Tracy Brown

March 20, 2015 | 12:17 p.m.

‘Insurgent': Shailene Woodley talks Tris’ battles, inside and out

Actress Shailene Woodley (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
The wait is over for “Divergent” fans. “Insurgent,” which opens today, sees Shailene Woodley return to the big screen as action heroine Tris Prior. The sequel, based on the second installment in Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA book trilogy, follows Tris Prior, a young woman who discovers she has an aptitude for multiple factions in her dystopian world’s rigid societal system. Tris tries to hide this unusual and dangerous trait, known as divergence, until she is forced to reveal her secret when one faction stages a coup by decimating another. “Insurgent” finds Tris and her allies on the run after interfering with this uprising in an effort to save their communities. Since “Divergent,” Woodley has appeared as Hazel Lancaster in “The Fault in Our Stars,” another adaptation of a YA bestseller, opposite her “Divergent” series costar Ansel Elgort. Woodley spoke to […]
March 19, 2015 | 1:00 p.m.

‘Insurgent’: Jai Courtney talks Eric’s journey, ‘Terminator’

Actor Jai Courtney.  (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
The release of “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” which opens Friday, will reunite fans not only with the film’s heroes Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James), but also with their foes, including Four’s rival and vicious Dauntless leader Eric, played by Jai Courtney. “Insurgent” is based on the second book in the series of Veronica Roth’s popular dystopian YA novels. It follows Tris Prior, a girl whose aptitude for multiple factions, called divergence, means she is considered a threat to the rigid society of a future Chicago that values the balance created by dividing its citizens into five factions based on dominant personality traits. Tris and her allies are on the run after the events in “Divergent,” in which she intervenes in an uprising organized by the leaders of two of the factions. Tasked with finding these refugees are leaders […]
March 18, 2015 | 8:00 a.m.

‘Insurgent': Naomi Watts on Evelyn and the universal themes in ‘Divergent’

Naomie Watts in "The Divergent Series: Insurgent." (Andrew Cooper / Lionsgate)
When “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” hits theaters on Friday, fans will not only be reunited with Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James), but they will also be properly introduced to several new characters who are making their big-screen debuts. Not least among these is resistance leader Evelyn Johnson, played by Naomi Watts. Based on Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA novels, “Insurgent” is set in a future version of Chicago in which citizens are divided into five factions based on personality traits. Young heroine Tris Prior, whose aptitude for multiple factions threatens to upset the societal order, finds herself on the run, along with love interest Four and other allies. Along the way, they meet Evelyn, the leader of the Factionless and Four’s estranged mother, who faked her death in order to escape the abuse she faced at the hands of […]
March 17, 2015 | 8:02 a.m.

‘Insurgent': Mekhi Phifer on Max’s leadership in ‘Divergent’ sequel

Mekhi Phifer in "The Divergent Series: Insurgent." (Andrew Cooper / Lionsgate)
Fans will be able to see the expansion of the “Divergent” world and its characters when “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” the second film based on Veronica Roth’s popular dystopian YA series, opens in theaters on Friday. Picking up where “Divergent” left off, “Insurgent” sees Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her allies on the run after interfering with a coup. On the hunt for these refugees are military leaders Max (Mekhi Phifer) and Eric (Jai Courtney). Mekhi Phifer, whose resume includes such TV credits as “ER” and “Torchwood,” plays Max. Max represents an older generation of Dauntless (a societal faction based on bravery in the film’s dystopian world) compared to the younger Four (Theo James) and Eric, which is rare because of the physicality necessary to remain an active member of the faction. Phifer spoke to Hero Complex on the phone to […]
March 16, 2015 | 10:49 a.m.

‘Insurgent': Miles Teller on Peter’s allegiance, ‘Fantastic Four’

Miles Teller
Another fan favorite for the Peter Parker role, "Whiplash" actor Miles Teller is already immersed in the superhero world as Reed Richards in Fox's "Fantastic Four." Though it's unlikely he'd appear as both nerds-turned-superheroes, he does possess Peter Parker's sarcastic, smart-alecky vibe. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
“Divergent” fans have less than a week to wait before the sequel as “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” the second installment adapted from Veronica Roth’s popular YA book series, hits theaters Friday. “Insurgent” follows Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), a girl who learns she has an aptitude for multiple factions and thus does not quite fit into the rigid social structure valued in her dystopian world, which divides its citizens among five factions based on their dominant personality traits. Tris learns that people like her are labeled divergent and are considered dangerous. “Insurgent” picks up a little after where “Divergent” left off with Tris, Four (Theo James), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter, played by Miles Teller, on the run after the Erudite (the faction based on knowledge) has used Dauntless (bravery) soldiers to overthrow the Abnegation (selflessness) to gain political power. In the film, […]
Feb. 28, 2015 | 8:06 p.m.

A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Mamie Stiger, left, Idalia Mejia, Alfredo Garcia, Jr., Richard Casillas and Sywa Sung give the Vulcan salute in memory of actor Leonard Nimoy at the Long Beach Comic Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The death of Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on the “Star Trek” TV and movie series, touched millions of lives around the world, perhaps none more deeply than fans of science fiction and fantasy for whom Spock was a guiding light. So it was only fitting that a day after Nimoy’s death at age 83, the Long Beach Comic Expo — a two-day comic book and pop culture convention — celebrated his life and legacy with tributes both big and small. Not long after the doors opened at the Long Beach Convention Center, thousands of attendees observed a moment of silence while holding up their hands in the iconic Vulcan salute that Nimoy originated. The salute symbolized Spock’s universally known motto, “Live long and prosper.” “Obviously, when we heard it everybody was floored,” said Gabriel Fieramosco, the expo’s marketing manager […]
Jan. 10, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Ghost in the Shell’: Scarlett Johansson casting called ‘whitewashing’

On Monday it was confirmed that Scarlett Johansson has signed on to star in DreamWorks’ live-action adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell,” but not all fans are embracing the news that the studio is opting for a non-Asian actress to play the lead role. While some fans of the franchise were excited to hear the project is moving further along in development, others lamented or even satirized the decision. “Ghost in the Shell,” based on Masamune Shirow’s manga series of the same name, is set in a fictional Japanese city and follows protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi and members of a covert task force within the Japanese National Public Safety Commission. The task force, known as Public Security Section 9, takes on various cybercriminals in a future where the line between technology and biology is blurred. The manga series spurred Mamoru […]
Dec. 05, 2014 | 8:58 a.m.

Holiday gift guide: ‘Hobbit,’ Batman, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ more

Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide 2014
Ho, Ho, Ho(dor)! It’s the time of year for geek-friendly holiday shopping. Whether you’re shopping for fans of “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” Batman or Captain Marvel, the annual Hero Complex holiday gift guide has you covered. This year’s selections include some family-friendly video games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U; gorgeous hardcover books celebrating the anniversaries of Marvel Comics, Batman, the Teen Titans, “Alien” and Hello Kitty; a Godzilla toy that’s probably bigger than your dog; and a quadcopter camera drone, among other selections. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Under $25 “Living Language Dothraki,” $3.99 app, $19.99 audiobook, $30 online course: Athchomar chomakaan! The Khal or Khaleesi in your life must command the Dothraki language before commanding the troops, and thanks to Living Language’s new course (offered as an app, CD and guide […]
Nov. 02, 2014 | 5:59 p.m.

The talk of Comikaze: Stan Lee, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Deadpool

Katrena Woodson as Valkyrie of the "Thor" comics. (Jenna Schoenefeld / Los Angeles Times)
The convention is called Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo for a reason. “It wouldn’t be ‘Legends of Comics’ without this man right here, Mr. Stan Lee,” announced Mike Zapcic of the AMC series “Comic Book Men” as the annual event’s namesake crashed a panel discussion Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. “I heard they were here,” Lee told the audience, referring to the panelists on the main stage — comic book creator Rob Liefeld, artist John Romita Jr. and creator and Top Cow Chief Executive Marc Silvestri. “They’re the greatest, they’re good friends of mine and I wanted to make sure you treat them OK.” Such were the moments fans soaked up at Comikaze Expo, which brought together so many facets of the pop culture community — the talent behind comics, cosplayers posing for photos, exhibition booths with artist prints […]
Sept. 29, 2014 | 12:51 p.m.

‘Afterlife With Archie': Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa talks horror, movie plans

"Afterlife with Archie" No. 1. (Archie Comics)
The spotlight was on Riverdale’s dark side during the “Afterlife With Archie” panel with writer and Archie Comics chief creative officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa at Long Beach Comic Con on Sunday. “I’ve never felt like we should dial back the horror, but the challenge is, as horrific as the events get, at the core it is an ‘Archie’ book,” said Aguirre-Sacasa in a discussion with Hero Complex’s Blake Hennon at the weekend expo. Among the topics explored were Aguirre-Sacasa’s history with Archie Comics, the origins of “Afterlife” and what readers can expect in future issues as well as his upcoming “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” series. “Afterlife With Archie” chronicles Riverdale’s zombie apocalypse, which was instigated when Sabrina the Teenage Witch attempted to bring back Jughead Jones’ dog, Hot Dog, from the dead. The consequence: Jughead is the first human casualty […]
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