May 01, 2015 | 12:05 p.m.

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron': Hemsworth’s Thor looks beyond the god

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Disney / Marvel)
Chris Hemsworth has been a god for many movies now. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” director Joss Whedon’s sequel to 2012’s “The Avengers,” the Australian once again picks up the hammer of Thor, an Asgardian prince and the Norse god of thunder. Hemsworth’s Thor continued his feud with his brother Loki from the original “Avengers” in two solo features, with a third arriving in 2017. Being a warrior deity is a demanding job. “The last couple of years have been nuts, kind of since ‘Thor 1.’ Last year was the hardest because I did two films back to back and was trying to lose weight through all of them,” Hemsworth said. With such a powerful character, many of Hemsworth’s concerns for “Age of Ultron” and his character were physical. Weight was an issue (“Losing the weight is being underfed and […]
April 30, 2015 | 3:34 p.m.

‘X-Men: Apocalypse': Bryan Singer offers first look at Jubilee and Jean Grey

'X-Men: Apocalypse'
“X-Men: Apocalypse” director Bryan Singer has shared the first behind-the-scenes look of his mutants from the set of his upcoming film. As if to remind the world that the “Avengers” are not the only superpowered Marvel team on the block, Singer took to Instagram on Thursday to reveal an image of Lana Condor and Sophie Turner as their mutant counterparts Jubilee and Jean Grey. Fun second day with @sophie_789 @lanacondor #JeanGrey #Jubilee #XMEN #XMenApocalypse A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on Apr 30, 2015 at 9:10am PDT If Jubilee and Jean’s fashion choices were not enough of an indication, Singer’s previous Instagram photo from the set offers further evidence that at least part of the film will take place “around 1983.” Fans were also treated to the first official look at Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler on 20th Century Fox’s […]
April 30, 2015 | 9:55 a.m.

Throwback Thursday: ‘Iron Man’ starts up a super-franchise

Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark is Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in "Iron Man." (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel)
With “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” hitting U.S. theaters tonight, this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday revisits “Iron Man,” the film that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Released seven years ago this weekend, on May 2, 2008, “Iron Man” followed the success of Sony’s “Spider-Man” and Fox’s “X-Men.” “Iron Man” opened to positive reviews, and ticket sales skyrocketed. The film earned $102 million during opening weekend and eventually grossed $585 million at the international box office. Comic book fans and critics praised Robert Downey Jr.’s cocky performance as billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark, validating what had been seen as a questionable casting decision. “There were people in our company who directly said, ‘No. You can’t [cast Downey]. Next,” Marvel Studios President and producer Kevin Feige told The Times shortly before the film’s release. But Feige and director Jon Favreau […]
April 30, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.

Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen discuss ‘Avengers’ heroines’ move to front lines

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" actresses Elizabeth Olsen and Scarlett Johansson are photographed at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. on April 11, 2015. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Elizabeth Olsen is doing more than bringing the Marvel Comics character Scarlet Witch to the big screen in Friday’s tentpole film “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” She’s also doubling the number of women on the Avengers roster. “It’s really cool, and I don’t take it for granted,” said Olsen, 26, a self-professed fan of the comic book film franchise. Previously, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, was the sole female member of the muscle-bound team of super-studs, comprising Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. With four Marvel movies under her utility belt and a fifth (“Captain America: Civil War”) slated to begin filming next week, Johansson, 30, is a veteran of the flourishing Marvel Cinematic Universe. And she’s eager to welcome more women to the franchise. “For […]
April 29, 2015 | 12:28 p.m.

Saturn Awards: Noah Wyle and Grant Gustin among special honorees

(TNT, The CW)
Score one for the librarian. Noah Wyle, whose post-“ER” credits include roles as academics-turned-heroes tasked with saving the world in “Falling Skies” and “The Librarian,” will be presented with the Artists Showcase Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films at the 41st Saturn Awards. In “ER” Wyle played John Carter, who at the start of the series was a medical student. Lately he has added a few genre roles to his résumé. Since 2011 Wyle has played Tom Mason, a history-professor-turned-civilian-fighter in the TV series “Falling Skies,” the postapocalyptic sci-fi series chronicling the aftermath of an invasion by several races of extraterrestrials that kill most of the human population. Wyle also plays Flynn Carsen, a perpetual college student who finds himself recruited as a librarian tasked with protecting supernatural artifacts in a secret section of the library […]
April 28, 2015 | 7:38 p.m.

‘Gotham’: The parallels of Robin Lord Taylor and the Penguin

Robin Lord Taylor. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
The villains on Fox’s “Gotham” were often thought to be the most compelling part of the pre-Batman show, and Robin Lord Taylor, aka Penguin, may have been the breakout character among them. The actor made a few memorable comments during his Emmy contender video chat with Los Angeles Times reporter Greg Braxton. You can watch the entire chat above, or over on Show Tracker, but we plucked out five moments from Taylor that may give a little more insight into how the actor connects with his character and the show in general. 1. How his journey on the show parallels that of his character, Oswald Cobblepot. In a way, I’m coming into [“Gotham”] with a low status, working with someone with incredible status such as Jada Pinkett Smith — and she is absolutely fabulous, both on-screen and off — finding […]
April 28, 2015 | 11:27 a.m.

‘Star Wars': Mark Hamill shares family photos from ‘Return of the Jedi’

Mark Hamill's photos
“Star Wars” is a family affair. While the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer that premiered during the film’s panel at Star Wars Celebration pays homage to a memorable family moment from “Return of the Jedi” between Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia, Hamill’s on-screen family was not his only one in the spotlight during the fan convention earlier this month. During a backstage interview for StarWars.com with voice actor James Arnold Taylor, Hamill shared some family photos that were taken during the filming of “Return of the Jedi.” Hamill’s photos capture behind-the-scenes moments on the set of “Jedi” with his wife Marilou and son Nathan, who is the biggest “Star Wars” fans out of Hamill’s three children, the actor reveals during the interview. The images show young Nathan hiding inside of R2-D2, sitting on the Emperor’s […]
April 28, 2015 | 11:04 a.m.

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron': Elizabeth Olsen talks Scarlet Witch’s ‘Wiggly Woo’

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)
Last summer, Elizabeth Olsen starred opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Gareth Edwards’ big-budget reboot of “Godzilla.” On Friday, the duo is back on screen once more, playing twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff in Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated Marvel sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Olsen, previously known for her acclaimed turns in such indie films as “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Kill Your Darlings,” said she’s enjoyed helping the sequel move in a somewhat stranger direction. “I think she allows the Avengers universe to become a little more supernatural, which I think is a cool access rather than just having Asgard as their access to something supernatural,” Olsen said. Hero Complex caught up with the actress on the “Ultron” set in London to discuss her relationship with Scarlet Witch, working with Whedon and her rapport with Taylor-Johnson. Were you familiar with Scarlet Witch […]
April 28, 2015 | 7:00 a.m.

‘Convergence: Shazam': Jeff Parker and Doc Shaner make Golden Age magic

Evan “Doc” Shaner's cover for "Convergence: Shazam" No. 1. (DC Entertainment)
Fresh off their remarkable “Flash Gordon” miniseries for Dynamite Comics, writer Jeff Parker and artist Evan “Doc” Shaner are taking on another classic Golden Age hero with “Convergence: Shazam.” Part of DC Comics’ two-month “Convergence” event highlighting different eras of the publisher’s past, “Shazam” focuses on the original Captain Marvel and the bright, cheerful world of Fawcett City, taking readers back to a time when superhero comics were considerably more innocent and whimsical. Captain Marvel’s character has gone through a lot of changes since he was introduced in 1939 — he actually goes by the name Shazam in present-day DC Comics to avoid confusion with the popular Marvel Comics character that shares the Captain Marvel name — but Parker and Shaner are going back to basics with their approach. The Captain Marvel name is back, Fawcett City is perpetually sunny, […]
April 27, 2015 | 2:15 p.m.

‘Sesame Street’ joins ‘Avengers’ bandwagon with ‘Aveggies: Age of Bon Bon’

Cookie Monster and the cast of "Aveggies" on "Sesame Street." (YouTube)
The countdown is on for the moment when “Avengers: Age of Ultron” finally opens in North American theaters on Friday, kicking off the summer movie season and sweeping all of pop culture up into its vortex of superhero action. While international audiences can already see the movie — and have been to the total of $201 million in overseas grosses — fans in the U.S. and Canada will just have to pass the time with “Sesame Street’s” take on the film, “Aveggies: Age of Bon Bon.” And as far as place holders go, it’s hard to beat this one. Presented as part of Cookie Monster’s “Crumby Pictures” series of film parodies, “Aveggies” features a superhero lineup including Cookie Monster as the mild-mannered Dr. Brownie, Onion Man, Captain Americauliflower, Black Bean Widow, Mighty Corn and Zuchin-eye. Their villain in this world […]
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