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The Playlist

From 'La Femme Nikita' to 'Lucy': Director Luc Besson Talks The Strong Women In 6 Of His Key Films

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 22, 2014 3:54 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Lucy, Scarlett
For a man who makes his living writing and producing muscular action movies like the "Taken" franchise, Luc Besson is a filmmaker who has continually shown an amazing sensitivity and fondness for strong female characters. These aren't buxom bimbos that wield Uzis and mutter one-liners; these are fully dimensional characters that Besson is seemingly fascinated by, since they turn up in everything from historical epics to tiny, Kapra-esque comedies. The newest Luc Besson heroine is the title character played by Scarlett Johansson in this week's "Lucy," about a young woman who, after accidentally ingesting an experimental drug, unlocks the potential of the human brain. It's crazy and kind of awesome, and the latest in a long line of Besson's strong female characters.

Watch: 1-Hour Extensive Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Making Of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • May 21, 2014 11:36 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Black Swan
Anyone who paid attention to the behind the scenes rumblings of Darren Aronofsky’s recent “Noah” knows the type of passion evident in the director’s work, and photographer/filmmaker Niko Tavernise, superbly and consistently, has provided a insightful peek into that creative process. Part of Aronofsky’s close circle since “Pi," Tavernise has already crafted extended making-of docs on “The Wrestler” and “The Fountain” (which we’ve already highlighted), and now he’s turned his familiar gaze onto Aronofsky’s striking 2008 psychological thriller.

Women Out Earn The Men In Forbes List Of Hollywood's Best Actors For The Buck Led By Emma Stone

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 3, 2014 10:07 AM
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  • 14 Comments
While Hollywood's current formula is focused on the lucrative model of making sequels and reboots, the always difficult to decipher question is figuring who to lead these valuable properties. And while the industry continues to present more complex, interesting leading opportunities to men (particularly when it comes to blockbusters), it might be time to change their thinking.

Review: 'Thor: The Dark World' The Most Deeply Flawed Marvel Movie Since 'Iron Man 2'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 8, 2013 12:08 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Thor: The Dark World
The first "Thor" movie was something of a risk for Marvel. Wisecracking Robert Downey Jr. in a (relatively) grounded real world setting was one thing, but a Viking god from space, played by a complete unknown and directed by a man best known for Shakespeare adaptations was quite another. But the 2011 film, while flawed in many ways, proved surprisingly entertaining and teed up both its title character and his villainous brother Loki for a return appearance in the team-up movie "The Avengers," which turned out to be an absolute megahit. As such, the studio must be feeling on surer ground with "Thor: The Dark World."

30 New Images From 'Thor: The Dark World' Plus New Clip & Featurette

  • By Edward Davis
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  • October 18, 2013 4:57 PM
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  • 3 Comments
“Thor 2: Everyone Was Asgard Fighting” is just a few short weeks away from hitting theaters like an Asgardian mallet to your marketing senses. It’s already screened for press in the U.K. this week, including our man in the London cubicle, but by Odin’s beard we simply cannot say anything right now about it. What’s it about? Well after restoring the good times to Earth and the Nine Realms, a new ancient race led by Maliketh (Christopher Eccleston) threatens to plunge the universe into a darkness they haven’t seen until the last time some baddies promised to plunge the universe into darkness. This foe is so badass that Thor has to turn to his treacherous broseph Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and form a shaky alliance with him so things don’t go to pot.

Watch: 2-Minute Short ‘Illusions & Mirrors’ Starring Natalie Portman, Lensed By Darius Khondji

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 26, 2013 11:23 AM
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  • 6 Comments
It's hard to believe, but the last time we saw Natalie Portman on the big screen was in "Thor," and the next time we'll see her on the big screen is in the sequel this fall. And while she has a small handful of movies in the bank on the way, including two with Terrence Malick as well as the western "Jane Got a Gun," another project has emerged and made its way online.

'The Inhumans' & Female-Led Standalone Among Rumored Films Coming From Marvel

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 20, 2013 11:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments
With the ever expanding Marvel universe continuing to grow at a rapid rate -- next week sees the launch of "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." while an "Agent Carter" series is currently in the works -- and Phase Two already mapped out, attention and speculation is now being turned to Phase Three, and what heroes the comic studio will bring next to the big screen. And a couple of possibilities have been swirling in the rumor ether over the last week or so.

Watch: New Trailer For 'Thor: The Dark World' Throws Down The Hammer

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 7, 2013 8:59 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Thor: The Dark World
While "Thor" was initially perceived as potentially the goofiest possibility in the Marvel universe, the studio quickly made it clear that theirs was a grounded hero, with mythological family issues and galactic romance for an Earthbound woman. And when titling the sequel, "Thor: The Dark World," it's clear that things are going to get both bigger and badder with the second standalone movie. But how does it play out?

Natalie Portman Reportedly Gearing Up Her Directorial Debut 'A Tale Of Love And Darkness'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 22, 2013 4:35 PM
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  • 4 Comments
A Tale Of Love And Darkness Natalie Portman
Is the next step for Natalie Portman the director's chair? She's pretty much done it all as an actress thus far, indie movies, big blockbusters, romance, dumb comedies and everything else in between. Hell, she's got an Oscar on her shelf too. She's made inroads as a producer putting her name to "Hesher," "No Strings Attached," and "Love And Other Impossible Pursuits" (though she probably wishes things had gone a bit smoother with "Jane Got A Gun"). So why not a feature length directorial debut? She's already helmed a couple of shorts, including one in "New York, I Love You" and it's something she's had her eye on for a while. Indeed, it looks like a project we forgot about is kicking back to life.

Ben Affleck To Star In David Fincher Thriller 'Gone Girl'; Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron & Emily Blunt Eyed For Female Lead

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 11, 2013 1:00 PM
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  • 33 Comments
Affleck, Gone Girl
Following the flop of "The Lone Ranger," we here at The Playlist have been discussing what this means for future projects on Disney's slate, and more specifically, David Fincher's "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea." As you might remember, Fincher's pal Brad Pitt passed on the lead role, and the other actors the director is looking at the for the part (Channing Tatum among them) aren't available until next year. But following the twin disasters of 'Ranger' and "John Carter," is Disney really going to flip the switch on this project, especially with a director who demands as much financial freedom and creative control as Fincher? Or is it another ambitious concept that's a dicey prospect for a four-quadrant hit? We're sure those discussions will be ongoing at Disney (who are yet to greenlight it) but until then, Fincher is moving on his next feature.

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