I attended the Austin Film Festival and got to meet a few very interesting people. I’ll post up a few experiences I had here and there, but one that’s standing out in my mind tonight is meeting Lawrence Kasdan. Responsible for a good chunk of our childhoods, Mr. Kasdan wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strike Back.
At an intimate Q&A session, Kasdan told us the story with how he got the job writing Empire, which I wanted to share.
So, Kasdan had just written the first draft of Raiders of the Lost Ark (his first writing job, by the way) and he hands it to George Lucas in his office. Lucas plops it on his desk, turns to Kasdan and goes, “Let’s go get some lunch.”
At lunch, Lucas mentions that the first writer of the Star Wars sequel (still called Star Wars 2 at this point) recently died from cancer after completing a draft of the script. Lucas, though, wasn’t happy with her work.
“So, how would you like to write the sequel to Star Wars?” Lucas asked.
Kasdan just looked at him. The man across from him just asked him to write the sequel to the most successful film of all time.
“But you haven’t even read Raiders yet. What if it sucks?”
Lucas shrugged, “Oh, well, I’m reading it tonight. And if it does I’ll take the offer back in the morning.”
The next day, Kasdan walked into Lucas’ office. “Larry, you nailed it,” says Lucas, “I’d like you to go ahead with what we discussed. Before you do, I need to tell you something.”
Kasdan shrugged, “Alright.”
“Darth Vader is Luke’s father.”
Kasdan just stood there, looking at Lucas, “… no shit?”
Everyone loves the opening credits of a Bond movie. Sure, you have a kick ass teaser to kick start a Bond movie, but you really know you’re there when the theme music starts.
As it turns out, Tomorrow Never Dies and Quantum of Solace have two theme songs, both of them replaced. You can tell they were meant for the original songs, as their tunes match up with the theme music by David Arnold all over their respective films. The first is “Surrender” by K.D. Lang, was replaced as the producers simply didn’t like it and asked Sheryl Crow for a replacement. The story of the second song, “No Good About Goodbye,” is slightly more complicated. David Arnold developed the song with Amy Winehouse, but she dropped out due to health complications. When Jack White and Alicia Keys were brought on, their went their own way with the song and we got the wildly uneven “Another Way To Die.” Personally, I think it’s a shame, as Arnold’s original song for Quantum of Solace would have fit the movie far better. Arnold eventually recorded the song with Shirley Bassey, who sung the theme music for Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, and Moonraker.
For your listening pleasure, here they are:
Tomorrow Never Dies, “Surrender”
Quantum of Solace, “No Good About Goodbye”
The interplay between all the members of the group looks great, and I’m sure RDJ loved all of Whedon’s one-liners for Stark. Not the biggest fan of the screaming rock music, but I’ll be damned if the actual footage isn’t pretty cool. Check it out.
With the prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece The Thing coming out at the end of the week, I thought it might be a decent idea to spent a little time honoring the franchise this week. The first little tid bit I have is a rather new blog created by the film’s co-producer. It has a lot of great inside information, including the process of marketing the movie, deleted scenes, and the relationship members of the production had with the studio. He also gives his (and at times the screenwriter’s) opinions on several of the film’s mystery’s. It’s really worth a gander if you’re even a little bit interested in the movie.
And, just as a shameless plug, here’s the trailer to the new movie, starring the always wonderful Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton. Ron Moore, the head writer of the new Battlestar Galactica, is also co-writer on the script:
Fan Films can either be wonderful or just plain horrible. Luckily, two shorts came out that are pretty damn good. There’s some great special effects at work here. Escape From City 17 Part 2 in particular has been in the making for years. Check them out:
Escape From City 17 Part 2
Portal: No Escape
Just found this and thought it was adorable. Click it to see it in full size.
Before I start the review, I should warn everyone that while I have a great deal of respect for J.K Rowling’s book series, I’m not its biggest fan. In fact, in many ways I enjoy the movies more than their written counterparts. I have several problems with the last book in particular, but as a whole I definitely enjoyed reading the series (Prisoner of Azkaban being my favorite). If you can forgive my tastes, hopefully we can find some common ground in enjoying a very cool universe. With that out of the way, here’s my review for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2:
Note — Minor spoilers for the film, but nothing the trailers haven’t revealed. If you wanna go in totally fresh (as in, you haven’t read the books), you might want to read the review later. (more…)
Release: July 8th
Starring: Jason Batemen, Charlie Day, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacy
Directed by: Seth Gordon
The Story: Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.
The Gossip: To be honest, there haven’t been many discussions around the campfire about the movie. The reviews so far have been rather solid with 80% on rotten tomatoes at the time this article comes up. Usually, a smaller scale movie comes out after the big July 4th release and Horrible Bosses seems to fit the bill. Last year we got Predators in the same slot. The marketing has been solid, as are the names in the cast. If the reviews hold, it may be worth a look for a few laughs.
So, will it be any good? Magic Eight Ball says “Cannot Predict Now” (more…)
X-Men: First Class
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
The Story: In 1963, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.
The Gossip: The last two X-Men movies were badly produced and lazy films that tarnished the good name of the first two entries in the franchise. However, Bryan Singer, the director of the first two films, is back to guide the creative decisions of the film. Matthew Vaughn, the director of Stardust and Kick-Ass is directing a wonderfully chosen cast in an intriguing premise. While Fox’s history and an accelerated production schedule haven’t inspired much confidence in the film, each new piece of footage released looks better than the last. A respect for the source material is here, as well the time in which the film takes place. Also, early reviews for the film have been nothing less than raving with an outstanding 98% on rotten tomatoes with 50 reviews. That’s pretty damn impressive.
So, will it be good? Magic Eight Ball says: “You may rely on it” (more…)
Normally, I hate re-posting news I found on other sites, so I’m going to give Garth Edwards at darkhorizons.com a thanks for posting this up… but we have our first official image of Tom Hardy as Bane in the next Batman movie:
Well… they certainly made him more in line with the Nolan universe, even if he looks a little heightened for it. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting the mask… especially one so frightening and modern. I suppose I should have, given what Nolan did with the Joker. I’m actually a fan of the look, even if does stray a bit from the Mexican wrestler look of the comics (which doesn’t have to be a bad thing). All the evidence seems to point to Bane being a disciple of the League of Shadows, so the look fits quite well. More as the story develops, but I for one am impressed. He looks like he’ll be quite a match for the the dark knight.