15 items from 2015
Most of the great film franchises are composed by committee. No matter what people say about the role of the director as auteur, these are films commanding budgets that could run a small country, and the people who control the cash flow like to have their say in the finished product.
Distributors like to keep their fingers on the running time to ensure they get the optimum number of screenings per screen; name actors like to have all the best lines; and the writer would prefer that none of those lines are changed at all, thank you very bloody much. Not everyone gets their say, but the less power a director wields, the more likely it is that someone somewhere will have an Important Opinion about the film that needs pandering to just to get something done.
George Lucas is by far the richest filmmaker in the world, »
- Ben Cooke
At the age of 24, David Oyelowo brought his regal bearing to the stage, where he became the first black actor to portray King Henry VI in The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2001 productions of Shakespeare’s trilogy of plays about the king. More recently, he has made a name for himself by taking on American film roles. He played Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oscar-nominated film Selma, a civil rights activist in The Butler, a villain in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and a member of the Tuskeegee Airmen in Red Tails.
In his most recent film Captive, Oyelowo shows his range by taking on another true life character. Brian Nichols is known for his escape and killing spree in the Atlanta, Georgia area in 2005. Captive is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives. When Brian Nichols took recovering meth addict Ashley Smith (played »
- Tom Stockman
Since George Lucas got out of the Star Wars business, he's been lending his Hollywood heft to some long-gestating passion projects that might be difficult to produce independently elsewhere. He started developing Red Tails, a war movie about the Tuskegee airmen, back in 1988 and eventually served as producer and an uncredited co-director on the 2012 movie.
Lucasfilm's latest, Strange Magic, is directed by Oscar-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom, but it's also been around for much longer than you'd think. 15 years ago, while working on that pesky prequel trilogy, Lucas started thinking about making a film for his daughters. “Just like Star Wars was designed for 12-year-old boys,” Lucas told Wired upon the film's Us release in January, “Strange Magic was designed for 12-year-old girls.”
If that sounds a little reminiscent of when John Travolta »
The original version of this story first ran in the Movies and Limited Series issue of TheWrap Emmy magazine. ABC came to John Ridley with an idea for the show that became “American Crime” long before the writer-director-producer won an Oscar for his screenplay for “12 Years a Slave,” because the network and producer Michael MacDonald knew that Ridley had been exploring issues of race in America for years. Not only did his previous films include Spike Lee‘s “Red Tails,” but he had been writing commentary on the topic for such outlets as NPR and Esquire. Steve Pond: It was disconcerting. »
- Steve Pond
Marvel has a lot of major movie plans for the next few years but they are also keeping themselves busy with small screen projects. Just recently, Marvel announced a spin-off to Agents of Shield, although they gave very little information on what it will be about or who will be in it. Now they have told Entertainment Weekly that they are working on a “mystery project” for ABC TV.
The prolific folks at Marvel have recruited the services of talented writer John Ridley, who was the screenwriter for the 2013 Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave, as well as Three Kings and Red Tails. He also worked on the series American Crime and wrote several episodes »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
Marvel is continuing to expand its TV slate, bringing on Oscar-winning writer John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) to develop a new TV series for ABC. Entertainment Weekly reports that the writer's deal involves, "reinventing an existing Marvel superhero character or property for ABC," but it wasn't revealed which character will be the focus of this show. The news comes just one week after we reported that ABC and Marvel are developing a spinoff series for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., even though that program hasn't been officially renewed, although it seems likely.
If the project gets a series order, it will be the third Marvel show to air on ABC, following Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and this year's Marvel's Agent Carter, which hasn't been renewed for a second season yet either. It's possible that either the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff or this new untitled series could serve as a midseason »
On Thursday's episode of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart recruited filmmaker George Lucas to sarcastically honor Fox News for their cautioned coverage of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. The Star Wars mastermind, representing "liberal Hollywood," promised to "only make movies from now on that are blindly uncritical of America," citing surefire blockbuster examples American Exceptionalism Graffiti, Star Wars: The Reagan Missile Defense Version, The Empire Strikes Back, Justifiably and Star Wars: The Clinton Menace.
Elsewhere in the segment, Stewart takes hilarious shots at his network »
Exclusive: Prague-based Us producer Rick McCallum is behind what is likely to be the first official Czech-Dutch co-production with writer-director Karin Babinská’s romantic drama Following The Dream (Za Sny).
Speaking at this week’s Febiofest – Prague International Film Festival, Film United’s McCallum and Martin Šebík revealed that the project with the director of road movie Dolls had been in development for the past year.
“As the story is set in the Czech Republic and another European country, it had been built from the very beginning as a European co-production,” said Šebík .
He explained that they had needed a seaside location and a large city nearby, criteria that were fulfilled by Rotterdam and the surrounding area.
“They were looking for a minority co-producer from Holland and the script »
- email@example.com (Martin Blaney)
Last week we saw a new trailer for director Thomas McCarthy’s (The Station Agent) latest film The Cobbler [watch it here], and now we have the first poster featuring Adam Sandler as the titular shoe repair man…
Max Simkin repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Sometimes walking in another man’s shoes is the only way one can discover who they really are.
The Cobbler is set for release on March 13th in the States and May 22nd in the UK, with a cast that also includes Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), Dustin Hoffman (Kung Fu Panda 2), Ellen Barkin (The New Normal), Method Man (Red Tails »
- Gary Collinson
A new trailer has been released for Thomas McCarthy’s dramatic comedy The Cobbler, which stars Adam Sandler as a man with the ability to metaphysically step into the lives of the people whose shoes he repairs. Check it out below…
The Cobbler also stars Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), Dustin Hoffman (Kung Fu Panda 2), Ellen Barkin (The New Normal), Method Man (Red Tails), Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station) and Elena Kampouris (Labor Day).
- Gary Collinson
British star of Mlk biopic David Oyelowo tells ABC talk show hosts he “grew into” the role
“My 12-year-old daughter said, ‘Mommy, this is still happening right now, because of all the protests that are happening.’ It is like a new Civil Rights movement once again,”O’Donnell said.
The actors agreed that the film resonates.
“‘Selma’ is like a blueprint for what we can do, and some of the things we »
- Alicia Banks
The dust has most certainly not settled on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in the wake of "Selma's" perceived snubs by the Academy Thursday. I missed George Lucas' appearance on CBS This Morning, where he pretty much called the Oscars what they are: "a political campaign." Of course, Lucas has maintained his fiercely independent ways for years and, as a non-member who has no desire to join the Academy (for these reasons), is perfectly content with being this outspoken. "It has nothing to do with artistic endeavor," he said." What it does is I think it hurts everybody." In dealing with perceived racism within the group — not specifically re: "Selma," but in general — he made the same point Jessica Chastain did, that Awards are just a reflection of a disease. "You're not talking about the show [when you talk about racism], you're talking about Hollywood," he said. "It's not just the show. It's everything, everywhere…David »
- Kristopher Tapley
"The thing about the Academy is it's a political campaign. It has nothing to do with artistic endeavor at all," revealed George Lucas on "CBS This Morning" following the highly publicized Oscar snubs of "Selma" director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo. Watch the video below. When co-host Gayle King asked Lucas (who was there to promote his new animated film "Strange Magic") whether the Oscar snubs of DuVernay and Oyelowo could have simply been because there were too many worthy people in contention this year, Lucas retorted, "No. I don't see it that way." -Break- How did 'Selma' go from Oscars frontrunner to token Best Picture nominee? "I think David, who was in 'Red Tails,' is truly one of the great actors of all time. He's really a young talent. And the director Ava is amazing," he continued. But ultimately, Lucas felt the true problem begins and ends. »
"You can’t go to awards like the Oscars or the Grammys for validation. The validation is if your work still stands 25 years later," Spike Lee concluded in his response to "Selma" Oscar snubs. And he's not the only filmmaker speaking out about the nominations this year, which don't see one face of color in any of the acting categories. Stopping by "CBS This Morning" to talk about his upcoming animated film "Strange Magic," George Lucas — who is not a member of the Academy — was perhaps a little more cautious in his criticism but nonetheless barbed when asked on his thoughts around the controversy of the nominees this year. "It's a political campaign. It has nothing to do with artistic endeavor at all," he stated about the process. Having worked with David Oyelowo on "Red Tails," Lucas calls him "truly one of the great actors of all time." He calls »
- Kevin Jagernauth
[Editor's Note: This post is presented in partnership with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand in support of Indie Film Month. Today's pick "Jimi: All Is by My Side" is available now On Demand. This interview was originally published last fall.] John Ridley has been honing his craft for years, apprenticing with John Wells on "Third Watch," through multiple movie scripts ("U-Turn," "Red Tails") and television series ("Barbershop," "Platinum") to his first feature "Cold Around the Heart." He wrote the Oscar-winning script for "12 Years a Slave" as well as his sophomore directing effort, Jimi Hendrix slice-of-life "All Is by My Side," now available to view on video on demand platforms. The Jimi Hendrix estate has been holding up a proper biopic for decades. But one night screenwriter John Ridley (who won the Oscar for his screen adaptation of Solomon Northup's "12 Years a »
- Anne Thompson
15 items from 2015
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