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‘Nope’ DP Hoyte Van Hoytema on His Biggest Challenge Shooting Jordan Peele’s Alien Movie

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Jordan Peele wanted a vast spectacle with his latest release, “Nope.”

The UFO drama/thriller stars Daniel Kaluuya as a horse wrangler, who along with his sister Keke Palmer, start encountering UFO sightings. Along with Brandon Perra as Angel, the trio attempt to capture the sighting on film.

Peele called on Christopher Nolan’s preferred DP Hoyte Van Hoytema to shoot his spectacle. It was the Peele’s first outing shooting on film and using large format 65mm IMAX cameras. From challenging night scenes to vast mountain ranges, Hoytema explains how the two tried and tested formulas, and even built a new rig to create a fully immersive cinematic experience for audiences.

What did Jordan first tell you about his vision for the film?

He wanted something that felt remotely like a spectacle. He wanted to show that he had grown from the slightly lesser-scope films. With this, he wanted to explore space and vastness.

We started to talk very early about IMAX. He asked me what he thought I would have shot a UFO on if I had seen one for real, and that’s when I thought IMAX was the best medium to do it on.

It truly is a spectacle. But you also shot on the new IMAX 65mm cameras, how did that format serve his vision and your signature of wanting to shoot realism?

Cinema is not only a look, but it’s very much also the way things feel when you’re sitting in a cinema. Jordan was extremely committed to the big screen and how we experience the world in front of us. IMAX is the most visceral of all formats because it has the capability of registering the expansive world.

With shooting on film, it’s something that I’ve done for years, and I love it. I still live with the conviction that technically there is nothing better than film. No other medium can draw detail in a more naturalistic and organic way than film. Jordan shot his other films digitally, and I think he really wanted to dip his toes into that. He’s an information-hungry person and he loves learning and trying new things out, so he embraced this. I’ve never seen anyone really embrace it, and he just knows how to turn it to his own advantage.

How did you go from building intimate moments such as when Keke is dancing in the house to those vast landscape shots of the cloud to capturing those dark moments?

On a script level, Jordan knows where he wants fear and attention, so our discussion is very much about how we can achieve that and what we can do to convey that feeling.

We spent time talking about the night because that always looks a certain way on film, and there are seven night scenes in the movie. We were out in the middle of nowhere, in nature. So, we looked at what the eye sees and what it doesn’t. We looked at how it feels to stand in the middle of the valley and be surrounded by gigantic mountain ranges and to have that space.

It was also about creating awareness that there might be something there. We had so many discussions about how we wanted night to feel. I remember on one of our first scouts, we went out that night to the ranch, and we drove our car. There was no light except for the headlights, and then we turned those off. You can’t see anything. But as you walk further, your pupils start to dilate and you’re suddenly seeing stars, and mountain ranges and you see the moon, you’re no longer in this claustrophobic space of darkness, and it becomes big. We were determined to convey that. So, I built a camera rig, a combination of an infrared 65mm camera and a film camera that we would combine through a prism. We then mixed those images to create something that felt so similar to that feeling.

Did you feel any kinship with Michael Wincott, who plays a cinematographer in the film?

He’s wearing a big black scarf, and I’m wearing a black scarf. He wears my scarf in the film.

What was it like to have him shadow you?

We hung around Panavision, the rental house, and as I was getting my camera gear and shooting tests, Jordan suggested he spend a few days with me. He was all over the cameras and inside the cameras with his hand. He had cameras on his shoulders. He was so interested in learning and talking about the job and lighting. He wasn’t scared to get into the technical nitty gritty.

What did you think of his performance?

He makes cinematographers look good. A lot of cinematographers are scruffy bastards. He definitely gives cinematographers a lot of flair.

Can you talk about the scene with the house covered in blood?

It was a complex scene to shoot. There were expansive views of the house, and you see it from different angles. He wants to get things right. He’s not somebody wants it done quickly. There wasn’t one method of doing it. It was a big puzzle that came together with a lot of creative engineering going into it.

Jordan has said he’s such a fan of yours. Did he say, “This is my favorite film that you’ve done?”

Jordan is very generous with his feelings. Working with him was a dream come true. I have so much respect for him as a director and the chemistry was so great. I felt extremely creative with him. I can only say I’m a big fan of Jordan’s and I would work with him on the frontlines again, tomorrow.

Lastly, let’s talk about your camera movements in the film.

As you have seen, it’s very fast and we are moving around a lot because we are all over the place with the galloping horses. We worked on old-fashioned tracks. But we wanted the camera moves to be mobile and also capture elegant long takes. So, we worked with a beloved piece of equipment called The Edge, it’s a stabilized arm that can move on rough terrain. It has a gigantic head and stabilizes the camera, so we could chase those horse and riding scenes.



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Star Wars Throwback Pic Shows Palpatine Actor With a Jedi Mickey Mouse

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In celebration of Ian McDiarmid’s birthday, Revenge of the Sith star Amy Allen shares a throwback photo of the Star Wars actor alongside a Force-sensitive Mickey Mouse. McDiarmid first appeared as the evil Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in 1983’s Return of the Jedi (before being added to the 2004 DVD release of The Empire Strikes Back). In the original trilogy, the Emperor rules the Galactic Empire as his apprentice, Darth Vader, and the stormtroopers enforce order. George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels unveiled his past as the charismatic politician Sheev Palpatine, who operated as a Sith Lord in secret.

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In Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Palpatine is presented as an altruistic and rational Galactic Senator from the planet Naboo—who’s actually behind the Trade Federation’s blockade and invasion of Naboo. This duplicity continues throughout the prequels as he orchestrates the Clone Wars, lures Anakin Skywalker to the dark side, and executes Order 66, extinguishing the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic. It’s in Return of the Jedi that Luke Skywalker redeems his father, who then seemingly puts an end to the Emperor and his Empire. Nearly four decades after McDiarmid’s Star Wars debut, he’s one of the most recognizable cinematic villains of all time.


Allen, who played Jedi Aayla Secura in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, recently took to Instagram to wish McDiarmid a happy 78th birthday. In the post, she thanks the actor for “being the nicest Emperor” while showing photos of him at Walt Disney World’s last annual Star Wars Weekends in 2015. Check it out below:

The image of McDiarmid alongside a robed Mickey Mouse is somewhat symbolic of the House of Mouse bringing Star Wars back to vibrant life. Following Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, the sequel trilogy continued the stories of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, and even Palpatine. Piggybacking off of his Revenge of the Sith monologue about Darth Plagueis and cheating death, 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker reveals the Emperor was behind the First Order, cementing himself as the Skywalker saga’s overarching villain before being defeated by his granddaughter, Rey.


Although Disney’s Star Wars sequels have proven divisive, the franchise and its beloved characters have found new life on Disney+ with The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi (not to mention the animated shows). For the latter’s season 1 finale, McDiarmid reprised his Palpatine role once again as a hologram telling Darth Vader to let his former master go. While the Emperor likely won’t appear in future movies, he could appear in the Disney+ show Andor, which takes place during his reign. Even if he doesn’t, the Emperor’s presence will always be felt, whether it is through The Mandalorian showing Imperial forces scrambling to assemble Palpatine’s clones or by fans remembering their time with McDiarmid at Disney World.


Source: The Official Aayla Secura/Instagram

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Dwayne Johnson Describes Black Adam’s Brutality In Gruesome Detail

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Dwayne Johnson, producer and star of Black Adam, teases how the titular character’s unforgiving nature contrasts with fellow DCEU heroes.

Dwayne Johnson teases the extent of Black Adam’s brutality as he prepares to make his debut in the DC Extended Universe. The titular villain-turned-antihero’s debut is almost a decade in the making, with 2018’s Shazam! putting the hero’s nemesis on the backburner for a few years. Black Adam is set to reunite Jungle Cruise filmmaker Jaume Collet-Sera, who is directing the project, with Johnson serving as producer.

Once a slave from Kahndaq, Black Adam will follow the merciless killer as he re-enters society after being jailed for over 5,000 years. Though he previously abused his powers granted to him by Shazam, Black Adam is now on the Justice Society of America’s radar, as they attempt to reform his abilities for the betterment of society. The JSA will star Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, and Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate. Now, Johnson is opening up about Black Adam’s unforgiving and brutal nature, clearly in stark contrast to the typical DC hero.

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During an interview with Variety, Johnson teases just how far Black Adam will go in achieving his goals. Johnson reveals that Black Adam refuses to hold back, even at the price of causing a gory scene. Although he may be helping the greater good, he will stop at nothing, even if it means killing someone. Check out Johnson’s full explanation of Black Adam’s temperament below:

“Superman won’t kill anybody. There’s a code that he lives by and he honors,” Johnson says. “Black Adam has a unique code of ethics too. He will not hesitate—and I like to have a little fun when I’m explaining this—to rip somebody in half.” Does that mean the actor is…kidding? “Literally, he’ll grab someone by the neck and by the thigh and then rip them up, tear them apart,” Johnson clarifies.

While it’s unclear whether his powers will ultimately be used for good, the film’s trailers point to a more reformed, tamed Black Adam, yet still merciless towards his victims. Previously, Johnson has hinted the origin story presented in Black Adam will justify the anti-hero’s actions, highlighting the loss of his family in drastically changing his mindset. Understanding that he will do anything in his power to protect his family, including ripping someone in half, suggests that throughout the film his character arc will turn him away from the dark side.

If this is just how brutal Black Adam can be, then the JSA has a lot of work ahead of them with reigning him in. The highly-anticipated JSA will see each character possessing their own set of powers, which will hopefully be enough to tame Black Adam in defeating the evil in Sabaac. As excitement builds for Black Adam, it’s clear that the antihero’s debut will majorly shake up the DCEU, as he is preparing to be a force to be reckoned with.

Source: Variety

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Ghost Of Tsushima Movie Influences Explained By Chad Stahelski

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Chad Stahelski, director of the popular video game Ghost of Tsushima’s upcoming film adaptation, describes the inspiration behind the movie.

John Wick director Chad Stahelski details the main influences for his latest endeavor, the film adaptation of the popular video game Ghost of Tsushima. The Sony Playstation game, developed by Sucker Punch Productions, made history when it became the fastest-selling original Sony game in Playstation history. The game follows samurai warrior Jin Sakai, the sole survivor of a Mongol army attack on his clan. Set in 1274, Jin’s journey leads him to pursue vengeance and free the island of Tsushima. A film adaptation was announced in March 2021, with director Chad Stahelski and writer Takashi Doscher on board.

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Video game adaptations can be a touchy subject for fans, and Ghost of Tsushima has some big shoes to fill. The game was a major hit, with audiences and critics alike raving about the story, visuals, and gameplay. With a slew of awards under its belt, Ghost of Tsushima is an intimidating project for any director to take on. This is especially true considering the criticisms often faced by video game films, which come with passionate built-in audiences with high hopes to see their beloved stories done right. However, Stahelski is an accomplished director with the perfect background for the martial arts action required by Ghost of Tsushima‘s story. In addition, he has noted his enthusiasm for creating a faithful adaptation that honors the source material.


In a recent interview with Collider, Stahelski discussed his desire to film the movie in Japanese and bring in a Japanese cast. He also described some of his influences going into the project. See what he had to say below:

“Honestly, it’s probably the same things that would scare the sh*t out of most people. It’s a fantasy period piece. It’s done with reverence to Akira Kurosawa, who’s probably in the top five biggest influences of my life as far as film goes. It’s a chance to push technology and people in a story that’s timeless. It’s your typical mythological story of good versus evil, finding a man, watching him change the world or the world changes him. It’s all the Joseph Campbell stuff that you’d love in a story. You put that in with, obviously, so I’m told I have a bit of a Samurai fetish, which is probably true from Manga and anime and stuff.”

Stahelski’s previous comments about the Ghost of Tsushima movie have already built high expectations around the film. His most recent words on the subject go even further, promising exactly the sort of culturally rich, character-driven fantasy epic fans of the video games are hoping for. The reference to Akira Kurosawa also bodes well for Stahelski’s intentions to stay true to the video game’s samurai genre roots. All in all, the director’s encouraging comments tease an exceptional production that combines the westernized format of the hero’s journey with plenty of Japanese influence on a story and filmmaking level.


Ghost of Tsushima is the latest in a renaissance of video game to screen adaptations, including the Ruben Fleischer-directed Uncharted and HBO’s The Last of Us series. Despite the curse that seems to befall many video game adaptations, many are eager to see Stahelski’s rendition of the beloved story. Little else is known about the Ghost of Tsushima film for now, and a release date has yet to be announced by Sony. But Stahelski’s attention to detail and enthusiasm for faithfully adapting the source material is a good sign for the project.

Source: Collider

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