8 items from 2015
The Great Wall of China has long been the object of many a man’s admiration. However, if you think you know the reason behind this ancient wonder’s creation, then you ought to prepare for your mind to be blown.
Behind “The Great Wall”
This year, a movie of epic proportions has started production, and it boasts not only of an ambitious concept but also a star-studded cast comprising of some of the most prominent figures from both Hollywood and the Chinese cinema.
Revolving around the majestic Great Wall, the film mashes elements from science fiction and history as it sets up its characters in 15th century China. Where’s the sci-fi in that, you ask? Well, apparently, the “real” reason the Wall was erected is a large-scale, unrecorded invasion of giant mythical creatures—aliens, perhaps? In this grievous battle against the supernatural, humankind opted to fortify its defenses »
- Mary Ann Simuangco
The Producers Guild of America has added horror specialist Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions team for a panel discussion at its seventh annual Produced By conference on May 30-31 at the Paramount lot.
Blumhouse has produced the “Paranormal Activity,” “Purge,” “Insidious” and “Sinister” franchises. The panel will include Jessica Rhoades, head of television; Jeanette Brill, head of production; and Phillip Dawe, head of post-production.
The PGA also announced that the “The Art and Craft of Pitching for Film” panel will include Stephanie Allain (“Dear White People”), Marshall Herskovitz (“The Last Samurai”) and Laurence Mark (“Dreamgirls”). “The Art and Craft of Pitching for Television” includes producers Kenya Barris (“Black-ish”), Howard Gordon (“Homeland”), and Sarah Timberman (“Masters of Sex”).
- Dave McNary
Ok, so we all know that movie logic increases the median attractiveness of everybody on screen by at least 50%, and we accept it. But what happens when an actor is just too attractive for suspension of disbelief to work in a particular role?
Mae Whitman being cast as the eponymous "designated ugly fat friend" in this weekend's The Duff is a fine example. Thankfully the film (which is kind of great, by the way) does take pains to emphasise that even perfectly attractive people can be the Duff in their friendship group, because Duff is a state of mind. Or something.
Digital Spy takes a look back at seven more actors who were too attractive for the part, most of whom still got cast anyway.
Last year, mere months after Four Weddings celebrated its 20th birthday, Hugh Grant dropped the bombshell that nobody »
This year the Produced By Conference will present at the Paramount studio a range of programming from mentoring roundtables and workshops to networking events. Besides the most-popular “Conversations With…” series with top producer/filmmakers such as Reese Witherspoon, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, Marshall Herskovitz and Brian Grazer, Produced By conference sessions will cover an array of topics: life story adaptations, indie features, burgeoning Chinese markets and investors, non-fiction television, the writer-producer collaboration, horror storytelling, video games, and evolving social media. Pbc participants so far include: Richard Abramowitz – President, AbramoramaKeith Arem – Creative Director and President, Pcb Productions (“Call of Duty,” “Titanfall”)Craig Armstrong – Co-Founder and CEO, 5X5 Media (“Survivor,” “King of the Nerds”)Matthew Baer – Principal, Matt Baer Films (Unbroken, City By The Sea)Justin Berenbaum – Vice President, Business »
- Anne Thompson
Legendary has assembled its final shooting cast for the forthcoming historical epic The Great Wall, which promises to be the largest movie production ever to shoot entirely within China. Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe and Game Of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal are all locked in to star alongside a raft of Chinese actors attached to smaller supporting roles.
The Great Wall hails from Zhang Yimou, notable for his standout works House Of Flying Daggers and Hero, who will employ a range of old and new faces for the title. In addition to its leading English-speaking trio, Andy Lau, Jing Tian, Zhang Hanyu, Eddie Peng, Lu Han, Lin Gengxin, Zheng Kai, Chen Xuedong, Huang Xuan and Wang Junkai are set to appear. Newbies Yu Xintian and Liu Qiong will similarly fall in line for a tale of mythic proportions.
The film takes place in 15th century China and revolves around the formation of the titular wall, »
- Gem Seddon
After profiling "thirtysomething" creators Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, "X-Files" creator Chris Carter and others, the AOL original series "Inspired" has turned its attention to the Farrelly Brothers. As co-directors of such classics as "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something About Mary," Peter and Bobby Farrelly rank among the most prolific and enduring comedy filmmakers around. More recently, they've been behind remakes of "The Heartbreak Kid" and "The Three Stooges," as well as the sequel "Dumb and Dumber To." In the upcoming episode of "Inspired," the writing-directing team explains how after nine years of writing without ever getting anything produced, they were able to write and direct one of the most successful and beloved comedies in history, "Dumb and Dumber," and helped make Jim Carrey one of the biggest stars in film. Check out two exclusive clips of the »
- David Canfield
Between The Grand Budapest Hotel, A Most Wanted Man and cult action favorite John Wick, last year proved to be an excellent twelve months for veteran actor Willem Dafoe, and going off of the star’s recent streak, 2015 looks set to be no different. With parts in My Hindu Friend not to mention voicework on Pixar sequel Finding Dory already in the pipeline, Dafoe has boarded Zhang Yimou’s upcoming mercenary thriller The Great Wall in an unspecified role.
That’s according to the Hollywood Reporter, who brought news of the casting late last night. As things stand, Dafoe will now star opposite Matt Damon, who joined the project last year to fill the boots of a soldier tasked with bringing gunpowder back to Europe. However, all is now what it seems when the character and his squadron are ambushed by a group of foul, mythical beasts, leaving only Damon »
- Michael Briers
Despite the backing of Legendary boss Thomas Tull, who co-created the basic idea and intends it to help his business in China and beyond, The Great Wall hasn’t exactly been the easiest film to develop. It appears things are running a little more smoothly now, as Willem Dafoe has joined the cast, and will co-star with Matt Damon. And with The Hollywood Reporter’s news on the casting comes a few more details about the film, which will see Dafoe and Damon as part of a group of mercenaries in an unspecified historical period travelling to China in order to bring back gunpowder. A nasty encounter with some mystical beasts leaves all but the two men dead, and caught in a war between a warrior clan and the creatures.Zhang Yimou is set to direct the film, for which World War Z novelist Max Brooks helped flesh out the story, »
8 items from 2015
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