Production underway on Joaquin Phoenix-starrer ‘Joker’

Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Joker,” starring Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, alongside Oscar winner Robert De Niro, and directed, produced and co-written by Oscar nominee Todd Phillips.

“Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.

The film also stars Zazie Beetz (“Deadpool 2”), Bill Camp (“Red Sparrow,” “Molly’s Game”), Frances Conroy (TV’s “American Horror Story,” Hulu’s “Castle Rock”), Brett Cullen (“42,” Netflix’s “Narcos”), Glenn Fleshler (TV’s “Billions,” “Barry”), Douglas Hodge (“Red Sparrow,” TV’s “Penny Dreadful”), Marc Maron (TV’s “Maron,” “GLOW”), Josh Pais (upcoming “Motherless Brooklyn,” “Going in Style”), and Shea Whigham (upcoming “First Man,” “Kong: Skull Island”).

Phillips (“The Hangover” trilogy) directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with writer Scott Silver (“The Fighter”), based on characters from DC. The film is being produced by Phillips and Bradley Cooper under their Joint Effort banner, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff. It is executive produced by Richard Baratta, Joseph Garner and Bruce Berman.

Behind the scenes, Phillips is joined by director of photography Lawrence Sher (upcoming “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “The Hangover” trilogy), production designer Mark Friedberg (“Selma,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”), editor Jeff Groth (“War Dogs,” “The Hangover Part III”), and Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges (“Phantom Thread,” “The Artist”).

A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in Association with Village Roadshow Pictures, in Association with BRON Creative, a Joint Effort Production, “Joker” is set for release October 4, 2019, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Zac Efron, Robert De Niro star in buddy road trip comedy ‘Dirty Grandpa’

Zac Efron and Robert De Niro go on a wild familial bonding in “Dirty Grandpa,” where Edron plays young, buttoned-up, conservative lawyer Jason Kelly who is in the final stages of preparation for a picture-perfect wedding to his seemingly ideal fiancée Meredith Goldstein (Julianne Hough) when Jason’s beloved paternal grandmother passes. Though it’s the week before his big day, everyone’s concerned for Grandpa Dick (Robert De Niro), suddenly alone for the first time after 40 years of marriage.

After the funeral, Dick asks if Jason can drive him to Florida the following day, where he can grieve in the solace of their beloved getaway home. Knowing that Dick’s license has been suspended – and with the promise that he’ll be back the next day – Jason reluctantly agrees.

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Once the trip begins, Grandpa’s true agenda emerges and it’s decidedly not one of him moping silently in a car. Between the golf detour, the cigar chomping, hard-drinking, and the Daytona Beach detour that goes completely off the rails, Jason quickly learns that the grandpa he knows and loves is not exactly the man he thought he was. Yet the pair’s crazy, debauched and revealing road trip will also help Jason come to grips with who he is too, which may be an even bigger surprise. With these very different blood relatives, learning something about how life should be lived turns out to be a two-way street.

For the role of Jason, Dick’s conservative and uptight grandson tricked into serving as co-pilot to Dick’s last effort at youth-grabbing wish fulfillment, the script was sent to actor Zac Efron, whose recent foray into the comedy realm with Neighbors proved to be a huge success. Efron found the script shocking, smart, and hilarious and was all-in, particularly when presented with the possibility of working with the incomparable Robert De Niro.

“It’s every guy’s dream to work with Bob De Niro,” says Efron. “I was really curious how we would work together. He’s been doing this for so long, he’s such an icon, yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do a role like this. The day I heard this could potentially happen, every antenna went up. It was like, ‘Could I even work with this guy?’ Our histories are so different! There’s Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver, and then there’s me, High School Musical!”

Efron continues, “being such a big fan, it was an opportunity to learn from one of the absolute greatest actors that’s ever lived. He’s such a presence on camera – formidable and dramatic and real – that when he applies all those talents and skill to comedy, the screen just blows up. I would break constantly because the stuff that would come out of his mouth was insane. Then the movie ended up being really cool, so it was a double win.”

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Zac Efron notes that as packed with laughs as it is, the undercurrent of family bonding and self-expression in Dirty Grandpa gives the comedy a richer texture. “At the end of the day, the movie is about family coming back together, and about being set free,” says Efron. “It’s a story of growth and happiness. It’s just that the road there is ridiculously funny and chaotic.”

Guaranteed to be a boundless, wild ride, Dirty Grandpa is sure to not disappoint, either as a raucous laugh-getter or a compelling, inspiring story of two men seeking different types of fulfillment. Says director Dan Mazer, “All road trips lead somewhere. But in this case, it’s a destination of understanding, growth and bonding that points the way forward for both Dick and Jason, who come to realize how much they had to learn from each other. There may not be many dignified moments on their journey, but the ultimate indignity is tolerating a life you don’t want, and that’s where Jason grows the most from hanging out with his one-of-a-kind Dirty Grandpa.”

“Dirty Grandpa” opens this February 3, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

Robert De Niro plays wingman to Zac Efron in ‘Dirty Grandpa’

Ready to be a man? Learn it from the pro, in this case, from grandpa in the ultimate comedy buddy trip “Dirty Grandpa” starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron.

Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is one week away from marrying his boss’s uber-controlling daughter, putting him on the fast track for a partnership at the law firm. However, when the straight-laced Jason is tricked into driving his foul-mouthed grandfather, Dick (Robert De Niro), to Daytona for spring break, his pending nuptials are suddenly in jeopardy. Between riotous frat parties, bar fights and an epic night of karaoke, Dick is on a quest to live his life to the fullest and bring Jason along for the ride. Ultimately, on the wildest journey of their lives, “dirty” grandpa and his uptight grandson discover they can learn from one another and form the bond they never had. This outlandish comedy also stars Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch, Julianne Hough, Adam Pally, and Dermot Mulroney.

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As Dick and Jason embark on their seemingly innocent overnight trip to Florida, Jason begins to notice that Grandpa isn’t quite himself. Expecting to accompany a grieving widower for a brief trip of reflection and inter-generational male bonding, Jason discovers a foul-mouthed, scotch-drinking horndog with only one objective: sex, and lots of it. Dick had been a faithful, loving and doting husband to his wife for over forty years, but after losing her, he can only live life forward – Dick’s ready to get busy. This is his moment to live it up and throw it down, but he needs a wingman.

During the writing process, screenwriter Phillips had only one actor in mind for the role of Dick Kelly: the incomparable Robert De Niro, whom Phillips never in a million years imagined would be willing to take on the provocative role. “It’s crazy because when I wrote the script I was living in New York and always only had Robert De Niro in mind, who has that perfect blend of comedic timing and imperiousness that the character needed. He also had to be slightly terrifying and really smart, and De Niro certainly embodies all of those qualities,” explains Phillips.

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Witnessing his outrageous screenplay come to life was a thrill for John M. Phillips, an experience he will not soon forget. “Hopefully audiences will appreciate seeing Robert De Niro and Zac Efron in roles you’ve never seen them play before. The fact that Robert De Niro has said these ridiculously crass things I’ve written has been a great accomplishment for me, one in which I will lord over my friends and enemies for the rest of my life,” jokes Phillips.

Boundless wild ride awaits when “Dirty Grandpa” hits theatres this February 3, 2016 as distributed by Pioneer Films.

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Filipino-American Dave Bautista stars with Robert De Niro in ‘Bus 657’

Filipino-American Dave Bautista, a mixed martial arts and wrestler turned actor who has starred in record-breaking films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Riddick” and the upcoming Bond movie “Spectre” stars in another high-octane, high-speed chase action movie Bus 657 (also known as Heist) along with an impressive cast headed by Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Morris Chestnut, Kate Bosworth and Gina Carano.

Bautista, also a world wrestling champion is known to do his action scenes without doubles as he had done in “Spectre,” and had quite doubled the effort in his chase and fight scenes in “Bus 657,” where he takes on the role of a casino worker turned robber who took on a highly-dangerous heist job against their employer. The movie’s non-stop action speeds up when Vaughn (Morgan) a father who is in desperate need of money to save his daughter’s life was rejected by his mob boss Pope (De Niro) and turns to his psychotic co-worker Cox (Bautista) to rob the casino where they work. Although Vaughn, Cox, and an accomplice, Dante (Stephen Sepher), carefully plan out each minute of the late-night heist, Cox blows the timing, setting off alarms and a shootout with Dog and casino security.

When Vaughn, Cox and a seriously wounded Dante narrowly escape with $3 million in laundered cash only to find their getaway car is gone, the trio runs through the night and boards Bus 657. A police officer (Gina Carano) on patrol, having heard gunshots and sensing something wrong on the bus, signals for it to pull over. Cox panics, starts shooting out the bus window at the officer, and orders the driver (D.B. Sweeney) to keep moving and head for the interstate.

Now trapped on the speeding bus with only hours left until the hospital’s payment deadline, Vaughn begins to fear all of this was for nothing – he’ll never get off the bus and make it in time. As Bus 657 races west on Interstate 10, with swarms of police, helicopters, and news crews following their every move, the desperate father and determined ex-con-turned-Baccarat dealer knows he has one chance, and no choice, but to play the hand he was dealt.

Reminiscent of action thrillers such as the Keanu Reeves starrer “Speed” and great heist movies such as “Ocean’s 11,” “Bus 657” also brings back Robert De Niro in a mob boss role at the heels of his iconic portrayals from classic “Casino” and “The Godfather” movies. Taking on the role of menacing, ruthless kingpin in “Bus 657,” De Niro’s role as Pope isn’t one to let things slide when his two employees try to rob his casino and will take everything from them to get even. With its ticking clock, high-octane action, and high-stakes-heist-gone-wrong, Bus 657 had enough characters, events, and surprises to make for a thrilling, pop-crunching roller-coaster ride of a movie.

Directed by Scott Mann, Bus 657 is a star-studded non-stop thrilling action movie that will open this November 11 as released and distributed by Pioneer Films.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM PIONEER FILMS

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WATCH: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro in ‘Joy’ trailer

Oscar and Golden Globe nominee director David O. Russell collaborates anew with this generation’s most admired multi-generational team of incredible actors led by Jennifer Lawerence in the titular role along with Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in the highly-inspirational story of Joy about a woman, a mother who became one of America’s most powerful entrepreneurs.

“Joy” is the story of a mother, an ordinary citizen whose determination led her to invent the miracle mop while trying to find a way to make both ends meet and provide for her family despite insurmountable obstacles. A rags-to-riches story about a girl who becomes a matriarch in her own right by inventing the miracle mop that lifted a heavy burden off from millions of housewives across the globe.

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Also starring Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, and Virginia Madsen, “Joy” is the wild story of a family across four generations that defies genre of themes on family, love and loyalty as allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside of Joy’s clan.

Joy opens February 17, 2016 in Philippine cinemas nationwide as released by 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros.