Omari Hardwick SPARKLE On-Set Interview

by     Posted 1 year, 333 days ago

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In visiting the set of Sparkle, the music-centered film set in 1960s Detroit, one of the more interesting conversations took place with Omari Hardwick. The actor plays Levi, a member of the church’s choir and friend to the sisters who start a girl group similar to The Supremes. Hardwick, who’s previously been seen in Kick-Ass, The A-Team, and For Colored Girls, has a fascinating backstory, having almost played for the San Diego Chargers and being an active poet. In my conversation along with other journalists on set in November, Hardwick generously discusses how he prepares as an actor, the challenges in doing press for films, and how he bonded with his fellow cast mates. Speaking before her death, he comments on working with Whitney Houston, giving light to a less-readily seen side of her, while speaking about her with great reverie. Our time spent with Hardwick was quite absorbing; his candor and sense of understanding of the balance between his craft and the industry around him is reflective and unguarded.  Hit the jump for the full interview and here’s my set visit.

Jordin Sparks SPARKLE On-Set Interview

by     Posted 1 year, 348 days ago

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Set in the motown-era of Detroit, Sparkle tells the story of a singing family of girls trying to make it big whilst facing the hurdles that success can bring.  Jordin Sparks plays the title character and is no stranger to sudden fame herself, having won season six of American Idol in 2007.  Back in November, I, along with a number of other journalists, visited the set of the film and we spoke to the cast and crew as well as watched a scene being filmed.  As evidenced by the movie poster, the film’s tone is definitely grittier, and more on par with Dreamgirls than Hairspray.

On set, we chatted with Jordin about how she got involved in the project, how she prepared for the role, and her excitement about the songs they’re bringing back from the original as well as the new ones R. Kelly has penned.  She gushes over working with her idol Whitney Houston and remarks how truly funny she was on set. Hit the jump for the full interview and here’s my set visit.

Collider Goes to the Set of SPARKLE Starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks

by     Posted 1 year, 349 days ago

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It was just in November when I traveled out to Detroit for a day on the set of Sparkle, Whitney Houston’s posthumous film about music, growing up in church, and finding your way.  A remake of the 70’s movie, it is set at the height of the civil rights movement and Motown boom in Detroit, and chronicles a family whose daughters form a singing group—modeled after The Supremes—and their journey to find success in uncertain times.   It is apparent that those in charge are dedicated to making the film authentic and successful. American Idol winner Jordin Sparks plays the title character Sparkle, the dark horse in the singing group.  Houston, in her anticipated return to the screen, stars as the girls’ mother.  Though the plot may feel familiar, after having talked extensively with the cast and crew, it is clear that there is a personality to this story.  The film is rooted in family values, and has an elevated, sophisticated tone.  More after the jump.

Whitney Houston and Producer Debra Martin Chase SPARKLE Set Visit Interview [Updated With Audio]

by     Posted 2 years, 69 days ago

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It was just in November when a group of journalists and I spent a day at a church in the outskirts of Detroit, where the film Sparkle was shooting.  We spent half a day in interviews with the cast until finally it was announced that “Ms. Houston” was here.  There are rumors of what charisma is like: Being in Whitney Houston‘s company, the air took on a sharper more pronounced feel, everyone was seemingly in a trance in her presence because it was that absorbing.  With warm glowing skin and exquisite features, visually she was arresting, but it was her candor that was so affecting.  Equally ready to hand out praise or tough love, she seemed compelled to speak the truth.  Her exuberance for the project sprung from her great respect for the civil rights movement (the era in which Sparkle is set), as well as the potential for this film to showcase a beautiful image of African Americans.  This is a film, she conveyed, that will make families want to go to the movies.  Her charm is one that now in the current landscape of calculated personas, feels antiquated and unmatchable.  After a day of interviews, I recall noting what a self-possessed sense of ease Houston had; from both the brief time with her and the conversations with her castmates, she seemed a natural leader who had visibly, and yet quietly, charmed and encouraged the rest of the cast.

Hit the jump for the full interview between Houston (also an executive producer on the film) and Debra Martin Chase, her producing partner on Cindarella and The Preacher’s Wife .  They talked about why they wanted to do the project, what it was like for Houston to be in front of the camera again, the soundtrack, and so much more.

Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum Talk THE VOW, Memorable First Dates, and More

by     Posted 2 years, 74 days ago

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Poised for Valentine’s Day, the Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum love story The Vow opens this weekend. The pair play young newlyweds who are fiercely in love until a car accident leaves McAdams’ character with such severe memory loss that she cannot remember her husband. While her husband tries to make her fall in love with him all over again, she must decide if she wants her old life back.  Based off a true story, the film is absorbing and hits deeply on a variety of emotions. With an excellent supporting cast—Scott Speedman, Sam Neill, and in particular Jessica Lange, the film is an engaging and satisfying love story, and also one that deals with the intricacies of family dynamics. Also, McAdams has a way of injecting believability into all her roles, and she was great in this.

At the film’s press junket, I sat down with the charming duo where we discussed how they got involved in the project, if they met the real life couple, and their favorite dating stories. Hit the jump to watch.

Ben Foster CONTRABAND Interview

by     Posted 2 years, 99 days ago

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Set in New Orleans, Contraband is Mark Whalberg’s new thriller about smuggling on container ships. He plays a blue-collar family man who’s sworn off his former life of crime, until his brother-in-law botches a drug deal and needs his help in order to repay the debt. Whalberg agrees to do one last job, running contraband from Panama on a container ship. Kate Beckinsale plays Whalberg’s wife, Ben Foster his best friend and business partner, and Giovanni Ribisi plays a New Orleans drug runner who is barely recognizable and eerily convincing.

I recently sat down with Foster in New York and we talked about the role he was initially courted for, the time he got kicked out of acting class, as well as his new production company. Hit the jump for the full interview.

Meryl Streep, Director Phyllida Lloyd, Screenwriter Abi Morgan, and Harry Lloyd Talk THE IRON LADY

by     Posted 2 years, 102 days ago

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Set in the time frame of the 2005 London train bombings, The Iron Lady tells a story about Margaret Thatcher from the view point of the Prime Minister in her elderly life, as she grapples with a fading memory of her family life and political career. The interplay between Margaret Thatcher and her husband Dennis (played by Jim Broadbent), gives the film a levity that balances the intensity of some of the political scenes. British actors Alexandra Roach and Harry Lloyd portray the younger versions of Margaret and Dennis, acting out a delightful courtship of a marriage that evolved out of shared values and a seriousness of purpose.

At the film’s press conference in New York, director Phyllida Lloyd, writer Abi Morgan, young Dennis actor Harry Lloyd, and the star herself Meryl Streep gave an interview to a room full of journalists. The group discussed how both the script and the rehearsal process reflected theatrical roots, the experience of depicting a person who is still living, and lots more. Streep is particularly candid, and offers a thoughtful response to those who have criticized the film. Hit the jump for the entire press conference.

Giovanni Ribisi Talks CONTRABAND and Seth MacFarlane’s TED

by     Posted 2 years, 102 days ago

Set in New Orleans, Contraband is Mark Whalberg’s new thriller about smuggling on container ships. He plays a blue-collar family man who’s sworn off his former life of crime, until his brother-in-law botches a drug deal and needs his help in order to repay the debt. Whalberg agrees to do one last job, running contraband from Panama on a container ship. Kate Beckinsale plays Whalberg’s wife, Ben Foster his best friend and business partner, and Giovanni Ribisi plays a New Orleans drug runner who is barely recognizable and eerily convincing.

During our one-on-one interview, we talk about how he created the accent, the prison documentaries he watched to get into the role, as well a bit about the upcoming Seth McFarlane movie Ted. Hit the jump for the full interview.

Director Baltasar Kormákur CONTRABAND Interview

by     Posted 2 years, 104 days ago

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Set in New Orleans, Contraband is Mark Whalberg’s new thriller about smuggling on container ships. He plays a blue-collar family man who’s sworn off his former life of crime, until his brother-in-law botches a drug deal and needs his help in order to repay the debt. Whalberg agrees to do one last job, running contraband from Panama on a container ship. Kate Beckinsale plays Whalberg’s wife, Ben Foster his best friend and business partner, and Giovanni Ribisi plays a New Orleans drug runner.

A remake of the Icelandic film Reykjavík-Rotterdam (2008), Contraband is directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who played the lead character in the original. At the press conference in New York, Kormákur spoke to a room of journalists about how the project came together, the choice of cinematographer Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker), and his thoughts on the film’s moral ambiguity. Hit the jump for the interview.

Screenwriter Abi Morgan THE IRON LADY Interview

by     Posted 2 years, 115 days ago

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In The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep stars as Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,  in an emotionally moving and inspiring performance. From the opening scene the film is immediately gripping, with an unexpected narrative.  The story glimpses into her political reign–seamlessly intertwining newsreel and rock ballads–but predominantly focuses on Thatcher’s older life as she struggles with dementia. The film has many similarities to The Weinstein Company’s pic from last year, The King’s Speech, in that it profiles a public figure, but chooses to spend most of the screen time on their imagined private lives, making for a film that hooks and involves audiences while educating them.

At the press junket, I talked exclusively with writer Abi Morgan, who penned both The Iron Lady and Steve McQueen’s Shame. We talk about why she chose to focus more on Thatcher’s post-political life, the universality of the film, and the themes and stories she’s attracted to as a writer. The Iron Lady opens in limited release on December 30th and it expands on January 13th. Hit the jump for the interview.

THREE NIGHTS IN THE DESERT Set Visit Preview

by     Posted 2 years, 120 days ago

I recently visited the set of Three Nights in The Desert, a small film co-produced by New Artists Alliance and Caliber Media, directed by Gabe Cowan and starring Wes Bentley (American Beauty), Amber Tamblyn (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire). The three friends and former band-mates reunite for a weekend in the desert, pushing each other to reflect on the different directions their lives have taken them in.

Look for full interviews as the film develops, but hit the jump for more info on the director’s rational approach to indie-film financing, and more details about how the project came together.

Topher Grace and Stephen Moyer Talk THE DOUBLE, On-Set Pranks, THE WEST WING and Spy Movies

by     Posted 2 years, 176 days ago

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There have been few spy movies in the past decade without a middle east centered plotline. The Double, starring Topher Grace, Richard Gere, and True Blood’s Stephen Moyer, is a throwback to the cold-war espionage films of the ’60s. When a US Senator’s murder bears the trademark of an infamous assassin, rookie FBI agent (Grace), must team up with a retired CIA operative (Gere) to find the killer’s whereabouts. But when true identities are called into question, each must decide who’s playing who.

At the film’s press day, I sat down with Grace and Moyer, who has a small but integral role as a Russian convict. After joking about their Internet habits, on-set pranks, and Moyer’s love of The West Wing (Martin Sheen plays a FBI honcho), we didn’t have time for much else. The two actors, who have a great banter,  also discuss their favorite spy films and getting into character. Hit the jump for the full interview.

Comic-Con 2011: Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, and Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd Interview THE WALKING DEAD; Talk the Scope of Season 2

by     Posted 2 years, 275 days ago

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Interviewers were buzzing with energy at the pressroom for The Walking Dead, eager to get some intel on AMC’s apocalyptic-zombie show whose second season returns October 16th.  It appears there is a genuine market for the otherworldly on TV, and AMC has put its own mark on the genre with its penchant for great storytelling. Here, I talk with cast members Laurie Holden (Andrea) and Norman Reedus (Daryl) as well as legendary sci-fi producer Gale Anne Hurd about the new season. In it, they discuss the production of shooting the highway scenes, what sort of romance might be in store, as well as their weapons of choice should they ever find themselves in the zombie-world they portray. Find the full transcript after the jump.

Comic-Con 2011: Mike Judge Interview BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD; Update on Next Feature

by     Posted 2 years, 275 days ago

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I had the good fortune of sitting at a relatively small roundtable discussion with Beavis & Butthead creator Mike Judge on Thursday at Comic-Con. Fourteen years after the series has ended, Judge has decided to revamp it with twenty-four original episodes, still airing on its original network MTV. Though the original audience in the mid ’90’s may not have MTV’s current queue set for DVR, Judge feels confident that if people want to watch something, they don’t care what channel it’s on. Furthermore, now the eternal-teenagers are using MTV’s new programming as fodder for, er…discussion.  Though Judge says he’s gotten into a few spats about harping on Sixteen and Pregnant too much, he isn’t too fazed, delightfully vowing to “put it up online” if producers have a real issue with it. In addition, we also asked him about directing again.  Hit the jump for more.

Comic-Con 2011: THE TWILIGHT SAGA BREAKING DAWN – PART 1 Interview: Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Julia Jones and BooBoo Stewart

by     Posted 2 years, 276 days ago

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With the fourth installment of the Twilight Saga premiering November 18th, even the ensemble stars are quickly becoming household names. Along with veteran cast members Elizabeth Reaser (Esme Cullen), Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen) and Nikki Reed (Rosalie Hale), newcomers Julia Jones and BooBoo Stewart, who play the Clearwater siblings, rounded out the first panel of talent at Summit’s press room. Earlier in the morning, the group surprised unsuspecting—or, perhaps wistfully suspecting—fans by greeting them at breakfast. The cast appeared genuinely thankful for the Twi-hards’ enduring enthusiasm, and spoke excitedly about the next installment.

Below are some highlights from the press conference. Find the full transcript after the jump.

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