Monthly Archives: October 2013

Last Vegas Exclusive: Mary Steenburgen Sings Praises of “Five-Way Friendship”

Last Vegas is the rare film, besides being supremely charming, in that it has five Oscar winners appearing in the same movie for the first time. As seen from that first Last Vegas trailer, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen all star in a heartfelt comedy that follows Douglas as he is about to get married and has all his buddies join him in Las Vegas for his bachelor party.

Steenburgen plays a lounge singer that they all meet and take a liking to and she phoned us from the City of Sin for an exclusive interview to talk about the magic that is Last Vegas.

Last Vegas Cast Photo

Movie Fanatic: You had many scenes together with those four guys, all Oscar winners and you as well. Were you ever able to take a step back and just appreciate the iconic moment that filming Last Vegas was?

Mary Steenburgen: I walked into the read through on the first day, and they were legends to me. And not only legends, but people I had really had on my short list of actors who I hadn’t worked with that I dreamt of working with. I could not believe my good fortune. But, about one minute into the read through, they ceased to be legends to me and they became my fellow actors and my buddies. We’re in it together. I felt like I started this when I was 24 years old and I’m 60 and I feel I have earned the right to be in the room too. It became this wonderful five-way friendship. It was like we were off on a little island… with this seemingly crazy world of Vegas all around us. The privilege of working with them was immense and the reality of it was more of a true connection among actors. We’re old enough to know these moments are really special.

Movie Fanatic: I was struck by that first scene with you all in the cabaret — teased in the Last Vegas movie trailer — after you sang so beautifully. You seemed like five peas in a pod.

Mary Steenburgen: We were! We didn’t know a lot about each other and then coming together and we learned that there were so many people that we had in common and our experiences in theaters in our early days in New York and our families. It was an absolute joy.

Movie Fanatic: I was taken with the scenes with you and Michael and how raw and real they were. For you, how was he as a volley partner?

Mary Steenburgen: To describe him in one word, I would use “silk.” By that, I mean there’s an elegance to him. There is an old school — when movie stars were movie stars — beautiful thing about Michael and at the same time, and the best part of him, is that he’s so real and so honest as an actor and as a man. I was moved by him. He seemed to sense, more than anybody, how scared I was at the singing. I was terrified. He was sweet the first time I sang and made me feel so good. For someone who has done so much and been through so much, he is profoundly sensitive and I just loved him. It was easy to act that I loved him, because I do. 

Movie Fanatic: Do you have a favorite moment of his from Last Vegas?

Mary Steenburgen: Yes! When he makes that speech about being old and how fast it’s gone. Everybody in the world, even if you’re young, is all in that boat. We’re all going to be a day older at the end of the day.

Last Vegas Mary Steenburgen

Movie Fanatic: Filming in Las Vegas, with the circus that is going on around you… was that a unique experience for you?

Mary Steenburgen: I’ve only done it once before and Vegas was different then — and it was only briefly shot there and that was Melvin and Howard, the movie I won my Oscar. I had fond memories [laughs] of Vegas, naturally. I haven’t spent a lot of time here because I’m someone who’s not super comfortable in crowds and that’s an inherent part of this world. But, I love Cirque du Soleil and I’m quite capable of going multiple times to their shows! Last night, I went for the second time to see Love. It’s the stuff of dreams.

Movie Fanatic: I was taken by your director as well on Last Vegas. With all that talent, it would have been easy to sit back and watch. But, he clearly didn’t.

Mary Steenburgen: He was our ringmaster! Oh my gosh, I sat next to him last night at dinner till late and he’s just this bizarre combination of a wise old soul and an out-of-control, nine-year-old boy. He’s hilarious to me. He somehow understood just how much to direct us and to let us play. It felt like music that was being played well together. 

Pet Sematary: Getting Remake with 28 Weeks Later Director

This seems a fitting announcement for Halloween in that 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is tackling a new adaptation of the Stephen King classic Pet Sematary. This after the news earlier today that The Addams Family is rebooting too!

Pet Semetary Book Cover

The first film landed in 1989 and did quite well for itself as it was made for a budget of $11 million and wound up making $57 million. A remake has been long discussed, and with the Carrie remake scoring decent business, it appears as if another King page-to-screen effort is coming back at audiences to haunt them.

Now, whether Fresnadillo will actually say “action,” for Movie Fanatic, is a big question. He was hired to direct reboots of The Crow and Highlander and wound up leaving both of those properties.

Vote now if Pet Sematary is one of your favorite Stephen King movies

Ender’s Game: Asa Butterfield Talks Gamer’s Paradise

Asa Butterfield was ready for battle when it came time to show up on the Ender’s Game set. The actor had been through rigorous training at Space Camp, but also with the aerialists at Cirque du Soleil to ensure everything he did on screen felt honest and real. As shown in the Ender’s Game trailer, Butterfield’s Ender is recruited by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) to train and lead a group of teenage pilots in a war against an alien enemy who had years before almost annihilated the entire planet.

Asa Butterfield Ender's Game

We caught up with Butterfield as Ender’s Game premieres and found him incredibly intuitive in how he compared his life as a young actor playing in a big boy’s world of Hollywood to his character. “I think it is one of the things we have in common — myself and Ender — is how, obviously not to the same level, as a young actor there is often pressure to be this star and to be in the limelight,” Butterfield said.

Then, what’s the secret to staying grounded, especially after all the success that Hugo brought him? “What’s really helped me is simply living in London which allows me to be just like any other 16-year-old. I play football. I hang out with mates. I listen to music. I think that’s really helped me become a more developed actor.” 

Butterfield is an avid video gamer so the chance to portray a character that is essentially playing a large scale video game was a dream come true. The powers that be in the Ender’s Game world saw how adept at these situations the youth were, and so they put them on the front lines.

Ender's Game Harrison Ford Asa Butterfield

“I think one of the really important discussions is how children of my generation have grown up around this technology and it’s shaped their lives. My little sister who’s four can work my mom’s iPhone better than she can. It’s crazy how much that has changed in the last five or 10 years. Imagine 50 years from now, that’s going to become an even bigger part of our lives. So to take that idea and make it such an important part of the story was really exciting because I do enjoy computer games,” Butterfield said.

“Being able to take some of that knowledge of mine and give in to my performance was something new.”

He first wanted the Ender’s Game part when he got the script in the summer of 2011. “It really stood out to me. I’m a huge fan of science fiction so I think this was definitely one of my favorite scripts of the time. I was flying around in zero gravity shooting laser guns. What more could you want?” he said and laughed.

“When I Skyped with Gavin (Hood, director) and we talked about the character, we talked about his view for it and where I wanted to take it. It was really interesting for me to be able to have that much of a discussion about such a complex character.”

Going through Space Camp truly bonded the cast and was priceless, given how these kids (including co-star Hailee Steinfeld) were supposed to be a tight knit military unit.

“That served to break the ice. Because of that we got to know each other so well and we got on. That comes across in the film as well. We also learned how to march and do things you would learn at a military camp,” Butterfield reported. “It gives you an insight into what the characters were experiencing.”

Also what worked on Hood’s set was how the kids and adults (such as Ford, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley) seemed to have a natural balance that enhanced their roles on screen. After all, the man leading them played Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Jack Ryan for goodness sakes!

Harrison Ford Asa Butterfield Ender's Game

“When I was working with Harrison, we both understood that there was this constant tension between our characters. We couldn’t after ‘cut’ go back to normal. We had to keep an essence of that relationship in our characters off screen, which was really important. It wasn’t method, but it was much more than I’ve done before,” Butterfield said.

But, now that the experience is over… Butterfield is basking in the glow of sharing the film that would serve as Ford’s first return to sci-fi since Star Wars.

“I think I can speak for a lot of people in that they would be pretty nervous about meeting Harrison Ford, and I was definitely one of those people,” Butterfield said. “For me, I think for all of us, once you got to know him, you do get on really well. He’s such an amazing person and an amazing actor. Because there were so many young people on the set, I think he really brought the best out in us.”

Fifty Shades of Grey: Victor Rasuk Cast as Christian Grey’s Rival

Victor Rasuk knows a thing or two about competition as an actor and he’ll surely channel that when he tackles the role of Jose Rodriguez in Fifty Shades of Grey. It was announced today that the thespian, who has been seen in Jobs and will be seen in the upcoming Godzilla, will play Christian Grey’s competitor for Anastasia Steele’s heart (and body) in the big screen adaptation of EL James’ blockbuster book.

Victor Rasuk Photo

Rasuk joins the recently cast Jamie Dornan as Grey and Dakota Johnson as Steele, with Luke Grimes as Elliot Grey and Jennifer Ehle as Anastasia’s mom.

As we reported earlier today, the Fifty Shades of Grey production is delayed. But, not to worry fans, Dakota and Jamie are ready to do their deeds when filming starts in the beginning of December. 

About Time: Rachel McAdams Dishes Loving Romance!

You can’t fault a girl for doing what she loves and Rachel McAdams adores romances. “I love stories with love in them. I just prefer those films,” McAdams told Movie Fanatic recently. Her history has shown that, with her work in the iconic The Notebook and The Vow, to name just two.

About Time Rachel McAdams

McAdams stars in the Richard Curtis (Love Actually) written and directed About Time, and it is the most unique of stories about Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) who discovers from his father (Bill Nighy) that he can time travel. Ever the romantic, this man uses it to fall in love… with Adams’ Mary, as seen in the About Time trailer!

And when asked about her affection for love stories, McAdams gives an insightful answer. “Every so often, I come across a film where there’s no love story. It doesn’t have to be romantic, but there’s a lack of love, and I don’t get that,” McAdams admitted.

“It’s just personal taste, I guess. It doesn’t always have to be a sweeping romance. I just feel like love and passion are synonymous with each other, whether it’s for a person or a thing, and I just want to see movies that are infused with passion.”

For those who are going, “Wait a minute…” About Time could not be more different than Adams’ film The Time Traveler’s Wife, and she admitted that was not even something that came up. “I actually didn’t really think about it because I just read the script and loved it. I loved the sentiment behind it. And because I’ve actually never played a time traveler, for all the time traveling I’ve done, I took myself out of the equation again,” Adams said.

“I’ll have to make amends on the next time-traveling film I do. But, I just fell in love with the story and where these characters wound up. I was swept away on Richard’s journey.”

She also had a time traveler in her life in Midnight in Paris with Owen Wilson. What’s up with all the men getting in on the time jumping?

“I would love to be a time traveler next time! It’s an enticing thing to indulge and fantasize about. It’s like winning the lottery and thinking about what you would go back and do again. And I love the sentiment that maybe we should just embrace what happens,” McAdams said.

“There’s that whole idea that your mistakes make you stronger and better, and it’s the messiness of life that ultimately leads you to the most interesting things.”

About Time Domhnall Gleeson Rachel McAdams

Another appeal of About Time was her ability to be the sole American in a sea of Brits. “They’re so funny, and their timing is impeccable,” McAdams said of her co-stars. “There are so many actors in this film who have such a wealth of theater in their background. Being able to work together, as an ensemble, is really seamless. It was an inspiring group to be around.”

Curtis has announced that this will be his last film as a director as he looks to turn his attention to more altruistic means. He will still write (good news to fans of his work from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Bridget Jones’s Diary and Notting Hill). The fact that McAdams was one of the last performers to glean from his wisdom is not lost on her.

“I had heard that nasty rumor, and it’s one of the reasons I did the film. I’m such a fan of his, and I thought, ‘Well, this might be my only chance.’ I hope it’s not,” McAdams said.

“It’s tough because he’s taking time away from film to save the world. He raises so much money to fight poverty. It’s hard to ask him to take time away from that. It feels selfish. So, I can’t fault him for why he’s making the switch. He’s an incredible person. He’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and he brings that to the film.”