Zayn Malik Didn’t Make Any Friends In One Direction

With boy bands, even broken ones, you always hope that everyone is friends backstage. There’s an image of the group projected onto the world that suggests that the group is tight-knitted. Fans hope that, throughout their musical journeys, they remain friendly and agreeable throughout it all. But that’s apparently not the case for One Direction — at least, as Zayn Malik tells it. He claims he isn’t in communication with his former collaborators.

The revealing comments came during Zayn Malik‘s recent interview with Vogue. As he explains it, things between the band weren’t exactly peachy when he was around, but it sounds like the comments got worse once he left One Direction and forged his own path. He claims that “snide” comments were made, the likes of which weren’t appreciated by the solo musician. It doesn’t sound like Malik is looking to forgive or find forgiveness with the rest of the group, so that might dash any hopes of a potential One Direction reunion being in the midst. But Zayn also claims that he is a bit of an “island.”

These comments are not the first time that Zayn Malik has spoken out about how little communication he holds with the other members of One Direction. As the musician admitted in another interview, he no longer talks to Harry Styles, and he’s not surprised by the lack of dialogue between them. Zayn has a history of talking unkindly about One Direction and his days spent inside the band, and it’s not surprising that they wouldn’t be willing or eager to say nice things in return. Nevertheless, it does continue to shatter the illusion that these gentlemen enjoy (or enjoyed) the other’s company.

Here’s what Zayn Malik said about Harry Styles during that earlier conversation.

While One Direction fans are likely used to Zayn Malik saying not-very-nice things about his claim to fame, it is always a sour subject, and it doesn’t sound like things between the group have gotten sweeter over time. Nevertheless, should Malik or any of the other members of One Direction change their tune, be sure to check back in with CinemaBlend for all the latest updates, developments and more.

People On The Internet Are Blaming Godzilla For Japanese Island Disappearance

An incredibly odd occurrence off the coast of Japan has people wondering if a giant lizard might be to blame. A small uninhabited land mass 500 meters off the coast of a small fishing village named Sarufutsu has seemingly completely vanished from the ocean. The complete destruction of a Japanese landmass? There’s really only one reason something like that could happen. Godzilla.

It seems that recently, a small island that used to be visible off Japan no longer is. This is causing some to go “search” for the island in order to see what happened. Apparently, a Japanese author who once produced a book about Japanese islands noticed that the spot, called Esanbehanakitakojima, didn’t seem to be there anymore. Residents of the fishing village seemed to confirm that while they could previously see it from the shore, they no longer could.

While some seem to be blaming constant erosion from wind, or rising sea levels caused by climate change, others have a more insidious theory. Japan’s largest contribution to pop culture, Godzilla.

From a geographic perspective, the island is actually important as CNN reports it used to mark the northern border of Japan. With it no longer really there, there could be disputes about where Japan’s sovereign territory ends and Russia’s starts.

The Godzilla theory is an especially fun one as November 3 marked the anniversary of the wide release of the original Godzilla movie in Japan, and is recognized in the island nation as the character’s birthday. Perhaps he took the opportunity of the anniversary to reward himself with a little snack.

Of course, there are other theories about what may have happened to the island. If it wasn’t Godzilla, then clearly it was a James Bond villain or some other nefarious evil mastermind showing off the awesome power of his super island destroying death ray.

As officials begin their search for the missing island, I certainly hope they find it. It should be right where they left it, just under the surface of the water. The last time the island was surveyed, several decades ago, it was apparently only a few feet above sea level, so the fact that it’s gone from view shouldn’t honestly be all that shocking.

Of course, if they can’t find it where it should be, we’ll have to start wondering just what Godzilla has been up to. If they can’t locate the giant lizard, they should be able to catch him during the upcoming press tour of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the new film starring the kaiju beast that will hit theaters in May.

Why Arrow Fans Like Olicity So Much, According To Emily Bett Rickards

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bigger Olicity fan than Emily Bett Rickards herself. Felicity Smoak’s chemistry with Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen is the foundation for a hugely popular TV couple. Why have they earned such a devoted fan base, after seven seasons on Arrow? Rickards shared her thoughtful take on the ship:

I really like that “honest” is her first description here. Emily Bett Rickards’ Felicity Smoak wasn’t even envisioned as a regular Arrow character back in 2012, but now she’s an indispensable leader of Team Arrow. The chemistry between Felicity and Oliver grew organically from colleagues and friends to a lot more. They weren’t pre-made as a couple. The two characters just clicked, and slowly over time we’ve seen them grow as a realistic couple — even in a not-so-realistic superhero universe with endless obstacles and drama across multiple timelines.

As Emily Bett Rickards noted to TV Guide, that helps to make Olicity a perfect inspirational “goals” couple. Maybe it’s a stretch to think we can all find our own Olivers or Felicitys in our personal Star Citys, but they make it look possible and grounded in reality. That authentic connection helps fans stay invested in the characters’ journey. And it has been quite a journey so far.

Prison walls are keeping Felicity and Oliver apart in Season 7, which has been tough for the fans and the characters. We know it’s not going to get easier anytime soon. Showrunner Beth Schwartz warned TV Guide that Olicity’s marriage will truly face the test as we move forward in the 2018-2019 season:

There’s that term again: Authentic. Sounds like that honesty may be threatened in the Monday, Nov. 12 episode, “The Demon,” when Felicity discovers a secret about Oliver “that shocks her.” Beth Schwartz had previously said that, even though we won’t see Felicity and Oliver together right away, their stories are working toward the same goal.

During last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con, Emily Bett Rickards told CinemaBlend she’d like to see more small-scale crossovers in the Arrow-verse, including having her Felicity call The Flash‘s Iris West for tips.

For now, Arrow continues Mondays at 8 p.m., with the three-night “Elseworlds” crossover coming December 9-11 on The CW. Check out our fall TV premiere guide for more bookmark-worthy dates.

Matthew McConaughey Could Have Played Jack In Titanic

Despite being released back in 1997, James Cameron’s Titanic is arguably just as relevant today as it was when it hit theaters and broke endless box office records. Just about every line of Titanic is quotable, and the performances by Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are arguably the most iconic and well-known of their respective careers. But other actors went out for those roles, including Matthew McConaughey.

That’s right, it turns out that the Rom-Com favorite and Oscar winner could have been Jack Dawson, and actually went in to read for the part with Kate Winslet herself. Matthew McConaughey recently recalled this story, saying:

Well, this stinks. Nobody likes rejection, and it must have been worse considering Matthew McConaughey felt so confident after reading with Kate Winslet for Titanic. And when the movie ended up being the insane hit that it was, it must have been especially painful for the Dallas Buyer’s Club actor.

The story of Matthew McConaughey’s killer Titanic audition comes from his recent appearance on THR‘sAwards Chatter podcast. Considering the actor’s long career in Hollywood beginning with Dazed and Confused, he’s no doubt faced plenty of rejections and auditions that were all for naught. But McConaughey isn’t a name typically associated with James Cameron’s behemoth blockbuster.

It’s hard to imagine someone else playing Jack Dawson, let alone Matthew McConaughey. While the actor has enjoyed a long tenure in the movies, his critical success is more of a recent event. His involvement in projects like Interstellar and The Wolf of Wall Street helped put him in more serious dramatic work, while Dallas Buyer’s Club and the first season of True Detective brought accolades his way. But prior to that, he was mostly known as the King of Romantic Comedies.

Of course, there’s also likely an upside from side stepping Jack Dawson in Titanic. While it brought Leonardo DiCaprio tons of money and success, it’s also the role that will likely follow the actor forever. DiCaprio has worked with everyone and finally earned his coveted Academy Award, but trips to the supermarket and the airport no doubt include people telling him he’s the king of the world, or asking him to never let go. It’s just that iconic of a project.

Titanic would not be the first time Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio’s paths crossed professionally. In fact, they starred in Martin Scoresese’s The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013– with both performances being critical successes. And the two actors are certainly not playing the same type anymore.

Matthew McConaughey will be next seen in Serenity, coming to theaters January 25th, while Leonardo DiCaprio just wrapped Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Zachary Levi Confirms That Shazam! Reshoots Are Now Underway

Reshoots. For some reason, they carry a negative connotation when it comes to blockbusters. Fans hear “reshoots,” and they panic, assuming that something is broken, and needs to be fixed. This is not accurate. DC Comics fans hear reshoots, and they get even more triggered. They, however, have real reason. Shazam! appears to be undergoing reshoots, per a post from star Zachary Levi. Let’s discuss what this means after the image:

Zachary Levi plays the grown Billy Batson, a teenage boy who is blessed with the powers of a superhero when he shouts the name Shazam. The trailer for the movie tips audiences off to how Billy gets this power. It involves a wizard who chooses the kid to represent the six immortal elders. And yes, the movie seems to be sticking closely to the hero’s origin.

But with Zachary Levi Instagram posting about “additional photography” from Toronto means that reshoots are underway on the DCEU’s only big-screen blockbuster of 2019 — after all, Todd Phillips’ Joker movie is a one-off, and Wonder Woman 1984 moved to 2020.

Reason to panic? Not in the slightest. As we mentioned above, reshoots are customary on major tentpole films such as this. Special effects are added to sequences throughout the process, and directors realize that they need some additional photography — as Zachary Levi puts it — to complete scenes or bridge a gap that might exist in the storyline.

It’s understandable why DCEU fans might be a little nervous when they hear the “R” word being used on one of their movies. The most recent chapter in the ever-expanding DCEU underwent significant reshoots when Justice League hired Joss Whedon to “fix” what Zack Snyder had started.

I’m not certain that you coud actually call them reshoots, however. It was more like a complete and total overhaul, as Whedon reportedly embarked on an effort to alter the tone of Justice League from the darker and broodier vision of Zack Snyder to a lighter, more audience-friendly take that would satisfy a broader base of fans.

Also, there was the mustache issue with Henry Cavill. The less we say about that CGI trainwreck, the better.

Reshoots on behalf of Shazam! likely wouldn’t be this extensive. For starters, there hasn’t been a severe director switch behind the lens on Shazam!, with original helmer David F. Sandberg overseeing the shoot from start to finish. Also, the tone on DC’s Shazam movie appears to have been decided very early on, embracing a goofier approach to what’s normally serious superhero material. Jokes don’t have to be added to Shazam! after the fact in a rewrite or in reshoots. They’re already part of the process.

And they have been evident in both the movie’s early marketing, and the first full trailer. Because Billy Batson is a kid in a superhero body, he basically behaves like a teenager. Early posters have Shazam blowing huge bubblegum bubbles, and chugging Big Gulp sodas. While in the trailer, the biggest laugh happens when Billy does the Floss dance in his Shazam costume:

Reshoots on Shazam! don’t have us concerned, but we do understand why there’s all of a sudden more pressure on this standalone origin movie than was previously the case.

A few months ago, DC had three high-profile movies carrying the load in 2019. Shazam! would kick things off, but even if it faltered, all eyes were on Patty Jenkins’ and Gal Gadot’s highly anticipated follow up, Wonder Woman 1984, to arrive in November and close the year off on a high note.

The 2019 slate for the DCEU also included this oddball Joker movie that Todd Phillips is shooting with Joaquin Phoenix. It’s exactly the type of risky play that Warner Bros. needs to do with its DC properties, instead of chasing the interconnected world that has been established over at Marvel Studios. If the Joker movie succeeds, think of the number of fascinating characters who could hold down solo movies without feeling the need to advance a larger story like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League were compelled to do.

However, Warner Bros. shifted Wonder Woman 1984 out of 2019, giving Patty Jenkins the June slot she coveted. (The sequel will now arrive in theaters on June 5, 2020.) Meaning there’s now a brighter spotlight on Shazam! to entertain, because it’s the only real DCEU movie hitting theaters in a year where rival Marvel is going to conclude the Avengers: Infinity War cliffhanger, introduce their own Captain Marvel, and follow Spider-Man on a European mission.

No pressure, Zachary Levi.

Why is it so important for Shazam to catch on with current audience members? Because the DCEU is shedding recognizable characters, so they need new ones to catch on.

While the world waits for the Wonder Woman sequel, and James Wan puts the finishing touches on an Aquaman movie centered around Jason Momoa, word breaks that Henry Cavill likely is done playing the Man of Steel in the DCEU (at the very least, there is no planned Superman movie on the studio’s radar). And Ben Affleck’s time in the cape and cowl of Batman appears to be at an end (especially if Matt Reeves get the greenlight he seeks to recast).

DC could use a few more heroes on which it can build, the way that Marvel created franchises out of Thor, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy. It benefits them if Shazam! is a smash, because then Zachary Levi could be counted on to produce in sequels, and those sequels could be used to bring in more recognizable DC faces. Like Black Adam. Rocky, are you ready for your closeup?

The future of the DC Extended Universe is actually clearer and more stable than it has been in years past. Beyond the movies mentioned above, the studio is making major strides on its Birds of Prey movie with Margot Robbie returning to the role of Harley Quinn. And they struck a deal with James Gunn to write (and possibly direct) a new Suicide Squad movie. Imagine of he does for DC what Guardians of the Galaxy did for Marvel?

As for Shazam!, we’ll see how the reshoots helped or hurt the overall movie when David F. Sandberg’s film drops into theaters on April 5, 2019.

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Blumhouse Just Crossed An Incredible Box Office Milestone

Blumhouse is a tiny studio by most standards, but it’s been a big success. Following on the record box office of last month’s Halloween, the studio has now surpassed $4 billion at the global box office.

Blumhouse’s first wide release was the original Paranormal Activity movie in 2009. As Variety points out, the film cost all of $15,000 to make and grossed just short of $200 million around the world. Horror has continued to be the major focus for Blumhouse, as it’s the studio behind the Insidious and Sinister movies. It also has produced the Purge franchise.

There have been some exceptions, however. This year Blumhouse produced Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman and it was also the studio behind Whiplash, which won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for J.K. Simmons.

While the $4 billion milestone is certainly huge, the big thing to keep in mind regarding Blumhouse is that a lot more of that money is profit for the studio than it would be for your average producer. Blumhouse routinely keeps the budgets low, which means that when a movie doesn’t work at the box office, the cost is low, but when it does, the profits are substantial.

And for all the success that Blumhouse has had, there have certainly been some bombs as well. Blumhouse brought us Jem and the Holograms back in 2015. The movie did so poorly in theaters that the rare decision was made by distributor Universal to pull it from theaters early. Last year’s Amityville: The Awakening did over $7 million in business overseas, which helped make up for the fact that the domestic take for the film is officially listed as $742. No, I didn’t forget any zeroes.

Blumhouse really started to make waves last year with the one-two punch that was Get Out and Split. Both movies were released early in 2017, both were solid box office success. Get Out went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and win an Oscar for Best Screenplay for writer/director Jordan Peele. Split became something of a career resurgence moment for M.Night Shyamalan, who was able to go on to make a sequel in the upcoming Glass. Both films are also the two highest grossing movies from the studio worldwide, with the new Halloween following close behind.

With the upcoming release of Glass, a new film by Jordan Peele, and a likely sequel to the new Halloween on the way, it seems likely that Blumhouse success is only just beginning. It may have taken the studio nine years to make the first $4 billion, but it seems likely the next $4 billion will come much faster.

2019 will see Glass, Jordan Peele’s Us, as well as the sequel to Happy Death Day. That should make it a pretty good year for the studio, as they start work on their next billion.

Sons Of Anarchy Is Probably Getting Kicked Off Netflix Soon

This week marked the freshman season finale for FX’s Mayans M.C., the pretty stellar sequel series for the exhaust-pumping and face-bruising drama Sons of Anarchy. The flagship series has been off the air since 2014, but has remained as popular as ever due to it being a mainstay on Netflix for quite a few years now. It sounds like that reign might be over soon, though, as Netflix is reportedly getting rid of Sons of Anarchy in December.

More specifically, it’s looking like December 1 will be the day that Sons of Anarchy rides off into the non-Netflix sunset. (Note that this news is apparently specific to the company’s U.S. audiences, and not international ones.) The proof here, as it were, is Netflix itself. Below, you can check out the show’s Details page, which pinpoints the removal date.

No direct and lengthy reasons were given, obviously, but we can draw some conclusions as to why Netflix would be parting ways with Sons of Anarchy, despite the biker drama being one of the streaming giant’s most popular licensed series. The biggest factor has to be the lack of a current deal between Netflix and Fox, with the most recent partnership dissolving back in August 2017.

Since that time, Netflix has steadily been purging various Fox and FX shows from its library, which is why you can’t find animated hits like Bob’s Burgers or Archer anymore, nor live-action winners like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Empire. (As well, nothing that has hit the network in the past two fall seasons.) In fact, Sons of Anarchy is one of few Fox and FX projects that still remains, and it’s unclear how long others like American Horror Story and Gotham will stick around.

Netflix has gotten more comfortable with cancelling its own produced series recently — check out our full rundown — so it’s assumedly easier for execs to say farewell to other studios’ content. But even though it’s losing all kinds of shows to other companies diving into standalone streaming services, Sons of Anarchy‘s popularity with customers made it seem worthy of whatever it took to keep it around Netflix for as long as possible.

Sons of Anarchy‘s influence is still felt in many places — even in Canada, strangely enough — and it will likely continue to keep bringing in new viewers. Even if it doesn’t happen to be streaming on Netflix when that happens.

Of course, Netflix isn’t the only streaming giant on the block anymore. Hulu stepped up its licensed TV game in recent years as Netflix made its own a second or third priority, and that’s where you can find a lot of Fox and FX’s original series. The Gifted, Lethal Weapon, Hell’s Kitchen, Legion, and more.

Yes, Hulu is also where Sons of Anarchy fans can currently find Jax Teller and his violently botched attempts to bring peace and non-violence to Charming, California. All seven seasons of Kurt Sutter’s brutal epic are available for streaming in full.

Since Sons of Anarchy is set to exit Netflix’s streaming library soon, that’s probably pretty convincing evidence that Mayans M.C. won’t ever end up at the company. The Latinx spinoff isn’t yet available on Hulu, however, so perhaps conversations are happening behind the scenes.

Is Finn Using A Lightsaber Again In Episode IX?

Production on Star Wars Episode IX is currently underway and while we’ve heard a few rumors here and there about things that might happen in the film, we really have no idea what’s in store for our favorite characters. However, John Boyega’s recent response to a fan has people wondering if we might see his character Finn pick up a lightsaber again, as he did in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Here’s the exchange.

The fan mentions his hopes to see Finn be a “badass hero” in Star Wars Episode IX, which includes seeing him holding a lightsaber once again. John Boyega responds with an affirmative statement, so perhaps this means we could see Boyega take hold of the Jedi weapon at some point.

Of course, Boyega could simply be responding to the part about Finn being a “badass hero” in Episode IX. Perhaps we’ll see the character kick some ass and take some names in the new film, even without a lightsaber.

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens Finn in given the Skywalker lightsaber after Rey refuses to take it. He takes on a Stormtrooper with it and even takes on Kylo Ren himself, though it doesn’t go well.

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi Finn doesn’t get to swing a lightsaber at any point, but I would take issue with the idea that Finn has not been a badass character previously. He does take on Captain Phasma one-on-one in that movie and he takes her down, complete with the “rebel scum” quip. He got to win a fight and say something cool at the same time. I’d say that’s pretty badass.

Still, it does make the mind wander as to what exactly might be in store for Finn in Star Wars: Episode IX. Star Wars: The Last Jedi reunited him with Rey and the rest of what’s left of the Resistance. The small band could fit entirely inside the Millennium Falcon.

It’s difficult to guess what could be in store for Finn and the rest because we don’t really know where the final film of the trilogy will start. While The Last Jedi opened immediately following the events of The Force Awakens that was an anomaly as far as Star Wars movies go. Usually, there are multi-year gaps between them, so if that happens here, any number of things could have transpired off-screen, starting Finn’s journey in the film literally anywhere.

Maybe Rey has been training him to use the Force? While that’s a longshot, it could explain why he ends up with a lightsaber, assuming that does, in fact, happen. We’ll find out in December of 2019, unless a trailer lets us know first.

A Breaking Bad Movie Is Happening With Creator Vince GIlligan

With Better Call Saul currently one of the more popular and obsessed-over TV shows on cable, AMC is clearly not finished mining Breaking Bad‘s mythology for spinoff projects. Perhaps surprisingly, though, the next chapter of Breaking Bad‘s tale will come in the form of a movie, with creator Vince Gilligan at the helm. Will it be all good, man?

A Breaking Bad movie has been something fans have been asking for ever since the show was still on the air, and it looks like AMC and Vince Gilligan landed on a concept and pitch that made everyone finally decide to go whole hog in jumping back to that world. How exactly Gilligan will go about resurrecting the beloved crime drama is a mystery for the moment, as is the format it will be released in. However, there are at least some clues about where the story could be headed.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the logline for the in-development film says it will “track the escape of a kidnapped man and his quest for freedom.” So, if the story is covering a timeline that follows Breaking Bad‘s stellar finale, then it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that the “kidnapped man” is Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman. (If it’s a prequelized story, then I’m clueless.)

After all, Jesse was indeed kidnapped by the neo-Nazis and made to do their meth-related bidding. It was only when Walt showed up with his inexplicable trunk-fulla-guns and laid those Season 5 villains to waste. The last time viewers caught sight of Jesse, he was indeed making his escape, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say he was embarking on a quest for freedom. Or even just a quest for a hot shower and some fresh laundry.

Another potential clue to where things are heading is the Breaking Bad film’s reported shooting title, “Greenbrier.” Now, shooting titles are often just temporary placeholders that don’t draw major attention. Often, the temp names are random and meaningless, but is it possible that “Greenbrier” refers to the area that the “kidnapped man” heads to in making his escape?

Perhaps the most familiar Greenbrier in the country is in West Virginia, which could very well be where Jesse (or whoever) ends up in making their escape. We know from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul that Robert Forster’s “The Disappearer” is capable to giving people brand new lives and identities when they’re on the run for whatever reason.

To bring this round of speculation full circle, what I really want to see from this Breaking Bad movie is for the story of “kidnapped man” to cross paths with Bob Odenkirk’s Gene from Better Call Saul‘s flash-forwards. That timeline may be deeper into the future than where the movie will start things off, but that would possibly be the easiest (and most excellent) way to tie all three projects together. Assuming that connecting everything is what Vince Gilligan has in mind.

On a slightly less speculative tip, we’re obviously wondering where this Breaking Bad movie is going to show up in our lives. Obviously, the goal used to be to spin a small screen project into a feature set for theatrical releases. While that could definitely still happen, it’s easier to assume that AMC will be handling the project in-house to release through its streaming service.

For one, AMC did just recently announce a smorgasbord of new and interesting projects that will expand the Walking Dead franchise in huge ways. In particular, the network will produce a series of films centered on Rick Grimes, but likely without any kind of theatrical push. AMC is planning on all kinds of additional specials, miniseries and spinoff series, too. So even though Breaking Bad doesn’t have quite the same kind of universe to pull from, perhaps fans could see more than just one Heisenberg-esque follow-up project from Vince Gilligan.

Another reason why this new Breaking Bad direction appears set for television is that the project will reportedly be the first one Vince Gilligan tackles in his overall deal with Sony Pictures TV that was made official over the summer. That factor doesn’t necessarily preclude it from showing up on the big screen — I’d like to see that blue meth in IMAX — but it’s a safer bet that AMC will be putting the film directly into people’s homes upon release.

Stay tuned to see what’s happening next with this Breaking Bad film, which is set to begin production in mid-November, and will go until February. Let us know what you think “Greenbrier” is about in the comments, too. Maybe it’s a code word that really means “Walt’s Not Dead,” and we just have to figure out how to put two and two together.

While waiting to hear what happens, be sure to catch up with all the Breaking Bad-related fun on Better Call Saul, which can be streamed in full on its service AMC Premiere. (Season 4 is set to hit Netflix at some point, but probably not until next year, closer to Season 5’s premiere.) In the meantime, the fall tv premiere schedule is also full of great shows that will hopefully deserve spinoff movies one day.

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What It Was Like Filming Outlaw King’s Muddy, Bloody Battle Sequences

We’ve seen many different kinds of war movies set throughout all eras of society, but few get as sincerely chaotic as David Mackenzie’s upcoming Outlaw King. Not only is it a film featuring the execution of guerilla tactics, but the cinematography is specifically designed to highlight the insanity that is battle. It’s a standout element of production, and something I got to talk about with the director and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chris Pine:

Last month I joined members of the press flying out to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I sat down with the Outlaw King director and cast to talk about the new movie. It was in both my interviews with David Mackenzie and Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chris Pine that the subject of the chaotic battle scenes came up, and they explained how it was all brought to life.

Speaking from the actors perspective, Aaron Taylor-Johnson admitted that it was a taxing experience to create the mayhem-filled sequences of Outlaw King — which includes a fire-filled midnight ambush, and a fight set in what’s basically a giant mud pit. Tough as it was, though, it was all part of the director’s vision, and that’s what they signed up for. Said Taylor-Johnson,

No, it was pretty chaotic, and relentless, and grueling. And I think that’s again, Mackenzie’s way of filmmaking. He likes to capture that essence, and therefore creates that kind of environment where it is authentic and real and chaotic.

When I spoke with David Mackenzie later in the day, he confirmed that his personal filmmaking style isn’t one that is all about structure. While making the battle sequences he had multiple cameras running, and apparently never explicitly explained to his performers what was being captured — instead letting them just exist in the atmosphere:

Well, as the director, I like things to be very loose. I liked my actors to improvise a bit. I like to, you know, not have a very big difference between when we’re on and when we’re off, not really to know, and for everyone to inhabit the reality of the environment in particular location.

Outlaw King is the second collaboration between David Mackenzie and Chris Pine after their work on the Oscar-nominated Hell Or High Water. This time around Pine is playing Robert The Bruce, a noble Earl who picked up the revolutionary torch left by William Wallace in 14th century Scotland. In the name of freedom, and not wanting to live under the boot heel of England’s King Edward I (Stephen Dillane), Robert led his small resistance group (including Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s James Douglas, Lord of Douglas) in a battle against tyranny, waging a bloody war and being declared by his followers as the Outlaw King.

The film makes you feel like you are on the battlefield right alongside Robert The Bruce and his men, and a great deal of credit goes to the cinematographer — who has some experience with capturing reality. As Aaron Taylor Johnson explained, it was shot by Barry Ackroyd, who not only has a background in documentaries, but also visceral thrillers like The Hurt Locker and United 93.

Barry Ackroyd shot this, and his whole background is documentary filmmaking. So it felt like we were a pack of wild animals, and it was capture what you can and there were moments of realism.

As David Mackenzie explained, there was simultaneously every effort made to make sure the set of Outlaw King was as safe as possible, including not only the stunt work, but also all of the performing with the horses. At the same time though, if you watch the film and feel like you’re watching madness unfold, then that means Mackenzie accomplished his mission.

Following its premiere earlier this fall at the Toronto International Film Festival, Outlaw King will soon be arriving for consumption — but it won’t be at your local cineplex. Instead, Netflix subscribers will find it available to stream this Friday, November 9th. Give it a watch when it lands, and be on the lookout here on CinemaBlend for more from my interviews with David Mackenzie and the movie’s cast.

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