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Thompson on Hollywood

First Look: Cumberbatch Causing Epic Destruction in 'Star Trek Into Darkness'?

Check out the new poster for J. J. Abrams' upcoming "Star Trek Into Darkness." Abrams will preview new footage and offer an intro to the world on December 9 and 10.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 3, 2012 12:45 PM
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TV: J.J. Abrams' 'Revolution' in NC, Ciaran Hinds Joins 'Game of Thrones' & the Haunting Trailer for 'Homeland' Season 2

J.J. Abrams' latest TV show, "Revolution," has begun location shooting in Wilmington, North Carolina. Set fifteen years in the future, "Revolution" is a dystopian sci-fi drama, with the rural NC location evoking a once civilized landscape that has been taken over by nature...
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • August 17, 2012 3:54 PM
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Amazon Prime Instant Adds 'Fringe' & 'West Wing' to Library for a Supernatural-FBI-Clinton-Administration Summer

Fans of showrunner-creators Aaron Sorkin and J.J. Abrams will find this exciting: Amazon announces today a licensing agreement with Warner Bros. to add both "Fringe" and "The West Wing" to its Prime Instant Video library this summer. Both titles were previously unavailable.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • July 20, 2012 2:01 PM
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Paramount and Bad Robot Extend First-Look Deal to Late 2015

Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot Productions are extending their exclusive first-look agreement through the end of 2015. Why wouldn't they? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • February 22, 2012 8:46 PM
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CASTING WATCH: Brit Go-To-Guy Benedict Cumberbatch Rides into Star Trek

Benedict Cumberbatch can ride that "War Horse" all the way into production on J. J. Abrams' "Star Trek" sequel. The actor ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Atonement," voices in the upcoming "The Hobbit") has boarded the Paramount franchise, and rumor has it it's to play to play the villain...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 5, 2012 10:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Brand New Spy and Cult Classic Alias Play Spy Game--by Different Rules

In this week’s “Now and Then” column, Matt Brennan takes a look at two players in the small-screen spy game, the new Sky 1/Hulu comedy Spy and J.J. Abrams breakout cult hit, Alias.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 31, 2011 3:45 AM
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Oscar Talk Mid-Summer Outlook: New Rules, Midnight in Paris, Streep vs. Close

Oscar Talk Mid-Summer Outlook: New Rules, Midnight in Paris, Streep vs. Close
Kris Tapley and I reconvened over Skype for a mid-summer Oscar Talk (below). We covered quite a bit of ground. New Academy rules affect the top ten best picture ballot, VFX, documentaries and animation, but not foreign eligibility. New members may tip the scale as well on a more mainstream selection.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 8, 2011 5:08 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Super 8 ILM VFX Master Dennis Muren Talks Spielberg, Going Back to 70s

Super 8 ILM VFX Master Dennis Muren Talks Spielberg, Going Back to 70s
Dennis Muren is the godfather of visual effects artists. Hired by George Lucas in 1976 to work on Star Wars and help launch Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), he went on to make the key breakthroughs that led to where VFX are today. Muren has won nine Oscars, including Visual Effects awards for Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Abyss, Innerspace, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Return of the Jedi, E.T., and The Empire Strikes Back. He masterminded everything from the miniature dogfighters in Star Wars to the first fully CG larger-than-life Hulk.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 20, 2011 8:40 AM
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News Wrap: Abrams Opens Up on Super 8 Secrets, Apple Threatens Cable, Boondock Saints Web Sequel

During production on Super 8, director J. J. Abrams was notably secretive--as producer Steven Spielberg likes to be as well, preserving the mystery, hiding the alien. Now that the film has delivered a strong $35.5 million opening weekend, he is being less tight-lipped. [SPOILER ALERT] In an interview with MTV, Abrams was open about the many-limbed, mysterious monster in the film. He noted that Neville Page, the same man who created the monster in his 2008 film, Cloverfield, designed the creature for Super 8, but there was no “same-universe” connection. “They actually look very different,” he said, “but they both have two eyes, a nose and a mouth. So, in that regard, it also looks a lot like Laurence Olivier!" He said creating the creature was a balance; the alien needed to be scary, but also relatable, something that could be “full of rage and also could be emotional and nuanced.” (The bar for scary/relatable alien design was really set by District 9.)
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • June 15, 2011 3:58 AM
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Weekend Box Office: Super 8 Pulls $38 Million, Beats X-Men: First Class for Number One Slot

Weekend Box Office: Super 8 Pulls $38 Million, Beats X-Men: First Class for Number One Slot
As Paramount labored to both downplay expectations and build up word-of-mouth via advance sneaks, Super 8 exceeded box office predictions and got off to a strong start. Anthony D'Alessandro reports:Super 8’s projector bulbs burned brighter than expected as Paramount’s sci-fi drama bested its lowest box office estimates by 52% for a wondrous weekend estimate of $38 million. Concern that J.J. Abrams’ cinematic love letter to Steven Spielberg would bow to dismal results provoked Paramount to hammer the film’s critical acclaim into gold by unspooling the film on Thursday at 300-plus sites (including 239 IMAX hubs) via a Twitter promotion. One couldn't expect record grosses from a limited release: thus Thursday’s $1 million take amounted to cherries on Paramount’s sundae.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • June 12, 2011 4:52 AM
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  • 4 Comments

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