dramas both big and small.

“There’s things I read over the years that are somewhat fantastical and supernatural and have kind of a fairy tale element to them,” Farrell said in an interview from the set of Dumbo. “And I genuinely, when I heard [Tim] was doing this, was like ‘Oh god, what a dream gig to do.'”

But Farrell’s got his work cut out for him. The actor is set to play a brand new addition to Dumbo, which in the 1941 version rarely depicted any goodhearted humans. It’s Farrell’s job to play one of the few sympathetic human characters in Dumbo: Holt Farrier, a single father of two who has returned to his life at the circus after years at war have separated him from his family and have left him an amputee. But another burden for the Golden Globe nominee is that he’s the new kid in Tim Burton’s team of all-stars, with Burton regulars Michael Keaton, Danny Devito, and Eva Green rounding out the cast of the live-action fantasy.

“Yeah, it seems like Tim has his own little traveling circus of a kind going,” Farrell said. “And it’s just nice to be part of it.”

In our visit to the set of Dumbo in September 2017, we sat down with Farrell to hear his thoughts on flying elephants, fantasy, and just what he thinks about 10-year-old Tim Burton’s Halloween costume.

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the magicians season 4 set visit

Real talk: The Magicians is one of the most jam-packed series on TV and has been since it debuted in 2015. As die hard fans know, there’s always a wrench being thrown into the plans of the students at Brakebills, the home base of our core group of characters who’ve gone from young magicians-in-training to queens and kings to people who have grappled with personal conflict as they fight to save the world. To put things lightly, there’s been a whole lot going on—including fascist librarians, evil fairies, and wicked gods who continue to prey on the group in literally every timeline they visit (yes, time traveling is also a thing on this show).

And the ever-evolving plot continues to raise the stakes in season 4, which picks up where season 3 left off with Hale Appleman as the magician formally known as Eliot who’s now been possessed by The Monster. Oh, as for much of the group—Quentin (Jason Ralph), Julia (Stella Maeve), Penny (Arjun Gupta), Margo (Summer BIshil), Kady (Jade Tailor), and Josh (Trevor Einhorn)—their memories were wiped cleaned after they went against the powers that be to restore magic (which was consumed by the Library throughout most of season 3). So, for a moment at the beginning of season 4, these characters have no recollection of their magical selves and have assumed different identities.

Meanwhile, when we meet Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) in season 4, he’s dealing with the fallout of his students’ actions and their punishment. Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) has been imprisoned for disobeying the Library (a crime nearly impossible to not commit). Fen (Brittany Curran), who’s sort of still Eliot’s wife from the royal realm of Fillory, is now embedded in the group and their main objective (once things really get going this season) of getting Eliot out of the clutches of The Monster, unscathed. Man, that’s a mouthful.

Here are 10 more things we learned about season 4 of The Magicians from the Vancouver set.

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