Friday, January 31, 2014


 The “Son of God” will rise in cinemas from the pages of the bestselling book of all time, the Bible, which tells the story of Jesus, the greatest story ever told for a whole new generation.

 Inspired by History Channel’s phenomenal miniseries “The Bible” which averaged 15 million viewers per episode, “Son of God” is the larger-than-life stand-alone story of Jesus told with scope and scale of an action epic from the producing couple Mark Burnett and (actress) Roma Downey.  “Son of God” is a powerful and inspirational major motion picture event that takes us back to the oppressive Roman era when Jesus is born to Mary and Joseph until his crucifixion and resurrection.

                “Son of God” is directed by Christopher Spencer who also shares writing credits with Richard Bedser, Colin Swash and Nic Young, the movie features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer.

                 The movie introduces Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado who beautifully portrays the role of Jesus with Roma Downey as Mary, Darwin Shaw as Peter, Amber Rose Revah as Mary Magdalene, Greg Hicks as Pontius Pilate and Sebastian Knapp as John. 

                The producers and filmmakers have successfully brought together leaders across all denominations, creating an experience that is endearingly common to all making it relevant to today’s audiences.

                Pastor Rick Warren says, "I’ve seen most of the films about Jesus produced in the past 50 years. “Son of God” stands alone, in a class by itself. It is a powerful and poignant movie, the best Jesus movie I have ever seen. I am thrilled that Twentieth Century Fox is distributing this film and I know it will be a blessing to millions when it opens all across America on February 2014."

                Rev. Sam Rodriguez, President of the Hispanics Evangelical Alliance says, "Son of God” fills the big screen with two catalytic elements: the passion of the cross and the purpose of the empty tomb, forgiveness and eternal life. It is not just a production worth watching it is a gift worth experiencing."

                Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington DC, says, "I would recommend to individuals, and particularly to families, this wonderful story of the Son of God in order to be inspired all over again with the story of God’s love for us. It is a joy to watch this film bring alive the pages of the Gospel to help us see what those who lived at the time of Jesus experienced."

                The producers are thrilled that their Jesus narrative will finally be seen on the big screen. "We are very excited to be working with Twentieth Century Fox to release “Son of God” as a major motion picture," said Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. "We responded to an overwhelming demand for the greatest story ever told to be seen as a shared experience on the big screen. The result is a beautiful stand-alone movie. It's the story of Jesus for a whole new generation."

                Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have succeeded in doing what few before them have done; they have produced a film that tells the story of Jesus and touches the heart. "Son of God proves that when talent and passion collide, the outcome is spectacular," said Joel Osteen, Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church and #1 bestselling author. "Having spent time with them on the set, Victoria and I witnessed firsthand the deep and abiding passion they both possess for God's Word."

                “Son of God” will open nationwide in the Philippines on February 26, 2014 from 20th Century Fox.

“MALEFICENT” Conjures New Trailer Featuring Lana Del Ray Song

Walt Disney Pictures has just unveiled the second trailer for its fantasy adventure “Maleficent” starring Angelina Jolie. The trailer, which features Lana Del Rey's unique, never-before-heard rendition of the fairy-tale tune "Once Upon a Dream," may be viewed here.

Del Rey's reimagining of the renowned song from Disney's classic animated film “Sleeping Beauty” will be featured in full during the end-credits of “Maleficent.”

The film explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty" and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king's newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

The film stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.

Opening across the Philippines on May 28, 2014, “Maleficient” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.

Liam Neeson Tapped to Voice a Villainous ‘Raccoon’ in “The Nut Job”

The ‘Taken’ star has joined other voice cast members in the animated comedy based on Peter Lepeniotis’ 2005 short animation ’Surly Squirrel’.

After lending his voice for wise lion Aslan in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, Liam Neeson joins the voice cast of an animation ‘The Nut Job’ . 

The film taps Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett and Brendan Fraser. Neeson voicing a villainous Raccoon, the self-proclaimed leader of all Liberty Park. His ruling over the community appears to be noble, however, underneath the façade is a self-serving ulterior motive. A master of manipulation with a lust for control and fortune, he will do just about anything to satiate his incredible appetite for greed. Despite his delusion of grandeur, he is unable to do much on his own and enlists the help of the unshakeable Cardinal. Raccoon has also had it with Surly’s (voiced by Will Arnett)  unwillingness to comply with the park rules and will find any opportunity to get rid of this arrogant rodent. However, Raccoon has been investing a little too much time with the exile of Surly when his biggest feat might just be his next in command, Andie (voiced by Katherine Heigl).

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 - International Trailer

At the tail of the success of the first movie, Toothless and Hiccup are back for bigger adventures, laughs and battles as additional voice cast were revealed in this year’s Comic-Con event.  From the phenomenal series “Game of Thrones,” Kit Harrington voices an amusing dragon-trapper named Eret whom he describes as very cocky and brazen; Cate Blanchett who’s known for her role in “The Lord of the Rings” franchise also joins the cast as Valka, a savior of dragons while Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond”) is cast as the voice of Drago Bludvist who chases dragons for personal vendetta.

                Directed by Dean Deblois, “How To Train Your Dragon 2” soars five years after best friends Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and Toothless united dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk.  

               Landing June 11, 2014 in theaters nationwide, “How To Train Your Dragon 2” is a DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox presentation to be distributed by Warner Bros. (Phils.).

Award-Winning Troupe Assembled In “THE MONUMENTS MEN”

 “The story of the Monuments Men is one that really very few people know,” says George Clooney, who returns to the director’s chair for the story of a small group of artists, art historians, architects, and museum curators who would lead the rescue of 1000 years of civilization during World War II in his new film, The Monuments Men.  “Artists, art dealers, architects – these were men that were far beyond the age that they were going to be drafted into a war or volunteer.  But they took on this adventure, because they had this belief that culture can be destroyed.  If they’d failed, it could have meant the loss of six million pieces of art. They weren’t going to let that happen – and the truth of the matter is, they pulled it off.”

                Part of the drama of the film is that all of the Monuments Men are so unsuited to serving as soldiers in wartime.  “Wars are fought by 18-year-olds,” says Clooney.  “Once you get to the John Goodmans and the Bob Balabans and the George Clooneys, you know – these guys are not getting drafted.” Producing and writing partner Grant Heslov adds: “They did it because it was clear that they were the only people who could do it.”

Pre Valentine Date Movie: “THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG”

Love at first sight is one of those enduring mysteries that the majority of us believe in and surveys show more than half have experienced. That the object of such affection is a married woman is as classic a dilemma as Paris and Helen of Troy.

                In “The Right Kind of Wrong,” a romantic comedy, or perhaps a comedy about the madness of romance, we are introduced to Leo, a total romantic and a failed-writer-turned-dishwasher made famous for his many flaws in a blog called “Why You Suck,” a huge Internet success written by his ex-wife Julie (played by Kristen Hager).  Then Leo meets Colette (Sara Canning), the girl of his dreams… on the day she is marrying the perfect man.  And so, the ultimate underdog story begins as Leo, a fearless dreamer, risks all to show Colette and the whole wide world all that is right with a man famous for being wrong.

“22 JUMP STREET” Gets a Teaser Poster

Columbia Pictures and MGM have just revealed the teaser poster of “22 Jump Street,” the sequel to the 2012 action-comedy blockbuster “21 Jump Street.”

“22 Jump Street” reunites Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as they return to their roles as undercover cops Schmidt and Jenko; they are also re-teaming with 21 Jump Street producer Neal H. Moritz ("Fast and Furious" franchise) and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” upcoming “The LEGO Movie”). Alongside Hill and Tatum, Ice Cube reprises his role as Captain Dickson.
After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don't have to just crack the case - they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.

Neal H. Moritz produces through the Original Film banner, along with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Executive producers are Brian Bell, Tania Landau, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Reid Carolin, and Stephen J. Cannell. The screenplay is by Michael Bacall (21 Jump Street), Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman, from a story by Michael Bacall & Jonah Hill, based on the television series "21 Jump Street" created by Patrick Hasburgh & Stephen J. Cannell. The production films in New Orleans and Puerto Rico.

Opening across the Philippines in June 18, 2014, “22 Jump Street” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.


Columbia Pictures has just shared a teaser to the highly anticipated Super Bowl ad for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” The 30-second teaser – a cliffhanger encouraging viewers to tune into the Super Bowl to find out what happens next – may be seen here at this link.

Synopsis: We've always known that Spider-Man's most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.
It's great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there's no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

(Opening across the Philippines on April 30, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hugh Jackman to Star in Live Action Peter Pan Film

Academy Award® nominee Hugh Jackman (“Les Misérables”) has been set to star in Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming live-action Peter Pan feature for director Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Pride & Prejudice”). The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Jackman will portray the villainous Blackbeard in an all-new tale about author J.M. Barrie’s beloved character Peter Pan, the boy who would never grow up.

Silverman stated, “Hugh Jackman always delivers indelible performances that resonate with audiences. We know he will create a Blackbeard who will be a powerful presence in this original Peter Pan adventure.” Kroll added, “There is a reason that Hugh is known and loved the world over. He is uncompromising in his dedication to every role, and we are all thrilled to be working with him again.”

Best known to audiences worldwide for his portrayal of the Wolverine, Jackman most recently wrapped production on “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” reprising his role as the conflicted Super Hero for the sixth time in that popular film franchise. In addition to an Oscar® nomination, he won a Golden Globe Award and earned a BAFTA Award nomination for his gripping performance as Jean Valjean in 2012’s “Les Misérables.” This past fall, Jackman led an all-star cast in the acclaimed dramatic thriller “Prisoners.” Also an accomplished stage actor, he received a 2004 Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway musical “The Boy From Oz.”

Wright will direct the as-yet-untitled Peter Pan adventure from a screenplay by Jason Fuchs. Greg Berlanti and Paul Webster are serving as producers.

The film is set for a worldwide release beginning July 17, 2015 (including The Philippines).

“PUDSEY: THE MOVIE” First Trailer

 Pudsey, the charmer that won the world over when they won in 2012’s Britain’s Got Talent with his owner is now a bone-a-fide movie star in “Pudsey: The Movie.” Check out its first trailer reveal here:

                The family movie is being produced by Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment with Vertigo Films, under the direction of Nick Moore starring the voice of BGT judge David Walliams as Pudsey.  The movie also stars Jessica  Hynes, John Sessions and Ashleigh (Pudsey’s owner).

                In the movie, Pudsey, along with his siblings Molly (voiced by Izzy Meikle-Smith), George (Spike White) and Tommy (Malachy Knights) have moved to a new village called Chuffington-on-Sea with their mother Gail (Hynes).  Upon settling in the village, they soon find themselves on a new breed of adventure as they discover that an evil plan is being hatched by Mr. Thorne (Sessions) along with his cat Faustus.

                “Pudsey: The Movie” will open in cinemas very soon from Axinite Digicinema.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Meet the Characters of Futuristic ROBOCOP

Columbia Pictures’ new, futuristic thriller “RoboCop” boasts of a powerhouse cast led by Joel Kinnaman (“The Darkest Hour”), Gary Oldman (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”), Michael Keaton (“Batman”), and Samuel L. Jackson (“Marvel’s The Avengers”), as well as Abbie Cornish (“Sucker Punch”), Jackie Earle Haley (“Watchmen”) and Jay Baruchel (“Tropic Thunder”). 

            In “RoboCop,” the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years, but have been forbidden for law enforcement in America.  Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it.  When Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured, OmniCorp sees their chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer.  OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine.

Joel Kinnaman was selected to embody the iconic character of Alex Murphy/RoboCop. The actor had to get into the psyche of a man that is brutally obliged to undergo an extraordinary transformation. “Alex is a righteous cop and a family man that is trying to do the best he can in a flawed system until some events completely change the course of his life,” Kinnaman explains. “Then he has to learn to deal with this new reality that is put before him.”

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE Unleashes New Trailer

Warner Bros. Pictures has just launched the third trailer of its action adventure “300: Rise of an Empire” and can be viewed here.

Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel “Xerxes,” and told in the breathtaking visual style of the 2006 blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea—as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war.

“300: Rise of an Empire” pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemesia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

The film stars Sullivan Stapleton (“Gangster Squad”) as Themistokles and Eva Green (“Dark Shadows,” “Casino Royale”) as Artemesia. Lena Headey reprises her starring role from “300” as the Spartan Queen, Gorgo; Hans Matheson (“Clash of the Titans”) stars as Aeskylos; and Rodrigo Santoro stars again as the Persian King, Xerxes.

The film is directed by Noam Murro, from a screenplay by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad, based on the graphic novel “Xerxes,” by Frank Miller.

Opening across the Philippines in March 06, 2014, “300: Rise of an Empire” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

“INTERSTELLAR” Mystifies with Teaser Trailer

Warner Bros.' “Interstellar” from Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises”) released its official teaser trailer which may be viewed here.

Interstellar” brings to the screen a script based on the combination of an original idea by Christopher Nolan and an existing script by his brother, Jonathan Nolan. The new script chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

The film features a prestigious cast that includes Matthew McConaughey (“Magic Mike”), Academy Award® winner Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables,” “The Dark Knight Rises”), Academy Award® nominee Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Bill Irwin (“Rachel Getting Married”), Academy Award® nominee John Lithgow (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”), Academy Award® nominee Casey Affleck (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”), David Gyasi (“Cloud Atlas”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Mackenzie Foy (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Parts 1 and 2”), Timothée Chalamet (TV’s “Homeland”), Topher Grace (“Spider-Man 3”), David Oyelowo (“Jack Reacher”), Academy Award® winner Ellen Burstyn (“The Exorcist”), and Academy Award® winner Michael Caine (“The Dark Knight” Trilogy).

Opening across the Philippines on Nov. 6, 2014 in theaters and IMAX®, “Interstellar” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Saturday, January 04, 2014


Marvel Studio's "Ant-Man" has found its hero in Paul Rudd, who will star in the new film from director Edgar Wright hitting theaters July 31, 2015!

The casting of Rudd represents the actor that Marvel and Wright had long ago identified as its first choice to play Ant-Man, continuing the studio's desire to cast actors that bring several dimensions to its onscreen heroes. The film's plot is being kept under wraps.

"When Edgar Wright came to us with the idea of Paul Rudd, we felt a huge sense of relief because the first step in creating any Marvel Studios film is finding the right star," said Marvel's Kevin Feige. "We knew early on that we had found the right person in Paul. When he not only agreed to do it but became as enthusiastic as any actor we'd ever met with about doing the work, we knew we'd found the right guy. We couldn't be more excited for our audiences to see what he's going to do to bring Ant-Man to life."

Rudd brings a diverse background to the role having become one of the industry's most known actors with a reputation for smart, funny and creative performances. Rudd can currently be seen in "Anchor Man 2: The Legend Continues," as well as past roles in "Anchorman," "This Is 40," "I Love You, Man," "Role Models," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Our Idiot Brother," "Knocked Up," and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" among numerous other films, television shows and primetime animation.

In addition to "Ant-Man," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" on April 4, 2014; "Guardians of the Galaxy" on August 1, 2014; and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on May 1, 2015.

Friday, January 03, 2014


 The merriest of characters in the worldwide hit animation “Rio” reunite in “Rio 2” where they now head to the Amazon from the vibrant city of Rio De Janeiro as seen in this latest poster from 20th Century Fox.

                  The film’s macaw lovebirds Blu and Jewel (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway) are now facing parenting issues whether to stay in the city or make a new nest in the jungle to raise their children.  Along with their friends,  “Rio 2” continues the grandeur of adventure as we see Blu and Jewel raise their children while unexpectedly meeting relatives in the wild and dodging dangers brought about by familiar and new set of villains.

                “Rio 2” opens April 9 in 3D nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

                Visit 20thCenturyFox/Philippines Facebook page, 20thCenturyFoxPh YouTube channel and Twitter handle @20centuryfoxph for more breaking news on your most anticipated movies.

THE LEGO MOVIE Pops up Character Posters

The lead characters of Warner Bros.' original, 3D adventure comedy “The LEGO Movie” get solo posters of their own which have just been launched online.

The characters receiving the special treatment are Batman (voice of Will Arnett), Benny (voice of Charlie Day), Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt), Lord Business (voice of Will Ferrell), Vitruvius (voice of Morgan Freeman) and WyldStyle (voice of Elizabeth Banks).

The first-ever full length theatrical LEGO movie follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 6, 2014, “The LEGO Movie” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

“GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” Reveals First Official Photo

The first official photo has gone online from Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy." The still shows the five major characters who make up the team - Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, and Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot.

From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Captain America” and “The Avengers,” comes a new team – the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
An action-packed, epic space adventure, “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe.

To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits–Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer.

But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand – with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.
Directed by James Gunn, the live-action "Guardians of the Galaxy" will take fans to new corners of the Marvel Universe when it hits theaters August 1, 2014.

In addition to "Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" on April 4, 2014; "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on May 1, 2015; and "Ant-Man" on July 31, 2015.

Kenneth Branagh in Shadow Recruit

When Kenneth Branagh is working on a project – whether it’s playing Macbeth in front of a small, lucky few in a deconsecrated church or directing, and starring in, a big Hollywood thriller, namely Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – he wants the experience to be as authentic as possible.

The chance to direct a bang up to date contemporary thriller and to introduce Jack Ryan, a character who has featured in eight novels by Tom Clancy and several films based on his books, to a modern audience was one that he seized upon immediately. Quite simply, he says, the script was a ‘page turner’ – a great compliment from an actor and director who has seen plenty down the years.

Did you read the Jack Ryan novels before taking on this project?
I had read some, but not all of them. One that I read that was very helpful for this was one of the Russian set novels, The Cardinal of the Kremlin. It’s very effective and it’s about someone in the Russian military who decides to betray the military, and Jack Ryan goes to Russia. It was very interesting and it was helpful to look at some of those novels.

There have been movies featuring Jack Ryan in the past so was there anything you had to follow or acknowledge from what had gone before?
Nobody said ‘it has to be this or that’ but the thing that David Koepp and I both identified was that Jack Ryan is a man with a very brilliant mind – he is the best of the best and in that regard we took him right back to his academic time at the London School of Economics – and numerous Nobel Prize winning economists have come from there – but that he was, in many other senses, an everyman.
So he has a revolutionary mind and a rather bourgeois background in terms of his life in Washington and Baltimore. So if you like, in the crudest sense, he is an everyman with a brilliant mind.

Does the villain who you play hark back to the Cold War?
I didn’t see it that way and I guess I would say that because I’m playing him (laughs). We never referred to him as the ‘villain’ or the ‘heavy guy.’ And I’ve just played Macbeth here in the summer and there were four other versions of Macbeth going on so everything has been done before, everything in the world of classical drama and in the world of richly trodden genre stuff, so there is no question that we have the elements of things with which we might be familiar. But for us, the starting point was, ‘who is Jack Ryan?’ Jack Ryan lives in a world that we live in and know about from newspapers today where you have people questioning what should remain secret and what should not be secret. Do secrets revealed endanger the lives of us all or endanger the lives of those who allegedly are operating on our behalf? And so apropos are its Cold War antecedents; it’s interesting and not as easy nowadays for someone like Jack Ryan to make a decision about how he enters the CIA. So the first third of our film is interesting territory where Kevin Costner’s character has to some extent persuade or explain to a Jack Ryan in the 21st century why potentially working for a covert operation, if you believe such things are possible anymore, is a sensible way to serve and help your country. And we explore the difference between America and Russia.

And there are the other divisions that we have in this movie, which are between East and West, old and young, older and younger in terms of protagonist and antagonist, and old empire and new empire – in this case old empire is America and new empire is Russia potentially. And it’s about financial empires and the way politics blurs into that and they are the kinds of things that Jack Ryan wants to know about and wants to take a view about. Jack Ryan is not a paid assassin; he’s not being de-programmed and doesn’t have a ton of fancy gadgets. He’s a guy with a really sharp mind who wants to know why he is doing what he has been asked to do so it means he asks a lot of questions up front before he decides he’s going to arrive abandoned, friendless, deceived and deceiving in Moscow.

Chris Pine was already attached when you came to the project. Why is he the right actor for Jack Ryan?
Chris is a very smart, sexy lad and he’s also very complex and has wit. I so loved his performance as Kirk in the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie. That’s a terrific movie with substance and it’s partly because the actors are all so good in it. Chris has intelligence and he has wit and he doesn’t take himself too seriously and he has a bit of a twinkle in his eye. Chris can make you believe that his Jack Ryan is as smart as we needed him to be but kind of also in terms of the image that we could present, very WASPY. And that’s what Jack Ryan is on the surface and we weren’t denying that kind of DNA. And Chris is a very, very committed actor and performer. And when he arrived we had supper together on a Sunday night and I hadn’t told him what I was planning to do.

So the preparation with Chris was all about linking up to various aspects of Jack Ryan’s life?
Yes. For example, we took him to a rehab hospital in the southeast of England where they work with war veterans and that helped in terms of understanding the types of injuries that he might have sustained in a helicopter accident that we witness in the movie and so we already were into a whole different territory in terms of what we wanted to do with that character. And so by the end of that week of preparation, the first week that Chris had arrived in England and into proper rehearsals, and as soon as you put him into a room with Costner or Keira Knightley, it started to feel like we were doing a sort of character piece that happened to have an action movie built around it. And yes, we’ve seen Russian villains before, we’ve seen East versus West before, we’ve seen spy movies before, but our chance to make it different or original was to try and bring that specificity of character from the inside out and Chris was the one we started with and then we tried to apply it to everybody else.

What about casting the actor who plays the Russian villain?
 (laughs). Yes, the director had a hand in casting that particular actor. He discovered he was very, very cheap and very available and we knew where he was every minute of the day. Paramount kept asking me to do it and so did Chris and I realized that with that part we had actually managed to stop people from talking about it as the ‘villain’ or ‘the baddie’ and they started talking about Victor or Cherevin and everything became a bit more specific.

Incompetence at high levels within famous financial institutions or misappropriation of funds. And what we also know is that even if you put that financial bond in the perfect place and that is perfectly understood by a brilliant mind then, if all the variables we’ve talked about go together, it can be catastrophic and this does happen. There was an enormous impact, as we know, on the economy after 9/11 because of the reaction of the markets to that degree of instability, so it’s something that is part of what is considered by those who wish to destabilize the financial order from the point of view of terrorism.

Tell us about casting Keira Knightley as Cathy. A contemporary thriller seems like a bit of a departure from the kinds of roles she has done in the past…
Well first of all, we were trying to take the characters seriously and make sure that they have believable backgrounds. And essentially, one of the things David Koepp wanted to write about was deception inside a relationship. Jack and Cathy are not married at the beginning of the picture and Jack is hiding something. When you are in the CIA, you can’t tell people you are a covert operative unless you are married and so there is a pressure that ultimately becomes something that she is suspicious of.  And he wants to marry her so that he can tell her he is in the CIA, which is obviously not very romantic if you choose to absorb it only in that way. She is a smart professional woman in her own right, she is an eye surgeon and we get a sense of her own world as a professional in this and that she is a strong and passionate character rather than just the frightened woman that can be part of the cliché traps of this world. And I’ve always thought that Keira is a terrific actress.

What was it like filming in Moscow?
It’s a hectic pace (laughs). I wasn’t quite geared up for how fast everybody drives in Moscow. I thought I had been in cities where people drive fast but they drive really fast in Moscow so crossing the road is tricky and if you are filming in the road, it’s very tricky. I found it no more or less challenging (than filming in other places) but it’s very noisy, very packed, and very dense and you have a sense of the landscape of that city changing very quickly. I felt that even in the time we were there I saw buildings go up and come down. There’s a lot of construction and it gives a kind of physical energy to the place – it’s fast and noisy and there’s a tremendous intensity. It was quite a contrast to our time in New York, a city of equal but different intensity. And for me as a filmmaker I’d not been to Moscow before so that was interesting to try and evoke what it was like and then evoke it elsewhere. I hadn’t shot as a director in New York before so that was interesting, too and in both cases we employed the policy that Jack Ryan has in the movie – we had to be very fast moving and light on our feet.

The intelligence agencies in the US and Britain have been in the news a lot lately, not least because of Wiki-Leaks. Do you think there should be subject to tighter controls about how intelligence is gathered?
I think it’s inevitable and necessary that there is a debate and the issue is addressed. The world has changed and without simply saying ‘our film is so contemporary’ it is true that one of the things David Koepp was interested in writing about was whether there is a line you draw beyond which we say to a government, an elected body in a so-called democratic society, ‘it’s all right, you make a decision for us, you decide what we need to know and if you think that a lot of people knowing this information makes us more at risk, then we empower you to make that choice.’ The spirit of the new digital age is that information should be available to everyone and it should democratize our lives. And that’s one point of view but on the other hand, we have so-called professionals telling us that it endangers us so it’s a pretty vital area of debate. And the first third of our film is Jack Ryan asking those things of Kevin Costner’s character and saying, ‘why would I join up?’ And also, ‘why would I join up and trust you? I might be one of those 50,000 secrets and the first thing that happens is my wife gets killed...’

Let’s talk about the character you play. Did you have any reference points in creating the character?
I think you look for anything where you feel you have been surprised by that kind of antagonist. You look at it from every which way. One was to look at the world of the Russian oligarch, ex Russian military – people from my generation who would have lived during the communist regime through to the explosion of the economic redevelopment with the invasion of other people who were telling the new Russia how to make money and then kicking out those people and saying, ‘no, we’ll have the money thank you very much..’ And then there were the political/ commercial turf wars and everything. Cherevin is of an age that he would have lived across all of that. And it was interesting to find models that had been there before the wall came down in another part of the empire and who had lived through a period of economic and social wild, Wild West as some people I spoke to described it. And to have survived all of that, you have to be pretty tough. And sometimes you don’t survive it even if you don’t stay in Russia – as we know there are instances of people who have met bitter ends here in the UK in unusual ways. So that generation lived across a revolutionary period and so that in itself was a way of understanding that this is a different kind of person who isn’t out to just rule the world.

‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ is released and distributed by
 United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corp.
Showing January 15. Nationwide.

Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin

Keanu Reeves makes an explosive return to action-adventure in 47 Ronin. After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and restore honor to their people. Driven from their homes and dispersed across the land, this band of Ronin must seek the help of Kai (Reeves)—a half-breed they once rejected—as they fight their way across a savage world of mythic beasts, shape-shifting witchcraft and wondrous terrors. As this exiled, enslaved outcast becomes their most deadly weapon, he will transform into the hero who inspires this band of outnumbered rebels to seize eternity.

What was it about 47 RONIN that made you want to be a part of it? 
I loved the themes of honor, revenge and sacrifice in the script as well as the tragic love story. I also liked my character, who was an outsider trying to regain honor.


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