Over 50 Things to Know About Luke Evans’ Take on Dracula from our DRACULA UNTOLD Set Visit

by     Posted 160 days ago


There are a lot of vampire films out there, perhaps too many, but the team behind Dracula Untold is out defy that by doing something different, combining historical facts with the fantastical.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula may haven been inspired by Vlad the Impaler, but first-time feature writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless decided to take the connection literally.  In Dracula Untold, Dracula is Vlad the Impaler.

Back in September 2013, we got the chance to visit the film’s Belfast, Ireland set where stars Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon and Dominic Cooper as well as producer Alissa Phillips, production designer Francois Audouy and costume designer Ngila Dickson were all on hand to talk about what’s going to make their vampire movie a standout.  Hit the jump for over 50 must-know facts about Dracula Untold.

101 Things to Know about THE BOXTROLLS from Our Set Visit to Laika’s Studio

by     Posted 166 days ago


If Hollywood gave out awards simply to honor the hardest working people in show business, the folks over at Laika would undoubtedly sweep the categories.  Known for their stop-motion animation films Coraline and ParaNorman, the studio’s newest effort pushes the medium’s boundaries in all conceivable directions.  The Boxtrolls, adapted from Alan Snow’s book “Here Be Monsters!”, has a family-friendly coming-of-age story about fathers and sons at its core, surrounded by cutting edge stop-motion animation and visual effects technology, an inspiring voice cast, and a team of incredibly dedicated artists and craftspeople.

While on set at Laika’s Portland, Oregon-based studio, I had a chance to talk to producer David Ichioka, directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable, and CEO/Lead Animator Travis Knight about The Boxtrolls.  Even more impressive than the interviews with those passionate filmmakers was my guided tour of working animation stages, concept design presentations, and the rapid prototyping facility, where I was informed of each stage of the process by veterans of their craft.  There’s a lot to get to, so I’ve gathered up 101 “Things to Know” about The Boxtrolls after the jump.

INTO THE STORM: 35 Things to Know about Steven Quale’s Natural Disaster Film Starring Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies

by     Posted 175 days ago


While on the Detroit-based set of director Steven Quale’s natural disaster picture Into the Storm, I fully expected to see a lot of green screens standing in for destructive tornadoes.  So imagine my surprise when stars Richard ArmitageSarah Wayne CalliesMatt Walsh, and more braved torrential rain and gale-force winds from on-set practical machines simulating the deadly storms.

Between takes, our group of visiting journalists got a chance to interview the film’s cast and crew about the storm-chasing picture.  I’ve provided links for the interviews after the jump, but first I’d like to share some behind-the-scenes info on the New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures production.  Also starring Alycia Debnam-CareyArlen EscarpetaMax DeaconNathan KressJeremy SumpterKyle Davis, and Jon ReepInto the Storm opens August 8th.  Be sure to check out the film’s recently released trailer here.  Hit the jump for more from our set visit.  Spoilers follow.

65 Things to Know About Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION From Our Set Visit

by     Posted 188 days ago


The first thing you should know about visiting the set of a Michael Bay movie, like say Transformers: Age of Extinction, is that it’s exactly how you think it would be.  It’s explosive, it’s deafening, it’s intense, all in an environment of controlled chaos, and above all, it’s fun.  So much fun.  From witnessing Bay in action as the general in charge of 200-some odd crew members, to watching star Mark Wahlberg flit between handling giant alien grenades in a scene and talking to our small group of reporters on the sideline, to the epic finale of a massive stunt sequence that ended the day with a multi-car crash, pyrotechnics, and the wave of relief that followed when the day-long preparation paid off without a hitch. If the movie is even half as fun as this set visit was, it will be a huge hit with audiences all around the world.

That first thing you should know was a bonus; I’ve got 65 more after the jump.  During our set visit, our group got to see all the points of view of the production from the director, to the producers, to the stars themselves.  We also got to chat with the VFX supervisor, stunt coordinator, and transportation coordinator in charge of all of those beautiful vehicles.  So hit the jump to check out 65 “Things to Know” about our Transformers: Age of Extinction set visit before the film opens on June 27th.

45 Things to Know about DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES from Our Set Visit

by     Posted 252 days ago


Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a great movie.  In a summer filled with explosions and spectacle, Apes used motion capture and other modern technology to help tell its story and audiences embraced the film.  By the time the movie finished it’s theatrical run, it had made close to $500 million worldwide.  Based on the box office and reviews, it was no surprise when Fox moved forward with the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  The 2011 film set up a world and story that people wanted to see more of, so this felt like a sequel that was being made for the right reasons.

Last summer, when director Matt Reeves was filming in New Orleans, I got to visit the set with a few other online reporters.  While on set I watched some filming, participated in group interviews with some of the cast and filmmakers, and learned a lot of cool stuff about one of my most anticipated films of 2014.  If you’re looking forward to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, hit the jump for 45 things to know about the film.

5 Major Takeaways and 65 Things to Know About Director Paul W.S. Anderson’s POMPEII From Our Set Visit

by     Posted 1 year, 13 days ago


When Paul W.S. Anderson’s disaster pic Pompeii was filming in Toronto earlier this year, I got to visit the set with a few other reporters.  Besides watching Kit Harington and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje fight as gladiators in a huge practical arena, we got to walk through a number of other sets, talk to most of the cast, filmmakers, and key production people.  If you’re not familiar with the film, Harington stars as an enslaved Celtic gladiator named Milo who falls in love with a noblewoman (Emily Browning) on the eve of a massive volcanic eruption that destroys Pompeii, an event that also brings him face-to-face with the man who slaughtered his family years earlier.  The film also stars Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jessica Lucas, and Jared Harris.  While on set, many people mentioned that Pompeii felt like a mixture of Gladiator and Titanic.  And after learning about the plot and the love story, I tend to agree, however, I have no idea how the film ends…just that the lovers are up against a very large disaster.

Anyway, while some set visits are very guarded, everyone working on Pompeii was more than willing to talk about their characters, what happens in the movie, and tell us plenty of behind-the-scenes stories.  To make it easy to digest, I’ve grabbed the highlights and made two lists: 5 major takeaways and 65 things to know.  Hit the jump to check them out.  Pompeii opens in 3D on February 21, 2014.

OUT OF THE FURNACE Set Visit Recap, Including 15 Things to Know about the Film

by     Posted 1 year, 34 days ago


Hollywood movies shoot all over the world to take advantage of landscapes, architecture and tax credits, but Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace looks to tap into something more human: the authentic culture and community of a struggling former steel town just outside of Pittsburgh.  I was lucky enough to land a set visit invite along with a group of journalists to take a look at the Crazy Heart writer/director’s new film, which explored a violent, yet vanishing culture in small-town America.

Starring Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker and Woody Harrelson.  Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace opens December 6th.  Hit the jump for my set visit recap and 15 things to know about the film.

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES Set Visit Recap, Plus 15 Things to Know about the Sequel

by     Posted 1 year, 40 days ago


They say a newscaster, much like a fine scotch, gains richness and complexity with age, (it’s science); such is the case with Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.  During a recent set visit, I was one of a small group of journalists who joined a crowd of 3,000 spectators at SeaWorld San Diego’s dolphin exhibit.  What does SeaWorld have to do with the city’s greatest newsman?  Well, when we find Burgundy at the outset of the sequel, he’s fallen on some hard times and has resorted to hosting the Thursday afternoon dolphin show at the park.  Luckily, Burgundy gets his act together and reunites with his newsteam comprised of weather man Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), man on the street Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner) to tackle the 24-hour news cycle.

Also starring Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Dylan Baker, Greg Kinnear, and Harrison FordAnchorman 2: The Legend Continues opens December 20th.  Hit the jump for my set visit recap and for 15 things to know about the sequel. 

45 Things to Know About THE HANGOVER PART III from Our Set Visit

by     Posted 1 year, 249 days ago


Just before Thanksgiving of last year, I took a little trip to Tijuana. Then things got a little fuzzy. I came to in a flophouse in the middle of nowhere and found myself with a front row seat to an out-of-control cock fight.  Blanket-draped chicken crates were stacked all around the seedy hotel room, which was quiet until Alan crashed into them … then all Hell broke loose.  Roosters took flight in the confined space and attacked anything they could get their talons on.  Unfortunately, that happened to be Phil and Stu’s faces.  Then, to make matters worse, Mr. Chow busted in and started firing a gun at the flying menaces, narrowly missing his friends.  After his clip ran out, director Todd Phillips yelled, “Cut! Reset!” and the cast and crew broke into laughter.

Rather than take to the dangerous streets of Tijuana itself (where someone might kidnap poor Oscar-nominated actor Bradley Cooper), this particular scene of The Hangover Part III was staged on a Warner Bros. studio set.  The safety of the location certainly didn’t negatively impact the crazy performances of Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Ken Jeong at all.  Roosters and bullets were definitely flying, though not all of them were real.  The excitement on set from everyone involved in the trilogy’s concluding chapter was, however, quite genuine.  The Hangover Part III opens on May 24th; you can watch the most recent trailer here.  I’ll have set visit interviews with the cast, writer and director coming up, but hit the jump for 45 things to know about the upcoming film.

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