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COLD COMES THE NIGHT: Director Tze Chun Discusses Bringing His Vision To Life

COLD COMES THE NIGHT: Director Tze Chun Discusses Bringing His Vision To Life

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Writer/director Tze Chun is a man on the rise in the entertainment industry. His story kicked off his film, “Children of Invention,” debuting at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and going on to be one of the most-awarded and best-reviewed films of the year. It won 17 film festival awards, including 8 Grand Jury or Best Narrative Feature prizes. His hard work over the past several years as a writer and director has laid the groundwork for what is sure to be a stellar career in film. His lastest film, ‘Cold Comes The Night,’ is no less impressive. The film tells the story of a struggling motel owner (Eve) and her daughter (Parker) who are taken hostage by a nearly blind career criminal (Cranston) to be his eyes as he attempts to retrieve his parcel of cash from a crooked cop (Marshall-Green). Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Tze Chun to discuss his love of filmmaking, the process of bring ‘Cold Comes The Night’ from script to screen and what the future holds for this young director in the rise.

Tze Chun

Tze Chun

I wanted to go back to your early years and give our readers a bit of background on you. What intrigued you about the world of filmmaking and eventually lead you to pursuing it as a career?

I think like a lot of people, I grew up loving movies. I started out as a visual artist and I wanted to be a comic book artist growing up. Eventually, I figured out if you turn a camera on and hit record, it is a whole lot easier than drawing one hundred pages to tell your story in a comic book! [laughs] In high school, I made a bunch of movies with my friends and after that I was hooked! I spent every day after school going to Barnes & Noble to read all of their film books and learning about film history. That is really how it all got started!

What would you cite as one of your biggest influences as an artist?

I think the movie that first influenced me was ‘The Graduate.’ One of my English teachers, when we were freshmen, showed us the movie from beginning to end on VHS. He would pause it to point out things like art direction, editing and all of these things I had never even thought about before in terms of the craft of movie making. That was one of the biggest influences on me; just being about to look at movies in that light.

Is there something you took from your work as a visual artist which has translated into your work as a filmmaker?

I was a portrait painter for a number of years after college. I think one of the things I have found, as a painter, was that one of the things I liked painting the most were people’s faces. When you are a portrait painter you have to capture a single moment that encapsulates a person in their entirety. There is something about that. If you look at my movies, a lot of them feature a lot of close-ups of our main characters. I like to think there is almost a portraiture quality to my first film, “Children of Invention,” and now with “Cold Comes The Night.”

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I was able to check out your film last night. It is a great story and it is filmed with great performances. For those how aren’t familiar with your latest feature, what can you tell us about ‘Cold Comes The Night” and how the film came about?

‘Cold Comes The Night’ is a crime thriller that stars Bryan Cranston, Alice Eve and Logan Marshall Green. It is about a nearly blind career criminal, played by Bryan Cranston, who was trying to smuggle something over the U.S./Canada border. He is separated from his package and in order to retrieve the package from a crooked cop, he talks a single mother, played by Alice Eve, hostage to be his eyes as he retrieves it. It is kind of a throwback thriller, a bag of money thrilling similar to early Coen Brothers films, “No Country For Old Men,” “Blood Simple” or “A Simple Plan.” Ultimately, if you like those films, you will like this movie. I was a co-writer on the project. Our executive producer Scott Halle put me and two other writers together and we started brainstorming ideas. We talked about the movies we loved and we kept returning to these crime drams like “Blood Simple” or “A Simple Plan,” that are kind of character studies masqueraded as genre movies. That is really what we wanted to make with this film.

You mentioned working with other writers on the film. What can you tell us about the process?

I have co-written a lot in the past and I think it can be helpful. It shortens the amount of time it takes to write a script and it is always nice to have more than one opinion, otherwise, you are just arguing with yourself. Oz Perkins and Nick Simons, who were my co-writers, where actual in LA and I was living in New York. We all of the writing remotely, through Google Voice. Then we would take notes on a single Google doc and pass the draft back and forth.

What were you thoughts on tackling this film stylistically when you were fleshing it out in the early stages?

My first feature, “Children of Invention,” is very naturalistic and very realistic. I wanted to make sure in making this movie that even though it is a thriller and a genre film that it would still have a naturalistic quality to it. When I talked to my cinematographer and art director, we wanted to make sure it never lost its link with reality and that it didn’t turn into a genre exercise. That is why; in terms of lighting and actual feel of the movie is very naturalistic look.

Chun and Cranston On Set

Chun and Cranston On Set

Did you find the script evolving at all when you began filming?

I think there is always tweaking that happens on set. Bryan, Alice and Logan were very involved. We gave them the script a couple of months before we started shooting. With a movie like this, you might not even know what the location you are going to be shooting in is going to be until a week or two before shooting there. The staging changes things and there are certain situations where locations might be better or worse than you expected, so you always have to change things up.

You hit a home run when it came to casting for this film. What did these very talented actors bring to these characters that you might not have been expecting?

I think there is always something the actors bring to the characters that you are not expecting. One of the best things about being a director is being able to be surprised every day, pleasantly. Bryan, Alice and Logan are at the top of their games. They are all very smart and very willing to push their performances to the very brink. Physically, this film was very demanding for them all, not just because it was a low-budget movie but because there are scenes that are incredibly intense. For me, when I write a script, you imagine things in your head but when you are actually looking at people going through it on-screen or in front of you while you are shooting, it becomes so much more of an intense experience. Bryan. Alice and Logan all have great instincts and definitely made decisions I would never have even imagined and that definitely made the movie better.

Was it difficult to find the right mix of people for this film or where the actors obvious choices for you?

I think they were all pretty obvious choices. Oz, Nick and I where all huge fans of ‘Breaking Bad.’ When we cast Bryan, I think he was half way through Season 3 of the show, so it hadn’t quite gained the momentum it ultimately had and it wasn’t yet mainstream. We had been following the show since the very beginning. We had talked about Bryan even as we were writing the script. Alice I found through our casting director, who had always been a huge fan of hers and he sent me a couple of clips from a movie called ‘Crossing Over’ where she has three scenes with Ray Liotta. She really holds her own against a pretty intimidating screen presence. I thought that was really interesting. She is a young actress who can be tough and is clearly able to push back against someone who is intimidating her. That is really what the role needed. I hadn’t realized when I watched those clips that I had seen her in “She’s Out of My League” but was almost unrecognizable because she was playing such a different character. I think that Alice really pushed herself to play against type. She is obviously very beautiful but I think she really wanted to push herself into a gritty and darker role.

Director Tze Chun

Director Tze Chun

What were some of the more difficult scenes to shoot for this film?

From a technical standpoint, any scene that was an exterior at night was very difficult because we just didn’t have a lot of lights. The scene where she is breaking into the impound lot is a great example. We bought a weather balloon off the internet and floated it above the impound lot and shot a giant light into it! It was guerrilla filmmaking! Even though the movie does have name actors our production budget was still very small. It definitely felt like at each location, we really had to jury-rig and MacGyver together what our lighting set-up was going to be. In terms of the other scenes, it’s funny because when you write a script the scenes you think will be difficult to shoot are never actually the ones that end up being difficult. I the one I thought was going to be the hardest was Chloe and Billy’s last scene where he is yelling at her and pointing the gun at her. It is a very intense scene but Alice and Logan were so prepared and really brought it! Ever take of that scene was fantastic! I remember when we moved on to the next location, I was like “I cannot believe how smooth that was!” It was really a joy to shoot that scene given that I thought it was going to be very, very difficult for everyone involved!

Now that you have been able to live with the film for a while and look back on the experience, what do you consider the biggest challenge you faced?

I think the biggest challenge was fitting a movie of this scale into a very small budget. This scale movie doesn’t get made that often anymore. I am learning there is a reason for that!

On The Rise: Tze Chun

On The Rise: Tze Chun

You have you hands in so many of the filmmaking process. Is there a particular part of the process that you prefer over another?

I feel very lucky that I really enjoy every aspect of filmmaking! From the brainstorming to the writing, whether it is by myself or collaborating, working with all my department heads or shooting the movie, I feel really lucky that I enjoy every part of the process. Every part of the process feels so different, so there is something different to enjoy about every aspect of it.

How do you feel you have evolved as a director since you first started out?

As a filmmaker, you always want to push yourself to move difficult, bigger movies. I started off very small. My short film that got into Sundance in 2007 had a budget of six hundred dollars and it was all non-actors. My first feature was under a two hundred thousand dollar budget with a lot of non-actors and child actors but no name actors. It was kind of an observational, naturalistic drama. With “Cold Comes The Night,” I really wanted to push myself and try to do things that were a little more cinematic, a little bit bigger and to try and work within a genre which I had never done before. It is always interesting as you go into a different stage of your career to have to push yourself and seeing what things you can learn. I definitely learned a lot making this movie because it was so much different than my previous films.

Coming January 10th

Coming January 10th

With that said, where are you looking to expand as a director in the future?

I have a couple of projects with my producer on “Children of Invention,” Mynette Louie. She has been my producing partner for six years now. One of the projects is a thriller set in New Orleans. I am going out for some open directing assignments as well. I am attached to another project which is also a crime thriller. I think it would be nice to do a couple more crime thrillers to yearly get a handle on it over the next couple of years!

It is really inspiring to see the work you have done so far. What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to young filmmakers looking to pursue a career in film in today’s climate?

I guess the best advice I can give is just to try and make as many movies as you can. Some of them will not be good but one or two of them will. From those experiences, discover what your strengths. Hopefully, you can use those experiences to take the next step and refine what you are creating.

Thanks for your time today, Tze! I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future! I wish you all the best!

Thank you, Jason! I really appreciate it. Thank you so much!

“Cold Comes The Night” Hits theaters and On Demand on January 10th, 2014. Check out the official Facebook for the film at facebook.com/coldcomesthenight.

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BREAKING BAD: The Savory Offers Up Heisenberg’s Blue Rock “Meth” Candy Recipe

BREAKING BAD: The Savory Offers Up Heisenberg’s Blue Rock “Meth” Candy Recipe

thesavory-breakingbad-2013It’s the last season of Breaking Bad, and The Savory has cooked up the perfect recipe for Heisenberg’s Blue Rock “Meth” Candy that will make your viewing party a hit! This week’s episode is titled “Confessions” which is bound to be juicy as it is the third of the final eight episodes of the series.

Out of the loop? Have no fear; you can still enjoy this delicious recipe while you watch Breaking Bad rake in the Emmy’s on Sunday, September 22! The show is nominated for outstanding everything including: Drama Series, Directing in a Drama Series, Writing for a Drama Series, Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Let’s get cooking! Rock candy takes patience and temperature precision, so #TreadLightly.

Heisenberg’s Rock Candy Recipe

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons hard candy flavoring extract (try LorAnn flavorings – there are tons to choose from)
  • 1 drop blue gel food coloring (AmeriColor makes good quality gels)
  • You’ll need a candy thermometer

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup and granulated sugar. Place the pan over medium-high heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring and brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Insert a candy thermometer.

Continue to cook the candy without stirring until it reads exactly 285 F (140 C) on the thermometer. *Do not overcook it, or it will start to take on a caramel color and your candy might turn green! Once the temperature hits 285, take the pan off the heat and let it sit just until bubbles stop breaking on the surface. Add the flavoring of choice and a drop of food coloring. Stir everything together.

Pour the candy onto the prepped baking sheet and tilt it so that it runs into a thin layer. Let it set completely at room temperature.

Once candy is set, break it into small pieces by hand.

For the full “crystal meth” experience, place the candy pieces in medium zip-top bags and crush them lightly with a rolling pin. Candy needs to be stored in airtight containers.

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New Red Band Stills and Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes For ‘Drive’

New Red Band Stills and Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes For ‘Drive’

Check out the NEW red-band stills and behind-the-scenes featurettes for DRIVE! From 2011 Cannes Film Festival Best Director Award winner Nicolas Winding Refn, this action-heist thriller starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman and Oscar Isaac is now playing! Check out all the new items below and weigh in with your thoughts on the film!

Synopsis: Breakout Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (THE PUSHER Trilogy, BRONSON, VALHALLA RISING) throttles into the Hollywood fast lane with the precision-crafted action caper DRIVE.

Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can’t help falling in love with his beautiful neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac).

After a heist intended to pay off Standard’s protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defense for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman). But when he realizes that the gangsters are after more than the bag of cash in his trunk-that they’re coming straight for Irene and her son-Driver is forced to shift gears and go on offense.

DRIVE was written by Academy Award® nominee Hossein Amini (THE WINGS OF THE DOVE) and adapted from the eponymous novel by James Sallis. It was produced by Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Michel Litvak, Adam Siegel and John Palermo; executive producers are David Lancaster, Gary Michael Walters, Bill Lischak and Linda McDonough.

Cast includes Academy Award® nominees Ryan Gosling (THE NOTEBOOK, HALF NELSON, BLUE VALENTINE) and Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION, WALL STREET 2: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS), three-time Emmy® Award winner Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), Golden Globe® winner Ron Perlman (“Sons of Anarchy”), Emmy® nominee Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Oscar Isaac (BODY OF LIES, ROBIN HOOD) and Academy Award® nominee Albert Brooks (BROADCAST NEWS, “Weeds”).

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New Poster for FilmDistrict’s ‘DRIVE’ Featuring Ryan Gosling!

New Poster for FilmDistrict’s ‘DRIVE’ Featuring Ryan Gosling!

Check out the latest poster from FilmDistrict’s DRIVE! Cruising into theaters September 16th, the turbocharged 2011 official Cannes Film Festival selection features an all-star cast including Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Oscar Isaac and Ron Perlman.

Official Synopsis: Breakout Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (THE PUSHER Trilogy, BRONSON, VALHALLA RISING) throttles into the Hollywood fast lane with the precision-crafted action caper DRIVE.

Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can’t help falling in love with his beautiful neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac).

After a heist intended to pay off Standard’s protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defense for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman). But when he realizes that the gangsters are after more than the bag of cash in his trunk-that they’re coming straight for Irene and her son-Driver is forced to shift gears and go on offense.

DRIVE was written by Academy Award® nominee Hossein Amini (THE WINGS OF THE DOVE) and adapted from the eponymous novel by James Sallis. It was produced by Marc Platt, Gigi Pritzker, Michel Litvak, Adam Siegel and John Palermo; executive producers are David Lancaster, Gary Michael Walters, Bill Lischak and Linda McDonough.

Cast includes Academy Award® nominees Ryan Gosling (THE NOTEBOOK, HALF NELSON, BLUE VALENTINE) and Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION, WALL STREET 2: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS), three-time Emmy® Award winner Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), Golden Globe® winner Ron Perlman (“Sons of Anarchy”), Emmy® nominee Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Oscar Isaac (BODY OF LIES, ROBIN HOOD) and Academy Award® nominee Albert Brooks (BROADCAST NEWS, “Weeds”).

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Casting Call: Rock Like It’s 1987! Be Part of ‘Rock of Ages’ Movie!

Casting Call: Rock Like It’s 1987! Be Part of ‘Rock of Ages’ Movie!

Tom Cruise in 'Rock of Ages'

Are you ready to get your faces melted? Director Adam Shankman invites you to the set of New Line Cinema’s arena-rock love story “Rock of Ages,” www.facebook.com/RockofAges who is throwing one head-banging concert party for the upcoming filming of a scene in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Come and bring your friends to all be extras (16 years and older only please), and join us on the “Rock of Ages” set, and rock out like it’s 1987 with our cast to the sounds of such hits as “Wanted: Dead Or Alive” & “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

WHEN: Monday, July 18th

TIME: 1:00 PM

WHERE:
Sun Life Stadium
347 Dan Marino Blvd.
Miami Gardens, FL 33056

DRESS:
Like the 80s! Big hair, make-up, and ALL BLACK rockin’ clothes.

RSVP:
FaceBook event page http://www.facebook.com/RockofAges#!/event.php?eid=238331696186294

DIRECTIONS:
Exit 2X (Sun Life Stadium Toll Plaza)
Off of either North Bound or South Bound Florida Turnpike.
After exiting Turnpike, enter stadium through Gate 2 to park
Go to www.sunlifestadium.com for a map and directions.

~ Prize giveaways on set every half an hour~
Please note that no cameras/recording devices of any kind are allowed to be used on the “Rock of Ages” set. No exceptions.

In addition to Tom Cruise, “Rock of Ages” also stars Malin Akerman as Constance, Russell Brand as Lonny, Diego González Boneta as Drew, Alec Baldwin as Dennis, Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian, Mary J. Blige as Justice, Paul Giamatti as the manager of the rock band, Bryan Cranston as The Mayor and Tony winner Catherine Zeta-Jones as the wife of the mayor.

“Rock Of Ages” hits theaters in June 2012, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

For more information, please visit us at : www.facebook.com/RockofAges

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Academy Award Winner Adrien Brody To Star In ‘Detachment’

Academy Award Winner Adrien Brody To Star In ‘Detachment’

Adrien Brody

Academy Award winning actor Adrien Brody stars in the lead role in DETACHMENT with Academy Award winning actress, Marcia Gay Harden, Christina Hendricks, William Peterson, Bryan Cranston, Tim Blake Nelson with Lucy Liu, Blythe Danner and James Caan.

Producers Austin Stark, Benji Kohn, Chris Papavasiliou and Bingo Gubelmann from Paper Street Films with Carl Lund announced final casting on DETACHMENT currently shooting in Queens, NY and Long Island. Written by Carl Lund and directed by Tony Kaye (American History X), DETACHMENT is a chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators and students through the eyes of a substitute teacher.  Production on the film began on July 25, 2010.

Academy Award winning actor,  Adrien Brody stars as Henry Barthes, a substitute teacher, who roams from school to school, imparting modes of knowledge, but never staying long enough to form any semblance of sentient attachment. The film also stars Academy Award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden (as Principal Dearden), James Caan (Mr. Seaboldt), Christina Hendricks (Ms. Madison),  Lucy Liu (Dr. Parker), Blythe Danner (Ms. Perkins), William Petersen (Sarge), Brian Cranston (Mr. Dearden), and Tim Blake Nelson (Mr. Wiatt). DETACHMENT will also introduce teenage newcomers, Betty Kaye and  Sami Gayle.

Paper Street Films producer Austin Stark adds, “Director Tony Kaye’s vision of the American public school system is poignant and unique, and we are thrilled to be working with such a talented cast in bringing this important story to the screen.”

DETACHMENT is produced by Austin Stark, Benji Kohn, Chris Papavasiliou and Bingo Gubelmann of Paper Street Films and Carl Lund. Exec producers are Greg Shapiro and Peter Sterling.  ICM packaged DETACHMENT and will be selling North American rights.

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Official Synopsis and Facebook Page For Disney’s ‘John Carter of Mars’

Official Synopsis and Facebook Page For Disney’s ‘John Carter of Mars’

johncarterofmars-2Disney has released the official synopsis for the movie and also started an official Facebook fan page for the film. Production is under way in London for Andrew Stanton’s latest film, which is set to come out in 2012.

Synopsis: From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL-E”), John Carter of Mars brings this captivating hero to the big screen in a stunning adventure epic set on the wounded planet of Mars, a world inhabited by warrior tribes and exotic desert beings. Based on the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Barsoom Series,” the film chronicles the journey of Civil-War veteran John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who finds himself battling a new and mysterious war amidst a host of strange Martian inhabitants, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins).

Be among the first to become a fan of John Carter of Mars on Facebook! www.facebook.com/JohnCarterOfMars

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