Category Archives: Film

“The Year Disney Started to Take Diversity Seriously”

“Mira Nair didn’t know it, but for years, she lived just 15 minutes away from the subject of her next film—chess champion Phiona Mutesi, a prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda. It took the attention of one particularly dedicated Disney executive, Tendo Nagenda, to introduce Mutesi and Nair, then shepherd through the studio a film: Queen of Katwe, a movie that looked almost nothing like anything else from the company that brings you Avengers, jedis, and pirates.

“I’ve never had a guardian angel in any film in a studio,” Nair tellsVanity Fair. “[Tendo] is truly one because he made it happen.”

Katwe is a film about a young African girl, with essentially no speaking roles for white characters, directed by an Indian woman. It’s an anomaly even in an industry that prides itself on having an imagination. But it’s also one of many examples of how Disney is diversifying its array of upcoming films, presenting more inclusive visions of everything from classic musicals to a galaxy far, far away.

In the near future, we’ll have a Christmas movie starring Kevin Hart as Santa Claus, an adaptation of The Nutcracker starring Misty Copeland and Morgan Freeman, and a surprising reimagining of The Rocketeer starring a young black girl. Ice Cube is working on a hip-hop version of Oliver Twist. Moana, Disney’s first Polynesian princess movie, is set for a Thanksgiving-week release. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Disney’s latest go-to music man, who also penned songs for Moana) will co-star in a Mary Poppins sequel.

The upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story presents an intergalactic rebellion from the likes ofForest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, and Donnie Yen—and all led by a woman, Felicity Jones. Between 2016 and 2018, about 24 percent of the studio’s live-action releases will feature ethnic minority leads, Disney says…”

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/disney-films-inclusive

“Tilda Swinton: ‘Doctor Strange’ Whitewashing Controversy Is Bigger Than Just One Movie”

““Doctor Strange,” the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, follows eponymous hero Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he navigates his way through an unlikely origin story that heavily involves the teachings of an enlightened elder – known as The Ancient One – who sets him on the path to both righteousness and cape-clad ass-kicking. In the original comics, The Ancient One is portrayed as an older gentleman of Tibetan descent. In director Scott Derrickson’s film, the character is played by Tilda Swinton.

Unsurprisingly, the project has faced continued criticism for its casting of Swinton as the character, though Marvel brass and the film’s creative team have long maintained that their casting choice came after the character was already changed with the express purpose to avoid racist undertones. As Swinton explained to IndieWire in a recent interview, the “Doctor Strange” team aimed to circumvent the original character by radically changing many of his trademark attributes.

“Scott [Derrickson] will tell you that he made this very clear decision with Kevin Feige and the whole team to change The Ancient One from the rather, what they considered, offensive racial stereotype in the comic books,” Swinton explained. “This kind of Fu Manchu, ancient man sitting on top of a mountain called The Ancient One. They made this decision to not perpetuate those racial stereotypes.”

Those changes made it possible to cast someone like Swinton – a white woman – ostensibly in hopes that by radically changing the character, it would not be perceived as racist. That’s not what happened, though Swinton’s recollection of the controversy is different.

“As far as I understand it, and I wasn’t completely up to speed on it, but I’m told that when my casting was announced, everyone was pretty stoked about it and there wasn’t an outcry at all,” Swinton said. “And then there was the first trailer, which people were also supportive of.”

When Swinton’s casting as the Ancient One was announced back in May of 2015, fans were mostly excited about yet another talented performer joining the MCU fray, though there was some initial confusion about how she would play a role originally imagined as a male Tibetan mystic…”

http://www.indiewire.com/2016/11/tilda-swinton-doctor-strange-whitewashing-controversy-ghost-in-the-shell-1201742228/

“Riz Ahmed Talks His ‘Rogue One’ Character, Says ‘Star Wars’ Is ‘Leading the Way’ for Hollywood Diversity”

 

Riz Ahmed, whose breakout role was in this year’s HBO drama The Night Of, stars in December’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The new movie has the most diverse cast of any Star Wars film to date, also starring Forest Whitaker, Donnie Yen, Diego Luna, and Sharon Duncan-Brewster, to name just a few. Ahmed spoke about this diversity in a recent interview, and also provided some insight into his cargo pilot-turned-rebel character Bodhi.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter about The Night Of and Rogue One, Ahmed talked a bit about how he approached his character for the new Star Wars movie and gave him a pretty fantastic background story.

Bodhi is someone who’s been running away his whole life. His planet gets occupied, so he goes, ‘How do I get out of here?’ And the way was by becoming a long-distance cargo pilot. But, of course, that comes with guilt. If you look down and you’re wearing the same Imperial uniform with the same insignia that the people occupying your planet are wearing, it’s guilt and a lot of running away. I had the idea that this character is jittery. He’s jumpy. There’s a restlessness to him. This comes from the trauma and guilt.

THR then asked him how he felt about the fact that this is the most diverse cast of any Star Wars movie ever, to which he replied that he feels extremely positive.

I feel like Star Wars is leading the way. I like to think we are all heading in this direction. Some people are kicking and screaming or dragging their feet. Some people are sprinting. It’s really a credit to [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy and the team there that they want to embrace the future and the reality of a global film market. It feels contemporary, it feels global. Culture is a space for us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, so why don’t we just have as many different kinds of shoes as possible..?”

http://screencrush.com/riz-ahmed-rogue-one-diversity/

“Everything You Need to Know About X-23, and Why Her Appearance in Logan Is So Important”

“The first trailer for Logan dropped [recently], giving us confirmation of the long-standing rumor that comic book hero Laura Kinney—a.k.a. X-23—will be in the movie. If that name doesn’t ring a bell for you, we’re here to help: it’s because little Laura could end up being the key to the future of Wolverine on the big screen.

To put it simply, Laura is a female clone of Wolverine, first introduced in the comics in early 2004. She was actually first created for two episodes of the animated series X-Men: Evolution’s third season by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, before Marvel decided to bring the character over to their comics. Her first comics series, NYX, showcased the teen X-23 in action with no details on her mysterious past, which wouldn’t be fully unveiled until she got her own self-titled miniseries in 2006 and 2011, X-23: Target X and X-23: Innocence Lost.

In the comics, ever since Wolverine escaped the Weapon X project, there were attempts to recreate the successes that lead to his adamantium-encased bone, but they all failed. Martin Sutter, the head of the original Weapon X program, recruited a mutant geneticist named Sarah Kinney to lead a new version of the project—one that, instead of simply trying to bond adamantium to a live test subject, would instead simply clone Weapon X’s biggest successes.

Kinney faced a problem, though. The project’s last sample of Logan’s DNA was heavily damaged, and attempts to make a male clone failed 22 times. Kinney suggested to Sutter that a female clone be created out of what was left of Wolverine’s material—eventually he agreed, leading to the birth of X-23. (Long story short, when Sutter refused at first, Kinney defied him and made a female clone anyway, which led Sutter’s sadistic protege Zander Rice to force Kinney to be impregnated with the clone as “punishment” for defying Sutter…).”

http://io9.gizmodo.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-x-23-and-why-her-app-1788023907

“Angela Bassett Joins Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’”

Angela Bassett has joined the cast of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. She will play Ramonda, the mother of T’Challa, aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in the Marvel mythology. Marvel just made the announcement.

The Oscar nominee joins Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke and Florence Kasumba in the cast. The superhero made his debut in Disney’s Marvel Universe movies this summer in Captain America: Civil War.

In the comic series, Ramonda was the stepmother to T’Challa, whose actual mother died while giving birth to him. Ramonda was thought to have run away, but it was later discovered she had been kidnapped.

Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, hits theaters February 16, 2018. Coogler and Joe Robert Cole are writing the script.

Bassett has been busy in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story anthology series (she was Emmy nominated for roles in 2014 and 2015). She also made her directorial debut with Lifetime’s Whitney Houston biopic Whitney last year.

http://deadline.com/2016/11/angela-bassett-black-panther-ramonda-tchalla-mother-1201858360/

“X-Men: New Mutants Video Showcases Heroes Fighting Demon Bear”

“As Twentieth Century Fox rejigs the creative team behind Deadpool 2 after the fallout between star Ryan Reynolds and ex-director Tim Miller, and as they begin promoting the end of Hugh Jackman’s tenure as Wolverine with Logan, so to are other big plans in the works.

This summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse marked a significant drop off in box office revenues and critical reception after the success of 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past so the franchise is looking towards new directions in continuing the lucrative series. Up next is the team-based spinoff New Mutants and then there will be another core X-Men movie shortly thereafter, although this timewithout long-time helmer Bryan Singer. There’s a Gambit origin movie somewhere in there as well, stuck in development hell, but the studio has just set a pair of release dates for 2018 and 2019.

Coming Soon has just shared an internal video for the next upcoming X-Men project, depicting scenes from New Mutants in animatics form. We see Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik (sister of Colossus) confront a bear with Lockheed the dragon at her side and magic Soulsword in-hand. Lockheed of course, a fan-fave pet of Kitty Pryde in the comics actually does share a connection to Illyana in that the little purple creature resembles purple dragon from a fairy tale that Pryde had read to her.

The massive creature is the “Demon Bear” from the beginning the New Mutantcomics (issue #3) and the other character include Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams) pushing the trolley where Danielle Moonstar lays injured, as Cannonball launches into the Bear to knock it back…”

http://screenrant.com/20th-century-fox-marvel-release-date/

“X-23: 5 Essential Stories To Read Before Seeing Logan”

“X-23 is a character with an interesting history. She belongs to the special club of comic book characters that debuted in other media, in X-23’s case the X-Men: Evolution animated television series.

X-23, a.k.a Laura Kinney then made her comic book debut in NYX #3 in 2004. Since then she’s become an integral part of the X-Men family, trained under the wing of her mentor and “father” Wolverine, joined the violent hit squad X-Force, and even spent some time hanging out with the Avengers.

Now she’s taken up the mantle of Wolverine and soon Laura will be making her big screen debut in Logan, the final Wolverine movie to star Hugh Jackman in the titular role.

This article is here to help fans looking to get to know Laura a little better. It covers Laura’s journey from birth all the way up to her earning the Wolverine name. Read these stories and you won’t be able to wait to see X-23 in Logan.

Logan opens in theaters March 3, 2017.

Innocence Lost

X-23: Innocence Lost was X-23’s first time headlining a comic book. The six-issue limited series is written by X-23’s creators Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost and illustrated by Billy Tan and reveals X-23’s origin story.

X-23’s story begins at The Facility and offshoot of the Weapon Plus program that created Wolverine. The Facility wants to create a new Wolverine and attempt to accomplish the goal by cloning him. A brilliant scientist is brought on board to figure out how and decides to alter the sample to be a female. The catch is that she has to carry the clone to term herself.

She gives birth to X-23. Despite The Facility renting the child out as an assassin, Sarah manages to imbue Laura with humanity and a conscience, which leads to conflict with Sarah’s employers…”

http://comicbook.com/marvel/2016/11/23/x-23-5-essential-stories/