press conference

Return-of-the-Jedi-Ewoks

With a little less than two weeks to go before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the promotion for the film has gone into, ahem, hyperdrive. Even though there’s about 11 more sleeps till most people’s first chance to see the film, fans will be speculating till the curtain lifts as to what, or what not, has been included in the film. Today, we have some insight into the latter. Culled from a press event over the weekend, we can say definitively a couple of things about The Force Awakens: it’s got no Ewoks, no Jar Jar Binks, and no post-credits sequences. At least one of those is sort of disappointing. (more…)

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[Editor’s Note: Along with our coverage of The Ender’s Game Experience, Kristal Bailey attended the Ender’s Game press conference and learned a few interesting tid bits about the upcoming Lionsgate film. How she kept it cool while breathing the same air as Han Solo, I’ll never know.]

With all the controversy around Orson Scott Card, it’s hard to remember that Ender’s Game actually has nothing to do with the gay marriage debate. It’s not a plot point or thematic message within the film at all. The film follows young soldiers as they train for an interplanetary war under the tutelage of Harrison Ford‘s military commander.

In advance of their panel at San Diego Comic Con, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Roberto Orci, Gavin Hood, and Harrison Ford sat down to chat with journalists. Here are the five most interesting things I learned from their press conference.

1. Han Solo and Graff are nothing alike.
Graff is a complex character who’s charged with the awesome responsibility of recruiting and training the young soldiers. He faces a lot of the moral issues involved in using young people for warfare, which are integral to the character’s personality and his story. Ender doesn’t face these moral issues until the end of the film really, so it all falls on Graff’s soldiers. The book deals with a lot of complex issues of social responsibility and the moral issues that one faces when one is part of a military establishment. Harrison Ford was, “just delighted to be involved in a film of such high ambition and talented people. Graff is a more complex character than Han Solo, [but] that doesn’t mean I regret Han Solo.”

2. They tried to use practical effects whenever possible.
Gavin Hood said, “you think of these movies as big CG events, but they’re really not. Whenever we could, we built sets that felt as real as possible. It really helps the actors feel like they’re in a real environment. The set directors did a great job in creating these spaces. In the Comic Con Fan Experience, you can see the detail even on the bunk beds and helmets – we had to pay attention to even how would they reflect light because you have to capture and work with that light in the camera.”

3. Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi and Ender’s Game aren’t all that different.
Gavin made Tsotsi, a $3 million movie, and now Ender’s Game. Deep down in both stories you have troubled kids trying to survive in a morally complex environment. This time, you get to play with some really cool toys, but at its heart is a great character story. Hood said, “I get to play with these visual effects and worlds, but also have a character driven story that touches on the human element.”

4. Roberto Orci thinks you don’t need film school nowadays.
When discussing how much thought they put in to bonus features, commentary, deleted scenes, etc that goes on to DVD/Blu-Rays now, producer Roberto Orci revealed that true film fans can learn so much from all these behind-the-scenes featurettes and bonus features that you don’t really film school. Gavin Hood chimed in that these special features are more the producers concern than the director. He was so wrapped up and buried in making the film at hand that he couldn’t think about the DVD/Blu-ray or potential sequels.

 

More San Diego Comic Con coverage coming your way, stay tuned!

 

Starz hasn’t had the same kind of success with their original series as say, HBO or Showtime. Camelot was canceled before its first season ended and even popular properties like Torchwood haven’t fared too well on the premium channel. But don’t count them out of the original programming market yet, their biggest hit is one hell of a contender.  Returning for its third season, a first for a Starz show, is Spartacus: Vengeance. Vengeance is the sequel to Spartacus‘ first season, Blood and Sand, which aired in 2010. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which aired in between Blood and Sand and Vengeance, was a prequel season.

If you’re unfamiliar with the extremely graphic, sword-and-sandal drama I’ll summarize: Spartacus follows an enslaved Thracian turned gladiator who leads an uprising against the Roman ruling class. The first season dealt primarily with Spartacus’ rise as a gladiator and his revolt against his master. Vengeance will see us following the escaped gladiators and slaves as they begin their rebellion.

Did I mention this show is graphic? Good, because it is excessively so, but that’s part of the fun. The show’s creators wanted a truthful interpretation of Ancient Roman society, and they nailed it. Spartacus is gory, like, really gory. But it’s also gory in a fun, comic book way with blood spraying across the screen. It’s also very graphic in its sexual content, another accuracy from Roman culture. For realz, sometimes this show could be considered soft-core porn. It’s dirty, it’s gritty, and it’s an all around fantastic show because for all its sex and violence, they’re telling a great story, too.

The first episode of Vengeance airs this Friday at 10pm on Starz (the first season is available on Netflix Instant) and in a promotional build up Nerd Bastards was invited to sit in on a press conference call with some of the show’s stars. On the call were Manu Bennett (Crixus), Craig Parker (Gaius Claudius Glaber), Nick Tarabay (Ashur) and Dan Feuerriegel (Agron). They answered a multitude of questions about filming, what we can expect from their characters this season, as well what the transition has been like with Liam McIntyre taking over the role of Spartacus. (Andy Whitfield who played the role in Blood and Sand sadly passed away from  non-Hodgkin lymphoma in September of last year.)

The guys gave some really thoughtful and thorough responses. Check ’em out below the cut.

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‘Mythbusters’ Apologize for Cannonball Mishap

On Tuesday, around four in the afternoon, a cannonball came whizzing through a Tassajara Creek neighborhood in California busting through two homes and a minivan. Where did the errant cannonball come from? The Mythbusters, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman were testing a homemade cannonball experiment at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department bomb disposal range when their cantalope-sized cannonball launched well beyond the safety barriers. Read our original report of the accident.

Thankfully no one was injured but a good amount of property damage occurred. In a press conference yesterday, Adam and Jamie fielded questions about the incident as well as apologized saying it was, “the worst thing that’s happened on our watch,” and they’ll do their best to see something like it never happens again.

It also seems unlikely we’ll ever see the segment on television since when asked whether or not the myth they were testing was confirmed or busted they said what happened is, “not entertainment.”

Bummer. I know it’s a serious situation and all, I mean, shit, someone could have DIED had they been struck by the cannonball. (Actually, I’d love to see them recreate what happens to a human body when hit by a cannonball with that kind of force but that might be in poor taste.) Since no one was injured, I don’t see why we can’t look passed it and still see the footage. Admit, you really want to see their faces when they learned the cannonball traveled an extra 700 yards.

Source: TDW: Geek