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Fuller: Trek TV Gossip Rated 'Pants On Fire'

25 June 2016 2:23 PM, PDT | AirlockAlpha.com | See recent Airlock Alpha news »

Bryan Fuller won't share too many details of the new Star Trek series, reportedly saving them for San Diego Comic-Con next month. But what he can say is all that gossip originating from a blog with unverified and uncorroborated information? Totally not true.Fuller, the former "Star Trek: Voyager" writer who will serve as showrunner for the CBS All Access series, says reports that circulated over the spring that set his show after "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" and before "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is false. Also false? The fact that the new series would be an anthology show.In fact, Fuller said reading the various reports online about the show makes him almost wish there was a Politifact for rumors. Then he could check the accuracy and rate them on a varying scale between true »

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'Star Trek: Waypoint' Arrives In September

25 June 2016 2:21 PM, PDT | AirlockAlpha.com | See recent Airlock Alpha news »

Idw Publishing is exploring reaches of Star Trek that have never been reached in the franchise's 50 years with the "Star Trek: Waypoint" comic book series.Offered as a six-issue, bi-monthly anthology series containing a collection of short stories spanning all things Trek, Idw has been mum on what exactly the series will explore. That is except for two teasers: Uhura will lead a story from the original "Star Trek" era, while Geordi La Forge and Data will be be featured in a story from the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" era.And it all starts in September, the month that officially marks the 50th anniversary, with issues retailing at $4.Star Trek comic books have been around nearly as long as the television show itself, starting with a classic 61-issue series produced by Gold Key Comics beginning »

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Movie Review – Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

20 June 2016 10:00 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016).

Directed by Roland Emmerich.

Starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, William Fichtner, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Brent Spiner, Joey King, Judd Hirsch and Deobia Oparei.


Humanity won round one. But now, 20 years later, the aliens are back…and then some.

The President of the United States (Sela Ward) walks through a nuclear bunker, flanked by military officials and advisors on either side. It’s been 20 years since the War of ’96 (Independence Day: Resurgence’s name for the events of the first movie), yet despite Earth’s efforts to prepare for another attack, an invading alien force is descending upon the planet.

“The ship will touch down over the Atlantic, ma’am,” one of the high and tight haired men informs.

“Which part?” replies the President.

“All of it.”

It’s the best line in the film, and one delivered with utter straight-faced seriousness. »

- Oli Davis

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Anton Yelchin: actor of cherubic charm who inspired huge affection | Peter Bradshaw

19 June 2016 1:32 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Star Trek actor, who has died in a freak car accident, was beginning to mature into a performer of heartbreaking sensitivity and impressive range

Related: Anton Yelchin, Star Trek actor, dies in car accident at age 27

Fans of Jeremy Saulnier’s ultraviolent horror Green Room will have enjoyed an irony in the casting – maybe even suspected a deliberate extra-textual joke. A struggling punk band find themselves stranded in the middle of Oregon, their van conked out in a field, and desperate for some cash agree to play at a roadhouse exclusively patronised by neo-Nazi skinheads. They want to do the gig, get paid and get out, but things get complicated when they chance across a dead body backstage. The venue is run by a very sinister old white bald guy called Darcy, played by Patrick Stewart — associated by many with his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Anton Yelchin: actor of cherubic charm who inspired huge affection | Peter Bradshaw

19 June 2016 1:32 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The Star Trek actor, who has died in a freak car accident, was beginning to mature into a performer of heartbreaking sensitivity and impressive range

Related: Anton Yelchin, Star Trek actor, dies in car accident at age 27

Fans of Jeremy Saulnier’s ultraviolent horror Green Room will have enjoyed an irony in the casting – maybe even suspected a deliberate extra-textual joke. A struggling punk band find themselves stranded in the middle of Oregon, their van conked out in a field, and desperate for some cash agree to play at a roadhouse exclusively patronised by neo-Nazi skinheads. They want to do the gig, get paid and get out, but things get complicated when they chance across a dead body backstage. The venue is run by a very sinister old white bald guy called Darcy, played by Patrick Stewart — associated by many with his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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‘Star Trek’ Family Mourns Anton Yelchin; Jj Abrams Calls Him “Brilliant”, “Kind”, “Funny”

19 June 2016 1:20 PM, PDT | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Refresh For Updates Anton Yelchin’s Star Trek costars and colleagues expressed sadness and shock today, as news spread of the actor’s death. Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin, Chris Doohan, son of original Star Trek actor James Doohan, Yelchin’s Star Trek reboot costars Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, and John Cho, and Star Trek: The Next Generation co-star Levar Burton were among the Trek alums who took to social media to mourn Yelchin this afternoon. Executive producer… »

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Ronnie Claire Edwards, The Waltons' Corabeth, Dead at 83

15 June 2016 5:58 PM, PDT | TVLine.com | See recent TVLine.com news »

Ronnie Claire Edwards, who played The Waltons‘ Corabeth for seven seasons, has died. She was 83.

Edwards “passed peacefully in her sleep” early Wednesday, according to a post on her official Facebook page. “Our beautiful and extraordinary friend has made her final curtain call. Thank you for all your wonderful and caring support.”

Edwards portrayed Ike Godsey’s wife. She joined the show in 1975 and continued through to the series’ 1981 finale and several Waltons TV movies. Her other television gigs included Dallas, Falcon Crest, Dynasty and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Related storiesThe Waltons and Falcon Crest Creator Earl Hamner Jr. »

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‘The Waltons’ Actress Ronnie Claire Edwards Dies at 83

15 June 2016 2:15 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Ronnie Claire Edwards, best known for her portrayal of Corabeth Godsey in the 1971 series “The Waltons,” has died, according to a post on her Facebook page. She was 83.

Edwards made her debut in the third season of “The Waltons” as a mousy spinster who, after some persuasion from John (Ralph Waite) and Olivia (Michael Learned), hesitantly marries storekeeper Ike Godsey after his proposal following their first date. She appeared in over 100 episodes.

Though “The Waltons” was her most recognizable role, the Oklahoma-born actress began her career in 1963, starring as Sally in “All the Way Home.” She appeared in multiple miniseries and TV movies afterwards including “The American Parade,” “Paper Moon” and “This the West that Was.”

Edwards’ acting career spanned several decades, also landing roles in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” In 1995, she reprised her role as Corabeth in “A Walton Wedding” and again in 1997’s “A Walton Easter.” She appeared in her last TV series, “12 Miles of Bad Road,” in 2007.

Edwards also wrote a play titled “Idols of the King” with Allen Crowe which dealt with the passionate fans of Elvis Presley.

She had been living in Dallas until her death.


- Lamarco McClendon

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‘Star Trek’ Vr Game Gets Tested By Stars Including LeVar Burton & Karl Urban

15 June 2016 11:31 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

During an E3 demonstration “Star Trek” stars LeVar Burton, who played Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Karl Urban who plays Bones in the upcoming “Star Trek Beyond” film, and Jeri Ryan, known for her role as the Borg Seven of Nine “Star Trek: Voyager,” tried the new “Star Trek: Bridge Crew” virtual reality game.

The game includes four players who work together to pilot a starship. The actors, experienced in the “Star Trek” universe, had the opportunity to test out the new Ubisoft game before its release this fall and were pretty pumped about the experience.

Read More: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ New Trailer: Idris Elba Threatens The Enterprise In Action-Packed Journey

“This is amazing,” said Burton. “If I could have imagined what I would have wanted the ‘Star Trek’ Vr game to be, this is it!”

The video shows the actors testing out the features, gives fans a sneak peek of what the game looks like and how the body controls certain effects.

“That was an extraordinary experience, to be fully encompassed in that world,” added Urban.

Read More: ‘Star Trek’ Teaser Trailer: CBS Unveils First Look and Logo of The Upcoming Sci-Fi Series

Watch the entertaining video below and see how excited the actors were to test out the new “Star Trek: Bridge Crew” Vr game.

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Related stories'Star Trek: Axanar' Lawsuit to Be Dropped by Studio: J.J. Abrams Says Fan-Made Film Will Go ForwardCBS Trailers Ranked: How 'Training Day' & 'MacGyver' Stack Up'Star Trek' Teaser Trailer: CBS Unveils First Look and Logo of The Upcoming Sci-Fi Series »

- Liz Calvario

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Thomas Middleditch and Patrick Stewart on Doing Standup, Nicknames and Crazy Fan Encounters

14 June 2016 10:00 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

To keep up with the irrepressible wit of Thomas Middleditch, we turned to none other than Sir Patrick Stewart. The banter between the star of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and the legendary actor — now creating his own memorable version of a talk show host in Starz’ “Blunt Talk” — ranged from jokes about their middle names (or lack thereof) to a far deeper exploration about what drove them to pursue their chosen careers. (And then there’s that moment when Middleditch asked Stewart to play “F—k, Marry, Kill,” but we’ll direct you to our website for that unforgettable clip.)

Thomas Middleditch: Do you have a middle name?

Patrick Stewart: I did have a middle name for about 18 months, because when I came to Hollywood in 1987, and tried to join the Screen Actors Guild there was already another Patrick Stewart, a member of the Guild. So there was a lot of negotiation over 18 months or so before I could use my full name. So I took an initial. And I chose an initial that would not have a disruptive effect on the whole word, so my name is Stewart, and chose the name Hewes, H-e-w-e-s. So you can say Patrick Hewes Stewart and you don’t really hear it. It’s not there at all.

Thomas Middleditch’s fashion available at East Dane

French Trotters shirt

Bryce Duffy for Variety

Middleditch: An unexpectedly detailed answer.

Stewart: I did warn you about the long answers to the simplest question.

Middleditch: Well around here, around Hollywood you’re called P-Stew. Everyone calls you that.   

Stewart: I like it very much.

Middleditch: It’s street. It’s quite urban.   

Stewart: Like many good things in my life it was my wife’s idea. Um, in fact Sir Pat Stew is …

Middleditch: There you go bringing in the knighthood.

Stewart: Well you know I have to …

Middleditch: First five minutes.

Stewart: What about you? Did you ever have a middle name?   

Middleditch: Of course, I still do.   

Stewart: I hope your story’s half as interesting as mine was.

Middleditch: No, it’s zero percent interesting. Thomas Steven, with a “v,” Middleditch.   

Stewart: Ok, but would you like to tell us where Middeditch comes from?

Middleditch: A Charles Dickens novel. No, it doesn’t, but it sounds like it does.

Stewart: Darn! That would have been great!

Middleditch: But doesn’t it sound like it should? Thomas Steven Middleditch, back to the coal mines!

“It felt exciting that when I would do this thing, I would get …that laughter and applause and approval — these are all sad things to want.” Thomas Middleditch

Stewart: What is the history of that name?

Middleditch: The Middleditches for many years, decades even, have been trying to figure that out. Everyone in my family has a different hypothesis. Some say agriculture. Some say, I think, my brother wants it to be like a soldier. He wants it to be like some kind of trench-digging thing.

Stewart: It’s a great name. 

Middleditch: Now P-Stew, what brought you back to television? You were gone for so long everyone said, “where is he?”    

Stewart: Yeah, when I disappear like that people always think that I’m with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, because nobody knows who’s there. It’s like going to some remote place in Alaska, though more fun.

Middleditch: Alaskan theater, by the way, is taking off.   

Stewart: I’ll investigate that another time. Yeah, it’s true. I had not done, certainly not series TV, since “Star Trek: The Next Generation” wrapped in April 1994.   

Middleditch: I’ve never heard of that show.   

Stewart: It’s a kind of genre show, with a rather small, specialized and highly intellectual audience. In fact, exclusively intellectuals. Which doesn’t surprise me that you’ve never heard of it.

Middleditch: Yeah I wouldn’t have heard, no. I’m kind of a sports guy.

Stewart: How did it all start for you?

Middleditch: Well, I believe much like you I got my, my first licks in the theater. The boards. I must give a big tip of the old hat to my eighth-grade drama teacher, Mr. Ken Wilson. I was always kind of a shy kid, but had a real ham inside. Like my impressions of my dad are always like, “Put on a proper smile Tom!” Because he’d be trying to take a photo I’d be like, ooooh, you know? But I also got teased a lot. And he just said, “I’m going to put you in a play” and then from that point on, I got into it. And took it a lot more seriously each year.

Stewart: So do you recall the first time you stepped onto a stage pretending to be someone other than Middleditch?

Middleditch: I do.

Switching Gears: Patrick Stewart toplines his first TV comedy series with Starz’s “Blunt Talk.”

Stewart: How did you feel?

Middleditch: It felt great. I got obsessed with “Kids in the Hall,” all that kind of stuff, but it was still pretty nebulous at that point. But I remember there was this bit, a routine, at the beginning of the play where I pop my head out and see the audience, get scared, and go back in. And this is like, you know, at that age, eighth grade, where you can do anything.

Stewart: I saw you do that on “Silicon Valley” the other night.

Middleditch: I’m known for that.   

Stewart: What was the emotional feeling of being on a stage eventually when you rehearse with lights flooding you and a darkened auditorium with people who you didn’t know sitting out there. How did that feel?

Middleditch: I can’t put it into like the feeling, the word, but I know it felt like this. It felt exciting that when I would do this thing, I would get that reaction, and that laughter and applause and approval — these are all sad things to want. But having that kind of stuff just sort of beamed back at me, because I did a thing.

Stewart: Was it largely comedy that you were doing then? Has it always been primarily comedy?

Middleditch: Yeah, it’s always been primarily comedy. Probably at one point in theater school, of which I dropped out…

Stewart: Well I’m interested because I was 12 when I was put in a play with adults for the first time. I’d done local pageants. In fact there is documentary evidence that when I was about 6 I played a character called Tom Towngate. Which was where I actually lived, in Towngate. I asked you this about how it felt because for me the experience, the very first time I walked on stage to rehearse in our school hall, with adults, I felt for the first time in my life actually safe.   

Middleditch: Oh really?

Stewart: And it was decades later and lots of very expensive but very fine Los Angeles therapy that I worked out what had happened. First of all, I was in a place, being in a play, where I knew what was going to happen. My family life was a little bit chaotic and sometimes a little scary and you never quite knew what was going to happen next, especially weekends. So, being in a play, everything was pre-determined. So I knew nothing bad could happen to me. I wasn’t being Patrick Stewart, who I didn’t care very much for anyway. I was playing another character.

Middleditch: Yeah. 

Stewart: And in this case a wealthy public school boy, which was as far removed from me as it could possibly be. So, the attraction was instantaneous and the impact was instantaneous. That I was in another life, in another world, being another person. And I, without becoming too introspective about that, I think that has remained as one of the primary urges in my life to do this job, this crazy job that we do. So you’ve just finished shooting the third season of “Silicon Valley,” which is an ensemble. Is there a particular attraction for you in that ensemble world rather than, you know, here’s the star of the show?

Middleditch: I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference, because I haven’t really had that much experience being the sole pillar of any type of production. But I love it coming from, I guess, some theater and then mainly improv, because in comedy you need the other people to be on stage with you. Because there’s interaction, there’s scene work as opposed to standing and delivering jokes, say, in standup. I know for myself, I probably work a lot better in that, in the group environment. Only because if I am coming up short someone else helps.

Stewart: So you’ve done standup, a lot of standup.

Middleditch: Yeah. 

Stewart: I’ve done solo shows. And I found it lonely. I long to have another actor come on and say a few lines and then go off. I didn’t want them to stick around. Leave, and then I can get on with my own solo performance. But is there an overlap from the standup world?

“There is one standing joke that I have with my colleagues on ‘Blunt Talk,’ that I’m continually saying, ‘I’ve never done this before!’ ” Patrick Stewart

Middleditch: Both the benefit and the terrifying aspect of standup is when it’s going poorly, you’ve only yourself to blame. There’s no one to bail you out. But when it’s going great, all that approval is for you. There’s overlap, of course, because there are some comedians where their stuff is very tightly scripted and that’s a certain way of delivering jokes.

Stewart: That’s not you. No.

Middleditch: No, no. I find it’s nice to have things that I can go back to, so I know how I’m gonna end everything, but I do like to go off on tangents. I like stream-of-consciousness, trying to interact as much as I can, even though I’m terrible at what they call in the biz “crowd work.” It’s a funny term.

Stewart: Crowd work? Really?   

Middleditch: Yeah. Now, Patrick, Sir Patrick, P-Stew, your character in “Blunt Talk” is a bit of a ragamuffin, he’s into drinking, and having all kinds of fun. Have you played something like this, that we just don’t know about before? Or is this new? And what’s exciting as an actor to get into something like that?

Stewart: Well, in a couple of words, it is new. There is one constant kind of standing joke that I have with the crew and my colleagues on “Blunt Talk,” that I’m continually saying, ‘I’ve never done this before! This is the first time!’ Like I did an interrogation scene in a police interrogation room. Bare room, bare metal table, two detectives sitting — I had never played a scene like that before. And it was so exciting. I remember years ago a friend telling me he worked with Ian Holm, the British actor, and they were shooting a movie. And he came back into the trailer and he said to my friend, “I’m happy now. I can die contented as an actor.” And Tim said, “Well why?” He said, “Because I’ve just shot a scene when I ran along the roof of a moving train with a gun in my hand, there’s nothing more I want to do. “

Middleditch: Yeah, yeah.

Stewart: So, I think we all have those. So yeah, I have snorted cocaine on camera, which I have never done. I played my first post-coital scene, with Elisabeth Shue, which had all kinds of delights and pleasures attached to it. I’ve never actually started to undress a woman that, which I have done with a lovely actress. I, I  have never drunk so much alcohol. Not even when I played George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Middleditch: Yes. Naturally.

Stewart: I’ve been in prison recently, in the show. You know wearing an orange suit, never ever done that before. I’ve never sung rap songs before, which I did in the first season of the series. So it is a constant delight to be having these new experiences. But even for me, our careers in a way couldn’t be more different. Comedy has come very, very late. 

Middleditch: Yes. 

Stewart: And for that I think two people have to be held responsible. And everyone should know this, because if they don’t like what I do as a funny actor, then these are the two people that they should go and speak to. First of all, Ricky Gervais, who cast me in “Extras,” and Seth MacFarlane cast me in “American Dad” 12 years ago.

Middleditch: Yeah, yeah.   

Stewart: So these two guys first said, “You’re funny.” And this has led to this new life, at the age of 75.   

Middleditch: What’s your favorite, best fan encounter? I’m sure it’s been at “Star Trek” conventions.   

Stewart: There are all kinds of encounters at those events, at those conventions. I have not been part of that world for a little while now. But the most bizarre was some years ago now, 10 years ago or more. I was in Mexico and I had been exploring the great Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula. And there was one place in particular that had a complete sacred ball court.

‘Silicon’ Standout: Thomas Middleditch stars as tech genius Richard Hendricks on HBO’s Emmy favorite “Silicon Valley.”

Middleditch: Like tennis ball court?

Stewart: Yeah, they played a ball game. They’re not quite sure what the rules of this game were, but there is a something that comes out from the side of the court, which is like a sunken pit that has a circle in it. Instead of it being a basket, it’s a vertical circle in the wall. I’d gone back there very late in the afternoon, knowing that the place would be closing down, because I wanted to have it as much to myself as possible, and then just let myself go with fantasies about the Mayan people. It all worked perfectly, sun had set, it was getting dusk, the call came out, “We’re closing the park, everybody has to leave now.” Then finally the moment came I had to leave, and I was climbing down off the back wall of the sacred ball court, just as a woman came around a corner. And then she said, “Oh my God it’s Jean-Luc Picard!” And all my Mayan fantasies just collapsed and crumbled in the moment.   

Middleditch: That’s a great moment.

Stewart: What about you? You must have them?

Middleditch: I’m not at that point really where I’ll impress someone so delightfully with my presence. Hopefully in some years. But I find now it’s really interesting just even being in just the game more, more legitimately here in Hollywood, the idea of just meeting people. Let alone them being fans of yours, but that you thought you’d never meet or were influential in your life. Like us developing a friendship has been great. I remember first season just came out and I was at some HBO party, and Marisa Tomei comes up and says, “I love your show!” And it’s like, oh that’s weird, I never thought that was going to happen.

Stewart: Yeah. 

Middleditch: I managed to meet a few of the “Kids in the Hall” and those guys were very influential for me, and just now that you get into this world you meet these people. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross from “Mr. Show.” These people that kind of formed your sense of humor. Ricky Gervais, met him a couple times. He wouldn’t remember it.

Stewart: But it was for me, the time at the Golden Globes when I met all your colleagues Tj, and Martin and the whole cast. I was in geek heaven to have all four, five of you around me at that time. And of course to meet the show’s creator, Mike Judge.  It was a big, big thrill. I want to mention one other thing if I can really quickly. I read something in the newspaper the other day that gave me so much reassurance. We’re all insecure.

Middleditch: God yes. 

Stewart: Ok that’s a given. We’re all insecure. Well, I read a wonderful interview with Dustin Hoffman. He was in London for the opening of a movie. And he was being interviewed, and he was asked, was there one disappointment in his life? Was there one thing that he never quite achieved or wanted to achieve and didn’t? And he said, “Oh yes, absolutely. That I’m not Jack Nicholson.” And I want to say, “But you’re Dustin Hoffman!”

Middleditch: Yeah.   

Stewart: It doesn’t matter if you’re not Jack Nicholson, but that Dustin should have thought that really that’s what he would have liked to have been, he was an actor like Jack Nicholson. I find so charming and so reassuring that someone so distinguished and so remarkable can still have that feeling of but you know there was something else I could have done better.

Middleditch: Of course. Of course.


- Debra Birnbaum

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Warner Bros, and its disastrous movie summer of 1997

13 June 2016 2:21 PM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »




Warner Bros has struggled with its blockbusters of late. But back in summer 1997 - Batman & Robin's year - it faced not dissimilar problems.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Warner Bros, following a string of costly movies that hadn’t hit box office gold (Pan, Jupiter Ascending, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., In The Heart Of The Sea), was restructuring its blockbuster movie business. Fewer films, fewer risks, more franchises, and more centering around movie universes seems to be the new approach, and the appointment of a new corporate team to oversee the Harry Potter franchise last week was one part of that.

In some ways, it marks the end of an era. Whilst it retains its relationships with key directing talent (Ben Affleck, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan for instance), Warner Bros was, for the bulk of the 1990s in particular, the studio that the others were trying to mimic. It worked with the same stars and filmmakers time and time again, and under then-chiefs Terry Semel and Robert Daly, relationships with key talent were paramount.

Furthermore, the studio knew to leave that talent to do its job, and was also ahead of the pack in developing franchises that it could rely on to give it a string of hits.

However, whilst Warner Bros is having troubles now, its way of doing business was first seriously challenged by the failure of its slate in the summer of 1997. Once again, it seemed to have a line up to cherish, that others were envious of. But as film by film failed to click, every facet of Warner Bros’ blockbuster strategy suddenly came under scrutiny, and would ultimately fairly dramatically change. Just two summers later, the studio released The Matrix, and blockbuster cinema changed again.

But come the start of summer 1997? These are the movies that Warner Bros had lined up, and this is what happened…

February - National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation

Things actually had got off to a decent enough start for the studio earlier in the year, so it's worth kicking off there. It brought Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo back together, for the fourth National Lampoon movie, and the first since 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Interestingly, it dropped the National Lampoon moniker in the Us, and instead released the eventual movie as Vegas Vacation. It was a belated sequel, back when belated sequels weren’t that big a thing.

The film was quickly pulled apart by reviewers, but it still just about clawed a profit. The production budget of $25m was eclipsed by the Us gross of $36m, and the movie would do comfortable business on video/DVD. Not a massive hit, then, but hardly a project that had a sense of foreboding about it.

Yet the problems were not far away.

May – Father's Day

Warner Bros had a mix of movies released in the Us in March and April 1997, including modest Wesley Snipes-headlined thriller Murder At 1600, and family flick Shiloh. But it launched its summer season with Father’s Day, an expensive packaged comedy from director Ivan Reitman, starring Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. It had hit written all over it.

Father’s Day was one of the movies packaged by the CAA agency, and its then-head, Mike Ovitz (listed regularly by Premiere magazine in the 1990s as one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, if not the most powerful man). That he brought together the stars, the director and the project, gave a studio a price tag, and the studio duly paid it. Given Warner Bros’ devotion to star talent (Mel Gibson, then one of the biggest movie stars in the world, and a major Warner Bros talent, was persuaded to film a cameo), it was a natural home for the film. It quickly did the deal. few questions asked.

That package, and CAA’s fees for putting it together, brought the budget for a fairly straightforward comedy to a then-staggering $85m. The problem, though, was that the film simply wasn’t very good. It’s one of those projects that looks great on paper, less great when exposed on a great big screen. Warner Bros has snapped it up, without - it seems - even properly reading the script. 

Premiere magazine quoted a Warner Bros insider back in November 1997 as saying “when [CAA] calls and says ‘we have a package, Father’s Day, with Williams and Crystal and Reitman, we say ‘great’”, adding “we don’t scrutinise the production. When we saw the movie, it took the wind out of us. We kept reshooting and enhancing, but you can’t fix something that’s bad”.

And it was bad.

The movie would prove to be the first big misfire of the summer, grossing just $35m in the Us, and not adding a fat lot more elsewhere in the world. Warner Bros’ first film of the summer was a certified flop. More would soon follow.

May - Addicted To Love

A more modestly priced project was Addicted To Love, a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick. Just over a year later, Warner Bros would hit big when Meg Ryan reunited with Tom Hanks for Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail. But here? The film was a modest success, at best.

Directed by Griffin Dunne (making his directorial debut), and put together in partnership with Miramax, Addicted To Love was based around the Robert Palmer song of the same name. But whilst it was sold as a romcom, the muddled final cut was actually a fair bit darker. There was an underlying nastiness to some moments in the film, and when the final box office was tallied, it came in lower than the usual returns for pictures from Ryan or Broderick. Counter-programming it against the release of The Lost World: Jurassic Park didn’t massively help in this instance either, especially as the Jurassic Park sequel would smash opening weekend records.

Addicted To Love ended up with $34.6m at the Us box office. It would eke out a small profit.

June - Batman & Robin

And this is when the alarm bells started to ring very, very loudly. Summer 1997 was supposed to be about a trio of sure-fire hit sequels: Batman 4, Jurassic Park 2 and Speed 2. Only one of those would ultimately bring home the box office bacon, the others being destroyed by critics, and ultimately leaving far more empty seats than anticipated in multiplexes.

Batman & Robin, it’s easy to forget, came off the back of 1995’s Joel Schumacher-steered Batman reboot, Batman Forever that year's biggest movie). It had one of the fastest-growing stars in the world in the Batsuit (George Clooney), and the McDonald’s deals were signed even before the script was typed up. You don’t need us to tell you that you could tell, something of a theme already in Warner Bros' summer of '97.

That said, Batman & Robin still gave Warner Bros a big opening, but in the infancy of the internet as we know it, poisonous word of mouth was already beginning to spread. The film’s negative cost Warner Bros up to $140m, before marketing and distribution costs, and it opened in the Us to a hardly-sniffy $42m of business (although that was down from previous Batman movies).

But that word of mouth still accelerated its departure from cinemas. It was then very rare for a film to make over 40% of its Us gross in its first weekend. But that’s just what Batman & Robin did, taking $107.3m in America, part of a worldwide total of $238.2m. This was the worst return for a Batman movie to date, and Warner Bros had to swiftly put the brakes on plans to get Batman Triumphant moving.

It would be eight years until Batman returned to the big screen, in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. Warner Bros would undergo big changes in the intervening period.

As for the immediate aftermath of Batman & Robin? Warner Bros co-chief Robert Daly would note at the end of '97 that “we’d have been better off with more action in the picture. The movie had to service too many characters”, adding that “the next Batman we do, in three years – and we have a deal with George Clooney to do it – will have one villain”.

Fortunately, Warner Bros’ one solid hit of the summer was just around the corner…

July - Contact

And breathe out.

Warner Bros bet heavily again on expensive talent here, with Robert Zemeckis bringing his adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Contact to the studio for his first film post-Forrest Gump. Warner Bros duly footed the $90m bill (back when that was still seen as a lot of money for a movie), a good chunk of which went to Jodie Foster. It invested heavily in special effects, and gave Zemeckis licence to make the film that he wanted.

The studio was rewarded with the most intelligent and arguably the best blockbuster of the summer. I’ve looked back at Contact in a lot more detail here, and it remains a fascinating film that’s stood the test of time (and arguably influenced Christopher Nolan’s more recent Interstellar).

Reviews were strong, it looked terrific, and the initial box office was good.

But then the problem hit. For whilst Contact was a solid hit for Warner Bros, it wasn’t a massively profitable one. Had Father’s Day and Batman & Robin shouldered the box office load there were supposed to, it perhaps wouldn’t have been a problem. But when they failed to take off, the pressure shifted to Contact.

The movie would gross $100.9m in the Us, and add another $70m overseas (this being an era were international box office rarely had the importance it has today). But once Warner Bros had paid its bills, there wasn’t a fat lot over for itself. Fortunately, the film still sells on disc and on-demand. Yet it wasn’t to be the massive hit the studio needed back in 1997.

July - One Eight Seven

From director Kevin Reynolds, the man who helmed Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and Waterworld, came modestly-priced drama 187, starring Samuel L Jackson (in a strong performance). Warner Bros wouldn’t have had massive box office expectations for the film (although it can't have been unaware that the inspirational teacher sub-genre was always worth a few quid), and it shared production duties on the $20m movie with Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions. But still, it would have had its eye on a modest success. What it got in return was red ink.

The film’s not a bad one, and certainly worth seeking out. But poor reviews gave the film an uphill struggle from the off – smaller productions arriving mid-summer really needed critics on their side, as they arguably still do – and it opened to just $2.2m of business (the less edgy, Michelle Pfeiffer-headlined school drama Dangerous Minds had been a surprise hit not two years before).

By the time its run was done, 187 hadn’t even come close to covering its production costs, with just under $6m banked.

Warner Bros’ summer slate was running out of films. But at least it had one of its most reliable movie stars around the corner…

August - Conspiracy Theory

What could go wrong? Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts were two of the biggest movie stars in the world in 1997, at a time when movie stars still equated to box office gold. Director Richard Donner, one of Warner Bros’ favourite directors, had delivered the Lethal Weapons, Maverick, Superman, The Goonies and more for the studio. Put them altogether, with Patrick Stewart (coming to wider public consciousness at the time off the back of his Star Trek: The Next Generation work) as a villain, and it should have been a big hit.

Conspiracy Theory proved to be one of the more ambitious summer blockbusters of the era. It lacks a good first act, which would be really useful in actually setting up more of what’s going on. But Gibson played an edgy cab driver who believes in deep government conspiracies, and finds himself getting closer to the truth than those around him sometimes give him credit for.

Warner Bros was probably expecting another Lethal Weapon with the reunion of Gibson (who had to be persuaded to take Conspiracy Theory on) and Donner (it’s pretty much what it got with the hugely enjoyable Maverick a few years’ earlier), but instead it got a darker drama, with an uneasy central character that didn’t exactly play to the summer box office crowd.

The bigger problem, though, was that the film never quite worked as well as you might hope. Yet star power did have advantages. While no juggernaut, the film did decent business, grossing $137m worldwide off the back of an $80m budget ($40m of which was spent on the salaries for the talent before a single roll of film was loaded into a camera). That said, in the Us it knocked a genuine smash hit, Air Force One, off the top spot. Mind you in hindsight, that was probably the film that the studio wished it had made (the cockpit set of Warner Bros' own Executive Decision was repurposed for Air Force One, fact fans).

Still: Warner Bros did get Lethal Weapon 4 off Gibson and Donner a year later…

August - Free Willy 3: The Rescue


Warner Bros opened its third Free Willy film on the same day as Conspiracy Theory (can you imagine a studio opening two big films on the same day now), but it was clear that this was a franchise long past its best days (and its best days hardly bring back the fondest of memories).

Still, Free Willy movies were relatively modest in cost to put together, and Warner Bros presumably felt this was a simple cashpoint project. But in a year when lots of family movies did less business than expected (Disney’s Hercules, Fox’s Home Alone 3, Disney’s Mr Magoo), Free Willy 3 barely troubled the box office. It took in just over $3m in total, and Willy would not be seen on the inside of a cinema again.

August - Steel

Not much was expected from Steel, a superhero movie headlined by Shaquille O’Neal. Which was fortunate, because not much was had.

It had a mid-August release date in the Us, at a point when a mid-August release date was more of a dumping ground than anything else. And even though the budget was set at a relatively low $16m, the film – and it’s an overused time – pretty much bombed. It took $1.7m at the Us box office, and given that its appeal hinged on a major American sports star whose fame hardly transcended the globe, its international takings did not save it (it went straight to video in many territories).

It was a miserable end to what, for warner bros, had been a thoroughly miserable summer.

So what did hit big in summer 1997?

Summer 1997 was infamous for big films failing to take off in the way that had been expected – Hercules, Speed 2, and the aforementioned Warner Bros movies – but there were several bright spots. The big winner would be Barry Sonnenfeld’s light and sprightly sci-fi comedy Men In Black, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Star power too helped score big hits for Harrison Ford (Air Force One), Julia Roberts (My Best Friend’s Wedding) and John Travolta (Face/Off).

This was also the summer that Nicolas Cage cemented his action movie credentials with Face/Off and Con Air. Crucially, though, the star movies that hit were the ones that veered on the side of 'good'. For the first of many years, the internet was blamed for this.

Oh, and later in the year, incidentally, Titanic would redefine just what constituted a box office hit...

What came next for Warner Bros?

In the rest of 1997, Warner Bros had a mix of projects that again enjoyed mixed fortunes. The standout was Curtis Hanson’s stunning adaptation of L.A. Confidential, that also proved to be a surprise box office success. The Devil’s Advocate didn’t do too badly either.

However, two of the studio’s key filmmakers failed to really deliver come the end of 1997. Clint Eastwood’s Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil failed to ignite (although many felt he was always on a hiding to nothing in trying to adapt that for the screen), and Kevin Costner’s The Postman would prove arguably the most expensive box office disappointment of the year. No wonder the studio rushed Lethal Weapon 4 into production for summer 1998. Oh, and it had The Avengers underway too (not that one), that would prove to be a 1998 disappointment.

The studio would eventually take action. The Daly-Semel management team, that had reigned for 15 years, would break up at the end of 1999, as its traditional way of doing business became less successful. The pair had already future projects that were director driven to an extent (Eyes Wide Shut), and it would still invest in movies with stars (Wild Wild West). But the immediate plan of action following the disappointment of summer 1997 – to get Batman 5 and Superman Lives made – would falter. It wouldn’t be until 1999’s The Matrix (a film that Daly and Semel struggled to get) and – crucially – 2001’s Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone that the studio would really get its swagger back...

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Movies Feature Simon Brew Warner Bros 16 Jun 2016 - 05:19 Conspiracy Theory Father's Day Addicted To Love Contact National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation One Eight Seven Steel Batman & Robin Free Willy 3: The Rescue »

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Emily S. Whitten Interviews Gotham’s Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor

11 June 2016 10:00 AM, PDT | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

Fox’s Gotham TV series has been going strong for two seasons and is now renewed for a third. The show began with a focus on (future Commissioner) Jim Gordon’s early career in Gotham, but has quickly expanded to include the early days of many Batman villains as well. One of the most striking of these is The Penguin; a previously cartoonish character (in screen adaptations) who has been masterfully portrayed in Gotham by Robin Lord Taylor as a complex young man who rises from being a minor player in Fish Mooney’s entourage to becoming the self-proclaimed “King of Gotham.” Taylor’s nuanced portrayal of Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin, has made him a compelling, horrifying, and yet somehow still sympathetic character – one I’m invested in even while I’m despising what he does.

After having had the opportunity to speak with Taylor by phone in the week leading up to Awesome Con in Washington, DC, and to meet him at the Con, I can see where The Penguin’s charm and disarming manner originate; but fortunately for us, and unlike The Penguin, Taylor himself strikes me as a delightful human being; and he has a lot to say about his role in Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery.

Read on below for a most enjoyable interview; or listen here for the audio version.

Esw: Robin, your current role on Gotham is a big part of your career, and The Penguin, as we all know by two seasons in, has been called a “breakout character.” I love the nuances that you bring to the Penguin, who is a mix of pathos and viciousness. Are there any parts of his character that come from you, or that you identify with?

Rlt: Yeah; I mean, the thing that really got me into the human aspect of Oswald was, when I first got the job, I reached out to Geoff Johns, who’s the chief creative officer of DC Comics, and I was like, “Do you know any stories?” Because obviously I’d grown up with Batman, and Batman Returns was huge, and the Adam West series was also huge, but beyond that I really didn’t know very much about the character.

And he found some stories; he found one in particular which was Penguin: Pain and Prejudice; and in that story, they really went into detail about Oswald’s childhood, and how when he was young, he was horrifically bullied. Which is not something that I ever experienced, to that extent; but the fact that he had always felt like an outsider – you know, growing up in a small town in the Midwest, I definitely identified with that feeling. Like, just because you didn’t look like everybody else, or there was something different about you – like in my case, I was just not a “sporty” person, and I basically grew up in Friday Night Lights. So it’s just that feeling of outsider-ness, and also that feeling of being counted out just by things that are out of your control. So that was the first thing I really hooked in to. I was like, “Oh, I understand what this feels like,” and it just made him all the more human for me.

And on top of that, his ambition is something that – you know, obviously I don’t think I share quite the same amount of ambition, in the sense that I, you know, value human life! But out of all of the years of basically being rejected by everyone, and having that feed into his outsized ambition – that was another thing that I totally could identify with and understand.

Esw: I read somewhere that when you did the audition, they didn’t actually tell you it was the Penguin. Do you recall if there were any particular acting choices you made in that audition that still define the character or that rolled over into the actual on-screen character?

Rlt: Yeah; the scene itself that they gave us to audition for was a fake scene – it was not in the pilot at all, and the names were all different. But the scene involved, I believe, the Penguin character was named Paul or something, and he’s having this meeting with a Mafia don, and trying to get this person to do some deal for him. Of course the don is not into it, and that’s when it’s revealed that Paul has had the Mafia don’s daughter kidnapped, and she’s about to be “taken care of” unless he does his bidding.

And in that scene, all of that is the epitome of Oswald, and that ability to sort of play – you know, in the first part of the scene before it’s revealed that he has the daughter kidnapped, he’s very obsequious, and kind of meek, and deferring to the Mafia don; being lower status. And then there’s that switch halfway through where it’s like, “Oh no no no, actually I’m driving the ship right now; I’m steering the ship.” You know, “You’re going to listen to me.” So going from that humble, almost meek, low status attitude that he had, and then immediately switching to be the guy on top; that was something that I think I definitely carried through to the show that we do now.

Esw: Generally, in previous characterizations of The Penguin on screen he’s portrayed in a more cartoonish style. Can you talk about what you did to make him more real in the Gotham show sense, and yet keep him defined as he is in the comics so that he’s still recognizable as the character?

Rlt: First of all, I give so much, if not all credit, to Bruno Heller, and Danny Cannon, and our other producers and writers on the show. It started with Bruno and Danny, this vision and this treatment of the character. It starts with them, and then I step in and we collaborate. Again, going back to what I said before, learning how he was bullied – it was more about finding…you know this is a fantastic world. It’s being able to see this character as an actual person who could exist. Which is actually kind of the allure of Batman itself in the sense that of course it’s still a comic book, and crazy shit happens that would never happen in the real world, but it’s always rooted in the fact that Batman is not supernatural, that Batman is a human being.

And that even though it is this gothic, noir, colorful, crazy world that we inhabit in Gotham City, it’s still all rooted in reality, in the sense that, like, gravity exists, and these are human beings, and there is real pathos behind everyone.

And it’s about justifying every choice that this character makes so that every action he takes, there’s a reason behind it; it’s not just being evil for the sake of being evil. Also what I love about the character is that – at one point in the second season, Galavan is trying to get him to help him get some real estate deal going, and that would require tearing down a big chunk of Gotham City, and Oswald is not into it. He says, “Look, I’m a builder, I’m not a demolition person. I’m not interested in tearing everything down.” He’s interested in controlling everything, but also building alliances and making connections and using that to his advantage. So I guess it would be making sure that everything he does and says comes from a real place – a real desire for Oswald to be – I don’t know if it’s accepted, or feared, or both!

Esw: You mention that Oswald is a builder and has these particular goals. He’s a monster in many ways, but he seems to have his own moral code. How would you define his moral code?

Rlt: I would say: Oswald is all about – do not come for him. If you do, you will pay. He remembers every single slight against him, every person who ever hurt him or tried to hurt him. All that, again, stemming from a childhood where he’s an outcast in so many ways, like being a first generation immigrant, for example, in our show. I guess his moral code is just: “Don’t tread on me.” But that’s the thing – with the exception of the poor fisherman in the pilot, and maybe the guy who delivered the flowers from Maroni – a couple of people who really didn’t deserve what they got – for the most part, everyone whom he attacks, it’s motivated by revenge, and it’s all strategy for Oswald. He is anti-chaos. Chaos is not interesting to him; that’s not a place where he can get the power that he needs to survive. He wants order.

Esw: Anti-chaos. It makes me think that perhaps we’re playing Dungeons & Dragons. He’s a lawful evil – not chaotic at all.

Rlt: Yeah, totally!

Esw: Now in the second season, trying to rule Gotham, Penguin needs some worker-bee villains who will be loyal to him; and then we get Butch’s betrayal in that second season. It’s a very tricky proposition, getting those loyal worker-bees and knowing that he can rely on them. What traits about the character do you think would believably cement a henchman’s loyalty and how do you establish that?

Rlt: In a way, I think even though, you know, he chopped off Butch’s hands, you know, big deal – but even those things have happened, I think that Penguin himself, and it goes back to his anti-chaos attitude, I think he is actually also interested in being loyal to people as well. I think he knows that if you treat people well, you get more from them. You get more loyalty; and ultimately, that can be exploited as well.

You see this very, very clearly in his relationship with Jim Gordon, in the sense that for all intents and purposes they should be arch-enemies. But for some reason, it’s this delicate dance and a push and a pull between the two of them that is important to Oswald. Because that keeps Jim in his world and again, that can be exploited in the future if need be. So I think he does reciprocate loyalty to the people that he is trusting and that’s ultimately how he can get people to join his side.

And also, this goes into – because his actions are justified, and because we understand why he does the things he does, there’s a sympathetic side to this character. And I think that comes through to the other characters as well; in the sense that there’s something enigmatic about him that draws people in.

If I had to root this in the character’s history, I would say that this is something he learned as a survival instinct, when he’s being bullied or when he was being basically tortured by his peers when he was younger. This is what you learn; you learn to ingratiate yourself to people. You make yourself seem more meek and sympathetic, and then eventually they come around, and that’s when you stick the knife in.

Esw:  Speaking of that, he’s a pretty dark character, and you seem like a nice guy. Do you have difficulty getting into and out of that character?

Rlt: I really don’t, actually! I know that sounds crazy, but… Look, I’ve never played a character that physically is so different from who I am in real life. And so with the hair, the makeup, the costume – all of those pieces coming together every day that I have to work, is – and this is generally how I work as an actor too – is I generally start from the outside and I go in. I let the physicality and the costuming help me get into character so I’m ready. And also, again, it goes to the sets that we shoot, and the locations that we use. With all of these things, it’s like I’m stepping into Oswald, I’m stepping into Gotham City. And at the end of the day, the nose comes off, and the hair is different, and I take these beautiful suits and I put them back in the closet and then I’m back to me. It’s great to have that physical transformation that gets you into character; and from that it’s generally pretty easy.

Esw: He does have some really cool suits!

Rlt: God, they’re amazing. The sucky thing is they’re not quite my, Robin Lord Taylor’s, style, so it’s not like I could ever really wear them anywhere. But also – as you can probably tell, I’m one of the least confrontational people that ever lived. And so it’s actually therapeutic in a way. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s really fun to step onto the set and step into the character and then all of a sudden I’m the guy who’s pushing everybody’s buttons, and I’m the guy who’s messing with everybody and starting shit. And it’s liberating, and it’s fun in a way.

Esw: I can understand that. So Oswald has been through a huge journey in season 2 – he was on top; he lost his mother; he convinced Gordon to murder somebody; he was messed with by Hugo Strange; he met his father; fell back into murder; now he wants revenge and all of Strange’s monsters are out there, and Mooney is back… Can you talk about how you think season 2 changed him, or what you think he’ll be doing in season 3?

Rlt: I think that in season 2 – it happened twice for him, with the loss of his mother and then the loss of his father – and there’s that lovely speech that Cory Michael Smith as Nygma gave Oswald. It was after his mother died, before he knew his father existed – Nygma says, “You’re free now.” The gist is – and this is a continuing theme throughout our entire show – to love is to be vulnerable. You see throughout the show, characters are falling in love, or they have love in their lives, and then they lose it; and then in a way they are liberated to do whatever the hell they want to do and not feel any pressure. Because what’s left to lose.

So I think that was hugely formative, and then that it happened twice – I think going into season 3, it’s all guns blazing. And also, he’s learned, having been at the top for the brief period. He learned now how much more difficult it is; and he severely overestimated his own abilities, and he didn’t take into account the fact that when you’re the “King of Gotham” you have a giant, giant target on your back in a way that you never did before. I think that’s the most valuable lesson that he learned this season; and then going forward, I think we’re watching his transformation from someone who’s finding their way in this world to someone who now has the wherewithal and the knowledge to basically, kick ass and take names. And not fear the repercussions because, again, having lost all the love in his life, going forward, he’s just going to be completely unhinged – which I’m really excited about!

Esw: So Gotham is obviously a very villain-heavy show, and we know many of Batman’s villains are way ahead of him in development – he’s still Bruce; he’s still young. How do you think this will affect the future seasons in the show, or how do you think you’d like to see that happen? Do you think it will shift to being a more heroic focus as Bruce matures?

Rlt: I don’t know; I think our show is about how the city corrupts. Bruce Wayne – Batman – comes from one of the most corrupted acts that could ever happen, one of the most horrific acts; the execution of his parents in front of him. And I could see heroic moments coming through, because obviously you need a balance between the light and the dark, but at the same time, I just think it’s so much more interesting seeing even someone as virtuous and good-hearted as Bruce Wayne – seeing him get swept up into, or sucked down into, the morass of Gotham City and its questionable moral fiber as a city; I think that’s ultimately what’s really interesting to me. And I just think that the villains are where it’s at.

Also, going forward, what I find most interesting, as someone who is a fan of the Batman world, and what I think our show does very well, is show how all of these characters interact, and come in and out of each other’s lives. It’s like seeing how the Penguin’s and Gordon’s connection evolves over time, and also eventually, I’m sure, Bruce Wayne is going to come into Penguin’s life, and all of the other characters’ lives. I love that alliances are formed and then broken; and the re-formed with someone else; some other canon character. I just think that’s fascinating.

Esw: I’ve heard Gotham compared to a soap opera, and it’s not too far off!

Rlt: Yeah, except we’ve got monsters and bazookas; it’s As The Gotham Turns.

Esw: So what experiences have you had working with the other Gotham actors? Do you have any fun stories, or any stories about having to work with actors that then the Penguin kills?

Rlt: Yeah! Well we get along, as a cast, just smashingly. In fact, early on in the first season, Ben McKenzie had a barbeque; and all the cast members came, and we were all there having fun, dancing, and drinking, and at one point I said to Ben, because this is my first rodeo as it were, and he’s been doing this for longer than I have in a big way; I said to him, pointing at everyone having a ball, “Dude, is this normal? Do casts get along like this? Because I’ve guested on shows, and you can definitely feel the vibe, and it’s not this.” And he said immediately, “Nope. This is not normal. God willing, we can keep this going for the rest of our run,” because it just makes the environment more pleasant, and we all just truly have love for everyone, and it’s so nice. It’s all I’ve ever wanted in a job.

Esw: That seems to come through the social media where I’ve seen you and Cory and Ben and everyone interacting; seeing everyone talking to each other on Twitter and wherever else.

Rlt: That’s so nice to hear. And the other thing too is that we’re from all over the place, and everyone’s had such different experiences growing up; and the fact that I can, you know, meet Sean Pertwee, who could not have been from a more different place than me, and have had a more different childhood than I did – and yet, he’s now one of my very best friends. And I just love it, that people can come together and find – in this show, we found a community, which is really great.

So then on the other hand, people have asked me, “What’s the hardest thing about Gotham?” and honestly, it is when a main character dies. And especially if I have to do it. It’s one thing if it’s a movie or a play, because that’s such a contained work. You know when someone’s going; you know the whole thing is going to be over in two-and-a-half hours anyway. It’s not as cathartic as when you’re on a television show. You really do feel that loss. Like when Carole Kane’s character is killed. It was honestly devastating for everybody. It was like, “Oh, God, she’s not going to be here.” Even though she wasn’t there all the time to begin with, it was the loss of that potential for her to be there. I can’t say enough amazing things about her.

And then of course also the same with Paul Reubens. With both of those characters, it really is devastating. You just keep thinking, “If they had written something different, we could have been working together for years now.” I think that’s the hardest part of the job.

Esw: So what’s been your experience with fans and conventions and this role; do fans ever blur the line and call you the Penguin; or what do you like and dislike about that? Have you had any crazy experiences?

Rlt: I mean, the whole thing is generally pretty crazy. Even if you think just logically, what I do is, I’m an actor. So ideally I would just sort of disappear – Robin Lord Taylor would disappear – and the character would live in people’s imaginations and that would just be it. But you know that’s not how it works. You become public people; and that’s been probably one of the most challenging things about the job. Just going from relative obscurity to being in peoples’ minds and consciousness – that’s definitely been intense.

For the most part, everyone has been incredibly, incredibly nice, and kind. I’ve been doing conventions now for the last two years, and, like, I signed someone’s ankle, and she went and got a tattoo, and that’s kind of crazy. Honestly, the tattoos, I think, are the craziest thing! Someone also tweeted me a photo of their leg, and it’s my giant face on their leg. I find that so unsettling; I mean, compared to most other things. Like, “Oh God, you did that?” You defaced your body with my face.”

Esw: They will never forget you, ever ever!

Rlt: I know. I know; that makes me really uncomfortable! But I will never be forgotten. There’s something to be said for that.

Esw: So are you looking forward to Awesome Con? And do you follow other comics? Do you have a favorite character or storyline, or something you want to see or pick up while you’re at the show?

Rlt: I’m totally psyched. This is going to be super. I’ve never been to Washington for a con before; I’m really excited to see what the vibe is like at Awesome Con. From what I hear, it’s an amazing experience. For me it’s always very strange. Obviously I love all of the other DC Comics properties, especially the ones that are on television, in particular The Flash and Arrow, and Supergirl as well. Because we’re all the Warner Bros. family, and we run into each other at San Diego Comic Con and all these other things. So that’s always really exciting to see those folks.

But then at the same time, with the actors who played characters from my childhood –  for example, I was at a convention and I was in the green room, and sitting across the table is Denise Crosby who played Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and when I was a kid, that was my jam; and it’s always so fun to feel the way that people feel when they come to my line or when they come up to say hello. Everyone’s so sweet and so excited to be there, and then some people are really excited and they can’t speak, and that was me talking to Denise. And that’s someone I grew up watching, and that show was so important to me at the time. So experiences like that – just seeing anyone from something I grew up watching – that’s where I really fan out, for sure.

Esw: I know that you recently made a foray into voice acting in Dishonored 2, and you just wrapped a movie, The Long Home; anything you’d like to share about those or other projects?

Rlt: Well – Dishonored 2 – when they told me that I was going to come in and be part of it, and read, especially, that character, the Outsider, that was amazing. An amazing experience, and also reading all about what the game is going to be like; I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a video game in a long time. The only thing I’m a little worried about is when I get it and I start playing it, I have to hear my own voice… But yeah, that was a brilliant experience. And then The Long Home, I would just encourage everyone to look for it on the festival circuit and show it some love. It’s an independent film, directed by and starring James Franco, with Josh Hutcherson, and Courtney Love, and there are just amazing, amazing people in it. It’s a low-budget, independent movie; so we’re really hoping to get some momentum behind it and I’m just really excited to see what the final product is.

•     •     •     •     •

So there you have it, folks. Thank you to Robin Lord Taylor for sharing his time and thoughts with us here at ComicMix!

And until next time, Servo Lectio! »

- Emily S. Whitten

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Off The Shelf – Episode 93 – New Blu-rays & DVDs for the Week of June 7th 2016

8 June 2016 5:00 AM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

In this episode of Off The Shelf, Ryan and Brian take a look at the new DVD and Blu-ray releases for Tuesday, June 6th 2016.

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Follow-Up Gods of Egypt Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection Blu-ray News Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection Blu-ray Three Upcoming Kino Lorber Blu-ray Releases Detailed Pioneers of African-American Cinema Blu-ray Box Set Detailed Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn 3D Blu-ray Three Upcoming Kino Lorber Blu-ray Releases Detailed Nico B. Launches New Label, Announces First Blu-ray Title Midnight Run Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Detailed StudioCanal: Two New Vintage Classics Blu-ray Titles Coming Up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition 4K Blu-ray Curzon Artificial Eye: Andrei Rublev Blu-ray Release Detailed Links to Amazon 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. »

- Ryan Gallagher

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June 7th Blu-ray & DVD Releases Include Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II and Independence Day on 4K Ultra HD

6 June 2016 7:05 PM, PDT | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

June’s home entertainment releases are kicking off in grand fashion this week, as horror and sci-fi fans have a lot to look forward to with the new arrivals on Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday. Scream Factory is keeping busy with a double dose of terror with their releases of The Abandoned (in conjunction with IFC Midnight) and The Funhouse Massacre, and for those of you who may have missed the supernatural thriller in theaters earlier this year, The Other Side of the Door is making its way to both Blu and DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

If you consider yourself something of a Star Trek fan, Paramount is distributing the Director’s Cut of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Blu-ray this week as well as the complete run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which arrives on Blu for the first time ever this Tuesday. »

- Heather Wixson

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Menosky Returns, Signs On As TV Trek Writer

6 June 2016 2:36 AM, PDT | AirlockAlpha.com | See recent Airlock Alpha news »

The writing staff for the new Star Trek series on CBS All Access is getting bigger. And once again, it appears showrunner Bryan Fuller is looking for familiar names.Joe Menosky, who was a story editor on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and continued to write episodes for many of the Trek spinoffs, is the latest writer to join Fuller's team, according to writer Kemp Powers. Joining Menosky at the table is a writer Fuller has worked with in the past on NBC's "Heroes," Aron Coleite.Powers, a playwright who most recently debuted a play about Muhammad Ali called "One Night in Miami," shared the rumor in response to the announcement of a new show about new Star Trek writers on Trek.fm."You forgot to mention two more writers: Aron Coleite, Joe Menosky," Kemp said.Read The Full Story on our sister »

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Two writers join the new Star Trek TV series

5 June 2016 7:45 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

TrekMovie.com is reporting that Bryan Fuller has enlisted two more writers for CBS’ upcoming Star Trek TV series in Joe Menosky and Aron Coleite.

Menosky has plenty of experience in the franchise, having written for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager, while Coleite’s credits include Heroes and The River.

See Also: First teaser for the Star Trek TV series

The duo join the previously announced Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered County) and Kirsten Beyer, who has penned eight Star Trek: Voyager novels.

Star Trek is set to premiere on CBS in January, with subsequent episodes arriving weekly on CBS All Access. »

- Gary Collinson

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"Star Trek" Scribes Join Fuller's New Series

5 June 2016 4:02 AM, PDT | Dark Horizons | See recent Dark Horizons news »

Joe Menosky and Aron Coleite have reportedly joined the writing staff of the upcoming "Star Trek" TV series for CBS All Access.

Bryan Fuller ("Hannibal," "American Gods") and Alex Kurtzman ("Fringe," "Sleepy Hollow") are producing the series which also recently hired acclaimed "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" director Nicholas Meyer to produce.

Joe Menosky was staff writer on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager" with his credits including famed episodes like "Darmok," "Clues," "Time's Arrow," "The Chase" and "Suspicions" for Tng along with "The Thaw," "Future's End," "Scorpion," "Distant Origin", "Year of Hell," "The Killing Game," "Hope and Fear," "Timeless," "Equinox," "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy" and "Blink of an Eye" for 'Voyager'.

Aron Coleite is a comic book writer best known for his work on "Ultimate X-Men". He also has TV experience, working on all four seasons »

- Garth Franklin

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Emmy Contender Patrick Stewart Laughs It Up as Cop-Stomping Newsman on ‘Blunt Talk’ (Video)

28 May 2016 4:30 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

A version of this story first appeared in the print edition of TheWrap Magazine’s Emmy Issue The Race Begins. In a 50-year career as a stage, film and television actor, Patrick Stewart has covered an enormous range, from Shakespearean comedies to dark dramas to his long-running performances as two iconic, noble heroes, Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and Charles Xavier in the “X-Men” franchise. And yet, his role as disgraced newsman Walter Blunt on the TV series “Blunt Talk” is, for the 75-year-old actor, something new. Also Read: Emmy Contenders From This Season's Best Newcomer Shows Exclusive. »

- Steve Pond

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CBS Home Entertertainment Trips Down Memory Lane with TV Sets

28 May 2016 11:29 AM, PDT | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

Summer is here and that means it’s time for racing in the streets. Or, if you’re not Bruce Springsteen, it’s a time for rest, relaxation, and binge watching. For nostalgia fans from various generations, CBS Home Entertainment is offering up a tasty assortment of television series from country comedy to ripped from the headlines detectives to our favorite science fiction.

The gem of the set may be the complete Blu-ray sets of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, part of CBS and Paramount’s celebration of Gene Roddenberry’s creation.

Here are the details:

Beverly Hillbillies: The Official First Season

Release Date: April 26, 2016


Join the Clampett family as they move to the most famous zip code in the world when the seven-time Emmy award®-nominated series The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official First Season arrives on DVD April 26 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution. »

- ComicMix Staff

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Back This! Special – ‘Blade of Honor’

28 May 2016 7:25 AM, PDT | Blogomatic3000 | See recent Blogomatic3000 news »

TV icons Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Tim Russ (Star Trek : Voyager) and James Kyson (Heroes) embark on a virtuoso homecoming to sci-fi TV with Blade of Honor. Yes, the creative forces behind such science-fiction classics as Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Star Trek:Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: New Voyages, Star Trek: Renegades, and Star Trek: The Next Generation team to bring to the screen nd all-new sci-fi adventure

From writer-producer Mark Edward Lewis, Blade of Honor fixes on Arina Kartades (Haislip), a religious, headstrong, crack Alliance Navy Star Blade pilot in a war where the human Alliance is losing against the animal race, the Calinar. When Kartades discovers that her Statemandated religious upbringing was a lie, she embarks upon a forced quest to discover the true reasons behind the war. As her discoveries push her deeper into harm’s way, she must go against everything she »

- Phil Wheat

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