Exclusive Interview: Good Charlotte Make A Triumphant Return! New Album Set For Release This Summer!

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(PCM) After taking approximately a five year hiatus, rockers Good Charlotte are triumphantly making a return to the stage and are gearing up to drop their highly-anticipated new album “Youth Authority” on July 15! The band is currently in the midst of performing a string of small club dates to set the pace for what is sure to be a fairly hectic rest of the year!

The first of these intimate tour stops took place at the TLA in Philadelphia, PA and ironically enough it is a venue that holds an incredibly special place in the history of Good Charlotte. The band played one of their very first shows ever at this venue in the City Of Brotherly Love, and also the now defunct alternative radio station Y100, here in Philly was one of the very first radio stations to spins the band’s very first single “Little Things”.

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The current TLA show sold out in mere minutes and the venue was packed to capacity as fans who were lucky enough to score tickets were able to enjoy cherishing a milestone in the band’s history, as this show marked Good Charlotte’s first return to Philly since their initial hiatus. The fans were enthralled with the show for start to finish and as vocalist Joel Madden remarked for the stage “Pop Punk is not dead, it was only taking a little nap.”

The band immediately kicked things into high gear opening with their pulsing hit “The Anthem” before plowing through a solid set that spawned their entire discography. Fans were clamoring for songs off the band’s debut album and Good Charlotte were more than happy to oblige. We were thrilled to hear songs such as “My Bloody Valentine”, “Motivation Proclamation”, “Girls & Boys”, “Riot Girl” and “I Just Wanna Live” to name a few and the band appropriately closed out their set with our tongue-in-cheek favorite “Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous”.

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Good Charlotte appeared and sounded completely refreshed and even managed to throw two new songs from “Youth Authority” into the set with “Makeshift Love” and “40oz Dream”. Words can not even express how excited we are to check out the rest of this album and catch the band live again when they head out for a few dates on the Vans Warped Tour later this summer.

We had a chance to catch up with both Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte to talk about the upcoming album, changes in the music industry, the generational appeal of their music and so much more!  When speaking about this intimate run of tour dates Joel Madden told us “At this point in our career we feel very genuine about what we do and we are only really kind of doing what we want to do, so I always say, let’s just play these shows that mean a lot to us because I don’t even know how many shows we have left in us. With the touring I say let’s just do the sh*t that really matters us, so we did these four shows and it just feels special every night”.

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Madden went on to tell us that what stood out during the recording process was “just the sheer love of us getting back together to make a record and the first song that came was a song called “Life Changes” and you can just feel the energy and that we all truly wanted to be back in that room together”.

You can listen to the full interview below:

Photography credit: Andrew Wendowski

This post came fromExclusive Interview: Good Charlotte Make A Triumphant Return! New Album Set For Release This Summer! - unSkinny Pop

Catching Up With American Idol Winner Trent Harmon

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(PCM) The lights were dimmed for a final time and host Ryan Seacrest made one last dream come true, as Trent Harmon, 25, from Amory, MS, was named the 15th and final American Idol in the history-making series finale live from Dolby Theatre.

Harmon is the 15th Idol hopeful to win the prestigious American Idol title, joining the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scott McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candace Glover, Caleb Johnson and Nick Fradiani.

President Barack Obama kicked off the finale with a videotaped statement that paid tribute to the series and its impact on the nation. During the show, Season Four winner Carrie Underwood and Idol judge Keith Urban sang “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”; judge Harry Connick, Jr. sang “What A Wonderful World” with New Orleans student Marley Fletcher; judge Jennifer Lopez performed her new single, “Ain’t Your Mama”; fan-favorite contestant William Hung sang the chorus of “She Bangs”; and in a surprise appearance, former judge Simon Cowell returned to join Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson in paying tribute to host Ryan Seacrest.

The finale also saw epic performances by the Top 10 finalists alongside Idol alumni superstars, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson plus Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, Ace Young, Allison Iraheta, Amber Holcomb, Blake Lewis, Bo Bice, Brandon Rogers, Bucky Covington, Carly Smithson, Casey James, Chris Daughtry, Clark Beckham, Clay Aiken, Colton Dixon, Constantine Maroulis, Danny Gokey, Diana DeGarmo, Elliott Yamin, George Huff, James Durbin, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Justin Guarini, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Kimberley Locke, Kree Harrison, LaToya London, Lauren Alaina, Melinda Doolittle, Pia Toscano, Sanjaya, Skylar Laine, Tamyra Gray and more as they returned to the stage that started it all to celebrate the Grand Finale.

We caught up with newly crowned American Idol Trent Harmon the morning after his big win to discuss his time on the show, the competition and just what he plans on doing next!

On who he would have loved to sing with on the finale

TRENT HARMON: Elton John

On what his plans are for his upcoming album

TH: I sing blue-eyed soul. I talked it over with Mr. Scott, and he said Justin Timberlake is thinking about making a country album. So, define country in 2016. I think it could be whatever you want it to be, so we’re going to try to make an album that country supporters would pick up. Country supporters, they go to shows, they go to festivals, they buy CDs, they download stuff. If you can make it in country, you can have a career.

On how he is feeling after the big win and it being such a highly emotional moment 

TH: Well, I’ve got sleep scheduled for next Friday at 2:00, but I really feel like it hasn’t sunk in yet. It hasn’t really sunk in because this morning when I hopped out of bed, I jumped in the shower, I started doing my warm ups and started practicing my song, and I realized that today I don’t have to do that anymore.

I’m kind of realizing that I can decompress a little bit at a time, and I don’t know how long it’ll take. It may take a week or a month before I really come down out of, I hate to say, like a PTSD, but I’m still kind of in that mode where I feel like at any moment I could get cut, but I can’t get cut anymore.

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On if he were surprised by his win and what he said to La’Porsha during their final hug on the finale stage

TH: When I auditioned in July, I didn’t expect to win, but I prepared to win at every facet of this competition.

I told La’Porsha no matter what name comes out of Ryan’s mouth, we’re going to hug until they separate us. I don’t care whose name gets called, Porsha, we just won a car, and you don’t win cars every day, so we’re going to be okay, Porsha.

On the hard work that went into being an American Idol contestant

TH: I wake up, go to bed, wake up in the middle of the night. If I am awake or asleep I am rehearsing. If I have two minutes to myself to do anything, I am in rehearsal mode. I didn’t know what I was doing, but that’s what it took. I was too dumb to know that I was in go mode all the time. But it paid off.

On when he found out he could do falsetto with his voice and old classic singers he is influenced by

TH: I just really learned that I could do things with my voice that I didn’t know I could do, probably, middle to the last few years of my college experience, so just in the last two to four years. I think I always heard the notes in my head while I’d be listening to Smokey Robinson and The Miracles or I’d be listening to The Temptations.

My grandma always played a lot of Temptations and a lot of Michael Jackson, Jackson 5, back in the day when I’d be at her house and we’d be cooking, and I would hear those notes in my head that I would want to sing, but I never tried to sing them, and one day they just jumped out of my mouth.

On what the song “Amazing Grace” means to him

TH: I keep “Amazing Grace” in my back pocket no matter where I go, whether it’s a Christian event that I’m at or if it’s not. If it’s just a secular event. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because I know the words to it or because the words mean something to just about anybody whether you have any religious beliefs or not. That song means something.

There’s a reason it’s called a classic. There’s a reason that all these songs that we do are called classics. I would consider that one a classic, too, and I’ve just sung it at so many different things that have meant so much to me; that one’s just special to me.

That was the first one that my mom said, “Hey Trent, sing this part right here.” And I sang it, and she said, “Well, can you switch over and sing this part right here?” And that was when she realized that I could sing harmony. When I was four or five years old, and she realized something that I didn’t even realize at that early of an age.

On what he was surprised to learn about himself during his journey on American Idol

TH: I’ve always thought to myself that if I could ever get to the point, there’s so many intangibles that are encompassed within this reality singing competition. It’s not so much singing, there’s so much that goes into it. I would say singing would be less than 10% of it. But I knew that I could hang in the singing department, but I didn’t know that I could do interviews.

Nobody has really coached on how to talk to people in a public setting, and so sometimes, like right now, I’m talking to you having a conversation, and I’ve never done this before in my life. That has really surprised me, and it surprised my parents too. They said Trent, you’ve talked to more people through interviews than you’ve talked to us in your whole 25 years of life. Who taught you how to do that?

On the most surreal moment of the entire Idol experience

TH: I think whenever I turned around and I saw my mom and dad and my sister and my puppy dog walk out onto the stage two weeks ago, it was strange because it was like, I’m out here. I know that I’m out here doing this, but when they walked on the stage, I was like wow. We looked good as a collective unit; as a family. We looked like we were doing stuff in the Harmon collective unit. I’m doing something for my family. So that was pretty surreal.

On advice he has received from past Idol contestants and winners

TH: I guess, thankfully, most of the Idols that I got to talk to, they appreciated. They said, “Man, you seem pretty genuine. Don’t ever, ever quit that. Don’t ever get out of that head. Don’t ever, ever quit that.” And they didn’t give me very much advice in the moment.

I was lucky enough to exchange numbers with a lot of people that I never thought I’d have their name in my phone book, and they said look here, text me. And I could tell that they meant it. They said text me at any time of the day or night, ask me a question.

I got to exchange numbers with Jordin Sparks, and Ruben Studdard. It was just surreal for them to reach out and say, hey man, you’re the last one. We want to help you any way that we can. And I think they mean it.

On a possible move to Nashville

TH:  I’m sure that I will float between Nashville and Mississippi and Arkansas for quite a while. I’ve been doing the float between two states for the last four or five years, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it if you manage your time wisely, but I’m down to live wherever I’m happy. If that happens to be in Nashville for the next few years, then I’ll live in Nashville. If that happens to be Belize, then I’ll live in Belize.

On his relationship to country music

TH: I was just telling Mr. Scott last night. I said, man I don’t think you fully realize how much country music I listen to because whenever I really got the opportunity to pick the song myself, 100% myself, I was doing country songs on the show.

Now that was only sprinkled in very, very rarely because we always get to pick our own songs, but there would be influence from other people as well, but I sang a couple Chris Stapletons, and at that point, I think it was fully realized that this guy is confusing enough as it is, he talks so country but then he sings like a soul singer, well now he’s actually singing country.

I’ve always enjoyed all the classics. I love Conway Twitty. I’ve always been a big Conway Twitty fan. I’m a big Elvis fan. Elvis did country. I’m a Ray Charles fan. Ray Charles made a country album. So that’s kind of a point in case right there.

Define what country is in 2016. I mean, Ray Charles kind of broke that statement a long time. Justin Timberlake’s working on a country album. So, I feel like with being able to sing multiple genres is going to help me moving forward to make a country album that would be palatable to a lot of different people.

On plans to co-write his album

TH: I am a songwriter, but that will be decided by the Powers That Be. I don’t always have to have the best idea coming from myself. I just want the best idea. So, we’ll have to see where it leads us.

On his redo performance of “Chandelier” and advice given to him by Sia

TH: Sia said that she wrote this song from a state of struggling with alcoholism and that if I had a family member that struggled with alcoholism that that would be a route that I could sing that song from. And while I did lose a family member this year that struggled with alcoholism, I tried to go down that path and it was just too morbid. It was too sad. I didn’t want to. I sang it from a happy state.

When I asked her, I said, can I do that, this is your song. She said this is your song. For 90 seconds, this is your song. You sing it however you want to sing it. And I don’t think she meant for that just to apply to “Chandelier.” I think she was telling me to take that forward for the rest of my life. Even though I might be doing a cover song at some point, don’t sing it just as from the same head that the person that wrote it or performed it and made it popular from. Pick something from it. Find a lyric in it.

My favorite lyric from the Parson James song that I sang last week was, “It’s enough of a fight just staying alive anyways,” and I told Parson that. I said, “Man, that’s my favorite line in the song,” and he said, “Really? That’s crazy.” You just find a line that pulls to you. Pulls on your heart strings, and you go with it.

On his love for God and his family and how it plays an emotional role in his performances

TH: First of all, if anyone has made it through what I consider, I’d say the only two jobs that I would consider to be tougher than making it through American Idol boot camp, which is what I have aptly named it after the show’s been over, would be a preacher and/or a soldier. That would be the only two jobs that I would consider to be harder than what we just completed.

But if you can go through what we just did and not believe in something—I happen to believe in God, and then I would pray. Had a really simple prayer, I would say, especially when I had mono because I was pretty quarantined from the rest of the cast. I would say well, it’s just me and you. It’s just me and you God, and I kept that on my brain at all times when I didn’t have anybody else.

I didn’t have my parents out here with me, and it was just me, so I feel like if you could make it through this competition without believing in something, I wouldn’t say I’m impressed, I would say I’m kind of scared because I don’t know what you are. You’re super human, because I couldn’t have done it without him. That’s for sure.

Unwritten Law’s Scott Russo Dishes Over Some Dim Sum About New Album, Touring And More!

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(PCM) Formed in the early 90’s, California rockers Unwritten Law are often credited as paving the way for rock and alternative musicians with their multi-platinum album releases such as “Elva”, “Unwritten Law”, and “Live and Lawless”, so we were absolutely thrilled with the news that the band would be releasing eight studio album titled “Acoustic”.

The album is absolutely brilliant! We got an early listen, as well as, the opportunity to turn it up full volume while cruising the streets of Philly with vocalist Scott Russo who was excited to share some insight about what went into the recording process for putting this stellar album together.

“Acoustic” was released via Cybertracks, which is owned by El Hefe of NOFX and his wife Jen Abeyta and the album features 13 newly re-recorded tracks from “Unwritten Law”, “Elva”, “Here’s To The Mourning”, “Swan”, and “The Hit List” molded into flawless acoustic renditions. They are seriously gorgeous!

The emotionally rich album also features two brand new tracks including “Huartbreaker” a cover originally performed by John Legend and MSTRKRFT and “Belongs To You,” written by Scott Russo. The album features Scott Russo (Vocals/Guitar), Chris Lewis (Guitar, currently in Fenix TX), Jonny Grill (Bass), and original drummer Wade Youman.

We have always been impressed with Unwritten Law’s fearlessness when it comes to experimenting with both they sound and style and “Acoustic” does a fantastic job of showcasing the band’s varied musical influences and superior musicianship.

Chatting over some delicious Dim Sum in Philadelphia’s Chinatown district Russo explained to us just how proud he and the rest of the band are of this record and that there could perhaps be some new Unwritten Law material on the way as well.  You can watch the full video interview below:

Interview with Unwritten Law vocalist Scott Russo

Posted by Pop Culture Madness on Sunday, April 10, 2016

This post came fromUnwritten Law’s Scott Russo Dishes Over Some Dim Sum About New Album, Touring And More! - unSkinny Pop

The Hateful Eight’s Dana Gourrier Talks Shooting with Tarantino and 65mm Film

2015’s The Hateful Eight brought an all-star cast that included Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins and many more, into the post Civil War era in a unique crime drama mystery that can only come from the mind of Quentin Tarantino.  We had a chance to talk with one of the actors in the film, Dana Gourrier, who played Minnie Mink. In this interview, Gourrier talks what it was like shooting with Quentin Tarantino the second time around and how 65mm film affects more than just the look of the movie.

What was it like to be a part of another crazy and amazing Tarantino film?

Dana Gourrier: The first time I worked with Quentin was when I was auditioning for ‘Django’. It was almost a forty-five minute audition for the role of Betina and I gave it everything I got, it wasn’t the right fit. And he [Tarantino] said ‘Before you go, I have another character that isn’t scripted so much yet, but she will grow. Let’s just play a little bit’, and I did. Two weeks later, I found out I booked the role of Cora. It did grow. Four weeks of work turned into three months and I really developed some amazing relationships, not only with Quentin but with Bob Richardson, cast and crew. I was just behind happy to be a part of the project. So when he [Tarantino] called me up, he left me a voicemail and said he wrote a part for me, I was just like holy you know what. It was just like one of those outer body experiences where you’re like ‘Is this real?’ So I heard about this part and what happened happened with this script being leaked and it was all shutdown, so I never knew what I was missing out on because I had never read the script. So when he decided to do it and called me up, I was just like beside myself. The experience of ‘The Hateful Eight’ was very different from ‘Django’ but so similar because a lot of his crew has been with him for decades, literally. He’s very loyal in that way and he makes that evident in the way he casts for his films. He calls them [cast] his Tarantino all-stars. Everyone is kind of like a family you know. I know with some sets, they can be a little disconnected and disjointed but that’s not a Tarantino set. We are like a family, everyone respects each other equally and I believe that’s from a trickle-down effect from who’s at the helm.

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This movie was shot in 65mm film to be shown on Ultra Panavision 70, did it affect the way you would normal shoot any other movie with standard film? 

Dana Gourrier: Absolutely, it affects the way that you behave in general. When we began the process, we did a stage reading, then we did a three day rehearsal process like if it was a play, for that. That was back in April of twenty fourteen. Fast forward to November of that same year, we began rehearsal process. Two weeks of rehearsal process, in a makeshift mockup of Minnie’s Haberdashery, with full on props and everything. That was just for the two week process. The reason being was because when we got into that room and when we got on that mountain, there was no time or film to be wasted. Film was extremely expensive especially in 65 mil. You just don’t want to waste it. There’s no time for mistakes. It’s too wasteful. Then shooting happened months later for me after the rehearsal process. My character [Minnie Mink] rolled her own red apple tobacco cigarettes and I would be rolling cigarettes daily, like fifty to a hundred. I was doing it anywhere I went and anywhere I had to sit and wait for anything like a car wash or having a glass of wine. I just kept the rolling paper and the tobacco on me at all times. Whenever I was still, I was rolling a cigarette. It’s that kind of work that you have to put into a project like this because there’s so much at stake. It’s a different kind of pressure, like being in a play.

(Warning: This next question contains spoilers but the answer to the question is quite hilarious)

Tarantino is known for having very unpredictable films, you don’t know who will live or who will die until the end of the film in most cases. When you found out the fate of your character Minnie, how did you feel about it?

Dana Gourrier: I was mortified (laughs). I had to catch my breathe and I was like ‘No! I wanted to make it!’ (laughs). Sorry, it was really that expressive, I yelled out loud. I was really sad about it. That chapter is such a brief moment but it’s so incredibly important. It gives you the visual aid and the name and the breath and the energy of those characters that have been spoken about for chapters. Minnie is spoken about in every chapter, so you need her. There was a lot of pressure there too. ‘People are going to be like who is this Minnie character?’ So I had to do a really good job. But when I found out about my fate, I was really sad but I wasn’t mad when I got into the room with Channing Tatum. I was like ‘honey, if I gotta go out this way, I wouldn’t want it to be by anybody but you boo,’ and he would just die laughing. We were just stupid, we were silly. He was so sweet to me and so was his lovely wife Jenna [Dewan Tatum]. They were really good people. And that’s Quentin. Quentin’s got like a no a-hole policy. You can’t come up to set with an attitude or like a weird energy. You really have to love filmmaking and you really have to love to be there. You have to have respect for filmmaking and love it as much as he does. He is like a walking talking encyclopedia. He knows every movie, every actor. Anything from like ‘Ben-Hur’ to like that Disney movie ‘Brave’.

Do you have any other projects in the works?

Dana Gourrier: Right now, I’m enjoying a great pilot season so far. I did ‘Midnight Special’, which is out in theaters right now and is written and directed by Jeff Nichols, who is an extraordinary man. I’m also doing ‘Togetherness’, an HBO series by the Duplass brothers and those guys…I can’t even begin to say enough great stuff about them, they’re very authentic people.

The Hateful Eight Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and On Demand release date: March 29.

Stay tuned to Age of the Nerd for our review of the Blu-ray combo pack.

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Our Conversation with the Batman v Superman Super-Team

Our Conversation with the Batman v Superman Super-Team

Batman v Superman is nothing if not ambitious. Although Marvel paved the way to blockbuster superhero films, DC was there first, including the Big 3, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Serious ambition was the only way Warner Bros (who own DC Comics) could compete on the big screen. Beyond the characters, Batman and Superman have dual roles as regular people and superheros, illustrating the debate between power versus will and whether or not they have to lose themselves into these characters and what helps them get there faster, the little boy hero complex or the adult male hero complex, the cast had a lot to say.

Ben Affleck: “I have too many complexes to sort through, any of them will do, really! (laughs) I think you are on to something when you talk about the will versus strength of Batman. I think one of the reasons that this character has resonated since the FDR administration with audiences regardless of the way the country has changed or politics and pop culture has changed is that you have a guy who on the one hand is powerful and exciting and can do things we all wish we could do, but is also still a human being and struggling with his own vulnerabilities and fragility and struggling with his own will.”

“He is kind of accomplishes things through force of will and that was fun and exciting to play. I think I tapped into equal measure my adult geekness and kid excitement for this movie. Everyday there was something new to geek out about and be excited by and say ‘I can’t believe I get to be in this movie’ and it was exciting everyday.”

Gal Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman) was not concerned about being accepted as the Amazon Princess for the first time on the silver screen, “You can’t please them all. For me, being an actress, my responsibility is not to pay too much attention to all the noise around me, but to pay attention to the script, to the director and protect the character and try to tell her story the best I can and I can only do my best.”

“It’s a huge honor to be the one who got this amazing opportunity to tell such an important story. I feel very, very grateful. I never planned on being an actress and I never planned on being Wonder Woman and everything happened, so I’m incredibly grateful and happy and I’m in love with what I do.”

Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman): “Gal did such a great and amazing job. She made all the scenes that I was in with her better. Made me better. She’s my favorite part of the movie, when she shows up, and I don’t want to give anything away, but she helps me out! She’s a terrific actress and I think Wonder Woman is going to be very good.” Henry Cavil (Clark Kent/Superman) added “Gal cuts a fine fit as Wonder Woman. She brings something particularly statuesque, something otherworldly to the character and it’s remarkable to see.”

On immediate/first reaction to the title of the film and would it ever have been called Superman v Batman…

Zack Snyder: Honestly, Batman v Superman, for me, from a philosophical stand-point, is that I wanted to put the human versus the god-human first and for me, I don’t know about these guys, if they heard the title first or the concept, however while the notion is crazy, at the same time the road is well established that leads to Batman v Superman. Them being pitted against each other in the comic books is not a thing we made up.

Ben Affleck: The Dark Knight Returns is something that obviously had that precedent  before with the Frank Miller book and having seen that I was already tuned into what it could be and I was hoping that was the angle Zack was going to be taking. He had the little sculpture from that up in his office and I thought ‘this guy is definitely on the right track’.

Henry Cavill: I agree with Ben, I had read the comic books, especially the Frank Miller one, and also the relationship in the comic books between Batman and Superman. The idea was nothing but exciting because we’re opening up the cinematic universe for all of DC.

On entering a complex world combining so many heroes…

Diane Lane (Martha Kent): You just don’t think the stakes can get any higher and they we find out they can! It’s definitely thrilling to witness the film and the final product and see my thread in the tapestry and how it reverberates throughout the story. Also, selfishly it was really great to have both films be the commencement of this huge production and Martha provides a gentle beginning comparative to where we’re headed. It’s nice to break in the crew and have the first day of school all together.

Laurence Fishburne (Perry White): I’m a huge fan and comic book reader and collector and have been since I was a kid. For me, this is a movie I have been waiting to see for 35 years and I can’t even believe I’m in the movie!

How about the new face, with a new direction and temperament of the primary villian, Lex Luthor? Jessie Eisenberg (Lex Luthor) told us “It’s certainly strange and unnerving to be criticized for a part you haven’t yet been able to screw up! I think I also would have been surprised to read that I was playing Lex Luther without having had access to this wonderful script and this incredible character written by Chris Terrio, who created a character who I thought was suitable for me.”

“If you look at just the canon and the mythology and this history of Superman, I might not be the first person to come to mind, but if you read the script and understood how the character was contextualized in this kind of modern era and the way he was written I knew that I could do it well and I at least hoped that after people had seen the movie they would understand that I was more appropriate than they had originally feared”

Some say art imitates life, it’s probably truer to say that art reflects life. With the two biggest comic companies presenting BvS and Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, both feature a backdrop story about how involved the government should be in harnessing the powers of superfolk – where does individual freedom come in, and where does society’s safety come in? Who’s to decide who or what is safe? These are things Americans consider in every election.

On what it was like to have such a character specifically written for you in the DC Universe, Holly Hunter (Senator Finch) said “It is liberating in comparison to everyone else who is on this panel. It was lovely to have a character who was in the midst of this mayhem in the story and bring some sense and sensibility to the proceedings and to be dealing with a character that is as combustible as Lex, especially as Jesse’s Lex is, a volatile and complicated and emotional as he is, it was really a fun ride to take with him. We navigated the waters of staying incredibly open and curious to what his point of view was and then as knowledge accumulates to arrive at a decision that I felt was rational and reasonable.”

On advice to women out there in regards to female superheros and female empowerment…

Gal Gadot: “I have a four year old daughter and she just adores princesses and at the same time she would tell me that the princess was so weak and she falls asleep, the prince will come and save her. kiss her and he’s the hero. I’m so happy to be the one that’s going to tell the Wonder Woman story, which is such an important story to be told and I’m grateful for it, but I also think it’s so important for girls and boys to have a strong female superhero to look up to and the more the merrier. There is plenty of room for many more women to come and I’m very, very happy to be a part of that.”

On the significance of both Batman and Superman having a mother named Martha and it creating a bond…

Zack Snyder: “When we were talking about that whole aspect of the movie and what is the thing that humanizes Superman for Batman, it seemed very interesting for us to kind of think about it in those terms. He’s basically looking at someone who now has a mother and that’s different and he become different in that moment.”

“To Batman, the idea that this, what he would consider an alien or otherworldly creature, who could care less about humanity and bring himself to a place that would normally be very emotionally difficult for Batman to even get to and he had whipped himself into such a fever that he had achieved the thing that maybe that was even particularly difficult for him. To kind of now see that guy look in a mirror, that was the idea and fans, I don’t know how they’re going to feel about it.”

Ben Affleck: “I actually forgot that their mother’s had the same name, but it is one of my favorite scenes in the movie as a fan when Batman meets Martha Kent.”

On becoming a superhero veteran love interest…

Amy Adams (Lois Lane): “You never really get used to it as the scale is always so impressive. Every time I walk on set I’m completely blown away and what has been so nice is getting to know everyone over the course of the years and to bring these relationships that we’ve all established over the course of working together and getting to use that in the film. We grow as the characters grow, so it’s been a real joy to get to come back with all these lovely folks again, as well as, all of the news ones who I am just absolutely in love with.”

On a sequence or moment from the film that will always be remembered…

Diane Lane: “My scene with Batman was the first time we saw Ben in all of his Batman regalia, so that definitely stands out at memorable. Ben in this role and how fabulous he is!”

Ben Affleck: “It was a very unnerving day, the first day wearing the suit and being on camera and you think ‘well, here it is … I’m really doing this’ and it was really nice to have Diane there as a friendly face and a great actress who kind of looked at me saying ‘it’s going to be okay’ and I really appreciated that!”

Henry Cavill: “It’s tough for me to say while shooting because I was in a green room at the time, but certainly I feel like I felt it after watching the movie, but the third act for me in particular resonated and it was probably while watching the movie that I felt the most and got to step outside of the actor and was part of the audience.”

Amy Adams: “I’m going to go with the bathtub scene (laughs) I’m just kidding, it was actually horrible trying to protect my modesty in unflattering garments while like the demi-god stood above me with his shirt off, I was like low self-esteem for two weeks after that (laughs). I had so much fun on this film and I love working with Henry so much and really getting to come back to that relationship in a richer way was awesome, but there’s a moment in the third act with Diane that became one of my favorite moments. It was just a quiet moment between two women and as an actress I like quiet moments.”

On looking at Batman and his duality of character and Superman’s overall changes

Ben Affleck: “There’s a store called Millionaire Picnic, which is still open I think, where I bought the Frank Miller book when I was younger and that was the first comic that really took my appreciation for this genre to another level. It was at the time when people were doing a lot of innovating in that way and “Watchmen” came out around the same time, which was newer and more adult, complicated and sophisticated ways of looking at this world started to be developed in the comics genre. It took the movie business 20 years to catch up, to be willing to mine this genre and these stories for really complicated, interesting and resonance rich stories, but it has now obviously.”

“Zack has said often times that he felt Bruce Wayne was a mask or a character that he put on as much as Batman was and he liked the idea that there was kind of ritual of just putting on the suit and getting ready, the way he looked and the whole thing was kind of like putting on a mask to the world and presenting this alter ego Bruce Wayne person to the world. I thought that was interesting and I like the idea that both Bruce Wayne and Batman were both really sort of unhealthy people, who engage in unhealthy behavior at night as a result of psychological scars they bore from childhood. That duality was something really interesting to explore.”

Henry Cavill: “For me this felt very much like the development of Superman, of the character we know and love from the comic books. We are still not there yet. We are looking at the guy growing up, he’s become this Superman after discovering he was Ka-El (sp?) in the first movie and now he’s facing off against this second guy and it’s a tough outing for him because it’s against a psychological enemy, as opposed to a physical enemy such as Zodd was and we see him make mistakes. We also see him grow from those mistakes and learn from them.”

 

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Interview with Director Zack Snyder

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice interview with Zack Snyder & BvS producers Charles Roden and Deborah Snyder

The battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way has gotten a little fuzzier since Zack Snyder began steering the direction of Superman’s story, starting with 2013’s Man of Steel. Add in a jaded Batman, and the battle becomes even more interesting. For every good deed Superman does, another innocent person dies on the other side of the world… why does Superman get to decide who lives and dies?

When Superman’s Battle with Krypton’s General Zod destroys much of Metropolis (and some Wayne real estate) along with taking thousands of lives, it becomes personal for many people. What exactly makes a ‘hero’?

We spoke with director Zack Snyder and producers Deborah Snyder and Charles Roden, along with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill about how the film launches the DC Cinematic Universe.

Zack Snyder has always been a director who has not been afraid to take a few risks in the past, so when asked if he was at all intimidated taking on a project as immense as Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice he answered “I think if we had not evolved the project the way we did, it would have been a lot more intimidating. It was probably around the time of the first camera test and I saw both Batman and Superman in their costumes, I said ‘So, this is really going to happen’ and it has been both amazing and fun to deal with these icons.”

A real treat for fans in this film is having both of these iconic characters placed in the same world, where they are finding their own identities and are then pitted against one another. Actor Henry Cavill added “It’s always going back to the source material. There is an awful lot of psychology in Superman because it’s the one way you can find to crack the shell and when it comes to playing the character, especially in this movie, where we still see the growth of Superman before seeing the finished product which is who we all know and love from the comic books. It was just delving into the psychology and the weaknesses therein and playing with the relationship between him and Lois and him and Martha and then of course the conflict he has when facing the likes of Batman.”
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Actor Ben Affleck added “For me there was enough source material in the screenplay that Chris Terrio wrote with Zack’s direction there was plenty for me to grab onto and to help use my imagination to help build this character. It is certainly daunting because of the people who have played this character before and the great filmmakers, most recently Christopher Nolan, with three brilliant movies, and all the guys who went before them. There’s that element of healthy respect you have for the project and for the characters and their history which raises the bar. I felt I was in really good hands with this script and with Zack, so that is where I focused my attention.”

Zack did ask for Christopher Nolan’s blessing for the massive project, and he got one (sort of), Nolan said “Well, we don’t own these characters. When you’re done making Batman movies, someone else will.” Christopher’s version of Batman, many fans believe, could never exist in a world with a Superman. That meant another adjustment to who ‘The Batman’ is; would an older Batman fit the bill?

Zack said “The thing that is interesting about the process with this movie and the way it has evolved is that the idea of having Batman fight Superman is ridiculous, so that’s why they made a movie (laughs)… It’s not only ridiculous, but once we had committed to that ridiculous idea, it was then only that we were like , that implies that a universe exists where Batman and Superman exist together. I know it seems obvious in the comic book world, but had not existed in the movies, so though it seems like an obvious notion if you’re kind of like oh, Batman and Superman, of course, they’re both superheros, so they must live right down the street from one another, right? They bump into each other all the time! (laughs)”

Producer Deborah Snyder added “I think at the same time we wanted to just set up and introduce these characters, but we also had a really rich story to tell. It was a careful balance about telling the Batman and Superman story and giving a little hint and a tease to the story of Justice League that’s yet to come.”

The biggest hint of course was the addition of the Amazon Princess, Wonder Woman. The addition of Gal Gadot’s version of the character is obviously different that the one most non-comic fans know, television’s Lynda Carter, and the fans have been receptive. “Once that sort of idea had taken root and existed as reality, it was then only that we, and I have always been obsessed with the trinity, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, in a single moment. That was a huge thing I was really interested in getting into this movie, not that I didn’t have enough to deal with already, but I thought that would be a cool thing to see.” Zack told us, “Those conversations are what really led to this Dawn Of Justice kind of sub-heading for the film and that we could now begin to talk about and have conversations about the fact that the Justice League and/or the DC Universe now could evolve from this. It’s a difficult notion, especially for a studio like this who is really filmmaker driven, sort of project to project, to say ‘oh, okay, you’re making a movie, but it’s also connected to that guy’s movie and it’s all going to be a great big fun sandbox and everyone is going to play nice in it’ which is a great thing, but it’s a difficult thing is just make appear. That’s what the luck and sort of serendipitous nature of this movie allowed the worlds to kind of coalesce. It’s become a plan and it’s becoming a thing, but it was only in its’ infancy that we realized yeah, oh my gosh this can be a thing.”

On bringing the DC Universe to the screen, producer Charles Roden gave some insight into the process of creating a large cinematic presence. “It’s a very interesting challenge, but it’s also a lot of fun because even we are making films that might have sequel possibilities we are never really in the past. Even with The Dark Knight you never really thought about what the next movie was going to be, in fact, when we went from Batman Begins to The Dark Knight because we ended Batman Begins with the Joker we thought we should do the Joker with the next one, but we never had a story or anything. Here we are constantly thinking in the future not only how to make each individual film stand on its’ own and be compelling, fun and thought-provoking and have great characters, but we’re also thinking way down the road about how these things are going to interconnect and make sense and also leave room for other great filmmakers to be involved. While we want to get to a certain place, we have to make sure we don’t stay too rigid or fixed on exactly the methodology of how we get there. We have to leave room for the creative process to let it evolve. It’s both challenging and exciting every single day.”

Marvel has created a successful franchise with their heroes, but DC also has a 70-year history of super-heroes. While Marvel is doing well, actually amazingly well, for a ‘new’ studio, successfully bringing DC’s Mightiest to the big screen had to look at their icons in a different light.

Zack Snyder understood what he had to do. “It is a balance, but when you sort of look at the tone of the movie, which the number one aspect of a film to me, this movie is as much a deconstruction as it is a construction. It is self-reflective in some subtle ways in that when you have icons of this magnitude, comic book characters of this magnitude, and mythology of this magnitude, there’s a little bit of letting off the hook in the way that we take a heart attack serious but at the same time there’s a self-awareness to the movie that you have to have in order for the movie to resonate on any kind of second level beyond just the ‘oh, look, these two superheroes are fighting and that’s cool’.”

Up against other successful films in the genre, what is the secret to being successful, without following the earlier (proven) storytelling?

Zack was quick to explain: “I think that the movie and Chris Terrio has written an incredibly intelligent script about what it means and what power is, what justice is and what our relationship to these mythic character are, is it a relationship between God and man? All of these questions and I think that is the balance, at least to me, more than balance between action and drama and that’s natural to the story. You run into conflict, but to me, really this movie is fun because I like to have fun with these characters to tell maybe a slightly bigger story than just Batman v Superman, though I am satisfied. The dork in me is completely satisfied by that and I do think the film is richer and it was fun to work on an idea that is possibly bigger than Batman v Superman.”

Deborah Snyder finished, “To put these characters in a real world, they are easier to relate to. We can never imagine what it’s like to have super powers, but if we see them going through struggles and we see them kind of messing up and picking themselves back up, I think that’s really relatable. We like to see stories that mirror ourselves.”

The success of the film of course, will be measured in two ways: 1. How the box office treats the film. Less than a billion dollars will be a disappointment. Less than 800 million will actually produce a paper loss (discounting merchandising of course – Warner/DC can pretty much count on some type of profit). 2. How will the numbers compare with Captain America: Civil War.

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