Although this summer has been full of highly-anticipated blockbusters, 'Man of Steel' may be the one that has worked fans into the biggest tizzy. The long-overdue follow-up to Bryan Singer’s 'Superman Returns,' conceived as a reimagining of the character from the ground up, promises the kind of moral complexity of the last three Batman movies, while still retaining the energy and frenetic action of, well, all of the earlier Superman movies. Director Zack Snyder created a singular vision for Superman’s beginnings, rebranding the character as an outsider struggling to find his place in a world that he knows is not his own.
At the recent Los Angeles press day, we got to speak with the cast and crew of 'Man of Steel.' In addition to discussing the challenge of bringing Superman back to life, the actors talked about their physical and psychological roles within the film, while the filmmakers offered their perspective on why the character endures – and why that enduring persona had to be reinvented for a new generation.
Although the peak of his supporting-player participation came to a head in 'The Avengers,' Clark Gregg has always provided the heart and soul of many movies that otherwise lacked them. And in 'Much Ado About Nothing,' he’s the voice of outrage, the protector of a young woman’s virtue, even as a swirling ensemble of characters conspires to impugn it. Oddly, the two films share more in common than their writer-director, Joss Whedon – namely, that both utilize Gregg’s performance as a catalyst for the story to find its footing and pay off with the emotional strength that’s suggested in the text.
We sat down with Gregg at the recent Los Angeles press day for Much Ado About Nothing, where the gifted character actor talked about how he made the transition from working on one of the biggest films of all time, to one decidedly much smaller. In addition to describing the process of breaking down the language of Shakespeare’s iconic play to its most visceral elements, he offered insights into his expanding collaboration with Whedon, and revealed a few details about how his character Agent Coulson will not only be revived, but further explored in the upcoming television series 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'
Since 1978, Hollywood has made five movies about Superman, all of which essentially characterized the superhero the same way: wholesome, morally resolute, and indefatigably heroic. The sixth - 'Man of Steel' - takes the character in another direction – technically, backwards. Director Zack Snyder’s film re-examines the character’s origin story, looking at the formative years, and experiences, which gave him the certitude and clarity to be Earth’s greatest protector. Meanwhile, audiences simultaneously get to thrill at watching the character test out his strength while battling General Zod, one of Superman’s greatest foes.
We sat down with producer Deborah Snyder at the recent Los Angeles press day for Man of Steel, where she seemed excited to finally be able to talk about the film. Perhaps appropriately, she discussed the balancing act that goes into deciding how much to disclose to audiences as a film like this is coming to theaters, and then revealed the attitude and approach which she and Zack took as they were reinventing the great-granddaddy of all superheroes. Finally, she offered some insights about where this Superman fits – both into the character’s own canon, and then the current landscape of heroes that Christopher Nolan razed when he paired Batman’s cape and cowl with a complex foundation of moral and personal ambiguities.
No filmmaker has done more for the bromance than Todd Phillips. From 'Road Trip' to 'Old School' to, now, three 'Hangover' films, he’s detailed the love one man has for another man more thoroughly than just about anyone in Hollywood. And 'The Hangover Part III' feels almost weirdly like a last hurrah for the sorts of shenanigans that have become his stock and trade: reuniting the Wolf Pack under the pretense of getting Alan (Zach Galifianakis) some much-needed emotional counseling, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) find themselves unwittingly teamed with their man-child companion yet again after a gangster (John Goodman) holds Doug (Justin Bartha) hostage in exchange for them locating Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), whom he claims stole $21 million from him.
At the risk of great physical harm – namely, a pretty wicked hangover -- we headed to Las Vegas to talk to director Todd Phillips and screenwriter Craig Mazin about 'The Hangover Part III.' In addition to discussing the process of wrapping up the Wolf Pack saga, Mazin and Phillips explored the underlying appeal of the films to audiences, and gingerly addressed questions about what might follow from the purveyors of the most successful R-rated comedy series of all time.
Comedy sequels are not uncommon, but trilogies are rare. And yet, 'The Hangover Part III,' the third and presumably final installment in Todd Phillips’ epic saga of four friends who can’t seem to keep themselves sober (or even conscious) when they come together, seems oddly natural given the enormous appeal of its ensemble cast. The film brings Wolf Pack members Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug full circle, returning them to Vegas older and marginally wiser as they try to track down the potty-mouthed Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) for another gangster (John Goodman) who claims that he stole $21 million in gold bars from him during their first drugged-out stint in Sin City.
We spoke with stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms at Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace, where the original and final chapters were filmed about wrapping up the most successful comedy series in movie history. In addition to offering their thoughts about the franchise’s trajectory, they reflected on the star-making experience of playing these now-iconic roles, and offered a few suggestions about how to follow up their collective success with reunion films – in new styles and other genres, no less.
For Scotty fans, 'Into Darkness' is a big wet kiss, as our ol' Aberdeen pub crawler/inadvertent inventor of transwarp beaming is all over this movie, offering laughs, cheers and thrills. Take a look at our conversation to learn about why, one day, he barfed on set. (Also, there are itty bitty SPOILERS in here, but all pertaining to stuff that happens early enough. Just read the damn thing and don't be that guy.)
'The Big Bang Theory' star Simon Helberg has carved a path across the cultural pantheon well before his time as Howard Wolowitz of the CBS mega-hit, popping up in everything from the original 'Arrested Development' to portraying the fearsome "Moist" of Joss Whedon-produced 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,' but what does the star have to say of upcoming season 6 finale "The Bon Voyage Reaction?" Get the latest 'BBT' scoop and news of 'Dr. Horrible 2' From Wolowitz himself, Simon Helberg inside!
Our long, slow trek into darkness is almost over. We've seen and reviewed the 'Star Trek' sequel and soon you will, too. (Well, you'll see it – whether your review will be anything more than saying, “hey, that was fun!” as you go out for Whoppers afterwards is up to you.)
The Federated States of Bad Robot have made a global sweep of the world's press, starting in Sydney and ending in Los Angeles. We put a call into sick bay and had the good fortune to speak with Karl Urban, back on board the Enterprise as the lovable curmudgeon Dr. Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy. Urban's take on Starfleet's finest chief medical officer is a welcome bit of comic relief in 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' so much so that it took great self-restraint to keep from begging him to shout “dammit!' over the phone. We did, however, touch upon other topics.
In 'Sexy Evil Genius,' Seth Green leads a group of jilted lovers who have gathered at a local bar to commiserate over the same woman – Nikki (Katee Sackhoff), a likely-crazy young woman who’s now engaged to the lawyer who helped her secure release from a mental institution. If this doesn’t sound like the most light-hearted, uplifting story you’ve ever heard, consider the context in which it was made: screenwriter Scott Lew managed to score an all-star cast and crew to bring it to life, even as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) ravaged his body. And on the just-released DVD, Lew gets to explain how he conceived the film – with a little help from Green and company.
We spoke with Seth Green and director Shawn Piller earlier this week about Sexy Evil Genius. Both collaborators talked about why they first took on the film as an acting challenge, and then explained how it became personally important to get Scott Lew’s story told – not just the one in the screenplay, but the one unfolding in his real life.
Although it’s the third installment in the series, 'Iron Man 3' operates in a new and different world than its predecessors. Taking place after the events in 'The Avengers,' the film examines the repercussions of Tony Stark surviving a near-death experience in order to save Earth from an alien invasion – PTSD, the possibility of other extraterrestrial invaders, and so on. But star Robert Downey, Jr. says that the change in the world within the film is symptomatic of changes in the one outside of it.
“On the first Iron Man, we went out and we went to Comic Con, and had a flip phone in his hand and he goes, "This is how it's working from now. You know, the filmmakers, the artists, the departments heads they're all showmen and the audience is talking back, and they're going to ask you that question. In the post Avengers world, "what was it like for Tony and this and that?" So you kind of have to have thought about, and you have to have addressed it creatively.”
The man responsible for addressing it in 'Iron Man 3' is Shane Black, who directed the film and collaborated on its screenplay with writer Drew Pearce. We spoke to the pair at the film’s Los Angeles press day, where they talked about the changing landscape of Tony Stark’s life, and the changing world of superhero films within the Marvel Universe.
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