Scott Waugh

Need For Speed Movie

Need for Speed, I’ve seen all the Fast & Furious films. I know the Fast & Furious films. The Fast & Furious films are friends of mine. Need for Speed, you’re no Fast & Furious. The name may come from the popular video game franchise, but director Scott Waugh and his cohorts are unmistakably shooting for a piece of that F&F pie. Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t have a tenth of the brazenness, the chewy homoeroticism, or the un-self-conscious fun of even the least of its inspirations (no, it’s not even better than the fourth F&F). Aaron Paul plays Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and street racing savant who, through a series of unnecessarily complicated events, gets framed for vehicular manslaughter. As soon as he steps out of prison, he breaks parole and heads off to take revenge on the one who wronged him: former friend Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Rather than taking a tire iron to Dino’s head or some similarly straightforward action, Tobey plots to earn his way into the DeLeon, a top-secret race held only for the studliest drivers with the most expensive cars. Dino, a previous winner, is competing again, and Tobey wants to beat him and earn the millions in prize money. Assisting him are a trio of friends (Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek, and Ramón Rodriguez) and a love interest named Julia (Imogen Poots).

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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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speed

When Need for Speed was announced, it was mildly confounding. It makes sense in a world where Fast and Furious has become a billion dollar franchise, but, from a storytelling perspective, not so much. If you’re not sure why that is, you likely never played the video game series, which doesn’t have an actual narrative. Unless building up toward better cars counts as plot. That’s actually one of the few ties the movie will have to the game. If it were called anything other than Need for Speed, it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow as a potential game rip-off. This may come as a surprise, but that’s a good thing, for a variety reasons. Disney recently held a press day for director Scott Waugh‘s (Act of Valor) video game adaptation, and while in attendance, screenwriter John Gatins (Flight), who cracked the story with his brother and the film’s writer George Gatins made a strong point differentiating Need for Speed from fellow video game adaptations.

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Need for Speed

You can take the Jesse Pinkman out of Breaking Bad, but you can’t take the Breaking Bad out of Jesse Pinkman. Aaron Paul is now starring in the adaptation (from director Scott Waugh) of those Need for Speed video games where you would just try to run your opponent off the road, as a (what else?) mechanic and badass streetracer who was framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Now released from prison after serving time for his false conviction, Paul is hellbent on finding the man who put him there and getting his sweet, sweet revenge. As expected, the trailer is a whole lot of engine revving and cross-country racing to find that sonofabitch who put Paul behind bars (what did he do?), as well as the obligatory exploding police cruiser or two. But it’s also surprisingly poignant? Paul delivers a gospel-like monologue over the trailer that is almost hypnotic. It’s borderline silly, yes, when you snap out of it and remember that this is the trailer for Need for Speed and not something Important. But who’s to say that this video game adaptation, with its orchestral score and grave warnings of revenge, isn’t some masterpiece? Or maybe they’re just in on the joke. Check out the trailer here:

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Louis CK

What is Casting Couch? It’s the column that’s rounding up all the casting announcements the studios have released now that the buzz surrounding the Golden Globes has died down. They’ve been hoarding. Before his show on FX became such a well-respected thing, people thought of Louis CK mostly as being a stand-up comedian and not really as an actor, despite the fact that he’s shown up in a few small roles here and there. That might be about to change though, because not only does CK  star in Woody Allen’s upcoming movie, Blue Jasmine, but THR is reporting that he’s also in talks to join David O. Russell’s next project: that con-man movie starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and Amy Adams that used to be called American Bullshit. If CK’s involvement becomes official, it will see him rubbing onscreen elbows with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, which is probably going to feel a little weird at first.

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Aaron Paul

Best known for his portrayal of the bitch-sayin’, science-behind-magnets-lovin’ Jesse Pinkman on TV’s Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul is an actor who will soon find himself standing at a career crossroads. When Breaking Bad began back in 2008, Paul entered the series as a relative unknown, having only random TV roles and bit parts in films playing characters with names like “stoner” or “wasted guy” under his belt. But, as the series comes to its end next year, Paul leaves it a highly-regarded, Emmy-winning, in-demand actor. So which direction is he planning on taking his career? Sometimes its hard for an actor who becomes famous in television to transition into a film career, no matter how high-profile their work on the boob tube was, and if Paul’s latest career choice is any indication, he might be having a tougher time getting good scripts in the mail than one might imagine. According to a report from Inside Movies, Paul has just signed on to star in the upcoming video game adaptation Need For Speed. That’s right, coming off a stint on what’s probably the best show on television, Aaron Paul is going to take on the risky proposition of making a video game movie.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr fights a battle of wits between the stuffy and overly dramatic Oscar contenders that will be buzzing through the weekend and the genre-specific schlock that is being released with no hope of winning any sort of award at all. Before hunkering down on the couch to watch Billy Crystal time warp back into the mid-90s on Sunday, Kevin skydives into the multiplex to check out Act of Valor. Then he joins a commune to be a modern hippie while watching Wanderlust. Finally, he leaves the multiplex to stalk Amanda Seyfried and her on-screen sister because he believes he’s at least as creepy as the legions of creepy guys in Gone. Oh, and that Tyler Perry movie? He skips that with a wave of the hand and a snap of the fingers. If it ain’t got Madea in it, it ain’t worth watching!

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If you’ve been paying attention to Act of Valor’s aggressive marketing campaign, you’re aware that it’s a fictional film starring real-life active-duty Navy SEALs that aims for as much realism as possible in its depiction of their tactics and missions. That’s a fascinating concept and it’s been seamlessly executed by filmmakers Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh. Initially conceived as a training film, the picture gradually evolved into the hybrid that it is once the co-directors sold the SEALs on the project, proposing to “take Top Gun, pull Maverick out and put in the real Maverick,” as Waugh told the Los Angeles Times. But at the end of the day, this is a long-winded SEALs recruitment tool, a noble gesture that’s just not sufficient basis for a feature film. The usual cynicism with which one would greet a feature-length ad doesn’t apply because, obviously, if there’s any group that deserves this sort of heroic treatment, the SEALs are it. The worldview on display here is aggressively simplistic, of course, but the essential, elemental purpose behind the picture is a noble one — paying tribute to these soldiers who put themselves in extreme harm’s way for the rest of us.

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The last time the country was (for the most part) united was when an idiot called a movie theater to complain about being kicked out for being an idiot. The time before that, it’s because we killed a guy watching a grainy television on his couch just a few miles away from a police station. Relativity Media is gambling $13m on the unifying power of the latter (and hopefully audiences will benefit from the unifying force of the former), because they’ve paid that hefty sum (plus $30m in advertising) to distribute Act of Valor – a high concept action flick featuring Navy SEALs playing Navy SEALs. According to Deadline Abbottabad, the film was scripted by 300 writer Kurt Johnstad with stunt coordinators Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh taking the reins as co-directors. So what’s it about? A group of Navy SEALs heading into enemy territory to save a CIA agent. There’s nothing wrong with high concept, especially since they had intense cooperation with the government and military. Expect this film to show off some heavy action and some taken-from-real-life mission sequences. The wild card here is the untrained actors. Audie Murphy played himself, and it worked out really well. However, taking pure amateurs and placing them into leading roles is always a gamble. Sure, they’re uniquely qualified for the action sequences, but that doesn’t mean the dialogue won’t go down with a chunk of salt. Then again, an action film like this doesn’t need to be Shakespeare. Or so […]

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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