Sir Ben Kingsley Talks THE BOXTROLLS, What Convinced Him to Voice an Animated Villain, His Opinion of the Shakespearean Snatcher, and More

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Sir Ben Kingsley lends his extraordinary voice to the diabolical Archibald Snatcher in LAIKA’s breathtakingly beautiful 3D stop-motion animated adventure, The Boxtrolls, loosely based on Alan Snow’s best-selling children’s book Here Be Monsters!  The mischievous, trash-collecting creatures known as Boxtrolls live beneath the cobblestoned streets of Cheesebridge where they struggle to elude the evil Snatcher who claims they have stolen an orphan (Isaac Hempstead Wright).  Snatcher is determined to exterminate them in exchange for admittance into the town’s elite White Hats.  Opening September 26th, the film also stars Elle Fanning, Nick Frost and Tracy Morgan.

At our roundtable interview, Kingsley revealed what convinced him to bring to life an animated villain, why he found Snatcher a great character to play, how the script rang true as a refreshing family film, his unique approach to voicing his character, how he found the recording experience very freeing, why he appreciated a narrative that revealed the darker side of life, his satisfaction at seeing what the animators did with his character, the parallels between Snatcher and tragic Shakespearean characters like Richard III and Iago, and his enthusiasm for his upcoming films Learning to Drive and Robot Overlords.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Writer/Director Scott Frank Talks A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, Casting, Soderbergh’s Advice in Post-Production, the Pivotal Gun Scene, and More

by     Posted 6 days ago

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After more than a decade in development, writer/director Scott Frank has succeeded in turning best-selling novelist Lawrence Block’s signature book into a harrowing suspense thriller with an intriguing premise in A Walk Among the Tombstones.  Liam Neeson stars as Matt Scudder, a troubled former N.Y.P.D. officer turned private detective whose quest for redemption leads him to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) track down the men (David Harbour, Adam David Thompson) who brutally murdered his wife.  Adapted for the screen by Frank, the crime drama also stars Boyd Holbrook, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Sebastian Roché, Mark Consuelos, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.

At the film’s recent press day, Frank talked about how the project first came together, why it took so long to bring to the screen, what convinced Neeson to come on board, casting Stevens into the dark role of a drug trafficker, the pivotal gun scene between Liam and Astro’s characters, the decision to portray the killers and the protagonist in two very different lights, how director Alan Pakula and films like Rosemary’s Baby and Klute inspired the film’s tone, style and pace, Steven Soderbergh’s advice in post-production, and why Frank decided not to do Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report TV series.  Check out the interview after the jump:

Dan Stevens Talks A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, Evoking Sympathy for the Bad Guy, Love of 70s Thrillers, THE GUEST, and More

by     Posted One week ago

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It’s been two years since Dan Stevens departed Downton Abbey and he’s not lost any time actively pursuing some amazing new roles in theater, film and television.  In his latest movie, A Walk Among the Tombstones, he stars opposite Liam Neeson playing a heroin trafficker bent on revenge who hires a private investigator (Neeson) to hunt down the serial killers (David Harbour, Adam David Thompson) that brutally murdered his wife.  Opening September 19th, the crime drama also stars Boyd Holbrook, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Sebastian Roché, Mark Consuelos, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.

At the film’s recent press day, Stevens discussed why he finds it exciting to explore new and different roles, the challenge of transforming himself for each one, the appeal of playing a bad guy who’s a victim, his love of 70’s noirish thrillers like Klute, Dirty Harry, and The Conversation, his collaboration with director Scott Frank on the darkness of his character, how music helped him prepare for his role in The Guest, and what it’s been like working with his childhood heroes – Neeson, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler and John Travolta — on Tombstones, Night at the Museum:  Secret of the Tomb, The Cobbler and Criminal Activities.  Hit the jump to read the rest of the interview:

Liam Neeson Talks A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, Doing Action Movies in his 60′s, and the Enduring Appeal of THE GREY

by     Posted 13 days ago

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In his fifth major film release this year, Liam Neeson delivers a riveting performance in Scott Frank’s fast-paced thriller, A Walk Among the Tombstones, adapted from Lawrence Block’s best-selling series of mystery novels.  Neeson plays Matt Scudder, a disgraced ex-NYPD cop turned private investigator operating outside the law who’s approached by a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) to find the men (David Harbour, Adam David Thompson) who brutally kidnapped and murdered his wife.  Opening September 19th, the crime drama also stars Boyd Holbrook, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Sebastian Roché, Mark Consuelos, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson. 

At the film’s recent press day, Neeson revealed why he’s attracted to these larger than life roles, how he draws his inspiration from cinematic heroes like Robert Mitchum, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson, the appeal of playing a character like Scudder, his research and preparation for the part, what it was like shooting the opening flashback that establishes his character, the careful choreography that goes into every stunt sequence, why he enjoys doing action movies at this point in his career, how he keeps in shape as a global action star, his thoughts on the awards process, and why he’s proud of his work in The Grey.  Check out the interview after the jump.

Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Will Forte, and Director Daniel Schechter Talk LIFE OF CRIME, Their Chemistry Onscreen, Forte’s Giant Beard, and More

by     Posted 24 days ago

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Life of Crime is a wonderfully wicked tale filled with outrageously eccentric characters, sly comedy and surprising twists based on Elmore Leonard’s darkly funny novel, The Switch.  When a couple of low-level criminals kidnap the wife of a corrupt real estate developer, they get both more and less than they bargained for in this cool crime caper adapted for the screen and directed by Daniel Schechter.  The film stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey, Mark Boone Junior, Isla Fisher, Will Forte and Tim Robbins and will be released in theaters and VOD on August 29th.

At the film’s recent press day, Schechter, Aniston, Hawkes, and Forte talked about making a film set in the 70s, what appealed to Schechter about Leonard’s The Switch and made it perfect for adapting to the screen, the brilliance of Leonard’s dialogue, Aniston’s duo role as actor and executive producer and her future plans to direct, how Hawkes found the right balance playing a lovable criminal, the chemistry between the actors, their preparation for the physical scenes, what they learned from each other, and Forte’s upcoming role in his new Fox TV series Last Man on Earth directed by Phil Lord and  Christopher Miller.  Check out the interview after the jump.

Matt Walsh and Jeremy Sumpter Talk INTO THE STORM, Driving the Titus, Real Life Tornado Experiences, SHARKNADO and More

by     Posted 44 days ago

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Veteran storm chaser, Pete Moore (Matt Walsh), will do whatever it takes to capture the ultimate tornado on film in the action-packed thriller, Into the Storm, and he’s created the ultimate vehicle for the task.  Jacob (Jeremy Sumpter), the newest member of his team, is determined to help Pete capture the once-in-a-lifetime shot, but he gets more than he bargained for when he comes on board.  With the film opening in theaters this Friday, August 8th, I recently sat down with Walsh and Sumpter for a roundtable interview to discuss their exciting new film.

The actors talked about what appealed to them about their characters and the separate storylines, their real life experience with tornados, what it was like driving a kick-ass storm-chasing vehicle, how they filmed the scenes where their characters go into the tornado, what it felt like going through a fire tornado, the found footage they shot, why they’re hoping for a sequel like Into the Storm Takes on Sharknado 3, and some of their cool upcoming projects including Walsh’s season four of Veep and a small comedy he directed called A Better You, and Sumpter’s The Squeeze, Take Down and The UnBroken.  Hit the jump to read the interview and please be aware that it does contain spoilers for the film.

Sarah Wayne Callies and Arlen Escarpeta Talk INTO THE STORM, Practical Effects vs. CG, Keeping Up with the WALKING DEAD Cast, and More

by     Posted 45 days ago

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Faced with a furious two-mile wide tornado coming at you destroying everything in its path, most people would hunker down or run for their lives, unless they’re crazy enough to want to chase it.  In Steve Quale’s cli-fi disaster thriller, Into the Storm, Sarah Wayne Callies and Arlen Escarpeta play professional storm chasers whose job is to get as close as possible to capture that once-in-a-lifetime shot.  Allison (Callies) is a meteorologist tracking the path of the storm front while Daryl’s (Escarpeta) camera crew documents the dangerous, wildly erratic ride.  Opening August 8th, the film also stars Richard Armitage, Matt Walsh, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress and Jeremy Sumpter.

At the film’s recent press day, Callies and Escarpeta discussed what attracted them to the project, their preparation for the roles, working with Armitage, the balance between practical and CG, bracing themselves against 100 mph wind and rain, how Callie’s aerial training came in handy, having her real-life daughter play her daughter in the movie, Escarpeta’s camera class with the Steadicam guys, how much Callies keeps up with her Walking Dead and Prison Break castmembers, her upcoming horror film, The Other Side of the Door, and Escarpeta’s role as Bobby Brown in the Lifetime biopic, I Will Always Love You:  The Whitney Houston Story directed by Angela Bassett.  Hit the jump to read the interview. 

Manish Dayal Talks THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY, Meeting Spielberg, His Real-Life Culinary Skills, Working with Helen Mirren, and More

by     Posted 46 days ago

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Manish Dayal weaves intoxicating magic between two cultures as Hassam Kadam, a young culinary genius who embarks on a life-altering journey that transforms him into a world-class chef in Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred-Foot Journey.  When his restaurateur family leaves their native India and settles in a quaint village in the south of France, they open a boisterous Indian curry house directly across the street from the chic, Michelin-starred French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren).  As cultures, personalities, and culinary styles collide, everyone discovers they share much more in common than they first realized.  Opening August 8th, the film also stars Om Puri and Charlotte Le Bon.

At the Los Angeles press day for the film, Dayal revealed his real life culinary skills, what he learned about the art of cooking and cuisine in France versus India while preparing for the part, the huge role food plays in his culture and in bringing cultures together, what appealed to him about the script’s treatment of the immigrant’s journey, the similarities between Puri’s character and his own father, his most memorable moment with Mirren who introduced him to frog legs, meeting producer Steven Spielberg and geeking out with him over Jurassic Park, Hallström’s bold imagination, and the importance of embracing life’s uncertainties.  Hit the jump check out our Manish Dayal interview for The Hundred-Foot Journey.  Disney releases the film on August 8th.

Charlotte Le Bon Talks THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY, Her Favorite Food Movies and Skyping With Steven Spielberg

by     Posted 47 days ago

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Charlotte Le Bon makes her American film debut in The Hundred-Foot Journey as Marguerite, a smart, quick-witted and charming sous chef in the kitchen of Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant in the south of France.  Marguerite falls under the spell of Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal), a culinary ingénue for a colorful new Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai, which opens directly across the road from her establishment.  Hassan weaves culinary magic between their two cultures and invites Marguerite to step out of her comfort zone and cross over into unfamiliar territory. The film, directed by Lasse Hallström also stars Om Puri.

At the film’s recent press day, the Canadian actress spoke about the modeling career that brought her to France, her transition from speaking Québécois French to France French, how she first became involved in the project, her culinary skills, her favorite Québécois food, what she learned working opposite Mirren, her genuine chemistry with Dayal, the perils of food foreplay, how her own life experiences worked their way into the story, the timelessness of the film and her costumes, her favorite movie about food and skyping with producer Steven Spielberg.  Hit the jump to check out our Charlotte Le Bon interview for The Hundred-Foot Journey.  Disney releases the film on August 8th.

Max Deacon, Alycia Debnam-Carey, and Nathan Kress Talk INTO THE STORM, Special Effects and Found Footage, All-Night Shoots in Cold Water, and More

by     Posted 47 days ago

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If you’re into action-packed disaster thrillers, Into the Storm, directed by Steve Quale from a screenplay by John Swetnam, will take you on an intensely wild ride right inside a massive EF5 tornado.  Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, amateur thrill-seekers, and courageous townspeople, the movie puts you directly into the eye of the storm.  With the film opening in theaters on Friday, August 8th, I recently had a chance to sit down at a roundtable interview with Nathan Kress and Max Deacon, who play brothers Trey and Donnie, and Alycia Debnam-Carey, who plays their friend, Kaitlyn.

During the interview, the actors discussed how they became involved in the project,  how improv was a big part of their audition process, how the film balanced spectacular special effects with a sexy Hollywood version of the found footage format, how the footage they shot was used in the film, their all-night shoots while submerged in cold water, how doing a lot of the film practically helped their performances, working with Richard Armitage, and their cool upcoming projects including Deacon’s boarding school thriller Take Down with Jeremy Sumpter, Debnam-Carey’s AMC sci-fi pilot Galyntine, and Kress’ villainous role on the last season of the BGHS web series.  Hit the jump to read more:

Helen Mirren Talks THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY, Working with Om Puri, What She Looks For in Choosing Projects, TRUMBO, and More

by     Posted 52 days ago

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Helen Mirren’s fascination with wanting to be a French actress leads to a bold and captivating performance in The Hundred-Foot Journey as Madame Mallory, the exacting chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a fancy Michelin-starred French restaurant in the south of France.  Her icy protests against Maison Mumbai, the new Indian restaurant across the road from her own establishment, escalate into a heated competition between the two restaurants until she recognizes her culinary rival Hassan Kadam’s (Manish Dayal) gift as a chef and his passion for French haute cuisine.  Opening August 8th, the film directed by Lasse Hallström also stars Charlotte Le Bon and Om Puri.

At the film’s recent press day, Mirren talked about the improvisational set, the pleasure of acting opposite the renowned Puri, what they share in common, how she approaches a role, what she looks for in the projects she chooses and why the director is important, how she likes to change things up and alternate between big movies and low budget films, her fascination with French culture, her favorite French film, Woman in Gold, which she’s currently filming with director Simon Curtis, and her upcoming biopic, Trumbo, with Bryan Cranston about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.  Hit the jump to read the interview.

Director Lasse Hallström and Producer Juliet Blake Talk THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY, Stylistic Differences from CHOCOLAT, and More

by     Posted 54 days ago

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Lasse Hallström’s filmmaking style and sensibility are a perfect match for The Hundred-Foot Journey, a delightful story with a powerful message directed from a screenplay written by Steven Knight based on Richard C. Morais’ best-selling novel.  In a quaint village in the south of France, a heated battle erupts when a colorful new Indian restaurant opens directly across the street from a traditional establishment specializing in French haute cuisine.  Amidst a culture clash of epic proportions, everyone slowly discovers that they share a lot more in common than they realized if only they’re willing to step out of their comfort zone.  Opening August 8th, the film stars Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon and Om Puri.

At the film’s recent press day, Hallström and producer Juliet Blake talked about the appeal of the project, how the film differs stylistically from Chocolat, how the sensuality of the performances helped make the food come alive on screen, why they wanted to avoid the usual ways filmmakers show people enjoying food, the role food plays in bringing people and different cultures together, why D.P. Linus Sandgren convinced Hallström to use film, collaborating with composer A.R. Rahman, the decision to cast Mirren and Puri together, why shooting an extra take just for fun often led to the best performance, and what Mirren brought to the film.  Check out the interview after the jump. 

Director Bobs Gannaway and Producer Ferrell Barron Talk PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE, Creating Fire, Future Plans for the Franchise, and More

by     Posted 64 days ago

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When world-famous air racer Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is sidelined by a career-ending injury, he finds himself searching for his next chapter in life in Disney’s Planes:  Fire & Rescue.  Directed by Bobs Gannaway from a screenplay by Jeffrey Howard and produced by Ferrell Barron, the animated adventure-comedy centers on a crew of elite firefighting aircraft whose mission is to protect historic Piston Peak National Park.  The family friendly film about second chances features thrilling firefighting action scenes and an impressive voice cast that includes Curtis Armstrong, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris, John Michael Higgins, Hal Holbrook, Regina King, and Wes Studi.

At the film’s recent press day, Gannaway and Barron talked about how they wanted to elevate the storytelling from the first film and tell a deeper story with the main character, the extensive research they did to ensure the authenticity of the story and to portray aerial firefighting accurately, why they consider this the most ambitious film they’ve done at Disneytoons Studios, the decision to go Cinemascope, how their visual effects team created believable large-scale fires and visually striking firefighting scenes, their personal connections to planes, and future plans to explore more in the world of anthropomorphized vehicles.  Check out the interview after the jump.

Julie Bowen Talks PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE, Getting Involved with the Sequel, Working inside the Recording Booth, and Her Most Bizarre Fan Encounter

by     Posted 65 days ago

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Julie Bowen gives voice to Dipper, the friendly, spirited air tanker in Disney’s new animated adventure-comedy, Planes:  Fire & Rescue, directed by Bobs Gannaway from a screenplay by Jeffrey Howard.  Dipper is a full-figured gal skilled at skimming lakes, scooping up thousands of gallons of water and dousing angry fires.  She’s also an avid air-racing fan with a major crush on the world-famous Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook).  When she learns he’s joining the fire and rescue squad at Piston Peak, she’s head-over-wheels with excitement.  Opening July 18th, the film also features the voices of Curtis Armstrong, Ed Harris, John Michael Higgins, Hal Holbrook, Regina King, and Wes Studi.

At a recent roundtable interview, Bowen spoke about her character, when she first became involved, how she’s gotten huge cool points from her kids for being in the movie, why she didn’t practice the voice around the house, what it was like working inside the recording booth, how Shaun Cassidy inspired the mindset of her hopelessly romantic character, what it was like meeting Dane at the cast and crew screening, her most bizarre fan encounter, and the impact the syndication of her ABC comedy, Modern Family, has had on how people see her. Hit the jump to read the interview.

Dane Cook Talks PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE, Reprising His Role, Being Part of the Disney Family, Telling a Deeper Story, and the Theme of Second Chances

by     Posted 66 days ago

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Dane Cook returns as the voice of Dusty Crophopper, the crop duster turned world-famous air racer, in Planes:  Fire and Rescue.  After a successful racing season, Dusty comes home to his friends in Propwash Junction, but life takes an unexpected turn when a fateful training run leads to a new career with the elite Aerial Fire Fighters at Piston Peak Air Attack Base.  Opening July 18th, the animated adventure-comedy directed by Bobs Gannaway from a screenplay by Jeffrey Howard also features the voices of Curtis Armstrong, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris, John Michael Higgins, Hal Holbrook, Regina King, and Wes Studi.

At the film’s recent press day, Cook talked about reprising the role, what it means to be a part of the Disney family, how he wanted to tell a deeper story with Dusty this time around, why the theme of second chances resonated with him, the parallels in the story to his own life experiences, how G-rated animation brought back his R-rated stand-up comedy, why it’s cool having his own talking toy, which cartoons inspired him growing up, why he loves the peril inherent in The Incredibles, Bambi, The Lion King, Toy Story 3, and now Planes 2, his upcoming comedy special that he’s directing for Showtime, and the possibility of a Planes 3.  Hit the jump to read the interview.

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