Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus is due for release on 20th January 2012. I saw footage from the film at Empire Big Screen, and it looks pretty interesting. Although Shakespearean dialogue in the modern day has been done before (1997’s Romeo + Juliet for example), it still appears a little unusual. Nonetheless, it is refreshing that Fiennes has chosen to adapt one of Shakespeare’s lesser know works. I for one will have no idea how the narrative will pan out. The film stars Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox.
I saw a clip of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive at Empire Big Screen; it looks amazing. I was gutted that not to get into the secret screening of it. The idea to adapt the novel for the big screen originally came from Ryan Gosling, who plays the lead in the film. Carey Mulligan also stars in Drive, which will be released on 23rd September 2011. I cannot wait to see it!
Like the protagonist on an epic quest in a sword and sorcery film, I embarked on the final day of Empire Big Screen. First order of business was the Paramount Showcase. After a brief video animating the company’s biggest films, a series of trailers were shown. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was followed by Paranormal Activity 3 and Like Crazy. After this, a featurette on Cowboys and Aliens was screened, introduced by Jon Favreau (on video). We also got to see a short clip of the Footloose remake, and the trailer for The Devil Inside (which was highly reminiscent of last year’s The Last Exorcism). Two clips of the Shrek spin-off Puss in Boots were then screened. Te footage was great; the film looks as if it will be very funny. To round things off, footage of The Adventures of Tin Tin was screened with a message from producer Peter Jackson and director Steven Spielberg. The clips looked good, but I always think humans in CG-animation look weird.
After a brief interlude, the Lionsgate Showcase began. After the trailer for A Dangerous Method was shown, we got to see footage from Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus. Set in the modern day but with the original Shakespearean dialogue, the film looks interesting if a little unusual. The showcase was rounded up by four trailers – 50/50, Abduction, Warrior and Conan the Barbarian.
Seizing the opportunity for a proper lunch break, we headed to Armadillo (again). My fish burger was nice, but I felt bad that we didn’t leave a proper tip. In fairness, it was all the change we had, but apologies to Armadillo staff.
The Disney Showcase was the final one of the weekend. Real Steel was first up, with director Shawn Levy on stage to talk about the film. He also gave away tickets to the premiere, but asked the most difficult question ever. Needless to say, I did not know the answer. Two clips were then screened; the film looks like fairly standard family fare. Andrew Stanton then introduced John Carter and footage from the film was screened. Finally, Steven Spielberg (by video) introduced some footage of his upcoming film War Horse. What struck me more than anything was that Spielberg seems to have some hand in directing or producing many of the films discussed this weekend. He may have even a hand producing this post. Human star of the film Jeremy Irvine then came on stage to discuss making War Horse.
After hanging out in the press room for a bit (Jeremy Irvine was being interviewed there, talent-spotters!), it was time for The Muppets! Director of The Muppets James Bobin and star Kermit the Frog were interviewed live via satelite. I was told that the Muppets were originally meant to appear in person. Maybe it is just as well this did not happen, as I may have got kicked out for running up on stage and hugging Kermit. The interview was a lot of fun, and the clip screened involved Kermit singing a song. It almost brought a tear to the eye…
After all that excitement, it was time for the Conan the Barbarian premiere. Jason Momoa was present to introduce the film, shown at the biggest screen at the O2 Cineworld. The film was pretty disappointing itself (review to follow).
After the very last visit to the press room, I went to the secret screening. Cineworld tried to rob me blind with their popcorn prices, after which I settled down to watch the film. Before it started, I asked the gentleman next to me if he knew what the film was (I did by this point). When he answered “Cowboys and Aliens” I was perplexed, and thought he was joking until he showed me his ticket. I was in the wrong screen. After cursing my stupidity, I ran next door and luckily the trailers were still on. I then settled down to watch The Debt, a very good thriller (review to follow). And that concluded Empire Big Screen; the film was good way to end a busy but exciting weekend.
Many thanks to Empire and Romley Davies for having me, plus all the lovely people who made the weekend so much fun (you know who you are!).
After staying up last night writing my diary entry, I decided to do it throughout the day. We await with baited breath what film distributors Entertainment One have to show us. Clips of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 are rumoured to be screened. Having not seen any of the previous films, this means nothing to be, but I hear the series is pretty popular. Empire editor Chris Hewitt is currently introducing the day on stage. Paul W.S. Anderson is up first introducing The Three Musketeers. The clip was in 3D which was quite exciting, but I think I would prefer a feature-length version of the Dogtanian and the Three Muskerhounds cartoon.
MyAnna Buring has just introduced The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 trailer. We are awaiting clips. MyAnna was a massive fan of the series apparently. No clips have been screened after all. [Edit] Twilight footage has been found! First clip is of Edward and Bella on their honeymoon. I think there is some unintentional humour. Edward calls Bella “Mrs Cullen”. Second clip was of the werewolves have a facing off. Now Ghost Rider 2 trailer, which has a very amusing ending.
Warner Bros Showcase up next with Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows. Waiting for Guy Ritchie to get his mike fixed. Guy Ritchie just introduced a short featurette on the sequel. The director is talking about how eager he was to make a follow-up to Sherlock Holmes. Jared Harris is fantastic as Moriarty, apparently. An extended clip of Contagion was screened next, along with the trailer for Happy Feet 2. Peter Jackson introduces a video blog from the set of The Hobbit. Cast and crew seem to be having a lot of fun on set. The Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer follows. Nothing new hear, but it is good to see it on the big screen. The Final Destination 5 opening sequence is so much fun, cannot wait to see it!
At this point, I received a verbal bitch-slapping from security for having my laptop out. After several minutes of indecision (and despite the best efforts of the lovely publicists), we had to put our laptops away, hence the delay in updating this post. With all the kerfuffle, I missed the beginning of the Optimum Showcase. Kill List was discussed, after which clips of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was screened. It is difficult to ascertain too much, but the film seems incredibly atmospheric.
The Sony Pictures Showcase was next, with a plethora of trailers and clips. First up was Arthur Christmas, with screenwriter Peter Baynham appearing to discuss the film. The film features a stellar cast of mostly British actors voicing the characters. Peter Lord, director of The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists was next on stage to talk about making the animated film. The trailer was screened, as well as brief clips of the main characters.
Sony’s packed showcase continued with a series of trailers, beginning with Friends with Benefits introduced with a video message from Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. The trailer of the Straw Dogs remake was screened next, as well as Moneyball and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Next up was a clip from 30 Minutes or Less, introduced with a video message from Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari. Following this Len Wiseman introduced (again via video) some footage of Total Recall, due for release in 2012. The clip was pretty interesting; the fact that it was unfinished suggests how ‘in production’ the film is.
Roland Emmerich took to the stage to talk about his upcoming film Anonymous. Following this brief discussion, a lengthy clip of the film was screened. With phones confiscated and without a watch, I am not really sure how long this clip was. It felt at one point as if we were watching the entire movie, but not from the very beginning. The film is rather a daring take on a much-loved British icon (Shakespeare) so it will be interesting to see how it will be received. Finally, footage from The Amazing Spider-Man was screened, after a video introduction from Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The first clip focused on Peter Parker, while the second featured his nemesis in the new film, The Lizard. The footage certainly worked well to wet the appetite for next year’s release.
The shortest break only allowed me to snack on prawn cocktail crisps in the press room; every restaurant and cafe in the O2 seemed full to the rafters. Dashing back to the Indigo2, the Icon Showcase was brief and to the point, focusing solely on Drive. Nicholas Winding Refn was interviewed on stage about the film. The project was initially introduced to the director by star Ryan Gosling. A clip of the film was screened – it looks amazing. This is one I am really looking forward to.
After the showcases were done for the day, we queued for the Memories of Raiders event. There were many fans trying to get in for this, but my silver-tongued friend managed to gain us entry when the event looked full. Robert Watts, one of the producers of Raiders of the Lost Ark, delighted audience members with his tales of working with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. What was great about Robert’s discussion was that he was modest as well as entertaining. Despite having worked on some of the biggest films of the late 1970s and 1980s, he remained down to earth when talking about the films.
We languished in the corridor outside after the talk, trying to ascertain the possibility of getting into the secret screening. Alas, it was not to be, and a group of us ended up going to The Change-Up screening instead. The film was watchable but not overly exciting (review to follow).
After a long long day, we decided to go for a quick drink. On our way to one of the bars in the O2, we noticed that everyone seemed to be dressed in white. Rather than a hoodless Klan meeting, it was for some dance event being held there. Unperturbed, we had a drink before deciding that our bodies required some much needed nourishment. Armadillo was our next port of call, where we had chicken skewers and bacon and cheese toasted sandwiches. I also got a chocolate milkshake served in a pint bottle, but for the first time in my life I couldn’t finish a milkshake. This lead me to reevaluate my life for a quick minute. Thus, the day was ended.
Luckily for me, mini baked goods were bountiful in the press room of Empire Big Screen. The air was thick with the scent of pastries, coffee and journalists. Outside, queues of early-rising movie fans eagerly collected their tickets and discussed plans for the day ahead. The timetable for the day consisted of numerous events taking place at the same time, so choosing wisely was essential.
First up for me was the 20th Century Fox Showcase. I have a great affection for their current blockbuster Rise of the Planet of the Apes, so I was pretty eager to discover what treats lay in store. We were given 3D glasses as we entered the auditorium, an indication of what might be on show. Before any trailers or movie clips were shown, a short piece on directors who have worked with Fox was screened. A brief love letter to the company, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Tim Burton and other prominent directors relayed their experiences directing under Fox. It was a fluff piece, but if I was in charge, I too would boast about being responsible for Alien, Edward Scissorhands, Say Anything and others. I would probably be really obnoxious, and flash up “We were responsible for Star Wars, bitches!”, but Fox have more class than me. Anyway, Fox followed this up with a short featurette on the effects used in Rise, then trailers for In Time, The Darkest Hour and Martha Marcy May Marlene. The first two are glossy thrillers, both with a sci-fi edge. The third was Fox Searchlight’s drama, which was screened at Cannes. The final item was a few short clips from Titanic, remastered in 3D for the April 2012 release. Some of the 3D was incredibly impressive, particularly Kate Winslet’s hat in her first appearance in the 1997 film.
Next up on the agenda was a wander around the exhibitors stalls, which featured all the big film companies, plus other things such as the animal actors stall. I was almost bowled over with excitement to see The Dark Knight Rises stall, until I saw it was just a bench and a television playing the teaser trailer. I don’t know what I was expecting really. Perhaps a Christian Bale meet and greet and the entire film being screened, because that would be plausible.
Our bellies enquired about feeding time, so lunch was the next order of business. We went to Nando’s, which was tasty. We managed to get one of the booths, which is always fun. My creamy mash was on point, and the chicken pitta went down a treat (in case you were interested in a review of the food).
The Universal Pictures Showcase took place in the early afternoon. In attendance were the screenwriter of Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Peter Straughan, and producer Robyn Slovo. The pair introduced three exclusive clips from the film, explaining the context of each before they were screened. These were certainly successful in building anticipation for the film; it looks great from these small glimpses and I am not even au fait with the novel. Gary Oldman also recorded a message to the audience, which was a nice touch. Following this, a number of other trailers and clips were shown. First up was a video message from Seann William Scott from the set of American Reunion, the fourth American Pie film. Inexplicably no trailer for the film was shown, despite this introduction. The Raven trailer was screened, however, and it looks mighty interesting – a must see for Edgar Allen Poe enthusiasts. Trailers for The Change-Up, The Debt, Johnny English Reborn, Tower Heights, Battleship and The Thing were also shown. We were also lucky enough to get a world exclusive look at the trailer for upcoming thriller Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg. Finally a trailer and some clips of Immortals were screened. The film, which is released in November, looks pretty gory, albeit in a cartoonish way.
After this, we headed upstairs to Cineworld for the Pint of Milk Live with Dominic Cooper. As we made our way up the escalator, we noticed Mr Cooper himself was shortly behind us. He was dressed very sharply, and I fleetingly pondered talking to him. Thankfully for all involved, I quickly decided against this. The only thing I would have come up with would be something akin to the very lame “I thought you were great in The Devil’s Double“, so I’m glad I didn’t embarrass myself. I don’t mix well with well-known folk. In the interview, Dominic was hilarious as he answered questions about the price of a pint of milk and other similarly frivolous topics. It was a very amusing session.
The next event, taking place in the same screen, was Writing The Inbetweeners. Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, writers of the television show and upcoming movie, answered questions. I am not the biggest fan of the show, but the pair made the session entertaining with their anecdotes about working with the cast on set and coming up with ideas. After the Q & A, audience-members were invited to ask questions. Both Iain and Damon were great guests, eager to discuss the film and happy to chat with fans afterwards.
Final event of the day for me was the Secret Screening. Ideas for the film had been floating around before, but nobody could or would confirm or deny. I was in receipt of a big clue shortly before the screening, thanks to some good timing. I overheard someone from the film company going into the screen carrying a Lionsgate bag. By our powers of deduction (that is to say, I checked this site on my phone), the options seem limited to Conan the Barbarian or Warrior. My esteemed fellow film writers and I seemed to veer towards Conan until someone astutely pointed out that we had not been given 3D glasses. After a short delay, we all settled down to watch Warrior. The film was good, and surprisingly powerful (review to follow).