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- 10/03/17--08:07: 17 horror movie remakes that you should actually watch
- 10/05/17--06:05: Every Harrison Ford movie performance, ranked from worst to best
- Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is the cofounder of The Weinstein Company.
- In a new report from The New York Times, multiple women provide accounts of him "appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself."
- Weinstein "denies many of accusations as patently false" and is taking a leave of absence from TWC.
- His lawyers are preparing a lawsuit against the Times.
- 10/05/17--18:31: Watch Adam Savage go undercover as Chewbacca at New York Comic Con
This post includes spoilers for "Blade Runner 2049" and "Blade Runner."
Thirty-five years after "Blade Runner" graced our screens and 10 years after director Ridley Scott perfected it with a "Final Cut," the science fiction cult classic has a sequel.
In the "Blade Runner" world, artificial humans called "replicants" exist. They're built to be slaves and look exactly like humans. When one escapes or becomes too self-aware, they're killed by bounty hunters or police officers called "blade runners."
"Blade Runner 2049" has "Arrival" director Denis Villeneuve in the director's chair and sets up Ryan Gosling as the enigmatic replicant leading the movie. It has even more spectacular visuals than the original, and has a gumshoe noir plot worthy of its setting. But there are still some issues that hold it back from being a revival on par with something like "Mad Max: Fury Road" or "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
Why should you care: It's the long-awaited sequel to one of the most beloved sci-fi movies of all time.
The first "Blade Runner" movie was released in 1982, when Harrison Ford was known as Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Ridley Scott had just made "Alien" and adventurous sci-fi movies were in demand.
"Blade Runner" updated the plotty and romantic noir stories of the 1940s and '50s for the age of action-heavy science fiction. It gave it the intellectual credibility of Philip K. Dick, who wrote the existential novel the movie is based on, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
The movie also leaves a major question unanswered, debated by fans to this day: Is Deckard, Harrison Ford's character, himself a replicant? And will that be answered in a sequel?
"Blade Runner" got mixed reviews upon release and never spawned a franchise like "Star Wars,""Alien," and "The Terminator," partly because Scott and the studio were at odds over the cut released in theaters. But over the years, it became more and more influential and grew a cult following. Now after decades, we have a sequel.
What's hot: The mystery plot and stunning visuals.
In "Blade Runner 2049," Ryan Gosling plays a replicant police officer, an obedient android who hunts down the earlier models who have free will. During the course of his job, he stumbles upon a secret that threatens to shake the foundations of the balance between replicants and humans. While he tries to resolve it, he also goes on a personal journey to find his place in the world.
Gosling is great at this kind of thing. As "Drive,""Blue Valentine," and "La La Land" attest, he's great at conjuring moody reflection about grand ideas of love and life without too much speechifying. It's a quality he shares with Harrison Ford. Ford himself appears late in the movie, and Villeneuve uses his age to the same melancholic effect J.J. Abrams used in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
Jared Leto does a slick job as the sinister villain obsessed with James Turrell even though he's blind. Sylvia Hoeks, a Dutch actress, is introduced to American audiences as Leto's henchwoman and dominates the scenes she's in. Carla Juri has a small but essential role, and she's perfect in it. The corners of Robin Wright's mouth (she plays Gosling's character's boss) have more acting ability than most of Los Angeles. And Barkhad Abdi, who unfortunately isn't getting cast in enough movies, is a delight in a small scene.
The original "Blade Runner" was praised for its dystopian world of futuristic Los Angeles, perpetually dark and covered in neon advertisements. "Blade Runner 2049" steps it up with "Her"-like AI companions, holograms, and a really big Sony logo (the company produced the movie).
Villeneuve's "Arrival" had beautiful landscape shots and special effects. For "Blade Runner 2049," he teamed up with production designer Dennis Gassner and Roger Deakins, one of the world's greatest living cinematographers, responsible for the look of "Skyfall" and "No Country for Old Men." Deakins also worked as a visual consultant on "Wall-E" and "How to Train Your Dragon." He's long overdue for an Oscar, and his work on this movie is worthy of one.
What's not: It's hard to care about the characters.
The biggest problem with the original "Blade Runner" is that the characters aren't all that convincing. Harrison Ford is awesome as a gloomy bounty hunter, less so as a romantic one. "Blade Runner 2049" has the same problem. It's fun to watch Gosling's character (he's named only with a serial number that starts with "K,"which may be a Franz Kafka reference) discover new clues and put the puzzle together, but the romance with his AI girlfriend and his emotional connections with other people don't quite click. Both his character and Deckard are better as loners.
And so when Gosling's character finally finds Deckard, late in the film, it doesn't feel so much like an emotional revelation. It's more like finding a legendary Pokémon and seeing the plot points culminate into the final sequence.
Because the movie isn't too emotionally unconvincing, it's hard to care about some of the thematic ideas the movie plays up. Jared Leto's villain goes on a whole monologue about how pain is like love or something. Whatever. I just wanted to see more cool drone shots.
The bottom-line: It's an incredible achievement, but not quite a masterpiece.
It's hard to make a sequel to a beloved movie 35 years later, much less with a new director (Ridley Scott still produced "Blade Runner 2049"). But this new movie does it and ups the ante with an imaginative cyberpunk universe, thematic continuity, and stunning setpieces. Sure, the existential pondering is overwritten, but it's rare that we get a $200 million blockbuster at least as thoughtful about it as "Blade Runner 2049."
"Blade Runner 2049" hits theaters on Friday.
35 years ago, director Ridley Scott blessed us with a sci-fi movie that, to this day, is still one of the most beloved works in the genre.
“Blade Runner,” based on the Philip K. Dick novel, is a futuristic film noir starring Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, an officer in the LAPD who works a specific beat: tracking down rogue "replicants" (bioengineered androids who work as slaves on off-world colonies). On the streets, he’s called a “blade runner.” By the end of the movie, Deckard falls for an advanced replicant named Rachel (Sean Young), which causes him to become a fugitive as well.
Scott’s vision of a dreary Los Angeles in the future, mixed with the cinematography of Jordan Cronenweth, and the synthesized score of Vangelis, gave us a sci-fi movie that — five years after the release of “Star Wars: A New Hope” — was as technically advanced, but grittier than George Lucas’s Buck Rogers-inspired space opera. And story-wise, "Blade Runner" was more layered than Scott’s other sci-fi landmark, “Alien,” three years earlier.
So that’s the kind of greatness director Denis Villeneuve (“Sicario,” “Arrival”) was up against when he signed on to make a sequel to “Blade Runner.”
“Blade Runner 2049,” opening in theaters on Friday, is a tremendous achievement by a director who is quickly becoming one of the handful of filmmakers who can bring an auteur vision to Hollywood blockbusters. But it’s extremely difficult to compare it to the original.
The movie opens with us being introduced to a new blade runner, K (Ryan Gosling). The year is 2049 and things have gotten even more complex in a decrepit Los Angeles. The replicants are more advanced, but there are still those older models running around unaccounted for, which K seeks out.
I don’t want to give too much away because you should really go in fresh to appreciate the movie, so here’s the bare-bones version: K discovers information in his latest case that leads him on an investigation that will redefine the replicants, and take him to the whereabouts of Deckard.
Gosling delivers another powerful performance by doing something that he’s quickly become the master of: minimalist acting. K, like Deckard, works alone. And though he wants desperately to have a relationship, all he has is a beautiful computer-generated woman (Ana de Armas) who greets him when he gets home every night. The inner turmoil of K’s life and profession is displayed by Gosling with looks and few words.
Now, for some actors this type of style could come off as lazy and uninspired — and put audiences in a snooze. But Gosling does it in a way that, when his character explodes with emotion or a fit of rage, it’s exhilarating to watch. If you loved Gosling in “Drive” (and tolerated him in “Only God Forgives”) then get ready to see the perfect chill Gosling performance.
What Gosling lacks in energy is made up for with an ear-drum busting score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, along with lush cinematography by the great Roger Deakins.
While the first “Blade Runner” explores LA with mostly night shots and a handful of wide exteriors, Villeneuve (who previously worked with the legendary DP on “Prisoners” and “Sicario”) has Deakins go crazy in “2049.” Thanks to the technology since 1982, we see the world through epic vistas and rich colors. And in paying homage to Scott (who is a executive producer on the movie) a good amount of rain. Does Deakins deserve a long-awaited first Oscar for his work on the movie? Yeah! But I feel I’ve been saying that about almost every movie he’s done in my lifetime.
Don’t expect anything earth-shattering with the performance by Ford as Deckard. He shows up, does his Harrison Ford thing (like hit Ryan Gosling in the face … a lot), and gets the job done like a pro. Honestly, there wasn’t much more he could do in this movie.
There are a few head-scratching moments with the plot. Mackenzie Davis’ Mariette role is forgettable. I still have no clue what purpose she served in the story (which is sad, because Davis deserves better). And Jared Leto as the overseer of the replicants, Niander Wallace, is just a few scenes of some A+ scenery chewing. There are moments when it almost seemed Villeneuve was letting Leto go full Colonel Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now” with his performance, as Leto goes off on tangents and is shot in shadows.
I left watching “2049” feeling extremely satisfied. With a running time of over two and a half hours, you have the feeling that you went through an epic journey by the end. This is definitely an event movie. But I also felt that I saw something that was so distant from the original in story, style, and structure that it’s unfair to connect them.
Sure, there are moments that “Blade Runner” fans will fully appreciate, but I’m going to keep the original on high and celebrate “2049” for its own individual strengths.
As "Blade Runner 2049" draws nearly universal critical acclaim in advance of its release on Friday, the film's stars, Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, have been talking about an infamous, accidental punch that occurred on its set.
Gosling first described the "fight scene" punch to GQ in December. After Ford accidentally clocked Gosling in the face amid a flurry of fake punches, Gosling said that "2049" director Denis Villeneuve told him, "'Look at it this way — you just got hit by Indiana Jones.'"
Ford and Gosling have since discussed the punch on several late-night shows.
Ford recounted the punch on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" this week. "I threw 80 punches," he said. "Seventy-nine of them missed him, which is the way you're supposed to do it in a movie."
Later in the week, Ford and Gosling revealed the actual image of the punch on the "Graham Norton Show."
This still of Harrison Ford accidentally punching Ryan Gosling for real during a Blade Runner 2049 scene is amazing. pic.twitter.com/3uKIxHo1AT— Toucan Dan (@GolazoDan) September 30, 2017
"That's the face of, 'Oh sh-t, I'm in deep doodoo,'" Ford told Norton of the image.
Watch a segment of the interview below:
As summer turns to fall, bombastic blockbusters are giving way to a barrage of horror-movie legacy properties.
Leatherface and Jigsaw will arrive in October, and there’s It, the second screen adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel about a group of friends tormented by a malevolent force inhabiting their hometown of Derry, Maine. But there are so many try-hard reboots and hollow sequels in horror that it can be hard to remember that somelegacy properties can (and should) be properly dusted off.
In that spirit, Vulture has compiled a list of scary-movie remakes that are truly worth your time: thrill rides that either improved upon their source material, matched wits with the classics that came before them, or, in a few cases, nobly committed to turning bad first movies into highly entertaining second efforts.
From alien parasites lurking in Antarctic research facilities to girls getting picked off on sorority row, here are the horror remakes that are definitely worth your time.
"The Crazies" (2010)
Anyone who’s seen even one episode of Justified knows that Timothy Olyphant was born to play a small-town lawman. And just before he put on the signature Raylan Givens hat in 2010, he was local sheriff David Dutten of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, a small town on the brink of oblivion after the inhabitants contract a virus through the water supply that turns them into savage killers. The 1973 version of Crazies is a just-okay movie from legendary director George A. Romero, but the 2010 take is a perfectly gory white-knuckler that’s got Olyphant’s likability as an X-factor that raises its game. Romero executive-produced this updated take on his work, and it did right by his legacy.
"The Thing" (1982)
While Howard Hawks’s 1951 film The Thing From Another World is a great movie, John Carpenter’s 1982 remake is arguably the definitive adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr.’s novella, Who Goes There? Kurt Russell stars as R.J. MacReady, a helicopter pilot at an Antarctic research station that’s about to be laid to waste by an extraterrestrial parasite that infiltrates host bodies and imitates their traits. The slowly building paranoia that turns the Antarctic group against one another still holds up, and the groundbreaking VFX continue to provoke a sort of visceral terror.
"The Fly" (1986)
How do you top one of the great science-fiction horror films of all time, especially one starring the incomparable Vincent Price? You tap David Cronenberg to direct your remake and cast the just-as-incomparable Jeff Goldblum. The 1986 Fly focuses on a brilliant scientist who slowly morphs into a man-fly hybrid after a teleportation experiment goes terribly awry, and it showcases one of the most truly disturbing feats of practical effects in all of movie history. That part is no surprise, considering Cronenberg is the undisputed king of gruesome screen transformations (see: Videodrome, Scanners, Naked Lunch, The Brood, and so on), but the emotional weight that Goldblum and his co-star Geena Davis bring to the relationship between Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaife sets the physical horror up to be so very devastating in the end. “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held a members-only meeting for only the second time in its 90-year history — and one of the big reasons for the rare event was to discuss Netflix.
The success of the streaming giant's original content has already become a staple at the Emmys, and now Academy members are trying to figure out if they should allow more Netflix titles into the Academy Awards. Netflix has received Oscar nominations for its documentaries in the past, but never for its narrative originals.
According to Deadline, the 300 members who attended the meeting (the total number of members is around 8,500) spent a good deal of time discussing if a Netflix narrative title should be eligible for the Oscars if it only screens for the required one-week New York and Los Angeles theatrical run.
Netflix will likely have at least one title this year with a lot of Oscar buzz, Dee Rees' drama "Mudbound" (that begins streaming on Netflix, and presumably also in select theaters, on November 17).
One Oscar member voiced in the meeting that allowing Netflix into the major categories could lead to "a cheapening of the Oscar"— especially if a title won an Emmy and was Oscar eligible in the same year.
But frankly, it's hard to see the Academy shutting out Netflix if the company has a worthy title, and abides by the rules of releasing it theatrically for eligibility.
Netflix has ruffled the feathers of the movie establishment for years now.
The trouble started in 2015, when Netflix released its first original movie, "Beasts of No Nation," simultaneously in theaters and on streaming. The major chains boycotted the movie because it did not respect the 90-day exclusive theatrical window.
Then, earlier this year, many in the industry were upset that Netflix titles were in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, as the titles would not get theatrical releases in France (the festival rules have since changed so only titles with intended theatrical releases in France can be eligible to be in competition). But seeing that many Academy members (especially the new crop of 700-or-so that just joined) are working or want to work with Netflix, it's hard to imagine the 300 people at this meeting spoke for the majority of the membership.
The biggest controversy is that Netflix is not playing by the rules like it's main competition, Amazon, and respecting the traditional theatrical window. This, for some Academy members, defines a real movie.
Amazon Studios, with its three Oscar wins earlier this year, has quickly been welcomed by the establishment because it acts like a traditional movie studio: theatrical release, followed by home video, and then streaming. Netflix has always wanted to disrupt the industry, and has done so by never doing a theatrical release before putting one of its original movies on streaming.
Netflix has been able to get away with that style with documentaries like "The Square,""What Happened, Miss Simone?," and "13th," but when the heavily Oscar-buzzed "Beasts of No Nation" didn't get a single nomination, it was obvious the Hollywood establishment was only going to allow so much change.
The Oscars already get a lot of heat for not recognizing enough of the movies in a year that are major box office performers (i.e., the movies general audiences went to see), so neglecting Netflix titles will only make the Academy look more elitist and out-of-touch.
This debate will only build as we get closer to the 90th Academy Awards, which will take place March 4, 2018.
Jared Leto will star as the late Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner in an upcoming biopic from director Brett Ratner, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Hefner died last week at the age of 91, but Ratner has reportedly been set on directing the project since 2007.
Ratner acquired the rights to the film in 2015, after its previous rightsholder, Jerry Weintraub of Warner Bros., passed away.
Leto, who stars in the upcoming "Blade Runner 2049," will take on a role that THR writes was once meant for Robert Downey Jr.
"Jared is an old friend," Ratner told THR. "When he heard I got the rights to Hef's story, he told me, 'I want to play him. I want to understand him.' And I really believe Jared can do it. He's one of the great actors of today."
The film is still in early development with Ratner's RatPac Entertainment.
Two decades after working with director James Cameron on the box-office smash "Titanic," Kate Winslet is now joining Cameron's series of "Avatar" sequels in a starring role, Deadline reports.
"Kate and I have been looking for something to do together for 20 years, since our collaboration on 'Titanic,' which was one of the most rewarding of my career," Cameron told the outlet. "I can't wait to see her bring the character of Ronal to life."
In the meantime, Winslet stars alongside Idris Elba in "The Mountain Between Us," which opens Friday.
She also stars alongside Justin Timberlake and Juno Temple in Woody Allen's upcoming movie, "Wonder Wheel," which opens November 30.
Production for the four "Avatar" sequels began in late September, with a reported production budget of over $1 billion, making it the most expensive film series in history. The first "Avatar," released in 2009, is the highest-grossing worldwide release of all time with $2.7 billion.
20th Century Fox plans to release the first "Avatar" sequel on December 18, 2020, while the next movie is to be released a year later. The last two are slated for December 2024 and 2025.
With a career that spans over three decades in TV and movies, Pierce Brosnan has done it all — from belting out songs in the “Mama Mia!” movie to playing James Bond four times.
Since handing in his license to kill as 007 in 2002, following the release of “Die Another Day,” Brosnan has continued his career through a diverse collection of roles. His latest is “The Foreigner,” where he plays a former-IRA-member-turned-British-government-official, who finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with a persistent father (Jackie Chan) whose daughter died in a terrorist act. And it's one of his best in recent years. The movie also teams Brosnan with director Martin Campbell, who made his first Bond movie, “GoldenEye.”
Business Insider spoke with Brosnan about working again with Campbell, and acting across from Jackie Chan but never actually meeting the man (we’ll let him explain) — but our James Bond questions led to a brief awkward moment.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Jason Guerrasio: At this point in your career do you not even entertain a project unless it has really interesting pieces to it, like Jackie Chan, or returning to work with someone like Martin Campbell?
Pierce Brosnan: Well, you always try to have interesting elements. You want to be able to get out of bed and kind of go to work and put in a 14-16 hour day, so yes, it better have some point of interest and some meaningful wordsmith or storytelling. And in this particular case it's Martin Campbell. We have a friendship and a relationship of many years. And Jackie, I'm just a huge Jackie Chan fan. I grew up on Bruce Lee and then it was Jackie Chan. He's just one of the great all-around entertainers.
Guerrasio: Did you know Jackie at all before going into this?
Brosnan: No. No, I never knew the man.
Guerrasio: Did you need a little get-to-know-you meet with him before getting into the intense scenes you two have in this movie? Meet for a drink or something?
Brosnan: No. Not at all. [Laughs] Just showed up for work and if you're cast correctly, and the script has meaning, and you're in the hands of a great director, then everyone knows their job and they know what to do. Jackie and I didn't socialize. We were scheduled for dinners which didn't happen for one reason or another. Mainly because of work. When I wasn't working, Jackie was, and then if he wasn't working, he was back in China working on another movie. The man is completely work obsessed.
Guerrasio: So did that heighten the scenes because you didn't know him and he's playing a character that's so different from what he's done in the past?
Brosnan: Jackie was 100% committed to the work at hand, and Martin is a taskmaster in the most glorious fashion. He just doesn't leave the set until the scene is enlivened by the performers. What can I say, I wasn't with Jackie Chan, I was with his character Quan, and that's always wonderful. I fully believed who he was.
Guerrasio: As the production goes on is there anyone on the cast or crew brave enough to come to you or Martin and ask some "GoldenEye" questions or ask for some stories from set?
Brosnan: Oh yes. Yes. It's a very communal and easy-going atmosphere. And Martin and I would occasionally reference the movie.
Guerrasio: That's interesting. Something would come up on set that would bring back memories of "GoldenEye?" Would it go as far as how to tackle a certain scene? "Martin, remember what we did on 'GoldenEye?'"
Brosnan: No. Nothing like that. Just a quiet understanding of history and what we have done. That's in the past.
Guerrasio: As the years go by of being removed from Bond do you appreciate it more, or does it become more of a burden? You've said in the past you're marked for life with that role. How do you see it now at this moment in your life?
Brosnan: It was a great job. It was a wonderful part to play.
Guerrasio: As the years go by do you have a different affection for it?
Brosnan: I’ve always had affection for it. I still have affection for it.
Guerrasio: Were you shocked Daniel Craig came back for the role?
Brosnan: No. It would have been rude not to.
Guerrasio: Because I would think that's such a hard role to walk away from. Can you relate to what Craig has gone through? For you, was it hard to walk away from Bond?
Brosnan: What's this got to do with “The Foreigner?"
Guerrasio: Oh, well, I've asked questions about the movie, this is a Q&A, I'm just touching on everything — if that's okay? This is my last one on the topic, Mr. Bronson, was it hard to walk away from Bond?
Brosnan: My name is Brosnan, not Bronson.
Guerrasio: Did I say that? I'm sorry.
Guerrasio: Is it hard to walk away from that role?
Brosnan: Completely in keeping with the times.
Guerrasio: Another movie I wanted to bring up is "The Thomas Crown Affair," which you also produced. Were you surprised you were never able to do a sequel?
Brosnan: Not in the least. I never wanted a sequel. The studio wanted a sequel.
Guerrasio: Oh really. Well, one sequel you are doing is "Mama Mia!," are you prepping?
Brosnan: I’m on a plane tomorrow to Croatia.
Guerrasio: Excited to get back into the singing again?
Brosnan: Oh, absolutely. These are dear friends and it's a kick in the pants to play in that movie. It's criminal how much fun we have.
Guerrasio: And Andy Garcia is coming on this time around.
Brosnan: That I had no idea. Well, you know more than I do.
Guerrasio: I think that was announced recently. Do you know Andy at all?
Brosnan: I don't. I'm sure it will be fun. I enjoy his work very much. I think I know who he's playing, though. He's going to be great.
"The Foreigner" opens in theaters October 13.
All you "Fast and the Furious" fans are going to have to wait a little longer to see the next installment in Universal's lucrative franchise.
The studio announced Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that it's delaying the ninth movie by one year. The untitled movie, which currently has no director attached, was slated to open April 19, 2019. It will now open April 10, 2020.
There are no details yet on why the movie was pushed back, but the speculation will certainly begin.
Vin Diesel, who is also a producer on the movies, will return. But after his very public spat with his co-star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson leading up to the release of the most recent movie, "The Fate of the Furious," it's unknown if Johnson will be returning.
Is the studio trying to get more time to mend fences? Or is it taking time to hire another major star to take Johnson's place?
Another theory is that the planned spinoff movie from the franchise, which is to star Johnson and Jason Statham, could now take that 2019 release slot. Perhaps the studio is going with the game plan of "Star Wars" of having spinoff movies put between the years of the main story franchise releases.
Business Insider contacted Universal for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
"The Fate of the Furious" proved global audiences still loves the franchise. The movie earned over $1.2 billion worldwide when it was released over the summer. Over $1 billion of that came from overseas.
In a culture full of celebrities breathlessly competing for our attention, Harrison Ford feels not just like an anachronism but an aberration — the movie star who really, really doesn’t want to be there. This has long been central to his craggy appeal, as he consistently looks miserable doing promotion for his films, even the ones he likes.
When GQ recently profiled him for Blade Runner 2049, the 75-year-old summed up his press-tour strategy thusly: “It’s always better not to talk about [the work], I think. Just f---ing do it. Don’t ’splain it. Especially if you’re getting away with it.” Ford’s disdain for the mechanics of fame is refreshing and also really funny — he might be the most delightfully grumpy public figure outside of Larry David.
That real-guy authenticity has always been a major part of Ford’s story; it’s often mentioned that he worked as a carpenter before establishing a film career. But once he focused on acting, he emphasized the nuts-and-bolts precision of his work, eschewing the flamboyant or the self-regarding in order to portray men whose chief objective was to do their job well. But ranking Ford’s five decades of film stardom also reveals a core truth: He is not an actor with extraordinary range. That’s not a criticism but, rather, an acknowledgment of something elemental about his technique, which is to deliver performances that are simple and true with no fuss. It’s not that he hasn’t pushed himself, but he seems to understand where his strengths lie and doesn’t fret about his limitations. You never watch a Harrison Ford performance thinking he’s trying to impress you. (Let other, less-confident actors worry about such nonsense.)
Below is our rundown of Ford’s 36 biggest roles, skipping over the really early stuff (like Journey to Shiloh), the utterly forgettable cameos (good-bye forever, Jimmy Hollywood), and his minor work in Apocalypse Now. What emerges is a career in which he found superstardom early on, parlayed it into years of being a dependable box-office titan, stumbled after the hits stopped coming, and then returned, triumphant, in long-awaited sequels to his biggest films. We tried our best not to overintellectualize a body of work that’s most striking for its immediacy and lack of self-consciousness. As Ford would say, let’s just f---ing do it.
36. "The Expendables 3" (2014)
The infamous Expendables 3 poster — which features a truly shocking 16 people on it — had no more uncomfortable (and obviously Photoshopped) participant than Ford, who looks like someone cut out an old Random Hearts publicity shot and spliced it in with the promise that no one would tell Harrison. Ford has just a couple of scenes as a getaway pilot who helps the gang, and he resembles more a Sinatra cameo in an old Bob Hope golf comedy than anything else. Also: Contrary to the chummy nature of these films, there is no way he has ever so much as met Dolph Lundgren.
35. "Hollywood Homicide" (2003)
There are tired, lazy buddy-cop movies — and then there’s throwing Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett (during that brief few months of the Hartnett boom) together as homicide cops in Hollywood and then just calling the movie Hollywood Homicide! Ford is supposed to be growly and grizzled, but he can barely muster up the energy to do that. He also looks openly contemptuous of his co-star. Six years ago earlier he was helping usher Brad Pitt into stardom; here, he does not look amused by the downgrade.
34. "Firewall" (2006)
Ford’s timeless quality, the sense that he could have been a movie star in roughly any decade since the dawn of sound, only works against him when directors try to surround him with the Trend of the Day; Harrison Ford shouldn’t be wasted in techno espionage thrillers, particularly when it’s obvious he doesn’t entirely understand what’s happening in them. Here, he’s a normal dad who is targeted by identity thieves, namely Paul Bettany’s nasty hacker. While it’s briefly funny to watch Ford try to figure out what online identity theft is, alas, Firewall is not a comedy.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
In Hollywood, when a project has been through the ringer, with multiple directors and casting changes, it often ends up not being very good.
But the Israeli director Hany Abu-Assad (Oscar-nominated "Paradise Now") has defied the odds. His latest movie, "The Mountain Between Us" (opening Friday), is a thrilling love story that will not just keep you on the edge of your seat but also have you reaching for the tissues.
Ben (Idris Elba) and Alex (Kate Winslet) are two people stranded at the Salt Lake City airport as a major storm grounds all flights. Both really need to get home for important events, so Alex comes up with the idea of hiring a pilot (Beau Bridges) with a small plane to fly them back home. But over the snowy mountains of Utah the pilot suffers a heart attack, leading to a dramatic crash landing. Ben, Alex, and the pilot's dog all survive, but with little food they have to figure out quickly how to get rescued.
I know, you're probably saying, "This is a love story?"
But Abu-Assad perfectly eases us through the obvious reaction of shock and fear that would come after surviving a plane crash to the affection that's built between Ben and Alex as they gain their strength and begin the trek down the mountain to find civilization. As the story progresses and the danger builds, so does the sexual tension.
Ben and Alex couldn't be more opposite — he's a surgeon and she's a photojournalist — and that's what builds the conversations between the two and the decisions they make. Ben is structured and needs control. He wants to stay put after the crash and wait for help. Alex is more of a free spirit and decides things on intuition and instinct. There's a lot of "head versus heart" talk in the movie, and it's easy to tell where both stand. But, as they say, opposites attract, and that's certainly the case with these characters.
Through getting to know each other and the feeling that death could come at any moment, a connection builds that finally leads to the two sleeping together. How we, as the audience, go from the hysterics of witnessing a plane crash (all done in a single shot, by the way) to fully believing the love these two people have for each other is a testament to Abu-Assad's storytelling. And all of this leads to an end that will make you feel all warm inside when you leave the theater.
Based on the 2011 Charles Martin book of the same name, the movie has been in development since 2012 and gone through a few cast changes, with first Michael Fassbender and Margot Robbie and then Charlie Hunnam and Rosamund Pike set to take on the journey. The director Gerardo Naranjo (episodes of "Narcos" and "Fear the Walking Dead") was also attached. But I couldn't think of a better duo than Elba and Winslet taking this on.
It's become old hat to see Winslet in unique love stories — from "Titanic" to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"— and she's perfect in the role of Alex. But it's Elba who gives a performance that finally shows his talents (well, since "Beasts of No Nation," but that feels like ages ago). He plays Ben as a tough guy with a complex outer shell who really is a softie inside. And as he opens up more and more, Elba really shows a range that will make him even more of a heartthrob than he is now.
If that is possible.
Following the announced one-year delay by Universal of the next movie in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, the finger-pointing has now started from cast members.
On Wednesday night, Tyrese Gibson, who plays the comic-relief character Roman in the franchise, took to his Instagram account and called out his costar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for being the cause.
With the hashtag #PSA to start his post, Tyrese congratulated Johnson and Hiram Garcia — one of the producing partners of Johnson's Seven Bucks Production company — for "making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU."
Later in the post, Tyrese wrote, "#FastFamily right? Nah..... it's about #TeamDewayne." He also pondered if, after the extended wait, the movie turns out like another "Baywatch," the other summer movie Johnson was in. "Baywatch" bombed at the box office and was slaughtered by critics.
Here's Tyrese's post:
#PSA Congratulations to @TheRock and your brother in law aka 7 bucks producing partner @hhgarcia41 for making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU - And like you, DJ even if they call I will not be deleting this post - Gn folks see you in 2020 April #FastFamily right? Nah..... it's about #TeamDewayne #3yrs will it be worth the wait? #NoShaw just Hobbs will this be another #BayWatch? Guys guys just relax I'm just a passionate film critic
This is not the first time an actor from the "Fast and Furious" franchise has called out another cast mate.
While wrapping up his time shooting "The Fate of the Furious," Johnson took to social media to call out male costars for being “candy a--es” and not "true professionals." It was later believed that Johnson was referring to franchise star and producer Vin Diesel. The drama got to a point where they didn't do press together in the lead-up to the movie being released. And, if you look closely, they are never in the same shot in "Fate of the Furious."
It will be interesting to see if The Rock responds. As Tyrese notes in his Instagram post: "DJ even if they call I will not be deleting this post."
The untitled ninth movie in the "Fast and Furious" franchise will be released April 2020.
Actress Rose McGowan reached a $100,000 settlement with film mogul Harvey Weinstein in 1997, according to a bombshell New York Times report that details numerous sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein.
McGowan was 23 years old when she reached the previously undisclosed settlement with Weinstein, following what the Times described as "an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival."
The legal document, reviewed by the Times, said that the settlement was "not to be construed as an admission" of harassment by Weinstein, but rather intended to "avoid litigation and buy peace."
In the same Times report, actress Ashley Judd accused Weinstein of inviting her to his hotel room, appearing in a bathrobe, offering her a massage, and asking her if she wanted to watch him take a shower.
In 1997, McGowan was between work on the horror film "Scream"— which was produced by Weinstein's brother, Bob Weinstein, and his Dimension Films studio — and The WB show "Charmed."
As the cofounder of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein has had a huge influence on Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Six of the films he has produced have won the Academy Award for best picture, including "Shakespeare in Love" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
McGowan declined to comment on the Times story.
Weinstein has since provided the Times with a statement, in which he said he would take a "leave of absence" from The Weinstein Company in the wake of the allegations.
The INSIDER Summary:
In an explosive new report from The New York Times, Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein is facing a slew of reports over sexual harassment and misconduct from both actors and former employees.
We've gathered all the most important information you need to know from this unfolding story.
Who is Harvey Weinstein?
Harvey Weinstein is a longtime Hollywood producer known for his fierce campaigning and ability to boost the careers of those within his inner circle. He and brother Bob Weinstein cofounded Miramax Films, which they left in 2005 to start their own film studio, The Weinstein Company (TWC).
Under Harvey Weinstein's leadership, TWC has produced several major films. The most notable on the list are Oscar-nominated movies "The Artist,""The King's Speech,""Silver Linings Playbook," and "Lion."
Weinstein was married to Eve Chilton from 1987 to 2004, and married fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman in 2007.
Multiple women have accused him of sexual harassment
A new report from Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey at the New York Times catalogs decades of accusations from women who worked with Weinstein in various capacities.
In an interview with the Times, actress Ashely Judd said Weinstein asked her to meet him at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel and made multiple inappropriate requests of her.
"He had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower," Kantor and Twohey reported.
"Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it's simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly," Judd told the Times.
The Times reporters spoke with eight different women, none of whom knew each other, who gave various accounts of Weinstein "appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself."
In 2015, a TWC employee named Lauren O'Connor wrote a memo about these incidences to several executives at the company, according to the Times. Weinstein reportedly reached a settlement with O'Connor, who then retracted the memo.
Two company officials spoke anonymously with the Times, and said Weinstein has reached "at least eight settlements with women" over sexual harrassment allegations spanning the last two decades.
How Weinstein is addressing the accusations
Ahead of the Times' publication of their article, Weinstein had already assembled a legal team. One of his lawyers is Lisa Bloom — a civil rights attorney known for bringing down Bill O'Reilly and also for representing celebrity clients such as Blac Chyna.
Weinstein has also hired Charles Harder, a litigator who represented Hulk Hogan in the case which resulted in Gawker's shut down. Hours after the Times published its report, Harder told The Hollywood Reporter he was preparing a lawsuit against the paper.
Here's the statement Harder wrote to THR:
"The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein. It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by nine different eyewitnesses. We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women’s organizations."
In a statement provided to INSIDER, Weinstein's other lawyer Lisa Bloom said that Weinsten "denies many of the accusations as patently false."
"Harvey is not going to demean or attack any of the women making accusations against him, although he does dispute many of the allegations," Bloom's statement also says. "Instead, he is going to use this as a painful learning experience to grow into a better man. I will continue to work with him personally for as long as it takes."
Many have noted that Bloom is working with Weinstein to adapt a book she wrote into a miniseries. She announced the project in April 2017.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: My book SUSPICION NATION is being made into a miniseries, produced by Harvey Weinstein and Jay Z! https://t.co/Z4pu7y0TfX— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) April 7, 2017
Weinstein released a personal statement, which was also shared with INSIDER. He says he is taking a leave of absence from TWC, and attributes his behavior to learned cultural norms from the '60s and '70s. He also quotes Jay Z (whom he is working with on a new movie) and says he plans on channeling his anger toward the NRA.
Here's his full statement:
I came of age in the 60s and 70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.
I have since learned it's not an excuse, in the office — or out of it. To anyone. I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed. I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment.
My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year I've asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me and she's put together a team of people. I've brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more.
Jay Z wrote in 4:44 "I'm not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children." The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community but I know I've got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn't an overnight process. I've been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them.
I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I've decided that I'm going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I'm going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I'm making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party.
One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won't disappoint her.
Did you come across a 7-foot-tall Chewbacca at Comic Con in New York? There was a familiar face inside. Adam Savage of "Mythbusters" and Tested fame went incognito on the convention floor as the furry fan favorite "Star Wars" character Chewbacca. We watched him get ready and followed him around to see how fans reacted. Following is a transcript of the video.
Adam Savage: Hey I'm Adam Savage from Tested.com, formerly of "Mythbusters."
I'm here at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York for New York City's Comic Con.
If you didn't know this about me, I have a cosplay habit. I go to cons all year round, and I walk in costume.
Last year was my first year at New York City Comic Con, and I made a seven-foot-tall Totoro costume. Today I am doing a brand new thing. I am walking with Chewbacca as a captured prisoner of a First Order stormtrooper, who will be played by Tested.com’s own Norman Chan.
The trick to Chewie is that he's a little bit tousled. His hair is tousled. And if you tousle it right, he looks right. See? It's kind of an Empire hairdo.
There are a lot of little things to do to prep for Chewbacca. One: I have to take my glasses off and put in a single contact lens. This is how I've learned to see in cosplay. If I put in two contact lenses, I can't see my phone, and that effectively makes me useless.
I also made some Imperial cuffs out of PVC. One hour build.
I have some tall boots that I wear that make me about 7 inches taller. The shirt here and the pants are Kanekalon artificial hair latch hooked onto webbing. So it’s a very lightweight and breathable costume. And then with the top of Chewbacca’s head rising about 5 inches above mine, I am almost 7-feet tall.
Yes, I do sweat in there.
I am ready to be led around as a prisoner.
I am so energized by what it's like to walk around. Because when people see a Chewbacca in front of them, they kind of lose their minds. They never thought that they would see a Chewbacca, and many of them just come up and hug you.
Like, Chewie is such an amazing character. He’s my favorite non-human character in film. So I love bringing him around and allowing people to experience a Chewie in the wild.
"Get a picture!"
"Hurry up, he’s a prisoner!"
I wanna take pictures with everybody, and when we stop, it's just not enough time. So we take like 10 or 15, and then we have to keep moving. Otherwise we’re just going to clog up that whole portion of the con.
"Hey Chewie, can I get a selfie?"
I’m Adam Savage. You guys look amazing. Keep it quiet.
Norman Chan: Oh my god!
Savage: How was ... hey look at you sweaty!
I'm replacing a portion of the water I just sweated out. Nathan Fillion told me that in a very hot suit, he's lost as much as 3 pounds in an hour in water weight alone. And I'm sure I have come close to the same thing.
The second best part about cosplay, aside from walking the floor, is taking the costume off.
Alright, back to the rehearsals for Mummenschanz.
News broke earlier this week that Universal had pushed back the release date of its ninth movie in the "Fast and Furious" franchise by one year, and it's now been revealed why that was done.
The first spinoff movie in the money-making franchise will come before it.
A movie that will focus on the characters played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham will be released in 2019, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That will follow with the ninth "Fast and Furious" movie in 2020.
News of a movie being developed that would focus on the popular Hobbs (Johnson) and Shaw (Statham) characters surfaced soon after the success of this summer's "The Fate of the Furious" release. The characters formed a unique bromance in the movie, which was one of its highlights.
According to THR, longtime franchise screenwriter Chris Morgan is developing a script.
The news also brings some clarification to the Instagram post Tyrese Gibson did on Wednesday. Following the news of the ninth "Fast" movie getting pushed to a 2020 release, Gibson, who plays the Roman character in the franchise, called out Johnson on Instagram congratulating the star for "making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU."
It's clear Gibson believes Johnson — who joined the franchise on 2011's "Fast Five" and helped rejuvenate it to become the $1 billion-plus worldwide box office giant it is today — muscled Universal into getting the Hobbs/Shaw movie made first.
However, THR claims the studio is trying to get director Justin Lin to come back to make the ninth movie (he made "Fast & Furious,""Fast 5,""Fast & Furious 6"), so the push to 2020 will hopefully help to accommodate Lin's schedule.
Regardless, it's a smart business move by Universal. The extension of one of their most prized franchises helps in competing with Disney's "Star Wars," which has now branched off to making standalone movies between the releases of the main saga.
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has spoken out following a bombshell New York Times report that detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him, including from actress Ashley Judd.
"What I am saying is that I bear responsibility for my actions, but the reason I am suing is because of the Times' inability to be honest with me, and their reckless reporting," Weinstein told Page Six. "They told me lies. They made assumptions. ... The Times had a deal with us that they would tell us about the people they had on the record in the story, so we could respond appropriately, but they didn’t live up to the bargain."
In the Times report, among numerous other allegations, actress Ashley Judd accused Weinstein of inviting her to his hotel room, appearing in a bathrobe, offering her a massage, and asking her if she wanted to watch him take a shower.
One of Weinstein's lawyers, Lisa Bloom, told The Wrap that the Times did not give Weinstein and his team enough time to respond to the allegations.
"We said, 'What is it, tell us the allegations, we will respond. Harvey is going to be admitting some stuff,'" Bloom said. "Two days ago, after begging, they gave us a couple dozen allegations that spanned 30 years and a dozen countries. They said we have until 1 pm today. We said 'Why?' They never said."
A Times spokesperson told The Wrap that they are "confident in the accuracy and fairness of our reporting" and that Weinstein had "ample time" to respond to allegations.
As the cofounder of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein has had an undeniable influence on Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Six of the films he has produced have won the Academy Award for best picture, including "Shakespeare in Love" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
In his apology statement provided to the Times on Thursday, Weinstein said he would take a "leave of absence" from The Weinstein Company in the wake of the allegations.
The name Roger Deakins might not ring a bell, but the movies he's shot are certainly household names.
As a 13-time Oscar nominee for his cinematography, he is behind the visuals of such classics as "The Shawshank Redemption,""Fargo,""A Beautiful Mind," and "Skyfall," to name just a few.
His latest project, "Blade Runner 2049" (in theaters), continues his top-flight work as he uses the world created by director Ridley Scott in the original "Blade Runner" to deliver a future that's dark and drab, but also breathtaking. And it might just finally give him that elusive Oscar he's been seeking.
While talking to Business Insider at the Toronto International Film Festival two years ago, Deakins revealed the three titles that stick out for him the most.
1. "Kundun" (1997)
Deakins teamed with Martin Scorsese for this biopic on Tibet's fourteenth Dalai Lama that was a jolt for Scorsese fans who know him for his look at the underworld. With a paltry lifetime box office of less than $6 million in the US, the film has been utterly forgotten. But for Deakins, the experience of shooting the film for Scorsese, which has been the only time the two legends have teamed up, was a memorable one.
"I love the film," Deakins told Business Insider. "There's something very special about it, as it's not strictly literal. There are shots that are so evocative and hit you."
2. "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001)
Deakins has shot almost all of the films made by Joel and Ethan Coen, but one that stands out for him is the black-and-white noir "The Man Who Wasn't There," starring Billy Bob Thornton as a chain-smoking barber who gets caught up in a murder.
"I think of all the films I've worked on, that film, to me, everything fits like a little complex jigsaw puzzle," he said. "The way the [Coens] did it, and how it's structured with a variety of mood. It was the hardest film to do that, and they really succeeded."
3. "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007)
A film that is quickly becoming a modern-day classic thanks to Deakins' poetic shots giving a look we've never seen before from a western. Brad Pitt plays the aging outlaw Jesse James in the final years of his life, leading up to him being killed by a member of his gang, Robert Ford (Casey Affleck).
"I love that movie so much because it really captured the lyricism of the book," Deakins said, referring to the Ron Hansen novel the movie is based on. "It has similarities to 'Kundun' in not being literal. I think films these days have become too literal and too dialogue, plot-driven. 'Jesse James' has shots in it that have nothing to do with the plot, but you can get away with it, and that's what I love about film. It's not always about narrative. There's just things you couldn't express any other way but through film."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is one of the Democratic Party's most prolific donors.
Since the 2000 election cycle, Weinstein has donated nearly $1 million in his own name in addition to collecting and providing roughly $1.5 million as a part of "bundled" donations, which the Center for Responsive Politics defines as contributions provided by "people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who's willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate."
Top Democrats including former President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand have all received contributions from Weinstein, the Hollywood mega-executive who co-founded Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company.
On Thursday, The New York Times reported on Weinstein's decades of alleged sexual misconduct. The Times reported that Weinstein pressured younger women into giving him massages and asked them to watch him bathe, among other harassment. By Friday, Weinstein was suspended from his company, the Associated Press reported.
Almost immediately, Democrats began facing pressure to return their donations from Weinstein. So far, a number of prominent Democrats already have.
BuzzFeed reported that, as of Friday afternoon, 10 Democratic senators have donated campaign contributions from Weinstein to charity. They include Sens. Chuck Schumer, Martin Heinrich, Patrick Leahy, Richard Blumenthal, Kamala Harris, Booker, Warren, Gillibrand, and Franken. Many of the charities were either national or local nonprofits focused on combating sexual violence.
The Democratic National Committee, which received more than $300,000 from Weinstein since 2000, decided to donate more than $30,000 to left-leaning political groups that support Democratic female candidates.
Editor's Note: The donations included are all of Weinstein's contributions to candidates in federal elections and national political organizations since 2000.
When Israeli director Hany Abu-Assad was handed the script for “The Mountain Between Us” three years ago, he knew he wanted to shoot it at a real location.
In an era where practically anything can be created with the most realistic detail in a soundstage, Abu-Assad felt if he was going to put the audience in a harrowing situation like surviving an airplane crash, he would have to also put his cast and crew in that same kind of setting.
That meant shooting for a month on a mountain at an elevation of 11,000 feet.
Based on the 2011 book by Charles Martin, “The Mountain Between Us” (which opened Friday), was a script that had a few false starts before ending up with Abu-Assad. There was the time Michael Fassbender and Margot Robbie were attached, then Charlie Hunnam and Rosamund Pike. When Abu-Assad came around, Jessica Chastain was circling. But it’s easy to understand why stars might have been somewhat hesitant to go forward with the movie: It’s a love story set on a mountain after the two leads survive a plane crash.
In the story, Ben and Alex are strangers stranded at the Salt Lake City airport as a major storm grounds all flights. As both desperately need to get back to their homes for important events, Alex comes up with the idea of hiring a pilot with a small plane to fly them back home. Ben tags along. But over the snowy mountains of Utah, the pilot suffers a heart attack, leading to a dramatic crash landing. Ben, Alex, and the pilot’s dog all survive, but with little food they have to figure out quickly how to get rescued. Eventually, Ben and Alex’s journey to be rescued leads to a romance.
It's not the kind of movie that’s an easy sell for a date night.
But Abu-Assad felt with the harrowing journey Ben and Alex have to endure to survive, a powerful love story could also be told.
“The idea was great between a survival tale and it turning out to be a love story, and what's the difference between love and survival? Is there any difference between the two?" Abu-Assad said to Business Insider. "We fall in love, I think, because we want to survive. We want to bring kids to the world. So the theme is very interesting. There aren't many movies being done with the combination of survival and love.”
Soon after signing on, Abu-Assad got a new version of the script following a rewrite by Chris Weitz, which he said was the best version he’d seen yet. With a locked script, Abu-Assad got it to Idris Elba, who was interested but knew the movie needed a strong female costar. Then at the 2015 British Film Academy Awards, Elba and Kate Winslet connected and the two decided they were up for the challenge of making “The Mountain Between Us.”
But even Abu-Assad admits, at times during shooting he wished he had done it all on a soundstage.
Following a month of pre-production in late 2016, production shot for a month on the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia (which doubled for the Utah mountain Ben and Alex are stuck on in the movie). Each day started with a helicopter trip up the mountain from the base camp. And not just the cast and crew, but all the equipment had to be flown up each day. Also, the helicopter would only take everyone up if if was a clear day and not a cloud in sight. As Abu-Assad learned the hard way one morning.
“I always flew up first with my DP, first AD, line producer, and location manager,” Abu-Assad said. “We go up and then suddenly we were rounding the mountain and there was this huge cloud on the other side of it. So the pilot had to turn around very fast — because if you go into that cloud you can't see anything, you'd be flying blind — and we went back down the mountain very fast. It was a free fall. It was like a bungee jump. That was the worst day for me.”
Shooting days only lasted six hours because everyone had to get off the mountain by the time the sun went down. And the altitude was a constant battle. Abu-Assad said numerous people fainted, including Elba.
And the elements didn’t just take its toll on the cast and crew, but the equipment as well. With the cold at times getting to around 40 below, all the cameras had to run 24 hours a day because they learned if they turned them off, they would never start back up.
Abu-Assad tried to keep everyone in high spirits through the shoot, but there were bad days.
The movie, shot by cinematographer Mandy Walker ("Australia,""Hidden Figures"), has gorgeous wide shots of miles of untouched snow with huge mountain ranges for as far as the eye can see. To pull off the look of the characters being in the middle of nowhere, Abu-Assad said the production had to walk for a good mile, lugging all the equipment (which included cranes and dolly tracks), in deep snow. Often up hills. In one instance, the crew almost revolted.
“One day we had walked and set up the shot and were ready, but then I was like 'This is not the right angle, we have to move the camera another half mile,’ because I wanted to get the mountains in the background,” he said. “You should have seen my crew shouting at me. ‘You can't do this!’ I felt really guilty. The line producer was yelling at me, 'Hany, you can't do this!' and I said, ‘We started already, let's continue.’ We all had to work together to make it possible and they did it.”
So despite some days wishing he had a warm coffee in his hands inside a comfortable studio set, Abu-Assad looks back and believes the experience on the mountain was needed to make the movie.
“To be honest, this is what drives me to make movies,” Abu-Assad said. “I want to have a challenge. And an honest picture. Because if you do it in a studio with a green screen, you won't be making honest decisions about your shots, lens, lighting. But when you are on location, every decision is an honest decision because you are hungry, you are cold, you are all in the same situation. The actors didn't need to pretend. We couldn't get food up there. Everyone had energy bars to chew on.”
But Abu-Assad isn’t crazy. Yes, he’d be willing to make a movie in these conditions again, just not the next one.
“The next movie is on a beach,” he said with a laugh. “Sun and beer and beautiful girls.”