July 04, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Before Francis Ford Coppola shot “The Godfather,” he gathered his cast for a meal during which the actors all reflexively began deferring to Marlon Brando, establishing a crucial dynamic of the film. Last April in a forest in British Columbia, when director Matt Reeves wanted to inaugurate another feared and respected screen leader, Andy Serkis’ simian ruler, Caesar, in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” he remembered that story, which Coppola had shared with him at a film class. “I had imagined that Caesar was the Don Corleone of the apes,” Reeves said. Reeves sent his cast of ape actors through improvisations to help establish Serkis’ character as the alpha. “The emotional life of the apes was the thing I was desperate to explore.” And just as Brando relied on a quiet virility to communicate Corleone’s authority, Serkis built […]
June 13, 2014 | 11:49 a.m.
While writing his 1984 breakout film “Terminator,” James Cameron lived on McDonald’s, diner coffee and the money he made painting one-sheets for bad direct-to-video movies. The director, who would go on to helm the highest-grossing movie of all time, “Avatar,” expressed a surprising fondness for that early, “zero billion dollar” stage of his career while speaking at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival recently. “It was actually easy to write cause I didn’t have to self-isolate like I do now, from multi-tasking with other businesses, and with a family with five kids,” Cameron said, when he took the stage late last month at the event, which was held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood May 30-June 1. “I was already isolated… basically just a sad, dark, isolated human being.” In an in-depth conversation between screenings of “The Terminator” and its […]
June 12, 2014 | 12:46 p.m.
It’s hard to imagine James Cameron’s 1984 film “The Terminator” starring anyone other than Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role. But there was a moment when that iconic piece of casting was in doubt. Speaking at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival recently, Cameron took the stage for an extended Q&A between screenings of “The Terminator” and its sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” to discuss the making of the movie that launched his and Schwarzenegger’s careers. During the conversation, Cameron recalled how Schwarzenegger nearly didn’t get to deliver his famous line, “I’ll be back.” Instead of the Terminator, the movie’s terrifying, nearly mute cyborg sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor, Schwarzenegger was originally up for the role of Kyle Reese, the movie’s hero, who was ultimately played by Michael Biehn. At the behest of his financiers, who were high on casting […]
June 09, 2014 | 11:09 a.m.
When Walt Disney Animation Studios last year announced its first movie inspired by a Marvel comic, an adaptation of a lesser known crime-fighter series called “Big Hero 6,” director Don Hall said that the absence of a detail-obsessed fan base for the series was part of its appeal, as it left every character and setting open to interpretation. “I was looking for something on the obscure side, something that would mesh well with what we do,” Hall said in an interview with Hero Complex. “The idea of a kid and a robot story with a strong brother element, it’s very Disney.” On Monday, a new teaser poster arrived for the project, which will center on a robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada and his robot companion BayMax, who join a team of superheroes in a high-tech city called San Fransokyo. (For a […]
June 03, 2014 | 1:10 p.m.
It takes a village to write three movies at once — or at least that’s how James Cameron is approaching the three “Avatar” sequels. Speaking at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival over the weekend, the “Avatar” director described his strategy for completing the three scripts — which are scheduled to be shot simultaneously beginning later this year — with a technique borrowed from television writers’ rooms. Taking place at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters, the Hero Complex Film Festival featured screenings of Cameron’s seminal 1984 science fiction film “The Terminator” and sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” The director took the stage in between the films for an extended Q&A in which he discussed his progress on scripts for the next big film franchise on his plate, the Pandora-set fantasy “Avatar.” “The first thing I did was I sat for a year and […]
June 01, 2014 | 7:34 a.m.
Revolutionary filmmaker James Cameron is one of the most venerated directors working in Hollywood today. But three decades ago, his life was very different. He was earning a living painting one sheets for B-grade movies and using McDonald’s coupons his mother sent to him to eat regular meals. It was during that time that he wrote the script for the film that would transform his career. “I was a sad, dark, isolated human being,” Cameron recalled during an interview onstage at the 5th annual Hero Complex Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood on Saturday, following a screening of 1984’s “The Terminator.” “There was an innocence to it in a funny way. I was the anonymous, angry wannabe filmmaker, and I think there’s some courage to say whatever comes into your head…. I was a free voice in […]
March 23, 2014 | 3:58 p.m.
“Divergent” director Neil Burger had to create a vivid future Chicago, cast a unique, young female warrior and distill Veronica Roth’s dense, 487-page book into a 139-minute movie. But perhaps his trickiest task was to make a movie that would satisfy “Divergent’s” loyal fan base. At a Hero Complex preview screening of the film March 19 at the AMC Burbank 16 & IMAX theater, Burger discussed how he handled fan expectations and how involved Roth was in the production — right down to a cameo role. “I had thousands of questions for her,” Burger said. Set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into factions based on their personalities, “Divergent” stars Shailene Woodley as Tris, a young woman who doesn’t fit into any one faction. PROFILE: Shailene Woodley embraces being divergent Actor Jai Courtney, who plays Eric, an intimidating […]
March 22, 2014 | 2:30 p.m.
“Divergent” director Neil Burger and producer Doug Wick went to great lengths to assemble a dynamic young cast for the film, but the movie’s most important role came easily, according to Wick, after a meeting with actress Shailene Woodley, who had just come off “The Descendants.” “We were preparing to do a worldwide search,” Wick said at a Hero Complex preview screening of “Divergent” March 19 at the AMC Burbank 16 & IMAX theater. “She seemed so exactly Tris. The worldwide search quickly went away.” Based on a novel by Veronica Roth and set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into factions based on their personalities, “Divergent” stars Woodley as a young woman who doesn’t fit into any one faction. MORE: What Shailene Woodley’s costars had to say about her Burger, Wick, and Jai Courtney, who plays Eric, the […]
March 22, 2014 | 8:21 a.m.
“Divergent” director Neil Burger wanted his adaptation of Veronica Roth’s dystopian novel to feel different from other futuristic cinema in a crucial way. “We’ve seen other movies set in the future — they’re often dark and cold looking and grim and bleak,” Burger said at a Hero Complex preview screening of “Divergent” March 19 at the AMC Burbank 16 & IMAX theater. “I thought, maybe there’s a different way to go at this… to make the society seem… kind of inviting. It’s much more luminous and the colors are warmer to start with.” Set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into factions based on their personalities, “Divergent” stars Shailene Woodley as a young woman who doesn’t fit into any one faction. MORE: What Shailene Woodley’s costars had to say about her Along with Burger, producer Doug Wick and actor […]
Feb. 08, 2014 | 9:20 a.m.
“The Lego Movie” features Will Arnett tacking Batman’s brooding cool guy image to its logical extreme — idiocy. Directed by “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and “21 Jump Street” filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, “The Lego Movie” follows everybrick Emmet (Chris Pratt) as he tries to stop an evil tyrant (Will Ferrell) from gluing the universe together. Batman, the narcissistic goth boyfriend of Lego resistance fighter Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), speaks in a growl, only builds with black bricks and dismisses Emmet’s every building idea. In an interview with Hero Complex, Arnett shared how he and the filmmakers found their post-Christian Bale Batman sound, how much input DC Comics had into the character and what his personal Lego-building style is. Hero Complex: At some point in the last 10 years or so our culture started taking superheroes very seriously, and none more […]