Steve McQueen follows the acclaimed ‘Hunger’ and ‘Shame’ with this incredibly powerful, based-on-fact story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist will forever alter his life. Opening on October 18th in the US and January 24th in the UK, ’12 Years a Slave’ also stars 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.
There’s a real absence of a serious treatment of slavery in cinema, an unflinching treatment. Was that one of the reasons it was so important for you to explore, and do you intend for the film to spark a conversation, especially with race?
Steve McQueen: Precisely because of that reason: the absence of a serious treatment of slavery in cinema. For me it was a no brainer. I just wanted to see it on film. I wanted to see that history on film. It was important. It was that obvious. And that’s it. I made this movie because I want to tell a story about slavery, a story that hasn’t been given a platform in cinema. It’s one thing to read about slavery but when you see it within a narrative, it does something different – and that’s what I wanted to do. Now, if that starts a conversation: wonderful, excellent…. it will be about time. But for me this film is about how to survive. I don’t know what kind of conversation….. I hope it goes beyond race, narrowing it down to race: yes, race is involved, but it’s not entirely about that.
The infamous Riddick (Vin Diesel), a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy, has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.
Vin Diesel is joined in ‘Riddick’ by Karl Urban who reprises the role of Vaako, Dave Bautista who plays Diaz and Katee Sackhoff who plays Dahl. Jordi Mollà, Matt Nable, Bokeem Woodbine, Conrad Pla, Raoul Trujillo, Nolan Funk and Keri Hilson also star. Written and directed by David Twohy, ‘Riddick’ is set for September 4th in the UK and a September 6th bow in the US.
Its been 13 years since ‘Pitch Black’ and 9 years since ‘The Chronicles of Riddick.’ What inspired you to delved back into this world that you’re obviously extremely passionate about?
Vin Diesel: For a few reasons. First off, it’s a character that has always been close to me. It’s a character that was my first big character in Hollywood. I think the character is interesting and so dynamic, and the idea of playing a quintessential anti-hero is something I really like. But most importantly it was listening to an audience that said, “We want the next chapter.” A lot of them said that they wanted it Rated-R, a lot of them said they didn’t care what the rating was they just wanted to see the character back (laughs). Ironically, by making it Rated-R we didn’t have to spend $200 million to make the movie, which lead us to being able to pull it off. So, the short answer was that I made it because the request for it was really loud and clear.
Starring Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez and Academy Award winner Jon Voight, ‘Getaway’ arrives in cinemas on August 30th in the US and October 4th in the UK. In the film, former race car driver Brent Magna (Hawke) is pitted against the clock. Desperately trying to save the life of his kidnapped wife, Brent commandeers a custom Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, taking it and its unwitting owner (Gomez) on a high-speed race against time, at the command of the mysterious villain holding his wife hostage.
In ‘Getaway’ you play this character known only as “the Kid”. I can imagine that this film brought you a number of new experiences and challenges, considering that it’s your first action movie and you spend much of the movie sat in one place….?
Selena Gomez: Definitely. Every time I want to be a part of a project it’s always because it’s different and it’s a challenge – so that I can try and play something completely different. Then, also, getting to work with someone like Ethan Hawke is always a big plus (laughs). The whole experience of ‘Getaway’ was really really fun. I’d never really done an action movie before, let alone car chases. And doing pretty much everything in one area, confined area – because I am pretty much in the car the whole time – that was really really interesting, that was a great acting experience. It was challenging and new and different for me, but 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 Ziyi, 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.
‘The Grandmaster’ has been something Wong Kar Wai has worked on for years. What was it like working with him on this project?
Zhang Ziyi: It was definitely a special experience working with Wong Kar Wai. Each time you go to set you have no idea what’s going to happen next, or what will happen at the end. He works with you to give life to his characters, and I discovered that first of all you have to first get to know Wong Kar Wai, and he has to get to know you. Then when the mutual understanding happens, that’s when the magic begins. With Wong Kar Wai, you just can’t say “no” to him (laughs). As soon as he called me, I said “yes”. It’s like if Steven Spielberg offers you a role, you would say “yes” right away (laughs). So I knew it would take a long time to shoot, but what I didn’t know was that it would take three years. I love Wong Kar Wai, he’s so unique. It was a very special experience, and because he has very little script you have to build up the character together and you’re always curious with what would happen next.
‘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.