How Downton Abbey Jumped From TV To Film, According To The Director

Downton Abbey the royals sitting in the midst of the Crawley family, at a ball

When a TV show gets to a certain point of popularity, the question of when the seemingly eventual film adaptation will arrive starts to become more of an issue that needs to be addressed. By time creator/writer Julian Fellowes had concluded Downton Abbey‘s run in 2015, that was a question that even he really didn’t have an answer to.

Over the next couple of years, an idea would take hold, leading Fellowes to get the Crawley family gang back together in order to make Downton Abbey into a cinematic event for 2019. But it wasn’t just as simple as deciding to make a movie and turning on the cameras. For the world of British period drama to cross over from the world of TV to that of the cinema, some crucial adjustments would need to be made.

At the head of the actual production process was the film’s director, and fellow Downton veteran, Michael Engler. The director of several episodes from the series’ later seasons, Engler was a perfect choice to update the world of this hit television series for the big screen.

Which meant that when I got to sit down with him on behalf of CinemaBlend during the recent press day for Downton Abbey, we had an in-depth conversation about the intensive process of returning audiences to a place and time they were previously used to seeing on a smaller scale.

Downton Abbey Carson walks down the path from Downton

How Julian Fellowes’ Story Created A New Lens For Downton Abbey

As one would suspect, it all began with Julian Fellowes’ able pen, as Michael Engler explains below:

First of all, it starts with the script, and what [Julian Fellowes] had to do, which was create a structure that would be a standalone story. A one story event that would pull all the funny characters in and raise the stakes for them all, and have its own kind of beginning-middle-end, and then give you opportunities to go off on little off-shoot stories with all these characters you’ve come to know. The series worked that way, everybody had their own little story, and he had to find a way to do that and still make it feel like one event. So just balancing those stories out and keeping the main one moving forward was the trickiest part of that.

With Fellowes himself admitting that he didn’t know for a fact that there was even going to be a Downton Abbey movie, the script process sounded like it encountered a little more difficulty than the usual film adaptation of a televised series. As the Crawley family’s story felt pretty wrapped up at the end of Season 6, there was the need for something extraordinary to open the book back up on his famed series.

And what better an occasion than a royal visit from King George V and Queen Mary, played in the film by Simon Jones and Geraldine James, respectively. With inspiration from a real life royal visit in 1912, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern’s Lord and Lady Grantham were now given a proper reason to return with family, friends and everyone else in tow.

With a new story came new scenarios for everyone, from the heads of the Crawley household to their children and their families, and even the downstairs staff! This in turn fed naturally into scaling up the visual scope of Downton Abbey’s cinematic debut, which Michael Engler continued to discuss in the following terms:

But then, because the mechanism of creating that story was the Royal Visit, it also created a lot more interesting and different kinds of cinematic opportunities. Just big scale events, you know the parade and the review of the troops, and the ballroom scene, the big parties, and things like that, so that pretty naturally, things scaled up to size. Whereas in the series, if you had a scene at a big ball, you might have caught corners of it, and pieces of it, you might not have seen the whole huge thing so many times, or at all. You’d sort of see it from an anteroom nearby or something like that. Even just scaling up the rooms we’re familiar with, and the costumes, and all that, it allows for so much more detail to be perceived, and for us to be able to develop that focus on it.

From Julian Fellowes’ script to Michael Engler’s execution of said script’s vision, Downton Abbey experienced a natural progression when it came to opening up the story into a brand new context. And with a new story in a new medium comes the opportunity to mix some of that creative energy into the look of the world so familiar to us all.

Downton Abbey Daisy and Miss Patimore bonding in the kitchen, as the sun streams in

Updating The Look And Feel Of Downton Abbey

With a couple of years passing between the end of Downton Abbey’s series and production on the film version, there was no guarantee that the sets from the ITV series still existed. But as luck would have it, the production of the film continuation wasn’t plagued by too many cases of rebuilding familiar settings from the Grantham estate.

Engler’s story about scaling Downton for the big screen continues by describing how even though some well-known corners of the palatial manor were still available for production, there was always a way for things to become a bit more visually updated:

They rebuilt some of them, and some of them they had. For instance the bedrooms, they were the same bedrooms, it was the same furniture and all of that. But then, where the walls had been painted green, instead now it was like beautiful cut green velvet wall coverings. So you were back in those rooms again, and they felt the same, but now suddenly you thought ‘Wait, why does this feel so much richer, and more detailed and complex?’, and it was really all those details could get a little bit more fleshed out. You would see more detail, you’d see more depth.

Obviously with the budget of a major motion picture like Downton Abbey, a lot of older sets could be updated. It wasn’t just a matter of updating what was being filmed, as the method of how filming Downton had evolved as well. Even just watching the trailer to the movie, you can see that both the upstairs and downstairs at Downton, as well as the village it resides near, looks and feels much warmer than ever.

The secret weapon in this case came down to one particular member of the Downton Abbey film crew that Michael Engler had to single out for praise:

Ben Smithard is a really great cinematographer. Not that there weren’t any in the series, but he just has a good eye for that kind of scale of romance and period and everything.

A series that was once known for drawing room conversations, intimate dances and lots of natural light was turned into a film that turned what already looked beautiful on television into an absolutely stunning film. Which leads to the final finishing touches that Engler and I discussed during our time together, as the expansion of scope didn’t stop with the look and structure of the story – it also came with some added elements that enhanced what made Downton Abbey so special.

Downton Abbey The Dowager Countess delivering a zinger at dinner

A Funnier, More Action-ish Downton

While Downton Abbey has always had a way with humor, Julian Fellowes has outdone himself with the new film, as there are several sequences that see the laughs coming faster and funnier than ever. As someone familiar with the material, Michael Engler was ecstatic to see this improvement; though he explained the reservations that accompanied this increase in comedic energy:

I love that. I felt like, again, [Julian Fellowes] was just kind of amping up everything, including the comedy. So we just really embraced it. At first we were a little afraid to go too far with it, or that it wouldn’t feel like Downton, and we just said ‘No, this is the show growing into a film, and this is the film taking on its own life.’ And the scale of the event felt like it was worthy of it. It’s bigger comically, it’s bigger romantically, it’s big in every way.

A greater sense of humor is definitely something Downton Abbey benefits from at the movies. However, in a series where everything from blackmail to World War I, and some soul crushing deaths in-between, have had their place in the story, there was something new for fans who wanted to see a little bit of excitement and intrigue added to the already spectacular story. It comes courtesy of a little bit of espionage infiltrating the royal visit.

Without spoiling the fun, Downton Abbey actually sees some action added as a story mechanic for its cinematic incarnation. An actual chase scene during the crowded royal parade, as well as a moment where two characters wrestle with each other on the ground, adds some suspense and tension to the proceedings, though Michael Engler was reserved in his own recounting of that very scene, calling it “action-ish.” While some might be put off by this short burst of adrenaline, the director felt that it just played into the usual variety of stories that have been told at Downton for years, saying:

Downton always did a lot of different things, and that was what’s so amazing about it. It’s like a workplace drama, and a family drama, and a romance and a romantic comedy. It was all these different things, and I’m so impressed by its ability in this film to kind of recreate the variety and the spectrum of things that the series was in one story.

Making a movie out of a television show is harder than it seems, especially if you want to do it right. Thanks Julian Fellowes and Michael Engler’s artistic energies focusing in the right places, while also asking the best questions to make sure that the evolution of Downton’s film adventures played organically, a familiar world finds new life after taking a well-earned rest.

It could lead to some sequels that continue the Crawley family saga, though as always, it’ll come down to how this new film does in theaters.

Downton Abbey will expect you to show your support at the movies this weekend, starting with early showings on Thursday night. There is no dress code, though you will have to provide your own tea. And if you aren’t familiar with the legendary tales of Downton’s past, you can either watch the handy recap video that runs through all six seasons in a quick 10 minutes, or you could stream the entire six seasons from various purveyors of fine streaming entertainment.

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Mickey Rourke Claims Feud With Robert De Niro Kept Him From Being In The Irishman

Did you know Robert De Niro and Mickey Rourke have had an over 30-year feud? Rourke has no issue spilling all the details, citing its beginnings on the set of 1987’s Angel Heart. Back then, De Niro allegedly told him “I think it’s better if we don’t talk” on the set of the thriller. The so-called beef has carried over into their current careers, and Rourke now claims De Niro barred him from a chance to work with Martin Scorsese on his upcoming big-budget Netflix film, The Irishman. In Rourke’s words:

Mickey Rourke told all on Italian television show, Live – Non è la D’Urso (via Independent), sharing his disappointment in the missed oppurtunity. He said he was “upset” about it, especially since he “needed the money” and a gig on The Irishman would have been a good break for him. However, when producers Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and casting director Ellen Lewis, of the upcoming Scorsese film were contacted on the matter, here’s how they replied (via IndieWire):

So either Mickey Rourke is flaming fake fire or three members of Scorsese’s The Irishman have their facts wrong. On Live – Non è la D’Urso, the Iron Man 2 actor also talked about how he used to look up to Robert De Niro in the ‘80s on a pedestal the likes of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino are on before their bad blood. Now, he thinks differently. Here’s what he said:

Those are bold words from Mickey Rourke! If he really did have a shot at The Irishman, he has reason to be disappointed. The exciting release is Martin Scorsese’s first film in three years, and will star Robert De Niro as hitman Frank Sheeran, Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino and an all-star supporting cast including Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale and Anna Paquin.

Everything You Need To Remember About The Rambo Franchise Before Last Blood

Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: Last Blood

Sylvester Stallone will always be best known for his role as Rocky Balboa. However, through the 1980s and beyond, there was another popular character that Stallone has played numerous times: John Rambo. Stallone first played Rambo in 1982’s First Blood, and now it appears the character will finally bid his own farewell in the aptly named Rambo: Last Blood.

While the name Rambo by itself has become a recognized term for macho combat, considering it’s been nearly 40 years since First Blood, and over 10 years since the last entry in this franchise, there’s a good chance most people don’t even remember everything John Rambo has been through in his life, so here’s everything you need to remember before Last Blood hits screens on Friday.

Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo in First Blood

Rambo Fought In Vietnam And Was A POW

John Rambo fought in the Vietnam War, where he earned multiple commendations, including the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, he, like many unfortunate souls, has many scars as a result of his time there. Some are physical, some are not.

When we meet Rambo in the first film, he discovers that the last living member of his unit has died of cancer as a result of Agent Orange exposure. He drifts into the sleepy town of Hope, Washington, where he runs afoul of a sheriff who sees him as nothing more than a vagrant. After being arrested, Rambo’s body is shown to be covered in scars, and in brief flashback moments, we learn that he was captured and tortured while a prisoner of war. It’s mentioned in the sequel that he was able to escape from the camp.

First Blood

Rambo Suffers From PTSD

While, even in the early 80s, post traumatic stress disorder wasn’t as well understood as it is now, the fact that people coming back from Vietnam were dealing with psychological and emotional difficulties was certainly known. John Rambo is one of these people. It’s never said outright, but it’s clear.

In First Blood, Rambo is abused by some bad cops, and we see him making mental connections between this abuse and what he suffered while at war. It causes him to lash out and attack, leading to the conflict in the first film, and by association, the entire franchise.

At the end of First Blood Rambo breaks down completely in front of his former commander, talking about the flashbacks that he has and the horrors he witnessed, and it’s clear the man needs help. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that he ever really gets it..

Rambo: First Blood Part II

Rambo Went Back To Vietnam

The closest thing to therapy that John Rambo seems to get is being placed back into a situation where he feels more comfortable. Unfortunately, for him, that means fighting in the jungle. 1985’s Rambo: First Blood – Part II sees Rambo in prison following the events of the first movie, but he’s offered a pardon in exchange for going back to the camp where he was a prisoner in order to determine if there are any soldiers left behind who are still there.

Rambo gets captured and tortured again. It turns out there are some POWs who have been held in Vietnam for a decade. Rambo ends up escaping again, but this time he’s able to bring some of the missing soldiers home with him. He also blows up a small chunk of Vietnam on the way out the door.

Rambo III

He Fought in Afghanistan

There are a lot of elements of the Rambo franchise that haven’t necessarily aged well, but the plot of Rambo III may have aged worst of all. The movie, released in 1988, sees Rambo go into Afghanistan in an attempt to rescue his former commander Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna). Trautman was there to help support Afghani freedom fighters against the invading Russian army.

This fits with the politics of the day, as the U.S. military did exactly this. However, with a modern eye, the whole thing is a little unfortunate when you realize just who some of those freedom fighters actually were. Only three years after Rambo III came out, the U.S. would be invading Afghanistan itself and battling some of those same rebels.

Richard Crenna as Sam Trautman

Rambo’s Only Friend Is Gone

The only recurring character throughout the Rambo franchise, beyond Rambo himself, is Colonel Sam Trautman. He was played by Richard Crenna in the first three Rambo films. However, Crenna had died before the fourth film went into production. It was dedicated in his memory.

Trautman’s fate isn’t specifically dealt with in Rambo, but with another 20 years having passed since that movie, it seems clear that the colonel, the man who trained Rambo, is canonically dead as well. With Rambo’s unit having all died before the events of First Blood, this makes Rambo truly alone. Nobody alive knows what he has been through.

Rambo 4

Rambo Came Home

Throughout the entire Rambo film franchise, Rambo is a drifter. We don’t know where he’s coming from when we first meet him in First Blood, but there’s no indication he has a home at all. Throughout the movies, he holds various jobs and spends most of his life living in Thailand, but it’s clear he never really makes it home.

It’s mentioned more than once that he’s from Arizona, and at the end of the fourth movie, simply titled Rambo, we see him arrive at a ranch belonging to an R. Rambo. He mentions earlier in the movie that his father may or may not still be alive, so this is likely the family homestead. The wandering soldier has decided to stop wandering.

This is where the new movie, Rambo: Last Blood, will pick up. We know that Rambo is still on the family ranch in Arizona. This time he won’t be fighting Russians or traveling to Asia. Instead, we’ll watch Rambo face his final challenge in the form of a Mexican drug cartel.

Rambo has had an awfully long road to Last Blood. While the majority of the films have focused on him being an unstoppable super soldier, he’s also a tragic figure. He went through war and then had to deal with the fact that said war was unpopular. All this left scars. Scars,which, through the four movies we have seen, clearly have not yet healed.

Rambo: Last Blood opens in theaters this Friday, September 20.

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Star Wars Rumor: Are Characters Being De-Aged?

Until Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Star Wars movies were firmly rooted in present day narratives (so to speak), but then the 2017 installment changed the game by winding back the clock to show audiences the reason why Kylo Ren turned to the dark side. Now a new rumor has surfaced for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, claiming that movie could open with a flashback, specifically showing Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa in Original Trilogy times.

According to Making Star Wars, the opening scene of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker takes place on planet covered with trees, where two Jedi are dueling with lightsaber, one blade blue, the other blade green. White helmets with visors are obscuring their faces so we can’t initially make out who they are, but eventually the individuals stop their duel and take off their helmets. They’re revealed to be Luke and Leia looking just like they did in Return of the Jedi.

Again, this is just a rumor, and even if this scene does exists, it’s possible it could be moved to a different part of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Regardless, it would be cool to see younger versions of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa again, with this scene giving us some insight into Leia’s early Force training under the tutelage of her brother.

It’s worth noting this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a young Leia modern Star Wars film era. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ended with a cameo appearance from her looking like her A New Hope self, with Carrie Fisher’s 1970s likeness being digitally superimposed over actress Ingvild Delia. It’s previously been reported that Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, is serving as her mother’s stand-in on The Rise of Skywalker, in addition to reprising Lieutenant Connix.

It’s unclear if these young versions of Luke and Leia will speak in the scene. If they do, then obviously archived audio or a new actress would need to be used for Leia’s vocals, but it’d be interesting to hear if Mark Hamill recorded new material.

Although Carrie Fisher passed away in late 2016, thanks to unused footage of her from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Leia Organa will get to have a prominent role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And with this movie marking the final installment of the Skywalker Saga, it’d also be fitting if we did indeed get a peek back at the time period where we first visited a galaxy far, far away.

Even with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker a little over three months away from release, no specific plot details have been revealed yet other than it will take place one year after The Last Jedi and bring an end to both The Resistance and The First Order’s war, as well as the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. Along with including plenty of familiar faces, including Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian and Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine, the movie will introduce characters like Naomi Ackie’s Jannah, Richard E. Grant’s Allegiant General Pryde and Keri Russell’s Zorro Bliss.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20. If you’re curious about what other movies coming out before the year is over, head to our 2019 release schedule.

Hustlers: There’s One Pole Dancing Move Jennifer Lopez Had To Master

At this point, it looks like Jennifer Lopez can do just about anything she puts her mind to. The newly 50-year-old pop sensation, actress, producer, fashion designer and entrepreneur was tasked with adding pole dancing to her skill set for Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers. In the film, J.Lo stars as Ramona, a seasoned stripper who is supposed to really know her moves.

When Hustlers pole dance choreographer, Johanna Sapakie trained Jennifer Lopez for her big opening dance number to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”, she had the actress master one particularly advanced move that would have her bottoms up on the pole with only her arms to hold her up. Here’s what Sapakie said:

And it was no easy feat. Johanna Sapakie worked with J. Lo for almost three months on the sequence ahead of the day-long shoot during the last week of Hustler’s filming. Jennifer Lopez had poles installed in her homes in Los Angeles, New York and Miami during the period so she could practice the choreography in her downtime up to the shoot and racked up bruises and a torn shoulder from learning about the athletic art form.

The signature scene was filmed in an actual strip club in Long Island City. However, a rotating pole was placed instead to help the filmmakers for editing purposes. Johanna Sapakie, who has over 20 years of pole dancing experience under her belt, acted as her stand-in for the benefit of the director and cinematographer, before the cameras started rolling and J. Lo performed her big “Criminal” number.

Jennifer Lopez filmed the sequence in one day after performing the 4-minute sequence six to seven times. Sapakie remembers the moment on set with these words to THR:

Check out Hustlers in theaters now!

Church Official Embezzled Millions To Buy A Membership At Disneyland’s Club 33

There’s been a lot of talk, especially recently, about just how expensive Disneyland is. Hotels are expensive, theme park tickets are expensive, food is expensive. Serious Disneyland fans save their money to make sure they have the cash for that all important annual passport every year, but for some with bigger bank accounts, there’s a goal out there with a significantly higher price tag that the rest of us can only dream of, Club 33.

The exclusive establishment is only open to a select few, and membership is not cheap. Nearly every serious Disneyland fan likely dreams of visiting Club 33 — unless you’re part of the comparatively small list of people who actually have — and imagines that if they ever had enough money, a Club 33 membership is what they would spend it on. One Southern California church official apparently did just that. Unfortunately, it appears he may have embezzled several million dollars in order to do so.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California has announced the arrest of Charles Thomas Sebesta, the former chairman of the board for the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist in Los Angeles. He’s been charged with fraud in the alleged theft of over $11 million in church funds, some of which he apparently spent on a Club 33 membership at the happiest place on earth.

Sebesta had been in charge of the church’s funds since 2005, and he purchased the Club 33 membership in 2010. He apparently used the location to host major entertainment companies, sports teams, and their employees. It’s unclear if this was done under the auspices of church business or as something purely personal.

For those not up to speed, Club 33 is a members only location which can be found at New Orleans Square,the home of the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, inside Disneyland. The official address is 33 Royal Street, though the physical entrance has moved as the park has been renovated.  Membership to Club 33 is reported to cost upwards of $25,000 a year, with annual dues of approximately half that amount once you have the membership.

Other Club 33 locations have been built at other Disney parks over the years, but Disneyland’s was the first.

Even if you have that kind of money to spend, getting into Club 33 isn’t easy, as there is a significant waiting list and a fixed number of available memberships.

Prior to the opening of Oga’s Cantina at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Club 33 was also he only place one could purchase alcohol within the Disneyland theme park.

As one of those people who has never been to Club 33, I can totally understand the desire to purchase a membership. If I had $25,000 burning a hole in my pocket, I’d put my name on the waiting list straight away.

Hopefully, Charles Thomas Sebesta enjoyed his time at Club 33, as he may not have any more chances to visit. If convicted of all charges, he’s facing a maximum prison sentence of over $250 years.

On the plus side, if you’ve been on the Club 33 waiting list, you may have just moved one slot closer to the top.

Image courtesy of DisneylandNews.com/Disney

Deadpool Creator Rob Liefeld Says Watchmen Movie Is Better Than The Comics

It’s been over 30 years since Watchmen was first published, and not only is it still considered to be one of the greatest comic book stories of all time, it’s also been labeled a triumph of American literature in general. But if you ask longtime comic book writer and artist Ron Liefeld, the 2009 Watchmen movie is the superior version of the story originally delivered by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons.

Recently, comic book retailer Dennis Barger posted two screenshots highlighting the smiley face button Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s The Comedian is wearing at the beginning of Watchmen, where audiences saw the fight that culminated in Comedian being thrown out of his apartment window. Barger’s Facebook post included the caption “The best thing Snyder ever did!!!”, leading Rob Liefeld to say the following in the comments:

It’s unclear what exactly Rob Liefeld is referring to by the ending. As is usually the case with film adaptations, Watchmen took some creative liberties with the source material, so Liefeld could be addressing anything from how Doctor Manhattan was blamed for New York City’s destruction rather than a giant, faux-alien squid, or how Nite-Owl witnessed Manhattan killing Rorschach.

Ultimately both Watchmen stories conclude the same way: with Rorschach’s journal coming close to being discovered at The New Frontiersman, and the audience being left to guess whether or not the truth will come out. Nevertheless, if given a choice between the original Watchmen or the film adaptation, Rob Liefeld (whose work in the comic book industry includes co-creating characters like Cable and Deadpool, and being one of Image Comics’ founders) will take the latter over the former.

Rob Liefeld certainly isn’t alone in his admiration for the Watchmen movie; at the time of its release, it was met with polarizing reception, with some folks being over the moon for it and others harshly criticizing it. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, there’s no denying that a decade later, Watchmen continues to be a talking point among the comic book fan community.

Watchmen was Zack Snyder’s second time tackling a comic book adaptation, the first being 2007’s 300, and he would later leave his mark on DC Comics universe with Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Snyder is currently hard at work on his upcoming Netflix movie Army of the Dead.

While the Watchmen movie didn’t get a film sequel, the mythos as a whole will be framed in a new light in HBO’s Watchmen TV series, which is set several decades after the events of the original tale. So far three of the original Watchmen characters are confirmed to appear in the series: Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, played by Jeremy Irons; Laurie Blake/Silk Spectre II, played by Jean Smart; and Doctor Manhattan, whose actor hasn’t been identified yet.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest in movie news. Keep track of what’s hitting theaters for the rest of the year in our 2019 release schedule.

Jay And Silent Bob Reboot Poster Is A Great Spoof On Avengers: Endgame

Kevin Smith is perhaps just as famous for being a huge comic book and comic book movie fanboy, as he is for being a filmmaker. So in a year where the comic book movie Avengers: Endgame became the biggest movie of all time, it’s only fitting that Kevin Smith have a little fun with that in his long-awaited return to his View Askewniverse. He does just for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot with a poster that’s a great spoof on Avengers: Endgame. Check it out:

If there are any superheroes deserving of a serious character poster, conveying import and gravitas, it’s Bluntman and Chronic and their alter-egos/the two stoners upon whom the characters are based, Jay and Silent Bob. This poster for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot does just that, spoofing the kinds of character posters given to the heroes in Avengers films like Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War.

All the hallmarks are here. Stern expressions and serious looks: check. Streaks of cool colors in the background: check. Dramatic lighting: check. Characters looking off into the distance in opposite directions: check. Kevin Smith’s character Silent Bob has a bit of flow to his hair as he is turned away, hands in his pockets like a badass reluctant warrior. He actually kind of reminds me of Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne here too.

Even the logo for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot kind of looks like it is turning to dust, as if snapped away by Thanos. There is no Thanos in this poster but Jason Mewes’ Jay is striking a fighting stance and instead of wielding an Infinity Gauntlet, he is wearing an extremely large flesh-colored Hulk hand. That hand of course belonged to Mark Hamill’s Cock Knocker in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He lost that hand Luke Skywalker style in a duel with Jason Mewes’ Chronic.

To show how similar this spoof poster for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is to those from the Avengers films, check out a Spider-Man poster from Avengers: Infinity War and a Captain America poster from Avengers: Endgame below.

It’s a great spoof poster, not only because we know what a huge MCU fan Kevin Smith is, but because Jay and Silent Bob are nothing like the Avengers and the seriousness of Avengers: Endgame is the exact opposite of what we’ll find in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. The trailer for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot makes it clear that this movie will be crude, rude, goofy and ridiculous. Basically exactly what we want it to be.

This poster is also fitting because Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is kind of spoofing superhero films and Hollywood’s reboot culture. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back previously found the titular duo going to Hollywood to stop a movie getting made about the Bluntman and Chronic characters they inspired. Now they’re trying the reboot of that property from getting made.

If you think this poster would look good on your wall next to an Avengers: Endgame poster, and who wouldn’t, you’re in luck. As Kevin Smith announced on his Twitter account, there will be special Fathom Events screenings of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot on October 15. Those who attend this screening will get a copy of this poster free, while supplies last of course. There will also be a double feature with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot on October 17.

Do ‘whatever it takes’ to see Jay and Silent Bob Reboot when it hits theaters on October 15. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of everything headed your way in the coming months.

Gemini Man Has Screened, See What People Are Saying

Ahead of the film’s October release, Gemini Man has screened for its first audiences. CinemaBlend’s own Michael Reyes offered a sneak peek at his thoughts about the Will Smith-led sci-fi flick. Here’s what he had to say:

Rejoice, Bourne fans! It sounds like Gemini Man pulls a bit from its narrative, with a new science fiction twist. While Mike found the upcoming release interesting, overall he doesn’t sound particularly impressed by it. There wasn’t enough story for him to chew on throughout.

As far as sci-fi films go this year, Gemini Man is one of the few new names to hit the big screen. Morales points out it’s not anything audiences haven’t visited before, but still gives the film points for its fun chase between Will Smith and his younger and completely CGI counterpart. But from here on out is full-on praise for Ang Lee’s newest directorial project.

Just check out Devindra Hardawar of Engadget and Slash Film bring positive buzz to Gemini Man:

What’s unique about Gemini Man is it’s a bold action movie experience that audiences will get to enjoy on the big screen. The movie was shot in 120 frames per second (FPS), which is significantly higher than an average film’s 24FPS and the Hobbit trilogy’s 48FPS. The above motorcycle sequence with Will Smith’s two characters sounds incredibly impressive!

Fandango’s Erik Davis enjoyed the movie as well, calling it amongst the best of Ang Lee’s filmography, which includes the highly-acclaimed Life of Pi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain. Here’s what he said:

It also sounds like 3D is the ticket to buy for Gemini Man. Along with Erik Davis’ recommendation, Refinery29’s Anne Cohen also showed her love for the 3D version along with these comments:

There’s also some love for Mary Elizabeth Winstead! The actress known for 10 Cloverfield Lane and Scott Pilgrim, and soon-to-be Birds of Prey badass, has a supporting role in Gemini Man, along with Clive Owen and Benedict Wong. It’s also nice to hear the CGI Will Smith isn’t jarring like Smith’s Genie was ahead of Aladdin.

On top of love for the visuals and other cast members, Will Smith’s performance sounds like it’s been given the thumbs up! So while Gemini Man’s plot may not be groundbreaking, it looks like the movie is garnering positive initial reactions! Check it out yourself opening weekend starting October 11!

Birds Of Prey: Margot Robbie Wanted To Give Harley Friends

The DC live-action universe is a fascinating place that seems to be in constant motion. Rather than full release schedules like the MCU, Warner Bros. allows the performance of each blockbuster to dictate its future. There have been some cast and director shakeups as a result of Justice League‘s box office bomb, but one thing is clear: DC is putting a lot of stock into Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. The femme fatale was a fan favorite from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, with the highly anticipated Birds of Prey marking her second appearance on the silver screen. And it turns out that the movie’s writing was at least partly influenced by Robbie’s hope that Harley gets real friends.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a semi-spinoff for Harley, while also introducing iconic characters from Gotham City and Batman lore. The upcoming blockbuster was written by Bumblebee‘s Christina Hodson, who recently spoke about early meetings she had with Margot Robbie about the female-centric project. As she put it:

Harley was a scene stealer in Suicide Squad, but we didn’t really get to see her interact with female characters. Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller was more of a manipulator than anything, while the sword wielding Katana was mostly mute throughout the film’s runtime. But that’ll change when Birds of Prey finally hits theaters, and sees the villainess interact with DC favorites like Huntress and Black Canary.

It turns out that Christina Hodson and Margot Robbie met for the first time four years ago, before David Ayer’s Suicide Squad had even arrived in theaters. While Harley formed somewhat of a family unit in her first appearance, her personal relationships look like they’ll be especially important during Birds of Prey. And the villain’s first genuine friends will surprisingly come from the heroes of Gotham City, including GCPD officer Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez).

Harley Quinn is a character that was originally defined by her abusive relationship with The Joker. First debuting in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley is constantly beat down physically and emotionally by Mr. J, but continues to stand by her puddin’. But Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) seems to be teasing the character’s independence from Jared Leto’s Clown Prince of Crime.

Later in her conversation with Total Film, Christina Hodson went on to explain just how passionate Margot Robbie is about Birds of Prey, and her character’s overarching narrative. As the writer put it:

This is all very exciting. Not only will Birds of Prey challenge the character of Harley Quinn in new and exciting ways, it seems that Warner Bros. allowed the filmmakers to create bold narrative choices for the upcoming movie.

Birds of Prey looks like it’s going to balance the drama of Gotham City Crime with a quirky cast of characters led by Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. The movie has had a unique approach to marketing thus far, revealing the cast’s upcoming looks through a screen test. A brief teaser was also cut, but only released to audiences ahead of IT Chapter Two.

The upcoming blockbuster also recently debuted its first poster, which puts Harley front and center, and shows audiences how she sees the world, and the various characters she’ll come into contact with for Birds of Prey. The trailer is unique compared to the typically ultra-serious approach that most comic book movies make. And it should be fascinating to see how it all shakes down when Cathy Yan’s DC debut continues the shared universe’s timeline.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will fly into theaters on February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movie.