The Biggest Challenges To Bringing Rocketman To The Big Screen, According To Director Dexter Fletcher And Taron Egerton

A lot of footage was shown at CinemaCon this year, including but not limited to a Hobbs & Shaw trailer and the first 17 minutes of Toy Story 4. Among that footage was another glimpse at Rocketman, the upcoming Elton John biopic starring Taron Edgerton and led by Dexter Fletcher, who did reshoots on Bohemian Rhapsody recently. When asked at CinemaCon 2019 what the toughest part of bringing a real-life person like Elton John to light on the big screen, Fletcher revealed the musical numbers were often the hardest bits.

It’s not just the musicality that was tough but also getting Elton John right in 141 minutes. Dexter Fletcher said:

Onstage at CinemaCon 2019 as part of Paramount Pictures’ panel, Taron Egerton joined director Dexter Fletcher onstage, whereupon he was also asked what was the most difficult thing to manage while making Rocketman. Per Egerton:

That’s a lot to juggle and it’s not always easy to juggle, as we’ve seen with other musical biopics. First and foremost, directors have to service the story they are telling, which is why last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody changed the timeline narrative a bit. Yet, when that happened people were upset about factual inaccuracies in the movie and how it ultimately played out.

So far, Rocketman has already been in the press for allegedly editing down Elton John’s sex life, as well as nudity related to that sex life. Dexter Fletcher has already addressed the rumors, but it just goes to show that people want a movie that tells the truth but that is also a lot of fun. It’s not an easy feat to achieve.

Luckily, it sounds as if Taron Egerton at least got the spirit of Elton John right. Although the actor mentioned the singer has been pretty “hands off” throughout the whole Rocketman experience, Dexter Fletcher had nothing but praise for the younger actor, who also does his own singing in the movie.

In the extended footage we saw at CinemaCon shown on a large screen in Las Vegas, Rocketman looks even bolder and bigger than in the early trailers. If you’ve been a fan of recent musical biopics, this one might even blow those away. It may be my most highly anticipated movie this spring (and yes I’m including Endgame but obviously tastes differ). To see what Rocketman is competing with, take a look at our full movies schedule.

Zachary Levi Ate A Ridiculous Amount Of Food To Get In Shape For Shazam!

Zachary Levi was perfect casting to play the child in a man’s body that is the superhero Shazam. However, Levi didn’t necessarily have the body of a superhero when he was cast in the role. The actor has spoken a lot about what he had to go through to be believable as a superhero. It required a lot of work on his part, but a large amount of that work was actually eating.

While Zachary Levi spent a lot of time at the gym, as you would expect, that gym work was designed to convert calories into muscle, and so he had to consume a massive amount of calories in addition to his workouts. According to Levi…

A fairly standard adult diet would be something around 2,000 calories a day, which means that Zachary Levi was eating nearly double that along with working out nearly every day of the week. On the one hand, working out that much is going to require a pretty impressive calorie intake to keep you from feeling perpetually starved, but that’s still a crazy amount of food.

If you could eat anything you wanted then eating that much might not be all that bad, but as Zachary Levi tells People, it’s not like he just sat around and ate ice cream. I mean, it’s dairy so there’s some protein in ice cream, but there was probably a lot more meat and other more serious protein sources included. Levi has said his diet was basically meat and vegetables five times a day, and considering the calorie count, these were probably pretty close to full meals five times a day. Even with the hunger that you get from working out, I can imagine around meal number five eating more food is not what you’d want to spend your time doing, but it’s just as necessary as the exercise.

Being a movie star may be largely as glamorous as it appears to be, but sometimes there is some pretty serious work to be done. Levi says it was a dream come true to play the lead in a superhero movie but the guy had to work to make that dream a reality. While looking like a superhero can be done with padded suits and CGI, to feel like a superhero, you’ve got to still do a lot of the real work.

On the plus side, if you do throw in some ice cream, you probably burn it off pretty quickly based on how much you’re working out.

Based on Shazam!‘s opening weekend success, it looks like all the hard work was worth it. The film grossed over $50 million in North America and broke the $100 million mark in total overseas business. It’s another big hit for DC following Aquaman and Wonder Woman.

Will Ferrell And Adam McKay Are Breaking Up, Creatively, After 13 Years

Like Detectives Gamble and Hoitz, racers Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr., newspeople Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone, and stepbrothers Brennan Huff and Dale Doback, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have been an unstoppable team, finding success in Hollywood for over a decade. But all good things must come to an end, and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are breaking up, creatively.

The two men have decided to go their separate ways for future creative endeavors, thus ending a creative partnership that has lasted 13 years. Together Will Ferrell and Adam McKay formed the comedy generating production company Gary Sanchez, which spawned a spinoff company, the female-centric Gloria Sanchez. Those Paramount-based production companies will see through development and completion of their existing projects, but will probably be winding down as Will Ferrell and Adam McKay move on to new things.

In a statement released to Deadline, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay confirmed the split while ending things on a thankful and positive note. The statement reads:

Although they may be breaking up from their formal creative partnership, this parting is not an unhappy one, as the two seem to be quite thankful and proud of the time they spent together and projects they worked on. This is not an acrimonious split, but an amicable and mutual decision. While their business relationship is coming to an end, their personal one is not, and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay remain close friends.

This isn’t the end of their work together either. As they say in their statement, they will continue to work together creatively. The two still have a huge slate of shared projects, so although this is the end of one chapter of the Ferrell/McKay partnership, we may still see Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s name in the credits of future movies (fingers crossed Step Brothers 2 will reunite them one day).

The two have begun to diverge in their creative pursuits, with Adam McKay moving more towards politically charged films, like last year’s Vice, while Will Ferrell continues with the more traditional comedy fare that has made him a household name. As far as the future is concerned, the details are still being worked out, but both Ferrell and McKay will explore new endeavors and projects individually, and they are each expected to form new ventures for their post-Gary Sanchez careers.

So ends a partnership that is probably best measured in the number of laughs delivered. In addition to collaborating as producers on films like Daddy’s Home, Adam McKay directed Will Ferrell in a slew of modern comedy classics, including Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Anchorman and Anchorman 2, The Other Guys and Step Brothers.

Will Ferrell will next be onscreen later this year in James Franco’s long-delayed Zeroville, a star-studded film about Hollywood in 1969, not to be confused with Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is also a star-studded film about Hollywood in 1969. That should make for an interesting double feature.

After his multiple Oscar nominations for Vice, Adam McKay is next attached to direct Bad Blood, another ripped-from-the-headlines story, this one about biotech entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes. The film is supposed to star Jennifer Lawrence and Will Ferrell is also attached as a producer.

Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of all the movies coming to theaters this year, and let us know your favorite Will Ferrell and Adam McKay film in the comments below.

Avengers: Endgame Will Complete Captain America’s Arc, According To Chris Evans

Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t going anywhere, Avengers: Endgame does mark the end of an era. Concluding both Phase 3 and this incarnation of the MCU that began in 2008 with Iron Man, the expectation has been that Endgame will either be the last time we see certain characters or mark their final appearance as major players in this franchise. Chris Evans’ Captain America is one of the top candidates on this particular list, and while we’re still not sure what fate holds in store for the Star-Spangled Man with a Plan, Evans did confirm that Endgame will wrap up the hero’s arc in the MCU. In Evans’ words:

Chris Evans would have said more on that subject, but then he was interrupted by Robert Downey Jr. making a buzzing noise and saying “Judges?”, which was unquestionably a warning to Evans that he was too close to spoiler territory. From there, Evans spoke the “connections and friendships” he’s made during his time working in the MCU, prompting Downey to troll Evans about not making it to Paul Rudd’s birthday party. So while no more beans were spilled plot-wise, tea was spilled regarding cast gatherings.

This was just one of many topics discussed during the recent Avengers: Endgame press conference that CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg attended, but it’s safe to say that what will happen to Captain America is one of the biggest concerns fans have going into this movie. When Chris Evans joined the MCU nearly a decade ago, he signed a six-movie contract (not including cameo appearances), though because that only took him through Avengers: Infinity War, he had it extended to he could appear in Endgame.

Beyond that, there’s been no indication that Evans will be around for Phase 4 and beyond, and Evans’ latest comment reaffirms that the arc that began with Steve Rogers being injected with the Super Soldier Serum in World War II, will reach a conclusion of sorts. However, just because the arc will end doesn’t necessarily mean that Avengers: Endgame will permanently conclude Steve’s story. Either way, hopefully fans will be pleased with the final stretch of this journey that kicked off in 2011 with Captain America: The First Avenger.

There hasn’t been any shortage of theories of how Avengers: Endgame will end for Captain America, from being killed in battle to somehow traveling back in time to live out the rest of his years with Peggy Carter. That said, after Chris Evans tweeted about officially wrapping Endgame last October that indicated this was his final MCU appearance, the actor clarified soon after his post should not be taken as a spoiler.

Several months later, Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo said that Evans is “not done yet,” and that audiences would soon understand what he was talking about. That seemingly indicates that Captain America won’t die in Endgame, although let’s be honest, even if Cap did meet his demise, that doesn’t prevent the character from popping back up in flashbacks, hallucinations, etc. Whatever Endgame holds in store, given how the upcoming slate of Marvel movies looks, it’s reasonable to assume that Cap will be taking a backseat in this world as new and recently introduced characters are more prominently featured.

Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. For those wondering what’s coming up after this gigantic spectacle, look through our Marvel movies guide to learn what’s lined up for Phase 4.

Zoe Saldana Reveals How She Honestly Doesn’t Know Gamora’s Destiny In Avengers: Endgame

We lost a lot of fan favorite characters at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, but one of the most emotional losses came long before “the snap” when Thanos sacrificed his “daughter” Gamora in order to obtain one of the Infinity Stones. Of course, the Infinity Stones themselves mean that death is not necessarily permanent, but don’t try asking Zoe Saldana what the future holds for Gamora, because even the actress herself says she doesn’t really know. Because of the way the actors are never given the whole story on set, Saldana admits she has no idea what, if anything, is next for Gamora…

Zoe Saldana’s comments to the New York Daily News are well structured as to not specifically give anything away. Still, you could certainly take her comments to mean that Gamora at least has some scenes in Avengers: Endgame. Of course, she could also be trying to intentionally misdirect by implying that when it’s not the case.

Zoe Saldana makes it sound like she doesn’t know if her character is brought back to life by the end of Avengers: Endgame or not, which seems unlikely, as one would certainly assume that if she did come back to life, she filmed a scene in which that happens. Still, considering how little some the Marvel actors are told, even about the scenes they are actually filming, it’s possible the actress was in a scene and didn’t really know what it was that was being filmed.

Of course, the fate of Gamora is a bit more important to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that we know that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is actually happening. It’s difficult to imagine a third Guardians film that doesn’t include Gamora, but such a thing is certainly possible.

Of course, if we wanted to take Zoe Saldana’s statement at face value, the idea that she doesn’t know Gamora’s destiny could simply mean she doesn’t know where the road ends. Maybe Gamora does return to life, and Saldana even knows that, but if she doesn’t know what Guardians 3 has in store for the character, then the character’s true destiny is still up in the air.

This is a lot of hair splitting to be sure, but that’s what you’ve got to expect as we sit here mere weeks away from finally seeing Avengers: Endgame. We’ll have a lot of answers very soon, but until we get them, anything is possible.

Why Keira Knightley Isn’t Down With Nude Scenes Anymore

Keira Knightley’s new movie The Aftermath came out earlier this year. It’s notable for being a period drama that Knightley took that’s not set in the corset era, but also because it has nude scenes, scenes Knightley notably used a body double for. While Knightley has revealed she was excited about using a body double, she’s not particularly excited about getting naked on the big screen these days. She said:

Speaking to the Sunday Times, the actress noted that she’s a mom now. Her body has changed thanks to bearing a child and she’s simply not as excited about foisting her naked body on the entire moviegoing audience anymore.

It’s not that she’s seemingly opposed to nudity or topless scenes like some actress are. She notably has filmed a slew of sex scenes during her career and some of them have bared more than others. While filming The Edge of Love she opted to go topless, saying at the time she doesn’t love bras in sex scenes. That’s not the only time she’s done a scene of that ilk either, although she’s previously said she’s never revealed her bottom half.

This time around, though, she was all about the body double, also telling Good Morning America that she had the best time picking out a woman to play her body in The Aftermath.

From the looks and sounds of things, we might not be seeing the Pirates of the Caribbean actress undress on the big screen in the future either, since she seems to be having a lot of fun with the finding a body double stuff.

Interestingly, it’s not like Keira Knightley just recently hired her first body double. She also used one in the 2007 film Atonement for her feet and she used a body double for her butt in the flick Domino.

So, she’s sort of waffled back and forth between what she’s willing to throw up on the big screen and what she’s less jazzed about. In this case, the postwar film has a lot of moments between the sheets, but it’s not Keira Knightley you’re looking at. When she is shown onscreen in the early previews for the movie, she’s covered up by sheets or wearing lacy bits.

The Aftermath is still out in limited release.

How Much The Live ActionAladdin Could Make Opening Weekend

One of the pillars of Disney’s absurdly stacked 2019 theatrical slate is the live-action remakes of the studio’s animated classics. The first of this year’s remakes, Dumbo, just hit theaters at the end of March and now we can begin to look ahead at the next one on the docket, May’s Aladdin. Although Dumbo may be an exception, past live-action remakes have proven especially lucrative for Disney. So, will Aladdin too enjoy Cave of Wonders-like riches at the box office?

The early tracking is in for director Guy Ritchie’s remake of the beloved 1992 film and if one of Disney’s wishes was for Aladdin to have a big opening weekend, that wish looks like it may be granted. Opening over the long Memorial Day weekend, Aladdin is tracking at a three-day weekend between $70 million and $95 million and a four-day between $85 million and a huge $115 million according to Box Office Pro.

After Dumbo’s somewhat lackluster debut a couple of weeks back, a big opening for Aladdin could get these live-action remakes back in the win column. Dumbo opened below expectations to $45.9 million, which is on the lower end of Disney’s recent live-action remakes, eclipsing only Pete’s Dragon and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Yet Dumbo faced mixed reviews. Plus, as a remake of a much older film, it doesn’t have quite the same nostalgic potency of something like Aladdin, which hails from the much-heralded Disney Renaissance.

This long-range tracking for the three and four-day weekend is very broad and could see Aladdin swing either way with the result being tens of millions of dollars difference. An opening weekend on the low end of tracking at $70 million would put Aladdin behind only Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book and the absolutely massive Beauty and the Beast, which opened to $174.7 million.

Based on the current tracking, Aladdin definitely wouldn’t take that top spot (The Lion King is coming for that), but it could overperform and surpass The Jungle Book’s $103.2 million opening to snag the third-highest opening weekend for a Disney live-action remake. Either way, it looks like Aladdin should land in the upper echelon of this category.

The original Aladdin opened back in November of 1992 and earned $19.2 million in its first wide weekend and went on to become that year’s biggest film at the box office, with a domestic haul of $217.4 million or $473 million in today’s dollars. That success is indicative of the love for the film and the nostalgic power it has over those who grew up with it. That bodes well for the film, as this tracking suggests.

However, nostalgia is a double-edged sword and the early marketing for Aladdin was met with concern at how Will Smith’s Genie looked, the visuals and the portrayal of Jafar. Following Robin Williams’ iconic performance –even 27 years later — is no easy thing. The most recent full trailer assuaged some of these concerns, but bringing back Alan Menken to do the music alone may not be enough to win over the most particular of fans.

So it will be interesting to see how the marketing affects this tracking between now and the film’s release. On the competition front, Aladdin opens two weeks after Detective Pikachu and two weeks before The Secret Life of Pets 2, those films being the most obvious competition for the family-friendly dollar.

The Memorial Day weekend is a huge one for moviegoing and although not necessarily competing for the same audience, Aladdin does have some interesting competition opening opposite it. The sci-fi epic Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt opens that weekend, as does the R-rated superhero film Brightburn and the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde, Booksmart. That’s a heck of a lineup, so forget cookouts and go hang out in the theater that weekend.

Aladdin shows us a whole new world when it opens on May 24. Check out our 2019 release schedule to see all of the movies you can look forward to the rest of this year.

How The Rock Could Look As Black Adam

Even before Zachary Levi was cast as the title character of Shazam!, Dwayne Johnson had joined the DC film universe as Shazam nemesis Black Adam. For a long time we assumed the two would face each other in the Shazam! movie but that’s not the case. However, the Black Adam movie is still very much on track, and as we begin to look forward to that, artist BossLogic gives us a taste of what we might be in for once The Rock transforms into Black Adam. Check it out.

Created as a teaser movie poster for the forthcoming Black Adam movie, we see Dwayne Johnson’s character sitting on a throne, with a defeated Superman crumpled to one side. We don’t really get a great look at Black Adam’s face, but it’s still a fantastically menacing image.

Black Adam doesn’t make an appearance in Shazam! but the story does make a reference that fans of the character will recognize. The tagline included on the BossLogic poster references the fact that in DC Comics continuity, Black Adam was a previous recipient of the power of the wizard Shazam.

However, it seems that we’ll find out what’s happening with Black Adam fairly soon. Dwayne Johnson recently revealed that filming on the Black Adam movie is expected to start sometime next year. If that’s the case, we could see the movie as early as 2021.

Depending on which version of the character we’re getting when Black Adam finally makes his debut on the big screen, we could be seeing a straight up supervillain or we could get more of an anti-hero. If Black Adam is getting his own solo movie, than the latter scenario is probably more likely.

The next question becomes, will the Black Adam movie feature the return of Shazam! in any capacity, or will that meeting be left for a third film? It might make for a pretty solid trilogy, with each character getting their own full solo film before the big battle that one expects we will get between them.

Based on the opening weekend of Shazam!, seeing the character return seems quite likely. The film did a slightly better than expected $53 million, which, combined with paid previews from a couple weeks ago along with international business, puts the movie at nearly $160 million after its first weekend. Considering that Shazam! only had an estimated production budget of $100 million, the movie is well on its way to being a major success, even if it isn’t quite looking like it’s going to be doing Aquaman business.

If Black Adam looks half as awesome on the big screen as he does in this poster, we could in for a pretty amazing movie. The fact that the part is being played by Dwayne Johnson only increases those odds.

How Stephen King Really Feels About Pet Sematary’s Major Change

Warning: while the marketing campaign for Pet Sematary gives away the big change in the film’s plot, some audience members may have avoided the trailers for this very reason. If you’re one of those people, come back to this story after you’ve seen the film, as we’re about to discuss that change in depth.

Adaptations can be an author’s worst nightmare, as sometimes changes to the source material might make a film feel more cinematic, but betray the original vision of what inspired the film in the first place. No one knows this better than bestselling author Stephen King, who not only has had a tremendous amount of his works adapted for film and television, but isn’t particularly shy about whether or not he approves of the changes made. So seeing him give an official OK to Ellie Creed switching places with Gage as the child who dies to kick off the story’s later plot developments seems to fit with the author’s overall approval of the film in general.

In an email response to an inquiry towards this point, King provided the following remarks as to how he felt about the overall alteration of Gage and Ellie’s fates:

Stephen King’s acceptance of the change isn’t a total surprise, as actor Jason Clarke had previously signaled that the author was OK with making Ellie the victim of that infamous Orinco tanker truck. In his explanation, Clarke noted that a supporting reason for the change to Pet Sematary’s crucial fatality was the obvious issue of Gage’s younger age not exactly being the best choice for a cinematic villain. Sure enough, that reasoning seemed to pan out when Stephen King himself was contacted by The New York Times to discuss the big change to the 2019 adaptation’s narrative.

The decision certainly hasn’t dampened King’s response to the Pet Sematary remake, as the author loved the film so much, he dropped some pretty colorful language stating as much. For those of you who are worried this is an exercise in diplomacy, designed to play ball until the film’s initial release has passed, let’s not forget Stephen King’s response to The Dark Tower’s release. While he was initially diplomatic about the film’s decisions pertaining to approaching his legendary series, King did eventually point out the obvious flaws in that would-be franchise’s launch.

At this moment though, it looks like Stephen King not only enjoys Pet Sematary’s modern revamp, but that his excitement comes even after a pretty big change was made to his original story. With that stamp of approval now affixed to the film, it might have the potential to boost its standings during its second weekend of release, which in turn might only help bring more of the author’s work to the big screen.

Pet Sematary is currently in theaters, and if this change intrigues you, just wait until you see how it effects the overall third act of the film. And if you’re wondering what other Stephen King adaptations are heading to theaters in the future, we’ve got you covered with a release date rundown of our own devising.

Watch The Full Avengers: Endgame Scene That Reveals Plan To Take On Thanos

Last week, during the CinemaCon expo in Las Vegas, there was a scene shown to those in attendance that laid out the plan that Earth’s mightiest heroes hatched to take on Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. It’s footage that would probably drive the fans wild, provided they ever got to see it before release. Well, prepare for pure Marvel Cinematic Universe madness, as you watch that very clip below.