There are a lot of heroes in the Fast & Furious movies, but the unsung hero of the Fast & Furious movies is screenwriter Chris Morgan, who joined the franchise at its lowest point and helped transform a dying property about a couple of street racers into one of the most popular series (with one of the most cleverly complex mythologies) in all of Hollywood. It was Morgan’s idea to take the series international for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and to bring back the original franchise stars, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, which happened in the fourth film, 2009’s Fast & Furious. Six years later, Furious 7 is primed to open in theaters, and even after the tragic passing of Walker in 2013, the series now shows no signs of slowing down. Diesel’s so confident in the movie that he’s already predicted it will win the Best Picture Oscar at next year’s Academy Awards (Morgan’s reaction when I asked if he wanted to double down on Diesel’s bet: “Uh ... [laughs] no comment.”)
Increasingly the Fast and Furious franchise has felt like a superhero franchise. A group of heroes with seemingly infinite strength and abilities taking on the bad guys and becoming a family in the process. It's like Avengers meets the Fantastic Four, but with a lot of cars. With the movies already up to Part 7 and Paul Walker sadly gone, the series can't go on forever. So, how do they continue the brand? Just like the superheroes do: with spinoffs.
Fast and Furious 7 is an emotional movie; there's no getting around that. There were few dry eyes after the screening we attended. But, if it's this emotional for people who are watching the movie, can you imagine what it must be like for the people who made the movie, and knew Paul Walker? We spoke to director James Wan who told us that it's still so hard, he has to get up and leave the theater during the film's ending.
I met up with Teller in Austin where he was passing through on an Insurgent promotional stop. I was eager to see which Teller would show up. The formalwear of the Oscar season was long gone and Teller was dressed bro casual in blue tank top, showing off both his impressive physique and the deep scars from a 2007 car crash that nearly killed him. The contrast between the two recalls the strength and weakness Teller brings to his roles; he's equal parts vulnerable, but looks like he could (and would) kick your ass if need be.
David Robert Mitchell left quite an impression with his first feature film, The Myth of the American Sleepover, an honest and subdued look at teen friendship and coming of age. The director has returned with his second feature, It Follows, a thoughtful horror film in which teens are once again the focus, this time coping with a sexually-transmitted haunting. Mitchell has a knack for understanding young people, with a keen ear for their dialogue and a sharp perception of the somewhat separate world they inhabit. Along with a handful of other directors, Mitchell has helped to reinvigorate the horror genre, which has suffered in recent years from the influx of found footage and banal, unoriginal concepts. We had a chance to speak with Mitchell about It Follows, the genesis of this layered and impactful horror film, and the timelessness of what he’s created.
We spoke to Hugh Jackman earlier today for his upcoming movie ‘Chappie’ (we’ll have much more on that movie soon), and as we were making small talk, we asked Mr. Jackman whether he had heard the news yet about Marvel and Sony Pictures coming to terms on an agreement that would allow Spider-Man to crossover into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He had not. He was very surprised.
'Black or White' is a movie Costner admits no one in Hollywood wanted to make. So, he made it his damn self. With his own money. $9 million of his own money. If it seems like the kind of thing that a lot of people would advise against, you're right. We sat down with the actor to talk about this, and why he felt 'Black or White' was so important to invest so much of his own money in.
Chandor is the definition of “gregarious.” He likes telling long stories (to the point he drove the film’s publicists crazy trying to keep everything running on time, until they just kind of gave up), which I suppose makes sense considering his profession. Chandor is the true definition of “storyteller,” in that he conceives a story and follows it through from start to finish—whether that’s on film or in a Park Ave. hotel. Though, Chandor admits he’s a “loudmouth,” but commends himself on not revealing a big secret about Oscar Isaac’s role in the new ‘Star Wars’ movie.
The first thing you notice about Brie Larson is her unexpected height, forever putting her in my own personal “this actor was much taller than I expected” club, where she joins the likes of John Cusack and Colin Firth. The second is that she’s, pleasantly, a bit of an oddball, meant in the most endearing and interesting way possible. With a single answer, she has the ability to be aloof and on point at the exact same time. Larson seems to have it all figured out without even trying. In other words: She’s winning a game that even she admits is impossible to win.
Christoph Waltz is a lot like what you might expect Christoph Waltz to be like in person: Forever charming, even when he doesn’t agree with what you are saying. And Waltz always has a lot to say, which comes from an interesting perspective as an actor who, after years in German cinema, now owns two Academy Awards. Waltz has an equally interesting approach to characters—he doesn’t see characters as “good” or “bad”; and he certainly doesn’t let himself think about the fact that in his latest film, Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes,’ he’s playing a real person—but whatever Waltz is doing, it appears to be working.