Sunday, July 31, 2016

Here's Why 'Jason Bourne' Is Both a Box-Office Hit and a Disappointment

Remember what we noted last week about sequel fatigue? The seemingly strong return of the "Bourne" franchise with "Jason Bourne" doesn't disprove that. Indeed, it might have done even better if it didn't have to compete for women's attention against a non-sequel comedy, "Bad Moms."

"Jason Bourne" opened near the higher end of expectations with an estimated $60.0 million. That's better than a lot of live-action sequels this year, which have struggled to open above $50 million. It also outdid many of this year's sequels in that it opened with bigger numbers than the last installment, 2012's "The Bourne Legacy," which debuted with $38.1 million.

Then again, that film starred Jeremy Renner and was directed by Tony Gilroy, attempting to make the franchise work without mainstays Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass. This year, we've seen over and over what happens when sequels lose one or more major players: you get box office disappointments like "The Huntsman: Winter's War," "Alice Through the Looking Glass," or "Independence Day: Resurgence."
It's clear that the main reason for the new "Bourne's" robust premiere is the return of Damon and Greengrass for the first time since 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum." As a result, "Bourne" earned a healthy A- at CinemaScore, indicating strong word-of-mouth from ticketbuyers.

Even so, "Ultimatum" opened nearly $10 million higher, with $69.3 million -- playing on nearly 400 fewer screens than "Bourne" and at ticket prices 20 percent lower than today's. If you view "Jason Bourne" as the nine-years-in-the-making follow-up to "Bourne Ultimatum" (since I guess we're all supposed to pretend "Legacy" didn't happen), then it actually does fit the sequel-fatigue pattern we've seen all year.

One possible reason more moviegoers didn't feel the "Bourne" is that it didn't have the appeal to both sexes that everyone assumed it did. Sure, it's the fifth installment in a popular action franchise, and "The Martian" star Damon is beloved by men and women alike. And yet, according to studio exit polling, the "Bourne" audience this weekend was only 45 percent female.

Where did the women go? Maybe to "Bad Moms," which premiered in third place with an estimated $23.4 million, just a hair behind the second-week returns for "Star Trek Beyond" (an estimated $24.0 million). That's a good number for a film that cost only a reported $20 million to make. While it was marketed as something of a gender-switched version of "The Hangover," "Moms" was still an original comedy, not subject to sequel fatigue.
BAD MOMSIndeed, ever since "Bridesmaids," Hollywood always seems surprised to discover there's an audience for a female-driven ensemble comedy. Nonetheless, "Moms" enjoyed a bigger debut than any R-rated comedy in the past 13 months, save for Melissa McCarthy's "The Boss" and Amy Schumer's "Trainwreck."

The movie earned the best reviews of the week among wide releases (63 percent fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and the best customer word-of-mouth (an A at CinemaScore). Even with fellow all-gal comedy "Ghostbusters" still in the top 10 (in its third weekend, the reboot came in at No. 7 with an estimated $9.8 million), "Moms" was still able to draw plenty of women to the multiplex.

Also drawing women was another new, original movie, thriller "Nerve." With a cast led by "Scream Queens" star Emma Roberts and strong word-of-mouth (an A- CinemaScore) stemming from the film's mid-week opening, "Nerve" enjoyed an estimated $9.0 million debut (coming in eighth, a shade behind "Ghostbusters"), for a total of $15.1 million since it premiered on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, "Lights Out," an original movie starring Teresa Palmer, continued to do well. In its second weekend, it came in fifth with an estimated $10.8 million. Horror movies, of course, tend to sell more tickets to women. Indeed, if you look at the whole top 10 this weekend, including "Bad Moms," "Lights Out," "Ghostbusters," "Nerve," and "The Legend of Tarzan" (starring Alexander Skarsgård's abs), at least five of the ten movies have strong appeal to women, and three of those are original stories.

None of this is going to stop Hollywood from churning out more "Jason Bourne"-type action movies that appeal primarily to men and draw upon familiar titles and performers. As expensive as "Bourne" was to make (a reported $120 million, or about six times as much as "Bad Moms"), it will most likely earn more than "Bad Moms," "Nerve," and "Lights Out" put together.

Still, this week's results suggest that there are only so many times a franchise can return to the well before it runs dry, and that the studios ignore female audiences and original storytelling at their peril.

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Weekend Box Office: 'Jason Bourne' Explodes to No. 1, 'Bad Moms' Surprises

By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES, July 31 ( - Audiences turned out in force to see Matt Damon in "Jason Bourne," pushing the spy sequel to a sterling $60 million debut.

The film marked the actor's return to the action franchise after a nine-year hiatus, during which he repeatedly hinted that he might be done with his most popular role. He and director Paul Greengrass argued that 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum" had brought the character full circle by filling in him on the shadowy bureaucratic maneuvers that transformed him into a killing machine. What was left?

Be it creative spark or big paydays, the pair were somehow lured back to the series. That's good news for Universal, which ran the risk of losing a Tiffany franchise without Damon's involvement. In the interim, the studio had made an ill-conceived attempt at cinematic universe building with "The Bourne Legacy," introducing Jeremy Renner as another amnesic ass-kicker dubbed Aaron Cross. The crowds didn't exactly flock to see this sub-Bourne, and the film grossed about $150 million less than "The Bourne Ultimatum" globally.

As a sign of Damon's appeal, audience surveys reveal that the actor's presence above-the-title was the second most frequently cited reason that people turned up for "Jason Bourne."

"It's no secret that people were anticipating a reunion of [Damon and Greengrass]," said Nick Carpou, Universal's domestic distribution chief, adding "Putting the team back together made smart business sense."

"Jason Bourne" marks the series' second highest opening, behind "The Bourne Ultimatum's" $69.3 million debut. When adjusted for inflation, however, it trails all but "The Bourne Legacy's" opening weekends. Universal spent $120 million to make the latest installment and released it in 4,026 theaters.

"It proves that this is a franchise that's still viable and that it can continue if they want to keep making them," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. "'Jason Bourne' is the perfect title for this film, because that's who everyone wanted to see return."

Aaron Cross...not so much.

Even with Bourne's resurgence commanding most of the attention, the weekend's other major new wide release managed to score a respectable debut. STX Entertainment's "Bad Moms" opened to a healthy $23.4 million and a third place finish. That's a strong return on the film's $20 million production budget. It also gives STX Entertainment a much needed win after its other summer release, the Civil War drama "Free State of Jones" collapsed at multiplexes.

"Bad Moms" originally was set up at Paramount Pictures and was intended to star Leslie Mann with the actress' husband and frequent collaborator Judd Apatow producing. But Mann dropped out, as did Apatow, and the project migrated to STX. It stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn as women who reject the pressure to be perfect parents, and instead indulge in hard partying and a more relaxed, Chablis-fueled approach to child-rearing.

"It is a terrific movie that has a lot of heart and a lot of laughs and it plays great across the board," said Kevin Grayson, STX's domestic distribution chief.

Grayson believes the film will continue to draw crowds in the coming weeks, because there are no other raunchy comedies with female leads on deck. That could help the picture withstand "Suicide Squad's" opening next weekend. The comic book movie is tracking to open to as much as $125 million, establishing a new record for an August launch.

STX is the brainchild of Robert Simonds, the producer of "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "The Pink Panther" films. Armed with backing from the likes of TPG, Hony Capital and Huayi Brothers, the studio has ambitions to spend as much as $1.1 billion annually on producing, marketing and self-distributing its films by 2017. So far, its early efforts have been mixed. It scored with low-budget horror films such as "The Gift" and "The Boy," but lost money on the thriller "The Secret in Their Eyes" and the point-of-view action film "Hardcore Henry."

Among newcomers, Lionsgate fielded "Nerve," a $20 million thriller about a digital truth or dare-style game that takes a deadly turn. The film stars Dave Franco and Emma Roberts. It opened Wednesday in order to get a jumpstart on the competition, earning $15 million over its first five days and $9 million over the weekend.

"We felt the best approach was to let the movie do the heavy lifting and let word of mouth carry it," said David Spitz, co-president of domestic theatrical distribution at Lionsgate. "If you read all the comments whether it's on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, the response is amazing. The audience loves the film. "

In holdover news, Paramount's "Star Trek Beyond" slipped roughly 60% in its second weekend to gross $24 million and nab second place. That brings the sci-fi sequel's domestic haul to $105.7 million. With a hefty $185 million budget, the film needs to resonate overseas if it wants to make a profit, because, as it stands, that kind of a result doesn't justify sequels or guarantee profits.

Illumination and Universal's "The Secret Life of Pets" continues to be one of the biggest hits of the summer. The animated offering took fourth place with $18.2 million. The look at what pets do when their owners are at work has earned $296.2 million and seems destined to inspire more installments in the furry friend saga. After shattering records in 2015, Universal got off to a more modest start this year, with films like "The Huntsman: Winter's War" and "Warcraft" failing to catch fire. However, the studio has bounced back in recent weeks, revived by the success of "The Secret Life of Pets" and "Jason Bourne."

"Lights Out," a horror film from New Line, rounded out the top five, picking up $10.8 million to bring its total to $42.8 million after two weeks.

On the art house front, Summit and Roadside Attractions opened "Indignation to $89,072, for a $22,268 per-screen average. The drama about a precocious college student who clashes with the conservative head of his college marks the directorial debut of former Focus chief James Schamus.

This summer has been a mixed bag from a box office perspective. The industry has been in a funk as high-profile films such as "Alice Through the Looking Glass," "The Legend of Tarzan," and "The BFG" have flopped. However, this weekend's receipts are an improvement on the year ago period when "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" led the box office. Sales are up roughly 30% thanks to the one-two punch of "Jason Bourne" and "Bad Moms."

"We're starting to chip away at the summer deficit," said Dergarabedian. "Maybe with 'Suicide Squad' opening, we'll see the end to all this volatility."

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Season 4 Revealed: Ghost Rider, LMDs, Inhumans, and More

Agents of SHIELD castThe secrets of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Season 4 just got a lot less classified.

During their whirlwind tour of Comic-Con International, the key creative personnel made public some of the new elements of ABC's Marvel series' upcoming season -- including the addition of a fresh incarnation of the classic superhero/horror character Ghost Rider and greater access to the stable of established Inhuman characters -- and zeroed in on some of the finer details after their panel.

After a third season that severely tested its characters' resolve in the extreme -- to the point that by the season-ending time jump Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) had left S.H.I.E.L.D. to pursue her own agenda and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) stepped away from his duties as Director to return to the field -- things are about to get even darker, and more than a little mystical.

Enter Ghost RiderComic-Con International 2016 - "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D" Panel"The show's gotten darker as you put the characters through their paces," said executive producer Jed Whedon. "I think that's just a natural thing that happens really with any show ... People have to go through a journey, so you end up putting everybody through pain. Now, pretty much everybody's had some gnarly experience, so they're all more weathered and seasoned. So I think it's only natural for the show to take on a darker tone."

"The fact that we have Ghost Rider now going to be on the show, that in and of itself comes with some pretty hardcore violence and grittiness -- and cars on fire," added executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen.

The Ghost Rider in question is not the traditional comic book character Johnny Blaze, the demonically possessed, flaming skulled stunt motorcyclist played by Nicolas Cage in the 2007 Sony film that predated the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The new version is derived from a more recent 2014 reworking from Marvel's comic-book division: Robbie Reyes is an East L.A. teen with a taste for high-octane muscle cars who, after being gunned down in a gang-related shooting is inhabited by a similarly skull-blazing entity which happened to be his deceased uncle, a Satan-worshipping serial killer.

The introduction of Ghost Rider comes just as Marvel's feature film side is about to open the door the the MCU's magical side with the fall release of "Doctor Strange." "It's one of the reasons we feel like Ghost Rider will fit this year," says Whedon. "The Cinematic Universe is sort of being opened up into that world. But the Marvel approach is that magic is science that we don't yet understand. So we're going to have both the introduction of magical elements on our show, as well as very hardcore science ... I don't really want to explain magic. So 'Doctor Strange' will do it."

Tripping on LMDJohn Hannah in AGENTS OF SHIELDIn terms of that hardcore science, the concept of Life Model Decoys -- lookalike artificial intelligence stand-ins for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents -- has been part and parcel of the S.H.I.E.L.D. comic books since the 1960s and occasionally obliquely name-checked on the show. The concept will finally be explored in the fourth season, says Whedon, "not necessarily a threat -- though, down the road, any new technology maybe won't go great. For us right away, it represents their desire to control things in a way. They don't like what happened last year. They don't want that to happen. The whole concept of the decoy is that someone else could be sent in to do that job. So it comes from an altruistic notion, initially."

The team's new resident, kind-of-mad scientist Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) will lead the LMD charge, said Whedon, largely out of his "desire to prove that he's a good guy, and the things that happened were beyond his control. And yes, he has a scientific mind, but his heart's in the right place."

"[But] we know that in the Marvel Universe, the exploration into A.I. has had some dire consequences, in 'Age of Ultron,'" added Tancheroen.

His First Name Is 'Agent'Clark Gregg in AGENTS OF SHIELDCoulson's self-demotion from the leadership seat he inherited from Nick Fury back to foot soldier makes perfect sense to Gregg after the series of life-and-death big picture calls he's been required to make. "I'm not surprised he's not the Director anymore," says the actor. "Once again, he's a guy who's first name is 'Agent,' and I think there's a comfort factor there. He didn't like being on Zephyr One calling in the different units."

"We've had Coulson on this journey, as a director -- it's harder to be the Director," says executive producer Jeff Bell. "You're sending people into battle. Lives are being lost. You lose a hand. Suddenly, you're losing some of your own humanity. How dark do you go? Coming back out of that, it felt like he had done that."

"And, honestly, we love Coulson from 'Iron Man,'" added Bell. "We love the guy who goes out to talk his way out of anything. We like him boots on the ground going into situations. And as director sometimes, there was conflict with doing that. So to find him, been there done that, sort of world-weary at that, and then suddenly not ... is something Season 4 will look at."

"How does he feel about the new director?" muses Gregg about the mystery character that will be running S.H.I.E.L.D. in Coulson's wake. "A little bit hard to tell so far. I don't know. We don't know too much about the new director yet. All I can tell is that it seems like S.H.I.E.L.D. is no longer an outlaw organization. It has now fallen under control of some governments in line with the Sokovia Accords, and those 'powers that be' have chosen somebody else they're comfortable with. It remains to be seen if any of us from the S.H.I.E.L.D. team will be as comfortable with them. The rumors I'm hearing are exciting. It's an interesting idea that they've got about where that might go."

"Because the world around them has changed, S.H.I.E.L.D. has had to change," explained Bell. "The Sokovia Accords and what happened in the last 'Captain America' movie will also trickle into how our world is. So with the rise of the Inhumans, our characters had to engage that, although we were very secret. So that will continue to evolve as we go forward this season."

Bring on the Giant Teleporting DogChloe Bennet in AGENTS OF SHIELDMarvel Studios cancelling its plan for a big-screen "Inhumans" film suggests that the race of super-powered characters had proven a better fit for "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," where one leading character, Daisy, was ultimately revealed to have Inhuman ancestry. The door now looks significantly more open for some of the classic Stan Lee / Jack Kirby-created comic book Inhumans, including royal family members like Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, Gorgon, Triton, and Crystal. "We like [the Inhumans] in our world," said Bell. "So you'll see more of that this season."

"We do have a little more freedom," revealed Whedon. "We've told a couple seasons of stories, but now we do have some more freedom. So when we return to focusing on Inhumans, we'll be able to do a little bit more ... Right now, that's not our focus, but it's out there.

"You want the dog, right?" laughed Bell, referencing the enormous Inhuman canine Lockjaw, who can teleport himself at will. "To be discovered," he grinned.

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Season 4 premieres September 20th at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Which 'Harry Potter' Character Are You? [QUIZ]

harry potter character quizAs "Harry Potter" fans, we've all imagined what it would be like to attend Hogwarts, battle Voldemort, or venture down Diagon Alley. But have you ever imagined yourself as one of the characters in J.K. Rowling's beloved books? Take the quiz below to determine which witch (or wizard) you're most like in the Harry Potter universe.

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How 'Sharknado' Went From Syfy's Silly Lark to a Franchise With Bite

sharknado the 4th awakens"It's a completely new genre of filmmaking," offers star Ian Ziering of the seemingly unlikely pop cultural phenomenon known as the TV-movie franchise "Sharknado," "It's a fun movie where everyone's in on the joke -- except the characters in the movie."

And, indeed, the joke now comes with an annual callback punchline: since the first "Sharknado" movie, a shamelessly tongue-in-cheek sendup of cinematic disaster/horror blockbusters and their B-movie brethren centered around a cyclonic storm of ravenous sharks, debuted on Syfy in 2013 to staggering ratings, increasingly over-the-top sequels have become a hotly anticipated annual tradition: this year's installment, "Sharknado: The 4th Awakens," the pun-titled fourth film in the series, arrives July 31st with all the fanfare of a movie property.

"There's been such a tremendous support -- and now a demand -- for these movies," marvels Ziering, who plays the chainsaw-swinging hero Fin Shepherd, trying to keep his wife, April (Tara Reid), their family, and the entire world safe from soaring, spiraling jaws. "By now, it's like, 'Oh, it's a TV-movie summer series ... It's appointment television. People get together and have a midsummer night party around. It's on July 31st this year, Sunday night. How perfect for a barbecue, a midsummer night event where people are actually getting together and watching the movie and having a fun time?"

"We never even thought on the first one that anybody would see it," chuckles franchise leading lady Reid. "Somehow, people just love 'Sharknado.' It's a movie that doesn't take itself seriously, obviously, and it's so ridiculous that people enjoy it."

Ziering readily admits he initially only took the original film to maintain his Screen Actors Guild insurance levels when he and his wife had a baby on the way, though the off-kilter acting opportunities quickly grew on him. "I figured it would just be on TV once just get buried somewhere. Boy, was I wrong! This movie exploded."

"What took a few years to accomplish in terms of popularity with 'Beverly Hills 90210,' 'Sharknado' did in one week," the actor reveals. "It was an immediate sensation. The sci-fi fans that are out there were chattering about it on all the different social media platforms so loudly that it spilled over into mainstream entertainment, where celebrities were even talking about this crazy movie."

The first film proved so popular, Syfy aired it twice more, with ratings rising higher each time, which prompted a one-night theatrical release followed by a wide international release. "Which is completely backwards from the way every other movie asset, whether it be TV or film, has played out!" he exclaims. "I realized that I am really lucky, because this kind of lightning in a bottle doesn't happen frequently in Hollywood. To be a part of a project that reaches so many people in a positive, fun way is really a dream come true for me."

"Each of these movies are kind of different," says director Anthony C. Ferrante, the auteur behind all four so-good-at-seeming-so-bad-they're-good films. "At the end of the day, they're still a similar story -- there's families trying to save each other, and there's a tornado of sharks that has to be stopped -- but I think one of the things that we try to do with each film is go, 'What kind of genres do we want to play with?'"

"Obviously, with the title 'The 4th Awakens,' you can't get away with not trying to do some 'Star Wars' references," he chuckles. "The questions is: how do you do them without making it too obvious? So there's definitely some homages, and there's stuff in these movies that maybe two people will get. We'll put in Easter eggs -- there're so many cameos, and people are always throwing in character names and stuff that just tickle us."

There's also some good-natured ribbing at today's dominant event-movie genre: the superhero film. "There's a little bit of a sort of a superhero origin story, in a way, in this movie that we haven't done before," promises Ferrante. "It's very subtle, but we kind of embraced it. There's a lot of little references and homages to superhero movies throughout, which I think is kind of neat."

And there are even more nods to geek-culture classics, as Ziering giddily reveals. "I get a mechanical suit, like 'Aliens'! Fin gets to play shark-slayer within the safety of a mech suit -- with chainsaw-blade arms! I had so much fun jumping around in this thing like I'm a ninja. I couldn't stop laughing at first because it was so preposterous, but with the magic of Hollywood and our amazing visual effects artists, it's going to look completely badass."ian ziering in sharknado the 4th awakensIn the new movie, the Shepherds have enjoyed a years-long respite from the marauding meteorological events until they again start forming, this time in even less likely environments -- specifically, the glittering -- and decidedly arid -- gambling mecca of Las Vegas, offering plenty of visual gags crafted on the location, including a shark loop-de-loop on the rollercoaster atop the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino. "It's sharks. It's Vegas," says Ferrante simply.

Once again, celebrities in supporting and cameos roles come fast and furiously, with a new roster of famous faces including Gary Busey, Cheryl Tiegs, Tommy Davidson, Alexandra Paul, Gena Lee Nolin, Wayne Newton, Stacey Dash, Carrot Top, Steve Guttenberg, Carrie Keagan, and, appropriately, "Shark Tank's" Robert Herjavec and Lori Grenier. "David Faustino showed up on set one day, and I had no idea he was going to be working with us," said Ziering. "Of course, we both worked on the Fox network many years ago -- he in 'Married ... With Children,' and I on '90210.'gary busey in sharknado the 4th awakens"There were three or four instances where, last minute, we had a really great person and we had to squeeze them into the film," says Ferrante. "That was a challenge, but also part of the fun ... A lot of times it's like Christmas: 'Oh, Paul Shaffer is on set -- that's, like, awesome!'"

"I think we put everything but the kitchen sink into every one of the movies that we do, not knowing whether we're going to be coming back or not," the filmmaker adds. "I love the fact that I get to kind of do different movies each time. And I look at it now sort of as a TV series in a way too, because each year we come back and we do a new 'season,' in a strange way."

And, indeed, each new "Sharknado" film feels like Christmas in July for its growing cult of fans, "Some people love the movies, some people hate it, but people have embraced the silliness," says Ferrante. "I think we need a little bit more of this silliness. Everything is taken so seriously now, and there's so much horrible stuff going on out there that having something where you know what you're going to get, I think is a sort of comfort food."

"So many things are negative in the world right now," agrees Reid. "When you watch "Sharknado," you're not thinking of anything like that. It just makes people happy."

"I always think it's funny: I still see 'Sharknado' to be a weird film," Ferrante offers. "The weirdest thing I've ever done is the thing that got the most acceptance. Being the odd kid in high school wanting to make movies. A lot of the movies I made were strange. To have that be the success story is kind of gratifying in a lot of ways."

Is there an end in sight? "It's one big kind of story, and then however long it continues and however long we're involved, I think it's up to the movie universe to say," says Ferrante. "I've done some stuff in between the 'Sharknado' movies, and usually everything works out timing-wise, and I love coming back. I think it's fun. Is there an end-all be-all 'Sharknado' movie? I'm sure there is. Is there other stuff that we want to do? Every time I think that there's not something left to say, we suddenly have something that we can do."

"As long as I can, as long as they'll have me, I'll be a part of this 'Sharknado' franchise," promises Ziering. "It is so fun. It's such a great working environment. I've made some great friends, and as long as the fans out there want it to continue, I will raise my chainsaw high."

"It's just been an incredible experience," adds Reid. "Without the fans, there would be no "Sharknado."

"Sharknado: The 4th Awakens" premieres July 31st at 8 p.m. on Syfy.

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Morgan Freeman Joins Disney's Live-Action 'The Nutcracker': Report

LA Premiere of "London Has Fallen" - ArrivalsMorgan Freeman is set to join Disney's upcoming live-action movie adaptation of "The Nutcracker," according to a new report.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that the Oscar winner is currently in talks to join the ensemble, which already includes Mackenzie Foy ("Interstellar," the "Twilight" movies) as the protagonist Clara, and America Ballet Theatre star Misty Copeland as the lead ballerina. According to THR, Freeman will play the character Drosselmeyer, a mysterious uncle-like figure to Clara who gives her the titular toy, which then comes to life and takes her on a magical journey.

"The Nutcracker" was famously adapted into the classic Tchaikovsky ballet, though this film version, called "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms," will apparently draw more heavily from the ballet's source material, "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," a story written by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann in the early 1800s. "The Four Realms" will reportedly feature only one dance sequence, starring Copeland (who's making her feature debut in the flick).

Here's the official logline for the film:

The story, set at Christmas time, follows a young girl named Clara whose favorite toy, a Nutcracker, comes alive. After he defeats the Mouse King, he takes Clara away to a magical kingdom inhabited by dolls.

Lasse Hallstrom is directing the flick, which doesn't have a release date yet. It's expected to begin production sometime this fall.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

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'Gilmore Girls' Creator Asks Fans Not to Spoil the Final Four Words

Netflix 2016 Summer TCAAt long last, we have an official release date for Netflix's upcoming "Gilmore Girls" revival, "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," which will revisit our favorite Stars Hollow residents in four brand new 90-minute mini-movie episodes debuting the day after Thanksgiving. And with them will finally come the revelation of the show's famed "final four words."

For the uninitiated, those words are what "Gilmore" creator Amy Sherman-Palldino had intended to use in the series finale before a contract dispute led her and producing partner husband Daniel Palladino to leave the show before season seven. The words were never publicly revealed, though Sherman-Palladino eventually relayed them to star Lauren Graham, who said earlier this year that they are featured in a dialogue exchange between Lorelai and Rory (Alexis Bledel) in the final episode of "A Year in the Life."

As the news of the Netflix revival became official, Sherman-Palladino had said that she didn't want all four installments -- titled "Winter," "Spring," "Summer," and "Fall" -- released at the same time (the typical Netflix model), mostly in an effort to avoid spoilers and allow diehard fans the chance to properly digest every episode before diving into the next. Of course, she was overruled by her new bosses at the streaming service.

"I told them I was going to hang myself from a shower curtain if they put them all out [at once]," the creator joked during an appearance at the Television Critics Association summer press tour this week. "They said, 'Can we help you with that?'"

Sherman-Palladino told the TCA crowd that it was important to her that fans would be able to find out the final four words on their own -- spoiler-free -- since it's been such a long wait for those who have been with the show since the beginning, and because these new episodes are such an emotionally-charged extension of the original series.

"It's such a journey and it's such a build to the last four words," she said, continuing:

... [But] we live in an age where I knew people were going to go right to the last four words and then put it on the Internet and possibly spoil it for people who are going to take the journey. However, you know, you don't always get what you want. Trust me. I don't have the ass I want. ... But the good outweighs the bad in the sense that [Netflix] is a wonderful place to be able to create things and do things in a different way. So, shower curtain will wait.

As for whether those final four words will indeed mark the definitive end of this "Gilmore" revival, Sherman-Palladino left the door open ever-so-slightly for the hope for even more "Gilmore" somewhere down the road.

"This is its own thing," Sherman-Palladino told the TCA. "This is what it is right now. We put these together, we told these stories and now we throw them out to the universe."

Where you lead, we will follow, ASP. We'll stay tuned for more.

"Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" hits Netflix on November 25.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP

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'Stranger Things' Creators Want a 'Different,' 'Darker' Season 2

stranger thingsThings may be getting even stranger on Netflix ...

"Stranger Things," the steaming service's latest sensation, scored big with subscribers with its spooky/sci-fi storytelling and a vibe that effectively evoked a very specific era of '80s genre filmmaking. And while the series' creators, twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, are still awaiting an illuminating official signal from the Netflix brass, a second season is essentially a foregone conclusion.

In fact, the brothers have been planning all along -- loosely -- where the follow-up story would pick up, right back in Indiana where the Byers and Wheeler families, Chief Hopper, and the enigmatic Eleven must deal with the repercussions of Will's lengthy stay in the otherworldly Upside Down.

On where they are in the planning stages for Season 2:

Matt Duffer: We've thought about it a lot. I mean, a lot of it, we kind of hint at where we might go at the end of the season, where Will was living in this Upside Down, this other dimension, for about a week, and the repercussions of that can't be good. So a lot of it is exploring that, and this inter-dimensional rift is still very much open, so that also can't be good, so it's exploring that.

We want to retain the tone, but I think all our favorite sequels kind of feel a little different. It's not about just taking, "Another monsters comes and it's a bigger, badder monster." It's like, we want it to feel a little bit different. Maybe a little bit darker, but still have the sense of fun.

On whether there's another cinematic sub-genre they'd like to shift toward in Season 2:

Matt Duffer: No, we're just kind of following naturally where the story goes. We're trying to figure out where it's going to lead us.

Ross Duffer: Because at the end, it's stuff that's unresolved. Whether it's with Will, or the fact that this dimensional tear, as far as we know, we left it open. So for us, we've sort of literally opened up the story to a lot of different possibilities.

And also we're excited, in terms of this season, you start with, Will is taken within the first 10 minutes. In the first scene with Joyce, she realizes her son's gone. So we're excited about, if we get a chance to go back, that idea of where you can sort of ramp up more and more and more. Where it's like, Joyce is at an 11 from the beginning, and I think we're excited about the possibilities.

Matt Duffer: So structurally, naturally it's going to be a very different structure.

Ross Duffer: It's going to have a different feel.

Matt Duffer: Which is fun. But we would also keep, we'd still keep the episode length down because I like that at eight it feels manageable, and also it just feels more like a movie. We don't feel like we have to tread water.

Ross Duffer: And once it's green-lit, obviously we'll move as fast as we can. The challenge of it is that it's such a small group of us that are making it, and we try to make it as much like a movie as possible. No, so we have ideas and all that, but we just finished the series. It's not like it was a two-month delay. We were doing visual effects shots up until the last minute. It went on Netflix right after we finished and people watched it. It was crazy.

Matt Duffer: It was really scary because we finished it, and then suddenly there were reviews. I barely had time to process ... and we've never experienced anything like this where you're putting something out into the world. So when the first wave of reviews came in positive, I mean, I was like crying. It's unbelievable.

Ross Duffer: For us I think, and this is something we even talked about with Netflix when we first pitched it to them, is that we realize that we were falling in love with these characters, and the audiences will fall in love with these characters.

So the plan would be right now to continue with it, to treat it like a sequel, but maybe there's a different tension, of course, but at the same time, staying with these characters for a little bit longer. I think you'll reach a point eventually where you're like, why don't these people just leave this town? So I don't know how long.

Matt Duffer: It's scary. I mean, we're TV fans, and there are shows you fall in love with, and then at a certain point they lose you. So that's my nightmare. It's like, "'Stranger Things' was really great the first two seasons," and then stop watching it. That's what we're terrified of.

So the idea would be do it as much as it feels natural and organic to tell the story. When it feels like you should bring it to a close, I think Netflix would support that. That's what's so amazing about them.

It is scary though, because we start talking a lot about sequels, and there aren't a ton of good ones. So that's scary.

On the positive critical and fan emphasis on the nostalgic elements of the series:

Matt Duffer: I was surprised -- not in a bad way -- by how much focus there was on the references and the movies that inspired us. It's not something we worry about too much, just because you can't write the story that way.

You're not like, "Oh, it'll be like this movie and this movie and this movie ..." It's inspired by the way these movies felt -- a lot of it we're not even aware that we're doing it. So you're just following the characters and letting the story unfold naturally.

On their own unique voice coming through within the influences:

Matt Duffer: We're not the right ones to answer. I was thinking about ... I was talking to someone about "Midnight Special," and I really like Jeff Nichols. I mean, I love him as a filmmaker. He did "Midnight Special," and it was clearly influenced by a lot of the same stuff we were, which was like Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter, and you see it all over. But it's unmistakably a Jeff Nichols movie, because it's filtered through him, and he kind write something that isn't truthful to who he is.

So I hope that when you're writing it that it's not mimicry. We're informed not just by these movies, but by our own experiences. So you have to hope that there's something ...

Ross Duffer: A lot of these guys, I know it's different because whether it's Spielberg or Lucas, they're channeling their ... our heroes are channeling the stuff they fell in love with when they were kids, whether it's "Hidden Fortress" or "John Carter" or whatever it was. To us, what is it that we loved when we were growing up? What made us want to tell stories?

Yeah, we're making some specific references, like the shed. We were doing some things that are not very subtle, but at the same time, at a certain point, it just goes, "Okay, this mother doesn't know where her kid is. What does she do next?" That's really how we break down the story.

On where they went right trying to capture the '80s Amblin vibe where so many other recent projects with the same goal haven't quite hit the mark:

Matt Duffer: This is something that we were talking about. It's not like, "Oh my God, another like kids versus supernatural forces on television. I hadn't seen that. People act like there's a lot. There's actually not. In terms of like, it's kind of my favorite sub-genres, kids facing supernatural forces.

And there's obviously Stephen King's "It," that's a book and a miniseries. Dan Simmons wrote this book, "Summer of Night." J.J. Abrams did "Super 8." And there was a bunch of "E.T." knockoffs in the '80s. That's kind of it. I didn't feel like there was so much of it. I just wanted more of it.

On whether there was a moment they might have gone too far:

Matt Duffer: Oh well, the bike chase. We were like, "That might not be a good idea." Just because the minute you have kids on a bike chase with government agents, and we're like, that's probably, it's way too on the nose, obviously. It just felt ... We wanted to do a bike chase, and we got it out of our system. And if people knock us for it, I totally understand. I agree with you, and it's done.

Ross Duffer: It was super fun!

Matt Duffer: It was fun to do. We got to flip a van. I got to actually rocket a van into the air. It was awesome.

On whether they can tackle another project before going to work on Season 2:

Matt Duffer: Unfortunately, no. I mean, it's so time-consuming. I mean, yeah, it was over a year straight. It would be, if they green-light it, another year straight, so there's no time for anything. Not if we want to be as involved as we were this year.

We don't want to do the thing where you step back and let someone else take over and we're just putting our names on it. Why would we? It's the most fun sandbox in the world. We can tell whatever story we want. It's the best thing in the world.

On whether they've heard from some of those famous influences:

Matt Duffer: Stephen King. We got an email from him and it was amazing. I mean, that was a big moment for us. I took about three hours to compose a five sentence email back to him. So that was amazing. So two emails with him, but he's one of our idols. So it's hard to ask for anything better than that. It was hard to wrap my head around. I'm still kind of wrapping my head around it.

"Stranger Things" Season 1 is available now on Netflix.

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Here's a Look at the Huge 'Boy Meets World' Reunion Coming to 'Girl Meets World'

girl meets world, boy meets world, reunion, first look, season 3"Girl Meets World," the Disney Channel spinoff/sequel series to ABC's TGIF staple "Boy Meets World," hasn't been shy about acknowledging the original series throughout its short run so far, regularly rotating in cast members like Ryder Strong (who played Cory's BFF Shawn Hunter) and Will Friedle (Cory's ditzy older brother Eric). An entire season one episode was centered around Riley Matthews meeting inspirational teacher Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), and both Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) are series regulars.

But "Girl" is about to take its reverence of "Boy" one step further in its season three finale, staging a massive reunion featuring almost every key player from the original cast, and now, we have our first behind-the-scenes look at that event. Disney Channel released a photo featuring a whopping 17 members of both casts, bringing together the entire extended Matthews clan and several friends and mentors, too.
The lineup of returning original stars includes Savage, Fishel, Strong, Friedle, and Daniels; Betsy Randall and William Russ, who played Cory's parents, Amy and Alan; both actresses who played Cory's younger sister Morgan, Lily Nicksay (seasons one and two) and Lindsay Ridgeway (seasons three through seven); Lee Norris, who played classmate Minkus (and who's son, Farkle, is one of Riley and Maya's pals on the program); Anthony Quinn, who played motorcycle-riding teacher Mr. Turner (and who's reprised that role as the superintendent of the school Riley and Maya attend); and Danny McNulty, who played school bully Harley (who now works as a custodian at Riley and Maya's school).

According to the "Girl Meets World" writers' Twitter account, all these familiar faces will reunite to help Maya make a big decision. Could it have something to do with the simmering love triangle between Riley, Maya, and Lucas?

We'll find out when the "Girl Meets World" season three finale airs on August 26.

[via: TVLine, GMW Writers]

Photo credit: Disney Channel

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Meryl Streep Joins 'Mary Poppins' Sequel: Report

"Florence Foster Jenkins" - UK Film Premiere - Red CarpetDisney's upcoming "Mary Poppins" sequel may be getting a major dose of star power: A new report states that Oscar winner Meryl Streep is currently in negotiations to join the cast.

Variety has the scoop that Streep may be joining the flick, which stars Emily Blunt as the titular fantastical nanny and "Hamilton" mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda as a new Poppins pal, Jack the lamplighter. According to the trade, Streep is rumored to be playing a new character named Topsy, who is Mary Poppins's cousin.

Streep's casting adds another level of cachet to the flick, which so far is a bit of a curiosity. While Disney purists may scoff at the idea of making a sequel to the 1964 classic, it seems to be differentiating itself from its predecessor by adapting an entirely new set of tales from author P.L. Travers's "Poppins" book series, and populating itself with supporting characters not seen in the original film.

The sequel, known as "Mary Poppins Returns," takes place in Depression-era London, and centers around the now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, and Michael's three children. Poppins returns to her former charges after they suffer a personal loss, and helps them rediscover the joy that has been missing from their lives.

If Streep does indeed join the flick, it will be the third time she's worked with Blunt, who she starred with in both "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Into the Woods," both of which garnered her Oscar nominations. It would also be a reunion between Streep, Blunt, and the "Into the Woods" creative team -- including director Rob Marshall -- who are adapting the property. David Magee ("Life of Pi," "Finding Neverland") is writing the screenplay, and Marc Shaiman ("Hairspray") is composing new songs.

"Mary Poppins Returns" is slated for release on December 25, 2018.

[via: Variety]

Photo credit: Getty Images

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Which Phoebe Buffay Song Are You? [QUIZ]

Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) brought so many beautiful songs into our lives on "Friends." Who could forget her classic hits like "Jingle Bitch" or "Crusty Old Man?"

So now it is time to find out which song of hers truly captures who you are as a person in our quiz, below.

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'The Angry Birds Movie' Deleted Scene: Mighty Eagle Tells His Coconut Story

The Mighty Eagle seems more "wackadoodle" than wise in this exclusive deleted scene from "The Angry Birds Movie." The blockbuster animated movie, based on the blockbuster app, debuts on digital today (Friday, July 29) before arriving on Blu-ray, and DVD on August 16.

The digital release is packed with bonus features, including deleted scenes like this one, featuring Peter Dinklage as the less-impressive-than-hoped Mighty Eagle, who tries to tell his famed "coconut story" to Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad), and Bomb (Danny McBride):
You don't stare at a man's coconut, Chuck! Island outsiders Red, Chuck, and Bomb had hoped to get help from Mighty Eagle to figure out what's going on with the mysterious green piggies who suddenly arrived, but Mighty Eagle is clearly just interested in talking about Mighty Eagle.

Here's the full rundown of the bonus features fans can expect in the digital and disc releases:

Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Extras:

Bonus Scene: "Chuck's Rescue"
Symphony Mode
Making Music! With Composer Heitor Pereira
Blake Shelton Music Video "Friends"
Photo Gallery

Blu-ray & Digital Exclusive Extras:

All-New Short "The Early Hatchling Gets the Worm"
3 More Hatchlings Shorts
Deleted Scenes
Crafty Birds – How to Build Your Own Piggy Tower
Dance Along Birds and Pigs
Creating the Real World of Angry Birds
Meet The Birds
Meet The Pigs
Meet The Hatchlings

"The Angry Birds Movie" is currently the second highest-grossing video game movie of all time, worldwide, behind "Warcraft." The A-list voice cast includes Maya Rudolph as Matilda, Kate McKinnon as Stella, Sean Penn as Terence, Tony Hale as Ross, Keegan-Michael Key as Judge Peckinpah, and Bill Hader as Leonard; plus Hannibal Buress, Ike Barinholtz, Tituss Burgess, Jillian Bell, Billy Eichner, and Danielle Brooks.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

'Suicide Squad' Will Feature Batman and Another Surprise Justice League Member

[SPOILER ALERT! Don't read any further if you want to avoid a potentially cool reveal in the movie.]

Batman isn't the only Justice League member you'll see in "Suicide Squad."

The Flash, played by Ezra Miller, will show up for a quick cameo, according to i09. Press notes sent out to journalists in advance of the film's New York junket included the actor's name in the cast list for DC and Warner Bros. upcoming blockbuster. The Hollywood Reporter also confirmed the appearance, noting that Miller recently completed shooting a scene that will be inserted into the film just in time for its opening next week. No word if the actor shot his cameo during the film's much-talked about reshoots in April, or if it was more recent. The scene will not be an end credits tag, either, so get excited, DC fans!

Ben Affleck's Batman was confirmed to show up in the film when Warner Bros. first screened a trailer at Comic-Con a couple years back.

Miller's Flash, last seen in the DCEU via Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck)'s weird flashety-flash future dream thing in "Batman v Superman," will no doubt appear in a scene involving one of his rogues, Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney).

The Fastest Man Alive and Boomerang frequently clashed in the comics; perhaps we'll see Flash apprehend the baddie before he meets the rest of the Squad in prison?

We'll find out when "Suicide Squad" hits theaters August 5.

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'Daria,' 'Beavis & Butt-Head' Returning to TV on MTV Classic

dariaBy Oriana Schwindt

LOS ANGELES ( - Those who still want their MTV are about to get their fill. On Aug. 1, the channel currently known as VH1 Classic will be rebranded as MTV Classic, and be pumped full of all the shows that built Music Television into a viewing destination for all the cool kids in your neighborhood.

The new-old network will make its debut with "MTV Hour One," a replay of the exact first hour of programming MTV aired, and then segue into a "Total Request Live" retrospective, followed by a best-of run of "MTV Unplugged."

The shows that will be making their reappearance on MTV Classic during the hours of 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. include "Daria," "Beavis and Butt-Head," "Aeon Flux," "Run's House," "Pimp My Ride," "Clone High," and just about every other show that still carries a cult following, with desperate pleas from fans to make the series available for streaming. ("Daria" is actually available to stream on Hulu.) Fridays during primetime will be devoted to music programming -- "Unplugged," "Storytellers," and live performances.

"From 'Beavis & Butt-Head' to 'Laguna Beach,' MTV's programming vault is a music and pop culture goldmine with universal resonance," MTV president Sean Atkins said in a statement.The launch date isn't random -- for those that don't recall, Aug. 1 was when MTV first blinked on 35 years ago.

The rebranding mimics a strategy that has stood Turner's Adult Swim in good stead. Adult Swim, the Jekyll to Cartoon Network's Mr. Hyde, has been one of the few networks to not see the kind of audience erosion that other cable networks have experienced, particularly when it comes to those in the highly coveted 18-34 demographic. Adult Swim built itself into a destination for weird original programming by picking up and running defunct series with cult followings. Today its reruns of those series draw higher ratings than a good chunk of original cable series, and its originals like "Rick and Morty" eat other shows' lunches in the male 18-34 demographic so beloved by advertisers.

MTV and its fellow Viacom networks have been hit especially hard by the changing viewing habits of the younger demographics, resulting in what analyst firm MoffettNathanson predicted in June will be an eighth straight quarter of declines in U.S. ad sales when Viacom reports its earnings on Aug. 4. The birth of MTV Classic seems to indicate that to understand the future, sometimes you have to return to the past.

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What's Next for Ben Falcone and Wife Melissa McCarthy

Premiere Of Sony Pictures' "Ghostbusters" - ArrivalsAt home, Ben Falcone's been married for over a decade to the woman of his dreams, and on the job he produces, writes, and directs for one of Hollywood's top comedy stars. And because those women are one and the same -- Melissa McCarthy -- they can carpool to work.

The couple's latest creative collaboration "The Boss" -- in which McCarthy evolved her long-ago-conceived stage character Michelle Darnell into a Suze Orman-style business guru attempting to come back from Martha Stewart-sized legal problems, with Falcone behind the camera -- recently hit home video, and they have even more dual projects on the horizon, including serving as executive producers of the upcoming TV Land series "Nobodies" and their third big-screen comedy together, "Life of the Party," which casts McCarthy as a mother who enters the collegiate world at the same time as her daughter.

Falcone recently joined Moviefone for a look inside their crucial partnership, both at work and at home.

Moviefone: "The Boss" must have been a lot of fun, but especially having an extra resonance for you because this character had been in your life for some time. Tell me about the fun of figuring out how to translate this great character that your wife created onstage into a feature film.

Ben Falcone: It was a challenge -- like, a challenge in the fun way of a challenge. It was a character that she created way back, as you know, and our friend [and co-writer] Steve Mallory was always kind of bugging her: "I think it could be a movie, you should do something." And they wrote an outline for it -- I was doing something else; I was working on some other writing thing I was doing – so they did an outline, and then things kind of got really busy for a while.

Then, when Universal, basically after "Tammy," said, "Okay, great, you can make another one," we said, "Oh, great! I said, "Melissa, what do you want to do?" She said, "I really want to do something with Michelle Darnell." I said, "I love that outline you guys were working on." So I basically horned in on her project!

From that stage of this outline they created, the basic thing was there, which was this lady who's a multi-billionaire falls from grace, loses all her power, and then comes back by basically taking down the Dandelions -- our version of Girl Scouts. So, basically, we went from there. It was kind of just a real delight to ride it the whole way through.

I'm curious about the division of labor between you and Melissa as you develop material. Obviously, she's a great creator of characters and finding funny in them and in the situations she puts them in. What are your fortes in the process of bringing one of her characters to the big screen?

Well, I hope that I'm helpful with structure stuff. Like, how is the movie going to hang up? And I'm hopefully good for a joke or two in there. But she's very, very funny. She's able to find the humor in anything, and she's very, very sharp, and she knows exactly how she wants her characters to all have an arc, and she wants them to be flawed, and she wants to have a journey that they go on. We really feel like those are the movies that hopefully stand the test of time.

So that's what she brings to that world. I think I try to be like, "Okay, well, before we murder ourselves on this scene, maybe, do we need this scene? Because don't we want to see her get to this next place faster?" I think I can be helpful in the structural world, and hopefully a good joke or a good scene here and there.

You guys also surround yourself with the friends and comedy colleagues that you've accumulated from The Groundlings on through your careers in Hollywood. Tell me about bringing in this deep bench of comedy friends you have and letting them take what you guys have done further, because you all know how to do it: you all know how to take a premise and make it funnier.

Well, we have writers on set. Meaning friends of ours, or people that have become friends along the way, that their only job when we're there on set is to see if the scene is playing as funny as it could, as it can. So they have post-it notes, and they write down a bunch of what we call alts, right? A lot of people use alts, everybody from Adam McKay to Paul Feig and Judd Apatow. So I'm pretty sure Sean Anders, the newer guys, are doing it too.

We use these writers that we've known for a long time to kind of help us come up with the best line we can at the moment. And their only job -- because I have a lot that I'm looking at -- is to make sure everything is as funny as it could possibly be. We actually use that with actors as well. Sometimes somebody only has three lines, but if it's somebody you know can really score with those three lines, why not bring them in and see what they can do?

Nobody knows Melissa better than you, what still boggles your mind as far as what she's able to do as a performer? Are there still things about her you're like, "Wow, I just don't know how she gets there?"

You know, she can kind of do anything, and there's not so many actors that can in my estimation. I think she's got so much more left to show people, of like sides of characters that she can do. I think she's got some great dramas in her that are going to come out. She can't just be on the comedy train forever. I love it and she loves it, but you know, there's so many things that she's able to do.

But she can find the humor in anything, and she is so insatiable for a comedic moment, that she will try harder than anybody that I know to find the comedy inside of what you're trying to do, you know what I mean? So there's only several people in this business that I think will go that far, and not be afraid to feel foolish.

There's so many talented and great people, I'm not saying people won't do it. I love how much she's not afraid to just try, and if it doesn't work, she'll try something else. She just gives 100% commitment with that much talent. It's quite a combo.

Tell me about "Nobodies," the show that you guys have set up at TV Land.

Yeah, it's a really cool show. These guys are so funny. Again, it's friends of ours from way back that we thought deserved a chance to show what they can do. We've known them for over 15 years, all of them: Hugh Davidson, Rachel Ramras, and Larry Dorf. The showrunner is Mike McDonald from "Mad TV," who literally was our teacher at The Groundlings. So it's like, it's a way-back friendship festival, and the show is just about, it's sort of a loosely based, exaggerated version of Larry, Rachel, and Hugh's real lives, where they feel like they were at.

They write for an animated show, and they feel like all their friends are like passing them by in their careers. They feel like everybody's got boat money, and they don't have boat money, that kind of thing. So it's basically just watching them through the course of the first season as they try to get a movie made, a script that they wrote made.

So it's kind of got the really fun feeling of like "Curb Your Enthusiasm," or "Extras." It's very much an industry show, but we think that the characters are so interesting and great and hilarious, that we think it's really going to translate for everybody. Because what they're trying to do, is they're just trying to have a better life for themselves, which is hopefully, we can all relate to. The way they go about it is really great and awful and tragic with comic effect.

What was that in-between experience like for you and Melissa? You guys worked plenty, you had your careers in Hollywood and your lives at home, but then one day it goes to a whole different level. What was that like kind of transitioning through that period?

Well, we've known each other obviously the whole time and loved each other, so things for us, there's a lot more travel. You're very pleased that people seem to be enjoying the work, and I'm incredibly gratified and grateful to keep getting opportunities.

When you go to a premiere and all these people want Melissa to sign an autograph or something, it's kind of an amazing thing that there's that many fans that love her work that much. To get to direct movies now, it's an incredible place to be. We just feel really grateful, honestly, to be here. There's some elements of it that, you know, just when you're raising a family and stuff, you're trying to figure out all the travel, and how do you make everything work. But it's really been amazing.

Tell me how your next film together, "Life of the Party," came together for you, because it sounds like a really fun jumping-off point for you guys to do your thing.

I've always loved college movies. I kind of can't get enough of them. I grew up in a college town, a place called Carbondale, Illinois. My dad actually taught English, he recently retired, but he taught English at a community college outside of my hometown. So I've spent a lot of time just noticing college, and I went to some college. I kind of love the environment as a place. So I just quickly had a simple thing of like, "What if Melissa is sort of a Midwestern mom who goes back to college with her daughter?"

I was sort of kind of pitching it to Melissa and she really liked it. It was one of the things where we're like, "Who knows? We'll do whatever." We were looking into something that somebody else wrote, because we spent a lot of time writing and traveling and everything else. And then we wrote it anyway, and low and behold we're getting to do it. Again, I'm just so lucky and happy about it.

Everything is going great for you behind the scenes, but it's always a treat to see you show up on camera, too. What's in the works with your acting career?

I would love for you to just put it out there, Scott, that I'm openly looking for acting jobs! [Laughs] I'm going to do some episodes of "Nobodies" when I get back, but yeah, I think when I finish this movie, I think I'm going to probably, at least for a hot second, take a step back and try to just act for a minute.

Maybe just in some project that really feels interesting or fun. There's so many great shows on TV now. A little movie that shoot somewhere close to home. Really, it could be anything, but I'm definitely open for business.

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Here's Your First Look at Tyler Hoechlin as Superman on 'Supergirl'

Comic-Con International 2016 - "Supergirl" Special Video Presentation And Q&AIt's a bird! It's a plane! It's a new photo of Tyler Hoechlin as Superman!

The CW has released a first look at the former "Teen Wolf" star suited up in the hero's signature costume, which he'll don this season on "Supergirl," alongside titular heroine Melissa Benoist. After previously appearing on the program solely via word of mouth and some quick flashes, Superman -- Supergirl's older, more famous hero cousin -- will finally show up in the flesh for a short stint.

It's still unclear just how big Hoechlin's role will be, though he's set to appear in at least the first two episodes of season two. (Perhaps in an arc similar to Supergirl's season one team-up with The Flash?) Regardless of just how he fits into the show, based on how well the actor wears the blue and red in this photo (not to mention his steely gaze -- he is the Man of Steel, after all), he certainly seems perfect for the part.

"Supergirl," which is moving from CBS to The CW for season two, will debut on October 10.

[via: Supergirl]

Photo credit: The CW

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Ezekiel Will Bring Joy to 'The Walking Dead' Season 7, According to Actor Khary Payton

the walking dead, ezekiel, season 7, khary payton, the kingdomSeason six of "The Walking Dead" was a bleak affair, beginning with Rick's failed zombie herding experiment, shifting into the devastating Wolf attack, and finally ending with the capture of most of the Alexandria gang by the nefarious Negan. The season closed on a bleak cliffhanger that foretold the imminent brutal, bloody death of one of our beloved characters, and that stomach-churning development doesn't exactly leave us hopeful for our crew's prospects in season seven.

But aside from all the Negan we'll be getting this fall, fans will also be introduced to Ezekiel, the enigmatic leader of The Kingdom, a new settlement in the rapidly-expanding world outside of Alexandria. And according to the actor who plays him, Ezekiel's eccentric, energetic disposition will introduce something the series hasn't seen in a while: joy.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Khary Payton discussed what makes Ezekiel tick, including the character's surprising choice of pet: a tiger named Shiva. But that's not the only thing that sets him apart from others we've seen before.

"[H]e's in the hope business," Payton explained to EW. " ... In a zombie apocalypse one can find themselves getting down about their situation, but Ezekiel's not one of those people. He fights with all he's got to make sure he stays positive and stays joyful. That's what I love about him."

That sunny disposition even applies to his view of the walkers, according to the actor. Payton continued:

He's in the business of not losing himself to his surroundings. ... I love even his relationship with the zombies themselves. He's a guy who doesn't think of them as having a physical disease. It's more that their joy was robbed from them, and that he's one of the few people left on earth whose joy hasn't been robbed, and to him, that's the difference between the living and the dead. If you're still human, but you're letting your joy be taken away from you, you might as well be one of those mindless creatures walking all over. So to him, it's kind of a weird philosophy of life that he's developed living in this apocalypse that you don't let this world turn you into something that you're not.

It certainly seems like a lot of members of Rick's crew have had the joy robbed from them in recent seasons (though with the current Negan debacle unfolding, that's understandable), so Ezekiel's philosophy sounds like a breath of fresh air. Payton likens his character's energy to a lighthouse that "[spreads] this gospel of joy and light in a dark situation. ... [I]f you use it the right way, it'll keep you from crashing on the rocks."

Sounds like just the respite fans have been craving. For much more insight from Payton -- including what Carol and Morgan make of King Ezekiel -- check out the full Q&A over at Entertainment Weekly.

"The Walking Dead" returns for season seven on AMC on October 23.

[via: Entertainment Weekly]

Photo credit: YouTube

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Disney Is Rebooting 'The Rocketeer' With a Black Female Lead

the rocketeer, disney, reboot, the rocketeers"The Rocketeer" is one of Disney's odder misfires, an expensive box office flop based on an indie 1980s comic book that was an homage to the pulpy serials of the '30s and '40s. While it didn't connect with audiences upon its 1991 release, it has become a cult classic in recent years, leading to some speculation that the project was due for a reboot. Now, it appears Disney is indeed spearheading a "Rocketeer" renaissance, but with a decidedly modern bit of retooling.

The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop that the Mouse House is currently working on a new "Rocketeer" flick that will be part reboot, part sequel, and take place about six years after the original. The first film followed the exploits of pilot Cliff Secord, who transforms into the titular hero after he discovers a rocket-fueled jetpack that allows him to fly, and takes down a sinister movie star who's secretly a Nazi.

What's different this time around, though, is that the titular hero in the new flick will be played by a black woman, a cool bit of gender- and colorblind casting that's meant to give the film a more modern feel, despite its 1950s setting. According to THR, that tweak will help Disney "differentiate it from another rocket-propelled flying hero: Iron Man," who's already a key part of the Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Here's how THR describes the flick, currently called "The Rocketeers":

The new take keeps the story in a period setting and offers a fresh view on the characters. Set six years after the original 'Rocketeer' and after Secord has vanished while fighting the Nazis, an unlikely new hero emerges: a young African–American female pilot, who takes up the mantle of Rocketeer in an attempt to stop an ambitious and corrupt rocket scientist from stealing jet-pack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War.

There's no word yet on who's being eyed for the lead, but screenwriters Matt Spicer and Max Winkler (the son of "Happy Days" star Henry Winkler, who helmed the feature "Ceremony" and episodes of sitcoms "New Girl," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "Fresh Off the Boat") are already working on the script. In an odd bit of behind the scenes news, the flick will be produced by Brigham Taylor (who co-produced this year's live-action hit "The Jungle Book") and sports stars Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers and Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers. According to THR, Griffin and Kalil have their own media company, and are the ones who approached Taylor about rebooting the property.

It sounds like a weird recipe on paper, but we look back on "The Rocketeer" fondly, and are curious to see what this eclectic group can do with this decidedly different concept. Stay tuned to see how it all comes together.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Disney

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Ellen Pompeo Stayed on 'Grey's Anatomy' Because of Her Age

Marc Jacobs Celebrates Divine DecadenceAs we've noted before, opportunities for women in Hollywood pale in comparison to those for their male counterparts, and that disparity only increases as actresses age. In a new interview, "Grey's Anatomy" star Ellen Pompeo revealed that that's precisely why she decided to stay on the long-running drama for so many years.

Pompeo spoke to People about her run on the veteran ABC series (the show is entering its 13th season this fall), and opened up about her thought process when she first accepted the role of Dr. Meredith Grey.

"My decision to stay on 'Grey's' was based solely on age," Pompeo told People. "At 33, I was wise enough to know my clock was already ticking in Hollywood."

The magazine continues:

The actress, who says she got a "super late start" in the industry, landing her first roles in her mid-20s, admits that if she'd been younger, "I probably would have done my time, then gone out to search for other things." But as her contract renegotiations loomed she "was definitely aware of how challenging it would be to find other roles in my late 30s and early 40s."

Despite acknowledging the depressing reality of a dearth of roles for older women, Pompeo ultimately doesn't have any regrets about her situation, telling People that she's thankful for every minute she's spent on the show.

"I thought, 'Why would I leave something that is super successful and pays me great to search the landscape?'" the actress told the magazine. "I decided that I would stay on 'Grey's' and be grateful and try to ride it out for as long as I could. And I am very happy that I made the decision to stay. It's only gotten better with time."

It seems "Grey's" fans would agree, since their loyal viewership has kept the series on the air for so many years. The show returns for season 13 on September 22.

[via: People]

Photo credit: Getty Images for Marc Jacobs

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Amy Schumer Had the Perfect Response to Her 'Gilmore Girls' Shout-Out

21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards - ArrivalsWe're still freaking out over the first teaser for "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," which dropped yesterday afternoon and featured a reunited Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) snacking on Pop Tarts and chatting about pop culture as if they'd never left us. And now, one of the subjects of their conversation has responded to the shout-out.

In the clip, Lorelai wonders aloud whether or not Amy Schumer would like her. Rory responds that Schumer probably wouldn't, since the comedian is always photographed enjoying "watersports," a.k.a. jetskiing and other in-the-water activities (like on her high-profile vacation with new pal Jennifer Lawrence last summer).

Vulture tweeted about the trailer, and Schumer replied to the site's post, saying, "I would love her!" in reference to Lorelai's query. She followed up with another tweet, clarifying that pics of her hitting the waves are very much an exaggerated view of her preferred vacationing activities.
"I've only done 2 water sports and they took pictures of it both times," Schumer tweeted. "I promise I usually just lay there (sex too)."

It's comforting to know that celebrities are just as excited as we are for the return of "Gilmore." Now we just have to make it through the interminable wait before it debuts.

"Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" finally hits Netflix on November 25.

[via: Amy Schumer, Amy Schumer]

Photo credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

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Netflix Boss Explains Why They Didn't Save 'Agent Carter'

Peggy Carter can't catch a break. She never got that dance with Cap, and now even Netflix won't pick up her TV show.

ABC canceled "Marvel's Agent Carter" after two seasons, and even though star Hayley Atwell has landed her own new show at the network, many fans were hoping Netflix would swoop in like a superhero and add "Agent Carter" to their growing lineup of Marvel series. After all, Netflix is now the home of "Jessica Jones," "Daredevil," and -- soon -- "Luke Cage" and "Iron Fist."

So why didn't Netflix adopt Peggy's show? Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos explained the reasoning to Entertainment Weekly: "We're looking for truly original brands to own, and in that Marvel space we already have [original comic book shows] -- so that was mostly why."

But it's not the only reason why. He added that it was"a business decision more than a creative one," because Netflix wants to own and distribute its titles around the world and Marvel's existing international deals for "Agent Carter" would be a complication. As he put it, "They also have some output deal complexities. So when you pick it up, being able to pick it up globally is difficult even after it's canceled. Some of those output partners still had it on the air, so they would argue its covered by their output."

That's a lot of corporate speak covered in red tape wrapped in a bureaucracy. They potentially could've fought for Peggy, but ... it sounds like Netflix just didn't think her story was worth it. Maybe another streaming service or network will pick up the series, or Peggy's story could be continued in another section of the MCU. Or do you think it's just time to let her go?

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'The Great Wall' Trailer Is a Badass Wonder, Oh and It's a Monster Movie

"The Great Wall" is the most expensive Chinese movie of all time, and you can see where the money went in this epic first trailer.

The film, from "House of Flying Daggers" director Zhang Yimou, is set about 1,000 years ago, starring Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Andy Lau, Jing Tian, Luhan, and Willem Dafoe. Entertainment Weekly shared the first photos from the movie, and Universal Pictures posted the first full trailer. As EW noted, if you're expecting a historical epic about the building of the wall, think again.

This is a monster movie.

Zhang explained to EW, "At its core, it is a period piece and an action film. The fantasy element does play a major role because of the monsters. But, what makes our film unique is that these are ancient Chinese monsters. Even though it's a fantasy movie, we filmed it in a very realistic way. We want it to feel like the events actually happened. Other than the monster, all aspects of this film are backed by either scientific or historical research."

No one has superpowers. It is as "realistic" as possible, for a monster movie set in China, but with American screenwriters and a Chinese director blending East and West elements.

Watch the epic trailer:

Here's the official synopsis:

"Starring global superstar Matt Damon and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), Legendary's The Great Wall tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world's most iconic structure. The first English-language production for Yimou is the largest film ever shot entirely in China. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau."

It's like Matt Damon is the new Jon Snow, taking a stand for mankind at The Wall. (Hopefully this guy knows more than nothing.) Check out a few more photos:

"The Great Wall" will be released in 3D on February 17, 2017.

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