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Hugh Jackman Reveals Wolverine Almost Cameoed In Raimi’s First SPIDER-MAN

Posted on 10 September 2013 by Rich Drees


Marvel Studios has been very successful with their intertwined superhero franchises that make up their Marvel Cinematic Universe. But they were almost beaten to the punch in having their superhero franchises crossover with each other by a few years by Sony Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox.

According to the X-Men franchise’s Hugh Jackman, his mutant hero character Wolverine almost made an appearance in Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man. Speaking with the Huffington Post, Jackman explained -

In the first “Spider-Man” — Kevin Feige reminded me of this — we really tried to get me to come on and do something, whether it was a gag or just to walk through the shot or something. The problem was, we couldn’t find the suit. The suit was stuck in something. And so when they were in New York when I was there, we couldn’t get it together.

So, you know, I actually asked some high level people about it. Because the optimist in me goes, “Why not? Why can’t we do it? You know, a split cast or whatever?” And someone reminded that the amount of money Fox paid compared to the amount of money Disney paid is very different [laughs]. So how you split that pie up? God knows. But in the comic books, what’s great about it is they’re just mashing together all the time — and it’s awesome. And people are like, “Yeah, well, let’s get this one with that!” And, you know, I still think, one day, there may be an ability to do it.

Let’s stop and think about this for a moment. Sony would have their two superhero franchises cross over six years before Marvel Studios launched their Cinematic Universe with the first Iron Man film.

If this had come about, how would fans reacted? They most likely would have lost their collective minds, much like they did with Sam Jackman’s reveal in Iron Man‘s now famous post-credit scene. But with Spider-Man’s film rights owned by Sony Pictures and the X-Men owned by Twentieth Century Fox, any further links between the two series, including a proper Team-Up (pun intended) between them would probably be out of the question.

Today, though, there has been hints that the X-Men franchise may interact with Fox’s other superhero franchise, The Fantastic Four, once that series gets rebooted in 2015.

Of course, before Wolverine almost showed up in Spider-Man, the wallcrawler almost showed up in the first X-Men film, thanks to this on-set practical joke.

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Watch Some Rare Behind-The-Scenes Footage Of Jerry Lewis’s Unreleased Film THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED

Posted on 11 August 2013 by Rich Drees

Some people have called Jerry Lewis’s holocaust drama The Day The Clown Cried a lost film in that it has never been seen by the public. I suppose it is in a sense, but am reluctant to give it that tag as it has gone unseen more due to legal problems keeping it in a vault rather than through any casual neglect that resulted in no prints for the title in continued existence.

(You can read an in depth explanation of those legal problems, as well as a review of the film’s screenplay in our script review here.)

But one thing is for sure. The Day The Clown Cried is probably at the top of almost all serious film fans of unavailable titles that they would love to have a chance to see. And while a nearly complete version of the film lies tucked away in a safe in Jerry Lewis’s office, a sequence from an old Dutch television show on Lewis has surfaced on YouTube that shows the comic/director in the process of shooting the film. The sequences we do get to see are from early in the film, centering on Lewis’s German circus clown character Helmut Doork before he is caught making fun of Adolf Hilter and sent off to a concentration camp where he is forced to entertain children on their way to the gas chamber.

The clowning that we see Lewis do is fairly benign and out of context I can’t tell if it is supposed to portray Doork as just a middling talent or if Lewis is not actually bringing anything funny to the scene. I would imagine that there is a clue to be found though in a 1992 Spy magazine piece on the film titled “Jerry Goes To Death Camp!” Comedian Harry Shearer, through a series of fortuitous connections, was able to see the film explained what he saw thusly -

With most of these kinds of things, you find that the anticipation, or the concept, is better than the thing itself. But seeing this film was really awe-inspiring, in that you are rarely in the presence of a perfect object. This was a perfect object. This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is. “Oh My God!” – that’s all you can say… if you flew down to Tijuana and suddenly saw a painting on black velvet of Auschwitz. You’d just think ‘My God, wait a minute! It’s not funny, and it’s not good, and somebody’s trying too hard in the wrong direction to convey this strongly-held feeling.

Shearer elaborated on his experience with the view on the Howard Stern radio show in 1990s.

I am sure that Lewis started off on the project in 1971 with the intention of doing something he thought would highlight both his comedic and hitherto untapped dramatic abilities but vanity and ego blinded him to what a train wreck in the making the project was becoming. But it seems that over the years, Lewis has become more clearheaded about what the film that was made. While he ignores the legal aspect tying up the film’s release, he in the below excerpt from a public question and answer this past January, he is brutally honest about his own estimation of his work.

Via Bleeding Cool.

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Posted on 27 June 2013 by Rich Drees


I would wager that when Monsters University opened last weekend that more than a few people were not just watching the film for itself but also for the numerous in-jokes that animators at Pixar Studios like to include into their output.

For the uninitiated, Pixar animators have made it a tradition to include little nods and winks to not only past films, but to upcoming ones as well. The folks at EW got Pixar to show us where three of these Easter Eggs.

The first, is the number A113, a reference to the Cal Arts classroom where Pixar head honcho John Lasseter and others received their first instruction that set them on the course to where they are now. The second Easter Egg is the familiar Pizza Planet truck, a mainstay of Pixar features all the way back to its appearance in the first Toy Story movie. But the third reference goes back even further to one of the company’s very shorts, Luxo Jr., and the toy ball that becomes the plaything for two lamps.

Now there is one hidden reference to the upcoming Pixar film Dinosaurs, but that film’s director, Bob Peterson, will only confirm that it is there but not where. keep your eyes peeled.




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Dr. Strangelove Or: How Stanley Kubrick Learned To Stop Worrying And Name His Film

Posted on 01 April 2013 by Rich Drees


Shakespeare may have said that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, but that doesn’t mean that finding the right name for something is any less an arduous task.

Take Star Wars, for instance. George Lucas at one point planned on encumbering his space opera with the rather awful The Adventures Of Luke Starkiller, As Taken From The Journal Of The Whills – Saga I: Star Wars. A decade or so earlier, one of Lucas’s idols, Stanley Kubrick, found himself in a similar predicament. He was in the midst of adapting Peter George’s Cold War thriller Red Alert into a satire about nuclear war and felt that the book’s title wasn’t sufficient to convey what his film was about. So he sat down and started jotting ideas into a notebook, the results of which you can see below. It is interesting to see him experimenting with the format and the number of permutations of words he went through to find just the right combination. I suppose that it would be more informative about his creative process if he had just written each idea down in a straight column, but then again Kubrick was really never one to let people into his thoughts on how he made his films.


I have to admit that out all of the ones seen here, my two favorites are The Passion Of Dr. Strangelove and Dr. Strangelove’s The Secret Uses Of Uranus, though I could see that second one attracting an entirely different kind of audience.

Via Lists Of Note.

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Weekend Read: Classic Comedies And Film Restoration

Posted on 24 March 2013 by Rich Drees

kim-novak-vertigoThe Weekend Read is weekly roundup of some top notch film articles that we think deserve your attention.

Sam Raimi’s Oz, The Great And Powerful is still doing some gangbuster business in its third weekend of release with the prequel to the literary The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz being poised to easily pass the $200 million mark in domestic ticket sales over the coming week. But what of other cinematic trips over the rainbow to author L. Frank Baum’s magical land? Over at the George Eastman House blog, there is a short post about how the museum is preserving not only the original Technicolor camera negatives to the classic 1939 MGM The Wizard Of Oz but also their preservation of the only known print of a silent 1910 Wizard Of Oz film.

And speaking of film restoration, Some Came Running has an excellent, in depth interview with British film restorationist James White about his work in preserving the likes of Hitchcock’s silent thriller Blackmail and Lucio Fulci’s notorious Zombi. The conversation covers the transition from the more traditional methods of photochemical film restoration to work that is now being all done in the digital realm and what dilemmas that can pose for those doing the work.

And while digital distribution and presentation is clearly the future of the moviegoing experience, Open Space, the blog at the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art extolls the virtues of the film print by talking about their first viewing of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo in its original imbibition Technicolor format.

And to finish things up, the New York Times has an appreciation of the nearly forgotten comedy duo of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey to coincide with the release of the nine film Wheeler & Woolsey: RKO Comedy Classics Collection from the Warner Archives Collection. If you have a love for other early film comedy the likes of Laurel and Hardy you should find something to like here. The Warner Archive has also posted a portion of the films online.

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Shooting X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE Was “A Political Minefield”

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Rich Drees

Hugh Jackman and director Gavin Hood on the set of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.

Hugh Jackman and director Gavin Hood on the set of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.

It has been no secret that former 20th Century Fox honcho Tom Rothman liked to put his two cents into the production of various comic book adaptations put out by his studio. But filmmakers have been rather loathe to discuss it probably out of concern about working at the studio again. And audiences were left with the results – films like The Fantastic Four and X-Men Origins: Wolverine that didn’t live up to their expectations and weren’t particularly liked by critics.

Perhaps spurred on by Rothman’s retirement at the end of last year, cinematographer Don McAlpine, who shot X-Men Origins: Wolverine for director Gavin Hood, has come out in a recent interview with the Australian Cinematographer’s Society’s AU Magazine, and described the shooting of the film as a “political minefield.”

I think basically one of my main functions on that film was to help Gavin through the political minefield that he’d found himself in the midst of. You know, a first time director at any of the major studios is just considered “game”! [laughs]

And so we had an endless struggle to try and make the film that he wanted. I mean they actually asked him to do this Wolverine as more of an adult drama. And of course after the first week they realised they didn’t want that, and they wanted it to be just the classic kiddies’ action movie. So to still make a presentable movie and stay employed by the studios was quite an interesting battle.

It will be interesting to see if any other filmmakers come forward with their own stories of working with the studio and how that affected the final product. It should also be interesting to see if that with Rothman’s departure there will be a change in how management deals with its talent who are making the films.

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1982 Exec Notes Complained BLADE RUNNER “Gets Worse Every Screening”

Posted on 15 March 2013 by Rich Drees

There are times when you watch a new film and you instantly know that it is going to be considered a classic. And there are sometimes when you just don’t realize it. That’s the position that Tandem Productions’ Jerry Perenchio, Bud Yorkin, and Robin French were in when they began reviewing rough cuts of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Although they presumably read the screenplay that Scott brought them to finance, they certainly seemed to be disappointed in the film that Scott returned with if the recently discovered studio notes are any indication.

Reddit user VanTrashcan (via SlashFilm) has brought the sheet of notes from an early 1982 screening of the film to the internet’s attention and boy were these guys not impressed with what they saw. Rough comments range from “This voice over is terrible, the audience will fall asleep,” to “Why did they put in more slow motion in Zhora’s death?” to “This movie gets worse every screening.” Damn.

What’s really interesting is that these notes are from the screening of what is Scott’s third edit and the producers are still not happy with what was being turned in. There’s some brief discussion about taking the film out of Scott’s hands and assigning another editor on the film, which leads to speculation as to how disastrous that would have worked out.


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Mickey Mouse’s STAR WARS Cameo

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Rich Drees

StarWarsLogoThere is a long history of hiding Mickey Mouse in various Disney films from 1982’s TRON to various Pixar films. But this is probably the first time that a Mickey Mouse cameo has been discovered in a film from three decades before it became the property of Disney.

The blog at the official Star Wars site has discovered something in a handful of background scenes in The Empire Strikes Back – computer displays that resemble Mickey’s silhouette. You can see them in the screen grabs below.

Now, I don’t think that anyone is saying that George Lucas was already hinting that he was thinking about selling his Lucasfilm empire to the House of Mouse way back then. It’s just a fun coincidence. Hopefully you’ve gotten a chuckle out of it like I did.


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A Look At Some Concept Art That Killed A Version Of JURASSIC PARK 4

Posted on 10 October 2012 by Rich Drees

Paramount would love a new Jurassic Park film. The first three have proved popular and profitable enough that it seems like a no-brainer to continue the series and there have been on-and-off attempts to bring a fourth installment to the screen, though they have all stalled out.

Perhaps the most infamous attempt was one back in 2005 that featured dinosaurs genetically modified with dog and human DNA to create a very deadly hybrid by a mysterious corporation. The screenplay, which does sound like it owes at least a small debt to the similarly themed Alien: Resurrection (1997), was by John Sayles and a pre-The Departed William Monahan and the studio was reportedly interested in pursuing this story. But that changed once they saw the dino-human concept art created by concept artist Carlos Huante and sculptor Andrew Cawrse. While I am sure that the cost to realize the hybrids on screen was a factor in their decision, I have to think that they just thought the concept was too strange for audiences to accept. You be the judge by looking at some of the concept art that has started to pop up online over the last day or so (via Jurassic Park Legacy).

At last check, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver were the most recent to be given a chance to revive the series. In the meantime, we have the 3D re-release of Jurassic Park to look forward to next April 5.

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Posted on 08 October 2012 by Rich Drees

Some filmmakers like to drop little hints that some or even all of their films exist in a shared universe. The most obvious examples of this are the films of Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino as well as the Marvel Studios superhero films.

But is Ridley Scott silently creating a cohesive future history with his own science-fiction films? He could be based on this screenshot from the blu-ray release of Prometheus, Scott’s latest film. We know that the film is a functioning prequel to the Alien series, which Scott launched, but it appears now that it is also linked to his 1980 science-fiction classic Blade Runner.

Let’s look at the facts. Blade Runner is set in 2019. Prometheus is set seventy years later in 2089. The writer of the memo is Peter Weyland (Guy Pierce), who, given his advanced age in Prometheus, could very well be over 100. And it is very obvious to anyone who has seen Blade Runner (And you have, haven’t you?) that the memo is referring to the Blade Runner character of Dr. Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel).

This wouldn’t be the first time that a creator retro-actively included several thought to be separate works into a shared universe. Towards the end of his career, science-fiction grandmaster Isaac Asimov managed to link his up-until-that-point individual Robot and Galactic Empire/Foundation series of short stories and novels.

Granted, this could just be the inclusion of a joke by a graphics designer on the film, but there is a certain amount of fun in the thought that the two are actually related. And with Scott actively developing both Prometheus and Blade Runner follow-ups, perhaps we’ll see more connections in the future.

Via Live For Films.

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