Shazam! Director & Producer Both Plan to Return for Sequel

Shazam director David F. Sandberg and producer Peter Safran both plan on returning for a hypothetical sequel. After the critical and commercial failure of Justice League, the DCEU rebounded very nicely with last year’s Aquaman, which crossed the $1 billion mark and became the highest-grossing DC film of all-time. Warner Bros. is definitely looking to continue that forward momentum with Shazam, which is only a few weeks from hitting theaters. Taking cues from classics like Big, it promises to be a refreshing superhero movie.

Early word is that Shazam lives up to its on-paper potential, as it’s generated enthusiastic word-of-mouth following the first screenings. If the movie lands with the larger public (including general audiences), then it’ll follow the footsteps of Wonder Woman and Aquaman by being a strong introduction to a new character. Assuming it all goes according to plan, people will be craving future adventures with Billy Batson – including the filmmaking team that brought this movie to the big screen.

Related: Shazam’s Trailer Has A Captain Marvel Joke

In an interview with ComicBook, the duo was asked if they’d be interested in coming back for a followup. Safran responded first by saying, “It’s easy for me to say, ‘I’m on board.” Sandberg followed suit by stating “Let’s do it.”

It has to be mentioned that at this point in time, WB has yet to officially confirm a Shazam sequel. That being said, the odds of one coming into fruition are high. Though the film is projected to have the lowest box office opening weekend in the DCEU, its reported $80 million budget ensures Shazam does not need to rewrite the record book in order to turn a profit. Even if it only makes $40 million in its first three days, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where it doesn’t become a commercial success. Shazam may be sandwiched between Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, but there’s enough space between all of those projects where it shouldn’t hurt Shazam’s financial prospects too much.

It’s not surprising Safran and Sandberg are game to return. Last year, the former confirmed there had already been sequel discussions, including talk about how to deal with Asher Angel (who plays Batson) getting older. Hopefully, Shazam becomes a major hit and the filmmakers are able to play out some of their ideas on the big screen. One would have to imagine any future Shazam followups would involve the titular hero doing battle against Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, who has yet to make his DCEU debut. Regardless of where the story goes in possible sequels, it would be great if WB/DC had a trio of characters they could build around for years to come.

More: Shazam’s Origin Story, Powers, and Movie Changes Explained

Source: ComicBook

2019-03-18 03:03:19

Chris Agar

Picard TV Show Premiere Recruits Star Trek: Discovery Director

CBS All Access announced that a former Star Trek: Discovery director will helm the pilot episode for the upcoming Picard TV series starring Patrick Stewart. Stewart announced that he would return to his iconic role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the as-yet-untitled Star Trek series. Originally hitting in the airwaves in 1986, Star Trek: The Next Generation took place around a century after the original William Shatner series and followed a whole new Starfleet crew, led by Stewart’s Picard. The new series will follow his character into the next chapter of his life following a total of seven seasons spent on the show. In 1993, Stewart later returned to the role for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and a year later for the first of four Star Trek: The Next Generation feature films, Star Trek: Generations.

The new series will air exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States with international distribution by CBS Studios International, similar to the current run of Star Trek: Discovery. Among the Picard show’s executive producers are Discovery‘s Alex Kurtzman, author Michael Chabon, and Stewart himself. The Picard TV series is part of an expansion for Star Trek-based programming that now includes an animated series on CBS All Access and possibly Nickelodeon, additional episodes of Short Treks, a possible Star Trek: Discovery spinoff led by Michelle Yeoh, and a Starfleet Academy series from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.

Related: Picard: Wil Wheaton Wants Wesley Crusher Return in Star Trek Series

News broke from The Wrap that Hanelle Culpepper will helm the first two episodes of the upcoming Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek TV show for CBS All Access. This makes Culpepper the first woman to direct a pilot or debut episode of a Star Trek series in the franchise’s 53-year history. Showrunner Alex Kurtzman said of Culpepper:

“Hanelle is a gifted and dynamic filmmaker whose directorial choices are always deeply rooted in character. I’ve been a huge fan of her work since she started with us on Discovery, and she’s the perfect person to re-introduce the beloved character of Picard to longtime fans and new viewers alike. We’re thrilled she’s joining our Trek family on this next adventure.”

Culpepper is already a seasoned veteran of Starfleet, having directed two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery. She helmed the episode titled “Vaulting Ambition” in Season 1 as well as an upcoming episode in Season 2. In addition to numerous Star Trek ventures, she’s also taken on network shows as well, directing everything from How To Get Away With Murder and Empire to Gotham and Supergirl. She’ll also direct an episode of AMC’s forthcoming horror series NOS4A2, starring a former Spock, Zachary Quinto.

Considering that this new Picard TV series could feature a very different sort of Jean-Luc, it’s comforting to know that someone with as much craftsmanship as Culpepper will spearhead the series. We still don’t know exactly what kind of Picard we’ll be getting, considering it will take place 20-plus years since we last saw him in Star Trek: Nemesis, but it was also confirmed that Picard would no longer be an official Starfleet Captain, which makes things especially interesting.

More: Star Trek: Where Jean-Luc Picard’s Story Left Off

Source: The Wrap

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2019-03-01 06:03:03

Director Alexandre Lehmann Interview: Paddleton

Recently, Screen Rant had the opportunity to attend a screening of Netflix’s new film Paddleton. It stars Mark Duplas (Micheal) and Ray Ramono (Andy) as two misfit neighbors that build a strong unexpected bond through a game they have created that set out on an emotional journey when Michael is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The film becomes a very deep look at relationships, that inadvertently redefines healthy alternative views of masculinity and how friendships and life long bonds can be created and fortified. It was directed by Alexandre Lehmann who coincidentally also wrote the screenplay. He spoke to us about the process of making such a subtle, yet poignant and impactful film.

Screen Rant: I like to start off every interview with a little old before covering a lot of new. So first off thank you for *Asperger’s Are Us, it was a banner waving, inspirational documentary for anyone on the spectrum.

*An award winning coming of age documentary directed by Lehmann, in which four friends on the Autism Spectrum who have bonded through humor and performed as the comedy troupe “Asperger’s Are Us” prepare for one last show before parting their separate ways.

Alexandre Lehmann: Thank you for watching it. It wasn’t something made just for views or critical acclaim. I hope all their friends and family members feel the same way. I think that a lot of people that are or maybe are not on the spectrum still related to these guys and the feeling of not always being understood. By the way we will be releasing a follow up docu-series in April on HBO. We took the same guys on the road, put them in an RV and filmed their experience.

Screen Rant: Speaking about films with relatable protagonist. You wrote and directed Paddleton. This is a small film with a big heart and even bigger performances, How were you able to get such honesty out of both Mark and Ray?

Alexandre Lehmann: I think they are pretty honest guys. And due to that they were able to find the truth in the story that spoke to them and in turn were able to give life to characters they loved as much as I did, and that’s what translated to the screen. If anything [I like to say] I captured their honesty. [Maybe] I’d like to say to filmmakers [in general] that may ask “how do you get a certain level of honesty out of actors?” The answer is: by starting out as honest as possible yourself. And be willing to share and/or overshare yourself; and others will recognize that humility, in being vulnerable and be more inclined to join you in that. [and again, though I didn’t say in so many words] I feel that is in Mark and Ray’s wheelhouse, and may be something a lot of us didn’t notice or realize while we watched their respective sitcoms. Though they may be slightly heightened versions of reality. They are both real guys, they’re very accessible and beyond that they are incredible actors. It was just us doing something from the heart that was a lot of improv and being in the moment instead of trying to regurgitate words that made sense at another time. So it was [you know] a genuine process with genuine people. I wish I could take credit for it but I was being as real as everyone else.

Screen Rant: You said a keyword there “improv”. There’s a storyteller/standup scene between Mark and Ray at the bar. Was it fully scripted or where they able to run with it mostly?

Alexandre Lehmann: Well, funny enough that was Mark regurgitating the plot points to a fictional Kung-Fu film that we created for this film called “death punch”. Ray knew a little about the film and just did a bit of “yes-and” making for a very meta performance.

Screen Rant: speaking of meta is there anything we, as an audience can expect from this film like an epilogue much like how you treated Asperger’s Are Us?

Alexandre Lehmann: I’m just waiting for a million people to send ninja stars to Netflix. Just ninja stars that say “Death Punch” on it [paper or metal; your choice], then they’ll ask me to make the Death Punch in its entirety. That would serve as the proper epilogue for this film. [being 100 percent honest] I just want to make Death Punch. Those movies [Wu shot sub-genere in Kung-fu] they really are Duplas bro-mancy movie attributes to them. Yes; there’s the master and the student. And ninja stars being thrown. But they get real, there’s some real introspective heart felt stuff going on there.

Screen Rant: How were you able to seamlessly navigate such powerful and almost polarizing subjects like terminal illness and assisted suicide while still giving us such high peeks of levity?

Alexandre Lehmann: I mean, there’s nothing funny about death, there’s nothing funny about assisted suicide, there’ certainly nothing funny about terminal illness. There’s only a couple ways to handle really difficult things in life; we can get irrationally angry, you can shut down, or [you know] we can refer to comedy, we can choose to laugh at the absurdity of things or at the pain of things. And that seems to be the best coping mechanism and the most relatable. It’s treating the issues genuinely and seeing how difficult cancer/death can be in anyone’s life and at the same time being able to laugh at how crazy and unpredictable life is and remembering to celebrate the good things and not being ravaged by the bad.

Screen Rant: At the ore of this film it was about two single men whose lives become inexplicably entangled and a platonic bro-mance develops. Is there any relation in your life to that dynamic that was captured in the film?

Alexandre Lehmann: Oh yeah, for sure. I’ve got one friend that I used to see all the time [everyday] when we were living one on top of the other in an apartment complex. We will be best friends until the very end. There are a couple of guys I love so much that I just want to share so many experience with and I feel so lucky to. [It’s funny because] In a couple of interviews its been the topic of masculinity, what about this version of masculinity and toxic masculinity. Being honest I’m not smart enough to speak on that and what masculinity should be or how to redefine it. All I can say is Michael and Andy, I have that relationship in real life and nobody ever told us we shouldn’t or weren’t allowed to. And it happens to be that those relationships mean the world to me so of course I want to celebrate that. [to be honest] I forget sometimes that it is weird to some people to have a relationship like that at my age. I see it as a no-brainer. Any of us would be lucky to have a relationship like Michael and Andy, to be so understood and be able to live in such simplicity while you have everything you need in the world. [I mean] Nobody would need social media if they had a Michael and Andy dynamic. You wouldn’t need that validation form anywhere else. You would just feel like you belong.

More: Javier Bardem Interview for Everybody Knows

Paddleton is now on Netflix.

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2019-02-22 04:02:30

Escape From New York Remake Being Rewritten By Upgrade Director

Fox has recruited Leigh Whannell to rewrite its Escape From New York remake. The original 1981 film was directed by John Carpenter (who also cowrote the script) and took place in a version of 1997 where – following a 400% increase in crime in the U.S. – Manhattan Island has been transformed into a maximum security prison surrounded by a 50-foot wall on all sides. Kurt Russell starred in the movie as Snake Plissken, an ex-soldier turned prisoner who gets a chance to reverse his fortunes when he’s recruited to rescue the President of the United States, after Air Force One is hijacked and crash-lands in New York City.

Carpenter’s film went on to become a cult success and even got a sequel fifteen years later, with 1996’s Escape From L.A. However, the followup (which got a mixed to negative critical reception) bombed at the box office and a third film never materialized. An Escape From New York remake has been in the works for over a decade now, but the project mostly spun its wheels until Fox landed the rights in 2015. The studio subsequently hired Luther creator Neil Cross to write the script and, two years later, attached Robert Rodriguez as director.

Related: Read Screen Rant’s Alita: Battle Angel Review

It appears the project is starting over again, with THR reporting that Fox has hired Whannell to write a fresh script draft. Rodriguez is no longer onboard to direct the Escape From New York remake either, and THR says the door is open for Whannell to call the shots himself, if he’s interested. In the meantime, he’s only writing the screenplay.

Whannell’s had a pretty busy week, to put it mildly. Just a few days ago, he committed to writing and directing an Invisible Man reboot for Universal, with Blumhouse head Jason Blum producing. Whannell made his name as a writer known for his horror movie collaborations with director James Wan, including the original Saw and all four of Blumhouse’s Insidious films (the third of which Whannell also directed). The writer-director further played nerdy ghost-hunter Specs in the Insidious franchise and made a short, but memorable cameo in Wan’s DC blockbuster Aquaman (where he played the cargo plane pilot who’s confounded when Arthur Curry and Mera suddenly leap out of his aircraft mid-flight).

More than anything, Whannell has demonstrated a mastery for lean and mean genre fare, including Blumhouse’s critically acclaimed (but little-seen) sci-fi action-horror-thriller Upgrade, which he also directed. The filmmaker’s pulpy storytelling sensibilities certainly lend themselves to the Snake Plissken character and his world, which makes his involvement with the Escape From New York remake all the more exciting. THR further reports that Whannell’s goal is to prevent the project from becoming a bloated tentpole and instead deliver something closer to Carpenter’s original low-budgeted film. No doubt, his penny-pinching bosses are happy to hear it.

MORE: Why the Dark Universe Reboot Will Be A Success (This Time)

We’ll bring you more details on the Escape From New York remake as they become available.

Source: THR

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2019-02-01 03:02:51

Vice Director Explains Why He Cut “Incredible” Musical Number

Vice director Adam McKay explains why he removed a musical number from the final cut of the movie. McKay’s latest, which chronicles the rise of former United States vice president Dick Cheney, is far from your standard Hollywood biopic. The filmmaker incorporated a number of fascinating techniques to tell the story, such as a mock credits sequence that fantasizes a much more happier ending for America, a scene where Christian Bale and Amy Adams channel William Shakespeare during a discussion on power, and plenty of fourth wall breaking to explain various political terms. It was a bold and ambitious approach that didn’t work for everyone, but struck a chord with awards voters.

Though Vice received generally positive (and somewhat mixed) reviews from professional critics, it’s emerged as one of the leading Oscar contenders of the season, scoring numerous key nominations and wins. McKay is in the running for his second Best Director nod, which can be attributed to his out-of-the-box stylistic choices. But even a film as odd a Vice has to draw the line somewhere, and McKay couldn’t find a place for an “incredible” musical set piece.

Related: Screen Rant’s 2019 Best Picture Predictions

In an interview with Variety, McKay detailed the deleted scene, which involved Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) “teaching Cheney about Washington, D.C. and how to get ahead.” He even went so far as to have Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler stage it, but it ultimately had no place in the finished product:

“It’s breathtaking. It’s incredible. And it just didn’t work. You didn’t need it. It was too long in that area of the movie. We tried 15 versions of it. We moved it here, we moved it there. We played it really short. We played it way longer and put scenes in the middle of it. We tried every single thing you could do. The only reason it doesn’t pain me at this moment is because I know we tried everything we could do. You’re in the editing room and you’re like, ‘This is amazing. This is going to work.’ And you just forget the movie tells you what it wants.”

There’s no denying that this would have been quite interesting to see, though it’s probably for the best McKay left it on the cutting room floor. Vice sends viewers on a roller coaster with its bizarre tone as it is, and chances are audiences wouldn’t have been sure what to make of a singing Donald Rumsfeld. One of the toughest lessons of filmmaking is “kill your darlings” (meaning, cut out material that doesn’t fit), so McKay deserves credit for not forcing something simply because he enjoyed it. As he says, he can take solace in the fact he did everything possible in an attempt to make it work, and Vice receiving plenty of awards recognition probably makes the pill easier to swallow. Again, Vice is divisive (unsurprisingly so, given its subject matter), but the movie is working for a lot of people. It might not have if the musical sequence stayed in.

For those disappointed by this development, McKay expressed a desire to include the scene on Vice’s home media release, so fans of the film should be able to watch it in all its glory in a few month’s time. Typically, deleted sequences are removed for a reason, so it’ll be curious to see if the general public agrees with McKay’s decision when they finally get a chance to see it. Perhaps a politically-charged musical number will prove to be too entertaining to resist.

More: Read Screen Rant’s Vice Review

Source: Variety

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2019-01-08 02:01:14

Aquaman: Our Interview with Director James Wan

Warning: SPOILERS for Aquaman

When James Wan was offered the choice of bringing Aquaman or The Flash to the big screen, he chose the aquatic hero as the greater challenge. And boy, has that ambition paid off, as Aquaman is now on pace for a $1 billion box office haul. With Jason Momoa and mindblowing underwater spectacle to satisfy fans, the DCEU had its biggest crowd-pleaser yet.

Screen Rant had the chance to interview Aquaman director James Wan ahead of the film’s release, to learn about the inspirations, influences, and pressure in even making the movie a reality. Now that audiences around the world have gotten to see the movie for themselves, it’s time to ask the director about some of the most memorable visuals and character moments. And yes, that Pitbull-laden Aquaman soundtrack.

RELATED: How Aquaman Impacts Chances of Justice League’s Snyder Cut

One sequence that is going to stand out most for audiences is Arthur and Mera’s introduction to the Trench. A lot of people will look at that and say ‘James Wan does horror, so there’s his horror.’ But what was the real motivation and thinking behind giving the Trench that particular treatment?

I really wanted the hero to see the different kingdoms that eventually he’ll be king of, right? So he needs to see his subjects, and he needs to see that there are all kind of races of people down there. And one of the races are the Trench people. Going into it I knew that I wanted Atlantis to be very vibrant, to be very sort of magical and wondrous, and all that. But I also wanted to portray, or rather to capture the tone and feel of the ocean to me. The ocean is big and magical and all of that, but also we’re terrified of the ocean as well. I felt that moment allows me to lean back into my horror roots to do something like that. But ultimately it allows me to really showcase one of my signature shot designs of the film which is a cross-section of the ocean. And you get to see what’s above the surface and what’s below the surface.

That was one of the first images I came up with during pre-production, which is Arthur and Mera swimming down, with a cross-section of the ocean, it’s a big wide shot, and we just see them swarmed, surrounded by the Trench creatures. And the only thing that’s holding them back is this flare, the bubble, within the safety of the flare light. So I just thought from a visual standpoint it was something that was very captivating.

You’ve talked a lot about Romancing the Stone and Raiders of the Lost Ark, for the adventure side of things. But what were you inspired by in some of the more fantastical aspects of the film?

I would say that my biggest influence, more than anything, more than any films per se, is actually just the comic books. I have seventy years worth of source material to be pulling from, so I pulled a lot of that over-the-top nature, the very stylized world, the creatures, and all of this from the comic book. But obviously doing it through my own sensibility and designing looks that I wanted to design that we haven’t quite seen before, and get it out there. Then I have to pick, obviously, you know the big names aside like your Star Wars, your Lord of the Rings, your Romancing the Stone out of the way. The other sort of influence on me was classic Ray Harryhausen. There were shades of Journey to the Center of the Earth… Jason and the Argonauts, that kind of stuff that I loved growing up as a kid. This movie really lends itself to a lot of that aesthetic.

Going from big scale to a scene the size of a wine cellar. The moment that ends the chase sequence in the middle of the film with Mera unleashing her power. It’s an unforgettable moment, so where did that idea come from?

Yeah that was just something I cooked up, I felt like it’s a chase sequence through the rooftops of Italy but I knew I wanted to get to a point where we got to showcase Mera’s powers. To have her back be literally up against a wall, but it just so happens that the wall she is up against is bottles and bottles of liquid that she can harness and use to her advantage. I thought that’s the kind of stuff that would make for an iconic image, and be a really nice way to finish her part of the action scene in that world.

RELATED: All of The Songs Used in The Aquaman Soundtrack

I also have to ask: the score for the film is breathtaking and helps shape the different worlds along Arthur’s journey, but you also use licensed music with lyrics, which we never see in these superhero movies anymore. Were you aware of that, or were you picking those songs because you would pick them for any other movie?

Ummm… Listen [Laughs] maybe it’s my time on Fast & Furious 7 that made me not afraid to put like a hip hop song in there, or a beautiful Skylar Grey track in there, or Depeche Mode. That’s just my sensibility I guess. One of my favorite uses of existing music is the Roy Orbison track for when they’re having that sweet, nice, romantic moment through the Italian market and she’s sort of getting used to the surface world. I loved that piece of music and–can I tell you, a big part of my inspiration, or my influence, was old school Jerry Bruckheimer.

I really wanted songs in there, and then we wrote songs specifically for the film. Pitbull wrote his track for the film, and Skylar Grey wrote the ending, and the love song theme that we use throughout the movie. Skylar wrote that beautiful song, and then we use that and pepper it throughout the whole film as like the love theme for Mera and Arthur throughout the film. Kind of like what [James] Cameron did with Titanic, right? You know you have Celine Dion singing the song, but then you hear that theme played throughout the whole film.

Well thank you for comparing Aquaman to Titanic for more than just James Cameron.


That is the most meta-Entourage/Aquaman joke we’re ever going to see.

The other thing I want to talk about in terms of music is Rupert did such a beautiful score. I worked very closely with him and one of the things I really wanted to capture, I told him early on, I really want it to feel romantic, very classical, but then when we go to Atlantis I want it to feel modern and electronica. But modern not of today’s world, but what we felt modern was in the ‘80s. And so lots of my inspiration for music, I even temp-d sequences with Jean Michel Jarre in there, and Giorgio Moroder. That was my inspiration for the sound and tone of Atlantis.

When Patty Jenkins was talking about Wonder Woman, she spoke pointedly about people criticizing sincerity as “cheesy,” or something these blockbuster movies were “too cool” for. Your movie seems to embrace that wholeheartedly, with an opening that plays closer to how Arthur’s father might tell him the story. Was that a choice for this story, or would that have been there regardless, with you directing?

That would have been in there no matter what, just because that’s who I am. I tell people, go all the way back and look at my horror film. Go look at The Conjuring, right? I’m not afraid to go romantic and sentimental with my characters, Ed and Lorraine have such a sentimental relationship. Especially for a movie like this, that is a classic story about a sailor who falls in love with a mermaid, everything about it has such a romantic, nautical theme to it, I felt like it was the right thing or us to do. And of course, Steven Spielberg is one of my idols, and he’s one guy who is not afraid to be sentimental in his films. So I thought you know what, there’s nothing wrong with that. And I don’t care if people think it’s cheesy or too sentimental. It is who I am, and that’s the only way I know how to make my films: be true to myself.

You’ve now gotten the chance to see the movie with different crowds, is there a part of the film that you’re pleased to see getting the reactions it does? Or any moments that remain the best for you?

Ummmm [Laughs], you know I’m always generally very anxious about watching my movies with a crowd, so I actually haven’t done it that much. But yeah, there are scenes – when I’m brave enough to watch and sit in there with a crowd – there are scenes that I love seeing peoples’ reactions. Especially to some of the action scenes, and of course Jason coming out the waterfall in the suit. That is a great moment to watch with an audience. And some of the more fun, light-hearted sequences. But the scenes I really love, and I love to watch with an audience, even though it’s a quieter, more muted moment, is watching the emotional stuff between mum and dad. I love the love story, the movie is more a love story of mum and dad than Arthur and Mera for me, that’s how I feel.

Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more interviews, news, and coverage of Aquaman and its cast.

MORE: Aquaman’s Success Proves Snyder’s DCEU Isn’t Dead Yet

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2019-01-02 07:01:17

Mission: Impossible Director Explains Ghost Protocol Rewrites

Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

Mission: Impossible – Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie explains the rewriting work he did on the fourth entry Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. While it’s hard to believe now, the original Mission: Impossible was considered a bold move for Tom Cruise, who rarely appeared in straightforward action movies at that time. The movie was directed with slick style by Brian DePalma (Scarface), and the franchise has attempted to set itself apart by choosing auteur filmmakers for each sequel.

John Woo brought his kinetic action and love of slow-motion to Mission: Impossible 2, while J.J. Abrams made his movie directing debut with the third entry. Brad Bird directed Ghost Protocol, while Tom Cruise’s regular collaborator Christopher McQuarrie broke the mold by helming both Rogue Nation and Fallout. Fallout, in particular, was acclaimed as not only the best entry in the franchise to date, but one of 2018’s best movies in general.

Related: Mission: Impossible Fallout Honest Trailer: A Potent Mix Of Intrigue And Cardio

While McQuarrie is still mulling over the idea of directing Mission: Impossible 7, he recently revealed to Light The Fuse (via JoBlo) the extent of his rewrite work on Ghost Protocol. McQuarrie was dropped into the production around the midway point to help smooth out narrative concerns, but it turns out his contributions had a big impact on the final product.

When I read the script, the big things were, you didn’t know what was in the suitcase, you didn’t know what was in the envelope, you didn’t know what the villain was doing – this was all a mystery in the movie – and Michelle Monaghan was dead, Julia’s character was really dead. I came on board and I said, ‘Look, there are two things going on. One, emotionally if Julia’s dead, no matter how this story turns out, I’m sad.’

Michelle Monaghan in Mission Impossible Fallout

One major fix McQuarrie brought was to merge the storyline of Jeremy Renner’s Brandt with that of Ethan Hunt’s ‘dead’ wife Julia. Brandt originally felt guilty over the deaths of two unnamed agents he failed to save, but McQuarrie felt this was too disconnected from the rest of the movie.

I said, first of all, let’s try to integrate Tom’s story with Jeremy’s story so that Jeremy’ story is actually relevant to the movie, right now it feels like there are two movies happening. And again, no matter how you resolve Jeremy’s story, even at a hundred you were at ninety because he still hesitated and these two guys were still dead. Whereas, if we integrate the stories to say that Jeremy feels responsible for the death of Julia and at the end of the story we found out Julia’s not dead and Jeremy finds out that Julia’s not dead, you get to use that emotional engine, but then you get to let the audience off the hook at the end of it.

McQuarrie also removed the ‘mystery box’ elements, with the story originally being vague on key details like the motivations of the villain. Tom Cruise himself feels the writer’s work helped save the movie, which led to him directing Rogue Nation. Christopher McQuarrie has proven to be a great fit for the franchise’s blend of labyrinthine plotting and crazy action sequences. Ghost Protocol also feels like the movie where Mission: Impossible solidified its formula, by aping the episodic structure of the original TV series and making the IMF team a bigger part of the story.

McQuarrie, unfortunately, found himself facing the ire of some fans over the decision to not let Henry Cavill shave off his Mission: Impossible – Fallout mustache for Justice League reshoots, with the two productions filming at the same time. The studio was forced to use CGI on Cavill’s upper lip instead, leading to less than convincing results. It turns out McQuarrie was open to the idea, suggesting Warner Bros pay for the cost of shutting Fallout down by shaving Cavill’s facial hair, but Paramount shot that idea down. Either way, McQuarrie is clearly someone with Mission: Impossible’s best interests at heart, as he’s been showing since Ghost Protocol.

More: Mission: Impossible 6 Director Said Yes To Removing Henry Cavill Mustache

Source: Light The Fuse (via JoBlo)

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2019-01-02 02:01:02

Dark Phoenix is ‘Very Loyal’ To The X-Men Comics, Says Director

James McCavoy as Professor X using Cerebro flames in X-Men Dark Phoenix

Director Simon Kinberg has reassured fans that Dark Phoenix will be “very loyal” to the original comics, insisting that the comic book “Dark Phoenix Saga” is one of his all-time favorite runs. This is the second time Fox has tackled the story of Jean Grey and the Phoenix, and it’ll probably be the last; the Disney/Fox acquisition looks sure to be approved by international regulators, and most fans are expecting the X-Men franchise to subsequently be rebooted. If that’s the case, Dark Phoenix will be the last of Fox’s tentpole X-Men films.

For all that’s the case, the cast and crew seem to be delighted with the film. Star Sophie Turner, who plays Jean Grey, has gone so far as to suggest the movie will “revolutionize” the entire superhero genre. Co-star Tye Sheridan, a.k.a. Cyclops, has said it’s more of a drama than a typical superhero film. But lovers of the X-Men franchise have been particularly concerned as to whether or not the film will be true to the original, much-loved comic book story; that’s especially the case given rumors that the alien Shi’ar will be replaced by the shapeshifting Skrulls.

Related: X-Men Actress Hopes Dark Phoenix Can Fix Mistakes of The Last Stand

Speaking at CCXP, director Simon Kinberg reassured Omelete (via Collider) that he intended to honor the comic book story – and he explained just what fans should expect.

“It’s very loyal in a lot of ways… The movie, emotionally, is very loyal to the original source material. It’s loyal in that it’s centered on Jean’s transformation from Phoenix to Dark Phoenix, and that transformation involves a cosmic force that comes from outer space, and that there are alien characters. And then there are other ways I wanted to really drill down and focus on the characters and go as in-depth as they did in the comic, which means in the span of a two-hour movie, you can’t include everything that was in The Dark Phoenix Saga, so there are certain things that aren’t in the film, but I think fans will see that I myself am a huge fan and geek and was loyal to what I wanted to see in the film.”

Sophie Turner as Jean Grey in Space in X-Men Dark Phoenix

Curiously enough, when Chris Claremont and John Byrne penned the original “Dark Phoenix Saga,” they envisioned the Phoenix not as a cosmic force but as a schizoid entity that tapped into Jean Grey’s true power. Claremont originally liked the idea of transforming Jean into the X-Men’s equivalent of Thor, a cosmic heavyweight who could drive stories on an entirely different scale. The legendary X-Men scribe then came up with the idea of the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” a story in which Jean proved unable to deal with the infinite power of the Phoenix. In the end, Jean chose to commit suicide rather than risk the return of Dark Phoenix, an act that demonstrated her humanity triumphing over the seduction of power.

Marvel retconned this story, revealing that Jean had encountered – and in fact been replaced by – the cosmic Phoenix Force, which was seeking to experience what it truly meant to be human. This subtly rewrote the events of the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” suggesting that the infinite Phoenix Force had been unable to cope with the tumult of human emotion, leading to its descent into madness. While this retcon has been embraced by comic book readers, it’s interesting to note that it subtly revises the message of Claremont’s original story. In the classic story, human nature triumphs over darkness. In the retcon, human nature is the cause of the darkness.

Comic book fans often press for a film to be comic book accurate. In the case of Dark Phoenix, though, that may not be quite so easy; will Kinberg be true to the original story, the retcon, or a blend of the two? Marketing is sure to soon begin again for the X-Men tentpole film, so hopefully more information will come to light in the near future.

More: All The Movie Franchises Ending In 2019

Source: Omelete (via Collider)

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2018-12-24 02:12:02

Actress & Director Penny Marshall Passes Away At 75

Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall, the actress-turned-director-turned-producer, has passed away due to complications from diabetes. In her 75 years, she inspired laughter and tears through her own iconic performances and the many classic films she directed and produced.

Marshall started her acting career with a recurring guest role on The Odd Couple, directed by her brother, Garry Marshall. But her big break came when her brother needed a character named Laverne DeFazio for another of his hits, Happy Days. She, along with co-star Cindy Williams, reprised their roles in the incredibly successful spin-off Laverne & Shirley which ran for eight seasons. Marshall’s Laverne, with the signature “L” embroidered on all her clothes, is one of the most iconic TV characters of all time.

Related: Sony Aiming To Recruit Female Directors For Multiple Marvel Projects

According to THR, Marshall passed away on Monday, December 17, 2018 in her Hollywood Hills home. In a statement released by her family, they stated, “We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come true.” After her success in front of the camera, Marshall followed in her brother’s footsteps and began directing. She started out directing television, but soon transitioned to feature films in 1986 with Jumpin’ Jack Flash starring Whoopi Goldberg. Her second feature, Big, starring Tom Hanks, was a massive success and made Marshall the first woman to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million – though her barrier-breaking has seen a slow progress in Hollywood. Her 1990 film Awakenings was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, though – unsurprisingly, given the Oscar’s track record – she was not nominated for Best Director.

Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall in Laverne & Shirley

Marhsall’s biggest hit came in 1992 with A League of Their Own, the star-studded tribute to the Rockford Peaches, the most successful team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The uniquely quotable film (the line “There’s no crying in baseball” is listed as one of the top movie 100 quotes of all time by the American Film Institute) has become an undisputed classic that is still inspiring stories today.

From acting to directing, Penny Marshall’s career serves as inspiration to women everywhere. From blue-collar Laverne DeFazio to star-catcher Dottie Hinson, Marshall’s work helped change perceptions and expectations both in front of and behind the camera. Her wry humor and masterful touch will be greatly missed and lovingly appreciated for decades to come.

More: Where Are They Now? The Cast Of A League Of Their Own

Source: THR

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2018-12-18 01:12:27

Blumhouse Hires First Female Director for Hulu’s ‘Into the Dark’ Series

Blumhouse has hired its first female director for Hulu’s Into the Dark series. The production company behind films like Get Out, the Purge franchise, and this year’s Halloween has hired director Sophia Takal to helm an all-female horror project titled New Year New You.

New Year New You will be the fourth episode in the horror anthology series from Blumhouse airing exclusively on Hulu. Into the Dark has been recognized as Hulu’s version of Black Mirror, the sci-fi anthology series on Netflix. Airing only one episode a month, Into the Dark focuses on a different theme or holiday each episode, premiering just in time for Halloween with The Body, and it has been regarded as a blend between dark comedy and horror. Now, Takal’s involvement will mark the very first time Blumhouse has hired a female director for one of its projects.

Related: Into the Dark: Pooka! Trailer — Hulu’s Horror Anthology Makes Christmas Terrifying

IndieWire has learned that Sophia Takal will be directing the next episode of the Hulu series just two months after Blumhouse founder and CEO Jason Blum received backlash for his comments on female directors – namely how he believes that there aren’t many women who direct horror films. That said, Takal was brought on for the project before Blumhouse had received said criticism. New Year New You will  have an 85-minute runtime, similar to the feature-length runtime of Into the Dark’s previous two entries, and this will mark Takal’s third role as a director on a feature-length film, as she previously worked on 2011’s Green and 2016’s Always Shine. And, as for her time on directing New Year New You, she said, “This was my first time working as a director-for-hire. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to the project, but they trusted me.”

New Year New You tells the story of old high school friends reuniting on New Years Eve, during which time they confront previous traumas. The all-female cast includes Suki Waterhouse (The Bad Batch), Melissa Bergland (Winners & Losers), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Killing Eve), and Carly Chaikin (Mr. Robot).  Takal described the episode as a “satirical take down of the loathsome internet culture of today.”

Hiring its first female director is a major step forward for Blumhouse, and it has the potential to open the door for several other aspiring directors that have hoped to work with the production company. Blum previously pointed out in his apology regarding his comment about female directors that he “will do better,” addressing the fact 50 percent of Blumhouse’s audience is female and that he has not done enough to hire more women in the past. This is hopefully the start of a more inclusive future for Blumhouse.

More: How Hulu’s Into the Dark: The Body Created Its Morbid, Halloween-Inspired World

New Year New You will be released on December 28, 2018 on Hulu.

Source: IndieWire

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2018-12-07 07:12:01