When Bullet to the Head was filming in New Orleans, I got to visit the set along with a few other online reporters. During a break in filming, we got to speak with Sung Kang (Fast Five) who plays Taylor Kwan, a Washington D.C. detective investigating his former partner’s shady activities. When his partner gets killed, he’s forced to team up with a local hitman (Sylvester Stallone) that also lost his partner, and they try to find the men responsible. However, while Stallone’s character will kill anyone that gets in their way, Kang is trying to obey the law. It makes for an interesting dynamic.
During the interview, Kang talked about doing action scenes with Stallone, the humor, how things changed on set, how most of the characters shoot people in the head, collaborating with Walter Hill, how he got involved in the project, the success of the Fast and Furious franchise, filming in New Orleans, and a lot more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
I’m standing in an old cabin. Blood and bits of brain are everywhere. It’s on the floors. It’s caked on the walls. It’s wherever your eyes happen to look. And it’s awesome. While I was nervous when Sony announced they were remaking the original Evil Dead, after spending the past two days on the set in Auckland, New Zealand, and talking with the filmmakers and cast, I’m extremely confident fans of the franchise and casual moviegoers are going to be really happy next year. And it’s because of the blood and brains. Unlike most movies that try to appeal to a wide audience by releasing a PG-13 movie, Sony is making a movie filled with blood and guts. The Evil Dead remake is absolutely going to be rated R, and based on what we learned on set, they might have to cut some of the gore or they could get an NC-17. It’s a refreshing change from when studios play it safe.
But let me back up a second.
It’s June 14, 2012 and I’m flying back to Los Angeles. As I said, I spent the past few days on the set of director Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake that stars Shiloh Fernandez, Jane Levy, Elizabeth Blackmore, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Jessica Lucas. In the remake, a group of friends go to a remote cabin to help one of them recover from a recent heroin overdose, and that’s where they come across the Book of the Dead. Hit the jump for more.
When rumors started to spread an Evil Dead remake was going to happen, I wondered what director would be brave/stupid enough to try and remake one of the classic horror movies of the past thirty years. After all, it’s almost a no-win battle since every fan of the series is going to be nervous, and you’d basically have to hit a monster home-run to walk away unscathed. But after spending two days in New Zealand on the set of the remake, and talking with the cast and filmmakers, I really think Fede Alvarez has done the impossible, and his Evil Dead is going to be great.
During a break in filming, I participated in an extended group interview with Alvarez. We talked about what it was like to remake a classic, how he got involved, what kind of references there are to the original, how many gallons of blood they used, how Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, and original producer Rob Tapert are very involved in the film, and so much more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
Being undead isn’t so bad. Your clothes are filthy, you could probably do with a little more sun, and the quality of conversation is somewhat diminished, but I didn’t mind being a zombie for a day. I was given this opportunity when Summit Entertainment decided to fly me up to Montreal to the set of Warm Bodies, the new film from director Jonathan Levine (50/50). The film follows R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who falls in love with the non-zombie Julie (Teresa Palmer) after eating her boyfriend’s brains.
I’ve been on a few set visits, but for Warm Bodies, Summit invited me and my fellow movie journalists to be zombie extras. In addition to interviewing Levine, Hoult, Palmer, co-star Rob Corddry, and producer Bruna Papandrea, we got to go through the zombification process without the nasty biting-and-dying part. Hit the jump to read about my visit to the set of Warm Bodies.
For the set visit to Gangster Squad, we were driven from Hollywood to the middle of Bellflower, California, which had been dressed to look like 1940’s Hollywood. It was a cold night, but before we can get to set, we were hustled around the hundreds of onlookers near the edges of the shoot. Ryan Gosling was shooting that day, and that meant many of the people from the neighborhood wanted to have a look, and were trying to take picture or film him with their phones. It was impressive to that many people at considering that it was already ten at night and the weather was already cold.
We were on set October 20, 2011, and at the time we had no idea that Gangster Squad would ever become controversial. But how could we know that a shooting in the summer of 2012 would change and delay the film? Such will explain why they talk about shooting a shooting in Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and why these interviews didn’t run months ago. At the time, spirits were high as they were halfway through the shooting process and Sean Penn has just started filming, though he wasn’t on set that night. To find out more about the things we learned on the set of Gangster Squad, read on after the jump.
When I got to the set of Squad 85, the new Justin Lin produced web series, a half-naked man was hanging out the side of a van screaming as it raced between sound stages at high speeds. About 20 feet back, another car – also with a man hanging out the window – filmed the whole thing. I had no idea what was happening, but it was pretty damn funny.
And this is pretty much the ethos of the six-part series, premiering November 13th on YOMYOMF’s youtube channel as one of the first co-productions between Google/YouTube and the Hollywood elite. Hit the Jump for the full set visit and video interviews.
Stepping out of the van, the heat hits all of us at the same time, and before we’ve even made it halfway up the dirt pathway—to where a sprawling, vine-covered Gothic mansion is quietly redefining the word “imposing”—every one of us is starting to sweat. The person guiding us to our destination points, and we all look around a corner to see what appears to be a checkered ballroom set into the center of a topiary garden. Dozens of elaborately-costumed actors and actresses are milling about: some have foot-tall, brightly-colored hairdos, others have their faces covered in intricate makeup jobs, and all of them must be dying in this swampy heat. Just as we’re starting to make sense of what it is we’re looking at, Jeremy Irons walks by holding a Styrofoam cup of coffee and nods a “Hello” at us.
Earlier this year, I was invited out to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Warner Bros. and director Richard LaGravenese were bringing the YA novel Beautiful Creatures to life. To say the visit was surreal doesn’t quite do it justice, but I’ll give it a shot. Meet me after the jump to find out what I learned on the Beautiful Creatures set…and why Warner Bros. might have the next, big Twilight-sized YA hit on their hands.
The sheriff of a small border town stands in front of a notorious drug cartel leader, blocking his path across the bridge that will take him safely out of the country. Wanting to avoid a physical confrontation with the much larger man, the cartel leader attempts to buy him off. The sheriff responds by discarding his gun belt and shedding his jacket, dropping it to the ground. The men rush each other. They trade blows, neither getting the upper hand until the sheriff lifts the man into the air and prepares to slam him to the asphalt. Director Kim Jee-Woon calls cut and sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) slowly lowers cartel leader Gabriel Cortes (Eduardo Noriega) to the ground with the assistance of the actor’s stunt wires.
It’s late October 2011 and we’re on set of The Last Stand, Schwarzenegger’s first starring role since leaving the governorship of California and his triumphant return to the big screen. While we’ll have interviews with the cast and crew of the film later on this week, you can hit the jump right now to view our “20 Things to Know” for The Last Stand. Also starring Forest Whitaker, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzman, Peter Stormare, Zach Gilford and Genesis Rodriguez, The Last Stand opens January 18th, 2013.
Earlier this year, I fulfilled a dream: I visited Middle Earth (also known as New Zealand). As a huge fan of Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy, it was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. While on set with a few other online reporters, we got to watch a few scenes get filmed, interview almost the entire cast and most of the crew, and we saw firsthand how much love is being put into making The Hobbit trilogy as amazing as the LOTR trilogy. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
With the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opening December 14, WB has lifted part of the embargo and after the jump you can check out my list of 65 things to know about the film plus links to a number of on set interviews.
Let me start by saying The Lord of the Rings trilogy is among my all-time favorite movies. I think the extended cuts are amazing on every level and what Peter Jackson accomplished is truly astounding. Over the past seven years, I’ve done hundreds of on set interviews and have always been able to keep it together. But when I was on the set of The Hobbit earlier this year in New Zealand and Ian McKellan came in to do an interview, I almost lost it. Not only was I on the set of a Lord of the Rings movie, I was going to be able to interview Gandalf!
Thankfully, Ian McKellan couldn’t have been nicer and more friendly. While some set visit interviews are a short ten to fifteen minutes, McKellan stayed with us for thirty five minutes and was willing to talk about everything. During my group interview we talked about his first days on set, why Gandalf is helping the dwarves, filming in 3D, the relationship between Gandalf and Thorin, and so much more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
If you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you are very familiar with the work of Richard Taylor. That’s because as the head of Weta Workshop, Taylor was instrumental in bringing Peter Jackson‘s films to life by producing the many sets, costumes, armour, weapons, creatures, and miniatures in the films. For The Hobbit, Taylor and his team of artisans are once again bringing Middle Earth to life.
Earlier this year I got to visit Weta during my set visit for The Hobbit. In a room filled with Academy Awards and tons of amazing movie props, a group of us got to talk with Taylor. He discussed how he’d been working on The Hobbit for over three years, how they weren’t creating any miniatures for The Hobbit, that his team created eight hundred weapons in the seven weeks leading up to the first day of filming, the way 3D printing has helped build some of the props, how HD filming has changed the way they create the prostheses, 48fps, and so much more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
by Jason Barr Posted: October 17th, 2012 at 10:03 am
I remember being completely mystified by Tobe Hooper’s original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as a kid. Although now I can look back and really appreciate the timeless, unsettling aesthetic that he and his crew created in grueling conditions, with limited resources, at that point in time my interest was completely vested in one thing: Leatherface. Here was this crazy looking, chainsaw-wielding dude who was dispatching people in horrific ways and yet I couldn’t help but think to myself “Man, this guy’s life sucks…”. The sense of sympathy I had for him was something that I had never felt for other similarly iconic “monsters” (I’m looking at you, Jason, Michael, and Freddy). For me, the inexcusable sense of pity he evokes is what sets Leatherface and the Chainsaw franchise apart from others of its ilk. Conceived literally of blood and sweat, I see Hooper’s original as the great American horror film that never got the direct sequel that it probably didn’t need, but definitely deserved.
Enter director John Luessenhop’s (Takers) Texas Chainsaw 3D. While time and the final cut may eventually prove my inclination false, based on what I seen of the film from its Shreveport, Louisiana set on August 12th, 2011, I believe that January, 4th, 2013 could finally bring fans new and old a true sequel that is worthy of the Hooper’s original. My set visit recap, including 10 things to know about the film and an exclusive new image, awaits on the other side of the jump.
A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a visit to the set of Richard LaGravenese’s forthcoming supernatural-romance, Beautiful Creatures. Now, while the title might not mean much to you if you’re say, a late-20’s male with little to no involvement with the Young Adult section of your local Barnes and Nobel, that name means a whole bunch to a whole bunch of non-late-20’s males: Beautiful Creatures—which involves teenage girls, witches, stately manors on the edge of swamps, and Jeremy Irons—might just be the heir to the Twilight throne.
And with the potential for another franchise like that on their hands, it’s easy to understand why the studio would agree to let us start talking about our set visit now: sure, it doesn’t arrive until February of 2013, but why not tell you a little bit about the cool stuff we saw on-set? Find out what I saw there, who we interviewed, and see some pictures from Beautiful Creatures after the jump, folks.
As we gear up towards one of the most heated elections in our country’s history, people are getting a little (OK, a lot) stressed out: political pundits are viciously attacking one another—and Batman movies—in the press, candidates are slinging mud via increasingly-aggro campaign ads, and voters on both sides of the aisle seem poised to tear one another limb from limb. Seems like we could all use a good laugh right about now, doesn’t it? Good news is, Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, writer Chris Henchy and director Jay Roach’s The Campaign is here to provide that much-needed dose of anger-deflating political comedy.
I visited the set of the film a few months ago, and have returned with 20 things you need to know about The Campaign before it opens next month. Wanna know more? Meet me after the jump.
Last summer, when director Timur Bekmambetov‘s (Wanted, Night Watch) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was filming in New Orleans, I got to visit the set with a few other online reporters. Based on the book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith and produced by Tim Burton, the film re-imagines that Lincoln’s mother and grandfather were killed by a vampire and that the president’s resolve to end slavery was due in part to the “fact” that vampires were involved with the slave trade. Playing Lincoln is newcomer Benjamin Walker and he stars alongside Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie, Dominic Cooper, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
While on set we got to interview some of the cast, the filmmakers, and I walked away thinking the film could be really cool. Hit the jump for a list of things to know about the film and my video blog recap.