CMC Pictures has released a new clip from fantasy action film A WRITER’S ODYSSEY to celebrate the exciting news that the film will be playing in the San Francisco Bay Area starting today, February 26 and in select New York City theaters beginning next Friday, March 5. The clip showcases the film’s special effects and dark fantasy world. After a climactic battle, the Black Armor prepares to attack a child – until Kongwen Lu (Dong Zijian, ASH IS PUREST WHITE) discovers his power to control it.
A WRITER’S ODYSSEY tells the story of Kongwen Lu, the author of a fantasy novel series following a heroic teenager on a quest to confront Redmane. Through a strange twist of fate, the fantasy world of the novel begins to impact life in the real world, leading Guan Ning (Lei Jiayin, THE LONGEST DAY IN CHANG’AN, BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES), to accept a mission to kill the author.
A WRITER’S ODYSSEY is directed by Lu Yang (BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES) and also stars Yang Mi, Yu Hewei, Guo Jingfei and Tong Liya.A WRITER’S ODYSSEYis out now in theaters and at the Vineland Drive-In in Los Angeles, CAand West Wind Drive-In in San Jose, CA, including newly opened theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area. The film will open in select New York City theaters beginning March 5, 2021.For more information and a list of theaters, please visit: www.CMC-Pictures.com/A-Writers-Odyssey
There is nothing like sitting back and watching a good fantasy film. Think back to some of the classics – The Neverending Story, Labyrinth etc. They are the films that stay with you long after the credits have rolled, simply because they are full of amazing imagery and take the audience on a journey that they will never forget. Now a new film is being released that will certainly also join that list of great fantasy films – A Writer’s Odyssey and this week we sat down to chat to the critically acclaimed director of the film – Yang Lu.
“After reading the novel I decided to turn this into a film because this is a story about whether a man will stick to his faith when life goes hard and he has to decide to stick with it no matter how hard everything gets or even when the world says no,” says Lu as we begin to talk about why he decided to take on this project. “I was deeply moved by the story because it was also about a father finding his missing daughter. As a father myself I found myself deeply connected and I was moved by the emotions behind the story.”
There is little doubt that Lu was the right person to direct A Writer’s Odyssey, not only because of his personal connection to the screenplay but because he had a vision like no other. “I wanted to turn the story into an incredible fantasy film as well,” he says with a smile. “I thought with all these Chinese elements fuelling the story I thought it was going to be an incredible experience to direct this film.”
As a director Lu himself found himself going on a journey though when it came to casting the film because they started with a blank slate. “When we were writing the script we actually had no idea who we would cast in the film,” he admits openly. “Part of that was because the lead character has to play two roles – one in reality and one in the novel world. This is not a common hero story that we are used to having this is about a middle aged male whose life went hard and had to start a journey to find his daughter in order to become a hero himself.”
“So the audience really needs to believe in this character,” says Lu continuing. “Even though he is a middle aged male who is an ordinary person the audience needs to believe in him and that he has the quality to become a hero. So as the director and also the writer of the film I needed to believe in him as well so we tried to find someone that is that kind of character and has that quality. I think we were very like to find actors that could fit the qualities of the characters as well as play two very different roles in the film, that way the audience would not only believe in the character but also find themselves emotionally connected to the character and the story.”
Despite the contrary belief that is often taught in film schools Lu says as a director you don’t really have more freedom with a fantasy film than you do a standard drama or romance. “Actually to be honest it is harder,” he says. “You have to put so much effort into the process because you are building a new world. You cannot rely on the mere reality or the real world so you have to build a whole new world from scratch so that means that we have to put a lot of effort into the issues that might happen with creating a new world as well.”
“That is not merely just to impress the audience,” he says continuing. “This is because we have to have these details ourselves. Then we have to share those details with the other filmmakers and the cast and we have to convince ourselves with how the new world is going to be so that often means that there is a lot more work during the filmmaking process.”
All of that hard work has paid off with the result being an exceptional fantasy film and Lu finishes the interview with this message for audiences out there. “We hope that we are able to take you on an adventure,” he says. “This is a story of Chinese characters and Chinese elements and we hope that it can bring Chinese and Asian thinking patterns to the audience right around the world. This is a story about a teenager and a father who have to challenge themselves and they have to challenge their own faith and challenge themselves and we hope to bring this story to an international audience and we hope that they are affected and inspired by this incredible Chinese story.”
A Writer’s Odyssey opens in cinemas on the 12th Feb.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Roadshow Entertainment have announced today that the major superhero tentpole film “Wonder Woman 1984” will be exclusively fast-tracked from cinemas to Premium Video on Demand (PVOD) and premium digital ownership in Australia and New Zealand from January 27, 2021.
This title will be one of the first wide-released blockbusters to be fast-tracked ahead of the usual three month release window.
Since Boxing Day, “Wonder Woman 1984” has brought in over $26 million to the Australian and New Zealand Box Office, and now fans and families will have the option to enjoy the film in the comfort of their own home, or continue to enjoy the film on the big screen.
“Wonder Woman 1984”, will be available for rental either via PVOD for $29.99 AUD or to own digitally for $34.99 AUD, beginning on Wednesday January 27.The title will be available on participating digital platforms.
From director Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot in the title role, “Wonder Woman 1984” fast forwards to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her riding lightning across the sky, donning wings of gold, and chasing a dream while in pursuit of two new formidable foes: Max Lord and the Cheetah.
In “Wonder Woman 1984,” the fate of the world is once more on the line, and only Wonder Woman can save it. This new chapter in the Wonder Woman story finds Diana Prince living quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s—an era of excess driven by the pursuit of having it all. Though she’s come into her full powers, she maintains a low profile, curating ancient artifacts and only performing her superheroic acts incognito. But now, Diana will have to step directly into the spotlight and muster all her wisdom, strength and courage in order to save mankind from a world of its own making.
The film also stars Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Kristen Wiig as the Cheetah, Pedro Pascal as Max Lord, Robin Wright as Antiope and Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta.
Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot and Stephen Jones produced the film. Rebecca Steel Roven Oakley, Richard Suckle, Marianne Jenkins, Geoff Johns, Walter Hamada, Chantal Nong Vo and Wesley Coller served as the executive producers.
Jenkins directed from a screenplay she wrote with Geoff Johns & Dave Callaham, story by Jenkins & Johns, based on characters from DC. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston. Joining the director behind the scenes are several members of her “Wonder Woman” team, including director of photography Matthew Jensen, Oscar-nominated production designer Aline Bonetto (“Amélie”), and Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (“Topsy-Turvy”). Oscar-nominated editor Richard Pearson (“United 93”) cut the film. The music is by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer (“Dunkirk,” “The Lion King”).
Summary: A female pilot is met with hostility when she joins an all male crew during World War II. However the issues between them soon pale into insignificance when they discover they have a ‘monster’ on board.
Cinema Release Dates: 14th January 2021 (Australia)
VOD Release Dates: 1st January 2021 (USA)
Country: New Zealand, USA
Director: Roseanne Liang
Screenwriter: Max Landis, Roseanne Liang
Cast: Byron Coll (Terrence Taggart), Beulah Koale (Anton Williams), Chloe Grace Moretz (Maude Garrett), Callan Mulvey (John Reeves), Nick Robinson (Stu Beckell), Taylor John Smith (Walter Quaid), Benedict Wall (Tommy Dorn), John Witowski (Bradley Finch)
Running Time: 83 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia), R (USA)
OUR SHADOW IN THE CLOUD REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Shadow In The Cloud Review:
Shadow In The Cloud is the kind of film that doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up… and I think I like it that way. As a film it is as much a monster horror as it is a war film and it is just as much sci-fi/fantasy as it is a thriller… yes, it is a very hard film to try and pigeon-hole. That all gets even trickier when I point out that three-quarters of the action of the film takes place in a small section of a place that barely gives leads actress Chloe Grace-Moretz (Kick-Ass) room to physically move.
Moretz plays Maude Garrett a young woman who boards an Air Force plane in New Zealand right at the height of World War II. The all male crew which include John Reeves (Callan Mulvey – Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and Anton Williams (Beulah Koale – The Last Saint) are suddenly put out by having a ‘dame’ on their plane. Most make disgusting and degrading comments about what they would like to do to the ‘bird’ with very few making any effort to protect her. The general consensus is that they certainly don’t want a woman on their plane when they are already running such a mundane mission.
Maude’s only saving grace is the mystery surrounding the highly secretive package that she is carrying and the fact that she carries orders from a high ranking officer that the others fear. With very little space on board the flight though they stow Maude away from the rest of the crew and it is only then that secrets start to be revealed as she is one of the first to spot the ‘gremlin’ that is ripping apart the plane and the fact that they are being shadowed by enemy planes.
I am still a little confused at what director Roseanne Liang (My Wedding And Other Secrets) was trying to create with this film? Was she trying to turn Chloe Grace Moretz into an action hero like we recently saw with Milla Jovovich in Monster Hunter or was she trying for something a little more. Certainly there is something that I liked about this film despite some of its weaknesses. I loved the twists and turns that the plot took as secrets started to be revealed – yes they are kind of hard to believe but at the same time I was watching a movie where a winged creature was attacking a plane as well.
What I do know is that the action worked and we saw a new string in the bow of the acting talents of Moretz. At times here she is asked to put in a theatre like performance in a tight space while also playing an action lead – a weird mix that I dare say would not be able to be pulled off by many performers out there. The creature looks amazing, no surprise there seeing it was created by Weta Workshop, but the film is sometimes let down by its cheesy soundtrack and at times dodgy looking CGI which I guess I was supposed to over-look as part of the film’s steam-punk vibe.
Liang also successfully makes her point about sexism in the workplace. What the all male crew (who for a majority of the film are reduced to voices over a radio) say about Maude is disgusting and I am pretty sure it would have even the most hardened chauvinist seeing the errors of his ways. She also reveals aside of history that a lot like to ignore – the role of women during the World Wars… no they were not all at home darning socks.
At the end of the day Shadow In The Cloud does work. The action sequences on board the plane suggest that Liang is a director that we need to be watching in the future while the final battle sequence may have been simple but it is exactly what I felt was needed to finish off the film.
This film once again reminded me of the acting force that is Chloe Grace Moretz and has made me place Roseanne Liang on my list of directors to watch in the future. Shadow In The Cloud might be a mixing of genres but it is certainly worth the admission fee at the box office.
Summary: Once again it is up to Bill and Ted to save the world – this time they have to travel through time and work out how they wrote the perfect song in the future. With a task so big though this time they may need their daughters to help them.
Cinema Release Dates: 28th August 2020 (Australia), 16th September 2020 (UK), 28th August 2020 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: 28th August 2020 (Australia), 28th August 2020 (USA)
Country: Bahamas, USA
Director: Dean Parisot
Screenwriter: Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon
Cast: Brigette Nicole Andrews (Cleopatra), Linda Ayliff (Amelia Earhart), Jared Bankins (Jesus/Young Ted), Diana Barnes (Frida), Jillian Bell (Dr. Taylor Wood), Beck Bennett (Deacon), Artis Burney (Buddha), George Carlin (Rufus Hologram), Anthony Carrigan (Dennis Caleb McCoy), Georgia Cohran (Harriet Tubman), Jeremiah Craft (Louis Armstrong), Daniel Dorr (Mozart), Doug Gagnon (Bartholomew), Sharon Gee (Ling Lun),Kallie Glidewell (Flapper), Mickey Gooch Jnr. (Clete), Dave Grohl (himself), William E. Harris (George Washington), Erinn Hayes (Elizabeth), Miles Hendler (Judas), Kid Cudi (himself), Hal Landon Jnr. (Chief Logan), Xavier Leblanc (Phaoroh), Reece Loustalot (Babe Ruth), Jeff Pagano (Noelle Redding), Brigette Lundy-Paine (Billie), Jayma Mays (Joanna), Piotr Michael (Rufus (voice)), Patty Anne Miller (Grom), Kharismisa Morris (Josephine Baker), Keanu Reeves (Ted), Eliana Ruiz (Indira Gandhi), William Sadler (Death), Kristen Schaal (Kelly), Billy Slaughter (Young Bill), DaZMann Still (Jimi Hendrix), Amy Stoch (Missy), Kimberley Stockton (Queen Elizabeth), Holland Taylor (The Great Leader), Samara Weaving (Thea), Peter Wick (Zenny), Alex Winter (Bill), Tommie Wong (Kubla Khan), Ned Yousef (Gandhi)
David Griffiths’ Bill & Ted Face The Music Review:
I can still remember the first time I saw a Bill & Ted film. I was in Primary School and while at my friend’s place he shoved this pink and purple VHS into my hands and said “Dude, we need to watch this.” From that moment I was hooked with these likable idiots. I wanted to be them so much that they are probably one of the reasons why I love hard rock and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I used some of the things I learned from the film when it came to History at High School.
Yes, I wanted to be Bill and Ted but then I grew up. I graduated, went to College, got married and bought a house… like adults do. But according to what we find in the new instalment of the Bill & Ted franchise people don’t change – they are the same forever. Yes, it is ridiculous to think that way but that is what any audience going into this film is expected to think.
Set nearly thirty years after the originals Bill And Ted Face The Music find Bill (Alex Winter – Grand Piano) and Ted (Keanu Reeves – John Wick) completely washed up but the fathers of two daughters – Thea (Samara Weaving – Guns Akimbo) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine – The Glass Castle). The two’s music careers are over and their marriages are in tatters – in general their lives are a mess.
Then out of the blue Kelly (Kristan Schall – The Muppets) turns up from the future to tell them that the world is about to end if Bill and Ted can’t create the perfect song. The two travel through time to try and find how they wrote the perfect song while being pursued by a deadly assassin named Dennis Caleb McCoy (Anthony Carrigan – Gotham). Meanwhile Thea and Billie begin their own journey through time in a bid to build the perfect band for their fathers.
To be honest this was probably one of the most disappointing films I have watched in a long time. I wanted to see the filmmakers, director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) and his screenwriting team, doing something really special with this film; instead I got something that was slightly insulting to my childhood. Not only is the film plain dumb and feature nothing ‘spectacular’ that I was hoping for but the film seems to be ill thought out. I get that Bill and Ted are losers whose lives have never reached the potential that they should have; you know what as a fan of Jay and Silent Bob I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with or even believe is that they are so juvenile that they still speak like stoners so much later in their lives… it is so ridiculous that nobody can comprehend it.
Likewise the film does nothing ‘special.’ Despite a few moments that might make you chuckle Bill and Ted’s journey is this film is lacklustre and nowhere near as exciting as the journey in their original film. I can’t help but wonder why the writers didn’t do more things like the brilliant Dave Grohl cameo – this film needed to be epic not the lacklustre yawn fest that it became.
There are times during this film that the script is so stupid that I swear Keanu Reeves looks uncomfortable. We know what a brilliant actor he is but there are times during the film where his ‘stoner’ language and laugh seem to be ‘forced’ and you can see his mind asking “why did I sign up for this?” Despite the quality of the performers in the film, including Samara Weaving, this is not a film that is going to end up a highlight on anyone’s acting resume.
There will be a lot of people out there who go out and watch Bill And Ted Face The Music simply because of the nostalgia factor. As a fan of the original movies though I have to warn you that you will be sadly disappointed.
Dave’s rating Out Of 5
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Bill & Ted Face The Music Reviews:
Summary: A respected Army leader suddenly finds herself in a battle of life and death in a mysterious world where humans are prey for other-worldly creatures.
Cinema Release Dates: 1st January 2021 (Australia), 31st December 2020 (Thailand), 29th January 2021 (UK), 18th December 2020 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: China, Germany, Japan, USA
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Screenwriter: Paul W.S. Anderson, Kaname Fujioka (video game series)
Cast: Jin Au-Yeung (Axe), Aaron Beelner (Palico), Diego Boneta (Marshall), Meagan Good (Dash), Josh Helman (Steeler), Tony Jaa (The Hunter), Milla Jovovich (Artemis), Ron Perlman (Admiral), Nic Rasenti (Sergeant Roarke), Jannick Schumann (Aiden), T.I. (Link), Hironi Yamazaki (Handler)
Running Time: 99 mins
Classification: M (Australia), TBC (Thailand) 12A (UK), PG-13 (USA)
OUR MONSTER HUNTER REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Monster Hunter Review:
While a film is often judged by the way that it is received during the Awards season there are times when the best feeling in the world is to sit down a watch a film that is never going to even be mentioned during the illustrious awards period. Yes, it is great to sit down and watch a film that challenges you or makes you think, but at other times all you really want to do is sit down, turn your brain off and watch something dumb yet enjoyable. That is where films like Monster Hunter come into the picture.
Based on the popular video game franchise Monster Hunter sees director Paul WS Anderson (Alien vs Predator) once again re-united with his real-life wife Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) after the duo made four Resident Evil movies together.
The storyline is basic. Jovovich plays Lt. Artemis a strong but caring solider who is well-respected by her colleagues who serve under her. While out a mission looking for a missing team Beta team they suddenly find themselves stuck inside a powerful storm that somehow pushes them through a gateway to another dimension where the likes of Admiral (Ron Perlman – Hellboy) are stuck in an everlasting race to survive as they hunted by other-worldly creatures.
As Artemis’ crew drop like flies (that isn’t a spoiler it pretty much happens in the first 20 minutes of the film) she suddenly finds her only help can come from weather-beaten warrior known to the audience only as The Hunter (Tony Jaa – Ong-Bak). The only problem is that while they rely on each for survival they also don’t trust each other.
Chances are if you have enjoyed what Anderson has done as a filmmaker with the Resident Evil franchise over the years then you will also enjoy Monster Hunter. The film is pretty much action sequence after action sequence yet somehow it also makes The Hunter and Artemis likeable characters. The fact that you can tell that Jovovich and Jaa obviously got on well off-screen makes for a chemistry on screen that just can’t be manufactured.
For me the film’s biggest weakness was that it didn’t allow us long enough in the world that it had set up. Outside of The Hunter and Artemis most of the characters are ‘missing’ for a huge chunk of the film which means the audience never really gets a chance to know other interesting characters like Admiral and his team.
The ending is insanely rushed to the point that you almost wish that Anderson had adapted this into a television series rather than a movie and as the final credits role you really do find yourself hoping that the movie becomes a franchise so you get a chance to share more adventures with these characters and take another trip into this world that leaves more questions about it than answers.
The key to this film working though is the amazing visuals created by Anderson and his team. When it comes to epic action sequences there are few in the cinema world that can do what Anderson does. Even when the Resident Evil franchise felt like it had thrown away any scrips or plot you could always guarantee that Anderson’s action sequences would be out of this world, and the same happens here. Add that to the fact that Anderson gives this film a feel like it is a war film with monsters just thrown in and it is not hard to see why this film is going to become a guilty pleasure for a lot of action film lovers out there.
If you are looking for a film that will keep you entertained without making you think these holidays then Monster Hunter is the film for you. Yes it has huge action sequences, lovable heroes and reveals a unique pairing of Jovovich and Jaa but do be prepared for a film where the ending is slightly rushed but will leave you wanted more. Monster Hunter is far from the perfect film but is certainly enjoyable for those of us who like action films.
Summary: Wonder Woman finds herself having to spring into action in 1984 when the mysterious Maxwell Lord offers everybody the opportunity to have their greatest wish granted… with catastrophic results.
Cinema Release Dates: 26th December 2020 (Australia), 17th December 2020 (Thailand), 16th December 2020 (UK), 25th December 2020 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: 25th December 2020 (USA)
Country: UK, USA, Spain
Director: Patty Jenkins
Screenwriter: Dave Callaham, Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, William Moulton Marston (characters)
Cast: David Al-Fahmi (Mr. Khalaji), Lilly Aspel (Young Diana), John Barry (Max (15 Years Old)), Menesh Bediako (Leon), Lynda Carter (Asteria), Oakley Bull (Kelly), Asim Chaudhry (Roger), Oliver Cotton (Simon Stagg), Lambro Demetriou (Max (8 Years Old)), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince), Hari James (Trigona), Tessa Bonham Jones (Lucy), Doutzen Kroes (Venelia), Connie Nielson (Hippolyta), Chi-Lin Nim (Wang), Pedro Pascal (Maxwell Lord), Ravi Patel (Babajide), Lucian Perez (Alistair), Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Natasha Rothwell (Carol), Asa Sheridan (Jace Valentine), Rey Rey Terry (Courtney), Amr Waked (Emir Said Bin Abydos), Hayley Warnes (Aella), Kristen Wiig (Barbara Minerva), Gabriella Wilde (Raquel), Wai Wong (Lai Zhong), Robin Wright (Antiope), Kelvin Yu (Jake)
Running Time: 151 mins
Classification: M (Australia), G (Thailand) 12A (UK), PG-13 (USA)
OUR WONDER WOMAN 1984 REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Wonder Woman 1984 Review:
Well at last 2020 has its own superhero – and her name is Wonder Woman. Over the last decade comic book fans have gotten used to having at least three or four superhero movies hitting cinemas each year. This year though with the blockbusters on hold those fans have had slim pickings. The underrated New Mutants came and went in the blink of an eye so the fans have just had to sit back and wait patiently for DC to launch their follow-up to 2017’s brilliant Wonder Woman. Now the wait is over and the result may surprise a few people.
Set in 1984, as the film’s title suggests, Wonder Woman 1984 finds Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot – Furious 7), working at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. Her secret life as a superhero is still very, very secret despite the press trying to speculate who this mystery woman is that keeps rescuing people across the city.
Then comes a case that sees Diana’s day job crash head first into her secret identity. After foiling a robbery of black market artefacts one of the items, a mystery stone, ends up the Smithsonian where it is to be identified by Diana’s friend and colleague Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig – Bridesmaids). After the two women learn that the stone grants wishes they both secretly cast their own wishes.
Diana’s wish sees the return of her deceased love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine – Star Trek) while Barbara wishes she could be more like Diana… a recipe for disaster given Diana’s powers. Added into the mix is television conman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal – Game Of Thrones) who was the intended recipient for the stone in the first place and his plans see the world once again put in danger.
Reviewing Wonder Woman 1984 is no easy feat. For all the reasons that some audience members like this movie others will find them contributing to the film being a let-down for them. In all honesty director Patty Jenkins (Monster) has not created a film with the epic feel of the first film, but that to me was not necessarily a bad thing. Instead Jenkins should be congratulated for embracing more of the style that was made famous in the Wonder Woman television series. There is a simplicity to this film and it works. There are no convoluted Marvel storylines here, instead Jenkins takes one of DC’s most popular characters and gives her a simple storyline that ends up becoming a classic tale of good versus evil.
Likewise Jenkins doesn’t go over the top with the action sequences here like she did with the finale of the first film. Yes there are some great fight sequences throughout the film but there are no planes crashing into buildings or anything like that. The best sequence takes part on a desert road and captures the style of The Fast & Furious franchise. Just like the first film though the most interesting scenes in the film were the ones set in Themyscira and once again I found myself hoping that one day we get an entire film set there.
What Jenkins tries to embrace more here is characterisation and that in turn gives the film heart. More of Diana’s pain and loss is explored while there is also an inner conflict explored when Steve returns to her life. Perhaps where the film does lose a little though is the fact that while Maxwell is supposed to be the ‘big bad’ in this film you learn very early on that Wiig’s Barbara is the much more interesting character.
DC fans will embrace this film picking up the obvious nods to the popular Wonder Woman television series, small things like using her tiara as a weapon show that Jenkins is a true fan, while non DC fans may feel a little under-whelmed as the film concentrates more on the heart and soul of Diana than it does jumping from planet destroying explosions etc. If you are a Wonder Woman fan though, embrace Wonder Woman 1984 because you are going to enjoy it.
When you look back through cinematic history there have been very few casting choices that have been as perfect as the casting of actress Gal Gadot as one of DC’s leading superheroes – Wonder Woman. Not only does Gadot have a strong resemblance to the Wonder Woman that many of us grew up reading about in comics but spend just one moment talking to Gadot’s co-stars from the Wonder Woman franchise and they will tell you that Gadot also embodies the love and compassion that the Amazonian superhero also portrays on screen.
Therefore it is little wonder that Wonder Woman 1984 is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2020 and that Gadot is one of the most sought after stars. She smiles broadly when asked about what it was like to once again reprise the role of Diana Prince and also juggle the responsibilities of being a producer this time around.
“In the first one I was completely overwhelmed by the fact that we were shooting a movie that was centred completely around my character,” says Gadot after thinking about the question for a moment. “I was the title of the movie so I always felt that I was the little girl looking at the mountain and thinking ‘oh my God how am I going to climb all the way up.’ But then, it did take a lot of work, but I realised that this is something that I can do, especially when I had partners like Patty Jenkins and our amazing cast. On the second one I felt like I had a totally different experience.”
“First of all being a producer you are involved from A to Z,” she says continuing. “You are helping cast the new characters, build the new story and even helping pick what location we are going to be shooting in. There is so much more to do, it is like exploring a whole new world, a world of movie-making and that is super fascinating for me. I have to say that I think the fact that Patty and I are super close and in this together, and we talk about everything as it is, it felt like we were on the same page. So the producing part of it all was super educating and fascinating. The experience was delightful because this movie was so ambitious and so challenging and now there are so many more things I now know that I would never have learned if I weren’t a producer on this movie.”
Of course aside from producing Gadot also found herself right in the thick of things with the action sequences of the film… an element that she seems to really enjoy. “Patty made a point of wanting a minimal amount of CGI in the film,” explains Gadot. “That meant that we had to do much more and our stunt team had to do much more and we had to build rigs that most people don’t use any more because they use CGI for all their stunts. So for the mall scene we had an entire mall dressed up like it was the 1980s and we had the entire mall to ourselves. The ceiling was rigged with wires and stuff all around it and it took a lot of time to create and establish all of that and it took a lot of time to rehearse all of that. We have the best stunt team in the world and they have done an amazing job making sure everything looks as real as possible so when you watch the movie you can see the difference. You can see that it is all real, you can see the weight and the speed and the reactions in the faces because they are real faces. It was great and I am very proud of it. It was a lot of work but I am proud of it.”
One of the new faces in Wonder Woman 1984 is comedic actress Kristen Wiig who takes on the role of Cheetah despite it being a serious role. “It was the best,” says Gadot before the question is even finished. “Kristen is the best! She is so funny and such a great friend. She is so generous and she just made the whole process so delightful for me – we literally did like SNL skits while we were shooting, while they were changing sets and shots and whatever. She is funny, she is smart, she is just amazing. I love her so much. She is so talented, she was given such a tough arc to play and she absolutely nailed it She went from being the insecure, vulnerable, shy person to this super vicious, strong, dark and scary character and she gave all different colours and different ranges – she is so talented She is the best!”
To finish off Gadot discusses why the character of Wonder Woman resinates with so many people. “Wonder Woman stands for love and for compassion and for empathy and peace,” she says. “I think that is something that we all love and connect to. Her biggest weapon and her biggest tool is her heart and that is why people like her so much… she is good!”
Wonder Woman is in Australian cinemas on Boxing Day.
It is one of the biggest cinematic questions of 2020. How does Steve Trevor, played by the very talented Chris Pine, return in Wonder Woman 1984 after his very heroic death in the first film. And while Pine is remaining tight lipped about any spoilers he is more than happy to talk about other aspects of the much anticipated film.
“Yeah, I’ve actually been working with Patty a lot,” he says with a laugh when asked about working with Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins. “We even did a television show together between the two films. I have been working consistently with her over the last four years – I love working with her. She is a great leader, she is like General Patton but also has a sensitive and quiet side. She is a great observer of people, she is a great listener, she knows how to get the best of her actors and ultimately she is incredible visionary. She knows how to bring her vision into life which is much more difficult task then it seems like it should be.”
Pine though is not only full of praise for his director he also seems in awe of his co-star Gal Gadot who brilliantly brings the role of Wonder Woman to life on the big screen. “I think Gal is the perfect embodiment of Wonder Woman,” he says again smiling. “She is the personification of love and heart and that is also Gal, she has this great big heart and she has these eyes that just takes in the world. She has this natural instinct of maternal strength and heart and I couldn’t think of anyone else that could ever have played her.”
As we said previously of course Pine is not going to go into great details about how Steve Trevor finds himself back… well alive… but he is only too happy to talk about how Steve feels about being alive in the 1980s. “I think Steve is just pretty happy to be back around the love of his life,” he says after thinking for a moment. “He is stoked to be taking in all these great things like elevators and pop-tarts, toaster ovens and great clothes and dancing and incredible airplanes and stuff like that. They just picked the funniest clothes and then made me put them on and then tried to create scenes out of them. I pretty much just put on clothes that made Patty laugh and that helped us see what worked.”
Of course the biggest part of Wonder Woman 1984 is not the costuming though – it is the action sequences and it is surprising to learn that Pine doesn’t do much to prepare for them. “No I don’t do much,” he says after asked how he prepares for action scenes. “Gal has to do stunt training ,wire work and stunt co-ordination and all of that and I kind of have these sock ‘em and get punched in the face things. I just worked with the co-ordinator and came up with some good stuff because with Steve Trevor he is more of a bar-room brawler. He gets in a fight, throws in his fists, sees what lands and then tries to get out.”
Aside from the action though Jenkins has also given Wonder Woman 1984 a massive amount of heart and it seems that Pine is happy with the fact that the film explores more of the relationship between Diana and Steve. “They are polar opposites,” he says when trying to explain the connection between the two lovers. “She is wide eyed, loving and compassionate and he is closed off and jaded and he is bitter and angry at the world. They teach each other important lessons and they help the other grow and I think that is the best version of a healthy relationship.”
To finish off Pine talks about why he believes Wonder Woman 1984 is the perfect film to close out 2020. “I think this is a movie about love and compassion,” he explains. “It is heart and it is a movie that has a lead that personifies those qualities who is a joy to work with and is like that in real life… that is certainly not a bad thing and I think while it is easy for people to get their fix of complicated heroes and dark subject matter it is also nice to return to good old fashioned entertainment which is what I think this is.”
Wonder Woman 1984 is released in Australian cinemas on Boxing Day.