Mouse Guard Movie Casts Andy Serkis & Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Fox’s Mouse Guard comic book movie has cast Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster to play key roles, ahead of production getting underway later this year. The Mouse Guard comics have been written and illustrated by David Petersen bi-monthly since 2006, and take place in an alternate Medieval world where sentient mice exist. Fox has been working on a live-action/CGI Mouse Guard film since 2016 and attached Wes Ball (The Maze Runner movie trilogy) to direct a couple years ago.

Mouse Guard follows the adventures of the titular (mouse) brotherhood, who spend their days protecting regular mice from the outside world and predators that seek to harm them. Fox and Ball were originally aiming to get production underway in January, but that didn’t happen. Now, however, they’re targeting a May start date and have started assembling the film’s cast.

Related: Nicole Kidman Tops Disney’s Cruella Villain Shortlist

THR is reporting that Serkis has been cast as Mouse Guard‘s villain, the blacksmith Midnight. Meanwhile, Brodie-Sangster (who worked with Ball on The Maze Runner movies) will play Lieam, one of the Guard’s youngest and least experienced members. THS is also reporting that Giancarlo Esposito – who joined The Maze Runner franchise in the second film, The Scorch Trials – has been cast as Conrad, an older mouse who joins the Mouse Guard as a member of their seaside outpost, Calogero.

Serkis’ casting in Mouse Guard is something of a no-brainer, given his long and decorated history as a motion-capture actor. The film will use mo-cap and visual effects by WETA to bring its mouse characters to no doubt stunning photo-realistic life on the big screen. WETA, of course, is the same studio that transformed Serkis into Gollum for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and created the Na’vi for James Cameron’s Avatar. It’s been reported that Fox is budgeting Mouse Guard at $150 million, in order to cover the costs of the extensive post-production work needed to realize the movie’s animal characters. Clearly, the studio sees this one as the start of a potential franchise and is sparing no expense in making Petersen’s fantasy universe a cinematic reality.

There were concerns that Mouse Guard could fall by the wayside ahead of the Disney-Fox purchase, but that’s clearly not the case. It makes sense; some might described Mouse Guard as “Game of Thrones with mice”, but in reality the property is closer to the sort of fantasy adventure tentpoles that Disney’s released under its banner in the past (like the Chronicles of Narnia films). For that reason, the Mouse House and Fox should be comfortable about moving ahead with Mouse Guard as planned. It surely helps that Ball’s already shown he can deliver top-notch spectacle and set pieces on a lower-end blockbuster budget with The Maze Runner movies. Assuming that there are no last-minute holdups, the Mouse Guard film may be ready to reach theaters by early 2021, at its current pace.

MORE: The Really Bad Effects of the Disney-Fox Deal, Explained

Source: THR, THS

2019-03-08 02:03:39

Sandy Schaefer

The Banner Saga: Interview With Co-Creator Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas, Stoic Studio co-founder and co-creator of The Banner Saga was on hand to answer some of our questions about the epic RPG series. Initially releasing back in 2014 on the back of a successful crowdfunding campaign, The Banner Saga gained the love of those excited about the prospect of a tactical RPG from the minds of three BioWare veterans.

And in 2018 The Banner Saga has come to its successful end with The Banner Saga 3. A triumph of video game storytelling, the team at Stoic managed to perfectly blend beautiful visuals, strong characters, and a compelling narrative based on Norse mythology into that rarest of beasts: a video game trilogy that had a satisfying conclusion.

Related: The Banner Saga 3 Review – The Power Of A Great Video Game Story

In our interview with Alex Thomas, we talk about the end of The Banner Saga, covering its permadeath focus, the sacrifices of its plot, and what comes next for Stoic. Read on to find out more.

Alex Thomas: Hi, I’m Alex, the writer on Banner Saga 3 and one of the three original creators and designers of the series.

Screen Rant: The Banner Saga has always been ruthless with its characters, but part three has a tragic streak that outdoes the rest, particularly in those final chapters. Did you find it tough to potentially seal the fates of so many beloved characters?

Alex Thomas: You know, to be completely honest, that wasn’t especially tough. What players don’t see in the writing of a story like this is all the branching – probably at least a third of which is completely invisible unless you play through the game multiple times and try to get all the branching choices. In my head, all these different versions mix together and knowing sometimes they die and sometimes they don’t softens the blow. But even without these alternate realities, I guess I’m from the type of fanbase that leans toward Game of Thrones over Lord of the Rings. Black Company is my favorite fiction, and it’s basically fantasy Vietnam war stories. The feeling you get that nobody is safe, nobody has plot armor and the stakes are real was absolutely paramount to making the story work.

Screen Rant: Permadeath is integral to how The Banner Saga operates. Why did you make the decision to have such a finite stance on character survival?

Alex Thomas: Obviously, games differ in a lot of ways from books and film. One the most important ways is that the player is driving the action, so if you’re going to take that away, why even make a game? After a while in almost any story-driven game I’ve played, I start to feel like my character is this all-powerful being, even to the point where sometimes I feel bad for the antagonists and side characters (I mean, I don’t literally feel bad, they’re fictional). But how are they supposed to have a chance in battle, or refuse the lecherous advances of an immortal deity who can bend space and time and save states to their will? Or how am I supposed to believe that my hero somehow mowed down 30 bad guys by himself without a scratch?

I was just so tired of the playing the same RPG with the same plucky group of child-adventurers saving the world without any chance of failure, that we made the antithesis. This was also a big part of the reason we don’t let players manually save. It’s fine if something major happens terribly wrong and players want to go back and replay big swathes of the game, but we didn’t want to give them the temptation of reloading every little decision, hunting and pecking for the “optimal” solution.

On that topic, one of the big criticisms we faced in the first game was that some players felt like they could never make the right decision. Games have trained us that no matter what happens there’s a way to do the right thing and get the best reward; having your cake and eating it too is just how it’s done. A lot of that criticism died away in the follow-up games, I think as people started to see Banner Saga as its own thing and just accept things as part of their story. Something interesting happens when you accept bad things as part of your experience instead of trying to win.

But if I can be (even more) cynical for a moment, I think the main reason most entertainment doesn’t allow their characters to die or leave or make rational decisions in their own best interest is that they want to build a brand and sell characters and bring people back for sequels. For Banner Saga, “nobody is safe” IS the brand, and it really freed us up to make a narrative that feels different.

Screen Rant: The Banner Saga 3 leaves players with a tough choice. How early in the development of the series did you decide on that final scene?

Alex Thomas: A lot later than you’d think! Even before the Kickstarter we had a rough idea of what was happening and why, and we managed to stick with that all the way to the end, but the devil’s in the details. Whether something resonates or not depends a lot on exactly how it all goes down. We spent a huge amount of time and resources arranging the ending, rearranging ideas, completely scrapping what we had and starting over, scratching our heads and going “Eh, it’s not quite good enough yet.”

We discovered pretty quickly that this shouldn’t be a simple A or B choice; it had to incorporate all the decisions the player had made throughout all three games. But it also had to work if you hadn’t imported your save, and it had to be a real choice where you knew exactly what you were choosing, but not the exact outcome. There was maybe another dozen considerations we were trying to juggle on top of all that. We were fine-tuning that sequence up until the last minute.

When you spend long enough going back and forth like that, you start to wonder if it makes sense to just simplify the whole thing. If you write a dozen different endings, some are naturally going to be more satisfying than others. Shouldn’t you only give the player the best thing you can think of? Why not just give them the one best ending, then? And then on top of that we have limited resources – fully animated cutscenes are expensive, multiple orchestral soundtracks and sound is expensive, implementing and testing all this content is expensive. How can we re-cut and reuse as much of this as possible, while still delivering a sense of closure? Ultimately, we decided screw that, this is an indie game and we’re gonna keep taking risks. Banner Saga was always about the world really responding to the choices you made, for better or worse. We just hoped our audience had come this far and would respect us for going all the way.

Screen Rant: Each end of the game results in sacrifice. Did you have any hesitancy about leaving players without a truly happy ending?

Alex Thomas: One of the reviews we got after releasing our first game that totally blindsided us called it a “depression simulator.” That’s stuck with me since because I find it so funny. We honestly didn’t feel like we had made such a tragic thing, we were just trying to make something that felt believable. I guess that applies to the endings, too – I would have said “yeah, there’s some good endings and some bad ones.” But a truly “happy” ending, I guess I never considered that. Do people in real life have happy endings? I’d love to see a romantic comedy where the two unlikely love interests go through extraordinary circumstances to fall in love, then two weeks later realize they have completely unmanageable differences on something mundane like finances or religious beliefs or something and go “dang, that was a complete waste of time.” Anyway, one of the ongoing themes of Banner Saga is change; the characters change over time, the landscape is permanently changed by the darkness, the existence of entire species changes. I never felt like there was going to be an ending where all this change is undone and things went back to peaceful villages and quiet growth. Dang, that’d be a complete waste of time.

But I mean, c’mon, it’s a viking epic! Have you read their mythology?

Screen Rant: What’s been the player reaction to the finale? Have you had any tearful messages? It was certainly something of a gut punch – in my playthrough, at least!

Alex Thomas: We’ve had a ton of fans sharing their experiences and admitting they may have shed a tear or two, and we’re incredibly thankful for everybody who tells us they loved the game. We put so much blood, sweat and tears into making this thing that we always hoped it would resonate with fans, and we’re super glad and relieved that seems to be the case. Plus, the benefit of making something that’s really personal is that you get to hear from people who are like you and appreciate the same things, and that’s been really rewarding.

The art style of The Banner Saga looks just as fresh in part three as it did when the original was released. Given the success of the series, do you think it’s opened up other smaller studios into thinking of that kind of animated style?

Alex Thomas: I think we’ve been very surprised to see some games come out that have been compared to Banner Saga, to the point where some reviewers are calling us a sub-genre of strategy now. That’s crazy. We owe our art inspiration to the work that Eyvind Earle did for Sleeping Beauty and his own personal art pieces. They guided us to a style that feels pretty timeless, and we hope it’s just as compelling a hundred years from now. As for other indie studios feeling inspired by the success, I’d have to say I don’t think they really needed our help! There’s an insane number of games getting released out there! But I really love how many games are getting made now that value that sort of beauty and artistry. It’s really inspiring to see.

Screen Rant: Between God of War and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, are you interested to see this emphasis on Norse mythology in gaming in the last few years?

Alex Thomas: It was an interesting phenomenon, I’d probably attribute to coincidence as much as anything. It’s like when suddenly there’s four movies coming all look like they had the same idea at the same time. From our perspective, we actually began with a pretty generic medieval fantasy setting. I was inspired growing up by games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Shining Force and was thinking along those lines. My co-founder Arnie Jorgensen, coming from some Scandinavian roots himself, floated the idea of norse mythology. I started looking deeper into Norse mythology and thought wow, there’s so much great stuff here, this could definitely work. And I’m always happy to see more viking games, I’d take that over a modern setting any day.

Screen Rant: Is there another mythology Stoic would like to get inspiration from for another game? Could we see a Stoic RPG taking notes from The Odyssey, for instance?

Alex Thomas: Hah, well, starting with a mythology and building from it is certainly a great stepping stone. Like you maybe hint at, it’s something Assassin’s Creed and other titles have been putting to great use for a while now. I’m pretty certain we’ll leave Norse influence to the world of Banner Saga, but we’re looking at a lot of options for the next game, some that might be a little surprising.

Screen Rant: This marks the end of The Banner Saga, but what’s next for Stoic? Do you have any ideas in mind for another project?

Alex Thomas: Oh certainly, without a doubt. We’ve designed multiple pitch decks for different games, but have decided on one in particular that the team is really excited about. We’ve already been working on it for some time and you’ll be hearing more about it when we think it’s ready to show!

More: It’s Not Over Yet – Big Games Still to Come In Late 2018

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Sony’s Kraven Movie May Include Spider-Man, Will Adapt Last Hunt Story

Richard Wenk, writer of Sony’s Kraven the Hunter movie, has revealed he’s currently working on the script – and that the film could even feature Spider-Man. It seems Sony intends to draw upon the famous Kraven’s Last Hunt comic book arc.

Venom was something of a gamble for Sony Pictures; could their Spider-Man spinoffs possibly work? Although the critics haven’t been kind, the film’s box office performance has been even better than anticipated. It shattered October’s box office record, grossing $80 million domestically and a staggering $205 million worldwide in its opening weekend. So it’s hardly a surprise that Sony is now pushing full steam ahead with further spinoffs.

Related: All The Spider-Villain Movies Coming After Venom

The Discussing Film podcast posted an interview with Wenk, who’s dropped what may well be something of a bombshell for Marvel fans. Wenk has revealed that he’s playing around with the concept of Kraven’s Last Hunt – and that he’s currently envisioning a story in which Kraven “comes face-to-face with Spider-Man.

It’s an interesting world, a great character… it’s in the Spider-Man universe. I’m going to adhere very closely to the lore of Kraven the Hunter, and he’s going to come face-to-face with Spider-Man. I think that where we’re all circling is that this is Kraven’s Last Hunt, and whether this is the precursor to that movie, whether it will include it, we’re talking about those things. And even the idea that maybe Kraven could be like Kill Bill, basically a two-part movie. It’s all in the mix.

This is a pretty remarkable statement, as it suggests Spider-Man could yet be considered part of Sony’s Spider-villains universe. It’s important to stress that Wenk is pretty early on in the writing process; he’s at the stage where, as he puts it, “you just kind of throw everything at the wall” to see what sticks. And yet, not only does Wenk explain that he’s been enjoying a collaborative relationship with other Sony (and Marvel?) figures, but he also sounds very confident indeed when describing the plan to have Kraven face off against Spider-Man. Even his references to Kraven’s Last Hunt should be seen in that light; that arc focused on the relationship between Kraven and Spider-Man, and on Kraven’s desperate desire to prove himself the wall-crawler’s equal before he passed away. It’s very hard indeed to imagine a version of Kraven’s Last Hunt without Spider-Man in it.

Assuming Wenk is right, there are two possible ways this could play out. Venom was deliberately designed to be easily retconned into the MCU, and its director Ruben Fleischer has openly said he believes a crossover between Hardy’s Venom and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is “inevitable.” Given that’s the case, Marvel and Sony could have agreed to incorporate the Sony films into the wider MCU, with Tom Holland serving as a bridge between the franchises. The other possibility is that Sony is looking to cast their own version of Spider-Man, so viewers would get two distinctive big screen Spider-Mans at the same time. That approach would surely cause some problems between Marvel and Sony, though. Only one thing is certain; right now, the writer of Kraven the Hunter believes that his film will feature Spider-Man. It’ll be fascinating to see if he’s right.

More: Venom Ignoring Spider-Man is MORE Faithful To Comics

Source: Discussing Film

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2018-10-09 04:10:30 – Thomas Bacon

James Gunn Is A Better Fit For Suicide Squad Than Guardians of the Galaxy

Controversial writer and director James Gunn is perfectly suited for Suicide Squad 2; in fact, it’s a far better fit for him than Guardians of the Galaxy ever was. Gunn certainly has form transforming a band of misfits into a superhero family/team, and Suicide Squad 2 should give him the ideal opportunity to demonstrate his skills yet again, although the story goes a little deeper than that.

Gunn’s career with Disney came to a shocking end back in July, when some of his old social media posts went viral. Gunn had fancied himself as something of a provocateur prior to working for Disney, and these posts included off-key jokes on everything from rape to pedophilia. Disney responded by swiftly firing him from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Within a month, there were reports that Gunn had been approached by Disney’s rival Warner Bros. potentially with the option of producing a DC superhero movie.

Related: Why Rehiring James Gunn Was Harder For Disney Than Fans Realize

DC Films has expressed interest in Gunn before. Back in 2016, he admitted that he’d “had opportunities to make DC films,” but had turned them down; he reeled off a list of heroes he’d quite enjoy tackling, ranging from Swamp Thing to Jonah Hex, from the Metal Men to Shazam. Now, though, there have been reports that Gunn is on board to write, and possibly even direct, Suicide Squad 2.

  • This Page: Why James Gunn Is Perfect For Suicide Squad 2
  • Next Page: Why This Is A Better Fit Than Guardians of the Galaxy

Why James Gunn Is Perfect For Suicide Squad 2

It’s not hard to see what Warner Bros. want James Gunn on board. He’s a writer and director with a proven history of turning even the most unlikely franchises into box office hits. Back when Marvel Studios announced the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, everybody assumed this would be their first misstep; the Guardians had a low profile even among comic book fans, and their members including a walking tree and a talking raccoon. A series of tremendously effective trailers immediately changed that, and the movie grossed $773 million worldwide. Not bad for a bunch of “a**-holes.

Ironically, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad suffered as a result of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s success. Warner Bros. attempted to make their dark movie fit Gunn’s tone, with the trailers showing a strong Guardians of the Galaxy vibe. Viewers responded well to the trailers, and as a result there are reports Warner Bros. lost faith in Ayer’s approach, attempting to make the franchise as Guardians-like as possible. The result was a strange hybrid of a finished production, critically panned, which nevertheless managed to gross $747 million worldwide off the back of its strong marketing campaign. A sequel was always on the cards, but nobody was quite sure who could make it work. So why not bring in the man who made Guardians of the Galaxy work in the first place?

Suicide Squad 2 Matches James Gunn’s Earlier Movies

It’s important not to assume Suicide Squad 2 would just be a rehash of Guardians of the Galaxy, though. In truth, the comic book franchise is tonally similar to some of Gunn’s earlier works, most notably Super. This was a black comedy-drama centered around the character of Frank Darbo, a cook who took up the identity of the “Crimson Bolt” in order to rescue his wife from a drug dealer. Although critics weren’t impressed by the movie, it built a strong fanbase and put Gunn on Disney’s radar. Super rejoices in its confusing characters, who are filled to the brim with flaws and conflicting character traits – and gore ready to be spilled. Frank, for example, was a religious pacifist who made the world a better place through merciless violence. It was only after he began hearing warped messages “from God” that he began to understand the real world at all.

Related: Disney’s Decision On James Gunn Will Define The MCU

This is just the kind of crazy, conflicted approach that would work so well for Suicide Squad 2. After all, this is a team who are defined by their contradiction. They’re a group of super-villains who are forced to save the world; they deeply resent the fact they’re being forced to work together, and yet somehow consider one another a family. The best Suicide Squad stories are a blend of light and dark, tinged with anger and joy, betrayal and redemption.

And the characters in Suicide Squad are so very three-dimensional. Take Harley Quinn; although it didn’t quite make it through to David Ayer’s film, at heart she’s an abuse victim who’s struggling to find herself, and the relationship between Harley and the Joker is most definitely not intended to be some sort of “relationship goal“. Killer Croc is a brutal murderer who eats his foes, and yet develops such a fondness for his team-mates that he becomes dangerously protective of them. Boomerang wants to live a life of crime, and yet vaguely enjoys the idea he’s achieving something when he saves the world. These “villains” are three-dimensional in a way few superheroes are, with aspects of their own natures in direct conflict, pulling them this way and that. They’re every bit as mercurial and inconsistent as real people. And they’re just the kind of characters James Gunn has a form for developing, back in his pre-Guardians of the Galaxy days.

Page 2 of 2: Why This Is A Better Fit Than Guardians of the Galaxy

James Gunn Made Great Guardians of the Galaxy Movies – But He Changed Them To Do So

The truth is that, although James Gunn made tremendous Guardians of the Galaxy movies, he did so by taking major liberties with the comic canon. Gunn took the most basic concept underlying the franchise, and then made his own version of it. Gunn’s genius was that he saw the potential, he realized why it wouldn’t connect with audiences, and then he made it work. Even the tone and style of the Guardians movies was nothing like the original comics, which had typically gone for cosmic melodrama rather than ’80s nostalgia.

Characters, too, were completely rewritten in order to become the versions Gunn needed. Take Peter Quill as the classic example. Steve Englehart created the character back in 1976, and he described the original Star-Lord as “an unpleasant, introverted jerk.” Englehart planned to develop him into the most cosmic hero ever, but left Marvel before he’d even begun that character arc. As a result, the comic book version remained in that pattern, although he gradually transformed into a leader. James Gunn looked at the comic character, and decided to completely rework him. Star-Lord remained something of a jerk, but he was much more charismatic and extroverted; a revised origin explained that he was a child who’d run away from home after his mother’s death, and had never really grown up as a result. It made Quill a deeply empathetic character, viewed with affection in spite of his many flaws.

Related: Avengers Fans Are Being Too Hard On Star-Lord

Comic book readers traditionally complain when movies diverge from the comic book canon they grew up reading. In the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, though, James Gunn made his changes work so well that precious few objected. Marvel Comics, inspired by the surprise box office success of a previously-third-tier superhero franchise, quickly redesigned their own characters to align with Gunn’s versions. In the case of Peter Quill, they even retconned some of his previous appearances to say they’d taken place in another reality. Gunn won’t need to go the same lengths to make Suicide Squad 2 his own. As we’ve already pointed out, the characters are tailor-made for Gunn’s kind of character-work, and the themes and concepts that run through the comics fit perfectly with the kind of ideas he likes to work with.

Meanwhile, Gunn’s looser approach to canon and continuity will flourish in the DCEU. Although most viewers hadn’t picked up on it, Gunn’s maverick attitude towards continuity was never perfectly suited to the tighter, more intensely-scrutinized MCU; occasionally there were signs Gunn felt the pressure of it, and indeed rebelled against it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 rendered a tie-in comic non-canon, for example, and Gunn admitted he contemplated breaking his own personal canon for the third film. “Marvel Canon – MCU – is crazy,” Gunn admitted. “I have a really good storytelling reason for breaking the canon, and I stayed up last night figuring out if I’m gonna do it or not. I still don’t know.” Given the complexity of the MCU and the degree to which fans take note of every detail, sooner or later that would have caused problems. Warner Bros., however, won’t particularly care; their view of continuity is very much that it should serve the director. That will give Gunn all the flexibility he needs to tell the best stories he can.

The latest reports confirm that James Gunn is on board as the writer of Suicide Squad 2, and he should breathe new life into the project. It remains to be seen whether or not Gunn will go on to become director as well; if he does, then he’d definitely be an effective choice, and the film would surely be guaranteed a success.

More: All 26 Upcoming & In-Development DC Films

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2018-10-09 03:10:13 – Thomas Bacon

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

Why Venom’s Director Saved [SPOILER] For The Sequel

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Venom.

Venom director Ruben Fleischer has explained just why he saved Carnage for a sequel. The post-credits scene introduced viewers to Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, the serial killer who becomes the most dangerous symbiote villain in Marvel Comics.

In 1992, David Michelinie, Erik Larsen and Mark Bagley created the character of Carnage. Envisioned as a darker version of Venom, Carnage was created when a symbiote bonded with a convicted serial killer, a sociopath who revels in bloodshed. Carnage has become a comic book legend in his own right, a monstrous force of destruction who’s pushed every hero to the brink of madness.

Related: Venom: The 10 Biggest Spoilers

The post-credits scene for Venom revealed that Woody Harrelson is playing the part of Cletus Kasady, a serial killer who’s under arrest in San Quentin prison. He’s visited by journalist Eddie Brock, having asked Brock for the chance to tell his story, but really all Kasady wants to do is issue a threat; when he breaks out – and, Kasady swears, he will do so – he’s coming for Brock. It was a promising introduction to the character, and in an interview with IGN director Ruben Fleischer has explained why he took this approach.

“We’d like to think that this movie will expand to other movies and Carnage is, I think, the most beloved of the Venom adversaries, with the exception of probably Spider-Man. And so we definitely didn’t want to include Carnage in this first movie because it felt like we wanted to establish Eddie and Venom and so that’s why we worked having Riot as our main adversary. But the intention or the ambition was to show that there are legs for the franchise in that a fan favorite let alone played by Woody Harrelson would be something we could look forward to in the future.”

Fleischer has a point; the narrative in Venom is pretty economical, with a tightly-focused story that serves to introduce viewers to the idea of Venom and the alien symbiotes. As a result, Venom is essentially a standalone film, and that post-credits scene is really the only explicit piece of setup in the entire movie. That’s quite a remarkable approach to take, given this film is expected to launch an entire Spider-villains franchise.

Fleischer admitted that he doesn’t really know how Carnage will come to exist in the films just yet. As he pointed out, “In the comics, he’s a spawn of Venom’s and basically he and Eddie in the comics are cell mates.” Sony wanted to set Venom up as an antihero rather than an outright villain, and so didn’t want him to wind up in jail at the end of the film. “That would’ve been a bit of a bummer,” Fleischer observed. Instead, he had the idea of shooting a scene in which journalist Eddie Brock visits the prison and talks to Kasady. That sets up a fascinating new dynamic, in which Kasady is obsessed with Brock even before he’s exposed to a symbiote. It will be fascinating to see how this develops.

Notice how careful Fleischer is with his comments, though. He doesn’t actually confirm that Carnage will appear in Venom 2. Back in 2014, leaked Sony emails revealed that the studio was considering a Maximum Carnage event movie as the culmination of their Spider-villain universe. That idea may still be on the cards, and Carnage could be a far more important foe than simply the key sequel villain.

More: Maximum Carnage Can Be The Avengers Of Sony’s Spider-Villains Universe

Source: IGN

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2018-10-05 04:10:16 – Thomas Bacon

Joker Set Photo Promotes Thomas Wayne’s Run for Gotham Mayor

Thomas Wayne wants to be Gotham’s mayor in a new set photo for Joker. There’s been multiple versions of Joker on the big screen before, but Joaquin Phoenix is doing something completely original. He’s going to star in an origin movie for the Clown Prince of Crime, and it won’t resemble Joker’s typical comic portrayal. Joker is the first film from a new DC label at Warner Bros., and isn’t connected to the DCEU. Thanks to this direction, there won’t be a Batman appearance – but his father Thomas Wayne will be involved.

Director Todd Phillips originally enlisted Alec Baldwin to play the role, but the actor quickly exited the project after descriptions of the character surfaced. Joker intends to portray Thomas Wayne as a Donald Trump-like character, and they’ll have more in common then just being businessmen. In Joker, Thomas Wayne is running for a prominent political position in Gotham.

Related: Joker Cast & Crew Confirmed

Twitter user @batsgadot shared a photo from the set of Joker that shows Thomas Wayne’s campaign to be the next mayor of Gotham. Brett Cullen joined the movie to play Thomas Wayne just a few days ago, but they’ve already mocked up posters for his version of Mr. Wayne. He’s the face of this campaign, which has a “Moving Gotham Forward” slogan. Noticeably, his last name is misspelled “Wanye.” It’s not clear if the typo is a prank played by The Joker, or the film’s art department simply messed up.

This may not be the first look at Cullen’s Thomas Wayne that some would’ve expected, but it does confirm character details for him that may otherwise have just been rumored. It still isn’t clear how Thomas Wayne factors into the movie’s overall plot, or how big of a role this will be for Cullen. Unless Phoenix’s Joker tries to kill him because of what he plans to do to Gotham, there may not be any direct conflict or confrontation between Joker and this movie’s most important Wayne.

Of course, this image is just the latest of a series of looks – both official and unofficial – at Joker. Phoenix completely decked out in Joker’s full costume has been the most recent one to generate buzz. These on-set images came after Phillips released an official look at Phoenix wearing the Joker makeup. As more looks at the movie come out, more excitement appears to be building for the film as a whole. These early peeks are certainly promising, so if Joker delivers on the expectations many now have, this will hardly be the last “Elseworlds” story they decide to tell. But, Joker is being sold as a standalone story, so no matter how great it winds up being, there’s almost no chance Phoenix reprises the role. Thankfully, he appears to be relishing the opportunity right now, and may help make Joker a truly special comic book movie.

MORE: Joaquin Phoenix Terrorizes New York In Full Joker Costume

Source: Twitter

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2018-09-22 06:09:36 – Cooper Hood