|BEHIND THE SCENESTAYLOR SWIFTCATS|
What’s this? A Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker story that does not involve the novelization filling in gaps left open in the movie? Thank the Maker!
In the spirit of good faith, let’s all put aside the divisiveness of J.J. Abrams‘s Skywalker saga finale for a moment and focus on one of the film’s brief cameos: that quick moment when Star Wars legend Warwick Davis reprised his role as Wicket the Ewok. A new behind-the-scenes video is making the rounds which tells the story of that other Ewok who was standing next to Wicket, and features Abrams looking very pleased that he was able to make Star Wars history by bringing Wicket in one more time.The Rise of Skywalker Behind the Scenes Clip
“[Wicket’s] got older like I have, and he’s had a child,” Davis told Syfy Wire, who debuted this clip. “The Ewok you see next to him is his son — and my son Harrison, in reality as well, which was a really lovely touch. [Director J.J. Abrams] was really keen for us to play the characters together, which was lovely.”
Unfortunately, Davis wasn’t given any information about what Wicket has been up to since Return of the Jedi aside from the fact that he’s had a son, so we’ll have to wait for a comic book, novel, or some other kind of ancillary material to fill in those narrative details.
“I think life’s been okay for the Ewoks,” Davis told Syfy Wire. “Once they expelled the Empire, it seems like everything’s been okay. The idea of that scene there was to be looking up and seeing that the First Order is falling and life is going to be good again. I wasn’t given any backstory, but no doubt knowing the fans of Star Wars, there will be people creating these backstories.”
Could this be the last time that Warwick Davis ever suits up as Wicket Widget Warrick? Though the Skywalker saga has officially come to an end, something tells me he’s not done playing this character quite yet. Last year, a rumor spread about how the Ewoks could potentially be featured in an upcoming Disney+ series. Concrete information about that is still hard to come by, but at this point, Davis is so closely associated with that character and Ewoks as a whole that I feel like he’s going to find a way to stay involved for decades to come. God knows Disney will never let such a recognizable group of characters quietly ride off into the sunset, so don’t be surprised if Davis is back for more either in live-action or animated form in the next couple of years.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released on Digital on March 17, 2020 Happy St. Patrick’s Day! and on Blu-ray and DVD on March 31, 2020....
Music is a growing presence at film's biggest night, and this year seems to have a larger piece of the broadcast than ever before.
Beyond the Academy Awards’ traditional Best Original Song presentations, this year's Oscars have a few “special” performances, highlighted by Billie Eilish, fresh off her Grammy majors sweep. What she'll sing is hush-hush, but there's speculation that it may be the title song from the upcoming James Bond film, No Time To Die.
The awards air at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.
This week in music:
OSCARS SO MUSICAL: Eilish is just one music highlight at the Oscars. Idina Menzel will perform Into The Unknown, joined by nine women around the world who played Frozen's Elsa in various translated versions. Also on tap is Elton John, who will do I'm Gonna Love Me Again from Rocketman in the program, although sans Taron Egerton. Cynthia Erivo has a double shot at the audience. She'll perform Stand Up from her film Harriet during the broadcast, and appear in a NatGeo trailer preview featuring her forthcoming performance in Genius: Aretha, a series bowing in May that spotlight’s the Detroit great.
Also doing an unknown song is Janelle Monae, who has been involved in such Oscar-nominated films as Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Harriet.Randy Newman will do his Best Original Song nomination, I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4. Another surprise is This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz, who will perform the Breakthrough ballad I'm Standing With You.
The nominations for Best Song include Diane Warren's I'm Standing With You, Newman's I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away, Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Campbell's Stand Up, Elton John and Bernie Taupin's I'm Gonna Love Me Again, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez's Into the Unknown.
The Best Score nominees include Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 1917, Joker, Little Women, and Marriage Story.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP IPO: Len Blavatnik's $3.3. billion bet on WMG is looking better and better. Now, WMG plans to go public. It said in a regulatory filing unveiled this week that it will hold an initial public offering, although no date has been set. The most recent quarterly results saw the company set a new quarterly record for revenues as a standalone company. In the final quarter of 2019 WMG's fiscal Q1 its total revenues grew by 4.4% year-on-year to $1.26bn, including a 12.6% increase in digital revenue to $706m. WMG's net profit jumped from $86m a year ago to $122m last quarter.
TAYLOR SWIFT PUB DEAL: Her recorded music with former label Big Machine may be a sore spot, but Taylor Swift has her publishing locked. She has announced an exclusive global publishing agreement...
A rumor cropped up online recently that Cats, Tom Hooper‘s huge flop featuring horny cat people introducing themselves for 110 minutes, originally had CGI buttholes on all the feline behinds. And even though Cats is already a fever-dream to begin with, we weren’t entirely sure how much credence to lend that story. Now, an intrepid journalist has done the legwork, and turned up the true story of the Cats butthole cut.
It’s official: the Cats butthole cut did, indeed, exist. The Daily Beast has the scoop, and let’s just say the true story is even wilder than we could’ve predicted. Per their report, Cats was halfway complete when someone finally noticed the buttholes. “We paused it,” a source who worked on the film’s visual effects said. “We went to call our supervisor, and we’re like, ‘There’s a fucking asshole in there! There’s buttholes!’ It wasn’t prominent but you saw it… And you [were] just like, ‘What the hell is that?… There’s a fucking butthole in there.’ It wasn’t in your face—but at the same time, too, if you’re looking, you’ll see it.”
What the hell is that, indeed. The source goes on to state that no one flat-out ordered buttholes added to the digital cat people – it just sort of happened. They materialized organically – as buttholes do sometimes. Unfortunately, when the buttholes started to be noticed, it fell upon one visual effects artist to go through and erase every sphincter.
Beyond the story of the butthole cut, The Daily Beast story paints a portrait of a terrible behind-the-scenes process for the visual effects folks working on the film. One source even goes so far as to compare it to “slavery.” And director Tom Hooper only made things worse, primarily because he didn’t seem to understand how VFX even worked:
Before visual effects artists fully render sequences for animated films, they normally show directors playblasts—preview renderings that feature characters without color or texture. That allows the director to evaluate the motion before hours of work are done to flesh out things like color, texture, and lighting. Hooper, however, did not seem to grasp that process. Any time the visual effects team wanted to show the director any animatics, the source said, they had to fully render it. Otherwise, he’d say things like, “What’s this garbage?” and “I don’t understand— where’s the fur?”
Sources describe Hooper as “disrespectful,” “demeaning,” “condescending,” and “horrible,” and add that he talked to everyone like “garbage.” In short, the experience of working with Hooper does not seem like it was the cat’s pajamas. It wasn’t even the cat’s meow.