Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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A gravestone to commemorate Bryan Cranston's fictional character on Breaking Bad has been removed from a cemetery in New Mexico following complaints from grieving families. More than 200 devoted fans of the show held a faux memorial for Walter White, the chemistry teacher-turned-drug manufacturer played by Cranston, in Albuquerque, where the show is set, over the weekend (19Oct13).
The move sparked outrage from relatives of loved ones buried at the Sunset Memorial Park over fears the site would become a tourist attraction, and a petition against the headstone pulled in more than 1,000 signatures.
The marker will now be erected outside local restaurant Vernon's Steakhouse, whose owners helped organise the fake funeral.
The eaterie's boss Michael Baird says, "It was never our intention to disrespect those who are buried at Sunset Memorial Park or cause pain to their families. We created the Walter White Funeral and Final Amends as a way to have a positive impact on the community and help those who are negatively impacted by the terrible effects of drug addiction and homelessness.
"We greatly apologise to anyone who was offended, and want to ensure that the focus remains on the amazing work that Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless does in our community."
The memorial raised $17,000 (£11,300) for Healthcare for the Homeless, which helps people afflicted by drug addiction.
James Mcavoy came close to missing out on his highly-acclaimed role in Filth due to his clean-cut looks. The X-Men star has received rave reviews for his turn as corrupt, cocaine-snorting cop Bruce Robertson in the big screen adaptation of Irvine Welsh's stomach-churning novel.
But director Jon S. Baird admits he was unsure how the clean-cut Scot would bring the role to life, until he met up with McAvoy, who showed he had a deep understanding of the bipolar character's mental health issues.
The filmmaker tells the BBC, "He looked very young this particular day. But 20 minutes after talking to him, he had morphed into this middle-aged, grizzled, alcoholic divorcee. It was pretty mad.
"He started talking about his experience with mental illness, and that's the thing that bonded us. He had experience of that with somebody he grew up with.
"As soon as I knew he understood that, it was game over. It was like, 'He is the guy'. We offered him the part the same day."
Actor/singer David Soul agreed to perform a version of his hit track Silver Lady in new movie Filth after heading out on a wild drinking session with director Jon S. Baird. The Starsky and Hutch star topped the charts in the U.K. in 1977 with the song, and Scottish author Irvine Welsh is a big fan of the track, as well as Soul's other major hit, Don't Give Up On Us.
He and Baird wanted Soul to appear in the movie version of Welsh's book to perform one of the songs, and the filmmaker managed to convince the veteran actor during a boozy night out.
Welsh tells NME magazine, "I met David a while back. Silver Lady and Don't Give Up On Us are two of my karaoke classics. I put Jon in touch with David and they got on like a house on fire. They went off on the p**s (a drinking session) together. David was keen to get involved and he did it with such panache."
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt struggled to adopt a Scottish accent for her role in new movie Filth. Froggatt won the role of vulnerable widow Mary opposite James McAvoy's corrupt Scottish policeman in the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh's book.
Director Jon Baird gave Froggatt the choice of portraying Mary as either English or Scottish and she opted for the latter - but she was soon left ruing her decision when she tried out the accent in front of her Scottish castmates.
She tells British newspaper the Daily Mail, "I said, 'Well, I'd really like to play her Scottish.' So the first day of rehearsals I was really nervous. I apologised to James and Jon - I said, 'This is really bad, but I'm going to do it and I'm really scared in front of you two.' They were both so sweet to me. I practised a lot - I was constantly talking in a Scottish accent at home and on set."
Writer Irvine Welsh shot a cameo in new movie Filth - but it ended up on the cutting room floor. The film, which is based on the Scottish author's novel about a corrupt policeman, was due to include a short scene featuring Welsh as a journalist, but it was dropped from the final edit.
He says, "It was cut, which (director) Jon (Baird) promised he'd never do."
Welsh previously made a cameo as a drug dealer in 1996 movie Trainspotting, which was based on his book of the same name.
Scottish actor James Mcavoy relished preparing for his role in new movie Filth as it meant he was able to over-indulge in his favourite fattening snack - his grandmother's bacon sandwiches. The Wanted actor has been cast as overweight, sleazy policeman Bruce Robertson in the film based, on Irvine Welsh's 1998 novel of the same name, and he threw himself into a programme of eating unhealthy foods and shunning exercise to gain weight for the shoot.
Director Jon S. Baird tells Britain's Daily Record, "James is normally a very healthy guy but he purposefully slackened off the diet and fitness to beef up a bit. We didn't want his character to be a massive fat guy, but he had to look pasty and untoned (sic) and James knew exactly how to go about that.
"While we were in pre-production, I came up to his grandmother's house... and watched him eat four bacon sandwiches. Then he looked at me and said, 'I'm going for it you know.'"
James Mcavoy's new movie Filth was almost mothballed as executives failed to rase enough funds - until Sting's producer wife Trudie Styler stepped in. The Wanted actor stars as sleazy police officer Bruce Robertson in the big screen adaptation of Irvine Welsh's 1998 novel of the same name but the film nearly fell at the first hurdle as the production was still $1.05 million (£700,000) short of its budget when shooting was about to start.
Director Jon S. Baird even poured his own money into the project but he and his colleagues were still forced to spend their festive holidays desperately ringing around to secure the final funds, and they almost gave up hope until Styler stumped up the rest of the cash.
He tells Britain's Daily Record, "That was a tough Christmas. I thought I'd lost all my money and we were bashing phones on Christmas Day (25Dec12) and Boxing Day (26Dec12), trying to save our movie. (But Styler) saved the day."
In return for her movie-saving funds, Baird even cast Styler in a small role in the film - as a madam in a Hamburg, Germany brothel which McAvoy's character visits.
James McAvoy has traded in Professor Xavier's wheelchair for sex, drugs, booze, and pretty much anything else you can think of in the new (and definitely NSFW) trailer for Filth. The film is based on Irvine Welsh's novel of the same name, and it gives Welsh fans something to look forward to while waiting for Danny Boyle's Trainspotting sequel to be made.
McAvoy stars in the film as Bruce Robertson, a sex-obsessed, cocaine-addicted, bigoted Scottish police officer who joins the force because he wants to be a part of police oppression. The film also stars Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, and will be directed by Jon S. Baird. The score will be done by Clint Mansell, who scored Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, among many others.
This is not the James McAvoy everyone fell in love with when he played that charming faun, Mr. Tumnus. This is a sick, deranged, perverted James McAvoy, and we can't wait to see him in Filth.
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Rocker Dan Baird and his band Homemade Sin have lost $13,950 (£9,000) in a border patrol scam in Switzerland. Former The Georgia Satellites star Baird was travelling through Europe with his band when they were reportedly stopped by guards, who told the rockers they had broken the law by bringing their van into the country, since it was considered to be a commercial vehicle.
His tour manager Mick Brown tells Classic Rock Magazine, "We pulled up at our hotel, and all hell broke loose - vehicles screeched around us, spotlights blinded us and the Swiss Border Patrol were pointing guns at us. (We were) taken back to the border and subjected to a four-hour search.
"They took out all our gear and merch (merchandise) then had their photos taken with it, a bit like American police used to do with dead gangsters during the Depression. Then they hit us with the bombshell. Our vehicle and its entire contents were impounded and we had 12 hours to raise £9,000 or everything would be auctioned. They showed us an eBay ad already featuring our vehicle."
Baird and his bandmates paid the hefty sum so they wouldn't be forced to cancel their tour, but they later discovered the whole thing was a fraudulent scheme: "Our van didn't fit into the category of a commercial vehicle in the first place. So the whole stop, search and everything that followed was illegal."
Homemade Sin are releasing a new live DVD, Viva Nashvegas, to help offset their losses. Brown adds, "We would ask that anyone who loves rock 'n' roll thinks about either buying the DVD or making a donation. This time around it was us who got caught out - but it could easily have been your favourite band."