James Wan and Leigh Whannell Talk the 10th Anniversary of SAW, the Sequels, the “Torture Porn” Label, INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3, FURIOUS 7, and More

by     Posted Yesterday

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Last week I trekked down to Lionsgate to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Saw with director James Wan and its writer/star Leigh Whannell along with some of the film’s cast.  After the event I sat down for an interview with the pair that proved to be a great chance to get their perspective not only on the film itself, but the sequels and legacy that followed it.  Many people forget how innovative the original Saw was, choosing to skip over the fact that it’s basically a thriller in their rush to label it “torture porn.”

We spoke about that label, Whannell’s upcoming directorial debut Insidious: Chapter 3 and the challenges Wan faced bringing in his biggest film to date,  Furious 7.  We lightly touch on The Conjuring and I feel a little bit of regret for not pushing harder against the clock telling us we were out of time, since it was only days later that Wan was announced as the director for The Conjuring 2.  But it’s definitely worth a read regardless since these two guys are very smart and have changed the horror landscape time and time again.  If you’ve never seen Saw, be sure to check it out in theaters on October 31st (it actually starts showing at 8PM on October 30th).  And if you’ve already seen the film, this is a brand new transfer that makes it a new experience all over again.  Hit the jump for the interview.

Poster For The Newly Titled FURIOUS 7, Trailer Hitting In Seven Days

by     Posted 4 days ago

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So strange.  I was just watching Fast & Furious 6 on HBO Go last night and noticed that the title card actually just read Furious 6, which I thought was a nice compliment to the fifth installment (which was officially titled Fast 5).  So now that Fast & Furious 7 seems to formally be titled Furious 7, I don’t know what to think.  Actually, I do know what to think, which its not worry about the title so much and to look forward to some insanely fun ridiculousness next year.   Though director James Wan described the shoot as a challenge when I spoke to him recently, he also said he was incredibly proud of the film and that sentiment is definitely echoed in the text accompanying the poster reveal.

The film also stars Vin Diesel, Paul WalkerDwayne JohnsonMichelle RodriguezJason Statham, LudacrisTyrese GibsonRonda RouseyTony JaaNathalie EmmanuelLucas BlackJohn BrothertonDjimon Hounsou, and Kurt Russell.  Furious 7 opens in theaters on April 3, 2015.  Hit the jump for a better look poster and a note accompanying the trailer announcement.  It will be an interactive event that fans can participate in as well. 

James Wan Returning to Direct THE CONJURING 2, and Maybe a DC Comics Movie

by     Posted 9 days ago

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Filmmaker James Wan is returning to the horror genre.  While the director behind Saw and Insidious hit a high mark with last year’s terrific The Conjuring, he subsequently opted to try his talents outside the horror genre by taking over the Fast & Furious franchise.  Fast & Furious 7 proved to be an incredibly tough shoot due to Paul Walker’s unfortunate passing in the middle of production, with Wan recently telling us it was both the hardest film he’s ever made and the one he’s most proud of.  Thanks to the massive commercial (and critical) success of The Conjuring, Warner Bros. set the wheels in motion for a sequel.  The film was initially slated to open next Halloween, but it was unclear if Wan would be returning to the director’s chair or if he would continue to focus his talents on other genres.

Last night Warner Bros. announced that it was pushing the release of The Conjuring 2 to 2016, and now it appears we have a reason for the release date shift: Wan is, in fact, returning to direct.  Hit the jump for more, including Wan’s future with the Fast & Furious franchise.

SAW Producers Are Ready to Return to Torturing People with New Movie

by     Posted 14 days ago

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The Saw franchise cranked out seven movies between 2004 and 2010 because it’s not like they were that hard to do.  They were cheap and they were painfully formulaic—make traps to torture people, and throw in some silly mythology about a villain named Jigsaw.  The franchise mercifully ended four years ago, but like any horror bad guy, it’s not really dead.

With the original Saw set to return to theaters on October 31st for its 10th anniversary, producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules are now considering a return to the series.  Hit the jump for more.

James Wan Says FAST & FURIOUS 7 Was the “Hardest” Film He’s Ever Made; Also the One He’s Most Proud Of

by     Posted 15 days ago

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This morning I headed down to Lionsgate to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Saw.  As a horror fan it blows my mind that it was ten years ago that writer Leigh Whannell and James Wan changed the genre forever with their tiny, original film.  People forget how innovative the original Saw was (and how comparatively non-violent it actually is when stacked up against the sequels – a few of which I like as well).  While the bulk of our conversation centered around that franchise (in addition to the two other successful horror franchises Wan has helped launch – Insidious and The Conjuring) we did briefly touch on Fast & Furious 7 and how working with that expanded budget compares to the relatively small amount of money Wan spent on Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring.  I found his answer to be refreshingly honest and hopeful, so I’ve decided to share it with you now.

The rest of the interview, which has a lot of really good stuff, will be hitting next week closer to the theatrical re-release of Saw on October 31st.  Wan personally oversaw a new transfer of that film for this release and it apparently looks better than ever.  Hit the jump for his thoughts on Fast & Furious 7.

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

by     Posted 29 days ago

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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.

SAW Re-Release Trailer and Poster Celebrate the 10th Anniversary and Reverse Bear Trap

by     Posted 31 days ago

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It’s been four years since we got a Saw release for Halloween, but this year, the franchise is out to make a quick buck off its seven-film run.  In honor of the franchise’s 10th anniversary, the very first Saw film will hit the big screen again for one week beginning October 31st.

Leading up to the start of the film’s one-week run, we’ll get five brand new posters all of which will feature Amanda Young’s (Shawnee Smith) reverse bear trap.  In fact, the first one already hit the web and it’s a stunning rendering of one of Jigsaw’s most iconic traps.  Hit the jump to check that out and to watch the Saw re-release trailer as well.

Vin Diesel Shares New FAST & FURIOUS 7 Images, Describes the Trailer

by     Posted 37 days ago

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Vin Diesel continues to be the official public ambassador for Fast & Furious 7, and now he’s sharing a few new images from the film.  The tumultuous production faced innumerable hurdles following the tragic death of star Paul Walker in November, but now the finish line is in sight with director James Wan deep in post-production.  And there’s now a trailer, which Diesel recently saw and flipped for.  So hopefully we’ll see that soon.

Hit the jump to see the new Fast & Furious 7 images and read a brief trailer description.  The film also stars Dwayne JohnsonMichelle RodriguezJason Statham, LudacrisTyrese GibsonRonda RouseyTony JaaNathalie EmmanuelLucas BlackJohn BrothertonDjimon Hounsou, and Kurt Russell.  Fast & Furious 7 opens in theaters on April 3, 2015.

ANNABELLE TV Spot Packs a Ton of Scares Despite a Brief Runtime

by     Posted 48 days ago

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On the heels of a teaser trailer and a more plot-heavy full trailer, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line have released a TV Spot for The Conjuring spinoff, Annabelle.  So far this movie looks pretty good to me.  There’s no way it can top The Conjuring, it just doesn’t have the time, resources and cast that film did (nor does it have James Wan directing), but it could be a great diversion nonetheless. Director John R. Leonetti shot The Conjuring (and a ton of other Wan films) so he was able to learn from the current master of the genre.

At the very least, the film will have a lot of creepy imagery and jump scares.  And who knows, maybe we end up with another smash?  Hit the jump to check out the new Annabelle TV Spot.  The film stars Annabelle WallisAlfre WoodardWard Horton, Tony AmendolaEric Ladin and Brian Howe, and hits theaters on October 3rd.

Henry Cavill and Amy Adams Accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in Costume on the Set of BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

by     Posted 65 days ago

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Who hasn’t done the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at this point?  We’ve seen Chris Pratt do it, James Wan just posted his video, R2D2 got hit with a bucket full of ice water, and even my own mother tried to give it a go!  But this next one is a particularly cool one, and not just because it continues to help spread awareness about a condition we know so little about.

Not only did Henry Cavill and Amy Adams choose to accept the challenge, but they opted to do so in full costume on the set of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  I can’t imagine the wardrobe department being too thrilled about having that Superman suit absolutely soaked, but it’s a blast to watch and will likely help the campaign get closer to the $80 million mark – if it hasn’t reached it already.  Hit the jump to check out the Batman v Superman ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video and of course, don’t forget to keep spreading the word and if you can, donate yourself by clicking here.

ANNABELLE Trailer Suggests the Doll Will Continue to Be Your Worst Nightmare

by     Posted 70 days ago

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That first teaser trailer for The Conjuring spinoff, Annabelle, made for a strong start, but the film’s first full trailer just dropped and it proves that Annabelle isn’t just a creepy doll shtick, but rather that it has the potential to blow the doors wide open to another deeply terrifying supernatural haunting.

The Conjuring kicked off with a sequence during which Annabelle terrorized two nursing students, but by the looks of one particular shot in this trailer, her upcoming solo movie could go back to where it all started.  Hit the jump to check out the new Annabelle trailer for yourself.  The film stars Annabelle WallisAlfre WoodardWard Horton, Tony AmendolaEric Ladin and Brian Howe, and hits theaters on October 3rd.

Jon Stewart’s ROSEWATER Release Date Set for November 7th; James Wan-Produced DEMONIC Finally Dated for December 12th

by     Posted 91 days ago

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A Rosewater release date has finally been set, and it’s in the heart of awards season later this fall.  Jon Stewart’s highly anticipated directorial debut will open in select theaters on November 7th, the same date as Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.  However, Open Road Films will likely take good care of rolling the film out slowly over the course of the month, so no one’s expecting it to give Interstellar a run for its money.  Written and directed by Stewart, the film stars Gael Garcia Bernal and is an adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari‘s memoir, Then They Came for Me.  Bahari, who was born in Tehran, went to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Moussavi, but was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard, and then interrogated and beaten for 118 days by a man known only as “Rosewater”.  Stewart had a personal connection to the story as Bahari’s previous The Daily Show appearance was used as “evidence” that he was a spy.

Rosewater is slated to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September where I’m eager to finally see it, but it will likely have its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival one week prior.  Hit the jump for news concerning a slightly delayed horror film called Demonic.

ANNABELLE Teaser Trailer Hints at a Potentially Terrifying Film

by     Posted 105 days ago

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Last week we got the news that Annabelle, the spinoff of The Conjuring, was indeed the “Untitled New Line Horror Film” that had previously been scheduled for later this year.  Today, in what seems like a remarkably quick turnaround, we have a two minute teaser trailer for the movie.  If you’re even remotely a fan of The Conjuring this is something you’ll want to check out (though it should be noted that Annabelle is not the official sequel The Conjuring 2, which is set for release October 23rd, 2015).

Annabelle was directed by John R. Leonetti (who served as a DP on The Conjuring and should be able to recreate that film’s style) and written by Gary Dauberman (the upcoming Crawlspace).  James Wan is producing alongside Peter Safran.  The film stars the somewhat ironically named Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders), Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard. New Line and Warner Bros. will release the film on October 3rd, 2014.  Hit the jump for the Annabelle teaser trailer.

FAST & FURIOUS 7 Wraps Production; Shares Heartfelt Note and New Image Commemorating Tough Shoot

by     Posted 112 days ago

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Shooting has just officially wrapped on Fast & Furious 7.  The tumultuous, to say the least, production faced innumerable hurdles following the tragic death of star Paul Walker in November.  I imagine those involved are glad they pushed on but relieved that the ordeal is drawing to a close.  I also imagine director James Wan has a bear of a post-production schedule ahead of him. Assembling the film in the proper manner to respectfully work around Walker’s death (and the various methods employed in replacing him) has to be a pretty intense juggling act.

Hit the jump to read a heartfelt note from the team and see a new Fast & Furious 7 image.  The film also stars Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa, Nathalie Emmanuel, Lucas Black, John Brotherton, Djimon Hounsou, and Kurt RussellFast & Furious 7 opens in theaters on April 3, 2015.

THE CONJURING Spinoff ANNABELLE Release Date Set for October 3rd

by     Posted 115 days ago

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Fans of The Conjuring should be happy with this one.  For a long time in the horror world (translation – several months) there has been some speculation as to what the Untitled New Line Horror Film scheduled for October 3rd, 2014 was.  Today Warner Bros. and New Line announced that it’s Annabelle, a spinoff of The Conjuring.  You’ll remember that the creepy doll that was featured in several of the film’s set pieces.  It should be noted that this is not The Conjuring 2 (the official sequel to the hit film that will be release on October 23, 2015), but a standalone story in that film’s universe.

The film was directed by John R. Leonetti (who served as a DP on The Conjuring and should be able to recreate that film’s style) and written by Gary Dauberman (the upcoming Crawlspace from the same studios).  James Wan is producing alongside Peter Safran.  The film stars the somewhat ironically named Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders), Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard.

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