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Gemini Man's Digital Effects Supervisor Bill Westenhofer On the Future of CGI

Rosie Fletcher Oct 12, 2019

We spoke to Ang Lee's collaborator Bill Westenhofer about the art of creating multiple Will Smiths for Gemini Man.

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

Actors have been playing opposite themselves for decades – think Alec Guinness killing himself again and again in 1949's Kind Hearts and Coronets. But Ang Lee's new film Gemini Man takes things to a whole new level, pitting Will Smith against a wholly digital recreation of his younger self on the screen.

Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer worked closely with Lee to bring the 23-year-old 'Junior' Smith to life. Den of Geek spoke to him about working on these challenging new effects, and what they might mean for the future of the industry.

First of all, can you take us back to the beginning – how long were you working on this project? Did you ever have any doubts when
See full article at Den of Geek »

How the ‘Gemini Man’ VFX Team Digitally Created a Younger Version of Will Smith

  • Variety
How the ‘Gemini Man’ VFX Team Digitally Created a Younger Version of Will Smith
More human than human — yes, that’s a “Blade Runner” reference — yet it sounds like an unattainable standard when it comes to creating believable, photorealistic, digital human characters. But the visual effects team on Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” set its sights on something even more difficult: creating a digital version of young Will Smith that was just as human as the actor, with all the quirks, visual idiosyncrasies and subtleties that make a thespian believable on the big screen.

Adding to the degree of difficulty: Lee decided to shoot the movie in a high-frame-rate format — as he did for “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” — a conceit that’s less forgiving than other formats for VFX because there’s almost no motion blur, which can help hide some of the trickery.

Pulling off the task requires extreme attention to a wide range of variables. “It’s what I call
See full article at Variety »

'Joker,' 'The Man Who Laughs' and the Birth of a Villain

“What a lucky clown you are! You don’t have to wipe off your laugh,” one clown says to a second. This second clown, Gwynplaine, bows his head into shadows, masking the permanent grin stretched across his face in a failed attempt to convey, if not sadness, then anything other than mirth, joy and laughter. Though often classified as a horror movie, The Man Who Laughs (1928) stretches wider than that. Paul Leni’s silent film, based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, is a romantic melodrama steeped in German expressionism and body horror. Universal’s ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

Tiff 2019: Part III: My List of 34 Must-See Films

Tiff 2019: Part III: My List of 34 Must-See Films
Of my list of 34 Must-Sees for the Toronto International Film Festival 2019, how many did I actually see, what other films did I see and what else? The list was based on my personal interests, not on commercial value or what I guess will be voted “The Best”. Here are my notes from this list.

1.Les Miserables directed by Ladj Ly. Les Misérables isn’t based on Victor Hugo’s classic story, but it’s set in the same region in France and has the spirit of the original. Ly originally directed an acclaimed short in 2017 of the same name that set the stage for this larger feature focused on police brutality and crime. This is a powerful, powerful film coming from the inner city of Paris. The relationship between the cops and the youth deteriorates beyond repair. Opening with a new cop being introduced to the neighborhood where the high school is called Victor Hugo,
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Oscars: Cannes Jury Prize Winner ‘Les Misérables’ To Fly Flag For France In International Film Race

  • Deadline
Oscars: Cannes Jury Prize Winner ‘Les Misérables’ To Fly Flag For France In International Film Race
Ladj Ly’s politically charged urban drama Les Miserables has been chosen to represent France in the Best International Feature Film category at the 92nd Oscars. The Cannes Jury Prize winner also recently played Toronto and is opening the Colcoa fest in Los Angeles at the DGA this Monday. It will release in the U.S. via Amazon on January 10 after closing one of the biggest domestic deals ever for a French-language movie last May.

Ly, who was a rare first-timer in the Cannes Competition, as well as a Deadline One To Watch this year, wrote and directed Les Misérables which was inspired by the by the 2005 Paris riots, and Ly’s César-nominated short film of the same name. It takes a provocative look into the tensions between neighborhood residents and police, centering on Stéphane (Damien Bonnard), who has recently joined the anti-crime brigade in Montfermeil, the Paris suburb where
See full article at Deadline »

Ladj Ly’s Cannes Prize-Winner ‘Les Miserables’ Is France’s Oscar Submission

  • Variety
Ladj Ly’s Cannes Prize-Winner ‘Les Miserables’ Is France’s Oscar Submission
Ladj Ly’s politically charged drama “Les Miserables,” which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, has been chosen by France’s Oscar committee to enter the international feature film race.

In one of the most competitive years for French movies, “Les Miserables” beat out Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the 18th-century-set romance which won best screenplay at Cannes. Also falling short was Alice Winocour’s “Proxima,” which opened at Toronto in the competitive Platform section and received an honorable mention. The film stars Eva Green as an astronaut preparing for a mission that will separate her from her young daughter.

Les Miserables,” which was bought by Amazon for the U.S., earned stellar reviews at Cannes, including in Variety, whose review said the film “simmers with urgent anger over police brutality” and compared Ly’s work to that of Spike Lee.

The movie just had its
See full article at Variety »

Oscars: France Selects 'Les Miserables' for International Feature Film Category

France has selected Ladj Ly's Les Miserables, as its official submission for the Best International Feature category to the 92nd Academy Awards.

The modern-day update of the Victor Hugo classic, Les Miserables premiered in Cannes this year, where it won the Jury Prize. The film beat out the other two titles on France's Oscar shortlist this year: Celine Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which won the Best Screenplay award in Cannes, and Alice Winocour's Proxima, starring Eva Green and Matt Dillon, which just premiered in Toronto.

Oscar-winner Roman Polanski's An Officer and a Spy was conspicuously left of ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

Pretty When You Cry: Isabelle Adjani's Tragic Heroines

  • MUBI
Camille ClaudelIt seems impossible to talk about Isabelle Adjani without mentioning her eyes. Round, blue, and prone to tears, Adjani’s eyes are filled with a heartbreaking expressiveness reminiscent of the actresses of the silent film era. A series collecting some of Adjani’s most memorable performances, now playing at New York’s French Institute Alliance Française, is titled (obviously) “Magnetic Gaze.” The 10-film series offers a sampling of her work, from her breakthrough as the title character in François Truffaut’s The Story of Adèle H. (1975), a haunting portrait of l’amour fou, to her most recent role in—of all things—an action comedy, Romain Gavras’s The World is Yours (2018). Adjani is extra. She works a close-up with an intensity few actresses can surpass. When she tears up, so do we. While “Magnetic Gaze” is missing some canonical Adjani films the collection here shows the actress at her most emotionally volatile.
See full article at MUBI »

"Joker" Goes Wild - New Footage

Winner of a 'Golden Lion' Best Picture award at the 'Venice Film Festival', Warners' R-rated live-action "Joker" movie is already stirring up controversy for its glorification of a homicidal 'anti-hero' in a dark drama rife with mental illness, urban decay, big-city alienation and fascist, left-wing anti-capitalism:

"...'Joker' is a movie about homicidal narcissist 'Arthur' (Phoenix) who feels entitled to the world's attention — a man who'd rather kill for a good laugh than allow the world to treat him like its punchline.

"It is also a movie about the dehumanizing effects of a capitalistic system that greases the economic ladder, blurring the line between private wealth and personal worth until life itself loses its absolute value..."

"...the movie's cracks — and it's practically all cracks — are stuffed with phony philosophy. 'Joker' is dark only in a stupidly adolescent way, but it wants us to think it's imparting subtle political or cultural wisdom.
See full article at SneakPeek »

In ‘Joker,’ Joaquin Phoenix Wanted to Create a Character ‘That Wasn’t Identifiable’

  • Variety
In ‘Joker,’ Joaquin Phoenix Wanted to Create a Character ‘That Wasn’t Identifiable’
Joaquin Phoenix, whose star turn in “Joker” is already generating awards buzz, said he “wanted the freedom to create something that wasn’t identifiable” and did not let himself be influenced by any previous versions of the character or pin him down as a familiar type.

“What was so attractive about this character for me is he’s so hard to define. You don’t really want to define him,” Phoenix said Saturday at the film’s press conference at the Venice Film Festival. “Every day felt like we were discovering new aspects of his character…up until the very last day.”

Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a struggling comedian whose professional and personal failures finally push him to become the nihilistic, frightening Joker. To prepare for the role, Phoenix said he read a book on political assassins to get a sense of such killers and their motivations. But ultimately, that was for information only.
See full article at Variety »

"Joker" - Put On A Happy Face

Sneak Peek more new footage from writer/director Todd Phillips' stand-alone "Joker" feature film, starring Joaquin Phoenix ("Gladiator") opening October 4, 2019:

Created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, the 'Joker' debuted in the first issue of DC Comics' "Batman"...

...inspired by the German Expressionist film "The Man Who Laughs" based on the novel by author Victor Hugo

Actor Conrad Veidt plays 'Gwynplaine', whose face is permanently disfigured into a grotesque grin, after offending 'King James II'. 

Gwynplaine becomes a traveling freak, selling his disfigurement for money, while falling in love with a blind woman.

DC's 'Joker', is usually portrayed as a deranged, criminal mastermind, with a warped, sadistic sense of humor. 

He evolved into a 'goofy prankster' in the late 1950's in response to regulations by the 'Comics Code Authority'...

...before returning to his darker roots.

The most common origin story sees him
See full article at SneakPeek »

"Joker" - Put On A Happy Face

Take another look at footage of actor Joaquin Phoenix, on the run from the police in writer/director Todd Phillips' stand-alone "Joker" feature film, opening October 2019:

Created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, the 'Joker' debuted in the first issue of DC Comics' "Batman"...

...inspired by the German Expressionist film "The Man Who Laughs" based on the novel by author Victor Hugo

Actor Conrad Veidt plays 'Gwynplaine', whose face is permanently disfigured into a grotesque grin, after offending 'King James II'. 

Gwynplaine becomes a traveling freak, selling his disfigurement for money, while falling in love with a blind woman.

DC's 'Joker', is usually portrayed as a deranged, criminal mastermind, with a warped, sadistic sense of humor. 

He evolved into a 'goofy prankster' in the late 1950's in response to regulations by the 'Comics Code Authority'...

...before returning to his darker roots.

The
See full article at SneakPeek »

Ang Lee explains why he is trying to create a “new aesthetic for digital cinema” with ‘Gemini Man’

Paramount to release the film in North America on October 11; UK on October 11.

Ang Lee, whose upcoming Gemini Man is tipped to premiere in Venice, said he was “overwhelmed” and “confused” by the technology demands of 2016 release Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. He said he felt much more comfortable with the demands of ultra-high frame rate and picture resolution a second time round on his new sci-fi.

Lee joined Will Smith and Gemini Man producer Jerry Bruckheimer on stage at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles on Tuesday (23) to reveal a first-look at roughly 20 minutes of footage from the film.
See full article at ScreenDaily »

The ‘Cats’ trailer is out of the bag — and the Twitter-verse is losing its collective mind

The ‘Cats’ trailer is out of the bag — and the Twitter-verse is losing its collective mind
Universal decided to stoke cat-scratch fever early and unleashed the first trailer for “Cats” upon an unexpecting public on Thursday instead of Friday. Was that a good idea? Who knows? But it just might be the weirdest darn movie musical ever. Maybe the weirdest movie ever, period.

Here is what your unbelieving eyes will see: Strangely humanoid felines that skitter across London cobble stones and leap through the city streets. They also pounce about in an ornately decorated home with chairs and utensils that are giant compared to the wee kitties on-screen.

SEEPut your life on paws and watch this featurette for ‘Cats’

A-list star bodies are made animal-like and adorned with weird skin-tight CGI fur as they walk about on two legs when they aren’t scampering. All the while Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella the Glamour Cat sob-sings “Memory” while the likes of Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba,
See full article at Gold Derby »

Parasite joins Pearls by Amber Wilkinson - 2019-07-17 11:43:51

Parasite Photo: © 2019 Cj Enm Corporation, Barunson E&a Bong Joon-ho's Cannes Palme d'Or winner Parasite is among the titles announced in San Sebastian's Pearls section for its 67th edition.

Parasite, which along with all the films in the section will compete for the Audience Award, is joined by additional titles from the French festival, including Ladj Ly's debut Les Misérables, which offers a contemporary take on the Victor Hugo classic, Ken Loach's gig economy drama Sorry We Missed You and Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano's Cannes The Specials (Hors Normes), which follows two friends who set up an association for autistic children.

Also fresh from La Croisette, will be Oliver Laxe's Fire Will Come (O Que Arde), which sees an ex-con arsonist returning to an isolated hamlet to live with his mother and Kantemir Balagov's Second World War drama Beanpole.

Other titles announced include So Long, My Son
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Valentina Cortese, Italian Actress Nominated for Oscar, Dies at 96

  • Variety
Valentina Cortese, Italian Actress Nominated for Oscar, Dies at 96
Valentina Cortese, an Italian actress who held the extremely rare distinction of having been nominated for best supporting actress for her work in a foreign film, Francois Truffaut’s 1973 classic “Day for Night,” has died, according to Italian news agency Ansa. She was 96.

In Truffaut’s “Day for Night,” considered by many to be the best movie about making movies ever made, Cortese played, in the words of Roger Ebert, “the alcoholic diva past her prime.” The New York Times said: “The performances are superb. Miss Cortese and Miss Bisset are not only both hugely funny but also hugely affecting, in moments that creep up on you without warning.”

For a two-part, Carlo Ponti-produced 1948 film adaptation of “Les Miserables,” Cortese caused a sensation by playing both female leads, Fantine and Cosette. (The film was otherwise an adequate treatment of the Victor Hugo novel.)

“With Valentina Cortese’s passing, the
See full article at Variety »

Will ‘Cats’ paw its way to being the 1st Broadway musical adaptation in 17 years to win Best Picture Oscar? [Watch]

Will ‘Cats’ paw its way to being the 1st Broadway musical adaptation in 17 years to win Best Picture Oscar? [Watch]
You might have noticed that tune-filled movies of late seem to be in vogue ever since last year’s remake of “A Star Is Born” drew acclaim and the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” overcame critical boos and turned into a worldwide box-office sensation as well as an Oscar magnet.

Besides current releases “Rocketman,” which features Elton John hits, and “Yesterday,” which raids the Beatles songbook, there are at least 14 musical biopics in the production pipeline built around songs by Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Boy George, Carole King, Celine Dion, Elvis Presley, rapper Gucci Mane, Helen Reddy, Christian rock star Jeremy Camp, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Leonard Bernstein, Madonna and Teddy Pendergrass.

But what about more traditional musicals, the lavish kind that were in vogue in the ’60s when 1965’s “The Sound of Music” was the equal of “Avengers: Endgame.” The time appears ripe for an adaptation
See full article at Gold Derby »

‘Crosswalk the Musical’ Does ‘Les Misérables,’ and James Corden Makes an Ass Out of Himself in Paris (Video)

‘Crosswalk the Musical’ Does ‘Les Misérables,’ and James Corden Makes an Ass Out of Himself in Paris (Video)
Paris is the City of Light, so James Corden decided to have a little fun at the red ones. On Wednesday’s “Late Late Show,” Corden imported his “Crosswalk to Musical” to the French capital, where he and his street performers put on one of Paris’ greatest exports, “Les Misérables.”

First, a producer had to inform Corden that the title doesn’t mean “Sad Lesbians.”

Not great, recurring Tony Awards host.

Also Read: James Corden Blue Himself to Play Genie in 'Crosswalk the Musical: Aladdin' - and Then Will Smith Showed Up (Video)

Corden prepared his troop for the real thing by throwing croissants and baguettes at their faces during a rooftop rehearsal. The used of breads and pastries would weirdly come in handy during the real performances of the play’s battle scenes.

As per usual, Corden kept all of the best roles for himself — including that of Fantine,
See full article at The Wrap »

David Oyelowo (‘Les Miserables’) on bringing ‘real context to Javert’ [Complete Interview Transcript]

David Oyleowo is the latest actor to bring his interpretation to the villainous Javert in PBS’s new limited series of “Les Miserables.” Oyleowo is a previous Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor for his performances in projects like “Nightingale” and “Selma.”

Oyelowo recently chatted with Gold Derby contributing editor Rob Licuria about taking on such an iconic literary role as Javert, the most difficult scenes in this iteration of “Les Miserables” and one time he embarrassed himself in front of Meryl Streep. Watch the exclusive video interview above and read the complete transcript below.

SEEEmmys 2019 exclusive: PBS ‘Masterpiece’ categories for ‘Les Miserables,’ ‘Mrs. Wilson’ and more

Gold Derby: David, this series sets itself apart from previous adaptations because there’s no music. It’s not a musical. Did that attract you to taking on this role?

David Oyelowo: Actually, what attracted me more was the fact that unlike the musical,
See full article at Gold Derby »

19 Actors Who Have Dreamed a Dream in Les Misérables - Including Nick Jonas

There are some stories that get told again and again, and Victor Hugo's epic novel Les Misérables is definitely one of them! Since its publication in 1862, the novel has been adapted over 100 times in a huge array of media, from stage to television to comics. The most famous version, of course, is the 1980s epic musical and its 2012 film version, but there are plenty of others - several of which have starred some of Hollywood's brightest stars. While some big-name actors only enhanced their careers by appearing in the iconic roles, other actors launched steady careers with their roles in some version of Les Mis. Ahead, check out some of the names you might recognize who have stood upon the barricade over the years!

Related: Calling All Theater Nerds: Here Are 25 Musical Songs You Should Play at Your Wedding
See full article at Popsugar »
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