Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

Posted: 06 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST


All Vince Vaughn had to do to find inspiration for his role as a sperm donor who's fathered 533 children in Delivery Man was think about his own life.

Vaughn married Kyla Weber in 2010, when he was 40, so the couple made a conscious effort to have children right away. The 43-year-old actor's now the father of two. In a bit of art imitating life, the second child became a reality while Vaughn was filming Delivery Man.

"So there was a day, it was around Christmas, that my wife came to me with a Christmas ornament with the family and there was an extra little person in a Santa hat. That's how I found out, which was great," Vaughn says. "So I was really excited both times, thrilled to have impregnated my wife at this point."

Unable to pass up a joke, Vaughn laughingly boasts the pregnancy "is more about me being proud of the fact of my own ability."

It may have been all the pregnancy talk, but Vaughn signed on to star in the movie - a remake of the Canadian film Starbuck - despite it being different than the films that help make him a star.

There's no swagger to the character, like the one he played in Swingers, or the lunacy of his roles in Old School or Wedding Crashers.

"I think for all actors, it's fun to do different things," Vaughn says. "I'll definitely do something more crazy, but I think part of it is your age, and different roles present themselves to you. Change is what you play, I think, at 23 to some degree different than what you play at 43. So for me, it's more about tone.

"I think I started off doing more dramatic and character stuff, and had a lot of fun. Now for me this movie particularly has been really great because it is more dramatic, but I think it also is very funny and also a lot of different things."

Delivery Man is about family, responsibility and parenting that at times is deeply endearing. Vaughn was attracted to how the film looks at a group of people - who all share the same biological father - looking for a connection. They want to be a part of something. He likes how the film deals with that quest in a "non-fluffy" way.

Vaughn brings to the role the perspective he's gotten as a father. It's important for him to enjoy being a dad and to have fun being with his children. At the same time, he's trying to figure out how to give his children the tools they need to be happy in life.

And, he's trying to balance that with being a husband.

"I'm very fortunate with my wife. You realise how much the relationship, when kids are young, can suffer. And it's important to make sure that you are able to spend some time with each other. I think as a father, the best thing you can do for the kid is to love the mum," Vaughn says. "Even as a parent I believe that loving the mother is the most important thing.

"And even parents, who maybe aren't together, I think that's important for them to respect each other and to be kind to each other."

Vaughn's happy the Delivery Man script came to him at this point in his life. He loved being able to play a more grounded character, but he's not turning his back on more outlandish roles in the future.

"I would definitely do another kind of more outlaw or comedy again, depending on what that story was," Vaughn says. - The Fresno Bee/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

> Delivery Man is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.

Posted: 06 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST


MYTHOLOGICAL hero Hercules has had his share of limelight on both the big and small screens - a Disney animated feature and a series starring a very charming Kevin Sorbo are two memorable ones.

Now Kellan Lutz gets to add his own spin to Hercules' tale in the film The Legend Of Hercules. The 28-year-old actor describes the film as an epic origin story - from a young boy who falls in love and fighting for that love, to a man who realises he has a greater destiny to fulfill.

"It's a story of him coming to terms with his true identity, being born to a mortal woman and the god Zeus," said Lutz, who is best known for his role in the Twilight franchise, in an online interview.

Lutz's fascination for Hercules started from young when he saw a picture in a colouring book of a man getting ready to fight a lion. This, apparently, resulted in his love for wild cats and Greek mythology. Hence, playing the role of Hercules is a childhood dream come true for him.

The Legend Of Hercules begins with Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) being granted a son, Hercules, by the Roman God of War. Unfortunately, his presence brings about resentment from the queen's husband, King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) who never shows any affection towards Hercules and favours Hercules' older brother, Iphicles (Liam Garrigan).

When Hercules falls in love with Iphicles' betrothed (Gaia Weiss) and runs away with her, the king locates him and then sends him to fight in a raging war as a punishment.

Unfortunately, Hercules is then sold into slavery and forced to battle in a gladiatorial arena against impossible opponents. It is here, however, that he befriends a fellow gladiator (Liam McIntyre) and comes to realise his true fate. What happens next, is something Hercules' stepfather would've never predicted.

The reality that he is playing Hercules truly sunk in when Lutz put on the gladiator costume and walked onto the grand sets depicting ancient Greece.

It was at that point, he became mentally ready for the shoot. Lutz, who was born in North Dakota in the United States, had prepared himself physically as he knew he was going to be shirtless for quite a bit in the film.

Lutz packed on the muscles to play the son of Zeus, who is said to be able to defeat six men all by himself, by going on a high-protein diet. He admitted that it, "was kind of tough because I really love candy".

But this helped to shape his body as much as the intense workout, which included riding a horse, spear-throwing and swordplay on top of regular routines like push-ups and bearing weight. "It was a lot of hard work," he confessed. But this allowed him to do most of the stuntwork himself. "Almost 99% of it is me," he said.

In the production notes, Lutz added: "I love doing stunts and action films which is the genre I've chosen as an actor. Some of the combat is of a grand scale, while other is hand to hand and I've really put all of myself into all of these scenes, with some scars to prove it."

> The Legend Of Hercules opens in cinemas nationwide this Thursday.

Posted: 05 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST


Given that a firefighting movie Out Of Inferno came out recently from his compatriots Danny and Oxide Pang, you would think that writer-director Derek Kwok would be feeling the heat since As The Light Goes Out tackles the same topic.

Speaking over the telephone from Hong Kong, he says in Cantonese: "There's always pressure but it doesn't come from others. Rather, it's because you always want to do a movie well.

"Anyway, there is plenty of space for different movies to bloom. Just look at the number of cops-and-robbers flicks out there."

As The Light Goes Out stars Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, Simon Yam and Hu Jun as firefighters while Out Of Inferno featured Louis Koo and Sean Lau Ching Wan.

Kwok, 37, stresses that what is more important is whether the film in question has something new to offer - and he is confident on that score.

He was the one who came up with the idea for the film, after his firefighter friend had told him: "The greatest danger you face is thick smoke, not fire. When you enter a fire scene, all you hear is the sound of your own breathing and it is pitch black before you."

It was a scenario that intrigued Kwok and one that he felt other fire flicks had not explored.

So before filming started, he spent half a year doing research on the different types of smoke and their characteristics.

And then the challenge was to present that on film.

He says: "Normally when you film smoke, you simply add some smoke to the scene. But here, I wanted smoke to be a feeling, an actor almost. It could be a monster, a ghost, be everywhere all at once, be weaselly or be forceful."

It took a mix of real smoke and special effects to achieve that.

In addition, there were also fires and explosions added to the combustible mix.

The actors did most of the scenes themselves despite the challenging conditions.

Notes Kwok: "When you use stand-ins, it looks very fake, so the actors requested to do the dangerous scenes themselves."

Some were hurt in the process. Yam had to run about while carrying an injured character and ended up pulling his pelvic muscle. It took him nine months to recover.

And Yue hurt his right hand carrying almost 36kg of equipment for a rescue effort.

Still, Kwok says: "I think it was all worth it because we all want it to be realistic when it comes out."

Next up for him is an action thriller, Kowloon Walled City, with action star Donnie Yen.

And his goal each time he makes a film is the same.

"If I get $100 from investors, I hope to make a movie which looks like it cost $300. It's a big challenge and makes it tough for me and the crew but it's what we're chasing after. The biggest hope is that audiences will like my works."

Along with directors such as Pang Ho Cheung and Juno Mak, Kwok proves that there is still life in the Hong Kong film industry.

His low-budget action comedy Gallants (2010) was both a commercial and critical hit and it won the Best Movie accolade at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

And the bachelor remains passionate about Hong Kong films even as the lure of the China market has proved irresistible for many.

He says: "Regardless of where the audience is from, they all want to watch Hong Kong films which have a distinct Hong Kong flavour. Just make movies according to one's conscience, works that are interesting and dignified, and they will find an audience." - The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

> As The Light Goes Out is showing in cinemas nationwide.

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