Friday, July 31, 2015

Actor, Wresting Legend 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper Dead at 61

WWE Screening of Wrestling superstar and actor "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (born Roderick George Toombs) has died. He was 61 years old.

According to TMZ Sports, the TV personality died in his sleep at his Hollywood home around noon today (July 31st). The cause of death is believed to be cardiac arrest, the site reports.

More to come....

from The Moviefone Blog

'Game of Thrones' Season 5 Gets Digital Release 7 Months Before DVD, Blu-ray

Winter is coming, but well before that, you can get "Game of Thrones" Season 5 as a digital download. And then right about when winter is done coming you can get the HBO show on Blu-ray and DVD.

In a new twist on the usual way of doing things, HBO is releasing the most recent season of "Game of Thrones" -- which just ended in June -- on Digital HD on August 31. You can get all the bonus features in that download seven months before the Blu-ray and DVD release, which is scheduled for March 15, 2016. Normally both digital and hard copy releases are issued around at the same time, in the spring before the new season starts.

What will you get when you download Season 5? "Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season" bonus features include "Introduction to Dorne," "Poisons of Westeros," "A Day in the Life," "The Weapons of Dorne," "Invitation to the Set," "Set Design," "New Characters & Locations," Season 4 Recap and the trailer. Here are more details from HBO.

Meanwhile, a lot of other GoT news was just released at the TCAs, including scoop on two new seasons beyond Season 6 -- which is now filming -- and the possibility of a prequel. HBO's boss confirmed that, as far as he knew, Jon Snow was dead at the end of Season 5. But the question remains: Will he stay dead?

Are you excited to download Season 5 at the end of this month or will you wait for the hard copies next spring. Neither, since maybe you still have the episodes on DVR and don't feel like paying HBO for more?

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from The Moviefone Blog

Can You Match the Tom Cruise Run to the Right Movie?

The biggest special effect in any "Mission: Impossible" movie is arguably Tom Cruise himself.

The guy loves his running, jumping and punching -- especially the running. With "Rogue Nation" hitting theaters this weekend, can you match the Cruise Run with the movie it comes from? Take our quiz and find out.

from The Moviefone Blog

'Harry Potter' Cast's Birthday Messages Will Make You Laugh and Cry

Author J.K. Rowling and her greatest creation, Harry Potter, both have birthdays today -- July 31. The author already tweeted her thanks to fans, but did you see the sweet birthday messages shared by several "Harry Potter" cast members to Time?

As Harry turns 35, his mum turns (it's not polite to say but the cast does refer to it) 50. Time celebrated J.K. Rowling's big milestone by getting 17 birthday notes from these movie stars: Alan Rickman (Snape), Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Natalia Tena (Tonks), David Thewlis (Lupin), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Clemence Poesy (Fleur), movie director Chris Columbus, Oliver and James Phelps (George and Fred Weasley), Katie Leung (Cho Chang), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood), Frances de la Tour (Madame Olympe Maxime), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley).

While some of the messages were short and sweet (Rupert Grint clearly did not put much thought into his simple note, but that's very Ron of him), others were very clever and a few were touchingly heartfelt.

The Phelps twins scored points for references to Puking Pastilles and "Mischief managed" but Imelda Staunton wins for writing her note in full character. Here are some of our favorite b-day cards for the HP queen:

Dear Miss Rowling,
On the occasion of your birthday I trust you will be clothed in delicious pink garments surrounded by plates of purring kittens.
These wishes come By order of Dolores Umbridge

- Imelda Staunton

Happy Birthday! Jo. You don't look a day over 40; everyone knows what a wonderful writer you are, and how much you did to get children to read books, and your charity work, but they perhaps don't know that in private you are very very funny. Perhaps you could celebrate your half century by writing a hilarious film. Perhaps, starring, I don't know, a large Scottish man. Have a great day, you so deserve it, all my love, Robbie C. XX

- Robbie Coltrane

To the woman whose imagination has made half the world feel less alone, afraid and in the dark; may the light you continue to shine always bounce back with interest. And at a flattering angle, naturally.

Jason x

- Jason Isaacs

So where the hell do I start? 50 years ago, a someone was born that has done what most of us dream of. She has made this little planet of ours a better, happier place and will leave a legacy that means that, that joy will continue to exponentially grow, generation by generation. I'm saying something everyone has said and will continue to write and say. Still it needs to be said and written.Let's face it, we all want to live in her world, identify individually with the characters and the magic wielded there which seems to be like a fantastic extension of our tangible world.

She has made children turn back to the loving medium of books, feel the power of a page and fly behind the eyes of witches and wizards.

She has made me remember feeling young.

She deals with the ultimate anchor of our lives: death, and introduces it to children in a healthy, aware way that can propel them to find a concrete way of dealing with it.

She makes me laugh.

Thank you and I'll be having pint of butter beer (JK, please tell us the recipe!) here's to another 50 years (can't believe you're 50 by the way, you look HOT!)

- Natalia Tena

Dearest Jo,

When we first met in person it took me a few frozen moments to recognise you. My reaction should have been instant given the level of mega-fan obsessiveness I'd proudly cultivated for years or by the impressive entourage of smiling faces that trailed in after you, or by the heavily expectant silence that was quickly becoming awkward. But it took me several seconds longer than was normal to have the appropriate jumping /squealing /hyperventilating fangirl fit because it seemed impossible to fathom that everything I loved - a vast universe, the very buildings and sets we were standing on, the hundreds of people milling about with one creative vision in mind - all of it, had come from the lovely, glowing, blonde woman before me who was on the small side of human and the miniature side of SuperWoman.

You squatted down by the make up chair to chat and it was very hard to piece words together into sentences because I wasn't sure whether I was talking to a person or a spiritual portal connected to hundreds of different voices, souls and energies, all of whom I wanted to speak to and ask the geekiest of questions. But we continued to talk and it was both marvelous and incredible to realise you were human, to see your warmth, curiosity, the generous gaze and genuine interest you afforded each person you encountered. By the time we parted (rather, when I was dragged sullenly back into tutoring...) you left me with the distinct impression that small, sensitive ladies can change the world.

It's been ten years and you are still reminding me of this. I've come to realise that it was that precise humanity and warmth I experienced when I met you, that curse of caring too much and of feeling too many feelings and that uncontainable imagination that can see far beyond what is real, that make you such a force of change and - and I don't care what disclaimers you make about being Hufflepuff deep down - such a fierce, bold Gryffindor! You inspire me endlessly in your art, your activism and your sassy Twitter comebacks so please keep loving and caring and imagining as hard as you do.

Love you. Happy 50th!! Have the most Magical Happy Birthday ever!!

Evanna xox

- Evanna Lynch

Isn't that beautiful? Read all 17 messages, and share your own if you'd like. Not to linger in the shallow end of the gene pool, but we agree that she does not look 50. Then again, that's magic for you.

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from The Moviefone Blog

7 Bodacious '80s Babes You (Probably) Forgot About

Don't you... forget about them. They are the ladies that helped define '80s film and television, and if you're of a certain age, one of these stone cold foxes surely made an impact on you at some point. Their careers didn't go the way of Meryl Streep and you may have trouble remembering their names in casual convos now, but these women shall not fall into obscurity. No, sir. Here are 7 stunners among the hottest actresses of 1980s cinema and TV you should remember.

from The Moviefone Blog

'Orange Is the New Black' Spoilers: Piper Has Panty Problems in Season 4

There is a market for everything, and Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" taught us that some guys will pay big bucks for used prison panties. Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) launched a thriving business in Season 3, but it's a dangerous game. We've seen characters (Nicky!) face serious consequences when breaking rules at Litchfield, so how could Piper's actions affect her in Season 4?

A fan asked Entertainment Weekly about Piper's undercover underwear biz and here's that Q&A:

Does Piper just not realize this panty business could mean more jail time on Orange Is the New Black? - Tara
It's definitely a conversation being had in the fourth season, according to Taylor Schilling. "She may only have three months left," the actress says. "It's a pretty wild thing that this character is risking a significantly extended sentence to play with this panty business." Despite turning on Stella last season, Schilling also believes Piper is not beyond redemption - though there may be a twist. "What if she's moving toward a place where she's finally, for the first time in her life saying, 'I'm going to bring it and I'm going to be who I am,' and she's been trapped by blonde hair and blue eyes for so much of her life? Maybe it is redemption to go too far." Ruh-roh."

Heck with Piper. She's been playing with fire, let her get burnt with more time. (That just means more episodes for us!) Poor Stella (Ruby Rose), though. In case you missed it, or want a refresher, here's Piper's epic panty speech from Season 3:

OITNB returns in 2016, probably with 13 episodes arriving in June, like the last three seasons, although we're on standby for an official Season 4 premiere date.

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from The Moviefone Blog

'Project Runway' 2015: Watch Tearful Sneak Peek and 'Road to the Runway'

watch-tearful-sneak-peek-and-road-to-the-runwayNever mind auf wiedersehen, it's time to say guten tag to "Project Runway" Season 14! Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum and company are returning this coming Thursday, August 6 at 9 p.m. on Lifetime. Before the premiere, the "Road to the Runway" special airs at 8 p.m., introducing the new designers. But you don't have to wait -- you can watch that right now on Lifetime's site.

Here are the 16 new designers:

Amanda Perna, 28, Delray Beach, FL
Ashley Nell Tipton, 24, San Diego, CA
Blake Patterson, 24, Los Angeles, CA
Candice Cuoco, 27, San Francisco, CA
David Gianpiccolo, 31, Hollywood, CA
Duncan Chambers-Watson, 25, Auckland, New Zealand
Edmond Newton, 37, Atlanta, GA
Gabrielle Arruda, 27, New York, NY
Hanmiao Yang, 27, New York, NY
Jake Wall, 36, San. Francisco, CA
Joseph Poli, 37, Las Vegas, NV
Kelly Dempsey, 31, Boston, MA
Laurie Underwood, 29, Chicago, IL
Lindsey Creel, 28, Austin, TX
Merline Labissiere, 32, Savannah, GA
Swapnil Shinde, 34, Mumbai, India

And here are some of the guest judges for this season:

Bella Thorne ("Scream")
Kiernan Shipka ("Mad Men")
Tracee Ellis Ross ("Black-ish")
Paula Patton ("About Last Night")
Ashley Tisdale ("Clipped")
Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer ("UnREAL")
Singer/songwriter Ciara
Singer and America's Got Talent judge Mel B
Supermodel Coco Rocha
Fashion designer Lisa Perry
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model and host of Lifetime's "Project Runway Junior," Hannah Davis
"Project Runway Junior" judge Kelly Osbourne

Here's a sneak peek of Season 14, with the judges discussing who's the most opinionated guest judge and who'll be making the designers cry:

What do you think? Are you in ... or are you out?

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from The Moviefone Blog

Ryan Kwanten Reveals His Five Favorite Action Films

Ryan Kwanten is best known for playing the lovable, but dumb (but also really hot) Jason Stackhouse on "True Blood." So if you're feeling like there's a piece of your heart missing since this is our first summer without the vampiric guilty pleasure, you can now see Kwanten in "Northmen - A Viking Saga." To celebrate his new role, Kwanten told us what action movies he can't get enough of.

"Northmen - A Viking Saga" hits theaters and Digital HD today (July 31st). You can get it on VOD and DVD/BD August 11th.
Premiere Of HBO's

from The Moviefone Blog

'Ghostbusters' Producer Issues (Confusing) Clarification on New Movies

All this back and forth about a possible "Ghostbusters" franchise beyond the upcoming reboot has gotten really confusing. It's dogs and cats living together -- mass hysteria! We know the Paul Feig movie with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth is now filming for a release next year, and there were rumors that a second movie was coming with a male cast (possibly including Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt). But that second movie may not really be happening. Unless it is happening? See if you can follow along...

Here's part of what "Ghostbusters" producer Ivan Reitman told Deadline back in March:

We want to expand the Ghostbusters universe in ways that will include different films, TV shows, merchandise, all things that are part of modern filmed entertainment. This is a branded entertainment, a scary supernatural premise mixed with comedy. Paul Feig's film will be the first version of that, shooting in June to come out in July 2016. He's got four of the funniest women in the world, and there will be other surprises to come. The second film has a wonderful idea that builds on that. Drew will start writing and the hope is to be ready for the Russo Brothers' next window next summer to shoot, with the movie coming out the following year. It's just the beginning of what I hope will be a lot of wonderful movies."

That "Drew" is writer Drew Pearce, and Channing and his partner Reid Carolin were meant to produce with Channing maybe playing one of the upcoming Ghostbusters and Joe and Anthony Russo looking to direct and produce.

But not so fast!

In late June, Reid Carolin shot down the "Ghostbusters" idea for himself and Channing, telling Screen Rant, "We're not doing that anymore. I think it's too complicated. There's a lot of things going on with that brand and I just feel like it's over-saturated." And starring in the movie was apparently news to Chris Pratt, who told GQ, "No one has ever even spoken to me about that. Never. I've even seen Channing a couple times. As far as I know, that's complete bulls-t."

So, perhaps because of that, Ivan Reitman returned with a new statement to try and clear up all the talk:

There has been a lot of excitement recently about what is happening with the 'Ghostbusters' franchise. As the producer of the new 'Ghostbusters' film, I feel the need to clarify. There is only one new 'Ghostbusters' movie and that is the Paul Feig directed version coming next July, presently filming and going fantastically. The rest is just noise."

As Coming Soon noted, along with that statement came a message from the Montecito Picture Company clarifying that "before Feig's reboot was greenlit, several writing teams were engaged by Sony to present different pitches, with the Pearce/Russos/Pratt/Tatum venture likely one of them, although no formal conversations ever took place."

But here's where it gets even more confusing. Writer Drew Pearce just talked to MTV about the second "Ghostbusters" script in a new July 29 report:

I've finished my work on that in the last couple weeks. Obviously it's top secret, but there's a gigantic bold idea that I came up with, and the Russo brothers - who did 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and are doing 'Civil War' at the moment - and Ivan Reitman, who did the original movie, are going to take that and run with it. Obviously I cannot tell you what it is, but hopefully in one year's time you'll know!"

He also discussed the rumored leads, Chris Pratt and Channing Tatum:

That's definitely the cast we've been thinking about as we approach the project. Whether that happens or not is very much above my pay grade. It's just my job to give them something exciting that maybe they'll do."

So maybe the clarification is that nothing is solid yet on a second movie, and maybe Chris Pratt hadn't even been asked because it was too soon to even make that call. Channing may not even do "Gambit" so "Ghostbusters" could be off his acting table too. We'll see.

Do you hope they do go ahead with another "Ghostbusters" movie after this new one? Too soon to say?

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from The Moviefone Blog

See Tom Cruise Run (and Run, and Run) in Ultimate Running Movie Mashup

By now, you've probably noticed that Tom Cruise loves to run -- full speed -- in every movie. It has become an official thing. And it's a great workout! Tom is now 53 and starring in "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" and he has not slowed down. Several videos have been done over the years chronicling Tom's movie run -- there's one in 2009 called "Tom Cruise Running Montage" and another in 2011 called "The Evolution of Tom Cruise's Run." In honor of "Rogue Nation," a new video was just posted called "Run Tom Run - Ultimate Tom Cruise Running Mashup."

Here it is:

As you can see, there's a lot of both running and jumping. This must be his secret to staying young -- always keeping on the move. If he ever decides to run for office, it won't be hard to come up with clever campaign videos. The man knows how to hustle for votes! And since he just said "MI6" is in the works, we can expect him to keep running for many years to come.

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from The Moviefone Blog

'UnREAL' Cast Has Best Response to Chris Harrison's 'Terrible' Insults

"The Bachelor" host Chris Harrison just went full Mean Girl on Lifetime's new show "UnREAL," which follows a fictional dating show and was created by a former producer of the real "Bachelor" franchise. You may have read Chris' "unREAL" insults, calling the series "terrible" and irrelevant since "absolutely nobody is watching."

Well, we watch and love both series, and the cast and producers of "UnREAL" responded to Chris' disses. Instead of engaging in a feud, they went for the kill-him-with-kindness approach, dishing out a bless his heart for even watching us enough to hate!

As executive producer Marti Noxon told TVLine of the criticism, "Honestly, I was thrilled. I was so excited because I was like, 'Oh, my God, they noticed us!'" (All publicity is good publicity, especially when it comes from someone involved with "The Bachelor.") Marti continued, "But in this case, it was particularly fun. I'm like a nerd. The captain of the football team is talking about me, even if he's saying, 'Hey, nerd!'"
Star Shiri Appleby, who plays the main character, Rachel, told TVLine, "We're just happy people are talking about the show." Constance Zimmer, who plays head producer "manipulative b-tch" Quinn, said by dissing the show Chris "admits he watches it," which only adds to their numbers. And he just helped them even more by stepping into the ring with this hate, since it seems like the fictional show may have touched a bit of a nerve. Now more fans may be curious to check it out to see if it really does show what it's like behind-the-scenes of "The Bachelor."

The timing is great, too, because "UnREAL" is about to air its Season 1 finale this coming Monday at 10 p.m. on Lifetime, right after "Bachelor in Paradise" -- clearly not a "terrible" show at all! -- airs on ABC.

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from The Moviefone Blog

See Stephen King, James Franco in First '11/22/63' Set Photo

11-22-63, 11/22/63, 112263, stephen king, james franco, j.j. abramsCasting was still underway earlier this week for Hulu's upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's "11/22/63," but production has already kicked off on the miniseries.

King posted the first photo from the set a few days ago, posing with star James Franco, who plays lead Jake Epping, alongside J.J. Abrams, who's producing the show under his Bad Robot banner. "11/22/63" centers around high school teacher Epping traveling back in time to try to prevent President John F. Kennedy's assassination on the titular date.
"Everything looks cool," King wrote on Twitter alongside the photo, and we're excited by the author's assessment. When a follower inquired when the series would debut -- there's no firm release date yet -- King said that was to be determined, but that fans should prepare to be entertained.

"[G]et your Hulu on and get ready," King tweeted.

"11/22/63" stars Franco, Daniel Webber, Josh Duhamel, Chris Cooper, Cherry Jones, George MacKay, Lucy Fry, and T.R. Knight. It's slated to run as a nine-hour miniseries on Hulu.

[via: Stephen King]

Photo credit: Stephen King

from The Moviefone Blog

Jesse Pinkman's 'Breaking Bad' House Is For Sale, Bitch

breaking bad, jesse pinkmanWant to own a piece of television history? It's yours for a cool $1.6 million, bitch.

The house owned by Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) on hit AMC series "Breaking Bad" is going on sale in real life, and the 3,500-square foot Spanish Colonial revival located in Albuquerque, New Mexico can be purchased for the price above. In either a positive or a negative, depending on your affinity for accuracy/blue crystal, the local brokers at Coldwell Banker caution, "Meth lab not included."

In an interview with, associate brokers Susan C. Feil and Alicia Feil Peterson said that the owners wanted to appeal to "Breaking Bad" fans specifically when selling the home.

"They thought that this was definitely going to be a unique opportunity that would appeal to a variety of buyers, not just in our market, but globally," Peterson told Today.

The two-story home features four bedrooms, two porches, wood floors, stone-framed doors, and several fireplaces, and is located in the posh Albuquerque Country Club neighborhood. Though the home was used for exterior shots and many interior scenes, a replica was eventually built for more elaborate party sequences -- and broker Peterson insists, "It's a really quiet neighborhood." Sure.

For more intel on other local "Breaking Bad"-centric properties on sale in Albuquerque, check out the full interview on The listing for Jesse's house can be found here.

Photo credit:

from The Moviefone Blog

D.J.'s 'Fuller House' Backstory Will Be Less Depressing Than Before

Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movie Channel's 2015 Winter TCA Party - ArrivalsThere's been lots of news on the "Fuller House" front recently, and that includes some new, less depressing plot details courtesy of star Candace Cameron Bure.

One of the biggest developments surrounds Bure's character, D.J., and her backstory, which sounded pretty dark when intel about the series was first released. In the initial show description, D.J., like her father Danny (Bob Saget) before her, was widowed, and raising her kids alone; she was also pregnant, expecting her final child with her late husband. That last part has apparently been scrapped, though, as Bure herself explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

"She's actually not pregnant anymore. The baby's been born," Bure told THR. "We didn't start it off quite so heavy, so some more time has passed than they originally intended."

Apparently, as Bure tells it, the heart of the show is the same, though, just with a slightly lighter jumping off point than that super bleak-sounding original start.

"It is tragedy that starts off the show, which was like the original 'Full House,' but the themes are always heartfelt; it's always a situation you can always learn something from," Bure told THR. "Tonally, it will feel the same as the original 'Full House,' which is heartfelt and funny and family-friendly, but it's current. It's today's time."

And as for Steve (Scott Weinger), D.J.'s high school sweetheart who is set to make a comeback on "Fuller House," he's definitely not playing D.J.'s late husband.

"Rest assured, Steve is not dead," Bure told THR.

"Fuller House" is set to air on Netflix sometime in 2016.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog

Chris Farley Edited into the 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' Trailer Is Kind of Perfect

Chris FarleyYou can always count on the internet for a quirky, yet kind of perfect mash-up of two seemingly unrelated properties, and that's just what we have here in this clip of comedian Chris Farley edited into the trailer for "Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation."

In the video, created by YouTuber Todd Spence, the late Farley is spliced into the trailer in place of series star Tom Cruise. While Farley and Cruise may not seem to have much in common, the goofy clip somehow works nevertheless, including a spot-on usage of footage from the flick "Black Sheep," and the scene where Farley's character gets his jacket caught in an airplane door, and it takes flight with him flailing and trying to hold on.

That replaces Cruise's death-defying (and real) airplane stunt from the original trailer, but honestly, Farley's version works just as well. Plenty of other clips from "Black Sheep" and Farley classic "Tommy Boy" are also put to good use, too, many featuring only Farley's reaction shots, which are perfection on their own, but shine in an action context, too.

The clip reminds us just how much we miss Farley, who passed away in 1997. Thank god for his films and the internet, where his antics can live on forever.

Check out the mash-up below. "Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation" is in theaters now.

Watch the trailer

[via: Todd Spence, h/t HuffPost Entertainment]

Photo credit: Associated Press

from The Moviefone Blog

New 'Deadpool' Red-Band Trailer Hits Next Week

Get ready for more Ryan Reynolds sword-punching the bad guys.

The "Deadpool" star is set to reveal the new red-band trailer for the movie Tuesday, August 4, on "Conan." The trailer is expected to be online soon after its television debut.

The green-band version of the trailer will screen before prints of "Fantastic Four" on August 7.

Marvel's "Merc With the Mouth" made fans brainsplode at Comic-Con earlier this month, as Reynolds and director Tim Miller revealed our first good look at Wade Wilson's solo film -- which was packed with laugh-out-loud quips and fist-pumping action beats.

This red-band trailer can't get into our eyeballs fast enough.

"Deadpool" hits theaters February 12, 2016.

from The Moviefone Blog

9 Fictional Summer Camps We'd Love to Attend (And 2 We'd Avoid)

Color wars, pranks, archery, group sing-alongs, awkward first kisses -- these are special things summer camp is made of. Oh, if only we could go back. Thankfully, TV and film has given us a plethora of fictional camps throughout the years, so we can always revisit the hormones-a-ragin,' activity-filled magic when nostalgia is heavy. And let's face it -- most of these camps are way better than anything we could have gone to in REAL LIFE. Did Wednesday Addams go to your camp? We didn't think so. Did you form a bond with a twin you never knew existed? Nope. Was Bill Murray your favorite counselor? We think not. Check out 9 fictional summer camps we would love to attend, plus, 2 we would never set foot in.

from The Moviefone Blog

'Beauty and the Beast' Director Bill Condon Says Remake Is 'Really Magical'

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-MR HOLMESThe upcoming live-action remake of Disney animated musical "Beauty and the Beast" is still a long way off, but that hasn't stopped director Bill Condon from gushing about the flick.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair promoting his new film, "Mr. Holmes," Condon also dished about his work on "Beast," which is currently in production. According to the director, the film was almost completely different when he first signed on: Disney originally didn't want it to be a musical. Sounds ridiculous, right? Condon thought so, too.

"I said, 'With all due respect, I think you're crazy,'" Condon recalled of his conversation with the studio. "'The songs are too good. You're going to spend all this time making a huge, gorgeous live-action "Beauty and the Beast" and not do "Be Our Guest"?'"

Aside from that major redirection (thank god for Condon putting his foot down), not much will change for Condon's version of the story, aside from some exposition concerning some confusing plot points from the original.

"I wouldn't say we're changing the story so much as sort of making connections that in a lot of cases were right under the surface," the director told Vanity Fair. For example, the flick will explore the glaring question of "why don't these townspeople know anything about this huge castle that's like a mile away from their village?"

"Hopefully, this will be a film where a die-hard fan can jump up and say 'exactly!'" Condon said.

But that's peanuts compared with the main event: the dazzling ballroom sequence, which is one of the most iconic scenes in Disney history. According to Condon, his re-do will be worth the wait.

"It was one of the first scenes we shot, and it was really magical," Condon told Vanity Fair. "You will believe a beast can waltz."

We can't wait. "Beauty and the Beast" is set to hit theaters on March 17, 2017.

[via: Vanity Fair]

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog

J.J. Abrams Broke His Back Filming 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation NYC PremiereSure, Harrison Ford famously broke his leg on the set of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." But that's nothing compared to director J.J. Abrams, who actually broke his back in the same accident that injured Ford.

Abrams revealed that major medical malady during an appearance on "The Daily Show" on Thursday night, where he was promoting his production of "Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation." The director told host Jon Stewart that he's in awe of Ford, referring to him as "a real-life superhero" and a "miracle man" for the actor's ability to bounce back from injury, which also included Ford's recent plane crash in California.

Comparing himself to Ford, Abrams said that their differences were best exemplified by the incident that sidelined Ford for eight weeks during the filming of "Force Awakens." Abrams explained that they were shooting a scene when suddenly a hydraulic door fell on Ford, knocking him down and messing up his ankle. As Abrams rushed to help, and attempted to help the actor, he ended up injuring himself, too.

"[Ford] is literally lying there making jokes," Abrams told Stewart. " ... So I'm trying to lift up this door, and I feel this kind of pop in my back, and I'm like, 'Oh, that's weird.' So I go to the doctor a couple days later and he goes, 'Oh, you have a broken back.' I broke my L4 [vertebrae] trying to lift this door."

Abrams said he was in a back brace for months, but kept it a secret from everyone on set. Of course, Ford recovered swimmingly from his own injury, Abrams lamented, while he "felt like the most nebbishy, Jewish director ever doing this job."

We're impressed Abrams was able to keep that to himself for so long, and also don't blame him for feeling sheepish, especially in comparison to Ford. Check out the entire exchange below.
[via: The Daily Show]

Photo credit: Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog

J.K. Rowling Celebrates Her Birthday By Thanking Fans

JK Rowling Hosts Fundraising Event For Charity 'Lumos'In case you didn't know, "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling shares her birthday, July 31, with the titular boy wizard, and to celebrate, she took to Twitter on Friday to thank fans for their love and support.

In a series of tweets, Rowling acknowledged her and Harry's shared special day, and revealed that she's vacationing somewhere sunny with her family to celebrate. The author, who turns 50 today, then joked that she was going to post a picture of herself with her dog, because "in dog years I'm dead."

We wouldn't expect anything other than loveliness and cheekiness from the notoriously hilarious and heartfelt author. In fact, that loveliness extended to yet another high-profile person who shares Rowling's birthday: "Daily Show" correspondent Jessica Williams, who Rowling also gave a shout-out to. Somehow, it just makes sense that Rowling would love the equally-awesome Williams. (Williams later responded, "This was awesome to wake up to! ... Enjoy our day!")

Check out Rowling's tweets below, and feel free to wish her a happy birthday yourself over on Twitter. You may just get a reply from the author -- and make her day even more magical.
[via: J.K. Rowling]

Photo credit: Photo by Danny E. Martindale/Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog

Fox Cancels Ryan Seacrest's 'Knock Knock Live' After 2 Episodes

knock knock live, ryan seacrestFox spent a lot of time and money touting its new reality series, "Knock Knock Live." Unfortunately for the network, no one was very keen on answering -- or watching.

According to Variety, Fox has pulled the show from its schedule after airing only two episodes, following dismal ratings for the Ryan Seacrest-hosted series. "Knock Knock" featured Seacrest and other celebrities -- including Justin Bieber -- knocking on strangers' doors and offering them prizes, but viewers just didn't take the bait.

Variety reports that the show's premiere episode on July 21 nabbed a paltry 1.7 million viewers, "marking the smallest demo rating for any Big Four series premiere this summer." That's gotta hurt. And apparently, despite desperate cross-promotion efforts on other Fox series including "So You Think You Can Dance," this week's installment didn't fare much better, leading Fox to pull the plug, effectively cancelling the show.

The network plans to fill "Knock Knock"'s Tuesday at 9 p.m. timeslot with a one-hour encore of "The Last Man on Earth" on August 4, and half-hour reruns of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Last Man" going forward, until the fall schedule picks up.

Seacrest, who also executive produced "Knock Knock," will pick himself up and return for the final season of "American Idol," which starts in January.

[via: Variety]

Photo credit: Adam Rose/FOX

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TCA: 'Game of Thrones' May Get 8 Seasons and a Prequel Series

Game of ThronesThere was lots of "Game of Thrones" scoop during HBO's presentation Thursday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, including the revelation that there may be more "Thrones" on the way than initially expected.

The hit fantasy series, which just wrapped its fifth season, has been renewed through a seventh season by the cable network, and it was widely considered all but a done deal that that seventh season would be the show's last. Not so, said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo during Thursday's panel.

"Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the [internal] conversation," Lombardo told critics of the show's endgame. "The question is: how much beyond seven are we going to do? Obviously we're shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. [Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] feel like there's two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds, but that's what we're looking at right now."

But that doesn't mean that "Game of Thrones" would leave HBO forever after season eight. There's always potential for a prequel series, too, the exec said, though nothing is set in stone just yet.

"I would be open to anything that Dan and David wanted to do, about 'Game of Thrones' or any subject matter," Lombardo said. " ... It really would depend fully on what they wanted to do. I think ... there's enormous storytelling to be mined in a prequel, if [author George R.R. Martin] and Dan and David decide they want to tackle that."

We'll have to see what Benioff, Weiss, and Martin have up their sleeves before we cosign on a potential prequel, but we're intrigued nonetheless.

Season six of "Game of Thrones" is currently in production. No word yet on a premiere date.

[via: Vanity Fair]

Photo credit: HBO

from The Moviefone Blog

'Xena' Stars Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor Had a Reunion, Fueling Our Reboot Hopes

Tom Cruise Facts: 12 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About the 'Rogue Nation' Star

Tom Cruise is a major box office star and a beloved actor. He had us at hello in "Jerry Maguire" and cemented his place as an action star in films like "Top Gun" and "Minority Report." Now he's bringing back IMF agent Ethan Hunt for the fifth time in "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation."

Even though he's been in the spotlight since the '80s, there are still some things you might not know about him. From the cartoon character based on him to his own holiday, here are 12 things you might not have known about Tom Cruise.
Tom Cruise Visits
[Sources: IMDB, Playboy, People, Interview]

from The Moviefone Blog

Best of Late Night TV: Ice T's Voices 'The Care Bears' and Jimmy Kimmel's Look-Alike

If you're like us and value your sleep, you probably nodded off into your Ambien dreamland before the party started on post-prime time TV. Don't worry; we've got you covered. Here's the best of what happened last night on late night.

Nicole Richie visited "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and claimed that her manager looks exactly like Jimmy Kimmel. And don't worry, she brought the dude with him and you better believe he walked on stage to compare faces. Thoughts? We see it.

Nicole also played a game of "Name That Thing" with Jason Bateman, which basically consisted of them...well...naming things. Yep, pretty complicated stuff right here.

Don't worry everyone: Ice T visit "The Tonight Show" and he brought his fleet of bulldogs with him. Their names? Spartacus, King Maximus, Dougnificent.

In which Ice T re-voices Care Bears in the most hilarious way literally ever. Please do yourselves a favor and watch this genius at work.

Over on "The Late Late Show," Christina Applegate and Christian Slater (amazing combination) played a rousing game of "Are You Smarter Than A Whoopi Goldberg Impersonator." Turns out they aren't.

from The Moviefone Blog

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Here's What Betty White Thinks of Cecil the Lion's Killing

Betty ALICIA RANCILIO, Associated Press

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Betty White, a passionate animal activist, has harsh words for the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion while on a hunting trip in Zimbabwe this month.

"You don't want to hear some of the things I want to do to that man," the 93-year-old actress told The Associated Press on Thursday.

"It's such a heartbreaker. You can't even talk about it, and to see this king of the jungle and personifying it in every way, this gorgeous creature. How can somebody do that?"

Cecil was drawn from a wildlife preserve and shot by American hunter Walter James Palmer on July 1. Palmer is believed to have shot the lion with a bow and then the wounded cat was tracked for 40 hours before he killed it with a gun.

Palmer released a statement this week through a publicist saying he was with professional guides and believed the hunt was legal. The firm is no longer helping Palmer.

White, who said she's "loved animals since the womb," was promoting a new block of programming in August on Discovery Family Channel called "Pawgust," with shows, specials and movies about animals. White will serve as the host of "Pawgust," and be featured in promos.

"Anything that promotes positive animal knowledge or talk I'm all for," said White of her involvement.

from The Moviefone Blog

Here's Your First Look at Lifetime's 'The Unauthorized Full House Story'

First Look: The Unauthorized 'Full House' Movie
While "Full House" provided good, wholesome entertainment for the whole family in the '90s, life on set may not have been all family fun. As you can see in this first look clip from Lifetime's "The Unauthorized Full House Story," good wigs were very hard to come by in the late '80s and early '90s, which is probably the catalyst for countless catfights in the Tanner household. It's not like today, where flawless wigs are widely available. Have mercy.

from The Moviefone Blog

David Faustino Confirms 'Married... With Children' Spinoff

Premiere Of Warner Bros. Last year, word broke that Sony execs were working on a spinoff of sitcom "Married... With Children" set to revolve around Bud Bundy. Now, the actor behind the character has confirmed that a new show is indeed in the works -- and all his former castmates are set to cameo, too.

While attending the premiere of "Vacation" in support of his former co-star Christina Applegate, David Faustino confirmed the spinoff news in an interview with E!, revealing that he was currently working on getting the show off the ground.

"Sony has it. They're excited about it," Faustino told the network. "They're working out some legal issues that we hope they work out."

We assume those legal issues pertain to the rights to the Fox series, though considering how popular the reboot/revival/spinoff trend is these days, this particular project probably doesn't have anything to worry about. And something else Faustino told E! should sweeten the pot, too.

"The whole cast, including Christina, is down to do little bits in it," Faustino said. "The idea would be a pilot for a spinoff. That's all I can say right now. It involves me and few other people."

That echoes comments that Applegate made last September, when she told E! that Faustino was working on a reunion project of sorts centered around the next generation of the Bundy family. And at the "Vacation" premiere, the actress confirmed her commitment to her former costar again.

"All of us have said we would all be there for [Faustino]," Applegate told E!.

Katey Sagal and Ed O'Neill, who played matriarch and patriarch Peg and Al Bundy, have yet to make a public comment on the project, so stay tuned to see if they'll get involved, too.

[via: E!]

Photo credit: Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog

Beyonce or Uzo Aduba May Play Glinda in NBC's 'The Wiz'

NBC has its sights set on some big names to fill out the already-impressive cast of its upcoming live staging of "The Wiz": According to several outlets, both Beyonce and Uzo Aduba are being considered for the part of Glinda the Good Witch.

E! reports that Beyonce has already been offered the role, though no deal has been finalized yet. According to Entertainment Weekly, producers have apparently approached the singer at least twice about the part, but the singer has passed both times; EW says that NBC may be prepping yet another offer for Queen Bey, though it's unclear if that's the offer E! is talking about.

But if Beyonce doesn't take it, there's another, equally-talented actress apparently waiting in the wings: "Orange Is the New Black" star Aduba, who has a Broadway background (she appeared in a 2011 revival of "Godspell"). According to E!, Aduba is producers' second pick for the part, though it's unclear if she's been approached yet about the role.

Whoever takes on the part has some big shoes to fill: The role was originated in "The Wiz"'s 1975 Broadway debut by Dee Dee Bridgewater, and performed by Lena Horne in the 1978 movie. The film also starred fellow mega-talents Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow.

Speaking of big shoes, NBC's live version of the multicultural retelling of "The Wizard of Oz" has already cast some major talent. Both Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige have joined the ensemble, playing the titular wizard and Wicked Witch of the West Evillene, respectively. Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in the original Broadway production, will portray Auntie Em this time around.

NBC is collaborating with Cirque du Soleil on "The Wiz," and is also staging a Broadway revival of the show for the 2016-2017 season. Its live version is slated to run on the network on December 3.

[via: E!]

Photo credit: Getty Images

from The Moviefone Blog

Jimmy Kimmel's Cecil the Lion Segment Raises Over $150,000 for Conservation

jimmy kimmel, cecil the lionFollowing the news of the poaching death of beloved Zimbabwe preserve resident Cecil the Lion, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel made an impassioned plea to viewers to turn that negative into a positive, and donate money to animal conservation efforts. Now, Kimmel's segment has helped contribute a staggering sum of money to that cause.

According to TheWrap, representatives for ABC have confirmed that more than 2,600 people have donated to Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit fund, the group that had been monitoring Cecil and other animals at the Hwange National Park. After Kimmel sent out his tearful message, the WCRU reported over $150,000 in donations to help support future research on lions and other conservation work.

On his show, Kimmel urged fans to donate to "show the world that not all Americans are like this jack-hole," referring to Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, who has been identified as the hunter who lured Cecil off the preserve and killed him, in a painful process that took more than 40 hours. According to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, the host's efforts have made a huge difference.

"We are so grateful for this and for the up-welling of support for our work worldwide," said WCRU director David Macdonald in a statement on the group's site. " ... [F]or an organisation that depends on philanthropy we are deeply grateful for this support - it will be a wonderful monument to Cecil the lion if we are empowered by these donation[s] to continue and to increase our conservation work. ... Millions of people around the world have been inspired to express the value they place on lions and other wildlife - if each of them grasps this moment to make a donation to our project, however small, our capacity to work for conservation would be revolutionised."

Kimmel's segment can be found here. To donate, visit WCRU's site here.

[via: TheWrap, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit]

Photo credit: YouTube

from The Moviefone Blog

Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence Are On Vacation Together and We're Super Jealous

Tom Cruise Says 'Mission: Impossible 6' Is Already in the Works

Get ready for even more "Mission: Impossible": On the eve of the release of the fifth film in the hit franchise, star Tom Cruise has revealed that a sixth flick is already in the works.

Cruise made the announcement on Tuesday night during an appearance on "The Daily Show," where he was promoting this weekend's upcoming release, "Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation." In an interview with host Jon Stewart, Cruise said that fans can expect more adventures from Ethan Hunt and co. sooner than normal.

"We're starting to work on it now. We'll probably start shooting it next summer," the actor said of the series's sixth installment.

Variety notes that that's an accelerated schedule for the venerable action franchise, which typically has at least a four-year gap between releases. The original "Mission: Impossible" hit theaters back in 1996, and follow-up installments launched in 2000, 2006, and 2011 before this summer's release.

Studio Paramount declined to comment on Cruise's announcement, though it makes sense that the star would be bullish about the film's prospects. The "Mission: Impossible" series has been a huge success since its launch, grossing more than $2 billion combined at the international box office, and buzz for "Rogue Nation" is incredibly loud, thanks to Cruise's high-profile stunts.

We'll see if the actor is right about the production schedule, but it seems like a safe bet that audiences will be seeing "Mission: Impossible 6" at some point over the next few years.

[via: Variety]

from The Moviefone Blog

Tituss Burgess Lip-Syncing Beyonce with Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski Is Flawless

Johnny Depp Is Scary as Hell in New 'Black Mass' Trailer

Black MassWho's worse: a violent, cutthroat gangster - or the law enforcement that lets him get away with murder?

That's the set-up of the new trailer for "Black Mass," the movie about notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp). The first teaser was all about Depp - gunning down people, menacing others, and generally being a badass gangster.

This one gives us more of the plot: Whitey rises to power in South Boston, thanks to friends in the right places - including his brother, Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch), who's a star politician. His biggest ally is FBI Agent John Connelly (Joel Edgerton), who looks the other way on Whitey's criminal activities.

Watch the trailer.

"How come no one has nailed Whitey Bulger?" wonders Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak (Corey Stoll). When Connelly brushes him off, asking what Bulger has done, an incredulous Wyshak replies, "Everything!"

This new trailer shows us more of the other, non-Depp players in "Black Mass," and they all look good, from Cumberbatch and Stoll to Jesse Plemons and Dakota Johnson. But this is Depp's movie, and as in the first teaser, he looks incredible. He's unrecognizable, which is a very good thing. Depp's become a caricature of himself in recent year, and this could be the performance to bring him back into critical acclaim and awards contention.

"Black Mass" opens in theaters September 18.

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7 Disney Princes Get Real in Eerily Lifelike Makeovers

We've seen Finnish artist Jirka Väätäinen's take on Disney princesses and what they would look like if they were real girls, and now he's taking on the Disney princes.

So, if you've ever wondered what Prince Eric or Aladdin would look like in real life -- and let's be honest, who hasn't thought about it -- this is for you. Also, we totally wouldn't be mad if Prince Eric gave us a call.

Check out all of your favorite cartoon hotties looking as real as it gets.disney princes

from The Moviefone Blog

Valerie Harper Rushed to Hospital Mid-Performance

American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE Launches Its Share Your Voice Initiative In NYCClassic sitcom actress Valerie Harper was rushed to the hospital last night in Maine in the middle of a performance of "Nice Work If You Can Get It."

AS ET reports, the 75-year-old actress, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2013, an ambulance was called to the Ogunquit Playhouse to take her to a nearby hospital. The musical's artistic director announced to the audience that Harper had fallen ill, but "she wants all of you to know after some fluids and rest she hopes to be right back here on stage later this week."

However, a source told ET that the situation "doesn't look good" and a crew member said that Harper had been ill all week.

The beloved star of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Rhoda," and "Valerie" beat lung cancer in 2009, only to get diagnosed with a rare form of terminal brain cancer a few years later.

In May, she told People that she was "feeling good" and that the cancer wasn't progressing. But she also said, "I'm ready to go."

"We don't know what's around the corner," she added. "I think you just take each day and get the best out of it and do what you can and have fun."

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'Gone Baby Gone' Actor Sean Malone Dead at 54

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2014 International CESBOSTON (AP) - Authorities say an actor who had roles in "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Fighter" has died more than a week after he was pulled from the water at a Boston beach.

Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald says 54-year-old Sean Malone died Wednesday night at a hospital.

Malone was pulled from the waters on July 20 after a Boston firefighter and three Milton teens saw him go under. Flaherty and two of the men performed CPR, and he was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

MacDonald says Malone had injuries from being pulled unconscious and not breathing from the water.

Malone played Skinny Ray Likanski in 2007's "Gone Baby Gone" and Wolfie in 2010's "The Fighter."

from The Moviefone Blog

Haunting 'Room' Trailer Will Make You Feel All the Feelings

RoomBrie Larson really ought to have been nominated for an Oscar for her amazing performance in "Short Term 12" a few years ago, but she'll have the chance to right that wrong with what looks to be a captivating turn in "Room."

"Room" (not to be mistaken for the campy cult flick "The Room") tells the story of a woman named Ma and her young son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who are held captive in a small, dark space for years. Ma tries her best to create a complete universe inside the room for Jack, until the chance comes to escape. Then, they have to face their greatest test: living in the real world.

Watch the trailer.

The trailer is alternately chilling, horrifying, hopeful, gut-wrenching, sad, and beautiful. Even in this brief glimpse, Larson is tremendous, portraying Ma as strong and vulnerable at the same time.

"Room" will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival before opening in limited release Oct. 16.

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Idris Elba Is Out For Blood in Intense First Trailer For Netflix's 'Beasts of No Nation'

Beasts of No NationWar does not spare the young, as the first teaser trailer for Netflix's "Beasts of No Nation" so tragically shows.

The feature film comes from director Cary Fukunaga ("True Detective") and is based on the novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala. It tells the story of a young boy named Agu (Abraham Attah) who's torn from his family to become a child soldier in an unnamed African country. He's taught to fight - and kill - by the Commandant (Idris Elba).

Watch the trailer.

The trailer is dark and intense and heart-wrenching, as the Commandant's soldiers overtake an enemy group. He urges Agu to kill one of the men, who is responsible for the deaths of Agu's family, but the young boy hesitates. This is the point of no return.

Even based on just this minute and half of footage, "Beasts of No Nation" looks thrilling and gritty and troubling - and after his work on "True Detective," we're eager to see more of what Fukunaga can do.

"Beasts of No Nation" will debut simultaneously on Netflix and in select Landmark theaters October 16. That means it will be eligible for the Academy Awards.

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Ugh, 'Little Women' Is Getting a 'Gritty' Reboot at The CW

Little WomenWe've long ago shed the notion that anything is sacred when it comes to Hollywood, so it's not a surprise really to learn that The CW is making a "hyper-stylized, gritty" adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women."

The beloved, classic novel (also made into a 1994 movie) is about the four March sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy - and their mother. Their trials and tribulations are more in the gentle vein than the "gritty" one.

But, as Deadline reports, "Little Women" may be brought into the 21st century as The CW is developing a script from writer Alexis Jolly and producer "NCIS" star Michael Weatherly (random!).

In their version, the girls are half-sisters who are trying to survive the "dystopic streets of Philadelphia." And they must work together to "unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined - all while trying not to kill each other in the process."

To their credit, The CW does gritty dystopia pretty well (watch "The 100"). Just tell us Jo and Laurie end up together in this one, and we might be on board.

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10 Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Action Movies, Ranked

From time-traveling murderbots to nuke-stealing terrorists, there's nothing Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't punched, kicked or detonated.

The venerable action hero and Hollywood icon owned the '80s and '90s with such action classics as "The Terminator," "Predator" and "Total Recall." Whether armed with a small arsenal or just with his fists, the once and future Governator proved that there's no problem that can't be solved without a generous helping of violence, followed by a good post-death blow quip.

While the action star fell a bit short this summer with his return to the land of Skynet in "Terminator Genisys," we still love seeing the big guy on the big screen. As Arnuld turns 68 (?!) today, let's celebrate his birthday with ten of the greatest gifts he's ever given us -- his action movies.

from The Moviefone Blog

'Mission: Impossible' Director Reveals Secrets Behind 3 Biggest Action Scenes (EXCLUSIVE)

(SPOILER WARNING: The following interview reveals tons of plot details about scenes in "Rogue Nation." So if you haven't seen the movie yet, well, fix that, then read the rest of the article.)

Stealing the NOC List. Jousting with a motorcycle. Climbing the world's tallest building.

These are just some of the stunts the "Mission: Impossible" films have pulled off over the last 19 years -- all for real, and all of them put Tom Cruise front and center for the action.

Unlike most recent Hollywood franchises, the "Mission" films commit to shooting the action set pieces in camera, with a minimal assist from CG. The fifth film, "Rogue Nation," is no exception.

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, in concert with his star, has effortlessly delivered not one, but two, big showstoppers that instantly rank among the franchise's most iconic moments. Moviefone recently sat down with McQuarrie for an exclusive interview, and fans of director commentaries on movies are in for a real treat. Because McQuarrie cracked open the dossiers on how the production pulled off three of the summer's biggest -- and best -- action scenes.

(AGAIN, THERE BE SPOILERS HERE. Still reading? Okay, but ya been warned.)

1. The Vienna Opera House Sequence
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Around the mid-point of the film, Hunt sneaks into the opera house to thwart an assassination attempt. It doesn't go easy, obviously, leading to a nail-biter of a sequence full of scary-good tension and inventive complications -- especially those centered around Rebecca Ferguson's character, Ilsa (pictured above). The scene arguably tops the "stealing the NOC List" sequence from the first film as the franchise's best set piece yet.

MOVIEFONE: So was the opera house sequence an easy sell? Was Tom totally onboard with it at first?

Christopher McQuarrie: It was an easy sell, because we were looking for the beginning of the movie. It was originally going to be the opening of the film, and I went to France, and I was at the ballet with my wife, I was looking at this giant auditorium, and I thought: "God, it would be awesome to shoot an action sequence in some place like this."

And then did you flesh it out from there? How early in the development process was this?

I started to come up with the idea for this sequence, and I called Tom, and our process during the early writing of the script -- he was off making "Edge of Tomorrow" -- he would work on a bunch of different things, we could only really talk once a week. So we had this regular scheduled appointment. We would speak for two hours every Saturday. And I would pitch an idea. And he'd go, "Ehh, I kinda like that," or "I don't like this," or "that's not 'Mission.'" And over the course of that conversation, we'd come up with an idea we really loved. And he's like, "Great! Go write that, and I'll see you next week." And by the time Saturday rolled around I'd say, "Hey, you know what? I spent the week working on that idea and here's why it sucks." And we'd start talking about it some more and come up with another idea.

And finally, I came up with the opera idea, and I felt so good about it. I felt like it was really what he was looking for, for the beginning of the movie.

So what changed?

When we figured it out, we realized we wanted to know more before we got to that sequence. We wanted to add more elements, we wanted to add Ilsa into that sequence. And that -- it felt a whole lot better if we knew who Ilsa was before that sequence. And that Ilsa and Ethan had some shared past; and that Tom met this woman, this woman saves his life. So then the next time he sees her, he sees her in a completely different circumstance that has him doubting who she is -- and [that] puts them in conflict with one another. And so, that was kinda how that scene evolved.

It's such a great sequence.

Oh, thank you very much. I'm very, very proud of it. It was a nightmare to edit. I really went into a dark place in the middle of it. I didn't think I could get it to work. And Eddie Hamilton, my editor, was so great -- he really pulled me through, and we just refused to give up.

One of my favorite beats here is -- we're used to seeing someone sneak in an innocuous, custom-made gun into an assassination. But not three of them. There's the flute gun, the nightstick gun and the "pipe gun" that Ilsa uses. Who is the genius that came up with those?

Well, we knew we wanted someone from the orchestra, so that's where the flute came from. And I knew I wanted a cop, that was the easiest way to get into the opera sequence. And Ilsa, I loved the idea that this woman in a beautiful, elegant dress was backstage with all this, this "gack," and we wanted to juxtapose her dress with her environment. So that gave me the idea of a gun hidden in a scaffold. And originally it was just hidden inside the pipes, so Simon Afforte, our armorer, had the idea that the weapon should be in the pipes itself. That the pipe was actually a massive silencer on the front of his gun, which I loved.

Did you get to keep one? I would have kept the nightstick.

I'm desperate to keep the flute gun. I thought that was the coolest one. And the whole thing works, you can actually fire it.

2. The Underwater Heist
McQuarrie achieves Hitchcockian levels of tension with this sequence, which feels like "Stealing the NOC List 2.0." Here, Hunt must dive over 100 feet into a crazy super computer, which is kept cooled by tons of water, in order to swap a key piece of data so Benji (Simon Pegg) can infiltrate a even more important room topside. With no oxygen tank, Hunt struggles to hold his breath -- if his own lack of air doesn't kill him, a mechanized swing arm will.

MOVIEFONE: I love the underwater sequence because the film's themes of luck and chance, all the action seems weaved through these themes. Was that a conscious effort on your part?

Well, the first rule was: The plan is always simple. There's always a very straightforward objective and a means of overcoming it. And then, everything goes wrong. What I didn't know was, what the stakes of the scene were. We originally designed that sequence to happen all in one take, a one-er, involving Ethan. And Ethan was going in to get the thing they were initially after. And that created several problems.

Like what? Other than it takes the focus off the team dynamic?

Right. The first of which was it's no longer a team sequence. Um, the second problem was that it was only Ethan's life at risk and no one else's. And the third problem was -- if Ethan has the objet that they're after, if he had the disk, and Ilsa went in to save Ethan, her motives are very different than if Ethan doesn't have the disk. Because you could argue that she's not saving Ethan, she's saving the disk. And it was very important to me that it not be ambiguous. Because then her turn, after that sequence, it becomes that much more unexpected. The moment when you believe she's risking her life for Ethan, and then she just as quickly turns on him. So, that necessitated breaking up the sequence.

Can you talk about how you -- you kind of subvert expectation here with Benji and Ilsa's roles. Benji's running point topside, and Ilsa, well a lesser movie would have her be the damsel in distress.

Yes. Benji's going to do the job that Tom would normally do. And Tom is doing the techy job that Benji would normally do. And Ilsa is doing the job that a woman is normally relegated to, which is sitting up on a trestle and pushing some buttons on a screen. And then everything is turned on its head. You know, Ethan drowns. And Ilsa comes in and saves Ethan's life. It's a big deal for Tom to be as giving as he was, to have the woman save him not once, but twice, in the movie. Here is the protagonist, and he's allowing himself to constantly be placed in positions of vulnerability.

Which is great storytelling. Now, you said this was originally going to be all in one-take. Why did you change it?

Tom and I were always struggling with was our disappointment at what we perceived to be the failure of the sequence, which was: People were going to be more invested and feel more suffocated if they were underwater that entire time with Tom without ever cutting away. And I have the pre-biz which shows how that sequence would have worked. As the one-er. And I loved it and Tom loved it, but we kept saying, you know, story is king -- and it's better [for the story] story to break it up.

And by the way -- we didn't finish the movie until five days before the [Vienna] premiere and the last thing we finished was [this sequence.]


Yeah. We were making changes at 11:30 on the very last night. And when we saw it with the crowd, we knew we did the right thing.

3. The Motorcycle Chase
It starts with a BMW, driving backwards, and ends with an explosive motorcycle chase through traffic, as the bad guys' bikes get punched by cars. There is life before, and life after, this scene.

You told me, in Vienna, that this sequence was originally supposed to take place at a different point in the film's timeline. Can you talk about what the original stakes of that scene were?

We didn't quite know at that point ... it didn't really have a clear place in the story. We knew we had a chase. We didn't understand what the stakes were yet. But originally, Ethan was chasing after the villain. The villain had acquired the thing after they had stolen it [in the previous scene]. Ethan was trying to stop the villain from getting away. And I couldn't figure out what to do with Ilsa. She stole it from Ethan and then the villain stole it from her. And that just weakened her as a character.

It made her less interesting, and sidelined her. It gave no power to the villain, and took power from Ilsa. So, I had the brainstorm of making it just be Ilsa being the one was running away from Ethan. And that radicalized the entire sequence. It gave it a whole lot more emotional punch. You wouldn't care as much about the car chase if Ethan was chasing the villain.

"Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation" opens this Friday.

from The Moviefone Blog

Best of Late Night TV: Jason Segel's Word Sneak and Tyler the Creator's Dr. Seuss Performance

If you're like us and value your sleep, you probably nodded off into your Ambien dreamland before the party started on post-prime time TV. Don't worry; we've got you covered. Here's the best of what happened last night on late night.

Let's kick things off with a game of Word Sneak with Jason Segel! Always a fun "Tonight Show" game -- this time including words like "squat thrust," "frankfurter," and "The Goo Goo Dolls." Honestly, some celebs are better at playing this than others, and Jason Segel is hilarious.

There's a new Dr. Seuss Book on stands, and naturally Tyler the Creator decided to rap the entire thing during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." And yes, he's dressed as The Cat in the Hat.

Every wondered what hit '80s anthem "Jessie's Girl" is really about? Because you're about to find out in this "never before seen" footage of Rick Springfield singing the song while his drummer, Jessie (uh oh), and his girlfriend watch. Good, awkward times.

And finally, please enjoy this moment wherein Jimmy Fallon hangs out with Clippy, the lovable paperclip from Office Word. Only, he's turned into a total jerk and is really, really aggressive about being Team PC. So much '90s nostalgia. We miss you, Clippy!

from The Moviefone Blog