Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel ‘Xerxes,’ and told in the striking visual style of the blockbuster ’300,’ this new chapter of the saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield – on the sea – as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. ’300: Rise of an Empire’ pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemesia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy. Penciled in for a March 7th release, ’300: Rise of an Empire’ stars Sullivan Stapleton as Themistokles, Eva Green as Artemisia, Jack O’Connell as Calisto, Hans Matheson as Aesyklos, Callan Mulvey as Scyllias, Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo, David Wenham as Dilios, and Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes.
For me, Artemisia is one of the most memorable villains I’ve seen in a very long time. She’s a bit nuts…..?
Eva Green: Just a bit (laughs)!? She’s the baddie. I love playing evil characters, you know? It’s always more interesting, and especially those villains who are complex and have a reason to behave in such a way. Artemisia is very ballsy, she’s very tough, she’s fearless, and we find out through the film that her whole family got killed by mutinous Greek soldiers. That tragedy explains her obsessive need for revenge and hatred towards the Greeks. But honestly, she’s just… mental. She finds jubilation in killing people. She has no conscience and she can’t tolerate incompetence, and anybody who doesn’t follow her orders, she just snaps, “Off with his head!”
Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in ‘Gravity,’ a heart-pounding thriller that pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. In the film, Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) in command. But on a seemingly routine mission, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space. Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuarón directs from a script he co-wrote with his son Jonas. ‘Gravity’ is nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Cuarón and Best Actress for Bullock. The Academy Awards take place this coming Sunday, March 2nd.
Sandra, watching ‘Gravity,’ I can imagine that this was one of the most challenging roles you’ve ever played, on multiple levels: emotionally, physically, detail wise….?
Sandra Bullock: Definitely. Physically I knew that I could get there, but I had no idea how I was going to execute what I wanted to give to Alfonso – who’s someone I had always dreamed about working with. I just didn’t know I was going to be able to step up and give him what he needed because the whole environment was new. I didn’t have my crutches and tools in people, other actors. When George Clooney was there it was like the sunshine was there and life walked into the room. When he left it was like the tomb had shut again (laughs). On a daily basis I was hoping I was giving Alfonso what he needed and deserved.
During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the government to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes. ‘Non-Stop,’ which reunites Neeson with ‘Unknown’ director Jaume Collet-Serra and producer Joel Silver, co-stars the likes of Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Anson Mount, Michelle Dockery, and Corey Stoll. The film is in cinemas from February 28th.
What was it about this story and your character that interested you. I really liked the fact that Bill Marks is a flawed man who has to earn the trust of the passengers and the audience at the same time….
Liam Neeson: That was one of the main things, I really liked that. I was thrilled when Joel Silver (producer) called me up about this. I literally couldn’t stop turning the pages. When we see Bill in the start of the film, he’s a guy on the edge and someone you don’t want to sit beside on a long-haul flight. The finger of suspicion points to him for quite a period. But I was drawn to him because in a very basic, cinematic, iconic-figure way, he fits that mold of someone who does what he has to do to save the day. He’s an everyday guy who rises to the challenge.
Matthew McConaughey stars in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ as real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the U.S. was divided over how to combat the virus. Ron, now shunned and ostracized by many of his old friends, and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, the entrepreneurial Woodroof joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts – who he once would have shunned – and established a hugely successful “buyers’ club.” Their shared struggle for dignity and acceptance is a uniquely American story of the transformative power of resilience. The Jean-Marc Vallée directed film also stars Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Steve Zahn, Dallas Roberts, Griffin Dunne, Denis O’Hare, and Bradford Cox. McConaughey’s performance in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ earned him the Golden Globe Award for “Best Actor – Drama” and an Academy Award nomination for “Best Actor”. The Academy Awards take place this coming Sunday, March 2nd.
When you first read the screenplay, what was it about Ron that immediately appealed to you and made you want to play him?
Matthew McConaughey: Well, he was a great anti-hero. A great anti-hero who… what I enjoy about an anti-hero is you don’t have to abide by societies laws – they’re actually outside of the law and butt the governor on the face, they butt parental guidance on the face. They do things their own way and that means while they are the rule breakers, they make up their own rules, they are usually on the run from something or ducking and diving from something, and they have to live a little on the outskirts of society, or go right up the middle – which Ron does. He goes right up the middle, he sells memberships not drugs, he used the system, a loophole in the system to beat the system – I love that (laughs). The screenplay bled off the page. It was just incredibly human, with no sentimentality. I’d never read a script that tackled the issue from this point of view. Ron was an American original. He shook the tree. He made noise. I said, “I want to get this made, get Ron’s story told.”
Christian Bale portrayed Dicky Eklund in David O. Russell’s biopic ‘The Fighter,’ for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. With ‘American Hustle’ he’s received his second Academy Award nomination, his first in the Best Actor category. Bradley Cooper’s work in O. Russell’s films ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle’ earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.
A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock the United States, ‘American Hustle’ tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.
Christian, there’s a lot to your character in ‘American Hustle.’ For me, Irving Rosenfeld is a hustler and a romantic, and there’s a lot of comedy, charm, and vulnerability to him. I also liked how he admired his father as an honest man, but at the same time he’s determined to not allow that same fate to happen to him….
Christian Bale: Yeah. There was something that David and I found to be strangely optimistic about Irv. And the fact that he really was a man who just said, “Look, I’ve been born into a situation, but it’s not the situation I want. Why should I accept that? Am I just going to sit back my whole life and say, “Yeah, I was born this way, and I’m not trying to change it.” No, I’m gonna change it and I’m going to create myself.” It’s a little bit Pygmalion like. He says, “No, I’m not happy – and why should I be?” I’m going to become somebody who has a more exciting life and who has a more romantic life.” He wants to be someone who has something to really live for, and someone who wants to do stuff that exhilarates him – and who doesn’t want that? Everyone does. Just the difference is in search of this bigger truth that Irv is after; he’s willing to tell as many lies as he has to in order to get there.
Lupita Nyong’o made her feature film debut in Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’ as Patsey, for which she’s received huge acclaim. For her role Nyong’o won the Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and was nominated for the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The Academy Awards take place this coming Sunday, March 2nd.
Based on the unforgettable memoir that exposed the inner workings of slavery in the 19th Century, comes ’12 Years A Slave,’ director Steve McQueen’s mesmerizing and incredibly moving account of New York family man Solomon Northup’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) unexpected kidnapping, his dizzying journey into Louisiana’s slave plantations, and his unbreakable quest to get home to those he loves. ’12 Years a Slave’ stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, Alfre Woodard, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Negga, Adepero Oduye, Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, Sarah Paulson, Scoot McNairy, Dwight Henry, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Michael Kenneth Williams.
’12 Years a Slave’ marks your feature film debut in a role that I can’t imagine could have demanded more of an enormous emotional commitment. Without giving anything away, there’s so much complexity to Patsey…?
Lupita Nyong’o: Definitely! For me, Patsey was such an incredible woman in the script. I was so excited about the opportunity to bring her back to life. She’s described as being agile and genial and pleasantly tempered and the hardest worker, but at the same time she wishes for her death. That kind of complexity is one an actor can only dream of playing. And to know that she was a real women just made it even more humbling and more inspiring to do. For me, the thing that I loved most about Patsey is that she experiences so much pain, but she was always working through it, not wallowing in it. That kind of strength is so inspiring, and I wanted to play her with agency and dignity.