Young Adult Poster Premieres: Charlize Theron Tipsy

Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody is back and the poster for her film, Young Adult starring fellow Oscar winner Charlize Theron, has debuted.

Young Adult Movie Poster

Theron portrays Mavis Gary, a Young Adult writer who decides to move back to the town she grew up in with the hope of reviving her personal life, a la her high school splendor.

Mavis has ulterior motives: She is seeking to woo her married high school honey — played by Patrick Wilson. Her seamless transition to returning home does not go as smoothly as she expected and results in her unlikely friendship with another former high school cohort, played by Patton Oswalt. Seems Oswalt’s character has not gotten over the glory days of high school as well.

Young Adult marks the return to form of screenwriter Cody after her impressive debut with Juno. It also serves as reuniting the writer with Juno’s director, Jason Reitman.

The film arrives on screens December 9.

Contagion Chat: Steven Soderbergh Talks to Movie Fanatic

Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh is becoming a modern Robert Altman. He gathers casts that are the envy of the entire industry. Whether it is his current effort Contagion with stars Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston and Kate Winslet or his soon-to-be-filming Magic Mike with Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey and Olivia Munn, Soderbergh is a Spielberg of the new century — versatile, veracious and beyond visionary.

Steven Soderberg and Gwyneth Paltrow in Contagion
Soderbergh first conquered the ensemble drama with his debut film Sex, Lies and Videotape. Since that Cannes-winning movie, the filmmaker has amassed a resume about which all who dreamed of wielding a camera can only fantasize. From Oceans 11, 12 and 13 to Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Out of Sight and The Good German, Soderbergh is the eyes and ears of happening cinema for the last two decades.

His latest, Contagion, tells the story of how the simplicity of human contact can destroy us all. Soderbergh took a moment out of his demanding schedule to talk to Movie Fanatic about the magic of filmmaking and his course for Contagion.

Movie Fanatic: Did you have any rules making Contagion to avoid other disaster movie clichés?

Steven Soderbergh: The one rule that we had was we can’t go anywhere one of our characters hasn’t been. We can’t cut to a city or to a group of extras that we’ve never been to, that we don’t know personally — that was our rule! And that’s a pretty significant rule to adhere to in a movie in which you’re trying to give a sense of something that’s happening on a large scale. But we felt that all of the elements that we had issues with prior when we see any kind of disaster film were sort of centered around that idea, that suddenly you cut to Paris where you’ve never been and something happens and it’s a bunch of people you don’t have any emotional engagement with. We were trying to have it be epic and also intimate at the same time. So that was rule number one.

Movie Fanatic: How do you balance the spectacle of an international thriller versus keeping the film intimate with characters we care about?

Steven Soderbergh: Honestly, I was just trying to keep it very, very simple. And that meant the entire film’s shot with two lenses, basically. When I would look at a scene I would try and figure out how few shots I needed as opposed to how many. I really wanted it to be, in terms of style, one of the simplest movies that I’ve ever made. Often that can require more thought than just walking in and saying, “I’m just gonna cover the hell out of this and I’m gonna figure this out later.” When you’re going in saying, “I really wanna keep this simple and I want every shot to have a purpose and I want every cut to have a purpose. I don’t want any waste.” If you pulled one shot out, it meant something would be diminished. That was my approach. That was really it, you know, eye level, no crane shots — no like throwing the camera around — just keep it simple so that all you were paying attention to was the performances.

Marion Cotillard in Contagion

Movie Fanatic: How game was Gwyneth Paltrow for shooting that autopsy scene?

Steven Soderbergh: Gwyneth is a trooper because we got into that room and we had an actual medical examiner there who does this sort of thing all the time. We asked her to walk us through the steps in which somebody has died under these circumstances. When she got to the part where she said, “We cut here and then we peel the skin over the front of the face,” I immediately turned to Greg and said, “OK, we need to find a flap of something that looks like pizza on one end without the sauce that we can attach some wig hair to so that we can do this.” [Laughs] We scrambled around and we were able to do that. It took about 40 minutes of having Gwyneth in that position. Greg actually ended up being the person that put the skin flap over and she was stock still, didn’t say a word. She had contact lenses in and she asked the medical examiner, “OK, talk to me about the rest of my face. What about my mouth?” And the woman said, “Your tongue would be extruded just a little bit. You would have some sort of yellowish fluid coming out of your nose.” She wanted it to be exactly right. I think she had a feeling this was going to be some sort of weird, iconic image somehow. It’s kind of jarring. There were no tricks there, no freeze frame — no high speed frame rate. That was just Gwyneth being stock still with some really good effects.

Movie Fanatic: What did you see in Jennifer Ehle that made you want to cast her in Contagion?

Steven Soderbergh: I’d known who Jennifer was for a long time and it didn’t take a lot of thought, honestly. I have a long list of people I’ve seen over the course of my career that I’ve thought, “Wow, they would be great to work with.”

Movie Fanatic: Was there something that made her right for that role in particular?

Steven Soderbergh: I knew by her saying yes that she was willing to take a run at some very complex language. One of the most difficult scenes in terms of the language in the movie is the explanation when she says, “Look, we know what it is now. The green part is this and the red part is that.” Scott had written it in sort of general terms and then (film consultant) Ian Lipkin was on the set and we wrote it right there. It’s not really fair to throw dialogue at someone like that at the last minute. I was hoping that the fear of having to say it would translate as excitement and high emotional stakes for the world because it was a lot and it was hard.

Steven Soderbergh filming Contagion

Movie Fanatic: Why was the timing perfect for a movie like Contagion in 2011?

Steven Soderbergh: Well I guess we’re gonna see if the timing is perfect or not [laughs]. The reaction from Warner Bros when we presented them the script, everyone felt there was a place for an ultra-realistic film about this subject. Nobody hesitated. It all happened very quickly uncharacteristically actually considering what the business is like now for adult dramas. That made me feel like maybe we’re onto something.

Exclusive Bucky Larson: Kevin Nealon Talks to Movie Fanatic

Kevin Nealon met with the Movie Fanatic at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and gave us an exclusive look inside the world of the Happy Madison production team that created Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star. Nealon also gives us an inside look at how Saturday Night Live shapes and centers a comic actor — a priceless addition to any performer’s toolbox.

Nick Swardson and Kevin Nealon in Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star
In Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, Nealon plays the roommate of the title character played by Nick Swardson. The role allowed Nealon to let loose and show a side of him rarely seen on screen.

Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star follows the title character, as played by Swardson, an Iowa young man who without a job or hope, heads to his friends’ house for an evening movie. The film they take in is porn from the 1970s and it stars to Bucky’s amazement, his parents. Suddenly, Bucky feels he has a calling. He moves to Los Angeles and the film follows his exploits in becoming the star of the film’s title.

Kevin Nealon in Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star
Nealon dishes what it was like to work with Swardson, as well as why he relishes his roles in the movies from Adam Sandler’s production company, Happy Madison — who produced Bucky Larson. Nealon has starred in Sandler’s Just Go With It, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Anger Management and Little Nicky to name mention a few.

Kevin Nealon Exclusive Video Interview

Matt Damon Talks Contagion with Movie Fanatic

Matt Damon stars in Contagion and although his character is over protective of his daughter and rightfully so as an international epidemic had killed millions including his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow), he personally is not that affected by fear. Then again, his wife has a nickname for him. Read on to see what it is!

Matt Damon stars in Contagion
If Damon has reason to be protective, it’s because he has a beautiful family and a career that is anchored in superstardom. Each gives him cause for concern because as he knows, life and success can be fleeting.

Damon and his best bud Ben Affleck shot to stardom famously with Good Will Hunting and his since eclipsed his fellow Bostonian in the compiling of stellar roles department. From the Bourne series to The Departed to The Ocean 11 series, Damon does it like no other.

In Contagion, Damon is re-teaming with one of his favorite directors, Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11, The Informant) in an all-star cast that harks of Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning Traffic. Damon visited with Movie Fanatic on one late August afternoon to talk about Contagion, why he has a new buzz cut and where he was on 9/11 in light of the attack’s tenth anniversary.

Movie Fanatic: Tell us how you, Steven and The Informant screenwriter Scott Z. Burns connected again on Contagion?

Matt Damon: We were getting ready to do something else — another project we’re still gonna do — and Steven called and said I’ve got this other thing and it’s… we really gotta make it now because it’s really timely. He said I think it’s the best thing Scott’s written, which is saying quite a bit. Obviously I think a lot of Scott. So he sent it over to me with a note that said read this and then wash your hands [laughs]. I just read that and I really wanted to be in this movie. It’s just a terrific, riveting, really fast read and really exciting and really horrifying — but managed to be kind of touching too.

Movie Fanatic: How difficult was it to wrap your head around this character in this situation that seems to many a million miles away?

Contagion Star Matt Damon
Matt Damon: It was kind of easy to relate to, it was just on the page. Working with Steven’s very different than working with anybody else. To give you an example of a day: We’d go and we’d shoot. We’d talk about what we were going to do. We’d figure it out and we’d execute the plan. And then we’d go back to the hotel, go to the bar and in the backroom of the bar, they’d deliver the footage. We’d just sit there and talk while Steven put on his headphones, opened up his laptop and kind of sat in the corner for 45 minutes or an hour. Then at the end he’d take his headphones off and turn the computer around and he’d show us what we shot that day. Cut. So, when you’re working that way it’s kind of like making a movie in your backyard with friends. The body is kind of out on the operating table and wide open. You just kind of talk about, “All right, what else do we need?” It’s very different from going off on my own, doing three months of research and showing up. It feels more like the hocus pocus is taken out of the experience.

One of my favorite scenes we did was the scene where I find out that my wife is dead very early on in the movie. I went to Steven and said, “I don’t know what to do. How do you do this scene? It’s five minutes into the movie. We’re not invested in me or her. You can’t have this big scene. What do I do?” And Steven goes, “The slump?” Everyone knows the slump [demonstrates a hunched over depressed look]. I said, “I don’t know. What do you do?” You’ve gotta have some shorthand. You can’t dwell on this thing. We’re five minutes into the movie. We had a guy there who’d done this a lot and we talked to him, this doctor who delivered the news. We asked for certain trends. And he said, “Sometimes people fall apart. But there is this other reaction that we get just as much.” I said, “What is it?” He said, “It depends on what kind of death it is. Is it the kind of death where you’re not expecting someone to be dead?” We said, “Right, exactly.” He said, “Oh, well, what you get a lot is absolute shock. It’s just too much.” So they have this specific way they put it, and Scott had written it in and it was close. But, he had written words like, “She passed away.” And this guy said, “No, no, no. She did die. You have to be completely specific and look at the person. You have the social worker with you.” There’s a whole script that they go on and they expect you to not even get it. They expect you to go, “OK, can I go talk to her?” Because that’s the reaction that they have. Working with these guys, I get up in the morning and I’m freaking out about how the hell I’m going to do this scene and I end up going to work and getting this scene that’s really interesting and I’ve never seen it done that way. I totally believe that’s the way. And these doctors that really do it say that’s actually the way it goes down a lot of the time. Great long-winded answer to a short question [laughs].

Matt Damon Contagion Still
Movie Fanatic: Are you an overprotective person when it comes to real life Contagion?

Matt Damon: In terms of an outbreak like this? With kids I’m probably more protective than I’ve ever been now that I have children. I try not to be. I mean my wife’s nickname for me is Red Alert. [Laughs] My tendencies would be a little overprotective without trying to be a helicopter parent.

Movie Fanatic: So do you like the buzz cut?

Matt Damon: Well, it’s for a movie. I’m doing a movie with Neill Blomkamp, who directed District 9. This is what the character looks like. I did shave my head once when I did The Brothers Grimm. I had a wig and it was easier to get the wig on rather than lacquering my hair down, so I just shaved my head and walked around in my regular life like this. I love it. It’s great in the summertime, real easy getting out of the shower [laughs].

Movie Fanatic: Do you have a favorite type of film genre?   

Matt Damon: If the director’s good and the script is good it all comes pretty naturally. And if those things aren’t in place, it’s impossible no matter what the role is.

Movie Fanatic: In light of the anniversary of 9/11, do you have any thoughts about that day you could share with our readers?

Matt Damon: I lived in lower Manhattan at the time. I just remember walking out of my apartment and seeing it and then going back in and watching CNN because I was so hungry for information, trying to figure out what was going on. I remember being glued to my television despite the fact that it was happening right outside my door.

Is a Third X-Files Movie in the Works?

While Gillian Anderson was promoting her turn in the Rowan Atkinson sequel to Johnny English, Johnny English Reborn, she said a little something that should have X-Files fans drooling in anticipation.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X-Files

Anderson admitted there was “something going on” in regards to a script being developed and that the “talk” about it seems quite serious. The actress even put a fine point on her sentiment about returning to the role of Agent Scully by saying, “You know what? Scully wouldn’t be so bad. I could do that again.”

Where the first X-Files film continued the TV show’s mythology, the second film could be thought of as a stand alone. In that manner, witnessing Mulder and Scully go at it once again would be welcomed news.

Movie Fanatic was recently thinking about what happened to X-Files’ Chris Carter and when we would hear from him next. His screenplay Fencewalker is in post-production, but it has been a few years since audiences enjoyed his work behind the camera.

X-Files ran for nine seasons before heading off into the television sunset, produced two films and legions of passionate fans in the process. Is there a hunger for another go from X-Files fans? You bet.

The question that immediately comes to mind is: Will David Duchovny be down for a third cinematic visit to the mysterious worlds of Agent Scully and Agent Mulder? Although the actor is killing it on Showtime’s Californication, there could be some serious interest on Duchovny’s part to get back on to the big screen — even if it means having to wield Mulder’s FBI badge once again.