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    • JJ Abrams' crazy Stephen King-themed CASTLE ROCK gets a new trailer and release date!

      8 months ago


      I'm hoping by now a good many of you have gotten to know me a little bit. If I'm still a mystery wrapped in an enigma for you, I can boil my interests down to two Steves: Spielberg and King. I grew up obsessed with both men's work. Starting in 6th Grade I decided I was going to read every book Stephen King ever wrote. I started with Cujo and being the solitary nerd type throughout all my schooling I had plenty of time to read and by the time I was in high school I had read everything King wrote (even the stuff he wrote under his Richard Bachmann pseudonym). 

      I still pick up every book he puts out and that is one prolific motherfucker, so he keeps me busy. 

      So when it was announced that JJ Abrams was developing a Hulu show called Castle Rock I was already in. Castle Rock is one of King's famous fictional Maine towns and it serves as ground zero for a bunch of crazy shit. The show promised to bring all kinds of King references and characters together and now we've gotten a new trailer that really underlines that.

      One thing that's really interesting is that they're casting it with a few Stephen King movie alums, like IT's Bill Skarsgard and Chosen Jacobs and Carrie's Sissy Spacek. The other cast is top notch, too, including Lost's Terry O'Quinn, apparently playing the new warden at Shawshank Prison, Melanie Lynskey as a real estate agent (tough job in that town), Andre Holland and Evil Dead and Don't Breathe's Jane Levy round out the cast.

      The new trailer not only gives us a better glimpse at what kind of show we should expect it also drops the release date: July 25th. It can't come soon enough for this King nerd. 

    • CinemaCon: First Footage From The Suspiria Remake Is Brutal, Intense and Mean!

      8 months ago


      On this busy last day of CinemaCon I went to Amazon's presentation specifically because I was hoping to see something from the Suspiria remake.


      Dario Argento's original is considered by many to be a true masterpiece of horror. From a production design, tone and music standpoint it's hard to disagree with that. Argento's gothic, colorful movie about witchcraft at a dance school gets under the skin.

      Over the years a few different directors have approached this project, like David Gordon Green. His movie didn't happen, but he ended up with Halloween, so don't feel too bad for him. Luca Guadagnino is the one who was able to get this remake off the ground.

      He's an interesting choice for this. He's known for very emotionally charged dramas, most recently Call Me By Your Name. The fact that he's following that sensitive gay romance drama with frickin' Suspiria is bonkers by itself. What's even more bonkers is he shot Suspiria BEFORE he did Call Me By Your Name.

      But what the hell was a Suspiria remake going to look like? Well, today I got to see a little piece of it and it was sure something.

      The footage was graphic, brutal and a little mean. That's a good thing, by the way. Guadagnino ties witchcraft to dance, which is interesting. The footage began with a girl trapped in a mirrored room and then cuts to Dakota Johnson's character about to practice a dance for her instructor, the great Tilda Swinton.

      As Johnson does her routine, her movements have an impact on the poor girl trapped in the mirrored room. I didn't get the impression that Johnson knew the connection was there, but the more intense her dance got the more damage she was doing to the girl in the mirrored room. With each jerk of the Johnson's arms or twist of her body the girl is thrown around the room, her limbs contorting in unnatural ways, bones cracking, jawbone slowly dislocating, until it culminates with Johnson finishing her dance and the girl is left a crumpled, drooling ball of twisted legs, arms and torso.

      When I say the footage was mean, I'm not kidding. This scene went on for a long while. Maybe three or four minutes long and when it ends the girl in the mirrored room isn't dead. Oh no. She should be, but that mound of body parts is hitching for breath, drool spilling out of her broken mouth.

      Tonally that was right on. Visually it was radically different from Argento's movie. It's a good thing that Guadagnino isn't copying the original, but his choice seems to be to go in the complete opposite direction. 


      The footage I saw was stark and almost colorless. The walls and floor were white, the clothing was all muted, light colors.

      I only saw one little sequence, so who knows if he gets crazier with the colors later in the movie, but I don't see how you remake Suspiria and don't, you know, use color. That's like doing Superman without John Williams' score or a Jaws movie without a shark.

      That said, the most important thing for Guadagnino to nail is tone and boy did he.

    • On-set Interview: Chris Pratt Talks About Jumping through a T-Rex's Mouth from the set of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!

      8 months ago


      When I got the invitation to the Hawaii set of the Jurassic World sequel I had already booked a vacation... In New Zealand. Of course I couldn't say no, but the timing was such that I flew from Austin to Wellington, New Zealand, which is about a total travel time of around 20-ish hours, get to sleep for a night, and then get right back on a plane and fly halfway back home, spend a few days in Hawaii and then fly another 8 hours back to New Zealand to enjoy the rest of my vacation.

      I mention this only because in that day and a half I was in New Zealand I found a bag of Doritos... a special bag of Doritos. I know, any bag of Doritos is a special bag of Doritos, but this was a limited edition Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 Doritos flavor that was only available in the southern hemisphere. Naturally, being the thoughtful guy I was, I picked up a bag of these green chips with Chris Pratt's face on it and hauled it all the way to Hawaii to give it to Chris Pratt himself.

      This interview was conducted in a tent on a dock where they were shooting a scene involving a big truck surrounded by fire racing to the water. The tent next door housed Bryce Dallas Howard. How do I know this? Well, she cameos in this interview after covertly dropping some eaves. You'll see.

      Right before this interview started I delivered unto Mr. Pratt his Doritos and, as expected, he was super nice about it and thanked me for bringing them to him and said he was going to either A) Destroy the whole bag or B) Save them for posterity and eat them in 20 years, which was either going to result in his death or him getting high as fuck.

      Pratt was every bit the magnetic dude you'd imagine him to be. Very laid back, but clearly super charming. You understand why he's a movie star when you meet him. The dude's funny, never put on airs and was just an overall pleasure to talk to.

      As a reminder, I conducted this interview with Slashfilm's Peter Sciretta, who joined me on this trip, so don't be surprised when you see his name pop up in the below interview, which covers a lot of ground. We learn more about where Owen is at, what he's been doing in the years since the events of Jurassic World, how Pratt deals with fanboying out over the legends he works with and much more!

      Enjoy the chat!


      Peter Sciretta: It's been a few years since Jurassic World. What has Owen been up to?

      Chris Pratt: I have an idea as to the backstory. What I know and what Bryce and I and JA have all decided on... We hint at it a little bit through the interaction between Owen and Claire, but I think he's been running away a little bit. Where we landed in terms of my backstory and our relationship is that something has broken us. We're not together. The thing that has broken us is that Claire feels as though she has to do something to make it right and Owen feels as though there's no way to make it right, so you have to move on. I think that's the thing that destroyed us.

      Claire is now working for this organization and she's pouring all her energy into trying to save these dinosaurs and my character is like “let's go on a road trip. Let's forget what's happened. You keep obsessing about this.” It all came from the idea that he's a combat veteran. He's been through some stuff beforehand, so this isn't the first time he saw something really terrible happen. He's come to realize you have to sometimes accept what you've gone through and realize there's no way of changing it. That's what broke them. It's a control thing between the two of them.

      So, what he's been up to is he's been building a cabin by a lake, off the grid a little bit, probably drinking a little bit of beer and listening to music, hanging out... being solitary.

      Eric Vespe: We know part of Owen's motivation for returning to the island is to help Blue. Can you talk a little bit about how Owen might be different this time around considering the experience he had last time around. Has his point of view changed at all?

      Chris Pratt: Through the course of this film it will change, but it happens now, not between the two movies. He's coming to terms with his responsibility in working with the raptors and ultimately what the final intention with these things could be.

      We do this cool thing... It's this video log from early on in the Raptors' lives. Owen kept a video diary tracking their progress, so we see the Raptors as hatchlings to two months old, then six months old. It's this way to look into just how mammalian they are in their intelligence levels and their cognitive reasoning skills. They exhibit behaviors of empathy. He starts to realize that they've created these things that look like raptors, but they're much more.

      This movie really does open up a whole new concept for the Jurassic movies moving forward. You get an understanding that he knew a little bit more about these raptors than he'd want to let anybody know. I think he's cynical about Hoskins from the first movie, In-Gen, what their intentions are about creating animals this dangerous and this intelligent. You can assume what somebody bad would want to do with animals like that. Part of him feels as though the best case scenario is that they all die. When this island goes up in smoke it might be the right thing and maybe finally his responsibility for potentially creating a disastrous result with these animals will go away.

      So, in a way he thinks it's a natural thing for the dinosaurs to go away, but what brings him there is not so much saving the dinosaurs, it's protecting Claire; his love for her. He knows she's too big-headed. He knows she's going to go. He's not going to let her go on her own, so it's his love for her that brings him back to the island. At first. Through the course he realizes there's a little bit more to his relationship with Blue. And that he's a robot. (laughs)


      Eric Vespe: Yes, a learning computer. He's Arnold from Terminator 2, not Terminator 1.

      Chris Pratt: Yeah, T2! (laughs)

      Peter Sciretta: The last film had a couple animatronics, but this one has a lot more. What was it like meeting these dinosaurs? I mean, I touched Blue and I almost cried.

      Chris Pratt: I know! It's really great. Because of the scenarios contrived in this film we have these passive dinosaurs. When you see the movie you'll see why they're not always running or jumping or leaping or doing things that animatronics aren't good at. They're sitting still. We did that in the first film with the Apatosaurus as it was dying in our arms. That was a real animatronic and it was amazing to hold this thing that felt living and breathing, its eyes were opening and closing. As many advancements in CGI that they've made since '93 when the first film came out they've also made some serious advancements in animatronics. These things are really very, very lifelike.

      Because of these situations we have a T-Rex and a Raptor that are full animatronic puppets. You got a dozen guys operating them and it's really cool. It's much easier as an actor to have something to react to. It's been great. Blue is awesome.

      Eric Vespe: How cool is the Rex? We've only heard about that build. We weren't able to see her in person.

      Chris Pratt: There's an awesome moment where Claire essentially rides this passed out, drugged T-Rex, which wakes up and I have to dive through its jaws. It's a really crazy sequence...

      (From next door, through the thin tent flap) Bryce Dallas Howard: SPOILER!

      Chris Pratt: Hey, I read the talking points. It said I could talk about it!

      (Still from the tent next door) Bryce Dallas Howard: Even the T-Rex?!?

      Chris Pratt: It what it says right here! (to us) Of course, Bryce is over there listening.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: (laughs) And I wouldn't call us broken, Chris!

      Chris Pratt: You've got to read the talking points.

      Peter Sciretta: Bryce was talking about how JA will play music between takes and sometimes during takes. You're used to that. James Gunn does that on the Guardians films. How is it different here with this movie?

      Chris Pratt: It's a great tool. I love it, I'm in full support of playing music through a take, even if it comes at the expense of the dialogue. Having a rhythm that's resonating through each person caught on screen is very, very helpful. You can forget that it's mid-third act and we are running for our lives. You're making this million piece puzzle and you may spend all day shooting something that takes 5 seconds. You get bored, you're sitting there annnnd action! Cut! You forget you're supposed to be breathing heavily. You forget when it's linked together it gets very manic and suspenseful. The music really helps with that.

      (JA) uses that a lot and he uses it for jump scares. He has this whole playlist that's always wired in, including a T-Rex roaring. From time to time he'll play it and we'll all react to it naturally because we don't know it's coming. He loves to manipulate us in that way, which is really helpful as an actor. He'll scare us out of nowhere or do something unexpected.

      Eric Vespe: Like play a fart sound?

      Chris Pratt: (Laughs) Not yet. We're almost done, but he hasn't done that quite yet. But I like that. It's a good tool to use to get people excited or scared or give a sense of wonderment. Especially when he plays the John Williams score. (hums the main theme) Oh my God! It allows you to do nothing because in this film we are actors and we contribute so much, of course, but there are characters we don't even see because they're going to be animated, but they're going to need to have their moment or the score will need to have its moment. It's a big collaboration and sometimes you need to sit back and let the music take center stage. When you play that music it reminds you “Oh, I don't need to try to upstage this with acting or faces or anything. I don't have to do anything here, just let the music guide me and the audience to what we're supposed to be feeling.”

      There's some great stuff, like when we're flying to the island for the first time and we're looking out the window and he's playing this music and it puts you in the scene, like you're an audience member. It's really cool. I like it a lot.

      Eric Vespe: JA was telling us that there's a heavy focus on suspense in this film. There was a little bit of that in the first Jurassic World, but it was more focused on the spectacle of the new park and the disaster movie aspect of things going wrong. Hearing that this one was going rely more on suspense did that make you more excited to do this? I can imagine the worst thing for you to do is read the script and think “We just did this.”

      Chris Pratt: It was really exciting to understand we were doing something really different. I was thrilled when I got the script. I think people have high expectations for sequels. I think with this one those expectations will be met, if not surpassed. It does something different. It opens up a new chapter. It's called Fallen Kingdom. The Kingdom of this movie is people stuck on an island with dinosaurs freaking out and killing everyone. That is falling and we're moving onto something else.

      The first one was a disaster film. Shifting the tone over to suspense is really nice because I think with suspense you can do a lot with very little. You don't see Jaws for a good 2/3rds of the movie. You know he's there, there's music, you see the evidence of it... Not to say we're doing exactly that. I don't think that necessarily works as much anymore. I was just watching Jaws the other day with my son and he's like “Where's the shark?”

      Eric Vespe: And you're like “Disowned!”

      Chris Pratt: Yeah, disowned! Get the fuck outta here! He's four and during the third act battle I was like “I'll show you the shark, get in here!” He was like “Aaaaaaaaahhh” and I was like (sternly) “You'll sit and watch! You earn this!”

      Peter Sciretta: What's it like working opposite Jeff Goldblum?


      Chris Pratt: Man, he's amazing. A huge part of the success of Jurassic World was the success of Jurassic Park. It all started in '93 with them and with him. I know that we had the blessing of Steven Spielberg and Universal and fans, but it's nice that he signs up to do this movie because in a way it's giving it his blessing. That was really cool. He's a terrific actor and maybe the kindest actor out there. He's really cool and smart and funny and interesting. It's really awesome to have him in this movie.

      Peter Sciretta: He has such a unique rhythm in how he plays things. He's different from everybody else. I feel like if I was in a scene with him I'd just become the kid that saw Jurassic Park and I'd be watching him instead of being in the scene.

      Chris Pratt: I feel like if I answer that I'll be giving away too much, but you do have to get it out of the way when you work with someone like Jeff Goldblum or I just did Guardians with Kurt Russell... You work with these people who are icons... It's a two step process. First, you have to be authentic and let them know just how crazy about them that you are. You make that really short and brief. You get that out of the way so you're not a liar or the guy that doesn't acknowledge them. You pay your respects.

      After that you immediately move to step B which is you become a peer and a collaborator or else you lose their respect. If every time you see them you go “Dude, this is so crazy!” you might not be the right guy for this job. Even when you're feeling that the third, fourth, fifth, sixth day you work together you kind of have to bury that and get right to the work.

      It's a strange thing being famous. I'm certainly not an icon like a Kurt Russell or a Jeff Goldblum. They are icons and maybe one day I will be, but if their journey is similar at all to mine you don't really feel that way about yourself, so if people feel that way about you it's kind of an uncomfortable situation that you politely and patiently wait for to be over so you can get back to being normal again. So you get through that stuff. You go “Oh my God, I love you! I can't believe we're working together!” and then you get to work.

      Peter Sciretta: All the great Michael Crichton stories had a little something on their mind. They weren't just adventure plots. They always had some kind of commentary. What do you think is on this movie's mind?

      Chris Pratt: (Pauses) It feels relevant to now and I think part of that has to do with technology, which is not necessarily something that doesn't serve the greater good, but is valuable. Maybe we put aside moral dilemmas because you can make money. It has a little to do with greed. That's a theme that resonated in the first movie as well and continues to resonate in this series. It's a cautionary tale against greed and over-ambition and a lack of respect for the natural order and confidence in our ability to control that which we can't control.

      Eric Vespe: Which is Dr. Malcolm's stance in that first movie, so it makes sense that he's back in play here.

      Chris Pratt: Yeah, that's right.

      Peter Sciretta: Who are the real monsters: the humans or the dinosaurs?

      Chris Pratt: That's a good question! (laughs)


      So that's the interview! Still got a couple more, with the two new faces in the group Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda, coming up plus my detailed set report where I tour the island, see some dead dinos and also some very much alive (read: amazing animatronic) dinos and so much more!

      Stay tuned!

    • CinemaCon: JJ Abrams Says Bad Robot's OVERLORD is NOT a Cloverfield Sequel!

      8 months ago



      Hey, everybody. At the big Paramount panel at CinemaCon this afternoon JJ Abrams appeared on-screen to introduce some footage from Bad Robot's Overlord, a WWII horror movie directed by Julius Avery. First, he said that Overlord is Bad Robot's first R-rated movie and that it's "batshit crazy."

      Then he said contrary to what you may have heard on forums and Reddit Overlord is NOT a stealth Cloverfield movie. In fact he said they're developing a "true, dedicated Cloverfield sequel" according to JJ. That means it's not one they retrofit into the universe late in the process like both 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox. 

      So, what is Overlord. Like I said it's a WW2 horror movie about a small squad of soldier shot down over enemy lines during the Normandy Invasion. From the footage it seems like the survivors stumble across a bunker with some real messed up shit inside. We're talking Re-Animator stuff involving syringes with red stuff in them that can seemingly bring people back to life, seemingly undead monstrosities and other nightmarish things. Those Nazis are never up to any good, are they?

      The standout sequence in the footage was one of the soldier approaching a gurney with a woman on it, obscured mostly by a curtain. She's begging for help in French. The soldier pulls back the curtain and reveals the head is about all that's left. It's just her head, still asking for help, and her spinal column. Everything else has been stripped away.

      So, it's gonna be gnarly. That's very much my kind of horror movie, so count me on board with this one as well!

    • CinemaCon: First Footage From Halloween Is Screened! Michael Myers Comes Home And Jamie Lee Is Ready For Him!

      8 months ago


      Universal's presentation at CinemaCon was pretty spectacular. Yes, they had Cher there to Fernando in celebration of the Mama Mia sequel. Yes, they have video introductions by people like The Rock and Peter Jackson... but the thing I was most looking forward to was the very first look anywhere of the new Halloween movie.

      And boy did they deliver.


      Producer Jason Blum brought out the great Jamie Lee Curtis to introduce the footage. The set up is that after Loomis shot Myers at the end of the first movie he was eventually captured and re-institutionalized and Laurie has been waiting and preparing for the last 40 years for him to escape. She's with her daughter and granddaughter the Halloween he does get out.

      So the footage definitively states that none of the Halloween sequels matter. Everything that has been made after the events of the first film is out the window. There was even a scene with teenage characters talking about Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. “Wasn't it her brother that killed all those people?” “It wasn't her brother. That was something people made up.”

      In the footage we see a couple of reporters or documentarians visiting the asylum where Myers is and they approach a man standing in an open courtyard, back to them, chained to the ground. Of course the dummy reporter guy pulls out the mask. I can't tell you whether or not Michael responds to that (because we didn't see any more of that scene), but it introduces the mask and Michael certainly gets it back at some point.

      My biggest takeaway from the footage was that they were taking everything very seriously. If you were wondering if having Danny McBride co-writing this with David Gordon Green meant we were getting a more comedy/horror thing you were fuckin' wrong.

      There's an insanity to Michael this time out that is really off-putting. He's not going crazy, but his body language and actions are just “off.” Super creepy.

      Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode is no damsel in distress here. In fact I don't think there was one shot of her being afraid. Quite the opposite. She's not only prepared for this moment (having rigged her house with various safe rooms, weapons and hidden compartments), she's been hoping for it. At one point she even says that she prays he gets out someday so she can kill him.

      From the footage I can say that when he does get out (looks like a bus crash lets loose a lot of the inmates) Laurie is hunting him just as much as he's hunting his victims.

      There was a great scene where a woman (I think maybe one of the reporters/documentarians?) is in a bathroom stall and you see Michael's boots walk in. She's like “Occupied” and his hand reaches over the top of the stall door and drops a half dozen bloody teeth down on her.

      That's the kind of crazy we're dealing with here.

      The footage ended with a kid in bed asking his mom (or maybe a babysitter?) to close the closet door. The door is open a crack, the light from inside spilling out. She pushes it closed, but it bounces back. She does it again, it bounces back open. Third time it bounces she opens it fully revealing Myers, knife in hand.

      Very much a straight horror movie and I can't wait to see it. The mask looked right, the tone was right, Jamie Lee was super fired up. I'm super psyched about that footage and I can't wait to see the movie.

    • On-Set Interview: Bryce Dallas Howard On What To Expect From Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!

      8 months ago


      I've been lucky enough to have run into Bryce Dallas Howard many times over the years. I remember interviewing her at Comic-Con waaaaaaay back for Spider-Man 3. She's always been nothing but gracious, kind and a thoughtful interview.

      The first thing I noticed when I walked into her trailer were the tall adventurers boots she was wearing. Of course a crack had to be made about the meme of her running around the jungle wearing high heels in Jurassic World and she rolled with it, saying it was in her contract that she had to suitable footware this time out.

      Claire has evolved quite a bit from the cold, uncaring businesswoman at the start of Jurassic World. She begins Fallen Kingdom as a political advocate, passionately fighting for the rights of the dinosaurs to exist. She's trying to make some amends for the part she played in the disaster at the park in the last movie.

      Howard talks a bit about this turn for her character, where Claire goes in this film and what the future potentially holds for her. Plus I get to recommend one of my all-time favorite movie series to her, so keep your eyes peeled for that! Enjoy the chat!


      Bryce Dallas Howard: Obviously I haven't been able to talk to anybody else about this movie! You guys know a lot about the movie now, right?

      Eric Vespe: We know a little bit. We certainly know a lot more than we did yesterday!

      Peter Sciretta: It sounds cool. I'm glad that they're returning to the island. I was afraid it was going to move directly into militarized dinos or something.

      Eric Vespe: I like the set up. It reminds me of Son of Kong. Back in the day King Kong was a huge success and they rushed out a sequel about them going back to Skull Island, but they do it because the island is sinking and they're trying to rescue the last Kong. Of course that doesn't go well...

      Bryce Dallas Howard: These things never do!

      Eric Vespe: But I like that premise here because of what it means for your character. In the first movie Claire goes from someone who is cold and disconnected to realizing the implications of what she's been doing. JA told us you start this movie as a dinosaur rights activist, which means Claire gets to start the movie from a proactive position.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: It is. And going back to speak to what you were saying about being glad that it's back on the island, I feel the same way. Having shot so much of the movie in England... On the last movie we started in the jungle. We shot all in the jungle and then we went to New Orleans. For this one, we shot so much of it (in England) and then came here and Chris and I were like “Yeah, now it feels like Jurassic. Thank God!”

      Without human beings entering into a space that is dinosaur turf it doesn't feel like the Jurassic experience. That's a lot of what this movie is about. Up to this point the entertainment value of these films is that the most dangerous thing is the dinosaur where the truth is it's really human beings that are the most dangerous species. Finally in this movie we're having that clash. We've been on their turf and now they're coming on ours and ours is becoming theirs and what does that mean? That's the question.

      What I'm talking about right now isn't actually the plot. I'm not tricking you, but from a thematic standpoint that's the movie. The wish-fulfillment of Jurassic is the question “What if human beings and dinosaurs coexisted simultaneously? What would happen?” There are various permutations of what could occur. That's what these stories are examining.

      Peter Sciretta: They told us this takes place 5 years after the last one. What has happened in your character's life in those five years?

      Bryce Dallas Howard: I keep thinking 3 (years), but anyway!

      Eric Vespe: We were told it's 5 years from the end of the first movie and three years from events of the prologue in this movie. Does that make any sense?

      Bryce Dallas Howard: I'm gonna ask some questions! What I'm imagining is that it's been roughly the same amount of time that audiences have been away from this story. It's like everything has been occurring in real time, basically. When we watch this movie it's as if it takes place in 2018.

      To speak to what you were saying regarding Claire and the way she's shifted, her internal self and her external self are starting to become one whereas in the last film her behavior, her actions were really out of alignment with her values. That was the inner conflict with the character and by the end of it her power is being used for good; her righteousness is being used for good. The very thing that was leading her astray is the very thing that saved Chris Pratt and two cowering children surrounded by stuffed animals!

      Where we are now, I think, is we're seeing a woman who is definitely stepping into her power. She's fighting for these dinosaurs. She's taking responsibility and trying to basically present the argument that there's lions in the world and there are dangerous species of snakes and sharks... there's all these dangerous creatures and yet if those creatures are threatened with an extinction level event we protect them. So, guys, we have an endangered species here. They're actually here. This is now reality.

      Eric Vespe: It doesn't matter that they were genetically created by man.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Yes. They're afforded the same rights as any other endangered species. That's her point of view of the situation and this is her cause.

      Eric Vespe: We know there are some newcomers and you'll be with Chris again onscreen, but tell me how Claire reacts to Ian Malcolm.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh my gosh. I have a real hard time separating my own personal reaction to Dr. Ian Malcolm from Claire's reaction.

      Eric Vespe: So you just keep seeing the shot of him with his shirt open from Jurassic Park?


      Bryce Dallas Howard: Exactly! That glistening chest, black shirt and perfect golden tan. Totally bronzed. I know that shot vividly! I could probably guess the lens they were using, but anyway... (laughs) I met him a couple of years ago. I mean, I didn't meet him, I saw him across a crowd. I saw him and he was his charming self, but I never met him because he was across the crowd, but we had a connection from the start.

      Then I met him in the UK. I think that Claire would absolutely have the utmost respect for his approach and his logic and his certainty and confidence. He's also very tall and did I mention he's tan and I happen to know he also sings and plays music...

      Eric Vespe: And cooks!

      Bryce Dallas Howard: And cooks food. But where does Jeff Goldblum end and Dr. Ian Malcolm begin, really? Wouldn't it be so crazy if the twist of the movie is that Claire ended up with Dr. Ian Malcolm? Forget about the dinosaurs, people!

      Eric Vespe: Well, we know he's always on the lookout for the next ex-Mrs. Malcolm.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Yes! Yes! Yes!

      Eric Vespe: And the ultimate arc of these films is seeing him get married and divorced over and over again.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Yeah, who he goes through. That's the real journey. Oh my gosh, that would be really funny.

      Eric Vespe: But from a character perspective Claire in the first Jurassic World seemed to not have any nostalgia for the original park or the goings on there. I imagine she might have a different reaction to Malcolm then as she would now.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: He's a character who is the voice of reason. He's Michael Crichton, in a way. He's the philosopher. You're right, at the beginning she was disconnected, but now it's a different story. I've never actually thought about what Claire would think about him. That's interesting because she would have known about him. Ugh! I didn't do my homework!

      Peter Sciretta: So, what is the plan? The plan is to save the dinosaurs, but bring them where?

      Bryce Dallas Howard: I mean, that's part of the question. If you can imagine what you would do in real life, that's the dilemma. Where do you bring them? Do you put them in a zoo? Do you create a private sanctuary? Do you do this all over again with another island? What's the plan exactly?

      It's so weird the way art mirrors life. The challenge that we're having with emerging technologies and the consequences that we're needing to live with because of these paradigm-shifting technologies that are getting introduced. Figuring out policy about these technologies from a government perspective is almost impossible.

      Our government was designed to move slowly so that our lives didn't change abruptly, yet our lives are changing abruptly because of free trade and the open market is evolving so, so quickly. We are experiencing this moment where we are having to regulate ourselves, hence this Dr. Ian Malcolm being the voice of reason and representing, thematically, what this movie's about.

      Where do we bring the dinosaurs? You can imagine the government would get involved with something like that, but would they figure out what they're going to do quickly enough? If not, what do you do?

      There's a lot of activism happening right now to accelerate the solutions. Anyway, I'll step gently off my soap box... (laughs)

      Peter Sciretta: I do love that this film seems to be going back to the Michael Crichton style of having a political commentary, of saying something about us.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Yeah, absolutely. He's like Isaac Asimov or HG Wells. He's a futurist. He was a scientist and he understood what was going to be happening in the future. He had an analytical mind that he used to help propel his imagination. He was one of those guys, one of those thought prophets.

      The moral questions of the first Jurassic Park provided a lot of substance, but those questions are really what we're dealing with presently that feels so urgent and so personal. To get to make a Jurassic film where at the center of it is Michael Crichton's philosophies so we can have that mirror moment, that's when movies get to do more than what movies typically get to do. A little bit. If we can. Because it can't be didactic.

      What Crichton did was he never pushed an agenda at all. He presented a dilemma. That's what sci-fi is! Sci-fi is all about “what if?” I don't have to tell you guys what sci-fi is... (laughs) But it's not about the answers, it's the questions.

      Eric Vespe: The genius of the initial concept of Jurassic Park is... I want to go there! I'm on the side of the people making the park because I want to see a T-Rex. When you're reading it you realize “Ahh, I'm kind of the bad guy for wanting this...” There's a level to complexity to that initial idea and it sounds like you guys are expanding on it.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Yeah, it is the dilemma. If something can be a little bit thought-provoking and a lot of fun then even that's enough. It's when things don't have a point of view (they fail.)

      Peter Sciretta: What is Claire's relationship now with Owen?

      Bryce Dallas Howard: That's... that's... that's a question, for sure.

      Peter Sciretta: We've been told that one of them moved on and one of them didn't.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Okay.

      Peter Sciretta: Which one moved on?

      Bryce Dallas Howard: You know what? That's a question that they ask one another. (laughs) You guys will know what that means when you see the movie! It's based on an improv that Chris and I had in a room early on.

      In the trailer this morning I announced to the trailer “I'm going to start a Google Doc and if you guys have any ideas for the next movie, if there is one, fingers crossed, let me know, no matter how wild.” My makeup artist was like “You know what? You know what I really miss? Like I Love Lucy and the dynamic between Ricky and Lucy and how you would never think that they belong together, but they have each others back no matter what. The circumstances, the comedy, comes not from a lack of understanding, but from a lack of ability to communicate initially.” She said this and I was like “I'm putting it in the Google Doc.”

      There's something about the dynamic between these characters that both plays into and against the tropes of movie relationships. It's always fun to think about that. Chris and I were talking through what kind of parents Claire and Owen would be and that lead us to talk about what kind of parents we are, are we helicopter parents or not, the ways in which we could be better and blah-blah-blah.

      I was thinking later on, “You know what? I feel like Owen would be the helicopter parent and Claire would be chill and cool and be like you need to let them be what they're going to be.” That would show the evolution of Claire. It's fun to consider those things and have room for those things. You set up the trope and then you play against it. You set up the trope and then I'm with a flare outrunning a T-Rex while he's cowering with children. I like to mention that every once in a while, at least three times in every interview. (laughs)

      Eric Vespe: Can I give you a suggestion for your Google Doc? My favorite movie husband and wife of all time: Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man series. Myrna Loy and William Powell are the leads and they're an upperclass husband and wife duo who decide being rich isn't enough and they decide to solve murders on the side. To make it even better they're both drunkards.


      Bryce Dallas Howard: That's so cool!

      Eric Vespe: They love each other through and through, but toss out barbs at each other all the time.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh, dude, thank you so much! That's what we were talking about this morning! Someone else mentioned Castle and someone else mentioned Sherlock Holmes and Watson. It's so great when it gets to the point where's it's about partnership.

      This is interesting. In this movie, for Owen and Claire it is about partnership. We've talked about it a lot because that's what Chris and I feel like with one another. We always say “We make a good movie team!”

      JA and Belen (Atienza), his producing partner, are an incredible team. This story of what it takes to be a team and what it takes to become partners is encapsulated somewhat in the defying of the gender tropes.

      Eric Vespe: It'd probably be good to talk about JA since he's the main new ingredient here. We know that he likes to play music. He told us there was a specific scene where there was no dialogue and you were looking at something and he played three different pieces of music: a romantic one, a scary one and a funny one and he said you ended up playing it three different ways.

      Bryce Dallas Howard: I'm shocked that I've never thought of or experienced doing that before. Joe Wright plays music on set, but it's more for levity between scenes. JA doing that changes everything instantly. This whole generation of actors came up as cinephiles. That's why we love making movies because we're obsessed with movies, so for him to play these classic scores and different kinds of music just instantly gets you into that headspace and you understand what the scene's about.

      Also, we're working with a young actress... this is her first movie. She's naturally very gifted and extremely cerebral, so she's fantastic, but the music helps her just as much as it helps us. The premise of it was he was like “I'll do it for Izzy because it help her,” and Chris and I were like “Oh my God, this is amazing!”

      Something about JA that is crazy... we met each other years and years and years ago. We had a general meeting that was for a movie he didn't end up directing, that I didn't end up acting in, but he was attached as a director and we had this meeting at the Chateau that turned into this two-hour dinner and I just fell in love.

      Peter Sciretta: He's so charming!

      Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh my gosh! He's so charming and passionate and adorable. When the movie didn't happen, I honestly and kind of jokingly referred to him as “The One Who Got Away.” To all my friends! Like “The one who got away did another amazing movie without me!”

      When Colin (Trevorrow) was sharing with Chris and I who were the frontrunners he was hoping to work with and he mentioned JA I was like (gasp) “Dude, he was the one that got away!” He was like “You had a relationship with him?” “No, no, no.”

      I love Colin so-so-so-so much and it was such an incredible experience working with him and I was super bummed he wasn't going to be directing this movie, so it was really crazy to me that he mentioned JA who was literally the person I've been joking about for 10 years as the one that got away.


      That's it for this one. Still more Jurassic World goodies to go! A young fella by the name of Chris Pratt will be tomorrow. I began the interview by gifting him a limited edition back of Guardians of the Galaxy Doritos, so you know he was in a good mood for that chat.

    • Han Meets Lando In Footage Shown At CinemaCon

      8 months ago


      Today was a big day at CinemaCon. STX, Warner Bros and Disney all had their big panels and since we're so close to release of Solo: A Star Wars Story they actually treated us to a nice, juicy full sequence from the latest Star Wars movie.

      The scene had Emilia Clarke's Qi'Ra leading Alden Ehrenreich's Young Han Solo through some dingy gambling den to meet some mystery person, who is said to have slipped through the Empire's fingers more than just about anyone else. He has a ship they need for whatever they're up to. Star Wars fans know what's coming up.

      They pass a ring in the center of the smoke and alien-filled hive of scum and villainy where beat up droids are murdering the shit out of each other and then they get to the high stakes table where, yes, Mr. Lando Calrissian is playing some Sabacc with a bunch of scoundrels.

      Han walks up and the angle is low, catching his trademark DL-44 blaster at his hip, his legs framing Lando for this iconic moment of two charming rogues meeting each other for the first time.


      Donald Glover as Lando is everything you want it to be. He's so at ease in this role and naturally charming. It's like he was meant to be Billy Dee Williams' heir. He has some line as Han walks up where he's talking to one of the aliens at the table and it was something like “There are no liars in this game, just players.” Simple line, but the way he delivered it felt so authentically Lando that I was instantly won over.

      Ehrenreich as Solo I'm still iffy on. He's got the charm factor and the swagger, but something felt a little forced about it. I'm not sure if I'll feel the same way seeing his character in the context of the full movie, but he didn't feel as natural a fit to me as Glover did playing Lando.

      They have a great interaction to start. Han: “Is this seat taken?” “If the seat's empty, it's not taken, friend.” Han introduces himself, Lando returns the favor.

      Han wins his first hand of Sabacc (“Beginner's luck,” he says)... the game seemed to be played like poker, where there were rounds of betting before revealing your hand. Lando wins the next one and a conversation develops about their ships... Han's laying the groundwork for a big bet where he bets his ship (whether it exists or not) against Lando's, which we know is going to be the Millennium Falcon.

      That moment eventually comes, but not before Lando needles Solo a little bit, calling him “Han,” not “Hawn.” Han corrects him. Lando repeats his mispronunciation and that made my inner geek stand up and clap a little bit. I wondered if they were going to address that since Billy Dee's Lando always mispronounced Han's name in The Empire Strikes Back. Now there's a character reason for it.


      So, the big bet comes and Lando puts his ship on the line and then... I don't know. The footage cuts off.

      If I'm a betting man I'd say they did that for a reason. Han will win the Falcon from Lando, but I have a feeling this is a case where they're going to throw a twist on your expectation. Or they don't and I'm wrong, which happens all the time. But something in my gut is whispering that there's going to be something more to this scene.

      I'm a little bit of a tougher sell on these spin-off movies than most. I love a lot of the detail of Rogue One, but I couldn't shake the fan-fiction feeling I got from the movie. This Solo footage was fun, had great, colorful Star Wars-y feeling sets, wardrobe, aliens and characters, but I got some of that same vibe here.

      That's not necessarily a bad thing. People loved that feeling in Rogue One, just like people ate up the EU books. It's filling a niche and I can't begrudge those fans.

      For my part, it looked fun. If that's all the movie is I'll be happy. I just want it to be fun.

      Make sure to keep an eye out for more CinemaCon coverage as this crazy fest goes on!

    • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom On-Set Interview: Director JA Bayona Ups The Suspense And Scares The Shit Out Of His Actors For The Blockbuster Sequels

      8 months ago


      Welcome to Day 2 of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom set reports! Yesterday I ran the interview I co-conducted (alongside Slashfilm's Peter Sciretta) with the film's producers and today I have our chat with director JA Bayona.

      Now, JA has been on my nerdy radar since the beginning. I remember interviewing him for his very first film, the Spanish language creepfest The Orphanage, which was produced by Guillermo del Toro and rocks pretty damn hard.

      Between now and then he's been turning out some great work, including The Impossible, which introduced the film world to Spider-Man's Tom Holland, and then the recent tear-jerker A Monster Calls.

      While visiting the set during their Hawaii shoot Bayona was able to carve out some time during his lunch break to talk with Peter and I. Naturally we had some questions.

      In the below chat you get a good handle on Bayona's priority as a director, the reasoning behind taking the Jurassic universe widescreen, his working relationship with his actors (both human and dino) and some of the director tricks he utilized while making this movie.

      It's a good chat and Bayona's passion for storytelling is unquestionably at the forefront. Hope you enjoy!


      Eric Vespe: Thanks for having us out. This is really cool.

      Peter Sciretta: Thanks for putting up with us while you're on your lunch break. So, a lot of your movies have young people in horrific situations. Does this movie follow that trend?

      JA Bayona: Yeah. Very young people in problem again.

      Eric Vespe: What do you have against the youth of the world?

      JA Bayona: (laughs) Well, I mean, it's... I mean, all the movies I've done I end up very close from the POV of the kids. I don't know. It's a natural thing. It's not planned. I mean, the three movies I did so far you can tell that they're about childhood and dealing with growing up. This is very different, but of course you have a kid in the film, because there's always been kids in the Jurassic movies, you know? And the movie pays tribute and keeps the legacy of the movies that we've seen so far and we love.

      Eric Vespe: Can we talk a little bit about the where you're starting off in this one? Frank Marshall told us a little bit about the setup for the story and I think it's really interesting because it gives you a completely different sense of urgency than we've seen in these movies so far.

      JA Bayona: And what did Frank tell you?

      Eric Vespe: We know about the extinction level event, the volcano . And the sense of the characters returning to try to save the dinosaurs. So we at least know that beginning part.

      JA Bayona: Well, the first time Colin pitched me the story, I was very intrigued, very surprised, because it's true that it keeps the legacy of the films we've seen so far, but there's a twist. It's not humans trying to save humans from dinosaurs anymore. It's humans trying to save dinosaurs from the island and I thought that was very interesting. And there's a twist in the in (second) half of the film and the film becomes something very different from the first section of the movie. I thought that was very interesting, too. I was very interested, very intrigued. I really enjoy the pitch and I think the development that we did so far, I'm very happy with it.

      Peter Sciretta: Colin already had the story when you came aboard. How do you put your own stamp on that?

      JA Bayona: Well, I think one of the things I always enjoy the most in designing the films are the set pieces and Jurassic movies they are perfect for designing set pieces. When I think about the old Jurassic movies that I think about the T. Rex scene in the first one or the scene with the truck hanging off the cliff in the second one. So the first thing I had was “Okay, we're gonna try to design the best set pieces possible.” And I really enjoy that. I really enjoy to design shot by shot. For me every camera position matters. Every movement of the camera. Every shot is a step in escalating of the tension. It's very Hitchcockian. When you see the T. Rex scene in the first one, the gyrosphere scene in Jurassic World, they feel designed shot by shot in a very Hitchcockian way and I and for me movies are about that.

      Eric Vespe: Yeah, I was gonna say, the two you described were suspense moments.

      JA Bayona: Yeah, it's true. There's going to be a very big action scene in the middle of the movie, but then the whole film plays more the idea of suspense and I really like that. I think somehow the first Jurassic was like that. You had the big T. Rex scene in the middle and then it plays with the suspense of the kitchen scene with the Raptors. We tried to follow the same pattern.

      Eric Vespe: Yeah. It's a nice combination. There's a sweet spot between awe, suspense and humor.

      JA Bayona: Exactly, yeah. And I think that they'll be a lot of humor in this one. It's going to be a lot of fun, too. It's gonna be suspenseful. It's gonna be probably a little more scary, but it's gonna be a lot of fun, too.

      Eric Vespe: It's good to be a little scary.

      JA Bayona: Yeah.

      Eric Vespe: Well speaking of that, is that why you chose to bring back the animatronic element a little bit because there's something scarier about seeing something in a movie that's really there?

      JA Bayona: Yeah. We love animatronics. Colin and I, we talk about how can we bring back more animatronics in the game and there was a space for that in the story. I came with the experience of doing A Monster Calls where we design a huge animatronic and at the end, you can, you need to use CGI more than what you will want, because the audience is so used to CGI that they are kind of like reluctant to animatronics, but at the same time when you have something real, you appreciate the soul. There's a reality that you don't have with CGI. So there's plenty of animatronics in this one. But the story somehow made things easier for us to use animatronics.

      Eric Vespe: Who's building them for you? What company?

      JA Bayona: Neal Scanlan who's been working on the Star Wars movies. It's been great to work with him. You know, it was kind of surprising the first time we had an animatronic on the set. I was with Bryce (Dallas Howard) and Chris (Pratt) and they were so shocked, so happy to have animatronics. I said, come on! You've done a movie so far, but then I thought about it and of course there was almost no animatronics in that movie.

      Peter Sciretta: They just had that one.

      JA Bayona: Yeah, but and it was funny to see the actors that were in the first one reacting so excited.

      Eric Vespe: Geeking out, yeah.

      JA Bayona: They were so excited in front of the animatronic.

      Peter Sciretta: It seems like you've worked very closely with Colin. I'm wondering about Spielberg. When we were on the set of the first Jurassic World movie Colin told us how Spielberg had this whole suggestion with the water scene of the seats going down below the water level. I love hearing these stories how Spielberg will “plus” something. Do you have any stories where he threw out a suggestion that changed the movie?


      JA Bayona: We don't have any scene, a specific scene, but it's true that Steven has been always very encouraging and he is the sort of person that empowers a director. He makes him feel good and he makes him feel prepared. I wanted to meet him as much as possible. I tried to watch all the pre-vis that we did together. And it was fascinating to show him the stuff and hearing back his ideas. And so there was lots of details here and there.

      Eric Vespe: Little flourishes.

      JA Bayona: Yeah. I don't remember any specific scene, but I think that there is not any specific scene, but there was a lot of details here and there. He was very, very encouraging all the time and very supportive of our ideas.

      Eric Vespe: So he was pretty hands on I would assume during the development.

      JA Bayona: Mm-hmm.

      Eric Vespe: I know Colin's been on set a lot, but it seems like they put a lot of trust in you. So is that stressful for you? I don't wanna make it sound like that you don't feel supported...

      Peter Sciretta: This was a hundreds of millions of dollars movie, right?

      JA Bayona: Yeah. I always admire Steven and, I mean, and my movies, a lot of people used to talk about them like they're very Spielbergian, you know? So I feel so comfortable being in this territory that I don't have any problem in that sense, you know.

      But the truth is that I've been lucky of being able to sit down with all the previous guys and design the scenes together shot by shot and Steven has been always very supportive. He loved all the stuff that we did and I consider that there was not any pressure totally. Completely the opposite. It was totally the opposite.

      Eric Vespe: When you have somebody like Chris Pratt as your lead too he brings so much like natural chemistry and a sense of spontaneity. Have you had freedom to be able to be play a little bit loose and so you're not a slave to the pre-vis?

      JA Bayona: A lot, a lot, a lot. Yes. And I always try to give him as much space as possible, because this is the way he works. The other day I was referring to him as a Jazz musician because he's very organic and he does every take totally different from one before. He does it the way he feels it, he's always very truthful to himself and every take is different. And every take there's something new that you love.

      It's going to be difficult in the editing room to decide what are the best moments because he's great in all the takes. I'm all the time trying to give the actors a lot of freedom, even though these movies are very designed before they shoot. I always try to keep them alive and keep them organic on the set, so I always show the pre-vis to the actors. We talk about it and a lot of times we change them on the set.

      Peter Sciretta: You have Jeff Goldblum coming back and reprising his role. What can you tell us about him and working with him?

      JA Bayona: I think it's great to find links between the new Jurassic World movies and the old Jurassic Park movies. So there's details all over the film that are referring not just of course to the first Jurassic World, but also the first Jurassic Park movies. Having Malcolm was a great idea that Colin had and I think somehow he setups the tone, the theme and the atmosphere of this film.

      Eric Vespe: Okay. That's cool. It's embracing kind of what the trend that audiences like now and I think TV had a big part of that. They like the long form storytelling aspect. Marvel has been taking advantage of that in a big way. But people have stuff like Game of Thrones and they love watching a story develop. The trick is being able to pull that off and give them that feeling of living in a world and seeing a world that they're familiar with without just making it a whole bunch of like “Hey, remember when you liked this moment?” I think they did a pretty good job in the last Jurassic with that.

      JA Bayona: Yeah and I think that Colin keeps doing it in this film. I think he's created the story one step forward. At the same time, paying respect to the original Jurassic World and the original Jurassic Park movies. But the story continues in this one and we keep going in the next, following a story that is longer than the film we're gonna see.

      Peter Sciretta: We are back at Isla Nublar, but Frank (Marshall) said it's only in the movie for like 25%. So, where does it go from there?

      JA Bayona: I don't know if I can talk about that. This is one of the big surprises and I think that's one of the things that I really appreciate when Colin told me the story the first time. That we go to the island, but then we go to somewhere else.

      Eric Vespe: You talked earlier about building a suspenseful scene shot by shot. Can you talk a little bit about what that scene is so people like who might read the interview and then see the movie later will understand which scene that you are talking about?

      JA Bayona: Yeah. Well I think there's plenty of scenes. It's not only one. I think that the second half is gonna play a lot on suspense. And suspense is all about not accumulation, but escalating the tension. It's not just putting lots of stuff on the frame. It's more escalating the element in order to get the pace and the tension that puts the audience at the edge of their seats. This is the dream for me, in terms of the storytelling.

      Eric Vespe: So it could be personal stakes, it doesn't have to be like world ending, 50 dinosaurs in a single shot kind of thing?

      JA Bayona: No, it's not like that. It's not like that. It's quite the opposite. I mean, you'll have, you will have 15 dinosaurs in the same frame more at the beginning of the film and then at the end it's more about the suspense and not seeing them. That's more interesting, always.

      Peter Sciretta: You mentioned that this is the second of a trilogy that's planned. Can you talk about the balance of creating a complete story, but you're setting up a third act as well?

      JA Bayona: Mm-hmm. I don't know how much can I talk about the story, you know?

      Peter Sciretta: Okay. I'm not looking for detail. I'm just saying like how does that, how do you balance that? Like how do you…

      Eric Vespe: How do you tell a complete story in and of itself here but also know that you're also leading into another movie?

      JA Bayona: I think it's like when you talk about television, it's a little bit like that. I remember when I did Penny Dreadful, I did the first episode and I really didn't know where the series was heading to. It's a very interesting experience because you're playing with the storytelling yet you really don't know where it's heading to. It's not the case of doing a Jurassic movie. I think that Colin has designed more than only one film, you know. He's the guy who has all the answers.

      Eric Vespe: Has he shared that with you so you know you're not making some decision on the day that could contradict what he's planning in the future?

      JA Bayona: No, but there were moments that Colin said, “I would love if you can introduce this detail in that scene and that detail in that scene because I'm thinking this is going to pay off in the third film.” You know, you're collaborating and including details on a story that is bigger than the one you're doing.

      Eric Vespe: Do you think that you'll come back for the third one? Or do you think that Colin might come back? Did you guys talk at all about that? (This was way before it was announced that Trevorrow would return to direct Jurassic World 3).

      JA Bayona: We talk a lot about a lot of things.

      Eric Vespe: Would you want to come back for the third film? I mean, you're not gonna sit here and go, “Man, I'm having a miserable experience” even if you were, but would you be interested in like seeing the franchise through to the next movie?

      JA Bayona: Yeah. I'm really enjoying the experience of doing a Jurassic movie. I'm really enjoying it. It's not painful at all to come back, I can tell you. I think it's a lot of fun. I love to work with these actors. It's great. They're so creative and it's great to be in the set working with them. And also this is the kind of stories that I like. Emotion and visual effects, great music. I love it.


      Peter Sciretta: Can you talk a little bit about B.D. Wong's character? He seems to be the big thread that from the last one that kind of launches into this one. At least apparently.

      Eric Vespe: He's one of the big hanging threads.

      Peter Sciretta: Hanging threads, yeah.

      JA Bayona: How can I talk about it without spoiling anything? I think it's true that there is this character in the shadows that is playing an important role in the story. And it's there. I mean, we have B.D. in there. Again, it's a connection with the old films. It's not only a connection with the Jurassic World movie, but also with Jurassic Park. And there's details, there's more details, not only characters, but there are things that are in contact not only with Jurassic World, but with Jurassic Park.

      Peter Sciretta: I was a little nervous, to be honest, that this franchise was gonna be militarized dinos in a war. I thought this movie was gonna be that and I'm so glad that you return to the island. Can you talk a little bit about that?

      JA Bayona: Yeah. Colin and I were on the same page. We wanted to make it feel like a very classic Jurassic film. We go back to the island, but at the same time we go to new places. You bring the story to places that people is not expecting and we are closing some chapters and we are opening some new chapters.

      I mean, it's like you say, it's more like the narrative of a TV show, where you are closing some lines and opening new ones. And I think that feels very exciting and I think that this is one of the big things that television is bringing to the movies. There's a lot of bad things that television is bringing to the movies, but there are good things and one of those is that people more and more is more prepared (for) the twist, is more prepared to things that you will not buy in the '80s and now you buy them, you know?

      I mean, you can kill Han Solo right now in a Star Wars movie and I think there's a little bit of responsibility in television to blame for that.

      Eric Vespe: Yeah. I mean, when you have shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones just kind of showing…

      JA Bayona: Exactly.

      Eric Vespe: That's one of the things I love about TV now, because it keeps you on your toes as a viewer, because nobody's safe and they'll kill a fan favorite or whatever. I love that kind of shock.

      JA Bayona: But at the same time we wanted to make it feel very classy. One of the first things I ask and I have the support of everyone was that we are shooting in CinemaScope. We are shooting in 2.40 and never a Jurassic movie has been like that.

      Eric Vespe: Yeah, the first one was 1.85, right?

      JA Bayona: Yeah. But I thought that we wanted to make it bigger and we wanted to make it more epic. So I had the support of everyone. And I can tell you it looks amazing.

      Peter Sciretta: What are you shooting on, Arri 65?

      JA Bayona: Yeah. And it looks amazing. I think that the island looks beautiful.

      Eric Vespe: With the widescreen format, did you look at any particular cinematic inspiration for that? I mean, Leone shot that wide and David Lean famously shot very wide, too.

      JA Bayona: Yeah. Exactly. I think one of the things I'm telling all the time to the camera operator is that we need to do a movie that cannot be seen in a plane. So we are using all the format, from the extreme right to the extreme left. So we are filling the frame in a beautiful way. You have references like, I mean, Vilmos Zsigmond, the movies he did with Michael Cimino. When you see the frames of these movies and they look like paintings, you know.

      Eric Vespe: Yeah. There's fore, mid and back, there's always there's layers, yeah.

      JA Bayona: Exactly. And Steven, all the Indiana Jones movies and the frames, they look like paintings. And I wanted to have that in this in a Jurassic movie, so we created this big canvas. And we are playing a lot in making interesting compositions.

      Eric Vespe: Talk a little bit about the tone. We know that there's more suspense in this, but was there a target for the tone throughout that you were going for? Like leaning more on action or more on suspense?

      JA Bayona: I think when you do a movie like this, it's a movie for a big audience, so it has a lot of things to everyone. It has suspense, but it has action, it's a lot of fun, too. It's a little bit darker than the previous one, but it's a lot of fun, too. It's quite challenging because you have a lot of different tones and you need to blend them in a single story.

      Peter Sciretta: Michael Crichton always had some themes that reflected society and it seems like you guys are kind of dealing with animal cruelty...

      Eric Vespe: And bureaucracy too. Because we, Frank said that there's like the decision from the world's governments are pretty much just to leave them alone.

      JA Bayona: I think so, yes. I really like that from the story that Colin planned for this one, that he talks about the moment we live in, in a very obvious way when you see the film. I think that's very interesting. It plays with the idea of how we use science, not blaming science, but the use of science that some people do. And this has been part of the legacy of the films in the Jurassic movies and I think nowadays it's a theme that is out there right now.

      Peter Sciretta: Can you talk about Justice and Daniella? When I was talking to Colin, he said they were the secret sauce of this movie. What does he mean?

      JA Bayona: (laughs) You will see. I mean, they're new characters and they're bringing a very specific personality to the film. You will see. I think they're very Colin's world. It's been very interesting because he has, you can tell the sense of humor of Colin through these characters and I really enjoy working with them. They're excellent and a lot of fun to be with on the set, you know. I cannot tell you much about it. But they're very interesting characters.

      Eric Vespe: Now, I mean, I know that Chris said on the press tour for the last movie that anybody of our age that grew up with Jurassic Park, it was a big moment for people. I mean, I was 12 when it came out and I vividly remember the day I saw it. Like not just watching the movie, but like the lead up to it. My Grandma dropping me off at the theater and how the lines were around the block and how that was on the news the night before and I wasn't sure if I could get in. It was an event that was like a big landmark for me. So when you have somebody like Goldblum coming back in the role and he's surrounded by people who grew up with this, was that like a moment, the first scene with Ian Malcolm? Could you tell that people were geeking out about it?

      JA Bayona: The truth is that I remember that the first day of shooting... I used to shoot all the time with music on the set. So, of course the first music that (I played on Jurassic World 2) was the Jurassic Park theme from John Williams. It was so much emotional in that moment on the set. So there's a lot of that. But the truth is that there's so much work to do that you're not really, at least I can tell you, you're not into that nostalgia. You have your characters in front of you. You have so much work to do every day that it's when you come back home and you say, “Oh my God, I've been doing a Jurassic Park movie!” That's the moment that you are aware of it, but I haven't been that nostalgic in the set.

      Eric Vespe: Not yet.

      JA Bayona: No, not yet.

      Eric Vespe: It'll all hit you when you wrap and you're in the editing room.

      JA Bayona: Yeah, and I think that's good because it gives you a distance from the material. You're doing something new. I mean, it's something that you need to be aware that you are trying to move the story a step forward, so you wanna pay tribute to the old movies, but you want to move forward at the same time.

      Eric Vespe: Yeah. You don’t wanna be too wrapped up in them. I mean, even Steven himself has kind of fallen prey to that with like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

      JA Bayona: Totally, yeah.

      Peter Sciretta: You talked about the filming in scope and these movies have been shown in IMAX, so I assume this is going to be in IMAX. Are you gonna expand or do you want it to just be shown in scope?

      JA Bayona: There's been some conversation about it. The idea would be to keep the aspect ratio. This is what they've been doing with the Star Wars movies. I think when you design a film, when you design a shot, it's kind of like going against the film if you change the aspect ratio.

      Eric Vespe: And it takes you out of the movie. I just watched the new Transformers and every other shot's switching aspect ratios.

      JA Bayona: Yeah. No, no, no. I mean, I am very, very specific with a shot in the set. This is probably, I mean, apart from the work with the actors, I am very specific in where the camera should be and how the camera should move. For me, this is as important as performance or even a line in the dialogue. So for me, breaking that it would be like going against the film.

      Peter Sciretta: You mentioned playing the music. Is that in between setups or... ?

      JA Bayona: No. Sometimes we play while we shooting.

      Peter Sciretta: While you're shooting. Oh, like an action scene if people are like running and stuff.

      JA Bayona: Yeah, an action scene or you just play sounds.

      Peter Sciretta: Are you playing dinosaur sounds?

      JA Bayona: I'm joking all the time with Justice because I'm playing sounds to scare him during the takes. So it's been a lot of fun to work with him in that setting.

      Eric Vespe: Well, at least you're only doing sounds. Some of the old school directors, like John Huston, would actually shoot guns in the air to startle their actors.

      JA Bayona: Oh wow.

      Eric Vespe: Not even blanks. Like he would have his gun there.


      JA Bayona: I remember a shot once with a gun in my hand during The Orphanage because I had to scare the actors. We were shooting not in a soundstage, but in a place that was full of birds, so they had these guns to scare the birds. And I said, “Give me one of these guns.” So I was in the video village with a gun in my hand. There are some references in the behind the scenes. It was a pretty bizarre image. Yeah, no, I'm not using that.

      Eric Vespe: So, you're saying you used guns to scare children in your early career.

      JA Bayona: No, it was for the lead actress!

      Eric Vespe: Okay, good.

      JA Bayona: It was for the lead actress.

      Eric Vespe: That won't look as bad.

      JA Bayona: It was for the lead actress. No, but I like music. It helps a lot in creating the mood, sometimes the tension. Sometimes you play light music to make the actors feel good in the set and the lines come with a freshness that maybe you would not get in a different way.

      Eric Vespe: Is that something that you used on previous films and brought into this?

      JA Bayona: All the time. Every time, yes. I love it.

      Eric Vespe: That's awesome.

      JA Bayona: I love it. And the actors normally they love it.

      Eric Vespe: “Normally?”

      JA Bayona: Yeah. Normally they love it. I mean, I haven't found any actor yet… No, they love it. They love it. I'm thinking, is there any actor who asked me not to play music? No.

      Eric Vespe: The only time I've actually really seen that a lot was Peter Jackson did that on his King Kong a lot with Naomi Watts. But it was like always very romanticy music and to kind of set that romanticized '30s time period.

      JA Bayona: I understand. For example, I remember one take with Bryce was very interesting. There was no dialogue in that scene. It was all about the way she was looking at a determined thing, you know? And it was very fun, because I played three pieces. Every piece very different from the other one. So one was like one was a romantic music, the other one was a scary and she played three different performances in every take. It was very interesting.

      These are the kind of things I do enjoy bringing to the story. These movies they're so big, they're so pre-designed that you want to get to the set and break that.

      Eric Vespe: Yeah, you wanna have a little emotional truth.

      JA Bayona: Exactly, yeah. And Bryce, she's very organic. So I told her, “Listen, I'm gonna play three musics and the performance is going to be according to the music I'm playing.” And she was like “Okay, great.” We did three takes and the three were different. The three were good. And that gives you options in the editing.

      Peter Sciretta: Do you plan these mixes ahead of time or are you just on set with an iPod or whatever?

      JA Bayona: I'm with my iPod all the time. And I'm connected to the Internet, so it's all about, like, remembering a piece in that moment and look for it and play it.

      Eric Vespe: What kinds of music? Was it scores or was it pop songs?

      JA Bayona: Many scores, yes. Yeah, in this one there's been a lot of (Michael) Giacchino, of course, because he's gonna do the score and of course John Williams.

      Eric Vespe: Any Jerry Goldsmith sneaking in?

      JA Bayona: Jerry Goldsmith has been playing a lot. Total Recall.

      Eric Vespe: Oh, Jerry Goldsmith is one of my all time favorites.

      JA Bayona: And Basic Instinct. We play a lot of this, too.

      Eric Vespe: That's a good one.

      JA Bayona: It's a lot of fun, yes.

      Eric Vespe: Awesome, well thank you so much again for taking the time for when you could have been relaxing for a little bit, but instead you were talking to us nerds.

      Peter Sciretta: Thank you very much.

      JA Bayona: See you soon.

      Eric Vespe: Yeah, I'm looking forward to watching you work.

      JA Bayona: Oh, thank you so much. Enjoy the shoot!


      Tomorrow brings some more on-set interviews, our first with some of the actors. We begin with the enthusiastic, energetic and super excitable Bryce Dallas Howard and on Wednesday you'll hear from Chris Pratt and then Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda before this week is done!

      Stay tuned!

    • CinemaCon: Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino Talk About Once Upon A Time In Hollywood!

      8 months ago


      The biggest surprise of the Sony panel was when head honcho Tom Rothman brought out Quentin Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio to talk about their next movie called Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. 

      They played a little tone trailer that pretty much looked like slightly moving Mondo art (kind of an Olly Moss style) that showed iconic moments from Tarantino's past movies, all against bright neon yellow and pink and blue backgrounds and ending with that same style on the title Once Upon A Time In Hollywood with Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio's faces next to it. As this little kinda-but-not-really trailer played the music behind it was Indian Reservation by Paul Revere and The Raiders.

      They haven't shot a frame of the movie yet, but Tarantino vowed to make a big, sweeping LA-set -period epic and that he'd be spending the summer transforming huge swaths of LA into a 1969 version of itself. He also said that this script skews closest to Pulp Fiction in that you have the leads and a huge amount of crazy colorful supporting characters that bring texture to the movie as they go on their adventure.

      DiCaprio chimed in saying that he's a huge Tarantino fan, loves all his stuff and believe this is the best script he's ever written.

      High praise, indeed. I know I'm always down for a fired up Tarantino flick.

      Tarantino said that Pitt and DiCaprio play on-screen buddies in the same mold as Butch and Sundance. No mention of Margot Robbie, who is rumored to be in contention to play Sharon Tate, so I suppose that deal isn't done yet.

      They also dropped the news that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will be hitting cinema screens August 2019, so we're not too insanely far away.

      So that's that! Be back tomorrow with some more CinemaCon funstuffs!

    • The Venom Trailer, Now With 100% More Venom, Hits The Net! Plus Some Extra Footage Details From CinemaCon!

      8 months ago


      Sony just kicked off CinemaCon with a long, long, long presentation featuring everything from first looks at Sicario: Day of the Saldado to Hotel Transylvania 3 to some voice-over lost dog movie whose title I've already forgotten to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and, of course, Venom.

      Tom Hardy appeared on stage with Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed and director Reuben Fleischer and said that the trailer was going to drop tonight online, but we'd get to see it first. 

      The interesting thing is the trailer they dropped online was significantly different than the one they showed tonight at The Colosseum here at Caesar's Palace, something I didn't find out until well after I shot the video diary I hope you all check out. In that video diary I say you've seen the same trailer I have, but I was making an assumption.

      Here's the online trailer and I'll tell you about some extra stuff not seen here after it:

      So we didn't get any of the Jenny Slate explaining the symbiotes stuff, but we did get the full scene that leads up to the "We Are Venom" reveal. Eddie Brock wipes out on his motorcycle and is skinned up, leg broken, hand all smashed up as the bald bad guy approaches. The symbiote begins to spread across his body, snapping his broken leg and fingers back into place, eventually forming the full suit around him and getting to the "We Are Venom" line.

      So, now you know a little extra then the average fan! Good for you!

      Keep an eye peeled for more CinemaCon reports, write ups, reviews and some video diaries from the ground here in fabulous Las Vegas!

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