See how 'Rogue One' VFX artists recreated Peter Cushing, Carrie Fisher - Silver Screen Beat
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See how ‘Rogue One’ VFX artists recreated Peter Cushing, Carrie Fisher

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While some of the main talking points of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have been about Alan Tudyk’s hilariously sassy droid K-2SO and the chemistry between Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso and Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, the biggest highlight seems to be how the film’s visual effects team were able to recreate Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher using both live actors and digital animation.

Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin plays a significant role in Rogue One as he oversees the creation of the Death Star and enjoys bossing Ben Mendelsohn’s Orson Krennic around. Here’s the thing, though: Cushing died in 1994. However, thanks to the constantly evolving technology available to Industrial Light & Magic, they were able to resurrect Cushing from the dead using a mix of CGI and live actors paired with performance capture technology. The result? It’s actually quite impressive despite the noticeable fact that this isn’t necessarily a real actor give a genuine performance.

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The process of recreating a 19-year-old Fisher as Princess Leia in Rogue One was fairly similar to what the visual effects team did for Cushing—the only thing to note is that Fisher was still very much alive and well during the production of the film and was able to see it for herself and give it a “thumbs up,” as executive producer John Knoll said.

If you’re one of the few that haven’t experienced the epicness that is Rogue One, it is the first of the standalone Star Wars movies and follows a group of unlikely heroes who join forces together on a mission to steal top-secret plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. The film has grossed over $800 million worldwide.

Rogue One, which has grossed a whopping $800 million worldwide since its debut on December 16, was written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy and also stars Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker.

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Timothée Chalamet is in final talks to play Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ adaptation

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Timothee Chalamet Dune
CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES

Timothée Chalamet is going from indie to blockbuster as the 21-year-old Oscar-nominee is in final talks to star in Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune, an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert, Silver Screen Beat has learned.

According to Deadline, Chalamet will be playing Paul Atreides, the son of a noble family trying to avenge his father’s death while also trying to save a spice planet that he is entrusted to protect with his life. Kyle MacLachlan played the character in the David Lynch-directed 1984 original.

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Villeneuve is directing the long-in-the-works project, which has been in development at Legendary since 2008, from a screenplay written by Oscar-winner Eric Roth. The director will also serve as a producer on the film alongside Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, while Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Thomas Tull, and Kim Herbert are executive producing.

For Chalamet, this is just another step in the right direction for the young actor, who picked up an Oscar-nomination for his outstanding breakout performance in Luca Guadagnino’s gay coming-of-age tale Call Me by Your Name back in January.

Chalamet is likely to garner some awards attention come this October when his latest film, Beautiful Boy, opens in theaters. Felix Van Groeningen directed the upcoming drama, which also stars Steve Carell, and chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

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‘Boy Erased’ trailer finds an Oscar-bound Lucas Hedges attending gay conversion therapy

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Boy Erased
FOCUS FEATURES

Focus Features has released the first trailer for Boy Erased, the coming-of-age and coming-out drama from writer/director Joel Edgerton, based on the memoir of the same name written by Garrard Conley. The film features an impressive ensemble cast which includes Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Edgerton.

The story follows Jared (Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town who is outed to his parents (Kidman, Crowe) at age 19 and is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program – or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith.

Boy Erased, which is Edgerton’s second feature film as director following the 2015 sleeper hit The Gift, also stars Cherry Jones, Michael “Flea” Balzary, Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, Joe Alwyn, Emily Hinkler, Jesse LaTourette, David Joseph Craig, Théodore Pellerin, Madelyn Cline, and Britton Sear.

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“I will always thank Garrard for trusting my passion for his life story,” Edgerton said in a statement last year when it was announced that Focus had acquired worldwide distribution rights to Boy Erased. “I can’t think of a better reason to get behind the camera again.”

Focus is set to release Boy Erased in select theaters just in time for the forthcoming awards season on November 2. You can check out the newly released trailer for the film below.

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‘Downton Abbey’ movie set to begin production in September with the original cast returning

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Downton Abbey
PBS

Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski announced Friday morning that the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie is set to begin production this September with the original principal cast from the hit television series returning to reprise their respective roles.

According to a press release, Brian Percival, who directed the Downton Abbey pilot, is directing the film from a script written by Julian Fellowes, who created the award-winning series which picked up 15 Emmy Awards over the span of its six-season run.

Downton Abbey follows the lives of the elite Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country home. Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Hugh Bonneville all starred in the show.

“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” said in a statement. Kujawski.  “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”

The film will be a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International handling distribution.

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Adds Carnival’s executive chairman Gareth Neame, who is also producing the film: “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production.  Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”

A release date for the Downton Abbey movie has not been announced, though it seems likely that we’ll see the film hit the big screen towards the backend of next year if production does, in fact, begin this September.

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