Luc Besson’s new sci-fi thriller, Lockout, is a fun and exciting ride set in the not too distant future. Maggie Grace plays first daughter Emilie Warnock who is leading a humanitarian mission to MS One, an experimental prison in space. When a violent intergalactic mutiny unexpectedly sets loose 500 of Earth’s most dangerous psychotic criminals, President Warnock sends in the falsely convicted Agent Snow (Guy Pearce) to rescue her in exchange for his freedom. Living up to his irreverent reputation, Snow pushes all of Emilie’s buttons, but Emilie proves she can give as good as she gets and together they make a formidable team.
At the press day for Lockout, we sat down with Grace at a roundtable interview to talk about what attracted her to the role of Emilie. She told us why she loves her action films served up with humor and how she enjoyed taking on the physically demanding role that involved sophisticated action scenes and a combination of stunts, combats and wire-work. She discussed her training with stunt coordinator Patrick Cauderlier, her fun relationship on set with Pearce and their collaboration on the film’s Casablanca-inspired final scene, and why running in spacesuits presented some unusual challenges. Grace also talked about her upcoming projects: Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2, Taken 2 and Decoding Annie Parker, plus why she’d like to do a romantic comedy.
One of the many films that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director James Ponsoldt‘s Smashed. Written by Susan Burke and James Ponsoldt, Smashed is about a young married couple – played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul – who are brought together by booze. When Winstead’s character (Kate) decides to get sober, it creates its own set of problems. While the film and subject matter could have easily drifted into a Lifetime movie of the week, what makes Smashed work is a career best performance by Winstead and fantastic work from the rest of the cast which includes Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally. For more on the film, here’s Matt’s review.
Shortly after seeing the film, I got to sit down with Aaron Paul for an exclusive interview. We talked about what it means for him to be a part of Sundance, how he got involved in Smashed, what it’s about, who he plays, and the experience of making the movie in 19 days. In addition, with Paul getting ready to film the final season of Breaking Bad (they start filming in March and it airs this July), we talked about his feelings on the show ending, how much he likes to learn about the season before they shoot, and other upcoming projects like Quad (which is based on a true story of a man who becomes a quadriplegic) and Decoding Annie Parker (another project based on a true story of a woman who develops cancer). Hit the jump to watch.
Rashida Jones and Corey Stoll have joined the cast of the indie dramedy Decoding Annie Parker. The film is based on the true story of geneticist Mary Claire King who discovered the gene linked to breast cancer. Helen Hunt stars as King and Samantha Morton stars as the titular Annie Parker, a woman who resolves to fight her cancer diagnosis. THR reports that Jones will play a friend who helps Morton’s character with her research, while Stoll will play a doctor who befriends Parker. Stoll turned heads this summer for his memorable performance as Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Steven Bernstein (Like Water for Chocolate) is directing the pic, which also stars Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Maggie Grace (Lost).
Decoding Annie Parker is currently filming in Los Angeles. Jones will next be seen in Disney’s The Muppets, and also stars in Celeste and Jesse Forever opposite Andy Samberg. Stoll is also poised to star in The Bourne Legacy.
Helen Hunt, Aaron Paul, and Maggie Grace will star in Steven Bernstein’s indie dramedy Decoding Annie Parker. Variety reports that “the story centers on the irrepressible Parker, a breast-cancer patient who stops at nothing to solve the mystery behind her illness, despite the beliefs of the medical establishment.” There are no details on who the actors will play, but I think it would be a safe bet that Hunt will be playing the title role. Bernstein, who was the DP on [Correction: Like Water for Chocolate, not Water for Elephants] and Monster, will be making his directing debut on the feature. He and Adam Benstein co-wrote the script based on a true story. Filming is set to begin later this month in Los Angeles. [Updated: A spokesman for the film has told us that Samantha Morton (In America) will play Parker. Hunt will play scientist Mary-Claire King, Grace is Sarah, her assistant, and Paul has been cast as Parker's husband.]
It’s interesting that Paul continues to take smaller, indie projects as his hiatus films as opposed to his equally-talented Breaking Bad co-star Bryan Cranston. While Cranston is co-starring in the musical Rock of Ages, the drama Argo, and the remake of Total Recall. Meanwhile, Paul recently signed on to another indie dramedy, Smashed. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but it’s interesting to see the diverging paths of their film careers.