The period drama, which Sony Classics has picked up, looks at German efforts to prosecute Nazi criminals after WWII.
Alongside human components like relative newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens has one more new star in the making. Glimpsed in the trailers is the chirpy little "ball-droid" BB-8, poised to become the R2-D2 for a new generation. "[It] stands almost singularly as a technical achievement that no one has yet matched," says Star Wars Creature Shop head Neal Scanlan.
Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has been a passionate advocate of practical effects wherever possible on the film, with BB-8 a prime example of the model work and engineering wizardry that's been championed over and above CG animation this time out.
The droid began life as a quick Abrams sketch. "J.J. wanted something rolling on a sphere," so I tried a lot of different designs developing that idea,” Concept Designer Christian Alzmann tells Lucasfilm's Dan Brooks. "He would give direction on the kinds of shapes to use, and that led to a personality for the droid."
With that personality in place, the small matter of engineering became the focus. "The whole ball-bot concept is something that universities to individuals have played around with," says Scanlan. "We looked very closely at what one would consider existing technology and decided that it was not far enough advanced."
Various BB-8s were created for shooting to perform different functions: one for close-ups; a couple with stabiliser wheels; one that could be picked up and interacted with by actors; one that could be thrown into shot without tipping over; and even an old-school rod-puppet version. But while a single fully-functioning, all-purpose BB-8 remained impractical for filming, it was a challenge the design team couldn't leave alone.
"It had been sort of burning a hole in me,” says Senior Animatronic Designer Joshua Lee. "I started to design this crazy idea of one that would roam around and that we would show to the fans as well. We couldn’t do it for filming, but it had to be done! There are several ways of doing a ball robot, but there was nothing that included an articulated head or anything that could spin on the spot - and that’s one of BB-8’s signature moves. So, I started to design the prototype while Matt [Denton] adapted his existing software to make control of this new BB-8 possible.” The result made his public debut at Anaheim's Star Wars Celebration last April, and may well play a significant role in Episode VIII.
"We watch, very avidly, the forums and the discussions that people are having on ‘How did they do that?’," says Scanlan, "and no one’s yet cracked the actual problem...”
For more on BB-8, and on Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens in general, pick up the latest issue of Empire, on sale tomorrow. The film, you'll certainly be well aware, is out on December 18.
The new issue of Empire plunges into the blood-red mists of Justin Kurzel's Macbeth. There’s something for everyone: a battle-hardened Michael Fassbender, witches, a rhesus positive Paddy Considine, a scheming Marion Cotillard and a whole mess of Shakespearean intrigue, all illustrated with some spectacular images not dissimilar to these. If that doesn’t quench your thirst for cauldron-fresh murderous shenanigans, here are a couple of exclusive new Macbeth character posters to fill the void, kicking off with the man himself...
The protagonists are, of course, Fassbender’s Thane of Glamis, a loyal servant to King Duncan (David Thewlis) and cohort to Banquo (Paddy Considine). Well, he is those things until he encounters three witches in the post-battle mists of the Scottish highlands and hears their prophecy of great power in his future. Their soothsaying takes root with the help of the honey poured into his ear by Lady Macbeth. Here is Marion Cotillard's manipulative princess in her suitably transparent veil.
Director Justin 'Snowtown' Kurzel has summoned the visual power and creeping madness of a medieval Apocalypse Now with an adaptation that's simultaneously faithful and fresh. “It reminded me a lot of a Western,” Kurzel expanded earlier this year, "and of a landscape and atmosphere that felt much more dangerous than I’d ever seen before from adaptations of Macbeth”.
Rounding out the Australian's cast are Sean Harris, Elizabeth Debicki and Jack Reynor. Macbeth is out in the UK on October 2.
The project, for Night Fox Entertainment, is based on an upcoming book by Gary W. Moore.
The film, about the wolves that roam the steppes of Mongolia, will be released stateside Sept. 11.
Bona head Yu Dong hails great progress in its joint project with Tristar and Studio 8, 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk'
Film News: Film Industry News: MCC, Paul Hanson launch Covert Media http://ow.ly/33goiI
While you might think that he’d be consumed with his next series for US TV network FX (medieval drama The Bastard Executioner), Kurt Sutter is not completely ready to leave his previous show, Sons Of Anarchy, behind. He’s drawing up plans for a spin-off focused on the Mayan Motorcycle Club.
Sons, for those who don’t know, ran between 2008 and last year, starred Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman and Katey Sagal and chronicled a fictional motorcycle gang operating in Northern California. Hunnam’s Jackson “Jax” Teller struggled with his responsibilities as a father, trying to continue his own late dad’s legacy of turning the club’s fortunes and morals around and dealing with his stepfather, club leader Clarence “Clay” Morrow. With shades of Hamlet in its foundation, it was a potent blend of sex, violence, back-stabbing, front-stabbing, in-fighting, family wrangling and vehicular mayhem.
The Mayans, usually led by Emilio Rivera’s Marcus Alvarez were a rival bike chapter that eventually came to an uneasy alliance with SAMCRO (the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original).
Sutter won’t be running the new series himself; he’s far too busy as executive producer, writer, director and occasional guest star (much as he did on Sons) for Executioner to divert too much attention, so he’s in the process of finding someone to handle those duties. As for when it’ll be set and whether any of the Sons cast will show up? That’s still to be decided, along with any potential premiere date, assuming the series makes it through development. The Bastard Executioner, meanwhile, arrives on Stateside TV screens on September 15.
With Wayward Pines drawing decent reviews on TV and some buzz about his latest film, The Visit, M. Night Shyamalan is hoping for a career upswing after the likes of The Last Airbender and After Earth. He’s got a new, untitled movie set up with Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions, and he has Joaquin Phoenix negotiating for a lead role.
The pair, of course, are old collaborators, with Phoenix having appeared in both Signs and The Village. This new one is being kept a closely guarded secret, but it will, as is often the case with the director, shoot in Philadelphia (he likes to stay close to home with most of his movies). And, like The Visit – budgeted at Blumhouse’s standard $5 million, which Shyamalan put up himself – it’ll be another less expensive effort. Especially compared to the last time Phoenix worked with him.
Shyamalan will start the cameras rolling this November and we can expect the film next year. The Visit, which sees two kids finding something very wrong when they go to see their grandparents, is due here on September 11. As for Phoenix, his latest, Woody Allen comedy drama Irrational Man, arrives the same day.
Working with Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar has clearly given Anne Hathaway a taste for action and sci-fi elements. She’s producing and planning to star in alien invasion comedy The Shower.
The script comes from TiMER writer/director Jac Shaeffer (also on board to produce), who has come up with a concept that sounds like Attack The Block meets Bridesmaids. Hathaway will play a woman attending a baby shower whose guests are intrigued by a sudden meteor shower. But these are no ordinary rocks streaming from the sky – they turn the men in the area into blood-thirsty aliens and the women must fight to save themselves and the wider world. "Jac has written an awesome sci-fi comedy focusing on funny, fully dimensional female characters," Hathaway tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I feel so lucky to be a part of the team that will bring her enormously talented and fresh voice to the big screen."
Right now, it’s at a very early stage, with Hathaway, Shaeffer and the other producers looking for a director and other cast members before approaching studios or finance companies. But it certainly seems like something studios would be interested in.
Hathaway has The Intern headed here on October 2. She’ll also be back as The White Queen in Wonderland sequel Alice Through The Looking Glass, which is out on May 27 next year.