Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel
On the off chance that you’ve managed to avoid the Internet, television, newspapers or other people for the last few months – in which case, welcome back! That one Iggy Azalea song is still a thing and Legolas and the Biebs are feuding now – allow us to remind you that Guardians of the Galaxy opens today. Although, chances are even the most remote parts of the world are still abuzz at the chance to see Andy Dwyer, Neytiri, and the Vin Diesel-tree save the universe. As with every major and minor cultural event, Twitter is full of people sharing their excitement, opinions, criticisms and photos of the snacks they got at the concession stand. And even though celebrities might have cooler jobs and better hair than the rest of us, they too are unable to resist the allure of the latest Marvel movie, or the joy of tweeting about it.
Some of them couldn't contain their excitement (or their cosplay costumes):
So excited for Guardians of The Galaxy! Gonna see it dressed as my favorite character! #GOTG pic.twitter.com/MTWNCBTVRv
— Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) August 1, 2014
A few couldn't resist bragging about being into Guardians of the Galaxy before it was cool:
I have been excited for #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy since @prattprattpratt had a gut and @KarenGillan2 had long hair! CAN'T WAIT @JamesGunn!!!
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) July 30, 2014
There were a handful of concise reviews:
Guardians of the Galaxy is the best one.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) August 1, 2014
And discussions about who really stole the show:
I loved GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. It's funny and has heart but the big revelation was how great @DaveBautista is as Drax.
— Gerry Duggan (@GerryDuggan) August 1, 2014
But mostly, people just wanted to share a few general observations about the film:
Of all the “blockbuster summer movies” so far this summer the only one people seem to be talking about is Guardians of the Galaxy
— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) August 1, 2014
Just becuase you're in show business, that doesn't mean you won't fall in love with Chris Pratt:
The Year of Chris Pratt begins...now. #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy
— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) July 31, 2014
Although he might have some competition in the celebrity friend/nerd cred department:
Let’s talk for a second about @leepace in #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy. Flawless. That is all. Go follow him. Before everyone else does.
— Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion) July 29, 2014
And there was absolutely nothing that could potentially cause people to overreact and start reports of a feud. Nothing at all.
Good luck to Mr @JamesGunn this weekend. Truly one of the good guys x
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) August 1, 2014
You can catch Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters everywhere to judge it for yourself. And then tweet about it, of course.
If you’ve even given the Internet a cursory glance over the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Chris Pratt is having a moment right now. Thanks to a starring role in Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the biggest movies of the year, even people who’ve never seen an episode of Parks and Recreation or Everwood are being clued into his goofy, lovable charms. But playing Peter Quill is bound to have more long-term effects on Pratt’s career than simply giving him a venue to showcase his French-braiding skills – the question that remains is whether these will be positive effects.
Obviously, getting to play a superhero in a Marvel film is going to be amazing for any actor. They’re easily the biggest, most-exciting films of the year; they guarantee you plenty of press attention and new fans, and open you up to countless new opportunities and projects. But what about the times Pratt won’t be protecting the galaxy? Actors who star in superhero and sci-fi franchises often struggle to break out of the shadow of their famous characters. Leonard Nimoy and George Takei will always be Spock and Sulu, no matter what other projects they pursue; despite the beard, Mark Hamill is still known as Luke Skywalker; even Michael Keaton has yet to surpass his Batman fame. Once you become recognized for a single, beloved character, it’s hard for fans to see you any other way, which could result in Pratt being stuck as Star-Lord for the rest of his career.
Despite being part of one of the most iconic franchises of all time, only Harrison Ford was really able to break away from his Star Wars character, which he did by jumping straight into the Indiana Jones series. Pratt is taking a somewhat similar path, following up Guardians of the Galaxy with Jurassic World, which should help keep him in people’s minds as something other than Star-Lord. Still, from what we’ve heard, Pratt’s character Owen seems to be similarly confident and wise-cracking, which could result in him being typecast as the good-looking jokester. Considering the fact that Pratt only just stopped being typecast as the “chubby, dumb best friend,” that’s not necessarily a step forward, even if it does guarantee him more leading roles. And since there are so many more actors in Hollywood who specialize in those kinds of roles, it means that Pratt will face a lot more competition for parts.
Becoming known solely as Star-Lord could also make it harder for Pratt to play the kind of supporting character roles that he’s done well with lately, like the underdog baseball player in Moneyball and the good-hearted but doofy colleague in Her. Now that he’s considered a leading man, he might not be considered for those roles anymore. Even if he is, it could be hard for audiences to see him as anything else, which could pull them out of the film. Sure, Star-Lord’s a nice guy and all, but who would actually believe that he’s working at a company that writes love letters?
Look at some of Pratt’s superhero contemporaries: it doesn’t matter what film Robert Downey Jr.’s in, he’s most likely playing the handsome jerk. Scarlett Johansson is almost always the tough girl. And Jeremy Renner is... constantly overlooked. It would be very easy for Pratt to get typecast as the rule-breaking wisecracker. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be great at those parts – he obviously plays them well – but it does put him in a box.
However, Pratt does have an extensive background in television, which gives him an advantage over some of his fellow Marvel heroes. Andy Dwyer and Peter Quill have a fair amount of similarities, but where one is a schlubby slacker, the other is an adventurous go-getter. And both are different still from Bright Abbott, the obnoxious football player Pratt played on Everwood. He’s already proved that he has the range to handle a variety of characters, and now that people are finally paying attention to him, that should help open him up to a different slate of roles and opportunities. Pratt’s got the talent and the charm to play almost anything, as his extensive sitcom past proves, so to keep him locked into one type of character for the rest of his career would be disappointing.
The wishes of theater nerds everywhere were granted Thursday when they were finally able to get their first look at the long-awaited, highly-anticipated film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Well, at least a few of their wishes were granted. While the clip introduces all of the major characters, gives us a glimpse at the spooky, magical atmosphere and shows off what Meryl Streep would look like as a fairy tale witch, there was one key element missing from the teaser: there was absolutely no singing. Considering that this is an adaptation of one of the most iconic musicals of all time, that’s a bit of a problem.
There was no doubt that Into the Woods would turn out to be a grand, visually stunning affair. After all, this is a Disney production, and fairy tales are their specialty. Even those who were worried that the studio wouldn’t be able to handle the darker elements of the play were comforted by the dragons, thorns and cursed castles that made up the Maleficent set. But the one thing that fans were concerned about is whether the cast would be able to handle the demands of Sondheim’s difficult score.
Sure, we know that Daniel Huttlestone knows his way around a classical theater score, and that Anna Kendrick and James Corden have an impressive set of pipes on them, but there are still plenty of cast members whose lack of musical theater pedigree makes us a bit nervous. Streep might be the greatest actor of her generation, but even she had difficulty with the songs in Mamma Mia, and those are pop songs. Johnny Depp might be creepy enough to play the big bad wolf, but his last stab at a Sondheim musical didn’t fare so well. Giving fans a look at some of the musical performances in the film would be the best way to assure fans of the musical that Into the Woods is in good hands, but avoiding the score completely has just done the opposite.
Walt Disney Studios
We know it’s only a teaser, but not featuring any singing whatsoever doesn’t seem like a good omen. It feels almost as if the producers are deliberately trying to hide something from moviegoers, whether it’s that the soundtrack isn’t done being mastered, or that some of the performances aren’t up to snuff, or even the fact that Into the Woods is a musical in the first place. If theater nerds really don’t have anything to worry about, why not pop a line or two into the trailer? We know what creepy fairy tale forests look like; that’s not why we’re interested in seeing Into the Woods.
Of course, we might just be getting all worked up over nothing. Perhaps the producers felt it was better not to try and cram songs into a two-minute space, or they want to get people curious about the film before they can properly showcase all of the talent they’ve got. Or maybe they’re just trying to grab the attention of the people who loved Maleficent but might not be interested in a musical otherwise. But it’s hard not to be a little nervous about the way such a difficult production will turn out if so much is still being kept under wraps.
However, we are willing to be a little less critical if the next trailer actually features Stephen Sondheim’s name in it somewhere. Into the Woods opens – hopefully with a bit more singing – on Christmas Day.
For all that the Internet has talked about Guardians of the Galaxy and Boyhood and each of the movies that has, at some point in the past few months, been dubbed the “most anticipated film of the year,” there really only is one film that earns the title in earnest: Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. It’s his first film since wrapping up the Batman trilogy, Matthew McConaughey’s first film since winning an Oscar, and it has a plot that’s more tightly guarded than whatever’s happening on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII. There’s no way that any other film released in 2014 can hold a candle to Interstellar.
Look, it doesn’t really matter what we write here, because we both know that you’re too busy watching the trailer to find out what Nolan pictures when he imagines outer space to actually care what the article says. We could try and give you’re a brief overview of the plot (Earth has run out of resources and the only solution to solving the crisis is to send McConaughey up into space); we could try and posit some theories about who Jessica Chastain is playing (although, let’s be real, there’s only one logical option); we could talk a bit about the first glimpse we’ve gotten at McConaughey’s fellow astronauts (all very good looking, all very philosophical); we could even break down the poetry that Michael Caine recites in voice over to look for clues (it’s Dylan Thomas, for what it’s worth), but it doesn’t really matter.
That’s the thing about being the hands-down most anticipated film of the year: it doesn’t matter what anyone has to say about it, as long as it’s exciting. And while the first teaser trailer was a bit underwhelming sepia-toned for all the hype that Interstellar has received, this one delivers on all fronts. It’s explosive, beautifully-shot, packed with emotion and effects and just enough plot details to keep things intriguing without giving everything away. It’s epic. It’s enticing. It made us feel things.
But most importantly, it just makes you want to see the movie even more. So, sorry Richard Linklater and Chris Pratt – this year has really just been a countdown to Interstellar. Only four more months to go until November 4.
Getty Images/Walt Disney, RKO Radio Pictures
Snarky live-tweeters, start preparing your best one-liners: NBC's got another live musical coming to your teleivison screens, and the casting process for Peter Pan Live! has finally begun. This time around, though, it will be Allison Williams who will endure the brunt of the Internet's sarcasm, as THR announced this morning that the Girls star is set to take on the title role. Williams, whose talent for singing has become the premise for many an episode of the hit HBO show, will join Christopher Walken, who has already been cast as Captain Hook in what will likely be the strangest cast ever assembled.
Still, as Twitter started pitching Girls and Peter Pan mashups and YouTube started re-cutting Marnie's music video to fit in scenes of the classic film, we couldn't help but think it was slightly unfair that Williams was the only cast member getting the Disney treatment. After all, doesn't everyone dream about being a princess or fighting pirates or hanging out with enchanted silverware? Shouldn't Lena Dunham and Co. get the chance to experience some magic as well? In an attempt to spread the happiness and pixie dust around, we've matched each member of the Girls cast with their Disney counterpart, including a slightly more fitting option for Williams, should everything go perfectly on December 4.
Jemima Kirke: Alice, Alice in Wonderland Alice is by far the dreamiest Disney character, which makes her the perfect fit for Girls’ resident free-spirit. Like Alice, Kirke is probably thinking about whatever avant-garde, slightly-odd-but-mostly-cool things she has going on at the moment instead of paying attention to whatever you’re saying, she probably hangs out with all kinds of edgy, eccentric people, and she’s probably brave and plucky enough to find her way through any surreal situation she finds herself in. Although, if we’re being honest, her style is probably much closer to the Mad Hatter than Alice’s boring dress and apron combo.
Allison Williams: Marie, The Artistocats Allison Williams is the prim and proper member of the Girls cast, the girly, impeccably put together one, so no offense to Peter Pan, but if she were any Disney character, she would most likely be the feminine, feisty Marie from The Aristocats. Sure, they can both have divisive personalities, but neither one is the type to back down from a challenge, and besides, there’s nobody out there with better manners, hair or fashion sense. Just imagine Williams in a big pink bow – it fits her personality perfectly, doesn’t it?
Zosia Mamet: Piglet, Winnie the Pooh While Zosia Mamet isn’t quite as neurotic or anxious as Shoshanna, she’s still the perfect match for Pooh Bear’s best friend. Both are the tiniest ones in their group of friends, both have a tendency to talk quickly and ramble on during conversations, and both seem like they’re perpetually worried about something they probably have no control over. Most importantly, though, both seem like they’d be happiest curled up with a big cup of tea and a good book.
Getty Images/Buena Vista Pictures
Lena Dunham: Belle, Beauty and the Beast The first thing we learn about Belle is that she’s not like anyone else in her village, and everyone thinks she’s weird because of it. The first thing we learned about Lena Dunham when Girls premiered in 2012 was that she was going to be unlike anyone else on TV, and most people thought she was weird because of it. Plus, both have a love of literature – Belle reads constantly and Dunham has a book coming out soon – and they both hang out with an eccentric cast of characters. Belle’s friends just happen to be sentient household items.
Adam Driver: Roger, 101 Dalmatians Adam Driver is probably the least like his character on Girls, which makes him difficult to match up to a Disney character. Still, in the end, there’s one clear winner among all of the Princes and talking animals: Roger, the charming, artistic, slightly goofy hero from 101 Dalmatians. Like Roger, Driver is all arms and legs, towering over everyone else around him, both are incredibly dedicated to their work, and both have partners (off-screen, in Driver’s case) that describe them as brilliant. And really, what is “Please Mr. Kennedy” if not the “Cruella De Vil” of its time?
Alex Karpovsky: Milo, Atlantis: The Lost Empire Perhaps the most underrated member of the Girls cast, Alex Karpovsky often gets overlooked in favor of his more attention-grabbing or taller cast members. So it only seemed appropriate to match him with someone equally underrated, from a likewise-underrated film: Milo, the protagonist of Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Both are slightly nerdy, both are big-hearted, both are intelligent and both are generally forgotten in conversations about HBO or Disney. It’s okay, guys, we appreciate you.
Since putting down his wand and hanging up his glasses three years ago, Daniel Radcliffe has done his best to leave Harry Potter behind him by taking a wide variety of roles in both film and theater. Of course, like Harrison Ford and Elijah Wood before him, he might always be best known for his most famous franchise role, but just because Harry is the most famous, that doesn't mean it will be the only career-defining performance that Radcliffe gives. In fact, two of his upcoming films — What If and Horns — might just be two of the most important projects that Radcliffe releases. They could be the same kind of career-shaping roles as Harry himself, for on specific reason: they're the complete opposite of the Boy Who Lived.
With What If arriving in theaters this August and Horns followng shortly behind for Halloween, we could be on the precipice of a new age of Radcliffe's career; we could be seeing a brand new side of him by Christmas. But which film will have the bigger impact on Radcliffe's future filmography? Which one promises to bring a new role as life-changing as Harry Potter? We've broken them both down in order to find out:
What If The Role: Wallace, a normal guy who becomes infatuated with Chantry (Zoe Kazan), only to find out that she’s already in a relationship. The two decide to ignore their attraction to each other and pursue a friendship instead. What’s Risky: Firstly, it’s the first normal, modern person that Radcliffe has played onscreen. The awkward, sarcastic Wallace is about as far from the Wizarding World as one could possibly get. More importantly, though, it’s Radcliffe’s first romantic comedy – his first comedy at all, really – and the success of the film hinges on two things: his ability to be charming and lovable and his ability to be funny. He has showcased his comedic chops during his SNL hosting gig, but he still has yet to prove that he can carry a comedy on his own. What If relies on him winning over both Kazan and the audience. What’s Not: From what we’ve seen in the trailer, Wallace isn’t actually all that different from Radcliffe himself. They’re both quick-talking, witty guys who can poke fun at themselves and look ridiculous standing next to Adam Driver. It probably won’t be too hard for an audience to accept Radcliffe as a goofy, charming leading man, since that’s exactly who they’re used to seeing pop up in interviews and on talk shows.
Horns The Role: Ig Perrish, who is accused of raping and killing his girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple), and wakes up one morning with demon-like horns growing out of his head. Since the horns give him powers of persuasion and cause people to confess their darkest secrets, he decides to use them to find the real killer. What’s Risky: Harry Potter, J. Pierpont Finch, even Wallace – Radcliffe always plays the hero. We’re comfortable with this, we like him as the reliable good guy who’s going to come out on top; but Ig Perrish is very much an anti-hero. In fact, he might actually be the villain of the film, and it’s a much darker, more complex role than anything Radcliffe has attempted on screen before. There’s a good chance that audiences won’t accept him as such a twisted, unlikable character, even if Ig does turn out to be the good guy at the end. What’s Not: The character might be completely different, but the fantasy setting and supernatural elements are familiar to Harry Potter fans who are used to seeing him battle all kinds of mythical forces. Horns might be a lot darker than that franchise, but the magic should be enough to entice moviegoers who still haven’t gotten enough of the Boy Who Lived. Plus, his first post-Potter film, The Woman in Black, was also a horror film, so audiences are already familiar with Radcliffe as a horror star.
Which One Would Have a Bigger Impact? It’s a tight race, since both films have something risky and something safe about them, but ultimately, we think What If has the bigger power to shape Radcliffe’s career. If the film does well, it opens him up to more comedic opportunities, and proves that he can carry a film even when he’s not hunting Horcuxes or battling evil. It also would establish Radcliffe as a romantic lead, and though his legions of loyal fans might disagree, it would be the first time that most audiences would see him in a more swoon-worthy light. Horns might let him play the bad guy, but in the end, it’s not as much of a change of pace for Radcliffe as What If would be.
Getty Images/Stuart C. Wilson
Chris Pratt might be best known as the dumb, goofy, accident-prone Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation, but pratfalls and ad-libs aren’t the only skills he possesses as an actor. You see, Pratt has a very specific gift. It’s an ability that only a few, rare souls in Hollywood have, though all of them secretly crave: he has the power to earn his films a Best Picture Academy Award nomination simply by appearing in them.
Okay, so he doesn’t have the magic touch with all of his films – although, really, did anyone think that What’s Your Number? would ever come anywhere near the Oscar conversation? – but for three consecutive years, Pratt has appeared in a Best Picture nominee. Shortly after popping up in a prestigious film, that film inevitably lands on the Academy’s list. In fact, Pratt actually has a better Best Picture record than Meryl Streep, who hasn't appeared in a film nominated for the top prize since 2002.
But for those who aren’t ready to bombard Pratt with scripts in the hopes of getting an Oscar nomination, let’s examine this phenomenon bit. It all began back in 2011, when Pratt won the role of Scott Hatteberg in Moneyball, and proved that he could do more than just make people laugh by running into things. Sure, Jonah Hill got most of the praise (and the Best Supporting Actor nod), but reviews everywhere made a note of Pratt’s performance and ability to play against type, which was likely the extra push the Academy needed to name it one of the best movies of the year. You could argue that Brad Pitt might have had a lot more to do with it, but did Brad Pitt lose 30 pounds? No he did not. And what does the Academy love more than drastic weight loss? Absolutely nothing.
Then, he followed that up by playing a NAVY Seal in Zero Dark Thirty and transformed his chubby, slouchy Andy Dwyer-physique into the ripped, toned body befitting of one of the most elite soldiers in the world. (You’ve probably seen the picture, it’s been shown off in every interview Pratt’s done in the last three years.) His character might not have been the most prominent, but he was the one that required the biggest transformation, and as we’ve previously established, the Oscars love to award dramatic physical changes. “But wait,” you’re probably saying, “just dropping a ton of weight and gaining an impressive set of abs isn’t enough to guarantee a nomination.” You would be right, except that his ZDT character Justin is as far from the dumb but lovable good guy as Pratt has gotten over the years. If the McConaissance proved anything, it’s that the only thing the Oscars love to reward more than weight loss is a comedic actor’s ability to completely change pace and play a dramatic role. Add that to the fact that both Jessica Chastain and Katheryn Bigelow were familiar faces and that it’s a political drama about war, and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed contender.
And then, of course, there’s Her. Unlike Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty, Pratt didn’t need to do anything drastic to prepare for the role of Paul... although we’re sure the stylish moustache helped. All he needed to do was turn on the easygoing, laid-back charm that has become his signature and adjust it for a more serious film. Think back to when you first watched Her, and the sheer delight you felt when Theodore revealed that he was dating an OS, and Paul immediately decided to invite them to Catalina. Most of the joy you probably experienced while watching that movie likely came from Paul’s effortless acceptance of his friend’s girlfriend and his desire to spread happiness wherever he went. Look, the love story is nice and all, but without that spark of pure, unadulterated joy, that movie would not have been nearly as effective.
Which leads us to 2014, and the two films that Pratt has starred in this year. The most obvious, of course, is Guardians of the Galaxy, which is likely going to certify its lead as the talented, goofy, well-meaning movie star that it was obvious he could be the instant Bert Macklin appeared on our screens. Pratt’s ability to guarantee a Best Picture nomination as a leading man is still without scientific backing, but if we’re honest, there is one other film that might be better suited to the nomination this year: The Lego Movie.
It’s got the drastic physical transformation that Pratt usually makes for his Oscar-nominated films. Yes, he’s transformed into a Lego person, but it’s still very different from what he looks like normally. It’s got critical acclaim, humor, drama, an underlying message about individuality, creative expression and the corrupting nature of big business, and an appearance from Morgan Freeman. But most importantly, it has Pratt, playing a lovable, slightly dim good guy who just so happens to have a lot more lurking underneath the surface. It was practically designed to appeal to the Academy, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see The Lego Movie on the list of nominees come Oscar season.
Even if it doesn’t get a nod, don’t be surprised if Pratt starts becoming as much of a fixture on the awards circuit as Streep herself. After all, he does seem to have the better luck with these things.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
There are a lot of people in Hollywood who are considered sci-fi icons – George Takei, Harrison Ford, Lynda Carter – but when it comes to current sci-fi and superhero blockbusters, there’s one woman who reigns above them all: Zoe Saldana. Friday’s Guardians of the Galaxy will mark her third starring role in a major sci-fi franchise, and she’s effortlessly made the jump from one iconic character to another, earning fans and rave reviews every time. But when you think Star Trek or Avatar or even Guardians of the Galaxy, her face likely isn’t the first one that pops into your head. For some reason, Saldana hasn’t quite been able to make the jump from blockbusters to international superstar.
Major superhero and sci-fi blockbusters have a history of turning unknown or underrated actors into A-list stars. Henry Cavill was just “that guy from that thing” before he became Superman. Tom Hiddleston went from a theater darling to making women everywhere scream their heads off thanks to The Avengers. Even Sam Worthington was omnipresent for a solid year or so after Avatar was released. And yet Saldana is still best known as the “blue girl from Avatar” or “the one woman in the new Star Trek films” despite having three times as many franchises under her belt. It could be argued that Cavill and Hiddleston have a background in more prestigious projects, which has helped them become more recognizable. But Saldana also has plenty of impressive films under her belt, including collaborations with directors like Steven Spielberg, Neil LaBute, and Guillame Canet. She’s even starring in a biopic about Nina Simone, which is the kind of cinematic catnip that neither the Oscars nor audiences can resist.
What, then, is keeping Saldana from enjoying the kind of fame that other franchise stars have? Do audiences have trouble recognizing her thanks to the various CGI and full-bodied makeups that have turned her blue, green, and everything in between? Is it because she’s a member of an ensemble cast in Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy, the two films where her face hasn’t been digitally altered? Is it just because she’s not playing the sullen, broody one with daddy issues?
It’s certainly not due to lack of talent, as Saldana has always given compelling, complex performances, even in her smallest roles – remember Crossroads? She was by far the best thing about that movie – and often chooses characters that are tough and complicated. Neytiri and Uhura are interesting, strong, sometimes difficult women with a great deal of depth to them. However, despite the attention all of those characters have gotten, it still pales in comparison to the fan bases that their male counterparts have received, which has likely contributed to the smaller nature of Saldana’s general fan base.
Still, it’s likely that Gamora could be the key to launching Saldana into superstardom, or, at the very least, to being more than just “the blue one.” Though both Star Trek and Avatar were incredibly successful, Marvel’s films are currently the biggest, most attention-grabbing franchises in theaters thanks to the resurgence of superhero films and the excitement surrounding them. She’s already getting more attention and press for Gamora than she did for Neytiri or Uhura, which is probably due to the fact that Gamora is a more prominent lead than the other two. Yes, Neytiri is the only Na’vi anyone can name, but Saldana herself was overshadowed by more familiar names like Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez. The biggest name in the Guardians cast, by contrast, is Bradley Cooper, who is only doing voiceover work in the film.
The fact that she’s already starred in two other major franchises should also help Gamora become Saldana’s biggest role yet. She’s already familiar to causal moviegoers, even if they still can’t quite place her name. She’s also established herself as a fashion darling, which means that she’s likely to have graced the cover of many high-selling magazines, which is another important step towards helping her move onto the A-list. And since everyone loves a celebrity baby, she’s likely to get even more press over the course of the next few months, which will help keep her in the public’s consciousness.
Her upcoming film Nina could also be a major factor. Saldana’s always been able to balance action-heavy blockbusters with serious, quiet dramas, but she’s yet to properly breakthrough in the latter. A biopic of a major icon could be exactly the kind of films she needs to gain some awards attention, and all of the promotion that Oscar season entails would definitely encourage more people to pay attention to her. However, thus far, the film has been plagued by filming delays on controversy, so if the final product isn’t exceptional, it might do more harm than good.
Of course, if Guardians of the Galaxy does even half as well as some of its predecessors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it might just be enough to balance out any possible mis-steps, and ensure that Saldana finally gets the kind of attention that she deserves. After all, Scarlett Johansson can't play every female superhero out there.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
If you've spent any time on the Internet, watching TV or, let's face it, just ventured out of your house in the past few months, you're probably aware of a little movie called Guardians of the Galaxy, which has quickly become one of the summer's most anticipated films. In fact, you've probably already got plans to go see it when it hits theaters on Friday, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have any idea what exactly you're signing up for. After all, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel's lesser-known titles, the kind that only hardcore comics nerds knew about before the studio announced plans to turn them into a blockbuster. But don't worry: you still have plenty of time to learn everything you need to know about this merry band of misfits before your Friday night showing. In fact, we've put together this handy guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy with all of the questions you might have been too nervous to ask so that you'll be able to hit the theater knowing Groot from Gamora and why, exactly, this "bunch of a-holes" have been entrusted with keeping the universe safe.
So, from what I understand, the Guardians of the Galaxy are basically just the Avengers in Space. Yes and no. They are a team of universe-saving superheroes like the Avengers, but they’re still pretty different.
Really? How? Well, for one thing, they weren’t put together by S.H.I.E.LD.; they met up in prison.
So they’re criminals. Yep. But they’re trying to do some good by saving the galaxy, so they’re not the bad guys, really.
Well, if S.H.I.E.L.D.’s not in this, how about Iron Man? No, sorry. These movies are tangentially connected to The Avengers, but none of those characters will appear in this film.
How are they connected?Remember Benicio del Toro's brief appearance at the end of Thor: The Dark World?
Vaguely.That's the connection. He has a significant role in this movie.
So does that mean Thor is in Guardians of the Galaxy?No.
How about Captain America?Dude, no.
So if we don’t have Iron Man, who is going to be the good looking, wise-cracking leader? He goes by the name of Star Lord, although he’s the only person who actually calls himself that. His real name is Peter Quill.
And who is Peter Quill? He’s a half-alien half-human who was kidnapped from earth as a child and was raised by a gang of thieves and smugglers. He’s also a pretty impressive pilot.
Who’s playing him in the movie? Chris Pratt.
Wait, we’re supposed to believe that Andy Dwyer is going to save the universe? Yeah. Isn’t it awesome?
I guess. Who else is on this team? Their names are Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon, and Groot.
Okay, let’s start with Gamora. Tell me about her. She was adopted as an orphan by Thanos and—
Wait, who’s Thanos? Thanos is the murderous super villain bent on wreaking havoc and destruction. He’s determined to get the Infinity Gauntlet which has the ability to destroy a star. He’s basically the big bad in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe right now, Avengers films included.
And he’s going to be in this? Yes, he’ll be making an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, and he’ll be played by Josh Brolin. You might recognize him as the purple dude in the credits of the first Avengers movie.
Okay, keep going about Gamora.So she was adopted by Thanos raised to be his personal assassin, and became one of the most feared fighters in the universe. But eventually, she turned against Thanos and decided to try and make amends for her past.
Okay, and who’s playing Gamora? Zoe Saldana.
Even though she’s also in Avatar and Star Trek? Yep. She’s the queen of sci-fi franchises.
Who’s next? Drax the Destroyer? Yes. Drax was originally a human named Arthur Douglas, but after his whole family was killed by Ronan the Accuser, his soul was put into a different body so he could fight Thanos.
Wait, hold on. Who’s Ronan the Accuser? I thought Thanos was the bad guy. They’re both bad guys. Ronan is a Kree radical, who has agreed to help Thanos hunt down an artifact if Thanos will destroy the Xandarians – his mortal enemies – in exchange.
What is a Kree?A technologically advanced, war-loving alien race.
And what is a Xandarian?Another alien race. Not so big on the war.
Got it. So is Ronan the Accuser a big part of Guardians of the Galaxy?Yeah, he’ll be the main villain in this one. Lee Pace will be playing him.
Any other villains I should know about? Nebula, who grew up with Gamora. Unlike her adoptive sister, she is still loyal to Ronan and Thanos. She’ll be played by Karen Gillan.
Oh, is this the thing she shaved her head for? Yes. Nebula is bald, so Gillan decided to shave her head, since it would look better than putting makeup on top of a bald cap.
So, that’s it? Ronan, Thanos, and Nebula are all the villains? There’s also Djimon Honsou as Korath, an intergalactic hunter who serves Ronan, and (like we said above) Benicio del Toro, who plays The Collector: an eccentric, obsessive keeper of intergalactic rarities. If you need something, and it might be illegal to own that thing, he probably has it.
All right, all right, is that it? There are a lot of villains in this thing. Yeah.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
So back to Drax: who’s playing him in the movie? Dave Batista.
You mean Vin Diesel isn’t playing the aggressive muscular dude? No, Vin Diesel’s playing a tree.
What?! Well, he’s playing Groot, a tree-like humanoid who has the ability to regrow himself from the tiniest twig.
Well, he at least has some witty banter or something, right? Of course! Provided that witty banter consists only of the phrase, “I am Groot.”
… Okay. So, why is Groot in jail, then? He’s there thanks to his job as the muscle/personal companion of Rocket Raccoon.
Is that...? The machine-gun firing, rage spewing, back-talking, possibly homicidal raccoon? Yep. You know what's even weirder? Bradley Cooper's providing his voice.
And how did he learn to fire a gun? Rocket is originally from a planet called Halfworld, which was basically a colony for the mentally ill. All of the animals there were genetically modified to become as intelligent as humans and to be able to walk in their hind legs so they could take care of the inmates there.
So, an anthropomorphic raccoon and a tree have teamed up with a criminal, assassin, and thief in order to protect the galaxy? That’s exactly what happened.
I think I need to lie down. No, no! Stay with us, you’ve almost got it.
Fine. So why exactly did they team up? Why is the galaxy in need of their help? Basically, Peter Quill steals an orb that Ronan the Accuser is after, and so he needs the rest of the team’s help in order to evade the villain and the intergalactic manhunt that he’s started. But then they discover how powerful the orb actually is, and they are determined to protect the galaxy by keeping it from falling into the wrong hands.
Why, what’s so special about the orb? That remains to be seen.
Well, then, how do they find that the galaxy is in trouble? Do they just figure it out on their own? They’re recruited by the Nova Corps, who are the military police tasked with keeping the planet Xandar and its citizens safe.
Are those they guys...? Who call them “a-holes” in the trailer? Yeah, that’s the Nova Corps.
I like those guys. So, are those all of the characters? Yep, that’s everyone and a basic rundown of what they want. Anything else you want to know?
Yeah, what's with all the classic rock in the trailer? The songs come from Peter’s Walkman, and it’s basically the last connection he has to his life on earth. Also, it’s awesome.
Can I watch the trailer again? Of course:
And when does this movie come out? Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on Friday, August 1!
San Diego Comic-Con: the annual gathering of comic book nerds, blockbuster action movie fans and the slightly terrifying people who still watch Supernatural religiously. It's the biggest pop culture event of the year, a time when studios bring the biggest and most shriek-inducing stars together to unveil new projects and showcase the exciting things fans will eventually be camped out all night for. And even though not all of us are lucky enough to experience Comic-Con in person, that doesn't mean we don't deserve to get all the up-to-the-minute news, reports and surprises. Since we here at Hollywood.com don't want you to miss out on all the excitement happening in Hall H or the surprises being unveiled over the weekend, we're running down the biggest news to come out of San Diego during the convention to ensure you can stay on top of everything, whether you're stuck in the office or waiting in line for another sold out panel.
Guess Who's Set For a Bloody ReturnIt’s difficult to imagine anyone bouncing back from the tense bloodbath that capped off the second season of Hannibal, but Bryan Fuller doesn’t want you to worry about the state of your favorite characters, because several of them made it out of there – although not all of them made it out alive. Deadline reports that Raul Esparza’s Dr. Chilton did, however, and he will appear next season, presumably to get revenge for being shot in the face. Eddie Izzard and Kacey Rohl will also be making an appearance or two, but while he did say the former would only pop up in flashbacks, he declined to reveal whether Abigail is still in one piece. (The series also unveiled the second season blooper reel, which is exactly as delightful as you’d expect.)
Advanced Television Resurrection Now that Community’s sixth season is under way, it’s time to ask the most important question of all: When are the Greendale Seven coming back? At a panel Thursday night – appropriately titled “Communty: REBORN” – show runner Dan Harmon and the cast revealed that fans should see the Study Group back in action sometime after Christmas (via CinemaBlend). But don’t call into work to binge watch just yet, as Yahoo! will be released episodes on a weekly basis, just the same as if it were still on NBC. Still, you can expect some changes thanks to the change in platform, as Harmon has said that the writers are interested in testing the limitations of their new format. (Although we know how well Abed does with change…)
Teen Wolf Howls On… Teen Wolf might be in the middle of its fourth season at the moment, but the panel in Ballroom 20 only had eyes for the future, and with good reason: creator Jeff Davis revealed that the show already been renewed for a fifth season. According to EW, the upcoming season will also be the longest yet, with the episode count bumped up to 20 from season four’s 12. Of course, it will run in two parts and your favorite characters will probably be killed, but nobody said living in Beacon Hills was easy.
Incredible Interstellar After single-handedly revitalizing the Batman franchise and confusing people everywhere with Inception, Christopher Nolan finally made his Comic Con debut to talk about his upcoming film Interstellar, alongside Matthew McConaughey (via EW). Although they didn’t reveal much about the movie, they did showcase a new trailer that gives a better look at the mysteries it contains (which, unfortunately, the rest of us won’t get to see for a while), and Nolan revealed what inspired him to explore outer space. A little disappointingly, it was physics.
TMNT Needs Less Pizza, More Girl Power At least, according to Megan Fox. The actress has been making the rounds at Comic Con to promote the film, which hits theaters in mid-August, and in an interview with HitFix, she revealed that her April O’Neill will kick a little less butt than she had hoped: "A lot of girl power ended up on the cutting room floor, unfortunately. I had a really awesome scene where I was fighting The Foot Clan, but I think they were like, 'Why would a tiny journalist be able to kick so much ass?’” Silly producers, we writers have plenty of pent up anger. Let the girl fight!