Celebrity Interviews Celebrity Interviews

Nicolas Cage Compares Jay Baruchel To Bogart and Nicholson

Actor Jay Baruchel is gaining new fans with his recent hits - How To Train Your Dragon and She's Out of My League including veteran actor Nicolas Cage. Nicolas Cage stars in THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE as a sorcerer training his new apprentice played by Jay Baruchel but in real life, the young actor needed no coaching from the Oscar winner. 

MOVIE TRAILER: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Jay Baruchel began his career with Judd Apatow's tv series Undeclared and in numerous television guest appearances on Numb3rs, Just Legal and The Rules of Attraction before he moved to the big screen in a small role for Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby (2004).  It was his role in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up starring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl that finally got the young actor attention.  2010 proved to be Jay's year as he transitioned into leading man status with three major Hollywood movies including the break out hit How To Train Your Dragon which he voiced the lead role of Hiccup.   

WIN IT: The Sorcerer's Apprentice Wave G2 Board Giveaway

Nicholas Cage, a fan of Jay's performance in How To Train Your Dragon, praised his young co-star's ability to improvise and "jazz style" acting during a recent press event in Beverly Hills. "He, in my opinion, subscribes to jazz style acting.  He's not afraid to go off the page, improvise and throw something at you.  I can riff with him and some accidents happen where you get to a more real truth."

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Nicolas Cage also compared the 28 year-old Canadian actor's distinctive voice to Cage's acting heroes.  "I've always believed that the greatest actors are the ones with the voices that are imitable.  My heroes are like Bogart, Eastwood, Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson.  Well Jay's got a voice. That's hard to have." 

Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel in The Scorerer's Apprentice

The Leaving Las Vegas star knows a thing or two about "imitable" voices since Nicolas Cage's own unique voice made him a break out star in memorable roles in Valley Girl, Moonstruck, and Joel and Ethan Coen's Raising Arizona.

Jay Baruchel in turn was flattered by Cage's comments and in awe of working with one of his childhood idols.  

"When you work with somebody who's close to hero status for you... it'll either make you wilt in the presence of greatness and you lose it all or I better bring my A game." 

Jay not only played an apprentice to Nicolas' sorcerer character but he took on the role of student when the cameras weren't rolling. 

"I got to show up on set everyday and have conversations with this guy who I've watched since I was a little kid.   I didn't want to blow it.  It just made me want to work as hard as I possibly could to be as good as he is."

 Nicolas Cage further added that Jay Baruchel's talent will take him far.  "He's going to be around forever."  If Jay is taking cues from his co-star in terms of navigating through Hollywood, then Nicolas Cage's prediction may be right.

THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE is in theaters July 14.

 

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Jason Segal's Tips To Writing Comedies

Actor Jason Segal's latest project as the voice of Vector the super villain, landed DESPICABLE ME in the #1 spot at the U.S. box office.  The How I Me Your Mother star also proved himself as a writer in his breakout hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall in 2008.  With two hits and counting under his belt, Jason Segal dispenses advice on writing from an actor's point of view.

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Zoe Saldana On Sex Scenes With Losers

Zoe Saldana as Aisha in THE LOSERS

What's tougher than an action scene for AVATAR's Zoe Saldana?  Love scenes with actors she calls 'pricks'.
 
Zoe Saldana once again takes on a strong female action role in the graphic novel adaption of THE LOSERS opening April 23rd. The Bronx native tells CineMovie love scenes are no walk in the park when you don't get along with the actor.  In THE LOSERS, Zoe is Aisha, a beautiful operative who hires the double crossed elite Special Forces team to take down the CIA boss who sabatoged their mission. Aisha sets her sights on their leader Colonel Clay played by the Watchmen's Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey's Anatomy) and seduces him. Aisha and Clay's first date is a fight scene in which they test each other's prowess but they make up later with a hot and heavy love scene. 

Zoe Saldana takes on Jeffrey Dean Morgan in THE LOSERS
THE LOSERS co-stars' chemistry off and on screen is evident during their interaction at the press conference in Beverly Hills as they joke around with us regarding their love scene and fight sequence.
The all-out fight scene between Zoe and Jeffrey was a challenge for THE LOSERS stars who admit hurting each other in the process. According to Zoe, "there were a couple of moments where I'd look at him and be like 'did I hit you hard in the head' or he would look at me and be like 'did I slam you really hard?  Ah, yeah!'

When it came to the sexy scenes, there were no punches or blows between the Zoe Saldana is an operative spy in THE LOSERSAVATAR actress and Grey's Anatomy's break out movie star but Zoe reveals getting physical with someone while naked is certainly a vulnerability that rivals a fight scene especially when the other party is a 'prick.' 

"The love scenes are like any fight scenes. It helps when you get along with the actors.  It helps that Jeffrey was such a gentleman and so respectful.  Trust me... as a woman, try doing that with a freakin' prick.  Been there.  It's not a good day at work.  You're the only one that's naked and you have to act like you're not aware that you're naked. And not only that, you have to flip your hair and have an orgasm."

Jeffrey raises his hands in delight with a mission accomplished look as Zoe finishes her sentence about orgasms. Jeffrey also had a 'rough day' on the job during the sex scenes.  "The love scene...yeah that was hard.  I had a rough day that day.  I need another take.  Just one more Sylvain Jeffrey Dean Morgan is Colonel Clay in THE LOSERS(director).  I don't feel like she flipped her hair right on that one.  Kidding aside, Jeffrey admits "the fight was much harder.  The love scene man...bring that on. Zoe Saldana sitting on my lap naked...yeah rough."

Luckily for Zoe, she didn't have to deal with any real losers for THE LOSERS but she feared being one if she didn't pull her own weight among the largely male cast.  "I worked twice as hard as a women to prove herself.  I really wanted to impress the guys."

Zoe Saldana has already proven herself a Hollywood favorite with three high-profile films in 2010.  First with the record-breaking Avatar and two back to back releases in April.  Zoe stars in the comedy DEATH AT A FUNERAL April 16 with Chris Rock and then returns to butt-kicking form in the action-packed THE LOSERS set for wide release April 23rd.

Which previous co-star is Zoe referring to as a "prick?  We're clueless.  What do you think?  Post your comments below.

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No Funny Business For New Freddy Krueger

Meet the new Freddy Krueger

Freddy Krueger is back minus the sadistic one-liners and Robert Englund.  The Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley takes over the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise for a re-imagining of the iconic horror character. Jackie Earle Haley talked to CineMovie about his new role and the pressure to deliver a new take on the claw-wielding serial killer.  

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Sister Act: Alice in Wonderland's Producing Duo

Hollywood Producers Suzanne and Jennifer Todd

Hollywood has long been dominated by men but a few women have managed to break the barriers behind the scenes like ALICE IN WONDERLAND's producing team Jennifer Todd and Suzanne Todd

After a worldwide take of $980 million, Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND comes to DVD and Blu-Ray June 1st and the sister team also responsible for the "Austin Powers" franchise, and Christopher Nolan's Hollywood breakthrough film "Memento," answers CineMovie's questions on producing in Hollywood and behind the scenes of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's most successful film to date.

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Eddie Murphy's Donkey A Movie Critic?

Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Puss n' Boots and the other lovable characters in the Shrek franchise are hitting movie theaters for the eddie-murphy-donkey-shreklast time in SHREK 4: THE FINAL CHAPTER but Eddie Murphy's Donkey might have another career ahead of him.

In a recent press conference in Beverly Hills, Eddie Murphy revealed to his cast mates Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas and the journalists in the room about Donkey's secret side job....as a movie critic. While the cast admitted they will miss voicing the Shrek personalities, Eddie said he often uses Donkey's voice as a shadow puppet to critique films he screens in his home theater.

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Megan Fox On Pleasing Fans

Megan Fox in Jonah Hex movieMegan Fox made a Hollywood career out of outrunning robots in the hugely popular film adaptation of the Transformers and in her latest project JONAH HEX, the brunette beauty once again tackles an action franchise based on a DC Comic book. 

Win Tickets To JONAH HEX Movie Premiere

Does she worry about pleasing comic book or franchise fans when she takes on a role based on an existing comic book like JONAH HEX?

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INTERVIEW: Helen Mirren On What Makes On Screen Chemistry

Helen Mirren as Grace in LOVE RANCHHollywood's recent on screen couples lack chemistry, according to Oscar winning actress and LOVE RANCH star Helen Mirren.

Big screen pairings such as Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz (Knight and Day), Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher (Killers), and Jennifer Aniston and "everybody in the world" were mentioned by the award-winning actress as recent examples of Hollywood failing to capture chemistry on screen. Fans may agree with both romantic action movies Knight and Day and Killers failing to attract the movie-going audience in droves as it did with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs Smith

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Oliver Stone Says Arizona Lawmakers "Dumb" & Blames South of the Border Policies For Immigration

Director Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone tackles another controversial subject with his new documentary SOUTH OF THE BORDER. The "Wall Street" director's focus this time is South America's Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who has been vilified in the media and by the Bush administration. In SOUTH OF THE BORDER, Stone captures a much different politician than the media presents and puts into question why Hugo Chavez is seen as a threat to the United States.  Stone also visits with other South American presidents (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay) and allies of Chavez's administration. 

"South of the Border" is the fourth film in Stone's filmography to tackle Latin America (Looking for Fidel, Comandante, Persona Non Grata). Stone blames the United States' constant intervention in Latin America for their economic problems which has lead to the influx of illegal immigration.  

CineMovie sat down with the iconic filmmaker for a Q&A about his latest controversial project.

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Quentin Tarantino: 'I've Topped Myself'

 

Quentin Tarantino on set of Inglourious Basterds
 

Known for his memorable character monologues in True Romance, Pulp Fiction, and Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino the writer constantly competes with himself to outdo his previous work.  Tarantino has finally arrived at that moment in his opinion for his latest cinematic effort INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, his first period film starring Brad Pitt and newcomer Christopher Waltz who steals the show from Pitt’s Lieutenant Aldo Raine.                     Brad Pitt stars as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds


While most filmmakers cannot pull off long character speeches, Tarantino often excels in this department with lengthy character exposition within his films.  In INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, the first scene is a 20 minute introduction to the Nazi Jew Hunter - Colonel Hans Landa  (Christopher Waltz) who makes polite conversation with a French farmer possibly harboring Jews.  Colonel Landa or Detective Landa, as he refers to himself, breaks the French farmer not with interrogation style tactics but with a rational explanation to why he must do the right thing for his family.  This chilling speech from Col. Landa sets apart this character from any Nazi portrayal ever written for cinema. 


“When I wrote him, I was aware enough to know that not only is he one of the best characters I’ve ever written, he’s one of the best characters I will ever write.”


True Romance DVDAs far as his writing, Tarantino feels his scenes are meant to “stand alone” and compares them to listening to a greatest hit album.  Although “self-aggrandizing” according to Tarantino, he says his greatest hit would be the Sicilian speech in the Tony Scott directed True Romance starring Christian Slater, Patricia ArquetteDennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, and a cameo by Tarantino’s head basterd Brad Pitt as a pothead.  


“That was my best scene.  I’m not saying it’s the best scene the way it works in the movie but as far as a stand-alone scene, that was probably my best work.  And I knew I would never top that. “


Tarantino felt he had come close with his other work but he didn’t reach that level of excitement until recently.  “When I wrote the opening scene in this movie with the Jew Hunter and French farmer, I go ‘I think I’ve finally topped it.’  “That’s up to you to decide but I think I finally kicked it up.”


Christopher Waltz who won the Best Actor Prize at the Cannes’ Film Festival for his role as Colonel Landa, agrees with Quentin’s assessment and describes his role as the “best part ever written in the history of drama” comparing it to Greek drama and Euripides.  However, he does admit he didn’t understand Quentin’s talky scenes until he saw Death Proof.  He describes the scene with Rosario Dawson and her gal pal’s long and pointless dialogue that proved very interesting.  That’s when he says it “clicked” and understood how Tarantino “takes a genre and lifts it into a level of art.”

inglourious_basterds_waltz-


Actor, writer, and comedian B.J. Novak from TV’s The Office stars as one of the basterds in Tarantino’s film and describes Tarantino as hard working and in direct competition with himself. 


“I always felt Tarantino the filmmaker was trying to outsmart Tarantino the film fan. He was playing chess with his young self.”


Michael Fassbender (300, Jonah Hex), a film critic and British soldier in the film,  can also attest to Tarantino’s work ethic and impressed most by his “wealth of knowledge.”  “There’s no element left unturned.  Every tiny character, he (Tarantino) has has a backstory.  It’s incredible.”  


Regarding the director’s love of filmmaking – “The great thing with Quentin is that he comes everyday with so much enthusiasm, so much love and passion for the work – it’s so infectious.  


Diane Kruger stars in Inglourious BasterdGerman-born actress Diane Kruger (Bridget Von Hammersmark) who almost didn’t get the role because Quentin didn’t believe she was German, said of the INGLOURIOUS BASTERD director, “he was like a child next to the camera – yelling ‘more blood, more blood’.  


And those who have worked with him say his enthusiasm doesn’t wane when off set.  According to B.J. Novak, Tarantino is always the life of the party.


“We would be out until 4 or 5 in the morning in Berlin eating, drinking, talking about movies, or in my case, listening about movies, and the next day, there he is - first guy on the set with 25 shots he wants to add to the list that day.  For a guy who seems to have so much fun, it’s really incredible how hard working he is.”


Tarantino admits to not only competing with himself but with other filmmakers as well. His buddy system includes Robert Rodriguez, Rick Linklater, and Paul Thomas Anderson who all share a similar aesthetic but it is with Paul Thomas Anderson in which he shares a friendly and healthy rivalry.  They try to outdo each other constantly.


When asked what he counts as his proud moment and his biggest disappointment, Tarantino names winning the Palm D’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival for Pulp Fiction as a triumph but his saddest moment which “hurt his feelings’ was the box-office flop of Grindhouse,  the double feature bill of his Death Proof and Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror.  But he takes comfort in that the theatrical double feature will soon be released as Grindhouse on special edition DVD (each film was released separately).


Tarantino is not losing sleep over his last film but he doesn’t get more than five hours sleep at night when directing.  


“As a director – anybody who gets more than 5 hours of sleep at night must not be so passionate.  It’s just the job.  You’re not going to get more than 5 hours sleep.  I mean if you can sleep like a baby, you’re doing something wrong.”


Tarantino is obviously doing something right and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is sure to make up for his last disappointment.  TheINGLOURIOUS BASTERDS go after some Nazi scalp starting Friday, August 21.  


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Making A Great Sci-Film Film For Under $30mil

District 9 Alien Ship

The internet is abuzz about District 9, a new groundbreaking sci-fi film from South African director Neill Blomkamp and produced by Lord of the RingsPeter Jackson  The film is not only getting great reaction from those lucky enough to see it at 2009’s Comic Con in San Diego last month but more surprisingly, the independently made film about alien refugees (from outer space) living in a South African slum, only cost $30 Sharlto Copley, Peter Jackson, Neill Blompkampmillion to make.       Watch trailer

Thirty million dollars to us regular folks is a lot of money and could probably feed a small country but in Hollywood – it’s chump change.  Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince cost $200 million to make, while Star Trek’s production cost is rumored to be near $150 million. 

District 9’s visual effects and CGI rival the fancy eye-popping footwork in the aforementioned films and I will dare to say that District 9’s alien robot put to shame the Decepticons and Autobots.  

So how was Neill Blomkamp, the thirty year-old visual effects artist and director of music videos and commercials, and his team able to achieve such a feat with $30 million dollars?

CineMovie sat down with the first-time feature film director and District 9’s unlikely hero - Sharlto Copley to find out.

Q:  This film works in all aspects - story, characters, and most noticeably the realistic visual effects.  How did you accomplish that with such a small budget?

Neill:  Well, we don’t have real expensive actors for one.  We have no massive Hollywood stars so that helps right there.

District 9's Sharlto Copley

Q: Why was Sharlto the one for the job of Wikus van der Merwe, the field agent exposed to the alien virus who slowly transforms into one?

Neill:  The reason I picked him is because he’s extremely talented.  And if you don’t want any stars, you got to make sure you pick someone who’s really going to carry the film.

Because of the nature of the film, a massive component of the film would be improvised so that it feels like your watching a documentary. 

We had a script but he would have to throw the lines out and make it his own.  I started thinking who that could be. He (Sharlto) is my high school friend from Johannesburg and I thought he would be the person to do that. 

So I flew him to New Zealand to shoot a test but he didn’t know that.  He’s like DISTRICT 9 director Neill Blomkamp and star Sharlto CopleyBorat.  He becomes different characters.  So I told him to become this African bureaucrat and go around these shacks and evict people.  Then I showed it (screen test) to Pete Jackson and asked if I can use him in the film and Pete said, ‘Go for it’ because he could see how talented he was.

Q:  So you didn’t audition any other actors?

Neill:  I didn’t audition anyone. 

Once Neill picked his leading man, his other concern was keeping the cost of the special effects within his budget. 

Neill:   The single contributing factor is probably keeping the number of visual effects down and the way you deal with the effects shots you have.  We had just under 600 shots which in a $30 million film is pretty good.  You have to use techniques and use things in the way that makes them easier to achieve.  So if you set out to make something difficult, then you know it’s going to cost more. 

(For example) I specifically made them (the aliens) insect-like so they’d have a hardDistrict9_alien shell surface which reflects light better and can get to a photo real result faster.

I think my style also helps with the price too.  I like the idea of filmmaking being fantastic and magical like this one but it feels more real because there is an exercise in restraint.  You’re restraining yourself and it’s like ‘don’t show all the stuff, just show a little bit.’ You don’t have to have millions of effects shots. So if you keep restraining things,  which is my natural style,  I think it brings the price down.

Sharlto Copley (Wikus) whose not only an actor but a filmmaker and visual effects expert,  isn’t surprised Neill pulled it all together for District 9.

Sharlto:  Neill has such a high-end understanding of visual effects. He didn’t give me a restrictive environment.  It wasn’t green screen.  He gave me the freedom to move around and put the CG around what I was trying to do instead of dictating what our movements had to be.

 

NeilBlomkomp

My (alien) hand, however,  was a prosthetic and there was no CG except to enhance my enlarging (alien) eye in the end but I experienced the alien transformation four to five hours in the make-up chair.

Sharlto also explains that the film’s set also kept things very real.  The production took over a real shanty town near Johannesburg (Soweto) which was used as District 9’s alien community.  Ironically, the South African government removed residents from this area and started to dismantle it when the production came in and bought the place as a set.

Sharlto:  The main set was a twenty to thirty year-old landfill that had layers of trash.  The smell in the place was very intense.  It definitely made a difference to the character to be in that actual real environment. 

Neill also chose to film in the winter months in South Africa to add to the bleak look of District 9.

District 9 movie still

Neill: South Africa in the winter looks like a nuclear wasteland.  So locale definitely hlped with the look of the film. 

Neill further explains that to keep costs down, they edited the footage first and then sent it to the special effects house WETA, Peter Jackson’s company for the CG process but there were problems along the way which jeopardized the budget.

Neill: Because we had different formats (documentary, news footage, film), it took us longer to edit.  Once we had what definitely was going to stay, we handed it over to WETA.  But we handed it over late so they had less time to work on it which wasn’t good.  It could’ve increased the price of the film. 

Q: Since WETA is Peter Jackson’s company and he’s your boss on District 9, did you get a discount?

Neill:  WETA did give us a discount.

A little goes a long way and District 9’s Neill Blompkamp knows how to make it stretch.  This new visionary promises if there’s a District 10, he will make it independently again instead of going Hollywood.   But that won’t stop Hollywood from calling on this new talented and practical filmmaker.

District 9 is in theaters August 14. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vin Diesel In The Director Chair

The FAST & FURIOUS original crew (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez) left the competition in the dust last April at the box office with a $40 million plus opening and now it's coming to DVD and Blu-Ray July 28th featuring a short film as an extra by Vin Diesel in the directing chair for "Los Bandoleros."  The short film starring Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez sets up the opening for the FAST & FURIOUS movie directed by Justin Lin.

User Video Reviews: Fast & Furious

At the recent premiere for Vin Diesel's directorial premiere at Universal City Walk in Hollywood, Vin tells CineMovie's Alysha Del Valle whether he'll give up acting for the director's chair and director Justin Lin reveals his feelings on Vin possibly taking over the franchise.  

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Directing Children In A Horror Film

Directing children in a movie is hard enough given their restrictive schedules and limited amount of life experience.  So how do you direct children when the movie is a horror thriller?

CineMovie.TV sat down with ORPHAN director Jaume Collet Serra (HOUSE OF WAX) who breaks down his technique in directing the three young actors (Isabelle Fuhrman, Aryana Engineer, Jimmy Bennett) in ORPHAN which opens July 24th. 

Movie Synopsis: 

The tragic loss of their unborn child has devastated Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard), taking a toll on both their marriage and Kate’s fragile psyche as she is plagued by nightmares and haunted by demons from her past. Struggling to regain some semblance of normalcy in their lives, the couple decides to adopt another child. At the local orphanage, both John and Kate find themselves strangely drawn to a young girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). Almost as soon as they welcome Esther into their home, however, an alarming series of events begins to unfold, leading Kate to believe that there’s something wrong with Esther—this seemingly angelic little girl is not what she appears to be. Concerned for the safety of her family, Kate tries to get John and others to see past Esther’s sweet facade. But her warnings go unheeded until it may be too late…for everyone.

 
Studio:    Warner Bros. Pictures
Genres:    Horror Thriller
Release Date:    July 24, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating:    rated R for disturbing violent content, some sexuality and language
Starring:    Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder
    

 

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