Producer James Wan and Director John R. Leonetti Discuss Skepticism, Spiritualism, and the Blank Terror of Dolls in ANNABELLE

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The killer doll film, an oft-derided sub-genre of horror, can very easily fall into tongue-in-cheek camp.  There’s just something innately funny about a small little toy attempting and often succeeding at killing a bunch of grown adults. Child’s PlayPuppet Masters, and, hell, even James Wan’s own Dead Silence have all walked that fine line between the horrific and the simply ludicrous sight of a homicidal doll.  Annabelle tips way over that line – but not in the way one would naturally expect. This is a very serious film with not even the slightest hint to the arch or humorous. In fact, the film owes very little to the killer doll genre or even the demonic possession genre of its predecessor The Conjuring.  Instead Annabelle fits more at home with the psychological ‘Yellow Wallpaper-esque’ horror of early Polanski. Think less Dolls or Demonic Toys and more Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby.

In the following interview with producer James Wan and director John R. Leonetti, the duo discuss what they learned from working on previous killer doll films (Wan on Dead Silence; Leonetti on Child’s Play 3), adding a more serious tone to the genre, and using Rosemary’s Baby as the cornerstone influence for Annabelle. For the full interview, hit the jump.

Warner Bros. Developing I AM LEGEND Reboot from Spec Script Described as “Sci-Fi Version of THE SEARCHERS”

by     Posted 6 hours ago

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Warner Bros. has long been keen to make another I Am Legend movie, but it proved a tough nut to crack and Will Smith is reluctant to return to the franchise.  The studio may have found a way around all that.  Deadline reports that WB will retrofit the spec script A Garden at the End of the World, written by Gary Graham, into an I Am Legend reboot.  Graham worked at the Apple store when he submitted his script, described as a “sci-fi version of The Searchers,” to the Black List website.  Warner Bros. took notice and saw enough similarities that they recruited Graham to rewrite A Garden at the End of the World to fit the I Am Legend universe.

It is not specified how Graham’s new script will link to I Am Legend or when in relation to the apocalypse the new film is set, but there are no plans to bring Smith back.  Original I Am Legend producers Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, and Joby Harold will return to produce the I Am Legend reboot alongside Roy Lee (Oldboy) and Brooklyn Weaver (Out of the Furnace).  Revisit the original I Am Legend trailer after the jump.

Daniel Racliffe Plays Michael Caine’s Son in NOW YOU SEE ME 2; Catherine Zeta-Jones Is THE GODMOTHER; William Hurt Joins Jesse Owens Biopic RACE

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A few casting stories to report:

  • Michael Caine revealed that Daniel Radcliffe will play his son in Now You See Me 2Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, and Morgan Freeman are set to return for the sequel.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones will play Colombian drug kingpin Griselda Blanco, also known as the Godmother of Cocaine, in the biopic The Godmother.
  • William Hurt signed on to star opposite Stephan James, Jeremy Irons, Jason Sudeikis, and Carice van Houten in the Jesse Owens biopic Race.

Hit the jump for more on each project.

First AMERICAN SNIPER Images Reveal a Bulky Bradley Cooper in Clint Eastwood’s Military Drama

by     Posted 10 hours ago

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The first American Sniper images for director Clint Eastwood’s upcoming drama have been released online.  The film stars Bradley Cooper as U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who served four tours in Iraq and quickly became the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.  His reputation crossed enemy lines, making him a prime target for the insurgency, and when he returned home to his wife and kids, he struggled to leave the war behind.  These images give us our first look at a transformed Cooper, who put on 40 pounds of muscle to portray Kyle.  Steven Spielberg was originally set to direct the film before bowing out, and it would’ve marked interesting territory for the filmmaker.  Regardless, Cooper (who is also the film’s producer) has been incredibly passionate about telling Kyle’s story, even acquiring the rights to his autobiography before his death, and he tells USA Today that the film is a “character study” of a man who took an honorary discharge in order to come home and put together his family life.  We’ll get our first good look at the drama when the trailer debuts tomorrow.

Hit the jump to check out the first American Sniper images, and check back tomorrow to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman, Luke Grimes, Navid Negahban, and Keir O’DonnellAmerican Sniper opens in limited release on December 25th.

BEAST ASTRAY: An Art Exhibit Inspired by Joe Hahn’s Motion Picture MALL; Check Out Over 70 Images from the Event

by     Posted 10 hours ago

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The trippy and intense indie flick Mall, the feature directorial debut of Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn, examines a group of disaffected suburbanites who find themselves at a shopping mall in the midst of a seemingly random shooting.  In theaters and on VOD on October 17th, and with a script co-written by Vincent D’Onofrio, who also acts in the film, it stars Cameron Monaghan, Gina Gershon, Peter Stormare and James Frecheville.

To celebrate the release of the film, Joe Hahn also conceived and curated an exhibit of artwork inspired by the film, called Beast Astray, which can now be seen through October 5th at the Known Gallery (441 N. Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles), and Collider was invited to check it out.  Hit the jump to check out our photos of the artwork, and check back closer to the film’s release for our exclusive interview with the musician/filmmaker.

Christopher Nolan and Kip Thorne Discuss the Rules of INTERSTELLAR in New Featurette

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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Have you had your fill of Interstellar goodness yet today?  Of course not.  After you’ve watched the final trailer and found out where you can see the film two days early in 70mm IMAX or 35mm, check out this short new Interstellar featurette in which director Christopher Nolan and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne talk about bringing a scientific approach to the intergalactic travel seen in the film.  Years ago when Interstellar was first being developed, it was based on Thorne’s theories of black holes.  It appears that Nolan kept Thorne very much in the loop when he took over the film, and as seen in this new featurette, the two worked together to develop the visual representation of Thorne’s work.

Watch the Interstellar featurette after the jump.  The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne HathawayJessica ChastainCasey AffleckMichael CaineDavid OyelowoWes BentlyJohn LithgowEllen BurstynTopher GraceDavid GyasiMackenzie FoyBill IrwinTimothee Chalamet, and Matt DamonInterstellar opens on film in 70mm IMAX and 35mm on November 5th and everywhere else on November 7th.

Jennifer Garner Polices Her Daughter’s Facebook in New MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN Clip

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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Paramount Pictures has released a new Men, Women & Children clip from director Jason Reitman’s (Up in the Air) latest feature.  The drama follows the loosely connected stories of a group of teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate life in the digital age, and having seen the film at TIFF, I can attest that it’s a moving and dark snapshot of humanity and the ways in which we interact with one another.  While the film is really about larger issues than technology, it does use our tech-obsessed culture as a conduit through which to dig into bigger themes, and this new clip shows Jennifer Garner’s over-protective mother casually perusing through her daughter’s (Short Term 12’s Kaitlyn Dever) Facebook page.  Garner’s character is one of the more disturbing in the film, offering a glimpse at the kinds of parents that think it’s their duty to monitor each and every interaction their child has with another human being.

Hit the jump to watch the new Men, Women & Children clip and click here to read Matt’s review.  The film also stars Ansel Elgort, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy GreerJ.K. SimmonsElena Kampouris, Timothée ChalametOlivia CrocicchiaDennis Haysbert, and Emma Thompson.  Men, Women & Children opens in limited release today and expands wide on October 17th.

Ben Affleck in Talks to Next Star in Action Thriller THE ACCOUNTANT

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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On the eve of the release of Gone Girl (which is enjoying glowing reviews), Ben Affleck may have decided on his next project as an actor.  While Affleck was all set to direct his period crime drama Live by Night after Argo, he opted to take on the lead in Gone Girl first.  Then the role of Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came calling, and he pushed Live by Night even further.  Now it appears that Affleck is keen on squeezing one more movie in before he starts production on Live by Night next summer, as he’s in talks to star in the action thriller The Accountant for Warner Bros.  More after the jump.

STAR WARS EPISODE 7 Rumors: Max Von Sydow’s Character, Daisy Ridley’s House, and the Return to a Familiar Location

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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It’s been nearly two weeks since our last coverage of any Star Wars Episode 7 rumors, but don’t you fret because today we’ve got a new bundle of potential information regarding the highly anticipated film.  Production continues under the direction of J.J. Abrams over in London, and I have to say I’ve been pretty impressed with the way Lucasfilm and Disney have been handling the possible leaks and rumors thus far by not addressing them at all.  I want to go into the film as dark as possible, but in the internet age things are bound to get out.  However, given the flurry of rumors surrounding the project, it’s sometimes tough to suss out what could be true and what’s total BS.  Lucasfilm and Disney aren’t providing any direction one way or the other by just completely ignoring everything.

That said, today’s batch of rumors come from a reliable source and happen to be very non-spoilery.  If true, they only serve to make me more excited for this new Star Wars adventure.  Read on after the jump, but be aware that possible minor spoilers for the film may lie below.  Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 16, 2016.

The Work of David Fincher: HOUSE OF CARDS and the Director’s Future

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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[With the upcoming release of his new film Gone Girl, I’m taking a look back at the work of director David Fincher.  These articles contain spoilers.]

“I want to see everybody as unhappy as me,” Fincher says jokingly in the making of documentary for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  For most of his filmography, Fincher has given us cynicism we can understand but as a way of peeking behind the corner to show us some darkness.  Cynicism perseveres because it’s surrounded by what’s seemingly positive.  With House of Cards, Fincher held our hands and we jumped into a world we already knew was wretched, awful, and rotten: Washington politics.  The challenge wasn’t to make audiences detest politicians; the challenge was making it so damned delectable.

Fincher never stopped making commercials or music videos even when his career as a filmmaker took off.  He moved to television with House of Cards but in the 21st century model created by Netflix, and only as something he helped launch as Beau Willimon worked as showrunner.  So other than all being as unhappy as him, what does the future hold for David Fincher?

Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q Talk STALKER, Their Characters, Going to the Dark Side, and More From the Show’s Set

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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The new CBS drama series Stalker is a psychological thriller about detectives who investigate stalking incidents, including voyeurism, cyber harassment and romantic fixation.  Lt. Beth Davis (Maggie Q) is strong, focused and an expert in the field, driven by her own traumatic personal experience as a victim. When Detective Jack Larsen (Dylan McDermott) transfers to the Unit from New York City’s homicide division, his strong personality and questionable behavior may actually prove to be a valuable asset in this line of work.

The show shoots at Warner Bros. Studios, on a set that’s raised up off of the ground to simulate an upper floor in a high-rise building where the Threat Assessment Unit of the LAPD is located, and Collider was invited, along with a handful of other press, to check it all out and chat with the series stars.  During the interview, co-stars Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott talked about playing the darker sides to their characters, getting to learn about these characters outside of their cases, the dynamic between Beth and Jack, how the show gets under your skin, Jack’s ambitions, Beth’s concern about Jack, how the physical demands of Stalker compares to Nikita, and keeping a mix of male and female victims.  Check out what the had to say after the jump.

Watch the AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW Opening Credits

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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The American Horror Story: Freak Show opening credits have arrived, and they just might be the best ones yet.  This season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck’s horror anthology series takes place in 1950s Florida and revolves around a traveling freak show overseen by Jessica Lange.  As Perri pointed out with regards to yesterday’s clown-infused trailer, this season appears to be brimming with vibrant imagery, and these opening titles are no different.  They’re done almost completely in an animation style that is likely computer generated but made to look like stop-motion, and the music is a playful twist on the AHS theme.  There are a number of oddities and creatures to be found, and as with every season of AHS, these titles are surely filled with plenty of hints with regards to where the season may be going.

Watch the American Horror Story: Freak Show main titles after the jump, and sound off in the comments with any hints and teases you think you’ve found.  The fourth season also stars Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Michael Chiklis, Evan PetersAngela BassetEmma RobertsDenis O’HareFrances ConroyPatti LaBelleFinn WittrockNaomi Grossman, Wes Bently, and John Caroll Lynch.  American Horror Story: Freak Show premieres on FX on October 8th.

Tuesday TV Ratings: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Falls to Series Low; SELFIE Falters in Debut

by     Posted 16 hours ago

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TV ratings for Tuesday, September 30th are in.  Here’s a brief look at the highlights:

  • ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not doing great.  The second episode of the show’s second season (read Evan’s recap here) garnered a 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 4.54 million viewers, notching a series low for the Marvel show.  On the bright side, there’s always the possibility that it could receive a jolt in viewership after its midseason break following the debut of Agent Carter, but there’s no guarantee that show will be a hit either.
  • Elsewhere on ABC, the series premiere of the awfully-titled Selfie scored a 1.4 rating in the demo and 4.89 million viewers.  Despite the cringe-worthy premise, our own Allison Keene thought the pilot episode was saved by its solid cast.  Those debut numbers on down considerably from the 3.0 rating that The Goldbergs nabbed in its post-S.H.I.E.L.D. series premiere last year.
  • The other ABC shows of the night were Manhattan Love Story with a 1.3 rating and 4.28 million viewers and Forever with a 1.3 rating and 5.6 million viewers.

Hit the jump for the full ratings report, including New Girl, Person of Interest, and more.

New THE MULE Trailer Will Turn Your Stomach

by     Posted 16 hours ago

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Ever since catching Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson’s The Mule at SXSW, I’ve been describing it as a “you’ve got to see it to believe it” type of film, but this new trailer actually does a solid job of recreating how unsettling and gut-wrenching the full feature can get.  Sampson leads as Ray Jenkins, a nice guy who gets suckered into swallowing bags of drugs and trying to smuggle them across the border.  Sure enough, he gets caught and that’s when the fun starts.  Ray refuses to admit that he’s got narcotics in his stomach, so the authorities have no choice, but to wait it out.  They confine Ray to a hotel room and keep an eye on him day and night, waiting for the contraband to come out.

I watch a lot of horror movies loaded with carnage where people get torn apart, but The Mule made me squirm more than any of them.  The new promo doesn’t spoil the moment that had me covering my eyes, but this piece is loaded with clever nods that tease how far Ray goes to conceal what he’s hiding.  Hit the jump to check out The Mule trailer and click here to read my review.  XLrator Media has the US rights to the film, but it’s still without a release date.

Find Out Where You Can See INTERSTELLAR in 70mm IMAX and 35mm

by     Posted 16 hours ago

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It’s no secret that Christopher Nolan is a very big proponent of film as opposed to digital.  His preference goes beyond the shooting of the movie to the actual projection, and not unlike Quentin Tarantino, Nolan very much prefers that you see his movies projected on film.  Today, Paramount released the final trailer for Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar and also confirmed what we heard last night, which is that the film will be opening two days early on 75mm IMAX and 35mm screens.  That means if your local theater has converted to digital projectors both in their regular theaters and IMAX, you’ll have to wait two more days to see the film.  It’s kind of a shame since most theaters across the country have converted to digital—especially in the middle of the country, where digital projection is cheaper to maintain—but it’s nice to see that Nolan is doing everything he can to advocate for film projection.

If you’d like to find out where your nearest 70mm or 35mm projection theater is, Paramount has put together a handy list that reveals all of the locations for every format available.  Check it out after the jump.  Interstellar will be released on film on November 5th and everywhere else on November 7th.

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