Movie creature Bart teams up with Grant for one wilderness scene in the new film - and Lawrence still can't believe the nervous Brit was game for the terrifying onscreen encounter.
He says, "If Bart snapped and decided this was the day he would eat somebody, he would've definitely and completely chewed up Hugh. I thought it was very courageous of Hugh.
"When the bear finally came out of the cage it was gigantic. You can't imagine the size of it's head; it is just overwhelming.
"We had a big safety meeting beforehand with the crew and the actors, and the trainers tell you all the things not to do that make you unbelievably tense.
"The important thing is the bear will sense your tension, so you have to remain calm, no sudden movements. Everything they said in an attempt to calm us down worked in the opposite way.
"But Bart was just another person on the crew five hours in and the trainers kept him very happy with large cans of iced tea."
December 16, 2009 3:58am EST
With Roman Polanski under house arrest in Gstaad as he faces the possibility of U.S. extradition, his film career at least looks like it's back on track, Peter Bart writes in Variety.
The Ghost will premiere in the main section of the Berlin Film Festival, while rights to the $35 million Polanski-directed film have been sold around the world. Summit last week acquired the film for North America. But, according to Variety, The Ghost will likely stir up controversy on two levels, the distributors realize.
There is first the possibility of Polanski's extradition; the second is the film's subject matter. The story deals with Tony Blair's role in the war in Iraq and suggests Blair was conned by President Bush into an Iraq intervention and that Blair's wife, Cherie, was complicit and may even have had a CIA connection.
Summit's bosses don't seem overly concerned, however. "We think the movie is an outstanding Hitchcockian thriller," Patrick Wachsberger, who runs Summit with Rob Friedman, told Variety.
"Roman is a well-respected artist and people will judge his film as art," Friedman said.
"If the movie is great, Polanski's name will be a positive," Wachsberger told the trade. "If it is average, his problems may possibly become a negative. But we think it is great."
The Rosemary's Baby director is being held behind bars in Switzerland following his arrest in September (09) on an international warrant relating to a 1977 charge of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski pleaded guilty to the crime but fled the U.S. in 1978 before he could be sentenced.
U.S. authorities formally requested his extradition last month (Oct09) but Swiss officials have yet to decide whether to grant the motion.
French lawyer Herve Temime has been keeping the press updated on Polanski's progress and wellbeing in jail, and told local newspaper Le Figaro last week (ends20Nov09) the filmmaker plans to fight any attempts to send him back to the U.S. to face his punishment.
Temime said: "We maintain that Mr Polanski did not face a fair trial in Los Angeles. For all these reasons, among others, his position remains unchanged: he will not accept being extradited to the United States."
But Polanski's Los Angeles-based attorneys Douglas Dalton, Bart Dalton and Chad Hummel have dismissed Temime's comments, insisting he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the director.
In a statement, they say, "Any statements made in the press to the effect that Mr. Polanski will not accept lawful orders of the courts, including relating to extradition, are not true."
The trio added that Dr. Lorenz Erni in Switzerland and Polanski himself are the only others "authorised to speak on his behalf" regarding the unlawful sex charge.
Polanski, who has been deemed a "flight risk", has seen three bail attempts refused and is expected to remain in jail for several more months until Swiss authorities rule on the U.S. extradition request.
Charles Bronson may have passed away but the spirit of his Death Wish films lives on -- albeit in an absurdly twisted fashion -- in F. Gary Gray’s (The Italian Job Be Cool) gleefully over-the-top revenge thriller Law Abiding Citizen.
Taking a welcome break from his recent run of lame chick flicks Gerard Butler (300 RocknRolla) stars as Clyde Shelton a loving husband and father whose placid suburban existence is upended when a couple of mangy meth monsters burst into his home. Not content to merely burglarize the place they proceed to butcher Clyde’s wife and daughter as he lies in a heap on the floor periodically losing consciousness after being stabbed several times.
The killers are soon apprehended and a grieving Clyde who somehow managed to survive the whole ordeal eagerly awaits swift retribution from the justice system. Hoping for the grim solace that only the death penalty can provide he places his faith in Nick Rice (Oscar winner Jamie Foxx) the hotshot district attorney charged with prosecuting the case to do the right thing and see to it that the two killers fry.
Nick however has other plans. Seeing the case as anything but open-and-shut and fearful that a not-guilty verdict in such a high-profile trial could derail his ambitious career plans (he sees himself as a Giuliani in the making) he opts to strike a plea deal: One man gets a death sentence while the other gets a mere 10 years in return for testifying against his cohort.
Chastened by the unseemly bargain Clyde takes matters into his own hands delivering his own uniquely painful brand of vigilante justice to the sinister men who destroyed his family. But he doesn’t stop there not by a longshot. His grudge extends much much further -- to the very heart of the justice system itself -- and he intends to bring the entire corrupt apparatus down even if he has to do it while locked up inside a jail cell. Which is where he ends up after police nab him for personally imposing the death penalty on the convicted killers.
Indeed Clyde proves to be something of a savant when it comes to killing people in creative cinematic ways employing exploding cell phones remote-control machine guns and other methods to take out the various judges attorneys and politicians on his hit list. Most amazingly he orchestrates all of this mayhem from behind bars. Seriously this guy’s flair for novelty violence makes the Joker’s antics in The Dark Knight seem amateurish by comparison.
The task of putting an end to all of Clyde’s mayhem naturally falls on Nick. And this is where Law Abiding Citizen’s fatal flaw emerges. Whereas Gray Butler and virtually everyone else seem to enthusiastically embrace the utter ridiculousness of it all Foxx plays it determinedly straight as if he’s the only one in the movie who isn’t in on the joke. Watching his performance it’s almost as if he’s making a different film than everyone else.
The right way for Law Abiding Citizen to end is for Foxx to administer an appropriately ironic death to Butler’s character utter something like “I rest my case ” and wink at the camera as he makes his exit. (Click here to read our exclusive interview with Foxx.)
I won’t give any spoilers away but suffice it to say this is NOT how the movie ends.
The Austin Powers actor admits he auditioned numerous times early on in his career to advertise his favourite chocolate bar, but was repeatedly turned away.
So it was a dream come true when Butterfinger bosses at parent company Nestle Confections & Snacks approached him over the summer (09) to front their new promotional campaign - making him the brand's first celebrity spokesperson.
He says, "I've been into candy all my life and Butterfinger is my favourite candy bar. I even auditioned for Butterfinger commercials when I was doing commercials, and never got one. And then they approached me to do something."
The last famous face to appear in Butterfinger commercials was cartoon character Bart Simpson, who was used to promote the candy in the late 1990s.
The onscreen couple were flabbergasted by Bart the bear's demands - and Grant jokes they felt like lesser stars as they stood by and watched the grizzly get constantly pampered by his handlers.
The British actor explains, "He wouldn't come out of his trailer until he had 12 cans of iced tea and had been hosed down from head to foot. And then the crew had to applaud and say, 'Yay, Bart, you're so great.
"Sarah Jessica and I got jealous, so the crew had to do that for us as well.
And Grant tells Entertainment Weekly magazine, "If the bear was doing particularly well, its trainer would wrestle him on the floor in this crazy, wrestle-y cuddle. So I made (director) Marc (Lawrence) do that to me if I ever did a scene well.".
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
A total knockout as a piece of well-made B-movie grit Fighting focuses on two men living on separate edges of society who come together to make a killing in the forbidden world of bare-knuckle fighting. When con man Harvey Boarden spots raw street-fighting talent in the form of small-town dude Shawn MacArthur the two team up by entering Shawn in the potentially lucrative underground circuit a place where rich men bet on young brawlers who battle like pit bulls unleashed. With success comes complications however and Shawn ends up fighting not only for money but his whole future — which suddenly is very much at stake.
WHO’S IN IT?
Rising young heartthrob Channing Tatum’s (Step Up) raw star power blasts through the screen as Shawn a role that thankfully calls for more complexity than just acting with his fists. Opposite Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard’s (Hustle & Flow) Harvey he steps up his game and the two play off each other with ease searching for ways to lift what is basically an action vehicle into something more emotionally involving and Rocky-esque. Certainly the highlights are still the intense and brutal fight sequences but because Tatum invests more than just one note into his portrayal of a guy trying to work his way up from the streets into a better life we are behind him all the way. In a case of a Zulay playing another Zulay Zulay Henao is sweet and appealing as a girl Shawn starts dating between bouts while Brian White is menacing and slippery as Evan Hailey a key rival and protégé of Shawn’s own estranged father. Also of note is Altagracia Guzman who has a couple of very funny scenes as Zulay’s disapproving grandmother.
The heart-stopping realism of the bare-knuckle fighting is refreshingly free of cinematic trickery and CGI assistance. It’s raw and packs real punch particularly during a sequence in which Shawn faces a formidable martial arts opponent but also in the climactic bout with Hailey. And fortunately there are some nice twists along the way that keep this flick from drifting into complete predictability. Director Dito Montiel who previously made the Sundance award-winner A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (also with Tatum) knows the New York street scene well.
Although richly entertaining the film could have benefitted from a deeper look into this forbidden world of underground human fighting which hasn’t been explored much on-screen beyond the very unique take of David Fincher’s acerbic Fight Club.
Aside from the powerful fisticuffs on constant display it has to be Shawn’s first encounter with Zulay’s grandmother when he arrives unannounced for dinner. It’s priceless stuff serving to humanize him and ramp his score way up on the likeability meter.
Give credit to the filmmakers for the simplicity of the name. Fighting tells you everything you need to know.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Multiplex. Like any boxing match it’s more fun to watch with a crowd.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Danny Stein’s got a problem. Although his childhood best friend Camille is more than willing to be his date for the prom he’s got the hots for someone else. When his plans to escort his dream girl evaporate and Camille's already found someone else the race is one to find someone — ANYONE — available to take at the last minute. After all even the school’s biggest loser (um Bart) is going — he got a room!
WHO’S IN IT?
Newcomer Steven Kaplan makes a sterling impression as the desperate and horny kid stuck without a date on the biggest night of high school. Kaplan is reminiscent of a younger Ben Stiller as he portrays all the angst and frustration of that awkward age. William H. Macy and Cheryl Hines are hilarious as his separated parents who both have dating problems of their own. Macy with Brillo-pad hair and polyester clothes is particularly funny as he tries to help his son but doesn’t even have a clue how to fix his own problems. Ashley Benson is vapidly entertaining as the would-be dream date while Alia Shawkat is touching and real as the reliable best friend who never gets the guy herself.
First-time feature director Brian Hecker gets the Ft. Lauderdale Fl. Jewish milieu down pat and elicits wonderfully subtle deadpan performances from a terrific ensemble cast. His screenplay is full of LOL moments that will have you howling in recognition as the pain of prom night is brought into full focus.
At 80 minutes the movie is too short. This is one instance where you actually want to spend more time with these characters.
Feverishly looking to be a hero for his son Macy convinces an aging overweight blonde at the next-door Bar Mitzvah to be Danny's prom date but ahem it doesn’t quite work out.
WHO THE HELL IS BART?
Chad Jamian Williams as the “title character” actually makes only a brief appearance in a restroom scene towards the end. Hey at least he can impress people on his resume.
Phoebe (Elle Fanning) is a particularly bright and imaginative child yet she’s not entirely able to relate to her family and those around her. When she is cast in her school’s production of Alice in Wonderland she begins to confuse reality with fantasy – which causes problems at school and at home exacerbating tensions within her family. Like older sister Dakota Elle Fanning is an uncommonly talented and persuasive actress -- and because the story is told almost entirely from her perspective -- a lot of it rests on her shoulders; she comes through with flying colors. Fanning is also surrounded by a first-rate supporting cast that includes Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman as her parents Patricia Clarkson as the sort of teacher whose unorthodox methodology endears her to her students and Campbell Scott as the sort of smug officious school principal with no ability to connect with children. Down the line the performances are the glue which holds this film together. This could have been an absolute wallow in sentiment or a cable-TV “Disease-of-the-Week” movie and although first-time writer/director Daniel Barnz can’t entirely avoid it he at least makes the effort to steer the film into the ethereal as opposed to the predictable (and pedantic). In trying to recapture the innocence and imagination of a young child the film has its fair share of emotionally affecting moments – as well as some humorous ones. It’s not a perfect film but it’s a laudably ambitious and worthwhile one.
December 03, 2008 8:07am EST
Roman Polanski's achievements in filmmaking (The Pianist, Rosemary's Baby) will always be overshadowed by the fact that he's an accused sex offender -- now, he's ready to clear his name.
The director, who, decades ago, had pled guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, has asked the Los Angeles County Superior Court to dismiss the charges.
Polanski fled the U.S. before his sentencing in 1978. Since then, there have been several attempts to resolve the case. The victim, Samantha Geimer, has repeatedly requested that the charges be dropped. In the past, Polanski has been reluctant to revisit the case but now appears eager to clear his name, reports Variety.
Marina Zenovich’s recent documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, was cited by the filmmaker’s attorneys who said "extraordinary new evidence" had surfaced with the release of the film.
The complaint focuses on interviews in which then-deputy District Attorney David Wells admits discussing the case with Judge Lawrence Rittenband during legal proceedings and further charges the current District Attorney's Office with misconduct in statements made upon the documentary’s release last June.
The complaint charges that Polanski "was and continues to be the victim of repeated, unlawful and unethical misconduct on the part of the LA District Attorney's Office and LA Superior Court."
New attorneys have taken up his case since Douglas Dalton, his longtime attorney, has retired. Chad Hummel of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and Bart Dalton (Douglas' son) of Cauley Bowman Carney & Williams filed the complaint on behalf of the director.
The attorneys issued a joint statement alluding to Zenovich’s film, but declined to comment further. "The release of the documentary film Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired and its aftermath have revealed a pattern of misconduct and improper communications between the Superior Court and the District Attorney's Office, in violation of the rule of law and without the knowledge of the defendant or his counsel," they said. "This case serves as a classic example of how our justice system can be abused, and defendants' rights trampled, by an unholy alliance between courts and criminal prosecutors."
For its part, the court declined comment on the case itself, says The Hollywood Reporter, but said its position for several years has been "if Mr. Polanski wants to resolve this matter, he must appear in person. Should he do so, he would be taken to Dept. 100 for sentencing - which is where this all left off. At that point, his attorneys would be free to pursue whatever legal strategy they choose."
In general, fugitives do not have a right to demand such review, but judges have a wide berth when it comes to overturning convictions if they find that the court system has been abused. A hearing has been set for Jan. 21.
Read this story and more on Hollywood Wiretap
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