Samuel L. Jackson leaves no man behind in ‘Kong: Skull Island’

Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Avengers: Age of Ultron), plays Lt. Colonel Preston Packard, the human alpha among the human characters in Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island which reimagines the origin of the mythic Kong in a compelling, original adventure.

Watch the final trailer of Kong: Skull Island below.

In the film, a diverse team of explorers is brought together to venture deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific – as beautiful as it is treacherous – unaware that they’re crossing into the domain of the mythic Kong.

The battle-hardened leader of the Sky Devils helicopter squadron, which is set to be decommissioned in the dark final days of the Vietnam War, Packard is struggling to turn his back on a war he cannot win. When his team is offered an assignment to lead the airborne survey of Skull Island, he seizes the opportunity for one last mission before rotating home with men who have become closer to him than family.

Jackson relates, “Packard is glad that all his men are going home safe, but seizes the opportunity for them to have one last flight together before it’s time to go. People are saying we lost the war and he’s saying we just abandoned it. He wants his soldiers to feel like winners, and sees this as an opportunity for them to be heroes and come home with some kind of victory.”

When the expedition reaches Skull Island, however, Packard can only watch in horror. “Kong knocks all these helicopters out of the sky, killing most of his men,” says Jackson. “Having left no man behind in Vietnam, and being the warrior that he is, he is not giving up on that fight easily. Having skin in the game and now blood on his hands for not getting his men home, his natural enemy becomes Kong.”

“We want to see Kong in an environment that is as big and spectacular as he is,” says the acting legend. “We know he lives in the jungle, but what else is in that jungle? What’s out there that allows him to exist? Are there others or is he an anomaly? And we find out that he was once part of a community that got wiped out by something else that’s on that island. Now he’s the guardian that keeps those things in check.”

Both Packard and Kong—each in his own way—is a protector: Kong of his home and Packard of his men, until Packard loses sight of what he’s protecting. “At this point, he has become almost an island unto himself,” Jackson observes. “Everyone is starting to understand that by exacting a measure of vengeance for the people he lost, even knowing that it risks the others not getting home, Packard is not being the level-headed commanding officer his soldiers have come to depend on all those years. In a rational world, and if he wasn’t so emotionally tied to the losses he suffered, he would understand the biological equation at play here. He still demands his pound of flesh.”

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Present a Legendary Pictures Production, Kong: Skull Island. The film will be released in the Philippines in 2D, 3D in select theatres, and IMAX beginning Thursday, March 9, 2017, from Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Dan Stevens plays cursed prince in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Attaining global stardom and acclaim for his performance as the dashing Matthew Crawley in the Golden Globe®-winning drama Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens now stars in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, opposite Emma Watson’s Belle.

The British thespian plays the Beast, a spoiled and arrogant Prince transformed by the curse of an enchantress.

Of particular importance to the filmmakers was determining the fine line between man and beast, as there are moments when rage overwhelms the character and makes him more beastly, yet there are other times when he is quite gentle.

“[Director] Bill Condon and I spent a lot of time talking about how we could add some nuances to my character to make him more dimensional than the Beast from the animated film,” says Stevens. “It was quite interesting, trying to find those little human beats that would make him less animalistic and more a human trapped inside this creature.”

Says Condon, “I’m a big fan of Dan’s…he’s got this amazing range. Taking this part on was taking on a lot more than just playing a role because of all the incredibly complicated technical things he had to face and the trust he had to place in everyone around him that all that work he did would shine through in the end. It takes a certain kind of character to be willing to do that.”

Stevens also had several profound discussions with Watson as to the mindset of their characters and the balance between good and evil and masculinity and femininity. He explains, “I was very keen on trying to calibrate the Beast according to the Belle that she wanted to be and to play, and we ultimately ended up realizing that this tale is not so much about beauty and ugliness but about the beauty and the beast that live in all of us and learning to live with that balance.”

“The role is an incredibly challenging one, as Dan has to bring the Beast to life even though he is represented on screen digitally,” adds producer David Hoberman. “The Beast is a fully-digital character created through performance and facial capture technology, and Dan is able to beautifully convey both the Beast’s humanity as well as his beastliness.”

To create a realistic looking Beast in a real-world environment while maintaining Dan Stevens’ performance, a combination of physical performance capture and MOVA facial capture technology was used. For the physical performance capture portions, scenes of the Beast with the live-action cast members were filmed on practical sets with Stevens wearing stilts and a prosthetics muscle suit with a gray bodysuit on top. Scenes of the Beast with the animated household staff were filmed with Stevens wearing a fractal gray bodysuit with visual effects indicators. And despite the restraining attire, the actor is able to convey a complex range of emotions, which was crucial, as the Beast is the romantic lead and the emotional center of the story.

Says Bill Condon, “Dan brings such warmth and nuance to the character and was able to evoke all of the pain and the humanity that was still there and give a powerful performance, which is told predominantly through his eyes and voice. It was really quite astonishing.”

About BEAUTY AND THE BEAST:

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, a live-action adaptation of the studio’s animated classic featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, including: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Hattie Morahan and Nathan Mack with Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

Directed by Bill Condon and based on the 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast, the screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Alan Menken provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice.

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, March 16, 2017, Beauty and the Beast is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Philippines.