Friday, May 29, 2015

Andy Serkis' Star Wars Role

The thing about a JJ Abrams you need to understand up front is the secret cone of silence covers all aspects of production for as long as he can retain them. There is no secret to small that shouldn't be held back for a moronic amount of time even though his very own experience should tell him its better to focus on keeping the big stuff quiet and let the small stuff go. On the other hand the cone of silence means that little tidbits of news gets play all over the web forcing me to do the same. So what is the big news? Well we now know thanks to a picture from Vanity Fair that Andy Serkis is playing an all CGI character called "Supreme Leader Snoke".

I guess because Snake just seemed to on the nose (and Snape was already taken). Yep that is all. What is he leader of? No info. What does he look like? Remains in the cone of silence until a toy leak tells us. On the bright side Snoke will be partially created by the world's acting expert on motion capture so at least we know he will be interesting to watch regardless of how likely Abrams screws up the character itself (Abrams is extremely weak when it comes to characterizing bad guys). So until next time when the interwebs report with breathless abandon on what the character looks like.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the Fourth Be With You Day Character News

For Star Wars fans today was May the Fourth (as in Force) Be With You Day. Fans use it to let their fan flag fly while Disney and various news outlets used it to reveal new character info from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. None of it is really major or plot related but you finally get some confirmation on what a few characters names and who is playing them along with a few behind the scenes pics thanks to Vanity Fair.

Adam Driver has been confirmed to be playing sith Kylo Ren (the three pronged light saber wielder), Gwendoline Christie's character is Captain Phasma, an officer in the First Order of Stormtroopers and Lupita Nyong'o is playing Maz Kanata which is a pure CGI pirate. The full gallery of pictures can be found here or here. Below is a behind the scenes look at Vanity Fair's photoshoot for the film.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Director Fired from Star Wars Anthology II Film

Josh Trank is no longer the director of the second Star Wars Anthology film that is set for release in 2018. This isn't to be confused with Gareth Edwards helmed Star Wars Anthology - Rogue One film. Trank, most known for directing Chronicle and upcoming Fantastic Four, was given a chance to give the appearance that it was a mutual decision between the Disney, the film producers, and himself.
"After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I'm making a personal decision to move forward on a different path. I've put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the Star Wars universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn't be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow Star Wars fans."
In other words it reads as "creative differences." Which while common for Hollywood, is not common for a director trying to build his career and credentials. Nor is it common to turn down one of the largest franchises in history that would not only have netted him a ton of money over the course of his life and benefited his director career to the point he probably get to choose whatever project he wanted. Basically for him to "voluntarily" give up this job would be like you getting the winning multi-million dollar lottery ticket and choosing to tear it up instead of cashing it. That just isn't how human nature works.

Before I could post this, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed my doubts by reporting he was flat out fired by Kathleen Kennedy based on problems from the set of the Fantastic Four as reported to her by Star Wars and Fantastic Four producer Simon Kinberg. It seems that the director was often unavailable (which would grind much of production to a halt) and indecisive (a no-no for any director considering the volume of work that needs their approval). To be blunt it comes across like the director was high as a kite most of the time. This resulted in producers having to step into director-type roles, expensive re-shoots including filming in late April and replacing the film's editor. Considering that Star Wars is one of Disney's crown jewels, they wouldn't want to risk damaging the franchise on a director that doesn't seem up to a task will be several orders of magnitude more difficult with a level of required decision making and pressure that would make doing the Fantastic Four seem like a walk in the park. Even if the stories are not true, its still too much of a risk for Disney to make and so Trank is no longer in a position to make a career defining film. Trank better hope Fantastic Four doesn't bomb because there is no way his directing career could recover from that one-two punch.