Keanu Reeves Talks JOHN WICK, the Action Sequences, if He’ll Direct Again, the JOHN RAIN TV Series, Eli Roth’s KNOCK KNOCK, and More

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As I’ve said again and again on Twitter and on the site, I absolutely loved John Wick.  Filmmakers Chad Stahelski and David Leitch have crafted a fantastic action thriller that’s absolutely worth your time and money.  When I recently hosted a screening in NYC, there were plenty of laughs, gasps, and tons of applause during the incredible action set pieces.  In the film, Keanu Reeves stars as an ex-hitman who comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.  Trust me, if you like action movies, this is a must see film.  For more on John Wick, watch this trailer, see Evan shoot people in the face, and here’s all our previous coverage.

Last week in New York City I sat down with Keanu Reeves for an extended interview.  He talked about how he got involved in the film, script changes, the challenge of shooting the various action sequences, the universal appeal of John Wick and the character motivation, if he’ll direct again, if he’d be willing to star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, his hopes for the John Rain limited TV series that he’s also doing with Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, future projects including the courtroom drama The Whole Truth and the Eli Roth horror movie Knock Knockand more.  Hit the jump to watch.

MANHATTAN Creator Sam Shaw Talks Season 1, Future Plans for the Show, His Partnership with Tommy Schlamme, and Much More

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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One of the best shows you’re not watching is WGN America’s Manhattan.  Created by Sam Shaw and director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), Manhattan offers a semi-fictionalized version of the infamous Manhattan Project – the clandestine research and development project that resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb.  Over the first 13 episode season, the show explored the costs of secrecy and isolation as a result of building the “gadget,”  while also offering a fascinating look at the science involved in the design.  I’m a huge fan of this show and was very happy to learn it’s getting a second season.

With the first season ending Sunday night, I recently sat down with creator Sam Shaw for an extended video interview.  During our wide-ranging conversation he talked about how the show came together, his partnership with Tommy Schlamme (who directed the first two episodes), incorporating real figures into a world made up of fictitious characters, his long term plans for the show which include showing the repercussions of creating and using the bomb on the people that created it, the advantages of being picked up straight to series, the challenges of writing emotional, engaging stories, Easter eggs, teasing what he can for season 2, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of WGN America’s Manhattan, you’ll love this interview.  Hit the jump to watch.  Finally, if you haven’t seen Manhattan yet, WGN America is airing the entire 13-episode first season this Sunday starting at 8:00 a.m. PST.

Tom Riley, Laura Haddock, Blake Ritson and Gregg Chillin Talk DA VINCI’S DEMONS Season 3, Working with a New Showrunner, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and Much More

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Last week at New York Comic-Con, I landed an awesome extended video interview with Da Vinci’s Demons stars Tom RileyLaura HaddockBlake Ritson and Gregg Chillin.  While I’ve found group interviews to be sometimes difficult, the interview you’re about to watch is definitely one of my favorites.  As you’ll see, the four of them look and act like close friends and they were able to have a lot of fun with my questions while also teasing what’s to come on Da Vinci’s Demons season 3 (which they’re almost done filming).

During the interview they talked about working with a new showrunner, how the new season is more grounded and will be set in Florence more than previous seasons, collaborating with the writers, how the season starts and what it’s about, the way they like to work, how many takes they get to do, how much they like to know about future storylines, who ruins the most takes, and so much more.  In addition, while you might not have recognized her, Laura Haddock played Peter Quill’s mother in James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy.  I jokingly asked the group if the success of the film has turned Haddock into a diva on set.  Hit the jump to watch what they had to say.

Donal Logue Talks GOTHAM, the Rumors He Was Going to Play Jim Gordon, What Drew Him to the Role, the Possibility of a TERRIERS Reunion, and More

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Last week at New York Comic-Con, I was able to participate in a roundtable interview with Donal Logue for Gotham.  At the center of the show is Ben McKenzie as a young Detective Jim Gordon, who comes onto the force to work with veteran Harvey Bullock, played by Donal Logue.  The main antagonists that emerge are Jada Pinkett Smith as an original character, Fish Mooney, and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepott, the man who becomes the Penguin.  Balancing out the cast are Erin Richards as Gordon’s mysterious fiancée Barbara Kean, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.  While all shows take a bit of time to find a rhythm that works, Gotham is loaded with a talented cast and has The Mentalist and Rome alum Bruno Heller as the executive producer/writer, so I’m rooting for it.

During the interview, Logue talked about why he wanted to take on the role, the initial rumors that he was going to play Jim Gordon, what’s coming up on future episodes, the big challenges of making a TV show, if the Gotham scripts have a lot of rewrites, and the possibility of a Terriers reunion.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.  Gotham airs Monday nights on Fox.

Director Jake Paltrow Talks YOUNG ONES, the Challenges of Getting the Project Made, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, Future Projects, and More

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Now available on VOD and playing in select theaters is director Jake Paltrow’s Young Ones.  The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where water has become scarce and the only hope for a family becomes an irrigation pipeline that can revitalize their land.  This conflict sets off a battle between the family’s patriarch Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon) and a young man (Nicholas Hoult) looking to romance Ernest’s daughter Mary (Elle Fanning).  The film also stars Kodi Smit McPhee as Shanon’s son.  For more on the film, watch the trailer.

Last week in New York City I landed a great interview with Jake Paltrow.  He talked about the hurdles he encountered in getting Young Ones made, the way the script changed from inception to release, the challenges and “seduction” of the desert, putting the cast together, dealing with the subject of drought, directing episodes of Boardwalk Empire, what he’d like to do next, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Guillermo del Toro and Jorge Gutierrez Talk THE BOOK OF LIFE and PACIFIC RIM 2 and 3

by     Posted 2 days ago

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The Book of Life is a beautiful film – from the stunning visuals, to the clever use of pop songs, to the touching message at the film’s core, The Book of Life possess an  arnestness that sets it apart from today’s standard animated fare.  No doubt the film’s singular charm is due to the fourteen years of love and hard work director Jorge Gutierrez put into the project, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that producer Guillermo del Toro spent the last six years shepherding the film to it’s final form.

I recently sat down for an exclusive video interview with Jorge Gutierrez and Guillermo del Toro.  They talked about the long journey to the finished film, how the project changed along the way, bringing Mexican culture to a larger audience, and more.  Additionally, del Toro shared his plans for Pacific Rim 2 and 3.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Natalie Brown Talks THE STRAIN, Vamp Camp, Possibility of Flashbacks in Season 2, Her Personal Vampire Apocalypse Survival Plan and More at NYCC

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If you haven’t gotten to episode 10 of The Strain yet, I’d highly recommend avoiding this interview because it’s a total game changer for Natalie Brown’s character, Kelly Goodweather.  I got the opportunity to talk to Brown at San Diego Comic-Con and, at the time, I’d only seen three episodes and dubbed her component the family drama portion of the show.  That’s still true to a point, but certainly not in the same way anymore.

Again, this interview is packed with spoilers, so do not continue on unless you’ve completed the first season or at least know what goes down in episode 10, “Loved Ones” – one of the show’s most powerful installments by far.  If you’re ready now, hit the jump to hear what Brown told me about seeing her character through one heck of a transformation, what was going through her head during a particularly intense moment at the end of the season finale and loads more.

Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana Talk THE BOOK OF LIFE, Jorge Gutierrez’s Passion for the Film, Dia de los Muertos and More

by     Posted 3 days ago

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Now in theaters is Jorge Gutierrez‘s charming and visually stunning tribute to Dia de los Muertos, The Book of Life.  The animated feature depicts Gutierrez’s vision of the afterlife in which the celebrated and beloved spend eternity in the Land of the Remembered, ruled over by the beautiful and kind-hearted La Muerte (Kate del Castillo), while the souls beyond remembrance languish under the rule of the trickster Xibalba (Ron Perlman) in the Land of the Forgotten.  The film’s events are set into motion when the deities place a wager on the romantic fate of three childhood friends – should Maria (Zoe Saldana) choose to marry Manolo (Diego Luna), a good-natured musician, Xibalba will stop meddling in human affairs, but if she marries the rakish warrior Joaquin (Channing Tatum), Xibabla will take over as ruler of The Land of Remembered.

I recently sat down with Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana for an exclusive video interview.  They talked about being drawn to Gutierrez’s passion for the film, their excitement to work together, bringing elements of Mexican culture to a larger audience.  Additionally, Saldana talked about her knack for consistently finding great roles for women.  Hit the jump to watch.

Director Justin Simien Talks DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, Identity vs. Self, White Privilege and the Changing Face of Racism, Testing Out the Film’s Voice on Twitter

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Writer/director Justin Simien has achieved an intriguing mix of racial and interpersonal politics, warmth, and humor with his directorial debut Dear White People.  While the film tackles serious topics and is aimed primarily at a college aged audience, I think it could find traction with a wide swath of viewers (particularly those who find themselves sickened by the insidious notion that racism no longer exists).  I recently sat down with Simien to talk about the genesis of the project, writing a multi-protagonist film, and the reaction many people have had to its themes.

Hit the jump for my Dear White People interview with Justin Simien (you can check out the trailer here and my cast interview here)The film stars Tessa ThompsonTeyonah Parris, Tyler James WilliamsBrandon P. BellKyle GallnerMalcolm Barrett, Brittany CurranMarque Richardson, and Dennis Haysbert, and is now in theaters.

Director Tim Johnson Talks HOME, Finding Inspiration at Comic-Con, Boov Technology, Erasing Enemies with Bubble Weapons and More

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You’d think an alien race with the ability to control gravity would know a thing or two about, let’s say, a kitten purring, dancing and the English language, but that’s not the case with the Boov of Home.  After shutting off the Earth’s gravity and conquering the human race in a matter of seconds, the Boov move in.  But the thing is, it’s not malicious.  The Boov genuinely think that they can improve the quality of life for Earth’s “native savages,” so they restrict all humans to Australia and pack the continent with white picket fence houses, amusement parks, big screens and loads of high fructose corn syrup drinks, everything we could possible need – from the Boov perspective at least.

Shortly after screening some footage at Home’s New York Comic-Con panel, I got the chance to sit down with director Tim Johnson to discuss adapting Adam Rex’s book, The True Meaning of Smekday, working with characters that change colors when they emote, loading up his cast with familiar voices including Jennifer Lopez, Jim Parsons and Rihanna, and much more.  Hit the jump to check it all out in my video interview.

Shawn Ashmore Talks THE FOLLOWING Season 3, Having a New Showrunner, X-MEN, and More at NYCC

by     Posted 6 days ago

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With The Following showrunner Kevin Williamson leaving after last season to head up his new CBS series, Stalker, the show upped writers Brett Mahoney and Alexi Hawley to executive producers alongside director Marcos Siega, the series’ long-time on-set executive producer.  While some shows suffer when a new leader takes control, The Following wrapped up the long running storyline of the first two seasons in the recent finale, which makes season three able to start anew.  Of course the show will still be dealing with the ramifications of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), but the new showrunners can take the keys knowing they can plot their own course.

Last weekend at New York Comic-Con, I was able to participate in a roundtable interview with Shawn Ashmore where he talked about The Following season 3.  He discussed how the first episode will reveal the mysterious character in the last scene of season 2, if he likes to know the full arc before the season, his experiences with a new showrunner, his twin brother (who is also an actor), wanting Iceman to be part of X-Men: Apocalypse, and more.  Hit the jump for what he said.

Jason Schwartzman Talks LISTEN UP PHILIP, Portraying an Extremely Abrasive Character, THE OVERNIGHT, Tim Burton’s BIG EYES and More

by     Posted 6 days ago

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Jason Schwartzman is really nice and a great guy to interview.  His character in Listen Up Philip?  Not so much.  Philip’s about to have his second book published and he’s sure it’s a big winner.  However, when his editor tells him that The New York Times is giving him a negative review, Philip decides he won’t do any press for the book.  A raging cynic and egoist, Philip sours every single relationship he’s got and that’s when director Alex Ross Perry lets you see the other side of the situation, what happens to the people around him when Philip is gone.

With Listen Up Philip set to hit select theaters in New York City on October 17th, I got the chance to sit down with Schwartzman to discuss his very first impression of the script, what happened when they tried to make Philip a more likable character, what it’s like getting into the headspace of such a rageful guy, how playing Philip inspired him to be more forward in his own life and more.  Hit the jump to hear about all of that as well as Schwartzman’s upcoming film, The Overnight, and his experience working with Tim Burton on Big Eyes.

Ice Cube Talks THE BOOK OF LIFE, Voicing His First Animated Character, the Status of FRIDAY 4, RIDE ALONG 2, and More

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Arriving in theaters this weekend from producer Guillermo del Toro is The Book of Life. The animated feature depicts director Jorge Gutierrez‘s vision of the afterlife where the celebrated and beloved spend eternity in the vibrant Land of the Remembered, while those beyond recall languish in the desolate Land of the Forgotten. In the middle is the Candle Maker, a benevolent keeper of the Book of Life who shepherds the souls of the deceased and ensures balance in the afterlife. As the Candle Maker Ice Cube lends his voice to an animated film for the first time – a surprising fact given that his career, which includes more than thirty film credits to date, began in a recording studio more than three decades ago. The Book of Life also stars Zoe SaldanaDiego LunaChanning TatumRon PerlmanKate del Castillo, and Christina Applegate.

I recently sat down with Ice Cube for an exclusive video interview. He talked about why this was the first animated feature to draw his attention, how he was won over by Gutierrez’s enthusiasm, feeling right at home in the recording studio, why we all need to pen a letter to New Line and make sure Friday 4 happens, and what to expect from Ride Along 2. Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Joel Edgerton Talks FELONY, the Moral Ambiguity of the Film, Screening Reactions, Ridley Scott’s EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, and More

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Now available On Demand and opening in select cities this weekend is director Matthew Saville’s (Noise) crime drama Felony.  Starring Joel Edgerton (who also wrote the screenplay), Tom Wilkinson, Jai Courtney, and Melissa George, the film is about three detectives that become entangled after a tragic accident leaves a young child in critical condition.  One of the men is guilty of the crime, one wants to uncover the truth, and one is trying to cover it up.

Last week in New York City I landed an extended video interview with Joel Edgerton.  He talked about what it’s like winning the “actor’s lottery,” the realness of the people and situations in Felony, the moral ambiguity of the film, reactions from screenings, how he hopes audiences will react after seeing the movie, what it was like working with Ridley Scott on Exodus: Gods and Kings, the challenge of adapting The Bible, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Director James Ford Murphy Talks LAVA, How to Make a Short Film at Pixar, Being Paired with INSIDE OUT, His Contributions to CARS, THE INCREDIBLES and More

by     Posted One week ago

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Inside Out is Pixar’s next highly anticipated release, but it’s also paired with a brand new Pixar short film that’s a must see, James Ford Murphy’s directorial debut, Lava.  The piece focuses on a lonely volcano out in the middle of the sea who’s just looking for someone to love, or rather, lava.  And it’s no wonder John Lasseter went with the idea when Murphy pitched him three options; for a mere seven-minute piece, Lava is extremely moving and the song is quite catchy, too.

While talking to Murphy about Lava, he broke down the process of how to pitch ideas at Pixar, what it’s like bringing an immobile volcano to life, his thoughts on screening before Inside Out and loads more.  Catch it all in the video interview after the jump.  Lava will hit theaters with Insider Out on June 19, 2015. 

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