Picking Up the Spare: Juliet Naked, Crazy Rich Asians and More

Juliet, Naked

Star Rose Byrne talks about the shift in focus of the story from book to movie with IndieWire.

More on the music created for the soundtrack, this time with a focus on former Lemonheads member Jesse Peretz.

A clip showing the interplay between Byrne and Hawke was released to help keep some positive word of mouth going.

BlacKkKlansman

More from the real Ron Stallworth on how he helped John David Washington prepare to play him. There’s also this additional interview with screenwriter Kevin Willmott.

Spike Lee shared a music video for the previously-unreleased Prince song he managed to secure for the movie.

Crazy Rich Asians

Just in the first early screenings the movie reportedly recouped what Warner Bros. had spent on TV advertising.

Yes, Michelle Yeoh has a long history of being incredible on film.

Quartz has some additional details on how Singapore’s tourism bureau, an official partner for the movie, is using it to draw more travelers there.

Constance Wu spoke here about how she and other Asian actors are becoming more bold in their choices. And Jimmy O. Yang appeared on “The Daily Show.”

There’s a cottage industry that’s sprung up in the last week devoted to producing stories like this about how the movie differs the book. Similarly, quite a few guest essays such as this have been published to various culture sites making it clear the movie does not represent all Asian people.

Director Jon M. Chu is ready for the movie’s success to open up some doors for him. Chu’s letter to the band Coldplay asking permission to use their song “Yellow” also garnered several thousand headlines.

This is one of a few profiles I’ve seen focusing on the movie’s costume designer, which makes sense given the attention people are paying to the wardrobe sported by the characters.

One more business-oriented story that’s been approached from various angles is the makeup of the audience itself. Asian-Americans turned out in much larger numbers for this movie than others (unsurprising). That was powered by Asian-American artists who helped get the word out for opening weekend, throwing off a tracking system that not only doesn’t do well with non-white audiences but which isn’t engineered for celebrity-driven efforts that mimic “get out the vote” campaigns more than those for other movies. Both of those, as this story points out, should get the studios’ attention.

Representation is again the theme of this interview with the film’s producers.

The Wife

Another profile of star Glenn Close and her impressive career here.

Papillon

A few days before the movie hit theaters I started to see promoted Tweets like this and others.

A new interview here with stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek about the bond they forged during production.

Searching

As part of the #GoldOpen campaign – meant to encourage Asian-American audiences to turn out for movies featuring people like them – the star and director of Crazy Rich Asians bought out a showing of this movie.

Director Aneesh Chaganty hits on an important point here regarding representation, that volume and the freedom to be mediocre without negative repercussions is what truly marks progress on that front. He also talks about making the movie on iMacs and other tools.

Support the Girls

Given the movie’s working class themes, it’s refreshing to see director Andrew Bujalski talk about how in reality not everyone who he’d like to see the movie can afford to go to the movies.

Terminator Salvation

Nine years after the movie came out, a VR experience is opening in a new entertainment venue in Orange County, CA.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Picking Up the Spare: BlacKkKlansman, The Meg and More

BlacKkKlansman

Great profiles here and here of Laura Harrier, who didn’t get much attention in advance of release. Costume designer Marci Rogers also was interviewed about her work on the movie.

John David Washington shared what his first experiences on the set of the film were and what inspired him about working with Spike Lee.

Washington and others from the cast spoke out about what has happened in the country in the year since the Charlottesville incidents and how the movie connects to that. They also explained how they got into character for the time period the story is set in.

There have been a number of stories like this that continue to explore the real events depicted in the story and the connection between the real Ron Stallworth and Washington, who plays him in the movie.

Topher Grace continues to be a central focus of the press as he appears on “Late Night” to talk about the film.

Lee finally got on TV, talking with Seth Meyers about the connections between this movie – and the events that inspired it – and the present day. He also appeared on “The Daily Show.”

Solo: A Star Wars Story

ILM’s Rob Bredow spoke about a number of technology issues, including the use of virtual reality in the making of the movie.

The Meg

Director Jon Turteltaub and others shared how they wanted to make a fun, exciting and pulse-pounding shark movie. Meanwhile, star Jason Statham continues to complain about how difficult the set was and how this wasn’t the movie he thought he’d be in.

Deadline hits many of the points I already covered when discussing the movie’s marketing but adds a few quotes from studio executives as well.

The details of Intel’s promotional partnership with the movie wasn’t clear in advance of release, but there have been more details that have come out since then about how the company contributed to the AI that helped power the digital shark.

Crazy Rich Asians

Awkwafina continues to be a bit focus of the publicity as the “breakout” star of the movie, with new features on her hitting Rolling Stone and Variety.

Michelle Yeoh has also gotten some warranted attention for her long and varied career in Hollywood. And Constance Wu once more hits the point about how this isn’t just your average romantic comedy.

Both Wu and Awkwafina made additional late night TV stops.

Juliet, Naked

Chris O’Dowd made an appearance on late night TV while a profile of Rose Byrne calls out how she’s an extremely underrated comedic powerhouse.

The team responsible for creating the music of Ethan Hawke’s musician in the movie talk about that process here.

The Equalizer 2

A new spot hits a theme that wasn’t emphasized very strongly in the earlier campaign, that of the mentor/mentee relationship between Robert and Miles.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Picking Up the Spare – Christopher Robin, The Darkest Minds and More

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Chloe Grace-Moretz goes all [fire emoji] on the idea of gay conversion therapy and talks about the recent moments that have dramatically changed her thinking on the idea. She also unloads on the studio mentality that marginalizes female actors and characters as well as her belief stories should be told by the kind of people portrayed in the story, highlighting the difference in reaction to this movie by a queer woman and the upcoming Boy Erased, which tells a similar story but is directed by a straight man.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Lots of new interviews from late last week with director Susanna Fogel, who talked about casting the film and telling a story about a strong female friendship, the (slightly) increased willingness by the studios to tell heretofore underrepresented stories, the sometimes choppy waters of her career to date, how filming action sequences helped her embrace her “inner badass” and more.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The popular Battlegrounds Mobile video game is getting a movie-themed level.

Christopher Robin

I did not realize the movie was written by Alex Ross Perry, who’s been primarily known to date for his smaller character dramas, but he talks about just that topic here.

Lots of the movie’s positive reviews are included in this “Now Playing” TV spot.

The Darkest Minds

Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson says she doesn’t mind at all if the movie and its story invite comparisons to current real world political resistance movements.

The cast also talks more in a joint interview about how the story mirrors the recent youth-driven drives for societal change on various topics.

Fox has released a series of “Meet…” character introduction videos like this one, apparently hoping that such explainers will help audiences get interested in characters they may not otherwise be familiar with.

Puzzle

There’s a new TV spot, the first for the movie I believe, that outlines the story and relationships while highlighting some of the positive reviews it’s received.

Eighth Grade

Regal Cinemas has been running this update as a promoted post on Twitter highlighting the movie and its emotional story.

This past Wednesday A24 hosted a series of free screenings around the country that, importantly, were voluntarily free of MPAA ratings enforcement. That’s been a subject of conversation around the movie as the R rating the movie was given for a a few bad words and some age-relevant discussions of sexual matters have put it out of reach of many actual eighth graders.

Sorry To Bother You

Writer/director Boots Riley ignited a thousand hot takes when he spoke up about the lack of international distribution for his well-received movie, citing a belief by the studio and others that “black” movies still don’t work overseas.

There isn’t usually a lot of attention paid to producers, but Nina Yang Bongiovi got a nice profile covering how she has become a force in the indie movie world and helped bring this movie to fruition.

Pineapple Express

Among the interesting tidbits shared by writer/star Seth Rogen marking the movie’s 10th anniversary was one saying a smoking billboard was shut down by the LA fire department for obvious reasons.

Deadpool 2

Another fun teaser for the movie’s home video release.

BlacKkKlansman

John David Washington appeared on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie, working with Spike Lee and more.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

BlacKkKlansman – Marketing Recap

blackkklansman poster 3Spike Lee, one of the most powerful and important filmmakers of the last 30 years who we collectively too often sleep on or overlook, is back this week with the new movie BlacKkKlansman. The movie is basically just what you might think it is based on the title, a story of a black member of the KKK…at least kind of.

Based on real events from the 1970s, John David Washington plays police officer Ron Stallworth. In the midst of the social turmoil of the time, Stallworth decides to infiltrate the KKK to determine how dangerous they are. He conducts most of his business over the phone but partners with fellow cop Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to be the face of the operation when things need to be handled in-person. They do so well they eventually cross paths with KKK leader David Duke (Topher Grace) himself.

The Posters

Ummm…wow. Stallworth is shown on the first poster standing there with one fist raised in a “black power” salute and the other holding a hair pick, all of which, when combined with the leather jacket he’s sporting, makes it clear the story takes place several decades in the past. The main thing is…he’s wearing the white hood of the Klan over his face, creating an incredible juxtaposition between the visual elements and setting up the nature and premise of the story. The edges of the photo shown have been artificially worn to give it a dated feel as well.

Driver and Washington stand on opposite sides of a white triangle, on which is the tagline “Infiltrate hate” and a reminder this is based on a true story. Of note here is the clear callout beneath the title that the movie comes “From producer Jordan Peele” to capitalize on his popularity.

 

One more had Washington standing within an American flag whose red and white stripes had been converted to black and white, those stripes going both behind and in front of him to illustrate how woven he and others are into the American experience. This one promises the movie is “Based on a crazy, outrageous, incredibly true story.”

The Trailers

I’m just not sure how to adequately explain how the first trailer opens with Stallworth, recently added to the police force, adopting a very white-sounding voice to call and get in the good graces of David Duke. Stallworth is out to infiltrate the KKK and can handle part of that, but needs “the right white man” to actually play the part in person, which means recruiting Zimmerman, who’s a bit skeptical. The execution of the plan coincides with the civil rights movement and other societal upheavals, with the reluctant partners out to take down those looking to keep any non-white people in their place.

It’s…it’s really funny. What’s shown here, with the music and everything, plays fast and loose and breezy, showing how the two partners make their plan come to fruition, albeit for different reasons. This is the kind of filmmaking we haven’t seen from Lee in a number of years and both Washington and Driver look pitch perfect.

Online and Social

Focus Features’ website for the movie isn’t exactly chock-full of information, but the basics are all covered. The site uses the studio’s standard layout, with the trailer playing as the site opens and other content available further down the page. So as you scroll down you can see an “About” section and then, available by clicking on the various pictures on the page, read bios and other facts about the cast and crew. Over on the right there are also links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

I’ve seen a few online ads that have used the film’s key art and some social posts using the trailer, but that’s it. There no TV spots I’ve been able to find.

Media and Publicity

Aside from the…unconventional and eyebrow-raising title, the first real bit of news about the movie came when it was announced as one of those screening at the Cannes Film Festival. Footage was shown off by Lee at CinemaCon, with the tone of what was seen taking a good amount of the press and other attendees by surprise. The first still was released shortly after that. The movie was also part of the later CineEurope presentation from the studio.

A feature profile of Lee appeared just before the Cannes debut that allowed him to talk about making the movie, what he wants to convey through it, his thoughts on the current president and lots more that show he hasn’t missed a step over the years. He talked again to Vanity Fair after that screening, which was very well-received and generated a ton of great word-of-mouth. It also included comments from Lee, unsurprisingly, about the current U.S. political climate and administration. He reiterated those views in subsequent interviews like this before the movie was ultimately given the festival’s Grand Prix award, significant for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it was one of the few entries in the actual competition this year from a U.S. filmmaker.

The movie was one of two at Cannes featuring Topher Grace, resulting in a narrative emerging about how this was a kind of comeback for the actor and how this was part of a mission to reinvent his career. He talked more about why he opted to take on such a controversial role while Washington was also profiled in a feature where he talked about carving out a career independent of his father’s and more.

At some point it was noticed the movie was one of several either primed for release or in production that focused on the KKK being the adversary in some manner.

In late July a major press push happened that included Lee talking about the tone of the movie and how he sees himself in the scope of film history, how he became involved with the project and how his family influenced his filmmaking, why he included recent news footage as well as more on the Trump presidency and the current state of racism in America. That Rolling Stone story also revealed Lee had secured an unreleased Prince song to use during the end credits, something he explained more in-depth here. Co-writer Kevin Willmott also talked about many of the same themes mentioned above.

That coincided with the release of two clips, one showing Grace as Duke thanking his supporters for putting “America first” and one showing Stallworth getting more familiar with black culture.

While there wasn’t much on the paid front, there was a significant press push in the final week before release. Washington appeared on “Access Hollywood,” while Grace appeared on “The Today Show,” as did both Lee and Washington. Meanwhile, Lee showed up on “NBC Nightly News” and elsewhere. All those and others created an exclusive featurette for Regal Cinemas.

The real Stallworth was interviewed as well, mentioning how he’d spoken to Duke recently and how the Trump-supporting racist was “concerned” he may not come off well in the movie, something that defies parody.

Overall

Well…What to say about that. Spike Lee has made a movie that:

  1. Is about black law enforcement standing up for an underrepresented culture and taking on established powers that have ignored the plight of their community for too long.
  2. Is about how white supremacist neo-nazis are unquestionably the bad guy, someone to be targeted for investigation and taken down because of their hate speech.

And all of that and more is in a campaign that makes the story seem not only timely but funny. It’s hard to think of a story that’s more relevant, especially since its release is timed to the one year anniversary of the white supremacist marches at Charlottesville.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

More from the real Ron Stallworth on how he helped John David Washington prepare to play him. There’s also this additional interview with screenwriter Kevin Willmott.

Spike Lee shared a music video for the previously-unreleased Prince song he managed to secure for the movie.

Great profiles here and here of Laura Harrier, who didn’t get much attention in advance of release. Costume designer Marci Rogers also was interviewed about her work on the movie.

John David Washington shared what his first experiences on the set of the film were and what inspired him about working with Spike Lee.

Washington and others from the cast spoke out about what has happened in the country in the year since the Charlottesville incidents and how the movie connects to that. They also explained how they got into character for the time period the story is set in.

There have been a number of stories like this that continue to explore the real events depicted in the story and the connection between the real Ron Stallworth and Washington, who plays him in the movie.

Topher Grace continues to be a central focus of the press as he appears on “Late Night” to talk about the film.

Lee finally got on TV, talking with Seth Meyers about the connections between this movie – and the events that inspired it – and the present day. He also appeared on “The Daily Show.”

John David Washington appeared on “Kimmel” to talk about the movie, working with Spike Lee and more.

The real-life Ron Stallworth is interviewed here about his actual experiences and how closely the movie adheres to that.

The technical aspects of shooting the film are discussed here by director of photography Chayse Irvin.

The movie’s producers spoke about how they were a bit more free to tell this story in the way they wanted following the success of Get Out.