Summer Night centers on a group of twentysomethings over a 24 hour period in a small Northern California town as they deal with their respective relationships and their growing steps towards adulthood. The film marks the feature directing debut of actor Joseph Cross (Running with Scissors, Big Little Lies).
With a talented cast that includes Victoria Justice, Analeigh Tipton, and Justin Chatwin, it’s Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood) who serves as the narrative’s central figure. Jameson (Coltrane) is a teacher who, while juggling feelings for his ex-girlfriend (Elena Kampouris) and a new love interest (Justice), feels a bit stagnant in his own life.
“Ellar just has this intrinsic thing where you want to watch him and spend time with him,” said Cross. “He’s got a meditative spirit and I thought that was the right person, he’s obviously not our narrator but he’s a little bit of our de facto eyes into the world in this storyline. We had a really good time.”
Click on the media bar to hear Joseph Cross talk about how Summer Night is not your average coming of age tale:
Directed and shot by Richard Ladkani, Sea of Shadows centers on the multi-pronged attempts to save the vaquita porpoise, an endangered species that lives in the Sea of Cortez. Illegal nets are cast in the ocean to catch totoaba, a fish whose swim bladders are sold on the black market. With the Sinaloa drug cartel and Chinese traffickers involved in this operation, saving the vaquita seems like an uphill battle.
One of the greatest strengths of Sea of Shadows is its aim to be more than just a talking head documentary. Ladkani along with editors George Michael Fisher and Verena Schönauer spent ten months editing the documentary. “When I do a film, especially about a tough topic when it’s about the extinction and saving our planet, I really want to focus on the positive sides of the story. I look for heroes,” said Ladkani “I look for inspiration. And I also want to make the movie very cinematic and a beautiful experience.”
Click on the media bar to hear Ladkani talk about his continued collaboration with Earth League International’sAndrea Crosta (the pair worked together on the Netflix documentary The Ivory Game):
Bethany Joy Lenz (One Tree Hill) stars in Pearson as city attorney Keri Allen, the woman who is the boss of Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres). If you have seen any episode of Suits, you know that Pearson is her own person, which obviously causes friction between the two!
“Suits is more of a procedural in that way,” said Lenz. “There’s more of an issue that needs to be resolved and I love that about Suits. One of the things I love about this show is we get to really go for a ride with these characters and we get to take the time to watch every layer of the onion get peeled back. There are issues that need to be resolved but it’s less about following the story per episode as it is creating characters than the audience can connect with.”
Click on the media bar to hear Lenz discuss the research she did for her role in Pearson.
Pearson airs Wednesday evenings on USA Network (10/9c).
Executive produced by Sam Raimi and directed by Alexandre Aja (Horns), Crawlcenters on a woman named Haley (Kaya Scodelario) who ignores evacuation orders to search for her missing dad (Barry Pepper). The pair thankfully reunite, but unfortunately gators are also on the hunt for some food in these Florida floodwaters!
This horror thriller is a rare release these days in a theater dominated by superhero driven and family friendly animated flicks, and Crawl has received its share of first rate reviews. The 87-minute feature, budgeted at $13.5 million, should turn a profit for Paramount if word of mouth keeps it in theaters for several weeks.
Click on the media bar to hear Alexandre Aja elaborate on why he immediately connected to Crawl:
Aja’s other directing credits include Mirrors and Piranha 3D.
In The Farewell, Awkwafina plays Billi, an Asian American who heads to China after learning her grandmother (Shuzhen Zhao) is dying of cancer. The catch is the grandmother’s entire family is reuniting under the guise of an impending wedding, as they believe that disclosing the information would only make her final days stressful. Directed by Lulu Wang, the film has received its share of critical acclaim.
Tzi Ma and Diana Lin are equally effective as Billi’s parents Haiyan and Jian, as each of these characters have their own way of dealing with the situation. During my chat with the actors I asked them if an extended rehearsal process was needed for the project.
“No nothing like that,” said Ma. “We didn’t have much rehearsal at all, but we have the distinct advantage of Lulu’s mom and dad being present. They were very accessible to us. We had the opportunity to spend time with them in a very meaningful way. They were always there to help us and answer the questions that needed to be answered.”
“We really didn’t need it,” added Lin. “All we needed was to know more about our character and about this family. Especially when we’re digging up something really deep between the mother, the family, and the father. Actually we got a lot. We got to know them so much more than . . . actually we said, ‘Lulu, we know your parents more than you.’ They openly gave us anything we wanted to know about their life story, their relationships, and everything really.”
For the complete interview with Lin and Ma, check out CinemAddicts. Click on the media bar to hear Tzi Ma discuss what makes Lulu Wang a unique filmmaker:
The stars were out on Tuesday evening to celebrate the premiere of The Lion King. The screening took place at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, and the voice of Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) was on hand to talk about his own fandom for the iconic feature.
“I saw it in a theater and it was really mind blowing,” said Rogen, who was seen earlier this year opposite Charlize Theron in Long Shot. “I think people aren’t quite ready by how visually incredible it is and I think the marketing has been really alluding to it but really getting to sit in it for a long time is a wonderful experience.”
Click on the media bar to hear Rogen talk about how it is a “badge of honor” to be a part of The Lion King experience:
The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau and featuring Donald Glover as the voice of Simba, hits theaters July 19.