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Thursday
Apr162015

Moviepie reviews TOM SAWYER & HUCKLEBERRY FINN

From Moviepie:

As someone whose entire appreciation of Mark Twain's work comes from movies, I wholeheartedly support adapting his classic novels for film. Without the 1973 version of Tom Sawyer or the 1985 ABC Weekend Special Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn, I'd never know how fun and engaging his stories could be...because I tried reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the folksy vernacular stopped me dead on the first page (don't tell anyone!). The latest version of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn is an excellent introduction to Twain for modern kids, and even includes the author as a character in the movie.

The film begins with Mark Twain's grandchildren clamoring for him to tell them a story. Twain (Val Kilmer) begins narrating the tale of Tom (Joel Courtney) and Huck (Jake T. Austin), following the novel as closely as anyone could while reciting it off the top of their head. Though the story takes place over one hundred years ago, the friendship between these two spirited boys is as timeless as ever. Their nose for adventure frequently gets them into trouble, but they have a way of working even that to their advantage. The famous scene where the boys con neighborhood kids into paying them to whitewash a fence (his punishment) is a classic example of their ability to turn lemons into lemonade.

Somehow the boys' shenanigans seem more suited to an earlier time, but the consequences of their actions are no less severe than they would be today. A night spent in the graveyard seeking a cure for warts instead results in the boys witnessing a murder. Though they vow never to mention what they saw, they have to come forward when an innocent person is accused of the crime. Soon the boys are drawn into a courtroom drama, and they've made an enemy out of the real killer. This would be enough excitement for most kids, but there's still a perilous treasure hunt on deck for Tom and Huck. Tom even finds time to become "engaged" to that nice Becky Thatcher (Katherine McNamara).

Wednesday
Apr152015

Get Ready for the Season Premiere of "The Messengers"! 

Wednesday
Apr152015

The Messengers - Exclusive Interview with Trey Callaway

From Spoiler TV:

Interview with Trey Callaway - The Messengers

SpoilerTV: What motivated you to become involved in The Messengers?

Trey Callaway: The minute I read Eoghan O’Donnell’s beautifully written pilot, I knew it was a show I wanted to watch—not to mention be a part of. The characters are compelling, relatable, and all in great periods of crisis in their lives, which made the pilot rich with the kinds of conflict I love to write. Then you play all that out against a colorful, complex, and powerful mythology of literally biblical proportions—and I was hooked. But what really sealed it for me was meeting with Eoghan for the first time. He’s a tremendously intelligent, talented, and humble writer from Arkansas, whom I felt immediately bonded to. Also, I’m from Oklahoma—so we’re both from the Heartland and have not only been steeped in religion, but also share a passion for science and exploring the beliefs of others. He was also in the same place I was when I began my television career, in that both of us got our very first pilots picked up to series (mine was a science fiction series called MERCY POINT on the now defunct UPN Network). So I immediately recognized that look on his face—the one that says “Okay, I just won the lottery—now what do I do?” And fortunately, I’ve been doing this long enough now, that I knew what needed to be done. First and foremost, I wanted to help protect his vision—and then hopefully help ensure we get to keep telling the story of THE MESSENGERS for many seasons to come. 

STV: As many know, you were Co‐Executive Producer of NBC’s fan favorite series Revolution. What have you found to be the most significant difference between working on Revolution and working on The Messengers?

TC: Well, for starters, Eric Kripke was the showrunner of REVOLUTION. That meant he was the boss—the buck‐stops‐here individual who makes all final key creative decisions related to the show. And because I had already worked with him on his other successful show SUPERNATURAL (I created the popular Ghost Facer characters in an episode I wrote during season one), I already admired him a great deal—and knew my purpose there was to work with the other writers to help him tell the stories he wanted to tell. But on THE MESSENGERS—I was in Eric’s shoes—which come with a great deal more responsibility. A showrunner isn’t only the head writer on a show—but is also tasked with supervising the actors, as well as all aspects of production and post‐production. In other words, you don’t sleep a lot. But it’s the greatest job in the world and I’ve loved every minute of working with Eoghan, the rest of our amazing writing staff, the talented cast, and our extraordinary crew. 

STV: The trailers indicate the “big bad” of Season One will be the Devil played by Diogo Morgado. Can viewers expect to see other villains in the form of demonic creatures introduced throughout the season?

TC: It’s true… Diogo Morgado does indeed play Lucifer, The Prince of Darkness—and believe me, he’s devilishly good at bringing a deeply manipulative and complex level of evil to the role. But no, he will not be our sole antagonist in the show. During the first season, THE MESSENGERS will be challenged to find and stop the mythical FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE. And while our interpretation of them may be uniquely grounded in many respects—with each of them facing the same kinds of difficult choices THE MESSENGERS do—they are flirting with a much darker destiny which may even put them in conflict with the Devil himself. 


STV: On the topic of Diogo, fans are excited to see his portrayal of the Devil which is quite a leap from his recent role as Jesus in Son of God. Was this previous role taken into account during the casting process or was it an interesting coincidence?

TC: It was really more of an interesting coincidence—but while the two figures couldn’t be more different ‐ I will say that like Jesus—Satan is an extremely complex character. And it took a performer of Diogo’s caliber to bring that kind of complexity to life in each role. I’ve often said that as frightening as he may be—there is arguably no more vulnerable and insecure figure in all of history and mythology than the Devil. He has been cast down from Heaven for hubris—not just once, as described in the Christian Bible—but now twice, when we first meet him in our series. And believe it or not—he’s profoundly hurt by those experiences. So on THE MESSENGERS—you occasionally find yourself feeling sorry for him—at the same time you fear him. And I think that’s a great testament to the nuance and skill with which Diogo takes on the role. 

STV: The press release indicates The Messengers awaken with special gifts ranging from healing to increased strength. How often are these gifts featured and do they play a prominent role in the development of each of the characters?

TC: Indeed, each of THE MESSENGERS has been given a supernatural gift from God in order to help them work together and attempt to stop the Apocalypse. But each gift is custom tailored to who they are as human beings—as if a higher power has looked inside each of them, identified a key weakness, and then given them a powerful tool to not only save humanity, but ultimately save themselves. 

STV: In regards to character development, will we learn more about each of The Messengers backstories? How much will their previous relationships factor into their new mission?

TC: I think I speak for Eoghan and the rest of our writers when I say that delving into who our characters are—past, present, and future—is one of the most satisfying aspects of THE MESSENGERS. These are not superheroes. These are real human beings who have been drawn together at what may the worst possible time in their lives, by an unexpectedly shared destiny they do not understand, and in some cases refuse to accept. And I think that whole notion of what it means to become a reluctant warrior or prophet in a search for greater meaning in life—is what makes our show so profoundly enjoyable to watch. 

STV: Is the series based on good versus evil or is it more focused on the individual choices made by the characters?

TC: This show is all about choices. Good ones… bad ones… and all the grey areas in between. THE MESSENGERS have to make choices—in both their personal lives and regarding their destiny as Angels. The Devil has to make choices—about his relationship to both God and humankind. And the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will have choices to make as well… which may or may not seal their fates for all eternity.

STV: Some people fear the series will focus too heavily on religion, specifically Christianity. If you had the opportunity to speak to these people what would you tell them?

TC: I would tell them that this is a television show, first and foremost. We’re here to entertain, not preach. And the show is extremely thrilling, sexy, romantic, action‐packed, and scary. But it’s also very thought‐provoking and emotional. And I think every episode of our season makes you think and feel things that you might not get from the average show—no matter what you believe in. Being in the writers room on THE MESSENGERS was often like being in the center of a great theological discussion or debate. With very few exceptions, most of the world’s great religions have their own version of an Apocalyptic end days scenario. And even in the world of science—once the sun expands and the Earth burns—things don’t end well for any of us. So in that sense, all of these different belief systems begin to feel like they’re each wells on the same river. And like the characters at the heart of our show—we came at the material from many different spiritual perspectives—or in some cases, no beliefs at all. But we always embraced great tolerance and respect for each other. Because at the end of the day, I think our audience will realize just like we did that THE MESSENGERS is not a show about religion. It’s a show about faith. The faith we have to find in ourselves when times are tough. The faith we have to put in others—even when they’re complete strangers. And maybe, just maybe, the faith we may have to ultimately place in powers far greater than ourselves. 

STV: Does Season One end on a cliffhanger or will fans receive closure if the series isn’t renewed?

TC: Let’s just say it’s an extremely satisfying ending to our first season—but it is by no means the end of the story! 

STV: If you were able to have one of The Messengers gifts which would you choose and why?

TC: That’s a great question. I’m not sure I’d want any of them, to tell you the truth. Because as our characters will learn over the course of the first season—each of their powerful gifts also exacts a price in their lives. But I guess I would have to admit it would be pretty cool to have wings—if only to get me from LA to Albuquerque (where THE MESSENGERS is filmed) a lot faster! 




STV: Finally, for anyone who is unsure whether to tune in, can you tell viewers why they should check out The Messengers?

TC: Look, I don’t think all the Apocalyptic or Post‐Apocalyptic stories we’ve all seen on TV or at the movies have happened by accident. I think they reflect a general sense of unease that people have with the state of the world we’re living in. I mean, once you take climate change, political turmoil, military conflict, socio‐economic disparity, and a whole host of other problems—then broadcast them day and night on 24 hour news channels—it’s a wonder we’re not all sucking our thumbs in the fetal position. But the thing we’re probably most proud of in our first season of THE MESSENGERS is the overwhelming and emotional sense of HOPE that exists at the heart of every episode of this series. It’s like we’ve somehow managed to say—without always overtly trying to say it—that in the end, everything’s gonna be okay. Sure, one day we’re all gonna die. And maybe one day, the world as we know it will finally come to an end. But it’s the search for meaning in our lives—and the people we love who help us find it—that makes life truly worth living. And THE MESSENGERS truly worth watching.

Wednesday
Apr152015

Joel Courtney and Jon Fletcher Discuss ‘The Messengers’

 

The CW’s set to premiere the new sci-fi series The Messengers, featuring angels, the Devil, and threats of an impending apocalypse, on April 17, 2015 at 9pm ET/PT. Jon Fletcher stars as Joshua, a televangelist who’s one of five people transformed when a meteor crashes to earth. Joel Courtney co-stars as Peter, a high school swimmer who’s been the constant victim of bullying and is also transformed into a ‘messenger’.

Fletcher and Courtney were among The Messengers cast members who showed up to talk about the new show at the 2015 WonderCon in Anaheim, CA. While neither actor wanted to give too much of the story away, however Fletcher did reveal that his character will be the only one of the five people who understands what’s going on. “Everyone else wakes up after the death and they don’t know what’s happening. He’s the only one who does,” explained Fletcher. “It’s a very tough thing for him because his whole belief system comes crashing down. It sets him on a very dark path, but it gets a lot darker.”

Initially, Fletcher had no idea his character would be going down a dark path, but he ultimately found that twist to be quite compelling. “”He’s just very passionate,” said Fletcher when asked what it was he liked about Joshua. “It’s funny, I don’t have the faith that he has. I have faith but it’s a different sort of faith that Joshua has, so it was interesting to come from that and approach this. The research I was doing on these modern-day preachers – there’s a guy in New York called Carl Lentz who wears a leather jacket, tattooed, has a shaved head. These guys, they’re so passionate that I would sit there for hours watching this guy talk even though we have different beliefs. I was that captivated by just his passion, and that’s really what drew me to Joshua is this passion and this drive that he has. I think that’s where I could relate to him.”

“You’ll see him ebb and flow back and forth between the church,” added Fletcher. “It’s a really tough struggle that he goes on trying to figure out the father that he loved and believed in, whether he was wrong. Whether the way I’ve been raised has been lies.”

And Fletcher really enjoyed performing scenes as a pastor. “I did, yeah,” said Fletcher. “I come from theatre so it was very theatrical. That was the first scene I did shooting the pilot. So it was like being home in that sense of just walking on stage in front of 200 extras. I had a blast. They were very lovely and let me riff and let me improvise. It was the most fun.”

Courtney, best known for his starring role in Super 8, has a background of competitive swimming which came in handy as his character is a swimmer. “That was actually one thing when I first read the script, ‘Oh, this is awesome. I can actually do that.’ The swimming, not just the acting,” said Courtney, laughing.

But the initial appeal of playing Peter was the internal struggle he undergoes in the series. “I always found that amazing. The first draft of the pilot which is quite different from what [the pilot] is today…because obviously the script goes through changes…but, I just loved the script. Immediately within 42 1/2 minutes I loved each character. It was amazing that within such a short period of time and with such a big cast, you distinctly know each one of them and you really feel for them. I really connected with Peter. I thought, ‘Wow, what a rough background and a childhood to come from.’ I just found that really interesting. I dived into that head first.”

– More The Messengers interviews: Diogo Morgado / Sofia Black D’Elia

Watch the full interview with Jon Fletcher and Joel Courtney:

-By Fred Topel and Rebecca Murray

Tuesday
Apr142015

‘The Messengers’ Producers Pull Back Curtain on New Supernatural Mystery

From Spinoff

 

Joel Courtney as Peter

Joel Courtney as Peter

 

In The CW’s upcoming supernatural mystery “The Messengers,” a mysterious object plummets to Earth, sending out a shockwave that imbues a select few with the ability to prevent the impending apocalypse.

Ahead of the premiere on Friday, executive producers Trey Callaway (“Revolution,” “CSI: NY”) and Eoghan O’Donnell (“Teen Wolf”) sat down with journalists at WonderCon Anaheim to discuss the evolution of the series, and what to expect from the first season.

Warning: Some mild spoilers for “The Messengers” lie ahead.

On where and how the story begins:

Trey Callaway: This is the story of five, ultimately, perhaps more, characters who are different ages, different walks of life, spread around the world, who would otherwise have never crossed paths with each other if destiny hadn’t intervened. The one thing that they all have in common is they’re all at severe periods of crisis in their lives, no matter what different kinds of forms that might take.

Then, as you saw from the pilot, a meteor strikes Earth and in that moment, they all drop dead where they stand only to come back to life a few minutes later with an awareness that something is different. […] They don’t fully understand the circumstances of why until Episode 2, when destiny pulls them together largely through the character of Rose who we’ll get to know a lot more [about] in Episode 2 and beyond.

That’s when they are informed of their new mission in life, whether they choose to accept it or not, whether they believe or not in any of what’s being laid before them. So this is, as I said, this is a story of strangers having to put their faith in each other to try and prevent the beginning of the end.

 

Eoghan O’Donnell: And they’re Angels of the Apocalypse, which is an important, simple thing about it. They will have to face off against some evil forces going forward and they’re going to get a clearer sense of their mission in the second episode. I actually think it’s public knowledge what that mission is?

Callaway: Yes, it is. They’re informed, through a series of circumstances in episode two, that they are, as Eoghan said, Angels of the Apocalypse, and it is their job to find and stop the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from breaking a series of fateful seals that will bring about The Rapture and The Apocalypse, as foretold in the Book of Revelation.

O’Donnell: They need to prevent the devil from getting to those people first.

Callaway: That’s right.

On guest stars:

Callaway: We’ve gotten some amazing guests to come and join us and play in our ambitious sandbox. That’s been wonderful. We can’t tell you yet which one, if any of those, will be future messengers. But by the end of season one, our entire team will be fully assembled … there will be seven, in accordance with biblical prophecy.

On developing the characters:

Callaway: It really comes down a lot to how different can we make each of these people. In terms of their back-story on a personal level, in terms of their geography, in terms of their upbringing, the cultures, the different religious beliefs that they may or may not have.

O’Donnell: Just coming at it from all sorts of different angles. Because it’s all about the search for meaning, but it’s how you can go about it. So we wanted to bring together a really diverse cast.

Callaway: They’re all at difficult points. They’re at a difficult juncture in their lives. Again, whether they understand it or fully accept it initially, what they will come to understand is they need to bond together, not only for the greater forces that are threatening the world, but also to better themselves individually.

 

Do they have the right to refuse this gift or this responsibility?

Callaway: They have the gift. It’s up to them whether or not they choose to use it, whether or not they choose to unite with the others, whether or not they choose to be a part of the process. But destiny is a very powerful force. It’s not easily denied. So, some of them will push harder than others against that destiny and, throughout the season, you’ll see what that results in.

Why is the series set in Houston? Will the reason be revealed later on?

O’Donnell: There is a final reason, but it also feels like a very American city. It’s very … if the Apocalypse is going to happen, maybe it’s gonna be in Houston.

Callaway: Eoghan is from Arkansas, I’m from Oklahoma. Texas was fair game. [laughs]

Is having a shorter season helpful in focusing the story or do you feel constrained by it?

Callaway: Would we rather have 22 [episodes]? Do we hope for that for Season 2? [laughs] Yeah, you bet! But the 13, [I actually like] quite a bit because it lent itself very well, particularly to our Season 1 mission for the Messengers. When you do the math, as we had to, breaking out the search for the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse lent itself well to a 13-episode structure.

O’Donnell: It felt natural, somehow. And I also like it because it allows you to kind of focus your serialized stories in a way that’s fulfilling for the audience.

”The Messengers,” which stars Shantel VanSanten, Sofia Black-D’Elia, JD Pardo, Joel Courtney, Diogo Morgado, Waylon Brady and Jon Fletcher, premieres Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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