DWAYNE JOHNSON TRACKS DOWN VIN DIESEL, PAUL WALKER FOR ‘FAST FIVE’

dwaynepic1 The action-drama Faster failed to rev up movie audiences last year (it made a little over $23 million domestically), but Dwayne Johnson should reach a wider audience with Fast Five, the latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise.  The 2009 picture Fast & Furious took in over $350 million worldwide, and the addition of Johnson could see those numbers substantially increase.

Johnson, who put on 30 pounds of muscle for the picture, is Hobbs, a federal agent tasked to take down Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker), who have teamed up to orchestrate a $100 million heist. Shooting locations on Fast Five included stops in Rio de Janeiro, Puerto Rico, and Atlanta.  The 2009 Nissan 370Z, 1972 De Tomaso Pantera, 1993 Toyota Supra, and the 2007 Corvette GS Roadster are among the vehicles featured in the film.

Click on the media bar and listen to Johnson talk about Hobb’s personal code.

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Fast Five, which also stars Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Tyrese Gibson, opens Friday.

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi

STEPHEN DORFF SAYS ‘IMMORTALS’ SET WAS “HUMONGOUS”

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During interviews for Sofia Coppola’s film Somewhere, Stephen Dorff shed some light on the upcoming movie Immortals (opening November 11th).  Expect tons of beautiful images from the picture, which is directed by visualist Tarsem Singth. Plus, the lead is Man of Steel actor Henry Cavill, so fans unfamiliar with the actor’s work can judge if he has enough presence to fill Superman’s shoes.

Immortals is kind of like, if you look at the Star Wars set up it’s kind of like I’m Han Solo, Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) is Princess Leia, this kid Henry Cavill plays the young Theseus and we kind of go after this evil king played by Mickey Rourke,” said Dorff. “It’s a sword and sandal movie, but I think it will be quite different.  I think we will do justice to the 3D world as opposed to one of these films that are just converted to get on the bandwagon.  Tarsem shoots 3D when it wants it to be in 3D, he shoots real 35 (mm) when he wants it to be in 35.  It should be a visual splendor that will hopefully deliver something more than the normal film.”

Click on the media bar and listen to Dorff talk about the “humongous” sets on Immortals, which also co-stars Kellan Lutz and Luke Evans.

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi

BLAKE SHELTON SHEDS LIGHT ON ‘THE VOICE’ BATTLE ROUND AND HIS FELLOW JUDGES

NUP_143901_0076.JPG The new singing competition series The Voice aired Tuesday evening, but TV fans who missed the premiere episode can catch the encore tonight (NBC, 9 pm et/pt).  The project features Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, and Adam Levine coaching a group of talented singers, with the winning artist taking home $100,000 and a recording contract.

Blake Shelton sat down to talk about what audiences can expect from the upcoming battle rounds of The Voice. “One of the levels we’ve already gone through is the battle round and you can see that the contestants for the most part, a lot of them have been good friends already,” said Shelton. “Because they’re working with each other.  They’re not working in a room by themselves.  We’ve paired them together and they become friends.  And a lot of them develop this chemistry with each other and then they have to separate.  I bet what you will see after this show is the ones that don’t continue to go on will probably get reacquainted again and maybe try some duo things or groups.”

Click on the media bar and listen to Blake Shelton elaborate on how he has bonded with the three other judges on The Voice

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi

‘SYMPATHY FOR DELICIOUS’ DIRECTOR MARK RUFFALO LEAVES L.A. FOR UPSTATE JOURNEY

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Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island, The Kids Are All Right) makes his directing debut with Sympathy for Delicious, a drama about Dean (Christopher Thornton, who also penned the screenplay) a DJ whose promising career fades after an accident leaves him paralyzed.  When Dean discovers he has the power to heal others, Father Joe Roselli (Ruffalo) persuades him to use his miraculous gifts for the greater good.  Unable to heal everyone but himself, Dean joins a rock band (Orlando Bloom and Juliette Lewis are members of the group) and temporarily turns his back on humanity.

“That’s what I love about filmmaking, it brings us together,” said Ruffalo, who has been close friends with Thornton for over twenty years.  “And so if I found something great, that expressed something…I’m more of a humanist than anything really.  I’m on the side of people.  If I find stories like that, that I think are effective, then I will do it.  I’m just looking out for interesting stories, you know?”

After working on The Kids Are All Right, Ruffalo took time off from acting and moved his family to upstate New York.  Click on the media bar and listen to Ruffalo explain why he left Los Angeles for the East Coast.

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  Sympathy for Delicious, which received a Special Jury Prize for Directing at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, opens in select theaters Friday.

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi

JODIE FOSTER KNOWS THE “RAW SIDE” OF ‘THE BEAVER’ STAR MEL GIBSON

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Actress/filmmaker Jodie Foster has been a lifelong fan of director Louis Malle’s (Murmur of the Heart, Atlantic City) films, and she shares the late filmmaker’s love of personal, intimate, and ultimately evocative, storytelling.  The Beaver, opening in limited release May 6th, is Foster’s strongest directing work to date, with Mel Gibson delivering an inspired performance as a mentally unstable toy executive who talks to people through a hand puppet.

Originally set up as a project for director Jay Roach and Steve Carell, The Beaver required a lead actor who could deftly handle comedy and tragedy, and Foster believes Gibson was the perfect fit.  “I think he has an exceptional quality that is very difficult to find in actors,” said Foster, who co-starred with Gibson in Richard Donner’s film Maverick. “He has a light touch.  He can do things that require a lot of wit and he knew the charm of what The Beaver could be, but he also is somebody who really understands struggle. And that’s the part of me that knows him personally.  He’s somebody who’s really articulate about struggle and who has his own demons wants to change.  The actor had to be able to embrace both things. I know the raw side of Mel and I feel like I know the sensitive side of Mel.  And I’m lucky, because when you get to know somebody, you get to know that part of them.”

Foster was rather candid as she detailed The Beaver’s arduous post production , which she described as one of the most challenging moments in her career.  “It was really hard getting the movie right,” added Foster, who will be seen next year in the Roman Polanski movie God of Carnage. “It was hard getting anyone to understand what I was trying to do.”  Click on the media bar and listen to the director elaborate on the film, as she gives her thoughts on Gibson’s performance and explains why she is not a mainstream filmmaker.

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi

HILARY SWANK PUTS ON PRODUCER’S HAT FOR ‘SOMETHING BORROWED’

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Two-time Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank is a producer on the new romantic comedy Something Borrowed, a picture based on the bestselling novel by Emily Giffin.

During interviews to promote Something Borrowed, Swank discussed her familiarity with the picture’s two leads, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson. “I knew both of them just being in the same world, but we weren’t friends,” said Swank, who developed the project with her producing partner Molly Mickler Smith. “I knew them from the red carpet and I was closer with Kate than Ginnifer. You’re acquaintances with a lot of people in the business and I have been doing it over half of my life, so I pretty much know everybody.  I know them but I don’t know them.  It wasn’t like I was just introduced to them on this film. But when you work together, you build a relationship and we’re all closer now and we have each other’s phone numbers and we talk every once in a while.  It’s great, especially because we’re women and I like to be supportive of women.  I think they are certainly like that as well.”

Click on media bar and listen to Swank talk about what made this producing venture a “fun” and “challenging” process for the actress.  Something Borrowed, co-starring John Krasinski, opens May 6th.

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi