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22 July Review: Paul Greengrass Delivers Another Intense Docudrama

Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

In-between his efforts on the Bourne movies, journalist-turned filmmaker Paul Greengrass has spent much of his career making docudrama-thrillers about real-world events, ranging from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. (United 93) to the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 (Captain Phillips). While there’s an inherent risk of exploiting a real-world tragedy that comes with any such project, Greengrass has long been celebrated for his ability to dramatize terrible events on the big screen in a manner that’s intense, yet sensitive and ultimately insightful in its presentation. Thankfully, that remains the case with his Netflix Original 22 July, even if it doesn’t necessarily represent the writer/director at his finest. Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

22 July picks up on July 21, 2011 in Oslo, Norway, as Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) – a self-declared right wing extremist – prepares to carry out a terrorist attack on the city the next day. He begins his assault by setting off a bomb in a van near the main office of the then-current Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Ola G. Furuseth), killing eight people in the process. Breivik then proceeds to continue his attack by gunning down 69 members of a summer camp organized by the AUF – the youth division of the Norwegian Labour Party – on the island of Utøya, before he is ultimately apprehended by the police and taken into custody.

Among the members of the summer camp is one Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli), who manages to survive Breivik’s attack despite being shot multiple times and left permanently maimed. As Viljar struggles to recover both physically and psychologically from what happened to him (along with everyone else who survived the Utøya shootings and their loved ones), Breivik works with his chosen lawyer Geir Lippestad (Jon Øigarden) to mount a defense and use his trial as a platform to publicly announce his political agenda (which calls for the immediate deportation of all Muslims and heavier restrictions on immigration to Norway, among other things). When it becomes clear to Viljar what Breivik intends to do, he grows increasingly determined to continue his rehabilitation and testify against him in court for not only himself, but also every other person whose lives were affected by what took place on July 22.

Adapted from the book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad, Greengrass’ script for 22 July has a very clear-cut three act structure – with the first act focused on the July 22 attack, the second part set during its immediate aftermath, and the final third centered on Breivik’s trial. The film is strongest during its first and third acts in particular, as those chapters (respectively) play to Greengrass’ strengths as a suspense-thriller storyteller and provide the emotional payoff to Viljar and, thus, Norway’s overarching journey of recovery and survival. It’s the second act where things start to drag and get a little muddled, especially as 22 July splits its focus between not only Viljar’s story thread, but also Lippestad and Breivik’s trial preparation, and the investigation into Stoltenberg’s administration and its failure to prevent a terrorist attack. While there’s nothing in the second act that feels inessential, 22 July struggles to divide its attention evenly between its three plotlines and the film’s pacing suffers for it.

On the whole, however, 22 July does a nice job covering a fair amount of narrative ground, even when taking its pretty substantial runtime into consideration. It helps that Greengrass (as he’s known now for doing, as a director) never fully lifts his foot off the gas pedal and keeps the film’s proceedings feeling on-edge throughout, even during its more purely dramatic portions. The filmmaker, working this time around with DP Pål Ulvik Rokseth (The Snowman) and Oscar-winning Argo editor William Goldenberg, uses essentially the same vérité cinematography and restless editing style that he has on his previous movies, in order to fully immerse viewers in the film’s setting and action. At the same time, Greengrass slows things down a bit here and, in turn, delivers a movie that’s more visually cohesive than some of his weaker efforts in the past (see the last Bourne sequel, in particular). This serves 22 July well, allowing it to effectively work as both a grounded drama and thriller.

Given the sheer amount of information that 22 July strives to cover, though, there’s not a lot of room for the film’s actors to really shine – not in the way that Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks did in Captain Phillips, for example. Even so, the 22 July cast is uniformly strong across the board, with Gravli especially doing an excellent job of portraying Viljar’s struggles with his physical injuries, PTSD, and the sheer amount of emotional baggage that he’s saddled with after barely managing to escape the attack on Utøya with his own life. Actors like Thorbjørn Harr and Isak Bakli Aglen are similarly moving in their smaller roles as members of Viljar’s family, as is Seda Witt as Lara Rashid, a young woman who starts to make a romantic connection with Viljar before both of their lives are shattered by Breivik’s attack. As for Breivik himself: Lie is quite compelling in the role and portrays the terrorist as a fully-developed person – one whose rationalization of his behavior makes him chilling and pathetic in equal measure.

As with his previous films, Greengrass uses 22 July as a means for delivering larger sociopolitical commentary about the state of things in the world, specifically where it concerns the rise of xenophobic and nationalist ideologies in various countries (the U.S. included). While his scripted dialogue can start to become a bit on the nose as its strives to get these points across (especially in the third act), Greengrass largely succeeds in allowing the story here to shine a light on these issues organically, without getting up on his figurative soapbox to drive the point home. If there’s a downside to the filmmaker’s approach, though, it’s that July 22 winds up handling its subject matter in a way that’s more engaging intellectually than emotionally and, thus, lacks the emotional resonance of Greengrass’ best work to date.

All things considered, however, Greengrass does a very good job of bringing the true story behind 22 July to cinematic life. The final result is a film that makes for an enlightening and otherwise respectful documentation of a horrifying real-world event, rather than one that comes off as exploitative or manipulative. 22 July is showing in select theaters now – in order to qualify for next year’s major film awards shows – and it certainly benefits from being seen on the big screen, but can still be appreciated just as much as a Netflix Original on your home TV. While it’s obviously not a light-hearted viewing experience, 22 July is very much worth checking out if you’ve enjoyed Greengrass’ previous non-Bourne efforts and/or would like to know more about Norway’s own infamous modern terrorist attack.

TRAILER

22 July is now available for streaming on Netflix and is playing in select U.S. theaters. It is 143 minutes long and is rated R for disturbing violence, graphic images, and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



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2018-10-10 01:10:22 – Sandy Schaefer

Harry Potter: 25 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Completely Change Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had a lot of ground to cover, as Harry had to destroy the remaining four Horcruxes that were hidden around Great Britain, while Voldemort was just beginning to take control of the wizarding world from the shadows.

The fact that there was so much content in The Deathly Hallows meant that the creators of the Harry Potter films decided to split the final book into two movies, which opened the door for the creators of the Twilight and The Hunger Games movies to do the same.

The process of creating the final two Harry Potter movies was an emotional one for everyone involved, as a series that took a decade to make was coming to an end. This wasn’t helped by the many beloved characters meeting their maker throughout the course of the story, meaning that there were a lot more emotional send-offs than in the previous movies.

We are here today to see what moments from behind-the-scenes of The Deathly Hallows movies were captured on film forever – from the last time that Remus Lupin & Severus Snape smiled, to the final day of the ten-year odyssey of the Harry Potter movie franchise.

Here are the 25 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Completely Change Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2!

25 Lupin & Snape Getting Along

Alan Rickman so totally owned the role of Severus Snape that it’s hard to imagine any other actor playing the part. It’s also difficult not to hear Rickman’s voice whenever reading one of Snape’s scenes in the Harry Potter novels.

It’s also a surreal experience seeing Alan Rickman clowning around or smiling in any behind-the-scenes footage of the Harry Potter movies, as Snape never had anything close to a light-hearted moment or laughed at anything that was funny.

Remus Lupin and Severus Snape may have had a cold relationship in the movies, but that didn’t stop David Thewlis and Alan Rickman coming together for a photo on their last day of filming, which even resulted in a rare Snape smile.

24 Voldemort & His Tracking Dots

The Harry Potter movies decided to remove Voldemort’s nose in order to give him a more serpent-like appearance. This was only accomplishable due to advances in CGI and the fact that Voldemort generally didn’t appear that often compared to the other nose-bearing members of the cast.

In order to create the effect of Voldemort lacking a nose, Ralph Fiennes needed to have tracking dots applied to his face. These were necessary in order to tell the computers where all of the parts of Fiennes’ face where in relation to each other so that they could take away the nose and remove all traces of the dots on his face. Ralph Fiennes also had to wear other prosthetics, including a gross-looking set of fake teeth.

23 Talking Through The Nagini Chase

The scene where Neville slices Nagini in two with the Sword of Godric Gryffindor is one of the all-time greatest moments in the Harry Potter series. It is meant to reflect Harry defeating the basilisk in The Chamber of Secrets, with Neville finally becoming the hero that he was always meant to be and becoming worthy of drawing the sword from the Sorting Hat.

The movie version of The Deathly Hallows botched this scene somewhat by adding Hermione and Ron to the mix, as they attempt to deal with Nagini using spells. Neville had to rush in and save them, as they both suddenly developed the aiming skills of a Stormtrooper from Star Wars. 

22 The Dark Lord Of Clowning Around On Set

Ralph Fiennes has appeared in some of the greatest movies of all time, including the likes of Schindler’s List, The English Patient, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. He is known for his extensive theatre work and for taking on roles in serious and somber movies.

All of these serious roles may give you the impression that Ralph Fiennes lacks a sense of humor, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

He would never have taken on the part of Lord Voldemort if he was going to stick to roles that would win him Academy Award nominations. Ralph Fiennes must have known early on that the role of Lord Voldemort was going to become the one that he was most associated with, so he clearly leaned into it and had as much fun as possible with the part.

21 Hermione & Ariana

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows left us with a lot of unanswered questions about Albus Dumbledore, especially where his sister is concerned.

Ariana Dumbledore was attacked by a group of Muggle boys as a child, which left her emotionally scarred and unable to control her magic. The release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the revelations concerning Credence Barebone have led some fans to suggest that Ariana Dumbledore was an Obscurial and that Grindelwald’s obsession with them was sparked by meeting her. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 neglected to reveal much about Ariana’s backstory, though we were at least given the chance to see her in the flesh.

20 Wandless Magic

Wands are an important aspect of the Harry Potter series, which means that they appeared all of the time in the movies. The props department always had to make sure that there were lots of spare wands ready at any moment, as they were pretty flimsy and easy to accidentally break during filming.

Daniel Radcliffe broke over eighty wands on the set of the Harry Potter movies, either through being too rough with them or for just wearing them down with overuse. This can be clearly seen in the behind-the-scenes footage where he has a tendency to use them as drumsticks when bored on set. Luckily for Daniel Radcliffe, there were times when wands were added in later with CGI, so he just had to pretend to hold one.

19 Draco’s Fear Of Flying

You might think that the flying broom sequences in the Harry Potter movies are accomplished using only green screen effects, but there is a practical element involved that is necessary in order to make the movement of the brooms seem more natural.

The flying broom is connected to a rig that looks like the mechanism used for a theme park ride, which is essentially what it is.

This flying machine can be moved in such a way as to make it look like the broom is tipping or changing direction, while the background can be added in using CGI in order to complete the illusion. Poor Tom Felton was stuck riding on a broom while looking like a wimp, as Daniel Radcliffe got to look like a super cool wizard.

18 Griphook’s Goggles

One of the most difficult aspects of wearing a prosthetic mask that covers your whole head is what it does for your sweat. Robert Llewellyn who played Kryten in Red Dwarf has talked about how his mask was so tight that the sweat was all squeezed down onto his back.

Warwick Davis is no stranger to prosthetics and masks, which is why he was well-prepared for the outdoor scenes involving Griphook in The Deathly Hallows movies. The Griphook outfit not only covers all of Warwick Davis’ head but also his hands. This is why he is seen wearing goggles during outdoor sequences, as they protect his eyes from the elements without risking him accidentally touching his eyes with his clawed hands.

17 Filming Helena Ravenclaw

In order to discover the truth about Ravenclaw’s diadem, Harry must seek out the Ghost of Ravenclaw House, who is revealed to be Helena Ravenclaw. She is the one who reveals to Harry that the diadem was stored within the Room of Requirement, as Voldemort was dense enough to believe that no future Hogwarts student would ever discover the existence of the room.

The meeting between Harry and Helena involved two separate sets, as she was a ghost and spent almost all of her scenes floating off the ground or passing through objects. This meant that Kelly Macdonald (the actress who portrayed Helena) and Daniel Radcliffe had to shoot their scenes separately, as Radcliffe wasn’t available during her shooting days.

16 Filch & Harry Make Up

David Bradley played Argus Filch in almost every Harry Potter movie, missing out on only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Filch’s role was greatly diminished from that of the books and he was mostly used as a comic relief character in the movies.

As one of the few actors who had remained with the franchise from the beginning, David Bradley made sure he was there for the final day of shooting, where he embraced Daniel Radcliffe.

On the surface, this image makes it seem like Harry and Filch finally made amends, which seems out of character for both of them, even though Filch did aid in the defense of Hogwarts during its hour of need. The other reason why Filch may be smiling so much is that he’s already planning his party for the Stark family.

15 Hagrid & The March Of The Death Eaters

The role of Rubeus Hagrid was mostly played by Robbie Coltrane throughout the eight Harry Potter movies. We say mostly because another actor also played Hagrid in many different scenes. Robbie Coltrane is slightly over six-feet tall, but that still isn’t tall enough to play the role of a half-giant. This meant that Hagrid was often played by Martin Bayfield for the purpose of being a body double and performing stunts, as Bayfield is almost seven-feet tall.

The version of Hagrid from the Harry Potter books was over eleven-feet tall, meaning that it would have been impossible to recreate him on film without using CGI. This meant that Robbie Coltrane and Martin Bayfield still had to wear bulky costumes in order to increase their size in order to make Hagrid look bigger than he was, as even carrying someone that is the same size as Daniel Radcliffe needs to look like an impressive feat of strength.

14 Luna Loves Harry Potter

Evanna Lynch had never acted professionally before auditioning for the role of Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She was a huge fan of the Harry Potter novels and won the role because, as producer, David Heyman said: “The others could play Luna; Evanna Lynch is Luna.”

The passing of Dobby and his subsequent burial was filmed outdoors, which meant that Evanna Lynch had to find some entertainment while she waited for the crew to finish setting up each scene. This would normally result in the smartphone or tablet being whipped out at this point, but Lynch decided to go old school and read her copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 

13 Dobby Relaxing On Set

The actor who played Dobby was a notorious drama queen on-set. This was partly due to trouble that started early on in his career, brought on by the numerous fake news reports that stated he was being sued by the Russian government due to his resemblance to Vladamir Putin.

The passing of Dobby is one of the most emotional scenes in The Deathly Hallows films, which is why it took so long for his actor to get into the right frame of mind in order to expire in Harry Potter’s arms.

You may think that the Dobby guy is sneaking in a few moments of sleep while on the set, but he’s actually using an advanced method of the Meisner technique in order to get into character.

12 The Secret Of The Brooms

We mentioned earlier that the broom sequences required the use of a moveable rig and a green screen in order to make the flying sequences seem realistic, but not all of the broom scenes involved high-speed chases. There were times when the brooms sat in a static position while floating in mid-air, as they waited for their owner to climb on top of them.

In order to create these scenes, the special effects team developed a standing rig for the brooms that would suspend them above the ground. These rigs had to be strong enough to hold the weight of an adult person, while also being slender enough to be easily removed later by the special effects team. The scene shown above comes from the Seven Potters sequence, where everyone is preparing to leave Privet Drive on broomsticks, save for Hagrid, who is using Sirius Black’s bike.

11 Bellatrix & Warwick Davis

The Harry Potter franchise was very kind to Warwick Davis, as he played Professor Flitwick since the first movie and Griphook in both of The Deathly Hallows films. He also voiced Griphook in the first movie, but the physical role was played by Verne Troyer, making him one of the few American actors to appear in the Harry Potter movie series.

Warwick Davis spent much of his time in the makeup chair, as even the reworked version of Professor Flitwick still required a fancy new hairdo and mustache. The picture above gives us a glimpse of Davis out of costume, but Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t so lucky, as she was fully adorned in the Bellatrix gear.

10 Bellatrix Posing

Bellatrix Lestrange may be one of the most loathsome characters in the Harry Potter series, as she is Lord Voldemort’s most devoted follower and will gleefully commit atrocities in his name. Bellatrix is responsible for disposing of Sirius Black, which immediately earned her a significant hatedom among the Harry Potter fans.

The movie version of Bellatrix is much more difficult to hate, thanks to an incredible performance by Helena Bonham Carter, who managed to turn Bellatrix into the Harley Quinn of the Harry Potter franchise.

Helena Bonham Carter never let the fact that she was playing a crazed murderer affect her on a personal level, as she can be seen clowning around in many different behind-the-scenes photos from the Harry Potter movie series.

9 The Weasley’s Prepare For Battle

The Battle of Hogwarts is probably the most chaotic moment in the series, with seemingly every important character showing up for the final conflict between the forces of good and evil.

There were moments of the battle that were sectioned off, in order to make them easier to film. One of these involved the final duel between Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley, which took place in the Great Hall as a battle raged on behind them. The duel scene was shot in such a way that you could only see directly behind Bellatrix & Molly, which meant that you only saw a small portion of the battle that was happening. This was likely done in order to make the scene easier to film.

8 Filming The Battle Of Hogwarts

The Battle of Hogwarts was incredibly difficult to film, which is true of all battle scenes that involve a lot of participants. The reason why the Battle of Hogwarts was even more difficult than normal was the fact that almost everyone involved was either using a supernatural weapon (usually a wand) or was some kind of magical creature.

There were parts of the Battle of Hogwarts which involved Harry running through a battlefield that was filled with dueling wizards, huge spiders, suits of animated armor, and giants, all of whom were fighting each other. The producers and special effects team that worked on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 rose to the challenge and created one of the greatest looking battles in movie history. They managed to capture the chaos of a large-scale conflict while also maintaining the fantastical elements that the Harry Potter series is known for.

7 The Burrow Set

One of the new scenes that were added to the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince involved the Death Eaters attacking and burning down the Burrow, which is the home of the Weasley family.

This scene wasn’t popular with the fans, as it ignored aspects of lore and was totally pointless, as the Burrow needed to return for the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies.

Harry and his friends return to the Burrow at the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, after escaping from the Death Eaters at Privet Drive. This scene involved showing the lands around the Burrow, which was accomplished with the use of a green screen.

6 Dobby’s Funeral Is Hilarious

Dobby the house-elf was created almost entirely with CGI in the Harry Potter movies, which was a necessity due to his size and stature. Dobby helps Harry Potter and his friends escape from Malfoy Manor, but takes a knife to the chest for his troubles. This results in a scene where Harry cradles an injured Dobby and comforts him as he slowly passes away, in what is one of the saddest moments in the series.

The scene of Harry holding Dobby required the use of a physical Dobby puppet that Daniel Radcliffe could hold, which could be altered with CGI at a later date. The puppet that is seen in the picture above is clearly in an unfinished state, which may be why the cast is having such a laugh, as Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint are certainly not in character.

5 Stylish & Wounded

Apparition is one of the most prized skills of any wizard, or at least it would be if it weren’t possible to block apparition within certain locations. Those who wish to apparate are required to pass a test, as those who do not perform the spell properly can screw it up and cause “splinching” which is the term used for leaving pieces of your body behind.

Ron manages to harm himself in The Deathly Hallows movies through splinching, which meant that Rupert Grint needed to have injury makeup applied. This didn’t stop Rupert from looking his best and pulling off his model pose while having holes added to his arms and shoulders.

4 The Real Father Of Delphini

Daniel Radcliffe is one of those people who is impossible to hate, except by the most bitter of people who despise the fact that he was given such an important and lucrative role at such a young age. He comes off brilliantly in interviews and seems like of the most genuine and nicest people you could ever meet.

It seems that the charms of the Harry Potter actor are even effective against Death Eaters, as Helena Bonham Carter was clearly fond of her on-screen mortal enemy.

The two of them can be seen clowning around together in various behind-the-scenes clips, which must have been a way to burn off some tension before they started chasing each other with wands again.

3 The Boring Wedding Of Bill & Fleur

The hardest part of any movie/television production on the part of the actors is the waiting around between shots. It can take a long time for the crew to set up each shot for even a simple production. When you have a movie series like Harry Potter which involves huge sets that need constructing and special effects work that needs preparing for, then it can take forever to set up even a few seconds worth of footage.

The wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour would have required a lot of setting up, due to the sheer amount of extras that are engaging each other in the background of each shot. It’s no wonder that the main trio doesn’t look as interested as they should be.

2 Bellatrix’s Sound Check

The reason why Helena Bonham Carter is sitting on a set of benches is that this is the location where she filmed her final duel of the series. The movie version of Bellatrix’s demise is actually way more violent than what happened in the books.

In the book version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the duel between Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley ends when Molly fires a curse that strikes Bellatrix above the heart. We never find out what spell Molly cast, but it was enough to deal with Bellatrix for good. The movie version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 shows Molly freezing Bellatrix in place and then shattering her body into pieces.

1 The Last Day

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were cast in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the age of eleven. They spent the next ten years of their lives working on the Harry Potter movie series, which meant that there formative years were spent in front of the cameras. An entire generation of Harry Potter fans grew up alongside them.

As Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 finished production, more and more of the actors were given a send-off for their final day of filming.

The most emotional of these last days was the one for the main trio, who had finally finished their decade-long odyssey and hugged on the set. These last moments can be seen on the home releases of The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and it’s hard for any fan of the Harry Potter series to remain dry-eyed when seeing them say goodbye to each other and to the roles that defined their youth.

What do you think of these photos? Do they completely change Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2 for you? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-08 02:10:12 – Scott Baird

6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It)

There are sitcoms that everyone loves, and then there’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — a series which has managed to turn off many with its despicable characters and depraved sense of humor. From faking cancer to trying to eat a homeless person, there are no depths that are too low for the owners of Paddy’s Pub. But you don’t get to thirteen seasons without making a few fans in the process.

While It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia might not pull in the biggest numbers, the show has maintained such a rabid following over the years that one has to wonder if they’ve accidentally gotten there hands on some raccoon meat. But the more likely scenario is that many people have just as twisted of a sense of humor as the makers of this FX series.

The sitcom was created by Rob McElhenney with the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, who would go on to portray Mac, Dennis, and Charlie on the series. Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito fill out the rest of the main cast as Dee and Frank Reynolds, and for over the last decade, fans have been happily following the bizarre misadventures of the Gang. Of course, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in these leading roles. With over 130 episodes, there has been no shortage of supporting characters and celebrity cameo, some of which have been a lot better than others.

Here are 6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It).

20 Saved: Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds

In a sea of despicable characters, Dennis Reynolds has slowly revealed himself to be the most reprehensible of them all. Dennis may have begun the series as one of the more sensible members of the Gang — albeit one with an extremely short fuse, but he’s slowly revealed himself to be a cool and calculated sociopath. One who also happens to have a heavy side of narcissistic personality disorder.

While Glenn Howerton didn’t want to name the character after himself for fear of people drawing an unwelcome comparison, that hasn’t stopped Howerton from taking the character to some extremely dark places. He’s more than a little convincing when he lays out one of his manipulative plans. While his temper tantrums may be over-the-top, you never doubt the authenticity of the rage and frustration Howerton has embedded into his performance.

19 Saved: Mary Elizabeth Ellis as The Waitress

One of the most prominent recurring characters on It’s Always Sunny, the Waitress has been a part of the series since the very beginning. She is the unrequited love interest of Charlie throughout the majority of the show — though it seems like the tables have turned in recent episodes.

The Waitress is portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who had previously worked with Charlie Day on an episode of Reno 911! The two were married shortly after It’s Always Sunny began, adding another layer of hilarity to the dysfunctional relationship between the two characters on screen.

Ellis fully commits to her performance as the down-on-her-luck waitress.

She’s an example of the tight-knit community working behind-the-scenes that has made the series such a success.

18 Hurt: Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty

While sitcoms usually lend themselves well to celebrity cameos, It’s Always Sunny has created such a distinct world that more often than not these cameos end up feeling out of place. There have been a few instances where they’ve managed to pull them off. Josh Groban popping up in one of Dee’s fantasies seemed fitting, and Dax Shepard manages to blend in fairly well into the episodes where Mac and Charlie join a cult.

In the case of Jason Sudeikis and a number of other celebrities, the cameos just end up coming across as distracting. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Jason Sudeikis playing Schmitty — an ex-member of the Gang who makes an unexpected return. The whole time, you never forget that you’re watching Sudeikis, which just doesn’t work for the tone of the series.

17 Saved: Mary Lynn Rajskub as Gail the Snail

Though she’s only appeared in three episodes of the series to date, Gail the Snail is definitely one of those side characters that we’d like to see more of. She first appeared back in the season five episode “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention”, where she is the clingy cousin of Dennis and Dee who talks with a lisp and has the disgusting habit of slurping her saliva. Dennis and Dee have found that the only way to get rid of her is to dust her with salt, hence her nickname of Gail the Snail.

The character is portrayed by the talented Mary Lynn Rajskub, who is best known for playing Chloe O’Brian on 24.

This is undeniably a very different character, and it’s impressive just how committed Rajskub is to playing someone so hilariously obnoxious.

16 Saved: David Hornsby as Cricket

The Gang has dragged their fair share of individuals down into the dirt with them, but none are more apparent than Rickety Cricket. Portrayed by David Hornsby, Cricket is a former classmate of the Gang who was once infatuated with Dee. He debuted in season two as a clean-cut priest who has slowly transformed into the addicted hobo that we have today.

Hornsby has been such a prominent member of the show that last season he was given his own episode with “A Cricket’s Tale”, which cleverly intertwined the character’s other brief appearances throughout the season into the story. Hornsby has also been a big part of the show behind-the-scenes as well, serving as an executive producer and a writer of nearly 30 episodes.

15 Hurt: Brian Unger as The Attorney

It’s Always Sunny has a number of supporting characters who re-emerge every few seasons, only to be dragged down by the shenanigans of the Gang once again. Brian Unger plays one such character with the Attorney, who the Gang often visits for legal advice only to contradict everything the lawyer has to say.

As a former correspondent of The Daily Show, Unger is really good at playing the straight man.

In fact, he’s too good, which makes it hard to believe that he would put up with these self-centered, narcissistic characters for more than a few episodes. Often, these supporting characters are revealed to be a little bit off in their own right, but Unger is just too normal to make his character mesh with the series.

14 Saved: Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds

Danny DeVito first popped up in season two of It’s Always Sunny, and his casting as Frank Reynolds quite literally saved the series. While the higher-ups at FX reportedly loved the first season, not enough people were watching to warrant a second outing. McElhenney, Howerton, and Day were given the ultimatum to add a bigger name or face cancellation. While they worried how DeVito would fit into the series, the veteran actor has more than proven himself as a worthy member of the Gang.

The insane things that DeVito will do for the character are a testament to the actor’s commitment. Even more impressive is how you never feel like you’re watching a performance. DeVito becomes Frank Reynolds. Even when he’s not delivering lines, just watching him futz about in the background is already hilarious enough.

13 Saved: Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly

It’s Always Sunny has turned all of its leading actors into stars, but Charlie Day is the biggest breakout of them all. Since appearing on the show, Day has worked on a number of hit films, including Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim, and The Lego Movie.

His star power has no doubt helped the show remain on the air for so long.

Thanks to Day’s performance and musical talents, the character of Charlie has no shortage of memorable moments. Bird law aside, Charlie may be the least intelligent member of the Gang. In a lot of ways, he’s the heart of the show. Charlie certainly has his share of questionable moments, but they often stem from ignorance rather than malice, which set him apart from the other employees of Paddy’s Pub.

12 Hurt: Sean “Diddy” Combs as Dr. Jinx

Whenever Sean “Diddy” Combs pops up in a movie or TV show, he often plays a fictionalized version of himself. In It’s Always Sunny, he plays the unorthodox Dr. Jinx who utilizes alternative methods to treat his patients.

Not only is the cameo distracting, but Combs’ performance is pretty flat. It almost seems like the actor is reading off cue cards, and when Dr. Jinx is seen playing the bass guitar during a musical performance at Paddy’s Pub, it’s pretty obvious that Combs isn’t actually playing. The rapper may have stolen the show as Sergio in Get Him to the Greek, but whatever worked for him on that movie isn’t back on display in the sitcom.

11 Saved: Artemis Pebdani as Artemis

Artemis is one of the few supporting characters who can actually hang with the Gang without her life coming apart at the seams. She first appeared up in season one, where she befriends Dee after the two meet in an acting class. She’s also had a relationship without Frank throughout her time in the series.

The character is portrayed by Artemis Pebdani, who landed the role right at the start of her professional acting career.

While she’s continued to reprise her part as the fun-loving and wild Artemis, the actress has enjoyed success in a number of other shows, including Scandal and Masters of Sex. Though a number of supporting characters seem to have fallen off in recent years, Artemis has already popped up this season with “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”.

10 Saved: Lynne Marie Stewart and Sandy Martin as Charlie and Mac’s Moms

Every since Danny DeVito debuted as Frank Reynolds, it was abundantly clear why Dennis and Dee are they way that they are. After all, Frank is just as self-absorbed and conniving as the twins. In that respect, we’ve also gotten to see how Mac and Charlie are a result of their childhoods by getting to know their moms over the course of the series.

Lynne Marie Stewart does a perfect job of playing Charlie’s mom, a kind-hearted woman who was far too overprotective of her son — which explains Charlie’s numerous irrational fears. Meanwhile, Sandy Martin is the total opposite, as Mac’s mom doesn’t seem emotionally invested in her son at all — which explains Mac’s constant desire for approval. Together, the two are a perfect comedy duo, which is on full display in “Old Lady House: A Comedy Situation”.

9 Hurt: Seann William Scott as Country Mac

In season nine, Seann William Scott made a one episode appearance as Mac’s cousin — who the Gang deems far cooler than Mac. Just like Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty, this is another star cameo that can’t help but feel distracting. Scott has made a career playing characters who are too cool for school thanks to movies like American Pie and Role Models. That might seem like he’s the ideal fit for Country Mac.

Wouldn’t it have been even funnier if the Gang idolized a character for no other reason than to get under Mac’s skin?

With the success of It’s Always Sunny, we’re sure that they could have a star cameo every few episodes. Since they’re kept to a bare minimum, it seems that even they know these roles can be a bit ostentatious.

8 Saved: Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney as Liam and Ryan McPoyle

The McPoyles are the perfect example of just how dark and twisted the humor on It’s Always Sunny can actually get. They are a large inbred family with the two most prominent members, Liam and Ryan, being former classmates of the Gang. They popped up in a number of episodes between seasons one and nine, where they’re often at odds with the owners of Paddy’s Pub.

Liam and Ryan are played by Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney throughout their time on the show. Both fully commit to the unsettling nature of these characters. They might be creepy, but that doesn’t stop them from being a hilarious comedy duo. Our only complaint is that they’ve been absent from the series for the last few seasons.

7 Saved: Catherine Reitman as Maureen Ponderosa

One of the weirdest characters in all of It’s Always Sunny, Maureen Ponderosa is the ex-wife of Dennis Reynolds who slowly makes her transition into becoming a cat in the later episodes of the show. Much like Rickety Cricket, her transition from seemingly normal to totally unhinged takes place over the course of a few seasons — better-allowing audiences to buy into the ridiculousness of it all.

Catherine Reitman seems totally devoted to this outlandish and often unsettling performance.

Since appearing on the show, Reitman’s notoriety has only continued to grow. She currently plays the lead on Workin’ Moms — a show which she also created — along with popping up as another recurring character in Black-ish.

6 Hurt: Guillermo del Toro as Pappy McPoyle

Writer/ director Guillermo del Toro was apparently such a big fan of It’s Always Sunny, that it was one of the reasons he cast Charlie Day in Pacific Rim. In return, del Toro was given this cameo appearance as Pappy McPoyle — who is most likely the grandfather of Liam and Ryan.

One problem right off the bat is that del Toro was cast to play someone who is most likely from Ireland— a fact which the director himself made fun of in a behind-the-scenes interview. This may have been the reason that Pappy McPoyle was given such an over-the-top appearance, which is really the worst part of the character. The McPoyle’s are indeed odd and unsettling, but they’re still somewhat believable.Pappy McPoyle, on the other hand, looks like some deranged wizard who has no place in the series.

5 Saved: Wade Boggs as Himself

The best episodes of It’s Always Sunny usually finds the Gang confined to a single area, where their personalities can do nothing but bounce off the walls and wreak havoc on themselves and anyone in their vicinity. This is what makes “The Gang Beats Boggs” one of the best episodes in the series.

The episode finds the five Philadelphia natives trying to beat Wade Boggs’ record of consuming 70 drinks during a cross-country flight.

While the Gang’s antics are usually based on nothing but nonsense, this true story only adds another level of hilarity to the episodes. The cherry on top is a brief appearance by Wade Boggs himself. In an interview, Charlie Day said that not only was Boggs happy to participate in the episode, but that his real-life record was a lot more impressive than previously thought.

4 Saved: Michael Naughton as the Waiter

Michael Naughton first appeared up in “The Gang Dines Out,” where he is a server at one of the finest restaurants in Philadelphia. He’s crossed paths with the Gang a number of times since, and every time the Waiter emerges worse for wear.

Just this season, Naughton appeared in “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot,” where he is now working as a flight attendant. Once again, the Waiter tries to get the Gang to acknowledge how they’ve sabotaged him in the past. But once again, the Gang can’t remember who he is.

Naughton plays the Waiter with a kind of obsessive desperation beneath his everyman facade; he seems like someone who really would let the Gang get the better of him. He’s also the kind of supporting character that rewards loyal fans every time he pops back up.

3 Hurt: Stephen Collins as Bruce Mathis

Stephen Collins popped up in season two and three of It’s Always Sunny, where he played Bruce Mathis, the biological father of Dennis and Dee. Bruce invests most of his time and money helping out various charities around the world, making him a polar opposite of his children. This also made Collins — who was best known for playing Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven — seem like an ideal fit for the part.

In the years since, Collins has both been accused and admitted to being an abuser. The actor has obviously not appeared on the show since, but going back and watching these episodes with Collins can be more than a little discomfiting.

2 Saved: Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds

With Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton working on the show right from the very beginning, the actors were afforded the opportunity to mold their characters as they saw fit. However, the character of Dee Reynolds was developed before an actress was cast, and she was originally meant to be the Gang’s voice of reason.

Thankfully, Kaitlin Olson nabbed the role, and over time Dee became just as hilariously pathetic as the other members of the Gang.

Being a former member of The Groundlings, Olson clearly had talent as a comedic performer — which might also explain why Dee fancies herself as a bit of an improv comic. The actress isn’t afraid to make Dee as embarrassing as possible, which adds an element of cringe-comedy to the show that’s not found in the other characters.

1 Saved: Rob McElhenney as Mac

Without Rob McElhenney, there would be no It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The struggling actor/writer decided to put plans for the series into motion after a number of other projects fell through. With the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, McElhenney made a short episode of the series, which he used to pitch the sitcom. Over a decade later, McElhenney still serves as an executive produces while continuing to write a number of episodes.

As far as his role of Mac is concerned, McElhenney isn’t afraid to take the character in different directions.

He put on a whopping 50 pounds for season seven and Mac finally came out of the closet for good last year — just a few of the many ways McElhenney has kept the show feeling fresh after thirteen seasons.

 —

Who’s your favorite actor on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Let us know!



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2018-10-07 02:10:26 – Dylan Dembrow

20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

It’s been almost forty years since E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was first released, but this 1982 Steven Spielberg-directed gem is still going strong to this day with audiences of all ages. This wonderful film about a boy and his friend alien melted the hearts of all those who first watched it back in the early 1980s, and it still remains a most treasured family film. Its legacy is seen in every aspect of our pop culture, and it is regularly cited as people’s favorite film of all time. Only a director as visionary as Spielberg could take such a simple concept and transform it into a lasting cinematic treasure.

E.T. also helped transform the lives of those who participated in its making, sending a young Drew Barrymore into stratospheric fame and solidifying Henry Thomas as one of the most famous child actors of all time. There’s no doubt that E.T. will continue to leave its mark on future generations, and we can only hope that its perfection is respected without Hollywood grasping for a remake or an ill-advised, modern-day sequel.

If you’re a fan of this classic film or if you’re a Steven Spielberg aficionado wanting to know his tricks of the trade, you’ll be fascinated by the secrets that went on behind the scenes during the movie’s making. From the movie’s conception based on Spielberg’s life to the inspiration behind E.T.’s famous face, we have all the facts you’ll want to know about this iconic film.

With that in mind, here are 20 Crazy Details Behind the Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

20 Henry Thomas Brought Up His Tragic Past For His Audition

Landing the role of Elliott in E.T. unquestionably changed child actor Henry Thomas’ life. Having only previously done a couple of small movie parts in 1981, Thomas all of a sudden became the most famous kid in the world thanks to his on-screen adventures with his alien co-star.  

According to the Mirror, Thomas was only nine years old when he landed this role of a lifetime. In order to secure himself the part, during the audition the young actor drew upon the traumatic experience of seeing his pet dog attacked by his neighbor’s dog, which brought on real tears. Spielberg and the casting directors were immediately impressed. Being able to call upon real emotion showed the director that he could definitely act, and solidified Thomas as a genuine child talent.

19 Drew Barrymore’s Vivid Imagination Got Her Her Role

Drew Barrymore has been on the Hollywood scene for a long time, but her first big start on screen was in E.T. playing the part of Gertie. According to an interview on Ellen, Barrymore revealed that she wasn’t originally even going to audition for E.T. During her interview, Barrymore explained how she was actually trying to get a part in Poltergeist, but the director wasn’t there that day. Instead, Poltergeist’s producer, Steven Spielberg was there in his place.

She told Ellen: “I was six, and I lied my face off. I told him I was in a rock ‘n’ roll band, that I was a drummer, that I was a cook.”

After her audition, Spielberg said she wasn’t quite right for Poltergeist, but that he’d love to have her come in and audition for another project he was working on. Sure enough, he called her up soon after and gave her the part of Gertie in E.T.

18 It had a very boring title at first

When a movie becomes a huge hit, especially one that continues to garner success decades and generations after its first release, it’s hard to imagine it separately from its title. Indeed, the title of a movie becomes its first point of cultural consciousness, and there are those that last the test of time, and those that don’t.

Mention E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial to anyone and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s not only a memorable film title, it’s also become so deeply ingrained in our collective pop culture that we all know what it is even if we haven’t seen it. Well, E.T. might have faded away in the land of forgotten films, had they gone with the original title, A Boy’s Life, as noted by The New Yorker. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with A Boy’s Life, it’s not half as memorable as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

17 Harrison Ford Shot a Cameo

While Spielberg was working on getting things ready to begin filming E.T., he was still in the process of filming Raiders of the Lost Ark, which, of course, starred Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Ford dating Melissa Mathison, who was the scriptwriter for E.T., at the time.

Because of his friendship with Spielberg and his relationship with Mathison, Ford agreed to make a cameo appearance in the film.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Ford’s bit part was supposed to be a kind of a joke as he was going to play against his usual type, here as an uptight school principal who would scold Elliott after the frog-releasing scene. In the final edit, the decision was made to cut the Ford scene as it didn’t fit in with the rest of the movie and it was thought Ford’s presence would be too distracting from the story line.

16 M&M’s Were Supposed To Be E.T.’s favorite candy

Reese’s Pieces surged in popularity after the release of E.T.. The candy was featured in the scene where Elliott tries lays a trail of candy to lure E.T. back to his house. Many people back then, and now for that matter, might have thought it strange that Elliott used Reese’s Pieces.

Well, according to Business Insider, the reason for the choice of sweet was down to the fact that M&Ms had refused the production permission to use its brand in the film. Culinary Lore also states that Mars Inc., which owned M&Ms, refused the filmmakers the right to use the candy because it didn’t want to be associated with aliens. This was clearly a bad call, as after the release of E.T., sales of Reese’s rose exponentially, topping the numbers sold of M&Ms for the first time ever.

15 E.T.’s Face Was Modeled On Some Famous People

E.T. is one of the most recognizable movie characters in history and one of the cutest, albeit weirdest, examples of an on-screen alien. No character had, or has since, looked like like this singular creature, and its aesthetic is all thanks to Spielberg and his incredible designer Carlo Rambaldi.

Rambaldi created the aliens for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and his talents were once again put to use in E.T.

In a special featurette called The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Spielberg reveals: “I remember saying to Carlo, here’s some pictures of Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway and Carl Sandburg. I love their eyes, can we make E.T.’s eyes as frivolous and also wizened and as sad as those three icons.” Based on these famous celebrities, we have the E.T. we all know and recognize.

14 E.T. Was Played by Three Different Actors

With today’s technology, it would be a fairly easy task creating a CGI alien to act as the main part in a blockbuster film. However, when E.T. was being made in 1982, things were not so simple According to The Vintage News, creating a believable, friendly alien back then took three mechanical puppets as well as three actors, one of whom was a young 12-year-old boy who had been born without legs.

There wasn’t always someone wearing the suit in every scene, as often E.T. was being controlled by a team of mechanical operators. However, when the alien was required to walk or move about, a small person was often behind the movements. Watching E.T. today, the alien might seem like quite a basic piece of engineering, but back then, Spielberg and his team were making technological strides.

13 Drew Barrymore Thought E.T. Was Real

Drew Barrymore was only six years old when she played the part of Gertie in E.T., and even though she was already developing into a bright, young, talented actress, she was still very much at an age where imagination and make-believe can cloud reality. Barrymore’s acting is fantastic in the film, especially for someone so young, but her great reactions to things on screen could be down to the fact that she believed E.T. was a real alien.

 The cast and crew encouraged her to believe E.T. was really alive, and she seems to have taken the bait completely.

In a behind-the-scenes featurette for the movie, Elliott actor Henry Thomas reveals: “Drew, she’s imaginative. She introduced E.T. to her mom and said ‘He’s just a little shy now. He doesn’t want to talk to you right now but he’s just a little shy.’”

12 E.T.’s Voice Comes From Raccoons, Otters, Horses, and Burps

E.T. is one of the most imitated movie characters, with people of all ages having tried at one time or another to impersonate the alien’s singular speech patterns. If you listen closely, you’ll hear that there are a lot of different elements and sounds to the alien’s voice. This wasn’t achieved by employing one spectacularly gifted voice recording artist. Instead, as we learn from the BBC, it was a talented sound designer, Ben Burtt, who collected noises from an entire array of sources and put them together to create E.T.’s voice.

As Burtt tells the BBC: “I created the voice for E.T. out of many different things, about 18 different people and animals and sound effects. There are raccoons in there, there are sea otters, there are some horses, there’s a burp from my old cinema professor from USC.” They also used the voice of a chain-smoking housewife.

11 Spielberg Dressed As A Woman On Set

Being around such a young cast, Spielberg had to ensure that there was enough fun and playfulness on set. In The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial from 1996, we learn that the director definitely didn’t take himself too seriously while on set. Apparently, around Halloween, Spielberg came to set dressed up as a lady school teacher.

As Henry Thomas remembers: “Halloween was great. He directed the whole day like that, as an old lady.”

Spielberg adds: “I didn’t have children back then in the early 1980s, and you know suddenly I was becoming a father every single day, I felt like a father and it felt good.” Spielberg certainly knew how to keep spirits high on his set, and his kind, playful personality has left wonderful lasting memories on his cast and crew.

10 A Mime Was Hired To Move E.T.’s Arms

In The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, we learn that it took a lot of work to create the alien we all know and love. Aside from having a whole team of mechanics working to ensure the creature looked real, Spielberg also hired a mime to help out E.T.’s gestures.

The director reveals: “When I saw the mechanical arms, they were really great but they were very jerky when they worked. The fingers would move, but almost too thoughtfully. And I felt E.T.’s got to have almost balletic arms, almost like the hands of a mime. So I just put it out there, can we hire a mime and we’ll put the E.T. hand makeup on a mime’s hand so the artist can really be artistic about picking things up and touching themselves and reaching out. So this is where this wonderful mime artist came to work with us.”

9 The Original Ending Was Very Different

When a movie is as beloved as E.T. is, it’s hard to imagine it being any different. Grown men and women still weep when thinking about the emotionally-charged final scene, but we could have ended up an alternative ending had Spielberg gone with his original idea.

According to actor Michael MacNaughton’s interview in Express, “The last scene was going to be all of us playing Dungeons & Dragons again, except this time, Elliott’s the dungeon master. Because he was the one that found ET, he sort of got in with the group. […] And then they would pan up to the roof and you’d see the communicator and it’s still working — in other words, Elliott is still in touch with E.T. But after they did the score and they saw what they had with the spaceship taking off and everything… How can you follow that? I mean, it was a wise choice.”

8 There Was A Dark Sequel Planned

Because E.T. did so unexpectedly well at the box-office, it’s a wonder why there was never a sequel released. Had the movie been made today, it’s almost certain that Hollywood would have tried to make it a franchise. Well, according to Syfy, there was actually a story treatment for an E.T. sequel, but it was so terrible that it never got made.

Apparently, its dark tone was done on purpose.

Spielberg was reportedly completely against the idea of a sequel to his 1982 film, saying: “Sequels can be very dangerous because they compromise your truth as an artist. I think a sequel to E.T. would do nothing but rob the original of its [purity].” Who knows, maybe someday someone will dust off the draft and attempt to make it, but Spielberg will certainly be the first to veto the project.

7 They shot the movie in chronological order for the kids

It’s a well known fact that most large-scale film projects aren’t filmed in chronological order. Due to shooting schedules, location requirements, and budget factors, it’s usually not possible to film in script-order. Well, E.T. is one of the very few exceptions to this usual Hollywood practice, as Steven Spielberg insisted that the scenes be shot chronologically.

According to TIME, Spielberg made this unorthodox decision in order to help his younger cast. The director explained: “I insisted on shooting the film in complete continuity so the kids knew, emotionally, where they had been the day before, and they pretty much didn’t have any idea of where they were going the next day. So, like real life, every day was a surprise – Drew, Henry Thomas and Robert really believed that this was happening to their lives.”

6 Robert MacNaughton’s Dungeons & Dragons love got him his part

Robert MacNaughton played Elliott’s older brother Michael in the movie, and he revealed to Express that a childhood pastime of his helped land him the role. Apparently, E.T.’s screenwriter Melissa Mathison was a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons and she was always playing it with her then husband Harrison Ford at their house.

This explains the game at the start of the film, where we see Elliott trying to join in playing D&D with Michael and his friends.

MacNaughton revealed that he too was an avid Dungeons & Dragons player, and when asked by Spielberg what his hobbies were, he told the director about his love of the game. Spielberg seemed pleased that MacNaughton’s hobbies fit with his character Michael’s pastimes, and the role became his shortly after.

5 The Film Was Shot From A Child’s Point-of-View

One of the things that you may not have noticed while watching E.T. is the fact that is is filmed from a child’s point of view. According to Filmsite, the movie was deliberately shot from a lower-angle in order to encourage younger audience members to identify more easily with the child characters on screen. It also helps adults put themselves back into the shoes of a child, encouraging them to remember how scary and threatening the taller, bigger world of adults can really be for a kid.

In fact, the only adult we ever see in full is the mother, Mary, who was played by Dee Wallace.

Otherwise, most of the other grown-ups in the movie are seen from the waist down, the way a child would see the world in front of them.

4 Real Doctors And Nurses Were Hired As Actors

E.T. is a very emotional movie. From the burgeoning friendship between Elliott and E.T. to the ending when we face the teary goodbyes between these unlikely friends, the movie is rife with sentiment. One of the most poignant, dramatic scenes is when E.T. and Elliott are lying side-by-side in the makeshift medical facility at their house, both fading away while doctors and nurses try to revive them.

According to People, the medical staff we see looking after these two friends were actually real-life medics. Spielberg contacted the UCLA Center for the Health Services in order to get information on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and he was referred to a specialist. Wanting the scene to look as real as possible, Spielberg got real-life medical staff to play out the scene in order to simulate the chaos that really happens in emergencies.

3 E.T. was inspired by real children

E.T. is one of the most lovable incarnations of an alien to grace our screens.

Part of this androgynous creature’s charm is the fact that there’s so much goofiness and childlike innocence to it.

Well, this sweet naivete, as well as E.T.’s powers, were actually inspired by the screenwriter’s interactions with children. As Melissa Mathison tells us in The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: “Many of the scenes from the movie come from my own experience being with children. For instance, what children would like [E.T.’s] powers to be. A lot of the children would mention the obvious of telepathy or telekinetic powers but I was struck by the fact that several of them mentioned that they would like this magic creature to be able to heal. And I thought it was such an incredibly poignant idea to come from a child.”

2 Spielberg Didn’t think E.T. Would Make A Lot of Money

According to Business Insider, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time– not too shabby for a low-budget film about a boy and his alien pal. While the movie became a immense success and has been hailed as the most successful film to come out of the 1980s, Steven Spielberg didn’t think it was going to be a hit with audiences.

Speaking in The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the director said: “I think E.T.’s not going to make a lot of money, I think I’m making a movie that is only going to appeal to kids. I said I’m probably making a big mistake, I’m going to make an old-fashioned Walt Disney movie about an alien and a kid and that’s all it’s going to be.”

1 The Movie Was Inspired by Spielberg’s Lonely Childhood

It’s always interesting to find out how some of our favorite movies came about, but no one would ever expect that Spielberg’s tale of a boy and an alien would stem from his own childhood experiences. In an interview with director James Cameron for People, Spielberg admitted that E.T. was “never meant to be a movie about an extra-terrestrial,” but instead about something very personal.

“It was supposed to be a movie about my mom and dad getting a divorce,” he explains.

“So I started a story, not a script per say, but I started writing a story about what it was like when your parents divide the family up and they move to different states.” Eventually, the idea for a boy and an alien friend developed from this, and the rest is E.T. history.

Do you have any other trivia to share about E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-06 04:10:51 – Steph Brandhuber

A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad (And Always Has Been)

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born‘s ending undoes what could have been a Hollywood classic – but that’s not exactly Bradley Cooper’s fault. From its first version in 1937, A Star Is Born has always had a problematic resolution to its story, one that’s only got worse over the past century, and this latest version is no different.

A Star Is Born is a classic story that Hollywood loves so much it’s told it four times (with a suspiciously-similar earlier version, several failed attempts and many, many imitators). A top-of-his-game star (in 2018, Bradley Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine) is suffering from alcoholism and in a stupor discovers a struggling artist (Lady Gaga as Ally, a waitress moonlighting in a drag bar), falling in love with both her and her talent. He provides her with a big break, sending her fame into the stratosphere just as his addictions begin to derail his career. The pair marry, but despite their love things begin to fray.

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

It’s a tale of rags to riches, of falls from grace, of the power of love, and personal identity within all of that. And, for much of the runtime, A Star Is Born 2018 is genuinely a great version of all those stories. Gaga’s first major concert leaves you floating, Cooper shows mental affliction with grace, both perform their songs incredibly (to actual live crowds, no less), and are utterly believable as troubled lovers. It is, for much of its runtime, a very good film worthy of that deafening hype.

However, everything implodes into a black hole of pretentiousness as what could have been a great film its own right has to follow through on being called A Star Is Born

  • This Page: The Problem With A Star Is Born’s Ending
  • Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad
  • Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

We’ll stick with Cooper’s take for now before going deeper into the past. A Star Is Born‘s third act is kicked off by Ally winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – a major step for her career, undercut entirely by Jack drunkenly taking to the stage with her and relieving himself on live TV. He goes into rehab and she wrestles with where her focus should lie, eventually deciding to try and protect her recovering husband. She cancels her European tour when her agent, Rez, blocks the duo playing together.

As a result, Jack kills himself. He’s confronted by a seething Rez who has no sympathies or expectations of sobriety and states outright Jack’s ruining his wife’s career. When she matter-of-fact states the tour cancellation, he sees the impact of his actions and, while she plays a concert, he hangs himself in their garage.

Related: Every Song On A Star Is Born’s Soundtrack

This breaks Ally at first, leaving her emotionally distraught, before her understanding the meaning of Jack’s sacrifice – to enable her to truly become the star he always saw – helps her pull through. The film ends at a tribute concert in Jack’s memory. “My name is Ally Maine.” she declares before singing “I’ll Never Love Again”, a song based on their relationship they wrote together while he was recovering. A flashback shows the pair singing, she looks through the camera at the audience, the end.

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

Removing the ending of all presentation and self-imposed importance (a character looking into the camera at the end is an overused trope that Cooper simply doesn’t earn), in just writing down the events of A Star Is Born its problems should be obvious.

Jack decides to kill himself to save his wife, committing suicide because it’s the only way to set her free. This comes about two hours into a film which has slowly built up its numerous interpersonal relationships, and so comes as a drastic and rather unearned turn. Now, there is an argument to be made about accuracy to the unpredictability of mental illness, but given the intimacy audiences had with both Jack and Ally up until this moment, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. A Star Is Born, plainly, presents suicide as the only way out. It’s meant to come across as a selfless act but still values success as a true route to happiness, meaning anything emotional about the “gesture” is laced with hypocrisy.

But it’s what comes after and Ally’s coming to terms with her loss that’s so disquieting. For all her innate talent being the drive of the story and her freely made decision to step back what motivated Jack to kill himself, the final scene makes everything about Jack; the mononymous singer for the first time takes on her husband’s surname at his concert, where she performs a song that he helped her write in her original singer style. The suggestion is meant to be that Jack was holding her back, but in the shadow of the previous two hours the strange implication is that the act of a true star being born came from the adversity of Jack’s sacrifice. Making Ally’s success symbiotic to her dead husband is already heavily in the text of the film, but the final scene makes her final ascension even more indebted to his drastic act.

It’s hard to not read A Star Is Born‘s ending as trivializing suicide down to a plot point to give the fundamentally broken male lead the defining role in its female protagonist’s arc. It’s a weird move to make in 2018, although don’t believe this is just the product of an 80-year-old movie being remade. There’s something flawed at the heart of A Star Is Born.

Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad

The True Story Behind A Star Is Born’s Ending Explains The Problem

There have been four versions of A Star Is Born: the 1937 Hollywood-skewering original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 shift to the music industry with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and the latest Cooper/Gaga release. Each one has its own quirks, but all endeavor to tell the same story of love and fame intertwined, and all have the same basic ending. But the 1937 version isn’t the start. While A Star Is Born‘s narrative is a fiction, it’s very much based on truth; each movie is rooted heavily in the entertainment industry of the time – Hollywood for the 1937 and 1954 versions, music for 1976 and 2018 – and aims to tell an encapsulating story. There are some real-life events that inspired it.

The established star falling for an unknown as she climbs to the top was seen in actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay’s relationship, with the pair marrying in 1928 when the former was an unknown after starring in a Broadway show together. Their marriage fell apart after she rose above him and he fell into alcoholism. They separated in 1935 after seven years of marriage, two years before A Star Is Born was released. This appears to have been composited with the death of silent film actor John Bowers, who died at sea in 1936 after failing to win a part (whether it was a suicide or not is unclear). There are others (as we’ll see) but these are regarded as the ones who powered the 1937 version.

Related: Lady Gaga Fans Are Trolling Venom With Fake Bad Reviews

Of course, there’s one key distinction between inspiration and movie: in real life, it was two unrelated stories. There are the famous lovers who piggyback success and the past-it star who takes his own life, but in all cases these two aspects are entirely independent; the woman goes on to greater success by cutting the man out, while elsewhere another man falls from grace. Both stories epitomize Hollywood together, and taken alongside each other rather than melded have an ingrained believability. A Star Is Born trades that for something more streamlined in having the suicide be the culmination of the romance, but it’s also idealistic and wistful, losing the real moral of either.

This is reflected in what is regarded as a proto-Star Is Born, the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? Released five years before the 1937 version and produced also by David O. Selznick (and directed by George Cukor, who was approached for the first A Star Is Born and directed the first remake), this is regarded as something of a dry run at the story. Obviously from the release year it can’t share the same real-life inspirations (although, because this is the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are others pointed to), but the core concept and even smaller story beats are there, albeit with one massive difference: the leads are not romantically involved. Lowell Sherman’s Max drunkenly finds Constance Bennett’s Mary and helps make her a star, eventually killing himself after he sees realizes how far he’s fallen and is hurting his friend, while Mary’s suffers an ill-fated marriage that breaks down due to her absences filming and is reconciled at the end.

Watched today, What Price Hollywood? has a cynicism about the film industry ahead of its time despite ultimately being a movie romanticizing Hollywood – and at the core of this is the tragic story of Max and its impact on Mary’s life. The title question is apt.

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

In contrast to What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born 1937 carries a self-awareness and charm, but in bridging the romantic and the career side of protagonist Esther creates the problematic suicide reading. It’s not helped by dated elements, including the defining part of Esther’s ascension being the actress known as Vicki Lester taking on her husband’s name with a declaration “This is Mrs. Norman Maine“. It works given the time period, but even 16 years later needed an update.

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

The 1954 version is, for the most part, a beat-for-beat remake, just with dance number expansion to make it a musical, but it does make some strides to justifying the ending. The toll that caring for a drunk has on Judy Garland’s Vicki Lester is shown gradually, most upsettingly in an off-stage breakdown she immediately returns to filming from: an unavoidable presentation of the line between art and performer. But, ultimately, it ends in the same way: Norman Maine overhears Vicki’s plans to quit acting to care for her husband, so he feigns going for a swim and drowns himself; after a traumatic period and being unmasked at her funeral (the invasion of the press), Vicki returns to the public eye where she declares herself “Mrs. Norman Maine“. Every issue discussed is here.

The 1976’s A Star Is Born is overall incredibly melodramatic, nowhere less than its handling of the ending. What it should be praised for is its attempts at giving the female lead a greater sense of autonomy: throughout Streisand’s Esther makes decisions that power the narrative, not just being led along by Kristoffersen as those who came before her, but that’s lost thuddingly in the finale. After his meltdown, John Howard has imposed isolation – not rehab – and when returning home immediately sleeps with a reporter wanting an interview for Esther. The couple tries to power past this, but John figures he’s still broken and crashes his car at high speeds. Again, Esther is sad before taking his name (and singing at a tribute event).

Like we’ve already explored with A Star Is Born 2018, all versions have tried to provide their own contemporary spin on the tale to iron out its kinks, yet all wind up having to repeat the same suicide-anger-name triple-tap that doesn’t belong. A degree can be accounted to the changing times, but that ignores that the original trio of movies released over nearly 40 years, and that Cooper wasn’t able to address it either.

Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper certainly tries to bring a modern slant to the worn tale of A Star Is Born. He invests heavily in making Jack and Ally’s opposite trajectories operate independently – Jack is suffering from tinnitus before he’s heard a note of “La Vie En Rose”, while Ally’s SNL appearance is deemed to contradict his advice – while making the love story more immediate. It’s a bigger story, more personal and considerably more consummately paced.

But, like all the others, the ending hits a snag. And some of his decisions make it worse. The method of final descent is different, with the awards show upset and rehab undone not by Maine going off the rails again as in every other take, but rather by Ally’s agent calling his supposed bluff. It’s implied from the British Rez knowing when exactly Jackson first toured across the pond that he was once a fan, now disillusioned with his hero, making him a millennial scapegoat to any affronting reading.

Related: 2018 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

This generational push and pull could have been what sent A Star Is Born to greatness. Sam Elliott’s speech about there only being twelve notes played over and over, with the majesty coming from how the artist uses them is a beautiful sentiment that sees Cooper self-justifying another remake and appears like a zen view on the entertainment business that birthed it. Except it isn’t, because this idea is also trying to explain the ending, claiming that the music industry is cyclical and that stars are born and then new stars are born later; Jack’s death is enabling that. What the film seems to miss is that for one state to ever enter another, a star must always die. Ally will fall too. The raw textual argument is that the failures are as eternal as the successes, raising the question of worth, yet the film provides no further exploration and presents it as somehow immediately uplifting.

And that’s the hump that A Star Is Born 2018, like its predecessors, can’t get over. The story thinks it’s a biting, self-aware take on itself, but it’s too close to the subject to see that it’s really just propagating a harsh cycle. This isn’t helped by the film being weighted by so much – the casting of Lady Gaga, his writer-director-producer-actor whammy, even Sam Elliott as the Sam Elliott-type – although those concerns are also the key explanation for what’s really going on.

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

Throughout this article, there’s been one question dangling unspoken. Why are there four versions of A Star Is Born anyway? It’s a story that is flawed and dated, on a topic which has been tackled in more films than any other. Yes, each movie got serious Oscar nominations and wins, but that alone isn’t enough to justify going back. The true answer is enlightening.

1954’s A Star Is Born was conceived as a bid to restart Judy Garland’s career after it stalled over the 1940s. 1976’s A Star Is Born was Barbra Streisand’s attempt (along with then-husband Jon Peters) to boost her standing in Hollywood. And 2018’s A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s grand attempt to win the Oscar that he believes he deserves (his entire post-Hangover career is a carefully played game of chess with a Golden Baldie the King). There are studio concerns too (before Cooper, Warner Bros had been attempting to get a remake off the ground since the early 2010s, although as a Beyonce vehicle has the same career expansion goals), but those are the primary purposes of each version. A Star Is Born is a vanity project on repeat.

Related: A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

Now, vanity projects needn’t be bad, and indeed a lot of good comes from each of these attempts. Indeed, each was ultimately successful in both their primary and commercial goals: Garland’s career was rejuvenated; Streisand won her second Oscar; and Cooper’s currently the front-runner in multiple categories for next year’s Academy Awards.

But this aspect appears to be why each version of A Star Is Born struggles to understand the real meaning of its ending. Each powering force believes this movie will be what takes them being a Norman/Jack Maine to a new Esther/Ally while missing that it’s built into the story to be impossible. They believe so much in the two contradictory Hollywood legends wholesale, so don’t see that the story is almost warning against such a thing.

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

In recent years, we’ve seen Hollywood’s reliable rotation of movies about itself take a genuinely incisive slant. 2015’s Best Picture Winner Birdman was an ostentatious exploration of ego that too ended with the protagonist committing suicide, but there it was with the wry critique that fame and adoration are fleeting and that such a bold act was the only way for the self-involved hero to reach the heights he dreamed of. Then there’s 2017’s almost-Best Picture Winner La La Land, which was a celebration of Hollywood-gone-by looking at love in a city of stars, eventually concluding that success required the sacrifice of the central relationship.

Together, these take on all the ideas that A Star Is Born is playing with and apply them in a more thoughtful way. The messages are more widely applicable and their endnotes have considerably less of the hypocrisy. Birdman and La La Land may find joy in the arts, but they also uncover the trials of creativity and fame, keeping the brutal truths in earshot while presenting from a position of success.

A Star Is Born 2018 is a good movie, an undeniable achievement for both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. But there is a flaw at the heart of the tale that just doesn’t ring true. Unless it’s made with a completely revisionist, ego-less eye, in twenty years we do not need another one.

More: Every Version Of A Star Is Born Ranked, From Garland To Gaga



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2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater

Brie Larson Emotionally Recalls Wearing Captain Marvel’s Suit for the First Time

Brie Larson got emotional the first time she wore the Captain Marvel suit. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has thrived for a decade, but next year will be the first time it puts the spotlight solely on a female hero. Larson joins the MCU as Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, and will debut in her solo movie before joining the fight against Thanos in Avengers 4. Even though this is the biggest franchise in the world, the Oscar-winning star admitted she hesitated to join initially.

Now that she’s officially onboard, Larson is embodying Carol Danvers the best she can. She trained relentlessly for months, did her comic book research, and has been the example for young girls she wishes she had when she was growing up. She’s come to understand how important the role is, and that can make the process a bit emotional.

Related: Captain Marvel Trailer Hides Her MCU Origin In Plain Sight

Larson spoke to Entertainment Tonight during their visit to the set, and was asked about her stellar super suit. She started by reminding everyone how secretive Marvel is, to the point where she couldn’t share the experience with anyone. But, now that images and the first trailer have arrived, she can open up about wearing the suit for the first time and recall the emotional response it triggered.

I was trying different pieces on. Then when I finally put it all on together, I was just staring at myself in the mirror and I did get emotional…The first time I put it on I was like, ‘I’m like a Disneyland character! This is crazy!’

While becoming a source of inspiration for women may have been part of the reason why Larson took this role, it’s great to know that even she is feeling how big of a deal it is. Captain Marvel is far from the first live-action female hero on the big screen, but she’s hopefully going to continue to show that superhero movies starring women can be wildly successful at the box office, just as Wonder Woman proved last year.

The Disneyland comparison is a bit ironic, as it may not be too long before Captain Marvel is walking around Disney’s theme park. There will be a bigger Marvel presence in the years to come, and if Captain Marvel is the hit everyone wants it to be, her popularity will likely lead to her being one of the characters attendees can interact with while visiting. Larson is far from the only one to have this level of excitement for the film. The trailer was watched over 100 million times in the first 24 hours, and has garnered a great response from fans around the world. With the marketing campaign just beginning, more looks at Captain Marvel will come, as will additional quotes and stories from Larson.

MORE: Brie Larson Responds to ‘Captain Marvel Should Smile’ Trolls

Source: ET Online



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2018-09-20 07:09:13 – Cooper Hood