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The Walking Dead – Frank Darabont talks about the zombie series

Posted by LiveFor on April 20, 2010

Really looking forward to the Frank Darabont’s (The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption) adaption of Robert Kirkman’s zombie comic. Like many of you I am wondering how close they’ll stick to the comic. Speaking to FearNET Darabont eased some of my concerns. Sounds like they are well into setting it all up and it will be on film not digital.

Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, the graphic novel series, is very much a template for us, and it’s a tremendous opportunity to take the subject as serious as possible, and really as a long-term exploration of characters, which is what television does best when television is really working. That’s our goal, so gosh, I really don’t think that Zombieland is any competition for us nor are we for them.

It’s really going to be I think two different animals. We’re much more beholden to Kirkman, which is a comfortable place to be because he has blazed a fantastic trail for us to follow. We will take detours along that path – we will take steps off the trail – but always wind up veering back onto the trail that Robert provides for us, because it’s fantastic stuff.

Does that source material provide you with a pretty complete template for the rules of that world? Because notwithstanding Zombieland last year, of course there’s a great legacy of zombie films.

Okay, that’s the intimidating part (laughs). Because that actually proves to be actually a deep pool of very, very good stuff. Boy, there’s a lot of good stuff that’s been done. You see all of these home runs along the way and you go, how will I do? I don’t want to posit ourselves as being competition for any of those films, but I hope that we’ll be considered at least in the category of that good stuff as we go along – that it was worthy stuff to do. And I think Robert has given us a tremendous leg up, a head start in that sense.

I think there’s going to be obviously an ongoing dialogue with standards and practices, but I think we have a friendly venue in AMC, if you see the kind of edgy stuff that Breaking Bad is doing, which I adore, by the way. I don’t think we’re going to be lacking for adult content or the ability to depict the world that we’re depicting. I don’t think we’re going to have that many constraints, and if there are they’ll be in minor increments that will not affect the storytelling that we’re doing. It will just give us an opportunity to maybe do an enhanced cut on DVD or something, but I really don’t think we’ll be constrained too far. I’m certainly not getting the sense that AMC is there to interfere; they are a fantastic group of folks, and they’re very excited about this. They really want to enable rather than hinder this process.

I just got off the plane from Atlanta where we’re scouting. We’re in prep right now, we’re casting, and we’re shooting the first of six episodes in June, the top of June. So we’re what, seven weeks out now?

We are right now looking to cast the two female roles in the ensemble. We’ve also just gotten Jeff DeMunn; I’ve always said Jeff DeMunn is my good luck charm, and I can’t make a film without him. We’ve just gotten him on board as one of the ensemble members, which is a great joy for me. One of the great pleasures of doing anything is to be able to reconvene with those colleagues who have the talent and provide you with the comfort zone of great collaborative, positive energy. Not to sound like Andy Hardy here, but if you’re going to go do a show in a barn, do it with people who have really got the talent and are great to work with, and so far that’s all coming together. Not just in the cast end, but on the crew end. I’m working with people I really value and really treasure. And it may not mean anything to the general public, but to have my first A.D. K.C. Colwell on this means the world to me. To have my production designer Greg Melton on this means the world to me. I’m going to get to work with David Tattersall again, and he’s going to shoot the pilot for me. I haven’t had the chance to work with him since The Majestic, so it’s been about ten years, and he is one of the great gentlemen in his line of work, and one of the great talents. All of these people are. So I’m very lucky that way, and these are people that will have your back. They will go the extra mile.

We’re not going to shoot it digitally. We’re going to go old-school – we’re going to go film. I tested all of the different camera systems that are available at the moment because I was very keen actually on trying out the digital approach, and then I realized that I was really going to shoot myself in the foot because I did, simply because the nature of this particular show [made me consider] you want what you’re shooting on to help the make-up instead of hurt the make-up – let’s start there. Hi-def is a little merciless when it comes to these things, so we’re shooting on film. This is going to be a show where people are hiding places and looking out windows and doors and stuff; well, if what’s outside that door is completely blown-out, nuclear white because digital doesn’t have the latitude that film does, you’d better shoot on film because you want whatever is outside to look like outside. You want to see walls and trees, and even if it’s overexposed, there’s a sense of reality to it. if you’re shooting digitally and you point at the door and all there is is white, you might as well shoot on a sound stage and hang a white silk out there. By necessity, you pick the thing that you think will help the show the best, and yeah – we’re going to be shooting old school.

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The Walking Dead to be a TV series

Posted by LiveFor on August 15, 2009

walkingdeadThis is pretty cool news for fans of great Zombie tales. AMC is venturing into zombie-drama territory with Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption).

Variety have the news that they are close to finalizing one of the richest development deals ever with Darabont to write and direct a series adaptation of the Image Comics graphic novel series The Walking Dead, penned by Robert Kirkman. Gale Anne Hurd of Valhalla Motion Pictures and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion are also on board to exec produce.

The comic is set among a group of zombie survivors of an apocalypse who are led by a police officer, Rick Grimes, in search of a safe place to live. Along the way people die, get eaten, new people join, die and you never know who will be safe.

Joel Stillerman, AMC’s senior veep of programming, production and original content, said the project appealed to the cabler because of “the quality of the storytelling” in Kirkman’s work. The series will stay faithful to the tone of the original novels, he said.

“This is not about zombies popping out of closets,”
Stillerman said. “This is a story about survival, and the dynamics of what happens when a group is forced to survive under these circumstances. The world (in ‘Walking Dead’) is portrayed in a smart, sophisticated way.”

Stillerman noted that the cabler’s annual “Fear Fest” movie showcase around Halloween is one of AMC’s most popular programming events of the year.

“We’ve got an audience that loves this kind of material,”
he said.

Darabont and Hurd pitched the project to AMC and several other outlets. There is no studio attached yet. The duo’s involvement made the project a must-have for the cabler, Stillerman said.

“These are two world-class filmmakers who are also brilliant storytellers with experience in the fantasy genre,” he said.

What do you think of the news? Will it work as a TV show? Is Darabont the man to direct it? Who should star in it?

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Dolan’s Cadillac – Trailer for film based on Stephen King short story

Posted by LiveFor on May 19, 2009

Dolan’s Cadillac stars Christian Slater and, like The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist, it is based on a Stephen King short story.

Quite a few of Mr King’s tales have been turned into films. Some have been great, some have been alright and some have been dreadful. Have a look at this trailer and let me know which category this one falls in.

Robinson is a non-descript middle school teacher whose beloved wife, Elizabeth, witnesses an execution in the desert and becomes a target for the executioner, notorious Las Vegas crime boss Jimmy Dolan. Dolan’s vast wealth was accumulated through his human trafficking operation, a lucrative business he will not jeopardize. The mobster succeeds in having Elizabeth killed before she can testify against him. Without a witness to the murders, Dolan goes free. The Knowledge that Dolan is behind Elizabeth’s death fosters in Robinson an insatiable thirst for revenge. However, Dolan is virtually untouchable traveling only in his custom Cadillac with tank-like protection. On a steep descent into madness, Robinson begins seeing visions of his dead wife wherever he goes. Spurred on by Elizabeth’s spectre, Robinson begins his elaborate plan to kill Jimmy Dolan.


Source: Quiet Earth

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Has Stephen King’s Gunslinger been cast in The Dark Tower?

Posted by LiveFor on May 6, 2009

Stephen King. He’s written some very good stories and a few of them have been turned into very good films – The Shining, The Shawshank Redemtion, The Mist.

He has written many books and his largest tale to date is that of The Dark Tower. It has had it’s own series of books following Roland the Gunslinger hunting down the Man in Black (A poster of Roland appears briefly at the start of The Mist).

It has also had it’s own spin off comic book series showing the origin of Roland and the Dark Tower and the man in black have cropped up in most of King’s other books.

Recent news has it that J J Abrams (Lost, Alias, MI3, Star Trek) has got a film adaption in development and it now looks as if things are moving forward with the Gunslinger possibly being cast.

Filmstalker have the news that Michael Sheen (Frost / Nixon, The Damned United, Underworld) has mentioned on Twitter that multi-franchise man, Christian Bale, could be strapping on the gun belt.

At the moment take this as a very much unconfirmed rumour as Abrams is busy with Lost and the inevitable Star Trek sequel and Bale is down for at least one more Batman film and probably a few Terminator films.

However, I do feel he would be quite a good Roland in the film, which would lead into a multi picture deal no doubt.

Would Bale make a good Gunslinger? Who else could fit the part? What actor would you like to see as the man in black?

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Mads Mikkelsen and Alexa Davalos hear the Clash of The Titans

Posted by LiveFor on April 1, 2009

I posted the news about Gemma Arteton joining the cast a few days ago but now some more casting news has surfaced.

Mads Mikkelsen, Gemma Arterton and Alexa Davalos are boarding “Clash of the Titans,” the Greek-god epic being directed by Louis Leterrier.

Sam Worthington is toplining as Perseus, who is put on a quest to save a princess and defeat Hades, the god of hell. Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay wrote the script.

Mikkelsen is playing Draco, a skilled fighter and leader of the Praetorian Guard that accompanies Perseus.

Davalos is Andromeda, the captured princess, and Arterton is Io, who is instrumental in bringing the winged horse Pegasus to Perseus.

Legendary is co-producing and co-financing the pic, which is set to begin lensing in the U.K. at the end of April. Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk is producing with Kevin de la Noy. Jon Jashni and Thomas Tull are executive producing.

Lynn Harris and Matt Milam are overseeing for Warners.

Mikkelsen, one of Denmark’s most recognizable faces, is best known to American audiences for his role of the villain in “Casino Royale.” Repped by UTA and Danish agent Ulrich Moller-Jorgensen, the actor stars in Eurowide Film’s “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.”

Arterton, who appeared in the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” next appears in Richard Curtis’ “The Boat That Rocked” and opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Disney’s “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” She is repped by UK’s Independent Talent Group.

ICM-repped Davalos was most recently seen in “Defiance.” Other credits include “The Mist,” “Feast of Love” and “The Chronicles of Riddick.”

Source: THR

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The Devil’s Commandos – Thomas Jane faces down Satan’s Army

Posted by LiveFor on January 2, 2009

I mentioned this in a Random a few days ago but now I’ve got the poster and a bit more info from ShockTillYouDrop.

Screenwriter Todd Farmer (Jason X, My Bloody Valentine 3D, Messengers 2: The Scarecrow) is developing Devil’s Commandos for Thomas Jane (The Mist, Mutant Chronicles, The Punisher, Give ’em Hell Malone) to star.

Devil’s Commandos is a Tim Bradstreet (artist on The Punisher, Hellblazer) story,” said Farmer “Turns out, not only can Timmy draw, his noodle churns out some rockin’ ideas. Who knew? But I told him if I wrote the thing he wouldn’t get any credit. He’d end up as a footnote somewhere. So I suggested he write it with me. Tom will star and direct in 3-D to follow his Dark Country debut. Plan is to start after Tom wraps Hung.”

Farmer and Jane previously collaborated in 2007 when the former wrote the comic book series Alien Pig Farm 3000. “Devil’s Commandos is about a WWII commando unit sent on a rescue mission. Pretty straight forward. Except for the part where hell opens up and they have to fight Satan’s army.”

Sounds like an excellent concept for a film. Fingers crossed it ends up better than Mutant Chronicles.

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Good to be back – What did you get for Christmas?

Posted by LiveFor on December 29, 2008

Hi all. Did you all have a good Christmas? What did you get up to and what movie related cool stuff did you get as presents from Father Christmas?

We had a lovely Christmas. The kids loved everything they got and Christmas dinner went off without a hitch which was great. Plus I got to see my son sing in the Metropolitan Liverpool Cathedral which was fantastic (he has recently become a Chorister there).

I also got some great gifts from my Wife and family and I am made up with all of them. Here are just a few.

Classic Sci-Fi Collection : Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers / Thing From Another World / Incredible Shrinking Man / This Island Earth / Creature From The Black Lagoon / It Came From Outer Space

Mongol – The Rise To Power Of Genghis Khan – Director Sergei Bodrov’s sweeping MONGOL focuses on battles physical and emotional as it follows the early ascent of the ‘Great King’ Genghis Khan in the 12th and 13th centuries. Born Temudgin to a kingly father, the film introduces the nine-year-old (Odnyam Odsuren) making his first fateful decision: going against his father’s wishes and choosing the lesser-born Borte as his future wife. When his father is poisoned, Temudgin flees from his father’s rivals. Temudgin is saved by a young prince, Jamukha, and the two become blood brothers. That bond of friendship is tested, though, when the grown Temudgin (Tadanobu Asano) wages war–against the Mongol code–to win back the captive Borte. As Temudgin asserts his own power, he must also face Jamukha in all-out battle if he is to secure the safety of his family and his own kingly destiny. Gorgeously shot on location in Kazakhstan and Inner Mongolia, MONGOL represents the first in a proposed trilogy of films that will chronicle the full impact of Genghis Khan’s reign. As ambitious in scope as its subject was in life, MONGOL–a 2008 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film–offers a unique look at the influence of love and loyalty to the life and times of one of history’s most enigmatic rulers.

The Mist
(2 Disc Edition) – Frank Darabont (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE GREEN MILE) serves as director, writer, and producer of THE MIST, an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novella. After a vicious storm wreaks havoc in their small town in Maine, artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) heads out to the town supermarket for some much-needed supplies with his young son, Billy (Nathan Gamble), and his neighbour, Norton (Andre Braugher), in tow. Their trip soon turns to terror when a menacing white mist settles in, leaving this group of locals and out-of-towners fighting for survival against an unknown, bloodthirsty enemy. When the local religious zealot (Marcia Gay Harden) begins to convince the group that the mist is punishment from God, Drayton and his cohorts realize that they may be trapped inside with an enemy just as dangerous as whatever is lurking outside.

Tension runs high in this tale as the trapped group faces difficult moral decisions. Should they stay and wait out the terror, or make a break for it and risk suffering a terrible fate? Is the eerie mist the will of God, an experiment from the local military base gone awry, or, maybe, a freak natural disaster? Without modern conveniences and the normal conventions and rules to guide them, the group is easily swayed by the loudest opinion. Will they save themselves at the expense of each other, or work as a team to save everyone? There is a decent amount of blood and gore for horror fans, some deadpan humour and just a hint of politics thrown in for good measure. Thomas Jane is a stoic leading man, but Frances Sternhagen and Toby Jones are more fun as unlikely heroes. Laurie Holden, Alexa Davalos, Bill Sadler and Jeffrey Demunn also star in this creepy tale.

– Welcome to Westworld, where nothing can go wrong…go wrong…go wrong….Writer/director Michael Crichton has concocted a futuristic “Disneyland for adults”, a remote resort island where, for a hefty fee, one can indulge in one’s wildest fantasies. Businessmen James Brolin and Richard Benjamin are just crazy about the old west, thus they head to the section of Westworld populated by robot desperadoes, robot lawmen, robot dance-hall gals, and the like. Benjamin’s first inkling that something is amiss occurs when, during a mock showdown with robot gunslinger Yul Brynner, Brolin is shot and killed for real. It seems that the “nerve center” of Westworld has developed several serious technical glitches: the human staff is dead, and the robots are running amok. Suddenly promoted to the film’s hero, Benjamin (who seems as surprised and shocked as the audience) must first avoid, then face down the relentless Brynner. Much of Westworld was lensed on the expansive grounds of the old Harold Lloyd estate in Beverly Hills, so it’s no surprise that there’s something Lloydlike about Dick Benjamin’s instinct for self-preservation.

The Art of Ray Harryhausen
– A great looking book which takes you into the ideas and processes that Harryhausen has used throughout the years. Plus it is signed by the great man himself.

Watching the Watchmen
– Acclaimed as one of “Time Magazine’s” 100 Best Novels, “Watchmen” is widely considered to be the greatest graphic novel of all time. “In Watching The Watchmen”, artist Dave Gibbons gives his own account of the genesis of “Watchmen”, opening his archives to reveal excised pages, early versions of the script original character designs, page thumbnails, sketches and much more, including posters covers and rare portfolio art.Featuring the breathtaking design of Chip Kidd and Mike Essl, “Watching The Watchmen” is both a major art book in its own right, and the definitive companion to the graphic novel that changed an industry.

The Gabble and Other Stories
– Neal Asher. Can’t wait to read this.

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life
– Steve Martin – Steve Martin has been an international star for over thirty years. Here, for the first time, he looks back to the beginning of his career and charmingly evokes the young man he once was. Born in Texas but raised in California, Steve was seduced early by the comedy shows that played on the radio when the family travelled back and forth to visit relatives. When Disneyland opened just a couple of miles away from home, an enchanted Steve was given his first chance to learn magic and entertain an audience. He describes how he noted the reaction to each joke in a ledger – ‘big laugh’ or ‘quiet’ – and assiduously studied the acts of colleagues, stealing jokes when needed. With superb detail, Steve recreates the world of small, dark clubs and the fear and exhilaration of standing in the spotlight. While a philosophy student at UCLA, he worked hard at local clubs honing his comedy and slowly attracting a following until he was picked up to write for TV. From here on, Steve Martin became an acclaimed comedian, packing out venues nationwide. One night, however, he noticed empty seats and realised he had ‘reached the top of the rollercoaster’.B ORN STANDING UP is a funny and riveting chronicle of how Steve Martin became the comedy genius we now know and is also a fascinating portrait of an era.

Just some of the bits I got (having some problems with uploading images, but I’ll get it sorted so you can see what they all look like). Let me know what you got. Take it easy and enjoy the rest of the holiday.

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The Mist, 2007. DVD Review

Posted by LiveFor on June 25, 2008

Director: Frank Darabont
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Toby Jones, Andre Braugher
Running Time: 125 minutes

Score: 7/10

Not to be confused with John Carpenter’s The Fog, this is an entirely different sort of beast (although one dealing with a weather condition similar in form). Based on a 1980 novella by Stephen King, this is a horror movie directed by Frank Darabont. As he also directed the superb Shawshank Redemption, also based on a King short story, you have your seal of quality right there (On a side note the original novella apparantly inspired the computer games Half-Life and Silent Hill).

The film is set in King’s favourite haunt, Maine, and deals with a small town and the aftermath of a storm. While checking out the damage caused to his house by the storm, David Drayton (Thomas Jane), and his son, Billy (Nathan Gamble) notice a thick cloud of mist heading towards town across the lake. Thinking nothing more of it they head into town with their neighbour, Brent Norton (Andre Braugher), for supplies. While in the supermarket, they hear sirens and look on as a man with a bleeding head, Dan Miller, runs into the shop screaming about something dangerous in the mist. Shortly after the town is swamped by the mist and they hear strange noises and screams outside. Then all goes quiet before the store is hit by an earthquake. Not sure what’s going on most of the people in the supermarket stay put while a couple head off to find out what has happened to their loved ones.

The rest settle down to see what happens. While getting something for his son in the supermarket’s warehouse, David Drayton hears something large banging against the door of the loading dock. Telling some of the others about this they go to investigate. Opening the door of the loading dock they let something in and then things get really bad for them.

Meanwhile, Mrs Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) is convinced that all of the recent events point to the end times and that it is all Gods will. As events progress more and more of the survivors begin to side with her and listen to her cries for a sacrifice. David and his friends then have to not only survive the monsters in the mist but also the more dangerous human ones within.

Now this is a great little movie. I say little as it had a small budget but this was used brilliantly. The first few scenes did give it the feel of a made for TV movie, but my worries soon lifted as they headed into town. The tension is raised throughout the film and the horror you feel as Mrs Carmody’s influence begins to take hold of some of the survivors is almost as bad as that felt whenever someone heads out into the mist. Characterisation on all involved is pretty good, and you are never sure who is going to make it to the end of the movie. All the actors involved are brilliant and really help you buy into their plight.

The monsters in the mist are, on the whole, weird looking and spooky (Bernie Wrightson helped in their design). Some of the CGI is a bit ropey, but this never really detracts from the film itself as the beasties are only a small part and are often hidden within the mist. In fact the effects seem to get better as the film progresses. It must be noted that Frank Darabont originally wanted the film to be in black and white which would probably make the CGI blend in even better. In fact the special edition DVD has a B&W version, but I have yet to get hold of that.

There is not much music used throughout the film but when it is it just rips the emotion up to another level. In particular the use of Host of Seraphim by Dead Can Dance near the end of the movie is abso-bleedin-fantastic. The whole feel of the movie is quite unlike that of most Hollywood films.

Speaking of the end of the movie, I guarantee it will stay with you for a long, long time. It works really well and although different from the end of the novella, Stephen King gave it his blessing and apparantly wished he had thought of it.

To sum up this is a great horror movie that may leave you feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut, but in a good way.

The film is released in the UK next month. Go check it out.


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