One night. Six friends. Twelve pubs. Total annihilation. Two posters have been revealed this morning for the Blood & Ice Cream trilogy ending installment The World’s End, which finds the Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz trio of director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost gathering for one final night on the town they’ll never forget.
Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer ride for justice in the fourth trailer for Walt Disney Pictures’ The Lone Ranger. Gore Verbinski directs this highly-anticipated action-adventure set in the Old West, where a Texas Ranger named John Reid (Armie Hammer) is transformed into a masked icon of justice, with help from the Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp). Watch the latest footage from one of this summer’s biggest cinematic events, in theaters July 3.
At just 14 years of age, Alia Shawkat found herself starring alongside comedic all-stars such as Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and David Cross in the Fox comedy series Arrested Development as Maeby Funke. 10 years and numerous film and TV credits later, the actress and the rest of this talented Arrested Development cast is back with 15 brand new Season 4 episodes, debuting simultaneously Sunday, May 26 on Netflix. After attending the press conference a few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to sit down with Alia Shawkat one-on-one to discuss this comedy’s return. Here’s what she had to say.
Since each episode this season centers on a particular character, I was curious how many episodes you show up in, aside from your Maeby-centric episode?
Alia Shawkat: I was shooting a lot of scenes for the first two months, and my episode wasn’t even written yet, so I’m doing things, but I wasn’t knowing why or what I was doing, so (series creator) Mitch (Hurwitz) would have to answer those questions for us. Within one day, I’d be shooting scenes from five different episodes, so it’s definitely confusing, but, as Jason (Bateman) said earlier, thank God I didn’t have to keep that all in my head. They would bring me new scripts sometimes twice a day, to the point where I didn’t want them to send them to me anymore, to save paper. I’ll just show up on set and read the new pages. I don’t need to read every script. But, yeah, Mitch has this crazy Arrested Development world circus in his head. You ask him any question, and he has the answer.
There are a lot of fan favorites who are coming back, like Carl Weathers and Henry Winkler. Who actually shows up in your Maeby-centric episode?
Alia Shawkat: I think some of it is a surprise. There are some new characters in my episode, and I think Henry Winkler is in mine, and Steve Holt (Justin Grant Wade), perhaps. I have a couple new characters that are strong, and Mort (Jeff Garlin) is back.
At the press conference, Michael (Cera) talked a bit about coming on the show at such a young age. During those first few seasons, was there anything you learned from all these guys that you will always take with you, about the craft?
Alia Shawkat: Yeah, definitely. I did the pilot when I was 14, and now I’m 24, so it’s been a decade, part of that being on this show. It definitely formed, whether we liked it or not, our sensibility, our sense of humor, our timing, and the way we read scripts. Working on scripts like that, at such a young age, definitely made it harder for any other scripts to live up to that, especially the kind of character I played, the easily-rounded character. Since then, I’ve read God knows how many scripts that are just like a horrible interpretation of that, but, Maeby being such a well-done version of it, I was able to tell that difference. Yeah, I feel very lucky. You’re able to work on something good, and it sharpens your palate.
I read you grew up in Riverside, which isn’t exactly O.C., but were there aspects of your childhood and your upbringing that did mirror Maeby’s path, in a way?
Alia Shawkat: To a degree, yeah. I have a slightly dysfunctional family, but still pretty functional, compared to this one. I grew up in Palm Springs, so there was this rich kid kind of vibe, old fathers, young mothers, people losing their money. The whole idea of false wealth was very prevalent where I grew up. I remember talking to Mitch about what it’s kind of based off of, experiences he’s had in his family, his in-laws and stuff, and it definitely relates. There’s something about suburban wealth in California that is unlike anywhere else, and it’s a funny, funny story to tell. Yeah, there are pieces I can definitely relate to.
Obviously you can’t spill a whole lot, but is there a part of this Maeby-George Michael relationship that you’re excited for fans to see in these new episodes?
Alia Shawkat: Honestly, I’m excited to see it too, because we shot a lot of stuff and I’m not necessarily sure what was chosen. It’s obviously talked about and it’s relevant, and it’s in our episodes, but I think it’s less on the nose than people might think. It’s not exactly answered straight-forward. It’s kind of like the way were were raised. Our reactions to our future relationships are affected by the way we were as kids together.
After all these years, is there a fan interaction that always sticks out for you?
Alia Shawkat: Everyone is pretty great, the fans. They know the show, so it’s not like a fame-hungry attention-seeking thing. They’re real fans, so they’re very respectful. I did meet a girl on a subway once, and she just hugged me and she was kind of crying and asked me if I could come home with her. I chose not to, but yeah, there’s definitely a strong kinship people feel. That’s the strange idea of fame anyway. People feel like they know you, but my favorites are when people walk by and go, ‘Hey, you’re really funny.’ And I go, ‘Thank you.’
Is there any amount of creative freedom that you’ve noticed by doing this on Netflix now, as opposed to the first three seasons on Fox. Are there boundaries you get to push that you couldn’t have otherwise?
Alia Shawkat: I think Mitch would probably recognize those differences more than I did as an actor, because it didn’t affect me directly. Even when we were on Fox, it was challenging because of the ratings. Again, that never affected me directly, but Mitch was still able, even if it was more of a battle, he was pushing the creative envelope and getting things out, even when he’s making fun of the network we were on, towards the end. He was never slighted, he was never dumbed down. He would just snap back in their face with something even funnier, before they realized they were being mocked. It is refreshing to have (Netflix chief content officer) Ted Sarandos on the set, laughing at every joke and is completely of the same spirit of Mitch and the show, which is let’s just make the funniest thing ever. It really sets the vibe on set.
I was on the set of The to Do List a few years ago, but I don’t think you were on the set that day. Do you play one of Aubrey (Plaza)’s friends?
Alia Shawkat: Yeah, I play Fiona, one of her best friends. It’s a great, great cast, and I think it’s going to be a very funny movie. A very fun summer flick.
I’m also very intrigued by Night Moves with director Kelly Reichardt. What was it like working with her?
Alia Shawkat: It was wonderful. It’s funny, actually, because when we were shooting this, I had to leave for 10 days to shoot that, and it’s a very different tone. It’s very realistic and slow, but she’s a wonderful director. Jesse Eisenberg was really wonderful to work with. It was very cool, but it was funny going on that tone, but then coming back to this, where it’s really fast-paced and the words are quick. With Kelly, we would improv and takes would go on for 12 minutes and we would just find it. I felt very lucky to have these two very opposite styles of acting. I play a girl named Surprise, one of the interns.
If Netflix picks up even more episodes, is there something you’ve always been dying to do with Maeby that you would want to explore, if given the chance?
Alia Shawkat: I could never come up with as many good ideas as they do, but I remember Mitch once emailed me, and asked if I could do a Liza Minnelli impression. I was looking up YouTube videos and trying, but it never made it into the script. I wouldn’t mind trying that.
Do you think the way this season was shot may revolutionize television in any way? I know it’s very hard to do something like this without a model like Netflix, but do you see others maybe taking off from this format?
Alia Shawkat: It’s been interesting, the last seven years, to see how the original show affected so many shows, the way shows are shot, and the dysfunctional family aspect. I guess mimicking is a form of flattery. I think that this format is a very challenging one, and Mitch is maybe the only genius who can pull it off. This format is really special, especially for the fans, because he’s giving them so much more content, all in this one big web, instead of piecemeal. It’s very impressive, and if anyone else can pull it off, I’d like to see them try. I think any good art inspires more art.
You said the ratings when you were on Fox didn’t really affect you, but is it still a relief to not have to worry about that at all on Netflix?
Alia Shawkat: Definitely. Again, I wouldn’t focus on it as much, but every week, we’d come back, and I’d hear Jason (Bateman) and people talking about how we didn’t do so well, and we were in competition with something else, or how we got bumped again, and American Idol was taking our spot. We never have a problem with ratings. We don’t need advertising. They used to say they never knew how to advertise the show. Just put up a f—-ing billboard, I don’t know. So, I think there is some bitterness that formed because of it, just because it was such a good show, and we wanted people to see it. But, as Jason said, three seasons in America, that’s a great amount of episodes to tell a story. It’s great to come back, because it’s a unique way of telling it, but I think we had our due diligence. The only thing that I thought was frustrating was if Mitch ever felt like it wasn’t good enough. Now he knows more than ever that it was too good. That was the problem.
They talked about how this is going to be the first act of three acts.
Alia Shawkat: Yes, I had just heard that since I’ve been here. That’s very intimidating.
Has Mitch shared anything with you about how the second act might play out?
Alia Shawkat: Sometimes, when we’re talking about a story line we’re shooting, I’ll ask a question, he would say, ‘Oh, and she does this, and this and this.’ I’m like, ‘Wait, what?’ And he says, ‘Oh, that’s not for awhile.’ I think part of the reason why Mitch is such a genius is he’s so present, not only as a person, but creatively. When one thought leaves, a really strong fresh one comes out. That’s rare to see in any person, and I think that’s what makes him so smart. He’s very focused on one step at a time. Even though there is the thought of a movie and 2,500 new episodes, who knows what will happen. He’s still editing, and I just want to work one step at a time, like he does.
Great. That’s my time. Thank you so much.
Alia Shawkat: Yeah, thank you very much.
You can watch Alia Shawkat as Maeby Funke in Season 4 of Arrested Development, debuting in its entirety Sunday, May 26 on Netflix.
A tortured Logan (Hugh Jackman) meets Jean Gray (Famke Janssen) once more in the action-packed second trailer for The Wolverine. Logan’s journey takes him to Japan in director James Mangold’s sequel, where he is offered the chance to be mortal by a man whose life he saved years ago, during World War II. Watch as Logan battles with samurai warriors, and his own inner demons, in this latest footage from the highly-anticipated summer movie, in theaters July 26. You can also clickHere to check out the character posters that debuted yesterday.
Warner Bros. Pictures has unveiled two character posters for Zack Snyder’s Superman remake Man of Steel. These new one-sheets feature a closer look at Kal-El/Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) in their full gear.
Disney has released the third TV spot for Gore Verbinski’s action adventure reboot The Lone Ranger. This latest look features Tonto (Johnny Depp) giving some much needed advice to John Reid (Armie Hammer) as they set out to end the villainous grange hall terror of Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner).
Anthony Hopkins has signed on for an unspecified role in the gangster biopic Gotti, just a few weeks after director Joe Johnston came on board to give the languishing project new life.
John Travolta stars as Gambino family crime boss John Gotti, with Kelly Preston portraying the teflon don’s wife, Victoria Gotti. The story follows Gotti and his son, who wants to leave the family business to start fresh on his own.
Leo Rossi and Lem Dobbs wrote the screenplay, based on an original idea by John Gotti Jr.. Marc Fiore, Ted Field, Thomas Devlin and Michael Froch are producing. Shooting is scheduled to begin in New York this September.
Anthony Hopkins will next be seen in Red 2, Thor: The Dark World, and in Noah.
Writer-director-star Zach Braff announced that Kate Hudson will play the female lead in Wish I Was Here. Take a look at the photo that includes a concept illustration for Kate Hudson’s character Sarah, the wife of Zach Braff’s Bloom, along with his full update from his Kickstarter page, which includes the cast he has assembled so far.
Years later, we have become good friends. There’s an added benefit in already being close with the actor playing opposite you; a familiarity that’s real and isn’t forced. As we shoot in August, I loved the idea of jumping into this movie-marriage with someone with whom I’ve already shared lots of laughs.
Backers, I am honored and excited to introduce our leading lady: Kate Hudson.
Allow me to introduce our starting lineup thus far:
P.S. We are about to be 40,000 people strong. Can’t stop smiling. Love you all,
The story centers on Zach Braff’s Aidan Bloom, a struggling actor who can’t quite provide for his family. When his father (Mandy Patinkin) becomes ill, he reluctantly agrees to home-school his father’s young children, which forces him to learn a lot about himself in the process. We’ll keep you posted as soon as more casting updates are announced.
Production continues in New York City on Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, with three more videos surfacing from the set. Two of today’s set videos show Megan Fox as April O’Neil and Alan Ritchson as Raphael rehearsing a scene in Times Square, with the third giving us a brief tease at a nighttime scene where numerous NYPD squad cars converge on a subway station. You can also clickHere to check out the set photos that debuted earlier today.
Russell Crowe’s Jor-El is put on display once again in a photo from director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, following the character poster that debuted earlier today. The story follows Kal-El/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), who was sent to Earth from Krypton by his father, Jor-El, when he was just an infant, and must now go on a journey to determine why he was truly sent here. Stay tuned for more photos and videos from this highly-anticipated superhero adventure, as we get closer and closer to the June 14 release date.
A snail’s journey from slow beginnings to the Indianapolis 500 is chronicled in the second international trailer for Turbo. Ryan Reynolds voices the title character, who dreams of one day being fast like his idol, five-time Indy 500 champion Guy Gagne (Bill Hader). When a mishap gives him the speed he has always wanted, this snail sets off on a journey to make his dreams come true. In addition, DreamWorks Animation has released a poster, which pokes a bit of fun at Universal’s Fast & Furious franchise.
McG has signed on to direct the languishing action adaptation Hunter Killer for Relativity Media. Antoine Fuqua and Gerard Butler were previously attached to direct and star, before they went on to make Olympus Has Fallen together.
The project is based on the novel Firing Point by Don Keith and George Wallace, which follows a new submarine captain who must work with a Navy SEAL unit to rescue the Russian president, and stop a rogue Russian general from starting World War III.
Jamie Moss (Street Kings), Arne Schmidt (The Express), and John Kolvenbach wrote the adapted screenplay, with Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe producing. No production schedule was given.
McG most recently directed This Means War for Fox and Three Days to Kill for Relativity Media.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier continues to shoot in NYC, and today brings our first look at Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) on the set. Check it out as the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. heads up a S.W.A.T. team in the middle of a city street as production marches forward on this Marvel Phase Two adventure.
Clive Owen and Billy Crudup star as two brothers whose relationship is put to the test in the international trailer for Blood Ties. In addition, we have the first poster for director Guillaume Canet’s crime drama, set in 1970s New York City. Clive Owen plays Chris, a criminal recently released from prison, while Billy Crudup portrays Chris’ brother Frank, a successful NYPD cop who wants Chris to start walking the straight and narrow. Watch the latest footage from this period piece, also starring Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, and James Caan.
New York, 1974. Fifty year-old Chris has just been released on good behavior after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Waiting for him reluctantly outside the prison gates is his younger brother, Frank, a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon, who’d raised them alone, seems strangely to prefer Chris - this, despite all his troubles.
Yet blood ties are the ones that bind. Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance; he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica. But Chris’ past quickly catches up to him, and his descent back into a life of crime becomes inevitable. For Frank, this descent proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother’s latest transgressions, he banishes him from his life
But it’s already too late; the brothers’ destiny will keep bounded, forever…
Peter Jackson has brought his crew and a great deal of his cast back to New Zealand this week for the final pick-up shots on both The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, arriving in December of this year, and the final installment The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which debuts December 2014. While Peter promises a video blog in the weeks ahead, he did offer up a set photo featuring him alongside Ian McKellen in costume as Gandalf, along with a short message.