Thursday, April 28, 2011

‘Captain America’: Chris Evans says CG team ‘nailed it’ with frail Steve Rogers scenes

Chris Evans can’t stop wondering – what it would be like if you were a man lost in time? It’s a mental exercise that began on the London set of “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the film that reaches theaters on July 22 with a World War II setting and the tricky challenge of winning over young Internet-era audiences with a story of the radio-days past.

“A great story is a great story no matter when it’s set,” said Evans, the 29-year-old actor who will wear the red, white and blue costume of a comic-book character that dates to 1941 and was shown punching Adolf Hitler on the cover of his first newsstand issue.

For the screen, the core mythology of the hero’s origin remains in place: Steve Rogers (Evans), a sickly young man deemed unfit for combat duty, volunteers for a secret experiment that transforms him into the first of a “super solider” army — but a Nazi spy kills the scientist (Stanley Tucci) before the process can be duplicated. With his compatriot James “Bucky” Buchanan (Sebastian Stan), the hero fights the good fight against Axis foes such as the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and Arnim Zola (Toby Jones).

Director Joe Johnston has some specialized experience in retro adventure as the director of the underrated, serial-spirited “The Rocketeer” in 1991 and as the visual effects art director on Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

“When you sit down to watch it, it’s certainly not ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ which is a very different kind of film in the final analysis,” Johnston said. “But sometimes when we had questions and we were stuck we would say, ‘What would Indiana Jones do? What would be the answer to this in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”?’ I’ve always loved ‘Raiders’ and the great achievement of it was the tone and the fresh feeling of the movie. It was period but didn’t feel like it was made in the period. It felt like a contemporary film about this period in the past, and that is the goal we have with ‘Captain America.’ And I can say this — it definitely has an Indiana Jones pace.”

The film will have some darker nuances to it – the character of Bucky is far more haunted than the vintage version from comic books, for instance, and Captain America chafes at the way his government handlers spin his public persona. Asked about his greatest concern, Evans conceded that he fretted a great deal about the CG-effects needed for the scenes showing Steve Rogers before his transformation. “If something like that isn’t done right, it takes you right out of the movie. You’re suddenly thinking, ‘Wow that doesn’t look real, look at that actor’ and it can really ruin it. And if it’s early in the movie it can undermine the whole way the audience connects with the story.”

Evans knows that fans and bloggers zeroed in on the frail Rogers sequence in their criticism of the first trailer, but he said the ongoing visual-effects work is like a sculpting process and those scenes will deliver in the finished film. “They nailed it, it works, they really put a lot of time into it. It was a big relief for me.”

The entire movie is like a puzzle piece in a larger picture. Evans is now on the set of “The Avengers,” the 2012 release that pulls his character into the modern day and teams him up with Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. That has Evans pondering some Rip Van Winkle questions.

“Just think about text messaging,” Evans said. “That’s the way I communicate with my friends now. If one them calls me I’m like, ‘Why didn’t you just text me?’ And that’s pretty new. Cellphones haven’t been around that long – I remember when people didn’t have them, really – and the Internet has totally changed the world in a relatively short period of time. Think of how strange all of it would be to someone from the 1940s who looks around and wonders what happened to all the things that were important to them.”

– by Geoff Boucher for

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's Your Number? trailer screencaps with Chris Evans

Made some screencaps from the new "What's Your Number?" trailer. Replaced the older ones with better quality ones, so enjoy!

Marvel "The Avengers" press release and teaser photo

The Avengers Start of Production Press Release & First Photo!
Source: Marvel Studios
April 26, 2011

Marvel Studios has released a press release on the start of production for Marvel's The Avengers as well as the first photo from the set!

Production has commenced today in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Marvel Studios' highly anticipated movie "Marvel's The Avengers," directed by Joss Whedon ("Serenity") from a screenplay by Whedon. The film will continue principal photography in Cleveland, Ohio and New York City. Robert Downey, Jr. ("Iron Man," "Iron Man 2") returns as the iconic Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") as Thor, Chris Evans ("Captain America: The First Avenger") as Captain America, Jeremy Renner ("Thor," "The Hurt Locker") as Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo ("The Kids Are Alright") as Hulk, Scarlett Johansson ("Iron Man 2") as Black Widow, Clark Gregg ("Iron Man," "Thor") as Agent Phil Coulson, and Samuel L. Jackson ("Iron Man," "Iron Man 2") as Nick Fury. Set for release in the US on May 4, 2012, "Marvel's The Avengers" is the first feature to be fully owned, marketed and distributed by Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009.

Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in "Iron Man," "The Incredible Hulk," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," and "Captain America: The First Avenger," "Marvel's The Avengers" is the super hero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster.

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, "Marvel's The Avengers" brings together the mightiest super hero characters as they all assemble together on screen for the first time. The star studded cast of super heroes will be joined by Cobie Smulders ("How I Met Your Mother) as Agent Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Tom Hiddleston ("Wallander") and Stellan SkarsgÄrd ("Angels & Demons," "Mamma Mia!") who will both reprise their respective roles as Loki and Professor Erik Selvig from the upcoming Marvel Studios' feature "Thor."

"Marvel's The Avengers" is being produced by Marvel Studios' President, Kevin Feige, and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Patty Whitcher, and Jon Favreau. Marvel Studios' Jeremy Latcham and Victoria Alonso will co-produce.

The creative production team also includes Oscar nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey ("Atonement"), production designer James Chinlund ("25th Hour"), Oscar winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne ("Elizabeth: The Golden Age"), Oscar winning visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs ("Iron Man 2," "The Matrix"), visual effects producer Susan Pickett ("Iron Man," "Iron Man 2"), stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell ("Superman Returns"), and four-time Oscar nominated special effects supervisor Dan Sudick ("Iron Man," "War of the Worlds"). The editors include Oscar nominated Paul Rubell ("Collateral") and Jeffrey Ford ("Crazy Heart").

Marvel Studios most recently produced "Iron Man 2" which was released in theatres on May 7, 2010. The sequel to "Iron Man," starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, took the number one spot its first weekend with a domestic box office gross of $128.1 million. To date the film has earned over $620 million in worldwide box office receipts.

In the summer of 2008, Marvel produced the summer blockbuster movies, "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk." "Iron Man," in which Robert Downey, Jr. originally dons the super hero's powerful armor alongside co-stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, was released May 2, 2008 and was an immediate box office success. Garnering the number one position for two weeks in a row, the film brought in over $100 million its opening weekend and grossed over $571 million worldwide. On June 13, 2008, Marvel released "The Incredible Hulk" marking its second number one opener of that summer. The spectacular revival of the iconic green goliath grossed over $250 million in worldwide box office receipts.

First "What's Your Number?" trailer

Wow, Chris Evans looks mighty hot in this trailer!!

New Captain America pic

With all these updates about Chris Evans, Captain America, Puncture and What's Your Number? running this blog becomes a fulltime job ;-) but I'm not complaining LOL

Chris Evans Interview (videos)


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chris Evans and the Kassen Brothers Talk Puncture, Captain America and the Tribeca Film Festival

In a few short months, moviegoers will get to see Chris Evans fight the evil Red Skull in the big-budget franchise starter Captain America: First Avenger. Before he bursts into the superhero stratosphere, however, Evans has to fight some equally imposing foes in Puncture, a film about drug addiction and health care group purchasing organizations that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this week.

Based on a true story, Puncture stars Evans as Mike Weiss, a drug-addicted Houston personal injury lawyer, who — along with his partner Paul Danziger — fought to get safe syringes into all U.S. hospitals to prevent health care workers from being stuck with infected needles.

The feature directorial debut of Mark and his brother Adam (producers on HBO’s Bernard and Doris), Puncture is a hybrid film — at once a harrowing tale of addiction and the crippling grip it can have on those in its throes, and a David vs. Goliath legal battle reminiscent of Michael Clayton. At the center of the film is Evans, in a far departure from his comic book work in The Losers and Fantastic Four. He makes Mike both sympathetic and infuriating — the type of guy who has his heart in the right place, but sabotages himself with every popped pill and crack-smoke inhale.

As of this writing, Puncture doesn’t have distribution, but following a well-received Tribeca Film Festival premiere on Thursday night, a timely subject matter and the burgeoning star power of Evans, expect that to change relatively soon. Movieline caught up with Evans and the Kassen brothers in midtown on Friday just before lunch to discuss Puncture, the importance of debuting the film at Tribeca, and just how Evans wound up starring as Mike Weiss.

The one thing I was very surprised by was how recent the events Puncture is based on happened. You don’t really think of dirty needles in hospitals being a problem in the last 15 years — it’s shocking that the safety needles took so long to break through.

Mark Kassen: That’s the thing — the breakthrough in medical science already happened. It’s the mechanism that’s broken in a way that the breakthrough — or something similar — can’t get to people who need it. People say there is not enough electric technology or solar technology or wind technology because it’s not cost-effective. This is not that problem. This is just that mechanism of distribution is broken.

Was this something you were aware of before? How did you guys find this story — did Paul Danziger contact you?

Adam Kassen: Paul sent us the script — Paul sent us a version of the script. Like you, we were surprised by that story. We hadn’t heard this either. Also, at a time — as it continues to be — where health care is at the forefront of the political arena, this was an interesting window on that debate. In particular, our parents are both front-line health care professionals, and in all the debate about health care you don’t really hear too much about those people. So, that connected to us on a personal level. And then the character that Chris played, Mike, was this amazing, brilliant, tragic hero. And we thought if we got the right actor — which we were lucky enough to get — it could be a really special movie.

We got Chris Lopata, who is a friend of ours — a writer we’ve been working with for a bunch of years, who’s great; we worked with him for about a year. We got it to a place where we really loved the script, and we sent it to Chris, and Chris was nice enough to take a meeting. And as we keep saying, we got him drunk, and…

Chris Evans: I signed my life away! [Laughs]

You took Puncture before being cast in Captain America. At the time, were you specifically looking for something more character-driven like this?

CE: I think my team — my agents and managers — know the type of scripts that I like, the types of characters that I enjoy. My team sent me this and said, ‘You’re going to like this. We know you’re going to like this.’ I gave it a read, and I did. Within ten pages, I just loved the character — and then it turned out to be a great story. I was like, ‘This is awesome, I can’t believe this is in my ballpark. This is a possibility for me, no one is going to take this from me.’ I met with these guys, and at the end of the day you need good directors. If you don’t have good directors, it doesn’t matter how good the script or the character is. With them, I felt completely comfortable and confident, and I said, ‘This is great. I can’t believe these guys are foolish enough to just give me this movie.’

As a character, Mike is a departure for you. Are you going to try to do more of these types of roles going forward, perhaps to balance out being a major superhero like Captain America?

CE: Yeah, of course! You gotta. The Captain America stuff is great, it’s fun. I actually do connect to the character; I love that character. But for me, the thing I struggle with on those films is the process. The way the film is made. It’s a very big movie, there’s a lot of waiting around. This film, we shot… 25 days?

AK: 25 days.

CE: 25 filming days! That’s insane. It’s like 90-something with Captain America. We’re doing 7-to-8 pages a day on Puncture, and Captain America, we get — y’know, half a page. We’re lucky if we get a page.

AK: I know, you’re like: ‘We did 16 page days here, today we did 6/8th of a page.’

CE: 6/8ths of a page. I had one line today. I had one line!

MK: Throw a shield! Duck! Head down! [Laughs]

CE: And we do that a million times. This movie, you came home and you felt like you made a movie. You felt like an actor. You felt like, ‘I did my job today. I did what I love to do. I came to set and had to be ready on a bunch of different levels.’ And it’s rewarding. It’s satisfying. I certainly want to make sure that I keep doing these things.

The relationship Mike has with Paul in the film reminded me a little bit of the relationship the characters played by Matt Damon and Ed Norton had in Rounders. Did you guys do a lot of preparation beforehand to really hone the chemistry?

MK: We went on a retreat. [laughs] We went to Barbados. No, we didn’t really do that.

AK: No, but what they did do [was hang out]. Chris came down to Houston, and — besides us hanging out in LA beforehand — we spent some time just walking around the city. Meeting the actual real characters involved, together. The two of them, through rehearsal, talked through the script themselves, worked on material — things that worked, things that didn’t. That prep time kinda helped us get to know each other, and allowed all of us to feel comfortable. And the nice result of it was that Mark and Chris had a really great chemistry between them.

MK: Also, Chris and I — I think we all are people that… we do this for a living, because we like other things. We spent more time talking about other stuff in life — or in the world — while walking around Houston. Sorta doing that you get to know people on a real level, which was the hope. Also, as an actor, we really wanted to be a partner in something. We really wanted this to work. Otherwise, what we ask is too demanding.

You mentioned on Thursday night how you guys spent almost a year researching the film. Were you two doing investigative reporter-style work, trying to find out whatever you could about Mike’s story?

AK: More documentary-style. We were trying to get everybody’s side of the story. So we met with most of the players in the movie, who had a lot to say about it. And there’s stuff written about it — a lot of the information about the needle stuff. The actual footage in the movie of some of the stuff you saw in Africa was from a real documentary called Injection. It’s a really interesting documentary that talks about some of the real needle tragedies that happened overseas. So there’s information out there — and like you said, we were really surprised that this was actually happening.

MK: I’d say that’s one of the single biggest comments we get about the subject of the movie. People can’t believe they didn’t know about this.

So the goal is to get people to know about this. Puncture hasn’t been picked up for distribution yet, but with Chris’ Captain America star power and the health care peg, do you think it will?

AK: We’ve been producing films and television stuff. For us it’s like, we made it. We did our work. And we have people that will show it to the people and put it places. It will have a life somewhere.

MK: This will have a life somewhere. We’re proud of it. And people will decide where it goes.

You guys are from upstate New York — does debuting your first feature film at the 10th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival mean a lot?

AK: Yeah, because the city is our adoptive home. We’ve lived here all of our adult life, and even with this film: we started developing it here, we posted it here. We still consider this is our film community. So to have our directorial debut be at Tribeca Film Festival really means the world to us.

Chris Evans at the Tribeca Film Festival 2011 portrait studio

(L-R) Director Adam Kassen, actress Vinessa Shaw, actor Chris Evans and director Mark Kassen visit the Tribeca Film Festival 2011 portrait studio on April 22, 2011 in New York City.

Photos by Larry Busacca

Tribeca review of Puncture

by Nick Newman

While most audiences are looking forward to Chris Evans this summer as a Nazi-fighting superhero in Captain America: The First Avenger, there’s another film that may slip under the radar. Puncture tells the true story of Mike Weiss (Evans), a young Houston lawyer who seems dedicated to his profession and the clients he works for. There’s a catch though: he’s a drug addict with a seedy lifestyle.

The combination of his ethics when it comes to doing his job and Evans’ charisma make him surprisingly likable. But things get much more serious when he decides to take on the case of an ER nurse (Vinessa Shaw) who contracted HIV three years prior when she unsuccessfully attempted to give a shaking patient an injection. She’s been given worker’s compensation for this horrible accident, but her lawsuit has to do with the medical supplies groups’ refusal to purchase new, safer syringes invented by her friend, Jeffrey Dancort (Marshall Bell).

At first, him and his law partner, Paul Danzinger (co-director Mark Kassen), wonder why the companies don’t simply use these safer devices that would prevent 800,000 accidents per year. But they soon uncover an industry that is run by the wealthy who put dollars ahead of saved lives.

Though they fight for what’s absolutely the right thing, they have little support due to the financial influence the larger corporations wield. The movie effectively shows the painfully meticulous steps that need to be taken by the two lawyers representing Dancort in order to establish this as a legitimate case. As the film goes on, one roots for them to keep making that extra step which will hopefully place these syringes in every hospital in America. A slimy executive (Brett Cullen) defending the big businesses acts as a human representation of their biggest obstacle: the man with the money often comes out on top.

This is a story that we’ve seen before (Erin Brokovich, for example), but we rarely – if ever – get a crusader for the greater good that’s as flawed as Weiss. The commitment he has for his profession is very much real, but drugs often put the case and his career in jeopardy. We get some of the broader strokes of how it affects him: he’s late for a meeting, his wife leaves him, and there’s the risk of being caught by the police.

But it’s the finer details that drive home how dangerous his addiction can get. While Evans is in good physical condition, he always has a haggard, sick look in his face, and getting caught doing drugs by a Senator almost gets him off the case. This adds an extra conflict to everything, and gives the movie a more personal edge that it may have otherwise lacked.

Directors Adam and Mark Kassen both display incredible skill making their feature directing debut. Much of the work done with focus and shot placement/composition would be impressive for those making their fifth movie, let alone first. Unfortunately, not every choice made by the duo works. There’s the occasional stylistic flourish, such as shots that try to emulate his drug-induced state, or music choice that feels too obvious. These feel like mistakes that new directors are bound to make and gives them room for improvement with future features.

And that sums up Puncture as a whole: the problems here are noticeable, but much of the film impresses to the point where those flaws are an undercurrent in the lean tale. I’m glad that a true, inspiring story such as this one didn’t get a movie adaptation that glossed over the main hero’s flaws. Due to both Evans’ charismatic performance and confident direction from the Kassens, our lead remains an endearing human being, keeping a vital link with the audience.