December 21, 2014
Here are the posters to Warner Bros.’ upcoming “comedy-caper-love story” ‘Focus,’ starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie.
Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love.), Will Smith stars as Nicky, a seasoned master of misdirection who becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess (Margot Robbie from Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street). As he’s teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame—now an accomplished femme fatale—shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of the high stakes racecar circuit. In the midst of Nicky’s latest, very dangerous scheme, she throws his plans for a loop…and the consummate con man off his game.
Also featured in the film are Rodrigo Santoro, BD Wong and Gerald McRaney.
The behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Xavier Grobet (“Enough Said”), production designer Elizabeth Mickle (“Drive”), editor Jan Kovac (HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), and from “Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” costume designer Dayna Pink and composer Nick Urata. Apollo Robbins, nicknamed The Gentleman Thief, served as a consultant, conceiving and choreographing original sleight-of-hand maneuvers.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, a Di Novi Pictures Production, A Zaftig Films Production, “Focus.” The film will be released in theatres on February 27, 2015 and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.
December 19, 2014
Coming out this week is the musical film Annie, which stars Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Zayas, Dorian Missick, Stephanie Kurtzuba and Bobby Cannavale.
Directed by Will Gluck, the producers of the film include James Lassiter, Will Smith and Caleb Smith.
Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014.
Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around.
Playing the role of Nash, Stacks’ head of security is Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who starred in disaster period pic Pompeii and will be seen in Season 5 of HBO’s Game Of Thrones. He will also return to NBC’s Odyssey as series regular. Akinnuoye-Agbaje is currently working with Will Smith in the untitled NFL drama about the concussions that occurs with players and the effects that it has on them after their playing days are over.
Blackfilm.com recently spoke with Akinnuoye-Agbaje about his role in ‘Annie’ and his future projects.
How would you best describe Nash?
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: He is a modern adaptation of the original of Annie called Punjab and he is the right-hand man of Daddy Warbucks, an all-around security guy and the eyes and ears of the Daddy Warbucks empire. He’s also the guy who really befriends Annie and tries to help her find her parents. He’s the all-around lookout guy.
What was the attraction to doing this film?
AAA: People have seen me play the tough guy or the bad guy in intense roles and here was an opportunity to play something closer to who I am, which is more humorous and light-hearted. I am also a fan of the movie. I grew up watching that and this type of movie like The Wizard of Oz and Annie are some of the reasons why I started doing films. These are fantastical stories. To be part of a new generation of Annie was a real treat. There were other reasons. I had seen Quvenzhané Wallis in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ and I thought she was phenomenal. As I watched the film, I said to myself that I would love to act with her and got the opportunity to do that. When you act with children, it brings a different side to your acting. Children are very honest to their performance. The opportunity to work in New York was also enticing. There were a number of reasons. Ultimately, it’s great to be part of something special so that my future kids can see. Their daddy making a fool of himself for a good cause.
As you mentioned, you want to make a film from all genres.
AAA: I’ve done the family movies like The Mummy Returns and G.I. Joe. Those films are very family oriented and one of the biggest kicks I get is seeing them with my own family that includes nieces and nephews. To do these films and enjoy the characters I play is a big treat. People don’t realize that actors are movie fans as well. Annie represents that film that the whole family can watch. It also comes at a time when people have the time to be with family. It’s a great project that I’m proud of and it also represents a spirit that is unique in New York; like when the chips are down, they come together.
Most of the cast had the opportunity to sing in the film but you weren’t one of the them. Why not?
AAA: Nash is not the character that will break out singing, but he did contribute a line or two towards the end. He’s that guy that watches the scene than indulging himself in it. If he indulges, then nobody is doing security. So while everyone is singing and dancing, he’s overseeing everything. In wasn’t in his character to sing and dance, but maybe on the next one.
Can you talk about working with Will Gluck and Jamie Foxx?
AAA: It’s great to work with both. Jamie is a comic genius. He’s so natural in his deliver and he’s also very spontaneous. What you saw on the screen is just one take but Will was probably in the editing figuring which one to take because each take Jamie delivers is always hilarious. That’s the hardest job for my character, who is more straight-faced and has to stay in that zone because he is so funny and you’re just cracking up. Cameron and Quvenzhane are also great and it’s a genre that people do not associate me with and I thought it was a way to break the ice and ease them into seeing another side of me. Will is a very smart director. He knows what he wants.
One of the producers on the film is Will Smith, with whom you will be working with in the football film about concussion. Were you aware that the two would be on this project as well?
AAA: Prior to doing Annie, I was a huge fan of Will and he’s express his liking of my career and we were looking for opportunities where we could collaborate and work together. ‘Annie’ was the first project and then ‘Concussion’ came up and that was different and an entirely separate project. It just worked out that I was right for the part. I went through the process with Peter Landesman, who is the director. I did the normal process of meeting him and trying to get the job. I got it and it was a treat to work with Will as an actor as opposed to just a producer, which he is on ‘Annie.’ That was a nice treat, especially on a movie that’s so important and will have an impact when it comes out. It’s a different character from ‘Annie,’ and that’s what I like, the diversity, especially with the roles that I have coming out next year.
And then there’s ‘Game of Thrones.’ What can you say so far?
AAA: I’m sure you know that I’m sworn to secrecy, but what’s out there is the name of my character, Malko. That’s all I can say. I know there are a lot of fans and that they are looking forward to the next installment. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to participate. I think you will enjoy the new season. I also have another series called ‘Odyssey’ I have ‘Trumbo’ coming out next year with Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren. These are dramatic tense roles to ‘Annie.’
What’s a good reason to see ‘Annie?’
AAA: We well be singing “Tomorrow” and “Hard Knock Life” and that’s something I’m excited to see because my mother is tired of seeing me kill or get killed. I think this will be something she likes.
December 19, 2014
Screen Gems has released a clip from The Wedding Ringer, starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad.
Directed by Jeremy Gerelick from a script by Garelick and Jay Lavender (The Break-Up), the film also features Kaley Cuoco, Affion Crockett, Jorge Garcia, Dan Gill, Corey Holcomb, Ken Howard, Colin Kane, Cloris Leachman, Jenifer Lewis, Alan Ritchson, Mimi Rogers, Ignacio Serricchio, Aaron Takahashi, Olivia Thirlby and Nicky Whelan.
The Wedding Ringer follows Jimmy (Hart), who provides best man services for socially challenged guys, who – for whatever reason – have no one close enough to agree to stand by them on the day of their wedding. Doug (Gad) a groom-to-be, has found himself in just such a situation, but, to make matters worse, he fabricates the names of not only a best man but nine groomsmen as well. When all else fails, Doug seeks out Jimmy’s services to carry out a charade designed to make Doug look his best, but threatens to destroy everything if it fails.
The Wedding Ringer hits theaters January 16, 2015.
Clip – Grandma On Fire
December 19, 2014
Warner Bros. Pictures has released the trailer from its upcoming comedy, Get Hard, starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart.
When millionaire hedge fund manager James (Will Ferrell) is nailed for fraud and bound for a stretch in San Quentin, the judge gives him 30 days to get his affairs in order. Desperate, he turns to Darnell (Kevin Hart) to prep him for a life behind bars. But despite James’ one-percenter assumptions, Darnell is a hard-working small business owner who has never received a parking ticket, let alone been to prison.
Together, the two men do whatever it takes for James to “get hard” and, in the process, discover how wrong they were about a lot of things – including each other.
With Tropic Thunder screenwriter Etan Cohen making his directorial debut, the film also stars Tip “T.I.” Harris, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley and Craig T. Nelson.
Get Hard opens in theaters on March 27, 2015.
December 19, 2014
Coming out this week is Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The massive cast includes Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman, Stephen Fry, Jed Brophy, Christopher Lee, Orlando Bloom, Billy Connolly, James Nesbitt, Ian Holm, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Graham McTavish, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage, John Bell, Adam Brown, John Callen, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Dean O’Gorman, Mikael Persbrandt, Aidan Turner, Manu Bennett, and Lawrence Makoare.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.
Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain.
As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide to unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.
For Lee Pace, who plays Thranduil, the Elven king, it’s been a fabulous ride these few years as the Oklahoma native bonded and worked with the some of the best talent in the business from Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman. Not only that, but he also played a key part in this year’s biggest film, Guardians of the Galaxy. When he’s not on the big screen, he can be seen playing Joe MacMillan on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, which got renewed for a second season.
In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Pace talks about his character and work with this group of talent over the last few years.
How’s the journey been for the last few years now that the trilogy is completed?
Lee Pace: The movie is the final piece to what I believe is a real achievement that Peter has made and I feel really lucky to have been a part of it. There will be a time when I be sad about getting to go back to middle Earth and play this extraordinary character; and look at Ian McKellen playing Gandalf the Grey, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. That will be sad that that’s not going to happen again; but right now, it’s a moment of celebration. I’m just so proud of the movie we made. It’s been a lot of work.
Having worked with Peter Jackson on the three films, what did you learn as an actor?
LP: These projects are so collaborative. There are so many different elements that come together to make them. Peter Jackson obviously guides it his singular vision. You have so many special effects, WETA workshops. You have costumes, you have the hair, and you have the other actors. You have Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh and their incredible style and storytelling. All these things come together to make the movie. I guess you learn what a small piece you are in the whole thing and how collaborative it really is and the important quality of enjoying yourself and having a good time with it. You’re allowing yourself to be inspired and inspire other people to enjoy the character and enjoy the story. Peter is a fan of these books. He’s a fan of these movies. We’re all inspired to do the same thing.
For anyone who hasn’t read the books, where is Thranduil at this point of the film?
LP: The character is the Elven king and he’s in isolation. He’s very, very old. He’s thousands of years old. He’s fought in great battles and he’s fought dragons and survived. Now he doesn’t want to fight anymore, but this incredible event happens at the end of the second movie, where the dwarves wake up the dragon. The dragon destroys Lake-town and is killed by Bard. Once the dragon is killed, there’s this incredible treasure that is left unguarded and among that treasure are heirlooms of the Elvin household that Thranduil wants to get back. So he brings in his army, which is one of the forces of Middle Earth and he marches upon the Mountain to take back what is his.
I understand that you kept the sword as a souvenir?
LP: Yes. Just case any Orks make it up to New York City.
As many projects that you have worked on, what made this sword special?
LP: The design of the sword is beautiful. That makes it special. It’s a real work of art. It’s an incredible moment of this time I spent in New Zealand. The people I met and the extraordinary that we were in is a nice memory.
What was it like working on this film?
LP: The memories I have are of walking on the set and there are the dwarves sitting at the table, and there’s another table full of Orks and you squeeze in with the Dwarves and there’s Billy Connolly telling the most incredible stories. Then Evangeline Lilly would come in dressed as Tauriel with Ian McKellen dressed as Gandalf and Martin would have his feet off and you’re just there telling stories about things you learned about Tolkien. Richard Armitage did so much research on it. It’s inspiring to work with actors like this.
Between The Twilight film, Guardians of the Galaxy, and this film, is there a film where your hair won’t be worked on?
LP: With Guardians, I didn’t have any hair in there.
How long did it take for you to get into makeup for this film?
LP: Not long. It was about an hour an a half to get the ears on and the makeup and nails on. We would listen to music throughout the process and it was a nice way to start the day. When it was done, I would look in the mirror and see that I was no longer myself. I was this Elven king.
How exciting is it to have an amazing year with this film, Guardians of the Galaxy and the TV series?
LP: I’m an actor and so I depend on being cast and I’ve been so fortunate this year that I’ve been able to be cast in some truly interesting projects. I really looking forward to the second season of “Halt and Catch Fire.” It couldn’t be more different than working on Guardians of the Galaxy or The Hobbit. It’s like acting with a mask on. “Halt and Catch Fire” is all about taking the mask off and being honest as myself as I can and really connecting with this character in the most truthful way I possibly can. I opened up my heart to the character and to the audience and understand what Joe is going through and understand his ambition, complexity, his flaws and tell the most honest story I can. It’s very different. It’s a different way in to the character and I love that.
What do you do on your spare time when you don’t have to be on a set?
LP: I’ve been working a lot lately but I love being outside. I hike a lot. I have a farm upstate where there’s always chores to do. I like to be in nature.
December 19, 2014
Here’s the first photo of Queen Latifah starring as the iconic blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO biopic ‘Bessie.’
Directed by Dee Rees, the film will be based on the life story of Smith, the project chronicles how Smith overcame her tempestuous personal life to become one of the most acclaimed performing and recording artists of the 1920s and ’30s, earning the nickname Empress of the Blues.
Latifah will executive produce the HBO Films and Zanuck Co. movie via her Flavor Unit Entertainment banner. Lili Fini Zanuck, Richard Zanuck, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone and Randi Michel will also exec produce. Hallie Foote is on board to co-exec produce and Ron Schmidt will produce.
The film also stars includes Mo’Nique as famed singer Ma Rainey, Michael K. Williams as Bessie’s husband Jack Gee, Mike Epps as Richard Morgan, bootlegger and romantic interest to Bessie Smith; Khandi Alexander as Bessie’s older sister,Viola; Tika Sumpter as Lucille, a chorus girl in Bessie’s troupe, Charles S. Dutton as William “Pa” Rainey, husband and partner to Ma Rainey, Tory Kittles will portray Bessie’s brother Clarence, Oliver Platt as famed photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten, and Bryan Greenberg as renowned record producer and music critic John Hammond.
HBO will air ‘Bessie’ sometime in 2015.
December 18, 2014
Dear White People director Justin Simien will have Anthony Mackie as his lead star for his next feature, Make A Wish, a spec package that Paramount Pictures has picked up, reports Deadline.
Written by Zach Frenkel, Mackie will play Butchie Jones, a football star who wants to grant the final wish of a dying 14-year-old who adores the gridironer. It’s not an easy wish, though; the kid wants the football star to help him score before he died.
The sites states that Robert Teitel and Jason Spire will produce it and Mackie will be executive producer along with Jason Newman and Jason Weinberg.
Simien, a former publicist at Paramount, Simien, received Independent Spirit and Gotham Award nominations for Best Director for his feature debut and Sundance prize-winning film ‘Dear White People.’
Mackie was seen earlier this year as The Falcon in Captain America: Winter Soldier and will next appear in Mike Binder’s ‘Black or White’ with Octavia Spencer and Andre Holland. He just finished shooting the comedy film ‘Xmas,’ opposite Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the John Hillcoat-directed thriller ’999′ opposite Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Teresa Palmer. He recently started production on ‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ opposite Sandra Bullock for Warner Bros.
December 18 2014
Warner Bros. has released a new first trailer to Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter.
Also featured in the film are Luke Grimes, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Leonard Roberts, Max Charles, Billy Miller, Keir O’Donnell, Eric Close, and Navid Negahban
U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and, as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname “Legend.” However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. He is also facing a different kind of battle on the home front: striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world.
Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Chris serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, personifying the SEAL creed to “leave no man behind.” But upon returning to his wife, Taya Renae Kyle (Sienna Miller), and kids, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.
“American Sniper” is from a screenplay written by Jason Hall, based on the book by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwan and Jim DeFelice. The autobiography was a runaway bestseller, spending 18 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, 13 of those at number one.
The film is being produced by Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan. Tim Moore, Jason Hall, Sheroum Kim and Bruce Berman are serving as executive producers.
Clip – Most Wanted Man In Iraq
Clip – I Need You To Be Human Again
Clip – I Just Want To Get The Bad Guys
Clip – You Saved My Life
December 18, 2014
The New York Times Magazine recently had a featured titled Great Performers: 9 Kisses, which featured 18 actors in 9 short films, and among them were Chadwick Boseman & Kristen Stewart; David Oyelowo & Timothy Spall; Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Miles Teller; Rosario Dawson & Jenny Slate.
The rest included John Lithgow and Julianne Moore, Jack O’Connell and Shailene Woodley, Steve Carell and Laura Dern, Patricia Arquette and Jason Schwartzman, and Benedict Cumberbatch with Reese Witherspoon.
Chadwick Boseman & Kristen Stewart
David Oyelowo & Timothy Spall
Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Miles Teller
Rosario Dawson & Jenny Slate
The Full Version
December 18, 2014
20 Century Fox has released new pics and a featurette for Taken 3, starring Liam Neeson returning to the role as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent who used his brutal skills to track down his daughter after she was kidnapped in the first film, and who was himself taken hostage in the sequel.
Hitting theaters on January 9, 2015, the film also features Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace. Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell, Leland Orser and Oscar winner Forest Whitaker as a pursuing law enforcement agent
Directed by Olivier Megaton, Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, whose reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she is brutally murdered. Consumed with rage, and framed for the crime, he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA, FBI and the police. For one last time, Mills must use his “particular set of skills,” to track down the real killers, exact his unique brand of justice, and protect the only thing that matters to him now his daughter.
The initial Taken grossed more than $226M with Pierre Morel directing. Taken 2, which Megaton also directed, took in more than $376M worldwide.
Clip – Good Luck
The 12 Skills Of Christmas Clip