Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dreamworks Teaches President Obama All About Motion Capture (VIDEO)

president obama dreamworks

Even one of the most powerful men in the world is impressed by the magic of Hollywood.

President Barack Obama visited Dreamworks Animation Tuesday, where he called the entertainment industry "one of the bright spots of our economy." Then, on a tour led by major donor Jeffrey Katzenberg, Obama got a peek behind the curtain at how animated movies get made.

In the video below (via Slashfilm), the president observes actors filming a scene using motion-capture technology for "How to Train Your Dragon 2." Director Dean DeBlois explains the technique, as a screen shows how it translates into animation.

Obama also met with actors Steve Martin and Jim Parsons, who were recording lines for the upcoming alien invasion movie "Home." The L.A. Times reported that Martin couldn't shake the president's hand, as he was sick, but the president lauded his banjo-playing. "This guy performed at the White House and was unbelievable," Obama raved.

Afterward, Obama got a bit of a treat when Katzenberg unveiled an animated character voiced by the president himself!

Later, Obama joked that he feels a special connection to Dreamworks, since his "ears were one of the inspirations for Shrek."

Thanks, Obama!

[via Slashfilm]

from The Moviefone Blog


Friday, November 29, 2013

DC Entertainment Really, Really Wants Aquaman to Be the Next Big Superhero

dc entertainment aquamanCan Aquaman ever catch a break?

DC Comics has launched several of its superheroes into highly-successful screen adaptations -- Superman and Batman in blockbuster movies, and Green Arrow in a successful television series. But the water-based Aquaman hasn't been able to transfer his popularity from comics to film. The closest he's gotten is a joke on HBO's "Entourage."

"He become a little bit of a joke," Geoff Johns, DC Entertainment's chief creative officer, told Variety. "Suddenly, he was nobody's favorite super hero."

But DC Entertainment is doing its darndest to change that. "He's a priority character for the company," Johns said.

With Marvel celebrating a string of recent hits like "Iron Man," "The Avengers," and "Thor," DC Entertainment is trying to make stars out of its stable of characters. The Flash is appearing on The CW's "Green Arrow," with an eye toward a spin-off, and Batman ally Commissioner Gordon will be the focus of a pilot.

For Aquaman, DC's execs are looking to cross his storylines with the Justice League's, and the company is planning an animated tale to be released on DVD. Johns also brought in a new writer, Jeff Parker, to freshen up the comic series. And the focus of recent issues has been less on Aquaman's royal connections to Atlantis, and more on developing his personality (which has been criticized as "bland" and "boring") and relationships with his wife, enemies, and other supporting characters.

If the rehab is successful, no doubt DC Entertainment will be eager for Aquaman to make a splash in theaters. Calling Vinny Chase!

[via Variety]

from The Moviefone Blog


James Franco: 20 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About The 'Homefront' Star

James Franco Facts

Since starring in Judd Apatow's short-lived series "Freaks and Geeks" (1999), James Franco has done just about everything.

The 34-year-old renaissance man has an undergraduate degree from UCLA, among other diplomas. He's been nominated for an Academy Award, and even (sort of) hosted the awards in 2011. Professionally, Franco has acted in a long list of movies, directed several others, and even written roughly a dozen plus screenplays.

Starting today, November 27, multi-hyphenate Franco can be seen facing off against Jason Statham in the Sylvester Stallone-penned action flick "Homefront." Franco plays Gator, a small-town meth kingpin who butts heads with Statham, a former DEA agent who shows up in Franco's town to finally settle down with his family.

Do you already know more about Franco than you'd care to? Maybe. Do you know everything there is to know about the man? Unlikely. From his middle-school shoplifting days to that time he shadowed a male prostitute, here are 20 things you probably don't know about James Franco.

1. After one year as an undergraduate at UCLA, Franco dropped out to pursue acting. It's been highly publicized that Franco has since graduated, acquired several degrees, and is now a PhD candidate at Yale.

2. Franco auditioned for the role of Peter Parker in "Spider-Man" (2002), but settled for the part of Harry Osborn after Tobey Maguire won the lead.

3. He was named Premiere magazine's Most Handsome Hollywood Man in 2009.

4. Franco is of Russian-Jewish heritage on his mother's side, and of Portuguese and Swedish heritage on his father's side.

5. While hosting the Oscars with Anne Hathaway, Franco dressed up in drag. Franco was widely panned for his hosting efforts.

6. For his breakthrough role in the biopic "James Dean," Franco smoked two packs of cigarettes a day to channel his inner Dean. Previously, he was not a smoker and has since quit.

7. In the Nicolas Cage directed "Sonny," Franco plays a discharged soldier returning to his hustler past. He shadowed a male prostitute to prepare for the role.

8. His favorite film is Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho" (1991). Franco worked with Van Sant on 2008's "Milk."

9. He played the recurring role of Franco (yes, really) on "General Hospital" in 2009. Betsy Franco, his real-life mother, played his character's mother in the soap, too.

10. Since high school, and long before he started acting, Franco has enjoyed painting in his spare time.

11. Franco was the latest target of The Comedy Central Roast. The special aired in September, and features friends and former castmates, like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader, and more.

12. Younger brother Dave Franco followed in James's footsteps and became an actor. Besides starring in "21 Jump Street," the two can be seen together in the Funny or Die series "Acting With James Franco."

13. Franco re-imagined classic sitcom "Three's Company" as a dramatic short for the Sundance Film Festival.

14. In junior high, Franco and his friends would shoplift high-end cologne and perfume, only to sell it to his classmates. Ironically, he became the face of Gucci cologne in 2008.

15. In October 2010, Scribner released Palo Alto, a collection of short stories by Franco that was largely inspired by Franco's teenage memoirs.

16. After meeting on set, Franco and "Whatever It Takes" co-star Marla Sokoloff dated for five years.

17. Franco acknowledges that he secretly always wanted to be an actor but feared the rejection. After he dropped out of UCLA and began to pursue a career in acting, Franco worked the late shift at McDonalds to support himself.

18. For his role in "Milk," Franco won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was later nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his star turn in Danny Boyle's "127 Hours."

19. Franco directed two short films set to R.E.M. songs, and one of the videos featured Lindsay Lohan.

20. In Spring, 2013, Franco received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the young age of 34.

[Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, Huffington Post]

from The Moviefone Blog


Thursday, November 28, 2013

'Homefront' Review: James Franco's a Better Match for Jason Statham Than You'd Think

homefront, jason statham, james franco

It's a little weird seeing Oscar nominee James Franco play a local Louisiana druglord named Gator in the latest Jason Statham movie, "Homefront" (though admittedly not much weirder than watching him play a grill-wearing Florida gangster named Alien in last year's "Spring Breakers"). Nothing against Franco, but High Times' 2008 "Stoner of the Year" isn't exactly the most intimidating foe for a walking action movie like Statham.

Still, a little weird can be a good thing, and thanks to Franco's gonzo villain, "Homefront" ends up being a lot more entertaining than Statham's last few solo projects. From a screenplay originally written by (and for) Sylvester Stallone, the movie stars Statham as Phil Broker, a former DEA agent who moves to rural Louisiana with his young daughter after the death of his wife, and unwittingly starts a blood feud with Franco's Gator Bodine, Raysville, Louisiana's very own meth kingpin.

And while Jason Statham vs. James Franco might not seem like a fair fight, it turns out to be a whole lot closer than you'd think. Here's how the two unlikely adversaries stack up in "Homefront."

Job Experience:

With its vague single-word title, flashy editing and vengeance-heavy premise, "Homefront" is the definition of a generic action movie. And as this generation's Charles Bronson, Statham has done so many of those by now, he could do a part like this in his sleep (which hopefully will be the plot of "Crank 3"). But don't underestimate Franco. Besides boasting more firepower than the combined cast of "The Expendables 2" in "Spring Breakers," he's fought off the apocalypse in "This Is The End," played a serial killer on "General Hospital," and don't forget the time he tried to kill our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Advantage: Statham

Making an Entrance:

Statham pulls some sweet moves, like single-handedly taking out a biker gang in the film's opening sequence, but undercover or not, there's no way he doesn't lose points for that awful mullet. Especially compared to Franco's entrance, who we first see taking out his "competition" -- a.k.a. a bunch of kids cooking backwater meth. Sure, it's less bad-ass than tangling with bikers, but Gator still makes a strong first impression.

Advantage: Franco

Family Ties:

Family is a key theme in "Homefront," depending on how much credit you want to give Sly's script. But between Broker and his daughter, the biker crime boss looking to avenge his son's death, and a methed-out (and awesome) Kate Bosworth forcing Gator to stick up for the Bodine family honour, the movie basically comes down to parents trying to do right by their kids -- in extremely violent, unnecessary and misguided ways. So it's no surprise that Statham's Broker will do just about anything to protect his daughter, even though having Jason Statham as your movie dad, legal guardian, or even just your limo driver is pretty much a guarantee you'll be shot at and/or kidnapped. Gator, meanwhile, is much more cold-blooded when it comes to dealing with his methhead sister, though he does give her a family discount. Still, the lesson is clear: business and family don't mix.

Advantage: Neither

Love Interests:

As a gruff widower, Broker is destined to be set up with the first eligible female in his daughter's social circle, which in this case is the school psychologist. But while Rachelle Lefevre's Susan helps give Broker (and more importantly, the audience) the lowdown on Raysville's social graces, she's got nothing on Winona Ryder's Sheryl, a former biker chick and Gator's better -- OK, more like worse, half. As it turns out, Sheryl also gives way better life advice.

Advantage: Franco

Intimidation Factor:

He might not look like much, but Gator's got the tattoos and the crazy factor going for him, and crazy counts for something, judging from the way the citizens of Raysville fear him. But Broker? He's the kind of guy who can kick ass with his hands literally tied behind his back.

Advantage: Statham

Detective Skills:

In order to do some digging on Gator, Broker has to call in favours from his old coworkers at the DEA and canvass the locals. But Gator's methods are far more impressive. Faced with a stack of storage boxes at the Broker homestead, Gator is able to instantly pick out the box containing the former fed's top-secret case files, and grab exactly the right file on the first try. That's not just good detective work, that's "The Mentalist" good.

Advantage: Franco

Conflict Resolution:

When it comes right down to it, the trouble in "Homefront" all starts because of a playground scuffle. Gator's so-called "Southern justice" involves breaking into the Brokers' house, kidnapping their cat and slashing their tires. Broker's way of diffusing the situation involves apologizing to the offended parties, going to talk to Gator man-to-man, and when all else fails, lots of punching. There's something to be said for being straightforward.

Advantage: Statham

Problem Solving:

Gator may be the big bad druglord here, but if he's playing checkers, Broker's playing chess, and he's thinking a good ten steps ahead, including one trap set up so ridiculously far in advance that everyone -- Broker included -- forgets all about it. That has Gator left reacting instead of plotting, which makes him increasingly unpredictable. In other words, get ready for the last half hour of "Homefront" to make absolutely no logical sense.

Advantage: Statham

Weapon of Choice:

If you don't bring a knife to a gun fight, then you definitely don't bring an Oscar-nominated actor to a Jason Statham fight. So "Homefront" wisely has Franco's Gator contract out a lot of his dirty work to his henchmen and some revenge-hungry bikers. It's a smart move, because when the two finally do go mano-a-mano, it ends about as well as you'd think it would.

Advantage: Statham

Final Tally: It's a close matchup, but turns out that when Jason Statham and James Franco fight, we all win.

"Homefront" is now playing in theatres.

from The Moviefone Blog


Josh Gad, 'Frozen' Snowman Olaf, on Fulfilling His Disney Dreams (and Stealing the Movie)

Film Review Frozen

For Josh Gad, who grew up during the "Disney Renaissance" of the late '80s and '90s, playing scene-stealing talking snowman named Olaf in "Frozen" is a childhood dream come true -- getting a song in a Disney movie, that is, not playing a living, breathing snowman. And while Disney has ceded the top spot in the animated movie landscape to Pixar in recent years, "Frozen" feels like a return to the same kind of classic Disney magic that Gad grew up with, only with a few modern twists.

Like "The Little Mermaid," "Frozen" is inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and tells the story of two royal sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Broadway star Idina Menzel). When Elsa's ability to create ice and snow (and her inability to control it) freezes over their kingdom, Anna must set out to find Elsa and reverse the eternal winter.

Moviefone Canada sat down with Gad (who was flanked by Olaf toys) to talk to the Tony-nominated actor about fulfilling his lifelong dream, using his daughter as inspiration for his character, and getting to reunite with "The Book of Mormon" composer Robert Lopez for his very own Disney song.

Moviefone Canada: I like these little plush toys you've got.

Josh Gad: [Laughs] They surround me with myself.

Is that weird?

It's so weird! The ones that talk are even weirder to me. They have my voice talking back to me. I'm like, wait, what is this weird game we're playing? It's very cool.

You have a daughter too, right? What does she think of all this?

She has taken this thing and run with it, she just loves it. We were in a New York cab yesterday and when the cab ride is over, they have those little TVs, and my character says "good bye" to you. And she just didn't want to get out of the cab, because she was so perplexed and mesmerized by the fact that Daddy was talking to her through this snowman form while sitting right next to her in the cab.

Was that part of the impetus for you to do the movie, the idea that this was something you could share with her?

The Disney animated movies had such a huge influence on me growing up. I grew up during the second golden age of Disney animation, "Little Mermaid" through "Lion King." Those movies were events. I remember every summer a new Disney movie came out, you had to be there opening night, and you saw 'em 10 times in a row. So I grew up, specifically [with] "Aladdin," watching Robin Williams play the Genie, and I remember turning to my mom and saying, "I want to do that one day, I want to play that comic relief sidekick," because it just resonated with me. So the impetus was I got to live out my lifelong dream, while also being able to share something really special with my daughter.

What makes a good Disney sidekick for you? What did you see in "Aladdin" that connected with you?

Well, I think it's a character that can appeal not only to kids, but to adults, and work on numerous levels. And the beauty of those great characters, whether it was Sebastian in "Little Mermaid," or Timon and Pumbaa in "The Lion King," or Cogsworth and Lumiere, or the Genie, is that they all offer something to every single person in the audience. And they also are kind of the heart, they offer that heart, whether it's about sacrifice, in the case of Olaf, or it's about the indelible friendship that they offer the main characters. So I think that they are so relatable because they're the Everyman.

Obviously you've done a musical before on Broadway, but how does it compare singing in an empty sound booth vs. a packed house?

It's less rigorous, for sure. There's something also really lovely about having an opportunity to do it over and over again until you get it right. [Laughs] As opposed to getting out there and belting it for the audience to judge. But also, because it's just you in a booth, using your voice, you gotta make sure that you are making it count. You're getting to do a Disney song in a Disney musical. With great power comes enormous responsibility. [Laughs] That is the truth. For me, it was like, there are only 53 Disney animated feature films I believe, every one better count and every character in every one better count. Those songs mean so much to so many people that I really wanted it to land. It was immensely powerful to go to a theatre the other day, and watch the movie in its entirety and see people applaud at this film.

Was that daunting for you then, knowing going into this that you could be put in the same conversation as the modern Disney classics that you grew up with?

Absolutely. It's so incredible to think back on sitting in those theatres and watching "You Ain't Never Had a Friend Like Me," or "Under the Sea," and have "In Summer" hopefully join that canon. It's so cool.

So how did you come onto this? Were you looking for more musical projects?

No, I got a phone call before I ever did "Book of Mormon," to do a reading of a project called "Anna and the Snow Queen." At that time, it was a far different version that I think had more in common with the Hans Christian Andersen version. And it was good, but I think it was missing some components, and Disney wasn't quite ready to greenlight it. Then "Book of Mormon" finished and I got a call saying that it was back, but it was called "Frozen," and it was more about these two sisters. And just by pure coincidence, Bobby Lopez was now writing the songs, and Bobby, of course, I collaborated with on "Mormon." So to get an opportunity to not only do a Disney movie, but then to work with somebody that I had just shared one of the greatest creative experiences of my life with, that was awesome. It was amazing to have him write specifically for my voice. For instance, the operatic nature of the ending [of "In Summer"] is something that he I think wrote specifically with me in mind. Because it's something that he knows I do.

When you're doing an animated movie, how much does the character design inform the voice that you decide to go with? Do you see the design first and then try to match the voice in your head?

Oh, absolutely. But with this character in particular, early on discussing the story and the themes of the movie, I knew I wanted him to be a child. That was key to me, he had to be a kid who just happened to be a snowman. And not only a kid, but a kid who is basically new to the world. So that naïveté and that bright-eyed optimism was something that I really wanted to capture the essence of. And at first I played around, I remember there was a lisp that I initially tried and I immediately knew it wasn't going to work because the character didn't need those affectations, he needed a simplicity. And that's when he kind of came to life.

Did you end up using your daughter as sort of your own personal focus group at all when it came to developing the voice or any of the jokes?

Quite the opposite actually. I studied her in order to get the voice. Or in order to get some of the mannerisms of seeing a kid exist in their own little bubble. It's that fast-paced nature of discovery and that quality of stream-of-consciousness and just speaking into a void. [Laughs] And not really talking about anything in particular that has anything to do with anything else. It was that sort of ADHD quality that kids have that helped to inform me.

This movie is getting some really nice reviews. Do you enjoy reading those, or with a movie like this, is it almost more rewarding for you to see what families and kids are saying about it?

The most rewarding part of it is watching kids respond to it. It's always amazing to get great reviews, because you want to please everybody and you hope that your work is affecting critics and audiences alike. But with movies like this, I think it only helps in terms of hopefully creating a narrative of a classic, right? I hope that this movie stands the test of time like all the ones I grew up watching do. So that ten years from now, kids put "Frozen" in on Christmas and watch it; that's their movie. That's what we set out to do with each of these. I think that this one in particular has a lot in common with those wonderful Disney classics. And I hope that the reviews and the collective response of audiences as they experience this movie for the first time will create and manifest a movie that stands the test of time itself.

It's also got a nice modern update to it though. It feels like a classic fairy tale, but it's got that little twist.

It does, without a hint of irony, which I love. It doesn't tackle it by making pop cultural references, and wink wink, nudge nudge jokes to the audience. It does it by being reverential, while updating the themes that it's revering. And I think that that's what makes it so surprising and powerful.

What's been the oddest part of this whole experience for you? Is it the plush toys?

The plush toys are definitely up there. Being an audio animatronic at Disneyland is up there. Hosting a nighttime water show at Disneyland is up there. But the most surreal part of it is putting it in the context of my baggage and my experience of what it means to watch a Disney film and what a Disney film means to me, and now being a part of that for other kids, including my own. That's the part that I find the most surreal.

"Frozen" is now playing in theatres.

Josh Gad on 'Frozen' and Possible 'Book of Mormon' Involvement

from The Moviefone Blog


5 Remakes You Didn't Know Were Based on Asian Movies

Oldboy Original

This week's "Oldboy" is being marketed as a lot of things -- a bold, stylistic new thriller, the latest masterpiece from American auteur Spike Lee, a broody Josh Brolin movie -- but none of the advertising or promotional materials for the film are engaging with its place as a remake of an Asian cult classic.

The original "Oldboy," directed by South Korean filmmaker Chan-wook Park, was an exercise in rococo visual style and a taste test for even the most out-there international film fan. (When the scene where the lead actor eats a live octopus is at the bottom of the outrageousness scale, you know it's wild.) And while the new "Oldboy" superficially borrows from the original, it lacks many of the elements that made that film so special.

And while it's fairly well known that some big-time American movies have gotten their start in Asia (Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning "The Departed" was based on the Hong Kong crime movie "Infernal Affairs," and western "The Magnificent Seven" has its roots in Akira Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai"), there are just as many movies based on Asian films that aren't nearly as well known or recognized in the same way. So, here are five of them.

from The Moviefone Blog


Family Movie Mistakes: 22 Uh-Oh Moments From Family-Friendly Flicks (PHOTOS)

back to the future goof

Family-friendly movies are usually light and fun, but that doesn't mean they're off the hook from some moviegoers' hawk-like, mistake-catching gaze.

From classics like "Back to the Future" to your favorite animated flicks, like "Monsters Inc.," here are 22 noteworthy family movie mistakes.

Per usual, all photos courtesy of

from The Moviefone Blog


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here's the 'Anchorman 2' Cast Singing 'Afternoon Delight' in Australia (VIDEO)

The cast of "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" proved that they've still got golden pipes this week when they performed an impromptu rendition of "Afternoon Delight," the Starland Vocal Band song the Channel 4 News team famously sang in the first film.

Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and David Koechner reprised the tune during the Sydney premiere of "Anchorman 2," inviting the crowd to join in. The audience was delighted by the performance, clapping and singing along, and cracked up as Koechner made his signature wacky sound effect toward the end of the chorus.

Indeed, the cast and fans have plenty to be delighted about: Paramount just announced that the flick will open two days earlier than planned to cash in on audience excitement for the long-awaited sequel to 2004's "Anchorman." The legend will now continue on Wednesday, December 18 instead of the 20th.

Here's hoping the singing continues in "Anchorman 2," too.

[via HuffPost Entertainment, TheWrap]

from The Moviefone Blog


'Fast and Furious 7': Jason Statham Reveals 'Great Fight Sequence' With The Rock

Hummingbird - UK Premiere

Jason Statham is no stranger to ensemble action flicks, enjoying a plum spot in the "Expendables" lineup since that franchise's inception. Now, as he's set to join another venerable action series -- "The Fast and the Furious" -- the star is speaking out about that film.

In an interview with Vanity Fair promoting his new movie, "Homefront," Statham raved about his experience working on "Fast 7." He's only spent four days on the film's set -- most of his scenes are set to be shot in 2014, he explained -- but said it's been good so far.

"I get to work with a lot of great people who I've always thought were decent," Statham said. "[T]he Rock ... is such a good chap, you know. We're doing a great fight sequence. And working with a pro like that was amazing."

Statham added that joining such an established, successful franchise was a bonus, too.

"It's nice being part of something so big because the pressure is off," he told Vanity Fair. "It's not just me."

Statham's back with his "Expendable" buddies next August. He makes his debut in "Fast and Furious 7" when the film hits theaters July 11, 2014.

[via Vanity Fair]

from The Moviefone Blog


Idris Elba on 'Mandela,' Heimdall's Future, and Getting in on the 'Blade Runner' Sequel

idris elba mandela long walk to freedom

Idris Elba is mostly known to American audiences for his role as Russell "Stringer" Bell in HBO's hit series "The Wire" and as the titular cop in the BBC drama "Luther" -- but that's starting to change. Earlier this month, he reprised his role as the hulking Asgardian gatekeeper Heimdall in Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World," and he plays -- or, rather, embodies -- South African leader Nelson Mandela in the upcoming biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," directed by Justin Chadwick ("The Other Boleyn Girl") and co-starring Naomie Harris ( "Skyfall").

In "Mandela," Elba tackles the icon's life, from his formative days as an anti-apartheid activist to his subsequent arrest, imprisonment, and groundbreaking election as president of South Africa.

Moviefone sat down with Elba earlier this month, just after the release of "Thor: The Dark World," and chatted with the actor about portraying an icon in "Mandela," his planned homecoming trip to Africa, the possibility of a Heimdall spin-off, and his interest in being part of Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" sequel.

Moviefone: Congrats on "Thor" and "Mandela." You're having a pretty good fall.

Idris Elba: Did you think you'd ever be saying that to one actor? Well done on "Thor," and well done on "Mandela"?

Mandela is such a huge, iconic figure. Did you have any apprehension about playing him?

I mean, yeah. Loads, man. I mean, I felt like, "I don't look like him, how the hell can I do it?" I was told immediately that we're not doing a lookalike version of him. But I definitely had apprehensions because he's so... you know, everyone knows who he is, or has an idea or sense of who he is. The challenges were, no, actually we're gonna show them a film of a part of him that they didn't know. So, eventually, my apprehension slowed down and relaxed a little bit. When I got to South Africa, I really embraced what South Africa was like -- the history, where it is now. I looked at everything as much as I could in my research. Eventually, I just kind of got on with it, you know?

What else went into the research? You have his accent, even his mannerisms, the way he carries himself -- you seem to embody him.

I just studied as much as I could. I used my dad as a reference. My late old man. I love him. He's gone now, but I used him as a reference point. I didn't know what a 70-year-old man looks like or feels like and moves like, and I would watch my dad and the way he would sit and cross his legs. And what his body would do as he got up, and all this sort of stuff, you know? And then I looked at lots of stuff on Mandela and watched his behavior. And I just worked on it; I kind of puttered around my dressing room when I had the prosthetics, doing things that I think Mandela would do and just practicing movements, talking, sitting -- just everything.

You mentioned the prosthetics. How long did it take to apply the old-age makeup?

It was about four and half hours every day. I did forty days in that. It was tough, man -- there's no doubt about it. But I got used to it. I got into a system. I actually wrote my first script while I was doing that.

Really? What was it?

I was working on this -- I directed it now. It was a half-hour short for Sky, in England. It's called "Pavement Psychologist," and you can see it; it's somewhere online. Anyway, I wrote that -- they attached this iPad to a little stand and I had to sit back like this. [Leans back, makes typing noises] "Hey, how do you spell...?"

You also have another movie coming out soon: "No Good Deed," with Taraji P. Henson. What can you tell me about that?

"No Good Deed," yeah. I can't wait for an audience to see it. It's a thriller. It's about a man that loses his way. He comes out of prison and really goes back into bad sh*t. And then he focuses in on Taraji's character. It's a psychological, action-y thriller.

You seem drawn to that. You've done horror movies. You've done thrillers. Is there something especially appealing to you about either the horror or thriller genres?

Well, you just get to be dramatic. You know what I mean?

Well, you're pretty dramatic in "Mandela."

That's very true, but the heart of that character is this soul and presence that you have to bring alive. In these other films, like "No Good Deed," it's just a dramatic, popcorn, Friday-night film, with really good actors -- Taraji's amazing in it; she really brings this character to life.

Obviously, you filmed Africa for "Mandela," and you filmed "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" there as well. Someone on Twitter wanted me to ask, "What's affected you most about filming in Africa?"

Wow. It's a lot. Africa is amazing. People who haven't been there would be surprised about Africa. It's a f*cking fascinating, beautiful country. And filming there is no different from filming anywhere except you've just got this massive amount of land and beautiful landscapes to look at. South Africa, the eastern cape, where we shot where Mandela comes from, Drakensberg, is just incredible. You've just never seen mountains like that. We were staying in this mountain hotel, and in the morning, because the hotel sits slightly above the cloud line, you'd come out and then there were these clouds and you had peaks of the other buildings. It was just so picturesque. The South African crews are amazing; really strong, really, really focused. You can tell in the detail in the movie that the artwork and all of that was just really, really on point. It was good, a good experience.

Where would you like to go next?

Well, I want to visit where my parents are from, which I'm embarrassed that I've not been there. I'm going to Sierra Leone and I'm going to Ghana, both next year. And I actually want to visit Africa as a whole because I want this film to do well out there and I want Africans to see it as well as the rest of the world, so it would be great for me just to get around Africa and show it.

Can you talk a little bit about what it was like working with director Justin Chadwick?

Justin was really collaborative with me. It was his vision to have me play the role, and he really fought for it, and he really fought to educate me on what he was trying to do, what he was trying to achieve. I was very nervous about my portrayal of Mandela, but I got very quickly married to his ideas, you know? I wanted to be truthful. He's courageous, Justin. He's got a really good eye for detail. But he's really courageous. He fought for a certain point of view in the film; he fought for it and even still, to this day -- even though the film is about to come out -- he's interested in how it's perceived, how it's put out there. He's all over it. I really like Justin. I hope he and I make films together for the rest of our lives 'cause he's good.

"Authenticity" is the word I keep throwing around in reference to this movie. It seems that that was very important to him as a director.

Majorly so. Every detail. We made a to-scale replica of the prison. Every single detail, which was also frightening. I remember Ahmed Kathrada came down, who is one of the guys who'd gone to jail with Mandela, and when he was walking around the set he said, "This feels like I'm back on Robben Island." It was that well done. For me, as an actor, especially all the scenes in the prison, it just really brought it home -- because Justin had paid so much attention to detail, I didn't have to do prison acting. I could just be in the moment, because we were really there. And I spent a night in Robben Island as part of my research, which was really, really a tough and weird thing to do, of course. But it helped me get perspective on Mr. Mandela.

Can we switch things to "Thor" for a second? Some figures in the Marvel Universe have ended up with their own spin-offs or bigger storylines. Any idea as to where Heimdall is going?

Man, I don't. Historically, Heimdall hasn't gone anywhere.

He has a very important job.

He does. And he has to stay at that post. So, I don't know. My journey with the Marvel character might stop whenever the last film is. I like making films like that. I'd like my own superhero. I think I'd like my own superhero -- give that a shot. Heimdall and "Thor" -- I'm really proud that it's done well; I haven't even seen the film yet.



What do you think a Heimdall movie would look like? Would it just be him in that room for two hours?

Looking at stars, fighting things that are disappearing in front of him. Yeah, I'm not if sure Heimdall could even sustain a whole movie on his own. But he's quite a warrior. My cousin came in my house the other day and brought me -- he opened this package, and said, "Look. Look in there." And he opened it and it was a Heimdall doll! Have you seen these?

Yes, I have.

You're joking? I didn't know.

You didn't know you were an action figure?

No, man.

You're a full-blown action star. Now, Guillermo del Toro is working on a "Pacific Rim" sequel, and "Prometheus 2" is in the works. But your characters died in those movies. Are you kind of saying to yourself, "I wish my characters didn't die."

[Laughs] Look, I loved both those films. I've done them, and I knew my character was going to die. That's good. That's okay. I said to Ridley, "Hey, man. Ever think about making 'Blade Runner' again?"

It's happening.

Is it?!

They're working on a sequel.

Who's going to do it?

Ridley Scott.

Ridley and Harrison?

I don't know that Harrison's coming back for sure, but Ridley's definitely working on it.


There's one last thing we like to ask everyone we interview. What role, past or present, do you wish you'd played?


Well, the fact that you're playing Mandela right now -- you have to think outside of that. That's a pretty huge role to take on.

You know, I'm actually really into playing the pianist Thelonious Monk, because he has a really interesting story. And he's a genius pianist. The reason why I actually want to do it is because I want to see if I can challenge myself and learn to play the jazz piano. Not as good as him but proficient for a movie, because I don't want to fake it. Also, he had mental illness that I'd love to explore. His is a really fascinating story. Yeah, man. In the future, Thelonious Monk.

"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" hits theaters Friday, November 29.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - Trailer No. 2

from The Moviefone Blog


New DVD Blu-ray: 'Red 2,' 'The Canyons,' 'Jobs'

new dvd blu-ray

Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week

"Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me"

What's It About? The Memphis band Big Star has legions of diehard fans and critical acclaim aplenty, and its influence can be felt across the history of rock 'n' roll. But why did mainstream success elude them? Why did Big Star flame out after only three albums? This doc tries to put the pieces together.

Why We're IN: Even fans don't know the whole story about this cult band and its members, so this doc will help them fill in some of the blanks. Chris Bell died in 1978 as an unknown, and the late Alex Chilton was also not a huge fan of talking to the media. "Nothing Can Hurt Me" puts the band into context of the Memphis scene, and it has tons of interviews with everyone left who was involved with the band, rock critics, and musicians who were influenced by them. A must-see for Big Star fans and music buffs.

Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week

"Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Collection" (Criterion Collection)

What's It About? Zatoichi seems like a harmless enough guy; he's blind, he's a masseur, he travels around playing dice and doling out acupuncture on occasion. Surprise! He's also a total badass action hero who knows all sorts of ways to wield a sword. This series made Shintaro Katsu an action star in Japan.

Why We're IN: This 27-disc collection includes 25 (25!) Zatoichi movies, from 1962's "The Tale of Zatoichi" to 1973's "Zatoichi's Conspiracy." Since it's from Criterion, you know the digital restoration looks as sharp as Zatoichi's cane sword. It also comes with a 1978 documentary about Shintaro Katsu, a book, and much more.

"The Canyons"

What's It About? James Deen and Lindsay Lohan star in this "thriller" written by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Schrader. You might have heard a little about this tale of sex, drugs, money, betrayal, and the emptiness of Hollywood, if only because the personalities involved made it kind of a disaster.



What's It About? A former race car driver named Brent (Ethan Hawke) discovers his wife has been kidnapped, and the only way he can save her is by following the instructions of a mysterious caller (Jon Voight). Unfortunately for Brent, someone tries to car jack him; fortunately, she is The Kid, a hacker played by Selena Gomez. Together, they team up to find Brent's wife and the eerie voice behind it all.



What's It About? Ashton Kutcher takes on the role of Steve Jobs, the late Apple visionary who started his incredible journey as a tech magnate in his parents' garage. Josh Gad plays Jobs's colleague and tech giant Steve Wozniak, with Dermot Mulroney and Matthew Modine as investors and Apple CEOs. The focus is on Jobs and his legacy, which garnered some criticism from those who were in the know.


"Red 2"

What's It About? Retired black ops dude Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) has to once again ditch his dreams of laying low to gather his old spy days buddies and hunt down a lost nuke. "Red" alums Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Jones, and John Malkovich are joined by Anthony Hopkins, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

IN or OUT: IN.

New to Blu-ray:

George A. Romero's "Knightriders"

What's It About? The man who made zombies a household word took a break from brainnnssss with this strange action/adventure about motorcyclists who perform in a traveling Renaissance troupe. (They dress up as knights and joust on motorcycles.) Ed Harris stars as Billy, the leader of this weird round table, and Romero regular Tom Savini (yes, the special effects artist) shows up as the guy who's gunning for Billy's crown. There's plenty of commentary from the crew, and a cool transfer that spiffs up the pic from its out-of-print DVD days.

IN or OUT: IN. (Because why not?)

from The Moviefone Blog


The Best Disney Soundtracks of the Past 25 Years: 'Frozen,' 'Lion King,' and More (VIDEO)

best disney soundtracks

Disney's latest animated musical "Frozen" is enjoying a flurry of critical praise this holiday week, and it's partially due to the clever songs performed by Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Kristen Bell and Josh Gad. The tracks -- penned by husband and wife duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez of "Avenue Q" and "Book of Mormon" fame and composed by Christopher Beck -- range from catchy and bold ("Let It Go") to sweet ("For the First in Forever") to laugh-aloud funny ("In Summer" -- sung by a snowman). The "Frozen" score is so memorable, it has been hailed as "Disney's best since 'Beauty and the Beast.'"

In celebration of the fantastic "Frozen" score, we've ranked 10 of Disney's soundtracks since the release of "The Little Mermaid" in 1989. We kept the list to Walt Disney productions (no Pixar), but here are 10 Disney soundtracks to check out both on-screen (not every piece makes it onto the official soundtrack) and for your personal collections.


from The Moviefone Blog


A 'Road House' Remake Is in the Works

road house remake

Another '80s action flick is getting a remake: Patrick Swayze-starring "Road House."

The 1989 film featured Swayze as a bouncer with a shady past who's hired to work at a Missouri watering hole, where he soon runs into trouble with the locals. The remake already has a script (written by Michael Stokes) and the project just hired veteran action director Rob Cohen.

Cohen helmed the first "Fast and the Furious" movie, as well as "XXX" and last year's Tyler Perry box-office bomb "Alex Cross." So he's had a mixed bag, success-wise. Maybe "Road House" is his ticket to redemption?

Cohen's currently shooting "The Boy Next Door," starring Jennifer Lopez as "a psychotic MILF," per The Hollywood Reporter. Expect "Road House" up next on the director's docket once that project wraps.

[via: The Wrap, h/t Vulture]

from The Moviefone Blog


Quentin Tarantino Is Making Another Western, But It's Not a 'Django' Sequel

quentin tarantino western django unchained

Quentin Tarantino already has his next project lined up, and though he wouldn't say anything about the script, he did reveal the genre.

"It's a western," Tarantino said Tuesday on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," adding that it was the first time he was speaking publicly about the project.

"It's not a 'Django [Unchained]' sequel, but it's another western," the writer-director said. " ... I had so much fun doing 'Django,' and I love westerns so much, that after I taught myself how to make one, it's like, Well, okay, let me make another one now [that] I know what I'm doing."

It certainly seemed that Tarantino knew what he was doing the first time around, since "Django Unchained" snagged the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Christoph Waltz won the Best Supporting Actor prize. But clearly, he has more to say with the genre (his "Tonight Show" appearance was in support of a new graphic novel series based on "Django"), so it makes sense that he'd return to familiar, successful well for his next feature.

No timeframe for the project was discussed, but Tarantino said he's busy writing now. Maybe his new western can make awards show magic again in 2015.

[via The Playlist]

from The Moviefone Blog


Sorry, Scarlett Johansson's Voice in 'Her' Isn't Eligible for a Golden Globe

scarlett johansson her golden globe

Turns out the Golden Globes aren't so fond of "Her" -- or rather, Scarlett Johansson's voice-only performance in the Spike Jonze film. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the awards, says Johansson is ineligible to be nominated for the prize because she doesn't physically appear in the movie.

Johansson had been thought to be gaining awards show momentum for the unconventional performance after winning the Best Actress prize at the Rome Film Festival last week. If nominated for an Oscar, she would make Academy Awards history as the first actor to be nominated for a voiceover role.

But apparently the HFPA could not be swayed to join its award show brethren, citing a rule that it does not nominate voice work. (Though Entertainment Weekly notes that the Globes did award Robin Williams a special prize in 1993 for his role as the Genie in "Aladdin," so their refusal to budge on Johansson seems a bit odd.)

Despite the Globes snub, both the Academy and the Screen Actors Guild have said that Johansson is eligible for a nomination for those statuettes. Perhaps if she can win over those voting bodies, Johansson can make voiceover work a more respected voice in Hollywood.

[via Entertainment Weekly]

from The Moviefone Blog


Judd Apatow's Next Movie Is a 'Train Wreck'

judd apatow train wreckJudd Apatow's next movie is going to be a "Train Wreck."

That's the working title for the film, to feature comedienne and Comedy Central star Amy Schumer, who, according to The Hollywood Reporter, will play "a basket case who tries to rebuild her life." THR reports that the film has already begun casting, and the production is still looking to snag people to play the parts of Schumer's boyfriend, best friend, and parent.

Apatow has met with actors in L.A. throughout the past month. Schumer and producer Barry Mendel are set to continue additional meetings in New York this week.

Apatow taking the directing reins is good news for the project, which was announced this summer. At the time, Apatow was only attached to produce and help write the script, so the director also deciding to get behind the lens must bode well for its quality.

Studio Universal is behind the project and it's believed that they see in Schumer another funny female movie star along the lines of Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. If this "Train Wreck" turns out to be anything but, Schumer may be in for a smooth Hollywood ride.

[via The Hollywood Reporter, h/t The Playlist]

from The Moviefone Blog


Middle Earth Is on Google Maps Now

middle earth google maps

"Hobbit" fans can now take their own unexpected journey through Middle Earth -- a virtual journey, anyway -- thanks to a promotion between Google Maps and Warner Brothers.

Just in time for the release of the second installment in the "Hobbit" series, "The Desolation of Smaug," the new map provides an overview of Middle Earth's geography, with bonus sections that expand and allow users to explore certain significant areas more thoroughly. Familiar landmarks like The Shire and Rivendell are all there, and there are still portions of the map waiting to be unlocked (no doubt being gradually revealed as "Smaug"'s release date looms).

Fans can click on certain highlighted areas of the map to reveal bonus content, with trivia about the landmarks narrated by Ian McKellan (or at least someone who sounds an awful lot like Gandalf). There are film stills from the movies, as well as information about who or what can be found there. (Trollshaw, for instance, gives a summary of Bilbo's run-in with a trio of trolls in the first film, and includes a character bio, among other features.)

It's a fun bit of PR for the movie, with appeal for both diehard "Hobbit" fans and those curious to learn more. Leave it to Google to have a slick marketing team.

"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" opens on December 13.

[via Chrome Experience, h/t The A.V. Club]

from The Moviefone Blog


11 Thanksgiving Movies That Will Make You Very Thankful for Your Family

thanksgiving movies

Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters" is a movie that features not just one but three Thanksgiving celebrations, all hosted by Mia Farrow's earth-mother Hannah character over three consecutive Novembers, that come off without a hitch. They're picture-perfect holiday gatherings worthy of Norman Rockwell or Martha Stewart, even though her extended family is so big it requires two impeccably golden-brown turkeys at the feast table.

That's the exception.

In most films depicting the November holiday, Thanksgiving is a disaster. From travel nightmares to squabbling relatives to kitchen catastrophes, almost no one in the movies is able to stage a Thanksgiving that looks even remotely like a Rockwell painting or a Stewart magazine spread. Of course, since most of us fall similarly short of perfection at our real-life Thanksgivings, we can identify with both the frazzled hosts and irked guests we see on the big screen.

So, if you need to feel better about your own thankless Thanksgiving, here are 11 terrible Turkey Days you can watch. Have a little schadenfreude with your candied yams.

from The Moviefone Blog


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jena Malone Nailed Her 'Catching Fire' Audition by Having the Worst Morning Ever

jena malone catching fire audition

Want to land a part in a movie? Just have the worst morning ever.

That was Jena Malone's strategy, the actress revealed in a recent interview with Vulture. Malone, who plays fiery tribute Johanna Mason in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," told the site that she was nervous about auditioning for the chip-on-her-shoulder character, since she's "so not an angry person."

"Anger's not something you can fake," Malone explained. "It's something that channels through you, out of nowhere. It's a hard thing to control. So I was like, F--k, this is going to be a little complicated, and I don't wanna go in there and give him something fake and ridiculous."

What happened the morning of her audition, though, certainly helped Malone channel her inner angry woman. The actress said that from the moment she woke up, "everything started pissing me off," from a faulty alarm to a too-early phone call to the auditions before hers running behind.

"And I was like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, what's happening? And I was like, Oh, wait. [Johanna's] totally taking over," Malone recalled. " ... By the time I was in there, I was seething; I was frothing at the mouth. I don't even think I said hello to Francis. I just walked in and said, 'Tell me when you want me to start.'"

Obviously, Malone's crappy day turned into a pretty great one, since she snagged the part and now will appear in the rest of the films in the franchise, "Mockingjay - Part 1" and "Mockingjay - Part 2." Catch her now in "Catching Fire."

[via Vulture]

from The Moviefone Blog


'Pretty Woman' Producer Arnon Milchan Admits to Being an Israeli Spy

Arnon Milchan

A famed Hollywood producer is finally speaking out about his role as an Israeli spy that saw him brokering arms deals for his home country at the same time he was brokering movie deals.

Arnon Milchan (above, left, with Justing Timberlake), who produced films including "Pretty Woman," "Fight Club," and this year's Oscar contender "12 Years a Slave," admitted to being part of a network that bought arms to boost Israel's nuclear program, until it was disbanded in 1987. While his involvement in Israel's Bureau of Scientific Relations, also known as Lekem, was long-rumored, Milchan's remarks about the organization during an interview on Israeli TV Monday were the first time he'd publicly acknowledged it.

"Do you know what it was like to be a 20-something guy whose country decided to let him be James Bond? Wow! The action! That was exciting," Milchan told TV program Uvda. " ... I did it for my country, and I'm proud of it."

Milchan, who was born in Israel, moved to Hollywood in the 1970s, trading his spy life for the film life, but admitted that he soon fell back into his old ways. "Sometimes it gets mixed up," he said. He added that other big movie names helped with his work, but he declined to give specifics.

Sounds like Milchan's production company, New Regency, has some great source material for a new film.

[via Washington Times, h/t TheWrap]

Hollywood Producer Arnon Milchan Claims Past As Israeli Spy

from The Moviefone Blog


The 2014 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees Are Here

2014 Independent Spirit Awards nomineesThe Independent Spirit Awards, honoring the year's best independent filmmaking, have announced their nominees for the 2014 ceremony, and "12 Years a Slave" leads the pack with seven total nominations.

"12 Years a Slave" scored nominations for best feature, best director (Steve McQueen), best screenplay (John Ridley), best male lead (Chiwetel Ejiofor), best supporting female (Lupita Nyong'o), best supporting male (Michael Fassbender), and best cinematography (Sean Bobbit).

Rounding out the best feature category were "All Is Lost," "Francis Ha," "Inside Llewyn Davis," and "Nebraska." "Nebraska" was the second-most nominated, with six total nods.

Other notable nominees included "Blue Jasmine," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Fruitvale Station," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Mud," and "Blue Is the Warmest Color."

Check out the full list of nominations here. The Independent Spirit Awards are scheduled for March 1, the night before the Academy Awards telecast.

[via Film Independent]

from The Moviefone Blog


Celebrate 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' Returning to Theaters With Five Minutes of the Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' Preview - That's Just a Tomato

Audiences tired of turkey this Thanksgiving can reach for a second helping of "Meatballs" instead: Sony has re-released "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" in theaters in time for the holiday.

In this clip from "Cloudy 2," premiering today exclusively on Moviefone, Flint (Bill Hader) and friends have returned to his hometown of Swallow Falls after he discovers the food-making machine he concocted in the first film is now churning out food-animal hybrids. Flint and co. set out to investigate and destroy the machine once and for all, but are stunned to stumble upon the large and impressive menagerie waiting for them.

The clip packs in heaping helpings of gorgeous visuals and punny mashups, including flamangoes, shrimpanzees, hippotatoes, and peanut butter and jellyfish. One character points out a large, red, round creature, excitedly wondering about its clever moniker.

"That's just a tomato," answers a dejected Sam (Anna Faris).

With so many sight gags and witty asides, parents should eat up "Meatballs" along with their kids. "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" is in theaters for a limited re-release now until December 5.

from The Moviefone Blog