Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped by the Four Seasons hotel to chat with HFPA members about his latest film Terminator: Genysis in which he returns as the time travelling cyborg T-800.
There was only one thing he would change if he could go back in time. “I would go back in time and tell the Hollywood Foreign Press to give me a lifetime achievement award,” he laughed. “Just a joke.”
Seriously, he told members: “My life has been so blessed and has been so wonderful, I don’t know if that would change anything. I’d leave it alone, even with the mistakes I made and even with the failures that I have had and the ups and the downs and all that stuff. Overall, my life has been blessed and I am a happy person and I wouldn’t change my life with anyone else’s.
“And I always thank God for that and thank America for that, because it’s not just my doing and there’s a lot of people that have helped me, and especially coming to the right country, to the land of opportunity, was really an essential and important part of that.”
ELISABETH SEREDA goes behind the scenes of Magic Mike XXL
Now that ‘Magic Mike XXL’ has danced into a theatre near you, let’s take a look behind the scenes. Flashback to October of last year. We are in Savannah, Georgia which doubles as Myrtle Beach, Florida in the finished film. And in case you are wondering how a landlocked town could stand in for the sandy spring break vacation spot, the only beach scene is of the boys driving down a street near the ocean and an overhead helicopter shot that could have been taken in Venice, California. The main sequence – which happens to also be the climax of the film – takes place in a huge convention center. And so we find ourselves in just such a location on the other side of the Savannah River along with 900 female extras, Channing Tatum, Kevin Nash, Joe Mangianello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Donald Glover, Elizabeth Banks and Jada Pinkett Smith.
While director Gregory Jacobs mans the console and monitor, cinematographer Steven Soderbergh is directing the shots. He is known to be a fast worker, especially when he is behind the camera. As soon as a scene is to his satisfaction, he is happy to move on. That’s not to say that this sequence is not a difficult one. After all, every one of the leading men has to do a solo dance scene, not to mention a few that involve all of them. That takes choreography. Add to that 900 women who are not professional actresses or even extras who answered a local casting call and whose enthusiasm for male muscle is real and so is the noise level.
„They were so loud, we can’t hear the music » laments creator, producer and leading star of the franchise Channing Tatum. „We really have to reign them in.“ That’s what the director is for who pulls out a most important tool for such crowd scenes, a megaphone. „Be enthusiastic, but in a lower decibel range, please!“ he instructs.
The scenes here are the culmination of a road trip the boys take on a kind of reunion tour in Tito’s (Adam Rodriguez) food truck, that takes them through three Southern States to this venue where they show their wares and their bodies in gyrating dance moves at the annual stripper convention. The group performs the grand finale, introduced by Jada Pinkett Smith in a white pantsuit, heels and black bowler hat: „Are your ready to be worshipped?“ she asks and the women scream before the lights go up and all six dancers appear on stage, at first hidden under silver capes. They drop the capes and strut their stuff in jeans only, showing off their sixpacks and moves. The scene segues into a solo performance by Tarzan (Kevin Nash) on a side stage with a huge fire contraption burning behind him. Through it all the huge crowd behaves amazingly professionally, and Soderbergh and Jacobs get most of it done can within a very short time.
For Channing Tatum making a second Magic Mike film was something he had not counted on when the idea first came to him five years ago : „As we were doing press, my regret was that I didn’t spend more time with the guys – they weren’t well explored. The guys were so committed – you cannot be in this movie without being all in – if we make a second one, it needed to be about the guys. And I have never seen a sequel so different from the first one. This is more of what people were expecting in terms of dance and humor , it’s less dark than the first. We wanted to put the convention into the first film but didn’t have enough time.“
If there is regret over losing the Matthew McConaughey character, Tatum certainly makes the most of the opportunity that particular loss afforded them : „Not having him forced us to be more creative. Magic Mike was such a huge character and to have him in this movie would have been a lot, so this gave us the chance to make the other guys bigger.“
Director Gregory Jacobs says he is a big fan of this kind of film: „’The Last Detail’, The Blues Brothers’, ‘Priscilla’ – I love road trips movies, and there’s never been a road trip about a group of male strippers. We bring in an interesting cast of characters along the way.“
As much as Tatum emphasises the deeper exploration of the characters, one aspect of making such a film cannot be discounted: the physical part of it all. Laughs Matt Bomer (Ken): „We all have to have a specific level of a tan and we have hair and make up specialists who help us out. Getting ready on set before a scene only takes ten minutes, we just have to prepare for it before with diet and work out.“
It’s the diet that is hardest on all of them. Moans Kevin Nash: „Oh man, everyone’s hitting the gumbos and jambalayas and we’re sitting there with our steamed chicken breast and brown rice!”
Adds Bomer: „We found solidarity together to not hit the buffet. We are in the heart of southern cooking, the temptations are endless but we go through this fire together.“
On stage it is time for rehearsal. Channing is now in his sweatpants. A female choreographer sits in for Amber Heard. She is in a chair and Channing hoists himself up onto the arms, doing a handstand with his crotch in front of her face. For the actor who worked as a stripper in real life at the tender age of 19, this gymnastic stunt is a piece of cake, even though he modestly says that (real life stripper) Twitch is by far the best dancer of them all.
Elizabeth Banks is the woman who runs the stripper convention. She says she gets the appeal: „The first time I saw male stripping was at my sorority house and I thought it was vulgar, but I get it; up close it is a religious experience for some of these women. These are nights when they are in control and have a little power over their sexuality.“
Jada Pinkett – she plays a former mentor and the emcee for the group – agrees: „It’s true, when females strip, it’s degrading. But there is something celebratory about male stripping – women go to clubs to not buy sex. It’s about having a good time and feeling wanted and desired. These men are on stage for you – some of it is fantasy and allows a women to express her sensual ways that outside this door she is not allowed to do. Inside the club it is a safe space. Channing danced with only 100 women – these women were going crazy, it wasn’t like on a movie set, it was primal yet safe. They could cut loose.“
No matter how much money the sequel makes (or doesn’t), one thing is obvious: there is no one involved in this movie who didn’t have a great time doing it.
James Horner, the film composer known for his scores for Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Titanic among others, has died in a plane crash near Santa Barbara.
Horner, aged 61, was nominated eight times for Golden Globes, winning in 1998 for co-composing the song My Heart Will Go On for Titanic. His score for Titanic sold a whopping 27 million copies worldwide.
He began studying piano at the age of five, and trained at the Royal College of Music in London, England, before moving to California in the 1970s. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music at USC, he went on to earn his master’s degree at UCLA and teach music theory there. He began scoring student films for the American Film Institute in the late 1970s, which paved the way for scoring assignments on a number of small-scale films. His first large, high-profile project was composing music for Star Trek 11: The Wrath of Khan in 1982 which led to compositions for films directed by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Oliver Stone, Ron Howard and others.
Three films he scored will be coming out soon: the boxing drama Southpaw, Wolf Totem, out in September; and The 33, a drama based on the 2010 mining disaster in Chile that’s set for November.
Horner was piloting the small aircraft when it crashed into a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara, officials said.
The HFPA hosted a lively Mexican-themed sunset beach party for 200 journalists, Sony executives and guests at the Ritz-Carlton hotel Beach Club in Cancun during Summer of Sony.
HFPA president Theo Kingma thanked Sony for their assistance in procuring interviews for members during the week. In return Sony chief Tom Rothman (pictured) thanked Kingma and the HFPA before introducing Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice who performed a song they composed for the upcoming movie Ricki and the Flash which is sung in the movie by Meryl Streep.
A mariarchi band played on the beach and guests danced, drank margaritas and made full use of the maracas that had been distributed on the tables.
A group of HFPA members brushed up on their knowledge of Peanuts characters—and particularly Snoopy—when they visited the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa.
They toured the museum, which is filled with Peanuts cartoons and models of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang, watched a video of Schulz’s interview with Charlie Rose in 1997 and visited the famous cartoonist’s studio and also the ice hockey rink he founded and donated to the city.
Schulz’s widow Jean and his son Craig were on hand to give members a rundown of their life with Schulz and to talk about the forthcoming movie titled simply The Peanuts Movie.
The fifth full-length feature film to be based on the characters in the comic strip and the first in 35 years, the Fox film will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the comic strip, and is scheduled to be released in November.
dinner in the garden
In it, Snoopy once agajn battles his nemesis the Red Baron while Charlie Brown tries to win the heart of the Little Red-Haired girl.
Charles Schulz–known to all his friends and family as Sparky —-died of colon cancer in February 2000 aged 77.
Charles and Jean Schulz