Director Charles Martin Smith Talks DOLPHIN TALE 2, His Career as a Character Actor and the Transition to Filmmaking

by     Posted 98 days ago

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The career trajectory of Charles Martin Smith has been a fascinating one to watch. The perennial character actor (supporting roles in American Graffiti, Starman & The Untouchables) slowly transitioned behind the camera, helming such genre fare as Trick or Treat and Fifty/Fifty.  Since then, Smith has transitioned to directing more topical dramas: The Snow Walker & Stone of Destiny – before finding commercial success with the family-friendly Dolphin Tale.  The surprise success of Dolphin Tale, the film grossed more than 70 million domestically, has not only spawned a sequel opening this weekend but also helped to establish an aquarium (The Clearwater Marine Aquarium) that houses Winter and Hope, the titular aquatic stars of both Dolphin Tale films.

In the following interview with Charles Martin Smith, the writer/director discusses the darker adult themes of Dolphin Tale 2, the writing process behind the sequel and his approach to working with child-actors.  In addition, Smith discussed his career as an actor and what precipitated his shift away from acting towards directing.  Hit the jump more my Dolphin Tale 2 interview with Smith.

Director Josh Boone On THE STAND, Fidelity to the Novel, Script Status, and Whether He’ll Direct LESTAT

by     Posted 101 days ago

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Josh Boone is far from the obvious choice to direct a feature length version of The Stand; but The Fault in Our Stars filmmaker is an ardent Stephen King fanatic, a whole subplot in Boone’s debut Stuck in Love is dedicated to the prolific writer’s output.  A bevy of filmmakers have tried and failed to bring King’s seemingly un-adaptable post-apocalyptic novel to the big screen.  George A. Romero, David Yates, Ben Affleck & Scott Cooper have all been attached at some point or another.  But it seems Boone has finally done the seemingly impossible – the writer/director is now gearing up to direct a “three hour version with an A-List cast across the board.”

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Boone, in anticipation of the Blu-ray release of The Fault in Our Stars, about the status of The Stand.  In the following interview with Boone, he discusses Stephen King’s reaction to the finished screenplay, when he hopes to start filming, how closely it will stick to the novel and what he had to excise from the 1000 page book for the film adaptation.  In addition, Boone briefly touched upon recent reports that he is in talks to direct Lestat, the second in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.  Hit the jump for the full interview.

READING RAINBOW Live Show Recap: LeVar Burton and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Cast Read Space Books

by     Posted 101 days ago

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The feel-good Internet story of the year, the resurrection of Reading Rainbow finally came to fruition this weekend.  The show ran for twenty-three years on PBS before being unceremoniously cancelled in late 2006.  Since then, host LeVar Burton & co have launched a Reading Rainbow app – an education tool for children, allowing them to read and view a vast number of books and interviews; though it wasn’t until earlier this year, with Burton’s impassioned plea via Kickstarter, that Reading Rainbow truly returned into the national consciousness.  Burton’s Kickstarter campaign sought to raise funds to launch the app on the web, smart-phones and other streaming devices, as well as for free for needy impoverished schools.  Within eleven hours, one million dollars had been raised for Reading Rainbow – and when all was said and done, over five million in sum had been donated.

To honor the many people who contributed to the cause, LeVar Burton hosted the very first Reading Rainbow live show last Saturday afternoon.  The cast of Battlestar Galactica (Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer, James Callis & Michael Trucco) helped Burton read from a trio of books to a group of attentive children and Gen Y parents.  For highlights and pictures of the event, hit the jump.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS Extended Cut Review: On Meaning and Meaninglessness

by     Posted 104 days ago

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The sweetest film ever made about existential nihilism, The Fault in Our Stars under the pretense of tween YA adapted romance smuggles in a heavy dose of post-Kierkegaardian philosophy.  As such the film’s sort of a scam job – advertised with its pretty cherubic young actors’ faces with the promise of an epic doomed love story (a la well… Love Story) but actually more interested in what life means when everything you do is inherently meaningless and how can you possibly leave a mark in a world where inevitably everyone you know (and more importantly everyone who knows you) fade away into infinite nothingness.  All those date-night kids didn’t quite know what they were getting themselves in to.  Hit the jump for my The Fault in Our Stars extended cut review.

Bob Ladouceur & Terry Eidson Talk Bringing WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL to the Big Screen, Fact vs. Fiction, and Avoiding the Limelight

by     Posted 114 days ago

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There’s a strange duality inherent to When the Game Stands Tall.  Much of the film focuses on Head Coach Bob Ladouceur’s humble philosophy, which emphasizes avoiding the limelight that often comes from ‘winning’.  However isn’t the very act of making a movie glorifying humility intrinsically contradictory?  Doesn’t exalting humility somehow discredit the thought?  To be fair, Bob Ladouceur and Assistant Coach Terry Eidson seem well aware of such inconsistencies, both freely admitting that the accolades they’ve received for their admittedly exceptional work puts them ill at ease.  It’s ironic in that Ladouceur by placing teamwork and modesty above ‘winning’ led his high-school students to a record 151 consecutive football wins — which then prompted a book to be written about such an exceptional record — which now, of course, has drawn the attention of Hollywood to make a movie starring Jim Caviezel as him.  But as Ladouceur himself says – what was he supposed to do?  Say ‘No’?

In the following interview with Ladouceur & Eidson, the two men talk about watching their story told via film, reconciling their humble values with a film made about them and giving advice to Jim Caviezel & Michael Chiklis on how to play their roles (i.e. them).  Hit the jump to watch.

Alexander Ludwig and Ser’Darius Blain Talk Drills, Tears & Tires in WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL, VIKINGS Season 3, and More

by     Posted 118 days ago

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Based on the true story of the longest winning streak in high-school football, When The Game Stands Tall focuses on how the historic team deals with loss both professional and personal. Anchoring the team-side of the film, young actors Alexander Ludwig and Ser’Darius Blain do much of the emotional heavy lifting, Blain as a former star-player struggling to move on & Ludwig as the current running back whose personal life threatens to derail his high-school career. It’s a film with just as many tears as snaps – and both Ludwig & Blain are just as convincing in the hard-hitting football scenes as they are in the off-the-field personal drama.

In the following interview with Ludwig and Blain, the duo discuss getting to the heart of their many emotionally raw scenes, the intense football training process and their various upcoming projects (for Ludwig – the 3rd season of Vikings & for Blain – the docudrama Bolden, based on Jazz musician Buddy Bolden’s life). For the full interview, hit the jump. When the Game Stands Tall is currently in theaters everywhere.

Jim Caviezel Talks WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL, His Passion For Filmmaking and Why He’ll Never Direct An Episode Of PERSON OF INTEREST

by     Posted 120 days ago

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Within a few moments of interviewing Jim Caviezel, it’s apparent immediately how much the actor loves talking about film.  Not just acting or his eclectic resume or any role in particular – but other facets of the process: lighting, directing, cinematography… Caviezel has made a career of playing quiet and introspective characters; but in person he is naturally gregarious and prone to go off any number of tangents – be it his affinity for directing or his relationship with WWII POW Louis Zamperini.  Perhaps it’s that naturally convivial nature that imbues his subtle roles with unforeseen depth.  In When the Game Stands Tall, Caviezel plays to type as the introverted Bob Ladouceur – the coach who led the De La Salle Spartans on the longest winning streak in high-school football.  It’s another quietly powerful performance for Caviezel, much of the film’s success dependent on his ability to convey a multitude of emotions with nary a word. Caviezel, as always, is more than up for the challenge.

In the following interview with the actor, he talks about the difficulties of portraying a living person, his passion for directing, what films he would like to make himself one day and why he’ll probably never direct an episode of his TV series Person Of Interest. For the full interview, hit the jump.

Director Thomas Carter Discusses WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL, Studio Interference, Deleted Scenes and Choreography

by     Posted 121 days ago

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Filmmaker Thomas Carter has a penchant for sports-related entertainment. As an actor, early in his career, he starred on the basketball-centric TV show The White Shadow. He segued from actor to director on the show for its final season – and since then he has directed a number of television programs from Hill Street Blues to Miami Vice. He returned to the high school basketball film-genre with the Samuel L Jackson headlining Coach Carter – and this Friday, he shifts sports to high-school football with the release of When The Game Stands Tall. In talking with Carter though, he is quick to point out that it isn’t necessarily sports that drew him to these films, but the choreography inherent in such activities (Carter also directed the dance-centric films Swing Kids and Save the Last Dance).

In the following interview with Carter, the candid filmmaker discusses his love for choreography, the differences in shooting a basketball vs. a football game and the deleted moment(s) from When The Game Stands Tall he wished hadn’t been cut. For the full interview, hit the jump.

Jim Caviezel & Michael Chiklis Talk WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL, Their Sports Backgrounds and the Insanity of AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW

by     Posted 123 days ago

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Jim Caviezel & Michael Chiklis – an odd couple if ever there was one.  Caviezel has made a name for himself as a somber and understated actor, his work in The Thin Red Line and The Passion of the Christ compelling in that he never forces anything or goes for that “big” moment. Chiklis, a bundle of volatility, never holds anything back, perfectly encapsulated in his performance as Vic Mackey – one of the great antiheroes of the modern television landscape.  In When the Game Stands Tall, both actors are cast true to form: Caviezel as the quiet and introspective Coach Bob Ladouceur, Chiklis as his loudmouth Assistant Coach Terry Eidson. Together they form a compelling yin and yang, bouncing off each other naturally, many of the best moments in the film coming from their natural repartee.

In the following interview with both actors, they discuss their sports backgrounds, playing to type as the hothead & the introvert, and developing a thirty-one year friendship for the big-screen. In addition, Michael Chiklis touched upon his role and reaction to American Horror Story: Freak Show.  For the full interview, hit the jump.  When the Game Stands Tall opens this weekend.

Director Phillip Noyce and Author Lois Lowry Discuss THE GIVER, the Adaptation Process and Unused Screenplays

by     Posted 123 days ago

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We live in an age of constant YA Film Adaptations. Chances are if there’s a book series aimed at the tweens, then there’s a corresponding film either made or being made. There’s a strange irony to the fact that The Giver (one of the first dystopian YA book series) struggled for over eighteen-years to make it to the big screen, its film adaptation only coming to fruition after a number of its imitators found huge financial dividends in theaters. This Friday, Lois Lowry’s award winning book finally hits the big-screen. Some of the details may be different – a couple characters have been aged up & a number of roles expanded upon – but tonally it feels of one with Lowry’s introspective and rather downbeat sci-fi tale.

In the following interview with Lowry and director Phillip Noyce, the duo discuss the feature’s fidelity to the source material, the adaptation process and the different screenplays that never came to be. Hit the jump, for the full interview.

Brenton Thwaites & Odeya Rush Talk THE GIVER, THE SIGNAL & Ambiguous Endings

by     Posted 126 days ago

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Set in an undisclosed-future, a utopian society has found peace and stability through a systematic removal of everything that makes them individuals. The Giver, based on Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal winning book, details what the costs of such a ‘Hegelian’ vision of the future entails – sure there’s no war or violence or despair; but also no love or joy or emotion of any kind.  Like most YA novels/films, there’s, of course, a number of teens who rise up against their totalitarian elders, daring to challenge the status quo; but it’s a testament to Brenton Thwaites and Odeya Rush that they’re able to imbue these prototypical characters with surprising depth, an undercurrent of futile despair hanging off their every line.

In the following interview with Rush and Thwaites, the two young actors discuss the ‘daunting’ task of playing characters from such a beloved series, the differences in the film from their book counter-parts and using the script vs. the novel as a reference. In addition — Brenton Thwaites talked about the ambiguous ending of The Signal and the potential for a sequel. Hit the jump, for the full interview.

Cameron Monaghan Talks THE GIVER and the Upcoming AMITYVILLE Sequel/Reboot

by     Posted 127 days ago

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Cameron Monaghan is slowly becoming the go-to utility player for YA film adaptations. Just earlier this year, he co-starred in Vampire Academy as the poor put-upon best friend of the two leads and this Friday in The Giver, he once again co-stars as… the poor put-upon best friend of the two leads. As Ash, he’s the wildcard to the more straight-laced Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) & Fiona (Odeya Rush). As his two friends grow to distrust their surrounding utopian community, Ash finds himself brought into the fold. It’s not long before he is pitted against his former ‘besties’, forced to decide between his personal relationship to them and the will of the community. It’s a difficult role – in that most screen-time is given to Thwaites and Rush, leaving Monaghan’s transformation largely off screen; yet somehow the actor is able still to convey the shift in Ash’s demeanor from rebel to follower in a few relatively brief moments.

In the following interview with Monaghan, he discusses expanding on the book for his character, the tragedy of Ash’s transformation and shooting the upcoming Amityville sequel/reboot. For the full interview, hit the jump.

Jeff Bridges Talks THE GIVER, Its Long Road Into Theaters and the Legacy of THE BIG LEBOWSKI

by     Posted 128 days ago

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There’s a deep well of sadness at the center of The Giver, loss and regret circling from within. Most YA adaptations (e.g. The Hunger Games & Divergent) have the veneer of grittiness, but underneath their dystopian features lies a fairly upbeat ‘rah-rah’ tale of the little men rising up against their fascist over-bearers. The Giver may seem like another notch on this belt (despite predating the lot of these books); but underneath there’s a far more subversive agenda at work: what if overthrowing the fascists wasn’t all it was made up to be?  What if the only way to preserve humanity was to curb its very self?  Anchoring such dispiriting notions is the welcome sternly presence of Jeff Bridges, his shrunken eyes and ragged face instantly conveying the deep emotional turmoil of such a compromising vision.  He’s the beating, withering heart of the picture, adding an immediate sense of gravitas without even having to utter a line.

In the following interview with the actor, he discusses why it took eighteen-years to bring The Giver to the big screen, his penchant for playing melancholic characters and the enduring popularity of ‘The Dude’ from The Big Lebowski.  For the full interview, hit the jump.

Comic-Con: Quentin Tarantino Talks DJANGO MEETS ZORRO Comic, KILL BILL: THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR and a Potential Future Science-Fiction Feature

by     Posted 144 days ago

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In 2005, Dynamite Entertainment was founded with the intent of publishing adaptations of pre-existing properties into comic-book form. Under the label, they’ve printed an eclectic number of adaptations from Terminator to Dracula to Xena: Warrior Princess.

In honor of the company’s ten-year anniversary, CEO Nick Barrucci premiered their newest comic — the first ever sequel to a Quentin Tarantino film: Django Meets Zorro. Eisner Award winning writer Matt Wagner and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino himself were on hand to discuss how this collaboration came about, what the storyline of the sequel will be and what previously thought-dead character will return for the comic. In addition, Tarantino discussed his favorite scene(s) from his entire film oeuvre, the status of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair and his idea for a science fiction film. Also gleaned from the panel, we previously reported on Tarantino’s announcement that The Hateful Eight will be his next picture. Hit the jump, for the panel highlights.

Quentin Tarantino Confirms He’ll Be Directing THE HATEFUL EIGHT

by     Posted 145 days ago

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At a panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 for the first sequel ever to a Quentin Tarantino film, the comic book Django Meets Zorro, Tarantino tackled the question on everybody’s mind: The Hateful Eight. As you’re aware, Tarantino was planning to shoot the Western as his next film until the script leaked online and he put everything on hold. During the Comic-Con panel, one of the audience members point blank asked Tarantino if he’ll be making the script as his next feature, following recent word that it could be heating back up again. Tarantino hemmed and hawed for a bit – before finally committing: “Yeah – We’re going to be doing The Hateful Eight.” So there you have it: The Hateful Eight will be the next Quentin Tarantino feature.

The story follows a group of passengers on a stagecoach that get caught and trapped in a blizzard, where they’re forced to confront the ratcheting tension that develops.  Tarantino previously staged a reading of the script that included Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell, Amber Tamblyn, Michael MadsenJames RemarWalton GogginsZoe Bell, and Samuel L. Jackson, so most or all of those actors could appear in the finished film. As previously reported, filming might begin as soon as this November. Hit the jump to read the official synopsis and sound off in the comments with your thoughts.

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