20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
There are many actors who routinely give wonderful, memorable performances, but there's only one who manages to do it even when his face doesn't appear onscreen. That man is Andy Serkis, Hollywood's foremost motion capture actor, the rare talent that can bring just as much life to a Tolkien creature or a hyper-intelligent ape as he can another human being. Since the first installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy hit theaters in 2001, Serkis has been the movie industry's go-to guy for animating everything from monkeys to sailors to Gollums, and his consistently excellent performances each time kicked off a campaign to have motion capture work recognized by the Academy Awards. With Serkis set to return to the big screen (in simian form) as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on Friday, we've decided to take a look at some of the actor's most memorably mo-cap characters in order to determine which one comes out on top in the great battle for supremacy.
Caesar Films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Species: Chimpanzee Trademarks: Being an incredibly intelligent ape Special Skills: High intelligence, the ability to speak, the wisdom and power to rule over a colony of apes, proficiency in horse-riding and shooting Allies: James Franco and Frieda Pinto in Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Jason Clarke and Keri Russell in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Enemies: Draco Malfoy and Commissioner GordonGreatest Dream: A world where apes and humans can live in peace, minus cagesSecret Weapon: He’s a hyper-intelligent ape that can speak to people; he doesn’t need a secret weaponSignature Move: A barrage of fists to the head
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Captain Haddock Film: The Adventures of Tintin Species: Human Trademarks: Beard, pipe, captain’s hat, permanently grumpy expression Special Skills: A talent for holding his liquor, a colorful vocabulary, a gift for sarcasm and wisecracks, the ability to tune out chaos and revel in blissful ignorance, unfailing loyalty Allies: Tintin and Snowy Enemies: Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine Greatest Dream: To regain command of his ship, but more immediately, some more rum Secret Weapon: He’s at his best when he’s drunk, which is the polar opposite of every other person everSignature Move: He’s more of a trash-talker than a proper fighter
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
King Kong Film: Kingof course Species: Gorilla Trademarks: He’s a 25-foot-tall gorilla. That’s pretty unique. Special Skills: incredible strength, a sense of self-preservation, the ability to make audiences sympathize and even shed a tear over a monstrous simian Allies: Ann Darrow, with whom he falls in love, and Lumpy the Cook, who tells the crew to leave King Kong alone (or else)Enemies: Carl Denham, fighter planes Greatest Dream: To live happily in his jungle with Ann Secret Weapon: The willingness to sacrifice himself for the people he loves and an incredible resistance to tranquilizers (seriously, it took them forever to knock him out) Signature Move: A giant, sweeping side-swipe and roar combination
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Gollum Films: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogiesSpecies: Technically, he was once a Hobbit, but now he’s mostly a species unto himselfTrademarks: Hunched, bony body, six teeth, a lack of hair, that weird snarling noise he always makes Special Skills: Riddle solving, hunting and fishing, deboning fish, finding ways to amuse himself after spending centuries in the same cave Allies: Whichever part of himself he’s currently talking to Enemies: Anyone who wants the precious... and whichever part of himself he’s currently talking to Greatest Dream: To once again possess the precious so that they may live together in his cave until the end of their days Secret Weapon: He’ll lure you in by appearing nice, and then turn out to be straight up terrifying; also, he’s so mentally unstable and unpredictable, only half of him knows what he’s going to do at any given momentSignature Move: Gollum’s totally a biter
So Who Wins? Captain Haddock is generally too drunk to get involved in a fight, so he’s out, as is King Kong, unless his life or Ann’s life is being threatened. That leaves Caesar and Gollum left to fight it out. While Caesar is smarter and more likely to have both a carefully, thought-out strategy and an army on call, Gollum is just insane and unpredictable enough to take Caesar out. We’re going to have to go with the creature formerly known as Smeagol on this one.
Russell Crowe is coming out with a new movie in 2014 called Noah. It's about the biblical story of the flooding of the Earth and the man who shepherded every type of animal onto a giant ark that was able to weather the waters. (Sorry, spoiler alert to anyone who hasn't seen or read a Bible in their lives.) Is it going to be a great movie or will this be one of those overwrought big budget films that ultimately wind up in the cheap DVD bins in a year or so?
People who point to the Charlton Heston portrayal as Moses seem to miss the point: he at least carried some biblical gravitas. When I look at Crowe, I tend to think of an action-movie type. (Yes, I know he was fantastic in The Insider and A Beautiful Mind.) But when I see him in an ancient time setting with his flowing beard, I think of him as Maximus from Gladiator. For some reason, I could imagine a scene in Noah where he stands at the bow of the ark, with all these animals (CGI, of course) surrounding him and he bellows, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!"
The thing that may present a REALLY big problem is that they embellished on this story and that may anger a LOT of Christians, who tend to view that as ... I'm trying to think of the word. It's right on the tip of my tongue. Oh yes. Blasphemous. That's it. There's a human nemesis for Noah to contend with as well ... as if the original huge waves, tons of animals in a cramped space and wicked angels wasn't enough of a challenge for one man, they had to add this extra thing that wasn't in the original source material. Hollywood sure loves to change stuff around, even with classics. Hey, you can ask Nathaniel Hawthorne. There might not be a hugely receptive audience and depending how this is presented, there might even be protests.
One thing that gives some hope is that the movie is directed by Darren Aronofsky, he of Black Swan fame. He's an excellent director. Add Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson and the movie is suddenly in good shape acting-wise. It depends which Crowe shows up. When he puts his mind to it, he's one of the best actors on the planet.
My prediction: It may start off well in the box office due to the curiosity factor, but then word-of-mouth will be the determining factor. It may continue raking in big dollars or it might tail off horribly like Godzilla did in the late '90s. Then we'll be monitoring the DVD racks.
Who knew The Bible had so much green screen?
The new international trailer for Darren Aronofsky's Noah makes the great flood look like a proper disaster film. The film takes on the familiar Noah myth with epic styling, and dials up the destruction to 11 when Russel Crow's Noah builds a huge ark when his direct line to God informs him that there are several oceans worth of CGI'd water threatening to drown the planet.
Aronofsky looks like he's handling the incredibly bombastic imagery with a soft touch, and it seems that the film is still telling a story first while being a visual feast second. It also helps that this international trailer has a deeply onimous Japanese voice-over that our imagination and lack of Japanese language proficency assures us is probably saying sweepingly epic things about Russell Crowe's fantastic beard and the mountains of water flooding the planet.
Will wax figures ever not be creepy? You don't need to have seen Mystery of the Wax Museum or House of Wax (either the 1953 or 2005 version) to get a shiver down your spine when you walk past Madame Tussauds. And honestly, we're not sure which is worse: when a wax figure is incredibly lifelike — like Sandra Bullock's doppelganger (above), which was revealed at the Las Vegas Madame Tussauds on Thursday — or when something is a little... off.
But the realism of these wax figures poses another unnerving question: Are wax sculptors getting better? Or is Hollywood become more fake? Either way, these days it's hard to tell the difference between real people and their cold, shiny counterparts. Can you tell which of the eight "celebrities" below are real people, and which are wax figures? Scroll down for the answers.
1. Angelina Jolie
2. Taylor Swift
3. Russell Brand
4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
5. Queen Elizabeth
6. Kate Winslet
7. Lady Gaga
8. Megan Fox
Answer Key: 1) Real; 2) Real; 3) Wax; 4) Real; 5) Wax; 6) Wax; 7) Wax; 8) Real
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One of the major complaints about Superman Returns, the attempted revival of the iconic superhero back in 2006, was that it was too heavy on the emotions and light on the thrills. When that didn't work out at the box office, it was back to the drawing board for Warner Bros. Their next stab at the Superman mythos flies into theaters next summer, and it's hard to believe, but the franchise may be getting even more emotional.
Arriving on the heels of his gritty (and highly successful) take on Batman, Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan brings his realistic, morally-challenging superhero sensibilities to Man of Steel. The influence can be clearly seen in the new trailer for the film, a brooding Superman struggling with his powers and fighting for his life against forces larger than anything we've seen before. Powerful, but under the eye of Watchmen and Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder, it also delvers on the epic nature of the character. Thanks to his piercing eyes and unkempt beard, actor Henry Cavill's Superman even makes superhuman moments of soaring into the sky or walking around covered in fire look human and dire. But will it be fun?
Riding the Nolan brand may not be enough for Man of Steel in post-Avengers world, one where audiences crave goofy, colorful adventure, but if Snyder delivers on the action as well as the introspective character plot, then he could have a winner on his hands. Watch the trailer — which also gives us our first glimpses of Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, and Michael Shannon as Superman's adversary Zod — and see if this is the Superman movie you need:
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Reese Witherspoon is a mom again! The 36-year-old Mud star and her husband Jim Toth brought their son Tennessee James Toth into the world on Thursday, her rep tells People. "Reese Witherspoon and husband Jim Toth welcomed Tennessee James into their family today,” says the rep. “Both mom and baby are healthy and the entire family is thrilled.”
Even though this is Witherspoon's first child with Toth, it's not her first rodeo. Witherspoon already has daughter Ava, 13, and son Deacon, 8, from her previous marriage to Ryan Phillippe. And ever since she married Toth in March 2011, she has reportedly been open about wanting to have another child. "Right after the wedding, Reese expressed a desire to have a baby with Jim,” a source told People. “Reese has been very open with her kids about her plans to expand the family.”
At first, Witherspoon kept mum about her pregnancy, but in June she finally spoke about her changing body. "Frankly, I'm feeling very round," she said. But now that the Tennessee is here, maybe Witherspoon will work on getting her pre-baby body back. And besides a newborn, Witherspoon also has her hands full with the upcoming productions of four movies: Wish List, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, Big Eyes, and Devil's Knot.
Congrats to Witherspoon on her growing family. Make sure to check out our celebrity baby map below.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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The Hollywood actor got lost during an outing with a friend off the coast of New York's Long Island and was forced to yell for help after coming ashore nearly 10 miles (16 kilometres) away from their launch point.
Crowe and his companion were picked up by a Coast Guard boat and transported back to safety.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Robert Swieciki, who was among the rescue team, has now revealed he had no idea who the stranded day-tripper was, as Crowe is currently sporting short hair and a bushy beard for his role in new biblical epic Noah.
Swieciki tells the New York Post, "When we tied up in Huntington, one of the guys that was on the back of the boat told me it was Russell Crowe - I didn't believe him... I love the movie Gladiator. He (Crowe) probably isn't happy that everyone knows he got stranded, especially since he was in (seafaring movie) Master And Commander."
The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star, who split from wife Katy Perry late last year (11), served as master of ceremonies for the Buddhist icon's speech for thousands of young people at the Manchester Evening News Arena.
Brand, who has struggled with drug issues in the past, confessed to the crowd he found his involvement with the event surreal, and quipped, "Some of you might be surprised to see me here. Going from junkie to Shagger of the Year... three times... to now introducing the Dalai Lama. It has been an interesting journey."
The spiritual leader praised Brand during the event, declaring: "Some people told me before to listen to this strange person's explanations. I was surprised but I think your openness is wonderful."
The Dalai Lama also showed his affection for the funnyman by playfully pulling his beard, with Brand saying, "Not really a lot I can do in a situation like this. I just have to go with it."