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A history of stoners in film

Ahead of American Ultra’s release in UK cinemas, we look at the rise of the stoner in film, from the 30s to the present...

"The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers. Marihuana is that drug - a violent narcotic - an unspeakable scourge - the Real Public Enemy Number One!

So reads the opening crawl to the now infamous film Reefer Madness. Originally released in 1936, it was designed as a hard-hitting expose of marijuana and its inherent dangers. The drug could cause "violent, uncontrollable laughter," the movie's introduction read. It could induce "dangerous hallucinations," "monstrous extravagances," all eventually leading to "shocking acts of physical violence... ending often in incurable insanity."

Reefer Madness was one of many
See full article at Den of Geek »

Exclusive Video: Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle - 10th Anniversary Q&A

  • JoBlo
One of the funnier stoner comedies to come along in the last decade is undeniably 2004's Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, produced by Jon Hurwitz and directed by Danny Leiner, starring John Cho (Harold) and Kal Penn (Kumar) as a pair of best friends that navigate all manner of craziness in order to satiate their muchies at White Castle. The film is chock full of hilarious guest stars, including Neil Patrick Harris (as himself, no less), Ethan Embry, Fred Willard, David...
See full article at JoBlo »

Laff: Dir. Kerem Sanga and Team on the Comedic Exploits of Unplanned Parenthood in 'The Young Kieslowski'

When college freshman Brian (Ryan Malgarini) meets Leslie (Haley Lu Richardson), a drunken talkative girl at a party, they both experience their first intimate encounter. Their special night forms an intense connection between them at least for that night. But when the news of an unexpected pregnancy comes knocking at their door, their follow-up plans are conflicting. Furthermore, it is not an ordinary ordeal. Leslie is expecting twins. She wants to keep them. He doesn’t, but he is too afraid to voice his wishes and plays a part he wasn’t prepared for at all. In Kerem Sanga’s debut feature the “The Young Kieslowski”, comedy is the vehicle for the characters to grapple with their new life-changing circumstances. Can they make it work? Will their parents approve? Or will they crumble at the face of just difficult premise?

Director Kerem Sanga, producer Danny Leiner ("Dude, Where's My Car?," "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle") and stars Ryan Malgarini and Haley Lu Richardson shared with us their thoughts on this amusing story about decisions, unpredictable fate, and the uncertainty of young love.

The film premiered at Laff on Saturday June 14th and it screens again tonight at 6:30 Pm at the Regal L.A. Live Theaters

Carlos Aguilar: What’s the origin of the film? Does it come from anything personal or simply your desire to explore this complex relationship?

Karem Sanga: My dad and my mother got pregnant with my twin brother and me when they were in college. I though it would be pretty fun to write a movie about that and give it different characters and different situations.

Although this is fictional, my dad told me that the feeling after my mother told she was pregnant was a kind of daze. Like Brian in the film, he was just looking at everybody else and wanting to be one of them.

Aguilar: While writing the film and in the actors’ case while reading the script, did you put think of what you would have done in the characters’ situation?

My dad had a much more supportive reaction, obviously, here I am [Laughs], but then I thought, “Would I have felt that way?” When writing the film I gave in to my darkest impulses. I’d like to think that I’d be very supportive but then I also think that at his age I would have pretended to be supportive.

Haley Lu Richardson : You read something, you see a character, and you put yourself in that position and you find parts of yourself that are similar to that, parts that you can develop and will make this a different character. Especially with good writing, when I read it, it was really easy for me to do that. I started freaking out because I envisioning myself as the character in some of stressful, crazy stuff we had to go through. When a character makes me feel stressed, sad, and to feel like this guy is an idiot from Leslie Mallard’s’ perspective, it is easy to go there.

Ryan Malgarini : I’ve never been told that I was going to have twins [Laughs], as an actor you look at that and you just try to bring similar experiences of the same feeling. Like anxiety and stress, and bring that to the table for a good director like Karem who could really help guide you to how or what it feels like. Even if he hasn’t experience it, maybe some of his feelings of how should be portrayed get passed onto to me and something different is created.

Aguilar: Danny, you’ve worked in various capacities in the industry, particularly in broad comedies. What brought you this project?

Danny Leiner : Karem worked as a Pa in a movie I did in Texas. I met him when he was been starting in the industry and we just became friends during the shoot. When he came to L.A. to go to the screenwriting program at USC we kept in touch. He sent me an early version of this film and I just thought there was some potential there but it needed a lot of work. I encouraged him to really have a go at it and make it something special and that separated itself from everything else. A while later he sent me another version and I thought, “Wtf is this?” [Laughs] “This is amazing” I though it was a beautiful script. I’ve done broad comedy, but I’m just attracted to good material. He took a part of himself to create this, which was an incredible transformation.

Aguilar: Another recent film “Obvious Child” deals with pregnancy but from a woman’s perspective. In that film abortion is the fest solution the character finds for the situation. Did you ever consider that option for your characters?

Karem: I haven’t seen “Obvious Child” but I plan to. The thing about this story that was relatively easy to write was that it had this natural story to it built in, which is the pregnancy.

Did I ever think she might have the abortion? I thought about for about two seconds. I thought I had to honor the source material. I just wanted to see a character that didn’t want to have kids, have kids. I felt like that was a bigger transformation or just a worst premise for someone to go through. I never really considered ending it in any other way. I always had an ending in mind where somebody who’d been fighting this the whole time finally has to accept “Well this is what my life is now”. They say a father doesn’t really feel like a father until he sees the child, while a woman feels like a mother right when she finds out she is pregnant. So I think that was the disconnection the entire movie, he ran away from her.

Ryan: Is a real reaction, is the first thing you want to do when something like that happens, run away! [Laughs]

Haley: And you had no other social skills to know that even though that’s what you want to do, it is not what you are supposed do! [Laughs]

Aguilar: The protagonists’ story goes from a one-night stand to being faced with parenthood in a short amount of time. They are thrown into a serious relationship without having had a chance to have diverse experiences. How do you think this affects their relationship and in turn your performances?

Ryan: I think Karem hit it right on the button with hat comment about the father not feeling like a father until he sees the child for the first time. But you can see there is a change in her as soon as she gets pregnant. I think that the two wavelengths of him not wanting to have kids and her wanting to keep them, creates a nice little battle or subtext on screen. You see us do that fight back and forth which is really nice.

Haley: Because we did have that one night, that was really special to both of our characters, hopefully it is believable that we actually did connect and got attached to things in each other that we had never found in anyone else. We kind of did fall in love a little bit then. I think that night was special and it wasn’t like I was a drunk and he took me home and had sex with me, it was more than that. That’s what held things together, even though there was so much disconnection after that, and you kind of hated him and didn’t know what was going to happen since we didn’t even see each for months and months, hopefully you sill want us to be together at the end because of the special connection.

Ryan: At the end of the day, what held him close to her, even after the news of the pregnancy, was the fact that he really did like her. He truly wanted to see where things could go with her, because he really did care. That’s a nice touch.

Hailey : Before they met each other, neither Leslie nor Brian had probably experienced any connection with any other person. That was a really a special thing.

Karem : It occurred to me after shooting, that they only have three occasions where they spent any time together before they have the kids. They hook-up, a month later she tells him and they spend a little time together, and then months later they see each other.

Danny: The first day of shooting we shot the scene where Haley tells him she wants to keep the kids and he misunderstands her and is relieved. That scene is really cool, and that’s thanks to great writing, directing, and of course great acting. It is a very textured scene.

Ryan : We were able to pull that off because we rehearse a lot

Haley : We were forced! Karem made us [Laughs]

Karem : I think we rehearsed that scene more than anything

Hailey : We needed to figure out what Leslie and Brian’s relationship was going to be like, that was important.

Karem : It was also for me to figure out “Are these people going to listen to what I say?”

Danny : How much can I manipulate them? [Laughs]

Aguilar: The inner voice he struggles with adds an added depth to the character. Where did that voice and the other magical realist elements come from?

Karem : I’d written and I’d thrown in lots of stuff like that while working on the script with David Hunter. I didn’t think, “Is this the right thing to do?” I wondered “What is he thinking?” and stylistically it was about never doing the same thing twice. One time you have the reenactment of what he would have said had he had the guts, another time you have him talking with his voiceover voice, there is like 5 or 6 things like that. The point of view of the voice over is just constantly shifting. Sometimes he is in the future looking back; sometimes he is the devil on his shoulder.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Freaks and Geeks Ep 1.09 ‘We’ve Got Spirit’: when regional fever captures McKinley High

Freaks and Geeks Episode 9 ‘We’ve Got Spirit’

Written by Mike White

Directed by Danny Leiner

Aired 1/24/2000 on NBC

There is a holy trinity of events that bring a high school population: lunch every day, school dances, and big sporting events. In theory, high school is really just a bunch of people thrown together because of their geographic location, so those few moments are the rare instances where the population of a school really comes together. But sports events are a monster all to their own: when a sports team becomes a powerhouse, it brings the entire community together, despite all the personal and social dramatics that might be afflicting us. Amongst all the teen angst of McKinley High and its inhabitants, ‘We’ve Got Spirit’ quietly reflects on those rare moments when everyone comes together.

More so, ‘We’ve Got Spirit’ suggests a reason why we don’t come
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Hulu presents first original shows to advertisers

Us video-on-demand service commissions series from Morgan Spurlock, Adrian Grenier and the Assassin's Creed creator

Us video-on-demand service Hulu has made its first ever TV network-style programming presentation to Us advertisers, unveiling original commissions from Morgan Spurlock, Entourage's Adrian Grenier and the creator of the popular video game franchise Assassin's Creed.

Hulu, the joint venture with partners including News Corporation, Disney and NBC Universal, has built its video streaming service on buying rights to exisiting TV shows but a 60% rise in revenue to $420m in 2011 has seen the company look to invest in its own content.

In its first appearance at the hugely important Us upfronts season, when TV broadcasters present new shows in New York and lock down billions of dollars in advertising deals, Hulu unveiled four new original commissions.

"We want you to think of us as a cable TV network, or a slice of the prime time,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Hulu presents first original shows to advertisers

Us video-on-demand service commissions series from Morgan Spurlock, Adrian Grenier and the Assassin's Creed creator

Us video-on-demand service Hulu has made its first ever TV network-style programming presentation to Us advertisers, unveiling original commissions from Morgan Spurlock, Entourage's Adrian Grenier and the creator of the popular video game franchise Assassin's Creed.

Hulu, the joint venture with partners including News Corporation, Disney and NBC Universal, has built its video streaming service on buying rights to exisiting TV shows but a 60% rise in revenue to $420m in 2011 has seen the company look to invest in its own content.

In its first appearance at the hugely important Us upfronts season, when TV broadcasters present new shows in New York and lock down billions of dollars in advertising deals, Hulu unveiled four new original commissions.

"We want you to think of us as a cable TV network, or a slice of the prime time,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Hulu Reveals Originals From Adrian Grenier, Seth Meyers at Upfronts

Today Hulu unveiled four new original series to a crowd of about 500 at their digital upfront, which took place at the Times Center in New York this morning. Part of the Digital Content NewFronts that kicked off this week, the Hulu upfront included several of the most prominent digital-ad buyers on Madison Avenue and executives from marketers like BMW. Here's a breakdown of the slate: The Awesomes, an animated series about comically flawed superheroes, from Saturday Night Live star Seth Meyers and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon producer Michael Shoemaker Don't Quit Your Daydream, a series about struggling musicians, from Entourage star Adrian Grenier We Got Next, a comedy based on friendships made on the basketball court from Kenya Barris from Are We There Yet?, Hale Rothstein from Everybody Hates Chris, and Danny Leiner from The Office Flow, a fantasy series from video game industry star Michael Wendschuh based around
See full article at Tubefilter News »

James Franco explains 'Freaks and Geeks' reunion absence, sold out for getting too method with Busy Philipps

Eleven years to the day after production wrapped on the beloved one-season series "Freaks and Geeks," the bulk of the cast reunited on stage at PaleyFest 2011 in Los Angeles.

Executive producer Judd Apatow and creator Paul Feig sat down with cast members including Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, Seth Rogen, Martin Starr, Jason Segel and Busy Philipps.

The only notable absence among the core cast was James Franco, who, in typical Franco fashion, shared his excuse in a self-made video message.

"Sorry I can't be there tonight. 'Freaks and Geeks' was such a cool show," he said, smiling down at the audience, holding up an iPad next to his face with an illuminated photo of Anne Hathaway.

"Unfortunately, I'm busy rehearsing with Anne," said Franco. "We are going to host the Emmys, the NAACP and the Espys. Anything else you'd like to add Anne?"

He paused, put the
See full article at Zap2It - From Inside the Box »

Lon reviews: ‘Backwash’

Today on LonsTV's I'm looking at the Crackle.com original comedy series Backwash from writer/creator/star Joshua Malina and Danny Leiner (director of the modern comedy classic Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle). The 3 lead characters in Backwash are on the run from the law in a stolen ice cream truck, with only their meager wits and $100,000 in stolen money to sustain them. But the show isn't so much about the driving forward momentum of plot than the bizarre, sophomoric, frequently non sequitur hijinks of man-child Jonesy (Michael Panes), fast-talking schemer Val (Malina) and their accomplice, ice cream truck driver Nick (Michael Ian Black of The State and Stella). Less sitcom than extended comedy sketch, each episode of Backwash opens with a well-known TV star narrating the boys' strange cross-country journey, in the style of Masterpiece Theater. (The ongoing joke is that it's based on a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray,
See full article at Tubefilter News »

Updated: Fake Teaser Poster For A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas

Update! As we suspected the poster is a confirmed fake. It's actually fan art stolen from the IMDb message boards here. We've updated our source credits in the article below to reflect that. In the last decade, as weird as it is to say, few titles have surprised me as much as the Harold and Kumar movies. I went into the first film recognizing it as Danny Leiner's follow-up to Dude, Where's My Car? and was taken aback by how funny it really was and how great the two leads were. Fast forward four years and I walk into Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay expecting a cheap, cash-in sequel, only to have it be similarly effective, though to a lesser degree. Finally convinced that it's fun to watch Kal Penn and John Cho go on sweet adventures together, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas is very much
See full article at Cinema Blend »

First Teaser Poster For A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas?

In the last decade, as weird as it is to say, few titles have surprised me as much as the Harold and Kumar movies. I went into the first film recognizing it as Danny Leiner's follow-up to Dude, Where's My Car? and was taken aback by how funny it really was and how great the two leads were. Fast forward four years and I walk into Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay expecting a cheap, cash-in sequel, only to have it be similarly effective, though to a lesser degree. Finally convinced that it's fun to watch Kal Penn and John Cho go on sweet adventures together, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas is very much on my radar, and now we have the first teaser poster for the movie. HeyUGuys has discovered what they claim is the first one-sheet and while it's a fairly simply design and doesn't
See full article at Cinema Blend »

Josh Malina Talks ‘Backwash’ Web Series, Man-Crushes on Jon Hamm

Josh Malina Talks ‘Backwash’ Web Series, Man-Crushes on Jon Hamm
Josh Malina had a grudge against director Danny Leiner (aka, the man behind "Dude, Where’s My Car" and "Harold and Kumar"). “It was more of a mini-grudge,” jokes Malina. “We’d worked together on “Sports Night” and he went on to do all these things like “The Tick” and “The Sopranos” and I was like, ‘Dude, where’s my call to work together again’?
See full article at Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal »

'Backwash': Josh Malina and Michael Ian Black on the run, on the Web

Joshua Malina ("The West Wing," "SportsNight") was once just a guy with an idea.

"It's been noodling around for a very long time," he tells Zap2it, "Michael Panes is an old friend of mine. He is very old, I'm not. I've written this in various forms over the years. I wrote it as a movie. I wrote it as a pilot.

"I created these two main characters for Michael Panes and myself, and every few years, he'd say, 'Why don't you finish that thing?' I'm not big on completion."

At long last, the characters -- Val (Malina) and Jonesy (Panes) -- have found a home, and it's not in a movie or a TV show. On Monday, Nov. 15, Sony's Website for original video, Crackle.com, premieres "Backwash," a series of 13 episodes, each seven to nine minutes in length (and featuring some very salty language).

They tell the story
See full article at Zap2It - From Inside the Box »

Joshua Malina, Michael Panes and Michael Ian Black in 'Backwash' for Crackle

A new comedy webbie, "Backwash" premieres on Crackle November 15. Joshua Malina, Michael Panes and Michael Ian Black are three slacker friends who hit the road in an ice cream truck, after one of them inadvertently robs $100K from a bank armed only with a large salami. Influenced by touch of Python, a smattering of Marx Brothers, "Backwash" is a slapstick look at the effects of sudden wealth on three American losers.Val (Joshua Malina), Jonesy (Michael Panes) and Fleming (Michael Ian Black), told through action, animation, surrealist humor, as well as song and dance. "Backwash" is directed by Danny Leiner, written by Joshua Malina, and executive produced by Daniel Schnider, Leiner and Malina. Cameos featured
See full article at Monsters and Critics »

Cast loves their 'Saints'

Meg Ryan, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, John Lithgow, Joe Anderson and Kat Dennings will star in Bcdf Pictures' drama "Lives of the Saints."According to Variety, Chris Rossi is writing and directing.The cast also includes Kevin Zegars, Anthony Anderson and Esai Morales.Matt Tauber is producing with Claude Dal Farra and Daniel Swee. Brice Dal Farra, Lauren Munsch and Paul Prokop of Bcdf Pictures are executive producing, along with Danny Leiner and Jennifer Levine of Untitled Entertainment. The story dissects the intertwining stories of a group of Los Angeles residents seeking redemption for past mistakes. Shooting is set to begin November 13 in Los Angeles.
See full article at Monsters and Critics »

Are zombies the new vampires in Hollywood?

Are zombies the new vampires in Hollywood?
What's that shambling over the curb toward the local theater? No, behind the vampires. Could it be a stampede of the undead about to take over Hollywood?

AMC's new drama series "The Walking Dead" debuts on Halloween, and more than a half-dozen zombie-related feature projects are on their way to theaters -- including Friday's "Resident Evil: Afterlife" -- or in development at the studios. With this many flesh-rotting grave-jumpers on tap, could zombies be making a run -- or, perhaps, a very slow, clumsy walk -- at the pop culture crown?

"Zombie movies, much like zombies, could become this horde that just marches across the world," said Rhett Reese, who co-wrote last year's breakout hit "Zombieland" with Paul Wernick.

The movie, TV and publishing industries have been feasting on vampires for material the past few years. But like every profitable trend, the obsession with bloodsuckers must eventually head back into
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Revived and Derived: "Freaks and Geeks" Ep. 9, "We've Got Spirit"

  • IFC
Revived and Derived:
"Freaks and Geeks" is now airing on IFC, and we thought we'd take this opportunity to revisit the show that launched a thousand bromance movies. Every week, Matt Singer and Alison Willmore will be offering their thoughts on that night's episode.

Episode 9

We've Got Spirit

Directed by Danny Leiner

Written by Mike White

"Cheerleaders have to date athletes. It's the law." -- Neil

Matt: The stories of "Freaks and Geeks" are stories of the high school underclass. But with "We've Got Spirit," the tenuous armistice that's held for eight episodes between the burnouts and dweebs and their social betters erupts into full-blown class warfare. The athletically indifferent freaks discover their school spirit during a series of skirmishes -- water balloons, spray paint, fist fights -- with jocks from rival school Lincoln High (we can tell they're not freaks by their varsity jackets).

Meanwhile, Sam becomes the McKinley High mascot in
See full article at IFC »

Neil Patrick Harris Backs Prop. 8 Ruling

It isn't the least bit of an exaggeration to call Neil Patrick Harris Emmy's triple threat. The TV, film and stage veteran earned three nominations this year -- for his turn in Season 5 of CBS' comedy "How I Met Your Mother," for hosting the 2009 Tony Awards and for his guest spot on Fox's "Glee." The former Emmy host and soon-to-be father chats with THR's Leslie Bruce about his busy year, how he feels about the overturning of California's Prop. 8 and the rumors he's taking a break from Hollywood. The Hollywood Reporter: With projects in film, TV and on the stage, you've had a very industrious year. How does it feel to double your career Emmy nominations in one fell swoop?Harris: I have three times as much of a chance to lose, so I'm very excited. It's been a busy year, but I'm happy to be riding the "Glee" train.
See full article at Backstage »

Cannes 2009 Producer's Patch: Mandate Pictures

  • Mandate might not be a supplier of films for Cannes' competition, but they supply tons of stuff: not only for Lionsgate, but in Grant HeslovGrant Heslov
[/link]'s debut The Men Who Stare at Goats, Drew Barrymore's roller derby film Whip It! and Tarsem's third feature film in the soon to be shooting War of Gods. Facing Ali  by Pete McCormack - Completed    Five Killers  by Robert Luketic - Production    The Baster  by Josh Gordon - Production    The Widows' Adventures  by Danny Leiner - Pre-Production    Warrior  by Gavin O'Connor - Production    Alpha And Omega: 3-D  by Anthony Bell - Production    Dear John  by Lasse Hallstrom - Post-Production    More Than A Game  by Kristopher Belman - Completed    Saw VI  by Kevin Greutert - Production    Season Of The Witch  by Dominic Sena - Post-Production    Shrink  by Jonas Pate - Completed    The 4th Kind  by Olatunde Osunsanmi - Completed    The Haunting In Connecticut
See full article at ioncinema »

No Vacancy By Howard Feinstein

Leading up to the Oscars on Feb. 22, we will be highlighting the nominated films that have appeared in the magazine or on the Website in the last year. Howard Feinstein interviewed the key principals of The Visitor for our Spring '08 issue. The Visitor is nominated for Best Actor (Richard Jenkins). In 2005, Tom McCarthy, who has been acting for nearly 20 years, appeared in three films with strong political thrusts: Syriana; Good Night, and Good Luck; and Danny Leiner‘s underappreciated The Great New Wonderful. In The Station Agent (2003), his first feature as a director, however, McCarthy displayed the seeds of this social engagement. The Station Agent is not political in the issue sense so much as it is progressively anthropological...
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Web Exclusives »
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