David O. Russell Reflects on His Career and Talks the Importance of I HEART HUCKABEES, the Awards Process, NAILED, Delving into TV, and More at SBIFF

by     Posted 75 days ago

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David O. Russell is a filmmaker on fire, telling compelling stories about fascinating characters that are completely flawed and human.  With his last three films – The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle – receiving 25 Oscar nominations between them, and his actors giving star-making performances in their roles, it’s no surprise that he was recognized as the Outstanding Director of the Year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF).  Collider was there to cover and attend the event, and we’ve compiled the highlights of what he had to say, both on the press line and during the Q&A.

While there, writer/director David O. Russell talked about what this ride has been like for him, when and how he started making films, how he learned the craft of filmmaking, the affect Sundance had on him, how starting out with short films led to him making his first feature Spanking the Monkey, weaving spiritual insight with comedy, writing such strong female characters, why I Heart Huckabees was a transition film for him, why Nailed never got released, adding a sense of enchantment and romance to the stories he’s telling now, how blessed he feels to work with Jennifer Lawrence, what change means to him, and what’s drawn him to the longer storytelling format of television (he’s currently developing a 13-episode series for ABC).  Check out the in-depth interview after the jump. 

Exclusive: Mark Wahlberg Talks THE FIGHTER Sequel and ENTOURAGE Movie; Says He’s Still Considering Michael Bay’s PAIN AND GAIN

by     Posted 2 years, 104 days ago

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Mark Wahlberg is a very busy guy.  In addition to acting, Wahlberg has become increasingly involved in producing not only feature films, but a handful of original series as well.  With Wahlberg’s new crime thriller Contraband opening next week, earlier today Steve got the chance to speak with the hard-working actor.  While we’ll have the full interview up next week, we wanted to share what Wahlberg had to say regarding The Fighter sequel, the Entourage movie, and Michael Bay’s small-budget dark comedy Pain and Gain.

While it was previously reported that Wahlberg had passed on Pain and Gain, the actor revealed that he’s still very much considering the project and he’s currently waiting on a new draft of the script.  Hit the jump to see what Wahlberg had to say concerning all the projects.

Producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman Talk THE MUPPETS, THE FIGHTER Sequel, WARM BODIES and the PHINEAS AND FERB Movie

by     Posted 2 years, 143 days ago

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With The Muppets now playing, all week I’ve been posting exclusive video interviews with the cast and filmmakers.  The past week I posted my conversations with Amy Adams, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, Jason Segel and Walter, director James Bobin, co-screenwriter Nicholas Stoller, and today I’ve got  producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman But before getting to the interview, as I’ve said all week, I absolutely loved The Muppets.  It’s one of my favorite films of the year and it not only made me laugh, it also made me cry.  If you were nervous about the movie…don’t be.  It’s a huge home run.

During the interview, Hoberman and Lieberman talked about their reaction to seeing the finished film for the first time, the test screening process, Kermit’s song “Pictures of My Head,” the newest Muppet Walter, and the possibility that The Muppets might return to TV.  In addition, with Hoberman and Lieberman having produced The Fighter and involved in other projects, I asked the status of a sequel, what’s up with Warm Bodies, and the movie adaptation of Phineas and Ferb.  Hit the jump to watch.

Producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman Talk THE FIGHTER Sequel, WARM BODIES, and the Live-Action/Animation PHINEAS AND FERB Movie

by     Posted 2 years, 165 days ago

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Earlier today, I had the chance to talk with The Muppets producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman.  The full interview will be up the week of release (November 18), but I wanted to pass along what the producing team had to say about a few of their upcoming projects like the sequel to The Fighter, director Jonathan Levine’s (50/50) Warm Bodies, and Phineas and Ferb, which they are adapting as their first live-action/animated feature film.  Lieberman confirmed last week’s news that Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt worked on the draft from series creators Swampy Marsh and Dan Povenmire, which bodes well for the project.

For those that want to see a Fighter sequel, which would explore the Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti fights, Hoberman and Lieberman tell me that “Wahlberg’s in training mode again,” but no one has been hired to write a script.  Which means it’s still on the far off horizon. They also talked about the tricky tonal balance in Warm Bodies.  Hit the jump for what they had to say on all three projects.

Weekend Box Office – CONTAGION Stronger Than Expected at Number One with $23.1 Million

by     Posted 2 years, 220 days ago

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To say the box office has been a bit sleepy of late would be a gross understatement.  Seriously, if I am being bored by the numbers I can only imagine how ordinary movie fans feel.  Four new titles hit theatres this weekend, including Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. The pandemic thriller, and its A-list cast, drew an impressive three day estimate of $23.1 million: more than enough to end the three-week reign of The Help as the nation’s top draw.

Title Weekend Total
1 Contagion $23,135,000 $23.1
2 The Help $8,691,000 $137
3 Warrior $5,607,000 $5.6
4 The Debt $4,905,000 $21.9
5 Colombiana $4,000,000 $29.7
6 Rise of the Planet of the Apes $3,875,000 $167.8
7 Shark Night 3D $3,533,000 $14.7
8 Apollo 18 $2,913,000 $15
9 Our Idiot Brother $2,761,000 $21.4
10 Spy Kids 4 $2,500,000 $34.2

THE FIGHTER Blu-Ray Review

by     Posted 3 years, 13 days ago

It’s easy to write off sports movies nowadays, as they’ve become predictable affairs that do their utmost to cram messages about overcoming social inequalities and unearned feel-goodness down our throats. The days of Rocky and, although I hesitate to label it a sports film, Raging Bull, have seemingly long since passed. I’d chalk that up to the respective games themselves and the popular theme of sportsmanship taking precedent when the focus should be on the player and his journey, and as you might guess from its title, The Fighter totally gets that…otherwise it would have been called Boxing. I mean, why root for a guy when you know nothing about him? Here, the family fights hold just as much dramatic weight as the ones in the ring, and through this The Fighter has made itself a top contender in its genre alongside the aforementioned boxing-drama heavyweights Rocky and Raging Bull. If you don’t believe me, its Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor and its wins in the latter two categories should instill confidence. My full review of the Blu-ray after the jump.

David O. Russell May Write Sequel to THE FIGHTER

by     Posted 3 years, 28 days ago

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Over the past few weeks, Mark Wahlberg has been openly mulling a sequel to The Fighter.  Wahlberg, who produced the flick in addition to starring as boxer Micky Ward, has said that the sequel would focus on the trilogy of fights between Ward and Arturo Gatti.  He also says that everyone, including Oscar-winners Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, had such a great time that he couldn’t imagine them not wanting to return.  However, a larger question mark was whether or not director David O. Russell would be willing to get behind the camera.

MTV caught up with O. Russell and learned that he would be willing to not only direct, but also write the script this time around.  Says O. Russell:

“I think Micky’s story has a lot of heart whichever way you cut it.  You’d go towards the Gatti fights and you could go into the history of the family more. I really like the sisters.”

I would pay to see a spin-off that focused only on the harpy sisters.  Hit the jump for more on the potential sequel.

What’s the Status of THE FIGHTER Sequel?

by     Posted 3 years, 35 days ago

The Ward/Gatti trilogy of fights were the defining moments of boxer Micky Ward’s career.  So it is often questioned why the fights were left out of The Fighter, the movie based on Ward’s life.  To hear Mark Wahlberg tell it, they needed to save something for the sequel:

Now I’m trying to plant the idea in everyone’s head that we should do — not five or six Fighters like Rocky — but one more because the big thing that Micky Ward was famous for was his three epic battles with Arturo Gatti. So we’re talking about possibly taking one more run at it.

This is not the first time Wahlberg has expressed his desire for another Fighter, and he is hovering around his fighting weight in case the opportunity arises.  But we’ve been told that the studio has not yet commissioned a script, and any development talk is still in the very early stages.  Wahlberg admitted as much — read what he had to say after the jump.

Mark Wahlberg Considering a Sequel to THE FIGHTER

by     Posted 3 years, 49 days ago

David O. Russell’s The Fighter picked up two Academy Awards on Sunday (Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress), it’s grossed over $100 million worldwide, and star/producer Mark Wahlberg isn’t ready to give up the story of Mickey Ward just yet.  Speaking to Extra [via The Playlist] on the red carpet Sunday, Wahlberg said:

“Now we’re gonna talk about doing No. 2,” Wahlberg explained. “We’re gonna do the Ward/Gatti trilogy and make it real,” referring to the real-life Mickey Ward’s three fights with his most fierce opponent, Arturo Gatti.

Hit the jump for my thoughts on continuing the story of The Fighter.

THE KING’S SPEECH Wins Best Picture; Full List of Oscar Winners

by     Posted 3 years, 51 days ago

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In what easily had to be one of the most painful, unfunny Oscar ceremonies in recent memory, The King’s Speech finally reached the end of its inevitable march to Best Picture.  It was the first Best Picture winner to win less than five Oscars (it won four, including Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay). [Correction: Crash, which won Best Picture in 2006, only won 3 Oscars]  Does that make it more or less unworthy of the Best Picture crown?  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  I’m drained after live-blogging the awful show and 50 minutes of terrible pre-show.

Hit the jump for the full list of winners.

Matt Live-Blogs the 83rd Academy Awards

by     Posted 3 years, 51 days ago

Like any good Oscar ceremony, the 83rd Academy Awards will most likely drag on unto infinity.  Categories will blend together and you’ll find yourself waiting to see who wins “Best Costume Design for a Live-Action Short Starring Winter’s Bone“.  I’m trying to stop myself from being on auto-snark and hoping that the show is genuinely entertaining.  I find hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco to be charming so hopefully they’ll have some good material.  Last year, I didn’t expect much from Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin and I thought they did a terrific job.  While the Oscars are a show for rich people to congratulate themselves on a job well done, the host doesn’t have to tear the room down to make us poor slobs at home feel better.  There’s a balancing act and hopefully Hathaway and Franco can pull it off.

So get your Oscar ballots ready and hit the jump as I live-blog the 83rd Academy Awards.  Also, you can click here for my predictions.

Producers Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman Exclusive Video Interview THE FIGHTER

by     Posted 3 years, 71 days ago

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A few days ago I sat down with producers Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman to talk about director David O. Russell’s The Fighter.   With the film being one of my favorite’s of 2010, I was curious how the project got put together.  During the interview, Lieberman and Hoberman told me some great behind the scenes stories about who was originally going to star in the film and how Darren Aronofsky was at one point attached to direct.  While I would have loved to have seen his version of the film, I think we can all agree O. Russell did a pretty amazing job and that’s probably why the film is nominated for seven Oscars.

In addition to the behind the scenes stories, we talked about why the Gatti-Ward trilogy of fights didn’t make it into the film, are they thinking about making a sequel to show those fights, how did Paramount get involved, why did they keep the film under wraps for so long, did they ever think the film would be nominated for Best Picture, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch the interview (it’s been time indexed so you can watch the part’s that interest you).

2011 SAG Awards: THE KING’S SPEECH and THE FIGHTER Each Win Two Awards

by     Posted 3 years, 79 days ago

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The Screen Actors Guild handed out awards for the 17th time tonight with The King’s Speech and The Fighter each taking home two wins.  Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech won awards in the “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” (more or less, SAG’s equivalent to the Academy’s “Best Picture” category ) and “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role” for Colin Firth.  Meanwhile, David O. Russell’s The Fighter dominated the supporting categories by landing “Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role” awards for both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.  In what should be (in my opinion, at least) an open-shut case for the Academy, Natalie Portman was awarded “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” for her stellar work in Black Swan.

For those wondering what, if any, effect the SAG Awards may have on the eventual Academy Awards, it’s important to note that the event is believed to be a better gauge of Oscar winners than its most recent predecessor (the Golden Globes).  This is because the Screen Actors Guild is comprised mostly of American actors (the largest branch of the Academy) as opposed to the Globes which is made-up of a smaller group of foreign journalists known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  Long story short (though certainly not etched in stone), look for The King’s Speech to take home Best Picture next month.

Hit the jump to check out the complete list of winners (television included) from the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Weekend Box Office – THE RITE Stays On Top with $15 Million; The Mechanic Ties for Third with $11.5 Million

by     Posted 3 years, 79 days ago

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After finishing in first on Friday, The Rite stayed on top with a three day estimate of $15 million from its 2,985 locations.  No Strings Attached followed in second place, holding on to 58% of its first weekend total.  The Mechanic opened in third for the weekend with $11.5 million, a figure that was well above most projections for the R-rated action film.

Title Weekend Total
1 The Rite $15,000,000 $15
2 No Strings Attached $13,700,000 $39.7
3 The Mechanic $11,500,000 $11.5
4 The Green Hornet $11,500,000 $78.8
5 The King’s Speech $11,100,000 $72.2
6 True Grit $7,600,000 $148.3
7 The Dilemma $5,470,000 $40.6
8 Black Swan $5,100,000 $90.7
9 The Fighter $4,055,000 $78.3
10 Yogi Bear $3,165,000 $92.5

2011 Oscar Nominations Announced; THE KING’S SPEECH Leads with 12 Nominations

by     Posted 3 years, 84 days ago

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The nominees for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards have been announced.  The King’s Speech led the pack with 12 nominations.  True Grit followed with 10 nominations while early favorite The Social Network racked up eight.  Most of the nominees were easy to predict.  While I’m not surprised that John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) nabbed acting nominations, I’m happy they were recognized for their work.  I’m also ridiculously happy that Exit Through the Gift Shop picked up a nod for Best Documentary.

As far as snubs go, the biggest one has to be Christopher Nolan for Inception.  While he picked up the DGA nomination, the Academy chose to go with Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit.  As someone who loved the hell out of True Grit, it’s hard for me to complain.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominees along with my commentary.  Winners will be announced on February 27th.  James Franco and Anne Hathaway are set to host the awards ceremony.

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