For those (isolated pockets of people) not overly familiar with the world of author J.R.R. Tolkien – who only know his name in association with the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy – then director Peter Jackson’s upcoming prequel trilogy, The Hobbit, will be something of a mystery. In short explanation, The Hobbit chronicles the adventures of Bilbo Baggins – the elderly uncle of Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings - and the epic adventure which he embarked upon that would, in part, alter the fate of Middle-Earth, and inspire Frodo’s mission to destroy the evil ring of Sauron.
In The Hobbit, however, the evil foe is not Sauron, but rather Smaug, an evil and ancient dragon who lays claim to the treasure-filled mountain of Erebor (aka, the Lonely Mountain). With The Hobbit being split into a trilogy of films, fans have long questioned just how much Smaug we will get in each installment. Today we have an answer to that question.
WARNING!!! HOBBIT SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!
Sherlock (BBC) star Benedict Cumberbatch is poised for a big (bad) Hollywood breakout: He will be playing the villain in Star Trek 2 and will also provide the voice of Smaug in The Hobbit. (Fans also want to see him play a comic book movie character – such as Marvel’s Ant-Man in the upcoming film from Edgar Wright.)
While doing an interview with Anne Richardson, Cumberbatch dropped a somewhat considerable spoiler about when and where we might be seeing Smaug show up in The Hobbit trilogy.
Final chance if you want to AVOID THE SPOILER!!!
As quoted from Richardson’s interview, via Cumberbatchweb:
I think my eye might open at the end of the first film and then you’ll get the rest of me in the second.
WARNING!!! HOBBIT STORY SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!
For those who know The Hobbit book, this quote from Cumberbatch (which came before the films were turned into a trilogy) hints at a pretty clear division of events between the three films:
The first movie, An Unexpected Journey, will introduce the main characters – Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the company of dwarves who accompany them – detailing their journey to the Lonely Mountain, and all the perils faced along the way.
The second film, There and Back Again (which could be re-titled), will likely cover the battle for Lake-town and the Lonely Mountain, the eventual death of Smaug, the stand-off between the Dwarves, elves and men over the treasures of the mountain, and the rise of goblin/Warg threat.
What is still unclear (in terms of specifics) is whether or not the epic “battle of the five armies” for control of the Lonely Mountain will be the climax of the second film, or a major set piece of the third. However, we do know that the latter part of the third film will use Tolkien’s epilogues and appendices from the books to construct a “bridge” between the events of The Hobbit and the events of Lord of The Rings, which occur approximately seventy years later.
It will be great to see the design and CGI modeling that Jackson and his impeccable effects house, Weta Workshop, have in store for Smaug; although it’s too bad that we won’t likely see much of it in the first film. Still, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has PLENTY of good stuff to offer while Bilbo and Co. are making their way to the Lonely Mountain – including the return of familiar faces like the elves of Riverdale (Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett reprising their Lord of the Rings roles) and another appearance by everyone’s favorite lovable mad-man, Gollum (Andy Serkis). That’s not to mention: deadly giant spiders, goblins, Wargs, and a certain magic ring, which will one day come to be the most important object on Middle-earth…
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
Back in 2009, Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw caught a preview showing of the indie-produced found-footage film Paranormal Activity – during director Oren Peli’s campaign to have viewers “demand” film screenings in their area. Positive word of mouth eventually carried the film into a wide release and on to $193 million dollars (from a $15,000 budget). Since that time, the Paranormal Activity sequels have become standard Halloween season programming at the box office and with low-cost productions and massive ticket revenue, the films now rank as some of the most profitable movies ever made.
Now the producers are back with Paranormal Activity 4, re-teaming with their Paranormal Activity 3 directors, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Catfish). Despite some memorable scares, Paranormal Activity 3 was criticized for the way it handled the larger (albeit thin) franchise “story.” Can Joost and Schulman find a better balance this round – a film that delivers both creative scares and advances the Paranormal Activity mythos?
There’s no doubt that the filmmakers faced a tough challenge, given the series’ thin premise but nearly every element of the franchise has been watered down in part 4. The movie delivers a number of tense moments but only a few of them pay off with memorable scares. Additionally, the story, which takes place years after the events of Paranormal Activity 1 and 2, further muddles the larger franchise mythos (creating significantly more questions than answers) and, like plenty of found footage films before it, fails to deliver a fulfilling conclusion. Some viewers will defend the film for being satisfyingly spooky but, compared to the prior entries, Paranormal Activity 4 is by far the least compelling.
Ever since the original Paranormal Activity, the overarching series storyline has primarily been exploring events that led-up to the first film, jumping around in time, but number 4 finally moves the larger plot forward. Five years after Katie ruthlessly killed her boyfriend, sister, and brother-in-law as well as kidnapped her nephew, the demon-possessed woman has stopped running from the law and settled in suburban, Henderson, NV. However, despite headlining the cast, Katie is little more than a supporting character and the story once again centers on a clueless victim, Alex (Kathryn Newton), who attempts to make sense of spooky incidents in her home. Alex is a typical teenage girl, Skyping with her boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) and playing table tennis on Xbox 360 Kinect – ignorant to the fact her new neighbors are a demon-possessed murderer and a troubled child. As the unexplained and dangerous happenings escalate, Alex comes face to face with the horrors of Paranormal Activity.
As a production concept, Paranormal Activity 4 has a lot of smart components: Alex is a welcome change of pace from the camera-obsessed young adult husbands/boyfriends in prior entries and the dynamic between the character and her “boyfriend” offer a good mix of lighthearted scenes to offset all the creepy ones. In addition, an explanation for all the cameras is smart enough; though, for viewers who have trouble suspending disbelief, the film still presents plenty of “why would you film that?” moments.
Each camera, like in parts 1-3, is built with specific production “tricks” in mind (ex. the living room is enhanced by Microsoft Kinect’s infrared laser grid). Unfortunately, none of them are nearly as entertaining as the setups that came before. For the most part, the Kinect sequences (which are essentially this installment’s “fan cam”) are a missed opportunity and, looking at the way the gimmick is used throughout the film, offers little payoff for the amount of time spent squinting through night vision shots. It’s a problem that leaks into the larger film experience – as Paranormal Activty 4 is the most meandering entry in the franchise. The pacing is stunted, especially in the final act, and the ratio of time spent in tense setups versus onscreen paranormal hijinks has noticeably lessened – resulting in scenes that are less rewarding and ultimately deliver fewer memorable payoffs.
Mythology buffs who have been hoping for a competent extension of the Paranormal Activity series story will be equally underwhelmed. As mentioned, the film finally advances the larger narrative five years into the future but, surprisingly, creates more franchise plot holes than it addresses as well as significantly convolutes the “Toby” demon lore all while riffing on Paranormal Activity 3 plot points – without adding anything fresh to the mix. Avoiding specific spoilers, it’s fair to say that Paranormal Activity 4 entirely side-steps primary questions that audiences have been asking for years, following the events of Paranormal Activity 1, 2, and 3, in service of predictable twists and a bungled ”bigger is scarier” approach in the last act.
In addition to normal screenings, Paranormal Activity 4 is playing in IMAX certified theaters but there’s absolutely no benefit in paying the premium charge. The confined in-house found footage format isn’t improved by a larger screen or louder sound and it’s hard to find any reason for Paramount’s choice to release in IMAX - aside from inflating ticket prices for a high profile film.
Whether you attend the Paranormal Activity movies for the scares or the story, part 4 is a step down for both audiences. The plot raises plenty of questions that fans will debate in the coming weeks but only because the film is extremely vague on what audiences are actually seeing minute to minute – not because Joost and Schulman create fresh directions or interesting mysteries in this installment (they don’t). That said, creative setups have long-been the franchise linchpin; unfortunately, the spooky setups aren’t particularly original this round either, rehashing familiar found footage ideas with minor twists that rarely deliver big scares. There’s little doubt we’ll see a Paranormal Activity 5 but, given the measly $14.15 million that has been spent to produce four entries in the $576 million (and counting) global franchise, it’s time for Paramount to reinvest some of that money in filmmakers who can deliver a better return on audience investment – i.e. a more satisfying set of scary movie experiences.
Ben Kendrick blogs at Screen Rant.
Will “The Colbert Report” host and Tolkien superfan Stephen Colbert be making a cameo in one of the “Hobbit” films?
Rumors are flying that Colbert may make an appearance in either the second or third movie in the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. Colbert told Playboy that he visited the set of the movies, but would not say one way or the other whether he filmed a cameo.
“Peter Jackson invited me to the set last year,” Colbert told the magazine. “I flew out and watched them shoot some scenes and went to some locations.”
“Are you telling us you’re in the Hobbit movie?” the interviewer asked him.
According to the magazine, Colbert smiled and said, “Could be.”
The Hollywood Reporter says a source has confirmed to them that the host did indeed film a cameo.
Colbert has shown off his Tolkien knowledge before during an episode of his show in which he discussed the books with guest James Franco.
“You are not the biggest Tolkien fan,” Colbert told Franco, then asked him, “Why did Galadriel come over to Middle-Earth from Valinor?” Franco supplied an answer that Colbert told him was wrong. Later, in an interview with author Neil Gaiman, Colbert recited song lyrics sung by a character, Tom Bombadil, seen only in Tolkien’s books who did not appear in the “Lord of the Rings” movies.
It was only three weeks ago when Robert Downey Jr. returned to the set of Iron Man 3 after an injury and while principal photography resumes, so does the marketing campaign begin. We’ve known for three weeks that October 23rd would be the day the first Iron Man 3 trailer officially releases, offering a look at footage only seen so far behind-closed-doors at Comic-Con and certain trade and press events.
As a result of of fans joining the Iron Man Facebook page, a short preview of the trailer released on Sunday, followed by another earlier today to go along with the first Iron Man 3 poster and a set of photos from the film.
The media splash this week represents the first major marketing push for Iron Man 3 – and hence, the beginning of Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe – since Marvel Studios held a panel presentation for the film this summer at Comic-Con. At the presentation, director Shane Black, Marvel pres Kevin Feige and cast, shared several minutes of unfinished footage from the film.
In that sizzle reel, we got our very first look Ben Kingsley dressed up as the Mandarin to go along with his intimidating voiceover, a scene showcasing Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark suiting up in his new Extremis (Mark 47?) armor, and a mishmash of action bits including the destruction of Stark’s seaside mansion. While “darker in tone” has been the buzzword since Shane Black and Drew Pearce became in involved with the threequel, Iron Man 3 will not be without the series’ trademark character-driven comedic moments. In the Comic-Con footage, that was highlighted by a hilarious scene featuring Stark attempting to re-hire Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan as they reflect on the battle of New York from The Avengers.
The test trailers however – from the descriptions – focused strictly on the more intense, dramatic moments, and this trailer does exactly as described and includes the same voice over from the previous footage and the same scenes from the leaked descriptions. Watch the HD trailer on Apple. Official Iron Man 3 synopsis:
Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
Does this first detailed look at Iron Man 3 offer a promising threequel that’ll make up for Iron Man 2? Does the style and tone match your expectations for the first chapter (read: first post-Avengers film) of Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe? How about Mandarin’s voice?
Rob Keyes blogs at Screen Rant.
You probably know David Chase best as the creative genius behind The Sopranos. The show may have ended, but Chase’s career not only lives on, he can now add feature film director to his list of credits. His new film, Not Fade Away, screened at the Paramount Theater in Austin Film Festival Thursday.
The film, a love letter to rock n’ roll – music that Chase says “saved my life” – follows a group of friends in 1964 surburban New Jersey whose lives are transformed after seeing the Rolling Stones perform live on television. They form a band and go through the motions of making it big. Thanks to the omniscent narrator — the lead character’s little sister — we know right off the bat they’re not going to make it, but that doesn’t do anything to dampen the journey. The angst, the passion, the tension between bandmembers, the inevitable love story – and yes the music — drive a sweet and compelling narrative that pays homage to both coming of age in the 60’s and to Chase’s own teenage years as a wannabe rock star growing up in New Jersey. Oh, and it also has James Gandolfini.
David Chase was on hand to introduce the film and take questions after the screening. The following are some of the highlights:
Q: What was the inspiration for the film?
A. The inspiration was the music. I was an English major. I learned more from — I probably shouldn’t admit this — but I learned more from rock n’ roll than I ever learned from Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Music turned me around at ages of 17-21. It changed my life. It was an amazing time to be alive. Everytime the Rolling Stones or the Beatles or Bob Dylan put out a new album- which was every six months – it was like quantum leap forward. Between Rubber Soul and Revolver it was like a miracle. It made you feel so good.I thought if that’s what art was, I could do that. You know you see art as a little kid in museums and it’s beautiful but it feels so remote. This was alive.
Q: I saw that Steven Van Zandt was the executive producer. How did he contribute? Did he share his own stories?
A: No, he didn’t share stories, in fact he was was opposed to me doing this. He said “Why don’t you do a crime story? This is going to be hard to sell, hard to market.” He doesn’t understand why these guys [in the film] are scared to play and scared to make it, but he’s one of the ones who made it.
Q: When you introduced the film you said it was semi-autobiographical. The kids in band spend a lot of time spouting quasi-intellectual riffs. Were you and your friends like that?
A: Yeah, kind of. I mean we were so pretentious that we never played for anyone because we were ‘too good’. The guys in the movie, they at least played a couple of dates. We just stayed in the basement and practiced. We only played for ourselves.
Q: Can you talk about the budget? You use a lot period stuff – costumes, music, cars…
A: People say it’s a small movie and I guess it is small but it wasn’t cheap. I couldn’t have gotten an independent production company to make it. The music rights alone…Paramount did, they screamed bloody murder but they did it. Steven [Van Zandt] was helpful because he had relationships with labels, so we got a good deal, but it still cost a fortune.
Q: You got the period dead on. How hard was it to get the 60’s artifacts?
A: The cars were a big part- that guy I’d like to kill, the car guy. It was hard to get stuff and then it never seemed like things worked – the trunk didn’t open when you needed it to or the car wouldn’t start.
We spent a lot of time – a lot of time - getting the right instruments, the guitars and the drums. Sometimes I think it’s easier to make a film set in 1863 than 1963. In 1863 you don’t have the real streets, you have to recreate a set. Here you can use the real streets and dress them, but reality always intrudes somehow. You know, all of a sudden, a Fed Ex truck drives by. I always say I won’t make another period piece but I don’t know of that’s true.
Q: Can you talk about the music — I saw in the credits you wrote song with Steven Van Zandt — how was the experience of choosing music for the film?
A: Stevie and I wrote the medical jingle (audience laughs here — see the film and you’ll get it) Steve wrote the song that they use when they master the audition. At one point I was frustrated and wanted to quit writing and Steve sent me a demo with that song and it kept me going.
Q: It was an interesting choice using the sister as a narrative device. Can you talk about why you did that and what point in the process you decided to use her?
A: I decided to do it in post production. I had shown the film to some people and they didn’t get that the band never went anywhere. They spent the whole film trying to figure out who they were. some people thought they were supposed to be the Rolling Stones. I also got the Byrds. I realized that I needed to state up front that they never became anybody, so that the audience could just relax into it and be with the story.
Q: I noticed you use the holidays to anchor the story…why?
A: That’s how I remember it going when I was that age, coming home at holidays and life revolving around those times. I was frustrated with the process at one point and ready to give up Stevie Van Zandt sent a demoof one of the main songs and the progression of the lyrics went from holiday to holiday – I thought it was a sign.
Chase introduced the film by invoking Buddy Holly:
“I found out earlier that today is Buddy Holly’s birthday. As you know he wrote the song ‘Don’t Fade Away’ that the film is named for. I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that this film is having is screening here on his birthday. So Buddy this is for you, I hope you enjoy the movie.”
Erin Essenmacher blogs at The Film Panel Notetaker.
Chevy Chase reportedly shouted the N-word on the set of “Community,” objecting to how his “Community” character is portrayed as racist and asking if "Pierce Hawthorne" would say the n-word on the show next, according to TVLine.
The cause of the rant? Chase was reportedly complaining that his character has become more and more racially insensitive as the show has continued.
According to TVLine, production stopped briefly, then Chase apologized to the cast and crew.
Earlier this year, a voicemail that Chase left for former “Community” creator Dan Harmon was leaked. At the show’s wrap party, Harmon had mentioned Chase walking off the set during production, and Chase later left an angry voicemail on Harmon’s phone insulting Harmon. “I don't get talked to like that by anyone,” Chase said in the voicemail, according to the New York Daily News.
Because the history of the racial epithet Chase used is so loaded, the irony is of course that Chase was doubtless more offensive to people with his rant than his character has ever been on the show. Pierce is often portrayed as being clueless about pop culture and what is currently acceptable to say because of his age, once saying on the show, “I do have a young African-American friend now” when referring to Donald Glover’s character "Troy Barnes."
Disagreement over whether it is ever acceptable to use the racial term that Chase employed has been going on in the entertainment industry for decades. Talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey called out rapper Jay-Z, who often uses the word in his songs, in a 2009 interview.
“I was once at a Jay-Z concert, and there was a moment when everybody – including white people – was screaming the N-word,” she told him. “I got to tell you, it didn't make me feel good… but it didn't seem to affect you. You were having a good time up there onstage.”
"When I hear the N-word, I still think about every black man who was lynched—and the N word was the last thing he heard," said Oprah.
“It’s a generational thing,” Jay-Z replied. And in a video clip of the interview, Jay-Z added "We took the power out of the word. We took a word that was ugly and hateful and turned it into a term of endearment."
Today, NBC announced their first cancellation of the season by giving Animal Practice the axe after the ratings didn’t impress executives enough to keep it around. Whitney will air in the now vacant Wednesday time slot at 8pm starting on Wednesday, November 14th.
This isn’t immensely surprising as we previously predicted that a canceled show might allow for Whitney and/or Community to escape their dreaded Friday night time slots. After all, NBC did say, “When we have a better idea of viewing patterns in the next few weeks, we will announce new season premieres of ‘Whitney’ and ‘Community.’”
But we’re still not sure what this means for Community. Now the series – coming into a shortened 15-episode season 4 – might be all by itself on Friday unless Guys with Kids, NBC’s other low-rated freshman comedy series, gets canceled, too.
Honestly, I think the best option would be to put Community on Tuesdays with Go On and toss The New Normal over to the Thursday night line-up when 30 Rock finishes its 15-episode final season. That means we’d have to wait a little bit longer for the return of Community, but it might be worth it so the show has a fighting chance at surviving.
Either way, this game NBC seems to be playing with Community fans isn’t good for the show as the average viewer doesn’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. If anything, this shows that NBC doesn’t care about Community, and I’m not sure they’re invested in the series lasting, even through a full season 4.
Ethan Anderton blogs at Screen Rant.
As someone who enjoyed watching, but wasn’t exactly over the moon with season 1 of American Horror Story, I must admit considerable interest to hearing that its creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, had set the series up to be an anthology – the second helping of which would, of course, become American Horror Story: Asylum. And while the revelation that the Harmon family’s story had reached its conclusion was arguably more interesting than the story surrounding the actual Harmon family, it did offer a clue about what to expect from a narrative stand point, once season 2 got underway.
Season 1 was chock-full of every little bit of madness Murphy and Falchuk could scrounge up; there were whiffs of various film influences – both in and out of the horror genre – and enough gore, violence and jump scares to consider the series aptly named. Still, as the series trudged on, there was the overwhelming sense that it was burning the candle at both ends, so to speak – which was followed by the disclosure that American Horror Story was (and always had been?) intended to be an anthology series. This is important because, while season 1 ran at a breakneck pace for 13 episodes, the audience was left wondering just how it would all come together at the end, and what that would mean for the future of the series. Viewers entered into the series unaware that watching a dead family gather around a Christmas tree would not just be the end of the season, but the end of that particular story, as well.
As Asylum kicks off, it does so with the audience prepared for whatever storyline may be awaiting them to likely come to an actual conclusion. Therefore, the normal sense of exhilaration that comes from watching a television season reach its finale, and all that entails for the continuation of the story, is no longer an issue for AHS; the audience knows that once it’s done, it’s done. That will pose an interesting set of challenges for Murphy and Falchuk as they enter season 2.
And so, with the premiere episode, ‘Welcome to Briarcliff,’ the first thing most viewers will notice is how the writers have chosen to display their lunacy in a much more controlled fashion. That’s not to say the show has suddenly learned some manners, or bothered to look up the definition of the word “subtle,” but it just feels more like everyone is in on the joke now, everyone gets that the writers will ride this thing as hard as they can until its heart explodes, and then we’ll all just continue on with our business.
In season 1, it felt as though the madness was random, and a little rushed – which likely increased its appeal with some viewers. The storyline was largely an indiscriminate collection of horror movie tropes and freaky circumstances with equally unusual denouements that all danced around a central theme of a broken family who had unwittingly moved into a haunted house. In Asylum, Murphy and Falchuk are still inviting a whole host of bizarre images into a single structure, but this time is seems for a far more precise purpose. Perhaps that’s because they’re not burdened with making Jessica Lange’s character more central to the story after the fact, but mostly it’s because the writers have apparently had the proper time to arrange and organize the proceedings into a more cohesive whole.
Asylum begins with a twist on the kind of cold open that began season 1. Instead of beginning in the past, witnessing a gruesome even and then flashing forward, the open starts off with newlyweds Leo (Adam Levine) and Theresa (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) stopping off at Briarcliff in the midst of their tour of supposedly haunted places in America. After things get off to a good start, they quickly turn sour and the two wind up facing the institution’s most endearing legend in the deranged serial killer, Bloody Face. The storyline then jumps back to 1964, and quickly introduces us to its characters, paying particular attention to Kit Walker (Evan Peters) and Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), as they’re really the only two who need to find their way into the confines of the Briarcliff sanitarium and the clutches of its professed director, Sister Jude (Jessica Lange). Through Sister Jude, the episode manages to spell out the majority of the relationships at Briarcliff, which include Jude’s put-upon and callow fellow nun, Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe), the brilliant, but demented Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) and the object of Sister Jude’s lust, Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes). There’s also a trio of more-or-less permanent guests at the facility played by Chloe Sevigny, Mark Consuelos and Lizzie Brocheré. That’s a lot of characters, and we still won’t see Zachary Quinto until episode 2.
As Murphy and Falchuk stated, season 1 was a family drama. As such, Asylum is very much all about the workplace, and all the interesting relationships that can arise from that kind of setting. Here, though, the characters feel wholly about their own personal journey, as it relates to them and to the larger question of the season – which, apparently, is about aliens, mutants, demons and the aforementioned Bloody Face. They have aspirations and dreams, and often those don’t mesh to well with their environment, or the other people around them – whichever side of the locked door they happen to be on – and that goes a long way in making them interesting.
Perhaps it’s even more surprising then that Asylum is also concerned with societal shifts and the changing worldview of the time.
And in typical Murphy and Falchuk fashion, those concerns are made apparent through incredibly broad statements that have all the inspired flare of a high-school textbook. But still, bluntly shining the spotlight on things like interracial marriages, homosexual relationships, the conflict of science vs. faith, and, as the season progresses, likely a whole lot more, is the kind of thing these guys do, and it provides a much sturdier groundwork for the season than what was presented in the first few episodes of season 1.
Besides, American Horror Story isn’t about the careful and considered study of its otherwise wacky characters – the show gleefully (no pun intended) doesn’t have time for that; it’s too busy filling each episode with a series of ecstatic jump scares, gore and hilariously inane, over-the-top antics that are the real attraction of the series. It’s just intended to be a fun ride. While there’s no telling if it’ll stay on the course it has plotted, Asylum looks ready to gallop through even the craziest bits – all the way to the bitter end.
Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.
You doubtless know the classic beginning line, "Call me Ishmael," and the Herman Melville book details that follow: the main character, sailor Ishmael; the ship he travels on, the boat known as the Pequod; the mysterious Captain Ahab and his obsession with capturing a whale known as Moby Dick.
With much of the story taking place on the ocean, a massive whale serving as one of the main characters and a whirlpool featuring as part of the story's dramatic conclusion, "Moby-Dick" doesn't exactly scream "movie adaptation," but that hasn't stopped Hollywood directors from trying.
The story's first appearance in theaters came in 1926 with the silent movie "The Sea Beast," a story which bore similarities to Herman Melville's tale but was in fact a loose adaptation. In "Beast," Ahab, played by Shakespeare legend John Barrymore, falls in love with a girl named Esther who is later repulsed by his peg leg when Ahab's right leg is lost after he falls into the ocean with Moby-Dick. To those familiar with the novel, "Beast" would feature a surprise twist ending – unlike Melville's story, Ahab returns safe from his quest. Barrymore returned for a 1930 version of the story titled "Moby Dick," which remade the story with sound but follows the same plot as "Beast."
A 1956 version of the story appeared next, starring "To Kill a Mockingbird" actor Gregory Peck as the vengeful Ahab and directed by John Huston, who was also behind the movies "The Maltese Falcon and the African Queen." Huston collaborated on the screenplay with legendary sci-fi author Ray Bradbury and the relationship between the two during production was apparently not good. According to an interview Bradbury did with the Paris Review, Bradbury told Huston that he had "never been able to read the... thing" – meaning Melville's novel. And, Bradbury apparently felt that Huston bossed him around too much.
A massive prop whale was built for the production, clocking in at 85-feet long and weighing 12 tons. However, during production, it drifted away on the ocean, breaking free of its line, and was lost in the fog covering the sea at the time. The prop was substituted by attaching whale body parts such as a tail to a barge and filming miniatures of a whale as well as using a life-size version of the whale's head, complete with moving eyes, for close-ups, according to a Turner Classic Movies feature.
The relationship between Huston and his lead actor, Peck, was also reportedly less than cordial after Peck found out he wasn't Huston's first choice for the part of Ahab, and the two stopped speaking in later years. The production went over budget and, though it was a fairly faithful adaptation of Melville's novel and kept the original ending, the movie was considered a financial disappointment at the box office. Still, some reviews were positive, with the New York Times calling the film "one of the great motion pictures of our time."
A 1965 film moved Captain Ahab to the present day and retitled the story "The Bedford Incident," swapping in an American destroyer called the USS Bedford for the famous Pequod. In 1998, "Star Trek" actor Patrick Stewart appeared as Ahab in a made-for-TV movie which also featured Gregory Peck playing Father Mapple. In 2010, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" actor Barry Bostwick took on the role of Ahab for an adaptation titled "Moby Dick" which also updated the story – this time, to 1965 – and was released on video. The movie was criticized for giving the whale Moby-Dick unlikely powers, including the ability to crawl on land, and citing the whale as 500 feet, an unrealistic size.
Haven't read the book, but you're familiar with the details of the story anyway? Cartoon fans may have absorbed the story unconsciously by now, with every animated series from "Tom and Jerry" to "The Simpsons" referencing Melville's novel.
In the 1957 short "Woody Woodpecker: Dopey Dick the Pink Whale," Woody is brought onto a boat by a character, Dapper Denver Dooley, to help Dooley pursue a whale that bit him.
"Tom and Jerry: Dicky Moe," the 1962 cartoon, follows Tom as a hapless sailor who serves under the command of an unnamed captain with a peg leg who's obsessed with hunting a whale named Dicky Moe.
In "The Flintstones," a 1964 episode featured Fred sighting a creature he calls a "whaleasaurus." In 1967, the famous whale got his own show with the Hanna-Barbera series "Moby Dick and Mighty Mightor" as well as a personality makeover – in that version, the creature sometimes viewed as villainous rescues two young boys who ran into danger on the ocean.
Meanwhile, a little more recently, the Comedy Central series "Futurama" aired an episode in 2011 titled "Möbius Dick" in which the spaceship crew encounters a space whale that eats their engine, causing heroine Leela to swear revenge on the creature.
Sanchez, who came in second behind “Idol” winner Phillip Phillips in season 11 of the show this past May, will appear on multiple episodes of the show later in the season, and some fans are wondering if the singer will play a love interest for high school graduate Finn (Cory Monteith).
“With voices like Jessica, Lea, Naya, Melissa, Amber, and Jenna… Streisand episode?” Murphy wrote on Twitter.
Sanchez isn’t the first “Idol” runner-up to parlay her appearances on the hit Fox singing contest into success in other areas of entertainment.
Former season 3 contestant Jennifer Hudson went on to star in the 2006 film version of “Dreamgirls” and won an Oscar for her role, while season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken appeared on Broadway in “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”
Another Season 3 runner-up, Diana DeGarmo, made her Broadway debut in “Hairspray” and later starred in “Hair,” while Constantine Maroulis of season 4 starred in “The Wedding Singer” and “Rock of Ages” on the Great White Way. And Season 5’s Katharine McPhee is currently starring on the NBC behind-the-scenes Broadway drama “Smash.”