Joker Director Says Joaquin Phoenix Improvised Insane Deleted Scene

Most comic book movies are never seriously considered for acting, writing, and directing awards. If superhero movies do win prestigious awards, it’s usually for sound editing, film editing, or special effects. However, after Joker won the Golden Lion award at its Venice Film Festival premiere, the film has broken new ground for the genre. Now, Warner Bros. is launching a serious Oscar campaign, pushing for Joker in the Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Picture categories. And, like many classic films, some of the movie’s best scenes were the result of a close working relationship between the director and leading actor.

Related: Joker Oscars Campaign Includes Best Picture, Director & Actor

Speaking recently with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Cinema Society (SBIFF), Phillips explained how Phoenix improvised two of the movie’s most memorable scenes. The movie’s cinematographer previously explained that the scene where Fleck climbs inside a refrigerator was improvised on the spot by Phoenix after a day on set. Now, Phillips gives more insight into the actor’s improvisational approach to filming Joker. In addition to the famous refrigerator scene, Phoenix also improvised another important character moment. After following a neighbor into her apartment, Fleck laughs hysterically in a living room, another scene that wasn’t in the script. In the video below, the comments begin at about 13:15.

So, we would finish our days early sometimes, and we started doing this thing Joaquin and I, we called it…’A study of insomnia.’It was our own fun little thing…we would do these things, the fridge is one of those, it wasn’t in the script, it was something that Joaquin just did…There were two or three other [scenes] we shot, one that is amazing in a bathtub, but I don’t think we could actually include it in an R-rated movie. And it’s not because it was pornographic, it was just insane.

That’s all the description of the “insane” bathtub deleted scene that Phillips provided during the Q&A. Based on his brief description, it’s possible it contained either nudity or extremely explicit language. Even R-rated movies have hard limits. Unfortunately for fans of Joker, Phillips has been clear about his attitude toward deleted scenes: he doesn’t do them. That means fans will likely never see deleted scenes from Joker, no matter how insane they might be. Ultimately, any improvised deleted scenes from Joker will probably remain on the cutting room floor.

Even so, the director’s comments are a testament to the unique movie that he created with Phoenix. By taking an unusual, low-budget approach to the superhero genre, the duo have created something truly original (not to mention the most profitable superhero movie of all time). Whether the film wins any Academy Awards or not, superhero movie fans won’t be forgetting it for a long time to come.

Next: Is Thomas Wayne Really Arthur Fleck’s Father?

Source: SBIFF

2019-11-12 03:11:04

Timothy Beck Werth

Joker Oscar Campaign Includes Best Picture, Director & Actor

Joker’s Oscar campaign includes pushes for best picture, director and actor. The controversial Todd Phillips film has had a lengthy road to its current box office glory, and with Oscar season starting to gear up, it remains a strong awards favorite for many. Having taken home its first award after a premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this past summer, Joker proved it wasn’t just another comic book movie. The film won the Italian festival’s Golden Lion – an award for best film which had previously gone to numerous other high profile films destined for Oscar glory, like Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma as well as Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

Since then, Joker’s progress has been anything but smooth, with controversy after controversy plaguing it. Many cinemas in America feared the film could inspire mass shootings, like the one which occurred in Colorado during a screening of The Dark Knight in 2012. At one point during Joker’s press junket, Joaquin Phoenix – who plays Arthur Fleck/the Joker walked out of an interview after being asked if he thought the film might end up inspiring the kind of people it’s about. Yet through all its battles with media and critics, Joker has persevered in a big way.

Related: Joker Becomes Most Profitable Comic Book Movie Ever

As the race for Oscar glory now begins to heat up, Warner Bros. has revealed Joker’s For Your Consideration campaign on its website. The film is being put up for consideration in all categories, including best picture, director and actor. This likely won’t surprise many who have been following Joker since it first began to be screened in public, but the entire process is now official and the film will undergo the often laborious process of winning over Oscar voters.

It has previously been estimated (as recently as 2016) Hollywood studios typically spend anywhere from $3 million to $10 million in order to lobby Oscar voters. In the case of Joker, the film has arguably one of the greatest advantages going for it – a solid surrounding narrative. Love it or hate it, Joker has captured the public’s attention in a very big way, and that sort of attention does not easily escape those who vote for Hollywood’s biggest awards. This isn’t to say Joker will necessarily be successful in its attempts to bring home awards as highly revered as best picture, director and actor, but it does put the film in a rather advantageous spot.

On the flip side, however, there are still those who feel the film glorifies a particularly repugnant view of society and humanity. The controversies surrounding Joker may have died down somewhat, but the fact they existed in the first place could still pose problems. On one hand, if Joker is awarded best picture or director, the Academy risks siding with subject matter which some still believe encourages anti-social (and potentially lethal) behavior. Whether or not this is true in this case isn’t really the issue, either – a best picture win for Joker could mean more films of a similar nature in the future, leaving the Academy to look as though supports such subject matter. Ultimately, Joker should be considered for its worth as a film and not some imagined impact it could have on the public. But as we all know, there’s always more to any film’s popularity than what we see on the big screen.

Next: Joker’s Staircase Dance Scene Is The Movie’s Defining Moment

Source: Warner Bros.

2019-11-08 03:11:47

Mike Jones

Exclusive: Hobbs & Shaw Director Hopeful For Fast & Furious TV Spinoff

If the John Wick movie franchise can get a TV show spinoff, so to can Fast & Furious. At least, that’s what Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch (Deadpool 2, John Wick) told us last week. And it’s him and his stunt teams at 87eleven Action Design and production company 87North involved with both franchises now.

In promoting Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw releasing on on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand this week, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment invited Screen Rant to London to drive the same supercar Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) drove in the movie, a McLaren 720S, and while visiting McLaren HQ I had the opportunity to catch up with Leitch, who just earlier this year signed a first-look deal with Universal Pictures for 87North where he hopes to not only continue building out and launching new action franchises, but to also delve into all-new genres.

Related: There Was No Plan For Owen Shaw or His Backstory in Hobbs & Shaw

Leitch and his partner Chad Stahelski helped launch the John Wick franchise and are now producing its television spinoff, The Continental, and with the Fast franchise similarly already expanding with Hobbs & Shaw, I asked Leitch if the car-heavy IP could also work on the small screen in live-action (it’s already getting an animated series on Netflix titled Fast & Furious: Spy Racers).

Rob Keyes: I was looking into your production company, 87North, and I know you guys are doing the John Wick spinoff show. Do you think a TV series like that would work for the Fast and Furious franchise?

David Leitch: Yeah! I think that they should look into it. Again, there’s such a great number of characters in the Fast universe. But now with Hobbs and Shaw, could you imagine Madame M, Eiza González’s character, having a TV show with her group of female assassins? It would be amazing.

The director, who has The Division movie coming up for Ubisoft Motion Pictures and Netflix, can certainly be the one to make this happen too. We already know there are plans to continue expanding the Fast & Furious IP, including with a likely followup to Hobbs & Shaw, and with more and more new characters joining the “family” – there’s room for some to get more screentime in a longer-form (live-action) TV series too.

What would you want to see from a Fast & Furious TV show and what characters could or should appear?

Next: Our 10 Biggest Unanswered Questions After Watching Hobbs & Shaw

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is available on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand.

2019-11-06 01:11:22

Rob Keyes

Independence Day Director Blames Suicide Squad For Sequel’s Failure

In a new interview, Independence Day: Resurgence director Roland Emmerich said that fans can blame Will Smith and Suicide Squad for the sequel’s many problems. The original Independence Day is a quintessential 1990s blockbuster action film starring Jeff Goldblum and Smith in their action-movie-prime. However, the 2016 sequel left many long-time fans of the movie disappointed.

While Goldblum reprised his role as a scientist in the sequel, like he did with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Smith ultimately chose not to appear in Independence Day: Resurgence as Captain Steven Hiller, USMC. Instead, he opted to play Deadshot in the DCEU villain ensemble movie Suicide Squad, which also received less-than-positive reviews. Unlike Independence Day, Suicide Squad will get a further sequel, but Smith will not be playing Deadshot again.

Related: Birds of Prey: 10 Mistakes From Suicide Squad The Film Needs To Avoid

While promoting his WWII epic Midway, Emmerich opened up about the effect Smith’s departure had on his widely-panned sequel. During a sit-down with Yahoo Entertainment, Emmerich made some surprising comments about Independence Day: Resurgence. Not only did he admit that the movie had serious problems, but he confessed that the movie never should have been made in the first place. After Smith’s unexpected departure for Suicide Squad, Emmerich was forced to hastily change the script to accommodate his character’s noticeable absence. Smith’s world-saving character was killed off and the plot reworked to focus on his son and other characters. Unfortunately, the end result was far less compelling than the 1996 original, which has maintained a strong legacy in the decades since its release. Upon reflection, Emmerich now sees that the sequel never should have been made without Smith’s involvement and the original script.

Well, that was a little bit more complicated because I just wanted to make a movie exactly like the first, but then in the middle of production Will [Smith] opted out because he wanted to do Suicide Squad.

I should have stopped making the movie because we had a much better script. After I had to, really fast, cobble another script together. And I should have just said “no,” because all of a sudden I was making something I criticized myself, a sequel.

The surprisingly candid remarks explain some of the much-criticized plot problems in Independence Day: Resurgence, but not all of them. Many critics of the Independence Day sequel complained that the movie was too focused on setting up a sequel and potential franchise at the expense of the movie’s plot, a trap that many big-budget action movies in the Marvel era have fallen into. However, as Independence Day: Resurgence proves, many studios have learned the wrong lessons from the success of the MCU. Yes, Marvel movies do contain interconnected plots that reward loyal viewers, but early Marvel movies largely succeeded on their own merits as standalone films. In comparison, Emmerich’s sequel spent a lot of time on plot lines setting up a sequel that will likely never happen.

Ultimately, Smith decided he would rather play a new character in Suicide Squad than reprise his role in the Independence Day franchise, which is an understandable career choice. But after waiting 20 years for a sequel, Independence Day fans were then left with a very problematic sequel as a result of his decision. Considering that Emmerich has criticized Hollywood’s love of sequels in the past, the director has likely learned his lesson about reviving classic movies. On top of that, the director’s comments are probably the final nail in the coffin for fans hoping in vain for another Independence Day sequel; however, in light of his recent interview, that’s probably for the best.

Next: Suicide Squad: Jared Leto Joker Deleted Scene Image Revealed By Director

Source: Yahoo

2019-11-04 03:11:30

Timothy Beck Werth

Terminator: Dark Fate Director & James Cameron Clashed Over Final Edit

James Cameron reveals his clashes with director Tim Miller over the final cut of Terminator: Dark Fate. Cameron of course co-wrote and directed the original Terminator back in 1984, introducing the world to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic T-800, a killing machine from the future sent back to murder Linda Hamilton’s equally iconic Sarah Connor. Cameron would revisit the characters, and expand their universe, in the 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

But after the blockbuster success of Judgment Day, Cameron would move away from the franchise to tackle other projects, including the Oscar-winning Titanic and the epic smash Avatar. Meanwhile, various studios pressed on with the Terminator series through the sequels Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys, movies that would seek to further build out the Terminator world while keeping the franchise alive financially. Unfortunately, critics and fans largely shunned those three efforts, which is part of the reason why many were so excited to see Cameron return to Terminator as a more involved producer for the newest film, Dark Fate.

Related: Every Terminator Movie, Ranked Worst To Best (Including Dark Fate)

Of course, Cameron himself did not direct Dark Fate, handing those duties off to Miller while himself remaining absent from the set. In a recent roundtable appearance, Cameron addressed the contentious relationship he enjoyed with Miller and how it contrasted with his time working with another of his recent collaborators, Robert Rodriguez, who directed the Cameron-produced Alita: Battle Angel. When asked if there were any battles during the editing process for Dark Fate, Cameron replied (via CinemaBlend):

I would say many. And the blood is still being scrubbed off the walls from those creative battles. This is a film that was forged in fire. So yeah, but that’s the creative process, right? I mean, my work with Robert on Alita was very different. Robert loved the script, loved everything, said, ‘I just want to make this movie. I want to make the movie the way you see it.’ I was like, ‘No, you got to make it your movie.’ I had the reverse experience with Tim, which is Tim wanted to make it his movie. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I kind of know a little about this world.’ So I had the matter and the anti-matter version of that producorial experience.

In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Miller himself talked about how he approached the Terminator universe, saying:

You feel like, if there’s a railroad, the track was already laid there. So, it just happens to stop out in the middle of nowhere, and I just started laying more track. Because Jim kind of created this; set up the story, set up these characters; and I’m just sort of telling the next chapter of it.

Though Miller’s remarks there seem very deferential toward Cameron and his work setting up the Terminator story, it seems from Cameron’s own words that Miller took quite a bit of ownership over Dark Fate, to the point where they were metaphorically spraying the walls with each other’s blood. Cameron of course is known for being a stubborn person who is unwilling to compromise on his vision, but it sounds like Miller is also someone who is unwilling to back down when it comes to defending his ideas. Of course, in such situations the hope is that the two clashing visions can meet in some middle ground and result in a film that doesn’t bear the scars of compromise.

Thus far, it seems critics are happy with the results on Terminator: Dark Fate, as many are calling it a franchise return to form. It remains to be seen if the film succeeds enough with audiences to launch a new Terminator franchise (of course Cameron already has ideas for further stories) and it also remains to be seen if Miller will return to direct any future Terminator films. By the sounds of it, a movie about Cameron and Miller’s working relationship might even be better – and more violent – than an actual Terminator movie.

More: Every Single Terminator Model (In All Movies)

Source: CinemaBlend

2019-10-31 02:10:52

Dan Zinski

Terminator: Dark Fate Director & Linda Hamilton Criticize T2 Thumbs Up

Terminator: Dark Fate director Tim Miller and star Linda Hamilton aren’t fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s thumbs up in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. A direct sequel to the aforementioned film, Terminator: Dark Fate dismisses the post-T2  films as alternate timeline stories and removes them from canon. Hamilton and Schwarzenegger return as a battle-hardened Sarah Connor and the formidable T-800, respectively. Despite some critics calling it derivative, the film has already been lauded as one of the best entries in the franchise (behind Terminator and T2, obviously). And judging from its latest trailer, it looks like that’s the case.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is widely regarded as the franchise’s finest entry, a riveting mix of high-stakes action, powerfully-conveyed emotion, and groundbreaking special effects that thrilled fans of its predecessor. With this new installment, Miller, director of the first Deadpool film and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after filmmakers, strives to erase the messiness of everything that came after T2 by crafting a story that honors its best predecessors and finds its identity while doing it.

Related: Terminator: Dark Fate Sequels Would Focus On Artificial Intelligence

The “thumbs up” scene, now famous (and, for some people, loved) for its inherent cheesiness and tacked-on feel, involved Schwarzenegger’s T-800 sacrificing himself to defeat the villainous T-1000 and allowing Sarah and John Connor to preserve the human race. Neither Hamilton nor Miller enjoyed the scene, and they certainly didn’t mince words when discussing it.  Speaking on Cinema Blend’s Reel Blend podcast, Miller said:

I can only say that that was not my favorite part of the movie. And the fact that it is yours is a symptom of your age when you saw it. Because when I saw T2, I was 27, right? But one of the first things I asked Linda is, ‘How do you feel about the thumbs up moment?’ And she’s like, “No.” And I went, “Okay, we’re going to be fine’…Well, Jim [Cameron] loves that scene. Many people love that scene. For me, it’s just, it’s a little, it’s iconic, I know, but maybe a little too sentimental for me.”

It’s always fun to see stars such as Hamilton, who hasn’t appeared in a Terminator movie since she returned for Terminator: Salvation to record audio for director McG, voice their thoughts on movies they appeared in decades ago. During press tours and promotional circuits, it’s up to the actors, actresses, and filmmakers to make their film look as good as possible, so Hamilton obviously couldn’t discuss this back then. But now that the film is years behind us, it’s safe to say pretty much anything about its few faults (if one can even call a thumbs up a fault).

As his above comments indicate, Miller, a franchise newcomer, also feels that the choice to have a sinking thumbs-up function as a “goodbye” to the T-800 was a poor one. It’s honestly amusing to see these two big-name Hollywood figures rip into a scene that was probably intended to be impactful. It’ll be interesting to see if he can avoid moments like that in his foray into the franchise. On the surface though, criticizing such a popular and iconic moment might not be a wise way to earn favor with fans.

Next: Terminator Theory: Linda Hamilton’s Return Hints At Dark Fate Twist

Source: Cinema Blend

2019-10-27 01:10:17

Hayden Mears

Doctor Sleep Director Uses Scorsese’s Words to Counter Marvel Criticism

Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan makes a good counter argument against Martin Scorsese’s criticisms of Marvel films by using The Irishman director’s own words. The discussion continues regarding Scorsese’s comments about the MCU, dubbing its films “not cinema.” Over the last couple of weeks, various people have weighed in on the matter – some pushing back on the veteran filmmaker’s sentiments, while others agreed with him. The controversial topic caught second wind when Francis Ford Coppola came out and straightly called the franchise “despicable.”

While most of the public personalities who respectfully disagreed with Scorsese’s sentiments were/are involved with the MCU, there are a couple who simply offered their two cents such as Kevin Smith and Watchmen and The Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof. The latest of which to join the conversation is Flanagan, who’s widely known for his innovative and clever horror movies.

Related: What Martin Scorsese Really Means By His Marvel Movie Criticism

Speaking with CinePop while on the promotional trail for his big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel Doctor Sleep, Flanagan was asked about his thoughts on this ongoing debate. Obliging, the director said he disagrees with Scorsese and Coppola’s thoughts on the MCU, adding that he cried watching Avengers: Endgame. He justified his answer by referring to an old Scorsese quote saying that “movies are our dreams” and that people can’t say that one dream is better or more authentic than another dream. It’s not surprising that Flanagan is also open to helming a superhero film. In fact, Doctor Sleep landed on his lap because he was seeking a potential project from Warner Bros. and DC.  Watch the full interview below:

Flanagan’s comments come on the heels of Disney CEO Bob Iger’s response to Scorsese and Coppola’s MCU thought. The executive was surprisingly very candid with his response, calling these uncalled for criticisms very disrespectful to the people who put in the time and effort to continue building the franchise. While he ultimately believes that the acclaimed filmmakers are entitled to their opinions, he doesn’t understand where the strong dislike of the MCU is coming from considering that it’s obviously resonated with many people around the globe, as evidenced by its enduring popularity.

Among everyone who chimed in on this discussion about Marvel movies, Flanagan perhaps put it the simplest, and it’s quite ironic that he used Scorsese’s words to effectively convey what he wanted to say. The Doctor Sleep helmer laid it out in a matter-of-fact way which makes it more convincing.  While people are entitled to their own opinions, that doesn’t mean that they have to tear down the things that don’t tickle their fancy. It’s particularly disappointing when people who are pioneers of cinema seemingly promote elitism, openly bringing down other people’s creations simply because they don’t fit their criteria.

More: Disney CEO Hits Back At Marvel Movie Criticisms

Source: CinePop

2019-10-23 09:10:18

Ana Dumaraog

Doctor Sleep Director Met with Warner Bros. About Directing DC Film

Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan reveals that he once met with Warner Bros. about directing a DC film. Flanagan is a popular director, writer, and editor in Hollywood who has directed films like Oculus, Before I Wake, and the first season of The Haunting of Hill House. Flanagan also directed another Stephen King adaptation called Gerald’s Game, which released on Netflix in 2017. Flanagan was hired by Warner Bros. last year to direct the sequel to The Shining, which will star Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance.

King is one of the most well-known horror writers out there and several of his books and short stories have been adapted into films over the years. Hollywood’s obsession with King’s work started in 1976 when Carrie was released, with the most recent adaptation being In the Tall Grass. Movies based on King’s books can often bring in a lot of money, but studios have also been making money on superhero movies. Marvel and DC have been in a friendly competition for years, with both companies trying to build up their own cinematic universes. Warner Bros. has hired directors such as Zack Snyder, Patty Jenkins, and Todd Phillips to direct their DC films, but Flanagan was also almost on their list of directors.

Related: Every Upcoming Stephen King Movie In Development

When being interviewed by CinePop, Flanagan said he would be open to directing a superhero movie and revealed that he even met with Warner Bros. about the prospect of him directing a DC film. The director even credits this meeting as the reason why he got to direct Doctor Sleep, since he was talking about his work on Gerald’s Game with DC producer Jon Berg. The full interview with Flanagan can be seen below:

The Shining is often regarded as one of the best horror movies ever made, which sees Jack Torrance go insane and try to murder his wife and son. The film was directed by Stanley Kubrick and while it is considered a horror masterpiece, King has often gone on record stating how much he hates Kubrick’s adaptation of his book. Doctor Sleep on the other hand has seemed to be more accepted by King, who is acting as an executive producer on the film. McGregor has stated that Doctor Sleep will be faithful to the novel and Flanagan has also gone on record saying that his film will be able to stand as a sequel to both The Shining book and movie.

Warner Bros. has hired a diverse range of people to direct their superhero films and Flanagan could be a good director to helm one of the more grittier superhero flicks to match his horror background. Flanagan didn’t indicate which DC movie he might have directed, but if Doctor Sleep is a success, it could make him even more of a hot commodity for Warner Bros. to have on their team. That being said, reviews for Doctor Sleep probably won’t start coming out until fans go to see Fandango’s early access screening on October 30th.

More: How Doctor Sleep Is A (Very) Different Movie To The Shining

Source: CinePop

2019-10-23 05:10:33

Christopher Fiduccia

James Bond: Moonlight Director Wants To Do Moneypenny Spinoff Movie

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins wants to do a James Bond spinoff movie about Moneypenny. The character is a fixture of the 007 franchise, with her significance and input having grown over the years from M’s receptionist, to a more prominent and informative member of MI6 in the recent films.

In terms of willingness to change its approach and alter the style of its more traditional elements, the 007 series has never been one to steer clear of new concepts. There have been numerous changes to everything from Bond’s general outlook and style to how he takes his iconic vodka martini, and the entire franchise has come a long way from the days when Sean Connery first took on the megalomaniacal Dr. No. But while there has been ongoing talk about the potential of Idris Elba taking over the 007 role from Daniel Craig, it remains to be seen if such a historic alteration to the ongoing story of Bond will ever materialize. One thing’s for certain, however: some diehard Bond fans can be just as rigid in their traditionalist ways as the outspoken fans of other franchises like Star Wars or even Ghostbusters.

Related: Bond 25 Resolves Skyfall Story (But With Massive Twists)

For those diehard fans, the idea of a Moneypenny spinoff film might meet with some resistance, but the truth is, Oscar-winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is interested in putting the 007 franchise’s current Moneypenny – Naomie Harris – into a film of her own. The idea was brought up while Harris was a guest on Good Morning America promoting her latest film Black and Blue. Bond producer Barbara Broccoli apparently wasn’t interested in the spinoff concept when Harris pitched it to her, but as Harris states in the video clip below, “the conversation has started at least”:

Without preemptively criticizing the idea, a valid question regarding a Moneypenny spinoff is how and where it fits in with the 007 franchise. There’s no doubt that Harris’ Moneypenny character has already been placed in some pretty tense situations in the more recent Bond outings – far more so than anyone dreamed her character would ever have to handle – and her time onscreen in these action sequences did add something to Bond’s overall intensity. In addition to this, other hit franchises like Star Wars and the Bourne series have had their own spinoffs, with varying degrees of success. The potential for a Moneypenny spinoff also becomes far more intriguing when one considers that Jenkins has reportedly been interested in it for some time now. If Jenkins were to direct, it could indeed be something special.

Perhaps the biggest problem with a Moneypenny film, however, is that the Bond franchise has grown too big over the years to really make such a spin-ff necessary. One would think that a Moneypenny film would see the character taking on various degrees of global espionage. The problem here is that Bond already does this to such an extent that another character doing something similar – be it a male or female character – might not offer enough of a different take to merit its existence. There’s already been talk of a female 007 operative in future installments, and even that seems to make more sense than a Moneypenny spinoff. But, as Harris said in the interview, the conversation has started. Where it leads next is anyone’s guess.

Next: Bond 25’s Title References 1969’s Divisive 1969 007 Movie

Source: Good Morning America

2019-10-23 04:10:31

Mike Jones

IRON MAN VR: Hands On With Creative Director Ryan Payton

Until now, comic fans longing to become a superhero have had to live vicariously through Marvel’s blockbuster films, but Marvel’s Iron Man VR is looking to change all that. Teaming up with Sony’s PlayStation VR, the game promises to show players what it actually feels like to be Tony Stark. And not just when he’s operating his billion dollar armor, either.

The premise alone has awarded Iron Man VR‘s developer Camouflaj with lengthy lines at every trade show and gaming convention where it’s been brought for demonstration. That highlights the challenge for the team: given the virtual reality games and experiences brought to market so far, making such a lofty promise is hard to believe without playing it. Much of that doubt was softened after playing Iron Man VR hands-on for ourselves, but just as we had bought in to the flight and combat, the developers revealed that is only scratching the surface of the game’s true ambitions.

RELATED: Ant-Man & The Wasp Actress Teases Ghost’s MCU Return

Screen Rant had the chance to play the existing demo of Iron Man VR during this year’s New York Comic Con (where attendees were, once again, lining up to see if ‘feeling like Iron Man’ was more than just marketing hype). In hindsight, the clumsy mastery of the controls in the first few seconds should have been expected, reflecting Tony Stark’s own apprehension in his first MCU film. But by the end of the twenty minute demo–spent flying, boosting, rocket-punching, and drone-annihilating over the rocky waters beside Tony’s Malibu home–the superhero confidence behind every repulsor blast, rapid acceleration, and (imagined) superhero landing was surprising, to say the least.

It was only after playing through the demo that Sony Interactive and Marvel Games revealed the story behind the experience, bringing Ant-Man and The Wasp‘s most recent enemy, Ghost, into the game’s story as the antagonist to Tony Stark. In the fiction of the comic books, an enemy who can alter how they’re actually perceived is a perfect choice for a video game based on that exact deception. But in terms of game design, the challenge of putting players into a narrative as Tony Stark is something else entirely. Thankfully, we got to sit down with Iron Man VR creative director Ryan Payton (with an appearance from writer Christos Gage) to learn how his team is trying to break new ground in the VR space, while also opening doors for future developers to walk through.

Getting to play the demo for myself definitely convinced me I could get the hang of it faster than I expected. But the bigger surprise is bringing in Ghost, and getting to be Tony outside of the suit, too. How do you go about balancing that gameplay with story? It’s got to be different based in a VR experience.

Ryan Payton: I think one of the really interesting challenges of making Marvel’s Iron Man VR is that we want to make sure the game is not only a good simulation of what it’s like being Iron Man, and doing the flying, and the shooting, and the HUD and all that. But it’s also a really deep Tony Stark-driven story. So the way the game works is no different than other games that at least I’ve worked on in the past. We’ve got our big 20, 30, 40 minute missions, but then interspersed with a bunch of real-time, fully VR, interactive cinematics where you’re experiencing it as Tony.

Obviously the film version of Iron Man is going to be present in most people’s minds, so I’m curious how you approach creating a new Tony. Because you obviously don’t just want to recreate what people know. You have to make a Tony that they’re going to actually be stepping into. 

We wanted to make sure that the game is really leveraging the storytelling strengths of VR. That’s one of the biggest challenges that we faced, is that where other games might have just a third person cinematic that you’re watching, which works great for a lot of titles, but when you’re in VR you want to be a part of that experience. You want to be in first person, being Tony. So we really wrote the story to leverage those innate strengths of VR. So players are Tony, but they’re in first person, they can see their body, they can see not only their hands but their full arms, with all the IK (inverse kinematics) tech the team built. But also select different dialogue, very Tony-esque dialogue choices. Then interact with those really iconic Marvel characters that will react to your different choices. Allow players to not only have those character moments, but also be in these iconic spaces, too. Whether it’s Tony’s mansion, his garage, the Helicarrier, or any of those spaces you’d want to be.

So when you have Ghost enter the story, to basically oppose the player, how does that change?

I hope I’m not revealing too much by saying the demo you played is very early in the game. It’s pre-Ghost attack. You can tell from the tone of the game that we want players to feel liberated by checking out the impulse armor, and by getting used to how they’re flying with that new armor. Just like Tony is feeling in the story, because that’s his first time testing out the armor as well! We wanted to make that character and player story really similar in that regard. And then the story really takes off with the next mission, which is a mission that takes place in Tony’s private jet. That’s the inciting incident, when Ghost attacks Tony and Pepper using some of his own deadly machines.

[Writer Christos Gage interjects]

CG: Where are Tony and Pepper when this happens?

RP: Tony and Pepper are in their private jet.

CG: Yes, the jet. And then what happens? They–I’m sorry but it’s the cover, hold on. I got to pull up the cover… [Takes out phone]

RP: [Laughs]

CG: I knew off the top of my head what issue it was, can you believe that? Iron Man #118! So you get to do this in the game. See, he’s falling out. He doesn’t have all his armor on yet. So he’s got to catch it in the air!

RP: Yeah that’s from the “Demon in a Bottle” story in the late 1970s run. That was the core inspiration for us in building the game.

Wow, so do you just have a wish list when you start this, of all the fan service moments you want to get into the game? I mean how do you control that urge, and not just go nuts with the opportunities you have?

Well, one of the least exciting ways I can answer your question is: VR is so new right now, it’s exciting, but there’s so many things that developers like our company Camouflaj have not yet learned how to accomplish. So in a lot of ways, what we wanted to do with Marvel’s Iron Man VR is create a big, epic, AAA-level VR title, but also be smart about the bets that we’re making. Because if we go too wide we run the risk of not having that level of quality for every single asset, for every single feature that we put into the game.

We’re taking on a lot of challenges when it comes to having a full 360 flight in the game, having the full armor there–again, not having just the hands or the gauntlets present, but having your full armor there–all the different characters we have to build. So what we ended up doing is… we had our list of things that we definitely wanted to have in the game. But we had to have a certain level of restraint. Because again, we wanted to focus on fewer, but really, really big moments and big features to make sure they hit that level of quality that I think everybody wants to see in the next wave of VR titles.

That has to be the challenge of VR right now, right? Every time there’s a new technology it starts off with a sort of mini-game mentality to prove the concept. But then adding in an actual story, an actual narrative… I can’t imagine the anxiety of taking your hands off the controls and trusting it to a player.

Oh yeah.

Have you been surprised in testing the game with players? It has to be the same for you, Christos, as a writer. If someone skims over your dialogue, or they’re maybe not looking at the thing you want them to be looking at, at the time you want them to be looking at it.

CG: Well speaking of dialogue, what you actually want–and this is true for all creators, colorists, letterers… ideally it’s invisible, in the sense that the person isn’t thinking ‘what great craftsmanship!’ They’re thinking ‘this is really exciting and I’m really into this.’ That’s the goal, right?

RP. Yeah. The only reason this game exists, and the only reason that we’re partnered with Marvel, and that we’re partnered with PlayStation on this game, is because the game feels great from the moment that you get into the suit. You have your Move controllers, you’ve got the headset on, and you’re flying around as Iron Man. The pitch started with the prototype where players are flying around, and it looks cool and interesting on a flat screen. But it’s not until someone actually plays it that they become true believers, right?

So to a certain extent, watching players play it and learn is a little bit nerve-wracking. Because we want them to instantly get it within 30 seconds. But because the experience is definitely a new kind of paradigm, in terms of how locomotion works in VR, we know there’s going to be a little ramp up. But we know that once they play through that initial demo, that 15 to 20 minute demo, we tend to see the vast majority of people are sold on the idea and the concept. Then it’s just a matter of showing them the game is beyond just a single stage area where you’re learning how to play and fly. It’s an actual big, AAA VR experience.

Well my final question, after playing the Batman: Arkham VR, must be whether or not you can caress Nick Fury’s face.

CG: [Laughs] You can actually pull aside his eyepatch, and stick your finger… no, that’s just nasty.

That has to be something the developers laugh hardest at, right?

 Yeah, it’s an interesting balance we have to take as developers, especially with VR. Because we don’t know what the players are going to do. There’s this kind of… ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’ kind of problem where, if we allow each character to respond–or if we build responses to each player action, for example throwing a cup at pepper while she’s trying to talk to you, then we encourage the players to want to experiment more, right? However we want those 3D characters to feel believable and realistic, and like they’re in that space with you. So within reason, we try to have the characters respond to you. I think one of the ways that we do that is the eye tracking and the head tracking that we have for the characters. So if you do move around in the space they’re following your body language. It’s all about that presence of those characters in VR so players feel like they’re in the same room with Nick Fury. Which does feel really interesting an immersive in the game.

Marvel’s Iron Man VR has an official release date of February 28, 2020, on PlayStation VR.

MORE: Iron Man VR Pre-Order Bonuses and Digital Deluxe Edition Revealed

2019-10-18 06:10:29

Andrew Dyce