‘Sinister’ is a frightening new horror/thriller from the producer of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ films and the writer-director of ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose,’ Scott Derrickson. A true crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) struggling to find his next big story, moves his family into a house where the horrific murder of an entire family took place. But after finding a box of home videos in which other families are also brutally murdered, his investigation leads him to a supernatural entity that may be placing his own family in harm’s way. While ‘Sinister’ is out now in the UK, it’s set for release in the US on October 12th.
What was it about this story and this character of Ellison that drew you to ‘Sinister’?
Ethan Hawke: Just its complexity. The character of Ellison is, in any genre of film, a really complex character. And in particular this genre, inside the horror genre, a lot of times in genre films you’re asked to play cardboard cut-outs of people – even in a comedy, not just horror. This guy Ellison was really interesting to me, he was not a good person or a bad person, he was a really complex person. Those are the most fun to play. Also, the script works in regards to telling a good story. It has whit to it, which I like. All good genre movies I think should operate, if it’s a horror movie, first of all it should be scary – its got to be really scary (laughs). And at their best, there should be an underlying metaphor to them, and this one is a very clear and obvious one about a guy who puts his own ambition ahead of his family, you know? Watch what happens when you do that!
In ‘Taken 2,’ Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent with a “particular set of skills” who stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from kidnappers. When the father of one of the villains Bryan killed swears revenge, and takes Bryan and his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) hostage in Istanbul, Bryan enlists Kim to help them escape. Bryan then employs his unique tactics to get his family to safety and systematically take out the kidnappers, one by one. From acclaimed filmmaker Luc Besson (who co-scripted and produces ’Taken 2′), co-screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen (who has penned both ‘Taken’ films with Besson), and director Olivier Megaton (Columbiana, Transporter 3), ’Taken 2′ follows the global success of ‘Taken,’ released in 2008, which earned $224 million at the box office. ’Taken 2′ is out in cinemas now!
Can you tell us a little about the premise for ‘Taken 2’? After Kim’s kidnapping in the first movie, and Lenore’s separation from her new husband, it seems there may be a chance for Bryan and Lenore to reconcile?
Liam Neeson: Sure. Bryan finds himself in Istanbul, Turkey, looking after a Sheik. He’s looking after this Sheik’s security detail for three or four days. Then after, he invites his ex-wife and daughter, who’s on an Autumn break from school, to come over to Istanbul and see the sights, have a few days of rest and relaxation….and then, nasty things happen again (Laughs). The situation Bryan finds himself in is something any of us can relate to. If your child was threatened, you’d do anything to right that wrong. And with Lenore, their connection has suddenly become very strong because Lenore has been going through a hard time. Bryan is a shoulder for her to lean on, and the relationship grows and develops from there.
From Tim Burton comes ‘Frankenweenie,‘ a heart-warming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life – with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous. A visually stunning black and white, stop motion animated film in 3D, the voice cast for ‘Frankenweenie’ includes Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder. Disney will release the film on October 5th in the US and October 17th in the UK. ‘Frankenweenie’ is the first animated film that Tim Burton has directed for Disney. The screenplay is by John August, based on an original idea by Tim Burton. My previous interview with Tim Burton for ‘Frankenweenie’ can be read here, while my Winona Ryder interview for the film can be read here.
Is it safe to say that ‘Frankenweenie’ has been in development for 30 years….?
Tim Burton: (Laughs) Yeah, I guess you could put it that way. I never quite thought of it in that way (laughs), but in some ways that’s true. The ‘Frankenweenie’ short film is very special to me, and the opportunity to go back to the original drawings, and then to do stop-motion, black and white, 3D, thinking about all of the other characters, the kids, the monsters, it just made this ‘Frankenweenie’ feel like a whole new project.
Based on true events, Ben Affleck’s dramatic thriller ‘Argo’ chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis – the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist named Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. Affleck directs the film and stars in it alongside Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Victor Garber, Zeljko Ivanek, Richard Kind, Scoot McNairy, Chris Messina, Michael Parks and Taylor Schilling. ‘Argo’ is set for release October 12th
What was it about the ‘Argo’ script and story that grabbed you?
Bryan Cranston: What’s really great about ‘Argo,’ although it’s steeped in espionage and bureaucracy at the highest level – with foreign relations, politics…. truly when you get down to it, it’s about the human experience. And ‘Argo,’ it’s about what lengths others will go to save the lives of others. There are things that you respond to immediately, viscerally, and ‘Argo’ was definitely one of those. It was tense and dramatic and engrossing, and every time I read it, I got charged up again. Opportunities to be a part of something like this don’t come along often, so I’m very glad I am.
From Oscar-winning writer and director Martin McDonagh comes a star-studded, blood-drenched, black comedy. Marty (Colin Farrell) is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay Seven Psychopaths. All he needs is a little focus and inspiration. Billy (Sam Rockwell) is Marty’s best friend, an unemployed actor and part time dog thief, who wants to help Marty by any means necessary. Hans (Christopher Walken) is Billy’s partner in crime. A religious man with a violent past. Charlie is the psychopathetic gangster whose beloved dog, Billy and Hans have just stolen. Charlie’s unpredictable, extremely violent and wouldn’t think twice about killing anyone or anything associated with the theft. Marty is going to get all the focus and inspiration he needs, just as long as he lives to tell the tale. Alongside Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, ‘Seven Psychopaths’ stars Woody Harrelson, Olga Kurylenko, Abbie Cornish, Kevin Corrigan, Zeljko Ivanek, Tom Waits and Gabourey Sidibe. The film is set for release October 12th in the US and December 7th in the UK. Look out for a more in-depth interview with Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell for ‘Seven Psychopaths’ next week.
How did this project come about for you, was it an idea Martin McDonagh told you about when you were making ‘In Bruges’?
Colin Farrell: Yeah. When we were shooting ‘In Bruges’ Martin alluded to this script ‘Seven Psychopaths’ by letting me know that ‘In Bruges’ was actually a rehearsal to see if he liked shooting movies, that he had a real script that he wanted to shoot – which was much better than ‘In Bruges,’ and that was this one. So before I even read ‘Seven Psychopaths’ I was….he’s just a brilliant writer, lets just call a spade a spade (laughs). It being the second film I’ve done with him, there’s definitely a shorthand, which is nice to experience.
In the futuristic action thriller ‘Looper,’ time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson and also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. ’Looper’ is released in cinemas September 28th. This interview is a compilation of these three individual interviews for the film: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. My interview with Rian Johnson for ‘Looper’ will be posted tomorrow.
Joseph, ‘Looper’ re-teams you with writer/director Rian Johnson, who you‘ve remained good friends with since filming ‘Brick’ almost a decade ago. How was that experience of working with a friend, and working on something I can imagine he told you the idea about a number of years ago?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yeah. Rian and I first met nearly ten years ago. It wasn’t too long after we shot ‘Brick’ that he started telling me about his idea for ‘Looper.’ He ended up writing the lead character for me, which is the first time that’s ever happened to me as an actor, so to play that was a great honour. It’s a treat to work with a true friend, and Rian and I….it was 2003 that we shot ‘Brick,’ it didn’t come out until 2006. We’ve done even little things together before we started on ‘Looper,’ making little videos and songs all the time. For years we’ve been talking about this idea, about ‘Looper.’ And the standard for an actor in a movie is that you get the script a few months before you start shooting – which is just a different process, I’m not saying ones is better or worse, but it is out of the ordinary and really special to have this much investment in the material and have such a personal connection with the director.