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Why 'Snowpiercer' Is The Must-See Movie Of The Summer

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snowpiercer

Its metaphors and allegories may not be subtle — the whole of human society, the strata of haves and have-nots, shown as compartments on a train car — and it may be hard to watch at times, with all its crunching, spurting violence.

But the new sci-fi action drama "Snowpiercer" is nonetheless the most original and oddly stirring movie so far released this year.

A stark and grimy look at a terrible future, Bong Joon-ho’s film (his first in English), is unrelentingly bleak until, well, it relents. When it does, and its really only for a brief moment, the film achieves a kind of grace, a transcendence of all the dark obliteration preceding it, in a way we haven’t seen since "Children of Men," Alfonso Cuaron’s 2006 masterpiece about another dystopia.

That’s high praise, as "Children of Men" is, I think, one of the great films of all time. "Snowpiercer" doesn’t quite reach the same level of profundity, but it is certainly a startling creative vision told with enough passion to rumble the seats. Based on the French graphic novel "Le Transperceneige," the film tells the story of a world gone cold. Like, really cold. In a vain effort to thwart the tide of climate change, us silly present-day people released a chemical into the air that ended up freezing the entire planet and killing almost everyone. The only people to survive are the passengers on a long high-speed train, built to circumnavigate the globe and keep humanity chugging along until, well, who knows when.

Humans being humans, the people on this train don’t live in harmonious equality, a great utopian society on rails. No, unfortunately the front of the train contains all the rich people and most of the food, while in the rear compartments a thousand or so people live in abject squalor, barely subsisting on a jiggling, gelatinous protein paste, and routinely harassed and intimidated by the train’s formidable security force.

There’s much being said here about class and poverty around the globe, and it’s being said loudly and plainly. That could be called blunt or un-nuanced, but it could also be called refreshingly honest. This is not just some moral screed about the ills of capitalism, though. "Snowpiercer" is also a rousing action story.

See, there’s a revolution fomenting in the steerage cars, led by Curtis (Chris Evans, doing probably his best work ever), who’s spent half his life on the train and is bound and determined to one day make his way to the front.

That, pretty much, is the movie: the slow and grinding process of moving from one car to the next, as forces from the front, led by a hideously toothed Tilda Swinton, doing a wonderful skewering of Margaret Thatcher, violently block their way.

Having spent the first thirty or so minutes in the dark dungeons of the rear cars, when "Snowpiercer" finally breaks through to a new section of the train, it’s both thrilling and sickening, that so much wealth and abundance, and all the hope it engenders, could exist so close to all that soul-crushing poverty. Think about that next time you drive from downtown Detroit to Grosse Pointe.

Its messaging aside, "Snowpiercer" builds an interesting, if not always credible, mythology surrounding the train and its various passengers. Particularly intriguing are Namgoong (Song Kang-ho) and Yona (Go Ah-sung), two drug addicts dragooned into helping the revolutionaries. Played with understated quirkiness by Go and Song, these two mysterious weirdos are addled and unreliable, but there’s something about them that commands attention.

The way that Bong weaves in their Korean with the rest of the cast’s English is simple but ingenious, one of the many details and flourishes that give this film an exquisitely tailor-made texture. The whole film is carefully constructed, with thoughtful production design by Ondrej Nekvasil and cinematography by Hong Kyung-po.

Though the film’s aesthetics are often elaborate, the film is always economical. There is little style for style’s sake here. In that vein, the many fight scenes are deftly choreographed, but look entirely natural, each thunk and crunch registering painfully. Bong does not shy away from gore, and the film is often hard to watch because of that, but if you can stomach it, the film’s less visceral, more intangible rewards are well worth it.

I don’t want to go into too many plot specifics here, because there is something of a mystery at work in "Snowpiercer." Best to see it for yourself and discover its many pleasures on your own. While "Transformers" mucks up cineplexes with its ugly bombast, here, as an alternative, is something truly special, a unique and bracing science-fiction film that stirs both heart and mind. Like the best sci-fi, "Snowpiercer" is political and relevant to the real-world, but never ignores its medium for its message. It’s a true work of art that left me rattled, and thrilled, for days.

More From Vanity Fair:

SEE ALSO: This Is The Shot Michael Bay Uses In All Of His Movies

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Lego's $116 Million Deal With Shell Oil Draws Protests And Ironic Lego Art

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Lego, Shell Oil

Environmental activists are throwing bricks at the Lego-Shell Oil partnership.

Since 2013, the two Dutch companies have been engaged in a very lucrative cross promotional exchange — worth an estimated $116 million — that has featured at least 16 million Shell-branded Lego sets sold in 26 countries.

Now, with Shell signaling its intention to drill in the Arctic, environmental group Greenpeace is leading the effort to get the toy company — which, given the worldwide success of Warner Bros’ “Lego Movie,” is more influential than ever —  to disassociate itself from the oil company.

See video: ‘The Lego Movie’ Builds Into Box-Office Smash

“Climate change is an incredible threat facing all children around the world, but Shell is trying to hijack the magic of Lego to hide its role,” a spokesperson for Greenpeace said. “It is using Lego to clean up its image and divert attention from its dangerous plans to raid the pristine Arctic for oil. And it's exploiting kids’ love of their toys to build lifelong loyalty it doesn't deserve. It's time for Lego to finally pull the plug on this deal.”

Shell and Lego actually worked with each other in a similar way from the 1960-90s, before Lego just began making toys featuring a fictional oil company called Octan. In an ironic twist, given the situation that has erupted, the evil Lord Business runs that fictional company called Octan in “The Lego Movie.”

SEE ALSO: 15 Easter Eggs In 'The LEGO Movie'

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This Was The Hardest Transformer For The Movie's Visual Effects Team To Make

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optimus prime transformers 4

Transformers: Age of Extinction" is out in theaters and with it comes a new batch of Transformers to excite on screen. 

As one could imagine, it takes an incredible amount of hard work to make the Hasbro toys look incredible on screen. 

That’s where the visual effects crew of Industrial Lights and Magic (ILM) comes in. 

We caught up with ILM’s Scott Farrar, the visual effects supervisor on "Transformers: Age of Extinction,” who explained how long it takes to bring a Transformer in the film to life.

"It's a long struggle because they're not simple models," Farrar told Business Insider. "They're made of thousands of pieces. One robot might take 15 weeks or more to build just for the model maker to make the pieces and to paint, and assign gestures. Then it's another 15 just to rig it so it basically has a skeleton that you can animate."

There are at least 10 new Transformers in the latest sequel joining Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. However, there's one Transformer Farrar says was more complicated for the ILM team to put together.

"Crosshairs was as difficult as we've ever had," said Farrar. crosshairs transformers age of extinction

A lot of that had to do with the Transformer's chrome face which is difficult to work with because of the reflections you normally see on a chrome surface. 

"One thing that we try and do, that I spend most of my days doing, is trying to light these things so they look as photoreal as possible," explained Farrar. "Well, to do that with a metal surface, like a car, what are you seeing? Color. But, you also see the reflection of the environment. You see the world around."

"A reflection of a face that has to show emotion but reflect everything is difficult inherently to deal with," he added. "So we do all these little tricks to change what the reflections look like so we can read the face better, so you can see the lights and darks. And then we added a little bit more scorch and dirt and color. We added a little bit of brass to his cheeks and his chin and different things to help you see what his facial emotion is when he's speaking or looking toward the camera. It took a while but we go in and we have to figure these things out." 

Crosshairs is also the only Transformer we see on screen who turns into both a car and a helicopter, a nod to incarnations of the toy.  corvette stingray transformersFarrar said seeing the final project on screen is extremely rewarding for the ILM crew.

"It's a tribute to a monumental task that this crew accomplished. A lot of these folks have been with me through every other movie," he said. "That helps a great deal. There's so much commitment to the quality of the work ... the quality of work and the imagery have gotten better and better."

SEE ALSO: "Age of Extinction" was the most difficult "Transformers" movie to make

AND: Check out all of the vehicles that turn into Transformers in the film

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Here's What Movies Get Right — And Wrong — About Amnesia

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memento

We can learn a lot from the movies. Of course, sometimes what we learn has no basis in reality. For example, lawyers should not take their cross-examination techniques from Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men, and doctors shouldn’t be too quick to use a defibrillator as demonstrated in… well… pretty much every medical drama ever made.

Certain real-life afflictions make excellent plot points in movies and television, and one of the biggest cliches that’s still used today is amnesia. Whether it’s Jason Bourne trying to get a hold of his past or a poor widower chasing down a man named John G., amnesia makes for a compelling story where we get to learn alongside a person who already knows the thing that they don’t know.

But is movie amnesia realistic, or is it total crap? 

The Answer: It’s a deliciously blended crap-and-truth milkshake

Like any science you see in the movies, there’s certainly a basis in fact. While most people think of amnesia being a grand, sweeping disorder, it can be much simpler. Not all amnesia cases result in people forgetting vast chunks of their memories. They might only forget things for as little as a few seconds to a few minutes.

There are many types of amnesia, but the most commonly addressed types in movies are retrograde amnesia, which is the inability to recall things that happened in the past before a certain event, and anterograde amnesia, which is the inability to make new memories. Most amnesia results from some sort of trauma to the body, either by an accident or drugs. This is, at least, one thing that Hollywood tends to get right.

Retrograde amnesia is a common tool used in television and soap operas because it makes for an interesting mystery to solve. Anterograde amnesia is a little more complex but offers a more compelling mystery. The inability to form new memories results from the brain not moving information from short-term memory to long-term memory. This type of amnesia has been featured prominently in films like Memento and 50 First Dates.

However, movies use many other forms of amnesia without really realizing it. In The Hangover, the Wolf Pack wakes up from a drug-and-alcohol binge with no memory of the night before. This is a classic example of drug-induced amnesia. Much differently, in the film The Notebook, Gena Rowlands’ character suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, which brings on a form of amnesia by not allowing the subject to recall memories of his or her past. In the film The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) suffers from a dissociative fugue state, which is a loss of memory about one’s identity.

Other forms of amnesia can result from psychological trauma, pervasive alcohol abuse, developmental disorders during childhood, and malnutrition.

So what do movies get right?

Not surprisingly, Christopher Nolan got a lot right about the character of Leonard (Guy Pearce) in Memento. Even though Leonard insists he doesn’t have amnesia (though it appears he’s explaining he doesn’t have the amnesia people are used to seeing on television), he does. It is a relatively accurate portrayal of anterograde amnesia, with his memories only lasting a few minutes at a time. In fact, Leonard’s case is very similar to a man known as Patient HM, who suffered from anterograde amnesia but was still able to form procedural memories, or learn the ability to do perform actions and patterns.

50 First Dates PosterSimilarly, in 50 First DatesDrew Barrymore’s character suffers from anterograde amnesia and can’t make new memories. The presentation of the disease in the movie is relatively accurate. More significant, perhaps, is the fact that the film shows the unfortunate need to institutionalize some people who suffer permanently from the condition. Even the film’s somewhat happy ending in which Barrymore’s character manages to fall in love and get married could conceivably happen, even if it is a bit cheesy.

The romance The Vow is a more traditional amnesia tale, and it is actually based on a true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. Krickitt Carpenter lost 18 months of memories after a traumatic car crash, and her then-forgotten husband worked to help her build a new life even though those memories never returned.

So, yes, these things do happen, and Hollywood gets things right sometimes. But…

What do they get wrong?

The darkness of the Memento story revolves around Leonard obsessing about the attack on him and his wife. However, if this was the traumatic moment that caused his condition, his memories would not be that vivid surrounding it.

In 50 First Dates, while the condition is presented relatively accurately, it is given the nonsensical name of “Goldfield’s Syndrome,” which does not exist. Also, the family of Barrymore’s character spend their lives pretending her final day before the accident that caused her amnesia is still happening. Most amnesia victims do not have this strong or dedicated of a support system.

For both Memento and 50 First Dates, a traumatic injury causes the characters’ anterograde amnesia. However, this condition most often results from neurological problems like stroke, encephalitis or epilepsy. Those situations would provide for a different kind of drama altogether.

In regards to The Vow, while the set-up of Rachel McAdams’ character’s amnesia is accurate to the true story, her character ends up changing. A similar thing happens in the film Regarding Henry, in which Harrison Ford’s character essentially becomes a different person after an accident. However, a person’s sense of identity is one of the deepest memories they have, and amnesia rarely affects that. In other words, you can have amnesia that wipes out memories before or after an incident, but you will still be the same person you were before, for better or for worse.

Finally, the end to the amnesiac condition is the biggest point where movies get it wrong. Going all the way back to the Laurel & Hardy short films of yesteryear, amnesia and other psychological disorders appeared all the time, usually after a sharp, hilarious blow to the head. The easiest way to fix things in the comedy world was another sharp blow to the head.

Please, please, please, don’t start trying to cure mental illness by striking people on the head with a sledgehammer, Three Stooges style. You’ll likely kill someone and be put in a medical facility.

Many types of amnesia go away on their own, actually. Those cases in which it persists can be treated with occupational therapy and cognitive therapy, along with technology assistance and family support.

Again, that doesn’t exactly make a great story, so this rather mundane treatment is often swept under Hollywood’s rug.

SEE ALSO: Why Sony Keeps Making Adam Sandler Movies

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The Darkest Song From 'The Lion King' Was Based On A 1935 Nazi Propaganda Film

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Scar, smoke, lion king

This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most successful animated films ever made, Disney's "The Lion King."

When the film first debuted in 1994, the film's themes of death, betrayal, and rebirth made it a pretty adult Disney movie.

One of the film's most adult scenes is when the evil lion Scar sings about his plan to murder his brother and king of the pride, Mufasa, in the song, "Be Prepared."

Yet, what most people don't realize is that the film's animators based much of the scene on a 1935 Nazi propaganda film titled "Triumph of the Will" that documents 1934 Nazi Germany.

According to an Entertainment Weekly article back in 1994, the song "grew out of one sketch by story staffer Jorgen Klubien that pictured Scar as Hitler. The directors ran with the concept and worked up a 'Triumph of the Will'-style mock-Nuremberg rally."

For example, the goose-stepping soldiers in "Triumph of the Will" march in formation through Nazi Germany.

Triumph of the will, marchingDuring "Be Prepared," the hyenas that Scar wants to use in his plan to kill Mufasa are grouped in a similar formation, goose-stepping almost the same exact way.Lion King, scar, marchingScar is also elevated for the majority of the sequence, standing on a cliff over looking his army.

Lion King, Be PreparedThis is very similar to how Hitler is portrayed in much of "Triumph of the Will."

Triump of the Will, HitlerYou may have also noticed the beams of light that shoot out around Scar while he's singing in the cave.

Lion King Beams of lightThese lights resemble the "Cathedral of Light" that were featured in many Nazi rallies during the 1930s.

Cathedral of light, Nazi GermanyThe adult themes of the film like those in "Be Prepared" didn't keep families away though.

When "The Lion King" was released in 1994 it was a box-office smash grossing $987 million worldwide. This made it the highest-grossing animated film in history at the time. It has since been surpassed by "Shrek 2."

Watch the entire "Be Prepared" sequence below: 

SEE ALSO: Disney Has Been Hiding A Secret Message In Its Movies For Years

SEE ALSO: There Are A Ridiculous Amount Of Similarities Between ‘Frozen’ And ‘The Lion King’

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It Looks Like Fans Are Going To Get The 'Community' Movie They've Always Wanted

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communityIf you're not in the know, the big running gag on NBC's cult phenomenon "Community" has been to do six seasons of the show followed by a movie.

It's often illuminated on social media as #sixseasonsandamovie.

Since the news of the show's revival on Yahoo, it looks like fans may actually get that movie, too.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures Television president of programming and production Zack Van Amburg spoke openly about the show's potential future. When asked about doing a seventh season, he said the only next logical step would be to make a film.

"There's no way we're not making the movie now!" said Van Amburg. "I think once we make the movie, let's look up and decide how much more Community the world wants. We promised six seasons and a movie, how much more do you want?! [Laughs.] … I'd be lying if I told you that we have not had some very early and preliminary conversations that are very exciting about what a potential movie could be and who might direct it. It's early but it's completely in our thought process."

For anyone who doesn't watch "Community," the running gag of "six seasons and a movie" was first introduced at the end of season 2, a time when "Community" wasn't really sure if it was going to get renewal for a third season amid poor ratings.

Abed (Danny Pudi) shouts out the phrase after Jeff (Joel McHale) tells him another NBC show “The Cape” will only last a few weeks. (It made it to nine weeks before the finale aired online.)

The phrase slowly become fan’s battle cry when ever it was in danger of cancellation or its season premiere was pushed back by the network.

It's not the first time we've heard talk about a "Community" movie.

Creator Dan Harmon told Hitfix they would have to make the movie a reality even if he had to make the film “out of clay and duct tape.” 

“If they do a sixth season, I have to participate. And having done that, if the movie has to be made out of clay and duct tape in my basement, then that’s how the movie will be made, because there has to be closure. The title of the book about the show is not “’Community,’ An Interesting Journey into a Show No One Ever Watched.” The title of the book is obviously going to be, “Six Seasons and a Movie.” So it’s already over. Sometimes our hands are just tied up in fate.” 

Previously, TV Guide reported “Fast and Furious” director Justin Lin was considered to direct the film.  

“Community” will air 13 episodes on Yahoo starting in the fall.

SEE ALSO: Here's how Yahoo's "Community" episode budget compares to NBC

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This Is Why You Don't Want To Binge Watch HBO's 'The Leftovers'

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The Leftovers HBO show

There shouldn’t be any question that HBO’s latest much-watch series, the Damon Lindelof- and Tom Perrotta-created The Leftovers, is a feel-good affair, but let’s clarify things, just for good measure: this is not a feel-good affair. Based on Perrotta’s novel of the same name, the series (which premiered Sunday on the cable channel) picks up three years after two percent of the world’s population went – poof – up in totally metaphorical smoke.

Two percent of the world, just gone, vanished, vamoosed, missing, possibly raptured (though the first episode of the series does, quite memorably, include a talking head news program that features a host that refuses to acknowledge the possibility that this was “the Rapture” or in any way a religious act), leaving behind the vast majority of the human population, all damaged in their own way. No, really damaged.

The whole thing is black as night – The Leftovers isn’t witty like Election or biting like Little Children, Perrotta’s best known big screen adaptions – but it’s moving and unnerving in its own way. The show is mostly without levity or humor, and is often so self-serious as to feel a smidge too heavy-handed (mainly thanks to an overwrought and occasionally awkward score and a series of smash cuts that grate), but it’s still entertaining and very watchable – though binge watching seems particularly ill-advised. In fact, The Leftovers is a show that’s designed to not appeal to the binging masses, if only because it’s too damn hard to swallow in anything else than a force-fed one-hour bite.

The series is principally set in Mapleton, New York, a sleepy enough small town, the kind that’s good for this sort of nuanced look at a select group of people, all loosely connected, but not the sort of place where everybody knows everybody else’s name. Although the show’s cast of characters is varied and wide-ranging, it finds its center in Justin Theroux’s chief of police Kevin Garvey (in Perrotta’s novel, Kevin is a recent retiree who eventually becomes town mayor, and this tweak to his character’s occupation is like a solid one). Like most people we meet in Mapleton, Kevin is sort of holding things together (he goes to work, he eats meals, he appears to be engaging in normal hygiene), though some big demons lurk so close to the surface that you can practically see their little horns and forked tails float by when the camera gets close enough to the actor. Eventually, the series subtly suggests that Kevin is hallucinating things and acting out in increasingly worrisome (and possibly illegal) ways.

Although Kevin didn’t lose any of his family during “the event,” he lost them later – his wife Laurie (Amy Brenneman) has joined up with a local cult, his son Tom (Chris Zylka) is off with another kind of questionably structured group and his teen daughter Jill (Margaret Qualleylucky enough to have the show’s most sympathetic character, good enough to make her compelling) is going through all regular teen troubles, with the added pressure of the event making everything seem that much more awful. Other people in town have lost people, too, both to the event and to other influences (that damn cult, the “Guilty Remnant,” is a real beast, and Carrie Coon’s character, who lost her entire family, is particularly unsettling), and the effect is an entire town – an entire show, an entire world – made up of angry, depressed, terrified people.

leftovers hboIt wears. Two episodes into The Leftovers (the magic of screeners), and I was done. The show is stressful, grating and exhausting. It’s somehow both entertaining and revolting. I wanted to get away from it. I wanted to leave my apartment just to remove myself from the anthropomorphized presence of the innocuous DVD box that contains the episodes, innocently sitting on a dresser, practically leering at me. They wanted to be watched, but I didn’t want to be the one to do the watching. I felt tired, and all I’d done was watch two hours of television in my sunny bedroom.

I wanted to punch something (anything) after 120 or so minutes of The Leftovers, appropriate considering how many punches are thrown in the first episode alone (turns out, people deep in mourning kind of freak out when preachy cult members show up to essentially protest their public remembrance of their missing – who knew?). The Leftovers pushed me to a visceral reaction, the likes of which I haven’t felt – at least, in this apparently negative way – in years. Yet, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my watching or that I’m not looking forward to more (eventually, once I forget just how exhausting the endeavor can be).

Oddly, this means that The Leftovers is working. This is not a show that has aimed for levity and light and fallen short – this is deep, awful stuff that is unashamed to be hard to watch and hard to take. Still, it’s hard to ascertain just yet what the payoff of this will be or if it will eventually turn into something part of the murkily named “misery porn” genre – the series’ first season is ten episodes, and while it has not yet been renewed, the show is not imagined or billed as a limited event. This is not True Detective or American Horror Story, this series could go down this path for plenty more seasons. I could potentially feel bad about this show (literally!) for actual years. It’s open-ended at this point, but one thing is set in stone – this is not a show I’ll ever binge watch, and I suspect that’s a sentiment that many people will share once they even try it. Sometimes, small doses aren’t so bad, especially when it comes to the bitter stuff.

SEE ALSO: HBO's Next Show 'The Leftovers' Looks Absolutely Creepy

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Here’s How The ‘Transformers’ Crew Built A Hong Kong Replica And Other Epic Feats

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optimus prime transformers 4

The role of the construction coordinator is a massive one. For Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, Jonas Kirk was the man responsible for the building and manufacturing of the massive sets the film required, which meant bringing in all the equipment, building and moving massive structures, managing the production budget and keeping his 200-man crew on schedule and on budget.

This was a tall order considering the production took place in Texas, Illinois, Utah and Washington. One of the more intricate construction projects the film required of Kirk and his team was the interior of the alien ship you see at 1:05 in the below clip:

“We had to build these parts that could be moved around on dollies and reconfigured,” Kirk says. They created the illusion of a cohesive spaceship that was actually a series of moveable walls. “These walls were thirty feet tall, twenty feet long and made up of ten-thousand parts, all on casters that we could move and recombine to make it look like different parts of the ship,” he says. “That was a scheduling dance.”

Hong Kong, Illinois

The alien robot action in Age of Extinction moves from America to China. What this meant for the construction team is replicating a section of Hong Kong in a parking lot in Detroit. Kirk and his crew created several city blocks worth of Hong Kong which required scaffolding up to five stories high and bamboo shipped in from Hong Kong. Creating the site took roughly 14 weeks, and they designed much of what they built to be destroyed. For some of the smaller pieces they were able to create replicas in case the explosion didn’t go to plan, but they couldn’t do this for every piece, which increased the pressure on the production to get their shots right the first time.

“Depending on the size of what the piece is, they’ll ask for a few replicas,” Kirk says. “For the Hong Kong set we had a building that was 42-feet tall, and they decided they wanted to drop the building,” Kirk says, meaning they wanted it destroyed. “You’re not making two of those.” The construction crew worked closely with the special effects team to come up with the best plan of attack so the building is destroyed on cue, in one take.

These aren’t plaster and foam buildings, mind you, but structures that must be built to hold real people and that must meet all the necessary safety codes. “They’re made with steel, with regular footings, all of it engineered to stand up to wind load and support a crew,” Kirk says. The plaster only comes in at the end, when the crew adorns the exterior of the buildings with various materials, layering it to the production designer’s specifications to create structures that look weathered, real, and in many cases gashed by giant alien robots.

Free Home Improvement

Sometimes the construction crew is building onto existing structures rather than creating ones from whole cloth. In fact, in some cases, a film production will win a location by their ability to improve, or add onto, a building, house or apartment. “Sometimes you’ll leave the modifications in place after the shoot,” Kirk says. “Sometimes that’s part of the deal upfront.” So when a film’s location scouts find that perfect farmhouse or apartment, save for a few necessary additions, the owner might win herself some free renovations for use of her residence

For the farmhouse in the clip above, owned by Mark Wahlberg’s character, Cade Yeager, Kirk added a side porch onto the residence they filmed at, as well as painting and building lightweight walls to make other parts of the farm look of a piece with their main location. A few of the buildings on the property looked too modern, so Kirk’s crew aged the exteriors by adding on materials. For the interior of the barn where Yeager discovers the truck he’s bought is actually Optimus Prime, they found a barn some forty minutes from where they shot the exteriors that fit their needs better. There they had to do some landscaping, cutting and trimming trees, cutting grass, and, at times, even adding trees so that the continuity between the exterior shots in the other location and what you could see out of the window from the interior location matched.

Communication is King

Film productions live and die on the strength of their channels of communication. For a film of this scale, with hundreds of people scattered all over the world working on a single vision, you need to build a communication structure every bit as strong and resilient as those you build for the set. Kirk’s team alone was comprised of seven different departments, each with their own head and additional foremen, all who report to him and keep him apprised of their process. Carpenters, plasterers, painters, sculptors, mold makers, laborers and greensmen all working in synchronicity to meet the demands of all the other departments, from art to set design to SFX.

No production plan ever goes unchanged. When you’re heading up a 200-person department, you have to be able to rejigger the plan and rethink the process, Kirk says. And that’s why communication is the most crucial aspect of his job. “It goes back to the lines of communication we build—with the producers, with the director, with the designers, with everyone. There are a lot of busy days, and a lot of long days, but Michael surrounds himself with quality people so it makes it all doable. Everyone’s approachable, even on the hard days.”

SEE ALSO: 'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' Has The Largest Opening Ever In China

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Here's The First Teaser Trailer For 'Horrible Bosses 2'

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horrible bosses 2

A sequel to 2011's "Horrible Bosses" is coming out later this year and we have a first look at the film.

Warner Bros. released the first teaser trailer for the movie late Tuesday featuring Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day reprising their roles as disgruntled employees. However, this time around, the trio attempt to start their own company. 

Here's the film's synopsis:

"Dale, Kurt and Nick decide to start their own business but things don't go as planned because of a slick investor. Outplayed and desperate, and with no legal recourse, the three would-be entrepreneurs hatch a misguided plan to kidnap the investor's adult son and ransom him to regain control of their company.

Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, and Christoph Waltz join the cast while Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston also return.

"Horrible Bosses 2" is in theaters November 26.

SEE ALSO: This was the hardest Transformer for the movie's visual effects team to make

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'Tammy' Reviews: Melissa McCarthy's Latest Movie 'Is Just Not Funny'

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melissa mccarthy tammy

Melissa McCarthy's next movie "Tammy" hits theaters this week.

The movie stars the comedian as a down-on-her-luck, broke young woman who decides to go on a road trip with her grandma after getting fired from her fast-food job and catching her husband with another woman.

After box-office hits like "The Heat" and "Identity Thief,"trailers for "Tammy" would make audiences believe McCarthy is aiming for another high comedy note at theaters; however, there's just one problem.

Critics say the film isn't actually funny. 

Instead, "Tammy" is more of a drama about a broken woman disguised as a comedy in clever ads. 

The film, currently sitting at 21% on Rotten Tomatoes, is expected to open to around $25 million this weekend, which would be less than the debut of McCarthy's breakout role in 2011's "Bridesmaids" ($26.2 million).

Film.com:

“'Tammy' is far more serious than the gangsta-rap dancin’, jet skiing ads let on ... If it weren’t for the twinkle in Sarandon’s eye or McCarthy’s uncanny ability to squeeze a laugh from a throwaway remark you’d likely drop dead of boredom right there in the theater."

The Hollywood Reporter

"What’s been funny for her [McCarthy] before no longer is. Nor is it amusing when she explodes upon returning home to find her husband (Nat Faxon) having dinner with another woman (Toni Collette), nor when she erupts at her mother for not giving her a car and then drives off with her grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon) ... the film progresses from merely unfunny to unconvincing to dull."

NJ.com:

"The real problem with the movie is simple — it's just not funny enough, and too worried about making McCarthy's usual hilarious supporting character into a woman sympathetic enough (that is, bland enough) to be the heroine."

Variety:

"Falcone’s attempts to spin this generally flat, formulaic comedy into an affecting character drama are frustrated by filmmaking choices that work against a sense of persuasive reality."

The Wrap:

"I certainly wanted to like Tammy, and 'Tammy,' since I've been a fan of McCarthy going all the way back to her work on 'Gilmore Girls,' and at Los Angeles’ Groundlings improv theater prior to her dynamic, Oscar-nominated turn in “Bridesmaids.” But she and her husband Falcone (who also directed) have created a character comedy that's missing both comedy and character."

Film School Rejects:

"Tammy is not a great comedy. It’s not even a good one really, and if I had to toss an adjective its way to describe the quality of comedy on display I’d go with 'okay.'"

The New York Times calls it McCarthy's "least funny comedy":

"The jokes about Tammy’s eating habits, her appetite for burgers, pies and doughnuts, aren’t especially funny and, after a while, register as both tedious and borderline desperate."

 The Washington Post actually gave the film zero stars:

"Most of 'Tammy' consists of the two women getting entangled in some kind of un-funny, ill-advised encounter, which ends with a string of expletives and one or both of them knocking something over, whether it’s a suntan lotion display on a personal watercraft vendor’s counter or the salt and pepper shakers on the table of two men who spurn Tammy’s boorish flirtations."

SEE ALSO: The first trailer for "Horrible Bosses 2"

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Visiting The New 'Star Wars' Set Brought Director Kevin Smith To Tears

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star wars Kevin Smith is becoming a fanboy gadfly who's insider information and set access has left many fans jealous and excited about what's happening in geek culture. Since it was announced, the director of such fan favorite films as Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike BackKevin Smith has had unprecedented access to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice due to his close ties with star Ben Affleck. Now his friendship with director J.J. Abrams is coming in handy, as he just paid a visit to the set of Star Wars: Episode VII at Pinewood Studios in the U.K.

Unlike the various hints and tidbits Kevin Smith has dropped about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in the past few months, the filmmaker didn't have any words in regards to what he saw at Pinewood Studios. But the picture he shared with his followers speaks louder than words. It seems whatever is hiding behind closed doors along with the Millennium Falcon has brought the grown man to tears. He decidedly gives the sequel a thumbs up.



"Visited J.J. and his EP VII set. I signed the NDA so all I can share are this old Bantha-Tracks subscriber's tears and snotty nose of joy. The Force is WITH this movie. Holy Sith..."

Its possible, considering all the bad news that has been swirling around Star Wars: Episode VII since Harrison Ford broke his leg, with rumors of a delay, that Disney and LucasFilm have flown Kevin Smith in as a sort of good will ambassador for fans. Do you believe in his tears of joy and his thumbs up to this troubled production? Or is this just a ploy to make fans feel better about what they can expect?

Star Wars: Episode VII comes to theaters December 18th, 2015 and stars John BoyegaDaisy RidleyCarrie FisherHarrison FordMark HamillAdam Driver,Domhnall GleesonLupita Nyong'o. The film is directed by J.J. Abrams.

SEE ALSO: The New Batsuit In The 'Batman Vs. Superman' Movie Will Be Different From Anything We've Ever Seen Before

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Why Hollywood Is Inserting These Two Huge Chinese Actresses Into Its Summer Blockbusters

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transformers li bingbing

If you headed out to see "Transformers: Age of Extinction" over the weekend, you may have noticed the above actress, Li Bingbing, in a supporting role.

While most are probably not very familiar with the foreign actress, in a few years you will be.

She's one of two huge Chinese actresses who has been popping up in small cameos of some of Hollywood's biggest summer blockbusters.

Both she and Fan Bingbing are making appearances to appeal to viewers overseas in the second largest box-office market: China.

(In case you're wondering, no, they're not related. The two actresses actually share the same first name. It's customary to write the surname, first.)

Here's where you've probably seen the two.

Most recently, Li played an owner of a Chinese Factory, Su Yueming, in "Age of Extinction."li bingbing transformers

Fan Bingbing played a mutant Blink with the ability to transport herself, others, and objects in "X-Men: Days of Future Past."fan bingbing xmen

She was also in a few scenes added specifically into "Iron Man 3" for China audiences.fan bingbing iron man 3

Their appearances in these films have helped these films soar at the box office overseas.

When "Transformers: Age of Extinction" opened in theaters, it didn't just have a big opening stateside making $100 million, it also had the largest debut ever in China with $90 million.

"Iron Man 3" debuted to $64.5 million in the country.

It shows the enormous potential in China for distributors.

We've previously discussed how Hollywood is starting to cater to China by inserting Chinese actors and actresses into its films, adding alternate and additional scenes, and making films overseas.

That's because by 2018, China is expected to surpass the U.S. as the primary box-office moneymaker, according to IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond.

In the past decade, China's box office has seen more than 30% growth. The Los Angeles Times reported the country's box office grew more than 22% so far this year thanks to both "Transformers" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past." 

In 2013 alone, the box office totaled $3.6 billion in China. The U.S. box office had a record-breaking $10 billion year in 2013.

Expect not only to see more films made in China, but also a lot more of these two in the future.

SEE ALSO: This was the hardest Transformer for the movie's visual effects team to make

AND: $90 million Chinese opening for "Transformers" is a watershed moment for Hollywood

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'Fast And Furious 7' Changes Its Release Date

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fast and furious 7 set

"Fast and Furious 7" will be coming to theaters one week earlier.

Universal Pictures announced the next installment of the franchise will move up to an April 3 release.

Production on the seventh film was pushed back nearly a year following the death of Paul Walker last November.

Walker's brothers Caleb and Cody are filling in for the actor to complete the movie which will retire his character, Brian O'Connor.

Vin Diesel originally broke the news of the film's move to April 2015 back in December.

Diesel, Tyrese, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Ludacris will all reprise their roles in the sequel. Jason Statham and Kurt Russell will join the cast.

SEE ALSO: Vin Diesel says it has been 'awkward and uncomfortable' adjusting to Paul Walker's visual effects in FF7

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The First Photo Of Henry Cavill As The Man Of Steel In 'Batman V Superman' Looks Foreboding

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A few days after we got a look at Henry Cavill on set of "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice," Warner Bros. releases the first image of the actor dressed as the Man of Steel himself.

USA Today revealed the image first along with an interview from director Zack Snyder.

There's not much to see, but our hero certainly doesn't look happy. It actually looks like they plopped Cavill right into a Batman movie and he's waiting for a meeting with the Dark Knight.

Looking more closely, the Superman suit mostly looks the same if not a bit bluer. It also looks like slight changes were made to the belt.

Expect to hear more about "Batman V Superman" later this month from San Diego Comic Con.

The movie is in theaters May 6, 2016.

henry cavill superman

Here's how Superman's suit looked in "The Man of Steel":superman man of steel henry cavill

SEE ALSO: Here's the first photo of Cavill as Clark Kent on set of "Batman V Superman"

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'Edge Of Tomorrow' Almost Had A Much Different And Darker Ending

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edge of tomorrow tom cruiseDoug Liman‘s Edge of Tomorrow is easily one of the most beloved films of the year. It’s a hit with critics and has garnered passionate reactions from its fans. The only problem people seem to have is with its ending.

Before we go any further: beware of spoilers if you haven’t seen Edge of Tomorrow yet. If you haven’t, shame on you.

The movie is so different, fresh and original that, to some people, ending on a familiar/happy note doesn’t gel with its riskier choices. Would it have been more badass if Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) had died to save the world? Of course he does sacrifice himself repeatedly, but what if he had stayed dead? The problem is that a downer ending isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time.

But crowd-pleasing commerce isn’t why the film ended the way that it did. Genre demand is why.

We spoke with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, who explained the original script for Edge of Tomorrow was tonally much darker. Cruise stressed the importance of the story’s humor, even when people like McQuarrie initially didn’t see the joke. Once Edge of Tomorrow began to lean more heavily on the comedy, that’s when this happy ending materialized. As McQuarrie reminds us, comedies generally have to go back to the way things were, and that’s exactly what Edge of Tomorrow did.

“I was always arguing it has to end on the helicopter,” he explained. “You have to be thrown back to wondering, ‘Did the movie even happen? Did any of this really happen?’ To that end, there were a million things you had to do with the writing and visually, to serve that ending. That presented a lot of challenges and debate for us. We really struggled to deliver what the movie needed to be emotionally. I know the ending was somewhat controversial, with some people who didn’t like it. I think the only way to make those people happy would to end the movie in a way that wasn’t happy. We weren’t interested in doing that. It needed to end in a way that wasn’t harsh.”

McQuarrie argued for another element that, unlike returning to Cage sleeping on the helicopter, didn’t make the final cut: a pretty bonkers sounding moment in the third act.

Tom Cruise, Battle, Edge of Tomorrow“When Tom loses the power, and they go to Paris, and Tom is preparing the team as they go into Paris where he’s telling them the rules of the movie, he tells the team everything the audience knows,” says McQuarrie. “Basically, he told them: ‘Kill as many Mimics as you want, but do not kill an Alpha. If you kill an alpha we’ll be right back here having this conversation, and we won’t even know it. The enemy will know we’re coming and they’ll kill us all.’ When they get to Paris there’s the classic horror movie scene where one of them gets separated from the group, and he gets attacked by an Alpha and kills it. As he kills it, you see the Omega reset the day and you see the point-of-view of the villain. We cut to the plane and hear the same speech all over again. This time when he gets to the line, ‘You can bet they’ll have a plan to kill us all,’ the ship gets hit. As the audience, you realize the enemy knows they’re coming. The problem was you were so exhausted by the time you got to that point.”

Ultimately they didn’t want to add any more sci-fi, timey wimey talk. They already had a lot of exposition to get through, to the point where one day both Liman and Emily Blunt expressed their frustration for a scene where Rita explains the rules to Cage. McQuarrie, on the other hand, saw it as necessity. When they were filming that scene, Liman complained that he hadn’t needed that much exposition to make his spy thrillers, so McQuarrie asked, “Doug, how many time traveling aliens were there in The Bourne Identity?”

What makes for too much exposition, too many rules, or a lack of clarity is obviously subjective. This isn’t the first time McQuarrie has experienced an unexpected level of confusion/criticism over something he didn’t see as a problem. Some people found the ending of Jack Reacher problematic, unsure whether James Barr’s emotional response meant to imply his already disproven guilt.

Not until Edge of Tomorrow opened in theaters last month did the ending become a huge topic of discussion, at least on the Internet. Sometimes a “tacked-on” happy ending is a cheat or a trick, but not always. In the case of Edge of Tomorrow it happened to be a decision that simply felt right to the people telling the story.

SEE ALSO: Why The End Of ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’ Is A Huge Letdown

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How The Best Public Speakers Warm Up Their Voices

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What ridiculous thing is the ever ethereal Anne Hathaway doing at the Les Misérables premiere? 

anne hatheway warmup smallShe's warming up. 

Or, more precisely, she's demoing one of the insane vocal warmups she did as prep for the epic musical. 

Hathaway's lip flutter may be instructive for the next time you take the stage to present a Power Point. If you're going to do something vocally demanding, you can't just master the material; you need to warm up your voice. 

"In any presentation your heart is pumping a bit,"says Mary Birnbaum, a New York opera director who moonlights as an executive speaking coach. "You're probably prepared, but you're not as warmed up." 

This can cause all sorts of presentation slip-ups. You might lapse into upspeak, that vocal quirk where you end you statements like they're questions? This habit, it's been shown, has a way of making people not take you seriously.

Not only that, Birnbaum says that a lack of warm-ups will exaggerate any nervousness you're feeling. Rather than speaking in your lowest register — which is the most attention grabbing — your voice will jump all over the place. No matter how strong your argument is, you'll sound foolish if you haven't taken the steps to say it with authority. 

Following Birnbaum's advice, we can learn from the people who best know how to project from a stage: actors. Let's take the following cues from Jeannette Nelson, the head of voice at the National Theatre of England. 

1. Get your breath fluid. 

If you work at a keyboard all day, there's a good chance that your shoulders are scrunched, your back is hunched, and your jaw is tight— none of which are helpful to fluid, dynamic speaking. 

Nelson recommends getting to know the ground to loosen up. It's easy: just lay down, feel your back on the floor, and breathe naturally. Then, to open up your voice, help out that jaw by giving it a little massage, as these actors do. 

It looks silly, but it's effective. 

warm-up-pt-1

And yes, you can do it standing up. 

2. Then you resonate. 

The next tool is surprising: humming. 

"We use humming to get a sense of buzz right through the body," Nelson says, "so that actors are speaking from their whole body." 

Nelson says to hum while moving your body — swing your arms, shake your legs, get a sense of how your voice moves around your body. And your head. 

Opening up your voice means screwing up your face, evidently: 

warmup 2 humming

By moving the hum around your body — and your face — you'll be speaking with more of yourself. 

3. Then you "open the voice up" by opening up your body.

Your voice radiates up from your lungs, right? So Nelson says to open up your ribs to give those lungs some room. It looks a little like yoga:

voice warmup pt 3 

4. Warm up the muscles that you articulate with. 

"Actors have to have have enormous freedom and dexterity in the muscles of articulation in order to speak clearly," Nelson says.

To do that, you need to give yourself an "articulation workout," where you use all the muscles involved in projecting your voice. 

The most major muscle, of course, is the tongue. 

warmup pt 4 tongue articulation

Do big circles, she says. It works the root of your tongue. 

After all these admittedly wacky steps, you won't just know your material — you'll be fully warmed up. 

SEE ALSO: This Opera Coach Will Take Your Presentations To The Next Level

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The Time Greedo Asked George Lucas To Get Him Coffee — And Other Crazy Stories From Filming The Original Star Wars Trilogy

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greedo

Earlier this year, a photo appeared on the internet of the cast and principal crew of the new Star Wars film gathered for a script reading.

For a global fan community, this represented the culmination of decades spent dreaming.

There they all were – Harrison Ford chatting amiably with director J J Abrams, Carrie Fisher having a chin-wag with new cast member Daisy Ridley.

Mark Hamill was deep in conversation with Max von Sydow and, dotted around them, were cast members classic and new, ready to embark on the continuation of a phenomenon that started not far from that room some 38 years earlier.

My eyes were drawn to the bottom of that picture, to the back of a head, a mop of brown hair sat behind producer Kathleen Kennedy. I wondered who it was. I didn’t think this might be a celebrity whose involvement had yet to be announced. I just… wondered who it was. What were they doing in the room on this momentous occasion? That is how my mind has been trained. Not to look at what’s going on in the foreground but instead drawn to the denizens of the periphery, wondering what their stories might be.

For the past 18 months, I’ve been making a documentary called Elstree 1976 . It’s a film about Star Wars which isn’t really so much about Star Wars as about who that person on the periphery is. I’ve tracked down and interviewed the people behind the masks and helmets in the first film, from highly respected veteran actors to extras who spent just a day on set. From cinema’s most iconic villain to characters who didn’t even make it on to the screen in the final cut. I wanted to know who these people were and how this global cultural phenomenon had affected their lives.

The making of Star Wars is by now a well-documented Hollywood legend, but I found the perspectives of those Britons and North American expats on the sidelines to be refreshingly reflective, sardonic and bemused. Here are some of their recollections…

Laurie Goode

Played Stormtroopers throughout the production and is most famous for banging his head whilst rushing through a door; one of the most notorious on-screen bloopers in cinema history

"I must have eaten a bit of food that was off. I put this Stormtrooper’s costume on, got on the set and as soon as I put it on I wanted to go to the loo. Upset stomach. I took the costume off in this cubicle; juggling myself about trying to get it all off, hanging it up. Went to the loo, put it all back on again, got on the set and then wanted to go back to the loo again! I couldn’t concentrate, I was shuffling along and I hit my head. No one said 'Cut', so I’m thinking to myself I’m not in shot and when it came out, I thought, 'That’s me!'"

Paul Blake

starwars greedoPlayed Greedo, the bounty hunter killed by Han Solo in the Cantina scene

"I was working with Anthony Daniels, who played C3PO, on Jackanory. He rang me after the show one night and said 'I’m doing this film, it’s a science-fiction film and the director’s asked me if I know any other youngish character actors around who could do it, and I said you might be interested.'

The next day, I found myself at Elstree and I walked out very early in the morning after a long journey, desperate for something to drink. Walked out on to this massive soundstage, with this spaceship – the Millennium Falcon – at the other end. There’s nobody there except for one bloke in the corner. He looked like an assistant, so I said, 'Excuse me, my name’s Paul. Somebody’s called me over here to see some guy, you couldn’t get me a cup of coffee, could you?' And he went and got me a coffee.

I said, 'Thank you very much, do you know this guy called Lucas? George somebody-or-other? He’s the director of this.'

He said, 'I’m George Lucas.' So I’d made George Lucas go and get me a coffee.

He said, 'This alien – do you want to do it?' It was as simple as that. Being a serious young actor, I said, 'George, how do you want me to play this alien?' and he said, 'Well, do it like they do in the movies,' – which is the best advice anyone can ever give you about being in a film, really."

Anthony Forrest

Played Fixer, a friend of Luke Skywalker, who was completely edited out of the film. He does appear on screen, however, as the Stormtrooper mind-tricked by Ben Kenobi to say “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”

"I sometimes now think that maybe the fact that Fixer’s not actually in the finished film has made the character more famous than if he had made the final cut; he might have been completely forgotten. We shot the sequences and you can still see the footage [as an added extra on the Blu-ray version of the film]. He’s a friend of Luke’s who, basically, runs Tosche Station. He’s part of this group of young people who are hanging out in the nether regions of [Luke’s home planet of] Tatooine.

One thing that I’ve always felt about [the making of] Star Wars is that it was much more like an indie film. It didn’t feel like a Hollywood film. It felt much more homely, much more independent than that. I think that part of it was that George was a young film-maker at the time and he’s very good, he surrounds himself with great people, very talented people, so he’s very open-minded like that. I do remember, and it was probably very cheeky of me, but I do remember when I had a chance, I asked George, 'How do you like directing?' and he said, 'I don’t. I like to write.'"

Angus Macinnes

Played Gold Leader, one of the pilots killed during the assault on the Death Star 

wars 3_2956938c

"I got into the cockpit to do this scene and George said 'Have you learnt your lines out of sequence?' and I said 'What are you talking about?' and he said 'Just your lines,' and I said, 'No… I’ve learnt my lines with the cues,' you know, somebody cues me and I talk…

He said 'No, just do your lines.'

And so we started shooting and it was just a nightmare. I mean, it turned into a s---storm because I couldn’t remember anything without the cues. I needed that other voice to respond to, so I kept drying. I knew the lines perfectly well, I just couldn’t remember them [laughs]. I thought, 'What am I going to do here?' and I started sweating, so I needed a make-up artist there with a mop. I mean, I was sweating; buckets.

I was in a flat panic and [George] came and said 'Well, can you read them?' and I said 'Yeah, let’s do that.' I was so panicked at that point that I would have done anything. If he’d said, 'You need some heroin,' I would have rolled my sleeve up.

So, I had a piece of script on this leg, a piece of script on this leg and I had a chunk of script above me and a chunk of script over here. So, we shot the whole thing and I read the stuff off [them]. There’s no performance – in that sense – at all. It’s just reading lines and I thought, 'I don’t care. I’ve just got to get out of here.'"

Dave Prowse

Played Darth Vader, although the character was voiced by actor James Earl Jones. At the end of Return of the Jedi, Vader has his helmet removed

"Everybody comes up and says, 'It wasn’t you they unmasked as Darth Vader, was it?' and I say, 'Well, no, it wasn’t actually.'

The guy that played Darth Vader was a guy called Sebastian Shaw and Sebastian Shaw was a good friend of Alec Guinness s and, by all accounts, he was out of work. He’d been out of work for a long period and he was having a bad time financially. And he said to Sir Alec, 'Could you do me a favour?' He said, 'I’m destitute. Is there any chance of you having a word with George Lucas to see if there’s a possibility of a part in this movie?'

So Alec had a word with George and George said, 'The only part we can offer you is the dying Darth Vader.' And all this was done without me knowing anything about it. I mean, I’m watching the movie and they unmask somebody completely different and then you sort of think, 'Well, why wasn’t that me?' But then, when you learn how it all came about, you know, if it helped him in any way, then all well and good.

But everybody comes up to me and says, 'Why wasn’t it you that was unmasked as Darth Vader?' And I say, 'I’ll tell you about it later.'"

Garrick Hagon

Played Biggs Darklighter, Luke Skywalker’s best friend. His role was significantly cut down in the final edit

"George didn’t say much. Irene [Lamb – casting director] didn’t say much. Even when I got the script, I didn’t really understand it. I was doing a television play – The Lady of the Camellias for the BBC – and I had it on my desk and Kate Nelligan, who was the star, said 'What’s that?' and I said 'Oh, I don’t know… space thing, I’m going to do it in Tunisia.'

'Oh,” she said, 'wouldn’t you rather be doing the next thing I’m doing for the BBC? It’s called Shakespeare.'

'I’d really like to be doing that!'

Anyway, I told her I was committed to this film… When I went down to Jerba to shoot it, I knew a little bit more about it, but most of us were mystified as to what it might be. It was a bit of a romp, really. We just did stupid things. I remember going out and hiring horses, Tony Forrest, Mark [Hamill] and myself, racing up and down the beach, which I later learned is verboten; you don’t take the star on a horse ride and go dangerously fast. But we did. It was kind of a holiday atmosphere."

Derek Lyons

Played both a medal bearer and a Massassi Temple guard in the film’s final scene

"I got on very well with Mark Hamill; we found out we had the same date of birth – September 25. It was like a holiday camp, we had these tents outside H stage and we’d all eat together. I remember there was a big set to the left of H stage and Mark asked, 'What is it, Derek?' and I found out it was the Oliver stage, from Lionel Bart’s Oliver, so I said, 'Look, Mark, if I bring my camera – the next day – we can get some photographs taken.'

Now, I didn’t want a photograph taken with Mark Hamill because he was Mark Hamill — I didn’t know who the hell he was, I didn’t know who anyone was. Anyway, the next day I brought my little camera and we went and looked at these amazing Dickensian sets and Peter Mayhew [Chewbacca] followed us and we took some photographs.

So I took photographs of Mark, Mark took photographs of me, Peter Mayhew took photographs of me and Mark. We got on so well. Every day, we chatted and laughed and he was great."

Pam Rose

Played the bulbous-headed alien Leesub Sirln in the background of the Cantina scene

"I didn’t know half of what was going on. They’d say, 'Stand there, talk to him.' It was just like any other job except you looked weird. They made a full head cast and from that they moulded the big head. Then they put on a thin film, looks like skin, then you had all the hair and stuff, then the make-up and then you got the outfit on. So it was quite a long process. I think by day five, I’d had enough because when they pull the glue off your head, it pulls all the baby hair off your face. It was getting quite sore after five days."

Jeremy Bulloch

Played fan-favourite bounty hunter Boba Fett in the sequels to Star Wars

"I was aware of Star Wars… my half brother Robert Watts was associate producer and he said, 'It’s going very well, why don’t you get your agent onto this; there’s a small part, probably a couple of days, but it’d be fun for you to do.' I was in a play down at Leatherhead and I said, 'When does the filming start?' He said, 'Tomorrow.' It was that quick.

So the agent said to go down, I was seen and I got dressed in the costume. I was taken on to set where they were doing the Wampa – the big snow creature – and I thought 'This is incredible!'

I was in with the helmet on, walking around and I finally stopped in front of George Lucas and he said, 'Well, yeah, uh huh, mm-hmm, OK. Welcome aboard, it’s not a big role but I think you’ll have some fun.'

I thought, 'Is he talking to me or someone behind me?' So, I was turning my head and just looking and then was sort of… eased off the set.

'Elstree 1976’ will be released in 2015. You can watch the trailer, pre-order the DVD, Blu-ray or download and become part of the project by visiting kickstarter.com

PICTURE GALLERY: 10 facts about Star Wars characters

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Ryan Gosling Tried To Get Rachel McAdams Kicked Off 'The Notebook' Set

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ryan gosling the notebookFans of The Notebook might enjoy thinking about all the steamy chemistry leads Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams shared both on screen and during their subsequent two year relationship, but apparently, life on the set wasn’t always so rosy between the two. In fact, Gosling allegedly tried to get his leading lady thrown off the set at one point because he was so frustrated with her. 

Stories of the on-screen tension just exploded out during a VH1 interview with director Nick Cassavetes. Apparently, the growing tension reached its breaking point on set when Ryan Gosling stopped a pivotal scene and told the production head he wasn’t going to do it anymore, at least not with Rachel McAdams. 

"Ryan came to me, and there’s 150 people standing in this big scene, and he says, "Nick come here." And he’s doing a scene with Rachel and he says, "Would you take her out of here and bring in another actress to read off camera with me?" I said, "What?" He says, "I can’t. I can’t do it with her. I’m just not getting anything from this."

A declaration like that likely would have been enough to irreparably harm most productions, but instead of separating Gosling and McAdams, Cassavetes and the producers decided to let them fight out all their negativity. So, they put them into a trailer together and just let them scream.  

"I walked out. At that point I was smoking cigarettes. I smoked a cigarette and everybody came out like, 'All right let’s do this.' And it got better after that. They had it out… I think Ryan respected her for standing up for her character and Rachel was happy to get that out in the open. The rest of the film wasn’t smooth sailing, but it was smoother sailing."

the notebook ryan gosling rachel mcadamsSometimes what creative types want to see from co-workers, more than anything else, is passion. They want to see the other person is just as invested and just as willing to walk out of the edge in order to make the best possible final product. At the time, Rachel McAdams was almost a complete unknown; so, it makes sense that Ryan Gosling would have had some doubts. Fortunately, he stuck with it, and the two of them were able to create a finished product that means a lot to a lot of people. 

Besides, God only knows the truly awful things that are happening on movie sets right now. By all accounts, actors quitting, threatening to quit and acting like divas is such a common occurrence that most producers don’t even make an issue about it until it crosses a certain line. 

SEE ALSO: 7 of the greatest movies never made

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25 Movies That Will Make You Proud To Be An American

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forrest gump tom hanks bubba shrimp

We understand that a list of the most American films could run 238 items long — the number of years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

It's an outlandish dream to narrow that list to 25, but hey, this is America. Dare to dream.

We rounded up the movies that will stir your nostalgia for the red-white-and-blue, and a few titles just for fun. (William Daniels, or "Mr. Feeny," sings in a musical about the writing of the Declaration of Independence. That happened.)

Movies are listed in order of release.

"Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942): George M. Cohan (James Cagney) finds his place in musical theater history, writing "Over There,""The Yankee Doodle Boy," and "You're A Grand Old Flag" over the course of his life.



"1776" (1972): Benjamin Franklin and John Adams (William Daniels) peer-pressure Thomas Jefferson — in song and dance — to write the Declaration of Independence days before the 4th.

Watch it here.



"All The President's Men" (1976): Reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) investigate the Nixon administration's Watergate scandal for The Washington Post.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Darkest Song From 'The Lion King' Was Based On A 1935 Nazi Propaganda Film

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Scar, smoke, lion king

This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most successful animated films ever made, Disney's "The Lion King."

When the film first debuted in 1994, the film's themes of death, betrayal, and rebirth made it a pretty adult Disney movie.

One of the film's most adult scenes is when the evil lion Scar sings about his plan to murder his brother and king of the pride, Mufasa, in the song, "Be Prepared."

Yet, what most people don't realize is that the film's animators based much of the scene on a 1935 Nazi propaganda film titled "Triumph of the Will" that documents 1934 Nazi Germany.

According to an Entertainment Weekly article back in 1994, the song "grew out of one sketch by story staffer Jorgen Klubien that pictured Scar as Hitler. The directors ran with the concept and worked up a 'Triumph of the Will'-style mock-Nuremberg rally."

For example, the goose-stepping soldiers in "Triumph of the Will" march in formation through Nazi Germany.

Triumph of the will, marchingDuring "Be Prepared," the hyenas that Scar wants to use in his plan to kill Mufasa are grouped in a similar formation, goose-stepping almost the same exact way.Lion King, scar, marchingScar is also elevated for the majority of the sequence, standing on a cliff over looking his army.

Lion King, Be PreparedThis is very similar to how Hitler is portrayed in much of "Triumph of the Will."

Triump of the Will, HitlerYou may have also noticed the beams of light that shoot out around Scar while he's singing in the cave.

Lion King Beams of lightThese lights resemble the "Cathedral of Light" that were featured in many Nazi rallies during the 1930s.

Cathedral of light, Nazi GermanyThe adult themes of the film like those in "Be Prepared" didn't keep families away though.

When "The Lion King" was released in 1994 it was a box-office smash grossing $987 million worldwide. This made it the highest-grossing animated film in history at the time. It has since been surpassed by "Shrek 2."

Watch the entire "Be Prepared" sequence below: 

SEE ALSO: Disney Has Been Hiding A Secret Message In Its Movies For Years

SEE ALSO: There Are A Ridiculous Amount Of Similarities Between ‘Frozen’ And ‘The Lion King’

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