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The exotic real-life locations where scenes in the new 'Star Wars' were shot

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star wars the force awakens

Though "Star Wars" takes place in a galaxy far, far away, some locations are much closer to home. 

Principle filming for "The Force Awakens" took place at Pinewood Studios, located near London, but the cast and crew traveled to several locations around the world to film scenes for different fictional planets.  

In a new video released by Discover Ireland, director J.J. Abrams talks about the importance of filming in real locations.

"When I saw 'Star Wars' for the first time, it was all practical and real," he said of the 1977 original film and its impact on "Force Awakens.""You knew it when you saw the movie, so I felt that the standard had to be authenticity. The standard had to be reality."

One of the locations featured in the new "Star Wars" is Skellig Michael, a rocky island off the western coast of Ireland. 

"I can't believe they let us shoot there," Abrams said of the island in the video. "It was so beautiful."

See some of the filming locations for "Force Awakens" below:

SEE ALSO: How a 29-year-old basketball player landed a star role as the new Chewbacca in 'Star Wars'

Jakku was filmed in...



Rub' al Khali desert, Abu Dhabi

Rey's desert home planet is where Poe Dameron heads to try and find the map to the missing Luke Skywalker, and it's where Dameron and Finn crash-land after escaping from Starkiller Base. Finn and Rey eventually meet on the planet and escape from attacking Stormtroopers on the Millennium Falcon.



D'Qar was filmed in...



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How Oscar Isaac's Latin heritage influenced his ‘Star Wars’ character

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Oscar Isaac is winning hearts as fan-favorite Poe Dameron in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," already the most successful film in the franchise. In an interview with Fandango, the Guatemalan-born actor recalled the surprising connection between "Star Wars" and his native country. 

“I was born in Guatemala, and one of Guatemala’s biggest claims to fame is that Guatemala is featured in the end of 'A New Hope,' At the medal ceremony, that was filmed ... in Tikal, Guatemala," said Isaac. "So I said, 'How cool would it be if that’s where Poe was from?!' You know, he’s a Rebel fighter, that’s where the Rebel base is, why wouldn’t he be there? That’s an incredible idea."

Isaac pitched this connection to director J.J. Abrams and the "Star Wars" team who, to the actor's delight, made it official. In "Star Wars: Shattered Empire," the canon comic book bridging the gap between Episode VI and Episode VII, Poe Dameron is born on Yavin 4, the same moon where Luke receives his medal at the end of "Star Wars: A New Hope." 

Not only did he help create a compelling back story for the "best pilot in the galaxy," he even landed a cameo role for his uncle — the "obsessive" Star Wars fan who introduced Isaac and his brother, journalist Mike Hernandez, to the films. 

"He was the one that indoctrinated us in 'Star Wars.' So then when he came to set I introduced him to J.J. and J.J. said 'You're the uncle. Want to be in the movie?'" recalled Isaac. "They put him in the back in the scene between Adam and I and when the trailer first came out I got a little picture where he had kind of circled this blur in the back and he's like, 'That's me!'" 

Here's Oscar with his uncle Guillermo: 

Check out the interview below:

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Daisy Ridley was only in one other film before 'Star Wars' — now she's the star of one of the biggest movies ever

The Han Solo 'Star Wars' spinoff movie won't be an origin story

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"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams sat down with his co-writer, Lawrence Kasdan, for a 30-minute Q&A at the Director Guild of America December 20th to discuss the new film and some of the upcoming "Star Wars" projects.

In addition to "The Force Awakens," Kasdan will write the upcoming standalone Han Solo film.

But if you were expecting a Han Solo origin story, think again. Kasdan says it won't be that cut and dry. 

"It will not be here’s where he was born and this is how he was raised. I think what it will be is, what was he like 10 years earlier, maybe a little earlier, you’ll get a glimpse," Kasdan said. "[Akira] Kurosawa once said the heroes are the ones that are still changing and the villains are locked and petrified into what they are. And Harrison embodies in 'Force Awakens' someone who is still not settled on who he is. And it's probably been that way for almost all of Han's life."

So far, no actors have been confirmed for Harrison Ford's iconic role, but dozens of stars have reportedly auditioned, including Dave Franco ("21 Jump Street"), Aaron Tyler-Johnson ("Kick-Ass,""Avengers: Age of Ultron") Chandler Riggs ("The Walking Dead") and Max Thieriot ("Bates Motel").

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller will direct the film, slated for a May 25th 2018 release.

 Check out the full Q&A below: 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Harrison Ford surprised a bunch of 'Star Wars' fans, and they totally freaked out

Why Sylvester Stallone refuses to play Rambo again

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John Rambo is, and always will be, one of the legendary action heroes of the modern era. But seeing as he's only mortal, his story was always going to have a definite end. That end was apparently 2009's "Rambo," as Sylvester Stallone is officially pulling the plug on "Rambo: Last Blood."

Stallone's comments come from a recent interview with Variety, in which he admitted that time has finally caught up with the long developing project. It isn't for lack of trying, especially since Sly has been in training to head back to the role since some time last year. The truth is, a combination of factors that Stallone doesn't have control over have made up his mind for him. He mentions said reasons in the blurb below:

“The heart’s willing, but the body says, ‘Stay home!’ It’s like fighters that go back for one last round and get clobbered. Leave it to someone else…. [Rambo 4] was so brutal, which civil war is, I was shocked they even gave me an R-rating. I didn’t want to compromise. I said, ‘This is probably going to be the last decent film of this genre that I’m going to do as a solo act.’ When that was accomplished, I never felt the same willingness to do it again.” 

It sounds like Sylvester Stallone is starting to feel is age a little bit, and no one could blame him. In the past decade, he's kept both the "Rambo" and "Rocky" franchises alive, as well as "The Expendables" series, with his physical prowess. But as he mentioned towards the end of his quote, a solo act is always harder than working with a group, or even a well groomed protege – much like he did in last year's "Creed." So it's not like Stallone is retiring from acting altogether; but rather, he's settling into the role of a wise sage, rather than a front-and-center ass-kicker.

While "Rambo: Last Blood" has been pitched as either a gritty, realistic fight between John Rambo and human traffickers, Mexican drug cartels, or even some sort of sci-fi beast; no one approach was ever settled upon. Now, with Sylvester Stallone walking away from the lead in the franchise, perhaps Hollywood will let the franchise rest where it stands and honor how far it's come in its expansive legacy. Or maybe they'll finally approach Ryan Gosling for a reboot, bringing Stallone's off-handed casting full circle and rejuvenating the character for a new generation thirsty for action. You know some executive is weighing the pros and cons as we speak. 

Either way, you'll be able to see Sylvester Stallone keeping the Rocky Balboa name alive and well in "Creed," which is currently in theaters now.

SEE ALSO: The exotic real-life locations where scenes in the new "Star Wars" were shot

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: American tennis player displays remarkable sportsmanship by telling his opponent to challenge a bad call

After internet outcry, 'Star Wars' Monopoly will include a Rey piece

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The internet went a little crazy earlier this week over the news that Rey, arguably the central hero of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens," wasn't featured as a token in the movie-themed Monopoly game.

Now the company that makes the game, Hasbro, has tweeted that it's making things right.

A Hasbro spokesperson told Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday that the game was released in September, months before the movie came out, and Rey wasn’t included to avoid revealing a key plot point.

But the controversy was already trending, with #WheresRey and #WhereIsRey hashtags flooding feeds.

Hasbro also noted that its other "Force Awakens"-themed games include Rey, and it sells 6-inch and 12-inch action figures of the character.

SEE ALSO: The Han Solo "Star Wars" spinoff movie won't be an origin story

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: American tennis player displays remarkable sportsmanship by telling his opponent to challenge a bad call

What you need to know about the 7 superhero movies coming in 2016

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In case you didn’t know, superheroes are kind of a big deal in Hollywood these days. In the last few years, men and women in tights and/or capes have brought in big numbers at the box office… and 2016 will most definitely be no different. In fact, this year is set to be one of the biggest the genre has ever seen, with a grand total of seven different movies set to come out.

But what are these titles? When are they coming out? Who is in them? What are they about? For your convenience, we’ve put together this handy little guide that will help you know everything you need to know about the year in superhero films. Enjoy!

SEE ALSO: It's hard to deny that Rey from "Star Wars" is actually Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter when you consider all these facts

"Deadpool"

Release Date: February 12th

Director: Tim Miller

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Leslie Uggams, and Stefan Kapicic

What It’s All About: "Deadpool" will be the movie that kicks off the superhero season of 2016, but you really shouldn’t expect it to be your typical superhero film. The violent, psychotic, foul-mouthed titular hero has spent decades providing a very different flavor to the world of Marvel Comics, and now he’s bringing that energy to the big screen – telling an origin story of how the character got his incredible healing powers and takes revenge against the man responsible. This one has been in the works for years, going back to Ryan Reynolds’ turn in X-Men Origins; Wolverine, and fans everywhere hope that the R-rated blockbuster will be deemed "worth the wait."



"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"

Release Date: March 25th

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Lawrence Fishburne, and Diane Lane

What It’s All About: DC Comics and Warner Bros. want to compete with Marvel Studios and their cinematic universe, and Zack Snyder’s "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is the project that will hopefully allow them to do that. Both a sequel to "Man of Steel" and its own feature introducing the larger DC Comics world, the blockbuster is a project for which fans have been waiting decades (the Dark Knight and Man of Tomorrow finally together on the big screen!), and with any luck it will raise our expectations for the "Justice League" that will be out in 2017. With any luck the film will deliver on everything we want and paint a bright future for the franchise.



"Captain America: Civil War"

Release Date: May 6th

Director: Joe and Anthony Russo

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Emily VanCamp, Daniel Brühl, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, and Martin Freeman

What It’s All About: Just last year we saw the release of Joss Whedon’s "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," but Marvel Studios is apparently immediately ready to up the stakes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will do so by having just about all of our favorite heroes clashing in regard to global superhero legislation policies. "Captain America: Civil War" promises to primarily function as a direct sequel to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" - and that just makes us all the more excited for it, particularly because it brings back the same writers (who also worked on "Captain America: The First Avenger") and directors. Who will win in a battle between Captain America and Iron Man? We will find out in May.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The newest 'Star Wars' actors reveal what their secretive auditions were really like

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the force awakens daisy john

What’s it like to go after a starring role on one of the most sought-after movie franchises in history?

It takes months and you can’t tell a soul you’re doing it.

That’s what we’ve found out from the new leading actors of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” since the film came out in December, became a global sensation in no time at all, and permanently changed their lives.

Here, we take a look at the experiences of three actors on the film:

SEE ALSO: RANKED: Every characters in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" from best to worst

Daisy Ridley, aka Rey

The London actress who would become Rey in the movie was working at a pub when she began to hear rumors that casting had begun for the new “Star Wars” movie and that director J.J. Abrams was considering unknown names. (Ridley's biggest experience before "Star Wars" extended to bit parts in British TV dramas.) She hounded her agent to get her an audition, which led to four callbacks before she got the role. 

Though she clearly seemed right for the part, that doesn't mean Ridley knew much about the "Force Awakens" plot. She recalled her puzzlement when getting select pages in the early audition phase: “I was like, ‘Ah, who’s this girl and this older man?’ I didn’t put two and two together. Someone’s like, ‘That was probably Han Solo.’ I had no idea.”



John Boyega, aka Finn

Boyega also had help from his agent to put him on the path to scoring the role of Finn. Though he got a little attention as the star of the UK sci-fi hit “Attack the Block" in 2011, that didn’t really soften his path to getting into “Star Wars,” as he went through seven months of auditions.

Boyega has said that to power through the first few, he would go back and watch auditions from the original cast. “There was this casual approach to danger and to being a hero that I drew some inspiration from," explained Boyega. "If you see Harrison in his audition and Mark, there’s this, 'The ship’s about to blow up, but, woo hoo! Switch to light speed!' I love that. No other movie does that."



Joonas Suotamo, aka the new Chewbacca

The double of original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew was playing pro basketball in his native Finland and selling insurance to make ends meet when he was told a movie production (under a code name) was looking for a seven-footer for a role.

After sending an audition tape of himself playing a caveman, Suotamo began making treks to London for his auditions, and realized the part he was going after. "I took three trips there [during the audition], and on the first time I got more details and realized what my role would be," he said of playing Chewbacca.

He then got the call to come back to London one final time, to meet J.J. Abrams.

“When we met he didn’t tell me anything about Chewbacca. He just asked me ‘What do you think Chewbacca is like?’” Suotamo told Business Insider. “I said that Chewie is this stubborn but very loyal companion, and I stuck to that through filming. I guess J.J. felt the same way because he never said anything — he just told me I got the part.”



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Netflix claims its most-watched movie ever in the first month is Adam Sandler's 'The Ridiculous 6'

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While doing their keynote speech at CES 2016, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos threw out an interesting piece of information. Not that the streaming giant has expanded to 130 new countries (though, that is big news) but that their Adam Sandler comedy “The Ridiculous Six” is Netflix’s most-watched movie ever (well, it's first month of release; see below update), at least according to them (Netflix is infamously secretive about its internal viewing numbers).

“In the first 30 days on Netflix it’s been the most-watched movie in the history of Netflix,” Sarandos said at CES. “It’s also enjoyed a spot at number one in every territory we operate in, and in many of them it’s still number one.”

UPDATE: A Variety editor has clarified Sarandos' quote: 

Still though, this is pretty shocking news for many who believe that Sandler’s brand of humor is out of date, and who saw his other most recent film "Pixels" under-perform at the box office.

But it’s another example of Netflix finding apparent success in its original productions. The company has hooked audiences on several of its TV series like “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and the new true-crime show “Making a Murderer," at least if social-media conversation around them is anything to go by.

On the film side, Netflix has the award-season contender “Beasts of No Nation,” as well as the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and Pee-wee Herman sequels coming soon.

And "Ridiculous Six" is just the first of numerous Sandler movies you’ll be seeing on Netflix, as the company and comic signed a four-picture deal in 2014.

SEE ALSO: 12 compelling pieces of evidence against Steven Avery that "Making a Murderer" declined to mention

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Mamajuana is secretly the best rum drink in the Caribbean

THEN & NOW: The cast of 'Harry Potter' 15 years later

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When the first movie in the "Harry Potter" series was released in 2001, Daniel Radcliffe was an 11-year-old kid with only a few acting credits to his name.

Needless to say, a lot has changed since then. Radcliffe went on to gain international fame, playing roles on stage and screen. But he's not the only one. Many of his Hogwarts' classmates and professors have starred in some of our favorite films and television shows, from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" to "Fear the Walking Dead."

Keep reading to see what 21 of your favorite witches and wizards have been up to since "Harry Potter."

THEN: Daniel Radcliffe starred as bespectacled and famed wizard Harry Potter.



NOW: Radcliffe's career has spanned both stage and screen. He had roles in "Kill Your Darlings" and "Trainwreck" and starred in "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" on Broadway in 2011. This year, Radcliffe was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



THEN: Rupert Grint played Harry's redheaded best friend, Ron Weasley.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' beats 'Avatar' to become highest-grossing movie ever in the US

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It's been inevitable for a while, but it's now official: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is the highest-grossing movie of all time in the US, according to a press release sent out by Disney.

The domestic box-office record was previously held by "Avatar," which had a lifetime gross of $760.5 million. As of Tuesday, "The Force Awakens" had made $758.2 million in North America and $799.1 million internationally, giving the film a global total of $1.557 billion. UPDATE: Wednesday's tally now has "The Force Awakens" at an estimated total domestic gross of $764.2 million, according to Buzzfeed, officially surpassing "Avatar."

"The Force Awakens" became the domestic leader in a record-setting 20 days in theaters.

This is just the latest in many records the seventh episode in the "Star Wars" franchise has broken. It also had the biggest US opening-Friday/single-day gross ($119.1 million) and the biggest opening weekend ($390.85 million), and it was fastest to gross $1 billion globally (12 days).

These records do not adjust for inflation. When grosses are adjusted, "Gone with the Wind" is still the all-time domestic champ with $1.7 billion (unadjusted: $198.6 million). "The Force Awakens" is in 21st place, with "Avatar" and two of the original "Star Wars" movies ("The Empire Strikes Back" and "A New Hope") ahead of it.

"The Force Awakens," however, has yet to open in China, the second-largest film market. It opens there Saturday, so expect more global records to come.

SEE ALSO: The newest "Star Wars" actors reveal what their secretive auditions were really like

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 3 main theories have emerged for who Rey's parents are in 'Star Wars'

How the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture, 'Spotlight,' landed the most impressive cast of the year

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With over 20 years of experience between them, casting directors Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee have done it all. They took Jennifer Lawrence from an unknown to a household name when they hired her for her Oscar-nominated role in "Winter's Bone." And they corralled the most impressive cast of last year in "Spotlight," the current favorite among gamblers to win Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars, and a nominee in three categories at Sunday's Golden Globes.

The movie, based on true events, follows investigative reporters on the Spotlight team of the Boston Globe who uncovered a massive scandal of child molestation within the local Catholic Archdiocese.

To bring this newspaper procedural to the screen with an “All the President’s Men”-like intensity, director Tom McCarthy (“The Station Agent”) needed actors who could fit into an ensemble, but also command the screen for individual scenes.

Barden and Schnee (whose credits include “Pitch Perfect," “Prisoners,” “August: Osage County,” and McCarthy’s other movies) began the process as they usually do: They read an early draft of the script and then compiled a long list of actors they figured would be good fits, to go over with McCarthy.

“When you work with a director multiple times, there’s a shorthand, and what comes out of that is the same tastes in actors and acting styles,” Barden said.

spotlight2McCarthy led the charge in getting the top-billed actors to join. Mark Ruffalo was the first to sign on, taking one of the Spotlight reporter roles. The director then signed actors he had worked with before, like John Slattery, who would play Globe editor Ben Bradlee Jr.

As other name actors came on board, like Michael Keaton as Spotlight editor Walter Robinson, Liev Schreiber as the paper’s editor-in-chief Marty Baron, and Rachel McAdams as another reporter, Barden and Schnee were hard at work auditioning actors for the supporting roles.

Though the film was shot around Toronto as a double of Boston and features Canadian actors, the filmmakers ended up looking to talent with Boston roots to give it a stronger sense of place.

“There was no mandate to get people who looked like the real reporters,” Schnee said. “But there were some actors we tried for roles who just weren’t as authentic as Tom wanted.”

And given how bad Boston accents can be in movies, they likely made the right move. In the case of one character, Patrick McSorley, a victim who speaks to Spotlight, Barden and Schnee tried trained New York actors, but McCarthy thought there was something still missing.

“Our casting person in Boston, Carolyn Pickman, found this actor Jimmy LeBlanc, and he was the real thing,” Schnee said. “He gave the perfect Boston accent.”

spotlight jimmy finalLeBlanc’s performance as a tough guy with a tortured past lasts only one scene, but it’s critical to how the movie works, as it’s one of the first times we get to hear from a victim. That powerful moment shows the audience the depth of the pain victims have carried around for years.

“That’s the key to any casting job,” Barden said. “The authenticity and the truth of the story has to come through the actors, and when you get it right it's seamless, and when it's not quite right it sticks out like a sore thumb.” 

SEE ALSO: How a 29-year-old basketball player landed a star role as Chewbacca in "Star Wars"

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Kanye West auditioned a cappella for American Idol and it was pretty epic

Here are the records 'Star Wars' has smashed on its way to highest-grossing movie ever in 20 days

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In only 20 days, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has surpassed "Avatar" as the highest-grossing movie of all time in the US, but that's hardly the only record it holds less than a month after its opening.

Over the past few weeks, it's seemed like the latest movie in the franchise has shattered box-office records on a daily basis. 

Here we've compiled some of the biggest titles the film now has.

[Note: All figures provided by Disney]

SEE ALSO: The newest "Star Wars" actors reveal what their secretive auditions were really like

The evening of December 17 was the start of it all as the film nabbed the biggest all-time Thursday preview gross ($57 million).



The following day, it simultaneously took the biggest Friday, opening, and single-day record ($119.1 million).



On that Sunday, news broke that the movie had the biggest IMAX debut ($30.1 million).



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Disney has 13 movies coming out in 2016 — here’s what you have to look forward to

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Disney had a big year in 2015 with two Pixar movies, "The Avengers" sequel, and the return of "Star Wars" to theaters, and 2016 is about to get even bigger.

The studio released its official list of movies planned for 2016. 

Get ready for the first standalone "Star Wars" movie, two Marvel movies, and a few classic Disney animated pictures brought to life. 

Keep reading to see what the Mouse House has in store.

Disney's first movie out this year will be "The Finest Hours," which is based on a true story about a Coast Guard rescue mission in 1952 to save 30 sailors trapped inside a sinking oil tanker.

 

 



Starring Chris Pine, Eric Bana, Casey Affleck, it will be in theaters January 29, 2016.



"Zootopia," about a world reimagined with walking, talking animals, will be Disney's 55th animated motion picture.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's who's most likely to win the Golden Globes according to gambling odds

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The 73rd Golden Globe Awards will take place on Sunday, and experts are weighing in with their predictions for the night's winners.

"Carol" landed the most film nominations with five, but the odds from gambling pros place "Spotlight" and "The Martian" as two of the top contenders.

As for TV, "Mr. Robot,""Transparent," and "Fargo" are all projected to do well.

If you happen to join a friendly pool for this year's Golden Globes, Gold Derby has compiled film and TV predictions from experts.

Check out the odds below: 

SEE ALSO: How the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture, 'Spotlight,' landed the most impressive cast of the year

Best Film (Drama)

"Spotlight" 2/9
"Mad Max: Fury Road" 7/1
"Carol" 50/1
"The Revenant" 50/1
"Room" 80/1

 

 

 

 



Best Actor in a Film (Drama)

Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant" 1/10
Michael Fassbender, "Steve Jobs" 40/1
Bryan Cranston, "Trumbo" 50/1 
Eddie Redmayne, "The Danish Girl" 66/1
Will Smith, "Concussion" 66/1



Best Actress in a Film (Drama)

Brie Larson, "Room" 2/5
Saoirse Ronan, "Brooklyn" 9/2
Rooney Mara, "Carol" 14/1
Cate Blanchett, "Carol" 50/1
Alicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl" 80/1 

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Golden Globes are way more fun than the Oscars

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Between the Golden Globes and the Oscars, the Oscars are more prestigious. But that’s why the Golden Globes are so fun: no one takes it too seriously.

The Globes are awarded by a shadowy group of foreign journalists who'll nominate random movies if they have a starry cast — and those stars have fun. Oscar speeches might be moving, but they're often a slog. While the jokes at the Oscars are square or just uncomfortable, everyone at the Globes has a blast.

Story by Jacob Shamsian and editing by Ben Nigh

INSIDER IS ON FACEBOOK:  Follow us here

SEE ALSO: There's been a huge surge in female-led blockbusters — but barely any action figures for them

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The biggest question everyone had about R2-D2 in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' has finally been answered

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Warning: spoilers for the movie ahead.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" brought original characters from the "Star Wars" franchise back to the screen, but when R2-D2 finally popped up, the beloved droid was in "low-power mode."

The old droid has apparently been in that state since Luke Skywalker disappeared following Kylo Ren's transition from his old self Ben Solo, a Jedi trainee, to the Dark Side.

After some earlier attempts by BB-8 to wake him up, R2 finally becomes responsive after Rey, Poe Dameron, Chewbacca, and the rest of the Resistance members return from their mission to destroy Starkiller Base. But in the film, there isn't much explanation as to why that is the moment he would leave his self-induced slumber. Once awake, he's able to complete the map to the missing Skywalker, making the barely-there droid a crucial plot point.

In the official novelization for "The Force Awakens," author Alan Dean Foster further dives into what exactly stirs R2 from his low-power mode.

As members of the Resistance are gathered to discuss the location of the missing map piece, Rey says that the First Order has the part they need because "they extracted it from the Imperial archives."   

Admiral Statura (portrayed by Ken Leung) explains why that makes sense: "The Empire would have been looking for the first Jedi temples," he says. "In destroying all the Jedi sanctuaries they would have acquired a great deal of peripheral information.”

Just like in the film, as a discussion about the missing part of the map occurs, R2 overhears and awakens, and he comes beeping into the room. 

C-3PO has the ability to translate R2's beeps and tells the group that R2 might have the same map, having tapped into the data before. 

“If the information you are seeking was in the Imperial archives, he believes he may have catalogued that data," C-3PO says. "He’s scanning through it now.”

R2 finds the rest of the map and projects it, allowing BB-8 to project his piece and complete the map.

Director J.J. Abrams and co-writers Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt backed up this reasoning in a Q&A following the film's premiere, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The group thought back to the original film, 1977's "A New Hope," when R2 tapped into the Empire’s mainframe while searching for Princess Leia.

“We had the idea about R2 plugging into the information base of the Death Star, and that’s how he was able to get the full map and find where the Jedi temples are,” Arndt said.

Abrams followed up that it wasn't explicitly detailed in the film to avoid focusing on past events. 

“But the idea was that in that scene where R2 plugged in, he downloaded the archives of the Empire, which was referenced by Kylo Ren,” Abrams said. 

Later, BB-8 says something to R2 that starts to stir him awake.

“BB-8 comes up and says something to him, which is basically, ‘I’ve got this piece of a map, do you happen to have the rest?’” Abrams said. “The idea was, R2 who has been all over the galaxy, is still in his coma, but he hears this. And it triggers something that would ultimately wake him up.”

The director also said that waiting to bring R2 back until after Han Solo's death was purposeful: “While it may seem, you know, completely lucky and an easy way out, at that point in the movie, when you’ve lost a person, desperately, and somebody you hopefully care about is unconscious, you want someone to return.”

SEE ALSO: The newest 'Star Wars' actors reveal what their secretive auditions were really like

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The 15 biggest box-office hits ever

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In just 20 days, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has become the highest-grossing film of all time in North America. The film has earned more than $760 million domestically, and it's showing no signs of slowing down.

While 2009's "Avatar" is still the highest-grossing movie worldwide, earning $2.78 billion, "Star Wars" could soon overtake James Cameron's sci-fi flick as box-office king. After all, it's already brought in over $1.5 billion worldwide.

Surpassing "Avatar' will depend on how well the film does in China, the second-largest movie market, when it premieres January 9.

To find out where "The Force Awakens" ranks worldwide, keep reading to see the 15 highest-grossing movies of all time.

15. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" (2014): $1.104 billion

Source: Box Office Mojo



14. "Skyfall" (2012): $1.108 billion

Source: Box Office Mojo



13. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003): $1.11 billion

Source: Box Office Mojo



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Lucasfilm just demolished the crazy rumor about who actually plays the internet's favorite Stormtrooper

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When an unnamed stormtrooper from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" randomly became the film's breakout star, the internet was quick to think Londoner Alex Rolt was the man behind the mask. Why? Well, Rolt tweeted about his involvement in the film, and even gave an interview with an English outlet describing the arduous but exciting filming and rehearsal process. 

Turns out, Rolt made it all up. He wasn't the unnamed Stormtrooper, and he wasn't involved in "Star Wars" at all.

Lucasfilm, via StarWars.com, has since confirmed Liang Yang as man behind the Stormtrooper, "FN-2199." Rolt has since deleted his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

Lucasfilm also shared more details about Yang (and his "Star Wars" character). Here's what we know about Yang:

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Yang is a trained acrobat and martial artist born in China, but his website says he's now based in London. Yang's first role was the 2007 action film "Underground," where he played a Chinese martial artist also named Liang. The full film is streaming on Amazon Video. 

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Yang cracked into Hollywood in 2011 and did stuntwork in bigger films like "Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides" and "X-Men: First Class," but his next major role was in 2012's "Skyfall" where he faced off against James BondThe Screen Actor's Guild honored Yang and the other stunt-performers for their work on the film. 

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Yang received the same honor two years later for his stunt-work on HBO's "Game of Thrones." Here he is training for the episode "The Mountain and the Viper" alongside The Mountain himself, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson. Yang practiced the martial arts moves that Pedro Pascal, the Viper, would use in the climactic season four battle.

Screen Shot 2016 01 07 at 10.17.26 AMWhich bring us to Yang's latest work in "The Force Awakens." He became a viral sensation for his signature 'Z6 Baton' spinning when he fought Finn (John Boyega). Here he is, unmasked: 

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Yang has a very impressive body of work and definitely deserves praise for "The Force Awakens" - just look at the social media storm the guy started. Lucasfilm put it best in the confirmation post: "Without his baton spinning, you wouldn’t be reading this."

We've reached out to Yang and will update if we hear back. 

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Fans are petitioning Disney to have George Lucas direct a future 'Star Wars' movie

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Yuri Luiz from São Paulo, Brazil, seems to be in the small but ardent camp of “Star Wars” fans who enjoy the originator of the franchise at the helm.

He has recently launched a petition on Change.org to have George Lucas return as director of an upcoming “Star Wars” movie, and he has a specific one in mind: “Episode IX.”

“George Lucas as director of ‘Episode IX’ would be the perfect way to end this new trilogy and make an epic farewell between the Father of ‘Star Wars’ and the whole universe of the galaxy far, far away…” Luiz writes in his petition.

But there's a major flaw in Luiz’s quest: There's already a director attached for “Episode IX,” Colin Trevorrow, director of “Jurassic World.”

Colin Trevorrow Frazer Harrison Getty“We have no problem with Colin Trevorrow,” Luiz’s petition states. “But he’s not the right guy to direct ‘Star Wars Episode IX.”

The petition, which launched a week ago, currently has 4,800 supporters. It is addressed to Disney, Lucasfilm, and Lucasfilm’s president Kathleen Kennedy.

Trevorrow is coming off the box-office sensation of last summer, as “Jurassic World” broke the record for biggest opening weekend of all time, until the new “Star Wars” came along.

He's already busy preparing “Episode IX,” which will be released in 2019.

Lucas, who would be 74 by the time “Episode IX” is released, said recently in a Charlie Rose interview that he had ideas for how the “Star Wars” saga would expand in episodes VII, VIII, and IX. But Disney, which bought the rights to “Star Wars” in 2012 for $4 billion, went another way, telling a story “for the fans,” as Lucas put it, meaning playing off many of the hallmarks from Lucas’ original trilogy. Lucas gracefully stepped aside and let director J.J. Abrams and Disney make "Episode VII: The Force Awakens."

But even with overwhelmingly positive reception to the direction of "Force Awakens," it seems at least a few loyal fans haven’t given up hope that Lucas could one day return to the franchise that made him — and it — a legend.

SEE ALSO: Lucasfilm just demolished the crazy rumor about who actually plays the internet's favorite Stormtrooper

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Why Kylo Ren is the most interesting movie villain in years

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In recent years, we've grown accustomed to a certain type of movie villain. These villains are inherently evil people who do bad things for the sake of doing bad things.

For example, there's The Joker in "The Dark Knight," Voldemort in "Harry Potter" movies, and Anton Chigurh in "No Country For Old Men"— all of these guys are iconic, and all of them fit the type.

Kylo Ren — the successor to Darth Vader in the new "Stars Wars"— doesn't fit that mold, and it's one of the most fascinating parts of the new trilogy.

He's bratty, incompetent, and confused about his place in the world. The nature of his evil is petulance, angst, and a sense of abandonment. Kylo Ren isn't a representation of the intractable evil that exists in our world (like, say, The Joker is), he's a flawed villain.

In a film that has been criticized for taking too much from the other "Star Wars" movies, Kylo Ren feels new and different.

Story by Tony Manfred and editing by Chelsea Pineda

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