This holiday season will see another Star Wars film dominating the release schedule. Unlike last year’s Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens, whose fan anticipation was the highest since Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace in 1999, Rogue One has already been plagued by script rewrites and unscheduled reshoots. This was in part owing to the lack of direct relevance to any of the original series characters, but also to fan polls that suggested disappointment with earlier plot lines. Nevertheless, production has pushed on and the second trailer for the new film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was just released this week. Rogue One is based on a story by John Knoll (Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi, Avatar) and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth), which was adapted to a script by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass) and Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Ultimatum, House of Cards) about the Rebel Alliance’s plan to steal the plans to the Death Star, laying the grounds for the epic trilogy that follows with Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope (1977). Director Gareth Edwards (In the Shadow of the Moon, Godzilla) helmed the project with actors Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider-Man), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt, Casino Royale), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler, Jason Bourne), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines), Alan Tudyk (I Robot, Dodgeball), and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniel’s The Butler). Oscar nominee James Earl Jones (Field of Dreams, The Lion King) is also returning to provide the voice of Darth Vader, whose presence in the film will likely hold the biggest intrigue for fans of the series. Check out the new trailer right here on MADE, and enjoy the weekend!
A new trailer is available for Disney’s first installment in their Star Wars spoof series Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is expected in theaters December 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards (In The Shadow of the Moon, Godzilla) and written by Chris Weitz (About A Boy, The Golden Compass), John Knoll (Avatar, Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi), and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth), the film follows members of the Rebel Alliance in an isolated attempt to steal the plans to the Death Star. Starring in the film are actors Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, The Hunt), Alan Tudyk (Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Donnie Yen (Blade 2, Ip Man), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines), and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniels’ The Butler). Also in theaters this weekend is the new first-person action-flick Hardcore Henry. Enjoy your weekend!
We wanted to give it a little time so that nothing would be spoiled for anybody, but if anyone is reading this that hasn’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, I suggest you either stop reading or be prepared for plot spoilers! To begin with, this was easily the best Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi was released in 1983. Director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek: Into Darkness) brought legitimate filmmaking back to the series with this film, which looks more like old-fashioned Star Wars than anything we saw come from George Lucas in the early 2000s. His stylistic approach to filmmaking was the perfect merging of special effects and on-set principle photography, made better with the appearance of props and effects that appeared in the original film, such as the targeting view attached to the gun in the Millennium Falcon. The screenplay, written by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Bodyguard), was also much better in terms of actual dialogue on the part of the actors, but the overall story imitated that of Jurassic World earlier this year, in the sense that it read almost as a mirror image of the original Star Wars in 1977, with the updated story-line in play, of course. Abrams also did a great job of resurrecting the original Star Wars universe by bringing back a lot of the old designs and symbols representing the Rebel Alliance and the Imperial Star Fleet. I also have no complaints regarding the new lineup of actors. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega had a perfect chemistry between them, and Oscar Isaac did great as the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. Adam Driver, however, as both the bad guy AND Han Solo and Leia’s son, was not necessarily bad, he was simply miscast, and Abrams didn’t do him any favors by taking off his helmet and showing his face. And if you are wondering about Luke Skywalker, he was pretty much absent the entire movie. He literally showed up for a few seconds at the very end, having evidently pulled a “Yoda” and gone into hiding after Han’s son decided to pull an “Anakin” and join the Dark Side. Needless to say we won’t really know what Luke’s deal is until the next movie in 2017, which will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the original release in 1977. All in all, it was a great movie and gave us some glimpses into the upcoming films and how the characters will continue to develop. Some stories were closed, but many more were opened, and now we have to wait another two years to find out what happens next. Stay tuned.
Oscar-nominee Johnny Depp (Blow, Public Enemies) has recently been working on new installments for the Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland franchises, plus dealing with his girlfriend being locked up in Australia for smuggling canine’s into the country. But his next big project with director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) is currently gearing up for the big screen this September. Black Mass, which we’ve been following for some time now, stars Depp as Whitey Bulger, perhaps the most violent and notorious gangster in the history of South Boston. The film comes from the book Black Mass: The Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill and chronicles Bulger’s partnership with FBI agent John Connolly, who long delayed the bureau’s capture of Bulger by focusing his attention on Bulger’s competitors. The movie has undergone several changes over the last year, including director Barry Levinson and actor Tom Hardy being attached at various points in the production. Making up the final supporting cast include actors Dakota Johnson (21 Jump Street, Fifty Shades of Grey), Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Exodus: Gods and Kings), Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Imitation Game), Kevin Bacon (Apollo 13, Mystic River), Adam Scott (Step Brothers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), and Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, Flightplan). The book by Lehr and O’Neill was adapted for the big screen by Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Get On Up) and Mark Mallouk (Rush, A Walk Among The Tombstones). Watch the full-length trailer here on MADE, and be sure to mark your calendars for September 18th!
Last week we told you about the upcoming Whitey Bulger biopic, entitled Black Mass, which was originally being developed by director Barry Levinson with Johnny Depp set to take the leading role. Depp, however, fell away from the project after Levinson also departed, leaving Universal Studios a gangster film with great potential, but no lead, and no director. Recently, however, Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper has been in talks with Universal to take over for Levinson, and with Cooper signing on to helm the film, Depp has come back to the project with renewed interest and has now confirmed with Deadline Hollywood that he has signed a deal to take the lead role, with Tom Hardy in early talks to take the supporting role of FBI agent John Connolly. The story of Bulger and his rise to criminal power and subsequent fall from grace was actually the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award winning Boston crime-drama The Departed (2006), which won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscar and earned Leonardo DiCaprio a Golden Globe for Best Actor and Mark Wahlberg the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The script for Black Mass is being adapted by Mark Mallouk from the novel Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between The FBI and The Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, and the film is expected to be in production by May of this year.
Director Scott Cooper just recently released his violence-driven drama Out of the Furnace with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, and Zoe Saldana, and Woody Harrelson, and is now turning his directing efforts at another crime-drama based on the life of Boston crime lord Whitney Bulger. The project is titled Black Mass and is based on the book Black Mass: The Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. The story they tell of Bulger is one of violence and betrayal, as the former kingpin decides to give information to the FBI in order to take down a competing Mafia family, only to be double crossed and prosecuted for his crimes, along with John Connolly, a member of the FBI believed to be the reason it took the agency so long to finally take down Bulger. Johnny Depp was originally involved with the project with director Barry Levinson, but since then he has backed out and the script has been given to Cooper for rewriting. Depp may still be interested in doing the film, but that is still unclear at this point, so we’ll have to wait for Cooper to get the final screenplay completed before we really know who will be filling in the roles. Stay tuned for more information on this one.