Exclusive Interview With Actor Ernie Hudson

(AOTN) We recently had a chance to catch up with one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors, the legendary Ernie Hudson. We spoke about a variety of different topics including his current projects “APB” on FOX, which has unfortunately been cancelled,  “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix, and the EPIX drama “Graves”, as well as, the type of roles he would like to tackle in the future.

Q: There have been quite a few amazing episodes of “APB” airing recently. How do you feel about the way the series is resonating with viewers?

ERNIE HUDSON: I never know about these things and because of the age we are living in I thought it would definitely resonate well with viewers and people who have seen the show respond to it, but it seems like it has found its’ audience and I’m not quite sure how that happens, but everyone I know that has seen it seems to really like the show.

Q: As you continue to explore the character of Ed Conrad and the fact that you have taken on so very many different types of characters over the years, is there anything you are surprised to learn about yourself as you delve into playing someone new?

EH: For me, this is the first character that I’ve played who is going through some changes and I, myself am going through some changes, not bad changes or anything like that, just getting older and adjusting to the brave new world because I’m realizing that yeah, things are different and things have changed and I’ve changed and I’m really quite fixed. I think that the character, is for me, at least in my head, the first character that I feel is feeling those things that I’m feeling.

You know, that guy who is just seeing the world shifting at his feet and he’s not quite sure what any of this means. I don’t know if that’s a sign of everyone is getting older, but it’s certainly a lot of what I’m feeling and a lot of what this character with the new technology and these young people and their ideas and you want to be the guy that’s on top of everything, but you are also the guy that is most in the dark at least in terms of technology. Even the things that you just take for granted, you know, he lives in the neighborhood he grew up in and it’s a neighborhood that’s really under served by the police, but even understanding his own neighborhood is confusing for him. All that the writers have to write and hopefully if we get a chance to come back they will get a chance to show that, so I think there’s a lot of wanting to be on top of things, but also knowing that the world has somehow become a different place and you wake up one day and realize it.

Q: Exactly! That is what makes the show so relatable, as a lot of us are going through those same thoughts and emotions while watching how technology is completely taking over … in some good ways and in some bad ways too. 

EH: Yeah, and it doesn’t seem to be a limit to it. I mean, you can say that the people who hacked a bank account, oh … okay…. that was just one bank account, but they seem to be able to hack the whole world bank account. They’ve hacked presidential candidates email accounts, but they also seem to be able to hack everyone’s email accounts, so is there any limit to where this goes? They can go in and they can get into your everything! I read this thing about this new home stuff, like Amazon’s Alexa for example, where it stays on when you are not even there, and this technology even expands out to televisions and refrigerators recording, so where are the limits? I don’t know! It’s one thing if they record a few of my phone calls, but this is in the millions and billions and it can affect all of us, and is there any limit to this? Who controls the limits? That’s my confusion.

It seems to be bigger than we are and that the frustrating thing! Who is on top of this? Is anybody on top of it? It impacts all of our lives, talking about nuclear codes and stuff like that, what is to stop them from hacking that? Where does it end and that is what’s confusing to me.

Q: Absolutely! That is what is terrifying, as we always compare it to the Wild, Wild West where we are on these new frontiers, but there is nothing governing it at all. 

EH: Exactly! If the guys governing it are getting hacked (laughs) and the identities can be stolen and changed and that is why it is like the Wild West. I believe we’ll get on top of it, but it seems to be growing, and it’s not like it’s a new thing and it’s static and we can catch up … it seems to be growing faster than we are!

Q: What are you most excited for fans of “APB” to see?

EH: It’s pretty exciting because earlier episodes we showed how this technology can be used to bring out the truth in a positive way, as we have a guy who is a billionaire and at least has good intentions and everything on the show is possible. It didn’t go into sci-fi elements, making up things that don’t already exist. The finale episode really started to show the darker side, that this technology in the wrong hands … in other episodes we saw a guy who has remorse for looking too deeply into certain things and taking advantage of that, but what about someone who doesn’t have that same kind of social responsibility? What happens to not just one or two of us, but how than can impact all of us and that can be a little scary.

I think that show … it’s very exciting. We don’t have to look very further than where we are to realize that there’s a lot of stuff going on and a lot of us would almost rather prefer to pretend it’s not happening, but it’s definitely happening and it’s cool and exciting in one way, but it’s also, like you said, the Wild West in another way.

Q: We can totally agree with that! You are currently working on “APB” with FOX and you have “Grace & Frankie” on Netflix and “Graves” on EPIX as well! Is it hard for you to switch hats between characters because the fact that you are doing this all at once is just amazing! 

EH: Thanks! (laughs) It is kind of fun time for me, especially at this stage of my life, because I’ve kind of realized that I’m past the stage of really having to do things just because I have to do them, because the kids are in college and I have to pay the mortgage or the this or that. So you reach a point of ,wait a minute, let me just stop. Why am I doing this, I know it’s okay to do, but what’s the point? So, these three shows, especially,  I like the characters and they’re very different characters. On “Grace and Frankie” I’m a guy who is a farmer, who is retiring and is a guy who feels good and likes himself and he’s comfortable with himself and just happens to like this woman cause she’s someone who he really cares about and while he was younger he might have chosen someone for different reasons, but now this is just about life. So, I like that guy … he’s just a good guy. In “Graves” it’s a character who not only has to maneuver and negotiate and compromise for his own mistakes, but he’s tied to this dysfunctional family and this former president, so he’s having to clean up their stuff, but he also always has to be on top of it so he’s a very smooth Washington guy.  We are coming back for a second season and I’ll get a chance to explore that a lot more and it’s very different character than this sort of down-to-earth captain on “APB” who has issues the other just don’t have to deal with.

Q: You have definitely played some versatile roles throughout your career, obviously everyone talks about “Ghostbusters”, however we truly enjoyed your work in both “The Hand The Rocks The Cradle” and “The Crow” to name a few. All of your roles have been very different, and many actors find themselves typecast, however that never seemed to happen with you. 

EH: Sometimes, and unfortunately for an actor, it’s what’s being presented to you. Sometimes the studios will see something you do and say ‘hey, he’s our action guy’ or ‘he’s our funny guy’ and they seem to have had difficulty finding just what I am, so I’ve had to go in and be the funny guy or the action guy or whatever in order to stay in the game because I haven’t had those things sort of tailor-made for me, but that’s the fun part of also being an actor when you have the role to play. You have to tell the specific story and you have to bring that out, what I loved about the character in “Congo” does not always work for something else, so I have to separate. I guess if the can find a way to slot you, than you would make more money (laughs). So, I’m still trying to find out where exactly I fit in all of this stuff.

Q: Is there any type of role or character you would like to tackle that you haven’t already? We were racking our brains trying to figure out what you haven’t done! 

EH: For me, I’ve always saw myself as this guy who is the practical guy who goes to work, who does what he need to do, even though I’ve never had a job where I’ve had to do a 9-5 everyday I don’t think in my life, but I really like those kinds of people because maybe my voice or my whatever, you play these extraordinary characters with extraordinary being the guy in charge or maybe the guy who is the bad guy, but just that practical person I really haven’t had the chance to do that sort of thing. Maybe a person dealing with some real life issues, but just real life and to me, those are my heroes. The guy that gets up and goes to work despite of anything and I kind of look forward to that, but I’m always looking for a role.

I haven’t had the role that would devise my work, I mean, I’ve done a little bit of this and a little bit of that and people ask me and I’m like, ‘well, you have to take a number of performances to see what I’m potentially capable of doing’ but I haven’t had that kind of defining role like say, Jamie Fox had in “Ray”, like I don’t know how he ever topped that it’s so perfect for him. On stage I did the “Great White Hope” and played that Jack Johnson character and that was to me defining because it just taxed everything that I had and I really had to show up and perform. I haven’t had that kind of challenge in movies and TV yet, but I’m still looking.

Q: What are some other upcoming projects in the works for you coming up?

EH: No, I’m just really looking. I’ve been sort of walking away from a lot of stuff and a lot of people ask me to do things, but honestly I’m at a point now of ‘why do I want to do that?’ so I want a “role” and I want something I am challenged by and I want a story that’s compelling and I’m kind of looking for that. There’s “Angie Tribeca” with Rashida Jones and I love Rashida and I played her dad last season, so getting a chance to play with fun people who I really like and enjoy that’s always fun, but now there just has to be a reason to want to do it or else I would almost rather be home. I feel like sometimes I’ve been every place but home. I really want that role or those roles … I did “To Hell and Back” on TVOne and it was almost the retelling of the Job story and it was so much fun for me and I got so much out of that, unfortunately it was any type of show that was seen by very many people.

It is just finding those things that I really want to do and want to offer my fans and something you want to stand by as opposed to a fan coming up saying I saw that movie because you were in it and then you had nothing to do, so I want to be able to stand by the work. I want to choose work that demands more from me!

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Director Jonathan Demme Dead At Age 73

(AOTN) We are deeply saddened to learn that director Jonathan Demme has passed away at the age of 73. Demme is best-known as the director of the award-winning and critically acclaimed 1991 film “The Silence Of The Lambs”.  According to his publicist, Demme’s death was a result of a battle with esophageal cancer and complications of heart disease.

Demme’s film “The Silence Of The Lambs” was only the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all of the top five categories which included Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. While “The Silence Of The Lambs” was in the category of thriller much of Demme’s additional work was on quirkier films such as 1980’s “Melvin and Howard” and “Married To The Mob”.  He was never afraid to delve into multiple genres and other work included a remake of political thriller “The Manchurian Candidate” with Denzel Washington, and the Anne Hathaway indie drama “Rachel Getting Married.”

Demme also brought the story of “Philadelphia” to the screen which earned Tom Hanks his first Academy Award win for Best Actor for his role as a gay attorney. Demme also directed several music videos for artists such as The Talking Heads and New Order to name a few.  He also directed several documentaries for The Pretenders, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. Music played a huge role in majority of Demme’s projects.  One of his last films was 2015’s “Ricki and The Flash” which starred Meryl Streep as a rock star who had to return to her hometown roots, however the film was not considered a box office success.

According to his publicist, “Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children and there will be a private funeral.” Our sincere condolences go out to Jonathan’s family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time!


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Terrifying Teaser Trailer For ‘IT’ Is Unleashed

(AOTN) Forget getting any sleep after watching the absolutely terrifying teaser trailer for the upcoming Warner Bros./New Line Cinema remake of the classic Stephen King story “IT”! Seriously, it is that creepy and something tells us that this remake may scare us more than the original film from the look of things.

Here’s a little background information about the upcoming film, which is set for release on September 8!  New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT,” directed by Andrés Muschietti (“Mama”), is based on the hugely popular Stephen King novel of the same name, which has been terrifying readers for decades. When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

“IT” stars Bill Skarsgård (“Allegiant,” TV’s “Hemlock Grove”) as the story’s central villain, Pennywise. An ensemble of young actors also star in the film, including Jaeden Lieberher (“Midnight Special”), Jeremy Ray Taylor (“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip”), Sophia Lillis (“37”), Finn Wolfhard (TV’s “Stranger Things”), Wyatt Oleff (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), Chosen Jacobs (upcoming “Cops and Robbers”), Jack Dylan Grazer (“Tales of Halloween”) and Nicholas Hamilton (“Captain Fantastic”).

Muschietti is directing “IT” from a screenplay adapted by Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman. Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg and Barbara Muschietti are producing, with Marty P. Ewing, Doug Davison and Jon Silk serving as executive producers.

The “IT” remake will take place in the 1980’s rather than in 1950’s which was the setting for both the book and the first “IT” film that was released back in 1990. Other than the change in time period most of the other story details appear to be pretty close to the original, however we are sure there are a few more modern details thrown in for the sake of relevance. We think Bill Skarsgard’s version of the Pennywise character is way, way, way darker than actor Tim Curry’s version of the horrifying clown in the 1990 film, but we will have to wait and see how the rest of the story will play out.

Check out the “IT” teaser trailer below (and be sure to leave on the lights before bed tonight)

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Fede Alvarez Directing ‘The Girl in The Spider’s Web’

Lisbeth Salander, the cult figure and title character of the acclaimed Millennium book series created by Stieg Larsson, will return to the screen in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a first-time adaptation of the recent global bestseller written by David Lagercrantz. Fede Alvarez, the director of 2016’s breakout thriller Don’t Breathe, will helm the project from a screenplay by Steven Knight and Fede Alvarez & Jay Basu. Scott Rudin, Søren Stærmose, Ole Søndberg, Amy Pascal, Elizabeth Cantillon, Eli Bush, and Berna Levin will produce; the executive producers are Anni Faurbye Fernandez, Line Winther Skyum Funch, Johannes Jensen, and David Fincher.

The new film will feature an entirely new cast, and the announcement marks the kickoff of a global search for an actress to portray in the iconic role of Lisbeth Salander. The production will begin principal photography in September of this year with a release date scheduled for October 5, 2018.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web will be the first in the best-selling series to be produced into an English-language film in its initial adaptation. The previous books in the series have been adapted into Swedish-language films, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a remake of the Swedish film. It became a global hit for Columbia Pictures, taking in over $230 million worldwide.

The announcement was made today at the London Book Fair during a celebration for the fifth Millennium book launch, also by Lagercrantz. Sony’s Columbia Pictures retains the rights to all future Millennium Series books.

Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures, said, “In all of contemporary literature, Lisbeth Salander is completely sui generis – probably one of the greatest female literary characters of all time in my view. Modern punk defiance personified, she is unforgettable in every incarnation, truly one of the most compelling characters we’ve seen in recent years. David Lagercrantz’s brilliant work in continuing this remarkable series honors Stieg Larsson’s masterpiece. We at Sony are so honored to be part of this series with Yellowbird, and we’re so excited to be making an original film of The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Fede Alvarez is the perfect choice to direct. Fede is an amazing director with a unique vision of the world. In particular, his talent and skill in creating psychological intensity will bring Lisbeth Salander back into popular movie culture with a roar.”

Alvarez added, “I’m hugely excited and grateful for this opportunity. Sony has become family to me and I can’t think of a more thrilling project to celebrate our relationship. Lisbeth Salander is the kind of character any director dreams of bringing to life. We’ve got a great script and now comes the most fun part – finding our Lisbeth.”

As disappointed as I am with David Fincher not returning to the project, I can say I am excited to see the franchise land in the hands of a fresh and talented director such as Alvarez.

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5 Vs Movies That Should Happen

(AOTN) Kong: Skull Island has recently made over $61,000,000 at the box office, signalling that audiences have not got tired of the largest cinematic ape. The film has garnered mixed opinions but plans for a King Kong v Godzilla movie, slated to be released sometime in 2020, is going full steam ahead as of time of writing.

A revealing post credits scene at the end of the recently released film has gotten fans all excited about what lies ahead although there are concerns about differences in physical attributes between the two monsters. Godzilla was also given the Hollywood remake treatment, a film that was released in 2014 and was predicted to make more money than it actually did. Still, all the obstacles are being seemingly plowed through to get the epic vs monster film up on    the screen.

Hollywood started a minor phase of vs films back in 2003 when the long awaited Freddy vs Jason was released after many years of anticipation. Alien vs Predator followed a couple of years later as well as a sequel. It was surprising that more films were not made to capitalise on what is an admittedly corny but entertaining concept.

Will Hollywood executives ponder to resurrect the idea? And if so, what vs films would fans want exactly?

This article is going to lend five suggestions.

Let us know at the bottom of this feature what characters you would like to see pitted against one another!

Michael Myers v Jason Voorhees

Let us start with one of the most obvious and demanded ones. Two kings of the slasher genre fighting one another is a mouth watering image for horror fans. But there are a few snags. Myers has proven in past films that he does not have the physical strength that his would be nemesis has. And his butcher knife is probably no match for Jason’s huge machete. But what Myers lacks physically, he has more of upstairs. He is smarter, and as has what has been said before time and time again throughout cinematic horror history, “evil never dies.”

Robocop v The Terminator

The Robocop films never had the shelf life that the Terminator films had but time has proven not to be an issue, as fans still occasionally voice their enthusiasm in wanting to see the two shoot it out against one another. The terminator likely has the edge in physical toughness and can absorb much more damage. He is also probably more smarter. Which is why Robocop would most likely need some kind of back up. Realistically, Jason Voorhees should have crushed Freddy Krueger in their real world final battle in Freddy vs Jason but the crew tweaked the script to make the match up more even. If this movie was to ever be produced then that is what can be foreseen to occur.

KITT v Airwolf

If one browses Youtube for Knight Rider and, or Airwolf then you are bound to see a few KITT v Airwolf fan made videos. Anybody not born before 1989 will probably not be familiar with either technological character but that does not stop this showdown being quite thought provoking. The heavily armored helicopter vs the most technologically advanced car of the 1980’s would make for a great battle providing KITT’s driver Michael Knight isn’t behind the wheel!

Airwolf has enough speed and stealth capabilities to give KITT the drive for it’s money!

DC v Marvel

We know it will never happen! And the characters are too numerous to pick any kind of battle. The closest we have ever gotten to experiencing such frays was back in 1996 when short lived comics, plainly named DC vs Marvel, were designed to give fans something they have wanted for a long time at least in some form of media.

There are many great ones, but if you readers really want to push me to think of any particular Marvel v DC battle then how does Batman v Captain America sound? One of the darkest and most psychologically haunted of superheroes going up against one of the most famous soldiers in the Marvel universe. Both are human, although Captain America was somewhat genetically modified to give birth to his then newfound abilities. It would be the ultimate battle of wits, speed, agility, strength and ultimately will!

Chucky v Leatherface

Hold up! You’re thinking that it would be easy work for Leatherface, right? Well, not exactly. This battle would also be potentially the most amusing! As was proven in the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface can be made to be frustrated and crack under pressure. And Chucky has plenty of potential to tease the chainsaw wielding lunatic with a liking for eating human flesh.

Incorporating the killer doll into Leatherface’s world would be interesting, requiring some skilled and creative writing. At present, there is a new Child’s Play movie in production but it would be good to give the voodoo loving killer something else to do for once. Leatherface could also do with starring in a movie that is not another redo that we have all seen before.

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Summer Movies 2017: Encountering Aliens Both Friendly and Hostile

As a child, the one thing I found I always looked forward to more than the “freedom” from school lessons that came with summer vacation was the eclectic slew of summer movies that went from the beginning of May all the way to Labor Day. One key ingredient to a great summer has always been a healthy and robust lineup of films to appeal to an audience of all ages; action, comedy, drama, horror, family, you name it. Last night, what one can assume will be the final theatrical trailers, both released in time to accompany any screening you’re sure to attend this weekend of James Mangold’s critically lauded Logan, for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Alien: Covenant came to say they’re coming to start the summer with a number of out of this world bangs provided by James Gunn and the good people over at Marvel and legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott making another return to the series that made him a household name.

Much like the trailers for the original Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’s marketing decides, instead of revealing the plot, to remind us of what made the original such a fun film, ranging from the chemistry, be it comedic or heartfelt, between each member of the team as they embark on another mission to save the galaxy before they are recruited to save our own next summer, a focus on the unique worlds that make up Marvel’s colorful universes outside our own and the equally unique and statuesque alien designs, sure to garner Marvel another Oscar nomination for Makeup come 2018 (which one is sure the comic fans who subscribe the whole “Marvel vs DC” ideology will want now more than ever as Suicide Squad just transcended its critical limitations and won an Oscar in the same category two nights ago), and, of course, a teaser for what to expect on Awesome Mixtape #2, this time in the form of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”.

It also decides to expand on smaller characters from the original film – Michael Rooker’s Yondu and Karen Gillan’s Nebula – who are now full fledged members of the Guardians and the hardships their involvement are sure to guarantee, new reveals of Pom Klementieff’s Mantis and an adorable deal of emphasis on Baby Groot, who, much like his adult counterpart, is sure to garner a major fan base between now and opening night. And, like any good preview, the trailer ends on a perfect note to leave the fans wanting until the evening of May 4th: the Guardian’s encounter with Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell) and his take on an iconic line from the mechanical mouth of Darth Vader. The summer already sounds like its off to a strong start with James Gunn at the helm.

Two weeks after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the universe becomes a cold, monochromatic labyrinth once again as Ridley Scott continues where he left off with 2012’s divisive Prometheus with the promise to take us deeper down the rabbit hole of the time that was before the crew of the “USCSS Nostromo” discovered no one could hear them scream in space in Alien.

The latest trailer for Mr. Scott’s Alien: Covenant, due out May 19th, tells a different story than Guardians of the Galaxy, that of the crew (including Katherine Waterston sporting a very Ripley-like haircut, Michael Fassbender as this ship’s “trustworthy” android, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Billy Crudup, La La Land’s Callie Hernandez and James Franco, of all people; basically, the largest assembly of A-list stars to be slaughtered by hostile extra-terrestrials since Tim Burton blew up congress in Mars Attacks!) of the ship “Covenant” as they travel the galaxy in search of new planets to colonize and inhabit. As is the custom for any crew of a movie with “Alien” in the title, the “Covenant” lands on a planet that seems to be the place of dreams, from breathable air to grain crops, until a familiar breed of chest-bursting parasite returns to reestablish its position on the food chain of cinema’s most terrifying monsters (although, as tends to be the case when CGI comes into play, the limber (and completely digitized) Xenomorph in its early stages of evolution revealed in the final frames does leave one longing for the days of Tom Woodruff Jr. in expertly applied makeup scuttling around darkened sets).

Currently yet to be featured in the marketing as of now, another form of danger is sure to come in the form of David (also being played by Mr. Fassbender), the now-bodiless android whose machinations ultimately damned the crew of the “Prometheus” and led scientist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace, confirmed to return, though to what extent hasn’t been confirmed yet) deeper into space in search of the Engineers and answers for their hatred of their creation (you know, the questions that left “Alien” fans angry at the end of Prometheus). Whether “Covenant” decides to leave its questions as open ended as “Prometheus” did is sure to be a point that will further unite or divide the “Alien” fanbase, but the marketing so far seems to be a decent indicator that Mr. Scott will be delivering to audiences a product sure to be on a level close to his classics.

It’s ultimately hard to believe the summer and its movie season are already approaching, but the season is quickly making its way here and, if the new trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy and Alien: Covenant are any indicator, 2017’s upcoming crop of summer films – ranging from the tales of Amazonian princesses and spider men to Christopher Nolan’s love letter to 70mm filmmaking and the war that will determine whether the planet is one of man or a planet of the apes – are looking to be a benchmark of the power that can still be found in mainstream cinema. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what it brings.

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