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Christopher Nolan Talk At #Cannes2018



Shouting, pushing, shoving – yep, it was the Christopher Nolan talk at Cannes!

Rendezvous avec Christopher Nolan to give it its proper title. The fan boy director of choice inspired an absolute frenzy as journalists and filmmakers from around the world (not all of them familiar with the concept of queuing) clamoured to get into the theatre to hear the great man speak. We had been waiting two hours for the privilege so tempers were bound to be frayed as the horrible realization dawned on some that they were not going to get in.

Fortunately I was lucky enough to get a place. And discovered I have something over Christopher Nolan – I’ve been to the Cannes film festival over a dozen times and he only made his first visit here at the weekend. And there the bragging rights end abruptly!

The front row was reserved for other luminaries like Denis Villeneuve and relatives of Stanley Kubrick. Nolan was here to talk about the restored version of 2001, A Space Odyssey, Kubrick’s masterpiece. The banner next to the stage noted : 50 years ago one movie changed all movies forever.

Nolan told us that he first saw 2001 when he was 7 when his father took him to see the film in the aftermath of the huge success of Star Wars. ‘I was transported to another world in a way I did not think was possible. Now I want to give new generations a chance to sit in awe of a masterpiece in the same way.’

He noted that 2001 taught him that films can do anything. ‘Kubrick took the rule book and threw it out of the window.’ He made a point of saying that this was not a restored version in the sense that it had been cleaned up but in a way that changed the film in any way. As far as possible the aim was to reproduce the photo chemical process and sound as it had been originally intended.

He also spoke about his own films, focusing on Dunkirk mainly, simply because it was his most recent work. On that film, he said he used techniques he learnt from older filmmakers who had worked on films from years ago. So he used real boats and planes because ‘it creates an immersive world for the actors. They don’t need to pretend to be in a boat or plane and so can focus on digging deeper into the meaning of the story and film itself.’

Nolan did not go to film school, wryly noting that he didn’t get in! Instead he took Kubrick’s advice ‘the best way to learn how to make a film is by making a film.’

Before that he also took his father’s advice to ‘get a proper degree’ and read English at UCL. The degree informed his filmmaking because it allowed him to be at ease with the idea of layers of resonance in a story which the audience can pick up on.

As a newcomer to filmmaking he said he learnt every aspect of the process, including, for example, about sound. ‘It means I know enough about each aspect of filmmaking to be a pain in the arse about it with the experts! On the plus side it shows them you value their contribution to the film.’

He likes working with people he knows well. His wife is his producer and he often writes with his brother. ‘Family and old friends have no agenda except to make the best film, so there’s a big trust element.’

Talking about the Batman trilogy he said he was drawn to the story which struck him as a noirish thriller rather than a superhero one. The themes of guilt and fear interested him. ‘Bruce Wayne has no superpowers, only great wealth. And he does a lot of pushups! But he’s not superhuman. So, people can relate to him in many ways, especially emotionally. His is an operatic story but based on a real, primal figure.’

He believes that the 3 films were defined in terms of their genre by the villains. The Dark Knight was a crime drama in the vein of Michael Mann’s Heat while the Dark Knight Rises was an historical epic with Bane as the militaristic villain.

He admitted that he had ‘pillaged mercilessly’ from James Bond for the Dark Knight although Inception is his Bond move because he used the mechanics of a heist film to draw the audience into what he hoped was a more interesting but less accessible story.


Ezra Miller Promises A Flash Solo Movie Is Still Coming



Warner Bros.’ proposed solo movie based on the fastest man alive, The Flash, is inarguably one of the most troubled productions in modern Hollywood, having gone through four directors already (and is on, at least, its fifth script). But the movie’s star, Ezra Miller, is still certain the film is coming:

“Nothing is ever certain in this world,” Miller said, whilst out promoting Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, “But as certain as things get, we’re making a f*cking crazy-dope Flash movie… Anyone who knows about Barry Allen knows he may arrive late, very late, but once he gets there, it’s all solved. We have to trust.”

Miller first made their appearance as Barry Allen, the alter-ego of the scarlet speedster, in a brief cameo in director Zack Snyder’s much-maligned Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice back in 2016. They later had a larger role, and fully in costume, in Snyder and Joss Whedon’s Justice League in 2017, which also suffered a critical slaughtering.

Many are seeing the next crop of DCEU films (Aquaman, Shazam!, and Wonder Woman ’84) as the studio’s attempt at making their shared universe of comic book movies – originally supposed to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe – more palatable to mainstream audiences, in what appears to be something of a soft-reboot; all three are proposed to have a lighter, more appealing tone, as opposed to the dreary, drudging depression of Snyder’s original vision).

The implication is, as things currently stand, that the next three films will play out as planned, and then The Flash’s solo feature (written by Joby Harold, and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein) will be designed to act as a hard reboot for the franchise. Said reboot will  be centred around, and indeed will take its title from, an adaptation of the popular DC comic book event Flashpoint.

For those not in the know, Flashpoint was a 2011 ‘event series’ of comic books written by fan-favourite scribe Geoff Johns, and pencilled by artist Andy Kubert. The book acted as the catalyst for a line-wide reboot of DC’s comic books that became known as the New 52 (so named because it launched with fifty-two new comic books starting from scratch), and told the tale of The Flash’s misguided attempts to save his mother from her murder at the hands of his time-travelling arch-nemesis, the Reverse Flash. In doing so he causes a time ripple, or ‘flashpoint’, that plunges his world into a dystopian alternate future where Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war, Superman never donned his cape, and Bruce Wayne was the one gunned down in an alley – inspiring his father Thomas to take up the mantle of the Batman, and driving his mother Martha to become the Joker.

It’s unknown how much of that will carry over to Ezra Miller’s solo feature, but Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is already signed on to make an appearance in the film.

Flashpoint is due to begin filming in late 2019, and is expected for release in 2021.

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Legendary Composer John Williams Conducting New Music For Star Wars Theme Park



John Williams, the symphonic maestro responsible for such classic Hollywood soundtracks as Superman, Jaws, Jurassic Park, ET, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Raiders of the Lost Ark will return to the galaxy far, far away to create new music for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

The themed amusement parks, which are currently being added to both Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, will – like all Disney parks – have music playing in the background at all times in order to create a magical and otherworldly ambience. It is this music that will feature brand new, exclusive compositions from the decorated composer, designed to complement the remote trading outpost of the planet Baatu (which the parks will represent).

The new music will be the penultimate project centred around the classic franchise for Williams, who has previously announced that 2019’s presently-untitled Star Wars: Episode IX will feature his final full orchestral score for the series.

Five-time Oscar-winner John Williams first wrote music for George Lucas’ beloved sci-fi creation in 1977, with his score for the original film (which included the iconic opening fanfare and the so-called ‘Force Theme‘ – originally entitled ‘Binary Sunset‘ – that have both since become staples of the series) currently listed by the American Film Institute as the greatest movie soundtrack of all time. He would then go on to create original arrangements for every subsequent episodic Star Wars film (with Michael Giacchino handling duties on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and responsibilities for Solo: A Star Wars Story falling to John Powell).

The planet Baatu can currently be glimpsed in certain endings to the Disney Parks’ popular Star Tours simulator ride, and was heavily featured in Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn: Alliances.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is due to open next year, and is due to be a fully immersive world that will even give visitors the opportunity to fly the Millennium Falcon.

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Box Office News

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Scores $253M Global Opening



The return of Newt Scamander had a magical time at the box office this weekend, as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald took in a stupendous $253 million during its three-day debut.

The prequel-sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which adds Jude Law to its cast as a young Albus Dumbledore (the beloved character previously portrayed by Richard Harris and Michael Gambon), drew in a solid $62 million domestic. The figure is below its predecessor, which opened to $74 million, but is only slightly below industry predictions (which foretold a $65-$75 million opening).

The Crimes of Grindelwald made up that slack internationally, however, with a worldwide cume of $191 million. All told, a $253 million opening is just about right on the money for insider estimates, but those celebrations could be short-lived. Poor word-of-mouth is already hurting the film’s box office chances, and the feature still has a fair way to go to break even (despite a budget of $200 million, the flick has also had a costly and ubiquitous marketing campaign that will have undoubtedly widened Warner Bros.’ margin for profitability).

WB will clearly be hoping to see the Potter prequel demonstrate similar legs to its franchise-starter, which ended its global theatrical run with a commendable $814 million, but it’s certainly up against it following press reactions. Now, a film receiving a critical drubbing is by no means a death knell in this day and age, especially in a year in which Sony’s Venom is nearing $800 million worldwide on a budget of $100 million. That film currently sits at a miserable 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 35 MetaScore – compared to Grindelwald’s less-apocalyptic 40% and 53 MetaScore, respectively – but Fantastic Beasts is still certainly facing an uphill struggle.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in UK cinemas now, rated 12A.

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