Guy Ritchie to Receive Raindance Auteur Award

We’re thrilled to announce that the iconic and critically acclaimed British filmmaker, Guy Ritchie will receive this year’s Raindance Auteur Award.

Having started his career in the British film industry as a runner, Ritchie, who took courses at Raindance in the early 90s, worked his way up the ladder to a director of commercials and videos, before writing and directing his feature film debut, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, for a mere £800,000. The film then went on to break British box office records, garnered international cult status, and inspired a new wave of rough, gritty British crime comedies.

With his unforgettable character driven stories, quick-cuts, circulate plots and atmospheric visuals, Ritchie’s style translates across all his films – from gritty crime capers Snatch, Revolver and RocknRolla, through to Hollywood heavyweights including the Sherlock Holmes blockbusters, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. He will bring his dynamic style to Disney’s live-action, Aladdin, which he will direct and begin shooting later this year.

Ritchie has become a defining voice in recent British film history, and remains a true auteur in today’s film climate.

The award will be presented by Raindance Festival Founder, Elliot Grove, at the Raindance 25th Anniversary Reception on Tuesday 15 August.

 

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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Cast Members Didn’t Receive the Entire Script During Production

Infinity War Script

Marvel Studios is notoriously secretive when it comes to their big screen endeavors, and when it comes to the next assembly of The Avengers, they’re not even trusting the cast members who play Earth’s mightiest heroes to keep their mouths shut.

Avengers: Infinity War is done shooting and production on Avengers 4 is underway. We’ve already gotten a taste of what The Avenger sequel will bring to the table next summer with the footage that played at both The D23 Expo and San Diego Comic-Con, but when it comes to hearing new details about the movie, we may not be able to rely on the cast members to accidentally spill secrets as often as they did before. That’s because directors Anthony & Joe Russo didn’t give their cast the entire Infinity War script and only provided them with the relevant pages and information they needed to effectively deliver the best performance.

Elizabeth Olsen recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where she was immediately asked by the nerdy Stephen Colbert if there was anything she could reveal about the next Avengers movie. Olsen couldn’t really say anything more than revealing the lengths to which Anthony & Joe Russo went to ensure that secrets weren’t known by too many people (the relevant part starts around 1:09):

If you can’t watch the video, here’s what Olsen had to say during the interview:

“This time, they actually decided to not give us scripts. They gave me my pages and then they explained other things that are happening… I’ll be so shocked and surprised. I’ll be like ‘Oh I see, that’s what was happening to the world at that time.’”

Interestingly enough, Dave Bautista recently said that he didn’t read the entire Avengers Infinity War script as well, but he made it sound like it was a personal choice he made. Responding to a fan on Twitter, Bautista posted this:

Even if Bautista made the choice not to read the script as opposed to being deprived the opportunity to do so, one member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is being kept more in the dark than the others. Apparently Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland likes to run off at the mouth a little too much with spoilery information. In fact, Holland is so much of a security risk when it comes to giving away secrets that the Russos wouldn’t even tell the actor who he was fighting in a particular scene. Holland told the BBC awhile back:

“Yeah, there is one moment in Avengers where I don’t know who that person is. And I’m fighting him, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than pretending to fight a ‘monster’ in front of 200 people, in Spandex. You know, literally like dodging stuff and trying to web him. They’re all like, ‘That’s Great Tom, more energy. More Energy. Jump. Jump.”

When you consider the fact that the Avengers: Infinity War cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Chadwick Boseman, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Bradley Cooper, and Anthony Mackie, that’s a lot of people to give the entire story of Infinity War too. Statistically speaking, it’s just smart to limit how much those people know about the movie. So some of them won’t know what’s happening until they see the movie like the rest of us.

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters next summer on May 4th, 2018.

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‘Justice League’ Reshoots Cost $25 Million, Joss Whedon Reportedly Won’t Receive Directing Credit

Joss Whedon Justice League directing credit

When director Zack Snyder stepped away from Warner Bros.’ and DC Films’ mega-anticipated superhero team-up film Justice League in the wake of a family tragedy, the man who directed The Avengers stepped in to take his place. But will Joss Whedon receive directing credit for his work on the movie? A new report claims he won’t, and also sheds some light on the film’s extensive (and expensive) reshoots.

Over the weekend, Warner Bros. unveiled a new trailer for Justice League at Hall H, and released it online immediately afterward. One of the channels they released it through was their official Warner Bros. UK YouTube channel, where ScreenRant noticed an interesting bit of text in the description:

A film by Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher.

That’s the first time we’d seen Whedon’s name alongside Snyder’s in any sort of official capacity like that, and the studio swiftly removed the credit from the video’s description. To be clear, it isn’t studio executives who decide if there’s a Joss Whedon Justice League directing credit. That decision lies with the Director’s Guild of America. But it’s an interesting thing to think about, and something I’ve been wondering about ever since Whedon officially boarded the project.

We know that even before he stepped into the director’s chair, Whedon did some work on the film’s script. By the time the movie is released, he’ll have been shepherding it toward the screen in a directing capacity for just under six months. And while Ray Fisher (Cyborg) indicated at SDCC that the movie’s reshoots were “brief, if anything,” we have it on good authority that Whedon has overhauled a significant amount of the movie.

A new report from Variety confirms our intel, revealing that the studio is spending $ 25 million on reshoots that have lasted roughly two months, which is far longer than the average time that’s normally built in for films of this size. The report also says that the reshoots are problems for the in-demand cast, and it hilariously uses Henry Cavill as an example: his character in Mission: Impossible 6 has a mustache, and Paramount refuses to let him shave it off when he heads across town to film his Superman scenes, so it’ll have to be digitally removed from the Justice League pick-ups.

Variety’s report also quotes an inside source as telling them that Whedon won’t be receiving directing credit on the movie. But unless their source is from the DGA, I’m not sure about the accuracy of that claim.

Directors Guild of America logo

A Brief Trip Through DGA History

The guild was created, at least in part, to preserve the creative rights of film directors, but it was in existence for decades before the studios agreed, after contract negotiations in 1978, that there would only be one director credited for a film at any given time. According to the DGA’s website:

Director Elliot Silverstein, chair of the 1978 Creative Rights Negotiating Committee, recalled that “Our concern was that the use of more than one director (and if two why not three or four, etc.?) would lead to the producer becoming an über director and the director(s) becoming messengers. We did not want the Guild’s members to be involved in a ‘piece goods’ profession, blurring individual vision, authority and credit.”

While not quite going as far as to embrace the auteur theory entirely, the guild recognized the practicality of having one person in charge of a production:

“A single director is an organizational imperative,” DGA Secretary-Treasurer and Western Directors Council member Gil Cates explained. “A film is a complex form involving the integration of many elements. It’s a composite from many people — the writer, the actor, the director of photography. I’m sure that what is going on in the world at the time is also thrown in as part of the composite. So I’m not saying the vision has to be generated by one person, but, the best way to have that integration be successful is to have it articulated by a single person.”

One of the reasons the DGA has been so strict about only crediting a single director is because of what was happening elsewhere in Hollywood. They saw the complicated arbitration process in the Writers Guild, for example, when multiple writers contributed to a screenplay and credit needed to be determined. They were also looking to avoid the proliferation of producer credits being handed out to anyone with a passing involvement with the film. While actual producers are extraordinarily important to making a movie, sometimes people receive producer credit for questionable reasons. I’ve heard stories of people being awarded producer credits who aren’t even as involved in the creation of the film as craft service personnel.

Sin City sf

There Are Exceptions to Every Rule

But the idea of a single director being credited is not a hard-and-fast rule. The reason you’ve seen filmmakers like the Coen brothers or the Russo brothers receive co-credit is because they qualify as a “bona fide team” in the guild’s eyes:

There were exceptions built into the single-director clause of the 1978 agreement — there could be more than one director for different segments of a multi-storied or multi-lingual film (e.g., New York Stories and Tora! Tora! Tora!), for different segments of a multi-part closed-end television series (e.g., Roots or Band of Brothers), assignment of a second unit director or any especially skilled director (e.g., underwater or aerial work) and for a “bona fide team.”

Robert Rodriguez (Desperado) famously quit the Directors Guild when they wouldn’t allow Rodriguez and first-time filmmaker Frank Miller to both receive credit for directing 2005’s Sin City (Quentin Tarantino also directed a section of that film), and George Lucas split from the guild after a disagreement over The Empire Strikes Back.

The guild clearly won’t see Snyder and Whedon as a “bona fide team” since they didn’t make the movie together, and I’m wondering if this decision will provide guidance for a similarly-thorny crediting issue that popped up recently: the Ron Howard/Lord and Miller fiasco over at Lucasfilm. I’ll be keeping a sharp eye on how this turns out, and I’m sure Star Wars fans will be, too.

Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017.

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All Four ‘Avatar’ Sequels Receive New Release Dates as Production Begins

Avatar

It’s become a running joke by now: they set a date for Avatar 2 and then, after months (or years!) of nothing, it gets delayed. The sequel to the highest grossing film of all time was originally supposed to arrive in 2014…and then it was pushed back to 2016…and then it was pushed back to 2018. So when writer/director James Cameron revealed that the film wasn’t going to meet that last date, no one even blinked. Of course Avatar 2 wasn’t going to be released next year!

Because it’s going to be released in three years. Production has officially begun on the four sequels to the 2009 original, with the first movie now due out in 2020.

The news was revealed on the official Avatar Facebook page, where Cameron posed for a picture with his crew and announced the start of concurrent production on Avatar 2, Avatar 3, Avatar 4, and Avatar 5. There have been many conversations about whether or not audiences will care about this series by the time a new one arrives, but Cameron is a wily fellow – whether we want them or not, four more Avatar movies are coming and they’re filming at the same time.

Avatar 2 is due out on December 18, 2020 and Avatar 3 will follow a year later on December 17, 2021. After a three year gap, Avatar 4 will arrive on December 20, 2024 and Avatar 5 will wrap everything up on December 19, 2015. Here’s the official statement:

Great to be working with the best team in the business! Avatar takes flight as we begin concurrent production on four sequels. The journey continues December 18, 2020December 17, 2021December 20, 2024 and December 19, 2025!

This announcement arrives at a key moment for this franchise. Walt Disney World is set to open the Pandora: The World of Avatar next month and all eyes are on it, with pop culture enthusiasts and major corporations alike wondering if it will draw the same kind of attention as other recent theme park endeavors. In the unlikely event that tourists simply reject Pandora, Cameron will still have the last laugh – cameras have already started rolling.

And while one of the internet’s major pastimes involves everyone rolling their eyes at the original Avatar, you can’t ignore that $ 2.7 billion gross and you can’t ignore the fact that James Cameron has always been one step ahead of just about everyone else in Hollywood’s orbit. He’s always given the people what they want and he’s always proved his naysayers wrong. I’m the camp that enjoys Avatar but also can’t say I’m ecstatic about four sequels at the moment. However, I look forward to Cameron making me care. He’s pretty, pretty good at that.

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