March 19, 2015 | 1:00 p.m.

‘Insurgent’: Jai Courtney talks Eric’s journey, ‘Terminator’

Actor Jai Courtney.  (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
The release of “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” which opens Friday, will reunite fans not only with the film’s heroes Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James), but also with their foes, including Four’s rival and vicious Dauntless leader Eric, played by Jai Courtney. “Insurgent” is based on the second book in the series of Veronica Roth’s popular dystopian YA novels. It follows Tris Prior, a girl whose aptitude for multiple factions, called divergence, means she is considered a threat to the rigid society of a future Chicago that values the balance created by dividing its citizens into five factions based on dominant personality traits. Tris and her allies are on the run after the events in “Divergent,” in which she intervenes in an uprising organized by the leaders of two of the factions. Tasked with finding these refugees are leaders […]
March 19, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.

Actor Theo James relishes this ‘Divergent’ experience

"Insurgent" actor Theo James is photographed in Beverly Hills on March 6, 2015. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
It’s 2 p.m. on a Thursday, and Theo James is ready for his weekend to begin. “Can I get just a single shot of tequila?” the English actor asks a server at a trendy downtown L.A. eatery. Seconds later, James, 30, breaks out a movie star grin and an apologetic “Just kidding,” and takes another sip of espresso. If there were a faction for class clowns in the dystopian future, James, clearly would be sorted into it, given his talent for deadpan one-liners and his gift for winking, witty sarcasm. There’s little of that sort of levity, however, in the actor’s new movie, “The Divergent Series: Insurgent.” Opening Friday, the film is the second in a planned four-part adaptation of Veronica Roth’s best-selling YA trilogy about one special girl who sets out to bring down a corrupt system. A younger […]
March 18, 2015 | 8:00 a.m.

‘Insurgent': Naomi Watts on Evelyn and the universal themes in ‘Divergent’

Naomie Watts in "The Divergent Series: Insurgent." (Andrew Cooper / Lionsgate)
When “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” hits theaters on Friday, fans will not only be reunited with Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James), but they will also be properly introduced to several new characters who are making their big-screen debuts. Not least among these is resistance leader Evelyn Johnson, played by Naomi Watts. Based on Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA novels, “Insurgent” is set in a future version of Chicago in which citizens are divided into five factions based on personality traits. Young heroine Tris Prior, whose aptitude for multiple factions threatens to upset the societal order, finds herself on the run, along with love interest Four and other allies. Along the way, they meet Evelyn, the leader of the Factionless and Four’s estranged mother, who faked her death in order to escape the abuse she faced at the hands of […]
March 17, 2015 | 8:02 a.m.

‘Insurgent': Mekhi Phifer on Max’s leadership in ‘Divergent’ sequel

Mekhi Phifer in "The Divergent Series: Insurgent." (Andrew Cooper / Lionsgate)
Fans will be able to see the expansion of the “Divergent” world and its characters when “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” the second film based on Veronica Roth’s popular dystopian YA series, opens in theaters on Friday. Picking up where “Divergent” left off, “Insurgent” sees Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her allies on the run after interfering with a coup. On the hunt for these refugees are military leaders Max (Mekhi Phifer) and Eric (Jai Courtney). Mekhi Phifer, whose resume includes such TV credits as “ER” and “Torchwood,” plays Max. Max represents an older generation of Dauntless (a societal faction based on bravery in the film’s dystopian world) compared to the younger Four (Theo James) and Eric, which is rare because of the physicality necessary to remain an active member of the faction. Phifer spoke to Hero Complex on the phone to […]
March 16, 2015 | 10:49 a.m.

‘Insurgent': Miles Teller on Peter’s allegiance, ‘Fantastic Four’

Miles Teller
Another fan favorite for the Peter Parker role, "Whiplash" actor Miles Teller is already immersed in the superhero world as Reed Richards in Fox's "Fantastic Four." Though it's unlikely he'd appear as both nerds-turned-superheroes, he does possess Peter Parker's sarcastic, smart-alecky vibe. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
“Divergent” fans have less than a week to wait before the sequel as “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” the second installment adapted from Veronica Roth’s popular YA book series, hits theaters Friday. “Insurgent” follows Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), a girl who learns she has an aptitude for multiple factions and thus does not quite fit into the rigid social structure valued in her dystopian world, which divides its citizens among five factions based on their dominant personality traits. Tris learns that people like her are labeled divergent and are considered dangerous. “Insurgent” picks up a little after where “Divergent” left off with Tris, Four (Theo James), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter, played by Miles Teller, on the run after the Erudite (the faction based on knowledge) has used Dauntless (bravery) soldiers to overthrow the Abnegation (selflessness) to gain political power. In the film, […]
March 13, 2015 | 4:55 p.m.

SXSW: Female gamers tell their stories in ‘GTFO,’ which tackles industry sexism

Young females gamers at a convention, as seen in "GTFO." (Shannon Sun-Hugginson / "GTFO")
THE PLAYER AUSTIN, Texas — Today’s game-playing audience is split nearly 50/50 along gender lines, according to recent studies, and nearly 70% of those dedicated players are over 18. These findings by the Entertainment Software Assn. hardly jibe with the stereotype of the antisocial, video-game addicted teen. If anything, they point to a newfound diversity for a medium that was always thought to be strictly for adolescent males. But “GTFO,” a documentary premiering Monday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, paints another picture, and it isn’t half as pretty. Women quoted in the film talk about receiving rape and death threats as if it’s a common, everyday occurrence. Former BioWare game writer Jennifer Brandes Hepler says she was once receiving up to 500 harassing emails per day, noting that she even found someone on a message board […]
March 12, 2015 | 10:42 a.m.

‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ gets release date, spinoff titled ‘Rogue One’

Gareth Edwards, left, and Rian Johnson. (Carolyn Cole, Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
Mark you calendars. “Star Wars: Episode VIII” will open May 26, 2017. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger revealed the news at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday in San Francisco. “Episode VIII” will be directed by Rian Johnson (“Looper”), who will take the reins of the saga from J.J. Abrams — Abrams’ film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is set to open Dec. 18 and will see stars of the landmark original trilogy reprise their iconic roles alongside a large ensemble of newcomers including John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac. Johnson’s previous films include the high-school noir “Brick” and the caper comedy “The Brothers Bloom,” and he’s best known for the mind-bending time-travel thriller “Looper,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. The 2012 movie grossed $176 million at the worldwide box office. Iger also said that the first […]
March 08, 2015 | 7:00 p.m.

Valiant-DMG deal could bring Harbinger, X-O Manowar, more to screen

bloodshot and Valiant friends for featured image
BEIJING — Whether “Iron Man” or “The Dark Knight” or “Spider-Man,” comic-book films have been hot properties for producers. But with the rights to the Marvel and DC Comics character universes essentially locked up by major studios, smaller publishers are attracting increasing attention these days — even from as far away as China. On Monday, Beijing-based DMG Entertainment is expected to announce that it’s investing at least $10 million in New York-based comics publisher Valiant and putting forth at least $100 million of film financing capital to bring Valiant characters such as Harbinger, X-O Manowar, Shadowman and Dr. Mirage to TV screens and cinemas around the world. Valiant has less than 1% of the U.S. comic book market. (DC and Marvel account for more than 60% combined.) But Valiant’s huge ensemble of characters, who encompass a diversity of ethnic backgrounds, […]
March 06, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Chappie’ filmmaker Neill Blomkamp takes creative vision to the edge

Chappie (Sharlto Copley) in a scene from "Chappie." (Columbia Pictures)
Neill Blomkamp is a young filmmaker comfortable with risk. For his third feature, “Chappie,” in which gangsters gain custody of a robot endowed with artificial intelligence, the writer-director set out to craft a violent fairy tale about the very meaning of consciousness. And to anchor his South African-set tale, he cast the elaborately tattooed cult rappers Die Antwoord, a duo long on underground credibility but short on mainstream visibility. “You’ve got to run equations in your head, not financial equations, but equations of accessibility — at what degree do you think it’s too far or it isn’t too far,” Blomkamp said in Santa Monica late last year. “The idea of Die Antwoord in a movie, you’re on the outer peripheral edge there. To set it in South Africa, also, you’re pushing it. But I felt that the core story was […]
March 05, 2015 | 12:00 p.m.

‘Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage’ concert tour will boldly go in 2016

“Star Trek” is coming to a concert hall near you. A symphonic tribute to the music from the legendary sci-fi franchise, “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage,” will tour 100 North American cities next year. The concert series will debut in Florida in January, with stops scheduled throughout Canada and the U.S. through April 2016. Presented by CineConcerts, CBS Consumer Products and Paramount Pictures, the concerts will touch on major themes from composers Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and Leonard Rosenman, with a symphony orchestra performing live as footage from various “Star Trek” movies and TV shows is projected onto a 40-foot screen. A pre-tour performance is set to take place at Royal Albert Hall in London on Nov. 1, 2015. The concerts will include music from the films “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Star Trek […]
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