Bruises, dream cars, chipped teeth and how the audience is the final ingredient ...
Considering that many of the "Fast and Furious" gang have been working together for up to a decade, it's got to be a trick to find the right actors to comfortably jump on board a vehicle that already has plenty of passengers and more than a little velocity. But this time, the new additions are perfect fits -- specifically, Luke Evans, who plays bad guy Shaw, and Gina Carano, the MMA-fighter and actress who plays Riley, the right-hand woman to Dwayne Johnson's hard-charging globo-cop Hobbs. We spoke with Evans and Carano in London about bad guys, fist-fights, fast cars and joining the party ...
MSN Movies: How great is it to come onboard a series where people are actually excited about a part six? That's pretty rare in Hollywood. By the time you get to part six it's usually lather, rinse, repeat. But your characters are a new shot to the arm of the series. How does it feel to enter this kind of weird film family of actors and creators?
Luke Evans: Well, you sort of answered the question really. It's a fantastic place. It's very rare to see a franchise in its sixth installment still creating a buzz ... but not just a buzz, the biggest buzz of the whole franchise. I mean they've built and built and built, and it's coming off the back of "Fast Five," which I thought was a fantastic movie. They've brought back the fantastic Justin Lin, the brilliant director who had an amazing idea, some crazy stunts, some ideas for cars, and wanted to bring a leading antagonist into the movie this time, an antagonist that wasn't just going to be helping the plot move along but actually was part of the story and the plot. And so yeah, and what is created is a new generation. This is a new, like you said, it's like a shot in the arm. They've added something to the mix.
But also he's created a film where, Ms. Carano, you get to do a 360-spin kick in the belly of a Russian cargo plane.
Gina Carano: Yeah.
I mean when you see that level of ambition, is it exciting on the page, never mind when you do it on the day?
Carano: It's just, it's fun. I get to play.
Carano: I mean that's a plane, and I get to do that, and experiment with my body and see where I can take it as far as action and other people's bodies. That sounds kind of strange, but, yeah. Violently.
We'll keep it in context.
Carano: (Laughs) Yes.
The acclaimed writer/director continues to explore the foibles and complexities of the human experience
Though Noah Baumbach’s new film, “Frances Ha,” opened in only four theaters last Friday (in New York and Los Angeles), it was the #1 film in the country in per-screen averages, bringing in almost twice as much per theater as “Star Trek Into Darkness.” True, it’s a bit crazy to compare small, introspective films like “Frances Ha,” co-written by and starring the delightful Greta Gerwig, with huge studio juggernauts like “Star Trek into Darkness” which opened in nearly 4,000 theaters nationwide—talk about apples and oranges! Still, it’s nice to see that audiences for such a limited release were chomping at the bit to see this funny, poignant tale of a socially awkward 27-year-old dancer in New York who is struggling to figure out how to live her life. The well-received film, shot in glorious black and white, features a talented ensemble cast that includes Mickey Sumner, Charlotte d’Amboise, Adam Driver, Grace Gummer, Michael Zegen, Juliet Rylance, and Josh Hamilton. Since his first film, 1995’s “Kicking and Screaming,” Noah Baumbach has become one of the most respected writer/directors working in independent films. I spoke with him in Los Angeles.
MSN Movies: This is such a great collaboration between you and Greta Gerwig. Because she had such a big hand in developing the character, were there ever moments during the filming where she felt something didn’t feel right for Frances?
Noah Baumbach: Part of what’s so unique about Greta as a writer and an actor is she can really separate the two. When she was playing the part, there was very little indication that she had written the lines. She was just very present as an actor and she wanted to be directed. We were very rigorous on this movie. We did many takes so it was kind of strenuous—I guess you could say it took a lot of effort to make it look so joyful and breezy! It’s the same thing for me as a writer/director—once I’m directing, I’m treating the text as something that I’m interpreting, even though I also invented it.
All of your films feature such interesting female characters—complex, real women who are dealing with some heavy emotional issues. How do you think Frances falls in line with Joan in “The Squid and the Whale,” Pauline and Margot in “Margot at the Wedding,” or Florence in “Greenberg?”
In the context of my work, Frances is one of the easiest characters to like! I just loved her— she’s so understandable as a person and she has such goodness. Frances has this kind of joyful and hopeful approach to life despite all the crap that life can bring you. I felt like I was inspired in a way, both in writing and directing, to protect her but at the same time give her the opportunity to grow. What I really liked about making this film is that it’s a movie about the romance of practicality and Frances was the perfect character to document that.
I was inspired by Frances’s unique way of accepting reality, even if it sometimes takes her a while to do so. Greta Gerwig is so great in this part, but so are all of the actors in the film, even those who only appear for a minute or two.
I like that about the movie, too. I feel like it’s a great snapshot of some of the best actors who are in New York right now. Some of them have already broken out in other things. When we made the movie, for example, Adam Driver was still filming “Girls,” it hadn’t happened yet. I think we’ll more of the other actors in big things coming up.
It’s hard not to compare the world of this movie to Lena Dunham’s “Girls” even though they’re very different. How do you respond to such comparisons? I also hear the movie discussed in the same breath as Woody Allen’s New York-based films.
I think it’s cool that there is more than one thing going on about young women in New York—there’s no reason that they can’t both exist happily together. Lena’s great, and I think what’s she’s doing is great. As for Woody Allen, I can only take that as a compliment. I think his movies are brilliant.
And speaking of Woody Allen, I so admired the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography in this film. Is that still a hard sell these days?
On cars and scars and stunts and kids ...
Star-crossed lovers with big hearts on their sleeves and heavy feet on the gas pedal, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster have been mainstays of the 'Fast and Furious" films. Walker is FBI-agent-turned-criminal Brian O'Conner, while Brewster is Mia Toretto, the little sister to Vin Diesel's bigger, badder Dom. We spoke with the two in London about real driving, real stunts and moving on without franchise director Justin Lin ...
MSN Movies: A lot of the time these well-received series, they can have a revolving door in the director's chair, but you guys have been working with Justin Lin for so long. Is that great in terms of being able to just really work on the characters and the ongoing relationships with him?
Paul Walker: Yeah, for me obviously ... I think what he's done , people realize. He's a champion. But what people don't see that we see is that he matches that with heart. He just comes from the right place, he's a team player, he wants everyone to feel valued, and he wants everyone to feel like they're important. And I respect him for that. I just think he's a really good team captain. Moving forward, we're talking about "Seven" without him...
It's going to be difficult, right?
Walker: I mean we've been there before.
Walker: We've seen this transition before, and I've had a conversation with James Wan already, and there's my read on people is pretty on point. And I think we've got a winner in him, too. So I'm excited. After that conversation it made it a little bit easier. But yeah, Justin's always going to be missed and appreciated. He's a champ.
And Ms. Brewster, in "Fast Five" it was revealed that your character's pregnant, and in this film you actually have the child. What's it like playing a mom in the classic North American action film? Is that a different set of challenges?
Jordana Brewster: I didn’t view it as a challenge. I thought it was sort of a very organic, natural progression in Mia and Brian's life. So when I saw (the baby scenes) I thought they were very sweet, and it's kind of like the moment where the film gets a little more grounded after, and it's all this crazy action. So it's really easy.
Is it nice being in an action film where the laws of physics get bent but not broken, in that there's nothing superhuman or science fiction-y about it? It's all extraordinary, but still relatively real.
Walker: Yeah, I want it completely real. That's just my personality. And I think a lot of people, for a lot of people it's just not enough.
Two box sets, one classic and one contemporary, of gangster movie landmarks on Blu-ray
Back in the thirties, as sound remade the movie industry, Warner Bros. blasted into the new decade as the studio of scrappy, snappy, street-smart movies, full of wise-cracking reporters, blue-collar hustlers, and hard-luck guys and dolls struggling to get by in the hard times of the depression. They were also the godfathers of the gangster movie, launching the genre and its two most famous icons with early sound movie landmarks "Little Caesar" (1931) with Edward G. Robinson and "The Public Enemy" (1931) with James Cagney.
Both of those films debut on Blu-ray this week in "Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics" (Warner), which arrives with its companion set "Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Contemporary" (Warner). Together they present nine films on Blu-ray, from 1931 to 2006, and a bonus documentary on DVD.
"Classics" is the more exciting of the two releases, as the four landmark gangster movies from Warner Bros. all make their respective Blu-ray debuts this week (they also debut in individual volumes on Blu-ray). Along with "Little Caesar" (1931), which established the classic rise-and-fall arc of the gangster thriller, and "The Public Enemy" (1931), which unleashed dynamo Cagney in a star-making turn, is "The Petrified Forest" (1936), which gave supporting player Humphrey Bogart his breakthrough role as a mad dog of a fugitive killer, and "White Heat" (1949), with Cagney in an explosive performance as the most psychotic gangster in classic cinema: “Made it, ma. Top of the world!”
It's blood-free, but certainly not scare-free
Remakes of 'Endless Love' and 'About Last Night' set for same day release
Two gals, a road trip, and some bad dudes (and, yes, belly dancing)
Emma Thomson and Emmy Rossum talk about the two worlds in the fantasy drama
This supernatural love story set in the South, “Beautiful Creatures” is a tale of two star-crossed lovers as they uncover dark secrets about their families, their history and their town.
To celebrate the release on Blu-ray and DVD we’re giving away copies of “Beautiful Creatures.” Watch this exclusive as Emma Thompson and Emmy Rossum takes you behind the scenes and enter to win a copy of the movie!
"Beautiful Creatures" is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
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