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Project Almanac – Exclusive Interviews with Actor Jonny Weston and Director Dean Israelite

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Project Almanac

In Project Almanac (review) (which sounds more like a tedious covert military operation than a teeny-bopper thrill flick), a group of high school hotties discover the long-long blueprints to a time machine and construct it. Of course things go terribly, terribly wrong.

Project Almanac is director Dean Israelite’s first feature – and it’s a big one with Platinum Dunes! We wondered how this heretofore Joe Schmoe got such a great opportunity to do a movie under Michael Bay, after having done only a handful of shorts and TV work. So we asked him. He said, “To win the job and convince both the producers and the studio that I had a vision for what Project Almanac could be, I put together a very robust presentation that included a 90-second teaser trailer for the film. I shot it with a bunch of friends over a day in and around my apartment, cut it with my roommate, who is an editor, and did some visual effects with another friend who is a great artist to create the piece. This piece was really successful in capturing the energy and the tone of what I thought the movie should be and got the producers and the studio really excited about my vision for the film.

Dean Israelite

Dean Israelite

Jonny Weston really carries Project Almanac (though he is well supported by a crew of likable fellow time travelers), so we asked Israelite if he had a lot to do with the actual development and hires. He did, he said. “I was very involved in the development of the script once we sold the movie to the studio. The screenplay changed immensely in development, but what was important was that the themes of the coming-of-age story always remained intact. The constant central idea of this character’s journey helped keep our focus throughout the process. We always knew what the story was trying to say. I can’t even remember all the versions of the plot that we broke, but what the movie was about thematically never changed. What was important to me was that we grounded every aspect of the script – the high school characters needed to feel relevant and contemporary; the time travel had to be dangerous and full of obstacles,” Israelite stressed.

I wanted to see the characters make mistakes all along the way, to make the time travel feel as unpredictable as possible, all in an attempt to render such a fantastical concept in as credible a way as possible. In terms of the casting, I was involved from the start with our brilliant casting director, Denise Chamian. It was a long and arduous process to find the right cast because the chemistry and love between these kids is what carries the entire film,” said Israelite. “They need to feel real and relatable, but somehow be movie stars too, because the whole film is on their shoulders. They also needed to be funny and be able to improvise, which is something I encouraged in rehearsal and, to a degree, on set.

Weston had already done sort of a time travelish movie, John Dies at the End. So we asked him, “Did that make you more inclined to do Project Almanac… or less so?” The actor laughed and replied, “I think they’re so different, it never crossed my mind. I mean, I was a gangster zombie in John Dies at the End!” [Not exactly the same character…]

Jonny Weston

Jonny Weston

Weston plays David in the movie, a character who makes some pretty outrageous decisions in the pursuit of love. Since we have no personal lives of our own, we were curious about the actor’s own affaires d’amour and popped the question. He revealed that the most romantic thing he’s ever done was to “take my new girlfriend of a week to a cabin in the mountains of Hawaii. We stared up at the glass ceiling while it poured rain.”

Prior to filming Project Almanac, Israelite shared several touchstones with his cast and crew. “The movies were all films that captured the mood and energy of teenage fun, recklessness, and growth – Risky Business, Ferris Bueller, The Goonies – but also films that have great soul while being unflinchingly entertaining like The Apartment. The cinematographer shared Elephant with me; that is obviously a wildly different film but plays with time and reality in an amazing way.” In the movie the characters talk about Looper, Timecop, etc., which was no stretch for Westin. He’d already seen “all of them. I geek out!

An obvious question to ask was whether the director and actor actually believe time travel is possible. So, we asked it! “Oh man. Someone asked Spielberg after he made ET and Close Encounters if he believed in aliens,” sighed Israelite. “He said no. I couldn’t believe it. How could one put so much care, time, and effort into something that they believed was pure fantasy? Well, now I get it. To me, it’s not important whether time travel is real or not; it’s just important that we explore the magic of what it could be like if it [is], to let our imaginations take us to weird, wonderful, and playful places with it. I don’t believe in aliens and I don’t believe in time travel, but I love to imagine both.

Westin concurred. “I’d say it is possible, but I hope it’s never perfected for the sake of the world.

Lastly, we wanted to know if each could send the other back in time, when it would be. “Dean? I think he’d be a great mind of the Renaissance,” said Weston. For Westin, Israelite chose the swinging 60s. “Jonny loves The Doors, so I would send him back to their first concert and somehow align it so that he could meet Jim Morrison and join the band. Who knows what would happen to the music, or the world for that matter, but Jonny would have the time of his life.

The Dean Israelite-directed film was written by Jason Harry Pagan and Andrew Deutschman. It stars Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, and Ginny Gardner.

Look for Project Almanac in theatres on January 30, 2015.

If you could redo something in your past, what would it be? Share your story at ProjectAlmanac.com/Redo, and your redo could be seen on theater screens and billboards across the US. To change the past, would you risk your future? Choose wisely!

For more info visit the official Project Almanac website.

Synopsis:
A brilliant high school student and his friends uncover blueprints for a mysterious device with limitless potential, inadvertently putting lives in danger.

Project Alamanac

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VENOM Trailer is Pure Action Horror

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Surprise news for those of you still up late as Sony has dropped the first trailer for Venom, their standalone film based on the character of the same name. For those of you who were wondering how this film might stand up in today’s age of “some are good and some are bad” comic book-to-film adaptations, I’m going to lean towards the former. While I’ll try to remain skeptical, something about the way this movie is looking is grabbing my attention and has me quite excited. Apart from the requisite action that all superhero movies have these days, there’s a wonderful amount of horror throughout the trailer.

Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments!

One of Marvel’s most enigmatic, complex and badass characters comes to the big screen, starring Academy Award® nominated actor Tom Hardy as the lethal protector Venom.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Venom stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, and Reid Scott. It infects theaters on October 5, 2018.

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POLL: Who Should Direct Wan and King’s TOMMYKNOCKERS?

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It was just last month that we learned James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) is going to be producing a new big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers.

While I’m sad that it seems Wan will not be directing the film, I think it’s a great time to bring up the question: Well, then who the hell SHOULD?

You can find my top 3 choices below and then make sure to let us know who you think should direct James Wan’s upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

ABC mini-series’ executive producer Larry Sanitsky: “It is an allegorical tale of addiction (Stephen was struggling with his own at the time), the threat of nuclear power, the danger of mass hysteria and the absurdity of technical evolution run amuck. All are as relevant today as the day the novel was written. It is also a tale about the eternal power of love and the grace of redemption.”

Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers will be produced by James Wan (The Conjuring), Roy Lee (Stephen King’s IT) and the ABC mini-series’ executive producer Larry Sanitsky.

Synopsis:

A town in Maine that falls under the influence of a dangerous gas from an unearthed spacecraft. The gas begins to transform the people, giving them enhanced abilities, but also making them violent and subject to an alien hive mentality. One man, thanks to a steel plate in his head, is immune to the effects and tries to stop the townspeople.

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Guess Who Just Snagged Wan and King’s New TOMMYKNOCKERS

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Earlier this month we passed along the exciting news that that none other than James Wan plans to bring Stephen King’s novel The Tommyknockers back to the screen.

Wan will be producing (but not at this time, directing) the film along with Roy Lee (IT) and the original ABC mini-series’ executive producer Larry Sanitsky.

And today Deadline reports Universal won the bidding war over the new adaptation, barely beating out fellow heavyweights Sony and Netflix. And thus Universal, home of the classic movie monsters, will be bringing us Wan and King’s first (and hopefully not last) collaboration.

Are you excited by this news? Do you think Universal is the right fit for this new film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

Synopsis:

A town in Maine that falls under the influence of a dangerous gas from an unearthed spacecraft. The gas begins to transform the people, giving them enhanced abilities, but also making them violent and subject to an alien hive mentality. One man, thanks to a steel plate in his head, is immune to the effects and tries to stop the townspeople.

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