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This week's cover: 'Into the Woods' enchants EW's holiday movie preview

Ever since Chicago ushered the movie-musical back to the big screen with panache, the song-and-dance genre has had a bumpy road in Hollywood (here’s lookin’ at you, Rock of Ages). But the man behind the 2002 Best Picture winner hopes to turn the trend around with another tuner, this time based on one of Broadway’s most beloved Stephen Sondheim musicals. Director Rob Marshall takes the reins on Disney’s Into the Woods, and he’s gathered an A-list cast and creative team to conjure up a glossy adaptation of the 1987 fairy tale fantasy that’s decidedly different from any storybooks you might have gathering dust on the shelf.

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly—which features four exclusive covers of the fairy tale epic’s all-star cast—we dive headfirst into the design of the dark, sprawling world of Into the Woods, the musical tale about a childless Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) who attempt to lift a witch’s curse by venturing into an enchanted forest filled with classic characters like Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy). But this isn’t your mother’s Cinderella VHS—nor your daughter’s DVD, for that matter. “I didn’t want this to look like a cartoon world,” says Marshall. “It’s not sunny, sunny, sunny—we wanted a sense of danger.”

With the chance to re-invent the iconic musical, it wasn’t hard for Marshall to reunite members of his Chicago design team and lure top acting talent to the project—including Johnny Depp as the big bad Wolf and Meryl Streep as the Witch. “I’ve been offered many witches over the years, starting when I was 40, and I said no to all of them,” the actress tells EW. “But this was really fun because it played with the notion of what witches mean. They represented age and ugliness and scary powers we don’t understand. So here’s my opportunity to say, here’s what you wish for when you’re getting old.”

Come for the woods (and your first look at Depp’s Tex Avery-style lupine), but stay for the rest of our annual holiday movie preview, which includes candid chats with season stand-outs Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, a behind-the-scenes look at Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Imitation Game, and the final Hobbit film, and of course, the calendar that will guide you through it all. The only question is, which cover will you pick?

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'Star Trek': Damon Lindelof apologizes for showing Alice Eve in her underwear. (Seriously?)

Alice-Eve.jpg

In Star Trek Into Darkness, Captain Kirk and his team take on a new foe, travel to new planets, and generally do new, sequel-y stuff. Also: New girl Alice Eve (who plays Dr. Carol Marcus) is shown in her underwear. Many (or at least a few) viewers found the scene exceptional for the way that it undercut the character’s other abilities. If she’s a super-smart scientist, why is she stripping out of her clothes for no apparent reason? Into Darkness co-writer Damon Lindelof touched on some of these concerns in a spoiler chat with MTV (warning: very spoiler-y).

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'Star Trek' is born again (and Gorn again) with new video game

It’s the kind of paradox that Mr. Spock finds fascinating — and the type of unmet challenge that Capt. James T. Kirk can’t resist: No franchise has a longer history with video game fans than Star Trek, but to today’s Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 audiences it’s a brand that might as well be lost in space.

That may change with the April 23 release of Star Trek: The Video Game (available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well as a Microsoft Windows PC version), which seeks a new commercial frontier for a brand that is heavy on heritage but light on contemporary credibility. The project also represents a traditional Hollywood power boldly going where it has never gone before: Star Trek: The Video Game represents the first major console game ever financed and released by Paramount Pictures, a historic studio that had licensed properties out in the burgeoning marketplace.

“For us it represents a huge investment in Star Trek,” says Brian Miller, Paramount’s senior vice president of brand marketing and the executive producer of the game. “We’re all gamers and we wanted to make sure the game was a triple-A game, something Star Trek deserves and frankly may not have gotten for the last several decades.”

During a limited test session on the Paramount lot, the game (which was developed by Digital Extremes of Unreal and Bioshock fame) was dynamic and engaging and as aesthetically satisfying as the 2009 film that provides its foundation. That film, directed by J.J. Abrams, presented (for the first time on screen) a new ensemble in the classic roles introduced by the 1966-69 television series. That new crew — led by Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Lt. Nyota Uhura), Karl Urban (Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy), John Cho (Lt. Hikaru Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Ensign Pavel Chekov), and Simon Pegg (Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott) – all lend their voices to the game.

This crew ensemble is the first Trek crew to grow up in the full-swing video game era and they were engaged in a big way by the possibilities of the project. Some, such as the irrepressible Pegg, were eager to come to recording sessions with improv and extra energy. It had been watching Abrams and the cast at work on the 2009 film, in fact, that inspired Paramount to set a new course into the video game universe.

NEXT: A game as Trek canon?

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