Sunday, 31 January 2010
Saturday, 30 January 2010
StarWars.com is proud to present the first glimpses of both the front and back covers for the upcoming The Making of The Empire Strikes Back book by J.W. Rinzler, due out July 20 from Del Rey. Be sure to check below the images for the flap copy.
For more information see our original announcement, and stay tuned to StarWars.com for more sneak peeks at this highly-anticipated book celebrating Empire's 30th anniversary!
In this lavish thirtieth-anniversary tribute to the blockbuster film StarWars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, New York Times bestselling author J. W. Rinzler draws back the curtain to reveal the intense drama and magnificent wizardry behind the hit movie—without doubt the fan favorite of the Star Wars saga.
Following his The Making of Star Wars, the author has once again made use of his unlimited access to the Lucasfilm Archives and its hidden treasures of previously unpublished interviews, photos, artwork, and production mementos. The result is a comprehensive behind-the-scenes, up-close-and-personal look at the trials and triumphs, risks and close calls, inspiration, perspiration, and imagination that went into every facet of this cinematic masterpiece. Here's the inside scoop on:
- the evolution of the script, from story conference and treatment to fifth draft, as conceived, written, and rewritten by George Lucas, famed science-fiction author Leigh Brackett, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan
- the development of new key characters, including roguish hero Lando Calrissian, sinister bounty hunter Boba Fett, and iconic Jedi Master Yoda
- the challenges of shooting the epic ice planet battle in the frozen reaches of Norway and of conjuring up convincing creatures and craft—from tauntauns and snowspeeders to Imperial walkers
- the construction of a life-sized Millennium Falcon and the swamp planet Dagobah inside a specially built soundstage in Elstree Studios
- the technique behind master Muppeteer Frank Oz's breathing life into the breakthrough character Yoda
- the creation of the new, improved Industrial Light & Magic visual effects facility and the founding of the nowlegendary Skywalker Ranch
In addition, of course, are rare on-the-scene interviews with all the major players: actors Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and David Prowse; director Irvin Kershner; producer Gary Kurtz; effects specialists Richard Edlund, DennisMuren, Ken Ralston, and Phil Tippett; composer John Williams; and many others. Punctuating the epic account is a bounty of drawings, storyboards, and paintings by Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Ivor Beddoes, along with classic and rare production photos. An added bonus is a Foreword by acclaimed director Ridley Scott.
The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a fittingly glorious celebration of an undisputed space-fantasy moviemilestone. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
J. W. RINZLER, executive editor at Lucasfilm Ltd., is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Making of Star Wars, as well as the London Times bestseller The Complete Making of Indiana Jones. Rinzler lives in Petaluma, California.
Friday, 29 January 2010
The Miramax offices in New York and L.A. are to close their doors today.
The once-mighty specialty label will live on as a shell of its former self as a distribution arm within Disney's film division -- with six releases still in the pipeline and a murky future. There's no decision yet as to which Disney exec is in charge of Miramax, whether any new Miramax films will go into production or what role Miramax will play in the future as a vehicle for picking up genre films.Miramax's first major hit was 1989's "sex, lies, and videotape," which helped put the Weinsteins and Miramax -- not to mention Steven Soderbergh, Sundance and the entire indie scene -- on the map.
The brothers, who are looking to buy back the Miramax name but not necessarily the library, were showmen who attracted a lot of press. Rivals loved to tell tales of their hands-on editing of films, their treatment of employees and filmmakers and their outrageous competitive instincts. But even their fiercest rivals acknowledged their success.
A key Miramax strategy was tying in the distribution of certain films with awards attention; it paid off with nominations and big box office. Company had a run of 13 best-film Oscar nominations in 11 years (1992-2002), missed out in 2003 and then had double noms in 2004. That roster: "The Crying Game," "The Piano," "Pulp Fiction," "Il Postino," "The English Patient," "Good Will Hunting," "Life Is Beautiful" and "Shakespeare in Love" (both 1998), "Cider House Rules," "Chocolat," "In the Bedroom," "Gangs of New York" and "Chicago" (both 2002) and the 2004 pair of "Finding Neverland" and "The Aviator."
Miramax was bought by Disney in 1993 and flourished, eventually receiving an enviable annual production budget of $700 million. But it was not an easy fit, and the Weinsteins often butted heads with Disney topper Michael Eisner. After a run of big-budget pics that included "Cold Mountain," they had a loud split with Disney, and the brothers exited the company they'd founded (and named after their parents, Miriam and Max).
The rebooted Miramax, under British exec Daniel Battsek, scored success with its first acquisition, "Tsotsi," the 2005 South Africa movie that earned a foreign-language Oscar. Company also had hits and Oscar noms with such fare as "The Queen," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and (shared with Paramount) "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood."
But the production budget and output were considerably smaller, and Disney rethought its commitment to the specialty market. In October -- amidst a revamp of its entire film business -- Disney announced it was reducing the number of Miramax films to three a year; a few weeks later, it announced that Battsek was leaving.
Officially, Miramax remains in the distrib biz, with Disney topper Robert Iger disclosing in the recent annual report that "approximately seven" Miramax titles will be released in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
That would include Robert De Niro comedy-drama "Everybody's Fine," which grossed a modest $9 million following its December launch. Upcoming releases include "The Debt," directed by John Madden and starring Helen Mirren; "The Tempest," from director Julie Taymor; the thriller "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, written by director Guillermo del Toro; comedy "The Baster," starring Jennifer Aniston; "Gnomeo and Juliet," starring James McAvoy and Emily Blunt; and romance-drama "Last Night," starring Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Keira Knightley."The Baster" has an Aug. 20 release date and "Gnomeo" is due out on Feb. 11, 2011.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Plans for a feature film about civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. appeared back on track on Tuesday as DreamWorks Studios said it has hired Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood to pen a script.
DreamWorks announced in May that it had acquired life rights for the slain Nobel Peace Prize laureate, marking the first time a major biographical movie about King had been authorized by his estate.
But the project, to be produced by Steven Spielberg, quickly bogged down over squabbling among his three children over who had the authority to speak for the estate.
A lawyer for two of the children, daughter Bernice and son Martin Luther King III, said then that his clients had not been consulted on the DreamWorks deal and that their brother, Dexter King, chairman and CEO of King Inc., had proceeded on his own.
However DreamWorks, in announcing Harwood as the screenwriter, indicated that the dispute has been resolved, saying the motion picture was "authorized by the King estate to utilize the intellectual property of Dr. King to create the definitive portrait of his life."
The King siblings are shareholders and board members of the estate, which they formed in 1995 with King's widow, Coretta Scott King, to control rights to the civil rights leaders' speeches, books and other works.
The minister, who pioneered efforts to gain racial equality through nonviolent civil disobedience, was assassinated in April 1968 at age 39. His wife died in 2006.
Harwood won the Academy Award for his 2002 screenplay of the Holocaust drama "The Pianist," adapted from the autobiographical book by Warsaw ghetto survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman. The film earned Roman Polanski an Oscar as best director and Adrien Brody an Academy Award as best actor.
A South African native, Harwood also garnered Oscar nominations for his screenplays of the films "The Dresser" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." His Broadway script for the stage version of "The Dresser," about backstage life in a World War II-era theater, earned a Tony nomination.
Of his treatment of King's life, Harwood said in a statement, "I will not say anything about my approach to this screenplay except to say what I always say: 'I will do my utmost to be true to truth.'"
Thursday, 28 January 2010
In a bold move TNT has green lit ten episodes of Spielbergs up and coming alien invasion series. Yet untitled it is green lit for 2011 and will star ER's Noah Wyle. The series takes place after an apocalyptic invasion of Earth and its main focus will be a group of survivors; Wyle plays a former teacher who finds himself caught up in the rebellion. Other alien invasion TV series have had mixed results with Invasion being cancelled and 'V' getting mixed reviews but steady viewing figures.
The project is being executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, along with DreamWorks Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank and screenwriter Robert Rodat. Rodat, who earned an Oscar® nomination for his screenplay for Saving Private Ryan, wrote the pilot from an idea he co-conceived with Spielberg. The pilot was directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move, Out of Time).
"This series has the potential to be one of the most exciting and provocative shows on television," Wright said. "It grabs your heart and mind from the start and doesn't let go. It combines personal human drama with dynamic action to create the kind of series people will be talking about the morning after. We are especially thrilled to be working once again with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television, as well as Noah Wyle and the extremely talented cast of veterans and newcomers around him."
The series opens shortly after aliens have wiped out most of the human population. The aliens are now rounding up the few people left, but they are met with strong resistance from a group of soldiers and civilians who fight for their survival - all while struggling to maintain their humanity.
Wyle plays Tom Mason, a former college history professor who becomes the reluctant leader of one of the resistance groups. Also starring in the series are Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) as Anne Glass, a therapist who works with the surviving children to help them cope with the traumatic situation; Drew Roy (Lincoln Heights) as Hal and Maxim Knight (Brothers & Sisters) as Matt, Tom's two sons; Jessy Schram (Crash) as Karen, who is one of the survivors' motorcycle scouts; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned teenager who helps run the group's commissary.
The original Titanic sank in 1912. Now the blockbuster movie it inspired has also gone down.
This time, though, it was not an iceberg that toppled it, but a 3D film about a blue-skinned alien race defending their planet against human invaders.
Towards the end of the last decade, James Cameron's epic Titanic became the most successful movie ever with global takings of $1.843bn (£1.14bn).
But that record no longer stands thanks to Avatar - also directed by Cameron - which this week stole its crown as the all-time global box office champ, with receipts of $1.859bn (£1.15bn).
It is an astonishing achievement for the 55-year-old Canadian, and one that is unlikely to be repeated in his or our lifetimes.
Yet it is also a triumph for the 20th Century Fox studio and its parent company NewsCorp, the financial backers of this bold, predominantly computer-generated science-fiction saga.
The film is set on a planet populated by blue-skinned aliens
Quite simply, Avatar has been a phenomenon that has captured the cultural zeitgeist in a way few could have predicted.
It did so despite having few star names and generating a mixed reaction from the critics, many of whom slated its plot, dialogue and characterisation.
The film has also drawn fire from the blogosphere, with some pundits attacking it for what they see as its anti-American subtext and environmentalist agenda.
Some have even accused it of being racist in its depiction of a white hero coming to the aid of a persecuted indigenous population - largely portrayed, incidentally, by African-American and native American actors.
No one would claim Avatar is high art, any more than they would consider Titanic a modern masterpiece.
Yet what it does have in its favour is state-of-the-art visual effects that transport the viewer to a spectacularly realised extra-terrestrial world.
That Avatar was Cameron's first feature since Titanic - winner of 11 Oscars in 1998 - was enough by itself to ensure it would be a major release.
Yet it took a combination of canny scheduling, aggressive marketing and an industry-wide drive to revive 3D for its full potential to be realised.
Had Avatar opened last summer, it would have faced much stiffer competition for audiences and cinema screens.
By launching in December, though, the film has enjoyed a virtually unchallenged month-long run without any significant challenges from other titles.
Fox's rivals may have deliberately refrained from taking it on, mindful of the huge expectation that surrounded this heavily hyped picture.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Fox has spent as much as $150 million (£93 million) promoting a movie some claim cost $300m (£185m) to make.
Hi-tech effects were used to create its eye-popping visuals
Perhaps the key factor in Avatar's success, though, has been the way it has turned the revived interest in the 3D format to its advantage.
Last year, such animated features as Up, Monsters Vs Aliens and Fox's own Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs showed the industry digital 3D projection was a viable proposition.
Avatar has been able to build on their success, capitalising on the higher ticket prices cinema chains have been charging to see it in stereoscope.
Crucial to the film's marketing is that it is an "event" movie that needs to be seen in 3D to be appreciated fully.
It is a message that has clearly taken hold of the UK sector, where audiences have chosen in overwhelming numbers to pay more to see the film than they would otherwise need to.
According to entertainment analyst Nielsen EDI, standard "2D" screenings represent just 15% of Avatar's UK takings.
In contrast, 85% have derived from 3D or IMAX 3D screenings.
Such data bodes well for forthcoming 3D titles like Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3 and Tron: Legacy.
It will also encourage more cinemas to install the digital equipment required to screen films in 3D.
According to the Film Distributors' Association, 15% of UK cinema screens - around 500 in all - are 3D enabled.
However, it expects that figure to rise significantly in the coming months as more high-profile titles are released in the format.
Where does this leave Cameron? Back to being the "king of the world" as he proclaimed himself at the Academy Awards 12 years ago.
Oscar glory may not be lavished so fulsomely on Avatar, though that is unlikely to make much of a dent on his apparent box office invincibility.
Not only that, but he now shares - with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and Pirates of the Caribbean helmer Gore Verbinski - the honour of having two films in the all-time box-office Top 10.
Crucially, though, he has the top two. And if you think he is not happy about that fact, you do not know Jim Cameron.
SCOTS dance newcomer Unicorn Kid couldn't believe his luck when his music was given the Spielberg touch.
Unicorn Kid, who is 18-year-old Oliver Sabin, has been wowing fans with his electronic dance music.
He toured the US late last year and even made it onto The Razz Hot List for this 2010.
One of his biggest fans is director Steven Spielberg's niece, who loves his music so much she has made a video to go with his song Animal City, which is now online.
Speaking to The Razz, Oli said: "Spielberg's teenage niece Melissa Katz is a fan of mine and came to see me at my Owl City gig in New Jersey. She's the daughter of Spielberg's sister Nancy and is pretty creative."
Melissa paid for all her friends to attend Leith-born Oli's music show and insisted on meeting him backstage.
Oli said: "Afterwards, she contacted my manager and stated she was going to be making a music video for one of my tracks.
"She's since posted it online and it's really good, with big production values. I was pretty surprised with the money she must have spent on the animal costumes and hiring office space - but she is a Spielberg.
The video has had lots of hits on the web and everybody loves it.
"We sent her one of my lion heads as a thank you and now she's keen to make another vid. I'm not sure whether it will be for Wee Monsters or one of my new tracks."
The video, which you can watch at www.dailyrecord.co.uk, shows cuddly toy animals coming to life.
Melissa may even have taken inspiration from a scene in her uncle's film ET where the alien hides in Elliot's toy cupboard.
But she is not Oli's only famous fan. Tracks like Wee Monsters and Animal City have attracted Jake Shears and The Pet Shop Boys, who even used one of his remixes and invited him as support at their Glasgow gig.
After his Pet Shop Boys support, where he admits the audience were older than he was used to playing for, Oli is hoping this year will see his music career flourish even more.
As well as working on his new album, he plans to showcase his sound at this year's South By South West festival in Austin, Texas.
He's at the centre of a bidding war between major record labels and insists the decision will be made by the end of the month. He said: "My life has changed so much recently."
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Gold THX Logo with The Audience Is Listening and Lucasfilm, fantastic wallpaper or to print out for your cinema room.
This will also be available on the side bar by the end of the week along with the other logos
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
by Robert Wainfur (thebeardedtrio.blogspot.com)
One of my most vivid childhood memories was in 1977 when I was taken to the cinema by my brother to watch a movie that to be honest I wasn't that much aware of. After all I was five years old at the time. Of course that movie was Star Wars. We queued up for two hours around the cinema willing the queue to move, sometimes it did but only because someone had left or someone had cut in! Eventually that queue did move and we made it inside. Those next couple of hours changed my life forever. An overload on the senses ingrained in my head within two hours or so that would remain for the rest of my life and ultimately influence me and my interests.
Ultimately it changed me into a sci-fi geek, almost assimilating me into its culture. The amazing special effects, the characters and that John Williams soundtrack (which I was asking my brother to hum to me on the way home) took me by surprise and I wanted more. I bought the trading cards, the figures (and still collect them today) the magazines, I wanted it all.
Many movies came and went, but only a handful can I remember watching in the cinema for the first time. The three original Star Wars trilogy, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Back To The Future and oddly Sixth Sense. Mainly because of the ending that sent goose bumps down my spine when it was revealed to us what was what.
These days I still visit the cinema but somehow its lost that spark, that excitement. No longer are there any merchandise in the lobby where you can buy the T-shirt or get excited about a movie that has been five years in the making and seeing the posters finally being advertised. Hollywood has sequelitis at the moment, with the next one promising to be bigger, darker and sexier (why does every sequel need to be these things?) Every modern movie wants to appeal to the younger audience with some teenage love interest being the norm and every character being no older than twenty five and straight out of a model's agency.
Yesterday I went to see Avatar. Yes I was the last one to see it. For a good reason. Or a couple really. One, I prefer to wait for all the hype to die down so it doesn't influence me and secondly the annoying popcorn eaters and check your mobile phone every five minute cinema goers have all gone by the time I walk into the half filled cinema, still enough people to have an exciting atmosphere and sense of anticipation.
What did I think of Avatar? One word, Brilliant! I popped on the glasses as this was 3D and not any of that point a stick at the screen 3D either (remember Jaws 3D?). This was a film made for 3D and boy did it work. If you didn't get a sense of vertigo during the film then you are braver than me. The moment you see the wonderful world that is Pandora you feel a sense of awe. The lush scenery, the wildlife, that looks so natural to that world it would please any biologist or scientist.
The scaling heights enhanced by the wonderful 3D will have you smiling as you feel a sense of holding on to your chair just to make sure you don't fall. I was gobsmacked, not since that day in 1977 when Star Wars blasted onto the screen have I been in such awe. The colours, the action, the amazing living breathing world, the excitement and the wonderful soundtrack by the ever reliable James Horner which I am listening too as I write this are quite simply perfect.
The story is fantastic and superbly written although the one line in the movie I was laughing at was "Shut Your Pie Hole!". Also I swear when one of the characters was speaking in Na'Vi, the native language I'm sure at the end of the sentence it sounded like "Kim Bas-Ing-Ger! (kim basinger)" The acting is superb and was well casted, no one looked out of place. It was nice to watch a movie which had no teenage romance, it didn't even have perfect looking people who looked as if they just rolled out of a salon. It had a blue alien race that you identified with and cared for. That takes some doing so well done to James Cameron for that. It is now by the way officially the most successful movie overtaking Titanic to the number one spot(source - box office mojo), a one two for Cameron, well done and well deserved.
I will remember for the rest of my life the first time I watched Avatar. Its up there with Star Wars, Raiders and a select few. A Return to form for the Cinema
Spielberg, Hanks and the stars of the series, including the grown-up Joe Mazzello (Jurassic Park), attended the TCA Winter Press Tour to answers questions about their epic undertaking. Spielberg noted that The Pacific has a different look and feel than Band of Brothers. Brothers had a darker, gloomier grey feeling – more reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan - while The Pacific is brighter and more vivid. "It was a blue sky world," Spielberg said, speaking to the personal accounts of the war from the soldiers who fought in it. "It was a hot, dry, humid blue- sky world. There are more vivid colors in The Pacific than we ever had in Band of Brothers." Spielberg talked about wanting to capture the very distinct terror and chaos that was a part of the war in the Pacific Theater.
Hanks added that they didn't want to make this new mini-series about comparing levels of savagery, but that the battles against the Japanese had a distinct barbarism. "This was a level when nature and humanity conspired against the individual," Hanks stated. With this mini-series the producers wanted to "see what happens to that individual up until the dropping of those two atomic bombs." Hanks went on to say that they didn't want this to feel like a museum piece. "It was a war of racism and terror. And horror," Hanks explained, speaking to his notion that European Theater in WWII was the last war of its kind, and that the Pacific Theater was much more like the wars that we know in the modern era. "I don't look at WWII or any war story or see it as a specific, finite 'open and closed' story," Hanks said. "You see the best of human kind in war and you see the worst of human kind in war."
Monday, 25 January 2010
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Saturday, 23 January 2010
He revealed that he would more than love to don that trademark cowboy hat and whip again and set out on a new breath taking adventure.
“If we find another story to do and we develop the character a little further and I get a chance to do another one, I’d be happy as pie to do it,” he told to Cinematical.Ford’s last appearance as Indiana Jones was in 2008 in the Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull says that he takes an active part with the director of this series Steven Spielberg, in making the movie more adventurous. “I’ve always been interested in developing the character, and bringing more information about the character each time we’ve gone out.”
“We’ve found ways of doing that by introducing Sean (Connery) as my father, Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) as my son, bringing back Karen (Allen) – all of those things that work for me.”
The first movie in this series Raiders Of The Lost Ark released way back in 1981, and it is still considered one of the best movie in action/adventure genre. There were two more movies in the list named Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984), & Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989). After that they took a break of 20 years and resurfaced in 2008 in Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Friday, 22 January 2010
Nominated in the best film category are "Avatar," "District 9," "The Hurt Locker," "Star Trek" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."
The awards will be presented Feb. 27 at a dinner at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
The CAS Career Achievement Award will be presented to re-recording mixer/sound designer Randy Thom, director of sound design at Skywalker Sound, and the CAS Filmmaker Award will be presented to stop-motion filmmaker Henry Selick.
Talk about intense competition: Thursday, the members of the Academy's visual effects branch will file into the Samuel Goldwyn Theater and have their minds blown in seven 15-minute segments.
That's how long each of the shortlisted films vying for this year's VFX Oscar has to make its case, each presenting a blindingly vivid reel of rapid-fire CG montages of explosions, creatures, set extensions and digitally enhanced stunt work. When voters emerge, heads spinning, there will be three final nominees chosen for the final Oscar ballot.
Even for grizzled industry effects veterans, the wow factor is likely to be high. Each of the seven films is out of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, which translates into glory days of aliens, spaceships and wizardry -- plus hundreds of hours of work from VFX supervisors and staff. And this year, VFX technology has made an evolutionary leap forward, thanks to a little film called "Avatar."
Still, nominees insist that sheer spectacle and obvious dollars on the screen aren't necessarily what sway voters.
"In past years, I've seen films that maybe didn't perform well at the boxoffice or seemed like they might not be awards-worthy get a nomination, just because when you separated the work from the movie and looked at it on its own, you saw how good it was," says two-time Oscar-winner Charles Gibson, VFX supervisor for the shortlisted "Terminator Salvation." "I'm not saying that's the case with 'Terminator,' but I feel like our reel plays well."
Impressive as the reels may be, they might have difficulty conveying the many months, sometimes years, of painstaking work by armies of artists that went into their creation. Industrial Light & Magic's Oscar winner Scott Farrar, VFX supervisor for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," says it would take 16,000 years to render all of the effects from that film on a modern home PC.
As it was, the process of rendering the 52,632 pieces with 6,467 textures that make up the giant Devastator robot for the film's Imax sequences took up to 72 hours per frame, adding up to a year and a half of his life, the average for a "Transformers" film.
"It takes easily 15 weeks to build a character and then at least that amount of time to rig a character, so it's 30 weeks before you can even put that character in a movie," Farrar says.
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
But that's not a particularly large number, in the context of this year's Oscar race. For the global disaster epic "2012," VFX supervisors Volker Engel and Marc Weigert used 15 companies (including their own, Uncharted Territory) to create the film's 1,400 effects shots, which take up 77 minutes of screen time.
More than a dozen companies were employed to create the 2,000 effects shots in "Avatar," which occupy 117 minutes of the film's 162-minute running time, making it nearly as much an animated film as anything from Pixar.
"The jungle (on Pandora) was all done digitally, with the exception of some plants and things that were on one or two of the sets," says VFX supervisor Joe Letteri of WETA Digital, the movie's primary VFX vendor. "We had 900 people working on the film at WETA alone."
Imagine that scene where the Millennium Falcon pops out of nowhere and saves Luke and Princess Leia – in 3D.
Star Wars creator George Lucas let spill at a Golden Globes party Sunday that Avatar has given him "a new impetus to make that happen."
Avatar, the 3-D sci-fi epic by James Cameron, took best picture at the Globes.
"We've been looking for years and years and years of trying to take Star Wars and put it in 3-D," Lucas told Access Hollywood. "But, [the] technology hasn't been there. We've been struggling with it."
Avatar, said Lucas, "worked very well in 3-D. Haven't been a big fan of 3-D, but that movie definitely improves (the field of) 3-D."
Lucas created the Star Wars films that revolutionized sci-fi storytelling and introduced enduring characters into the popular culture.
So much so that Cameron himself has said the day he saw the first Star Wars in 1977 is burned into his memory. Born in Chippawa, Ont., he had moved with his family to California by then.
Biographer Rebecca Keegan writes in her just-published The Life and Films of James Cameron that he "emerged seething after seeing Star Wars: somebody had made his movie. 'That's when I got busy,'" he told Keegan. From daydreaming movie plots while working as a lunch truck driver, Cameron made his leap into the film business.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Blockbuster sci-fi epic Avatar has been named best film drama at the Golden Globe awards, boosting its chances of further glory at the Oscars in March.
Its director James Cameron was also honoured at the event, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep won the best actress prizes, with Jeff Bridges and Robert Downey Jr taking home their male equivalents.
Ricky Gervais hosted the event, the first of 2010's major Hollywood awards.
Presented each year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Globes often indicate who and what will go on to receive Academy Awards.
Best film (drama)
Best film (musical or comedy)
James Cameron (Avatar)
Best actor (drama)
Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Best actress (drama)
Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Best actor (musical or comedy)
Robert Downey Jr (Sherlock Holmes)
Best actress (musical or comedy)
Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Television shows are also celebrated at the gala, where prizes are divided between dramas and comedies or musicals.
Cameron's double victory was a vindication of the 55-year-old's faith in his ambitious and costly computer-generated fantasy.
His best director prize also saw him triumph over his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, nominated in the same category for Iraq drama The Hurt Locker.
"This is the best job in the world," he said as Avatar was named best film. "What we do is make entertainment for a global audience."
The Canadian film-maker previously won a Golden Globe for directing Titanic, which went on to win 11 Academy Awards in 1998.
But he steered clear of the self-aggrandising language of his "king of the world" Oscar acceptance speech, heaping praise upon Bigelow, and addressing his actors in Na'vi, the language created for his blockbuster film.
As Cameron accepted his prizes, it was revealed that Avatar had remained top of the US box office for a fifth week.
Worldwide takings for the film now stand at $1.6 bn (£979m), setting it on course to top Titanic's $1.8 bn (£1.1bn) haul this week - which would make it the top-grossing film of all time.
I like a drink as much as the next man... unless the next man is Mel Gibson
Streep's win for best actress in a musical or comedy came for her role as TV chef Julia Child in Julia & Julia.
"In my long career I've played so many extraordinary women I'm being mistaken for one," said the 60-year-old, who was nominated against herself in the category.
Bullock, meanwhile, received the best actress in a drama prize for her role in The Blind Side as a Southern mother who adopts a homeless black teenager.
Her victory was a blow to British hopes, coming at the expense of Emily Blunt, Carey Mulligan and Dame Helen Mirren.
British star Colin Firth also went home empty-handed thanks to Jeff Bridges' popular win in the best dramatic actor category.
"You're really screwing up my underappreciated status here," joked the 60-year-old as he received his award for country music drama Crazy Heart.
Earlier Robert Downey Jr feigned petulance as he picked up the best comedy actor prize for his title role in Sherlock Holmes.
"If you start playing violins I will tear this place apart," he warned, describing the Hollywood Foreign Press as a "strange bunch" for recognising his work in Guy Ritchie's film.
As expected, comedian and talk show host Mo'Nique was named best supporting actress for her role in hard-hitting drama Precious.
"Thank you God for this amazing ride," she told the audience. "I am in the midst of my dream."
The little-known Christoph Waltz was another expected winner, picking up best supporting actor for his work in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
Streep paid tribute to her mother as she collected her award
The Austrian actor thanked the Pulp Fiction director for giving him a "dizzying experience".
One surprise recipient was raucous farce The Hangover, which took home the Golden Globe for best musical or comedy.
Pixar film Up, meanwhile, was named best animated feature, winning an additional prize for its original score.
Its success contrasted with that of Up in the Air, which had been expected to win a number of the six awards it was up for.
In the end, though, the George Clooney film only won a single prize for its screenplay.
In the best television actor (mini-series) category, Kevin Bacon beat a quartet of British and Irish nominees - Kenneth Branagh, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Irons - for his role in Taking Chances, a drama about a Marine who escorts a fallen gulf war soldier home.
Other recipients of TV included Dexter star Michael C Hall, who was a popular winner of the best actor in a drama prize.
The 38-year-old recently announced he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and is in remission from the disease.
While Dexter won an additional prize for supporting actor John Lithgow, it lost the best drama series award to Mad Men.
The comedy or musical prize was won by Glee, which had been up for more awards than any other TV show.
Elsewhere actors Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio joined forces to present director Martin Scorsese with a special award for his outstanding contribution to entertainment.
The 67-year-old said it was "humbling" to receive a prize named after Hollywood great Cecil B DeMille.
His rapturous reception contrasted with the lukewarm one given to host Gervais, whose jokes at the expense of Sir Paul McCartney and others did not always find favour with the star-studded audience.
Film trade paper The Hollywood Reporter gave the star a thumbs down, saying he "flew through" his quips "so fast he didn't land a blow, let alone draw blood".
Celebrities were greeted with a heavy downpour as they arrived at the Beverly Hilton, forcing them to seek shelter under umbrellas.
Inside Nicole Kidman was one of several stars to pay tribute to victims of the Haiti earthquake, urging viewers to donate to relief efforts.
Rebuilding Ground Zero will chronicle the engineering and building of the skyscraper being built on the site of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers.
It will also pay tribute to those who died in the 11 September 2001 attacks.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said the series would tell "a compelling story of remembrance and renewal".
He said Spielberg's involvement as executive producer would ensure "the story will be brought to life for people around the world for generations to come".
The Science Channel series will use 3D, time-lapse cameras, computer modelling techniques and other methods to chart the construction of One World Trade Center.
Formerly known as the Freedom Tower, the 1,776 foot (541 meter) skyscraper will be the tallest building in the US.
Work on the building officially began in 2006 and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
Rebuilding Ground Zero will be produced by the Science Channel, a division of the Discovery network.
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Lucasfilm Ltd. was founded in 1971 by Star Wars creator George W. Lucas Jr. It has grown into a major independent production house and one of the world's leading entertainment companies. Lucasfilm's primary endeavors include movie and television production, along with groundbreaking visual and aural effects, video games, software and various online activities. Corporate subsidiaries include Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, Pixar Animation Studios, Avid Technology and THX Ltd. The company has spun off a thriving industry of Star Wars merchandising, memorabilia and licensing.
Lucasfilm was off and running after the release of its second feature film, American Graffiti. Made on a $750,000 budget, the movie grossed more than $100 million. Based in San Francisco, the privately held corporation employs about 2,000 people. It does not disclose revenues.
General Counsel David Anderman insisted that he has never been bored during his 11 years at Lucasfilm. He is the point person for any and all legal issues facing the company's various divisions. His team handles transactions with licensees and forges agreements with talent and their agents. Legal details connected with distribution deals are on the menu, as are issues regarding production work that Lucas performs for other studios and the company's game division.
As enforcer of Lucasfilm's worldwide intellectual property, Anderman sometimes assumes the role of litigator. Advertising, normally the responsibility of the marketing and public relations departments, occasionally spills over into the legal department. Anderman has union-related duties with Skywalker Sound, which works in conjunction with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Every year or two, legal work related to location filming comes his way. There are insurance issues for the group to resolve. The day-to-day operation of Skywalker Ranch, Lucas' production facility in Marin County, Calif., brings legal activity as well.
Read the rest of the article here - http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1202435798360&Jedi_Lawyer_Uses_Mind_Tricks_to_Watch_Over_Star_Wars_Empire
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
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It was 70 foot in diameter and weighed nearly 23 tonnes
In the winter of 1979 word started to spread in Pembroke Dock that a flying saucer was being built in an old giant aircraft hangar in the town.
Those involved were sworn to secrecy.
For three months they worked on the only full-scale Millennium Falcon, the spaceship from the original Star Wars trilogy, to be built for the films.
Production was gearing up for The Empire Strikes Back - the second instalment in George Lucas's epic space saga.
And much like the feverish build-up to this week's release of Revenge Of The Sith, the sixth and final movie in the series, fans were desperate for the smallest piece of news of what was to come.
The Millennium Falcon was the famous spaceship from Star Wars
Marcon Fabrications, a company more usually associated with steel fabrications for the nearby petrochemical and oil industries, had won the contract to build the prop for the film.
One of company's main selling points was it was based in the eastern hangar of the Royal Dockyard - a Grade II listed structure that once housed the famous Sunderland flying boats based there during World War II.
Govan Davies, who owned the dockyard at the time, recalls the secrecy surrounding the project.
"No-body was allowed in and they kept it locked at all times," he said.
"It was made out of timber on the outside of a steel frame. There were 30 or 40 men working on it - it was a hell of a big thing."
It was housed in the Eastern hangar which still stands today
Bizarrely, those working on the spaceship were told they could only refer to it by the code name "Magic Roundabout".
But Mr Davies said word soon spread.
"Friends talk to friends. But they still did not allow anyone in although I saw it, of course, because I owned the hangar at the time."
Security was finally breached in March 1979 when the Pembrokeshire newspaper The Western Telegraph ran a picture and story under the headline "Security Blown On Flying Saucer Secret".
Tongue-in-cheek, it linked the spaceship to an apparent spate of UFO sightings in the sky above the county at the time.
According to Brian Johnson, special effects supervisor on the film, the spaceship could fly - but only a few millimetres off the ground.
How the Western Telegraph broke the story on 1 March 1979
"It weighed approaching 23 tonnes and was 70ft in diameter," he told the Official Making of the Empire Strikes Back book.
"We fitted compressed air hover pads on the feet to lift the thing up so it could be pushed around without any wheels.
"The whole thing was actually floating on a cushion of air, with about a sixteenth of an inch between the feet and the floor.
"To get the Falcon from Pembroke it was dismantled and brought on lorries in sections, then put together on the sound stage at Elstree."
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
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Monday, 11 January 2010
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Here's his latest message
On 24th November I went into hospital for the first part of a 2 stage hip revision procedure. The metalwork from my very painful right hip was removed and I began a course of intravenous antibiotic to finally cure the lingering infection. Thankfully I was released from hospital just in time to spend Christmas with my family and I continue treatment at home administered by the district nurses who come every day to administer the daily dose of antibiotic. At the end of January I go back into hospital for a new hip replacement. In the meantime I am languishing at home but am improving as to what I can do daily. Life is awkward with only one hip!! I rely on a walking frame as I cannot put any weight on my right leg, but Norma and I are coping well and the future looks very bright.
I will be back on the convention scene ASAP - but not before I am 100% - when I look forward to meeting up with you all again.
Keep upto date from his official site here - http://www.darthvader-starwars.com/
Lucas Licensing exec rings Opening Bell as Star Wars remains number one selling licensed toy brand.
Executives and guests of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars Saga have visited the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate the continued success of the evergreen brand.
After more than 30 years, Star Wars is the number one selling licensed toy property in the US, with sales over 60 per cent ahead of any other toy licence, and 25 per cent ahead of the nearest boys toy property (Source: Lucasfilm Ltd.)
To mark the occasion, Lucas Licensing’s Howard Roffman rang the Opening Bell accompanied by a number of characters including droid R2-D2, Sith Lord Darth Vader and a color guard of stormtroopers and clone troopers.