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Best Spider-Man Ever, Wow, Tom Holland Looks Like It, Seriously

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

We could run down the Marvel list of past Spider-Men: impish Tobey Maguire, troubled Andrew Garfield, and they were great. But why bother, Spidey fans, because Tom Holland owns the new web-slinger entry SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, which opens July 7.

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Hey, is that Jon Favreau in the background? Yes.

Owns it along with his co-stars, that is. Those being Robert Downey, Jr.,  back as his Iron Man/Tony Stark mentor; Michael Keaton as not super-normal, real-world villain Vulture; and Marisa Tomei as a surprisingly bitchin’ Aunt May.  There’s what Robert Downey Jr. calls “the kids,” all the subplot superheros. Plus this has old and new Hollywood folks, such as Tyne Daly, Danny Glover, even Zendaya. For insiders, Amy Pascal, who got burned in the SONY email hack, comes roaring back as her Pascal Pictures pushed this one through to the finish line. Even Pascal gets her superhero cape back.

Producer Kevin Feige sets the scene here on how they thought about the new Spider-Man.

“We introduced Spider-Man in Civil War and you got to see the banter and the fun and contrast between he and the other heroes there,” says Feige. “And now, after the greatest vacation of all time, in which he got to spend this time with these rock stars, he’s got to go back to high school. So, it exacerbates his problem – a problem that I certainly had and I think most people who go to high school have – ‘Is there something more for me out there?’ But Peter knows there is because he just did it. He thinks he’s ready, and of course when you’re fifteen years old you often think you’re ready for something before you really are. That’s the fun of this movie, that’s the relatability of Peter Parker, and that’s why we wanted to do this and reintroduce Spider-Man to audiences through the lens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Yeah, okay, but Tom Holland says it in a much more fun way.

Wired for maximum energy, Tom Holland is so kick-ass even in talking about  this movie, like how he heard that he was cast as The One. “Well I didn’t actually hear I was going to be Spider-Man, I read about it on Instragram,” the newly minted web-spinner admits. “I didn’t get ‘the call.’ But no, it was an amazing experience.”

“I’d worked my ass off getting this job. And when all that hard work paid off and I could finally say I was Spider-Man, it was a pretty crazy experience.” SpideySPH17Plus he loves it when people bitch on the internet about the new onscreen reboot of Marvel’s “crown jewel” and “most successful comic book in the world,” according to Marvel Studio’s internal production notes, the hallowed “Spider-Man” created Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Holland scoffs a little at the doubters, in a good way.

“I love reading on the internet people complaining that there is so much in the trailers because you haven’t seen anything yet, there is so much more to come, the big twists and turns. My whole family watched it the other day, and my family are not ‘superhero fans,’ and they loved it. They loved it. They are my toughest critics and it was amazing to see them enjoy it, which is fun.”

Not to mention working with Robert Downey, Jr, again after almost flying off a building when they met up in the last big bang box office movie, Civil War. Let’s just say, Tom really digs working with the Suave Marvel Franchise Statesman.

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Incredible illustrations as Concept Art.

“When Robert showed up on set, he was so excited to be there,” Downey’s film protege shares. “He saw the concept art, some of the footage and he thought it looked great. To me it was the perfect indicator that we’ve got something special here.”

A veteran of Hollywood and real life, being a franchise frontier is kind of second nature to Downey now. He talks about Peter Parker in such a cool way. “He is not part of the Military Industrial Complex” like Tony Stark is, Downey points out, adding Tom Holland plays it really new, for a re-sprung franchise. “Lest we forget,” Tony Stark’s counterpart says, “[Iron Man] pulled Peter Parker into life and death situations shortly after meeting him just a year or so ago.” But “he develops this belief in Mr. Parker.”

About the other teen superheroes, Downey is equally impressed. “You know what, speaking of homecoming, these kids are pretty damn good,” and then he switches gears to the reconfigured Aunt May character, played by Marisa Tomei.

“I’ve known Marisa for a long time, she’s just perfect,” he adds. “What a fresh start this franchise is getting.”

When thinking about New Spider-Man, Marisa starts laughing, “I feel like a newcomer next to him, because [Tom Holland] was born a pro. He is so capable. [Tom] is adept at everything he does.”SpiderTube17

Then she really takes a moment to say “it’s a gift to act in a ‘franchise’ film, to know you have a job coming. And to be part of something that is so beloved. That the fans really cherish and are really excited about. There’s a fever to it, to be part of something that is so anticipated.”

But is it too big, or too anticipated, you may wonder?

“It’s big, big movie —  with independent spirit at heart. The movie is as much about ‘finding your place in the world,’ as much as it is a giant superhero movie.”

As far as Aunt May Upgraded, “I wanted to try to keep some of the — not just the function, to look after [Peter], to be curious and deduced things and make a strong home for him — I wanted to make her [mine].”

This Aunt May “works, she has a publishing company. She has a past… [But], she’s trying to make these pies. I wanted her to make these apple pies like the original Aunt May, and the original granny glasses, and the apron and the bun in her hair. It helps transition into this new iteration.”

Plus if it’s Marisa (CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE), you get that this will be the first sexy Aunt May, just saying.

“I felt like I was in summer camp when I was working with them [Tom and the younger superhero cast members]. It was like ‘okay, not only are you not your age, but i’m not my age, we’re all 13 right now’ — I loved being with them.”

So you’re getting the idea how off-the-hook special this movie is, even with a kind of human villain, Michael Keaton. He’s a Hollywood insider who’s been around forever, but Keaton as “Vulture” plays a new flavor of heavy here.

Birdman’s Oscar nominee tries to break it down to the essence of his Spider-Man bad guy with “there is, you know, an underlying intelligence to it. It isn’t that simple. He has resentment.”

Vulture “may have been vulnerable.” He started out ethically okay, maybe but “my character [failed] doing things on the up-and-up, maybe — but he is put in a position to say, ‘I’m going to look after my family.’ I also like that he had a crew. I like these guys. These are all working class people. They all have legitimate gripes.”

When asked about the scope of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Keaton nails it for most of us. “These movies are always just so huge, how they put it together it beyond me. You can tell, the director, he really saw it.” Then he stops short, summing up the little details that apparently make this movie The One for diehard Marvel franchise fans.

Michael Keaton wants to talk The Suit.

“The suit was so intricate and artfully made — I don’t think those people (Costumers) get enough credit. You know, special wrenches to put the boots in a certain (position), I was knocked out by that.” Which leads into a whole discussion about Cosplay, but never mind.SpideyNow1

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING  is right around the corner as this summer’s huge blockbuster entry and swings into the box office July 7, so get ready for it. See the official site here, with all the relevant hashtags and hoo-hah for such a massive fan movie.

JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT THE SMALL PRINT

Columbia Pictures presents a Marvel Studios / Pascal Pictures production, Spider-Man™: Homecoming.  Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Jon Watts.  Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Screen Story by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley.  Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal.  Executive Producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach. Mitch Bell, Eric Hauserman Carroll, and Rachel O’Connor serve as Co-Producers. Director of Photography is Salvatore Totino ASC, AIC. Production Designer is Oliver Scholl. Editors are Dan Lebental ACE and Debbie Berman.  Visual Effects Supervisor is Janek Sirrs.  Costume Designer is Louise Frogley. Music by Michael Giacchino. Music Supervision by Dave Jordan.

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DARK TOWER Casts Wild Shadow with Baddie McConaughey & Pistol-Packing Idris Elba

by Screenmancer Staff

It doesn’t entirely ruin the mystique around Stephen King’s eight-novel series “The Dark Tower” to know that the name of the main character, played by Idris Elba in the upcoming Columbia Pictures release of the same name, is from a Robert Browning poem. MattDTwide17In fact it kind of arts it up. Browning’s poem is dark and weird, very King-friendly. But putting aside “Chlide Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” the Browning poem, the movie adapt THE DARK TOWER, which opens August 4, looks to be a bone-broth of genres boiled down to something even its fiendish-leaning author will enjoy.

Written between 1978 and 1982 as a handful of short stories to start, “The Dark Tower” books took on a life of their own around the stark black-and-white plot of good vs evil. However, since this is from the mind of Maine’s maniac who brought us “The Shining,” “Christine,” even “Cujo,” not everything is as black and white as it appears.

King talked about it a little in a video interview on Colllider, basically saying “It starts sort of in medias res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some fans a little bit. But they will have to get behind it, because it is the story.”

SONY’s official description for the movie goes something like this:

“There are other worlds than these. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, the ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors, makes its launch to the big screen. The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.”

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures' THE DARK TOWER.

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures’ THE DARK TOWER.

Always devilishly optimistic about the future of mankind, King’s own writing from the Dark Tower series speaks for itself. “So will the world end, I think, a victim of love rather than hate. For love’s ever been the more destructive weapon, sure.” Furthermore, quoting the book series, “Battles that last five minutes spawn legends that live a thousand years.”

And, mic drop, “Because talent won’t be quiet, doesn’t know how to be quiet,” the character says. “Whether it’s a talent for safe-cracking, thought-reading, or dividing ten-digit numbers in your head, it screams to be used. It never shuts up. It’ll wake you in the middle of your tiredest night, screaming, ‘Use me, use me, use me! I’m tired of just sitting here! Use me, fuckhead, use me!”

Let’s face it, only char-hearted Stephen King can use a word like “fuckhead” and make it somehow meaningful. THE DARK TOWER from SONY’s Columbia Pictures is set to fly August 4, and promises to make a mark this summer.DTposter17

More to the point, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better screenwriter in Hollywood than Akiva Goldsman (A BEAUTIFUL MIND), who wrote the screenplay here with Jeff Pinker (an ampersand attribution) and Anders Thomas Jensen & Nikolaj Arcel. DARK TOWER is directed by Nikolaj Arcel, based on the novels by Stephen King, and produced by Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Erica Huggins.

Visit the books here http://stephenking.com/darktower/ and the movie at http://www.thedarktower-movie.com, then remember King is really picky about how his books are adapted, and he’s happy with this one remarkably, probably because Ron Howard at Imagine is such a nice guy.

Cast: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, and Jackie Earle Haley.

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I Pod for Real: In PASSENGERS, JenLaw & Chris Pratt Snap Awake During Space Sleep

Let’s face it, everybody loves those What-If scenario space movies. It’s almost a cliché that periodically orbits through the Hollywood universe of high concept screenplay ideas. The most famous un-produced pitch goes something like this: Hey, what if somebody found a black box on an alien space ship?  PASSENGERS, distributed by SONY for Dec. 21 release and directed by the Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum, aims exactly for this rarified airspace. As in Hey, what if two passengers on an interplanetary mission wake up 90 years too early from a pod snooze? You can hear the story development cogs begin to whirr.ChrisJenPass
In PASSENGERS, written by Princeton alum Jon Spaihts, who penned Prometheus, star casting helps. And there will be Michael Sheen, who has almost become a requirement for out-there futurist movies since his wacky turn in the remake of TRON. Besides Sheen, the Matrix’s Laurence Fishburne is also on board, in case we missed a clue about how momentous the scope of this picture is… but wait, there’s more.
A-list leads Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star as the two passengers on this 120-year interplanetary hop when their hibernation pods wake them up at year 30, 90 years before their destination.  Oh snap, Jim (Pratt) and Aurora (Lawrence) are then “forced to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction as the ship teeters on the brink of collapse, with the lives of thousands of passengers in jeopardy.”

Again, PASSENGERS is directed by the Norwegian-born director of the Imitation Game Morten Tyldum, who seems to be an expert at mining the mental space in a movie scene. But nobody seems to overthink the human evolutionary politics of colonization in space because this picture’s plot destination is simply a love story. For conspiracy theorists who like escape earth fantasies, this should be just the ticket.

Opens wide Dec. 21 on the blue planet. #PassengersMovie, official site here.

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Directed by: Morten Tyldum

Written by: Jon Spaihts

Produced by: Neal H. Moritz
Stephen Hamel
Michael Maher
Ori Marmur

Executive Producers: David Householter
Ben Browning
Jon Spaihts
Lynwood Spinks
Bruce Berman
Greg Basser
Ben Waisbren

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence
Chris Pratt
Michael Sheen
Laurence Fishburne

(This film has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for the following reasons: sexuality, nudity and action/peril. Credits not final.)

BONUS: Here’s some space movie stats for grins. Do you think PASSENGERS will make the cut?

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and suspend their disbelief regularly.

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