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Phil Lord & Chris Miller Still Want To Re-Open Clone High
“We’re working on it…”

It may not have enjoyed the widest audience in the world, but to those who saw it, madcap MTV ‘toon Clone High is still a hilarious treat. Now, Lego Movie/Jump Street duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who co-created the show with Scrubs man Bill Lawrence, want to bring it back in some fashion.

Clone High, which ran for 13 amazing episodes back in 2002/2003, was set in a high school that also served as a mad military experiment designed to clone famous historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi, with the resulting school-age kids rounded up and sent for education. Sounds weird, was brilliant.

You have to imagine that with the combined clout of their Lego success and the encouraging early figures for 22 Jump Street, Lord and Miller could wrangle almost any project back into existence, with studios clamouring for their magical comedy touch. But as they’ve explained to Collider, it’s really not that easy, even if you have had a run of hit movies.

“We talk very regularly now with Bill every few months or so, we talk about ‘How are we going to get this back in whatever form we can?’” says Miller. “We get our lawyers to talk to each other, and business affairs people to talk to each other. It’s very complicated. It’s very hard because it’s at Viacom/MTV, we have a TV deal at Fox, he has a TV deal at Warner Bros.”

And it’s not just rights issues holding them back. While the trio isn’t sure whether the concept would be best served as a movie or a new TV series, there’s also the question of tone.

“It’s also a tricky thing because we basically made a PG-13 TV series, and if you’re gonna do a movie you wonder, ‘Am I gonna have to justify the budget that it’s gonna take by trying to broaden this to a family audience, and is that gonna kill what was fun about the original thing?’ Because there’s so much blood in the original series. And JFK sex jokes.”

Here’s hoping they manage to pull it off eventually – JFK sex jokes and all.

James White

Doctor Strange: 12 revelations from director Scott Derrickson

Strap on the Cloak of Levitation, polish up the Eye of Agamotto, and trim your goatee: we’re blasting back into the Marvel multiverse. With Doctor Strange now released around the world, we spoke to its director, Scott Derrickson, to get under the astral skin of the MCU’s fourteenth film, and unravel a few mystical mysteries. Forget everything that you think you know, as somebody once said…

SPOILER WARNING: this article contains major spoilers for Doctor Strange throughout.

1. The whole movie takes place over the course of one year

In a film where time is very much relative, it’s tricky to tell how much time passes during the running time. Director Scott Derrickson confirms that it is set in “present day”, as references to Beyoncé and wi-fi would suggest, but the entire film covers a period of around one year.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) spends about “three to six months” in recovery from his accident. (“There is a more precise answer, but I don’t remember,” says Derrickson.) The entire film runs from one autumn to the following year’s autumn – though Derrickson adds the caveat: “Don’t hold me to this, because I haven’t thought about this in a long time.”

2. Benedict Cumberbatch provides the voice and facial capture for Dormammu

Mads Mikkelsen is on bad guy duties as the treacherous Kaecilius, but he is merely a pawn compared to the might of the all-powerful Dormammu. The demon of the dark dimension, Derrickson reveals, is played by one Mr B. Cumberbatch, who provides the voice and facial capture for the villain he himself faces.

“The reason for that was threefold,” as Derrickson explains. “One, Benedict suggested it. [Two], the awesomeness of his voice – he was Smaug, of course. [Three,] he understood exactly who Dormammu was. He’s the ultimate cosmic narcissist. There was something great about the mirrored relationship between the two of them.” Cumberbatch’s voice was blended slightly with another actor’s voice, so audiences would not be able to recognise it.

3. Nightmare was originally due to be the main villain

Strange battles Kaecilius and Dormammu in the film – but the principal baddie could very well have been Nightmare, the first foe he faces in the comics. It was Derrickson’s hope to have the ruler of the Dream Dimension as primary antagonist, but Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige argued against it. “Kevin made a very cogent case,” says Derrickson. “The trouble with starting with Nightmare is getting across the idea of the Dream Dimension as another dimension. The movie was challenging enough. It’s already an exposition-heavy movie… Dormammu made the most sense. And he is the most present villain in the comics.”

4. The final showdown was a direct response to Marvel’s usual final showdowns

Marvel have come under some criticism for the slightly repetitive nature of their third acts. New York, London, Washington D.C., and the fictional city of Sokovia have all fallen victim to what James Mangold recently called a “city-block destroying, CGI fuckathon”. Doctor Strange’s third act climax, which sees Doctor Strange reverse time to undo the city-block destroying, CGI fuckathon of Hong Kong, was a direct response to that criticism.

“It was literally the play on that whole, ‘oh, every Marvel movie ends with a city being destroyed during a fight, and then a portal that opens is closed just in time’,” chuckles Derrickson. “I said, ‘well, dammit, we’re going to un-destroy a city and we’re gonna leave the portal open and Strange is going to go into it and we’re going to see what’s on the other side. That’s how fresh my movie is, dammit!’”

5. Kevin Feige is the MCU’s “head writer”

Derrickson, Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill are the officially listed screenwriters of Doctor Strange, but like all films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it has the fingerprints of Kevin Feige all over it, ensuring that it aligns up with the rest of the fictional universe. “Kevin is the 'head writer’ when it comes to the integration of the different stories,” says Derrickson. “He once came up to me on set and said, 'So, in Thor: Ragnarok, this is what’s going to happen… And then this is going to work into Infinity War. I remember thinking, this information I’m getting is the most coveted information in the world of entertainment. I thought, I have so much power now! If I tweeted this, I could create a global crisis!” Perhaps noticing Marvel’s snipers circling nearby rooftops, he carefully added: “Within 24 hours, I had forgotten it all.”

6. Doctor Strange is possibly killed over a thousand times

The film ends on a Groundhog Day-esque finale in which the good doctor outwits Dormammu by forcing him into a loop where Strange is murdered continously, and time is reversed. In an earlier version of the script, it’s specified how long the two adversaries are stuck in this loop. “We had a line,” recounts Derrickson, “where Strange said, ‘we’ve been through this a thousand times. Literally. I fancied the idea that they went through it thousands of times before Dormammu finally realised he wasn’t going to get out of it.”

7. Strange becomes the Sorcerer Supreme in an early version of the script

Strange very quickly rises through the ranks of Kamar-Taj, and is a powerful sorcerer by the end of the movie. But he is not the Sorcerer Supreme, as he is famously known by in the comics. “We had script versions where he became Sorcerer Supreme,” says Derrickson. “We just had so many problems with that. It’s premature. Once he’s blown through to the New York sanctum, he’s only accepted his role as a sorcerer in conflict for 24 hours. He’s a long way from being Sorcerer Supreme. I think the comics took like ten years before he actually became the Sorcerer Supreme.” So, with the Ancient One apparently dead, the position is currently vacant. Send in your CVs.

8. Mordo is an anti-fundamentalist fundamentalist

Mordo (Chiwitel Ejiofor) is a character that fascinates Derrickson. A villain in the comics, he is a trusted ally of Strange for most of the movie, before being revealed as an antagonist in the late post-credits sting. “He’s a fundamentalist,” says Derrickson. “Fundamentalism is such a pejorative word and immediately evokes images of angry extremism. In my experience, that’s not usually what it looks like. I was a fundamentalist in high school. I went to a fundamentalist Christian high school and went to a fundamentalist church, and they were the greatest people, there was an amazing sense of community. The problem is when the messiness of real life enters and the inflexibility of a moral code cannot cope with the realities of moral relativism.”

Mordo’s inflexibility leads him to a darker path, Derrickson explains. “When someone gives themselves over to an extraordinarily strict moral code, the process of breaking out of that is a violent one. He becomes disillusioned with the Ancient One’s [moral contradictions]. The difference is Strange can accept that contradiction. Mordo cannot cope with it, and that’s why the big jump at the [post-credits] tag makes total sense.”

9. Two scenes were shot by guest directors

In what seems to be a fast-growing tradition of Marvel directors helping each other out, Derrickson invited a couple of guest directors to take a tiny bit of the directing strain: Taika Waititi, who recently wrapped filming on Thor: Ragnarok, filmed the first post-credits sequence with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. And Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn directed the Stan Lee cameo, in which he reads Aldous Huxley’s The Doors Of Perception on a New York bus. “We all shoot each other’s movies!” laughs Derrickson. “James Gunn shot four Stan Lee cameos for four different movies in Atlanta. He was texting me pictures of the frame.”

10. The Staff Of One can be glimpsed in the Hong Kong sanctum

There are plenty of Easter Eggs for those looking closely, and undoubtedly there will be a few pause-or-you’ll-miss-it moments, come the Blu-ray release. But one little nod to the comics that Derrickson mentioned to us: the Staff Of One, the powerful magical object wielded by dark wizard Tina Minoru, can be seen in the Hong Kong sanctum. Though that’s not Tina wielding it there.

11. Jimi Hendrix or Pink Floyd were the first choice for the end credits music

The film plays out to the singularly brilliant psychedelic rock track The Master Of The Mystic End Credits by the film’s composer, Michael Giacchino. Posted online shortly before the film’s release, it has a lot of fans. But it almost never happened. “At first I wanted Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced?”, says Derrickson, “but the Hendrix family demanded to see the whole film ahead of time, and they’re very expensive. We didn’t have time to do it.” Second choice was Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive, used during the car crash scene. “They wanted like $500,000 just to play over the end credits, and we weren’t going to do that. So Giacchino came up with that.”

During the recording of the track, Derrickson recalls Paul McCartney stopping by at Abbey Road Studios. “We were listening to it, and he leaned over to Giacchino and said, ‘shades of Walrus’. The next morning when I woke up, I thought I’d dreamed it.“

12. Carol Danvers is lying in Stephen Strange’s hospital after being struck by lightning (maybe)

Shortly before his car crash, there is one seemingly throwaway line about one of Stephen Strange’s potential patients: a 22-year-old female patient who is struck by lightning. There’s been some speculation that this could be Carol Danvers, aka Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, which is currently in pre-production. Derrickson is coy about it, but doesn’t deny the rumour, either. “All I can is…maybe. That one, you’re going to have to wait and see…”

John Nugent

What We Do In The Shadows sequel is called We’re Wolves

There was plenty of joyful swearwolving when we learned in August last year that What We Do In The Shadows co-directors Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi were planning a follow-up about the loony lycanthrope characters introduced in their vampire comedy. Now we know the film is tentatively titled We’re Wolves.

Previously called What We Do In The Moonlight, the new, even punnier title is still largely under wraps, but will focus on Rhys Darby’s Anton and his polite pack of lycanthropes who try their best to follow a strict code of behaviour, despite the temptation every full moon to turn into howling beasts.

Quite what they’ll be up to is locked in the minds of Clement and Waititi for now, and we’ll have to wait to see it as the latter will be slightly busy working on Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel, when he’s not promoting his latest comedy, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, which just premiered at Sundance and has a trailer online. He also has an idea for the story of a boy in the Hitler Youth during World War II, but that will likely be pushed back further by everything else he has going on. Still: more werewolves? We’re well up for that.

James White

Carrie Fisher slams body shamers: ‘My body hasn’t aged as well as I have’

Carrie Fisher at the Hollywood premiere of “The Force Awakens” (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Carrie Fisher is fed up with people body shaming her because (shocker!) she doesn’t look exactly like she did 35 years ago.

The 59-year-old “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” actress took to Twitter in response to body-shaming comments she’s received that compare her current appearance in “The Force Awakens” to how she looked in that famous gold bikini in 1980′s “The Empire Strikes Back.”

ALSO SEE: Carrie Fisher’s advice to Daisy Ridley: Fight against the slave outfit

Carrie Fisher in “The Empire Strikes Back”

“Please stop debating about whether or not [I] aged well,” she writes. “Ultimately it hurts all 3 of my feelings. My BODY hasn’t aged as well as I have….”

“My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places and in front of faces where theres something to say or see,” she continues.

ALSO SEE: The best entries from the ‘Star Wars’ Instagram hair contest

The actress’s tweets were met with a wave of positive comments – and Fisher also retweeted some comments that rang especially true, including one that reads: “Men don’t age better than women, they’re just allowed to age.”

She also retweeted a poignant Tumblr post defending her. 

“I get really protective over Carrie Fisher because nerds will go on and on about how cool and great Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford still are, but they’ll always be like, ‘Carrie Fisher sure didn’t age well, huh,’,” the post reads. “And its like you know what? F— you. She aged beautifully. She’s amazing. She’s gorgeous.”

“Just because you can’t fantasize about her returning to the gross metal slave bikini doesn’t mean she isn’t exactly as incredible as her old cast mates.”

Domhnall Gleeson eyed to play Winnie the Pooh creator AA Milne

Whilst Winnie the Pooh has been a pop cultural icon for decades, less has been shown about his creator, AA Milne. My Week With Marilyn director Simon Curtis is looking to change all that, and has Domhnall Gleeson in talks to play Milne in Goodbye Christopher Robin.

The film will follow the relationship of Milne and his son Robin, who became the inspiration for Christopher Robin and whose toys provided the characters for Milne’s most famous work, including Pooh himself, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. It wasn’t always the easiest time for the gather-son duo, but working on creating the residents of Hundred Acre Wood helped with that.

Gleeson himself is much in demand at the moment; currently back in the black coat as the sneering General Hux for Star Wars: Episode VIII, he’s looking to split time between that and playing one of the founders of National Lampoon magazine in Netflix-backed film A Futile And Stupid Gesture. After those are complete, he’s attached to work with his Frank director, Lenny Abrahamson, on the latter’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger, and has drug trafficking drama Mena due to arrive on screens in January next year.

James White

Exclusive new trailer and poster for Oscar Isaac’s Mojave

Oscar Isaac had one hell of a 2015, enjoying scene-stealing roles in the likes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ex Machina. 2016 promises to be just as fruitful, with appearances in X-Men: Apocalypse– and now, indie crime thriller Mojave. Empire has an exclusive new look at Mojave’s first trailer and poster.

Set in the Californian desert of the title, it sees Isaac on villainous duties, playing a mysterious drifter named Jack who comes up against depressive artist Thomas, played by Garrett Hedlund.

Mark Wahlberg and Walton Goggins also star in the film, which is being directed by William Monahan, best known for his screenwriting work on the likes of The Departed (for which he won an Oscar),Oblivion and The Gambler.

John Nugent

See Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton and the rest of the Sing cast with their characters

Illumination Entertainment’s Sing promises to show off the performing talents of a diverse cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and more. The company has released a new set of images showing the actors with their various animal characters, and you can check them out in two groups lower down the page, except for McConaughey, who is ruling the roost above.

Sing finds McConaughey as Buster Moon, the dapper koala who oversees a theatre that was once a grand entertainment venue, but is now falling on hard times, with peeling paint and dodgy plumbing. In a last-ditch attempt to restore the venue to its former glory, he decides to stage the world’s greatest singing challenge, throwing the doors open to members of the public who think they have what it takes.

A group of lead contestants are soon winnowed down from the chaff that shows up: a mouse (Seth MacFarlane) a crooked sort with a smooth voice, a timid teenage elephant (singer Tori Kelly), a busy mother sow (Witherspoon), who juggles the demands of her 25 piglets with her singing ambitions, a young gorilla (Egerton) who is looking for a way out of his father’s criminal activities, a punk-rock porcupine with the pipes of Johansson and a posing pig named Gunther (Nick Kroll).

James White