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Empire Blogs

Empire StatesMy Encounter With Shia LaBeouf

Posted on Thursday February 13, 2014, 01:14 by James White in Empire States
My Encounter With Shia LaBeouf

There are some moments in life that really help crystalize your standing in the world. Today was one of mine. One of my colleagues recently got to train to be a spy, shoot guns and hang with Sir Kenneth of Branagh. Me? The magazine’s West Coast Editor? I was going to sit across a table from Shia LaBeouf in an art gallery in the middle of Los Angeles. Yes, really. Instead of (mock) mortal peril, I was risking sun exposure and the chance of aching legs from standing around.

Let’s back up a little. First came the controversy. Last December, LaBeouf – best known for his sterling work shouting “NO!” a lot as Sam Witwicky in the first three Transformers movies – released a short film called Howard Cantour that was, the world quickly established, largely cribbed from a Daniel Clowes graphic novel. LaBeouf used skywriting to apologise to Clowes...

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Off The Wirei, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray

Posted on Monday October 22, 2012, 18:48 by James White in Off The Wire
i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray

3D as a whole is still a controversial topic, and is rarely more divisive when considering older films converted to 3D. But with its new, 3D Blu-ray release of 2004 Will Smith sci-fi thriller i, Robot, 20th Century Fox seems committed to winning over naysayers and giving 3D TV owners the best experience possible from a film that, while it wasn’t shot in the format, definitely appears to benefit from it.

Empire was invited to the Fox lot to meet some of the tech team involved in the new conversion and to hear how the process works. We’ll spare you the talk of different layers and avoiding “cardboard issues”, but suffice to say a lot of care and attention has been lavished on this, utilising some hardware that promises to make future releases much more impressive.

And while the intent is naturally to boost the number of 3D Blu-Ray discs on the market to encourage us consumers to buy them, that wasn’t the main focus on this job. “It's no...

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Off The WireDreamWorks Touts New 'Toon Footage

Posted on Thursday March 15, 2012, 03:53 by James White in Off The Wire
DreamWorks Touts New 'Toon Footage

It’s become an annual tradition for DreamWorks animation to put on a little show at LA’s Directors Guild Theatre to show off some scenes from their new films. This year was no exception, with directors, producers and even the odd actor (Jada Pinkett Smith and Chris Pine, at least) thrust on stage to talk up Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and the intriguing Rise Of The Guardians.

The latest Madagascar outing was first, with co-directors Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon and Eric Darnell bringing 12 years of friendship to bear as they each claimed to have invented the best elements of the franchise and running us through the previous adventures of New York Zoo escapees Alex (Ben Stiller), Gloria (Pinkett Smith), Marty, (Chris Rock) and Melman (David Schwimmer).

After showing some scenes and introducing the new characters incl...

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Off The WireGolden Globes 2012

Posted on Monday January 16, 2012, 04:32 by James White in Off The Wire
Golden Globes 2012

So that was the Golden Globes 2012, then. Frankly, the experience of watching this year’s event was less one of blogging, more one of slogging.

Though everyone was wondering what wacky, insulting antics Ricky Gervais would get up to as host this year, it would appear that the Hollywood Foreign Press had actually found a way to insert a tiny poison bomb into Gervais’ leg, which they’d threatened to detonate if he strayed too far from the bounds of his cheeky chirpy, smug-for-pay persona. So we were treated to far fewer cracks at the expense of celebrities, and seemingly more at his bosses and NBC, the American network the show was on: "Tonight you get Britain's biggest comedian hosting the world's second biggest awards show on America's third biggest network. Sorry, it's fourth. For any of you don't know, the Golden Globes are just like the Oscars, but without all that esteem." And comparing the ceremonies again: "The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardash...

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Off The WireJames Cameron Talks Titanic 3D

Posted on Thursday November 10, 2011, 03:12 by James White in Off The Wire
James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D

Titanic is coming back to our screens this April in a shiny, new 3D conversion. And like an approaching iceberg, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But James Cameron, the man who wrangled the giant ship on to screens to huge success back in 1998, wants you to be happy with the idea of revisiting Rose, Jack and the rest. So he showed 18 minutes of 3D-retooled footage, and then took the stage at 20th Century Fox’s Zanuck screening room. for a round of his usual candid showmanship to explain why.

“We get to bring Titanic back to the big screen after having been gone for 15 years. There's a whole generation of people who have never seen the film in a movie theatre. I'm a strong believer in the theatrical experience in general, but specifically for this film. When people commit three hours plus a little bit of their lives to sit in a dark room and share this journey with these characters, they find that it's a very powerful, emotional experience a...

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Empire StatesRed State Of Mind - Part Seven

Posted on Sunday January 23, 2011, 20:23 by James White in Empire States
Red State Of Mind - Part Seven

Empire attends Kevin Smith’s filmmaking Q&A series - Part Seven: Kyle Gallner

A veteran of films such as the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Haunting in Connecticut, and Jennifer's Body, plus cult detective drama Veronica Mars, Kyle Gallner has been acting for years, and appears in Red State as one of the three teenagers who fall into the clutches of the religiously terrifying Cooper clan.

Gallner, a native of Pennsylvania, got his start into acting at the age of 14/15. "My sister was a dancer and went to a performance arts camp and I had my first audition at an agency. I didn't even know what an agent was. It was kind of a snowball effect after that and when I hit 16/17, I finally decided it was what I wanted to do. New York's really hard. If you do Law & Order, you're kind of done," he laughed. Realising that his biggest chance at scoring movie work lay...

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Empire StatesRed State Of Mind - Part Six

Posted on Sunday January 9, 2011, 19:24 by James White in Empire States
Red State Of Mind - Part Six

Empire attends Kevin Smith’s filmmaking Q&A series - Part Six: Kerry Bishé

Actress Kerry Bishe plays Cheyenne in Red State, a seemingly friendly, honest sort who turns out to be anything but.

Bishe is a native of New Jersey, and kicked off the Q&A (after recalling first meeting a bathrobe-clad Kevin Smith on set) with her idea on why people from the state – such as her Red State director – move into acting/filmmaking. "I actually have a theory about why people from New Jersey tend to be successful, like Meryl Streep,” she said. “I think we have a little bit of a chip on our shoulder - New York is this big, beautiful, cultural city on a hill. A grew up in Montclair, and from my high school dining room you can see the city, but it's just out of reach and I think that gives people ambition."

After one of Kevin's typically filthy metaphors that had Kerry gi...

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Empire StatesRed State Of Mind - Part Five

Posted on Sunday January 9, 2011, 19:13 by James White in Empire States
Red State Of Mind - Part Five

Empire attends Kevin Smith’s filmmaking Q&A series - Part Five: Michael Angarano

Described by Kevin Smith as "more or less the hero of the picture," Michael Angarano might be most familiar for his roles in the likes of Almost Famous, Sky High, Forbidden Kingdom, and, more recently, Gentleman Broncos.

From the off, Smith had Angarano rattle off some of his more famous co-stars, with the 23-year-old recalling working with Meryl Streep, Wes Craven, Angela Bassett and more. That, and "dozens" of commercials, and a role in New York's Radio City Hall Christmas show, which saw him playing Tiny Tim.

He also revealed that he simply can't cry in auditions, but mentioned that his father proved useful on that front by exposing him to The Deer Hunter, which gets to Angarano every time. In terms of rehearsals, he recalled working with Cameron Crowe on

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Empire StatesRed State Of Mind - Part Four

Posted on Tuesday December 14, 2010, 17:35 by James White in Empire States
Red State Of Mind - Part Four

Empire attends Kevin Smith’s filmmaking Q&A series - Part Four: Nicholas Braun

Smith kicked off his interview with Braun by recalling that the 22-year-old actor had asked, once he got the role, if he could have a rat-tail hair extension for his character, dim bulb high schooler Billy Ray. He even sent am email with several pictures of the very hairstyle Smith himself once sported. "I wrote back to him, 'Nick, I actually had one of those...' He wrote back, 'How old are you?'"

Braun's background is in Disney's canon - he was Zach in Sky High, he has several guest appearances on Disney channel shows and TV movies under his belt, and before Red State arrives, he'll be seen in the Mouse House's Prom. "It's a good jumping off point," says Braun of his experience, while admitting that Disney keeps a tight hold on its kids.

Smith pointed out that Braun, despite his seemingly intimidatin...

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Empire StatesRed State Of Mind - Part Three

Posted on Monday December 13, 2010, 20:26 by James White in Empire States
Red State Of Mind - Part Three

Empire attends Kevin Smith’s filmmaking Q&A series - Part Three: Adam Druxman

Kevin Smith introduced the third segment of the Red State podcast club by addressing the inaccurate information about the film’s focus. “Some people have called it a satiric comedy or horror comedy and it's none of those things. I've been saying for three years it's a horror film. Nobody apparently believes me. The other thing people say is it's him giving to (homophobic preacher/funeral protester) Fred Phelps. Everyone gets it given to them, but it's not just the Phelps, it's everybody. Sounds a little cryptic, but the early scene in Red State with protestors at a young gay man's funeral is the closest we come to the real world. What I'm hoping to do is just slowly unveil the whole movie through the ears online, up to a certain point.

“Shooting a sequence like that looks easy, looks like you could go run and steal it anywhere, but it wasn't it was l...

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