Tag Archive | "thriller movies"

CM Punk Wraps Shooting On New Horror Film From Queensbury Pictures

CM Punk Wraps Shooting On New Horror Film From Queensbury Pictures

The recently launched production company, Queensbury Pictures, today announced the production wrap of GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR, the writing and directing debut of producer Travis Stevens and starring pop culture staple and former WWE superstar, Phil Brooks (aka CM Punk).

Shooting has wrapped in the Chicago suburb of Frankfort, Illinois – in a house that has long been considered by local residents to be haunted.

A name consistently in the news and synonymous with pop culture, mixed martial artist and comic book writer Phil Brooks is best known for his record setting career in the WWE under the name CM Punk. Brooks has a recurring role in Marc Maron’s IFC comedy series Maron and will appear in the remake of David Cronenberg’s RabidGIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR marks his first leading role.

“I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to take on the lead role in GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR,” said Phil Brooks. “I’m a longtime personal fan of genre films and this project was an absolute natural fit for me.”

Producer Greg Newman said, “Phil Brooks has proven his abilities as an actor outside of the ring and is a natural fit for the lead.  His range and performance will surely delight and surprise those who know him best from his athletic career.  We’re thrilled and honored to have him on the project.

Writer/Director of GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOORTravis Stevens, has produced such acclaimed, wide-ranging films as We Are Still Here and Starry Eyes,and Buster’s Mal Heart. Stevens will now be stepping behind the camera for the first time as a director.

Stevens said, “After many years nurturing the creative vision of other talented storytellers, I’m both grateful and humbled to receive the support of Queensbury Pictures, MPI Media and all the cast  and crew who have crossed the threshold of this very strange, incredibly beautiful and unflinchingly terrifying house.”

The cast includes Trieste Dunn of Applesauce, United 93, Banshee and many other films and TV series, Elissa Dowling, a genre veteran best known for We Are Still Here and newcomer Sarah Brooks in a breakout role. Award-winning Special FX Technician Dan Martin (High Rise, Free Fire, Lord of Chaos) is creating the film’s jaw-dropping special make-up and creature effects.  Producers on the film include Greg Newman, Giles Edwards, Nicola Goelzhaeuser and Travis Stevens.

Film Synopsis:
At the heart of the film is Don Koch (CM Punk), a man who is failing as a husband. For years he has skated by on charm and charisma, until it nearly landed him in jail. He now views fixing up an old house as a chance to make up for past mistakes. Meanwhile, his wife, Liz Koch, is concerned about the renovation timeline as they have a baby on the way. With all this pressure it’s no wonder Don responds to the flirtations of an attractive stranger. As Don tears the house apart, it begins to tear him apart as well, revealing the rot behind the drywall.

Queensbury Pictures was launched this past spring by film industry vets Greg NewmanTravis Stevens and Giles Edwards to produce films in-house as well as nurture the next wave of great filmmaking talent. The company will shepherd a wide range of projects from conception to production, distribution and exhibition. GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR marks its initial step in this direction.

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Alexandre Aja On His Creative Vision and Bringing ’The 9th Life of Louis Drax’ To Life!

Alexandre Aja On His Creative Vision and Bringing ’The 9th Life of Louis Drax’ To Life!

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Director Alexandre Aja discusses his latest film, “The 9th Life of Louis Drax.”

With each new project, director Alexandre Aja (Horns, The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D, High Tension) continues to push his creative limits as one of the most dynamic filmmakers in the industry. His latest project, “The 9th Life of Louis Drax,” is no exception to the rule. Based on the best-selling novel by Liz Jensen, with a script by Max Minghella, the film centers around the world of one very unlucky little boy. After surviving eight near-death accidents throughout his unlucky life, Louis Drax [Aiden Longworth] plunges off a steep cliff on his ninth birthday. While police investigate the cause of Louis’ near-fatal fall and the whereabouts of his violent father Peter [Aaron Paul], acclaimed neurologist Dr. Allan Pascal [Jamie Dornan] uses unorthodox techniques to try to tap into the boy’s unconscious mind and reveal the truth about the events that led to his condition. But as he’s drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of Louis’ seeming ability to cheat death, the doctor finds himself falling for Louis’ mother, Natalie [Sarah Gadon]. As new clues emerge in the case, a shocking revelation changes the fates of Louis Drax and everyone around him. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Alexandre Aja to discuss his approach to the filmmaking process, the challenges involved in bringing the world of “Louis Drax” to the screen and where he sees himself headed in the future.

We became familiar with your work over the years and each new project takes you in new directions. What went into finding your creative voice early on as an artist?

It is something I try not to think about too much. I try to respond to material by finding a movie I would want to see as an audience member. I feel that you cannot really know what people want to see and when you stop thinking about that, you usually take a really dangerous path that leads you to making bad movies. I go forward with a very simple, common sense thing — “If I want to see this movie, other people might want to see it as well.” That was how I chose the subjects I have kind of gone for. Making them, I have always tried to be, and it’s a paradox, to be as invisible as I can but at the same time creating unique visuals that will make the movie personal to me. What I realized growing up watching all these movies is that the movies that I loved the most were the ones that gave me the feeling of an experience, a true experience where I was completely forgetting that I was watching something, a movie that took me on the other side of the mirror with a character and I was really involved and immersed in the story. Every time I was watching movies that had bad acting or bad effects, I was slipping out of that immersion and I never liked that feeling. A lot of people in the genre community have a tendency of liking movies for a scene, a gag or one element or another, instead of the global storytelling experience. That is something that is the key for me. On every movie, I am trying to create the best immersion for the audience.

Your latest project is “The 9th Life of Louis Drax.” How did discover the material and what made it a film you wanted to bring to the screen?

'The Ninth Life of Louis Drax'

‘The Ninth Life of Louis Drax’

While we were doing “Horns” and Max Minghella was co-starring with Daniel Radcliffe, he told me about this novel that his father, Anthony Minghella, was supposed to direct before he passed. He said that he was writing an adaptation of that novel and would like me to read it. I did! I was not expecting such a strong, emotional ride reading the script. From the first pages, following this boy who fell from a cliff in San Francisco, I found myself, like him, falling into the emptiness and not knowing where I was going to land. Page after page, I was discovering very complex characters that were hiding truths and were never like the character you think they are. All the psychological twists and turns of the story were very unexpected. What made me really want to direct it was the voice of Louis Drax. It is this little boy who claims to be the amazing accident prone boy, all the accidents that he went through and the lightness of tone in which he is taking it. Then you realize, in going through his recall, that there is something else. There is violence with his parents and his father, played by Aaron Paul, is on the run and involved in something much more sinister. All of those elements interested me and there was something very Hitchcockian in the script. I felt it was something new and fresh. As I said, it was something I wanted to see! Every time I was reading it, it was very emotional and echoing with me in a very personal way, so I knew I had to make this movie!

Did you have anything you wanted to accomplish with this film you may not have had the opportunity to try on previous projects?

What I wanted with this movie was to keep the focus on the boy’s perspective. I wanted to push even further the genre-bending that I started with “Piranha” and pushed even further in “Horns.” I wanted the movie to start in a very light way, almost like a Tim Burton type of storytelling and then continue to get darker, darker and darker following this journey through the comatose world and finding your way back to the surface following the sea monster and discovering facing the truth is the only way to come back to the surface. The fact that the twist was an emotional one instead of a more traditional plot twist in the story was something that made it very unique to my eyes. Visually, I wanted to translate that Hitchcockian vibe that I received when I read the script into the picture. That was my goal!

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Sarah Gadon and Jamie Dornan in ‘The 9th Life of Louis Drax.’

What went into finding the right cast to bring these characters to life and what did they bring to the table you might not have expected?

You know, there were a lot of very complex characters. The father, Peter Drax, who was played by Aaron Paul, is that violent figure at the beginning who is on the run. Then you realize through the flashbacks, when you go inside Louis’ mind in his comatose state, you learn he was a different father than you had expected and perhaps a more protective figure than you thought. Without revealing too much, he has a big evolution by the end of the movie. For me, I knew Aaron Paul was the obvious choice for this character and I had wanted to work with him for a long time. It was the perfect fit! To play the doctor who is trying to bring Louis to the surface and bring the audience, I wanted someone who could really carry the audience by the end and kind of experience falling in love with the mother of his patient, while protecting her from this violent husband who is on the run. I am a big fan of “The Fall” and the way Jamie Dornan interrupted the serial killer figure was a very interesting and unexpected one. Here it is not a serial killer part but he had something genuine and kind as someone who works with kids and wants to help them in a different way. He is almost the last hope when your son or daughter is in a coma and that is the person you hope to see because he has some resolve. I thought he was an interesting choice, not the expected one and I wanted to see him playing something different. The most complex character to find was the mother character. That Hitchcockian woman. The reason I went to Sarah Gadon was that I have always been very impressed with her work. With every movie that she has made, she has been so different each time. She has an amazing skillset of inventing characters and making them come to life. She looks like a different person almost! We met and talked about the script. She really responded to it and I knew right away that she had the Hitchcockian side but she had a complexity and ability to bring every nuance to the character that I needed for the part. That was not an obvious spot to play. There are a lot of things she is doing that is a lot like hunting. I don’t want to reveal too much, which makes it hard to talk about in this way, but even in the darker part of herself, she always brings a deep sense of empathy. You really feel for her. There is something that goes beyond her act. One of the biggest challenges on this film was finding the right Louis Drax. He has such a unique voice and it had such a nice melody in my head. I wanted him to be funny, smart and have this very sharp common sense on the adult world. Aiden Longworth, who plays Louis Drax, is definitely that kid! We saw a lot of them but he came into the room and read the cave scene with the sea monster and got very emotional. It was a magic moment where I instantly knew I had found the right Louis Drax!

What were some of the other challenges you faced in bringing the film to life?

The other challenges were trusting the script and the emotion you have in the beginning. At the same time you must stick to your guns to prove you can make a story with very intertwined storylines, while bending the genres together and creating an emotional journey.

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Aaron Paul and Aiden Longworth in ‘The 9th Life of Louis Drax’

Where do you see yourself headed next in a creative sense?

I am very curious about many genres and I am reading a lot of scripts and books. I would love to find the right horror movie in the more straightforward, scary story to come back to the genre at some point but I want to explore different fields. I am doing this period movie that has a lot of elements from “Horns” and everything I have done in my past but it is also very different. I just don’t want to do anything that is similar to what I have just done. I want to, as much as I can, find something new each time!

A lot of people can look to you as an inspiration with what you created. What is the best lesson we can take from your journey so far?

That is a big question and I appreciate it. What I am trying to do is trying to stay true to my tastes and never try to think too much for the audience. I think of myself as an audience member before being a filmmaker, always. I want to keep the same pleasure I have, still today, to be scared in a movie, be amazed or emotionally involved with a movie!

Thanks for your time today, Alexandre. I wish you continued success!

Thank you, Jason!

Lionsgate’s ‘The 9th Life of Louis Drax’ hits theaters on September 2nd, 2016.

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ONE TO WATCH: Charlie Bewley On Life, Career and Role In ‘Bachelor Games’

ONE TO WATCH: Charlie Bewley On Life, Career and Role In ‘Bachelor Games’

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The best man usually has a few tricks up his sleeve for the bachelor party, but the groom has a deadly one of his own in horror-comedy ‘Bachelor Games,’ arriving on digital platforms July 8, 2016 from Gravitas Ventures. In the film, we find five friends embark on a bachelor weekend in Argentina, everyone expects the usual hedonistic business. They do not expect to find themselves stranded, wounded, and hunted through the Andes. But that’s just what happens when an elaborate scheme for revenge goes horribly awry.

‘The Hangover’ meets ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ with a Shyamalan-esque twist, ‘Bachelor Games’ stars a bright young cast led by Charlie Bewley (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, Nashville, forthcoming The Lake with J.K. Simmons), Jack Gordon (Fishtank, Northern Soul with Steve Coogan) and Jack Doolan (Ricky Gervais’Cemetery Junction, Cockneys Vs. Zombies).

‘Bachelor Games,’ Best Feature winner at Halloweenapalooza Film Festival and official selection at World Horror Con Film Festival, is the first feature film from award-winning director Edward McGown (Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough, David Attenborough Meets President Obama). Written by Sam Michell (BBC’s People Time, It’s Not What You Know) and Chris Hill (The Last Station), Produced by Georgina Edwards of Strike Films (Pork, Rome, Behind Bars), with Director of Photography by Lucio Bonelli (Everybody Has a Plan) and with the score composed by David Julyan (Momento, Insomnia, The Prestige).

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with multi-faceted actor Charlie Bewley to discuss his career, evolution as an actor, the making of ‘Bachelor Games, as well as what he has in store for us in the months to come. 

Charlie Bewley

Charlie Bewley

I wanted to give our readers a little background on you. What originally intrigued you about the world of acting and made you pursue it as a career?

It’s an adventure. Stepping into a new world every so often, understanding the extremes of culture and humanity. Diverse psychologies. Gaining the ability to morph into ulterior mindsets without prejudice. It’s a great lesson in empathy. Everyone should try it.

Did you have any reservations about taking the plunge?

Not at all. I was ready for something ridiculous. Though I never saw it coming as a career option, when it did it made total sense with what I wanted from life: An unlimited, expanded learning platform, one which facilitated travel, diversity and new friendships – not to mention being a truly daunting challenge. It’s been brilliant.

Where there any influences or mentors that helped shape the artist we see today? Perhaps someone behind the scenes who gave you a push when you needed it.

I was working as an on-stage bartender at Jason Leonard’s testimonial dinner after England had won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, and John Inverdale, a British TV presenter caught me back stage and candidly said to me – “Make sure you wake up every morning and want to go to work. It’s a quick indicator of where you’re at.” People don’t tell you that when you’re a kid growing up in England. Things changed after that.

You are clearly very driven when it comes to your career. What has
kept you inspired throughout the years as an artist and fueled your creative fire?

I’m inspired by stuff that treads that fine line between reality and fantasy. It’s a place of taboo, magic and unknown. When you turn that tap on, it never dries up. I could drink off it until the day I die. You gotta want to see it.

Charlie Bewley stars in 'Bachelor Games'

Charlie Bewley stars in ‘Bachelor Games’

Your latest project is ‘Bachelor Games.’ What attracted you to film initially?

Great script – well written; convincing the audience that these guys are who they say they are – The suspension of disbelief is important in any genre, but especially in thrillers: We wanna become part of that little pack, and love them to heighten the experience of the gear changes and twists later in the story.

What did you bring to this character that wasn’t on the written page?

Leon just doesn’t get it. Morally, his head’s in the sand. His parents must have been wonderful. He simply doesn’t understand his wrong- doings but there is a boyishness about that, an ignorance to his behavior that allows us to forgive him. I’m not sure that was totally apparent on the page. But in order for Henry to forgive him and the plot to work, it required that Leon wasn’t just misbehaving gratuitously.

What did director Edward McGown bring to the table for a project like this?

Energy and focus. His job is the toughest on set and he and Lucio Bonelli (DP) worked seamlessly on an even playing field in spite of Lucio’s vast experience as one of Argentina’s best. Ed would throw himself about all day long to show how he wanted actions and shots. It was a show unto itself half the time.

What was the biggest challenge you faced with the material or while shooting the film?

In any indie project, you’re working with finite time and finance. It’s a precision exercise which requires utter dedication from all involved. Each person recognizes all the challenges of working on a budget and everyone starts mucking in. It creates an inimitable environment – one without hierarchy or status.

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The location plays a big role in the film. How much did the atmosphere around you add to the performance?

The whole production helped in the process for me. It was immersive. We were in the middle of nowhere, shooting chronologically and enjoying in real life all the novelties set out in the script: Rugged backdrops, isolation and crazy locals. It really helps in slipping into character when the whole production mirrors the project itself.

Be it this character or any other, do you have a process you undergo when taking on a new role?

I just try everything to pretend I’m the guy. Fill in the gaps in his backstory, understand his mindset, empathize and really own the characters flaws and greatnesses. And that has its ups and downs – separation anxiety for one: I put myself in a mindset of total conviction that I am that person, and often cannot discern the difference between my “self” and the character’s. Identity crises abound.

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I was also excited to see you joined the cast of “The Lake” with J.K. Simmons, Jack Gordon and Jack Doolan. What can you tell us about the project?

Not a whole lot, but if you’re turning up expecting to see the reunification of Doolan, Gordon and Bewley for ‘Bachelor Games Round 2,’ you may be disappointed!

THE LAKE was a huge Navy SEALS project we shot in Europe last year. I probably shouldn’t mention too much, but some of the parallels with BACHELOR GAMES were uncanny: Five guys, similar energy, etc. Budgets were a little different though.

You have been a part of some awesome and very unique projects in your career. Which have had the biggest impact on you as an actor?

Each project is challenging. I prefer movies, its much more of an intense environment, like going back to school for the first few days. I learn more about the human condition – my own and others’ – in this game than in any other. It’s a pressure pot half the time and negotiating your way into the fold whilst ensuring the work remains on point is a balancing act that can make or break careers.

Is there a particular role or genre you are anxious to tackle in the short term?

My focus right now is on playing a psychopath in the feature version of TRANSCENDENCE – a short I shot with Justine Wachsberger and director Michael Nakache last year. I like playing bad guys but this is whole new arena of bad. It’s far more psychological, hence the term I suppose.

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You have worked with some amazing people in your career both in front of and behind the camera. What springs to mind as the biggest thing you have learned about your craft from others?

You gotta love it. Live and breathe whatever you do, ecause if you don’t, you won’t enjoy it in the long-run. When I stand on a set and look about myself, you can see the guys who are special. It’s a relaxedness and ease born of great preparation towards the work which acts as foundation for creative freedom.

What stands out to you as some of your creative milestones?

Our first feature project THUNDER ROAD has been an absolute feat of endeavor creatively. It’s a movie centering on the issue of veteran suicide, and with such a dark topic, we have been under intense pressure to compromise heavily with content. “Hollywood doesn’t want this movie,” etc. Exactly the reason we have had to stick to our MO in providing a truthful account of what’s going on. It’s that stubbornness towards creative compromise with the norm which breeds originality, in my opinion. And we owe it to those affected by this epidemic to deliver the truth they want the public to hear.

Looking back on your career to date, what do you consider your biggest evolution as a performer?

I feel like I’m a lot more self-aware than I once was. On one hand, that’s great because you treat the world and yourself so much better – but it also makes you ask a whole bunch of new questions of yourself. Really bad on the self-consciousness. But then beyond that place of questioning is a place of freedom I think. I can feel that approaching. The whole thing is a purging process. Damn, this interview got heavy.

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Do you have any interest at exploring work behind the camera at some point?

Yes, absolutely. All of it. Writing and directing. It’s a control thing. Specifically a creative control thing. One day I will want to operate within my dreams-coming-true, not other peoples’.

You can serve as a true inspiration to young creatives. What is the best lesson we can learn from your journey so far?

As I said, you gotta love it or you won’t love it. And that’s how people live great lives; by doing what they love. Living and sleeping it. We all have things we love. Go there even if they just look like hobbies right now. For those already on that path, pick up a Steven Pressfield book. He knows.

The roles you have taken on as an actor have been very diverse. IS there something you are just dying to try in film or on stage?

I initially set out to play Bond, but I think I missed the boat on this round. Hopefully they will go older next time around. But there are many other Bond’s out there. They are the Bonds of their own worlds. I wanna play guys that inspire me in real life in the movies of their own life stories. There are a few I would love to mention, and I truly hope to be able to do so one day.

Catch Charlie Bewley in ‘Bachelor Games’ when it hits VOD on July 8th from Gravitas Ventures. Check out the trailer for the film below.

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New Trailer and Poster For Kevin Bacon’s Throwback Thriller ‘Cop Car’

New Trailer and Poster For Kevin Bacon’s Throwback Thriller ‘Cop Car’

cop-car-kevin-bacon-2015Focus World has just released an official trailer and poster for the throwback thriller COP CAR.

In Theatres August 7, 2015, the film stars Kevin Bacon, Shea Whigham, Camryn Manheim, James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Welford.

Official Synopsis: Kevin Bacon (The Following, HBO’s Taking Chance, Mystic River) stars in director Jon Watts’ delightful throwback thriller Cop Car. When two good-natured but rebellious young boys (James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford) stumble across an abandoned cop car hidden in a secluded glade they decide to take it for a quick joyride. Their bad decision unleashes the ire of the county sheriff (Kevin Bacon) and leads to brutal consequences.

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