How Dwayne Johnson Became The People’s Movie Star

AP734826878939This is a big week for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. SAN ANDREAS,  a disaster blockbuster in which he stars, arrives in theaters on Friday. BALLERS — an HBO series in which Johnson serves as both executive producer and star — premieres in June. Warner Brothers recently announced plans to develop a superhero film of SHAZAM, and Johnson revealed that he will play the nemesis Black Adam in the big screen adaptation of the DC comic book.

With all this activity, perhaps it is to be expected that Dwayne Johnson is everywhere in the media right now. Yet his omnipresence is more than the product of a busy publicity schedule. His public persona rises above any individual project, subsuming each role into the greater narrative, the one in which Dwayne Johnson conquers the world.

Scott Meslow examines the phenomenon in theweek.com under the headline “How Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Became the People’s Movie Star.” Meslow writes: “Johnson’s filmography is unusually eclectic, pivoting sharply from one movie to the next: big action movies to wacky comedies, weird indie movies to fun little cameos, often playing himself. The only unifying trait is that every role seems to have been carefully chosen to show off another aspect of his talent.”

Indeed, his career choices have been made carefully. Each new role is selected to enhance his brand. He is methodically creating a profile with broad appeal. His film debut role —  a significant cameo as The Scorpion King in THE MUMMY RETURNS —led to the starring role in the spinoff feature that followed, THE SCORPION KING. The picture made money and pointed to a future as an action star. Buddy films like THE RUNDOWN and WALKING TALL allowed Johnson to develop his screen presence while playing off of energetic co-stars.

Johnson then set about expanding his horizons. Jen Yamato, writing in The Daily Beast, charts the next phase of his career: “He took chances and diversified with a surprising comedic turn as a gay bodyguard/aspiring actor in BE COOL, a cameo in RENO 911! THE MOVIE, and a major role in Richard Kelly’s ambitious sci-fi satire SOUTHLAND TALES.”

detail.673ee91aDaniel Roberts, writing in Fortune, says, “You could argue that Johnson fully emerged as an actor with BE COOL in 2005, in which he played a gay bodyguard with an Afro. It was the first time he acted opposite A-list stars (Uma Thurman and John Travolta) and, more significantly, it helped establish that his groove was in action comedy.”

To establish himself in this new genre, Johnson moved into family films. Yamato continues: “The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment became The Most Electrifying Man In All of Entertainment by shrewdly trading in his crowd-pleasing brand of brow-raising brio for a relatable strain of All-American humility.

“That transformation started as The Rock went Disney as a footballer with a daughter he never knew he had in THE GAME PLAN, his first family flick and his last credited picture as ‘The Rock.’ The movie made $147 million worldwide, making it the most successful Johnson-fronted film to not feature violent action at the time.

“Then came GET SMART, RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN, and TOOTH FAIRY with a dose of friendly neighborhood brawn for the whole family. A scene-stealing blip of an appearance in 2010’s THE OTHER GUYS was a stroke of perfect casting: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson as the NYPD’s hotshot star cops.” In 2012 his JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND drove to a $335 million gross.

Having introduced himself to the family market, his next move was back to action films. His career was turbo-charged when he joined the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise in FAST FIVE. The picture helped boost his action cred, but Johnson was also widely credited with rejuvenating the Furious series.  The nickname ‘Franchise Viagra’ stuck, and he repeated the magic in G.I.JOE: RETALIATION the next year. After two more FURIOUS films, Dwayne Johnson finds himself standing on the entertainment mountaintop.

Smart career choices and the blessing of the box office gods don’t fully explain his success, however. Clearly he began with an extraordinary charm and charisma, qualities that audiences embraced from the beginning. Roberts tells us the story: “Johnson went from being so poor as a kid that he and his mother were evicted from their home, to Division I college football, to World Wrestling Entertainment, to Hollywood, to being the highest-grossing actor of 2013. How he did it is a case study in determination…

“The only child of a Canadian father and a Samoan mother, Johnson grew up like an Army brat, living everywhere from California to New Zealand to Texas, because his father, Rocky Johnson, was a professional wrestler and traveled the circuit. At age 15, Dwayne and his mother were living in a small studio in Honolulu when they came home to an eviction notice and a lock on the door. Their rent, at $180 a week, was too much for his mother, who cleaned hotel rooms. ‘It broke my heart,’ he says. The pair had no choice but to move to Nashville, where his dad was wrestling at the time. ‘I remember saying to myself, ‘I will do anything and everything I possibly can to make sure we never get evicted again.’ But what does that mean—what does it mean to be successful? Well, the successful men I admired all built their bodies.'”

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 2.40.40 PMJohnson played football in college, hoping for a pro career. He joined “the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. That didn’t work out either; he was cut after two months. Broke, jobless, and embarrassed, he flew from Canada to Miami and called his father to drive from Tampa to get him. On the ride home, he emptied his pockets and found just seven dollars (hence his company’s name: 7 Bucks Productions).

“Johnson had never planned on going into the family business, and his father initially forbade it. But once he moved back in with his parents, and after weeks of depression, it seemed the obvious move. Rocky told Dwayne he had nothing to offer the sport; Dwayne, hurt, felt differently. ‘Looking back,’ he says, ‘I understand that he was thinking, ‘Man, I wrestled for 40 years, and this is what I have to show for it: a tiny apartment in Tampa. I don’t want this for you.’”

“It turned out that Johnson had a lot to offer the sport. He began wrestling in small-time matches as Flex Kavana, made it to the WWE in 1996 and took the name Rocky Maivia, and went on, as The Rock, to become the biggest superstar televised wrestling has ever seen. Fans of the ‘sport’—which is part verbal performance, part dance, and all theater—loved his charisma and family backstory.”

It took effort to convert the charm into stardom. One thing observers agree on is “how hard Johnson works.”

He takes each role seriously.  Speaking to comicbook.com about the upcoming role in SHAZAM, he says “It’s a mythology that I love. It’s been with me for almost 10 years now. What made me choose Black Adam  was, I just felt like Black Adam was inherently more interesting to me, because I felt like there were more layers to Black Adam, starting out as a slave, then ultimately becoming the anti-hero that we know today. But I’ve always said that’s got to be earned.”

He means earn the respect of the audience. Johnson tells Fortune: “From wrestling in flea markets (making $40 bucks a match) to used car dealerships to barns, to breaking attendance records in every major dome in the U.S., I learned that the most important relationship I will EVER have in business is the relationship I have with my audience. Pay attention to who you do your business for.” He earns his fans’ respect twice: in the performance of the role and in the marketing of the film.

Roberts explains: “Hollywood teems with hardworking actors, of course, but Johnson  goes further than most. He’s not done when the cameras stop rolling. He takes each movie’s promotion into his own hands, pushing it to his 56 million fans across social media, a platform that film insiders say is more valuable to a Dwayne Johnson flick than any ad campaign.”

Meslow concurs: ” the range of talents Johnson has displayed on the big-screen is just one half of the cocktail that has elevated him to superstardom. It’s the inherent likability Johnson shows off-screen — which he cannily harnesses on Twitter (8.7 million followers), Instagram (14.8 million followers), and Facebook (49 million likes) — that has earned him such an unusually loyal fandom.”

8fdb2cb7b90a58a3361cdded32d5e5efcc34e008His creative use of social media elevates his media reach. Last week, for example, he set a new Guinness World record for the Most Selfies Taken in Three Minutes. “The Furious 7 star broke the record at the UK premiere of his upcoming disaster flick San Andreas, snapping selfie after selfie with fans and revelers on the red carpet outside of London’s Odeon Leicester Square,” gushes US magazine. Traditional media outlets drool over this kind of publicity efficiency.

Johnson manages to be sincere in the process. Meslow says: “Following Johnson on social media feels like an actual window into his day-to-day life: unusually chatty, heavy on pictures, and full of upbeat affirmations about the best ways to live a happy life. … Johnson spends a lot of his social media platform promoting his various film and television projects — but first and foremost, he’s always promoting Dwayne Johnson.

Last week, Johnson scored a huge viral hit by serving as the officiant at a surprise wedding for Nick Mundy — a writer and fan who just happens to have 33,000-plus Twitter followers.” wlrockhandprints1And he turned the Chinese Theater hands-in-cement ceremony into an opportunity to thank Steven Spielberg, telling Reuters: “This man who has inspired me over the years, inspired movie-making and created characters that I loved…this man told me: ‘you’re going for it, and just keep going for it.”

The other piece of advice he treasures came from director Phil Joanou: Protect the thing that allows you to do what you do. Johnson rephrases it: “Around every corner always protect the engine that powers you.” (Fortune.)

Mostly, Dwayne is having fun, and it’s rubbing off on everyone. John Patterson sums it up in his SAN ANDREAS review in The Guardian: “As he has refined his brand, Johnson has stepped out. His recurrent appearances on SNL, playing Hulk-like, shape-shifting Potus “The Rock” Obama, have been ridiculously endearing (especially whenever he flings Ted Cruz out of a window), and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen him lip-sync Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off with Jimmy Fallon (“Oh Jimmy, your ass is gettin’ ready to know Tay-Tay!”). There is an unadulterated joy to be derived from watching a performer make all the right movies, one after another. Vive Le Rock! ” roc17_3

 

A Very Murray Christmas – Watch the Teaser

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 06:  Bill Murray at the "St. Vincent" Press Conference at the Fairmont Royal York on September 6, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario.  (Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)

Slashfilm reports that Netflix will present the holiday special                A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS. Bill Murray will star as a fictional TV celebrity named Bill Murray in “an homage to the classic variety show … as he worries no one will show up to his TV show due to a terrible snow storm in New York City.”

By some holiday miracle, though, the show goes on. “Through luck and perseverance, guests arrive at the Carlyle hotel to help him; dancing and singing in holiday spirit,” the press release continues.

Variety reports that guests include George Clooney, Paul Shaffer, Amy Poehler, Julie White, Dimitri Dimitrov, Michael Cera, Chris Rock, David Johansen, Maya Rudolph, Jason Schwartzman, Jenny Lewis, Phoenix, Frederic Moulin, Rashida Jones, and Miley Cyrus.

The director is Sofia Coppola. She and Murray will write A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS along with Mitch Glazer, who co-wrote Murray’s Christmas classic SCROOGED, and was Associate Producer on the Coppola directed LOST IN TRANSLATION.

Murray first revealed his plans for the Christmas special last year. “It won’t have a format, but it’s going to have music,” he told Variety at the time. “It will have texture. It will have threads through it that are writing. There will be prose. It will have a patina style and wit to it.” Coppola added,  “It will be nice. My motivation is to hear him singing my song requests.”

Here’s the teaser:

“Make It Cool Or I’ll Kill You” — The Apocalyptic Cars of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

“In the MAD MAX world they worship machinery,” says Director/Screenwriter/Producer George Miller in this featurette about the insane vehicles in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. To deliver these incredible machines, Miller turned to production designer Colin Gibson, saying “Make it cool or I’ll kill you.”1250584678943245483Gibson treated the assignment as if he were casting actors, looking for individuality and distinctive traits. “We wanted to find things that were iconic,” Gibson tells Jalopnik. “Cars that had a particular resonance in Australia, and then design them as the boys would’ve.” 1250584678635445931The cars needed to look right, but they also had to perform. “Cars were a metaphor for power,” says Gibson. “Forget about hunkering down in a bunker—come the end of the world, steal a V-8, steal a gun, you’re gonna last a little longer.”  Miller insisted on everything being practical: “We decided to shoot the film old school, with real vehicles and real people,” he says.1250584679344646827“The vehicles are almost an extension of the characters,” Miller continues. As a result the film is filled with “cars brimming with personality and with an absolute minimum of technology,” writes Damon Lavrinc in Jalopnik. “They had to be shells to impose and convey each of the character’s motivations – stars unto themselves that could stand alone, and also stand up to the sheer lunacy of what Miller had planned.”1250584679088716459Case in point: Charlize Theron’s War Rig, shown above, being attacked by men on long, high tensile steel poles. Those are stuntmen on the poles, not mannequins or CGI humans.1250584679022559403Gibson says, “We basically tried to build the vehicles the way it would have been done in the apocalypse.” His guys built 88 individual cars; at the end of the day, counting backup cars plus the variations that got blown up or ripped apart, they created 150 vehicles in all. 1250584679257699243The film was photographed by John Seale (THE ENGLISH PATIENT, WITNESS, DEAD POET’S SOCIETY) who came out of retirement to shoot the picture. His goal was to immerse the viewer in the action. “It’s always been a part of my work philosophy to…make it as smooth as possible for the audience to view it, because I feel if you can do that you’re going to suck the audience out of their seat and… put them in the situation. And you’ve got to hold them there, you know?” Seale tells Hitfix. “This was all part of George’s philosophy, to get them in the movie in the first two shots and hold them there for another 112 minutes.”1250584679496028331Tom Hardy stars in the title role (originated by Mel Gibson.) He’s joined by Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Zoe Kravitz.safe_image

Jon M. Chu’s ‘Totally Outrageous’ JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS Trailer

Universal has released the new trailer for Jon M. Chu’s latest musical film. A live action adaptation of the classic animated series, JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS stars Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Aurora Perrineau, Juliette Lewis, Ryan Guzman and Molly Ringwald. It opens October 23.

Slashfilm calls it “Jon Chu’s Totally Outrageous Film Adaptation,” and asks: “It’s one of those classic rags to riches stories, it’s got a One Direction song in it and Molly Ringwald—how can you beat that?”

The executive producers are Jason Blum (Whiplash, Paranormal Activity) and Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber Never Say Never.) Jem-Poster

Rachel McAdams Talks TRUE DETECTIVE — “JOB OF A LIFETIME”

RachelRachel McAdams opens up to Marie Claire about her role in the upcoming second season of TRUE DETECTIVE on HBO. Information about the project has been guarded, so even this abbreviated conversation is of interest.

Excerpt from Marie Claire:

Rachel McAdams [is] something of a complicated proposition, because it turns out Rachel McAdams is not really all that interested in being a movie star. What Rachel McAdams loves to do is act.

“What I love is dropping into someone else’s life and exploring it,” she says … She’s in town from Toronto, shooting season two of HBO’s hit gothic crime drama True Detective with Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn, which she describes as “the job of a lifetime.” McAdams, 36, plays Detective Ani Bezzerides—a hard drinkin’, hard gamblin’, cigarette smokin’ Ventura county cop … trying to solve a grisly murder. “I love the exploration of someone who has such a different background from you. That exploration runs to compassion, and to cracking yourself open and creating more understanding of how weird and amazing life is.”

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The show’s creator Nic Pizzolatto has said that this season will feature “bad men, hard women.” McAdams likes the fact her character is not a familiar one. She says:

“I love that she’s not the girlfriend or the wife. She doesn’t really care what everyone thinks; she feels no responsibility for other people’s feelings. She’s not trying to be charming, which isn’t always the case with a leading lady. There’s [usually] sort of a responsibility to be a little bit likeable… Not that you want to be a horrendous character, just a little more human.”

TRUE DETECTIVE returns to HBO on June 21.

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The ‘Disconcerting Psychology’ of True Detective 2, Plus New Character Posters

HBO has just released new character posters for the four stars of TRUE DETECTIVE, season 2. Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch look intense despite the fact that each image is cropped just below the eyes. There’s an ominous tagline, “We get the world we deserve,” and with these designs Slashfilm wonders “if any of these characters can see that new world coming.” true-detective-colintrue-detective-vincetrue-detective-racheltrue-detective-taylorCreator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto says there is no connection between the events in season one, which starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and the plot of season two. “There’s no relationship between the stories or characters, which was the result of fully committing to something new, but I do think that the seasons have a deep, close bond in sensibility and vision, a similar soul, though this is a more complex world and field of characters,” he tells Medium.

Also, season 2 features no occult element or baroque Southern creepiness: “The gothic horror suggested by Louisiana’s coastal landscape didn’t feel appropriate in this place. These new landscapes have their own unique voice and their own unsettling qualities. While there’s nothing occult in this season, I think there’s a disconcerting psychology to this world, and its characters have other kinds of uncanny reality with which to contend,” says Pizzolatto.

Season 2 sounds like it has its own identity: “We were conscious of not wanting to repeat ourselves … And there was the conviction that if we were to do something entirely new, then we shouldn’t lean on past conceits, but really build from scratch,” he concludes.

Here’s the first teaser in case you missed it:

The lyrics to the teaser’s haunting original song (performed by Lera Lynn) certainly point to a disconcerting psychology: “change will come to those who have no fear,” “were we like a battlefield locked inside a holy war,” “were we like a pair of thieves, tumbled locks and broken codes, you cannot take that from me,” “your love is my due diligence, the only thing worth fighting for.”

Reese & Sofia Join The List of Awesome Female Comedy Duos

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 8.54.44 PMHitfix has posted a list of “10 Awesome Female Comedy Duos In TV and Movies” to coincide with the opening of HOT PURSUIT, featuring the latest pairing of comediennes to hit the screen as a comedy team. Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara star as a classic mismatch of opposites. Anne Fletcher directs.

Reese and Sofia make a great new addition to the pantheon. In her review, critic Stephanie Zacharek says “HOT PURSUIT is a quiet triumph of tone and timing,” noting that “Witherspoon’s performance here has so much go-for-broke fearlessness…she seems unafraid to cut loose, and she and Vergara make a terrific team.”

attends The 2015 MTV Movie Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Some of the other duos on the Hitfix list:

BETTE MIDLER AND LILY TOMLINlTomlin and Midler in BIG BUSINESS.

PENNY MARSHALL AND CINDY WILLIAMS60355544Marshall and Williams in LAVERNE & SHIRLEY.

AMY POEHLER AND TINA FEYweekend-update-tina-fey Fey and Poehler on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

LUCILLE BALL AND VIVIAN VANCElucyethel_i_love_lucyBall and Vance on I LOVE LUCY.

SANDRA BULLOCK AND MELISSA MCCARTHYthe_heat_bullock_mccarthyBullock and McCarthy in THE HEAT.

DAWN FRENCH AND JENNIFER SAUNDERS2694732653French and Saunders in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS.

The Frisky offers a list of up and coming duos, including Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of BROAD CITY, in an article titled “Funny Ladies: 6 Hysterical Female Comedy Duos You Need To Get Into Right Now.”

o-BROAD-CITY-facebookJacobson and Glazer, stars of BROAD CITY.

Meanwhile, the New York Times is busy appreciating the blooper reel at the end of HOT PURSUIT. The article is titled “HOT PURSUIT and Other Films Elevate the Art of the Blooper Reel. “

Check it out, and have some laughs at the movies this weekend!

5 Behind The Scenes Scoops from John Hughes Movies

Caption:  Director John Hughes on 11/28/90 in Chicago, Il.   Headline:  Paul Natkin Archive   Venue:    Location:  Various Locations, United States   Date:  Circa 20th century   Credit:  Paul Natkin/WireImage.com
 Director John Hughes on 11/28/90 in Chicago, Il. Photo Credit: Paul Natkin/WireImage.com

The Telegraph has a wonderful essay titled WILL THERE EVER BE ANOTHER JOHN HUGHES? by Robbie Collin, prompted by the recent publication of a new book by Kirk Honeycutt, JOHN HUGHES: A LIFE IN FILM. Collin’s essay is excerpted below:

Between 1984 and 1987, Hughes wrote six teen movies: SIXTEEN CANDLES, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, WEIRD SCIENCE, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, PRETTY IN PINK and SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. The first four of those he also directed; the other two were by Howard Deutch, although behind-the-scenes tales from PRETTY IN PINK suggest Hughes was still the primary guiding influence on set.

Together, these six films make up just a fraction of his life’s work. Between his first screenplay, for 1982’s NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CLASS REUNION, and his death in 2009, Hughes directed eight features and had writing credits on 25 more, plus a handful of other projects that went direct to video or were made for television, and countless more that were left unmade. But those half-dozen high-school films are his legacy.

“You see us as you want to see us,” runs the opening monologue [of THE BREAKFAST CLUB] – which we later discover is part of the essay written by the five students from different backgrounds, played by Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall, who learn that they have more in common than they first thought. “In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.”

Before Hughes, teen movies had almost exclusively trafficked in stereotypes – the jock, the geek, the virgin, the stoner, the slut and so on – and THE BREAKFAST CLUB was his wholesale rejection of those worn-out tropes. Hughes establishes the differences between these five characters so nimbly you barely notice it happening: in their clothes; their parents’ parting words to them at the school gates; the different cars in which four of the five arrive; even where in the library they choose to sit.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, 1985. ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, 1985. ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

But as the detention runs its course, our easy assumptions about them are turned on their head. None of them fits the role into which they’ve been forced by high-school life. “What we’ve found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal,” runs the film’s closing monologue, which is shared by all five of the leads. This realisation is treated, rightly, as life-changing. Hughes never patronised his characters, and treated teenage traumas with far more gravity than those his adult characters suffered through.

Even today, that feels revolutionary – and shows Hughes’s commitment to treating his young audience with the utmost respect, however outlandish the on-screen action got.

So perhaps to find today’s John Hughes we need to look elsewhere…If Hughes were around today, would we find him on YouTube, laughing and joking with the young cinemagoers who’d found encouragement and hope in his work? Or would this self-styled outsider remain off the grid with his wife and two sons in a quiet Chicagoan suburb? There’s no way to know – and, of course, no need to either. His films speak for him, articulately and at length, whenever your inner teenager might want to hear a friendly voice.

Read Collin’s full piece at The Telegraph.

The book’s author, longtime Hollywood Reporter journalist and critic Kirk Honeycutt, spoke about Hughes with Fast Company: “He wrote about teens as if they were adults. He connected to them in a way no one has before or since. Their problems, he treated with seriousness. Their angst, he treated with seriousness. He didn’t write down to them. He wrote to their level. He was someone in his thirties who still remembered what it was like to be 17. He remembered how parents and teachers feel like creatures from another land. He understood that who you go to the prom with was crucially important for a couple months in your life. He created an adult world in which the kids were the adults. I think that will play forever.”

Honeycutt, who interviewed Hughes through the years, shares anecdotes behind five of the writer-director’s most popular movies in an interview with the NY Post:

“Sixteen Candles,” 1984

SIXTEEN CANDLES, Gedde Watanabe, Deborah Pollack, 1984. (c)Universal Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.
SIXTEEN CANDLES, Gedde Watanabe, Deborah Pollack, 1984. (c)Universal Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

“Gedde Watanabe [above, with Deborah Pollack] played Long Duk Dong, a clichéd Asian character. But they actually spent the better part of two days filming a big musical number with him at the prom — he did a big dance number and rapped about how much he loved America. It would have been interesting to see how people reacted to the character if that scene remained. I think it would have made him less controversial.”

“Pretty in Pink,” 1986

PRETTY IN PINK, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, 1986
PRETTY IN PINK, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, 1986

“They had to reshoot the ending, because the original one where Andie [Molly Ringwald] and Duckie [Jon Cryer] ended up at the prom dancing — with implications they’ll get together — was disliked by test audiences, especially young girls who felt Molly needed to end up with the cute guy [Andrew McCarthy]. They had McCarthy back six months later to shoot a new ending. He was doing a play, for which he had shaved his head. It’s a bad wig he’s wearing [in the final scene, above]. John said to me, ‘I wasn’t happy about the reshoot but when I saw that wig, I started laughing and didn’t mind so much.’ ”

“The Breakfast Club,” 1985

“This movie was supposed to have a nude scene. During the day of detention, the [students] would have sneaked out of the library and found a peephole in the women’s locker room. There they spy the synchronized-swimming coach topless. Someone was even cast for the part: Karen Leigh Hopkins. But there was a rebellion by the actresses [Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy] and the female producer [Michelle Manning] against the scene. ‘This is really sexist and misogynistic,’ they hammered at [Hughes]. He thought about it and cut it out of the movie.”

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” 1986

FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, 1986  FILM STILL
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, 1986
FILM STILL

“For the scene where Ferris sings on the float during the parade, they had to shoot the real Von Steuben Day parade in Chicago over one weekend. Then the next weekend, they had to have a fake parade to get more shots. They had to get people willing to show up for free. They went to radio stations and put ads in the paper. In the end, 10,000 people showed up for the fake parade, which was more than for the real parade. Matthew Broderick and choreographer Kenny Ortega had worked out a dance sequence for the actor atop the float. Broderick had dislocated his knee a few weeks earlier filming the scene at the end of the movie where he’s running through yards on his way home, so the choreography had to be scrapped.”

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” 1987

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, Steve Martin, John Candy, 1987, © Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES, Steve Martin, John Candy, 1987, © Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

“Steve Martin told me [Hughes] encouraged ad-libbing. So he and John Candy are shooting this scene in this broken-down car with no roof, and it’s minus-10 degrees outside [in Buffalo, NY]. Every time they ad-libbed, you have to cover it [reshoot the scene from a different camera angle] 50 times. It was getting ridiculous, the multiple coverage they needed for every line. Martin and Candy agreed not to ad-lib anymore because they were freezing to death. They loved ad-libbing, and unfortunately were doing too good a job of it and increasing their chances of getting frostbite.”

Paul Giamatti Keeps New ‘SAN ANDREAS’ Trailer Down To Earth

dwayne_johnson_as_ray_in_san_andreas-t3The new trailer for SAN ANDREAS has popped. It features a more subdued tone than disaster movies usually adopt; this one centers on relationships, not hysteria. There’s plenty of destruction on display, of course, plus extraordinary heroics from Dwayne Johnson. But the overall feel of the piece is grounded, almost elegaic. It celebrates the effort of the victims to help each other survive the catastrophe.

This tone is anchored by a short but pivotal appearance in the trailer by Paul Giamatti. At about a minute and twenty seconds into the spot he says his only line, “Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.”maxresdefault His delivery makes the impending chaos suddenly real; his authenticity and authority legitimize your fear, and you feel the terror is unavoidable. That is a lot to accomplish with one line of dialogue; that is the kind of added value an Oscar nominee caliber actor can bring to a supporting role.

The song in the new trailer is also extremely effective, a haunting cover of CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ performed by Sia. Sia

Here is the Warner Brothers description of the film:

After the infamous San Andreas Fault finally gives, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Dwayne Johnson) and his estranged wife make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter.

But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning. And when they think the worst may be over…it’s just getting started.

The action thriller “San Andreas,” from New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures, reunites Dwayne Johnson with director Brad Peyton and producer Beau Flynn, following their collaboration on the global hit “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.”

The film also stars Carla Gugino (“Night at the Museum,” TV’s “Entourage”), Alexandra Daddario (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” TV’s “True Detective”), Ioan Gruffudd (“Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”), Archie Panjabi (TV’s “The Good Wife”), Hugo Johnstone-Burt (Australian TV’s “Home and Away”), Art Parkinson (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) and Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (“Cinderella Man”).

“San Andreas” is produced by Beau Flynn (“Hercules,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”). Richard Brener, Samuel J. Brown, Michael Disco, Rob Cowan, Tripp Vinson and Bruce Berman serve as executive producers. The screenplay is by Carlton Cuse, story by Andre Fabrizio & Jeremy Passmore.

The creative filmmaking team includes director of photography Steve Yedlin (“Looper”), production designer Barry Chusid (“The Day After Tomorrow”), editor Bob Ducsay (“Godzilla”), VFX producer Randall Starr (“Into the Storm”), VFX supervisor Colin Strause (“The Avengers”), and costume designer Wendy Chuck (“Twilight”). The music is by Andrew Lockington.

“San Andreas” was shot on location in The Gold Coast and Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The film is slated to open in theaters in both 3D and 2D on Friday, May 29, 2015.

New Line Cinema presents, in Association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a FPC Production, “San Andreas.” It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.san-andreas-poster

Jon M. Chu Double Feature Opens BAM 3-D Festival—Step Up 3D and Bieber On The Same Night

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 28:  Director Jon M. Chu arrives at the Premiere of Paramount Pictures' "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 28, 2013 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jon M. Chu

Jon M. Chu

BAMcinematek opened it’s latest film series 3D IN THE 21ST CENTURY at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Rose Cinemas  on Friday night.

The festival explores the state of the art in recent stereo film, stating “The unprecedented resurgence of 3D in the last decade has expanded the visual and emotional possibilities of cinema in frequently wondrous—and sometimes divisive—new ways. At its best, the technology creates almost hallucinatory immersive landscapes and retina-dazzling surprises with an immediate visceral impact. From big-budget blockbusters to high-concept mind-benders by arthouse icons, this first-of-its-kind series surveys recent films that showcase the full range of stereoscopic cinema’s expressive potential.”

stepup3d_613x463Kicking off the opening night of the series was an eye-popping pair of films, both from director Jon M. Chu: STEP UP 3D and JUSTIN BIEBER NEVER SAY NEVER.

The BAM site says about STEP UP 3D: “This visually dazzling hip-hop musical gives filmed dance an innovative 3D update. The wisp of a plot—in which a ragtag group of young New York City hoofers compete to win an epic dance battle—is just a pretext for the nonstop stream of exhilarating dance sequences, in which the novel use of three dimensions gives the breathtaking displays of popping, locking, and spinning a visceral jolt.”

“This is jump-n-jive cinema done right, with cinematography to match.”
—Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
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Regarding JUSTIN BIEBER NEVER SAY NEVER, BAM says: “Bieber is bigger than life in this slick monument to a pop culture sensation. Part behind-the-scenes documentary, part Madison Square Garden concert spectacular, it’s all engagingly engineered to drive legions of tweeny bopper fans to hysterics. For non-Beliebers, it’s a frighteningly effective glimpse of the teen-idol-generating hype machine.”

The film also features Usher, Miley Cyrus, Ludacris, Jaden Smith, Sean Kingston, Boyz II Men, and Scooter Braun.justin_bieber_never_say_never

BAMcinématek presents classic films, premieres, festivals, and retrospectives, with appearances by filmmakers, actors, and critics.

BAM Rose Cinemas (BRC) opened in 1998 to offer Brooklyn audiences an alternative to the standard multiplex, screening independent films that might otherwise not play in the borough and making BAM the only performing arts center in the country with two mainstage theaters and a multiplex cinema. In July 1999, beginning with a series celebrating the work of Spike Lee, BAMcinématek was born as Brooklyn’s only daily year-round repertory film program.

Over the course of its decade-long history, BAMcinématek has presented major retrospectives by such well-known auteurs as Michelangelo Antonioni, Shohei Imamura, Manoel de Oliveira, Luchino Visconti, and Vincente Minnelli and has introduced New York audiences to contemporary filmmakers, such as Pedro Costa and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. In addition, BAMcinématek has programmed the first US retrospectives of directors Arnaud Desplechin, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Hong Sang-soo, among others. BAMcinématek has also featured many exciting marquee guests, including Gena Rowlands, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Robert Altman, Jim Jarmusch, Milos Forman, David Byrne, Jonathan Demme, Isabella Rossellini, Paul Thomas Anderson, Peter Bogdanovich, Larry Clark, D.A. Pennebaker, Catherine Deneuve, and many more.