Monthly Archives: July 2014

Get On Up Exclusive: Tate Taylor Brings James Brown Story To Life

When director Tate Taylor was deciding how he would follow up The Help, he told us in our exclusive interview, he never thought it would be the James Brown biopic Get On Up.

Get On Up Chadwick Boseman Tate Taylor

For one, the entire effort would ride on casting. But, given his love of casting actors (his favorite part of the director’s job) and how he scored in that department with The Help, he thought he might be able to find the perfect James Brown.

And he did in the form of 42 star Chadwick Boseman, who Taylor admitted to us was equally as unsure about tackling the music icon. So, how exactly did this dream director and dream lead come together to tell the story of the Godfather of Soul?

Read on and find out in our exclusive Get On Up interview!

Movie Fanatic: With so many aspects of James Brown’s life to talk about, was one of the challenges what to bring to life onscreen and what to leave out?

Tate Taylor: At first I was like, “What am I going to show?” Then, I realized that a lot of things I had in consideration were things we already knew. If you polled people on the street about James Brown, they would start by talking about his missteps. When I dug in, I was struck by how much I didn’t know. Then, I realized that people don’t know about 80 percent of his life. I looked at it this way, I said, “What is the most obscure information about him that I can bring to the screen?” I realized that that was my duty. You only have one chance to do someone’s life. That was my marching order and I was able to carefully select more popular and disgraceful moments and I wanted to come up with a clever way to craft it in a way that maybe you wouldn’t expect.

Movie Fanatic: I described Chadwick Boseman’s performance as James Brown as like a hurricane — that was evident even from that first Get On Up trailer. I was curious what you saw in him that you knew he was the guy to embody an icon?

Tate Taylor: Casting actors is my favorite part of making a film. It was so important for me on The Help to pick the right people and that’s what I do. I pick the best person for the job, not based on resumes or who’s on the cover of magazines. When I was thinking about who could be James Brown, everyone agreed if you don’t have the right James Brown, it would fail. I started thinking about what I should look for and I started thinking about him as the 63-year-old man, which potentially — if done poorly — is what people would snicker at. I needed real acting chops to pull this off and I thought of Viola Davis in The Help and like her, Chad’s work is very efficient. He’s brave, as we saw in 42.

Movie Fanatic: What was Chad’s reaction to being asked to play another icon in Get On Up?

Chadwick Boseman in Get On Up

Tate Taylor: He didn’t even want to talk about doing it. He was scared to death about the idea. I got him to come to LA and he was just playing around with the last scene with Bobby Byrd where they’re talking about the pool cleaner. Chad was like, “That one?” I said, “That one.” And this attractive, young, athletic guy started acting like a 63-year-old man. I said, “My God, that’s it. Please let him be able to learn to dance!” [Laughs] And as you saw, he clearly got that down.

Movie Fanatic: I was also wondering, and you just mentioned it, you just did — triumphantly — The Help – and now you’re doing the James Brown story. Is it a coincidence or something you sought out to do two films back-to-back about the struggles of African Americans in this country as the Civil Rights movement was beginning?

Tate Taylor: It’s the craziest coincidence! If you had ever told me that I would make a biopic of James Brown, I would have said you were crazy because I generally don’t like biopics. And then I would say you were crazy for tackling another African American story set in the south. That doesn’t make sense for my career.

Movie Fanatic: Then it came together more organically?

Tate Taylor: Yes, I did The Help because my friend wrote a very personal story which I shared with her. She wrote about my hometown! That automatically draws you in. I had to tell that story. I spent three years trying to figure out what I would do afterwards. I wanted my next film to have a sense of importance about it that people want to see it for that reason. Well, guess what? After The Help, I thought I was going to be taken to this secret vault where they were hiding all these stories. It doesn’t exist. [Laughs] When I was at Imagine Entertainment for an unrelated meeting and I understood they just got a script in for the biopic of James Brown, I immediately became protective. I got on a plane and in about an hour, I realized, this is the story. This checks every box. I landed in New York and called Imagine and said, “Can I direct James Brown?” 

Check out Taylor’s previous work and watch The Help online. Also, click through our slideshow of all the Get On Up stills and don’t miss the James Brown story in theaters August 1.

Chadwick Gets On Up, Gets Down

Chadwick performs in a concert scene from Get On Up.

Noah Exclusive Giveaway: Win Prize Pack & Steelbook Blu-Rays!

To celebrate the triumphant arrival of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah on DVD and Blu-Ray (check out our Noah DVD review), we are presenting an exclusive giveaway where four lucky Movie Fanatic readers will walk away a winner!

The Noah Blu-Ray grand prize winner will take home the Noah prize pack that includes a Noah pen, a Noah notebook, a Noah umbrella (for that incoming flood!), a Noah candle and of course the Russell Crowe starring movie teased in this Noah trailer.

Noah Blu-Ray Steelbook

We will also award three runner-ups with a stunning edition of the Noah Blu-Ray that is only available at Best Buy and we have it to win here at Movie Fanatic!

Enter now for your chance to win one of three Noah steelbook (photo above!) editions of the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack.

Noah stars Crowe as the biblical hero and features an Oscar winning cast beyond Crowe with Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Connelly. Emma Stone and Logan Lerman also star in the hit movie that has banked over $300 million so far in global gross.

Use the widget below to enter on Facebook or Twitter. There are three unique ways to enter, and by entering all three ways you can increase your chance at winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you don’t win, be sure to watch Noah online and check out Aronofsky’s epic!

Russell Crowe is Noah

Russell Crowe is the title character in Noah. And yes, he will build an ark.

Guardians of the Galaxy Exclusive: Michael Rooker on Yondu & Tough Love

When some actors have a part written specifically for them, it can be a daunting task living up to their writer-director’s vision of what the character can be. For Michael Rooker and his role as Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy, having his friend James Gunn pen the role for him made it actually easier, he told us in our exclusive interview.

Michael Rooker Guardians of the Galaxy

Rooker plays Yondu, and as teased in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, he is kind of a father figure to the Chris Pratt character, Peter Quill, aka Star Lord. It was Yondu’s ship that picked up the young Quill and has raised him across the galaxy ever since.

The former star of The Walking Dead told us about which was harder: Sitting in a makeup chair for hours or having to not tell a soul about this Marvel movie for years. He also dishes what role in his long career people most talk to him about and also dishes how Yondu’s tough parenting is largely responsible for Star Lord being the leader of those Guardians of the Galaxy.

Movie Fanatic: First of all, you can’t walk away from watching Guardians of the Galaxy and not be so impressed with your director, James Gunn.

Michael Rooker: You are?! I am! I have to call him a genius now! He is awesome.

Movie Fanatic: I was going to ask what most impressed you about him, but is it hard to pick one thing?

Michael Rooker: To put all this together, the vision, someone giving him the ability to cast how he wants, you know how hard that is today for a director? Directors, nowadays, can’t cast their own movie. I was very happy and pleased that my buddy gets to cast and write do this movie, man. What a beautiful adventure he’s been on and everybody with Guardians of the Galaxy. I mean, he wrote the role for me. That’s astounding and kind of crazy.

Movie Fanatic: Now, when you hear that, going in to it, does it make you nervous? Or do you just think, “He wrote this because he knew I could do it?”

Michael Rooker: Less pressure because he trusted me to bring to the role what I do best, which is using my imagination and letting it go, baby! Just do it!

Movie Fanatic: What did you like most 1) About Yondu and 2) About playing him?

Michael Rooker: They end up being the same in reality. You surprise yourself sometimes. You get out there and are doing it and all of a sudden new things pop up. You think you know everything and then you end up knowing nothing because things change on the set. All of a sudden you say something in a different way — it’s not even the line that’s written on the page. For some reason, it comes out a certain way and after the take the director’s like, “(expletive) yeah, man!” That was awesome. Sometimes it’s just going to come out like that. It’s absolutely amazing and a beautiful thing when that happens.

Movie Fanatic: What was harder… sitting through the hours of the makeup or not being able to talk about this movie to anybody?

Michael Rooker: [Laughs] Not being able to talk about the movie until now! But, I got good at it because I had just gotten off The Walking Dead, so I learned a lot from that because they’re so secretive. And it’s every week too. You have to be careful what you even say on the internet after it’s aired here in America, because people all over the world haven’t seen it yet. For me, as the actor, I didn’t want to ruin it for people. I didn’t discuss it.

Movie Fanatic: It must have been hard on a movie like this because you started filming this a few years ago now?

Guardians of the Galaxy Michael Rooker as Yondu

Michael Rooker: It was very hard. You want to tell the world. You see the movie, and it’s like how can you keep that a secret?!  I would have loved to have talked about it, but you know what? It’s fun to talk about it now because it’s opening.

Movie Fanatic: And on that note, how excited are you that people are finally getting to see Guardians of the Galaxy?

Michael Rooker: I was excited people even got to finally see my poster!

Movie Fanatic: Of all the roles you’ve played over the years, is there one that people talk to you most about? For me, I loved you in Days of Thunder!

Michael Rooker: I love to hear that! Right now, it’s so The Walking Dead. There are people who come up and say, “I loved you in Henry.” People do say Days of Thunder. You’ve got your Tombstone fans, Sea of Love and Mississippi Burning – it’s the 50th anniversary of those kids being murdered. They’re going to show Mississippi Burning at the White House. That movie was so riveting and scary. And my role was the most unforgiving, brutal person.

Movie Fanatic: Yondu has parts of him that people won’t like, but others that people can. Do you have to find something to like in the guy to play him?

Michael Rooker: I don’t worry about that stuff. Yondu is who he is, he’s an alien creature. His idea of raising a child is different. He knows he’s going to have to be tough or die. He has to live amongst a group of Ravagers, my group. And they want to eat him. He’s going to have to stick up for himself. I can’t watch him every second of any day. You have to know when to turn and walk away.

Movie Fanatic: That’s what struck me by the end of the movie, is that Peter Quill is able to be the hero he is, is because of how Yondu raised him.

Michael Rooker: That’s exactly why he’s survived all these years. For him to have the guts and the ability to steal from me and rob me, that’s how proud he is as a parent. “You stole from me, I love you so much!” 

The Ronan Poster

Ronan the Accuser gets his own character poster!

The SpongeBob Movie Sponge Out of Water Trailer: Revealed!

The first trailer for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is here!

The Nickelodeon hit show is hitting the big screen in a visually stunning looking animation meets live action meets CG adventure that takes the animated character and sends him on the ride of a lifetime.

SpongeBob SquarePants, as everyone knows, is the world’s most popular invertebrate, and he is landing on dry land in a unique take on how to bring an animated character to life in a big-time Hollywood movie. 

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water lands February 13, 2015 and features Antonio Banderas, Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Douglas Lawrence and Carolyn Lawrence.

First SpongeBob Sponge Out of Water Still!

SpongeBob is coming to life and this is what he and his underwater friends look like.

Mockingjay Part 1: Lorde Scores Theme Song, Will Oversee Soundtrack

Lionsgate announced today that Grammy Award-winning star Lorde has been tapped to record the theme song and “curate” the soundtrack to Mockingjay: Part 1. She will have a rich tapestry to create from, from what we saw in that first Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer!

Lorde Photo

The 17-year-old New Zealand native first gained attention in the States with her hit single Royals, that would be the first hit from her multi-platinum album Pure Heroine.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 is directed by Francis Lawrence and brings back all the stars from the previous two films — Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland (love his President Snow Unity Address!) and Woody Harrelson. Look for newbies such as Julianne Moore as President Coin too when the first chapter of the final two movies lands on November 21, 2014.

Director Lawrence welcomed Lorde to his set and was immediately taken with her connection to the material and what was going on around her while filming took place.

“I sat down with Lorde on the set of Mockingjay this spring and I was immediately struck by how she so innately understood what we, as both fans and filmmakers, were trying to accomplish with the film,” Lawrence said in a statement.

“Her immense talent and keen understanding of Mockingjay’s characters and themes not only have enabled her to create a song of her own that completely captures the film’s essence, but her insight and passion for our project make her the perfect creative force to assemble the other songs on our soundtrack. I can’t wait to share what she’s done with the fans — it is truly remarkable.”

Lorde, as a huge fan of the series, could not be more pleased with the honor.

“Curating the soundtrack for such a hotly-anticipated film was a challenge, but I jumped at the chance,” said Lorde. “The cast and story are an inspiration for all musicians participating and, as someone with cinematic leanings, being privy to a different creative process has been a unique experience. I think the soundtrack is definitely going to surprise people.”

Prepare for the big finale and watch Catching Fire online.

Mockingjay Part 1 Comic-Con Poster

The Mockingjay is invading Comic-Con!