24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: May 2012

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Taylor Kitsch: I'm not playing Finnick in 'Catching Fire'

May 31, 2012 | 12:59 pm

Taylor Kitsch will not play Finnick in "Catching Fire"

With casting for the second installment of "The Hunger Games" franchise underway, fans of the dystopian sci-fi series have been breathlessly debating who will play an integral character in "Catching Fire."

Finnick Odair, described by author Suzanne Collins as an Adonis-like womanizer, first appears in "Catching Fire" and has a complex relationship with heroine Katniss Everdeen. So admirers of the series were thrown into a tizzy this week when E! News reported that filmmakers had narrowed down the casting to three heartthrobs: Taylor Kitsch, Armie Hammer and Garrett Hedlund.

But you can knock one of those dreamboats off the list, because Kitsch says he won't be joining the cast of the mega-successful film series.

"Not going to happen," the 31-year-old actor wrote in an email on Wednesday. Kitsch, who is coming off the poor box office performance of the big-budget films "John Carter" and "Battleship," would seem to have fit the bill for the athletic, good-looking character.

As for "The Lone Ranger" star Hammer and "TRON: Legacy" lead Hedlund, the studio behind the franchise, Lionsgate, said it would not confirm, deny or comment on any casting in progress.


'Battleship' debuts weakly at the box office [video]

Taylor Kitsch puts 'John Carter' disaster behind him

How did 'Battleship' escape the 'John Carter' flop furor?

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Taylor Kitsch. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

'Marigold Hotel' crosses $100 million at worldwide box office

May 31, 2012 | 11:47 am

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel crossed the 100 million mark at the box office
Moviegoers worldwide continue to check into "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," as the film surpassed $100 million at the global box office Wednesday.

The movie, centered on British retirees who go on a trip to India, had already racked up $70 million abroad before it debuted in the U.S. in early May. Since, the picture's international tally has risen to $81.4 million, while the film has sold nearly $20-million worth of tickets domestically.

Internationally, the movie has performed best in the United Kingdom, grossing over $30 million in the region where many of its stars — including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson — hail from.

In America, meanwhile, the movie has resonated with older moviegoers. On the film's opening weekend, distributor Fox Searchlight said that 90% of the audience was 35 and older, while 60% of the crowd was female.

The movie is now the seventh-highest-grossing title ever for Fox Searchlight, which financed the picture with Participant Media for $12 million.


India is key part of cast for 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'

Already a hit overseas, 'Marigold Hotel' has strong U.S. debut

Word of Mouth: Fox Searchlight hopes seniors check into 'Marigold Hotel'

— Amy Kaufman


Photo: Dev Patel stars in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Credit: Fox Searchlight.

Will Smith's 'Men in Black 3' censored in China

May 31, 2012 | 11:34 am

"Men in Black 3" is the latest film to face the wrath of Chinese censors.

At least three minutes of Sony's sci-fi comedy have been excised for its Chinese theatrical run, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who was not authorized to speak about it publicly.

The offending moments take place in New York's Chinatown. They include a Chinese-restaurant shootout between evil aliens and Will Smith's Agent J and Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K -- the aliens are disguised as restaurant workers -- as well as a moment when Smith’s J  “neuralyzes,” or memory-wipes, a group of Chinese bystanders.

A Chinese paper, the China Southern Daily, speculated that the latter scene may have been cut because it could be viewed as a comment on China's censorship of the Internet.

The news was first reported in the English-language press by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, which pegged the total time of the cuts at 13 minutes.

"MIB 3" opened to more than $21 million in China last weekend, by far the largest total of any of the more than 50 foreign territories in which the movie bowed.

Chinese law limits the number of Hollywood movies that can be shown in its theaters, prompting studios to be unusually careful about any China-related content they include in their films. In this case, Sony learned of the Chinese government’s objections after the film had been completed.

This is hardly the first time a Hollywood movie has been altered for mainland release. A moment in "Mission: Impossible 3" featuring laundry hanging in Shanghai, for instance, was removed before the film was shown in China. Scenes of the Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat playing a villain in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” were also expunged.

Studios are sometimes proactive in removing scenes themselves. MGM changed in postproduction the nationality of villains in its upcoming "Red Dawn" reboot, digitally transforming them from Chinese to North Korean.

Sony is no stranger to working with the Chinese government. The company collaborated with the Asian nation on its 2010 reboot of "The Karate Kid," which was shot in Beijing and other parts of the country and offered a generally positive view of life on the mainland -- and starred Will Smith's son, Jaden.

You can see some of the Chinatown scenes in this trailer:



'Men in Black 3' was no easy sequel to make

Hollywood tries to stay on China's good side

'Men in Black 3' is Memorial Day's top weekend movie

 -- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "Men in Black 3." Credit: Sony Pictures

‘A Cat in Paris’ animated film draws on French roots

May 31, 2012 | 10:52 am

A cat in paris gk kids

DreamWorks’ lavish, CG-animated farce “Puss in Boots” wasn’t the only feline-themed comedy nominated for the animated feature Oscar this year. Also lurking among the category’s five nominees was a 67-minute, hand-drawn French film, “A Cat in Paris,” which follows the adventures of Dino, a house cat who leads a double life.

Both movies lost the Academy Award to Paramount’s western spoof, “Rango,” but Dino is continuing to charm audiences around the world. He makes his way to the U.S. on Friday as “A Cat in Paris” opens at the Nuart Theatre in West Los Angeles.

A film noir that tips its tail to such purr-fect crime classics as “Goodfellas,” “White Heat,” “Night of the Hunter” and “Kiss Me Deadly,” “Cat in Paris” marks the feature directorial debut of Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, who previously had directed 14 shorts for the French animation company Folimage.

“We wanted to do a police thriller,” said Gagnol, speaking by phone with the help of a translator from Bourg-les-Valence, where Folimage is located. “We love police thrillers.”

And cats?

The idea of using a feline as the lead character came from Gagnol observing cats from his kitchen window as they prowled rooftops at night. “I was wondering where they were going,” said Gagnol, who wrote the script for the roughly $7.5-million film.

Continue reading »

Iran's Kiarostami: I'm not rushing to shoot there again

May 31, 2012 |  7:30 am

As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran continues to restrict free speech in the country, directors such as Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi have to take other steps to make movies
With "A Separation" the reigning Oscar foreign-language winner, Iranian film has perhaps never been more in the global spotlight. And yet with Iran's artists continuing to face free-speech issues, some of its leading directors have never been less willing to make movies there.

"A Separation" director Asghar Farhadi is taking his next production to Paris, where for the first time he will use Europe, not Iran, as his backdrop, in a movie that has him casting French actors such as Marion Cottilard.

Now Abbas Kiarostami, the eminence grise of Iranian cinema,  says he too is in no hurry to resume working in his home country. After setting and shooting his last two films far outside the Middle East -- in Italy and Japan -- Kiarostami told 24 Frames the new film he is working on will also be shot and set in a place other than Iran and will feature non-Iranian actors.

"All Iranians have grown up with [free-speech] restrictions," he said in a candid interview with 24 Frames explaining his choice. "But when rules are written, we'd find a way to work around it. You can cope. What's really perverse now is the unsaid and irrational rules that every [government] person creates. I don't want to deal with that."

Kiarostami, 71, has been setting films in Iran for nearly four decades, before and after the country's 1979 revolution, and even during the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He won the Palme d’Or in 1997 ("Taste of Cherry") and a Venice special jury prize in 1999 ("The Wind Will Carry Us"). For many Westerners, he has become one of the few ways to understand everyday life in Tehran, where foreign media coverage is severely restricted.

But he said his new film, which he is still writing and declined to offer further details about, will follow the pattern of his last two movies and take place elsewhere. He said he might consider making another Iran-set movie at some point in the future, but it is not something he is planning.

The director's most recent effort, "Like Someone In Love," was well received at the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival, where it was picked up for U.S. distribution by Sundance Selects. The movie features Kiarostami's slow-burn takes and the subtle shifting of power between characters throughout the course of a scene.

But those looking for a window into Iran will be disappointed -- the film is set in Japan and tells of the relationship between an elderly professor, a call girl and the girl's boyfriend. It follows his 2010 effort, "Certified Copy," which was about a relationship between a French woman and a British man and was set in Tuscany. (We explore how a host of Iranian directors are handling the question of free speech in a recent Sunday Calendar article, which you can read here.)

Asked if there are ways to touch on Iran-specific issues even when making movies in another country -- perhaps by depicting Iranian emigres to other places, such as Los Angeles -- Kiarostami said he had little desire to attempt that either.
"We [Iranians] live in such a bitter situation, and I don't want to make films that are dark and bitter," he said. "It would do too much harm to myself. I don't want to live with darkness and bitterness for six months or a year."

Kiarostami, who continues to reside in Iran, described a situation that remains in flux for many artists. His son, a documentary filmmaker, recently found that his passport had been suspended for a year. When he inquired why, he was told that it was for "a serious crime" but that he wouldn't be given further information, Kiarostami said. The elder Kiarostami said he pushed his son to appeal, but his son is standing pat, afraid the suspension could be extended if he challenged it.

Kiarostami said he does believe other directors can pick up the mantle, noting that even his longtime fellow filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who is officially under a 20-year ban for his attempt to chronicle democracy protests, still managed to make a movie last year (the meta documentary "This Is Not a Film").

"There are talented artists who will find a way," Kiarostami said. "The Panahi case is interesting -- he was able to make a film last year and send it to Cannes." (Though it should be noted that Panahi had to put the movie on a USB drive and smuggle it out of the country hidden inside a cake.)

Kiarostami said he hoped other filmmakers continued making movies in Iran -- particularly younger directors, who he said have more of a stomach for the capricious rules and the effort required to circumvent them. 

But he isn't optimistic about those rules changing, in large part because he doesn't feel any changes are forthcoming to the political situation from which the restrictions stem. "The petrol is keeping the country imprisoned," he said, offering a thought popular with many Iran-based democracy advocates.

He added, "The day we run out of petrol is the day Iran will be free."


Movie review: "This Is Not a Film"

Iranian filmmaking is at a crossroads

Toronto 2011: Banned Iranian director's film lands a deal

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Abbas Kiarostami at the Cannes Film Festival last week. Credit: Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP/Getty Images


Around Town: Marilyn, Lucy and Kristy McNichol hit the big screen

May 31, 2012 |  6:00 am

James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood star in "Rebel Without a Cause."

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is presenting a two-day retrospective, "Grand Designs: Mid-Century Life in the Movies," at the Leo S. Bing Theater, in conjunction with the closing weekend of the exhibition "California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way."

The festival opens Friday with the 1957 romantic comedy "Desk Set," with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, about the computer age invading a TV network, followed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as newlyweds honeymooning in an Airstream in Vincente Minnelli's 1954 comedy "The Long, Long Trailer."

On tap for early Saturday evening is the English-language version of Jacques Tati's Oscar-winning 1958 comedy "My Uncle," in which Mr. Hulot encounters an uber modern world in French suburbia.

The evening concludes with Nicholas Ray's classic 1955 tale of disenchanted youth "Rebel Without a Cause," starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and the Griffith Park Observatory.


The indie film festival "Dances With Films" celebrates its 15th anniversary Thursday evening through June 7 at the Mann's Chinese 6. The festival includes features, shorts, documentaries and music videos. The opening-night programs are "Attack of the Bat Monsters" and "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life." The closing night feature is "Eye of the Hurricane," with Campbell Scott. http://www.danceswithfilms.com

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, is also commemorating  the 86th birthday of the late Marilyn Monroe with a weeklong film festival that begins Friday evening with Billy Wilder's 1959 gender-bender comedy "Some Like It Hot." Screening Saturday is 1954's "There's No Business Like Show Business," followed by 1953's "How to Marry a Millionaire" on Sunday; 1955's "The Seven Year Itch" on Monday; 1956's "Bus Stop" on Tuesday; and 1961's "The Misfits," her final film, on Wednesday. http://www.chinesetheatres.com

Film Independent at LACMA presents a preview screening Thursday of Corinna Betz's documentary, "Gerhard Richter Painting," which profiles the 80-year-old German painter.

And on Tuesday evening, Film Independent at LACMA welcomes screenwriter and USC professor Howard A. Rodman to chat about Sam Fuller's controversial 1982 drama "White Dog" at the 30th anniversary screening of the film about an actress (played by Kristy McNichol) who adopts a stray white German shepherd only to discover it has been trained to attack African Americans. http://www.lacma.org

Before he "Made 'Em Laugh" in 1952's "Singin' in the Rain," Donald O'Connor was a teen idol who appeared in several youth-oriented musicals at Universal in the 1940s. UCLA Film & Television Archive's current centennial celebration of the studio presents a new print Sunday afternoon at the Billy Wilder Theater of his 1944 musical comedy "Chip Off the Old Block," which also stars Peggy Ryan.

And on Sunday, the archive and Outfest present the 1991 drama "The Hour and Times," directed by Christopher Munch about a holiday John Lennon took with the Beatles' gay manager Brian Epstein. Director Munch and actor Ian Hart will appear. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

Director Whit Stillman will appear to take part in the Cinefamily Pajama Party screening Saturday of his 1998 comedy drama "The Last Days of Disco" at the Silent Movie Theatre.

Cinefamily 's Wednesday silent movie is a real rarity -- 1928's "The Showdown," a romantic soap opera set in South America starring George Bancroft, Fred Kohler and Evelyn Brent. http://www.cinefamily.org

The Assn. of Moving Image Archivists UCLA Student Chapter presents its monthly screening Sunday and Monday at the New Beverly Cinema with "These Are the Damned," the 1963 sequel to "Village of the Damned" and the 2011 British cult film "Attack the Block." http://www.newbevcinema.com

The Skirball's free Tuesday matinee features 1949's "The Barkleys of Broadway," the glossy MGM musical that reunited Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in a tale about a bickering show business couple. http://www.skirball.org

Geena Davis is scheduled to appear at the Los Angeles Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" screening Wednesday evening of the 1982 comedy "Tootsie," in which she had one of her first major roles. The film, which earned 10 Oscar nominations and won supporting actress for Jessica Lange, will screen at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. http://www.laconservancy.org


"Review: 'California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way' at LACMA"

--Susan King

Photo: James Dean, left, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood star in "Rebel Without a Cause." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures 

'Prometheus' offers oozing sci-fi spectacle, early reviews say

May 31, 2012 |  5:30 am

Noomi Rapace in Prometheus

Stateside sci-fi fans will have to wait till June 8 to see "Prometheus," Ridley's Scott's long-awaited oblique prequel to the "Alien" franchise, but some early and international reviews are already in. The story, which involves a space mission investigating the origins of human life going predictably awry, has met with mixed reviews, but critics agree that Scott's film is visually stunning and that Michael Fassbender delivers a scene-stealing performance.

In the Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy writes that "Prometheus" "won't become a genre benchmark" like classics "Alien" and "Blade Runner" "despite its equivalent seriousness and ambition, but it does supply enough visual spectacle, tense action and sticky, slithery monster attacks to hit the spot with thrill-seeking audiences worldwide." Stars Noomi Rapace (of the Swedish version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") and Charlize Theron perform admirably, and Fassbender, playing a genteel android, "excels as he's allowed to begin injecting droll comedy into his performance."

Variety's Justin Chang says the film "remains earthbound in narrative terms, forever hinting at the existence of a higher intelligence without evincing much of its own." Chang also takes exception to the "stock wise-guy types who spout tired one-liners" and the "orchestral surge of a score," which undermines the film's tension. On the other hand, "Scott and his production crew compensate to some degree with an intricate, immersive visual design that doesn't skimp on futuristic eye-candy or prosthetic splatter."

Like McCarthy, the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw also invokes "Alien" and calls "Prometheus" "something more grandiose, more elaborate — but less interesting." It's also, he suggests, less frightening. On the bright side, it does have Fassbender, who turns in a "terrifically creepy performance" and "steals the film." Ultimately, Bradshaw says, "Prometheus" is "a muddled, intricate, spectacular film, but more or less in control of all its craziness and is very watchable."

The Telegraph's Tim Robey writes that "thanks to richly-designed planetary environments with plenty of H.R. Giger's original art in their DNA, the build-up to inevitable horrors is the most smoothly compelling part of Scott's movie." The movie isn't free of cliches, but Fassbender is "amusingly creepy and constantly interesting," and Rapace "gets better as she goes along."

Total Film's Jonathan Crocker also praises Fassbender's character as "brilliantly constructed" (pun presumably intended). Scott once again proves to have an impeccable eye for sci-fi surfaces ("the movie is "flawlessly designed"), although he's more adept "with Big Spectacle than Big Ideas." All told, "Prometheus" is "exciting, tense and fully impregnated for sequels."

As a touchstone for the "Alien" mythos and a potential new film franchise all its own, it looks as though "Prometheus" could be just the beginning.


'Prometheus': Damon Lindelof promises an epic

R rating for 'Prometheus': Will it hurt the film commercially?

Meet David the android from Ridley Scott's upcoming 'Prometheus'

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Noomi Rapace in "Prometheus." Credit: Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox

Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur' will warm up a prehistoric reputation

May 31, 2012 |  5:00 am


So often typecast as witless and cold-blooded, dinosaurs are about to get an image rehab in Hollywood, courtesy of Pixar.

"It's time to do a movie where you get to know the dinosaur, what it's really like to be a dinosaur and to be with a dinosaur," said Bob Peterson, director of the animation studio's upcoming movie "The Good Dinosaur." 

Peterson, who served as codirector and writer on "Up," said the inspiration for the movie came from a childhood visit to the World's Fair where he was awed by some dinosaur animatronics.

In "The Good Dinosaur," which will be codirected by Peter Sohn and produced by John Walker, an asteroid never hit the Earth and dinosaurs still roam.

In an interview at the studio's Emeryville offices recently, Peterson, Sohn and Walker -- who are in the midst of Pixar's secretive story-crafting phase -- kept key plot details such as geologic era and starring dino species under wraps, but hinted at some themes they'll be exploring.

Sohn said they are toying with the idea of what dinosaurs represent today -- something anachronistic or resistant to change. If there's a "good" dinosaur, after all, there have to be bad ones. "The title is deceptively simple," Sohn said. "It has more meaning than it seems."

A piece of concept art shared at Disney's D23 conference last August showed what appeared to be a silhouette of a small child with a dinosaur, suggesting that dinosaurs and people will be sharing the planet in the movie, but the filmmakers didn't confirm that.

Peterson said the crew had steeped itself in research for the film, visiting various natural history and science museums and examining fossils and bones to help them create their own dinosaur society and characters.

The director said he has been writing "The Good Dinosaur" vagabond-style, toting his laptop in his car and stopping at various spots in Northern California as inspiration strikes.

"So if there's a bunch of dinosaurs in a Whole Foods parking lot in this movie, you'll understand why," said Walker.

"The Good Dinosaur" is a few cinematic eras from release -- the movie will hit theaters May 30, 2014.


Pixar's 'Brave' to play at Dolby Theater for L.A. Film Fest

Pixar's Día de los Muertos movie a nod to Mexican audiences

Henry Selick on his 'medium dark' stop-motion movie for Disney

-- Rebecca Keegan


Photo: An interactive display at Field Station: Dinosaurs Park in Secaucus, N.J. Credit: Associated Press


How did 'Battleship' escape the 'John Carter' flop furor?

May 30, 2012 | 12:50 pm

Pete berg

If there is a truism in Hollywood when it comes to the media, it’s that people in the industry never think you’re nasty, mean or vicious enough when writing about someone else’s movie. It’s a business, after all, where people root just as hard to see their friends fail as their enemies.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear from so many studio execs, producers and agents this week, all wondering the same thing: Why hasn’t the entertainment press been giving “Battleship” just as big a whipping as it gave “John Carter” a couple of months ago? After all, both films cost more than $200 million to make, an additional $100 million to market and, despite OK performances overseas, were pretty much dead on arrival in the United States.

Their overall numbers aren’t all that different. Disney’s “John Carter” did a paltry $72 million in the United States and an additional $210 million overseas; “Universal’s “Battleship” is on track to do even less in America than “John Carter” while so far making $232 million overseas. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Universal could lose $150 million on “Battleship,” while Disney took a $200-million write-down on “John Carter."

PHOTOS: The biggest box office flops of all time

Those are both huge bites out of a rotten apple, yet while “John Carter” got a noisy, prolonged thrashing from the showbiz media, “Battleship” has largely escaped scrutiny, except for a predictable round of opening weekend obituaries. (If I had a dollar for every headline that went “ ‘Avengers’ sinks ‘Battleship,’" I could probably finance a couple of movies myself.)

There have been a few solid inside-baseball accounts, including one at the Vulture website that actually predicted that Universal marketing chief Josh Goldstine would lose his job because of the poor performance of “Battleship.” But for the most part, the media are allowing “Battleship” to slide down to the ocean floor without much fuss or fanfare.

Why were we so worked up about “John Carter” yet so blasé about “Battleship?

Big PictureFirst, I should cite one immutable media law: If there are two box-office stinkers, the first one gets far more attention. Being the first mega flop of the year, “John Carter” was a magnet for media scrutiny. The film was also hurt by the fact that Disney, whose top cadre of executives is about as open with the press as the rulers of North Korea, had few friends in the media who might be willing to cut the studio a break.

“John Carter” also became a fat target after Disney axed MT Carney, its controversial head of marketing, who had famously decreed that the film’s title be shortened from “John Carter of Mars” to the generic “John Carter,” as if Mars might be too esoteric a locale for a sci-fi adventure film. For media sharks, Carney’s departure was a sign that blood was in the water — it only heightened the awareness that something was amiss with the film.

With “John Carter” out in front, it became the poster child for studio excess, allowing “Battleship” to stay, at least to some degree, out of the line of fire. Even though the media exhibit enormous sophistication and historical perspective in a thousand different ways — not that I can think of a specific example right now — they are far too often bedazzled by the sheer novelty of a story. If you watch cable news, for example, you know all too well that if there are two child kidnappings in the same month, the first one gets far more attention than the second.

VIDEO: 'Battleship' debuts weakly at the box office

This same law applies to box-office bombs. With “Battleship,” the fascination with Hollywood flop sweat had already worn off. When I asked a veteran showbiz reporter why his publication had spent so little time covering the demise of “Battleship,” he joked: “I guess we all had the same reaction — didn’t we just write that story already?”

“Battleship” was also helped by the fact that it arrived after “Dark Shadows,” which had underperformed at the box office, muddying the waters a little in terms of what qualified as a dud and what qualified as a disaster.

It’s also possible that Universal managed its story better than Disney did. After all, “Battleship” had opened overseas weeks before it arrived in the States, so it took some of the negative energy out of the film’s weak U.S. opening weekend. Films that debut internationally before they open in the U.S. get a break from the box office press, largely because there still isn’t a simple measuring stick for overseas box-office performance. It’s harder to declare a film a flop when there aren’t as many box-office comparables in terms of one studio release versus another.  ("John Carter," meanwhile, opened in dozens of markets on the same weekend of its March 9 stateside debut.)

Of course, this doesn’t mean anyone in Hollywood can rest easy, believing that if another film crashes and  burns that the media will show even less interest in its box-office woes. To the contrary. Expect the media to go after the next bomb with guns ablazing. After all, three flops in a row is the kind of story everyone in the media can understand: It’s a trend.


Rich Ross ousted at Disney: What went wrong?

Photos: The costliest box office flops of all time

'G.I.Joes' move to 2013: Curse or blessing in disguise?

-- Patrick Goldstein

Photo: "Battleship" director Pete Berg pictured this January in the control room aboard the USS Spruance. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Kristen Stewart: I'm not trying to distance myself from 'Twilight'

May 30, 2012 | 12:23 pm

Kristen Stewart stars in Snow White and the Huntsman

In the four years since Kristen Stewart began playing the role of Bella Swan in the "Twilight" franchise, the actress has only appeared in three films outside of the massively popular series.

The most popular of the nonvampire fare was the 2009 comedy "Adventureland," which at its height played in around 1,800 theaters nationwide and ended up collecting $16 million -- nowhere near the kind of money a "Twilight" film rakes in. Her subsequent turns as Joan Jett in "The Runaways" and a stripper in "Welcome to the Rileys" were even less widely seen; the latter film grossed only $158,898.

Which all makes her latest role as the princess in "Snow White and the Huntsman" that much more significant. The big-budget spin on the classic fairy tale, out Friday, will mark the first time that most American moviegoers will get to weigh in on whether or not they buy Stewart as anyone but Bella.

Still, the actress says taking on "Snow White" wasn't a calculated move to change her on-screen image.

"People are going to think that it's me trying to either distance myself from 'Twilight' or try to prove myself beyond it or whatever," the 22-year-old said Tuesday evening at a screening of the $175-million production. "But it's [just] good timing. I think it's all fallen off the truck in a really lucky way. But it's totally not my doing."

Asked if she felt "Snow White" marked a new phase in her career, Stewart said it didn't.

" 'Twilight' means so much to me, but it doesn't stand out in terms of -- " she paused, looking for the right words. "Everything I do needs to be really important. ['Snow White'] is neither better or worse than anything I've done."

Her latest film, which also stars Charlize Theron, is the second picture based on the children's tale to hit theaters this year; "Mirror Mirror," Relativity's lighter take on "Snow White," struggled at the box office after its release in March. But Stewart said she thinks her version of the film will resonate with fans because it's a "fundamental story" that makes "you care about people."

"Not to be totally over-sentimental about it, but it's got a nice message -- and a very, very simple one. It just kind of makes you feel good about being human."

Stewart will show off a different side of herself in an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” which premiered to generally positive reviews at the Cannes International Film Festival last week and will hit U.S. cinemas later this year. Meanwhile, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2” -– the final film in the series -– will open in November.


Kristen Stewart: I loved scaring myself in 'On The Road'

Kristen Stewart on her 'Twilight' fame: 'It's like you don't exist'

Charlize Theron reveals a running gag from the 'Snow White' set

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Kristen Stewart stars in "Snow White and the Huntsman." Credit: Universal Pictures


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