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.
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.
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.
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 Ford, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opens December 20th. Hit the jump for my set visit recap and for 15 things to know about the sequel.
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.