Tag Archives: Vanity Fair

Justice League: The Shocking, Exhilarating, Heartbreaking True Story of The Snyder Cut

Zack Snyder, the director of Justice League, has never seen Justice League. His name is in the credits as the filmmaker, but he’s never sat through the version released to the world three years ago. His wife, Deborah, who produced the movie, advised him not to.

In late 2017—months after the couple cut ties with the superhero epic amid an increasingly demoralizing battle with Warner Bros.—Deborah Snyder sat in a screening room on the studio lot alongside Christopher Nolan, one of the movie’s executive producers, as well as the director of the Dark Knight trilogy. She braced herself as the lights went down. “It was just…it’s a weird experience,” she says now. “I don’t know how many people have that experience. You’ve worked on something for a long time, and then you leave, and then you see what happened to it.”

What happened to Justice League was a crisis of infinite doubt: a team of executives who lost faith in the architect of their faltering comic book movie empire, and a director in the midst of a family tragedy that sapped him of the will to fight. Joss Whedon, a director from another universe, the Marvel Cinematic one, left the Avengers after two movies and crossed over to comics rival DC, picking up Justice League not where Snyder left off, but remaking it significantly with extensive rewrites and hurried reshoots, just as the studio demanded.

On November 17, 2017, the team-up between Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash didn’t so much debut in theaters as crash into them. It was sneered at by critics, shrugged at by baffled moviegoers, and all but disowned by those who created it. Whedon has since been accused of unprofessional and abusive behavior on set. (The director declined repeated requests for a comment.) He left his name off the movie except to claim a shared writing credit with Chris Terrio, who had written Snyder’s previous installment, 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Publicly, everyone close to the movie practiced their smiles and rehearsed their talking points in the hopes of doing no further damage to the project, not that it helped much. The movie earned $657 million globally, which sounds like a lot of money until you consider the nearly $300 million budget, including the reported $25 million for Whedon’s reworking, plus a conservative estimate of $100 million to $150 million in marketing costs. Factor in the sizable cut theaters take from the box office, and a return of only $657 million is a clear money loser. Six months later, Justice League’s box office was dwarfed by Marvel’s own all-star showcase Avengers: Infinity War, which flexed its muscles at $2 billion.

After their private screening of the Whedon cut, Nolan and Deborah Snyder emerged into the light with a shared mission. “They came and they just said, ‘You can never see that movie,’” Zack Snyder says during lunch at his Pasadena office, a modernist series of cubes jutting from a hillside that overlooks the Rose Bowl.

“Because I knew it would break his heart,” his wife adds.

That might seem overly dramatic. It’s just show business, after all. But the Snyders’ hearts had already been through a lot. The battle over Justice League was agonizing, but it wasn’t the worst thing to happen to their family that year. Not even close.

Read more from the Vanity Fair article HERE.

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The Mandalorian: Rosario Dawson Tells All About Ahsoka Tano

Star Wars fans have likely all seen the photo of George Lucas on the set of The Mandalorian, cradling Baby Yoda like a proud grandfather, but there is something about that slightly blurry snapshot that they don’t know. Just out of frame stood another beloved galactic figure who until then had only existed in animation—Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano.

Her casting was long rumored online, but no one else got to see her as the Force wielder with the blue and white headtails and twin lightsabers until last Friday’s new episode of the Disney+ series.

That chapter—“The Jedi”—not only unveiled the live-action, grown-up version of the The Clone Wars and Rebels hero, but also dropped new information about Baby Yoda’s past and hinted at another fan-favorite Star Wars figure, Grand Admiral Thrawn, who may appear in the future.

Dawson and Dave Filoni, the writer-director of the episode who developed Ahsoka with Lucas during their years working together in animation, spoke exclusively with Vanity Fair about the biggest revelations—from the Child’s name and backstory, to the reason for setting the story on a wildfire-stricken planet. Dawson also addressed a lingering personal controversy that has concerned many fans of Ahsoka.

Read the entire Vanity Fair article HERE.

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Here Is A First Look At Stephen King’s The Stand 

The Man in Black makes his return to the screen, only the world looks a lot different than we remember.

The first photos from CBS All Access miniseries The Stand, a fresh adaptation of Stephen King’s pandemic-apocalypse novel, have arrived with looks at Big Little Lies’ Alexander Skarsgard as demonic hell-raiser Randall Flagg and Whoopi Goldberg as benevolent Mother Abagail, courtesy of Vanity Fair.

Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail

Jovan Adepo as Larry Underwood & Heather Graham as Rita Blakemoor

Owen Teague as Harold Lauder

Owen Teague as Harold Lauder & Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith

Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg

Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg & Nat Wolff as Lloyd Henreid

Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith

The story of The Stand sees what happens when a virus, a man-made biological weapon that goes out of control, wipes out about 99 percent of the human population. Those that remain are left with the choice to follow their more baser, primordial instincts, or work together to build something good. That’s where Randall and Mother Abagail find themselves in opposite camps.

“[Flagg is] so charming and he’s so handsome, and so powerful — I mean genuinely powerful, able to perform these sort of miracles where he could levitate himself and he has these actual powers,” Taylor Elmore, who showruns the series with Benjamin Cavell, told Vanity Fair. “And yet he needs this adulation and this kind of worship from these people whom he’s summoned to him. He needs to have them make a show all the time of how grateful they are to him.”

Cavell makes the obvious connection to our current reality: “And there’s something fundamentally weak about that. Does it remind you of someone you know?”

Mother Abagail, a 108-year-old prophet faced with doubts, is “very, very righteous and very good. But really flawed I feel,” Goldberg said. “I’ve been fighting with not making her the Magic Negro, because she’s complicated.”

The photos also reveal Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith, an expectant mother immune to the disease; Owen Teague as Frannie’s neighbor Harold Lauder; Jovan Adepo as musician Larry Underwood; Heather Graham as former New York socialite Rita Blakemoor; and Nat Wolff as inmate Lloyd Henreid, who’s visited by Flagg in his hour of need.

But then there’s also Henry Zaga as Nick Andros, Amber Heard as Nadine Cross, Greg Kinnear as Glen Bateman, and James Marsden as Stu Redman to look forward to.

“It’s about the fundamental questions of what society owes the individual and what we owe to each other,” Cavell said. “Over the last however-many years, we have sort of taken for granted the structure of democracy. Now, so much of that is being ripped down to the studs. It’s interesting to see a story about people who are rebuilding it from the ground up.”

A premiere date for The Stand has not been announced, though it’s expected to debut on CBS All Access later this year.

Read the full story on Vanity Fair.

Reprinted from Entertainment Weekly

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Even Stephen King Can’t Escape A Quarantine That Feels Like Living In A Stephen King Book

Like everyone, Stephen King is trapped. The author is in Florida, with his wife, Tabby, and his corgi, Molly, trying to stay sane while sheltering in place. Meanwhile, his life’s work seems to be coming to life around him.

People keep comparing the eeriness of the COVID-19 pandemic to the far deadlier one that swept the world in his novel The Stand. They draw parallels between Donald Trump and Greg Stillson, the egomaniacal, world-threatening politician from The Dead Zone. Even the recent rush on grocery stores has vague echoes of The Mist, where shoppers turned against each other while surrounded by unseen threats.

King doesn’t feel good about seeing the worst things he can imagine coming true. He’d rather remain in the realm of the impossible. “It’s like, okay, the worst thing that could happen, in terms of my career, is that somehow, in our society, we’ve cross-pollinated our Greg Stillson with The Stand,” the author told Vanity Fair.

Even he can’t help drawing comparisons. “I’m working on a book, so in the mornings I forget everything and I just do that. I wanted time to work on a book, I got plenty of time,” he said. “I feel like Jack Torrance, for God’s sakes.”

Unlike the father in The Shining, King hasn’t gone mad yet, but he knows that boredom can push anyone to the edge. That’s one reason he and Scribner decided to release his new book, the novella collection If It Bleeds, this month, a few weeks ahead of its planned May debut. But fair warning—King devises an entire new way of destroying the world in one of the stories. (Maybe we can look forward to that too.)

Read more HERE from Vanity Fair.

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Phil LaMarr Improvises Voices

Cartoon fans will recognize Phil LaMarr as the man behind the voices of Samurai Jack, Hermes Conrad on Futurama, and hundreds of other characters. Vanity Fair asked Phil to improvise 12 new character voices entirely based on their illustrations. If there’s one thing the clip proves is just how impressive his range and imagination is.

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Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Photo Honors Stan Lee’s Legacy

Ask any Spider-Man fan, big or small, to repeat the most enduring message of the web-slinging Peter Parker, and you’ll likely get a faithful recitation of his Uncle Ben’s advice: “With great power comes great responsibility.” This concept goes hand-in-hand with something the heroic Peter says, with a heavy dose of irony, early in Sony Pictures Animation’s new Into the Spider-Verse: “There’s only one Spider-Man, and you’re looking at him.”

Of course, as this new official photo—which pairs the film’s voice talent with their various on-screen avatars—demonstrates, he’s wrong. Into the Spider-Verse is packed with a number of Spider-People who all share the heroic burden Uncle Ben was so concerned with. In that way, this latest on-screen iteration might be the most faithful adaptation of Stan Lee’s vision for the character, whom he co-created over half a century ago.

Into the Spider-Verse—which exists alongside Tom Holland’s current live-action run as Peter Parker—introduces Shameik Moore as Miles Morales, a Brooklyn-dwelling, bi-racial version of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. But thanks to a rip in the fabric of reality, he’s not alone in facing down a packed roster of Spider villains, including Liev Schreiber’s Kingpin. Morales is also joined by Jake Johnson’s battered Peter Parker, Hailee Steinfeld’s wry Spider-Gwen, John Mulaney’s Looney Tunes-esque Spider-Ham, Nicolas Cage’s dour Spider-Man Noir, and Kimiko Glenn’s chipper Peni Parker, with her robotic sidekick “Sp//dr.”

At an early point on this hero’s journey, Morales listens in awe as Peter Parker’s frequent on-screen love interest, Mary Jane Watson (Zoë Kravitz), offers a different take on Uncle Ben’s advice, one that underlines the shared responsibility of the multi-verse: “We are all Spider-Man, and we are all counting on you.” Later, the movie puts it even more succinctly: “Anyone can wear the mask.”

Read more HERE.

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Avengers: Infinity War Gets 4 Vanity Fair Covers

The stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently all got together for a 10th-Anniversary photo shoot and Vanity Fair was there to talk to them, Marvel’s Kevin Feige, and Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger about the past and the future of the franchise.

The magazine reiterates that Avengers 4 will see some of the characters hanging up their capes and shields, partially because the contracts with the actors who play them — Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) — are coming to an end. But Disney promises that Marvel has at least another 20 years’ worth of characters and worlds to explore.

“I feel a lot of joy for the next generation,” Johansson said. “It’s a bittersweet feeling, but a positive one.”

Bob Iger notes that the studio has rights to 7,000 characters. “We’re looking for worlds that are completely separate — geographically or in time — from the worlds that we’ve already visited.”

Marvel is “22 movies in, and we’ve got another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before – intentionally,” Feige added. Avengers 4, he said, will “bring things you’ve never seen in superhero films: a finale. There will be two distinct periods. Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting.”

Confirmed cast members for Avengers: Infinity War so far include Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scalett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Mackie, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olson, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Pom Klementieff, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Sean Gunn, Tom Holland, Josh Brolin, and Paul Rudd.

The Avengers sequel sees Earth’s Mightiest Heroes teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to take on Brolin’s Thanos and his Black Order.

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who return after Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, are directing both Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled fourth film, which are written by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War is slated for a release in theaters on May 4, 2018. Then, the Avengers assemble again for the still-untitled fourth film, set for May 3, 2019.

Read the cover story HERE.

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Vanity Fair Presents Star Wars: The Last Jedi On Set Exclusive

Following the Vanity Fair cover images from yesterday, the magazine has released more of Annie Leibovitz’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi photos and a look behind the scenes of the highly-anticipated film!

The photos reveal citizens of the city Canto Bight, Benicio Del Toro’s DJ, and Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.

With exclusive access to writer-director Rian Johnson, plus interviews with Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, and others, V.F. presents the ultimate sneak peek at The Last Jedi—and Carrie Fisher’s lasting legacy. Read the full article HERE.

The Last Jedi opens in regular and IMAX theaters on December 15, 2017.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Vanity Fair Covers Revealed

For the franchise’s 40th Anniversary this week, Annie Leibovitz photographed the cast of Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm‘s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Vanity Fair has revealed four different covers.

The first cover features Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker on the planet Ahch-To. The second shows the three First Order heavies – Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Driver tells the magazine that Kylo Ren’s wounds go much deeper than the fearsome new scar on his face. The third cover features Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), BB-8, and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). And the last cover has the late Carrie Fisher as Leia.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcoming back cast members Mark Hamill, the late Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.

The sequel is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski. Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in regular and IMAX theaters on December 15, 2017.

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The Cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens On The Cover of Vanity Fair

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Chewie, they’re home. On the cover of the June issue of Vanity Fair, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) re-unites with his trusty co-pilot Chewbacca, and is joined by some new faces: Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and a little droid who goes by the name of BB-8. All will be featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens December 18, 2015

For much more from the hotly anticipated new Star Wars film, including more photographs and exclusive video and interviews, check back to VF.com on Monday, May 4th.

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Dashing Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) stands alongside his trusty X-wing fighter.

2

Next-generation bad guy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) commands snow troopers loyal to the evil First Order on the frozen plains of their secret base.

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Galactic travelers, smugglers, and other assorted riffraff fill the main hall of pirate Maz Kanata’s castle.

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Actress Daisy Ridley for a scene in which her character, the young heroine Rey, pilots her speeder through a bustling marketplace on the planet Jakku.

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A small galaxy’s worth of tracking dots affixed to Lupita Nyong’o‘s face allowed artists at Industrial Light & Magic to transform her into the C.G.I. character Maz Kanata.

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Members of the brain trust behind The Force Awakens: composer John Williams, producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, and director and co-writer Abrams, photographed at Bad Robot, Abrams’s production company, in Santa Monica.

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