Category: Interviews

Spider-Man Homecoming Poster

Robert Downey Jnr. returns as Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Dave Griffiths was able to deliver this interview with the man talking all about the role. Downey Jnr talks about how Tony Stark is a mentor to Peter Parker and how he believes that Iron Man is the heart of the Avengers franchise.

You can listen to or download our Robert Downey Jnr interview right here.

A Monster Calls Poster

When a seasoned actor like Liam Neeson tells you that his latest film made him cry you not only sit up and take notice but you realise that as a cinema lover you are about to watch a film that really means something.

Long before he was chasing bad guys in Taken or taking on Jedi skills in Star Wars Neeson worked on some of the most emotional films that Hollywood has ever seen – from the brilliant portrayal of a man overcome with grief during World War II in Schindler’s List through to Gangs Of New York and Les Miserables… Neeson knows a thing or two about films that are going to emotionally affect their audience.

When Neeson sits down to talk about his brand new film A Monster Calls – in which he voices the monster – his excitement and commitment to the film are clearly evident and you can tell that this wasn’t a film that he needed much persuading to be involved with. “It’s magical realism,” he says with his eyes lighting up. “It’s a fable about the complexity of our emotions, and how we navigate that complexity as we are growing up. The film is as rich and as imaginative as the book is – it’s quite a cinematic achievement. The subjects that the film deals with are how to grow as a young boy and how to handle very, very complex emotions, especially when a lot of those emotions deal with loss, death and it looks at where you fit in the world – especially when you are at school, and we have all been through that and we have all have tales to tell. The book and the film both very, very beautifully navigates you through this web of heavy and extreme and grey moral issues that all young boys and girls are confronting these days.”

Even Neeson’s role is very much full of subtext and is perhaps the most important character in the entire film. “I plays a character called The Monster,” he explains. “He is conjured up in our young heroes mind. He is like thirty metres tall, he is huge. He comes from the Earth and he is essentially made of the Earth – timber and trees – ancient trees at that – and he represents the universe.”

Neeson is quick to admit that one of the reasons why he wanted to be part of the film was because it had director, J.A. Bayona, at the helm. “I saw two of his films – The Orphanage and The Impossible – and they kind of blew me away. I thought ‘wow here’s a real cinema talent.’ So when I heard that he was doing Patrick Ness’s book A Monster Calls, which I had read, I thought that was a marriage made in heaven right there. Working with J.A. Bayona has been one of those unique experiences that you don’t come across very often. I’ve done 63 or 64 films and every so often you work with a director who just takes you into their world and takes you into the world of the film that they are shooting, He eats, sleeps and drinks films – film and cinema – he’s a little walking encyclopaedia – in fact he is very much like Martin Scorsese. He takes care of you as a director, he nurtures you – he nurtures the performers in the scene, he even nurtures the scene. He allows you to experiment and he just wants you to get to the truth of what the scene is and he will takes as long as it takes to get there and I love working with a director like that.”

With a film that has obviously left an impression on Neeson himself he has no trouble explaining what he thinks audiences will be left feeling after they have viewed it. “It think audiences will be stunned by the technical achievement of not just the motion capture but how it integrates with the story and it is a very moving story, a very, very beautifully written story and it has been very beautifully acted. There is some comedy in it but I think audiences will connect with the emotion in a very, very big way.”

 

The beautiful and moving A Monster Calls will be released in Australian cinemas on 27th July.

Descent Into The Maelstrom Poster

Brand new documentary Descent Into The Maelstrom takes a look at the band Radio Birdman – a band which many people say opened the doors for heavy bands right across Australia. Dave Griffiths chats to Pip Hoyle, the Radio Birdman keyboardist about the band in general and what it was like being part of this documentary.

You can listen to or download our Pip Hoyle interview right here.

 

 

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets PosterOne of the more interesting films to hit Australian cinemas this year is Luc Beeson’s latest sci-fi epic – the rather lengthy titled – Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. Like all of Beeson’s films this is a film that feels like it takes an audience on a beautiful but epic journey. Once again Beeson has created a magnificent universe in which to immerse his audience.

Starring in the film this time around are youngsters Dane DeHaan, from films like Chronicle and The Amazing Spider-Man, and Cara Delevingne, from Paper Towns and Suicide Squad. They appear alongside R ‘n’ B star Rihanna and seasoned actors like Clive Owen and Ethan Hawke.

As we start to explore the world of Valerian Delevingne begins by telling us about why she wanted to play the character of the rough-and-tough space cop Laureline. “The thing that drew me to the character of Laureline most is her strength,” she explains. “She is so intelligent, hard-working and determined and she isn’t scared to speak her mind. You know, no matter how big, small or alien the place she is in she will overcome her challenges. Laureline basically has the knowledge of Alpha (the space station/planet they live on), she basically knows everything. She knows all the different aliens, she knows all the different codes. Valerian (Dane DeHaan’s character) kind of goes into everything head-first without really thinking about things whereas Laureline figures them out with strategy behind it all.”

Over the years as a director and a screenwriter Luc Beeson has brought a number of strong female characters to the screen so what was it like for an actress like Delevingne to work with him? “Luc is definitely known for his strong female characters,” agrees Delevingne. “Getting to work with him has been an absolute dream for me. Every movie that he has ever down is one of my favourite films so to see this movie come to life is another ‘pinch me’ moment. I really hope that young girls and women see this movie and take away the fact that Laureline is extremely hard working and is a strong space cop. She is just as able to do everything as Valerian is able to do.”

Laureline is Valerian’s love interest and of course space-cop partner and bringing the cocky character to life is young actor on the rise – Dane DeHaan. Coky is a word that DeHaan readily agrees sums up Valerian. “Yeah Valerian is a pretty cocky space agent,” he says laughing. “He is pretty sure of himself. He has a perfect track record and he is pretty good at what he does but what he doesn’t realise is that there is a lot of luck in what he does and that he would be nothing without Laureline. We are definitely a dynamic duo and he has a very big crush on Laureline, he would love to spend the rest of his life with Laureline, but also I don’t think he realises just how important she is to his succsess as a crime-fighting space agent.”

Like Delevingne DeHaan was also excited about being able to work with Beeson. “It was the phone call that every actor wants to get – that a visionary director is making THE movie that he has wanted to make his entire life and he wants you to star in it. It’s my first go at playing the straight up hero, which is exciting for me because I am always trying to do different kinds of things So for the role there is something delightfully fun about it , but the movie I knew was just going to be so special and epic and you know when I was reading the script, there was all these aliens and new worlds, and it was an opportunity that I definitely couldn’t pass up.”

DeHaan again laughs when he is asked whether he felt heroic when he first put on the pretty impressive space suit that Valerian wears. “When I first put on the space suit I felt heroic for sure,” he says. “But you know it wasn’t until they turned the lights on on the space suit that I think every sunk in then. And then I felt super cool and I felt like Valerian for the first time. You know the suit is amazing but you know it goes to a whole new level when they turn those lights on so that was the most special moment for me.”

It is incredible world that Beeson has created for Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets and that was something that also impressed DeHaan. “In Valerian the year is 2763 and outer space has become a place where both aliens and humans can live and co-habit peacefully together, and the place where they can do that the easiest is on Alpha, which is the city of a thousand planets. It is like the Space Station of today has just grown and grown and grown for seven hundred years and human beings have made contact with aliens from all over the universe and ten thousand species of aliens and human from all over the world have come together and peacefully living together on one Space Station – and that is the city of a thousand planets and that is where a huge chunk of the movie takes place.”

Of course Valerian and Laureline are a dynamic duo and of course love interests for each other so how did DeHaan find working with Delevingne? “Cara is just so much fun,” he says smiling. “She is such a pleasure to be with on-set because she always brings this really fun energy and I am the kind of person that can take themselves too seriously, but whenever Cara would show up on-set I would just light up, loosen up and then just have a really good time. That was so important, especially with this movie, to have somebody like that – to have somebody that I could trust in but also joke around with and just have a great time with through this whole process.”

With DeHaan being so open about the movie we had to ask what was some of the biggest challenges of tackling a movie of this scale and intensity. “The blue-screen was definitely one of the biggest challenges,” he says after thinking for a moment. “Just having to use my imagination with it was challenging. But it was also one of the most fun things as well. I also had to stay in physical shape for the move as well, I would start my mornings every day in the gym for a couple of hours with my trainer and that was you know to stay in shape to do all of the stunts and scenes and everything but also it would just pump me up for the day. Valerian is probably somebody that is always a little more upbeat, cocky and a little bit more of a bro than I am in real life so just going to the gym and doing that every day was a challenge but also prepared me for the day. It certainly got me in the right state of mind.”

 

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets opens in cinemas on the 10th August.

The Circle Poster

A few years the world scoffed when they heard that a film set in the world of social media was about to be released. Those scoffers were soon eating their words because The Social Network ended up being not only a worldwide hit but also a critically acclaimed film. Well now the social media world is getting another go on the big screen with – The Circle.

Labelled as a dramatic thriller The Circle sees Emma Watson (yes Hermonie from the Harry Potter franchise, but she does have a fair body of work outside of that now) play Mae a young woman who lands her dream job at a social media company called The Circle. There she is taken under the wing by Bailey (Oscar winner Tom Hanks) and soon finds herself engaging in groundbreaking experiments that push the boundaries of privacy. Heavy Mag caught up with Hanks and Watson just to see what is behind this film that will hit cinemas in Australia in August.

Hanks begins by telling that his character, Bailey, is one of the main people behind The Circle. ‘Bailey is one of the three founding fathers of The Circle,” Hanks explains. “He is the visionary, the ideas man, not the financial guy, not the tech guy… he is the guy that dreams big. The Circle is that great thing that the internet hopes to be and wants to be but dear God I hope it never becomes. It is what would happen if you took of the great companies and all of the great ideas – if you took Google and Amazon and Apple and Facebook and Uber and jammed it all into one entity, that is what The Circle is. The Circle is once you’ve become a member, once you’ve entered The Circle everything you need to is in one house on one tablet or one phone. You never have to give faith or allegiance to anyone outside The Circle because The Circle will take care of all of your lifestyle needs.”

It is clear while talking to Hanks that it was the fact that James Ponsoldt was directing that encouraged him to be part of the movie. “He has a very real gift for capturing real life inside the super structure of what the movie has to be. His willingness in the movie to just let people explore, almost to the point of straying, but not quite to the point of that, but just to see where the human behaviour would take to get you there, and I think that is his strength and we all leapt at it… especially on the power of this movie.”

Hanks is also full of praise for his co-star Emma Watson. “Emma is phenomenally untouched and grounded in a lot of ways but she is brilliant at knowing what to do when making movies. I mean she did all those Harry Potter movies so she understands very complicated film making. She also knows that none of that really matters unless you are going to be able to inhabit the moment and her ability to inhabit the moment is pretty profound.”

Like Hanks Emma Watson says one of the reasons that she chose to do the film was because after first reading the script it really won her over. “It really stuck with me,” she explains. “The story, the questions that it raised I found that weeks later they were still there and I was pondering different aspects of it and I think that is a good sign for a story or something that I might potentially work on. It doesn’t leave you quickly. I think Mae finds herself having these big dreams and these big ambitions and she is like ‘WOW, I’m twenty-six and I’m living with my parents, I don’t have enough to pay for my health insurance and I’m working in a job that doesn’t challenge me and doesn’t mean anything to me… is this my life?’ When Annie, her friend, offers her the chance to have a job interview at The Circle this is like this is her ticket, this is her escape and this is her chance to be able to take care of her family. She has this sense of powerlessness is her life and somehow The Circle gives her control and also hope for her future so it’s a very powerful promise that The Circle kind of gives her.”

However, everything doesn’t end up being rosey for Mae while working at The Circle and Watson says that is something that Mae doesn’t see coming. “The expectations that are put on the employees at The Circle are that every aspect of their life will be shared and the socialising that you would normally do has to be done at The Circle within The Circle because The Circle has found a way to commercialise every aspect of people’s lives. So every bit of data, all of that money, all of that content and content sharing that want to have happening on their network. So it becomes a very claustrophobic environment very quickly.”

So would she say the film has a lot to say about modern society and in some way a personal story? “I think the film is about today’s society,” she explains. “You know this isn’t some kind of dystopian future that is a long way off, this is a story that could be happening now. So I think it is incredibly topical and speaks to this moment now. As someone who has been in the public eye since I was very young. I always thought the boundaries between public and private were important, and I think even more so playing this role and exploring this world made me think about it even more than I ever had before. I think that is what is great about this film, it’s not there to preach or to give a certain perspective on it. It forces the audience to ask questions and to ask themselves questions and I think that is the key really – what is difficult about the situation that we are in now is that we give our information away so freely with so little thought any more and I think people will think more about these questions having seen it.”

 

The Circle will be in Australian cinemas in late August.

Dunkirk Poster

Over the years Christopher Nolan has made a name for himself as one of the finest directors of the modern era. He has been nominated for three Oscars over the years and has been the man at the helm of critically acclaimed movies such as Memento, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and Interstellar.

Now Nolan’s work returns to the big screen in a way that we haven’t seen before. Dunkirk is a movie that critics are saying is not just a film – it’s an experience unto itself – a work of art if you like. Somehow Nolan has taken veteran actors like Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance and mixed them with newcomers like Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead and the end result is one of the most visually spectacular war films you are ever likely to see.

It doesn’t take long listening to Nolan talk about Dunkirk to realise that this is a film that he was passionate about, due to the subject matter, from the very beginning. “Well as for most British people the story of Dunkirk is something that we grow up with,” he explains. “I can’t even remember the time I was first told about the events of Dunkirk. As a storyteller you are always looking for gaps in the culture or in the cultural record – stories that should have been made into modern films and haven’t been and Dunkirk is certainly one of those. I think it is one of the great stories of human history and it hasn’t been addressed in modern films until now. People of Britain talk about the Dunkirk spirit and I think the residence of the story is different for different people but at the heart is community heroism in the face of adversity. It is not so much a story about individual heroics as it is a story about a community effort. It’s about how as a society, as a group of people we can achieve so much more than we can individually.”

One of the aspects that has wowed critics about Dunkirk is how Nolan has managed to weave the stories of the land, air and sea at Dunkirk together so brilliantly well and he says that he wanted to do that but keep an intensity throughout the film. “I wanted to do that but to have an intensity,” he says. “Dunkirk is a survival story and it is a story about 400,000 men trapped on a beach with the enemy moving in on them from all sides. It is a story about a desperate time, they had to get these guys back home, and I wanted to put the audience on the beach with these guys, and put the audience in the cockpit of a Spitfire battling the enemy in the air and I wanted to put them in a small boat heading over to help these guys. So to do that I decided to tell the story with intensity but with subjectivity and from three different points of view. Over the course of the story they all braid together and you get a more coherent look at the bigger picture of Dunkirk.”

Nolan also goes in depth into how he achieved the feat of shooting this film with very limited CGI. “What we did was try to shoot in camera as much as possible,” he says. “That way we could do as much for real as we could. We want the film to feel tactile and physical and authentic. We want it to play in the present tense so the audience feels like they are there and there is no screen between them and the events of the past. To do that I felt very strongly that we shouldn’t use too much special effects so we tried to do as much in camera as possible by sourcing real planes from the era, real boats and putting the actors into as much closeness of the reality as possible. At least in a way that we could do it that was still safe.”

Part of the idea for making Dunkirk was planted in Nolan’s mind when he made a crossing of the channel himself. “I made the crossing with Emma (Thomas – the producer of Dunkirk) and a friend of mine who owned a small boat,” he explains. “We made the crossing to Dunkirk at about the same time of year that the evacuation had taken place and it was far more difficult than any of us had expected. The channel really did not co-operate, the seas were very rough and it took a very long time, something like nineteen hours, for us to get over there, so the difficulty and the fear of that without people dropping bombs on us, and the feat of that without there being a war zone at the end of the journey, that experience really cemented to me an admiration for the people that took part in the real evacuation. That really was the driving force behind why I wanted to make this film.”

During the filming of Dunkirk there were leaked reports of weather creating havoc for the crew while they filmed at Dunkirk and Nolan was only too happy to tell us all about that. “Filming at the actual location seemed like the best way to get close to the truth,” Nolan says. “When you walk that beach , we walked it a lot, you feel the history there. We had to re-build huge sections of The Mole, which is this big structure that spans out into the sea. There were men essentially trapped on it, and that re-creation of history poses a lot of logistical challenges but ultimately to be able to re-stage these events with historical accuracy felt like an important part of what we were trying to do and gave us a good basis to the making of the film.”

 

Dunkirk is in Australian cinemas right now.

 

 

 

Atomic Blonde PosterMove over Evelyn Salt and James Bond because Charlize Theron is crashing through the spy pack with her brilliant portrayal of Lorraine Broughton in one of the films that is promising to be one of the big box office winners of 2017 – Atomic Blonde.

Based on a popular graphic novel Atomic Blonde sees Theron play a spy who gets involved in a little Cold War action when she is sent by MI6 to investigate rumours of a list that contains the names and identities of some of the world’s top spies falling into the wrong hands in Berlin alongside another operative, played by James McAvoy. Added to the mix is the fact that the film is directed by David Leitch, the man who co-directed James Wick.

For Theron though this really was a passion project as she was one of the brains behind the film as well. “I didn’t choose it,” she explains. “I saw potential in this graphic novel and I think I wanted to develop something that had a protagonist in it that was very close to what Lorraine was in that graphic novel. Somebody that could be a female protagonist that lives and breathes in a world that is mostly dominated by males and live in an environment where she can play by all the same rules that the boys do in that world. So, somebody unapologetic, interesting, layered, conflicted and you know somebody struggling with her own humanity. I think they were all the things that made me want to develop a character like that. I read a couple of the pages of the graphic novel that were sent to us, it was an unpublished graphic novel at the time and that’s what sparked the interest in wanting to buy the rights and develop Atomic Blonde.”

When asked to explain the character of Lorraine a little more deeply Theron laughs. “Well she works for MI6, she is very good at her job. She has made peace with the fact that she chose to live in this world, and it is a tough world to live in, especially for a woman, but she is good at it but she likes doing it and she carries the consequences of all of that… and I think there is something very empowering about her.”

With every critic talking about how intense the espionage storyline of Atomic Blonde it wasn’t much of a surprise to learn that Theron is a very big fan of espionage and spy movies in general. “I like the spy-thriller aspect of it,” she says. “I think I’m also fascinated about how you can take those stories and turn them on their heads a little bit because I think we’ve seen a lot of the spy thriller genre and we’ve seen how they go from act to the next act and I think I was interested in how you could take that, not only in the story but in the look and feel of what those movies normally look like and then turn that on its head and make it something super energetic and fun.”

Theron also admits there was a little bit of pre-planning that went into playing Lorraine as well. “I didn’t do any research into how they walked or silly things like that,” she says. “But I was really interested in finding out what kinds of people do that job, it takes a certain personality to do that job and I guess even to want to do that job. There were some interesting things once I started reading about things, especially during this time period when operatives would go into areas where their agencies would just abandon them and a lot of them at the time were more prompted to  take the job if they were having issues in their family life or if they were dealing with alcoholism or something that would almost make them self combust – that was a really interesting idea. And once we started shooting it I was very interested in the ‘why’ because it is a tough, cold world to be in.”

Anyone that has seen John Wick knows that director David Leitch likes to make his fight scenes as realistic as possible so there is very little surprise to learn that he really put Theron and the rest of the Atomic Blonde cast through their paces and it sounds like she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. “I wanted to do this in a way that was believable,” she explains. “I knew that is was going to take a lot of work to fight like that, but I never wanted anybody to say that a woman couldn’t do that so that was important and I think that was what drove me to want to be as capable as I ended up being as physical as I could be. I trained for two and a half months and then I kind of continued that as we made the film.”

Theron is quick to admit that working with Leitch who has previously been a stunt man himself had both positives and negatives. “There was a bit of both,” she says with a smile. “The positive was that he knew where to put a camera, he knew how to shoot stunts and do action. He is so comfortable in that world, that he as eye for it and he definitely has a passion for it, but yeah I think that in other hands I probably wouldn’t have been pushed as hard, but I wanted that… I wanted somebody to expect more from me and push me more, and he was amazing at that.”

Of course some of the most intense scenes that Theron had to create in Atomic Blonde was alongside actress Sophia Boutella who most people would recognise from her recent performance in The Mummy. Theron says she is brilliant to work with. “She is great, I absolutely love her,” she says smiling. “We were very lucky in finding her because the role of Lasalle was very tricky, it had to be somebody that had a strength about them but also an incredible vulnerability. In a way she had to be broken but fully functioning because of that story and that is tough to find somebody that has that and she has that in spades. She is so beautiful in this film.”

 

Atomic Blonde is in Australian cinemas on the 3rd August.

Melbourne Comedy's Rising Stars

With Melbourne Comedy’s Rising Stars returning to Melbourne for another bout Dave Grifftihs caught up with the host of the night, Michael Shafar to see what he has in store for everybody this time around.

You can listen to or download our Michael Shafar interview right here.

 

After SOLD OUT shows, Melbourne’s hottest line-up of emerging comedians is back with a very special line-up of comedians from TV and radio! 

Hosted by Michael Shafar (Triple J’s Good Az Friday, writer for Channel 10′s The Project), the line-up includes Ben Knight (ABC’s The Warriors), Nick Capper (Channel 31′s About Tonight), Jess Perkins (Triple J and ABC’s Comedy Up Late) and RAW Comedy winners Danielle Walker and Matt Stewart!

The secret to the show’s success lies in its curation. Melbourne Comedy’s R ising Stars is dedicated to introducing comedians who are on their way up. These are comics who have performed to sell-out crowds internationally, all over the country and at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

See the future of Australian comedy on one stage. Bookings are highly recommended.

Show Details: Melbourne Comedy’s Ri sing Stars

Dates and Times: Saturday 5 August, 10pm.

Cost: $25-32

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne 3000

Tickets: https://thebutterflyc lub.com/show/melbourne-comedys -rising-stars-2017

Melbourne Comedy Rising Stars2