Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and James Franco Talk Real-Life Inspiration, Improvisation, Franco’s Instagram, and More on the Set of THE INTERVIEW

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Last year when directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were filming The Interview (their directorial follow up to This is The End) in Vancouver, I got to visit the set with a few other reporters.  As most of you know from the extremely funny red and green band trailers, James Franco plays a vapid talk show host who, along with his producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen), lands an interview with Kim Jong-un (Randall Park).  But their attempt at hard news gets upended when the CIA asks the duo to assassinate the North Korean leader.

During a break in filming, I participated in a group interview with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and James Franco.  They talked about how the project came together, pulling from real-life inspiration, improvisation, Franco’s Instagram, how they wanted to do things people don’t usually do in comedy and “abandon how comedies look as much as we possibly could,” how the film should play out like a serious, political thriller that’s loaded with jokes, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to either listen to or read the interview.

20 Things to Know About Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s THE INTERVIEW From Our Set Visit

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Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) and Dave Skylark (James Franco) are inside a tank in North Korea talking about Katy Perry and margaritas.  They’re debating if drinking fruity margaritas and loving Katy Perry’s music means you’re gay.  After saying the lines a few different ways, directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg call out a few new ways to say the dialogue and I erupt with laughter.  And I’m not alone.  The other reporters I’m with on the Vancouver set of The Interview are also laughing out loud.  So much so that after the take ends, an assistant director comes in the room where we’re watching playback and says they can hear us laughing on set.  While I’m sure they were mad at us for possibly ruining a take, I’m sure it made them happy to know they were making comedy gold.  While I’ve done a lot of set visits, I’ve never laughed as much on a movie set as I did on The Interview.  As a huge fan of what Rogen and Goldberg accomplished with their directorial debut, This is the End, I left Vancouver thinking they were making another home-run.

As most of you know from the red and green band trailers for the film, Franco plays a vapid talk show host who, along with his producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen), lands an interview with Kim Jong-un.  But their attempt at hard news gets upended when the CIA asks the duo to assassinate the North Korean leader.  Besides getting to watch the tank scene, I was able to speak with most of the cast during breaks in filming.  From the on-set interviews, I’ve put together a list of 20 things to know about the film.  Hit the jump to learn more about The Interview which arrives in theaters December 25.

New THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Trailer: Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones Impress as Stephen and Jane Hawking

by     Posted 2 hours ago

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Focus Features has released a new The Theory of Everything trailer for director James Marsh’s (Man on Wire) biopic of genius physicist Stephen Hawking.  The film stars Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) as Hawking, chronicling his budding relationship with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wide (Felicity Jones), heartbreaking motor neuron disease diagnosis at the age of 21, and groundbreaking scientific work in the field of time.  I caught the film at TIFF and it’s one of my favorite films of the year.  Led by phenomenal performances by Redmayne and Jones, The Theory of Everything will definitely be a player in awards season and I strongly recommend seeing it for yourself when it opens November 7th.

Hit the jump to watch the new The Theory of Everything trailer, and click here to read Phil’s review from TIFF and here’s my video interview with Felicity Jones.  The film also stars David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Harry Lloyd, and Emily Watson.

Ellen Barkin and Method Man Talk THE COBBLER, Social Media, THE WIRE Legacy, and More

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One of the many films that premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was the latest from director Tom McCarthyThe Cobbler.  In the modern-day fairy tale, Adam Sandler plays a lonely cobbler in New York City who feels like his life is going nowhere until he discovers a family heirloom that literally gives him the ability to “walk in another man’s shoes,” and see the world differently. The fantastical aspect is a bit of a departure for McCarthy after helming films like The Station AgentThe Visitor, and Win Win, but he still keeps the film focused on the characters.  The Cobbler also stars Dustin HoffmanSteve BuscemiEllen Barkin,Melonie DiazMethod Man, and Dan Stevens.

Shortly after the world premiere I landed an exclusive interview with Ellen Barkin and Clifford Smith (Method Man).  They talked about how the project came together, changes during production, what it was like working with Thomas McCarthy, the way they like to prepare for a role/project, social media, the legacy of The Wire, if and when it’ll be available in HD, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what they had to say. 

Directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable Talk THE BOXTROLLS, Changes During Production, Deleted Scenes, and More

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is Laika’s The Boxtrolls.  Making their stop-motion debut is directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and the film is based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.  Featuring the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle Fanning, Sir Ben KingsleyToni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard AyoadeTracy Morgan, and Jared Harris, The Boxtrolls is about a young orphaned boy named Eggs (Wright) who is raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who he must save from evil exterminator Archibald Snatched (Kingsley).  For more on the film, read Matt’s review or click here for trailers, images, interviews, and everything we’ve posted on the film.

At the L.A. press day I landed a video interview with directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable.  They talked about the technical challenges making The Boxtrolls, how the crew from Paranorman and Coraline never disbanded, if they had any big changes during pre-production, deleted scenes, what will be on The Boxtrolls Blu-ray, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Sir Ben Kingsley Talks THE BOXTROLLS, What Surprised Him About Stop-Motion, Working with Ridley Scott, Robert Zemekis, and Anton Corbijn, and More

by     Posted 5 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is Laika’s The Boxtrolls.  Making their stop-motion debut is directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and the film is based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.  Featuring the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle Fanning, Sir Ben KingsleyToni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard AyoadeTracy Morgan, and Jared Harris, The Boxtrolls is about a young orphaned boy named Eggs (Wright) who is raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who he must save from evil exterminator Archibald Snatched (Kingsley).  For more on the film, read Matt’s review or click here for trailers, images, interviews, and everything we’ve posted on the film.

At the L.A. press day I landed a video interview with Sir Ben Kingsley.  He talked about how they made The Boxtrolls, how much he knew about stop-motion prior to getting involved and what surprised him about the process, the amazing artistry, and what it was like working with Ridley Scott on Exodus: Gods and Kings, Robert Zemekis on The Walk, and Anton Corbijn on LifeHit the jump to watch.

Marton Csokas Talks THE EQUALIZER, Collaborating with Antoine Fuqua, His Character’s Tattoos, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS

by     Posted 5 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is director Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer.  Adapted from the 1980s TV series of the same name, the pic reteams Denzel Washington with his Training Day director as he plays a former black ops commando who comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl (Chloe Grace Moretz).  Soon thereafter, things go south and he finds himself squaring off against violent Russian gangsters.  The film also stars Melissa Leo, Martin Csokas, Haley BennettDavid Harbour, and Bill Pullman.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review or click here for all our previous coverage which includes clips, on-set interviews, trailers, and more.

While at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, I landed an interview with Marton Csokas (he plays the main villain).  He talked about collaborating with Antoine Fuqua, how the tattoos helped inform who the character was (his character has a lot of them), what it meant to be part of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, and more.

Elle Fanning Talks THE BOXTROLLS, the Incredible Artistry, If She “Borrowed” Anything from the Set, and Getting to Work with Bryan Cranston on TRUMBO

by     Posted 6 days ago

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Opening this weekend is LAIKA’s The Boxtrolls.  Making their stop-motion debut is directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and the film is based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.  Featuring the voices of Isaac Hempstead WrightElle Fanning, Ben KingsleyToni ColletteNick FrostSimon PeggRichard AyoadeTracy Morgan, and Jared Harris, The Boxtrolls is about a young orphaned boy named Eggs (Wright) who is raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who he must save from evil exterminator Archibald Snatched (Kingsley).  For more on the film, click here for trailers, images, interviews, and everything we’ve posted on the film.

At the L.A. press day I landed a video interview with Elle Fanning.  She talked about how she got involved in The Boxtrolls, the incredible artistry, if she “borrowed” anything from set, the recording process, how excited she is to work with Bryan Cranston on Trumbo, if she’s allowed to watch Breaking Bad, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Director Shawn Levy Talks THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, Fidelity to the Book, Casting Adam Driver, Deleted Scenes, THE INTERNSHIP, and More

by     Posted One week ago

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While at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival I landed an awesome interview with director Shawn Levy for This is Where I Leave You.  As I’ve said many times, I really enjoyed the film due to the great performances and the very funny script.  The story revolves around a dysfunctional family that is forced to come together and sit Shiva when their father dies, which opens old wounds and reignites passions that have long been repressed.  This is Where I Leave You stars Jason BatemanTina FeyAdam Driver, Corey StollJane FondaRose Byrne, Kathryn HahnConnie BrittonBen SchwartzTimothy OlyphantAaron LazarDebra MonkAbigail Spencer, and Dax Shepard.  For more on This is Where I Leave Youread Adam’s review or watch the trailer.

During the extended video interview Levy talked about how he was finally offered the project after chasing it for years, how he worked with author/screenwriter Jonathan Tropper to make the script more dramatic, how Warner Bros. let him pick the cast in exchange for keeping the budget down, what he had to do to get Adam Driver in the film, deleted scenes,  how he didn’t anticipate the Google tie-in backlash on The Internship and how he should have released the R-rated version, future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Denzel Washington & Antoine Fuqua Talk THE EQUALIZER, Editing, What They Learned from the Test Screening Process, and More

by     Posted 8 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer.  Adapted from the 1980s TV series of the same name, the pic reteams Denzel Washington with his Training Day director as he plays a former black ops commando who comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl (Chloe Grace Moretz).  Soon thereafter, things go south and he finds himself squaring off against violent Russian gangsters.  The film also stars Melissa Leo, Martin Csokas, Haley BennettDavid Harbour, and Bill Pullman.  For more on the film, click here for all our previous coverage which includes clips, on-set interviews, trailers, and more.

While at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, I landed a great interview with Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua.  They talked about what it meant to premiere at TIFF, how they create kick-ass action scenes, if Washington ever visited the editing room, what they learned from the test screening process, Washington’s reaction after seeing the film for the first time, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

First Trailer for John Woo’s THE CROSSING; Plus Photos from the Beijing Press Conference

by     Posted 10 days ago

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With John Woo’s The Crossing opening later this year in China, Woo and his cast held a press conference in Beijing today where they revealed the first trailer for the film.  Starring Zhang Ziyi and Kaneshiro Takeshi, the two-part love story follows three couples fleeing China for Taiwan on a steamer during the 1949 revolution, and it’s based on a true story.  Earlier this year Woo talked about why he wanted to make the film and said, “I’ve wanted to make this movie for a long time, because people always see me as an action director, but they don’t realize that I can make romantic love stories, too.  I wanted to make a film that showed a turbulent period in modern history, to show how love can survive and overcome all difficulties.”

Hit the jump to watch The Crossing teaser trailer and for photos from today’s Beijing press conference.

Jonathan Tropper Talks THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, BANSHEE Season 3, His Project with Steve Carell, Wanting to Direct, and More

by     Posted 11 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is director Shawn Levy’s (Real Steel) adaptation of the Jonathan Tropper novel This Is Where I Leave You.   Featuring a fantastic ensemble cast including Jason BatemanTina FeyAdam Driver, Corey StollJane FondaRose Byrne, Kathryn HahnConnie BrittonBen SchwartzTimothy OlyphantAaron LazarDebra MonkAbigail Spencer, and Dax Shepard, the story revolves around a dysfunctional family that is forced to come together and sit Shiva when their father dies, opening old wounds and reigniting passions that have long-since been repressed.  Loaded with great performances and a very funny script, I definitely recommend seeing the film this weekend.  For more on This is Where I Leave Youread Adam’s review or watch the trailer.

Last week I landed an extended video interview with author Jonathan Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie.  He talked about the difficulty of bringing his novel to theaters, collaborating with Shawn Levy, the incredible cast, the project he’s working on with Steve Carell, his approach to writing novels and screenplays, wanting to direct, and more.  In addition, with Tropper hard at work on Banshee season 3 (he’s the showrunner), we talked about how filming has been going, what fans can expect in season 3, how the end of the season will feel like the end of The Empire Strikes Back in the sense that there are unresolved questions, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Simon Pegg and Director Peter Chelsom Talk HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS, Script Changes, Guerilla-Style Filmmaking, TIFF, and More

by     Posted 12 days ago

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Now playing in limited release in North America is director Peter Chelsom’s dramedy Hector and the Search for Happiness.  Based on the book of the same name by François Lelord, the film stars Simon Pegg as Hector, an eccentric psychiatrist who’s going nowhere and whose patients aren’t getting any happier.  One day, he musters up the courage to set out on a quest to find out if happiness really exists.  Led by a great performance by Pegg, the film’s definitely worth checking out.  The film also stars Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, and Jean Reno.  For more on Hector and the Search for Happiness, click here to watch the trailer, and here’s all our previous coverage.

Recently I landed an exclusive video interview with Simon Pegg and Peter Chelsom.  During our wide-ranging conversation, we talked about how they came to work together, how Pegg’s childhlike curiosity made him perfect to play Hector, the guerilla-style filmmaking they employed for some of the scenes, script changes, deleted scenes, future projects like Star Trek 3 and Mission Impossible: 5, and so much more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Liam Neeson Talks A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, Collaborating with Scott Frank, and More

by     Posted 13 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Scott Frank‘s crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones.  The film stars Liam Neeson as a troubled ex-cop who investigates the kidnapping of a heroin drug lord’s wife, teaming up with a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) and his brother to hunt down the men responsible for the crime.  Unlike his Taken role where Neeson is nearly impossible to pin down, A Walk Among the Tombstones takes place in the real world, where the characters need to use their brains and not rely on an endless supply of bullets to get the job done.  Frank has a number of great credits as a screenwriter (Minority ReportOut of Sight), and he did great work directing The Lookout.  I’m happy to say I really enjoyed A Walk Among the Tombstones and definitely recommend checking it out this weekend.

During my video interview with Liam Neeson he talked about why he wanted to be part of A Walk Among the Tombstones, how his character can’t kick everyone’s ass like inTaken, how he collaborated with Scott Frank on the character, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Alba Rohrwacher and Director Saverio Costanzo Talk HUNGRY HEARTS, Incorporating Real-Life Experiences, the Awesome Opening Scene, and More

by     Posted 13 days ago

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At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, I landed an exclusive video interview with star Alba Rohrwacher and director Saverio Costanzo for their movie Hungry Hearts.  Also starring Adam Driver, the film is about a couple that meets, falls in love, has a child, and then covers what happens when they encounter a life or death circumstance.  While I’d love to go more into detail about what they encounter/have to deal with, I’m not sure how much the filmmakers want revealed, so I’ll just say some of the film plays out like a real-world horror film.

During the interview, Rohrwacher and Costanzo talked about the experience of going from the Venice Film Festival straight to TIFF, incorporating real-life experiences into the film, how the movie doesn’t judge specific lifestyles, how much of the script was set before filming, the awesome opening scene (which is an eight minute-long uninterrupted take), and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

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