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How this actor ended up playing 2 different villains in the 'Mad Max' franchise 36 years apart


hugh keays byrne

It wasn't enough for Australian-raised actor Hugh Keays-Byrne to have one legendary character on his resume, he had to go and create another.

Behind the fiberglass body armor, long white hair, and sinister oxygen mask of villain Immortal Joe in “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the man who, 36 years earlier, terrorized the Australian plains as the memorable Toecutter in the original "Mad Max.”

toecutterKeays-Byrne, 67, started his career as a trained theater actor who was part of the Royal Shakespeare Company for numerous years. But in 1979 he gained international acclaim in the low-budget apocalyptic cult hit “Mad Max,” starring a then unknown Mel Gibson.

“I was a young actor trying to do films and suddenly I realized, 'God, people are talking about this film,'” Keays-Byrne told Business Insider. “A friend of mine phoned from Japan and said, ‘Hugh, you're on television every 10 minutes over here.’”

Though Keays-Byrne would go on to act in numerous movies and TV shows for decades following “Mad Max,” he would always be known as Toecutter. Even to this day he gets stopped in the grocery store by fans.

Then, eight years ago, Keays-Byrne got a call from “Mad Max” director George Miller about the opportunity to come on “Fury Road.”

“I thought, didn’t Toecutter drive in front of a moving truck and die?”

He did.

Instead, Miller wanted him to play another villain, Immorten Joe, the leader of a post-apocalyptic village in which he rules by limiting the water supply and using beautiful women to birth his followers, coined “War Boys.”

MMFR TRL 87286This time things were different. Much of that was because of the hour-long hair and makeup routine he underwent to become unrecognizable every day before shooting.

Keays-Byrne said it took a few days to get comfortable on a big budget Hollywood set.

“This film took me into an area of technology that I’d never been anywhere near before, it was a bit scary," he said. “How does one judge one's performance?” he wondered. Since a mask covered his face throughout the whole production, he was required to do his dialogue in post production months later. “But George kept me relaxed. I had an ear piece and he’d speak to me [during scenes] from time to time, which I found reassuring,” Keays-Byrne said.

It’s hard for Keays-Byrne to pinpoint aspects of Immorten Joe that originated from him, as he spent years talking to Miller and others on the production about the character before they began shooting. However, there is one piece of his character he can unequivocally say came from him.

“Immorten Joe has a war club, and that was my mother-in-law’s," he said. "It was given to her during the second World War. After she died it was laying around and I thought, oh, that's an interesting thing.”

Here’s a picture of Immorten Joe holding the club on set.

Hugh Keays Byrne YouTube finalIn fact, the giant axe Toecutter used in "Mad Max” was also Keays-Byrne’s contribution. “A friend of mine had given it to me and I thought it had a look about it.”

Keays-Byrne loved the experience of doing a movie like “Fury Road" and hopes to do another one on that scale again, but he admits what he’s really excited about is watching the film with the actors who were members of Toecutter’s gang in "Mad Max.”

“Quite a few of those guys are still dear friends of mine,” he said. “We will indeed all go see ‘Fury Road’ together.”

SEE ALSO: "Mad Max: Fury Road" has no plot but it's still incredible

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Here’s how the insane vehicles were created in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’


FRD DS 00253.JPG

Talks of the twisted metal and high octane vehicles that would populate “Mad Max: Fury Road” began when director George Miller showed production designer Colin Gibson three walls filled with storyboards of the film 15 years ago.

“He said, ‘One day this could all be yours,’” Gibson recalls to Business Insider of what Miller presented him. Gibson just didn’t realize how far away that “one day” would be.

Mad Max George Miller Tom Hardy Mel Gibson Gibson began building the cars to be featured in the film as far back as 2003, when it was originally going to be shot in South Africa with Mel Gibson returning as Max, a loner in a post-apocalyptic world who navigates through the different gasoline-starved tribes in order to survive.

But the plug was pulled on the film leading up to the Iraq War, and the project lingered in development hell until four years ago.

The final version is an action-adventure film starring Tom Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa. Responsible for driving the massive “War Rig” to replenish her village’s gasoline needs, Furiosa goes rogue and dashes in the truck to parts unknown in hopes of freedom, picking up Max along the way. The village’s evil ruler, Immortal Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) unleashes his “War Boys” and their gonzo fleet of vehicles to hunt them down.

 FRD DS 00114Built over 11 months before production began in late 2011, the close to 200 vehicles Gibson created range from a sedan with massive metal spikes sticking out of it to a giant truck covered with stereo speakers.

Below, Gibson breaks down some of the most memorable vehicles.


madmax_interceptor_finalThe iconic vehicle from the “Mad Max” franchise is Max’s 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT. The super-charged car made its first appearance in "Mad Max" in 1979 when Max was chasing down bad guys with it while he was still a cop. It returned in “The Road Warrior” (1981) where Max used it to escape the clutches of the evil forces who want to take it from him for the gasoline.

Gibson knew the importance of the car, so he didn’t make many changes to its look. “All we had to do with it was make it another 45 years older,” he said. “More rust. More rattle. Less original parts.” But with Hardy now as Max, Gibson also saw the car as a passing of the torch. “When we changed Maxes, it becomes even more important that we have that particular handoff.”

The War Rig:

madmax_warrig_finalLike in “The Road Warrior,” much of the action in "Fury Road" is on a massive 18-wheeler. But like all things in the movie, it’s unlike any you’ve ever seen. With two V8 engines, and modified cabins throughout, Gibson created a vehicle that the audience wouldn’t get tired of looking at half-way through the movie.

“War Rig was one built more to a prescription than an imagination,” he explains. “It was such an important part of the story that George and the storyboard artists had come to a greater consensus of what was required.” Gibson points out that there are up to 13 different characters inside the rig at any one time through the movie. Gibson said the classic John Wayne western, “Stagecoach,” was an inspiration for creating a moving location where the drama plays out over a long stretch of time.

The Gigahorse:

madmax_gigahorse_finalFor Immorten Joe’s vehicle Gibson thought of a creation that would suit a crazed post-apocalyptic leader. What he came up with, he says, is his favorite of the vehicles. Stacked with two 1959 Cadillac Coupe De Villes on top of massive tires, Gibson’s thinking was “in a world where there was barely one of everything, it seemed the only person liable to have a pair would be the lead villain.”

Plymouth Rock:

madmax_plymouthrock_finalTo create this porcupine on wheels, Gibson took inspiration from the tribe that would drive them, the Buzzards. “George saw the Buzzards as the lowest common denominator,” he said.

The first group to go after The War Rig after Furiosa tries to escape, Gibson said they are the “scrap merchants” of the tribes and was allowed to use the rustiest of materials for their vehicles. “We used bent and battered steel panels,” he said. “All the spikes and panels were built out of old cars. But the stunt guys expressed some concern about rolling them at high speeds into rocks, so I had to replicate a couple where the steel spikes were stiffened goat skin which buckled and were less dangerous.”

The Doof Wagon:

madmax_doofwagon_finalPerhaps the most challenging vehicle, for all involved in the film, was the bandwagon that follows Immortal Joe’s armada of twisted vehicles into battle. “George said every army has a little drummer boy and ours was Spinal Tap on acid,” said Gibson.

The Doof Wagon is a big rig strapped with massive drums in the rear, endless speakers in front of it, and a stage where the blind and disfigured Coma the Doof Warrior rocks out on his flam-throwing guitar. Gibson said it was the most difficult vehicle to run as its six foot wheels (which they took from old mining tractors) would get buried in the sand. And then there was the noise. “George Miller has very expansive tastes so everything has to be real,” said Gibson. That means the speakers blared music all the time. “Some of the actors could barely hear themselves act,” he said. But Gibson made the error of when creating the flame-throwing guitar that it did not also play. “I foolishly built it as a prototype,” he said. “George was most emphatic that the guitarist had to be able to play, so we went back to the drawing board and made something that could play and shoot flames.”

doofwagonWith a decade-worth of storyboards for the film, Gibson said the main thing he had to do to get an idea of how to make the vehicles was to write some backstory.

“After conversations with George about the different tribes, I put together this bible of looks and from that we drew the inspiration for each vehicle,” Gibson tells Business Insider.

Some of the cars and trucks created came from scrap material Gibson’s team found in junk yards throughout Australia. But mainly what was used came from what Aussie’s call the “paddock.” 

“It’s at the back of your house where you drop off two cars that you intend to work on one day,” Gibson described. “So we were out searching for other people’s passions that hadn’t come to pass.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ has no plot but it's still incredible

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Meet the actresses behind the 5 beautiful wives in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'


mad max Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron may be the leads in "Mad Max: Fury Road," but long after leaving the film you'll likely be talking about five other women.

The plot of the apocalyptic high-octane car-chase film revolves around five brides — the prized possessions of the film's villainous warlord Immortan Joe. Theron's Imperator Furiosa sets about a plan to break them free from a vicious breeding cycle as an act of vengeance on Joe.

After leaving the film, you may be left wondering the identities of the five young women all playing characters with rather extravagant, flamboyant names. Played by models and even Elvis' granddaughter, here are the wives of "Mad Max: Fury Road."

British supermodel and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, 28, plays the leader of the wives, The Splendid Angharad.

mad max rosie huntington whiteley

Here's how Huntington-Whiteley looked at the "Fury Road" premiere.


If the actress looks familiar it's because you may remember her from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," in which she took over the lead female role from Megan Fox.

rosie huntington whiteley transformers 3Before her acting career kicked off, she was one of Victoria's Secret Angels. Here she is in November 2010 at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

victoria secret rosie huntington whiteleyrosie huntington whiteley victorias secretShe was also the face of Burberry's 2011 campaign, "Burberry Body."

rosie huntington whiteley burberry adRiley Keough, 25, plays the fiery, red-headed Capable.

mad max womenKeough is the oldest granddaughter of Elvis and the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and musician Danny Keough.

Here she is with both her famous mother and grandmother, Priscilla Presley, at the premiere for "Mad Max: Fury Road."

priscilla presley lisa marie riley keoughKeough has been in several films including the 2010 indie "The Runaways" with Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning. She also appeared in the original "Magic Mike," in which she played a stripper.

In celebration of the release of "Fury Road," Keough posted a collage of images from on set to Instagram. 


Keough recently married stuntman Ben Smith-Petersen, who you may recognize as the guitar-wielding man in "Fury Road." The two
met on set while the film was shooting in 2012 





Zoe Kravitz (26), the daughter of rock star-actor Lenny Kravitz, plays Toast the Knowing.

zoe kravitz mad max fury roadThe actress-model often appears alongside her famous dad at events, including the "Hunger Games" premieres and the Academy Awards.

lenny kravitz zoe kravitzKravitz has appeared in two big franchises, "X-Men: First Class" as the mutant Angel and the "Divergent" series as one of the leads, Christina. As a hobby, she started a band, Lolawolf, named after her two younger half-siblings (Lola Lolani and Nakoa-Wolf).

zoe kravitz divergent

Australian actress and model Courtney Eaton, 19, plays the youngest of the wives, Cheedo the Fragile.

courtney eaton mad max

Here she is in real life with director George Miller at the film's premiere.

george miller courtney eatonEaton, who makes her film debut in "Fury Road," told The Hollywood Reporter she auditioned for the role because of her father.

"I was with a modeling agency and the casting directors came to my agency and asked me to do a tape," said Eaton. "And then my dad, he's a massive fan, made me do the audition. So I have him to thank."

Her next role will be in 2016's "Gods of Egypt," featuring Gerard Butler.

Abbey Lee also made her film debut in "Fury Road" as The Dag.

abbey lee mad max

In reality, Lee looks much different.

abbey lee mad max fury road premiereThe 27-year-old is an Australian fashion model who has been modeling since 2008 in New York Fashion Week and the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

abbey lee 2008 modelShe has also been photographed by Terry Richardson. In 2016, she will be in "Gods of Egypt" with her friend Eaton.

SEE ALSO: How this actor ended up playing 2 different villains in the 'Mad Max' franchise 36 years apart

AND: Why you won't see Mel Gibson in the new "Mad Max" movie

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A sequel to 'Mad Max: Fury Road' is in the works


mad max tom hardy

Despite taking years to make it to the big screen, "Mad Max: Fury Road" opened with a $44 million gross and an incredible 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. A sequel seemed almost inevitable at this point.

Well, now it is official: there will be another "Mad Max" sequel on the horizon.

Director George Miller joined Twitter Sunday to announce the big news: 

He followed up on this tweet with some more details.

“We’ve got one screenplay and a novella. It happened because with the delays [on 'Fury Road'], and writing all the backstories, they just expanded,” Miller explained on a podcast Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith

Miller revealed to Goldsmith that the first of those sequels will be called "Mad Max: The Wasteland."

Miller told Film School Rejects that he has "two others" already planned and roughly written out.

“We kept working on them while we were working on other things.” said Miller.

There are no details on the plot just yet nor is there an official release date. However, we'll all be waiting eagerly, flaming electric guitars in hand.

SEE ALSO: Meet the actresses behind the 5 beautiful wives in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

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You can now watch the 'Netflix for pirated movies' right from your web browser


Popcorn Time has come to be known as a sort of "Netflix for pirated movies," but until now prospective streamers always had to download the somewhat dubious Popcorn Time application to start viewing films.

That's not the case anymore. On Tuesday, the anonymous team behind the Popcorn Time brand launched a new Netflix-style streaming website that allows people to watch movie torrents right from within their web browser. And because Popcorn Time's servers handle everything, you won't be downloading any torrents onto your computer — you'll be streaming them.

The new interface features a simple search bar where you can input a movie title — a departure from the tile grid of movie titles Popcorn Time users will be used to seeing.

Popcorn Time browser

Popcorn Time is keeping things simple for its streaming website, however, so once you find a movie you want to watch the servers will start loading the torrent behind the scenes and eventually begin playing the title right from within your web browser.

Popcorn Time browserSince the original Popcorn Time team shuttered its service shortly after launching in the midst of legal pressures, according to Gizmodo, the Popcorn Time brand has been helmed by a different group of torrenting enthusiasts who have remained anonymous. After one of the new Popcorn Time domains was seized, the team simply moved its service to another domain and website, continuing the game of cat and mouse with authorities and lawsuits.

Because of the anonymous nature of the Popcorn Time brand, it's unclear exactly who is behind this new streaming service, but whoever it is has been using the Popcorn Time brand while claiming to power its movie streams with two existing services: the movie-download website YTS and cloud-torrenting website Coinado.

Of course, we can't say we recommend the new streaming website as streaming copyrighted material is illegal. And while the downloadable Popcorn Time application features a built-in VPN for covering your tracks (a sort of internet middleman for your computer's IP address), the streaming website doesn't include this feature, making watching movies via this new website a far greater risk.

Popcorn Time Main MenuRegardless of the legal gray zone the Popcorn Time operates in, it's interesting to see the anonymous brand expanding into its own website — just don't expect it to stick around for too long.

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Here are the storyboards that helped create the looks of 'Mad Men'


Mad Men Cast Photo 2

Before production kicked off on season one of "Mad Men," costume designer Janie Bryant created collages of images from magazines for each of the main characters called "mood boards." 

These clippings were taken directly from the era, and they provide a strikingly accurate representation of what the characters would eventually become.

The mood boards can currently be seen in full at the "Mad Men" exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image, which runs until June 14.

Here are a few of the mood boards:

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) would fit in well with most of the men who worked on Madison Avenue at the time.

Don Draper Mood BoardBryant did a lot of research into Joan's (Christina Hendricks) hairstyle.

Joan Mood Board Mad MenThe board is situated right next to Joan's green, blood-spattered dress from the infamous scene in which an executive loses his foot to a lawnmower.

It looks like glasses were supposed to be a big part of Peggy Olson's (Elisabeth Moss) look, despite the fact she never wears a single pair during the show's run.

Peggy Mood Board Mad MenSimilar boards were created to detail the show's equally detailed sets.

The Draper House in Ossining was designed to look like a typical post-World War II suburban home.

Draper ResidenceDraper Living Room

Though "Mad Men" kicks off in 1960, the kitchen in the home the Drapers occupy during the show's first three seasons is "decorated in a colonial style that was common in the 1950s."

According to the Museum, creator Matthew Weiner "felt it was important - and more natural - to create a visual world that suggested a continuity with the past." In the "imagined backstory," the kitchen was remodeled in 1957.

Even their bathroom was ripped right out of that time period.

Draper BathroomAnd here's the inspiration for Megan Draper's (Jessica Pare) home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Laurel Canyon. It draws much inspiration from the turmoil of 1960s L.A.

Megan Draper House Mad MenWhile maybe hard to see, the California driver's license in the far right corner belonged to Charles Manson.

Megan moves to LA in the late 1960s around the time of Manson. A popular theory arose two years ago that Megan Draper is Sharon Tate, and would meet a similar, tragic fate. While "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner himself disproved the theory, Manson and Tate no doubt had influence on the show's later seasons.

The mood boards, and many other pieces of "Mad Men" history, are currently at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York through June 14.  

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Zac Efron is starring in a movie that looks like 'The Social Network' for DJing


Warner Bros. just debuted a trailer for a new Zac Efron movie and it looks a lot like "The Social Network" for DJing.

Following last summer's smash hit "Neighbors," Efron will return to college in "We Are Your Friends."

This time around, the 27-year-old will play an aspiring DJ who tries to break through onto L.A.'s electronic music scene.

The film comes from first-time director Max Joseph, who has made a name for himself as the cinematographer on MTV's "Catfish." Now, he looks to tap into another big cultural trend by tackling the ever-growing popularity of EDM. It co-stars Wes Bentley ("American Beauty") and Emily Ratajkowski ("Gone Girl").

"We Are Your Friends" comes out in theaters on August 28, 2015.

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Peter Dinklage is a Donkey Kong champ in new 'Pixels' trailer


The second trailer for "Pixels"— this summer's Adam Sandler movie about classic video games out to destroy us all — is a lot like the first. Aliens are on an arcade game-inspired rampage, and only Adam Sandler and his pals (Kevin James, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage) can save us because they're all former arcade champs. 

The new trailer introduces the entire gang, which includes "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage as former Donkey Kong champ (and current prison inmate?) Eddie Plant.

We see him do a little impression of Kong. It may be the best part of the trailer. 

"Pixels" arrives in theaters July 24, 2015.

dinklage donkey dance

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Watch the heartbreaking trailer for the upcoming Amy Winehouse documentary 'Amy'


A24 just released a new trailer for its upcoming documentary "Amy," which offers an intimate look at the life and eventual death of pop sensation Amy Winehouse.

Directed by Asif Kapadia ("Senna"), the movie uses both archival footage and home videos to tell the tragic story of the uniquely talented singer who died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27.

"Amy" will hit theaters on July 3, 2015.

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The man behind the awesome flamethrower guitar player in 'Mad Max: Fury Road' is a popular Australian musician


mad max fury road

One of the best parts of "Mad Max: Fury Road," aside from the visuals and the non-stop car action, is definitely the man playing a solo rock concert from a flamethrower guitar as he hangs midair from a speeding vehicle. 

Even before "Fury Road" was released in theaters, the guitar man was one of the most exciting parts of the film's trailers.  

Mad Max Guitar GIF

People on Twitter are going crazy over him, and he's even managing to steal some of the spotlight away from the leads Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron:


Who's the guy behind the mystery man?

According to the film's production notes, he's called "The Doof Warrior," and is described as a "little drummer boy" for the antagonists.

In real life, he's known as the multi-talented musician and actor iOTA, who's real name is Sean Hape. He formed his first band at age 16 and moved out of home at age 17 to form the hard rock band Loose Goose.


It is no surprise iOTA was hired to play a guitarist, given that he is a well-known, multi-talented musician from director George Miller's home country of Australia.

Here is a sample of one of his songs from the 1999 album "The Hip Bone Connection":

And here he is performing in Melbourne:

In addition, iOTA has five albums under his belt. Before his music and film careers kicked off, iOTA earned much acclaim in theater.

His musical background came in handy when playing the Doof Warrior. According to the film's production notes the artist wrote and recorded war themes to play on the real-working flamethrower guitar.

iOTA might not have made his film debut until 2013 as orchestra leader in "The Great Gatsby," but his acting career goes back much further. 

He played the lead roles in Australian productions "Hedwig and the Angry Inch,""The Rocky Horror Picture Show," and "Smoke and Mirrors" (the last one which he co-created). His newest rock musical, "B-Girl," premieres next month at the world famous Sydney Opera House

Mad Max Guitar Guy Smoke and MirrorsHe hasn't been asked to play Hedwig in Broadway's smash hit revival yet, but here he is playing the character in Sydney back in 2006:

Starring in a "Mad Max" movie was a dream of his, so if this was his last film role ever, he probably wouldn't complain.

“It was just a dream come true,” iOTA told BuzzFeed in an interview. “I’m such a fan of the films and I just dreamed about it for so long. As a kid, I was always thinking, One day, I could be in Mad Max. It was just the time of my life.”

But if he is asked to star in one of the upcoming sequels, his answer will be "of course."

SEE ALSO: A sequel to 'Mad Max: Fury Road' is in the works

AND: Why you won't see Mel Gibson in the new 'Mad Max' movie

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The latest 'Mad Max: Fury Road' trailer is a wild ride into madness

Here's everything leaving Netflix in June


taxi driver robert de niro

As summer begins, some streaming videos will come to an end. 

Now that June's almost here, it's time to for your monthly check-in on what movies and TV shows will be leaving Netflix. It's a relatively painless month as far as these things usually go, with only a few big favorites leaving. If you've never seen Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," consider fitting it into your schedule before June's done, along with a few late-'80s and early-'90s classics like "Silence of the Lambs,""Rain Man," and "Amadeus."

Oh, and don't forget "The Rocketeer." That movie is a treat — and directed by Joe Johnston, of "Captain America: The First Avenger" fame.

Check out the full list below — we've highlighted a few more that might be worth squeezing in.

Leaving 6/1/15

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
“City of Ghosts”
“Dance with Me”
“Deep Blue Sea”
“DeRay Davis: Power Play”
“Dream Lover”
“Drugs, Inc” seasons 2 and 3
“Ever After: A Cinderella Story”
“Frankie and Johnny”
“G.I. Jane”
“Garfield and Friends” Vol. 1 and 2
“Hatchet II”
“I Escaped A Cult”
“Ink Master” Season 1
“Inside Combat Rescue” Season 1
“Last Action Hero”
“Picture Perfect”
“Platoon Leader”
“Rain Man”
“Reign Over Me”
“Silence of the Lambs”silence of the lambs jodie foster

“Soul Survivors”
“Swept Away”
“Tank Girl”
“The Great Queen Seondeok”
“The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story”
“The Phantom of the Opera: Special Edition” (2004)
“The Rocketeer”
“The Triplets of Belleville”
“Waking Life”


Leaving 6/15/15

“Space: Unraveling the Cosmos”
“The River Why”
“Tin Man”

Leaving 6/17/15

“Dummy” (2002)

Leaving 6/20/15

“Collateral Damage”
“Lonesome Dove”
“Practical Magic”
“The Guilt Trip”

Leaving 6/22/15

“Madonna: The MDNA Tour”
“Stand Up Guys”

Leaving 6/28/15


Leaving 6/29/15

“Iron Man: Armored Adventures” Season 1 and 2
“Texas Chainsaw” (2012)

Leaving 6/30/15

“Donnie Brasco”
“Godzilla” (1998)


“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”
“Jack Reacher”
“National Security”
“Steel Magnolias”
“Taxi Driver”
“The Baby-Sitters Club” Season 1

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It took a team of 200 people to create the dazzling futuristic world in ‘Tomorrowland’



In director Brad Bird’s stunning “Tomorrowland” (opening Friday) we are thrust into a futuristic world that’s a playground for those with big ideas.

This magical place is the brainchild of one of the biggest idea men ever, Walt Disney. In 1955 he unveiled the Tomorrowland theme land in his Disney theme parks, which depicted views of the future. 60 years later those ideas have been expanded by the marvels at Industrial Light & Magic.

The visual effects studio created by George Lucas to achieve the special effects feats for his "Star Wars" saga and has since made the impossible possible on everything from "Jurassic Park" to the recent blockbusters from Marvel, were tasked in 2013 to convert Disney’s theme land to an eye-popping futuristic world for the screen.

“There were many, many ideas originally,” “Tomorrowland” co-visual effects supervisor Eddie Pasquarello told Business Insider. “If you see the different iterations you would see the theme park in the '70s, it ran the gamut. Even while making the visual effects for the film, the look of 'Tomorrowland' didn’t get locked until half way through our post production process.”


tomorrowland8The look that was finally decided is a sleek city with pointy skyscrapers and filled with people flying on jet packs, rockets launching in the distance, swimmers diving down bottomless floating swimming pools, and monorail tracks weaved throughout it. Oh, and if you look hard enough during the movie you’ll see Space Mountain, the theme land’s flagship ride, tucked away in the city. 

“It wasn’t just a wink to the theme park,” Pasquarello notes, “it’s one of the best designed buildings in the Tomorrowland park.”

ILM spent two-and-a-half years on the film and produced 1,037 effects shots with a staff of close to 200 split between their San Francisco and Vancouver offices.

Most of the effects done for the Tomorrowland world were almost completely computer-generated, though some were done with stationary pieces that the actors stood on during shooting in Vancouver and Valencia, Spain.

Pasquarello said the biggest challenge ILM took on was creating the experience Britt Robertson’s character, Casey, has when she first visits Tomorrowland.

In the film, Casey and Frank (George Clooney) are optimistic dreamers who have visited Tomorrowland and are determined to return. Frank first visited as a young boy, who found his way there when he was at the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Casey's initial visit happens after she finds a special pin that gives her a glimpse of the world when she touches it. In a four-minute sequence that’s one continuous shot, we follow Casey as she marvels over the world.

tomorrowland rockets“Making that feel like one big long shot was a huge undertaking,” said Pasquarello. “It was like a movie within a movie.”

The sequence was broken down into four parts and taken on by a team of 30 people total.

“The challenge was seaming into one shot all of the stationary pieces together [with the computer graphics],” Pasquarello explained.

To give an example, Pasquarello said a shot of Robertson on a sound stage in Vancouver would become her riding a monorail in the sequence. ILM would then have to sync that shot seamlessly with a shot of her standing at a stationary piece in Spain, which after they were done with it would become a section of the sequence where she's standing on a rocket-launch platform.

Pasquarello says out of all the FX shots ILM did for the movie that sequence was the most rewarding when watching the finished film.

“Seeing everything put together to work, I just smiled watching it all,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Walt Disney's original plan for Epcot sounded like an eerie futuristic dystopia

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'The Empire Strikes Back' came out 35 years ago today — watch the original trailer


Today marks the 35th anniversary of the classic "Star Wars" sequel "The Empire Strikes Back", which was originally released on May 21, 1980. Hailed as one of the greatest sequels of all time, the movie went on to gross more than $538 million at the worldwide box office.

We're still a long way away from JJ Abrams' reboot of the "Star Wars" franchise, which comes out this Christmas. So in the meantime, enjoy the first full-length trailer to "The Empire Strikes Back."

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Before you see the 'Poltergeist' reboot, watch the terrifying trailer from the 1982 original


Before you see the remake of "Poltergeist" that comes out this weekend, check out the spooky trailer for the 1982 thriller on which the new one is based.

The original "Poltergeist" is somewhat controversial due to confusion over producer/writer Steven Spielberg's actual role in the production. In his book "The Films of Steven Spielberg," author Douglas Brode wrote that Spielberg actually performed more of a directorial role than the film's credited director Tobe Hooper ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"). Brode says that Spielberg's contract with Universal — the studio that released Spielberg's "E.T." that same year — stipulated that Spielberg could only be credited with directing one movie in 1982.

Therefore Spielberg doesn't get a director credit, but he is said to have been perceived as the man in charge on the set of "Poltergeist."

Spielberg's name isn't attached to the 2015 remake, which is produced by horror-master Sam Raimi ("Evil Dead 2"). The new "Poltergeist" is directed by Gil Kenan, who also directed the 2006 animated movie "Monster House," which was executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

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Here’s what’s coming to Amazon Prime in June


apocalypse now still martin sheen end of the worldIf you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, get ready for some classic titles to be added to the Instant Video library in June.

Some of the goodies include Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War head trip masterpiece “Apocalypse Now” (both original and Redux versions) as well as the classic love story “Roman Holiday” starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. And, if you’re in one of those moods, you’ll have Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” to turn to (just make sure you keep the axe locked in the shed).

Here’s everything coming to Amazon Prime in June. 

Available 6/1

“Apocalypse Now”
“Apocalypse Now Redux”
“Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog”
“The Island of Dr. Moreau”
“Murder of a Cat”
“Nine Months”
“The Paper Chase”
“People Will Talk”
“Repo: The Genetic Opera”
“Roman Holiday”

roman holiday final“Seven Psychopaths”
“The Shining”
“Sid & Nancy”
“Something Wild” (1986)
“Sucker Punch”
“Troll 2”
“Word and Pictures”

Available 6/12

“Life of Crime”

Available 6/13

“Transformers: Age of Extinction”

transformers age of extinction autobotsAvailable 6/15

“Leprechaun: Origins”

Available 6/19

“A Most Wanted Man”

Available 6/22

“Lucky Number Slevin “

Available 6/24

“Covert Affairs” - Season 5

Available 6/26

“Katy Perry: The Prismatic World Tour”

Available 6/27

“The Mist”

SEE ALSO: Here's what's coming to Netflix in June

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The ‘World War Z’ sequel is coming in 2017


brad pitt world war zGet ready to run from crazed zombies with Brad Pitt again.

Paramount has announced that the sequel to its 2013 thriller “World War Z” will be released June 9, 2017, according to Variety's Dave McNary

Pitt will again star and produce the film.

The first movie, based on the popular Max Brooks novel, revolved around a United National employee Gerry Lane (Pitt) who travels the globe in search of a cure for the Zombie pandemic that has hit the globe.

The plot for the sequel has not been revealed yet. But at the end of the first movie, Lane figured out a way to combat the zombies and returned to his family.

The sequel will be directed by Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayonne (“The Orphanage,” “The Impossible”).

Though “World War Z” grabbed headlines during its production for having to do lengthy reshoots and rewrites, the film, directed by Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace”), ended up grossing over $540 million worldwide in its theatrical release. 

If things go according to plan, the “World War Z” sequel will go up against “Fantastic Four 2” on June 9, 2017.

SEE ALSO: The original ending to "World War Z" was all-out zombie warfare in Russia

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NOW WATCH: Before you see the 'Poltergeist' reboot, watch the terrifying trailer from the 1982 original

Why the iconic Walt Disney Pictures logo was changed for ‘Tomorrowland’


disney logo normal final

The Walt Disney Pictures' logo is one of the most iconic symbols in the world.

Synonymous with most of our childhoods, the silhouette of Sleeping Beauty’s castle has shown up before all Disney media properties since its 1985 animated feature “The Black Cauldron” (before then, a “Walt Disney Productions Presents” title card would appear).

But audiences who go to see Disney’s latest movie, “Tomorrowland,” will be greeted with a surprise.

In a rarity for the Mouse House, the iconic Disney logo was replaced by the skyline of the futuristic Tomorrowland.

The movie, which is an adaptation of the Disney park theme land of the same name, stars George Clooney and Britt Robertson (“The Longest Ride”) as imaginative dreamers who have visited the fantasy land and are determined to return.

tomorrowland4The Tomorrowland skyline can be seen in numerous shots in the movie, but according to the co-visual effects supervisor on the film, Eddie Pasquarello, the movie’s director, Brad Bird, wanted the audience to get the feel of the world immediately.

“Brad wanted to take you into the thing right away,” he told Business Insider. “[Changing the opening logo] actually came up in the middle of production. I remember Brad wanted to do it and we talked about how other films did it. I would argue none has been done this elaborate.”

Pasquarello could be right.

Numerous films have done unique tweaks to the Disney logo over the decades. Here are a few examples:

"Inspector Gadget" (1999) 

inspector gadget logo final

"Prom" (2011)

Prom logo final

In the end credits of "Wreck-It-Ralph" (2012) the logo gets taken over by video game code.

Wreck It RalphBut very few have strayed from using Sleeping Beauty’s castle. In fact, in recent memory, only two films have done it.

2010’s "TRON: Legacy" replaced the castle with "The Grid," where the programs reside in the film.

Tron logo finalAnd in 2014's "Maleficent," Snow White's castle got the logo treatment.

Maleficent logo finalNow you can add "Tomorrowland" to this small list.

Tomorrowland_Disney_Logo copyAnd if you look closely you’ll see what looks like the theme land’s flagship ride, Space Mountain, illuminated in blue light.

Tomorrowland_Disney_Opening_final"Tomorrowland" is currently playing in theaters.

SEE ALSO: Disney has been recycling the same same footage in its beloved animated movies for years

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Netflix tested preferences by showing users fake TV shows and ratings



Over the next few weeks Netflix will be rolling out a completely redesigned website. This is the first time in four years that the TV and movie streaming site has made a big update to its homepage.

But this doesn’t mean Netflix hasn’t been thinking about redesigning. 

In fact, it’s had a team of data scientists working diligently to figure out how best to present the content it has to attract the right kind of viewer. This included sending Netflix users fake TV shows to elicit survey answers from its subscribers, according to The Verge. 

Netflix’s VP of product innovation Todd Yellin told the publication that it has been testing certain features to consumers for quite a while now. Some got to try out a new way to scroll through movie selections, others were even interviewed in their house by Netflix researchers to better understand just how they used the service.

And quite a few Netflix users were emailed fake content too see if they would click on it. The Verge writes: 

[Netflix] also sent out 15 million email surveys, sometimes with fake shows and star ratings to determine which is more effective in getting someone to watch. The exercise has the potential to tell Netflix any number of things, like if people really care about half star differences in ratings, down to if they're still checking their email.

Yellin explained that analyzing what Netflix customers actually do on the website gives the company useful information about how to improve the experience.  

Netflix's director of communications and technology Cliff Edwards explained more about this program to Business Insider. The intent, said Edwards, wasn't to mislead customers, but to get a better handle on the effect of star ratings. The fake shows were a way to "see if people were inclined to watch something with higher ratings."

While the customers were shown fake shows, the emphasis wasn't on the shows themselves but on how the star rating changed user perception. And, according to Edwards, it turns out that although users may add a movie to their queue that has a higher star rating, it doesn't mean they are going to watch it. In fact, these ratings may have a much smaller impact on Netflix users than we think.

The changes to Netflix's homepage are slated to be rolled out over the next month.

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Netflix is thinking about getting rid of star ratings


Netflix on iPad Screencap

Netflix is thinking about offing one of the oldest and most ubiquitous features associated with movies and TV shows: star ratings.

The company has been testing user preferences for years now, trying to understand what brings a user to actually press the "play" button. And the company tells us that one of the its biggest findings is that unbalanced effect star ratings have.

While a user will often add a highly rated program to their queue, that does not mean they will actually watch it.

This leads Netflix researchers to think that the one to four star ranking system may be a huge red herring.

With this, Netflix tells us it will be "moving away from star ratings."

The thinking is: if high-star ratings don’t actually lead people to watching the movie, why include it at all?

However, the company has not made a formal decision to nix the age-old metric once and for all, and says "no timetable has been set." 

If this indeed does come to pass, the little Roger Ebert in all of us will have to find another outlet. But at least the jerk that gave "Titanic" a 1-star rating will no longer have a say in things.  [Ed note: The jerk was right.]

SEE ALSO: Netflix is getting a new design next month — here's what it looks like

WATCH THIS: Kate Winslet's original screen test for 'Titanic'

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