Hero Complex Film Festival


June 14, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

‘Gremlins’ director Joe Dante on puppetry, remake talk [video]

While “Gremlins” still has the power to delight audiences 30 years after its release, director Joe Dante said that the experience of making the film was anything but delightful. Particularly grueling? The days of shooting with just puppets and no human actors. “Nothing but puppets. A month and a half of just shooting puppets. I just don’t know how Jim Henson lived.” Dante spoke with Hero Complex’s Gina McIntyre after a screening of the beloved 1984′s film, during the Hero Complex Film Festival, which took place May 30-June 1 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. Despite the painful memories, he said he still recognizes the importance of what the arduous process brought to the movie. He noted that an advantage of using puppets was that the people manipulating them introduced a human expression into the equation, an increasing […]
June 13, 2014 | 3:50 p.m.

Joe Dante recalls studio fretted about Gremlin creepiness factor [video]

Before “Gremlins” hit theaters in 1984, studio executives fretted that the creepy critters might be too frightening for moviegoers. “They thought the Gremlins were very unpleasant,” director Joe Dante recalled during a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival. “So, they sent some notes, one of which was: ‘Too many gremlins.’ “ Luckily Steven Spielberg, the executive producer, had the perfect rejoinder. “Well, we could cut all the Gremlins out and call it ‘People.’ How would you like that?” It was the type of sardonic comeback that perhaps only Spielberg could have gotten away with at the time. After all, as Dante pointed out, he was essentially the reason the film was made. Dante said that Warner Bros., “basically backed it because Steven Spielberg wanted to make it, and they wanted to make him happy.” Dante spoke with Hero […]
June 13, 2014 | 11:49 a.m.

James Cameron recalls his ‘angry wannabe filmmaker’ phase [video]

Writer/director James Cameron photographed during the 2014 Hero Complex Film Festival at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood on May 31, 2014. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)
While writing his 1984 breakout film “Terminator,” James Cameron lived on McDonald’s, diner coffee and the money he made painting one-sheets for bad direct-to-video movies. The director, who would go on to helm the highest-grossing movie of all time, “Avatar,” expressed a surprising fondness for that early, “zero billion dollar” stage of his career while speaking at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival recently. “It was actually easy to write cause I didn’t have to self-isolate like I do now, from multi-tasking with other businesses, and with a family with five kids,” Cameron said, when he took the stage late last month at the event, which was held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood May 30-June 1. “I was already isolated… basically just a sad, dark, isolated human being.” In an in-depth conversation between screenings of “The Terminator” and its […]
June 12, 2014 | 6:04 p.m.

‘Alien’: Ridley Scott helped shape Ripley, Sigourney Weaver says [video]

While Sigourney Weaver always will be Ripley to some “Alien” fans, the actress said that the development of the character was really a team effort with director Ridley Scott. During a recent appearance at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival, Weaver said that, as a young actress, she knew she could trust Scott to help her mold Ellen Ripley in the right way and create a hero not traditionally seen in the science-fiction world. “Ridley was so instrumental in making her as powerful as she was,” she said. “Ridley just has such an eye for what’s real and what’s true and what’s right and I really felt like I could always depend on him completely.” Weaver’s appearance capped off the Hero Complex Film Festival, which took place May 30-June 1 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. The […]
June 12, 2014 | 12:46 p.m.

Schwarzenegger as Kyle Reese?! James Cameron on ‘Terminator’ casting

It’s hard to imagine James Cameron’s 1984 film “The Terminator” starring anyone other than Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role. But there was a moment when that iconic piece of casting was in doubt. Speaking at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival recently, Cameron took the stage for an extended Q&A between screenings of “The Terminator” and its sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” to discuss the making of the movie that launched his and Schwarzenegger’s careers. During the conversation, Cameron recalled how Schwarzenegger nearly didn’t get to deliver his famous line, “I’ll be back.” Instead of the Terminator, the movie’s terrifying, nearly mute cyborg sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor, Schwarzenegger was originally up for the role of Kyle Reese, the movie’s hero, who was ultimately played by Michael Biehn. At the behest of his financiers, who were high on casting […]
June 11, 2014 | 11:30 a.m.

Sigourney Weaver reflects on her ‘Aliens’ Oscar nomination [Video]

For Sigourney Weaver, being nominated for a best actress Academy Award for her groundbreaking turn in 1986′s “Aliens” had immediate and tangible effects. Weaver said she got the news while preparing for her role as Dian Fossey in “Gorillas in the Mist” and had been meeting with producers who wanted her to work with domesticated chimps to research the role. Weaver had been arguing that the endeavor wouldn’t be helpful to her. “After I got the nomination, suddenly, they listened to me very carefully,” she said during a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival. A tribute to Weaver at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood capped off the fifth annual event on June 1. The actress took the stage for an in-depth Q&A between screenings of Ridley Scott’s landmark 1979 science fiction film “Alien” and James Cameron’s sequel […]
June 11, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.

‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′: America Ferrera wants Astrid as chief

“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ doesn’t hit theaters until Friday, but the stars of the film are already preparing for a third chapter. Jay Baruchel, who voices Hiccup, the outcast Viking who befriends a dragon named Toothless in the first installment of the franchise, said he is looking forward to continue his character’s journey into manhood. “I hope Hiccup continues on his trajectory to virility,” Baruchel joked. Taking place at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters, the  screening of “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ kicked off Day 2 of the Hero Complex Film Festival on May 31. Programming also included a screening of “Gremlins” and a conversation with director Joe Dante, as well as an appearance from James Cameron, who spoke about his storied career and writing process between screenings of “Terminator” and “Terminator 2.” At the “How to […]
June 10, 2014 | 3:17 p.m.

Sigourney Weaver: Will ‘Avatar’ sequels pave way for new ‘Alien’ film?

Could Sigourney Weaver be preparing to revisit one of her most iconic characters? The answer appears to be yes. News broke this week that the actress would return to the world of Pandora for James Cameron’s upcoming sequels to “Avatar,” but speaking at the Hero Complex Film Festival earlier this month, Weaver also pointed out her willingness to play Ellen Ripley, the heroine at the heart of the “Alien” franchise, one final time. “I do feel that there’s more story to tell,” Weaver said. Weaver’s appearance capped off the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. The actress took the stage for an in-depth Q&A between screenings of Ridley Scott’s landmark 1979 science fiction film “Alien” and Cameron’s 1986 sequel “Aliens.” (Cameron was a guest of honor at the festival on Saturday, on […]
June 10, 2014 | 1:16 p.m.

‘Battlestar Galactica’: Moore, McDonnell talk sci-fi gender equality

When “Battlestar Galactica” creator Ronald D. Moore first considered rebooting the late-1970s franchise, he was intrigued by the idea of upending the dynamic between pilots Apollo and Starbuck — so he opted to cast Katee Sackhoff  as rogue fighter pilot Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. Switching up the character’s gender proved to be a controversial move at the outset, but at a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival, Moore said the decision spoke volumes about the world he wanted to create. “It became something that was a hallmark of the show that this society in this world, they have a different history than we did — [gender inequality] is not part of their history,” Moore said. “It’s not really part of their cultural conversation.” The fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival, which took place at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in […]
June 10, 2014 | 12:14 p.m.

‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′: Jay Baruchel finds joy in voicing Hiccup

For the stars of “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” which opens in theaters Friday, the potential challenges of voice acting aren’t necessarily a problem. In fact, Jay Baruchel, who voices Hiccup, the outcast Viking who befriends a dragon named Toothless, said he found comfort in working solo. “For whatever reason, it agrees with me,” the actor said recently, speaking at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival. “There’s something really nice about only having your voice and making it really pure and concentrated and kind of distilling whatever the beat that you’re meant to be doing just through your voice. I adore it.” Taking place at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters, the screening of “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ kicked off Day 2 of the Hero Complex Film Festival on May 31. Programming also included a screening of […]
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