Safety On Set: Three Workers Speak Out

By and | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 9:57am PDT

David Robb contributed to this story. Second in a series.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

There seems to be a fear among crew members in the industry about refusing to take part when they feel something is unsafe on a set, or speaking out after an accident lest they will be seen as a problem and lose future work, ostracized from the industry they love. But that is not always the case. It has been done in the past and a few courageous individuals are doing it today in hopes of getting the conversation started in the film and TV industries for the sake of all of their brethren. Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, longtime location manager/scout Billy Fox and assistant location manager Brianne Brozey (in Local 399) who was injured on a set in March 2011 are willing to shine a light now on a very real problem in the industry.

NoahsArkIn 1928, motion picture pioneer Hal Mohr set the standard for safety in Hollywood when he refused to take part in a stunt he deemed too dangerous. Mohr, who would go on to win two Oscars, was the head cameraman on Noah’s Ark that day, and when shown how the flood scene would be shot, he objected on grounds that hundreds of extras’ lives would be put at risk. When he was overruled by studio executives, he walked off the picture in protest. As he had feared, when 15,000 tons of water were released on the specially built set, three extras were drowned and dozens more were seriously injured. One of the extras who survived that day would go on to become a Hollywood legend: John Wayne.

152_Hal-MohrThe accident Mohr had warned about — at the time the worst in the history of the young movie business — would lead to the implementation of the industry’s first stunt safety regulations, according to the book Stunt: The Story Of The Great Movie Stunt Men by John O. Baxter. Incidentally, Mohr is noteworthy as well for being the only person to win an Oscar despite never being nominated in a competitive category; he won by write-in vote for A Midsummer’s Night Dream in 1936. He was the first cinematographer to win an Oscar for both black-and-white and color photography.

Billy FoxLocation manager Billy Fox, who has worked in the business for 31 years, has witnessed numerous close calls in dangerous situations that have arisen from eager filmmakers and producers pushing the boundaries of safety to get a shot. He says sometimes even the location manager raising safety concerns on a shoot is seen as an enemy in the production’s ranks. “It’s ‘Whose team are you on?’ ” said Fox. On one feature in 1990, a planned train explosion that made Fox wary was beefed up for a bigger effect, resulting in downed power lines that blacked out a nearby town and cost the film millions in insurance costs. On another indie, he battled with the film’s director, unit production manager, and 1st assistant director over a car stunt he felt was unsafe and pulled his name from the film’s permit the morning of the shoot. “At 10:38 AM my pager went crazy. The second unit camera crew had been driven over, sustaining broken bones and a crushed pelvis,” he said. Read More »

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Conan O’Brien To Broadcast TBS Show From Comic-Con 2015

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 2:11pm PDT

comic-con-2013__130716202600__130720233914Talk about planning ahead. He’s hosting the MTV Movie Awards for the first time on April 13 and now Conan O’Brien is climbing another pop culture mountain by heading to Comic-Con next year. The TBS Read More »

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Comic-Con Q&A With Edgar Wright: How Working Title Partner Eric Fellner’s Health Scare Put ‘The World’s End’ Before Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’

By | Thursday July 25, 2013 @ 9:59am PDT
Mike Fleming

Edgar Wright came to San Diego with cohorts Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to show the Comic-Con crowd The World’s End, the final installment of a trilogy of films that began with Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. The trio greeted a raucous crowd that had spent about 12 hours or more camped outside the theater to get an early glimpse at the Working Title-produced comedy that Focus Features bows August 23. Wright took a few minutes to talk with Deadline.

DEADLINE: You had the Hall H crowd at the Marvel panel frothing last year when you took the stage and showed cutting-edge footage of Ant-Man, which Marvel hopes will launch a new superhero franchise. The crowd loved seeing the protagonist going from microscopic to full size. But you pushed that movie and came to San Diego with The World’s End. How did that happen?
WRIGHT: I had a chance to do Ant-Man in 2011. Simon was busy with three franchises, if you count Tin-Tin along with Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. We had the story down and it was in the back of my mind that if we didn’t do this film soon it might never happen, and we owed it to the fans. But then something else happened. [Working Title partner] Eric Fellner was diagnosed with cancer. When I found out about that, I’d literally just finished another screenplay for him and it was on delivery that he told me. He has given me permission to tell this story. That changed everything. Eric was our knight in shining armor on Shaun Of The Dead. That film was in turnaround, developed by Film 4 and they’d gone bust. Lots of other British companies had passed on it. Working Title, ironically the biggest British company, came in and saved the day. He wanted us to do another film together; we’d even done the deal for it. When I found out he was ill, one of many emotions I felt was, if we didn’t make this film, and something terrible happened, I would never forgive myself on not making good on my promise to do it. I wanted Eric to see this movie.

Related: Comic-Con: ‘The World’s End’ Isn’t The End For Wright, Pegg & Frost

DEADLINE: What did you do?
WRIGHT: Me and Simon began writing it the very next week; in fact, we wrote it in Eric’s office in Beverly Hills. He was having chemo and said, please take my office, do it there. We wanted to make the film anyway, but it became a very personal thing. The happy news is, we’ve made it, he loves it and he’s got a clean bill of health. He came out of that ordeal and went straight into a tough period where he made Les Miserables and our film. It informed the movie script. The film is about regrets and these guys saying, I’ve got to do this thing. That sentiment became personal. To Marvel’s credit, when I went to see them to tell them to their face I wanted to do Ant-Man but that I wasn’t doing it next, Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito said they understood. We’ll see you in a couple years, they said. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Gravity’

By | Tuesday July 23, 2013 @ 9:52pm PDT

WB wowed the Comic-Con crowd last weekend with footage from Alfonso Cuaron‘s space thriller Gravity, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. This newly released “Detached” promo’s depiction of panic and dread that mounts over the course of 2 … Read More »

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Oasis Ventures Acquires Stake In Film Producer/Financier Emmett/Furla Films

By | Monday July 22, 2013 @ 10:55am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Oasis Ventures Entertainment has acquired a stake in Emmett/Furla Films, which has become a prolific source of financing for star-driven studio-released dramas. Oasis Ventures Entertainment already was a source of financing for an Emmett/Furla Film slate that … Read More »

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Comic-Con: ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Panelists Bittersweet About Future, Recent Past

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 6:52pm PDT

Ross Lincoln contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.

The final Hall H panel of Comic Con 2013 was a somber affair, as the creator, director and primary cast of the long-running FX drama Sons of Anarchy gathered to talk about the brutal fifth season, and their mood going into the show’s penultimate sixth season. Moderated by Deadline’s Mike Fleming, the panelists were mum on any details about the new season. But the mood clearly was bittersweet as each of them revealed powerful feelings about the direction the show appears to be headed. When asked why he’s already planning the end to his hit series — Season 5 saw the highest ratings in its network’s history — showrunner Kurt Sutter was clear that he wants to go out on his own terms.” My goal is to be able to tell the story I wanted to,” he said. “I never wanted us to overstay our welcome.” He also hinted at how the series might end. “At a certain point, the shit just has to hit the fan,” he said. “And for it to stay real and believable, it has to find its endgame.” That endgame, according to Sutter, will be “a pool of blood.”

Related: Hot TV Teaser: ‘Sons Of Anarchy’

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Comic-Con: Kino Lorber Label Picks Up Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Pig’

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 5:15pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Kino Lorber’s Horizon Movies scooped up North American rights to writer-director Henry Barrial’s pic during Comic-Con. Pig, which has done … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Stuntmen Save Woman From Leaping Off 14th Floor Balcony

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 4:27pm PDT

Stuntmen don’t get to save the day in the movies, but these guys sure made the most of their time in the spotlight. Three pros from Stunts 911 who were in town for Comic-Con rushed into action … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Dan Harmon Wants ‘Community’ To Go Past Season 5, Sticks To Movie Plan

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 3:10pm PDT

Although Community creator Dan Harmon offered up few reveals about the cult comedy show’s fifth season at its Hall H Comic-Con panel today, he used the platform to champion the fans to demand a sixth season and a movie with the Twitter campaign #SIXSEASONSANDAMOVIE. “I created a machine that eats pain and craps joy. The people in this room gave us five seasons. It’s about legacy and six seasons and a movie,” exclaimed Harmon to the throng of screaming fans. “Nobody wants to not fail more than me,” Harmon told moderator Chris Hardwick, “I don’t consider these the last 13. I will do everything I can to get us the sixth season.”

Still undetermined is when Community will air on NBC next spring. As far as new storylines, Harmon — who didn’t brainstorm any during his time off — only said, “We need to re-establish these characters. I don’t want to plan too hard. We’re taking a different approach in the writers room, and we’ll be done shooting by Christmas.” Harmon also mentioned that he wouldn’t undo the story arcs laid out in Season 4 in an effort to maintain the show’s “organic spirit” and apologized again to fans for his snarky podcast remarks slamming Community’s recent run. Read More »

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Comic-Con: Loki Crashes Marvel Panel

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 12:47pm PDT

After DC’s announcement earlier Saturday that the sequel to Man Of Steel would be a Superman/Batman team up, the pressure was on for rival superhero factory Marvel to top the bombshell during its Hall H Comic-Con panel … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Chris Hardwick To Host ‘Breaking Bad’ After-Show ‘Talking Bad’

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 12:31pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.

There was an electric vibe in the air during today’s jam-packed Comic-Con session promoting the sixth and final season of Breaking Bad, the iconic AMC drama that returns for its final eight episodes on Aug. 11. First came the announcement that Chris Hardwick — the omnipresent Con moderator and host of AMC’s The Walking Dead post-show Talking Dead — will front the new Breaking Bad post-show called Talking Bad. (AMC announced the post-show at the upfronts in May.) The half-hour live after-show will follow every new Breaking Bad episode. Michael Davies’ Embassy Row produces Talking Bad in association with Sony Pictures TV. Creator Vince Gilligan was joined by castmates Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, RJ Mitte, and Dean Norris for the panel.

Related: Hot Comic-Con Trailer: ‘Breaking Bad’ Countdown Mashup

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Comic-Con: Felicia Day Welcomed Back To ‘Supernatural’; Season 9 Sneak Peek Unveiled

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 11:20am PDT

Felicia Day made a surprise appearance on the CW’s Supernatural panel Sunday at Comic-Con, where EP Robert Singer announced that fan-favorite Day would be reprising her role as Charlie Bradbury on the show. … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Q&A With ‘The Wolverine’ Director James Mangold

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 10:27am PDT
Mike Fleming

Back when Darren Aronofsky stepped away from The Wolverine to direct Russell Crowe in the Biblical epic Noah, the emergence of James Mangold was something of a surprise. He’s an accomplished filmmaker, but his sweet spot is grounded characters with earthbound dilemmas in films from Walk The Line to Girl, Interrupted, Copland and 3:10 To Yuma. Just before he and Hugh Jackman unveiled a killer highlight reel as part of Fox’s Hall H panel, I sat down with Mangold to see why he related to Marvel Comics’ perennially pissed-off protagonist.

DEADLINE: You’ve directed actors like Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Angelina Jolie and Sylvester Stallone to career performances, but with the possible exception of Knight & Day, your movies have always been very grounded in character and reality. What made you take the leap into the fantastical genre of superheroes?
JAMES MANGOLD: Several things appealed to me. The studio and the star were ready to do something different. This didn’t have to serve other films, we were operating off some perception of disappointment for the first film. To follow an act that tripped in some way gave us a lot of freedom. As for my own sensibility as a filmmaker, the opportunity I sensed was a chance to make a movie more like the comic books I’ve read and less like what I call comic book event movies. I’ve been a comic book fan since I was a kid, and they weren’t always about the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Every week, it was not about how a city, a continent or a universe will be destroyed if X doesn’t happen. That is unsustainable for the comic book writers. I think what is missing from a lot of comic book films reliant on peak battles is the angst, the character work, the things that as young people we related to. It was not infantile, but incredibly mature themes about life, death, betrayal, revenge, friendship, loyalty, parents, genetics, who we are and accepting ourselves for who we are. Those are themes in the comic books but the movies dabble in that but become about defeating a villain who’s intent on destroying the X that will occur unless Y happens to stop them. I was really interested in the idea of making a superhero film that purposely avoided putting the audience at risk. It seems all too often that comic book movies convey situations to the audience that, if the superhero doesn’t succeed, we’re all dead. I was trying to make a film that operated as a real drama, a real thriller, noir, Western or a real samurai film. Where you become invested in the heroes of the film worried about their interests, their needs, their safety, and not yours. Read More »

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Comic-Con: Marvel Announces ‘Avengers 2′ Villain & Title: ‘Age Of Ultron’

Mike Fleming

In the final moments of Marvel’s rousing panel at Hall H, Marvel chief Kevin Feige brought out Joss Whedon, who showed a very early teaser of the sequel The Avengers and revealed that the film will be called Age Of Ultron with a May 1, 2015 release date. Marvel Comics aficionados might know that the title and the baddie Ultron are the subject of 10-issue limited series comic book crossover storyline published by Marvel Comics that involves the return of Ultron and his conquest of the earth. Ultron and his Sentinels should prove a worthy antagonist for the Avengers and it looked like all will be back though there was no mention of Vin Diesel, who is rumored to be in line to play The Vision. The comic series was published between March and June 2013 and features a storyline by Brian Michael Bendis. Artist Bryan Hitch provided the art for issues one through five, and Brandon Peterson for issues six through eight. Other artists who contributed to the series include Carlos Pacheco and Joe Quesada, the latter of whom drew part of the final issue.

After DC’s announcement earlier today that the sequel to Man of Steel would be a Superman/Batman team up, the pressure was on for Marvel to top that bombshell during their own Hall H Comic Con panel. Marvel delivered with the announcement of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it wasn’t just Avengers news that electrified the assembled throngs of fanboys and fangirls. Marvel put on a highly theatrical presentation that featured never before seen footage of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as some of the most elaborate fan service seen at this year’s Comic Con courtesy of Loki actor Tom Hiddleston.

Related: Official: Superman Sequel Will Feature Batman

After a brief introduction from panel moderator Chris Hardwick and Feige, Hiddleston came onstage dressed in character as Loki to present new footage from Thor: The Dark World. “Silence, you mewling quims,” a scenery chewing Hiddleston said, referencing The Avengers‘ most notorious line of dialogue. Delivering a speech based heavily on his lines from the blockbuster, Hiddleston exhorted the crowd to shout his name. The Thor footage included scenes previously seen in the recent teaser, but mainly offered a much expanded look at the film’s larger scope. It was small on actual plot details but demonstrated that Marvel intends to keep doing what has worked for them for the last 5 years.

Related: Comic-Con: Loki Crashes Marvel Panel (Video) Read More »

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Comic-Con: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Readies For Season 5, 100th Episode & The College Years (Video)

By | Saturday July 20, 2013 @ 6:31pm PDT

The CW’s The Vampire Diaries has steamed its way through four years of soapy supernatural drama that have brought a lot of change for its teenage (and technically immortal) characters. Today at … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Michael Jai White & Kevin Alejandro Join ‘Arrow’ (Video)

By | Saturday July 20, 2013 @ 6:23pm PDT

The news was announced at the CW superhero drama’s Comic-Con panel today, when the network showed a sneak peek (see below) of Season 2, which premieres October 9.

SAN DIEGO and BURBANK, Calif. (July 20, 2013) — Oliver Queen (series star Stephen Amell) will have his work cut out for him when he returns to Starling City on October 9 for the second season of The CW’s #1 series Arrow (Wednesdays 8/7c). At today’s Comic-Con panel session in Ballroom 20, fans learned of two new DC Comics characters coming to Starling City — Bronze Tiger and Sebastian Blood. Executive producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg revealed that Michael Jai White (Spawn, The Dark Knight, Mortal Kombat) will guest star as Bronze Tiger, while Kevin Alejandro (Southland, True Blood, Golden Boy) will appear as Sebastian Blood in upcoming episodes of the acclaimed action drama’s second season (airdates to be announced).

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Comic-Con: ‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’ Hot TV Trailer And Panel With Carl Sagan’s Widow

By | Saturday July 20, 2013 @ 6:17pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.

EXCLUSIVE: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey will premiere in the spring on Fox and National Geographic Channel and just introduced a trailer during its Comic-Con panel Saturday evening at … Read More »

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Hot Comic-Con Teaser: HBO’s ‘True Blood’

By | Saturday July 20, 2013 @ 5:43pm PDT

Anthony D’Alessandro contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.

True Blood showrunner Brian Buckner wouldn’t tell a soul at the show’s Comic-Con Saturday panel how Season 6 will end next month, but HBO did release a teaser for the second half of the season. There are glimpses of Sookie Stackhouse … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Amy Acker Upped To Series Regular On ‘Person Of Interest’

By | Saturday July 20, 2013 @ 5:29pm PDT

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage

During a standing-room-only panel at Comic-Con, Person Of Interest creator-showrunner Jonathan Nolan confirmed that recurring player Amy Acker has been elevated to series regular … Read More »

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