Michael Bay’s ‘Pain & Gain’ is based on the unbelievable true story of three personal trainers in 1990s Miami who, in pursuit of the American Dream, get caught up in a criminal enterprise that goes horribly wrong. Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is a regular bodybuilder who works at the Sun Gym along with his friend Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie). Sick of living the poor life, Lugo concocts a plan to kidnap Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), a regular at the gym and a rich, spoiled businessman, and extort money from him by means of torture. With the help of recently released criminal Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), the “Sun Gym Gang” successfully gets Kershaw to sign over all his finances. But when Kershaw survives an attempted murder by the gang, he hires private investigator Ed Du Bois (Ed Harris) to catch the criminals after the Miami Police Department fails to do so. The likes of Rebel Wilson, Yolanthe Cabau, Tony Plana, Keili Lefkovitz, Rob Corddry, Ken Jeong and Bar Paly also star in the action-comedy-crime film. ‘Pain & Gain’ lands in cinemas on April 26th in the US and May 3rd in the UK. Look out for another interview with Anthony Mackie for ‘Pain & Gain’ next week. Lots more interviews for the film to come!
What was it about this story and these three characters that particularly grabbed you and caught your interest?
Anthony Mackie: I was really intrigued by the psychological aspect of these three guys and what took them to this level of wanting to commit such heinous crimes. That’s what really turned me on about the idea. And especially now, in this day and age, you have the idea of achieving the American dream, and one thing that is really important to me with this story is that we all have this idea of what our lives are “supposed” to be, we all grow up wanting to be something, but very few people grow up and be the people they wanted to be as a kid, you know? So when I read the script it really brought it all up for me, and I really thought it was really interesting and wasn’t something I had thought about as an adult.
‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ is a sweeping drama that powerfully explores the unbreakable bond between fathers and sons. Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a high-wire motorcycle stunt performer who travels with the carnival from town to town. While passing through Schenectady in upstate New York, he tries to reconnect with a former lover, Romina (Eva Mendes), only to learn that she has given birth to their son Jason in his absence. Luke decides to give up life on the road to try and provide for his newfound family by taking a job as a car mechanic. Noticing Luke’s ambition and talents, his employer Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) proposes to partner with Luke in a string of spectacular bank robberies – which will place Luke on the radar of ambitious rookie cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper).
Avery, who has to navigate a local police department ruled by the menacing and corrupt detective Deluca (Ray Liotta), is also struggling to balance his professional life with his family life, which includes his wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne) and their infant son AJ. The consequences of Avery’s confrontation with Luke will reverberate into the next generation, where their two sons must face their shared legacy. Co-written and directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ is out now. Mahershala Ali, Emory Cohen, Dane DeHaan, Gabe Fazio, Bruce Greenwood, and Harris Yulin also star.
Was this story, ‘The Place Beyond the Pines,’ something you had talked about with Derek on ‘Blue Valentine’?
Ryan Gosling: Yeah. When Derek and I were making ‘Blue Valentine’ I had shared with him a fantasy that I had about robbing banks, and how I thought there was a way to get away with it, and that if I wasnt so afraid of jail I might do it - but I guess that means I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my plan (laughs). And he said, “That’s crazy, I just wrote a script about that.” So it felt like it was meant to be. Both of us felt like it was our idea, but then we realised that this guy in Tel Aviv has been doing it for years – with great results (laughs).
’42′ follows the iconic story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the major leagues. ’42′ stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Academy Award nominee Harrison Ford as the Brooklyn Dodger’s general manager Branch Rickey, the MLB executive who first signed Robinson to the minors and then helped to bring him up to the show in 1947 – eradicating racial segregation in baseball. The film co-stars Nicole Beharie as Rachel Isum, who would become Robinson’s wife, as well as Christopher Meloni, Alan Tudyk, Lucas Black and T.R. Knight. In 1997, Major League Baseball retired the number 42 for all teams, making it the first number in sports to be universally retired. The only exception is April 15th – Jackie Robinson Day – commemorating the date of his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger. On that day alone, players from every team wear Number 42 to honor the man who altered the course of history. Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland directs ’42′ from his own screenplay. The film arrives in cinemas on April 12th in the US. Expect a UK release date soon. My interview with Chadwick Boseman can be read here.
What was it about Branch Rickey that you connected with immediately?
Harrison Ford: The connection was emotional, it was not something you can calculate or identify. It was a human connection; it was about the story that he was living and what his life means. Also, his relationships, how he formed this relationship with Jackie Robinson, with the person of Jackie Robinson. The combination of the two of them was what was intriguing to me. When I read the script, I thought it was wonderfully written; there were scenes that just knocked my socks off. I was fascinated by the character of Branch Rickey and immediately began to invest some energy in researching him because it was a part I very much wanted to play.
’42′ follows the iconic story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the major leagues. ’42′ stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Academy Award nominee Harrison Ford as the Brooklyn Dodger’s general manager Branch Rickey, the MLB executive who first signed Robinson to the minors and then helped to bring him up to the show in 1947 – eradicating racial segregation in baseball. The film co-stars Nicole Beharie as Rachel Isum, who would become Robinson’s wife, as well as Christopher Meloni, Alan Tudyk, Lucas Black and T.R. Knight. In 1997, Major League Baseball retired the number 42 for all teams, making it the first number in sports to be universally retired. The only exception is April 15th – Jackie Robinson Day – commemorating the date of his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger. On that day alone, players from every team wear Number 42 to honor the man who altered the course of history. Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland directs ’42′ from his own screenplay. The film arrives in cinemas on April 12th in the US. Expect a UK release date soon.
Jackie Robinson’s story is a classic hero’s journey – someone who has unbelievable odds stacked against him and has the fortitude to overcome those odds and effect great change, break the color line. And for me it marked a turning point, not only in baseball but in history….
Chadwick Boseman: Yeah. It transcends sports; I always looked at it like that. Jackie had in his psyche and his vision certain things that he wanted to do as a man, and he understood to do those things life for black people had to change. There was a certain amount of providence that this came to him. Once you know the full scope of what he did – on the baseball field and in his later work in the Civil Rights movement – you realise that his contribution to society was tremendous, and not just in the sports world. He paved the way for people in every field, so I feel a personal connection to him because I am literally standing on his shoulders right now.
In 2073, a former-Marine Commander Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed at Earth which was nearly destroyed by an alien invasion 60 years ago. As part of a massive operation to extract the planet’s remaining vital resources, he lives in an airborne “town” floating thousands of meters above the Earth. His mission nearly complete, Jack’s soaring existence comes crashing down when he rescues a female stranger (Olga Kurylenko) from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a series of events that forces Jack to question everything he knows about the war and its aftermath. ‘Oblivion’ is released on April 10th in the UK and April 19th in the US. From writer/director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy), ‘Oblivion’ also stars Andrea Riseborough (Victoria Olsen), Morgan Freeman (Malcolm Beech), Mellissa Leo (Sally) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Sykes). Look out for part 2 of this interview later this week.
Can you remember your first time meeting with or speaking to Joseph Kosinski about ‘Oblivion’? Maybe even seeing some of his concept art, reading the script…?
Tom Cruise: Yeah. I read the story for ‘Oblivion’ and I’d seen the commercials that Joe had directed prior, so I called him up. We met, he showed me pieces of ‘Tron: Legacy’ and I was amazed by it. I thought, “Wow. This guy’s a big filmmaker, and he’s very talented.” Joe is someone who creates other worlds, and his vision for ‘Oblivion’ is what interested me. I’ve never seen anything like it: the way that he wanted to direct it and all the elements that were involved. Although I haven’t made a sci-fi film since ‘Minority Report,’ I love the genre and I knew that Joe works well in it. And what I love about Joe, who I think is a visionary filmmaker, is that he can make a very personal story, but put it in a massive landscape with epic stakes. Literally the fate of the world is at stake. Also, I just loved the stories unique twists and turns, which happen all the way up to the very last frame of the movie.
‘Free Angela & All Political Prisoners’ is a feature-length documentary about Angela Davis and the high stakes crime, political movement, and trial that catapults the 26 year-old newly appointed philosophy professor at the University of California at Los Angeles into a seventies revolutionary political icon. Nearly forty years later, and for the first time, Angela Davis speaks frankly about the actions that branded her as a terrorist and simultaneously spurred a worldwide political movement for her freedom. Directed by Shola Lynch, ‘Free Angela & All Political Prisoners’ opens on April 5th in the US.
You wrote your Autobiography many years ago, but what was your reaction when Shola Lynch came to you to pitch the film? Maybe she’s not the first person who’s approached you….?
Angela Davis: Well, I must admit I was somewhat reluctant. I’ve always been a reluctant public person. So my first impression was, “Do I really want to do this?” But then I thought about the potential of a documentary that would focus very specifically on the trial and on the campaign that developed around my case. And I thought it might be important to speak to young people in the 21st century about movements that were powerful and were victorious. 40 years ago no one could have imagined that, despite the fact that I was innocent, I would be able to stand up to the power of the State – particularly incarnated by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. But that campaign that developed all over the world, literally on every continent, it made it possible for us to experience that victory. And so I thought it might be important for young people today to get a sense of what it meant to feel collectively powerful and capable of changing the world. And we need a lot of that today.