Luke Evans

Luke Evans in Dracula Untold

If we consider that Dracula Untold is the Iron Man or Man of Steel of the next shared-universe franchise, a $23m opening weekend has to look pretty dim. Yet that figure is higher than the movie was tracking to earn, so Universal is marking the release as a triumph. “It’s better than anyone expected in the industry.” the studio’s domestic distribution president, Nikki Rocco, told Entertainment Weekly. “We’re very pleased with the result.” Universal can be happy enough, too, with its international gross to date of $63m, which is a helpful addition. And as Rocco also notes, the exit polls have been promising. Through Cinemascore, audiences graded the movie an A-. That means those who went to see it liked it enough that they’ll probably be on board for a sequel and the rest. “The rest” is, of course, team-ups, “versus” movies and other such groupings of Dracula (Luke Evans) and other Universal monsters, including the Mummy and probably the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein’s Monster. I wouldn’t be surprised if King Kong is in the mix at some point, as well, since the giant ape’s origin movie, Skull Island, is being made by the same studios (though not produced by Alex Kurtsman, the showrunner of this franchise). The next installment for the new monster mash project isn’t due for a couple more years, when the Kurtzman-directed The Mummy opens in June 2016. I wonder if many people will even remember Dracula Untold then, and I wonder if […]

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Universal Pictures

Origin stories have become synonymous with Marvel films and other cinematic superhero adventures, but Hollywood’s love of the idea has long extended well beyond caped crusaders. The concept of taking an established character and delving into their narrative birth has, for better or worse, resulted in origin tales for literary creations as diverse as Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter and Jesus Christ. It’s an (often unnecessary) opportunity to detail the events that led them to becoming the character we’re familiar with, and the best ones enrich the person while staying true to their persona. An example of the opposite tact is Dracula Untold. Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) is the beloved yet misunderstood leader of the Transylvanian people who after years of battle has delivered his country into a time of peace. It’s a tenuous calm though as the Turkish kingdom — a powerful empire under which Transylvania serves — is led by a cruel man named Mehmed (Dominic Cooper). When the power-thirsty ruler demands a testosterone-fueled donation of one thousand boys for his army Vlad refuses thereby dooming his people to destruction at the tips of Turkish swords. But Vlad is nothing if not a strong supporter of “the ends justify the means” and after making a deal with a monster in the mountains returns to open a can of supernatural whoop-ass on the Turkish Empire.

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Luke Evans in Dracula Untold

If you thought you knew the story of Dracula, think again, because Luke Evans is here to drop a truth bomb with the untold story of the world’s most legendary bloodsucker. Haven’t you ever wondered exactly how and why Dracula became the night walking, fanged, tower dwelling monster who haunted your nightmares and cluttered the aisles of your local Halloween superstore? (No? Could you please play along?) The first trailer for Dracula Untold, brought to us by director Gary Shore, makes no qualms about diving right into the action of an ancient and mysterious war. Vlad Tepes (Evans, of The Hobbit) is a masterful fighter who’s always been a hero, but he doesn’t want his son to get involved, so he must figure out how to stop the madness before it gets out of hand. Naturally, this entails hiking up the most treacherous cliff face known to man and seeking the guidance of a creature who looks not unlike Voldemort. Drinking his blood, as it turns out, transforms him into an unstoppable machine of warfare and apparently a great lover, but it also makes him the titular vampire we know and fear: he’s Dracula, and the army that’s trying to fight him is going to sorely regret that they went up against him.

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ff6truth_5

Whether you get into the Fast & Furious franchise or not, there is no denying its massive popularity and ability to rule at the box office. A lot of the success of the franchise has come from the fact that in the past three movies, it has moved from a street racing series to basically a mix of muscle-car James Bond with the Oceans Eleven films hopped up on NoS. This past summer, Fast & Furious 6 went head-to-head in the summer box office with some of the biggest names in blockbusters, including Iron Man, Superman, and Gru’s Minions. While there’s no comparing the characters in Fast & Furious 6 with the Minions (although Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson try their hardest to be that charming), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) gave Superman a run for his money. Not only did Fast & Furious 6 best Man of Steel’s international box office, Dom performed his own Superman-like stunt to save his amnesiac lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) from certain death. This got me thinking: Is Dominic Toretto actually Superman?

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Luke Evans

If you’re not familiar with Luke Evans, well, give it a few months, because the Welsh actor is about to pop up in a jaw-dropping spread of blockbusters and genre features that will handily cover the gamut of potential cinematic interest. To recap, Evans will soon zoom into theaters as the baddie in Fast & Furious 6, then he’ll shoot straight for your J.R.R. Tolkien-loving heart as Bard the Bowman in the next two Hobbit films, eventually he’ll sink his teeth into your movie-going neck as the lead in Dracula Year Zero, and now he’s going to fly back from the afterlife in the new The Crow reboot. Deadline Hollywood (via ComingSoon) reports that the in-demand Evans is currently in negotiations for the lead role in F. Javier Gutierrez‘s new Crow, a production which has long sought for a suitable lead (with rumored potential stars including Tom Hiddleston, Alexander Skarsgard, James McAvoy, and Bradley Cooper). Just how badly did the Crow team want Evans? The outlet reports that the film’s production start date has been moved to early next year, so as to fit into Evans’ packed schedule. For a guy who once starred as “Benjamin’s Father” in a short spoof titled Don’t Push Benjamin’s Buttons, becoming Hollywood’s new it guy probably doesn’t feel so bad.

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Luke Evans

Luke Evans is a talented actor who has so far been relegated to some empty historical action. According to Variety, he’s staying historical, but hopefully his turn as Dracula in Dracula: Year Zero will have a little more life to it than, say, The Three Musketeers or Immortals. The vampire project was once under Alex Proyas’ control with Sam Worthington in the lead role, but the budget got in the way of it moving forward. However, Universal was dedicated to bringing the Dracula/Vlad the Impaler hybrid to theaters. Now, newcomer Gary Shore is making it his first feature (you can take a look at his commercial work here). He’s clearly got talent, but it’s always a little discouraging to see a young commercial director brought on for an iconic project for one reason: it’s done so that studios can maintain strict control over the project. Hopefully Shore will buck that trend by committing a fresh perspective while refusing to be coerced into being a director in name only. At the very least he’s got a lead performer with skills and a definite resemblance to the character. All he needs is a longer (flatter) mustache and a crazy bejeweled hat to make the transition. Enjoy bringing the crossword puzzle to work, make-up and costume departments.

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The Hobbit: There and Back Again

The first film in Peter Jackson‘s new three-entry The Hobbit franchise, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is still a week away from release, but that hasn’t stopped the production from rolling out, wait, what? a picture from the third film in the series? Fortunately, this first look stars a fan favorite from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Orlando Bloom as Legolas. But, sorry, just what is Legolas doing in The Hobbit: There and Back Again? He’s not in J.R.R. Tolkien‘s book! As Jackson explains it: “He’s [elven king] Thranduil’s son, and Thranduil is one of the characters in The Hobbit, and because elves are immortal it makes sense Legolas would be part of the sequence in the Woodland Realm.” Fair enough. Alongside Bloom? That’s Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman, a Laketown warrior who will be getting a bit more attention in the film than he did in the series’ source material, with screenwriter and producer Philippa Boyens explaining, “We take more time introducing him. We know from what follows that he was a father, so we [explore] that. I don’t think we take liberties, because it’s all there in the storytelling.” The first film in the series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will hit theaters next week in 2D, 3D, and IMAX on December 14. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released on December 13, 2013, and the final entry, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will be released on July 18, 2014. [EW]

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It should be news to no one that a sixth film in the Fast & the Furious franchise is heading into production. The last film, Fast Five, is the highest grossing installment in the series, and regardless of the film’s quality that’s one hell of a feat. Happily, under the guiding hand of director Justin Lin, Fast Five actually managed to be a damn entertaining movie. (Stupid, but entertaining.) Lin is returning to helm the sixth film, and many of the usual suspects are along for the ride including Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Fast Five‘s MVP Dwayne Johnson. Previously announced newcomers include the charisma-free Luke Evans (Death Race 2) and Haywire‘s kick-ass leading lady Gina Carano. It’s assumed that both will be playing for the bad guys. If that assumption is correct, they’ve just found themselves a third team member.

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There’s been plenty of buzz about potential casting in the sixth Fast and Furious film (seriously, the sixth film), which we’re just going to refer to as Fast Six until someone tells us otherwise, but it’s been hard to quantify any of it without knowing the plot that these new characters would fit into. Fortunately, today we’re gifted with some confirmed casting (beyond, of course, the core crew who are all expected to return) and the first bit of real plot information for the film. As had been rumored last week, Luke Evans is in final negotiations to play the bad guy in Fast Six – not necessarily a villain (though that’s what been widely reported), but at least a dude audiences will likely be rooting against. The news comes from Variety, who detail his character by expounding a bit more on the film’s plot – it will “involve the crew heading overseas to work on a heist job. Evans would play the leader of another crew trying to pull the same job.” See! Not a bad guy! He’s just like Paul Walker! Or Vin Diesel! Maybe we’ll end up liking him! It’s happened before!

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes to war. He strips down to his muscular awesomeness and shimmies into a codpiece. After applying a solid gold breastplate, he’s too exhausted to actually go to war, so he heads to the local movie cinema to catch Immortals, wondering if Isabel Lucas has ever eaten a carbohydrate in her life. Then he slips into a housedress and sneaks into an early screening of J. Edgar. After a quick nap, he tries to escape the horror that is Jack and Jill, but alas, that did not happen. You can send him care packages now, courtesy of his local mental institution.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a frilly lace cravat and some leather boots, grabs his sword and takes a trip to France to become a Musketeer. Unfortunately, he seems to be almost 400 years too late for those kinds of shenanigans. So he hops the English Channel to become a spy with MI-7. Of course, no one told him that MI-7 was actually nothing more than propaganda. So he heads back home for a good night’s sleep, and to make sure that happens, he videotapes himself throughout the house. While he doesn’t witness any paranormal activity, there are many unspeakable things that can be seen on them.

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When I first heard that a new version of The Three Musketeers was being made by Paul W.S. Anderson I initially thought that he was a bad choice for the material, that he would just end up making something ridiculous. Now that I’ve actually seen the movie, I’m certain that he was a bad choice for the material, because he did in fact make something ridiculous. You know this story by now, it’s been around for like 175 years or something, so too much plot summary probably isn’t necessary. There are three famous Musketeers, the king’s personal soldiers, Athos (Matthew MacFayden), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Aramis (Luke Evans). They used to be big time, but now they’re out of a job because a corrupt Cardinal (Christoph Waltz) is taking control of France and instituting his personal guard as the new power in the nation. Also there’s a young chap name D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) who has traveled to Paris to become a Musketeer, but he finds the place in disarray. Backstabbings and power plays commence. But let’s get back to how bad most everything in this movie is. The most egregious of all the offenses this new Three Musketeers commits is the punishment it doles out to its characters in the form of horrible dialogue. Never have you come across a script with more hackneyed, generic movie clichés than this. Everything that comes out of the characters’ mouths is clunky and unnatural. It feels like the movie went through absolutely zero […]

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“I will send you to hell!” You know, I’m not quite sure The Raven is going to be an accurate bio pic of Edgar Allan Poe. The Se7en-esque murder mystery aside, why isn’t Poe acting like a big alcoholic in this portrait of his final days? Where’s the binge drinking? Where’s a mean drunk? Sadly, an intoxicated John Cusack is nowhere to be found.

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“Coming this fall: an action event from the director of The Cell and The Fall.” Yeah, it still sounds odd to me, too. Once it was announced that Tarsem would be tackling a big swords and sandals epic, it elicited a feeling of both excitement and confusion. As for the exciting part — wouldn’t it be interesting to see how such a visionary can put a spin on this genre and what he could do with an action beat? As for the confusion — isn’t this a big studio picture? With epics such as this, directors have countless people to answer to. But Tarsem didn’t seem interested in answering to those people. This a director that couldn’t have a greater distaste for by-the-numbers filmmaking. As he says below, he’s a polarizing filmmaker. Both The Cell and The Fall received both wild appraise and heaps of venom. Can Tarsem still bring that interesting polarization to a sizable fall release? From the sound of it, yes, he can. When I approached Tarsem to discuss The Fall and wish him luck on Immortals, the very funny and honest filmmaker ended up giving me a quick and unplanned 1-on-1 about not dealing with studio suits, his work ethic with actors, and the methods of Mickey Rourke.

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Ambitious. Bold. Serious. Groundbreaking. None of these words can be sanely used to describe the vibe emanating from the trailer for Paul W.S. Anderson’s “adaptation” of The Three Musketeers. This a W.S. Anderson picture through and through. This trailer does a fantastic job at selling a future camp classic in the making, and I don’t even mean that in an ironic way, either.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s an obsessively curated column that collects the most interesting links from around the movie blogosphere. It includes a bit of commentary, but only when the mood strikes. Which, for the purposes of this column’s author, is all the time. Gird your loins and put on your power rings, because it’s about to get wild in here. Getting ready to see Green Lantern this weekend? Our review will be live tomorrow. But if you need a primer before then, I would defer you to io9’s very thorough beginner’s guide to Green Lantern. It should bring you up to speed just in time to become angry about whether or not the film is faithful.

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The comparisons to 300 will be inevitable, so let’s just get them out of the way. Yes, the teaser for Immortals makes it look an awful lot like 300 (and the “From the Producers of 300” bit only amplifies it), but it looks like a far more visually dynamic version. Snyder’s movie looked amazing, but Singh has a more varied palette and a bigger paint brush, so everything here seems a bit more vibrant instead of automatically being washed out in sepia tones and blood reds. Those are definitely still there, though. This teaser is intense, and it showcases Singh’s best strengths as a filmmaker: his eye for production design. Check it out for yourself and get your blood flowing:

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Without a synopsis beyond being called a contemporary noir movie, Ashes nonetheless earns some respect for the cast it just hired. Ray Winstone and Leslie Manville are veterans, and Jim Sturgess is a rising actor who has the talent to back up his growing fame. According the The Hollywood Reporter, those actors will be joined by Jodie Whittaker (Attack the Block) and the consistently strong Luke Evans (Robin Hood, Clash of the Titans) for the project written by Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll team Mat Whitecross (who will direct) and Paul Viragh. Any noir news is good news, and this cast is something to look forward to. Oddly enough, the film is being financed partially by the band Coldplay which creates the interesting possibility of the pop band also scoring a dark drama. That’s speculation, but it would either be a fascinating success or an unmitigated disaster, and that’s the kind of scenario to get out of bed for in the morning. Production starts next week.

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Another day comes, and another opportunity for us to lay down some of the day’s hot news stories is upon is. But instead, we begin your Thursday with The B-Roll. Or as we like to say, “And now, for something completely different.”

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Judging by the list of names released today, Paul W.S. Anderson has never read The Three Musketeers.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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