John Horn

Aug. 30, 2013 | 9:55 a.m.

‘Ender’s Game’ director Gavin Hood on sci-fi battle sequences, integrity

NEW ORLEANS — The Michoud Assembly Facility just south of Lake Pontchartrain is the place where Saturn V rockets and the space shuttle’s external fuel tanks were put together. But on a muggy spring day last year, NASA’s largely abandoned manufacturing plant was the site of an intergalactic mission of a very different kind: bringing “Ender’s Game” to life. Inside the massive complex, filmmaker Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) was barking out directions over a public address system to the movie’s young cast, which includes “Hugo’s” Asa Butterfield and “True Grit’s” Hailee Steinfeld. “Boom, boom! It’s really unbelievable,” Hood yelled to his cast. Except it wasn’t, yet. FULL COVERAGE: Movie Sneaks 2013 The young stars, arrayed at computer terminals inside a deep-space military academy, were looking around frantically at an empty stage, Hood trying to help them visualize what that […]
July 12, 2013 | 2:07 p.m.

‘Ender’s Game’: To deflate boycott, Lionsgate shuns Orson Scott Card

Trying to impede a boycott of its “Ender’s Game” movie sparked by anti-gay-marriage remarks made by the book’s author, Lionsgate has issued a statement distancing itself from novelist Orson Scott Card. The studio also said it will host an “Ender’s Game” benefit for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community. Set for release Nov. 1, the sci-fi story adapts Card’s 1985 novel, set in a near future in which an alien race known as the Formics have attacked Earth. The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a bright boy recruited to help humanity face future threats, and is directed by Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”). Although the novel is revered by many, Card’s political views have stirred great controversy. The writer has a history of making comments opposed to same-sex marriage, and his recent remarks about the Supreme Court’s ruling […]
June 19, 2013 | 2:07 p.m.

‘Man of Steel’ flew in just in time for Antje Traue

Like many performers at a crossroads, Antje Traue gave herself an ultimatum. If she wasn’t able to support herself through acting by age 30, she would stop waiting tables and start a different career. Good thing she didn’t say 29. Just as Traue was about to reach her self-imposed deadline, the actor landed a series of plum roles, most notably as the nearly indestructible villainess Faora-Ul in “Man of Steel,” which has already grossed more than $152.7 million in its first week of release and is just starting to roll out around the globe. Traue next will be seen as one of the leads in “Seventh Son,” a fantasy film due in October, and has been meeting with several directors about her next gig. As the sidekick to Michael Shannon’s General Zod in “Man of Steel,” Traue’s Faora-Ul doesn’t have […]
April 24, 2013 | 4:55 p.m.

‘Iron Man 3’: Chinese version unavailable to U.S. audiences, for now

“Iron Man 3” will open in the U.S. and in China on May 3 — a rare feat of so-called day-and-date timing. But for all of the pre-production publicity about how Disney’s Marvel Entertainment and China’s DMG Entertainment joined forces to make the superhero sequel an international collaboration, the few extra sequences shot for the Chinese version of the movie won’t be part of its American release. In an interview Monday, Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and the producer of “Iron Man 3,” described the scenes as “a very minor extra story line” that involves a character named Dr. Wu (Wang Xueqi). Actress Fan Bingbing has a role as well, as a woman close to the doctor. “Iron Man 3″ co-writer and director Shane Black did not direct the scenes that filmed in China, and star Robert Downey Jr. […]
April 05, 2013 | 11:50 a.m.

‘Trance’: Danny Boyle won’t return to sci-fi, blames Kubrick

Movie directors often tell their actors to act small — you’re not in a theater, and the last row in the balcony doesn’t need to hear you. British director Danny Boyle doesn’t follow that script. Only with slightly larger-than-life performances as a foundation, he says, can you start adding strange stuff on top. “Actors will often do nothing,” Boyle said last Saturday at an early screening of his art heist thriller “Trance,” hosted by Hero Complex at WonderCon in Anaheim. “It’s safer to do very, very little. You know that kind of muttering acting.” Boyle said he encourages his cast to ramp it up a bit, because that allows the filmmaker to add bizarre elements to what otherwise would be a realistic story. “You can get the surreal in — because the bed that you’re on is not absolutely bedded […]
April 04, 2013 | 11:48 a.m.

‘Trance’: Danny Boyle embraces dark side with heist thriller

Anybody familiar with Danny Boyle’s movies (“Trainspotting,” “Shallow Grave,” “28 Days Later,” “Slumdog Millionaire”) knows he is fond of disturbing images, and he doesn’t alter the course with his new art heist thriller “Trance.” The British filmmaker, speaking  Saturday at an early screening of “Trance” hosted by Hero Complex at WonderCon in Anaheim, said he was drawn to “Trance’s” darker side largely as an antidote to his directing the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Boyle shot “Trance” while he simultaneously  preparing the games, then finished work on the film after staging the ceremonies. “It was wonderful to do something so different to that big celebratory, endlessly positive, family-friendly” event, Boyle said of shifting from the games to “Trance.” “To go to the dark side on the other days was really, really wonderful.” The film stars James McAvoy as […]
April 03, 2013 | 12:21 p.m.

‘Trance’: Danny Boyle talks time-shifting art heist thriller

Danny Boyle’s art heist thriller “Trance” is as much about the theft of a precious painting as it is a study of memory. When a robber named Simon (James McAvoy) suffers a brain injury, he can’t remember where he hid the stolen masterpiece, so a hypnotist (Rosario Dawson) helps him rewind his mind to an earlier time. Consequently, “Trance,” which opens Friday, rapidly shifts between the present and the past — sometimes so quickly the audience has to sort out whether it’s watching a memory or a current event. “Einstein said that the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once,”  Boyle said Saturday at an early screening of “Trance” hosted by Hero Complex at WonderCon in Anaheim. “I think cinema is a complete contradiction of that — because the wonder of cinema is that everything […]
April 02, 2013 | 4:30 p.m.

Danny Boyle finds his inner feminist with heist film ‘Trance’

Director Danny Boyle has directed some strong women in a number of memorable roles: Think of Freida Pinto in “Slumdog Millionaire,” Naomie Harris in “28 Days Later,” Kerry Fox in “Shallow Grave” and Virginie Ledoyen in “The Beach.” But the British filmmaker had never cast a woman as the dramatic axis of any of his productions until Friday’s “Trance,” which stars Rosario Dawson as a hypnotherapist trying to help an amnesiac art thief (James McAvoy) recall where he stashed a stolen  masterpiece. Boyle first encountered the “Trance” screenplay nearly 20 years ago, when writer Joe Ahearne sent it to the filmmaker. Ahearne wanted to direct the movie himself, and eventually did as a television movie in 2001, but the script’s central premise — and the chance to have a female protagonist— stuck in Boyle’s mind. “The idea of a woman […]
March 11, 2013 | 6:15 p.m.

Ridley Scott announces sci-fi shorts deal with Machinima

Ridley Scott, the director of “Blade Runner” and “Alien,” has signed a deal with the gaming and streaming media website Machinima to produce a dozen short sci-fi films that will use filmmakers from Scott’s commercial production company. The most successful of the short films could be developed into features, Machinima and Scott announced Monday. Scott will serve as executive producer, and the 12 shorts will be made by directors working for Scott’s advertising concern, Ridley Scott Associates. Machinima, which says it reaches 262 million viewers monthly, recently started work on a feature-length version of its “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” series. Scott’s advertising roster includes such heavyweight filmmakers as Kathryn Bigelow, Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes and Neill Blomkamp. Scott most recently returned to science fiction himself with last year’s “Prometheus,” which took place in the same universe as his landmark “Alien” and […]
Jan. 03, 2013 | 8:30 a.m.

‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ director: Leatherface abused, stunted, lethal

It might not be as well known to some moviegoers as “Friday the 13th,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Saw,” but “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” ranks high among the most revered titles in the horror genre. The 1974 serial killer story by Tobe Hooper sent five friends into the clutches of the Sawyer family, a clan of rural cannibals. Although the film’s central villain, the power tool-wielding Leatherface, lived on in sequels and a 2003 remake starring Jessica Biel, the series has lain dormant since 2006’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” which was a flop critically and commercially. Now, director John Luessenhop (“Takers,” “Lockdown”) and a team of producers are resurrecting Leatherface with “Texas Chainsaw 3D.” The movie opens Friday and is expected to do strong business of as much as $18 million in its debut weekend. “From the […]
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