亚博外围APP采用百度引擎1（Baidu 2）Shazam! has wowed critics with its heart and laughs, and surprised comic-book fans with its faithfulness to the character — who once went by a name now owned by Marvel — his history, and the more recent revisions made in the 21st Century. But as it is a modern era superhero film, there are a number of easter eggs and hooks that might leave those less versed in Billy Batson history a little confused. So here’s a handy guide to a few of the head-scratchers from Shazam! – including that caterpillar in the post-credits stinger!Warning: Major spoilers ahead.Who Is Mr. Mind?(Photo by DC Comics, Shazam! 3)When young Sivana (Ethan Pugiotto) first arrives at the Rock of Eternity, the Wizard’s (Djimon Hounsou) dwelling, he sees a jar containing a caterpillar. Nothing more is said of it throughout the film until we see the jar has been destroyed sometime later. In the mid-credit stinger, the caterpillar appears in Sivana’s (Mark Strong) prison cell wearing a speaker and suggesting they can do great things together.In the comics, the creature is known as Mr. Mind and as the teaser heavily implies, he will be Billy’s (Asher Angel) opponent in Shazam! 2. First appearing in 1943’s Captain Marvel Adventures #26, the character was created by principal Captain Marvel creator C.C. Beck and writer Otto Binder. When the Golden Age Captain Marvel first tussled with Mr. Mind, he was a caterpillar-like worm with mental faculties beyond those of mortal men. He was also telepathic and could spin nearly indestructible silk webbing. And as seen in the film, he used a “talk box” slung around his neck to amplify his voice into the human range of perception.He was also the leader of the Monster Society of Evil, a group of, well, evil monsters dedicated to destruction and villainy in a very earnest Golden Age kind of way. A perfect set of opponents for Billy and his growing Shazam Family — more on them in a bit.Over the years, his origins evolved. He eventually claimed to be an alien worm, which later writers made canon by revealing Venus as his planet of origin. He also became closely tied to Sivana, who gave the telepathic creature its name.With formidable abilities and an inferiority complex well in excess of his physical form, he should prove a worthy opponent for Shazam (Zachary Levi). Doubly so if he and Sivana organize the Monster Society.Where’s Black Adam?(Photo by Robert Viglasky / © MGM)For over a decade, the Shazam! project was overshadowed by a potential spin-off, the Black Adam film starring Dwayne Johnson. The concept first came to light when the actor asked his fans if he should play Shazam. They responded with the overwhelming suggestion he was better suited to play the character’s best enemy, Black Adam. He has been attached to a film starring the character ever since.Created by Beck and Bill Parker in 1945’s The Marvel Family #1 — his one Golden Age appearance — much of Black Adam s history was outlined decades later by writer and artist Jerry Ordway. Teth-Adam was the son of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II (who in real life famously sired over 100 children). The Wizard Shazam was the Pharaoh’s high priest at the time and, looking for a successor even then, thought Teth-Adam would be the perfect candidate. But Adam was double crossed by the Wizard’s daughter Blaze. Instead of inheriting the Wizard’s powers, he derived his abilities from the Egyptian gods Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.Nonetheless, he proved an able hero for the nation. But his duties kept him away from his family, who were all eventually killed when a power-mad priest swept through his home state of Kahndaq.Believing Blaze’s corruption to be absolute, the Wizard eventually trapped Adam’s soul in a scarab and entombed his corpse in a sarcophagus where he referred to his former apprentice as “Khem-Adam,” or “Black Adam. When Adam eventually escaped, he extended his animosity toward the Wizard to the entirety of the Marvel – or Shazam – Family.While the details might be different — and contain a number of DC Comics characters like Blaze — the key elements of Black Adam’s Golden Age origin remain the same. The Wizard believed him to be a worthy successor and bestowed upon him the powers of Shazam. Adam was corrupted by the power, forcing the Wizard to banish him. If this sounds familiar, it is because it is the story the Wizard tells the young Sivana in the opening moments of the film. Black Adam even makes a cameo appearance as the Wizard conjures up images of his first pupil. The entire Black Adam misadventure sets up the whole reason why the Wizard spends millennia looking for someone with the “purity” of Billy Batson.So while not a key player in the first film, the character is ultimately important to the story director David Sandberg appears to be telling. But considering the Mr. Mind stinger, it seems as though Black Adam and Billy will not meet until the third film. In the interval, that Black Adam movie will presumably be made. According to Johnson’s recent Instagram post congratulating Shazam! on its success, he said production will begin “in about a year.”What Is The Shazam Family?(Photo by @ Warner Bros. Pictures)OK, we’ve mentioned “the Shazam Family” once or twice, and that term is important and it is the name of the group of heroes Billy creates toward the end of the film. And as the movie went out of its way to discuss, names are important. So much so, you might be wondering why they do not receive proper names of their own.In the Golden Age, Billy was ultimately joined by three other heroes deriving their powers from the Wizard: Captain Marvel Jr, Mary Marvel, and Uncle Marvel. A few others also joined the crusade with variations of the Marvel theme as The Marvel Family. Each was a person Billy knew in his civilian life, with Mary presented as Billy’s sister. But as we’ve discussed at length before, the “Captain Marvel” trademark was abandoned when Fawcett Comics agreed to stop publishing comics based on the character or his family in 1953 after a protracted legal case initiated by DC Comics. Marvel Comics eventually scooped up the trademark, so when DC bought the characters from Fawcett, they began to use the word “Shazam” in place of Marvel. Which means the Marvel Family is now “the Shazam Family.”And as seen in the film, the group is composed of Mary Bromfield (Grace Fulton), Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman), Pedro Peña (Jovan Armand), and Eugene Choi (Ian Chen) — all of Billy’s new foster siblings in a story point which ties together one of the movie’s great themes about finding home. It also originates from a revision to the Shazam Family orchestrated by writer Geoff Johns, who created Darla, Pedro, and Eugene with artist Gary Frank. Their appearances and characterizations in the film are taken almost directly from the Johns/Frank stories – right down to their lack of proper superhero names.Which may leave you wondering about Freddy and Mary. As both originate from the Golden Age, they had proper names, Mary was the Mary Marvel mentioned before while Freddy had the curious title of Captain Marvel Jr. It may look strange to modern eyes, but it made perfect sense at the time. Sadly, as both names prominently feature Marvel, it remains to be seen if Freddy and Mary will ever get new, proper hero monikers. Much like Billy in the first film, that issue of identity could form part of their story in the sequel.Why Didn’t We See Superman’s Face?(Photo by @ Warner Bros. Pictures)Shazam! functions as a perfectly solid film without big ties to the Justice League, but the film concludes with a reminder that some sort of unified DC world still exists. To help Freddy with the kids teasing him at school, Shazam (Zachary Levi) comes round with a friend: the Man of Steel.But the scene is awkwardly shot. Superman’s head is cutoff throughout and the John Williams theme appears in lieu of the character saying any sort of iconic phrase or cutesy remark.At one time, Henry Cavill was supposed to film a cameo scene for the film — though everyone evolved denied the scene’s existence until its debut at the special preview screenings in March — but scheduling reportedly kept the actor out of the blue suit. It is unclear if facial hair was part of the problem this time.It only adds fuel to the speculation about Cavill’s Superman future. Some say it is already over while Cavill’s only comment on the matter was a video in which he brandished a Superman action figure featuring his likeness. It remains to be seen what will become of the cinematic Superman, but it forms a real life cliffhanger almost as intriguing as Mr. Mind’s prison cell appearance.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.Shazam! is in theaters everywhere now.
(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max)“I had mixed feelings when I first got the script,” Walters said when Rotten Tomatoes caught up with the actor. “But ultimately, I feel like he had no other option. I think he was hoping for a reunion and for things to be fixed. Obviously, that s where you go, family.”Showrunner Greg Walker told us it was the natural progression from Jason’s split with the team at the end of season 2.“It made sense to me emotionally,” he said. “The persona of Robin, in that supersuit in that role, is really the thing that saves Jason — and always has — and has kept them off the streets. He s had a very rough life, and he s somebody who struggled, so it means a lot to him to be Robin.”Indeed, in at least in some comic book stories, Batman chose to take Jason in for fear that the kid who tried to steal the hubcaps off the Batmobile would grow to be a foe.“[Jason] cares a lot about it, and he s good at it, so it made sense to go back to Bruce,” Walker continued. “It s one thing to go home, but it s another thing to actually deal with your troubles and your problems.”(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max)Created in 1983 as a permanent replacement for Dick Grayson, who assumed the identity of Nightwing around the same time, Jason was initially well-received. In the reboot aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths, though, a bratty streak developed in the character which upset fans of Batman and Detective Comics. Famously, readers voted to end Jason’s life via a 1-800 number in 1988; although some accounts suggest Jason would’ve died no matter the results of the phone poll. Nearly 20 years later, he was revived via absurd comic book means and came to represent a compelling concept: the person Batman failed the most during his crusade against crime. It is an idea Titans intends to play with.Of course, Jason sees it in a different way as Walters told us “Jason feels like he was ultimately a mistake to Bruce.”We’d argue the character’s perception is yet another of the Batman s mistakes.(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max)According to Walker, taking a harder look at Bruce’s (Iain Glen) choices and mistakes is a key element of the show, going back to Dick’s (Brenton Thwaites, pictured) infamous “F Batman” moment.“It s one of the reasons that we see Dick struggling in the pilot, he s a guy who can t quite figure out how to deal with this pain and struggle that he has based on the trauma that started off his life with Bruce,” Walker said.And though that initial trauma was not Batman s fault, he certainly didn t help Dick cope with it. So is failure a fair appraisal of Bruce’s parenting skills?“Not necessarily,” said Walters, who indicated Jason’s traumas before meeting Batman are still present and only compound the issues we will see in season 3. “I think [Bruce] parents the way that he knows to parent, which is based on his dealing with trauma. But his way of dealing with trauma is not right for everyone. So therein lays the challenge of his parenting: to see if he can grow and see where his pitfalls and failures are, and understand people in a different light other than through his own prism.”And Jason’s key decision in season 3 will definitely speak to that. Fans of Batman comics know what comes next for the character, but we’ll leave it as a surprise for new viewers.Of those upcoming events, though, Walters said “I think that whole story arc was inevitable. It was something you had to do. So, I m really glad we got to explore that this season. I think his destiny is unavoidable.”(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max)But Titans is a large ensemble show, and Jason’s story is also an anchor for the rest of the team as they move from San Francisco to Gotham and encounter people like Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Savannah Welch, pictured) – a version inspired by her comic book counterpart s years as a paraplegic (from 1988 until the universe-wide reboot in 2011) and her role in the Batman Beyond animated series.“She s such an interesting character in many ways,” Walker said. “By putting her in a position of conflict rather than on the Titans, [it] made her more an interesting character for us and a stronger character for us.”He also added that as the show will always pivot around Dick’s choices, Barbara adds a new perspective on him – only Donna Troy (Conor Leslie) knows him better – and that it will lead to an interesting dynamic in its own right.(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max)The move to Gotham will also put Gar Logan (Ryan Potter) in an interesting position for growth.“This teen has been through a lot in two seasons, he’s seen a lot, and grown from a guy who was hanging out at a mansion with the Doom Patrol [and had] a sheltered experience,” Walker said. “He s seen people die, he s seen trouble. He s seen a family that he deeply cares about get challenged and tested. So I think it s a natural outgrowth of where you go as a person or you deal with it like a lot of us deal with trauma by not dealing with it. But he has stepped up as someone who now will fight for what he cares for.” It is a change in his persona which pleasantly sneaks up on the viewer across the first few episodes.(Photo by HBO Max)It is also a good thing he’s stepping up as the most leader-like member of the team, Kory (Anna Diop, pictured below) will also preoccupied by a family matter: her sister Komand r (Damaris Lewis, pictured above) – aka Blackfire – has arrived on Earth.According to Walker, introducing Blackfire serves multiple purposes beyond showcasing Lewis’s talents. The character also offers the show a chance to get into the situation on Kory’s homeworld while remaining on budget-friendly Earth.“[She] brings back that experience from another planet, which sheds light into Kory s origin; it was super important for us to tell that story,” he said.(Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max)In a departure from most of Kory’s comic book adventures, the Titans version arrived on the scene with amnesia and never fully recovered.“She has to figure out over the course of [these] three seasons what she is, why she was sent on this mission, and what really matters to her,” he explained. But even beyond Kory’s personal journey, Blackfire’s appearance serves another of the show’s themes. “So much about this season, especially after the pandemic and after the way the world was changing, we wanted to address power structures, and the myths behind them, and poke at them.”It is part of the reason Batman continues to get a critical thrashing within the show and why the GCPD may not be entirely clean even under Barbara’s direction.“If we re going to do that to the GCPD and the role of superheroes in Gotham, it had to also be done to the power structure on her home planet [Tamaran], Walker continued. How is [Blackfire] in a position of power and how is her sister not? What stories do people tell in order to ensure that they can keep that power?(Photo by HBO Max)As a whole, Titans seems to revel in shattering more innocent, Silver Age conceptions of the Teen Titans with a deeper psychological grounding. Walker credited The New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, with its own well-rounded depictions of characters like Dick and Donna, as the inspiration for Titans’s tendency to delve further into the group’s psychology.“What I found so striking about reading those books is that the characters are asking hard questions … They weren t built to sit down and navel gaze, but there was an edge and a probing quality to the writing that we ran with,” he said.But does it all that probing into the characters mean Jason is doomed? “He does something that is very hard to come back from,” Walters said. “So ultimately, it s a fight within himself [and] whether the Titans can forgive him or not for what he has done.” Time will tell, of course, if Jason will be able to redeem himself or if another will take flight as Robin.Titans season 3 launches with its first three episodes on Thursday, August 12, on HBO Max.On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.亚博外围APPThe 140 Essential 2000s MoviesNew millennium, new technology. Film cameras were the standard way to shoot a movie for over a century, and now they to had to make space for upstart digital. Without digital cameras, zombies would ve stayed dead; 28 Days Later was only possible with how quick and easy it is to set up with them. Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) and Neill Blomkamp (District 9) certainly benefited from the new technology.Movies were also used to absorb our collective trauma. We escaped into magic and wonder in the months after 9/11 with Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, while we celebrated the end of the Great Recession by getting the hell off this planet with Avatar. And speaking of those series, we didn t want their installments taking up all the spots on this list, so one movie representing the whole franchise was chosen for those worthy.And your vast comic-book trivia knowledge became a social asset, not a bullseye for beatings. Iron Man, The Dark Knight, and Spider-Man 2 opened up new ways of connected storytelling (and money making). And it wasn t just superheroes making the leap to the mainstream. Fanboy culture, the internet, and sites like the one you re reading now helped bring genre movies to the cultural forefront: zombies (28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead), sci-fi (Avatar, Serenity), horror (The Descent, Saw), and fantasy (Pan s Labyrinth).Meanwhile, under-served voices started to make some noise in the mainstream with films led by females (Mean Girls, Whale Rider, Bend It Like Beckham, Twilight), made African-American filmmakers (Love Basketball, Barbershop), and featuring Asian-American stars (Harold Kumar Go to White Castle, Better Luck Tomorrow). And that s not including the increasingly easy access to international material like City of God and Let the Right One In.And we still haven t touched upon Pixar s golden age (WALL-E, Finding Nemo), Hollywood finding the formula for comedies perfectly balanced between smart and dumb (The Hangover, The 40-Year Old Virgin), or that the Fast Furious series got its humble beginnings here. A lot happened in this decade: Discover it all with the 140 Essential Movies of the 2000s!More Essential Movies By Decade1970s | 1980s | 1990s
4. 呼朋唤友 随心所欲
Everything old is new again when The 100 returns to The CW with its sixth season on Tuesday.But that s one of star Lindsey Morgan s favorite aspects of the sci-fi series, she said when Rotten Tomatoes visited the set of the series back in November. We really concentrate on world building and building these new environments and then we blow them up, she said.Indeed, after crash-landing the titular group of 100 teens on a post-apocalyptic Earth in its first season, the show has specialized in upending its status quo each year. Its core team of teen miscreants-turned-explorers faced new difficult situations each season as they attempted to make life thrive on a radiation-soaked Earth. Season 5 sped forward six years as some retreated to a space station above Earth and others defended the last safe zone on the planet. But when that attempt failed, the survivors had only one choice left: find a new planet.Which, of course, they did. A planet a previous Earth ship set out for and, presumably, will support human life.(Photo by Sergei Bachlakov/The CW)Details on this brave new world are still deeply classified, but Bob Morley, who plays key survivor Bellamy, suggested fans can gather something about the new planet based on what happened at the end of last season. And while there is a sense that the show has been reborn, he noted the characters may also experience a sense of déjà vu as they explore the new world. This planet is completely different from the Earth we knew, said Marie Avgeropoulos, who plays Bellamy s sister, Octavia. There are a lot of sci-fi elements to this planet. It makes it really challenging to survive. Instead of various rival clans as seen on Earth, she said the survivors will encounter one set of new people immersed in the new sci-fi trappings. The planet’s gonna be nuts, said Richard Harmon, who plays ne er-do-well Murphy. It will suspiciously look like Vancouver, but they did a great job giving the planet a cool look this season. The new status quo sees the survivors reunited on the same side after years of personal and political conflicts. As Morley noted, Bellamy and Clarke (Eliza Taylor) will have to deal with being leaders of the same group once again despite all the time they were on opposite sides of warring factions. They have to take up that mantra from Monty: Do better,' he said.In the season 5 finale, Monty (Christopher Larkin) stayed awake aboard the Eligius IV while the others went into cryosleep hoping to wait out the decade required for Shadow Valley to become habitable again. Unfortunately, when that decade passed, Monty and fellow survivor Harper (Chelsey Reist) saw little change to the radiation levels around the planet and he began decoding the mission files of the Eligius III, a ship sent out to find a hospitable and oil-rich planet out in the galaxy. The two lived long lives together, even having a son. After Harper s death, Monty chose to remain awake until he could find the route the Eligius III took, eventually dying of old age and hoping his friends would be better people when they settled the world he found for them.(Photo by Diyah Pera/The CW) Everyone takes Monty’s dying wish differently, Morgan explained. It has a resounding impact on us all. He was very much the core of the family and for him to sacrifice his life was such a gift. In the case of Morgan s Raven, it leads her to take a more active role in their coming exploration of the new world. A crisis is on hand in this new set of circumstances, she said. Being the brains of the operation and figuring out the intel, she has to figure out how to assess the planet and how to survive. Presumably, this means she will be one of the first to wake up from cyrosleep, but the cast was oddly mum about who wakes up first. Instead, Morgan joked, there’s been peace because we’ve all been asleep. While Harmon noted that the group is as cohesive as a unit as we ve ever been at the start of the season, old wounds will quickly open up as the various characters awaken. For Raven and Murphy, that means injuries sustained across the fifth season have not healed after 125 years. In fact, Harmon said Murphy’s injury allows him to relate to Raven a little better — at least when he first wakes up. But for Octavia, it means her actions as Red Queen will haunt her. She spends a lot of the time this season dealing with her interior demons and the group has a lot of ill-feelings toward her, Avgeropoulos said. She feels isolated. Additionally, the relationship between Octavia and her brother will be interesting considering as Octavia threw Bellamy in the Pit, which is going to take a little bit of time to overcome. There’s an interesting thing that happens between them this season that’ll shock the viewers, she said. I’m really excited for everybody to see it. Added Morley, It will take some time for them to be able to address the situation, and a lot of their own healing before they can speak about it or it’s amicable or for it to grow into a more healthy relationship. (Photo by Diyah Pera/The CW)That fractious sibling relationship may also put some pressure on Bellamy s relationship with Echo (Tasya Teles). On that front, Morley said Bellamy and Echo are still very much in love, but evaded elaborating on it to point out the show will finally spend some time filling in certain gaps in her backstory. I’m super excited about that, Teles said. It s one of the things I ve been hoping for and asking for the last couple of years. I had ruminated on her backstory and the opportunity to share that for the first time is really exciting. She suggested Echo s past was not roses and picnics, but her unique trauma may lead to something she can contribute to the group as they face the new world. At the same time, she said Echo is still learning to adapt to her new surroundings and trying out a new way of life.But when asked about Echo s relationship with Bellamy — and the fact he has to deal with Clarke in close quarters again — Teles said, rather enigmatically, She understands loyalty better than anyone else, she understands certain relationships are sacred. So there’s a lot of support within them all. She added that Echo also feels a certain indebtedness to Clarke.And when Morley was asked if there was a chance for Bellarke shippers to be pleased this year, he joked there is “as much of a chance as all those other years.”Among their other duties in exploring the new planet, the pair are tasked with looking after Monty and Harper s son, Jordan (Shannon Kook). Though an adult, there is something childlike about him.As Morley put it, Jordan is such an interesting character. He spent his whole life on a spaceship with his parents. Spending 26 years with only his parents to talk to would drive anyone a bit insane, but Kook is a great addition to the cast and Jordan is a new type of quirky character the show hasn t seen before.For his part, Kook said, It’s befuddling for the heroes to encounter this idealistic and optimistic personality who reminds them of their old friend. (Photo by Sergei Bachlakov/The CW)Unlike their childhoods on the Ark and their adulthoods-by-fire on Earth, Jordan was raised in the harmony of his parents even as he trained to join the others on their exploration of the new planet. There are some parallels between him and Octavia [who also grew up separate from the others], but the difference in that is that he wasn’t growing up in a time of tension. Unlike the fear Octavia knew, Jordan has always enjoyed peace. It means planetfall will be quite a jolt to his system. But Jordan, not unlike the original 100 when they first arrived on Earth, will approach this new world as a series of firsts. As Kook put it, Jordan notes the moment he breathes fresh air for the first time and sees a woman who isn t his mother. He also faces the challenge of working with the people he idolized growing up, challenging their jaded worldviews, and feeling an obligation to protect his new family. It s a tall order for a young lad who s never met anyone before, the actor said.Nonetheless, Morley and Teles said Bellamy, Clarke, and Echo feel a certain protectiveness for Jordan immediately. And while that sense will be reciprocated, Kook admitted Jordan has one fave among the group: Murphy. He throws your expectations, Kook said.Added Harmon, I was his favorite growing up, which is very valid. But be careful what you wish for when it comes to meeting your legends. The 100 returns Tuesday, April 30 at 9 p.m. on The CW.
5. HD 画质与高品质音讯
Today s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news, covering titles like The Nun 2, The Six Billion Dollar Man, and The Suicide Squad.This WEEK S TOP STORYJOHN CENA JOINS THE SUICIDE SQUAD(Photo by Universal Pictures)The DC Comics movie The Suicide Squad might be over two years away (8/6/2021), but it s already casting up. Although the initial news suggested it would have a new cast, we now know that a few actors are returning (Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Viola Davis). The biggest new name so far has been Idris Elba (in an unknown role, not Deadshot as previously reported), but a new name emerged this week. John Cena is now in talks to co-star in The Suicide Squad, in what will be his first movie directly based upon a comic book (not counting arguments that Bumblebee was comic-book-adjacent). It s not officially confirmed yet, but Collider claims that John Cena is up for the role of Peacemaker, which is the character that Dave Bautista would have played. Other new villains that director James Gunn is reportedly introducing in The Suicide Squad are King Shark, Polka-Dot Man, and Ratcatcher.Fresh Developments1. BLACK PANTHER S LETITIA WRIGHT FINDING DEATH ON THE NILE (Photo by Marvel Studios)Letitia Wright s Shuri was arguably the breakout star of last year s Black Panther (as well as Avengers: Infinity War), but we haven t seen her parlay the success of that role into a lot of other projects just yet. That said, Wright is in Donald Glover s Guava Island (which you can watch here), and this week, she landed one of her first big post-Black Panther feature film roles. Letitia Wright will star in next year s Death on the Nile (10/22/2020), which is both a sequel to 2017 s Murder on the Orient Express and a remake, as Rosalie Otterbourne, one of the lead suspects in Agatha Christie s oriinal 1937 novel. Director Kenneth Branagh will also reprise his role as Hercule Poirot, and he and Wright will be joined by Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer in what is essentially the second film of a new Agatha Christie Cinematic Universe. Meanwhile, Letitia Wright will also star in the English-language remake of Le Brio and co-star with John Boyega in the sci-fi romance Hold Back the Stars.2. THEY HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY: MARK WAHLBERG S SIX BILLION DOLLAR MAN BEING REBUILT (Photo by Patti Perret/Paramount Pictures)Though it s looking like it will be the lowest-grossing live-action Transformers movie, producer/director Travis Knight s Bumblebee has still earned close to half a billion dollars worldwide, and its Certified Fresh 92% on the Tomatometer extended a five-film streak for him. All of that put together probably helped him this week, as he is now attached to direct the long-in-development The Six Billion Dollar Man, adapted from the 1970s hit TV series The Six Million Dollar Man (title changed to adjust for inflation). Mark Wahlberg has long been attached to star as Col. Steve Austin, and he remains so. Part of the reason for the delay on The Six Billion Dollar Man was that it was previously a Weinstein Co. production, so it had to find a new home at Warner Bros. following the crisis.3. JANELLE MONÁE JOINED BY ALL STAR CAST IN THRILLER (Photo by James Atoa/Everett Collection)Singer-turned-actress Janelle Monáe will be starring in an untitled racial thriller for Lionsgate, and this week, we learned that the film will also feature several familiar faces from film and TV. Monáe s new co-stars will include Kiersey Clemons (Dope), Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), Jena Malone (Donnie Darko, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire). Janelle Monáe will be starring as a woman desperately trying to flee her captors, although the setting and premise is otherwise unknown. This project will mark the feature film debut of the Bush + Renz directing team ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10065694/ ), who have previously worked on musical videos including Jay-Z s Kill Jay-Z. 4. CLINT EASTWOOD MAY DIRECT TRUE STORY THE BALLAD OF RICHARD JEWELL (Photo by Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros.)Some of the many repercussions of Disney s acquisition of the Fox film and TV properties have been rather surprising. This week, for example, there was news of a director based almost entirely at Warner Bros. since the 1970s who s now considering switching sides to work for Disney/Fox. That director is Clint Eastwood, who may sign on to direct The Ballad of Richard Jewell. If that name sounds familiar, it may be that you remember the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, when a security guard named Richard Jewell who discovered a bomb was then accused in the media of actually being the bomber himself (he wasn t). The Ballad of Richard Jewell has been in development for several years, including a period when it was a starring vehicle for Jonah Hill (who is no longer attached to star).5. TWO NEW PROJECTS FOR SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE ALUM KRISTEN WIIG (Photo by Wilson Webb/20th Century Fox)Former Saturday Night Live star Kristen Wiig has a handful of films on the horizon, including Where d You Go, Bernadette (8/16/2019) and Wonder Woman 1984 (6/5/2020) (as the villain Cheetah), but this week, she secured a couple more.. Wiig s first new project is Netflix s A Boy Called Christmas, which will feature British actresses Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) and Dame Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), as well as Jim Broadbent and Toby Jones. Kristen Wiig is also reuniting with her Bridesmaids cowriter Annie Mumolo on a comedy called Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Wiig and Mumolo will costar as two friends from a small Midwestern town who go on vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida, where they soon find themselves tangled up in a villain’s evil plot to kill everyone in town. 6. JENNIFER LAWRENCE S MYSTERY INDIE MOVIE (Photo by 20th Century Fox)With The Hunger Games done and the X-Men franchise wrapping up with Dark Phoenix (6/7/2019), Jennifer Lawrence will soon no longer be a part of any major active franchises. While she remains attached to Adam McKay s Bad Blood as Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, it appears that film s not yet ready to start production, and in the meantime, Lawrence had taken a year off from working. This week, though, she signed on for her first post-break project, and it s an indie production instead of a big franchise entry. Lawrence will work with A24 on an untitled drama that will also be the feature film debut of theater director Lila Neugebauer. Nothing else is really known about this project except that it s scheduled to start filming in New Orleans in June (so it might be set somewhere sunny? Yeah, we ve got no clue).7. TRAIN TO BUSAN STAR JOINS MARVEL S THE ETERNALS (Photo by Well Go USA Entertainment)We ve known for a while that Marvel Studios is reportedly looking to cast an openly gay actor for one of the lead roles in next year s The Eternals. This week, that scope narrowed considerably with this story claiming that they re specifically looking for an openly gay actor who s also of Asian heritage. In addition to Angelina Jolie, Marvel has also cast two Asian actors so far, starting last week with Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, HBO s Silicon Valley), who is rumored to be playing the super speedster Makkari. The second was South Korean actor Ma Dong-seok, who is probably best known for his role in the zombie movie Train to Busan. Although Marvel Studios has not yet officially announced a release date for The Eternals, it may be their film scheduled for November 6, 2020.Rotten Ideas2. DISNEY SHUTS DOWN FOX S MOUSE GUARD TWO WEEKS BEFORE FILMINGIt probably shouldn t be that surprising (maybe just disappointing), but as Disney absorbs their newly acquired Fox properties, some pre-existing Fox projects may end up not happening. We now know this because Disney has pulled the plug on the high profile adaptation of the Mouse Guard comic book just two weeks before filming had been scheduled to start. (Whether the mouse house objected to Mouse Guard somehow is completely open to speculation.) Mouse Guard was to have been a motion-capture adventure with a cast that included Andy Serkis and Idris Elba, with other cast members likely to be added soon. Despite the sudden shelving, Mouse Guard could still happen someday, as Disney is allowing the project s producers to shop it around to other studios.1. GET THEE TO A SEQUELERY: THE NUN 2 (Photo by Warner Bros.)This week s The Curse of La Llorona (Rotten at 36%) is the sixth film in The Conjuring Universe, and the franchise is showing few signs of slowing down. Annabelle Comes Home is scheduled for June 28, 2019, and The Conjuring 3 is due next year on September 11, 2020. (We should also note the passing of Lorraine Warren, whose life inspired The Conjuring, at the age of 92.) Last year s The Nun was a spinoff from The Conjuring 2, and the film went on to earn over 5 million worldwide. So, New Line Cinema is also now moving forward on development on a sequel to The Nun, starting with the hiring of screenwriter Akela Cooper, who s previously worked on Netflix s Luke Cage series. The Nun received a Rotten Tomatometer score of just 26%. Even if the sequel doubles that score, it would still be Rotten.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
2. THE HUNGER GAMES TO RECEIVE PREQUEL MOVIE SET 64 YEARS EARLIER (Photo by Murray Close/Lionsgate)This week s news about The Hunger Games sort of deserves some mathematical assistance. You may not remember how many Hunger Games had taken place prior to the first film s narrative, but it s much easier to recall that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire depicted the 75th competition, and that s made easier by remembering that every 25th iteration of the Hunger Games (called Quarter Quells ) follow special rules. It was announced this week that author Suzanne Collins will publish an untitled Panem novel on May 19, 2020 that will be set 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games (in other words, 10 years after the games started, in world). Lionsgate was likewise quick to move forward with plans for a prequel based on that forthcoming novel. Online sources also quickly produced articles about the film, such as this one asking if The Hunger Games is still revelant in 2020, and this one listing other possible prequel ideas.3. THIS WEEK IN MARVEL: KEANU REEVES, AVENGERS: ENDGAME RERELEASE, AND BLACK WIDOW (Photo by Netflix)Some weeks, Marvel Studios could swallow half of The Weekly Ketchup if we let them, so it helps to just bunch their stories together. Let s start with the story that you ve probably already seen crawl across your social media, which is that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige remarked that they frequently talk to Keanu Reeves about joining almost every new project, and they re still looking for a role for him. This begs a few questions, like what
1997 Special Edition. The music and the muppet-ness of the original band give a certain authenticity even as it remains one of the cheesiest things in the Original Trilogy.31. Tarkin Takes Credit for Krennic’s Work – Rogue OneOrson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) is a wonderful view into the way the Empire truly operated. Dogged and relentless, he proves the Death Star s main weapon will work after years of delays only to see Grand Moff Tarkin (a CGI Peter Cushing) assume command and take the credit. His composure melts as he screams about “my work” to an unimpressed gaggle of moffs and generals. It might be Mendelson’s talent for playing officious middle managers, but Krennic became one of our favorite Imps in this moment.30. Bail Organa Gets Involved – Revenge of the SithFrom his appearance in Attack of the Clones, Bail Organa (Jimmy Smitts) is a nameless anomaly in a film comprised of awkward introductions. But he makes his mark in RotS by investigating a fire at the Jedi Temple. In doing so, he becomes a leading figure in the Rebellion and the adoptive father of one of its most important heroes. His actions prove to be quietly heroic, but have far reaching effects.29. Leia Strangles Jabba the Hutt – Return of the Jedi(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)Among the chaos Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) sowed to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt, he left dealing with the gangster to the capable hands of Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). In using the very chain Jabba employed to make her his pet, she made a statement at least one member of Jabba’s retinue understood before the end. Never shy to make statements, it is one of Leia’s most impressive and direct scenes of action in the Original Trilogy.28. Han Fails To Fool The Empire – Star WarsThough known for his swagger, Han’s dopiness keeps him from being an insufferable character. And this may be the greatest example of his dopiness getting the best of him. Thanks to his time in the Imperial Army, he should know the proper procedure to keep the Imps at bay during the jailbreak, but the ruse collapses thanks to a hasty “how are you?” It’s funny, character-revealing, and a great way to ratchet up the tension.27. Leia Senses Luke Is In Trouble – The Empire Strikes BackWhile it is clear Lucas decided to make them siblings after Empire was released, it is almost impossible to read this late moment in the film as anything but foreshadowing of Luke and Leia’s true relationship. If you can see it another way, it reveals Leia as someone who may not be Force-sensitive, but attuned enough to receive Luke’s telepathic call. Or, as it now text, she is also strong in the Force, but untrained. In any of these readings, it is a powerful moment for Leia with a nice slice of comedy at the end thanks to Lando Calrissian’s (Billy Dee Williams) reaction to her orders.26. Palpatine vs Yoda – Revenge of the Sith(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)The better of the Prequel Trilogy’s two Yoda battles, this one derives its power from actor Ian McDiarmid going full cackling Republic serial villain. He has the high ground and relishes it with each laugh and each Force-push of a delegate conveyance. The symbolism of Palpatine smashing the Senate might be a little too on the nose, but he’s not worried about subtlety here. He’s won, which also makes Yoda’s retreat surprisingly poignant and their fight all the more important.25. “We Would Be Honored If You Would Join Us.” – The Empire Strikes BackIn a film stuffed with reversals, Darth Vader’s (voiced by James Earl Jones) dinner date with Leia, Han, and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) is one of the best. Lando’s duplicity is revealed. Boba Fett proves Han cannot escape his grasp. And in their only direct confrontation, Han learns he’s definitely no match for a Sith Lord. It’s quick, it’s punctuated by blaster fire and Chewie’s growls, and it’s just a great scene.24. R2-D2 Reactivates The Hyperdrive – The Empire Strikes BackThroughout most of the saga, astromech droid R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) has had plenty of chances to save his humanoid friends. Without him, the Naboo delegation would never have made it to Tatooine. But this may be his most heroic action because of the stakes involved and C-3PO s (Anthony Daniels) nagging about his leg. Without R2 reconnecting one cable, the history of the galaxy might be very different.23. Luke Finds Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s Remains – Star Wars(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)The most gruesome scene in Star Wars overall is also one of its most pivotal. According to the principles of screenwriting, Luke has refused the call to action. He needs a powerful motivator to accept the call and go on his adventure. In this case, it is the sight of his uncle and aunt’s charred remains among the blasted ruins of their homestead. It is a shocking moment worthy of its unsettling imagery. Short of a bloody arm a few minutes later, Star Wars films would never do something this graphic again.22. Rey Pulls The Lightsaber Through The Air – The Force AwakensIn a film filled with fan wish-fulfillment, this may be most fans’ fondest – to reach out with the Force, pull a lightsaber through the air, activate it, and hold their own against a Sith Lord. Yes, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) may not be a true Sith – and Rey (Daisy Ridley) is no Jedi here – but that’s beside the point. This is a moment every Star Wars fan has played out in their backyard, schoolyard, or imagination, and it suddenly lives inside a Star Wars movie.21. Boba Fett’s Entrance – The Empire Strikes Back“No disintegrations.” With this directive from Vader, bounty hunter Boba Fett became Star Wars’s greatest man of mystery. Surrounded by intriguing bounty hunters like IG-88, Bossk, and Zuckuss, Fett stood out – and not just because he was an early release Empire action figure. His response, “As you wish,” suggests disintegrations have been a problem in the past, or something Vader specifically hired Fett to do previously. Either way, it gave Fett a mystique so powerful, it rivals Vader’s.20. Vader Promotes Piett To Admiral – The Empire Strikes Back(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)Many fan theories online suggest Admiral Ozzel (Michael Sheard) was revealed as an Alliance spy as a way to explain his gross negligence in the search for Luke. But whether an enemy saboteur or a grossly incompetent Imp who peter-principled his way to the admiralty, his death is both hilarious and disturbing thanks to the reaction of his junior officer, Captain Piett (Kenneth Colley), who Vader immediately elevates to command the fleet. We like to imagine Piett spent his entire career waiting for his superiors to anger Vader so he could accept these quick promotions. Call it the Piett Principle.19. Vader Attempts To Board The Tantive IV – Rogue OneVader as Jason Voorhies. A late addition to the film during its infamous reshoots, Vader’s attempt to secure the Death Star plans from the Rebels as they raced to the blockade runner Tantive IV is the best example of what the Sith Lord looked like to rank-and-file members of the Alliance. He’s a horror movie slasher with a laser sword and magic powers. But most importantly, he’s unstoppable. Consequently, it is one of the most effective scenes in the film despite the lack of the entire main cast.18. Obi-Wan’s Debut – Star WarsFirst, he convinces the Tusken Raiders that a Krayt Dragon is nearby. Then he attends to the unconscious Luke. When R2-D2 comes out of the shadows to investigate, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) removes his hood and offers a warm, bemused “Well, hello there.” With each expansion of the character’s past, this moment – and the following scene with Luke – takes on more meaning, but these three words offer so much of the character: his wisdom, his playfulness, and the prototype image of a Jedi we use to this day.17. Vader Force-Chokes General Motti – Star Wars(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)While Obi-Wan made the Force sound amazing a few scenes earlier, Vader gave it its visceral power with this moment. As Lucas would later claim, this is Vader’s lowest point. He is below Tarkin in the Imperial power structure and faces a gaggle of disbelieving generals like Motti (Richard LeParmentier), who mocks the Sith Lord’s “sad devotion” to the Force with every muscle in his face. Vader chokes him from afar and the soundtrack offers a haunting rumble. And in that moment, every kid wanted to wield the power of the Force.16. Lando’s Introduction – The Empire Strikes BackFeigning anger at the arrival of the Millennium Falcon in Cloud City proves a key thing about Lando Calrissian: he is a shrewd sabacc player. It makes Han feel at home and sets up Lando s later betrayal when Vader reveals himself to the rebels. But it also reveals Lando’s playful side. More than any other character in the Original Trilogy, he wants to have fun. Even if he has to sell out a friend, he will find a way enjoy it. Well, at least until the deal is altered.15. Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul – The Phantom MenaceAs the first glimpse of Jedi and Sith in a live-action duel, this was one of The Phantom Menace’s defining sequences. Maul (Ray Park) meets his match in Ewan McGregor s Padawan, who uses his anger to counter the Sith Lord. But Maul is ultimately unprepared for Obi-Wan’s awareness of the environment around him – the “Living Force” Qui-Gonn wanted him to be mindful of at the start of the film. Between the great choreography and the story point, it proves to be one of the best fights in the whole series.14. Luke Brushes Dust Off His Robe – The Last Jedi(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)For all the might the Force gives a Jedi, there was always the suspicion a true master could defeat his enemy with just a few gestures. This is that moment for Master Jedi Luke Skywalker. The boy who sought swashbuckling adventure was always destined for the sort of composure and interior strength required for this sickest of burns. It puts his opponent off his footing and allows the Resistance to escape – the real victory to be found in this confrontation.13. “Judge Me By My Size, Will You?” – The Empire Strikes BackYoda’s view of the Force was proof there was more to it than lifting rocks. But it would take this dramatic moment, in which the Jedi Master raises Luke’s X-Wing from the muck, to prove the energy field binding the universe defies all underlying perceptions about reality. A hyperdrive-capable snub fighter is no heavier than a pebble to one truly allied with the Force. That this lesson is offered by one of Star Wars’s smallest characters gives this line of thinking its exclamation point.12. “This Is How Liberty Dies To Thunderous Applause” – Revenge of the SithPalpatine’s first public appearance as Emperor is filled with strange moments. He looks like bleached hamburger. He calls out the Jedi as would-be usurpers. He announces the Republic will be “reorganized” into the First Galactic Empire in lieu of a complete change in the government. And he promises a more “secure society.” Despite the odd framing and phrasing, it is a genuinely chilling moment punctuated by Padme’s comment: a warning of just how easily republics can fall.11. “It s Time to Let Old Things Die” – The Last Jedi(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)While Kylo’s speech to Rey could still be a dodge about her true parentage, his repudiation of the Jedi and the Sith in that moment speaks to anyone who sees the absolutism of those philosophies as the root of the galaxy’s problems. Sure, the Jedi are generally in the right, but they did nothing to alleviate slavery in the Outer Rim. And that surely contributed to Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen) fall as much as any of his own actions. Outside of the film, it is also a call to the future of Star Wars – provided they stick the landing with The Rise of Skywalker.10. Luke And the Emperor’s Verbal Sparring Session – Return of the JediLuke’s “Your overconfidence is your weakness,” immediately followed by Palpatine’s “Your faith in your friends is yours” may not only be the best exchange in Episode VI, it may also be the key to understanding the difference between the Sith and, well, everyone else. Evil in the Star Wars galaxy is about being uniform even though it proves to be the very reason the Sith and the Empire fall. A sense of fellowship, meanwhile, allows the Alliance to thrive. Luke and Emperor become the embodiment of these philosophies and it is ultimately Anakin who must choose between them.9. Leia Saves Their Skins – Star WarsPresuming her to be a damsel in distress, Luke quickly learns Leia just needs a blaster and a window of opportunity to save herself. Oh, and she helps out these dopes who barged into the Death Star detention block. And much to Han’s dismay, she takes immediate control of a situation he thought was his. It may have led to the garbage smasher, but it was still a successful strategy. Also, her quick wit and quick thinking prove why she will always be our princess.8. The Alliance Attacks Scarif – Rogue One(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)The concluding fight above Scarif is, without a doubt, the best space-fight realized in a live-action Star Wars project thus far. Taking all of the techniques learned since 1977, it brings us back to that general look, but ups the ante with colliding Star Destroyers, callbacks to both Red and Gold Leaders, and a cameo by key Star Wars Rebels spaceship the Ghost. All the while, terrific photography and editing give it an exceptional verisimilitude. In many ways, it is the battle kids who grew up with Star Wars have been dreaming about since the 1980s.7. Palpatine Tempts Anakin In the Opera Hall – Revenge of the SithThe most accomplished scene in the film centers on Sheev Palpatine tempting Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) with the power to save Padme (Natalie Portman) and teasing the audience with the answer to Anakin’s parentage. Told as a parable on the dangers of Sith power, McDiarmid is at his subtlest – even if Sheev is a cartoon villain – as he relishes a well-written speech. It is also here that we finally see the seductive allure of the Dark Side Yoda eventually warned Luke about.6. The Trench Run – Star WarsA triumph of model work, editing, score, and scripting, the original Star Wars trench run is the battle scene from which nearly all other Star Wars space fights derive. Itself inspired by battles in World War II movies (and footage from the conflict itself), the sequence also proved Luke was a more accomplished pilot than his father. Although, viewers just wouldn’t know it for twenty years.5. “You were my brother, Anakin! I Loved You.” – Revenge of the Sith(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)While the long-awaited duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan fails to be one of the great fights, its immediate aftermath may be the most emotionally resonant moment in the whole Prequel Trilogy. Obi-Wan watches, heartbroken, as Anakin succumbs completely to the Dark Side. Slding toward a lava flow, the tortured Anakin shouts “I hate you!” And just before the heat sets Anakin aflame, Obi-Wan reminds him of their bond. In a literal sea of CGI lava, it is the most human moment to be found in the first three episodes.4. “I Know.” – The Empire Strikes BackHarrison Ford’s well known skepticism of Star Wars dialogue gave rise to Han’s best moment of swagger. Facing the carbonite freezer, he breaks away for one last kiss with Leia. She finally admits her love to him and instead of telling her to remember that (as scripted), Ford uttered the swagger-filled “I know” during one take. It impressed director Irvin Kershner and cemented Han’s cool factor for generations. It also gets a worthy callback when Leia says it to Han in the next film.3. The First Jump To Light Speed – Star WarsAs an early critic of the film noted, Star Wars brought speed to science fiction. Previously, spaceships lumbered slowly across the screen, but here they darted at impossible speeds. Thankfully, the Industrial Light Magic geniuses were able to visualize this sense of velocity with one of the greatest visual effects in all of cinema; it propels the viewer as much as it takes the Falcon to hyperspace and became the only way for the rest of us to imagine lightspeed.2. The Mos Eisley Cantina – Star WarsFor as much as Star Wars is about the Hero’s Journey and the creation of a modern mythology, it is also about exotic creatures. Before Lucas realized he could sell that imagery to kids in the form of action figures, he and the talents at ILM worked long and hard to sell this first major reveal of aliens from a thousand worlds. Backed by composer John Williams’ now-classic Cantina Band song, it offered viewers their first glimpse into a larger world.1. “No, I am your father.” – The Empire Strikes Back(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)Not just the best Star Wars moment overall, but one of the great twists in all of cinema. The entire Skywalker saga revolves around this moment in which Vader tells Luke the truth about his paternity. And Luke responds in the exact way we would: an ugly cry. In terms of classical screenwriting, it is the protagonist confronting his lowest point. But the emotion involved – including the sense of betrayal involved – speaks to people at a genetic level. It is the single greatest Star Wars moment for a reason and we doubt it will ever be topped.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
Watch: Actor Andy Serkis on the making of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers above.In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating the 21 Most Memorable Moments from the movies over the last 21 years. In this special video series, we speak to the actors and filmmakers who made those moments happen, revealing behind-the-scenes details of how they came to be and diving deep into why they’ve stuck with us for so long. Once we’ve announced all 21, it will be up to you, the fans, to vote for which is the most memorable moment of all. In this episode of our ‘21 Most Memorable Moments’ series, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers actor Andy Serkis recalls auditioning for Peter Jackson, creating the sound of Gollum, and shooting the movie s most chilling scene. VOTE FOR THIS MOMENT IN OUR 21 MOST MEMORABLE MOVIE MOMENTS POLLTHE MOVIE: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) 95%The Two Towers was the film that proved Fellowship wasn t a fluke – that director Peter Jackson s Lord of the Rings trilogy was going to be a landmark event, with each entry equal to the last. It showed that Jackson and his fellow writers had the skill to match their gargantuan ambition. A year after Fellowship stunned moviegoers, the world once again joined a large collection of characters on their journeys across Middle-earth – Gandalf the (now) White, Sam and Frodo, Aragorn, and the rest – but it was one character, with two natures, who would steal the show. Andy Serkis s Gollum, only glimpsed in Fellowship, took center stage in The Two Towers, and Serkis s performance, along with the technology that made it possible, would change cinema for decades to come. Here, the actor remembers auditioning for the role – one he thought at the time was only going to involve his voice. Can you just get me a decent audition for one of the proper roles? “The way that the job had been explained to me was that they were making these films of The Lord of the Rings down in New Zealand and that they wanted a voice for a digital character. One of my first responses to my agent was, ‘Well, you know, I m not really a voice actor. Can you just get me a decent audition for one of the proper roles?’ When I found out it was Gollum it was like, ‘Wow, gosh, that s a really exciting character.’ I d read The Hobbit when I was at school and I remembered [Gollum] hugely from that. I was fortunate enough to witness my cat throwing up a fur ball It suddenly gave me this idea. I d never considered myself a voice actor, just a regular actor, and I had to kind of think my way into it. I started to work on this notion that he s called Gollum because of the way he sounds – and what would make his voice sound like that? I started to think about constriction of the throat, and as I was doing that, I was actually fortunate enough to witness my cat throwing up a fur ball. It suddenly gave me this idea that the whole physicality of the role would be determined by this force within, which is kind of built out of guilt and torment – this involuntary physical action is what caused this sound coming out of his mouth. The cat throwing up a fur ball is actually what generated the idea for this involuntary spewing out of words. Andy Serkis in motion-capture suit while shooting The Two Towers. (Photo by New Line/courtesy Everett Collection) We are looking at this new technology called motion capture. “[My audition] was at the American [International] Church in Tottenham Court Road in London, and I d already done one audition on tape for Peter. I went inside, and down this long corridor there was this tiny little room. It was quite mysterious actually, and I remember sitting in that corridor waiting for my turn. Then I went down into the corridor, went into the room, and met Pete and Fran [Walsh]… They were saying to me, ‘You ll be on set and you ll be working with these guys, but finally you ll be manifested as a CG character; we are looking at this new technology called motion capture. It s in its early stages and we re not quite sure how it s going to work, and it ll be a cross between that and some animation.’ I said, ‘Look, the only way I can do this character is by acting it out, by actually playing it. I m not a voice actor as such. I ve never done that.’ I started to crawl around and get into character and go through the coughing-up-fur-ball voice and sort of getting into the scene, and played the tortured nature of Gollum. Pete was giggling away, and I thought, ‘OK.’ I think they were just really tickled by what I was doing. Pete was sort of crawling around too with his camera and filming it from various different angles and all sorts of different ways of shooting it.”Gollum as he appears in 2003 s The Return of the King. (Photo by @ New Line/courtesy Everett Collection) When I saw the first fully re-sculpted version of Gollum, it totally looked like my dad. Gradually they asked me to play the former role of Smeagol, before he becomes Gollum. Once that had happened, they decided to redesign the whole of Gollum s face just around my features. Then my performance was filmed on 35mm for every scene, and then the animators, using faders… would then match every single facial expression of mine. In fact, when I first saw the first fully re-sculpted version of Gollum, it absolutely, totally looked like my dad, which was kind of freaky and extraordinary and made sense really. Now I know what I m going to look like when I m you know, 22 years older.”THE MOMENT: Gollum and Smeagol TalkThe Two Towers packs its 179 minutes with a slew of memorable moments and sequences – chief among them the 40-minute-long climactic Battle of Helm s Deep, still considered by many the greatest battle committed to film. Yet it s the dialogue between Gollum and Smeagol, a tortured, moonlit exchange between both sides of the one soul, that lingers. The almost photo-realistic realization of the creature impresses, but it s the writing, sharp editing, and Serkis s performance that make it more than just a memorable evolution in film technology. Gollum is basically an addict or a Ring junkie. “The evolution of the character changed en route. Rather than it just being Gollum, we teased out the notion of Gollum as being this almost schizophrenic personality, and we pushed the voice in different directions. Working with Fran Walsh, and [co-writer] Philippa Boyens as well, we pushed the notion of Gollum being the more visceral, brutal kind of survivor character and Smeagol being the young, innocent sibling, if you like – abused sibling. I had to find for myself something tangible, something real, in the real world, so that the power of the Ring would resonate, and so for me it was really about addiction. Gollum is basically an addict or a Ring junkie. His physicality as such was very much based on someone suffering the terrible physical symptoms of a very strong addiction. It s tearing the body apart and tearing the mind apart, and the decrepitude of his body and the tortured, twisted, emaciated look was the externalizing of what was going on inside his mind and soul. Then Philippa and Fran pushed the writing to really embolden those ideas, and that was exemplified with the scene in The Two Towers where Gollum literally talks to himself. Andy Serkis as Gollum in The Return of the King (Photo by @ New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)“At that time we couldn t do on-set, physical motion capture I would have to go back onto a motion-capture stage. “At that time we couldn t do on-set, physical motion capture. That was something that s actually happened since. For instance, in the Apes movies that I was involved in, we had direct capture on set with motion-capture cameras in the trees – on location, capturing everything in one take. At that point, in the early stages, especially in The Two Towers, I would have to go back onto a motion-capture stage and repeat [the scene] a third time [after shooting it first with the other actors, then again reading lines out of frame with the other actors shooting it]. I would have to then do my performance again on my own in a motion-capture stage. We shot [the scene of Gollum and Smeagol talking] on a location, so the tree that he used and the rocks that he was sort of hiding behind and going either side of in the first few shots, that was all built. That was a real set, and we shot all that on a location, doing that two-part process. We constructed the whole scene like that, with the fallen log and Gollum eventually jumping down and spinning around with all the leaves and all of that being kicked up. It was maybe a month later that we went back into the motion-capture stage and we were able to refine that. Peter Jackson directing on the set of The Two Towers. (Photo by @ New Line/courtesy Everett Collection) You re not going to run out of film, you don t have to change lights, you don t have to do anything. You can just concentrate on performance. “There was rewriting. The thing is with Fran and Philippa and Pete, there s always a sort of constant rewriting of the script and evolving the script, and with every take they re looking for something new and something fresh in the moment. Also, from a writing point of view, once they ve shot something, they like to be able to go back in, and with performance capture you have that ability. That is one of the joyful things about performance capture: the ability to completely improvise and try something different, and keep going and keep going and exploring, without the pressure of being on a live-action film set. You re not going to run out of film, you don t have to change lights, you don t have to do anything. You can just concentrate on performance, which is an amazing thing.”THE IMPACT: An Unexpected Journey The Lord of the Rings trilogy would make almost billion worldwide, and its conclusion, The Return of the King, would win Best Picture at the Academy Awards (the two previous films were also nominated in the category, but neither won). The trilogy s impact on film, and studio decision-making, was huge: the 2000s saw a number of fantasy titles get the green light, Jackson would later return to Middle-earth with The Hobbit films, and viewers of TV smash Game of Thrones say its makers owe much to what Jackson and his team put into cinemas every December between 2001 and 2003. For Serkis, The Lord of the Rings was life-changing; he would become the go-to actor for performance-capture roles, starring in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequels as Caesar, as King Kong in Jackson s 2005 take on that classic story, and he would direct his own film, Mowgli, which would push technology to new places. With each step, the technology advanced and the wow-factor intensified – what remained constant was the strength of the Serkis performance driving it. If I lifted up my arm, Gollum would lift his. The first epiphany moment for me, where I realized how much I loved performance capture, or motion capture as it was at the time, was being on the motion-capture stage and seeing in real time: If I lifted up my arm, Gollum would lift his. I could see a gray-shaded model of Gollum lifting up his arm, and that for me cemented this affair, really, with the technology, and the realization of what it could actually do. It allows an actor to actually play anything. It opened up so many possibilities for me over the last two decades. Andy Serkis at the Two Towers premiere in New York City, December 2002. (Photo by @ New Line / courtesy Everett Collection) I could literally feel the audience leaning in, not quite sure what this was. Was this an actor? Was this a creature? I ll never forget [when I first saw the character on the big screen]. It was at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York; it was at the world premiere of The Two Towers. The movie just was so potent and powerful, with the halls of Helm s Deep. Politically where we were – it was just post-911 and there was this sense of doom, of just the world changing. The world seemed so fractured and dangerous and frightening, and seeing that film, it just felt so much like it was reflecting that in some way. It was a very potent experience; such an amazing experience seeing it with a live audience. I did have this extraordinary experience when [the scene with Gollum and Smeagol talking] came up. I could literally feel the audience leaning in and just, like, not quite sure what this was. They couldn t quite work it out. Was this an actor? Was this a creature? Literally people were leaning forward in their seats – it was like real hairs-on-the-back of the neck stuff, actually. Andy Serkis in motion-capture suit shooting The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. (Photo by ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection) People either feel something very strongly about him, towards him, or they feel themselves to be like him in some way. That character for me defined a big, big turning point in my career, and opened up a huge world. You know, there isn t a single day that goes past when someone doesn t come up to me and talk to me about Gollum. I mean, it really is quite extraordinary. He s a beloved character, because I think everyone feels something for him. They either feel something very strongly about him, towards him, or they kind of feel themselves to be like him in some way. I think that s why people do respond to that character, that there is self-recognition in there – we re not all heroes, we are flawed.”The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released on December 18, 2002. Buy or rent it at FandangNOW.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.