Saturday, January 31, 2015


Press release

He's one of the most prolific movie producers working today, but no amount of experience and knowhow could have prepared Brad Fuller (“The Purge,” “Ouija”) for making a found-footage film, specifically Paramount Pictures' new sci-fi thriller “Project Almanac.”
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The film stars Jonny Weston as David, a super bright high school student who finds a set of plans his late father left behind – plans to build a time machine. With a little help from his best friends, Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista), and his crush, Jessie (Sofia Black-D’Elia), David finishes what his father started while his younger sister Christina (Ginny Gardner) films the whole thing.

While on the “Project Almanac” set, Fuller took the time to talk to the visiting press about the challenges of playing by found footage rules, choosing to go with a first-time feature director and first-time writers too, the comparisons to “Chronicle,” and more.

Question: How did you guys come upon the script?
Brad Fuller: Interesting story. Platinum Dunes had a deal at Rogue five or six years ago, where we made “The Unborn” and Andrew Rona was the head of the studio at that time and his assistant was this great guy who I spoke to a lot and he wanted to be a writer, and I lost touch with him, and then three, four years later, he sends the script for this movie. I mean, I didn’t even know he was a writer and he says, ‘Would you guys be interested in producing this?’ And we read it and we just loved the script, so that was kind of how it happened. And then we developed it at Platinum Dunes for a year or two and then we took it to Paramount.

Q: What kind of changes did you guys concentrate on?
Fuller: As we were working on the script, the movie business changed a lot and budgets had to get smaller, and we kept pushing for a film that was really about wish-fulfillment. I mean, that was, at the end of the day, what this movie ideally is, and the price that can be paid for accomplishing that. And so we kept focusing on that idea, and the characters. We wanted to make sure that the characters worked. But there weren’t huge changes.

Q: So it was always the found footage?
Fuller: Actually, it was originally written as a hybrid where there was some found footage in it and then when we set it up at Paramount, they’ve had tremendous success with their found footage movies and they felt that this leant itself to that. To us – when I say ‘us’ I’m always referring to Platinum Dunes, my company with Michael Bay and Andrew Form. For us, a movie that we really loved at our company and we didn’t have the opportunity to make was “Chronicle.” We thought that movie was terrific and this felt a little bit “Chronicle-y” to us.

Q: Found footage movies tend to have an interesting tone, and a lot of times horror movies can play with humor and different things. Where does the tone of this one come in?
Fuller: The tone, assuming we’re successful with this and I think we will be, is fun. We just really want to have fun. For me, this is a very exciting movie. We’re not cutting off anyone’s head, we haven’t killed anyone in the whole movie so far and I think we’re going to go the whole way.

Q: Can you tell us about the director? He’s a first-time director, right?
Fuller: Yes. Dean Israelite is a first-time director. Dean also worked with Jonathan Liebesman on “Battle: Los Angeles.” When we got the script we gave it to Dean because he was looking to do his first movie. And he came up with a presentation that was art – I mean, Dean is as hard-working a director as I’ve met in a long time and when we gave him the script, he didn’t come back and say, ‘I’ve got three notes on the script.’ He came back with a full multi-media presentation on how he would make this movie. So he was the only director we went to. We as a company loved him and we had to convince Paramount that this was the right guy with the right vision and that he would be able to execute it.

Q: Is there anything particularly challenging for you here, whether it’s locking a location or tracking down a certain prop?
Fuller: The most challenging thing for me has been shooting a found footage movie. I’ve never done that before. And found footage movies have their own rules. It’s just different. I’ve been doing this for a long time now and I’m used to doing it a certain way and basically every rule or trick that I fall back on does not exist here. So it’s kind of, you’re out here, it feels like, without a net. It’s very challenging because we want it to feel like an authentic found footage movie, but it also needs to look a certain way and we have to make sure we’re capturing the story, and it’s a lot of different things to manage.

Q: Do you feel like there was excitement because of the concept, the genre elements, touching on the “Chronicle” thing, you’ve got a little bit of “Project X” going on out there?
Fuller: We hope it does. At the end of the day, I think that for our company, we’re always eager to make commercial films and when we read something that has a lot of commercial appeal we get behind it and push it as hard as we can. This obviously checked all those boxes for us and more. And luckily it’s not such an expensive movie where the studio has put themselves in a position, you know, we have a little bit of luxury to experiment.

Q: Michael Bay is one of your partners. What’s his specific involvement? It’s a name that fans obviously gravitate towards.
Fuller: Well, as a company, this is our 11th film together. His involvement is the same. It’s the three of us sitting in a room, figuring out what we’re going to do and how we’re going to make it work, and Michael lends his expertise at different times in the process. Michael’s very involved in the script, he’s involved with the casting, he’s involved with the wardrobe, he is very involved with the cut when we get to that, and he’s very involved with the marketing.

“Project Almanac” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Friday, January 30, 2015


Press release

“Twilight Series’” heartthrob hero Taylor Lautner stars in the upcoming action thriller “Tracers” in the midst of parkour’s dangerous backdrop. 

              Lautner plays Cam, broke and depleted of luck trying to scrape off his debts, one day crashes into Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), a complicated stranger caught up in a gang of broken street criminals who seduces him into her dangerous world. The parkour takes him to places he has never been before and lands him a lucrative job under the gang’s leader, Miller (Rayner).  Ultimately extricating himself from a world unimagined and unanticipated becomes a whole different heart-stopping challenge.

Tracers is on its surface very simple.  It’s about a guy – ‘Cam’ – who finds a girl – ‘Nikki’. The girl allows him to reclaim a part of his life and a spirit in his life.  At the exact same moment that happens, outside forces are pressing in on him.  And that’s where Tracers takes off.

And for Tracers it was critical that the cast be as believable as possible.  “So for this film,” says producer Marty Bowen, “the real challenge was finding actors that we could believe could do this work.  The honest truth was, there was no other actor that could pull off the leading role of Cam better than Taylor Lautner.  And frankly, there are things that even his stuntman – his stunt double who taught him to do parkour, cannot do as well as Taylor can.  He’s just a truly gifted athlete.”  So Tracers is that perfect marriage of a great action drama that utilizes these highly tuned physical skills as a means through which things get done quickly, efficiently, and definitely differently than we’ve ever seen before in a film.  But the other extremely critical thing to note here is that Lautner is not only physically up to the challenges of the film, but concurrently he’s grown as an actor, and this role demanded real acting chops.”

              “Tracers is a real Dickensian story in the vein of Oliver Twist about a young man who essentially has been orphaned; his father and mother are gone, and he’s been forced, at a very early age, to fend for himself.  So Cam dreams of getting his father’s old sport car up and running and moving far, far away,” says Bowen. 

“Our story begins with Cam, a young bicycle messenger who, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, owes the wrong people money.  He is trying desperately to figure out how to get them the money quickly so that he can get his father’s car that he’s working on fixed and just leave town and start a new life.  But along the way he meets a girl and becomes besotted with Nikki and that changes his plans completely when she introduces him to a world that he didn’t know existed – the world of free-running, and in which he finds she and her street criminal friends and they become his new surrogate family of orphans.  But along with that, there’s the underside of things going on behind the scene that are very complicated; and what these new family members are doing, under Miller’s stranglehold on them, is clearly illegal. And before he realizes it, he’s in far deeper than he expected.  He realizes that in order to get out of this world, he’s got to do some drastic things,” says Bowen.

For Taylor Lautner, Tracers provided an opportunity for him to show the world that he’s an actor to be taken very seriously.  He’s emerged into a talented force on screen that not only can pull of the amazing demands of a fast-paced action thriller, and is equally facile at the more character-driven connective threads that keep Tracers as a whole a fast-paced, heart-stopping drama too.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Press release

With zero outdoors experience, a monstrously heavy backpack and fueled by little but her own ragged will, bestselling author Cheryl Strayed set out to hike the PCT, the longest, toughest and wildest through-trail in America, completely alone, for  94 days.  From such journey comes one of the most inspirational books published, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” – now translated to screen, produced and starred by one of the world’s most influential women, Reese Witherspoon. 

Reese Witherspoon with  director Vallee
                 The New York Times Book Review called Strayes’ work  a “literary and human triumph” and The Boston Globe said Wild is “an addictive, gorgeous book that not only entertains, but leaves us the better for having read it.” 

                “It was essential to us to maintain the purity of Cheryl’s book,” says Reese’s producing partner Bruna Papandrea. “The book was so popular because whether you’re from a broken family or you’ve lost someone close to you or you’ve struggled with hardships, this is a story that reminds us we can save ourselves. Cheryl gets her life back because she chooses to walk back into the world.  We wanted to tell that story.” 

                “Choosing a film to direct is choosing your lifestyle. When I get involved on a film, I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and happy to do my job. The way to make that happen is to choose the right project. Funny enough, I don’t think that I chose WILD. WILD chose me. That’s how privileged I feel to be part of the WILD team and like everyone else, how lucky I felt to be at the service of an amazing story to tell the world: Cheryl Strayed’s story that humbly reminds us, despite how tough and cruel life can be, we can always put ourselves in the way of the beauty. ‘Yeah right’, you’re probably thinking. ‘Double f*cking yeah right’, I’m telling you!” says director Jean-Marc Vallée.

                Director Vallée works again with “Dallas Buyers Club” cinematographer Yves Bélanger, the two brought their distinctively minimalist cinematic style – utilizing hand-held digital cameras and natural light – for the first time to a wilderness setting.  These raw, unadorned visuals would later be woven into a tapestry of present-tense encounters – human and otherwise – with ghostly flashbacks and stream of consciousness to recreate a story that heads inward even as it explores the outdoors. 

                There was little doubt that the role would bring with it extreme athletic demands as Cheryl navigates across rock, river, ice and snow.  “If I would have been a person who didn’t love the outdoors, this role would have been impossible,” says Reese.  “As it was, it was extremely challenging on every level, and far more physically challenging than I ever anticipated.  There was climbing up the side of a mountain and balancing in river crossings and marching through chest-deep snow and falling into a freezing river.  I had no idea it was going to be as hard as it truly was.  But it was also very, very rewarding.” 

                The heart-stirring vistas rife throughout the shoot were a constant inspiration for Witherspoon, and a reminder of why the untouched spaces of wilderness called so strongly to Cheryl, even at rock bottom.  “It fills you up,” the actress says.  “To see the incredible beauty of our world makes you believe everything might really be OK.  I think that’s how Cheryl came to feel.” 

                The way Jean-Marc Vallée shoots, using hand-held digital cameras that move continuously through 360 degrees, was also a revelation for Witherspoon and sparked even more risk-taking in her performance.  “I've never done anything like it before.  It's very unorthodox,” she comments.  “As an actor, it helps frees you of old patterns.  You feel like you're always in the moment and anything is possible.  We could be in a wide shot one minute and a close-up the next, just as I might be sobbing one moment and ecstatic the next.  It was a really exciting kind of process.” 

                “The boots and backpack became a part of me,” Witherspoon notes.  “The backpack came to feel like it was my arm or leg. Sometimes I would forget between scenes it was even on my body.  Sometimes the prop master would have to say ‘you can take it off.’ As Cheryl says in her book, there’s something amazing about realizing that everything you really need in life you could carry on your back. It is so liberating.  It's a beautiful idea.”
                Throughout production, Witherspoon’s feet were chewed up, her body left aching and, much like Cheryl had, she passed through some dark and fearsome interior places but was constantly invigorated by the hard-won transformation she was projecting.  “It was never easy, but it was the kind of thing where when you get to the end of the day, you just feel like you’ve accomplished something,” she concludes.  “I felt so lucky to be able to tell a story like Cheryl’s.” 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Press release

Ryan Guzman, who is best known for his roles in the hugely successful “Step Up” film series, plays the titular character of Noah, the 19-year-old who’s as charming as he is evil, in Universal Pictures' erotic thriller “The Boy Next Door.” In the film, Noah’s fatal attraction to his high school teacher Claire (Jennifer Lopez) will force the latter to her limits as she protects her world from being torn apart and her family from a psychotic danger.
Photo courtesy of UIP

During the audition process for the part, Guzman learned from his manager that Lopez wanted him to participate in a table read. He laughs: “When I was told that she wanted me to come in, I thought it was a prank. But they assured me it was real, so I read the script. I loved the character because Noah was so dark and completely different from anything I’d ever done.”

Director Rob Cohen (“The Fast and the Furious”) shares what drew him to Guzman for the role: “We had a cold reading of the script one Tuesday night at Jennifer’s, and the first guy who walks in was Ryan. We were amazed, but he was the first actor so we thought, ‘He’s great, but let’s see who else is out there.’ We read about 150 other young actors, but we finally got to the point where we realized that the best guy we had seen was Ryan.”

Lopez adds that she appreciated the honesty of his performance: “We knew that it was such a challenging role for any young actor, but Ryan came in and right away showed us he knew what he had to do to play this character. We did make him read several times, because going from the boy next door to a sociopath is no small feat for an actor of any age or experience.”

As it turns out, Guzman connected with both sides of his character. He elaborates: “We’ve all been there with our first loves, where we didn’t know how to handle the love or how to interpret what the new feelings were. This was an opportunity for me to experience that again, and obviously show a dark side that I’ve never shown anybody. That was the attraction to the whole character, demonstrating that I could be a bad guy.”

Getting into the character of Noah required intimate and lengthy dialogue between Guzman and Cohen. Cohen shares: “We talked a lot about what is the meaning of obsession, what happens when you’re obsessed. We discussed the trigger mechanisms and how the obsession has nothing to do with the target of your obsession, and it becomes a horrible round-robin of need and want and self-loathing and punishment and anger at the object of your love for not giving you what you want. So we built it up, scene by scene. I drew him a chart that showed levels of intensity where the mania was starting to happen…and where it had clearly become a departure from reality.”

Cohen knew that Lopez was the perfect partner to help Guzman discover Noah. Of his star and producer, he commends: “Jennifer is a totally open partner in achieving a scene or moment. She is so good at carving out moments and communicating her emotions without it being a wholly intellectual thing; it’s just natural. It’s hard not to love Jennifer.”
Guzman concurs with Cohen’s assessment of Lopez: “At the beginning of filming, I was nervous. Of course I knew I was going to have incredibly intimate scenes with Jennifer, and I was still unsure of how to play it. But as soon as we got going, I felt at ease. I learned so much just from watching her work. We worked incredibly well together to make the story line as good as it could possibly be.”

The Boy Next Door” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


When asked in a recent interview by ABS-CBN’s US correspondent Yong Chavez in line with the movie action comedy “Mortdecai” about Manila, Johnny Depp shared that he found the city beautiful after they’ve traversed the city whenever they can while shooting in remote forests in the Philippines for the movie “Platoon.” 

                 “Mortdecai” seamlessly fuses action and comedy into one exciting ride directed by David Koepp and action scenes were choreographed by U.K.’s busiest stunt coordinators and second-unit action directors, Rowley Irlam who also coordinated action sequences for blockbuster movies such as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Legend of Hercules,” “Thor: Dark World,”” Captain Phillips,” “Prometheus” and “Skyfall,” for which he received a SAG Award® for Outstanding Action Performance in a Motion Picture.

                Charlie Mortdecai is a connoisseur of good food, fine libations, beautiful women and the most elite trappings of wealth. He also frequently finds himself entangled in matters of an ambiguous legal nature. Asked by MI5, the British Security Service, to track down a missing Goya painting, Charlie hopes to discharge his debts to “Queen and country” by retrieving the purloined artwork.

                “Actually, Charlie gets involved in finding the Goya because he sees an opportunity to sell it,” Depp says. “His aristocratic ways are intact, but his bank book is worn out and Charlie needs to rectify that.”

                Badly behaved, violently snobbish and completely self-interested, Charlie was also endlessly appealing to the actor. “He is a blatant narcissist who has no relationship with the truth, except as he sees it,” says Depp. “What drew me to the character more than anything was the challenge of making this guy, who is a little bit shady and most definitely a con man, someone you can sympathize with.”

                Although Mortdecai is a comedy, it is packed with action sequences, as Jock, his faithful assistant (played by Paul Bettany) constantly saves Charlie from outlandish mishaps. Irlam coordinated a motorbike and sidecar careening through Moscow, an unforgettable sword fight and a massive explosion sequence featuring virtually all of the key cast members.

                “We also shot a big car chase in East London,” Irlam says. “There was lots of skidding around and we ended up crashing into a boulevard. We cannoned the back end for that comedy finale.”

                Irlam and director Koepp had a specific strategy for the film’s action. “This movie is very much actor driven,” he says. “I see it as bit of an homage to Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. My work was not just about stunts. It was about making the whole piece quirky, interesting and different.”

                One of the most challenging stunt sequences for Irlam and his team was the complicated sword fight between Mortdecai and Emil. Koepp, Depp and Irlam talked about finding the right balance between realistic combat and Mortdecai’s notorious cowardice and physical ineptitude. “Mortdecai is a blagger, so David and Johnny didn’t want him to look supremely skilled,” says Irlam. “It was more about his desire to avoid confrontation and run away.

                “We had Johnny Depp and Jonny Pasvolsky in for some rehearsals for sword fighting and wire work,” he continues. “We showed them how it would play out with a stunt double first, then they’d have a go and put their own twist on it.’”

                “Mortdecai” is now showing in cinemas nationwide.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Press release

Young actors Jonny Weston (“Taken 3,” upcoming “Insurgent”) and Sofia Black-D’Elia (TV's “Gossip Girl”) talk about time-ravel, the found-footage genre and more on the set of Paramount Pictures' new sci-fi thriller “Project Almanac.”

Weston leads the cast of “Project Almanac” as David, a smart kid with a very bright future who manages to build a working time machine with his friends, but he’s not particularly confident when it comes to striking up a simple conversation with his crush, Sofia Black-D’Elia’s Jessie.
Photo courtesy of UIP

While on the “Project Almanac” set in Atlanta, Georgia, Weston and Black-D’Elia took a break to talk about their characters briefly and how their characters fit into this found footage time travel adventure.

Question: Tell us about the first time you read the script. Did your roles stick out to you and what did you think of the blend of time travel and found footage?
Jonny Weston: I don’t think found footage has been nearly kind of gotten into quite yet. It’s an entirely new style of filming and everything like that is new so it was a challenge. I knew it was a challenge ahead of time and it was exciting to look into. And then [producer] Michael Bay, obviously, has been putting out amazing work, so … [Laughs]

Sofia Black-D'Elia: [Laughs] He’s been pretty good lately, I guess. I first read the script and I thought it was so cool to have this time travel idea and make it also feel super real because I think that’s really appealing like with “Chronicle” and films like that, when you feel like it’s really happening to teenagers and I think that’s why I really was attracted to the script. The dialogue felt like it was really happening and even though these crazy circumstances were put upon the kids, they still reacted the way that a teenager would actually react in that situation and I didn’t think it was overdone or anything. And I think that found footage kind of lends to that, so it feels like this really realistic kind of documentary-style thing, these kids can build a time machine and what happens next.

Weston: It really seems like what kids would do with a time machine if they got it. It was written honestly and not for slap-me comedy or anything. It has some deep moments. It’s really well done I think.

Q: Who are your characters beyond the time travel element? Who are they as people?
Weston: My character is David and his father passed away when he was young and left him kind of something behind. Essentially, I’m this kid with a couple of really close friends. Not necessarily popular, you know? And then I meet her and, I don’t want to give too much away, but we all end up getting involved with each other. So, yeah, my character’s kind of nerdy, kind of a smart kid and that’s the best I can do.

Black-D'Elia: My character is Jessie and I think at first she seems kind of like your typical popular girl, but she’s pretty badass in my opinion and I think she’s kind of the catalyst for a lot of things because being that they’re smarter and not that popular and all of that, I think that they may be a little bit tepid and afraid to get started with everything, and I think my character is kind of bored with where she’s at in school and life, really.

Weston: She definitely serves as an inspiration like the way that she comes in and brings the passion that we all kind of – not that we lack, but she brings kind of a level of balls. I don’t know.

Black-D'Elia: [Jokes] That’s really eloquent! Beautiful, yeah. Really beautiful and poetic.

Q: I haven’t heard anything about your mom in the story. A lot about your dad, but is your mom around? Is she part of the story?
Weston: Yeah, basically, my dad passed away so she raised me. Amy [Landecker], the actress, she’s actually beautiful. We shot some stuff together already and she is a large element to the story, even when she’s not on screen in terms of like, the way my character is and what his goals are in life and everything has a lot to do with her.

In “Project Almanac,” a brilliant high school student and his friends uncover blueprints for a mysterious device with limitless potential, inadvertently putting lives in danger. The youthful cast is composed of Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Sam Lerner (TV's “Suburgatory”), Allen Evangelista (TV's “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) and Ginny Gardner (TV's “Glee”). Produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, the film is written by Jason Harry Pagan & Andrew Deutschman. Directed by Dean Israelite.

 “Project Almanac” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Press release

Angelina Jolie’s first feature-film directorial effort, 2011’s “In the Land of Blood and Honey” was an auspicious debut and received strong reviews and a Golden Globe Award Best nomination for Best Foreign Language film. It wasn’t surprising that the urge to continue a career as a filmmaker persisted in Jolie, even as the subject matter of another directorial effort eluded her. “I would be lying in bed thinking I want to do something meaningful. But what was it? I needed some help, some guidance,” she gives.

The living, breathing embodiment of the guidance Jolie sought, and of the themes and values that pique her interest—courage and endurance, the resilience of the human spirit, faith, forgiveness and redemption—turned out to be quite nearby. She found it wholly in the person of one of her neighbors, a living legend whose home, unbeknownst to her, was nearby her family’s house in the Hollywood Hills.

When producer Matthew Baer introduced Jolie to the “Unbroken” working script in 2012, she was immediately taken by Louis Zamperini’s tale. “I was intrigued by the draft I read, but it was after I read Laura Hillenbrand’s book that I knew I wanted to direct the film,” Jolie says. “Like the millions of readers who find themselves unable to put down the book once they start it, I was drawn into the incredible story of Louie’s journey and Laura’s brilliant re-creation and rich documentation of pivotal events that shape the last century.

“Unbroken” is an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O'Connell of “300: Rise of an Empire”) who survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash during World War II—only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a series of prisoner-of-war camps. Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand's (“Seabiscuit”) enormously popular book, “Unbroken” brings to the big screen Louie Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about triumph over tribulation and the resilient power of the human spirit.

Jolie admits that the themes that Hillenbrand explored moved her as much as Louie’s life itself did: “There’s so much pain in the world. I feel that we need stories like this today—the journey of a man finding his way through darkness and into the light—stories that can help us, inspire us, show us something remarkable and make us feel positive about life.”
It was during this process of Jolie discovering Louie’s story that Baer told her that Louie was her neighbor. “Louie could actually see the roof of my house from his living-room window,” she laughs. “Little did I know that he’d been right there all the time…all the while I was trying to figure out what to do next with my life.”

This confluence of events lit a fire inside of Jolie; she felt she had to helm “Unbroken.” But she would learn that winning this coveted directorship would not be an easy task. “I had to fight to get the job,” she shares. “I had to fight very hard, not only prove to the studio I could do it, but later, to prove it to myself. And I also had to prove it to Louie, which took some time.”

Jolie went about the task by steeping herself in Louie’s story, researching all its aspects for hours on end, learning everything she could about him and his era and deciphering how to tell the story best on the screen. A sweeping historical drama that stretches from 1920s Torrance and the 1936 Berlin Olympics to the high stakes air battles of World War II was only the half of it. Jolie would need to take audiences into the terrifying ordeal of being adrift in the ocean for 47 days and then the powerful experience of a more than two-year internment as a prison of war.

When Louie found out that a well-known actress was going to direct the film, it required some getting used to. It wasn’t long, however, before he embraced Jolie and welcomed her into his extended family. “Angie called and said she was going to direct the movie,” Louie said. “I’d only seen her on the news because I don’t go to the movies anymore. But I knew that they called her the most beautiful girl in the world. Then she came to the house. What a doll! What a sweetheart! I saw right away she’s got not only beauty but brains. She’s very considerate, and she has a charitable heart. I thought, ‘What else do you need?’”

Producer Baer, who’d been the champion of Louie’s story for so long and was shepherding the project, was readily convinced. “Angie and I had a three-hour conversation on the phone about the project. She is a brilliantly creative person. I heard her passion and knew her as a filmmaker of force and will. I knew she was the person to do this.”
Opening across the Philippines on February 18, “Unbroken” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Press release

Laura Dern who recently portrayed an inspiring mother caring for a cancer-stricken daughter in “Fault In Our Stars” opposite Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort stars anew in her Academy-Award nominated role in “Wild” starring alongside Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox
                Dern lends her acting sensibilities once again in “Wild” as she plays mother to Reese’s Cheryl who adores her to the heavens. In “Wild,” director Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby (“An Education”) bring bestselling author Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary adventure to the screen.  After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision.  Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi (Laura Dern) and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own.  “Wild” powerfully reveals her terrors and pleasures --as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

                While Cheryl is the core of “Wild,” the film is populated by a diverse group of characters, both from the life Cheryl has just left behind and those she meets on the path forward.  Among them, the one person who has impacted Cheryl in the most shattering and enlivening ways is her mother, Bobbi, whose brief, sudden battle with cancer sends Cheryl’s existence into a steep nosedive.  Taking the role is Oscar®-nominated and three-time Golden Globe® Award-winning actress Laura Dern, who recently won a Golden Globe for HBO’s “Enlightened.”  Known for her versatility and commitment, Dern came up on the radar for Witherspoon early on. 

                Witherspoon was stirred by what Dern brought to the role.  “Laura completely transforms herself in every role, and this is no exception,” says Witherspoon. “She spent so much time trying to learn about Cheryl's mother. And then I think she tapped into what makes her such an extraordinary life force, so that you understand why Cheryl feels like she’ll never be okay again without the love that her mother gave her. Laura was just incredible at portraying that ferocity of love.” 

                “What a presence. What a voice, what a laugh. Contagious. Even though Laura has so much experience in front of the camera, it feels like she's acting for the first time when she hears action. She looks so excited, so thrilled to do her job, to try something new, something different, something crazy, something emotional, you name it. Laura is such a trooper,’ say Vallée. “Not only did we shoot all of her scenes, but we managed to create new ones to try to give more presence to Cheryl's mother in the film. Improvised scenes that we shot on the fly, between sets, during a makeup test, or a break. And every single one of them is in the film. Thanks to the great Laura Dern.”

                The more Dern got to know Bobbi, the more she was awestruck by her.  “I think what moved me most is that through all of the challenges of self-discovery and an abusive marriage and raising children on her own in poverty, she had no sense of martyrdom,” says the actress.  “There was no victim in her at all.  She felt blessed to be alive and to have the chance to redefine life for herself and her children, and to find joy in the unknown.  And that is so powerful and inspiring to me as a woman.  Just to get close to her through Cheryl’s memories felt like a great privilege.”

                All of it was essential to understanding Cheryl, and Jean-Marc was so creative at coming up with ways to condense Cheryl’s entire childhood.  We were recreating a lifetime of experiences, and that was a wonderful, exciting kind of challenge,” shares Dern.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Press release

Upbeat, satirical and utterly hilarious, the novels featuring Charlie and his manservant Jock Strapp had Johnny Depp laughing out loud after reading the script for the film “Mortdecai.”   “I’d read them years before and they made me laugh out loud,” says Depp. “They are irreverent and insane in a way I thought would translate well to the screen.”

                In “Mortdecai,” Charlie charms, schemes and blunders his way in and out of hilariously compromising situations as he attempts to beat out an array of international evildoers on the trail of a priceless Goya masterpiece that could also be the key to claiming missing Nazi millions.

                Charlie Mortdecai is a connoisseur of good food, fine libations, beautiful women and the most elite trappings of wealth. He also frequently finds himself entangled in matters of an ambiguous legal nature. Asked by MI5, the British Security Service, to track down a missing Goya painting, Charlie hopes to discharge his debts to “Queen and country” by retrieving the purloined artwork.

                “Actually, Charlie gets involved in finding the Goya because he sees an opportunity to sell it,” Depp says. “His aristocratic ways are intact, but his bank book is worn out and Charlie needs to rectify that.”
                Badly behaved, violently snobbish and completely self-interested, Charlie was also endlessly appealing to the actor. “He is a blatant narcissist who has no relationship with the truth, except as he sees it,” says Depp. “What drew me to the character more than anything was the challenge of making this guy, who is a little bit shady and most definitely a con man, someone you can sympathize with.”

                Charlie’s luscious blonde wife Johanna is played by Academy Award® winner Gwyneth Paltrow. Johanna and Charlie have been together since college. She is posh and very clever—certainly more clever than Charlie.  “Gwyneth is perfection as Johanna,” says Depp. “This a caper movie, teetering toward farce, and timing was everything. She had that down pat.”

                Everywhere Charlie Mortdecai goes, he is accompanied by his manservant and right-hand-man Jock Strapp, a faithful but upbeat bruiser who dedicates his life to protecting his boss.  British actor Paul Bettany, who plays Jock, was introduced to the project by Johnny Depp while the two were filming Transcendence. “Johnny asked me if I’d ever read the Mortdecai books,” remembers Bettany. “I hadn’t and he gave me all of them. Afterwards Johnny mentioned he was going to make them into a film and asked if I wanted to play Jock.” 
                Depp says that while Bettany is not known as a comedic actor, he is one of the funniest people around. “He was the only person who could play Jock in my eyes,” he adds. “That fact that he’s a big, tall, seemingly serious Nordic god of a man only makes it funnier.”

                Charlie’s insecurities are reinforced by the arrival of Alistair Martland, an old friend from their college days who is still attracted to Johanna. A highly placed officer in the MI5 - British Security Service, Martland is a sensitive, softhearted poetry-reading detective who loses his composure whenever Johanna is around. On the trail of the missing Goya masterpiece, he comes to Charlie for help.  McGregor was drawn to the film’s combination of wit and broad physical comedy. “It reminds me a lot of the Pink Panther movies from the 1970s,” he says. “There’s a humor to it that I haven’t seen on screen for a long time. It’s very cleverly written.”

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Press release

The Oscar-nominated film, starring Bradley Cooper, made history—becoming
the best-ever opening for director Clint Eastwood, winning both the weekend
and the hearts of audiences with an A+ Cinemascore.

Burbank, CA, January 19, 2015 – Surpassing all targets, Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ multiple Oscar-nominated drama “American Sniper” smashed virtually every available record as it opened across the US on the heels of its already record-breaking limited release.
Sienna Miller, Clint Eastwood, and Bradley Cooper

Easily topping the box office, the film took in an estimated $105.3 million for the four-day holiday weekend and has grossed $108.7 million to date and counting. The announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Sue Kroll, President of Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, and Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The film’s spectacular opening marks an all-time high over the course of director Clint Eastwood’s illustrious career. Among its many other milestones, “American Sniper” also broke records for a January weekend opening, including both three- and four-day weekends; the highest single day ever in January; the best four-day weekend for an R-rated film; and the biggest opening for any drama in cinema history.

The film also broke records in IMAX theatres nationwide, earning more than $10.6 million at 332 locations, making it the top-grossing January weekend ever for the large-format venues.

The overwhelmingly positive response to “American Sniper” is not only measured at the box office. It also earned a rare A+ Cinemascore rating, becoming one of only 11 films in history to receive an A+ in every category.

In making the announcement, Fellman stated, “‘American Sniper’ has quickly become a cultural phenomenon, offering a personal view of not only Chris Kyle’s life but also of the hurdles faced by many veterans, as well as their families. We congratulate Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper and everyone involved in the film on this enormous success, and we expect strong reviews and word of mouth to continue to fuel the box office in the coming weeks.”

“We are so proud of this movie,” said Kroll. “We had a visceral reaction to it when we saw it and immediately made room for it in the year. We certainly couldn’t have known the level at which the film would resonate, but we knew it was special—providing a different look at war and its emotional impact on those who fight and those at home, which has struck a deep chord with filmgoers everywhere. From the first trailer, we designed this campaign to convey the different facets of the film and showcase its appeal to both men and women. The response from critics, audiences and, now, the Academy, has been hugely gratifying and we could not be more thrilled.”

Silverman added, “We knew this was a story that could transcend any divide with its compelling character study of a man who deserves to be remembered for his sacrifices on and off the battlefield. Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper have truly done the story of Chris Kyle justice and, in doing so, have also paid homage to the service of all men and women in uniform. We congratulate them and our partners at Village Roadshow on this extraordinary start to our worldwide run.”

“American Sniper” has earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Cooper), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Jason Hall). In addition, Eastwood was honored by his peers with his fourth Directors Guild of America Award nomination and also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Director. The film’s other honors include a Producers Guild of America Award nomination, a Writers Guild of America Award nomination, and a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, whose skills as a sniper made him a hero on the battlefield. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter.

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 spirit of the SEAL creed to “leave no one behind.” But upon returning to his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and kids, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.

“American Sniper” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.