Still fresh off The Machinist, it became necessary for Bale to bulk up to match Batman’s muscular physique. He was given a deadline of six months to do this. Bale recalled it as far from a simple accomplishment: “…when it actually came to building muscle, I was useless. I couldn’t do one push up the first day. All of the muscles were gone, so I had a real tough time rebuilding all of that.” With the help of a personal trainer, Bale succeeded in meeting the deadline, gaining a total of 100 lb (45 kg) in six months. He went from about 130 lbs to 230 lbs. He then discovered that he had actually gained more weight than the director desired, and dropped his weight to 190 lbs by the time filming began.
Bale had initial concerns about playing Batman, as he felt more ridiculous than intimidating in the Batsuit, he dealt with this by depicting Batman as a savage beast. To attain a deeper understanding of the character, Bale read various Batman comic books. He explained his interpretation of the young boy: “Batman is his hidden, demonic rage-filled side. The creature Batman creates is an absolutely sincere creature and one that he has to control but does so in a very haphazard way. He’s capable of enacting violence — and to kill — so he’s constantly having to rein himself in.” For Bale, the most gruelling part about playing Batman was the suit. “You stick it on, you get hot, you sweat and you get a headache in the mask,” he said. “But I’m not going to bitch about it because I get to play Batman.” When promoting the film in interviews and public events, Bale retained an American accent to avoid confusion.
Batman Begins was released in the U.S. on 15 June 2005 and was a U.S. and international triumph for Warner Bros., costing approximately US$135 million to produce and taking in over US$370 million in returns worldwide. Bale earned the Best Hero award at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards for his performance.
Bale reprised his role as Batman in Nolan’s Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight. He trained in the Kevsi Fighting Method, and performed many of his own stunts. The Dark Knight was released in the U.S. on 18 July 2008 and stormed through the box office, with a record-breaking $158.4 million in the U.S. in its first weekend. It broke the $300 million barrier in 10 days, the $400 million mark in 18 days and the $500 million mark in 43 days, three new U.S. box office records set by the film. The film went on to gross over $1 billion at the box office worldwide, making it the fourth-highest grossing movie worldwide of all time, before adjusting for inflation.
Bale reprised his Batman role in The Dark Knight Rises released on 20 July 2012, making Bale the actor who has played Batman the most times in feature film. Bale has given the same opinion as Nolan that, if the latter was forced to bring Robin into the films, he would never again play Batman; even though one of his favorite Batman stories, Batman: Dark Victory, focuses on Robin’s origin.
In 2006, Bale took on four projects: Rescue Dawn, by German film maker Werner Herzog, had him playing U.S. Fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, who has to fight for his life after being shot down while on a mission during the Vietnam War. Bale left a strong impression on Herzog, with the director complimenting his acting abilities: “I find him one of the greatest talents of his generation. We made up our own minds long before he did Batman.”
In The Prestige, an adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel about a rivalry between two Victorian stage magicians, Bale was reunited with Batman Begins‘ Michael Caine and director Christopher Nolan. The cast of The Prestige also included Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie. I’m Not There, a film in which Bale again worked alongside Todd Haynes and Heath Ledger (who would go on to play The Joker in The Dark Knight), is an artistic reflection of the life of Bob Dylan. He starred opposite Russell Crowe in a commercially and critically successful Western film, 3:10 to Yuma. Bale played John Connor in Terminator Salvation and FBI agent Melvin Purvis in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies.
In 2010, Bale portrayed Dicky Eklund in the biopic The Fighter. He received critical acclaim for his role and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.
JJ Abrams ‘defection’ to Star Wars from Star Trek has had the fan boys buzzing on the net…
Eileen Dietz (born January 11, 1945, Bayside, New York) is an American actress who is best known for her appearances in many horror films such as the face of the demon in The Exorcist and for her portrayal of characters on the soap operas Guiding Light and General Hospital.
As a child, Dietz appeared in commercials with her twin sister Marianne, and beginning at the age of 12 she started studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse. She made her television debut in 1963 in a small guest role on The Doctors. Shortly thereafter she landed a recurring role on the soap opera Love of Life. She made her film debut starring in the 1966 movie Teenage Gang Debs as Ellie. The following year she portrayed Penny Wohl in the critically acclaimed independent film Holzman’s Diary. The film never got much in the way of theatrical distribution despite having Dietz’s nude scene featured in Life Magazine’s photo spread and in the book of the film. She didn’t recall if she auditioned for the role of Penny but she added, “it was a fun shoot.”
Dietz spent much of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s appearing in theatre productions. In 1972, she portrayed an androgynous runaway in the premiere of Joyce Carol Oates’ Ontological Proof of My Existence. Her portrayal in the play led to an invitation to do a screen test for William Friedkin film The Exorcist. She was cast in two memorable roles in the film: The Demon (better known as The Face of Death), for this role, Dietz actually only appeared on film for 8–10 seconds; and the ‘Possessed Regan’ (the Linda Blair character). In The Exorcist Pazuzu appears as a demon who possesses Regan McNeil; Pazuzu a fictional character and the main antagonist in The Exorcist novels and film series created by William Peter Blatty. Blatty derived the character from Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, where Pazuzu was considered the king of the demons and of the wind, and the son of the god Hanbi.
In 1980, Dietz joined the cast of General Hospital as Sarah Abbott, a role she played for several years. She also appeared as a guest star on Trapper John, M.D. (1982) and in the horror film Freeway Maniac (1989). More recent film credits include Naked in the Cold Sun (1997), Hurricane Festival (1997), Bad Guys (2000), Exorcism (2003), The Mojo Cafe (2004), Neighborhood Watch (2005), Constantine (2005), Karla (2006), Creepshow III (2006), Dog Lover’s Symphony (2006), and Tracing Cowboys (2008).
2009 was a very busy year for Dietz. She had several films coming out, including Stingy Jack, H2: Halloween 2, See How They Run, The Queen of Screams (2009), Butterfly, Second Coming of Mary,Legend of the Mountain Witch, and Monsterpiece Theatre Volume 1.
John Boorman (born 18 January 1933) is a British filmmaker who is a long time resident of Ireland and is best known for his feature films such as Point Blank, Deliverance, Zardoz, Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Hope and Glory, The General and The Tailor of Panama.
Boorman first began by working as a dry cleaner and journalist in the late 1950s. He ran the newsrooms at Southern Television in Southampton and Dover before moving into TV documentary filmmaking, eventually becoming the head of the BBC’s Bristol-based Documentary Unit in 1962.
His feature debut was Catch Us If You Can (1965), about competing pop group Dave Clark Five, a rip-off of Richard Lester’s ‘A Hard Days Night’. Boorman was drawn to Hollywood for the opportunity to make larger-scale cinema and in Point Blank (1967), a gritty, powerful and brutal film, he brought a stranger’s vision to the decaying fortress of Alcatraz and the proto-hippy world of San Francisco. Lee Marvin gave the then-unknown director his full support, telling MGM he deferred all his approvals on the project to Boorman.
After Point Blank, Boorman re-teamed with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune for Hell in the Pacific (1968), which tells a fable story of two representative soldiers stranded together on an island. Returning to the UK, he made Leo the Last (US/UK, 1970). The film won him a Best Director award at Cannes.
Boorman achieved much greater resonance with Deliverance (1972), the odyssey of city people played by Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty as they trespass into the Appalachian backwoods and discover their inner savagery. This film became Boorman’s first true box office success, earning him several award nominations. He followed with the cult film Zardoz (1973), starring Sean Connery, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi piece, set in the 24th century.
Boorman was selected as director for Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), but the resultant film was widely ridiculed and regarded by many as a failure. The film is set four years after The Exorcist, and centers on a now 16-year-old Regan McNeil who is still recovering from her previous demonic possession.
Exorcist writer/producer William Peter Blatty and director William Friedkin both had no desire to involve themselves in an Exorcist sequel. According to the film’s co-producer Richard Lederer, Exorcist II was conceived as a relatively low-budget affair: “What we essentially wanted to do with the sequel was to redo the first movie… Have the central figure, an investigative priest, interview everyone involved with the exorcism, then fade out to unused footage, unused angles from the first movie. A low-budget rehash – about $3 million – of The Exorcist, a rather cynical approach to movie-making, I’ll admit. But that was the start.”
Playwright William Goodhart was commissioned to write the screenplay, titled The Heretic, and based it around the theories of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (the Jesuit paleontologist/archaeologist who inspired the character of Father Merrin when Blatty wrote The Exorcist). Boorman was unhappy with Goodhart’s script, and asked Goodhart to do a rewrite, incorporating ideas from Rospo Pallenberg. Goodhart refused, and so the script was rewritten by Pallenberg and Boorman. Goodhart’s script was being constantly rewritten as the film was shooting, with the filmmakers uncertain as to how the story should end. Actress Linda Blair recalls “It was a really good script at first. Then after everybody signed on they rewrote it five times and it ended up nothing like the same movie.”
British filmmaker Boorman signed on to direct, stating that “the idea of making a metaphysical thriller greatly appealed to my psyche.” Years before, Boorman had been considered by Warner Bros. as a possible director for the first Exorcist movie, but he turned the opportunity down as he found the story “rather repulsive.” Boorman, however, was intrigued with the idea of directing a sequel, explaining that “every film has to struggle to find a connection with its audience. Here I saw the chance to make an extremely ambitious film without having to spend the time developing this connection. I could make assumptions and then take the audience on a very adventurous cinematic journey.” He should have left it alone…
Boorman returned with Excalibur (1981), a retelling of the Arthurian legend. For the film he employed all of his children as actors and crew and several of Boorman’s later films have been ‘family business’ productions.
The Emerald Forest (1985) saw Boorman cast his actor son Charley Boorman as an eco-warrior, in a rainforest eco-adventure. Hope and Glory (1987, UK) is his most autobiographical movie to date, a retelling of his childhood in London during The Blitz. The film proved a Box Office hit in the US, receiving numerous Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. However his 1990 US produced comedy about a dysfunctional family, Where the Heart Is, was a major flop.
Boorman won the Best Director Award at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for The General, his black-and-white biopic of Martin Cahill. The film is about the somewhat glamorous, yet mysterious, criminal in Dublin who was killed, apparently by the IRA. Released in 2006, The Tiger’s Tail was a thriller set against the tableau of early 21st century capitalism in Ireland.
In 2004, Boorman was made a Fellow of BAFTA.
Nastassja Kinski (born 24 January 1961) is an actress who has appeared in more than 60 films, in both her native Europe and the United States. Kinksi’s starring roles include her Golden Globe Award-winning portrayal of the title character in Tess and multi-award winner Paris, Texas, one of a number of films made with German director Wim Wenders. She has also starred in a remake of erotic horror classic Cat People.
Born in Berlin as Nastassja Aglaia Nakszynski, Kinski is the daughter of the German actor Klaus Kinski from his marriage to actress Ruth Brigitte Tocki. Her parents divorced in 1968. Kinski rarely saw her father after the age of 10, and she and her mother struggled financially. They eventually lived in a commune in Munich.
Her career began in Germany as a model, during which the German New Wave actress Lisa Kreuzer helped get her the role of the dumb Mignon in Wim Wenders film The Wrong Move. In 1976, while still a teenager, she had her first two major roles: firstly in the Wolfgang Petersen directed feature-length episode Reifezeuanis of German TV crime series Tatort; then in British Hammer Film Productions horror film To the Devil… a Daughter (1976). Directed by Peter Sykes and produced by Terra-Filmkunst, it is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley, and stars Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman and Denholm Elliott.
She has stated that, as a child, she felt exploited by the industry, telling a journalist from W Magazine, “If I had had somebody to protect me or if I had felt more secure about myself, I would not have accepted certain things. Nudity things. And inside it was just tearing me apart.”
In 1978 Kinski starred in Italian romance Stay As You Are (Cosi come sei), which New Line Cinema released in the United States in December 1979, helping Kinski to get more recognition there. Time magazine wrote that she was “simply ravishing, genuinely sexy and high-spirited without being painfully aggressive about it.” Director Roman Polanski urged Kinski to study acting with Lee Strasberg in the United States and cast her in his film, Tess (1979).
In 1982 she starred in romantic musical One from the Heart and erotic horror movie Cat People (1982), a remake of the 1942 film of the same name which starred Simone Simon. Directed by Paul Schrader, it starred Kinski and Malcolm McDowall.
The Dudley Moore comedy Unfaithfully Yours and an adaptation of John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire followed in 1984. Then, Paris, Texas, her most acclaimed film to date, won the top award at the Cannes. The film focuses on an amnesiac (Harry Dean Stanton) who, after mysteriously wandering out of the desert, attempts to revive his life with his brother (Dean Stockwell) and seven-year-old son, and to track down his former wife (Kinski). At the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, the film unanimously won the Palme d’Or.
During this period Kinski split her time between Europe and the United States, making big-budget bomb Moon in the Gutter (1983), Harem (1985), Torrents of Spring (1989), Exposed (1983), Maria’s Lovers (1984) and Revolution (1985).
In One from the Heart, director Francis Ford Coppola brought Kinski to the U.S. to act as a “Felliniesque circus performer to represent the twinkling evanescence of Eros”, apparently… The film failed at the box office and was a major loss for Coppola’s new studio, Zoetrope Studios.
Other appearances include Terminal Velocity, One Night Stand, Somebody is Waiting Your Friends & Neighbors, John Landis’ Susan’s Plan, The Lost Son, and Inland Empire for David Lynch.
Rutger Oelsen Hauer (born 23 January 1944) is a Dutch actor, writer, and environmentalist. His career began in 1969 with the title role in the popular Dutch television series Floris. His film credits include Flesh+Blood, Blind Fury, Blade Runner, The Hitcher, Escape from Sobibor (for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor), Nighthawks, Sin City, Ladyhawke, Batman Begins, Hobo with a Shotgun, and The Rite. Hauer also founded an AIDS awareness organization, the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association.
Hauer was born in Breukelen in the Netherlands, the son of drama teachers Arend and Teunke. At the age of 15, Hauer ran off to sea and spent a year scrubbing decks aboard a freighter. Returning home, he worked as an electrician and a joiner for three years while attending acting classes at night school.
Hauer joined an experimental troupe, with which he remained for five years before Paul Verhoeven cast him in the lead role of the successful 1969 television series Floris, a Dutch medieval action drama. The role made him famous in his native country, and Hauer reprised his role for the 1975 German remake Floris von Rosemund. Hauer’s career changed course when Verhoeven cast him in Turkish Delight (1973). The movie found box-office favour abroad as well as at home, and within two years, Hauer was invited to make his English-language debut in the British film The Wilby Conspiracy (1975), Hauer’s supporting role, however, was barely noticed in Hollywood, and he returned to Dutch films for several years.
Hauer made his American debut in the Sylvester Stallone thriller Nighthawks (1981) as a psychopathic and cold-blooded terrorist named Wulfgar. The following year, he appeared in arguably his most famous and acclaimed role as the eccentric and violent but sympathetic anti-hero Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 science fiction thriller Blade Runner, in which role he improvised the famous tears in the rain soliloquy. Hauer went on to play the adventurer courting Theresa Russell in the Nicolas Roeg film Eureka (1983), the investigative reporter opposite John Hurt in Sam Peckinpah’s final film, The Osterman Weekend (1983), the hardened mercenary Martin in Flesh & Blood (1985), and the knight paired with Michelle Pfeiffer in Ladyhawke (1985).
He continued to make an impression on audiences in The Hitcher (1986), in which he played a mysterious hitchhiker intent on murdering a lone motorist and anyone else in his way. At the height of Hauer’s fame, he was set to be cast as Robocop though the role went to Peter Weller. That same year, Hauer starred as Nick Randall in Wanted: Dead or Alive as the descendant of the character played by Steve McQueen in the television series of the same name. Phillip Noyce directed Hauer in the martial arts action adventure Blind Fury (1989). Hauer returned to science fiction with The Blood of Heroes (1990), in which he played a former champion in a post-apocalyptic world.
By the 1990s, Hauer was well known for his humorous Guinness commercials as well as his screen roles, which had increasingly involved low-budget films such as Split Second, Omega Doom, and New World Disorder. In the late 1980’s and well into 2000, Hauer acted in several British and American television productions, including Inside the Third Reich, Escape from Sobibor (for which he received a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor), Fatherland, Merlin, The 10th Kingdom, Smallville, Alias, and Stephen King’s update of Salem’s Lot. In 1999, Hauer was awarded the Dutch “Best Actor of the Century Rembrandt Award”.
Hauer played an assassin in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2003), a villainous cardinal with influential power in Sin City (2005) and a devious corporate executive running Wayne Enterprises in Batman Begins (2005). In 2009, his role in avant-garde filmmaker Cyrus Frisch’s Dazzle, received positive reviews. The film was praised in Dutch press as “the most relevant Dutch film of the year”. The same year, Hauer starred in the title role of Barbarossa, an Italian film directed by Renzo Martinelli. In April 2010, he was cast in the live action adaptation of the short and fictitious Grindhouse trailer Hobo with a Shotgun (2011); The Rite (2011), which is loosely based on Matt Baglio’s book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, which itself is based on real events as witnessed and recounted by by then, exorcist-in-training, American Father Gary Thomas. Hauer also played vampire hunter Van Helsing in legendary horror director Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D.
In April 2007, he published his autobiography All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants, and Blade Runners (co-written with Patrick Quinlan), where he discusses many of his movie roles. Proceeds of the book go to Hauer’s Starfish Association.
The original Batmobile used in the 1966-68 Batman TV series sold at auction on Saturday night for $4.6 million including fees. Bidding lasted about 4 minutes and the winning bid was $4.2 million before fees were assessed.
The original one-off 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car was originally created by Ford Motor Company and a design team at the Lincoln Styling Department. The 19-foot long, two-seat, bubble-topped grand touring car prototype was entirely hand-built in 1954 by Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy, and unveiled in its original pearlescent Frost-Blue white paint finish in 1955 at the Chicago Auto Show.
The car featured instruments housed in the steering wheel, as well as a push-button transmission, exterior microphones to pick up and transmit the sounds of traffic to the occupants inside, and a host of other innovative devices. According to several reports, it was described as a “rolling laboratory” from which Ford would learn about new technology to apply to their production automobiles. In 1959, sporting a fresh red paint job, the Futura was featured in the film, It Started with a Kiss, starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford.
Barris then acquired the vehicle and kept it in his garage for several years. In late 1965, 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier’s Greenway Productions contacted Barris and asked him to produce a Batmobile for the upcoming TV series. With only 15 days and $15,000 budget to build a Batmobile, Barris decided to transform the Lincoln Futura concept car into what is now widely recognized as the original and iconic crime-fighting vehicle.
“The 1966 Batmobile by George Barris is one of the most famous Hollywood cars in history and it has become a true icon that has been carried from generation to generation of Batmobiles to follow,” said Craig Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “This vehicle not only marks the significant Bat logo that sits on the middle of its door, but a time in television history where they defied the odds of making a car the real star of the show. It revolutionized an entire industry that followed in its footsteps and we couldn’t be prouder to have it cross our block in Scottsdale as it goes up for sale for the very first time.”
The car features a 390-in 1956 Lincoln V-8 engine and a B&M Hydro Automatic transmission. Gadgets include a nose-mounted aluminum Cable Cutter Blade, Bat Ray Projector, Anti-Theft Device, Detect-a-scope, Batscope, Bat Eye Switch, Antenna Activator, Police Band Cut-In Switch, Automatic Tire Inflation Device, Remote Batcomputer, the Batphone, Emergency Bat Turn Lever, Anti-Fire Activator, Bat Smoke, Bat Photoscope, and many other Bat gadgets. If needed, the Batmobile was capable of a quick 180° “bat-turn” thanks to two rear-mounted ten-foot Deist parachutes.
In addition to being featured on various television/movie sets, the original Batmobile has been exhibited at numerous car shows and museums around the nation. The car is also exclusively featured in Christopher Nolan’s Batmobile Documentary, which can be viewed as a bonus feature on The Dark Knight Rises DVD. It will go up for auction along with memorabilia and documentation from Barris’ personal archives.
Nathalie Kay “Tippi” Hedren (born January 19, 1930) is an American actress and former fashion model. She is widely known for her roles in the Alfred Hitchcock films The Birds and Marnie (in which she played the title role), and her efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an 80-acre (320,000 m2) wildlife habitat which she founded in 1983.
For over 40 years, Hedren’s year of birth was reported to be 1935, although in 2004, she acknowledged that she was actually born in 1930. Hedren was born in New Ulm, Minnesota, the daughter of Bernard Carl and Dorothea Henrietta Hedren. Her father ran a small general store in the small town of Lafayette, Minnesota, and gave her the nickname “Tippi”.
Hedren had a successful modeling career from 1950 to 1961, appearing on covers of national magazines, such as Life magazine. She was discovered by Alfred Hitchcock, who was watching The Today Show when he saw Hedren in a commercial for a diet drink. Hitchcock was looking for his latest blonde lead in the wake of Grace Kelly’s retirement.
Hitchcock put Hedren through a then-costly $25,000 screen test, doing scenes from his previous films, such as Rebecca, Notorious and To Catch a Thief. He signed her to a multi-year exclusive personal contract, something he had done in the 1950’s with Vera Miles. Hitchcock’s plan to mould Hedren’s public image went so far as to carefully control her style of dressing and grooming. Hitchcock insisted for publicity purposes that her name should be printed only in single quotes, ‘Tippi’. The press mostly ignored this directive from the director, who felt that the single quotes added distinction and mystery to Hedren’s name. In interviews, Hitchcock compared his newcomer not only to her predecessor Grace Kelly but also to what he referred to as such “ladylike”, intelligent, and stylish stars of more glamorous eras as Irene Dunne and Jean Arthur.
Hitchcock directed Hedren in her debut film, The Birds. For the final attack scene in a second-floor bedroom, filmed on a closed set at Universal-International Studios, Hedren had been assured by Hitchcock that mechanical birds would be used. Instead, Hedren endured five solid days of prop men, protected by thick leather gloves, flinging dozens of live gulls, ravens and crows at her (their beaks clamped shut with elastic bands). Cary Grant visited the set and told Hedren, “I think you’re the bravest lady I’ve ever met.” In a state of exhaustion, when one of the birds gouged her cheek and narrowly missed her eye, Hedren sat down on the set and began crying. A physician ordered a week’s rest, which Hedren said at the time was riddled with “nightmares filled with flapping wings”. In 1964, Hedren received a Golden Globe Award for ‘Most Promising Newcomer – Female’.
That same year, she co-starred with Sean Connery in a second Hitchcock film, Marnie (1964), a romantic drama and psychological thriller from the novel by Winston Graham. She recalls it as her favourite of the two for the challenge of playing an emotionally battered young woman who travels from city to city assuming various guises in order to rob her employers. On release, the film was greeted by mixed reviews and indifferent box-office returns. Although Hitchcock continued to have Hedren in mind for several other films after Marnie, the actress declined any further work with him. Other directors who wanted to hire her had to go through Hitchcock, who would inform them she was unavailable. When Hedren tried to get out of her contract, she recalls Hitchcock telling her he’d ruin her career. “And he did: kept me under contract, kept paying me every week for almost two years to do nothing.”
On April 13, 2011, at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY, Hedren stated in an interview with Turner Classic Movies’ Ben Mankiewitz that because she refused Hitchcock’s sexual advances, Hitchcock effectively stunted her career. These events are the basis for the BBC/HBO film The Girl, featuring Sienna Miller as Hedren and toby Jones as Hitchcock, and which premiered on HBO Saturday, October 20, 2012. It was shown in the UK on Boxing Day 2012 on BBC2.
Check out this amazing CGI Sci-Fi short film written, directed and animated by by German Film Student Kaleb Lechowski.
Whannell was born in Melbourne, Australia, and believes that he inherited his love of storytelling from his mother and his fondness of filmmaking from his father (Whannell’s father was a cameraman in the television industry). A writer since childhood, Whannell worked as a reporter and film critic for several Australian television shows, including ABC’s Recovery, a Saturday morning youth-oriented program. Whannell has described the show in a 2011 blog post:
The result was that instead of following the usual MTV ideal of what teenagers want in a TV show—“Hey kids, coming up next we’ve got some seriously WICKED windsurfing moves!!”—Recovery managed to tap into the so-called “alternative” movement that was in full swing at the time by giving teenagers what they actually want: genuine, unpolished anarchy.
Whannell had originally auditioned for the host role, but was later employed as a reporter; Whannell’s first interview was with Jackie Chan and he has stated that “Recovery is the best job I’ve ever had …”
In 2003, Whannell appeared in a minor role in The Matrix Reloaded. While in film school, Whannell met James Wan, who would eventually go on to direct the horror film Saw (co-written by Wan and Whannell) in 2004. After making a short film to showcase the intensity of the script, the feature film was made and became a low-budget sleeper hit in late 2004. Whannell played Adam Stanheight in the film, one of the main characters. The popularity of Saw led to a sequel, Saw II, which was directed and co-written by another young horror filmmaker, Darren Lynn Bousman, and on which Whannell co-wrote and revised Bousman’s original script, titled The Desperate. Whannell also served as an executive producer.
Around the same time, Whannell returned to collaborate with Wan and they wrote a film called Dead Silence, which Wan directed. It was slated for a 2006 release, but small problems with the title pushed the release date back to March 2007. In 2006, the duo composed the story for Saw III, with Whannell writing the screenplay for the third time. It was again directed by Bousman and was released on 27 October 2006. Whannell has a featured cameo, reprising his role as Adam. Saw III was a huge financial success and raked in $33,610,391 on its opening weekend, making around $129,927,001 worldwide (after 38 days in cinemas) and is currently the most successful Saw film to date.
Whannell’s writing partner, Wan, was chosen to direct the film Death Sentence, the first feature film with their participation that they did not write themselves. Whannell has a small role as Spink in Death Sentence.
In 2008, Whannell took off his “writing hat” to perform alongside Nathan Phillips in Dying Breed, a low-budget Australian horror film about a team of zoologists exploring the Tasmanian wilderness to locate a creature thought extinct, the thylacine, aka Tasmanian tiger. Instead, they wander into the domain of cannibals who retain their infamous ancestor Alexander Pearce’s taste for human flesh, and become prey.
Before and during the production of Saw, Whannell sought medical treatment. “I was going through a bit of a tough time healthwise and suffering anxiety,” says Whannell. “The anxiety manifested itself in physical ways. I was suffering headaches everyday for nearly a year. It was serious stuff and really started affecting my life.” Spending time in a hospital inspired him to endow the lead antagonist of the Saw series, Jigsaw/John Kramer, with cancer. “It was weird to be 25 and sitting in a neurological ward and I’m surrounded by people who actually had brain tumors. It was very scary and it was my first proper look at mortality. I really wanted to get my health back and it really hammered home how important good health is. If you’ve got that, you’ve got everything.”
Whannell wrote the script for and acted in the 2011 paranormal thriller film, Insidious, which was directed by Wan and produced by Oren Peli of the Paranormal Activity franchise. A sequel, Insidious, Chapter 2 is due out in late 2013.
In relation to the Saw franchise, Whannell stated, also in 2011: It’s hard to say definitively, because we don’t own the copyright for it. The producers could make 10 more if they wanted to. But, if we’re to take them at face value, they told us that they were definitely done with it. They’re pretty exhausted. They’ve been making one a year every year for the past seven years, so I think they need some time off.
8:47 is a sci-fi drama that touches on the theory of what one would do if they had a second or even third chance to make things right. The short film plays with time travel and is tense from the get go.
The decision was made early on to shoot the film in one take. This technique added to the tension but also created many challenges. The approach was treated like a stage production where both cast and crew rehearsed intensively to ensure the story could flow.
The final result is a film that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat from beginning to end, no editing, no hidden wipes or transitions, just a straight sequence of intense performance and intricate choreography. It sounds and looks incredibly interesting, can’t wait for the film to hit the festival network.
Check out this interview with Rita Artman and Joe Spear of ArtSpear Entertainment, producers of independent comedy-horror: The Killage a wacky, fright-filled journey into the darkest recesses of the human intestines.
GEORDIE: Hi Guys, first of all thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about your recent feature release, the Australian horror film The Killage.
ARTSPEAR: Our pleasure.
GEORDIE: I’d like to start by asking you guys to give us a synopsis and let us know what to expect from The Killage?
ARTSPEAR: The Killage is a slasher comedy about twelve social stereotypes on a recreational work retreat who suddenly find themselves being inventively murdered by a psychopath in a wooden mask who may or may not be one of them. It’s a very typical slasher scenario but the irreverent, absurdist style of comedy is hopefully what sets it apart from other entries in the genre.
ARTSPEAR: The idea originated through practicality. Many independent production companies, certainly in Australia, start out making horror films because they’re cheap. Gore and scares are very cheap to produce compared to the material things other genres require. We aren’t fans of independent horror films however, so we wanted to do something different by making a comedy that takes the piss out of them. And by doing that, it gives you that excuse – “It looks like crap because that’s the type of film we’re sending up.”
GEORDIE: Combining horror and comedy is a difficult balance to get right, Return of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil did a great job by embracing the typical horror clichés and working with them, the Scary Movie franchise didn’t… from what I’m hearing The Killage is very much of the former, how difficult is it to get that balance just right?
ARTSPEAR: I think if you’re going to make a genre parody you need to know the genre very well – watch the quintessential examples and understand the common elements, the genre conventions – and then approach the writing task as the most jaded, cynical moviegoer you can imagine – the guy who’s seen it all before. Write for that person and turn all those conventions upside-down. I found it also helped to have characters in the film that spoke with that person’s voice – asking the questions that audiences always ask when they’re watching these films – “Why are you going into the dark attic alone to investigate that strange noise? Why don’t you come back later with two of your friends in the middle of the day?”. You still make them go in the attic alone, but as long as you let the audience know that you know that this is stupid, they’ll stay with you.
GEORDIE: The Australian film industry is either in a healthy state, or at deaths door, depending on who’s sound bite we hear from one week to the next. How difficult was it raising the capital in Australia to fund your feature? What is your take on the current state of the Australian film Industry?
ARTSPEAR: It wasn’t too difficult raising the money because it came directly from Joe’s savings and his parents. Fortunately the film was incredibly low budget and the cast and crew agreed to deferred payment. If you’re not willing to invest in yourself than no one else should be either. As for the Australian Film Industry, I’m not sure if it can be called an “industry”. I think a more accurate description would be a few pockets of talented people struggling to get their films made. There are many problems with filmmaking in Australia but I think the main one is that the film financing bodies are a joke. For some reason “genre film” is a dirty term to them. It seems that they’re concept of a thriving Australian film industry is one where everyone makes films about suburban outback blue-collar family drama, preferably with Aborigines. They’ll only support films that present the “Australian identity” (whatever the hell that is) or tell “Australian stories”. If you brought an idea for an exciting sci-fi film to them their response would be “What does this have to do with Australia? This is a Hollywood idea.” Never mind that sci-fi is the most successful film genre, historically. The reason why Hollywood is so great is because there’s no restrictions to the type of film you can get backing for – that’s why all our best and brightest leave to go there. Until the film financiers wake up and start supporting films based solely on the script and not on what they might do for the country’s tourism, the Australian Film Industry will not be in a healthy state.
GEORDIE: Australian film has a long history of quality horror films, from the classic schlocky 70’s and 80’s fare through to the box office success of Wolf Creek, and to a lesser extent the independent flicks such as The Tunnel and Redd Inc. What will The Killage add to the mix?
ARTSPEAR: The thing is, we don’t see The Killage as a horror – we see it as a comedy. And to be honest, I haven’t ever seen a quality Australian horror film. But that’s not to say that there aren’t any – I just haven’t see many Australian films, full stop. I guess what The Killage will add is something that can hopefully be appreciated both by people who like horror and by people who don’t.
GEORDIE: You guys seem to have had quite a dramatic shoot behind the camera, not least with Rita breaking her leg. Apart from broken bones, what have you learned not to do on your next project?
ARTSPEAR: We’ve learnt to schedule more time. That was the biggest problem on The Killage – we could rarely shoot more than one or two takes, we had to shoot in rain, without sleep – all because we didn’t have enough time, and that was because we could only afford to hire the camp for two weekends. We’re amazed the film got completed. We also learnt to put more care into audio. The entire final soundtrack ended up as ADR and foley (sound recorded in post-production) because the on-set audio was mostly unusable, due to rain and low-quality equipment on the second weekend. It was a huge undertaking to record each actor’s dialogue again, but surprisingly it ended up helping the film because it gave us something we didn’t have on location: takes. So in the case of audio at least, we had the time to refine the performances.
ARTSPEAR: Australiens is a sci-fi action comedy about aliens who come to Earth and attack Australia, much to the confusion of the rest of the world. The story is told from the perspective of 27-year-old Andi Gibson, who had a close encounter with a flying saucer when she was ten and now believes she is Earth’s only hope for survival – a belief not shared by her hypochondriac brother Elliot, ex-boxer cousin Keith, documentarian friend Cam and embarrassing father Dennis, who reluctantly join her in her quest to stop the invaders.
The film should be an entertaining blend of outrageous sci-fi spectacle and absurdist character comedy. We have a Pozible page which has achieved it’s target, anyone who wishes to lend support to the film can check it out here: http://www.pozible.com/australiensfilm
GEORDIE: The Killage has had a few festival screenings already, when and where can we get a copy? (I’ll post a link to your website here, if you have any other suggestions I’m happy to post more links).
ARTSPEAR: The Killage is being distributed by Monster Pictures – here’s a link to where you can buy direct: http://monsterpictures.com.au/shop/the-killage Other than that it should be available in all major DVD retailers, although you may need to request that they order in a copy.
GEORDIE: You guys are obviously big horror fans, what is your favourite classic horror film, when you first saw it, why it’s still a favourite; and any new releases that have impressed you?
ARTSPEAR: My favourite horror film is The Thing (1982), which we actually make a direct reference to in The Killage. I first saw it on TV I think when I was 12 and I remember, even in these days of computer graphics, being absolutely blown away by the practical effects. It has all the best elements of the genre – isolation in a hostile environment, the mystery and intrigue of discovering the aftermath of a prior encounter, increasing paranoia and distrust, a truly unique and spectacular creature, and a bleak and tantalisingly ambiguous ending. That, and it has two perfectly-designed big jump moments – anyone who’s seen the film will know what they are – and they caught me completely off-guard the first time I saw it. My other favourites would have to be the original Alien and The Fly.All three films benefit from the understanding that what’s more terrifying than encountering a hideous creature is becoming a hideous creature (or giving birth to one).
GEORDIE: My thanks to Rita and Joe for taking the time to contribute to this article during what is a very busy time on production of their next feature Australiens.
Only 4 weeks left… and counting…