SB6 Set Visit 2018 – Day 1

As promised here I am posting again after a couple of years’ absence. I have no excuse for going away for so long. I’d say sorry for my lack of updates but those who know me actually knew I haven’t been absent in social media. So if you want better updates of my happenings, there’s Twitter and Instagram (and even another TwitterTwitter!)

Anyway today I’m writing from Singapore. I’m on an overnight stay before journeying to Johor Baru, Malaysia, for a set visit with Cinemax. I’m visiting the set of US Strike Back season 6 (season 7 for you Brits because the Americans refer to Strike Back S1 as Strike Back: Origins or something like that) in JB and I’m excited. Obviously I’m a fan of Strike Back because of Richard Armitage and John Porter, and the first season was a blast. Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester took up the mantle of co-leads brilliantly after Mr. Armitage went away for The Hobbit. So that the show came back after the Stapleton-Winchester era came to a close in US Season 4, I’m pretty happy. I’m even happier that I got to do another set visit of SB.

Back in 2014, I went to Bangkok to visit the set of US Season 4, where Michelle Yeoh guest starred. She wasn’t there when I visited the set, having finished filming her scenes already probably, but I got to talk to Stapleton, Winchester, Michelle Lukes, Milauna Jackson and Christian Antidormi. (Sully is a great interviewee, by the way. We doorstopped him on location at the train station that doubled for airport and he answered all of our questions with relish and lots of laughs. He’s a huge dude in real life but he sat down when we talked to him so I was saved from having to look up all the time.) The Fab Four of US SB was actually fabulous in real life. One of the best set visits I ever did, period.

So now I’m anxious and a bit worried about tomorrow’s set visit. I know a lot less about ‘the new guys’, Warren Brown and Daniel MacPherson. I mean, yes, I’ve watched Brown in Luther (I’m still pissed off they killed Justin!) but I barely remember MacPherson from The Shannara Chronicles. To be honest, I’m actually a little hazy on what the reboot season (US Season 5) is all about… I haven’t finished even the first episode. (Okay, so maybe I’m not THAT devoted a fan…) Also, the set is actually in a jungle. An actual jungle. With trees and all that. I’m not sure I’m cut out for that environment. This could turn out to be the set visit from hell…

Right now I’m trying to focus on other work (yes, work, I brought a laptop to a set visit trip abroad because I have work) so I don’t worry too much about tomorrow but it’s not effective. I was focused on working earlier and forgot about my anxiety but then my brain started overthinking again and I’m, like, screw it. I’ll just write a blog entry to try and express my worries ‘out loud’. Usually it goes away after I do that. Let’s see if this blog is successful in making me chill.

On the meantime, allow me to reminisce a bit more. Here are a few more pictures from the Bangkok set visit 4 years ago.

Bangkok skyline, 18 December 2014.

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Alley in a Bangkok market.

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Coming (Back) Soon in 2018

I’m resurrecting this blog. I’ve been away from my personal writing for too long, being so busy with my articles and reviews. I feel like I’m stagnating in terms of creativity so I thought this blog would be a good way to start writing on a more personal note. But so that I can have a fresh clean start, I plan on starting to blog more in 2018. Hopefully the plan doesn’t get disrupted by this little devil called Real Life. See you soon!

Favorites of the Year 2015: Movies, Series, Books & Talents

It’s that time of the year where I share my favorite everything. Without further ado, here they are!

Happy New Year!

Movies

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Scene from a Movie

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Everything that involves Luis telling a story about something somebody said! (And pretty much all of Michael Peña’s scenes in Ant-Man.)

Also: EVERYTHING in Mad Max: Fury Road but especially the final chase sequence that ends with Immortan Joe’s death; the Ares III Crew’s rescue of Mark Watney with that near miss at the end; Bing Bong’s disappearance in Inside Out; the ‘head popping’ scene in Kingsman; Thomas the Tank Engine’s cameo in Ant-Man; old Sherlock Holmes’ break down in Mr. Holmes‘ most emotional scene; Tom Hardy fighting Tom Hardy in Legend!

Series

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Last year Fargo was my top favorite TV series. This year, it’s my favorite series on TV as well. The second season of Fargo is, in fact, much crazier and more violent than the the first season with the same level of script cleverness from the writers and acting brilliance from the cast. The one area where it’s better than the first season is the soundtrack. Also, it’s proving to be a show driven by amazing female performers: Alison Tolman won the first season for me, now it’s Kirsten Dunst’s turn. Her character is annoying (you wish you could just stab her repeatedly) but Miss Dunst just SHINES in this role. All the awards (again)!

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My absolute favorite web series, Sense8 was worth all the effort I made to watch it. All the characters are interesting, although not too developed that there’s no room for them to grow. In fact, the main attraction of the show is to see how the eight of them grew into their own skin after the troubles they faced. The number of characters also mean that some of them aren’t as prominent as the others but the concept is mind-blowing and the execution is flawless. Plus, it has a great opening credits and shiver-inducing music. Perfect.

Also: Marvel’s Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, London Spy, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Hannibal series finale, Wolf Hall, How to Get Away with Murder, Jekyll and Hyde, Poldark, Grimm, Galavant, Blindspot, Broadchurch and Quantico!

Books


I spent the entire year reading Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicle (with fear and trepidation from all the horror). But reading the book successfully erased my severe disappointment with the movie version. Despite that, I still use the still from the movie to illustrate my love for this series because without that disappointment, I wouldn’t have been driven to read the entire series. Book reviews are available at Bookerie.


I don’t usually listen to audiobooks but this one is one of my favorites this year. OBVIOUSLY. 🙂

And the rest…

Talent Interview

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Obviously this year is a FANTASTIC year in terms of interviewing talents. Pixar’s Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen come to mind, and Indonesian filmmaker Joko Anwar and the cast of Halfworlds as well. But of course the best was getting to talk to Mads Mikkelsen and Richard Armitage for the last season of Hannibal. The best of them all, however, was Mr. George Miller – director of my favorite movie of 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road – by phone. He indulged me for a 45-minute conversation and answered all of my ridiculous questions (because I’m a Mad Max novice!) He was very, very friendly and nice and articulate. I love these great taltens and I love my job.

Crimson Peak

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Last week I went to a press screening of Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s latest that he always calls “not a horror story but a Gothic romance.”

I doubt anyone who’s never read a single page of Jane Eyre will truly get what that description means. It’s also possible that anyone who ever DID read Jane Eyre might not get what he means by that until they see the movie with their own eyes.

Del Toro made Crimson Peak based on his love of horror, fairy tales and Gothic stories. He went at length describing the differences, according to himself, between these ‘genres’ and how he wanted to mix everything to create a world similar to those from the stories he loved.

“I like how similar fairytales and gothic tales are. There is in fact a fairy tale called Bluebeard’s Wives that is very similar to the tale of Crimson Peak. There is a gothic tale called Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu that is comparable too.

Fairy tales, gothic tales and horror are three forms of literature that are very closely related, but they’re not the same. You can have the most horrifying fairy tale and yet some elements define it as a fairy tale, mostly the whimsicality and the fact that the agency is supernatural in a non Judeo-Christian way. It’s elemental- a fairy, a dwarf, an ogre etc. Most of the time, the gothic tale involves romance. And by romance, I don’t just mean a love story, but a longing for a past that is very poetic. Horror always has elements that are different from the other two.

My inspiration was thinking, ‘Can I make a movie that is a mixture of all these things that I love?’”

A lot of titles were mentioned in the press when he taled about Crimson Peak. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (the Hitchcock film version is one of his favorites’) and Wuthering Heights came up a few times, as well as Jane Eyre and Uncle Silas. He also mentioned paintings by Caspar David Friedrich and John Atkinson Grimshaw, as well as ‘Deborah Kerr’s dress from The Innocents‘. If you know what these are, and can imagine them being mixed together with ghastly looking creatures that haunt the corridors at night, then you’ve pretty much managed to picture Crimson Peak inside your head. Continue reading

All Film 68: Richard Armitage Feature

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Earlier this week All Film issue 68 was released. It’s our Comic Book Movie Preview edition. All the features are about comic book movies such as Deadpool, Batman v Superman and whatnot. But we also couldn’t resist including Richard Armitage’s Hannibal interview in this issue as a 4-page feature, because we here at All Film are all just crazy about him. (We’re not even joking. We covered him for all The Hobbit movies, Into The Storm and now Hannibal. Not even Tom Hiddleston – who was in 3 MCU movies – could match that number and we’re also crazy about Hiddles.)

Hannibal ends this week – perhaps for ever – and we thought it fitting that the magazine should cover season 3 until its very bittersweet, scandalous and exhilarating end. As Francis Dolarhyde, Richard’s performance has been truly magnificent so we thought, despite having published the unabridged interview in our official website, we should still publish it in the magazine to reach an even wider audience. We did this mostly for the fans – especially the Armitage fans who are probably NOT Hannibal fans in the first place – because they were the ones who clicked on our website (and my blog and my Soundcloud) to check out the Richard Armitage and Mads Mikkelsen interviews.  But also to show our appreciation for AXN Asia, which has been very supportive to All Film in giving us the chance to interview Mads Mikkelsen and Richard Armitage by phone and a whole lot more materials for us to use, such as photos and transcripts.

Also, the coverage for Hannibal S3 has been my passion projects so of course I advocated for this article to be featured in the magazine as well.

Continue reading

Richard Armitage Surprise Soundbite: On Staying with the Character

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In honor of Richard Armitage’s birthday on 22 August 2015, I present a surprise soundbite from Richard’s Hannibal S3 interview. There’s no other reason for it than to appreciate his talent, his craft and his thoughtfulness because they are, after all, the reason why I admire him as a person. And that is also the reason why he’s among the few actors I would sincerely wish A Very Happy Birthday and All The Best of Luck – because even if he doesn’t read it, he still deserves it. Continue reading

Hannibal Interview Soundbites: Mads Mikkelsen and Richard Armitage

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As promised, to all the wonderful Richard Armitage, Mads Mikkelsen and Hannibal fans who have read my interviews with those two amazing actors, here are the soundbites. Enjoy. Continue reading