Tag Archives: Harrison Ford

Peckham Lad John Boyega Hits The Stars in The Force Awakens

Courtesy of www.guardian.com
Written by Hermione Hoby
13.12.15

 

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John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Photograph: Film Frame/AP

The two things happened in a tight 90 seconds. First, there was ​the matter of pop cultural history being made. When Lucasfilm released a teaser trailer last month for The Force Awakens, the hugely anticipated seventhStar Wars movie that fans have waited a decade for, every detail in short duration seemed to become world talking points. In its first week the trailer generated a record-breaking 58.2 million views. Now, it’s been watched more than 75 million times.

It opens with a shot of desert and the tense violins of John Williams’s score. Then, in an epically laryngitic voiceover, come the words: “There has been an awakening … have you felt it?” And with them up pops the first face and the first character those 75 million pairs of eyes saw: a black guy, dressed in Stormtrooper uniform, sweating profusely and looking hunted.

Within minutes, the hashtag #blackstormtrooper was trending on Twitter. It brought with it the kind of diehard, narrow-minded nerdery that postulated a Stormtrooper shouldn’t be played by a black man because this fictional fighting force were all cloned from one, lighter-skinned, human descendant. It came, too, with even uglier comments, the kind that were unconscionably racist.

The second thing, then, that happened in those 90 seconds was the catapulting of John Boyega, a 23-year-old, largely unknown actor from south London, to a level of galactic fame. But Boyega seems to have been fazed neither by the size of the film franchise nor by the colour of his skin being a talking point on online message boards. In the wake of the first trailer, he issued a cheerful response over Instagram by posting a still of himself in Stormtrooper uniform and a short, celebratory message that ended with: “To whom it may concern… Get used to it :)”

Boyega had played just one lead film role before he was cast in the biggest franchise in the history of movies. This was the 2011 cult favourite, Attack the Block, a sci-fi comedy in which he was Moses, a south London teenager battling an alien invasion on a housing estate. Among the film’s admirers was the American critic Roger Ebert, who singled out Boyega’s performance by praising director Joe Cornish for making such a “fortunate discovery”.

It was another eminent fan, however, who changed the course of Boyega’s life. JJ Abrams, the writer-director-producer most famous for his work on the American TV series Lost, also saw the movie and loved it. When Abrams and Boyega met shortly afterwards, the director told him it was his favourite movie of 2011 and: “We’re going to get you in something.” Which Boyega took with a pinch of Hollywood salt. Lots of people were telling him they loved him in the film; he didn’t actually believe any of them meant much by it.

But then, four years later, Abrams did indeed cast him in “something” and that something happened to be Star Wars. The decision came only after putting Boyega through an intensive, seven-month auditioning process.

“It was hard,” Boyega told Time Out London last week. “And rightly so. If I bought a company for $4bn, I’d make sure those actors were on point!” (Disney bought Lucasfilm for that enormous sum in 2012.)

On the day that Abrams finally contacted him, Boyega was at a friend’s house in Catford, south London, playing video games. Wishing to appear insouciant, he told the director that he was on his way to an art gallery. Abrams told him to get in a cab to a Mayfair restaurant and Boyega did, thereby draining his bank account dry on the £70 fare. Once there, he heard the words: “John, you’re the new star of Star Wars,” and at some point in the next few moments it may have occurred to Boyega that he’d never have to worry about a cab fare again.

Some analysts have predicted that the movie will be the first ever to gross more than $3bn at the box office and the film is also expected to generate $100m in advance ticket sales alone. For Boyega, however, the real thrill seems to be not the big bucks but the glorious geekery of, for example, wielding a lightsaber for the first time, seeing himself cast as an action figure, or getting to stroke a Wookiee – the furry, humanoid creatures whose most famous member is Chewbacca, Han Solo’s sidekick.

Star Wars has been a pop-cultural phenomenon since the first, eponymous 1977 movie that made household names of three unknown actors: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo). As the mythology grew so dense and enormous, it demanded more detail and so the original movie came to earn the subtitle, Episode IV – A New Hope. Despite being born 15 years after this first instalment, Boyega has been happy to let the world know that he is, in the words of one magazine profile, “the galaxy’s biggest fanboy” and that he grew up watching the movies and earnestly collecting its merchandise.

Boyega was born in Peckham, south London, to a dad who was a minister and a mum who worked with disabled children; both immigrated from Nigeria before their son was born. He has described his childhood as “fantastic” and has talked about how much he loved performing at both Westminster City school and then at South Thames College, where he was a performing arts student. Nonetheless, he has had to shut down a certain narrative that some corners of the British press have been keen to push. When one newspaper ran a profile of the actor that described him growing up “on the tough streets where Damilola Taylor died”, Boyega slammed it in a succinct tweet: “Inaccurate. Stereotypical. NOT my story.” Boyega never knew Taylor, the 10-year-old boy who came from Nigeria and was stabbed to death in a Peckham stairwell, and the description of “gangs, guns and knives” didn’t chime with, for example, his memory of performing at the Royal Albert Hall when he was 13.

In more progressive and optimistic quarters, the “awakening” that the trailer’s voiceover refers to has been interpreted as the enlightenment of diversity – the slow and overdue change that finally seems to be coming over Hollywood. One writer characterised the original Star Warsmovies as “largely just a bunch of white American dudes fighting a bunch of white British dudes”, and it’s bewildering to remember that their only female character was Princess Leia, who spent a lot of time bikini-clad and bound by Jabba the Hutt. In this seventh movie, Carrie Fisher reprises her role as the newly named General Leia and is joined by a female lead, Daisy Ridley, a 23-year-old British newcomer, who plays the main role of Rey. And then of course there’s Boyega, who wears his status as some kind of champion of casting lightly.

Days ago, he was asked by the New York Times how he felt when some threatened to boycott the movie simply because it featured a black man as a Stormtrooper: “It made me feel fine. I’m grounded in who I am, and I am a confident black man. I wasn’t raised to fear people with a difference of opinion. They are merely victims of a disease in their mind. To get into a serious dialogue with people who judge a person based on the melanin in their skin? They’re stupid, and I’m not going to lose sleep over people.”

In another recent interview, he spoke about how the franchise now being “reflective of the world we live in today is fantastic”. He then joked: “Apart from the Wookiees and the green people. We’re giving them attention just in case that happens. You never know where the melanin is gonna go. It could go pink. You never know.”

He was also light-hearted about getting recognised. As he told the New York Times, people “know where this forehead comes from. They see it, and they go, ‘Hmm, looks like that Stormtrooper that’s sweating all the time.’”

Thanks to the high level, watertight secrecy that Abrams has insisted on, there aren’t many more details than that sweaty forehead. We do know that Boyega’s character is called Finn, that he’s a disaffected Stormtrooper who’s defected from his unit and that he’s in possession of the lightsaber that Luke and Anakin Skywalker owned before him.

Everything else will have to wait until the film launches on Friday. By which point the most overexcited fan may well be the star himself. As Boyega said recently: “If you hear someone at the back of the cinema screaming and laughing and crying, it’s probably me.”

THE BOYEGA FILE

Born John Boyega, 17 March 1992 in Peckham, south London, to Nigerian parents. He trained at east London’s Identity School of Acting.

Best of times Before his Star Wars “moment”, being chosen as one of Screen International’s UK Stars of Tomorrow 2011. More recently, being told by JJ Abrams that he was the new star of Star Wars: “Everything froze for a moment.”

Worst of times The racist online responses that followed the movie’s first teaser trailer in which Boyega appeared as a Stormtrooper.

He says “All the films I’ve done have had a secret commentary on stereotypical mentalities. It’s about getting people to drop a prejudiced state of mind and realise, ‘Oh shit we’re just watching normal people.’”

They say “All I know is John Boyega does an extraordinary job in the movie. The people who are complaining about that probably have bigger problems than, ‘there’s a black Stormtrooper’.”
​JJ Abrams

‘Big tings a gwaan’ for John Boyega

written by Lee Pinkerton
30/04/14

 

 

Star Wars: Episode VII cast announced as young British actors John Boyega and Daisy Ridley among the names to join original cast

star-wars-episode-7-release-date1On April 29th 2014 Starwars.com updated fans on the cast of the highly anticipated next installment of the epic sci-fi franchise.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill will all reprise their original roles as Hans Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker respectively.

Director J.J. Abrams said the team are “thrilled” to welcome new actors to the saga.

“We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII” said Abrams. “It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

attack-the-block-Boyega burst onto the scene in 2011 co-starring in the Joe Cornish-penned urban sci-fi drama Attack the Block and online Being Human spin-off series, Becoming Human.
Since then he was the lead role in BBC TV drama My Murder, enjoyed a supporting role in Nigerian blockbuster Half of a Yellow Sun, and will be appearing  in the upcoming series 24: Live Another Day.
Daisy Ridley’s acting CV is just as colourful with roles on ITV drama Mr Selfridge, BBC’s Silent Witness and popular E4 series Youngers.

It has already been confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VII  is scheduled for release on 18 December 2015 and will be set 30 years after Return of the Jedi.

Not wanting to rain on the parade but KUSH is wondering what happened to Billie Dee Williams’ role of Lando Calrissian?  Can the Star Wars franchise only accommodate one Black actor at a time?

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‘What do you mean ‘I’m not invited?’

Lee Pinkerton

Read John Boyega’s Star profile here 

The Oscars – Kush Looks back

Written by Lamar Fergus-Palmer
12.03.14

The Oscars has long been the ‘centre piece’ of the awards season. Millions tune in from all over the world to watch the spectacle, and 2014 did not disappoint. Films are often judged and promoted based on how many nominations/wins they’ve received, so the evening itself is always full of shocks, surprises, emotion, and a huge amount of press.

The 2014 Oscars had arguably more talking points than the other Oscars in years gone by, and it was without a doubt the most talked about award show in recent memory. With that in mind, at Kush Films, we will take a look at the highlights of the 86th Academy Awards.

12 Years A Slave Wins Best Film
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Regardless of what happened, it only seems right to start with what will now be considered the best film of 2013/14 as the winner of both the BAFTA and Oscar for the Best Picture 12 Years A Slave.

Directed by 44 year old, British Steve McQueen, some thought that 12 Years A Slave may finish behind Gravity in the running, as it has taken almost seven times as much money at the box office. However, it was 12 Years A Slave that prevailed much to the delight of a star-studded producer and cast list, which included; Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Lupita Nyong’o.

McQueen, who gave the acceptance speech, dedicated the award win to all those who suffered and still suffer slavery today. He said, “everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” in a very moving speech that eventually saw him jump into the arms of his cast and crew to celebrate.

Lupita Nyong’o wins best supporting actress for role in 12 Years a Slave
Nyong'o, best supporting actress winner for her role in "12 Years a Slave", racts on stage at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood

Following on from the above, Lupita Nyong’o took the Oscar for best supporting actress beating out strong competition, most notably from Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle). The Mexican born Kenyan had previously won 23 of the 31 ‘major’ awards she had been nominated for in her very first feature film role on 12 Years a Slave.

Lupita Nyong’o took the time to thank the real-life slave who guided her to shape her moving performance as Patsy, and she also thanked Steve McQueen, and fellow cast members, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender. She closed with the line “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

Gravity picks up seven academy awards

While the team involved with Gravity would have been disappointed that they did not pick up what could arguably be considered as the biggest awards, the movie did win the most awards of any film of the night, seven in total, including:

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Best Director – Alfonoso Cuaron

Achievement in Visual Effects

Achievement in Sound Mixing

Achievement in Cinematography

Achievement in Sound Editing

Achievement in Film Editing

Best Original Score

With seven Academy Award wins on the night Gravity now sits alongside other films like; Schindler’s List, Shakespeare in Love and Lawrence of Arabia who have also all won seven Oscars.

Dallas Buyers Club wins both major male awards

Dallas Buyers Club also had a night to remember, as it picked up the two main male awards; Matthew McConaughey won best actor, and Jared Leto picked up the award for best supporting actor.

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Both winners gave emotional speeches with McConaughey thanking his father, who passed away when he was just 23 years old and Leto, who praised those who had died from AIDS, as his character in Dallas Buyers Club had the condition.

The other antics
The Oscars are known just as much for the red carpet, presenting and skits as it is the awards now, and this year’s 43 million viewers (the most in a decade) were not disappointed with the entertainment.

The historical selfie that almost broke Twitter
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When Ellen Degeneres (the host) decided that it would be a good time to take, and post a selfie of her and several of Hollywood’s elite, including; Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt she probably didn’t realise just how popular the post would be.

Until that post on her account, Barack Obama’s Victory Photo was the most re-tweeted tweet ever with over 750,000 retweets. In just a few hours the Ellen selfie surpassed one million, then two and now sits on 3.3 million re-tweets.

Jennifer Lawrence falls over again
After falling over on the way up the stairs to pick up her 2013 best actress Oscar, Jennifer Lawrence was hoping that 2014 wouldn’t bring the same fate. Well, while she avoided an on-stage fall, she did stumble on the red carpet, and it was caught by camera, much to her disappointment.

Leonardo Di Caprio – the man overlooked
With five personal Academy Award nominations and no wins, Leonardo Di Caprio (Wolf of Wall Street) put on a brave face as the best actor award was handed over to Matthew McConaughey. Of course, Twitter blew up with memes and statuses about how Di Caprio would seemingly never win a best actor Academy Award.

While he might have some way to go to overtake the late Peter O’Toole, who was nominated for best actor eight times without winning, those on social media did have some light-hearted fun with Di Caprio’s loss.

The pizza delivery guyellen-degeneres-serves-pizzWhen Ellen says she’s ordering pizza you better expect a few large boxes to turn up, regardless of the timing. Delivering the pizzas to some of Hollywood’s elite, Edgar Martirosyan, who WAS a real deliveryman from a local pizza establishment, seemingly had no idea that he would be delivering to some of the biggest stars in the world.

Martirosyan hand delivered the pizza to stars, including; Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Jared Leto and many others before making his way back to work, sans tip. Ellen collected for him and then gave him $1,000 the next day on her show. What a night for Edgar Martirosyan and Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria that experts say received up to $10,000,000 worth of free advertising because of their appearance.

The 2014 Oscars was action packed to say the least. Congratulations to all the winners, especially 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o and commiserations to the runners up, as they say the show goes on – hopefully the line-up of films for the 2015 Academy Awards will be just as great as those in 2014.

© Kushfilms.com 2014

Leading Men Age, But Their Love Interests Don’t!

 

Recently, Kristen Stewart fell out of the con-artist comedy Focus after Will Smith replaced Ben Affleck as the male lead; according to Variety, she was nagged by “the feeling that the age difference between the two would be too large a gap.” For the record, Smith is a mere four years older than the 40-year-old Affleck, and if it seems a little odd that either of them would be considered a romantic partner for the 23-year-old Stewart in the first place … well, welcome to Hollywood. It seems like time and time again, male movie stars are allowed to age into their forties, fifties, and even sixties while the ages of their female love interests remain firmly on one side of the big 4-0, but is this a perception borne out of reality? To find out for sure, Vulture has analyzed the data of ten middle-aged leading men and the ages of the women they’ve wooed onscreen; you’ll see the results in the charts below.

How’d we arrive at our conclusions? For each of our leading men, we tried to pick a representative sample of films — usually ten — where that A-lister had a notable love interest or wife, then we plotted the age gaps on our charts over the course of that star’s career. (Because production dates for older movies can be hard to come by, we measured the stars’ ages on the day the film in question was released.) The results confirmed our suspicions: As leading men age, their love interests stay the same, and even the oldest men on our list have had few romantic pairings with a woman their own age (or even one out of her mid-thirties). If our actor was sharing the screen with an A-lister of commensurate star power like Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie, the age difference would drop somewhat, but in movies that relied solely on our guy’s big name, the lesser-known love interests would nearly always be decades younger.

Scroll down to check out our findings in-depth.

Denzel Washington love graph

DENZEL WASHINGTON
Denzel Washington’s pushing 60, but you wouldn’t know it from his love interests, who tend to stay 35 and under. Perhaps that’s because Washington rarely gets to romance an actress as formidable as he is (a fact of life that may owe more to Hollywood’s racial prejudices than gender inequality), because when he went toe-to-toe with Angela Bassett for Malcolm X and Whitney Houston in The Preacher’s Wife, the age differences weren’t quite as egregious. (He did pair with Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie when they were newbie superstars, but those films — The Pelican Brief and The Bone Collector — were cautious and chaste when it came to suggesting a love connection). The older Washington gets, the less it seems to matter to his love interests, as the last three notable ones — Paula Patton, Lymari Nadal, and Kelly Reilly — were all more than twenty years younger than he was.

Harrison Ford love graph
HARRISON FORD
Ford rose to stardom in his late thirties, but the first time he had a notable love interest in her late thirties, it was in 1999’s Random Hearts … when Ford was an age 57 to Kristin Scott Thomas’s 39. The vast majority of Ford’s love interests have been at least fifteen years younger than him, and some were far younger than that: When Six Days Seven Nights came out in 1998, pundits debated whether the sexuality of Ford’s co-star Anne Heche might prove a distraction, paying little mind to the fact that Ford was 26 years older than the woman he was supposed to woo.
Johnny Depp love graph

JOHNNY DEPP
Johnny Depp likes ’em young: Nearly all of his notable love interests have been 25 or under, and a few of them — including Winona Ryder, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, and Keira Knightley (who shared a kiss with Depp in the second Pirates film) — would have been carded at the time they swapped spit with the star. In fact, the cradle-robbing Depp has only had two notable love interests in their mid-thirties, and all Juliette Binoche and Angelina Jolie had to do to make that cut is win an Oscar beforehand. Easy!

Tom Cruise love graph

TOM CRUISE
Tom Cruise has had an interesting romantic trajectory onscreen: At the start of his career, almost all of his love interests were older than him. Shelley Long in Losin’ It, Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business, Kelly McGillis in Top Gun … time and time again, an older woman would seduce the sexually inexperienced Cruise onscreen. It’s no wonder women used to love him! In the nineties, though, Cruise began squiring the five-years-younger Nicole Kidman, and he’s remained the older man in all of his romantic encounters since. From Vanilla Sky on, the closest Cruise will let a woman get to his age is ten years; in the new Oblivion, he’s a full seventeen years older than his female lead, Olga Kurylenko.

George Clooney love graph

GEORGE CLOONEY
Compared to Cruise, the women that George Clooney screen-dates are a smidge more age-appropriate (most of them are only eight or nine years his junior), and twice he even wooed actresses who were three older than him: Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day and Holly Hunter in O Brother, Where Art Thou? When it comes to co-stars, Clooney tends to have his pick of classy actresses in their mid-thirties, though as he gets older — Clooney will turn 52 in May — the age of his love interests still seems to have plateaued.

Richard Gere love graph

RICHARD GERE
Former Sexiest Man Alive winner Richard Gere is a good-looking 63, but his love interests haven’t aged much in the three decades he’s been a star: From Pretty Woman on, Gere’s female co-stars have been 10 to 30 years younger than him, a trend that shows no signs of abating now that he’s in his seventh decade. To be fair, he’s played husband to the three-years-older Susan Sarandon in both Shall We Dance and Arbitrage … but in the former, he spends far more screen time with the much younger Jennifer Lopez, and in the latter, he’s stepping out on Sarandon with supermodel-turned-actress Laetitia Casta, who’s separated in age from Gere by a solid 29 years. At least Gere had the tables turned on him somewhat in Unfaithful, where his fifteen-years-younger screen-wife Diane Lane had an affair with a younger man, Olivier Martinez. How much younger than Lane was Martinez? Well … one measly year, actually.

Steve Carell love graph

STEVE CARELL
When your breakout film is called The 40 Year Old Virgin, it ensures that audiences will forever be aware of your age … even if you were actually 43 when it came out, as Steve Carell was. In that movie, he fell in love with the three-years-older Catherine Keener, and ever since, Carell has looked most at home with romantic partners nearer to his age, like Lauren Graham, Tina Fey, and Julianne Moore. Every so often, though, Hollywood will insist at throwing a twentysomething starlet at Carell, and it’s just awkward: Movies like Get Smart, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone had more than a few problems, but the main issue in all three is how ill at ease Carell seems when romantically paired with an actress who’s twenty years younger. Let’s hope Carell got the memo and will continue to be the rare male star who mostly sticks to love interests in their forties (as his new screen paramour Kristen Wiig will be when Anchorman 2 comes out this winter).

Brad Pitt love graph

BRAD PITT
Brad Pitt began his career as a romantic idol by taking a page straight out of the Tom Cruise playbook: After his roll in the hay with the eight-years-older Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise, he then began screen-dating the much younger women he was seeing in real life, Juliette Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow, who were both around a decade Pitt’s junior. (That’s apparently his sweet spot, as Angelina Jolie would later be able to attest.) The rest of his romantic history runs the gamut, though Pitt did once take a screen-wife his own age: Mary-Louise Parker, who only got a handful of lines in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Liam Neeson love graph

LIAM NEESON
Remember how Depp only allowed a love interest within striking distance of his own age if she was an Oscar-winning actress? The same more than holds true for Liam Neeson, who was partnered with older Oscar winners Jessica Lange and Meryl Streep in the mid-nineties. Aside from that brief moment in time, Neeson usually robs the cradle by wooing actresses around fifteen years younger than him, and ever since Taken re-established his box-office virility, the age of his love interests has dropped precipitously: More than two and a half decades separated Neeson from his screen-wife January Jones in Unknown, and in Paul Haggis’s next film, Third Person, the 61-year-old Neeson will bed 29-year-old Olivia Wilde.

Tom Hanks love graph

TOM HANKS
Well, here’s something novel: an A-lister whose leading ladies actually age alongside him (though they still tend, on the whole, to be a bit younger). There aren’t any egregiously age-inappropriate pairings in Tom Hanks’s portfolio, since Hanks keeps his love interests within at least ten years of him at all times. He also aims high: Most of his female co-stars are Oscar winners or nominees, from Helen Hunt to Halle Berry, and he’ll co-star with two-time nominee Catherine Keener (who’s only three years younger) in this year’s fact-based drama Captain Phillips. Then again, maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that Hanks is an A-list aberration in this group: For 25 years, he’s been married to the same woman, actress Rita Wilson … and both Hanks and Wilson are 56.

* The charts for Steve Carell and Tom Hanks have been updated.

Courtesy of:  http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/leading-men-age-but-their-love-interests-dont.html

copyright 2013 www..vulture.com