What the world needs is another hip-hop star turned actor! Recording artist and producer Kid Cudi will be joining Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul in director Scott Waugh's (Act of Valor) adaptation of the Electronic Arts videogame Need for Speed. Cudi confirmed the news via Twitter by announcing, "Really excited about NEED FOR SPEED. Mad love to Leslee Feldman, Scott Waugh & everyone at DreamWorks for believing in me. This is insane!"
It probably won't be much of a role, though. Paul stars as a vengeful car enthusiast who recklessly motors across the country to get payback against the guy who killed his best friend. Cudi will play the murdered best friend. Unless there's a big twist (very possible), the musician's part may be more cameo than costar. The venerable videogame franchise is all about driving really fast in vintage cars you couldn't possibly hope to own in real life, then trying to make everyone around you crash and burn while trying desperately not to crash and burn yourself. Expect the movie version to be less Two-Lane Blacktop and more The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. (Though undoubtedly Tokyo Drift is the greatest film about drifting ever made.)
When he hasn't been racking up slickly-produced hits for Kanye West's GOOD Music label, Cudi has previously tried to break into the acting game. He starred on HBO's comedy series How to Make it In America for two seasons, and showed major potential. Obviously, all hip-hop artists who go into acting not-so-secretly hope they can replicate the multi-hyphenate superstardom of Will Smith. Most would be lucky simply to have a career like Common, who's made a mark for himself in unflashy but notable roles in movies (Smokin' Aces, Wanted) and TV (Hell on Wheels) while still releasing comfort-food rap. Cudi is one of the few who really has the potential to follow in Common's footsteps. As a producer, he's had the artistic generosity to subordinate himself to other artists, and on How to Make It In America he showed that his ego wasn't too big to overshadow his character. That was impressive, considering that ego-driven swagger is pretty much hip-hop's M.O—hence why 50 Cent, The Game, DMX, and, sigh, Xzibit have been pretty much laughed off the screen when they've attempted to play action-movie sidekick types.
Are you cautiously optimistic about Cudi's jumpt to the big screen. Or will this just be Tyrese in Death Race all over again?
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[Photo Credit: WENN]
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When Lily (Analeigh Tipton) transfers to scenic Seven Oaks three strange but charismatic young women approach her like a girl gang in matching sweater sets. Although Lily doesn't need help with her wardrobe or men Violet (Greta Gerwig) Heather (Carrie MacLemore) and Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) recruit her to live with them hang out with them and join them in their efforts to thwart the school's "atmosphere of male barbarism." It's not actually barbaric; it's a fairly normal upper class liberal arts college but to these girls one of whom has such delicate nostrils that she freaks out at the slightest hint of BO we'd be much better off returning to an classier era. Seven Oaks which used to be a women-only campus is a veiled reference to the Seven Sisters colleges some of which like Vassar have gone coed.
With Violet as a slightly awkward ringleader the trio has very strict ideas of what's proper and what's not what kind of behaviors lead to depression and general uncleanliness and what will most enhance each person's happiness. They set out to do this by avoiding handsome men and going for fixer-uppers and offering depressed students tap dancing classes and fresh-smelling soap. However even though Violet's biggest dream is to kick off "an international dance craze " something she assumes will benefit many people on a wider scale than their college-level suicide interventions they all seem sort of depressed. Is it anthropological curiosity that motivates Lily the loneliness of a new school or as with the audience the sort of weird charm shot through sadness that Violet possesses?
Fans of Whit Stillman's talky thinky upper crust movies are overjoyed that the writer/director has returned after 14 years but what will about newbies? Damsels in Distress is somewhat perplexing; there are a few too many characters and subplots that are introduced and then dropped like the young woman whom the gals take in briefly after a suicide attempt. The film brings up questions about identity the ways we lie to ourselves but leaves them dangling. We're given details about who Violet really is in an insightful and startling subplot that could have given the movie a slightly weightier tone but then it shifts back into Stillman territory. To be fair that's why we're watching in Damsels to begin with; the random excursions into the outside world of actual mental illness heartbreak and financial or personal struggle have no real place in Stillman's lovely bubble. In the end it's not clear if there's some greater thrust to the movie some sort of lesson that the protagonists and viewer should be taking away from it all but if we're allowed to turn off our brains for mindless action fodder and enjoy it why not do the same for hyper-literate modern dandies in a world of dance classes and sunny college campuses?
It's also buoyed by a strong cast led by Greta Gerwig and Analeigh Tipton with enjoyable performances by Echikunwoke and would-be suitor Adam Brody as well as excellent costumes that combine the modern look of liberal arts colleges with the perfectly preppy wardrobe of the three girls and occasional dance numbers. Small touches like Audrey Plaza as a wild-eyed and -haired tap dance student referred to as "Depressed Debbie " Gerwig's stoic face even when referring to her breakdown as being "in a tailspin " and a sight gag here and there serve to remind us that Stillman and his team aren't fumbling in the dark here; they're perfectly aware of how enjoyably goofy Damsels is. It's no accident that their college offers a class called "The Dandy Tradition in Literature" that focuses its studies on Evelyn Waugh and others as obsessed with the leisure class as Stillman.
Act of Valor is a new kind of war movie. The kind that actually places real soldiers on screen to take audiences through an especially realistic military experience. The feature directorial debut of producers/stuntmen Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh stars actual Navy SEALs in a story about a hostage situation involving a CIA agent, giving America a cinematic glimpse into the operations performed by their nation's armed forces. The movie is coming out on DVD and Blu-ray on June 5.
Below is a complete list of the special features included on the DVD and Blu-ray packages.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
Christmas in the Barracks
Shabal in Winter Palace
Shabal on Boat
Shabal in Kiro
Director’s Commentary BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES (All of the above DVD special features, plus…) Interviews with the Navy SEALs Rorke Dave Mikey Ray Sonny Ajay Weimy Featurettes Making Of Real Bullets Real SEALs Real Tactics Silent Warriors “For You” Music Video by Keith Urban Making of the Music Video Director’s Intro
On the weekend of February 24, the action-thriller Act of Valor, starring real-life active-duty Navy SEALs, defied the predictions of many pundits (and the verdicts of most critics) to handily win the box-office crown. In an exclusive interview with Hollywood.com, Act of Valor directors Scott Waugh and Mike "Mouse" McCoy reflected on their success, cleared up persistent speculation about the soldiers’ participation in the project, and talked about their ambitious plans to "bring back the live-action film":
There were a lot of people who doubted whether the concept of casting real-life SEALs would work in a feature-length film, but obviously audiences have embraced it. Do you feel a sense of vindication at its box-office success?
Mike "Mouse" McCoy: We’re just really humbled overall, and mostly we’re really thankful that the men and women in uniform and veterans that have seen the movie are really embracing it, and are really thankful that they were properly represented. The comments that we’re getting from men and women in uniform are pretty amazing to us.
Have you talked at all with the soldiers who starred in the film since it debuted? Are they rock stars at home or what?
Scott Waugh: We’ve become very close friends with all of them. They’re back doing what they do: They’re active-duty Navy SEALs. One guy just got deployed, another guy’s on work-ups, and they’re all back to work. They really kinda giggle when people say, “Oh, they’re probably Hollywood celebrities now.” No they’re not. They’re doing what they do, and they’re still very quiet about it.
That’s pretty impressive. There's no way I could go back to my day job after starring in a blockbuster.
Waugh: Well, that’s the reason Mouse and I wanted these eight SEALs in particular. They’re very confident, competent men, and they weren’t seeking the straight-to-Hollywood program. They’re Navy SEALs to the core.
There have been some hints (most notably in The Huffington Post) that the soldiers’ participation in Act of Valor wasn’t entirely voluntary. Can you comment on those allegations?
McCoy: That’s absolutely false. All of the guys volunteered to do the film, 100%.
But you did partner with the U.S. military in making the film, right?
Waugh: Well, they provided access for us, yes. They let us really get immersed in their culture and find out what it was all about, and they definitely gave us access to current training evolutions.
McCoy: But it’s important to note that we had full story control on this film. The military just had a scrub on what they call technique, tactic and procedure, to make sure we’re not giving away anything classified or showing anyone how to do something, but we had complete control of the story.
You guys started on this film over four years ago. What impact did the Navy SEALs’ capture of Osama bin Laden have on the project? Do you think it helped raise its profile?
McCoy: The film was already finished and in the can [when bin Laden was captured]. We had already tested it – it was testing really well – and we were really just trying to figure out our distribution strategy.
Waugh: We actually pulled the film down when the bin Laden incident happened. We went dark for over a month. We did not want the film to take recognition from that event; the guys deserved it. We did not want to be a part of that. It was kind of counter-intuitive to everyone who was saying, “This is the time to sell your movie!” We were like, “No, it’s not.”
McCoy: We were not going to be exploitive of the community at all. But to answer your question: Yeah, it absolutely helped. We had a saying early on: We don’t have stars in our movie; we just have heroes. After [bin Laden’s capture], I think people really started to wake up to the amazing things they’ve been doing for our country for a long time.
Waugh: Or at least Hollywood did.
That’s interesting, because we recently saw news that both a Top Gun sequel and a Navy SEALs project starring Mark Wahlberg are moving forward. I can’t believe the timing’s a coincidence. Do you think that Act of Valor has helped trigger perhaps a renewed interest in pro-military films?
McCoy: Well, we’ve been hearing so much positive feedback from audiences across the board. And what that’s telling us is that audiences want films that are patriotic, that recognize the value of a servicemen overall. So I definitely think this film is going to prove that there’s a market for pro-American films.
One of the distinguishing features of Act of Valor is its lack of CGI. Do you feel that there’s been an overabundance of CGI in recent years?
McCoy: Without question. Just for ourselves as consumers, there’s not many action films we want to watch, because they’re just CGI mash-ups. They’re all fake; they don’t respect mechanical physics at all, and I don’t know if I’m supposed to process most modern movies as animation or as live-action. I’m confused … What we’re trying to do overall is bring back the live-action film. [Act of Valor] is all in-camera, all the stunts are real, there’s no CGI in the movie, and we want to bring back that classic live-action in-camera movie.
You guys have Black Sands lined up as your next project, right?
Waugh: Yeah, we’re slowly gearing up for that. That’s with Arnold. Not a whole lot to tell you about it except that it’s a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mouse and I are directing it.
McCoy: Arnold’s a really great man, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with him.
Waugh: He created the action-hero genre, and it’s awesome that we might get the opportunity to bring him back.
Act of Valor stars Emilio Rivera, Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, and Nestor Serrano. It is now playing in theaters nationwide.
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I attended a screening of Relativity Media and Bandito Brothers action adventure Act of Valor a couple weeks ago in the movie theater on the Intrepid aircraft carrier in the harbour in Manhattan thanks to a invite from one of the executive producers. Obviously this was the perfect venue to see a film that stars real active duty Navy SEALs. Act of Valor is a powerful and uniquely authentic action film -- real Navy Seals play most of the key parts using real ammo (first time this has been done in the last 100 years in Hollywood) with real military weaponry and equipment. Even the aviators who were involved in the film as well as the personnel in submarines are all real military members and you literally feel the realism.
No need for special effects in Act of Valor when the reality is much better; the action sequences will have you pushing back in your seat like being in the front row of a awesome roller coaster ride. The best scene in the film - when the Seals ascend onto a moving ocean-going yacht and interrogate a drug dealer-terrorist makes you feel like you’re in the scene watching from two feet away -- amazing filmmaking with great intensity enhanced by the fact that the interrogator is an actual SEALs operative.
If you like action films you’ll love Act of Valor because it breaks new ground in filmmaking by virtue of its use of non-actors in key roles. Some critics may say the dramatic scenes lack emotion because more professional actors were not used but this is just not the case. This is the real deal and as such adds an emotional depth and intensity that is impossible to fake on the big screen.
Just ask anyone who attended the special screening on the Intrepid. At the conclusion of the film there was a long standing ovation and then the audience heard from many of the SEALs in person explaining why they participated and acted in the film. These guys are true American heroes and you’ll love watching them in action in Act of Valor a valiant story of mission commitment combat weaponry and most importantly valor and brotherhood. While most movies star actors who merely portray heroes on screen Act of Valor stars actual heroes showing how they lay it on the line for the freedoms that we as civilians enjoy every day. You’re going to enjoy the ride.
Earlier today, the central The Tomb role that had Arnold Schwarzenegger's name circling around it for a while was given to Sylvester Stallone. But Schwarzenegger will never be hard pressed for roles as long as he wants them. He will be starring in a film called Black Sands, which explores a Southwestern warfare between a "lone wolf" type and a crooked arms dealing organization.
Schwarzenegger will play the central hero who takes on the weapons manufacturers. Considering the star and the premise, I think we can assume that there will be very few moments in this movie that are not enrapt in gunfire, explosions, and vein-bulging. Directing are Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, who are also helming the upcoming Navy SEALs action thriller, Act of Valor. The script comes from a devoted genre writer/three time winner of the Los Angeles' Best Name of the Year Awards, Skip Woods, who has written The A-Team, Wolverine and Swordfish. He will also be writing the developing A Good Day to Die Hard.
Production on Black Sands will begin on April 1, 2012...which makes me think that this whole thing might not be real at all.
Yahoo! Movies today debuted a new trailer for the upcoming Relativity Media release Act of Valor. Directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, the film stars real-life Navy SEALS and purports to be inspired by actual SEAL missions:
Act of Valor opens February 17, 2012.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
Joel Edgerton is currently attached to play a Navy SEAL in Kathryn Bigelow's long-gestating bin Laden assassination flick. Click on the image below to view our photo gallery of the Warrior star: