Nicole Sperling

Jan. 11, 2013 | 12:47 p.m.

Monster love: Filling the post-‘Twilight,’ pre-‘Hunger Games’ void

Angsty teenage love may be as old as Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters, but with the star-crossed lover motif getting a makeover (often introducing elements of the supernatural) in the last few years from novelists Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins, Hollywood has been stalking the young adult book market with the ferocity of a jilted lover. One result is a pileup at the box office this season of female-driven stories with strong-willed protagonists battling zombies, witches and aliens while wrestling with their own overwrought emotions. In the next three months Summit Entertainment, Open Road Films and Warner Bros. will, respectively, release three movies targeting this voracious crowd: “Warm Bodies,” “The Host” and “Beautiful Creatures.” But with so many fighting for attention, will there be enough audience adoration to go around? “What I think we have going for us is I […]
July 12, 2012 | 8:05 p.m.

Comic-Con: ‘Twilight’ cast returns to Hall H for the final time

For fans of “Twilight,” it was the end of an era. “Breaking Dawn Pt. 2,” the final installment in the blockbuster movie saga opened Comic-Con International’s Hall H presentations Thursday, with new footage, a few funny quips and the official debut of 11-year-old Mackenzie Foy, who plays Renesmee, the “half-vamp kid” of protagonists Edward Cullen and his human-cum-vampire wife Bella Swan. Stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner still enjoyed the bulk of the spotlight — the only principal missing from the festivities was director Bill Condon, who is currently in London scoring the movie with his longtime collaborator, Carter Burwell; even series author Stephenie Meyer, who returned to Comic-Con for the first time since “Twilight” was released in 2008, joined in on the fun, participating with her long-time collaborators. (She also brought footage from the “The Host,” Andrew […]
June 09, 2012 | 7:31 a.m.

‘Prometheus’: Noomi Rapace says she gutted out a ‘psychological meltdown’

SPOILER ALERT: This post reveals details about a key scene in “Prometheus” and also touches on other major plot points.  SPOILER ALERT: Haven’t seen “Prometheus” but you plan to? You might want to read this post later. From the moment Swedish actress Noomi Rapace signed on to play Elizabeth Shaw in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi action film “Prometheus,” she was concerned that acting in front of a green screen would be a big challenge. But Scott had no intention of putting Rapace on an empty stage. Rather, the director and his crew built enormous sets at Pinewood Studios in London to create the far-off planet where Shaw and her crew land after two years of space travel. Even the monsters in Scott’s world were real — including the baby alien that Rapace’s Shaw rips out of her belly with help of […]
March 20, 2012 | 11:08 a.m.

‘Hunger Games’: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Josh Hutcherson thinks he’s in Dallas, though all he’s seen is an airport, a hotel and a mall. It’s 16 days before the opening of “The Hunger Games,” and though the 19-year-old actor has been performing since he was 9 — in films as diverse as “American Splendor,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “The Kids are All Right” — the reaction to co-starring in the adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel is unlike anything he’s ever experienced. It’s also the first cross-country mall tour the young actor has jumped aboard, hence the reason for his location confusion. In the last week, the actor has been in giant shopping centers in Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and Dallas, signing posters and books for throngs of screaming fans who have shown up to get a glimpse of the young man playing […]
Jan. 12, 2012 | 5:42 p.m.

‘Hunger Games’: Gary Ross on hunting the job, Jennifer Lawrence

For a guy knee-deep in post-production on one of 2012’s most highly anticipated films, Gary Ross exudes an unnatural calm. It’s mid-December and despite the 1,200 visual effects shots that need to be completed in the next month, not only is the hyper-articulate director of “The Hunger Games” willing to show a journalist around his sprawling edit bay in Hollywood, but he’d also probably show off the whole unfinished movie if only the studio would allow. Clues to Ross’ jovial-yet-serene disposition lay all around. His iPhone boasts a screen-saver picture from the set of the Lionsgate film — leading lady Jennifer Lawrence is wiping her nose on Ross’ sleeve while the two are standing in the middle of a North Carolina forest. Walk down the hall to editor Stephen Mirrione’s office and he quips how Lawrence “makes everyone’s life a […]
July 25, 2011 | 12:43 p.m.

‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’ director nixes ‘crazy, great’ sex scene

For Bill Condon, director of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” Comic-Con 2011 was all about the art of the reveal. The director, who made his maiden voyage to the San Diego geek fest to debut footage for the second-to-last “Twilight” movie, which will open in November, had to be very selective with what he showed the screaming fans. “Once we decided that we didn’t want to show the wedding dress and once we decided we didn’t want to show her pregnant, we were limited to the honeymoon,” said Condon, who has been tasked with chapter of the “Twilight Saga” in which heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) marries her vampire boyfriend Edward (Robert Pattinson), has a baby and is turned into a vampire herself. “Then the question was do we want to show the sex, which would have been crazy and […]
July 25, 2011 | 11:27 a.m.

Comic-Con 2011: Spider-Man, Steven Spielberg and TV tribes

With great power comes great responsibility, and maybe that’s why Andrew Garfield’s expression alternated between somber and seasick an hour before he faced the spotlight glare of Comic-Con International. “We all know how big a deal this is,” said the 27-year-old British-bred actor who will wear the mask in “The Amazing Spider-Man” next summer as Sony Pictures tries to reboot the franchise that has earned close to $2.5 billion at the box office. “We don’t need to talk about it. We know what is at stake. We know the fans are everything.” That’s the potential burn — and signature sizzle — of Comic-Con, the annual, four-day San Diego pop culture expo that concluded Sunday. Dating back four decades, the event has grown from its scruffy comic-book swap meet beginnings into an extravaganza attracting 120,000 people, and Hollywood has come to […]
July 23, 2011 | 6:02 p.m.

Comic-Con 2011: ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ will have ‘Lord of the Rings’ scope

“Snow White and the Huntsman,” the fairy tale project that begins shooting next week in the United Kingdom with Kristen Stewart as the lead, has some tough hurdles to overcome. It’s competing with another “Snow White” project from Relativity Media that has already begun filming and features Julia Roberts as the evil queen. It’s also set to come out June 1, three months after Relativity’s “Snow White” movie will debut and close to two months before a Comic-Con International audience will be back in Hall H. What’s a studio to do? How about recruit fans at Comic-Con 2011 with some stills of the cast in costume, a charming British director with an impressive commercial reel and a crew of good-looking lead actors? That’s what Universal Pictures did Saturday afternoon during a  panel featuring Stewart, evil queen Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth […]
July 23, 2011 | 4:35 p.m.

Comic-Con 2011: Andrew Garfield wins over fans with his ‘Spider-Man’

Footage from Sony’s upcoming slate of films — including a sequel to “Ghost Rider,” the comedy “30 Minutes or Less” and a remake of “Total Recall” — was all entertaining but served primarily as preamble to the main event at Sony’s Comic-Con panel Friday: “The Amazing Spider-Man.” After the teaser trailer was released this week to lukewarm reception, Sony was charged with wowing audiences with its reboot of the web-slinger franchise, this time directed by Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer”). The studio introduced its most precious brand with great theatrics: The music rumbled, emcee Ralph Garman from radio station KROQ-FM (106.7) encouraged everyone to put on their 3-D glasses, and then the audience started clapping as the room slowly darkened to unveil footage of one of Comic-Con’s biggest heroes. The trailer played well to the packed room, but it was […]
July 23, 2011 | 2:39 p.m.

Comic-Con 2011: ‘Immortals’ brings young Greek gods to the screen

“Immortals” is the latest big-budget action movie looking for love from the audience at Comic-Con International, but unlike most of the other films being pitched here in San Diego, it’s not based on a comic-book, graphic novel or video game. “Immortals,” which opens  Nov. 11,  is an original screenplay — based albeit on Greek mythology. Director Tarsem Singh (“The Fall,” “The Cell”), a self-proclaimed atheist from the age of 9, says the idea for the project grew out of a conversation he had with his deeply religious mother. She had asked him how he would account for his success if it weren’t for his mother’s prayers? “I was interested in a guy like me dying, going to heaven, only to have the gods say, ‘You schmuck, why didn’t you listen?'” Singh said. Singh, and Mark Canton, the veteran producer of […]
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