Jason Bateman Talks 'True Detective' Inspiration at 'Ozark' Premiere


The actor-turned-director and co-star Laura Linney were joined by Cary Fukunaga and Netflix’s Cindy Holland for the New York premiere.

Ozark star, director and executive producer Jason Bateman kicked off the premiere of his new Netflix series on Thursday with a bang: He was 40 minutes late thanks to his scheduled appearance on The Late Show.

Bateman apologized for his delay and doled out thank yous, saving the last for his wife, Amanda Anka, for “allow[ing] me to take a nice, big swan dive into my pool of narcissism” with his duties on the show.          

Now streaming its first 10 episodes, the drama centers on Marty Byrde (Bateman), a financial planner who also launders money for a Mexican drug cartel. To save himself from execution after his partner skims $8 million, Byrde uproots his unfaithful wife, Wendy (Laura Linney), and their children to Missouri’s isolated haven for Midwestern tourists — the Lake of the Ozarks — to recoup the cash (and then some).

Six days before he’s set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Bateman relayed the directing advice he received from one of his friends. “Cary Fukunaga is somebody who bit off a huge thing with [season one of] True Detective,” he began. “His aesthetic, his taste, his technique is something that I really admire and I tried to learn a lot from him.”

Bateman oversaw four episodes of Ozark, but had originally intended to follow Fukunaga’s example and direct every installment. Then he learned “that was just really tough on everyone, including him, and [Fukunaga] recommended that I maybe try to direct less.”

Returning to television four years after concluding her Emmy and Golden Globe-winning run on Showtime’s The Big C, Linney said that today, “If you want to work in a certain way — and if you want to make a living — it’s [in] television.” She added that film isn’t what it used to be, saying, “I mean for character-driven actors, there’s not a lot film-wise.”

Netflix earned her particular praise for “being so generous with letting artists be artists and then letting people do what they know how to do. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful place to be.”

When asked how many seasons he envisions for Ozark on Netflix, showrunner Chris Mundy said, “We’ve always talked about five,” adding, “Four would be fine, six would probably be fine, but it’s always felt like that’s a good number to tell the story.”

Meanwhile, lead actress Linney fancies even more, thanks to the people involved and camaraderie on set: “I’d be very happy with eight.”



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Weekend Box Office: 'Dunkirk' Heads for $45M-$50M U.S. Debut; 'Valerian' Bombing


Elsewhere, Universal’s ‘Girls Trip’ is breaking the R-rated comedy curse with a projected $25M-plus opening.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is easily winning the Friday box-office battle for a projected $45 million-$50 million debut, marking the best opening for a World War II movie in recent times.

Dunkirk is expected to earn $17 million or more on Friday, including $5.5 million in Thursday night previews. The critically acclaimed film, from Warner Bros., is playing in 3,720 locations and is getting a wide berth in Imax theaters and on 70mm screens.

Nolan’s last film, Interstellar, debuted to nearly $50 million over the long Thanksgiving holiday in 2014, including $47.5 million for the three-day weekend. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was his biggest opening ($160.9 million), followed by 2008’s The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), 2005’s Batman Begins ($73 million, including a three-day weekend of $48.7 million) and 2010’s Inception ($62.8 million).

Dunkirk, recounting one of World War II’s most famous battles, stars Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, One Direction’s Harry Styles and Aneurin Barnard. At 106 minutes, it is the shortest film of Nolan’s career, outside of his first movie. The production budget was $150 million or more, although Warners insiders insist it was notably lower.

Overseas, Dunkirk has earned $8.6 million in its first two days after beginning to roll out in select markets on Wednesday.
 
Elsewhere, Universal’s Girls Trip is laughing loudly in North America. The femme-centric pic looks to earn $11 million or more from 2,591 theaters on Friday, including $1.7 million in previews, for an opening in the $26 million range — the best showing of the year so far for an R-rated comedy, a genre that’s been decidedly challenged.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who also produced alongside Will Packer, Girls Trip stars Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah as lifelong friends who go to New Orleans for a wild weekend of fun.

The news isn’t good for the weekend’s third new release, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets. The sci-fi epic, costing at least $180 million to produce, is projected to gross $7 million on Friday from 3,553 theaters and $17 million for the weekend.

From Besson’s EuropaCorp and U.S. distributor STXfilms, the film stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevinge as a duo who must travel through space and time to save the universe. Besson’s EuropaCorp put together financing for the movie and provided marketing funds.

At that pace, Valerian won’t be able to beat holdovers Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes. Among other holdovers, Universal and Illumination’s Despicable Me 3 jumped the $200 million mark at the domestic box office on Thursday.



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Late 'Batman' Actor Adam West Honored at Comic-Con


Filmmaker Kevin Smith, producer James Tucker, actors Ralph Garman and Lee Meriwether and about a thousand fans paid tribute to West on Thursday.

There are typically a lot of Batmen at Comic-Con, but only one was the subject of a star-filled tribute.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith, producer James Tucker, actors Ralph Garman and Lee Meriwether and about a thousand fans paid tribute to the late Adam West at the pop-culture convention Thursday night.

West played Batman in the 1960s TV series and later voiced the character of Mayor West on Family Guy. He died last month at age 88.

Smith said he was about 4 years old when he first saw West in Batman on a black-and-white TV.

“He defined my youth,” Smith said. “He gave me my morality. Everything I learned about being good, I learned from watching Adam West play the Bright Knight.”

Smith said that when he shared those thoughts with West during his appearance on the Fatman on Batman podcast, West said: “That doesn’t speak well of your parents.”

Meriwether said that when she played Catwoman and Kitka opposite West in Batman: The Movie, she could hardly maintain her character’s accent because she was so dazzled by West.

“I had a little crush, just a little one,” the 82-year-old actress said, blushing at the memory. One of the first scenes they filmed together was a ballroom scene where the two danced.

“All I could think of was, ‘I’m dancing with Adam West,'” she said. “I probably blew one take and then I snapped out of it.”

Tucker said the whole reason he became a producer is so that one day he might be able to hire, and therefore meet, West. The first time Tucker hired him, though, West literally phoned it in. It was a voice-acting role, and the actor was able to do it by phone.

“I didn’t get to meet him, so I had to cast him again,” Tucker said.

“Whatever I’m doing in this industry is because of that show,” he said of seeing West on Batman.

“That show changed my life. It made me want to do this. It made me want to be an artist,” Tucker continued. “Meeting him and having him be exactly who you want him to be as a person… and be genuinely friendly and genuinely there for you is amazing. I can’t say enough about him.”

Garman, who does a perfect impression of West’s voice, said he idolized the actor growing up. He started collecting Batman memorabilia as a kid and has been building on the collection ever since (“an enormous collection that my wife forces me to keep in one room”). He eventually worked with and befriended West and his family.

“I have a little piece of magic in my life because I got to become friends with my hero,” Garman said. “I mean, when does that happen in most people’s lives? I’m truly blessed.”

The presentation included highlight reels of West’s work on Batman and Family Guy, along with outtakes from the 2013 documentary Starring Adam West, which was directed by his son-in-law.

In those clips, West talks about meeting with fans and what he thinks his legacy might be.

“You know, I hear the word ‘legacy’ quite often. And other words like ‘icon.’ You can just call me icon, if you will,” West says. “I don’t know what the legacy would be, except the legacy of making people happy, and adding some kind of instructional influence in young lives. Maybe that’s kind of a legacy.”



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Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg Star in First Trailer for '9/11' Movie


Gina Gershon and Luis Guzman round out the cast for the indie centered on a group of individuals trapped in an elevator in the upcoming indie film.

The trailer for 9/11, a fictional story about a group of people stranded in an elevator during the September 11 attacks starring Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg and Gina Gershon, has arrived.

In the short trailer, Sheen, sporting a suit and tie, enters an elevator in one of the towers alongside Gershon and Luis Guzman. As the doors close, text appears onscreen asking, “Where were you…” before transitioning to a befuddled Goldberg in a control room, counting lights off of a large circuit board before her.

Underscored by a dramatic orchestral arrangement, footage from the 2001 attacks and news coverage are interspersed with scenes of Sheen and company trapped in a North Tower elevator. Gershon and Sheen speak to their young son via cellphone as Goldberg explains to a group of firefighters that the elevators are down.

“I need you to try and get the hell out of there,” Goldberg tells Sheen’s group via intercom. 

As the trailer draws to a close, Sheen, Guzman and company lie on the floor of the elevator cart. “They say it’s not the fall that kills you,” Sheen tells Guzman.

“What is it then,” Guzman asks, before the wire holding the cart snaps and the group is suspended in weightless dispension as they plummet down the shaft. 

9/11 opens in theaters on Sept. 8. 

Watch the trailer below.



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John Corbett, Lana Condor Join 'To All the Boys I've Loved Before' Film (Exclusive)


The Awesomeness Films project, based on the novel by Jenny Han, also stars Noah Centino, Janel Parrish, Israel Broussard and Andrew Bachelor.

Awesomeness Films has found the cast for its newest teen flick. 

X-Men: Apocalypse actress Lana Condor has signed on to star in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before alongside John Corbett. The film, based on the novel by Jenny Han, is being directed by Susan Johnson and was written by Sofia Alvarez. Production on the film, which is also being produced by Awesomeness and Overbrook Entertainment, has begun in Vancouver. 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before tells the story of Lara Jean Covey (Condor), a high school junior who spends her lunch reading and imagining her life as a fantasy. Then, one day her secret box of love letters is unexpectedly delivered to the boys she has had crushes on over the years. To avoid confrontation, she begins a fake relationship with one of them. Corbett will star as Lara’s father, a single dad trying to raise three daughters on his own. 

Rounding out the cast of the project are Noah Centineo (The Fosters) as Peter, a popular boy at school who receives one of Lara’s letters; Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars) as Lara’s older sister Margot; Israel Broussard (Happy Death Day) as next door neighbor Josh; Anna Cathcart (Descendants 2) as Lara’s younger sister Kitty; and social media star Andrew Bachelor, aka King Bach, as life of the party Greg. 

The To All the Boys casting comes a month after Netflix released Awesomeness Films’ thriller You Get Me starring Bella Thorne. The company, a division of youth media company Awesomeness, had its first theatrical release this spring with Before I Fall



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George Clooney's 'Suburbicon' Release Date Moved Up


Paramount also pushed a ‘Cloverfield’ movie from October to February.

Paramount has moved up the release dates of mother! and Suburbicon, positioning both films for a longer awards run.

Darren Aronofsky’s horror film mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence, will get a wide release on Sept. 15, opposite the wide releases of Open Road’s Blake Lively drama All I See is You and Lionsgate’s Michael Keaton actioner American Assassin, as well as the Annapurna comedy Brad’s Status directed by Mike White, IFC’s J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye from Danny Strong, and the A24 thriller Woodshock starring Kirsten Dunst. It was previously scheduled top open on Oct. 13.

George Clooney’s Suburbicon, starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, will bow on Oct. 27, opposite the wide releases of Lionsgate’s horror flick Jigsaw, Universal’s PTSD drama Thank You for Your Service with Miles Teller, Electric Entertainment’s drama LBJ with Woody Harrelson, and Sony Classics’ nun drama Novitiate. It was previously scheduled for release on Nov. 3.

Additionally, the untitled Cloverfield movie previously scheduled for an Oct. 27 release will now debut on Feb. 2. It is currently the only title scheduled for that date.



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Charlize Theron Skillfully Dance Battles With Jimmy Fallon


“That’s not a mistake, that’s actually what you meant to write?” Theron asked when told to do a “slap the giraffe” move.

Charlize Theron and Jimmy Fallon took turns making up dance moves for a round of The Tonight Show‘s Dance Battle. In honor of Theron’s new movie Atomic Blonde, all of the songs were from the ’80s and the film’s soundtrack.

Theron went first and was prompted with “slap the giraffe,” which she looked at dubiously. “That’s not a mistake, that’s actually what you meant to write?” she asked, laughing. Nevertheless, she went out on stage and slapped an imaginary giraffe, inspiring Fallon to jealously ask, “How do you make that look cool?” 

Fallon patted his pockets to a beat for “Where’s my phone, where’s my phone, there’s my phone,” eventually finding the phone in his hand.

Theron was nervous about dancing to “the tennis pro” but smoothly executed a series of moves where it looked like she was bouncing the ball and hitting it with her racket.

For the last round, Theron and Fallon broke out moves to “double kayak” together, since Fallon said it was already clear Theron was the better dancer.



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Kevin Spacey to Play Gore Vidal in Netflix Film


Michael Hoffman is directing the film for Netflix.

Two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey is next slated to play Gore Vidal in a new Netflix film about the writer’s life. 

Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day, The Last Station) is directing the film for Netflix. The project is currently in pre-production in Rome. Andy Paterson is producing. 

Shooting will begin at the end of August in Rome, according to soures, and then move to the Amalfi Coast, where most of the film will take place. 

Vidal purchased his infamous cliffside mansion in Ravello, La Rondinaia in 1972 and moved there permanently in 1993. 

The writer hosted numerous international celebrities in the seven-bedroom mansion over the years, including Mick Jagger, Susan Sarandon, Hillary Clinton, Lauren Bacall, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. 

Vidal sold the Amalfi Coast mansion in 2004, and it was again placed on the market in 2015. 

The writer spent a number of years in Italy. After making it big in Hollywood as a scriptwriter on films including Suddenly Last Summer and Ben Hur, he settled in Rome to redefine his career as a novelist.

After befriending Federico Fellini, he appeared as himself in Roma and later wrote a draft of Casanova. Vidal wrote a number of novels in Italy, including Washington, D.C. (1967). 

Vidal never saw himself as an ex-pat in Italy, but rather considered La Rondinaia his “perch” from which to view the world. 



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Sword Training, 1,500 Costumes and Water-Filled Dance Numbers: Behind the Scenes of 'Descendants 2'


Courtesy of Disney Channel

The musical number “What’s My Name” introduces some new villain kids, including Uma, the daughter of sea witch Ursula (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg) from The Little Mermaid. China Anne McClain (pictured above, center), who plays Uma, watched Little Mermaid more than 20 times to get inspiration.

Three other prominent new characters also are introduced in the sequel movie: Gil (Dylan Playfair, pictured at left), the son of Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston; Harry (Thomas Doherty, pictured at right), the son of Peter Pan nemesis Captain Hook; and Dizzy (Anna Cathcart, pictured below with Ortega), the daughter of Drizella, one of the evil stepsisters from Cinderella.

Asked how they decided upon these new villains, Ortega said he and writers Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon (The Starter Wife, Runaway Bride) got together with Disney Channel executives and realized the daughter of Ursula “was the clear first choice.”

Harry, meanwhile, serves as the “bad boy who backs her up,” Gil offers “comedic fun,” and Dizzy — who is portrayed as a sweet girl who not exactly like her evil mother — has “more charm and pathos.”

To cast the roles, Ortega and his team conducted a worldwide search. They found Doherty in Scotland and Playfair in Vancouver. McClain, meanwhile, was competing with more than 100 other young actresses for her role. She was already part of the Disney Channel family, having starred in the series A.N.T. Farm and the original movie How to Build a Better Boy. “She aced her audition,” Ortega said of McClain. “It’s always fun when you’re casting to open it up and really go wide and take our time. We had the good fortune of not having to rush the process.”

As for Goldberg, who has a cameo as the voice of Ursula, Ortega said it was a dream come true to work with The View co-host and EGOT winner.

“I’ve been a huge fan forever, and I missed out on a chance to work with her earlier in my career … which devastated me,” he said. For the voice of Ursula, “I said, ‘Let’s go to Whoopi,’ and people were like, ‘You’re nuts.’ But she’s a Disney fan, and she said yes. She came in and gave me 200 different line readings. It was a small part for her but a big (moment) for me.”



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