Matt Patches
After a few years of working behind the scenes on movies and TV shows (and earning an IMDb page for bragging rights), Movies Editor Matt Patches made a hard right into the world of entertainment journalism. In 2009, Patches became the Associate Movies Editor of, departing in 2010 to go rogue as a writer-for-hire. Patches covered movies and festivals for a number of outlets, including Movieline, MTV NextMovie, CinemaBlend, and Film School Rejects, before joining as Movies Editor in 2011. He proudly names "Groundhog Day" as his favorite movie of all time.
  • 'Les Mis' Star Eddie Redmayne on Singing Professionally: 'Fear Drove This Entire Process'
    By: Matt Patches Dec 25, 2012
    Eddie Redmayne has always been a fan of Les Miserables, ever since he was 7 years old and idolized the character of Gavroche. Since he obviously couldn’t play the young boy this time around – that pesky age difference – seeing the actor who did play the kid on set made him “so jealous. I had to appease my jealousies,” Redmayne says. And when Redmayne found out there was going to be a big screen treatment of Les Mis, he sent director Tom Hooper an audition, filmed by Chloe Moretz on his iPhone, performed in his trailer while dressed as a cowboy for the filming of Hick. “It was really to show my agent that I enjoyed singing,” Redmayne says. “I didn’t really expect it to show up in Tom’s hands.” Thanks to that spur of the moment idea, Redmayne takes on the role of Marius in this week's big screen adaptation of the legendary Les Miserables. Marius is the rebellious student who falls in love with Amanda Seyfried’s Cosette, the love story at the core of the musical. Since Redmayne has never sang on screen or professionally before, he was a bit worried to step on set and belt out the iconic Les Mis songs. “Hell yes, fear drove this entire process,” Redmayne says. “I think for everyone, because we all love the show.” But he admits that after “seeing Wolverine and Gladiator and Catwoman doing vocal warm ups at 5 in the morning, the fear dissipates relatively promptly.” But that doesn’t mean Redmayne didn’t rehearse as much as he could when he wasn’t on set. “I’m a bath man and a car man," Redmayne says, explaining that he prefers to rehearse "with no one else there.” The performer continues: “It’s so embarrassing, I was driving in Los Angeles, and you would have thought I’d be sick of the musical by now, having spent so long with it. But I was driving in Los Angeles, and I was at a red light, by myself, windows closed, blasting out some shoddy attempt at 'One Day More.' This woman just looks across and was like, ‘What are you doing?’” All he had to do was tell her, “I’m in the movie!” To hear Redmayne dish on his love of Les Mis, taking on the role of Marius, and his unconventional rehearsal locations, check out our interview below: [Photo Credit: Universal Pictures] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: 'Les Misérables' Star Hugh Jackman Admits Singing in the Alps Is Harder Than 'Wolverine' Stunts 'Les Misérables': Anne Hathaway Reveals She Was the Cosette to Her Mother's Fantine 'Les Miz': Why Today's Moviegoers Find It Hard to Accept Characters 'Breaking Into Song' You Might Also Like: 20 Hottest Bikini Bodies of 2012: Kim Kardashian and More! ’The Hobbit’: Making Sense of Kili, the Hot Dwarf
  • 'Les Mis' Star Amanda Seyfried on Cosette: 'We Needed to Find Ways to Make Her Interesting'
    By: Matt Patches Dec 24, 2012
    Amanda Seyfried nails the greatest challenge in bringing Les Miserables' infamous ingenue to life: "There's not much of Cosette, but she's really important." In this week's big screen adaptation of the legendary musical, Seyfried plays the grownup Cosette, the daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathway) who is rescued by Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) from her impoverished existence living with the sadistic inn owners, the Thénardiers. She grows up to the be a stunning blonde — not too difficult for Seyfried — who catches the eye of a rebellious student, Marius (Eddie Redmayne), and gives him a reason to live. Even in the Broadway version, Cosette isn't as dimensional as one would hope; she's more of an object of desire than a woman with her own uphill battles. Seyfried was determined to change that for the movie version. "We overanalyzed... we took parts of the book that aren't in the musical to flow more freely from scene to scene," Seyfried says. "In the little time that I had to explain Cosette and give the audience a reason [to see her as] a symbol of love and strength and light in this tragedy, I needed to be able to convey things you may not have connected with in the show." Seyfried admits it was difficult for her to overcome the technical challenges of singing live on the set of Les Mis, finding herself "listening to my voice instead of living in the moment." When she did slip into the role, she was able to add a new layer to Cosette. "I actually took a bunch of things from Annie's portrayal of Fantine and infused them in Cosette. You want to recognize her when she's older. You want a piece of Fantine in her." To hear Seyfried dish on her love of Jackman, Hathaway and the cast, along with how she transformed Cosette into a character that can survive inside the epic tapestry of Les Mis, check out our interview below: [Photo Credit: Universal Pictures] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: 'Les Misérables' Star Hugh Jackman Admits Singing in the Alps Is Harder Than 'Wolverine' Stunts 'Les Misérables': Anne Hathaway Reveals She Was the Cosette to Her Mother's Fantine 'Les Miz': Why Today's Moviegoers Find It Hard to Accept Characters 'Breaking Into Song' You Might Also Like: 20 Hottest Bikini Bodies of 2012: Kim Kardashian and More! ’The Hobbit’: Making Sense of Kili, the Hot Dwarf
  • Spike Lee Goes Internet Troll on Quentin Tarantino and 'Django Unchained'
    By: Matt Patches Dec 24, 2012
    Spike Lee is aware he doesn't speak for everyone when he speaks out against filmmakers with differing agendas, but that isn't keeping him mum. On Saturday, the Red Hook Summer and Inside Man director took heat for comments made against Quentin Tarantino's upcoming Western Django Unchained. The film follows a slave, Django (played by Jamie Foxx), who is freed by a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) and employed to hunt down villainous slave owners. He eventually turns his sights to his rescuing his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), owned by the wickedest plantation-owner in the South (Leonardo DiCaprio). Lee isn't having any of it. "I can't speak on it 'cause I'm not gonna see it," the director tells VIBETV. "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors. That's just me...I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else." This isn't the first time that Lee has lashed out against the creative endeavors of another filmmaker. Lee is famous for continuously bashing Tyler Perry's oeuvre, deeming the mogul's films as intellectually void, and slamming Clint Eastwood back in 2008 for his work on two World War II films (Flags of Our Fathers and Letters to Iwo Jima) that failed to feature any black soldiers. Now, Lee is taking Tarantino to task for his use of slaves in an exploitation film, an issue he clarified over Twitter: American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.It Was A Holocaust.My Ancestors Are Slaves.Stolen From Africa.I Will Honor Them.— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) December 22, 2012 Lee has always been an outspoken advocate for black culture and the truthful depiction of African-Americans in film, but even his Twitter followers couldn't help but jump into the ring with the famous director and question his remarks. Lee admits to not having seen the film, which uses slavery as a catalyst for Tarantino's signature bloodbath artistry. But it also depicts the treatment of slaves as a harrowing and grisly aspect of America's past — audiences may cheer when Django takes revenge on those who have crossed him, but only because of the degree to which these villainous characters have inflicted physical and mental damage to black men and women. Wearing his personal (and reasonable) stance on his shoulder, Lee joins the ever-growing Internet buzz culture. Seeing the movie is often considered a non-factor — like Django, the upcoming Zero Dark Thirty, which opens wide on Jan. 11, is under a similar microscope by the politically-minded for its portrayal of torture. Lee and everyone floating around Twitter has a right to voice their opinion. But wouldn't it be more interesting to hear his thoughts after watching Django Unchained? [Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: Tarantino Revive-O-Meter: 9 Actors (And 1 Composer) Who Got a QT Career Assist Will Hollywood Limit Violence in TV and Movies Following Tragedy? New 'Django Unchained' Posters are Like Trading Cards — POSTERSYou Might Also Like: 20 Hottest Bikini Bodies of 2012: Kim Kardashian and More! ’The Hobbit’: Making Sense of Kili, the Hot Dwarf
  • The Voice of 'SpongeBob' on Taking Christmas Under the Sea... Old School Style
    By: Matt Patches Dec 22, 2012
    You may not know Tom Kenny, but you know Tom Kenny. As the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants since 1999 and nearly 300 other acting credits including cartoons, movies, and commercials, Kenny is one of the leading voice actors working in the business. He has an energy and passion for the job — as he tells, it's not a job for everyone but it's the job for him. This holiday season, one of Kenny's long-gestating projects is finally realized in the form of the It's A SpongeBob Christmas!, a fully stop-motion Christmas special (a la the classic Rankin and Bass era cartoons) that's airing now on Nickeleodoeon and available on DVD in time for the season. Kenny's enthusiasm for voice over work, music from the '60s and '70s, and general merriment collide in the special, which comes accompanied by a truly fantastic album of the same name, featuring songs written by the actor. We sat down with Kenny to discuss life with Spongebob for over a decade and writing songs for the special: How does every job differ from you compared to your consist work as SpongeBob? Tom Kenny: I approach it like a session drummer would. Or a wrecking crew guy. I identify with those guys so much, those invisibly ubiquitous guys during the '60s and '70s. Everything from film soundtracks to TV theme songs to cartoon soundtracks to Frank SInatra records to Beach Boy records. It's all the same handful of people doing it all. I think that's how my job is. It's amazing how something you think of as a one-off thing has this timed release. Like commercials, one of those things you did years ago, suddenly is brought up again and again and again. It has to do with kids who are watching things that was just an afternoon in your life. You don't realize that's some kid's main thing. There is some kid whose mind is being blown. I'm sure you get that at Comic-Con. Kenny: Everyone has something. And you think, 'Really, that?' For me it's video games. Early video games, like Spyro the Dragon, people who were kids when those games were out, they're older and ... it's a really huge deal. They bow down to you Wayne's World-style. Kenny: Yeah, they want inside dope on the recording [laughs]. If you do the math — I did that in 1995 or 1996 — if those people were eight years old, they're in their 20s now coming up to you at Comic-Con saying, 'Dude, I got to meet Spyro, man!' SpongeBob must get that too. Kenny: That you expect because it's a big global phenomenon. I go to a remote corner of the world and you'll see some kid with a Spongebob t-shirt on. We were in a mountain village in Italy, way off the beaten track, and the waitress had a Spongebob t-shirt on. Doesn't even speak English. And if she does watch SpongeBob, it's not me. It's some guy using me as a template! There are a lot of Christmas specials, but unlike the SpongeBob special, I don't recall many with great voice actors in them. Kenny: Even as a kid when I was growing up, they used celebrities that were too old for the audience. Burl Ives, who? There are snippets of dialogue that stand out — like when Rudolph has that nasal voice when he has the black ball covering up his nose, or the dentist who wanted to be an elf. To my brother and I he had the funniest line for no reason: 'A dentist? Good grief!' And we'd slam the door. We'd do it all the time. But no, not a lot of memorable voice actors. What's amazing to me is that you can sing in the SpongeBob voice and do so to great lengths in the Christmas special. Is that the hard part of the job? Kenny: I do a fair amount of singing on SpongeBob and the other shows too. In fact, I wrote a lot of the songs on Spongebob, cowrote with a guy named Andy Paley. We wrote, 'Don't Be a Jerk It's Christmas' and that became the springboard of the special. We wrote that in 2009 and just kind of handed it out as a gift to people on the show. And I remember it was just at a time when there was just this outburst of a**hole behavior: Michael VIck and his dog fighting thing, Joe Wilson screaming, and it was really grew from all that. Talking about seeds you plant and the whole Spyro thing... Wow, so this special took years of being angry at the world to come to fruition. Kenny: [Laughs] Not angry, just ashamed of my species. So Andy and I came up with this story line where there's an element called 'Jerktonium' and if a meteorite of jerktonium lands in your town, it turns everyone into jerks. And Plankton gets ahold of some and bakes it into fruit cakes for everybody and disseminates into an outbreak of jerktonium. A pandemic of jerkiness. And the album... we had been trying to pitch a Christmas album for some years. Why do the Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Muppets but not SpongeBob — that's crazy. Ironically, we're able to use all those very old school, chameleon studio musicians from the '60s and '70s that I've always idolized. Corky Hale, who is a female harpist who's played with Billie Holiday and Liberace. She's played with Bjork, so she spans generations. James Burton, who was Ricky Nelson's guitarist and later Elvis in Vegas movies. Tommy Morgan who was the harmonica player on Green Acres and every legendary tv theme. So we got the real guys who made those records sound the way they did. It's pretty cool. It's a fun labor of love. We wrote real songs. Let's do something for kids, write songs that sound like it came from 1961. Sandy's from Texas, and I love Western swing, like a Bob Wills record from 1940. Looking ahead, I know you're doing another Spongebob movie. Have you begun work on that? Kenny: No, but I'm excited about it. Not even close though — I know very little about it, but I know the show is on a break form awhile. We just wrapped on some of the episodes before the movie, because the writers get repurposed on to the movie. So it's a break. But we've renegotiated so I don't think the show is ending. Speaking of sequels, you worked with Michael Bay on the Transformers movies — do you know if you'll be back for the fourth one? Kenny: [Laughs] I haven't heard but I'm sending him some nice muffins.... Does Bay come in and direct the voice actors? Kenny: Think about it for a minute: of course. Who is the bigger control freak than Michael Bay? He wouldn't turn that over to anyone. I get the feeling he likes that aspect of it. He likes being in with the voiceover actors. Sometimes his relationships with the on-screen actors aren't... the greatest [laughs]. And I think he likes to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty. He likes voice actors. He hangs out with the crew. He goes to bat for his people. He also won't take diva attitudes from anyone. And since voice actors are one step on the ladder above people who set up the Tilt-a-Whirl at the carnival, there's no diva behavior. Check local listings for It's a SpongeBob Christmas!, running through the holidays on Nickelodeon and pick up the album available now. [Photo Credit: Nickelodeon] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: What Your Favorite Christmas Movie Says About You Comic-Con 2012: 'Legend of Korra' Panel Reveals Book 2: Spirit Details 'Ninja Turtles' Star Mae Whitman Talks April O'Neil, '90s Nick Love, and 'Korra' Hopes You Might Also Like: 20 Hottest Bikini Bodies of 2012: Megan Fox and More!  Honey Boo Boo vs. Kardashians: An Xmas Card Showdown
  • Les Misérables Review
    By: Matt Patches Dec 21, 2012
    A musical that spans 15 years sports a principal cast of 10 and attempts to recreate the 1832 Paris Uprising is going to have a lot of meat to it. And the big screen adaptation of the stage hit Les Misérables manages to weave it all together (in a nearly 3-hour cut). Performed almost entirely in song director Tom Hooper (Oscar-winner for The King's Speech) sticks to source material while reinventing the movie musical with live performances. No lip syncing here — stars Hugh Jackman Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe belt their tunes with all the imperfection of real life. It's a tactic that works wonders and at times falls completely flat. For that Les Mis is daring and sporadically electrifying but may leave purists wanting more. After 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread Jean Valjean (Jackman) is released into a world that no longer has a place for him. As a convict he wears a marker of shame. It's only after meeting a forgiving priest who gifts with a church's silver and an alibi from the police does Valjean see a path to redemption. He rips up his parole papers and sets out to put "Jean Valjean" behind him. In his journey he becomes the owner of a factory meets a struggling woman Fantine (Hathaway) who sells her body to earn money for her daughter tracks down the young girl Cosette and helps people in need to live better lives. Les Mis has a large girth filled with plot and characters and Hooper keeps it all intact. But it's for better or worse. What works on stage doesn't always click in on screen characters appear and reappearing without much explanation. Valjean's former incarcerator Javert (Crowe) is always on his tail even when the parole-breaker hasn't seen him in nearly a decade. When Valjean eventually makes his way to Paris the action of the film completely switches focus to a new set of characters: heartthrob rebel Marius (Eddie Redmayne) his band of protesting students and grownup versions of Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) and Éponine (Samantha Barks). The cinematic treatment spotlights the show's clunky construction — threads could have been snipped but who wants to be the guy that cut a number from Les Misérables? With the breadth of drama going in the film there is still plenty of good to be found. Jackman delivers as Valjean a physically demanding part both in voice and presence. While not as adept at the gentler moments (with all the liberties taken with the on-set singing rarely does the musical soften and hush the performances) Jackman blasts Valjean's many professions to godlike fanfare. Eddie Redmayne enlivens the part of Marius a thankless love-stricken part that the young actor deepens with ideas of war and friendship. And the talk of the town Anne Hathway lives up the hype: her single-shot rendition of "I Dream a Dream" shot up-close and personal is worth the price of admission alone. Sadly the other half of the ensemble rarely live up the high expectations established early on. Crowe shines in the in-between moments of high drama but can't land either of his two big numbers sticking to one note and draining the film of bravado. Almost the inverse is Barks who was cast from the West End production of Les Mis. While everyone else is in a movie she's stuck in the stage production going big and showy when the movie needs subtlety the most. Much of the flaccid nature of the second act of the film is on Hooper whose bold unflinching close-ups are magical in the early portion of the movie and are relentless later on. He overdoses us with the style — "One Day More " the number that closes Act I of the stage show is so lacking in the necessary spark that it's hard to imagine another hour more of the movie. Les Misérables is the definition of mixed bag and it's due to an adherence to the show's 30-year history. With an incredible cast vivid photography and booming sounds the film version needed more of a stamp to make it its own beast. "Who am I?" You're just another Les Mis production.
  • Scoot McNairy:'s Breakout Actor of 2012
    By: Matt Patches Dec 21, 2012
      Actor Scoot McNairy isn't letting his deluge of roles in the year's most prestigious films get to his head. The actor is aware that he's now regularly working with some of the best directors in the business, but he's not allowing himself to make a misstep. "You try and pick jobs you're right for," McNairy tells "Some actors make that mistake. I'm sure I'll make the same mistake as well. But you take things you can tackle. Always be pushing yourself, challenging yourself, but don't choose something that's beyond you." After a decade of featured roles in both TV and movies, McNairy is hitting a stride, and rightfully so. He's a chameleon, capable of fitting into any ensemble, owning the spotlight but never stealing it. In 2012, the character actor appeared in an eclectic trio of films: as Joe Stafford, a member of the Iranian embassy who questions CIA agent Tony Mendez's (Ben Affleck) plan of escape in Argo; as Frankie, a burnt out petty thief who takes on the mob to disastrous consequences in Killing Them Softly; and Jeff Dennon, a local farmer contending with Matt Damon's pro-frakking salesman in Promised Land. The throughline between all three is McNairy's unexpected, ferocious commitment to disappearing into the roles. Regardless of the size, the actor approaches them each with the same integrity. "I look at a leading role the same way as supporting roles," McNairy says. "You read the script and see that it's a great story. So then you ask, 'Who do I want to be in that story?'" McNairy began his acting career a decade ago, after leaving his home in Paris, Texas, to pursue a career in cinematography. "I wanted to be a cameraman. I had done a few independent films in Austin, but I realized I wanted to shoot. I thought it was something I could really excel in." Acting diverted McNairy's attention, which led him to commercial roles and big screen comedies, like D.E.B.S., Sleepover, and Art School Confidential. McNairy recalls feeling a need to challenge himself beyond comedy, which came easy to him. He set off hunting for meaty drama and found it in Gareth Edwards' 2010 indie sci-fi Monsters. "Monsters was something that elevated me, opened some people's eyes."   A common misconception about Hollywood: Monsters may have introduced the world to McNairy's dramatic side, but it didn't hand him job after job on a silver platter. The actor admits it's still a process of rigorous auditioning and directors gambling on him. He wasn't always confident. McNairy "never thought there would be a chance in hell" that he would land the lead in Killing Them Softly. "I know that [director] Andrew Dominick took a huge risk putting me in Killing Me Softly. He had never seen Monsters, he'd never seen anything." What sold Dominick was McNairy's unidentifiable accent for Frankie, which he suggests was "based on environments in the script: cold, grey, dark." Worried that the slightly goofy style may not click with Dominick in the audition, McNairy was convinced by his wife to go with his gut. Invaluable advice. "It wasn't hard to find the voice, but it was hard to authenticate." When Dominick finally recruited McNairy, the demand was stronger than anything he'd ever done. "[Andrew] was really, really keen on performances," McNairy says. "There wasn't a minute on set in that movie where they weren't rolling camera. He just puts a 1000-foot mags [of film] in the camera and we keep rolling. He really hounded me on performance. One day we did 40 takes on just a quick shot. He just wanted to get it right." One of McNairy's biggest scenes in the film is opposite star Brad Pitt. McNairy had obvious nerves about meeting the movie star, but he used that to his advantage. "My relationship with him came from me wanting to meet him, putting that energy and putting it into the scene," McNairy says. "At the beginning of the shoot, we didn't speak at all. I never met him until the third day of shooting. The bar scene, that whole scene was the first scene we shot together and we never spoke throughout the entire process of that shoot. I think that's what I wanted to put into it. I wanted to be super f**king intimidated by him. Not try to have to act, but feel it." In the end, Pitt turned out to be the perfect sparring partner. "Brad is an incredibly generous actor. He accommodates the other person as well as works with them. He'll mold to the person around him. Not many actors are like that." If Killing Them Softly was about McNairy embracing his natural instincts, Argo was about stripping them away. McNairy says Affleck had the large ensemble — portraying eight U.S. diplomats trapped in Tehran during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis — live together for five days before shooting. Or as McNairy calls it "Get-your-egos-out-of-the-way camp." McNairy sites the experience as essential to the process. "I think you have to be aware of [ego]. I'd love to say I don't have an ego, but everyone has it. I try and keep myself out of what's being said and talked about. Focus on the work, focus on the work, focus on the work."   For Argo, McNairy sported a haircut straight from the '70s and a mustache to boot. He was happy to disappear, saying that he loves costumes and rarely wants to work in an environment that feels normal. "I don't even like rehearsing at my house. Even for auditions, I try and put on some kind of outfit. It's that transformation. Trying to step into something else." McNairy cites Fight Club, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Machinist, and this year's Rust and Bone among his favorite films — no surprise, considering the gargantuan change the actors involved went to bring the films to life. "You want to step away from yourself. I'm attracted to people who can do so little and say so much. " McNairy continues to prioritize roles that speak to him over any calculated career moves, an example of this being his smaller part in Damon and John Krasinki's Promised Land. He goes after movies that he would want to watch, talent he would want to work with. The actor recalls watching Steve McQueen's Hunger and being blown away by Michael Fassbender's performance. He insisted to his reps that he had to be involved in the director's next project. While timing didn't work out for the award-winning Shame, he managed to land himself a role in the director and actor's next collaboration, Twelve Years a Slave. "I play a circus con man," McNairy says, excitement in his voice. "The one who convinces Chiwetel [Ejiofor], who is playing a slave, to come and run with us. Inevitably, we sell him to slavery. Sometime in the first 15 to 20 minutes of the film." McNairy is currently filming Non-Stop in New York City, an action thriller set almost entirely on a plane from Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) that puts him alongside Liam Neeson. It's a welcome change of pace for the actor. "[It's] something I haven't played and puts me in a different light," McNairy says. "Someone with military training. I also wanted to work with Liam Neeson. Schindler's List — I watched that movie all the time." The sudden upsurge in big screen face time has left McNairy relatively unfazed. That's a good thing, as the actor sounds ready to jump at any juicy, potentially risky part that crosses his path. "It is a business and there's a bunch of bulls**t involved in it, but you gotta keep the fun. Let why it was fun 10 years ago remind you why it's enjoyable." [Photo Credit: Focus Features; The Weinstein Company; Warner Bros. Pictures] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More:'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Star Quevenzhane Wallis: Breakout Actor 2012Jess Walter, 'Beautiful Ruins' Writer: Breakout Author of 201220 Biggest Breakout Stars of 2012 You Might Also Like:20 Hottest Bikini Bodies of 2012: Megan Fox and More!Honey Boo Boo vs. Kardashians: An Xmas Card Showdown
  • 'This Is 40': Judd Apatow on Staying Relevant and P.T. Anderson's Love of 'Heavyweights'
    By: Matt Patches Dec 20, 2012
    Growing old is a part of every person's life, a universal source of anxiety that's scrutinized beyond comprehension by both individuals and the world around them. Few people enjoy talking about their age... making it the perfect subject for writer/director/producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) to confront head on. Unlike most, Apatow has been working his present job since his early 20s, when he was a writer on 1992's short-lived but much-revered Ben Stiller Show. Two decades later, he's one of the most important faces in the world of comedy. With his new film This Is 40, Apatow confronts his own longevity, following a couple (played by Paul Rudd and Apatow's real life wife, Leslie Mann) as they near the milestone age and jump every hurdle that comes with it. The film is recognizably personal. But for Apatow, there's an added layer of introspection happening on screen. Apatow's aging experiences have occurred under in the lens of show business, an industry where modern relevance is key. The maintenance of this relevance is not an easy task, and one Apatow is certainly aware of. sat down with the actor to discuss growing up in Hollywood, how he continues to stay funny after all these years, and his eagerness to collaborate with young performers, like Lena Dunham, Seth Rogen, and even Megan Fox. And because The Master director Paul Thomas Anderson really loves Heavyweights, we can't help but bring up Apatow's misunderstood Disney classic: As you've told many people, you drew a lot from your own life in This Is 40. But do you think working in Hollywood has made you more aware of age? Judd Apatow: I don't think about it a ton, but every once in awhile I think, "What if slowly I lose my sense of humor and I don't know it. And everyone in the world knows I'm not funny but me." [laughs] How do you stay conscious of that? Apatow: I try and think of people who are hysterical when they're old like Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner and Woody Allen. I think, "It's possible! You can stay sharp forever!" I just have to keep an eye on what they're doing. You know, Mel Brooks has a new special. He's 86-years-old and the entire special is him doing an interview and it's so hysterical that they made it an HBO special. It's just him talking to a guy for an hour and a half! And he did the exact same special a year ago with Dick Cavett! Because he's so funny, he can sit in a chair and make you laugh for an hour. Do you talk to older comedians about that challenge of staying relevant? Apatow: I never ask them directly about staying relevant, it's just certain people stay fully, intellectually engaged. It's not that they change their sense of humor, like suddenly Mel Brooks is working in an edgy, current genre. [laughs] I'd go as far to say, "Who has made an edgier movie than Blazing Saddles?" I mean, you couldn't even make Blazing Saddles today, it's so ballsy. He remains hysterical in the way he's hysterical. Hopefully I'll be just as lucky. Along with This Is 40, I was fortunate enough to watch your movie Heavyweights with the new Blu-ray commentary you recorded. Thinking about you then and now... Apatow: Oh yes, I had long beautiful hair! [laughs] You were young when you wrote and produced that movie — I think you say 26 in the commentary. Do you look to collaborate with younger people because of your own early experiences? Does recalling your earlier work impact what you do now? Apatow: I'm just a fan of comedians. I try and figure out how to get talented people [to] get their ideas across. It really doesn't matter what age they are. It is fun working with young people at the moment when they're first trying to figure out how they can develop their screen persona. So it was fun working on 40-Year-Old Virgin and Bridesmaids and working with Seth [Rogen] on Superbad and Knocked Up. But I had an amazing time working with Albert Brooks and John Lithgow on This Is 40, and being with people who were brilliant with their craft and had so much to offer. In a lot of ways, that was a new experience for me. I found it equally fulfilling. So who knows, maybe I'll find the courage to work with Dame Judi Dench. I think the Marigold Hotel sequel is looking for a director. Apatow: Exactly! Do you think you've learned anything as a director from the younger people you've worked with? Even on a film that's about turning 40? Apatow: Absolutely. Superbad had such a strong comedic point-of-view. We had been kicking it around for a long time — I was producing it for him and his writing partner Evan [Goldberg]. But we couldn't get it made. And in the period that we couldn't get it made, we wrote Knocked Up, and we got that made. And I'm sure working on Superbad influenced how hard we went at a certain edgy type of comedy in Knocked Up. He had a big influence. And working with Lena Dunham I'm sure influenced This Is 40, because I was seeing someone being so courageous in her choices. It made me want to have the courage to take a lot of risks with my movie. Being around someone like Lena, who is a real visionary, it definitely inspires me. What about someone like Megan Fox, a young performer but not someone who is known as a "comedic voice"? Apatow: Megan Fox is an example of a person who people see as a gorgeous woman, and people put them in a box because of one definition. Leslie and I saw her on Saturday Night Live and we instantly thought she was hysterical. We could tell there was so much more going on if she had the opportunity to present to people. So for me, that becomes a major opportunity. I get to be the person to show everyone that Megan Fox is also riotously funny. So she came in and read with us and improvised and had so many funny and bizarre ideas for her character. I'm really proud of the fact that her work in the movie is so strong. And she's such a nice person, it's great to help somebody get to show more of their colors. The movie ends up chronicling so many different scenarios for the characters. How did you know how much you could cram into one movie? At times I felt like I was watching one of your television shows. Apatow: I was definitely influenced, and am probably more influenced these days, by television and shows like Mad Men and The Sopranos. I wanted something that was random, like life. You never know where it's going to go at any moment. You can have a great moment, then life falls apart — then something great happens at the end of the day. That's accurate to what our lives are like. And I like when you see a movie and you don't know where it's going. There's no clear goal. It's just life, just this week. There isn't a treasure map and they're not trying to find the gold. They're just trying to get to the end of the week and put their birthdays behind them. When you're making a movie, how do you discern what is random in a way that mimics life versus what is random in a way that's meandering? I assume there's a risk. Apatow: I watch it with people and I can tell when they're engaged. So, in addition to how much they're laughing — because when people start getting bored, the laughs get smaller and smaller — but also, when there's a new plot point and you hear the whole crowd gasp, you go, "Oh, they're paying attention." I often joke that it's hard to know when the drama's working, because when the joke works, people make a noise. I wish when the drama works there would be a noise. Sometimes there's a "Uh! Ahh!" [laughs] But I think when they like the people and want the best for them, people get deeply involved. I don't need a murder. Is going back to television with your own original concept something you're still interested in? Apatow: I'm definitely not closed off to it. I'm having such a good time working on Girls that it's reminded me how much freedom you have on television to be creative. And it would be nice not to worry if scenes got laughs! When we make Girls episodes, I write a few here and there with Lena, it makes me happy to put them on television without having tested them and not wondering how people will react. Do it based on the gut and the story — that's it. Shows don't have to have resolutions that are so clean. With movies, there's a little more of a demand that people learn something. You've got to have that lesson. Apatow: It's hard not to have a lesson. But in television, you can end on an awkward moment or a sad moment or a happy moment — you have a different level of freedom. Another Heavyweights question: on the Blu-ray you mention that Paul Thomas Anderson [director of The Master] loves the movie. I'm curious why he loves it. Apatow: [Laughs] That's a good question, I'm not sure I know. For a few years, we had the same agent, and he told me he was a big fan of Heavyweights. He was working with Adam [Sandler] on Punch Drunk Love. And it was a great point of pride for me. You can't get a much better endorsement. Apatow: I think when you watch The Master, you feel some Heavyweights influence. Do you talk to Paul, or other filmmakers who might be outside of your sphere of interests, about filmmaking? Ways to evolve the way you work? Apatow: I don't, but I do ask them to watch my cuts. Ask for input. Sometimes I just want to see if I'm crazy. So I'll show Paul the movie and go, "Does this make any sense at all or am I off base for even attempting this?" He's been kind enough to look at cuts of some of my movies, and has been very helpful. I go to my heroes when I'm figuring out the edit. In the past, James Brooks has looked at the movies, Jay Roach [Austin Powers], Cameron Crowe, Ron Howard... I'll do anything to find out what I'm doing wrong from the people I respect. I assume you in turn watched The Master and gave notes about where jokes would fit. Apatow: Exactly. I was the punch-up guy! [Photo Credit: Universal Pictures; Walt Disney Pictures] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: Death By Éclair: How Paul Rudd Almost Killed Leslie Mann on ‘This is 40’ 'This Is 40' Trailer: Paul Rudd & Leslie Mann Giving 'Knocked Up' a Worthy Sequel From 'This Is 40' to Hitchcock to 'Wolverine': A Brief History of Spin-off MoviesYou Might Also Like: 20 Hottest Bikini Bodies of 2012: Megan Fox and More! Honey Boo Boo vs. Kardashians: An Xmas Card Showdown
  • 'OZ': Kunis, Williams, or Weisz: Which Witch Is the Wicked One? — POSTER
    By: Matt Patches Dec 19, 2012
    The most recent trailer for Spider-Man director Sam Raimi's Wizard of OZ prequel OZ The Great and Powerful had us convinced that Rachel Weisz's witch character Evanora may not be as innocent as she appears. Seeing as neither her nor her sisters, Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), sported the verdant skin of the classic Wicked Witch (who appears briefly in the trailer), the assumption is that one of them must become the iconic baddie. The trailer hints at Weisz — but was Raimi throwing us a curveball? This new poster has our theories jumbled. The latest one-sheet spotlights the villain in all her destructive glory, but the green makeup and exaggerated nose mask the actress underneath. So which witch is it? Disney is staying mum on the revelation, so we leave it to your detective work. Below is a photo of the main cast for comparison. Is the witch Weisz? Kunis? Will Raimi really pull the rug out from under our feet and turn Williams' Glinda into an evildoer? Or the craziest theory of all: James Franco. We'll find out when the movie arrives on March 8, 2013, but for now, check out the cast photo below and scroll down to answer our poll on who you think is the real Wicked Witch! Who Do You Think Is Playing the Wicked Witch in 'OZ'? Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches [Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures (2)] More: Does James Franco Have the Charm for 'OZ'? — TRAILER 'Oz the Great and Powerful' is Not Your Grandma's Land of Oz — POSTER Comic-Con 2012: 'OZ, Great and Powerful' Footage Overflows with Imagination — VIDEO From Our Partners: ’A Few Good Men’: Where Are They Now? (Moviefone) Best Mother and Son Movies: ‘Forrest Gump’ and More! (Moviefone)
  • From 'This Is 40' to Hitchcock to 'Wolverine': A Brief History of Spin-off Movies
    By: Matt Patches Dec 19, 2012
    Judd Apatow's This Is 40 is being dubbed as "semi-sequel," a clever buzzword that, when defined in the official Reboot Glossery, basically boils down to "spin-off." Which is not a bad thing: as Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann have escaped the supporting character confines of Knocked Up to star in their own comedy vehicle, so have many other characters and actors since the beginning of film history. In anticipation of Hollywood's latest spin-off, we take a look back at where the trend came from and where it's going from here…. The Early Days of Spin-offs In the turn of the 20th Century, movies were even more episodic than they are today, with serials dominating the theaters. Genres of every kind had films slowly released over time, but rarely did they "spin-off" in the traditional sense. Eventually, silent stars like Fatty Arbuckle and Harold Lloyd would help spin-off newcomers into their own movies. Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, not specific characters they played, became franchise lynchpins. Later, Universal's horror movies would become a steady stream of almost-kinda-sorta spin-offs, as was the case with 1936's Dracula's Daughter, which continues the events of the Bela Lugosi 1931 Dracula from the perspective of his next of kin. Spin-off or sequel? In the heyday of cinema, it was murkier territory. Charters and Caldicott Was Hitchcock the first to film a true spin-off? Actors Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne first appeared as their alter egos Charters and Caldicott in the director's 1938 thriller The Lady Vanishes, before being revived for his 1940 film A Night Train to Munich. The duo aren't the main characters of either movie — Margaret Lockwood actually stars in both, but as different characters, adding to the confusion. Obviously, people saw the continued use of the characters as reason to bring them back for more adventures: 1941's Crook's Tour put Charters and Caldicott at center stage, appearing in 1943's Millions Like Us, and the two were nearly included in The Third Man before being combined into a new character. The Comic Book Movies TV spin-offs were commonplace throughout the 20th Century, but 1984's Supergirl marks the beginning of movie spin-offs' fruitful life. The movie follows Kara Zor-El, a Kryptonian like Superman who also escaped the planet's blast. She heads to Earth — complete with Superman insignia-branded threads — and saves the day from an evil witch. Marc McClure, who played Jimmy Olsen in the 1979 Superman, returns for the movie, the only actor thread linking the two. Superhero movies are prime for spin-offs, and Hollywood is certainly aware of the potential. Elektra spun off of Daredevil, Halle Berry sent the drowning Batman franchise plummeting even further with Catwoman, and Hugh Jackman has continued to own the silver screen version of Marvel's Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the upcoming The Wolverine. With characters out the wazoo and room for cameos to act as testing grounds for new franchises, spin-offs may end up being more prevalent than ever. Sequel Demands With intricate mythologies and ever-growing ensembles, comic book movies are easy to spin off. Everything else? A wee bit harder. But studios have tried: five years after winning a Best Supporting Oscar for his work on The Fugitive, Warner Bros. brought Tommy Lee Jones back for another round of law enforcing in U.S. Marshals. No Dr. Richard Kimble to be found — Jones was now the star, chasing Wesley Snipes as guilty-until-proven-innocent man on the run. In more reasonable territory, producers found luck in back story (and The Rock's popularity) by prequelizing The Mummy Returns with the Dwayne Johnson-led Scorpion King. Robert Rodriguez took his faux-trailer for 2008's Machete from the movie Grindhouse and spun it off into a full length feature in 2011. With the added time afforded by the feature-length format, the world was granted a Lindsey Lohan nude scene (for what that's worth). The Comedies As This Is 40 proves, there's more flexibility in spinning off comedy than in drama. Not every movie would make sense to have a sequel. But as long as there's one character worth paying attention to, Hollywood has worked their alchemy to keep the "franchise" going. After outshining her male costars in Barbershop 2, Queen Latifah had her own salon story: Beauty Shop. Can't get Jim Carrey to come back for a sequel to the ubersuccessful Bruce Almighty? Not an issue, Steve Carrell can try his hand at another Biblical story with Evan Almighty. And This Is 40 isn't the first time Apatow's noticed the spin-off potential of his characters — in Get Him to the Greek, Russell Brand's breakout character Aldous Snow from Forgetting Sarah Marshall is given the star treatment. The Future of Spin-Offs The future is bright for spin-offs. Comic book movies continue to gain steam, while long-gestating projects never seem to disappear (see: Tom Cruise's Lev Grossman Tropic Thunder spin-off never failing to revive itself just when we though it was dead). Then there's the case of Star Wars, now in the hands of Disney, who plan to release two to three adventures in a galaxy far, far away per year starting in 2015. They've already hired writers, and the rumors are that the plan is all about spin-offs. With all the off-shoots in the works, Hollywood is iterating at fractal-like speed, continuing a trend that's been evolving for 100 years. Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches [Photo Credit: Universal Pictures; 20th Century Fox] More: Death By Éclair: How Paul Rudd Almost Killed Leslie Mann on ‘This is 40’ Hugh Jackman in for 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' — Ready for More Wolverine? 'Spider-Man': Why a Reboot Was the Only Answer You Might Also Like: 20 Hot (and Horrifying) Movie Sex Scenes Mayan Doomsday: Which Theories Could Cause World to End?
  • 'Les Misérables': Anne Hathaway Reveals She Was the Cosette to Her Mother's Fantine
    By: Matt Patches Dec 18, 2012
    It's hard to imagine, but even after an actor or actress has climbed their way up from lead of their high school's production of Once Upon a Mattress to Oscar-nominated actress on their way to being full-fledged Academy Award winner, that person's parents are still just as proud and overwhelmed with emotion as they were in the beginning. Moms and Dads: they'll always love to gush. Anne Hathaway is currently earning raves and Oscar buzz for her portrayal of Fantine in the film adaptation of the classic musical Les Misérables. But perhaps more importantly, she's wowing her mother and father. While Hathaway is stern about the fact that the roles she takes are the ones that compel her and her alone, she also can't help but acknowledge how thrilled her mother is with her performance. "She's really happy. It's really exciting to go through this moment," Hathaway says. "To have my love for the show have originated 23 years ago when I saw my mother do it… she is so connected, both my parents are so connected, to this moment, to me, it's a really happy time for us." Hathway's mother, Kate McCauley Hathaway, played Fantine in a National Tour of Les Misérables, making the role in the film version even more personal for the actress. Hathaway is protective when it comes to revealing how she digs deep into her characters, but says she learned an important lesson from her mother's own experiences playing the part. "I loved to hear her stories about it," Hathaway says. "Whenever she would go on as Fantine, she would keep my picture on the mirror ... so whenever she would have to think of Cosette, all of the love she felt for me would make its way into her performance." To hear more from Anne Hathaway on her parents' reaction to her performance and an inside look on the strenuous single-shot delivery of "I Dreamed a Dream" (which took 20 takes to shoot!), check out our interview with the actress below: Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches [Photo Credit: Universal Pictures] More: 'Les Misérables' Star Hugh Jackman Admits Singing in the Alps Is Harder Than 'Wolverine' Stunts 'Les Mis' Stars Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe Get in a (Musical) Bar Fight — VIDEO Early Oscar Buzz Pegs 'Les Miserables', Anne Hathaway, 'Zero Dark Thirty' As Contenders You Might Also Like:15 Oscar-Winning Nude ScenesTopanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s!