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Hard to believe, but there was a time before "The Twilight Saga." Five long years ago, Stephenie Meyer's books were best-sellers, but most people didn't know about her sparkly romantic vampires. "Kellan Lutz" and "Jackson Rathbone" were not household names. And Kristen Stewart was still best known for playing Jodie Foster's asthmatic little girl in "Panic Room."
All that changed five years ago this week, on November 21, 2008, with the debut of "Twilight." The vampire romance made instant A-listers out of Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. It went on to earn about $400 million worldwide and spawn four similarly huge sequels (total worldwide gross: $3.3 billion). It put independent studio Summit on the map (where it was eventually gobbled up by Lionsgate) and launched a vogue that continues to this day for fantasy movies that appeal to teenage girls (notably, the "Hunger Games" franchise).
With its large supporting cast of vampires, »
- Gary Susman
Forest Whitaker is having himself a British moment, flashing back more than 30 years to his first visit to London. "The first time I ever went out of the country it was to London. I was with the choir from my college and we were touring around all these different churches. I loved it so much I tried to find a way to stay there. I tried to get a job but I had no work permit. I tried anything I could to stay. My feeling then was, this is where I was meant to be. I felt … freedom. I've been back many, many times since, made a lot of friends – and I've played a few Brits, »
- John Patterson
Hayek plays Everly, a woman who has to defend herself against a group of Japanese gangsters sent to kill her by her Mafia ex-boyfriend. The movie is set pretty much in one apartment but hopefully with a plot like that the film will hold our interest. Hayek told USA Today:
You’ve never seen me like this before. And I love it. Because you really see a transformation in this character that’s noticeable and shocking. I become a badass.
- Ellen Daniels
Audiences can see Jared Leto on Nov. 1 in the role that could win him an Oscar, as Focus Features releases “Dallas Buyers Club.” By a happy coincidence, Leto’s previous film — a mind-bogglingly obscure $44 million sci-fi epic called “Mr. Nobody” — opens the same day via Magnolia Pictures.
“It’s a miracle,” says Leto, who is fiercely proud of both films, but had nearly given up hope that “Mr. Nobody” would ever get a U.S. release. (The crazy ambitious project was Leto’s last acting gig before stepping away to focus on his band, Thirty Seconds to Mars.)
Since the Toronto Film Festival, critics have been raving about Leto’s performance in “Dallas Buyers Club.” The 41-year-old chameleon slimmed down to 112 pounds to play Rayon, the raggedly charismatic transsexual who helps Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) hustle unapproved meds to HIV-positive men.
Though not an awards contender, “Mr. Nobody” posed an »
- Peter Debruge
It’s been almost 20 years since we first encountered Jared Leto as the emotionally vacant high school boyfriend that all of us fell in love with in My So-Called Life. Since then the seemingly never aging performer has had memorable turns in such films as Alexander, Requiem For a Dream and Panic Room, but more recently Leto has chosen to focus on his musical career as the frontman for rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. Lucky for us he returns to the screen as “Rayon” in Dallas Buyers Club. His performance as a transgender woman battling AIDS has been garnering lots of well-deserved buzz. We had the opportunity to talk to Leto about the movie, his Skype audition process, the character amalgamation that was Rayon, and how he never broke character until the film was over.
Dallas Buyers Club opens nationwide today
- Dino-Ray Ramos
The multi-talented Jared Leto has unfortunately been absent from the big screen for a few years now. You can probably attribute most of that to his flourishing music career as after showing up in 2007′s Chapter 27, the actor vanished from Hollywood, only to re-appear in the recently released Mr. Nobody and the upcoming Dallas Buyers Club.
During the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, I had the chance to sit down with Jared for a roundtable interview to discuss Dallas Buyers Club, in which he co-stars alongside Matthew McConaughey.
So far, the actor’s return to the big screen seems like a success as he’s already receiving early Oscar buzz for his role as a transvestite named Rayon, who is dying from AIDS and looks to McConaughey’s character for help, ultimately becoming his business partner.
Having been away from film for so long, Leto was excited »
- Matt Joseph
Think about it — you two have an enormous amount in common. You both started acting as children, you’ve both starred in Hugely successful franchise movie series – Twilight and High School Musical — and you’ve both been involved in happy, long term love relationships in the past; Kristen with Robert Pattinson and Zac with Vanessa Hudgens.
Consider the enormous amount you two have to talk about and relate to.
Kristen, you had »
- Bonnie Fuller
Manis Film announced that production started on Big Sky, the English-language debut of Mexican helmer Jorge Michel Grau (the original We Are What We Are). The film will star Bella Thorne (upcoming The Familymoon with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner), Kyra Sedgwick (Emmy and Golden Globe winner for The Closer; The Possession; upcoming films Kill Your Darlings and Reach Me), Frank Grillo (The Grey; End of Watch; Zero Dark Thirty; upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and Aaron Tveit (Les Miserables; Howl; USA's Graceland). Principal photography commenced this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Here's what producer Randy Manis had to say about the production.
"Big Sky is a suspenseful and thrilling story that will have audiences on the edge of their seats as our troubled characters tumble further into peril. We are very »
It’s that time again: Free Stuff! To celebrate the DVD and Blu-Ray release of first-time writer and director Todd Levin’s horror film, Static, we’re offering horror fans a chance to win a Blu-Ray combo pack! Not only do you get a DVD copy and a Blu-Ray copy, but the set comes with a 3-D Blu-Ray transfer of the home invasion frightfest. And it’s not some 3-D conversion, this puppy was Shot in 3-D.
To win the prize, all you have to do is Tweet me, @FMWolfmandy, your favorite home invasion horror film (for example, Straw Dogs or Panic Room), and I will choose a winner randomly. You have until Monday 10:00 Am Pst to enter. To qualify, you must have a U.S. address for shipping purposes. Here’s what you’re vying for:
Touted as an eccentric twisty turn-y thriller with gripping tension, Static “centers »
- Andy Greene
The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya? “To Fix Hollywood, Studios Need to Act Like Indies” — Producer Gavin Polone (Zombieland, Panic Room) knocks it out of the park comparing two similar mystery films to show the disparity between a streamlined budget and one that’s bloated with waste. “Finding God in Gravity: A Plea for Science in the Face of Creationism” — Matt Patches at Film.com explores the obvious rebirth metaphors in the film and the not-so-obvious spiritual complements. “How the 1989 Batman logo helped set the course for superhero movies” — Noel Murray at The Dissolve discusses how a symbol gave hope to cynical fans and a pile of cash that producers didn’t set ablaze. »
- Scott Beggs
Less than nine months after she officially came out at the Golden Globes in January 2013, Jodie Foster has quietly stepped out with rumored girlfriend Alexandra Hedison — for brunch! The Panic Room actress, 50, confirmed one of Hollywood's oldest rumors while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes. At the time she admitted to being single, but thanked her longterm partner, Cydney Bernard, and fellow mom to her two sons Charles and Kit, 15 and 12. Bernard and Foster were together [...] »
You’ve seen the shocking photos of Matthew McConaughey, who dropped more than 40 pounds to play Ron Woodroof, the real-life AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club. But McConaughey isn’t the only star of the film who underwent a complete physical transformation. Jared Leto plays Rayon, the HIV-positive transsexual who becomes Ron’s business partner in their 1980s drug-smuggling operation to get unapproved AIDS medicines into the U.S. Leto not only dropped more than 30 pounds to play the dying drug addict — a feat he’d famously done before for Requiem for a Dream — but he stayed in-character as Rayon »
- Jeff Labrecque
Carlos de Abreu, founder and executive producer of the 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards, announced today that Jared Leto of Focus Features’ “Dallas Buyers Club” will be honored with the Hollywood Breakout Performance Award. The honor will be bestowed at the 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony on Monday evening, October 21st, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. “Jared’s portrayal of Rayon in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is infused with humanity and bravery, and is nothing short of a revelation. This is an exceptional tour-de-force of acting,” said de Abreu. The Hollywood Film Awards honors cherished stars, filmmakers, and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance. Past Hollywood Breakout Performance Award honorees have included Jamie Foxx, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and Naomi Watts. Last year’s awards show received more than 41 million media impressions, »
- Josh Abraham
A welcome reminder that high-concept thrillers needn’t rely on stupid coincidences and even stupider characters in order to succeed, “Grand Piano” turns the unlikeliest of scenarios into a riveting battle of wills. The story of a concert pianist whose comeback performance gets hijacked by a sniper with a secret agenda, director Eugenio Mira’s latest film breathlessly combines artistic anxiety and personal desperation, providing its character with a journey as intense emotionally as it is physically. In fact, probably the best Brian De Palma movie he never made, “Grand Piano” expands the boundaries of single-location, real-time mysteries like “Phone Booth” and “Panic Room” with a brilliantly simple concept and nimble, elegant style. Elijah Wood plays Tom Selznick, a master-class pianist set to play in public for the first time in five years. Having famously choked during a performance of a piece by his late mentor, he is understandably nervous »
- Todd Gilchrist
The Internet hit celebrity gold this week when one Reddit user asked others to share their "before they were stars" stories. The thread kicked off with two simple questions: "Did you ever grow up with someone that is now famous? If so what were they like growing up?" Stories soon came flowing about a future James Bond who worked as a milkman, a certain Game of Thrones star who cheated on his high school girlfriend, and a current glamourous starlet who was voted class clown. We've rounded up our favorite gems. Of course, none of this is fact-checked, so it this could be pure fan fantasy, but here's what people are saying in the thread. Kristen Stewart was a bit of a trouble maker: "Went to middle school with Kristen Stewart. She just finished Panic Room and had really short hair. She sat behind me in bio and pulled my hair, »
- Annie Gabillet
The morning’s best writing from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya? “The God of SNL Will See You Now” — Current and former Saturday Night Live cast members describe their audition experience (for better or for Marc Maron) with a powerful man who almost never laughs. “MysteryExec’s Advice to male screenwriters on writing women” — An insider goes off on Twitter, and The Black Board is there to collect it all and start a worthwhile discussion. Don’t be scared away: this advice is for female screenwriters, too. Laziness knows no gender. “How Jim Carrey’s belief system explains his choices, in movies and in life” — Matt Singer braves the mind of a grandfather we want to remember as Fire Marshal Bill. “Gavin Polone on His Least Favorite Question: ‘No, I Will Not Do You a Fucking Favor’” — The producer of Panic Room, Zombieland »
- Scott Beggs
Based on the Washington Post article “A Butler Well Served by This Election,” Lee Daniels’ The Butler is an expansive film that tells the life story of our country’s civil rights revolution through the eight presidents-long employment of a black butler in the White House. With the butler played by Forest Whitaker, he is joined by a cast list that includes Oprah Winfrey playing his wife, David Oyelowo as his son, Robin Williams doing a Dwight D. Eisenhower impression, John Cusack waxing Richard Nixon, Jane Fonda embodying Nancy Reagan, and much more.
Whitaker won the Oscar in 2006 for “Best Actor” for his work in The Last King of Scotland. His filmography going strong with two more upcoming performances in 2013, his list of films already features a strong highlight reel of appearances, in movies like Platoon, Panic Room, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, The Crying Game, and Bird. »
- Nick Allen
Kristen Stewart is reportedly enrolling in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to seek a “full-on” degree in English literature, according to a tabloid report out of Great Britain. But the story seems a little to good to be true. Stewart’s formal education ended in junior high school when she dropped out to pursue films full time. She started appearing in films when she was nine-years-old and scored a breakthrough in the 2002 film “The Panic Room,” with Jodie Foster. [...] »
After appearing in several television shows and made-for-tv movies, Foster hit the big screen in a big way in 1976’s Taxi Driver as a pre-adolescent prostitute taken under the wing of Robert DeNiro’s Travis Bickle. The role earned Foster her first Oscar nomination, and award she would go on to win for Lead Actress in The Accused and Silence of the Lambs.
Foster is digging deep into the sci-fi genre with Elysium where she plays the Secretary of Defense in charge of keeping Matt Damon out of her space station. Her roles run the gamut from the comedic (Carnage), the claustrophobic (Panic Room) and of course, the absolutely terrifying (Silence of the Lambs).
Which movie starring Jodie Foster is your favourite? »
- Rachel West
Angus Wall, the editor who has been working with David Fincher since 2002's Panic Room , is set to make his directorial debut with Empire , says a story at The Hollywood Reporter . Although no story details have been revealed, Empire is scripted by Source Code screenwriter Ben Ripley and the trade likens the tone to a mix between Safe House and The Usual Suspects . Of his five creative partnerships with Fincher, two have earned Wall Academy Awards for editing. He received Oscars for his work on both 2010's The Social Network and 2011's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo . Mark Gordon is producing Empire through though The Mark Gordon Company. (Photo Credit: WENN.com) »
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