Jessica Henwick Talks ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Training, Filming Style and Covid
With our return to the Matrix rapidly approaching, details about the upcoming Lana Wachowski film have been kept tight. What we do know, is that we will have most of the central cast from the original trilogy, surrounded by fresh new faces. With the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jessica Henwick rounding out the group.
In a recent interview with Christina Radish at Collider, the matrix star who will play a character named Bugs, will dawn the white rabbit tattoo and awesome blue hair, spoke about the pressures of working with Keanu Reeves and the creativity of Director Lana Wachowski.
“That’s somewhere I felt pressure because those fights are so seminal [to The Matrix]. Those moments from the original have stayed in my head, so many of those fight beats, [so] that was really where I was intimidated going into it. I knew I had to be performing up here. You’re performing with Keanu. It’s John Wick. He knows what he’s doing. You can’t hold him back, in any way. I had to give it my all. I devoted myself to it. We trained pretty hard in the run-up and we kept training all the way through filming. When we were shut down for COVID and we went off three months, I still was at home training every day, even though we didn’t know if we were going back. When we got shut down for COVID, Lana said, ‘Well, maybe that’s it. Maybe we won’t come back and film the rest of it. Maybe the new Matrix will go down as this legendary film which incomplete, and no one will ever be able to see it. Maybe that’s what this is meant to be.’ And we were all going, ‘No, you have to finish the film.’ But she really did toy with the idea of just calling it quits… For me, even though I didn’t know whether we would come back, I couldn’t think about that, and so I trained throughout the entire break because I just had to focus. I just had to be positive and go, ‘No, we’re gonna go finish the film. We have to. This can’t be how my Matrix journey ends.”
Henwick, who will also be starring in the Adult Swim anime series Blade Runner: Black Lotus, went into more detail about Lana’s shooting style on set and having to be present at all times.
“[Wachowski is] very creative, and she has a very, very strong vision. She doesn’t work like any of the directors I’ve worked with. She loves running takes, so we’ll often go 20 minutes without a single cut. And she doesn’t do the normal thing, which is, ‘Okay, let’s set up for shooting A side, and we’ll shoot the wide, the medium, the closeup, and then we can all move the lights so that we can shoot B side.’ Everyone had to be aware that it was 360 [degrees of coverage] at all times. She would stand next to the operator and she would be shooting. Keanu is speaking and she’s shooting. She’s handling the camera, zooming in on him, and then she would just turn, and suddenly the camera will be on you, even though you’re on the other side of the line. That’s how she shoots. It’s very much how she feels in the moment. It’s very instinctive for her. It’s fascinating to watch. I’ve never worked with a director who is going so much on a gut feeling.”
“I auditioned with her, so by the time I got to set, I already knew, ‘Okay, she’s gonna be like this.’ She’s gonna talk in the middle of your line. The things which might annoy you on another project, you just have to accept with her. You may be in the middle of your line and she’ll just turn the camera off of you because she decides, ‘Actually, I don’t wanna film you. I wanna film this for a second.’ She was like that in my audition process; I think she even pushed it more in the audition process, to see how I would react. If you can’t be flexible with a director like that, then there’s no point working together. You’re not gonna enjoy working together. She really wanted to make sure that every actor was just present and there, at all times, and ready to go.”
‘The Matrix Resurrections,’ hits theaters December 22, 2021
Three Things Todd Phillips’ Joker Sequel Can Do To Surpass The First
By now, we all know that Todd Phillips is helming the sequel to the Oscar-winning comic-book adaptation Joker. It was reported that Joaquin Phoenix will be reprising his role as the menacing clown prince of crime known as Arthur Fleck while , in a shocking twist, Lady Gaga will be playing Harley Quinn instead of Margot Robbie coming back as the Joker’s favorite love interest.
People are still somewhat in shock that the sequel to the 2019 smash hit is going to be a musical that will actually feature our lead character singing, which is already something new for a DC film. Despite all of that, fans are understandably worried that this sequel will not perform on the same level as its predecessor.
Here is how it can be great:
Technically, we already saw Batman in the last movie. Many people don’t count it because it was just a young Bruce Wayne up until he lost his parents. However, if fans want to be truly satisfied with the outcome of the film, Todd Phillips needs to have Batman come into his Caped Crusading glory once again. Whether they use Robert Pattinson, or decide to bring Ben Affleck back again, it would be so amazing so see the two go at it in this universe.
Fans might groan and roll their eyes at the prospect of these two characters duking it out yet again, but, whether we like it or not, Joker is the greatest Batman villain in his rogues gallery and a Joker without a Batman, especially in this sequel, does not look like it would bode well with audiences.
Joker must kill Robin
In the comics, Jason Todd’s Robin is kidnapped and held captive by the Joker only to be ultimately killed by the clown prince of crime. To really make this movie compelling, there has to be some sort of stakes. Robin may be the equalizer in those stakes and up the ante in the film to make it more heartfelt and poetic if the Joker were to kill him.
This would most likely culminate into an ultimate showdown of blood, justice and vengeance between Joker and Batman.
Kill the Musical Numbers
It might be impossible at this point but if the filmmakers want this film to succeed, it makes only sense to get the musical genre clear out of the film. DC comic-book films and musicals don’t sound like they mix well together. WIth that being said, it only makes sense that the two remain separate.
To be honest, could you imagine seeing Joker singing a power ballad with Harley Quinn in a DC film, or better yet, singing it with Batman? Moreover, could you imagine Joker looming over Robin as he belts out a villain song? I couldn’t imagine that either.
Why ‘Return to Oz’ is one of my favorite films now
I have said it once and I’ll say it again. Nothing could match the sheer brilliance of the 1939 Judy Garland-led film The Wizard of Oz, but there is another film that was flown under the radar that was forgotten by many Oz fans after its release. That film was Return to Oz.
The movie is the unofficial sequel to the 1939 classic film. It follows a young Dorothy Gale six months after she came back from the Land of Oz. She is sent a key by the scarecrow via a shooting star and gets back to the magical land of Oz using a raft on a floating river. She is accompanied by a talking chicken, a metalhead named Tik-Tok, a Gump and Jack Pumpkinhead.
The gang battles the evil Princess Mombi and her boss the Nome King. They must find the Scarecrow and unfreeze all of the inhabitants of the Emerald City.
The film bombed at the box-office and only received mixed reviews, but, over the years, it has gained popularity, thanks to the internet and other Oz fans.
As a child, I have always been fascinated with the idea of a person or a group of people traveling to a distant and fantastical land of wonder and amazement. That’s why I love movies like Alice In Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and The Chronicles of Narnia but this Walter Murch film from 1985 seems to capture my attention whenever I’m on Disney+ trying to kill some time.
The story is so simple that it takes the journey of the hero and breathes new life into the marvelous land of Oz and the films that inspired it. It has a certain kinship to the nostalgic movies that I previously watched as a child in the 2000s.
Another reason that I love this film so much is because of the magnificent score by David Shire. His music is so beautifully crafted that it makes one weak in the knees and the heart. Each note is a transformative thrill into Murch’s vision of what L. Frank Baum’s Oz was. The film uses every single strand of filmmaking techniques that the 1939 film originally hosted.
Since its release, it has been acclaimed as a cult classic and its nostalgic charm is what makes it so likable and watchworthy.
Why ‘Joker’ Is Better Than ‘Captain Marvel’
The 2010s proved to be the age of the comic-book movies and I’m not just talking about the Avengers movies, although they certainly changed the game for superhero movies, today I will be discussing are two of the most divided comic-book films of the 2010s and they are Captain Marvel and Joker or better yet, why ‘Joker’ proves to be a much better film than ‘Captain Marvel’.
I will start with what makes the ‘Joker’ movie better than Captain Marvel. For those that have not seen the ‘Joker’ movie, major spoilers ahead. Although, if you haven’t seen it by now, shame on you. It made over a billion dollars at the box office and became Joaquin Phoenix’s most successful film.
But anyway, the joker is about a struggling stand up comedian named Arthur Fleck who is constantly bullied and disregarded by society. Fleck lives with his mother Penny working as a party clown until he is fired from his job for bringing a gun into a children’s hospital.
Afterwards, Fleck is beaten by three businessmen on a train. Fleck draws his gun and kills all three men, beginning his dark descent as one of the greatest comic book villains of all time. Now, let’s talk about Captain Marvel. Yeah I know, but it’s still part of the essay.
Captain Marvel is about a young US Fighter Pilot named Carol Danvers who is the victim of a terrible crash that gives her immeasurable powers after a Kree causes her plane engine to explode. And I’m only saying this not because I remember exactly what happened but because I’m reading that from Wikipedia.
Now, before I break down anymore differences, let me break down how both of these movies are similar. Both movies address a character that is looking for more purpose in life. I understand that that seems like a very broad explanation but that is the case in these films. Both characters have something or a series of traumatic events occur in their lives, both characters go up against a powerful group. In the Joker, Arthur Fleck goes up against the Waynes and in Captain Marvel Carol Danvers goes up against the Kree, both characters find out who they truly are: It’s revealed in Joker that Fleck was adopted and abused as a child and in Captain Marvel Danvers figures out that she was captured by the Kree after she gained her powers and lost her memory and after discovering their true selves, they decide to use their newfound persona for either evil or for good.
Now the reason audiences loved the Joker movie could be surrounded in the fact that the filmmakers brought light to a comic book villain that was never shown in a film until now, while Captain Marvel was divided amongst fans because in my opinion it seemed more like a filler in between avengers infinity war and endgame.
And that brings me to my first point. Unlike Captain Marvel, Joker was designed to be a standalone film and not be part of a cinematic universe, despite the fact that a sequel is possible. But anyway, one of the reasons that makes the Joker movie so much better than Captain Marvel is the fact that it was meant to be a standalone film, which makes it unique.
Captain Marvel on the other side of the Marvel spectrum is a movie within a collection of movies, which means that if it wants to really stand out among the comic book film genre, it needs to do something new that hasn’t been seen before and I don’t want to use these guys as a source, but rotten tomatoes consensus sounds like Captain Marvel just recycles old material.
The consensus reads: “Packed with action, humor, and visual thrills, Captain Marvel introduces the MCU’s latest hero with an origin story that makes effective use of the franchise’s signature formula”.
Did you guys hear that last part? It makes effective use of the franchise’s signature formula. It never said that Captain Marvel adds anything new in the Marvel Pantheon, it just makes effective use of an already done-before formula.
Joker’s consensus reads: “Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star — and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema”.
The consensus says that it is an evolution for the comic book film genre….and it is. It changed the game for comic book films and it did it with simplicity. It didn’t need to use extended CGI battles and epic fight scenes and that’s what made it so special. It was a departure from other superhero or villain films that rely on special effects to draw a crowd and that is what brings me to my second point as to what makes Joker better than Captain Marvel.
Joker is grounded in reality. Joker doesn’t reference any other superheroes with the exception of young Bruce Wayne, because it’s a film that attempts to tell a story about a mentally ill man that has been ignored, abused and disregarded by society and critics have been taken aback by the results. Many liberal critics are triggered by the fact that director Todd Phillips is shedding a light on a white male character that becomes a supervillain and ends up killing many people in the future. In fact, it’s so stirring for moviegoers that people have claimed it would incite violence or more mass shootings…and it didn’t. With that logic you could say the same thing about Tom Hardy’s Venom or Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, but I won’t get into that.
Anyway, when you compare the plausibility–and that’s what Joker’s consensus says. Plausibility.–when you compare it to that of Captain Marvel, you realize that Captain Marvel by comparison is a fairy tale compared to the Joker because in reality you don’t get powers from a plane crash, you don’t have women fall out of the sky get chased by aliens and later on in the film blast an entire spaceship armada effortlessly. It….does….not….happen.
The Joker however is more plausible. It addresses the fact that there are people with mental illness, which is a real thing. It addresses neighborhood poverty, which is a real thing. It addresses the poor protesting the rich, which is a real thing and it addresses people inciting violence which is a real thing.
Had Todd Phillips taken a different direction to the origin story, like the Joker falling in a vat of acid, we would be having a very différent conversation because it would be a lot less plausible. In Detective Comics #168 in 1951, and revised in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, where the Joker, before he became the joker, fell into a vat of acid after a scuffle with Batman, giving him a white complexion, red scarred lips, green hair and a frightening cackle and that explanation is so lazy. It doesn’t cut deep within the motivations of why this character is the way he is.
Captain Marvel’s origin is just as implausible, except with aliens, spaceships and devices that allow you to look inside a person’s mind. I’m actually hoping that there isn’t a sequel to the Joker because if there’s a sequel and/or cinematic universe based on this one movie, Joker would lose its uniqueness and end up being lost in a slew of movies that are only being made to make money, because the best things in life must always come to an end….you know what I’m talking about Star Wars.
Three Things Todd Phillips’ Joker Sequel Can Do To Surpass The First
By now, we all know that Todd Phillips is helming the sequel to the Oscar-winning comic-book adaptation Joker. It was...
Why ‘Return to Oz’ is one of my favorite films now
I have said it once and I’ll say it again. Nothing could match the sheer brilliance of the 1939 Judy...
Why ‘Joker’ Is Better Than ‘Captain Marvel’
The 2010s proved to be the age of the comic-book movies and I’m not just talking about the Avengers movies,...
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