Meet the unlikely heroes of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

Get to know the characters of Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the first in a new series of Star Wars standalone movies. “Rogue One” tells the story of a group of unlikely heroes, who in a time of conflict band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is an impetuous, defiant young woman who lends her skills to the Rebel Alliance and undertakes a desperate mission. Jones comments on her character, “I wanted Jyn to be as human as possible. She’s strong when she needs to be, she’s incredibly determined and she has to be tough when she doesn’t feel it. But at the same time there is enormous vulnerability.”

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is a respected Alliance intelligence officer. Describing his experience making the film, Luna says, “The film has many layers. There are moments that are deep and dramatic and deserve a lot of attention and rigor as actors. Then there are scenes that are just fun and it’s like choreography. You’re enjoying and having fun with the beat.”

Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) is a blind monk who is a skilled and artful warrior. “Donnie Yen has so much wisdom like his character and he’s got great humor,” says producer Allison Shearmur. “He has a sense of artistry and performance that tells us so much about his character. There’s an elegance, a heroism, a nobility about both Yen and Chirrut.”

Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) is a pragmatic soldier, who has grown up with Chirrut and will follow his closest friend to the ends of the universe. Of his character, Jiang Wen says, “Ultimately, he’s a good man at heart and very honest and is very loyal to his friend Chirrut. And Chirrut’s friends are his friends.”

Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) is a cargo pilot who works for the Empire but changes course when faced with a harsh truth. Riz Ahmed says of his character: “Gareth described Bodhi as a guy in a war movie who isn’t supposed to be there. Everyone on the team is a soldier or warrior in some way and there’s this guy who is there by accident but realizes he has to step up and make himself valuable. He’s an everyman, someone audiences can relate to.”

K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) is a reprogrammed Imperial security guard now loyal to the Alliance. “Alan is like all great comic actors in that, as funny as he is, he can pull at your heart strings as well,” offers Gareth Edwards. “We didn’t want K2 just to be the comic relief. There is something slightly tragic about him trying to find his place in the world. There are moments of fun, but Alan gives him a soul.”

Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) is an outlaw rebel, a man who believes that the Empire must be defeated, but at what cost? “Saw is very clear about what he believes,” says Whitaker about his character. “He’s willing to do things he thinks are necessary to save the people.”

Galen Erso (played by Mads Mikkelsen) is Jyn’s father and a brilliant scientist. On becoming part of the Star Wars family, Mikkelsen says, “It’s a big honor to be part of this legendary film universe. Something very interesting to me about Star Wars is that it’s quite human, even though we have Droids and different kinds of creatures that look very different from the human race.”

Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) is the man behind the creation of the Death Star, a weapon he knows will allow the Empire to take full control of the galaxy through means of fear.

Opening across the Philippines on December 15, 2016, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ picks up after end of ‘Awakening’

Columbia Pictures’ epic action thriller “Underworld: Blood Wars,” the latest installment in the blockbuster franchise, picks up in the aftermath of 2012’s “Underworld: Awakening” in which Selene (Kate Beckinsale) discovered that she had a daughter, Eve, with her former lover, Michael Corvin. At the end of the film, the reunited mother and daughter embark on a hunt for the missing father.

“We are back with Selene in this film,” says producer David Kern. “Selene is on the run and is having a difficult time being reunited with her daughter.” The mother-daughter team get separated along the way and Selene meets up with another ally from “Awakening,” David (Theo James). “Together, Selene and David are trying to find the daughter that she’s been separated from,” Kern continues. “And they get clogged up with a new Lycan, Marius, who is a bad-ass dude, much like Lucian [Michael Sheen] in the first film, but even scarier and nastier and more dangerous.”

The imposing character of Marius is a Super Lycan and he is lusting after the blood of both Selene and Eve as he bids to become the most powerful being of all, and to bring a final victory to the Lycan species. Marius is played by “Game of Thrones” star Tobias Menzies.

“Underworld is a really exciting series that gives you really amazing opportunities as a filmmaker, visually and creatively, to create a new world,” shares director Anna Foerster.

“With Underworld you have rules that are very specific for the story and for the franchise, but you can veer off from that. On purely the visual and creative side, it is extremely exciting.”

One of the rules to which the director refers pertains to the visual style, with all of the Underworld films to date defined by a near-monochromatic colour palette, heavy on blue and black.

“There is a certain expectation there but within that there is a playfulness to take advantage of,” says Foerster. “This film is going into different environments and we have a different feel and different colours.”

In “Blood Wars,” the audience is taken into a Nordic vampire coven in the far north. “When we go into the north and into the snow, there is definitely a different colour palette,” Foerster adds. “Here people wear white and they wear furs and they have white skin. That was a fun way to push this into another direction.

“But, that said, we’ve evolved a new direction in monochrome as well. I like the monochrome. It is part of the franchise’s style and I think it is cool when you are in that dark-bluish, monochrome, eastern coven world. And then you go into the north and you see greys, silvers and whites.

“Then it becomes really interesting when they mix, which happens towards the end of the movie; the two environments mix and you suddenly have that contrast.”

This contrast should excite fans, echoes producer David Kern. “We go to a few different environments that haven’t been seen in an Underworld movie before, and they have required different designs and different ways of thinking,” he says.

“Everyone thinks of Underworld as very dark and blue, a city-type landscape, so we are having fun opening that up and sending Selene and David off into different regions. That is really cool.”

Opening across the Philippines on December 2, 2016, “Underworld: Blood Wars” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Characters get close-up in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ banners

Lucasfilm has released new character banners for its hugely anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Featured in their own solo one-sheets are leader of the rebellion Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones); Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker).

Take a look at the posters below and watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when it arrives in Philippine theaters on December 15.

From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, with Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker.

Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are producing, with John Knoll and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers.

Opening across the Philippines on December 15, 2016, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures.