Emily Blunt fights love and lies in ‘Arthur Newman’

 

 

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As a youngster, Emily Blunt struggled to overcome a stammer, and with a teacher’s help eventually overcame it. So it’s quite a testament that the English actress would eventually make a career out of speaking, especially as the profession requires her to play different characters with various accents.

In the romantic drama Arthur Newman, she is paired with fellow Brit Colin Firth, in which they both play Americans. Of course, Blunt is no stranger to American accents. She played a Yank in Sunshine Cleaning, Charlie Wilson’s War, and last year’s sci-fi epic Looper, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. She also lives in America with her American husband John Krasinski (The Office).

As Mike, she plays a troubled young woman trying to escape her past who runs into Firth (playing the title character). His character has faked his death in order to erase his problems. The two end up on a road trip together from Florida to Indiana, where Newman (Firth) believes he can start fresh as a professional golf instructor. The two share some sexy scenes together as their characters share some intimate moments as they get to know each other.

Directed by first time feature filmmaker Dante Ariola, Arthur Newman is a quirky love story about two damaged souls learning to trust and love again.

Both you and Colin speak with American accents in this. Did you work with the same dialect coach?

We did, actually.

Did you stay in your accents when you weren’t shooting?

We didn’t, unfortunately, because we’re both Brits. Normally, when I’m shooting, I stay in the accent. When I did Looper, I was working with this little boy, so I would stay in the accent more so he wouldn’t get confused, but I didn’t have a chance with Colin because we’re so completely British.

 

 

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What were you attracted to in the script that made you want to play the offbeat character?

The script was just completely refreshing in how original it was. It was pretty uncompromising, actually, and we didn’t want to conform to any genre that could be summed up in a one-line pitch. I like the idea of the movie that the more we mask ourselves, the freer we are able to be in ourselves. I think everyone at one point has wanted to escape or run away and take on a new identity. I don’t particularly feel these characters are necessarily crazy; they’re just acting on impulses that a lot of people have.

I just couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was so drawn to the script. It’s always quite good when there is ambiguity there and something to play with.

As an actress, you play different people all the time so does that mean you have less need to escape in your real life?

As an actor, I have less need to escape because I (play other people) all the time. I go away for a few months a year and get to live this strange, insular Neverland-like experience.

 

In the film, you and Colin’s character are heading to Indiana where he is expecting to take a job as a golf instructor. Do you play golf?

I like playing golf but I’m terrible. I’m really bad, but I like whizzing around in the golf cart with some booze in the back. (laughs) That’s probably about as good as my golf gets.

Was it fun playing a character whose acting like she’s someone else but isn’t a very good actress?

Well, it’s quite fun, actually, acting other parts badly. (laughs) It wasn’t that challenging, though, because we weren’t playing actors who were really good at taking on these personas. There was an awkwardness and a sweetness to it that was really fun.

 

 

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Have you ever known anyone like Mike?

I grew up with someone like her.

Did you find Colin’s costumes a bit nerdy?

Yeah, they were so lame. (laughs) I remember the first costume fitting he had, and he was like, “Is it really embarrassing?” and I was like, “No, it’s amazing.”

There’s some ambiguity as to what happens to these characters at the end.

I like that because I think sometimes a tidy resolution can be really unsatisfying. It’s more exciting to just not know sometimes.

You and Colin have a few sex scenes where your characters are role-playing but only once do they make love as themselves. Why do you suppose that is?

Intimacy is terrifying to both of them so they have to pretend to be other people to touch each other and be touched, and laugh with each other and do anything that resembles any kind of connection. I think Mike desperately wants to be touched; she just doesn’t know how.

You recently worked with Tom Cruise on the sci-fi action movie All You Need is Kill. What was it like working with him?

It was fun (and) quite hardcore! I don’t think I’d ever done anything like that with the amount of training and physical duress that I had to go through. It was intense but I loved working with Tom. It was a dream. And (director) Doug Liman definitely has an unconventional approach to the genre. He’s not a conformist in any way.

How did the character change over time with all the re-writes on the picture and the production starting and stopping?

Well, (the starting and stopping) was because Tom had to do press (for Jack Reacher) and we had the Christmas break and everything, so we came back shortly after that. We were always due to have the break, which is good because you can edit together what you’ve got and see what you still need. It was a long process—the whole film— and I only just wrapped it really. For a movie of that scale, it was surprisingly collaborative.

 

 

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“ARTHUR NEWMAN” is released and distributed by

 Solar Entertainment Corporation. showing on Oct. 9. Nationwide!

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PHILIPPINES gets caught up in the ‘LINSANITY’

 

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In February 2012, the New York Knicks, mired in a disappointing season and out of desperation, looked to the end of their bench and found Jeremy Lin, an undrafted free agent from Harvard. On the verge of seeing his lifelong NBA dream vanish, Lin – at, or near what was believed to be his last chance as an NBA professional, underwent a now-legendary run, obliterating stereotypes along the way, and in the process birthed a global phenomenon known as “LINSANITY” Basketball — and the world – was never the same.

Solar Entertainment Corporation  presents “LINSANITY”, a film that chronicles the amazing journey of the American-Asian NBA superstar Jeremy Lin.

Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway

A native of Palo Alto, CA, Lin is the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. Overlooked after his prep career ended, he is believed to be the only California Division II Player of the Year to not receive a Division I scholarship. However, Harvard University did take notice of Lin, and he helped pave the way for his Harvard team to become nationally-ranked for the first time in its history along with making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1946.

Undrafted in the 2010 NBA draft, he was signed by his home town Golden State Warriors for the 2010-11 season. After being cut by the Warriors, he was signed by the Houston Rockets, and ultimately cut on Christmas Day in 2011. He was then picked up by the Knicks, and after being inserted as a starter for the injury-laden team in February 2012. In the course of just a few weeks, Lin went from benchwarmer to international icon, by scoring a historic 136 points in his first five career starts. His magical run included scoring 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, 28 points on the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, and 27 points and a last-second game winning three-pointer against the Toronto Raptors. Heading into the 2012 off-season, Lin was a restricted free agent and was ultimately signed by the Houston Rockets.

 

 Get court-side seats to “Linsanity” as it opens on Oct 2 in cinemas nationwide.

“X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST”

 

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“X-Men: Days of Future Past” directed by Bryan Singer is based on a classic two-issue comics tale that takes us to  a bleak future where powerful machines overpower and vanquish the warm-blooded populace that forces the mutants to time travel despite all odds.

 

Revealed in this year’s San Diego Comic-Con are two teaser posters of the movie featuring two of the greatest mutants ever to live in the X-Men universe.  The promotional teaser posters of Professor X and Magneto are each inhabited by two actors – Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy melds as Professor X while Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender’s features are merged to become Magneto.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” stars newcomers Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Boo Boo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Evan Peters, Adan Canto, Josh Helman,  along with returning stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Lucas Till, and Daniel Cudmore.

 

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” will open on May 22, 2014 in Phils. From 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. in theaters nationwide.

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“THE COUNSELOR” CHARACTER POSTERS

 

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Legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott and Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy (“No Country for Old Men”) have joined forces in the motion picture thriller “The Counselor,” starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt.  McCarthy, making his screenwriting debut and Scott interweave the author’s characteristic wit and dark humor with a nightmarish scenario, in which a respected lawyer’s one-time dalliance with an illegal business deal spirals out of control.

“The Counselor” is a cautionary tale about mistakenly tempting fate.  Rounding off this tale are people who get involved in something they should have stayed out but are eventually lured into a world where immense amount of cash can be quickly handed in a very dangerous way.

Revealed are the latest online character posters of “The Counselors” assembled to portray unforgettable characters – damaged goods yet attractive who have all ducked in unexpected moments of thrill and humor.

Michael Fassbender is simply known as The Counselor tempted to try for once an illegal way of amassing a large amount of money instantly. Although he’s received numerous warnings about the potential dangers of getting into this deal, his blind arrogance deafened him of those warnings.

Laura, played by Penélope Cruz is the fiancée of The Counselor.  Laura is a beautiful woman whom The Counselor prizes the most.  Her intelligence and foresight – and her love for The Counselor – are no match for his descent into the rabbit hole, and they both face tragic consequences if the deal he has made with unseen, powerful forces, goes south.

Javier Bardem takes on the colorful character of Reiner, a nightclub owner who brought The Counselor into the shady deal.  Reiner straddles two worlds: the extravagant and decadent realm of a nightclub owner, and the brutal, lawless and merciless criminal underworld that is rapidly closing in on The Counselor, and on Reiner.  Reiner appears to possess special insight into The Counselor’s increasingly dire circumstances, but he’s just as much a potential victim of a life he little understands.

Malkina, the toughest and probably the darkest of characters who surrounds The Counselor is played by no other than Cameron Diaz.  As Reiner’s malevolent girlfriend, Malkina’s drive is to take control and possess anything she believes she deserves.

Brad Pitt rounds up the cirque of intrigue with his portrayal of Westray, a philosophizing and shady middleman whose warnings to The Counselor about the dangers of a world he seeks to enter go unheeded.  Handsome, charming and witty, Westray is also an unapologetic womanizer.

“The Counselor” will open November 15 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

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BEN AFFLECK PLAYS ONLINE GAMBLING KINGPIN IN “RUNNER RUNNER”

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Despite the risks – statistical and criminal – online gambling holds innumerable attractions.   In today’s post-economic-meltdown world, young people have fewer job options than ever before. But that hasn’t done anything to affect their desire to get-rich-quickly.  This generation – consumers from early childhood – is used to getting what they want, when they want it, with the click of a mouse.

“Runner Runner” depicts the risks of this reality starring Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton where Timberlake plays Princeton grad and former Wall Street star Richie Furst, who believes he’s been swindled by an online poker organization based in Costa Rica. He decides to head to Central America to confront the owner, Affleck’s Ivan Block, and is soon seduced by the promise of immense wealth. As Block’s right-hand man he uncovers more than he bargains for, and is soon juggling loyalties and trying to stay alive.

The lavish life of “Runner Runner’s” gambling kingpin Ivan Block is what director Brad Furman calls, “the new American dream.”  He elaborates:  “Technology has led us to a world where everything comes very quickly, which has expedited this concept of the American dream.  Young people today want everything faster – especially money.”

Affleck agrees, “Underneath this allure of fast and easy money is something inherently fraudulent,  crooked, broken and wrong.” Everything now is about getting rich quickly, by any means necessary.  The new corporate ethos is to cut the other guy’s throat.  In some circles, it’s even considered healthy and to be prized.”

 

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Ivan Block’s own journey down the rabbit hole has yielded untold riches, which is all the enticement Richie needs for what ultimately becomes a rite of passage.  “Ivan Block is the unapologetic mentor who says, ‘Get what you can get and don’t think twice about it,’” says Affleck.  “Block wants to manipulate Richie, to get him to be part of his team.  His mission is to groom Richie so he won’t object to some of the darker things he sees.”

Affleck notes that reading people is one of Block’s chief strengths in distracting Richie from the tycoon’s less savory aspects: “Block knows what buttons to press on people, and his most impressive trick is to distract them from his true motives.  To Block, people are insecure and almost desperate to succeed. He knows people feel they’ve been kicked around and that we’re taught to chase the dollar and to equate wealth with status, honor, success, and manliness.  So he holds up that wealth, which blinds Richie to what’s really going on.”

“The movie hopefully will show how complicated Ivan Block is. We like to stand apart and look at people in this binary way and say you’re bad and you’re good, and I think that makes really an interesting drama. What I hoped was that people would understand and identify with this guy on some levels, and maybe some people would find him and what he’s proselytizing appealing. Justin’s character does early on, and then given time he’s revealed to be a guy who makes very bad choices and does things we recognize as immoral. What I think is interesting is that hopefully, if we’ve done our job right, you see at the root of those choices was a guy who wasn’t necessarily bad to begin with, but chose a road. Once he made that choice he did what he had to do in order to be successful on that road,” Affleck explains of his character.

Before stepping in the caped crusader’s realm, Affleck says he immensely enjoyed the opportunity to “chew the scenery” of “Runner Runner” and, after the enormous success he had as director of last year’s “Argo,” relished the chance to “just be an actor again”. Which may come as a surprise to those who have adjusted to thinking of him as a world-class director – before the groundbreaking “Argo,” Affleck helmed the kidnapping drama “Gone Baby Gone” and Boston heist thriller “The Town.”

 

 

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Included in Affleck’s journey as one of Hollywood’s A-list actors are unforgettable and blockbuster films such as “Good Will Hunting,” “Chasing Amy,” “Jay and Silent Bob,” “Mallrats,” “Dogma,” “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Daredevil,” “Gigli,” “Hollywoodland,” “Smokin’ Aces” and “The Company Men.”

                “Runner Runner” opens September 26 in theaters from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Chris Hemsworth a rock star on wheels

 

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Through his lead role performances in Thor and The Avengers, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth has shot to stardom within the last few years.  With the versatility he’s shown in movies from The Cabin in the Woods to Snow White and the Huntsman—not to mention his movie-star wattage—Hemsworth was a natural for McLaren driver James Hunt in ‘Rush’ released and distributed here in the Philippines by Captive Cinema, showing on September 18.

“James was famous for being a ladies’ man, famous for epitomizing the spirit of the ’70s with a very free lifestyle,” Howard says.  “But he was incredibly competitive.  He represented the idea that you can be great without making it a business, that a vocation could be some wild form of expression, not just a job.  Chris’ performance captures that.” 

Howard had not met the actor before casting the part.  “Chris won the role with his fantastic audition,” he says.  “I’d seen him in Thor and in Star Trek.  I met him, I liked him, but I had no idea if he could be James Hunt.  He convinced me and everyone involved with the tape that he made while he was on location doing The Avengers.  It was remarkable.  There was nothing more to say than, ‘Please, sign that guy for the role.’”

While that sort of audition wasn’t remotely what Hemsworth had in mind, he didn’t want to miss the opportunity.  “Normally, I wouldn’t have done that unless it was something like this project and for someone like Ron, a director I’ve wanted to work with for years,” says Hemsworth.  “He’s one of those people who is as good a person as he is a director.  You want to work for Ron because you know every time you hold back a bit, he’s there to challenge you.  He knows he can squeeze something else out of it.”

 

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Naturally, performers hope to wrap themselves around a character, but that wasn’t always easy for Hemsworth.  Although he and Hunt share the same blue eyes and swagger, there was more to melding the two.  “It was interesting to try to pin down exactly who James was,” he says.  “In reading different biographies, watching different interviews—depending on what mood he was in—and then speaking to people who knew him, there are varied opinions.  I think that’s why it was so fascinating to be around him:  He was incredibly passionate, outspoken and a great amount of fun.  But he also had a side to him that was bottled up, a sort of dark side.  There were contradictions, which make for an interesting character.”

Hemsworth learned that Hunt’s duality was never more obvious than on the track.  He provides: “I spoke to one of James’ teammates, and he recalled a conversation he had with James where he said, ‘God, James, those first two laps of the race you were all over the place!’  And James just said, ‘You know, I can never remember the first two laps.’  He had that much adrenaline flowing, and we get all that in the film.  He threw up before races and would work himself into a heightened state of tension because he believed that was where his best performance came from.”

The more Hemsworth delved into Hunt’s backstory, the more he was hooked.  He says: “The best stuff I found was in the archive footage, little snippets before and after the interviews, when no one realized they were rolling.  There are flashes of who James was.  There was such fascination in his eyes, a thirst for life. Everything caught his attention.  He was like a little kid.  They own the environment they’re in and have a need to explore the world and to be indulgent.”  Hemsworth pauses: “He didn’t want to drive for second or third place.  It was win or nothing.  After James won the championship in 1976, he pulled back from it all.  I don’t think he felt the same passion.”

Hemsworth wasn’t sure if all of the tales of the infamous playboy were fact or lore.  “In Hunt’s biography, it says he’d been with 5,000 women,” he notes.  “There’s a classic story in which all the flight attendants who came into Japan were staying at the same hotel James was.  This was just before his big race at Fuji for the World Championship.  He spent the night with each of them at different times…or at the same time.”

 

 

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The performer’s research into Hunt’s life—not to mention the sets, costumes and vehicles—made his transformation to 1970s Hunt a comfortable fit.  “The period certainly suits my character,” he says.  “James belonged in that era.  Everything was passionate and indulgent.  As Ron kept saying, it was a time ‘when the sex was safe and driving dangerous.’  Now, it’s the other way around.  Everything has become so censured and sanitized.  It always helps an actor when you’re not trying to convince yourself who you are in that world, when everything around reminds you of it.”

“RUSH” is released and distributed by Captive Cinema.

 Showing September 18, 2013. Nationwide.