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Netflix's new movie looks like its craziest and creepiest yet — here's the trailer


The Discovery Sundance Institute

With the Sundance Film Festival kicking off on Thursday, Netflix has given us a tease of one of its anticipated movies that will be showing at the festival.

The trailer for "The Discovery" went online Wednesday and it's as trippy as the movie's synopsis.

Robert Redford plays a physicist who has confirmed the existence of an afterlife, which has led to a spate of suicides. Jason Segel plays Will, Redford's son, and Rooney Mara plays a woman with a troubled past who Will falls for.

With the use of Roy Orbison's song "Only the Lonely," visuals of chilly New England locations, and hints at layers of mystery and violence beyond the setup, the trailer paints the picture of a tender yet deeply unsettling movie.

"The Discovery" will have its world premiere at Sundance and be available on Netflix March 31.

Watch the trailer below:



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Here are the must-see movies that are going to win Oscars in 2017


La La Land Lionsgate

We've now hit the home stretch.

With Oscar voting closed and nominations being announced on January 24, it's an excruciating waiting game for those in the running.

Some things have shifted since our last pass at predictions for nominees and winners. "Lion" and "Hidden Figures" have increased their word of mouth while titles like "Silence" and "Jackie" have fizzled in most major categories.

Meanwhile, "La La Land" has only increased its dominance in the Oscar race, after sweeping the Golden Globes.

Below are our final predictions before nominations are announced, and who we think will win Oscar gold:

SEE ALSO: RANKED: Every character in "Rogue One" from best to worst

Best original score

The nominees will be:

Nicholas Britell, “Moonlight”
Michael Giacchino, “Zootopia”
Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”
Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka, “Lion”
Mica Levi, “Jackie”

If the Oscars were handed out today, the winner would be: Nicholas Britell's score for "Moonlight" is a perfect accompaniment to the powerful visuals show in the movie.

Best original song

The nominees will be:

“Audition,” “La La Land”
“Runnin',” “Hidden Figures”
“City of Stars,” “La La Land”
“Flicker,” “Audrie & Daisy”
“How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana”

If the Oscars were handed out today, the winner would be: It's really hard to not give this to "City of Stars" for "La La Land." Often this Oscar is handed out to a movie that has a great song by a known recording artist, but if voters choose the song that actually fits to the film it's featured in, this is it.

Best editing

The nominees will be:

Julian Clarke, "Deadpool"
Tom Cross, “La La Land”
Joe Walker, “Arrival”
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, “Moonlight”
Jennifer Lame, “Manchester by the Sea”

If the Oscars were handed out today, the winner would be: No movie works without great editing, but one that just doesn't work without a big talent at the helm is "Arrival." If you've seen the movie, we don't have to tell you that the editing makes it fit together just right.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

8 movies that could hit $1 billion at the box office this year


Daisy Ridley Rey Star Wars Force Awakens

2017 has the possibility of being a huge year at the box office.

With over 20 big movie sequels and a ton of remakes, I think we'll see a rise in the box office hitting more billion-dollar movies than ever before.  

In 2016, there were three movies that hit $1 billion worldwide. "Rogue One," released near the end of December, may wind up being the fourth. It's currently reached over $980 million at the box office

In history, there have been 27 movies that have crossed the historic number. But with so many sequels to movies that have previously hit $1 billion on the horizon, combined with a number of anticipated sequels and superhero movies, I think we're going to see that number cross well over 30.

Keep reading to see all of the movies we think will hit $1 billion in 2017.

1. "Beauty and the Beast"

Release Date: March 17, 2017

Why it could hit $1 billion: Disney's tale as old as time is the first movie of the year that has a good chance of hitting the billion-dollar mark. 

Disney has been on a roll with its live action adaptations in theaters. Last year's "The Jungle Book" was so close to hitting the mark with $966 million worldwide and "Beauty and the Beast" is one of the studio's most beloved animated movies. The original 1991 film became the first animated picture to win the best Golden Globe for best motion picture musical or comedy.

The first clip for the movie was viewed more times than any trailer online in 24 hours— even "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which went on to make over $2 billion worldwide. 

We wouldn't be surprised if this one broke some March records. Currently, "Batman v Superman" has the largest opening weekend in March with $166 million. Disney's "Zootopia" is the highest-grossing movie in March with over $1 billion at theaters worldwide. 


2. "The Fate of the Furious"

Release Date: April 14, 2017

Why it should hit $1 billion: The seventh film in the franchise skyrocketed to over $1.5 billion worldwide after the death of the film's star Paul Walker in 2013.

While fans wanted to see how the last film would honor Walker, people return to the "Fast" franchise to see Vin Diesel, fast cars, racing, and ridiculous stunts. It never matters how silly or over-the-top the films are — that's part of what draws people into the "Fast" family. The bigger and more entertaining the films can be, the better.

Now that Walker's character was retired in the last film, fans will want to see how his character is treated, if at all, in the sequel, too.

The series has always focused on the message of family. Now that the film is flipping that idea on its head with Diesel as the supposed villain, fans will want to see what made his character Dom turn his back on his crew.

Diesel himself is one of the most followed people on Facebook. In July 2016, the actor became the first actor to get 100 million followers. He's constantly sharing behind-the-scenes messages, photos, and videos for fans for all of his movies including "Fast 8."

Plus, it helps when the movie can bring back one of Hollywood's biggest A-listers right now, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It's even better when you can show the two going up against one another, which is what the eighth film is doing. 

3. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"

Release date: May 5, 2017

Why it will hit $1 billion: Two words: Baby Groot. 

But in all seriousness, has there been a more-hyped Marvel movie since the first film's release? 

Marvel was able to take one of the most obscure comic-book groups and turn them into a phenomenon. The first movie grossed over $773 million worldwide. Not only was the movie a hit, but the movie's soundtrack, Awesome Mix Vol. 1, has been certified platinum, selling over a million copies. 

If you're not following director James Gunn on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat, and more), you're missing out. The director shares updates and behind-the-scenes drawings and photos from his movies with fans and also takes fan questions in impromptu Facebook live sessions.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

People are outraged by a video showing alleged animal abuse from the movie 'A Dog's Purpose'


a dogs purpose dennis quaid

Animal rights supporters are up in arms over a video depicting alleged animal cruelty on the set of the upcoming movie "A Dog's Purpose."

On Wednesday, TMZ posted a video taken on the set of the film that appears to show an animal trainer pushing a struggling dog named Hercules into a pool.

Animal rights organization PETA sounded the alarm on Wednesday when it asked the public to boycott the movie for acts of animal cruelty as shown in the video, and alleged that a dog had to be rescued from drowning during the shooting of the movie. It claimed to have investigated the company that provided animals for the movie, Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU).

"PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props," PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement on Wednesday. "PETA's investigation at BAU revealed that animals are denied veterinary care, forced to sleep outdoors in the cold without bedding for warmth, made to live in filthy conditions, and more."

"A Dog's Purpose," which comes out in theaters January 27, is based on the best-selling book of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron. It tells the story of a dog that reincarnates many times over and the people whose lives he enriches. It stars Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, and Britt Robertson. Josh Gad plays the voice of the dog.

As the video went viral, people involved in the movie have reacted with surprise and regret over what's depicted from their movie set.

Gad said he is "shaken and sad" about the footage in a statement posted on Twitter late on Wednesday.

 Gavin Polone, who produced the movie and is an outspoken animal rights activist, said he's "horrified" by the video.

“I’m horrified by this,” Polone said, according to Deadline. “The first thing I asked was, ‘Is the dog OK?’ He’s fine. But if I had seen that, I would have stopped it in a minute. People have to be held responsible for this. It was someone’s job to watch out for this kind of thing. Why didn’t they? This is something I’ve written about before, whether it be circus animals or animals on set."

American Humane, the organization responsible for upholding animal treatment standards on movie sets, including "A Dog's Purpose," released a statement saying it is "disturbed and concerned by the footage." It also said that the scene should've been stopped once the dog resisted being pushed into the pool.

"We are placing the safety representative who was on the set on administrative leave immediately and are bringing in an independent third party to conduct an investigation into this matter," American Humane said in the statement.

Amblin, one of the studios that produced the film, defended its treatment of Hercules and the other animals on the set of "A Dog's Purpose" in a statement on Wednesday:

“Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals. While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film. There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. On the day of the shoot, ‪Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot. Hercules is happy and healthy.”

Watch the video in question from TMZ below:

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The 'Zootopia' directors explain the powerful message of the movie under President Trump


sloth zootopia

Animated movies go through a lot of changes before they hit theaters, but "Zootopia" became a whole different movie.

After spending two years developing "Zootopia," director Byron Howard, Walt Disney Animation head John Lasseter, and the studio's "story trust"— creators at Disney who give candid input about projects — made a risky decision: They would completely revamp their story by changing the prominence of the two lead characters, and in turn give "Zootopia" a new message.

The movie had a hook Lasseter loved: talking animals dressed in human clothes living in a world where predators and prey interact happily with one another. But it turned out that the protagonist, a fox named Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman), was a bit too dark and snarky.

So a year and a half before the movie was to be in theaters, Wilde was demoted to sidekick and the former supporting role became the lead: a bunny cop named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin).

The decision, dangerously late in a project's life in the animation world, turned out to be rewarding both financially and critically. "Zootopia" became a surprise hit for Disney, taking in over $1 billion worldwide in its theatrical run, and after appearing on many year-end best lists, the movie recently won the Golden Globe for best animated movie and is hoping for a best animation win (and maybe even a best picture nomination) at the Oscars.

But perhaps the most satisfying part of the "Zootopia" success is the power of its social commentary, especially as Donald Trump is about to be sworn in as president of the United States.

Yes, "Zootopia" has all the Disney hallmarks with adorable characters and lush animation, but what's caused audiences and critics to gush is the way it addresses stereotypes and other social issues from the human world that seem more pressing in light of Trump's presidential run.

Clark Spencer Byron Howard Rich Moore Zootopia Frazer Harrison Getty“We examined these topics because this is real and these movies, especially for young people, they are fairy tales that have the purpose of preparing young people for the world ahead of them,” Rich Moore, a member of Disney's story trust who later came on as a director of "Zootopia," recently told Business Insider. “We’re showing them what some of the pitfalls and dangers of life are, but coming out on the other end with a feeling of hope.”

The idea to confront race and class came early on in the production, long before Trump announced his bid for president. It arrived when the department heads took a trip to Kenya to observe the wildlife they would be creating for the movie, and they witnessed a moment that would stay with them throughout the production.

"The group was observing animals around the watering hole, and it was predators and prey alike drinking water and living in harmony at that moment because there's kind of a social understanding between them that they all need water," Moore said. "And we all thought that was an interesting social handshake in the animal world that is very much like the human world. In a city there can be people who don't see eye to eye and have different points of view but we put them aside and live together. But that doesn't mean those feelings go away. So we thought what if 'Zootopia' became a story about injustice, discrimination, as well as racism? We didn't just want to tell another funny animal movie."

But making the city of Zootopia a diverse melting pot hit a snag when the movie’s main protagonist, at the time Nick Wilde, came off the wrong way.

“The tone was suffering at that time,” Moore said. “The city felt really oppressive. We wanted to have a city with a problem but at its core by the end you would feel that the city was going to be okay. But in this version of the story it felt like Zootopia was a really bad place because we were seeing Nick being oppressed and being put down.”

zootopia 2So when the creators would usually put the final touches on an animated movie for its release, "Zootopia" went through a major overhaul.

Making Hopps the protagonist fit perfectly into the conventions the movie was trying to break: an idealistic bunny (prey) determined to join a police force filled with large tigers, wolves, and elephants (predators). And the female character was no longer relying on her male counterpart.

But the last thing the filmmakers wanted was to feel preachy. As the other “Zootopia” director Byron Howard puts it, “We never wanted the end of the film to be like, ‘Judy Hopps solved racism.’”

But since Trump’s successful but historically contentious presidential campaign, the movie has taken on a greater importance in showing how a community of different people with different views can unify.

“Even with the Trump presidency, no matter what side of the fence you're on, we owe it to future generations to make good decisions to try to work together and understand each other and I think that's what the film is trying to say,” Howard said.

“I am really excited for the art in the years ahead,” Moore added. “Historically they always reflect and comment on the world around them. Our leader doesn't feel like a unifier right now so imagine what kinds of books and what kinds of paintings and what kinds of songs and what kinds of movies we're going to see during these next four years.”

In fact, “Zootopia” has already inspired one artist. While on tour in 2016, Cat Stevens ended his shows quoting the speech Judy gives at the end of the movie.

“This would lead into him playing ‘Peace Train,’” Moore said, referring to one of Stevens' '70s hits. “It's just another example of how far beyond what we imagined this movie would do.”

“It’s very humbling,” Howard said.

“Zootopia” is now streaming on Netflix.

SEE ALSO: The 18 most exciting movies at this year's Sundance Film Festival you need to see

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'A Dog's Purpose' premiere and press event canceled after outrage over alleged dog abuse


a dog's purpose

Universal has canceled the weekend premiere and press junket for its movie "A Dog's Purpose,"Deadline reports, following outrage over a video that appears to show a dog being abused during shooting.

In the video, released by TMZ, a German Shepard that appears fearful is forced into water for a shot.

PETA called for a boycott of "A Dog's Purpose," and numerous people involved with the movie spoke out following release of the video. Gavin Polone, a producer, said he was "horrified" by the footage, while actor Josh Gad, who voices the main dog character, said he was "shaken and sad."

The film's production company Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal released the following statement:

"Because Amblin’s review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog’s Purpose to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.

"Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review.  While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.

"We continue to support this film, are incredibly proud of it and will release it for audiences nationwide next Friday."

While press around the movie has now been rolled back, "A Dog's Purpose" is still set to come out in theaters January 27.

SEE ALSO: Here are the must-see movies that are going to win Oscars in 2017

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Al Gore has a triumphant new documentary about climate change and Trump that you need to see


An Inconvenient Sequel Sundance Institute

PARK CITY, Utah — In 2006, the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" gave Al Gore, not long after his vice presidency, a huge platform to show the dangers of climate change, a subject he's fought to educate the public about for decades.

The film won an Oscar and was meant to lead people who had denied climate change to rethink how to combat what scientists have already proven is a major issue facing our world.

Gore has returned with all his PowerPoint gusto to remind everyone that climate change is still here and can't be ignored with "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," which just had its world premiere here at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday.

The movie expands on its fact-heavy predecessor to delve deeper into how the world is affected by climate change. It also shows Gore's seminars and behind-the-scenes dealings to advance the cause.

Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, the movie follows Gore as he travels, witnessing how global warming has hurt the world — from the melting glaciers in Greenland to the rising tide in Miami that causes roads to flood.

But the movie also has a little more drama than "An Inconvenient Truth." Yes, Gore is still doing a PowerPoint presentation, as in the first movie, but we also watch preparations for 2015's Paris Agreement, a global pact to mitigate the effects of climate change, and how Gore's maneuvering with India on solar power helped lead to the landmark agreement.

We also see powerful imagery, like rushing floodwaters that have led to destroyed homes and loss of life, and the prediction in "An Inconvenient Truth" that a storm could flood lower Manhattan coming to fruition when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012.

One of the most interesting moments in the movie is when Gore travels to Georgetown, Texas, to see for himself how one of the most conservative parts of Texas has taken to alternative means of energy and is quickly becoming one of the most notable regions of the country for the use of renewable energy.

But just when Gore thinks he's making progress, he comes upon another pothole. The latest is Donald Trump winning the election. Trump promised during his campaign that he would not support the Paris Agreement. As news sites reported and the film shows, Gore has gone to Trump Tower to speak to Trump about climate change.

After the screening of the movie at Sundance on Thursday, Gore did not divulge what he said in that meeting with Trump, but he had a message for the new president about climate change: "We're going to win this."

SEE ALSO: Here are the must-see movies that are going to win Oscars in 2017

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People noticed that Trump basically quoted Bane in his inauguration speech


donald trump bane

A line from President Donald Trump's inauguration speech on Friday eerily echoed the Batman villain Bane.

After Trump's speech, people quickly noticed one line's similarity to a Bane quote from the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," which came out in 2012.

"Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the people," Trump said in his speech.

Not exactly the same, but it's close to what Bane, played by Tom Hardy, says of Gotham when he holds the city hostage and removes its police and powerful officials.

"We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you, the people," Bane said.

Certainly, Trump did not intend to quote Bane, but "give it back to you, the people" is a line that will have some staying power after Inauguration Day.

Watch a video comparing Bane's line to Trump's:

SEE ALSO: Here are the must-see movies that are going to win Oscars in 2017

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These 2 streaming networks are loaded with movies and TV shows you'll actually want to watch


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

STORY_Peter Bernik

You're probably more inclined to stay in and watch TV on weeknights and weekends in the winter. If you've watched everything on your Netflix and Amazon Prime queues, you might be looking for something new to hold your attention.

AMC Networks is responsible for some of television's biggest hits, like "Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead," and has recently entered the streaming space with two cool options: Sundance Now and Shudder.

While you can watch tons of great programs anytime and anywhere, Sundance Now and Shudder are different from the streaming programs you already use. Each one was created with a very specific audience in mind, so you can gain access to titles you actually want to watch.

Packed with hard-to-find old films, award-winning documentaries, and original series like "The Bureau," Sundance Now is a perfect option for anyone who has seen all the classics and wants to watch off-the-cusp films. Here, you can scroll through hundreds of lesser-known titles or browse the program's carefully curated playlists. Sundance Now even tapped accomplished filmmakers like "Silence of the Lamb's" Jonathan Demme to hand pick their favorite titles.

EDIT_057306d2 shudder computer_08g05308f052000000

Or if you're more into spine-chilling movies, there's Shudder. Whether you're looking for a traditional horror movie, suspense thriller, or something darker, this service has plenty of scary movies from around the world. Similar to Sundance Now, Shudder has original movies, exclusive deals, and cult classics, so there's really something here for everyone.

Both services add new shows and movies each week, so you'll never run out of programs to watch. Sundance Now and Shudder cost $6.99 and $4.99 per month, respectively, but you can save some money when you sign up for an annual membership.

Whether you prefer independent films or scary movies, each program is well worth the investment.

Sundance Now Service, $6.99 per month (or $59.99 per year)

Shudder, $4.99 per month (or $49.99 per year)

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A new documentary about the Gawker vs. Hulk Hogan trial will change how you see the case


Nobody Speak John Pendygraft Sundance Institute

Any documentary filmmaker would like to delve into the trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker: a high-profile case filled with sex, betrayal, and outlandish courtroom testimony.

But director Brian Knappenberger also saw something more troubling beneath the surface. The case was also a fight against the freedom of the press. Regardless of what you may think of Gawker's content, ruling against the site in this case could open the floodgates for silencing other media whenever it runs a negative story on a person with influence.

It was a scary thought to Knappenberger. And then it became a reality.

Having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday, Knappenberger's latest documentary, "Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and Trials of a Free Press," is a fascinating look at the story behind the Hogan win against Gawker for posting a sex tape of the former pro wrestler. The $140.1 million verdict in favor of Hogan led to Gawker closing its doors and its publisher Nick Denton going into personal bankruptcy.

Peter ThielBut two months after the verdict, it was revealed that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel was responsible for financing Hogan's case against Gawker. It was also revealed that the major motivation for Thiel to do that was less because he was sympathetic to what Hogan was going through and more that he wanted Denton and Gawker to feel his wrath after the site ran a story in 2007 outing him as being gay.

"This notion of a nine-year grudge and this epic tale of revenge was so spectacular," Knappenberger told Business Insider at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday. "That's when I really started work on the movie."

Knappenberger — who previously made the movies "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz," on internet activist Aaron Swartz, and "We Are Legion," about the hacker group Anonymous — got in touch with Denton and Gawker editor-in-chief (who also posted the Hogan sex tape video) A.J. Daulerio to be in the film as well as Hogan's lawyer David R. Houston.

They all took some convincing to come on camera and talk for the movie, according to Knappenberger, but at the end of the day they agreed because they all wanted to tell their sides of the story.

Brian Knappenberger Alberto E Rodriguez Getty final"The Gawker guys were angry," he said. "They wanted to talk, and David Houston wanted to tell his story."

There was also a time that Knappenberger thought he would get Hogan to participate, but ultimately Hogan declined.

"They didn't want him to say something that would hurt the settlement," Knappenberger said of Hogan. "But even if we got him now I would add him in the film."

In many ways, "Nobody Speak" portrays Hogan in a sympathetic manner, basically as the pawn in Thiel's mission to destroy Gawker (Knappenberger said he also tried to get Thiel to be in the movie, but Thiel declined Knappenberger's numerous requests). And the movie shows how other people with money and influence can and do silence the media.

Knappenberger also showcases what happened to the Las Vegas Review-Journal at the end of 2015. The paper's staff was suddenly told that the paper had been sold, though they were never told who the new publisher was. A group of reporters found that the son-in-law of Las Vegas casino titan Sheldon Adelson was a major player in the purchase of the paper. According to the movie, Adelson had a vendetta with the paper's columnist John L. Smith, who wrote unflattering things about him in a 2005 book. Smith was even ordered after the paper was bought that he was never to write about Adelson in any of his pieces. 

For Knappenberger, there's no other way to look at it: The suppression of the media by billionaires is happening. But it was the election of Donald Trump as president that influenced the movie the most.

"It went from cautionary to holy f---," Knappenberger said. "Things that seemed lighter before now seemed serious."

Donald TrumpKnappenberger said the making of "Nobody Speak" was a fast process that constantly changed, but it's the ending that has become the most nerve-wracking, as he's gone through numerous versions to paint a most up-to-date picture of Trump's dislike toward the media.

"What we've seen is disturbing," he said of Trump. "Calling reports scum, calling them vile, slime, it's just a regular feature in his speeches. The blacklisting of the press. What's he's doing now to CNN. Talking about moving the press out of the White House briefing room. This is a clear intimidation of the press. I think all of that is scary."

Knappenberger said he doesn't see the press lying down and playing dead, but he hopes the new administration will be a wake-up call to the media to be on their game.

"The press should be adversarial, should be confrontational, should be questioning those in power, that's the role of the press," he said.

And that's why Knappenberger believes the loss of Gawker is such a huge blow for journalism. As one former Gawker editor says in the movie, "If you're not pissing off a billionaire, what's the point?"

"Yeah, they insulted people, but why is there not a place for that in this media environment?" Knappenberger said. "This is free speech. We protect hate speech. We protect a lot that one side or the other doesn't like. Thiel's response that Gawker is a 'singular, sociopathic bully' is absurd. That is only true if you live in a world without Facebook or Twitter."

Knappenberger isn't too nervous to show the movie on Tuesday. If any legal documents are sent from Thiel or Adelson's representatives, he said, "We're ready for it," but he added the bigger issue is getting people to understand that the loss of the free press is "the most important thing facing our country."

"Lots of other films at Sundance have legitimate causes and important things and I wouldn't say this is more important than those causes," he said, "it's just that you can't do anything about those causes unless you have this first. Free speech, First Amendment rights. Without that, there's no democracy."

"Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and Trials of a Free Press" has its world premiere on Tuesday at the Sundance Film Festival.

SEE ALSO: Al Gore has a triumphant new documentary about climate change and Trump that you need to see

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18 movies you need to know about this year coming out of the Sundance Film Festival


colossal anne hathaway

PARK CITY, Utah — It's that time again when Hollywood heads to this ski town to showcase the best that independent film has to offer at the Sundance Film Festival, currently underway.

Last year’s fest gave us the world premieres of current award-season staples like “Manchester by the Sea” and “OJ: Made in America.” As new titles go from unknown to suddenly jumping on our must-see list at the 2017 festival, we'll be writing about it right here.

For now, here are 18 movies we think you’ll want to seek out:

SEE ALSO: The "Deadpool" writers reveal everything you want to know about the sequel

“A Ghost Story”

Following his first studio movie, Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon,” indie-film titan David Lowery has secretly made a low-budget thriller starring Casey Affleck as a ghost who returns home to watch over his grief-stricken lover, played by Rooney Mara. Expect a gothic feel, which Lowery has built his career mastering.

A24 will release later this year.

“An Inconvenient Sequel”

A decade after Al Gore brought climate change to the nation’s attention with the Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth,” his follow-up comes to Sundance at a crucial moment in the history of climate-change awareness. With the Trump administration perceived to push back on the progress made to save the environment in the last 10 years, Gore returns to shed light on a topic that can’t be ignored.

Paramount will release later this year.

“The Big Sick”

Produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Michael Showalter (“Wet Hot American Summer”), this comedy follows the hilarious but poignant relationship a Pakistan-born man (Kumail Nanjiani, “Silicon Valley”) has with his American girlfriend (Zoe Kazan). The movie is based on the real-life relationship Nanjiani has with fellow comic Emily V. Gordon. With all the talent involved, expect to hear a lot about this one. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Sundance vets Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey explain why they seek out unique stories


I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore Allyson Riigs Sundance Institute

Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey are very familiar with trudging through the snow at the Sundance Film Festival. The two actors have made the trek to Park City, Utah in January a regular occurrence, as at least one of them has appeared in a movie at the festival almost yearly for the last decade.

This year is no different, but we have the added bonus of getting the two in the same movie. "I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore" is a darkly comedic look at a depressed woman named Ruth (Lynskey) who calls on the assistance of her weird neighbor Tony (Wood) after her house is burglarized and decides to find the thief herself as the police are no help.

Writer-director Macon Blair (the lead in the 2013 indie hit "Blue Ruin") delivers a terrific twisted comedy in the vein of the Coen brothers but with more gore. You'll get to see it for yourself when the movie becomes available on Netflix February 24.

Business Insider sat down with Wood and Lynskey to talk about why they seek out unique stories, how Netflix has changed the movie business, and if we'll ever see Wood play Iggy Pop.

Jason Guerrasio: Did you guys know each other before shooting began?

Elijah Wood: We did, we met through Peter Jackson.

Melanie Lynskey: Yeah.

Guerrasio: How far back was this?

Wood: Probably seven or eight years ago.

Lynskey: Didn't I meet you at the opening for the King Kong ride?

Wood: I feel like we met there.

Guerrasio: That's a great first meet memory.

Lynskey: [Laughs] Yeah, it was before it opened and they invited us to come with friends and ride on it.

Guerrasio: Going into this movie was there a need to get together and break the ice?

Wood: We worked a little bit before on a Cartoon Network mini series called "Over the Garden Wall," and we had a day of work together. It was fun because we were in each other's world but never got to hang out.

Guerrasio: But you didn't connect before shooting started?

Lynskey: He showed up for shooting early, I'm terrible. I'm like, "Can I come up in the morning before we start filming?" I like being at home. But once I get there and I like everyone I'm like, "I don't want to leave." Filming this was very easy, very comfortable.

Wood: I just felt like I knew you already.

Lynskey: We got together for dinner a few times and hung out. It wasn't like we felt like we needed to connect.

Guerrasio: What was it about Macon's script that you dug?

Wood: Everything about it. I loved the characters. I've been a huge fan of his work from "Blue Ruin" to "Green Room," which I starred in with him. And the script he wrote was incredible, with really beautiful, well drawn characters that you could relate to. But it also delved into genre cinema as well. It was all these things in one. It was my favorite thing I've read in a long time.

Lynskey: It's just so original and it felt very honest, there were a lot of specific details that made me feel very sure of the story he wanted to tell and the world he wanted to create. I like it when somebody has a voice but it's not a voice where all the characters sound the same. He's able to create different and interesting characters.

Guerrasio: Are you guys surprised by the growth Netflix has made in building out its original content?

Wood: It's actually not that surprising, anymore. I think there was a time in the '90s that this would have been a title that would have gone direct-to-video, which would have been some certain kind of death. But that's not the case anymore. If anything, it's created this equal opportunity for filmmakers. There are so many ways to distribute a movie now and for a film like this in particular if it got a theatrical release it might have only played in the coastal cities.

Guerrasio: I was thinking after seeing the movie, if Netflix or Amazon wasn't around this movie would be in play with the Focus Features, Magnolia Pictures, IFC Films of the world.

Wood: Yeah, it's great that there's a company that, yes, has a lot of money but also is a really creative film department that are making great choices.

Lynskey: And TV.

Wood: Yeah, I love their TV. But they are making choices based on the filmmakers and material without really wanting to get in the way. They did not come to set. They saw our dailies and we were getting thumbs up. That's a really remarkable thing for a first time director to have that kind of faith. I'm all for it. If you can get your movie made the way you want to get it made, no matter what the end result is going to be, if people are going to see it that's awesome.

Lynskey: There is a wonderful peace of mind knowing that it's going to have an audience. But you still want it to have the best sendoff, so showing it here I was worried how the reviews would be, because Netflix doesn't usually let stuff go to festivals. So there was a discussion about that.

Guerrasio: Well, it sounds like it's been received very positively.

Lynskey: Very. It's been amazing.

Guerrasio: You guys have been working in this industry for almost your whole lives, what keeps you motivated to continue working?

Wood: Every experience is a new experience. I feel like I'm constantly learning. Constantly trying to grow. This is a good example, I had never played a character like this before. I never had an opportunity like this before. That's what keeps you going. It's also the filmmakers, going to festivals or just seeing movies on your own, there are just so many incredible people with so many amazing ideas. That inspires you. And I never feel safe. Safety and comfort comes with complacency and that's never a good place to be working from.

Lynskey: I feel very fortunate to have a job where I'm allowed to keep growing. And a lot of it is about exploring yourself and exploring other people and getting to understand humans. It's something that you get addicted to. I also don't know how to do anything else. Honestly, sometimes I think, "Gosh, I wish I had some backup plan." I think I would be a therapist at this point.

Wood: You would be good at that.

Guerrasio: Well, being an actor is kind of like therapy in a weird way.

Lynskey: It's true. It's the closest thing to it, I think.

Guerrasio: Elijah, will the Iggy Pop biopic every happen?

Wood: I think it's dead. I'm actually kind of grateful because I was terrified of it at the time.

Lynskey: What's this?

Wood: There was this biopic that had been written about Iggy Pop that tracked him from high school to starting The Stooges and inevitably ending The Stooges to go make his first solo album.

Lynskey: Wow!

iggy popGuerrasio: How many years were you attached to it?

Wood: It was probably like two or three years. [Current head of Amazon Studios] Ted Hope was involved in producing it and Nick Gomez was the director. It was an interesting thing and I was so flattered to be asked to play that role but it terrified me. At the time I thought I was too young and there's one thing about playing someone who has passed away, which I also would feel equally anxious about, but someone who is alive and very vital still as a musician and an artist, I don't know.

Guerrasio: Iggy didn't want to be a part of it but he gave his blessing of you playing him.

Wood: He did.

Lynskey: That's awesome!

Wood: The older I've gotten the more I've gotten a little precious about music-related films as it comes to biopics. I kind of don't want to see it, I'd rather see a documentary. And this is just coming from me. I love music documentaries, I kind of don't want to see people embodying those people.

Guerrasio: Melanie, give me a sense of the movie business today as an actress from your eyes. Are you starting to see scripts come to you with characters for you to play that are more outside the box from typical female roles?

Lynskey: I really do. I think this is so sh---y for the world and I'm terrified [about the election of Donald Trump] but I do think there's something so positive and that people are really rising up and using their voices and feeling empowered and feeling like I have to do it. There's more urgency and I think we are going to see a lot more diversity in storytelling and filmmaking. I'm kind of excited about what's ahead.

Wood: The next four years are exciting because the opposition of Trump is so strong and so united and that will yield great results.  

SEE ALSO: "Zootopia" directors: Why the movie has a special meaning after the Trump victory

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Liam Neeson opens up about working with Martin Scorsese on 'Silence,' which took 26 years to make


liam neeson

Liam Neeson admits he wasn't impressed with Shūsaku Endō's novel "Silence" when Martin Scorsese offered him a role in the movie adaptation two years ago.

"It was very dull," the Oscar-nominated actor recently told Business Insider over the phone.

But after reading the movie's script, he said, "the issues in the book really came alive for me." And so Scorsese had the final piece in his latest attempt in 26 years to make the movie.

Neeson gives an incredible performance as Father Ferreira, a Jesuit priest who in attempting to spread Christianity in 17th-century Japan is captured by samurai who are keeping the religion out of the country and put Ferreira through numerous types of torture until he renounces his faith.

Neeson talked to Business Insider about the role, preparing for a grueling torture scene, how the experience was different from working with Scorsese on "Gangs of New York," that time he almost played Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," and why we will probably never see his Qui-Gon Jinn in any upcoming "Star Wars" movies.

silence paramount finalJason Guerrasio: A major scene for Father Ferreira is the torture scene. What were the discussions you and Scorsese had about tackling it?

Liam Neeson: It was an actual torture — many martyrs lost their lives that way and were punished that way in Japan. We knew exactly what happened and what the pit was filled with, which was human excrement, and they were hung upside down. Then these boards were put around them so after some time you didn't have a sense of where you were in space or time and you were constantly suffering. You didn't die, but there was an agony, and you couldn't move your body because you're harnessed in like a straightjacket.

Guerrasio: Did you experience it yourself outside of the shots we see of your doing it?

Neeson: Beforehand, to get some type of feel for it, I hung upside down on that machine that you'll find at the gym, inversion table, and you can hang upside down. So I did that in preparation.

Guerrasio: Did you use any of your experience making "The Mission" in helping to prepare for "Silence"?

Neeson: Very much. I think we made it in 1985, I believe. Our technical adviser was Father Daniel Berrigan, who just passed away last year. I was pals with Father Dan; he was a famous Jesuit in his time. Myself, Bob De Niro, Jeremy Irons, we talked with Father Dan about the gospel and how it relates to today's world, then being the '80s. It was really, really enlightening. We did preparation in Jesuit training, which they still do to this day — namely the spiritual exercises. So my research on "The Mission" played very heavily in this film.

The Mission Warner BrosGuerrasio: Was it a different experience working with Scorsese this time around?

Neeson: I knew how important "Silence" was for Martin. He spent 26 years putting the film together. The sets on "Silence" were incredibly quiet. He did demand from all the crew, especially when he was talking to his actors before we do a scene, he did demand absolute silence, and he got it. He did create this space for you to do your best work, to really focus.

Guerrasio: That was different from "Gangs of New York"?

Neeson: I'm not saying on "Gangs of New York" he was walking around telling jokes — it was a different subject matter. There were always crowds of actors. It was a different energy.

Guerrasio: Did you have to wait around for a call from Scorsese that it was time to finally shoot "Silence"?

Neeson: No. I met with Martin around 2015, and this is when he was very close to shooting. It wasn't like I was waiting around for years and years.

Guerrasio: You have such an incredible filmography, but I want to bring up a project you didn't take on: Any regrets not doing "Lincoln" with Steven Spielberg?

Neeson: I have absolutely no regrets about that at all. The script I was involved with Steven on was totally different than what he shot. I thought I was past my sell-by date with this. This just isn't me anymore. And I'm glad it happened. When I saw the film and what Steven had done and certainly what Daniel [Day-Lewis as Lincoln] had done was f---ing extraordinary. I thought it was beautiful. I was so pleased I made that decision. Dan was superb.

Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jinn in Star WarsGuerrasio: Deep down, do you want to go back and play Qui-Gon Jinn again?

Neeson: No. No. That was 20 years ago. No, and nor have I been approached. And with all these spin-offs they are doing who knows what's going to happen.

Guerrasio: That's why I bring it up — the character may have a reason to get back in the mix.

Neeson: I would certainly take their call, let's put it that way, but I think that ship has sailed.

"Silence" is currently playing in theaters.

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M. Night Shyamalan has a stunning box-office comeback with 'Split'



People in Hollywood might start changing their tune about director M. Night Shyamalan after his latest, "Split," made a surprisingly massive haul over the weekend.

The "Sixth Sense" director's latest thriller, which stars James McAvoy as a man with 23 different personalities who kidnaps three girls, earned $40.2 million over its opening weekend, giving it the No. 1 spot at the box office. That's more money than "The Sixth Sense" made in its debut weekend ($26.7 million) and marks one of Shyamalan's best openings — though it doesn't quite match the impressive $60.1 million "Signs" took in over its 2002 opening weekend.

The exact budget of "Split" is unknown but is estimated at about $9 million, according to Forbes, which is much lower than Shyamalan's big-budget features like "Signs" and "The Village."

Shyamalan collaborated with Blumhouse Productions on the film, following their previous movie together, "The Visit" (2015), which received positive reviews and was seen as a return to form for the director.

Before "The Visit," Shyamalan had seen diminishing box-office returns and sagging critical opinion on movies like "Lady in the Water" (2006) and "After Earth" (2013), a mega-budget flop starring Will Smith and son Jaden Smith, which grossed only $60.5 million total in the US.

"Split" is also getting some more favorable reviews for Shyamalan, with a 76% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

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The title of the next 'Star Wars' movie is here: 'The Last Jedi'


star wars: the last jedi

You no longer have to keep calling the next "Star Wars""Episode VIII," because Lucasfilm/Disney have finally revealed the title of the movie.

The official "Star Wars" Twitter account posted Monday morning saying that the next chapter in the "Skywalker saga" is known as "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," a clear nod to Luke Skywalker's role in the film.

"The Last Jedi" will be released on December 15, 2017. Mark Hamill will return as Luke Skywaker, as will Princess Leia star Carrie Fisher, who finished filming before her death at the end of 2016.

The movie is written and directed by Rian Johnson, and is expected to pick up right where "The Force Awakens" left off.

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Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen talk about the 'scary' side of social media that inspired their new movie


Aubrey Plaza Elizabeth Olsen Matt Winkelmeyer Getty final

PARK CITY, Utah — Comedies are shining at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and one that's getting high marks is "Ingrid Goes West," a dark comedy starring Audrey Plaza as Ingrid, who is so addicted to her Instagram account that she becomes dangerously obsessed with the "Insta-famous" Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen).

With the help of Taylor's account, Ingrid knows everything from where Taylor lives to her favorite shops and restaurants. After inheriting over $60,000 following the death of her mother, and trying to put her life together after ruining her friend's wedding because she wasn't invited, Ingrid decides to start a new life out in California, in the same neighborhood Taylor lives in. The movie then chronicles Ingrid's "Single White Female"-like lengths to become Taylor's friend.

Plaza and Olsen talked to Business Insider at Sundance about the movie's commentary on social media, their realization that being internet famous can be a good business model, and the story behind one of the movie's funniest scenes (if you were a fan of K-Ci & JoJo, keep reading).

Jason Guerrasio: You aren't on social media at all, right, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth Olsen: Right.

Guerrasio: Aubrey, you've recently ended your Twitter account, right?

Aubrey Plaza: Yeah, I kind of did a little switcheroo. I got off Twitter and I started a public Instagram.

Guerrasio: Is it frightening to think that there might be a person like Ingrid out there trying to connect with you through social media?

Plaza: I don't think about that. I wouldn't think about that.

Olsen: I just don't want people to know what I'm doing. [Laughs] And not that I think I have a stalker, I just want to stay private.

Ingrid Goes West Sundance Film InstituteGuerrasio: What do you guys think of social media in general? The movie is kind of a commentary on where we are.

Plaza: I think it's its own animal that is evolving and it's something that in years to come we'll look back on and learn a lot about it. We're in it right now so it's really hard to have a perspective on it, but it feels scary to me.

Olsen: I think it's advancing so fast and there's something always new, I think we're still exploring how it's most beneficial. "Black Mirror" is a show that shows you the scariest version, it's almost a cautionary tale.

Guerrasio: I feel this movie is the same way, too. I mean, there are things you want to tell your fans, but you also want privacy and not to be trolled.

Plaza: Yeah, I'm a private person and don't like sharing my private life with people, but as a producer and being in a professional business, there is a part of it where you need to give back. It's nice to emote something and you want to make things for those people, so having that is good sometimes.

Olsen: I keep thinking about maybe doing it —

Guerrasio: Really?

Olsen: Yeah, but I probably won't.

Plaza: [Laughs]

Olsen: Though I think about doing it.

Plaza: It's like coming up with something to post and then going, "Forget it, I'm not doing it."

Olsen: Yeah, I mean, honestly, from a specific business point of view, it would help me. But not in film or acting, it would help me in the other picture of all this, which is branding. Using it when I do a cover story, that would be helpful for me. And inevitably that is helpful for your projects. So there is a cycle and social media is very important to all those companies that you want to be on good terms with so you can promote your projects. I understand it from a business point of view and I have friends who handle it like a business, like you Aubrey. But I just don't know how to commit to it.

Guerrasio: You can always start one and have someone else be in charge of it.

Olsen: No, I would want to do it.

Guerrasio: Aubrey, did you do a lot of research to play Ingrid?

Plaza: I definitely did a lot of thinking about it. I think the script was well-written and the character just jumped off the page. I think [director] Matt [Spicer] and I had so many conversations about what's wrong with her — it's never really stated.

Guerrasio: How about you, Elizabeth?

Olsen: Yeah, I did research. Matt actually had a list of 35 people on Instagram who we could model Taylor off of. When Matt first told me to do it, I was like, if I'm playing someone who does drugs, I don't have to go and become a drug addict, but at a point I was like, "Eh, lean into it." So I learned how to take Instagram-pro quality pictures with my phone.

Guerrasio: Doing the perfect selfie.

Olsen: Well, I'm not good at that. So Matt set up a fake account for me and I followed 35 people and it's fascinating. I have no clue who these people are, but they have millions and millions of followers and they get paid for it and they all look fabulous and they get invited to very prestigious things. I thought it was fascinating and humanizing. I try not to place judgments as a general rule of thumb but I think I had a little bit of judgment before and now I understand it's a potential career just like any other career.

Guerrasio: One of the funniest scenes is when you two are in the car singing the K-Ci & JoJo song "All My Life." How did that come together?

Olsen: I think there was another song first, but they couldn't get the rights for it.

Plaza: Yeah, it was Seal's "Kiss from a Rose."

Olsen: Oh, right! And doing this song was so much better.

Plaza: Wasn't that our first day together?

Olsen: Yeah, first scene we shot. I had practiced those lyrics so many times.

Plaza: I had not practiced. But yeah, you knew it. We were just in a desert in that truck in the middle of the night just singing that song.

Olsen: It was so much fun.

Guerrasio: How many renditions did you do?

Plaza: We did numerous versions. All different levels of energy from both of us. I'm sure we did real weird stuff, even weirder than the finished cut.

Olsen: We smoked so many cigarettes.

Plaza: It was so trashy, I loved it.

Olsen: [Laughs] It was great.

Plaza: It was this "Thelma & Louise" vibe.

Guerrasio: Aubrey, you are a producer on this film and your other Sundance entry "The Little Hours." How does that feel, having work that you started from the ground up playing here?

Plaza: It's really exciting. I've never produced before so it's always exciting as an actor to see your movie at Sundance, but as a producer it's even more exciting because you were there from the very beginning. It's like your child.

Guerrasio: Is the next step directing?

Plaza: I mean, I went to film school for writing and directing and I definitely want to direct, but I don't know when that will be.

Guerrasio: Any directing aspirations, Elizabeth?

Olsen: No.

Plaza: Really?

Olsen: I like acting. Though right now I'm developing two things and I have never had more fun pitching and being on projects from the beginning. It's frustrating but it becomes this thing that you fall in love with.

Neon acquired "Ingrid Goes West" at Sundance and will release it later this year.

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Why you need to pay attention to the rise of 'Atlanta' star Lakeith Stanfield


Lakeith Stanfield Neilson Barnard Getty final

PARK CITY, Utah — The first time you ever saw Lakeith Stanfield, he was probably playing Darius, the most comic of comic relief on the hit, Golden Globe-winning TV show "Atlanta." But here at the Sundance Film Festival, the 25-year-old actor has quietly become one of the most sought-after talents on the indie-film scene.

"Last time I came here and landed at the airport there were about three people there with my headshot asking me to sign my autograph," Stanfield told Business Insider over the weekend. "This time I get here there are about 50 people and there were so many things I had to sign my wrist was getting tired, but I love, love, love the love."

Stanfield is in two films at the festival this year: closing-night film "The Incredible Jessica James," which also stars former "The Daily Show" correspondent Jessica Williams, and "Crown Heights," in which he gives an incredible performance as Colin Warner, who in 1980 at 16 years old was tried for a crime he didn't commit and was in prison for a decade until he was finally exonerated.

As in previous titles he's had at the festival — "Short Term 12,""Dope," and "Miles Ahead"— he never plays the same character twice, but always delivers an intensity and authenticity in his characters that make him shine on the screen. That holds true if he's holding his own across from a legend like Don Cheadle playing Miles Davis in "Miles Ahead" or if Stanfield is briefly playing a legend himself, like Snoop Dogg in "Straight Outta Compton."

But in "Crown Heights," directed by Matt Ruskin ("The Hip Hop Project"), Stanfield gives a glimpse of the talents he can bring to a movie that he's the center of. Sporting long hair and a Caribbean accent, he captures Warner's levels of emotion throughout his incarceration including disbelief of his situation, understandable anger and frustration, and finally faith that his name will be cleared.  

Crown HeightsA lot of that came from spending time with the real Warner. But instead of peppering him with questions about his time in jail, Stanfield wanted to get deeper.

"I wanted to know more about his history and his family and where he's situated now because that would give me a lot of information as far as to what kind of persistence this character has in order to exist and the way he existed," he said. "And that's very, very peacefully and very calm and understanding. He pulled out a photo album and started telling me stories about everybody in the photo album and the events in these people's lives that he missed because he was in prison. I could see how this all affected him deeply. It was a very special experience."

Warner also spent years in solitary confinement during his time in prison, so Stanfield would use his trailer on the set of the movie as the space to prepare for those scenes of isolation.

"I would keep my phone away and would be in my trailer with the lights off," he said. "It's been weird because I've been having these reoccurring dreams of being pursued by law enforcement. I never had them before doing this movie. It's pretty weird." 

For audiences who only know Stanfield from his wacky Darius character on "Atlanta" (or doing that insane dance on the Golden Globes stage after the show won best comedy) this serious side of him may come as a shock.

atlanta stars shooting finale fxBut for Stanfield it's keeping his fans guessing that's the fun. And the added attention he gets since "Atlanta" started is something he's completely fine with.

"The attention is normal because I anticipated it," he said. "There would be at some point a lot of attention and that's okay. I have my quiet time, but the rest I just give it away."

Though we won't see him on "Atlanta" until the show returns in 2018, Stanfield isn't slowing down. He recently shot the anticipated Netflix movie "War Machine" with Brad Pitt.

In fact, though "Atlanta" has only one season under its belt, he thinks the break is a good thing.

"The world's in a very interesting place right now so I feel like for a TV show that's great ammunition," he said. "The writers are going to be sucking this stuff up and getting it really nice, so I'm really excited to see what they come up with and how it changes over time. And how the characters change, too."

"Crown Heights" has its world premiere Monday at the Sundance Film Festival.

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'Suicide Squad' director admits he made mistakes on the 'controversial' movie


joker suicide squad

Suicide Squad was a big financial success for Warner Bros., but it is almost impossible to not acknowledge that the movie had some flaws. The DC super villain adventure was critically lamented and very divisive among fans, but that didn't prevent it from raking in big bucks at the box office. Still, even director David Ayer has now acknowledged that the movie was far from perfect. In fact, he says that if he could go back in time, he would make The Joker the main villain.

The director recently responded to a fan in a fairly lengthy manner on Twitter. The fan was on the positive side of things, saying "So thankful for suicide squad @DavidAyerMovies exactly the way it is. It's a masterpiece, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!"David Ayer took the compliment, but took the opportunity to address both sides of the argument both for and against Suicide Squad. Here is what he had to say.

"Thank you so much. I know it's a controversial film, I really tried to make something different, with a look and a voice of its own. I took inspiration from the insanity of the original comics. Making a movie is a journey, not a straight line. I learned so much. People want what they want, and everyone has a personal vision of how each character should look and walk and talk. If you set out to make a mass appeal movie, it's easy to end up with vanilla. But I went for it. And I know Squad has its flaws, Hell, the World knows it. Nothing hurts more than to pick up a newspaper and see a couple years of your blood, sweat and tears ripped to shreds. The hate game is strong out there. The movie was wildly successful commercially. And the World got introduced into some very cool characters in the DC Universe. And that success is due exactly to the wonder and power of DC, of its characters. Would I do a lot of things different? Yep, for sure. Wish I had a time machine. I'd make Joker the main villain and engineer a more grounded story. I have to take the good and bad and learn from it. I love making movies and I love DC. I'm a High School dropout and used to paint houses for a living. I'm lucky to have the job I have. I have to give the characters the stories and plots they deserve next time. Real talk. (And no, there isn't a secret edit of the film with a bunch of Joker scenes hidden in a salt mine somewhere."

One of the main complaints from a lot of fans and critics with Suicide Squad had to do with the villain. Not only that Enchantress wound up being a pretty generic and unexciting villain in the eyes of many, but that The Joker was barely in the movie, despite being used quite a bit in the promotional materials. That was especially surprising considering that they had Oscar winner Jared Leto playing the Clown Prince of Crime. Even though his portrayal of The Joker was, in itself, divisive, but it would have definitely helped streamline the movie to make him the main villain and probably would have made a lot more sense.

A lot of the perceived problems that many have with Suicide Squad probably don't fall directly on David Ayer's shoulders. The movie wound up having to try and course correct the DC Extended Universe following the fallout from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was also very divisive and not critically well-liked. Not only that, but it has been reported that David Ayer only had six weeks to write the script for Suicide Squad. If he had longer to work on it, he probably would have changed some things, as he suggests now.

Still, imperfect as it may be in the eyes of many, Suicide Squad made $745 million worldwide, making it a bit hit for Warner Bros. That led them to give David Ayer the job directing the upcoming Harley Quinn spinoff Gotham City Sirens.

The good thing for DC fans is that he learned a lot from the experience directing Suicide Squad and likely won't make the same mistakes again. It has been stated that Suicide Squad 2 is still happening, though it has been stalled because of Gotham City Sirens. Perhaps David Ayer will also return to direct, and can right some of his wrongs with that sequel as well. You can check out his full Twitter response for yourself below.

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The star of 'Ben-Hur' says its failure at the box office 'breaks my heart'


Ben Hur Paramount Pictures

Jack Huston has been working hard on the transition from playing the fan favorite Richard Harrow on "Boardwalk Empire" to becoming a bankable movie star.

Playing the lead in Paramount's big-budget remake of "Ben-Hur" last summer was supposed to be the next step, but those hopes were dashed by the movie's disappointing box office, as it earned only $94 million worldwide (it had a budget of $100 million).

Huston was at the Sundance Film Festival supporting his new movie, "The Yellow Birds" over the weekend (which also stars young Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich), and he didn't shy away from sharing his thoughts on "Ben-Hur" flopping when talking to Business Insider.

"When I went into the movie I had a very candid conversation with everyone and I said, 'We're going to get nailed,'" Huston said, stating he knew that audiences would never be able to separate this with the Charlton Heston 1959 classic he grew up on.

But Huston admits he couldn't resist a character with so many layers like Judah Ben-Hur. Though Huston said that he and director Timur Bekmambetov had different plans for Ben-Hur in their movie.

"We did something very different in that Judah was never a hero," he said. "I wanted the audience to almost be guessing who was going to win the chariot race. What I found so interesting was we could recreate this amazing character."

Jack Huston Charley Gallay Getty finalBut the powers-that-be at Paramount didn't feel the same way. Huston said filming the movie was seamless but that post production was "not easy."

"You hire a filmmaker, go with the filmmaker's vision," said Huston, who added that he saw numerous version of the movie in post. "The movie kind of breaks my heart because I know what we did and it's very hard when there's a lot of cooks in the kitchen."

However, Huston — who is part of an iconic Hollywood family as he's the grandson of director John Huston and great-grandson of actor Walter Huston — knows all too well how the system works. In the hopes of having a louder voice behind the scenes going forward, since the release of "Ben-Hur" Huston has created the production company CYSA Productions. He said he currently has 14 projects in different stages of development for TV and movies.

"I learned so much from 'Ben-Hur,' the whole process was invaluable," he said. "And I stand by my performance in it because it was a real choice. I know there was a much better film there that we created, it just got lost."

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