Movie News gives you EXCLUSIVE access to MOVIES, FILM & TELEVISION with an Attitude! View Upcoming Movie Trailers & Clips, Insider TV & Movie News, the BEST Movie Reviews, Interviews and Contests…Join our Film Community! Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:00:53 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb The 'Underworld' Franchise is Already Getting Rebooted The 'Underworld' Franchise is Already Getting Rebooted

Reboots aren't just for series that have lain dormant for decades.  Nor are they just for the high-profile series that stumble creatively.

Reboots are also for contemporary series that most people simply forgot existed, like Underworld.

The action-horror franchise that pits gun-toting vampires against feral werewolves (known in this lingo as lycans) began just eleven years ago with Len Wiseman's directorial debut, a modest yet slick and mythology-heavy 2003 effort that owes an awful lot to both Blade and The Matrix.

Wiseman returned to direct the 2006 sequel, Underworld: Evolution.   A 2009 prequel, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, dialed it back a few centuries to show the origins of the vampire-lycan feud.  As such, it swapped out series star Kate Beckinsale for fellow attractive British actress Rhona Mitra.  Beckinsale returned for 2012's Underworld: Awakening, directed by Mâns Mârlind and Björn Stein.  That 3D effort marked a commercial high point for the series, grossing $160.2 million worldwide.

Overall, the series has earned $458.2 million globally.  Obviously, Lakeshore Entertainment isn't going to lean off the Underworld throttle until the tank is out of gas.  To that end, producers Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi are moving ahead with a reboot.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, this new Underworld has recruited Gary Goodman to write the screenplay.  It's right in his wheelhouse: he wrote 2011's post-apocalyptic action vampire-hunting movie Priest starring Paul Bettany, as well as The Last Witch Hunter, which stars Vin Diesel and kicks off production any day now.

There's no indication as yet of just what the term "reboot" entails in this instance.  We're assuming it means Beckinsale's out.  That's potentially problematic, since as far as we can tell, Kate Beckinsale shooting guns and wearing tight black leather is the primary draw of the Underworld series.

Way back in March, Bloody Disgusting reported movement on another Underworld within Screen Gems.  At the time, BD reported that the fifth Underworld would focus on Eve, the daughter of Beckinsale's Selene and Scott Speedman's Michael Corvin.  India Eisley played Eve, introduced in Underworld: Awakening

In that case, the fifth Underworld would be more of a sequel than a reboot, but perhaps the next Underworld has mutated over the last few months.

Stay tuned for more on the future black pleather onscreen.

Movie News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:55:04 +0000
Jesse Eisenberg Talks Lex Luthor in 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' Jesse Eisenberg Talks Lex Luthor in 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'

One of the most groused-about of the many Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice decisions being loudly groused about is the selection of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, possibly the most famous villain in DC's stable.

When Eisenberg was announced as Superman's arch-nemesis early this year, many fans went apoplectic, decrying the choice of a fiercely intelligent Oscar-nominated actor to play a fiercely intelligent billionaire.

With Batman v Superman deep into production, the fervor over Luthor has died down.  Eisenberg himself is revealing a few nuggets of insight about playing the yin to Superman's yang.

Eisenberg bounces back and forth between big studio pictures and smaller independent movies.  He recently did outstanding work in Richard Ayoade's The Double, and last summer he starred in the crowd-pleaser Now You See Me.  The Social Network star is hard to pin down, but his involvement in Dawn of Justice isn't as incongruous as it may have seemed to some knee-jerk types.

“I realize how popular comic-book movies are, and now, working on one, I realise why they’re popular," Eisenberg tells Total Film (via Comic Book Movie). "The story is really good, the dialogue is really good, the artistry behind every department is high, the acting is really good. So if they’re all put together with that level of quality…”

Both Joaquin Phoenix (who is this close to becoming Marvel's Doctor Strange) and Adam Driver (who has a mysterious role in Star Wars: Episode VII) were among the actors Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. considered for the pivotal role of Luthor.  Eisenberg ended up with the part, however.

“They asked me if I wanted to play the part before they sent me the script. I’m not sure how it worked, but it’s something I read with the understanding that I could do the role," he says. "You know, they don’t just hand the scripts out. But I really liked it on its own terms. I would do it if it was for free and it was tiny.”

The actor reveals that he's not a comic book reader, nor is he at all well-versed in comic book movies, but does say that when he got the part, he read plenty of the source material and watched "that movie with Gene Hackman," presumably referring to Richard Donner's 1979 Superman.  He could be talking about thwo other Superman movies in which Hackman played a campy Luthor.

Avoiding spoilers of any sort, Eisenberg nonetheless says, “There are some indications of how the character should behave based on the script, and then as actor makes it his or her own.  I got to know one of the writers, Chris Terrio, and we were able to discuss things at length and figure out who this person is to create a real psychology behind what is, perhaps, in a comic book, a less than totally modern psychology. I can only say I’ve been asked to play an interesting role. A complicated, challenging person.”

Terrio, who won an Oscar for his Argo screenplay, rewrote Batman v Superman from previous drafts by Man of Steel co-writer David S. Goyer.  It's believed that Terrio is also hard at work on the script for Justice League, which Snyder will shoot back to back with Dawn of Justice.

Stay tuned for the inevitable official image featuring Eisenberg as Luthor.  And mark March 25, 2016 on your calender, because that's when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens nationwide.

And check out a big potential spoiler regarding Lex Luthor's evil plan in the DC slugfest.

Movie News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:24:16 +0000
"'Exodus' Casting Isn't Whitewashing," Says 'Exodus' Director Ridley Scott

Exodus: Gods and Kings doesn't open until December, but the Biblical epic has already kicked up a bit of dust online.

The controversy doesn't concern the film's religious elements, but its casting.  Specifically, the fact that a bunch of lily white actors are starring as Ancient Egyptians.

Exodus retells the story of Moses leading his enslaved people to freedom, with Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton as his adopted brother Rhamses, Sigourney Weaver as their mom Queen Tuya, and even Aaron Paul as Joshua.

This sort of thing is nothing new, of course.  The most famous cinematic take on this Old Testament story, The Ten Commandments, had Charlton Heston playing Moses, after all.  But that was 1956.  While there's a lot of theories, debate, and conjecture concerning the ethnic makeup of Egypt thousands of years ago, you'd be pretty safe betting that most Egyptians didn't look like white guys wearing lots of eyeliner.

So what's the deal?  Is this another instance of whitewashing, another example of "white" being the default setting for major roles?  Ridley Scott, a director who has been around the block more than a few times, doesn't think so.

Discussing his "international cast" in an interview with Yahoo! Movies Australia, Scott says, "Egypt was – as it is now – a confluence of cultures, as a result of being a crossroads geographically between Africa, the Middle East and Europe. We cast major actors from different ethnicities to reflect this diversity of culture, from Iranians to Spaniards to Arabs.

"There are many different theories about the ethnicity of the Egyptian people, and we had a lot of discussions about how to best represent the culture," he says.

He has a point about the diversity of his cast, but most of that diversity is focused on the supporting cast.  The two central roles are still filled by a British fellow and an Australian guy.

As for the potential for religious controversy, Scott says, "I try to be as respectful and honest as possible, because my job is to put myself in the position of that man, as near as I can do it, and tell his story.  I do that in partnership with an actor – in this case a wonderful actor, Christian Bale – and we want to honour the story and the man. I spent a lot of time casting this film and we cast it very carefully. And as I said, I think our actors have done a wonderful job."

Scott's no stranger to controversies like this one.  About a decade ago, he made Kingdom of Heaven, a Crusades movie released at the height of the war on terror, not too long after the President of the United States (W.) framed the struggle in ideological terms, calling it a "crusade."  Scott's answer to the notiong of a whitewashed Exodus: Gods and Kings reflects his ability to navigate an issue like this with a massive movie on the line.

Edgerton, an Australian, is more straightforward in addressing his role as a Pharoah.  “I got asked to do a job and it would have been very hard to say no to that job," he tells The Guardian about online accusations of whitewashing. “I do say that I am sensitive to it and I do, I do understand and empathize with that position.”

Movie News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:33:49 +0000
'Foxcatcher' Trailer & Poster: Steve Carell on a Quest For Oscar Glory 'Foxcatcher' Trailer & Poster: Steve Carell on a Quest For Oscar Glory

Odds are, Steve Carell has never made you feel super uncomfortable.  With his genial everyman persona, Carell is a figure of warmth, humor, and sympathy.

In Foxcatcher, however, Carell undergoes a complete transformation to play a guy with very serious issues.

A new teaser and poster for Bennett Miller's upcoming drama have landed online, and both turn Mr. Nice Guy into nightmare fuel.

That's not say this is a horror film in the conventional sense.  It's a drama.  Like Miller's last two movies, Moneyball and Capote, Foxcatcher is based on a true story. 

The film tells the story Mark Schultz, a former Olympic wrestler who receives an invite from the fabulously wealthy, undeniably strange John du Pont to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics on du Pont's massive estate.  Both men are driven to achieve sporting glory: du Pont for some weird, Oedipal reasons and Mark, to escape the shadow of his celebrated and popular older brother Dave.  Before long, the relationship between Mark and du Pont gets weird and self-destructive, which isn't helped when Dave begins coaching du Pont's wrestling team.

Carell plays kajillionaire du Pont and his performance has been earning wild accolades since Foxcatcher premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.  Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo play the other central roles as Mark and Dave Shultz and while neither role is as flashy as Carell's, both actors reportedly do great work.  Tatum continues to prove he's more than a set of abs, showing off some serious acting chops.

Check out the latest teaser, courtesy of IMDb, and try not to be slightly unnerved by Carell's staccato delivery and du Pont's obvious delusion.

“Once I was in full makeup and trying to sort of emulate du Pont’s vocal patterns, people were more reserved around me, on and off the set. I don’t want to sound precious or pretentious about being in character all the time. But I hadn’t anticipated how much it would draw me away physically and emotionally from everyone else," Carell tells Vulture in a fascinating article about making Foxcatcher.

"Frankly, I’m glad we filmed out of town. The transition from that to being with my family would be … well, I don’t like to bring stuff like that home,” he says.

Carell, Tatum, and Ruffalo are the center of the film, but it also features performances from Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller.

Foxcatcher is set to play the Telluride Film Festival this week.  The already acclaimed film will make the festival rounds over the next few months before opening on November 14th, smack dab in the middle of awards season.  Expect Carell to get some major nominations at least.

And check out the latest poster, which puts his creepiness on blast:

Movie News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:02:49 +0000
IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Filmmakers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle Talk 'As Above, So Below' IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Filmmakers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle Talk 'As Above, So Below'

Opening in theaters on August 29th is the new horror adventure thriller As Above, So Below from sibling filmmakers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle

The movie is based on a script written by both brothers, while John Erick Dowdle directed, and Drew Dowdle produced the project. Their previous films include Quarantine, as well as Devil, which John directed and Drew executive produced. They are currently in post-production on their next film The Coup, which stars Pierce Brosnan (The November Man), Owen Wilson (Free Birds), and Lake Bell (Million Dollar Arm), and is scheduled for release on March 6th, 2015. 

As Above, So Below, which was produced by Legendary Pictures, follows a team of explorers led by archaeologist Scarlet Marlowe (Perdita Weeks). Their adventure leads them into the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris. They soon uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. In addition to Weeks, the film also features Ben Feldman (Cloverfield), Edwin Hodge (The Purge: Anarchy), and Francois Civil (Frank). 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with director/co-writer John Erick Dowdle, as well as his brother co-writer/producer Drew Dowdle about As Above, So Below. The sibling filmmakers discussed their new movie, coming up with the concept, how Legendary Pictures’ Thomas Tull helped them combine one of their older character ideas with setting the story in the catacombs, their writing process together, how much time they had to actually write the script before they began production, casting Scarlet Marlowe, the challenges of making a found footage film, and how they share filmmaking duties while on set. 

Here is what filmmakers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle had to say about As Above, So Below:

IAR: To begin with, can you talk about coming up with the concept for As Above, So Below and how the writing process works between the two of you?

John Erick Dowdle: We sort of had an idea of wanting to do a female Indiana Jones type movie done in a found footage format. So we had that piece and we had previously studied the catacombs, but we never put the two together. Then we got a call from Thomas Tull, the head of Legendary Pictures. He said, I'd love to do something set in the catacombs and there was just something that day that clicked for us. We thought that'd be perfect for Scarlet Marlowe. It was all these elements shelved together in a moment. When we pitched that two days later to Legendary they bought it on the spot and we were shooting four months later. It moved extremely fast, and it was really exciting. As for how Drew and I write together, since we were kids, I think since I was fourteen and he was twelve, I scribbled a bunch of stuff down and then would bring it to him. He'd give his thoughts and move stuff around and then we’d passed it back and forth. We still sort of do the same kind of thing. We browse coffee shops all over town and scribble things down, then pass them back and forth. It’s sort of a chaotic process but it’s nice. Both of us are sort of unrelenting, we just don’t stop trying to make it better and better. It helps to have two people because it’s easier to get lazy when you write something down and it’s always helpful to have another person, so we do that for each other. 

Drew Dowdle: It’s a little different on every movie too, exactly how it goes back and forth. We have an ongoing notebook of ideas. One of them was this Scarlet Marlow idea, a female Indiana Jones, Ellen Ripley type character. Let’s do something like that. We kind of mapped it out and then it sat there for a long time. Then Thomas thought that the catacombs would be an awesome place for a movie. He said, “Would you guys have anything you could set there?” It took one second and we were like, actually we have the perfect thing that would go there. That idea may have never come back up for us if not for that call. But once it did, then it was just like all the dots immediately connected and a week later we pitched pretty much the whole story. One thing that’s so great about working with Legendary is that if Thomas likes an idea, especially if it’s at a price like this was, then he doesn’t want to develop it for a long time. He just says, let’s go do it. We were on a location scouts three weeks later. That’s a very refreshing mentality to work with in Hollywood because most companies are really insecure, protective and slow moving. This one just didn’t waste any time and I think that really helped the movie a lot. 

From the time that you pitched the idea to Legendary and got a green light, to the time you actually started shooting, how long did you have to write the screenplay? Did you write an entire script, or did you just start shooting off of an outline?

John: We’ve heard other people especially working with found footage have done that, just written an outline and sort of winged it, but those movies never turn out well. That’s the wrong thing to think, it’s being short term. You got to get the script right. We started writing really right away and we just kept re-writing, and re-writing. We were re-writing I think the weekend before we started shooting. We were doing another draft. It was probably five months from pitch to shooting. All through prep we just kept working on the script the whole time. 

Drew: I think with a found footage movie it is very important that the dialogue feels real and that the actors can deliver the dialogue in a way that feels organic and not scripted. I think audiences scrutinized these types of movies maybe more than others because it’s really not supposed to be scripted. We still write all the dialogue and try to write it in a way that feels organic. Then casting is so important. You really need the right actors. It’s a very special actor that can do this kind of movie and feel genuinely real, and in this context a more traditional narrative film I think. We spent an ungodly amount of time auditioning people to cast. That was something we invested hundreds and hundreds of hours into. 

Since Scarlet Marlowe is a character that you had both created and been developing for a long time, what was the casting process like finding the right actress to bring that role from your imagination to the screen?

John: That was really difficult. We wanted somebody that seemed really intelligent, that you would believe is a genius, but could be funny and is a good actor that could throw away dialogue in a way that makes it feel like she’s not acting. The role required a lot of exposition. Talking about history and things like that, and we wanted somebody who could bring humanity to that, as well as emotionality so that you don’t feel like you’re suddenly in school being taught a lesson. We wanted someone who had human connection to everything she was talking about. It keeps it very real and lively. We auditioned probably 300 women for the role. We looked in Los Angeles and didn’t find anyone. We looked in Paris and didn’t find anyone, so we looked in London and finally found Perdita Weeks. Drew and I were looking through tons of auditions online in emails when I saw Perdita and she was a brunette in the audition I found. I said, oh my God, I found the perfect person and she’s a brunette! Drew said, “No, I found the perfect person and she’s a blond!” Then we realized Perdita had sent out two auditions, one as a brunette and one as a blond. Drew and I each spotted her separately. It was really a magical moment. Then we saw her live and asked her to try a couple different things. Everything she did was money. She is so good. She’s just a pleasure to work with. We hope to work with her for the rest of our lives. 

Drew: We were white knuckling it a little bit. It was probably three weeks from our first day of photography when we went up to London to meet her. Essentially everyone else in the cast was set except her. Like John said, we each saw different auditions and we then quickly watched the other one. We were like, oh, she’s perfect. But we went up to London and of course called back 20 other girls just to make sure that she was the perfect one. We were immersed in about 20 girls that day, but we were really only there to see her. Again like John said, when she came in we asked her to do a few different things and everything she did was just great. She could be smart without feeling like you were at school. It was just a perfect fit. But we were sweating on that one a little bit.

John, Can you talk about the challenges of directing a found footage movie and making every shot look organic and real, while still staying true to the story that you are trying to tell?

John: It’s helpful to be a writer also. You have to write the camera into the scene a little bit. You have to have a sense of where the camera’s going to be and how it happens to be there. There’s a certain thing that happens, especially if you have to spend too much effort justifying the camera, nobody likes that. It should be seamless, it that should fall into the background, as almost an invisible affect. The more you have to justify it, the worse the idea is. It takes some doing to write it in enough to where you’re going to be shooting and seeing any particular aspect of it. Everything has to feel real. If it feels false in a normal movie it feels ten times more false in a found footage movie. So you have to be careful to throw the dialogue away and to block things the right way, not have everything focused, not have everything lit, and not have everything on camera. It has to carefully craft the imperfections of the film.

Drew: In terms of camera justification it was so set up and an easier one than on other films because they are on an exploration. They are looking back on what they’re doing and they need the light. It was one of those things where that wasn’t such a challenge in this movie. When you get to a found footage movie where the justification is that the film was passed on so the world would see what happened, whenever you’re going down that path, that’s a dangerous path. It’s very hard for audiences to believe in that. With this movie, the justification of the camera really felt explained.

Drew, can you talk about your role on set during production? Are you directing along with John but the DGA won’t give you both directing credit, or are you just the co-writer/producer and stand back to let John direct while on set?

Drew: That’s a great question. I appreciate that. John’s very much the director. It’s not like we co-direct, but it’s definitely a very blurred line between us on both sides of the fence. John does quite a bit of the producing as well. We both have a pretty particular take when John and I are sitting at the monitors. We immediately discuss what’s working, and what’s not working. John will go interface with the actors, and I’ll go interface with the Legendary or whoever else is there that we kind of have to include in the process. Then we meet back at the monitor and do another take. I had a lot of interaction with the actors as well, but we try to in the middle of a scene, or in between takes, keep it a singular voice that’s directing performance. That’s all John. Our backgrounds are different in that John is from a film school background and I’m from a business school background. So we entered into this partnership years ago with the idea we would do everything collectively, but we would do everything, and in doing so it was important to have a really strong producer presence and not just co-directors with a split producer credit. It was really important to us that we were actually producing our own movies. So we really fought hard to keep those credits separate and not both directing and producing. The Coen brothers were from our hometown and they were really kind of the playbook we were following. They were distinctly director and distinctly producer, but with a ton of overlap between the two. Ultimately they went and changed their credits, because they both do both, but that was after they were established and a fully formed filmmaking entity that it was no longer an issue. Earlier in our career there were times where it’s hard to get the producer credits. It’s hard to be taken seriously and a lead producer on a movie. It takes a while to get to that. Now that we’re getting to that level, it’s very important for us that we keep that going.

John: There’s no decision I make as a director ever that Drew isn’t totally a part of. Drew is literally a part of every decision, no matter how small, and the same goes for producing.

Drew: It feels like we have more overlap with each film as we go along.           

Finally, congratulations to both of you on the movie. It’s really scary! I screamed out loud like a little girl during one scene in particular. 

John: (Laughing) Awesome!

Drew: (Laughing) That’s great! I love hearing that. I really appreciate that.   

As Above, So Below opens in theaters on August 29th. 

To watch our exclusive Comic-Con 2014 video interview with John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle about As Above, So Below, as well as The Coup, please click here

Interviews Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:34:01 +0000
Joaquin Phoenix in Final Negotiations to Star as Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' Joaquin Phoenix in Final Negotiations to Star as Marvel's 'Doctor Strange'

Marvel Studios is this close to locking down a three-time Academy Award nominee to star in Dr. Strange.

A month after he was first rumored for the role, Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly in final negotiations to play the Sorcerer Supreme in this big franchise.

With Avengers: Age of Ultron capping off Phase 2 next May, fans are already getting worked into a lather over Phase 3.  Ant-Man is currently in production for a July 2015 release date and Captain America 3 kicks off production early next year to meet a May 2016 date.

After that, by all indications, is Doctor StrangeSinister director Scott Derrickson is set to helm, with Prometheus co-writer Jon Spaihts currently polishing the screenplay.  Though no official announcement has been made, it's pretty clear that Doctor Strange is the next attempt to start a franchise in Marvel's pipeline.

In fact, everybody was expecting Marvel to announce Doctor Strange last month, bringing out the actor playing Dr. Stephen Strange in Hall H and publicly declaring that this is the mystery Marvel movie scheduled for July 8, 2016.

According to Devin at Badass Digest, the studio planned to do just that, but the plan to unveil Phoenix at the Con proved impossible as a deal between the actor and the House of Ideas simply hadn't been reached in time.  In the month that passed between the first whiff of Phoenix's involvement, many assumed that he'd passed on Doctor StrangeJust this week, rumors that Jack Huston or Daniel Radcliffe are in contention for the role started percolating.

Those rumors appear to be nothing more.  Collider reports that Phoenix's negotiations are very nearly complete.  An anonymous source claims "his contract is essentially at the 1 yard line, about to pass into the endzone."

Devin not only confirms that this is the case, but he provides a bit of insight on the hold-up.  In order to keep its universe of cross-pollinating franchises humming along, Marvel contractually locks its actors into mulit-picture deals.  Samuel L. Jackson famously signed on to play Nick Fury nine times, while Chris Evans enlisted for six appearances as Captain America.  Phoenix, one of the most interesting actors around, is apparently uncomfortable with such a deal, which could count him out of creatively satisfying roles down the line.

Not only that, but the actor is reportedly unsure about his ability to partake in a production like this one, chock full of green screens, technical elements, additional photography, and the rest of the three-ring circus involved in making and promoting blockbusters.

Sure, Phoenix is a pro who has been acting since he was a little kid (he was credited as Leaf Phoenix for his role in Space Camp) and he's even starred in big movies like Gladiator and Walk the Line.  But lately he's been a roll working with unconventional auteurs like Paul Thomas Anderson and Spike Jonze on The Master, Her, and PTA's upcoming Inherent ViceDoctor Strange represents a very different beast.

Doctor Strange is also a different beast from previous Marvel efforts, as it opens up the magical elements of the MCU. "Strange is very, very important, not just because it’s an amazing character study, and a journey of a man who’s gone from this very arrogant surgeon to somebody who is quite zen and literally keeps all of reality together on a daily basis, but it also is going to open up a whole other side of storytelling for our movies," head honcho Kevin Feige commented recently.

Oddly, Phoenix was actually the first choice to play Bruce Banner in The Avengers.  That didn't happen, but it looks like he's getting comfortable with the idea of joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Stay tuned for official word on whether or not Joaquin Phoenix will master the mystic arts in Doctor Strange.

Movie News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:15:24 +0000
IAR INTERVIEW: Jennifer Aniston Talks 'Life of Crime' IAR INTERVIEW: Jennifer Aniston Talks 'Life of Crime'

With Life of Crime, Jennifer Aniston heads to the seventies, a decade known for some regrettable styles.

"It’s a tough look," the actress and international superstar commented. "It was awesome for the time and a lot of fun to wear all of that polyester and the handkerchiefs around the neck. My favorite piece of wardrobe was the sunglasses."

"I basically looked like my mom," Aniston quipped. "I pulled out a lot of her old pictures and tried to rock the old Nancy Aniston 1970s look."

Her outdated costuming was part of creating the period look and feel of Life of Crime, which is based on an Elmore Leonard novel first published in 1978.  Leonard, a master of American crime fiction who died almost exactly one year ago, was known from crackling dialogue, sharp humor, and unforgettable characters in a world of bad choices and worse consequences.

One of his many indelible characters is Mickey Dawson, played by Aniston.  A Detroit housewife, Mickey goes on an unconventional journey of self-discovery when she's abducted by a pair of first-time kidnappers.

At the Los Angeles press day, Jennifer Aniston shared her enthusiasm for Life of Crime, saying, "I was so excited because I’ve always loved Elmore Leonard. I had read The Switch, which was the actual name, but we had to switch because I was already in a movie called Switch about best friends making a baby. Then I read the book and I love how he writes his characters. They’re all so interesting and detailed. Also his bad guys aren’t the brightest, yet they somehow always make it happen and they’re actually lovable."

"I also thought Mickey’s character had such a beautiful arc and a powerful one," she continued. "In that time to write that for a woman in the 70s was pretty awesome. The whole package was really exciting for me. It was pretty much a no brainer."

Her character is gliding through life as the wife of Frank (Tim Robbins), a corrupt real estate developer whom kidnappers Louis and Ordell (John Hawkes and yasiin bey) plan to extort in return for Mickey's safety.  When Frank, happily enjoying an illicit affair with the kidnappers' accomplice Melanie (Isla Fisher), decides not to pay the ransom, he inadvertently kicks off a series of double-crosses and twists.

"Mickey was living in the petrified forest with Frank and very repressed emotionally and abused and didn’t know how to make a move to get out of that sort of jail," Aniston commented. "Oddly enough, the kidnapping is her get-out-of-jail-free card. As the story progressed and her situation became more dire, she found that strength like women do when faced with unimaginable circumstances."

When IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick asked Aniston about taking abuse from Robbins onscreen, she replied with a laugh, "It was pretty awesome. He really was a jerk. Just a jerk. No, he's lovable and anything else is an understatement. And he is quite towering. He's a towering figure for sure, so those scenes it was kind of really intense but fun and awesome to play especially when towards the end when she gets her own set of balls. It was pretty fun. He's just a lovely man and I've known him for a long time so it was fun to have him beat me up a little bit."

As for the rough treatment Mickey receives from her abductors, Aniston said, "I didn’t prepare. I just let them hurt me. That’s the way to get a real reaction as it turns out. And the ski mask was kinda great. It’s weird, it was a lot to try to convey emotion when everything that usually does what covered up was kind of really fun for me. We worked a lot on that ski mask. We had to have it lined with silk so we didn’t get rashes on my face. It was a very well made mask."

As their scheme comes undone, Mickey forms fascinating and fraught relationships with her captors, particularly Louis.  The chemistry between Aniston and Hawkes is rich, filled with subtext and a surprising tenderness.  Asked about how she and the Oscar-nominated actor created their onscreen dynamic, Aniston said, "I think that stuff is just kind of natural. I don’t think you can force it or create it. We got along instantly when we might and we were both interested as actors. You’re interested in the story and that sort of very subtle, odd, not even love story, but that’s sort of what unfolds, which we both thought was really interesting. Chemistry is chemical, man. I don’t know how you make it."

That's not say Life of Crime wasn't a challenge for its ensemble cast.  "It's wonderful to know that everybody has moments of getting stumped," she said. "Because sometimes as an actor, you go, 'Oh God. I should know how to do this. I should know. I'm having trouble finding this moment or whatever.' And it's great when you have actors that you can actually really communicate that with, and you don't feel kind of like, I shouldn't be acting.

"Everyone's a student. People were all always students, and those guys especially," she continued. "This particular team. It's different than a comedy where you're just riffing on each other, and it is real character study and story and trying to understand the story and how much you want to reveal."

Aniston was effusive in her praise of writer-director Dan Schechter, so it wasn't a huge surprise when she revealed her aspirations to tackle directing in there future.

"Direct," Aniston emphatically replied to the question of her goals beyond acting.  "Absolutely, that's the next thing, the big sort of hurdle I want to take on. I've done a few short films that I've just loved the experience of doing and I'm just waiting for that wonderful window and that wonderful script and that will be the next one for me."

Life of Crime opens in select cities this Friday, August 29th.

Interviews Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:03:56 +0000
New 'Seventh Son' Trailer Proves the Long-Delayed Fantasy Epic Still Exists New 'Seventh Son' Trailer Proves the Long-Delayed Fantasy Epic Still Exists

Remember Seventh Son?

You know, the fantasy action-adventure starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, the one that was supposed to hit theaters last October then again this January? Well, it's finally arriving in February.

Don't believe us?  A new theatrical trailer and poster prove that Seventh Son is finally on the way, and it remains packed with genre signifiers and weightless visual effects.

Bridges is basically playing a fantasy variation on Rooster Cogburn as knight and sorcerer Master Gregory, who centuries ago imprisoned Moore's character, Mother Malkin, to keep her from spreading her witchy evil all over the kingdom.  The story, based on the novel The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney, kicks off when Malkin escapes more powerful than ever, drawing her minions to her in order that she may take her revenge.

With his back against the wall, Gregory has only until the next moon to train his apprentice, the seventh son of a seventh son and presumably the only one who can save the day.

Ben Barnes of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian plays Tom Ward, the titular seventh son.  But the draw here is Bridges.  Well, Bridges generic elements like sweeping vistas, glowing staffs, ghostly swirling effects, and lots of video game-ish action beats clearly meant to make audiences say, "Whoa, cool."

Russian director Sergey Bodrov makes his English studio debut with Seventh Son.

He assembled a pretty impressive cast too.  Barnes, Bridges, and Moore get support from Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina), Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy), Olivia Williams (Rushmore), Antje Traue (Man of Steel), and even Jon Snow himself Kit Harington (HBO's Game of Thrones).

With a cast like that and plenty of big, expensive visuals, why has it taken Seventh Son so damn long to reach a theater near you?

Well, the film is a Legendary movie, and the production had a longtime deal with distributor Warner Bros.  It was at that studio that Seventh Son was originally kicked from October 2013 to January 2014.  Warners primed the hype-pump at last year's San Diego Comic-Con and even released a trailer or two.

When Warner Bros. and Legendary went through an amicable breakup a year ago, however, Legendary hopped into bed with Universal Pictures and brought Seventh Son with it.  So the new distributor took over with a new release date and strategy, one that includes this trailer.

The movie is now scheduled to open nationwide on February 6, 2014.  That date is currently shared by WB's delayed space opera Jupiter Ascending (originally set for this July), Johnny Depp's comedy adventure Mortdecai, and animated comedy SponeBob: Out of the Water.

Movie News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:30:42 +0000
First Trailer for 'Rosewater,' Jon Stewart's Intense Directorial Debut First Trailer for 'Rosewater,' Jon Stewart's Intense Directorial Debut

For his debut movie as director, Jon Stewart is setting aside the nimble sense of humor that made him a national treasure.

The first trailer for his film Rosewater suggests that Stewart has tapped dramatic depths in order to tell a searingly intense true story.

Festival season, widely focused upon as an appetizer for the inevitably awards season, kicks off today with the start of the Telluride Film Festival.  Rosewater premieres at the fest and will also play at the Toronto International Film Festival.

So now is the perfect time for Open Road Films to unveil the first theatrical trailer and poster for Rosewater, which Jon Stewart took a break from The Daily Show to shoot last summer, giving John Oliver the spotlight for a few months.

The film is based on Then They Came For Me, a bestselling memoir in which Maziar Bahari recounts his imprisonment in Iran.  Bahari, a Tehran-born Iranian Canadian journalist, was covering the election protests in June 2009 when he was arrested in his family's home.  For 118 days, Bahari was interrogated, beaten, and forced under duress to publicly confess to espionage.  Throughout his months of captivity, Bahari interacted almost exclusively with a captor known to him only as "Rosewater."

Based on the trailer, satire-machine Stewart is showing his earnest side with Rosewater, a drama gunning for awards season glory.

Gael Garcia Bernal stars as Bahari, with Kim Bodnia as Rosewater and Shohreh Aghdashloo as Moloojoon, Bahari's mother.

"Did you ever work at a restaurant? Remember your first or second day, how simple shit like 'Where is the ketchup?' takes you five minutes where it takes someone else 10 seconds? Especially early on, there were a lot of people who didn’t know where we kept the ketchup," Stewart told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month.

"It was a pretty seat-of-the-pants operation. Not to sound too Rumsfeldian, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know going in. I brought five crew members, and the rest was local. Pretty much everybody there did the film in their second language, and some in their third. Except for me," he said with a laugh.

Rosewater starts rolling out in select theaters on November 7th (the same day Christopher Nolan's mega-movie opens wide) and will then expand to more cities in the weeks that follow.

Here's the first poster:

Movie News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:49:22 +0000
'Fantastic Four' First Look: Leaked Photos Reveal Doctor Doom 'Fantastic Four' First Look: Leaked Photos Reveal Doctor Doom

The Fantastic Four reboot is less than a year away, but not a single official look at Marvel's First Family has been released. 

20th Century Fox has kept a tight, tight lid on The Fantastic Four, but a small crop of leaked pictures from the set purportly reveal our first look at Toby Kebbell in costume as Dr. Doom, the titular team's arch-nemesis.

One of Marvel's most popular villains hasn't been done justice onscreen.  The ruler of Latveria was played as a scumbagging titan of industry by Julian McMahon in Fox's two previous Fantastic Four movies, but next summer's The Fantastic Four is expected to feature a radically different approach to the character.

Kebbell's a unique choice, one with the chops and charisma to create a memorable bad guy even if, as the pictures courtesy of Geek Pride indicate, he's trapped behind a mask for much of the movie.

You didn't see his face in this summer's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, after all, but Kebbell's motion-capture performance as Koba was a highlight of the film.  Since his breakout role as Johnny Quid in Guy Ritchie's 2008 Rocknrolla, the British actor has been a pretty consistent event movie presence, turning in supporting performances in the likes of Wrath of the Titans, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and Prince of Persia.  He played a crucial role in Steven Spielberg's War Horse and popped up late last year in Ridley Scott's The Counselor.

If these pictures are indeed legitimate, then Kebbell's sporting a very distinctive look as Victor von Doom in The Fantastic Four.  While what we're seeing here will likely be augmented by CGI, it nonetheless looks like this Doom may have suffered some serious bodily burns.

Kebbell faces off against Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch, and Jamie Bell as The Thing.

The super-secretive reboot recently wrapped up principal photography in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is now in post-production on track to meet a June 19, 2015 release date.  Feeling confident, Fox has already scheduled a sequel for July 14, 2017. 

As far as we know, Josh Trank is on board for the follow-up as well, but the Chronicle director is also attached to one of Disney's Star Wars spinoffs, so we'll see how that shakes out.

"We are hopefully going to be refining the way the people see the Fantastic Four movies. There are so many things we are doing different from the previous film and so many things different from other comic books films," co-writer and producer Simon Kinberg declared last month.

"Josh Trank, the director, had a very clear vision as to what he wanted the movie to be, tonally especially. He knew he wanted it to be a more grounded, more character driven, more emotional, and a little more dramatic movie certainly more than the previous films. I think that tone has remained consistent through every draft and through for the however many days of shooting we’ve had now," he said.

Movie News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:20:39 +0000