Eazy-E's son has cleared up reports suggesting he was upset he was not cast as his father in the N.W.A. biopic, insisting actor Jason Mitchell has his full support. Eric Wright, Jr. insists comments attributed to him about his disappointment over not winning the role in Straight Outta Compton were taken out of context - and he's not mad that Ice Cube cast his own son to play a younger version of himself, while overlooking him.
He tells RollingStone.com, "I'm not upset about (the casting). What (Ice) Cube did was a great thing and (he's) a loving father... Besides my father, that's the person I was inspired by; that's like an idol to me."
Wright, Jr. goes on to explain he has made himself available to Mitchell, who will portray his late father, in a bid to help him perfect the role.
He continues, "Jason has come to my grandmother's house, where I was born and raised, where my father was born and raised and where N.W.A started. I reached out to him to give him the support and any advice he needs. He has a big burden on his shoulders, to bring forth the character and legacy of my father and the legacy of N.W.A, period."
Eazy-E's son is feeling disappointed after he was left out of the cast of upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Lil' Eazy-E, real name Eric Wright, Jr., had hoped movie bosses would let him play his late father in the new movie about the legendary hip-hop group, but newcomer Jason Mitchell has been given the role instead.
The 30 year old tells TMZ.com he is disappointed with the decision, adding, "I am my father. I look like him. I sound like him."
Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson Jr. will portray his own father in the film, but Dr. Dre's son Curtis Young also faced disappointment when the role of his dad was given to actor Marcus Callender.
Wright, Jr., who was just 11 years old when his rapper father died from an AIDS-related illness in 1995, previously said of the movie role, "I'm the perfect man for the role. Who better to play him in the N.W.A. days? Like father, like son - no make-up needed."
Rap mogul Dr. Dre halted plans for his son to portray him on the big screen in N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton over fears he didn't have enough acting experience. F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the rise of the California rap group, which included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the late Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella, and their split in 1991.
The cast was announced last week (ends22Jun14) and includes O'Shea Jackson, Jr., playing his father Ice Cube, and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E.
Newcomer Marcus Callender landed the role of Dre, but the hip-hop veteran's aspiring actor/rapper son Curtis Young reveals he auditioned for the role first.
He says, "I actually tried out for the role, 'cause the casting company called me. But my father wanted somebody with more acting experience, and I haven't been acting for a long time, so I'm happy for the guy that got the role. It's one of those things where we want what's best for the movie and for the film. I had a lot of fans that were upset about it, but whatever's best for the film."
The biopic is set for release in 2015
The new N.W.A. biopic appears to have cost the planned sequel to Jeremy Renner's The Bourne Legacy a 2015 release. Sources close to the productions tell The Hollywood Reporter that director Justin Lin's Bourne sequel, starring Renner as Aaron Cross, has been pushed back to the summer of 2016 to make way for Straight Outta Compton.
The news comes just hours after movie executives confirmed the cast for the N.W.A. film, announcing Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. will portray his father in the rags to riches story, alongside Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell as Dr. Dre and the late Eazy-E, respectively.
The biopic will now be released in August, 2015, taking over the Bourne film's release date.
Bosses at Universal movie studios have confirmed Corey Hawkins, O'shea Jackson, Jr. and Jason Mitchell will lead the cast of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton.
Reports suggesting newcomer Marcus Callender had been cast as rapper Dr. Dre in the film surfaced earlier this week (begs16Jun14), but on Wednesday (18Jun14), movie executives revealed Non-Stop star Hawkins would take on the role.
As previously reported, Mitchell and Ice Cube's son Jackson, Jr. will portray the late Eazy-E and Ice Cube, respectively. F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the Compton, California rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the late Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella's rise to fame in the late 1980s and their subsequent split in 1991.
The movie is scheduled to hit theatres in August, 2015.
Newcomers Marcus Callender and Jason Mitchell have reportedly been cast to play Dr. Dre and Eazy-E in the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. The project has been in the works for several years, but director F. Gary Gray is now ready to move forward with the film and has cast Callender and Mitchell to round out the lead roles, according to Billboard.com.
Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. has reportedly been tapped to play a younger version of his father in the film, which is scheduled to begin principal photography in August (14).
Straight Outta Compton tells the story of Compton, California rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, the late Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella's rise to fame in the late 1980s and their subsequent split in 1991.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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Veteran actor Mitchell Jason has died at the age of 92. The screen and stage performer passed away in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on 11 March (14). No further details about his death have been released.
After studying at The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in New York City, Jason headed to Broadway and appeared in numerous shows including A View From the Bridge, So Long, 174th Street and Fiddler on the Roof.
His most recent appearance on stage was in the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of hit musical Grand Hotel between 1989 and 1992.
Jason also appeared in a number of films, including Network and The Heartbreak Kid, as well as a recurring role in TV soap opera Loving.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is filled — and I mean jam-packed — with genre-bending, action-heavy, sportily tense and relentlessly sinuous, sky-high-concept and maniacally bonkers stuff. Polygonal mayhem that aims, and impressively so, to top the Marvel lot in ideas, deconstructing every thriller staple from government corruption to talking computers to odd couple agents gone rogue. But oddly enough, the moment in the Cap sequel that I find most arresting several weeks after seeing the film is our peaceful reunion with Steve Rogers, trotting merrily around the Washington Monument as the sun rises on our nation's capital.
The scene is shot from far overhead, a low pulse/high spirits Chris Evans reduced to a shapeless blur as he repeatedly (but politely!) laps fellow jogger and veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)... and yet it might be the closest we feel to Cap throughout the movie.
The Winter Soldier has a lot to worry about in the delivery of its content. Managing a plot as ambitious and multifaceted as its own, with themes as grand as the scope of the American mentality — as represented by Steve Rogers, raised in the good old days of gee-golly-jingoism — it doesn't always have the faculties to devote to humanizing its central troupe. Cap isn't left hollow, but his battles with the dark cloud of contemporary skepticism play more like an intriguing Socratic discussion than an emotional arc. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, a character who ran circles around her Avengers co-players in flavor, feels a bit shortchanged in that department here (in her closest thing to a starring role yet, no less).
Mackie's Falcon, a regular joe who is roped into the calamity thanks largely to his willingness to chat with a fellow runner — a rare skill, honestly — is less of a problem. He doesn't have much to do, but he does it all well enough. Dynamic though he may be, Mackie keeps things bridled as Cap's ad-hoc sidekick, playing up the along-for-the-ride shtick rather than going full (or even half) superhero. We might want more from him, knowing just how fun he can be, but it's a sating dose. The real hunger is for more in the way of Black Widow, Cap, and — perhaps most of all — the titular villain.
Still, these palpable holes pierce through a film that gets plenty right. As elegantly as Joe Johnston did the Spielberg thing back in 2011, Joe and Anthony Russo take on the ballots of post-innocence. They aren't afraid to get wild and weird, taking The Winter Soldier through valleys that feel unprecedented in superhero cinema. We're grateful for the invention here — for Robert Redford's buttoned-up Tom Clancy villain, for the directors' aggressive tunneling through a wide underworld of subterranean corruption, and especially for one scene in an army bunker that amounts to the most charmingly bats**t crazy reveal in any Marvel movie yet. We might be most grateful, though, for a new take on Nick Fury; here, the franchise gives Samuel L. Jackson his best material by a mile.
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But in the absence of definitive work done in our heroing couple, a pair rich in fibers but relegated to broad strokes and easy quips in this turn, most of it amounts to a fairly good spy thriller, not an ace-in-the-whole neo-superhero masterpiece... which, justly or otherwise, is what we've come to expect and demand from these things.
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I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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