Archive for September, 2009

News – Director Antoine Fuqua Set To Take ‘Prisoners’

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Antoine Fuqua on set

Risky Biz Blog is reporting that Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua, is in negotiations to helm Prisoners, (no longer “The Prisoners”) a film taken from a “hot spec script” written by Aaron Guzikowski. The script was said to have created a stir when it first appeared earlier this year, with high-profile actors Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg once attached to star, X-Men helmer Bryan Singer eyeing the director’s chair and a number of different studios looking to pick up the project.

However, soon after the producers of Prisoners sold the film to Alcon, reconfigured the project to have a lower budget (around the $30-40 million mark) and went forward without a cast for the time being, so that they could get things in motion faster. And it appears that the approach is working; the film is on the fast-track, and may go into pre-production shortly, with a “likely” January or February shooting start next year.


From Risky Biz Blog, we learn that Prisoners is a, “dark tale [that] centers on a small-town man who, after his daughter and her friend are kidnapped and the cops fail to solve the crime, takes matters into his own hands, holding hostage the person he suspects committed the crime. He also comes into conflict with the big-city detective assigned to the case.”

Risky Biz Blog says that the project has drawn comparisons to other “hit thrillers” that involve distraught and grieving parents, such as the Liam Neeson thriller Taken, and Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River. Like those mentioned two movies, I wouldn’t be surprised if Prisoners ends up getting at least a couple of well known, high-profile actors to replace Bale and Wahlberg (at least we still have those two together in The Fighter…).

Training Day - Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in Fuqua’s award-winning Traning Day

I’ve enjoyed a few of Fuqua’s previous films, particularly Training Day, which featured a fantastic, Oscar-winning performance from Denzel Washington, and a well played, Oscar-nominated supporting performance from Ethan Hawke. Fuqua’s other films include the mildly entertaining but completely forgettable Shooter (isn’t it ironic that Fuqua is coming on-board after Wahlberg, the star of Shooter, has left?) and the underrated Tears of the Sun, starring Bruce Willis.

Fuqua certainly wouldn’t be my first choice of director to replace Singer, but I’m just glad the project seems to be heading into production fairly soon. It sounds like a good idea for a revenge film – I particularly like the aspect where the father/main character takes the suspected kidnapper hostage (I’m going to guess right now that he takes the wrong man hostage. Just a guess…). I just hope it delivers on the potential of its premise and doesn’t descend into cliched fare as a lot of these revenge thrillers often do.

What do you think about Training Day director Antoine Fuqua being in talks to direct Prisoners? We’ve already known for a few months that Bale and Wahlberg aren’t going to be starring in it, but who would you like to see play the parts instead?

As stated, Prisoners is aimed to start pre-production soon and will likely start shooting in January or February, 2010. It is supposed to be released sometime next October.

Source: THR’s Risky Biz Blog

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Categories: NEWS STORY

Terminator Franchise Rights Up For Grabs…Oops

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Terminator Franchise Up For Grabs

Somebody over at The Halcyon Co. should’ve been listening when Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor told us that the future isn’t certain in Terminator 2. Just a few months ago, a sequel to Terminator Salvation was all but guaranteed; then came the lawsuits between Halcyon (owner of the Terminator franchise rights) and Pacificor, the hedge-fund that sponsored Halcyon’s purchase of the Terminator rights.

Now, it seems that The Halcyon Co. (headed by Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek) is so far in the red – between Terminator Salvation’s underwhelming returns at the box office, the venture capital needed to buy the franchise rights and alleged manipulations by Pacificor to ensure Halcyon’s financial ruin – that the company is reportedly looking to sell off the Terminator rights to make a buck.


If you want to read details of The Halcyon Co.’s financial quagmire, go here. If you want to know about the convoluted history of the Terminator franchise rights, go here.

When word of this Halcyon/Pacificor legal battle emerged back in August, we here at Screen Rant wondered what kind of effect the legal fallout would have on Terminator 5, which Salvation director McG was already prepping. Now that this new report has surfaced, it seems that Sarah Connor’s prophetic words of “No Fate” are coming to pass; until the rights to the Terminator franchise are secure in SOMEBODY’s hands, whatever time-traveling, future-warring plans there may have been should be considered wiped clean off the slate.

Terminator 5, Terminator Salvation Sequel

I for one am indifferent about all this: after I heard McG’s plans for Terminator 5 (hint: abandoning the future war storyline and returning to the present), I was like “I could live happily without that film EVER being made.” So, if the franchise rights DO get pushed out into the open market, I just pray that whoever snags them has a better plan in mind than Halcyon and McG did. I was NOT a fan of Terminator Salvation and was fearful that the franchise was well on the way to having whatever past greatness it had strangled out of it.

What do you think of these latest developments in the war over the Terminator franchise? Do you see an opportunity here, or should this franchise put set back on the shelf until (inevitably, if current trends are any indication) it’s time for a remake/reboot of Cameron’s vision?

Source: Film Junk

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Categories: NEWS STORY

Is This Crimson Dynamo From Iron Man 2?

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment

« 1 2 »

Iron Man 2 splash image

Game Revolution posted an early preview for the upcoming Iron Man 2 video game tie-in, which is trying to distance itself from the awful Iron Man 1 tie-in game. The Iron Man 2 game will supposedly act as a companion piece with the movie, rather than a re-hashed playthrough of the film’s story.

In their report, the developers would only discuss and confirm one villain from the game: The Crimson Dynamo.

What’s so special about that? Well, when news of Mickey Rourke’s possible involvement with Iron Man 2 first starting spreading, there was a lot of talk and speculation that he would be playing a Russian villain, whose description seemingly pointed towards The Crimson Dynamo as Iron Man’s next dance partner.


“Rourke is in discussions to play a villain described as Tony Stark’s Russian alter ego, a heavily tattooed bruiser who is in the arms trade and battles Iron Man in his own nuclear-powered armored suit.”

Later, when Rourke officially signed for the role, his role wasn’t so clear as half of the reports explained that he would be playing the character of Whiplash and the other half were unclear or still speculating he would be The Crimson Dynamo.

It was eventually confirmed that Whiplash would be the featured villain of Iron Man 2 and that his on-screen incarnation would sort of be a combination of Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo, from what director Jon Favreau described, in that he’d be designed after Whiplash, only as a  Russian. The first official image of Mickey Rourke in costume as Whiplash hit the web soon after:

Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in Iron Man 2 570px

The photo above is from the race track scene where Tony Stark is ambushed by Whiplash. As you can image, speculation began that this costume in the pic above might just be the first version we see in the film, as Rourke is obviously not armored at all and probably couldn’t do much against Iron Man’s latest suits.

So, what would Whiplash’s full-on armored suit look like? Well, a preview comic for Iron Man 2 got solicited on Marvel’s official website and it featured the following piece of artwork of an armored variant of Whiplash to be featured in the comic.

Continue to pg. 2 for the first images of The Crimson Dynamo…

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Categories: NEWS STORY

YikeBike – Carbon Fiber Bike Is Sleek and Useful…I think it looks very cool and would be fun to use.

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment
By Jesus Diaz, 9:40 AM on Wed Sep 2 2009, 31,087 views (Edit, to draft, Slurp)

This weird thing is a 1.2kW electric motor powered, carbon fiber foldable bike called the YikeBike. It’s real, unfolds in 15 seconds, and aims to solve the eternal problem of urban mobility, and probably become Woz’s favorite new toy.

Folded, the YikeBike only takes 6 x 23.6 x 23.6 inches (150 x 600 x 600 millimeters) and weighs 22 pounds (10 kilograms), so it can be easily carried around. And while its pneumatic wheels may follow an old high wheeler configuration, according to the manufacturer, this thing is designed to be easy to maneuver, and it’s equipped with electronic brakes with built-in anti-skid system.

Would this thing succeed where the Segway failed? Sadly, at $4900, I have a very bad feeling about it. [YikeBike via

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Categories: COOL STUFF

Apologist's Sign Petition to Free Roman Polanski – Links to further articles…

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment
By Kate Harding, 3:00 PM on Tue Sep 29 2009, 30,421 views (Edit, to draft, Slurp)

“Does being an ‘artist’ trump being a rapist?” asks Melissa Silverstein of Women & Hollywood. According to 138 people in the film industry who signed a petition demanding the immediate release of Roman Polanski from Swiss custody, yep!

And they’re joined by another group of writers and artists Bernard-Henri Lévy is rounding up! On his roster: Salman Rushdie, Milan Kundera, Neil Jordan, Isabelle Adjani, Isabelle Huppert, Mike Nichols, Diane von Furstenberg, and Paul Auster, among others. As for the other petition (launched by French film industry association SACD), in addition to the signatories posted at The Wrap last night (Pedro Almodovar, Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Monica Bellucci, Stephen Frears, Tilda Swinton?!?), new big-name rape apologists are signing on all the time! Today, we can add Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Terry Gilliam and — wait for it — Woody Allen to the list.

Woody Allen, people. It would be kind of funny, if it weren’t a big fucking list of celebrities who support a child rapist.

Also, let us not forget Whoopi “rape-rape” Goldberg, and of course Debra Winger’s statement as president of the Zurich Film Festival jury. As Variety reported:

Winger… on Monday demanded Polanski’s release and criticized Swiss authorities for their “philistine collusion” in arresting Polanski as he entered the country.

“This fledgling festival has been unfairly exploited, and whenever this happens the whole art world suffers,” Winger said in a statement on Monday, standing together with the other four international jury members who wore red badges reading “Free Polanski” as they announced plans to continue the fest.

That’s apparently what this is about, in the minds of all these great artistes: Philistinism. A failure to appreciate A) Polanski’s genius and B) the sanctity of international film festivals. No, I am not even kidding about the second part. From the SACD petition:

By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.

The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no one can know the effects.

Yes I can totally see how arresting a fugitive child rapist is a slippery slope toward censorship. If I were a creative professional, I’d certainly be concerned about the authorities coming after me and my work! Except, I am a creative professional, and I’m not worried, because unlike Roman Polanski, I have neither raped a child nor jumped bail and evaded capture for three decades. See how that works? Don’t rape a child and flee sentencing for it: Enjoy your personal and artistic freedom! Rape a child and flee: Get arrested! (Eventually.) Is there something I’m missing here? Like the part that explains how arresting a fugitive child rapist has fuck-all to do with festivals traditionally being a haven for controversial filmmakers? Is that really supposed to mean they should also be a haven for known felons?

I guess so. The petition continues:

Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom.

How – HOW – are people writing and signing shit like that with a straight face? Might I remind you, film industry, that the extradition will be “heavy in consequences” and take away his freedom because he raped a child and fled the country over thirty years ago? We’re really just supposed to skip over that detail? Really? And in fact, we should more properly be outraged that this happened in a country “where he assumed he could travel without hindrance” — an assumption made because he’s been banging around Europe for three decades, making movies, winning awards, living as a free man, on account of how he skipped bail after pleading guilty to statutory rape? On what planet is, “But he didn’t think he’d get caught!” a legitimate excuse for going easy on a fugitive child rapist?

Fugitive. Child. Rapist. Just keep saying it until it sinks in. I’ll wait.

And I’ll keep waiting while Lévy and company give the same exercise a shot. Perhaps when they’re done, they’ll appreciate the absurdity of a statement like, “Apprehended like a common terrorist Saturday evening, September 26, as he came to receive a prize for his entire body of work, Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison.”

Correction: Polanski was not actually arrested like a “common terrorist.” He was arrested like a common fugitive child rapist. Actually, he was arrested like a distinctly uncommon fugitive child rapist, what with being on his way to pick up a lifetime achievement award for a body of work largely completed while he was evading being sentenced for raping a child. That’s really not how things play out for most fugitive child rapists, as I understand it. I’m pretty sure only the white, wealthy, well-connected ones are ever permitted to make such a mockery of justice for so long, let alone be assured that, as the SACD petition puts it, “Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians — everyone involved in international filmmaking — want him to know that he has their support and friendship.” I’m guessing, in fact, that Roman Polanski could most accurately be described as a unique fugitive child rapist.

Lévy’s next argument is that Polanski’s victim, whom he refers to as “the plaintiff,” wants the charges dropped, so what’s the big deal? Yesterday at Salon, I explained why, despite my deep sympathy for the victim and the media circus she’s been subjected to, I don’t think her wishes should take precedence over the law. So today, I’ll only point out that the victim is not the plaintiff in the criminal case. She was the plaintiff in the civil case she brought against Polanski, for which she was awarded a settlement. Now, it’s Los Angeles County’s score to settle, on behalf of the people, not the victim.

Of course, many of the celebs standing up for Polanski are people of Los Angeles County. Let’s just hope the authorities rem
ember that although those might be the loudest ones, they’re hardly the only ones. And the public interest is, in fact, better served by punishing people who rape children and flee the country than it is by bowing to famous and powerful people who somehow believe that really good films make up for felonies — or that living, traveling, and working openly in your chosen profession for 30 years, just on a different continent, is “punishment enough.” (But the poor man was always looking over his shoulder! Yes, because he was a fugitive child rapist. Do you see how it always ends up there?)

I’m just sickened to see some of the names on these lists — people I’ve long admired, and whose work I’ve shelled out for on multiple occasions. But at the same time, I’m glad the names of unapologetic child rapist supporters are being made public, so I can consider their stance on art vs. child rape when choosing how to spend my entertainment dollars. Last summer, Tiger Beatdown’s Sady Doyle proposed that we join her in a game she likes to call “Don’t Give Money To The Rapist.

Basically, most rapists have jobs. Sometimes they’re really good at their jobs! But if, for example, a rapist is someone who makes movies which you want to see, you have to balance what you don’t know with what you know. Here’s a little breakdown, as far as this relates to noted rapist Roman Polanski, and the film Rosemary’s Baby:

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW: Whether or not you are going to enjoy Rosemary’s Baby, a film made by noted rapist Roman Polanski. It could go either way!

WHAT YOU KNOW: Roman Polanski raped someone.

Now, ask yourself: is it worth contributing, in any way, to the well-being of a rapist? Probably not!

I think that sounds like a superfun game, and I also think I’d enjoy one called, “Don’t Give Money To People Who Think Rapists Deserve Absolution, Sympathy, Freedom and Regular Public Tongue Baths.”

Unfortunately, playing it basically means you can never watch a movie again.

Does Being An “Artist” Trump Being A Rapist [Women & Hollywood]
Filmmakers Demand Polanski’s Release [CNN]
Petition For The Release Of Roman Polanski [The Wrap]
Artist Rally Behind Polanski [HuffPo]
Euro Outrage Over Polanski Arrest [Variety]
Reminder: Roman Polanski Raped A Child [Salon]
Perfect Disguise: Isaac Brock, Samantha Shapiro, And The Ethics Of Journalism In Rape Culture [Tiger Beatdown]

Earlier:Whoopi On Roman Polanski: It Wasn’t ‘Rape-Rape’

This is the crap that I hate about Hollywood. The have no “morality” all the care about is their liberal friends and agendas. In the LA Times today a letter compared his leaving America to “avoid a court lynching.” BULLSHIT, Do not compare what punishment he gets for being guilty of a crime to something heinous happening to an innocent person…He hasn’t been held accountable yet and needs to serve his punishment.
Harvey Weinsein said, “He has served his time.” WTF No he hasn’t, you idiot. Then he goes on to say we should “forgive him” it’s been so long ago…Really, so I guess with that “logic” Harvey, we should stop looking for all the Nazi killers out there and stop trying to bring them to justice, because you know “it was so long ago.” Doe these people think…FUCK..
What he did is INEXCUSABLE and no amount of platitudes or great movies or people saying how great an “Artist” he is will change the fact that he drugged a 13yr old girl then Raped and Sodomized her…

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Categories: NEWS STORY

Remember – Roman Polanski raped a child –

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never — poor baby — being able to return to the U.S.). Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she’d rather not see him prosecuted because she can’t stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let’s take a moment to recall that according to the victim’s grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, “No,” then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.

Drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are

Can we do that? Can we take a moment to think about all that, and about the fact that Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, before we start talking about what a victim he is? Because that would be great, and not nearly enough people seem to be doing it.

The French press, for instance (at least according to the British press) is describing Polanski “as the victim of a money-grabbing American mother and a publicity-hungry Californian judge.” Joan Z. Shore at the Huffington Post, who once met Polanski and “was utterly charmed by [his] sobriety and intelligence,” also seems to believe that a child with an unpleasant stage mother could not possibly have been raped: “The 13-year old model ‘seduced’ by Polanski had been thrust onto him by her mother, who wanted her in the movies.” Oh, well, then! If her mom put her into that situation, that makes it much better! Shore continues: “The girl was just a few weeks short of her 14th birthday, which was the age of consent in California. (It’s probably 13 by now!) Polanski was demonized by the press, convicted, and managed to flee, fearing a heavy sentence.”

Wow, OK, let’s break that down. First, as blogger Jeff Fecke says, “Fun fact: the age of consent in 1977 in California was 16. It’s now 18. But of course, the age of consent isn’t like horseshoes or global thermonuclear war; close doesn’t count. Even if the age of consent had been 14, the girl wasn’t 14.” Also, even if the girl had been old enough to consent, she testified that she did not consent. There’s that. Though of course everyone makes a bigger deal of her age than her testimony that she did not consent, because if she’d been 18 and kept saying no while he kissed her, licked her, screwed her and sodomized her, this would almost certainly be a whole different story — most likely one about her past sexual experiences and drug and alcohol use, about her desire to be famous, about what she was wearing, about how easy it would be for Roman Polanski to get consensual sex, so hey, why would he need to rape anyone? It would quite possibly be a story about a wealthy and famous director who pled not guilty to sexual assault, was acquitted on “she wanted it” grounds, and continued to live and work happily in the U.S. Which is to say that 30 years on, it would not be a story at all. So it’s much safer to focus on the victim’s age removing any legal question of consent than to get tied up in that thorny “he said, she said” stuff about her begging Polanski to stop and being terrified of him.

Second, Polanski was “demonized by the press” because he raped a child, and was convicted because he pled guilty. He “feared heavy sentencing” because drugging and raping a child is generally frowned upon by the legal system. Shore really wants us to pity him because of these things? (And, I am not making this up, boycott the entire country of Switzerland for arresting him.)

As ludicrous as Shore’s post is, I have to agree with Fecke that my favorite Polanski apologist is the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum, who finds it “bizarre” that anyone is still pursuing this case. And who also, by the by, failed to disclose the tiny, inconsequential detail that her husband, Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, is actively pressuring U.S. authorities to drop the case.

There is evidence of judicial misconduct in the original trial. There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial, has been pursued by this case for 30 years, during which time he has never returned to America, has never returned to the United Kingdom., has avoided many other countries, and has never been convicted of anything else. He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers’ fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.

There is also evidence that Polanski raped a child. There is evidence that the victim did not consent, regardless of her age. There is evidence — albeit purely anecdotal, in this case — that only the most debased crapweasel thinks “I didn’t know she was 13!” is a reasonable excuse for raping a child, much less continuing to rape her after she’s said no repeatedly. There is evidence that the California justice system does not hold that “notoriety, lawyers’ fees and professional stigma” are an appropriate sentence for child rape.

But hey, he wasn’t allowed to pick up his Oscar in person! For the love of all that’s holy, hasn’t the man suffered enough?

Granted, Roman Polanski has indeed suffered a great deal in his life, which is where Applebaum takes her line of argument next:

He can be blamed, it is true, for his original, panicky decision to flee. But for this decision I see mitigating circumstances, not least an understandable fear of irrational punishment. Polanski’s mother died in Auschwitz. His father survived Mauthausen. He himself survived the Krakow ghetto, and later emigrated from communist Poland.

Surviving the Holocaust certainly could lead to an “understandable fear of irrational punishment,” but being sentenced for pleading guilty to child rape is basically the definition o
f rational punishment. Applebaum then points out that Polanski was a suspect in the murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, a crime actually committed by the Manson family — but again, that was the unfortunate consequence of a perfectly rational justice system. Most murdered pregnant women were killed by husbands or boyfriends, so that suspicion was neither personal nor unwarranted. This isn’t Kafkaesque stuff.

But what of the now-45-year-old victim, who received a settlement from Polanski in a civil case, saying she’d like to see the charges dropped? Shouldn’t we be honoring her wishes above all else?

In a word, no. At least, not entirely. I happen to believe we should honor her desire not to be the subject of a media circus, which is why I haven’t named her here, even though she chose to make her identity public long ago. But as for dropping the charges, Fecke said it quite well: “I understand the victim’s feelings on this. And I sympathize, I do. But for good or ill, the justice system doesn’t work on behalf of victims; it works on behalf of justice.”

It works on behalf of the people, in fact — the people whose laws in every state make it clear that both child rape and fleeing prosecution are serious crimes. The point is not to keep 76-year-old Polanski off the streets or help his victim feel safe. The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not — and at least in theory, does not — tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are, no matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it now, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies you’ve made.

Roman Polanski raped a child. No one, not even him, disputes that. Regardless of whatever legal misconduct might have gone on during his trial, the man admitted to unlawful sex with a minor. But the Polanski apologism we’re seeing now has been heating up since “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” the 2008 documentary about Polanski’s fight to get the conviction dismissed. Writing in Salon, Bill Wyman criticized the documentary’s whitewashing of  Polanksi’s crimes last February, after Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that if the director wanted to challenge the conviction, he’d need to turn himself in to U.S. authorities and let the justice system sort it out. “Fugitives don’t get to dictate the terms of their case … Polanski deserves to have any potential legal folderol investigated, of course. But the fact that Espinoza had to state the obvious is testimony to the ways in which the documentary, and much of the media coverage the director has received in recent months, are bizarrely skewed.”

The reporting on Polanski’s arrest has been every bit as “bizarrely skewed,” if not more so. Roman Polanski may be a great director, an old man, a husband, a father, a friend to many powerful people, and even the target of some questionable legal shenanigans. He may very well be no threat to society at this point. He may even be a good person on balance, whatever that means. But none of that changes the basic, undisputed fact: Roman Polanski raped a child. And rushing past that point to focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him, admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted. 

― Kate Harding

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Interview – John C. Reilly – His Joy of Acting

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Fantastic Fest Interview: John C. Reilly

by Kevin Kelly Sep 29th 2009 // 8:32PM

Filed under: Fantastic Fest, Interviews

John C. Reilly is one of my most favorite actors working today. It’s to the point that I’ll watch a mediocre film just to see his performance in it. Case in point: Step Brothers. Not that it was a completely terrible movie, but I didn’t love it. However, Reilly does some subtle things in it that just kill me. His added “Boats and Hoes” lyric during Will Ferrell’s heartfelt song in the climax was one of the funniest moments in the movie. Then there’s his brilliant understated role in The Promotion, a film that needs more attention.

But I digress. I met with Reilly after a screening of Fantastic Fest’s premiere of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, in which he plays Larten Crepsley, a 200+ year old vampire. He’s seen a lot during his lifetime, and he has a jaded outlook on it all. Find out what drew Reilly to the role in the full interview beyond the break, where he also talks about other roles he’d like to take on.

Cinematical: So, you’ve been in a bunch of movies. You were saying you’ve done over 50 movies and not many comedies, and lately you’ve done several.

John C. Reilly: Well, that is what they want to make you know. For some reason it has gotten very popular with studios.

But you have been really good at it. Do you think it is your improv background or do you just take to it naturally?

I guess so. I often played funny parts in serious movies, you know, like kind of comic relief in different things. I don’t know. To me, acting is acting. When the circumstances are ridiculous, then you are in comedy. But in terms of what I do as an actor, it is pretty similar from movie to movie.

You have done period stuff, like for Martin Scorsese, where you have to be in costume. But this is a pretty elaborate costume, the wig, the clothing, the latex.

There was no latex.

There was no latex? Those scars are real?

Oh, the scars. Yeah, I don’t wear those the whole time. Those were latex, sorry.

Is that your biggest transformative role that you have … I mean clothing wise, wardrobe wise that you have been in?

Gangs of New York was a similar level of artifice, I guess. Yeah, I am one of those people who is not very patient in the makeup chair. I have been offered movies like Planet of the Apes and stuff like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and I turned them down.

To be the Grinch?

No, not to be the Grinch. It was one of the Whoville people. But I thought like I would never be able to do it. I could never come in at four in the morning … even on this movie and Marvel. I said to Mike, “I don’t know how you do it, getting here at 3:30 or four in the morning and just sitting for hours and hours and hours.” I would go crazy, literally. There are just too many ants in my pants for that.

What drew you to the role? It is pretty different from what we have seen you play normally.

What drew me to the role was the fact that it was a real person, that he wasn’t some supernatural mystical being that can turn into a vampire bat. The powers weren’t so extreme that it was just another thing altogether, that this guy was a person who was alive in the 1800’s who was essentially about my age. If you account the slow aging, he is forty something years old.

And he was 20 when he has turned to a vampire.

Yeah. So I am like a 40-year-old who has been alive for 250 years or whatever. So that was interesting. And like I said in the earlier roundtable, what that would do to your world view. You must have had really thrilling runs there. And then other times when it was just very dark. You almost wish you were dead.

You do find yourself wanting to know more about Crepsley because you know he has love lost and he is jaded about the world a little bit.

Yeah. I just thought there was a lot of room for interesting character stuff. The books are very plot heavy. And in terms of character detail, a lot of it you just kind of fill in. It says he has a shock of orange hair and that is it. There are no pictures and it doesn’t say exactly.

You said at the theater you read all 12 of the books. So did your agent come to you with this or had you heard about the books before?

No, I hadn’t heard of the books before. My kids are younger, so they weren’t reading these books. But I just read the script, met Paul, [Weitz] and we talked about it. And then I really started to think about the character. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, “Well it would really be a very interesting guy to play.”

And if these continue, would you be back?

Yeah. I am contractually bound to be back. I really hope it does happen because there are some really exciting parts of these books yet to come. They go on these wild adventures. And once the War of the Scars is reignited between the two vampire clans, it really gets intense in the books, and Darren has to go off and be trained properly to be a real vampire warrior. There is a lot of cool stuff. There are some other really interesting characters that come in. And then Darren has to deal with what it is to be a vampire and go through some of the same heartbreak that Crepsley has been through. And you realize, “Um, if I don’t make this person a vampire too and curse them with this, then I am going to lose them pretty quick.”

Well tell us about the other stuff you are working on. I know you are in The Extra Man. Have you guys filmed that already? Is that done?

Yeah, that is done. They are editing it now. That is with Kevin Klein and Paul Dano. It is based on a novel by Jonathan Ames called The Extra Man about guys that have scored rich old ladies at functions in New York. There is this whole strange new sub-culture there. And then I made a movie with the Duplass Brothers, Mark and Jay Duplass, who did The Puffy Chair. So yeah. That doesn’t have a title yet. That is with Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei. That will probably come out sometime in January.

A comedy I am guessing?

Yeah. It is kind of a romantic comedy, but a weird one, too.

What do you do onstage at Largo in Los Angeles? You were putting together a big show at one point.

That I think was a variety show that we were putting together that we ended up not doing. We tried more of a production than we were able to pull together at the time. Yeah, it is still something … I am going to be performing music there probably sometime in October.

You perform songs?

Yeah. I know a lot of the musicians that come through Largo. Fiona Apple, Jon Brion, and people like that. Yeah. It is really a special place.

What roles have you not played yet? Is there anything you are still yearning to do? Dramatic? An action role?

I would love to do a western. I would love to play an explorer. That is always something that has really captured my imagination since I was a kid, like James Cook or Magellan or Earnest Shackleton. I have been on kind of an adventure reading jag. There is a great book called The Lost City of Z that is about Colonel Percy Fawcett, and he is looking for El Dorado in the rainforest, the Amazon. Shackleton’s adventures down in the South Pole. I have been reading a lot of stuff like that.

You have kids that are younger. Do you spend a lot of time in their world with their entertainment? What kind of things are they into?

Well it changes as they grow. But lately Harry Potter has been pretty big.

Are they excited that dad is playing a vampire in a movie coming up?

Yeah. They are excited about everything that I am doing.

So tell me more about The Extra Man. It’s a comedy?

Yeah, it is kind of a dark comedy. But yeah, it is a comedy. It is kind of like a Harold and Maude but with two men. Paul and Kevin play these kind of escort guys and I play this crazy eccentric character who lives in Kevin’s building. I am not an escort.

Do you plan to go back to drama anytime?

Well the Duplass Brothers movie is pretty dramatic. There are definitely some serious drama scenes in there. It is like there is funny stuff, but it is more situationally funny. It is not like Step Brothers or whatever. I didn’t make a conscious choice just to do comedy, just like I didn’t make a conscious choice to do any other kind of movie before that. It is just what comes your way, what opportunities you are offered, and what the studios think is a profitable kind of movie to make.

So I am open to whatever. I just like surprising people. I never want to get to a place where people see that I am in a movie and they go see the movie and they expect a certain performance one way or the other. That is just inherently boring to me. I think it is best when people come and they are like, “What is this going to be about?” Like you have no idea and you are surprised by the story. I am not really the kind of actor who plays himself over and over again.

Do you still do stage work? Do you have time for that?

Yeah. I am trying to put something together right now for the spring in New York. It is a tough time for theater right now because of the economy.

Do you write at all?

Yeah. I have a lot of ideas that I have written for stories. I was very involved in the writing of Step Brothers just because Adam and Will drew me into that. If I ever really get sick of acting, I think that is the next thing I would do is write some things and try to direct some things. It just sort of comes with the job. After you have been making movies so long you just start to see like, “Oh, that is how you do this, and this would be a better way to do this or that.” You start to pick up on the job training.

Your dad ran a textile company when you were younger?

He ran an industrial linen supply company, yeah.

If you didn’t go into the entertainment field, what do you think you would have ended up doing? Was there some other direction you were going?

You know, actually acting turned out to be the perfect job for me, because I had a lot of different interests. I thought about being a priest at one point. I thought about being a teacher. I thought about being a lawyer. But I think acting is probably the best job for me.

Well yeah, because now you get to be all those things from time to time.

Yeah. Exactly. You get to do it for six months, and then when it starts to get boring, move on.

So, what was it like kissing Salma Hayek?

Very soft. She is really, really nice. Actresses that beautiful tend to be kind of a handful. And Salma was so down to earth and really lovely. And you know, whatever. I am not like Brad Pitt in the looks department. So I was like, “I hope you don’t mind me kissing you …” And she was really nice about it. And she made me feel attractive. She was a really wonderful person to hang out with.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant hits theaters on October 23.

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