Mahershala Ali Talks THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – Part 1, The Film’s Commentary on War and Propaganda, HOUSE OF CARDS, KICKS, and More

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.  In the next installment, we find Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in District 13 while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  Unlike the last two films which focused on surviving the games Mockingjay – Part 1 is about the rebellion spreading throughout Panem and the way both sides play the media to gain the upper hand.  It’s an extremely well done movie and fans of the franchise will not be disappointed.  Joining the cast are Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), Pollux (Elden Henson), Messalla (Evan Ross), and Castor (Wes Chatham) alongside Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour HoffmanElizabeth BanksSam Claflin, and Donald Sutherland.

Last weekend in New York City I landed an exclusive video interview with Mahershala Ali.  During our extended conversation he talked about the process of making Mockingjay, working with director Francis Lawrence and fleshing out his character, the film’s commentary on war and propaganda, how he got into acting, the way he likes to work, House of Cards and keeping the show’s secrets under wrapsKicks (which he describes as “Goonies meets Boyz n the Hood,” and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Director Francis Lawrence Talks THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – Part 1, Deleted Scenes, the Lack of IMAX, the Batman vs. Superman Logo in I AM LEGEND, and More

by     Posted 3 days ago

 Francis-Lawrence-The-Hunger-Games-Mockingjay-part-1-interview

Opening this weekend is director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.  In the next installment, we find Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in District 13 while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  Unlike the last two films which focused on surviving the games, Mockingjay – Part 1 is about the rebellion spreading throughout Panem and the way both sides play the media to gain the upper hand.  It’s an extremely well done movie and fans of the franchise will not be disappointed.  Joining the cast are Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), Pollux (Elden Henson), Messalla (Evan Ross), and Castor (Wes Chatham) alongside Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth BanksSam Claflin, and Donald Sutherland.

A few days ago in New York City I landed a great video interview with Francis Lawrence.  During our extended conversation he talked about editing Mockingjay – Part 1, deciding the right place to end the film, deleted scenes, the possibility of linking up Part 1 and 2 for a marathon-style fan screening, why he didn’t use IMAX on Mockingjay, the status of Mockingjay – Part 2, and so much more.  In addition, Lawrence talked about the Batman vs. Superman Easter egg in I Am Legend and how the logo is very close to what WB is using for Batman v Superman, if he has has any interest in doing another comic book movie, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough Talk BIRDMAN, Reaction to the Finished Film, Working with Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki, and More

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is one of the best films of 2014: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.  Made to look like one long shot, Birdman stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.  While some movies have incredible performances or a great script, Birdman is one of those rare films where everything across the board is memorable.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite films of the year and it should be seen as soon as possible.  Trust me, this is a special movie that you will want to see.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.

At the New York City press day I landed a video interview Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough.  They talked about what it was like to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu and his amazing director of photography, Emmanuel Lubezki, their reaction to the finished film, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Brit Marling Talks A.J. Edwards’ THE BETTER ANGELS, Terrence Malick’s Influence, Her Creative Process, Future Projects, and More

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Now playing in limited release is director A.J. Edwards’ drama The Better Angels.  The film spans three years of young Abraham Lincoln’s (Braydon Denney) childhood, as it explores how his family and hardships shaped him into the man he would become.  It marks the feature debut of Edwards, who previously worked as an editor and second-unit director on some of Terrence Malick’s films.  The Better Angels also stars Jason Clarke as Tom Lincoln, Diane Kruger as Sarah Lincoln, Brit Marling as Nancy Lincoln, and Wes Bentley as Mr. Crawford.  For more on the film, watch the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with Brit Marling.  She talked about how he got involved in The Better Angels and what it was like to shoot with A.J. Edwards, Terrence Malick’s influence, how much of the film’s tone was evident in the script, working with the small crew and the energy on set, her creative process, her affinity for Birdman, Interstellar and Boyhood and their impact on cinema, future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

James Gunn Talks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Deleted Scenes, Easter Eggs, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2, Adam Warlock, and More

by     Posted 6 days ago

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One of my favorite movies of 2014 is James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  Loaded with great performances, an extremely funny script, and some fantastic action sequences, the movie blew past everyone’s expectations to become one of the most popular movies of 2014.  As most of you know, the story follows five intergalactic misfits—Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper)—as they set out to protect a powerful and mysterious orb from the villainous Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).  For more on the film, read Matt’s review, or click here for all our previous coverage.

With Guardians of the Galaxy arriving on Blu-ray/DVD December 9th (click here to pre-oder on Amazon), a few days ago I landed an exclusive video interview with James Gunn.  He talked about if he’d ever screen an extended cut and how the deleted scenes fit into the movie, holding back deleted scenes for the eventual Phase 2 Blu-ray box set, Easter eggs in the background of The Collector’s lair, Adam Warlock’s cocoon, where he is in the writing process on Guardians of the Galaxy 2, if he’ll include Adam Warlock, new characters, the title, and so much more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Wes Bentley Talks A.J. Edwards’ THE BETTER ANGELS, Working with Christopher Nolan on INTERSTELLAR, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, and More

by     Posted 9 days ago

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Now playing in limited release is director A.J. Edwards’ drama The Better Angels.  The film spans three years of young Abraham Lincoln’s (Braydon Denney) childhood, as it explores how his family and hardships shaped him into the man he would become.  It marks the feature debut of Edwards, who previously worked as an editor and second-unit director on some of Terrence Malick’s films.  The Better Angels also stars Jason Clarke as Tom Lincoln, Diane Kruger as Sarah Lincoln, Brit Marling as Nancy Lincoln, and Wes Bentley as Mr. Crawford.  For more on the film, watch the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with Wes Bentley.  He talked about how he got involved in The Better Angels and what it was like to shoot with A.J. Edwards, Terrence Malick’s influence, how he researched the role, what he’s learned from the great filmmakers and artists he’s worked with, his experience with Christopher Nolan on Interstellarupcoming projects like American Horror Story: Freak Show and After The Fall, what it’s like choosing between projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer Talk STARRY EYES, Working With a Smaller Budget, Casting the Perfect Lead, and the Film’s Violence

by     Posted 10 days ago

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Starry Eyes finally comes out this week and I can’t wait to see the general public’s reaction to the film.  It’s got a great script along with assured direction, strong performances and more than a little of the red stuff once the carnage gets underway later in the picture.  I recently sat down with the writing/directing team of Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer to talk about their approach to making such a complete cinematic experience on a lower than usual budget.  We also talked about the hunt for the perfect lead performance, their writing process, and how they pulled off the gore effects in the movie.

Starry Eyes stars Alex Essoe, Noah SeganAmanda Fuller and Pat Healy.  It was produced by Travis Stevens‘ Snowfort Pictures and hits theaters and VOD (here’s the iTunes link) tomorrow, November 14th.  My advice it to check out the brief but tantalizing teaser trailer and then dive right into the movie without seeing too much of it beforehand.

Director James Marsh Talks THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, The Challenges of Being Historically Accurate and Narratively Compelling, His First Cut, and More

by     Posted 13 days ago

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One of my favorite films of 2014 is director James Marsh’s (Man on Wire) The Theory of Everything.  The film is an adaptation of the Stephen Hawking biography Traveling to Infinity, written by his wife Jane Hawking.  Starring Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) as Hawking, The Theory of Everything chronicles his budding relationship with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wide (Felicity Jones), heartbreaking motor neuron disease diagnosis at the age of 21, and groundbreaking scientific work in the field of time.  Led by phenomenal performances by Redmayne and Jones, The Theory of Everything will definitely be a player in awards season and I strongly recommend seeing it for yourself when it opens this weekend.  For more on the film, watch the trailer.

Recently I landed an exclusive video interview with James Marsh.  He talked about landing the gig despite being known primarily for documentaries, casting Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, how the story is told equally from two different characters’ perspective, the challenges of being historically accurate and narratively compelling, his first cut, projects he might try to get off the ground in the light of this film’s success, Robert Zemeckis’ take on his Man On Wire documentary, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Baymax of BIG HERO 6 Speaks Out Against Robot World Domination and Sitting

by     Posted 16 days ago

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Interviewing an animated character is an odd experience especially under the pretense that said animated character is actually real. These were the mandated circumstances in which I interviewed Baymax – the lead robot of Disney’s newest feature Big Hero 6. But per the interview instructions, there is no movie, no characters — only a real talking robot and his motley crew of friends. Pay no heed to the man behind the curtain. Acknowledge only the animated ‘toon’ on the screen in front. And so I did.

Baymax, when he’s not saving the world with his creator Hiro Hamada, has a day job as a Health Care Companion. The machine can read your vitals and tell you what physical ailments might be troubling you. I decided to exploit this particular aspect of Baymax’s programming by using the machine to assess my own physical and metaphysical ailments. Things did not turn out as planned and somehow this interview ends with me doing squats in a room in front of a cartoon on a screen. Hit the jump to discover “why you probably shouldn’t eat a table or glass”.

Jason Clarke Talks THE BETTER ANGELS, TERMINATOR: GENESYS, the DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Sequel, Kathryn Bigelow and More

by     Posted 17 days ago

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Opening this weekend in limited release and expanding to select theaters nationwide on 11/14 and 11/21 is director A.J. Edwards’ drama The Better Angels.  The film spans three years of young Abraham Lincoln’s (Braydon Denney) childhood as it explores how his family and hardships shaped him into the man he would become.  It marks the feature debut of Edwards, who previously worked as an editor and second-unit director on some of Terrence Malick’s films.  The Better Angels also stars Jason Clarke as Tom Lincoln, Diane Kruger as Sarah Lincoln, Brit Marling as Nancy Lincoln, and Wes Bentley as Mr. Crawford.  For more on the film, watch the trailer.

A few days ago I landed an extended video interview with Jason Clarke.  He talked about what it’s like winning the “actors lottery,” how he got involved in The Better Angels and what it was like to shoot with A.J. Edwards, how he researched the role, what it was like making Matt Reeves Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and what he knows about the sequel, the experience of shooting director Alan Taylor’s Terminator Genisys, what it was like working with Kathryn Bigelow, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Genesis Rodriguez & Jamie Chung Talk Line Readings, Character Changes and Technical Jargon in BIG HERO 6

by     Posted 17 days ago

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Animated voice-over work has always seemed like a pretty good gig for an actor.  You show up for a couple sessions for a few hours and voila you’re the star of a film.  A far cry from the usual twelve-hour-a-day three-month shoot required for those pesky live action films.  But in talking with Genesis Rodriguez and Jamie Chung, it quickly becomes apparent how difficult an animated feature is for an actor to gage their performance.  By acting out so many different permutations for each line reading, a performance can be skewed in any number of directions.  It’s a real testament to the trust developed between an actor and director (here Chris Williams & Don Hall) – that Rodriquez and Chung’s performances not only work but also feel consistent.  In Big Hero 6, the two actors co-star as Honey Lemon & Go Go, two wicked smart science students, suddenly thrust into a situation where they must use their technical prowess to battle a masked vigilante.

In the following interview with Rodriguez and Chung, the duo discuss the preparation process for Big Hero 6, how many different variations they do for a line reading and the most difficult lines to deliver.

David Gyasi Talks INTERSTELLAR, Practical Sets, Almost Giving Up on Acting, Getting Cast in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and More

by     Posted 18 days ago

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Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is finally in theaters.  As most of you know, Nolan wrote the screenplay based on a previous draft by his brother, Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight).  The story finds a crew of astronauts led by Matthew McConaughey setting off into deep space in order to find a new planet that might be inhabitable.  Loaded with a great cast (Anne HathawayJessica ChastainCasey AffleckMichael CaineDavid OyelowoWes BentleyJohn LithgowEllen Burstyn,  Topher GraceDavid GyasiMackenzie FoyBill Irwin, and Timothee Chalamet) and amazing visuals, Interstellar should be seen on the biggest screen possible.  If you have an IMAX theater near you, I strongly suggest seeing it in that format.  For more on the film, watch these featurettes, clip, or click here for all our coverage.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed a video interview with David Gyasi who plays Romilly, one of the astronauts in the film.  He talked about getting cast in Interstellar, what it was like working on the practical sets, his audition process for playing “skinny prisoner” in The Dark Knight Rises and how he almost gave up acting before he landed that role and more.  Hit the jump to watch the interview.

Filmmakers Chris Williams & Don Hall Talk BIG HERO 6, Disney Vs. Marvel and Potential Sequels

by     Posted 18 days ago

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Big Hero 6 makes it all seem so very easy. The effortlessly charming film is yet another notch on the belt for Disney Animation, combining light wholesome comedy with weighty tragic undercurrents. That’s been the winning formula for Disney since as far back as Bambi to The Lion King to Frozen to now, of course, Big Hero 6. Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a good for nothing teenager, seems poised to end up on the wrong side of the law. That is  — until his older, more responsible brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) takes Hiro under his wing and introduces him to a team of scientists working on the cutting edge of the field. When a tragic event takes Tadashi’s life, Hiro puts it upon himself to complete his brother’s work: a white cuddly robot named Baymax. Assorted hijinks follow as Hiro transforms Baymax into a crime-fighting superhero and fends off against a mysterious masked vigilante with ties to his brother’s demise.

At the film’s press day, filmmakers Chris Williams and Don Hall spoke about fusing the Disney ‘family film’ with the action superhero genre, how much Big Hero 6 changed from conception to final release and whether they have any plans for future films in the series. For the full interview, hit the jump.

T.J. Miller & Damon Wayans, Jr. Talk BIG HERO 6

by     Posted 19 days ago

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Big Hero 6A Marriage of Convenience. Somehow this was the conclusion arrived at by the end of my interview with T.J. Miller Damon Wayans, Jr. It was late in the day and the two were justifiably tired and a little loopy from a long day of doing interviews for the Disney feature. So a simple question on injecting their own comedic personas into their animated characters turned into a fairly epic nonsensical rant by Miller on how starring in a Disney film is akin to a marriage and, well, it’s best to just watch and see Miller go off. The gregarious comic has a real knack for mixing absurdity with a deeply acerbic sense of wit. Damon Wayans, Jr’s bemused nonchalance at Miller’s monologue is the cherry on top. It’s also a fair representation of their characters’ interactions within Big Hero 6. Miller as Fred is the wacky crazy comic relief while Wayans, Jr. as Wasabi plays the audience-identifying ‘straight man’, often commenting on just how insane the situation truly is.

Usually at this point, I would list the topic points covered in the following interview – but I have no clue if anything of any merit was actually learned. The interview may be all the better for it. So hit the jump and watch “comedy collide”.

Eddie Redmayne Talks THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, Meeting Stephen Hawking, Working with the Wachowskis on JUPITER ASCENDING, and More

by     Posted 19 days ago

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One of my favorite films of 2014 is director James Marsh’s (Man on Wire) The Theory of Everything.  The film is an adaptation of the Stephen Hawking biography Traveling to Infinity, written by his wife Jane Hawking.  Starring Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) as Hawking, The Theory of Everything chronicles his budding relationship with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wide (Felicity Jones), heartbreaking motor neuron disease diagnosis at the age of 21, and groundbreaking scientific work in the field of time.  Led by phenomenal performances by Redmayne and Jones, The Theory of Everything will definitely be a player in awards season and I strongly recommend seeing it for yourself when it opens this weekend.  For more on the film, watch the trailer.

Recently I landed an exclusive video interview with Eddie Redmayne.  He talked about going after the role, his first face-to-face meeting with Stephen Hawking, researching the role and what material he used, never feeling comfortable with his work or being able to relax while shooting, balancing the need to make a movie while keeping the material authentic, getting to work with the Wachowskis’ and Channing Tatum on Jupiter Ascending, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

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