‘The World’s End’ is the third instalment of Edgar Wright’s trilogy of comedies, following the fantastic ‘Shaun of the Dead’ (2004) and ‘Hot Fuzz’ (2007). Wright co-wrote the script for ‘The World’s End’ with Simon Pegg, who will once again star alongside Nick Frost. Joining Pegg and Frost are the likes of Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, and Rosamund Pike.
In ‘The World’s End,’ 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hellbent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by mate Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub – The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realise the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries.
After having worked with Edgar Wright for well over a decade now on various projects, how did you find the writing process of ‘The World’s End’?
Simon Pegg: The process of writing this was swift and harmonious. Edgar and I always write together in the same room, and I think this time was probably the easiest in an odd way. In mid-2011, we got to work in on ‘The World’s End’ script. By then, we had been thinking about it for a long time. It all came pouring out (laughs). It was quite a swift writing process. By now, we have a rhythm, we have an understanding of each other’s processes and we were very much on the same page – perhaps more than ever on this one. We had a lot to bring to ‘The World’s End,’ from our own life experiences. It’s the most personal of the three films I think. In terms of a genre, we’re taking on the tropes and ideas of British social science fiction. We’re not parodying them; we’re looking at the concepts in a comedic way. The author John Wyndham was a big influence on us.
Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Kevin Durand, Aidan Turner, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao, CCH Pounder, Jared Harris, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers also star. ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ is out now.
What was it about Clary as a character that really attracted you to the part? She’s very much this “normal” girl tumbling into this bizarre world…
Lily Collins: Yeah. I guess the fact that Clary is very normal, you know? I really like that. She cries, she’s confused, she’s going through an identity crisis – which I know I sure did, I don’t think anyone really ever fully gets over. But she embraces that, and she finds the strengths in her weaknesses. And she ends up kicking major butt and hanging with the guys, but all the while, still having those very feminine, young girl moments that make her very real. What I really like was this journey that she goes on, but that she never loses sight of how she actually is very normal as well. Because I think It’s too easy to play it very superhuman, but that’s not relatable to the normal person. That’s what drew me to her.
Clarissa “Clary” Fray (Lily Collins) has been living quietly in Brooklyn for as long as she can remember, when she suddenly begins to see startling and seemingly impossible things. Just as suddenly, her single mom (Lena Headey) disappears after a violent struggle. As she and her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) search for her mother, Clary begins to uncover the dark secrets and darker threats in the hidden world of the Shadowhunters, angel-human warriors who have protected humanity from evil forces for centuries. Surrounded by demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other supernatural denizens of the Shadow World, Clary joins forces with young Shadowhunters Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), Isabelle (Jemima West) and Alec (Kevin Zegers) to locate and protect an ancient Cup that holds the key to her mother’s future. Discovering abilities and courage she never knew she possessed, the young woman surprises even herself as she proves to be a formidable opponent against an array of deadly adversaries.
Directed by Harald Zwart (‘The Karate Kid’ remake), ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ is an adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s first book in her best-selling young adult novel series. The likes of Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Lena Headey, Kevin Durand, Aidan Turner, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao, CCH Pounder, Jared Harris, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers star. The film is out now.
What was about this role that intrigued you and you enjoyed playing? I can imagine that given his flamboyance he was fun to play?
Godfrey Gao: Definitely (laughs). My character Magnus Bane is half demon, half human. He’s 800 years-old and he loves to party, and he throws these parties for Downworlders for the world that is beneath us. It’s pretty cool to put this character on the big screen, as he has all this makeup on, glitter, nail polish, eyeliner, eye shadow….. he’s an interesting, flamboyant guy (laughs). He’s a fan favorite, so I feel very honored to play him. I enjoyed myself playing him, during shooting and just by getting so much love from the fans. He is a party animal and he’s definitely out there. Due to age and experience, he’s been through it all and he’s seen it all. He basically owns Brooklyn. He throws parties that everybody wants to attend. Magnus is very powerful as well as very flamboyant, so when he’s in a room, everybody listens. Both men and women are drawn to him and he takes full advantage of that (laughs). Magnus is basically a high end warlock that never ages and never dies; he is immortal. I had a blast.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, ‘The Grandmaster’ is an epic action feature inspired by the life and times of the legendary kung fu master, Ip Man. The story spans the tumultuous Republican era that followed the fall of China’s last dynasty, a time of chaos, division and war that was also the golden age of Chinese martial arts. Filmed in a range of stunning locations that include the snow-swept landscapes of Northeast China and the subtropical South, ‘The Grandmaster’ is lead by Tony Leung as Ip Man. The film also stars Zhang Zi Yi, Chang Chen, Cung Le, Bruce Leung Siu-lung and Wang Qingxiang. Set for a August 23rd bow in the US, ‘The Grandmaster’ was released in Hong Kong and Mainland China and a number of countries in Asia earlier this year. Fingers crossed there’s a UK release date announcement shortly.
While you trained extensively for this role physically, what mental preparation did you do for it and what was your impression of Ip Man?
Tony Leung: My first impression about Ip Man is that he didn’t look like the kung fu man, he looks like a scholar, with his look being very refined and graceful. In the film I tried to – because the director asked me to combine the Bruce Lee character into Ip Man – I tried to portray my ideal Ip Man. I tried to blend in the Bruce Lee character into the Ip Man character. In the beginning the director gave me a lot of books about the northern masters, but only a few things about Ip Man. He did a lot of research himself, of course. But he wanted me to read more about Bruce Lee. The character would be a kind of blend of Ip Man and Bruce Lee. I’ve collaborated with Wong Kar Wai for over ten years. We have a strong mutual trust. The movie doesn’t aim to be a documentary; we wanted to create a kind of ideal, “perfect” Ip Man.
In this high-stakes thriller, Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is an ambitious junior technologist trying to climb the ranks of telecom giant Wyatt Corporation. But after one costly mistake, Adam is blackmailed by ruthless CEO Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) to turn corporate spy by going to work for the firm’s top competitor, which is run by Wyatt’s old mentor, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford). Adam soon finds himself delivered into prepackaged success, living his fantasy life of old-world boardrooms, private clubs, exotic cars, and all the spoils of Manhattan bachelorhood. However, behind the scenes, he is merely a pawn in Wyatt’s power play, and must search for a way out from under his boss, who will stop at nothing, even murder, to gain a multi-billion dollar advantage. The cast also includes Josh Holloway, Amber Heard, Embeth Davidtz, Julian McMahon, and Richard Dreyfuss. ’Paranoia’ has been pencilled in for a August 16th release in the US. Expect a UK release date shortly. The screenplay, based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Finder, was written by Jason Dean Hall from a previous draft by Barry Levy. Robert Luketic directs.
Adam is someone who gets savvier the harder he is pushed. How was it playing someone who has this arc and transforms in the middle of the jeopardy he is in….?
Liam Hemsworth: Adam has tech smarts, but he also has street smarts. He starts out as someone I think everyone can relate to: a guy with big dreams who wants to reach for the stars. But when he gets into the position where he really can do that, and sees what it’s all about, he realizes it’s not exactly the life that he wants. At the start of his spying, I think it feels like a game to him and he kind of buys into that game. It feels almost fun for him getting a new apartment and cool cars and having money, but as it goes on, he realizes how serious this game is and once he’s in too deep, he starts to see that his life is at stake. It was an interesting role, an interesting dilemma to me.
‘The Butler’ is set against the tumultuous political backdrop of 20th century America. Academy Award nominated director Lee Daniels’ (Precious) epic drama tells the story of fictional White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who serves during seven presidential administrations between 1957 and 1986. The film is inspired by Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post article “A Butler Well Served by This Election” which chronicled the real life of former White House butler Eugene Allen. The film begins in 1926 and follows a young Cecil as he escapes the tyranny of the fiercely segregated South in search of a better life. Along his arduous journey to manhood Cecil learns invaluable skills that ultimately lead to an opportunity of a lifetime: a job as a butler at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There, Cecil becomes a firsthand witness to history and the inner workings of the Oval Office as the civil rights movement unfolds.
At home, his loving wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) raises their two sons, and the family benefits from a comfortable middle-class existence enabled by Cecil’s White House position. But Cecil’s commitment to his “First Family” fosters tensions at home, alienating Gloria and creating conflict with his anti-establishment son (David Oyelowo). Through the eyes and emotions of the Gaines family, Daniels’ film follows the changing tides of American politics and race relations; from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, to the Freedom Riders and Black Panther movements, to the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, Cecil experiences the effects of these events as both an insider and a family man. The incredible supporting cast includes Yaya Alafia, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Elijah Kelley, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Aml Ameen, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber and Robin Williams. The film arrives in US cinemas on August 16th. Expect a UK release date for ‘The Butler’ shortly.
‘The Butler’ covers more than 80 years of American history through the eyes of a White House butler and his family – decades of unspeakable strife and conflict, from segregation to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. I can imagine that there was many elements to this story that interested you?
Oprah Winfrey: Definitely. It’s the story told through the eyes of Cecil Gaines, who is a butler in the White House for eight Presidents. And during the era of those Presidents, each one, so much was happening in America and so much was happening in this mans life and within his own family. It tells the story through one mans eyes, the story of what was happening in the culture and the country, in terms of the Civil Rights movement. So much of what happened in the film is what happened to many individuals. It’s really about growing into acceptance that a new day was coming, for all of is.