Opening in theaters on Thursday, February 14th is the new romantic thriller from Academy Award-nominated director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules) entitled Safe Haven, which is based on the novel of the same name by extremely popular author Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook). The film features an excellent cast that includes Josh Duhamel (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages), Cobie Smulders (The Avengers), and David Lyons (TV's Revolution), as well as young actors Noah Lomax (Playing for Keeps), and Mimi Kirkland.
IAR's Managing Editor Jami Philbrick recently had an opportunity to sit down with Cobie Smulders to talk about her work on Safe Haven, as well as reprising her role as Maria Hill in the upcoming sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier and possibly The Avengers spin-off TV series S.H.I.E.L.D. The popular actress discussed her new movie, collaborating with legendary director Lasse Hallstrom, preparing for her complicated role, working with actress Julianne Hough, reprising the role of Maria Hill in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when she begins shooting, the secrecy behind Marvel's movies, watermarked scripts, playing a character in multiple franchises, and why her commitments to How I Met Your Mother wouldn't stop her from possibly appearing in the proposed S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series.
No less a source than Cobie Smulders – S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill – is sharing some inside information on next year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the possibility that we'll see the character in action on the S.H.I.E.L.D. television series.
Last week, a rumor bubbled up online that Disney signed The Muppets director James Bobin and co-writer/executive producer Nicholas Stoller to get at work writing a follow-up to the successful revival of the Muppets as a theatrical franchise. That not entirely surprising news was accompanied by the altogether more unexpected word that Jason Segel, who co-wrote, starred in, and executive produced The Muppets, would not be returning as a screenwriter. Now, Segel himself has confirmed that he also won't be reprising his starring role as the ultra-wholesome Gary.
Okay, folks, what we've got here is your basic good news/bad news scenario, but its important to keep in mind that in this particular case, the good news far outweighs the bad. The good news is that it looks as though Disney is keen to continue the theatrical lives of Jim Henson's beloved creations with a sequel to The Muppets, last year's cinematic revival of a franchise that had laid dormant since 1999's Muppets From Space. The bad news is that The Muppets star and co-writer Jason Segel won't be contributing to the sequel screenplay.
Nowadays, there are no shortage of high profile films designed to launch lucrative franchises, often to the detriment of the first movie, which ends up having to labor to establish a bunch of nonsense that will pay off in later films, provided they actually come to pass. For every would-be series that doesn't get off the ground, though, there are the occasional oddities that kick off popular franchises almost by accident. In 2004, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle seemed at first like a second-rate stoner comedy from the director of Dude, Where's My Car?, but the film's confident absurdity and likable lead performances from John Cho and Kal Penn proved potent. Today, the second sequel, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas arrives in theaters, making this improbable series a full-on trilogy.
While Cho and Penn undoubtedly anchor these movies as the title characters, the unchallenged scene-stealer across all three entries is Neil Patrick Harris, playing a demented alternate universe version of himself, one with a consumptive appetite for mind-altering substance and prostitutes. His gloriously unhinged turn in the first film is an obvious highlight, and the self-aware sense of humor contributed to the big resurgence and crazy-popularity NPH currently enjoys as inveterate ladies' man Barney Stinson on the beloved television series How I Met Your Mother.
Previously, Harris was most known for the 1989-1993 series Doogie Howser, M.D., on which the child actor played the title character, a pint-sized doctor. The popular stage actor's subsequent work included memorably playing a psychic in an SS coat in Paul Verhoeven's fascist satire Starship Troopers, but it was Harold & Kumar that marked a big change, a first step on the road to becoming universally-loved showman Neil Patrick Harris. After his comedy doppleganger was seemingly shot dead in 2008's Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, NPH is back and filthier than ever in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. At the film's press day, Harris sat down for a roundtable interview in which he talked about the character who bears his name, 3D visuals, his big musical number, and the possibility of Harold & Kumar 4.
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and the rest of the Muppets possess a rare quality – impossible to reduce simply to cuteness or calculation – that reduces anyone and everyone to gleeful, wide-eyed children. A new clip from The Muppets doesn't contain any of the familiar Muppet crew, it instead introduces the film's human lead, Gary, played by Jason Segel, and his best friend Walter, who is puppeteered and voiced by Muppets and Sesame Street veteran Peter Linz. Appropriately enough, both characters are basically wide-eyed children, sporting cartoonish pajamas and generally behaving as though they've never had a malicious, unwholesome thought in their lives.
The clip is most set-up, as Gary surprises Walter with an invite to join him and his equally-wholesome squeeze Mary, played by Amy Adams, on their trip to Los Angeles. From there, it's all exposition, establishing Walter as a massive Muppets fan and ominously foreshadowing the current, disused state of the Muppet Studios.
Opening in theaters on July 29th is the new 3D family film The Smurfs, which blends CGI animation with live-action to bring the classic '1980s Saturday Morning cartoon to the big screen. The movie features all your favorite Smurf characters including Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and Brainy as they leave their magical village to escape from the evil Gargamel and find refuge with a young married couple in present day New York City. The film stars Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), and Jayma Mays (Glee) as expecting parents who help the little blue ones on their adventure, and comedian/actor Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) as the wizard Gargamel who is hot in pursuit of the tiny blue creatures. The film also boasts a who's who of talented performers that lend their voices to the animated characters including comedy legend Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, musical sensation Katy Perry as the beautiful Smurfette, Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) as Clumsy Smurf, Alan Cumming (X2: X-Men United) as Gutsy Smurf, George Lopez (Rio) as Grouchy Smurf, and Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) as Brainy Smurf.
IAR's very own Jenny Karakaya recently had a chance to sit down with several members of the cast in New York City including Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, and Hank Azaria to discuss the new film, their roles, acting opposite characters that are not actually there, Azaria's unbelievable transformation into Gargamel, and the legacy of The Smurfs.
To watch our exclusive interview with Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, and Hank Azaria about The Smurfs, please click on the video player above.
In the Middle Ages, the evil wizard Gargamel (Azaria) discover the Smurf's village and chases them into a wooded area. The Smurfs get scattered and Clumsy Smurf (voiced by Yelchin) wanders into a "forbidden" grotto and some of the other Smurfs follow. Since it's a blue moon, a magical portal within the grotto transports them into present-day Central Park in New York City. They take shelter with married couple Patrick and Grace Winslow (Harris and Mays) and try to find a way back to their village before Gargamel finds them.
The Smurfs "smurf' into theaters on July 29th!
Successfully navigating through the rough roads of Hollywood can be a difficult endeavor for anyone but traditionally it is especially hard for child actors. For every Natalie Portman, or Leonardo DiCaprio there is a Lindsay Lohan or a Macaulay Culkin. But of all the child actors to pursue a career in their adulthood no one has been more successful in crossing over than actor Neil Patrick Harris. He began his career in the late ‘80s as the star of the beloved TV series Doogie Howser, M.D. before eventually reinventing himself as a popular Broadway actor in such musicals as Rent and Cabaret. But it was his role as the wicked yet loveable Barney Stinson on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, as well as playing an exaggerated version of himself in the Harold & Kumar films, that has put the actor back on the map in Hollywood. Since then Neil Patrick Harris has lent his voice to several popular animated projects including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and Batman: Under the Red Hood, as well as appearing in fan-favorite director Joss Whedon’s musical web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and becoming Hollywood’s go-to-guy for hosting awards shows like the Emmys and the Tonys.
Now, the actor can be seen on the silver screen once again, this time acting opposite fellow ‘80s icons the Smurfs in their new 3D live-action/CGI family film aptly titled … The Smurfs, which opens in theaters on July 29th. Based on the comic books created by Belgian artist Peyo, as well as the extremely popular Saturday morning cartoon, the film tells the story of the tiny but magical blue creatures that live in an enchanted forest and battle with an evil wizard named Gargamel (Hank Azaria), as well as his twisted cat Azrael. When Gargamel discovers a way into the their hidden village the Smurfs barely escape with their lives and six of their clan, including their leader Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters), Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry), Clumsy (voiced by Anton Yelchin), Gutsy (voiced by Alan Cumming), Grouchy (voiced by Goerge Lopez), and Brainy (voiced by Fred Armisen), accidentally fall through a magical portal that relocates them to present day New York City. While hiding from Gargamel, who also fell through the portal, they meet Patrick (Harris) and Grace (Glee’s Jayma Mays), a young married couple that are expecting their first child. Grace and Patrick agree to try to help the Smurfs find their way home and in the process, the little blue ones teach the married couple what it means to be a family.
Actor Jason Segel first gained attention for his role on producer Judd Apatow’s short-lived TV series Freaks and Geeks, but it was their collaboration on the hit film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which Segel also co-wrote, that made him a household name. Since then the actor turned screenwriter has appeared in several successful films including I Love You Man, Despicable Me, and the extremely popular CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The actor will also star in the upcoming film The Muppets, which he produced and co-wrote with his writing partner, director Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek). But first, Segel will be seen opposite actress Cameron Diaz (The Green Hornet), and singer turned actor Justin Timberlake (Yogi Bear) in director Jake Kasdan’s (The TV Set) new comedy Bad Teacher, which is scheduled for release on July 24th.