The last time Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling brought a movie to TIFF was in 2016 when they came with La La Land. The film went on to win the People’s Choice Award, followed by 6 Oscars the following year. When it was announced that the duo would be re-teaming up for the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man the word Oscar started being floating around once again, but it’s not a thought either of them want to be thinking about.
When asked about what it would feel like to get an Oscar nomination for First Man, Gosling didn’t want to talk about it. He said it would be a disservice to Armstrong, and instead he wants the focus on be on the movie itself. He said it was an honour to play Armstrong, and wanted to focus on making a good movie. Gosling even viewed recording Armstrong’s “One step for mankind” speech as a huge responsibility, and wanted to make sure he got it right. All in all, Gosling’s reaction to playing Armstrong was one about admiration and respect. You could tell he was fascinated by the man, even though he didn’t know a lot about him beforehand other than the fact that he landed on the moon. Gosling did say however that he had never had more help on a film, because he had access to Armstrong’s sons who were a huge help with his research, and were always available to answer any questions he might have.
Chazelle admitted that he had been wanting to do First Man for a long time. He’d actually started talking to Gosling to star in it before they began work on La La Land. What drew him to the story in the first place was the poetry in Armstrong’s life and passions. Armstrong may have had a hard time showing his emotions, but there was a depth to the man that made Chazelle interested in him. Chazelle like the fact that Armstrong was peeking behind the curtain in his attempt to see beyond what we could see from Earth. While he did find it difficult at times working on the film, after all it was the first time he was tackling not only subject matter he hadn’t written or at least experienced before, but also a true story, Chazelle found the experience to be rewarding.
As for the filming part of the movie, you need to know that the actors actually went through space boot camp to get ready for their roles. Not only that but the film used very little CGI effects, which meant the astronauts were cooped up in small, confined spaces for hours at a time. The cast surrounding Goslings all talked about the responsibilities living up to the men whose lives they were playing, and paid attention to the finer details. Actor Corey Stall who plays Buzz Aldrin even said it was the best researched movie he had ever been a part of.
And the final results? Neil Armstrong’s son’s liked it. They didn’t think anyone would want to tell their dad’s story, but they think he’d be pleased by what they saw on the screen. They called in very authentic, with great performances. Rich Armstrong said that even though he’s seen the film several times, he still cries every time he sees it. Now if that’s not good praise, it would be hard to figure out what is.
By: Roderick Thedorff
Photo: Emma McIntyre WireImageGetty for TIFF 04
Rosamund Pike Set To Star In The Long Delayed The Wheel Of Time TV Adaptation
Robert Jordan’s lengthy fantasy series, The Wheel of Time, has been in production since 2000, but it never seemed to make it to series. A pilot episode was even filmed back in 2014, airing in February of 2015, but there was no publicity surrounding it, and many people didn’t even know it was on due to it airing at 1:30 in the morning. Now however it seems like the wheel is moving again, as Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike has been cast as one of the leads for an Amazon Studios / Sony Pictures Television series.
Pike will play Moiraine, one of the all-female organization called the Aes Sedai. In the novels magic can only be accessed and used by some women, Moiraine being one of them. The series tells her story, as she take a journey around the world with five young men and women. One of her companions is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who is said to either save humanity, or destroy it, and Moiraine attempts to sway fate into the more appealing direction. Of course the problem is, she isn’t sure which of her companions is the person of destiny.
Pike will also serve as a producer for the series. Executive producer/showrunner Rafe Judkins adapted the series for television.
There is no word as to when we can expect the series to air, or to even be made as of yet, but Pike’s signing is a significant step forward.
Hunger Games Prequel Novel And Movie On The Way
The Hunger Games were a huge success. The novels sold millions of copies, and the films made millions of dollars. So it’s not too surprising that everyone involved with the franchise would want more. Scholastic announced yesterday that author Suzanne Collins is currently working on a prequel novel to the hit series, and Lionsgate is trying to work out a deal to make a film of it.
The untitled novel is set to hit shelves next year, on May 19th. The story will take place in the world of Panem 64 years before the events of the original trilogy, which of course means that it will focus on all new characters. In a statement Collins said “With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival. The reconstruction period ten years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days—as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet—provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”
Of course Scholastic is happy with the decision for a new novel as well, considering the first trilogy spent more than 260 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, with more than 100 million copies sold. Ellie Berger, President of Scholastic Trade said “We are absolutely thrilled—as both readers and publishers—to introduce the devoted fans of the series and a new audience to an entirely new perspective on this modern classic.”
Lionsgate Chairman Joe Drak said “As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published. We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.” The four films combined made close to $3 billion worldwide, and it one of Lionsgate’s top producing series.
Bombing Sequels Are Nothing New For Hollywood
This summer a lot of emphasis is being put on how many sequels and remakes are bombing at the box office, but really it’s nothing new. Films typically play their course, and so many sequels are made that eventually people start losing interest in them. It’s even more apparent when it’s a franchise that had a gimmick that was unique at first, but really wasn’t all that popular, that studios continually try to push out. The latest of which is the new Men in Black film that was well below expectations this past weekend. The first Men in Black film, from 1997, was unique, but long forgotten and is far from being the top movie on anyone’s list of favourite films. So why continue making them? What could possible be added to the franchise that would make people want to see a new film? Regardless if Chris Hemsworth stars in it or not.
Let’s face it, there are only so many explosions and great special effects you can stomach before you start saying you want more. Case in point, the latest installment of the X-Men franchise, Dark Phoenix. The series has become so convoluted that it makes very little sense, even for comic book fans. The series, which began in 2000, has so many plot holes that you can’t even keep track of all of them. People seem to forget that the 2016 X-Men film Apocalypse bombed as well, and with all the rewrites and reshoots, not to mention delays, of Dark Phoenix, it’s not surprising people aren’t turning out to see it. Over all, people seem to be getting sick of the superhero film anyway, especially if it’s a remake. Just take a look at how poorly the Hellboy reboot did earlier this year, and you will clearly see the lack interest. Even the latest installment of Godzilla has failed to find an audience, and that’s because after decades of watching a giant lizard destroy cities and fight other big monsters, how much more do we need to see of the same thing?
The biggest common factor among all the failing sequels is easy to find if you look for it. Quality. Most of them have terrible reviews, and it’s always because they were poorly written. Gone are the days where studios can depend on a film doing well simply because it’s got a particular name attached to it, be it a star, a director or a franchise. Studios also can’t depend on great special effects being enough to get people to come out to the theater either. Back in 1996 a film like Independence Day could do well because effects like the White House blowing up hadn’t been seen before, but nowadays you can see home-made videos made by students showing similar, if not better things. That’s at least part of the reason why the 2016 sequel Resurgence did so poorly, it had nothing new to offer. Hollywood simply put needs to catch up with the times. Show us something we haven’t seen before. Tell us a good story. Don’t just pump films out and hope people will line up to see it just because it once did well. That’s doesn’t work anymore, not with the internet and social media telling us immediately if something is worth our money or not. People are smarter these days, more in touch, and definitely more attached to their money. Give us something to watch, and we will watch it. Continue making garbage, and it will end up where it belongs, in the garbage bin.
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