|STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKERTHE RISE OF SKYWALKERRISE OF SKYWALKERWORLD PREMIERESKYWALKERSTAR WARSPREMIERE|
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...
EXCLUSIVE: This week was supposed to be a great and promising one for all the filmmakers who had seen their films accepted into the SXSW festival, a great majority seeking distribution after premiering in front of the usually highly enthusiastic audiences that storm the Austin, Texas happening every March. Then the fear of the Coronavirus hit, and late last week SXSW was forced to cancel on orders from the city. That left a lot of ambitious plans in ruins, and only now are some of these films finding new ways to gain attention.SXSW
A couple of weeks ago I was shown one of them, director Rod Lurie’s powerful, exciting , and ultimately inspiring Afghanistan war film The Outpost. When I saw him at the Paradigm agency screening Lurie was full of hope for its premiere at SXSW which was to happen this Friday , and the film which stars Scott Eastwood , Orlando Bloom , and Caleb Landry Jones in an extraordinary performance clearly would have, in my opinion, found an enthusiastic reception and perhaps a springboard for a well-deserved theatrical release . Millenium is selling the film and also produced it. Yesterday Lurie told me they are figuring it all out. “This cancellation is such a son-of-a-bitch to so many people. In our particular case we’d targeted it and turned down other festivals to be there – we just loved the community down there, the Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter lives there as does Scott Eastwood. We’ll find another place and idea to premiere THE OUTPOST and there’s no time for licking wounds, but this really hurts,” he told me in an email after I inquired about future plans for the movie. Of course as Lurie realizes sometimes real life concerns have to take precedence, but it is such a shame for movies like this true story about remarkable heroism to have this kind of setback. It is not alone. There is a lot of disappointment out there.Kitra Remick
Another film I got to see in advance of its World Premiere was In & Of Itself from veteran director and actor Frank Oz Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Bowfinger, Death At A Funeral. Just two days before the SXSW cancellation I hopped on a joint call to interview Oz and Derek DelGaudio, the creator and subject of the film which is a adaptation of his wildly successful Off-Broadway one man stage show that Oz directed. They were clearly excited to be taking it out for the first time to audiences at SXSW, but I have learned the fact that isn’t happening also was scheduled for this Friday is not stopping the forward motion of their plans to get this highly unusual and riveting film seen. Submarine is the sales agent and they are wasting no time and plan to begin showing it to buyers...
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? drama Quiz will be revealed to AMC viewers on Sunday May 31.
The network will launch the series, which is produced by The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures and is a co-production with British network ITV, over three weeks with the second and third episodes airing June 7 and June 14 respectively. The full series will be available to binge on AMC Premiere from May 31.
This comes after ITV revealed that it will air the three-part drama on April 13.
Quiz, directed by Stephen Frears A Very English Scandal and written by James Graham Brexit: An Uncivil War, tells the story of how Charles and Diana Ingram attempted an 'audacious heist' on the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Major Ingram Matthew Macfadyen, his wife Diana Sian Clifford and an accomplice, Tecwen Whittock Michael Jibson, who was sitting in the audience, were accused of cheating their way to a million pounds on the popular game show. The couple stood trial for conspiring by coughing during the recording to signify the correct answers to the multiple-choice questions posed to the Major by host, Chris Tarrant Michael Sheen.
Aisling Bea, star of Hulu's This Way's Up, plays ITV Entertainment boss Claudia Rosencrantz and Catastrophe star Mark Bonnar plays Paul Smith, Chairman of Celador Television and creator of Millionaire.
Creator James Graham told Deadline earlier this year, “It's quite easy to make TV people look pretentious and smug on TV, but that's the trope. They just run around in suits and they're really metropolitan and cutting and smug, and I don't think that's very interesting. So, I tried to humanize them and make them people with vulnerabilities and doubts and uncertainties and desires like everyone else.”
Graham added that one of the things that fascinated him was that he didn't think there were any bad guys in Quiz. “To this day, Paul Smith still believes that they are guilty, and he believes that very passionately. Whether it was the coughing, whether it was something else, he's convinced that people came into the thing that he created, sold around the world, and that these people are trying to destroy that. So, he feels that very keenly. And I think if you represent that honestly and sincerely, then he might be wrong, but he believes it. Similarly, the Ingrams are a normal people who go through this extraordinary story where they're thrown into the limelight. They're made an international laughing stocks, and they're on trial for their freedom. They may get sent to jail if they're found guilty. You try and create three-dimensional people,” he added.
Quiz is produced by Left Bank Pictures and...