Oct. 26, 2012 | 3:19 p.m.
Before he was the Terminator, he was Conan the Barbarian. Now, some 30 years after his screen breakthrough in “Conan the Barbarian,” the former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed on to a new movie project that would see him reclaim his warrior’s throne. Universal confirmed today that it is moving forward on “The Legend of Conan,” as the new movie will be titled (with a planned release in 2014). The project arrives as the latest splashy star vehicle for the Governator, who inhabits a small part in two “Expendables” films, will be next seen as a small-town sheriff battling a drug cartel in “The Last Stand,” set for release early next year, and is currently filming “Ten,” a David Ayer-directed thriller in which he portrays a Drug Enforcement Administration agent. Created in the 1930s by pulp author Robert […]
Oct. 25, 2012 | 6:00 a.m.
In director Luis Prieto’s experience, when you set out to shoot a druggy crime drama in London’s legendarily cocaine-fueled nightclub world, odds are you’re going to find yourself surrounded by more than a few people sniffing actual Bolivian marching powder — not just lines of prop coke for the camera’s sake. He made that discovery while filming “Pusher,” an English-language remake of 1996’s Danish gangster smash of the same name directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the Scandinavian auteur behind “Drive,” last year’s critically hailed, Ryan Gosling-starring noir-thriller. In “Pusher,” which arrives in theaters Friday, Brit actor Richard Coyle portrays Frank, a mid-level dope dealer who’s uprooted from his comfortable existence of booze, strippers and key bumps after botching a major score. The character must raise 55,000 pounds tout de suite to repay a drug debt or find himself in the […]
Jan. 16, 2011 | 8:50 a.m.
Judging from the belly laughs at theaters, it’s one of the funniest scenes in the action-comedy “The Green Hornet”: Newly empowered as masked crusaders, party-boy media scion Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) and his trusty manservant Kato (Taiwanese pop star and action-movie heartthrob Jay Chou) head out into Los Angeles to battle the bad guys. As their Chrysler Imperial lurches into traffic, Kato drops the needle on a turntable in the backseat. And Reid begins to rap along to Coolio’s R&B tinged 1995 criminal anthem “Gangsta’s Paradise.” With its maudlin take on urban nihilism and mellifluous hook (courtesy of the singer L.V.), the song assumes buffoonish overtones with its new context — a pump-up theme for superheroes on their work commute. “Hornet’s” distributor Columbia Pictures saw the song’s marketing potential, making it a cornerstone of one of its TV spots for the film. But to […]
Dec. 23, 2010 | 8:20 p.m.
For a story in this Sunday’s Calendar, our sister blog Pop & Hiss scored a rare — well, let’s be real– a just-this-side-of-impossible-to-land interview with Daft Punk to get the lowdown on how the Grammy-winning Parisian dance music duo went about creating the chart-topping soundtrack for the sci-fi epic “Tron: Legacy.” From the word go, almost everything about the process went counter-intuitively: band mates Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo didn’t want the job when it was first offered to them, they balked when Disney Studios asked them to collaborate with a bigger-name film score composer and then rejected the kind of music everyone expected them to record for “Tron” — rave-y, four-on-the-floor Big Beat electronica — in lieu of more symphonic compositions that forefront an 85-piece orchestra and back-burner electronic musical cues. “Especially in the beginning, ["Tron: Legacy" director] […]
Dec. 07, 2010 | 1:49 p.m.
WELCOME TO THE MACHINE: On Dec. 17, the Disney film “Tron: Legacy” picks up the story of the 1982 movie “Tron,” which was neither a critical nor commercial success but somehow still echoes in pop culture as an early signpost of the digital era’s glowing frontier. “Tron” is remembered more for its ideas and images (and its namesake video game) than for its story or characters, and that is a challenge presented to this new film, which is directed by Joseph Kosinski and stars Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. We’re counting down to the release date and today’s post is on the film’s soundtrack. For fanboys as well as fans of the Parisian electronica duo Daft Punk, the “Tron: Legacy” teaser trailer released in October did double-duty. It certainly hyped the movie sequel to 1982’s video game odyssey “Tron,” but the […]
Sept. 30, 2010 | 2:34 p.m.
Los Angele Times pop music writer Chris Lee was among the journalists who got a sneak peek of “Tron: Legacy” footage on Wednesday and he wrote a special report for Hero Complex on the special backbeat of the film… For the last two years, Parisian Big Beat electronica experts Daft Punk have retreated from live performances to toil over and perfect the soundtrack for December’s sci-fi epic “Tron: Legacy.” But a holiday movie showcase on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank on Wednesday revealed something else about the duo’s participation. Included in 23 minutes of the still-unfinished movie that the studio screened: a Daft Punk cameo. In the scene, a pale white dandy called Castor portrayed by Michael Sheen (“The Queen,” “Frost/Nixon“ ) reclines on a small divan waving a translucent walking stick. He glances over to a glass partition where two suspiciously familiar-looking […]
May 29, 2010 | 9:46 p.m.
Chris Lee went on the set of “The A-Team” and found out firsthand that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson lives up to his nickname. This is a longer version of the Calendar cover story that will appear in the Sunday edition of the Times. Talk about a Bad Attitude. As early December darkness fell on the Vancouver set of Fox’s $100-million movie reboot of “ Pride of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and a former light-heavyweight champ (he is scheduled to fight May 29 for the title in Las Vegas) — a guy whose day job consists of beating the toughest men in the world into either submission or unconsciousness — Jackson stood in the middle of his trailer spewing invective with a glint of real menace in his eye. At issue: a movie crew member had wandered in on this final day of […]
May 22, 2010 | 3:47 p.m.
This is a longer version of Chris Lee’s cover story in this Sunday’s Los Angeles Times Calendar section. Since its release, the video game franchise Prince of Persia has become notable for the acrobatic grace of its dagger-wielding, balloon pants-wearing hero as well as for what the games didn’t do: affront gamers of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent with stereotypical depictions of people from the region as terrorists or religious zealots. Independent filmmaker and blogger Jehanzeb Dar, to name one such player, remembers his favorable first reaction to the swashbuckling action game, which is set amid the sands and ancient cities of Persia (as ancient Iran is known) and follows a hero with a magic sword caught between forces of good and evil. “You could see clearly the protagonist had distinct Middle Eastern features and darker skin,” said Dar, 26, […]
May 05, 2010 | 10:01 p.m.
Chris Lee checks in with this exlcusive for the Hero Complex… On film, Jessica Biel has fought off Leatherface (in the 2003 reboot of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), played an Austro-Hungarian duchess (in the art house mystery “The Illusionist”) and even served as the objet du desir for Adam Sandler’s closeted heterosexual schlemiel (in 2007’s “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”). But Biel had a challenge of entirely different caliber with “The A-Team,” which opens June 11. She portrays Army specialist Lt. Charisa Sosa, ex-paramour of the Team’s dashing rogue, Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper). Her character becomes the squad’s arresting officer when the four Iraq war covert operatives are set up for a crime they didn’t commit. And, as the actress explained in between scenes on the film’s Vancouver set in December, she had to bring in the big guns for […]
April 26, 2010 | 11:51 p.m.
ON THE SET: “THE A-TEAM” Here’s more Hero Complex coverage of “The A-Team” from Chris Lee’s visit to the set in Vancouver in December. Just like those prawn aliens in ”District 9,” Sharlto Copley has a strange, long-hidden secret in his South African past: It turns out the actor may have been the biggest “A-Team” fan in his native country. “It was my favorite show when I was a kid,” Copley said of the NBC commando series that is now the basis of a feature film opening June 11 with Copley as one of its stars. “For the first two years it was on, I wasn’t allowed to watch; my parents thought it was too violent. “But I sneak-watched a few episodes. And I used to tape record the audio.” And, guess what, Copley’s favorite character on the TV series just happened to be Capt. […]