Behind the Scenes

Batman and Wyldstyle in The Lego Movie

It’s late, so let’s party. Circulating around the Internet today is a blooper reel for The Lego Movie. It’s so indescribably lovely to see this movie getting some lasting attention, especially when it leads long remembrance pieces about Clone High, the MTV ‘toon by the same very talented filmmakers. And when it gives me a reason to remind you of the time we talked them into telling us about what Clone High season two would’ve been like. That, and The Lego Movie is one of the happiest filmgoing experience of this and many other years. And its blooper reel is exactly the delight you’d expect from Chris Miller and Phil Lord. Also, Alison Brie says “hoo-hoos,” and we mean the naughty kind. Watch below.

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Need for Speed: On Set

When you think about Detroit in 2013, it’s hard not to think about a city tangled up in bankruptcy. A community on that downward motion toward the ground right before bouncing back up again. You also might, more traditionally, think about American muscle cars and machismo. On a humid day in late June of last year, the sound of screeching tires and the oiled up masculinity of Detroit surrounded me and a group of fellow journalists on the set of Need for Speed. Amidst the smell of burned rubber and what seemed like miles of cabling linking together the technology of modern action cinema, we got to know the storytellers chosen by DreamWorks to bring one of EA’s most successful video game franchises to life. From Act of Valor director Scott Waugh to Oscar nominated writer John Gatins and acclaimed Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul, they all had something to share about the testosterone-fueled world. For your expedited enjoyment, we’ve arranged them into a list of things we learned that day in downtown Motor City.

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The Lego Movie arrives in theaters February 7, 2014, but there’s been no shortage of video content introducing us to the world and characters the interim leading up to the release. There are a lot of characters. And oh, what fun it appears we’ll be in store for. I’ll admit, I’m already kinda sold, but I’m highly biased. My love of Lego is borderline unhealthy.

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Jason Statham in Redemption

“It’s the story of a down-and-out, ex-special forces soldier…” Many a Jason Statham movie has laid claim to such a logline, yet we watch them all the same. No difference should exist with Redemption, from director Steven Knight. In this round, Statham plays a guy who has done terrible things, and now he must use his many murderous skills to do some good in search of… yes, you guessed it… redemption. Learn a little more about Statham’s next in this exclusive new behind the scenes featurette.

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Pacific Rim: VFX

Taking a break from Comic-Con, it’s time to look back at a movie that made quite the splash in San Diego last year and is currently in theaters, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. At that time, there was but a trailer for the giant monsters vs. giant robots movie, but the buzz was electric. One calendar year later, the film has made it’s way to theaters and has opened much softer than expected by the Warner Bros. accounting department. All the same, it’s a movie I, myself said was more fun “than anything else we’re going to see towering above us on the big screen this summer” in our review. One of the biggest draws of Pacific Rim: the scope of the action and the scale of its participants. Most of which is accomplished via the mastery of the folks at Industrial Light & Magic and Spectral Motion, among others. Under the watchful eyes of VFX supervisors John Knoll and James E. Price, and animation supervisor Hal Hickel, a team of artists created some of the most impressive icons of Summer 2013. Care to know how they did it? Good, because we just so happen to have a video explaining the “Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim.” Watch it for yourself just after the jump.

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Elysium

Man, they said that the economy was starting to get better. But from the looks of the new featurette from writer-director Neill Blomkamp and the stars of Elysium, the world in 150 years is a far bleaker place. In the sci-fi film, which stars Matt Damon and Jodi Foster, Earth has become a “third world planet,” devoid of fresh resources and plagued by overpopulation and poverty.

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Fast & Furious 6 Airplane Sequence

The most impressive thing about this new Fast & Furious 6 behind the scenes featurette: the lengths to which director Justin Lin and his VFX team go to make as much of the film’s ridiculous final action piece a practical affair. Watching it on the big screen, it’s hard not to assume that most of that carnage was created on a computer, despite the franchise’s long-standing commitment to real cars, real speed and real destruction for 5 consecutive films. Little did we know that a great deal of that huge exploding plane at the end was built by the crew, as you’ll see in this brief but illuminating featurette.

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Man of Steel

It’s a story about the potential for every person to be a force for good. Yes Russell Crowe, that’s exactly what the story of Superman is about. And as we see here in this brand new behind the scenes featurette for Warner Bros.’ upcoming film Man of Steel, it’s also about the potential of a Christopher Nolan Dark Knight-esque reinvention of a character who is a 75-year old that wears his underwear on the outside. “It’s not a comic book Superman,” explains writer David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight). “We wanted a Superman that exists in the real world.” A tall task, to say the very least. Needless to say, after 12 minutes of behind the scenes B-roll and cast interviews, you might start to believe that Zack Snyder could pull off his greatest trick of all: making Superman feel new again.

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Dirty Laundry Tom Jane

At the 2012 San Diego Comic Con we got an exclusive first look at Tom Jane‘s Dirty Laundry, a short film that saw the fan favorite actor return to the role of Frank Castle – The Punisher. It was an awesome, violent piece that got a lot of people hungry for a new bad-ass movie. If you liked the short, which you can see here, or if you just like seeing how things are done, we present to you a Behind-the-Scenes short on the making of Raw Studios’ Dirty Laundry. We get to see plenty of Tom Jane, the active directing style, the fight choreography, and most interesting to me, some insight into how they executed the disgustingly vicious double-leg break!

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The Dark Knight Rises

“We looked back to the silent era of motion pictures when the image was paramount, when all you had was the scope and scale of the location. That’s the kind of storytelling I was interested in exploring,” this quote will perhaps define Christopher Nolan’s vision for The Dark Knight Rises. In the ever-escalating world  of big effects and CGI landscapes, one man is looking back in order to move forward. And luckily for us, he just so happens to be making movies about Batman. In two new featurettes, the scope of The Dark Knight Rises has begun to come into focus. Nolan’s quest to bring things full circle in The Dark Knight Trilogy, as its been aptly called, includes several massive set pieces and stakes provided by a villain who has the potential to be a real terror. “Some men just want to watch the world burn,” says actor Tom Hardy, quoting a line from The Dark Knight. “Bane is the guy who wants to come and pull the pin on the grenade.” And in order to stop him, a hero must rise. And even before that, we all must watch these two new featurettes — one 13-minute piece that revisits the world around Bruce Wayne and another 2.5 teaser spot. Those who want to see the movie with fresh eyes may want to avoid these, but those who have seen trailers already aren’t exactly going to find a whole lot in there that can be considered a spoiler.

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Looper

Rian Johnson is perhaps as lucky as they come in the game of modern filmmaking. He gets to live in public, with a strong presence on Twitter and Tumblr, connecting with fans via social media. But he’s also been able to make his latest film, Looper, under the radar for the most part. We’ve seen little in the way of set photos or  rumors throughout the production. It’s the sweet spot in the era in social media. And that lack of distraction can, in many cases, allow you to slowly roll things out in a creative way. It isn’t so much about controlling the information that ends up online, but being able to mold the pre-release material into a narrative all its own. Such is the case with this five-minute preview of the Looper score, courtesy of Rian’s brother Nathan, the film’s composer. He walks us through the process of gathering sounds and inspiration on the way toward creating a unique score for the Joseph Gordon Levitt, Bruce Willis-led time travel actioner. It’s a short but substantial peek behind the curtain.

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Joss Whedon‘s excellent action geek-out The Avengers hits US theaters this weekend after a storm of anticipation that’s lasted for four years and five movies. Marvel’s ultimate team is finally together, and the results are incredibly impressive. You can read my review here, but while you sit in your Captain America uniform, unwilling to remove it or bathe for the next week, gear up to new giddy levels of excitement with these behind-the-scenes videos. From a disoriented Robert Downey Jr. to Jeremy Renner in fight choreography practice to a running Scarlett Johansson to Mark Ruffalo blissfully posing with a nude mini-Hulk, there are some really fascinating bits here:

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The Hunger Games

Just when you thought the news of an Anchorman sequel would wash away all the talk of The Hunger Games, we’ve got more fun stuff from the movie on fire. The talented folks at the Soundworks Collection have profiled the sound team behind the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ popular novel, with director Gary Ross, Supervising Sound Editor Lon Bender, Re-recording Mixer Michael Keller, and Re-recording mixer Mike Prestwood Smith weighing in on giving sound to the landscapes of this futuristic young adult battle to the death. As a film, The Hunger Games accomplishes just as much with quiet as it does with sound and score, a delicate balance that can be credited to Bender and team. Because a good sound editor knows when to make noise and when to stay still. It’s a fascinating featurette for those who want to see behind the curtain on one of Hollywood’s hottest new films.

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Can you feel it? Now that The Hunger Games has made its way into theaters (and the record books), the only thing left to do now is begin Summer Movie Season 2012. That will happen on May 4, when Marvel Studios delivers the long-anticipated superhero team-up film The Avengers. With a little bit of Iron Man, some Captain America, The Hulk and the rest, The Avengers feels like the perfect place to begin what promises to be an intense summer of movie watching. But before we get to that, there is more excitement to be had (read: Disney has more marketing to be done). So today is the day when we bring you a number of behind the scenes images from the set of The Avengers, along with a new behind the scenes featurette that takes us into the production with Joss and the gang.

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Chillerama: I Was a Teenage Werebear

Sure, Film School Rejects is an international publication. But as far as the IRS is concerned, we’re a resident of the great city of Austin, Texas. And as residents of Austin, we’re required to celebrate all that is weird. It’s just part of the cost of living here. It helps that much of our staff is already into the strangest that cinema can provide, from the depths of the horror genre to oddities from around the world. As a general rule, we love a good midnight movie. Chillerama is said to be the “ultimate midnight movie,” at least according to its Blu-ray packaging. This genre anthology features films from the likes of Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Adam Rifkin and Tim Sullivan bringing you titles like Wadzilla, I Was A Teenage Werebear, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, and Zom-B-Movie. It’s quite a treat for anyone with a little moviegoing courage. And to celebrate its DVD and Blu-ray release today, we’ve rounded up an exclusive behind the scenes clip in which star Sean Paul Lockhart explains what its like to be a Teenage Werebear, struggling with animalistic urges, suggen hair growth and his own sexuality.

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Simon Pegg in Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Paramount Pictures has released a first look featurette for their upcoming winter action release Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the first live-action film from long-time Pixar company man Brad Bird and the return of Tom Cruise to the character of Ethan Hunt, rogue spy undoubtedly trying to clear his own name of some misunderstanding. This one has Jeremy Renner as a fellow spy and just like Mission: Impossible III, it’s got Simon Pegg as Ethan Hunt’s go-to tech nerd, Benji. He’s got wit and social awkwardness, along with a few other tricks that involve fake apendages and an outfit from Aladin. It’s all in this new featurette. 

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Ryan Gosling in Drive

It’s impossible not to be impressed by the folks at the SoundWorks Collection. Time and time again, they find great projects to feature and highlight one of the most atmospherically impactful elements of modern film: sound. In a time when we’re talking Oscar for a unique film without sound (The Artist), it’s also important to continue to celebrate the incredible work that goes into engulfing us with audible stimuli. In this particular instance, they feature Supervising Sound Editor Lon Bender’s work on the throbbing world of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Combined with the incredible Clint Martinez (which Allison featured as part of Aural Fixation a few weeks back). Through this behind the scenes featurette, you get a look at what it took to move back and forth between the moments driven by score and the moments driven without score, a perfectly balanced effort.

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Do you remember Gheorghe Mureşan, the 7’7″ tall basketball player who once starred in the film My Giant? Of course you do. Now keep the memory of that large man and his acting skills in your mind and behold Mengke Bateer, the larger-than-life star of Bodyguards and Assassins, an upcoming release also starring Donnie Yen and a host of other stars. It’s out on DVD July 26th, and this will surely give you reason to check it out. It’s a giant man beating ass with kung-fu. Seriously.

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If you’re not excited about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, I would direct you to the review written by our own Cole Abaius. If you can’t be bothered to read such things in advance of the final Potter episode, you could watch this new featurette released by Warner Bros. today. “The Story of Snape” includes some spoilers from two movies ago, so tread lightly if you feel the need. If you’re up on your Hogwarts tales, this one seems like a necessary primer for what is to come where the final chapter hits theaters this week.

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Peter Jackson and his team on The Hobbit are about to do something no major production has done to date: give you, the fans, unprecedented access into the production process. Most impressively, you’ll be seeing it as it happens. It makes us wonder what will be left when the DVD comes out, but right now we’re not worried about that. For now it’s a nice little treat for Hobbit fans to get a look inside the process. This might be the neatest film-related thing that will happen on the web this year.

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