‘The Big Short’ enlists Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez to explain complex concepts

Because Paramount Pictures’ “The Big Short” takes place within an industry riddled with obtuse terminology, director Adam McKay knew he needed an entertaining way to clarify some core concepts for the audience.

“People need to know this stuff in order to follow the story, but when you first hear phrases like ‘collateralized debt obligation’ or ‘credit default swap,’ they make you feel stupid and bored,” McKay says. “Bankers do everything they can to make these transactions seem really complicated, so we came up with the idea of having celebrities pop up on the screen throughout the movie and explain things directly to the audience.”

The cleverly staged cameos include “The Wolf of Wall Street” star Margot Robbie demystifying mortgage-backed securities while drinking champagne in a bubble bath, and chef/TV host Anthony Bourdain comparing leftover fish to toxic financial assets.
McKay says he recruited Bourdain for the scene after reading his memoir Kitchen Confidential. “He tells readers that they should not order seafood stew because it’s where cooks put all the crap they couldn’t sell,” says the director. “I thought ‘Oh my God that’s a perfect metaphor for a collateralized debt obligation, where the banks bundle a bunch of bad mortgages and sell it as a triple-A rated financial product.'”

The Big Short Selena Gomez

To illustrate the ruinous domino effect triggered by the collapse of so-called “synthetic CDO’s,” McKay paired Selena Gomez with behavioral economist Dr. Richard Thaler in a scene set in a casino. As Thaler expounds upon the idea of “Extrapolation Bias” – the tendency to assume that something that’s happening now will continue to happen – Gomez sits at a blackjack table with a giant stack of chips. “It’s a kind of high-low dynamic where we’ve got Selena playing blackjack as onlookers take side bets on her hand,” says McKay. “It was investors making those kinds of side bets on mortgage-backed securities through CDOs that drove the whole world economy to where it was poised to crash.”

Gomez admits she was surprised to get a call from McKay for “The Big Short.” “I read the script and didn’t understand most of it, which scared the hell out of me because I do think it’s important to learn about our economic system,” says the young actress and pop superstar. “But after I talked to Adam, it made sense to be part of this movie. I get a chance to use my platform and communicate to people who care about me. My generation is the next generation coming up. It’s important for us to understand what happened.”

The Big Short posters

Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, “The Big Short” is vying for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Adam McKay), Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

In the film, when four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: the big short. (To “short” in Wall Street language means, “to make a bet against”). Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything.

Now showing across the Philippines, “The Big Short” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WATCH: First ‘Money Monster’ trailer takes George Clooney hostage

From the producers of the Oscar Best Picture winner “Argo” comes Columbia Pictures’ new suspense thriller “Money Monster.” Directed by Jodie Foster, the film stars George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell (“300: Rise of an Empire,” “Unbroken”). Watch the film’s first trailer below.

In the taut and tense thriller “Money Monster,” Lee Gates (Clooney) is a bombastic TV personality whose popular financial network show has made him the money wiz of Wall Street. But after he hawks a high tech stock that mysteriously crashes, an irate investor (O’Connell) takes Gates, his crew, and his ace producer Patty Fenn (Roberts) hostage live on air. Unfolding in real time, Gates and Fenn must find a way to keep themselves alive while simultaneously uncovering the truth behind a tangle of big money lies.

The film also stars Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito and Caitriona Balfe, while the producers are Daniel Dubiecki, Lara Alameddine, George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

Opening across the Philippines on April 2016, “Money Monster” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Saoirse Ronan, torn between two loves in ‘Brooklyn’ movie

In search of a new life, the heart warming movie “Brooklyn” trails the life of Eilis, played by Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan, a young luminous Irish woman who has lived her whole life in tiny Enniscorthy, Ireland – who is swept away to America through the prodding of her thoughtful sister into becoming a confident woman in a foreign land.

As Eilis arrives into the diverse tumult of Brooklyn, New York a sudden burst of homesickness overwhelms her, feeling like an exile. But as Eilis dexterously learns to adapt to life as a New Yorker, she meets an Italian immigrant, Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen), a funny, sweet, charismatic suitor determined to win her devotion. Just as she seems on the verge of beginning a new life, a family tragedy brings her back to Ireland where she is pulled back into the life she left behind and meets an Irish gentleman, Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson) whom she eventually falls in love with too. Caught between two countries, two men and a decision that could affect her future forever, Eilis confronts one of the most breathtakingly difficult dilemmas of our fluid modern world: figuring out how to merge where you have come from with where you dream of going.

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The entirety of “Brooklyn” builds to the life-altering decisions Eilis must make: between Tony and Jim, between Brooklyn and Ireland, between her past and what she wants for her future. Everyone involved knew from the start that the story hinged on the uncertainty of her ultimate choice.

While casting Eilis was vital, it was equally important that her two suitors – one American, the other unexpectedly found when she returns to Ireland – be as alluring and true-to-life. To play the boyish plumber Tony Fiorello, who woos Eilis with bravado and tenacity despite her uncertainty, the filmmakers chose rising star Emory Cohen. Known for his roles on NBC’s “Smash” and Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines,” this is his first major romantic lead.

Cohen, who is a New York native, was drawn to the character as both a timeless symbol of youthful passion but also as a very real Italian immigrant who believes in the 1950s ideal that the measure of man is doing the best by the woman he loves. “Ultimately, I think this is a story that makes you think about a lot of things in life then and now,” he says. “What does it mean to love whole heartedly? What does it mean to be a good man? What does it mean to enjoy the simple things in life?”

Domhnall Gleeson as "Jim Farrell" in BROOKLYN. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved
Domhnall Gleeson as “Jim Farrell” in BROOKLYN. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

If Tony Fiorello is sweetly seductive, his more provincial but gentlemanly Irish counterpart, Jim Farrell, had to be both an opposite attraction and a legitimate threat. That led to the choice of Domhnall Gleeson, who has been coming to the fore as one of the most versatile actors of a new generation with roles in “About Time,” “Calvary,” “Unbroken,” “Ex Machina” and in “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.”

Gleeson knew he, too, had to find a subtle but visceral chemistry with Saoirse Ronan, to put the question mark in the audience’s mind. “Life in Brooklyn may offer Eilis more, but it was my job to make Jim seem worth staying in Ireland for,“ he says. “I really wanted to create a connection with Saoirse that you would feel is worth fighting for.”

Emory Cohen as "Tony" in BROOKLYN. Photo by Kerry Brown. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved
Emory Cohen as “Tony” in BROOKLYN. Photo by Kerry Brown. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Like his castmates, Gleeson related to Eilis’ experience in his own way. “I think everybody’s known a sense of displacement at one time or another, of not having a clear home,” he says. “I’ve certainly been familiar with that at various times in my life — and I thought it was captured brilliantly in this story. Then there’s a lot of romance and fun to the story, which is very appealing.”

“Brooklyn” opens January 27, 2016 exclusively at select Ayala Malls Cinemas – Glorietta 4, Trinoma, Market! Market! and Fairview Terraces as released by 20th Century Fox thru Warner Bros. Visit www.sureseats.com for schedule.