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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Self-Aware Robots in Sci-fi Action “VICE”

Iconic action stars Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane star in the futuristic action thriller “Vice” where a robot becomes self-aware that sets things apace when her dangerous escape starts.  

"Vice was built in the middle of a city and the problem is that people go in there and get their freak on, do all this crazy stuff, and then come back outside and think, 'I can get away with anything in Vice so why can’t I do it out here,'" begins Thomas Jane who plays detective Roy Tedeschi. The authorities are kind of hands off with Julian’s (Willis) robot creations because of all the tax revenue the resort generates. "But crime goes through the roof in my city and Roy gets a briar stuck up his ass about this Vice place. He is intent on shutting it down, bringing the place to its knees or blowing it up, whatever he can get away with.”

I like these kind of characters, archaic guys who are living in an old world. It’s the old world versus the new world type of thing,” continues Jane.  “Roy’s the kind of guy that if four bullets will do it, he will use them.  He will never use just one; if he can empty a clip into you, why would he use just one?”  “Thomas is one of those very unique, eclectic actors that shows up on set and he breathes life into the character,” adds Miller. “He creates actions, movements, words, and situations that really take Roy to the next level; when you put Thomas in one of those action sequences. He just lights it on fire!”

Julian Michaels' corporation has built Vice, a resort for the wealthy where they can do anything that you could possibly imagine, even murder, rape, or kill because the permanent Residents are artificial, cloned from human DNA and built on endoskeletons,” begins director Brian A. Miller. “The story revolves around a Resident that starts having memories of horrible things that have happened to her and she breaks out, only to discover the original creator of ‘Artificials’ and once they meet they decide to work together to take down Vice once and for all. I was immediately attracted to the script because of the way it takes a dystopian future and combines it with a perfect America we no longer have, and really turns it on its axis,” says Miller, a confessed sci-fi buff who grew up on “Blade Runner,” “Metropolis” and the “Star Wars” trilogy.

I was attracted to the story, the action and the arc of the characters, that is really what I was looking for as a director,” concludes Miller. “People nowadays live their lives vicariously through technology or social media. They’ve forgotten about interaction between human beings. I think people will relate to the character and the bureaucracy of what is going on in this film, including government that allows corporations more control without regulation.”

On the surface, it’s a revenge story about an artificially intelligent being who becomes self-aware for the first time,” begins writer Andre Fabrizio, who shares a love of science-fiction with writing partner Passmore. “On a deeper level I think what appealed to Jeremy and I was more the inevitability of artificial intelligence and how it should be treated as well as the fact that there is an assumption that artificial intelligence shouldn’t be viewed with the same rights.”
  Vice” opens January 28 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.

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1:43 to pursue acting career with Viva

AFTER three successful albums and a string of hit songs, the members of Filipino boy band 1:43 believe they ripe to pursue their acting careers, either as a group or individually.

Last week, the group composed of four stylish and talented young men Anjo Resureccion, Gold Aquino, Yuki Sakamoto, and Yheen Valero together with their founder and manager Chris Cahilig signed a co-management contract with Viva Artists Agency (VAA) owned by Vic Del Rosario. The strategic move aims to fulfill 1:43’s long-term plan to become television and movie stars aside from being pop idols.
While we will remain intact as a boy band, we feel that it’s the right time to take our showbiz careers to a higher level. We are thankful that Boss Vic (Del Rosario) readily and warmly welcomed us as Viva’s newest talents,” explains 1:43 spokesman Anjo.

We hope to start doing commercial movies and television appearances as well as viral videos and short films anytime soon. We are confident that Viva will take care of us,” he adds.
1:43 popularized “Sa Isang Sulyap Mo,” the monster hit song that won the 2013 PMPC Star Award for Music “Song of the Year” and the “Most Promising Performing and Recording Group” in the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation’s 45th Box-Office Entertainment Awards. They are also behind hit songs “Ang Saya-Saya” which became the official theme song of GMA 7’s sitcom “Ismol Family” and the Youtube hit “Hayop Sa Ganda.”

New Member
The resignation of Argee Golding in early January paved the way to the entry of top ramp and commercial model and rapper Yheen to the pop group. Argee, an international taekwondo medalist from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), left the group with heavy heart to enroll in a school for pilots in Subic.

Yheen is perhaps the most qualified person to take over Argee’s place in 1:43. He is exceptionally handsome and charismatic and has been trained to perform on stage by no other than the iconic choreographer Tita Geleen Eugenio in his former boy band,” relates Yuki.
In fact, when we are being formed in 2010, our manager Uncle Chris offered him a slot in 1:43 which he declined due to his prior commitments. I think he is really meant to be with us,” jests Gold.
In such a short time, Yheen has already assimilated with the rest of 1:43 and has recorded two tracks for their upcoming album— the feel-good “Tara Na” which is expected to be released on radio this week, and a surprise electronic dance music (EDM) track where he showcased his rap skills.  
1:43 is supported by McJim Classic Leather, BellaVita Land Corp., and Level Up! Interested parties may book 1:43 by sending an inquiry at or by visiting the 1:43 Fan Page on Facebook.

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“THE BOY NEXT DOOR” Seduces Jennifer Lopez

Global superstar Jennifer Lopez plays a separated wife who's seduced by a young male neighbor in Universal Pictures' “The Boy Next Door,” a psychological thriller that explores a forbidden attraction that goes much too far.

The key to a successful psychological thriller is for the audience to be able to imagine that they could find themselves in the same situation as at least one of the film’s characters. As for the role of Claire, Lopez was drawn to the character’s authenticity. The actress/producer shares: “I felt that Claire’s vulnerability to her situation and circumstances makes her human. When her husband cheats on her with another woman, she feels unworthy, undesirable, dismissed. Her attraction to the titular character, Noah, stems from his coming in at this time and making her finally feel attractive and wanted.”

Screenwriter Barbara Curry, a former federal prosecutor, was determined to create a strong and contemporary female protagonist with her inaugural screenplay. Says Curry: “I wanted Claire to be a strong character who is deeply flawed. But Claire’s flaw is not that she succumbs to temptation by sleeping with this young man. Her real flaw is that she can’t forgive her husband for his infidelity. It’s a flaw of pride, really. I thought it would be interesting to have this strong, proud woman make a mistake that’s equal to her husband’s, so she would finally understand how he could have made his mistake and be deserving of forgiveness. That’s the moral of this story. We can’t be so strong that we are unable to forgive.”

The writer imagined Claire as a woman at a crossroads. With a pending divorce from her once-beloved husband, struggling to balance her work as a high school teacher with a teenage son who doesn’t fit in with his classmates, Claire has very little time to consider what she wants or needs. Curry walks us through where we find her protagonist: “I knew both male and female audience members would need to get behind Claire, even though she makes this terrible error in judgment. So I tried to stack the deck against her. She is extremely vulnerable when she meets Noah. Like anyone might feel when their spouse cheats on them, Claire feels worthless, unattractive, unloved. And here comes Noah, someone who seems to understand her and appreciate her. There is a physical attraction between them, certainly. But it’s more than that. There is a real emotional connection, a meeting of the minds. And that is something Claire really needs at this low point in her life.”

Well-known to audiences as a director of big-budget studio films such as “xXx” and “The Fast and the Furious,” Rob Cohen had long wanted to work with Lopez. He gives: “I read the script and understood exactly what they liked about it, and knowing that Jennifer would be starring was a huge draw for me. She is a completely self-made entertainer who came from the Bronx, and since Selena, she’s carved a series of very memorable performances that have one thing in common: a natural, emotional level.”

  Opening across the Philippines on Jan. 28, “The Boy Next Door” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Teen Thriller Genre Gets New Treatment in “PROJECT ALMANAC”

He's one of the most prolific movie producers working today, but no amount of experience and knowhow could have prepared Brad Fuller (“The Purge,” “Ouija”) for making a found-footage film, specifically Paramount Pictures' new sci-fi thriller “Project Almanac.”

The film stars Jonny Weston as David, a super bright high school student who finds a set of plans his late father left behind – plans to build a time machine. With a little help from his best friends, Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista), and his crush, Jessie (Sofia Black-D’Elia), David finishes what his father started while his younger sister Christina (Ginny Gardner) films the whole thing.
While on the “Project Almanac” set, Fuller took the time to talk to the visiting press about the challenges of playing by found footage rules, choosing to go with a first-time feature director and first-time writers too, the comparisons to “Chronicle,” and more.

Question: How did you guys come upon the script?
Brad Fuller: Interesting story. Platinum Dunes had a deal at Rogue five or six years ago, where we made “The Unborn” and Andrew Rona was the head of the studio at that time and his assistant was this great guy who I spoke to a lot and he wanted to be a writer, and I lost touch with him, and then three, four years later, he sends the script for this movie. I mean, I didn’t even know he was a writer and he says, ‘Would you guys be interested in producing this?’ And we read it and we just loved the script, so that was kind of how it happened. And then we developed it at Platinum Dunes for a year or two and then we took it to Paramount.

Q: What kind of changes did you guys concentrate on?
Fuller: As we were working on the script, the movie business changed a lot and budgets had to get smaller, and we kept pushing for a film that was really about wish-fulfillment. I mean, that was, at the end of the day, what this movie ideally is, and the price that can be paid for accomplishing that. And so we kept focusing on that idea, and the characters. We wanted to make sure that the characters worked. But there weren’t huge changes.

Q: So it was always the found footage?
Fuller: Actually, it was originally written as a hybrid where there was some found footage in it and then when we set it up at Paramount, they’ve had tremendous success with their found footage movies and they felt that this leant itself to that. To us – when I say ‘us’ I’m always referring to Platinum Dunes, my company with Michael Bay and Andrew Form. For us, a movie that we really loved at our company and we didn’t have the opportunity to make was “Chronicle.” We thought that movie was terrific and this felt a little bit “Chronicle-y” to us.

Q: Found footage movies tend to have an interesting tone, and a lot of times horror movies can play with humor and different things. Where does the tone of this one come in?
Fuller: The tone, assuming we’re successful with this and I think we will be, is fun. We just really want to have fun. For me, this is a very exciting movie. We’re not cutting off anyone’s head, we haven’t killed anyone in the whole movie so far and I think we’re going to go the whole way.

Q: Can you tell us about the director? He’s a first-time director, right?
Fuller: Yes. Dean Israelite is a first-time director. Dean also worked with Jonathan Liebesman on “Battle: Los Angeles.” When we got the script we gave it to Dean because he was looking to do his first movie. And he came up with a presentation that was art – I mean, Dean is as hard-working a director as I’ve met in a long time and when we gave him the script, he didn’t come back and say, ‘I’ve got three notes on the script.’ He came back with a full multi-media presentation on how he would make this movie. So he was the only director we went to. We as a company loved him and we had to convince Paramount that this was the right guy with the right vision and that he would be able to execute it.

Q: Is there anything particularly challenging for you here, whether it’s locking a location or tracking down a certain prop?
Fuller: The most challenging thing for me has been shooting a found footage movie. I’ve never done that before. And found footage movies have their own rules. It’s just different. I’ve been doing this for a long time now and I’m used to doing it a certain way and basically every rule or trick that I fall back on does not exist here. So it’s kind of, you’re out here, it feels like, without a net. It’s very challenging because we want it to feel like an authentic found footage movie, but it also needs to look a certain way and we have to make sure we’re capturing the story, and it’s a lot of different things to manage.

Q: Do you feel like there was excitement because of the concept, the genre elements, touching on the “Chronicle” thing, you’ve got a little bit of “Project X” going on out there?
Fuller: We hope it does. At the end of the day, I think that for our company, we’re always eager to make commercial films and when we read something that has a lot of commercial appeal we get behind it and push it as hard as we can. This obviously checked all those boxes for us and more. And luckily it’s not such an expensive movie where the studio has put themselves in a position, you know, we have a little bit of luxury to experiment.

Q: Michael Bay is one of your partners. What’s his specific involvement? It’s a name that fans obviously gravitate towards.
Fuller: Well, as a company, this is our 11th film together. His involvement is the same. It’s the three of us sitting in a room, figuring out what we’re going to do and how we’re going to make it work, and Michael lends his expertise at different times in the process. Michael’s very involved in the script, he’s involved with the casting, he’s involved with the wardrobe, he is very involved with the cut when we get to that, and he’s very involved with the marketing.

  Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 04, 2015, “Project Almanac” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

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Marie Avgeropoulos Teams Up with Taylor Lautner in a Man's World in “TRACERS”

Meet Cam (Lautner) and Nikki (Avgeropoulis) both are broken and all are in need of being rescued.  But in the fast-paced action thriller “Tracers,” who rescues whom; and who pulls whom from the darkest night and the deepest pit? Find out when “Tracers” opens February 4 in local cinemas nationwide.

Tracers” is on its surface very simple.  It’s about a guy – ‘Cam’ – who finds a girl – ‘Nikki’. The girl allows him to reclaim a part of his life and a spirit in his life.  At the exact same moment that happens, outside forces are pressing in on him.  And that’s where Tracers takes off.

Marie Avgeropoulos plays Nikki, the gal that lures Cam into her world and becomes his love interest in “Tracers.”  “The appeal of Tracers was being part of a high impact thrilling action movie that’s just nonstop.  I hadn’t had the pleasure of working on a project like that yet and playing a character like Nikki who is sort of a guarded tomboy who’s one of the guys – tough on the outside but very vulnerable on the inside to those who are lucky enough to meet that side of her.”
Avgeropoulos offers, “One of the fondest memories I’m going to leave this movie with is the prep and training with the guys; learning how to do parkour and literally just trying to keep up with them and their amazing skill-set.  Taylor is a remarkably capable and accomplished natural athlete.  Funny thing is, I broke my ankle midway through the shoot – a big obstacle I had to overcome mentally and physically.  And it didn’t happen in the line of duty.  I was doing my Jane Fonda butt-glossing workout and rolled on it.  Go figure!  Doing all of this hardcore stuff and then this.  Gotta roll with the punches!”

Angelopoulos loved working with her fellow cast-mates.  “Working with Rafi Gavron and Adam Rayner has been great.  I’m always blow away by their British accents that just magically disappear.  I have a hard enough time getting rid of my Canadian accent.  Not fair!  These guys have great athletic skills and I admire the fact that they’re willing to try anything once.  And Luciano Acuna, Jr. and Josh Yadon – they’re the real deal.  Their parkour comes first and this is their first big gig as actors, which I’m applauding them for because this is a pretty big leap.  I’m like, ‘WOW, good for you guys.’  They’re stud athletes and it’s really amazing to watch them go – I mean no wires, no nothing – balls to the wall, go get ‘em tigers.  Really cool stuff.  They’re great.”

Diehard action fans definitely won’t be disappointed with Tracers. “Stunt coordinators Gary Powell and Lee Morrison,” says Avgeropoulos, “absolutely deliver the adrenaline fix.  They did the recent Bond films and even the Bourne films.  So you’re going be seeing some amazing stunt and action sequence, and add to that the character-driven storylines and stellar performances by the cast.  I believe this movie is really going to be something special and deliver on many levels.”

  From Pioneer Films, “Tracers” is from producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen who also produced blockbuster young adult movies such as “Fault In Our Stars” and “The Twilight Saga.” 

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“MORTDECAI” Star Johnny Depp Fondly Recalls Manila

When asked in a recent interview by ABS-CBN’s US correspondent Yong Chavez in line with the movie action comedy “Mortdecai” about Manila, Johnny Depp shared that he found the city beautiful after they’ve traversed the city whenever they can while shooting in remote forests in the Philippines for the movie “Platoon.”  See the interview below: 

Mortdecai” seamlessly fuses action and comedy into one exciting ride directed by David Koepp and action scenes were choreographed by U.K.’s busiest stunt coordinators and second-unit action directors, Rowley Irlam who also coordinated action sequences for blockbuster movies such as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Legend of Hercules,” “Thor: Dark World,”” Captain Phillips,” “Prometheus” and “Skyfall,” for which he received a SAG Award® for Outstanding Action Performance in a Motion Picture.

Charlie Mortdecai is a connoisseur of good food, fine libations, beautiful women and the most elite trappings of wealth. He also frequently finds himself entangled in matters of an ambiguous legal nature. Asked by MI5, the British Security Service, to track down a missing Goya painting, Charlie hopes to discharge his debts to “Queen and country” by retrieving the purloined artwork.

Actually, Charlie gets involved in finding the Goya because he sees an opportunity to sell it,” Depp says. “His aristocratic ways are intact, but his bank book is worn out and Charlie needs to rectify that.”

Badly behaved, violently snobbish and completely self-interested, Charlie was also endlessly appealing to the actor. “He is a blatant narcissist who has no relationship with the truth, except as he sees it,” says Depp. “What drew me to the character more than anything was the challenge of making this guy, who is a little bit shady and most definitely a con man, someone you can sympathize with.”

Although Mortdecai is a comedy, it is packed with action sequences, as Jock, his faithful assistant (played by Paul Bettany) constantly saves Charlie from outlandish mishaps. Irlam coordinated a motorbike and sidecar careening through Moscow, an unforgettable sword fight and a massive explosion sequence featuring virtually all of the key cast members.

We also shot a big car chase in East London,” Irlam says. “There was lots of skidding around and we ended up crashing into a boulevard. We cannoned the back end for that comedy finale.”

Irlam and director Koepp had a specific strategy for the film’s action. “This movie is very much actor driven,” he says. “I see it as bit of an homage to Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. My work was not just about stunts. It was about making the whole piece quirky, interesting and different.”

One of the most challenging stunt sequences for Irlam and his team was the complicated sword fight between Mortdecai and Emil. Koepp, Depp and Irlam talked about finding the right balance between realistic combat and Mortdecai’s notorious cowardice and physical ineptitude. “Mortdecai is a blagger, so David and Johnny didn’t want him to look supremely skilled,” says Irlam. “It was more about his desire to avoid confrontation and run away.

We had Johnny Depp and Jonny Pasvolsky in for some rehearsals for sword fighting and wire work,” he continues. “We showed them how it would play out with a stunt double first, then they’d have a go and put their own twist on it.’”

  Mortdecai” is now showing in cinemas nationwide.
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From Phenomenal Online Game: “DRAGON NEST: WARRIOR’S DAWN” Movie Opens March 18

Produced by giant game prime movers Shanda Games and Eyedentity Games along with Chinese animation studio Mili Pictures,  “Dragon Nest: Warrior’s Dawn” is finally set for theatrical release in local (Phils.) cinemas starting this March 18.

Dragon Nest: Warrior’s Dawn” is Mili’s debut production and is directed by Song Yuefeng, an award winning animation director.  Fans of the MMORPG which has more than 100 million registered users will finally see the land of Altera and its inhabitants spring to life in cinemas. In the movie, the power of the evil Black Dragon has swept the land of Altera and all have suffered since then that triggered a sense of chaos.

Of its inhabitants is Lambert, an ordinary village boy who has seen first hand the murder of his parents and the destruction of his hometown. Growing up an orphan, he swore to learn the skills on how to be a good fighter to save Altera from the evil that imprisons it. 


Along with Lambert are friends, fiends and creatures that he meets along his journey to become the unlikely hero of Altera.

A previous warrior of the Royal Army, Barnac, is huge in built and possesses an incredible amount of strength, however, he tends to act first before thinking.  And has since taken Lambert under his wing to train for the great battle ahead. 

Liya is an experienced archer and a follower of the Elf Princess Nerwin. Initially at odds with Lambert, they eventually become friends after sensing she can trust the human in Lambert.

Geraint and Argenta’s true identities of the Dragon Clan are considered a closely guarded secret. After the rise of the Black Dragon, Geraint and Argenta became travelers to help the poor, and they became a force of power to fight against the Black Dragon.
Velskud is the leader of the Royal Knight Army. He has defeated the monster armies of black dragon countless time and has gained much trust from the king himself. He often battled along side with Geraint and has become good friend with him.

Nerwin, despite the endless war with human race, Nerwin, a young princess in the Elf Kingdom has volunteered to be the ambassor to form an alliance with the human kingdom to fight against the Black Dragon.

Karacule is a sorceress who doesn’t trust humans and rarely deals with them. However, the monster armies of Black Dragon have also reached the once peaceful Lotus Marsh.
Young Terramai is the leader of Holy Knight Army and a faithful follower of the Goddess. He has a strong sense of justice despite his cold appearance.

Dragon Nest: Warrior’s Dawn” opens March 18 in theaters nationwide from Axinite Digicinema.

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 Changing the Way Games are Played in “VICE”

Getting away with anything in “Vice” will keep the audience on their toes and on the edge of their seats as Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane bring us to a dystopian future where wealthy clients can live out their wildest and sometimes most violent fantasies. 

In “Vice,” an artificially engineered woman escapes a hedonistic resort created by Julian Michaels (Willis) seeks vengeance on those that imprisoned her. Kelly (Ambyr Childers), a resort ‘Resident,’ is having her memory re-installed after a rough night with a client but there is a glitch and flashbacks of where she came from help her make a daring escape. When Roy Tedeschi (Jane), a gruff, gum-shoe detective gets word that an Artificial is on the loose, it’s a race against time to track her down and stop the aberrant behaviors in Vice from becoming the natural order of things.

Julian Michaels' corporation has built Vice, a resort for the wealthy where they can do anything that you could possibly imagine, even murder, rape, or kill because the permanent Residents are artificial, cloned from human DNA and built on endoskeletons,” begins director Brian A. Miller. It took us a couple of days to truly discover the character together and then play off that," explained Miller of his work with Childers. “So when Kelly starts growing you see the evolution of that character, she is learning bit-by-bit. It’s so interesting to have such a talented young actress that as you pull the string it takes you from one scene to the next. You’re growing with her, learning as she’s evolving all the way throughout the process. Ambyr just knocked it out of the park!”

 "I play Kelly, an Artificial or an android living every day in a continuous loop," explains Ambyr Childers. "Myself and all the other androids are reset every 24 hours. Every night when we go to bed, a bracelet activates so we cannot remember but the humans can so they easily recognize the androids. Kelly has a few glitches in her system and she breaks away and ends up wanting to take down Vice.”

Evan (Bryan Greenberg) was a top bio-mechanical engineer at a robotics firm bought out a decade ago by Julian. "I helped engineer the Artificials and my intentions were good, but Julian exploited the Artificials for the wrong reasons," explains Bryan Greenberg whose character Evan feels guilty for what Kelly has become. "It's a very complicated relationship between Evan and Kelly because he created her in the image of his dying wife. He's very conflicted because when he looks at her he sees his wife but he knows it’s not her. She can be so much more than just a Vice pleasure-bot and he wants to help her.”

Ambyr is solid and really carries this film," continues Greenberg, of his screen partner’s moving performance. "I remember the first scene we did and she just had tears coming down her eyes and I thought, 'Wow you got it! This is going to be good!’ I loved working with her and I think the audience is going to love watching her.”

  Vice” opens January 28 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.
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Pop Icon Rihanna Lends Vocal Talent in Dreamworks Animation's “HOME”

In her first animated film, seven-time Grammy Award winning singer and actress Rihanna stars as the voice of Gratuity Tucci, known as Tip, a feisty, independent and very relatable girl who is having to fend for herself when her mother is captured by an alien species, the Boov, along with all the other humans on Earth.

Directed by Tim Johnson. Tip is separated from her mother (Jennifer Lopez) when an alien race called the Boov take over the Earth. Humans are rounded up and relocated – and Tip appears to be the last girl on the planet. She meets one of the Boov, Oh, (Jim Parsons) who is also alone.  An outsider, unpopular with his species, he has become a fugitive after making a big mistake and is in trouble with his leader, Captain Smek  (Steve Martin). Oh and Tip are both on the run and set off together in an amazing flying car, on a thrilling and funny adventure.

  Coming very soon this March 26 in cinemas nationwide, “Home” is a Dreamworks Animation feature distributed by 20th Century Fox thru Warner Bros.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Breakthrough Cinematic Style in “WILD”

With zero outdoors experience, a monstrously heavy backpack and fueled by little but her own ragged will, bestselling author Cheryl Strayed set out to hike the PCT, the longest, toughest and wildest through-trail in America, completely alone, for  94 days.  From such journey comes one of the most inspirational books published, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” – now translated to screen, produced and starred by one of the world’s most influential women, Reese Witherspoon. 

The New York Times Book Review called Strayes’ work  a “literary and human triumph” and The Boston Globe said Wild is “an addictive, gorgeous book that not only entertains, but leaves us the better for having read it.” 

It was essential to us to maintain the purity of Cheryl’s book,” says Reese’s producing partner Bruna Papandrea. “The book was so popular because whether you’re from a broken family or you’ve lost someone close to you or you’ve struggled with hardships, this is a story that reminds us we can save ourselves. Cheryl gets her life back because she chooses to walk back into the world.  We wanted to tell that story.” 

Choosing a film to direct is choosing your lifestyle. When I get involved on a film, I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and happy to do my job. The way to make that happen is to choose the right project. Funny enough, I don’t think that I chose WILD. WILD chose me. That’s how privileged I feel to be part of the WILD team and like everyone else, how lucky I felt to be at the service of an amazing story to tell the world: Cheryl Strayed’s story that humbly reminds us, despite how tough and cruel life can be, we can always put ourselves in the way of the beauty. ‘Yeah right’, you’re probably thinking. ‘Double f*cking yeah right’, I’m telling you!” says director Jean-Marc Vallée.

Director Vallée works again with “Dallas Buyers Club” cinematographer Yves Bélanger, the two brought their distinctively minimalist cinematic style – utilizing hand-held digital cameras and natural light – for the first time to a wilderness setting.  These raw, unadorned visuals would later be woven into a tapestry of present-tense encounters – human and otherwise – with ghostly flashbacks and stream of consciousness to recreate a story that heads inward even as it explores the outdoors. 

There was little doubt that the role would bring with it extreme athletic demands as Cheryl navigates across rock, river, ice and snow.  “If I would have been a person who didn’t love the outdoors, this role would have been impossible,” says Reese.  “As it was, it was extremely challenging on every level, and far more physically challenging than I ever anticipated.  There was climbing up the side of a mountain and balancing in river crossings and marching through chest-deep snow and falling into a freezing river.  I had no idea it was going to be as hard as it truly was.  But it was also very, very rewarding.” 

The heart-stirring vistas rife throughout the shoot were a constant inspiration for Witherspoon, and a reminder of why the untouched spaces of wilderness called so strongly to Cheryl, even at rock bottom.  “It fills you up,” the actress says.  “To see the incredible beauty of our world makes you believe everything might really be OK.  I think that’s how Cheryl came to feel.” 

The way Jean-Marc Vallée shoots, using hand-held digital cameras that move continuously through 360 degrees, was also a revelation for Witherspoon and sparked even more risk-taking in her performance.  “I've never done anything like it before.  It's very unorthodox,” she comments.  “As an actor, it helps frees you of old patterns.  You feel like you're always in the moment and anything is possible.  We could be in a wide shot one minute and a close-up the next, just as I might be sobbing one moment and ecstatic the next.  It was a really exciting kind of process.” 

The boots and backpack became a part of me,” Witherspoon notes.  “The backpack came to feel like it was my arm or leg. Sometimes I would forget between scenes it was even on my body.  Sometimes the prop master would have to say ‘you can take it off.’ As Cheryl says in her book, there’s something amazing about realizing that everything you really need in life you could carry on your back.  It is so liberating.  It's a beautiful idea.”
Throughout production, Witherspoon’s feet were chewed up, her body left aching and, much like Cheryl had, she passed through some dark and fearsome interior places but was constantly invigorated by the hard-won transformation she was projecting.  “It was never easy, but it was the kind of thing where when you get to the end of the day, you just feel like you’ve accomplished something,” she concludes.  “I felt so lucky to be able to tell a story like Cheryl’s.” 

  Take a moment for one meaningful journey when “Wild” opens in cinemas nationwide on February 4 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
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