Category: Paramount Pictures
After the 1970s brought prosperity to the Channel 4 news team, the group disbands and hits rock bottom until a 24-hour news channel is being put together and the group is recruited to join the channel. In an April 2012 interview, director Adam McKay said the script was a work in progress. He stated that the story might include a custody battle and bowling.
In a May 2012 interview, he was quoted as saying that nothing was set. The story is moved from San Diego to New York, at the onset of the cable news era in the 1980s. Kristen Wiig plays Brick’s love interest. At a cancer survivor fundraiser in San Diego in September 2013, Ferrell showed a clip of the film portraying a scene involving Champ Kind’s fried “chicken” restaurant.
About the Story
Several years after the events of the first film, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are married and are both co-anchors for a prestigious news network in New York City. One day, Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford), the most famous nightly news anchor in New York, reveals that he is retiring. He intends to promote Veronica, making her the first female nightly news anchor in the history of television, and to fire Ron due to his continuously sloppy performance on air. Ron grows jealous of Veronica’s success and storms out of the house, leaving Veronica and his six-year-old son Walter (Judah Nelson).
Six months later, Ron is back in San Diego, but barely able to hold a job due to his depression. After being fired from Sea World and botching a suicide attempt, Ron accepts a job with GNN (Global News Network), the world’s first 24-hour news network, for GNN’s official launch. He reassembles his news team, finding Champ Kind (David Koechner), who owns a fried chicken store (that sells bats secretly to cut down on costs), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), now a famous cat photographer, and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), who is presumed dead but appears at his own funeral. They are assigned the unpopular late-night timeslot while obnoxious rival anchorman Jack Lime (James Marsden) is put in a primetime slot. Meanwhile, Ron finds that Veronica is dating another man, a psychologist named Gary (Greg Kinnear) due to his absence.
As GNN launches, Ron decides to broadcast what the people want to hear, rather than what they need to hear. He and his team devise a sensationalist and attention-grabbing newscast. Their new approach proves to be a hit, beating Lime in ratings by a massive margin, and the other news networks scramble to emulate them. Ron and his team are promoted to primetime, where they enjoy fame and fortune. Ron’s success excites GNN’s manager, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), and a romantic affair begins. Brick meets a similarly eccentric GNN office worker named Chani (Kristen Wiig) and immediately falls in love. Ron lets his newfound fame get to his head and neglects his parental obligations to Walter, angering Veronica. He also alienates Brian, Champ, and Brick, claiming he is tired of carrying them.
During a party celebrating GNN’s success, Lime causes Ron to slip and suffer a head injury, resulting in him becoming blind. Unable to read the news, Ron isolates himself in a lighthouse, unable to adjust to his loss of sight. Veronica arrives with Walter for a visit and Ron bonds with his family, gradually overcoming his disability. Ron and his son rehabilitate a small shark, naming him Doby before setting him free. Ron finds out that Veronica was hiding messages from his eye doctor about an experimental procedure. He leaves angrily, gets his sight restored, and returns to GNN.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Christina Applegate, Tina Fey, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey
Screenplay by: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Production Design by: Clayton Hartley
Cinematography by: Patrick Capone, Oliver Wood
Film Editing by: Mellissa Bretherton, Brent White
Costume Design by: Susan Matheson
Set Decoration by: Jan Pascale
Music by: Andrew Feltenstein, John Nau
MPAA Rating: R for language, drug use, sexual material and references.
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 20, 2013
In The Wolf of Wall Street DiCaprio plays Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 36 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including shoe designer Steve Madden.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name. The screenplay was written by Terence Winter, and the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, along with other cast members including Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey, among others. The Wolf of Wall Street marks a fifth collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio, and a second with Winter after Boardwalk Empire.
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) begins a low-level job at an established Wall Street firm. After being taken under the wing of company executive Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) and becoming a licensed stockbroker, he is retrenched due to the firm’s bankruptcy following Black Monday.
Belfort’s wife Teresa (Cristin Milioti) encourages him to take a job with a Long Island boiler room dealing in penny stocks. Belfort impresses his new boss with his aggressive pitching style, and earns a small fortune for the firm and himself. Belfort befriends Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), a salesman living in the same apartment complex, and they go into business together along with his accountant parents and several friends. To cloak the fact the firm is a pump and dump scam, Belfort gives it the respectable name of Stratton Oakmont, shortly after which FBI Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) begins investigating the firm.
Belfort begins an affair with Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie) resulting in his divorce from Teresa and a second marriage to Lapaglia, buying a mansion and a yacht that he names after her. They have a daughter, Skylar. At work, meanwhile, Belfort, Azoff and colleagues engage in non-stop debauchery and drug use.
Belfort makes $22 million after securing the IPO of Steve Madden Ltd. To hide his money, Belfort opens a Swiss bank account with a corrupt banker Jean-Jacques Saurel (Jean Dujardin) using friends with European passports to smuggle cash. It is opened in the name of Naomi’s aunt Emma (Joanna Lumley), a British citizen outside the reach of U.S. authorities.
Belfort’s father Max (Rob Reiner) and lawyer Manny (Jon Favreau) attempt to convince Belfort to step down from Stratton Oakmont and escape the large number of legal penalties. However, during his office farewell, Belfort changes his mind.
Belfort, Donnie and their wives are on a yacht trip to Italy when they learn that Emma has died so the money in the Swiss bank account is locked up. While Emma left the money to Belfort, he has to go to Switzerland the next day to sign for it. Over his grieving wife’s objections, Belfort sails to Monaco when a violent storm capsizes their yacht. After their rescue, the plane sent to take them to Geneva is destroyed by a seagull flying into the engine, exploding and killing three people. Witnessing this, Belfort considers it a sign from God and decides to sober up.
Two years later, Denham arrests Belfort during the filming of an infomercial after Saurel tells the FBI everything. With the evidence against him overwhelming, Belfort agrees to gather evidence on his colleagues in exchange for leniency.
Belfort expresses optimism about his sentencing to his wife, who promptly informs him she will file for divorce, demanding full custody of their two children. Belfort throws a violent tantrum, gets high, and crashes his car in his driveway during an attempt to abscond with a frightened Skylar. The next morning, Belfort wears a wire to work, silently slipping Donnie a note warning him not to say anything incriminating. The note finds its way to Agent Denham, who arrests Belfort for breaching his cooperation deal; the FBI then raids and shuts down Stratton Oakmont.
Despite the breach, Belfort receives a reduced sentence of 36 months in a minimum security federal prison in Nevada. After his release, Belfort makes a living hosting seminars on sales techniques in New Zealand.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin, Margot Robbie, Jon Favreau, Cristin Milioti, Matthew McConaughey
Screenplay by: Terence Winter
Production Design by: Bob Shaw
Cinematography by: Rodrigo Prieto
Film Editing by: Thelma Schoonmaker
Costume Design by: Sandy Powell
Set Decoration by: Ellen Christiansen
Music by: Howard Shore
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence.
Studio; Paramount Pictures
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.
Labor Day is an American drama film based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard. The film had a wide release on January 31, 2014, in the United States. It was announced in 2009 that the film would be directed by Jason Reitman. On June 16, 2011, it was announced that Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin committed to star as the film’s leads Adele and Frank, respectively. Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush co-produced the film. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on August 29, 2013, and on September 7, 2013, at Toronto International Film Festival.
About the Story
In 1987, Adele Wheeler (Kate Winslet) is a depressed single mom who lives in a rural home with her 13-year-old son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith). While they are clothes shopping, a bloody man approaches Henry and makes them take him home to look after him. The man is revealed to be Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), a convict who is wanted by the local police after breaking out of jail.
Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Frank is a Vietnam veteran who returned home and married his pregnant girlfriend, Mandy (Maika Monroe), who soon gave birth. A year after the baby’s birth, Frank and Mandy had a fight, in which, based on his suspicions he asks if he’s even the baby’s father. During the fight, he accidentally pushed her against a radiator, resulting in her death. Simultaneously, through imagery, it is implied that the baby drowned. Frank was sent to jail for murder.
It is also learned as Adele tells Frank through flashbacks that she has had several miscarriages after Henry, the final of which is a full term stillborn baby girl. This has left Adele damaged and depressed which Henry’s father later explains to Henry as why he left her. Adele doesn’t like going out in public. Henry has tried to be both a son and a husband (innocently) but he realizes he can’t provide all of the things Adele needs. Adele is a passionate woman who loves to dance and teaches both Henry and Frank separately to dance. Frank teaches Henry car repairs and other handyman/fatherly things. He also teaches Adele and Henry how to play baseball and how to bake.
Adele and Frank fall in love and plan to escape to Canada with Henry. They begin packing the house and cleaning on Labor Day. Meanwhile, Henry develops a friendship with a mature, but manipulative girl named Eleanor (Brighid Fleming), and goes to see her one more time before they leave. She manipulates him into thinking Adele and Frank are going to abandon him and he accidentally reveals Frank’s past. Adele assures Henry she would never leave him. The morning they are going to leave, Henry takes a note to his father’s house and leaves it in his mailbox.
While he is walking home, a policeman (James van der Beek) offers to drive him home, and Henry has no choice but to accept. The policeman is suspicious of the packed car and nearly-empty house, but eventually leaves. Adele goes to the bank to get all the money out of her account, and the bankers too are suspicious. While Adele is gone, the neighbor comes over to give Adele some cinnamon rolls, and speaks to Frank.
She too is suspicious of who he may be. Henry’s father finds the note that Henry left, and calls the house wondering what is going on. Before Adele, Frank, and Henry can escape, the police arrive and arrest Frank. He ties Henry and Adele up before he goes out to surrender, so that they won’t be charged with harboring a fugitive. It is not revealed who called the police to report Frank’s presence at the house.
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Malika Monroe, Brooke Smith
Screenplay by: Jason Reitman, Joyce Maynard
Production Design by: Steve Saklad
Cinematography by: Eric Steelberg
Film Editing by: Dana E. Glauberman
Costume Design by: Danny Glicker
Set Decoration by: Tracey A. Doyle
Music by: Rolfe Kent
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 27, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality
A father and son trek from Montana to Nebraska to claim prize money. Along the way, the two meet up with friends, relatives and acquaintances to whom the father owes money. While in production on About Schmidt, Alexander Payne was given Bob Nelson’s screenplay by producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, asking him to recommend a director. He asked to direct it himself but didn’t want to follow-up one road trip movie, Sideways (on which he was in pre-production), with another, and he also decided to wait until after completing The Descendants.
Nebraska is an American black-and-white comedy-drama road film directed by Alexander Payne and written by Bob Nelson. It stars Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, and Bob Odenkirk. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where Bruce Dern won the Best Actor Award. It was also nominated for six Academy Awards; Best Picture, Best Director for Payne, Best Actor for Dern, Best Supporting Actress for Squibb, Best Original Screenplay for Nelson, and Best Cinematography for Phedon Papamichael.
About the Story
In Billings, Montana, Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is found walking in traffic and stopped by a police officer. He is picked up by his son, David (Will Forte), who learns that Woody wants to go to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect a $1 million sweepstakes prize he has won. When David sees the sweepstakes letter, he realizes that it is a mail scam to make a person purchase magazine subscriptions. He returns Woody to his home, where David’s mother Kate (June Squibb) becomes annoyed by Woody insisting on collecting his money.
This happens again with David being disrupted at his job as a stereo salesman. He and his brother Ross (Bob Odenkirk), a local news anchor, discuss putting Woody in a retirement home. David is paid a visit by ex-girlfriend Noel (Missy Doty), who is returning his things, refusing to move back in. Their conversation is cut short by a call from David’s mother reporting that his father has left yet again. David retrieves Woody and decides to drive him to Lincoln, much to Kate’s dismay.
While in Rapid City, South Dakota, Woody goes on a drinking bender and returns to their motel room and falls, hitting his head. David takes him to the hospital for stitches where they realize Woody has lost his dentures. They retrace Woody’s steps and find them. While Woody was in the hospital, David notified their family that they would be passing through Woody’s hometown of Hawthorne, Nebraska and plans were made to stay the night with them. Woody is against the idea.
The following day, they arrive in Hawthorne and stay with Woody’s brother Ray (Rance Howard) and his family. Woody and David visit a mechanic shop Woody once owned and then a local bar. When David brings up Woody’s alcoholism and problems within the family—with Woody implying that he did not love his wife nor really want children—they get into an argument. In another bar, they encounter Woody’s former business partner, Ed Pegram (Stacy Keach), whom the family blames for stealing Woody’s air compressor decades ago. Against David’s recommendation, Woody mentions winning the money and the customers of the bar give him a toast. The next morning, they learn that the news has spread through the town.
Kate arrives in Hawthorne by bus and David takes her and Woody to the cemetery for Kate to pay respects while providing some colorful history on Woody’s relatives and their behavior. That night, while David is out to dinner with Woody and Kate, Ed approaches him in the bathroom about some money Ed loaned Woody years ago that has not been repaid and threatens legal action. David meets a local newspaper owner who had been planning a story on Woody to tell her the truth about the “sweepstakes.” He discovers that she is an ex-girlfriend of his father and learns a little more about his dad, including how he was affected when he came back from the Korean War.
The rest of Woody’s family, including Ross, come to visit him. Woody’s nephews, Cole and Bart (Devin Ratray and Tim Driscoll), and others approach David and Ross about getting money that they believe Woody owed them. A fight begins, ending abruptly with Kate calling out the relatives for unpaid debts they owe. David, Kate, Ross and Woody tour Woody’s childhood home, which has fallen into disrepair. They drive past a house Kate says is Ed’s, so David and Ross elect to steal back the air compressor. However, Kate comes to realize that the house actually belongs to another couple, whom Kate distracts when they arrive home.
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, Missy Doty, Melinda Simonsen
Screenplay by: Bob Nelson, Phil Johnston
Production Design by: J. Dennis Washington
Cinematography by: Phedon Papamichael
Film Editing by: Kevin Tent
Costume Design by: Wendy Chuck
Set Decoration by: Fontaine Beauchamp Hebb
Art Direction by: Sandy Veneziano
Music by: Mark Orton
MPAA Rating: R for some language.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: November 15, 2013
86 year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companions, his 8 year-old Grandson Billy in “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”. This October, the signature Jackass character Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) and Billy (Jackson Nicholl) will take movie audiences along for the most insane hidden camera road trip ever captured on camera.
Along the way Irving will introduce the young and impressionable Billy to people, places and situations that give new meaning to the term childrearing. The duo will encounter male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants (and their equally disgruntled mothers), funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons and a whole lot of unsuspecting citizens.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Directed by: Jeff Tremaine
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Georgina Cates, Blythe Barrington-Hughes
Screenplay by: Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine
Cinematography by: Lance Bangs, Dimitry Elyashkevich
Film Editing by: Seth Casriel, Matt Kosinski, Matthew Probst
Costume Design by: Lindsey Kear
Art Direction by: J.P. Blackmon
Music by: Kool G. Murder, Sam Spiegel
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: October 25, 2013
Taglines: Remember Philly!
On an ordinary day, Gerry Lane and his family find their quiet drive interrupted by urban gridlock. An ex-United Nations investigator, Lane senses that this is no ordinary traffic jam. As police helicopters buzz the sky and motorcycle cops careen wildly below, the city erupts into chaos.
Something is causing hordes of people to viciously attack each other – a lethal virus that is spread through a single bite, turning healthy humans into something unrecognizable, unthinking and feral. Neighbor turns on neighbor; a helpful stranger suddenly becomes a dangerous enemy. The origins of the virus are unknown, and the number of infected grows exponentially larger each day, quickly becoming a global pandemic. As the infected overwhelm the world’s armies and rapidly topple its governments, Lane is forced to return to his dangerous former life to insure the safety of his family, leading a desperate worldwide search for the source of the epidemic and a means to stop its relentless spread.
From Page to Screen
“World War Z” began as a post apocalyptic horror novel by Max Brooks called World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War,written in first person, individual accounts from those who experienced it. Producers Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner read the book in galley form.
They, along with everyone at their production company, Plan B Entertainment, were captivated. “Five years ago, I knew nothing about zombies. Now, I consider myself an expert,” recalls Pitt. “Max’s book treats the zombie genre as a global pandemic, spreading much like we’ve witnessed viruses such as SARS travel.What happens when this jumps the fire break… what happens when everything we concern our days with is rendered useless?What happens when power structures and societal norms are obliterated?How will we survive?”
“It resonated with us as something that was relevant and prescient, despite being a zombie book — or maybe because of it. We didn’t know – which made it even more compelling,” Gardner recalls.
The vast scope of the story also intrigued Kleiner, who was familiar with Brooks’ work, having read his companion book/field manual, The Zombie Survival Guide. “The world scale — the intersection of zombies, politics, institutions — intrigued us and added really cool, contemporary elements unusual in the zombie genre,” says Kleiner.
However, the novel’s multi-person, testimonial approach did not necessarily lend itself to a motion picture screenplay. Ultimately, the filmmakers opted to tell the story through one protagonist as opposed to many but also endeavored to maintain the essence of the themes and plot points that initially riveted them.
Still working on the script, the team decided it was time to approach a director and turned to Marc Forster. “Marc was likeminded in that he was committed to setting the movie in the real world and maintaining the material’s verisimilitude,” Gardner recalls.
“I respect Marc as a director who has made many different kinds of films, yet with a common thread of dealing with core human issues — family, love, loss. I think he broughtthis humanistic approach to our film and I think that his openness, his not having pre-conceived notions of the limitations of zombie films, was really helpful,” adds Kleiner.
Plan B began by sending the book to Forster and like them, he was engrossed. “I thought it was a great read and it dealt with themes I am really interested in,” Forster says. “I sat down with Plan B and we started talking creatively about what we could do with the project. They had developed the script at that point, which they gave me, and that was the beginning of our discussion that eventually led to this film.”
Forster believes there is a thematic reason for their resurgence and many zombie hallmarks resonated with him and drew him to the project. “I find zombie movies fascinating in that they were popular in the 70s, at a time of uncertainty and upheaval in society. And now when we are again living in a time of change and skepticism, zombies are popular. They’re such a great metaphor — representing a sort of unconsciousness and hold a mirror to what’s happening in the world.We human beings, as a species, are unconscious to a certain degree and ultimately we have to wake up,” Forster muses.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t encounter zombies in the zeitgeist. I see it in advertising banners inside the New Yorker, for Zombie Survival Kits. The Occupy Wall Street movement invoked a lot of zombie mythology and there’s obviously the great success of ‘The Walking Dead’ being the highest rated show on cable television. It’s a slippery slope trying to assign metaphors to something that consider to be very popular but clearly that’s a part of it too.
The language of the zombie world is more easily understood today, I think, because of everything that’s currently going on. People are tied to their screens and their monitors and their headphones – in the most basic sense, they do walk around like zombies by not interacting with other human beings. Also, at least for me, the world feels like a tenuous place…it feels unstable. It feels like there are big waves of emotion and behavior that are sweeping over us and it’s happening more and more quickly. But it does have roots in a historical love for the genre. For me, ‘World War Z’ is intense and real and fun…also non-stop, epic, scary and, I hope, ultimately satisfying,” Gardner says.
Indeed, part of the initial appeal of the project for Pitt was the heart-pounding action and race against time aspects of the story. “Those zombies are scary as hell and the movie, I believe, works on numerous levels,” says Pitt.”But primarily it’s complete summer fun and, frankly, something I wanted to do for my sons to enjoy.”
To that end, Forster is reluctant to categorize “World War Z” solely as a “zombie movie.” “It’s not just about zombies, it’s about a global apocalypse that happens to be spread by zombies,” Forster says.
“There are a lot of parallels to what we’re living through, culturally, that lend themselves to a ‘zombie movie,’ but the great thing about Max’s book is that he set it in a realistic time frame and within a reality-based framework. That’s what really intrigued me — I wanted to create a movie that feels real, so audiences feel like this could happen, this minute, to any one of us. The general premise is that anything can happen, in any kind of scenario, on any given day. No one is spared, everyone is susceptible. That’s the plotline in the movie but it’s also real life,” Forster says.
Around the World
In keeping with Gerry Lane’s transcontinental hunt for the cure to the spreading pandemic, “World War Z” filmed in far-flung locales, on land and often in the sea.
“First of all it’s called ‘World War Z’ so it was critical that we represent the globe. I think the planet is evident to a greater number of people than ever before — you can click a button and see what’s going on virtually anywhere. So it’s harder and harder to fake that. Audiences are smart, they know what different cities around the world look like and there is a point where you can’t engage in trickery nor do I think you should. I think movies benefit from different locales and different cultures and settings and different moods and I think that comes across on the screen,” Gardner says.
“World War Z” opens in Philadelphia as full-scale zombie pandemonium ensues. Glasgow doubled for Philly and although they are literally worlds apart, the cities share similar architecture, some of which was augmented during post-production. To further transform the Scottish city, the production replaced native signs, traffic signals and cars with their American counterparts. Also, Glasgow offered an ideal layout for showing maximum mayhem.
“The city is arranged in a square which gave us more opportunity to see the havoc and panic when the zombies invade the city,” says location manager Michael Harm. Glasgow was also particularly hospitable to the hundreds of extras and personnel required to approximate the start of the pandemic.
“When we were on the smaller streets in the beginning of the sequence, we had over 200 people to make the streets look full. As we moved into the square for the mayhem scenes, we bumped it up to 700 people. But what was really lucky was there was an old Bank of Scotland building that was completely gutted. That offered about 50,000 square feet where the background artists could stay in between shots. And we used its four floors for make-up, wardrobe and catering,” Harm says.
Veteran second unit director Simon Crane orchestrated much of the “World War Z” mayhem. “When we see the zombies for the first time, in Philadelphia, it goes from calm to 100% panic and action very quickly and Glasgow worked beautifully. Marc had a real passion for conveying the huge scale of the devastation and we tried to do that practically, in-camera, as much as possible. We approached the zombie attack like a pack of rabid dogs, running and taking people down. We were trying to bring across that fear and violence,” Crane says.
To accomplish this required carefully choreographed stunt work that began with a pre-visualized look at the action in the computer and culminated with, among other things, the sacrifice of several vehicles…
“We crashed over 150 different cars. We crashed the garbage truck and slammed Brad’s Volvo into an ambulance and various other things. It was big scale. At least 80% of the vehicles were written off,” Crane says. “Glasgow was great. We shut down blocks and blocks for controlled car crashes outside the main buildings. It was fantastic.”
Gardner notes that up until the arrival of the ‘World War Z’ production, Glasgow had not experienced the temporary influx of the army of people that populate a big, complicated movie — and, she says, the city could not have been more welcoming or accommodating.
“Glasgow was quite an operation. Even though they had not hosted a lot of big films, there was an unbelievable enthusiasm on the part of the city to not only have us but to try and make our jobs easier. The reception was just astonishing. To shoot the big opening zombie attack sequence, they shut down the main square of the city for us for over two weeks. And people rolled with it. They posted signs in their windows welcoming us. It was really terrific,” Gardner recalls.
Often the huge amount of extras and the associated personnel required to turn them into zombies became its own logistical circus. “There were many, many thousands of extra man days on the film. We had big crowd scenes in Malta, playing for Jerusalem. There were big crowd scenes in Glasgow for Philadelphia. The airplane sequence had roughly 150 extras to fill the interior of the aircraft for five days of photography. And those scenes are even further complicated, because there were heavy zombie presences.
That involves giant numbers of hair, make-up and wardrobe staff to achieve the look of what you’re trying to get. If you have 500 extras that need to look a certain way, that’s an awful lot of people required to get them ready. We were shooting one day with the full extra count and I remember coming on to the set and you literally couldn’t move because of the size of the crew that was there to get everyone ready. And then a couple hours later we sent the zombies away for a little break as we were going to do something else just with Brad and a few other people and it was like the set became barren. It was hilarious,” says producer Ian Bryce.
In keeping with the overall mantra of authenticity, the filmmaking team endeavored to ground the adrenalin-spiking zombie anarchy in reality. Gerry Lane is not a superhero but rather an astute, quick witted, hyper-perceptive man. Crane had worked with Pitt several times before and they had a shorthand, in terms of how to accomplish the complicated action scenes.
“Brad had huge input into the strategy of how we would stage all the action and we always tried to keep it as real as possible. He’s a former U.N. worker, not a fighter. He’s a real person, a normal, everyday guy. So we tried to make everything as believable as possible. He’s very good at the action stuff and wanted to be as involved as possible, which of course also helped,” Crane says.
The Lane family finds temporary safety on an enormous aircraft carrier and, in fact, the British Navy vessel the Argus stood in for the American ship. Filming the arrival sequence was quite a feat, featuring actual helicopters, 500 extras, dozens of military vehicles and of course the huge, powerful and elegant aircraft carrier itself.
“It was great to work on a real aircraft carrier instead of on stage. The emotional intensity was so much more. It offered great scale and authenticity, which is what you want for this film, because on many levels, it is a war film. The world is at war with the zombies,” Forster says.
World War Z
Directed by: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, David Morse, Ludi Becken
Screenplay by: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard
Production Design by: Nigel Phelps
Cinematography by: Ben Seresin
Film Editing by: Roger Barton, Matt Chesse
Costume Design by: Mayes C. Rubeo
Set Decoration by: Jennifer Williams
Music by: Marco Beltrami
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 21, 2013
Taglines: They have one chance to save us all.
Star Trek Into Darkness is an American science fiction action film. It is the twelfth installment in the Star Trek film franchise and the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek and the second in the reboot series. The film was directed by J. J. Abrams from a screenplay based on the series of the same name created by Gene Roddenberry.
Lindelof, Orci, Kurtzman, and Abrams are also producers, with Bryan Burk. Chris Pine reprises his role as Captain James T. Kirk, with Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy, John Cho, and Bruce Greenwood reprising their roles from the previous film. Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller, and Alice Eve round out the film’s principal cast.
The plot of Into Darkness takes place one year after the previous installment, with Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise sent to the Klingon homeworld seeking former Starfleet member-turned-terrorist John Harrison. After the release of Star Trek, Abrams, Burk, Lindelof, Kurtzman, and Orci agreed to produce its sequel. Filming began in January 2012. Into Darkness’s visual effects were primarily created by Industrial Light & Magic.
About the Story
In 2259, the starship USS Enterprise studies a primitive culture on the planet Nibiru. Captain James T. Kirk and First Officer Spock save the planet’s inhabitants from an extinction-threatening volcanic eruption, but Kirk violates the Prime Directive, exposing the Enterprise to the native inhabitants. Returning to Earth, Kirk loses command of the Enterprise and Admiral Christopher Pike is reinstated as its commanding officer with Kirk demoted to first officer and the rank of Commander.
The two attend a meeting to discuss the bombing of a Section 31 installation in London perpetrated by the renegade Starfleet operative John Harrison. Harrison attacks the meeting in a jumpship, killing Pike. Kirk disables the jumpship, but Harrison uses a portable transporter to escape to Kronos, the Klingon homeworld.
Admiral Alexander Marcus orders the Enterprise to kill Harrison, arming it with 72 prototype photon torpedoes, shielded and untraceable to sensors. En route to Kronos, the Enterprise suffers an unexpected coolant leak, disabling the ship’s warp capabilities. Kirk leads an away team with Spock and Uhura onto the planet, where they are ambushed by Klingon patrols. Harrison dispatches the Klingons, then surrenders after learning of the number of torpedoes locked on his location.
Dr. Leonard McCoy and Marcus’s daughter Carol Marcus open a torpedo at Harrison’s behest, revealing a man in cryogenic stasis inside. Harrison reveals his own true identity as Khan, a genetically engineered superhuman awakened by Admiral Marcus from a 300-year suspended animation to develop advanced weapons for war against the Klingon Empire. Khan reveals Marcus sabotaged the Enterprise’s warp drive, intending for the Klingons to destroy the ship after firing on Kronos, giving him an apparent moral justification to go to war with the Klingon Empire.
The Enterprise is intercepted by a larger Federation warship, the USS Vengeance, commanded by Marcus. Marcus demands that Kirk deliver Khan, but the Enterprise, with a hastily repaired warp drive, flees to Earth to expose Marcus. After the Vengeance intercepts and disables his ship, Kirk offers to exchange Khan and the cryogenic pods for the lives of his crew. Marcus forcibly transports Carol to the Vengeance and orders the Enterprise’s destruction.
The Vengeance suddenly loses power, having been sabotaged by Montgomery Scott, who infiltrated the ship after following coordinates relayed by Khan through Kirk. With transporters down, Kirk and Khan, with the latter’s knowledge of the warship’s design, space-jump to the Vengeance. Spock contacts his older self on New Vulcan, who warns him that Khan is ruthless and untrustworthy, and that in another reality, Khan was only defeated at a terrible cost. Meanwhile, after capturing the bridge, Khan overpowers Kirk, Scott, and Carol, killing Marcus and seizing control of the Vengeance.
Khan demands Spock return his crew in exchange for the Enterprise officers. Spock complies but surreptitiously removes Khan’s frozen crew and arms the warheads. Khan betrays their agreement by critically damaging the Enterprise; however, the Vengeance is disabled when the torpedoes detonate. Kirk, Scott, and Carol are simultaneously beamed aboard the Enterprise. With both starships caught in Earth’s gravity, they plummet toward the surface. Kirk enters the radioactive reactor chamber to realign the warp core, saving the ship at the cost of his life.
Khan crashes the Vengeance into San Francisco in an attempt to destroy Starfleet headquarters. Khan survives the crash and flees but Spock transports down in pursuit. McCoy discovers that Khan’s blood has regenerative properties that may save Kirk. With Uhura’s help, Spock captures Khan, and Kirk is revived.
Nearly one year later, Kirk speaks at the re-dedication ceremony of the Enterprise and recalls the sacrifices made by the victims of Marcus’s machinations where he recites the “where no man has gone before” monologue. Khan is sealed in his cryogenic pod and stored with his compatriots while Carol joins the crew of a recommissioned Enterprise as it departs on a five-year exploratory mission.
Btar Trek Into Darkness
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve, Anton Yelchin
Screenplay by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Production Design by: Scott Chambliss
Cinematography by: Daniel Mindel
Film Editing by: Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey
Costume Design by: Michael Kaplan
Set Decoration by: Karen Manthey
Music by: Michael Giacchino
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: May 17, 2013
The G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence. Framed for crimes against the country, the G.I. Joe team is terminated by the President’s order, and the surviving team members face off against Zartan, his accomplices, and the world leaders he has under his influence.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is an American military science fiction action film directed by Jon M. Chu, based on Hasbro’s G.I. Joe toy, comic and media franchises. It was written by Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and serves as both a sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and as a soft reboot of the franchise. G.I. Joe: Retaliation features an ensemble cast, with Channing Tatum, Arnold Vosloo, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce and Byung-hun Lee reprising their roles from the first film. Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, D. J. Cotrona, and Bruce Willis as General Joseph Colton round out the principal cast.
About the Film
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who has had a hand in some of the most successful film franchises to date, including the billion dollar franchise TRANSFORMERS, felt that the first film’s conclusion left the door open to explore more within the G.I. JOE world.
“I thought that ending the first film with the suggestion that there was an imposter in the oval office was something that was completely unique and would be an interesting thing to examine… It was important to find a director who would really own it completely and be able to take all the multi-layered characters and treat them with gravity,” says di Bonaventura.
When considering directors to helm the sequel, Adam Goodman, President of Paramount’s Film Group, surprised di Bonaventura by suggesting director on-the-rise Jon M. Chu, who had just come off of the hugely-successful Justin Bieber movie NEVER SAY NEVER. “Jon and I had a funny first meeting because his experiences are pretty far away from mine and vice versa, but I discovered that he grew up with the G.I. JOE vs. COBRA mythology and understood the internal aesthetics of what G.I. JOE is and that is something that’s invaluable,” recalls di Bonaventura. “After talking, we found out that we were both trying to make the same movie and it’s been a great partnership.”
In Chu, producers saw a fresh set of eyes with genuine enthusiasm and love for the brand. “He has a shorthand with these characters and he brings a great sense of experimentation to his films,” says executive producer Erik Howsam.
Recalls Chu, “I grew up with G.I. JOE and was familiar back before the cartoon and comic books, and felt that that we could tie in the brand to various generations. My version would be what any fan boy would want to see.”
The G.I. JOE mythology runs deep and has a pantheon of characters to draw from, each with their own back-story, nuances and characteristics. When approaching the sequel, the filmmakers wanted to build on the best elements and storylines from the first film and carry those through to the second installment while simultaneously creating a new identity and feel. This offered the opportunity to introduce new characters from the mythology to the franchise.
Stunts and Fights
Summer tent pole movies are known for action sequences that defy reality and thrill audiences, and the filmmakers set out to make G.I. JOE: RETALIATION a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Director Jon M. Chu had the benefit of working with a double-punch combination of stunt coordinator Steve Ritzi and fight coordinator Thomas Dupont, who created and choreographed elaborate sequences sure to wow action fans. “The most creative ideas happened in the collaboration between the stuntmen, actors, director, producers and the writers to create a couple of the sequences that are utterly unique in this movie,” explains di Bonaventura. “What audiences are going to find is that when they get into the action it will be intense as hell and something they’ve never seen before.”
Stunt coordinator Steve Ritzi loved the opportunity to create sequences for both the military and ninja storylines and all that each aesthetic had to offer. “It was challenging having two different elements that are so different,” recalls Ritzi. “The G.I. JOE style was much more straight-forward and then we had the ninjas with very specific choreography and other fun unexpected elements like slinging and flying them through the mountains. The combination was really fun.”
In the first act, audiences are introduced to the G.I. JOE team and their level of physical intensity illustrated by two grandiose action sequences that set the bar for the level of action the audience can anticipate. On a mission to neutralize Pakistan’s’ nuclear arsenal, the teams perform a dangerous and high-risk extraction with great precision and skill. The sequence is an action smorgasbord that involves high-height rappelling, hand-to-hand combat, parkour, gunplay and a great deal of weaponry and ammunition. The sequence showcases each of the G.I. JOE team members’ special skill set and their undeniable proficiency and domination as a team.
Shot in NASA’s VAB, short for the Vertical Assembly Building, the production team utilized the 220 foot tall ceilings and never-before-seen rocket boosters to push the limits of the action coverage. “The production value is amazing and we had Roadblock and two other JOE’S repel down the face of this 200-foot rocket into battle,” explains stunt coordinator Steve Ritzi. “There are G.I. JOE’S literally raining from the sky firing at insurgents the whole way down. We had people shooting, falling and fighting at every level and each character has their own moment within the fight. It was pretty elaborate.”
“The scene in the nuclear weapons depot illustrated the units’ cohesiveness and efficiency and showcases their talents as soldiers,” explains Dwayne Johnson.
While celebrating the successful completion of the complicated and dangerous mission with no G.I. JOE lives lost, the team is ambushed and blindsided by a powerful force that essentially wipes out the majority of the unit. The stunts and special effects team orchestrated a powerful and explosive portrayal of a military force under siege. The sequence involved Humvee’s blown 30 feet into the air, numerous rocket-charges staged all over the set and vehicles on fire all within a carefully choreographed sequence that implicated the extensive unit of core G.I. JOE’s, additional Navy Seals, over 30 stuntmen and roughly 40 extras. Doing the stunts practically with little plans for CGI enhancement meant real explosions and the amount of charges and ammunition on the set left little to no error for margin. “Most of the hits and explosions are all very real. We’re not enhancing a lot,” explains Ritzi. “We’re doing charges right next to our actors and stuntmen and wanted to experience them taking the hits and showing the action in a very realistic manner.”
Although the sequence was incredibly complicated, the filmmakers worked as a team to map out the action to create a seamless portrayal of the unfolding devastation. “The special effects guys were amazing and had it designed to where we had these large special effect pods built into the set and Jon M. Chu, Steve Windon, our 1st AD Phil Patterson and I designed the layout where the actors should move to and from with our stunt team filling in the holes,” recounts Ritzi. “It’s a very elaborate sequence that could have gone either way, but everyone really came together and it worked out really well.”
The centerpiece action sequence that is sure to be a much talked about crowd pleaser is a sequence that involves a high-altitude zipline chase and Ninja fight on the mountaintops of the Himalayas. After discovering that Storm Shadow was healing and seeking refuge with the red Ninjas in a Nepalese monastery, Snake Eyes and Jinx set out to retrieve him and bring him back to the Blind Master for judgment. After an epic fight between the two adversaries that leads to having Storm Shadow’s unconscious body in tow, the duo are forced to take the only route of escape. The most dangerous sequence follows them down the majestic snow-covered mountainside on a zip line while being chased by hordes of red ninjas.
“When we first read that sequence we had to ask ourselves if we could actually pull it off,” recalls di Bonaventura. “It took its shape along the way and, with a little bit of luck, an incredible stunt team to do some seriously crazy things on ropes and a few key visual effects, it will have an excitement level and scale I don’t think audiences have seen before.”
The sequence entailed several months of rigging, huge high-speed winches that were flown up to the mountaintops and anchored down into big tents and thousands and thousands of feet of line that strung between peaks. Expert mountain climbing expert Paul Borne was brought in and with the help of key rigger Dave Lane, Ritzi and the team pulled off the extraordinary sequence. “It’s very elaborate and I think when people see it they’ll assume it was done completely with CGI, when we actually did the majority of it,” says Ritzi. “We had huge 100-foot repels down the sides of mountains, a lot of shuttling back and forth with helicopters and Snowcats carrying equipment back and forth. It was extraordinary.”
G.I. Joe Retaliation 3D
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Stevenson, Elodie Yung, Luke Bracey
Screenplay by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Production Design by: Andrew Menzies
Cinematography by: Stephen F. Windon
Film Editing by: Roger Barton, Jim May
Costume Design by: Louise Mingenbach
Set Decoration by: Cynthia La Jeunesse
Music by: Henry Jackman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: March 29, 2013
Taglines: Up there with the best of the best.
Maverick is a reckless ace fighter pilot, living with the ghosts of his famous aviator father and own penchant for hijinks. Along with his best friend and navigator, Goose, Maverick attends the Navy’s air combat academy where the two work together to compete for the title of Top Gun against the best of the best Naval aviators.
Breaking rules and convention is his specialty and, true to form, Maverick falls in love with a civilian instructor at the academy. When his best friend, Goose, is killed in training, Maverick must pull himself back from the brink to prove that he can change his ways and become a team player.
Top Gun is a 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr., and was inspired by the article “Top Guns” written by Ehud Yonay for California magazine.
The film stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, and Tom Skerritt. Cruise plays Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a young Naval aviator aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. He and his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Edwards) are given the chance to train at the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School at Miramar in San Diego. The movie title comes from this school’s nickname, “Top Gun”.
About the Story
United States Naval Aviator Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) flies an F-14A Tomcat off USS Enterprise (CVN-65), with Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) as his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO). Maverick and his wingman “Cougar” (John Stockwell) intercept (fictional) MiG-28s over the Indian Ocean. During the standoff, one of the MiGs manages to get a missile lock on Cougar. Maverick realizes that the MiG is only trying to intimidate Cougar and drives it off, but Cougar is too shaken afterward to land. Maverick defies orders and shepherds Cougar back to the carrier as both planes run critically low on fuel. After they land, Cougar takes himself off flight status. Although disapproving of Maverick’s reckless flying and repeated violations of rules, the Enterprise’s CAG Tom “Stinger” Jordan (James Tolkan) sends Maverick and Goose—now his top crew—to attend the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, known as “Top Gun”, at NAS Miramar.
Maverick’s recklessness is partly due to his father, Duke Mitchell, who served with the VF-51 squadron aboard the USS Oriskany (CV-34) during the Vietnam War, and was killed in action when his Phantom was shot down. The official story, which Maverick refuses to believe, is that Duke made a mistake. Goose is much more cautious and devoted to his wife, Carole (Meg Ryan), and child. The two officers are nonetheless close friends and effective partners, with Maverick considering Goose his only family. At a bar the day before the Top Gun program starts, Maverick, assisted by Goose, unsuccessfully approaches a woman named Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), who he later learns is a civilian contractor with a Ph.D. in astrophysics serving as a Top Gun instructor.
Maverick’s reckless flying both annoys and impresses Lieutenant Commander Rick “Jester” Heatherly (Michael Ironside) and other instructors. He defeats Jester in exercises, but violates two rules of engagement in the process and is strongly reprimanded by the chief instructor, Commander Mike “Viper” Metcalf (Tom Skerritt). Maverick continues to pursue Charlie and becomes a rival to top student Lieutenant Tom “Iceman” Kazanski (Val Kilmer), who considers Maverick’s methods dangerous and unsafe. Although outwardly critical of Maverick’s tactics, Charlie eventually admits that she admires his flying but was critical because she was afraid for her credibility. They begin a romantic relationship.
During one flight, Maverick goes one-on-one with Viper. Although Maverick matches the older pilot move for move, Viper lasts long enough for Jester to maneuver around and “shoot” Maverick down, demonstrating the value of teamwork over individual ability.
Near the end of the program, Maverick and Iceman both chase Jester. Under intense pressure from Maverick, Iceman breaks off. Maverick’s F-14 flies through the jet wash of Iceman’s aircraft and suffers a flameout of both engines, entering a flat spin from which he cannot recover, forcing both Maverick and Goose to eject. Goose ejects directly into the jettisoned aircraft canopy, which breaks his neck, killing him.
Although the board of inquiry clears Maverick of responsibility, he feels guilty for Goose’s death, losing his aggressiveness when flying. Charlie and others attempt to console him, but Maverick considers leaving the Navy. Unsure of his future, he seeks Viper’s advice. Viper reveals that he served with Maverick’s father and discloses classified details over his last mission, explaining how Duke stayed in the fight after his Phantom was hit and saved three planes before he died. Information about the dogfight was classified to avoid revealing that the American planes were not where they should have been.
Directed by: Tony Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Meg Ryan
Screenplay by: Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr.
Production Design by: John DeCuir Jr.
Cinematography by: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Film Editing by: Chris Lebenzon, Billy Weber
Set Decoration by: Robert R. Benton
Music by: Harold Faltermeyer
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: February 8, 2013
Taglines: Classic tale. New twist.
Catching up with Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) 15 years after the traumatic incident involving a gingerbread house, the siblings have evolved into vengeful bounty hunters dedicated to exterminating witches. Over the years, the siblings became expert hunters, famous for their proficiency at tracking and taking down their prey. Although still recovering from their ordeal, their work is relatively easy as for an unknown reason harmful spells and curses do not work well against them.
The Mayor of Augsburg recruits them to rid the town and nearby forests of an evil sorceress (Famke Janssen) who is planning to sacrifice many local children at the witches’ gathering during the upcoming ‘Blood Moon’ night in two days time. To make things worse, the duo also has to deal with the brutal Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare) who has taken power in Augsburg and conducts a very indiscriminate witch-hunt of his own.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is an American-German action-horror film written and directed by Tommy Wirkola. It is a continuation to the German folk fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”, which was recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. The film stars Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Thomas Mann, and Derek Mears.
About the Story
Abandoned by their father deep in a forest, young Hansel and Gretel enter a gingerbread house and are captured by an old witch. The witch forces Hansel to continuously eat candy while making Gretel prepare the oven, but the siblings outsmart her and incinerate her in the fire of the oven. In the fifteen years that follow, Hansel and Gretel become famed witch hunters, slaying hundreds of witches. The pair find that they are somehow immune to spells and curses, but the incident in the gingerbread house has left Hansel diabetic. He needs a shot of insulin every few hours or he will get sick and die.[N 1]
Hansel and Gretel arrive in the town of Augsburg and immediately prevent Sheriff Berringer from executing a young woman named Mina for witchcraft. Mayor Englemann tells the crowd that he has hired the siblings to rescue several children presumed abducted by witches. Berringer hires trackers for the same mission in the hopes of disgracing the mayor and cementing his power. All but one of the sheriff’s party are killed that night by the powerful grand witch Muriel, who sends one man back to the town tavern as a warning to the locals.
Hansel and Gretel, along with the Mayor’s deputy Jackson, capture one of Muriel’s witches and interrogate her. They discover that the witches are preparing for the coming Blood Moon, where they plan to sacrifice twelve children in order to gain an immunity to fire. Muriel, accompanied by her witches and a troll named Edward, attack the town and abduct the final child. Muriel kills Jackson and launches Gretel out a window, rendering her unconscious. Gretel is rescued by Ben, a local teenager who is a fan of theirs and plans to be a witch hunter himself. Hansel grabs onto a fleeing witch by her broomstick, but falls and is lost in the forest.
The next morning, Hansel is found hanging from a tree by Mina. She takes him to a nearby spring where she heals his wounds and makes love to him. Gretel searches for Hansel in the forest but is attacked by Sheriff Berringer and his posse. The men capture and beat Gretel before being stopped by Edward, who kills the sheriff and his men. Edward tends Gretel’s wounds and tells her that he helped her because trolls serve witches. Hansel and Gretel reunite at an abandoned cabin, which they discover is both a witch’s lair and their childhood home.
Muriel appears in front of them, telling them the truth of their past. She reveals that Hansel and Gretel’s mother was a grand white witch named Adrianna who married a farmer. On the night of the last Blood Moon, Muriel planned to use the heart of the white witch to complete her potion. She found Adrianna too powerful and decided to use Gretel’s heart instead. To get rid of Adrianna, Muriel revealed to the townspeople that Adrianna was a witch. The townspeople burned her alive and hanged Hansel and Gretel’s father. Following this revelation, the siblings battle Muriel before she stabs Hansel and abducts Gretel for the ceremony.
Hansel wakes up with Mina, who reveals herself to be a white witch. She heals his wounds again and uses a grimoire to bless Hansel’s arsenal of weapons. Hansel, Mina, and Ben head out to disrupt the Blood Moon Sabbath. Mina begins slaughtering dark witches with a Gatling gun, while Hansel squares off against Muriel’s witches and frees the children. Edward defies Muriel’s orders and releases Gretel before Muriel throws him off the cliff. Muriel flees on a broomstick, but Ben manages to shoot her and forces her to crash.
Wirkola got the idea to create a film based on the adult lives of Hansel and Gretel in 2007 while at film school in Australia. After being discovered by Gary Sanchez Productions, Wirkola pitched the idea at a meeting with Paramount Pictures and won a contract. Production began in March 2011 at the Babelsberg Studios in Germany and included extensive use of traditional special effects. In addition, Renner and Arterton had a month of training beforehand to prepare for the physical demands of their roles. In terms of the weapons and wardrobe, Wirkola wanted an old-world look with a modern touch, and he was adamant about filming outdoors in European nature rather than in a studio. The project was filmed in Germany and featured an international cast and crew.
The film’s visual effects were created using mostly practical effects, supplemented by computer-generated imagery (CGI) created by Hammerhead VFX for about 15% of the film’s special effects, such as the transformations. Wirkola said: “I’m a big believer in just using CGI to polish what you get on camera. For me that’s the ideal use of CGI. We have a troll in the film that is animatronic. I loved him. It took some convincing to get the studio along with the animatronic creature. There have been bad experiences with animatronics throughout various productions but I saw this company Spectral Motion. They did the Hellboy movies and I just loved it.” Wirkola added: “I come from Norway where we can’t afford CGI. But this is a fantastical world of witches and trolls and I wanted to ground the movie where I could. The blood should look real.”
Janssen, however, despite Wirkola’s warnings, “was not entirely prepared for how involved and long that was going to be” and “actually wanted to burn the prosthetic make-up by the end of the movie.” She recalled being “so overwhelmed by what this prosthetic business was all about”, saying: “Acting has been so specific for me and what I’ve learned – eyes, facial expressions, all of that stuff – and with something like this, you’re robbed of all of this. Or I could no [longer] rely on things I’ve done in the past. It was different and frustrating at times because I had this circus of people around me in case something became unglued.” Muriel and the other principal witches were prepared by Mike Elizalde’s Spectral Motion, who also created and handled the animatronic troll. Jon Farhat was the visual effects supervisor and aerial second unit director.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Famke Janssen, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Thomas Mann, Pihla Viitala, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal
Screenplay by: Tommy Wirkola, D.W. Harper
Production Design by: Stephen Scott
Cinematography by: Michael Bonvillain
Film Editing by: Jim Page
Costume Design by: Marlene Stewart
Set Decoration by: Bernhard Henrich
Music by: Atli Örvarsson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence.
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Release Date: January 25, 2013