Jessica Chastain Talks MISS JULIE, Director Liv Ullman, What Al Pacino Taught Her Making SALOME, and Her Reaction After Watching CRIMSON PEAK

by     Posted 6 days ago

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Over the last few years Jessica Chastain has demonstrated again and again that she’s one of the best actors working in Hollywood.  Whether it be hunting down Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, playing the wife of a man plagued by apocalyptic visions in Take Shelter, or putting on fifteen pounds to play the outcast Celia Foote in The Help, Chastain is always fearless and believable on screen.  In her latest movie, Miss Julie, a film adaptation of August Strindberg’s famous 19th Century play being directed by Liv Ullmann, Chastain plays an aristocratic woman who strikes up a relationship with her father’s valet (Colin Farrell).  The film explores issues of power through the lenses of social class, gender, and family.  Unlike most modern movies, Miss Julie is deliberately paced and takes its time exploring the characters through long scenes filled with dialogue and emotion.  Those who choose to pay attention will be dazzled by the performances and absolutely transported back in time.

Shortly after the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, I landed an exclusive video interview with Jessica Chastain.  She talked about what the last few years have been like and how shooting Miss Julie in chronological order helped her as an actress along with what she learned from director Liv Ullman.  We also discussed the advice Al Pacino gave her on her first film, Salomé, the importance of stepping outside of your comfort zone as an actor, her reaction after watching Guillermo del Toro‘s Crimson Peak, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Sean Astin Talks THE STRAIN, Those Worms, Working With Guillermo del Toro, and His New Film THE SURFACE

by     Posted 11 days ago

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From filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse, The Strain tells the story of an epic battle for survival between man and vampire.  When Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control in New York City, and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak that is eerily similar to an ancient and evil strain of vampirism, they quickly realize that they are waging war for the fate of humanity itself.  The show also stars David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown and Jack Kesy.

During a recent interview to talk about his work on The Strain and the experience he’s had on the TV show, actor Sean Astin (who plays CDC worker Jim Kent) talked about what got him most excited to sign on, being a part of a new vampire world, the challenges of filming the convenience store episode (Episode 8), why he wanted to invest in this role, his most fun memories from the season, and working with practical and digital effects.  He also talked about how and why he ended up working in a movie theater in Westwood when he was 16, what’s next for him, what draws him to various projects, and whether he keeps up with fan feedback on social media.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are spoilersThe Strain airs on Sunday nights on FX.

Guillermo del Toro Talks THE STRAIN, the Learning Curve of TV, Casting David Bradley, Looking to Season 2, the Overall 5-Season Plan, and More

by     Posted 16 days ago

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From filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse, The Strain tells the story of an epic battle for survival between man and vampire.  When Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control in New York City, and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak that is eerily similar to an ancient and evil strain of vampirism, they quickly realize that they are waging war for the fate of humanity itself.  The show also stars David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown and Jack Kesy.

During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, executive producer Guillermo del Toro talked about why he wanted to do a horror TV series, the idea of vampires as a predatory species, why he wanted to direct the pilot, supervising all of the visual and make-up effects on the series, why David Bradley was the right actor for Setrakian, how the events of Episode 8 will change the group dynamic, why he thinks they’ll need three to five seasons to tell this story, going forward in the story while they go back in the mythology, learning the medium of TV, and how excited he is to get to work on Season 2.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

FX Renews THE STRAIN for Season 2; The Virus Will Spread in Summer 2015

by     Posted 28 days ago

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There were rumors that The Strain got the go-ahead for a second season, but now FX has made it official, running with the appropriate press release title, “The Strain to Spread Though the Summer Of 2015.”  For anyone who hasn’t given the show a shot just yet, I highly recommend it.  We’ve seen six episodes of season 1 thus far and while I can’t say every moment rocks high quality writing, performances and believable behavior, there’s no denying that it’s still a blast to watch.

No spoilers here, but the show kicks off with a plane landing at JFK.  It touches down safe and sound, but when there isn’t a single peep from the pilot, crew or any of the passengers after, the CDC is called in to investigate what is dubbed a “dead airplane.”  But the thing is, the passengers aren’t dead.  They start waking up and that’s when crazy things start going down.  Hit the jump for more on The Strain season 2 renewal.

Guillermo del Toro and THE WALKING DEAD’s Norman Reedus Involved in New SILENT HILL Game

by     Posted 34 days ago

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Guillermo del Toro and Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) will be involved, in some capacity, in the new Silent Hill game.  I know that’s vague in regard to their roles on the project, but that’s all that has been announced thus far.  From the below video we can assume that Reedus will voice a character in the game (as well as give license to his visage), but I’m foggier on Del Toro’s involvement since his title card just has his name.  Did he write it?  Is he a producer of some kind?  No idea.  Also from the title cards, we can make an educated guess that the name of the game is Silent Hills. Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima is working on it as well.

That’s about all of the info we have, and most of it has been gleamed from a Silent Hills teaser video that sprung from what had been advertised as a demo for another game.  Since the announcement was made in an interactive manner, the following video contains some commentary from the woman playing it.  You may want to lower the volume on the speakers.  Hit the jump for the Silent Hills teaser.

Producer Guillermo Del Toro and Director Jorge R. Gutierrez Talk THE BOOK OF LIFE, Working Together on the Film, Easter Eggs, and More at Comic-Con

by     Posted 43 days ago

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Opening on October 17th is The Book of Life.  Produced by Guillermo Del Toro and directed by Jorge Gutierrez and inspired the Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead”, the film revolves around three childhood friends—Manolo (Diego Luna), Maria (Zoe Saldana), and Joaquin (Channing Tatum)—who find themselves in a love triangle as the gods wager on who will win Maria’s heart.  Manolo is the central character of the story, as he dreams of breaking his family tradition of bullfighting to become a guitar player.  Over the course of the fantastical story, audiences are taken to The Land of the Living, the Land of the Remembered, and the Land of the Forgotten as Manolo seeks to live a complete and fulfilling life that is remembered by the living.  As you can see in the trailer, The Book of Life has a unique visual style that’s unlike anything I’ve seen, and I can’t wait to see the finished film later this year.

While at Comic-Con, I landed an exclusive video interview with Guillermo Del Toro and Jorge R. Gutierrez.  They talked about how they met, the genesis of the project, how they got the studio on board, the soundtrack, Easter eggs, how many times they re-did the storyboards and the story, being at Comic-Con, what they collect, future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Comic-Con: Guillermo del Toro Talks CRIMSON PEAK, the Horror of Gothic Romance, Taking a Painterly Visual Approach, Designing 3 Types of Ghosts, More

by     Posted 48 days ago

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With Crimson Peak, in theaters October 2015, Guillermo del Toro is making his highly anticipated return to the ghost story (his last being the absolutely excellent and freaky-as-hell The Devil’s Backbone in 2001).  As one of the most creative, knowledgeable and passionate filmmakers in the genre, and backed with an insanely talented cast,  del Toro is poised to deliver a first-rate creepfest bolstered by his trademark emotional heft and visual panache.  Crimson Peak stars Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Jim Beaver, Doug Jones, and Javier Botet.

Following his Hall H Panel on Saturday (read Adam’s full recap right here) I had an opportunity to sit down for an interview with del Toro.  He talked about whether or not we can hope to see his Hall H footage online any time soon, blending the Gothic romance and the ghost story, how horror is borne out of love, creating a film that looks like a painting, inventing multiple kinds of ghosts unlike any you’ve ever seen, and more.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Comic-Con: Guillermo del Toro, Carlton Cuse, and Chuck Hogan Talk THE STRAIN, Upending the Vampire Genre, the Extent of del Toro’s Involvement, and More

by     Posted 49 days ago

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Horror mastermind Guillermo del Toro has been fascinated with vampires since he was a teenager and figured out early on the version that he liked more was not the romantic leading man, but the soul-less body, driven to brutality by an unquenchable thirst.  In The Strain, his first foray into television, del Toro has created frightening vampire creatures that are worlds apart from the brooding, forlorn vampires that are popular today.

Based on the book trilogy that del Toro co-wrote with Chuck Hogan, The Strain follows a group of CDC scientists who discover a virus has been unleashed on New York City with devastating consequences.  Hogan, del Toro and executive producer Carlton Cuse stopped by Comic-Con to screen the season’s third episode for attendees before it aired, but before heading over to Hall H they talked to the press about the show.  Hit the jump to read highlights from their interviews.

THE STRAIN Comic-Con Panel Recap: Guillermo del Toro and Company on the Show’s Violence; Upcoming Seasons

by     Posted 50 days ago

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With two episodes having already aired, the popularity of The Strain is undeniable.  This series, created and executive-produced by Guillermo del Toro, introduces a new take on vampire lore that is not only original and interesting, but seriously terrifying.  This show is not messing around, it’s trying to scare the hell out of you.  On Sunday at Comic-Con,  FX presented a special panel and sneak peek of the third episode of The Strain, with series creators del Toro and Chuck Hogan, showrunner Carlton Cuse and cast members Corey StollDavid BradleyMia MaestroSean AstinKevin DurandJonathan HydeRichard Sammel, Natalie BrownKevin DurandMiguel GomezBen Hyland, and Jack Kesy.

During the panel they talked about what it was like adapting the book into a television series, the look of the vampires, where del Toro came up with the idea of the worms and what the casting process for the show was like.  Hit the jump for The Strain Comic-Con Panel recap.

CRIMSON PEAK Comic-Con Panel Recap: Guillermo del Toro Reveals Promising First Footage from His Gothic Romance; Gauges Audience Interest in HELLBOY 3

by     Posted 52 days ago

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Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is a Comic-Con favorite.  Films like Hellboy and Pacific Rim went over extremely well at the massive convention in the past, and he’s also just an incredibly likeable guy—he loves movies, monsters, and has no filter when it comes to speaking on the Comic-Con stage.  However, at this year’s Legendary panel in Hall H, del Toro brought a very different kind of film that just may end up being a highlight of his oeuvre.  With the gothic romance horror pic Crimson Peak—which stars Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Charlie Hunnam—del Toro is aiming to meld the artful and more adult-geared tone of his Spanish-language films (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone) with the colorful and pop nature of his English-language features.

During the film’s Comic-Con panel, del Toro unveiled the first incredibly promising (not to mention gorgeous) footage from the pic and talked about his approach on this feature.  Additionally, del Toro took the opportunity to do an unofficial poll of the audience as to their interest in seeing Hellboy 3 and At the Mountains of Madness.  Read my full Crimson Peak Comic-Con panel recap after the jump.

THE BOOK OF LIFE Comic-Con Panel Recap Featuring Guillermo Del Toro, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Biz Markie and More

by     Posted 53 days ago

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Anything Guillermo Del Toro gets involved in is worth attention.  He can only direct so many movies, but he’s been able to make an even bigger impact on cinema by also working as a producer.  During 20th Century Fox Comic-Con presentation today in Hall H, Del Toro was present for The Book of Life, an animated film he’s producing with Jorge Guiterrez directing.  The unique story embraces its Mexican style and influence as it tells a love story that spans the worlds of the living and the dead.

Hit the jump for The Book of Life Comic-Con panel recap.

Watch: Guillermo del Toro Leads Personal Tour of CRIMSON PEAK “Gothic Gallery” and Reveals First Logo at Comic-Con

by     Posted 54 days ago

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Last night at Comic-Con, right after the doors opened, I attended a very cool presentation at the Legendary booth.  Not only did I see a demo of the Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot Oculus Rift game (I now understand why everyone is raving about Oculus Rift), I got to check out a very cool Crimson Peak set-up which included a personal tour with writer/director Guillermo del Toro.  As you can see in the video, del Toro explains more of the story for his next film, why he selected which props and costumes are on display, and how he personally designed everything you’ll see inside the booth which they’re calling a “Gothic Gallery.”   Designed to look like a set from the movie, the booth is definitely worth checking out, and I love the way it’s all-encompassing with great sound design by Randy Thom.

In addition to the video, you can also check out the Crimson Peak logo which is the family crest.  Crimson Peak stars Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Charlie Hunnam and will be released by Legendary and Universal in October, 2015.  For more on the film, here’s 35 things to know about the film from my set visit and a great on set interview with del Toro.

THE STRAIN Comic-Con Event Gives Fans Access to the Show With Unseen Footage and Guest Appearances

by     Posted 60 days ago

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FX just premiered The Strain last Sunday and unfortunately I haven’t gotten a chance to check it out yet.  But I hear the series, based on the books by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, is one of the more unrelenting takes on vampirism in TV history (and that it’s quite fun as well).  If you’re already a fan of the show, and if you’re going to be at the San Diego Comic-Con next week, then there’s an exclusive event you won’t want to miss.

The Strain (check out our recap) tells the story of “Dr. Ephraim Goodweather,” the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City.  Goodweather and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism.  As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers, wage war for the fate of humanity itself.  The show stars Corey Stoll, Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Natalie Brown, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Robert Maillet, Jack Kesy, Ben Hyland, and Miguel Gomez.  Hit the jump for more info on how to get into The Strain Comic-Con event!

Alex Kurtzman Gives Updates on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3, SINISTER SIX, and VENOM; Talks Universal Monster Universe Plans

by     Posted 61 days ago

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While producer/writer/director Alex Kurtzman was at the CBS portion of the TCA Press Tour for his latest TV venture Scorpion, it provided an opportunity to catch up with him about some of the projects he currently has in various stages of development in the film world.

During an interview with Collider and a couple of other outlets, talk went to the building of a Monster Universe with the classic movie monsters, which he’s kicking off with The Mummy, that he’d be honored if Guillermo del Toro wanted to get involved with Frankenstein, once they get to that stage, his big picture view of the Monster Universe, and how some monsters will get their own movie while others are supporting characters in other monster movies.  He also talked about where things are at with The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and that they’re just trying to figure things out, at this stage, working with Drew Goddard on Sinister Six, and his plans to direct Venom after that.  And of course, no conversation with Kurtzman would be complete without an update on the feature film of Locke & Key.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Guillermo del Toro Says Universal Wants Him to Do FRANKENSTEIN; Would Like to See the Universal Monster Universe Done as Period Movies

by     Posted 61 days ago

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Though there are a number of projects that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has been attached to over the years, one of the biggest and most promising is FrankensteinMary Shelley’s novel is del Toro’s favorite book of all time, and he’s been very vocal about his passion for adapting the material.  He’s spoken of plans to have Doug Jones fill the Monster role and there have been various updates every now and then, but del Toro has been so busy with other projects (At the Mountains of Madness, The Hobbit, Pacific Rim, etc.) that Frankenstein hasn’t yet come to pass.

Steve recently took part in an extremely lengthy and candid interview with del Toro on the set of his next film, Crimson Peak, and del Toro touched on his planned Frankenstein adaptation, revealing that Universal Pictures chairperson Donna Langley has approached him a few times about getting it going.  Del Toro says he hasn’t made it yet because he’s “a chicken shit,” but added that when he does do Frankenstein (and also hopefully Bride of Frankenstein), he’ll drop everything else for three years to focus entirely on the monster pic.  Hit the jump for more, including del Toro’s thoughts on how he would tackle a new Universal Monster Movie Universe.

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