Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eat Pray Love Production Notes

Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) is a modern woman on a quest to marvel at and travel the world while rediscovering and reconnecting with her true inner self in Eat Pray Love. At a crossroads after a divorce, Gilbert takes a year-long sabbatical from her job and uncharacteristically steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life. In her wondrous and exotic travels, she experiences the simple pleasure of eating in Italy, the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of love in Bali.  Based on an inspiring true story, Eat Pray Love proves that there really is more than one way to let yourself go and see the world.

Columbia Pictures presents a Plan B Entertainment production, Eat Pray Love.  The film stars Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, and Javier Bardem.  Directed by Ryan Murphy.  Produced by Dede Gardner.  Screenplay by Ryan Murphy & Jennifer Salt.  Based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Executive producers are Brad Pitt, Stan Wlodkowski, and Jeremy Kleiner.  Director of Photography is Robert Richardson, ASC.  Production Designer is Bill Groom.  Editor is Bradley Buecker.  Costume Designer is Michael Dennison.  Music by Dario Marianelli.  Music Supervision by PJ Bloom.

Julia Roberts read Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat Pray Love when it was first released in 2006.  She sent it to one of her best friends and they read it at the same time, and both immediately connected with the story.  “Everybody has a journey, a moment in their lives when they need to redefine who they are and what they’re looking for,” says Roberts.  “Liz’s journey is very specific and very visual, in a way that’s very appealing as a story, but it’s also a universal story that can apply to anybody.”

Gilbert’s memoir – a self-described search for everything – has achieved extraordinary success, selling over 6.2 million copies in the United States, and overseas, it has been translated into 40 languages.  It is the book that attracted Roberts to the project, along with the chance to work with Ryan Murphy, the film’s co-writer/director.  “I love the way the book talks about life experience, searching for answers, and how meaningful people can be in our lives.  I think that’s really such a vibrant story.  It’s great to be part of it, and part of it with Ryan at the helm of it – it was a delicious endeavor,” says the actress.

Murphy, best known for his work with the Golden Globe-winning television series “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee,” has garnered acclaim for his keen and realistic dialogue.  He wrote the screenplay with Jennifer Salt, with whom he previously collaborated on “Nip/Tuck.”  “Ryan and Jennifer did a very reverential adaptation,” says Roberts.  “Ryan was really in sync with Liz Gilbert and talked to her a lot – they tried to be very true to the book.  There comes a moment in any film adaptation where things have to be a little bit different, but we always protected the spine of the story – Liz’s journey of self-discovery.”

“The beauty of the book – and, I think, the reason we all wanted to do it – is that it says, ‘Get out of your box,’” says Murphy.  “I love that idea – that was a very personal idea for me, because I can be very rigid in my choices, repeating a pattern day after day after day.  For example, I love the scene in Rome where Julia spends the afternoon on the floor, eating a perfect meal.  I think of that in my day-to-day life; I try to savor the little experiences and try not to have an outcome to the day.  That’s what I learned on a personal level by being part of this project.”

“Ryan handed me the book under completely non-movie circumstances – he recommended it as a friend,” says Salt.  “He said, ‘I’m reading this book and I feel like I’m listening to you talk.  You’re going to love this.’  And I adored it, because it was so honest, so authentic.  When Ryan told me that he was going to get the rights and he wanted me to write it with him… It was just a magical moment for me.”

The book’s theme of being true to one’s self became the driving force behind the story and the script.  Though Gilbert makes an exotic and beautiful literal journey, traveling around the world, that is only part of the story.  The reason the book has resonated with so many is that her inner journey, her quest for self-discovery, rings true – and it can be done anywhere.  Says Gardner, “Liz Gilbert’s curiosity for the unfamiliar is one of the things that was compelling to me.  You can literally go around the corner and meet someone you haven’t met before, or encounter a new language, food, culture, or set of behaviors.”

In fact, finding that balance between the external and internal journeys was the key in adapting the material for the screen.  The plot that keeps the drama moving forward is Liz’s travel from New York to Italy to India to Indonesia, and it was important to the filmmakers to convey to the audience the personal challenge that Liz poses to herself by traveling around the world by herself: “It’s lonely, and it’s not easy,” says Gardner.  It’s that plot that would bring the story off the page and come alive on film.

As they penned the adaptation, Murphy and his screenwriting partner, Jennifer Salt, held brainstorming meetings with Roberts and Gardner, each contributing the parts of the book that resonated most with them.  There was much overlap, of course, but also some moments that each related to individually.  These intimate discussions became the grass roots for the making of the film script.

Another important resource for Murphy and Salt, of course, was the author, Elizabeth Gilbert.  During the writing process, Murphy and Gilbert had a regular email exchange; whenever they had a question about their character’s motivation, they found they had a useful ally in the author herself.  For example, when writing the Italy section of the film, it seemed to Murphy and Salt that the Thanksgiving meal with all of her Italian friends would be the key that would unlock the entire act of the film.  What was it about that meal that was so important to Gilbert?  The author responded that at that moment – at the very beginning of her journey – she was still not sure she could feel happiness for herself, but she was certain she could be happy for others.  “She said this moment was like a spark of life,” Gardner says.  “It is moments like this that helped us immensely and helped us be able to keep moving forward in the storytelling.”

From the very beginning, when Gardner first read the book, the only choice to play Elizabeth Gilbert was Julia Roberts.  “It sang out to me as obvious – this should be Julia Roberts,” says the producer.  “I have never worked with Julia before and I am just awestruck by her talent.  In this role, she runs the gamut in tone, from vulnerability to toughness and from indecision to confidence. She understands when Liz is ebbing and flowing.”

“Liz goes through a wide range of emotions – as you’d expect, because the story covers a year of her life,” says Roberts.  “Between going through divorce and dating and traveling and meeting strangers and not knowing what to do, it’s a great opportunity to play a complex and fascinating character.”

“At the beginning of the movie, Liz is unraveling a bit, and she’s not sure why,” Roberts adds.  “She’s a traveler – she’s always traveled – so that was an instinct for her to pack her bags.  Obviously, not everybody can do what she did, but it’s not really about that.  It’s fun to watch her go around the world in the movie, but it’s really about her own self-examination and figuring out what she wants out of life.”

Roberts says that kind of reflection isn’t easy and it’s what makes Gilbert’s journey remarkable.  “For her to take that time for herself is what is deeply interesting and encouraging to other people,” she says.  “I think that’s courageous and admirable; it’s such a busy, rapid-fire world, so to try to stop and figure out what’s right for you is a good thing.”

Viola Davis, who plays Delia, Liz’s best friend in the film, says that she too saw the connection between Liz Gilbert and Julia Roberts.  “As I was reading Eat Pray Love, I thought to myself, Liz probably doesn’t even realize how fantastic she is.  She can make friends as soon as she walks in a room.  And I feel the same way about Julia – people are attracted to her spirit.  She’s a light.”

Roberts had the opportunity to meet the real Elizabeth Gilbert in Rome.  “Ryan had a relationship with her through pre-production, but I felt it was important for me in portraying her to go with my instincts, to get enough filming done that I was already on a course by the time that I met her,” says Roberts.  “She’s a lovely, lovely person, and she has a great way of talking and very specific mannerisms, and I didn’t want to imitate her.  She’s a beautiful human being.”

Like with the casting of Julia Roberts, the filmmakers couldn’t see any other choice than shooting in the real locations that Gilbert visited on her journey.  “That was our holy grail – we were going to go to as many places as we could where Liz Gilbert went,” says Murphy.  “Some were easy, especially some of the famous places in Rome that Liz visited.”  In other instances, Murphy says, they were lucky – the production was able to shoot at the real home of Ketut Liyer, a key character in the Bali sequence.  “We spent a lot of time in pre-production, going to the different countries three times, finding the exact locations.  If we couldn’t shoot at a real location for reasons that were beyond our control, we took an unbelievable amount of pictures and we would re-create them.  Because the book is so well-known and loved, it was important to me, as the director, to be true to where she went,” Murphy continues.

Richard Jenkins, who takes on a key role in the India sequence as Richard From Texas, explains what it meant to the film that they were able to shoot in these exotic locations.  “When I was a kid, growing up in a small town in the Midwest, movies were how I saw the world.  I went places in films that I couldn’t go in any other way,” he says.  “So to have this shot in India – you couldn’t have done it anywhere else.  The heat, the feeling, the air, the people.  It’s a whole different vibe.”

But not only would the production shoot in the real locations.  They would also shoot in chronological order – first in New York, then Italy, then India, then Bali.  Doing so, Roberts says, added a layer to her performance.  “We experienced all the same emotional responses Liz goes through,” she says.  “It made it an incredible experience.”

“In talking with Ryan and Dede, it was clear there was something so special about each of these international locations, and people will want to go on a journey similar to Liz’s when they come and see this movie,” says executive producer Stan Wlodkowski.  “So it was unanimous by filmmakers and studio alike that we would film in New York, Italy, India, and Bali, in the same progression that Liz experiences in her book.  I don’t think I will ever experience again in my career a schedule like this.  We were literally making four separate movies.”

One of their first puzzles was in putting together the shooting schedule for the film.  Not only would they have to account for the availability of the actors, but local weather, crews, and getting around.  Some of the international locations had film infrastructure and had hosted many movies there before, while others, like Bali, had never had a film of this size shoot there.

“When we began shooting in New York, there was always a production office open somewhere in the world.  This movie was open for business 24 hours a day. We had casting offices, art departments, construction departments, and wardrobe departments all across the globe,” says Gardner.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

'The Social Network' Traces Origins Of Facebook

Columbia Pictures brings to the screen The Social Network, the controversial and acclaimed film detailing the Harvard dorm room origins of social media megasite Facebook -- the most revolutionary social phenomenon of the new century -- which is valued today at a staggering $16 billion.

On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later,  Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history. But for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.
What follows is a drama rife with both creation and destruction; one that purposefully avoids a singular POV, but instead, by tracking dueling narratives, mirrors the clashing truths and constantly morphing social relationships that define our time.
Drawn from multiple sources, the film moves from the halls of Harvard to the cubicles of Palo Alto as it captures the visceral thrill of the heady early days of a culture-changing phenomenon in the making -- and the way it both pulled a group of young revolutionaries together and then split them apart. 
In the midst of the chaos are Mark Zuckerberg, the brilliant Harvard student who conceived a website that seemed to redefine our social fabric overnight;Eduardo Saverin, once Zuckerbergs close friend, who provided the seed money for the fledgling company; Napster founder Sean Parker who brought Facebook to Silicon Valleyventure capitalists; and the Winklevoss twins, the Harvard classmates who asserted that Zuckerberg stole their idea and then sued him for ownership of it.
Each has his own narrative, his own version of the Facebook story  but they add up to more than the sum of their parts in what becomes a multi-level portrait of 21st Century success  both the youthful fantasy of it and its finite realities as well.
Directed by the Oscar-nominated David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), The Social Network stars Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) as Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake (Shrek The Third) as Sean Parker, who became Facebook's founding president; and Andrew Garfield (Lions for Lambs, Spider-Man2012) as Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who fell out with Zuckerberg over money.
The film is written by Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men) based on the novel The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook --  A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich.
Opening soon across the Philippines, The Social Network is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Watch Latest Trailer For 'Tangled' 3D

Walt Disney Pictures has just released the latest trailer of the 3D animated feature Tangled, which is billed as one of the most hilarious, hair-raising tales ever told!

In the film, when the kingdom’s most wanted—and most charming—bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) hides out in a mysterious tower, he’s taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a beautiful and feisty tower-bound teen with 70 feet of magical, golden hair. 

Flynn’s curious captor, who’s looking for her ticket out of the tower where she’s been locked away for years, strikes a deal with the handsome thief and the unlikely duo sets off on an action-packed escapade, complete with a super-cop horse, an over-protective chameleon and a gruff gang of pub thugs.

In Philippine theaters soon in Disney Digital 3D™ and regular format, Tangled is a story of adventure, heart, humor and hair—lots of hair.

(Here’s the youtube link:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ben Affleck Plays Brooding AntiHero In 'The Town'

Coming off his critically sensational directorial debut in the Oscar-nominated Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck now directs and stars in another stirring crime thriller, Warner Bros.’ The Town.

In the film, Doug MacRay (Affleck) is an unrepentant criminal, the de facto leader of a group of ruthless bank robbers who pride themselves in stealing what they want and getting out clean. With no real attachments, Doug never has to fear losing anyone close to him. But that all changed on the gang’s latest job, when they briefly took a hostage–bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall).

When we meet Affleck’s character, he and his crew are in a van outside the Cambridge Merchant Bank, seconds away from their next robbery. In Affleck’s words, Doug is “banging against the walls of his own life, still doing the stuff he knows is bad for him but unable to change.”

Affleck continues, “He had a shot at a different future—he had a chance to play pro hockey—but he self-destructed. He got addicted to drugs and spun out, so instead of getting out, he came back and, in spite of himself, ended up even deeper in it. That’s where we find him. He’s cleaned up a bit, in terms of getting sober, and he wants to leave, but he can’t escape his circumstances.”

“That’s what was most intriguing about this guy,” co-screenwriter Aaron Stockard asserts. “He is at a point in his life where he realizes if he doesn’t leave, he’s never going to change. It’s not just that he doesn’t want to go to prison or, worse, get killed, which is what will inevitably happen if he stays in Charlestown and continues to do this sort of work. What he wants more than anything is to be a different person.”

“Part of where he is in his life is a function of how and where he grew up,” Affleck relates. “His mother left; his father was in this life; and Doug wound up doing the same thing as the friends he grew up with. It doesn’t excuse it, but hopefully you see the shades of gray in the reasons he ended up where he is. It’s not just cut-and-dried.”

“Ben really understood Doug’s psychological and emotional journey,” producer Graham King says, “so when he said he was interested in playing the role, we knew there was no one better. I was blown away, not only by how Ben depicted the arc of the character but by the intensity of his performance.”

Cast member Jeremy Renner who plays Jem, says that Affleck—both as a director and as a castmate—made portraying the enduring friendship between Jem and Doug a natural. “I felt like I was working with one of my best friends. Ben empowered me to do whatever I thought was right, and if it worked, he got so excited. He set an amazing tone and made everyone feel relaxed and comfortable. It was great.”

Another co-actor, Pete Postlethwaite who plays crime lord Fergie Colm, has high praise for his director, saying, “Ben’s ability to reflect the technique of acting in his direction is an actor’s dream. He knew when you felt you had gotten it wrong and would like to go again, but, better still, he knew when it felt right and there was no need. I’d leap at the chance to work with him again on his next film.”

Opening soon across the Philippines, The Town is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Legends Of The Guardians In 3D

Young owlet Soren embarks on a quest to follow his dreams…only to discover they’re real, in Warner Bros.’ new fantasy, family adventure in 3D, Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. Stepping into the legend that he’s faithfully followed through his father’s nest-time stories, he becomes a crucial part of the next chapter in the epic tales.

Now on a true hero’s journey of self-discovery, young Soren and his friends join their mentors in an action-packed battle against the evil Pure Ones to protect not only their freedom, but the very existence of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, who have sworn an oath to mend the broken, make strong the weak, and vanquish evil.

“Isn’t it every kid’s fantasy to become a character in his or her favorite story?” director Zack Snyder asks. “In our film, it’s a young owl who wants to find these legendary warrior owls that have been part of his personal mythology since he was born. And when the stories actually turn out to be true, it’s very powerful.”

In Legend of the Guardians, Snyder and the gifted creative team at Animal Logic sought to open a window into a world that hasn’t been seen before, with mythic environments and expansive terrains like nothing they’d ever imagined, and owls so wonderfully realized that you almost forget they’re not real.

“Zack brings a visual language to his movies that is distinctive, and so do we at Animal Logic, so the marriage between Zack’s vision and our vision was easy right from the get-go,” says the film’s producer, Animal Logic CEO Zareh Nalbandian.
Drawing from his experience on the Academy Award®-winning Happy Feet, Nalbandian assembled a crew of more than 500 digital professionals, including a team of computer animation specialists, to bring Legend of the Guardians from the page to the screen, with the added dimension of a 3D film.

“We don’t think about our movies as animated,” he continues, “we think of them as movies; Zack didn’t come on board to make an animated movie, he came to make a great action fantasy adventure, tracking a hero’s journey, which happened to be in an animated world. It was about creating a visual feast for audiences that would be unique.”

In addition to the challenge of taking on his first entirely computer-generated project, Snyder, whose previous work includes the epic action films 300 and Watchmen, found that his motivation for making this particular story hit close to home. “I know it sounds cliché,” the director admits, “but my kids are always saying to me, ‘Dad, when are you gonna make a movie we can see?’ And the chance to work with the animators at Animal Logic really appealed to me; there were moments in Happy Feet that I found artistically breathtaking. So when I saw their initial Guardians artwork, and then read the stories of Soren and his friends on this incredible quest, I looked at it as a perfect opportunity to bring my own sensibilities to a family film.”
“Both Zack and I loved the notion of this young boy—who just happens to be an owl in an owl world—learning to believe in himself and in something bigger than himself,” executive producer Deborah Snyder says. “He has to battle the odds, and in doing so, becomes the owl kingdom’s only hope for survival. We felt it was a story we would love to bring to the screen.”

“There’s real vigor in the story and a full spectrum of characters, from cute and cuddly to downright evil,” says star Geoffrey Rush. “Adding to that, the sophistication, the brilliance really, of the technique has truly been elevated in animated movies. I believed this could be a film that would be appreciated by both kids and their parents on many different levels.”

Stepping into the animation realm for the first time, Snyder enthuses, “Animation is filmmaking without limits. When I saw the potential of what the movie could be, and thought about the chance as a filmmaker to actually be able to create any shot I wanted…I couldn’t wait to see what we could do.”

Opening soon across the Philippines, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole will be presented in IMAX 3D, Digital 3D and regular format and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Sneak Peak: The Provocative Drama 'Stone'

A convicted arsonist (Edward Norton) looks to manipulate a correctional officer (Robert De Niro) into a plan to secure his parole by placing his beautiful wife (Milla Jovovich) in the lawman's path, in Overture Film’s new, critically acclaimed drama, Stone.

A thought-provoking film directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil) and written by Angus McLachlan (Junebug), Stone will be shown soon exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Trinoma, Glorietta 4 & Greenbelt 3).

In the film, as parole officer Jack Mabry counts the days toward a quiet retirement, he is asked to review the case of Gerald "Stone" Creeson, in prison for covering up the murder of his grandparents with a fire. Now eligible for early release, Stone needs to convince Jack he has reformed, but his attempts to influence the older man’s decision have profound and unexpected effects on them both.

Stone skillfully weaves together the parallel journeys of two men grappling with dark impulses, as the line between lawman and lawbreaker becomes precariously thin. The film’s superb ensemble features Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil series) as Lucetta, Stone’s sexy, casually amoral wife, and Golden Globe® winner Frances Conroy (TV’s Six Feet Under) as Madylyn, Jack’s devout, long-suffering spouse.
Set against the quiet desperation of an economically ravaged community and the stifling brutality of a maximum security prison, this tale of passion, betrayal and corruption examines the fractured lives of two volatile men breaking from their troubled pasts to face uncertain futures.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sneak Peak Of 'The Other Guys'

Columbia Pictures presents an all-star cast led by Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Eva Mendes, Ray Stevenson, Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, in the action-comedy The Other Guys.

In the U.S. No. 1 hit, detectives Christopher Danson and P.K. Highsmith (Johnson and Jackson) are the baddest and most beloved cops around. They don’t get tattoos – other men get tattoos of them. Two desks over and one back, sit Detectives Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg). You’ve seen them in the background of photos of Danson and Highsmith, out of focus and eyes closed. They’re not heroes – they’re "the Other Guys."

Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm On Opposite Sides Of The Law In 'The Town'

Award-winning actors Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Jon Hamm (TV’s Mad Men) play cop-and-robber literally, in Warner Bros. The Town, an action-thriller about friendship and betrayal, love and hope, and escaping a past that has no future.

In the film, Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) is an unrepentant criminal, the de facto leader of a group of ruthless bank robbers who pride themselves in stealing what they want and getting out clean. With no real attachments, Doug never has to fear losing anyone close to him. But that all changed on the gang’s latest job, when they briefly took a hostage–bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall).

Author Kathryn Lasky Talks About 'Legends Of The Guardians"

The beloved Guardians of Ga’Hoole books by award-winning author Kathryn Lasky are brought to the screen by acclaimed filmmaker Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) in Warner Bros.’ fantasy family adventure in 3D, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.

The film follows Soren (voice of Jim Sturgess), a young owl enthralled by his father’s epic stories of the Guardians of Ga’ Hoole, a mythic band of winged warriors who had fought a great battle to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones. While Soren dreams of someday joining his heroes, his older brother, Kludd (voice of Ryan Kwanten), scoffs at the notion, and yearns to hunt, fly and steal his father’s favor from his younger sibling. But Kludd’s jealousy has terrible consequences—causing both owlets to fall from their treetop home and right into the talons of the Pure Ones.

James Franco Rekindles Julia's Pasion In 'Eat Pray Love'

James Franco plays David, the young lover of Julia Roberts’ character, in Columbia Pictures’ new romance drama Eat Pray Love.

In the film, Liz Gilbert (Roberts) is a modern woman on a quest to marvel at and travel the world while rediscovering and reconnecting with her true inner self. At a crossroads after a divorce, Gilbert takes a year-long sabbatical from her job and uncharacteristically steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life. In her wondrous and exotic travels, she experiences the simple pleasure of eating in Italy, the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of love in Bali.  

The American Production Notes

The suspense thriller The American stars Academy Award winner George Clooney in the title role for director Anton Corbijn (Control). The screenplay by Rowan Joffe is adapted from Martin Booth’s 1990 novel A Very Private Gentleman.

As an assassin, Jack (played by Mr. Clooney) is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten).

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