Paul Dano

trailer prisoners

Despite screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski‘s script earning raves all around Hollywood, Prisoners wasn’t exactly fast tracked. If you recall the project’s development, a series of talent were on and off the film, from directors Bryan Singer and Antoine Fuqua to stars Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio. Even Mark Wahlberg was attached at one point, who, from the start, served as a key cheerleader for the project. According to Guzikowski, Wahlberg was one of the script’s biggest and most important fans. “Mark Wahlberg was the first person to champion it.” After that stamp of approval “everything got more and more attention.” Guzikowski wrote Prisoners as a spec script, and without Wahlberg, Prisoners and Guzikowski’s career would not have blossomed the way that it has. “He was totally pivotal in getting the film made. That endorsement helped it get around.” He went to write the modest hit Contraband for Wahlberg. While both features are drastically different, they feature a race against the clock tension. To keep that tempo on high, Guzikowski says, “You have to keep the visual of it all in mind. It has to have a musical sort of pacing. I think the best thrillers have a real rhythm to them.” As for where that rhythm comes from, it’s all about the drama. “That pace is informed by however the characters are feeling. I think that’s they key to making that ticking clock.”

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trailer prisoners

The National Association of Theater Owners recently made a formal request to studios to shorten theatrical trailers to a maximum two minute run-time. The impetus here is as much to speed up the movie pre-roll time for theater-goers as it is to cut back on possible spoilers or a simple excess of information. It appears Warner Bros. didn’t get the memo before cutting the first trailer for the upcoming thriller Prisoners. Hugh Jackman plays a father whose young daughter goes missing along with a friend, but when the detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) assigned to the case is forced to release the main suspect (Paul Dano) for lack of evidence all hell breaks loose in the lives of everyone involved. Terrence Howard, Maria Bello and Viola Davis co-star for director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies). To be clear, the trailer doesn’t appear to give away spoilers, but it does show more of the story than is necessary. Check out the fairly intense trailer for Prisoners below. It’s okay if you press ‘stop’ at the 1:50 mark as you should already be well intrigued and interested by that point.

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commentary-looper

Rian Johnson‘s Looper is a rare film for many reasons. The only thing rarer than Hollywood committing to a mid-budget sci-fi film is one featuring an original idea not based on an existing property. Even better though, the film is unafraid to go to some very dark places with some wholly unexpected events, and the result is a rewarding experience for film goers. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis star as young and old versions of the same character who come face to face in a fight for their separate but clearly connected lives. It’s smart, exciting and challenging in the way no big budget blockbuster could ever hope to be. Three of its key players sat down to record a commentary track for next week’s Blu-ray/DVD release, and we gave it a listen. Come along won’t you, and read what we heard…

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Han Solo

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that’s been talking way more about a movie based on a racing video game than it imagined it would be. Read on for more information. It’s bound to get pretty annoying following every rumor that pops up about the new Star Wars movie between now and 2015. But, let’s face it, when comments start getting thrown around about Harrison Ford playing Han Solo again, even vague rumors start to get pretty interesting. So, when Inside Movies announced that they have sources claiming that Ford has reversed his famously grumpy position on Star Wars being lame, and that he, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher are now all “upbeat” about more movies getting made, geeks everywhere instantly started salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. Let’s try to not let this Star Wars thing get out of hand—but Harrison Ford might play Han Solo again, y’all!

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For Ellen 2012

Wow. Paul Dano. How does this guy not have all the awards ever made? We already know he’s a powerhouse, and he’s sought out another project to prove it thoroughly with For Ellen. In the film from writer/director So Yong Kim, Dano plays a musician and absentee father who builds a relationship with a young daughter. The trailer is out and it’s, well, it’s pretty damned effective. Heartbreaking in three or four senses of the word. Check it out for yourself:

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Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning in Night Moves

In somewhat disappointing casting news, Variety reports (via FirstShowing) that Kelly Reichardt‘s next film, the eco-terrorism thriller Night Moves, will not star Paul Dano and Rooney Mara as had been previously reported. Dano had been linked to the film earlier this year, while Mara’s name had been consistently mentioned, though she had never been officially attached. Instead, the film will star Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning, who join the long-attached Peter Sarsgaard to round out the main trio, three eco-terrorists who hatch a plan to blow up a dam. Sarsgaard will be the “mastermind behind the bomb,” with Eisenberg set to play the “ringleader” and Fanning as a rich girl who backs the plan financially. While both Eisenberg and Fanning are interesting actors, Dano and Mara have always struck me as much more compelling, so it’s hard not to feel as if this is a trade down. However, Eisenberg’s role will likely call for him to exhibit some new facets to his craft (it’s hard to imagine that a eco-terrorist ringleader won’t have to rely on something like charisma to pull in new recruits), and working under a performance-minded filmmaker like Reichardt should be good for everyone involved. Also, they don’t really seem to have as much to lose.

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Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris don’t make your average summer comedies. In 2006 their surprise hit Little Miss Sunshine involved a deteriorating marriage, a druggy grandfather, a suicidal uncle, and, of course, a mute Paul Dano – all comedic trappings that hardly approach light fare. Their return after a six year theatrical release absence, Ruby Sparks, is no different. Although the trailers and TV spots hint at a quirky and charming love story, Ruby Sparks is nothing of the sort. When your lead is a narcissistic, immature, unlikable, and slightly nihilistic writer whose manic pixie dream girl is his own boyish creation, you’re not exactly making How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Ruby Sparks, in the same vein as Dayton and Faris’ previous feature, is a story about failure, how to bounce back from it and, more importantly, how to also make it funny. Here’s what Dayton and Faris had to say about Ruby Sparks not being a comedy, the creative importance of facing problems, and how their film represents the modern man-children of the world:

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Paul Dano interview

“I don’t really know what kind of actor I am,” Paul Dano said when we spoke to him a few weeks ago while discussing his latest film, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farsis‘s mildly dark romantic comedy Ruby Sparks. When Dano stated such, it came as a bit of a surprise, particularly because Dano has always come off as an actor who goes fairly deep into a character, from reading books to finding a character’s favorite band. What was also obvious is that he isn’t the artistically tortured character we see him play in the film. The character, Calvin, is a bit of a jerk: a narcissistic, condescending, and neurotic nerd who wants control over everything. Dano, who spoke of his fear over expectations and other Ruby Sparks-related themes, seemed satisfied leaving all that control in the hands of all the accomplished directors he’s worked with. Here’s what Ruby Sparks’ star Paul Dano had to say about the nice surprises you get when making a film, his process for creating a character, and the time he wrestled with Spike Jonze on the set of Where the Wild Things Are:

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Ruby Sparks tells the story of a young writer (Paul Dano) who seemingly creates his dream girl out of thin air (and his writing) and is then able to control her through said writing. This curious tale is further heightened thanks to a magical score from composer Nick Urata (Crazy, Stupid, Love), which bounces from feeling hopeful to ominous to almost dangerous. The score succeeds in grabbing the audience’s attention from its first note and does not let go until its very last. With the soundtrack for Ruby Sparks released just yesterday, I spoke with Urata about his process creating the film’s score, how effected he was after seeing only the first cut of the film, and how that led to him getting the gig as the film’s composer.

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Paul Dano to Co-Star in Twelve Years A Slave

We’ll soon be seeing Paul Dano starring in cutesy romance Ruby Sparks (co-starring alongside his own real life lady love, Zoe Kazan, who also penned the screenplay), but as wonderful as a sweet Dano is, there’s something much better: a cruel Dano. While a lot of the praise for P.T. Anderson’s There Will Be Blood went (quite deservedly) to Daniel Day-Lewis for his yowling, evil performance as Daniel Plainview, Dano was just as terrifying (and just as unhinged) as Eli Sunday. Something about seeing Dano’s generally welcoming face twisted up into snarls and howls and screams was viciously unsettling, and it’s been too long since we’ve seen that side of him. Deadline Franklin reports that’s no longer the case, as we’ll soon be gifted with a particularly cruel Dano in Steve McQueen‘s Twelve Years A Slave, where he will play a slave owner who “brutalizes” Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s character, a free man who is abducted into the Louisiana slave trade. Dano will, in fact, just be one of the evil owners, but his performance will likely be a stand-out. He and Ejiofor will also be joined in the film by McQueen’s consistent star, Michael Fassbender, along with Brad Pitt.

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Directorial team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are finally returning to the big screen for the first time since 2006′s Little Miss Sunshine with one of the summer’s most anticipated indie releases – the Zoe Kazan-penned Ruby Sparks. Also starring Kazan, the film centers on Paul Dano‘s character, a once-successful young author who is felled by some intense writer’s block and a dismal love life. When he starts writing about a new character, Ruby, Calvin’s spark comes back – but everything is thrown into disarray when he discovers Ruby (Kazan) in his apartment – his creation brought to life. Is it love? Magic? Or both?

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After having to deal with those teasers-for-the-teaser annoyance, we now have the actual teaser trailer for writer/director Rian Johnson‘s Looper, his futuristic sci-fi thriller featuring a Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt face-off, both playing the same character. Right off the bat you can see Gordon-Levitt is channeling Willis’s well-known demeanor and style. But based on the impression this trailer gives, it’s an actual transformation, not an impersonation. Take a peek at Bruce Willis apologizing for Surrogates:

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Zoe Kazan‘s feature writing debut, Ruby Sparks, already has enough going for it that I’ll forgive its new name change – to Ruby from its working title, He Loves Me, which feels a bit less movie-of-the-week and a touch more substantial. Title issues aside, Kazan’s first foray into screenwriting sees the return of directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (helming their first feature since 2006′s Little Miss Sunshine), is marked by a talented cast (Paul Dano, Kazan, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Elliot Gould, Chris Messina, and Deborah Ann Woll), and comes with a plotline that’s a thought-provoking twist on the romantic comedy. So why the name switcheroo? Well, it’s either something that’s far too-on-the-nose, or it’s meant to denote the full name of Kazan’s character, who is so far known to be just “Ruby.” But that on-the-nose? It could just mean that she sparks something, forming the entire basis of the film. And what does she spark? Only a little literary inspiration and her entire existence.

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Welcome to “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,” or perhaps more appropriately, welcome to Being Flynn, complete with its own bullshit and own suckitude. Based on writer Nick Flynn‘s memoir (you know, the one called “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,” as if you could forget such a title), Paul Weitz‘s film sets Paul Dano as Nick and Robert De Niro as his wayward papa, the irreverent and inappropriate Jonathan Flynn. Nick’s lived most of his life without his father, a man who has “manifested as an absence” for twentysomething years, and Nick’s been just fine with it. Relatively. Kind of. Fine – not really. But things are about to get much worse for Nick, because Jonathan is about to pop back into his life – and utterly ruin it in the process.

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Rian Johnson

The powers that be at Film School Rejects were wise enough to include Rian Johnson‘s sci-fi pic Looper as one of our Most Anticipated Films of 2012, and it’s certainly in my top 3 for the year as well. Sadly, the film is still far off and we’ve only gotten a few behind-the-scenes pics (via Looper‘s Twitter feed) and an official shot showcasing Bruce Willis doing what he does best. Now we have gotten another behind-the-scenes picture which may give you a better idea of what to expect. Johnson released this pretty damn cool shot of the film’s time travel machine, and it looks like a down and dirty time machine, a.k.a. it’s not shiny and all that stuff.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s out right now. Please leave a message. We begin tonight with some new concept art for The Adventures of Tintin, courtesy of the folks over at Hey U Guys. It’s yet another look at the smooth animation behind this film from Steven Spielberg, who may appear again later in tonight’s edition of Movie News After Dark.

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One of director Richard Linklater’s first films, and his big breakthrough, was 1991’s Slacker, a movie about misfit young people in Austin, Texas. Many years and a storied film career later and Linklater finds himself aiming his focus at the youth set once again, but this time he’s looking at a decidedly different subset of the country’s up and comers. College Republicans is a biopic that follows the college careers of conservative political figures Karl Rove and Lee Atwater. Rove and Atwater are divisive figures to be sure, but even their most vicious critics would have to agree that slackers they are not. This might prove to be a chance for Linklater to change up his dreamy, slow moving storytelling style a bit and do something more kinetic and Social Network-y. College Republicans, written by Wes Jones, appeared on the 2010 Black List of best unproduced scripts in Hollywood, and it focuses on the meeting of the Republican brain trust of the past few decades, back when they were in college and Rove was running to become president of the College Republicans. It was during this period that they perfected many of the controversial political strategies that would lead to the duo being prominent figures in the Nixon campaign and both Bush administrations. Despite the fact that Shia LaBeouf was once thought to be attached to this project, now that Linklater has his hands on it, that no longer seems to be the case. Instead, The Wrap is reporting that […]

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If this has been the summer or the year of the “good, but not great” movie, Cowboys & Aliens stands just a bit taller than most. It wears its spurs a little prouder. It slings its gun a little faster. Whichever metaphor you prefer, Jon Favreau has crafted a loving new vision of the Western genre that delivers far better on character than the average summer blockbuster. At the very least, it works more on making the people on screen matter, even when sci-fi spectacle could have (and maybe should have) taken the reins. Jake (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert having lost his memory but gained an alien weapon strapped to his arm. When he’s arrested in the town of Absolution alongside Percy (Paul Dano), the sniveling son of wealthy landowner Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), the pair are ready for transport when the community is attacked by beings from another world. Their kin are taken, and they round up a posse to get them back.

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Good news for people who like backlashing against things that get popular; Fox Searchlight has signed Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris to make their first film since their breakthrough indie Little Miss Sunshine made a bunch of money and helped launch Steve Carell and Paul Dano’s film careers back in 2006. This new project, called He Loves Me, is being written by and will star Zoe Kazan. Her real life beau, Dano, will re-team with the Sunshine directors to star as the male lead. Also, there have been some rumblings that Jeff Bridges is being looked at to play another role. There’s yet to be any word on what this one will be about, but it has to be seen as a get for Fox Searchlight regardless. It’s been five years since Dayton and Faris made Little Miss Sunshine, and they haven’t been able to successfully get another project together since. The last time Searchlight took a chance on this duo there was money to be made, press to be generated, and Oscar nominations to be had. With that amount of big expectations behind it, He Loves Me is bound to be a project worth keeping our peepers on going forward. [Deadline Placitas]

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Meek’s Cutoff hit the festival circuit hard and received a strong amount of praise for its visual style and its look at lives on the line in the desert of 1845 Oregon. Michelle Williams leads a fantastic cast including Paul Dano, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Kazan, Neal Huff, and Will Patton in what appears to be Oregon Trail: The Movie if everything went wrong and you couldn’t trust the person you depended on the most. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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