Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wendell Pierce on Filming 'Selma' and Why It's One of the Highlights of His Life

Ava DuVernay's "Selma" is a wonderful film, a moving and powerful tribute to the American civil rights pioneers who helped bring about tremendous changes to their nation. Along with the likes of Nobel Laureate Martin Luther King Jr., a large number of equally committed individuals fought for the rights of their community against injustice.

One of the key participants of that Bloody Sunday that occurred on the Edmund Pettus Bridge was the Reverend Hosea Williams, member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and close associate with Dr. King. In the film he is played by Wendell Pierce, himself a vocal champion for justice and a tremendous talent to boot. As one of the backbone players on shows such as "The Wire" and "Treme," with "Selma" Pierce brings out some of his trademark wit and that exquisite baritone voice.

Moviefone Canada spoke with Pierce about his involvement in the film, the challenges of bringing this story to life, and how the role was received by those that actually marched across that bridge.

Moviefone Canada: What, if any, connection or relationship did you have with Hosea Williams before the project?

Wendell Pierce: I knew of Hosea Williams, I knew what his role was in the civil rights movement. All of the lieutenants around Martin Luther King were leaders in their own right. He had done so much work in Savannah, Georgia, and Atlanta, so I was very familiar with him. Like most people, I knew that he was in this seminal moment in civil rights history, on Bloody Sunday, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with John Lewis, the two men in our psyche when it comes to that day.

When I was offered the role, there was one thing that I knew would be in the film. You couldn't do a movie about Selma without that iconic image of them standing face-to-face with the Alabama troopers, so I knew I wanted to be a part of that image. I was just really honoured to be a part of the film. The research and preparation for it and all, it just cemented my knowledge of him further and deepened my understanding of how far he went, all of the battles that he fought. [Plus], how he's still impacting lives today, with his hunger project and the Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, a non-profit that outlives him and lives on in his honour.

The film does a remarkable job of dealing with subtlety, of dealing with not only all of the elements going on at the time, and a humanization of iconic characters like Dr. King. Do you see this telling as being particularly unique, and do you attribute that to DuVernay?

What's very unique about the portrayal here is it shows you that it wasn't happenstance, that there was a wealth of strategy. It was a strategized political movement understanding the consequences, the pros and the cons, the different points of view, what should be prioritized, what shouldn't be prioritized.

In the course of the retelling and looking back on the civil rights movement, a lot of people get lost in the mythology of it. That lessens what a great strategized movement it was, these lawyers and reverends and astute observers of the political system and [their] understanding of human nature and human behaviour, so that a non-violent movement could actually bring a great sense of power, and explaining that to folks who were participating in it.

What I liked about the movie is that fact that it wasn't about sitting anywhere you wanted to on a bus, or drinking from a certain water fountain or being able to access any restaurant you go to. It was a battle front and frontline where people's lives were at stake. Even more importantly, people lost their lives. I like to remind people that there's blood on that ballot box.

The American telling of our story of freedom and fighting for freedom, we always celebrate our armed forces saying that they made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy our freedoms here in America. Well, this movie is reminding us that there were ordinary citizens, not on some foreign shores but right in their own hometowns, who made the ultimate sacrifice to make sure that we had access to the freedoms that are guaranteed in the Constitution, making this nation live up to its values that were on paper but weren't in practice.

One of the moments that I remember in filming was standing on a bridge after we had finished the last day. The sun was setting, it was at dusk, and I stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge alone, just looking down at the Alabama River. It was as if all the souls and the people who lost their lives, those bodies that were lost in the depths of that river were speaking out, saying "Remember us, tell our story, make sure they know what happened here."

It was a profound moment, to be standing on that hallowed ground, knowing that for so many nameless and faceless people who lost their lives, that we would be honouring them by telling this story. That's the uniqueness of this movie. It doesn't just make it some mythology of American history, it's poignant, how important even the battles of today are; the continuum and strategy and the humanness of the people who were a part of it show you, give you even more knowledge that you, as an individual, can also change the world.

I was surprised when the credits rolled that you actually shot in Selma.

It was profoundly moving because there were people there who acted as our background actors who were in the march. Two famous little girls who you see in interviews in documentary films talking to Martin Luther King, who Hosea had picked up, they were there.

Some of the folks who are now in their 80s and 70s came out to be a part of the movie. Between set-ups we were told this is what happened, this is how it happened, that person standing over there watching is the daughter or son or the grandson or granddaughter of the city councilman who fought us and stayed away.

I actually did something: I asked Stan Houston, who plays [Sheriff] Jim Clark, to see what the attitudes among all the extras were like. It was really interesting how he was able to come back and report. Some people haven't changed their opinions. [Houston] has gone so far as to get flack from the very people related to Jim Clark and who lived in town. He's getting feedback that he shouldn't have portrayed him, and why he gave a portrayal that wasn't going to be flattering.

We realized that we were on the very bridge where this happened, we were on the very spot where this happened. Edmund Pettus was actually a Klansman, [so there's] the irony that this seminal civil rights moment happened on a bridge named after a KKK member. It shows you the irony and pain and the shared experience in history that everyone on both sides shares. It's until we come to an understanding that this is a shared experience and a shared original sin of America, we'll never get to a place of understanding.

It was not just a movie, it was one of the highlights and profoundly cathartic moments in my life.

Yet this isn't simply a documentary, it's a film with the conventional act structure of drama. What was your own reaction to the telling?

You look at the work that Martin Luther King did over a 13-year period when he was in the public eye -- how could you begin to depict and show the impact that he had?

People lost their lives, black and white and young and old, and I thought to take this one moment in the 13-year arc, it would illuminate reality, show the specificity of who he was as a man, realizing the ever-present shadow of his own death, realizing that he had his own challenges within his organization, which impacted challenges within his family. [Also] knowing that the full weight and resources of the American government were against him, challenging his fate of whether or not he was doing something that was going to be beneficial, [whether] he was doing the right thing for his people, jeopardizing their lives.

You see at the end of the movie that he was 39 at the time of his assassination. To think of where you are at 39, it just shows you that impact. And he started at 26, you know? That was the thing that they'd learned from other successful biopics, to take one moment of significance in the whole volume of things that the person had done and you'll be able to illuminate the whole arc.

The more specific you are, the more universal it becomes. You can't look at this movie and see it as just some black movie from the '60s, a black movement from the '60s. You look at this and you go, wow, this is a movement that has been replicated around the world where people learned from this strategy, learned from this man who opened people's eyes. It's Capetown to Myanmar and ongoing in Hong Kong today. You cannot sit and watch this film without thinking about what's happening in the world today, happening here in America today, happening around the world.

How have people like Congressman John Lewis responded to the film?

We had a special screening in Santa Barbara as we honoured the legends who paved the way. Oprah invited them to a special screening, and to sit there with C.T. Vivian, and Juanita Abernathy, Ralph Abernathy's widow, Myrlie Evers, who was Medgar Evers' widow, Jesse Jackson, Sidney Poitier, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Marian Wright Edelman, who started the Children's Defense Fund, Diane Nash ... all of these men and women who were part of this movement.

To have them there in the theatre to see this film, and to get their blessing, was one of the most satisfying moments. We wanted to get their blessing, we wanted to make sure we did right by them. For years to come, people will come to know them through our film. We knew we had a great responsibility to do them honour.

They actually talked to John Lewis and asked him about Hosea and that moment of walking across the bridge, and to get his approval. [He said] it's a job well done, you guys are telling our story and so many people are going to really understand what we went through because of the movie. That was one of those moments in your career where it goes beyond the actual work itself.

This whole experience of this movie is really very cathartic and a powerful moment, for me to honour those fathers and mothers, my parents' generation. My father's going to be 90 years old in a few weeks, and for him to be able to see this movie and I'm able to thank him, it's truly an honour.

"Selma" is opening in Canadian theatres on January 9, 2015. It is already playing in select U.S. theatres.

Selma- Trailer No. 1

from The Moviefone Blog


13 Movie Mistakes From Your Favorite Superheroes

Having super powers definitely has its perks, but between knocking down skyscrapers and getting all the girls (or guys), superheroes aren't immune to the occasional mess-up.

Like pretty much every movie, superhero flicks are sometimes littered with continuity errors and visible gaffes (e.g. harness wire). So, here are some of the most noticeable superhero movie mistakes, proving that no franchise is invulnerable.

Per usual, all photos courtesy of

superhero movie mistakes

from The Moviefone Blog


'Game of Thrones' Mixtape Will Bring The Noise With Anthrax

Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax Perform At The Gibson Amphitheatre

"Game of Thrones" is already pretty metal, what with all the swords and dragons and George R.R. Martin's beard, but the mixtape for next season will really take things to a new level. Last season's mixtape, "Catch the Throne," relied primarily on hip hop artists for songs that riffed on "GoT" themes and used samples from the show.

However, this year things are gonna get a little hairy. Anthrax's Scott Ian, whose impressive goatee rivals GRRM's, has revealed that his band will be contributing a song to this year's "Catch the Throne" mixtape, as per Facebook.

Scott Ian told Metal Hammer Magazine that writer, executive producer, and showrunner DB Weiss is a big fan of Anthrax. He said, "I asked Dan, 'Hey man, what would be the possibility of us recording the drums for the next album in the throne room?' Like we bring a mobile studio and set up the drums, mic everything and record in here. He says, 'Oh my God, that would be the sickest thing ever. We know the guys that can make that possible.'

"All of you out there who watch 'Game Of Thrones,' much like me, probably think it's a very metal TV show. And just know: the reason for that is that one of the creators is a huge metalhead."

Anthrax's next album will come out in 2015. "Game of Thrones" will return on this spring.

[Via Metal Hammer, EW]

from The Moviefone Blog


9 Best 'Friends' Episodes Ever, Ranked

Happy New Year, everyone! Or should we say, happy "Friends" on Netflix day ... It's true. On January 1st you will be able to watch Monica, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, and Ross anytime you want via the streaming service. So start 2015 right by settling in with one of the best sitcoms ever. We'll even help you choose which viewing is essential. Yup -- we've ranked what we think are the 9 greatest episodes of the series of all time. Enjoy! And let us know if you have any luck getting that Rembrandts theme song out of your head after a long weekend of binging ...

from The Moviefone Blog


Live Out Your 'Downton Abbey' Fantasies At This Hotel

Diehard fans of the veddy British PBS show "Downton Abbey" should start saving their pence. Highclere Castle, which is practically its very own character on the PBS show, is already open for walking tours, but now you can spring for your very own overnight stay at the on-site London Lodge. The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon have spent several years and plenty of cash renovating the buildings just north of the main estate.

London Lodge boasts a working fireplace, as well as more modern amenities like Wi-Fi and TV. It will be open for Valentine's Day weekend, and then select weekends after the castle opens for tours on Easter. Rooms start at $540 a night. The fifth season of the show premieres in the US on January 4th on PBS.

[Via CNTraveler]

from The Moviefone Blog


New Year's Resolutions for TV Characters

Smart people behaving foolishly. That seems to be the essence of scripted TV these days, as characters we've come to admire for their savvy get themselves into terrible trouble because they make regrettable decisions. Sure, that sort of behavior makes for great drama and comedy, but it also makes for messy lives. If our favorite TV characters really want to clean up their acts, they'll take our advice and adopt these custom-tailored New Year's resolutions.

Sansa Stark ("Game of Thrones"): I will not accept any wedding invitations.

Mindy Lahiri ("The Mindy Project"): I will remember that life is not a romantic comedy, and everything doesn't turn out the way it does for Meg Ryan.

Lisa Simpson ("The Simpsons"): After 25 years, I will finally pass the second grade.

Don Draper ("Mad Men"): Maybe seeing Bert Cooper dancing down the hallway after his death is a sign that I shouldn't drink so much.

Saul Goodman (formerly of "Breaking Bad," soon to be seen on "Better Call Saul"): I will find a better class of clientele. Maybe just white-collar criminals.

The cast of "Scandal": We will stop mixing work and our social lives.

Frank and Claire Underwood ("House of Cards"): Yeah, that's probably a good idea.

Alicia Florrick ("The Good Wife"): Me, too.

Fitz ("Scandal"): Oh, one more for me: no more presidential phone sex. You never know who's listening...

Jane Villanueva ("Jane the Virgin"): I'll go through with the malpractice suit against the gynecologist whose epic blunder left me pregnant, even if she is the sister of hunky, wealthy Rafael. Or at least I'll make Rafael cough up for daycare.

Jonah ("Silicon Valley"): I will never get into a driverless, computer-controlled car again.

The cast of "Orange Is the New Black": Is it too late to get time off for good behavior?

Paige ("The Americans"): I know my parents are weird and secretive, but I will not look too hard for the skeletons in their closet, since I might be super creeped out by what I find.

Sheldon Cooper ("The Big Bang Theory"): I will interact more with lesser human beings, and I won't always bring disinfectant wipes.

Jules Cobb ("Cougar Town"): I'll stop drinking so much red wine and switch to something less heavy-duty. Like white wine.

Will Graham ("Hannibal"): I will try to get some sleep, though I'll surely be troubled by nightmares.

Jack Larsen ("Stalker"): Um, maybe I should stop being a stalker? Or at least appearing to be one?

Sterling Archer ("Archer"): You know that whole "Miami Vice" thing we did throughout last season? I'll forget it if you viewers will.

John Thackery ("The Knick"). Imagine how much more brilliant and trailblazing a surgeon I could be if I weren't high on liquid cocaine all the time. Maybe I could have invented transplant surgery in 1900 if I weren't so busy probing the spaces between my toes for injectable veins.

The extended Braverman clan ("Parenthood"): When we have our series finale at the end of January, we won't make you cry... too much.

The cast of "Parks and Recreation": Neither will we... oh, who are we kidding? You'll weep as hard as if Li'l Sebastian died all over again.

Valerie Cherish ("The Comeback"): I'll be back.

Robert Crawley, Lord Grantham ("Downton Abbey"): I will consult with my family before embarking on any new business ventures, since I'm clearly hopeless at such things. Although that American fellow, Ponzi, seems like a successful money manager...

Dowager Countess Violet Crawley ("Downton Abbey"): I shan't be making any resolutions, as I do not require any self-improvement. Though I can think of others who do.

from The Moviefone Blog


Sam Raimi Talks 'Spider-Man 3' Mistakes on Nerdist Podcast

Writer/director Sam Raimi was on this week's Nerdist podcast with Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira earlier this week, and the "Evil Dead" director was refreshingly open about some of the mistakes he made with "Spider-Man 3." Raimi was one of the first indie directors to be tapped for a major franchise, and while "Spider-Man" and its sequel were fairly well received, "I messed up plenty with the third 'Spider-Man," Raimi told the Nerdist folks.

Raimi said, "It's a movie that just didn't work very well. I tried to make it work, but I didn't really believe in all the characters, so that can't be hidden from people who loved 'Spider-Man.' If the director doesn't love something, it's wrong of them to make it when so many other people love it." He added that trying to raise the stakes even higher for the third film was "what doomed us. I should have just stuck with the characters and the relationships, and progressed them to the next step, and not tried to top the bar. I think that was my mistake."

Raimi later added, "Most people just want to talk about the successful pictures... but very times do you hear filmmakers talking about their bad movies. I mean, people aren't interested in them."

Next up, Raimi is exec producing the TV series "Ash vs. Evil Dead," which will star his old pal Bruce "The Chin" Campbell. The series is expected to debut in 2015.

[Via Nerdist, Pajiba]

from The Moviefone Blog


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jessica Chastain Facts: 27 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About the Actress

Jessica Chastain FactsJessica Chastain went from redhead typecast to having her fingerprints all over Hollywood in the blink of an eye.

Trained at Juilliard, the versatile actress struggled to find steady work in her initial years in Los Angeles, however, a dynamic performance in an indie changed all that. Her knockout debut in "Jolene" snowballed into role after role and quickly catapulted the unknown Chastain into an A-list star overnight. This fall, actress stars opposite Oscar Isaac in the acclaimed "A Most Violent Year," a film that has already earned Chastain a Golden Globe nomination.

From her special Oscar date to her famous ex-roommate, here are 27 things you probably don't know about Jessica Chastain.

1. Jessica Michelle Chastain was born March 24, 1977 in Sacramento, California.

2. Estranged from her father, Chastain was raised by her mother, Jerri Chastain, and her stepfather, Michael Hastey, who she considers to be her father.

3. Chastain's mother is a vegan chef, while her stepfather is a fireman.

4. At the age of 7, Chastain developed an interest in acting after her grandmother took her to see David Cassidy in a production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

5. Nearly twenty years later, Chastain's grandmother was her date to the Oscars in both 2012 and 2013.

6. Aside from acting, Chastain showed a knack for dancing and was in a dance troupe by the time she was thirteen.

7. Acting proved her true calling, however, and she was performing in a professional theater company in the Bay Area while in high school.

8. Following graduation, the young actress attended the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City (1999-2003) as a member of "Crew 32."

9. The scholarship fund for Crew 32 was provided by the late Robin Williams.

10. In her final year at Juilliard, Chastain attended a showcase in Los Angeles and was signed to a holding deal by TV producer John Wells ("ER," "The West Wing").

11. The actress had difficulty getting cast, however, largely due to being a redhead and her unconventional "modern looks."

12. She made her television debut in 2004 on Wells's hit show "ER."

13. Around the same time, she was cast in a TV pilot for "Dark Shadows," a remake of the 1960s Gothic soap opera. The show, unfortunately, did not get picked up by the network.

14. In 2008, the talented Chastain broke out in the 2008 indie film "Jolene." She hasn't stopped working since.

15. From 2011 through 2014, the actress appeared in over 15 feature films. That's crazy.

16. Al Pacino even handpicked the young actress to play the title character opposite him in the play "Salome."

17. He later recommended her to Terrence Malick for the lead in "The Tree of Life" (2011).

18. In 2013, Chastain won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Drama) for her performance in "Zero Dark Thirty."

19. She's permanently saved the voicemail from director Kathryn Bigelow in which she learned she'd won the part in "Zero Dark Thirty."

20. Unfortunately, Jennifer Lawrence took home the Oscar that year for "Silver Linings Playbook."

21. To date, Chastain has been nominated for two Oscars and three Golden Globes.

22. Most recently, she earned a Golden Globe nomination for "A Most Violent Year" in the Best Supporting Actress category. The Oscar nominations have yet to be announced.

23. In fall 2015, Chastain will star opposite Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hiddleston in Guillermo del Toro's "Crimson Peak."

24. As for her personal life, she had a long-term relationship with director Ned Benson.

25. Benson directed Chastain opposite James McAvoy in the romantic drama "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" (2013).

26. She's currently dating Italian fashion executive Gian Luca Passi di Preposulo.

27. Bonus Fact: Chastain and her former roommate and good friend, actress Michelle Williams, were nominated for Oscars the same year (2012). Luckily, they were nominated in separate categories!

[Sources: Wikipedia, IMDb]

from The Moviefone Blog


Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' to Get Limited Theatrical Release After All (UPDATED)


UPDATE: Variety reports that earlier indications that Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, "Lost River," would not receive a theatrical release were incorrect. (Our original report is below.)

According to the trade, studio Warner Bros. is planning a limited release in New York City and Los Angeles on the same day that the flick hits VOD services.

The release is still slated for sometime in the second quarter of 2015. No official date has been announced yet.


Bad news, Ryan Gosling fans: The heartthrob's directorial debut, "Lost River," will not get a theatrical release.

The flick, which received mostly negative reviews when it debuted at Cannes in May, will instead get a release on home entertainment platforms in April. Collider first fished out the news in an interview with "Into the Woods" producers Marc Platt and John DeLuca, who said that despite rumors that studio Warner Bros. was dumping "Lost River," it was still getting an April release. Variety later reported the VOD component.

"Lost River" (previously titled "How to Catch a Monster") was also written by Gosling, and centered around a single mother and her teenage son who are swept into a dark, fantastical underworld after the son discovers a mysterious road. It stars Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, Matt Smith, Saoirse Ronan, and Iain De Caestecker.

No word yet on the exact April release date, or on which platforms the flick will be available.

[via: Variety, Collider]

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


New Red Band Trailer Celebrates 'The Interview''s Success (VIDEO)

It may not have had a splashy theatrical release, but the record-shattering VOD success of "The Interview" has prompted Sony to release a new red band trailer for the flick, inviting audiences to check out the movie that has the entire world talking.

While the clip features several scenes not viewed in previous trailers, the action may as well be referencing the controversy surrounding the film instead of the film itself. At one point, James Franco says in voiceover, "This is a major event"; later, he discusses the government's involvement in his and Seth Rogen's trip to North Korea.

Both moments can be interpreted as nods to the alleged North Korean hackers threatening theaters that showed the film, and the U.S. government pointing fingers at leader Kim Jong-un's country as the perpetrators of the crippling attack from which Sony is still reeling. The story earned international attention as Sony cancelled, then uncancelled, the planned Christmas release of the flick, which went on to bank $15 million in online sales over the four-day holiday weekend.

You've probably already made up your mind about whether or not you want to see this film, but if you need more convincing either way, this latest red band trailer should do the trick. Check it out below, and download "The Interview" on Google Play, YouTube, Xbox Video, and if you're so inclined.

[h/t The Playlist]

from The Moviefone Blog


Voice Actress Christine Cavanaugh, of 'Rugrats' and 'Babe' Fame, Has Died at 51


Voice actress Christine Cavanaugh, who charmed generations of children and adults alike with roles in animated series such as "Rugrats," "Dexter's Laboratory," and "Darkwing Duck," passed away on December 22. She was 51.

Cavanaugh was born in 1963 and studied at Utah State University and the University of Hawaii before moving to California to pursue a career in acting. She shot to fame in the early 1990s thanks to her breakout role as Goslyn on "Darkwing Duck." Other iconic characters included neurotic toddler Chuckie Finster on "Rugrats," the titular inventor on "Dexter's Laboratory," the titular piglet in "Babe," Marty Sherman on "The Critic," and Oblina on "Aaahh!! Real Monsters."

In addition to her prolific voiceover work, Cavanaugh also appeared frequently onscreen as well, with roles on TV series including "Cheers," "Empty Nest," "Wings," "The X-Files," and "Everybody Loves Raymond." She also had a role on the big screen in the 1996 Oscar-nominated flick "Jerry Maguire."

"Christine has touched many lives, some we know and others we do not," said an obituary posted by the Los Angeles Times. " ... Her imagination, humor and intelligence were evident to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting her. It was of no surprise when she was able to share her talents with the world."

Cavanaugh retired from voice acting in 2001, and moved to be closer to her family. She leaves behind several siblings and half-siblings, along with numerous nieces and nephews -- and a legion of adoring fans forever grateful for the gifts she shared.

[via: Los Angeles Times, h/t IndieWire]

Photo credit: Associated Press

from The Moviefone Blog


Paul Rudd to Return for Final Season of 'Parks and Recreation'

Marvel's Hall H Panel For

Among the familiar faces already scheduled to return for the final season of "Parks and Recreation" -- Rob Lowe! Rashida Jones! Jon Hamm! Megan Mullally! -- is another big name guest-star: Paul Rudd.

Rudd, who last popped up in Pawnee during season four of the NBC comedy as one of Leslie Knope's (Amy Poehler) rival city council candidates, will once again play Bobby Newport for two episodes of the sitcom's seventh season. Entertainment Weekly first reported the news, and interviewed "Parks and Rec" creator Mike Schur about Rudd's reappearance.

"He's the world's nicest human being-and the funniest," Schur said of the "Ant-Man" start. "We made a list of all the people that we wanted to have back and he was high on the list, so we managed to snag him."

As for just how Rudd's character factors into the final season's plotline -- which takes place three years into the future -- Schur let slip a few details, but declined to give away anything big.

"Ben [Adam Scott] needs to fill a certain position and he thinks that Bobby might be a good candidate," Schur told EW.

We can't wait to see how it all shakes out. Perhaps Rudd's charming presence will distract us from the overwhelming sadness of saying goodbye to "Parks" for good once this season wraps.

"Parks and Recreation" returns for its seventh and final season on January 13 on NBC.

[via: Entertainment Weekly]

Photo credit: Getty Images for Disney

from The Moviefone Blog


'Lost River,' Ryan Gosling's Directorial Debut, Won't Get Theatrical Release


Bad news, Ryan Gosling fans: The heartthrob's directorial debut, "Lost River," will not get a theatrical release.

The flick, which received mostly negative reviews when it debuted at Cannes in May, will instead get a release on home entertainment platforms in April. Collider first fished out the news in an interview with "Into the Woods" producers Marc Platt and John DeLuca, who said that despite rumors that studio Warner Bros. was dumping "Lost River," it was still getting an April release. Variety later reported the VOD component.

"Lost River" (previously titled "How to Catch a Monster") was also written by Gosling, and centered around a single mother and her teenage son who are swept into a dark, fantastical underworld after the son discovers a mysterious road. It stars Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, Matt Smith, Saoirse Ronan, and Iain De Caestecker.

No word yet on the exact April release date, or on which platforms the flick will be available.

[via: Variety, Collider]

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


Paul Feig Says 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Will Be 'Scarier Than the Original'

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' Hollywood Costume Opening Party - Arrivals

There's still no completed script or confirmed cast for Paul Feig's upcoming all-female "Ghostbusters" reboot, but that doesn't mean that anticipation for the flick isn't sky-high. In keeping with the demand for news about the movie, Feig spilled some details in an interview with Empire Magazine.

While the director stopped just shy of revealing any actual plot points, he did suggest that the movie would take the "ghost" portion of its title seriously, telling Empire (as transcribed by HeyUGuys) that he hoped the flick would be sort of a horror/comedy hybrid.

"I want ours to be scarier than the original, to be quite honest," Feig said. "[Screenwriter] Katie Dippold and I are so focused on wanting to do scary comedy. We don't want to hold back."

One way in which Feig and Dippold will hold back, though, is with the profanity: The director plans on making this flick more family-friendly than his other fare like "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat," and reach a larger audience with a PG-13 rating. Feig also addressed his decision to make the flick a reboot rather than a sequel, noting, "I love origin stories and to introduce new characters."

Speaking of those new characters, there's a laundry list of funny females clamoring to be in the film. Does Feig have any frontrunners for the cast -- say, Rebel Wilson, or Kristen Wiig, or Jennifer Lawrence -- yet?

"Right now, honestly, there could be 50 Ghostbusters," he told Empire. "I'm just waiting to get our first draft of the script together to go, 'Who makes sense in these roles?' If I put the list in front of me of people that have said they want to do it, talk about a Sophie's Choice. When you do a movie like Ghostbusters, people get very interested."

Indeed. We can't wait to hear more.

[via: Empire, h/t HeyUGuys]

Photo credit: Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


Back-to-Back Oscar Winner Luise Rainer Dies at 104

Luise RainerThe first back-to-back Oscar winner, Luise Rainer, died yesterday in her London home at the age of 104. Rainer's daughter, Francesca Knittel-Bowyer, confirmed the news to multiple outlets.

The German-born actress won consecutive Academy Awards for "The Great Ziegfeld" in 1936 and "The Good Earth" in 1937. But while Rainer achieved great success shortly after arriving in Hollywood, she never felt comfortable in the spotlight.

She had to be ordered by MGM boss Louis B. Mayer to attend the Academy Awards ceremony to accept her "Good Earth" trophy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. And she once said of winning back-to-back Oscars: "Nothing worse could have happened to me."

Rainer was unhappy with the films that Mayer and MGM wanted her to do after her record wins. "I was a machine, practically - a tool in a big, big factory, and I could not do anything," she told The AP in 1999. "And so I left. I just went away. I fled. Yes, I fled."

The actress broke her contract with the studio and made her last major film, "Hostages," in 1943. After that, she made occasional appearances in television and film after moving to London with second husband Robert Knittel. They had one daughter together, Knittel-Bowyer.

"Though fragile as a hummingbird she was strong as an ocean storm," Bowyer wrote of her mother in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. "She left with grace and peace after battling pneumonia. She leaves her indelible print on her profession and all those who touched her."

Aside from Rainer, the only consecutive Oscar winners have been Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards, and Tom Hanks.

from The Moviefone Blog


Netflix's 'Daredevil' Wants to Be the New 'Wire'

DaredevilSuperhero TV dramas tend to be all about cool gadgets, quippy banter, and slick action scenes, but Netflix's "Daredevil" wants to break that mold.

Instead, showrunner Steven S. DeKnight wants to model the series after "very grounded, very gritty, very real" films like "The French Connection" and "Taxi Driver." As he told Entertainment Weekly, "We always say we would rather lean toward The Wire than what's considered a classic superhero television show."

"There aren't going to be people flying through the sky. There are no magic hammers." (Take that, Thor!)

While "Daredevil," which hits Netflix in May, will be darker in tone than ABC sibling "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," don't expect "Game of Thrones"-style violence and nudity. "When I came onto this there was no way I wanted to make this hard-R or NC-17," DeKnight said, adding, "We're not looking to push it to extreme graphic violence, gratuitous nudity or anything like that. The story does not require that and I think would suffer if you pushed it that far."

from The Moviefone Blog


Where Is 'The Interview' Playing in Canada?

THE INTERVIEW 2014 CTMG,Inc film with from left: James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Seth RoganSony Pictures' "The Interview" is finally making its way into Canadian theatres.

If you haven't already downloaded it online, you can catch the James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy at the following Canadian theatres, starting the weekend of January 2, 2015.

British Columbia


Williams Lake

Salmon Arm, Salmar Grand Theatre

Surrey, Hollywood 3 Cinemas

Pitt Meadows, Hollywood 3 Cinemas

Vernon, Towne Cinema

Chilliwack, Cottonwood


Calgary, Plaza Theatre



Peace River, River City Cinemas

Red Deer, Carnival

Regina, Rainbow Cinemas

Lethbridge, Movie Mill


Portage La Prairie


Saskatoon, Roxy


Barrie, Uptown

Oakville, Oakville Mews

Ottawa, Mayfair

Ottawa, Rainbow St. Laurent

Orleans, CinéStarz

Mississauga, CinéStarz

Pembroke, Algonquin

Toronto, Carlton Cinemas

Toronto, TIFF Bell Lightbox (Sunday, January 4 only)

Windsor, Lakeshore


Montreal, Dollar Theatre

New Brunswick

Campbellton, North Shore Cinema

For exact showtimes, consult your local listings.

'The Interview' Movie, Dinklage Selfies and More Hollywood Happenings

from The Moviefone Blog


Monday, December 29, 2014

Most Pirated Movies of 2014 Include 'Frozen,' 'Wolf of Wall Street'

Among the many woes Sony weathered following a crippling hacking attack was that several of its high-profile films popped up on pirating sites in recent weeks. But films are pirated all year long, and there were plenty of other big-name movies that were downloaded illegally in 2014.

Excipio, a firm that tracks online piracy activity, released a report detailing the top 20 most pirated movies of 2014, and the list is led by two very different titles: "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Frozen." The former film just barely edged out the latter, notching a little over 30 million downloads, while the latter totaled just under the 30 million mark.

According to Excipio, the data was collected between January 1 and December 23, 2014. The company said it could not account for different downloads of movies of the same title, with films such as the recent "RoboCop" reboot and Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" flick combining with other earlier movies with the same moniker to make the list.

Check out Excipio's full top 20 below. Those big numbers probably explain a lot about why this year's total North American box office haul was down 5 percent from 2013.

1. "The Wolf of Wall Street": 30.035 million (Paramount, Dec. 25, 2013)

2. "Frozen": 29.919 million (Disney, Nov. 27, 2013)

3. "RoboCop"*: 29.879 million (MGM, Feb. 12, 2014; and Orion, July 17, 1987)

4. "Gravity": 29.357 million (Warner Bros., Oct. 4, 2013)

5. "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug": 27.627 million (Warner Bros., Dec. 13, 2013)

6. "Thor: The Dark World": 25.749 million (Disney/Marvel, Nov. 8, 2013)

7. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier": 25.628 million (Disney/Marvel, April 4, 2014)

8. "The Legend of Hercules": 25.137 million (Summit, Jan. 10, 2014)

9. "X-Men: Days of Future Past": 24.380 million (20th Century Fox, May 23, 2014)

10. "12 Years a Slave": 23.653 million (Fox Searchlight, Oct. 18, 2013)

11. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire": 23.543 million (Lionsgate, Nov. 22, 2013)

12. "American Hustle": 23.143 million (Sony/Columbia, Dec. 13, 2013)

13. "300: Rise of an Empire": 23.096 million (Warner Bros., March 7, 2014)

14. "Transformers: Age of Extinction": 21.65 million (Paramount, June 27, 2014)

15. "Godzilla": 20.956 million (Warner Bros., May 16, 2014)

16. "Noah": 20.334 million (Paramount, March 28, 2014)

17. "Divergent": 20.312 million (Lionsgate, March 21, 2014)

18. "Edge of Tomorrow": 20.299 million (Warner Bros., June 6, 2014)

19. "Captain Phillips": 19.817 million (Sony/Columbia, Oct. 11, 2013)

20. "Lone Survivor": 19.130 million (Universal, Dec. 25, 2013)

[via: Variety]

Photo credit: Paramount

from The Moviefone Blog


Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello Are Engaged: Report

Gucci And GQ Celebrate Men Of The Year

Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello are engaged, according to a report from E! News.

The site writes that it's confirmed that the "Modern Family" actress and "Magic Mike" and "True Blood" actor are set to tie the knot, following a Christmas engagement. The pair started dating in July.

"I've never seen two people so truly in love," a source told E! of the couple. "The way they talk to each other, touch each other. It's incredible."

Vergara was previously engaged to on-again, off-again flame Nick Loeb, but they called it quits for good in May. The 42-year-old starlet and 38-year-old Manganiello have been inseparable since they started dating, stepping out frequently together over the past few months, according to E!.

Congrats to the happy couple!

[via: E! News]

Photo credit: Getty Images for GQ

from The Moviefone Blog


Watch John Oliver Explain Why New Year's Eve Is 'The Worst' (VIDEO)

John Oliver, Last Week Tonight

John Oliver knows that many people are currently suffering from holiday fatigue, what with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa dominating the past few weeks. And now, the "Last Week Tonight" host says, the worst holiday of them all has arrived: New Year's Eve.

In a web exclusive clip, Oliver rants about the year-end celebration, likening it to "the death of a pet."

"You know it's going to happen, yet somehow, you're never really prepared for how truly awful it is," the host explained.

Among the reasons why New Year's Eve is The Worst, according to Oliver, are that it involves mingling with strangers and watching Ryan Seacrest on TV. Luckily, the host had several tips for how revelers can skip the celebration and continue their couch potato ways well into the new year.

Check out the clip below, and take some mental notes in preparation for the holiday. "Last Week Tonight" returns to HBO in early 2015.

[via: Last Week Tonight]

Photo credit: YouTube

from The Moviefone Blog


This 'Scrubs' Reunion Between Zach Braff, Donald Faison, and John C. McGinley Fills Us with Joy (PHOTO)

What's New on TV, Netflix Streaming, Digital, and DVD/Blu-ray This Week: December 29 - January 4

At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.

New on DVD and Blu-ray

There's not a whole lot coming out on DVD and Blu-ray this week that's worth your hard-earned ducats, but here are two that might be.

"The Equalizer"

This actioner with Denzel Washington and Chloë Grace Moretz got mixed reviews from critics, but if you love Washington in butt-kicking mode - especially with "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua behind the wheel - it's is worth a look.

"Kelly & Cal"

Juliette Lewis stars as a new mother trying to cope with settling down from her punk rock past. She strikes up a friendship with a teenage neighbor named Cal that becomes a lifeline for them both. Jonny Weston ("Taken 3," "Chasing Mavericks") co-stars.

TV Worth Watching

New Year's Eve Specials!

Turn on almost any channel to find some live shenanigans celebrating 2015:

"Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015" on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. EST

"MTV's NYE 2015" on MTV, at 11 p.m. EST

"NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly 2014" on NBC, at 10 p.m. EST

"Pitbull's New Year's Revolution" on Fox, at 8 p.m. EST and 11 p.m. EST.

New on Netflix


This sitcom about a gaggle of goofy New Yorkers in their twenties has been in syndication forever, but now you can watch whichever episode you want, when you want to watch it. FREEDOM!


Alexander Payne's satire pits a straight-A student named Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) against the high school teacher who doesn't want her to be class president (Matthew Broderick).

"Mean Girls"

Tina Fey wrote the screenplay for this awesomely quotable comedy about one teen girl's foray into popularity. Lindsay Lohan stars as a teen at a new school who inadvertently falls in with a clique known as The Plastics - until she gets on the wrong side of chief mean girl Regina George (Rachel McAdams) by falling for Regina's ex BF.

New Video on Demand, Rental Streaming, and Digital Only

"Fury" (iTunes)

David Ayer's WWII action drama stars Brad Pitt as an Army sergeant leading a tank crew on a dangerous mission in Germany. Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, and Jon Bernthal co-star as his exhausted, war-scarred crew, with Logan Lerman on board as a fresh-faced newbie who has to get up to speed on the double.

"Mozart In The Jungle Season 1" (Amazon Prime)

Who knew playing in a symphony could get so racy? Gael García Bernal stars as the new maestro Rodrigo, with the wonderful Bernadette Peters as the head of the board of directors, Malcolm McDowell as Rodrigo's predecessor, Saffron Burrows as a successful cellist, and Lola Kirke as new oboist who's at the center of the story.

"Downton Abbey Season 5" (iTunes, Amazon Prime)

Catch up with the Crawleys as they head into the 1920's with a roar. Things are getting a little loose in this PBS series, as the Crawleys and their crew start getting with the times. The sexy times!

from The Moviefone Blog


2015 Family Movie Preview

It's that time of year not only for a look back at the year's best, but also to peek ahead at what the new year has to offer at the movies. We've assembled a list of our 15 most anticipated family titles that you can at least plan to attend in the next year with your children - depending, of course, on the kids' ages and interests, and your budget for tickets and concessions.

In 2015, some of the most eagerly awaited films of the past several years hit theaters, including Pixar's latest, "Inside Out," and "Tomorrowland," a live-action, sci-fi mystery starring George Clooney and directed by two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird. Besides those original films, the second "Avengers" film explodes on-screen in May, and the final "Hunger Games" concludes the series in November. Other sequels, anticipated for a decade or more, finally open for the SpongeBob, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars franchises.

So grab your family calendar and get ready to circle the opening dates of those and the rest of these 15 family friendly titles of 2015.

family movie preview 2015

from The Moviefone Blog


'Wheel of Fortune' Contestant Solves Puzzle with 1 Letter, Sets Winnings Record (VIDEO)

Wheel of Fortune

Long-running game show "Wheel of Fortune" is a reliable source for viral videos, and this clip of a record-setting contestant solving a toss-up puzzle with only one letter on the board is just the latest amazing example.

Matt DeSanto, a contestant from Pennsylvania, burned through the entire game last Friday, sweeping every single puzzle and racking up more than $90,000 -- and that was even before the bonus round. But it was his amazing solve on a puzzle in the "Character" category that still has viewers talking.

With only the letter "E" up on the board, DeSanto rang in with the correct answer: The Lone Ranger. The contestant earned $2,000 for his trouble, and went on to accrue $91,892 total before sailing through to the bonus round.

DeSanto ultimately came up short during that round, but walked away with a huge lump of cash and a pair of "Wheel" records to boot: He's the first contestant to win more than $70,000 in the main game since 2011, and his total is the highest ever earned by a contestant in the main game throughout "Wheel"'s history. We'll spin to that.

[via: TheWrap]

Photo credit: YouTube

from The Moviefone Blog


Aaron Paul May Star in Han Solo-centric 'Star Wars' Spin-off: Report

Premiere Of

A new rumor floating around about the first upcoming "Star Wars" spin-off film is a juicy one: It may be focused on legendary "Wars" character Han Solo, and "Breaking Bad" alum Aaron Paul may also star in the flick.

Fan site Making Star Wars reports that sources close to the "Star Wars: Force Awakens" production at London's Pinewood Studios have dropped some details about the first planned "Wars" spin-off, and it's some decent scoop. According to the site's sources, Han Solo is set to take center stage for the flick, and its filming will directly overlap with production on "Episode VIII," which is also set to shoot at Pinewood.

Whether or not the spin-off and "Episode VIII" will share any of the same plot remains to be seen, though if they're shooting somewhat at the same time, it would stand to reason that some events from the spin-off could be referenced in "Episode VIII" (or vice versa).

Making Star Wars's sources also said that Paul was a name that was attracting interest from the production, though there's no indication that he would be playing Solo himself.

Whether or not any of these rumors pan out remains to be seen. The "Star Wars" rumor mill loves to whip itself into a frenzy before anything official is announced, and this may be just another unconfirmed detail that never comes to fruition. We'll wait and see if Disney or Lucasfilm has anything to say about this before we get too excited.

[via: Making Star Wars, h/t Screen Rant]

Photo credit: Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog


'The Interview' Scores Massive $15 Million Online Debut

The Interview

Its limited theatrical release over the Christmas holiday weekend may not have been ideal for all moviegoers, but millions of people still ponied up to see "The Interview" -- from the comfort of their own homes.

According to data release by Sony, the controversial comedy scored a whopping $15 million debut online through various streaming and VOD channels. More than 2 million people either rented or bought the film through Google Play, YouTube, or Xbox, Sony said.

Those numbers make "The Interview" Sony's highest-grossing online release of all time. It also brought in approximately $2.8 million from 331 independent theaters over the four-day weekend.

While that theatrical gross is a far cry from what Sony initially expected from the Seth Rogen and James Franco-starring comedy, the online numbers are a good sign for the studio, which has struggled in recent weeks. The nationwide release of the movie was scrapped altogether by Sony following a massive hacking attack (most likely perpetrated by North Korea) and threats of violence on theaters that screened the flick; the studio eventually backtracked on that cancellation in favor of the limited screenings and VOD plan.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Ed Araquel/Sony

from The Moviefone Blog


Oscars 2015: Five Myths About the Academy Vote

Oscars Myths

It's crunch time for Academy Awards voters. Balloting for Oscar nominations begins in earnest on December 29 and runs until January 8, with the actual list of nominees announced a week later. Predictions are flying fast and furious, but there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about how the vote actually works. Here's why a lot of what you think you know about how the Academy is likely to vote is wrong.

Myth No. 1: The Academy is a bunch of old-timers who vote according to their old-school tastes. In fact, the Academy has been reaching out to younger film industry professionals in recent years. And the recruiting effort seems to be working. One measure is that the new online voting system has increased overall participation in the vote. This year, there are 6,124 eligible voters, up from 5,856 two years ago. So the result could be some outside-the-box thinking when it comes to nominees for Best Picture, Best Director, and the acting categories.

Myth No. 2: A movie needs to be released in December in order to remain on the minds of Oscar voters. That used to be true; a less charitable interpretation might be that such a notion is a relic of the time when the Academy was dominated by seniors with supposedly short memories. But in recent years, "The King's Speech" is the only December release to win Best Picture. This year, many of the leading contenders are movies released in the final month of the year, but they're up against movies from the first half of the year, like "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Boyhood," or movies from earlier in the fall, like "Birdman" and "Gone Girl." Thanks to the now-common studio practice of sending out DVD screeners to the Academy and other awards groups, movies that have been out of theaters for months have as good a shot as films currently playing on the big screen.

Myth No. 3: Hollywood's liberal politics inevitably bias the vote. Again, that may have been true once. Indeed, Los Angeles Times Oscar pundit Glenn Whipp says unnamed Academy members have suggested to him that they'll snub "American Sniper" because they still haven't forgiven director Clint Eastwood for his empty-chair speech mocking President Obama at the Republican National Convention two years ago.

But if there's one thing Hollywood reveres more than liberal politics, it's success -- artistic or financial. And right now, Eastwood's movie seems to be enjoying both. It's earned good reviews, and its limited release this weekend scored $850,000 from Thursday to Sunday, or an impressive $152,500 per screen, boding well for the movie's ultimate commercial success when it goes wide in January. If there's anything Hollywood might be more reluctant to forgive Eastwood for than his outspoken conservatism, it's the critical and commercial failure of this summer's "Jersey Boys." Just six months later, however, Eastwood is effectively erasing that memory and making a renewed case for himself as a director of material that's both popular and Oscar-worthy.

Myth No. 4: The Academy takes its cues from the critics groups. Well, the critics do help define the conversation by generating lists of movies worthy of consideration. It's because of critics that this year's consensus has coalesced around "Boyhood," "Birdman," "The Theory of Everything," "The Imitation Game," and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," as well as performances like Julianne Moore's in "Still Alice," a movie that no one in the public has yet seen.

Nonetheless, critics' opinions can take a movie only so far. Praise for Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz (both longtime Academy favorites) in "Big Eyes" isn't likely to carry over into Oscar support because the movie is underperforming at the box office. Its opening this weekend on 1,307 screens, many of them booked at the last minute when they became available after multiplex chains balked at showing "The Interview," yielded only $4.4 million, or $2,285 per screen. That move may be seen as overreach by the Weinstein company, usually experts in shepherding difficult movies to Oscar nominations. Again, it's okay for a movie not to be a blockbuster hit -- a modest success is fine for a small indie movie -- but commercial failure, even on indie terms, creates a stench that even lofty-minded Oscar voters can't ignore.

Conversely, critical scorn isn't enough to sink a movie's Oscar chances. Reviewers didn't think much of Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken," but the film is a commercial hit, opening this weekend with $47.3 million over the four-day holiday and generating great word-of-mouth among audiences (as measured by its A- grade at CinemaScore). Plus, Jolie's recent good-will tour, in which the once skin-baring actress has dressed primly and behaved like a serious filmmaker, has done its work in rehabilitating her image and adding to the film's luster. (Plus, there's industry sympathy for Jolie after revelations of the unkind words top executives had for her in e-mails stolen in the Sony hack; she's getting the last laugh now.) "Unbroken" is already the kind of movie that Oscar loves --- the kind of historical-epic, World War II, based-on-a-best-seller, triumph-of-the-human-spirit film that used to be Hollywood's bread-and-butter but which the studios have all but abandoned. That there's now a parallel narrative behind the film (sexy actress defies the critics and the suits to make a high-minded film that's also a box office hit) can only help the Oscar chances of Jolie and her movie, just as it did with Ben Affleck and "Argo."

Myth No. 5: Actors make up the largest and most consequential branch of the Academy. Well, it's true that more members of the Academy are actors than any other profession. There are 1,150 of them, making up nearly a quarter of the membership. It's the prominence of the actors that has led to the notion among pundits that the Screen Actors Guild awards are a strong predictor of the Oscars (since the actors who are Academy members are also SAG voters), or that their prevalence makes the Academy more likely than it might be to vote for actors who stretch (say, those like Eastwood or Jolie who become directors). All that is true, up to a point.

This year, however, the actors' branch actually declined a bit, losing 26 members. And the largest contingency in the Academy is actually the unaffiliated voters -- casting directors, executives, publicists, producers, and members at large -- who comprise 1,606 members and make up 26 percent of the Academy. Unlike the other Academy branches, who all pick the nominees in their own categories, these unaffiliated voters have no award category of their own and vote only to nominate the Best Picture candidates. So they make up a huge wild card; how they'll vote for the Oscars' top prize is anyone's guess.

from The Moviefone Blog