Interviews

The Giver finally arrives in theaters this weekend, but Jeff Bridges was trying to adapt the novel years ago.

Since its publication in 1993, Lois Lowry's book has become a staple, showing up on required reading lists and introducing heady, challenging concepts to the febrile minds of young readers everywhere.  The novel, which won the distinguished Newbery Medal, predates the current boom in dystopian young adult fiction, having been influential on many popular books and their cinematic counterparts.

Bridges, an Oscar-winner and American treasure, almost immediately seized upon the novel's potential.

"I originally wanted to direct my father, Lloyd Bridges, in the film and I wanted to make a movie that my kids could see. They were all young kids at the time," the actor revealed at the Los Angles press day for The Giver.

"I was looking at a catalog of children’s books and came across this wonderful cover of this grizzled old guy," he recalled. "And I thought, 'Oh this is great.' I read it and I was knocked out on a kid-book level but also as an adult. I thought, 'Oh this is a movie I’d love to see.' It turns, out, that Lois took that photograph of the guy on the cover."

Jake Johnson isn't quite a household name just yet, but given his scrappy everyman charm and inimitable comedic timing, it's only a matter of time.

He's probably best known as Nick Miller, a cantankerous scene-stealer on the Fox series New Girl.  On the cinematic side, Johnson has proved his value as a supporting player in movies as varied as 21 Jump Street, Ceremony, No Strings Attached, and even A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, in which he briefly played Jesus.

He proved he has more than mere comedic chops with this turn in the great Safety Not Guaranteed and his starring performance in Drinking Buddies last year.

With Let's Be Cops now playing in theaters, Johnson leads a summer studio comedy alongside his New Girl compatriot Damon Wayans Jr. (The Other Guys). The movie, which opened nationwide on Wednesday, follows Ryan and Justin, a pair of losers who really commit to impersonating LAPD officers after a successful costume party, buying a Crown Vic and responding to 911 calls.  Utterly unqualified and totally irresponsible, they're living a Quixotic fantasy in which they inadvertently get tangled up in a criminal conspiracy.

At the Los Angeles press day for Let's Be Cops, Jake Johnson discussed his merciless physical preparation for the role, improvisation, Natasha Leggero, the odd saga of Wayans on New Girl, and how he once spurned his co-star like an angry former lover.

Academy Award-winner Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, and Kelsey Grammer are now Expendables! The three iconic actors have joined Sylvester Stallone’s crew of action stars in The Expendables 3, which is the latest installment in the popular action franchise and opens in theaters on August 15th. 

Gibson has appeared in such popular movies as the Mad Max trilogy, the Lethal Weapon series, Maverick, Conspiracy Theory, Payback, The Patriot, We Were Soldiers, Signs, Edge of Darkness, and Machete Kills. He won two Oscars for producing and directing Braveheart, as well as writing and directing The Passion of the Christ, which is the highest grossing non-English-language film of all time. Snipes made his first onscreen appearance in Wildcats, and went on to appear in a string of successful films including Major League, New Jack City, Jungle Fever, White Man Can’t Jump, Passenger 57, Rising Sun, Demolition Man, The Fan, U.S. Marshalls, and the Blade trilogy. Grammer is probably best known for his Emmy Award-winning role as Dr. Frasier Crane on both Cheers and Frasier, but he also appears in two of the most successful films of the summer - X-Men: Days of Future Past (reprising his role as Dr. Henry McCoy/Beast from X-Men: The Last Stand), and Transformers: Age of Extinction

In The Expendables 3, Barney Ross (Stallone) augments his team with new blood to take down Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates. Snipes plays Doctor Death, a former medic and one of the original Expendables, while Grammer portrays Bonaparte, a retired mercenary that helps Ross recruit his new team. In addition to Gibson, Snipes, and Grammer, new additions to the franchise include Antonio Banderas (Haywire), and Harrison Ford (Paranoia), as well as younger actors Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules), and Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises), professional boxer Victor Ortiz, and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey. Reprising their roles from the previous films are Stallone, Jason Statham (Homefront), Jet Li (Unleashed), Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning), Randy Couture (Red Belt), Terry Crews (The Single Moms Club), and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Sabotage). The movie was directed by Patrick Hughes (Red Hill), and written by Stallone, who penned the previous films.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Los Angeles press conference for The Expendables 3 and hearing what Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, and Kelsey Grammer had to say about their new film. Gibson discussed his first reaction to the script, how he helped improve it, and when he will direct again, while Snipes talked about why he chose this film for his cinematic comeback, and Grammer discussed why he’s always wanted to work with Sylvester Stallone.

Actor Sylvester Stallone has created three of the most popular film franchises of all-time with the Rocky, Rambo, and The Expendables series. He is also the only actor in history to star in a movie that has opened number one at the box office in each of the past five decades.

Stallone first gained attention in 1976 when he was nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his work in Rocky, making him the third man in history to be nominated in both categories for the same film behind Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles. Stallone would go on to write all six films in the Rocky franchise, as well as directing Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, and Rocky Balboa. In addition to playing the underdog boxer, he created the role of Vietnam veteran John Rambo in First Blood and wrote every film in the franchise as well as directing the final installment Rambo

Stallone starred in several successful non-Rocky/Rambo movies as well including Cobra, Tango & Cash, Cliffhanger, Demolition Man, The Specialist, Judge Dredd, Assassins, and Cop Land. But it was his vision of bringing the greatest action stars of all-time together for one movie that gave him his third major franchise. Stallone wrote and directed The Expendables, which saw the actor sharing the screen with the likes of Jason Statham (Homefront), Jet Li (Unleashed), Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning), Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Sabotage), and Bruce Willis (A Good Day to Die Hard). He returned for The Expendables 2 but only wrote and starred in the sequel, which included new cast members like Jean-Claude Van Damme (Timecop), and Chuck Norris (The Delta Force). Now Stallone can be seen in The Expendables 3, which opens in theaters on August 15th and features several new additions to the cast. 

In The Expendables 3, Barney Ross (Stallone) augments his team with new blood to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates. Academy Award-winner Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Lethal Weapon series) joins the cast as Stonebanks, along with fellow veteran actors like Wesley Snipes (Blade trilogy), Antonio Banderas (Haywire), Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand), and Harrison Ford (Paranoia). Younger actors Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules) and Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises), as well as professional boxer Victor Ortiz and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey also join the cast as Barney’s new recruits. While Statham, Lundgren, Schwarzenegger, Randy Couture (Red Belt), and Terry Crews (The Single Moms Club) reprise their roles from the previous films. The movie was directed by Patrick Hughes (Red Hill), and once again written by Stallone.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Los Angeles press conference for The Expendables 3 and hearing what Sylvester Stallone had to say about his new film. The Italian Stallion discussed his new movie, working with Mel Gibson, why Bruce Willis and Jackie Chan don’t appear in this film, his longtime friendship with Harrison Ford, bringing younger actors into the franchise, why he didn’t end up killing off Terry Crews’ character, Stallone’s first encounters with his Hollywood heroes, which one of his famous characters from the past would make good additions to the Expendables team, and how many more Expendables movies he’d like to make. 

Unarguably, director Robert Altman is one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time. 

His impressive resume of films include such groundbreaking classics as MASH, Brewster McCloud, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, Nashville, Popeye, The Player, Short Cuts, Gosford Park, and A Prairie Home Companion. Robert Altman’s life and career are now examined in the new EPIX Original Documentary entitled Altman, which premieres August 6th. 

Altman takes viewers through the highs and lows of the uncompromising visionary’s half-century long career in filmmaking. The documentary features interviews with Paul Thomas Anderson, James Caan, Phillip Baker Hall, Sally Kellerman, Lyle Lovett, Julianne Moore, Lily Tomlin, Robin Williams, and Bruce Willis

Another longtime Altman collaborator that appears in the new documentary is Elliot Gould, whose own impressive career has spanned over fifty years. The veteran actor made five films with Altman including MASH, The Long Goodbye, California Split, Nashville, and The Player. Gould first gained attention for his work in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, which earned him an Academy Award-nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He would go on to appear in such films as Capricorn One, The Muppet Movie, Bugsy, American History X, Contagion, and Ruby Sparks. But he is probably best known to a younger generation for his role as Monica and Ross’ dad on Friends, as well as playing Ruben Tishkoff in Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen. He can currently be seen opposite Liev Schreiber on the popular Showtime series Ray Donovan

I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Elliot Gould about Altman, making MASH, The Long Goodbye and The Player, as well as working with the legendary director. Gould candidly discussed the new documentary, his first meeting with Robert Altman, reading the script for MASH, his onscreen chemistry with Donald Sutherland, why MASH was so ahead of its time, Altman’s process as a filmmaker, his groundbreaking use of sound, making The Long Goodbye, playing the iconic character of Phillip Marlowe, why the movie angered so many people, appearing in The Player, and his favorite all-time Altman films.

With Into the Storm hitting theaters this Friday, audiences can experience the abject terror and helplessness of a major natural disaster from the comfort of an air-conditioned theater.

A found footage thriller, Into the Storm takes place in Silverton, a small American town that becomes the center of a tornado convergence.  As these twisters ravage the town and countryside, a high school principal battles through the storm to find his son, aided by assorted townspeople and, more importantly, a team of professional storm-chasers.

The real brains of the storm-chasing operation is Allison, played by Sarah Wayne Callies, who earned herself many fans as Dr. Sara Tancredi on the cult Fox series Prison Break.  She is undoubtedly best known for her role as Lori Grimes on AMC's phenomenally popular The Walking Dead.

IAR was on hand at the Los Angeles press day for Into the Storm, where Callies discussed how she ended up with the role, playing a meteorologist, acting while giant fans are running, dangerous stunts, her daughter's unexpected appearance in the film, and what's next.

Dame Helen Mirren is the Queen of Hollywood!

The English actress, who has been acting for over 40-years, looks just as amazing at 69 as she did at 29. Beginning her illustrious career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Dame Helen went on to appear in such critically acclaimed films as Caligula, Excalibur, White Nights, The Madness of King George, Gosford Park, The Clearing, and Calendar Girls, not to mention her popular BBC series Prime Suspect

But it was her role as Queen Elizabeth in The Queen that earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress and international icon status. She would later be featured in a string of high profile movies like National Treasure: Book of Secrets, RED, Arthur, Hitchcock, Monsters University, and RED 2. Her latest film, director Lasse Hallstrom’s (Safe Haven) The Hundred-Foot Journey, was produced by Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List) and Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniel’s The Butler), and opens in theaters on August 8th. 

The Hundred-Foot Journey tells the story of the Kadam family, who after suffering deep family tragedy move to France to open their own restaurant. They soon clash with Madame Mallory (Mirren), proprietress of a celebrated French restaurant across the street, until undeniable chemistry causes the Madame to take gifted young chef Hassan (Manish Dayal) under her wing. In addition to Mirren and Dayal, the movie also features veteran actor Om Puri (Gandhi), and newcomer Charlotte Le Bon. The film was written by Steven Knight (Amazing Grace), and based on the book of the same name by Richard C. Morais

I recently had the immense pleasure of spending a Saturday morning sitting around a table at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles with a small number of journalists and Dame Helen Mirren. The Oscar-winning actress was absolutely lovely and a delight to speak with. She discussed The Hundred-Foot Journey, how she chooses projects, why she wanted to play this role, her co-star Om Puri, and what she wants from a director when working on set. 

Obviously, it's the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles putting butts in seats to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo get all the glory, but the heroes in a half shell don't work without human counterparts to draw moviegoers into the story.  The Turtles provide the action and the attitude, but Megan Fox and Will Arnett provide an emotional connection to the sewers teeming with mutated reptiles and shredding villains.

Fox (This Is 40, Jennifer's Body) and Arnett (Arrested Development, The Lego Movie) star as April O'Neil, an aspiring reporter, and Vernon Fenwick, her cameraman and sidekick.

The characters both go way back.  April, the Turtles' closest human ally, made her debut via a comic book in 1984, while Vern was created specifically for the late-eighties animated series that helped turn Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman's odd creations into a worldwide phenomenon.

The actors also go way back with the property.  "I was a big fan, as a kid," Fox said at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles press day in Los Angeles. "I had an older sister that was really into the movies, so I got into it because of her.  I also watched the cartoon.  I’m not going to claim that I read the comics because I didn’t, and I don’t want to get stoned for claiming that I did something that I didn’t do."

"I had a younger brother who was really into the Turtles, years ago," recalled Arnett.  "And then, right before I met [for this film], my young sons organically started really getting into the Turtles.  I sensed that there was something going on.  They were talking about the Turtles, and I realized they were watching the new animated Turtles on Nickelodeon.  And then, I started seeing their friends wear Turtles t-shirts to school." 

Here at IAR, we are very proud of the long list of brilliant character actors that we’ve been able to spotlight over the years. Actors that you’ve loved on television or film but might not know by name such as Titus Welliver (The Town), William Atherton (Ghostbusters), Leland Orser (Taken), Ron Eldard (Sleepers), Jeff Fahey (Silverado), and Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride). We can now add the great Currie Graham to that illustrious list of supporting actors. 

Graham has had recurring roles on several popular TV programs including House, The Mentalist, 24, Boston Legal, Desperate Housewives, and Arrow. But he is probably best known for playing Lt. Thomas Bale on Steven Bochco’s NYPD Blue. He would eventually go on to appear in Bochco’s next series Raising the Bar, and can be seen on the executive producer’s current TNT series Murder in the First. But the actor is also no stranger to the big screen having appeared in such films as Assault on Precinct 13, Total Recall, Hitchcock, and Pompeii. Now Graham can be seen in the new film Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, which opens in theaters and will be available on iTunes beginning August 13th. 

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is the third film in the horror franchise but the first prequel in the series. The film follows a group of friends enjoying a bachelor cruise in the Caribbean that stumble upon a research facility on a remote island when a deadly virus is unleashed. The group must find a way to survive before the flesh-eating virus consumes them all. Graham plays Dr. Edwards, who holds the key to stopping the outbreak. The movie is directed by Kaare Andrews, and also stars Sean Astin (The Goonies). 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Currie Graham about Cabin Fever: Patient Zero and Murder in the First. The accomplished actor discussed his new movie, not being familiar with the Cabin Fever franchise, making his first horror film, playing a villain, working with Sean Astin, director Kaare Andrews, his time on NYPD Blue, reuniting with Steven Bochco for Murder in the First, acting opposite James Cromwell (Spider-Man 3), and the performance that he is most proud of. 

There are certain actors who make every project they work on better just by being a part of them. For my money, Jeff Fahey is one of those actors!

He first appeared on the screen in one of the greatest Westerns ever made, Silverado, and later appeared in such popular films as The Lawnmower Man, White Hunter, Planet Terror, and Machete. But he is probably best known for his role as helicopter pilot Frank Lapidus on the beloved TV series Lost. He’ll soon return to the Western genre with his upcoming mini-series Texas Rising. But first, Fahey stars in the new horror/thriller Beneath, which is currently available on VOD and opens in theaters on August 1st. 

Beneath follows a crew of coal miners who become trapped 600 feet below ground after a disastrous collapse. As the air grows more toxic and time runs out, they slowly descend into madness and begin to turn on one another. Fahey plays George Marsh, the leader of the miners whose daughter (Kelly Noonan) is trapped with them in the collapse. The film is directed by Ben Ketai (30 Days of Night: Dark Days), and is inspired by true events. In addition to Fahey and Noonan, the movie also features Joey Kern (Cabin Fever), Mark L. Young (We’re the Millers), Eric Etebari (The Lincoln Lawyer), and Brent Briscoe (The Dark Knight Rises).

I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with the great Jeff Fahey about Beneath, Texas Rising, and the legacy of Silverado. The veteran actor discussed his new movie, talking to real miners, why he doesn’t always research a role, director Ben Ketai, choosing projects, why Silverado is one of the great all-time Westerns, filming Texas Rising, and what he is most proud of in his career. 

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