AMC Adapting Stephen & Owen King Novel Sleeping Beauties

AMC is adapting Stephen and Owen King’s novel Sleeping Beauties. Few authors can lay claim to the degree of success that Stephen King has achieved throughout his lengthy career. The 71-year-old novelist has redefined horror writing to such a degree that few now realize that there was a time when horror wasn’t considered literature at all.

What’s more, King has apparently passed on some of his talent and expertise to his son, Owen, whom he collaborated with on Sleeping Beauties. The father and son combination apparently works, as Sleeping Beauties earned high-praise from numerous respected critics upon its initial release, and continues to sell well. Though the novel was only Owen’s second, much like his father, offers to adapt it into a live-action production have been quick to reach him early on in his career. When Anonymous Content (True Detective, The Revenant) secured the rights in 2017, they did so before the novel had even been released.

Related: Pet Sematary 2019 Misses the Point of Stephen King’s Novel

Thanks to Deadline, we now know that Sleeping Beauties is indeed heading to TV screens, as AMC commits to a pilot deal, with the ultimate goal being an open-ended series. Based on current information, it doesn’t appear that the elder King will have much to do with the production, as just Owen is confirmed to write the pilot script. That being said, it likely doesn’t hurt having Stephen King in your corner.

The plot of Sleeping Beauties has all the classic horror/thriller components that King fans have come to know and love, alongside a fresh and timely concept. When women in the small town of Dooling begin falling asleep, enmeshed in a strange sort of cocoon, the town’s men realize that waking them results in the womens’ uncontrollable rage and immediate willingness to murder anyone who disturbs them. The sickness is called Aurora and it exists everywhere in the world as well, not just in Dooling. But as the women of the world disappear into slumber, the men are left to their own devices and it soon becomes known that one woman in Dooling is immune to Aurora. In fact, she just may be mankind’s only chance for understanding what Aurora really is and where the women go when they fall under its spell.

On its surface, Sleeping Beauties already has everything it needs to find its mark as a successful series. As previously mentioned, AMC has yet to commit to an entire series, having made a deal just for the pilot. However, given that its creative force comes at least in part from one of the most complex horror authors of all time, the fact that Sleeping Beauties seems a mixture of Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale bodes very well, especially at a time where gender is such a hot topic.

More: Every Upcoming Stephen King Movie In Development

Source: Deadline

2019-04-16 08:04:03

Mike Jones

Pet Sematary 2019 Misses the Point of Stephen King’s Novel

The 2019 adaptation of Pet Sematary misses the point of Stephen King’s novel. Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, the new Pet Sematary movie makes some radical changes to the plot of the book. Yet the problem isn’t that the story changed, but that it lost focus on the heart of the book.

Published in 1983, Pet Sematary follows the Creed family as they move from the city to rural Maine in search of a quieter life and a nicer place for the kids – eight year-old Ellie and two year-old Gage – to grow up. Unfortunately, their new property sits next to a truck route where trucks barrel along at deadly speeds all day, and the road ends up claiming first the life of the family’s pet cat, Church, and then the life of young Gage. Fortunately (or, as it turns out, unfortunately) the nearby pet cemetery holds the path to an older burial ground, where things that are buried can come back to life… though they’re not exactly the same.

Related: Pet Sematary Review

Pet Sematary was first adapted in 1989 by Mary Lambert, and thirty years later Paramount Pictures decided the story could do with an update, complete with a twist in the tale and some added horror elements. Unfortunately, in the effort to make Pet Sematary scarier, the new adaptation loses sight of what made the original novel so terrifying in the first place.

  • This Page: What Makes Stephen King’s Pet Sematary So Scary
  • Page 2: What the 1989 Pet Sematary Got Right, and the 2019 Movie Got Wrong

Though it may have a Native-American burial ground and people rising from the dead, the supernatural elements aren’t what make King’s Pet Sematary so terrifying. In fact, the core of the novel comes from two incidents that happened to King in real life, with no supernatural intervention required. In 1979, King – like Louis Creed – had gotten a job at the University of Maine (though as a writer-in-residence, not as a doctor), and was living in a house in a nearby town that bordered a major truck route. The road had a reputation for claiming the lives of local pets, and one of its victims was a cat belonging to King’s eight year-old daughter. Like Louis, King had to bury the cat in the local pet cemetery and break the news of what had happened to his daughter.

In details of the inspiration for Pet Sematary on King’s official website, he explains that the death of the cat became coupled in his mind with another horrible incident – one in which his son had almost run into a highway, and King had managed to pull him back just in time. King explains:

“I can remember crossing the road, and thinking that the cat had been killed in the road – and (I thought) what if a kid died in that road? And we had had this experience with Owen running toward the road, where I had just grabbed him and pulled him back. And the two things just came together – on one side of this two-lane highway was the idea of what if the cat came back, and on the other side of the highway was what if the kid came back.”

The idea that grew out of the horror of those two incidences was that of first pets, and then people, being brought back from the dead. But the actual, visceral fear of Pet Sematary isn’t the resurrection of Church the cat or Gage Creed, but the circumstances of their deaths in the first place.

Related: What To Expect From A Pet Sematary 2

The best horror comes from an experience that’s relatable to people, whether it’s ghost movies that play on our fear of being alone in dark and empty houses, or something more abstract like David Lynch’s Eraserhead, which puts a surreal spin of the terror of failing as a parent. While Pet Sematary has a ghost with a bloody, smashed-in head, an undead cat, and a toddler coming back from the grave with a newfound bloodlust, arguably the most frightening passage in it is the description of Gage’s death. A neighbor, Missy Dandridge, tries to comfort Louis at his son’s funeral by saying, “At least it was quick” – to which Louis (silently) responds:

Yes, it was quick, all right, he thought about saying to her… It was quick, no doubt about that, that’s why the coffin’s closed… It was quick, Missy-my-dear, one minute he was there on the road and the next minute he was lying in it, but way down by the Ringers’ house. It hit him and killed him and then it dragged him and you better believe it was quick. A hundred yards or more all told, the length of a football field. I ran after him, Missy, I was screaming his name over and over again, almost as if I expected he would still be alive – me, a doctor. I ran ten yards and there was his baseball cap and I ran twenty yards and there was one of his Star Wars sneakers, I ran forty yards and by then the truck had run off the road and the box had jackknifed in that field beyond the Ringers’ barn. People were coming out of their houses and I went on screaming his name, Missy, and at the fifty-yard line there was his jumper, it was turned inside-out, and on the seventy-yard line there was the other sneaker, and then there was Gage…

Though it’s speculated in the novel, by both Louis and Jud, that bringing Church back from the dead may have somehow started a cosmic chain of events that led to Gage’s death, it could just as easily have been the case that Gage’s death was truly random. After all, many people have buried and brought their pets back over the years without setting off a litany of further tragedies, including Jud himself. The suddenness, randomness, and violence of Gage’s death cuts to the heart of a parent’s worst nightmare, and the rest of the novel’s horror grows out of that.

Page 2: What the 1989 Pet Sematary Got Right, and the 2019 Movie Got Wrong

The first adaptation of Pet Sematary, Mary Lambert’s 1989 movie, wasn’t especially well-received upon its release. Empire scathingly called its screenplay “hacked up” and “sloppy,” and lamented that “you have to sit impatiently through scene after silly scene before the zombie attacks start.” Lambert’s Pet Sematary has, however, weathered the test of time because it recognizes that the zombie attacks were not the point of the novel.

One of the movie’s most memorable and nightmare-inducing scenes is when Rachel Creed tells Louis about her sister, Zelda, who died of convulsions as a result of spinal meningitis. There’s nothing supernatural about the story that Rachel tells but, as portrayed in the film, it captures the horror of watching a relative die slowly from disease. Denise Crosby gives a powerful performance as Rachel recalls running out of the house screaming, “Zelda’s dead! Zelda’s dead! Zelda’s dead!” – speculating that she was actually laughing, rather than crying, in relief that both Zelda and her family’s suffering was over. In the book, Rachel is left with a crippling phobia of death that causes her to lash out when Louis tells her that death is “natural,” and Lambert’s movie effectively conveys the idea that even “natural” deaths can be terrifying and monstrous.

Related: Pet Sematary: Why The Original Zelda Was Better

Crosby’s performance, along with Dale Midkiff’s as Louis Creed, is crucial in capturing the devastating power of grief that drives the novel and continually pushes Louis along a path to further disaster. Though it strays from the book in places, Lambert’s film has an awareness of what moments were most important, and it’s those scenes that are adapted closely – for example, the scene where a devastated Louis has to kill his resurrected son via lethal injection and watch Gage die all over again. Then, to emphasize how all-encompassing and ruinous Louis’ grief is, he starts the whole cycle all over again by taking the now-dead Rachel up to the burial ground. These scenes are missing from the new adaptation, and it makes all the difference.

Kölsch and Widmyer’s movie seems to share the same opinion as the aforementioned review of the 1989 Pet Sematary: that the scenes of the Creed family interacting with another (and Jud Crandall) and the gradual build-up of horror are annoying roadblocks on the way to the real meat of the story, which is zombies attacking.

Pet Sematary 2019 largely starts to go off the rails with the death of Ellie. Not only does the movie, by way of changing things up, lose the moment where Louis comes agonizingly close to pulling his child back from the road only to fail, it also makes Ellie’s death almost comically bloodless. Recall the novel’s chilling description of Louis Creed’s one hundred yard run from the place where Gage was hit to the place where his body ends up, and then compare it to Louis cradling Ellie’s completely intact body in the 2019 movie, and then later finding her looking completely pristine in her coffin. The stitches that Louis finds in the back of Ellie’s head in the novel are an extremely toned down version of a horrifying detail from the novel: that Gage’s head came completely off in the accident, and had to be stitched back on.

Conversely, Kölsch and Widmyer’s adaptation has the compulsion to spice up Zelda’s death, perhaps because the idea of someone dying from spinal meningitis wasn’t considered scary enough. The film instead concocts an incident in which Zelda falls down a dumb waiter and ends up mangled at the bottom, which is good for a jump scare but is so utterly bizarre that it’s hard to really be really horrified by it.

Related: Pet Sematary 2019 Resurrections & Ending Explained

The biggest problem with this adaptation, however, is that the entire series of terrible events is not solely driven by Louis and his refusal to accept the finality of death. In the novel, Louis brings Church back and then, even knowing that Church didn’t come back right, decides to bring Gage back as well. Bringing Gage back leads to Rachel’s death, but when Louis has an opportunity to finally leave things be, mourn his wife and son and be grateful for the daughter he still has, he still refuses to stop. Convincing himself that he “waited too long” with Gage and “something got in him,” Louis decides to repeat the process with Rachel – a decision that ultimately dooms him. King’s novel is as much a tragedy as it is a horror story, and that’s what makes it so effective.

By contrast, the last meaningful decision Louis makes in the 2019 Pet Sematary movie is the decision to bring Ellie back. From there, the movie focuses on turning Ellie into a devious, demonic killing machine who orchestrates everything else that follows. Rachel comes home and is horrified to see her daughter again, instinctively knowing that it’s not really her daughter. This is very different to the novel, where Rachel is so consumed up by happiness at having her child back that, in the moment, she doesn’t even question how it happened – a reaction that feels much more realistic.

Louis doesn’t bring anyone else back in the 2019 movie. Ellie kills Rachel and then drags her body to the burial ground, and Rachelthen  comes back for a surprise kill, impaling Louis before dragging him up to the burial ground as well. By this point the feeling of grief and desperation has long been forgotten by the movie, discarded more or less as soon as the undead Ellie showed up. Louis has no real agency and the final events are driven by external forces (demonic forces possessing the Creed family, apparently) rather than by the very human emotion of wanting to have a deceased loved one back again.

Pet Sematary 2019 isn’t necessarily a bad movie, but it is much more forgettable than the novel or the 1989 adaptation, because it lacks confidence in what made those stories scary: the simple idea that people can die at any time, and there’s nothing you can do to bring them back.

More: Pet Sematary 2019 Differences: Biggest Changes To The Book & Original Movie

2019-04-13 02:04:46

Hannah Shaw-Williams

Arrow Star Stephen Amell Announces Season 7 Production Wrap

The end of Arrow draws ever closer, with star Stephen Amell announcing that season 7 has officially wrapped. Starting life as a standalone series, Arrow debuted on The CW in 2012. Over time, however, the show expanded into what’s become known as the Arrowverse. Starting with The Flash, and later incorporating both Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, the small-screen DC universe has mastered interconnected storytelling in a fashion not dissimilar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

During 2018’s installment of their annual crossover event, titled Elseworlds, the universe expanded even further, introducing Gotham City and setting up a Batwoman spinoff. With Arrow having already been renewed for season 8, fans expected the show to continue alongside it. The news came down shortly afterward, however, that season 8 would be Arrow‘s last. The series dropped another bombshell soon after, with Emily Bett Rickards (who plays Felicity Smoak) announcing she would bow out with the conclusion of the current season. Rickards has been a staple of the series since the first season. Starting off as a guest star, Rickards quickly turned Felicity into a fan favorite regular and Oliver Queen’s primary love interest.

Related: The 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Couples On Arrow

Posting on social media (as reported by CBR) Amell revealed that it was the end of an era on two fronts. Firstly, on Twitter, he announced that principal photography had officially wrapped on the penultimate season. The message was a short and sweet one, no doubt saving the truly emotional posts for after the 10-episode final season still to come. Over on Instagram, it proved to be a much more poignant and heartwarming affair. With the final day of shooting also serving as Rickards’ final day overall, Amell shared a video in which his daughter serenaded his co-star with a song to mark her departure. Both posts can be seen below.

Arrow isn’t the only CW show soon to be leaving the network. The Golden Globe-winning Crazy Ex-Girlfriend recently aired its series finale. iZombie will also air its final season in the coming months. Most notably, the long-running series, Supernatural, will wrap-up with its landmark 15th season. Amell recently posted a jovial photo of himself with Supernatural star Jared Padalecki, as they humorously lamented their status as soon-to-be out-of-work actors. Season 7’s storyline has heavily featured flashforwards, documenting the future exploits of such characters as Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), and Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez). As such, given that the future presents them as still operating in Star City, it’s expected that they will all be back for the final ten episodes. Recent rumors even suggest that that corner of the universe may live on even after Arrow‘s conclusion, serving as yet another spinoff.

Speculation will remain rife as to Oliver Queen’s ultimate fate, however. Numerous theories currently suggest he’ll make the ultimate sacrifice – completing his transition from brutal vigilante to an actual hero. The departure of Felicity no doubt adds credibility to that theory. Any happy ending has been increasingly tied to his relationship with Felicity. With the character no longer on the show, it paves the way for a more bittersweet end to Oliver’s arc. Whatever the case, though the looming end of the series has been met with mostly humor and levity, these latest posts mark a turn towards the poignant – for fans and everybody working on the show alike. The end of the show is closer than ever now. As such, the lasts will undoubtedly come thick and fast in the coming months, as the series heads towards its inevitable conclusion.

More: 10 Things That Need To Happen Before Arrow Ends

Season 7 of Arrow continues with ‘Lost Canary’, April 15, 2019, on The CW.

Source: CBR

2019-04-11 09:04:23

John Atkinson

Stephen King Adapting Lisey’s Story as Apple TV Series with Julianne Moore

Stephen King and J.J. Abrams will team up for Lisey’s Story, a new Apple drama series adapted from King’s novel, to star Oscar winner Julianne Moore. Beginning with Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Carrie in 1976, Hollywood has long had a love affair with the books of horror master Stephen King. But never has the writer been more popular in the eyes of the entertainment industry than now, as content creators scramble to adapt his works into movies and TV shows.

2019 will see the arrival of three big King movie adaptations, the remade Pet Sematary (which in fact is already out), the sequel IT: Chapter Two and the Ewan McGregor-led Doctor Sleep, based on the sequel novel to King’s The Shining. Also in development is a Netflix movie based on In The Tall Grass, which King co-wrote with his son Joe Hill. The long list of recently announced King adaptations also includes a new feature film version of The Tommyknockers from James Wan, a series version of the 2018 novel The Outsider from HBO and a new series based on King’s classic The Stand. Perhaps most exciting for long time King fans is the news that The Talisman, his fantasy novel co-written with Peter Straub, is finally getting a movie adaptation after years of rumors.

Related: Every Upcoming Stephen King Movie In Development

That already long list of announced King projects has now grown even longer, as THR reports that Apple will team with the horror author and his producing partner J.J. Abrams for Lisey’s Story, a series adaptation of King’s 2006 novel. Oscar winner Julianne Moore has signed on to play the lead character, a woman who begins facing repressed memories about her husband two years after his death. King himself will write all eight episodes, which marks a bit of a departure for the author, who normally remains hands-off when it comes to adaptations of his works. Producers are reportedly seeking “high-profile” directors to work on the series.

King and Abrams have already enjoyed a fruitful relationship, having teamed up for the Hulu series 11.22.63 and Castle Rock. Lisey’s Story will be just the latest King book to get the series treatment in recent years, following Mr. Mercedes, The Mist and Under the Dome. Julianne Moore herself has previously appeared in a King adaptation, playing the role of Carrie’s mom in the 2013 remake of Carrie starring Chloe Grace Moretz. For Apple, Lisey’s Story marks another major acquisition as the company’s new streaming endeavor Apple TV+ continues stacking its schedule with high-profile projects. The Apple TV+ slate already includes a series version of Time Bandits from Taika Waititi, a CIA drama starring Brie Larson, an M. Night Shyamalan thriller series starring Rupert Grint and the Chris Evans-led legal thriller Defending Jacob.

Given the huge number of streaming services and TV networks currently competing for viewers, and the obvious need for huge amounts of content to fill all those outlets, it’s no surprise that content creators keep coming back to Stephen King and his almost bottomless supply of works like Lisey’s Story. When all is said and done, it’s possible that there will be no Stephen King novel or short story left unadapted.

More: Every Stephen King Movie Ranked, From Worst To Best

Source: THR

2019-04-09 05:04:19

Dan Zinski

Pet Sematary 2019’s IT Reference: How To Do Stephen King’s Universe Right

Pet Sematary 2019 has a reference to Derry, the fictional Maine town that appears across Stephen King’s writing but made famous by IT. Far from just a wink to one of the author’s most famous works, this sees movies based on King begin to properly embrace the shared universe aspect of his books.

A readaptation of King’s 1983 novel (the previous movie released in 1989), Pet Sematary is set on the outskirts of Ludlow, Maine and presents a lot of classic elements of the author, from articulated trucks to century-spanning spirits. The film follows the Creed family who gets ensnared with the Wendigo after the death of their cat Church, then daughter Ellie (toddler Gage in the book). It’s a rather self-contained story – the new movie doesn’t even go that far into Ludlow itself – although has some big universe teases.

Related: Every Stephen King Movie Ranked, From Worst To Best

On the way back to Ludlow, Rachel (Amy Seimetz) gets stuck in a traffic jam on the outskirts, at which point a road sign for Derry can be seen. Derry is best known as the town menaced every 27 years by IT in the form of Pennywise the Clown, but predates that 1986 novel by a few years, with references in stories as diverse as The Body (the inspiration for Stand By Me) to The Running Man (nothing like the movie) and appearances in subsequent books.

The IT reference in Pet Sematary comes from the source, but that it happens so innocuously is a key step in the evolution of Stephen King on film. There have been almost 50 movies based on his books (depending on how you count) that have managed to translate much of what makes the writing so popular, defining New England horror as a legitimate genre. But one thing that most Stephen King movies have avoided is how everything is supposed to exist in a proper, connected universe; places and sometimes people intersect in surprising ways that reward King superfans with a tapestry of stories to explore (that doesn’t get in the way for newcomers).

2017’s The Dark Tower did attempt to introduce this idea similar to how the book series connected various threads together, but that wound up being a marketing ploy using photos of The Overlook than it was anything of substance in the hastily-edited film itself. Last year’s Castle Rock TV show on Hulu managed to tie things together much more successfully, with a mixture of meta casting and sharp writing constructing a world teeming with references, but that was still very much targeted at the King faithful.

Pet Sematary‘s IT reference takes this to a much bigger scale. Pennywise is a true cultural icon after IT made $700 million at the box office, and Pet Sematary is similarly poised for impressive returns. Of course, the reference doesn’t go much further than that: a reference. It’s not indicative of a connection between the new movie and IT: Chapter Two due out later this year, mainly thanks to book rights, with different studios owning different stories: Pet Sematary is a Paramount release, IT a New Line production for Warner Bros.

Related: How The IT Franchise Can Continue After Chapter Two

But that isn’t the point. There should be no expectation for IT and the Wendigo to cross paths – their similar modus operandi never yields a direct connection. In contrast to how every Easter egg in a Marvel movie is deemed to tease something big in the future, in Stephen King’s mythology it’s fun background. To see Derry get a casual namedrop in Pet Sematary, a film totally unrelated, is the big deal.

Next: What To Expect From A Pet Sematary 2

2019-04-05 08:04:13

Alex Leadbeater

Pet Sematary Review: Sometimes Stephen King Movies Are Just Decent

In the wake of the ongoing Stephen Kingaissance in film and television, it was probably inevitable that Pet Sematary – one of the author’s most popular and (in)famous horror stories ever – would eventually find its way back to the big screen. The book, which King wrote in 1983, is far from a stranger to cinematic interpretations, and was previously adapted by director Mary Lambert in 1989. Where that version was relatively faithful to the original novel, this new version takes some major liberties, for both good and bad. Pet Sematary captures the bruality of King’s source material, but its attempts to add shocking twists to the original narrative yield mixed results.

The new Pet Sematary starts off the same as previous iterations, following the Creed family as they relocate to rural Maine – on the outskirts of a small town called Ludlow – for their patriarch Louis’ (Jason Clarke) new job at a university hospital. Shortly after, their young daughter Ellie (Jeté Laurence) discovers the existence of a nearby pet cemetery (misspelled “Sematary” on its sign), and befriends their kindly new neighbor, the widower Jud Crandall (John Lithgow). When tragedy strikes the Creed family, Jud attempts to help Louis by revealing the dangerous truth about what lies beyond the pet cemetery in the woods – namely, an ancient burial ground with the power to resurrect the dead, but at a terrible cost.

Written by Jeff Buhler (The Midnight Meat Train) from a screen story by Matt Greenberg (1408), Pet Sematary allows Buhler to further explore themes about the horror of parenthood, much like his did earlier this year with his script for the evil child thriller The Prodigy. Those aren’t the only similarities between the two horror movies, either. Both Pet Sematary and The Prodigy knowingly attempt to subvert expectations; in the case of the former, it nods to infamous moments from previous versions of the story before taking things in a different direction. The trailers for Pet Sematary have already spoiled one of its biggest twists on King’s novel, but the film has other tricks up its sleeves, especially during the final act. Its conclusion aside (more on that later), these changes don’t necessarily make the movie better or worse than the book and Lambert’s adaptation – just different.

For the most part, however, Pet Sematary works as a streamlined retelling of King’s original story. Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) maintain a study pace throughout the film, and are equally efficient in the way they build up to the more gruesome developments in the second half through a series of ominous and foreboding moments (in particular, a ghastly incident where Louis tries and fails to save a student who was hit by a car). The movie’s scary sequences are similarly sturdy in their construction, if not particularly ground-breaking, and are buoyed by the quietly unsettling colors of Overlord DP Laurie Rose’s cinematography, in combination with Sinister composer Christopher Young’s more overtly threatening score. Pet Sematary‘s cast, which includes Amy Seimetz as the Creed family’s matriarch Rachel, likewise inspire sympathy for the film’s characters (and their often ill-conceived decisions) through their performances.

Unfortunately, the movie stumbles when it tries to change things up (again) during the climax. In its efforts to deliver a gut-punch of a finale that’s even gloomier than the conclusion to King’s source material, the new Pet Sematary winds up sacrificing some of the novel’s thematic substance. While it doesn’t leave quite the nihilistic aftertaste of the ending to The Prodigy, Buhler’s script nevertheless loses track of the story’s overarching moral about the suffocating power of unprocessed grief and trauma in its final act. This, in turn, muddles Louis’ arc and lessens the emotional impact of subplots like Rachel’s morbid backstory (which involves the death of her sister Zelda, when she was a child). It doesn’t help that things get a little silly in the final third, making it all the more difficult to appreciate the gravity of what transpires.

At the end of the day, Pet Sematary falls somewhere in the middle on the scale of Stephen King movies. It’s effectively creepy and well-acted overall, but lacks the heart and substance of the best-received King adaptations in recent years (specifically, IT and Gerald’s Game). At the same time, some people will undoubtedly appreciate the way the film changes things up from King’s novel more than others, and should further enjoy the small references to King’s other major works included here (like Cujo and, yes, IT again). It might not be a must-see for general audiences, but horror buffs and King fans will want to give this one a look at some point. Sometimes dead is better when it comes to King’s properties, but this is one of the exceptions.

Pet Sematary begins playing in U.S. theaters on Thursday evening, April 4. It is 101 minutes long and is rated R for horror violence, bloody images, and some language.

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

2019-04-04 07:04:21

Sandy Schaefer

Hugo Weaving & Stephen Lang Interview: Mortal Engines

Hugo Weaving has dozens of memorable roles from Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy to Elrond in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. His dignified appearance and strong voice have made him a favorite go-to actor in Hollywood. His most recent role is Thaddeus Valentine in Mortal Engines, a fantasy adventure where mobile cities compete for the world’s remaining resources.

Stephen Lang is best known for his many military roles in Hollywood films. He played Colonel Quaritch in the Avatar franchise, General “Stonewall” Jackson in Gods and Generals, and Colonel Biggs in Hostiles.  In Mortal Engines, he plays Shrike, the last of an undead battalion of soldiers.

Screen Rant: Hello, gentlemen. This is a very big film. What were your first impressions walking onto these sets?

Stephen Lang: They’re big.

Screen Rant: Were you familiar with these stories at all? With the Mortal Engine stories or series?

Hugo Weaving: Not prior to reading the script. But obviously by the time we were on set we were familiar with them. But, no, the first– I’d heard of them.  I’d heard they were actually very popular books. But I hadn’t read them. So, my first introduction was reading the script. And it was absolutely wonderful. So, I enjoyed that read enormously. And then went back and started.

Screen Rant: This is another big franchise film for you. You’ve done these big franchise films and you’ve worked with Jackson and his team. What’s it like being isolated over here in Wellington or wherever you are in New Zealand to work on these films? In such a condensed, closed off area from the rest of society?  Is that a positive? Or is it…

Hugo Weaving: I mean, Wellington, one of the great things about being in New Zealand, it is kind of that.  You are on an island, or two islands, in a part of the world that seems very distant from everywhere else. Of course, when you’re there, it’s the center of the universe. And there’s a certain– There’s some sense of… There’s a very unique cultures there. And they’re very creative people, very welcoming, very can do, very experimental as well. So, it’s always a great pleasure to be there.

Screen Rant: That’s awesome. What was it like seeing your completed character on the screen? Were you involved with the process of developing Shrike?

Stephen Lang: Yes. The process of developing Shrike was very collaborative. Of course, when I first got to the set, I was beginning my work. And part of the beginnings of my work, has to do with looking at the work that’s already been done. The character renderings by people who have been thinking about this and sketching this, and sculpting this, well before I came on the scene. And then, the task I think for all of us involved in the creation of this role, is one of dialogue and collaboration. We all know we’re working towards the same objective. Which is to make the most complete, alluring, frightening, terrifying, deeply felt character that we possibly can. And the folks at Weta, they’re old hands at this. So, I have tremendous– I didn’t come into this with any wariness or any trepidation at all. Because I know that their brief has always been to take the work that the actor does and to articulate it as honestly and authentically as they can.

Screen Rant: So, with a big epic story like this, there’s a lot of comparisons to, even though they started making this 10 years ago, people want to compare the dynamic of this film to what’s happening in the world today. Do you address that at all? What’s your takeaway on that?

Hugo Weaving: Well, of course, Philip Reeve, wrote the books in response to the world in which he was living. And he wrote them for young adults to somehow express what their fears or what their hopes might be within this landscape. So, I think any science-fiction or fantasy world, or any post-apocalyptic world, that’s created by writers, necessarily reflects the world in which we live and the worries that we have about the world in which we live. It has to.

More: Hera Hilmar & Jihae Interview for Mortal Engines

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2018-12-11 01:12:08

Stephen Lang, Leila George & Robert Sheehan Interview: Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines is a post-apocalyptic adventure where entire cities are motorized and seek out to destroy one another hundreds of years after civilization is destroyed. A mysterious girl named Hester is the only one who can stop the predatory city of London from destroying what’s left of the world. Based on the novel by Phillip Reeve, Mortal Engines is written by Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Peter Jackson, and is directed by Christian Rivers.

Stephen Lang has starred in well over 100 films, including Gods & Generals, The Girl on the Train, and Avatar. He portrays Shirke, a reanimated, undead soldier with mechanical parts, who takes in Hester. Actress Leila George (Mother, May I Sleep With Danger), plays Katherine Valentine. Robert “Robbie” Sheehan (Geoestorm; Genius), is Tom Natsworthy, a low-class London historian who is tossed off the predatory city and tries to survive with the help of Hester.

Screen Rant: What’s up guys? Welcome to New York Comic Con 2018. You guys had a huge panel earlier today, a huge turnout show. Twenty-five minutes of footage, which I haven’t seen yet, but already people are raving about it on social media. What got you guys attached to Mortal Engines? Because I haven’t read the book. Did you guys read the read the novel at all?

Stephen Lang: I was sent the script. I had not read the novels. I read the script was totally enchanted by it. So then I made it my business to read the books.

Robert Sheehan: Yeah, same, same, same.

Leila George: I’m not the same. I read the book after my first audition, so I auditioned in London and then I live in L.A. So I went home, and had a call back, and read the first book for the callback. And then it was a while before I got the role, like a couple months even, and then I read the script.

Screen Rant: But that point you’re already into the book so I’m sure it didn’t matter.

Leila George: I haven’t read the book since that first time, just because, I didn’t want to get confused about what was going on.

Screen Rant: Sure. Now this film looks like a huge, epic production and it’s the scale of it, it’s just a ginormous. I don’t even know if ginormous is a word, but it’s huge. And Peter Jackson’s involved obviously. Can you talk to me about how it was working with Peter? Because he’s such a visionary.

Robert Sheehan: Well, Christian was directing and Peter would occasionally shoot/direct second unit and he directed some reshoots that we did. But really Christian was in the driver’s seat for this one. Christian was directing. Christian Rivers, who was Peter’s right hand guy for many, many years. He started off storyboarding for Peter and then went on to win himself an Oscar for visual effects for the movie ‘King Kong’. So he’s had a long relationship with Peter and the team. And so I think Peter [had] just come off the back of ‘The Hobbit’, the hobbit mountain and was I think was kind of ready to kind of go ‘right. You should step the seat here in direct this baby.’ But yeah, Peter was around, you know, he co-wrote the script and you know, he was there creatively, but it was very much Christians movie.

Screen Rant: Awesome. Um, what jumped out to you guys when you guys first read that initial script? What was the thing that really drew you in?

Robert Sheehan: Well, I’ll be honest, I had a Skype with the creators and he script was still quite amorphous at that point. It was still taking shape. So they were kind of encouraging input, you know, with the character and stuff. So the script sort of came into focus later on down the line for me. I was incredibly eager to sign up from the first chat that we’d had because of course, you know, they have a medium to good track record in the past, these folks. So I was just dying to work with them in some capacity and I was very honored that they wanted to work with me. So I put faith in them that they were to say we’re going to write a great script.

Screen Rant: For you guys?

Stephen Lang: I liked the part. From the minute I read the part I thought, ‘oh, that’s a tough part’. And so I wanted to play the part. I liked it. And so that’s how it worked. And I actually did do quite a lot of work with Peter on this. As Robbie [Robert Sheehan] points out, he [Peter Jackson] did direct second unit. I have a feeling Peter Cherry picked some scenes as well. But you know, the relationship between Christian and Peter is very, very organic. They’ve worked together a long, long time. And so it was never a question. There were never any problems at all. But Peter is very amusing to work with as well. I play the only performance capture a role in the film and so and so everyone else is dressed in their wardrobe and I’m dressed in, you know, essentially a diving suit  So Peter would feel no compunction about saying ‘would you mind carrying a camera? You know, let’s put a camera on you too.’

I said ‘sure, Peter put a camera on me.’ So I was at one point I had four cameras. I had a camera in each hand and two on my head and I thought ‘I need to join the guild if I’m gonna do this‘. So I was filming the scene and then I thought, well why am I filming them? I’m going to start filming me! So I started just turning a camera on myself.

Screen Rant: That’s great! Speaking of characters, chat me up about the characters. Each of you play like a brief synopsis, obviously without giving spoilers away.

Leila George: Katherine is a young girl of the highest cloth in London. And with that she is mature and kind and generous and she has a huge heart and she has a long journey full of strengths and, and very emotional times and very difficult discoveries. But she comes through having gone from a girl to a young woman and that’s really exciting to see, that point in someone’s life. And that’s actually what I jumped on when I first read the script and the book. Actually, that’s what excited me the most about her. That we’re finding her at that moment in her life, where she is suddenly leaving childhood, leaving adolescence and becoming a woman, and everything that goes with that. I just connected so personally with that and liked that a lot.

Robert Sheehan: You know, that thing about going from girlhood to womanhood, boyhood to manhood, I think you could say that about Tom, my character as well.  Because he lives within a system of indoctrination. You know, because resources are so scarce and everything, and they’re so intimately dependent on the engines not failing. And essentially the city is perpetually moving and perpetually hunting and being successful. They have to spin a narrative so that people will get up in the morning and they’ll keep the engines going. And a part of that narrative is that anti-tractionists are barbarians and they should be found and executed and all that. And you know, Tom, when we meet him at the beginning of the film is completely under the bewitchment of that indoctrination because he was born and raised in the city like everybody else. And he’s had, I suppose, a relatively sheltered upbringing, you know, within the context of the entire world, compared to Hester, for example, who had to basically, you know, grow up under the big scary yet quite sort of General Shrike there, and somewhat in the swamps and badlands.

But Tom Basically matures. Kind of through baptism of fire, he figures out what he’s made of, you know, when the chips are down.

Leila George: So that’s very interesting actually, the idea of nature versus nurture. We were all, as characters raised so differently. I mean, Tom Loses his parents. I have what seems like would be the ideal upbringing. I mean, I lost my mother when I was younger, but my dad gave me everything I needed and, and you as a resurrected men raised an eight year old girl. So it’s like, you know…

Stephen Lang: …after my own fashion, I raised her, I feed her, I play Shrike. He’s a resurrected man, he’s a stalker, I’m a bounty hunter. He has a no a no heart and yet possibly the biggest heart in the story. He finds a little waif of a girl who’s injured and he brings her to his home, his lair as it were, and he keeps her alive. He knows that humans have to eat. And so he feeds her, and he begins to form an attachment to her that he can’t quite understand.  And so when she leaves, he’s devastated by it. And so he has to go off and search for her. So it’s very poignant.

Screen Rant: You know, I’m excited to see these predators cities come to life. And I’m sure everybody out there is excited as well as. As well as the panel room; very energetic in there. But as sci fi goes, these kinds of films are cautionary tales. What do you hope audiences take away?

Leila George: The adventure of it. Mainly. It’s such an adventure though from beginning to end. It’s go, go, go and it’s, you don’t know what’s gonna happen, and what’s going to happen next, and what’s going to go right next and what’s going to go wrong next.

Robert Sheehan: Be nicer to be nicer to the environment. Recycle, for God’s sake, and always wash out your litter before putting it in recycling bin. Because the recycling plant people have to take out dirty stuff at the bottom of your chicken packets, because this basically this takes place in the world has been destroyed because of human complacency.

Screen Rant: Well, I’m excited to see it. Guys, thank you so much for stopping by and enjoy the rest of Comic Con.

More: Watch The Mortal Engines Official Trailer

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2018-12-05 05:12:01

Mortal Engines Video Reveals Stephen Lang as the Undead Soldier Shrike

A new video offers a closer look at Stephen Lang as the undead soldier Shrike in Mortal Engines. The last member of an undead group of soldiers known as the Stalkers, Shrike was once a human who was killed in combat and subsequently brought back to life via machinery. He also shares a personal history with the film’s co-protagonist, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar).

Adapted from the book series by Philip Reeve and co-written by Peter Jackson (who once planned to direct the film), Mortal Engines is set in a post-apocalyptic future where giant cities on wheels (or traction cities) prey on smaller mobile towns for the earth’s remaining resources. Robbie Sheehan costars in the movie as Tom Natsworthy, a lower-class resident of London (which is one of the biggest and most dangerous traction cities) whose life is forever changed when he learns about the connection between London’s Head of the Guild of Historians, Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), and the fugitive assassin Hester.

Related: Why Peter Jackson Isn’t Directing the Mortal Engines Movie

After nearly being killed by Hester, Valentine and the Mayor of London, Magnus Crome (Patrick Malahide), recruit Shrike – who helped raise Hester when she was a child – to hunt her down. For more on that, watch the Mortal Engines video in the space below.

Lang spoke more about his Mortal Engines character when we interviewed him on the film’s set, and explained why the character’s contradictory nature made him interesting to the actor in the first place:

I was interested in him from the first line from the first description of him. Ultimately, what got me was that he fulfills all the requirements of tragedy to me. And also, I would say the contradictions in the character. Character’s just rife with contradiction because… for a character that’s been emptied out, he’s really full. For a character who detests memory or has no use for memory, he’s completely obsessed with memory. For a character who is absolutely heartless, he’s got the biggest heart, you know, in the world. So… how do you play that? How do you justify, you know? What does all that mean? And to just sort of, you know, fuck around with that is really – it’s intriguing.

The actor went on to discuss Shrike’s deep connection with Hester, noting that she creates “a gaping kind of hole in [Shrike’s] existence” after she leaves and reminds him of “another gaping hole in his existence, even though he can’t quite recall what that might be”, which is why he’s driven to pursue her. While Shrike functions as an antagonist in Mortal Engines for these reasons, he’s also the sort of dangerous yet tragic character that Lang has played in the past in films like the horror-thriller Don’t Breathe (where he portrayed the nameless Blind Man). He’s also a lifelong military type in the vein of Lang’s character Colonel Miles Quaritch from James Cameron’s Avatar… that whole “undead soldier resurrected” element aside.

Speaking of which: unlike on Avatar, Lang worked on the motion-capture side of things during his time filming Mortal Engines. Describing his mo-cap gear as “very un-Shrike-like”, Lang told us that that he sometimes had to hold a box that contains a physical model of Shrike’s head during his scenes (as a point of reference for the film’s visual effects team to work from), and joked that “So, occasionally, I’ll be in a scene where I’m holding Shrike’s head and I’m thinking, well, they don’t really need me at all.” Based on this new Mortal Engines footage, however, the final onscreen result should be worth all the effort that Lang and the movie’s creatives poured into it.

MORE: Mortal Engines: First 25 Minutes Description

Source: Universal Pictures

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2018-12-05 01:12:39

Stephen King Adaptation The Outsider Gets HBO Series Order

Stephen King’s most recent tale, The Outsider, is coming to the small screen and has been picked up by premium provider, HBO. Released on May 22, it didn’t take long for the novel to get recognized by spectators. The novel was a hit with critics upon release, and focuses on the gruesome murder at the hands of a well respected teacher. The decision to bring the narrative to the small screen was announced earlier this year by The Dark Tower production company, Media Rights Capital.

This isn’t the first adaptation of King’s to be sent to the small screen this year. Hulu is home to the popular Castle Rock, another series based on Stephen King material. The Outsider will follow an investigation of a gruesome murder that leads to a supernatural force making its presence known in the case. Nothing specific has been revealed about the supporting characters but details should release as the project picks up momentum. As for King’s involvement, there has been nothing to suggest he will be involved with the adaptation of his latest novel.

Related: Stephen King’s Novel Joyland To Become Freeform TV Series 

According to Deadline, HBO ordered the series for a 10-episode run with Jason Bateman set to direct the first two episodes. Bateman will also executive produce the series with production company Aggregate Films. Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One) is set to star in the show, his first appearance on TV since the finale of Bloodline. The Outsiders will be joining several popular originals (such as Game of Thrones) on the premium network. Marty Bowen, and Jack Bender will be joining Bateman as executive producers for the project.

Media Rights Capital will have The Wanderers author Richard Price pen the 10-episode program. Price will also be joining Bender and Bowen as executive producers. Bender has directed in his past so if he ends up behind the camera for a few episodes it should come as no surprise. While Bateman will direct the pilot it would be nice to see what Bender can do behind the camera for the show.

King has criticized previous onscreen versions of his novels, so fans will definitely be watching to see his reaction to this latest venture. The series has potential though with Bender and Bowen involved since both are familiar with King. The well received Mr. Mercedes is another show based on King’s work that the two participated in. Fans should remember that MRC is behind the critically panned The Dark Tower film so there is a chance this program will flop. There is no word yet on when exactly The Outsider will premiere on HBO, but next year sounds plausible.

More: Stephen King Series Mr. Mercedes Renewed for Season 3

Source: HBO

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2018-12-04 06:12:08