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That Time C-3PO Stole Oscar Isaac’s Thunder Wrapping Star Wars Episode IX

The public still has to wait another nine months for Star Wars: Episode IX, but for the movie’s cast and crew, the journey is over. Episode IX’s principal photography concluded last month, and for most, if not all of these actors, this could their final on-screen appearance in the Star Wars universe given that this movie is the final installment of the Skywalker saga. Unfortunately for Oscar Isaac, his last day of shooting Episode IX was the same as Anthony Daniels’, meaning that Poe Dameron’s thunder was stolen by C-3PO. Isaac recalled:

Look, Oscar Isaac is one of the main actors in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and there’s no question that Poe Dameron has gained a lot of fans over the last several years. But looking at the entire Star Wars franchise, Anthony Daniels is definitely the heavier hitter. He’s been playing C-3PO since the beginning, with the golden protocol droid being present for many of the galaxy far, far away’s biggest events over the last century. So while Isaac may be the more famous actor, when looking through a Star Wars lens, I can’t say I’m surprised that Daniels got more attention on that last day of filming for the two performers.

Nevertheless, Oscar Isaac didn’t have any hard feelings about this, acknowledging during his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that Anthony Daniels has been part of the franchise since A New Hope and that George Lucas originally envisioned the Star Wars saga as a story about C-3PO and his partner, R2-D2. Isaac continued:

The Star Wars franchise is keeping its big screen run going in the coming years with Rian Johnson’s trilogy and the trilogy from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, but Episode IX truly marks the end of an era. In Anthony Daniels’ case, it sounds like this could be the final time he ever plays C-3PO, although he probably felt the same way when the original and prequel Star Wars trilogies concluded too, so there’s always the possibility he might don the gold suit again.

For now, Daniels is the only actor to appear in every Star Wars movie, because along with playing C-3PO in most of them, he also appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story as a freed slave on Kessel. Daniels has also voiced C-3PO on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and even in projects set outside of this strange galaxy like The LEGO Movie and Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters on December 20, so stay tuned for CinemaBlend for more coverage. In the meantime, look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what other movies are coming out later this year.

James Gunn Has Returned To Direct Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

Well, folks, it happened. Last summer, one of the biggest news in the movie-sphere was how James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 due to controversial social media posts he’d made over a decade ago resurfacing. However, today it’s been announced that Gunn has been reinstated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will return to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

You’ll recall that last August, approximately a month after James Gunn was let go from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it was reported that Disney had not changed its mind and would not rehire him. Well, according to Deadline, Gunn has returned to helm the threequel, and apparently this was decided months ago among the respective Disney and Marvel Studios leadership teams. Walt Disney Studios president Alan Horn reportedly met with Gunn several times and, persuaded by Gunn’s public apology and handling of the matter afterwards, decided to bring him back into the fold.

Netflix Has Finally Agreed To Remove Bird Box’s Disaster Footage

Three months ago, Netflix’s viral release Bird Box rocked the boat when Canadians recognized the movie included footage of Lac-Megantic Rail disaster, and demanded the streaming service remove the tragedy killed 47 people in 2013 from the film. After Netflix previously disagreed to do so, the company is no longer taking a blind eye to the controversy.

The streaming giant has now told The Canadian Press that they will now remove the images of the train disaster from Bird Box in the next two weeks, and will be replacing the footage with a new clip for the scene illustrating the chaos all around Europe to Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson’s characters before the sci-fi phenomenon that forces a group of survivors to don blindfolds hits home.

Netflix paired this announcement with an apology to the Lac-Megantic community, who have been outspoken about the potential harm the film has to family and friends to victims of the rail disaster. The town’s mayor, Julie Morin, who joined in on demanding Netflix remove the footage offered her satisfying reaction to Netflix’s new decision. In her words:

When requests were initially made to the streaming service about taking out the footage in Bird Box, the company responded with an apology and promise to do better in the future, but a refusal to delete the footage. Netflix cited the inability to make alterations to finished content to justify the decision.

Canada was so displeased with the rail disaster footage that the country’s parliament passed a motion asking Netflix to pay the Lac-Megantic community for their grief following the film’s release. The streaming site never seemed to address this motion, but are pulling back on their initial decision to keep the insensitive footage in Bird Box.

The same footage was also previously featured in an episode of Netflix’s Travelers television show, though the show producers agreed to remove it back in January. It’s unclear as to why Netflix took so long to comply to the Bird Box situation that angered many ­– perhaps the studio needed time to find a replacement clip or was waiting for the Bird Box pop culture high to wind down.

Bird Box faced multiple controversies after it was released in December 2018, including a trending Bird Box Challenge, which proved dangerous when people placing blindfolds and attempting tasks such as driving caused concern. Netflix had to issue a warning for fans to refrain from ending up “in the hospital due to memes”. Otherwise, the film was one of the streaming sites most-watched original films ever.

Even Though Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy Movie Is Heading To Netflix, It’s Getting An R-Rating

Netflix has had a weird history with rating its original movies, but now we know for certain that one of its big upcoming movies will be Rated R. The movie in question is Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Given the serial killer subject matter of the upcoming Netflix flick, an R rating for the Ted Bundy-based flick makes sense.

The MPAA has given Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile an R-rating and, as you can probably guess, one of the reasons cited is for “disturbing” content. More specifically, the MPAA says:

While the R rating is not a giant surprise (or at least shouldn’t be given the subject matter), what is interesting is that the film has been rated at all.

We’ve reported previously on Netflix’s inconsistencies with rating its movies. Some flicks in the past have been given TV-MA or similar TV guideline-based ratings while some have been given MPAA ratings. It hasn’t always been consistent regarding whether or not a project has gotten a brief theatrical release, either.

However, just a couple of weeks ago, Netflix joined the MPAA. Hopefully, this means that a larger percentage of movies will actually be getting the types of ratings people in the U.S. are familiar with. I know it probably doesn’t seem like a big deal given that Netflix has been letting people know whether or not something is “mature” content, but to me the fact that some projects have been rated more like TV projects while others have been rated like real movies made it clear that Netflix didn’t really know what space it was occupying in the business.

By signing on with the MPAA, Netflix has shown that it sees its movies as competing with other movies and not with the stuff that cable and network TV is putting out. It also means the MPAA is now showing more of a willingness to work with Netflix, which has often been at odds with the movie industry at large.

Extremely Wickedy, Shockingly Evil, and Vile has dealt with some press recently for casting Zac Efron as a “hot Ted Bundy,” especially given the serial killer nature of the movie. However, Ted Bundy was notorious for being a good-looking guy while on death row long before Zac Efron was ever cast in the role. Plus, Netflix has already reminded people that if they are really looking for “hot” characters, there are plenty of other options on the streaming service.

It’s certainly a unique choice for Zac Efron at this point in his career to tackle a serial killer period drama. However, he has taken projects with an R rating before, most notoriously with the Rated R version of Baywatch. (Although the movie went on to be panned, the cast defended the move.)

Hopefully, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile won’t suffer the same fate. Netflix, in fact, has had some struggles with producing critically-acclaimed content, although this past year’s Roma from Alfonso Cuaron was a notable exception.

Ultimately, 2019 should be an interesting year for the streaming service, and not just because it has joined the MPAA. You can catch Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile sometime soon on Netflix. While we wait for an official date be sure to check out what is coming this month on Netflix.

Why Godzilla: King Of The Monsters Wanted To Put The ‘God’ Back In Godzilla

At the end of 2014’s Godzilla, after the titular beast has prevailed over the MUTOs and saved what was left of San Francisco, the news reports declare him King of the Monsters and query if he is the savior of the city. The idea of Godzilla as a savior is apt for the sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The film’s director, Michael Dougherty, really wanted the film to put the ‘god’ back in Godzilla, as he explained:

By saying they wanted to put the ‘god’ back into Godzilla, Mike Dougherty meant that he and Zach Shields saw Godzilla a certain way and they wanted to bring their vision for the character to life in the film. The way that they saw Godzilla and the Titans was not as cheap movie monsters or the result of a science experiments gone awry, but like dragons, giants, the Old Ones or any other mythological beasts and creatures so wondrous and magnificent that they defy comprehension.

As he told Total Film Magazine, Mike Dougherty wanted Godzilla and the other Titans to feel ancient and unknowable, mythic and biblical, with a power and scale that is truly godlike. Like gods, these are creatures whose motivations and machinations take place on a higher plane beyond our understanding, and when they clash, looking to settle scores millennia in the making, the result is truly apocalyptic, like something out of the Bible.

Mike Dougherty has really leaned into that biblical feel with the film, and not long ago he even tweeted a new image out from the film accompanied by a verse from the Book of Job. This sort of ancient, god-like feel really sets Godzilla 2‘s Titans apart from the monster in Cloverfield or the Kaiju in Pacific Rim.

This element may have been lacking in the previous MonsterVerse movies, although I would argue Kong: Skull Island did some work to expand the mythology, but Mike Dougherty really wanted to bring it to the fore in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. And although we have yet to see the film, he appears to have done just that based on the trailers.

This word is often overused, but the trailers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters have felt truly epic, and I think a big part of that is because of what Mike Dougherty talked about, putting the ‘god’ back in Godzilla. The trailers have talked about the leviathans known as Titans being the planet’s original inhabitants and the images of their battle has looked like something out of the end times, with one side fighting to protect humanity and another looking to destroy it.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters roars into theaters on May 31. Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of all this year’s biggest movies.

Keira Knightley Says She Only Watches Her Films Once

We all have favorite actors that we love to see in movies. We’ll watch our favorite performances and favorite stories again and again. However, not every actor who makes those movies is quite as excited to watch them as the rest of us. Keira Knightley recently admitted that she doesn’t like to watch herself on screen and will usually only watch her films once. According to Knightley…

As somebody who regularly has to transcribe interviews I have done, I know exactly how strange, and largely off-putting, hearing your own voice can be. It seems that for Keira Knightley, the experience is only amplified. She not only has to hear her own voice, but see herself on screen and watch all the decisions that she made, including the ones she wishes she could do over.

Knightley says she only watches her movies once “if that.” I would assume that question comes down to whether or not she attends the premiere of her movies. If she makes it, that’s probably the only time she ever sees the film in question. If she doesn’t for whatever reason, then she probably never bothers to go back and see the final product.

Knightley is far from the only person who avoids watching her own work. Many in Hollywood have talked about how they rarely if ever watch themselves. Putting yourself up on the screen like that makes an actor quite vulnerable. However, it probably doesn’t necessity feel that way when you’re shooting the movie. As long as you never go back and watch the movie, you don’t realize how much of yourself you’re putting out there. Honestly, it’s far better than if she loved her own movies so much that she watched them a lot. If that happened, we’d have to worry.

Of course, one has to wonder if Keira Knightley might start watching more of her movies again over the next several years. She has a three and a half year old daughter, as she told Jimmy Fallon, and one has to assume that as that girl gets older and begins to understand just what it is her mother does, the kid is going to want to watch those films. As she becomes old enough to see them, Knightley might find her movies on in her house whether she likes it or not. Whether or not she likes that. Perhaps by then she’ll be more comfortable with them.

J.K. Simmons Is Still Hoping To Play Commissioner Gordon Again

The DC live-action universe has had a fascinating tenure in theaters, full of both highs and lows. Warner Bros. seems to have recovered nicely, surfing on the success Aquaman and the anticipation for Shazam! But it wasn’t long ago that things were looking bleak, as Batman v Superman and Justice League failed to perform critically. The latter was also a box office disappointment, which had the potential to put the entire shared universe in jeopardy.

Ultimately, the DCEU pivoted away from serialized storytelling, allowing filmmakers to have more capsulated and controlled projects. Ben Affleck has departed his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman, with Matt Reeves needing to recast for his long developing movie, The Batman. But what does that mean for J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon? Simmons had a brief role in Justice League, which was meant to expand before things changed at the studio. But the Oscar-winning actor still wants to play the character again, recently saying:

Is anyone else’s FOMO going through the roof? J.K. Simmons has the interest and contract to bring him back to the role of Commissioner Gordon, although it’s unclear if he’ll be asked to return for a future installment in the DC live-action universe. Fingers crossed.

J.K. Simmons’ comments to ET should excite the hardcore DC fans out there, as well as moviegoers who appreciate his small role in Justice League. Gordon is one of Batman’s most loyal allies, and it’s a character that’s been adapted into live-action a number of times, including Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Simmons has attitude, talent, and massive biceps to play the Gotham City lawman, so hopefully Warner Bros. decides to bring him back for a larger role in the future.

Justice League had a rocky road to theaters. Zack Snyder departed during filming due to a family tragedy, leading Joss Whedon to step in and complete the project. But their conflicting visions resulted in a film that failed to resonate with audiences, and ultimately underperformed at the box office. Ben Affleck ultimately dropped out of the director’s chair and eventually the role of the protagonist in the Batman solo movie, which J.K. Simmons was expected to appear in.

The Batman has sat in development hell, but Matt Reeves is still attached as director, and occasionally updates the public on its writing process. In fact, The Batman even has a tentative release date in June of 2021. But production is going to have to amp up, including the recasting of Batman, and the assembling of his rogues gallery. Let’s just hope that J.K. Simmons will be included as Commissioner Gordon, and get another go at the beloved supporting character.

The Batman is currently set to arrive in theaters on June 25th, 2021. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Frank Oz Still Liked The Last Jedi, Doesn’t Think The Audience Expectations Matter

This December will mark two full years since Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrived in theaters, and the fandom hasn’t stopped discussing and dissecting Rian Johnson’s wild sequel. The director purposefully subverted fan expectations, and challenged everything we were meant to believe about the galaxy far, far away. Lucasfilm was clearly happy with Johnson’s work, as he’s been given his own trilogy to develop within the Star Wars universe.

But The Last Jedi seemed to split the fandom, and is arguably the most divisive installment of the beloved space opera. Some fans took umbrage with the risks and changes to the Star Wars canon, while others appreciated Rian Johnson’s vision and the challenging material. The legendary Frank Oz returned to the franchise to play a Force Ghost version of Yoda, and the Muppets icon recently spoke to his feelings about The Last Jedi, and the idea of living up to fan expectations. He said:

Spoken, Yoda has. While Star Wars is a franchise that is beloved by generations of moviegoers, Frank Oz doesn’t think that should expect the creative process. Instead, directors should make their own Star Wars movie, regardless of what the fandom wants. What’s more, this isn’t the first time he’s defended The Last Jedi.

Frank Oz’s comments to IndieWire once again echoes how everyone involved in The Last Jedi is ultimately proud of the movie that hit theaters. While it was subject to extreme trolling and backlash by angry fans, Oz is fond of the most recent Star Wars sequel, and doesn’t seem to be worried about things like fan expectations. After all, that’s just not what filmmaking is about to him.

The stakes were high for The Last Jedi, after J.J. Abrams did a ton of set up in the Force Awakens that needed to be resolved. Rian Johnson purposefully went against popular fan theories, challenging what the franchise was capable of. Luke Skywalker was a jaded recluse, Leia was revealed to have Force Abilities, Supreme Leader Snoke was unceremoniously killed off, and Kylo Ren revealed that Rey’s parents were nobodies who dumped her on Jakku. Fans couldn’t have predicted all these plot twists, and some purists had issues with the liberal changes made to the official canon.

Regardless of backlash, everyone involved in the Star Wars franchise seems pleased with The Last Jedi, and Rian Johnson’s work. The cast and director came to the film’s defense when trolling happened, and Jonson is still moving forward with his own trilogy. So in the end, Frank Oz’s comments may be right.

The Skywalker Saga will come to an end when J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX arrived in theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Zacari Went From Kendrick Lamar’s ‘LOVE.’ To His Own Soft, Fuzzy EP

Zacari is the newest face of Top Dawg Entertainment, home to artists like Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolBoy Q, SZA, and Jay Rock. His voice is soft yet firm, evident on “LOVE.” from Lamar’s 2017 album DAMN, where he floats on the chorus like feathers in a gust of wind. Today (March 15), he’s released his debut EP, Run Wild Run Free. With a sole appearance from Lil Yachty, this seven-track body of work looks to showcase the brunt of the singer’s skills.

Zacari’s been working with the TDE roster for some time now. In 2016, he offered some supporting, weightless vocals to Isaiah Rashad‘s “What’s Wrong” and also Ab Soul‘s “Raw (Backwards).” The chemistry must have manifested itself in the repeated commingling because the following year, Zacari would appear on “LOVE.” in his true introduction to the mainstream space. His chorus was stunning, acting as a true plea for affection that felt genuine instead of worrisome.

The singer told Billboard in 2017 that the song was actually one of the records that he, along with his producer Teddy Walton who produced the track, played for Lamar during their first real session together. Kendrick quietly asked for the record after mulling over it mentally for a few seconds. Little did both of them know that the song would go on to spend 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

Run Wild Free features Zacari’s recently released single, “Don’t Trip.” Its submissive drums and hesitant use of melodies make it a unique listen in the R&B space; you can hear and taste the classic R&B inspirations while he thrusts into unexplored territory with his stringy voice. There’s nothing quite like his voice currently swimming around streaming services. It’s easy to see why TDE scooped him up so fast.

Check out his new EP up above.