Christian Groups Criticize MPAA For Giving Anti-Abortion Film R-Rating

The MPAA has been criticized by Christian groups for its decision to give anti-abortion film Unplanned an R-rating. It came to light last month that the film, which is based on a memoir of the same name by former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, was awarded the R-rating ahead of its March 29 release date.

The news didn’t go down too well with Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, the directors of Unplanned, who called the MPAA’s standards “deeply flawed” and refused to edit their film in a bid to get it awarded a lower rating. The filmmakers received support from their distributors Pure Flix, although it put the Christian film studio in the awkward position of having an R-rated film on its roster. Meanwhile, the MPAA stated the rating was based on scenes in Unplanned it classed as including “some disturbing/bloody images” and that its decision was by no means politically motivated. The organization also pointed out that neither the filmmakers nor Pure Flix had officially challenged the rating by its appeals process.

Related: What Disney Will Do With Fox’s R-Rated Properties

Now according to THR, the MPAA has come under fire yet again for its decision in the form of an open letter signed by several Christian leaders and celebrities not involved with the production of the film. The letter, which criticizes the rating as biased and calls for Christian viewers to go see it regardless, was signed by two people who have won Academy Awards – Gray Frederickson, co-producer of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II, and Schindler’s List co-producer Gerald Molen.

The open letter states that Unplanned deserves a far less restrictive rating and draws comparisons with Mel Gibson’s controversial Christian movie The Passion of the Christ, which the MPAA also rated R. It also calls abortion “the great evil of our time” and suggests the rating is motivated by what they see as the pro-choice leanings of “a group of unelected parents from Beverly Hills” – an apparent dig at the parents that make up the MPAA’s ratings board. The MPAA once again defended its position as fair and stated its board “reflects the diversity of American parents.”

According to the MPAA, the scene its board found most objectionable was one showing a screen that depicted a fetus being aborted. In its defense, this wouldn’t be the first time the organization has objected to scenes featuring abortion. It previously awarded the pro-choice leaning 1996 film If These Walls Could Talk an R-rating for its “realistic depiction of abortion,” so it doesn’t seem like the rating given to Unplanned was necessarily motivated by a bias against the anti-abortion movement.

However, the makers of Unplanned and its supporters do make a fair point that the things usually associated with an R-rating like profanity, violence, and gore don’t make an appearance in the film. Just to give an idea, Halloween and Fifty Shades Freed are some other recent movies that’ve received an R-rating from the MPAA which seem like they might be more deserving of it. On the other hand, while the directors and Pure Flix have been relatively level-headed about the decision, the open letter signees calling abortion “the great evil of our time” is a bit of a biased statement to be using when you’re leveraging accusations of bias yourself. Regardless of who is in the right, a film about an issue as contentious as abortion was always going to be a very controversial movie. No doubt Unplanned will generate further controversy after its release in late March.

Next: Titans: The Show’s Most R-Rated Moments (So Far)

Source: THR

2019-03-17 08:03:08

Helen Armitage

Simon Pegg Did a Christian Bale Body Transformation for Inheritance Movie

Simon Pegg has done a Christian Bale-style body transformation for Inheritance. Star of such notable cult hits as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, as well as the blockbuster Mission: Impossible series, 49-year-old Pegg has never been known for the physicality that he brings to his roles. Instead, Pegg has always been reliable comedic relief, amassing a loyal following as a result.

Over the years, audiences have been wowed or outright stunned by a handful of performers who have completely altered their appearances for roles. In some cases, actors who’ve undergone severe weight loss – such as Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club or Christian Bale for The Fighter – have had their sacrifice pay off with Oscar wins. Bale is one actor in particular who has made yo-yo dieting for roles such a part of his career that his name has become almost synonymous with the concept of drastically changing one’s appearance. In fact, Bale’s numerous physical transformations over the years for roles have recently led him to announce that he is through with the technique.

Related: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost Planning Horror Comedy TV Show Truth Seekers

As one Hollywood star closes the chapter on transformative weight loss, another seems to have taken it on. Pegg’s trainer, Nick Lower, posted a photo on Twitter of Pegg’s “6 month body transformation.” Pegg’s weight loss and muscle gain are for his upcoming role in the thriller Inheritance. You can check out the photo below in which Pegg shows off his new appearance, which involved him losing 19 pounds and 4 percent of his body fat in order to obtain the “very lean” look required for his character.

Inheritance is currently without a release date, but we do know that the film’s plot follows a wealthy family dealing with the death of its powerful patriarch. When the wife and daughter of the deceased learn of their inheritance and the terrible secret it carries with it, their very lives are threatened with destruction. Aside from Pegg’s involvement in Inheritance, the rest of the revealed cast consists of Lily Collins, Connie Nielsen, and Chace Crawford. Vaughn Stein, who made his feature film debut with 2018’s neo-noir thriller Terminal – in which Pegg starred – is taking on directing duties.

It is intriguing to see Simon Pegg having undergone so much for a role, given that radical weight loss and muscle gain are not typically a part of his acting persona. Clearly Pegg believes in this upcoming project enough to make the necessary physical sacrifices, and as a result, it will be great to see a new side to the Shaun of the Dead star’s on screen abilities. That being said, Terminal was not met with a great deal of critical or commercial acclaim, so hopefully Pegg and company will have such weighty sacrifices pay off with Inheritance.

More: 15 Actors Who Completely Transformed For Roles (And Are Miserable About It)

Source: Nick Lower

2019-03-02 03:03:13

Christian Bale Interview: Vice

Christian Bale is one of the greatest actors of his generation, having been nominated for multiple Academy Awards. He submerges himself into a character and will often change his body to better play the part.  In 2004’s The Machinist, he lost 63 pounds to play the emaciated title character.  He gained 43 pounds to play a con artist in 2013’s American Hustle.  Now, he is playing Dick Cheney in Vice, which chronicles Vice President Cheney’s time in the White House.

Screen Rant: First, I want to congratulate you on the Golden Globe nomination.

Christian Bale: Oh, thanks.

Screen Rant: Well deserved, for sure. So, the first question I want to ask you is, how did Adam McKay approach you for the role of Dick Cheney? And what was your initial reaction when you first heard about it?

Christian Bale: My agent first contacted me saying that Adam had been working on the script about Cheney. And that he said he wanted to reach out to me about it. And so, initially I wondered what character he might be wanting to talk with me about, not assuming, I wouldn’t be Cheney. And then, Adam and I just met up. He came over to my house and we sat. And he said, “It’s Cheney.” And I tried to get my head around that one. And we spent many hours talking and talking. And I had a great experience with Adam. He’s a really interesting filmmaker. And the challenge seemed to be too great to meet. But I thought, “Yeah, let’s give it a shot.” It’s always an appeal to, if you’re going to fail, fail in a big way.

Screen Rant: Who did you assume you were thinking you were going to read for?

Christian Bale: I didn’t even, I didn’t even, start to guess. Just a supporting character.

Screen Rant: Sure. Rumsfeld or something.

Christian Bale: Nah, that wouldn’t seem right either.

Screen Rant: Fair enough. The transformation. Obviously, the physical transformation is why I think people were very impressed by, obviously.

Christian Bale: I have to say, with the work of Adam, obviously. But then Greg Cannon and Chris Gallaher as well, they were extraordinary.

Screen Rant: But I actually want to talk to you about your voice as Cheney. It’s very impressive. It’s very close. How did you prepare for getting Cheney’s delivery correct?

Christian Bale: I just– There’s a number of people who do wonderful impersonations of Cheney. And Adam and I spoke and said, “Well, yeah. But that’s not going to– It’s going to be a superficial representation. Extremely talented, the people that do it, but it’s superficial over a two-hour span. So, let’s go for the essence.” So, really it was just obsessing. There’s a load of interviews with Mr. Cheney and I got every single one of them on my phone. It’s just jampacked full of videos of Chaney. And I’m just sitting there watching for hours and hours and hours. And imitating it and then walking around myself and trying to get the body position and all that.  I don’t really know beyond that, just, it’s time.

Screen Rant: Right. Well thank you very much.

More: Read Screen Rant’s Vice Review

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2018-12-21 01:12:08

Christian Bale Interview – Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Christian Bale is one of the greatest actors of his generation, having been nominated for multiple Academy Awards. He submerges himself into a character and will often change his body to better play the part.  In 2004’s The Machinist, he lost 63 pounds to play the emaciated title character.  He gained 43 pounds to play a con artist in 2013’s American Hustle.  Now, he is playing Bagheera the panther in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, a fantasy adventure based on the stories by Rudyard Kipling.

Screen Rant: Bagheera. Kind of an iconic role at this point. Did you look at past performances? Or listen to him?

Christian Bale: Well, I’d seen him, anyway. I didn’t see all of them. I was in India recently, and there was a series apparently there, with Freida Pinto, she was singing the jingle for. And I’d never seen that one before. But she said it’s what she grew up on. But, I’ve seen the animated films. Love ‘em. The more recent Disney iteration. Love ‘em. This is something new that you’ve never seen before. Because it’s much more true to Kipling’s original writings.

Screen Rant: Speaking about that, how was it received in India? You went there for a screening, correct?

Christian Bale: Yeah, yeah.

Screen Rant: How do they receive American films out there?

Christian Bale: A film’s a film, isn’t it? I mean, look, this is also– There’s no better place than to premiere it.  We were in Mumbai, which was the birthplace of Kipling. And Hindi was Kipling’s first language. He adored India and it’s a very Indian story. There’s global themes. But you can’t remove it from India. And so, it’s absolutely appropriate and respectful that that’s where we premiered it. And also, fascinating for me to get to go visit.

Screen Rant: There’s the old saying in film, “You don’t work with animals, you don’t work with kids.”

Christian Bale: Right [chuckles]. So, instead of that, we just became the animals. But we were working with a kid, with Rohan. But man, what a kid. He is smart beyond his years and really fantastic.

Screen Rant: You don’t do a ton of voice work on your resume. But this was more performance acting.

Christian Bale: Yeah. With voice work, I’ve done two. I did Howl’s Moving Castle and Pocahontas. But, no, this isn’t voice work. Because you are in motion all the time. You are interacting with the other actors. You do have to, albeit they’re boxes that they turn into looking like trees and hills and you know, grassy lots and whatnot. And the jungle. You’re jumping on boxes and that, but you have to interact. And all of that is what you end up seeing in the film. Whatever position I end up sitting in, that is the position that Bagheera is going to end up in. Which is why Andy said to me, “Please go study panthers and their movements.”

Screen Rant: Interesting. So, you actually did go. Did you look at videos? Did you go to the zoo?

Christian Bale: Rohan out did me. Because he actually went to a wolf sanctuary and hung out with the wolves. He beat me on that one. I was just watching them on YouTube.

Screen Rant: Well, it’s a wonderful film. I know you just got done with something everyone else is talking about. This is a wonderful film. Vice will be coming out. You look amazing. I saw pictures of how you weighted up for that. How do you do this?

Christian Bale: You just enjoy life to the extreme, too much, to put on the weight, ahh, just never stop. And then you just go to bed hungry in a miserable, to lose weight. That’s the secret.

More: Andy Serkis Interview for Mowgli

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2018-12-08 03:12:04

Christian Bale’s Dick Cheney Research Saved Vice Director From Heart Attack

Christian Bale’s research for his role as Dick Cheney in Vice ended up saving director Adam McKay from a recent heart attack. The latest effort from the Big Short helmsman chronicles Cheney’s rise up the political ladder, culminating with him becoming arguably the most powerful vice president in the history of the United States. Vice doesn’t open in theaters until Christmas Day, but early screenings have indicated it’s a well-written and exceptionally acted exploration of its subject matter, putting it in the thick of several races this Oscar season.

Always one to fully commit himself to his performances, Bale went the extra mile to wholly embody Cheney, putting on an incredible amount of weight and perfecting the politician’s mannerisms. The Vice trailer illustrated Bale’s impressive physical transformation, marking yet another one of his chameleon-like turns. While Bale’s supreme dedication to his craft ensured McKay got a great lead performance from the star, it also ended up (literally) saving his life.

Related: Vice Trailer Song (Accidentally) Tells Dick Cheney’s Story

Speaking with Deadline, McKay explained how he wasn’t in the best physical shape while making Vice, as he was constantly smoking and gaining weight. When production wrapped, McKay made plans to work out with a trainer. During one of their sessions, the director had a major health scare, but was able to resolve it quickly because of Bale:

Our third workout, I get tingly hands and my stomach starts going queasy. I always thought when you get a heart attack, it’s pain in the chest or the arm. But then I remembered. When we shot one of the heart attack scenes, Christian Bale asked me, ‘how do you want me to do it,’ and I go, ‘what do you mean? It’s a heart attack. Your arm hurts, right?’ He says, ‘no, no. One of the more common ways is that you get really queasy and your stomach hurts.’ I said, ‘really? I’d never heard that before. And right in that moment [when McKay doubled over] I went, ‘oh s*it, and I ran upstairs and downed a bunch of baby aspirin, and I called my wife who immediately called 911. Got to the hospital really fast, and the doctor said, because you did that, no damage was done, your heart is still really strong. That’s because I remembered Christian Bale telling me that.

Cheney, of course, is no stranger to cardiovascular issues, suffering five heart attacks in his life and receiving a heart transplant back in 2012. It would have been difficult for Vice to shy away from this, so Bale was called upon to act out multiple heart attacks during production. With that in mind, it isn’t surprising he decided to study up during his preparation, better informing his performance. Cinephiles have come to expect nothing less from Bale, who’s made an acclaimed career out of completely losing himself in his characters. Obviously, Bale couldn’t have known the full impact his research would have at the time, but it’s a very good thing he explored the topic as extensively as he did.

The odds of this story having any influence on what’s shaping up to be a tightly-contested Best Actor race are slim, but it’s still an amazing anecdote behind one of the year’s buzzed-about titles. McKay even made sure to incorporate the incident into Vice by including a picture of his blocked heart in a “metaphorical sequence” where Cheney starts to feel the pressures of his work. It’s great to see McKay is back in good health and can laugh about the irony of the whole situation. Should he find himself back on the Oscar stage this year, he’ll probably take the opportunity to thank Bale again.

More: Screen Rant’s 2019 Best Picture Predictions

Source: Deadline

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