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Shattering The Mold: Stuntman Mark Kubr On His Epic Career, ‘La La Land’ & More!

Shattering The Mold: Stuntman Mark Kubr On His Epic Career, ‘La La Land’ & More!

Stunt Coordinator Mark Kubr is one of a kind.

When it comes to careers in Hollywood, Mark Kubr is certainly one of the most unique you will encounter. From crashing cars to being lit on fire to going toe-to-toe with some of the entertainment industry’s business names, he truly has done it all. As a stuntman/stunt coordinator, he is one of the unsung heroes of the film industry and an integral part of bringing our favorite films to life. However, his life is not all explosions and roundhouse kicks.

Kubr recently served as the stunt coordinator on Damien Chazelle’s much buzzed about new film, “La La Land.” The film centers around aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and dedicated jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling). They meet and fall in love but, as success mounts, the dreams they worked so hard to maintain threaten to rip them apart. Kubr coordinated the opening scene of the film which involves Mia and Sebastian meeting for the first time in standstill traffic on a freeway in Los Angeles. The major dance sequence was shot in two days with more than 100 dancers. In his review of the film, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said, “There’s never been anything quite like this opening sequence.”

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Mark Kubr to discuss his unique career path, his evolution from model/actor to one of the respected stunt players in the industry. He also offers a look inside what it takes to sustain a career in this rough and tumble profession, the challenges he has faced along the way and where he plans to focus his energy in the years to come!

Everyone has their own path. How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?

I was bagging groceries in a supermarket that was close to my house. I used to take groceries out to the car for a voice-over actress name Jean DeWitt. We got to talking and she said, “Oh my gosh, you have such a good look. Have you ever thought about acting or modeling?” Actually, she was the voice of Wilma Flintstone on “The Flintstones” and Rosie The Robot on “The Jetsons.” I lived in San Clemente at the time and we drove into Los Angeles and I met with her agent. The agent said, “Yeah, let’s see what we can do.” I started going on auditions then I booked a couple of jobs. I booked a Sunkist commercial and print ads. I went to college in San Diego and I had a scholarship for volleyball. Afterwards, I just couldn’t get the bug for acting out of me. I was really loving movies, filmmaking and photography. It’s something I’ve enjoyed my entire life. After college, I moved straight back to Los Angeles to pursue the heck out of it! I stayed in touch with Mrs. DeWitt’s agent and that’s how it all started!

Even though you had the bug, did you have reservations about pursuing a career in the entertainment industry? That is a scary step to take at a young age.

That is the perfect word for it — Scary! [laughs] I was scared to death! It sounds silly but on auditions, you really put yourself out there and put your heart on the line. It’s a very scary thing! There was fear but I didn’t let that fear govern me. Sometimes you feel something deep down inside of you and you know you have to give it a chance or you will regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t. I think that comes from the discipline my parents taught me. Surfing and sports. You have to have the drive to stay in the game.

Was there anyone behind the scenes helping to guide you?

To be honest with you, no. I was pretty much a lone soldier out here hitting the pavement. I really wanted to stay with it and kept plugging and plugging away. I had a few close friends who encouraged me through all the rejections! There was a ton of it in the beginning. The modeling came my way pretty easily and I was a child of the world when it came to that. When it came to auditions and acting that was another really, really tough, competitive arena.

How did you go from model/actor to stunt professional?

That’s a great question. I had this part in a movie and the stunt coordinator on the movie was looking for a stunt double for me. The stunt coordinator on the set is in charge of anyone that’s hitting the ground or involved in any sort of action in the scenes. I asked him if I could perform my own stunts. I told him that I had come from a very athletic background and so on. In short, he let me do it. Then he introduced me to some really powerful people, stunt coordinators, in the business. I started to become a go-to guy when it came to delivering a line and fighting with an actor. I wasn’t Jean Claude Van Damme by any means but I was becoming an action actor. My acting was pretty good so I started working and getting a few credits to my name. That parlayed itself into more work then I began to build up a reputation for myself.

Mark Kubr

As you picked up steam, how did you make the transition from stunt professional to stunt coordinator?

That’s the other thing! I just kept climbing the ladder. I turned down big jobs because I felt I wasn’t prepared or ready enough to become a stunt coordinator. You meet the producers and director and build a relationship with them. As the years go by, you have gained experience and one day you just say, “OK. I’m ready. I’m ready to coordinate. I’m ready to hire people. I have built up a good resume and I feel confident that I can make everyone safe. I’m ready to take that step.” For me, I really wanted to have my ducks in a row before I said, “Yeah, I want to coordinate.” That is another entire process. You have to go to interviews and it’s almost like casting. Sometimes you might meet the director and not get along with him … it’s a whole other thing! [laughs] Like you said, it’s a scary business! [laughs]

I talk to so many actors who want to do their own stunts. Do you work with actors in that capacity and what challenges present themselves?

You bet! Great question! I will go back a couple of years. I coordinated a TV series called “House of Lies.” “House of Lies” had a really stellar cast with Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell. The thing that scares me the most is not when you crash a car or light someone on fire but when the actors want to do physical humor. The series had its share of action but it also had moments where someone might walk into a room, trip over his desk and hit his head on a chair. It’s physical humor like that or when you sneeze and land on your back or you take out another person. In situations like those, you have to use those actors because they might have dialogue while they are falling or something like that. You have to pick and choose your battles with certain actors. Sometimes an actor can handle the entire thing and other times they can take it up to a certain point and then we might put a stunt double in so he or she can take the brunt of the fall, hit or whatever the action is.

You worked with plenty of people in that capacity, I assume. Who are the most gifted actors when it comes to stunt work?

Absolutely and it’s a long list! I actually just fought Russell Crowe in a movie called “The Nice Guys.” It was Russell Crowe, a shotgun and I! He came close to my face with the shotgun, I hit him, he hit me and we never connected! I also had a fight with Robert Downey Jr. in “Iron Man 3.” Same thing. It was Downey, myself and another stuntman named Mike Massa. Mike and I had dialogue with Downey and then, all of a sudden, the suit comes flying through the window. He has part of the suit on when he blasts Mike away and then Downey and I fight. He is really keen on fighting and very aware of his body. He’s actually been taking Wing Chun from a friend of mine, Sifu Eric Oram, so his fighting prowess is totally dialed in. Don Cheadle is another one. He is an amazing athlete. I had the opportunity to work with some very talented actors and the physicality of these gentlemen and ladies is terrific.

I feel like stunt professionals are some of the unsung heroes of the movie industry. Is that fair?

Yeah, that’s true. There is no Oscar for it. We started our own awards ceremony. Red Bull puts it on and it is called the Taurus World Stunt Awards. For me, it’s about being on set pursuing a dream. That dream has become a reality and is feeding my children. I guess I don’t really need all that acclaim. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see your name in lights but it’s good enough to see your name in the credits. For example, I just finished “La La Land” as the stunt coordinator. To see my name in lights as “Stunt Coordinator Mark Kubr” was fantastic! It was like, “Wow! I’m on the scroll with Damien Chazelle, Mandy Moore, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling!” The actors, directors and other people who are out there in the audience, I think that they understand and that’s good enough! But you’re right it is a bit of an unsung hero thing.

As you mentioned, you were the stunt coordinator on “La La Land.” What can you tell us about the role you played in bringing it to life?

‘La La Land’ hits theaters on December 9th, 2016.

I don’t want to give any of the key elements of it away. However, I will say it is a wonderful film! Please go see it! There is a freeway sequence where there is a traffic jam in Los Angeles. We shut down the 105 onramp onto the 110, the fast track onramp. There were about 100 dancers and 300 cars. They are dancing on top of these automobiles. It’s a magical, magical moment! What do you want to do as a stunt coordinator to stay true to the director’s vision? You start out by talking to the director and the dance choreographer to figure out what you can do as far as bringing action in the traffic jam. In “La La Land,” there aren’t explosions, car hits, fire burns or anything like that but it still brings that physical humor we talked about. To stay true to Damien Chazelle’s vision of an LA traffic jam, I started thinking, “What could we put in this?” So, we came up with a skateboarder who is also stuck in traffic and takes out his skateboard and starts skating through the dancers. Another great stuntman gets out and starts doing parkour; back-to-back flips over cars. There’s also a gymnast who does a backflip and a BMX bike rider who takes his bike out of the bed of his truck. It’s all choreographed and all of those stunt performers are in tune with 100 dancers. It’s an amazing piece of filmmaking that naturally highlights everything I’ve done.

What was it like working with director Damien Chazelle?

The man is a master of film. I was a huge fan of his when I got the job from his work on “Whiplash.” What really struck me about him was that he is such a gentleman. He remembers everyone’s names and treats every single person equally. He could be talking to Ryan, Emma or me but he was constantly a consistent gentleman from A to Z. He was always open to suggestion and took everything into consideration. He’s the man!

What is a typical day on set for you like? I imagine each day is fairly unique depending on the project.

Every single day is different and that’s another great thing about this profession; it’s not a mundane job! You read the script and whether you are a stunt performer or a stunt coordinator, each day brings something different. You also have to prepare for the unexpected. You have to be prepared for when a director says, “Can we make a change here?” It’s always ever-changing!

Director Damien Chazelle and Mark Kubr on the set of “La La Land.”

As a stunt professional, what goes into training and how do you stay at the top of your game?

That’s a great question. I train a lot. I do cardio and I do some weights because I’m getting older. I tried to keep my joints and my muscles strong. I also like to keep my heart-rate good so I can show up to work, as a stunt performer, able to deliver what the stunt coordinator wants. The same thing goes for a stunt coordinator. You don’t want to see an out of shape stunt coordinator on set telling everyone what to do! The physical aspect is very important. I also read a lot. I read a lot of the scripts and read, read, read! It’s great to show up to set, as a stunt coordinator, and be able to converse with the director and every other department head, whether it be a hair makeup or whatever, and knowing what the heck you are talking about. Every single department is important to the stunt coordinator and stunt performer. For instance, on “La La Land,” there is a scene that is a dance number. It takes place on top of the hill at a Hollywood mansion. The stuntman has to dance along with the dancers and then he goes into a flip and twist. He does this into a pool. It’s a really dressed up Hollywood party. So, I go to the makeup people and say, “I need his hair off of his face so that when he is flipping he can be aware of where he is landing.” Then I ask, “What is he wearing?” He is wearing a tuxedo, so I know we will need five or six changes for the same tuxedo because he’s going to land in the pool and get out of there wet. I also need to know what kind of shoes he’s wearing because I don’t want him to slip up there. Coming prepared to work is extremely important and that’s why I read a lot to pick up these details and break it down in those ways, if you know what I mean.

I’m sure you have seen the industry change through the years. How has the rise in CGI affected the industry?

It hasn’t impacted me personally but it has impacted some of the up-and-coming young players for sure. In the past you would have an army of 10,000 people running down the hill but now you don’t need all those people anymore with CGI. However, it has opened up a new realm with motion-capture and there are a lot of stunt players who become motion-capture experts. That is where you use a dancer and a stuntman, film them and capture the motion. From there, they bring that motion into the CGI. That’s kind of cool and it has created another cool little niche in the stunt world but, to answer the question, yeah it is affecting it.

You have been a part of a ton of great projects through the years. Which film had the biggest impact on you?

What moved me the most was “La La Land.” I literally cried all the time. I was watching the dancers dance and was blown away. The choreographer, Mandy Moore, we re-did that pool scene I was speaking about on “Dancing With The Stars.” It was awesome! I got to hire some of the toughest guys on set, the parkour guy or the BMX guy, and even they were moved watching the dancing! I literally had to turn my head away because I was crying. That had the biggest impact on me, honestly! “La La Land” was a life changer!

I know you have a lot of projects on the horizon. What has you most excited right now?

I am excited to work with Matthew Carnahan, who was the showrunner of “House of Lies.” He just pitched another series to Starz and they bought it. I loved working with him on “House of Lies,” so I’m looking forward to working with him once again. He’s another wonderful man and wonderful human being. He’s an incredible author and incredible director!

You mentioned having kids. Are they interested in carrying on your trade? I mean, you’re a stuntman, you have to be the coolest dad on the block! [laughs]

Well, thank you! Both of them work in the entertainment industry and both of them have worked as stunt players. My son was four years old when he did his first stunt. It was on the first “Iron Man” movie. He was the baby in the car seat when Dynamo throws the car around and Iron Man rescues him. He played the son of one of my friends, who was driving the Audi at high speeds and my son was inside the car. It was amazing and I got to hire him again on this movie called “Kook.” We just finished shooting that around Hermosa Beach.

Mark Kubr

Is there anything you haven’t done you look forward to do in your career?

Yes, I would like to direct. I befriended a stuntman when we were on a project together called “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” We got along really, really well and totally clicked. He’s Eric VanArsdale. We are shooting a couple things. I just shot a little documentary on how important it is to keep trades in schools. We went to a local junior college around here and interviewed people in auto mechanics. It’s a really long story but the Cliff Notes version is I helped a man out a long time ago. He was really not in a good place. He had been arrested and was strung out on drugs. I took him in and he lives with me. Time went by and he called me a year ago out of the blue. He said, “Hey, I owe you some money for phone bills … ” I said, “Man, don’t worry about it. How about you buy me a beer?” We got together at a bar and I sat down with him. I asked what he would be having and he said, “I’m sober.” I said, “Wow! What are you doing now?” He said, “I’m the professor of auto mechanics at El Camino College.” I was shocked. He said, “I turned my life around.” As I got into his story, I thought, “Holy smokes!” He was telling me about how they were taking away art and trades from the curriculum. He said, “Look at me, I wasn’t going to go to a four-year school. If it wasn’t for auto mechanics, I would still be in jail. I would probably get shot again.” It moved me so much that I went to the school and met some of the students. I knew I had to do something about this, so I got testimonies from his students and him. I did that and now my directing partner and I are shooting another short project. It’s going to be incredible. In short, yeah, I kind of want to direct! [laughs]

What is the best lesson we can take from your journey?

Follow your dreams. Follow your heart. Be kind along the way. Life is a precious, precious gift, so don’t take it for granted.

Are you involved with any causes we can help shine a light on?

Yes! Thank you so much for asking. The reason I got “La La Land” was from a man named Charlie Croughwell. Him and I started the Earth’s Oceans Foundation. It started from him having two homes in Belize. Belize has some of the most beautiful water in the world and is a well known destination for divers. It is also one of the most polluted places. We started Earth’s Oceans and it’s taking plastics out of the water and making something out of them. We started a line of exercise equipment, different kind of sculptures and art with tile. It’s been an amazing experience. People can learn more about it at earthsoceans.foundation.

It’s been great talking with you, Mark. With everything you have going on I’m sure we’ll talk again in the future! Keep up the work and keep inspiring!

Thank you, Jason. It’s been a pleasure talking to you!

You can catch Mark Kubr’s work in Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’ when it hits select cities on December 9th, 2016. Follow the continuing adventures on Mark Kubr on Instagram and Twitter.

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New Teaser Poster For Reveals The Darker Side Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

New Teaser Poster For Reveals The Darker Side Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

Sony has released a new teaser poster for The Amazing Spider-Man which you can check out below. The latest Spider-Man film is a reboot which is being directed by Marc Webb.

The flick stars Andrew Garfield as the title character, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, Sally Field as Aunt May, and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, comedian Denis Leary as George Stacy, Chris Zylka as Flash Thompson, Irrfan Khan as Van Atter, Campbell Scott and Julianne Nicholson as Peter Parker’s parents, and C. Thomas Howell.

The Amazing Spider-Man opens in 3D on July 3, 2012.

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‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Gets Title and Brand New Photo?!

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Gets Title and Brand New Photo?!

It’s an exciting day for movie and comic book fans alike! Columbia Pictures has announced that the newest Spider-Man film will be entitled The Amazing Spider-Man! and has revealed a new look at the title character in all his web-slinging glory!

The latest Spider-Man film is a reboot which is being directed by Marc Webb. The flick stars Andrew Garfield as the title character, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, Sally Field as Aunt May, and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, comedian Denis Leary as George Stacy, Chris Zylka as Flash Thompson, Irrfan Khan as Van Atter, Campbell Scott and Julianne Nicholson as Peter Parker’s parents, and C. Thomas Howell.

The “Spider-Man” film is currently in production and will be released in 3D on July 3, 2012.

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The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards: Complete List of 2011 Winners!

The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards: Complete List of 2011 Winners!

The stars were out in force in Hollywood last night for the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards which were hosted by the always hilarious Ricky Gervais at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. The Social Network, Glee, Boardwalk Empire, and The Kids Are All Right were among the night’s big winners. Check out the complete list of winners below:

Best Picture – Drama
Winner: “The Social Network”

“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Winner: “The Kids Are All Right
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Burlesque”
“Red”
“The Tourist”

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Winner: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”

Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
James Franco, “127 Hours”
Ryan Gosling, “Blue Valentine”
Mark Wahlberg, “The Fighter”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Winner: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”

Halle Berry, “Frankie and Alice”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Winner: Paul Giamatti, “Barney’s Version”

Johnny Depp, “Alice in Wonderland”
Johnny Depp, “The Tourist”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Love and Other Drugs”
Kevin Spacey, “Casino Jack”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Winner: Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”

Anne Hathaway, “Love and Other Drugs”
Angelina Jolie, “The Tourist”
Emma Stone, “Easy A”
Julianne Moore, “The Kids Are All Right”

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”

Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Mila Kunis, “Black Swan”
Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

Michael Douglas, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”
Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

Best Director
Winner: David Fincher, “The Social Network”

Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
David O. Russell, “The Fighter”

Best Screenplay
Winner: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, “127 Hours”
“Lisa Cholodenko, “The Kids Are All Right”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
David Sieber, “The King’s Speech”

Best Animated Feature
Winner: “Toy Story 3”

“Despicable Me”
“Dragon”
“The Illusionist”
“Tangled”

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: “In a Better World”

Biutiful
The Concert
The Edge
I Am Love

Best Original Song
Winner: “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” “Burlesque”

“Bound to You,” “Burlesque”
“Coming Home,” “Country Song”
“I See the Light,” “Tangled”
“There’s a Place For Us,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

Best Original Score
Winner: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network”

Alexandre Desplat, “The King’s Speech”
Danny Elfman, “Alice in Wonderland”
A.R. Rahman, “127 Hours”
Hans Zimmer, “Inception”

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First Official Glimpse of Andrew Garfield In ‘Spider-Man’ Costume

First Official Glimpse of Andrew Garfield In ‘Spider-Man’ Costume

It’s an exciting day for movie and comic book fans alike! Columbia Pictures releases the first image of Andrew Garfield as the iconic Spider-Man.

The latest Spider-Man film is a reboot which is being directed by Marc Webb. The flick stars Andrew Garfield as the title character, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, Sally Field as Aunt May, and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, comedian Denis Leary as George Stacy, Chris Zylka as Flash Thompson, Irrfan Khan as Van Atter, Campbell Scott and Julianne Nicholson as Peter Parker’s parents, and C. Thomas Howell.

The “Spider-Man” film is currently in production and will be released in 3D on July 3, 2012.

Photo Credit: John Schwartzman

Facebook.com/SpiderManMovie

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2010 MTV Music Video Award Winners Announced!

2010 MTV Music Video Award Winners Announced!

Lady Gaga, outdoing even herself with her adventurous couture, dominated the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, adding eight to her collection of Moonmen with awards including “Video Of The Year,” “Best Dance Video,” “Best Pop Video” and “Best Female Video.”  Eminem, who opened this year’s Awards with a triumphant performance, walked away with two statues for “Best Male Video” and “Best Hip Hop Video.”  VMA newcomers 30 Seconds To Mars and Florence + The Machine took home their first wins for “Best Rock Video” and “Best Art Direction,” respectively.  Justin Bieber was voted “Best New Artist.”

A year after Taylor Swift’s first VMA win was interrupted by Kanye West, the two returned to musically play out last year’s drama, once again on the VMA stage. For an exclusive live performance, Taylor sang “Innocence,” an emotional song she wrote about how she felt after last year’s incident.  Later in the evening and this year as an official performer, Kanye debuted “Runaway” (featuring Pusha T from Clipse), a personal statement on the turbulence of the last year.

MTV aired the 2010 Video Music Awards live on Sunday, September 12 from Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, having transformed the venue into a 1950’s sculptural nod to modernism.  The VMA’s kicked off with an epic performance by Eminem backed by an orchestra to present a medley of his comeback anthem “Not Afraid” into a fiery version of “Love The Way You Lie” with surprise guest Rihanna.  Host Chelsea Handler brought her edgy comedic flair to the Awards, making a dramatic entrance that riffed on Lady Gaga’s extravagant fashion sense, flying onto the stage wearing a suburban house on her head, complete with a single car garage, and ending her monologue by releasing a dove from her dress.  Backstage before taking the stage, Chelsea was shown receiving “encouragement” from well wishers Li’l John, Flo Rida and a score-settling Lindsay Lohan.

Kim Kardashian introduced Justin Bieber, who made his VMA debut performance with an outdoor set of “Baby” into “Somebody to Love” to throngs of adoring fans – including Kim herself who, waving a restraining order, professed she’d nonetheless wait for the young heartthrob in his dressing room.

In another show highlight, the one-and-only Cher presented Lady Gaga with her “Video of the Year” Award, donning the same outfit (yes, she still fit into it) that she barely wore more than 20 years ago in her own memorable video “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

With an intro by Ke$sha and Trey Songz, Usher’s electric entrance and pounding energy brought down the house with a medley of “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” into “OMG!,” showing off his dance moves against an other-worldly combination of visual effects.

The physicality of Usher’s set contrasted with VMA newcomer Florence + The Machine’s ethereal, breakout performance of “Dog Days Are Over,” featuring a large-scale dance number with scores of dancers and percussionists to create a flowing dream-like sequence.

Representing the rock side of the house, Linkin Park extended the VMA stage to include the first-ever performance at the landmark Griffith Observatory, where they performed their powerful single “The Catalyst” against the stunning backdrop of a spectacular Los Angeles sunset.

Hip-hop artist Drake was joined on onstage by Mary J. Blige and Swizz Beatz for a performance of his hit single “Fancy,” set against a supper club backdrop. Shortly following Drake’s performance, Chelsea stumbled upon the cast of “Jersey Shore” in, what else, a hot tub.  Teasing the cast about how dirty the water is, she finally agreed to jump in fully clothed, only to emerge wet and pregnant.
Additional performances included a medley by “dream team” Bruno Mars, B.o.B and Paramore, marking the first time ever that B.o.B. and Hayley Williams of Paramore sang their hit single “Airplanes” together.

Joining this year’s VMA house artist deadmau5 to perform their current hit singles was Travie McCoy, Jason Derulo and Robyn.  The night was filled with a long list of musical artists and stars including: Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Justin Timberlake, MTV Tr3s Artist of the Year Romeo from Aventura, Sofia Vergara, Jared Leto, Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, cast members from “Glee” and “True Blood,” Ne-Yo, Ellen DeGeneres, the cast of the upcoming film “Jackass 3-D,” Penn Badgley, Selena Gomez, Emma Stone and Ashley Greene.

2010 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS GENERAL CATEGORIES:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Lady Gaga
Title: Bad Romance
Album: The Fame Monster
Director: Francis Lawrence
Label: Interscope, Cherrytree, Streamline, KonLive
Production Company: DNA Inc.
Producers: Heather Heller, Nicole Ehrlich and Kathy Angstadt

BEST NEW ARTIST
Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris
Title: Baby
Album: My World Part II
Director: Ray Kay
Label: Island Def Jam, RBMG
Production Company: Rockhard Films
Producer: Nicole Acacio

BEST MALE VIDEO
Eminem
Title: Not Afraid
Album: Recovery
Director: Rich Lee
Label: Aftermath, Interscope
Production Company: DNA
Producer: Justin Diener

BEST FEMALE VIDEO
Lady Gaga
Title: Bad Romance
Album: The Fame Monster
Director: Francis Lawrence
Label: Interscope, Cherrytree, Streamline, KonLive
Production Company: DNA Inc.
Producers: Heather Heller, Nicole Ehrlich and Kathy Angstadt

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO
Eminem
Title: Not Afraid
Album: Recovery
Director: Rich Lee
Label: Aftermath, Interscope
Production Company: DNA
Producer: Justin Diener

BEST POP VIDEO
Lady Gaga
Title: Bad Romance
Album: The Fame Monster
Director: Francis Lawrence
Label: Interscope, Cherrytree, Streamline, KonLive
Production Company: DNA Inc.
Producers: Heather Heller, Nicole Ehrlich and Kathy Angstadt

BEST ROCK VIDEO
30 Seconds To Mars
Title: Kings and Queens
Album: This Is War
Director: Bartholomew Cubbins
Label: Virgin Records
Production Company: Hello and Co.
Producers: Jared Leto, Emma Ludbrook, Sheeira Rees-Davies, Melissa Larsen, Dave Robertson

BEST DANCE VIDEO
Lady Gaga
Title: Bad Romance
Album: The Fame Monster
Director: Francis Lawrence
Label: Interscope, Cherrytree, Streamline, KonLive
Production Company: DNA Inc.
Producers: Heather Heller, Nicole Ehrlich and Kathy Angstadt

BEST COLLABORATION
Lady Gaga featuring Beyoncé
Title: Telephone
Album: The Fame Monster
Director: Jonas Akerlund
Label: Interscope, Cherry Tree, Streamline, KonLive
Production Company: Serial Pictures/Anonymous Content
Producers: Stephanie Bruni, Violaine Etienne and Nicole Ehrlich

PROFESSIONAL CATEGORIES:

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Lady Gaga
Title: Bad Romance
Album: The Fame Monster
Director: Francis Lawrence
Label: Interscope, Cherrytree, Streamline, KonLive
Production Company: DNA Inc.
Producers: Heather Heller, Nicole Ehrlich and Kathy Angstadt
Choreography: Laurieann Gibson

BEST DIRECTION
Lady Gaga
Title: Bad Romance
Album: The Fame Monster
Director: Francis lawrence
Label: Interscope, Cherrytree, Streamline, KonLive
Production Company: DNA Inc.
Producers: Heather Heller, Nicole Ehrlich and Kathy Angstadt

BEST EDITING
Lady Gaga
Title: Bad Romance
Album: The Fame Monster
Director: Francis lawrence
Label: Interscope, Cherrytree, Streamline, KonLive
Production Company: DNA Inc.
Producers: Heather Heller, Nicole Ehrlich and Kathy Angstadt
Editor: Jarrett Fijal

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS
MUSE
Title: Uprising
Album: The Resistance
Director:  Hydra
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Production Company: Humble
Producer: Humble
Special Effects: Sam Stevens

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
Title: Empire State of Mind
Album: The Blueprint 3
Director: Hype Williams
Label: Roc Nation
Production Company: Naaila Entertainment
Producer: Abdur Rahman

BEST ART DIRECTION
Florence + The Machine
Title: Dogs Days Are Over
Album: Lungs
Director: LEGS

BREAKTHROUGH VIDEO
The Black Keys
Title: Tighten Up
Album: Brothers
Director: Chris Marrs Pillero
Label: Nonesuch
Production Company: Symphony 9
Producer: John Lathan

Jesse Ignjatovic/Den of Thieves is the Executive Producer for the “2010 MTV Video Music Awards.” Dave Sirulnick is Executive Producer. Garrett English is co-Executive Producer/Executive in Charge of Production. Amy Doyle is Executive Producer. Joanna Bomberg is Executive in Charge of Music and Talent. Jen Jones is co- Executive Producer. Hamish Hamilton is Director. Wendy Plaut is Celebrity Talent Executive.

Official sponsors of the “2010 MTV Video Music Awards” are 5® REACT™ Gum, freecreditscore.com™, Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid, Rhapsody®, Samsung Fascinate a Galaxy S phone, Taco Bell® and Verizon Wireless.

The “2010 MTV Video Music Awards” was available to a potential viewing audience of more than 1.2 billion people via MTV’s global network of 63 channels reaching 605 million households around the world as well as through syndication.  In addition, its convergent programming & content will reach the entire interactive community, via MTV’s more than 200 digital media properties around the world.

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Kayne West To Return To The Stage At The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards

Kayne West To Return To The Stage At The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards

Get your twitter fingers ready for more unforgettable moments as MTV announces the first round of artists who will perform LIVE at the “2010 MTV Video Music Awards.” Kanye, Drake and Florence + The Machine will take creative leaps and bring fans an evening filled with groundbreaking performances that will be discussed for years to come. With the highly anticipated release of Kanye West’s new album this fall, music lovers and fans alike will be glued to the screen to see what the rapper has in store for the audience when he hits the VMA stage. This year’s awards will mark the first VMA performance for Grammy® nominated hip-hop artist Drake and UK indie favorite Florence + The Machine, who will perform her 4-time VMA nominated “Dog Days Are Over.” Nicki Minaj, Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Trey Songz, Selena Gomez and Ne-Yo are the first presenters confirmed for the show.  The “2010 MTV Video Music Awards” will air live from Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 9PM (Live ET/Tape delayed PT.) MTV will announce additional performers, presenters and host on a later date.

“To be performing and nominated at this years VMA’s is completely amazing and especially for the song ‘Dog Days.’ I recorded that song in a cupboard with no instruments and the sound of the drums was me banging my hands on the wall, clacking pens on Mpc’s and generally causing a cacophony with anything I could lay my hands on.,” said Florence + The Machine. “For this song to be recognized at such an iconic event is a total dream. For me ‘Dog Days’ symbolizes apocalyptic euphoria, Chaotic freedom and running really really fast with your eyes closed. I hope to somehow encapsulate those things in my performance at this years VMA’s. I would also hugely like to thank everyone at the VMA’s for giving me this opportunity.”

Viewers can vote for general VMA categories, including “Best New Artist,” by visiting vma.mtv.com. In addition, text voting for “Best New Artist” is open to all wireless carrier subscribers by texting BNA to 97979. Voting continues through the show, live on September 12.  Also, Verizon Wireless subscribers can vote in all categories by texting VMA to 97979 (standard message rates apply.)

Jesse Ignjatovic/Den of Thieves is the Executive Producer for the “2010 MTV Video Music Awards.” Dave Sirulnick is Executive Producer. Garrett English is co-Executive Producer/Executive in Charge of Production. Amy Doyle is co-Executive Producer. Joanna Bomberg is Executive in Charge of Music and Talent. Jen Jones is co- Executive Producer. Hamish Hamilton is Director. Wendy Plaut is Celebrity Talent Executive.

Official sponsors of the “2010 MTV Video Music Awards” are 5® REACT™ Gum, freecreditscore.com™, Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid, Rhapsody®, Taco Bell® and Verizon Wireless.

The “2010 MTV Video Music Awards” will be available to a potential viewing audience of more than 1.2 billion people via MTV’s global network of 63 channels reaching 605 million households around the world as well as through syndication.  In addition, its convergent programming & content will reach the entire interactive community, via MTV’s more than 200 digital media properties around the world.

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Get Interactive With ‘Marmaduke’ Online Games!

Get Interactive With ‘Marmaduke’ Online Games!

marmaduke_poster-11

20th Century Fox’s big screen adaptation of the classic comic strip, Marmaduke hits theaters on June 4th, 2010! To keep you entertained while waiting for this family flick to hit theaters you can check out four interactive games, “Jump and Fetch”, “Toilet B-Ball”, “Surfin’ With Marmaduke”, and “Destruction Derby”, that tie-in with the film. There is also a Jib-Jab style activity were pet enthusiasts can upload a photo of their own critter (or choose a character from the film) to “Duke Your Dog” (customize the image and add a recorded message).

Check out all of the features at the official website for the film located at www.themarmadukemovie.com.

In the film, Owen Wilson voices the lovable Marmaduke will Lee Pace, Judy Greer, and William H. Macy tackle the human roles. Steve Coogan, Sam Elliott, Fergie, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Stone, Kiefer Sutherland, Marlon Wayans lend their voice talents to the other furry characters in the film!


Marmaduke Theatrical Trailer

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New Stills and Poster For ‘Paperman’ Starring Jeff Bridges, Emma Stone & Ryan Reynolds

New Stills and Poster For ‘Paperman’ Starring Jeff Bridges, Emma Stone & Ryan Reynolds

Check out some new stills, theatrical poster and trailer for the upcoming dramedy ‘Paperman’ below. The film stars Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Lisa Kudrow and Kieran Culkin. The film is slated to open in select theaters on April 23rd, 2010.

Official Synopsis: Paper Man is an inspirational comedic drama about an unlikely friendship between Richard (Jeff Daniels), a failed middle-aged novelist who has never quite grown up and Abby (Emma Stone), a 17-year-old girl whose role in a family tragedy years earlier has stolen away her youth. Both are unsure, both are afraid to take firm steps forward, and both are looking for that special friend—that connection—to help guide them into the future. Since his childhood, Richard has mostly relied on the imaginary one that resides in his head—a costumed superhero known as Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds).

At the urging of his wife Claire (Lisa Kudrow), Richard has moved to a Long Island beach community for the winter season in order to overcome his writer’s block. There, Richard meets Abby and hires her as a weekly babysitter, even though he has no children. Their tenuous, new friendship is sparked by Richard’s awe over Abby’s homemade soup and Abby’s enjoyment of Richard’s writing and his attempts at Origami. As the season progresses and the warm, quirky friendship between Richard and Abby grows, the two begin to share with each other their dreams and life hardships. With the coming of spring, Richard and Abby discover there comes a time to let go of the imaginary friends of the past and to embrace the future as a new beginning—just as one would embrace a new and unique friendship.


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Director Ruben Fleischer Talks About His Career, ‘Zombieland 2’ and Much More!

Director Ruben Fleischer Talks About His Career, ‘Zombieland 2’ and Much More!

Ruben Fleischer began laying the groundwork for his film making career while working as an assistant for Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl). It was there where he began to see what life behind the camera was all about and it was these experiences that began to fan his creative flames. Fleischer threw caution to the wind and spent the next two years experimenting with various low budget music videos and short films to develop his skill set. It didn’t take long for people to take notice of his considerable talents and things quickly snowballed for the young director. He poured his heart and soul into his work and each project led to something bigger — bigger commercials, bigger videos, bigger budgets. It wouldn’t be long before Hollywood knocked on his door.

While Fleischer may have not set out to become a director initially, there is little doubt that he made a huge impact on the cinematic landscape in 2009. His directorial debut, Zombieland featured Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as survivors in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by flesh-eating zombies. The refreshingly different, delicately balanced mix of comedy and horror became an instant hit with audiences and critics alike. No small feat for a first time director!

Icon Vs. Icon‘s Jason Price recently caught up with Ruben Fleischer to discuss his past, his experiences while on the set of Zombieland, the status of the highly anticipated sequel, his work with Funny or Die and what lies in store for this amazing filmmaker in the months to come!

Where did you grow up and how did you get involved with the entertainment industry?

Ruben Fleischer

I grew up in Washington, DC. I went to college in Connecticut and then I moved out to San Fransisco after college. Actually, I didn’t know why I moved to San Fransisco. I ended up doing a bunch of web stuff, just because that was the industry at the time, this was 1996. It was kinda the beginning of the Internet, as we know it now. I lived there for a couple of years and then I moved down to Los Angeles for a web job, which quickly ended. I was out of work and broke! I needed a job and I got one being a production assistant on the television show called ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ mainly because I needed a job, not because of any grand ambitions for Hollywood. If you are here and you can get a quick job as a production assistant, it’s a good way to go. I took the job and got to work with a guy by the name of Mike White. He kinda became my mentor. He went on to write and star in a movie called ‘Chuck & Buck’. He got me a job being the assistant to the director of that film. It was my first real taste of production, film making, cameras, lights or anything else.

Who were some of the influences that you looked to as you came into the industry?

When I started directing my own stuff, the path I took was doing music videos, so Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Jonathan Glazer and Mark Romanek were my music video influences. Once I started doing more narrative stuff and doing comedy, I would say my influences were more along the lines of the classic 80s movies directors that I grew up on like John Hughes, John Landis, Ivan Reitman and Harold Ramis. They were big influences.

What was it about ‘Zombieland’ that jumped out at you and made you want to tackle this as your first feature film?

Honestly, at first I wasn’t too sure about the zombie component of the movie, because growing up, I wasn’t a huge zombie fan. I wasn’t a huge genre fan but I just loved the characters and I loved the comedy. They felt very real and they were guys that I wanted to go on a journey with. It is really about their relationship, the kinda ‘Odd Couple’, buddy comedy aspect of it that I was most excited to explore.

You mention the mix of comedy and horror. Was it difficult to find the right combination of actors to pull those elements off?

Well, as scripted, the characters were very different on the page. It was definitely that classic dynamic between “tough guy” and “nerdy guy”. Woody Harrelson was my first choice and he is who I went after for the part. When he agreed to do it, and I honestly can’t think of anyone better who could have done it, we did a pretty thorough series of casting to find Jesse (Eisenberg). He was a leading candidate but we did read three people opposite of Woody. Jesse seemed closest to the person on the page that we had all kinda fallen in love with.

One of the biggest on-screen surprises for your film or any film in 2009 was the appearance from Bill Murray. How did that come about?

That was purely Woody pulling a favor at the last minute. We had originally scripted the part for other people but they had fallen through, so we were kinda scrambling the week before shooting. Woody offered to make the call to his buddy, Bill. Honestly, their couldn’t have been anyone better or more exciting for that role. It really took the movie to a whole different level and it is part of what makes it so special.

Woody Harrelson & Ruben Fleischer

I come from a low-budget background where we never have enough money to do what we wanted to do, but you have to solve those issues in creative ways. ‘Zombieland’, while it was a big studio movie, certainly didn’t have a major action movie budget. We had to get really creative on how to accomplish some of those stunts and to pull off the whole film. Coming from a low-budget background like that really impacted the approach to the film making of ‘Zombieland’.

You certainly accomplished making it look like you had a big budget and the film had a very cool look to it throughout.

Thank you!

Looking back on the film making process for ‘Zombieland’, what was the biggest challenge for you?

I guess that it is probably the same as what any first time film maker might say, but the duration of the shoot was a challenge and having to think of the movie as a whole. You know, spread out over 41 days as opposed to a video that will be shot in a day or two or a commercial that is shot in a day. It was a matter of trying to manage the whole story and keep it in my head, because obviously you don’t shoot it all in order. There was a lot of thinking about the scene that preceded a certain shot or that might follow, one that we might have shot two weeks ago or might not have shot at that point. Trying to keep it all clear and knowing where their characters are at, for each point, so you know what the performances should be like so that it all fits together, it’s a big challenge.

What is the status of the sequel, ‘Zombieland 2’?

We have been talking to the studio and we pitched them some ideas that they seemed to really like. We are definitely doing the film in 3D. Sony has their own 3D division now and we are going to go get a little tour of that on Tuesday (3/2/2010), of the 3D department. I know that the cast are all excited to be a part of the sequel, so it should be a great, fun movie to make! The script is about to be written and hopefully we will shoot it sometime towards the end of the year or early next year.

Did you have any reservations about doing a sequel?

I didn’t because the movie was originally conceived as a television show, so it was kinda always meant to lead to another episode. There was no finality to the characters or the world in the original concept, so it’s not like we are stretching it. That’s why ‘Zombie Kill of The Week’ is ‘Zombie Kill of The Week’, because that is the kill of the week and next week there will be another one. That’s why I don’t feel that we are being oporrtunistic or too exploitative of the success of the first film. I feel that this is the way it was always intended to be.

You mentioned 3D and at this point everyone has seen James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’. As a director, how big of a game changer was that film for you and will it have any bearing on what you try to do in your film?

Yeah, I feel that ‘Avatar’ has bearing for everybody who makes or watches movies. For me, it was such a significant advancement in entertainment. I loved it and was transfixed while watching it. If we want to tackle 3D, we will need to bear the lessons of that movie in mind and try to create a world with as much dimension, texture and wonderment as that film. I feel like that film didn’t exploit the tricky, “gun barrels in your face”, gimmicky 3D, which I appreciate but I think we will be more prone to have things flying at you than ‘Avatar’ did.

Ruben Fleischer On The Set

Will you be shooting with 3D cameras or is that something you are more likely to handle in post-production?

Nothing has been determined yet but just from the little that I know about 3D, I would greatly prefer to shoot it in 3D.

Well it seem you have plenty on your plate for this year. What else do you have coming up in the near future?

I am kinda working on this bank heist movie that is a kind of a dark comedy. That will hopefully shoot this summer. No one has really been cast yet but it is a dark comedy called ‘Thirty Minutes or Less’. Ben Stiller’s company, Red Hour, will be producing.

You have done a lot of stuff for Funny or Die in the past. How did you originally get involved with them?

I have had a long relationship with Funny or Die. Actually, I met with Adam McKay and Chris Henchy even before they had the website up and running. I showed them this little thirty second video that I had shot with Nick Thune, who is a really funny comedian, called “Masturbation”. It is just the most basic kind of stupid humor. They loved it and said that they would put it on their site. “Masturbation” was one of the earliest videos on the site and I think it has been seen over two million times by now. That lead to doing a bunch of other Nick Thune shorts and I have done a fair amount of little things for them. When they were launching the television series, there is a comedian named Rob Huebel, who I have known through comedy circles, and he wrote and was starring in this thing called “The Holdup”. He asked me to direct and we shot it in a weekend, a couple of weeks after I finished shooting ‘Zombieland’. It’s actually a bank heist thing too, really funny! It has the most incredible ensemble cast that we could ever have hoped for Funny or Die.

I saw the trailer for it on your blog and it looks like it is going to be great!

Yeah, just having Ed Helms, Rachael Harris, Rob Huebel, Creed Bratton, Tom Lennon, Brandon Johnson, Jerry Minor and Malin Akerman, is just an incredible cast for something we shot in a weekend. It really turned out great and I am very proud of it!

You do a lot of projects based around comedy and you clearly do it very well. Is there any other genre that peaks your interest that we might see you tackle in the near future?

I definitely like the action stuff in ‘Zombieland’ and there is a nice action component in ‘Thirty Minutes or Less’. I don’t know if I could ever do anything, purely action but I really love it. I think that there would have to be a hint of comedy but action stuff is very funny to shoot.

Social media is playing such an important role in the marketing of films in the past year. How has it affected you as a film maker and how do you think it will affect film making?

I think the immediacy of the reactions is the biggest thing. I feel like people have been using the internet to promote and market things for a while, whether it is commercials, trailers or online ads, and people are going to be swayed by marketing just as they were before. The biggest change for me is that instant feedback of whether something is good or bad, it is no longer just word of mouth. It is a much more direct feedback loop, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs or whatever else. Whether it is something really good or something really bad, you hear about it quickly and that will have tremendous impact.

As a young film maker yourself, what is the best piece of advice that you would give to someone looking to take that career path?

Definitely go shoot stuff! Technology is so affordable at this point that you can have a really great camera with relatively good sound for not that much money. You can do editing and pretty sophisticated visual effects on your computer these days, so there are pretty much no limitations for people to make their own stuff, which is how I started. I started doing low-budget music videos or short films on my own with my computer and my video camera and made a ton of stuff that way. Now there is the internet which provides a great forum for people to see the stuff that you make. You can build a reel and shoot stuff and have people see it, be it on YouTube, Funny or Die or your own website. There are no excuses not to be making stuff. That is how you learn, by teaching yourself how to do it and hopefully it is how you get discovered as well. There are plenty of people that I know, including myself, that were doing things on a small scale and then it got popular and recognized on a larger format and lead to greater opportunity. The only reason that I got to make a movie is because I made a music video that was a viral video before YouTube existed. It happened to get seen a couple of hundred thousand times, back in 2001-2002. Then I got opportunities to do commercials and other projects but it was purely because I had made something on my own that got seen be people. There is no reason why that anyone else can’t do that! I didn’t go to film school, I didn’t have a lot of money, I just did it — and I feel like everybody can.

You are getting to the point in your career where you can look back and see some pretty big milestones. Large or small, what has been the most exciting thing for you so far?

Some of my greatest memories from the past year, beyond making ‘Zombieland’, are getting to watch it with an audience in theaters. Hearing the laughs from the audience was an incredible experience, particularly because as a commercial director, you don’t typically get to watch your stuff with people. It is usually just on TV or on internet. It was really exciting to get to hear the public feedback. The movie gets a lot of laughs, so it was really fun. Then, there are some of the people who I have had the opportunity to meet through the film’s recognition. I got to meet Ivan Reitman, John Landis and some other people that I really have been a big fan of, so getting to talk shop with them has been pretty neat.

It seems like your schedule is pretty full for 2010!

Yeah, it’s been great and I can’t complain. I am a lucky guy!

Thank you for your time, Ruben and I wish you all the best!

Thanks, man! I appreciate it.

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Be sure to check out everything that Ruben Fleischer’s has going on at his official website and Twitter account! Check out a teaser for his latest work for Funny or Die below:

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