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Brett Goldstein Had Only Two Weeks to Train for Marvel Debut as Hercules: ‘I’m Doing 400 Push-Ups’ Day of Filming



Brett Goldstein got the call to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Hercules just two weeks before he was going to need to film, the “Ted Lasso” Emmy winner revealed to The Playlist. Goldstein’s top-secret role as Hercules was never announced until the character popped up in the post-credits scene in “Thor: Love and Thunder.” The actor said the call to join Marvel came “literally out of the blue one night.”

“They turn around, and they reveal, ‘It’s Hercules; it’s you.’ And I went, ‘What?’ Just like, ‘Are you serious? Are you fucking with me? Is this a wind-up?’” Goldstein said. “So yeah, it was as surprising to me as I think it has been to other people.”

The actor continued, “When I spoke to Taika, I said, ‘You know I’m basically like a skinny comedian?’ I said, ‘When is this filming?’ It was like in two weeks, and I was like, ‘I mean, I’ll do my best, but two weeks feels …’ I said, ‘He doesn’t have to be as big as Thor, does he?’ And look, on the day, I mean, I’m doing 400 push-ups that day. I was fit to explode. I did the best I could on that day.”

Goldstein’s role was so top secret that he didn’t even tell his parents, who found out about his Hercules casting just like the rest of the world when they watched “Thor: Love and Thunder” on the big screen.

“I didn’t tell anyone because Marvel put a chip in my neck that said ‘If you talk about this you’re dead,’” Goldstein joked to Variety last month. “My mom and dad, I sent them a text and said, ‘I’ve just seen “Thor.”‘ I knew it’s not the kind of film they’d see. I said, ‘You should go see it. It’s funny.’”

“My mom is texting me all the way through the film giving me a running commentary,” Goldstein continued. “I’m like, ‘Just watch the film!’ It gets to the end bit, where it shows Russell Crowe… My mom texts me ‘Russell Crowe’s in it again, he’s very funny.’ I go, ‘Fucking look up at the screen!’”

Goldstein knows “nothing” about his future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Thor: Love and Thunder” ends with Zeus (Russell Crowe) commanding his son, Hercules, to go out and hunt Thor down. Presumably, Goldstein and Thor actor Chris Hemsworth will face off in the future.

“I truly, honestly — this isn’t me lying or being coy — I know nothing,” Goldstein told Variety about his MCU future. “All I know is what I did that day and that’s it. That could be it. It was a fun three seconds.”

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Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan on Reuniting After 20 Years for ‘Vikram Vedha’ (EXCLUSIVE)



Top Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan are reuniting after 20 years for “Vikram Vedha.”

The film, directed by writer-directors Pushkar and Gayatri, tells the story of a tough police officer Vikram (Khan) who sets out to track down and kill an equally tough gangster Vedha (Roshan). What unfolds is a cat-and-mouse chase, where Vedha, a master storyteller, helps Vikram peel back layers through a series of stories, leading to moral ambiguities.

“It has been 20 years since I worked with Saif on a film. Coming together with him for ‘Vikram Vedha’ was the best thing that could happen to me as an actor,” Roshan told Variety. “He is a co-star who pushes me to deliver my best onscreen. His acting is so real and powerful that it uplifts the whole scene. If given an opportunity, I’d like to collaborate with him again.”

“Hrithik is super committed and one of the actors that I really have a lot of respect for. And I knew that I would be challenged, and I’d have to work hard in terms of the way I looked at my fitness and action to try and keep up,” Khan told Variety. “And it frightened me a little bit, which is always good.”

The pair last co-starred in “Na Tum Jaano Na Hum” (2002). Khan was coming off the massively influential “Dil Chahta Hai” (2001) and Roshan was white hot after his debut as a leading man “Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai” (2000) and “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…” (2001). Indeed, “Na Tum Jaano Na Hum” was named after one of the hit songs in “Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai.”

“On ‘Na Tum Jaano Na Hum’ we were kids. And I didn’t really care,” says Khan. “I remember, Salman Khan came to the set. He said, ‘Why are you working with him? He’s going to kill you on screen, because he’s the hottest thing in Bollywood.’ And I said, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter.’ And it didn’t matter.”

“I was probably more conscious of crossing swords with him this time than I was then and I wanted to acquit myself well because I don’t think I’m going to be better at what I do than what I am today,” Khan added.

After playing scores of romantic roles, notably in “Kal Ho Naa Ho” (2003) and “Hum Tum” (2004), for which he won India’s National Award for best actor, Khan changed gear with the plum role of Ishwar/Langda Tyagi in Vishal Bhardwaj’s acclaimed “Othello” adaptation “Omkara” (2006). He gained international prominence in 2018 playing a world-weary cop in Netflix original series “Sacred Games,” which went on to earn an Emmy nomination.

Roshan has also had a phenomenally successful career with highlights including the Krrish franchise, “Jodhaa Akbar” (2008), “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” (2011), “Agneepath” (2012), “Bang Bang!” (2014) and “War” (2019).

“My prep for Vedha’s character began with constructing his world. Understanding his story, his journey and his lifestyle,” said Roshan. “I started with first working towards his physical aesthetics, while prepping to talk and walk the way Vedha would as envisioned by Gayatri, Pushkar and myself. Once the structure of Vedha was ready, we delved deeper into his mind, his emotions and means of expression. It was a journey that involved a lot of learning and unlearning, but I’m happy to have had the opportunity to play the character of Vedha.”

The film is a remake of 2017 Tamil-language hit “Vikram Vedha,” also directed by Pushkar and Gayatri and starring R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi.

“It’s a very clever script, it’s all there on the page,” said Khan. “I saw the original – I saw it a couple of times. And I was very impressed by Madhavan’s performance, in the sense that when I came down to interpreting the role, there were very few things that I thought I would do differently, to be honest. I was like, this is pretty much the perfect way of playing it, except a few cultural things.”

Along with Mani Ratnam’s “Ponniyin Selvan: 1,” “Vikram Vedha” is the big Indian release on Sept. 30, with the latter getting one of the widest Bollywood releases of all time. After a somewhat rocky post-pandemic restart to the theatrical business in India, industry hopes are pinned on these two films.

“It’s cyclical, we go through great phases, and then everyone gets involved. Then we go through a bit of a drought and everyone’s singing doom of the industry and it’s all over,” said Khan. “But yeah, we need some nice hits so that people can start investing money more confidently, again. I’m sorry to say, I don’t think very good films have not run, and we just need to make better movies.”

Roshan added: “I hope the audience watches ‘Vikram Vedha’ and enjoys it as much as we did making it. Fingers crossed.”

“Vikram Vedha” is produced by T-Series and Reliance Entertainment in association with Friday Filmworks, Jio Studios and YNOT Studios. Producers include Bhushan Kumar, S. Sashikanth and Bhushan Kumar.

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Jurassic World Dominion Sets Up Franchise Future, Says Director



Jurassic World Dominion director Colin Trevorrow explains how the blockbuster film sets up the franchise’s future. The dinosaur action movie is the sixth and the final film in the long-running series that began with Jurassic Park in 1993. Although Jurassic World Dominion was not well-received by critics, ranking as the lowest-rated film of the franchise on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie proved to be a massive box office success, garnering over $1 billion worldwide. It is the second-highest grossing film of the year behind Top Gun: Maverick‘s $1.4 billion haul.


In the lead-up to Jurassic World Dominion‘s release, it was generally assumed that it would be the final installment in the dinosaur franchise. The marketing, plus the presence of legacy stars Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum, all hinted at the end of an era. In January, franchise producer Frank Marshall acknowledged that Jurassic World Dominion concludes the story started with the original 1993 film, but kept an open mind for continuing the franchise in the future. Trevorrow echoed that sentiment in July, stating that he felt that a new filmmaker may have more to say in the world that author Michael Crichton, director Steven Spielberg, and writer David Koepp created decades prior.

In a recent interview with Empire, Trevorrow explains that Jurassic World Dominion lays the groundwork for the franchise’s future. The director admits that he was taken aback by Jurassic World Dominion‘s marketing as it implied that his film was the conclusion of the franchise, though he never saw it as such. Read all of what the director says below.

“I specifically did something different than the other films in order to change the DNA of the franchise. The previous five films are plots about dinosaurs. This one is a story about characters in a world in which they coexist with dinosaurs. For the franchise to be able to move forward – because it’s inherently unfranchisable, there probably should have only been one Jurassic Park – but if we’re gonna do it, how can I allow them to tell stories in a world in which dinosaurs exist, as opposed to, here’s another reason why we’re going to an island?

“This movie clearly takes a real interest in creating new characters that a new generation is going to latch on to – Kayla Watts [DeWanda Wise], and Mamoudou Athie’s character Ramsay Cole, who I think, in the Extended Edition, you really feel his purpose in a greater way. And Dichen Lachman’s character [Soyona Santos], who just gets arrested at the end. There’s more to come.

“I never knew that this was the ending of the franchise until I saw the marketing. Those guys are brilliant at what they do, but for me I think it might have been clearer if they’d said, ‘The end of an era’, as opposed to all of it. Because regardless of the cynical approach – of course they’re gonna want to make more money, which is what Jurassic World was about – a new dinosaur fan is born every day. Kids deserve these movies, and young filmmakers grow up on these stories – much like Peter Pan and The Wizard Of Oz and worlds we’ve returned to constantly.

“What I get fired up about is, if a table has been set here for another mind to do what I did with Steven [Spielberg] and sit down and say, ‘Listen, I’ve got an idea’, I would love for that person to sit with me, or Steven, and just be like, ‘I got it!’”

Where Can Jurassic Park Go After Dominion?

Trevorrow rightly understands that if the Jurassic World franchise was constrained to just the two main islands, then the series would have nowhere new to go. This makes his decision to destroy Isla Nublar in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom more understandable. Opening up the dinosaurs to the rest of the world not only offers the franchise an endless opportunity of new locales to feature dinosaur sagas, but also the chance to feature characters that would never have ventured to Jurassic Park or Jurassic World in the first place. In moving away from the parks themselves, as well as the characters who inhabited them, the Jurassic World franchise could flourish in the future by focusing on different aspects of its world.

The director specifically mentioned some of Jurassic World Dominion‘s new characters, such as DeWanda Wise’s loner pilot, Kayla Watts, as a focus for new stories in the franchise. With Watts having pulled herself from a self-imposed funk by going out on a limb to assist Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) in their rescue of Maisie, she may play a larger role in Jurassic Park‘s future by leading an effort to track and transport hostile dinosaurs. Jurassic World Dominion may have opened up the rest of the world to dinosaurs, and now all that’s left is for a new filmmaker to step in and take the franchise in a new direction.

Source: Empire

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‘Autobiography’ Review: Sleek, Sinuous Thriller Delves Into Indonesia’s Heart of Darkness



In a gated compound camouflaged by the thick, dripping vegetation of inland Indonesia, all is quiet. A curtain may stir. The hushed commentary on a TV chess match may mutter indistinctly. An insect or two may chirrup. But mostly, this dark-cornered, sinister place, which is being minded by callow young caretaker Rakib (Kevin Ardilova), feels eerily still and expectant, like a spiderweb waiting for the return of its spider. Makbul Mubarak’s “Autobiography” — the Indonesian filmmaker’s impressive debut — gives a “Godfather”-style, power-corrupting-the-naive story the Conradian overtones of “Apocalypse Now.” But with its powerful sense of mood, it emerges from Coppola’s shadow by summoning evocative, specific shadows of its own, out of Indonesia’s troubled, genocidal, terrifying past.

The spider returns. General Purna (Arswendy Bening Swara), recently a towering figure in the military dictatorship, has retired and is coming home to run for Mayor of the region. Rakib, whose family has been in service to the general’s for four generations, is expected to chauffeur him around, wait on him, be an obedient, dog-like companion. At first Purna is offhand with Rakib, impatient. Soon, though, the young man starts to look on the general as a kind of father figure, perhaps for all the ways, in power and influence, he is different from his actual father, who is incarcerated with no apparent hope of release, and for whom Rakib has nothing but disdain. “You look like me when I was your age,” says the general with the approving air of one whose walls are hung with portraits of himself. Rakib starts wearing the military jacket the general provides.

Their evenings are spent in front of the TV or across a chessboard with Purna dispensing fragments of his toxic philosophy to Rakib, who absorbs them like a sponge. Their days are spent driving around to makeshift hustings, putting up posters and giving speeches. The general, clearly regarding the sham-democratic procedures of the upcoming election as beneath him, is shilling a controversial plan to build an energy plant nearby, which will dispossess a lot of the local inhabitants of their meager landholdings. Most of them are too afraid to speak up; the few who do are promptly silenced. Then one of the general’s posters is defaced, and Rakib, enjoying the newfound standing that his proximity to power gives him, and cocky in the belief that the old man may be imperious and demanding but is hardly cruel, finds the culprit and delivers him to the general, like a cat bringing in a bird. There follows, for Rakib, a short, sharp, shocking lesson in the ruthlessness and abject depravity of his employer. 

Although the film features crowd scenes and a full cast of supporting characters, it is essentially a two-hander, and both Swara (recently seen in Kamila Andini’s “Before, Now and Then”) and Ardilova (who played in Andini’s “Yuni” as well as Edwin’s Locarno-winning “Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash”) are remarkably persuasive. Swara’s narrow-eyed Purna, essentially a lean, vain, Indonesian Col. Kurtz, can turn on a dime from malicious and very probably mad, to genial and fatherly. And by the end when all those qualities exist simultaneously, his is a deeply disturbing portrait of absolute power’s ability to corrupt absolutely. Ardilova is equally strong, in a role that requires him to age psychologically without aging physically; in the few months the films traces he goes from surly youngster to cocky sidekick to disillusioned, soul-sick penitent, who knows he’s ventured too far into the mire to ever be able to get out clean. 

It’s a moral murkiness that DP Wojciech Staron interprets visually, in layered images that, especially in interiors, are usually partially impeded in some way. The camera peers at the characters through grilles or furnishings or windows that cast diffuse reflections across the frame. At times this technique becomes a little overbearing especially later, when Rakib’s inner turmoil and the sense of walls-closing-in claustrophobia are better demonstrated by counterpoint, as in a scene of revelry occurring — in line with the immutable laws of recent Southeast Asian arthouse cinema — in a karaoke parlor. Such moments offset Mubarak’s directorial restraint, which, while commendable, can occasionally mute the drama down to a barely audible murmur, where a howl, or a tuneless forced duet on a schmaltzy local pop hit, would be more fitting. 

But in large part, “Autobiography” is an auspicious, atmospheric first feature that knows how to co-opt generic conventions and a richly cinematic style, in order to illuminate some of the the darkest recesses of Indonesia’s recent history. Without laboring the allegory overmuch, Mubarak, working from his own nicely pared-back screenplay, builds up a convincing if despairing vision of the legacy of atrocity, in which the children of the Indonesian dictatorship era can only fully reckon with their nation’s violent past by taking on some of its attributes themselves, at significant cost to their souls. As such, the chess games that Purna, the representative of the venal old guard, plays with Rakib, standing in for the new generation, are an imperfect metaphor, considering the desperately unfair terms of engagement that Indonesia’s youth have inherited. But then, is there a game where one side wrote the rules, owns the board and controls all the pieces, while the other can only field one trembling pawn?

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