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Interview – Denzel Washington in 'The Book of Eli'

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

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Six months ago or so, Collider enjoyed the rare opportunity to visit the set of The Book of Eli, Allen and Albert Hughes’ postapocalyptic thriller about a laconic hero (Denzel Washington) who battles a shrewd but ruthless mercenary (Gary Oldman) and picks up a plucky barkeep (played by Mila Kunis) while walking across country to deliver a mysterious book. The day we were on set, however, there wasn’t a lot of book-bringing; rather, a massive firefight erupted outside a rickety, dilapidated house as we huddled inside a wind-whipped tent, futilely attempting to shield ourselves from billowing, violent clouds of dust. In fact, the weather was so unhospitable that Eli himself, Denzel Washington, couldn’t get over to us to sit down (or even huddle) for a quick chat.

A few weeks later, the small group of attending journalists caught up with Washington via telephone, where he offered a few explanations about what we saw (and mostly couldn’t see), and revealed a few details about who Eli is, why he’s doing what he’s doing, and how it felt to work with heavyweights like Gary Oldman.  Hit the jump for more:

book_of_eli_denzel_washington_movie_image_reaching_into_pocket.jpgThe thing that stood out most when we were on set was the fact that there is so much action going on in the film. Is this some of the most challenging physical action you’ve been a part of?

Denzel Washington:  No. I did a boxing moving called The Hurricane, so that was equally [tough,] although I only boxed one guy at a time. There’s one scene in here where I fight about six guys and another where I fight I think 15 guys and we shoot it all in one shot. But you know, we were fortunate – I’m fortunate number one to work with some of the top not only stunt fight guys [like Jeff Amata], but also who has trained under one of the true masters in martial arts, Danny Inosanto. Danny Inosanto and Bruce Lee came up together and [Jeff] was a discipline of Danny Inosanto so we started working a good, I don’t know, five or six months ago. [But] I box; I’ve been boxing for 15 years so I was able to bring my boxing skills to the martial arts, swordplay skills so it was intense, but it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.

From what we know of the story and from what we saw is that your character is kind of a loner – almost something out of the Sergio Leone-Clint Eastwood Westerns from back in the day. Did you use those characters or films as kind of as a reference point in getting to Eli’s head?

Washington:  Not actively. I mean, maybe the writers did. I don’t know. I didn’t like watch a bunch of Sergio Leone movies or anything like that, but you know, he is a loner and there is sort of a [feeling that] the classic Western meets, I don’t know, a karate movie or sword movie. Yeah, there is that aspect of it, but I didn’t actually research those. I mean, the fact of the matter is the guy is by himself. I think that in a way his journey – personal journey, spiritual journey – is to learn to deal with people again. He’s been given this charge, a job to protect his book, but it’s almost like his final test is that he’s got to deal with people.

book_of_eli_character_poster_denzel_washington_ign_01.jpgWhen you go into something like this that does have such a sort of conceptual complexity, is the character already pretty well defined for you? Do you find that you have or you want to do a lot of work to sort of develop him to make him your own?

Washington:  Well, I was in on the process early; I’m also a producer, you know. Alan and Albert and I went through a good, I don’t know, three, four, five, six months where we worked on the material and I would sort of play all the parts and read them out loud and we were just tweaking the material and tweaking the script. I must say the first trip I finally took to New Mexico because, you know, it [was] interesting how the two of them work together. Albert’s sort of like the, you know, I don’t know if you call him the geek but he’s the visual guy. He knows all – everything there is about every kind of camera, like we used these digital cameras as new technology, Red cameras, and I was really impressed with their preparation and the way they storyboard and what the effects are going to be. It’s not a world I know as much about. I mean, I’ve learned a lot about it, but they’ve really been on the case and everything looks great and looks different, which I like, so it’s been a good trip.

When we were talking on set to Gary Oldman about his character, Carnegie, he spoke a lot about how and why he decided to work with you and that you both get to explore this very intense relationship through the film. When you kind of walk in with your character, do you like to play things more spontaneously or is rehearsal between the two of you very important?

Washington:  We didn’t rehearse a lot. You know, he and I got together a couple of times for lunch before we started working, and then we just, I mean, [Gary] is obviously a great actor. And he knows what he’s doing and he’s real meticulous and he gets into [everything]; he’s very specific with clothes and looks and accents and all that stuff. So he and I talked a bit. You know, there’s something to be said for us not wanting to get too close because we’re too strangers who come together in the story, and we didn’t work out a whole lot in advance.

book_of_eli_character_poster_gary_oldman_ign_01.jpgWe did have the opportunities to rehearse the scenes a pretty good amount before we shot them, but you know, it’s sort of an adversarial relationship between the characters. So I think we knew that and in some ways it was best not to. I mean, we talked but we didn’t want to beat up the material too much and just get in and see what happens, because I like to do that. I like to improvise and they throw things at me, [we] respond, go back and forth.

This is the latest in a line of post-apocalyptic movies focusing on a lone hero and they come at various times in history. What do you think this movie has to say to people at this time to American audiences? Why this movie now?

Washington:  Well, you know, I guess it’s maybe it’s a classic format. You know, what was really interesting. My son is associate producer on the film and he really was the one who stayed on me about the story and what he really was attracted to was the spiritual aspect of it and he just felt that it was important. He convinced me to do another film called Training Day so I kind of listened to him and he really, really got invo
lved with the writers and with the directors on this and follows the dailies and is going to be involved in the post-production process. I think the difference is – you know, I mean maybe it’s not different, but there’s the classic battle of good and evil in this. God and the Devil if you will, and I found that interesting.

When we went to the set the other day and we saw the scene where you’re in that house and hell breaks loose. It seemed pretty spectacular but it was also an incredibly windy day. How has it been shooting in New Mexico where the elements are sort of unpredictable, and what are your memories of shooting that specific scene?

Washington:   Well, I definitely know what a tumbleweed is now and I know what a windstorm is. [But] it was the right place I think for this film and the people there have been very nice to us and, you know, they have a large crew now out of New Mexico. The governor of New Mexico came by the other day so I said hey, why don’t we all take a picture with the New Mexico crew, and I didn’t realize that people were coming out of the woodwork. It was probably two-thirds of the people there are from New Mexico so it’s been a wonderful experience. It’s been somewhat tough with the weather and the wind and the sand and all of that but you know, that’s all a part of it. I think it helped, it helped my character.

The Book of Eli movie image Denzel Washington a.jpgAnd can you talk specifically about that scene?

Washington:  You know, it was fun, man, especially with [George] and [Martha’s] characters, just to watch this, you know, I won’t call her old lady, but she’s older than me – this mature woman firing this AK-47. I think [Mila Kunis] said something about well, what are we going to do? And she’s like, I know what the eff I’m going to do, and she starts cranking the gun and it was bizarre, you know, these two old folks that eat people and have tea [also] have this small army. When reading the screenplay, it was one of the highlights. It was like what is this? And in the whole time, I think he’s chosen – I forgot which song but he went with – [but] we did the math in the script and it was like an old forties tune and we said wait a minute, wait a minute. It can’t be a forties tune. If they’re 70 and this happened 30 years ago, you know, or 40 years ago when they got married, it was disco, you know? So I think they went to “I Will Survive” or they’re going to use a disco-era tune that plays on the jukebox the whole scene. It was really well-conceived by Allen and Albert, and Albert really knows what he wants; he’s really the shotmaker kind of guy, and Allen is more the actor-director-communicator kind of guy. I’ve never worked with two brothers before but you know, they seem to know how to work well together and get twice as much done.

I wanted to ask you a little bit more about Eli’s past. Considering that the apocalypse basically happened when he was in his teens, what exactly has he been up to in that time, and how long has he been in possession of the book?

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Washington:  You know, there was a kid during the research that I ran across online by the name of Ben Underwood. I don’t know if you’ve heard about this kid, and in fact he just passed away, [but] he had no eyes but he developed this sort of sonic, you know, clicking sound and he’s phenomenal. If you go online, YouTube [Ben] and there’s some great specials about him and what he’s able to do. He skateboards, he plays basketball. He does everything, or he did, as he’s passed away now. So I used his birthday as my [way of] figuring out my character, and so I was 17 working in like a Wal-Mart or a Kmart or something like that, and as the story goes, everybody had to stay inside the first year after the war, and he got out and wandered and survived. In fact we just shot the scene. I won’t give you the whole scenario but he basically survived and heard a voice that led him to the book and told him where to go and why and he’ll be protected. And as he says, for 30 winters he’s been walking. So when exactly he got it, you know, in July? (laughs) I don’t know. Probably if it was 30 years, I would say he got it after about the first two or three years.

Do you listen to any particular music to prepare for a role and if so, did you listen to any in particular for the role of Eli?

Washington:  You know, Allen seems to be more of the sound guy, and Albert’s more the visual guy, so Allen had put together some sounds, like some Nine Inch Nails kind of stuff. My son who was also involved in the film as an associate producer, he came up with some music. He was sending stuff back and forth and in fact, convinced Alan and I to use [a song] by Incubus. I think Allen likes the idea of more like sounds than just music and you know, I guess he’ll be building that as he goes along, but he did give me a CD of different sounds and you know, somewhere between like I said Incubus and Nine Inch Nails and some other folks. I don’t know how much of a “traditional” score he’s going to do.

You mentioned before your son was sort of into the spiritual aspects of the story. What part of that do you think will reach a general audience, and do you think that the story plays as almost an allegory because of that?

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Washington:  I think that we all at some point are in search of something – a higher power, whatever you want to call it, the meaning of life. I know I was, especially at even my son’s age in my 20s, and dabbling in Eastern philosophies and yoga and Buddhism and Christianity and Islam. I kind of touched them all, you know, just trying to figure out the meaning of life or if nothing else, figure myself out. So I think there’s that – there is a thirst for that but, you know, as a classic battle between God and the Devil or even more specifically for the character of Eli, I mean, he’s five days’ walk from the promised land, if you will, for taking this book where it belongs, and literally all hell breaks loose. So I think that’s sort of a metaphor for life, how when good things happen, you can be tested. It’s like there’s a saying there’s no testimony without a test, and we’re all tested in some way, so I liked the idea of the spiritual journey that this young man takes or old man takes.

Denzel, earlier in your career you were really instrumental in helping kind of normalize multi-ethnic stories, I think, with films like Mo’ Better Blues.

Washington:  Well, thank you. I take full credit for all of that.

My question is, is the
ethnicity of your character relevant? And in a larger sense, is the ethnicity of yourself and the Hughes brothers, is it relevant and/or should it be relevant to any sort of execution of this story?

The Book of Eli movie image Denzel Washington (3a).jpgWashington:  You know, it’s interesting. I have four children and the youngest just turned 18 on Friday and it’s an entirely different world for them than it was even for my generation, where the beginning of my young life, I remember going down South where you still couldn’t drink out of water fountains and you didn’t realize it. I guess my parents protected me from it when I was still young, that we went to the black beach not to the white beach, and all of that kind of stuff – a lot of that stuff we as parents have to be careful to not lay that on our kids. You know what I mean? Things have changed a lot, I mean obviously, look at the President. Things have changed a lot and you know, I mean obviously it’s not a perfect world we live in. There’s still some of us older geezers running around that still hold onto some of those old prejudices or at least have been affected by them, but I’m trying to be more careful as to how I speak with my kids. Just because it’s a different world, and I think that world and younger people were sort of the driving force behind even the Barack Obama presidency. I mean, wasn’t it the guy from Facebook that ran part of his campaign? He’s like 24 years old. They’re seeing things different. Times are changing. Are we there a hundred percent? No, obviously not, but it’s a different world. You know, it was a dream for Martin Luther King 40 some odd years ago, his famous speech, but it’s a reality for a lot of these young kids now.

Because it’s so stylized with that kind of quasi-Western with post-apocalyptic feel, how did you kind of want to dress Eli and show him to the audience so that either it sets a tone or it reflects what you need it to reflect?

book_of_eli_movie_poster_01.jpgWashington:  Well, he travels light, so we went to some survival stores and different things, and he picks up things here and there – not that it means anything. I never wore underwear. He didn’t have any because he wore them out. So it wasn’t as difficult, but we did some little cute things like the sneakers. He starts off in sneakers that are all taped-up and beat-up that are actually the latest Lebron James sneakers, but he’s a survivalist and he had to travel light. I don’t think he had a second set of clothes. I can only squeeze so much in that backpack.

Was there anything that you added to kind of help define him visually or to kind of set the mood and tone of the character or movie?

Washington:  Well, I was going to go with a bald head kind of clean look, and I was growing this hair and we looked at it, and because he and [Carnegie] and [Martha] and [George] are considered some of the oldest people left, I thought it was important to have all the gray. You know, I can’t really grow a good beard but I had it all filled-in and look gray and, you know, but yet he’s physically fit and he’s a survivor.

Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster

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Categories: ACTORS, INTERVIEWS

Collider Goes to the Set of 'The Book of Eli'

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

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“It’s a man on a mission with something that everybody wants,” Allen Hughes said of the story for The Book of Eli, his forthcoming action film starring Denzel Washington. “It’s pretty simple. One man is trying to get something somewhere.”

In late March of 2009, Collider visited the New Mexico set of the film, and we were met by torrential waves of dust and debris that filled every last nook and cranny in about five minutes. Unfortunately, we were there for about ten hours.

Hughes, who is co-directing with his brother Albert, explained how the film’s postapocalyptic world came to look quite so unhospitable. “We allude to a nuclear war, he said. “We also talk about what happened environmentally; it’s a combination of a lot of things – diseases, famine, war. It started with a war and now the whole system’s collapsed.”

Albert, meanwhile, detailed the story’s origins. “[Gary Whitta] is from the video game world, and he probably liked a lot of the post-apocalyptic movies,” Hughes said. “I thought it was interesting, the kind of spiritual or religious angle he had on it. It’s not based on any particular thing that I know of, [but] I mean, it does hint towards a lot of other movies.” When asked whether the film had a Western influence, Albert indicated that they were shying away from direct references to films, much less familiar genres.  Much more after the jump:

book_of_eli_movie_poster_01.jpg“That’s the thing the studio has been scared of, and Warner Brothers [has said] ‘it’s not a Western!’ And it’s not a Western; it’s set in the west, but it’s not from that time period. But at the same time, my brother and I have always been influenced by Sergio Leone, and originally we wanted to shoot this in Spain where those spaghetti westerns were shot. We tip our hat a lot to those Westerns, but we did the same thing in Dead Presidents, but that’s not a Western. There is some stuff, like there’s a bar that looks like a saloon, and there’s showdowns and stuff, but you get those in cop movies too.”

The day we visited the set, the Hughes brothers were putting together the pieces of one of the film’s biggest scenes, a showdown at a rundown old home that unspools in one uncut shot. Albert indicated he and Allen were interested in evoking some of the great long-take scenes in movie history, but wanted this sequence to be their own. “It’s influenced by all of the cinematic shots through history, like the shot Orson Welles did in Touch of Evil. Then you have Scorsese, of course, and you have Brian De Palma, and we’ve always done long shots. I showed Hard Boiled for one reason – there’s a lot of action in that two minute and 32 second shot. Some people misinterpret it and say “is that the shot you want?” But ours is more rugged and handheld and going through things, but [I liked] the energy of what he did there.”

Ultimately, Albert said that the film’s thematic ideas and its philosophical underpinnings are what separate it from the ranks of other postapocalyptic films, much less action movies in general. “I think that ethereal spirituality that it has, you know, like there are superhero movies that are mythic and you can stretch reality, and there is a certain amount of stretching going on here even though I think it should all be based in reality. But, by the end, there are certain things you find out and go, oh ok, that’s why he was able to do that, or that’s why this happened, if you believe that way, it’s a very, I hope, depending on what you believe you side with one character or another if you believe or disbelieve what he can do.”

The Book of Eli movie image Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis (1).jpgIn the film, Washington’s character’s companion is Solara, a plucky barkeep played by actress Mila Kunis. Kunis said that Solara was no mere eye candy; rather, she starts the film as a relative innocent, but grows up pretty fast when the bullets and fists start flying. “She starts off really naïve and really very young, and halfway through the movie by default she has no choice but to toughen up,” Kunis said. “She’s not a stupid girl by any means. She’s a really, really strong female, and just wants to observe and absorb everything that [the world] has to offer.”

Kunis said she’d glimpsed a few finished shots of action scenes in which she participated, and reassured us that the sequences were faithful to the dusty, uncompromising landscape in which we were currently immersed. “I saw some stuff and it looks pretty sick, I have to say,” she beamed. “It looks dusty, it looks windy, it uses a lot of guns and there’s a lot of things blowing up. I run a lot, I shoot my little automatic, and then things just blow up everywhere.” When asked whether it took a different kind of imagination as an actor to play Solara as opposed to a contemporary, normal character, she slyly responded, “welcome to Albuquerque! Do you think this requires any imagination? The places we’ve been shooting, it required zero imagination. 40-mile-an-hour winds, the dust, it’s not CGI. You’re kind of stuck in this world.”

The Book of Eli movie Gary Oldman (1).jpgInterestingly, Gary Oldman seemed to relish the opportunity to swallow clouds of dust – that is, after he suggested a few changes be made to his character, the villainous Carnegie. “I was intrigued by the script, although it had further to go,” Oldman explained as the wind whipped around us. “I think the character was very sort of one-dimensional. Let’s put it this way: [even] if he had cast Jerry Seinfeld, you would have known he was the villain by Page Two. So I knew they were going to do some work on the script.” Despite his reservations, Oldman said that collaborating with the Hughes Brothers seemed to promising to pass up. “I sat down with Allen and I just thought he was fucking great. I really liked him, he had a real take on what he wanted and what he was going to make, and I’m glad it worked out.”

Of course, Oldman’s no stranger to villainous turns, having played nefarious types in tons of movies throughout his career. But despite his facility with those types of roles, he says that the process is no different – and he feels no need to impose himself upon the production – in order to play a bad guy than if he was playing a good one. “Well, you have the script, and if the writing is good then the character’s there,” Oldman said candidly. “[But] then I came up with a few ideas. I remember walking onto the Batman [Begins] set for the first time at the first rehearsal, and Chris Nolan said to me,
are you going to do it like that?” I said, “yeah, I was thinking I would.” And he said, “huh. Alright, let’s do a take,” and Gordon was born.”

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“With most of the stuff I’ve done, you’ve got your kitchen acting, you know, you walk up and down in your kitchen trying stuff out, and then you come to set. The Hughes Brothers were very trusting, which is very flattering, and it gives you great confidence. They are not closed to one idea; you can fire ideas at them, and if they think that your idea is better than their idea, they will go with your idea. I found them incredibly open.”

Now having made four films and a documentary over the course of the last two decades, Albert demurred when asked whether he saw real thematic or conceptual pattern emerging between the entries in their remarkably eclectic body of work. “Well, it used to be the underclass and the underprivileged, but now it’s either our main character gets killed or goes to jail,” Albert said with a laugh. “It was that before – these underclass characters – and in a sense it’s the same thing because it’s a very desperate world here. People are scrounging for everything that they have. But I think the only throughline is even in From Hell, which felt more like fantasy in some areas, that there’s a certain amount of reality.”

“That’s been a challenge for us,” he continued. “[To] make the audience feel that it’s real and be entertained by that reality, because if they believe it’s real, that could be scary in and of itself.” Scary remains to be seen, but dirty is undeniable.

The Book of Eli opens nationwide January 15, 2010. Bring some Handi-Wipes.

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Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster

Categories: NEWS STORY

Denzel Washington Interview THE BOOK OF ELI

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Six months ago or so, Collider enjoyed the rare opportunity to visit the set of The Book of Eli, Allen and Albert Hughes’ postapocalyptic thriller about a laconic hero (Denzel Washington) who battles a shrewd but ruthless mercenary (Gary Oldman) and picks up a plucky barkeep (played by Mila Kunis) while walking across country to deliver a mysterious book. The day we were on set, however, there wasn’t a lot of book-bringing; rather, a massive firefight erupted outside a rickety, dilapidated house as we huddled inside a wind-whipped tent, futilely attempting to shield ourselves from billowing, violent clouds of dust. In fact, the weather was so unhospitable that Eli himself, Denzel Washington, couldn’t get over to us to sit down (or even huddle) for a quick chat.

A few weeks later, the small group of attending journalists caught up with Washington via telephone, where he offered a few explanations about what we saw (and mostly couldn’t see), and revealed a few details about who Eli is, why he’s doing what he’s doing, and how it felt to work with heavyweights like Gary Oldman. Hit the jump for more:

The thing that stood out most when we were on set was the fact that there is so much action going on in the film. Is this some of the most challenging physical action you’ve been a part of?

Denzel Washington: No. I did a boxing moving called The Hurricane, so that was equally [tough,] although I only boxed one guy at a time. There’s one scene in here where I fight about six guys and another where I fight I think 15 guys and we shoot it all in one shot. But you know, we were fortunate – I’m fortunate number one to work with some of the top not only stunt fight guys [like Jeff Amata], but also who has trained under one of the true masters in martial arts, Danny Inosanto. Danny Inosanto and Bruce Lee came up together and [Jeff] was a discipline of Danny Inosanto so we started working a good, I don’t know, five or six months ago. [But] I box; I’ve been boxing for 15 years so I was able to bring my boxing skills to the martial arts, swordplay skills so it was intense, but it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.

From what we know of the story and from what we saw is that your character is kind of a loner – almost something out of the Sergio Leone-Clint Eastwood Westerns from back in the day. Did you use those characters or films as kind of as a reference point in getting to Eli’s head?

Washington: Not actively. I mean, maybe the writers did. I don’t know. I didn’t like watch a bunch of Sergio Leone movies or anything like that, but you know, he is a loner and there is sort of a [feeling that] the classic Western meets, I don’t know, a karate movie or sword movie. Yeah, there is that aspect of it, but I didn’t actually research those. I mean, the fact of the matter is the guy is by himself. I think that in a way his journey – personal journey, spiritual journey – is to learn to deal with people again. He’s been given this charge, a job to protect his book, but it’s almost like his final test is that he’s got to deal with people.

When you go into something like this that does have such a sort of conceptual complexity, is the character already pretty well defined for you? Do you find that you have or you want to do a lot of work to sort of develop him to make him your own?

Washington: Well, I was in on the process early; I’m also a producer, you know. Alan and Albert and I went through a good, I don’t know, three, four, five, six months where we worked on the material and I would sort of play all the parts and read them out loud and we were just tweaking the material and tweaking the script. I must say the first trip I finally took to New Mexico because, you know, it [was] interesting how the two of them work together. Albert’s sort of like the, you know, I don’t know if you call him the geek but he’s the visual guy. He knows all – everything there is about every kind of camera, like we used these digital cameras as new technology, Red cameras, and I was really impressed with their preparation and the way they storyboard and what the effects are going to be. It’s not a world I know as much about. I mean, I’ve learned a lot about it, but they’ve really been on the case and everything looks great and looks different, which I like, so it’s been a good trip.

When we were talking on set to Gary Oldman about his character, Carnegie, he spoke a lot about how and why he decided to work with you and that you both get to explore this very intense relationship through the film. When you kind of walk in with your character, do you like to play things more spontaneously or is rehearsal between the two of you very important?

Washington: We didn’t rehearse a lot. You know, he and I got together a couple of times for lunch before we started working, and then we just, I mean, [Gary] is obviously a great actor. And he knows what he’s doing and he’s real meticulous and he gets into [everything]; he’s very specific with clothes and looks and accents and all that stuff. So he and I talked a bit. You know, there’s something to be said for us not wanting to get too close because we’re too strangers who come together in the story, and we didn’t work out a whole lot in advance.

We did have the opportunities to rehearse the scenes a pretty good amount before we shot them, but you know, it’s sort of an adversarial relationship between the characters. So I think we knew that and in some ways it was best not to. I mean, we talked but we didn’t want to beat up the material too much and just get in and see what happens, because I like to do that. I like to improvise and they throw things at me, [we] respond, go back and forth.

This is the latest in a line of post-apocalyptic movies focusing on a lone hero and they come at various times in history. What do you think this movie has to say to people at this time to American audiences? Why this movie now?

Washington: Well, you know, I guess it’s maybe it’s a classic format. You know, what was really interesting. My son is associate producer on the film and he really was the one who stayed on me about the story and what he really was attracted to was the spiritual aspect of it and he just felt that it was important. He convinced me to do another film called Training Day so I kind of listened to him and he really, really got involved with the writers and with the directors on this and follows the dailies and is going to be involved in the post- production process. I think the difference is – you know, I mean maybe it’s not different, but there’s the classic battle of good and evil in this. God and the Devil if you will, and I found that interesting.

When we went to the set the other day and we saw the scene where you’re in that house and hell breaks loose. It seemed pretty spectacular but it was also an incredibly windy day. How has it been shooting in New Mexico where the elements are sort of unpredictable, and what are your memories of shooting that specific scene?

Washington: Well, I definitely know what a tumbleweed is now and I know what a windstorm is. [But] it was the right place I think for this film and the people there have been very nice to us and, you know, they have a large crew now out of New Mexico. The governor of New Mexico came by the other day so I said hey, why don’t we all take a picture with the New Mexico crew, and I didn’t realize that people were coming out of the woodwork. It was probably two-thirds of the people there are from New Mexico so it’s been a wonderful experience. It’s been somewhat tough with the weather and the wind and the sand and all of that but you know, that’s all a part of it. I think it helped, it helped my character.

And can you talk specifically about that scene?

Washington: You know, it was fun, man, especially with [George] and [Martha’s] characters, just to watch this, you know, I won’t call her old lady, but she’s older than me – this mature woman firing this AK-47. I
think [Mila Kunis] said something about well, what are we going to do? And she’s like, I know what the eff I’m going to do, and she starts cranking the gun and it was bizarre, you know, these two old folks that eat people and have tea [also] have this small army. When reading the screenplay, it was one of the highlights. It was like what is this? And in the whole time, I think he’s chosen – I forgot which song but he went with – [but] we did the math in the script and it was like an old forties tune and we said wait a minute, wait a minute. It can’t be a forties tune. If they’re 70 and this happened 30 years ago, you know, or 40 years ago when they got married, it was disco, you know? So I think they went to “I Will Survive” or they’re going to use a disco-era tune that plays on the jukebox the whole scene. It was really well-conceived by Allen and Albert, and Albert really knows what he wants; he’s really the shotmaker kind of guy, and Allen is more the actor-director-communicator kind of guy. I’ve never worked with two brothers before but you know, they seem to know how to work well together and get twice as much done.

I wanted to ask you a little bit more about Eli’s past. Considering that the apocalypse basically happened when he was in his teens, what exactly has he been up to in that time, and how long has he been in possession of the book?

Washington: You know, there was a kid during the research that I ran across online by the name of Ben Underwood. I don’t know if you’ve heard about this kid, and in fact he just passed away, [but] he had no eyes but he developed this sort of sonic, you know, clicking sound and he’s phenomenal. If you go online, YouTube [Ben] and there’s some great specials about him and what he’s able to do. He skateboards, he plays basketball. He does everything, or he did, as he’s passed away now. So I used his birthday as my [way of] figuring out my character, and so I was 17 working in like a Wal-Mart or a Kmart or something like that, and as the story goes, everybody had to stay inside the first year after the war, and he got out and wandered and survived. In fact we just shot the scene. I won’t give you the whole scenario but he basically survived and heard a voice that led him to the book and told him where to go and why and he’ll be protected. And as he says, for 30 winters he’s been walking. So when exactly he got it, you know, in July? (laughs) I don’t know. Probably if it was 30 years, I would say he got it after about the first two or three years.

Do you listen to any particular music to prepare for a role and if so, did you listen to any in particular for the role of Eli?

Washington: You know, Allen seems to be more of the sound guy, and Albert’s more the visual guy, so Allen had put together some sounds, like some Nine Inch Nails kind of stuff. My son who was also involved in the film as an associate producer, he came up with some music. He was sending stuff back and forth and in fact, convinced Alan and I to use [a song] by Incubus. I think Allen likes the idea of more like sounds than just music and you know, I guess he’ll be building that as he goes along, but he did give me a CD of different sounds and you know, somewhere between like I said Incubus and Nine Inch Nails and some other folks. I don’t know how much of a “traditional” score he’s going to do.

You mentioned before your son was sort of into the spiritual aspects of the story. What part of that do you think will reach a general audience, and do you think that the story plays as almost an allegory because of that?

Washington: I think that we all at some point are in search of something – a higher power, whatever you want to call it, the meaning of life. I know I was, especially at even my son’s age in my 20s, and dabbling in Eastern philosophies and yoga and Buddhism and Christianity and Islam. I kind of touched them all, you know, just trying to figure out the meaning of life or if nothing else, figure myself out. So I think there’s that – there is a thirst for that but, you know, as a classic battle between God and the Devil or even more specifically for the character of Eli, I mean, he’s five days’ walk from the promised land, if you will, for taking this book where it belongs, and literally all hell breaks loose. So I think that’s sort of a metaphor for life, how when good things happen, you can be tested. It’s like there’s a saying there’s no testimony without a test, and we’re all tested in some way, so I liked the idea of the spiritual journey that this young man takes or old man takes.

Denzel, earlier in your career you were really instrumental in helping kind of normalize multi-ethnic stories, I think, with films like Mo’ Better Blues.

Washington: Well, thank you. I take full credit for all of that.

My question is, is the ethnicity of your character relevant? And in a larger sense, is the ethnicity of yourself and the Hughes brothers, is it relevant and/or should it be relevant to any sort of execution of this story?

Washington: You know, it’s interesting. I have four children and the youngest just turned 18 on Friday and it’s an entirely different world for them than it was even for my generation, where the beginning of my young life, I remember going down South where you still couldn’t drink out of water fountains and you didn’t realize it. I guess my parents protected me from it when I was still young, that we went to the black beach not to the white beach, and all of that kind of stuff – a lot of that stuff we as parents have to be careful to not lay that on our kids. You know what I mean? Things have changed a lot, I mean obviously, look at the President. Things have changed a lot and you know, I mean obviously it’s not a perfect world we live in. There’s still some of us older geezers running around that still hold onto some of those old prejudices or at least have been affected by them, but I’m trying to be more careful as to how I speak with my kids. Just because it’s a different world, and I think that world and younger people were sort of the driving force behind even the Barack Obama presidency. I mean, wasn’t it the guy from Facebook that ran part of his campaign? He’s like 24 years old. They’re seeing things different. Times are changing. Are we there a hundred percent? No, obviously not, but it’s a different world. You know, it was a dream for Martin Luther King 40 some odd years ago, his famous speech, but it’s a reality for a lot of these young kids now.

Because it’s so stylized with that kind of quasi-Western with post- apocalyptic feel, how did you kind of want to dress Eli and show him to the audience so that either it sets a tone or it reflects what you need it to reflect?

Washington: Well, he travels light, so we went to some survival stores and different things, and he picks up things here and there – not that it means anything. I never wore underwear. He didn’t have any because he wore them out. So it wasn’t as difficult, but we did some little cute things like the sneakers. He starts off in sneakers that are all taped-up and beat-up that are actually the latest Lebron James sneakers, but he’s a survivalist and he had to travel light. I don’t think he had a second set of clothes. I can only squeeze so much in that backpack.

Was there anything that you added to kind of help define him visually or to kind of set the mood and tone of the character or movie?

Washington: Well, I was going to go with a bald head kind of clean look, and I was growing this hair and we looked at it, and because he and [Carnegie] and [Martha] and [George] are considered some of the oldest people left, I thought it was important to have all the gray. You know, I can’t really grow a good beard but I had it all filled-in and look gray and, you know, but yet he’s physically fit and he’s a survivor.

http://www.collider.com/2009/12/30/den
zel-washington-interview-the-book-of-eli/

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Categories: ACTORS, INTERVIEWS

Best Movies of the Decade: Fans, Critics and Blog Lists

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Posted by Neil Miller (neil@filmschoolrejects.com) on December 30, 2009

As you may have noticed, the blogosphere is all a-twitter with Best of the Decade lists. To our credit, we here at FSR have published two lists. The first was our 30 Best Films of the Decade, composed by the editorial staff here at FSR — a website that has existed for almost half of this decade. The second was the 3,186 Best Films of the Decade, composed by our own Dr. Cole Abaius. His (mostly failed) attempt at lampooning the concept of list-making, exposing it for the farce that it is.

Now that you’ve read our lists (you have read them, right?), it is time for me to direct you to some of the lists that have caught my eye over the past week or so, including various critics whose opinions I respect (and others whose opinions make me laugh). As well, the major movie review aggregators have also weighed in with picks from critics and fans. First, the critics.

Critics and Bloggers:

Roger Ebert

There is no more recognizable name in the world of film criticism than Ebert. And ever since he’s gone blogger and attacked Twitter with a vengeance, Mr. Ebert seems to be sharper than ever (with the exception of a few confusing reviews this year). And as someone who owns an anthology of Ebert reviews in book form, I can’t help but start here — with multiple lists from the man in Chicago:

Drew McWeeny and HitFix.com

If Harry Knowles is the godfather of the movie blogosphere, Drew McWeeny is the Robert Duvall character — the lawyer who knew all of the family secrets. He’s also a damn good writer who delivered a very balanced top ten list this year. It is a very personal list, and one that hits on the big marks. As well, the HitFix staff put together a rather fun Worst Oscar Winners of the Decade list. Yes, I’m still mad about The Golden Compass. And so are they.

The AV Club

My Twitter followers (@rejects) will note that I’ve been almost obsessed with The AV Club for a while now. So they’re an easy choice, as their writing speaks to me on a level that I can’t exactly explain. Their best of the decade list is a bit high-brow, speaking to a decidedly indie crowd, but it has some very unique selections. As well, they too deliver a great list of best bad movies of the decade.

Cinematical

The fine folks over at Cinematical worked their way through just about every genre and subgenre, delivering lists detailing the Best Family Films (Live-Action) to the Best Documentaries of the decade. I would urge you to check out the following, if you haven’t already:

Shock Till You Drop

Our friends and network brethren over at Shock Till You Drop know horror. And while our Robert Fure gave you his 15 best horror flicks of the decade, they delivered a list of 25. Personally, it is very hard to argue with their list — especially their top 5.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

I’ve been reading the blurby reviews of EW’s Gleiberman for years. And while his taste rarely matches mine, I’ve enjoyed his writing and his unique perspective all the while. With his best of the decade list, he’s taken some fascinating choices. Bonus points are earned for the inclusion of Moulin Rouge and Casino Royale, two great films that have not shown up on many other lists.

We Are Movie Geeks

One of my favorite up-and-coming movie blogs, We Are Movie Geeks, delivered a thorough list of the top 100 films of the decade. It’s a pretty well-rounded list for the geek set, which also receives an A for effort. Putting together a top 100 must have been quite the task:

Click Here to See Lists from RottenTomatoes, Metacritic, FlickChart and more >>

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Categories: MOVIES, NEWS STORY

Interview – Stunt Coordinator Garrett Warren took his lumps on 'Avatar'

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment
December 28, 2009 | 10:35 am

Still recovering from “Avatar“? Garrett Warren can relate. The stunt coordinator for the film is now a self-proclaimed expert in the tricky art of banshee riding, and he’s also an in-demand man in Hollywood with credits on some of the biggest upcoming releases, including “Iron Man 2,” “The Adventures of Tintin” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Our Yvonne Villarreal caught up with the 21st century fall guy to get the lowdown on his rough-and-tumble trade.

Garrett Warren

YV: How did you get involved in “Avatar“? It’s a pretty huge deal, right?

GW: You have no idea. Where do I start? I remember I met Jim [Cameron] on “Beowulf” back in 2005, when he was starting this whole idea. After “Beowulf” was finished, I had a chance to pitch some ideas to him. I got a whole bunch of stunt guys together, and I rented a sound stage and a whole lot of equipment, and I pretty much just threw a whole bunch of ideas at him. Even though I hadn’t had a chance to read the whole script, I had a chance to find out some ideas of the movie.  I threw my best guess out there, let’s say, of some of the things that were going on. He’d look at it and say, “Yeah, this is good. This is good. This is no good. This is no good.” But in the end, he finally said, “This is good stuff. It’d be great to have you on board.” That’s how I got on the project.

YV: Talk about your experience working on the film.

GW: When you read the script, you’re dumbfounded. I thought it was incredible. I didn’t know exactly where to start. So I figured I’d start from Page 1 [laughs]. He left it up to me to try and design a new way to shoot zero-G weightlessness in outer space — which is how the movie starts. We wound up getting an apparatus which is called a spinning ring, and we wound up using it with different kinds of rigging techniques — sometimes flying it by wires, sometimes sticking it on the end of a metal arm like a yolk and a parallelogram — so that we were able to really create what would look like weightlessness in outer space. It’s somewhat of a difficult process to go through to actually get on that Vomit Comet. We first ended up doing that zero-G plane that flies out of Burbank. Also, you only have a certain amount of time where you can film it, and you only have a certain amount of space. Jim didn’t want to be limited with his space because in the movie you see there are hundreds of people on this huge space shuttle, and you want to be able to have as realistic of a set as possible and have all these people floating weightless on your set so … it’s the first time it’s ever been done and performed this way. That’s why it was so groundbreaking. We had this ring that someone could move 360 degrees in all directions. We could fly them up, down and around — that’s what helped give us that feel of what weightlessness in outer space looks like.

YV: So was there a lot of collaboration between you and Jim?

GW: That was probably one of the best things about the movie. I’ve worked with an awful lot of directors.  I worked on  “Alice in Wonderland,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Beowulf” … they’re all very good. One thing is for certain, Jim has a definite idea in his mind, and a lot of times he’ll sit there and say, “I definitely want it to look like this. I want this kind of movement.” But he’ll also say, “Play around with it, and give me some of your ideas.” Anytime we did any action, it would start with his concept, then it would go to us rehearsing the concept and coming up with other ways of doing it — we had variations of the concept — then we’d go back to him, and he would decide what he liked and didn’t like.

Avatar bow and arrow

 

 YV: Looking back, what was your favorite stunt sequence?

GW: That’s really difficult. There are so many that were really good sequences. I have to admit one of my favorite stunts was, at one point, our two heroes  Neytiri [Zoe Saldana] and Jake [Sam Worthington], jump off of this tree branch probably about 300 feet in the air. They plummet to the ground and they use these huge, oversized leaves to help slow their speed down so they don’t kill themselves when they hit the ground. Well, when they first came to me and said, “How are we going to do this?”  I didn’t know exactly what to do, but I said we could create — because we had limited height in what we called the volume (Jim set up this big, huge motion capture volume on this stage), our height was only 12 feet tall. So I had to make someone fall hundreds of feet in a 12-foot distance. So we used a technique called “stitching.” We would make someone fall a certain distance and then figure out what his last position was and start him at that position at the top of the fall again and keep on doing it X amount of times. … We wound up, actually, in the end deciding that we needed more distance and wound up going  to another building that was 80 feet tall and creating what we called the “elevator shaft.” The “elevator shaft” was this huge, tall structure where we would put these oversized pieces of PVC tubing to represent the structures of the leaves so that when our stunt people would fall down and grab them, it would be the exact same thing as falling down and grabbing a leaf.  It was probably my most favorite part of the movie. There’s also the final fight scene in that movie that — to me — is not only epic but one of the better fight scenes that I’ve done in my lifetime.

James Cameron on Avatar set

YV: And what was it like to work with Cameron on his big follow-up to “Titanic”?

GW: There’s one part in my experience with Jim that was typical of what it was like to work with him. At one point, Jake needs to jump on the back of this creature and try to stab Quaritch  [portrayed by Stephen Lang]. We worked out how he was going to climb on the side of it and stab him, but Jim came over and was like, “No, you can’t stand there. There’s a big huge exhaust and you could burn yourself.” And I kept going, “OK. I never knew that.” And he would be like, “Yeah, because I made it up. It has to have an exhaust somewhere, right? This is probably the most logical place an exhaust should go, right?” I’d say, “Yeah, I agree with you.” So he’d be like, “Well, we’ll put it here so you can’t stand here.” That was pretty much the way the whole movie went. It was flying on banshees. Flying on leaping objects. Riding what’s called a Thanator. All these
creatures were in Jim’s mind.

YV: So he was good at expressing what was in his imagination?

GW: You pretty much have to try and fail. He gives you his ideas; he gives you some drawings and some animations and he says, “This is what it’s going to look like. I’m not really sure where we’ll find a place to put your foot, let’s say, when we’re doing the banshee. We’ll have to find a place.” He would talk to us about this clavicle that they would have which is right by where they would breathe. And we’re all looking at each other like “This is ridiculous.” I mean, this is a made-up creature, but in Jim’s mind it was absolutely real. He’d be like, “It breathes right here, it has four eyes, a clavicle right here.” He knew the anatomy of these creatures. It was crazy and so fun. He knew what blood type the creature was. He knew them like the back of his hand. And now so do we. I’m now one of the foremost experts on flying a banshee. We would have brainstorming sessions that would consist of Jim and a Sharpie and a piece of paper. Sometimes he’d have a model or drawing.  Sometimes he’d sit there … we’d have a whole lot of equipment — stuff we actually invented and came up with while we were doing this movie — and he’d look at the stuff and say, “It’s sort of like that piece of equipment over there combined with that piece of equipment.” We’d go and grab it and try and secure it as safely as possible, and then I would get on it and he’d say, “Where do you find your balance at?” And then he’d get on. A lot of times, people would come over and say, “How long is this going to take?” and Jim would say, “It could take three minutes or it could take three hours.” That was my favorite part. He was creating and inventing all of these new things. The equipment we came up with was never going to be used in this way again. I never would have imagined we could simulate this stuff with just some speed rails, pads and wood to create these flying machines. But we did. If there is one thing I could tell you, Jim is dangerous with tape. He can create a skyscraper, anything he wants with some duct tape.

YV: What’s it like for you now that people can finally see the vision realized on the screen?

Iron Man 2 Poster

GW: I can’t tell you how fun it is to watch everyone’s faces as they gasp or cringe in their seats or clap and stand up and cheer when all of a sudden Neytiri pulls out that arrow for the last time. You will not get a better feeling as a stunt coordinator as you do when you’re sitting in the audience and you see the people go through those emotions. It’s been a huge part of my life. It was like a family member.  It will always be a part of me. I worked on it for four years.  I would liken it to “Star Wars” — I think it has that impact, if not stronger in our day and age. It has such a great message. I’ve worked on so many movies — whether it be “A Christmas Carol” or “Iron Man 2” — this movie is unlike anything else out there. All of those movies are great movies. But this movie … does a lot more than take you through an entertaining experience; it somewhat alters your consciousness. It alters your being. It makes you want to go home and take care of the planet. I’ll never be able to fathom what it’s like to live on that planet [Pandora], but I came as close as possible. You can expect something you never ever could dream up in your whole life. Jim does such a good job of defining every little detail and letting you become involved that you feel  you’re a part of the experience.

VY: You mentioned you worked on “Alice in Wonderland.” Tell me a little bit about what audiences can expect?

GW: Oh, well that’s where I get in trouble. Wait until you guys see it. It will blow your mind away. It’s amazing. The trailers don’t do it justice. It’s that good. It’s one of my most favorite movies. You’ll see something that was only in your imagination come to life. Only your dream state and yet so tangible that you feel that maybe you did go through the experience.

YV: Can you talk about the technology used?

GW: We used some motion capture in “Alice in Wonderland,” but we wound up using a Moven [MVN] suit — that suit transfers information from the user to the computer via Bluetooth.  All the reflective dots that you see on people in, say, “Avatar” … those are by cameras all around the performer.  Well, this suit actually doesn’t have cameras. It actually has little gyroscopes on each joint and that, when it moves, transfers all that movement into the computer. It was completely different than what I was used to on “Avatar.” The other thing that Jim did in “Avatar” that I was incredibly impressed with was when we captured the facial expressions … he created this little camera boom that will not only capture the facial expressions but was also very safe. … We would be running through tree branches and vines and that lens: If that boom on your head got caught on any branches, it would put your neck out of place, and that would make an actor or actress have to take some time off. We didn’t know how we would do it. He came up with this breakaway boom. If it was to get caught, it would just snap off to the side of the performer. It wouldn’t snap his neck off. 

Alice

 

YV: And you worked on “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.” What can you reveal about that?

GW: Tintin was an amazing movie to work on as well.  Once again, I’m not allowed to say anything on that movie either. But I can tell you that it’s an incredible story. It’s not just a great experience, it’s an incredible story.  Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg — two incredible storytellers. And the acting is superb.

Tintin walking

YV: On “Iron Man 2,” you’re Mickey Rourke’s stunt double?

GW: Again … I can’t say too much. I learned my lesson. You don’t get better acting than say Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke. You don’t. These guys work together so well. It’s such a fun and exciting movie. You can’t go away without feeling good.

YV: And there’s lots of whipping, right?

GW: Lots and lots of whipping.

YV: I think I know what your answer will be, but I’m going to ask it anyway: What can you tell me about “The Losers”?

GW: That has a special place in my heart, actually. Zoe Saldana was the one who got me on that movie. We were shooting “Avatar,” at the time and she came to me saying there was a movie she wanted to be in called “The Losers.”  The people weren’t sure whether or not she could handle action. She felt so heartbroken because they weren’t able to see the stuff she was doing on “Avatar.”  It was all top secret. She was such an action machine, but nobody knew it yet. I suggested we
take a weekend to put together a video to help get her the job. I helped shoot this promotional video for her to show that she could do action.  We had her shooting guns, wielding swords, knife work. … It was unbelievable. She was unreal. She got the part. And then she suggested they use me as their stunt coordinator.  I actually was on our re-shoots of “Avatar” when I got the call from Sylvain White, the director for “The Losers.” He wanted it to be not only like the comic book but somewhat more visceral. It’s an amazingly real yet superbly comical look at these black ops special agents. And I loved the dichotomy. He was thinking the “Bourne” films and “24,” and yet he wanted to have comedy involved.  We met. And he hired me. It’s all live action, 100%.  There is some amazing action in that movie. You will be blown away. People will think, “Wow, that had to be CG.” No. Nothing was CG. We did everything. For real. I dropped actors and actresses on wires. I threw people through doors and windows. And Zoe … she’s a wrecking machine. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to work on that movie.

YV: You seem to be the expert on blending motion capture with live action. 

Christmas Carol Poster

GW: I enjoy blending the two. It’s such an open field and your imagination is your tool. The sky’s the limit. It’s like dropping a hundred feet onto leaves. How are you going to do that in a 12-foot building? It’s my job to come up with that solution, and I love that. It’s really easy for me to get a guy out there a hundred feet, put him on a wire and just drop him and hopefully it works out perfectly. Whereas, when you’re in a computer stage with height limitations, it takes a lot more work. It takes weeks of rehearsal and preparation. It’s very challenging. And I love it. I love being challenged. I love being able to bring out the emotion and reality of this unknown fantasy.

YV: So how difficult is it to capture the essence of movement and emotion in the motion capture world?

GW: Fortunately, for me, the computer does a really good job of capturing the body. When we first started off doing the movement in “Avatar,” Jim came to me and was like, “I want them to move like two-legged cat-like creatures that can jump like lemurs,” I was like, “Wow.” I did a whole audition process. It took me an awfully long time — this was even before we started filming. I went through people of Cirque de Soleil. I went through dancers.  I went through gymnasts. Through stunt professionals. I went through every person out there that might have some movement I wanted to see. I went through martial artists. I wanted to see any type of movement that was not only interesting but that could lend itself to this movie. In a live-action movie, we’d be able to get a person, paint them blue, and when they’d move, you’d say, “Oh, that’s cool.” When you’re on a motion-capture stage, you’re not confined by height or weight. The sky’s the limit. You can have a short person or a tall person performing the movements. A person of any ethnicity, any hair color — as long as there’s movement. That’s the great thing about motion capture, you can get the best movement for that scene instead of having to be confined by what will match the actor or the actress.

The losers

YV: Does it make a difference for you in how you coordinate everything?

GW: “Beowulf” was my induction into this world. It was somewhat difficult at first because it’s not like you can just have a guy out there who gets hit in the face. I had to account for the space around the person. Like, say, Jim Carrey when he’s playing the Ghost of Christmas Present and he’s this tall, huge monstrous creature versus this normal-sized person. We don’t just get out there and put a ball. We actually put him in that spot and figure out how we’ll make the performance match the scene. We try and put that actor into that height or that dimension, and that’s why it’s difficult. And fun. Jim Cameron, especially, would not allow that to happen. We have a lot of talented actors out there who can pretend they’re looking at a creature. Jim didn’t want that. He wanted to get that creature. To get the actor to really feel what it would be like in that circumstance. When you see an Avatar looking down at a normal human being, we actually had Zoe or Sam interacting with a child. We tried to mimic that situation. That’s what was so good about it. The reason why this movie is so good, every scene, every frame, every movement has that acting or that drama. Nothing was taken for granted. It’s a great film. I hope everyone gets a chance to see it.

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Categories: CREW, INTERVIEWS

Warner Bros is 2009's Most Proftable Movie Studio

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

by Elisabeth Rappe Dec 28th 2009 // 2:35PM

Filed under: Warner Brothers, Box Office, Newsstand, Harry Potter

If Warner Bros was a movie character, it would be Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal — sexy, successful, and with piles upon piles of money to roll around in. That’s because as of today, according to Deadline Hollywood Daily, Warner Bros has become the most profitable studio of the year. With over $2 billion in domestic grosses, they now hold the movie industry record for most profitable studio. But even the record breaking is a little yawn-worthy for old Warner Bros. They broke the record last year too with $1.789 billion, so if there’s a trophy that gets passed around Tinseltown, they get to just polish it up and straighten it on their mantelpiece.

Of course, if you pay attention to box office numbers at all, this really comes as no surprise. They’ve had three incredible years when it comes to blockbusters. In 2007, they had three of the top ten highest grossing films with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I Am Legend, and 300. In 2008, a little movie called The Dark Knight raked in a hell of a lot of money, as did Sex in the City. This year, they’ve had three films crack the year’s top ten, including Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, The Hangover, and The Blind Side. I’m sure Sherlock Holmes will factor in there too once all the holiday pennies are counted. (All those numbers come from Box Office Mojo, who does all the math so we don’t have to.)

So, what’s their secret … besides a boy wizard franchise? One is tempted to say that they make a quality product, and take risks on filmmaker visions (see: Watchmen, Where the Wild Things Are), but still make sure to churn out the moviegoer-friendly commercial fare. There’s probably films on that money-maker list you don’t particularly like, but they were almost all worthy of your moviegoing dollar. They honor their franchises and they don’t micromanage. They take chances. And look how it pays off at the box office. Well done, Warner Bros — and better luck next year to everyone else.

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Categories: NEWS STORY, PRODUCTION, STUDIOS

Trailer – Jet Li in 'The Warlords' Fight Scenes look intense..

December 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Theatrical Trailer for The Warlords

Submitted by Jason Bene on December 25, 2009 – 10:32 pm

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Jet Li is back to kicking butt in the new film The Warlords. Look for it in theaters on April 2, 2010 from Magnet.

Synopsis: Set in the midst of war and political upheaval during the Taiping Rebellion of the 1860s, WARLORDS stars Jet Li as General Pang, who barely survives a brutal massacre of his fellow soldiers by playing dead, and joins a band of bandits led by Er Hu (Andy Lau) and Wu Yang (Takeshi Kaneshiro). After fighting back attackers from an helpless village, the three men take an oath to become “blood brothers,” pledging loyalty to one another until death, but things quickly turn sour and the three men become embroiled in a web of political deceit, and a love triangle between Pang, Er Hu and a beautiful courtesan (Wu Jing-Lei).

Source: You Tube

Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster

Categories: TRAILERS