Tag: elizabeth banks

The making of “People Like Us” movie

The making of "People Like Us" movie

“People Like Us” was filmed entirely in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. Instead of iconic landmarks and tourist attractions, the locations the filmmakers chose were more grassroots, hometown Los Angeles—the L.A. most tourists never see. As producer Bobby Cohen explains, “There is something special about shooting in real locations. There is a texture to them that you can’t rebuild. It makes a difference. That had been one of Alex’s [Kurtzman, director] main things from the get-go—he wanted to shoot the parts of L.A. that don’t normally get attention.”

Continues Cohen, “We’re not shooting the tourists’-eye view of L.A. As a born New Yorker, it’s been fun shooting in more offbeat neighborhoods. Alex intuitively understands the moods of these places and has done a very good job of capturing those moods on film.”

Director Alex Kurtzman comments, “I’m a native Los Angeleno and my city is not the glitzy, cliched Los Angeles that I feel like I see on screen in other films. I felt strongly about representing the L.A. that was the story of the movie and was one that others had never seen.”

One of the scenes in the film was shot at Rhino Records, one of the oldest record stores still in existence, and famed Hollywood High School became the setting for the Toluca Park Middle School. Old-time eateries Henry’s Tacos, Cole’s French Dip and Neptune’s Net were featured to lend authentic L.A. flavor—no pun intended.

The making of "People Like Us" movie

Shooting in real locations, such as the houses, restaurants, schools and churches used in the film, presents challenges for lighting—walls cannot be moved and there are usually not high ceilings to accommodate the lights. But director of photography Sal Totino was a genius at coming up with simple, yet elegant ways to light the film that did not sacrifice the high quality of the filming.

Director Alex Kurtzman relates, “To Sal Totino, it isn’t about what’s the most beautiful lighting scheme. It’s about: how is this frame telling the emotional story of the characters? That’s the first question that he asks. He translates an emotion beautifully. I can’t imagine ever working with anyone else.”

Production designer Ida Random brought a very real look to the film, as if the audience were actually brought into the living room of a familiar house. Without overdoing the production design, Random was able to create an intimacy and comfort level that draws the viewers in, but never visually bores them.

Much of the music business memorabilia in the “Jerry’s Study” set belongs to Jody Lambert’s father Dennis Lambert, a Songwriters Hall of Fame nominee whose hits as writer and/or producer include “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I Got) “, “Rhinestone Cowboy”, “Baby Come Back” and “Nightshift.” Lambert showed production designer Ida Random a storage unit full of his father’s memorabilia and she used it in the set, including photographs of Dennis Lambert himself and his actual Gold records.

The making of "People Like Us" movie

Costume designer Mary Zophres continued the “real” look with her choice of clothing for the characters and the extras. Zophres says, “It’s not the kind of movie where you want the clothes to be front and center. They tell the story of who the characters are and then you move on. You shouldn’t be aware of the clothes. They should just sort of tell the story and go away.”

In dressing Chris Pine’s character Sam, Zophres had him in an expensive suit that is above his means at the start of the film, but when he goes to L.A. he only packs casual clothes for what he thinks is a 48-hour stay: two pairs of jeans, three T-shirts, a jacket and two button down plaid shirts.

For Elizabeth Banks’ character Frankie, Zophres chose a leather jacket that she wears a lot in the beginning of the movie. Then as the story progresses, she loses the jacket as her character evolves. The subtle shift in costuming was deliberate to parallel the storyline.

In dressing Michelle Pfeiffer’s character Lillian, Zophres took into account that the character had cared for her dying husband for some time and probably lost some weight without knowing it, thus she dressed her in slightly looser clothes.

Zophres was also very aware of the background costuming. “The background helps tell the story. We’ve had very specific scenes where there should be a look to where were, like we were at Cole’s downtown versus The Standard. Those are two hugely different looks. One is an old diner and the other is a trendy nightclub. You reveal those two places through how you dress the people in the background. It is a very important element to me.”

Related Link: View the Full Production Notes for People Like Us

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Pitch Perfect: Choreography on the Set

Pitch Perfect: Choreography on the Set>

The filmmakers hired Aakomon “AJ” Jones, famous for choreographing dance moves for Justin Bieber and Usher, to choreograph Pitch Perfect. Though he was new to choreographing for a cappella groups, Jones’ hip-hop and mainstream dance background was the style the filmmakers felt would blend perfectly with the group performances.

“Aakomon is an amazing choreographer who came to our project with some mandates,” says Banks. “He had to make a cappella seem cool, but he also had to make it realistic. If you watch the actual ICCA finals on YouTube, the kids do amazing choreography. We wanted to make sure that we took people and brought them to the next level. He created choreography that everyone was able to learn. We had a lot of confidence that AJ would know how to break it down for our actors.”

Moore wanted to make sure that the dancing in the movie was not dated. “The songs the guys are singing in the movie are Flo Rida and Rihanna, so we needed something that matched the music that they were singing and not just a lot of snapping and step touching. AJ and his incredible assistant, KYNDRA ‘BINKIE’ REEVEY, were able to come in and take the ideas of a cappella, which is old-school, and make it feel new. Sometimes singing and dancing at the same time is hard, and the actors were each singing a different part while they were dancing. It was a Rubik’s Cube puzzle for them to make everyone look like they could dance together effortlessly while still making the sound with their mouths.”

Pitch Perfect: Choreography on the Set

Jones, Moore, Sharon and Boyer discussed specific points in each scene where dancing would take place and where each character would be staged. Knowing what was happening during the story line and collaborating with the music directors were of the upmost importance. Says Jones: “What’s great about Ed and Deke is that they said that if we felt a certain way about the arrangements, we should give them feedback. On this film, we were able to go directly to the music directors and ask them to make tweaks to some of the sound. They made a first pass of the arrangement and then went back and forth with Jason about the sounds and how it felt. Then they got it to us, and we’d work on it together.”

Jokes Wilson of the choreography: “I felt like they could have used some of my signature moves because I had a lot of moves. I suggested the sprinkler to AJ and Binkie. ‘What about the cancan girl? What about the pancake shake?’ Which is a move I invented. And then they said, ‘We’ve choreographed for Usher so we know what to do.’ I said, ‘Okay, I’m putting my faith in your hands.’ One time they gave us a lesson in how to dance like a stripper. It was traumatic.”

Jones’ background is hip-hop, a genre of dance he felt was perfect for the film’s audience. “That’s the reference that I pulled from, as far as material and vocabulary,” says the choreographer. “Whether it’s a dance that everyone’s doing right now that just hit the streets, or a nod to a cleaner line that would be impressive to the eye on stage, there’s a vast array of styles in the film. There’s hip-hop, a bit of locking, a bit of jazz and some ballet.”

Knapp explains the dance rehearsal process: “After we warmed up, we’d knock right into it. We learned the choreography step-by-step, and it was amazing to see AJ creating it in his head as we went along. The guy’s talented.”

Though none of them were trained professional dancers, Knapp’s fellow actors echo their praises for their choreographer. “AJ is incredible,” sums Camp. “He listened to us and worked with each girl individually as to what her level of dance was. He’s a very patient man.”

Admits DeVine: “I was kind of worried about doing all the dancing because I’m not a dancer at all. But AJ had a lot of confidence in me. He didn’t give me a lot of moves because that would be a lot to remember, but he was encouraging and told me to make some of it up as I went along.”

Brooks was blown away the first time he saw the cast’s performances. “They gave me goose bumps. I found myself singing along and tapping my feet. I’m an Englishman and we’re acutely shy, so for me to even go halfway there is a big thing.”

Related Link: Pitch Perfect Movie Full Production Notes

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The Hunger Games sequel begins shooting in Georgia

The Hunger Games sequel begins shooting in Georgia

The 75th annual Hunger Games are on! Lionsgate announced Monday that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has officially started production in and around Atlanta, Ga., with director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) at the helm, before moving to shoot in Hawaii.

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are, of course, reprising their respective roles as winning tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark; Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland are all also returning, with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone, and Amanda Plummer joining the franchise. Shooting is set to conclude in December.

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The Hunger Games Theatrical Poster

The Hunger Games Theatrical Poster

The world will be watching

The Hunger Games is based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling futuristic young adult novel. A dystopic Capitol requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl who are forced to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. When Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.

The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary Ross and based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. It is the first installment in The Hunger Games film series and was produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, with a screenplay by Ross, Collins, and Billy Ray. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland.

The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, where boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 must take part in the Hunger Games, a televised annual event in which the “tributes” are required to fight to the death until there is only one survivor. Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister’s place. Joined by her district’s male tribute, Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), Katniss travels to the Capitol to train for the Hunger Games under the guidance of former victor Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson).

Related Link: The Hunger Games Movie Full Production Notes

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The Hunger Games Theatrical Trailer

“The Hunger Games” is based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling futuristic young adult novel. A dystopic Capitol requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl who are forced to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. When Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.

The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary Ross and based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. It is the first installment in The Hunger Games film series and was produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, with a screenplay by Ross, Collins, and Billy Ray.

The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, where boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 must take part in the Hunger Games, a televised annual event in which the “tributes” are required to fight to the death until there is only one survivor. Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister’s place. Joined by her district’s male tribute, Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), Katniss travels to the Capitol to train for the Hunger Games under the guidance of former victor Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson).

The Hunger Games Theatrical Trailer

The Hunger Games

Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson
Screenplay by: Suzanne Collins, Gary Ross
Production Design by: Philip Messina
Cinematography by: Tom Stern
Film Editing by: Christopher S. Capp, Stephen Mirrione, Juliette Welfling
Costume Design by: Judianna Makovsky
Set Decoration by: Larry Dias
Art Direction by: John Collins, Robert Fechtman, Paul Richards
Music by: James Newton Howard
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images – all involving teens.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: March 23, 2012

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Elizabeth Banks Career Milestones

Elizabeth Banks Career Milestones

Elizabeth Banks has become one of Hollywood’s most sought after and versatile actresses, moving effortlessly between comedy and drama, film and television, and now also taking on a role as a producer. Her upcoming films include The Hunger Games and Welcome to People. She was most recently seen starring in Our Idiot Brother with Paul Rudd, Emily Mortimer and Zooey Deschanel; and opposite Russell Crowe in The Next Three Days, directed by Paul Haggis. Currently, she is in production on Universal Pictures’ Pitch Perfect, which she is producing with her husband, Max Handelman, through their company, Brownstone Productions. The cast includes Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson.

Banks will next be seen in Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games, in which she stars as ‘Effie Trinket,’ on March 23rd, 2012. The film, based on the first novel of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling trilogy, is set in a post-apocalyptic America and tells the story of a 16-year-old girl, ‘Katniss Everdeen’ (Jennifer Lawrence), who must participate in a fight-to-the-death annual televised event called the Hunger Games. ‘Effie Trinket’ is a pink-haired showbiz type who becomes mentor to ‘Katniss.”

She will then appear in Lionsgate’s motherhood comedy What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Banks portrays an author of a children’s book about breast feeding and owner of The Breast Choice boutique, who is militant in her beliefs about what makes a good mother until she gets pregnant for the first time. The film, directed by Kirk Jones, is based on Heidi Murkoff’s bestseller, and the ensemble cast includes Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Dennis Quaid. The film is scheduled to be released over Mother’s Day weekend on May 11th, 2012.

Banks has also wrapped production on DreamWorks Pictures’ Welcome to People, in which she stars opposite Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde and Michelle Pfeiffer. The film follows a businessman (Pine) who returns home after his estranged father’s death and discovers that he has an alcoholic sister (Banks) with a 12-year-old son. The film is scheduled to be released in 2012.

In August 2011, she was seen in Our Idiot Brother opposite Paul Rudd. Our Idiot Brother and The Details premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011 and were purchased for distribution by The Weinstein Company. In The Details, she stars as ‘Nealy Lang,’ whose husband’s (Tobey Maguire) efforts to rid his backyard of lawn-destroying raccoons somehow leads him down a path with disastrous results.

In 2008, Banks received critical acclaim for her role as ‘First Lady Laura Bush’ opposite Josh Brolin in Oliver Stone’s W. The impressive cast included James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Burstyn and Jeffrey Wright. In Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Banks (Miri) and Zack (Seth) played two broke friends who decide to cure their financial ills by making an X-rated movie.

Banks’ additional feature credits include her breakthrough roles in the award Academy Award winning films Seabiscuit, in which she starred as ‘Marcela Howard’ opposite Jeff Bridges and Tobey Maguire, and in Steve Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. She has also appeared in Role Models, Meet Dave, Invincible, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Fred Claus, Sisters, Slither, Heights, The Baxter, The Trade, Ordinary Sinner, The Uninvited, Daltry Calhoun, Sexual Life, John Singleton’s Shaft with Samuel L. Jackson and cult hit Wet Hot American Summer starring Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce. She also appeared as journalist ‘Betty Brant,’ a role that director Sam Raimi created for her, in Columbia Pictures’ three blockbuster Spider-Man films with Tobey Maguire as the title character.

On the small screen, Banks has recently been seen in a recurring role as ‘Avery Jessup,’ Alec Baldwin’s love interest, on the NBC series “30 Rock.” She earned an Emmy Award nomination in 2011 for ‘Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series’ for her performance. She has also appeared on ABC’s “Modern Family” and in a recurring role as ‘Dr. Kim Porter’ on NBC’s “Scrubs.” In 2007 she appeared in the CBS mini series “Comanche Moon,” which is Larry McMurtry’s popular prequel to “Lonesome Dove.”

Banks also produced Disney’s 2009 sci-fi thriller The Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, through her company Brownstone Productions. Upcoming projects for Brownstone, which Banks runs with her husband Max Handelman, include Tink, a Disney live-action romantic comedy in which Banks will star as the title character of’ Tinkerbell;’ Forever 21, a Dreamworks comedy which Banks will star in and produce; Too Far From Home, a Universal film about three astronauts who were stranded on the international space station; and the college a cappella group comedy “Pitch Perfect.”

Her extensive theater credits include many roles in American Conservatory Theatre productions, as well as the Guthrie Theater’s production of Summer & Smoke directed by David Esbjornson. In 2006 Banks played Cherie, the female lead in William Inge’s comedy Bus Stop, as part of the Williamstown Theater Festival.

Originally from Massachusetts, Banks received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Graduate Degree at the American Conservatory Theater. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

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