Although we might bemoan the nostalgia epidemic that has overtaken the pop culture world, we can't help but buy into it from time to time. Occupied so densely by irony and cynicism, the present slate of film and television can seem on occasion to pale in comparison to the spirited, whimsical material with which many of us grew up. We look back to the dawn of Steven Spielberg's triumphant '80s, honing in on films like E.T. and The Goonies that enchanted audiences young and old. We might feel like movies of this nature cannot exist in the callous climate of 2014, but Earth to Echo writer/producer Andrew Panay seems to disagree.
"I think one thing that hasn't changed," he says, considering the past three decades of cultural and technological evolution, "is the way young adults process things. I don't think that feelings change, or emotions change." Panay's sentiment is clear in Earth to Echo, a science-fiction family adventure in the vein of the aforementioned classic pictures told through the lens of the everpresent iPhone. We might instinctively assume that the inclusion of modern devices robs a story of that pre-digital wonder, but Earth to Echo actually uses the found footage technique to access that sort of Spielbergian intimacy front and center. "What’s endearing about Echo is that you’re actually seeing people’s feelings right there," Panay says, citing something that many audiences could treat as hokey in a standard contemporary picture but might be more willing to embrace in a found footage film... specifically one that taps into the immediacy of sharing videos.
Earth to Echo
In fact, Panay delights in things like Instagram and Facebook in helping to bring people together: "[We're] praising it. I think it’s a wonderful thing that people just wanted to share and ... change the world. It’s done a lot of good. Look at how the world has come together so quickly. You can press send, and you can be sharing photos and skyping someone across the world. I think it’s a positive thing."
The Earth to Echo gang — a trio of boys (played by Astro, Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig) and their popular schoolmate (Ella Wahlestedt) who trek out into the desert on a mission to save an endangered alien — represents just as much of the "old world" as it does the new. "I think [the movie speaks to] parents who want to get into the space tour era, that ‘80s era ... but I think this movie was really to give kids the same experience that I had when I was a kid." Plus, the genre can truly help cineastes like Panay and director David Green pay tribute to the power of filmmaking. Panay says to anyone who commands a lens, be it a movie camera or simply an iPhone used to record the events of the day, "You're your own director of how you view the world."
Check out Earth to Echo hits theaters now!
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"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." You've probably heard those words a thousand times before, and you know what? It's true. Director Andy Fickman has had great success with romantic comedies; in fact, he excels at making lighthearted, easy-to-digest commercial films (She's The Man, The Game Plan). Though he tried to expand his resume by making the so-so sci-fi sequel Race To Witch Mountain, he went back to doing what he does best with You Again, Disney's new trans-generational chick flick and is on a course to repeat that move with Universal's TMI.
Variety reports that Fickman has signed on to direct the Anna Faris comedy about a two best friends who accidentally sleep together but soon find out they know "too much information" about each other to make it work. Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith and Marc Klein penned the script. Longtime Faris collaborator Ryan Reynolds was attached to co-star, but has opted out of appearing in the film and will instead executive produce with Faris. Andrew Panay and Reynolds' partner Jonathan Komack-Martin will produce.
Given Fickman's credits, he is an ideal choice to navigate this story. He's proven that he can deliver broad humor and touching moments that are accessible to audiences of all ages, and that's exactly what TMI calls for. Relationship comedies are still very profitable in Hollywood, especially when a star doesn't eat up more than half of the production budget. Faris is great at what she does and offers a sizable bang for her buck - though she's not yet considered an A-list leading lady, her 2008 comedy The House Bunny took in almost $70 million and she's got plenty of box-office to back up her status thanks to four hit Scary Movies. Though I'd have loved to see her back on the big screen with Reynolds in this pic, I'll take Anna anyway I can get her.
Disney has bagged an untitled baseball pitch from screenwriter Allan Loeb that will star Bradley Cooper.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the dramedy centers on a baseball player who, after suffering an injury, has to go back to the minors, where the only place he can find lodging is in a senior citizens' home. There, he meets an old baseball guru who helps lead him back.
The project, from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps writer Loeb, will be produced by Andrew Panay with Loeb and his Scarlet Fire Entertainment partner Steven Pearl.
The story idea comes from Panay and colleague Adam Blum. The project is said to be in the vein of Scent of a Woman and The Rookie.
It's hi, hi, hi to the movies for 'N Sync boys Lance Bass and Joey Fatone.
The two boy banders will star in the Miramax film "On the Line," The Hollywood Reporter says.
Written by Eric Aronson and Paul Stanton, the film is about a young man (Bass) who meets a girl on a commuter train but fails to get her number. In order to make up for the lost opportunity, he teams up with his best friend (Fatone) to try to find her.
'N Sync manager Johnny Wright will co-executive produce the film along with Bass and producer Andrew Panay. Jive Records, the band's label, will, of course, do the soundtrack for the film.
No director has been tapped for the job yet.
Can't imagine why.