Star Wars Bits: New ‘Episode 8 Rumors,’ Han Solo Filming Locations, and ‘Rogue One’ Toys You’ll Never Own

lightsaber night

In this edition of Star Wars Bits:

  • A possible connection between Star Wars: Episode 8 and Star Wars Rebels.
  • The Han Solo movie may be filming in some pretty exotic locations.
  • Does Kylo Ren have a new ship in Star Wars: Episode 8?
  • Tom Hardy brushes off those Episode 8 cameo rumors.
  • New stories about the visual effects of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
  • More Rogue One easter eggs dissected.
  • New Star Wars Rebels synopses and clips revealed.
  • Check out the Rogue One Disney Infinity Figures that will never get made.
  • And more!

Making Star Wars has a very interesting scoop about a possible connection between the animated Star Wars shows and Star Wars: Episode 8 that some fans may see as a spoiler. If that sounds like something you’d rather avoid, scroll down to the next section.

According to the site, Convorees will play a significant role in Episode 8. Originally introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars before showing up again in Star Wars Rebels, these little bird aliens are very cute and suspiciously present during important moments involving characters strong in the Force. Making Star Wars speculates that these creatures are the “protectors of Ahch-to” we heard about last month and their appearance on Rebels and The Clone Wars certainly aligns with that story. Here’s one especially intriguing interesting observation:

In Episode VIII we have Luke Skywalker on an island on Ahch-To. What’s he doing there? Are these space owls how the Jedi beat the Sith even further? After twenty years of the Sith dominating the galaxy, destroying Kyber crystals and desecrating Jedi holy places like Jedah, is this how the Jedi preserved their memories? Are the convors how they recovered what Palpatine destroyed?

Hmm. Hmmm.

star wars episode 8 logo

While we’re on the subject of stories from Making Star Wars, the site also reports that Kylo Ren will pilot a new personal ship in Episode 8, a riff on his grandfather’s old TIE Advanced:

We’ve heard a credible rumor that in Star Wars: Episode VIII Kylo Ren has a personal ship. The ship, like some of his new costume will seem a little familiar as it is a First Order TIE Advanced. His ship is slightly unlike his grandfather’s used in the attack against the rebels at the Death Star trench. The fuselage is sort of pill shaped like the TIE Striker in Rogue One. They actually built the ship physically at Pinewood according to our friends near the sets.

Naturally, this rumor (as well as the one above) should be taken with a grain of salt for now. However, Making Star Wars has a pretty solid track record with this stuff…

Taboo Trailer

Is Tom Hardy playing a First Order Stormtrooper in Star Wars: Episode 8? The rumor originated some time ago and it makes a certain amount of sense. After all, Daniel Craig cameoed as a Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens, playing the guard who gets Jedi mind tricked by Rey at Starkiller Base. Of course, Hardy played coy when asked by The Hollywood Reporter about the rumors, responding: “I don’t know if I can even say that. Where did you hear that?” When he was told the rumors originated from the internet, he replied with “Ah, the internet is a glorious web of deceit and misinformation, isn’t it?” So he didn’t confirm anything…but he also denied nothing.

While we may not know anything concrete about a Tom Hardy cameo in Episode 8, it certainly does look like Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest web series may debut something from Rian Johnson’s upcoming sequel. While Hamill himself has a habit of trolling his fans on Twitter, this announcement comes from the show’s official Twitter page, not his personal page. So take from that what you will.

new han solo actor

Between Skellig Michael in The Force Awakens, the Maldives in Rogue One, and Dubrovnik in Episode 8, the new Star Wars movies have literally been circling the globe in search of unique locations to double as alien planets. According to the Spanish site ElBlogDeCineEspanol (via Star Wars News Net), Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s Han Solo spin-off movie will follow suit, filming in Italy, Spain and Fuerteventerua in the Canary Islands. Fuerteventerua is home to both beautiful beaches and incredible mountains, so it remains to be seen which area will be utilized for the film. After all, this is Star Wars we’re talking about – a Star Wars planet can’t have beaches and mountains.

Donald Glover’s Atlanta won two Golden Globes on Sunday night, taking home statuettes for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Of course, Variety found time to talk to him about playing Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo spin-off and you can watch the brief interview above.

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The post Star Wars Bits: New ‘Episode 8 Rumors,’ Han Solo Filming Locations, and ‘Rogue One’ Toys You’ll Never Own appeared first on /Film.


Interview (Part 2): Jon Boyer

A conversation with writer whose script made the 2013 Black List.

From professional snowboarder to commercial director to Hollywood screenwriter, Jon Boyer has had an interesting journey taking him from Canada to Los Angeles. Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Jon about his background, his script “Free Byrd” which landed on the 2013 Black List, and his approach to the craft of screenwriting.

Today in Part 2, Jon and I delve into his Black List script “Free Byrd”:

Scott: You were reading scripts. Were you doing anything else to learn the craft?

Jon: At the time, no. That’s what I mean. I would start these scripts and I had a bunch of good beginnings, but I didn’t really know the craft. I went and looked at some [screenwriting] books but It just didn’t feel right to me. Also I hate how-to books. I was always that guy who built models without using the instructions. Then a friend told me of this program called Writer’s Bootcamp that this guy named Jeff Gordon was doing in Santa Monica.

I went and looked into it. It seemed really cool. It was more like a really intense workshop. I have a hard time with art and academia and didn’t think film school at this point in my life was n option. I just didn’t want to spend four years going to school. So I did the Writers Bootcamp program and I’ll tell you it was like the lights suddenly were turned on.

Finally, for the first time there was something that made sense to me. I learned about components of screenplays I wasn’t really aware of. Like, “What is a story beat? What are beats in a movie?” I learned things like that and just mostly how to economize my writing so I’m not just meandering all over the place.

The process they taught there worked very well with my thinking patterns of condensing everything. I have this whole thing now where I write when I’m developing a new story or a new script. I try to whittle it down so that I have this one sheet, a onepage thing of these very simple sequence statements. It’s basically the whole movie on one page.

If I can’t get across what this movie is on one page, I’m not going to be able to do it in 120. I’m going to go all over the place. If I can get it down to that one page where you read these 12 major sequence statements and it projects the character forward in every 10 pages. It finally clarified everything I didn’t understand and then it all clicked.

I know it’s not for everybody, but it really works for me.

Scott: Were you working on “Free Byrd” in the Writers Bootcamp, or was that after?

Jon: It was just at the end I came up with the idea. I was writing a bunch of really shitty ones, like I said, [laughs] One day I was meandering through the internet, blogs, some shit like that, and I landed on this photograph of a guy on a motorcycle. I actually have it on my banner on my Twitter page, but it was a photograph of some guy on a desert road standing up on a motorcycle seat in a Jesus Christ pose. This thought of this character kind of struck me then, what if Evel Knievel never existed? And over the course of coming up with the story I started to think: What is the footprint that we leave behind when we’re gone? I’ve always loved that. What are these things? What is that defining thing you do in your life that is remembered by more than just your family? Not everybody pulls that off.

I don’t know, a light came on in my head and I thought of Evel Knievel. But I didn’t want to write a biopic. So I just composited this character that went through many different iterations until it landed where it is.

Scott: Both of those themes are in “Free Byrd”. You’ve even got an image of a character, at one point, on the highway in the Jesus Christ pose. Right?

Jon: I do. It’s funny how an idea can come from anywhere and then you can keep at it until something very real is born from it. That one just clicked with me and I thought, “Oh, my God. This is the story that I’m going to finish, that I’m really going to work on.” It just came out so naturally out of anything I’ve ever written. It came out, just flowed out of me so effortlessly at times. I actually remember realizing the ending in the middle of the night and went to my desk and blasted out the ending, the last 20 pages, so fast. All the ingredients just fell into place.

Scott: I’d like to dig into the story, if we can, first, just so people can understand what we’re talking about. A plot summary for the movie Free Byrd. The protagonist’s name is Billy Byrd. It’s a riff off the old song, “Free Bird.”

Jon: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that song alone makes you wish you were alone on a highway.

Scott: The plot summary “After being diagnosed with dementia, a retired 50something stunt motorcyclist sets out to perform one last jump.” The script was a semifinalist in the 2012 Nicholl, is that right?

Jon: Yes.

Scott: Then made the Black List in 2013.

Jon: Scraped onto it, yeah.

Scott: You’ve already talked a bit about your inspiration for “Free Byrd”. In part, this idea of legacy, footprint, and then that idea of the motorcycle guy. It would seem like there’s a personal connection there. Snowboarding would be speed and danger, so…

Jon: Yeah, yeah. Like I said, my life, I honestly didn’t think I would live through a lot of the things I did. When I was a snowboarder it was different than it is now. Now it’s this professional, Olympic thing. People can make a real living at it.

I was really interested in the fact that everybody is really good at everything now. There’s these flying wingsuit guys. There’s the X Games, there’s the Motocross guys, there’s the skateboarders. There’s just so many people that are so calculated and so good at everything, but nobody will achieve what Evel Knievel achieved ever again. There will never be another guy like him. Ever.

That really stuck with me. I love that kind of character. He’s remarkable but he’s kind of an everyman. He didn’t do it necessarily to be famous, even though he kind of did. He got into that whole thing and he had this massive ego, but I just love the idea of a character who just did something because he couldn’t NOT do it. He was the only one. We don’t see that anymore.

But I needed an offset. There is that modern day X Games-style sport aspect with the other character, Cole Cash. I just liked the idea of there being these two worlds coming together, and with this very father/son type theme, which I love. I love stories of fathers and sons or even mothers and daughters. I like that passing the torch moment.

Evel Knievel

Scott: To set the stage for this character, Billy Byrd was this very famous motorcycle adventurist doing these crazy Evel Knievel type of things but had a horrific jump that he basically had died four times on the operating table, and his whole body was broken. Since that time this is many, many years ago has not done any more of this type of thing.

Jon: Right. He finally came to the point where he just gave up. It just beat him down. I like to think that his backstory is that it never really sat well with him, but physical circumstances prevented him from doing anything, so 20-some years go by and he’s turned into this grouchy, cantankerous asshole.

In the process he’s fallen in love with a younger woman and the world has gone on. I didn’t really want to say whether it was present day or not, because it could be almost like the inception of the X Games, but now there’s these young hot rods and hot shots that are doing things above and beyond what he ever did, but they still idolized him.

I just liked that idea of this younger character and him meeting, and there being this moment of just awe in this young character’s eyes of this man that he grew up looking up to.

In Part 3, Jon discusses other key characters in his script “Free Byrd”.

For Part 1 of the interview, go here.

Jon is repped by WME and Zero Gravity Management.

Twitter: @jonboyer.

Interview (Part 2): Jon Boyer was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

Let us now remember 11 of Michelle Obama’s coolest moments


After eight years of Barack and Michelle Obama serving as America’s warm, hip and understanding parents, the moment has finally arrived — the Trump takeover.

While there’s no doubt we’ll miss President Obama forgetting his phone, telling dad jokes and passionately singing at every chance he gets, this inauguration day will require an extra box of tissues because we also have to say farewell to the coolest first lady of all time — Michelle Obama.

From the moment we saw Michelle give her husband a congratulatory fist bump after he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, we knew we were in for a treat.  Read more…

More about Barack Obama, White House, Conversations, Politics, and Flotus

11 Indispensable Pieces of Advice from 2016’s Best Cinematographers

Six DPs from films including ‘Silence,’ ‘La La Land,’ ‘Fences,’ and ‘Arrival’ discuss what it takes to be a modern cinematographer.

2016 has now come and gone, but last year’s achievements in cinematography will certainly be hard to forget. As a part of their annual retrospective, The Hollywood Reporter has released a wonderful series of hour long, year-in-review roundtables with some of the most influential figures in film. The full slate includes eight separate talks with actors, actresses, writers, directors, songwriters, composers, producers and documentarians.

The cinematography lineup includes Linus Sandgren, who lensed La La Land; John Toll, who shot the first ever 120-frames-per-second film in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; Charlotte Bruus Christensen, who did double duty with Fences on film and The Girl on the Train on video; Bradford Young of Arrival; Caleb Deschanel, a seasoned vet who worked with Warren Beatty on Rules Don’t Apply, and the stalwart Rodrigo Prieto, who took on Scorsese’s epic Silence.

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No Film School

‘Hickey’: How a Commercial Director Made a Feature for Less Than the Cost of an Ad

Director Alex Grossman’s road to production was straight out of a movie itself.

Like many in our business, Alex Grossman moved to Los Angeles from the Midwest with a screenplay and a dream. After a series of meetings and mishaps right out of a Hollywood movie about Hollywood, he decided to move from writing to directing and further pursue his burgeoning career in advertising. Grossman went on to a very successful, award-winning run of commercial directing, but he never gave up on making a feature film. He wrote upwards of 10 scripts in his free time and was determined to get one made on his own terms.

The resulting feature comedy is Hickey, the story of a high school math whiz who makes a heroic stand to save the failing mom and pop electronics store where he works—and win the heart of his longtime crush in the process. It references some of the best of comedic teen flicks (think Napoleon Dynamite and American Pie), but has more heart.

“When you give somebody in this town a script and they tell you what’s wrong, they’re probably right. When they tell you how to fix it, they’re probably wrong.”

Read More

No Film School

‘Dying Laughing’: Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock & More Recount Nightmares in Stand-Up Comedy

Dying Laughing Trailer - Chris Rock

Following the trailer for the Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here, we have a look at another fascinating glimpse into the world of stand-up comedy, this time one from the real world.

Dying Laughing is a new documentary that feels like it should have been called I’m Dying Up Here, because it features one-on-one interviews with stand-up comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer, Cedric The Entertainer, Russell Peters, the late Garry Shandling and more, all talking about their worst experiences on stage. These are the times when the bombed, died, crashed and all the other words which describe the worst thing that can happen to a comedian on stage: not getting laughs.

Watch the Dying Laughing trailer below.

Other features comedians talking about their worst stage experiences include Billy Connolly, Steve Coogan, Mike Epps, Jerry Lewis, Sarah Silverman, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Eddie Izzard and even Oscar nominee Jamie Foxx, who some forget got his start in stand-up and sketch comedy.

Dying Laughing premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival last year, and was picked up by Gravitas Ventures for release in limited theaters and on VOD this year. Directors Paul Toogood and Lloyd Stanton had this to say about their movie:

Over two years, as the film began to emerge from the thousands of miles traveled and hundreds of hours or interviews, we learned about the physical and emotional dedication that it takes to become a stand-up comedian, and that the prospect of failure haunts even the most experienced and celebrated practitioners. We hope that the audience will find the final piece as touching, thought-provoking, inspirational and as funny as we do.

The Hollywood Reporter caught the documentary last year, and it sounds like despite being a bit repetitive at times and covering some territory that has been explored in other comedy documentaries, it’s still worth a watch:

Though the engaging documentary treads through unavoidably familiar territory — the loneliness of the road, the anguish of bombing — its chorus of testifiers often find sharp new angles of approach. Like the jokes they hone, many of their insights arrive with the impact of well-crafted punchlines.

Every comedian has stories like this, from the rising stars to the top tier performers, and they’re always fascinating to listen to. Apparently, Toogood and Stanton interviewed twice as many comedians as ended up in the final cut, and I’d love to pore over all that extra footage. Maybe some of it will be released on home video.

Dying Laughing hits limited theaters and VOD on February 24.

The post ‘Dying Laughing’: Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock & More Recount Nightmares in Stand-Up Comedy appeared first on /Film.


Rick and his group will be ‘tested’ like never before on ‘The Walking Dead’


We still have a little over a month of waiting until The Walking Dead returns for the second half of Season 7. But AMC has taken pity on us and released an intriguing new synopsis for the next batch of episodes in which Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group prepare to take the fight to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his Saviors.

Here’s what AMC has to say about the show’s new direction:

Spencer was already undermining Rick’s leadership in the first half of the season. Negan repaid that treachery by literally spilling Spencer’s guts all over the street, but the summary certainly makes it seem like someone else’s trustworthiness may be in doubt as we head toward the finale.  Read more…

More about Amc, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead, and Entertainment

BAFTA Nominations: ‘La La Land’ Leads with 11, ‘Nocturnal Animals’ and ‘Arrival’ with 9

Here’s the full list of the 2017 BAFTA nominations.

On the heels of its major sweep at the Golden Globes last weekend, La La Land has once again emerged as the awards season favorite, now with 11 nominations from the recently announced 70th British Academy Film Awards. Arrival and Nocturnal Animals follow closely behind with nine nominations each from BAFTA, the British equivalent of the Oscars.

I, Daniel Blake, a film that is critical of the efficacy of the British welfare system, is up for Best Film and Outstanding British Film. Notes on Blindness, perhaps the year’s most egregiously underseen film, has been justly nominated for Outstanding British Film, Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, and Best Documentary.

Even though American Honey was made by one of Britain’s foremost independent auteurs, Andrea Arnold, it was only recognized in one category: Outstanding British Film. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s Silence was completely shut out of the BAFTAs.

Read More

No Film School

Rian Johnson Talks ‘Star Wars: Episode 8’, Still Won’t Reveal the Actual Title

star wars episode 8 logo

If there was just a new Rian Johnson movie coming out in less than twelve months, I’d be on pins and needles. But we’re getting a Star Wars movie directed by Rian Johnson and there are few things as promising as that combination of nouns. But as is the norm with any new Star Wars movie, every detail about Star Wars: Episode 8 is currently under lock and key…which means that this interview with Johnson features him merely hinting at what we can expect to see from upcoming sequel. Which totally has a title, by the way. He just won’t tell us.

The interview is with USA Today and it serves as a follow-up to their precious discussion about the film’s plot. The headline-friendly tidbit here is that Episode 8 has had a title since since the first draft of the screenplay and that he just hasn’t been allowed to share it yet, but there’s so much more to sink our teeth into. Like Johnson talking about making sure his Star Wars movie is fun:

The creative work has felt like play. It’s felt resonant and meaningful because it meant so much to me as a kid… I want [Episode VIII] to be a blast and to be funny and to be a ride the way The Force Awakens and the original Star Wars movies were.

Previous reports have suggested that Episode 8 will be a darker movie than its predecessor, which makes sense. The middle chapter of any trilogy tends to involve the lead characters being tossed in a deep, dangerous pit without any obvious hope of escape. While The Empire Strikes Back is the go-to example of the “dark” sequel, it manages to blend those harsher elements with a genuine sense of adventure. It’s a tricky balance, but one that I expect the director of Brick and Looper to understand.

Speaking of tossing characters into deep, dangerous pits, Johnson also spoke about further exploring the characters introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens by pushing them to their limits:

I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory… Figure out what’s the most difficult thing each of them could be challenged with now — let’s throw that at them and dig into what really makes them tick by seeing how they handle that.

But of course, Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, now a hermit living on the isolated planet of Ahch-to, will play a major role alongside those youngsters:

[Luke’s story is the] emotional entry point [of the movie]. I’m approaching [his story] with a take that I hope feels honest and real and is going to be interesting to folks and make sense.

This is the portion of the film I can’t help but be most curious about. The original trilogy tracked Luke’s rise from simple farm boy to Jedi Knight, a hero’s journey that concluded with him at the height of his powers. And then, everything fell apart. His chief student turned on him. His new Jedi school was destroyed. Rather than stick around and try to pick up the pieces, our hero fled to live in isolation. That’s not what we’d expect the Luke we saw in the original trilogy to do and I’m eager to see the fallout of the past 30 years has changed him.

Star Wars: Episode 8 will arrive on December 15, 2017. For more information, I recommend following the link above.

The post Rian Johnson Talks ‘Star Wars: Episode 8’, Still Won’t Reveal the Actual Title appeared first on /Film.


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