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Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle look back on 'Trainspotting' and their up-and-down friendship

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BI Graphics_Evan McGregor and Danny Boyle 2x1

It’s been 21 years since Ewan McGregor became an overnight star after his standout performance as a heroin addict in Danny Boyle’s “Trainspotting.” Now, after two decades in which both became big players in Hollywood (McGregor taking on “Moulin Rouge!” and young Obi-Wan Kenobi; Boyle directing “28 Days Later” and winning an Oscar for “Slumdog Millionaire”), they have reunited to make a sequel to their cult classic, “T2 Trainspotting.”

The movie, out on Friday, catches up with Renton (McGregor) as he returns to Edinburgh 20 years after walking out on his friends — Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) — with the bag of cash the guys got after making a drug deal. Needless to say his mates are not happy at first to see him. But being middle-aged and in different phases in their lives, Renton also gives them a welcome glimpse at their past. Using snippets of footage from the original movie, Boyle gives “T2” a nostalgic feel that fans of the original will love while still delivering an original story about guys who can’t get on the straight and narrow, however hard they try.

McGregor and Boyle talked to Business Insider about the challenges of making a sequel to a classic, the movie Boyle really wanted McGregor to star in if it weren’t for their decade-long feud, and if McGregor wants to play Obi-Wan Kenobi again.

Jason Guerrasio: Danny, what's the biggest thing you have to stay away from when not just making a sequel, but for a movie that's a beloved classic?

Danny Boyle: You have to work at the relationship with the original film. And the initial premise is very complex because there's a lot of expectation and you don't want to let people down, but you are determined to return to it because you have a good reason. And we had a good reason because this story is more personal and confessional I think than we all thought it might be. So me and the screenwriter, John Hodge, worked on it and then we passed it onto the actors and it becomes theirs as well. They delve into it for you. And in order to process that you need to have a clear relationship with the first film, and our relationship is we wanted to be able to work it out as we went along rather than it be prescribed beforehand. So in the script there was very little of the original film in it. There was one scene I think, which was Spud coming out of the boxing gym and literally bumps into that now famous scene of he and Renton running down the street. He bumps right into his past. That was the only one in the script, other than that we worked it out as we went along. And you also get muscle memories from the actors that remind you of the other film. Like Ewan coming out of the rafters being chased by Bagbie in "T2," he said to me "This feels like coming out of the toilet in the first one. Should I make it look like that?"

trainspotting renton man toilet scream[Ewan McGregor laughs.]

Boyle: And I said, "If you can." And he did and people mention it. So that's the biggest thing, I think. You have that positive relationship with the original film which may exclude it. We wanted to use it when we could and we decided organically when to use it and when not to.

Guerrasio: The glimpses of the original movie are really cleverly done. Were any of those outtakes from the first movie?

Boyle: No. We tried to find the outtakes but they were really sh---y. They were in terrible condition. No one could find the original negatives.

Ewan McGregor: Did you use a profile shot of Bobby for the train-station scene?

Boyle: Yeah, that's from the first film. That's a good point. When young Renton and Begbie come to that train station in a flashback, the two silhouette profiles are taken from the cigarette-smoking scene in the original movie, where he says, "Hey, Renton, bring me a cigarette." And he blows smoke in your face —

McGregor: Oh, yeah.

Boyle: That's where we took the silhouettes of your faces and put that in the train-station scene.

McGregor: Wow, I didn't know that.

Guerrasio: Ewan, when did you see the movie for the first time?

McGregor: I saw it at the British premiere in Scotland, in Edinburgh, but Danny did show me a very early cut in London and I watched it entirely alone. [Laughs] I was there all by myself. I was so excited to see it because, what, it's been 20 years in the waiting, I suppose. So it was a thrill to see it. But it was so different than the cut I saw in Edinburgh. I was blown away by it in Edinburgh, I was moved by it. I was weeping by the end of it. I think it all hit me quite heavily what the film evokes in you, looking back on your life and then trying to look forward to what's next. It hit me like a ton of bricks. For me, maybe it's obviously so because it's literally my face going from my 23-year-old self to my 45-year-old self in the blink of an eye, which is quite shocking.

Guerrasio: Was watching the movie a different feeling than making it?

McGregor: No, because the feeling is the same. I don't ever worry about what it looks like. I don't like to look at the monitor when I'm working, so I have a vague idea of what the shots are. And with Anthony Dod Mantle, who shot our film, he often employs several cameras at once and you don't necessarily know what will be used. So I didn't know visually how it would feel but the feeling of the scene is the same.

trainspotting 2 Film4Guerrasio: So, Danny, you and John Hodge tried to write a sequel in 2002 but it didn't get off the ground.

Boyle: Right.

Guerrasio: Hypothetically, if that went forward, did you think at all about how you would get Ewan in the film because at that time you two weren't talking?

[McGregor laughs.]

Boyle: I don't remember thinking, "Oh my God, how am I going to send this to Ewan?" But memory is such a strange thing, isn't it?

McGregor: We have this mismemory of when I go down the toilet in the first movie and my feet turn around as if I'm going around the U bend —

Boyle: Oh, that's right —

McGregor: I totally remember that being my idea. [Laughs] Danny remembers it being [cinematographer] Brian Tufano's idea.

Boyle: Anyway, we did try to write a sequel back then and it wasn't any good. So I do remember back then thinking, "They will all say f--- off." And when we did the script for what eventually became "T2," John wasn't finished with it yet, but soon as I read it I said we should send it to the guys straight away. I knew they would do it. It's just an instinct just knowing them as actors and seeing the quality of the script. It would intrigue them and they would "Matrix" in their own experiences. I just felt we need to include them in this because we're going to make this and I know they will do it.

Guerrasio: So Ewan, was the script all you needed to say yes or did you need some selling?

McGregor: No, not at all. I had bumped into Danny here and there and we discussed it. The possibility of it became more of a reality before the script arrived. He knew I was up to do it as an idea. And then I phoned into something, I think it was the BFI, you were onstage with Bobby and Ewen —

Boyle: Oh, yes!

McGregor: I was at my kid's school on the playground on my phone and I couldn't quite hear what was being said. But they were in front of an audience who had just watched "Trainspotting," the original, and I was asked at that, really for the first time ever, in front of Danny, if I would ever do a sequel and I said, "Yeah." But when the script arrived there was no doubt. The writing was so beautiful and moving. It was everything I experienced reading the novel the first time around in the '90s, in fact.

t2 trainspotting sonyGuerrasio: Ewan, I've heard you say in interviews that it was easy to get back into Renton's skin. Why was that?

McGregor: [Pause] I've always thought what it would be like to go back and play some of the other characters I've played and I don't know if there's any character I've played that people feel they know him. That the characters in this movie are people that they know. Danny has said, how many character names do you remember from movies? It's really rare. But people not only know their names but they know them. So I feel being Renton again, he was just waiting inside me to come out. I worried about if I couldn't find him and worried about having not lived in Scotland since I was 17 years old and Renton is such a Scottish character, but then Renton hasn't been in Scotland either. For 20 years. And it all has to do with John Hodge's writing and Danny's direction, and suddenly you're there. It all felt right.

Guerrasio: You two have done a lot of traveling together doing press for this film. In that time have you two talked about working again? Bringing up a project, Danny, that you would have loved to have done with Ewan in that time you two weren't talking?

Boyle: We joke, but I would love to do a play with Ewan because he does them now and again. So put in a good word for me. But I did work on a script that we could never crack. A wonderful thing that you would have loved, Ewan. It's called "Ingenious Pain," an amazing novel and it's about a doctor in the early days of surgery.

Guerrasio: Like Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick"?

Boyle: Earlier than "The Knick." A century earlier, actually. And this guy doesn't feel pain, that's the conceit of it. And it makes him the most extraordinary surgeon because he doesn't have any empathy. It was written by a guy named Andrew Miller, a fantastic novelist, and I tried to adapt it and I was thinking of Ewan for it but I could never get it — the third act was always terrible.

McGregor: And I would have said it was terrible.

Boyle: [Laughs] Yeah, he would have said, "It's interesting, but that third act."

McGregor: How many books can you say that about? [Laughs]

American Pastoral LionsgateGuerrasio: Ewan, you recently made your feature directing debut with "American Pastoral." Did you have Danny look at it while you were making it?

McGregor: Yeah, Danny came to the edit room and watched it. I was very lucky to have that input, and it's funny he gave me good advice about the third act. [Laughs] No, seriously. I was told early on by Ben Affleck, in fact, I went to talk to him because he's directed himself and his advice was to be careful you don't undercover yourself. The temptation is not to get enough shots of yourself because you'll be embarrassed in front of the other actors and, you know, "One more for me," and that. So I heeded that advice on set and I didn't find myself in the edit room without shots of me but what I didn't do was sort of use enough of them in the last reel of the movie. It was kind of that same embarrassment, "another close-up of me." So my character wasn't present enough at the end and that was Danny's note and we found some more shots and we pulled my character in a little more at the end.

Guerrasio: So Ewan, like the Renton character waiting dormant inside you until it could come out in "T2," do you feel that way at all about Obi-Wan Kenobi?

McGregor: I could see that question coming before you even opened your mouth. Listen, I have been asked about it a lot to the point where it looks a bit like I'm sort of touting for work —

[Boyle laughs.]

McGregor: I've been very open to say I'd be happy to do it if they want to do it. I think they are set going into the 2030s with their movies, but it would be fun to do, of course I'd be happy to do it.

Guerrasio: By the time they get to a standalone Obi-Wan movie you'll be aged perfectly to play him.

McGregor: I'd be older than Alec Guinness was. [Laughs]  

SEE ALSO: The 18 worst new TV shows of the year so far, according to critics

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Netflix reportedly pays seven-figures for a Navy SEAL drama starring Tom Hardy

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Andrew Dominik hasn’t made a feature film since 2012’s “Killing Them Softly,” but that’s all about to change in a very big way.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dominik is set to direct Tom Hardy in a Navy SEAL drama called “War Party,” which is expected to be based on a true story. Further plot details are being kept under wraps.

Netflix reportedly made a seven-figure deal for the movie based on a pitch. It’s the latest high profile film to find a home with the streaming service, which is increasingly attracting some of the most well known directors in the business. This summer, David Michod and Bong Joon-ho have new films debuting on Netflix (“War Machine” and “Okja,” respectively), while Martin Scorsese has joined the streaming bandwagon for his $100-million gangster movie “The Irishman.”

Tom Hardy can currently be seen on the FX series “Taboo,” which was recently renewed for a second season. The show is produced by Ridley Scott’s production company Scott Free Productions, who will join “War Party” in a similar capacity. The actor also has Christopher Nolan’s war film “Dunkirk” set for release this summer.

Dominik has kept a relatively low profile over the past several years. His 2007 revisionist Western “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “Killing Them Softly” are the last features he’s made. He last made the acclaimed Nick Cave documentary “One More Time With Feeling,” which was released in select theaters in 2016.

SEE ALSO: Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle look back on "Trainspotting" and their up-and-down friendship

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34 movies to watch in your 20s

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the social network sony

A person's 20s is one of the most exciting times in their lives.

Though some 20-somethings have finished college, are starting a career, and have maybe fallen in love, others are weathering a tumultuous era filled with self doubt and more than a few quarter-life crises.

Here are 34 movies that reflect that mindset, and can help you shape your worldview. We've also included the streaming services they're available on right now.

Note: Movies can drop off streaming services monthly, so the availability of the titles below may change.

"The Graduate"

What it's about: There's no better movie about the confusing aimlessness of post-collegiate life than Mike Nichols's 1967 film. If you thought your life was confusing, at least you're not a jobless, disillusioned recent college graduate torn between loving an older woman or her daughter.

Where it's streaming: Amazon, Netflix



"In a World..."

What it's about: "In a World..." — directed by, written by, and starring Lake Bell — is about a young woman who tries to become a voice-over artist, even though her voice isn't as naturally baritone. It's a charming, empowering screwball comedy about workplace sexism and how to prove everyone wrong when you're underestimated.

Where it's streaming: Amazon



"Tangerine"

What it's about: The rollicking journey of a transgender sex worker who finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her. It's a lesson in finding friendship when you think you're alone and being persistent when you're cast aside by someone close to you.

Where it's streaming: Amazon, Netflix



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You can blame soda brands for the rise of product placement in movies and TV

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pepsi perfect back to the future

  • Pepsi decided to more aggressively target product placement in movies, leading to a heavy Pepsi presence in the first "Back to the Future."
  •  In 1982, Hershey, makers of Reese's Pieces, spent a million dollars on advertising for "E.T." in exchange for a scene of the adorable alien eating the candy.
  • In 1983, Ray-Ban partnered with "Risky Business" to single-handedly revive Wayfarers

In the 1980s, Coke got into the movie business. When the soda giant acquired Columbia Pictures for $750 million in 1982, the colorful soft drink was already a mainstay in movies, with a long run of appearances starting with a billboard in "The Mystery of the Leaping Fish" all the way back in 1916.

But by purchasing one of the country's major studios, which had in the previous decade released movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Kramer vs. Kramer, Coke helped key a major shift: Products soon made their way into the foreground of art, a place where they've remained ever since.

Prior to the '80s, Coke was far from the only brand playing the product-placement game. Trade journal Harrison's Reports was loudly criticizing the practice all the way back in 1919, and Fritz Lang's M features a shot in which a banner for Wrigley's gum appears onscreen for a good 30 seconds. As one of the most recognizable American brands in the world, Coke's placement was both notable and frequent, as much a product of the drink's ubiquity in the real world as it was any ambitions by the corporation itself.

But in the 1960s, that relationship started to become more intentional. Coke set up an office in Los Angeles to manage its involvement with the entertainment industry; meanwhile, its use as a signifier by artists like Jean-Luc Godard (who featured an intertitle in his 1966 film "Masculin Féminin" that read, "The children of Marx and Coca-Cola"), and Stanley Kubrick (who included a memorable scene with a Coke machine in 1964's "Dr. Strangelove"), meant that the notion of Coca-Cola appearing onscreen was itself being remarked upon.

More noteworthy examples followed: 1978's "Superman 2" saw Superman throw General Zod through a Coke billboard, and a Coke bottle fell from the sky in 1980's "The Gods Must Be Crazy."

But none of that quite foreshadowed Coca-Cola's ultimate cinematic accomplishment: purchasing a studio. The sale of Columbia to Coke came on the heels of one major development in the company and just before another: Roberto Goizueta had recently become the corporation's chairman and CEO, and Diet Coke was weeks away from its debut.

Coke's own website and archivist attributed Goizueta's Hollywood venture to his interest in diversifying profits and shareholder value — and five years later, nobody was quite sure whether he'd been successful in that goal or not. On one hand, Columbia had released hits like "The Big Chill,""The Karate Kid," and "Ghostbusters," as well as a Best Picture winner, "Gandhi"; on the other, it had Ishtar, a flop so monumental that it made Coca-Cola shareholders nervous enough to want out of movies altogether.

By 1989, Columbia was in the hands of Sony, and Coca-Cola had a profit, but no studio.

Coca-Cola's presence in movie making wasn't the product-placement apocalypse — this was more a business investment than an excuse to turn water into Coke. But in many ways, it presaged the open-ended entertainment landscape of today, when any company, be it a DVDs-by-mail operation or the online marketplace where you buy paper towels, can be a purveyor of cinema. And it also, at least indirectly, led to a game-changing piece of product placement, one that would fully represent the potential opportunities of the practice for brands.

In terms of cultural resonance, Coke had been kicking Pepsi's ass since the turn of the century, but the Columbia purchase made very clear how far ahead Coke had pulled. In direct reaction to Coke's move, Pepsi decided to more aggressively target product placement in movies, leading to a heavy Pepsi presence in the first Back to the Future.

As Adweek tells it, the executives handling Pepsi's effort used the sequel to double down, creating a brand-new Pepsi, called Pepsi Perfect, that would exist in the future of Back to the Future Part II. Not only was Pepsi a part of a movie, then — Pepsi was a plot point, an essential aspect of the world-building. If Coke was the signpost for America, Pepsi represented the literal future.

Pepsi Perfect is generally regarded as one of the most effective pieces of product placement in the history of movies. More importantly, though, it opened the door for brands to use product placement in movies more creatively. In 1982, Hershey, makers of Reese's Pieces, spent a million dollars on advertising for E.T. in exchange for a scene of the adorable alien eating the candy.

And in 1983, Ray-Ban partnered with "Risky Business" to single-handedly revive Wayfarers, then repeated the trick with Top Gun and aviators; both pairs of sunglasses were so essential to Tom Cruise's unique brand of cool that they became indivisible from the films themselves.

By the end of the decade, "Mac" and "Me and The Wizard" were essentially feature-length advertisements for McDonald's and Nintendo, respectively. Most of these were phenomenally successful, and clearly show the genes of today's placement strategies, where characters engage with products and brands onscreen. 

Cruise would go on to hawk Red Stripe beer in "The Firm"; James Bond drove a BMW Z3 in "Goldeneye," a $3 million investment that turned into $240 million worth of sales; and Heineken paid $45 million so that Bond would order one in "Skyfall." (Conversely, "Sideways" managed to dent Merlot sales.)

The boom of the '80s set a precedent that Hollywood wasn’t capable of controlling. It's not uncommon to see scripts today veer wildly off course to celebrate a brand. Recall how Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel took the time to spell out the many features of Apple’s iPad in Sex Tape, or how Modern Family shot one episode entirely through MacBook webcams. Google even wrested some measure of creative control over their extensive depiction in the fish-out-of-water comedy "The Internship." Sometimes, as in "Transformers,""G.I. Joe," or "Battleship," the product placement is the script.

The current innovation is to help the bitter elixir of product placement go down with a bit of self-flagellating humor. In last year’s "Jurassic World," Bryce Dallas Howard feels sick to her stomach when she reports that Verizon Wireless will officially sponsor one of her park's new attractions.

Like similar moments in "Wayne's World" and "30 Rock," the bit lets creators shill their cake and eat it too: They don't enjoy hawking cell phones, but such are the compromises of modern life. Other writers have found a way of harvesting art from the most arid creative climate of product integration. After all, one of the most highly regarded TV series of all time concluded with its protagonist fantasizing about sharing a Coke with the entire world.

And as always, there are those who proudly and shamelessly take up the mantle of product placement. 2015's "Transformers: Age of Extinction" boasted the distinction of repping 55 separate brands, while 2012's Foodfight! turned corporate mascots into animated heroes. The '80s didn't invent this trend, but they did perfect it and normalize it. Today, product placement is so indivisible from pop culture that it's hardly worth remarking upon. Or, as one Reagan-era hero put it: Greed is good.

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Actor Kal Penn shows scripts that reveal racial stereotypes Hollywood wanted him to play

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Kal Penn recently shared some old, cringe-worthy scripts on Twitter from his early acting days. Quite a few of these roles were stereotypes that encouraged him to use an "authentic" accent, which, according to Penn, usually meant sounding like Apu from "The Simpsons." 

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Emma Watson could earn up to $15 million if 'Beauty and the Beast' is a hit

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Emma Watson Belle Beauty and the Beast Disney final

Emma Watson is looking at one of the biggest paydays of her career if the Disney live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast" becomes a box office success.

Watson took in $3 million to play the movie's lead, Belle, but her pay will jump to $15 million if the movie has a worldwide take similar to the studio's 2014 "Maleficent" release ($759 million), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It's extremely likely the movie will hit that mark, if not well exceed it (industry projections have the movie making around $245 million worldwide this weekend when it opens in theaters). But this type of deal Disney gives to the star of one of its major releases is an interesting glimpse inside how the successful studio operates. 

THR touches on the stories of tight budgets for its talent, including "Beauty and the Beast" star Dan Stevens being denied a rental car upgrade to accommodate his kids or the studio refusing to pay for "Cinderella" star Lily James' mother to fly first class with her daughter on a flight.

"They are cheap with everyone," a lawyer with a client in one of Disney's upcoming films told THR.

But that just proves that, in reality, it's the Disney characters that are most important. Having Emily Blunt or Donald Glover in upcoming titles "Mary Poppins Returns" and "The Lion King," respectively, isn't what mainly brings in the box office coin.

And since Watson hasn't cashed in major pay for any of her roles since the "Harry Potter" movies — in which she earned $60 million combined for the eight movies — Disney's deal likely looked good to her.

"Beauty and the Beast" opens Friday.

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'Beauty and the Beast' is already breaking records at the box office

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Beauty and the Beast

Disney is already earning major coin from their live-action "Beauty and the Beast."

The movie took in $16.3 million in its preview screenings on Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

That's the biggest earning for previews this year, and the largest ever for a Disney live-action movie (not counting Marvel or Lucasfilm titles). 

The live-action remake of the 1991 Disney animated classic is looking to have a major first weekend, as many in the industry predicted. The title should earn north of $165 million domestically.

The movie, which stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, should also break the record for biggest opening weekend for a Disney live-action fair tale movie. It should surpass 2010's "Alice in Wonderland" ($116 million) and 2015's "Cinderella" ($67.8 million).

SEE ALSO: Emma Watson could earn up to $15 million if "Beauty and the Beast" is a hit

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There will be 'Star Wars' movies made that won't focus on legacy characters

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Since Disney acquired the rights to the “Star Wars” saga, the studio has been pretty nostalgic with its content. But that won’t always be the case, says “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” screenwriter Gary Whitta.

Whitta, who has also penned episodes of TV series “Star Wars Rebels,” told SuperHeroHype that he believes new standalone stories with new characters are on the horizon.

“I think you’ve already seen us get 90 percent of the way there with ‘Rogue One,’" said Whitta. “Yes, you see Leia, yes, you see the Death Star and Vader, because those are elements of that story and they belong there, you can’t tell that story without those characters. But for the most part, 90 percent of that story is completely new characters. Completely new planets and places you’ve never seen before. It’s a ‘Star Wars’ movie with no Jedi! You don’t see a lightsaber once until Vader pops it out at the end.”

Though looking to the past for ideas isn’t done (and may never be), with the making of a young Han Solo movie and the rumors of a Boba Fett movie. But Whitta believes the foundation is being set for new stories.

“One of the thing things we really want to do at Lucasfilm is create a universe and not keep relying on old legacy characters,” said Whitta. “We’ve got Rey and Finn and Kylo Ren, they’ve already introduced a new generation of characters. Whatever kind of Star Wars films they’re making 10 or 20 years from now, I don’t think they’re going to be relying on the same legacy story elements as we have in the past.”

So that means a standalone Chirrut Îmwe movie has a chance.

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Every A-lister in Hollywood wants to work with a reclusive director who's given just one interview in 37 years

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Terrence Malick is more famous for his reclusiveness than for his movies. Between the release of "Days of Heaven" in 1978 and the premiere of "Song to Song" at SXSW last week, he didn't grant a single public interview. Photos of him were nearly as rare. Even TMZ didn't know what they had on their hands when they accidentally got footage of him in 2012. He is the cinematic version of J.D. Salinger.

But despite that — or maybe because — he's so mysterious, Malick attracts the best actors in the business. His newest movie, "Song to Song," has yet another stacked cast. It stars Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman. His previous fiction film, "Knight of Cups," had Christian Bale, Blanchett, and Portman. "To the Wonder" starred Ben Affleck, and "The Tree of Life" starred Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and introduced the world to Jessica Chastain.

For the most part, these actors are in high demand in the movie industry. They're selective with their roles, and could be making millions of dollars by starring in blockbusters, or chasing after an Oscar by being in a biopic instead of an enigmatic two-hour tone poem.

rooney mara talking to ryan gosling song to song

But watch any of Terrence Malick's movies, and it's clear why any actor would want to work with him. Sure, his films are easy to mock. They barely have a plot. The camera (three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is a frequent collaborator) roams around instead of staying still. Actors speak in voiceover more than they do in dialogue. His movies frequently have shots of hands gently flowing through fields of wheat or people kneeling and pressing their faces into someone else's navel.

On the other hand, the expressionistic style of the film allows for actors to open up. Each character is still distinct, but the lack of constant dialogue means that the actors have to find new ways to communicate who their characters are to the audience. It's a challenge that actors at the top of their game would relish.

michael fassbender natalie portman song to song

Michael Fassbender in "Song to Song" is the best example of this style. It's some of the best work he's ever done. He plays an egoistical music producer who seduces and betrays the women who depend on him. Like all of Malick's characters, he speaks mostly in half-sentences, so he largely conveys his character with his constantly moving physical presence. He rolls around, hoists Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman into the air, and gets into friendly fisticuffs with Ryan Gosling. If Malick's camera is always dancing, then Fassbender dances right back.

Rooney Mara, too, gives one of her widest-ranging performances. She normally plays women who are tightly wound, like Catherine in "Her" and Therese in "Carol." In "Song to Song," she's a young rock musician trying to get a big break, who tenderly falls in and out of love with Ryan Gosling's character. Gosling himself gets a chance to communicate with music rather than just words, playing the guitar. It's the latest in a string of movies where he's an instrument-playing romantic, along with "La La Land" and "Blue Valentine."

song to song ryan gosling keyboard

"Song to Song" is also more musical than Malick's other films. He usually uses classical composers for the score — and he still does here — but it's set in the Austin rock scene, and he shot the movie in Austin, where he lives. He also gives a few rock stars — like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop — cameos, and the chance to give plausibility to the movie's world.

It's also a companion piece to "Knight of Cups." In that movie, Christian Bale played a highly successful but emotionally empty screenwriter who feeds on Hollywood's decadence and goes through a string of women to satisfy him. The movie focused mostly on Bale's character, leaving the hurt women in his life in the periphery as Bale sought redemption.

In "Song to Song," Fassbender plays a similarly successful and empty music producer. But instead of focusing on him too much, Malick instead pays attention to the women around him, who sacrifice their time and lives for his happiness, only to have their own upended and left in the emotional wreck of his recklessness.

rooney mara piano song to song

There are some risks to working with Terrence Malick. One of his filming methods is to shoot reams and reams of footage — he shot one million feet of film for his 1998 film "The Thin Red Line"— and whittle it down into a two-hour story in post-production. This means that roles are inevitably cut down in the final cut. Adrien Brody, for example, was supposed to be the main character in "The Thin Red Line," and spent six months shooting the film, but his role was cut down to just a couple of lines of dialogue. Val Kilmer was supposed to have a big scene as a rock star who goes berserk during a performance in "Song to Song," but his scene was only a couple of minutes long, and most of the footage was of the back of his head.

It can be tough on actors. Brody called the experience "unpleasant" after he had already begun doing press for the film. Mickey Rourke, who was excised completely from "The Thin Red Line," lashed out and said he was cut for "political reasons."

song to song michael fassbender rooney mara wig ryan gosling

Malick seems to be getting more sensitive to the criticism. He's been more careful, and the actors who work with him seldom seem to mind. Rachel Weisz, who filmed scenes for 2013's "To the Wonder" but wasn't in the final cut, was indifferent. "One never knows with Terrence Malick,"she told The San Francisco Chronicle. "You can shoot for three months and end up not being in the movie."

For actors like her, the chance to work with Terrence Malick is worth it. Even if they don't appear in the final film too much, they'll have the chance to work on their craft in a new way. And if they only get a few fleeting minutes, it's a few fleeting minutes in a movie that could be watched generations from now.

It's not as good as "The Tree of Life" or "The Thin Red Line"— Malick's two best works — but "Song to Song" is by far the best of his last three movies, and is beautiful enough to watch that it should be seen on the big screen if it's playing in a theater in your city.

Watch the trailer for "Song to Song" below:

SEE ALSO: Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle look back on 'Trainspotting' and their up-and-down friendship

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Disney is remaking 19 of its classic cartoons as live-action films — here they all are

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The INSIDER Summary:

  • Disney recently released a live-action remake of its classic animated film "Beauty and the Beast," starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.
  • The studio is planning at least 19 more remakes in the coming years, from fan favorites like "The Lion King" and "Aladdin" to more obscure characters like Rose Red and Cruella de Vil.
  • Several of the studio's more popular films will include spin-offs, including Tinkerbell and The Genie from "Aladdin."
  • Disney is already planning sequels to the recent hits, "Maleficent" and "The Jungle Book."

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Disney is remaking 19 of its classic cartoons as live-action films — here they all are

Here are the 5 best Oscar-winning movies you can watch on Netflix right now

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pulp fiction

With the 2017 Oscars in the rear view mirror, you've probably caught up on a lot of 2016's best movies by now. So it's time to look back at the classics.

Netflix is streaming plenty of Oscar-winning films, and they put together a video montage of five highlights. They themselves won an Academy Award for producing "The White Helmets" this year.

Here are the five best Oscar-winning movies now streaming on Netflix:

5. "Good Will Hunting" also won a screenplay Oscar, minting co-writers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as stars.

good will hunting

Robin Williams also won a supporting actor nomination, and the movie was nominated in seven other categories.

4. At the Oscars, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" cemented itself as a classic.

et the extraterrestrial movie universal pictures

At the 1983 Academy Awards, Steven Spielberg's alien movie won four Oscars: best original score, sound, sound effects editing, and visual effects. It was also nominated for best picture, director, original screenplay, cinematography, and film editing.

3. "Pulp Fiction" won an Oscar for best screenplay, out of seven nominations.

Pulp Fiction Christopher Walken watch

Quentin Tarantino's film also swept most of the major critics awards for 1994.

2. Mike Nichols won a best director Oscar for "The Graduate" when he was just 35 years old.

the graduate movie

The trio of actors at the center of the movie — Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and Katharine Ross — were all nominated for Academy Awards. The film also received nominations for best picture, best adapted screenplay, and best cinematography.

1. After a string of duds, the Coen Brothers redeemed themselves with "No Country for Old Men" in 2007.

No Country for old men

It snapped up Oscars for best picture, adapted screenplay, director, and supporting actor for Javier Bardem's chilling role as the killer Anton Chigurh, the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar. The movie also had four other nominations.

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The inside story behind the Marvel movie you were never supposed to see

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In 1993, a German producer teamed up with legendary "King of the B-Movies" Roger Corman to produce a low-budget, feature-length adaptation of the popular Marvel comic book "The Fantastic Four." The movie was never officially released. 

Producer Bernd Eichinger owned the film rights to the comic, but a clause in his contract stated that he would lose the rights if he didn't go into production on a "Fantastic Four" movie by December 31, 1992. Up to that point, Eichinger had failed to convince a Hollywood studio to commit to a big-budget version of the story. 

The producer crafted a clever way to hold onto the rights so that he could later make a big-budget version of "The Fantastic Four." He called on Roger Corman, a legendary producer famous for his ability to crank out movies with low budgets and short schedules. 

It turns out that Eichinger never had any intention of releasing this low-budget version of the comic — a fact that he withheld for the movie's cast and crew. After Corman announced plans to release the film theatrically, Eichinger paid Corman $1 million to stand down, and all available prints were reportedly destroyed by then-Marvel chief Avi Arad. 

Arad didn't respond to our request for a comment for this story. 

Thanks to bootlegged copies that surfaced online, the unreleased "Fantastic Four" movie has become a cult classic.

Business Insider recently sat down with Corman at his office in Los Angeles to talk about his most recent project, "Death Race 2050,"  a sequel to the cult hit "Death Race 2000," which Corman produced in 1975. 

We also talked to the director of "The Fantastic Four," Oley Sassone. Corman and Sassone give an enlightening account of one of the most bizarre Hollywood tales you'll ever hear. 


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Ewan McGregor is still up to play Obi-Wan Kenobi again: 'It would be fun to do'

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star wars ewan mcgregor obi wan kenobi disney

With Disney and Lucasfilm hard at work making anthology films from the “Star Wars” saga, the next of which will be a young Han Solo movie, we all continue to patiently wait on one for Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi. And that includes the person who played him on screen last.

Speaking to Business Insider recently about reprising another known character from his past, Renton in “Trainspotting” (“T2 Trainspotting” is currently in theaters), we couldn’t help but ask about his thoughts on grabbing the lightsaber once more to play ‘ol Ben.

“Listen, I have been asked about it a lot, to the point where it looks a bit like I'm sort of touting for work,” said McGregor. “I’ve been very open to say I'd be happy to do it, if they want to do it.”

Star Wars ObiWan3McGregor did lend his Kenobi voice for the Rey dream sequence in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and there are theories that perhaps he will get screen time as Kenobi in “The Last Jedi” or “Episode IX.” But if that’s the case, McGregor has a really good poker face, because it sounds like he hasn’t been approached to do anything.

"I think they are set going into the 2030s with their movies, but it would be fun to do, of course I'd be happy to do it,” he said.

Though he hopes if they ever do call he’s not “older than Alec Guinness was” when he played the character in “Star Wars: A New Hope.”

Looking at what Kenobi did on Tatooine before “A New Hope” has been chronicled in comic-book form with Marvel’s one-off “Star Wars #7.

The comic delves into the journals that Luke Skywalker finds after returning to Tatooine following the events in “A New Hope.” Kenobi’s writings give us a glimpse of what he did for years on the planet while he was in hiding from the Empire.

That looks to have great potential as a starting point for a Kenobi standalone movie.

SEE ALSO: Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle look back on "Trainspotting" and their up-and-down friendship

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The new sci-fi thriller 'Life' is a cult classic in the making

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Life Sony final

At first glance, the latest sci-fi movie coming to the multiplex, "Life" (opening March 24), looks like a thriller with the same kind of "in space no one can hear you scream" DNA that made the first "Alien" movie back in 1979 a cultural phenomenon. And you would be right.

"Life" is not the first movie in the past 30-plus years set in space that wants to scare the heck out of you. And basing the scares around a creepy organism that we gullible humans find on another planet is tried-and-true. But there are little tweaks to the formula that director Daniel Espinosa and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (of "Deadpool" fame) do that makes this particular movie very fun to experience.

What I respect a lot about this movie is, for a big budget blockbuster from a major studio such as Sony, it doesn't look to cater to all audiences. That's evident in its opening, which is a single shot that goes on for around five minutes or so — a very ambitious move.

But Espinosa does this to cleverly kill two birds with one stone: the single shot gives us the layout of the international space station, where we will be spending most of our time throughout the movie; and also shows a major moment in the movie, the crew retrieving a probe back from Mars with a sample from the planet.

We find out that the sample is the first proof of life on Mars.

Life 2 Sony finalThen we’re given the usual beats of the space thriller: getting to know the crew, including the wise ass Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds); the person in charge of the mission's risk management, Miranda Bragg (Rebecca Ferguson); Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), who will be doing the experimenting on the Mars life form, and Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), who has recently broken the record for most time in space.

Jokes are constant and we’re shown that back down on Earth, where everyone is celebrating the news of the discovery on Mars, a school has been rewarded with the honor of naming the Martian — calling it Calvin.

But, as you would imagine (or if you've seen the trailer), something goes terribly wrong. Calvin turns out not to be the cute little thing it first looked to be and soon is crawling throughout the ship looking to kill the whole crew.

Oh, and it's growing in size, by the way.

From then on, the jump scares are constant, as well as homages to "Alien" (even Calvin having a tracking device on it so the crew knows where it is on the ship and Ferguson doing voice over diary logs a la Sigourney Weaver's Ripley character).

Life 3 Sony finalAnd I would be the first to say that this is a total rip-off of "Alien" if it weren't for the last five minutes of the movie, which makes the entire film worth the watch. I'm not going to give it away — all I'll say is Ferguson is certainly not this movie's Ripley and the story turns out to be nothing like "Alien."

"Life" is the perfect buy-the-ticket-take-the-ride Saturday night movie. If you’re looking to cuddle up and squeeze your partner’s arm for 100 minutes, this is for you. It’s a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time and has an ending you will never see coming.

But if Sony is smart it will make this movie a one-and-done.

If it's not made into a franchise, I could see “Life” becoming a cult classic. With a disregard to pander to its audience (and the huge movie stars that inhabit it), “Life” has the potential of building a loyal fan base, and if Sony goes long tail with this, I would not be shocked if the next generation of movie lovers see this as a landmark title in the sci-fi genre.

In the meantime, just ignore everyone who calls it an “Alien” rip-off.

 

SEE ALSO: 30 movies to watch in your 20s

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'Beauty and the Beast' earns $170 million to have the 7th highest opening weekend ever

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Beauty and the Beast

Disney has proven once more that audiences have a thirst for live-action remakes of its animated classics.

Following the live-action version of "The Jungle Book" earning close to $1 billion worldwide last year, the studio looks to have another cash cow in the making with "Beauty and the Beast" breaking the record for the biggest opening weekend ever for March with an estimated $170 million, according to Variety.

That jumps the previous record holder, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," which opened to $166 million last year.

It's also the biggest opening ever for a PG-rated movie (passing last year's "Finding Dory,"$135 million) and is seventh place in all-time opening weekend grosses (moving past "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,"$169.1 million).

"Beauty and the Beast," which stars Emma Watson in the Belle role and Dan Stevens as the Beast, had the year's biggest Thursday preview of the year with $16.3 million, which added to its $64.1 million Friday earning. That's the largest opening day for a PG movie, passing 2009's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." The movie then took in $64.8 million on Saturday (the fourth-best Saturday take ever, beating the $62.2 million earned by "Iron Man 3" in 2013).

It's $170 million weekend exceeds the industry's expectations of a $165 million opening and also makes back the film's production budget, which was at $160 million.

Outside of a few scenes, the movie is an almost exact remake of the classic 1991 Disney animated feature, which went on to win Oscars for best original score and best original song.

SEE ALSO: The tragic true story of the man who wrote all your favorite songs in "Beauty and the Beast"

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11 things you never knew about the original 'Beauty and the Beast'

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Disney fans are flocking to theaters to see the new live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast," but the original 1991 movie will always hold a special place in our hearts. We've rounded up a list of fun facts even the biggest Disney fan might not have known about this classic film.

Scroll down for a look at 11 things you probably didn't know about "Beauty and the Beast."

Mrs. Potts was originally named Mrs. Chamomile.

During a special anniversary screening of "Beauty and the Beast" at New York City's Lincoln Center on September 18, producer Don Hahn revealed to the audience Mrs. Potts surprising original name: Mrs. Chamomile. 

"For Mrs. Potts, we originally tried to find the most soothing possible association and we came up with Mrs. Chamomile," Hahn told Vanity Fair at the event. "Chamomile is a very, soothing herbal tea, but nobody could pronounce it. So Howard [Ashman] said, 'Let’s call her Mrs. Potts.'"

 



Paige O'Hara (Belle) ad-libbed a joke about the Beast growing a beard after his transformation that almost made it into the first movie.

Paige O'Hara was the voice behind Belle, and during the course of creating the movie she became rather attached to the Beast as, well, a beast.  When recording the scene after he transforms into a human again, she couldn't help adding in an extra line.

"I love Glen Keane's Beast, that's why I ad-libbed 'Do you think you can grow a beard?'" O'Hara tells INSIDER. "It almost made it in the movie. But Glen's very proud of his prince and I understand why. He really is the most beautiful, I think, of all the Disney princes in history."

If you've seen the new remake, you might have noticed that Disney gave this line to Emma Watson's version of Belle. 



That wasn't the only improvised line — Cogsworth's joke about gifts the Beast could give Belle was not in the original script.

When the Beast asks Cogsworth and Lumiere for ideas about a special thing he could do for Belle, Cogsworth replies: "Well there's the usual things — flowers, chocolates, promises you don't intend to keep."

The line was improvised by actor David Ogden Stiers, and the directors liked it so much they actually kept it in.



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The alternate ending of 'Rogue One' reveals who would have survived

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Movies go though a lot of changes, but any changes made to a "Star Wars" movie are always fun to delve into, and "Rogue One" has a lot of them.

Leading up to its release and following it, the changes that were made during the film's reshoots were reported at a rapid pace.  

Now, with its Blu-ray release on April 4, there's been another press tour by the creatives behind the movie, and Entertainment Weekly got one of the screenwriters to dish a little about one of its endings in the early days of developing "Rogue One," specifically how it would have ended if Disney wouldn't have let them kill off the entire cast.

The ending that director Gareth Edwards, Disney, and Lucasfilm decided on was one where Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), K-2SO (Alan Tudky) and the rest of their rag-tag group steal the plans for the Death Star while on the tropical planet Scarif, eventually relaying the blueprints to the Rebel Alliance but ultimately perishing in the process.

“The original instinct was that they should all die,” screenwriter Gary Whitta told EW. “It’s worth it. If you’re going to give your life for anything, give your life for this, to destroy a weapon that's going to kill you all anyway. That’s what we always wanted to do. But we never explored it because we were afraid that Disney might not let us do it, that Disney might think it’s too dark for a Star Wars movie or for their brand.”

So before Whitta and John Knoll — another "Rogue One" screenwriter in the early days — talked to Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy about the need for an ending where no one survived, they came up with a "happy ending."

star wars rogue oneAccording to Whitt, in an early version, the ending had Jyn and Cassian escape Scarif with the Death Star plans as a rebel ship picks them up while they are on the beach. As the ship carrying Jyn and Cassian is being chased by Darth Vader's Star Destroyer, the plans are transferred to Princess Leia's ship. Vader eventually destroys the Jyn/Cassian ship and then chases Leia's ship, which is where "Star Wars: A New Hope" opens.

But then we discover that Jyn and Cassian were able to get away in an escape pod just before Vader destroyed the ship they were on.

However, no one liked this ending.

“The fact that we had to jump through so many hoops to keep them alive was the writing gods telling us that if they were meant to live it wouldn’t be this difficult,” said Whitta. “We decided they should die on the surface [of Scarif,] and that was the way it ended. We were constantly trying to make all the pieces fit together. We tried every single idea. Eventually, through endless development you get through an evolutionary process where the best version rises to the top.”

And if the "happy ending" was used, we would have never gotten that great Darth Vader fight scene at the end.

SEE ALSO: Every HBO show ranked from worst to best, according to critics

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This Meryl Streep meme makes it look like our greatest actress is yelling out pop song lyrics

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Meryl Streep shouting SAG Awards

The INSIDER Summary: 

  • Meryl Streep looks like she's shouting in this picture.
  • People are filling out song verses as a caption.
  • It's not the first time Meryl Streep became a meme.


Almost more often than not, Meryl Streep is nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2015, she was nominated for her supporting role in "Into the Woods," where she plays a witch.

She lost to Patricia Arquette for her role in "Boyhood," but the internet was determined to make her a winner anyway. It turned a moment from the 2015 SAG Awards into a meme.

In the still from the awards broadcast, Streep is cupping her hands around her mouth to project something she's shouting.

It kind of looks like she's joining a song verse.

Sometimes the meme involves getting the lyrics wrong.

It also looks like she could be yelling a slogan from a commerical.

People have highlighted Meryl's expression since over a year ago, when now-Entertainment Weekly editor Joey Nolfi recalled Streep being "Awards Season Hype Girl." It's not really clear why the moment resurfaced this weekend.

This is, of course, far from the only time Meryl Streep has become a meme. In fact, that's not the only time from that awards season. When Patricia Arquette won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in "Boyhood" (again, beating out Streep for "Into the Woods") Arquette used her speech to discuss the importance of equal pay for women. Streep and Jennifer Lopez hooted and applauded in approval.

Streep's lively expression also achieved memedom during this year's Oscars, when "Moonlight" won best picture after "La La Land" was announced as the winner.

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Here's what the future holds for ESPN Films after winning an Oscar for its O.J. Simpson documentary

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Getty Images ezra edelman oscars oj made in america

When ESPN’s highly acclaimed "30 for 30" documentary “O.J.: Made in America” won the best documentary Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards, it was the happy ending director Ezra Edelman and his crew hoped for after two years of making the film and over a year promoting its airing on ESPN and unconventional Oscar-qualifying theatrical release.

But for ESPN Films' senior vice president and executive producer Connor Schell, it was quickly back to business. Though the network’s seven-and-a-half hour documentary that used the incredible rise and fall of football hall-of-famer O.J. Simpson to explore issues of race and class in Los Angeles garnered unanimous esteem within the industry and the network's first-ever Oscar, ESPN Films isn't through telling unique stories from the sports world.

"We're trying to continue to push and evolve the genre and come up with new ways to tell stories and new voices to tell them with," Schell told Business Insider.

ESPN Films' newest endeavor is a podcast. The "30 for 30 Podcast" was announced at this year's SXSW and will look at stories that don't necessarily fit in movies or short film form.

"There have always been stories that we thought were really interesting but unable to bring to life visually," said Schell, "and so this opens up this whole new type of story we can tell."

Launching in June, the first season will look at topics like the landmark "Dan & Dave" advertising campaign by Reebok that focused on decathletes Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson in the lead-up to the 1992 Summer Olympics (however, the campaign had to drastically change when O'Brien failed to qualify for the Olympics), and the first all-women's team to make it to the North Pole.

Each episode will have a run time of 30-40 minutes and will be released weekly. Season 2 should be released in the fall.

mike and the mad dogBut ESPN Films' bread and butter is still its non-fiction films, and there are some anticipated ones coming up including a documentary on Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari, "One and Not Done" (premiering on ESPN April 13), a doc on the legendary talk radio duo Mike & the Mad Dog (airing in the summer), and one on iconic pro wrestler Rick Flair (airing in the fall).

The Mike and the Mad Dog documentary is particularly special for Schell and many at ESPN as it's a project they have tried to make since Schell and former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons started "30 for 30" back in 2007.

"It was something that we thought about for a long time," said Schell. The documentary will have its world premiere at this year's Tribeca Film Festival in April. "They are legendary figures in sports talk radio, in many ways they created the genre, so to be able to tell that story I think is really excited."

Schell says there are also a few big ideas similar in scope as "O.J.: Made in America" that he has kicking around. Though he was coy about what those actually are, he did hint at one: a project with Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (who made the "30 for 30" documentary "Catching Hell" in 2011 that looked at the Steve Batman incident during Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series at Chicago's Wrigley Field) on athletes' obsession with physical excellence.

Connor Schell Alberto E Rodriguez Getty final"This is a project we talked to Alex about for literally several years and we've recently moved forward," said Schell. "It's a multi-part series about performance and the limits of performance and the evolution of the pursuit of perfection with the human body. I think it's a bit of a departure for us that will be less narrative storytelling and more first-person scientific journalism almost. I'm really excited about that on the horizon."

Though Schell admits he's up for exploring almost anything under the ESPN Films banner, one thing he has no interest in is whenever Simpson is released from prison. Simpson is currently serving a 33 year prison sentence in Lovelock, Nevada for felonies including armed robbery. He could be released as early as October.

"I think what Ezra was able to do with 'Made in America' was explore all of these incredibly rich and important themes about our country and the criminal justice system and race and the city of Los Angeles — O.J.'s story was a cipher to take you to all of these interesting places," said Schell. "I'm not sure where that goes from here."

"One of the incredible luxuries of being tied to a dynamic news organization is that it's covering everything that needs to be covered every single day, and that's a key reason ESPN Films has been successful," Schell added. "There's no story we have to tell."

SEE ALSO: 15 podcasts that will make you smarter

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