Interviews

Award-winning French writer, director, and producer Luc Besson returns to the genre he helped create with his new film Lucy, which stars Scarlett Johansson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and opens in theaters on July 25th. 

Besson is best known for directing such popular action films as Nikita, Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and most recently The Family. But he has also written and produced a string of extremely successful action movies like The Transporter, The Transporter 2, The Transporter 3, Taken, Taken 2, Lockout, 3 Days to Kill, and Brick Mansions

Lucy tells the story of a woman (Johansson) accidentally caught in a dark deal that turns the tables on her captors and transforms her into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. In addition to Johansson, the film also features Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman (Now You See Me). 

I had the pleasure of sitting down with director Luc Besson in April at WonderCon to talk about his work on Lucy. The acclaimed director discussed his new film, how he got the idea for the screenplay, casting Scarlett Johansson in the title role, writing strong female roles, and how the business of making films has changed over the years. 

Actor Andre Royo has appeared in such popular films as Shaft, Red Tails, and The Spectacular Now, as well as fan favorite TV shows like Fringe, Heroes, and Party Down. But he is probably best known for his role as Reginald “Bubbles” Cousins on the seminal HBO series The Wire. Now the actor returns to the big screen in the new horror thriller Aftermath, which opens in theaters and will be available on VOD and iTunes July 18th. 

Aftermath follows the devastating horror of a nuclear apocalypse as nine desperate strangers find themselves clinging to life in a farmhouse cellar, while radioactive fallout descends on the darkened world above. These would-be survivors face the nightmare of dwindling supplies, poisonous air and hordes of zombie-like refugees who want in. With each dying day, their choice becomes clearer, stay and let the makeshift shelter become their tomb or face the unknown terrors of the world outside. The film was directed by Peter Engert (Loving the Bad Man), and in addition to Royo stars Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), Monica Keena (Freddy vs. Jason), Jessie Rusu (96 Minutes), C.J. Thomason (Transformers) and Christine Kelly (Salvation Boulevard). 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Andre Royo about his work on Aftermath, as well as wanting to play Brother Voodoo in the upcoming Marvel Studios film Dr. Strange. The accomplished actor discussed his new movie, acting in a basement, being typecast, the advice that Samuel L. Jackson gave him, why the film is not a zombie movie, the human nature to survive, reciting the Green Lantern Oath in Aftermath, hating the Green Lantern movie, and why he wants to play Brother Voodoo in Dr. Strange

Actress Aubrey Peeples is probably best known for playing Layla Grant on the popular ABC series Nashville, as well as appearing in the pop culture phenomenon Sharknado. However, that could soon change with her upcoming role as the iconic title character in Jem and the Holograms, a live-action adaptation of the cult classic ‘80s animated series. But first, Peeples can be seen acting opposite Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage (Joe, The Frozen Ground) in the new crime thriller Rage, which opens in theaters on July 11th. 

In Rage, Peeples plays Caitlin Maguire, the daughter of reformed criminal Paul Maguire (Cage). When she is kidnapped, Paul rounds up his old crew to seek his own brand of justice. The film was directed by Paco Cabezas (Neon Flesh), and also stars Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross), Peter Stormare (Fargo), and Danny Glover (Supremacy). 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Aubrey Peeples about her work on Rage, as well as Jem and the Holograms, and the Sharknado phenomenon. The talented young actress discussed her new film, “Getting in the Cage” with Nicolas Cage, his process as an actor, making a small role memorable, director Paco Cabezas, Jem and the Holograms, researching the original source material, what elements of the cartoon the film will adapt, singing in the movie, when she wrapped filming, working with director Jon M. Chu, and the legacy of Sharknado

The most groundbreaking movie of the summer is also, in many ways, the simplest.

Boyhood is a drama that looks and feels uncannily like real life, a story that eschews superheroic slugfests or city-leveling spectacle, yet is also undeniably huge.  It follows one Texas family over the course of more than a decade, charting the victories, losses, and the maturation of all four family members.

Writer-director Richard Linklater (Dazed & Confused, Bernie) approached Boyhood in a totally unique way, however.  In 2002, he cast six-year old unknown Ellar Coltrane as Mason, the boy of Boyhood.  The writer-director then shot this film a little bit at a time over the course of twelve years, following his lead actor through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood onscreen.

While Coltrane is the central figure, the rest of the family also grows and changes around him, helping to form him as a person.  Patricia Arquette (True Romance, NBC's Medium) and Ethan Hawke (The Purge, Before Midnight) play Mason's parents, with the director's daughter Lorelei Linklater (Waking Life) as Samantha, his sister.

IAR was recently on hand at the Boyhood press day in Los Angeles, where Richard Linklater, along with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, discussed the process of making a film piecemeal over twelve years, working with Coltrane and Linklater as they grew up, how Boyhood captures the rhythms of life as it's actually lived, and the possibility of a sequel years from now.

Mark Duplass is not just a talented director, writer and producer, but he is also a very popular and versatile actor. 

Duplass is best known for writing and directing critically acclaimed films with his brother Jay like Baghead, Cyrus, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, and The Do-Deca-Pentathion. However, he has now accumulated an impressive resume of acting work in such movies as Your Sister’s Sister, Safety Not Guaranteed, Darling Companion, People Like Us, and Zero Dark Thirty, not to mention his popular TV series The League. But the filmmaker can now been seen acting on the big screen once again in the film Tammy, which stars Academy Award-nominee Melissa McCarthy (Identity Thief) and opens in theaters on July 2nd. 

In the new movie, after losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, Tammy (McCarthy) hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother (Academy Award-winner Susan Sarandon). Along the way Tammy meets Bobby (Duplass), a single man taking care of his alcoholic father (Gary Cole). In addition to McCarthy, SarandonDuplass, and Cole, the film features Allison Janney (The Way Way Back), Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine), Ben Falcone (Bridesmaids), Sandra Oh (Sideways), and Academy Award-winners Nat Faxon (The Descendants), and Kathy Bates (Misery). Tammy marks actor Ben Falcone’s directorial debut, and he also co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, Melissa McCarthy

I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Mark Duplass about his work on Tammy, as well as his upcoming HBO Series Togetherness. The actor and filmmaker discussed his new movie, how he got the job, his character’s motivations, working with Melissa McCarthy, meeting Gary Cole, reuniting with Susan Sarandon, watching first time director Ben Falcone, how he separates his director side from his acting side, his upcoming HBO series Togetherness, making a TV show with his brother, and why he likes collaborating with HBO.

Eloise Mumford is about to have her big break. 

The actress, best known for her work on the short-lived series Lone Star and The River, as well as the film In the Blood, will soon be seen playing Kate Kavanagh in the big screen adapation of the extremely popular novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The movie was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy), and is scheduled for release on February 13th, 2015. But first, Mumford can be seen in the new film Drones, which was directed by Rick Rosenthal (Halloween II, Bad Boys) and opens in theaters, on VOD and iTunes June 27th. 

In Drones, two soldiers, Sue Lawson and Jack Bowles (Mumford and Matt O’Leary), are tasked with deciding the fate of a terrorist with a single push of a button. As the action plays out in real time, their window to use a deadly military drone on the target slowly closes. With time running out, the soldiers begin to question what the real motives are behind the ordered lethal attack.

I recently had the pleasure of talking to Eloise Mumford about her work on Drones, as well as the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey. The talented young actress discussed Drones, her research into the role, how that helped informed her performance, her character, the national debate over using military drones instead of manned aircrafts, filming in one location, working with actor Matt O’Leary, shooting Fifty Shades of Grey, the pressure that comes from appearing in a movie based on such a popular book, and collaborating with director Sam Taylor-Johnson

Popular actors Emmy Rossum and Justin Long work together on screen for the first time in the new romantic comedy Comet, which premiered last week at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival

Rossum has appeared in several successful films such as Mystic River, The Day After Tomorrow, The Phantom of the Opera, and Beautiful Creatures, as well as on Showtime’s hit series Shameless. While Long has made a name for himself in comedies like Galaxy Quest, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, The Break-Up, and Idiocracy, but is probably best known for starring opposite Bruce Willis in Live Free or Die Hard

Comet, which was written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Sam Esmail, cuts back and forth over a six-year relationship between Dell (Long) and Kimberly (Rossum). We see the couple at several different stages in their relationship including meeting, breaking-up, getting back together, and ultimately parting once again. 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Emmy Rossum and Justin Long about their work on Comet. The two talented actors discussed their new movie, what they liked about the concept, playing the same characters at different points in their lives, why Rossum recommended Long for the project, working with writer/director Sam Esmail, making an independent film vs. a studio movie, and if they believe in true love. 

Do you know who Emmanuelle Chriqui is? Of course you do! 

She is the beautiful and talented actress that has appeared in small but pivotal roles in such films as the KISS movie Detroit Rock City, Wrong Turn, The Crow: Wicked Prayer, Adam Sandler’s Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Women in Trouble and its sequel Elektra Luxx, as well as 13, and 5 Days of War. Chriqui has also had important story arcs on popular series like The Borgias, and The Mentalist, as well as the animated series TRON: Uprising, Thundercats, and Beware the Batman

But she is probably best known as Eric’s on-again off-again girlfriend Sloan on the HBO series Entourage. No matter the size of the role, Chriqui always makes the most of her talents and gives a realistic and memorable performance. Next summer she will be seen as Sloan once again, this time on the big screen, in the feature film adaption of Entourage. But first, she can be seen in another great performance in the new movie A Short History of Decay, which is currently available on DVD. 

A Short History of Decay was written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Michael Maren. The movie is a about a failed Brooklyn writer named Nathan Fisher (Bryan Greenberg), who begins to start his life over when he visits his ailing parents (Linda Lavin and Harris Yulin) in Florida. Chriqui plays Erika Bryce, Nathan’s successful writer girlfriend who admits to an affair and breaks up with him right before he leaves on his trip.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the absolutely lovely Emmanuelle Chriqui about her work on A Short History of Decay, as well as the upcoming Entourage movie. The talented and accomplished actress discussed her new film, how she is able to make her small roles so memorable, what she is looking for when choosing projects, working with Bryan Greenberg, the challenges of acting into a phone, writer/director Michael Maren, the upcoming Entourage movie, reuniting with her HBO series cast members, and how large Sloan’s role will be in the new film. 

In How to Train Your Dragon 2, Hiccup is feeling the pressure.

He redefined the culture of his native island, creating a new relationship between Vikings and their old dragon foes in How to Train Your Dragon.  Now explorers expanding the Viking map, Hiccup and his dragon BFF Toothless encounter a new threat that endangers his native island of Berk, forcing the young hero to become a true leader and save the day.

Writer-director Dean DeBlois probably has a good idea how Hiccup feels. 

Four years ago, How to Train Your Dragon took everyone off guard, surprising both audiences and critics with its emotionally rich story, endearing characters, stunning animation, and showstopping aerial 3D sequences.  Since becoming a huge hit in theaters, the picture has also gained fervent fans who caught up late thanks to unanimously positive word of mouth.

DeBlois, who co-directed the first movie with Chris Sanders, is the sole director of the sequel.  Anticipation for How to Train Your Dragon 2 is high, as are expectations, but DeBlois was confident when IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick visited DreamWorks Animation Studios in Glendale, California.  Along with several other journalists, Philbrick had the opportunity to view How to Train Your Dragon 2, participate in a Q and A, and discuss the animation process with DeBlois.

Neither Angelina Jolie nor the title character in Maleficent require much in the way of introduction.

As an actress, Jolie is one of the most famous and bankable stars in contemporary film, an Oscar winner whose credits include searing performances in the likes of Girl, Interrupted and Changeling, as well as crowd-pleasing turns in blockbusters like Salt and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Maleficent, meanwhile, is one of the most iconic villains in the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios, having burned herself into the imaginations of generations as the sinister fairy in the 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty.

These two world-famous forces come together this Friday, May 30th.  Jolie stars as the instantly-recognizable villain in Disney's Maleficent, a live action take on the Sleeping Beauty story. 

Maleficent is by no means a remake, however.  It is instead an origin story for Maleficent that expands upon and redefines a familiar tale.  This version is an origin story for the character, showing how a betrayal changed Maleficent from a kind-hearted protector of her native forest realm into a vindictive misanthrope whose curse upon Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning, Super 8) is even more complicated than Sleeping Beauty or the Brothers Grimm ever suggested.

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