Friday, 11 April 2008

Set Photos from X-Men Origins: Wolverine

From: Superhero Flix

One lucky fan found himself in the enviable position of being able to spy on the set of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he not only got pictures of the land where the movie was being shot, but got to watch them blow up a house. He posted the images to his blog at www.goliath.li.

Here is what he had to say about the experience:

During our trip through New Zealand we got a hint telling us the location where the fourth X-Men movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman was currently filmed.

Thanks to another hint we found our way to the set on the day a house built for the movie was to be blown up with explosives.

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine explores Wolverine's early days, before joining the X-Men. The film will cover Logan's early life, and his involvement with the mysterious Weapon X program. The film stars Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Dominic Monaghan, Danny Huston, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Kitsch, will.i.am, Daniel Henney, Scott Adkins and Lynn Collins. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is due to arrive in theatres in 2009.

X-POSITION: Marc Guggenheim

From: Comic Book Resource

“Messiah CompleX” was really about one thing -- the future of mutantkind. This future is still largely in question, though, thanks to Cable hopping around in time with the first mutant baby born since the race was declared an endangered species. So where does that leave Marvel's youngest generation of mutants in the present? Apparently, it leaves them in a book called “Young X-Men,” written by Marc Guggenheim (“Wolverine,” “Eli Stone”).

The series picks up on the lives of several of the characters from the popular “New X-Men,” which was cancelled at the conclusion of “Messiah CompleX.” Fans of “NXM” had various reactions to the series they enjoyed being “relaunched” with a new title and new creative team, and not all of them positive. On top of this, they of course had questions.

The first issue of “Young X-Men” arrived in stores last week; it’s time for answers, and there’s no better place for that than here at X-POSITION. Today, we’re serving you up a main course of Marc Guggenheim with a side of witty banter.

Additionally, we're serving exclusively on CBR new pages from "X-Men: Divided We Stand" Book 1, on sale April 16, and "Young X-Men" #2, on sale May 7! Bon app├ętit!

X-Force Takes No Prisoners in The War Against The Purifiers!

From: Comic Book Bin

The red-hot, sold-out hottest X-launch of the year continues as Wolverine’s new team searches for the kidnapped Wolfsbane and continues their merciless attacks on Purifier bases till they find her! Enter X-Force #3, from the fan-favorite writing team of Christopher Yost & Craig Kyle, with rising star artist Clayton Crain, ratchet the action up to 11. Just what does the return of New Mutants foe Magus mean for X-Force? As Matthew Riseman’s plan comes into full effect, it seems he’s gathered just what—or WHO—he needs…but what’s his endgame? And just how does S.H.I.E.L.D. figure into all this? An X-Men: Divided We Stand tie-in, X-Force helps set the stage for the future of mutantkind in a world without X-Men!

“I love where this series is going,” said Kevin Powers of ComicsBulletin.Com. “Clayton Crain’s dark style of painted artwork is absolutely appropriate for this title.”

Marvel urges retailers to check their orders on X-Force and all Divided We Stand tie-ins, as they continue to sell out rapidly! X-Force is on the trail of the Purifiers…but are they too late? Find out in X-Force #3!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

X-Men producer praises subsidy for blockbusters


By DAVID WILLIAMS.


Government grants are essential for hooking big budget movies into coming back, the producer of the latest Hollywood blockbuster to film in New Zealand says.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine producer Ralph Winter, who cut his teeth on the Star Trek films and has produced the other three X-Men movies, told The Press from Sydney that the New Zealand Government's grant of 15 per cent made a huge difference.
"Particularly when the US dollar is taking a beating around the world and you're spending $15 million to $20m in New Zealand.
"We keep track of those things very, very carefully in our accounting department because those are big dollars."
Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson said the Large Budget Screen Production Grant ensured New Zealand remained internationally competitive in the film sector.
"Since 2003 the Government has paid out just over $100m, which means that an additional $800m has been brought into the New Zealand economy."
Film New Zealand chief executive Judith McCann said the grants, introduced at 12.5 per cent in 2003 and lifted to 15 per cent last July, were crucial and had been hugely effective.
"Essentially it's to attract production here which generates more than 15 per cent of expenditures - it means you're attracting 85 per cent you wouldn't have had anyway."
McCann said the X-Men blockbuster was the first to be based out of Fox Studios in Sydney and filmed on both sides of the Tasman.
Location shooting in New Zealand for Wolverine finished at Easter. Filming will continue in Sydney until June, when post-production will move to Los Angeles.
Winter said he would love to work in New Zealand again.
Before filming, he talked to Wellington-based visual effects companies Weta Digital and Weta Workshop, co-owned by Peter Jackson, about working on Wolverine after using them on Fantastic Four and Rise of the Silver Surfer.
However, the companies were busy making Avatar and The Lovely Bones.
The producer said he could tell why the Narnia movies and Lord of the Rings were shot in Kiwi landscapes.
"The stuff in New Zealand is just extraordinary - it is unlike any other place on the Earth," he said.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine will be released in May 2009.

"Lost's" Dominic Monaghan found hanging with Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman

From: Variety.
By Cynthia Littleton

Here's something we didn't expect to see at the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" 1000th episode party on Thursday night: Dominic Monaghan. The dearly departed "Lost" star was making the rounds poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel and hanging with "it" couple Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman.

Monaghan must've had a good time making the Jimmy Kimmel-Ben Affleck music vid a few months back (he's in the sing-along celeb gospel choir). He's also guested on "Kimmel" five times since the dawn of "Lost" in the fall of 2004.

Monaghan, looking very neat and clean (we still can't get used to that) in a crisp open-collar dress shirt and gray suit, didn't stay in one spot for too long, but we stopped him long enough to share a heartfelt "awwww" over Charlie's heroic sacrifice. Thesp said he's "trying to do something with Sarah for her show" (presumably the Comedy Central skein that resumes production in the next few weeks) and he does read the scripts that "Touchstone" (guess he didn't get the memo on the name change to ABC Studios) is sending him but is more focused on film than TV these days.

Monaghan reported that he's just wrapped production on the "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" pic and is soon off "to go find the world's biggest spider." Not entirely sure what that means. We do know that there's a shot of spider in the "Happy Accidents" exhibition of photos that Monaghan recently had on display at West Hollywood art gallery Hamilton-Selway Fine Art.

By the dim light of the heat lamps at the party, Monaghan looked cheery and chipper, like he was enjoying himself. Heck, that's all we ever wanted for Charlie...isn't it?

Patrick Stewart rules 'Macbeth'

From: Los Angeles Times.
By Charles McNulty.




Patrick Stewart rules the updated production.



NEW YORK -- Patrick Stewart's suave performance in the Chichester Festival Theatre production of "Macbeth," which opened Tuesday at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway, can be scored a triumph, but it comes with a few provisos.

Hardly anyone ever gets this most tempting of Shakespearean roles right. By comparison, Hamlet, Othello and King Lear -- tough as they are to pull off -- are more amenable to partial successes. When actors fail in these parts, they tend to fail upward.

The Scottish play, on the other hand, can really be hellish for its leading man. Don't believe me? Ask Kelsey Grammer, Alec Baldwin, Christopher Plummer or any of the other big name Macbeths of the last couple of decades and you'll find out why theater people say the tragedy is cursed.

The play requires a kind of cinematic facility of its director, who must agilely negotiate between close-ups and special effects. Rupert Goold's staging may ride roughshod over the text's subtler psychology, yet it spectacularly captures the moral inversion of a society in which a celebrated military hero can rapidly transform into a fiendish butcher.

The production clocks in at just under three hours, but business is briskly transacted. The upside is that audience members aren't given many opportunities to check their watches; the downside is that there's not always sufficient space for the protagonist's moments of fleeting circumspection.

This is "Macbeth" as arty action movie, beautifully spoken by a cast that seems relatively at home in the modernist whirlwind Goold has conjured. And Stewart, a veteran of Shakespeare as well as sci-fi blockbusters such as the "Star Trek" and "X-Men" franchises, looks like he was born for this sort of adventurous approach to the Bard of Avon.

The setting is a sleekly industrial kitchen. Tougher to pin down is the era, which suggests some crazy mishmash of Stalin's Russia and a timeless Great Britain (more England than Scotland, if the accents are any gauge).

Thankfully, the update doesn't make a mockery of the tale. The set (designed with diabolical flexibility by Anthony Ward, who's also responsible for the costumes) is liberally splattered with gore, as expected. But much of the violence is conveyed through Lorna Heavey's chillingly real video projections of wide-ranging military madness.

The nightmare may have occult trappings, but its horror is only too human. To that end, the three weird sisters are introduced as triage nurses, delighting in the battlefield carnage they'd like to see continue even after peace threatens to put the kibosh on their fun.

Technology's role.

The multimedia treatment of the combat scenes plays out like a thriller in an intensive care unit. Yes, the directorial strokes can be overdone (even the witches grow gimmicky), but the use of technology heightens suspense to the breaking point, and few productions have made the connection between state-sanctioned war and individual homicide so scarily vivid.

The central culinary metaphor is an attempt to reveal what happens when public and private appetites are permitted to run riot. Macbeth slowly decants red wine as he scrutinizes his capacity for committing regicide. Later, he fixes himself a neat little sandwich, chopping and spreading with devilish panache while ordering paranoid hits on Banquo (an accomplished Martin Turner) and his son, Fleance (Emmett White).

Lady Macbeth (Kate Fleetwood, overwrought yet lucid) fetches a cake in honor of Duncan's royal visit in the manner of a terrorist gleefully patting a knapsack freshly packed with explosives. When that troubling young Fleance tries to help himself to a leftover slice, Macbeth whisks the dessert back into the fridge -- the sweets aren't for everyone.

For all the production's scenic ingenuity, however, the old challenge of "Macbeth" remains unsolved -- how are you supposed to stay sympathetically engaged with a hero whose journey is from valor to serial killing?

The Aristotelian emotions of pity and fear aren't easily won, and it's not clear that Goold is even hunting after anything vaguely cathartic. His focus is moral rather than emotional, which in some respects is quite refreshing but still a line of attack that prevents us from registering the enormous loss in Macbeth's debasement.

The banquet scene, where a guilty Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost, is repeated before and after intermission, with different levels of corporeal horror. But the self-conscious flashiness of the replay eclipses any insight into Macbeth's submerged conscience. And the "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" soliloquy, inspired by the death of Lady Macbeth, is somewhat blunted by the fact their marital bond seems purely lustful.

Haunting portrayals.

Obviously our feelings aren't shut out entirely. But the most haunting aspects of the work -- the vast discrepancy in age between Stewart's Macbeth and Fleetwood's much younger Lady Macbeth or the image of a neighborly Lady Macduff (Rachel Ticotin) and her doomed brood of children -- are more embodied than played.

Still, Stewart's skillfulness is mesmerizing even if it isn't devastating. But there's no denying the nuclear glow he bestows on the figure's faltering humanity. And even more impressive, he possesses the quality that is indispensable to any portrayal of Macbeth -- the glamorous aura of the chosen one. After all, it's proximity to greatness that urges the character to overleap what is permissibly civilized.

Stewart comes close to achieving something extraordinary, and for a play with so many perplexities in performance, that is an exceptional credit in an already exceptional career.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Updates

From:

'A1ant' has sent in some new updates on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, opening in theaters on May 1, 2009. Directed by Gavin Hood, the movie stars Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Kitsch, Will.i.am, Danny Huston, Dominic Monaghan, Daniel Henney and Lynn Collins.

First up, UK actor Scott Adkins has landed the role of "Weapon 11" in the film according to this site.

Next up, Advance is reporting that "Wolverine" is bringing in an estimated $60 million to Sydney. There will be 45 actors and 1,200 extras employed during its production phase. More details at the link.

Daniel Henney, who plays Agent Zero, also tells The Daily News how he was cast in the film.

Marc Guggenheim is also writing the script for the "Wolverine," says this interview.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Kiwi stunner Kate's got the X-Men factor

From: www.stuff.co.nz

Kiwi beauty Kate Newman has been heating up the big screen with Aussie hunk Hugh Jackman.
And the stunning model made the X-Men film star sweat off the movie set at Queenstown Gym, where she is a part-time receptionist.
"When he trains at the gym, he pretends to train in character so he was going hard-out and there were a lot of noises like Wolverine while he was working out," Kate told Sunday News.
"Everybody seemed to really enjoy him working out in the gym. He used to come in at 6am every morning and as soon as word got around he was working out here, the gym became a lot fuller than usual at 6am."
Kate has been working as a body double for American actress Lynn Collins, who plays Jackman's love interest Silver Fox in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, filmed on location at Queenstown.
Jackman's lead character in the blockbuster is a half-wolf mutant with razor-like claws.
Silver Fox has superhuman healing powers.
Kate said she struck a close bond with Jackman a regular on People Magazine's sexiest men alive lists.
"He was definitely my favourite of all the celebrities I got to meet," Kate said.
"He's a real Aussie bloke. That's the best way to describe him. He's really funny. He's a crack-up, really hilarious.
"I guess a lot of people expect him to be really arrogant and unapproachable but that couldn't be further from the truth. He's actually quite a shy guy."
Kate, 21, was chosen from hundreds of hopefuls for the X-Men role after movie executives thought they were seeing double when she walked into a casting call.
"I went along to the audition and basically on the spot they said, `Yes you'll be here tomorrow, you'll be on the set and having your hair cut and dyed to match the actress'," Kate a model with Ican Model and Talent Agency told Sunday News.
"In a lot of the pictures that I've seen of (Collins) on the internet she looks really different to me but in person, when we stand side-by-side, we're very similar."
In fact, Kate looked so similar to Collins cast and crew often had a hard time distinguishing between them.
"A few times I had people come up to me thinking they were talking to her instead of me. It was quite funny, really."
She said the X-Men stars including Hollywood A-listers Jackman, Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) and Dominic Monaghan (Beak) were fantastic to work with.
"It was cool to be around all of these famous people," Kate said.
"Everyone involved was really nice. There was no high-maintenance diva-type stuff. Everybody was pretty casual and they were there to work, 100 per cent focused on doing their job."
Kate said her role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine the fourth in a series based on the cult Marvel Comics series was the first time she'd worked as a body double.
"I never thought anything like this would happen to me. I mean, to be on the set of a major film surrounded by major stars. It was surreal. But it wasn't as glamorous and Hollywood as you would think. Everybody is in a rush."
Kate also tried her hand at stunt work.
"I actually did a bit of stunt driving in the film," she said.
"It was great. I just got called up by the crew one evening and asked if I had a driver's licence because I'd be doing the driving in some scenes.
"I'm really keen on doing the physical side of things like the stunt double work and stuff like that."

Story at : http://www.stuff.co.nz/4466738a1870.html