March 08, 2012 | 9:40 a.m.
The buccaneer genre was a Hollywood castaway before Johnny Depp, Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer proved the skeptics wrong with their “Pirates of the Caribbean” mega-success — now the same trio and rising star Armie Hammer want to disprove the conventional view that Westerns are snakebit when it comes to attracting young moviegoers. Producer Bruckheimer used Twitter on Thursday morning to give the world the first look at director Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger,” the Disney film that overcame some oddly public budget shoot-outs and will ride against the industry assumption that the Hollywood Western long ago rode off into the sunset as a viable popcorn prospect with young audiences. Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys & Aliens” experiment didn’t do anything to change that view, although Verbinski’s “Rango” put up an animated argument against the perception. The photo shows Depp as Tonto — described by Disney as “a spirit warrior on a personal quest” — and […]
Dec. 04, 2011 | 9:48 a.m.
OSCARS SEASON Will “Rango” ride off into the sunset with an Academy Award? The Envelope is the awards insider for the Los Angeles Times and features the work of our Hero Complex writers. Here’s a look at one story from the upcoming animation issue of The Envelope; this one looks at the Gore Verbinski western that won over critics and should be a contender in the now-underway Oscar season. When you think of Johnny Depp it’s hard not to think of Tim Burton — the movie star and director tandem have worked on seven feature films together — but with the success of “Rango” it may be time to more carefully consider the collaboration of Depp and Gore Verbinski, the soft-spoken popcorn auteur who has now made four movies with the actor since 2003 and is now preparing a fifth. Depp says the two directors will never be mistaken for each […]
Nov. 27, 2011 | 8:03 p.m.
The late Ted Demme once approached Terry Gilliam and asked for the secret of his cinema sorcery. Demme wanted to know how the director of “Brazil,” “Twelve Monkeys” and “The Fisher King” approached those magical transition moments in his movies where reality lurches and gives way to fantasy swirl and fever dream. The elder director, with a toothy grin, explained that he just wasn’t qualified to answer because, well, he wouldn’t know reality if he saw it. “I never quite understand what the real world is,” Gilliam said during a recent visit to Los Angeles. “I told Ted I shoot reality and fantasy the same way because it’s all the same to me. I don’t know how to distinguish between the two, they flow into each other all the time. That’s the autobiographical part in my movies…in Hollywood, everyone takes characters and puts them into action sequences […]
Sept. 15, 2011 | 3:17 p.m.
Sitting in the dark with “A Clockwork Orange” is a rite of passage for many moviegoers and young Tim Burton was no different. “It looms quite large,” Burton said of Stanley Kubrick’s dark 1971 classic. “I remember I saw that movie at a drive-in on one of the first dates I ever had. It was a double bill of ‘Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Deliverance.’ My girlfriend got drunk, and I remember watching ‘Clockwork Orange’ and her throwing up the backseat while I just sat there and watched the movie.” This year marks the 40th anniversary of the transgressive film that starred Malcolm McDowell. Friday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen “A Clockwork Orange” at a sold-out tribute to McDowell. (Hero Complex’s own Geoff Boucher will be interviewing the actor on stage before the screening.) The film was […]
June 10, 2011 | 5:28 a.m.
The Tim Burton exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on display in the museum’s Resnick Pavilion through Halloween, collects a number of props, costumes and other artifacts from the director’s film work — and even previews some maquettes from his upcoming stop-motion animated feature-length retelling of his 1984 short “Frankenweenie.” That film is just one of three projects that will bring Burton’s name back to the multiplex in 2012, though: He’s also directing a big-screen version of the vampire soap opera “Dark Shadows” with Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, and he’s producing the literary adaptation of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” author Seth Grahame-Smith’s alternative recounting of the life of our 16th president. Burton said he immediately sparked to the idea for the film, which stars Benjamin Walker as Lincoln and posits that the president had supernatural motivations […]
May 30, 2011 | 3:03 p.m.
Johnny Depp will be remembered as the greatest star of his time and history will rank him with celluloid legends such as Humphrey Bogart, Rudolph Valentino and Clark Gable, according to Rob Marshall, the director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the Disney seafaring adventure that (for now) stands as the biggest international box office hit of 2011. “He’s as vivid as those great stars of the past, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable and Errol Flynn,” Marshall said. “Many, many, many years from now, when people look at this generation of Hollywood, he will be considered the great star of this era. He’s his own thing and he takes major chances every single time he makes a film.” Marshall, the 50-year-old filmmaker who was nominated for an Oscar for “Chicago,” said he had been told by “Pirates” producer Jerry Bruckheimer to […]
May 29, 2011 | 7:34 a.m.
In the old days of Tinseltown, an actor knew they had made it when their caricature graced the walls of the Brown Derby. These days, a celebrity might feel the same way about the Lego video games TT Games. Since 2005, TT Games has converted some of Hollywood’s biggest properties — “Star Wars,” Indiana Jones, Harry Potter —into games that blend action and puzzles with a healthy sense of humor, and, yes, plenty of brick building. Now Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” has joined the elite group. Hero Complex contributor Mike Winder caught up with Jonathan Smith, TT’s head of production in Knutsford, England, about giving Jack Sparrow and his cinematic crew a brickish makeover. MW: Lego Pirates of the Caribbean includes the narratives for all four films and actually came out a few days prior to the release of “On Stranger Tides” in theaters. How early […]
May 27, 2011 | 4:31 p.m.
The day before the Disneyland premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the actress Penélope Cruz lounged back on a couch in a bright hotel room in Santa Monica and put her hand over her heart in a gesture of great emotion. “Making this film had great meaning for me and I will remember it for all of the rest of my life,” the 37-year-old star said with a kind of moist-eyed conviction that you don’t typically associate with summer popcorn films. “This became much more than a movie.” The reason went beyond scripts and box office — the Oscar-winning actress and her husband, Javier Bardem, welcomed their first child, Leo Encinas Bardem, in January and that meant during the six-month shoot for “Pirates” that Disney, director Rob Marshall, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, star Johnny Depp and the rest of the cast and crew all tilted toward the needs […]
May 22, 2011 | 6:22 p.m.
Today’s box office is ruled by tricky tides — pricey tickets, especially for 3-D and Imax screenings make historical comparisons a slippery business — which is why “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” can described as a record success (the film scored the biggest international opening of all time with $256 million in theaters beyond the U.S. and Canada) and also a bit of a disappointment (it fell short of the domestic opening weekend performance of the second and third “Pirates” films). To make sense of it all, we turn to Ben Fritz of The Times’ Company Town blog, who goes into the numbers: Captain Jack Sparrow no longer rules the high seas at domestic movie theaters, but took home record-breaking booty overseas with the biggest international opening of all time. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” debuted to $90.1 million in […]
May 22, 2011 | 8:17 a.m.
When it comes to 3-D, Johnny Depp just can’t see the appeal — literally. The star of the new 3-D spectacle “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” — as well as last year’s billion-dollar hit “Alice in Wonderland” — says that due to an eyesight defect, the stereoscopic effect of 3-D cinematic images is lost on him. “I’ve never seen the movies in 3-D,” Depp said. “I actually can’t see in 3-D. I’ve got a bum eye. So I’ve never been able to watch the movies and see what everybody else sees. “I don’t see things normally, I never have. I wouldn’t know what 3-D was if it hit me in the face. I’m more interested in 4-D and 5-D anyway. I’ll just bypass the 3 and go straight to the 4 and the 5.” The 47-year-old may have issues with depth perception but he doesn’t […]