‘Cinderella’s’ Holliday Grainger weathers ‘The Finest Hours’

She most recently delighted audiences as one of the cruel stepsisters in director Kenneth Branagh’s “Cinderella” opposite Lily James and Cate Blanchett.

Now, British actress Holliday Grainger stars in Disney’s sea rescue tale “The Finest Hours” as the headstrong fiancée of Chris Pine’s character, who has no problem speaking her mind, especially when it comes to her fiancé’s safety.

“The Finest Hours” is based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history in the U.S. Presented in Digital 3D, the film transports audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale. The film also stars Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster and Eric Bana.

“Miriam is an interesting character,” says Grainger. “She is so strong and determined to get what she wants, and even though she’s an educated woman, all she really wants is to get married. I loved the idea and the style of the 1950s and that kind of small town regional American mindset, which was a headspace I’d never really played before.”

Says director Craig Gillespie, “Miriam is this very independent woman, which feels a little unusual for that time period, but she actually ends up challenging Chris Pine’s Bernie to think for himself. Portraying a powerful woman is such a great opportunity for an actress, and Holliday does a superb job of maintaining that fine line between being strong but not too intimidating. The chemistry between her and Chris is just beautiful, and you really are yearning for them to end up together.”

Miriam’s journey throughout the film is to be able to comprehend the world that Bernie comes from and to learn to be secure in the fact that marrying him means marrying into that world. She explains, “Bernie cares about her so much and doesn’t want to introduce her into his world of danger because he’s saving people’s lives every day and doesn’t know when—or if—he’s ever coming back.”

“The movie is as much about the rescue mission as it is about the challenges of a relationship and how one makes the decision to fully commit to be with someone,” says producer Jim Whitaker, “and so in a way, what’s happening at sea is like a metaphor to what’s happening on shore, and Miriam is the anchor of that emotional journey, both for Bernie and herself.”

The way Bernie and Miriam met is a story in and of itself: she was a telephone operator and listened in on one of his calls where he politely cancelled a date due to a flat tire, and was smitten. “She heard his voice and said ‘that’s the man I’m going to marry,’” she says. “They dated on the phone for several weeks and got to know everything about each other before agreeing to meet, and the rest is history.” Bernie and Miriam Webber were married on April 16, 1952, as planned, and remained married for 58 years until Bernie passed away in 2009 at the age of 81.

In addition to the historical facts and details which the filmmakers wanted to be sure were believable and technically accurate, it was also important that the characters’ relationships were authentic as well. “We wanted to be very specific and very clear with how things happened, and the scene in the film where Bernie and Miriam go on their first date is verbatim from the story,” says Whitaker. “Being able to get those nuances and truths makes it all the more interesting and allows us to present such unique individuals, and both actors were great at being able to run with it.”

Opening across the Philippines on March 2, 2016, “The Finest Hours” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.

Follow the official social media accounts of Disney in the Philippines, namely, (FB) WaltDisneyStudiosPH, (Twitter) @disneystudiosph and (Instagram) @waltdisneystudiosph and use the hashtag #FinestHoursPH.

Will Ferrell, Kristin Wiig play evil villains in ‘Zoolander 2’

Comic geniuses Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig band together as the fabulous evil villains Jacobim Mugatu and Alexanya Atoz, respectively, in Paramount Pictures’ hilarious comedy sequel, “Zoolander 2.”

So iconic that he can be identified by silhouette, Jacobim Mugatu stands alongside some of the most revered and reviled villains in cinema history. With a penchant for outrageous outfits, small dogs, latte-throwing, and the ability to determine who is really hot right now, Mugatu is a truly unique character unlike any other.

Considered a newcomer at the time of the original “Zoolander” in 2001, comedian Will Ferrell embraced the opportunity to create such an absurd character from the ground up. “All these characters in the fashion world are so much fun because it’s fertile ground,” says Ferrell. “Mugatu is an important character for me because it was the first time I had the chance to do a big broad character that ended up resonating with people.”

For Ferrell, donning the infamous wig again was an interesting experience after almost 15 years. “It was strange at first to get back into the character and the outfits and then it became strange that it wasn’t strange anymore,” he laughs. “I had forgotten how intense Mugatu is. He is never relaxed and is always screaming at someone because nothing is ever quite right, but those are such fun characteristics to play.”

With Mugatu behind bars, the world of fashion was left without a leader; a nation of fashionistas left to (gasp!) decide for themselves what was is in-style. Luckily, the void was filled to epic proportions by fashion’s new queen, the incomparable Alexanya Atoz.
A fashion magnate so cherished and revered that she appears to float instead of walk (walking is just so regular), Alexanya dictates all things fashion related; what trends to follow, patterns to wear, and determines the ultimate standards for beauty. When Derek (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) are personally invited by Alexanya to appear at her protégé Don Atari’s upcoming show, they are made aware of the magnitude of this invitation and prepare to make their big return to the runway.

Larger than life by design, Alexanya Atoz is a walking art installation. Alexanya doesn’t just wear clothes; she carefully curates every aspect of her appearance and takes every opportunity to make a statement. Ever on the quest for eternal beauty, she has made every attempt to reverse the aging process and the result is a plumped, injected, stretched, tanned face that nods to society’s obsession with youth and cosmetic surgery. “Alexanya is a plastic surgery disaster on the quest for eternal youth and beauty, so overly injected and Botoxed that she can barely speak,” says screenwriter Justin Theroux.

Acclaimed actress and “Saturday Night Live” alumna Kristen Wiig was chosen for the role, and used Alexanya’s physical eccentricities to help define the character. “I’ve never played anyone like this before, an evil queen of sorts. The script describes her physically as having way too much plastic surgery that inhibited the way she talks. Her dialogue was written out phonetically which I read as having a Russian feel to it, and we came around to the idea that she just doesn’t care to pronounce words correctly.”

To achieve Alexanya’s extreme look, celebrated make-up artist Mark Coulier and his team created a wildly unique look using extensive prosthetics with a lengthy application process, which combined with her extravagant wigs, hair pieces, and complex wardrobe, was a process that required up to four hours. “You just have to Zen out for a while. I’ve never worn prosthetics like this before; it’s pretty amazing. It’s weird to look at yourself in the mirror and see your eyes but it’s not your face,” remarks Wiig.

Wiig and Ferrell share a special moment on screen, sure to be remembered as one of the year’s most memorable on-screen kisses. On the day, director and co-star Ben Stiller gave minimal direction as to the specifics of the kiss and was surprised by just how deep the two comedic powerhouses went for it. “We talked a little about what we would try beforehand and I told him something along the lines of ‘Do whatever. Lick away because it’s not really my skin.’ I don’t think Ben really realized what we were gonna do because after we did it the first time, he seemed a little surprised. We really went for it,” laughs Wiig.

“I didn’t really give them any direction at all— Will and Kristen have such a great trust together and happen to be two of the funniest people ever and what they did was one of the most insane things I’ve ever seen. It is one of the funniest things in the movie,” concludes Stiller.

Opening across the Philippines on February 24, 2016, “Zoolander 2” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.


Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ reveals Southeast Asia exclusive art features

“Zootopia,” from Walt Disney Animation Studios, features a team of filmmakers from all over the world. From Southeast Asia, there are five hometown heroes, specifically from Singapore and Thailand, each of them with different roles in the production of the movie. From lighting artists to modeler, these hometown heroes are based in Burbank, California, working alongside the directors of Disney’s Zootopia, Byron Howard and Rich Moore.

To celebrate the global release of Disney’s “Zootopia,” a special series of Southeast Asia exclusive art has been drawn by Fawn Veerasunthorn, a Thai story artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios. For Disney’s “Zootopia,” Veerasunthorn was responsible for visualizing the script into panels of drawings.

This special series of Southeast Asia exclusive art features drawings of the movie’s characters, Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps, with local iconic landmarks in Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.

Now showing across the Philippines, “Zootopia” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.

Follow the official social media accounts of Disney in the Philippines, namely, (FB) WaltDisneyStudiosPH, (Twitter) @disneystudiosph and (Instagram) @waltdisneystudiosph and use the hashtag #ZootopiaPH.

About Disney’s Zootopia

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.