Opening in theaters on December 19th is Annie, which is a reboot of the beloved musical and ‘1980s movie.
The new film is an updated version of the classic story and was directed by Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits, Easy A). The plot revolves around Annie (Academy Award-nominee Quvenzhane Wallis), a foster kid living with a mean foster parent named Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). She soon sees her life change when business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate William Stacks (Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx) takes her in. The movie was produced by musician Jay-Z and superstar actor Will Smith (I, Robot), and also stars Rose Byrne (X-Men: First Class), Bobby Cannavale (Chef), and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Pompeii).
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Will Gluck about his work on Annie. The accomplished director discussed his new film, how he got involved with the project, his concept for the reboot, the out-of-the-box casting of Quvenzhane Wallis, if he was surprised by the media reaction to that choice, Jamie Foxx’s influence on the music in the movie, drawing inspiration from the musical as well as the ‘80s film, and breaking the forth wall.
Actor William Fichtner is a true scene-stealer! For almost 20 years he has shined in every part he’s played on film and television no matter how small the role.
Fichtner has appeared in such films as Heat, Armageddon, Go, The Perfect Storm, Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, The Dark Knight, The Lone Ranger, Elysium, and most recently director Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman. But he is probably best known to television audiences for his role as FBI agent turned fugitive Alexander Mahone on Prison Break, and his current series Crossing Lines. Fichtner also starred in last summer’s hit movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was a reboot of the popular franchise and will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning December 16th.
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, when the Foot Clan threatens New York City, a group of mutated turtle warriors must emerge from the shadows to protect their home. Fichtner plays Eric Sacks, a famous scientist and the CEO of Sacks Industries who has ties to both the Foot Clan’s leader Shredder, as well as the origins of the Turtles. In addition to Fichtner, the film also stars Megan Fox (Jonah Hex) as April O’Neil, Will Arnett (The Nut Job) as Vern Fenwick, and Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost) as Bernadette Thompson, as well as Johnny Knoxville (Bad Grandpa) as the voice of Leonardo, and Tony Shalhoub (Pain & Gain) as the voice of Splinter.
I recently had the honor of speaking with the great William Fichtner about his work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as The Homesman. The impressive veteran actor discussed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, his knowledge of the source material before agreeing to appear in the film, if it’s true that Sacks was originally going to be revealed as the villain Shredder, if the actor took inspiration for his character from any real life CEOs, his friendship with Michael Bay, Bay’s role as producer, why he liked working with director Jonathan Liebesman, The Homesman, and being directed by Academy Award-winner Tommy Lee Jones.
Opening in theaters, OnDemand and iTunes December 5th is the new Boston-set crime drama By the Gun, which was directed by James Mottern (Trucker) and stars Ben Barnes.
Barnes is best known for playing Prince Caspian in the last two installments of The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy, as well as appearing in such films as Stardust, Killing Bono, The Words, and The Big Wedding. Barnes will soon be seen opposite Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges in the highly anticipated adventure fantasy Seventh Son, which will be released in theaters on February 6th, 2015.
By the Gun stars Barnes as Nick Tortano, a young and ambitious Boston mafia criminal whose life spirals out of control once he becomes a made man. With Nick's girlfriend (Leighton Meester), family, and friend's lives at risk, he is faced with a difficult decision; continue to pursue his criminal ambitions or concentrate on the ones he loves. He can't have both, but Nick is determined to gun down anyone in his path. In addition to Barnes and Meester, the film also stars Harvey Keitel (Pulp Fiction), Toby Jones (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and Paul Ben-Victor (Daredevil).
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Ben Barnes about his work on By the Gun, as well as Seventh Son. The popular young actor discussed his new film, shooting in Boston, what he learned about his character from the local community, practicing a Boston accent, his character’s dilemma, appearing in a gangster movie with Harvey Keitel, Seventh Son, why it’s original release date was postponed, and working with the great Jeff Bridges.
English actor Jason Isaacs has been delivering strong and entertaining performances in film and on television for over 25 years!
Isaacs has appeared in such popular films as Armageddon, The Patriot, Black Hawk Down, Resident Evil, Pater Pan, and Green Zone. But it was his role as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series that made him a household name. For comic book fans, Isaacs has voiced in animated projects two of DC Comics greatest villains: Ra’s al Ghul (Batman: Under The Red Hood) and Sinestro (Green Lantern: Emerald Knights). On TV he starred in the acclaimed but short-lived series Brotherhood with Jason Clarke, as well as NBC’s Awake. He currently plays The Inquisitor on Star Wars Rebels, and will star in the upcoming mini-series Dig for USA Networks, which premieres on March 5th, 2015.
Back on the big screen, Isaacs had small but pivotal roles in the recent films John Wick with Keanu Reeves, and David Ayer’s Fury starring Brad Pitt. But now you can see the actor in the new Civil War film Field of Lost Shoes, which will be available on VOD and DVD on December 12th. As well as the new drama After the Fall, which will open on VOD and in New York theaters on December 2nd before opening in Los Angeles theaters on December 20th.
Field of Lost Shoes is based on a true story of the American Civil War, culminating at the Battle of New Market, May 1864. In the film a group of teenage cadets sheltered from war at the Virginia Military Institute must confront the horrors of an adult world when they are called upon to defend the Shenandoah Valley. Leaving behind their youth, these cadets must decide what they are fighting for. Isaacs plays future Vice President John C. Breckinridge, the man who sends the young boys to war. In addition to Isaacs, the film features a terrific cast that includes Keith David (Platoon), David Arquette (Scream), Lauren Holly (Any Given Sunday) and Tom Skerritt (Top Gun). The movie was directed by Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer), and written by first time screenwriters Thomas Farrell and Dave Kennedy.
After The Fall follows Bill, a suburban father and husband (Wes Bentley) who embraces a life of crime in order to support his family. Isaacs plays Frank, a disgraced police officer that takes Bill under his wing. The film also co-stars Vinessa Shaw (Side Effects), and was co-written and directed by Academy Award-nominated editor Saar Klein (The Thin Red Line, Almost Famous).
I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with the great Jason Isaacs about his work on Field of Lost Shoes, After the Fall, Fury, and the upcoming mini-series Dig. The acclaimed veteran actor discussed Field of Lost Shoes, playing a historical character, his research, if he stays in character when he’s not shooting, Breckinridge’s inner turmoil, After the Fall, why Frank helps Bill, Fury, working with Brad Pitt and director David Ayer, and shooting his upcoming mini-series Dig.
What is Chris Rock afraid of?
So said Rock himself during an interview promoting Top Five, his critically acclaimed new movie opening nationwide this Friday.
Given that Rock wrote, directed, and stars in the film, his fear sounds far-fetched.
He is also, after all, one of the most influential, relevant, and incisive American comedians in the history of the form, a one-man creative institution with an established track record across the board, from sitcoms to cable series to animated mega-franchises to documentaries to awards show hosting gigs.
But that's how he answered a question about his biggest fears in the entertainment industry while talking to a group of reporters including IAR's own Justine Browning. It's a surprising response from Chris Rock, one that reflects the personal nature of Top Five, an energetic combination of moving drama, lively comedy, and cutting satire that redefines him as both a filmmaker and an actor.
He stars as Andre Allen, a popular stand-up comedian who became a box office powerhouse thanks to Hammy the Bear, an execrable but lucrative franchise in which he fights crime while wearing a bear suit. In a bid for respectability, a creatively unmoored Allen has abandoned stand-up and directed a serious film about a 19th century Haitian slave revolt.
On the eve of his televised wedding to a reality TV star, Allen promotes both his film and his nuptials in an extended interview with a reporter, the two of them wandering New York in an extended conversation that forms the backbone of Top Five.
Opening in select theaters on December 12th and wide release on January 9th is the new crime comedy Inherent Vice. The film is based on the novel of the same name by author Thomas Pynchon, and was written and directed by Academy Award-nominee Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, The Master).
Set in 1970, Inherent Vice follows drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) as he investigates the disappearance of his former girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston). While on the case, Doc bumps heads with an outdated police officer named Lt. Det. Christian F. “Bigfoot” Bjornsen (Josh Brolin), his on-again off-again girlfriend Deputy D.A. Penny Kimball (Reese Witherspoon), and a drug crazy doctor named Rudy Blatnoyd (Martin Short). In addition to Phoenix, Waterston, Brolin, Witherspoon, and Short, the film also stars Owen Wilson (Free Birds), Jena Malone (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Joanna Newsom (TV’s Portlandia), Sasha Pieterse (X-Men: First Class), Hong Chau (TV’s Treme), Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years a Slave), Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Maya Rudolph (The Way Way Back), and Academy Award-winner Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of the Galaxy).
Along with a few other select members of the press, I recently had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Academy Award-nominee Josh Brolin, three-time Academy Award-nominee Joaquin Phoenix, and actress Katherine Waterston to talk about their work on Inherent Vice. The two acclaimed actors and the talented actress discussed their new film, collaborating with director Paul Thomas Anderson, what it’s like working on his set, Phoenix’s scenes with the great Martin Short, and Big Foot’s love of frozen bananas.
Christian Bale has played his share of venerated figures.
After all, he was Jesus (in the 1999 TV movie Mary, Mother of Jesus), Batman (in the blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy), and even a funhouse mirror version of Bob Dylan (in the oddball not-quite-a-biopic I'm Not There).
In Exodus: Gods and Kings, he tackles a role that goes back further than any of them: Moses.
Yes, that Moses, the one cast down the Nile as an infant to save him from the massacre of all firstborn Hebrew male children. The one found by Pharaoh's daughter, adopted, and raised as prince, brother to future Pharaoh Ramses II (Joel Edgerton).
When the grown-up Moses receives divine orders to free the enslaved Hebrews, the two brothers are pitted against one another in a struggle that will change the destinies of both their people.
At a Los Angeles Q&A attended by IAR and other journalists, Christian Bale talked about Exodus: Gods and Kings. The one and only Bale enthusiastically discussed working with legendary director Ridley Scott, transforming into Moses, the complexity of the character, guyliner, competing Moses actors, and how Monty Python and Mel Brooks provided unexpected inspiration.
Opening in theaters, VOD and iTunes on December 5th is the new comedy thriller Murder of a Cat, which was directed by first time feature filmmaker Gillian Greene and produced by her husband Sam Raimi (Oz the Great and Powerful, Spider-Man, Army of Darkness).
Murder of a Cat stars Fran Kranz, who is best known for his role as Marty in Cabin in the Woods. The actor plays Clinton Molsey, a man investigating the murder of his cat. In addition to Kranz, the movie features a sensational cast that includes J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Nikki Reed (Intramural), Ted Raimi (Evil Dead II), Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents), and Academy Award-nominee Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets).
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Fran Kranz about Murder of a Cat, as well as working with Sigourney Weaver on Cabin in the Woods. The talented young actor discussed his new movie, how he got involved with the project, producer Sam Raimi’s role on set, the great J.K. Simmons, and what it was like working with the legendary Sigourney Weaver in the final scenes of Cabin in the Woods.
Actor Thomas Sadoski is having an extremely busy December!
Sadoski is best known for playing Don Keefer on HBO’s acclaimed series The Newsroom, which will finish its third and final season on December 14th. But Sadoski also appears in two very different new films that both open on December 5th. The first of his two movies is called Take Care, which is a romantic comedy co-starring Leslie Bibb (No Good Deed, Iron Man). The second film is entitled Wild, which stars Academy Award-winner Reese Witherspoon (The Good Lie) and is already earning early Oscar buzz.
Take Care follows the story of Frannie (Bibb), a woman recently hit by a car that comes home to realize her friends don't really want to take care of her. Desperate for help, she turns to her ex-boyfriend Devon (Sadoski), who she once helped recover from cancer. However, Devon’s current insecure girlfriend Jodi (Betty Gilpin) is not pleased with the new arrangement. The film was written and directed by Liz Tuccillo (He’s Just Not That Into You).
Wild was directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club), and written by Nick Hornby (An Education), based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed. The film chronicles the true story of Strayed’s (Witherspoon) 1,100-mile solo hike across the Pacific Crest Trail, which was intended as a way for her to recover from the recent death of her mother (Laura Dern). Sadoski plays Strayed’s ex-boyfriend Paul, who is seen mostly in flashbacks.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Thomas Sadoski about his work on Take Care, Wild, and the end of The Newsroom. The talented actor discussed Take Care, appearing in his first romantic comedy, how he would handle the film’s plot in real life, why his character decides to help his ex, actress Betty Gilpin’s hilarious performance, co-star Leslie Bibb, if he also possesses his character’s hidden talent, Wild, watching the finished film, how it was shot, working with visionary director Jean-Marc Vallee, the ending of The Newsroom, and if he wishes they could make a forth season.
Filming Wild, which opens in select cities today, Reese Witherspoon was far from the luxuries you might associate with a star of her stature.
"The shooting part was five weeks. It was fifty-five locations in thirty-five days," she told IAR during a roundtable interview. "We were going and going and going."
"I was tired. And this guy would not let me wear any makeup," she said, pointing to her director, Jean-Marc Vallée. "So you see it all on my face."
"One time he said, 'Cut. She looks like she is in a hair commercial. Put more grease in her hair,'" Witherspoon recalled. "Afterwards, I am like, 'Can I wash my hair?'"
"Do you see how raw and beautiful at the same time? It shows her, and we are like, 'Wow! They are not trying to show off here. They are not trying to make her look pretty and beautiful.' It is just trying to be real," said Vallée. "At the same time, this real, she looks amazing on the trail with the sun in her face. It is not backlit like it is supposed to give her a nice hair thing."
If you recognize the name Jean-Marc Vallée, it's probably because he directed last year's Dallas Buyers Club, which propelled both Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto to Oscar glory. For Wild, he teams with Witherspoon, who won an Academy Award of her own for her performance in 2006's Walk the Line.
She stars in Wild as a woman who, with a wake of bad decisions and recent catastrophes right behind her, decided to set out on a remarkable journey: a more than 1,000 mile solo odyssey on the Pacific Crest Trail from Southern California to the Bridge of the Gods separating Oregon and Washington. Even more remarkable, she undertook this cathartic quest with zero hiking experience.