Tag Archives: penn

Parker’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Stirring Just As Much Controversy as the 1915 Original

Writer, director, and lead actor Nate Parker (The Great Debaters, Red Tails)’s The Birth of a Nation is now playing in theaters across the country, but not in the light the young filmmaker was hoping for. The film struggled to reach $7 million in domestic box office sales in its opening weekend. Several factors could have contributed to the surprising low, but the most likely cause of the low turn out is Parker’s 1999 rape allegations during his time at Penn State. Although Parker was exonerated, news that his alleged victim committed suicide in 2012 and his handling of the case back in 1999 have caused a great controversy that has women’s rights and sexual assault advocate groups shouting boycott all across the country.

While Parker’s film may be controversial in its own right, the original Birth of a Nation, which was a silent movie released in 1915, was just as controversial, if not more so. The original Birth of a Nation is remembered for its blatantly racial undertones and simultaneous impressive contributions to filmmaking. Continue reading

This Week In Movie History…

On July 18th, 1986, writer/director James Cameron (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Avatar) brought director Ridley Scott‘s original characters back to the big screen in the first sequel to Alien, appropriately titled Aliens. Lead actress Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters, Working Girl) returned to reprise the role of Ellen Ripley, who after the original was discovered in cryogenic sleep in her escape craft and returned to Earth. After communication is lost with colonists investigating Ripley’s claim of aliens on the moon, she and a rescue crew are sent on a mission to investigate the moon and discover if there are any survivors, or if Ripley’s outrageous claims are true. Aliens would go on to win two Oscars, doing even better than its predecessor. The film won for Best Sound Effects and another for Best Visual Effects; it also received another four nominations for Best Actress (Weaver), Best Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Music. Appearing alongside Weaver are actors Carrie Penn, Michael Biehn (The Terminator, The Abyss), Paul Reiser (Beverley Hills Cop, Whiplash), Lance Henriksen (Damien: Omen II, Savage Dawn), and Bill Paxton (Twister, Apollo 13). Continue reading

Tye Sheridan Cast As Lead In Steven Spielberg’s Upcoming ‘Ready Player One’

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There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding acclaimed writer/director Steven Spielberg‘s upcoming adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One over the last six months. Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Lincoln) has been dealing with various production delays, including Warner Bros. pushing the release date back to March 2018 to avoid conflicting with Disney‘s Star Wars: Episode VIII, but now with a final release date set, production should get underway relatively quickly, especially seeing as the cast has just added a lead actor. The Tree of Life and Mud actor Tye Sheridan has been selected to play the lead role of Wade Watts, a teenager in a futuristic world where the human race prefers to live in a virtual reality universe called Oasis. When the found of Oasis dies, he offers up his fortune in a treasure hunt across Oasis that Wade and an ensemble of other contestants comes out to compete in. Continue reading

‘Insurgent’ And ‘The Gunman’ Opening In Theaters March 20th


Opening on the big screen this week is the second installment in the Divergent series titled Insurgent, based on the book series by Veronica Roth. Insurgent continues to follow Tris Prior and her fellow ‘Divergents’ in their struggle against the alliance, reuniting cast members Shailene Woodley (The Descendants, The Fault in Our Stars), Theo James (You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Underworld: Awakening), Jai Courtney (A Good Day To Die Hard, Unbroken), Zoe Kravitz (It’s Kind of a Funny Story, X-Men: First Class), Kate Winslet (Titanic, The Life of David Gale), and Ashley Judd (Double Jeopardy, High Crimes), among others. One crew member that is not returning, however, is director Neil Burger, who has been replaced by Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, RED) working from a script by Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, and Mark Bomback. Also opening is a new action flick a little more grounded in reality; The Gunman stars Oscar-winners Sean Penn (Mystic River, Milk) and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men, Skyfall), as well as Golden Globe-winner Idris Elba (American Gangster, Prometheus). Vantage Point director Pete Travis adapted the screenplay from Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel, with Taken director Pierre Morel heading the project. Both features open in theaters March 20th; if you haven’t seen Divergent, be sure to check it out before you go and see Insurgent. The trailer for Insurgent is here, but you can also see The Gunman trailer on our earlier post:

http://themadeblog.com/film/the-gunman-opening-in-theaters-march-6-2015/

‘The Gunman’ Opening In Theaters March 6, 2015


A new drama with Oscar-winners Sean Penn (The Interpreter, Mystic River) and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men, Skyfall) titled The Gunman is opening in theaters this March 6th. The film is an adaptation of author Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel from director Pierre Morel (The Transporter, Taken) and screenwriters Pete Travis (The Jury, Vantage Point) and Don MacPherson (The Avengers, Fleming). Penn stars as a former Specials Forces operative who must go on the run across Europe to clear his name of a horrid crime in order to be with his estranged lover. Also starring in the film are actors Idris Elba (American Gangster, Prometheus), Ray Winstone (The Departed, Hugo), and Mark Rylance (The Other Boleyn Girl, Days and Nights). Watch the trailer here on MADE. The movie opens in theaters March 6, 2015.

Warner Bros. Hires Screenwriter Zak Penn To Write ‘Ready Player One’ For The Big Screen

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Author Ernie Cline has turned a lot of heads with his futuristic novel Ready Player One, which is a bit of a twist between The Matrix and Inception, as far as stepping into alternate realities go. The book follows Wade Watts, a teenager in 2044 who regularly ventures into a virtual reality program called OASIS. The program contains a series of puzzles and games that the players must solve in order to ‘win’ the ultimate prize: the entire fortune of the game’s creator. Of course Wade is not the only one in the virtual realm looking to win the big prize which is where the story begins, as Wade comes up against players who are willing to overstep the boundaries of morality and law in order to be the winner. The novel was published in 2011 and now Warner Bros. (who has been trying to get the project going for some time) has hired screenwriter Zak Penn to adapt the novel into a workable screenplay. The Avengers and X2: X-Men United writer has been brought on to brush up the initial adaptation co-written by the author and screenwriter Eric Eason. Donald De Line and Dan Farah are in charge of producing the film for Warner Bros., but there is no director attached to the project at this time. Christopher Nolan would probably be a good choice for this, but he is currently wrapping up post-production on his space exploration film, Interstellar, so he may be unavailable for some time. We’ll keep you posted.